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DATE News (chronologically)
03/24/14
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
  • Controversy as Ferrari arrives in Malaysia
  • Hamilton's Melbourne engine still firing
  • Todt urges Domenicali to ignore criticism
  • Ferrari 'only did well with Schumacher' - Montoya
  • 'Limit' to what Red Bull will accept - Mateschitz
  • FIA open to making F1 louder, less fuel-efficient - Todt
  • Magnussen in Malaysia for son's second race
  • 'Submarine' risk with new noses realized - report

Controversy as Ferrari arrives in Malaysia
(GMM)  A controversy has erupted after relatives of passengers on the missing Malaysia airlines flight had to change hotels when the Ferrari team touched down for this weekend's Malaysian grand prix.

The media reports, including by the German newspaper Die Welt, said that because Ferrari had reserved the rooms at the Cyberview hotel, the grieving relatives of those on the missing flight MH370 had to move out.

"When the first Ferrari employees wanted to check in, they were told that their rooms were occupied," read the Welt report.

"After heated discussions, the Italians prevailed."

A hotel spokeswoman confirmed: "It is true that the Chinese families were here, but they are already gone as we are fully booked because of the formula one race."

Welt added that the hotel arranged alternate accommodation near the Kuala Lumpur airport for the passengers' families.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone commented: "I feel very sorry for the families of the passengers, but ultimately the decision lies with the hotels.

"Imagine what would happen if hotel bookings suddenly become invalid?" he added.

Welt newspaper said that hotel rooms for F1's vast travelling circus are booked "months, sometimes even years in advance".

Hamilton's Melbourne engine still firing
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton's 2014 title campaign is still on track.

The Melbourne polesitter had to retire at Albert Park after his Mercedes engine - among a mere allocation of just five for the entire 19-race campaign - dropped from six to five cylinders in the early stages of the race.

"While I wanted to keep going," Hamilton said in Australia, "we had to play safe and save the engine."

But it appears that Mercedes' efforts to 'save' the turbo V6 'power unit' have at least paid off.

The Mirror newspaper reports that the 2008 world champion, whose teammate Nico Rosberg is leading the drivers' standings, has not yet lost the Melbourne-specification engine from his allocation for the season.

"The fortunate thing is that we did stop when we did," Hamilton said in Kuala Lumpur, explaining that "something went wrong with the wiring" in Australia.

"I didn't want to stop I have to say," he admitted.  "The car was going but not very fast.  I am keeping my fingers crossed and I think it (the engine) is going to be usable."

Todt urges Domenicali to ignore criticism
(GMM)  Jean Todt has urged his Ferrari successor to buck the criticism and keep pushing Ferrari to the front in formula one.

Before Todt - currently the FIA president - handed over Maranello's reigns to Stefano Domenicali, he guided the Italian team to six drivers' titles; five with Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen's in 2007.

Since then, in Domenicali's reign, Ferrari has failed to win a title and the new turbo V6 era has got off to a shaky start with a mere fourth for Fernando Alonso in Melbourne.

But Todt urged Domenicali, 48, to ignore the criticism.

"I was always criticized," Frenchman Todt said, "even when we won a lot.

"They criticized us for winning too much and making the championship boring," he reportedly told the Italian broadcaster Rai.

Todt said Ferrari has usually been competitive during the Domenicali years.

"In the past years Ferrari was always one of the protagonists even if they did not win a championship, but I am sure they will again.

"All I would say to Domenicali is that he should keep his feet on the ground and his focus on the real problems, not on what others are saying," he added.

Ferrari 'only did well with Schumacher' - Montoya
(GMM)  The missing link at Ferrari is Michael Schumacher.

That is the claim of Juan Pablo Montoya, a rival of the great seven time world champion who currently lies seriously injured in a French hospital after a skiing fall.

Schumacher and Colombian Montoya, who raced in Nascar after leaving F1 and is now returning to the IndyCar series, were often fierce competitors.

"We spoke once in the six years that we raced against each other," Montoya, 38, is quoted by the German news agency DPA.

"He was a competitor, not a friend.  Formula one is very closed -- as a McLaren driver I couldn't just go and sit in the Ferrari motor home."

However, he obviously rated the German very highly, claiming that "The only time Ferrari did well was when Michael was there".

Similarly, he said that if Schumacher's return to F1 with Mercedes was not successful, it was the fault of the Brackley based team.

"He didn't just forget how to drive.  It's how it has always been in formula one," Montoya insisted.

Beyond that, he said it is difficult to comment on the current state of the sport, as "For seven years I have not watched formula one".

"Maybe one or two races a year."

'Limit' to what Red Bull will accept - Mateschitz
(GMM)  Dietrich Mateschitz has warned that his company, the energy drink Red Bull, is not infinitely committed to formula one.

The Austrian billionaire's comments come as his premier F1 team, reigning world champions Red Bull, challenge the governing FIA over Daniel Ricciardo's disqualification in Melbourne over the fuel flow sensor saga.

"The fact is that the federation's sensor has given inaccurate values since the beginning of the (winter) tests," Mateschitz, who rarely gives interviews, told the Vienna daily Kurier.

"We can prove that we were within the limits" in Australia, he added.

Mateschitz has said before that Red Bull is prepared to leave formula one if the sport no longer gives the company the sort of economic value it is seeking.

Now, he clarified: "The question is not so much about whether it makes economic sense, but more to do with the sporting value, political influence and the like.

"We have had it all but on these things from our perspective there is a clear limit to what we can accept," Mateschitz added.

He also expressed frustration about F1's all-new era of smaller, greener, quieter and more efficient 'power units'.

"Formula one should be again what it always has been: the ultimate discipline," said the 69-year-old Austrian.

"It is not there to set new records in fuel consumption, or so you can talk at a whisper during a race and the greatest thrill is the squealing of the tires.

"I consider it equally absurd that we are going a second slower than last year and that the junior series GP2 is almost as fast as formula one with a fraction of the budget," he added.

But even though he may not like the 'new' F1, Mateschitz said Red Bull is not giving up the fight to catch dominant Mercedes in 2014.

"We are working around the clock with our partner Renault and will make another big step in the next two to three weeks.  There are 18 races to go.

"We will be back," he promised.

FIA open to making F1 louder, less fuel-efficient - Todt
(GMM)  The FIA is not closed-minded about making its brave new engines louder and less fuel-efficient, president Jean Todt has revealed.

The low-profile Frenchman made the comments to the Italian broadcaster Rai following fierce criticism of the sport's new 'power unit' era in the wake of the 2014 opener in Australia.

"There should be calm before reaction," Todt is quoted as saying.

However, he indicated that he agrees with those who think the amount of fuel-saving necessary to get to the end of grands prix this year is excessive.

"I do not want formula one 'economy runs'," said the former Ferrari team boss.

"The permitted amount of fuel, 100 kilograms, was proposed by the teams.  For me it is not a problem if they want it to be 100kg."

But Todt said fuel-saving had nothing to do with the lack of overtaking in Melbourne.

"Instead it is the aerodynamics of the cars and the circuit in Melbourne, for example, has never been very good for overtaking.

"I am convinced that very soon we will see a lot of overtaking," he added.  "So let's wait before making judgments."

Todt also indicated he is alert to the shrill criticism of F1's new turbo V6 'power units', which trackside at Albert Park were recently likened to 'sewing machines on wheels'.

"The noise is obviously different now, and if there is a problem with it then if the teams agree we can look at a way to make it noisier," he said, adding that he personally finds the tones of the new F1 era "fascinating".

Magnussen in Malaysia for son's second race
(GMM)  Jan Magnussen will be in Malaysia this weekend.

The former McLaren and Stewart driver missed his son Kevin's sensational podium on debut in Melbourne because he was racing a sports car on the other side of the world.

However, the 40-year-old Dane - who became a father at the tender age of 19 - will be at Sepang to watch Magnussen Jr, 21, race a McLaren for the second time.

"Being 6000 miles away watching the race was not a lot of fun," he admitted.  "I do not want to do that too often."

Magnussen admitted the speed of Kevin's rise to the F1 podium, a feat he never achieved himself in his 25 starts, was surprising.

"He was good immediately but what is most impressive is how he developed and how he keeps getting better and keeps finding ways to improve," he said.

"For the last couple of years he was extremely fast.  The biggest change is how he is using his head and making things happen," Jan Magnussen added.

As for this weekend at Sepang, "I can't wait to be there to watch him," Kevin's father admitted.

'Submarine' risk with new noses realized - report
(GMM)  Adrian Newey's pre-season fears about 'submarining' formula one cars may have been realized.

Red Bull's criticism of F1's all-new era had to be heard amid the depth of the reigning world champions' winter crisis after four consecutive seasons of dominance.

Designer Newey, however, had expressed alarm about the new, low front noses, arguing not only that they are ugly, but they might also be dangerous.

The reduced height minimized the risk of cars being launched into the air, but "I am concerned the opposite may now happen, that cars now (will) submarine effectively," the Briton had said.

Indeed, an alarming image of the crash involving Kamui Kobayashi and Felipe Massa at the first corner in Melbourne has now emerged.

The photograph depicts precisely what Newey had feared -- the low front of Kobayashi's Caterham 'submarining' under the diffuser of Massa's Williams, which is lifted perhaps a foot off the Albert Park tarmac.

A similar incident at a higher speed could foreseeable result in contact between the elevated rear-end and the head of the 'submarining' driver.

The Melbourne photo can be seen at Italy's Omnicorse

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