Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday
Massa announces no Ferrari seat in 2014
|Felipe Massa, F1 career over?|
- Haug tips Mercedes to fight for 2014 title
- Red Bull won't stop me winning - Ricciardo
- British Racing Drivers' Club confirms Silverstone sale
- Toro Rosso considering three drivers
Massa announces no Ferrari seat in 2014
(GMM) Felipe Massa has revealed he will not be racing a Ferrari in 2014.
The news, announced personally by the Brazilian driver via his Twitter and Instagram accounts, clears the way for the Maranello based team to confirm Kimi Raikkonen as his successor.
"For next year, I want to find a team that can give me a competitive car to win many more races and challenge for the championship which remains my greatest objective," said Massa, 32.
Massa is being linked with a possible move to the German touring car series.
"I do not like endurance races," O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper quoted Massa as saying recently in Hungary.
"DTM is something I see as possible for me."
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, however, was silent on the subject of Massa and Raikkonen when he appeared at the Frankfurt motor show on Tuesday.
"When there's news we'll let you know," said the Italian, joking that he is in talks with Michael Schumacher.
But there remains little doubt that former team driver Raikkonen has been signed, with an announcement now imminent.
It has been rumored Fernando Alonso is so angry at the prospect of his roost being unsettled by Raikkonen that he has looked into switching to Red Bull, Lotus and even McLaren, where he had such an unhappy campaign in 2007.
But the Spaniard said on Twitter: "Whatever decision the team will take will be good for me, and we will keep working to give Ferrari the best results possible."
Christian Horner, team boss at Red Bull, thinks Alonso threw some toys out of the pram until it became clear Ferrari really was intent on signing Raikkonen.
"It is unusual for Ferrari," he said on Austrian television Servus TV, "because they have always had a clear leader and a clear number 2.
"Now they are going to have two number ones."
Some, however, believe the term 'number 1' is not really applicable to the odd and aloof Raikkonen.
Indeed, Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali was quoted by EFE news agency on Tuesday as saying there is "no doubt" Alonso "is a leader" who can "move mountains" for the Italian team.
Triple world champion Niki Lauda, however, thinks Alonso was lucky to survive his Monza qualifying outburst, when he either called his Ferrari colleagues "stupid", or - sarcastically - "geniuses".
"Let's say that (as a Ferrari driver) I would not have had the chance to say it a second time," the great Austrian is quoted by La Rebubblica.
With Raikkonen heading to Ferrari, then, the next matter to be resolved in the 2014 'silly season' is who will replace him at Lotus.
The smart money is on Nico Hulkenberg.
"He has had a good weekend," team boss Eric Boullier said at Monza, "but we already knew that Nico is a fast driver.
"I've known him since he raced in formula BMW; a long time. From what I understand, Nico is also on Ferrari's list, so we all have plans.
"If the first one fails, you have a plan B," the Lotus chief is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace.
Haug tips Mercedes to fight for 2014 title
(GMM) Beating Red Bull to the world championship will now be "virtually impossible" for rival teams, former Mercedes boss Norbert Haug admits.
But the 60-year-old, who was replaced as the German marque's motor racing president by Toto Wolff for 2013 and beyond, tipped Mercedes to give the reigning world champions a run for their money next year.
"I think Mercedes will be very well positioned," Haug told Servus TV.
"It also took Red Bull five years to build the team. This is the fourth one for Mercedes and I think so far everything is on schedule.
"I believe next year will be for fighting for the world title," he told the Austrian broadcaster.
Also on the Servus TV program, Haug was asked about Gerhard Berger's recent claim that pursuing more overtaking with the 'DRS' innovation was a mistake for F1.
"It was pursued for good intentions," Haug agreed, "but in retrospect, you have to wonder if it is still real overtaking when one has his wing open and the other does not.
"It was done at a time when the races were boring, but maybe now we could say that we overshot the target," he added.
Red Bull won't stop me winning - Ricciardo
(GMM) Daniel Ricciardo insists Red Bull will give him a fair shot at race wins even though his teammate is the multiple world champion Sebastian Vettel.
Some believe that, despite the champion team pledging identical equipment and support for the young Australian in 2014, Red Bull chose Ricciardo over a high profile candidate like Kimi Raikkonen in deference to Vettel's likely status next year as a quadruple title winner.
Indeed, while "excited" at the prospect of going head-to-head with Vettel in F1's top team, 24-year-old Ricciardo also admitted he is somewhat "nervous".
"And I'm curious," he is quoted by Spain's EFE news agency.
"Curious to know how much faster I can be with a big team."
Ricciardo acknowledged, however, that taking on Vettel at Red Bull Racing - a task that ultimately broke the relationship between the German and outgoing teammate Mark Webber - is a "big wave" to surf.
"It's true," he said. "A very big wave.
"But it's also the greatest opportunity I've ever had. I want to see if I really am the best in the world, or, at least, one of the best.
"And there is no greater challenge than to compete against the best. I will work as hard as I can.
"If I can be as good as him or better, I'll be happy. And if he crushes me, at least I will have tried.
"I believe in my ability, but when I measure myself against Seb then I will know for sure."
But will Red Bull really give Ricciardo a free run at Vettel? A free run at grand prix wins, even the title?
"Yes," Ricciardo answered.
"They've said that if I'm fast and I am able to win, then they're not going to stop me."
As for the rest of the 2013 campaign, Ricciardo said Vettel's rivals have an almost impossible task to stop him winning a fourth consecutive title.
"While there is a mathematical chance, there's a chance," he smiled.
"But with the consistency that he has, then if he doesn't have failures or accidents then it's going to be difficult for them.
"Because even when Seb doesn't win, he's on the podium."
Ricciardo said Vettel is now at the top of his game in every area as a F1 driver.
"Many people think it's easy when you have the best car," he said. "I don't think so.
"Yes, he has a very good car, but when he doesn't win he's on the podium. And doing that every weekend is not easy.
"He is very focused mentally and doesn't care what people say. Almost no mistakes. That's how you win championships," added Ricciardo.
British Racing Drivers' Club confirms Silverstone sale
The British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) has confirmed that Silverstone has been sold to commercial property company MEPC on a long-term lease.
Following a report last month, the BRDC has now revealed it has sold the Silverstone Industrial Estate and development land around the circuit to MEPC on a 999-year lease for $51million. While the BRDC says the deal "does not include the management or development of Silverstone Circuit itself", the payment has in turn allowed it to clear loans and BRDC chairman Stuart Rolt says he is sure the deal will ensure the continued growth of the Silverstone site.
"Following major improvements to Silverstone, including significant investment in the Grand Prix Circuit and building of The Wing, the BRDC Board was given a mandate three years ago to attract suitable partners to invest in Silverstone and help realize the full potential of its 760-acre Estate," Rolt said. "Over three years the Board has given consideration to a number of offers from credible parties and we are delighted to have reached an agreement with MEPC, which was selected on the grounds of its financial standing, reputation, the quality of the developments it has undertaken - and continues to own - and the price it was prepared to pay.
"We have every confidence that their vision for our land will see the realization of a high-quality development, which will add to the ever growing status of Silverstone as a world-class centre for motor sport and vehicle engineering. We are also confident that in MEPC we have a partner which fully appreciates the status of Silverstone as a race circuit, its history, the ethos of the BRDC and the importance of doing everything to ensure that reputation is enhanced in the future."
Rick de Blaby, chief executive officer of MEPC, said it was "incredibly excited" by the potential of the development.
"When we were approached with the BRDC's vision of what Silverstone might become in its next iteration, it was easy for my colleagues and I at MEPC to relate to such ambition; the creation of great business estates, with clusters of particular commercial activity that have a sense of place and community, is what we do. That the BRDC had secured planning consent for its Masterplan is to its great credit and we are, of course, hugely cognizant of the immense history of Silverstone and its current standing today, not just as a venue for world-class motor sport, but as a centre for high-end precision engineering.
"It is now MEPC's wish to see that vision materialize in all its forms and we are incredibly excited about investing in a number of the specific projects we have already identified for the next 24 months, albeit the on-going development of Silverstone could be a 10 year project. It is a significant responsibility to fulfill the entirety of our now shared vision, but one I am confident will be achieved."
Toro Rosso considering three drivers
Toro Rosso team principal Franz Tost has confirmed three drivers are being considered to fill the vacant seat left by Daniel Ricciardo’s promotion.
Ricciardo will step up and race for Red Bull’s 'A' team next season, teaming up with Sebastian Vettel, something that was finally confirmed prior to last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix.
Although most ‘silly season’ focus has since been on where Kimi Räikkönen will go, with unconfirmed reports he has signed for Ferrari, there is also the seat at STR, alongside Jean-Eric Vergne, with Red Bull Junior drivers Antonio Felix da Costa, Daniil Kvyat and Carlos Sainz Jnr all being all considered.
Speaking to Spain’s MARCA newspaper, Tost added though that Sainz Jnr is an outside bet due to his age - he is 19-year-olds.
Interestingly though, age didn’t stop STR bringing in Jaime Alguersuari in 2009 and dumping Sébastien Bourdais. Alguersuari was 19 years and 125 days old when he made his F1 debut in Hungary.
“Sainz, Kvyat and Da Costa are the three candidates for the seat,” Tost said. “But I also think Carlos is missing two seasons to do [it]. I don’t think you should get into F1 before you are 20 years-old, nor should you expect too much because they can burn on the way. Carlos has to continue competing in lower formulas, grow and then wait to make the leap.
“I will decide, but the decision will involve discussions with several people and will be what is best for everyone. You can never say no to anything, but I do not think we will run Carlos in 2014,” Tost added.