2006 Australian Grand Prix - Race 3/18

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WOOHOO!!!

Green light for Francorchamps 2007

The Walloon minister, Jean-Claude Marcourt, has met Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone in London last Tuesday. According to the minister all obstacles have been discussed and the Grand Prix of Belgium 2007 has been given the green light.

OH YES!!!

Belguim here we come!
 
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Zip said:
Anyone going to be watching the F1 today? :D

Just 4 or 5 hours to go :D

We don't get to watch the practice in the UK *cheers ITV :mad:*

However - I might be if my mate is back at work after his maternity leave *awwww...* Good old webcasts.. ;)

Simon/~Flibster
 

Zip

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Flibster said:
We don't get to watch the practice in the UK *cheers ITV :mad:*

However - I might be if my mate is back at work after his maternity leave *awwww...* Good old webcasts.. ;)

Simon/~Flibster

How do you get these webcasts? It might be the way i can watch the practice sesions when they are in europe :) :confused:
 
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Zip said:
How do you get these webcasts? It might be the way i can watch the practice sesions when they are in europe :) :confused:

I have a friend who supplies high red webcasts to a few companies....and a much lower preview webcast as hi-res ones are frankly extremely difficult to stream. :(

He forwards the link onto me and 'adjusts' the firewall so I can access. :D

Shame it's an extremely locked down stream that I can't save in any way. :(

Simon/~Flibster
 
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Stoddart expects entry to be rejected
Former Minardi boss Paul Stoddart believes his entry for the 2008 world championship will not be accepted.

Stoddart, who sold his Formula One team to Red Bull last year, submitted an entry for the 2008 championship this week and said his intention to return to the sport was "very serious".

"I don't think it is going to get accepted because when I put my entry in there were only six confirmed entries, so it is 11 with the five manufacturer blocked-entries," Stoddart told autosport.com.

"I would expect that last spot to go to someone like David Richards, I think, and I would have no gripes about that because that is perfectly credible," said Stoddart of the former BAR team boss's plans to enter F1 with his Prodrive company.

"However if something happened between Max and the manufacturers and there was going to be a pull out then I would expect that we would be among the most credible for one of those other spaces.

"We are obviously ready to go, we have got the cars, the engines, and in fact other than anybody in this paddock, there is no-one else in our position with a car that could be made to 2006-spec in a week and put in a credible performance with a restricted V10 test hack for this year and then build your test car in 2007 to what will be fairly set in stone 2008 regulations."

The FIA has said all entries for 2008 must be submitted before today. The 11 teams currently competing have already submitted their applications and there are only 12 spots available.

Stoddart said he is expecting to know his fate as early as next week.

"The entries close 4pm today Geneva today, so I would imagine that Max (Mosley) is not going to waste time," he added. "I cannot see the point but it is up to him, I think and it is only an opinion that we will get a decision next week.

"There is no point to drag it out and I don't expect to get in for obvious reasons but more than just the politics from a pure credible point of view, if I myself was Max then I would give it to David Richards."

"If it doesn't happen then we have got a unified F1 and if we have got a unified F1 then I actually care more about that than if I get back into it, so if it doesn't happen then well done because finally, finally, finally we will have a solution to the politics and ******** in F1."

The big question therefore is: Has Dave Richards submitted an entry? With entries closing at 4pm CET today there isn't a lot of time to get an entry in.

Then it all comes down to Max and it's pretty clear which way he'd swing in a straight choice between Prodrive and Stoddy. However what is less clear is how he could kick Paul out if there are only 12 entries.
 
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Ferrari plan major upgrade for Imola
Ferrari are planning a major upgrade of their car for the San Marino Grand Prix in three week's time in a bid to help their world championship hopes.

Even though the 248 F1 has proved to be a match for the pace-setting Renault on occasion, Ferrari have chosen to implement an aggressive development programme to lift the pace of their car in time for Imola.

Although the exact details of the changes have not been confirmed, it is understood that they include a new aerodynamic package, revised suspension and upgrades to their engine.

Technical director Ross Brawn revealed the plans for the upgrade in Melbourne on Friday. The team plan to begin testing the parts at Vallelunga next week before running the full package at Barcelona the following week.

"There is quite a good development programme being put together and Imola will be the first stage," explained Brawn. "I think it will be quite a good step forward for us, both aerodynamically and mechanically.

"We have some new suspension systems that we are trying over the next few tests. We were hoping to do the first test at Fiorano (last week) but with the weather we did not get to evaluate the modifications, but they will be tried next week in Vallelunga and the week after in Barcelona.

"There are quite a lot of mechanical developments going on and I must say the aero group are doing a great job this year. There are some nice improvements coming for Imola on the aero side and I know there are some further improvements coming for the races after that."

Brawn also said he was confident that tyre supplier Bridgestone were making progress, especially with the extra input of Toyota and Williams who switched to the Japanese tyre manufacturer this year.

"The tyres are going to be vital," he said. "With the contribution that the other teams are making, we can see the tyre is perhaps going forward a little bit quicker than it was before."

The only major hurdle Ferrari are still facing is in getting on top of their engine situation, with the team still admitting they have not got to the bottom of the piston problems that have marred the start of their campaign.

That means they cannot pursue power developments on the engine until they are sure it is reliable.

Brawn said: "The problems with the engine have put our development programme on the engine on hold. There are some changes to the engine coming as well, but we need to stabilise the situation with the engine before we think we can introduce the changes.

Uh-oh, engine's still a bit iffy. That means they've got to sort it before Imola or wait another month (assuming the Imola engines stay in one piece ;) ) before they can fit a new engine design.
 
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Stoddart makes emotional F1 visit

He may not have been the most popular of team bosses with his peers at times, but former Minardi boss Paul Stoddart admitted on Friday that he was touched by the warm reception he got on his return to the Formula One paddock.

It took Stoddart several hours to walk the length of the Albert Park paddock down to see his former team in their new Toro Rosso guise, as he was met and greeted by team personnel and journalists at every step.

"I have been here for nearly four hours now, and I have only got halfway down the paddock," he said. "The reception has been fantastic, and it is bloody touching actually.

"I have missed this so badly. You don't realise that until you stop. It is not just the racing, it is not just the business side of things - you make friends over a decade.

"Bernie (Ecclestone) said it correctly once - it is like a drug. It is not so easy to walk away, and you really do genuinely miss it, and that's what came home to me in the first two races."

Stoddart is performing some duties for local radio and television at the Australian Grand Prix - but did confess to feeling a bit awkward at not having a specific job to do in the paddock.

That was why he baulked at plans to attend the Malaysian Grand Prix, despite having booked himself onto some overnight flights from Melbourne.

"I was going to fly all night to Malaysia, go to the track, and then fly back here for Monday morning. It didn't happen, but it is the kind of thing you think of because you miss it.

"I do understand where Eddie Jordan was coming from last year, because he didn't turn up until Monaco.

"He said, 'I just didn't feel comfortable'; and you do feel that if you haven't got a job to do it is a hard place to be."
 
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Brawn optimistic of no engine problems

Ferrari are optimistic that there will be no need for any engine changes this weekend, even though they are still not completely sure of the reason for their early-season problems.

The team's Malaysian Grand Prix was wrecked by a spate of piston issues that forced engine changes for both Michael Schumacher and Felipe Massa before the race.

After first practice in Australia the team said they were hopeful that the current engines would be good enough to last the race, despite technical director Ross Brawn claiming that the Italian manufacturer still have work to do in understanding the reason behind their piston failures.

"It's okay so far," said Brawn, who crossed his fingers when asked about how the engines were so far this weekend. "We are not stressing them quite so much as we would normally do, particularly for qualifying. We have just taken the RPM down a little bit.

"It is a frustrating problem because it is a problem with one piston in the engine and all the others are perfectly okay - but you only need one to fail of course. So it is a difficult problem to resolve because when you take the engine apart, seven pistons are perfect and one of them looks a bit sad, but we have some modifications to try before Imola.

"When you are getting such an erratic failure then you can try several engines and they look okay, but you don't really know if you have fixed it because it is not every engine and it is not every piston."

Brawn added that the situation was even more frustrating for the team because the problem was not confined to the same piston.

"It is one of the eight, but unfortunately it is not in the same position, which is why it is frustrating because it doesn't seem to be linked to the geometry of the engine.

"We are doing some modifications and things that should help if you look at it in a conventional way, and we now need to get more experience with the modifications."

The uncertainty about the condition of specific engines meant that Ferrari had no choice but to change Schumacher's engine in Malaysia, even though subsequent post-race analysis proved it would have lasted the race distance.

"We were doing work back at the factory to see if we could understand the situation, and when we realised we still didn't have a full understanding then we had to change Michael's engine," said Brawn.

"If something had happened back at the factory that had helped us to understand the situation then we might have changed that decision, but it wasn't possible."
 
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Friday Free Practice 1.
Code:
[b]Pos	No	Driver			Team			Time[/b]
1	36	Anthony Davidson	Honda			1:28.259		
2	37	Robert Doornbos		RBR-Ferrari		1:28.559		
3	17	Jacques Villeneuve	Sauber-BMW		1:28.595		
4	3	Kimi Räikkönen		McLaren-Mercedes	1:28.713		
5	6	Felipe Massa		Ferrari			1:29.025		
6	5	Michael Schumacher	Ferrari			1:29.041		
7	7	Ralf Schumacher		Toyota			1:29.411		
8	35	Alexander Wurz		Williams-Cosworth	1:29.461		
9	38	Robert Kubica		Sauber-BMW		1:29.576		
10	15	Christian Klien		RBR-Ferrari		1:29.601		
11	14	David Coulthard		RBR-Ferrari		1:29.676		
12	21	Scott Speed		STR-Cosworth		1:31.017		
13	19	Christijan Albers	MF1-Toyota		1:31.039		
14	18	Tiago Monteiro		MF1-Toyota		1:31.812		
15	22	Takuma Sato		Super Aguri-Honda	1:34.036		
16	23	Yuji Ide		Super Aguri-Honda	1:36.684		
17	39	Markus Winkelhock	MF1-Toyota		1:36.859		
18	40	Neel Jani		STR-Cosworth		1:40.818		
19	1	Fernando Alonso		Renault
20	2	Giancarlo Fisichella	Renault
21	8	Jarno Trulli		Toyota
22	4	Juan Pablo Montoya	McLaren-Mercedes
23	16	Nick Heidfeld		Sauber-BMW
24	11	Rubens Barrichello	Honda
25	20	Vitantonio Liuzzi	STR-Cosworth
26	9	Mark Webber		Williams-Cosworth
27	10	Nico Rosberg		Williams-Cosworth
28	12	Jenson Button		Honda

Sector Times - Free Practice 1

Code:
[b]Sector 1[/b]
[b]Pos	No	Driver			Time[/b]
1	36	Anthony Davidson	29.357	
2	17	Jacques Villeneuve	29.520	
3	6	Felipe Massa		29.622	
4	37	Robert Doornbos		29.633	
5	3	Kimi Räikkönen		29.661	
6	14	David Coulthard		29.686	
7	38	Robert Kubica		29.832	
8	5	Michael Schumacher	29.841	
9	35	Alexander Wurz		29.853	
10	7	Ralf Schumacher		29.897	
11	15	Christian Klien		30.180	
12	21	Scott Speed		30.404	
13	19	Christijan Albers	30.449	
14	18	Tiago Monteiro		30.761	
15	22	Takuma Sato		31.284	
16	20	Vitantonio Liuzzi	31.566	
17	23	Yuji Ide		32.392	
18	39	Markus Winkelhock	32.428	
19	40	Neel Jani		32.994	
20	8	Jarno Trulli		40.664	
21	16	Nick Heidfeld		41.641	
22	11	Rubens Barrichello	45.236	
23	4	Juan Pablo Montoya	49.970	
24	2	Giancarlo Fisichella	56.322	
25	1	Fernando Alonso		56.610

Code:
[b]Sector 2 [/b]
[b]Pos	No	Driver			Time[/b]
1	36	Anthony Davidson	23.657	
2	5	Michael Schumacher	23.742	
3	35	Alexander Wurz		23.763	
4	17	Jacques Villeneuve	23.843	
5	37	Robert Doornbos		23.860	
6	6	Felipe Massa		23.862	
7	3	Kimi Räikkönen		23.890	
8	38	Robert Kubica		23.904	
9	15	Christian Klien		24.016	
10	14	David Coulthard		24.016	
11	7	Ralf Schumacher		24.086	
12	19	Christijan Albers	24.312	
13	21	Scott Speed		24.327	
14	18	Tiago Monteiro		24.496	
15	20	Vitantonio Liuzzi	24.512	
16	22	Takuma Sato		24.959	
17	23	Yuji Ide		25.047	
18	39	Markus Winkelhock	25.215	
19	40	Neel Jani		26.321	
20	8	Jarno Trulli		27.504	
21	11	Rubens Barrichello	28.877	
22	16	Nick Heidfeld		29.946	
23	4	Juan Pablo Montoya	31.221	
24	2	Giancarlo Fisichella	31.540	
25	1	Fernando Alonso		34.001

Code:
[b]Sector 3 [/b]
[b]Pos	No	Driver			Time[/b]
1	36	Anthony Davidson	34.881	
2	37	Robert Doornbos		35.066	
3	3	Kimi Räikkönen		35.162	
4	17	Jacques Villeneuve	35.232	
5	5	Michael Schumacher	35.322	
6	6	Felipe Massa		35.404	
7	15	Christian Klien		35.405	
8	7	Ralf Schumacher		35.407	
9	35	Alexander Wurz		35.446	
10	14	David Coulthard		35.665	
11	38	Robert Kubica		35.700	
12	21	Scott Speed		36.078	
13	19	Christijan Albers	36.183	
14	18	Tiago Monteiro		36.479	
15	22	Takuma Sato		37.793	
16	39	Markus Winkelhock	38.173	
17	23	Yuji Ide		38.803	
18	40	Neel Jani		40.006	
19	20	Vitantonio Liuzzi	41.688	
20	1	Fernando Alonso		891.730	
21	2	Giancarlo Fisichella	1199.133	
22	8	Jarno Trulli		1282.211

Speed Trap

Code:
[b]Pos	No	Driver			Time		Speed[/b]
1	5	Michael Schumacher	11:59:50	296.6	
2	17	Jacques Villeneuve	11:58:45	296.1	
3	6	Felipe Massa		11:58:40	295.0	
4	38	Robert Kubica		11:15:17	294.2	
5	3	Kimi Räikkönen		11:59:57	294.1	
6	35	Alexander Wurz		11:59:03	292.2	
7	21	Scott Speed		11:56:35	291.7	
8	36	Anthony Davidson	11:59:41	289.6	
9	14	David Coulthard		11:48:51	289.3	
10	20	Vitantonio Liuzzi	11:59:05	289.3	
11	19	Christijan Albers	11:59:42	289.0	
12	37	Robert Doornbos		11:58:57	287.6	
13	15	Christian Klien		11:59:29	286.4	
14	18	Tiago Monteiro		11:59:47	286.2	
15	40	Neel Jani		11:13:01	285.3	
16	23	Yuji Ide		11:56:39	285.2	
17	7	Ralf Schumacher		11:50:56	281.1	
18	22	Takuma Sato		11:45:04	281.0	
19	39	Markus Winkelhock	11:45:36	280.5	
20	16	Nick Heidfeld		11:51:34	197.9	
21	8	Jarno Trulli		11:54:49	195.7	
22	2	Giancarlo Fisichella	11:30:54	192.4	
23	4	Juan Pablo Montoya	11:50:27	165.2	
24	11	Rubens Barrichello	11:54:04	162.9	
25	1	Fernando Alonso		11:30:16	156.8
 
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Friday Free Practice 2.
Code:
[b]Pos	No	Driver			Team			Time[/b]
1	36	Anthony Davidson	Honda			1:26.822		
2	35	Alexander Wurz		Williams-Cosworth	1:26.832		
3	38	Robert Kubica		Sauber-BMW		1:27.200		
4	12	Jenson Button		Honda			1:27.213		
5	1	Fernando Alonso		Renault			1:27.443		
6	5	Michael Schumacher	Ferrari			1:27.658		
7	3	Kimi Räikkönen		McLaren-Mercedes	1:27.773		
8	11	Rubens Barrichello	Honda			1:28.075		
9	4	Juan Pablo Montoya	McLaren-Mercedes	1:28.200		
10	6	Felipe Massa		Ferrari			1:28.227		
11	2	Giancarlo Fisichella	Renault			1:28.280		
12	17	Jacques Villeneuve	Sauber-BMW		1:28.440		
13	14	David Coulthard		RBR-Ferrari		1:28.531		
14	9	Mark Webber		Williams-Cosworth	1:28.860		
15	16	Nick Heidfeld		Sauber-BMW		1:29.053		
16	8	Jarno Trulli		Toyota			1:29.138		
17	21	Scott Speed		STR-Cosworth		1:29.196		
18	7	Ralf Schumacher		Toyota			1:29.379		
19	18	Tiago Monteiro		MF1-Toyota		1:29.713		
20	37	Robert Doornbos		RBR-Ferrari		1:29.876		
21	15	Christian Klien		RBR-Ferrari		1:29.879		
22	10	Nico Rosberg		Williams-Cosworth	1:29.933		
23	40	Neel Jani		STR-Cosworth		1:30.686		
24	20	Vitantonio Liuzzi	STR-Cosworth		1:30.734		
25	19	Christijan Albers	MF1-Toyota		1:30.830		
26	39	Markus Winkelhock	MF1-Toyota		1:31.260		
27	22	Takuma Sato		Super Aguri-Honda	1:32.556		
28	23	Yuji Ide		Super Aguri-Honda	1:34.224

Sector Times - Free Practice 2

Code:
[b]Sector 1[/b]
[b]Pos	No	Driver			Time[/b]
1	38	Robert Kubica		28.756	
2	36	Anthony Davidson	28.880	
3	35	Alexander Wurz		29.087	
4	1	Fernando Alonso		29.114	
5	3	Kimi Räikkönen		29.164	
6	5	Michael Schumacher	29.207	
7	12	Jenson Button		29.250	
8	6	Felipe Massa		29.290	
9	4	Juan Pablo Montoya	29.335	
10	16	Nick Heidfeld		29.425	
11	14	David Coulthard		29.442	
12	11	Rubens Barrichello	29.495	
13	2	Giancarlo Fisichella	29.513	
14	17	Jacques Villeneuve	29.575	
15	8	Jarno Trulli		29.670	
16	15	Christian Klien		29.768	
17	7	Ralf Schumacher		29.788	
18	9	Mark Webber		29.794	
19	37	Robert Doornbos		29.864	
20	18	Tiago Monteiro		29.869	
21	21	Scott Speed		29.975	
22	20	Vitantonio Liuzzi	30.082	
23	10	Nico Rosberg		30.117	
24	40	Neel Jani		30.191	
25	19	Christijan Albers	30.236	
26	39	Markus Winkelhock	30.417	
27	22	Takuma Sato		30.896	
28	23	Yuji Ide		31.504

Code:
[b]Sector 2 [/b]
[b]Pos	No	Driver			Time[/b]
1	35	Alexander Wurz		23.388	
2	12	Jenson Button		23.406	
3	5	Michael Schumacher	23.454	
4	1	Fernando Alonso		23.506	
5	38	Robert Kubica		23.518	
6	6	Felipe Massa		23.546	
7	4	Juan Pablo Montoya	23.557	
8	36	Anthony Davidson	23.572	
9	14	David Coulthard		23.599	
10	3	Kimi Räikkönen		23.614	
11	2	Giancarlo Fisichella	23.672	
12	11	Rubens Barrichello	23.674	
13	17	Jacques Villeneuve	23.693	
14	21	Scott Speed		23.785	
15	16	Nick Heidfeld		23.827	
16	7	Ralf Schumacher		23.936	
17	9	Mark Webber		23.955	
18	18	Tiago Monteiro		23.981	
19	8	Jarno Trulli		24.004	
20	15	Christian Klien		24.084	
21	39	Markus Winkelhock	24.093	
22	20	Vitantonio Liuzzi	24.100	
23	37	Robert Doornbos		24.119	
24	40	Neel Jani		24.188	
25	10	Nico Rosberg		24.206	
26	19	Christijan Albers	24.294	
27	22	Takuma Sato		24.690	
28	23	Yuji Ide		24.853

Code:
[b]Sector 3 [/b]
[b]Pos	No	Driver			Time[/b]
1	36	Anthony Davidson	34.268	
2	35	Alexander Wurz		34.357	
3	1	Fernando Alonso		34.444	
4	12	Jenson Button		34.517	
5	6	Felipe Massa		34.640	
6	38	Robert Kubica		34.653	
7	3	Kimi Räikkönen		34.734	
8	5	Michael Schumacher	34.806	
9	11	Rubens Barrichello	34.887	
10	4	Juan Pablo Montoya	34.940	
11	2	Giancarlo Fisichella	34.990	
12	14	David Coulthard		35.043	
13	9	Mark Webber		35.080	
14	17	Jacques Villeneuve	35.128	
15	8	Jarno Trulli		35.265	
16	21	Scott Speed		35.319	
17	7	Ralf Schumacher		35.332	
18	18	Tiago Monteiro		35.477	
19	10	Nico Rosberg		35.509	
20	37	Robert Doornbos		35.526	
21	20	Vitantonio Liuzzi	35.793	
22	16	Nick Heidfeld		35.801	
23	15	Christian Klien		35.877	
24	19	Christijan Albers	35.890	
25	40	Neel Jani		35.993	
26	39	Markus Winkelhock	36.238	
27	22	Takuma Sato		36.869	
28	23	Yuji Ide		37.505

Speed Trap

Code:
[b]Pos	No	Driver			Time		Speed[/b]
1	38	Robert Kubica		14:59:09	299.2	
2	17	Jacques Villeneuve	14:56:23	296.7	
3	1	Fernando Alonso		14:55:49	295.8	
4	21	Scott Speed		14:24:44	295.6	
5	40	Neel Jani		14:31:57	294.9	
6	5	Michael Schumacher	14:59:52	294.5	
7	36	Anthony Davidson	15:00:58	294.4	
8	2	Giancarlo Fisichella	14:35:03	294.2	
9	6	Felipe Massa		14:57:45	293.7	
10	3	Kimi Räikkönen		14:56:55	293.7	
11	35	Alexander Wurz		14:36:12	293.5	
12	11	Rubens Barrichello	14:59:38	293.5	
13	4	Juan Pablo Montoya	14:53:26	293.2	
14	18	Tiago Monteiro		14:54:58	290.4	
15	14	David Coulthard		14:06:18	290.2	
16	20	Vitantonio Liuzzi	14:04:17	290.1	
17	37	Robert Doornbos		14:33:30	289.3	
18	12	Jenson Button		14:55:33	289.3	
19	23	Yuji Ide		14:18:17	288.9	
20	10	Nico Rosberg		14:55:18	288.7	
21	16	Nick Heidfeld		14:59:26	288.6	
22	15	Christian Klien		14:27:49	288.5	
23	22	Takuma Sato		14:54:38	288.5	
24	8	Jarno Trulli		14:52:08	288.2	
25	19	Christijan Albers	14:52:07	286.8	
26	7	Ralf Schumacher		14:53:01	286.4	
27	39	Markus Winkelhock	14:30:07	284.9	
28	9	Mark Webber		14:52:30	284.8
 
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Free up wing rules, says Brawn

The FIA may need to completely free up the area of wing flexibility in Formula One to bring an end to the current controversy surrounding the issue.

That is the view of Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn, who believes that the lessons of traction control and brake duct regulations in the sport prove that the only way to end innuendo is to free up regulations rather than try and tighten them up.

He believes that even if wing supports were made mandatory, as is believed to be favoured by the FIA, to prove teams were not running flexible wings then suspicion would just shift to another area.

"This round of disagreement is about the slot gaps of the wings, so maybe we need to have some physical devices that control the slot gaps," he said. "But there will then be something else.

"Maybe the wing endplates will be moving in or something, or there will be a materials dispute, and that will just be the next dispute that comes along. So I can't see how we can resolve the current issue to most people's satisfaction. It will just go on and on."

Brawn believes that examples of brake ducts and traction control, where the only way to end suspicions about the action of teams was to completely free up the rules, should be heeded for wing flexibility.

"We had years of dispute over traction control and now nobody talks about it," he said. "You may question whether it's good for F1 to have traction control, but you have to admit we got rid of all the innuendo.

"Everyone who went quickly was said to have had a secret traction control system and that was no good for F1. There is a strong argument for throwing it open. The cars would go a bit quicker but I don't really see the problem."

He added: "We had the issue with the brake ducts for a long time because people were doing things with them...in the end we agreed that here was a box and you had to put your brake duct in it and then you could do what you like.

"With the wings we are getting to the same stage. We should just say these are the limits, do as you please. Problems will re-occur because the rules are very difficult to define."

Brawn has also publicly confirmed for the first time that Ferrari were asked to modify their wings by the FIA in Malaysia following the threat of a protest from rival teams.

"They made some requests and we complied with them, really to avoid the necessity of introducing another series of tests," he said. "There have been so many tests already.

"We always try to co-operate. What we have done is an interim solution until they can introduce a regulation that controls the slot gap. When they do that, then people can do what they want to comply with that regulation.

"We've got, I think, three load tests on the rear wing already. It just goes on and on and on. We need a regulation to work to, because the people at the factory are aggrieved.

"They stuck a pin in space and thought they were correct, but somebody else stuck it somewhere else and they don't like that. You can't blame anyone because there's no absolute definition of what should or shouldn't be done."
 
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Teams question worth of Friday practice

Formula One teams have called on the sport's governing body to consider changing the Friday practice session after the top three times in the day's two practices for the Australian Grand Prix were set by test drivers.

World champion Fernando Alonso drove well within his limits to settle for fifth spot while Michael Schumacher was content with sixth place, as the main race drivers took it easy to conserve their engines and tyres for Sunday.

Jenson Button set the fastest time of actual race drivers, but was still nearly four tenths of a second behind his Honda teammate and test driver Anthony Davidson.

All of the teams adopted a similar cautious approach, which they said was brought about the new rule changes.

Under the new regulations, the times from Friday's practice session have no bearing on Saturday's official qualifying although they still have to use the same engines and tyres they plan to use during Sunday's race.

Renault technical chief Pat Symonds said Grand Prix weekends may as well be cut from three days to two because it was pointless having a practice session with teams driving below full speed.

"We should think more laterally and ask ourselves, do we need a Friday session?" Symonds told a news conference.

"I am personally more in favour of having a two-day Grand Prix event and use Friday for testing.

"I think that all too often in Formula One there's too much heritage, too much tradition and the idea that we have to have three days of running. It took us ages to realise we didn't actually need two qualifying sessions, things like this."

Williams' technical director Sam Michael said he wanted the rules changed allowing teams to use their spare engines on Friday so they could drive at maximum speed without risk.

"It could be a free test day with two two-hour sessions or something like that, or you could have a test engine and put your race engine back in on Friday night," Michael said.

Honda chief Nick Fry said he would prefer Friday's session to be scrapped and replaced by a series of public relations exercises allowing fans to mingle with the teams and drivers.

"The teams would actually be there but it would be much more outward facing, giving members of the public and fans in general more access to the teams," Fry said.

"I think we're all in favour of racing more and testing less and doing things which have got wider appeal than what we do at the moment."
 
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BMW confirm engine change for Villeneuve

The BMW team have confirmed they will change Jacques Villeneuve's engine ahead of tomorrow's qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.

The team have introduced some new components in their engine following failures in Bahrain and Malaysia, but Villeneuve used the previous version for today's practice.

BMW, however, will fit Villeneuve's car with the new unit, meaning the Canadian will lose 10 grid positions on Sunday.

"Our investigations into the breakages after Bahrain and Malaysia revealed that some components have not met their required production tolerances," said BMW motorsport chief Mario Theissen.

"Our short-term reaction has been to build new engines with hand-selected components that best met these rigorous requirements. We have two of these revised engines here.

"One is already installed in Nick's car, and Jacques will get the second in time for qualifying after Saturday's morning practice session. As a result he will lose 10 positions on the grid."
 
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Wind, rain make for unfamiliar factors

Gusting wind and rain are set to provide unfamiliar tests at the usually sun-drenched Australian Grand Prix this weekend.

The decision to move the Australian leg of the calendar from season opener to the third round to accommodate the Commonwealth Games has added a new dimension to the race.

The switch from the end of the Australian summer to the autumn and its unpredictable weather has led to poor grip and difficult handling, with many of the leading drivers finding themselves buffered into the gravel traps in Friday's practice.

Seven-times champion Michael Schumacher made an uncharacteristic detour during his 16 practice laps, the gusts forcing him to overcook one corner as he finished sixth fastest overall.

"The wind changed very quickly," he told reporters on Friday. "It made things very difficult. Suddenly there was a backwind behind me and my braking distance was not long enough."

Showers and wind are forecast to be constant threats throughout the weekend.

"I don't think I took any corner the same way out there because of the wind," said Honda's Jenson Button, who also suffered a rare excursion into the gravel while finishing fourth overall and the fastest of the drivers racing on Sunday.

"It's making it very difficult and it's clear we're all struggling with grip, but I hope it's better tomorrow. I don't usually go off so it shows how little grip there is out there."

World champion Fernando Alonso concurred, adding that the bumpy track added to the factors to be considered for Sunday's race.

"At some corners it was very difficult to stop the car but it's the same for everyone, I prefer the wind to the rain," said Alonso, acknowledging the downpour that drenched the circuit moments after Friday's second session concluded.

"I think the circuit is also more bumpy than usual, going into corners ten and nine it was really impossible to brake."
 
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