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DATE News (chronologically)
05/15/14
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Thursday (2nd Update) UPDATE #2 Updates shown in red below.

05/15/14 Added photo of Mercedes mechanics interpretation of the failed megaphone exhaust, a band-aid fix for a problem F1 spent a billion dollars (the collective budgets of all the manufacturers to engineer a new engine fans - paying customers - all despise) to create.

F1's Louie Armstrong exhaust
05/15/14
  • Megaphone exhaust 'didn't work - Rosberg
  • Mattiacci's silence 'deafening'
  • Ecclestone, Gribkowsky 'battled for F1 control' - witness
  • Vettel 'working for his money' in 2014 - Ricciardo
  • Vettel pleased with 'useful, if not perfect' test
  • Red Bull lemon still breaking down New
  • Saxo Bank to get increased Lotus branding New

Megaphone exhaust 'didn't work - Rosberg
(GMM)  F1's supposed 'sound problem' is going back to the drawing board, following the track debut of the Mercedes 'megaphone'.

At the post-Spanish grand prix test in Barcelona on Wednesday, the exhaust of Nico Rosberg's dominant W05 car was fitted with the trumpet-shaped attachment designed to turn up the volume of this year's new turbo V6 engines.

"It wasn't a great solution," Rosberg said afterwards in a video posted on Instagram.

The 'trumpet' was later removed from the silver car.

"It just didn't work," Rosberg explained.  "It didn't make it much louder.  So we'll just have to look for another solution."

It is interesting that, after all the early-season complaints about the milder engine note of 2014, fans generally rebuked the look and sound of the 'trumpet'.

One F1 fan told BBC correspondent Andrew Benson: "The notion of a special device attached to the cars purely to make more noise is so ridiculous it's offensive."

"It's an interesting moment in time for formula one," Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said last weekend.

"Traditionally you would have said that formula one needs to be loud to be spectacular.  Maybe now that's changing."

FIA president Jean Todt said he agreed to look into noise solutions - it was the governing body that sanctioned Mercedes' running of the megaphone this week - following the widespread earlier complaints.

"It is a question of taste," the Frenchman told the Telegraph last week.

"I don't have any problem with the noise, but I need to take it into account if a lot of people say they want more noise.

"But believe me, in a few months time, nobody will speak any more about the noise," Todt added.

A survey conducted by the German news agency SID found that 36 per cent of F1 fans declare that F1 is "less attractive" in 2014, while 45 per cent are just as interested in the pinnacle of motor sport as before.

Mattiacci's silence 'deafening'
(GMM)  Marco Mattiacci is officially the lowest-profile team boss in F1, two respected correspondents have declared.

Just ahead of the Chinese grand prix last month, Stefano Domenicali quit Ferrari, with president Luca di Montezemolo appointing the F1-unknown Mattiacci to replace him.

44-year-old Italian Mattiacci's motor racing experience is almost nil.

But even in that context, a team press conference in Barcelona last weekend was "bizarre", Speed Week correspondent Mathias Brunner reports.

He said Montezemolo made his "usual rallying calls", while Mattiacci sat beside him in complete silence.

"Apart from a brief message on the Ferrari website and a press conference in China, the former head of Ferrari North America has been silent," said Brunner.

In the Ferrari website message, the Maranello team said Mattiacci is "continuing with the task of analyzing and evaluating the team and its working methods".

But Leo Turrini, an authoritative media source on Ferrari matters, pointed out that Mattiacci has now been in place at the head of the famous team for a month.

"During this time, he has almost never opened his mouth" publicly, he said on his Quotidiano blog.

"Now, we all agree that the Cavallino needs facts and not words, yet for decades, at least at the end of a grand prix, the boss has offered his version of events.

"Cesare Fiorio did it, Jean Todt, Stefano Domenicali.  Mattiacci's silence is deafening," said Turrini.

Montezemolo, however, is backing Mattiacci to deliver eventually for beleaguered Ferrari.

"When he came, Todt was criticized a lot because he knew nothing about formula one, but then he managed to do a great job," he said.

"So it's like going back in time and I am sure that Mattiacci will do a good job."

Ecclestone, Gribkowsky 'battled for F1 control' - witness
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone and Gerhard Gribkowsky clashed over "control" of formula one.

That was the testimony on Wednesday offered in court by investigative author Tom Bower, who in 2011 wrote a biography about the embattled F1 chief executive called "No Angel -- the secret life of Bernie Ecclestone".

Bower gave the book its title when Ecclestone, who worked closely with the author at the time, reportedly told him: "Write what you like, provided it's more or less the truth."

Bower was called to give evidence in the Munich trial on Wednesday, as Ecclestone fights for his future in formula one, and for his very freedom, over allegations he bribed jailed F1 banker Gribkowsky.

Bower also knew Gribkowsky well, and told the court how the jailed former BayernLB risk officer once told Ecclestone he was going to try to find a successor for the 83-year-old Briton.

"We will see what happens if you carry on like that," Bower quoted Ecclestone as having replied to Gribkowsky, who interpreted the retort as a threat.

German media reports quote Bower as also telling the court on Wednesday that Ecclestone and Gribkowsky waged "a battle for control of formula one".

Vettel 'working for his money' in 2014 - Ricciardo
(GMM)  Daniel Ricciardo is enjoying the moment as he shows a clean pair of heels to F1's reigning quadruple world champion.

Early in 2014, Red Bull's fresh-faced newcomer Ricciardo settled in quickly and stunned the F1 world by generally outshining Vettel, the winner of the last four world titles and the last nine grands prix of 2013 on the trot.

Vettel performed better with a new chassis in Spain, amid reports the team had discovered the German's original RB10 was 'distorted'.

Chief engineer Paul Monaghan, however, played down those reports.

"No one error can be considered an entire explanation and requires further work to that completed prior to and within the Spanish GP," Reuters quotes him as saying.

Whatever the explanation, it is widely accepted that Ricciardo has been the more impressive Red Bull driver so far this year -- a fact not lost on the always-grinning 24-year-old.

"It's a good feeling to be making Sebastian work for his money," Ricciardo joked to Germany's Sport Bild.

Mere podiums, however, are not the only meal on the menu for the Perth-born driver.

"I'm hungrier than ever for wins, and I can eat a lot!" he laughed.

But he is also keen to play down any talk of tension between himself - the easy-going newcomer - and Vettel, the beleaguered world champion.

"We get on really well, for teammates," said Ricciardo.  "We often have breakfast together, and I would say that's unusual for teammates.

"At the moment it's going well for me, but I also know that it won't be long before Seb is getting everything out of his car.  He hasn't forgotten how to drive!"

Reporters, however, made a fuss about Vettel being outpaced by female driver Susie Wolff on day two of the Barcelona test on Wednesday.

"Time for me to quit, then?" Vettel hit back with a wry smile.

In fact, even F1 history is still on Vettel's side.

In 1987, it was the eighth race before Nelson Piquet won his first grand prix of the season, but he went on to seal his third world championship.

However, in a statistic more sure to please Lewis Hamilton, an F1 driver has never won four races in a row and not gone on to be that year's champion.

Vettel pleased with 'useful, if not perfect' test
Sebastian Vettel says he is satisfied with the work he carried out at the post-Spanish Grand Prix test.

Although the Red Bull driver lost track time due to Sébastien Buemi's gearbox problem on Tuesday, the German racked up 72 laps, running comparisons on the same tire compounds he used throughout the race weekend.

"The problems on Tuesday made us a bit late out [of the garage] in the morning but the afternoon was productive and we did a lot of laps which, considering the time we had, was good," Vettel reflected.

"We used the tires that we used last weekend, because we wanted to try to understand the car more. In terms of that I think we have learned a lot, so I would say that it was a useful, if not perfect, day of testing."

Vettel sits fourth in the standings ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix, 55 points behind Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton.

Red Bull lemon still breaking down
Red Bull Racing had more mechanical issues during the two days of the in-season test in Spain. Test driver Sebastien Buemi saw his day ended early when his car developed a gearbox issue, which also delayed Sebastian Vettel’s start on Wednesday as the team continue to fix it.

Buemi was having his first day in the 2014 car having spent a lot of time in the simulator. The team wanted to make sure that the simulator and the car were correlated properly.

“It was the first day for me in the RB10 and I experienced a bit of dry and a bit of wet, which was good,” said Buemi.“We mainly concentrated on trying to understand the car better after the weekend and trying to improve it. We also worked on some correlation with the simulator, as I spend a lot of time in that.

“We had a gearbox problem, which stopped us, but otherwise it was a decent day. As ever, it was really about gathering data. We don’t get many opportunities for this type of testing so it’s important to get as much information as possible.”

For World Champion Vettel, a delayed start while the team continued to fix the car was soon forgotten as he got down to business in the afternoon, running 72 laps and finishing seventh fastest.

“The problems of yesterday made us a bit late out this morning but the afternoon was productive and we did a lot of laps which, considering the time we had, was good,” said Vettel. “We used the tires that we used last weekend, as we want to try to understand the car more and in terms of that I think we have learned a lot, so I would say it was a useful, if not perfect, day.”

Red Bull Race Engineering Coordinator Andy Damerum admitted the weather got in the way on Tuesday, and the issue with the gearbox cost both Buemi and Vettel much needed track time.

“We were in a good place first thing [Tuesday] morning with the car all set to run, but unfortunately the weather got in the way a bit,” said Damerum. “We moved things around on the schedule and managed to get what I’d called a lot of ‘stocking filler’ jobs done, but we really would have preferred dry running.

“We had Sebastien Buemi in the car today and he spends quite a bit of time in the simulator, so we wanted to give him a proper feel for the new car and do some correlation work to make sure that what’s happening in the simulator and what’s happening on the track is the same. We were able to do quite a bit of work in that area when the weather improved, which was good.

“We were also running a lot of other test items today, all of which are aimed at improving the package as a whole, so what with the weather it was quite a complex day. It was then made more complicated by the mechanical failure, which prevented us doing any more running.

“It’s obviously not ideal to have a problem that costs you time on both days, but the problem we had was such that it needed a lot of time to fix overnight and getting the car ready delayed our start this morning. We managed to get a couple of runs in before lunch, just to get Sebastian comfortable in the car, but it wasn’t giving him what he wanted so we tweaked a few things over the lunch break. Then in the afternoon we had a pretty productive run.

“In the limited time we had today I have to say that, from a race engineer’s perspective, there was a lot to take away from the work we did. So, all told – a fairly decent couple of days.”

Saxo Bank to get increased Lotus branding
Saxo Bank will be given increased branding on Lotus's cars at next weekend's Monaco Grand Prix.

The Danish company has had limited on-track exposure since joining the outfit at the start of the season, but its logo will be showcased on the sidepods of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado's cars in the principality.

"We are delighted to take our relationship with Saxo Bank to the next level," Federico Gastaldi, Lotus F1 Team Deputy Team Principal, said of the agreement. "Both companies share a similar outlook and enjoy taking on the more established and bigger players in their respective domains, with an equal appetite for success."

Lotus scored its first points of the campaign in Barcelona last time out, leaving it eighth in the standings.

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