Latest F1 news in brief - Saturday
- Dennis wants Alonso to lead McLaren's Honda charge
- Maldonado says Massa faster than Bottas
- Allison not nervous amid Newey, Brawn rumors
- Ferrari must consider UK base - Briatore
- Ecclestone should have quit F1 already - Briatore
- Petronas renews with Mercedes team
Dennis wants Alonso to lead McLaren's Honda charge
(GMM) Former McLaren and Ferrari driver Alain Prost has some advice for those beleaguered F1 teams -- "do something different".
"If you compare them to Red Bull and Mercedes, you see that Ferrari and McLaren have only continued to work in the same way as they always did," the quadruple world champion is quoted by Spain's Marca newspaper.
"Sometimes you have to stop, make a plan and start again. Sometimes you have to do something different," Prost added.
The F1 legend believes Ferrari's problems can be traced back to "when Michael Schumacher left", while McLaren's decline began when Adrian Newey switched to Red Bull.
According to swirling rumors in Monaco, McLaren could be looking to boost its fortunes ahead of the works Honda partnership in 2015 by making a swoop for Fernando Alonso.
"Fernando would be welcome back at McLaren," McLaren 'supremo' Ron Dennis, who clashed so infamously with the Spaniard back in 2007, reportedly told the Italian press.
"You're surprised that I'm talking about Fernando? I don't have any problem -- the most important thing is for us to win again.
"In 2015 we have the Honda engine and we need a great driver."
McLaren's current lead driver, Jenson Button, was asked by Spain's AS newspaper if Alonso will be at McLaren next year.
"He has a Ferrari contract," the smiling Briton replied.
"Yes it would be a great challenge to have him as a teammate."
According to two British F1 correspondents, there may be some truth to the Alonso rumors.
Jonathan McEvoy, of the Daily Mail, cited 'sources' as he reported that 'meetings' have already taken place.
And The Times' Kevin Eason agreed that "It is an open secret that McLaren have approached Alonso".
However, while Alonso has sounded frustrated with life at Ferrari recently, returning to struggling McLaren might not be at the top of his wish list.
"I'm happy," he told France's L'Equipe. "I have a great life, I'm a Ferrari driver -- it doesn't get much better.
"A third title would be the icing on the cake for my career. So many great drivers have won three titles."
Flavio Briatore, close to Alonso throughout his career, said in Monaco: "Fernando has a contract with Ferrari, so it's out of the question to go elsewhere unless something extraordinary happens.
"He, like everyone else, has difficult moments, and like every driver he wants a competitive car, and he can't solve the problems of an entire team by himself," the Italian is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Maldonado says Massa faster than Bottas
(GMM) Felipe Massa is a better driver than Valtteri Bottas.
That is the claim of Pastor Maldonado, the Lotus driver who last year was paired with the then rookie Finn Bottas at Williams.
The Grove based team had a horror 2013 season, but with a much improved package this year, Bottas has apparently outperformed his new teammate - the highly experienced former Ferrari driver Felipe Massa - so far.
But Venezuelan Maldonado said: "I don't think he (Bottas) is a very tough rival.
"I think Felipe has shown that he is superior to him but just more unlucky.
"I think you cannot always analyze just the result," the 2012 Spanish grand prix winner, who more recently has been the subject of social media ridicule for his own troubled 2014 campaign, is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace.
"In the first race Felipe was taken out; in another it took five minutes to change his tires. It is a mistake to not look deeper than just the result," said Maldonado.
"For sure Bottas is a fast and professional driver and deserves to be in F1. But I don't believe he is faster than Felipe.
"Felipe has shown he is fast and consistent and very experienced, as he was at Ferrari and now at Williams, who have improved a lot since last year thanks to the Mercedes engine," he concluded.
Allison not nervous amid Newey, Brawn rumors
(GMM) Ferrari technical director James Allison insists all the rumors about Adrian Newey are not making him nervous.
It is reported the great but beleaguered Italian team was so desperate to sign Newey it offered to fork out as much as a reported $40 million to lure him from Red Bull.
As it happens, Newey apparently said no, with Ferrari team boss Marco Mattiacci denying an offer was even made.
Whatever the truth, Ferrari's existing technical boss, Briton Allison, might be excused for feeling unsettled.
"I only know that the team is supporting me and a lot of others as well," he insisted in Monaco on Friday, according to Italy's Autosprint.
Allison said he is being given time to have an impact at Maranello.
"I only came in September, when there were only five months until the beginning of the season, with a (car) project that began two years ago," he explained.
At Lotus, Allison was known for his creative and aggressive designs, and he has now been tasked with building that into Ferrari's 2015 machine.
"I hope so," he smiled. "I am convinced that originality and creativity are two important factors in making a competitive car.
"There is no magic recipe, but you do have to give engineers time and space to develop their ideas."
However, with not only Newey linked with Ferrari but also the former technical director Ross Brawn, Allison might now fear being shuffled aside as the Italian team reacts amid its difficult 2014 campaign.
Allison responded: "I just hope that Luca di Montezemolo and Marco Mattiacci continue to seek high-caliber individuals to further strengthen the team.
"I do not need to ask for more support, just the optimization of our resources."
At the same time, Allison acknowledged that finding a quick fix for Ferrari's current car is not likely.
"I can say that it is very difficult," he smiled. "Making a car fast that was not (fast) in the first races is a challenge.
"The problem is not only improving, but improving relative to the competition."
Ferrari must consider UK base - Briatore
(GMM) Ferrari should consider adding a UK base, according to former F1 team boss Flavio Briatore.
The Italian team is believed to have offered to double Adrian Newey's current salary to lure him from Red Bull, with some estimating the potential pay-day at $40 million.
But one reason the Briton said 'no' could be because he would have to move his family from the UK's so-called 'motor sport valley' all the way to northern Italy.
"I have always said that logistics is one of Ferrari's problems," Briatore is quoted as having told Sky Italia in Monaco.
"In my opinion, Ferrari must have a base in the UK, where all of the technology of formula one is concentrated," the Italian explained.
"At Maranello it is difficult to create an effective team and to recruit these British engineers," Briatore said. "Other teams are well aware of this and that is why they are located in the UK."
Briatore also said it will be a challenge for Ferrari's new team boss Marco Mattiacci to turn around the fabled team's troubles.
"He needs time," he said. "He will be judged by the results.
"Certainly Ferrari has everything, along with a budget that as a team leader I never had.
"But to reorganize a team takes leadership and clear ideas."
Ecclestone should have quit F1 already - Briatore
(GMM) Flavio Briatore thinks Bernie Ecclestone's days in charge of F1 are numbered.
Embroiled in a bribery scandal and criminal trial, the sport's 'supremo' on Friday stunned the paddock when he said that if F1 owner CVC finds a successor for him, "I will leave tomorrow".
Italian Briatore, a former title-winning F1 team boss and friend of Ecclestone's, has been linked with the job but in Monaco - where his luxury boat 'Force Blue' is moored this weekend - he ruled that out.
But he did admit to Italy's Sky that he thinks Ecclestone's days are numbered.
"There is an objective reality," the Italian said, "and that is the fact that Bernie is 83.
"I'm sorry he is now in this litigation, which may be perceived quite differently if he was 20 or 30.
"I feel sorry for him, but if I was Ecclestone, I would have left five or six years ago," Briatore added.
Indeed, he thinks F1 in general made a very wrong turn some years ago.
"This is not the F1 I am used to," Briatore admitted on Friday. "It's like enjoying spaghetti but then getting sick because you're forced to eat caviar.
"In my day the races were gladiator fights, but now it's like accountants -- saving petrol, saving tires, try not to be penalized ... buttons on the steering wheel like an accordion.
"We had overtakings like Senna and Prost, Villeneuve and Pironi, now it's all pretend. The teams spend 350 million euros per year and someone is just as fast in GP2.
"It's normal that the audience turns away," he said.
"We have taken away the noise and now these trumpets? It's like a carnival."
Petronas renews with Mercedes team
The MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team is delighted to announce a long-term extension of its title partnership agreement with the Malaysian national oil and gas company, PETRONAS.
The new agreement was unveiled in the unparalleled surroundings of the Monaco Grand Prix at a press conference attended by Tan Sri Dato' Shamsul Azhar Abbas, President & Group CEO of PETRONAS; Dr Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management, Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars; and Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport.
The partnership between Mercedes-Benz and PETRONAS dates back to 2010, when the Silver Arrows works team joined the grid for the first time since 1955 and revived one of the most prestigious traditions in motorsport.
During that time, the two companies have grown a state-of-the-art technological partnership to deliver cutting-edge Fluid Technology Solutions for the Hybrid Power Unit and chassis of the works Silver Arrow cars. The integrated development of the 2014 Silver Arrow included the Fluid Technology expertise of PETRONAS to create tailor-made solutions for the technical challenges of the 2014 regulations and deliver a clear PETRONAS advantage on track.
So far in 2014, the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS cars have scored over 90% of the possible maximum points, including five consecutive wins and four one-two finishes. Overall, PETRONAS Fluid Technology Solutions have claimed nearly 60% of the total points available this season with the works Silver Arrows and Mercedes-Benz customer teams.
Furthermore, this technological partnership has been complemented by a strategic business alliance with Mercedes-Benz, extending the partnership from the track to the road. The cutting-edge technology developed in the proving ground of Formula One drives the creation of class-leading lubricants for passenger cars, including high-performance Mercedes-AMG road cars.
Partnership with the Silver Arrows works team has made PETRONAS the leading and most prominent energy company in Formula One. To further consolidate this status, the F1 W05 Hybrid race car will run with a revised livery from the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix, with enhanced PETRONAS branding on the front wing, chassis and bodywork. Following five victories from the first five races of the 2014 season, this new agreement paves the way for a decade of partnership between Mercedes-Benz and PETRONAS.