Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
Sirotkin could test in Ferrari simulator - Kaltenborn
|Domenicali (L) knows his Ferrari crew has produced too slow a car to win title|
- Raikkonen admitted Ferrari move at Finnish party - report
- 2013 could now be Vettel-Hamilton head-to-head
- Kovalainen to drive Caterham at Spa, Monza
- Domenicali gives team a pep talk, but it won't hide the fact his Ferrari is too slow
Sirotkin could test in Ferrari simulator - Kaltenborn
(GMM) Sergey Sirotkin's preparation for his formula one race debut next year could continue at the controls of the Ferrari driver simulator.
This week, the Russian teenager travelled to Switzerland for his first look at Sauber's Hinwil factory, where he had a seat fitting in the 2013 car ahead of demonstration run at Sochi next month.
Team boss Monisha Kaltenborn said on Wednesday that "the most important thing" for Sirotkin ahead of his scheduled 2014 debut will be doing "plenty of kilometers" before Melbourne next year.
"Despite the test ban, there are certain ways we can do that," she told Speed Week.
"Using a current car is prohibited, but we can use an older car," said Kaltenborn. "In the coming weeks we will determine exactly when and where he can start."
Sauber, struggling financially when the new Russian rescue deal was announced recently, is keen to kick off Sirotkin's program as soon as possible, as at present the 17-year-old does not have a F1 super license.
Kaltenborn said the team's links to engine supplier Ferrari could play a role in helping Sirotkin to prepare.
"There are some options in terms of the simulator, including Ferrari," she admitted. "We will see what this (program) will look like in the coming weeks."
Raikkonen admitted Ferrari move at Finnish party - report
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen, no fan of the spotlight, is the man of the moment as F1's summer slumber ends this weekend in Belgium.
The Finn's manager has ruled out a move to Red Bull, but some sources at Spa-Francorchamps think the fact the team has put off announcing Daniel Ricciardo's 2014 deal is a sign Raikkonen might still be in the running.
At the same time, Lotus has made clear it wants to keep the 33-year-old on board, while reports continue to insist there is a real chance Raikkonen will return to Ferrari.
Germany's Sport Bild even reports that Raikkonen recently admitted to friends during an alcohol-fuelled night out in Helsinki that he will be wearing red again in 2014.
Reporting about the Helsinki party, the German broadcaster RTL suggested Ferrari has put a EUR 11 million contract on the table, including bonuses and sponsorship of his motocross team.
As ever in the 'silly season', though, there are conflicting reports.
Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat is now quoting Raikkonen's manager Steve Robertson as saying the driver actually wants to stay at Lotus in 2014.
"Kimi likes it at Lotus," said Robertson. "But we are waiting for information on certain issues that are still outstanding.
"About Kimi's future, the ball is in Lotus' court."
And the German newspaper Welt reports that talks between Ferrari and Nico Hulkenberg, about replacing the Brazilian Felipe Massa, have now kicked off.
2013 could now be Vettel-Hamilton head-to-head
(GMM) The second half of 2013 looks set to be a head-to-head between championship leader and favorite Sebastian Vettel, and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.
Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso still have more points than Hamilton, but many are tipping Mercedes to keep improving from track to track until the November finale.
High-speed Spa and Monza, for a start, look set to favor the powerful W04.
But Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko told Sport Bild: "We won in Montreal, even though the circuit is more of a Mercedes track.
"Will bring new parts to each of the last nine races."
It is on the Austrian's final point that many see the rest of 2013 as a likely Red Bull-versus-Mercedes battle -- most of their rivals might see focusing on the all-new challenge of 2014 as a wiser choice, given recent form.
Sport Bild claims that, in contrast, Mercedes' Paddy Lowe has been tasked exclusively with continuing to develop the German team's 2013 car right until the end.
Nonetheless, team director Toto Wolff is playing down the chances.
"We cannot be confident," he is quoted by the Mirror, "it would be the wrong approach to say we have found the golden key now."
Red Bull's Vettel, with a 48-point lead over Hamilton, is also playing things down, despite others predicting him to wear a fourth consecutive drivers' crown.
"There is still half a season ahead of us, Mercedes has been developing well so we cannot say anything.
"Things change fast in formula one," he is quoted by Brazil's O Estado de S.Paulo.
Kovalainen to drive Caterham at Spa, Monza
(GMM) Heikki Kovalainen will be back on track for Caterham at the next two F1 race weekends.
Earlier this year, in Bahrain and Barcelona, the Finn and former team driver appeared for Caterham on the initial Friday practice sessions.
The team announced via Twitter on Thursday morning that Kovalainen will be back at the wheel on Friday at Spa-Francorchamps, driving Charles Pic's car.
Caterham said Kovalainen will be "mirroring the work" he did in Bahrain and Barcelona, "giving us another view of the car".
The 31-year-old will also be in action at Monza in two weeks, in Giedo van der Garde's car.
Domenicali gives team a pep talk, but it won't hide the fact his Ferrari is too slow
The return leg of the Formula 1 World Championship is about to get underway and, as the time comes to head for Spa, Stefano Domenicali called together all the men and women who work for the Scuderia, in the logistics pavilion to give an added boost of motivation to a group that is in any case set on pursuing success.
“There is still everything to play for and we have gone through this before, as recently as last year,” said Domenicali. “Nine races means that a total of 225 driver points are available and rest assured that the goals we set ourselves at the start of the season are still perfectly attainable. It’s true we’ve gone through a difficult period, especially in July and now is the time to react in the way that Ferrari people know well.
“Our task is very simple: namely to give Fernando and Felipe the quickest car possible. Now, their contribution will be even more essential than ever,” he continued. “We have spelt it out many times before: the driver topic is definitely not a priority. What counts is to give them the best possible chance of finishing ahead of everyone and, in order to succeed, each and every one of us must do our job to the best of our ability on all levels. If they have a winning car in their hands, then I am convinced they will know how to win with it. If we all believe, then we can do it!”
Domenicali spent considerable time talking about the right mental approach. “I don’t want to see any of you not believing in our fightback: each one of you must be the link in a chain of positivity that must drive the team along in what is a key moment in the season. We are Ferrari and history teaches us that we must never accept we are beaten. There is much talk outside the company regarding the future, but we must concentrate only on the present, on the fight for the championship. The words of our President before the summer break must serve as a stimulus, because they were meant as the words of a good family father, who, first and foremost really roots for our team: keep those words in mind and let’s all pull together, starting in Spa.”
The first group of team members has already arrived in Belgium, while the trucks with the F138s available for the eleventh round of the 2013 Championship will leave Maranello this evening. The final charter flight of the European season, with the rest of the eighty or so personnel that will attend the race, will leave from Bologna airport tomorrow afternoon.