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DATE News (chronologically)
04/16/14
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Wednesday
  • Montezemolo rejects early Mattiacci criticism
    2014 critics have 'agenda' - Mosley
  • Montezemolo rejects early Mattiacci criticism
  • Smallest teams write 'explosive' letter - report
  • Marko slams 'aggressive' Mercedes after appeal
  • Ricciardo 'surprised' by Lotus' Renault struggle
  • Fry: Priority is to be the second best team
  • Ferrari keep up the noise against new-look F1
  • Montoya: Haas mad to think he can run team from USA
  • Fernandez to act as driver steward at Chinese GP
  • Schu 'showing small signs of progress'

2014 critics have 'agenda' - Mosley
(GMM)  Former FIA president Max Mosley says criticism of the 'new' face of formula one is being powered by those with an "agenda".

Since the sport made its revolutionary switch to the smaller, quieter and greener turbo V6 engines, the loudest critic has been Ferrari.

The current boss of F1's governing body, Jean Todt, is the new champion of the regulations, but they were actually the brainchild of Briton Mosley, who initially wanted the engines to be even quieter four-cylinder ones.

He said the old V8s were "dinosaurs".

"It's a really interesting technology and it's change," Mosley told Reuters when discussing the controversial new V6s.

"If you don't have change, you just disappear."

In the last few days, it has been all change at Maranello, as Stefano Domenicali was ousted and the F1-unknown Marco Mattiacci was installed as team boss.

But what has not changed is Ferrari's criticism of F1 2014.

Italy's Olympic chief, Giovanni Malago, was quoted in the Italian press recently as admitting he does not like the 'new' formula one.

Ferrari has now reproduced the quotes on its official website.

"In my opinion, it's a form of self-harm," Malago said, referring to the 2014 rules.

"I hope the people who run the sport look again at the rules because the way formula one is now, it has much less appeal and that's a shame as it is an extraordinary world."

Australia and Malaysia were panned as mainly processional races and the milder sound of the engines was criticized by many.

But Bahrain - race three - was a true thriller, as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg fought wheel-to-wheel for victory.

Mercedes' Hamilton said on Tuesday: "Bahrain was fantastic, and not just for us as a team but for the sport.  I'm sure it won't be the last time we see a great show this year."

Ferrari has not been the only paddock voice making noise about 2014, as reigning world champions Red Bull and even F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone have also been highly and repeatedly critical.

"It's quite entertaining," Mosley said, "because you know all the people and you know the way they react and they are all, of course, pushing their own particular agenda.

"But what they don't realize is that the public understands that.  The truth of the matter is I think that the public don't take the slightest notice."

Montezemolo rejects early Mattiacci criticism
(GMM)  President Luca di Montezemolo has dismissed early criticism of Ferrari's new team boss.

First, he applauded the ousted Stefano Domenicali for taking responsibility for the fabled team's poor results and choosing to resign.

"Resignations in Italy are rare," said Montezemolo, who appointed Ferrari North America chief Marco Mattiacci - an unknown within the F1 community - as Domenicali's successor.

"Despite having won several world titles in 23 years, Domenicali had the strength to step down because of missed results," Montezemolo is quoted by La Stampa.

Criticism of Mattiacci's appointment, however, has been swift.

Patrick Tambay, a former Ferrari driver, told France's RMC that Domenicali is obviously a "scapegoat".

Some corners of the international media accused Ferrari of panic, and kneejerk reactions after only the first three grands prix in 2014.

Italy's authoritative La Gazzetta dello Sport confirmed that Mattiacci's appointment has been met with "skepticism".

"He needs to overcome it and assert himself in his new role," the sports daily advised.

La Gazzetta also pointed out 44-year-old Mattiacci's inexperience, saying that while he is a marketing specialist, his only motor racing experience is in Grand-Am sports cars.

Montezemolo insisted: "I have decided to focus on a young manager that I believe in a lot.

"I have heard and read many misplaced comments, for example that Mattiacci is not an engineer.  But we are all Ferrari engineers.

"I wanted to focus on someone who is part of the Ferrari family, because we are full of people with many qualities and skills," he said.

Montezemolo added that Mattiacci's appointment was done "in full agreement" with Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne.

Mattiacci will be introduced to the F1 media on Friday in Shanghai.

"Now I am expecting a big reaction," Montezemolo, who will not be in China, concluded.  "We will get back to winning and not allow the new rules to ruin the sport.  For us, formula one is life."

Smallest teams write 'explosive' letter - report
(GMM)  F1's four smallest teams have written a letter complaining about the state of the sport.

Germany's Sport Bild revealed that the letter, initiated by Marussia and also signed by Caterham, Force India and Sauber, was addressed to the other seven teams as well as Bernie Ecclestone and FIA president Jean Todt.

The report said a main complaint of the letter is about the new and rule-influential Strategy Group, made up of the grid's 'big five' teams and, for historic reasons, Williams.

The letter follows hot on the heels of Todt's admission that his plans for a mandatory budget cap for 2015 have been scrapped, due to the sudden withdrawal of support of the powerful Strategy Group teams.

The new group, who receive the lion's share of the commercial revenue distributed by Ecclestone, has replaced the old rule-making technical and sporting working groups.

"We have a situation where we have enriched and empowered five teams and disenfranchised six," Force India's Bob Fernley told the Guardian last month.

"The six disenfranchised teams are worthless."

The smallest teams are now reportedly warning that, unless their complaints are listened to, the grid could dramatically dwindle as the more expensive rules take their toll.

"All the teams have taken the cost increase of the new technology but only five have been enriched because of the disproportionate share of the money coming into F1," Fernley explained.

"It's inevitable that all the smaller teams could fall by the wayside."

Sport Bild said the small teams, arguing that their marginalization could even be contrary to European competition law, want urgent talks to be held ahead of this weekend's Chinese grand prix in Shanghai.

The report quoted an unnamed Red Bull chief as saying: "The letter is explosive and also justified.  We do need to change something, starting with a fairer distribution of money, so that the smaller teams get more of the pie.

"We also need to make the sport more attractive, in order to attract more sponsors," the insider added.

Marko slams 'aggressive' Mercedes after appeal
(GMM)  Dr Helmut Marko has hit back at Mercedes, after the German squad this week called on the court of appeal to come down hard on Red Bull.

As Red Bull appealed Daniel Ricciardo's Melbourne disqualification in Paris on Monday, a lawyer for rival Mercedes argued at length that the FIA should in fact impose "a further sanction", due to the "flagrant and deliberate" rules breach.

Ultimately, the five judges upheld Ricciardo's disqualification, but did not add to Red Bull's penalty.

"We are obviously bitterly disappointed," the always-blunt Red Bull director Marko said after digesting the court's decision.

"We cannot say any more until we get the detailed reasons for the judgment, but what amazed us even more was the language and aggressiveness that our competitor Mercedes used to argue against us," he is quoted by Austria's Kleine Zeitung newspaper.

Less publicly angry is the affable Australian Ricciardo himself, who although having sprayed the champagne on his home-race podium, is in fact yet to officially bank a F1 trophy.

"It's disappointing not to get the 18 points from Australia," he said on Wednesday, "but if anything it gives me more motivation to get back on the podium as soon as possible.

"As I said that week, I'd rather have a great race, finish on the podium and then be excluded than to have had a rubbish race and then retire with a car problem half way through," Ricciardo added.

Ricciardo 'surprised' by Lotus' Renault struggle
(GMM)  Daniel Ricciardo has admitted he is "surprised" Lotus is still struggling so much with its Renault engine.

Following the post-Bahrain test last week, Lotus' Romain Grosjean slammed the situation as "not acceptable", after both himself and teammate Pastor Maldonado struggled simply to run the E22 amid 'power unit-related' issues.

The similarly Renault-powered Red Bull's Ricciardo, however, said he is "surprised" to hear the extent of Lotus' ongoing troubles.

"It is not very reassuring to see another Renault powered team encountering such difficulties," the Australian is quoted by the French-language F1i.

"We also had a few problems with the V6 turbo in the tests, but nothing too serious," Ricciardo added.

"While we can make further progress on reliability, I am surprised that they (Lotus) are still facing so many problems."

Indeed, Renault's Remi Taffin said ahead of the Chinese grand prix that the French marque, after a difficult opening few months of 2014, is now beginning to "hit our stride".

"While we know that the others are still ahead, we have made some good progress in the last two races," he explained.

"At the test in Bahrain we tested several new software modes that will see us closer to the limits of the power unit than before," added Taffin.

Fry: Priority is to be the second best team
The day after Ferrari and Stefano Domenicali part company, Technical Director Pat Fry admits the Italian team faces a major challenge moving forward.

Other than the fact that Domenicali was hugely popular, and many see him as the sacrificial lamb, even if the team had achieved little under his leadership, his replacement, Marco Mattiacci, is an unknown quantity and while he has proven himself as an 'Automotive Executive' this doesn't necessarily mean he can cut the mustard as the boss of an F1 team... especially a team where the expectation is so great.

Putting a brave face on things, at a time when many are wondering where the axe will fall next, Fry is aware of the task ahead of him and his teammates.

"We are naturally working as hard as we can on closing the gap to the top teams, with Mercedes having a reasonable lead over the rest of the field," said the Englishman.

"Currently, our first priority is to establish ourselves as the second best team," he admitted. "We are looking at all areas of the car, power unit, aero, suspension.

"We are trying to make as big a step as we can for each and every race. Since Bahrain, it's been a very busy time for us, as we examined all areas of car performance from the power unit to suspension configurations and aerodynamic improvements."

Ferrari keep up the noise against new-look F1
Formula One's new look makes no sense and is tantamount to self-harm, the head of the Italian Olympic Committee has said in comments highlighted by Ferrari as supportive of their own criticism

"I speak on behalf of Italian sports people and fans, I don't like this Formula One and in my opinion it's delivered a product that has absolutely no sense," the Ferrari website quoted Giovanni Malago as saying.

"In my opinion, it's a form of self-harm.

"I hope the people who run the sport look again at the rules because the way Formula One is now, it has much less appeal and that's a shame as it is an extraordinary world," he added in words that will be music to the ears of Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.

Montezemolo has accused the new-look sport, with V6 turbo hybrid power units replacing the old V8 engines, of turning flat-out racers into 'taxi drivers' by making fuel economy more of a feature.

Others have criticized the sound and a survey of Ferrari fans at the end of March, before a night race in Bahrain showed just how thrilling the new format could be, found 83 percent were unhappy with the changes.

However, more successful rivals have accused Ferrari and champions Red Bull of talking down the sport with negative comments.

"The race in Bahrain was quite simply brilliant to watch; one of the best in recent memory, in fact," said Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff in a preview for this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.

"This is what we go racing for and it was a strong advert for the sport: in particular under these new regulations. I think that in itself proves that we are moving in the right direction," added the Austrian. Yahoo Eurosport UK

Montoya: Haas mad to think he can run team from USA
The seven-time grand prix winner, who raced in F1 from 2001-2006, believes running a team from the US cannot work.

Speaking at last weekend's Long Beach IndyCar event, Montoya said: "If he wants to build [the team] here in the States I think it's completely mad.

"You can't even call it mad because it makes no sense.

"You are not going to get people from England to move to Charlotte."

Can Haas succeed where USF1 failed?

Montoya, who has returned to single-seater racing in IndyCar this year after racing in NASCAR since leaving F1, has also warned the sport against turning its back on its European roots.

"I think Formula 1 has to be careful not to discard Europe too much," he added.

"That is where the original fans are, where the car fans are. You don't want to keep driving away from Europe.

"I know other places will give them more money to go but if you take the British GP, or the Spanish GP away, imagine that.

"There are a lot of big races and you don't want to screw that."

HAAS ACCEPTS DOUBTERS

During a press conference on Monday, Haas said he understood why many outsiders have doubts about his team.

"There is obviously skepticism in anything that anybody's trying to do that hasn't been done before," he said.

"The only way I can allay that is to go out there and do it. I think we have the flexibility.

"When things don't go right, we go in a different direction, and we do whatever it takes to get things done.

"I can't tell you about the other people that fail. I don't know why they fail.

"Maybe where they failed, I can figure out how not to. But I firmly believe that we have the right tools to go forward on this and be successful at it.

"I've been pretty successful at taking on projects that other people say you can't do." Yahoo Eurosport UK

Fernandez to act as driver steward at Chinese GP
Adrian Fernandez will be the FIA's driver steward at the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend, it has been confirmed.

Fernandez, who previously managed fellow countryman and now Force India F1 driver Sergio Pérez, never raced in the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, although he enjoyed much success in American single-seaters. He also successfully made the transition to team ownership with his own team, Fernandez Racing.

The 48-year-old's career took off in 1992 when he finished third in the US Indy Lights Championship. That earned him a drive in CART in 1993 and over the next eleven seasons he scored eight race wins, 21 podiums and a championship best of second in 2000. He also took three wins in IRL. In 2001 he founded Fernandez Racing, winning in Portland in 2003, the first victory for an owner-driver since Bobby Rahal in 1992. In addition, Fernandez finished second in the LMP2 category at Le Mans in 2007. He returned in 2010 with Aston Martin Racing and finished third in LMGTE Pro category in 2012.

This will be his first appearance as a FIA F1 driver steward.

Meanwhile, the FIA has confirmed that the DRS sectors at the Shanghai International Circuit will be the same as in 2013: "The detection point of the first zone is at Turn 12 and the activation point is 752m before Turn 14. The second zone's detection point is 35m before Turn 16, with activation occurring 98m after Turn 16," the FIA noted.

Other than routine maintenance no changes have been made to the circuit since last year.

Schu 'showing small signs of progress'
Michael Schumacher is said to be “showing small signs of progress” in his recovery from a serious brain trauma as the seven-time Formula 1 world champion continues to be treated for injuries sustained in a skiing accident last December.

The 45-year-old’s manager Sabine Kehm confirmed earlier this month that Schumacher was showing signs of consciousness and being awake, and she has now elaborated on her latest revelation that gives hope of the F1 great making a recovery.

“There are short moments of consciousness and he is showing small signs of progress,” Kehm told German broadcaster ARD.

“There are moments when he is awake and moments when he is conscious.

“Of course I am not a doctor, but medically, there is a distinction between being awake and being conscious, the latter meaning there is an ability to interact with his surroundings.

“I don't want to disclose details out of respect for the family, but we have no doubt at all in the abilities of the doctors treating Michael, they are experts in their field.”

Despite the positive report, Kehm also stressed that any medical prognosis is “not possible” due to the severity of the brain injury Schumacher sustained, and that any interaction with the former Jordan, Benetton, Ferrari and Mercedes driver is “on a very limited basis”.

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