Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday (Updated) UPDATE Updates shown in red below.
F1 teams to vote on more testing
|Mercedes paid Hamilton top dollar to steal him from McLaren|
- Mercedes not ruling out Indy 500, Le Mans
- Lauda plays down Vettel-to-Mercedes reports
- Hamilton catches Alonso as F1's highest earner
- Mercedes to reveal 'more silver' livery in Spain
- Berger doubts Raikkonen can win 2013 title
- McLaren now supplying Red Bull's alternator
- Truphone Races Ahead As Mobile Telecommunication Provider to Caterham
- Lotus loses technical boss James Allison New
- Red Bull re-signs PLM software as sponsor New
F1 teams to vote on more testing
(GMM) F1 teams will on Wednesday vote to bring back extensive track testing, McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale has reportedly claimed.
According to German reports, Neale said Ferrari - a strong opponent of F1's now tight test restrictions - has found four allies that will vote in favor of relaxing the ban.
"Of course if you have a track in your back yard and the equipment, you want to open the garage and send out a driver," he reportedly said.
Neale made clear that McLaren opposes the move, insisting there were "very good reasons" for introducing the ban several years ago for mainly financial reasons.
"Those circumstances have not changed," he added.
Mercedes not ruling out Indy 500, Le Mans
(GMM) Toto Wolff is not ruling out a return for Mercedes in the future to the fabled Indy 500 and Le Mans races.
The German marque's new motor sport chief, Austrian Wolff told Italy's Autosprint that his immediate goal is for Mercedes to "finish among the top four" in this year's F1 season.
But when asked specifically about a possible return for Mercedes to the Indy 500 and Le Mans, Wolff admitted: "Basically, we would look at any racing category.
"It would have to make sense for the Mercedes brand.
"Today we're focusing on formula one, the DTM, and we also do GT3 cars and build engines for formula 3.
"As for the future, I don't rule out anything," added Wolff. "I think it would be wonderful to go back to Indy and Le Mans.
"But just for the moment, we have our program."
Lauda plays down Vettel-to-Mercedes reports
(GMM) Niki Lauda has played down reports Mercedes is making a serious bid to secure the services of world champion Sebastian Vettel.
Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko revealed on Sunday that Lauda, Mercedes shareholder and chairman, "should absolutely be trying to get Vettel".
Lauda replied to Bild am Sonntag newspaper: "I continued what (former motor sport director Norbert) Haug began."
But speaking to Austria's Osterreich newspaper, 64-year-old Lauda played down suggestions his bid for Vettel is serious.
"Forget it," the outspoken triple world champion insisted.
"We're not trying to get him, as he has signed a contract with Red Bull until forever."
Lauda said Mercedes is very happy with its current driver lineup, comprising Nico Rosberg alongside new signing Lewis Hamilton.
"With Hamilton and Rosberg we have the best pairing (in F1)," he insisted.
"The two push each other forward positively, and the driver change has motivated the whole team."
Lauda also confirmed reports that Mercedes has engaged former BMW and Renault racer Robert Kubica as a driver for the team's sophisticated simulator at Brackley.
"He brings a lot of experience," said Lauda, referring to the Pole, who is bidding to return to F1 in the future following his near-fatal rally crash in 2011.
"Due to the limited testing, the simulators are becoming very important."
Hamilton catches Alonso as F1's highest earner
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton has caught up with Fernando Alonso as F1's highest earner.
According to Business Book GP 2013, Briton Hamilton now earns an estimated EUR 20 million per season after switching from McLaren to Mercedes over the winter.
The publication claims Spaniard Alonso earns the same at Ferrari.
Curiously, F1's next highest earner is Jenson Button, with EUR 16 million, followed by reigning triple world champion and early 2013 title leader Sebastian Vettel (12m).
Also in double-digits are Nico Rosberg (11m) and Mark Webber (10m), while Brazilian Felipe Massa (6m) appears to have taken a pay-cut in the wake of his poor 2012 campaign.
Kimi Raikkonen's retainer at Lotus is just 3 million, but it is believed the Finn's income is boosted by huge per-point bonuses.
Mexican Sergio Perez is paid just EUR 1.5 million by McLaren, and the only other F1 millionaires are Romain Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado and Nico Hulkenberg (all 1m).
Mercedes to reveal 'more silver' livery in Spain
(GMM) Mercedes' formula one car will look visibly different this weekend in Barcelona, according to Niki Lauda.
And the team's chairman and co-owner is not just talking about the big package of upgrades to mark the start of 2013's European phase.
Frank Schneider, the correspondent for German newspaper Bild, said the major change is "the livery -- more silver, less grey".
Lauda confirmed: "We wanted the car to look even more the 'Silver Arrow'.
"And we believe this is also good for the team because a new look brings new motivation."
More importantly, however, are the changes beneath the paint. For the Spanish grand prix, the 'more silver' W04 has a new exhaust, and new front and rear wings.
"During the European season we want to increase by one to two tenths per track.
"We did a good job for the beginning of the season," Lauda continued. "Now it's vital to develop the car faster than the competition."
Some have even suggested Mercedes is the favorite to win in Barcelona, given the car's field-beating form during the pre-season test at the same circuit.
Lauda said: "No, we're not the favorite.
"Pirelli is bringing new tires and no one knows yet how they work -- they've been very thin with information."
Berger doubts Raikkonen can win 2013 title
(GMM) Gerhard Berger, the former McLaren and Ferrari driver, doubts Kimi Raikkonen can win the 2013 title.
The Finn, and his Pirelli-gentle Lotus car, are currently Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull's closest challengers in the drivers' and constructors' tables.
Berger told Auto Motor und Sport: "Kimi is sitting in a very good car at the moment.
"But Lotus don't have the financial strength to compete with Red Bull and Ferrari over the whole year.
"He will make it uncomfortable for them, he will win races, but he won't fight for the world championship."
Indeed, former Toro Rosso co-owner Berger, 53, tips a "close fight" for 2013 spoils between Vettel and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.
The Austrian was also asked about F1's controversial tire situation, commenting: "You can see it both ways.
"Basically, it's the same for everyone, and looking after tires was always an issue, although maybe not quite as dominant as now.
"On the other hand, it makes little sense putting millions into developing cars and engines if the tire just determines everything.
"And if he who looks after the tires best is the winner, then there is a problem. Everything can be overdone.
"I thought 2012 was a better compromise," Berger added.
McLaren now supplying Red Bull's alternator
(GMM) Red Bull's new alternator supplier is actually McLaren, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports.
We reported last week that, after being dogged by recurring reliability faults with its Magneti Marelli units last year, Red Bull had instructed engine supplier Renault to seek a new supplier.
Italian reports identified that new supplier as 'Tag'.
It seems those reports were actually referring to Techniques d'Avant Garde, or TAG -- the well-known McLaren-affiliated company.
The Auto Motor und Sport headline reads: "Red Bull reliable, thanks to McLaren".
The report said Renault confirmed the news, insisting that - no matter the supplier of components - Red Bull's French engine supplier remains responsible for the adaptation and installation of the alternator.
Truphone Races Ahead As Mobile Telecommunication Provider to Caterham
Truphone, the pioneering international mobile communications company, today announces it has become Official Mobile Telecommunication Provider to Caterham F1 Team.
Truphone will provide all of Caterham F1 Team’s mobile telecommunications through a range of services and handsets, giving the team a competitive advantage with patented technology that improves the quality and speed of their international communications.
With Caterham F1 Team regularly preparing and travelling around the globe to races, Truphone will use its purpose built international mobile network to seamlessly connect the whole team to each other and its HQ at the Leafield Technical Centre in Oxfordshire with a far higher quality voice and a much better mobile data experience.
Sharing Caterham F1 Team’s passion and focus on innovation, Truphone will also work closely with the team’s IT staff to develop new mobile telecommunication solutions that will support Caterham F1 Team’s focus on high performance and gaining a competitive edge.
Rob Jones, UK MD, Truphone, said: "We’re excited to announce that Truphone has become Official Mobile Telecommunications Provider to Caterham F1 Team. We see close similarities between our businesses in that we are both UK based and operating on the international stage, and see the real business need to stay connected with all parts of our organization.
"Truphone has a history of launching ground-breaking patented technology and we share the same values with Caterham F1 Team, with innovation and agility underpinning everything we do as a business.
"We understand the importance to an organization of communicating without barriers and are really excited to work with the team over the coming years."
Bill Peters, Head of Group IT, Caterham F1 Team, said: “We have long held the ambition to drive innovation in F1 and bringing Truphone into our team as Official Mobile Telecommunications Provider forms a key pillar of this strategy. We’re looking forward to working closely with Truphone to improve the effectiveness of our mobile communications and improving the efficiency of the team.
"Truphone provides a seamless solution and connects our team so they can focus on driving performance. Because of its international structure, Truphone has a dedicated help team which is available 24/7, meaning our team can always communicate and stay in touch, wherever we are in the world. We live and breathe innovation by making sure that all parts of our team are constantly connected and communicating at all times.”
Truphone’s global network has been well received by enterprise customers around the globe. Its current customers include FTSE 100 and Fortune 1000 companies, including Tier 1 financial institutions, energy, mining corporations, and a wide array of small and medium sized businesses.
Lotus loses technical boss James Allison
(GMM) Lotus on Wednesday confirmed multiple media reports claiming technical director James Allison is leaving the team.
The Enstone based squad said 45-year-old Briton Allison, who earlier this year was linked with a move to Mercedes or McLaren, will be replaced in the role by Nick Chester.
"He (Chester) is already directly involved with this and next year's cars, ensuring a smooth transition which has been underway for some time," said team boss Eric Boullier.
However, writing on Twitter, Sky commentator Martin Brundle surmised that Kimi Raikkonen, who has been linked with a move to Red Bull for 2014, "won't be pleased" with Wednesday's news.
"Key tech personnel changes as important as top driver moves," he added.
A report by the BBC linked Allison, who worked at Ferrari in the highly successful Michael Schumacher era between 2000 and 2005, with a return to the Italian team.
It is believed, however, that several teams had approached Allison, whose F1 career began in the early nineties.
Red Bull re-signs PLM software as sponsor
Infiniti Red Bull Racing has extended its Innovation Partnership with Siemens PLM Software, a leading global provider of product lifecycle management (PLM) software and services, after agreeing a new multi-year agreement.
Through the partnership, Siemens will continue to provide its NX CAD/CAM/CAE software to Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s design office, as well supplying its industry-leading Teamcenter PLM software to the team’s engineering and manufacturing staff. This software is the backbone of the team’s digital product development and manufacturing process and aids in accelerating the design and development of the race cars.
The on-going partnership builds on the strong relationship between Siemens and Infiniti Red Bull Racing, which started with the launch of the team in 2005. Since then, the number of design changes applied to the car each year has significantly increased relative to the number of designers. Hence, good management of the engineering process is essential in ensuring that up-to-date information flows from design through simulation, manufacturing, inspection test, and finally onto the car.
Of the partnership extension Infiniti Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner said: “The Siemens partnership is a critical one for us because it’s an integral part of our design process. Through our relationship with Siemens we’ve come to rely on their critical tools to generate creative design solutions, thus ensuring that we field the best grand prix cars we possibly can. In no small part Siemens has been a key contributor to our success in recent years, and the six world championships we have achieved.”