FOTA to adopt ‘greener’ methods to keep F1 infront

The Formula One Teams’ Association (FOTA) has announced a raft of regulation changes designed to make the sport more environmentally friendly.

FOTA’s announcement comes after it received findings from an environmental research analysis that it commissioned several months ago.

The associations research had been carried out by the world-respected environmental research analysis organisation, Trucost – which concluded that although the carbon emissions caused by the testing and racing of Formula One cars is a small proportion of the total carbon emissions generated by the sport, more must be done.

As a result, FOTA has now announced attempt to cut emissions by 12 per cent over the next three years and introduce changes to the engine and gearbox regulations to promote new fuel-efficient technologies.

“It has already been possible to reduce Formula 1’s total carbon emissions.” FOTA President Martin Whitmarsh said in a report on the organisations website. “Building on what we have already achieved, we anticipate that by 2012 F1 will have reduced its total carbon emissions by 12.4 per cent compared with 2009.”

“In addition, the FIA and FOTA are already working together to tailor the 2013 technical regulations to ensuring that all engines and powertrains used in F1 by that date will showcase, and provide a platform for the ongoing development of, technologies designed to enhance fuel efficiency.”

“This is a very exciting time for Formula 1 and I am delighted that our sport has been able to take a global environmental lead in this way.”

It is hoped that the introduction of such changes will allow Formula One to remain at the forefront on development in the automobile world.

Massa supports safety car inquiry

Felipe Massa has echoed Ferrari’s calls for the FIA to review the safety car rules, in light on last weekend’s European Grand Prix.

As well as his team-mate, Fernando Alonso, the Brazilian driver’s race was also ruined by the introduction of the safety car, resulting in him eventually finishing eleventh.

Although the 29-year-old does not want to comment directly on the penality attributed to Lewis Hamilton, he is also of the view that the safety car rules must be examined.

“Unfortunately, this incident affected, in a negative fashion, our race,” the Brazilian wrote in his Ferrari blog. “By the time the track was completely under the Yellow Flags, we were already at the last corner of the lap and by the time I saw the ‘SC’ board, I was out of the final corner and going onto the main straight. At the same time, looking in my mirrors, I saw most of the field going into the pits as they had seen the board before the last corner.

“It was a matter of moments and we were very unlucky in that we had to spend a very long time behind the Safety Car, whereas Vettel was already ahead of the Safety Car before it came on track and Hamilton chose to pass it, thus breaking the rules.

“I don’t particularly want to go over what happened after that, because it changes nothing in that our race was ruined. However, what happened needs to be looked into because it is not normal than someone commits a serious infraction like overtaking the Safety Car, when there is a dangerous situation on track and is not really penalised in practical terms. We must talk about this together and do something to ensure a situation like this does not happen again. The team has told me that, next week there will be a meeting of the Sporting Working Group: that’s good and it’s an obvious indication that the FIA is paying close attention to the matter.”

Sauber hoping to maintain momentum

Sauber’s James Key has revealed that the team is working flat out to build on the form shown by Kamui Kobayashi in the European Grand Prix.

The Japanese driver took full advantage of the race’s safety car period to move up to third, before his mandatory tyre stop moved him to seventh.

As a result, Key has admitted that the team had under performed in the early part of the season, but is now confident that a number of new updates will help them continue its strong run.

“We are in a position now where the car is more suited to some track layouts than to others,” Sauber’s technical director is quoted as saying by Autosport. “Valencia showed that the car works when it’s in the right conditions. Silverstone should be better suited to our car – it’s mainly a mix of medium and high-speed corners, which our car is definitely well balanced for. Hockenheim might be a little less suited to our car than Silverstone.

“For Silverstone we have some front wing updates and modifications around the middle of the car. Then for Hockenheim we will have a rear end update which includes a diffuser step as well. The numbers in the wind tunnel are progressing well.”

As well as developing a low downforce package for Spa and Monza, Key also revealed that the team has now began work on next year’s challenger.

“We are a private team and we don’t have unlimited resources to do everything we want,” he continued. “We are currently in the process of splitting our resources as best we can between the current car and the C30. We are focusing on Spa and Monza for lower downforce and drag configurations – and there will be further steps towards the end of the year.”

Alonso: Outburst was ’emotionally’ driven

Fernando Alonso has admitted that he overreacted in his assessment of the events which marred the 2010 European Grand Prix.

The Spaniard was left infuriated after a safety car period saw him drop down the order and later claimed that the race stewards had ‘manipulated’ the result to the benefit of Lewis Hamilton – who was penalised for overtaking the pace car before the second safety car line.

However following time to reflect, Alonso conceded that his outburst had been emotionally driven.

“We were particularly unlucky in terms of the timing of when the safety car appeared on track.” Alonso wrote on Ferrari’s website.

“It would have only needed a few seconds more or less to totally change our race.

“It does not achieve much going over the events that followed on, but obviously, in the clear light of day, I am much calmer than I was in the moments immediately following the race.

“At the time, I reacted emotionally and in that situation it is all too easy to adopt a tone and say things that can be interpreted wrongly, giving rise to suspicions, something which I had no intention of doing.

“Sure, I understand the stewards have a difficult job to do and they have to take decisions that are not easy.

“What I meant was that those drivers who, like us, respected the regulations, unfortunately in this situation, suffered much more than those who broke them, even though they were given a penalty.”

He added:”I am not referring to any of the drivers in particular,”

“It’s a general matter and I think we should talk about it together in a calm way to ensure that things like this do not happen again.

“I was pleased to hear the FIA has reacted promptly, calling an extraordinary meeting of the Sporting Working Group.

“I am confident, certain even, all the points up for discussion will be cleared up in a comprehensive fashion.”

Red Bull wary of Silverstone challenge

Red Bull believes that it will be hard to repeat last season’s dominant one-two in the British Grand Prix.

Although the RB6 is expected to following in the footsteps of its predecessor and master Silverstone’s high-speed layout, team principal Christian Horner believes that victory is not assured, given the rate of development of Red Bull’s rivals.

“We don’t underestimate Ferrari and McLaren, and even Mercedes I am sure will fight back,” the team principal told Autosport. “I am sure there is a long way to go in this championship. We are not even halfway yet.”

Horner’s comments follow the news that chief rivals McLaren are set to introduce a number of upgrades at Silverstone, including its interpretation of the full-blown diffuser.

Subsequently, under this rate of development, Horner believes that it is impossible to predict Red Bull’s competitiveness based on previous years – with the events of Valencia a prime example.

“Let’s wait and see how we go,” he said. “Theoretically Valencia was McLaren territory and we performed very well. Silverstone is a track that both drivers enjoy and hopefully the next couple of events should come back a bit more our way.

“But we are looking forward to it. It is a track that should hopefully suit our car. We had a great race there last year, it will be difficult to top that but we take a lot of satisfaction out of this race win, at a track that arguably we should not be strong at.”

Kubica set to stick with Renault

Robert Kubica looks set to commit his long term future to Renault, with the team in reported rude health.

The Pole has been linked to a number of teams for 2011, but looks set to remain with the Enstone-based operation, after such speculation  petered out in to nothing.

Subsequently, Autosport reports that Kubica has been assured that Renault will continue to have the finances to remain competitive – with sources suggesting that it is on the verge of signing a “major title sponsorship deal”.

As a result, the article goes on to suggest that owner Gerard Lopez has told senior figures that the team’s sturdy finances may allow him to lure Kimi Raikkonen back to Formula One, as Kubica’s team-mate.

Hamilton accuses Alonso of sour grapes

Lewis Hamilton has hit back at Fernando Alonso, following the Spaniards comments in the aftermath of the European Grand Prix.

The British driver received a drive-thru penalty during the race after being judged to have overtaken the safety car as it left the pitlane. Despite this, Hamilton was still able to maintain his second position.

Subsequently, Alonso was left angered and accused stewards of ‘manipulating’ the result to allow the McLaren driver to build up enough of a gap to maintain his second position.

However, when asked whether Alonso’s complaints were merely a sign of sour grapes, Hamilton is quoted by the Press Association as stating:

“Yeah. I even saw him overtaken by a Sauber [Kamui Kobayashi] on the big screen. It’s very unlike him to be overtaken by a Sauber so he must have been completely in another world. But I don’t understand why I affected his race so much.

“Everyone has a right to their opinion, and he must be disappointed with his own result, but I didn’t do anything to him.”

Both Alonso and Ferrari argue that race stewards

Despite the cries of foul play by both Ferrari and Alonso, Autosport has revealed that race stewards were forced to wait on the FIA gathering timing data, aerial film footage and transponder location information before they could award Hamilton with a penalty.

Furthermore, it has been reported that Ferrari’s latest comments have not been received well by the FIA.

According to an article in The Guardian, a number of figures inside the sport’s governing body are said to be outraged by’ the Scuderia’s intemperate response’ and that the team could now face action.

Ferrari remains angered by events in Valencia

Ferrari urge safety car clarification; ‘It’s the luck of the draw’ says other teams

Sunday’s European Grand Prix in Valencia witnessed an outpouring of frustration from Ferrari.

The Italian manufacturer was left angered by Sunday’s race stewards, believing that they had taken too long to penalise Lewis Hamilton for overtaking the safety car while it exited the pitlane.

Although Hamilton was given a drive-thru for the offence, Ferrari was angered that the McLaren driver had been allowed to build up an on-track time advantage before any decision had been made – leading to Fernando Alonso, whose afternoon was compromised by the safety car period, to claim that the race had been ‘manipulated’.

Subsequently, Ferrari has called for the safety car rules to be clarified, to ensure that there would be no repeat of yesterday’s controversy = a move which has been criticised by a number of other teams.

“I think since we started changing the safety car rules, every time you change something you get all these scenarios thrown up, and I think it is just that.” Lotus technical chief Mike Gascoyne is quoted as saying by PlanetF1.com

“Charlie (Whiting, FIA race director) is trying to do the job as he sees it, calls it as he sees it, and he has as difficult a job as everyone. I think it is just one of those things.”

Gascoyne’s opinion is echoed by Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who believes that none of the teams purposely gained an advantage from Sunday’s safety car period.

“I think the Safety Car rules have not played out for Ferrari, and McLaren was perhaps a bit naughty with the way it worked it, but it got a penalty for that.

“Arguably it didn’t cost them, but that’s just the way it worked out. I don’t think it was manipulated.”

He added: “The FIA just need to look at the Safety Car rules in the future.”

Despite this, Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali believes that the team are right to complain.

“We need to be careful by avoiding to take a counter-constructive attitude and complaining just for the sake of it, because it’s useless,” Domenical is quoted as saying by Autosport.

“We need to be very calm at these times, but we can’t pretend nothing has happened. However, I repeat, rationality must prevail over emotions, which are very strong.”

He added:

“I think what needs to be done is evaluating the sanction by keeping in mind the time of the decision and the way the race is developing. These are important issues.

“Looking back during the post-race analysis, it’s clear that you are advantaged by not following the rules because at the end of day you gained more points. This is not alright from the point of view of the principle of the sporting regulation, and we need to work on it.

“I think we need to believe in the principles: it worked this way today, let’s hope it’s different next time.”

Meanwhile, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo believes that the events of the European Grand Prix may have a negative impact on the future of Formula One.

“The result of yesterday’s race was misrepresentative,” he said on Monday on Ferrari’s website. “Ferrari, which showed itself to be competitive in the European Grand Prix, paid a price that was too high for respecting the rules.

“Meanwhile those who didn’t follow the rules were penalised by the race officials in a way that was less severe than the damage suffered by those who did respect them.

“That is a very serious and unacceptable event that creates dangerous precedents, throwing a shadow over the credibility of Formula 1.

“We are sure that the FIA will fully analyse what happened, taking the consequent necessary decisions. Ferrari will watch this with interest.”

So how do you view the events of the European Grand Prix? Are Ferrari right to be angered? Should the Safety Car rules be changed? – Share your views by leaving a comment.

McLaren highlight Silverstone as a crucial race

Martin Whitmarsh believes that the British Grand Prix will be a crucial test of McLaren’s competitiveness, as the Woking-based attempts to continue to fight off Red Bull Racing.

McLaren are set to introduce a number of new upgrades at Silverstone, including its interpretation of the blown-diffuser system. It is hoped that the success of these improvements will prove key to the team’s title bid and allow it to remain in control of both championships.

With Red Bull having dominated last year’s British Grand Prix, Whitmarsh says that he is fully aware of the significant of the next round of the championship.

“It is an important race for us,” he said of the British race in an interview with Autosport. “At a circuit like that we have to be competitive with Red Bull if we are going to be able to beat them this year. If we can be competitive there, we have a good chance to win both championships.

“It will be a big race, but it is not the end of it whatever happens. If we beat them they will not stand still. If they beat us we are not going to stand still. I hope it will be close and certainly closer than last year.”

The McLaren team principal also admitted that he had not expected the team to have done so well in Valencia, with a number of its rivals having choosen to introduce new parts.

“We didn’t know the scale of everyone else’s upgrades coming here, but on Friday you could see a lot more in terms of upgrades, so to come out of this event with a second and third was fairly reasonable,” he said.

“We should have been on the second row. In qualifying mode Red Bull were quicker than us, and both our guys made mistakes, but we were not about to beat the Red Bull.

“I think we had the slight edge on them in race pace, which we have had several times this season, and we thought there was going to be a bit more of a contest at the end. But unfortunately the penalty denied the opportunity.”

“To come out of here leading both world championships, we’ve seen what the others have got, and to have a decent upgrade, we must believe we are in the position to have a strong second half to the season and a world championship campaign.”

Webber feared airborne collision

Mark Webber admitted that he was greatly concerned for his health whilst his RB6 was airborne, during his crash with Heikki Kovalainen in the European Grand Prix.

The Australian driver was involved in a spectacular accident while attempting to overtake the slower Lotus. Shades of Riccardo Patrese’s shocking shunt in the 1992 Portuguese Grand Prix were visible as Webber’s car somersaulted into the air before plunging into the adjacent crash barrier.

Although Webber was uninjured in the crash, he later explained that he had been terrified of hitting something while in the sky.

“I was worried about bridges or things that I could hit up in the air,” Webber is quoted as saying by Autosport. “I knew I was involved in a huge crash, and that I was just a passenger.

“But I knew there was a lot of run-off down there, so that was good. I was also happy it was a tyre wall and not the Techpro stuff because that is not as good as the tyres.

“After Singapore, what happened last year, this was a nicer cushioning hit for me. The biggest surprise was being in a Formula 1 race and having someone brake that early. But things like that happen.

“The impact wasn’t too hard. It was okay because I had a massive forward momentum, so that was good.”