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DATE News (chronologically)
11/26/13
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday (Update) UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

Five F1 titles in-a-row for Vettel?  Horner says 2014 Red Bull car ahead of rivals, sending chills down the spines of everyone but Vettel in the F1 paddock.
11/26/13
  • Only Vettel 'sad' 2013 season finally over
  • Kvyat cool ahead of F1 adventure
  • Finishing last not knockout blow for Caterham
  • Maldonado triggers final 'silly season' dominoes
  • McLaren not in Williams-style slide - Button
  • Brawn's Mercedes exit now imminent
  • Red Bull files application for Austria GP approval
  • Ferrari 'determined to get back to the top' New
  • We're ahead of the pack - Horner New
  • Di Resta remains in the dark New
  • Ferrari hits out at “wildly erroneous” budget claims New
  • Lewis Hamilton says winning both World Championships Mercedes' sole 2014 goal New

Only Vettel 'sad' 2013 season finally over
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel says he is "sad" the 2013 season, characterized by his history-making dominance, is now over.

But the Red Bull driver does not have much company, made plain by the many visibly empty seats at the usually-bustling Interlagos finale.

"It was the worst it has been in recent years," a woman serving at an official merchandising stand at the Brazilian grand prix admitted to O Estado de S.paulo newspaper.

The television figures were also down in 2013, with last year's average of 5.58 million viewers per race in Germany down to 5.28 this season, according to DPA news agency.

And according to 1979 world champion Jody Scheckter, formula one fans should expect more Vettel dominance in the future.

"I think it's hard to believe that he won't beat Michael's record," he told CNN, referring to Schumacher's seven titles.

"I thought nobody would ever beat that record," added Scheckter.

Despite the sweeping rule changes for 2014, Red Bull is also confident it can keep its run going.  Bild newspaper reports that the team has signed up two simulator drivers - Sebastien Buemi and Antonio Felix da Costa - for 2014.

"Next year, the simulator will be running virtually around the clock," said Dr Helmut Marko.  "Vettel can't do it alone."

Indeed, with his fourth championship firmly in the bag, Vettel said he will be doing "nothing" for the next few weeks.

"First of all I hope that I will not get sick when all the stress goes away, which can easily happen," he is quoted by DPA.

"And I will not be eating much bacon, because the weight next year could be critical."

Also critical will be the influence of the engine manufacturers, as Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull's supplier Renault grapple with the new turbo V6s.

"It is impossible to know how it's going to be until we are in Melbourne," team boss Christian Horner is quoted by Austria's Der Standard.

"Everything else would just be speculation."

Kvyat cool ahead of F1 adventure
(GMM)  F1's newest cool cucumber is Daniil Kvyat.

Signed up by team owners Red Bull to replace Daniel Ricciardo at Toro Rosso next year, the Russian teen got an early start with practice outings in Austin and Brazil.

He made an immediate impression, lapping faster than Red Bull-bound Ricciardo and also his new teammate Jean-Eric Vergne in the tricky wet conditions at Interlagos, and eighth overall.

"He has big balls," Dr Helmut Marko observed delightedly.

Indeed, Kvyat sounds cool and relaxed about his looming F1 adventure, despite many paddock insiders worrying the pinnacle of motor racing has arrived too soon.

"The F1 car is much faster than any other category," he told Brazil's Totalrace.

"You need to get used to it and keep your concentration at a high level.

"But once you understand what you're doing, it is easier to put your technique into practice," added Kvyat, who is fluent in English, Spanish and Italian.

"It is not so very different from the other categories.  It's not like it's another planet."

Finishing last not knockout blow for Caterham
(GMM)  Caterham's future remains on track, despite the blow of finishing the 2013 constructors' championship dead last.

Since debuting in 2010, the green-colored team has always fended off the attacks of its back-of-the-grid rival Marussia.

But in Brazil, Caterham had to face up to the reality of not finishing inside the top ten finishing positions in the teams' points standings for the first time.

It is easy to overlook the battle at the very back.

"Marussia's Max Chilton was the only driver this year to finish every single race," said Die Welt correspondent Simon Pausch.

"Even Sebastian Vettel didn't manage that.  But Chilton scored exactly three hundred and ninety seven points less than the world champion," he observed.

However, former F1 team owner and boss Eddie Jordan insists that, for Caterham and Marussia, the fight at the back is crucially important.

"The top ten gets a fairly significant chunk of the prize money," he told the BBC.

"If you're outside the top 10, you don't."

For the teams with the smallest budgets, missing the top ten is significant -- particularly ahead of the 2014 season, when the new rules have ramped up the mandatory spending even further.

Caterham boss Cyril Abiteboul, however, insists finishing dead last does not jeopardize the team's future.

"Our shareholders and our partners have continued to support us unequivocally and the investments they continue to make, in infrastructure, resources and, most importantly, people, put us in a good position for the future," he said.

"Now we'll regroup, recharge and come back fighting in 2014 in an all new formula one."

Maldonado triggers final 'silly season' dominoes
(GMM)  The final pieces of the 2014 grid are now set to fall into place.

With the possible - albeit unlikely - exception of Caterham and Marussia, the only team with full driver stability heading into next season will be Mercedes.

Top teams Ferrari and McLaren, however, have already decided their 2014 lineups, leaving Lotus, Force India and Sauber with the most interesting remaining seats to fill.

Until now, despite Nico Hulkenberg's talent, Pastor Maldonado has held the key to unlocking those vacancies, thanks to his EUR 40 million in PDVSA backing.

He has been in talks with Sauber, whose financial struggles in 2013 have been well documented, but ultimately the Swiss team has missed out on the crucial millions.

With Sauber's Sergey Sirotkin-linked Russian rescue deal now in doubt, the Maldonado blow could be costly.  Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said co-owners Peter Sauber and Monisha Kaltenborn may have to sell the Hinwil based team.

"Plan C is a sale, and reputable investors from the USA are said to be interested," said the report.

In the end, the similarly-struggling Lotus has also had to acknowledge that its Quantum money may never arrive, and so it has reportedly signed Maldonado.

An announcement of the Venezuelan's contract is said to be imminent.

"I think we are now coming to a final agreement," Maldonado is quoted by Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S.Paulo, without naming his likely 2014 team.

A Quantum-cashed Lotus would ideally have picked Hulkenberg, but the talented German has been left to decide between staying at Sauber, or returning to Force India.

His decision will be made "in the next two or three days," manager Werner Heinz is quoted by SID news agency.

But paddock insiders know better.  Hulkenberg apparently signed his Force India deal on Sunday, ahead of the Brazilian grand prix.

Heinz hinted at the done deal.  "His (Hulkenberg's) heart is at Sauber, but we don't know what their financial situation will look like next year.

"In all probability we will sign at Force India.  It's too dangerous when you don't know if Sauber is going to have the sponsors it needs," he said.

On the other hand, the main backer at Force India is Dr Vijay Mallya, and he is "a rich man who invests in the team again and again," Heinz is quoted by Der Spiegel.

It is believed Sauber will replace Hulkenberg with Adrian Sutil, making room at Force India for the McLaren refugee Sergio Perez, who has reunited with Telmex and reportedly has EUR 15 million to offer in sponsorship.

"Obviously it (Force India) is one of the options," the Mexican said.  "I hope in the next few days we are going to have some news."

McLaren not in Williams-style slide - Button
(GMM)  Jenson Button has played down fears McLaren could be set to enter a Williams-like slide into the bottom half of the formula one grid.

The once-dominant Williams team has now been dwarfed by the superior resources, facilities and budgets of Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren.

McLaren, however, had an awful 2013 season - its worst in decades - and is now losing its title sponsor Vodafone.

But after recording a mere fourth place finish in the Interlagos finale, the team said on Twitter it had been a "great performance", adding the hashtag 'Believe In McLaren'.

Button defended the Woking based team's optimism.

"There is a good atmosphere and a belief in the team," he is quoted as saying by British newspapers, denying that McLaren could follow Williams into a slide down the grid.

"We have the resources that Williams don't.  Money is king in a sport like formula one.  The same in football in a way."

Button also denied McLaren needs a management shakeup, even though Martin Whitmarsh has presided over a season in which not even a single podium was mounted.

"They've had a tough time of it this year and everybody is quoting figures," he said.  "But everyone is excited about next year.  (Rule) changes are great for everyone apart from Red Bull," he insisted.

Button's friend and former F1 driver David Coulthard, however, thinks the 2009 world champion's motivation would have taken a big knock in 2013.

But the Scot, who drove for McLaren for years, tips Button and the team to rise again.

"McLaren are a mighty team," he told the Telegraph, "they have a great facility and pots of money."

Brawn's Mercedes exit now imminent
(GMM)  An announcement about Ross Brawn's departure from Mercedes is now imminent.

Germany's normally-reliable Sport Bild says the news is coming "later this week", at the end of a period of strong speculation that the Brackley based team will install Paddy Lowe as the new boss.

Mercedes, and particularly chairman Niki Lauda, have made efforts to keep 58-year-old Briton Brawn on board in another role.

But the big rumor is he could be headed back to Ferrari, where as technical director he presided over Michael Schumacher's ultra-dominant cars of last decade.

"Let's see," Brawn told the British broadcaster Sky on Sunday in Brazil, after he was spotted meeting in Stefano Domenicali's Interlagos circuit office.

"We will advise everyone in good time, but it's a pretty exciting year next year, so let's see what happens," he added.

Asked if Brazil was in fact his 'goodbye' to F1 altogether, Brawn smiled as he insisted: "(This is) not an answer."

Red Bull files application for Austria GP approval
(GMM)  Circuit owner Red Bull has only just filed its application to allow a sizeable race-day crowd to assemble for the 2014 Austrian grand prix.

The energy drink company, having demolished and rebuilt the former A1-Ring, succeeded in securing the Red Bull Ring's return to the F1 calendar for next June.

But, at the moment, local authorities reportedly allow no more than 40,000 spectators to gather at the facility at any given time.

Red Bull wants that figure to be doubled, but the 100-page application document has only just been filed, the Austrian broadcaster ORF reports.

That is despite tickets for the 2014 race having already gone on sale, sparking so much demand that internet servers strained under the load.

"It (the application) will either be judged positively or negatively," a spokesperson is quoted as saying.

"If everything is positive, the decision could come before Christmas."

Ferrari 'determined to get back to the top'
Ferrari technical director James Allison has said the Scuderia is determined to back to the top and is looking forward to once again dominating.

Ferrari – along with the rest of the teams in the sport – have been unable to stop Red Bull in recent years, with number one driver, Sebastian Vettel romping to his fourth Drivers’ title in succession this year, while the Milton-Keynes-based outfit also again took the Constructors’ crown.

Allison, who left Lotus in May and who re-joined Ferrari in September, has confidence, however, that the Scuderia can get it right.

“I have found a team hungry and determined to get back to the top of the podium at every race and championship,” he told Sky Italia. “It is a team that is optimistic for the future and is looking forward to dominating the sport again.”

Allison is aware though, that any turnaround won’t be quick: “F1 is not a quick-fix sport,” he added. “It is an incredibly difficult organization to get every single aspect right, and you need every aspect right to win a world championship.

“The team has been one-by-one picking off its weak points. It's a work we will need to continue and a work we will never stop doing even once we do finally get ourselves back to the front.

“I don't think we have made any secret of the fact the area we have been underperforming in, relative to the completion, is we haven't made as much out of the aerodynamic rules over the last few seasons as some of our rivals.

"That's for a number of reasons and it's an area where our team has invested heavily over the last 18 months or so.

"We will eventually get our reward for that.”

We're ahead of the pack - Horner
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner believes his team is already ahead in the development race ahead of the 2014 season.

The Milton Keynes outfit secured its fourth consecutive Drivers' and Constructors' Championship titles in 2013, but under the new regulations that come into effect next year, the remaining teams on the paddock have a fresh chance to build a title-challenging car.

Although some aspects of the new regulations - particularly engine regulations that has a bearing on the power train, heat rejection and the efficiency of ERS - are largely out of Red Bull's control, Horner is confident that the manner in which the reigning champions racked up points in the second half of 2013 has allowed chief engineer Adrian Newey to start work on the 2014 car ahead of schedule.

"Of course we've been pushing the boundaries and Adrian is never famous for starting next year's car early," Horner told ESPN.

"That's exactly the same case for RB10, but thankfully we managed to secure this championship reasonably early which has enabled all the focus to go on to RB10 whilst obviously Ferrari and Mercedes have been battling each other for the runner-up position."

Di Resta remains in the dark
Paul di Resta admitted that he has "no idea" whether he will be in Formula One next season, since a large group of drivers are bidding for the final few unconfirmed seats.

The Scot has been with Force India since 2010 but his place at the Silverstone team is far from certain amidst reports in the media that Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez have agreed to join Vijay Mallya's team.

"I have no idea. I need everybody's help if I can get it," Di Resta answered when asked about his future after his 11th place finish at Interlagos last week.

"I've done what's asked of me when the car is under me and who knows? I'll be in competitive racing... but remaining part of Formula One has to be my ultimate goal."

Di Resta's current team-mate at Force India - Adrian Sutil - has been linked with a switch to Sauber as Hulkenberg's replacement if he isn't offered a new deal at Force India.

Ferrari hits out at “wildly erroneous” budget claims
Ferrari has hit out at press reports claiming its F1 team’s budget exceed $400 million.

F1 team budget are a closely-guarded secret but Autosport published an analysis by Dieter Rencken in August (paywall) claiming Ferrari were spending more than any team on the grid, including world champions Red Bull.

The Italian team finished third in the constructors’ championship this year behind Red Bull and Mercedes, focusing more attention on its expenditure compared to rival teams.

In an anonymous post on its official website Ferrari attacked the reports as inaccurate:

“When the championship finishes, the moment arrives to take stock. If it’s enough in sport to look at the points standings, in business some trust in summer valuations, even if they are carried out under a parasol.

“For that reason, months later, a reconstruction of the budgets of Formula One teams developed by an Autosport colleague has transformed itself into journalistic fact. It’s a pity that the cited figures are largely fantasy and they can draw even distinguished newspapers into conclusions that are wildly erroneous.

“It would be easy to deny the figures with facts but the truth about business matters has to stay confidential: this too, like technology, is a crucial factor in competition.”

Lewis Hamilton says winning both World Championships Mercedes' sole 2014 goal
A bullish Lewis Hamilton has already set out his and Mercedes' stall ahead of the 2014 Formula 1 season: to win both World Championship titles.

Hamilton's first season at the team he joined from McLaren in January may only have just finished but the 2008 title winner has declared that Mercedes need to use the second place in the Constructors' Championship they clinched at Interlagos on Sunday as the springboard to go one better in 2014.

Having previously not finished higher than fourth in the standings since buying the double title-winning Brawn GP out in late 2009, Mercedes' triple race-winning W04 car represented a big step forward over its predecessor and the team have long targeted 2014's engine regulation overhaul as their best chance to make a breakthrough in the battle to dethrone Red Bull.

And during a visit to the team's Brackley headquarters on Tuesday, Hamilton made clear Mercedes were now eyeing an all-out championship assault.

"We've just finished second in the Constructors' Championship so of course we don't want to finish there next year, we want to make the next step," the 28-year-old told Sky Sports News. 

"So for everyone and for me the target is to win the World Championship, both championships. Of course if we don't do it naturally there'll be some disappointment but we're not even going to put that negative energy out there."

Aside from winning both World Championships four years ago when under the Brawn banner, the Brackley outfit are not accustomed to challenging for titles.

Hamilton, however, believes it's the collective desire to succeed at Mercedes which can make the difference.

"I don't think there's a particular World Champion mentality," he said.

"Everyone has a different approach but I feel that everyone here is just hungry. They've not have the success that perhaps they've deserved and they've not had the success of teams like Ferrari and McLaren and Red Bull.

"But they're hungry to have that and that hunger is what will take us there."

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