Latest F1 news in brief - Friday
Webber's successor to be decided after Hungary
|Webber's replacement to be announced soon|
- Bosses vote down 'minimum pitstop time' proposal
- Massa warns Ferrari exit could end F1 career
- Williams not planning further tests for Wolff
- No chemotherapy for F1 legend Murray Walker
- Austria GP return 'only a rumor' - Alonso
- Alonso hopes for faster Ferrari 'after the summer'
- Sutil not pledging future to Force India
- Marussia F1 Team renews with A-Gas
- Drivers say F1 must keep fast pitstops
Webber's successor to be decided after Hungary
(GMM) The F1 world is hanging on the protagonists' every word, as Red Bull nears a decision about who will replace Mark Webber in 2014.
Rumors in the Hungaroring paddock swirled that a contract is being prepared with Daniel Ricciardo's name on it, but the young Australian insisted: "I haven't seen one!"
The time, however, is looming.
"Usually there's two or three press guys turning up for my media sessions, today it was more like 20 or 30," the Toro Rosso driver said in Hungary.
Their wait continues for now, but it will end soon.
In Budapest, the last race before a four-week break in the calendar, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner revealed: "We'll take probably the summer break to reflect.
"Then it (the decision) is going to be Spa or Monza but it's not going to be later than that I don't think."
Ricciardo's Toro Rosso teammate Jean-Eric Vergne was once considered in the running for the plum seat next to Sebastian Vettel, but Horner admitted it is now definitely a two-horse race.
"I think at this stage it (a Red Bull seat) is probably too early for him (Vergne).
"I think he deserves a seat in formula one. Should he not be successful with the Red Bull seat then it makes logical sense for him to continue at Toro Rosso," he added.
With that, then, Horner said Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen are "extremely good" candidates to succeed the Le Mans-bound Webber.
Red Bull team owner Dietrich Mateschitz said this week that Ricciardo, 23, did an "excellent" job in the Red Bull at the recent Silverstone test.
Horner agreed: "The test has strengthened his case."
At the very same time, 2007 world champion Raikkonen hinted he might simply stay at Lotus next year -- admitting that decision could attract some critics.
"Whatever the decision will be," the Finn said in Budapest, "it might feel stupid to somebody else but then it might feel right for me."
The 33-year-old, who drove for top teams McLaren and Ferrari in his pre-sabbatical career, also suggested the decision will be taken in the summer break.
"I haven't made my decision," Raikkonen told Finland's Turun Sanomat newspaper, "and I will not make it this weekend."
Bosses vote down 'minimum pitstop time' proposal
(GMM) Safety talks to mandate a minimum time for pitstops in future have fallen at the first hurdle, it has emerged.
F1 race director Charlie Whiting met with team bosses in Hungary on Thursday to discuss the matter, as the FIA moves to further bolster safety after a pitlane cameraman was hospitalized in Germany recently.
But according to reports by NBC and the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, the team bosses did not support the proposed move.
"We are all in agreement on improving safety," Ferrari's Fernando Alonso is quoted as saying. "However, finding the way to do it is difficult to agree on."
World champion Sebastian Vettel admitted his opposition to the idea of a minimum pitstop time.
"The pitstops in formula one are a big part of the spectacle," he is quoted by Speed Week.
"It is also a competition between team to team, with the mechanics trying to be faster than the others.
"It's always clear that there is some risk in motor sport.
"Clearly if suddenly every driver had to go through a certain corner at a certain speed, then I don't know how many people would watch that.
"Safety is very important, but the sporting element must also be preserved," the Red Bull driver insisted.
What did emerge from Thursday's Hungaroring meeting is that drivers now face ten-position grid penalties for the following race if they are released from a pitstop without four properly attached wheels.
Massa warns Ferrari exit could end F1 career
(GMM) Felipe Massa has admitted he could drive off the grid altogether if Ferrari does not extend his contract beyond 2013.
The well-connected Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper said Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta are at the front of the queue if Ferrari decide Massa's struggle for results recently should end his long tenure.
Both candidates were not denying the speculation in Hungary.
"To tell you the truth," Force India's di Resta told F1's official website, "my management team is looking at what is best for me to move forward."
And Sauber's Hulkenberg is quoted by Frankfurter Rundschau: "Ferrari has a tremendous history and is one of the top teams.
"But as to my future, that's still wide open."
Massa, 32, admitted he needs to put his focus on the road in front of him.
"You can't drive with extra worry or fear," he told Brazilian correspondent Livio Oricchio. "I've never done that in my life.
"If I am forced to change, it would have to be somewhere else competitive, otherwise I wouldn't want to stay in formula one," Massa insisted.
Globo quotes Massa adding: "I want to stay in F1, but to compete, not to (just) participate.
"If for some reason I do not have the chance to stay at Ferrari, I will try to go somewhere else.
"But if I can only go to small teams, I'm not interested," he insisted.
Williams not planning further tests for Wolff
(GMM) Williams is not planning any more significant test sessions for Susie Wolff in the immediate future.
The famous British team's female reserve driver impressed both Williams and the wider F1 world with her first real circuit test in the 2013 car recently at Silverstone.
"She did a good job, with no mistakes and making good progress with the new tires," Williams' chief engineer Xevi Pujolar is quoted by Brazil's Globo Esporte.
"But we are not considering the possibility of regular tests for Susie at this point," he insisted, admitting he was also talking about potential running on Friday mornings at grands prix.
"The work we did at Silverstone is different to what we do on a race weekend, so we are not considering that," added Pujolar.
Wolff, 30, is therefore leaving her plans for the future open.
"We have two great drivers," she said, referring to Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas, "so it is not possible to drive on Fridays this season.
"But we'll see. I'm not the type of person who likes to sit still," added Wolff.
"I always like to be developing myself constantly. So I'll think about what is the right next step for me."
No chemotherapy for F1 legend Murray Walker
(GMM) Legendary F1 commentator Murray Walker has revealed he will no longer have to undergo chemotherapy for lymphatic cancer.
The much-loved 'voice of formula one', who hung up his microphone more than a decade ago, revealed last month he would have to undergo the treatment after doctors detected the cancer when he broke his pelvis.
But the 89-year-old has now told the Daily Mail: "I went to have my pre-chemotherapy blood check this week and was understandably delighted when they said 'Your blood condition has improved so much that it is now nearly normal and you do not need the chemotherapy -- well not now, anyway'."
Walker said he will still be checked regularly by doctors.
"If it (the condition) deteriorates I will have to have the chemo, but if it doesn't I won't. So although I am not completely out of the woods, I can certainly see the sunlit meadows ahead!" he added.
Austria GP return 'only a rumor' - Alonso
(GMM) Fernando Alonso has only cautiously welcomed news Austria will be on the 2014 calendar.
It was announced this week that Red Bull Ring owner Dietrich Mateschitz has agreed a deal with Bernie Ecclestone for the Austrian grand prix to return in 2014.
"If you look at the calendar," said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, "it is extremely important that we're still (racing) in Europe."
Also speaking to Austria's Laola1, Mark Webber agreed: "It's a great traditional track, and we've lost quite a lot of those."
The deal, however, is conditional on certain local permissions, including noise and environmental plans, and a raising of the Red Bull Ring's allowed spectator limit from 40,000.
So it is apparently for that reason, rather than the fact Red Bull is Ferrari driver Alonso's arch rival, that the Spaniard welcomed the news only cautiously.
"The people of Austria have a lot of support for formula one," said Alonso, "but at the moment there is only the hope -- only the rumor."
Told, however, that even a date for the former A1-Ring's return in 2014 has been set, Alonso insisted: "We shouldn't forget that the federation hasn't ruled on this yet."
The Ferrari driver even had little to say about the actual circuit layout, which despite being rebuilt by Red Bull is still essentially the same as always.
"I don't know much about the track, so I don't have a strong opinion about it," said Alonso.
"We've been there, but that was some time ago."
Then driving for Renault in 2003, Alonso retired from the last Austrian grand prix with engine failure.
Alonso hopes for faster Ferrari 'after the summer'
(GMM) Fernando Alonso is not expecting to "surprise" with world-beating pace this weekend in Hungary.
The Spaniard does, however, think Ferrari has ended its recent trend of stagnant development, and hopes to be at the wheel of a faster car "after the summer".
But Alonso, who did not run at Silverstone recently, revealed that Ferrari did test some new parts at the young driver test.
"We won a tenth or two," he is quoted by El Mundo newspaper. "But so did the other teams.
"So I don't expect any surprises here in Hungary. The gaps will be the same. My hope is for after the summer.
"So in Spa and in Monza, and the other remaining races, hopefully we can regain some lost ground."
But Alonso said a lot will depend on how Pirelli's latest tire change, combining the 2012 structure with the 2013 compounds, affects the individual teams.
"This is the fourth tire change this season in formula one," he said. "Some have been good, others not so much.
"Hopefully this one will be good."
Sutil not pledging future to Force India
(GMM) On the occasion of his 100th career grand prix with the very same Silverstone based team, Adrian Sutil declined to pledge his future to Force India.
Hungary this weekend is the 30-year-old's 100th race in formula one, dating back through the team's history as Spyker, Midland and then Force India, who revived Sutil's career in 2013 despite his criminal conviction for assault.
Even so, he is not ruling out a change of scenery for 2014.
"It's still a bit too early to think about it," Sutil told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
"When I'm ready, I will speak first with (team boss) Vijay (Mallya)."
Sutil is leaving the door open because, despite Force India's solid McLaren-beating form in 2013, the driver is still seeking even an elusive first podium.
"The difference between us (Force India) and the top teams is that to ever have a chance at the podium, everything has to fit together 110 per cent," he said.
"But the big teams can still have a good result even when they're making mistakes."
The obvious conclusion of Sutil's comments is his acknowledgement that, if he wants to progress significantly, he will have to change teams.
Asked if he can imagine Force India at the very front in F1, he told SID news agency: "I don't know, but there are not too many teams that are better than us at the moment.
"It (moving teams) is a decision you need to consider carefully.
"If I think at some point that I cannot get more out of the team, then I will change. But at the moment I still see a lot of potential.
"I want to win, whether it's in a red or an orange or a silver car is secondary," said Sutil.
He admitted, however, that if his career races on for another 100 grands prix, he would like to look back on more than one team experience.
"Should I be able some day to look back on 200 grands prix, it would be nice to be able to talk about different teams," said Sutil.
Marussia F1 Team announces extended Partnership with A-Gas
The Marussia F1 Team is pleased to announce that it has agreed an enhanced relationship with existing Team Partner A-Gas, which will see the company benefiting from an increased presence on the MR02 race cars and trackside environment at selected Grands Prix on the calendar.
A-Gas is an international group of companies with headquarters in the United Kingdom and trading subsidiaries in the UK, South Africa, Australia, South East Asia, China, Thailand and The Americas. Their core business is focused on Refrigerants, Industrial Special Products, Environmental Services and Performance Chemicals.
A-Gas, which celebrates 20 years of excellence in 2013, is excited to partner with the Marussia F1 Team as both parties share the same ambition to consistently build their performance on the global stage.
Andy Webb, CEO, Marussia F1 Team
"It is always very rewarding to renew and grow existing relationships with our Team Partners, with whom our partnerships are yielding real business benefit. By working with A-Gas to tailor their requirements according to their key territories, we are also able to demonstrate a bespoke approach which reflects the individual nature of our Partners and their business needs."
Sally Fairman, Group Corporate Development Director, A-Gas
"Our partnership with the Marussia F1 Team shows our commitment to innovate and drive the business forward. As a solutions provider, we offer unrivalled technical support and advice in an ever-changing, regulatory-focused industry. We are very excited to have further developed our relationship with the Marussia F1 Team, since the exposure this gives us enables A-Gas to build its presence internationally."
Drivers say F1 must keep fast pitstops
Formula 1 drivers think it would be wrong to rid the sport of the spectacle of fast pitstops amid the current safety clampdown.
Both the FIA and FOM have introduced changes to pitlane protocol in the wake of a cameraman getting hit by a loose wheel from Mark Webber's car at the German Grand Prix.
As well as teams now facing grid penalties if cars are released with loose wheels, there has been a change in the pitlane speed limit and restrictions on media access.
Ideas have also been put forward about ways of slowing down the pitstops to stop mechanics needing to rush matters.
But drivers are not convinced that going that far is necessary, especially because part of F1's attraction is the speed with which wheels are changed.
Webber said: "When they turn a car around quickly it is a great advert for the sport.
"It is another part of our operation as an industry to show how performance orientated we are, although that stuff doesn't really go into road car stuff or your local Kwikfit.
"It's a nice message to show how much time we focus on it. It's impressive and a lot of people talk about it when they walk past the garage and they see an F1 car arriving and disappearing in two or three seconds."
Jenson Button thinks a simple solution to the debate over whether or not pitstops are too quick is to bring back refuelling.
"It is an exciting part of the sport and motor racing is dangerous, as we all know," explained the McLaren driver.
"They didn't used to have speed limits in the pitlane and now they have speed limits so that is a good step forward.
"Obviously the pitstops have got very, very fast and there have been a few incidents of tires coming off, which is horrendous.
"But the reason they are so fast now is because we don't have refuelling. We have taken away a danger, refuelling, and got faster pitstops - so I think bring back refuelling. I am sure it was a lot more fun."
Fernando Alonso thinks that ultimately any changes that can improve safety around pitstops has to be a positive for everyone.
"We all try to find the limit in pitstops," he said. "If they find a solution to increase the pitstop time to improve safety, and it is the same for all the teams, I think no one will disagree." Yahoo Eurosport