2010 British Grand Prix: Saturday News Round-Up #1

McLaren work all night to fix car issues; Alonso welcomes safety car changes; Yamamoto out to speak to Senna

A number of members from the McLaren team were forced to work throughout Friday night to ensure that Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button still have an opportunity to challenge for victory in this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

The Woking-based team had fast-tracked a number of upgrades for its MP4-25, in a bid to overhaul Red Bull Racing.

However following a disastrous performance in the two opening practice sessions, McLaren made the decision to revert back to an earlier specification.

Autosport reports that the decision was made after the revamped car experienced excessive handling problems, caused by the heat produce from the exhausts, which warped the floor of the MP4-25 and affected its aerodynamics.

Although McLaren opted to use its brand new front wing for the rest of the weekend, this meant that it had to fly test driver Gary Paffett back to its factory to complete an extensive run on the team’s simulator.

Despite its problems, the team’s engineering director Paddy Lowe told the BBC that the team was still upbeat about its chances for this weekend.

“We were competitive in Turkey without the blown diffuser, and that’s a similar sort of track to here,” he said. “The blown diffuser is an influence in terms of performance around here but we’ve got other new parts on the car that we’re very happy with so we’re reasonably optimistic.”

Meanwhile Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso has welcomed the FIA’s decision to alter the safety car regulations ahead of the British Grand Prix.

The Spaniard became embroiled in controversy when he hit out at race stewards in Valencia for failing to adequately punish Lewis Hamilton’s decision to overtake the safety car.

As a result the rules have now been changed so  that cars will now have to slow to the pace of the safety car as soon as a caution period is called – preventing them from gaining any advantage.

This has been welcomed by Alonso, who believes that it will have a positive impact on Formula One.

“I think any change they [the FIA] do is because they think it is better,” Alonso is quoted as saying by Autosport. “Every change is welcome if they improve F1, so let’s hope everything goes well.”

Finally, Sakon Yamamoto will attempt to smooth things over with Bruno Senna, after replacing the Brazilian at HRT for this weekend’s British Grand Prix.

Although Senna will return to the cockpit in Germany, Yamamoto concedes that relationships are currently strained between the pair.

“Actually we have said ‘hi’, but I understand how he feels as a racing driver and I want to talk him a bit later on when things have calmed down a bit,” Yamamoto told Autosport when asked on the relationship between the two drivers. “At this moment it is very hard to speak to each other, I believe.

“It is a bit of strange circumstances, but personally we have had good relations since I joined this team. He was always nice, and that’s why… I don’t know what he thinks, but I want to speak with him later on.”