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GP Week : Issue 218
F1 >>> nEWs BriEFly PALMeR DeBuTs Reigning GP2 champion Jonelyn Palmer made his race weekend debut in China. Stepping into Romain Grosjean's Lotus for opening practice, the 24-year-old had an early spin before setting the 15th fastest time of the session. TRACK INVADeR During second practice a fan ran across the pit straight before jumping over the pit wall. He was quickly apprehended by security and handed to Police, reportedly claiming he wanted to drive a car. Security was tightened in the wake of the incident, as former driver turned TV pundit Johnny Herbet found out on Saturday morning. ReNAuLT ReTuRN Rumours continue to circulate that Renault may go it alone and buy a team. Lotus, Sauber and Toro Rosso all possible targets for the French manufacturer though has a paltry budget of just €30million with which to acquire a team. Renault previously sold 75% what is now the Lotus team at the end of 2009 to Genii Capital, the remaining 25% puchased by Lotus cars in 2010. eND OF THe ROAD Turning 34 in July, Fernando Alonso has claimed he will end his Formula 1 career with McLaren. The commitement to his new team sounds rather reminiscant of statements made when he joined his previous employer. Amid thinly veiled threats that Renault could withdraw from Formula 1 should it remain uncompetitive, Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda has suggested the sport doesn't need them. Indeed the opinionated Austrian has suggested the sport would also survive quite happily without Honda too. "If Honda and Renault decide to leave Formula 1, I couldn't care less," he is quoted as saying in the Italian press. "If despite their spending they are not able to fight for the win, that should not be a problem for Mercedes." Having been the pick of the breed since the introduction of new engine regulations at the start of 2014, Mercedes has largely maintained its advantage even once the regulations were relaxed ahead of this season which allowed manufactureres to tinker with their designs. The move came after Renault and Ferrari sought to level the playing field with their developments and while Ferrari has made strides for ward the same cannot be said of Renault. That lack of development, which has effectively seen it go backwards in comparison to Ferrari, has heaped pressure on the French marque and led to some fiery exchanges in the media with Red Bull's Helmut Marko and owner Dietrich Mateschitz. Lauda though fails, or chooses not, to see the problem should Renault decide to step away from the sport it dominated just two years ago. "When I won the championship there were two Ferrari engines and 20 Cosworth engines and no one complained," the three-time world champion argued. "If Renault and Honda go we will give 20 Mercedes engines to everyone and what is the problem?" wE doN'T NEEd RENAULT, SAyS LAUdA 10 GPWEEK.com // 10 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: