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BMW NEW BOSS NOT INTERESTED IN F1 RETURN

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BMW’s new CEO has issued a clear no-go on the issue of a comeback to Formula 1 in the future.
First with Williams, and then as team owner in the BMW-Sauber era, the German carmaker raced throughout almost all of last decade.
After pulling out at the end of 2009, BMW returned to the German touring car championship in 2012, winning the title that season and again in 2014.
“Motor sport is part of the core brand of BMW, and the DTM is important for us,” said Harald Kruger, who has been the carmaker’s CEO only since May.
Undoubtedly, however, BMW’s international profile has dipped since the F1 withdrawal, especially as key rival Mercedes dominates the sport in the new hybrid era.
Kruger, however, told Auto Motor und Sport: “Formula 1 is not an option for us. It simply does not fit with our long-term strategy.
“I would not categorically rule out Le Mans,” he said, adding that BMW is also “looking closely” at the all-electric open wheeler series Formula E.
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Another season ahead, will it be better than the last? I'm certainly hoping there will be less politics involved but that's just wishful thinking! Perhaps I will post less on such issues moving forwa

Bernie's really damaging the sport. He's so far behind the times it's impossible to listen to anything he has to say. Just looking at the way other sports leagues have grown over the past 20 years com

I disagree Massa only had one line to of the pits Hulkenburg saw him and could have avoided the contact and still passed Massa as he was on cold tyres. Good race though

RAIKKONEN ADDS SINGHA BEER TO PERSONAL BOOZE PORTFOLIO

Kimi Raikkonen has aligned with yet another alcoholic drink, this time a popular beer from Thailaind.

Early this month, we reported that the Ferrari driver is the new face of the tinned gin and dry ‘Iceman Long Drink’.
And now in Bangkok, the ‘Iceman’ himself was present as Singha Corporation and its beer brand was unveiled as his new personal sponsor, the Finnish newspaper Iltalehti reported.
MIKA: Watching that video, I think I have a better chance of understanding Thai than Kimi's English lol3.gif
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AUSTRIAN BROADCASTER MAY STOP F1 COVERAGE

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Austria’s Formula 1 television broadcaster looking to cancel live coverage of grand prix races.
The publication TV Media claims that the contract held by ORF, whose coverage includes the former F1 driver and GPDA chairman Alex Wurz as pundit, expires at the end of 2016.
Reportedly, the Austrian public broadcaster ORF may no longer be prepared to pay the annual fee of EUR 15 million.
APA, the Austrian news agency, said ORF is yet to take a final decision.
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SAUBER TO DEBUT SHORT NOSE IN SINGAPORE

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The centrepiece of Sauber’s new package for Singapore is a short nose, the respected Swiss correspondent Roger Benoit claims.
The struggling Swiss team has rarely updated its 2015 car this year, but a major aerodynamic package will be raced by Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson in Singapore this weekend.
Benoit, writing in the Blick newspaper, said the most obvious change will be the disappearance of the long “duckbill” nose, replaced by a shorter one.
“Our goal is to get the maximum out of this innovation,” said Swede Ericsson.
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America's Rossi to replace Merhi at Manor Marussia

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Alexander Rossi will replace Manor Marussia driver Roberto Merhi in five of the remaining seven races of the 2015 season, the team confirmed on Wednesday.
The American driver has previously been linked with Manor after holding a reserve role in the latter half of the 2014 season, when the team was known only as Marussia, which saw him take part in Friday's practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix.
However he will make the step up to a race seat for the team, beginning with this weekend's Singapore GP, marking his debut as the first American since Scott Speed in 2007 to race in F1.
He will race alongside Will Stevens at the Singapore, Japan, United States, Mexican and Brazilian rounds of the championship, whilst Merhi will take over for the Russian and Abu Dhabi races.
"I'm very thankful to race for the Manor Marussia F1 Team and for their continued belief in me," he said. "I've been prepared for this opportunity for quite a while now. Many will know from 2014 that the team and I already have a strong relationship and there’s a bit of unfinished business for me here.
"This is a small F1 team that has been through so much. They exemplify passion and true strength of character, and their comeback this season is extraordinary. I’m honored to be part of this legacy and their continued growth and success.
"I want to thank the management at Manor Marussia F1 Team and my team in the GP2 Series, Racing Engineering, for supporting both my F1 duties and the completion of an already strong GP2 campaign. Since Monza, my return to F1 came together rather quickly and seamlessly. The collective support of both Manor and Racing Engineering was instrumental in making this opportunity possible.
"Singapore is a circuit I really enjoy and the timing of my debut could not be more perfect. There's a lot of work ahead and I’m looking forward to a busy end to the 2015 season."
Team principal John Booth added: "We are delighted to sign Alexander as Race Driver. He is widely-regarded as a driver who is on the cusp of an exciting F1 career and his current form in the GP2 Series has done much to reinforce his clear potential. With that in mind, we are pleased to support his current GP2 commitments while he continues to battle for the championship win, therefore he will race in five of the seven remaining Grands Prix this season, with Roberto contesting Russia and Abu Dhabi for us.
"While Roberto is obviously disappointed, he understands that this decision is in the long-term interests of the team and we thank him for his professionalism. No decision has been made regarding our 2016 driver line-up and we will continue to evaluate our options during the remainder of the season."
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Rosberg to use fourth and final engine in Singapore

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Nico Rosberg will use his fourth power unit of the season at this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix, putting him in a dangerous position which could see him take a grid penalty later in the year.
Rosberg and team-mate Lewis Hamilton were both fitted with upgraded units for the race in Monza, however the team found a leak in the coolant system on the German's car ahead of qualifying, which forced Rosberg to switch back to an older-spec engine.
That engine then failed during the closing laps of the race, costing Rosberg a podium finish.
Mercedes are unsure if the coolant leak has caused irreparable damage to his third unit, or whether it can be salvaged and used at future races - the team are due to fire it up on Friday to conduct some tests.
However Robserg won't use the engine for the Singapore GP for fear it may have been compromised and run into reliability troubles, potentially costing him yet more points as he falls further back from Hamilton.
With seven races remaining, Rosberg will need two engines to see out the year and therefore should the unit be deemed unusable, he will have to take a fifth unit which would incur a grid penalty.
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How latest tech war outstrips F1's rocket fuel era

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The latest upgraded engine from Mercedes has pointed towards new development avenues in Formula 1's fuel battleground.
There was a time when talk of a petrol war in Formula 1 was limited solely to that great period in the 1980's when 'rocket fuel' was the name of the game.
The quest to get the previous generation of turbo engines to 1000bhp and above resulted in chemistry boffins pumping additives likes toluene in to the fuel.
With garages smelling like the paint thinning products these solvents were also used in, F1's rocket fuel era brought decent gains on track – and many a tear to the eyes of mechanics off it.
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Rocket fuel ban
Such brews have long been outlawed, but that has not stopped F1's fuel suppliers from digging deep in to the detail of the chemical composition of their products to help the current manufacturers along.
And, as Mercedes showed at the Italian Grand Prix with a new 'development' engine that was trialled for the first time, fuel is no longer something that is just pumped into it. It's very much its life and blood now.
For the change of Mercedes specification for Monza was led by a desire to explore a new fuel development direction for 2016 – something the design of new engine components worked exclusively with.
Put simply, the new fuel in the old engines would not have delivered the step, and neither would the new engines running the old fuel. But together, they did.
As Chan Ming Yau, Petronas' fuel technology manager, said: "There was a time when engine development triggered a change of fuel. This time around, I would say it is now done together.
"The new spec introduction at Monza speaks for that; new spec engine and new fuel. It now goes hand-in-hand."
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Changed relationship
F1's new turbo regulations, and specifically the 100kg petrol limit per race, has put a premium on engine and fuel supplier working much closer together.
Maximising the bang for your buck (combustion efficiency) is the key to success; and it was no surprise to find out last year that the foundations for Mercedes' recent domination was laid through it developing its engine hand-in-hand with fuel supplier Petronas.
For the Malaysian company, the challenges of delivering in F1 are far greater now than they would have been mixing those chemicals together in the rocket fuel era.
Eric Holthusen, COO of Petronas International, told Motorsport.com: "It is definitely the case.
"We are much more restricted because you cannot use anything that is nasty any more – so what you have today is very close to the products on the road.
"You have to use the same components and put them together in a clever way, which gives more power, better acceleration and better economy on the engines.
"The Mercedes technical team and our technical team work hand-in-hand. It is not that the engine is developed and the F1 team goes; 'here is the F1 engine, give us the fuel'.
"Today, there is a co-operation right from the start and the team work together to push themselves to a point that one engine can only run on the fuel that is designed for.
"So if you would give our fuel today that is in the Silver Arrows to any of the other teams not running Mercedes engines, they would not get this performance benefit.
"It is so core engineered, the hardware and the fuel. It is hard to separate."
For Mercedes, producing the benchmark F1 engine has come as the result of listening to the requirements of the fuel supplier too.
Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff said: "You have the chassis side and the power unit side, and because the power unit is so complex all components have to work with each other.
"You cannot from Petronas' perspective have a super fuel which doesn't work in that particular engine, or at that particular efficiency or power deployment. It's about three performance topics: fuel (oils and lubes too), engine development and chassis development."
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More than fuel
Maximising power delivery and combustion performance of fuel is not the limit of Petronas' involvement.
Holthusen believes that there is great scope for performance improvements to come now with better gearbox lubricant, and in ERS cooling fluid that could have knock-on improvements for aerodynamics.
"The fuel seems to take always centre stage, but if you look at the car today: there are five fluids that come from Petronas: the fuel, the engine lubricant, the gearbox lubricant, the cooling fluid for ERS and the hydraulic system.
"A lot of this performance potential we have neglected because we have focused on the engine lubricant and fuel first. But we have recently had technical meetings with the team – looking at the gearbox and how much more efficiency can we get out of the gearbox lubricant.
"Also, how can we help aerodynamics of the car by having a better ERS cooling? Because if you have better heat transfer, the chassis team can reduce the surface of the heat exchanges which improves the aerodynamics – which then makes the car faster.
"Things in the beginning that you would not think of, like gearbox oil or cooling of ERS making the car faster, they can.
"While the new engines are getting more mature, by no means is the hardware or fluids mature. So there is always more that we can squeeze out."
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Gains still coming
What Mercedes showed in Monza, with a performance step that rival Christian Horner called 'frightening', was that rapid progress is still possible with these regulations.
Mercedes has not commented on speculation that the new specification has delivered a 40bhp boost, but Holthusen admits that efforts are still flat out to find decent gains.
"It gets harder. It definitely gets harder," he said. "The low hanging fruit has been picked, that is for sure.
"We are getting pushed by the team, and the team gets insights and ideas from what we have. We will not see the quantum leaps we saw in the beginning, but we have continuous improvement and you have to watch what the competition does.
"Mercedes watches the other teams, we watch the other fuels and lubricants and try to find out what they are working on, because components we probably had through clever research last year become available to them as well. It doesn't go unnoticed.
"You have to keep working on new things."
That never-ending quest for technical improvement is what F1's DNA has long been about: and it's what ties the rocket fuel era to today's petro-chemical science even though they are worlds apart.
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Jenson Button reveals motivation for staying in F1

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Jenson Button says a selfish streak in his personality is part of the reason he remains motivated to stay in Formula One amid McLaren's recent struggles.

Button is in his 16th season in Formula One this year but looks set for his lowest points tally since 2008 as McLaren's new engine supplier Honda struggles to get up to speed. McLaren has yet to confirm Button as one of its driver for 2016 amid speculation either Kevin Magnussen, the team's reserve, or Stoffel Vandoorne, its test driver and GP2 championship leader, could replace him.
Last year Button was linked to a drive in the World Endurance Championship under similar circumstances, but he does not believe now is the right time for him to leave F1.
"My whole life has been about me standing on top of the podium," Button told ESPN. "When I was in karting it was about looking at the other kids and knowing my trophy was bigger than theirs, it's that sort of thing that I've done for 27 years of my life.
"It's just a change [to leave F1], and that change will happen, but you've got to know when the time is right."
Button said a selfish streak means F1 still appeals over a drive in WEC.
"Formula One is a team sport just like any other motorsport, but when you're in the car you don't think about that. I think racing drivers in this form of motorsport are very selfish and you have to be - that's a reason why I can't have kids right now, because I am very selfish. I've learnt to be selfish in terms of what I do and the hours I put into training and stay away from my wife and family.
"You've got to be selfish if you want to try and be the best you can, so Formula One is perfect for me. Because of the way I am if I go to another form of motorsport that is more of a team effort it would take a little while to bed myself in. I love working as a team as well, when I'm out of the car it's all about team effort, but when you jump in the car you have to be selfish and it's about getting the best out of everything for yourself first of all."
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F1 Singapore Grand Prix: Boullier urges F1 ‘dictatorship’


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McLaren-Honda racing director Eric Boullier has echoed the views of Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner by urging greater 'dictatorship' from those in power in an effort to forge a future for Formula 1.


Formula 1's 'Strategy Group' has come into criticism for its failure to push through a number of technical and sporting regulation changes as the vested interests of various parties repeatedly stand in the way of majority agreements.


In the wake of increasing public pressure to put the interests of the sport first, a concerted effort by teams, the FIA and FOM have subsequently established a framework for F1's future with a planned wholesale change in regulations for 2017.


Even so, the effectiveness of the Strategy Group continues to be debated by teams, with Horner proving one of its more outspoken critics and encouraging the FIA and FOM to establish greater control and 'challenging' teams to accept its recommendations or leave the sport.


It is a view that McLaren's Boullier says he shares, suggesting the 'owner of the show' must dictate the direction of the sport, not the teams.


“The story is that the owner of the show must dictate what they want, nothing else,” he told Crash.net. “That is what it is for the show. You like it, you join, you enjoy. If you don't like it, you go, nothing else.


“We are competitors and the more democratic you are in this paddock, the less contentions you will find. It will depend who leads it though.”


However, Boullier doesn't believe employing an 'independent advisor' – like Ross Brawn, as suggested by Horner – is ultimately the way forward.


“I have a lot of respect for Ross Brawn, he is a great technician and knows how to make cars fast, he has won many championships but he is a competitor. He may have nice technical ideas to make the show better, that is true, but if he won so many championships in his car, it was because he was better than the others and he did it to serve his own purpose.”

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BUTTON: IF I AM IN F1 IN 2016, I WANT TO BE WITH MCLAREN

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Jenson Button says his Formula One future is close to being decided and if he does race on next season it will only be with his beloved McLaren.
The 35-year-old, the second oldest driver currently in the sport, is weighing up whether he will go around again next year or end a 16-year career in which he won the 2009 world championship.
“We’re not there yet,” he told Reuters in an interview ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix. “It’s always a difficult situation when you’ve had such a long career in Formula One, but also such a long career with a certain team, with McLaren.”
“Whichever way it goes it’s not an easy decision but hopefully over the next few weeks we can let you know.”
Button’s future has been the source of some speculation after a frustrating season in an uncompetitive Honda-engined car, in which he has finished just seven of the first 12 races, with a best position of eighth.
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But Button, who joined McLaren in 2010 and a year after he won the world title with Brawn, said any indecision was not related to the team’s performance this season.
“I can’t give you too many details but away from who’s decision it is, obviously you have to look at where you are in your life,” he said.
“I’ve been racing in Formula 1 for a long time and I’ve still got a massive love for motor racing and Formula One.
“If I am racing in Formula One next year and in the future I want to be with McLaren. It’s a team I’ve spent so many years with, gone through some great times and bad times as well,” added the Briton.
“I definitely want to be here but there’s just things we need to talk over and make sure we’re all on the same page.”
Some media speculation earlier in the season had linked Button to a return to Williams, where he made his debut in 2000, but that possibility ended when the former world champions announced an unchanged lineup for 2016.
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With other top teams also opting for continuity, Button’s future has moved into focus with McLaren also committed to bringing on Danish reserve Kevin Magnussen and Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne.
Regardless of whether he drives next year or not, Button, who married last year, said he would want to stay involved in the sport, possibly working with television, when the time did come.
“I love the sport and there are so many areas of the sport where I think the public still don’t see or don’t quite understand what’s going on because we have made it very complex and quite complicated,” he said.
“So I definitely feel I could help out in that situation and I think it would be quite fun as well. When you listen to journos, they’re always getting the wrong end of the stick so it’d be nice to really show people the way Formula One is from a driver’s point of view.”
“But there are so many things I want to do in the future I can’t just narrow it down to commentating on Formula One.”
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Button’s immediate concern was the Singapore Grand Prix and he said he was hopeful of a good finish because of the tight street circuit.
The only two races where Button has scored points this year, Monaco and Hungary, were both slow circuits, where outright speed is less important.
“It’s still not great, (just) scoring points, that’s not our aim but at least you can be amongst the pack and you can fight whereas the last couple of races we just drive round the back,” he said.
“So, yes it’s a lot more interesting. I think low speed corners are our strength, high speed corners we’re still not bad, but low speed corners is our strength.
“So it should be a good circuit for us here and I can’t wait to drive the car and see where it stands.”
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CANADIAN BILLIONAIRE STROLL TARGETS STAKE IN WILLIAMS

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Corriere della Sera has reported that Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll may be on the verge of buying into the Williams team.
He would take his son Lance with him to Grove, even though the 16-year-old is currently a part of Ferrari’s driver development academy which is due to be terminated at the end of this season.
Canadian Business magazine reported Stroll was worth $472 million in 2004, earning him a spot on the list of the top 100 richest Canadians.
Stroll, 49, followed in his father’s footsteps of making his fortune in the clothing industry. Leo Stroll, started with the Pierre Cardin line for women and children, then brought Ralph Lauren’s women’s and children’s clothing to Canada.
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In the 1990s, Stroll and his Hong Kong business partner, Silas Chou, who together built Sportswear Holdings Ltd., put their money behind then little-known clothing designer Tommy Hilfiger and turned the brand into a $1.8-billion success.
Meanwhile the Maranello team’s junior academy is headed by Luca Baldisserri, and the Corriere della Sera report claims that he too might move to Williams to mentor Stroll.
But Baldisserri, a prominent Ferrari figure of the Schumacher era, told the Ferrari insider Leo Turrini: “Write that I am not going to Williams.
“It’s not that I wasn’t asked, but I don’t want to. I’m 53 and I finished with working at the grands prix almost seven seasons ago,” he insisted.
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SAINZ SAYS VERSTAPPEN NOT GETTING PREFERRED TREATMENT

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Toro Rosso rookie Carlos Sainz says he is sure the team does not favour his high-profile teammate Max Verstappen.
He told AS newspaper in Singapore that he is not worried he might be dropped by the energy drink-owned team after an impressive first season in F1.
Asked if he has been confirmed for 2016, Sainz answered: “No, not 100 per cent, but it is not a concern.”
He has been linked with a potential future at Ferrari, but the 21-year-old said his dream of winning the title with Red Bull remains intact.
“Why with Red Bull? Because they gave me everything, the opportunity to be in F1 and fulfil my dream, and the only way I can pay that back someday is to win races and championships,” said Sainz.
However, there is a feeling in the paddock that Red Bull’s preferred son is not Sainz but the Dutch sensation Verstappen.
Sainz told the Spanish newspaper: “To think that is a little partisan. It is an exaggeration, I don’t believe it and there is no evidence of it.
“I know that it is not like that,” he added, “as the team wants the best for the team in general, which is how it should be.”
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RED BULL BOSS MATESCHITZ BUYS SALZBURGRING

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Red Bull’s big boss Dietrich Mateschitz is adding another Austrian race track to his collection.
Reports in Austria – in the Osterreich and Salzburger Nachrichten newspapers – say the Red Bull mogul and billionaire is buying the Salzburgring.
Billionaire Mateschitz brought F1 back to Austria two years ago after buying and reconstructing the A1-Ring, which he renamed the Red Bull Ring.
And now, he is buying the Salzburgring, a 4.2km circuit east of Salzburg that hosted MotoGP until 1994.
“I can confirm that,” a circuit spokesperson said.
Mateschitz, however, said the deal is not quite done. “I have not signed yet, so I’m not the owner of the Salzburgring,” said the 71-year-old.
But he did not deny he is in the process of buying the track, which he would do privately rather than in the name of his energy drink company.
“The purchase of a race track by the company Red Bull is not something I can expect of my business partners,” said Mateschitz. “There would be many synergies with the Red Bull Ring.”
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Force India Formula 1 team plans big upgrade for Mexican Grand Prix

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The Force India Formula 1 team is hoping to bring a "significant" update to the Mexican Grand Prix to improve Sergio Perez's chances of getting a podium on home soil.
After introducing its B-spec car at Silverstone in July, Force India has been making consistent progress and has now leapfrogged Lotus into fifth in the F1 constructors' championship.
Deputy team principal Bob Fernley has said the full potential of the new car will not be realised until this weekend's Singapore Grand Prix.
From then on, the plan is to introduce updates to the car race-by-race, with a big push for Mexico, which returns to the calendar after a 23-year hiatus, in five races' time.
"We hope to have the whole package working in Singapore, where we can optimise anything," chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer told AUTOSPORT.
"From then on, it'll be little increments.
"We are looking at bringing something significant to Mexico if we can do it in time because it is Checo's home race.
"We want to give him the best shot to be on the podium if we can but we're not sure of the timing yet."
Fernley is pleased with the progress the team has made since the introduction of the B-spec but said it must improve its reliability.
Perez retired from the Hungarian GP with a brake problem while Nico Hulkenberg crashed out following a dramatic front wing failure and then failed to start the next race in Belgium because of a turbo problem.
"I'm pleased," said Fernley. "The progression has been continuous since Silverstone.
"There have been no changes to the programme and the B-spec will be finished in Singapore.
"What we need to make sure is that we get the reliability.
"We've had some DNFs recently so we need to get both cars in the points if we want to challenge for fifth."
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New high-speed Formula 1 crash camera ready for testing

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A high-speed camera to assist with accident investigation in Formula 1 is on schedule to be introduced for the start of pre-season testing next March.
Speculation surrounding the cause of Fernando Alonso's testing accident at Barcelona earlier this year was partly fuelled by the lack of clear video footage showing what happened.
The FIA mandated the use of the camera on all cars from 2016 and tasked electronics company Magneti Marelli with producing the device.
It will be capable of recording, in milliseconds, the movements of a driver's head during the crucial moments of impact.
The device, which measures around two centimetres by eight centimetres and is not much bigger than a USB stick, will record 400 frames per second compared to the previous standard of 25fps.
It will be mounted on the top of the chassis, just in front of the row of antennas, facing the driver. The height position of the device has yet to be decided.
The camera can record for up to 90 minutes before it returns to the start and rewrites. The time restriction has been enforced to limit the amount of compression to the file.
The video will be stored on the car's black box and will be synchronised to the telemetry so teams can analyse the exact speed and force at the point of impact.
Testing of the prototype will continue this year, with particular focus on ensuring it can withstand the pressure of being mounted on an F1 car.
It is then hoped a version will be ready for January to allow time for checks and testing on the mounting before it is introduced at the first 2016 pre-season test, which starts at Barcelona on March 1.
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Singapore GP - The championship bids farewell to Europe

Formula 1 now leaves Europe to tackle the final seven races of the season. The first of these takes place at night through the city streets of Singapore. Alberto Antonini, head of Scuderia Ferrari’s press office explains the main characteristics of this track.

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HAMILTON: MY FOCUS IS TO FIGHT FOR THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

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Formula 1 championship leader Lewis Hamilton said he would be emotional if he matched Ayrton Senna’s 41 Grand Prix wins the Singapore race but his focus remained entirely on retaining the world title.
The Briton picked up his 40th Grand Prix win in Italy a fortnight ago to stretch his lead to 53 points over Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg with only six races to go following Sunday’s in the Southeast Asian city state.
Hamilton is favourite to win at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, which would mean matching Senna’s victories in 161 starts, but he said equalling the late Brazilian’s three world titles mattered more.
“It honestly doesn’t make any difference. I’m here fighting for the world championships, that’s my focus,” Hamilton told reporters on Thursday when asked if the pressure of matching Senna’s record would weigh on him.
“I don’t feel particularly under pressure this weekend but if I was to achieve the same amount at some stage, or this weekend, it would be very emotional.
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“After the last race I was only notified how many races I had done and to see that almost correlated with the career that Ayrton had had. I couldn’t believe it.
“Naturally it feels really amazing. It may or may not happen this weekend, there is a serious challenge ahead of me, but I am just grateful to be up there.”
Hamilton enjoyed the perfect weekend in Monza, topping the time sheets in every practice session, qualifying on pole and then taking a seventh chequered flag of the year.
“I can’t really top the weekend I had so I guess it’s just trying to match it,” the 30-year-old said. “It’s only the first or second time I had a weekend like that in Formula One, it doesn’t come around that often.”
Singapore features 23 tight corners on a long track that often pushes the two-hour race time limit. Coupled with the heat, humidity and racing under lights it is one of the most demanding on the calendar.
Pole sitters have won five of the seven previous races there, including Hamilton last year, and the Briton was confident of adding to his impressive 11 poles from 12 races this season.
“We thought last year ‘best year ever’ but we have topped it somehow this year,” he said.
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ROSBERG: I WANT TO WIN THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

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Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg will race with a new engine in Singapore this week but remained optimistic he could yet land a first Formula One world championship despite recent woes.
The German was forced to retire two laps from the end when riding in third last time out in Italy, with team mate Lewis Hamilton taking the chequered flag to stretch his lead to 53 points in the drivers standings.
Rosberg, though, was adamant that there was still enough time to catch the British driver.
“I have the chance to keep believing or not and I have chosen to keep believing because it is going to help for the next couple of races and historically in sport anything can happen,” he told reporters ahead of the race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit on Sunday.
“There are still seven races to go, lots of points, so keep pushing. With the car that we have its possible to win every race weekend which is a great feeling so focus on race weekends and then see what Lewis does.”
Rosberg endured a difficult race in Singapore last year, retiring after 13 laps having been forced to start from the pit lane following problems with his car’s steering and electronics.
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That retirement allowed Hamilton to overhaul a 22 point deficit and go on to land a second world title as he won six of the final seven races with his trademark aggressive approach.
Rosberg said it was not yet time to change his racing style for the final races as he tries to emulate Hamilton’s efforts last year.
“I want to win the championship,” he said. “The feeling last year in Singapore was a lot better than now as I had 20 something points the other way. Much preferred that one.”
Rosberg admitted his chances were not aided by his need for a fourth engine of the year — Hamilton has only used three — with a 10-place grid penalty looming if he needs a fifth before the year is out.
“New engine and we are not sure how compromising it will be yet, a small compromise at least or maybe a big one, we don’t know yet,” said the 30-year-old German, who anticipated a strong challenge from Ferrari and Red Bull in Singapore over the weekend.
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VETTEL: THE GOAL IS MAXIMUM ATTACK

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Quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel returns to a happy hunting ground in Singapore this week still on maximum attack for another drivers’ title.
The Ferrari driver picked up his second win of the year at the Hungarian Grand Prix in July but the dominant form of Briton Lewis Hamilton has allowed the Mercedes driver to open up a 74- point advantage over Vettel with six races remaining.
Vettel, third in the standings and 21 points behind Hamilton’s teammate Nico Rosberg, was optimistic about reducing the deficits at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, where he won three times with Red Bull and also finished second twice.
“It is always difficult to predict what is going to happen but this place has been a good place for me, very good results the last couple of years,” the 28-year-old told reporters on Thursday.
“I really love the track, it is one of the most challenging events we face in the season and I think we have a strong package so hopefully we can keep this record up.
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“The goal for the championship is maximum attack, we have to go for everything we can get. Obviously Nico is closer to us than to Lewis but as long as the chances are there we have to try and make anything possible that we can do. Being realistic Lewis is in a very good position.”
Hamilton has won seven of the year’s races, including the last two in Belgium and Italy, with Rosberg landing the other three but Vettel’s consistency – he has achieved eight podiums – has kept him in the hunt in his debut campaign with Ferrari.
“Overall we are always quick enough to go for the top five,” Vettel said. “Our target is to be on the podium which is difficult as Mercedes have the strongest package at the moment and if nothing goes wrong they have two cars on the podium and there is not much space left, but we have been pretty good at getting our maximum and most of the time getting that last place.”
Vettel won the second race of the year in Malaysia and was optimistic that the hot and humid conditions in the nearby Southeast Asian city state of Singapore would aid his challenge on Sunday,
“Looking at the year so far every time its a bit hotter maybe we are a bit more competitive so maybe that’s a good thing,” he said before admitting experience of the track was more important. If the driver feels confident you are able to make the difference.”
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RICCIARDO: AS LONG AS WE CAN WIN I DON’T CARE WHAT ENGINE WE GET

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Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo is already looking ahead to next season, relishing the prospect of a new engine that he hopes will propel him back up the Formula One pecking order.
After winning three races in 2014 and finishing third in the driver’s championship, the Australian has endured a frustrating 2015, registering just one podium finish and constant problems with the Renault engine powering Red Bull.
But with Renault saying they would stop supplying engines to Formula One teams next year, Red Bull is looking for a new engine.
There are just three other engine suppliers in the sport – Mercedes, Ferrari and Honda – with Red Bull widely expected to use Ferrari engines next year.
“My preference is what’s fastest… whichever is going to give us the better chance of victory is what I want, Ricciardo told reporters on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix. “If it gets us a better chance to win, I don’t really care what it is at this stage.”
Renault won four championships in a row with Red Bull from 2010-13 but the French manufacturer has been lagging behind champions Mercedes and Ferrari since the complex new V6 turbo hybrid power units were introduced in 2014. Like Renault, Honda has also struggled this year.
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Relations between Red Bull and Renault have been prickly all year but Ricciardo, 26, was diplomatic when asked about the Renault engines this season.
He said he was still unsure what would happen but was looking forward to driving a more competitive car next year.
“We expected this year to be better, obviously not only from performance but also reliability,” he said.
“This year was more challenging than we hoped but you just hope, moving forward, whatever happens in ’16 that we don’t struggle as much as we did this year.”
Despite his frustrations, the Australian was at least hopeful for a better showing at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.
The slow, tight street circuit should suit Red Bull and while Ricciardo was unsure if they could keep up with the dominant Mercedes’, he did expect to challenge Ferrari for a spot on the podium.
“This is definitely one that should suit us a lot better, it’s just maxed out for us, it’s what we’re normally better at,” he said.
“I still think Ferrari is going to be strong and hard to beat for us but we should be close.
“If we start on the right foot, I think we’ll be there.”
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ROSSI: IT WAS QUITE A LAST-MINUTE THING

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No-one was more surprised than Alexander Rossi when he got the call from the Manor Marussia team saying he would make his Formula One debut at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.
The Californian has always believed he would make it to Formula One, but after his hopes were dashed last year he was not expecting it to happen so soon.
Rossi was only told this week that he would be starting in Singapore, replacing Spaniard Roberto Merhi for five of the remaining seven races this year, and he needed to get himself to Southeast Asia in a hurry.
“I was on a plane Tuesday evening, and I booked the flight Tuesday morning,” he told reporters on Thursday.
“It was quite a last-minute thing. The discussions started taking place shortly after Monza.”
Rossi nearly raced for Marussia in Belgium last year, when the team threatened to drop Britain’s Max Chilton in a contractual dispute.
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He was behind the wheel for first practice but didn’t get to race after the team resolved their row with Chilton.
“It’s very surreal now that it’s about to happen,” he said. “This is a major step in…really firmly putting myself on the Formula One map and the radar, and I’m just focussing on doing a really good job in these five races, and showing that I am capable of being in Formula One and doing a good job.”
Formula 1’s first American driver since 2007, Rossi is well aware of the opportunity he has been given. His five races will include next month’s US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
Rossi is not racing all seven races because he still has commitments to the GP2 season, where he is currently second in the championship.
“It’s a massive boost and I think it’s going to be really special in Austin in a couple of weeks,” he said.
“Having Austin come back on to the calendar, we’ve already seen the progress that that has given, having an American team come is going to take that a bit farther, and having an American driver, I think, is the final step in the puzzle.”
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Rossi had been linked to the US-based Haas Formula One team, who are to debut next year, but said he was not in discussions about joining them.
Marussia are last in the standings, without a point, but Rossi saw Singapore as a chance to show what he could do.
“My goal is to race fulltime in Formula One…in whatever situation that may present itself I’m going to jump at that with open arms,” he said.
“What this may lead to, I don’t know. I’m hopeful that doing a good job in these five races will prove I belong here, and that I’m capable of doing it just as much as anyone else.”
Rossi has chosen number 53 for his debut, the same number carried by Disney’s ‘Herbie the Love Bug’, but he said was unaware of the coincidence.
Merhi, speaking at a news conference, said he found out he was being replaced only when he got to Singapore.
“I came here on Monday and when I arrived the team gave me the news I was not driving and Rossi would be in my place for five of the seven races,” he said. “For next season, I do not know yet.”
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ALONSO: HOPEFULLY RENAULT STAY IN FORMULA 1

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Fernando Alonso has urged Renault to stay in Formula 1, saying the French manufacturer is an integral part of the sport’s history.
Renault are currently considering whether to buy a team or quit rather than being an engine provider to others.
The French company currently powers former champions Red Bull and sister team Toro Rosso and there are contracts with both until 2016, although Red Bull are reportedly pushing for an early release.
Renault, who have been involved in Formula One since 1977, have been in negotiations with the financially-troubled Lotus team that they previously owned under their own name.
“It’s a very big manufacturer with a lot of history behind Renault in Formula 1,” Alonso, who won both his two world championships with Renault, said on Thursday ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.
“So I think, if they stay as an official team or whatever, if they decide this is best for them, I think this is also good for Formula 1. Renault and Formula One are quite linked together in the history of this sport, so hopefully they stay.”
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Although Alonso is now with the Honda-powered McLaren team and was previously with Ferrari, the Spaniard spent six of his early seasons in Formula One driving for Renault, winning the world championship in 2005 and 2006.
Alonso has not won a title since leaving Renault, finishing runner-up on three occasions, and is currently 15th in this year’s standings, putting him on course for his worst season since he was a rookie in 2001.
He has scored points in just two of 12 races this season but remains optimistic about his chances in Singapore, a circuit where he won at in 2008 and 2010.
“(If) we try to be as professional as we can, we can have a trouble free weekend hopefully and that will put us in the points,” he said.
Alonso joked that the night-time races times in Singapore helped him because staying out late and sleeping in until the early afternoon were part of his regular routine.
“This is what I do to in the normal life, so no big change here,” he quipped.
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GROSJEAN: I KNOW WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR ME

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Speaking to media on the eve of the Singapore Grand Prix weekend Romain Grosjean revealed that he has made his decision about what Formula 1 team to drive for in 2016, but cannot speak about it as yet.
The Frenchman currently drives for Lotus, the cash-strapped team whose very survival may depend on whether Renault decides to buy it.
Grosjean has also been linked with a switch to Haas, the new Ferrari B-team, with some reports saying the American outfit may now have decided to pair the 29-year-old with Ferrari reserve Jean-Eric Vergne.
“The only thing I can tell you is that I have made my decision,” Grosjean told reporters in Singapore when asked about his future.
“Everything is clear in my head and I know what is going to happen for me in the future. But that is in my mind and I won’t tell you anymore,” he insisted.
Grosjean will be starting his 77th grand prix when he lines up on the grid in Singapore, having scored 10 podiums thus far in his career although a F1 victory still eludes him.
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He made his F1 debut at the 2009 European Grand Prix for Renault alongside Fernando Alonso. But the move was too much too soon for Grosjean, whose cause was not helped as the Enstone outfit was reeling from ‘Crashgate’ revelations at the time.
Dropping out of Formula 1 at the end of 2011, he tried his hand at FIA GT Championship, including Le Mans and returned to GP2 Series in 2011 – winning the title that year.
He was drafted into the Lotus team in 2012 and at first gained notoriety for being a ‘first lap nutcase’ and triggered a huge accident at the Belgian Grand Prix that year and was banned for a race.
Since then Grosjean has matured and had a sensational season in 2013, establishing himself as a potential front-line driver and earning the respect of the F1 community.
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PIRELLI IMPOSING LOWER TYRE PRESSURES IN SINGAPORE

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Pirelli and the FIA were on Thursday issuing a technical directive to Formula 1 teams in Singapore, amid efforts to prevent a repeat of the post-Monza tyre pressure controversy.
Actually, according to the letter of the new rules mandating minimum tyre pressures, Lewis Hamilton should have lost his victory, one team manager believes.
“The FIA just knew that if Mercedes was excluded, they would go to the Court of Appeal with an excellent chance of success,” the unnamed chief said.
So for Singapore, the directive will include detailed instructions and specifications for the teams to meticulously follow, ensuring that everyone is on the same page with regards to what is expected.
This weekend, Pirelli is once again enforcing lower-than-normal tyre pressures, in the wake of the Spa blowout saga.
A year ago, Pirelli recommended a minimum of 16 PSI in Singapore, and it emerges that for 2015 the value has been dropped to 18 PSI on the front and 17 at the rear.
Maximum camber values have also been eased compared to last year, as was the case at Monza as well.
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RENAULT PREVIEW THE SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX

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One of the most unique features of the Singapore Grand Prix weekend is the topsy-turvy night timetable. Instead of waking in daylight and going to work, teams work through the night and sleep away the days.
It culminates in a spectacular night-time finale under thousands of lights, but how is the build-up for team members? David Mart, engine engineer for Daniel Ricciardo, explains: “Singapore is a great event and the differences to a normal race weekend are what make it stand out. We arrive early in the week and try to stay on European time, which is not easy as naturally your body wants to stay awake during the day. When you come back from work in the morning you see people going out to do their day jobs, or coming back from parties, so it can be quite hard to switch off and go to sleep. It can help to go to the gym or go for a run to switch off, but this year with the smog I’m not sure we will be going out too much!
“Eating is also a tricky thing to get right. Eating your breakfast at 4pm is a bit weird, but then getting something to eat when you finish in the middle of the night is hard too. There are limited options outside room service, but after seven years we now know the food courts and markets where you can go to get a bite outside the hotel.
“Working conditions are quite hard in comparison to other races. The garage is hot and humid and you have to remind yourself to drink a lot of water, particularly since the circuit requires you to be on top form. It’s one of the longest laps of the season, with 23 corners. A track with that sort of intensity requires a lot of preparation and it is very time-consuming to get the settings right. You need to factor in a very high chance of a safety car, which has been called every year so far. This requires some flexibility in fuel loads but you need to balance out the performance gains with the risks. It can require some mental gymnastics, particularly during the race. More often than not we get to the two hour mark in Singapore, which makes it the longest race of the year by quite some margin. You can feel exhausted by the time you’ve finished the debrief!
“This year we go straight to Japan, which will be pretty tough. The last time we went straight from Singapore to Japan was 2009 and it was a bit of a killer. You need to be on form and set up from early on in the week, but you are very jetlagged from staying on the European time for so long. But I will miss Singapore: it’s one of the best weekends of the year.”
Remi Taffin, director of operations: “Singapore is an enjoyable race all round, and this year we are really looking forward to it as it represents one of the best opportunities of the second part of the season to score some good points. It’s a street track, with the emphasis on good driveability, so plays to the strengths of both teams’ packages.
“With this in mind we took the penalties in Monza to be able to tackle Singapore in as strong a position as possible. We know it will be a tough race as the power unit and the chassis are really put to the test, but we’ve got all the elements in place to make the most of the chances we get.”

Renault 2015 Fast Facts:

  • Fuel consumption in Singapore is high due to the stop-start nature of the track layout, but engineers are able to offset the high consumption by recovering energy under braking. Using the ICE alone, the engine would consume around 150kg of fuel over the race, but energy harvesting and employment has brought this down significantly. Last year’s consumption was in the order of 99 kg. The track conditions can improve significantly throughout the weekend, which can have a big impact on fuel consumption.
  • The Singapore track is illuminated by almost 2,000 lights. The heat given off by the lights heats the track temperature significantly, taking it to almost 38°C, or the same as a race such as Abu Dhabi. This, plus the abrasive tarmac surface, greatly increases tyre wear. Rear tyre wear can be a limiting factor to performance and strategy so engineers will try to factor this in while mapping the engines and creating set-ups for torque delivery from the driver demand.
  • The long lap and the high chance of a safety car makes Singapore one of the longest races on the calendar. The 2009 was the shortest so far, at one hour and 56 minutes. Twice in its history it has passed the two hour mark (in 2012 and 2014), the maximum time permitted for a Grand Prix. Compare this to Monza, which was won in just one hour 18 minutes last week. It is in fact the second longest lap time of the year behind Spa, which is 2km longer.
  • The safety car has been deployed every year in Singapore since its debut on the calendar.
  • The drivers can lose up to 3kg of fluid during the race in the hot and humid atmosphere. This needs to be taken into account when setting the car weight before the race.
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