Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday
Red Bull 'getting better' over years - Vettel
|Vettel says Red Bull cars more reliable now|
- Leaving Ferrari 'the best move' for Massa
- Ferrari close to shifting focus to 2014
- Hamilton happy to sit out F1 'silly season'
- Webber hails new talent amid 'pay driver' trend
- Singapore to feature two DRS zones
- Montezemolo: GP2 has no value
- F1 Owner CVC Capital Plans $2B-Plus Takeover Bid For IMG Worldwide
- Massa: I will no longer race for Alonso
Red Bull 'getting better' over years - Vettel
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel has admitted Red Bull is getting better as a team as it accrues more experience and titles.
Together with the German, the Milton-Keynes based outfit has collected every drivers' and constructors' title on offer since 2010.
"The team has got better and better over the years," reigning triple world champion Vettel told the Austrian magazine Sportwoche.
"There are less mistakes now, and more confidence."
The 26-year-old appears to be cruising to yet another championship in 2013, but he is not counting his chickens just yet.
"The first half of the season was very good, and the start of the second half has been even better," Vettel admitted.
"But we can see that the smallest things make a big difference -- ten degrees up or down and everything looks different.
"We need to stay focused, but it does seem that in any conditions we can always be in the top five," said Vettel.
Some have begun to compare 2014 with Vettel's dominance of 2011, when wins and the title seemed to come easy to the German.
"When people talk about 2011," said Vettel, "they say it was so dominant and easy. But I don't like the word dominant, and it is never easy."
Leaving Ferrari 'the best move' for Massa
(GMM) Leaving Ferrari could be the best thing for Felipe Massa.
That is the opinion of a growing number of figures, after the Italian team decided to replace the long-serving Brazilian with Kimi Raikkonen for 2014.
"Our relationship with Felipe was clear," Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport this week.
"He needed results, as we do. He got them, but not with consistency.
"He did some beautiful races but could not repeat them.
"Last year, we missed his points in the constructors' championship. The change will do him good," added Montezemolo.
Having not won a drivers' title since 2007 with Raikkonen, Ferrari's decision to pair the Finn with 'number 1' Fernando Alonso for the next couple of campaigns is a clear sign of intent.
But according to Massa's friend, countryman and former rival Luciano Burti, leaving Ferrari could also be the best thing for the 32-year-old.
"If he (Massa) had continued at Ferrari, he would have stayed with the same beat as now, which is not ideal," said the former Jaguar and Prost driver.
"So if he gets a relatively good car for next season - which is not easy because there is only Lotus - it will be the best thing for him.
"I believe it would be a fresh start for him," Burti told Brazil's Totalrace.
It seems that even the Massa camp has a similar view.
Massa has already said that, for the balance of his Ferrari career, he will be fighting for his own interests, not those of the team or Fernando Alonso.
His manager, Nicolas Todt, said constantly having to serve a teammate "destroys the instincts of a driver".
"We want to stay in formula one," Todt told O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper. "But he has to be at a team where he has freedom.
"Then, I think that we would see the same Felipe who in 2008 lost the title by one point to a driver on the level of Lewis Hamilton," he added.
Ferrari close to shifting focus to 2014
(GMM) Ferrari is on the cusp of tipping the balance of its resources away from the 2013 championship battle.
Although second only to title leader Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso's deficit to the top Red Bull is a full 53 points with just seven races to go.
And with Red Bull now constantly wielding a pace advantage over the other cars, Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali admitted the time is nearing when the Maranello team will sensibly shift its main focus to the huge challenge of 2014.
"After the result of the Singapore grand prix," he is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace, "we will make an assessment about what to do.
"We need to be realistic and see how we can improve for the races that follow.
"So if the difference to the leaders continues to be large, it is pointless to think that a tenth of a second can be enough to recover," added Domenicali.
"We will make a choice after Singapore, but always working not to lose too much ground because we want to fight at least for second place in the constructors' championship."
So although close to conceding defeat in yet another title campaign, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo insisted that does not mean Domenicali's job is in doubt.
"Over the past three years, we have lost two world titles at the last race and it was not his fault," Montezemolo told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Hamilton happy to sit out F1 'silly season'
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton has admitted not featuring in this year's driver 'silly season' has been a weight off his shoulders.
A year ago, the 2008 world champion was a leading player in F1's high-stakes game of annual musical chairs, as he weighed up between staying at McLaren or moving to another team.
Now happily at Mercedes and on a three-year contract, the Briton said he has every intention of staying with the German team for that entire period and "hopefully even longer".
Hamilton also admitted he has enjoyed being a mere spectator, as the 'silly season' played out instead with Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso and others in the main roles.
"Last year, I tried my best to avoid it, but of course it was hard to deal with all the questions and the fact that I didn't know what I was going to do," he is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace.
"It was taking my energy away from me, but it's not like that anymore. It's a great feeling to be in this position," said Hamilton.
"The difference is like night and day."
Webber hails new talent amid 'pay driver' trend
(GMM) Mark Webber has backed the appointment of Daniel Ricciardo as his Red Bull successor as a win against the trend of 'pay drivers' in F1.
"Daniel deserves the job, which is the most important thing," he said.
Webber, who arrived on the grid in 2002 with the struggling Minardi team, cannot hide his frustration with the growing influence of 'pay drivers'.
"It has become normal to see a driver getting a seat not because of his talent, but because he's paying," the plain-speaking Australian is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace.
"I don't think that's very good for F1."
Webber said one exception has been the debut at Marussia of the strongly Ferrari-linked Jules Bianchi, who has been able to express his talent despite the lack of competitiveness of his car.
"It's not easy when you have a slow car -- I've been in that situation with Minardi," said the 37-year-old, who at the end of a career spanning more than 200 races and 9 wins, is departing for Le Mans sports cars in 2014.
"I think he (Bianchi) has done a good job and deserves a chance with a top team in the future."
Another example, said Webber, is the promising Williams newcomer Valtteri Bottas.
His teammate in 2013 has been Pastor Maldonado, who although the winner of last year's Spanish grand prix, clearly falls into Webber's 'pay driver' category.
"Bottas has not had an easy time at Williams," said Webber.
"He did a great qualifying in Canada when I think he is basically alone in the team, because while Pastor has experience, I don't think Bottas can learn a great deal from him," he added.
Singapore to feature two DRS zones
The FIA has confirmed that this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix will feature two DRS zones, continuing a trend set throughout the 2013 season.
As in earlier events, the overtake-aiding device will come into action on the long stretch running from Turn 5 to Turn 7, known as Raffles Boulevard. The activation point for the first zone will be placed at Turn 4. However, marking a departure from previous races at the Marina Bay circuit, the governing body has added a second zone along the main straight, with the activation point coming just after the apex of Turn 23.
2013 marks the sixth edition of the night race around the streets of Singapore.
Montezemolo: GP2 has no value
Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo has again spoken out over the restrictive testing rules in the top echelon, expressing his opinion that a lack of opportunities to run young drivers in Formula 1 machinery devalues the GP2 feeder series.
The 66 year-old has long been an advocate of increased testing, with Ferrari possessing its own private test track at Fiorano. In light of newly-appointed Force India reserve driver James Calado stating the importance of gaining mileage at the highest level, Montezemolo has confirmed that, for his team at least, good performances in GP2 mean little.
When asked by Gazzetta dello Sport whether the sport’s cost-cutting measures have been successful, the Italian commented: "No, they’ve not been reduced. The rate of increase has reduced, but the level is still too high. We would have to return to the less sophisticated F1 of the mid-Nineties, resuming testing to give youngsters a run, because today, GP2 is a laughingstock with no value. And the few tests we do have, well naturally the race drivers do them."
In the last young driver test at Silverstone, the squad ran with the outgoing Felipe Massa, and 27 year-old Italian Davide Rigon.
F1 Owner CVC Capital Plans $2B-Plus Takeover Bid For IMG Worldwide
The part-owner of F1 is plotting a $2B-plus "takeover bid for IMG Worldwide," according to Mark Kleinman of SKY NEWS. CVC Capital Partners, the London-based private equity group, "is working on a blockbuster bid for IMG, which has been put up for sale in recent weeks."
A person familiar with the plans said, "CVC is taking this incredibly seriously. They have done a huge amount of work on this and see themselves as a natural owner of a business like IMG." CVC "would be a logical buyer of IMG."
Since gaining control of F1's shares in '05, "it has grown the sport's profits significantly, to the degree that it has been planning a stock market listing" that could value F1 at $12B. It also previously owned Dorna Sports, the organization behind the MotoGP, and "bought All Sport Management, the company which has the rights to advertise at F1 circuits around the world." CVC "will face tough competition to secure control of IMG, which is arguably the most coveted sports rights asset to come up for sale for several years." SKY NEWS
Massa: I will no longer race for Alonso
Felipe Massa says he will no longer play a supporting role to Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso as the 2013 Formula 1 season enters its final seven races.
The Brazilian has taken a back seat at the squad since the team order controversy that erupted at the 2010 German Grand Prix, during which he was instructed via a coded team radio message to allow Alonso to overtake and claim the race victory.
But with no contract in place for the 2014 campaign, following confirmation that Kimi Räikkönen is to return to the Italian marque, Massa has vowed to focus on himself.
"I will not race for Alonso from now on," Massa, who is in contention for the Lotus seat vacated by Raikkonen, told Brazil's Globo. "From Friday in Singapore I'll be working for myself. I will attack all the time, every lap. The time has come to look after myself."
Massa added that although his approach has changed, he still views the Spaniard as a friend: "We have a nice relationship, I'm sure he sees me as a friend as I see him. Kimi and myself are also good friends, much more than when we were team-mates."
Looking towards Alonso and Raikkonen's future partnership, Massa made clear that he views both men as "excellent drivers", but admits he is expecting the pair to clash.
"I know Fernando and Kimi on and off the track and I rate them as excellent drivers, but I'm afraid they will collide when sharing the team," he said. "I told the bosses to breathe while they can because it will be hard for them to breathe next season."