Red Bull opted not to use new alternator at US GP

It has emerged that Red Bull chose not to use a new spec alternator for the US Grand Prix. Red Bull have had issues with Renault’s Magneti Marelli untis culminating in Mark Webber having to retire from last weekend’s race.

At the Circuit of the Americas, designer Adrian Newey referred to the alternator as a “ticking time bomb”.

“It has been on the Renault engine since about 2005 and it has been failing since 2005 as well,” he said.

But as far as Renault is concerned, the solution for the crucial season finale in Brazil this weekend was simple.

“We go for the new spec,” said the French marque’s F1 track boss Remi Taffin. “It has passed all the tests.”

Indeed, it had already passed those tests prior to Austin, when other Renault-powered teams on the grid began to use the new, improved alternator. But why didn’t Red Bull choose to fit the new units in Austin?

“Because they are human beings and at some point as humans they have some feelings,” Taffin is quoted by Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald. “Sometimes you go into a shop and there are two different things and your head says you should buy this one but your heart says you should buy the other one,” he explained.

Source:GMM

Red Bull left Austin without buying Vettel’s boots

Reigning world champions Red Bull left Austin without paying a bill.

Germany’s Bild newspaper reports that, prior to the US grand prix, the team pre-ordered a pair of customised, Red Bull-branded cowboy boots for Sebastian Vettel. But Noel Escobar, the Austin-based master boot maker, told the newspaper: “We worked through the night but no one came to pick them up.

“Red Bull owes me $2,150.”

Red Bull told Bild it had to cancel the order at short notice, but is happy to pay the bill.

Source:GMM

Massa’s old diffuser better than Alonso’s new in Austin

As was rumoured before F1 arrived in Austin last week, the latest developments for Fernando Alonso’s title-contending Ferrari did not work.

New pieces, including a new diffuser, were tried in a straight line at the Idiada facility in Spain, prior to the US grand prix. It was rumoured immediately afterwards that the real-world data did not match up with what was produced in the wind tunnel. Still, the new diffuser was fitted to Spaniard Alonso’s F2012 in Austin, before he was roundly out-performed by teammate Felipe Massa all weekend.

“Yes, indeed, Felipe Massa had the old diffuser and it worked better,” former Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari told the Spanish sports daily AS.

And Brazilian Massa confirmed to Marca newspaper: “Everything was the same except the diffuser. I had it available, but I decided I’d be better with the old one. That was the only difference.”

Alonso said “It’s not always the case that the latest part is the best choice”.

Source:GMM

Even Schumi’s parade-lap road car didn’t work

Michael Schumacher’s US grand prix race-day got off to a bad start long before his Mercedes was fired up.

In fact, the wheels weren’t turning at all when his 23 colleagues began the pre-race drivers’ parade in the back seats of vintage American road cars.

SID news agency said the fact the car bearing the 43-year-old’s famous name broke down before the lap even began was “emblematic of his bad luck this season”.

Ahead of his penultimate race in F1, seven time world champion Schumacher instead had to complete the lap sitting alongside Kimi Raikkonen.

“I can’t find any words other than ironic ones for the race today,” the famous German said after finishing the race a woeful sixteenth.

Paddock figures back Ferrari’s gearbox penalty ‘trick’

Bob Fernley, the day-to-day team boss at Force India, has backed Ferrari’s decision to deliberately penalise Felipe Massa in Austin.

The Italian team was roundly criticised for tampering with Brazilian Massa’s long-life gearbox for no other reason than to incur a five-place penalty that switched title-fighting teammate Fernando Alonso to the ‘clean’ side of the grid.

Ferrari’s immediate competitors, Red Bull and McLaren, said they wouldn’t have made a similar decision. But Fernley told PA Sport it is nonsense to write of Ferrari’s tactic as unsporting.

“At the end of the day the regulations are what they are, Ferrari took them to the limit, and that’s what we do in Formula One,” he said. “I would absolutely have done the same. We’re not here to try to make friends, we’re here to win.”

Many commentators in the media also slammed Ferrari’s tactic, but former driver Marc Surer said the Maranello team did the right thing.

“If you look at the (race) start, it was absolutely right,” he told German television Sky.

The Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport added: “With a world title at stake, everyone would have done Ferrari’s trick.”

Source:GMM

Karthikeyan says FIA on his side after Vettel criticism

Narain Karthikeyan has hit back at Sebastian Vettel, following the latest bout of criticism from the reigning world champion.

Vettel’s Red Bull boss, Christian Horner, pointed the finger at HRT’s Karthikeyan after Vettel lost the lead of the US grand prix on Sunday to Lewis Hamilton.

“The race unfortunately hinged on one backmarker that didn’t use his mirrors,” he said.

Vettel screamed angrily into his radio after losing the place to Hamilton, and some immediately thought the German was being critical of the McLaren driver.

“It was not targeted at Lewis,” Vettel clarified afterwards, “it was more targeted at the backmarker which gave a nice big envelope with an invitation to Lewis.”

Red Bull and Vettel claim Karthikeyan failed to get out of the way to be lapped fast enough, which gave the chasing Hamilton the momentum to launch his successful pass.

Vettel and Indian Karthikeyan already have an unhappy history, after the German called him a “cucumber” following another track run-in earlier this year. Now, after Vettel’s latest criticism, Karthikeyan said: “I can’t hear the bulls**t anymore.

“At the drivers’ briefing Charlie Whiting told us very clearly that it is not possible to let the leaders past in the very fast first sector,” the HRT driver is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

“Charlie told us that we should let the faster cars go from turn 8, the first slower corner, which is exactly what I did. Vettel was at the briefing. Did he not hear? He complains too often and too hard.”

Indeed, one of Vettel’s closest friends in the paddock is Timo Glock, but on this occasion he is siding with fellow backmarker Karthikeyan.

“We drive our own race in these fast corners, because there are so many pieces of rubber off the racing line. The rule is that you have to let them pass by the third blue flag, not before.”

F1 legend Niki Lauda also saw nothing extraordinary about the Vettel/Karthikeyan incident.

“Lapping cars is always better for the pursuer than for the leader,” he said.

Soucrce:GMM

Ferrari checked with FIA before changing Austin grid

Nov.19 (GMM) Stefano Domenicali had his head held high when he answered a clear “yes” to a post-race question from the media on Sunday.

Just before the race, Ferrari’s team boss had approved mechanics breaking a seal on Felipe Massa’s gearbox not to fix the unit, but simply to create a penalty that would benefit Fernando Alonso.

Asked if that is within the so-called ‘spirit’ of the rules, Domenicali insisted: “Yes, otherwise I would not have done it.

“It is something that is within our possibility to do it,” said the Italian, revealing that the famous Maranello based team even checked with the FIA beforehand.

As ever in F1, the purists were split over the decency of the Massa sabotage, but most had to agree that legendary team founder Enzo Ferrari would have approved.

But a rival team boss is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport: “That is not what the gearbox rule is for.”

McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh was happy to put his name to his critique.

“Lest we forget, when Fernando was with us it was not doing those things that meant that Fernando left us,” he said.

“You all have to go racing the way you see fit. But I think if I had qualified on the fast side of the grid and then been moved to the slow side I would have been very pissed off.”

Britain’s Daily Mail said the Massa drop is “at odds with the wider sporting ethos”, while the Times said F1 should be about racing on track “as fairly as possible”.

Domenicali pointed out that Ferrari was at least honest.

“We could have easily simulated something but we wanted to be completely transparent. If another team boss said we did not make the right decision, he’s lying.”

Indeed, Domenicali said Ferrari made the decision so late in the day because there were rumours Red Bull was ready to respond by breaking into Mark Webber’s gearbox.

“That’s part of the strategic decisions. It’s part of the game,” he insisted.

Massa, who has signed on for another year in 2013, took the decision on the chin but admitted he was not “jumping for joy”. “It’s difficult to find a driver like me,” smiled the 31-year-old, whose countryman, friend and former Ferrari number 2 Rubens Barrichello was in the paddock on Sunday.

Soucrce:GMM

Massa’s deliberate penalty gives Alonso title boost

Ferrari on Sunday sparked a pre-race controversy by deliberately inflicting a penalty on Felipe Massa.

A long-life gearbox rule means that breaking an official FIA ‘seal’ – usually necessary only in the event of a technical problem – incurs a five-place grid penalty.

Brazilian Massa qualified ahead of Fernando Alonso on Saturday, so the deliberate ‘seal’ breaking moved the Spaniard moved one place up the grid, from eighth to seventh. With the US grand prix being the penultimate grand prix of the year, Ferrari’s tactical move – a decision made “for strategy considerations” according to the famous Italian team – may prove crucial.

Alonso needs to finish fourth or higher in order to prevent Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel from winning the drivers’ title on Sunday, if the German wins the race.

The main consideration, however, was about the “dirty side” of the grid; a higher factor in Austin given the newness and low-grip nature of the Circuit of the Americas asphalt.

“Starting from the dirty side of the track would have been penalising,” a statement posted on Ferrari’s official website explained. “There was a significant risk of finding ourselves too far behind the leaders at the end of the first lap. It was a decision agreed by both drivers,” claimed the team.

“We’ve always maintained that the interests of the team come before that of the individual drivers and this has always been our very transparent policy.”

Although completely within the rules, Ferrari’s move is highly controversial. British broadcaster Sky’s pitlane reporter Natalie Pinkham wondered: “It’s legal, but is it fair?”

“Not much to feel about it. It’s their business,” Red Bull’s Vettel said on the grid.

Ferrari’s strategy worked well for Alonso a few minutes later, when the Spaniard moved up from his new seventh on the grid to fourth on the first lap, while the ‘dirty’ side of the grid struggled.

“Engineers were right,” said Sky commentator Martin Brundle, “it was all about one grid slot.”

Soucrce:GMM

No punishment for Pic-Perez clash

No action has been taken over the clash between Sergio Perez and Charles Pic during the final practice session for the US Grand Prix.

Pic was heading into Turn 7 when Perez tried to pass him down the inside. The two came together and Pic’s car was sent into a spin and was dealt minor floor damage.

Stewards have ruled that it was just a racing incident and no punishment will be given to either driver.

“Having heard from both drivers, the stewards are satisfied this was a racing incident,” the stewards said.

Webber escapes with reprimand over missed weight check

Red Bull driver Mark Webber has escaped with a reprimand after he missed a weight check during US Grand Prix qualifying.

The Australian driver was under investigation by race stewards after he missed a weight call towards the end of the first qualifying session.

Race stewards have given Webber a reprimand but no further action will be taken. This means that the Australian driver will start the race in third place.

A statement from the stewards reads, “The driver failed to proceed directly to the FIA garage for weighing when signalled to do so. However upon realising the error, the team brought the car back to the FIA garage immediately.”