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F1 news in brief - Sunday
  • Massa went against advised Ferrari strategy
  • 2014 not ultimatum year for Vergne - Tost
  • Raikkonen, Ferrari, not 'worried' about 2013 form

Massa went against advised Ferrari strategy
(GMM)  Felipe Massa has revealed he passed over Ferrari's advice in devising his race strategy for the Indian grand prix.

The Brazilian, who is leaving the Italian team after an eight-year career in red, said his engineers wanted him to qualify on the longer-lasting, harder tires.

"I made a different decision to them," Massa is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace.

"At the Nurburgring I did what the engineers said and it didn't work, so I took a different decision this time."

The strategy, with Massa on the fast-wearing soft tires, is the same as pole sitter Sebastian Vettel's, who would like to wrap up his title on Sunday with a win.

But Mark Webber, in the sister Red Bull, thinks qualifying on the harder tires was actually a wiser choice.

"We're in a good position to capitalize," said the Australian.

Vettel commented: "What turns out to be the right strategy, we'll find out in the race."

In the same car as Massa, Ferrari's Alonso is three places behind the Brazilian on the grid.  But the Spaniard said he was unwilling to qualify on the soft tire.

"I don't want to be always critical of the tires," he is quoted by Italy's Autosprint, "but these (soft) tires are not good.

"It's a fact.  It's random.  Yesterday on a set of softs I did 16 laps with good times.

"Today I could only do three until they disintegrated," he was quoted after qualifying by Spain's Marca.

"So the race will depend on the tires, because no two sets are alike."

Alonso admitted that, if a "normal" race takes place on Sunday, Vettel will easily be crowned world champion.

A great debate is raging at the moment about whether the German, to probably be a quadruple world champion before the Indian sun sets, can now lay claim to F1 'greatness'.

"No, I don't think he's on another level (to other good F1 drivers)," said Lotus' Romain Grosjean.

"I think he's doing a very good job and has a very good car, and the combination of the two is very competitive.

"They (Red Bull) have a very good team, a very good driver and a great car," he is quoted by Marca.

2014 not ultimatum year for Vergne - Tost
(GMM)  Team boss Franz Tost insists 2014 is not Jean-Eric Vergne's last chance to shine for Toro Rosso.

At the beginning of the year, amid rumors Mark Webber would retire, it was said that either Vergne or his teammate Daniel Ricciardo will step up to Red Bull for 2014, while the other is dropped from the energy drink company's driver development program.

Ultimately, Australian Ricciardo got the job as Sebastian Vettel's new teammate, while Vergne at least has kept his seat at the secondary team.

"It's not all negative for him as he is still in formula one," Ricciardo told F1's official website.

"He is still young - one year younger than me - and there is still time for him getting a top seat in the future," he added.

Indeed, Toro Rosso boss Tost denies that Frenchman Vergne will suffer the same fate as Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari, who were dropped at the end of 2011.

Asked if 2014 is Vergne's last chance, Tost is quoted by the Russian website f1news.ru: "No, I never said anything like that.

"Jean-Eric is a strong driver.  I look forward to his good performances next season, and in this case it will be enough (to stay in F1).

"Our task is to provide him with a competitive car.  He is a very good driver," Tost repeated.

However, with teenage rookie Daniil Kvyat arriving to replace Ricciardo, Tost acknowledged that Vergne will have to take on a leadership role in 2014.

"That's right," he said.  "He is an experienced driver now, it will be his third season, so he must take (more) responsibility."

So with Vergne desperate to prove he should have got the promotion over Ricciardo, and Ricciardo on only a one-year Red Bull deal, the Australian might be forgiven for being worried to death about his future.

"Ha, that sounds like I am embarking on a horror movie!" Ricciardo grinned.

"The honest truth is that I want to see how good I am.  If he (Vettel) drowns me, that's life, but if he does I want to go down knowing that I have done my best."

Raikkonen, Ferrari, not 'worried' about 2013 form
(GMM)  Ahead of their 2014 reunion, Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen insist they are not worried about one another's worrying run of poor form.

Ferrari is ending the 2013 season as arguably only the fourth-quickest team in pitlane, after Red Bull, Mercedes and Raikkonen's current employer, Lotus.

How is that making the Finn feel ahead of his return to Ferrari for 2014?

"Good," the inimitable Raikkonen said in India, to the laughter of assembled reporters.

"Otherwise I wouldn't have made the decision if I didn't think it was right for myself," he argued.

But if the cool Finn is not worried, perhaps Ferrari is.  At recent grands prix, particularly since Raikkonen's Lotus exit was announced, the 33-year-old has been slightly off teammate Romain Grosjean's pace.

"I'm not the slightest bit worried," Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali told the Finnish broadcaster MTV3, "but of course I have been following him this season.

"He has already gained our respect based on what he has been doing in his current team," the Italian added.

"He is now coming to us, and I look forward to getting to work with him again," said Domenicali, referring to Raikkonen's first Ferrari tenure between 2007 and 2009.

Many in the paddock still find it hard to believe Raikkonen, a former team champion, will be paired at Ferrari with 'number 1' Fernando Alonso next year.

That is part of the reason the Alonso-to-McLaren rumors are still alive, but another reason has been Alonso's regular criticism of Ferrari's form this year.

Domenicali, however, said Ferrari can swallow most of Alonso's comments.  "To us it's an indication that this era must end," he acknowledged, referring to the fact that the team has not won a title since Raikkonen's in 2007.

"I have experienced an era similar to what we see now," Domenicali added, referring to the dominance of Red Bull, "but if you look back, you can also see how quickly things can change."

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