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DATE News (chronologically)
07/08/13
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Monday (Update)  UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

07/08/13
  • Grosjean may have saved his ride with a podium in Germany
    Grosjean rescues career with Nurburgring podium
  • 2013's F1 tire saga races ahead to Hungary
  • 'No idea' if incidents will cost Massa seat
  • Domenicali not commenting on Allison rumors
  • Sauber admits suppliers not being paid
  • F1 to improve safety after cameraman incident
  • Susie Wolff admits Williams test 'not official' yet
  • Injured cameraman to remain in hospital
  • New camera crews rules in the pits New
  • Pirelli reveals tires for Silverstone test New
  • Gonzalez, Ellinas get Marussia drives New
  • Boullier: We must make up for lost ground New
  • Raikkonen  had to contend with a faulty radio New

Grosjean rescues career with Nurburgring podium
(GMM)  Romain Grosjean may have rescued his formula one career on Sunday by returning to the podium at the Nurburgring.

Having failed to score a single point since his podium in Bahrain, the Frenchman was the subject of rumors Lotus might be preparing to replace him with Nico Hulkenberg.

Indeed, it is believed Hulkenberg has terminated his contract with the financially-troubled Sauber, with Bild newspaper saying the German has even had a Lotus seat fitting.

Frenchman Grosjean, however, said he never doubted himself.

"Not really," he told RMC on Sunday.  "I just asked myself 'When are things going to turn?'  I have always believed in myself.

"The numbers were not good but I knew that the work I was doing was positive."

27-year-old Grosjean therefore denied being upset after Lotus asked him to let teammate Kimi Raikkonen pass for second place on Sunday.

"As far as the strategies (go)," he said, "we didn't put our eggs in the same basket so I think it was the right thing to do."

2013's F1 tire saga races ahead to Hungary
(GMM)  After the chaos of Silverstone and the subsequent boycott threats, there were no more exploding tires throughout the Nurburgring weekend.

But Pirelli is still a major point of discussion.

The Italian supplier reacted hurriedly to the British grand prix crisis by rushing into use the new Kevlar-belted rear tire.

And in Hungary late this month, after the young drivers test at Silverstone, an all-new tire - the 2012 construction fitted with 2013 compounds - will debut.

Or will it?  Sebastian Vettel suggested Pirelli might change its mind after the forthcoming Silverstone test.

"I think Pirelli will make up their mind then," he said.  "So I think at this point we don't know which tires we are probably running in Hungary."

Lotus had initially blocked the introduction of the new Kevlar tires on sporting grounds, but ultimately had a highly-competitive weekend at the Nurburgring.

"I think we'll have to ask Pirelli to keep this weekend's specification of tires for the rest of the season," said team boss Eric Boullier.

So it seems the latest argument about tires is kicking off.

Mercedes, for instance, have been pushing hard for the tire change, believing that the steel-belted construction was overheating more than the Kevlar ones would.

But the German team struggled markedly on Sunday.

"A very strange, disappointing weekend after the highs from recent weeks," said Nico Rosberg.

Pole sitter Lewis Hamilton was even angrier.

"I have to hold myself back -- I have nothing positive to say about these tires," said the Briton.

"If you can't get past a Sauber, you know you have issues, especially when you were over a second faster in qualifying."

Team director Toto Wolff told Germany's Sky: "It's kind of strange that, within one week, a winning car is now fifth or sixth.

"At least by not testing at Silverstone we have more time to think," he joked.

Like the now-struggling Mercedes, Red Bull had also pushed for the change, but Vettel duly raced to victory.

"Our compliments to Pirelli," said the championship leader.

"They had a lot of criticism after the last race but it looked like they made up for it this race," added Vettel.

Insisting he was speaking only on behalf of "safety", he said: "Whether it suits your car or not is secondary."

But that's an easy thing for a race winner to say.  For a team like Ferrari - who like Lotus initially resisted the change - the jury is still out.

Asked if the change has affected the balance of power, team boss Stefano Domenicali admitted: "Of course, although I cannot say exactly to what extent," he is quoted by Russian website f1news.ru.

Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko duly disagreed: "No, I would not say that.

"I think the situation overall is quite normal," he is quoted by Speed Week.

Pirelli's careworn Paul Hembery commented: "We have become a scapegoat for some of the problems in this sport this season.

"I think formula one should be a little more courteous to its tire manufacturers," he is quoted by Germany's RTL.

'No idea' if incidents will cost Massa seat
(GMM)  Having earlier recovered his career-jeopardizing form, Felipe Massa is once again at risk of falling into another spiral that could cost him his Ferrari seat.

The Brazilian, re-signed only on a new one-year contract after his speculation-filled 2012 season, has been involved in a string of crashes and incidents now stretching back several races to Monaco.

The latest was on Sunday at the Nurburgring, where Massa inexplicably spun and then stalled into retirement on lap four.

Asked if he is continuing to back the 32-year-old, despite other candidates like Nico Hulkenberg and Jules Bianchi looming large, team boss Stefano Domenicali said on Sunday: "Absolutely.

"I have always said that we believe in him," he is quoted by Russia's f1news.ru.

"Yes, there are critical moments, and of course we are not happy with the results, but we have to support Felipe, because the team is fighting for the constructors' championship.

"He knows that the team is 100 per cent behind him."

Notwithstanding Domenicali's quotes, even Massa acknowledged that he is not sure where he stands regarding 2014.

"I have no idea if it will jeopardize my future," he is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace on Sunday.

"The only thing I can say is that I am not happy with what happened today."

It seems Sunday was simply Massa's latest driver error.

"I am serious enough to say that the team did not see anything wrong with the car," Massa is quoted by O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper.

"The most important thing is that, as far as performance (goes), I was doing a great job this weekend, and that's what matters for the next races," added Massa.

"I've come out of a hole many times in the past, and one more will not make a difference."

Domenicali not commenting on Allison rumors
(GMM)  Stefano Domenicali has refused to comment on speculation former Lotus technical director James Allison is definitely headed to Ferrari.

"It is a topic covered by a lot of rumors," team boss Domenicali is quoted by Russia's f1news.ru website, "so I will not make a comment."

The Italian was also asked about Ferrari's likely engine customers for the 2014 season, amid reports the Maranello team will replace its lost client Toro Rosso with Marussia.

The other currently Ferrari-powered team is the financially embattled Sauber.

"Very soon we will make the announcements," Domenicali said.

"We will supply engines to two (customer) teams."

Sauber admits suppliers not being paid
(GMM)  Peter Sauber has denied reports employees of his struggling Swiss team are going without pay.

It is reported that, because he has not been paid his contractual installments for May or June, Nico Hulkenberg has terminated his 2013 deal and is therefore free to switch to another team at any moment.

"Basically, I won't talk about contracts," Sauber told Swiss television Sportpanorama.

"But I am convinced that Nico will be with us in the second half of the season."

The Sonntagszeitung newspaper claims sponsor Oerlikon, and perhaps some other Sauber sponsors, has provided "emergency relief" to the tune of a mid-six figure to the Hinwil based team.

"It is very difficult at the moment," team founder Peter Sauber admitted.

"Our resources are very limited and the situation is uncomfortable and embarrassing," he added.

But Sauber, 69, vehemently denied that his staff are not being paid their wages.

"In 20 years in formula one, we have never not paid wages on time," he insisted.

However, Sauber admitted that some suppliers of the team are being asked to wait for their invoices to be paid.

"It is affecting not only the development of the car, but also the suppliers," he said.

"For the large part, we are being met with understanding, but it is very stressful for us and in many regards painful," said Sauber.

He said he has "never" laid off staff "for financial reasons", and does not intend to start now.

"Once you start doing that, you hurt the team so much," said Sauber.

But Sauber said his team needs new sponsors urgently, or preferably an investor.

"We are very confident in this regard," he revealed.  "If it runs smoothly, we can give the all-clear by the end of the month."

He also said a 'plan B' is in place.

"It is a good plan," said Sauber, "but time is the big problem -- we're running out of it.

"Mainly because we might not be able to drive if suppliers begin to stop supplying us."

Asked if Sauber's 2013 season is assured, he admitted: "In principle, no.

"But I feel safe.  Currently we are working day to day."

The last resort will be simply selling the team.

"If there is no other way out," said Sauber, "that is a possibility.  But we are far from that.

"Closure is not an option.  The fire inside me is kindled by situations like this.  There is nothing else to do than fight."

F1 to improve safety after cameraman incident
(GMM)  F1 could be set to improve safety in the pitlane, after a cameraman was lucky to escape with his life in Sunday's German grand prix.

Red Bull has been fined EUR 30,000 for sending Mark Webber away from a pitstop with a loose rear wheel, which detached from the car and struck at high speed a British television cameraman for Bernie Ecclestone's company FOM.

The cameraman has broken bones and is still in a Koblenz hospital, but a FOM spokeswoman told Bild newspaper doctors do not believe he is injured internally.

"The most important thing is he is fundamentally ok," said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

"But it was a timely reminder that life in the pitlane is still a pretty dangerous place to be, that things can go wrong.

"Mechanics have to wear safety gear and helmets, and maybe it's time some of the other operational people in the pitlane have some safety equipment as well," he added.

Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn agrees: "On the basis of what we have seen here, we should be thinking that all people in the pitlane are properly dressed, equipped and should have a helmet on."

Susie Wolff admits Williams test 'not official' yet
(GMM)  Susie Wolff has admitted she is likely to make her proper F1 circuit debut at Silverstone next week.

We reported at the weekend that the 30-year-old Scot will definitely appear in Williams' 2013 car during the three-day 'young driver' test.

"Yes, it's not official," Wolff, whose husband is the Mercedes director and Williams co-owner Toto Wolff, told German broadcaster Sky.

"It's not clear yet how many sets of tires the team will have available, but I'm getting ready and I expect to drive -- at least one day," she added.

"I'm very happy, it's a big challenge and I'm ready.  I'll do my best and hopefully that's enough," the former DTM driver said, adding that she has been strengthening her neck muscles so much that the result is now visible.

With Mercedes banned from the Silverstone test, Brackley-based Toto Wolff said at the weekend that he will attend simply to watch his wife at the wheel.

Injured cameraman to remain in hospital 
The Formula 1 cameraman injured by the right-rear wheel of Mark Webber's Red Bull during the German Grand Prix is to remain in hospital for further recuperation.

Paul Allen, who sustained two broken ribs, a broken collarbone and concussion when the loose wheel bounced down the pit lane and struck the left hand side of his body, was quickly attended to at the circuit's medical centre, before being transported to Koblenz Hospital, where he is due to remain under observation until early this week.

Red Bull has been given a €30,000 (£25,834) fine by governing body the FIA.

New camera crews rules in the pits
Formula One Management camera crews are to be stationed on the pit wall for future races after a cameraman was injured after being hit by a bouncing wheel in Sunday's German Grand Prix.

The edict comes from F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who runs FOM, in light of one of his employees, Paul Allen, being treated in Koblenz hospital after sustaining a broken collarbone and two broken ribs.

The incident occurred early in the race at the Nurburgring, with Allen struck by a wheel that had worked loose off Mark Webber's Red Bull as the Australian pulled out of his pit box.

The wheel initially bounced past several startled mechanics in the Ferrari, Lotus and Mercedes pit crews before thudding into an unaware Allen.

At present, current rules allow up to a maximum of six FOM camera crews only unlimited pitlane access during qualifying and the race.

In addition, six photographers are allowed to take photographs from the pit wall.

From the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards in just under three weeks' time, those photographers will now be joined by the camera crews.

"I've been in close contact with everybody who has been dealing with the matter," said Ecclestone.

"It's a terrible thing to say, but it was just one of those things.

"There was a whole bunch of mechanics and the tire could have hit any one of those guys.

"The cameraman just happened to be looking the wrong way at the wrong time.

"In future, all our camera crews will only be allowed to film from the pit wall.'' Sporting Life

Pirelli reveals tires for Silverstone test
Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli has revealed the tire compounds that will be available to teams at next week's Silverstone Young Driver Test, with the Italian manufacturer trialing its new range which will be raced for the first time in Hungary.

Following multiple blow-outs at the British Grand Prix, governing body the FIA passed regulations changes allowing Pirelli to make substantial modifications to its rubber, with stronger, Kevlar-belted rear tires taken to the Nürburgring as a direct response.

As its next step, Pirelli will introduce overhauled tires at the upcoming Budapest round, combining structures from the 2012 campaign with 2013 compounds. These are to be tested for the first time at the three-day Silverstone gathering, with three sets of the Hard, two sets of the Medium and a set of prototype tires available to teams.

"We're bringing along five sets tires with the Hard and Medium compound, three of the Hard and two of the Medium, of the 2012 structure which is the tire we're going to be using going forward this season," Hembery explained to Sky Sports. "Plus we've got a prototype compound as well, Hard compound, we're taking there. So we've set out a schedule for teams to run and hopefully that's what they're going to do."

Hembery added that, although he is confident Pirelli's early season tire woes are now a thing of the past, the company finds itself at a crossroads ahead of the sport's major technical regulation changes next season, with a contract extension yet to be signed.

"We're in a bit of strange situation knowing whether we should be spending millions or not at the moment," Hembery said of the current situation. "But we're working in good faith at the moment and we need to start seriously getting ready for next year because the cars are dramatically different and a huge challenge for the tires."

Gonzalez, Ellinas get Marussia drives
Rodolfo Gonzalez and Tio Ellinas will be behind the wheel of the Marussia at next week's Young Driver Test.

Venezuelan Gonzalez is the team's reserve driver and he has already had a few practice outings, the last which came on Friday at the Nurburgring when he stood in for Jules Bianchi who was feeling under the weather.

Ellinas, who is currently the leader in the GP3 Championship, will get his first taste of Formula One action and he will be behind the wheel of the MR02 on the first day at Silverstone.

Although the FIA has announced that current Formula One drivers will be allowed to test on one of the three days to sample the new Pirelli tires, Marussia have decided not to use either Jules Bianchi or Max Chilton.

The test runs from July 17-19 and Gonzalez will drive on the final two days.

Boullier: We must make up for lost ground
Lotus boss Eric Boullier says the team must use its encouraging German Grand Prix result as a platform to make up further lost ground as the 2013 season progresses.

Having recorded its most recent podium finish at the Circuit de Catalunya back in May, the Enstone-based outfit ended a three-race spell in fine style on Sunday afternoon, with Kimi Räikkönen and Romain Grosjean claiming the final two rostrum positions.

"That was a very good race from the team which validates all the hard work which has been going on back at Enstone, so we thank everyone at the factory," said Boullier. "After three difficult weekends, being on the podium was exactly what we needed. We need to continue like this to make up for lost ground in both championships."

Boullier went on to argue that if his drivers had not lost time behind the Mercedes cars of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, victory could have been achieved.

"The E21 worked very well and both Kimi and Romain drove superbly," he said. "We had a good strategy from the pit wall, some fantastic pit-stops, and were it not for losing some time behind both Mercedes, it’s possible that we could have won. I think we’ll have to ask Pirelli to keep this specification of tires for the rest of the season."

Lotus' result edges it closer to third-placed Ferrari in the Constructors' standings, with the Italian outfit now just 23 points ahead. Mercedes is a further three points clear.

Raikkonen  had to contend with a faulty radio
Kimi Raikkonen had to contend with a faulty radio as he tried to chase down German Grand Prix winner Sebastian Vettel but the Lotus driver was far happier than his Mercedes counterparts after they flopped in the team’s home race.

The Finn made a late switch of tires in a bid to prevent the world champion and current leader from winning his home race for the first time but came up just short on Sunday.

Vettel recognized he might have been overtaken had the race gone two laps longer but that was no comfort for Raikkonen, whose team are again overperforming after nine of 19 races with the 2007 world champion third in the standings and 41 points behind the German.

“Unfortunately today there was quite a lot to discuss and it didn’t work,” he told fans of his struggles to work out when to pit with a half broken radio.

“I had massive problems with the radio. I could hear them but they couldn’t hear me.”

Raikkonen is in the running to replace the retiring Australian Mark Webber at Vettel’s champion Red Bull team next year but the 33-year-old wants renewed glory now in his inconsistent Lotus.

“(The result) is good for the team, not so good for my championship,” he said, with team mate Romain Grosjean finishing third.

Team boss Eric Boullier said it was “first place lost” and Lotus definitely had the fastest car.

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