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F1 news in brief - Tuesday
  • Vettel really is #1
    Lotus apologizes after Permane death threats
  • Vettel helped mechanics pack up India garage
  • Sainz 'satisfied' despite wait for F1 debut
  • Alonso's mind games 'like Muhammad Ali' - Mateschitz
  • Mercedes F1 team fuels $300m investment in the UK

Lotus apologizes after Permane death threats
(GMM)  Lotus has apologized after an expletive-laden exchange on the radio with Kimi Raikkonen during the Indian grand prix.

When the Finn was struggling for pace but dueling with his much-faster teammate Romain Grosjean, chief engineer Alan Permane told Raikkonen in no uncertain terms: "Get out of the f***ing way!"

Raikkonen replied: "Don't f***ing shout at me."

It is believed Permane received death threats against himself and his family in the wake of the radio message, ostensibly from angry Raikkonen fans.

"With hindsight," team boss Eric Boullier said, "this radio message could have been sent in a less emotional way.

"I know that quite a few people were surprised and I can only apologize for that on behalf of the team.  It won't happen again," he added.

Vettel helped mechanics pack up India garage
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel halted his title-winning party in India to help his mechanics pack up the Red Bull garage, it has emerged.

Auto Motor und Sport correspondent Tobias Gruner said he stopped by the team's garage in the hours after the race to congratulate his countryman.

"Unfortunately I can't shake your hand," Vettel reportedly told Gruner, "because mine are completely dirty!"

Bild newspaper said Vettel decided to help his colleagues so that they would have more time to join him at the celebratory party, held at the Radisson hotel.

A Red Bull mechanic told the Independent newspaper: "I really wish people could see this side of the guy."

Undoubtedly, however, Vettel's struggle for popularity is not just about his personality.  Some question whether he really does stack up against F1's legends like Schumacher, Fangio, Prost and Senna.

Asked if the 26-year-old has only won four titles because Adrian Newey outpaces the rest of the field, Bernie Ecclestone answered: "I don't think so.

"Actually, if anything it's the opposite.  Although it's undeniable that the machine has a big role in formula one," he is quoted by Repubblica newspaper.

Sebastien Buemi, Red Bull's reserve driver, told Brazil's O Estado de S.Paulo that Vettel works hard for his success.

"When he wins a race, the next day he's already at the factory, working on the simulator for the next race," said the Swiss.

"It's not true that he wins just because he has a great car.  If the image of the car was the one Mark (Webber) gave it, it definitely wouldn't be the same," added Buemi.

Vettel's former technical boss at Toro Rosso, Giorgio Ascanelli, said: "Sebastian reminds me of Ayrton (Senna)."  In the 80s, the Italian was the great Senna's race engineer.

"He (Vettel) lives to be a driver.  Like Senna, he also hates to lose.  He was designed to win.  Any other outcome means nothing," Ascanelli added.

Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko told Der Spiegel: "In Formula BMW, Sebastian won 18 of the 20 races, but the only thing he thought about was why he didn't win those two races."

Vettel's Indian grand prix victory on Sunday was his fifth on the trot, his tenth of the season, and the 36th in his F1 career.

Hans-Joachim Stuck, a German motor racing legend, thinks Vettel can beat Michael Schumacher's all-time record of 91 wins.

"I think he can get 15 titles as well.  Why not?" Stuck told Austrian Servus TV.

"He is still incredibly young, so it's easily possible."

Meanwhile, Blick newspaper reports that although Vettel was scheduled to touch down in Zurich early on Monday, the only F1 driver on the flight from Delhi was in fact his friend Kimi Raikkonen.

Sainz 'satisfied' despite wait for F1 debut
(GMM)  Carlos Sainz Jr insists he is "very satisfied" despite missing out on the vacant seat at Toro Rosso for 2014.

Like Antonio Felix da Costa and Daniil Kvyat, fellow Red Bull junior and Spaniard Sainz was in the running to move into formula one to replace Daniel Ricciardo.

Kvyat, who like Sainz is 19, got the job.

"I knew that the possibility (of securing the Toro Rosso seat) existed," Sainz, whose father and namesake is the world rally legend, is quoted by EFE news agency.

"But I was sure that it would be da Costa, although in the end it was Daniil Kvyat."

Like Kvyat, Sainz raced in the third-tier GP3 series in 2013, and in some Formula Renault 3.5 series races.

"I am very satisfied with running in the (Renault) world series next year," Sainz Jr insisted.

But he also admitted there is the "possibility of being the third driver" for Toro Rosso "in some races" next year.

"It depends on many things and they have not confirmed anything," Sainz said, "but it would be another step for me."

Meanwhile, Sainz congratulated Sebastian Vettel for his fourth title win, but admitted that his countryman Fernando Alonso, racing for Red Bull's arch rival Ferrari, is his idol.

"Fernando knows he is the best driver on the grid; everyone considers him to be the best and nothing changes that," he said.

"But in formula one it depends not only on you but on many factors, the main one being the car.  Without a winning team, it's hard to win," added Sainz.

"Alonso shouldn't be frustrated, because he has the respect of all the drivers and world motor sport," he said.

Alonso's mind games 'like Muhammad Ali' - Mateschitz
(GMM)  Dietrich Mateschitz has likened Fernando Alonso to legendary boxer Muhammad Ali.

The Red Bull magnate is referring to the fact that many regarded Ali as the master of trying to win with the help of 'psychological warfare'.

Ferrari driver Alonso's key psychological weapon in the Red Bull era might have been his constant suggestion that that arch rival Sebastian Vettel wins because his car is superior.

"Like Muhammad Ali, Alonso's media statements are very deliberate," billionaire Mateschitz told Kronen Zeitung newspaper.

"He is the worst of all at the psychological warfare," he added.

Mateschitz's right hand man, Dr Helmut Marko, thinks Vettel's struggle for popularity this year - including numerous bouts of podium booing - is partly due to the psychological war.

"People like Fernando Alonso say Sebastian is not the best driver, he only has the best car," the Austrian told Der Spiegel.

"These are targeted political statements," Marko insisted.

However, he insists that is no reason for Vettel to jump ship to another team, after four consecutive championship triumphs in a Red Bull.

"He will only change teams if we no longer build him a competitive car," said Marko.

"Why would he go to Ferrari or Mercedes now, especially since he would have Alonso or Hamilton as his teammate?

"I see no alternative for him at the moment other than us," added Marko.

"Ayrton Senna won all of his titles with McLaren, he never drove for Ferrari, but he didn't have an image problem because of it.

"Maybe it's cooler to win for Ferrari, but that's not easy at the moment," he insisted.

Meanwhile, Mateschitz - who watched Vettel secure his fourth title in India from the comfort of his Salzburg lounge room - admitted the moment was satisfying if not euphoric.

"Because we expected it, it was like celebrating Christmas over a week," he smiled.  "It's not quite as exciting, but the joy is there every time."

Mercedes F1 team fuels $300m investment in the UK
Earlier this month Pitpass' business editor Christian Sylt wrote a news story for the London-based business newspaper CityAM which revealed that Mercedes' Formula One team made an after-tax loss of £31.5m in 2012. Revenue remained stable at £115m whilst operating costs accelerated 20% to £151m as 86 staff were added taking the total to 612. However, that was only half of the story as Sylt revealed in the Sunday Express that Mercedes' F1 team injected a massive £200m into the UK economy last year.

It was the icing on the cake of an already-impressive day for the Brackley-based outfit as it overtook Ferrari at the Indian Grand Prix to claim second place in the Constructors' Championship.

Details of the economic impact of F1 teams are usually a closely-guarded secret. Calculating the data requires deep analysis of the location of the team's suppliers which is no mean feat given how many they deal with.

Mercedes alone works with 1,500 UK-based suppliers including caterers, designers, equipment manufacturers and haulage firms. Research from the German manufacturer shows that last year its F1 team and engine division spent £125m with them and employed 1,114 staff in the UK. This gave it a total wage bill of £69.9m bringing the economic impact to £194.9m.

Payments to UK suppliers comprised around half of the £277m total costs of the team and engine division. However, this is not a net cost to Mercedes as it is offset by income from prize money, sponsorship and lease payments from McLaren and Force India for the use of its engines.

It goes to show that there are two sides to every story. There are constant complaints about the amount spent by F1 teams but as this data shows, there are a lot of people in the UK who are doing very nicely from it. Pitpass.com

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