Horner downplays Webber engine failure; Ferrari look set to keep Massa; Alonso: Red Bull will be hard to beat; Button agrees; Brawn refutes Mercedes design suggestions
Christian Horner does not believe that Mark Webber’s engine failure in practice two will have any impact on his chances of victory in Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix.
Webber was forced to pull off onto the side of the road towards the end of the session, with his RB6 suffering from a suspected engine failure. Despite this, Red Bull Racing’s team principal is adamant that the Australian’s problems will not resonate in qualifying and the race, as the Renault power-plant was merely a unit which had already been used.
“Mark’s engine was right up at the end of its mileage,” he said.
“I think it stopped about 50 kilometres short of its target miles, so it doesn’t affect his programme. It is just important for Renault to understand exactly what the failure was – but it was an engine right at the end of its life.”
“While disappointing to have an engine failure, it has cost Mark just five or six laps.”
Autosport.com has also reported this evening that the Milton Keynes outfit will not use its F-duct system for the remainder of the weekend after finding that its compromised the downforce of the RB6.
Meanwhile Stefano Domenicali has dampened speculation that either Robert Kubica or Mark Webber will join Ferrari in 2011 and that Felipe Massa looks likely to be maintained.
Following his admittance to the BBC , Massa told reporters on Friday that: “I would like to stay here (Ferrari), definitely. It’s a place I love to work in,”
“People respect me a lot, so it would be fantastic to carry on.”
Turning towards this weekend’s race and Fernando Alonso believes that it will be difficult for any team to beat Red Bull this weekend. Although the Spaniard managed to set the fifth fastest time in today’s second practice session and believes that the Istanbul circuit suits the Ferrari F10, he still tips Webber or Vettel to come out on top.
“Compared to the Spanish Grand Prix, I think the situation is a bit better, down to the fact the track characteristics are different and do not require the maximum aerodynamic downforce, but rather an intermediate level which is better suited to our car. However, it would be a surprise if the Red Bulls were not ahead of everyone. We are thereabouts, behind them along with McLaren: that is my prediction.” he said.
“We tried some solutions for finding the best way to manage the blown rear wing system and have made some progress, even if it is not yet perfect: we will work on it for the upcoming races.â€
Jenson Button also echoed these sentiments, claiming that Red Bull is yet to show its true pace around the 3.317 mile circuit.
“The Red Bulls are much quicker than they show, so it’s a normal Friday. You don’t catch up a second in a couple of weeks,” The McLaren driver is quoted as saying by Autosport.com.
“The car feels reasonably good around here – there are still some areas where we’re not so strong, and the Red Bulls will once again be the cars to beat in qualifying tomorrow, we can’t get away from that. I just hope we’re closer than we’ve been in the last two races.
“I think the Ferrari will be quick here too. It should be the top four teams that we normally see, and possibly Renault as well, so I don’t think qualifying tomorrow will be boring. There should be some good battles.”
Meanwhile Ross Brawn has rejected suggestions that Mercedes is favouring Michael Schumacher over Nico Rosberg in terms of car improvements.
The Brackley-based team introduced a heavily revised version of the WM01 in Spain, in a bid to allievate the various difficulties which the seven-times champion had experienced in the opening fly-away races. As a result, this led to media speculation that the team had implemented changes which were only of benefit to Schumacher and a hinderance to his team-mate, Nico Rosberg.
However Brawn rubbished these claims and has stated that any improvements to the team’s 2010 challenger are aimed at helping both drivers.
“No. I wish I knew what these requirements are!” he told the official F1 website when asked if Schumacher’s requirements were being placed above that of Rosberg’s.
“It is pure perception that the car is build around Michael. If you ask me I would not know what sort of car that would be. A car that responds properly, a car that has a good level of downforce, a car that has power will benefit both our drivers.
“There is no conscious development to create a car that suits Michael Schumacher, because I don’t know what that is. It’s hard to do something if you have no idea what it is.”