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GP Week : Issue 135
n The Singapore Grand Prix marked Williams technical director Sam Michael’s last race with the team. Michael tendered his resignation earlier this year, following the Grove-based team’s worst season start in 34 years, but the bad start hasn’t improved by much. The once dominant team is currently languishing in P9 in the constructors’ standings, ahead of only the three teams that were new to the grid in 2010. Michael will move to McLaren at an as yet unspecified date in 2012, where he will assume the mantle of sporting director. n One of the non-racing highlights of the Singapore Grand Prix weekend came via internet legend and ‘80s popstar Rick Astley, who performed his hit (was there more than one) on both Saturday and Sunday nights. The audience was filled with ironic hipsters keen to rickroll themselves in the flesh. n Did you hear that anguished wail in the Singapore paddock on Thursday afternoon? It was the sound of McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton regretting a comment he made earlier this year. “Red Bull are not a manufacturer, they are a drinks company,” he told The Guardian before the 2011 season started in Melbourne. Little did Hamilton know that the recent link-up with GlaxoSmithKline would lead to McLaren picking up Lucozade sponsorship. All together now: “they are a drinks company, Lewis!” But with the success of McLaren’s recently- launched MP4-12C, there’s no doubt the British team are also a manufacturer. n Former F1 driver Eddie Irvine, currently best known for his outspoken comments and a career largely spent as #2 driver to Michael Schumacher, hit the headlines this week when he called Jenson Button “the best number two driver” in Formula One. Speaking to Germany’s Auto Bild Motorsport, the Irish driver went on to damn the 2009 world champion with more faint praise, adding “Jenson is doing nothing special. He just does a reasonable job. He knows he will never again be world champion and he drives accordingly.” Button responded with grace and sarcasm: “Why is Eddie still taking about Formula One? Is he missing it? It’s very sweet, though. All I can say is that it was fun winning the world championship, and I hope to do it again.” Short Straights Red Bull deny violating Resource Restriction Agreement IN the run-up to the Singapore Grand Prix, expectations were high for an upgrade that saw bodywork and sidepods made more compact. But hopes were dashed on Friday afternoon when a heating problem on Vitaly Petrov’s car saw the team take the decision to revert to the standard specification. Making the changes cost Petrov valuable running time in practice. “It was not the upgrade itself that did not work, it was more something wrong with the water flow for the radiators,” team principal Eric Boullier explained. “It was something more mechanical inside and obviously because you cannot test it, and we could not take the risk to miss P2, we decided to go back to the standard package. “But of course we will work on it and try and get it back on the car for Suzuka.” “ We lost P1 because we decided to change the problem quickly as we would not have made P2,” Petrov told Autosport. “ We cannot risk running it tomorrow because there is no time. “Losing P1 at this circuit it is quite a disaster because here you find a lot of time by driving and learning, so I think we will not be super quick here on this circuit but we will be in Suzuka. You never know, though.” The after-effect of the lack of running made itself clear on Saturday evening, when Petrov was knocked out of qualifying at the end of the first session, following an impressive lap from teammate Bruno Senna that took one second off the Russian’s time. Renault’s Singapore weekend affected by upgrade problems 10