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DATE News (chronologically)
05/26/14
f1
Latest F1 news in brief - Monday  
  • The Mercedes parade has made F1 a borefest so the only thing F1 has going to keep fans engaged is Lewis Hamilton getting his panties in a knot.
    Hamilton's Rosberg snub 'not in order' - Lauda
  • Bianchi hopes to 'ride wave' to better team
  • F1 could be destroyed without a 'dictator' - Briatore
  • Pointless season 'embarrassing' for Sauber - report
  • PDVSA, Maldonado not leaving Lotus - Lopez
  • Renault to 'investigate' Vettel PU issues

Hamilton's Rosberg snub 'not in order' - Lauda
(GMM)  Niki Lauda has scolded Lewis Hamilton for not congratulating teammate Nico Rosberg after his second consecutive Monaco win on Sunday.

As their clash for the 2014 title exploded in dramatic style in the Principality, 2008 world champion declared his friendship with German Rosberg is over.

But it seems the breakdown is over more than just Rosberg's qualifying 'mistake' that cost Hamilton a shot at pole position on Saturday.

It emerges that Hamilton used a higher 'engine mode' - that Mercedes specifically told him not to use - en route to victory in Barcelona two weeks ago.

"We were told that we had to stay in a certain mode," Hamilton confirmed on Sunday.  "Nico did it in Bahrain and I did it in Barcelona."

Team chairman Niki Lauda said the matter is now closed, because Hamilton apologized after Barcelona.

"In the last couple of races we had some little fouls left and right," said team boss Toto Wolff.  "This is not happening ever again."

There is no doubt that Hamilton is most upset about qualifying in Monaco, even though the stewards looked at the data and did not find that Rosberg made his mistake on purpose.

"I wish you could have seen the data," the fuming Hamilton told reporters in Monaco.  "I saw something late last night, and all I could do was smile."

The big risk within the Brackley camp is that the rivalry will now spiral out of control, perhaps in an explosion of carbon fiber pieces.

Lauda vowed to sort it out before the next race.

"I will go there in Montreal or before, and meet them or Lewis in this case and say 'what is the problem'," the great Austrian said.

Lauda said Hamilton is clearly a "very emotional" character in general, but he said treating Rosberg disrespectfully was not appropriate on Sunday.

"That Lewis did not shake his hand is not in order," he told Germany's Sport Bild.

"He should congratulate Nico, because Nico always did it to him, even hugged him in Bahrain where they were both really fighting each other," Lauda added.

At the same time, Lauda said Hamilton does not need to be a 'nice guy'.

In fact, "You have to be a bastard if you want to win in formula one, no question.

"Tell me one nice guy out there -- do we start with Fernando Alonso?

"The tension is building up, no question," Lauda continued, "but we have to make sure that the team doesn't get out of hand.  So if they don't say hello in the morning any more, it's out of hand."

Without a doubt, Hamilton is no longer saying hello.  But Lauda thinks the Briton's mood will change soon.

"Hopefully he will make a good party with (girlfriend) Nicole, I will speak to him tomorrow and I guarantee you it will be fixed.  We are going to work it out."

Almost certainly, Lauda knows he is under pressure from fellow team chiefs Paddy Lowe and Toto Wolff to sort it out before a range of 'team orders' are strictly imposed in order to control the driver duo.

Wolff admitted: "The moment it goes in the direction where we believe it is not in the spirit of Mercedes-Benz, we will act accordingly.

"We are racers.  We want our drivers to race," he told Welt am Sonntag newspaper.  "But there are certain limits to which they must adhere."

Lauda knows exactly what 'hating' a teammate feels like.

"I had nothing against (Alain) Prost personally -- he was complicated but a nice guy.  Nevertheless, I hated him and kept all the information from him.  I told my engineers not to say anything to him."

Wolff likened an inter-team championship battle to two men fighting over "the same woman".

"In that situation there's no friendship," he is quoted by Bild newspaper.

Dieter Zetsche, the chairman of Mercedes parent Daimler, agreed that Hamilton and Rosberg should be free to wage their battles, even though imposing 'team orders' would mean less 'grey hairs' for the management.

"This is exactly what the viewers want to see," he said.  "The worst thing would be nice team orders with one behind the other.

"Ultimately, we have to be honest -- the people are interested in the brands but they care more about the people.  They want to see them fight each other.

"Now we have these two young men against each other in a great car, and this is the most beautiful thing that racing can provide," added Zetsche.

Bianchi hopes to 'ride wave' to better team
(GMM)  Marussia crowned its hero Jules Bianchi in Monaco, after the French driver on Sunday delivered the backmarker team its first-ever F1 points.

Maintaining the spot in the constructors' chase ahead of Caterham and even Sauber would now be worth dozens of millions of dollars in F1 prize money to the struggling team.

Ironically, however, Frenchman Bianchi's feat could also cost Marussia the talented, Ferrari-backed driver.

"It felt like a victory to me," the 24-year-old said on Sunday.  "Even if it does not mean so much for others, for us this ninth place is like a win," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

But Bianchi also admitted that Monaco 2014 could be the turning point in his career.

"It can only help," he said, "but as for the future, we will have to see as the season progresses.  I do feel ready for a top team."

Bianchi's result earned praise even from arguably the very best driver on the grid, Fernando Alonso.

"He is not only a Ferrari junior driver," said the Spaniard, "but also a friend.

"We spend a lot of time together at Maranello," Alonso is quoted by Speed Week.  "We play football and basketball and also travel together a lot.  I am so pleased for him.

"I have no doubt that he will have a very good career and so I hope that this result helps him to find a competitive cockpit for next season," he added.

The task now for Bianchi's manager, Nicolas Todt, is obvious.

"It is often said that Monaco is a driver circuit," said the Frenchman, the son of FIA president Jean Todt and also Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado's manager.

"Yes, he benefitted from what happened in the race but when you see his lap times, he had the pace.

"My job now is to try to ride this little wave," Todt is quoted by BFMTV, "as they do not come along every day."

F1 could be destroyed without a 'dictator' - Briatore
(GMM)  Formula one "needs a dictator", according to the flamboyant former team boss Flavio Briatore.

Embroiled in a corruption scandal that could end his reign, F1's current 'supremo', Bernie Ecclestone, has hinted that his bosses at CVC could be about to replace him.

"I feel sorry for him," Briatore said on his customary trip with his yacht 'Force Blue' to Monaco, "but if I was Ecclestone, I would have left five or six years ago."

Reports suggested Italian Briatore, who left F1 amid his own scandal some years ago, might be a potential successor for Ecclestone, but the 64-year-old played that down.

Asked if he wants to be the 'new Bernie', Briatore told Auto Motor und Sport: "I prefer the old Bernie."

Pressed as to whether he is interested in the job, however, Briatore just "grinned, turned around and left", recounted correspondent Michael Schmidt.

But before he left, Briatore admitted he knows the kind of person that needs to be running F1.

"What formula one needs is a dictator," he said.  "He makes the rules and the teams have to follow.  If you don't want to, look for another job.

"Formula one is a strong brand," said Briatore.

"Bernie took 30 years to build it, but without him, it could be that it is destroyed in two or three.

"What is needed now is a man who has a clear plan for the formula one of the future."

Dieter Zetsche, the chairman of Daimler, also said that amid the corruption scandal that could end Ecclestone's reign, the next steps for the sport are crucial.

"It is very clear that Bernie Ecclestone is responsible for the success of formula one," Zetsche, whose Mercedes camp is utterly dominating the 2014 season, told Germany's Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

"That is why it is in everyone's interest that his incredible work, 'formula one', which he has built up over the years - the story that he wrote - is not damaged," he added.

Pointless season 'embarrassing' for Sauber - report
(GMM)  Sauber on Sunday plumbed the depths of its "embarrassing situation", according to veteran Swiss correspondent Roger Benoit.

The Hinwil based team has had a dire 2014 season so far, but in Monaco Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez were among the very backmarkers, and then they both crashed out of the glamorous street race in separate incidents.

"That was certainly the most painful mistake in my formula one career," admitted Mexican Gutierrez, who clumsily clouted the barrier.

Capitalizing on the chaotic race, however, was the backmarker Marussia, whose Jules Bianchi went onto score the struggling team's first ever F1 points.

The fact Sauber still has zero points in 2014, behind Marussia, is "embarrassing" for the Swiss team, Benoit wrote in the newspaper Blick.

Team boss Monisha Kaltenborn, however, insists Sauber has in fact made a "step forward" in recent races.

"Maybe then the next discussion should be about the drivers," wondered Benoit.

"Many fans have long been demanding that Dutch reserve driver Giedo van der Garde gets a cockpit," he added.

The highly experienced Felipe Massa began his career at Sauber some twelve years ago, and he used the race seat as a springboard to his long Ferrari career.

Asked about Sauber, the Brazilian said in Monaco: "They are not in a good way," he is quoted by 20min.ch.

"It is tough times for them.  What can I say?  They're behind us," said the Williams driver, "so it's okay."

PDVSA, Maldonado not leaving Lotus - Lopez
(GMM)  Team owner Gerard Lopez has added his denial to reports Lotus could be set to lose its new lucrative PDVSA backing.

The Enstone team secured the deal with the state Venezuelan oil company when Pastor Maldonado moved over the winter from Williams.

In Monaco, however, Maldonado had to deny reports that his PDVSA backing will end, after the Venezuelan sports minister said he will allocate "not one dollar more" to motor racing due to a scandal.

He said the media story about PDVSA pulling out was a "very big misunderstanding", because the comments were made by the sports minister, not the oil company itself.

"PDVSA, as with Maldonado, is staying with us," Lopez, the founding partner of the Lotus owner Genii, is quoted by the Swiss newspaper Blick.

"In Venezuela, it is this company (PDVSA) that has the final say, not the government," he insisted.

Renault to 'investigate' Vettel PU issues
Renault have said there will be a 'full investigation' to find out what went wrong with Sebastian Vettel's power unit during the Monaco Grand Prix.

Vettel was hindered by ERS issues in qualifying on Saturday, and then went out early on in the race when he lost power.

The German had initially been running third, after gaining a place at the start. It was his second retirement of the season.

Renault's Head of Track Operations Remi Taffin admitted the situation was not acceptable and while he was pleased to see Daniel Ricciardo finish third, he described the grand prix as 'bitter sweet' for the French manufacturer.

"Vettel had a Power Unit problem from the start and lost power, ultimately forcing a retirement. We believe the issue is related to the turbo and MGU-H but will make full investigations when we return the engine to base for a full diagnosis," he promised.

"This weekend we've made progress in some areas but we've seen some reliability problems come back so it will be a long week at Viry - but one we will use productively to come back stronger in Canada where we have further upgrades scheduled," he added.

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