Bahrain Rescheduled Date Due Soon?

According to the latest reports, officials are confident that the Bahrain Grand Prix will be rescheduled to be run later in 2011.

Civil unrest caused the 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix – intended as the season opener – to be postponed. With the lack of news surrounding the race, some people had questioned whether the country would host an F1 race this season. However senior Bahrain officials have confirmed that they are looking to reschedule the race as conditions in the country are now stable enough.

According to GMM Bahrain tourism’s acting assistant undersecretary Nada Ahmed Yaseen told Gulf News, “It’s not cancelled, it’s only postponed. We will hear good news soon.

“I think it will happen this year; we are very optimistic about it,” she added at the Arabian Travel Market.

Sam Michael to leave Williams at season’s end

Williams technical director Sam Michael is to leave the team at the end of the 2011 season.

The Australian becomes the most senior member of management to announce his departure, after the team’s worst start to a season for a number of years.

Chief aerodynamicist Jon Tomlinson will also head for the exit in what will be a radical shake-up of the technical side of the Grove-based concern.

Sir Frank Williams paid tribute to the two and said that it was the right decision to allow Williams to progress.

“Both Sam and Jon are talented and driven people who have worked hard for Williams over 10 and five years respectively,” he said.

“Nonetheless, they have recognised that the team’s performance is not at the level that it needs to be and have resigned in order to give the team the opportunity to regroup and undertake the changes necessary to get back to the front of the grid.

“Both will continue to work in their present positions through until the end of the year to ensure that the team maintains focus and momentum during the 2011 season. We are very grateful to Sam and to Jon for their professional approach.”

In the wake of the pair’s departure, it was also announced that Mike Coughlan would join the British team in the position of chief engineer, with full responsibility for the 2012 car.

Ex-McLaren man Coughlan’s name is inextricably linked to the Spygate scandal of 2007 in which McLaren were found guilty of copying elements of Ferrari’s design.

But Williams stressed that it was Coughlan’s pedigree as an engineer and not his part in the scandal that was important.

“Mike Coughlan is a fine engineer with extensive experience across Formula One and both civil and defence engineering.

“He left Formula 1 in 2007 because of conduct which he acknowledges was wrong and which he profoundly regrets. His two year ban from the sport expired some time ago and Mike is now determined to prove himself again.

“Williams is delighted to be able to give him the opportunity to do this and we are very pleased to have one of the most talented and competitive engineers in the sport helping us to return to the front of the grid.

“This is the first step in re-building and strengthening our technical group. We will announce the next steps as they develop.”

Mallya – di Resta has done well

Force India team principal Vijay Mallya has praised his rookie driver Paul di Resta ahead of Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix.

The Scot has outdriven his more experienced team mate Adrian Sutil, with two points finishes in his opening two F1 races and an eleventh place to boot.

Mallya said that he was happy with the team as a whole and his drivers in particular.

“I’m very proud of both our drivers. Paul has driven superbly and has adapted very quickly to Formula 1. Combined with Adrian’s speed and experience, I see no reason why we cannot challenge for points at every race this year.”

“To have points on the board and a car that is capable of qualifying in the top 10 means we are well placed to build on our competitiveness as we begin the European season,” he added.

Mallya also promised that the team would not be standing still in their push forwards.

“We have some promising aerodynamic upgrades in the pipeline, which should make a significant difference to the performance of the car in the coming races,” he said.

Mercedes eye further progress in Turkey

Mercedes GP have got their eye on further success in next weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix.

The Anglo-German concern had obviously made a step forward in China and both drivers said that they expect their form to continue.

Michael Schumacher pointed to some minor upgrades that the W02 will feature in Istanbul.

“I know that the team have been working very hard to continue the progress that we made during the last race weekend in China and, with the help of some developments planned for Istanbul, I am confident that we can enjoy an equally positive weekend,” said Schumacher.

Nico Rosberg also acknowledged that after some ups and downs the team felt as though they were on the right track.

“We had a more difficult start to 2011 than we had expected, and the first three races felt a little like a rollercoaster of emotions,” he said.

“We were all disappointed in Melbourne and Malaysia but, after leading the race in Shanghai, we have confirmed the potential of our car. The team did a very good job to take a step forward and we learned a lot from the weekend.”

Team principal Ross Brawn added: “The team and drivers have worked extremely hard in the short break before the European season begins to ensure that we continue to move forward.

“We have a fundamentally good car and we need to achieve its full potential in the races to come. The Chinese Grand Prix reminded everyone at the team what it is like to fight for a race. We didn’t succeed on that occasion but it’s a feeling that we would like to experience more often.

“When the car is working properly, we can be more competitive and the solutions we are bringing to Turkey will help us achieve this level more consistently. However, we also know that we need to push for more performance if we want to fight regularly at the front. The first three races have been a challenge but we have pulled together and will continue working hard to make progress.”