F1 News: Horner Says No Changes to Red Bull, Brawn for KERS Return, Webber Scrubs In for Open-Heart Surgery


What Happens When Everybody’s Ready for More Racing

12:02am EST — Red Bull says they won’t be changing their car after the FIA clarified the rules disallowing any changes in the suspension while the cars are under parc ferme conditions, Ross Brawn is for a return of the KERS system, and the drivers do some interesting stuff during their week off.

Horner Says the Rules Clarification Doesn’t Affect Red Bull:
According to team principal Christian Horner, as quoted in an Autosport article, the recent FIA clarification “has absolutely no impact on the specification of our car,” and that “The car that we will take to China will be exactly the same mechanically as it was in the first three races.”  While rumors continue to circulate that Red Bull has some sort of trick suspension, the team is adamant that they do not, and no changes have to be made to comply with the regulations.  In discussing whether the clarification was the right decision, Horner was quoted extensively,

Obviously the FIA has felt the necessity to clarify, and I think they’ve done exactly the right and the responsible thing, as it avoids a development rush in this area that inevitably wouldn’t be cheap. It’s a sensible ruling. It inevitably saves teams spending a huge amount of money on R&D to create such systems and obviously if anybody does run one, it would be in clear breach of the technical regulations. We’re more than happy with the FIA’s verdict, which we fully support. With these things, sometimes the wording and the spirit of the regulations leaves different interpretations and it’s great to see that on this occasion it has been clarified and that any form of active ride is therefore illegal.

Brawn (and others) Look to Bring Back KERS:
Ross Brawn and other team principals shared their opinions in an ITV.com article on the return of KERS, which was implemented last season to increaes overtaking, but instead ended up being a clever way to keep one’s opponent behind.  Brawn was particularly vocal with a suggestion for a push to pass button, “We think that the gains that were available last year in KERS were not probably significant enough and that we should look at KERS for the future with that in mind…If we had a push-to-pass button that you could only use a certain amount of time then we could have something really quite exciting. So I think KERS has a future, I think we need to be careful not to rush back to what we had last year, which we all agreed was perhaps not a huge success.”  Cost issues, in particular, are an issue, as Martin Whitmarsh noted, “I wouldn’t say it’s divisive [the KERS question]; it’s an issue where a lot of the teams can not afford KERS next year – and probably the majority can’t,” he said. That’s why we have got to have an understanding, we have got to find something that is affordable and worthwhile for the sport.”  Meanwhile, Williams team principal Sam Michael suggested that “Our opinion at the moment, this is Williams’s opinion, is that we should leave the regs the same until 2013 when the new engine [formula is introduced] and then increase the power, increase the energy, do whatever we need to do,” in order to keep the R&D costs and efforts down.  It looks as though the debate over KERS will continue to rage for the next few years, at this rate.

Drivers Relax, Webber Goes in for Heart Surgery:
While many F1 fans (and if the China previews released by the teams are any indication, the teams too) are anxious for this off-weekend to be over and racing to begin again in Shanghai in a week, the drivers have been putting their free time to good use.  Karun Chandhok seems to be making the tour of every TV and radio station in India.  Heikki Kovalainen is playing golf and watching golf and soliciting movie recommendations online, though unhappy with the “Travolta movie people” suggestion of From Paris with Love (really? that’s shocking).  Timo Glock is bicycling and excited about Airbus A380 sightings.  Jenson Button is “just chilling” while girlfriend Jessica Michibata has a book signing in Tokyo, after spending some time on the simulator (as did Jaime Alguersuari at Milton Keynes).  There have also been many comments about working out and the programs each driver has been sticking to to keep fit.
Meanwhile, Mark Webber has scrubbed in for open heart surgery, complete with a picture pre-surgery.  Why? “Ok ok, the reason I said yes to the offer,was because I was interested in watching other professionals perform under pressure!!”  He’s home in Australia, and I’ve got to wonder if the person undergoing the surgery knew Webber was sitting in.  Let’s reserve judgment on whether it was fitting for him to be there (and please refrain from a discussion of health care systems), but just note that there’s a way to spend some off time and wonder how that offer comes up in conversation.  Anyway, those are the updates from the F1 drivers on how to fill up time between races.

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