European Grand Prix: Friday News Round-Up

Horner: Pirelli should look at the past, rivals must not expect much from blown-diffuser system; Webber not impressed new rules; Hamilton: Too early to call McLaren favourites;

Red Bull’s Christian Horner believes that Pirelli must produce tyre compounds which will improve the quality of racing in Formula One.

It was announced on Wednesday that the Italian manufacturer would become the sport’s sole tyre supplier from next year onwards – prompting its motorsport director to reveal that the company would develop its new compounds by running them on the new GP2 car.

Subsequently, Horner hopes that Pirelli will look back at previous races, when constructing its tyres, to make sure that there will be a repeat of the action experienced last time out, in Montreal.

“Choosing the right kind of tyres is something that needs to be carefully looked at,” Horner is quoted as saying by Autosport.

“We are taking away the double diffusers [for 2011], which is right because the downforce levels of the car are way beyond what was initially envisaged. But that was probably the mistake in allowing the double diffuser in the first place.

“I think that there is real opportunity with the tyre supplier to potentially do something a bit different that could encourage more races like Montreal, which I think was a fascinating race.”

“As we saw in Montreal, tyres are a far bigger factor than aerodynamics. We also saw that in China on the intermediate tyre, that a tyre that is slightly marginal on performance allows the cars to follow closely – and we had more overtaking in those two races than the rest of the year.”

Speaking in Valencia, Horner also issued a warning to Red Bull’s rivals – stating that he did not expect them to match the pace of the team’s RB6 simply by adopting a version of its exhaust system.

Along with Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault have also introduced their own take on low exhaust concept in Valencia, with McLaren and Williams expected to introduce a more developed system at Silverstone.

However, Horner believes the concept is sole reason for Red Bull’s speed, stating: “It is flattering when people copy you. But, as with all these things, it is very difficult to cherry pick items if they are not designed into the architecture of the car.

“The exhausts are not the fundamental reason why our car is fast. It is a combination of factors, but it is inevitable when you have a competitive car that others will follow suit.”

Meanwhile, Red Bull’s Mark Webber has hit out at the FIA’s plans to introduce movable rear wings in 2011.

Following Wednesday’s World Motor Sport Council meeting, the sport’s governing body announced that the device would be legalised next season, in a bid to increase overtaking. However, the Australian reckons that the move will cheapen the art of overtaking, and likened it to a PlayStation game.

“It is good for the PlayStation I think, but I don’t know how well it is going to work in F1,” the 33-year-old is quoted as saying by PlanetF1.com.

“We need to put some good research into it, understand it and make sure it is beneficial for everyone – the drivers, the show, the spectators and safety, which is a big thing.

“Overtaking moves should be about pressurising, being skillful, and tactical. Yes we want to see more overtaking, of course we do, we know that, but we also need to keep the element of skill involved in overtaking and not just hitting buttons, like KERS, like adjustable rear wings.

“We need to get the balance right in having skillful races between each other, and not an IRL race where you pass each other four times per lap and everyone gets bored of that.”

In other news, Lewis Hamilton has downplayed suggestions McLaren is now favourite for the title, after a series of back-to-back wins saw him rocket to the top of the drivers’ standings, with team-mate Jenson Button right behind.

Although the British driver is confident of being competitive for the remainder of the year, he believes that it would be foolish to rule out McLaren’s rivals.

“I never look at a season and say who are the title favourites,” Hamilton is quoted as saying by Autosport. “Red Bull I still think are in contention for that, and this weekend [in Valencia] you will see Ferrari step up to it now.

“In recent weeks we came out as favourites, but I think we are only halfway into the season. There have been quite a lot of changes in the last bulk of races, but there is still a long way to go.”

Finally, any hopes of the defunct USF1 attempting to apply for reentry into Formula One appears to have been dashed, after the FIA imposed strict sanctions on the American outfit.

The Charlotte-based team had been granted the fourth slot on the entry list for this year’s world championship, but ultimately failed to make the grid after encountering financial difficulties.

Following Wednesday’s meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, it was found that the team had infringed the International Sporting Code as well as the sporting regulations of the 2010 Formula One World Championship and the obligations resulting from its entry in the Championship.

Consequently, the sport’s governing body has now disqualified USF1 and fined the team 309,000 euros (£255,000) – effectively ruling out any possibility of the team competing in future.

Although USF1 could still appeal the decision, the idea of this remains unlikely.