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DATE News (chronologically)
07/09/13
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
  • F1 reacts quickly to injured cameraman incident
  • Banned Mercedes wants Silverstone test for 'safety'
  • Teams consider fallout of mid-season tire chaos
  • Buemi tips Red Bull to sign Raikkonen
  • Hamilton says tires costing him 2013 title tilt

F1 reacts quickly to injured cameraman incident
(GMM)  F1 is reacting quickly to the incident on Sunday that could have cost a television cameraman his life in the Nurburgring pitlane.

As it happens, the British cameraman for Bernie Ecclestone's company FOM, who was struck at high speed by the bouncing wheel of Mark Webber's Red Bull, is doing well.

"The person concerned is expected to make a full recovery," read a FOM statement.

Red Bull, fined EUR 30,000 for releasing Webber from the pitstop with the unsecured wheel, sent an employee to the hospital in Koblenz to visit the injured cameraman, Paul Allen.

The Red Bull member gave the recovering Allen a poster signed by the entire team.

"He is a true Englishman, in a good mood," Dr Helmut Marko told Austrian television Servus TV on Monday.

"He knows about the risk -- we don't have to worry about him, he's fine.

"He is sure that he will be back in Budapest."

As ever in modern F1, however, the incident has sparked an immediate safety debate, and it is expected that everyone in pitlane could soon have to wear a helmet.

Red Bull has been analyzing what went wrong.

"The safety pins on the wheel were not engaged," said Marko, "but in the rush the mechanic mistakenly pressed the button which switches the signal to green."

A meeting to analyze the incident in detail was scheduled for Milton-Keynes late on Monday.  "We have cameras that analyze each pitstop to hundreds of seconds," Marko revealed.

"I am sure that in Budapest we will have a system that responds to such incidents as best as is humanly possible," he said.

And Germany's Bild newspaper said FIA race director Charlie Whiting is overseeing the development of a standard system linking the wheel nuts to a traffic light.

Another immediate change is that F1 chief executive Ecclestone has banned his television crews from stalking the actual pitlane.

"In future," British reports quote him saying, "all our camera crews will only be allowed to film from the pitwall."

Banned Mercedes wants Silverstone test for 'safety'
(GMM)  Mercedes is pushing to appear at next week's young driver test, despite its FIA ban as a result of the 'test-gate' scandal.

The German team initially accepted the Silverstone ban, when the test was set simply to be a three-day session exclusively for young, inexperienced drivers.

But that was before the tire-exploding British grand prix.

Since then, the FIA has opened up the test not only to young drivers, but also full race drivers, the trialing of the new Budapest 2012-2013 tire specification, and real car development.

"We received the penalty and there's no point complaining -- we accept we cannot participate in the young driver test," Mercedes director Toto Wolff told Germany's Deutschlandfunk radio.

"But now we don't know what format this test has," he added.

"If it is a tire test that concerns safety, then I think that all the teams, including Mercedes, should get the opportunity to determine if these tires will be on the cars or not, and whether there are safety risks or not," said Wolff.

Referring to the British grand prix, Wolff said F1 is "contemplating fairly dramatic events, where there is a safety risk.

"This is not something to take lightly," he insisted.

Meanwhile, having initially ruled out testing at Silverstone simply to test a new tire, Fernando Alonso is now saying he is ready to appear next week for Ferrari.

"It's now been confirmed that we can test updates and this makes it a much more sensible proposition," said the Spaniard.

"If I get the call from the team, I'm ready to go."

Spain's Marca sports newspaper, however, quoted team boss Stefano Domenicali as saying that call will only be made "in the coming days".

If Alonso is not called up, Ferrari will reportedly field Felipe Massa, Pedro de la Rosa and Davide Rigon.

Teams consider fallout of mid-season tire chaos
(GMM)  In the fallout of Sunday's German grand prix, teams are assessing what impact the tire shakeup had on their performance.

After the tire-exploding British grand prix, the most obvious loser of the move from steel to Kevlar-belted tires was Mercedes.

But, in fact, the German team had earlier pushed hard for the change.  So, having won two of the previous three grands prix, why the Nurburgring struggle?

The answer could be in the FIA's clampdown on teams radically altering pressures and cambers, and switching the rear tires from the left and right sides.

Team boss Ross Brawn agrees: "I think the ability to swap tires was a good way of offsetting the stress of the tire," he is quoted by AFP news agency.

"You could use it in qualifying and then swap it, and have it in a different condition for the race."

That was banned for the Nurburgring - where pole sitter Lewis Hamilton and Silverstone winner Nico Rosberg struggled desperately - and beyond.

Lotus, on the other hand, appeared to be the big winner of the tire shakeup, enjoying a return to form in Germany, while the big loser was Force India, who had thrived on the previous tires.

"There will be some winners and some losers," deputy boss Bob Fernley told Sky.  "For sure, we're a loser."

There will surely be more winners and losers out of the next tire shakeup, when Pirelli will debut an all-new combination of its 2012 and 2013 tires in Hungary and beyond.

"It will help us more than others," predicted Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg, referring to Pirelli's reverting to the 2012 construction.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport also quoted McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh as admitting he hopes the change will help the struggling British team "quite a lot".

"Although in the meantime, we - like others - have adjusted to the new (2013) tires," he added.

Buemi tips Red Bull to sign Raikkonen
(GMM)  Sebastien Buemi, a recent Toro Rosso driver and now Red Bull reserve, has tipped the world champions to sign Kimi Raikkonen for 2014.

After Mark Webber announced his impending switch to Le Mans, Red Bull narrowed down the shortlist for the Australian's successor to just three names -- Raikkonen, Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.

But even Ricciardo, the most consistent Toro Rosso performer of 2013, does not expect to get the nod.

"I would expect a world champion team to take a world champion driver," he is quoted by German website formel1.de.

Swiss Buemi, who next year will likely go wheel-to-wheel with Webber in endurance sports cars, agrees.

"The situation is not clear yet," he told 20min.ch.

"If a team has the chance to get Raikkonen, then it has to do that," Buemi acknowledged.  "So he's really the favorite for the job."

France's RMC radio reports that Lotus team boss Eric Boullier was due to meet with Raikkonen's manager Steve Robertson this week.

The Enstone based team, including owner Gerard Lopez, is fighting hard to keep the Finn.

"All we have to do," Lopez told the Daily Record, "is prove it's the right team for him as a racer.

"He has to decide, and I think he will stay."

But if 33-year-old Raikkonen, who after Webber's departure will be the oldest driver in F1, does leave Lotus, strong rumors suggest the favorite to replace him is Nico Hulkenberg.

And Romain Grosjean is expected to be in the sister car in 2014.

Receiving a vote of confidence from Lopez, Lotus' team owner said of Frenchman Grosjean: "Vettel, Alonso and Raikkonen are three world champions, and Romain put himself right in the middle of them (at the Nurburgring)."

Hamilton says tires costing him 2013 title tilt
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton says Pirelli's tires are ruining his shot at the 2013 title.

"I'm not really thinking about the championship now," said the Nurburgring pole sitter.  "There's really no point."

Earlier, having seen his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg win two of the past three grands prix, the Briton sounded optimistic he could chase down Sebastian Vettel's points lead after dominating qualifying on Saturday.

But then came Sunday, where it became clear the move from steel to Kevlar-belted tires, and the clampdown on team tire-trickery, had hurt Mercedes considerably.

Hamilton said the 2013 tire situation is one of the things separating him from another prominent British sports star, Andy Murray, who has finally broken though to win Wimbledon.

"It is just him and the racket," said the 2008 world champion.

"So many elements come into motor racing.  There is the electronics performing, the suspension, the frickin' tires, things that are out of my control," added Hamilton.

Now Pirelli is making yet another change for Hungary -- a new tire combining the 2012 construction with the 2013 compounds.

"We just have to hope and pray that they work on our car," Hamilton is quoted by the German news agency DPA.

He is not confident.

"It would be good to get a win at some stage but at the moment it really doesn't feel like it's going to happen," said the 28-year-old.

But Hamilton said Fernando Alonso, despite a car development dip for Ferrari, should be more confident.

Asked if the title hunt is effectively over for all of Vettel's 2013 rivals, he insisted: "Definitely not for Fernando.  Fernando's definitely within shooting range."

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