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DATE News (chronologically)
06/17/13
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Monday  
  • Hembrey says, his bosses at Pirelli are "unhappy" F1
    Pirelli to assess 'mood' for F1 after tire-gate
  • Patient Sutil, Hulkenberg, push on in F1 midfield
  • Teams should save money on motor homes - Ecclestone
  • McLaren must focus on 2013 fix, not 'sackings' - Michael
  • Vettel not ready to decide future beyond 2015
  • 'Heads will roll' as tire-gate reaches Paris
  • Button tips Hamilton to end performance dip
  • Massa 'calm' about his future
  • Marussia Manor Racing GP3 star Tio Ellinas to conduct F1 aero test at Kemble

Pirelli to assess 'mood' for F1 after tire-gate
(GMM)  It is possible F1 will have to embark on an eleventh-hour search for a new official tire supplier for 2014.

Pirelli is expressing increasing frustration with its situation in formula one, just as its initial three-year contract with the sport is set to expire.

The latest salvo is more criticism after Pirelli announced its tire compound selections for the next few races, with Italy's Autosprint wondering if the 'conservative' choice is "strategic or simple prudence?"

Lotus engineer Alan Permane is heavily critical.

"It's unusual to take the same tires to Hungary as to Bahrain and Silverstone," he told the BBC.

"It absolutely doesn't make sense -- they're too hard for that track."

Force India is another team that would have liked the status quo to remain.

"I have had no major problems with the tires," Adrian Sutil told the German broadcaster ZDF.

"A lot of people are complaining, but I'm not, really, because it's a challenge that's the same for everyone.  We all have the same tires."

Pirelli's Paul Hembery, however, insisted to British broadcaster Sky that all the Italian marque is "trying to do (is) our job in quite difficult circumstances".

Hembery has become more vocally complaining of the lack of cooperation and support from the teams, and on Thursday Pirelli will in Paris face the FIA's wrath over Mercedes' secret Barcelona test, or 'tire-gate'.

He admitted his bosses at Pirelli are "unhappy" with elements of the F1 foray.

"We will see how things progress over the next period of time to see how the mood changes," said Hembery.

"An easy reaction would be to say 'this is madness, get out,' but we are a company that likes to provide solutions."

Patient Sutil, Hulkenberg, push on in F1 midfield
(GMM)  They may not be at the front of the field, but two German drivers are not throwing their hands in despair as they battle in F1's midfield.

Adrian Sutil only returned to the grid this year in the wake of a criminal conviction for assault, and so for now he is happy with his solid Force India comeback.

Asked about 2014, the 30-year-old said: "It's still too early to say.  At the moment I'm happy to be in formula one with Force India."

He has, however, been with the very same Silverstone based team for his entire career spanning almost 100 races.

"In the future, it is important for me to win," Sutil told the German broadcaster ZDF.  "But I am in formula one.

"I think we have a good chance to keep moving forwards, and I'll try the same thing for myself -- with what team is quite trivial," he added.

"At the moment I think I can be very successful with this team," said Sutil.

Also in a potentially frustrating position in F1 at present is Nico Hulkenberg.

On the one hand he is lauded as one of F1's brightest new talents, and on the other apparently ruing a backwards step from Force India to Sauber over the winter.

But the 25-year-old likened his career so far to Jenson Button's early years: a long struggle initially that ultimately turned into wins, a world title and a plum seat at McLaren.

"Jenson was with Honda for many years when he was unable to show his ability because the car wasn't good enough.  Sometimes it happens," Hulkenberg is quoted by the Sun newspaper.

"You have to be patient.  That's life."

Teams should save money on motor homes - Ecclestone
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has hit back at claims costs are too high in formula one, insisting the teams waste too much money.

It has been reported that with the exception of 'big four' Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes, every team in pitlane is groaning under financial strain.

And costs are only set to rise, with the return of in-season testing next year and the vastly more expensive turbo V6 'power units'.

"They will have to find a way to be competitive with less money," an unsympathetic F1 chief executive Ecclestone told Germany's Auto Bild.

"They need to refocus on the essentials, and that is the racing and the racing cars, not huge and meaningless motor homes," he added.

McLaren must focus on 2013 fix, not 'sackings' - Michael
(GMM)  Sam Michael has hit back at claims heads should be rolling at McLaren as the team endures one of the worst starts to a championship campaign in its history.

Having erred with a radical new car for the final season of V8 regulations this year, the great Woking based team - lagging even behind the similarly-powered Force India - can no longer count itself among the 'big four' at present.

But Australian Michael, who left Williams in 2011 amid that team's worst ever title campaign, said McLaren is taking a cautious approach to the question of sackings.

"To start with you have to be very careful," he told British broadcaster Sky.

"First of all you could sack the wrong people and secondly the people who are responsible for this car are part of this company and they are committed to it.

"They are very good engineers and designers who have produced very good cars in the past and they are going to be the best people to fix this car and produce another very good car in the future," added Michael.

The fact that McLaren needs to 'fix' the flawed MP4-28 is crucial, as there have been calls for the team to simply abandon 2013 and focus on the huge challenge of 2014.

Lead driver Jenson Button insists: "Although the 2014 cars will be different, first we need to understand the current car in order to take a step forward next year.

"We also want to win races this year," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, before competing in an ironman event in Berlin.

"That goes for everyone who works at McLaren."

Sporting director Sam Michael also said it is simplistic to suggest McLaren should simply 'write off' 2013 in order to focus on a fresh start.

"I don't think you ever get to a point where you write it off -- we will always be pushing to improve the car and get good results right to the end," said the 42-year-old.

"In terms of bringing development parts to the car, the August (factory) shutdown is going to be a natural point for most teams to start ramping down this year and putting everything into 2014."

Vettel not ready to decide future beyond 2015
(GMM)  Red Bull would like to keep Sebastian Vettel beyond his new 2015 contract, and even the reigning world champion is not ruling out a longer career with the premier energy drink-owned team.

Some in the paddock, who had linked the 25-year-old with a switch to Ferrari or Mercedes in the future, were surprised when Red Bull announced last week that Vettel has added another year to his existing contract.

"The fact he has signed this extension shows his commitment to Red Bull, and hopefully the relationship will go beyond 2015, which is already some way into the future," team boss Christian Horner told the PA Sport news agency.

Reigning triple world champion Vettel, who looks on course for a fourth consecutive title in 2013, also said F1 should not be surprised by last week's news.

"There was no reason to change," he told Bild newspaper.

Some, however, have pointed out that while Vettel is now signed up through 2015, a true 'long-term' contract might look different -- perhaps a looming three-year commitment at least.

Asked why he did not sign 'long term', the German answered: "Because even 2015 is a long way away, and 2016 even further.

"Who knows what's going to be happening in three years, let alone five.  Maybe I won't even be driving anymore, because the desire is gone."

Does that mean that only retirement can separate Vettel and Red Bull?

"I really don't know!" he insisted.

"Maybe I will end up with another team, to find a new challenge.  Almost anything is possible.  But luckily I don't need to decide now."

'Heads will roll' as tire-gate reaches Paris
(GMM)  All eyes will turn to Paris' Place de la Concorde on Thursday, as the very fate of Mercedes' F1 foray rests in the hands of the governing FIA.

It is at president Jean Todt's new international tribunal that some sort of penalty is expected to be levied against the German carmaker, after sanctioning a highly-controversial 'secret' Pirelli tire test at Barcelona recently.

"I fear a hefty penalty," commentator Christian Danner told Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

"Without functioning regulations, a sport like formula one cannot exist."

Danner admitted he is also expecting further consequences.

"Depending on who has made a mistake, heads will roll -- either at Mercedes or the FIA," he predicts.

That corresponds with speculation Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn, who according to Welt newspaper will not be accompanied to Paris by fellow bosses Niki Lauda or Toto Wolff, might be the Brackley based team's fall guy.

And there have been reports Charlie Whiting could also be in trouble, with the Guardian newspaper saying Brawn has an email from the FIA race director that incorrectly permits the test.

"We have nothing to hide," Wolff told Welt.

"We have prepared our documents, on Thursday the judgment will come, and we'll see if we can live with it.

"We are not targeting this outcome or another; we do not even say there necessarily must be an acquittal.  There is no judgment that we are expecting.

"Our belief is that we have done nothing wrong."

Nonetheless, it is rumored that if the FIA acts harshly against Mercedes, the very fate of the Brackley based team is at risk.

The 'tire-gate' scandal has given some shareholders of the parent company Daimler fresh ammunition to call for the end of Mercedes' F1 foray.

"The group's three-digit million spending (on F1) brings nothing to nobody," said Michael Muders, of Union Investment.

"In our opinion, not a single car has been sold because Mercedes is represented by a team in formula one," he added.

Mercedes-powered McLaren driver Jenson Button, however, is not rushing to judgment ahead of Thursday's hearing.

Asked if he thinks the team got an unfair advantage by testing in Barcelona, he answered: "Both drivers (Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg) have said no.

"If they did (get an advantage), they'd have to be lying," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.  "So I believe them."

Button tips Hamilton to end performance dip
(GMM)  Jenson Button has backed former teammate Lewis Hamilton to bounce back strongly after finding his feet at Mercedes.

Since 2010, the pair were teammates at McLaren, where Hamilton began his F1 career, won the 2008 title, and solidified his reputation as one of the very best on the grid.

But since moving to Mercedes, the Briton has had his hands full alongside his former karting teammate Nico Rosberg, who in the three previous seasons even had the edge on seven time world champion Michael Schumacher.

Button, however, is tipping Hamilton to hit back strongly.

"To be fair, he has already scored significantly more points than Nico," lead McLaren driver Button told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"Lewis is incredibly fast," the 2009 world champion added.

"But the same is as true for him as it is for the rest of us -- if he doesn't have a balance in the car that suits him, that he got used to over many years, then it's not easy.

"The other side is that Nico is also fast.  But Lewis has not lost his speed.  It's still there," Button added.

"He will come back and shock everybody."

Massa 'calm' about his future
Felipe Massa is not worried about losing his place at Ferrari at the end of this season as he believes there's no one out there who could do better.

Massa's seat at Ferrari was under threat last season when the Brazilian, who had not been on the podium since the 2010 Korean GP, failed to score in the first three races.

It was a slow trickle in the first half of the season, prompting speculation that he could even be replaced mid-season. Ferrari, though, kept faith and Massa had a much better second half, even netting two podium finishes.

The Scuderia re-signed the 32-year-old for an eighth season, which has gone much better than previous years. In seven grands prix he has amassed 49 points and one podium finish.

Happy with how he is performing, Massa believes he could be in for a ninth season with the Italian outfit in 2014.

"I am calm, I think it's important to have a good pace," he told Brazil's TotalRace. "I'm feeling good in the car and have a good pace.

"I'm very upset about what happened in Bahrain, with the tires and the hits I've had. That hurt my score, but I'm happy with the car I'm driving and that's what counts most."

The 11-time grand prix winner added: "In my opinion, if you had a driver that was much better to get into my place, okay. But I think not." Planet F1

Marussia Manor Racing GP3 star Tio Ellinas to conduct F1 aero test at Kemble
Following a second positive race weekend in the GP3 Series, Tio Ellinas, a rising star in the Marussia F1 Team’s Young Driver Program, has been handed his first Formula One test at Kemble Airfield tomorrow (Tuesday 18 June) conducting a scheduled straight line aerodynamic evaluation.

21 year old Tio, from Larnaca in Cyprus, is now in his second season of competition with Marussia Manor Racing in the GP3 Series feeder formula and is currently leading the championship. Last year, as the Team’s most successful Series entrant, he won the chance to drive a Marussia F1 Team car in Formula One’s 2013 Young Driver Test, which will take place at Silverstone next month. To prepare Tio for this opportunity, the Banbury based Team opted to whet his appetite earlier than planned by lining him up for this week’s test. Tio will be the first Greek-Cypriot to drive a Formula One car.

Tio Ellinas
“It goes without saying that I am thrilled to get this additional opportunity to drive the Marussia F1 Team MR02 race car. I have been looking forward to the Young Driver Test since last Autumn and the weeks can’t pass quickly enough. Being able to conduct the straight line test this week will help to bridge the gap until Silverstone and will also mean I can hit the ground running there as I will already be familiar with the car systems and the Team’s procedures. In the meantime I have been trying to focus on my GP3 season as I want to give it my all. I can’t pretend I’m not excited about the F1 tests and I would like to thank the Marussia F1 Team for the faith they have shown in me. I hope to do a good job to reward that.”

John Booth, Team Principal, Marussia F1 Team
“Tio has done a very impressive job for our GP3 team over one and a half seasons now. We were very pleased to welcome him back for a second term and even more delighted when he brought us our first victory of the season in the opening round in Spain. He is definitely a star of the future and deserves both of the opportunities that we are putting his way, starting with this week’s aero test at Kemble. This will provide him with some good familiarization time with the car, which will then enable him to push when we get to the Young Driver Test next month. We look forward to seeing what he can do.”

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