F1 news in brief - Saturday (Update) UPDATE Updates shown in red below.
Wolff enjoys first official Formula 1 test
- Vettel: I don't mind who partners me
- Pirelli toughens stance with F1
- Button confident McLaren are heading in the right direction
- Chilton hits back after Symonds rebuke New
- F1's tire-exploding crisis now over - drivers New
Wolff enjoys first official Formula 1 test
Williams development driver Susie Wolff described a "fantastic experience" after concluding her first full Formula 1 test at the Silverstone circuit on Friday afternoon.
The Scot, who completed the shakedown of the FW35 chassis at the Idiada complex earlier in the year, racked up 89 laps of the British Grand Prix venue en route to the ninth fastest time, just ahead of former DTM rival and McLaren tester Gary Paffett.
Susie Wolff "The team did a great job getting me through the day, talking me through everything step by step," said Wolff. "In hindsight it would have been good to run the new tires later in the day after I’d had more time in the car as I don’t think I got the best out of the Mediums.
|Wolff is all smiles after test|
"Physically it wasn’t easy, but it was what I was expecting. I was well prepared so it was completely manageable. My only problem was my seat as I was moving around a little. Doing the pit-stops this afternoon was also really beneficial as there is a lot to think about coming into the stops. It was a fantastic experience."
Chief Engineer Xevi Pujolar said of Wolff's overall performance: "Susie did a great job for us today. We did some aero tests this morning while she familiarized herself with the car and then we moved onto some performance and development work.
"In the afternoon we combined some general running with live pit-stop practice, which is an area we are keen to improve ahead of the next race in Hungary. We made some good progress and Susie was good at stopping on the mark every time."
Vettel: I don't mind who partners me
Sebastian Vettel says he has no preference over who partners him at Red Bull next season, the reigning World Champion claiming that he has an amicable relationship with both fellow title winner Kimi Räikkönen and Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo.
Speaking after the conclusion of this week’s Young Driver Test at Silverstone, the German insisted that he would welcome both scenarios, with the battle to replace Mark Webber being narrowed down to the pair by team boss Christian Horner.
"No, I don't mind either of them," Vettel explained to reporters when pushed on the matter. "I get along with both of them. I probably know Kimi a little bit better than Daniel but I think he did a good job [during his run in the RB9 chassis] yesterday."
He went on to explain that if Lotus driver Räikkönen was ultimately given the nod by Red Bull chiefs, it would not cause major concern: "In the end if you want to fight for the Championship it doesn't matter, you have to beat everybody. It doesn't matter if there are strong drivers in your team or not. It's difficult to judge at this stage what would be best. It's the team's decision; obviously I can give my opinion but that's it."
Vettel, who set the pace on the final day at Silverstone, added that there were "no big surprises" with Pirelli’s new tires, which will be raced for the first time in Hungary.
Pirelli toughens stance with F1
Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery says changes must be made to help the tire manufacturer in Formula One from 2014 onwards or the sport "can find someone else."
It's been a tough year for Pirelli as faults with its tires have been exposed and then it has been unable to rectify the problems without the agreement of all the teams. A lack of ability to test with a current car - which culminated in the Mercedes tire test furor - has also riled Pirelli and Hembery told ESPN during an exclusive interview that, while it wants to remain in the sport, the current situation surrounding the tire manufacturer can't continue.
"They're things that have to change, we couldn't possibly risk putting ourselves in that situation again," Hembery said. "There's no doubt it has to change. If the sport doesn't want to change then they can find someone else. We want to stay obviously but we need to make some changes, we can't just keep talking about it, things now have to change."
Hembery said part of the problem stems from an inability for the teams to agree collectively on certain matters.
"I'm not going to criticize the FIA because I don't think it's necessarily their issue. We were working better with the teams. The teams in the first year were quite a lot better at working together and we've seen that dissipate over the last two and a half years. That's not just with us, I think there's lots of things going on there behind the scenes with new agreements - the Concorde Agreement - and things like that, some teams struggling, so there's a lot more friction between the teams than we've seen before. Whilst individually we have fantastic support from all of them, collectively it's not quite there."
While admitting Pirelli was continuing with its plans for 2014 regardless, he warned that the tire manufacturer could recover if it ended up pulling out at late notice.
"We're working forward for next year. Time is passing on. I mean, we don't need to do Formula One to survive as a business; it's a part of the company. In November we might be packing up and going and then it's somebody else's problem, but we've made every effort we can to get things sorted. We haven't given any deadlines, we're just working on; maybe we're silly doing that, maybe we should have insisted on things being sorted. It's mid-July and I if somebody wants to come in and take over I think they would be very brave, because the issues we've been suffering with would be issues that any company would have problems with, quite frankly." ESPNF1
Button confident McLaren are heading in the right direction
Jenson Button has shared his confidence that McLaren are improving and heading in the right direction with the updates being brought to the car after he scored a good haul of points at the last round in Germany.
The Brit has so far had a best finish of fifth at the Chinese Grand Prix but the team saw their pace drop at the Canadian and British Grand Prix’s. Despite the drop in form, Button feels McLaren are working well right now and is expecting more progress in Hungary.
However speaking in a team statement he started by looking back at his past success at the Hungaroring, winning his first race at the track back in 2006 and taking the win in 2011 on his 200th Grand Prix: “Great circuit, great place,” he admits. “I have so many positive memories of racing at the Hungaroring – obviously, I won my first grand prix there back in 2006, which was incredibly emotional – and also feels such a long time ago now – I also won my 200th race there back in 2011.”
He added: “That was one of those days when everything went right, the car was a dream to drive and I just brought it home. Every victory in Formula 1 is special, but that’s right up there as one of my favorite days in the car.”
Looking ahead to this years round, a win is not expected but further progress is: “Of course, a win in 2013 is going to be difficult, but I actually think the team is working very well right now: in Germany, our tire-usage, strategy and management of the race was as good as it’s ever been. It would be good to have a car with a little more pace to enable those calls to have a bit more impact at the front of the pace, but, for the moment, we can be satisfied by doing the best possible job in qualifying and on Sunday afternoon.”
Team-mate Sergio Perez admitted that the Hungaroring is a track he “enjoys” but he has failed to finish highly in his last two attempts. He revealed his “realistic” ambitions for the race weekend, saying: “After a positive weekend at the Nurburgring, we’re focused on further improving and understanding the MP4-28. I think the race in Germany showed that, when things come together, we’re able to be a force in the race, even if we can’t quite set the pace at the front. That is extremely motivating during a difficult year.”
The Mexican is hopeful that the team can head off from the “first half of 2013″ on their summer holidays with a good result. RichlandF1.com
Chilton hits back after Symonds rebuke
(GMM) Max Chilton has hit back at Marussia's departed technical boss Pat Symonds.
Just before announcing his defection to Williams, Symonds compared Marussia's current drivers with champions like Fernando Alonso, surmising that the Spaniard is at least half a second quicker.
"Our hands are tied," he had said, "(as) we need to have drivers who also bring money."
The comment was interpreted as a specific rebuke at Briton Chilton, whose wealthy father has bankrolled his F1 debut.
Chilton has also been shaded this year by his impressive Ferrari-linked teammate Jules Bianchi.
Chilton, however, suggested Symonds' assessment is unfair.
"An F1 team isn't going to accept two drivers who aren't capable of getting the most out of the car," he is quoted by the Russian news agency Ria Novosti.
He also disagreed with Symonds' estimation that the time-gap to a driver like Alonso is half a second.
"I wouldn't say that there's that much left in the car," said Chilton.
"I don't believe there's half a second, but I agree that the more experience you've got - people like Alonso, like Jenson, like Lewis that have been in here so long - they can get a little bit more out of it."
F1 insiders were also assessing another driver 'gap' on Friday, as Williams tester Susie Wolff made her proper circuit debut at the Silverstone test.
The 'gap' to world champion Sebastian Vettel was 2.2 seconds, leaving her ninth of the 16 drivers in action.
"I think she was pretty good, she was pretty quick and that's really fantastic to see a lady driving formula one," said Ferrari's Felipe Massa.
F1's tire-exploding crisis now over - drivers
(GMM) F1's 'tire-exploding' troubles appear definitely over.
Pirelli immediately tweaked its formerly steel-belted tires after the Silverstone race chaos, while the FIA banned team tinkering that may have worsened the problem.
But it was thought the sport's return to the British circuit, for a three-day test this past week, would give the definitive answer about whether the all-new Hungary-spec tires - combining the 2013 compounds and 2012 structure - have solved the problem completely.
The answer, it appears, is yes.
"Nothing has happened here," said Ferrari's Felipe Massa, after the FIA allowed race drivers to run at the 'young driver test' in order to try the new tires.
"There were no blow-outs or punctures like we saw in this race. That is the most important thing," he is quoted by AFP news agency.
Williams' Pastor Maldonado agrees: "They have solved the problem -- they knew where the problem was and here we haven't had anything."