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DATE News (chronologically)
05/23/14
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Friday
  • Grosjean to ditch backmarker Lotus?
    Alonso not considering Ferrari exit - spokesman
  • Grosjean not ruling out Lotus exit
  • Grosjean hits out at 'wooden' super-soft tires
  • Hamilton open to more 'lively' rivalry with Rosberg
  • Renault must look ahead to 2015 - Prost
  • Date confirmed for Sir Jack Brabham’s state funeral

Alonso not considering Ferrari exit - spokesman
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso will be "involved in future projects" at Ferrari.

That is the claim of a Ferrari spokesman, amid swirling rumors in the Monaco paddock that the Spaniard's patience with the Maranello team is finally at an end.

Alonso hinted strongly at his unhappiness on Wednesday, when he welcomed the praise of Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche and said it was "curious" those closer to him do not make similar declarations.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo reacted swiftly, describing the 32-year-old as "the best driver in the world" and denying the existence of a "polemical situation".

Nonetheless, there are those who continue to doubt that Alonso will still be wearing red in 2015.

Some think he could move to Mercedes or return to McLaren, and the latter British team's supremo Ron Dennis on Thursday reportedly said the door to Woking remains open, so long as the team can build a fully competitive car.

"With the 2015 Honda car we hope to have just that," Dennis told the Italian press.

But a Ferrari spokesman told Spain's sports newspaper Marca that Alonso remains committed.

"He is committed to being involved in future projects, rebuilding the team to a winning one.  He (Alonso) is not someone who is thinking about leaving," he said.

Many believe that Alonso would be appeased if Ferrari is successful in luring Adrian Newey from Red Bull.

Red Bull has tried to stop those rumors, issuing a statement quoting Newey as committing to the reigning world champions for "the foreseeable future".

And new Ferrari team boss Marco Mattiacci issued a simple "no" on Thursday when asked if he has invited Newey to Maranello.

"We are working a lot with (technical director James) Allison, someone extremely competent who has a future at Ferrari," Mattiacci told Italian television Sky in Monaco.

He also hailed Alonso's contribution.

"Fernando Alonso is a great champion and I am absolutely delighted to have him on our team," said Mattiacci.

"I like people who are fighters and are always pushing for better," he added.

Grosjean not ruling out Lotus exit
(GMM)  Romain Grosjean has not ruled out leaving Lotus at the end of 2014.

Earlier this week, while backing the troubled Pastor Maldonado, team owner Gerard Lopez said Frenchman Grosjean had emerged from a similar slump to be among the most coveted drivers on the grid.

"We've lived the same thing with Romain, and people wrote him off, but now we've got people knocking on our door to see if he can be in their team," he said.

When asked about Lopez's comments, Grosjean told RMC: "It makes me happy -- they are flatting words that are nice to hear.

"But I think it is only the sixth grand prix of the season, there are still a lot of twists and turns and the future is still relatively far away," said the 28-year-old.

However, Grosjean indicated that it is possible he will not be driving a black and gold car in 2015.

Enstone based Lotus has had an horror 2014 season so far, initially uncompetitive and unreliable and still besieged by rumors of financial strife.

Referring to the annual driver 'silly season', Grosjean explained: "Usually it always starts to unlock a little during the summer break.

"For sure I want to win races and try to be world champion, and that requires a team with a car capable of doing it," he concluded.

Grosjean hits out at 'wooden' super-soft tires
(GMM)  Romain Grosjean hit out at Pirelli's "wooden tires" after practice in Monaco.

In fact, this weekend on the Principality's streets, the 2014 'super soft' compound is making its debut, alongside the next-softest tire in the range, the 'soft'.

But the track action was scarce on Thursday, mainly due to the initially damp track in the second session amid a forecast of dry weather for the rest of the weekend.

"It's a shame for the fans," said Nico Hulkenberg, "but that's formula one.

"It would have been too risky, because some teams don't have many spare parts," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

Also getting the finger of blame was Pirelli, who according to Lotus driver Grosjean have supplied tires that are unsuited to the "tricky" 2014 cars around the barrier-lined Monaco layout.

"Today, the biggest problem is these wooden tires," he smiled to France's RMC.

"Seriously, they do not work very well here.  These cars are pretty tricky but they're sliding a lot and not going very fast around the corners," Grosjean added.

"It is making it even more difficult than in the past, so you really need to concentrate on not making mistakes.  You're driving at 98 per cent and not pushing to 102 per cent to avoid a mistake," he said.

Championship leader Mercedes' team boss Toto Wolff defended the F1 'show' of Thursday, insisting it is premature to describe this year's spectacle as boring.

"We need to be careful not to go from depression to manic and back into depression," he said.

"Yes, we've had a boring session but does it mean that formula one is boring?  I heard different comments after Bahrain so I think you need to look at the whole."

Hamilton open to more 'lively' rivalry with Rosberg
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton has hinted he is open to having an even more "lively" rivalry with his teammate and 2014 championship opponent Nico Rosberg.

When the duo was first paired together at Mercedes, they happily recalled their friendship dating all the way back to boyhood, featuring jocular wrestling and pizza-eating contests.

And Rosberg said as recently as last week that Hamilton, the winner of the last four grands prix on the trot, is still welcome to knock on his Monaco apartment and ask for a quick hamburger.

But as Hamilton sniffs his first title since 2008, the Briton is starting to take his boxing gloves off.

In an interview in Monaco, he claimed he is "hungrier" than Rosberg due to their respective upbringings: the German with his "jets and hotels and boats", and Hamilton who slept "on a couch" in a "not-great place" in suburban UK.

Many might draw quick parallels between Hamilton and Rosberg at Mercedes in 2014 and Ayrton Senna versus Alain Prost, and their utter domination at McLaren in 1988.

Like Senna, Hamilton might be seen as the more feisty and aggressive, while like Prost, Rosberg is the calculating thinker.

Hamilton smiled when told of the comparison.

"I think the fight between them (Senna and Prost) was more livery than what is happening with us right now," he is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace.

"In our case, it's all wonderful," Hamilton laughed.

However, Hamilton indicated he is in fact open to a more "lively" competition with Rosberg, admitting even that a Suzuka 1988-style showdown would be "cool".

At Suzuka in 1988, the Senna-Prost rivalry reached its infamous zenith when the pair collided at the chicane.

"Not that I'll take him out," Hamilton smiled, "but it was pretty cool when it reached a climax between them at Suzuka.

"I think things will get more livery as the year goes on and I hope we can look back in a few years' time and say that we had something like that."

Renault must look ahead to 2015 - Prost
(GMM)  Renault needs to be looking ahead to 2015, according to F1 legend Alain Prost.

Although an ambassador for the French engine supplier, Prost does not hide his belief that Renault simply went into the all-new turbo V6 era this year unprepared.

"We were just too late," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"We have seen in recent years how success is made -- Red Bull had a plan and was world champion four times.  Mercedes had a plan and is now far ahead at the front.

"Renault needs a plan for 2015," Prost insisted.

However, the 59-year-old clarified that Renault cannot just give up on 2014 and focus exclusively on re-homologating a much better 'power unit' for next year.

"We have to improve continuously," said Prost.

"Nobody can say where Renault is today compared to Mercedes -- Renault made a big leap in the Spanish grand prix," he claimed.

"Mercedes is still ahead, but many have misunderstood that the jump really came from their car."

Renault, supplying four teams in F1 including reigning world champions Red Bull, says it is now approaching the full potential of its current V6 unit.

"We are still with our plan of getting 100 per cent from the engine in Canada," said Rene Taffin, referring to the next grand prix in two weeks.

Red Bull, however, is not so sure.

Toto Wolff, the Mercedes team boss, said on Thursday that a Mercedes-powered car got up to 347kph on the Barcelona straight recently.

"So in Monza I don't know what we will be seeing, but 380 maybe?," he said.

Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner replied: "I don't think we'll be seeing 380 from our car in Monza."

Date confirmed for Sir Jack Brabham’s state funeral
Details of the state funeral for motor racing legend Sir Jack Brabham have been confirmed.

The Queensland government and the family of the triple world F1 champion have announced the special ceremony will be held at 1.30pm on Wednesday, June 11, at the Southport Church of Christ on the Gold Coast.

More procedural details for the state funeral will be firmed up next week by representatives of Protocol Queensland. Lady Brabham has been grateful for the outpouring of sympathy around the world and the thousands of tributes bestowed to the grand prix pioneer who died peacefully at the couple’s Gold Coast home on Monday.

“The tributes have been amazing for him. He would have been so proud,” Lady Brabham told Speedcafe.com

“It’s certainly a special honor for him. All the boys and grandsons will be able to make it for the state funeral.”

It is also expected that a memorial service will be arranged in England, where Sir Jack became not only a fine racing driver but, where he famously built his own cars and pioneered transferring the engine to the rear in the 1950’s.

The motor racing world will be flooded with special salutations this weekend which will see the running of two of the biggest races on the global calendar – the Monaco GP and the Indianapolis 500.

Leading the commemorative gestures is grandson Matthew Brabham who carries a tribute to Sir Jack on his Indy Lights car while James Davison is also paying respect with a tribute on his KV Racing car in Sunday’s Indy 500. Australia’s Red Bull F1 star Daniel Ricciardo has added a tribute on his helmet which he will wear at this weekend’s Monaco GP where Sir Jack won his first F1 race in 1959.

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