F1: Webber Needs New Approach, Coulthard Says Photo:
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Mike Stevens | Nov, 08 2011 | 0 Comments

It is possible last year's defeat to teammate Sebastian Vettel damaged Mark Webber psychologically, according to the Australian driver's former teammate David Coulthard.

Coulthard, now a British television commentator, is referring to last year's Abu Dhabi finale, where Vettel emerged as the underdog to beat favourites Webber and Fernando Alonso to the title.

"Mark was just about to win the world championship," recalled Coulthard, speaking on Austrian Servus TV.

"Since then Sebastian did everything right, which may have impaired Mark's performance," he said.

"It's a bit like with Hamilton or Massa; if you have such a strong teammate, then psychologically it becomes even more difficult.

"The brain controls the body, not the other way around," added Coulthard.

He said Webber, 35, has a lot of thinking to do over the forthcoming winter period.

"Is it how he works with the engineers? Is it something else?

"It's not in the gym because they are both very fit. For Mark it makes sense to try a new approach for next year."



Bourdais predicts era of dominance for Vettel

Sebastian Vettel's first regular teammate is predicting an era of dominance for the new back to back world champion.

It is often forgotten that Sebastien Bourdais' ill-fated switch to F1 from American open-wheel racing - where he was dominant - three years ago saw him paired with the then rookie Vettel at Toro Rosso.

"People groan about the days of Schumacher's dominance," the Frenchman told Germany's Auto Bild, "but I say that the Vettel era could be worse."

32-year-old Bourdais, now an Indy and sports car driver, recalled of 2008: "In the first third of the season we were equally strong.

"Then we got the new car and Toro Rosso did not have the capacity to develop it specifically for one driver.

"But what Sebastian can do, even with an extremely fast car that is difficult to control, is simply drive around problems.

"His car control is exceptional, and it really stands out if the car or the conditions are difficult."

Bourdais said Vettel, then 21, stood out in another area.

"We both had problems with our crew, with the mechanics speaking little English. For me it was worse because I had a family at home and couldn't spend my little bit of spare time learning Italian.

"Sebastian invested more time and energy and therefore could communicate better with the team," added Bourdais.



Ferrari chiefs say Massa staying in 2012

Ferrari bosses have dismissed reports Felipe Massa could lose his Ferrari seat after the forthcoming season finale at Interlagos.

At the weekend, Nico Rosberg said suggestions he could switch from Mercedes to be Fernando Alonso's 2012 teammate, and that he recently visited Maranello, were "nonsense".

Indeed, Brazilian Massa has a binding contract for next season.

But British commentator David Coulthard insisted that "in formula one, anything's possible. I've learned that in my 17 years (in the sport)."

At Ferrari's end-of-season event at Mugello at the weekend, however, Ferrari chiefs Stefano Domenicali and president Luca di Montezemolo re-confirmed Massa and Alonso for 2012.

Team boss Domenicali said it will be an important season for Massa.

"I am counting heavily on Felipe's will to fight back as he knows next year will be a key one in which, and I'm convinced of it, he will be able to show his true worth," he said.

Montezemolo said: "I feel for you (reporters), but next year there will be no change to our drivers (line-up)."



Alguersuari keeping Red Bull dream alive

Jaime Alguersuari's Red Bull dream is still alive, even though he might lose his Toro Rosso seat after the looming 2011 finale.

The 2012 lineup of the energy drink company's secondary team remains completely open, with Alguersuari, his current teammate Sebastien Buemi, and also Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne all in the running.

At the very least, however, Spaniard Alguersuari has had less time to develop than has his more experienced teammate Buemi, and 11 more points in the bag so far this season.

And he also sounds confident.

"My goal is to stay with Red Bull," he is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace. "I want to stay with them and give them victories.

"I came to F1 without any miles but I have progressed, as has the team. The team goes nowhere without the driver, nor the driver without the team."

Alguersuari's hope for 2012, therefore, is that "Toro Rosso confirms me as the driver".

Beyond that, he is targeting the world championship, but to do that "I need the car and I hope Red Bull give it to me some day".

For now, he is putting his eggs in the Toro Rosso basket, calling the Faenza based team one "of the future" that is able to "fight for the top (places) in three or four years".



Two DRS zones could transform Abu Dhabi spectacle

As in India recently, there will be two separate DRS zones in use this weekend in Abu Dhabi.

Throughout most of 2011, the first season of DRS deployment in F1 history, the FIA has installed only single detection and activation points for rear wing-assisted overtaking.

But at Monza and India there were two distinct DRS areas, and the same approach will be seen in Abu Dhabi this weekend, it has emerged.

That is particularly good news for Yas Marina, as the otherwise spectacular venue is notoriously difficult to overtake on.

Last year, for example, the layout was blamed for not allowing Fernando Alonso, the championship favourite, to overtake the slower Vitaly Petrov.

McLaren's Jenson Button said: "It's usually been quite difficult to overtake in Abu Dhabi, especially last year, but I think that DRS will change all that.

"It would be great to see the new rules turn this circuit into a place where overtaking is more common and more exciting," he added.



2012 US GP 'silence' worries Jackie Stewart

Sir Jackie Stewart has questioned the health of the 2012 US Grand Prix project.

A site east of the Texan capital Austin is scheduled to host F1's return to America next November.

But there were reports of internal ructions within the organising body and circuit construction delays long before another US round, a street race amid the New York skyline, was announced for 2013.

Circuit designer Hermann Tilke, however, insists that Austin is on track for 2012, and the F1 Commission last Thursday re-confirmed the 2012 calendar as it was published by the FIA.

But the digital magazine Houston Culturemap quoted triple world champion Stewart as saying in India recently: "I am a little bit confused; there seems to be a sudden silence about Austin.

"I haven't heard a word about Austin for months now," he added. "I am assuming that it is still very much on, but you would have thought with only 12 months to go there would be something going on."


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