Senna fine after Singapore back burns

Bruno Senna on Thursday declared himself fully fit, a day after media reports revealed the Brazilian suffered burns to his back in Singapore last weekend.

News of the burns followed his retirement on the last lap of the arduous city night race, shortly after the KERS unit in his Williams car failed.

But the British team on Thursday exonerated KERS, explaining that in fact a wiring loom seal came loose, allowing heat to escape from the rear of the car.

“The burns on my back weren’t serious and are pretty much healed,” Senna said on Twitter. “Today I’m at Williams for some simulator work.”

A Williams spokesperson added: “Bruno is here with us today and I can confirm he is 100 per cent fine”.


Lauda: Schumacher should have admitted Singapore mistake

Michael Schumacher should have immediately admitted his mistake after crashing Jean-Eric Vergne out of the recent Singapore grand prix according to Niki Lauda.

Despite apologising to Frenchman Vergne, Schumacher said immediately after the incident that he suspected it was caused by a technical problem with his Mercedes.

“What bothers me,” Lauda told Osterreich newspaper, “is that Michael didn’t say right from the beginning that he was to blame.”

The triple world champion said it is obvious Schumacher’s car was not the cause.

“If something had been wrong,” Lauda told Welt newspaper, “then the FIA would not have punished him. I would have preferred if he had admitted his mistake, because mistakes can happen to everybody.”

Lauda insisted, however, that it is too simplistic to surmise that, at 43, Schumacher is now too old for F1.

“That is all just stupid speculation by the same people who were saying the opposite after qualifying in Monaco,” he said. “The accident might as well have happened to a twenty year old. It’s a cheap shot to say it’s about his age.”

Lauda therefore concluded that it would be “wrong” to connect Schumacher’s latest mistake with the protracted deliberations over the great German’s future.


Senna suffered burns during Singapore race

Bruno Senna suffered burns to his back in last Sunday’s Singapore grand prix, the Williams team has revealed.

The Brazilian driver retired from the night race on the last lap, several laps after the KERS unit failed in his FW34 car.

In an official race review released on Wednesday, Williams revealed that Senna “had some burn marks on his back after the race” but could not confirm how it happened.

“We have a good idea,” said chief engineer Mark Gillan, “but are still investigating just to make sure that we have covered all potential causes.”


Ricciardo: Points help quest to keep F1 seat

Daniel Ricciardo is confident he will stay in Formula One if he keeps good results coming in 2012.

The rookie 23-year-old’s ninth place in Singapore was his third such foray into the points since debuting for Toro Rosso in his native Australia in March. The Red Bull-owned team ousted its race drivers Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari at the end of last season.

Asked if scoring points in Singapore helps his chances of staying on the grid for 2013, Ricciardo answered: “Yeah, it doesn’t hurt.

“Put it this way,” he told the Melbourne Age newspaper. “If I can keep a few more of these results coming, I think so. It’s definitely on the right path to secure a seat.”


Germany slams ‘clumsy Schumi’ as contract expires

Just as the Mercedes board is set to meet on Tuesday, Michael Schumacher is the unhappy subject of an intense round of bad press in his native Germany.

Some publications have nicknamed the seven time world champion ‘Schussel-(clumsy) Schumi’ after his latest mistake in Singapore; the crash with Jean-Eric Vergne that has cost him ten places on the Suzuka grid. And that’s not all. The German media is making a meal of the 43-year-old’s entire Singapore weekend, deriding him for incorrectly calling Frenchman Vergne “Jean-Marc” in an interview.

And Schumacher also reportedly told German journalists ahead of the race weekend that there are 20 points for finishing a grand prix second (there are actually 18), and he also got the timezone difference between Singapore and Europe fundamentally wrong.

“What on earth is going on with Michael Schumacher?” wondered the Hamburger Abendblatt, noting that the great German’s Singapore crash was his third under the floodlights in as many years.

Der Spiegel magazine pointed out that, with Schumacher’s contract expiring, the Mercedes board is scheduled to meet on Tuesday.

“The timing is certainly not beneficial,” admitted Swiss commentator Marc Surer.

Another Schumacher gaffe in Singapore was his admission to being in the toilet when the rest of the F1 world was paying silent tribute to Prof. Sid Watkins on the grid.

“The whole Formula One is there with great respect,” said commentator Christian Danner on RTL television. “Drivers, team managers, even the prime minister of Singapore.”

Danner said Schumacher’s absence was “embarrassing”.


No Changi move for F1’s Singapore night race

F1 is staying on Singapore’s streets, with a touted move to a bespoke circuit near the city-state’s Changhi airport now off the table, according to Speed Week.

Last weekend, just ahead of the fifth highly popular grand prix under Singapore’s dark skies, it was announced that F1 is staying put at least until 2017.

“Less well known,” reported the German-language Speed Week, “is that the plans for a new facility at Changhi airport are now off the table.”

The report, however, said a tweaked street layout could be on the cards for the future. By far the least popular feature of the existing track among the drivers is the notorious turn 10 chicane.

“I think we’ve discussed it many times, every year actually, to find a better solution,” said world champion and 2012 Singapore winner Sebastian Vettel. “In terms of safety, I think that’s one of the worst corners we have on the calendar and I think (it’s) something we need to work on.

“It probably requires to take a little bit of land from the cricket club for those couple of days or maybe remove the pavement for three or four days,” he said. “I don’t know, but if you consider the costs for this whole event, I think taking a pavement away and putting it back on shouldn’t be a big problem.”


Vettel not penalised for Safety Car restart

Stewards have chosen not to penalise Sebastian Vettel for his so-called ‘erratic’ driving under the first Safety Car period during the Singapore Grand Prix.

Vettel was summoned to the stewards after the race after the McLaren of Jenson Button nearly crashed into him as the German driver prepared for the race restart. F1 rules state that, “No car may be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person at any time whilst the safety car is deployed.”

Race stewards examined the telemetry from Vettel’s car and concluded that he had not done anything wrong.

A stewards statement reads, “An examination of the telemetry overlay for throttle, steering and brake traces of both cars did not indicate any erratic driving behaviour on the part of the race leader.

“It is noted that Article 40.13 provides that the first car may dictate the pace.”

Schumacher handed 10 place grid penalty at Suzuka

Michael Schumacher has been handed a 10 place grid-slot penalty for the upcoming race in Suzuka for his accident with Jean-Eric Vergne during the Singapore Grand Prix.

Schumacher smashed into the back of Vergne as he lost control of his car under breaking. Both drivers had to retire from the race following the incident. Stewards have decided that the German driver should be handed a 10-place grid penalty for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Schumacher has said that he believes there could have been a problem with his car.

“I just went straight on the brakes very hard, locked up everything and tried to brake as hard as possible,” he said. “But the accident wasn’t avoidable any more.”

Webber handed post-race drive-through penalty

Mark Webber has been handed a post-race penalty meaning the Australian driver loses the one point he won at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Webber was deemed to have gone off-track when overtaking the Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi. The stewards chose to award a drive-through penalty meaning 20 seconds was added to Webber’s full race time. This demoted him to 11th place, meaning Sauber’s Sergio Perez was elevated to the final points scoring position at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Alonso: We weren’t very competitive at Singapore

Fernando Alonso has urged Ferrari to give him a better car to keep defending his diminishing lead in the world championship.

The Spaniard saw his 37-point lead become 29 on Sunday, as Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel won under the Singapore lights. Alonso, despite going into the race weekend with high hopes, could manage just third place at the chequered flag, having qualified fifth.

“Honestly, before arriving in Singapore, I expected more,” he said. “I think we were not very competitive this weekend.”

The points damage, however, would have been higher had pole sitter and runaway leader Lewis Hamilton not broken down with a gearbox failure.

“Of the four or five (championship) contenders, we lost points with one, with the other three we increased our advantage,” said Alonso, looking on the bright side.

But with Red Bull and particularly McLaren fielding more competitive packages in Singapore, the 31-year-old admitted Ferrari needs to up its game.

“For sure, we need to improve the performance we saw here,” Alonso said before leaving Singapore. “We struggled all weekend.”

Team boss Stefano Domenicali agrees with Alonso that the Maranello based squad needs to improve the F2012.

“Having said that,” said the Italian, “we mustn’t overreact as it’s better to bring a few updates that work rather than bringing too many.”