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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pre-Singapore Snippets: F1 shortcuts and machinations

Alternator Failure Revisited - whose fault is it?

Germany's Auto Bild Motorsport broke the news that Red Bull are pushing Renault to change alternator suppliers from Magneti Marelli to an alternative (such as McLaren apparently).  This follows three failures on  Vettel's Red Bull's over the course of the season so far and a recent failure on the Renault test car last week.

Dietrich Mateschitz said in the interview: "I want Renault to separate from its supplier Magneti Marelli and use someone else." If this part hadn't failed Auto Bild reckons that Vettel would have another 33 points in the bag at this stage, bringing him within touching distance of Fernando Alonso and Red Bull are worried that one more failure would cost them the Championship this year.

Remi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 Head of Track Operations, said that this is now "on the agenda" even though they are unsure of the reason behind the failures.

One theory which is going around is that Adrian Newey has packaged the engine so tightly into the chassis cover that the cooling opotions cannot operate effectively.  If that were the case then it might explain why Lotus, Williams, and Caterham have not suffered the same issue.  It is also worth noting that Ferrari who also use Magneti Marelli have not suffered a failure to date.

The detailed findings of the test failure last week have not yet been released.

Do you change a parts supplier if one of your customers is experiencing a problem with their packaging solution?

Romain Grosjean - here to help out!

In his Singapore Preview Romain Grosjean has said:

I wouldn’t say that for the rest of the season I’m here just to play a supporting role; if I have the opportunity to reach the podium, or even a win, then I will take it. Of course, I want the team to achieve the best results it can and if you look at the points difference between me and Kimi it would be foolish to think only of my own results. Let’s hope we can have a fantastic end to the season for me, Kimi and the team.
Does this mean we'll see him pulling over at Singapore should he find himself in front of his team-mate who currently sits in 3rd place in the Driver's Championship?

Lotus are bringing a few upgrades to this race so it will be interesting to see if they improve in relation to their rivals or simply maintain the status quo.

Grosjean is, of course, coming off his one race ban for causing an avoidable accident at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Heikki on Ferrari radar

I Can't remember where I saw this but it was worth bringing up because lots of the web activity has centred on suggestions that Heikki might end up at McLaren should Lewis depart.

Finnish reports say Heikki Kovalainen's management has been summoned to Maranello.

Heikki, who is only 30 (even though he seems to have been around forever) is back on the market after three years with Lotus/Caterham. It's reported that the Finnish broadcaster MTV3 said representatives of Kovalainen's management team at IMG Worldwide will travel to Maranello next week.

I'd be delighted for Heikki if it weren't for the fact that, regardless of what they say, he'd be expected to play a supporting driver's role.

Should anyone take on the second seat at Ferrari when it is so plainly makes you the second driver and kills your personal drive to win?

I think I'll name the second Ferrari "the passion-killer"; does anyone disagree? Luca? Stefano? (Bueller? Anyone? Anyone?).

Chips are down at Lewis's Management Co.

Can you believe that it is being reported that Michael Schumacher could be close to signing a new one-year contract extension for 2013?

(Please bear with me - I couldn't resist the poker analogy but by God even I think it went too far - but I was committed to using it - Ed)

Hamilton's management have played all their cards using the leaked Mercedes offer to raise the stakes.  

Now it may be that Mercedes are running out of patience with Lewis, or are unwilling to be used where they thought a deal was imminent.

Michael is probably relatively ambivalent at this stage as to whether he stays or goes and would be happy to help out Mercedes and Ross Brawn if they were in a bind.

Lewis has now said that finalising his future can wait, clearly to try to eke out the last few chips from the McLaren pot, but McLaren are looking to see what cards Lewis is holding by leaking a possible interest in Perez.

If Mercedes fold Lewis will be left with a pair of twos and may well lose his shirt.

(Apologies and thank you to those who persevered. I wish I had some reward for you...but no - Ed)