Latest F1 news in brief - Friday
Whitmarsh expects three engine suppliers in 2014
|Cosworth needed a major manufacturer to badge their engine and infuse cash into R&D but they never could do a deal|
- Buemi rules out HRT, Marussia for 2013
- Red Bull to take over world rally series - report
- A horse called Damon Hill, a medalist at McLaren
- Button’s restaurant goes belly-up
- HRT: Car at 50 percent of true potential
Whitmarsh expects three engine suppliers in 2014
(GMM) Martin Whitmarsh has revealed he is not surprised to hear about 2014 engine supplier Pure's problems.
The McLaren boss and current FOTA chairman said he expects there to be just three engine manufacturers - Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari - supplying turbo V6 engines in 2014.
There had already been doubts in the paddock that HRT and Marussia's V8 supplier, the British independent Cosworth, may not be in a position to supply engines in 2014 as per the radical new regulations.
And it emerged recently that Pure, the 2014 engine supplier set up by BAR founder Craig Pollock, has paused its operations for financial reasons.
Whitmarsh told Germany's motorsport-total.com that it was "foreseeable".
"For me it's no big surprise," he said, referring to Pure.
But even though F1 looks set to be left with just three engine suppliers for its 12 teams, Whitmarsh insisted: "As far as I know, Renault is willing to supply up to seven teams."
And he said Ferrari and Mercedes may also be willing to increase their number of customers.
So Whitmarsh explained that, assuming all 12 teams enter the 2014 championship, there will be a "solution" in the event that are only three engine suppliers.
One solution, he said, is that V8 engines be still allowed on the 2014 grid, so long as their performance is made equal to the V6s.
"That would be feasible," admitted Whitmarsh, "(although) personally I don't think it's an attractive solution."
Buemi rules out HRT, Marussia for 2013
(GMM) Sebastien Buemi is confident he can return to the formula one grid in 2013.
After being dropped by Red Bull's driver development team Toro Rosso, the 23-year-old Swiss was signed for 2012 by the energy drink's premier championship winning team as its official reserve.
"It's good," Buemi told the German language Swiss newspaper 20 Minuten.
"Red Bull is the number one team in formula one and I have a foot in the door. This is important if I want to return to the grid next year."
As to how his search for a 2013 race cockpit is going, Buemi insisted he has "options".
"I can't tell you any more before the ink is dry on a contract," he said. "But I can say that it looks good at the moment."
Buemi categorically ruled out switching to F1's struggling backmarkers Marussia or HRT.
Asked if he would trade his spot on the reserve bench for a seat at one of those small teams, Buemi insisted: "No, I would not.
"Of course I want to race again, but those teams are just too far away from the others. You're not in the right race if after 15 laps you're trying not to be in people's way."
Asked if that means he is in talks with a 'serious, competitive team' for 2013, Buemi answered clearly: "Yes."
Naturally, he would not be on the market at all if Red Bull had kept its 2012 lineup instead of opting for newcomers Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.
Asked about that, Buemi answered: "Currently it's not going too well for Toro Rosso, they've got less points than they did in 2011, but I'm not thinking about it.
"The Toro Rosso chapter is over for me and in the past."
He said he will not be echoing his former teammate Jaime Alguersuari's much harsher criticism in the wake of the Toro Rosso driver clean-sweep.
"I'm grateful to Red Bull," insisted Buemi, "they've helped me a lot. I don't want to talk about how it ended with Toro Rosso. It is what it is -- I can't change it."
Red Bull to take over world rally series - report
(GMM) Red Bull, the owner of two formula one teams, is poised to take over the running of the FIA's World Rally Championship (WRC).
The premier rallying series was thrown into turmoil early this year when the governing body terminated its contract with WRC promoter North One Sport.
Convers Sports Initiatives, a conglomerate headed by Russian businessman Vladimir Antonov, stepped in, but the Times newspaper says that company subsequently collapsed, with Antonov suspected of fraud.
Journalist Kevin Eason said the FIA has struggled to find a new rally promoter until now.
"It seems that the FIA ... is about to offer Red Bull's media operation the chance to revive what was once a championship to rank alongside formula one," he wrote in the British newspaper.
Red Bull already sponsors rally drivers and the Citroen team, added Eason.
"With its flair for marketing promotion, (Red Bull) could be the savior the championship needs," he said.
A horse called Damon Hill, a medalist at McLaren
(GMM) Rarely do the worlds of formula one and the Olympics collide.
But casual viewers of the prestigious equestrian dressage event could hardly believe their ears when a commentator said a German competitor was riding in London "her lovely stallion (called) Damon Hill".
And while a little piece of F1 trotted and pranced for gold, a little piece of the 2008 Beijing games can now be found in the McLaren garage.
Olympic silver medalist Tom Stallard is Jenson Button's performance engineer.
Four years ago, he was among the world's elite 'men's eight' rowers.
"I'd always wanted to be in formula one," he said. "I did a motor sports-focused course at university and did some work experience in the sport.
"I basically joined the team straight after the 2008 Olympics."
And just so the story goes full circle, the most famous rower ever to grace a formula one paddock was Graham Hill -- former world champion Damon Hill's father.
Before he got serious about racing, two-time title winner Hill competed for the prestigious London Rowing Club, adopting its distinctive navy and white colors for his F1 helmet.
"The self discipline required for rowing and the 'never say die' attitude obviously helped me through the difficult years that lay ahead," 1962 and 1968 world champion Hill wrote in his 1969 autobiography, Life At The Limit.
Son Damon Hill raced the same London rowing colors to the 1996 title.
Button’s restaurant goes belly-up
Victus Restaurant in Harrogate, UK, owned by 2009 World Champion Jenson Button, has closed less than one year after it opened its doors to the public.
The establishment, which opened with Button in attendance in September, was part-owned by the Formula 1 driver and manager Richard Goddard.
“It’s a huge shame Victus has found itself in this situation, especially when the reasons behind it are really a question of timing rather than anything else,” Goddard explained to Harrogate-News. “Unfortunately the business was launched in an economy which then continued to slide and just hasn’t stopped, with people simply not having the disposable income needed to spend in restaurants.”
Nice excuse but if you read customer reviews they were not that great, and THAT is really why it went under.
As we previously reported, Button has been spending his F1 summer break in the Philippines, where he was joined by girlfriend Jessica Michibata and took part in a triathlon.
HRT: Car at 50 percent of true potential
From excerpts from the interview we published yesterday, HRT team boss Luis Perez-Sala believes that its current car has reached only 50 percent of its potential, highlighting aerodynamics as main area for improvement. The Spaniard, who spearheaded the squad's relocation to Madrid in 2012, is hopeful that the F112's so far encouraging reliability will offer a strong base for future upgrades.
"I think that, overall, the F112 is a car that has given quite a good result, keeping in mind how it started," said Perez-Sala. "In winter I had a lot of doubts, because the car was handed to us and we didn’t have enough time to review it.
HRT's Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan run line astern at the Hungaroring. "The proceedings and deadlines weren’t the usual ones and that forced us to go quicker to make up for lost time and organize the different parties implicated in the project to make it on time.
"But even with all these obstacles, the car has given good results. It has a good base and that’s its biggest strength. It’s a reliable car with good mechanical resistance and it offers a lot of possibilities for its development. I’d say we’re at 50 percent of its potential and we can still extract another 50 percent, mainly in aerodynamics."
Looking ahead to the rest of 2012, Perez-Sala is focused on remaining comfortably within the 107 percent qualifying rule, before cementing the team's future in the sport.
"For me it would be a success to maintain the reliability we have and improve our performance a little bit more," he continued. "To achieve this I hope that the aero package that we will introduce after the summer will help us to take the next step.
"The objective is to stay between the 104 and 105 percent and have the project for 2013 prepared. If we achieve all of this I’d be satisfied. Besides I hope that the team is fully functioning, with the design and aerodynamics department working at the Caja Magica, although to achieve this we need a bit more time."