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Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday
  • Whitmarsh's team a loser again
    F1's biggest spender is Red Bull - Whitmarsh
  • Fire brigade called for Mercedes V6 incident
  • Webber deletes criticism of Red Bull colleagues
  • Haug doubts Mercedes can break Vettel dominance
  • Montezemolo slaps Alonso with Twitter ban

F1's biggest spender is Red Bull - Whitmarsh
(GMM)  After Ferrari denied it is the biggest spender in formula one, McLaren says the most financially powerful team in pitlane is actually Red Bull.

Like Ferrari, Red Bull denies it, but McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh insists "everyone knows" that the energy drink-owned team - the dominant world champions for the last four seasons consecutively - spends the most.

In fact, Whitmarsh said that meteoric level of spending has actually "distorted the sport".

And he said his counterpart Christian Horner's claim that Red Bull doesn't spend the most is "just rubbish".

"You'll see that's just rubbish but everyone knows that and they know it as well," Whitmarsh is quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

Horner, however, said rival teams, and F1 fans who are claiming Red Bull is making the racing boring, are just "frustrated".

One of them is Lotus team boss Eric Boullier, who thinks Red Bull's continual dominance is "killing the show".

Horner reacted: "I can see why people get perhaps frustrated with it but I think that the racing has been very good.

"The fastest way to become unpopular is to start winning.  And we've done a lot of winning the last few years.  It's inevitable that doesn't sit too comfy with some teams," he added.

"From a selfish team point of view the more boring and the more races that we can win the better.  But of course we need to compete, we want competition," said Horner.

Fire brigade called for Mercedes V6 incident
(GMM)  A fire this week was not the first incident at Brixworth, as Mercedes develops its turbo V6 engine for 2014.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that the fire brigade was called to the German manufacturer's Northamptonshire headquarters on Monday evening after an F1 engine caught fire on a test bench.

Mercedes said there was no significant damage, and that the fire department was only summoned as a precaution.

But Auto Motor und Sport correspondent Michael Schmidt said that the development of the Mercedes turbo has been troublesome, with other incidents having also occurred recently.

Webber deletes criticism of Red Bull colleagues
(GMM)  Comments in which Mark Webber was highly critical of his former Red Bull colleagues have been removed from the Australian's official website.

It has been no secret that Webber, who has left the world champion team and formula one to lead a more relaxed life with Porsche, has been enduring strained relationships with bosses Christian Horner, Dr Helmut Marko and teammate Sebastian Vettel.

Once very close friends and even sharing ownership of a GP3 team with the 40-year-old Briton, Webber admitted in the deleted comments that he and Horner are "probably not as close now as we once were".

"Christian is going to be with the team for a long time – indefinitely, you'd imagine, unless he gets an approach from somewhere else – so he's got to make sure that he tries to keep everything as smooth as possible," said Webber.

"In some cases that hasn't been something which might have benefitted me.  That's put a stress on the relationship."

Webber's strained relationship with Austrian Marko, who has always vigorously championed Vettel's cause, has been much more obvious.

He said in the deleted comments: "I still don't really know his (Marko's) role in the team, so ... yeah.  He was very critical of me from day one but in the end he's obviously brought Seb through and done a great job with that.

"He's probably disappointed that F1 teams have to have two cars.  But they do," added Webber.

Webber, 37, began his comments about former teammate Vettel in a complimentary tone, describing the new four-time world champion as "phenomenally gifted".

"We know that his strength is qualifying and the first five laps of the race.  That's his signature punch.  That's the hardest part to control," said Webber.

As for their relationship, however, Webber said: "There's so much water under the bridge between us that it's hard to think of more positives than negatives.

"That's a bit disappointing because you want to keep everyone in a respectful light, and give them as big a chance as possible, for as long as you can," he added.

"But I think there's probably too much that's gone on between us.  Maybe when we're 50-odd things will be different but with what we've been through it's hard to draw a line under too much of it," said Webber.

"For sure I'm not super-bothered by it and nor is he.  That's just the way it is," he concluded.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that, when Bernie Ecclestone presented the retiring Webber at his last grand prix with a Brazilian flag bearing the signatures of his fellow F1 drivers, Vettel's was the only missing name.

But Ecclestone reportedly appeared after the post-race press conference at Interlagos and personally asked Vettel to sign the flag.  "Webber was not pleased," said correspondent Michael Schmidt.

Haug doubts Mercedes can break Vettel dominance
(GMM)  Norbert Haug, the former Mercedes competition boss, has bad news for the hopeful German marque.

To now be headed by Paddy Lowe, Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda, Mercedes is bullish about its 2014 hopes, having finished second in 2013 to the runaway champion team, Red Bull.

"For everyone and for me the target is to win the world championship, both championships," driver Lewis Hamilton told the British broadcaster Sky after last weekend's 2013 finale in Brazil.

"If we don't do it naturally there will be some disappointment but we're not even going to put that negative energy out there," he added.

Haug, however, has filled that Mercedes-sponsored void of negativity.

"I don't think Sebastian Vettel's dominance can be broken yet," the 61-year-old, who was replaced by Wolff ahead of the 2013 season, told German radio Sport1.

"He understands these modern cars perfectly and we've hardly ever seen dominance like it, even by Michael Schumacher.

"I also don't think Red Bull is going to be much less competitive after the coming winter," added Haug, "even with the biggest technological revolution (in F1) in 25 years."

However, Haug does think Mercedes can be a contender for the 2014 title.

"With Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, the team is very well placed," he said.  "Moreover, we began to think about the new generation of engine some five years ago.

"I believe that Mercedes can fight for the world championship," added Haug.

Montezemolo slaps Alonso with Twitter ban
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has been banned from talking about Ferrari via his personal Twitter account.

The Spaniard had his ear "tweaked" by team president Luca di Montezemolo earlier this year, after making a series of disparaging remarks about the development of Ferrari's 2013 car.

"We will prohibit him from Twitter," Montezemolo reportedly said during his interview with Italian television Rai Uno this week.

"Although Alonso, like anyone else, can write on Twitter what he wants, everything concerning Ferrari will be communicated by Ferrari," he added.

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