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DATE News (chronologically)
04/15/14
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday (Update) UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

04/15/14
  • Red Bull and Ricciardo lose appeal
    Drivers threaten to strike over unpaid wages
  • F1 move 'impossible' for Danica Patrick - Haas
  • US sanctions endanger Sirotkin's career - report
  • Mercedes wants more punishment for Red Bull
  • Updates will stop once Schu leaves hospital - manager
  • Ecclestone admits poor image amid bribery affair
  • Court rejects Red Bull appeal 
  • Red Bull to 'move on' after losing appeal
  • Gillette and McLaren Mercedes Enhance Official Partnership New
  • COTA president excited by Haas F1 entry New
  • Too many teams "throw money" at F1 - Haas New

Drivers threaten to strike over unpaid wages
(GMM)  F1 drivers are threatening to strike if their teams do not pay them.

Germany's Sport Bild reports that, in Bahrain recently, Kimi Raikkonen's manager Steve Robertson was seen arguing in the paddock with Lotus team boss Federico Gastaldi.

Reportedly, that is because the Finn, who switched to Ferrari at the end of last year, still has not been paid in full by Lotus for the 2013 season.

The magazine claims that Romain Grosjean, Nico Hulkenberg, Adrian Sutil and Kamui Kobayashi are all also waiting on overdue payments.

It is believed that, under the auspices of their union, the GPDA, the F1 drivers have signed a document vowing to strike if the growing trend of not being paid continues.

Sport Bild claims that Raikkonen - not a GPDA member - and one of F1's very highest earners, Lewis Hamilton, have refused to sign the document.

Hulkenberg would not comment.

"What we talk about in meetings, we keep to ourselves," said the German, who moved from Sauber to Force India for the 2014 season.

He admitted, however, that unpaid wages is an issue for the drivers.

"That's right.  The teams are aware of the situation -- the driver can be easily replaced.  Maybe not with the same quality, but they (the teams) do take advantage of that."

Hulkenberg also expressed some understanding for the situation of the teams.

"They are not doing it (failing to pay drivers) for fun," he acknowledged.  "The money just isn't there.  The sport is too expensive."

F1 move 'impossible' for Danica Patrick - Haas
(GMM)  Danica Patrick, the world's most famous female racing driver, will apparently not be making the switch to formula one with Haas.

The 32-year-old drives in Nascar for new F1 entrant Gene Haas' team, but Haas said on Monday he plans to hire from within the sport for his first year and hopefully pair that driver with a young American.

But he warned that it would be "impossible" for any driver to juggle a Nascar seat whilst preparing for the big switch to F1.

"I'd certainly never expect any of our current lineup of drivers to want to be able to do that," said Haas at a news conference alongside his F1 team boss, former Jaguar and Red Bull chief Gunther Steiner.

"It would be really impossible to accomplish that and survive.  Just the thought of jumping into a formula one car from a (Nascar sprint) cup car would be very, very difficult," he insisted.

Anyway, Haas admitted that a more pressing matter for the next few weeks is to decide whether he is organizing a team for 2015 or 2016.

"I think 2015 is too close and 2016 is too far -- that's kind of where I see it," he said.

"If we wait until 2016 were are going to start delaying and spending even more money because we will be a neutral."

The likely plan, he said, is to pair with a chassis partner like Dallara and "arrive with a car" for the start of the first season.

"We are going to have to beg, borrow and steal to arrive at that first race so we can compete," said Haas.

"I would say we like 2015, but depending upon who we select as our partner, I don't know if they can provide all of the infrastructure and technology that we need.

"I think it's one of those things where we are going to have to find out in the next few weeks," he added.

Haas said he is expanding his Nascar headquarters in Kannapolis, North Carolina, to accommodate the F1 team, adding that a satellite base in Europe is also likely.

US sanctions endanger Sirotkin's career - report
(GMM)  Sergey Sirotkin's F1 future is suddenly in doubt.

Closely linked with a Russian rescue deal that reportedly saved Sauber from financial collapse last year, the 18-year-old is backed by Russia's SMP bank.

The bank is owned by Boris Rotenberg, who reportedly has close ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Russia's Ria Novosti news agency now reports that Rotenberg's Putin link has endangered Sirotkin's F1 future, along with dozens of other Russian athletes.

That is because Rotenberg, a "childhood friend" and in Putin's "inner circle", has been included in US and European sanctions against Russia's behavior in the Ukraine crisis.

SMP Racing, the motor racing arm of the bank, has confirmed that its European bank accounts have been frozen, describing it as "political blackmail".

"We ask Europe and the US to listen to the voice of reason by removing the limit on Russian athletes' participation in international competitions," SMP added.

Mercedes wants more punishment for Red Bull
(GMM)  Championship leader Mercedes has urged FIA judges to add to reigning world champion Red Bull's penalty amid the fuel flow affair.

In Paris on Monday, the judges heard Red Bull's appeal against Daniel Ricciardo's Melbourne disqualification, but Mercedes argued that the original penalty was actually not enough.

The German marque's lawyer said Mercedes is worried that because Red Bull broke the rules in "such a flagrant and deliberate" manner, that there is "a real risk that they will do it again".

"The most effective way of ensuring that Red Bull do not flout further written and oral instructions from the FIA is for this court to recognize the severity of their infringement and to impose a further sanction upon them," Mercedes' lawyer added.

He said Red Bull should be made "acutely aware" of the need to follow the rules by having the further penalty suspended "for at least the remainder of this season".

Mercedes' lawyer said it and presumably the "other teams" present in Paris - Lotus, Williams, McLaren and Force India - chose to appear in order to ensure "a level playing field going forward for the remainder of the season".

Reports said the court's decision will be published early on Tuesday.

Not in Paris, Niki Lauda said the recent criticism of F1's new 2014 rules, including the limit on fuel flow, has been "ridiculous".

"Everyone criticizes formula one only because Mercedes wins.  It is a ridiculous situation and deeply unfair," the team chairman and triple world champion is quoted by SID news agency.

"In the second half of last season we were all bored of Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel, so that another team is at the front is the best thing that could have happened," Lauda insisted.

Updates will stop once Schu leaves hospital - manager
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher's family will stop releasing information about his condition once the former F1 driver leaves hospital.

Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm has told German television that since the former Mercedes and Ferrari driver started regaining consciousness, further "small improvements" have been observed.

Kehm was, however, highly critical of some medical commentators and reporters throughout Schumacher's long coma, warning that updates will cease altogether once the great 45-year-old leaves hospital.

"Our plan and our desire would be that from the moment in which Michael can go into a rehab clinic, this media coverage will stop," she told ARD television.

The Schumacher clan has been criticized by some for failing to release more information about his condition, but Kehm said that is only what he would want.

"Michael Schumacher is in a coma and cannot decide what is reported about him," she explained.  "We, of course, know how he deals with such things and try in his interest to handle these matters for him."

Meanwhile, Schumacher's 15-year-old son Mick scored his first international karting podium in Italy last weekend, and promptly dedicated the win to his ill father.

To ease the pressure of his famous surname, Schumacher Jr races under his mother's maiden name, Betsch.

Ecclestone admits poor image amid bribery affair
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has admitted that public perception already depicts him as being defeated amid the Gerhard Gribkowsky corruption affair.

Next week in Munich, his trial on bribery charges is set to begin, and it has already emerged that prosecutors do not believe his defense - that he was blackmailed by Gribkowsky over his tax affairs - is plausible.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone, however - who faces up to ten years in jail if convicted - insists that the already-jailed Gribkowsky 'shook me down'.

"I think he (Gribkowsky) knew what he wanted in life, and it wasn't working for the bank," the 83-year-old Briton told German television ARD.

"He wanted to do something more interesting, and I can't really blame him," Ecclestone added.

However, publicly, it is already widely regarded that it was Ecclestone who did the wrong thing.

He agrees: "People talk badly about me, without really understanding what it's about.  But the whole thing is just a very small part of my life."

However, Ecclestone admits that preparing for the case has taken up "a lot of time".

It is for that reason that he will seek help in running the sport once he is needed in court for two days a week, beginning next week.

"We need somebody who can sell sponsorship," he told F1 business journalist Christian Sylt.

"Not a successor, but somebody to help me," City A.M. quotes Ecclestone as saying.

Court rejects Red Bull's appeal for Daniel Ricciardo
Red Bull has lost its appeal against the disqualification of its driver Daniel Ricciardo at the Australian Grand Prix.

The International Court of Appeal, which is the dispute-resolution tribunal for motorsport, said on Tuesday in a brief statement that it upheld the race stewards' original decision in Melbourne.

Ricciardo was stripped of his second-place finish for violating Formula One's new rules on fuel usage. The rules limit the amount of fuel that cars can use and the speed at which they use it.

At a hearing on Monday, the Paris-based court heard arguments for and against Red Bull's appeal.

Its ruling on Tuesday says: "The court, after having heard the parties and examined their submissions, decided to uphold the decision ... of the stewards."

Red Bull to 'move on' after losing appeal
(GMM)  Red Bull has lost its appeal against Daniel Ricciardo's Melbourne disqualification.

Following Monday's hearing in Paris, the FIA announced on Tuesday morning that the judges "decided to uphold the decision" to exclude Ricciardo's car for exceeding the maximum allowed flow of fuel.

Red Bull argued that the FIA-homologated sensor was faulty.

The FIA did not, however, accept title rival Mercedes' submission that Red Bull should be further penalized in order to deter the team from committing similar breaches.

A full explanation of Tuesday's decision will be published later this week.

In a media statement, Red Bull said it "accepts" the court's decision, even if the reigning world champions are "disappointed".

"(The team) would not have appealed if we didn't think we had a very strong case," Red Bull added.

"We will now move on from this and concentrate on this weekend's Chinese grand prix."

Gillette and McLaren Mercedes Enhance Official Partnership
Gillette, the world's leading male grooming brand, is enhancing its collaboration with McLaren Mercedes, one of the most prestigious and successful teams in F1 history. The two brands are extending their partnership to bring to life an innovative marketing campaign focused on Precision Engineering.

The partnership covers the Europe, Middle East and Africa. Gillette and McLaren, which share an ethos of innovation and precision engineering, are coming together for an exciting new marketing campaign emphasizing the ways the two brands push boundaries of technology. With this partnership, the male shaving category will move up a gear.

As the ultimate male grooming and high-technology experts, Gillette and McLaren constantly innovate to achieve greater precision and enhanced performance. Ultimate precision technology and a passion for winning are deeply encoded in the DNA of both brands. Gillette and McLaren lead engineering refinement, whether that's seen in developing blades thinner than a wave length of light, or engineering car components that are accurate tolerances of a fraction of a human hair.

Gillette ushered in the era of modern shaving and for 110 years constantly reinvented the shaving category. McLaren pioneered the first carbon fiber chassis in Formula 1 and introduced advanced electronic systems leading to decades of ground-breaking achievements on the track.

This passion for the best will be further leveraged through a pioneering sports marketing campaign that aims to reach and inspire millions of men with cutting edge communication behind TV, Digital, PR and In-store programs. McLaren Mercedes F1 drivers Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen will engage men's passion for Formula 1 and thrill the millions that enjoy Gillette grooming expertise and superior technology day in, day out.

Eric Boullier, Racing Director at McLaren Mercedes, said: "It is very exciting to be able to announce a new partnership between McLaren Mercedes and Gillette.  Gillette is synonymous with precision engineering and with innovation. These are values we hold dear at McLaren as we strive to deliver world beating performance. The fact that a global brand, of the stature of Gillette, has chosen to engage in a major multi-national partnership with McLaren Mercedes is also a reflection of the strength of our brand and our ability to reach millions of avid motorsport fans around the world." 

"Gillette has a rich heritage of making men feel and be at their best. We stand for excellence in shaving. We couldn't think of any partner that shares those values more than McLaren Mercedes", commented Hossam Ashour, Gillette Europe, the Middle Eastand Africa Shave Care Vice President. "For more than 40 years McLaren has innovated in superior engineering and performance. This makes them the ideal partner to demonstrate our belief in the importance of the precision when it comes to shaving."

Like McLaren Mercedes, its Official Partner, Gillette has always applied immaculate detail to every one of its own innovations; engineering and refining products down to the microscopic razor's edge. It is this precision that gives 800 million men across the globe the edge; shaving performance that makes them look, feel and perform at their best. With years of technological and product innovation of this caliber, Gillette has created its most advanced razor ever - as seen in the Gillette Fusion ProGlide, a true advancement in shaving precision and performance.

COTA president excited by Haas F1 entry
The president and CEO of the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, has expressed his enthusiasm for the new American Formula 1 team proposed by NASCAR team owner Gene Haas.

The FIA confirmed last week that Haas’ project had been selected to take the 12th slot on the grid for the 2015 season, and today he explained his plans for the first time at a press conference. The team will be called Haas Formula.

Following the demise of USF1 and the problems faced by the likes of HRT, there has been a great deal of skepticism surrounding the announcement. However, COTA CEO Jason Dial has lent his support to the team, given that there could be a home outfit racing at the newly-built circuit come next season.

“News that an American team will be joining the ranks of world-class competitors in the Formula 1 paddock is a tremendously positive development for US F1 fans and Circuit of The Americas, which has given the world’s most popular motorsport a permanent home in Austin, Texas,” Dial said.

“Since our grand opening in 2012, we’ve enjoyed two successful F1 races, drawing more than half a million fans to our state-of-the-art track. Giving Americans a natural rooting interest through a U.S.-based F1 team is a great way to grow awareness for F1 in our country. We commend the new Haas Formula racing team for this undertaking.”

The success of the United States Grand Prix in Austin has played a large part in the sport’s resurgence in popularity in the nation, and with an American team and possibly an American driver on the cards, this could only be set to continue and accelerate.

Too many teams "throw money" at F1 - Haas
Gene Haas says he intends to keep his F1 team’s spending under control by buying in as much technology as he can.

Haas told media in a press conference today he will make the most of recent rules changes and Haas Automation’s expertise to keep costs down.

"We have a budget, there’s a lot of unknowns in it,” he said. “We have budgets for what the engine packages will cost and those numbers are well known.”

"I think a lot of the exponential rise in costs is something that maybe was in the past. If you go back to say five or ten years ago where the rules were anything goes and exotic aero packages and exotic wind tunnels, these were the things that were driving the cost up, and then with the recession in 2008 things changed.

"Actually the rules have become much more favorable. There used to be maybe eight different suppliers of engines, you had every car manufacturer building for Formula One. There was no doubt they were spend 2-300 million dollars just to build an engine for a single car.

"Today there’s three current engine supplied and they’re required to make they’re engine packages available. We’re going to take advantage of those rules. We’re going to lean as heavily as we can on partners. Our job is not to reinvent the wheel. Our job is to race cars and win races.”

Haas admitted “I don’t exactly have the numbers” for the costs involved “but the numbers I’ve seen are reasonable”.

"Yes it’s expensive but I think that we’re going to have our own way of doing things,” he explained.

"Too many teams I think just go out there and throw money at it. We won’t be doing that, we’re not going to be throwing money at it. I think that myself and Guenther [Steiner], we both understand racing. We understand that typical businessmen going into this business simply say ‘well I just want the best’. The best doesn’t always mean the best for him it means the best for the guy that’s supplying him and how much money he can charge.

"We’re not going to be foolish like that, we’re going to spend our money wisely. We’ve going to do it with an American flair for design and efficiency and that’s how we’re going to control our costs.

"We’re not going to be a European-led team, we’re going to be an American-led team and we’re going to do it the way we think is most efficient. As a point, I’d like to point out Haas Automation builds machine tools in California, the most expensive state in the Union in terms of taxes, and we’re doing in a place that nobody thought you could build machine tools efficiently, and yet we do that. So we do have precedent in terms of making a good product at a very reasonable price and I would hope that going forward that I can put those same parameters to work in Formula One.

"A lot of people say it can’t be done. Like I say we do things that other people say can’t be done all the time. I’m not afraid of that and that’s something that I’m looking forward to, it’s one of the challenges of trying to run an elite racing team without spending billions of dollars."

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