Grosjean: Webber said Monza ban was ‘harsh’

Romain Grosjean said Mark Webber was “not very fair” at the start of Sunday’s Singapore grand prix. But after his successful return to F1 following a one-race ban, rookie Frenchman Grosjean also praised his Australian rival.

“Webber was not very fair as he completely cut the first corner,” he is quoted by RMC Sport. “But I have to say that at Monza he was the first to come and see me to say it (the ban) was a little harsh. I get on well with him,” added Grosjean.

The Lotus driver revealed that he has made some tweaks to his race preparation, so that he is now “better” prepared for the start of the races.

“There are six races left and I want to go on the podium,” said Grosjean.


Vergne still feeling stiff after Monza crash

Jean-Eric Vergne has revealed he is still feeling stiff after his crash at the Italian Grand Prix.

The French rookie’s Toro Rosso veered of control at the end of the Autodromo’s long front straight during the recent Italian grand prix. Vergne’s car launched over a kerb and landed with a thud, and he immediately complained on the radio about a sore back. He was taken to the medical centre with pain in his back and head, but declared: “I am fine.”

And now in a post-race blog, the 22-year-old has revealed he also sustained “a few bruises” and a sore neck.

“I do feel pretty stiff across my back and neck but I think that will go away over the next day or so and I’ll get on with what is going to be a pretty busy schedule until Singapore,” said Vergne.

Toro Rosso said the crash was caused by a suspension failure.


Lauda: Perez – No driver has impressed me more this season

Sergio Perez’s second place at Monza was the standout drive of the 2012 season so far according to Niki Lauda, who honoured the Mexican driver by taking off his famous red cap before interviewing Perez on the podium last Sunday.

“Perez drove like a god,” the Austrian told Swiss newspaper Blick. “Unemotionally and without error. No driver has impressed me more this season at a grand prix.”

Lauda will not, however, be drawn into speculation 22-year-old Perez’s next move is to become Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari teammate in 2013. And the latest reports suggest Perez might also be a candidate to succeed Lewis Hamilton at McLaren.

“Clearly Perez has the potential for bigger things,” said 63-year-old Lauda, “but that doesn’t mean I’m going to start commenting on every internet rumour.”

Lauda is just as impressed with Perez’s current team, Sauber. Asked what is so good about the C31, he explained: “A simple design. Every team could follow the example of Swiss quality,” Lauda smiled.

“And with Monisha Kaltenborn at the helm, she has everything under her control, so I take off my cap to her as well.”

Indeed, chief executive Kaltenborn thinks the Hinwil based team’s next step is right to the top of the podium.

“It is difficult to be sure that we will win, because you need so much to come together to finish a race in first place, but I think we are close,” she is quoted by Brazil’s Totalrace. “If we can do a race completely without mistakes, I am sure that it can happen.”


Vergne fine after pain of Italian GP flier

Jean-Eric Vergne is unhurt after Sunday’s incident at Monza.

Toro Rosso is investigating why the French rookie’s Ferrari-powered car suddenly veered out of control at the end of Monza’s front straight during the Italian grand prix.

The high-speed incident launched Vergne’s car over a kerb, “And I count myself lucky that the car did not flip over”, he said.

He did, however, land with a bump, and immediately complained on the radio of a sore back.

“I was taken from the accident to the medical centre,” explained the 22-year-old, “but apart from a bit of pain in my back and my head, I am fine.”


Webber’s ‘older’ alternator survived at Italian Grand Prix

Mark Webber’s alternator survived the Italian grand prix because it was an “older” specification. That is the claim of Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko, after reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel on Sunday suffered a repeat of his Saturday morning failure and failed to finish at Monza.

“The part was from the latest specification (of alternator) that came after the similar failure in Valencia,” Marko is quoted by Salzburger Nachrichten. “Webber had an alternator from an older specification that had no problem,” said the Austrian.

Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport said engine supplier Renault, whose supply partner for the alternator is Magneti Marelli, is treating the problem as a priority.

“Since 2011 we have changed virtually nothing,” said Renault’s baffled Remi Taffin.

One glimmer of hope is that the Renault alternator used by Lotus’ Jerome d’Ambrosio at Monza was showing early signs of failure, which could be useful for getting to the bottom of the mystery. Arguably the bigger problem for Red Bull, however, is the recent lack of pace.

Former Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari said Monza was “the (team’s) worst performance since 2008”.

And yet another problem on Sunday was Vettel’s penalty for driving Fernando Alonso off the track, even though a similar incident at Curva Grande a year ago was ignored by the stewards. Was the FIA giving Ferrari a helping-hand at Monza on Sunday?

“I think not,” Vettel, dismissing the conspiracy, told Bild newspaper.


Vettel’s alternator problems return

Five races after the worrying events of Valencia, the looks of concern are back on the faces at Red Bull and Renault.

At Valencia, Sebastian Vettel’s sure victory ground to a halt with an alternator problem. Similar problems were arising at other Renault-powered teams, including Lotus and Williams, and so the French supplier reverted to an older alternator specification.

The problem seemed to have gone away, only for it to apparently return on Vettel’s car in the Italian heat at Monza on Saturday morning.

“We don’t know what has caused the problem,” Renault Sport’s Remi Taffin is quoted by Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport. “The only thing we could do is install a brand new part.”


Alonso on lost pole: We must avoid these errors

Fernando Alonso insists he would have been on pole for Sunday’s Italian grand prix.

The Spaniard has had a dire run at Monza this weekend, suffering brake, gearbox and engine problems in practice, and a broken roll-bar in the crucial ‘Q3’ qualifying segment.

“It is a shame because it would have been the easiest pole,” Alonso, who is instead just tenth, is quoted by Marca newspaper. “I will try not to lose many points to Vettel,” he said, referring to his nearest championship rival. Actually we should be increasing the lead in the championship. These are errors we said we needed to avoid.”

But in June, Alonso came from eleventh on the Valencia grid to win. Can he do it again, this time on Ferrari’s hallowed ground?

“We know that (Valencia) was an unique opportunity and we can’t tell everyone that we can do that (again), because then if we have a normal race and finish eighth and ninth, everyone thinks we did a bad race,” he said.


Massa must push for Monza win ‘for his future’

Felipe Massa has the perfect chance to race for his career at Monza.

After a miserable 2012 in which rumours began to swell about his impending Ferrari exit, the Brazilian qualified third in front of the team’s loyal ‘Tifosi’ at Monza. So even if teammate Fernando Alonso would almost certainly have been ahead of him if the Spaniard’s F2012 had not faltered in Q3, it is Massa’s best qualifying result since Canada last year.

“With Alonso’s problems, we’re counting on Massa,” Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo told Italian reporters on Saturday. “He has to try to win this race, for Ferrari and for his future.”

Massa agreed: “It’s a very important race for us, a very important race for me. I know how important it is for me,” he repeated.

Team boss Stefano Domenicali admitted that Ferrari is now in the process of thinking about the identity of the sister car alongside Alonso in 2013.

“I cannot say when (a decision will be made),” he is quoted by Brazil’s O Estado de S.Paulo.


McLaren questions Ferrari’s ‘tow’ tactics

McLaren has questioned Ferrari’s slipstreaming tactics during qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix. The Ferrari paid attempted to give each other aerodynamic ‘tows’ down their home circuit’s long straights on Saturday, but it went awry when Fernando Alonso’s car developed a problem in Q3. And Felipe Massa, who qualified a season-best third, said he got in his best lap once the towing was all over.

“I was always caring about the tow, to find a good tow, but then on the last run when I did my best lap I was completely outside of the tow, so it was better for me,” said the Brazilian.

Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren’s team boss who saw Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button lock out the front row with more conventional tactics, suggested his Italian rivals might have been “a bit too clever” in focusing so much on slipstreaming.

“In practice we were getting tows,” said Button, “but it was difficult to work out if it was actually quicker or not. It’s something that, personally, I feel it’s very difficult to plan something like that. It’s difficult to get it right.

“You can concentrate too much on it and get your braking point wrong or something.

“The way we did was much better, just finding traffic (to tow) on the circuit, so it worked reasonably well,” the Briton added.


Red Bull’s alternator problems return at Monza

Red Bull’s alternator problems are back.

Sebastian Vettel’s car broke down in the final practice session at Monza on Saturday morning. He radioed the pits that the problem was battery-related.

“It’s the same problem as Valencia,” Dr Helmut Marko told Germany’s Auto Bild Motorsport.

At Valencia, the Renault/Magneti Marelli alternator failed, costing Vettel victory, while a similar problem also struck Romain Grosjean’s similarly-powered Lotus.