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The Sauber team will run a special message on the livery of their cars at next weekend's Australian Grand Prix in support of the Japanese people, following last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami. Sauber driver, Kamui Kobayashi, was born in Japan's Hyogo prefecture and is currently the East Asian country's only Formula One driver.

?It is difficult to find the right words to express our emotions and feelings, but silence means we can't even begin imagine how to try,? explained team principal Peter Sauber. ?We can hardly believe what we are seeing. Our thoughts are with the people in Japan. We hope they will have the necessary strength to overcome these circumstances of extreme adversity.?

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Australia preview quotes - Sauber on Albert Park

The 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship finally gets underway in Australia next weekend, with all 12 teams eager to discover how their new cars stack up against the competition. There's new rules, new tyres and more, but one thing that remains reassuringly consistent is the warm welcome guaranteed for the paddock at Melbourne's Albert Park

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McLaren banking on major improvement in Melbourne

McLaren are hoping that last-minute upgrades to their 2011 car will bring an improvement of up to one second per lap at this weekend's Australian Grand Prix, relative to their pre-season testing form.

By their own admission, McLaren's test programme with the MP4-26 has not gone to plan, but team principal Martin Whitmarsh is now confident that the late revisions, principally to the car's floor and exhaust, will provide a significant performance boost

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Re: McLaren banking on major improvement in Melbourne

Wow Whitmarsh is playing a blinder at McLaren, I'll bet no other teams will think of doing any last minute upgrades. :rofl:
 

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Re: McLaren banking on major improvement in Melbourne

:rofl:

It does seem to be the McLaren way for the last few years,bring the car out late,then completely redesign it when it turns out to be slow,eventually get it sorted it out half way through the season by which time it's too late.

Big Ron would never have put up with it and heads would have rolled........
 

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Drivers to receive an extra set of tyres for Melbourne practice

The drivers will be given an additional set of 'prime' tyres to use during Friday free practice at this weekend's Australian Grand Prix. A recent amendment to the regulations authorizes tyre supplier Pirelli to hand over 12 sets of tyres - instead of the standard 11 - at selected events.

With warmer temperatures expected in Melbourne than the teams have experienced throughout winter testing, the Italian tyre manufacturer believe an additional set of the hard compound tyres will allow the drivers to complete more practice laps. And after a year of preparation, Pirelli's motorsport director Paul Hembery is keen for the on-track action to begin.

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FIA press conference schedule - Australia

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso joins four other drivers to answer questions in Melbourne on Thursday, while defending world champion and Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel is among those facing the media on Friday. The line-up in full?

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FIA Thursday press conference - Australia

Drivers: Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), Narain Karthikeyan (HRT), Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber), Pastor Maldonado (Williams), Mark Webber (Red Bull)

Q: A question to you all starting off with your feelings about your preparations so far. How do you think testing has gone? How do you feel coming into this race? Pastor, your debut about to take place in a couple of days time, how are your preparations before your first Grand Prix?
Pastor Maldonado: </b>For sure it was so great especially the pre-season. My first time with the

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Practice One - Webber leads Red Bull one-two in Australia

The 2011 F1 season finally kicked off this morning in Melbourne's Albert Park - with a bang. Test driver Karun Chandhok got as far as Turn Four on his out lap before losing grip and cannoning into the wall, severely damaging his Lotus T128.

After that, it took more than half an hour before Pastor Maldonado in the Williams became the first man to set a lap time. Soon, however, Red Bull moved to the front as expected, with Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel taking it in turns to go fastest until the Australian slammed in a 1m 26.831s best right at the end to beat the German's 1m 27.158s by 0.327s.

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Practice two - McLaren's turn for a Melbourne one-two

McLaren ended the second session of practice first and second in Albert Park on Friday evening, with Jenson Button pipping team mate Lewis Hamilton by 0.132s as only 0.429s covered the top five.

The session began under the threat of rain, which fortunately held off to enable all of the runners bar HRT, whose cars were still not ready, to run on both the hard and the soft Pirellis. There were plenty of off-track incidents, centring around Timo Glock, Sebastien Buemi, Vitaly Petrov, Heikki Kovalainen, Adrian Sutil and Rubens Barrichello, but nobody did any damage as they explored the limits.

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Friday practice - selected team and driver quotes

It was a day of learning at Albert Park - learning about moveable rear wings, KERS, track conditions, tyres and, of course, relative form. At the front, McLaren, Red Bull and Ferrari set the pace. At the back, HRT's new F111 managed its very first lap. The leading teams and their rivals reflect on their early progress in Melbourne?

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FIA Friday press conference - Australia

Drivers: Jerome D'Ambrosio (Virgin), Nick Heidfeld (Renault), Sergio Perez Mendoza (Sauber), Paul di Resta (Force India) and Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull).

Q: Sergio, how did things go for you today? What are your first impressions?
Sergio Perez: I think it was a good day. I felt comfortable towards the end of the session. Tomorrow I need to improve a bit more. Apart from this I think it is a good first day and hopefully tomorrow can go the same way.

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Final practice - Vettel storms to the top

Just as it seemed that Mark Webber had once again done enough to head a practice session in Albert Park, his Red Bull team mate Sebastian Vettel came roaring home to wipe 0.857s off the Australian's lap time.

Webber's 1m 25.364s was threatened by Lewis Hamilton's 1m 25.553s for McLaren, which itself undercut team mate Jenson Button's 1m 25.567s. But then as it looked like the leading cars were really closely matched, Vettel gave a chilling demonstration of the Red Bull RB7's potential with 1m 24.507s, far and away the fastest lap of the weekend thus far.

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Qualifying - untouchable Vettel wows with Albert Park pole

Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull crushed their opposition in Albert Park on Saturday to grab pole position for the Australian Grand Prix by a stunning eight-tenths of a second, the world champion being in a class of his own as he lapped in 1m 23.529s in Q3.

Lewis Hamilton showed that McLaren's Friday form was far from the fluke some believed, by snatching second place on the grid from Red Bull's Mark Webber, with a lap of 1m 24.307s compared to the local hero's 1m 24.395s. McLaren's Jenson Button kept Ferrari's Fernando Alonso at bay with 1m 24.779s for fourth, the Spaniard having to settle for 1m 24.974s for Ferrari.

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Qualifying - selected team and driver quotes

Months of waiting - and conjecture - came to end on Saturday afternoon, as the grid's 24 runners finally pitted themselves against each other in anger during qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix. Neither HRT driver managed to set a time within the new 107 percent rule, Renault's Nick Heidfeld was a surprise faller in Q1 and the McLarens looked in unexpectedly good form with Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button finishing in second and fourth. The day, however, belonged to reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel who set a scintillating time to take a dominant pole position for Red Bull

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Re: Qualifying - untouchable Vettel wows with Albert Park pole

I didn't bother getting up to watch it live so don't know the full story,but Vettel being 8/10ths of a second ahead is bl00dy impressive.:eek:

Good to see Petrov up the sharp end,hopefully he can keep it out of the walls and get some decent points,what happened to Heidfeld though?.More dissapointment for Mr.Schumacher,he has said that he will be able to fight for podiums this year,but he won't get any from qualifying in 11th.....
 

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FIA post-qualifying press conference - Australia

Driver: P1 - Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull); P2 - Lewis Hamilton (McLaren); P3 - Mark Webber (Red Bull)

Q: Sebastian, a totally dominant performance. Half-a-second faster than last year's pole position and you didn't even use the KERS button. You must feel on top of the world?

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Race - invincible Vettel wins with ease in Melbourne

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel got his world championship defence off to the best possible start in Albert Park on Sunday evening. The German beat Lewis Hamilton's KERS-assisted rush as they had a drag race to the first corner, and thereafter that was all she wrote.

Renault's Vitaly Petrov took his first F1 podium in third, ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, Red Bull's Mark Webber and McLaren's Jenson Button. Full report...

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Australian Grand Prix - selected team & driver quotes

Sauber's Sergio Perez on his sparky debut performance which clinched him seventh; Renault's Vitaly Petrov on securing his first-ever podium finish; Williams' Rubens Barrichello on his eventful race; Mercedes GP's Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg on their double DNF; and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel on the best possible start to his title defence. The drivers review their Sundays...

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