Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
Renault ends road car deal with Caterham
|Will Mateschitz make good on his threat to pull his 4 Red Bull cars out of F1?|
- Designer doubts Mercedes to dominate
- Melbourne pace 'was a surprise' - Vettel
- Sirotkin to push for F1 license in Sauber test
- Lauda hits back at F1's 'new era' critics
- Marussia hopes Red Bull loses appeal
- Red Bull Owner Threatens To Quit F1
Renault ends road car deal with Caterham
(GMM) Caterham and its F1 engine partner Renault have reportedly axed a joint venture to produce road-going sports cars.
It was announced in late 2012 that the collaboration would involve Caterham, the Tony Fernandes-led F1 backmarker, buying into Renault's Alpine brand.
"I have not felt as excited about a new venture since I launched AirAsia in 2001," Malaysian entrepreneur Fernandes said at the time.
But media reports are now claiming the venture is being scrapped.
The news follows an obvious dip in Caterham's progress in formula one, as the team struggles with the radical 2014 rules and after Fernandes admitted in January that "If we're at the back I don't think I'm going to carry on".
AFP news agency cited sources in claiming Renault is not giving up on "reviving its Alpine brand", despite the split with Caterham.
Reuters added that Renault had earlier "raised doubts about Caterham's future financial contributions to the joint venture".
"Renault and Caterham representatives declined to comment on their joint venture," read a Bloomberg report.
Designer doubts Mercedes to dominate
(GMM) Mercedes designer Aldo Costa says he doubts his W05 will dominate the entire 2014 season.
Lewis Hamilton took pole with the new silver single seater and Nico Rosberg dominated the season-opening race in Melbourne, with many observers believing the German driver had hidden performance to spare on the Albert Park roads.
But Italian Costa, who joined Mercedes from Ferrari and led the design of the new W05, does not think the German marque will dominate throughout 2014.
"No, I don't think we can talk about dominance," he told the Italian magazine Autosprint.
"We have seen the progress that Red Bull made between the Bahrain test and the first race -- they were much more competitive than they were in winter testing.
"This gives an indication of how fast progress and the resolution of problems is in formula one," said Costa.
"And it may well be that in a few grands prix many other teams will be at a good level," he added.
Costa, 52, agrees that the performance of the 'power unit' is particularly important in F1's new era, but he doubts that Mercedes is as far ahead of Ferrari and Renault as some currently believe.
Asked if rumors of a 50 horse power advantage for Mercedes make sense, he answered: "No, I don't think they do.
"Let me explain: as teams, we have GPS data, so I think everyone can see that, when it's running at full power, the Renault engine has remarkable performance.
"So probably their deficit at this time is that they cannot maintain this level of performance throughout a race because of temperature, or fatigue.
"But I think that this is a problem that will gradually be solved," Costa added.
Melbourne pace 'was a surprise' - Vettel
(GMM) World champion Sebastian Vettel has admitted he was surprised when Red Bull was competitive as the 2014 season kicked off.
Team boss Christian Horner has this week been quoted elsewhere as saying the RB10's performance was not a shock in Melbourne despite a disastrous winter season.
But Vettel, who saw his new teammate Daniel Ricciardo qualify and then finish second prior to his disqualification, has admitted he was surprised in Melbourne.
"The result was no great surprise -- what was a surprise was to see that the car is fast and we can compete at the front. The potential is there," the German told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
"So it gives us hope and that's why I'm in a good mood," added Vettel.
After his four consecutive world championship successes, Bild reporter Nicola Pohl suggested to Vettel that he must be travelling to Malaysia feeling frustrated.
But he insisted: "I am in good spirits! I knew that this year would be difficult, but each season has its ups and downs.
"As for the car, there is still much to learn but there is no reason to hang the head."
Sirotkin to push for F1 license in Sauber test
(GMM) Sergey Sirotkin will put his F1 plans back on track once he obtains a superlicense.
Amid Sauber's financial crisis of 2013, the Swiss team appeared to be rushing the teen to the grid as the jewel in a Russian rescue deal.
But when the 2014 season began without Sirotkin, Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn told the Russian website f1news.ru that "Everything is going according to plan".
"He has a (Formula Renault 3.5) seat with Fortec, I am sure he can get great results, and then we'll think about the next step," she added.
The next step could be an appearance on Friday morning in Sochi later this year, as Sirotkin's native Russia hosts its inaugural grand prix in October.
"We will certainly examine this possibility," Kaltenborn said.
"But for this, first of all he needs a superlicense. That's what we're working on now -- thinking about how we can make this possible."
According to 18-year-old Sirotkin, he will work on qualifying for the mandatory FIA credential at one of the post-race in-season tests, in Bahrain, Barcelona or Silverstone.
"In the coming months there will be the official formula one tests and that's where we plan to get it," he told the Russian broadsheet Izvestia.
"I will need to drive about 300 kilometers and be competitive. When we have it (the superlicense) in our hands, then we will talk about the Fridays," Sirotkin added.
Lauda hits back at F1's 'new era' critics
(GMM) Niki Lauda has hit back at the critics who are slamming the revolutionary new face of formula one.
Ron Walker, the Australian grand prix chief who is a key Bernie Ecclestone ally, is leading the charge by threatening to sue the sport and switch to IndyCar racing after hearing the sound of the new turbo V6 engines.
"It would be a drastic change to switch to IndyCar but we cannot go on like this," he told F1 business journalist Christian Sylt in the Independent.
Walker blames the FIA for presiding over the changes in spite of F1 chief executive Ecclestone's opposition.
"We did a survey of the fans and they don't really care about saving fuel," he said. "They want to go and see gladiatorial drivers fighting each other and not worry about the fuel that they use."
But the loss of the normally-aspirated engine scream, Walker argues, is the main problem.
"It is hard enough to sell tickets now but this is arrogance at the worst from Jean Todt," he said.
Whilst admitting that the engine noise lacks the drama of the past, however, F1 legend Lauda's view about the all-new F1 era could not be starker.
And, he insists, his approval has "nothing to do" with Mercedes' dominance in Melbourne.
"It was a demonstration of a modern, contemporary formula one," he said of the Albert Park event.
"I just cannot understand and I find it absurd that there are people who are upset about this new formula one after this very good race," Lauda told the German newspaper Welt.
"This is now a racing category that is totally in tune with the technology trends," he insisted.
"We now have a new age; new road transport needs, environmental initiatives, the development of hybrid cars and thinking about the quality of life of people in a highly technological world with all of its challenges.
"The old eight-cylinder engines were no longer appropriate," said Lauda.
"The turbo technology gives us more power with less fuel and less noise and less environmental impact, with reduced carbon emissions.
"For this reason Honda is coming into formula one next year with Renault, Ferrari-Fiat and Mercedes, and perhaps other manufacturers will follow as well.
"So I see only advantages," the Mercedes team chairman added.
As for the opponents like Ecclestone, Lauda countered: "I have to clearly contradict Bernie. The formula one attraction is not defined by the noise.
"It is defined by the sporting action and as exciting a competition as possible with highly demanding and contemporary technologies and drivers who know how to handle these cars at the highest level.
"Just talking about the noise is absurd and incomprehensible to me," he insisted. "We forget that these cars - because of their technology - are faster (on the straights) than the outdated eight-cylinders.
"What noise the exhaust makes has nothing to do with it, and this supposedly important emotional aspect, I cannot see it," said Lauda.
"The idea to make these cars now artificially loud is the wrong direction and bizarre.
"Formula one is completely on the right track," he added, "and as is the law in formula one we must go as fast as possible forwards, not backwards. Everything else makes no sense to me."
Marussia hopes Red Bull loses appeal
(GMM) Marussia chief Graeme Lowdon thinks Red Bull should have accepted Daniel Ricciardo's disqualification from the Australian grand prix.
Actually, the reigning world champions plan to argue in an April 14 appeal that it ignored the FIA-mandated fuel flow sensor in Melbourne because it was inaccurate.
The hearing will not be heard in Paris until after the forthcoming Malaysia-Bahrain double-header, raising the risk of more race exclusions for Red Bull.
"Do they continue their defiance and risk exclusion - and mounting punishments - or do they fall in line like the other teams?" Mirror correspondent Byron Young wonders.
Marussia's Lowdon admitted he hopes the Red Bull appeal fails.
He said that if every team ignored Charlie Whiting's "opinions" about how to interpret the technical regulations then "every single result would always be decided" after an appeal.
So if Red Bull wins this appeal, Lowdon thinks it would "open the floodgates" for more teams to ignore Whiting's running guidance.
"It happens on things all the time," said Lowdon. "It is an opinion (of Whiting's) and if we were just to ignore all of those opinions and constantly test them in a court then the sport would just stutter along endlessly.
"It really is going to be difficult for the sport to operate races in a way that the fans are going to understand if the advice is simply ignored because you can make a car go quicker," he added.
Red Bull Owner Threatens To Quit F1 Following Daniel Ricciardo's Disqualification
Red Bull F1 Owner Dietrich Mateschitz said that his company "could quit Formula 1 if he is not happy with the way the sport is run," according to Andrew Benson of the BBC. His remarks follow Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo's exclusion from the Australian Grand Prix and the adoption of new rules. Mateschitz said Red Bull's future in F1 was more "to do with sportsmanship and political influence" than finance.
He said: "In these issues there is a clear limit to what we can accept." He also referred to the "inappropriate politicization" of the sport. His remarks were made in an interview with the Austrian newspaper Kurier, in which he was asked "under what circumstances Red Bull may end its involvement in F1."
He replied: "The question is not so much whether it makes economic sense but the reasons would be to do with sportsmanship, political influence, and so on. In these issues there is a clear limit to what we can accept." Asked if he felt his acceptable "limit" had been exceeded as a result of F1's new rules and Ricciardo's disqualification, Mateschitz said: "The team has lodged a protest. The fuel-flow sensor, which was given to the teams by the federation, gave divergent readings and it is inaccurate. We can prove the exact amount of fuel flow and this was always within the limits." BBC