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Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
  • Marussia - No engine and no money for 2014.  Ride-Buyers please bring 'large' check
    Marussia looking for 2014 engine supplier
  • Lotus denies engine maps issue will slow 2013 car
  • Lotus to begin 2013 season without title sponsor
  • McLaren denies 2013 car off the pace
  • Sergio Perez admits to car set-up struggle at McLaren
  • De Villota permitted to drive road car again

Marussia looking for 2014 engine supplier
(GMM)  Marussia is on the market for a new engine supplier, sporting director Graeme Lowdon has admitted.

Although Cosworth has not ruled out supplying a turbo V6 for the all-new 2014 regulations, Marussia is now the British company's only customer for the existing V8.

And most paddock experts expect only Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari to supply V6s next year.

"My understanding is that Cosworth won't be making a 2014 engine," Lowdon explained at the FOTA Fans' Forum in Barcelona.

"I don't work for Cosworth, but that is my understanding."

With Renault currently supplying four teams, and looking set to add Toro Rosso to its roster next year, representatives of the French marque this week ruled out supplying six teams in 2014.

Currently, Mercedes (McLaren and Force India) and Ferrari (Sauber and Toro Rosso) have two engine customers apiece.

Lotus denies engine maps issue will slow 2013 car
(GMM)  Ahead of the final pre-season test and 2013 season opener, Lotus has played down a new controversy about engine maps.

We reported on Monday that, after Red Bull were told to stop using certain 'maps' mid last season, the similarly Renault-powered Lotus was now also embroiled in a similar controversy.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said the FIA directive issued in August of last year still applied for 2013, despite Red Bull and Lotus assuming it related exclusively to last season's championship.

But on Wednesday, Lotus' operations chief Alan Permane said the suggestion the impressive recent pace of the E21 will now be affected by having to remove the offending 'maps' is "nonsense".

"Renault had come up with some alternative engine maps to try," he said, referring to last week's Barcelona test.

"They talked to the FIA about it but Charlie Whiting didn't want us to use them."

Permane is quoted by the BBC as insisting the engine maps in question have little to do with Lotus' impressive winter form.

"Kimi (Raikkonen) has used the new one once on an installation lap and hated it," he said.

"Romain (Grosjean) used it in the wet last week on the final day and it finished up ok.  But all his running in the dry has been without it," added Permane.

He said the performance advantages or disadvantages from the various Renault engine maps are "tiny".

Permane also chided Ross Brawn for describing Renault-powered teams' approach to exhaust layout as depending on "a clever engine management system".

He said: "For Ross to talk about it like that is utter rubbish."

Lotus to begin 2013 season without title sponsor
(GMM)  Lotus looks set to begin the 2013 season without a title sponsor.

Late last year, it emerged that the Genii-owned team was close to announcing a $30 million per year deal with Honeywell, the American technology giant.

But last month, Switzerland's Speed Week reported that the deal is now "a way off".

"We've had discussions and some of them were quite advanced," Genii's Gerard Lopez, without mentioning Honeywell, told Reuters this week.

"It's important to have the right package.  And the right package is to a large extent also financial.

"I guess we could probably have signed a couple of things that leaked out but we think we are better off making sure that we sign what is the right thing for us," he added.

"We will probably end up with something during the season."

It is believed Lotus' 2013 livery was designed with the Honeywell deal in mind.

Now, in the highly-prominent red-colored area on the top of the engine cover near the airbox, the stylized words 'Kimi' and 'Romain' are featured on Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean's cars respectively.

Lotus is the only top team without a title sponsor.

McLaren denies 2013 car off the pace
(GMM)  McLaren has denied it is slightly off the pace as teams enter the final week of pre-season testing.

With multiple sources reporting that Red Bull and Lotus look to be narrowly leading the 2013 field at present, Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali this week admitted he would be "very surprised" if the new F138 is quickest in Australia.

Drivers Jenson Button and Sergio Perez have been making similar noises about the 2013 McLaren.

Team newcomer and Mexican Perez sounded alarmed when he said the degradation of Pirelli's new tires is "extreme", while Button admitted recently that while the radical new MP4-28 often feels good, "at other times it doesn't".

But McLaren's managing director Jonathan Neale has this week sent out a more upbeat message, insisting the drivers have reported that the "handling is good".

"I don't think we've seen anybody yet do a lap time that we felt we couldn't have done if we'd changed the fuel load," he told British reporters.

"A bit like the beginning of last season," added Neale, "nobody stands out as being head and shoulders above everybody else at the moment and nobody appears to be hanging off the back either."

Sergio Perez admits to car set-up struggle at McLaren 
Sergio Perez admits that McLaren are having problems with the set-up of their car ahead of the new season.

McLaren have made a lot of changes to their new MP4-28 car for 2013, but after testing Perez says he can tell he is in a better car this year after his move from Sauber.

The 23-year-old Mexican also answers some questions from fans and says he has joined McLaren to win races, not to be a support act to team-mate Jenson Button.

De Villota permitted to drive road car again
MarĂ­a de Villota has been cleared to get behind the wheel of a car for the first time since her horrific testing accident at Duxford last July. The Spaniard, who lost her right eye as a result of the crash which occurred during an aero test for Marussia, says although some tasks still pose a challenge, she is already in a 'much better' position.

"Last week they gave me permission to return to driving," 33-year-old de Villota explained. "I can already calculate the distances quite well and it feels like nothing ever happened. I feel very good. The doctors told me that it helps that I have never drank alcohol or smoked and that I was a sportswoman.

"I still feel a little weak and have headaches, but I am getting on well. Very busy days take their toll, but I am calm because I know everything is going well. To start with it was difficult just to do day-to-day things. Catching keys in flight or getting a glass of water was a problem, but now things are much better."

De Villota added that she hopes to work with governing body the FIA to further improve Formula 1 safety, with the 33-year-old determined to make a long-term contribution.

"When your life is saved, no one owes you anything," she commented. "I don't hold any rancor towards the sport. The only thing I want is for the safety in races and tests to be improved. I will collaborate with them on what is currently lacking. Moreover, I feel very grateful to all the teams and drivers who have supported me after the accident."

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