Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
- No Renault crisis for new Lotus debut
- Lotus 'better prepared' than rivals - Lopez
- Departed Pujolar says Williams 'didn't feel right'
- Hakkinen tips Raikkonen to beat Alonso
- Di Resta, Hamilton settle court dispute
- Webber tips Ricciardo to 'go well' against Vettel
No Renault crisis for new Lotus debut
(GMM) Lotus enjoyed a trouble-free track debut with its 2014 car, the E22, at Jerez.
Earlier rumors suggested the Enstone team had struck the same sort of Renault-powered trouble that left the French engine supplier's grandee partner, Red Bull, with only a handful of laps of running at the official Jerez test recently.
Now, it emerges that while the E22's Friday debut late last week amounted to a mere 1 lap, the new Lotus in fact completed 100 kilometers the following day -- the maximum amount of mileage allowed for 'filming' test purposes.
The team did not release any detailed information, but a spokesman told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that both the car and the Renault V6 ran successfully without any major problems.
And team owner Gerard Lopez told France's Infosport Plus: "We were very well prepared. No problems, no overheating, nothing -- the car ran like clockwork, which was quite surprising when you look at what happened at Jerez the first time.
"We are ready to go to Bahrain and start running in the first hour," he added.
Renault also suggested that its tweaks since the Jerez calamity seemed to have borne fruit, saying officially that the Lotus ran "without any reliability problems".
"Updates developed in the dyno at Viry during and post Jerez test were run," the French outfit said, adding that preparations for the next official test in Bahrain "are ongoing".
Renault's use of the Lotus 'filming' day to fix its problems would seem to breach the regulations, but the marque insisted it merely "validated" fixes that were developed at the factory.
"As usual, everyone is committed to providing performance and reliability required for normal PU (power unit) operation and a fully competitive 2014 season," said Renault.
Lotus 'better prepared' than rivals - Lopez
(GMM) Gerard Lopez, the Lotus team owner, has played down suggestions the Enstone squad is still grappling with financial problems.
The team's problems of late last year, when Kimi Raikkonen went unpaid and crucial negotiations with the Quantum group faltered, are well known.
But Lopez said that the decision not to test the new car at Jerez recently is not because Lotus had no money.
"We said that there would be some (technical) trouble and it was actually the case," the Luxembourger, referring to the Red Bull-Renault crisis, told France's Infosport Plus.
"I know we had a lot of criticism, people said we lack the budget but that is wrong because it cost us the same to go (to Jerez) a week later," Lopez insisted.
Lotus gave its new E22 a successful rollout at Jerez on Saturday, a week after the other Renault powered teams, notably world champions Red Bull, faltered so badly.
"Maybe we are better prepared," said Lopez. "Maybe our strategy to wait and work at the factory was the better one.
"We will see in Bahrain. We will not mention the others, or at least not as much as they mention us."
Departed Pujolar says Williams 'didn't feel right'
(GMM) With one leaving and another joining, two well-known F1 names have given their view about the once-great British team Williams.
Arriving at Grove is the long-time Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, who told Brazilian television Rede Globo: "I'm very happy.
"It is a time when I needed a change and it's at an important moment in formula one when everything is changing."
With similar reasoning for departing Williams, however, is Xevi Pujolar, a long-serving engineer who has quit the team to join Toro Rosso.
"Last year," he told Spain's El Confidencial, "the situation was quite difficult and Williams did not feel right. So I decided to change.
"When Pat Symonds arrived I was fine with it because he is someone with great experience, there were other factors as well.
"I had spoken several times with Toro Rosso and it looked like a growing team with great potential."
Spaniard Pujolar, 40, said part of the problem at Williams was its difficulty in adapting from life at the very front of the grid.
"You have to accept that times are changing and make different plans," he said. "And accept that you're not world champion anymore.
"But now I think they are making many changes and will improve. Personally, I needed a change of scenery."
Finally, Pujolar laughed when asked if he would change places with a Renault engineer at present, given the French marque's current technical troubles.
"I think I'm fine where I am!" he said.
Hakkinen tips Raikkonen to beat Alonso
(GMM) Not everyone thinks Kimi Raikkonen will struggle to keep up with Fernando Alonso at Ferrari this year.
Despite the fact the returning Finn Raikkonen is the Italian marque's last champion, departed Felipe Massa recently tipped Alonso to lead this year because he "combines talent with brains".
Raikkonen's countryman Mika Hakkinen, however, the 1998 and 1999 world champion with McLaren, thinks Ferrari will win with a Finn.
"I think Kimi's driving style is really perfect for these turbo cars," he is quoted by the Spanish daily Marca.
"Alonso pushes too hard, so I think Kimi will beat him."
Di Resta, Hamilton settle court dispute
(GMM) Former F1 figures Paul di Resta and Anthony Hamilton have settled their legal dispute, following a bitter court battle in London late last year.
Hamilton, the father of the Mercedes driver, had sued his former client for breach of contract.
"I am very sorry that Paul and I fell out to the extent we did, and I am pleased to put this matter to bed," Hamilton was quoted by British newspapers.
Hamilton also said it is a "real shame" Scot di Resta, who has returned to the German touring car series DTM after a three-year stint with Force India, lost his F1 seat.
"This has been a difficult year and I am just pleased to put it behind me and to concentrate on my racing," di Resta commented.
Webber tips Ricciardo to 'go well' against Vettel
(GMM) Mark Webber expects his replacement at Red Bull, countryman Daniel Ricciardo, to put up a competitive defense alongside Sebastian Vettel this year.
By the end of the tense Webber-Vettel pairing, the duo were barely on speaking terms while Vettel was at the top of his game, winning a fourth consecutive championship in dominant style.
Australian Webber, who has switched to Le Mans with Porsche, managed to out qualify Vettel only twice in 2013, but the 37-year-old thinks Ricciardo will put up a stout effort this season.
"He'll go well," Webber told the March issue of Motor Sport magazine.
"I think he'll give Seb a real hard time in qualifying -- it'll be 50:50 in the first year, I reckon."
He suggested that the bulk of Vettel's advantage under the former regulations, his superiority in slow corners, was due to Adrian Newey's famous 'blown floor' cars.
"I took a few off Seb last year -- and the blown floor is gone now," said Webber.
"I think Daniel will be fine, and it certainly won't hurt him that he's come through the Red Bull system. I just hope he gets better starts than I did!"