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Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
  • Vergne wants teammate to replace Webber
    Ricciardo should get seat over Raikkonen - Vergne
  • Pay-driver label 'completely wrong' - Sirotkin
  • Petrov, Kobayashi say money halting F1 returns
  • Criticism 'a deterrent' for Pirelli successors - Surer
  • Ferrari reserve de la Rosa recovering from flu
  • Ecclestone's successor will be from outside F1, CVC reveals
  • Extreme heat expected for Hungarian GP

Ricciardo should get seat over Raikkonen - Vergne
(GMM)  Jean-Eric Vergne has admitted he would prefer to see teammate Daniel Ricciardo become the next driver at Red Bull Racing.

Although Red Bull, and the French driver himself, are not ruling out Vergne's chances, boss Christian Horner has effectively admitted that Ricciardo is fighting for the 2014 vacancy against Kimi Raikkonen.

Toro Rosso driver Vergne, 23, is quoted by Austria's Kronen Zeitung: "I think it's my teammate Daniel Ricciardo who should get the job, not Kimi Raikkonen.

"We are both doing a good job at Toro Rosso, and the team is getting better with every race."

Vergne acknowledged that Australian Ricciardo has earned contention for the departing Mark Webber's seat alongside Sebastian Vettel.

But he also thinks that if Ricciardo does well at Red Bull, that will also reflect well on himself.

"If Daniel, who at the moment is doing better than me, is running alongside Sebastian Vettel, it will show the quality of the young (development) drivers of Red Bull.

"If it is said that I am not consistent, then I have to point out that after my sixth in Canada, I had two retirements due to mechanical problems," Vergne added.

An article in the latest edition of Italian magazine Italiaracing claims Raikkonen will ultimately line up at Red Bull next year, with Ricciardo replacing him at Lotus.

Pay-driver label 'completely wrong' - Sirotkin
(GMM)  Sergey Sirotkin, set to smash the record next year as the youngest ever F1 racer, has hit back at claims he is a "pay driver".

The 17-year-old's father is a key figure among the Russian entities that have bailed out the ailing Sauber.

Currently just ninth in the Formula Renault 3.5 series, behind highly rated drivers like the McLaren-backed Kevin Magnussen, and the likely next Toro Rosso driver Antonio Felix da Costa, Sirotkin's fast-track to the grid has earned him the 'pay driver' label.

"That is completely wrong," Sirotkin told Basler Zeitung newspaper.

"There is much more to it.  We are talking about a big project, where another driver could have been selected.

"It's not an investment in me, it's about the big picture," he insisted.

"It's not that I'm going to drive in F1 for fun, I have been selected because of my performance.  I want people to respect what I do.

"It's about the promotion of formula one in Russia.  And it's also quite normal that the driver also brings a sponsor, just as Fernando Alonso brings Santander bank to Ferrari," added Sirotkin.

But some of the criticism of Sirotkin's 2014 move to Sauber is also because of his age -- currently, he is still just 17, too young to apply for a road drivers' license in Russia.

Asked if he is arguably too young for F1, he admitted: "Yes, that's right.  It may be that I'm not 100 per cent ready, but I still have half a year to prepare.

"That should be enough," Sirotkin added.

"Maybe our results in the World Series are insufficient, but you can still see that we have the speed.  We just need a little bit more luck in the races."

One of those questioning Sirotkin's preparedness for F1 is Jenson Button, who in the past has admitted that, at 20, he himself made his debut too early.

"I began racing at 8," the Briton is quoted by Russia's Championat, "but even at twenty, realistically speaking, it was too early.

"I had to learn about the sport from the inside.

"On the one hand, it's good, but on the other hand, you can't hide.

"I think another year in the junior categories would have helped me come to formula one much more prepared," added Button.

"I was not ready at 17.  Maybe he is, I don't know, but he needs to be careful.  Formula one is a tough business."

Petrov, Kobayashi say money halting F1 returns
(GMM)  A lack of sponsors are keeping former podium-getters Vitaly Petrov and Kamui Kobayashi out of formula one.

After losing his Caterham seat and also the services of former manager Oksana Kosachenko, Russian Petrov has revealed he is now working with a new manager "from the West".

And the former Renault driver told Russia's Championat he is already in talks with several teams.

"They said that they are willing to cooperate, willing to negotiate," he revealed.

"But to continue these talks, I need some support."

Another driver currently on F1's sidelines is Kamui Kobayashi, the hugely popular Japanese who lost his Sauber seat a mere five races after standing on the podium.

Today, he is a sports car driver for Ferrari, and whilst demonstrating a F1 car for the famous marque in Moscow last weekend, he lost control and crashed.

Still, he yearns for real F1 action again.

"At the moment," said Kobayashi, "there are many teams who prefer to choose their drivers based on how much money they can bring, rather than on their ability on track.

"I hope this trend will change, because my aim is to be back there as soon as possible and I am working hard to succeed."

Criticism 'a deterrent' for Pirelli successors - Surer
(GMM)  F1 teams will only have themselves to blame if they are left without tires next year, according to a leading commentator.

Pirelli's increasingly vocal Paul Hembery has warned that the sport should "find someone else" if the rules and the criticism are not tempered to better treat F1's official tire supplier.

Marc Surer, a former driver from Switzerland who is now a prominent German-speaking commentator, said alternate marques like Michelin and Bridgestone could enter F1 "at short notice" to replace a departing Pirelli "if they wanted to".

But would they want to?

Surer pointed out that Pirelli's tenure since 2011, and the last few months in particular, have been characterized by extreme criticism.

"That was not very clever of the teams," Surer told Germany's Sport1.

"After all, F1 costs a tire manufacturer a lot of money, but if all they will get is bad publicity, then that is absolutely a deterrent," he concluded.

Ferrari reserve de la Rosa recovering from flu
(GMM)  Ferrari reserve Pedro de la Rosa is recovering after a week of flu, the Spaniard admitted on Twitter.

"I think I can see the light," the Spaniard told his quarter of a million followers.

But de la Rosa's illness has triggered a round of speculation about who is second in line for a Ferrari race seat, should Fernando Alonso or Felipe Massa be unable to drive in Hungary.

Is it Jules Bianchi, the leading Ferrari 'academy' driver, who if he stepped up to the main team would then leave Marussia needing to fill a seat?

Or test driver Marc Gene, who like de la Rosa attends the races?  Or 26-year-old Italian Davide Rigon, who tested Ferrari's 2013 car at Silverstone last week?

Japanese Kamui Kobayashi, although hugely popular and among the most recently experienced following his three years with Sauber, might be near the bottom of the list.

Whilst demonstrating the team's 2009 car on the streets of Moscow last weekend, Kobayashi - now a Ferrari sports car driver - lost control and crashed.

"The track was very slippery," he said, "and there was a marked bump at that point, which is why I hit the barrier.

"A shame, but I am pleased the team let me out again after a few minutes."

The crash can be seen at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ea1oUlFpGjY

Ecclestone's successor will be from outside F1, CVC reveals
CVC Capital, the private equity firm which controls Formula One, has revealed that a successor to the sport's chief executive Bernie Ecclestone will come from outside the motorsport industry.
A source close to CVC says that it has no intention of replacing Mr. Ecclestone who was last week charged in Germany with payment of an alleged bribe in connection with the $1.7bn sale of F1 to the private equity firm in 2006. However, a replacement will have to be considered at some stage in future as Mr. Ecclestone turns 83 in October this year.

"The business is too small to have a successor lurking in the ranks. The successor almost certainly has to come from externally," says the source.

F1 only has 313 staff and 10 senior management with no deputy or chief operating officer waiting to take over the driving seat.

It is widely thought that Christian Horner, the British boss of championship-winning team Red Bull Racing, will take over from Mr. Ecclestone. Names from outside the sport have included Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King and former Marks & Spencer boss Sir Stuart Rose.

Mr. Ecclestone has run F1 for nearly 40 years and holds a 5.3% stake in the sport's parent company Delta Topco. In 2006 CVC bought a 47.2% stake in the business from state-owned German bank BayernLB and soon afterwards Mr. Ecclestone and his Bambino family trust paid $44m to its chief risk officer Gerhard Gribkowsky. 

German prosecutors believe that Mr. Ecclestone paid the money to Mr. Gribkowsky to steer the sale of F1 to CVC as it had agreed to retain him as F1's boss. They claim that selling to CVC reduced the value of the bank's stake as other buyers could have paid more.

Mr. Ecclestone denies this and says that Mr. Gribkowsky threatened to make false allegations about his tax affairs to H.M. Revenue & Customs if the money was not paid.

In June last year a court in Germany found Mr. Gribkowsky guilty of receiving a bribe and sentenced him to eight and a half years in prison. Mr. Ecclestone was charged last week with paying the alleged bribe but this does not mean he will go to court. A German judge now has six weeks to decide whether to bring him to trial.

Mr. Gribkowsky is the star witness for the prosecution but Mr. Ecclestone's lawyers claim he is discredited as he is a convicted criminal and has changed his testimony several times. Mr. Gribkowsky initially claimed that he received the payment for consultancy work but he switched to a guilty plea which is understood to have reduced his sentence.

His lawyer Sven Thomas told the Daily Telegraph that "the defense will file a comprehensive submission with the Regional Court. The main topic of the submission is the challenge of the different 'confessions' of Dr. Gribkowsky."

The charges against Mr. Ecclestone have not dented CVC's support. The private equity firm has not taken any action and has issued a press release saying that it "will continue to monitor developments in this situation."

The CVC source says "our actions show that we support Bernie." His contract was signed on 24 March 2006 and it gives him a £2.5m annual salary. It was for "an initial fixed term of three years and thereafter continuing unless or until terminated by either party giving to the other 12 months' written notice."

The source adds "the reality is that Bernie runs the business and he is much closer to what is going on than we are. We are obviously important in the sense that we are the shareholders but we don't run the business on a day to day basis." Telegraph

Extreme heat expected for Hungarian GP 
The upcoming Hungarian Grand Prix could take place amid sweltering heat, with weather forecasters predicting temperatures to peak at 40°C (104°F) on Sunday.

The last time similar conditions arose was in 2005, at the Bahrain Grand Prix. On race day, the air temperature hit 40°C, while the track temperature rose to 56°C (132.8°F).

The aforesaid Sakhir race – along with the 1955 Argentine Grand Prix, 1959 French Grand Prix and 1984 Dallas Grand Prix – is ranked as one of the hottest in history.

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