Latest F1 news in brief - Friday
'Downbeat' Massa fastest in new Ferrari
|Raikkonen and his wife, former Miss Scandinavia Jenni Dahlman, have split|
- Glock went because Marussia needs 'every million' - Symonds
- Di Resta enjoying status as Force India's lone driver
- Newey wants to 'manage as little as possible'
- Raikkonen splits with wife
- Bottas 'not a complete rookie' - Maldonado
- Sauber wants reserve Frijns to race in 2013
- Horner doubts teams to drop 'vanity panels'
- Raikkonen seeking E21 balance tweaks
- Di Resta hindered by exhaust failure
- Pic completes first ever laps with KERS
'Downbeat' Massa fastest in new Ferrari
|Massa fastest but on soft tires|
(GMM) Felipe Massa emotions were in the brazing zone on Thursday, despite putting Ferrari's new F138 on top of the test timesheets at Jerez.
"It means nothing," said the Brazilian.
"Several teams have very quick and well balanced cars and so I am 100 per cent keeping my feet on the ground."
Indeed, those at the southern Spanish circuit also sensed Massa's caution: a British Sky reporter saying he seemed "downbeat".
And Motor und Sport correspondent Michael Schmidt agreed: "Satisfaction looks different. Felipe Massa sat on his stool in the Ferrari tent for his press conference and conveyed little enthusiasm."
Although much quicker than the Briton, Massa recalled Jenson Button's "incredible" fastest lap of the opening day.
"With the hard tires, the first day of testing, with the dirty track and everything else ... it was a really fast lap.
"I did not have the car to do that on the first day," said Massa.
"If we are to be in that position at the first race then we need to work -- a lot."
World champion Sebastian Vettel, returning to work with Red Bull on Thursday, also sounded skeptical about Massa's Thursday pace: "Today we left the lap time-hunting to others," he is quoted by Bild newspaper.
Even Fernando Alonso, training in Dubai at present, seems none too interested in Massa's progress. "I have not talked to him," Massa confirmed after Thursday's running.
But the Spaniard wrote on Twitter: "Obviously I'm following the test with the team and I have mails with all info."
Writing for O Estado de S.Paulo, Livio Oricchio thinks the current pecking order could be Red Bull slightly ahead of McLaren, followed by Lotus and Ferrari.
Massa agrees that Red Bull is keeping its cards close to its chest, "as they always do".
Lotus, however, is not hiding its optimism. "The car looks fast," said team owner Gerard Lopez, according to Finland's Turun Sanomat, after Kimi Raikkonen ran in the E21 for the first time on Thursday.
"We had a fast car last year but this seems even better," he added.
Finally, Mercedes had a good day at last, with Nico Rosberg putting in a gargantuan 148 laps in the new W04, which on Tuesday and Wednesday failed spectacularly.
"It really put a smile on everybody's face," said the German, who was second fastest.
Glock went because Marussia needs 'every million' - Symonds
(GMM) Marussia parted with Timo Glock because a backmarker team needs every million.
That is the claim of Pat Symonds, the former Renault 'crash-gate' conspirator who - after serving his F1 ban - is now openly in charge of the 2013 Marussia MR02.
Devoid of many sponsors, the new red and black car will be raced this year by wealthy Max Chilton and Luiz Razia, who replaced German Glock at the last minute.
"For Red Bull, one million has little effect," Symonds is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport. "For us it's different."
Marussia has openly admitted it ousted the salaried Glock because it needed a driver to bring significant sponsorship.
"I have to take my hat off to Timo," said Symonds, referring to the 30-year-old who has switched to DTM with BMW.
"He understood our situation and told us that if his leaving can help 100 jobs, then he will make room for another driver."
Still, Symonds regrets that Glock had to go.
"He is an excellent driver; with his experience and feedback he helped a lot with the development of the car," he said.
"And he was excellent in difficult conditions. On a dry track, he was three to five tenths in front of (Charles) Pic (in 2012). But in difficult conditions, such as the last race in Brazil, it was one and a half seconds."
Martin Whitmarsh, the McLaren boss who this week admitted he tried and failed to help former team driver Heikki Kovalainen stay in F1, said the current 'pay driver' situation is "a shame" for F1.
"It is exciting for those guys who can afford it," he is quoted by the Dutch magazine Formule1, "but in my opinion this is the top of motor sport.
"For some teams it's difficult to survive, that's for sure," he acknowledged.
Di Resta enjoying status as Force India's lone driver
(GMM) Paul di Resta has admitted he is quite enjoying his current status as Force India's only race driver.
Since parting with now Sauber racer Nico Hulkenberg, the Silverstone based team has been weighing up its options for 2013, with Jules Bianchi and Adrian Sutil reportedly at the top of the candidates' list.
Britain's Daily Mail said the very last place on the 2013 grid should be filled by Force India in time for the forthcoming second pre-season test, in Barcelona.
But Scot di Resta, although openly disappointed to have missed out on a top seat this year, is quite enjoying the responsibility of being Force India's only driver for now.
"It's not affecting me one bit," he insisted.
"I'm working away with the people I feel I have to, and in my third season with the team it's good to have the challenge of developing my feedback.
"We're working away on the small details, as we normally do, but my opinion is obviously being well respected by the team."
Newey wants to 'manage as little as possible'
(GMM) Adrian Newey has revealed a secret of his success at Red Bull -- the team lets him get on with the job of designing formula one cars in peace.
"For me, here it's ideal," he is quoted by Speed Week.
"I want to manage as little as possible, and spend as much time as possible thinking about the car.
"At Red Bull that's fundamentally different than when I was with McLaren," the Briton added.
Newey, however, acknowledges that he would have enjoyed some more time to stew over the RB9; the new Red Bull with which Sebastian Vettel will charge for an ultra-rare fourth consecutive drivers' title.
Newey admits it is a "small miracle" that the RB9 was able to be unveiled at all this week at Jerez, due to Red Bull having to push last year's development right to the end of the title charge.
"This is also one of the reasons why the RB9 is an evolution," he acknowledged.
Finally, Newey gave a sobering analysis of the amount of input Vettel and his experienced teammate Mark Webber have in the design of a new car.
"Not so much," he smiled. "Basically, we know by now exactly what Seb and Mark want from a racing car."
Raikkonen splits with wife
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen has split with his wife of eight years.
When a McLaren driver, the Finn married former Miss Scandinavia Jenni Dahlman in 2004.
The Finnish entertainment magazine 7 Paivaa reports that they have split.
"It's true, they have grown in different directions," confirmed the now Lotus driver's personal assistant Ridu Kuvaja, according to Finnish daily Ilta Sanomat.
The newspaper said Jenni moved out of their EUR 30 million home in Switzerland several weeks ago.
Broadcaster MTV3 reports that divorce could be "expensive" for Raikkonen, given his estimated fortune of more than EUR 120 million, including a portfolio of properties.
Bottas 'not a complete rookie' - Maldonado
(GMM) Pastor Maldonado, who in 2013 enters his third F1 season with Williams, thinks new teammate Valtteri Bottas will get quickly up to speed.
Actually, 23-year-old Finn Bottas is a rookie, and - once the Grove team gets its 2013 car up and running in Barcelona this month - he will have just four days at the wheel before making his grand prix debut in Australia.
But Venezuelan Maldonado said: "Valtteri has been actively involved in the development (of the FW35) and has done a lot of long days in the simulator.
"He is not a complete rookie," he told the MTV3 broadcaster.
"I believe he will enjoy this season and will be immediately competitive."
Indeed, one of departed Williams driver Bruno Senna's complaints was that, despite racing throughout 2012, he usually had to give up his car to Bottas on Friday mornings at grands prix.
Before and after those race weekends last year, reserve driver Bottas was often seen helping the Williams mechanics and truckies set up and dismantle the garage.
The Finn told British Sky television at Jerez: "I promised the guys, even though I am racing now, at least once I will come and help them again."
Sauber wants reserve Frijns to race in 2013
(GMM) Peter Sauber has urged Robin Frijns, the Swiss F1 team's new reserve driver, to find a race cockpit in another series for 2013.
Recently, Dutchman Frijns - the new Formula Renault 3.5 champion - was interpreted as having criticized the Hinwil based team for not giving him "much to do" in 2013 as he prepares to serve as reserve driver.
Team co-owner and founder Peter Sauber reacted: "As far as I understand, some quotes were taken out of context.
"From our side," he insisted, "it was clear from the outset that he will not be driving on Fridays.
"But at the same time, it is absolutely in our interest that he races in 2013, simply to stay fresh as a race driver.
"This is being worked on," Sauber told Speed Week.
"I really like Robin," the 69-year-old continued. "He has won in every series in which he has competed. He is a great talent and I am happy that we have him with us."
Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn hinted recently that Frijns is seeking to combine his new F1 role with a seat in GP2.
Horner doubts teams to drop 'vanity panels'
(GMM) Christian Horner thinks 'vanity panels' are here to stay.
This year, the FIA has allowed designers to cover the unseemly 'step' in the noses - which were created by an anomaly in the 2012 rules - with a non-structural laminate.
Some teams bought into the idea of a smooth nose wholeheartedly for 2013, including McLaren and Ferrari.
But others, notably Red Bull, Mercedes and Sauber, adopted a halfway-house solution, while the likes of Lotus and Caterham simply left the full 'step' on.
So, with the various solutions now out of the bag, there is speculation in the Jerez test paddock this week that some teams could change their minds in the next few weeks.
Referring to the so-called 'vanity panel', Red Bull's Horner said: "Some teams have opted for it, some have opted for another solution.
"I think that will remain the same throughout the year," he told British broadcaster Sky.
Raikkonen seeking E21 balance tweaks
Kimi Raikkonen paid little attention to the timesheets after his first day of pre-season testing at Jerez, explaining that low fuel runs were the least of his priorities. Having been unable to complete more than 40 laps, primarily due to a clutch problem in the afternoon, the Finn is still trying to find a comfortable baseline balance in the E21.
"It was good to get behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car again," said Raikkonen. "The E21 feels quite good so far, even if the balance isn't quite to my liking yet. That didn't stop us going through the program we wanted to do which had a lot of aero runs in it.
"We know the car can go faster, we were just running through what we needed to. It's a shame that we had a clutch issue at the end of the day, but that's why we come testing so we can find problems and fix them."
Raikkonen will continue at the wheel of the new Lotus E21 chassis on Friday, bring the first pre-season gathering of the year to an end for the Enstone-based squad.
Di Resta hindered by exhaust failure
Force India's Paul di Resta was restricted to just seven laps of the Jerez circuit this afternoon, with the Scot enjoying a far less successful day than development driver James Rossiter. Having taken over the VJM06 at the lunch break, the 26-year-old's car suffered an exhaust failure which the team was unable to fix before the day concluded.
"After lunch we installed Paul in the car, but an exhaust failure forced us to end the day early," explained Chief Race Engineer Jakob Andreasen. "Fortunately, good work by the engineers using the telemetry meant the damage was only superficial."
Di Resta will have to wait until the next test in Barcelona, taking place from 19-22 February, to get back in the car, with Jules Bianchi completing the final day at Jerez.
Pic completes first ever laps with KERS
Caterham driver Charles Pic completed his first ever laps with KERS at Jerez on Thursday, having moved to the team from key rivals Marussia who did not use the device in 2012. The Frenchman, whose opening day program was interfered with a midday stoppage, says he is pleased with his initial introduction to the outfit.
"It was very good to get back on track and for my first day with the team it's been pretty good," Pic commented. "We had a technical issue late in the morning session that stopped the car on track but the team did a good job to fix it and give me enough time in the afternoon session to complete 57 laps in total.
"The important thing was starting to get used to the car, particularly working with KERS and my new team. We've worked through a lot of the normal procedures so I'm pleased with what we've achieved. Tomorrow we'll keep working through a similar program, as well as some aero tests, and just keep adding to the mileage."
Pic, who will conclude the test for Caterham, posted a time of 1:22.352 on Thursday, just over a second slower than Giedo van der Garde managed earlier in the week.