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DATE News (chronologically)
09/17/13
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday (Update) UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

Felipe Massa
09/17/13
  • Massa has edge on Hulkenberg for Lotus seat
  • Lotus structure can cope with personnel losses
  • Vettel 'will miss' Webber rivalry
  • Ferrari: Raikkonen is back to his best New
  • Cashper Joins Caterham F1 Team New
  • Montezemolo sure Massa will play team role New
  • Red Bull rejects Sauber cost proposal New
  • Domenicali position not under threat New

Massa has edge on Hulkenberg for Lotus seat
(GMM)  Lotus is weighing up between Nico Hulkenberg and Felipe Massa to complete its 2014 driver lineup.

Asked recently if - in the interests of continuity - Romain Grosjean will definitely be retained next year if Kimi Raikkonen departs, team boss Eric Boullier answered simply: "Yes."

So that leaves only the cockpit currently occupied by the Ferrari-bound Finn Raikkonen to fill.

The candidates are Hulkenberg - the impressive German who after moving from Force India last year is now seeking to jump from struggling Sauber - and the experienced Ferrari refugee Massa.

Brazilian Massa, 32, might have the edge.

According to O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper, Frenchman Boullier said recently that, "In 2014, experience will be more important than speed".

He is referring to the move from the current engine rules to next year's regulations surrounding the turbo V6s, which according to most of the sport's technical insiders is perhaps the biggest shift in the history of F1.

That is why, on the face of it, while the younger but hugely promising Hulkenberg perhaps should be the favorite, Massa's vast wealth of experience might have him in pole position for the seat.

A source close to Boullier told Brazilian correspondent Livio Oricchio: "The chances are 50 per cent apiece for Hulkenberg and Massa."

Oricchio said the prize on offer is a two-year contract with options.

And there may be another factor counting in Massa's favor -- money.

While definitely not a traditional 'pay driver', Massa would bring some weighty support to Lotus in the form of his well-connected manager, Nicolas Todt.

The son of FIA president Jean Todt, Nicolas has - according to Italy's Autosprint - already brought a sponsor to Lotus in the form of Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille.

Massa's continuity in F1 is also backed strongly by Bernie Ecclestone, who fears the absence of a single Brazilian on the grid could affect the success of the crucial Brazilian market, and the popular Brazilian grand prix.

"It would be surprising if (Ecclestone) has not talked to Boullier and (Gerard) Lopez about his preference regarding the choice between Hulkenberg and Massa," said Oricchio.

Massa told Brazil's O Globo broadcaster this week: "We are negotiating (with Lotus).

"The Lotus is a very competitive car, which is what I want.  It's a team that has a very important story with Brazil as well.

"They've had a hard time financially, so we are having many conversations to try to find a way not only for me to have a good car, but for Lotus as well."

Meanwhile, when asked about Massa's claim there has also been contact with McLaren, a spokesman for the British team told us: "We don't comment on media speculation with regard to rumored driver movements."

Lotus structure can cope with personnel losses
(GMM)  Lotus has been the victim as more powerful teams waved checkbooks to lure key people.

In quick succession, Ferrari has poached Lotus' technical director James Allison, star driver Kimi Raikkonen, and aerodynamics chief Dirk de Beer.

France's Auto Hebdo claims computational fluid dynamics boss Jarrod Murphy is also departing.

Speaking before the latest wave of departures became clear, Lotus' chief executive Patrick Louis said: "It is clear that the average wage at the top teams is higher than ours.

"At certain levels, their salaries far exceed the standards."

Louis insists, however, that the Enstone based team will continue to thrive.

"People only see the visible part of the iceberg -- the stars, let's say," he said.

"But our structure is designed so that I am able to replace the various heads of the divisions overnight.

"A team should not be a house of cards that collapses when someone leaves."

It must also be noted that the Lotus-Ferrari exchange has not been all one-way.  It emerged this week that Nicolas Hennel de Beaupreau, a well-regarded aerodynamicist, is leaving Ferrari bound for the Enstone based team.

Italy's Autosprint reports that a deal may have been struck between the two teams, allowing both Hennel and the Ferrari-bound Dirk de Beer to avoid the customary 'gardening leave'.

Correspondent Alberto Antonini speculates that the 'gardening leave' deal might even be tied up with long time driver Felipe Massa's possible move from Ferrari to Lotus for 2014.

Vettel 'will miss' Webber rivalry
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel has admitted he will miss his teammate Mark Webber.

The pair, teamed together at Red Bull since 2009, have had an often fraught relationship that arguably broke down completely after this year's 'multi-21' affair.

"You can say what you want about our relationship," triple world champion Vettel told the Austrian magazine Sportwoche, "but in the end we pushed each other very hard.

"I will miss that," said the German, referring to Australian Webber's impending departure for Le Mans-style prototype racing with Porsche.

Webber admitted to the latest edition of F1 Racing magazine that he decided to call time on his grand prix career due to flagging motivation.

"I've been on the edge with F1, motivation-wise, for the past couple of years," he said.

Indeed, since they went head-to-head for the title in 2010, this season Vettel has clearly had the edge on 37-year-old Webber, who is now almost 100 points behind the championship leader.

But Vettel insists Webber still pushes him hard.

"There has always been two or three corners where Mark has me biting my lip," he said.  "You try to figure out what he is doing, which keeps you busy enough."

The pair have often clashed in the personality stakes, but Vettel insists that "Even if it is perceived differently from the outside, it was important that I was always hungry".

Ferrari: Raikkonen is back to his best
Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo believes that Kimi Raikkonen "has returned to greatness" since his short Formula 1 sabbatical and subsequent two-year spell with Lotus, tipping the Finn to shine during his second stint at Maranello.

Following last week's announcement that Raikkonen is to partner Fernando Alonso on a two-year deal from 2014, di Montezemolo has spoken out to describe the former World Champion as a new man compared to the one who left at the end of 2009.

And perhaps acting to further motivate Alonso, di Montezemolo hinted that Raikkonen could go on to emulate Niki Lauda, who spent two seasons on the sidelines before returning to the sport and later beating McLaren team-mate Alain Prost to the title.

"Raikkonen's case is identical to Lauda," he explained to Gazzetta dello Sport. "Niki at one point said 'enough' because he couldn't do it anymore. I'm speaking of the twin brother of Kimi, because the driver who we had racing for us wasn't the one we hired.

"The break has done him good; he has returned to greatness, he's won races and he's finished lots of races. I wanted a driver who wouldn't make me miss Massa: here he is. From Raikkonen I am demanding victories, consistency, podiums. Returning to Lauda, when he came back remember he beat Prost to the World Championship."

Di Montezemolo added that Ferrari refrained from signing a younger driver, such as Sauber's Nico Hülkenberg, as it wanted the certainty that Raikkonen could provide.

"The alternative of signing a young driver in a championship as complex as 2014 did not give us certainty," he said, referring to the major technical regulation changes. "Today Raikkonen is the strongest of them all, with Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton."

Although di Montezemolo stated last year that he did not want "two roosters in the same hen house" in future seasons, he says Alonso is "the first to be happy" with Raikkonen's impending arrival, and claims the Spaniard will benefit as a result.

Cashper Joins Caterham F1 Team
The Italian Grand Prix marked the first race where Cashper, the first and only short-term cash loan provider in Europe with a full banking license owned by Novum Bank Limited (Malta), joined Caterham F1 Team as an official partner.

Cashper offers an easy accessible and convenient service for everyone with occasional short-term cash flow needs. Consumers can apply online for a quick cash loan from €100 up to €600 for a period of 15 or 30 days, or 100 zł up to 2000 zł for 15, 30 or 60 days. Cash advances are mostly used to cover unexpected expenses, close a temporary gap in between salaries or just for a little personal treat.

Renier Lemmens, Chairman of the Board, Novum Bank Ltd: “Our partnership with Caterham F1 Team and Giedo van der Garde symbolizes exactly what we stand for. Cashper’s identity is “the Fast & Friendly Financer” and that mirrors perfectly Giedo’s image, both of us constantly striving to maximize top speed and serve the public.

“As an Official Partner of Caterham F1 Team we are immediately creating a strong global presence for Cashper which provides short-term cash loans as a simple tool for consumers to meet and manage their smaller financial needs. Customers can count on almost instant cash and applying for a quick cash loan takes only five minutes. After approval we can deposit money within even an hour - It can be that fast!”

Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal, Caterham F1 Team: “We are pleased to welcome Cashper into our team and happy to have another Official Partner who has identified the clear brand and business benefits of a partnership with us in Formula One. Cashper’s logos were first seen on our racecars in Italy and Cashper consumers across Europe will soon see much more evidence of how our partnership is going to create exciting opportunities for them with Giedo and our team.”

Over the coming months Cashper will instigate a large promotional campaign to support their partnership with Caterham F1 Team. Every customer will be automatically entered into a monthly draw to win t-shirts
and caps, personally signed by Caterham F1 Team driver Giedo van der Garde and a grand prize will be offered, giving the winner a full VIP trip to the Caterham F1 Team factory in Leafield, UK.

Currently Cashper’s online service is available in the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland and Spain and in future Cashper will introduce their wide range of flexible short-term cash loans in more European countries.

For more information please go to www.cashper.eu

Montezemolo sure Massa will play team role
(GMM)  Luca di Montezemolo on Tuesday said he does not believe Felipe Massa will race selfishly for the rest of his Ferrari career.

Now informed he will be replaced by Kimi Raikkonen after November's Brazil finale, Massa told TV Globo this week: "Starting on Friday in Singapore, I work only for myself.

"I will be on full attack on each lap.  Now the time has come for me to look after just myself," the Brazilian, who has admitted contact about a 2014 seat with Lotus and McLaren, added.

Ferrari president di Montezemolo, however, said he is sure the Maranello based team, and title-charging 'number 1' Fernando Alonso, will continue to be able to count on Massa.

"I expect Felipe - a wonderful person - to finish the season well.  Supposedly he doesn't want to help Fernando?  Nonsense -- he definitely will do it," the Italian told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"He will help us in the constructors' championship, as well as Alonso in the drivers'," di Montezemolo added.

It could be an awkward end to Massa's long Ferrari career.  Indeed, he is being replaced by the driver - Raikkonen - who he comprehensively beat as teammate in 2008.

The 32-year-old said he doubts pairing the Finn with Alonso was a wise move by Ferrari.

"I know Fernando and Kimi well, both on and off the track.  They are excellent drivers but I fear, as a team, there will be conflict," said Massa.

"I have told them (Ferrari's management) to breathe deeply now, because breathing will be much more difficult next season."

Undoubtedly, Ferrari considered signing Nico Hulkenberg, but di Montezemolo said replacing Massa with "a young driver for the complex 2014 season would not have boosted our confidence".

He said he did not want to "look back on (ousting) Massa with regret", so signed a teammate for Alonso in the same league as "Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton".

"And Alonso is the first one happy that he is coming to us," added Montezemolo, insisting Ferrari is not so "masochistic" it would sign a driver that will patently upset the existing driver.

Red Bull rejects Sauber cost proposal
(GMM)  Red Bull has rejected a proposal that might have leveled the playing field for F1's struggling teams.

Next year, in-season testing will once again be allowed, but midfield teams Sauber and Force India admitted during a recent team managers' meeting that they probably cannot afford to attend every test day.

According to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, Sauber proposed that, instead, they be allowed to substitute a test day for a day of wind tunnel testing with the actual race car.

"This was flatly rejected by Red Bull," said correspondent Michael Schmidt.

"The argument (made by Red Bull) is that they (Sauber) could learn more than on the track, and so they (Red Bull) would be forced to build a 1:1 model.  Additionally, they (Red Bull) do not have a suitable wind tunnel."

Schmidt insisted, however, that Red Bull is not the only powerful team that is strenuously resisting the push for major cost cutting in formula one.

"The big teams protest so loudly that it's reminiscent of the orchestra that kept playing on the Titanic as it sunk," he said.

Finally, having resisted pressure to get on board until now, FIA president Jean Todt has reportedly signaled his intention to get to work on cost cutting.

"It seems the presidential election campaign also has its positive side effects," said Schmidt.

Domenicali position not under threat
Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has made it clear that Stefano Domenicali's role as Team Principal is not being reconsidered, publicly praising his recent efforts.

Although Ferrari has failed to claim a title since its Constructors' triumph back in 2008, Fernando Alonso has finished runner-up in the Drivers' standings for two of the past three seasons, and is again Sebastian Vettel's closest challenger so far this year.

And while claiming these narrow title losses were "through no fault" of Domenicali, di Montezemolo also stated that the 48-year-old was instrumental in securing the return of Kimi Räikkönen, who remains the marque's latest title winner with his 2007 feat.

"We would miss him," di Montezemolo told Gazzetta dello Sport. "He was the main factor in rehiring Kimi. He's done great work for the future. And let's not forget that twice in the last three years we've lost the title at the last race, through no fault of his."

Stefano Domenicali took over from Jean Todt as Ferrari's Team Principal in 2008.

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