More Friday news briefs from Melbourne

Fri, 26 March 2010, 10:01

Mar.26 (GMM) Intermittent rain affected the second 90 minutes of practice at Albert Park late on Friday afternoon. In front of 68,000 Australians, the two McLarens were quickest ahead of Mark Webber and Michael Schumacher, but Ferrari – who did not have a car higher than 15th – said the rain made the real pace “difficult to assess”.

Flavio Briatore has told Italian car magazine Quattroruote that he is still managing F1 drivers Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber.

Ferrari’s F1 race drivers are easy to spot when not at Albert Park this weekend — they are both using the striking $330,000 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S as their company cars in Melbourne. Jenson Button and Michael Schumacher each have a Mercedes C63 AMG at their disposal, Lewis Hamilton is driving an E500 saloon, and Bernie Ecclestone is getting about in a Mercedes S350.

Mark Webber has revealed that his leg, broken badly in a cycling crash early last year, is still not fully healed. “There are a few little niggles here and there but they are absolutely nothing compared to what I had,” said the Australian.

While the team claims a spark plug issue, Red Bull’s Christian Horner has dismissed McLaren chief Ron Dennis’ assertion that Sebastian Vettel’s problems during the Bahrain GP might simply have been due to the German running low on fuel. “The problem with age is your hearing fades, maybe Ron didn’t hear the engine,” said the Briton.

In the wake of Vitaly Petrov’s mammoth EUR7000 speeding fine in the initial Friday session, Melbourne stewards have now confirmed that Adrian Sutil and Bruno Senna each received 1600 euro fines for breaching the pitlane’s 60kph limit.

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