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DATE News (chronologically)
07/28/13
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Sunday  
  • Adrian Sutil
    Top teams got the tires they wanted - Sutil
  • Ferrari admits 'struggling' with wind tunnel problems
  • Questions mount over Sauber's Russian saviors
  • Late Lotus payments 'not ideal' - Raikkonen
  • Boullier says Grosjean 'has F1 future'
  • Beating Button the 'only goal' - Perez

Top teams got the tires they wanted - Sutil
(GMM)  Paul Hembery in Hungary said he hopes the world of F1 can "finally get back to talking about racing, the drivers and the cars".

Indeed, the word 'tire' has utterly dominated the 2013 season, as the grid grappled with excessive wear, the 'test-gate' scandal, and the fallout of the chaotic British grand prix.

But Pirelli boss Hembery's wish has not come true.

Just after putting his Mercedes on pole in Hungary, Lewis Hamilton admitted he is not really looking forward to the grand prix.

"I honestly feel the car is just as competitive in terms of downforce and mechanics compared to the Red Bull," said the Briton.

"It's the tires.  When we bolt those things on they just don't work for us."

Not only that, teams are once again getting used to yet another specification change, as Pirelli hopes to solve all the problems by combining the 2013 compounds with last year's Kevlar construction.

Hembery insists the change has not changed the pecking order, but in Hungary Force India's Paul di Resta was baffled after qualifying 18th.

And his teammate Adrian Sutil told SID news agency: "The new tires are for the top teams, no matter what they say.

"The track is 50 degrees and yet we can't warm them up.  It's a clear advantage for the cars with more downforce.

"In the end they (the top teams) got what they wanted."

The German also hinted that he does not believe the new tires feature the 2013 compounds, revealing "It feels as though they have changed completely".

Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen also pointed at the new tires as he struggled to keep up this weekend with teammate Romain Grosjean.

According to Hembery, however, it's up to each team to make the best of the same tires offered at each race.

He told Bild am Sonntag newspaper: "Here in Hungary, Mercedes' rear tires are up to 20 degrees hotter than some of the other teams.

"If they solve the problem, they will be right at the very front."

Hamilton's teammate Nico Rosberg agreed: "The tires are indeed the same for everyone.

"We're not talking about a lottery, but a matter of simple physics that we need to understand."

And every other team will also have to get used to Pirelli, as the Italian company is inching ever closer to having its F1 contract renewed.

"We are already doing serious work on the tires for 2014," Hembery is quoted by Russia's f1news.ru, "and the advertising contracts have already been signed.

"The lawyers are working on the final version of the (F1 tire supply) contract," he revealed.

Ferrari admits 'struggling' with wind tunnel problems
(GMM)  Wind tunnels are still causing headaches for Ferrari.

The fabled team moved its entire aerodynamic testing program to the Toyota facility in Cologne, after concluding that its own wind tunnel at Maranello needed to be rebuilt because it was not producing reliable data.

But Germany's Auto Motor und Sport claims that, as development progress with the 2013 Ferrari car seemed to stall recently, the data produced by the Toyota tunnel has also been raising eyebrows.

"It's a difficult situation," admitted Simone Resta, the project chief for the F138 car.

"Despite having our own wind tunnel, we are still struggling and are obliged to work abroad," he is quoted by Italian newspaper La Stampa correspondent Stefano Mancini.

"We hope to resolve it by the end of summer," added Resta.

Questions mount over Sauber's Russian saviors
(GMM)  The Russian deal was hailed as Sauber's savior, but rumors persist that the Swiss team is not yet out of the woods.

Reports spoke of an enormous investment by the government-linked Russian entities, but then it was suggested that only Sauber's most pressing debts would initially be paid.

And Welt newspaper said the deal could collapse altogether if 17-year-old Sergey Sirotkin's preparation for a race seat next year fails.

The German report said Sauber's Russian deal will only actually be realized when Sirotkin gets his FIA super license.

"Until then," said Welt, "only ten million euros will flow, paying off the most pressing debts".

Ferrari is also playing a key role in Sauber's situation, with the Italian team reportedly still waiting for a EUR 19 million engine bill to be paid.

An ultimatum may even have been issued: at least 9 million in the next week, or no customer V8 power will be turned on at Spa after the summer break.

The newspaper also said Ferrari engineers are wary of the Russians, whose government-linked technology companies could scoop top-secret technical information.

Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn's 19-minute press round with reporters in Hungary on Saturday also heightened suspicions that the Russians have not yet arrived to the Hinwil based team's final rescue.

"It sounded like a politician," one voice said after leaving the Sauber hospitality, according to Speed Week.

"A lot of talk, but what was said?"

She did, however, play down rumors the deal could see her leave Sauber.

"As you can see, I'm here," said Kaltenborn.

She also had a message for the doubters.

"We are only at the beginning," said Kaltenborn, "so we're not thinking about what we will do if something goes wrong.  That would be pure speculation.

"And no one ever said that everything depends on one driver.

"It is true that we have not communicated everything we really want to say, but that doesn't mean you should jump to conclusions.

"We know from our previous partnerships, for example with Petronas, how many details need to be clarified."

Sauber is obviously juggling several balls at present.  One the one hand is a suspicious and disgruntled Ferrari, who nonetheless want to ink a new deal with the Swiss team for a customer supply of V6 power next year.

And according to another rumor in Hungary, Sauber may be hoping that Sirotkin can earn his mandatory FIA credential at the wheel of an old Ferrari car.

Kaltenborn said a lot of unanswered questions will be answered in a forthcoming press release.

But she did deny that the Russian deal could see Sauber's partnerships with Mexican sponsors, and therefore Esteban Gutierrez's career, end.

"One thing has nothing to do with the other," insisted Kaltenborn.

Late Lotus payments 'not ideal' - Raikkonen
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen has admitted he is still waiting on some money from Lotus.

"There is some problem," the 2007 world champion is quoted by Germany's sport1.de in Hungary.

The news could have huge implications for the 2014 'silly season', as Lotus is pushing hard to convince the Finn to stay put rather than move to Red Bull.

Team boss Christian Horner, however, said Raikkonen's considerable salary demands would not be a problem at Red Bull.

"That (money) isn't really an element in our decision making," he said.

It could, however, be a serious spanner in the works for Lotus.

Only a few weeks ago, Lotus' Eric Boullier admitted that while payments to Raikkonen had been late, his salary "has been paid" now.

But Raikkonen revealed in Hungary that the latest problems aren't even new.

"This happened last year, now again so it is not ideal," said the 33-year-old.

Boullier says Grosjean 'has F1 future'
(GMM)  Eric Boullier has hinted strongly that Romain Grosjean's future at Lotus is no longer in doubt.

Earlier, it was suggested that despite the French driver ending the 'first lap nutter' questions of 2012, a more recent return to poor form meant his seat beyond this season could be back in doubt.

But the always-smiling 27-year-old then raced to the podium at the Nurburgring, and in Hungary he has outperformed Kimi Raikkonen to qualify in the top three.

Many even regard Grosjean as a favorite for victory on Sunday, leaving his boss and manager Boullier gushing over his talent.

"He has the strengths of any champion," he told RMC Sport.

"Wherever he has been (other categories), he won everything, like Hamilton and Hulkenberg," said Boullier.

"But a driver must build himself up to the whole.  What he did in Germany was amazing -- he bounced back and performed.

"He has reached the level we wanted."

Boullier suggested Grosjean will definitely be part of Lotus' 2014 plans, because "he has a multi-year contract".

"He is committed for the long term.

"He has had his ups and downs but his level has still been quite high.  We are pleased with him," said Boullier.

"This year we have seen him thrive, growing as a person, as a sportsman and as a driver.

"In Germany, the job he did was outstanding.  From Friday morning to Sunday evening, he was on the level of Alonso, Vettel and Kimi.

"Now he has to keep it up every weekend, and if he does, we may have a future French champion on our hands.

"In any case, he has a future in F1," Boullier added.

Beating Button the 'only goal' - Perez
(GMM)  Not yet in the fight for race wins, Sergio Perez has admitted his sights are instead set firmly on Jenson Button.

Button, the 2009 world champion and highly-experienced McLaren team leader, has often complained about Mexican youngster Perez's overly-aggressive driving since the 23-year-old joined the famous British team in 2013.

But Perez defended his driving on the basis that, without a competitive car at his disposal, his only target is to prove he can beat his established and highly-rated teammate.

"I have no car to fight for victory," he is quoted by Brazil's O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper in Hungary.

"And in these circumstances, my only goal is to try to be better than my teammate, who is a world champion, a very capable driver," said Perez.

Indeed, the controversial young driver from Guadalajara did not deny that when he sees Button ahead of him on a circuit, he becomes determined to attack.

"If I overtake him, it means that I'm doing a good job," said Perez.

"Jenson is the benchmark for judging my work," he added.

Brazilian correspondent Livio Oricchio said Perez will remain at McLaren next year, as his initial contract with the great British team was for at least two years.

Perez said: "2014 represents the start of a new era for formula one, and for us drivers.

"Everything will be different with the new regulations, the turbos, the energy systems.  And we will have to adapt."

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