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GP Week : Issue 111
n Lewis Hamilton says he would we- come a partnership with Sebastian Vettel in the future, dismissing suggestions by Red Bull team principal Chrsitian Horner that it would be impossible to have two talented world champions at the energy drinks outfit. “It can work,” Hamilton told British media in Malaysia. “ The only reason I would imagine that he [Horner] would suggest that is because certain individuals don’t like being beaten.” Although Hamilton has a contract with McLaren until the end of 2012, rumours have linked him to a Red Bull seat recent- ly, with his comments at the weekend failing to dampen the speculation. n Virgin Racing refugee Lucas di Grassi will get back behind the wheel of a For- mula One car in Barcelona next month to test for tyre supplier Pirelli, as the Italian company looks for a replacement tester now that Pedro de la Rosa has rejoined McLaren as reserve driver. Nick Heidfeld, De la Rosa and Romain Grosjean have all been a test driver for Pirelli over the past eight months, but all are otherwise en- gaged leaving Di Grassi the best remain- ing choice for them to continue their tyre development. n Circuit commentator and bronzed adonis Bob Constanduros, 64, came in for a bit of a ribbing in the post-qualifying press conference. “I have a question for you,” said Lewis Hamilton to the ques- tion-master. “I’ve been here God knows how many years now, five years. You al- ways have the best tan. Where have you been?” “Without sun tan lotion by the looks of it,” chipped in Mark Webber, “Do you wear Speedos?” before explaining to Sebastian Vettel what ‘budgie smugglers’ refers to. n The Formula One Teams’ Association (FOTA) met in Malaysia on Sunday to finalise their management structure for the coming season. As expected Martin Whitmarsh stays on as chairman of the group, but will this year be supported by Renault’s team principal Eric Boullier in the position of vice chairman, replacing Stefano Domenicali. Red Bull’s team prin- cipal Christian Horner stays on as chair- man of the sporting regulations working group, while Ferrari’s technical director Aldo Costa takes over from Ross Brawn as chairman of the technical regulations working group Short Straights TEAM Lotus emerged enthused, confi- dent and optimistic from yesterday’s Malaysian Grand Prix, after making their long-awaited push towards the grid’s midfield after just over 12 months in the sport. Had it not been for a few mistakes on his final qualifying lap on Saturday, Heikki Kovalainen may well have grad- uated to Q2 on merit, while in Sunday’s race the Finn finished within half a second of Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari after 55 laps of hard racing. On Saturday, chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne was adamant that the pace had been in the car to get through to Q2, while team principal Tony Fernandes was ecstatic to see his cars so close to beating some of the established teams on merit. “ Words cannot express how happy and overjoyed I am right now. To see 18 months of hard work come good with us finishing within a couple of tenths of teams that have been around for a long time, and less than a second away from the midfield pack, that is an amazing achievement,” said Fernandes. “It is made even more satisfying after what has been a pretty hard winter test program, taking on the issues we have been working through and, honestly, not a great start to the season - but this is a great feeling.” Sunday’s race was equally encour- aging with Heikki Kovalainen closing to within half a second of Alguersuari at the flag, while impressively finishing 75 seconds clear of Timo Glock’s Virgin. “A very strong race from both drivers although unfortunately Jarno stopped in the garage with a clutch sensor problem,” revealed Gascoyne. “ We looked to do a two stop strategy with both cars. We might have struggled with Jarno as his tyre degradation was slightly higher, but it worked well with Heikki. Overall our pace was very good at the end, particularly when we were with the leading cars, and we were very close to passing one of the Torro Rossos as we came over the line which shows how we have progressed. “ This weekend has been by far our strongest race performance since we came back into Formula One, so it is good to be racing again.” With a major car update planned for Barcelona, the prospect of seeing a Team Lotus car back in the points for the first time since August 1993 is becoming ever- more realistic. Team Lotus overjoyed Kovalainen finishes within touching distance of established teams 10