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DATE News (chronologically)
03/26/13
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday  UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

03/26/13
  • Ecclestone slams team orders
    Webber will race in China - father
  • Brawn's team order call 'right' - Wolff
  • 2013 season 'really starts in Spain' - van der Garde
  • Renault reveals engine talks with Toro Rosso
  • Ecclestone comments make Hamilton 'nervous'
  • Ecclestone slams team orders
  • F1 TV Ratings
  • Vettel used his killer instinct – Berger New
  • Webber will never follow team orders again New

Webber will race in China - father
(GMM)  Mark Webber's father insists the 36-year-old Australian driver is not quitting Red Bull or formula one.

After teammate Sebastian Vettel passed him for victory in Malaysia in defiance of a team order, comments made post-race by Webber indicated he was now considering his future.

Webber went straight from Sepang to a surfing holiday, insisting his phone will be "off the hook".

At the same time, videos were emerging on Youtube showing Webber angrily swerving at Vettel at high speed after the pair had crossed the checkered flag.

It is even rumored Webber threatened to boycott the podium ceremony.

But his father Alan told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Tuesday: "We'll be up in China for the next one."

The major fallout of the Sepang affair is undoubtedly the now completely broken relationship between top team Red Bull's driver pairing.

"I think it will take a while (for Vettel) to earn the respect and trust again," admitted Alan Webber.

Former driver and respected British commentator Martin Brundle said that is a "huge problem", because a F1 team cannot manage its drivers if there is no "trust".

Dr Helmut Marko agrees: "Seb and Mark don't need to go on holiday together, but there must be a constructive working environment."

Flavio Briatore pinned the blame on Red Bull's management.

"Unacceptable," he is quoted by Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.  "You can see who the real manager is at Red Bull; it's Vettel."

John Watson, a former McLaren driver, therefore called on Red Bull to ban Vettel for a race.

"I know that if other drivers in other teams disobeyed a team order they would be suspended or even fired," he said on BBC radio.

"If Christian Horner doesn't reassert his authority, then his position in the team is not exactly the role it is designed to be."

Even Bernie Ecclestone admitted Red Bull have a big problem.

"Maybe there will be a stage when he (Vettel) would like Mark to help him, but I don't think Mark is going to come up front and do it (now)," he is quoted by the Telegraph.

Webber is not the only one who has lost respect for Vettel.

"I used to regard him as the most intelligent and worldly 25-year-old I have ever seen racing," fellow triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart is quoted by the Independent.

"But not anymore."

BBC commentator David Coulthard chimed in: "You can't cram 40 years into 25."

Red Bull is doing its best to claim it has the situation under control.  Team boss Horner has called meetings with his drivers, and Dr Helmut Marko has revealed the pair "shook hands" in the post-race engineering briefing.

"We have to rebuild trust between the two of them," he told Bild newspaper, "but from our side it is done."

Austrian Marko even appeared to excuse Vettel.

"When two alpha males are fighting wheel to wheel, they're not listening to the radio any more.

"The situation got out of control."

Marko even hinted he is totally on Vettel's side, pointing out the "risk" that both Red Bulls would be "swallowed up" by the chasing Mercedes at Sepang.

He admitted, however, that team owner Dietrich Mateschitz was "not amused".

"We have made clear to Seb that something like that will not happen again.  I don't think it will."

Brawn's team order call 'right' - Wolff
(GMM)  Toto Wolff, the new Mercedes co-owner and director, has played down reports of a growing rift between the team's German and British factions.

After German Nico Rosberg was ordered by Ross Brawn to stay behind Briton Lewis Hamilton in Malaysia, Austrians Wolff and Niki Lauda admitted their disapproval.

But RTL now quotes Wolff as saying: "The decision was unpopular, but right."

The incident is being compared to the situation at Red Bull, where team bosses tried - but ultimately failed - to impose a 'hold station' order at Sepang.

Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko had tried to differentiate the teams by insisting "It's not like at Mercedes, where there's a clear number 1 and number 2".

Hamilton - who according to Marko is undoubtedly the '1' - dismissed that as "rubbish".

"They (Red Bull) have a clear one and two, they always have had," the 2008 world champion told British reporters.

"And that is why they have always had the problems they have had."

But during Martin Brundle's Sky commentary in Malaysia, the former McLaren driver admitted he finds it hard to believe Hamilton decided to switch to Mercedes over the winter without the promise of higher status.

Hamilton denied: "I have always said, from the moment I was speaking to the team, that I wanted equality."

That's why the 28-year-old looked so unhappy despite finishing third on Sunday.

"I said to Ross at the end that I wanted to let him (Rosberg) past.  He said 'Absolutely not.  When I tell you what I want (you) to do, you have to stick by it'," recalled Hamilton.

Hans-Joachim Stuck, the German federation president, said he admires Rosberg for not behaving like Vettel in Malaysia.

"It was a textbook example of a world-class driver," he told SID news agency.  "He is an employee of Mercedes and so when he receives an order, he follows it."

2013 season 'really starts in Spain' - van der Garde
(GMM)  Giedo van der Garde has admitted he is prepared to endure a couple more painful grands prix.

The Dutchman has been struggling so far in his young F1 career, while Caterham's usual wheel-to-wheel rival Marussia - particularly the red and black car driven by impressive rookie Jules Bianchi - looks set to race into the midfield.

Van der Garde told De Telegraaf newspaper that his green car will not be updated until the fifth race of the season, once F1 has returned to Europe.

"The season really starts for me in Spain," he said.

In the meantime, Marussia has sped into the lucrative tenth spot in the constructors' championship, with France's Auto Hebdo calling compatriot Bianchi "flawless" so far.

The Ferrari-linked 23-year-old was recruited by Marussia at the very last minute, after Brazilian Luiz Razia's sponsorship money failed to arrive.

"It was nice to have held off (Williams' Pastor) Maldonado (in Malaysia) and to maintain the gap for so long," the Frenchman, who like teammate Max Chilton also complained at Sepang about being "stuck behind" a Caterham, said.

"This shows we have the car to fight with them (the midfield teams) in the future."

Renault reveals engine talks with Toro Rosso
(GMM)  Renault has admitted it is negotiating with Toro Rosso.

Currently, the second Red Bull-owned team is powered by Ferrari's V8 engine.

But it has been rumored that, in order for the Faenza based squad and 'big brother' team Red Bull to more closely collaborate in the new V6 era, Toro Rosso could switch to Renault turbos from next year.

At the moment, Renault supplies four teams - Red Bull, Lotus, Williams and Caterham - which is more than any other engine supplier on the F1 grid.

Asked if four is "the ideal number", Renault's Jean-Michel Jalinier told Speed Week: "I don't think there is an ideal number.

"In 2014, we want - if it is necessary - to supply five teams.  We are negotiating with the teams and with Toro Rosso.

"We are ready for five teams.

"But three teams would be good for us, making it easier for us to support all of them," he admitted.

Asked if another engine supplier entering F1 would ease the load, Jalinier answered: "Yes.  Three is not enough to equip all the teams.

"Five (customer teams) is not my first choice."

Ecclestone comments make Hamilton 'nervous'
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton has admitted Bernie Ecclestone's recent comments are making him "nervous".

The F1 chief executive revealed recently that Red Bull - not Mercedes - was actually 2008 world champion's first choice for 2013 when he made the decision to quit McLaren.

Now, in another interview, Ecclestone told Sportsvibe: "I like Lewis but it hasn't appeared as though his feet have been on the ground in recent times.

"People think he's arrogant, which he's not, but that's the perception of him and he's only got himself to blame for that.

"I'm not sure the Pussycat has helped and also the fact that Ron Dennis at McLaren sheltered him too much.  He was very good to him but when Ron stopped being hands on with the formula one team Lewis was like the rebel teenage son wanting to leave home."

Hamilton told British reporters: "I'm not quite sure why Bernie keeps making comments about me.

"It makes me a little bit nervous because we have quite a good relationship."

As for Ecclestone's claim that Red Bull was his first choice, having 'rolled his eyes' initially at Mercedes, Hamilton answered: "There was no team I was particularly pushing for.

"At the end of the day I chose to be here and I'm happy here.  It's the best decision I ever made."

Flavio Briatore, the former Renault boss, was asked about Ecclestone's Hamilton comments, and said: "I think that is not true.

"(Niki) Lauda has been trying for years to bring him to Mercedes, to the point that he made him an offer he could not refuse," he is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Bernie Ecclestone slams team orders
Bernie Ecclestone has criticized Red Bull for imposing team orders on Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber during Sunday’s dramatic Malaysian Grand Prix, arguing that such tactics could not be justified in only the second race of the season.
The Formula One commercial rights holder told Telegraph Sport: “At this stage of the championship, I do not believe there should be any team orders. It does not matter who it is.”

As the fallout from the controversy at Sepang continued, with Red Bull team principal Christian Horner promising to deal with Vettel behind closed doors this week after the German flagrantly disobeyed his instructions by overtaking team-mate for the victory, Ecclestone warned that the incident could return to haunt the reigning constructors’ champions.

“Let’s assume that these two guys are in a position to win the championship at the end of the year, then there is no way that Mark is going to help Sebastian,” he said. “So Sebastian has to think about that. Maybe there will be a stage when he would like Mark to help him, but I don’t think Mark is going to come up front and do it.”

Webber was apoplectic at Vettel’s move and returned home to Australia on Monday to consider his immediate future at Red Bull. But Ecclestone’s greater concern was for team orders themselves, and the fact that all four of the top places in Malaysia were decided in this manner after Mercedes’ refusal to allow Nico Rosberg to pass Lewis Hamilton for third.

“You shouldn’t have that, should you?” said the 82-year-old, who stopped short of saying that he would be stressing the same to the teams. “It’s no good. The team principals know what is right and wrong.” 

Ecclestone was also scathing about Mercedes’ treatment of Rosberg in Kuala Lumpur, arguing: “I was disappointed that Mercedes didn’t let Rosberg go past. I thought that was a stupid decision. I think Rosberg could have chased the two Red Bulls down a little more. That decision wasn’t sensible.” The Telegraph

F1 TV Ratings
German free-to-air channel RTL "recorded satisfying ratings for its broadcast of the Malaysian F1 Grand Prix on Sunday," according to Alexander Krei of DWDL. A total of 5.44 million viewers tuned in to watch the race from the Sepang Int'l Circuit, which started at 9am German time. The number translated into a strong market share of 44.8%. In the target demographic 14-49, the victory of Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel received a 40.9% share. In addition, German pay-TV channel Sky attracted 370,000 viewers to its broadcast of Sunday's race. In the target demographic, Sky's broadcast recorded a 4% share DWDL.

F1 IN ENGLAND: In London, John Plunkett reported "BBC1's highlights of the Malaysian Grand Prix had 4 million viewers, a 27.2% share," between 2:30pm-4:30pm. Sky's live coverage -- it now has all the live rights, with the BBC showing around half of the races live -- "had 773,000 viewers (11.6%) from 6:30am with a five-minute peak of 1.35 million" GUARDIAN

F1 IN FRANCE: Pay-TV channel Canal+'s broadcast of the race between 8:55am and 10:45am local time pulled in 776,000 subscribers and a 36% market share TELE

F1 IN SPAIN: Free-to-air channel Antena 3's broadcast of the Grand Prix was watched by 2.559 million viewers and a 41.3% market share VERTELE

Vettel used his killer instinct – Berger 
Ex-Formula 1 driver Gerhard Berger says Sebastian Vettel simply did what felt natural to him by ignoring team orders and overtaking Mark Webber for victory in Malaysia, explaining that multiple world titles cannot be achieved without being selfish.

Vettel came under fire following the race and quickly apologized to Red Bull teammate Webber, but Berger has stated that he was using his 'killer instinct'.

"To win a World Championship three or four times, you have to be very selfish," Berger told BBC Radio 5 live. "These boys have such a big killer instinct. They cannot follow their brain and they just do what their instinct tells them. "This is part of Vettel's success and nobody - no teammate, no team chief - will change it."

Webber will never follow team orders again
The BBC's Andrew Benson reported Mark Webber told a pit-lane reporter that he questioned "whether he would ever get the full support of Red Bull to mount a title challenge" against his teammate.

He described himself as a "black sheep" at Red Bull and said he would not follow orders again in a similar situation.

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