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DATE News (chronologically)
12/10/13
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday  
  • Controversy explodes with new 'double points' finale
  • FIA announces F1 'cost cap' coming in 2015
  • Patient Hulkenberg still waiting for winning car
  • Hamilton did pay father, former manager Anthony
  • F1 says no to heavier cars, mandatory pitstops

Controversy explodes with new 'double points' finale
(GMM)  International publications have described the highly controversial decision to award double-points in the 2014 season finale as "strange" (Bild) and "crazy" (La Gazzetta dello Sport).

And Reuters correspondent Alan Baldwin said F1 fans expressed "dismay and anger on social media", while former driver Taki Inoue described the change as "something like a Nintendo Mario game.

"No mushroom?" the Japanese added on Twitter.

The reaction followed a Paris meeting on Monday of the strategy group and F1 Commission, with the rule change "immediately applicable" because of the "mandate" given to FIA president Jean Todt at the recent World Motor Sport Council meeting.

The FIA said in the statement: "Double drivers' and constructors' points will be awarded at the final race of the formula one season in order to maximize focus on the championship until the end of the campaign."

The move is obviously a reaction to the 2013 season, which was utterly dominated by Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, with the title decided long before the Brazil finale.

In 2014, the season finale will be Abu Dhabi, an often processional race that is nonetheless now worth double the points of classics like Monaco and Spa.

Writing in the Daily Mail, correspondent Jonathan McEvoy said F1's decision-makers have "undermined the sport with a gimmick that should have been filed away with sprinklers and reversed grids in the file of batty ideas".

France's L'Equipe points out that, if the system had already been in place, Felipe Massa (not Lewis Hamilton) would be the 2008 champion, and Fernando Alonso would have beaten Sebastian Vettel to the 2012 crown.

"Why should a single race be worth more?" the Brazilian correspondent for Globo, Rafael Lopes, said.

"It's a very artificial way to keep the championship alive until the last grand prix.

"Why should an average driver with an unreliable car have the same chance just because of the scoring system?

"And that's not to mention that Abu Dhabi, to date, has hosted almost no good races on a pretty boring track," he added.

FIA announces F1 'cost cap' coming in 2015
(GMM)  A 'cost cap' in formula one is coming, the FIA said in a surprising announcement on Monday.

Although many teams are facing financial difficulties, the idea of compulsorily capping annual budgets has remained highly controversial.

But FIA president Jean Todt told France's L'Equipe last week: "We need to focus on the problem of costs at all levels of motor sport, not only formula one."

So, after a Paris meeting of the sport's new strategy group and the F1 Commission, and with Todt declaring a "mandate", the sport's governing body said the "principle of a global cost cap has been adopted" for F1.

"The limit will be applied from January 2015," the FIA declared.

Current F1 team budgets are believed to range from about $60 million at the back of the grid, to several hundred million for frontrunners Red Bull and Ferrari.

The actual number eventually set for the cap is therefore the crucial detail.

"If we're all at 50 or 100 million budget, the show will be no different at all," Caterham boss Cyril Abiteboul argued recently.

The FIA said it will now establish a 'working group' tasked with having the 2015 budget cap regulations approved by June of next year.

"In the end," Lotus chief Eric Boullier added, "if we don't do this, it's going to be more and more difficult to survive."

Meanwhile, in addition to the highly controversial 'double points' rule for the 2014 finale, the FIA on Monday also announced that drivers will choose a permanent race number, between 2 and 99, to keep for their entire F1 careers.

And the FIA said every team was invited to attend Pirelli's Bahrain tire test with 2013 cars next week, but only Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren, Force India and Toro Rosso took up the offer.

Patient Hulkenberg still waiting for winning car
(GMM)  Nico Hulkenberg insists he is having to be patient as he waits for a front-running car.

The highly rated German was almost signed by Ferrari for 2014.

Told by the Kolner Express newspaper that he might have been Fernando Alonso's teammate had Kimi Raikkonen not "lost patience" with Lotus, he answered: "It was a shame.

"Of course in the long term I want to be in a car with which I can win races," said Hulkenberg.

"But there are many examples of drivers who had to wait years for that.  Let's see what the future holds for me."

After Ferrari, Hulkenberg's next-best option for 2014 appeared to be Lotus, but ultimately the financially-struggling team signed the lucratively-sponsored Pastor Maldonado.

Team boss Eric Boullier admits Lotus is struggling.

"Nobody knows where they are going to be next season," the Frenchman, referring to the radically new 2014 rules, is quoted by France's L'Equipe, "but given our budget, we are clearly not in a position to dominate."

Although Lotus are struggling, some have described Hulkenberg's move from the also-struggling Sauber to Force India for 2014 as a "backwards step", particularly as he only left the Silverstone based team a year ago.

"Everyone will have his own opinion," the 26-year-old said.

"You have to look at the overall situation.  There are many teams that have financial problems, so the options are very limited.

"On the other you have to see this is only my fourth year in formula one," Hulkenberg added.

Hamilton did pay father, former manager Anthony
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton's father and former manager has admitted he actually was paid by the 2008 world champion.

Last week, as Anthony Hamilton sues his former charge Paul di Resta for wrongful dismissal, he said in court that he was never paid by his son Lewis when he handled the first few seasons of his famous formula one career.

"I never asked Lewis for a penny," Hamilton Snr had told the London court.

But as a new week of testimony kicked off, Anthony Hamilton has admitted he was in fact paid three million pounds ($5 million) by his son, who now drives for Mercedes.

"I completely forgot there was an agreement between Lewis' company and my company," Anthony told the court.

"He (Lewis) maintained to pay HMG (Hamilton Management Group) half a million pounds a year until 2012," he added.

F1 says no to heavier cars, mandatory pitstops
(GMM)  Formula one teams this week blocked moves to raise the minimum weight limit for 2014.

Drivers like Daniel Ricciardo are hurriedly trimming muscle ahead of the next world championship, as the new turbo V6 and ERS regulations add crucial weight to the single seaters.

A proposal to simply lift the mandatory weight limit further was discussed at the strategy group and F1 Commission meeting in Paris on Monday, but rejected, according to the BBC.

Because the proposal was to raise the limit for 2014, it needed an unanimous vote, but correspondent Andrew Benson said Ferrari, Mercedes and Lotus all declined.

"It would be unfair to change something in the rules this late," Mexican driver Sergio Perez is quoted this week by Brazil's Totalrace.

"If something could be changed, it would be the weight limit.  But even that would be unfair, and some teams are against it because they have worked well and have been able to make a car lighter than the others," he added.

The BBC report also said the teams on Monday voted down a proposal to force drivers to make a minimum of two pitstops per race in 2014.

Pirelli reportedly pushed for the rule after its calamitous and image-damaging 2013 season, where in trying to build aggressively-degrading tires, the quality and safety of its products was called into doubt.

But despite Pirelli's problems this year, Bernie Ecclestone insists the Italian marque has done a good job.

"Pirelli did a wonderful job for us," he wrote in the foreword to the official formula one season review.

"I told them we don't want tires that last the race, we want tires that nobody knows how they are going to last.  We've got that too with the new engines next year," the F1 chief executive added.

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