Latest F1 news in brief - Monday (Update) UPDATE Updates shown in red below.
Ecclestone tips bribery trial to end
|Bring out the floats, F1 will now be a parade with drivers unable to race at 100%|
- McLaren supplying LCD readout to rival teams
- Force India colors to race in GP2
- Former driver Pizzonia backs Williams to improve
- Most races will be fuel-limited borefests - Newey
- Mercedes moves to stop Honda from getting secrets New
- Horner backs Newey after Jerez troubles New
- Planning 'all in place' for Austria GP - Mateschitz New
Ecclestone tips bribery trial to end
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has tipped the criminal bribery trial, set to begin in Munich in late April, to end before it even begins.
"Bet you it doesn't happen," the F1 chief executive, in London last Friday for a charity photograph auction called 'Zoom', said.
Until then, despite the fact he has officially stepped down from the sport's board, it is business as usual -- and key ally Christian Horner, the Red Bull team boss, sees challenges ahead for F1 that Ecclestone must tackle.
"Formula one needs him more than ever at the moment," Horner said at the same event.
There was also a friendly needling between the pair, when the charity photograph taken by Horner was revealed to be a shot of one of his donkeys.
Ecclestone joked: "I thought it was a picture of your (Horner's) new car!"
Horner, however, hit back at Red Bull's troubled engine supplier.
"My donkeys have more power than a Renault at the moment," he joked.
More seriously, Ecclestone and Horner disagree fundamentally about the sport's incoming budget cap, despite reports recently the proposal could collapse.
Horner and world champion team Red Bull's supremo Dietrich Mateschitz have made clear they oppose the plan, but Ecclestone said in London: "We have approved the budget cap. It is going to happen.
"Everyone agreed to $200 million," he told F1 business journalist Christian Sylt, according to the Express newspaper.
"What hasn't been agreed is what is in the $200 million. Unless we include everything, I am sure people will find ways around it. It's going to be difficult."
But Ecclestone does have a plan to minimizing cheating, by offering a EUR 1 million reward to whistleblowers.
"We will then say to the team that the following year you will lose three of the maximum points you have scored. Then let's see if they want to cheat," he explained.
McLaren supplying LCD readout to rival teams
(GMM) McLaren is supplying a standard LCD steering wheel display to fellow formula one teams in 2014.
The new display, part of the package provided by the Woking based company's technology subsidiary for the McLaren-supplied mandatory electronic control unit (ECU), could be seen fitted to cars including the Mercedes and Ferrari at Jerez recently.
Use of the multi-function display, however, featuring the gear-shift warning lights and graphical data for the drivers, is not mandatory, and it is believed world champions Red Bull will continue to use their own layout this year.
Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said the new 13cm display is called PCU-8D.
"It's all very different," Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg is quoted as saying. "Almost like a smartphone."
Force India colors to race in GP2
(GMM) Force India's distinctive orange and green colors will appear on the GP2 grid in 2014, following an agreement with the German team Hilmer.
Team supremo Vijay Mallya said the deal, with Facu Regalia and Daniel Abt in the cockpits, is part of Force India's "great emphasis" on young driver development.
"It's the logical next step as we look to bring through the next generation of drivers and provide them with the opportunity to showcase their talent," he said.
The news comes at an awkward time for Mallya, amid reports his entire business empire is at risk of collapse, a year after his airline Kingfisher was grounded.
"The legacy of the empire, which he inherited from his dad, is at risk," an insider close to one of Mallya's lenders told the French news agency AFP.
Former driver Pizzonia backs Williams to improve
(GMM) Former team driver Antonio Pizzonia has backed Williams to bounce back into competitive form.
The fabled British team has struggled for success since Jacques Villeneuve won the last title in 1997.
But for 2014, Grove based Williams has the highly-competitive new Mercedes V6 on board, the title-winning technical chief Pat Symonds, and long-time Ferrari driver Felipe Massa.
Not only that, Brazilian Pizzonia said he has heard that Williams is investing heavily in other, less high-profile areas of personnel.
"Look at the history -- it is a team that can win," Pizzonia, who as Williams' test driver substituted for injured Ralf Schumacher and Nick Heidfeld in 2004 and 2005, told Brazilian radio Jovem Pan.
"What has surprised me most, knowing Frank Williams, is that he has invested a lot on the technical side of the team," he explained.
"They are hiring new people, significant people, which is financially not cheap for the team, and if you analyze the history of the team, they haven't done it much before.
"They have always sought to promote young people in their own factory who could have a bright future, but I think now we could see a very strong improvement," added Pizzonia.
He said Williams' decline dates back to his own time at the time, some 10 years ago.
"There were relationship problems with BMW, the team was losing competent people and then there was the financial side with the loss of strong sponsors and from there the situation got worse.
"In recent years they even had to go down a path they'd never gone down before, which was to have paying drivers.
"But I hope now we see a turnaround and the team goes back up again," said Pizzonia.
He also commented on F1 more generally, including the recent complaints of some active drivers who are unhappy with the sport's reduced speed due to the new engine and aerodynamic regulations.
"There's two sides (to that)," said Pizzonia.
"For the young drivers it will be much easier to adapt, because the leap from GP2 and the World Series is much smaller.
"But I think there is some frustration for some drivers who see that formula one is going backwards in terms of speed. But I understand that F1 is doing it for safety and for a range of other factors.
"As a spectator though I have to say I am not really in favor, because even on TV the speed reduction is apparent. It's not as cool as it used to be," said Pizzonia.
Most races will be fuel-limited borefests - Newey
In recent interviews Red Bull designer Adrian Newey described how the new limits on maximum fuel use and the fuel flow rate could shape race strategies and the drivers will almost never be at 100%. If that is the case F1 will now be a parade, not a race. Bring in the floats.
“[We] not only have a 100 kilos maximum fuel for the race but we also have a maximum consumption – a flow rate, if you like. The old engines, for reference, were using around 160 kilos, so it’s a big reduction in fuel.
“That of course means there will be a lot of strategy in the race. Most of the races we anticipate will be fuel capacity limited. So we’ll have to save fuel through the race which will mean different driving styles, compromising lap times to save fuel, which will mean how you then use your remaining fuel.
“Do you go out quickly at the start, try and brake away and then save fuel? Do you save fuel early in the race and try and sprint later in the race? All those sorts of things will come into play.”
Newey said the fuel limits were unlikely to have a major effect in qualifying, where little fuel is used for a flying lap, but said “it may well be that some engines perform better in terms of qualifying because fuel consumption is less of an issue than it is in the race”.
The impact of the aerodynamic changes at the front of the cars, including the reduced front wing width, were also not to be underestimated, Newey added.
“What sounds quite a small change, which is a 75mm – that’s roughly three-inches – reduction in the width of the wing on each side, and that was done to reduce the chances of a wing being knocked off when two cars touch in a sort of dogfight, if you like. But it has a big aerodynamic effect.
“Before, the front wing endplate allowed us to put the flow off the tip of the wing outside of the front wheel. Now the front endplate’s right in front of the front wheel it’s is about in the worst possible place.
“It’s not inside, it’s not outside. And that means that the majority of the flow now stagnates in front of the front wheel. A little of it finds its way outside, the rest comes inside, and in doing so it makes quite a mess.
“The front wing wake effectively – the combination of the front wing and front wheel wake – becomes much bigger. That causes all sorts of problems downstream as you approach the sidepod and the diffuser.”
Mercedes moves to stop Honda from getting secrets
Mercedes has warned McLaren that they will not get their engine secrets, ahead of the Woking-based team's switch to Honda power in 2015.
"I think certainly them heading off to one of our competitors is not an ideal situation," Toto Wolff, Mercedes' executive director told AUTOSPORT.
"But in these early days of the season we have a short-term target which is common - in making the power unit reliable and performing.
"It is welcome that we are all having an exchange and all sharing the same short term target, and this is to make the power unit last and be quick.
"How that is going to pan out during the season, that daily management of the relationship, could change obviously."
"At the end of the day we are still competitors on track," he said.
"There is still a fair amount of knowledge that you can share on developing the power unit, but then there is a fair amount of knowledge that you wouldn't want to exchange anyway because they are switching to Honda.
"But we expect them to be strong this year."
Horner backs Newey after Jerez troubles
(GMM) Christian Horner has played down fears of a Red Bull crisis, insisting the problems with the new RB10 are "nothing major".
After four consecutive world championships at the tail-end of the former regulations, Red Bull's all-new V6-powered car managed only a handful of laps recently as the winter testing season for the all-new V6 era opened at Jerez.
"There's a few things we needed to tighten up on our side but nothing major and obviously Renault have some issues that they are tidying up as well," team boss Horner told Sky Sports News.
"But these cars are so complicated that even small problems can cause big failures."
But despite suggesting the problems with the RB10 are minor, Horner was also giving no guarantees they will all be fixed by next week, when the second official test begins in Bahrain.
"Obviously there's quite a bit to do but there's still a fair bit of time before the first race," he said.
"Bahrain is an important test and we are working very hard at both Renault and Milton Keynes.
"We don't want another test like Jerez but that's what testing is for -- you sort your problems out so as not to have them at the races," Horner added.
Planning 'all in place' for Austria GP - Mateschitz
(GMM) Austria's return to the F1 calendar this year is on track, Red Bull supremo Dietrich Mateschitz says.
"We are striving for a perfect race weekend with sold out grandstands," said the Austrian billionaire, who has rebuilt the former A1-Ring circuit.
There had been some minor doubts about the race's return, as the Red Bull-Ring was initially limited to a small maximum crowd, while circuit upgrades were still in the planning.
"The construction is on schedule, even if it is tight, and the permits are all in place," Mateschitz told the Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper.
With world champions Red Bull arguably the biggest spenders in pitlane, Mateschitz also commented on the hardening plans for team budget caps for 2015.
"At the moment the question of what is excluded and what else the manufacturers can redeploy in other budgets is still open," he said.
"On one hand, billions were spent on the development of the new engines, which is not questioned," added Mateschitz.
Finally, he was asked about Ferrari's explosive 'fire and ice' new driver pairing of Fernando Alonso alongside fellow champion Kimi Raikkonen.
"Even if there are frictions," Mateschitz insisted, "it has to work.
"With us, the media spoke about the crisis between Vettel and Webber for the longest time, but it still worked.
"It doesn't matter if Alonso and Raikkonen are blood brothers or not."