Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Formula 1 gossip and rumours from international media

Sebastian Vettel

Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner thinks it's time rival McLaren gets a grip on 'simple mathematics' and stops complaining about front wing flexing of the RB7, amid renewed controversy about bending bodywork in Formula 1.
Although accusations that Red Bull Racing's front wing is flexing at high loads to help improve downforce have been around since the middle of last year, the FIA has never found anything wrong with the designs of Red Bull's cars either last year or this.
But that has not stopped fresh intrigue about what the nose of the Red Bull Racing car is doing at high speed - and McLaren's Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton both raised questions about what the reigning world champions are up to in Malaysia.
Button said in the official FIA press conference in Malaysia on Thursday: "I know a few people that I have spoken to say it flexes more than what they expect is correct, but I haven't really spent much time looking at it."
Horner, who has repeatedly insisted that his team's car has always complied with the regulations, appeared frustrated on Thursday however when it was mentioned that McLaren's drivers have again cast doubt on the team's front wing design.
Grabbing a notebook from a table of reporters to help display why it appears from photographs that the front wing of the RB7 appears closer to the ground than other cars, Horner said: "Right, shall I explain it in very basic words how it works...
"McLaren have developed a car that has a very low rear ride height, and therefore a low front wing for them doesn't work. We run quite a high rake angle in our car, so inevitably when the rear of the car is higher, the front of the car is going to be lower to the ground.
"It is obvious science, and therefore our wing complies fully with the regulations. It will look lower to the ground because the rake in our car is higher. It is simple mathematics."
Horner said that it was not up to McLaren to decide whether or not Red Bull Racing was running a legal design - as that was a matter only for the FIA.
"We take it is a compliment to be honest as you," he said about the return of talk about his team's car design.
"I think our front wing has been tested more than any other in the pit lane and it complies with the regulations, and that is what we have to do. We don't have to pass a McLaren test, we have to pass an FIA one - and it complies fully with that.
"They [McLaren] have developed a car that is effectively a different philosophy to ours and so the benefit that we see from the front wing is different to the one that they would see from the front wing. That is the basis behind it fundamentally."
World champion Sebastian Vettel was also unmoved by the fresh talk about the front wing design - as he thought the issue had been laid to rest in 2010.
"To be honest, I didn't read a lot about that [the wing] in the last one and a half weeks, but when I heard that, I first checked the date and whether we were talking about 2010 or 2011," he explained, before cheekily making a reference to suggestions last year that Red Bull Racing had even been running an illegal ride-height control mechanism.
"I was a bit confused because I thought we had left that one behind, so I'm just looking forward to the ride height lever for qualifying! What do you want me to say? I haven't got much to say, to be honest. We run the car as we run the car, we had a good weekend in Melbourne and we focus on what's going on."

Mark Webber

Mark Webber has said it will be a "no-brainer" to use the Kers power boost system in this weekend's Malaysian grand prix, provided his Red Bull team can manage to integrate it with the chassis.Somewhat surprisingly Red Bull did not use the device in the Formula One season opener in Australia, yet still outpaced its Kers-equipped rivals as Sebastian Vettel drove to a comfortable win. The team had difficulty with the heavy battery-operated system in practice at Melbourne, and elected to forego the intermittent speed boosts for the sake of better balance around the Albert Park street circuit.However, the long straights at Sepang put a greater emphasis upon straight-line speed and Webber hinted the team will use Kers if it works out in Friday's practice sessions."We will get some more confidence tomorrow," Webber said on Thursday. "It's a no-brainer. You need Kers. If it's working reliably and well, you should have it on the car."Webber said the adjustable rear wing will also be a much greater factor in Malaysia than it was in Australia. The layout of the Melbourne track meant any speed boost on the short straight from lowering the rear wing was negated by the line advantage leading cars had going into the first corner.Sepang's straights are among the longest on the F1 calendar, and the new adjustable rear wings should show their true benefit, with expectations of plenty of overtaking. "Here will be a completely different story," Webber said. "If it doesn't work here, I don't know where its going to work."He struggled compared to team-mate Vettel in Australia, labouring into a distant fifth place, after suffering difficulty with tyre degradation and being forced to pit earlier than hoped. Degradation will be even more of an issue in the tropical heat of Malaysia, with tyre provider Pirelli forecasting three or four-stop strategies in the race. "Its pretty brutal with track temperatures which will be tough on the tyres," Webber said. "This is the most extreme situation they [Pirelli] have faced as a company."Webber's disappointment with the outcome of his home race was a contrast to the joy of the Renault driver Vitaly Petrov, who scored his first career podium finish in Melbourne. The Russian, who has been thrust into a team leadership role after the serious off-season accident of top driver Robert Kubica, said a similarly strong performance was within Renault's grasp in Malaysia."Why not? When you just stay focused, stay concentrated and do our job like in Australia, the result will come. It's a really great track. It's very, very difficult to find the right line and also the right set-up. At the moment our team looks very strong … So we try to beat the guys in front," he said.

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