Latest F1 news in brief - Saturday
Team bosses want Todt to stay FIA president
|Todt to remain FIA President?|
- Ward issues FIA presidential manifesto
- Ecclestone denies releasing 2014 calendar
- Pirelli has 2014 deals 'with all teams'
- Experts doubt Raikkonen set for Ferrari return
- Vettel snubbed Webber's Monza farewell party
- Bianchi's manager hints at second season at Marussia
- End of loud V8 era 'a pity' - Vettel
- Jenson Button escapes DRS penalty
- Team bosses doubt more than 20 races
Team bosses want Todt to stay FIA president
(GMM) Leading formula one team bosses at Monza suggested they would support Jean Todt if he seeks a second term as FIA president.
Todt's rival in the governing body's forthcoming elections is David Ward, who on Friday released a manifesto outlining his intention to improve the "effectiveness and accountability" of the FIA.
But Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali, who succeeded Todt at the helm of the Maranello based team, insisted "stability and continuity" is crucial.
"It's one of the things that we are always missing," said the Italian.
Domenicali's McLaren counterpart Martin Whitmarsh also sounded supportive of Todt's continuing rule, even though the Frenchman is actually yet to announce his intention to stand.
"I have to say I think he has not used this sport for his own ego ... I think Jean has acted in the interests of motor sport," said Whitmarsh.
Todt is often criticized for keeping a very low profile, but Whitmarsh said he thinks the lack of controversy is actually a strong point.
"I think for some people there hasn't been enough commotion, action, which are things that are good in some people's minds," he said.
"But I think for those of us that participate in the sport, having some consistency - someone who takes decisions that are in the interests of the sport quietly and efficiently - is very beneficial.
"We (the teams) don't influence the outcome but I think Jean has done a good job so far and we'll see if he's successful at continuing to be the president," Whitmarsh added.
Like Domenicali, another figure who worked closely with Todt at Ferrari is Ross Brawn, who today is Mercedes' team boss.
"I think stability and consistency are very important," the Briton said at Monza.
Also backing Todt on Friday was Christian Horner, world champion Red Bull's team boss.
"I think Jean has done a very good job," he said.
Ward issues FIA presidential manifesto
FIA presidential candidate David Ward has outlined his agenda ahead of the elections for the highest post of motorsport's governing body that are to be held later this year.
The plan, available to read in full on Ward's website, is titled 'Agenda for Change' and features a total of 20 key proposals "that would modernize" the FIA. He is set to go up against current President Jean Todt, should the Frenchman stand for a second term.
"The 2013 Presidential election is an important opportunity for the FIA membership to decide not just on their next leadership team but also on the further reforms the Federation still needs," reads a segment of Ward's proposals. "To contribute to this vital debate, 'Agenda for Change' offers 20 proposals that would modernize the FIA’s governance making it more transparent and responsive to the membership."
Ward believes the FIA President should be able to serve in a non-executive role, while suggesting the implementation of a Chief Executive Officer and a Management Board to give the organization "a new professional strategic capacity it currently lacks."
Candidates are required to submit their applications with a list of Vice-Presidents between October 23 and November 13. The election takes place on December 6.
Ecclestone denies releasing 2014 calendar
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has denied distributing the draft 2014 calendar that found its way into team bosses' hands at Monza.
The schedule features a record 21 grands prix, but F1 chief executive Ecclestone insisted the real calendar "hasn't been produced yet".
"I'm saying there is no draft calendar," he told Reuters.
Ecclestone also told the British broadcaster Sky: "It wasn't (released by) us."
Indeed, two venues not included - New Jersey and Valencia - were taking news of the release of the draft calendar tentatively.
"We have no official notification that the race is not going to happen," Jose Ciscar, vice president of the Valencia government, is quoted by El Pais.
And when asked about New Jersey, American FIA official Nick Craw said the draft calendar "contains more events than can be accommodated (and) doesn't contain some events that might be accommodated".
Beat Zehnder, team manager at Sauber, agreed that the calendar doing the rounds at Monza is almost certainly subject to change.
"Especially the number of races," he told Speed Week.
"To really have 21 races would require the consent of all eleven teams. And in all likelihood that is not going to happen."
Pirelli has 2014 deals 'with all teams'
(GMM) Pirelli has signed supply contracts with all eleven formula one teams, motor sport director Paul Hembery told reporters at Monza.
The Italian marque also has a new deal in place with F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, giving the impression Pirelli is surely staying in the sport beyond its 2013 tenure.
"Yes, we now have an agreement with all the teams, and the promoter of the championship," Hembery is quoted by Russia f1news.ru.
But the final signature, that of F1's governing FIA, is still conspicuously missing.
Amid speculation Jean Todt favors the return of French supplier Michelin, Hembery said recently that a change now for 2014 would be "farcical".
Hembery said at Monza: "In two weeks we need to clearly define the program for next year and give the teams the information they need.
"We have been preparing for next season for the past four months."
Experts doubt Raikkonen set for Ferrari return
(GMM) Well-known paddock personalities doubt feverish speculation Kimi Raikkonen is on the verge of signing to return to Ferrari next year.
It is rumored the Finn is now poised to agree the deal, but triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart said at Monza: "I don't see how the management could be considering having Kimi in the same team as Fernando Alonso.
"For one thing, Alonso would not like it," he added.
Stewart, however, might not be speaking absolutely objectively, as he is a consultant for Lotus team owner Genii.
And Lotus is pushing hard to convince the Finn to stay.
But even former Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello expresses doubts about the Alonso-Raikkonen lineup.
"It's hard to imagine Ferrari making a change like that, with continuity being so critical," said the Brazilian.
He might be referring to the radical incoming rules for 2014, but Barrichello also insisted Alonso-Raikkonen would be a change in Ferrari's long policy of having a clear 'number 1'.
"With Alonso and Raikkonen, you wouldn't have that," he told Brazil's O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper.
Another former F1 driver, Luciano Burti, agreed in Monza: "I wouldn't bet on Kimi being at Ferrari with Alonso.
"I see everything depending on what Felipe (Massa) manages to do here and in Singapore. In formula one, your most recent results count the most," he said.
One candidate linked recently with a possible move to Ferrari next year is Jenson Button, but it appears the Briton is fully committed to McLaren for now.
"Well, he doesn't seem very worried about his future, does he?" team boss Martin Whitmarsh told the Italiaracing publication at Monza.
"He is a great ambassador for us and a great driver. In principle both parties are in agreement and the right time will come for an official announcement," he added.
Button also ruled out moving to Ferrari.
"Ferrari will always be an option for me," the 2009 world champion is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace, "but there have been no serious discussions.
"So there is definitely no chance to go there this time. I believe they will continue with Fernando and Felipe.
"But I did hear an interesting rumor today," said Button. "Someone told me about Fernando going to McLaren.
"I don't know if it will happen -- he didn't exactly leave McLaren in a good way (in 2007)," he added. "But let's wait and see."
Vettel snubbed Webber's Monza farewell party
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel on Friday did not attend a farewell party to mark teammate Mark Webber's last grand prix in Europe.
Germany's Bild newspaper said the reigning world champion sat downstairs 'playing with his iphone' while, just 16 steps above in the Red Bull motor home at Monza, much of the F1 fraternity paid tribute to Webber as the Australian's 12-year career draws to a close.
Helping Webber celebrate were figures like Ross Brawn, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and even Sir Frank Williams, who was carried up the 16 stairs in his wheelchair.
"We are no longer friends, but we respect each other," Vettel is quoted as saying.
1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, meanwhile, backed Red Bull's decision to replace the Le Mans-bound Webber with in-house talent Daniel Ricciardo.
"Vettel has developed so much this year -- he's super fast but he no longer makes mistakes or freaks out. He's made the biggest step of his career," said the French-Canadian at Monza, who has previously been critical of Vettel.
"So why would they have signed a driver who disturbs the peace? Daniel will be easier to handle politically than Webber," Villeneuve is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.
"Does he have broad enough shoulders to withstand the pressure? We will not know until next year. We'll see if he's still grinning then.
"But I think it's good Red Bull have taken a driver from their own school -- other teams also encourage young drivers but really all they do is talk about it," he added.
Bianchi's manager hints at second season at Marussia
(GMM) Nicolas Todt, who is Jules Bianchi's manager, is not ruling out a second consecutive season at Marussia for the French driver.
Rookie Bianchi, 24, has impressed this year, but it has been rumored backers Ferrari want him in a better seat in 2014 -- perhaps Ferrari-powered Sauber.
But Bianchi's manager Todt told RMC Sport that Marussia should not be dismissed.
"The fact that there is an (engine) agreement with Ferrari in the long term is a good sign," he said at Monza.
"It shows Marussia has ambition and they will have a better car in the future.
"Yes, Ferrari has relationships with some teams, and it is in Ferrari's interest to exploit their opportunities to get Jules in another team.
"But staying at Marussia would not be regarded as a backwards step, but rather a continuation of a great adventure," Todt added.
Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali confirmed at Monza that the Italian team will continue to support Bianchi in F1 beyond 2013, with the ultimate aim of preparing the Frenchman for a possible future at the works team.
"We want him to do two good seasons with a team that gives him the opportunity to gain experience, and Marussia is one," he said.
End of loud V8 era 'a pity' - Vettel
(GMM) World champion Sebastian Vettel has described F1's move to turbo V6 engines next year as "a pity".
Asked by Switzerland's 20min.ch to explain his disappointment, the Red Bull driver said: "I think formula one needs to be loud.
"It has to make a lot of noise and have a lot of power.
"Next year in peak power maybe we will have even more than today, but it will be lacking two cylinders," Vettel rued.
Another possibility is that Vettel, who has won every drivers' title since 2010, is worried the engine shake-up could topple Red Bull's place at the top of the tree.
But he insisted: "I believe the top teams will still be ahead. The only question is, in what order?
"It's always the same in formula one: after major rule changes everything is mixed up before it stabilizes again," said Vettel.
Vettel's boss, Christian Horner, admitted he also laments F1's expensive decision to switch from V8 to V6 power.
"In fairness to Jean (Todt), the engine discussion was in place before his (FIA) presidency," Horner said at Monza.
"Where collectively we all made a mistake was not to say no."
Jenson Button escapes DRS penalty
Jenson Button has escaped a penalty for using his DRS outside of the designated zones during opening free practice for the Italian Grand Prix.
The McLaren drivers rear wing stayed open after the second activation zone that runs to the Ascari chicane and did not close until after the Parabolica.
With such use of DRS not allowed at any point of a grand prix weekend, Button was summoned to see the race stewards.
Investigations by McLaren showed that an issue with the low downforce rear wing specification had caused the flap to stay open.
McLaren sporting director Sam Michael said: "We had a problem with some parts that were fouling on each other, so we had a clash of two different things.
"It is because we don't run this wing or actuator anywhere else as it only runs at Monza.
"It was pretty straightforward to fix it, and we came in and pulled the parts off the car." Autosport.com
Team bosses doubt more than 20 races
Team bosses have said that they will not read too much into the draft F1 calendar issued on the eve of the Italian Grand Prix, amid doubts that the schedule will stretch beyond 20 races.
The outline calendar – since denied by F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone - contains 21 stops, with the addition of Russia, Austria and Mexico, but not New Jersey, which seems to have been in doubt almost since the idea of racing on the banks of the Hudson River was first mooted in 2011.
Ecclestone has suggested that the F1 season could stretch to as many as 22 races, but the teams appear keen to cap it at 20. This year's calendar was anticipated to contain 20 rounds but the postponement of New Jersey ultimately brought it back to 19, complete with some unsightly gaps between races.
"I think 21 [races] is tough," McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh admitted, "Will those 21 all happen? There's lots of rumors and speculation in the paddock about whether they'll all make it.
"Ultimately, I think Bernie's job is to go out there and put the calendar together. I think he sometimes has to speculate as to the viability, or how realistic some of them are. It's easy for us to jump and complain about the calendar, [but] he's got to put it together and I think we should be grateful that, in the last few years, from pretty difficult and challenging times, not only has he maintained a calendar but he's been able to bring some new venues into the sport."
While Whitmarsh, and the majority of his rivals, have long campaigned for more races in the United States, one of the teams at the opposite end of the grid has special reason to hope that the proposed Russian Grand Prix comes off in 2014.
"Certain venues are more attractive," Marussia's Graeme Lowdon agreed, "Sochi is a venue that is of particular interest to us because we obviously have a large following in the Russian market place, but I think in general it's important for us to be consistent in what we ask for.
"We've always made it very, very clear that we're here, in F1, to compete and that means a level playing field. If that means that if there's 21 races, then we race at 21 races. If it's 20, then, of course, the cost goes down, but that's not really how we have to look at it. We can't pick and choose what we would like about this sport. We can't ask for a level playing field and then try and look at something like that.
"As Martin has quite rightly pointed out, Bernie puts the races on. The negotiations with the promoters from the outside seem to be tortuous, to say the least, [and] in some cases, they are difficult to predict, some of the twists and turns. There are announcements that that race is happening and sometimes they don't…."