Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday
Red Bull making 'progress' amid crisis - Ricciardo
|Will Vettel destroy Ricciardo too?|
- New rules will stop 'ugly' noses for 2015 - Whiting
- Hill supports 'double points'
- Details emerge of 2014 qualifying tweaks
- Martini-branded Williams team shirt emerges
- Allison expects cars to speed up
- Haas Speeds Forward With Formula One Plans
- Williams and Genworth Announce New Partnership Agreement New
- Massa upbeat about Williams form New
Red Bull making 'progress' amid crisis - Ricciardo
(GMM) Daniel Ricciardo says Red Bull is confident the world champion team will overcome its technical crisis.
The new RB10 barely ran at the opening Jerez test recently amid packaging and Renault power unit issues.
Ahead of the second of three pre-season tests, set to begin in Bahrain next week, team driver Ricciardo said: "We're confident we'll run a bit smoother.
"But it's so complex this year, until we get laps under our belt we can't really be sure of anything," he is quoted by the Australian news agency AAP.
"I saw the car yesterday and they've made quite a bit of progress, so hopefully we'll get a few more laps and kick start our season," Ricciardo added.
Williams driver Felipe Massa, who moved from Ferrari over the winter, said recently he would be "worried" if he was in Sebastian Vettel or Ricciardo's shoes.
He told reporters in Sao Paulo this week: "It is not a disaster, but it is a concern not to be able to test.
"But I think it is a problem with all the Renault cars," Massa added. "With such a small rear, in the case of the Red Bull, there may be overheating, but it's difficult to know."
Meanwhile, Ricciardo was asked by AAP about his new teammate, the reigning quadruple world champion Vettel, following the German's comments that he will not be helping the young Australian get up to speed in 2014.
"I'll pick things up naturally from him and learn the ins and outs of how he works," said the 24-year-old.
"Obviously he's not going to tell me how to drive around a corner -- we're all capable of that now."
Ricciardo was also asked about predecessor and countryman Mark Webber's latest comments, when the veteran Australian predicted he would match Vettel in qualifying this year.
"I won't say I'll come out and beat him -- because until I do that, I don't want to say anything. But of course I'd love to," Ricciardo smiled.
"Obviously we know the caliber of driver he is, so the first thing is I've got to learn from him, respect what he does and then try to match him."
New rules will stop 'ugly' noses for 2015 - Whiting
(GMM) F1's governing body will move to stop 'ugly' noses ahead of the 2015 season.
Drivers, fans and even the designers have expressed dismay at the aesthetics of this year's new cars, after a change to the nose-height regulations on safety grounds for 2014.
But the FIA also expressed doubts about the safety of the new solutions, believing that while the designs conform to the letter of the rules, the 'spirit' has been less well observed.
"As rule makers, we cannot get into how the nose looks aesthetically," FIA technical chief Charlie Whiting told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
"What concerns us is whether they fulfill the purpose that we intended with these rules," said the Briton.
Whiting has already cleared all of the 2014 nose solutions to race, including the unique tuning fork-style Lotus, the double nosed Caterham, and the 'anteater' noses.
"Unless it's dangerous, we have to live with how they look," he said.
"We acted in good faith, but we are not designers. They want as much air as possible under the car."
What has really upset the FIA is the way the teams have skirted the 'spirit' of the rules regarding the crash structure and the very nose tip.
So, for 2015, changes are looming. Whiting said the next set of rules will require nose "symmetry", which will stop Lotus-style solutions.
New rules will also apply for the rate of deformation in the crash tests at the nose tip, and the minimum surface area may also be increased, preventing the pencil-thin 2014 noses.
And the 2015 changes will also prevent the sort of "radical transitions" from the wide part of the nose to the thinner tip, Whiting added.
Hill supports 'double points'
(GMM) Damon Hill has counted himself out of the furor surrounding the new 'double points' innovation for 2014.
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said recently the fans' adverse reaction was akin to a "sh**storm", and should give rulemakers pause to reconsider handing out twice as many points in the Abu Dhabi finale.
His predecessor, Norbert Haug, is also no fan.
"If all the goals on the last matchday of the (German football) Bundesliga counted twice, the confusion would be just as big. Formula one is no different," he told the German news agency SID.
1996 world champion Hill, however, is not sure what all the fuss is about, saying he agrees with Bernie Ecclestone that the concept will keep spice in the title fight.
"If you go to Wimbledon and you are in a knockout competition it then gets more crucial and more important the closer you get to the final -- and the final is worth a lot more points than the first round," he told Sky Sports.
"Personally, I don't see what the story is about," said Hill.
"Winning the world championship is the goal and if it gets more and more intense towards the end, and there is more at stake at the end of the championship, then that should be more exciting."
Details emerge of 2014 qualifying tweaks
(GMM) New details of the plan to spice up qualifying for 2014 have emerged.
Last week, it emerged that at a meeting in Bahrain on February 21, F1's major players will move to ensure the final 'Q3' segment is exciting under the radically different regulations.
The fear is that, to preserve tires and for reasons of reliability, drivers will sit out the session for other tactical reasons.
It was reported that a likely solution would be to supply drivers with an extra set of tires for the final 'Q3' hitout.
Writing in Autosprint, the Italian correspondent Roberto Chinchero said the extra set, only eligible to be used in Q3, will be the 'option' - or fastest - tire.
According to the reported proposal, drivers will also be encouraged to push hard in Q3 by ending the rule that required cars to start the race on the last tire used in the top-ten hitout.
Now, top-ten drivers will start on the tire with which they set their best Q2 time.
The Q3 changes, likely to increase track activity, will mean the session is extended from 10 to 12 minutes, giving drivers more time to fit in their additional 'runs'.
And the lengthened Q3 will mean Q1 is reduced from 20 to 18 minutes.
Meanwhile, for drivers who do not make it into Q3, they will be given an extra set of 'option' tires for the race, also discouraging them from saving tires in qualifying.
Martini-branded Williams team shirt emerges
(GMM) Williams will almost certainly be sponsored by the famous Italian drinks brand Martini in 2014.
Recently, rumors emerged that the once-great British team will soon re-launch its new all-blue Mercedes-powered FW36 in Martini's iconic white, blue and red livery.
Reports said the Martini deal is for a "two digit million sum" per year, warmly welcomed by Williams following the departure of Pastor Maldonado and his PDVSA millions.
And the reports are now moving beyond the realm of speculation, as an image of a 2014 Williams team-shirt, featuring Martini branding, emerged on the website of an officially-licensed F1 merchandise store.
The image, which has subsequently been removed from the merchandise website, can be seen on our rumors page.
Williams said on Twitter: "Our race livery will be launched for Australia! Focus is on technical until then."
Allison expects cars to speed up
Ferrari technical director James Allison is confident that this year's Formula One cars will show a swift increase in pace before the start of the season next month.
Allison believes the sluggish start most cars endured during the season's first test at Jerez last month was because most teams focused on reliability and engine performance in the initial stages of development. He added that aerodynamic development usually takes place closer to the end of pre-season.
"Just look at the size of the rear wings - they are more or less Canada-type rear wings," Allison told Autosport.
"That is roughly where the downforce of the  car is. There is also not the blowing of the floor either.
"But new rules offer new opportunities, so the rate of finding downforce is quite steep.
"You never know when it is going to slacken off, but it is showing no signs of that at the moment."
One driver that agrees with Allison is Jenson Button, who said earlier that he is certain that the speeds recorded will continue to improve as the season progresses.
"When we go to the first race everyone is going to be much faster," Button noted.
"And by the end of the year we might not be that far off, a couple of seconds."
Rod Nelson, the Williams chief test and support engineer, added some weight to Allison's comments and claimed that most of the teams will use the tests in Bahrain to focus on speed.
"I've got about 300 things on my list to do, and I think we've knocked off about 50 so far," Nelson divulged.
"We've got a load of stuff to do. We've got a whole race distance to run, which isn't all about qualifying pace.
Haas Speeds Forward With Formula One Plans
NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas knows there are those who doubt his ability to field a Formula One team due to the failure of USF1 about five years ago, but that's not keeping him from taking the next step in his pursuit of one. Haas was scheduled to file the next part of his F1 application Feb. 10. He already has paid a $5,000 application fee.
"I think they said their final selection would be in March, something like that," Haas said during Charlotte Motor Speedway's annual media tour. "I think we have a shot. I don't think it's a great shot. I think it could go either way."
Haas said F1 could decide to grant one team a license or it could elect not to add another organization. Haas said he had met with Bernie Ecclestone, the president and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Administration, and admitted Ecclestone was skeptical about his ability to field a team. If Haas' F1 aspirations become reality, the team would be based in the United Stated. Haas said he would need to begin his operation with a veteran F1 driver so he could help "sort out" the car and "then someone else that could bring some money in."
Williams and Genworth Announce New Partnership Agreement
Williams is pleased to announce a new multi-year partnership agreement with global lifestyle protection insurer, Genworth.
Genworth is a Fortune 500 company with a heritage dating back to 1871. Genworth's Lifestyle Protection division is a leading provider of Lifestyle Protection Insurance, distributed via financial institutions and other distributors in over 20 countries worldwide, including a growing presence in Latin America and China.
The new partnership will see the Genworth logo appear on the rear wing endplate of the Williams Mercedes FW36, the overalls worn by each driver, and the kit worn by team personnel from the 2014 season onwards.
Speaking about the new partnership Sir Frank Williams, Founder and Team Principal of Williams, said; "I'm delighted to welcome a brand of Genworth's pedigree to the team for the 2014 season and beyond. We share a number of similar values such as ensuring excellence and integrity in everything we do and a truly global footprint. We're looking forward to working in close collaboration to help them maximize the benefits that come from a close association with Williams and Formula One."
"We are excited to become a partner to Williams," said Peter Barrett, Global Managing Director of Genworth's lifestyle protection division. "The Williams business, and the strong ideals and foundations that it is built on, are very closely aligned to Genworth's core values. Our partnership with Williams provides Genworth with a powerful worldwide platform which mirrors our global footprint, connects with new global audiences and will ensure client engagement opportunities through the extensive coverage and profile that Formula One receives globally."
Massa upbeat about Williams form
Felipe Massa is hopeful that Williams will have an impressive 2014 Formula season after the Wantage team produced a solid performance at last month's Jerez test.
After leaving Ferrari at the end of last season, the Brazilian made a "good start" at last month's first pre-season test at the Andalucian circuit and recorded the second quickest time
"It always helps to start well, especially now that we have a completely different car, which requires a completely different driving style," Massa said during Tuesday's news conference.
"I'm really motivated, this is a special moment for me.
"I changed to a team that welcomed me with open arms. I needed this change and I think the team needed too."
The 32-year-old refused to get ahead of himself, though, adding that he will have a better idea of how the car compares with the rest of the grid at the season's first race next month.
"I think there's a lot to learn with the car and a lot has to be done to make the car improve," Massa added.
"It's hard to say right now how good we will be. Usually, in the first races it will be difficult just to finish the race. But it was a good start, I was happy."
Before the start of the season in Australia on March 16, two more testing sessions will take place in Bahrain, the first starting on February 19. Planet F1