Alonso to Mercedes, Newey and Vettel to Ferrari (4th Update) UPDATE #4
(GMM) Ferrari has not given up on wooing Adrian Newey to Maranello.
|Would Vettel go to Ferrari with Newey and give up the Red Bull lemon?|
That is the claim of the authoritative Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport, whose correspondent Luigi Perna outlined the latest plan to sign Red Bull's highly-coveted technical boss.
In Monaco, Red Bull rejected the speculation about Newey by insisting the 55-year-old remains committed for "the foreseeable future".
But that may have been before Ferrari's latest audacious offer to the Briton.
Perna said Ferrari is offering Newey unprecedented technical freedom, and also his own road-going supercar project and involvement in a possible Le Mans prototype bid.
Not to mention annual pay of about EUR 20 million.
"If the odds at first were zero, now the odds are 20-30 per cent," read the report. "It all depends on Newey."
It has also been claimed that signing Newey might convince Red Bull's quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel to join him at Maranello.
But German Vettel said on Tuesday: "I feel very good about where I am and have so much to thank my team for.
"You don't just throw in the towel and look for something else after six bad races," he insisted.
Curiously, Vettel was at the wheel of Gerhard Berger's 1988 Ferrari on Tuesday for a promotional event at the forthcoming Austrian grand prix venue.
He got out of the car and said "Incredibile!" -- the Italian version of incredible.
Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko grinned to reporters: "You can let our friends know quietly in Maranello that Sebastian even drives his Ferraris with us."
05/22/14 (GMM) Adrian Newey has played down reports he is thinking about a switch to Ferrari.
|Newey moves to stop rumors he is leaving Red Bull|
Two weeks ago in Barcelona, F1's most highly paid and rated engineer sounded equivocal amid rumors Ferrari is prepared to 'break the bank' to lure him from Red Bull.
But in a short statement ahead of the Monaco grand prix, Newey said: "I remain committed to Red Bull for the foreseeable future."
World champion Sebastian Vettel was also asked about Newey on Wednesday, and while stressing that Red Bull wants him to stay, he also said the Milton-Keynes based team is not a one-man band.
"He is one of the key people in the team," said the German. "There are other people too.
"It is wrong to give the credit only to Adrian, as he would tell you himself.
"We like him in our team, so yes," added Vettel, when asked if he wants Newey to stay.
"It's a story in the end. How much truth there is in it, we may find out, we may not."
Fernando Alonso on Wednesday added fuel to speculation his patience with Ferrari is at an end.
Already the best paid in F1, the Spaniard was earlier this week also hailed as "perhaps the best driver" on the grid by the Mercedes-Benz chairman, Dieter Zetsche.
Alonso's reply, given to Spanish reporters in Monaco on Wednesday, will only fuel rumors the 32-year-old is pushing for a change of teams, having failed to win a title in red and arguably losing his 'number 1' status in 2014 following the arrival of world champion Kimi Raikkonen.
When asked about Zetsche's praise, Alonso answered: "I don't know.
"It is always something good when good things are spoken about you, and the truth is that I am grateful.
"But it is interesting and it really seems curious to me that these types of things, this sort of praise, always comes from the other teams, from other people not from my own inner circle," Alonso is quoted by the Spanish sports newspaper AS.
The comment would seem to suggest a further souring in the relationship between Alonso and Ferrari.
|Alonso looks increasingly likely to be leaving Ferrari.|
Indeed, in Monaco, Alonso also denied that the arrival of new team boss Marco Mattiacci has so far had any impact on the struggling Maranello team.
And "I don't think it's going to happen soon," he told reporters.
"He's still learning about the team situation, the formula one environment, the F1 weekends," Alonso added.
"There is no change I feel in the qualifying, the races, the meetings, the work in the factory. Everything is as it was before."
Given Ferrari's situation, and Alonso's five-year wait for a title-winning car, the signs are that he has lost patience with the Italian team.05/11/14 Adrian Newey has refused to commit his future to Red Bull in the wake of a fresh approach from Ferrari.
It's understood that, bereft of a win in over a year, Ferrari have made a new offer to Red Bull's resident technical genius. Newey is widely considered to have been the critical ingredient in Red Bull's four successive title doubles having previously designed championship-winning cars for McLaren and Williams.
Newey has previously rejected overtures from Ferrari in favor of remaining in England, where his children are schooled, but it's reputed he has been invited to name his own price to join the Scuderia as F1's most famous marque plot a return to winning ways and quell Fernando Alonso's mounting dissatisfaction.
However, when asked by Sky Sports F1 prior to the Spanish GP whether he expected to see out his career at Red Bull, Newey coyly replied: "I don't know. I need to think about it. We're in the middle of the season and I'm just getting on with it."
In a separate interview with Sky F1 after the race, won by Lewis Hamilton ahead of Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg, Newey maintained that ambiguous stance, declaring:
"At some point I am going to have to think about the future, but at the moment my focus is getting in front of the silver cars," he said.
Although Newey remains under contract at Red Bull, it is unclear how long is left on the Englishman's current deal. Pressed for details on Newey's contract, Red Bull chief Christian Horner likened the question to "asking a lady about her age".
Horner himself has previously been linked with Ferrari and says he is confident that Newey will opt to remain with the Milton Keynes outfit.
"A lot of approaches are made to our staff, but he enjoys the environment at Red Bull and he has always said he would like to finish his career at Red Bull. The team have a great relationship with Adrian," Horner said.
"For sure, the lure of Ferrari is always there, but there's the politics and the pressure that goes with it and the fact is in Italy. Lots of us have been linked with Red Bull but so far none of us have gone."
Yet. SkySports.com05/11/14 (GMM) Mercedes has closed the door on Fernando Alonso.
Swirling rumors in the Barcelona paddock suggested the increasingly-frustrated Spaniard may have looked into whether there could be a place open at the dominant Brackley team for 2015..
That interest would be despite Alonso's ongoing Ferrari contract, and also the fact that Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton are similarly fastened to Mercedes beyond this year.
And Niki Lauda, Mercedes' outspoken chairman, promptly dismissed the speculation as "bullsh*t", according to the Austrian newspaper Salzburger Nachrichten.
Team boss Toto Wolff added: "We think long-term -- we are not interested in one night stands."
The door to silver pastures would seem to be firmly shut to Alonso.
Not only that, the Spaniard - earlier with the easy upper-hand on new Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen - has been soundly outpaced by the Finn at home in Spain this weekend.
Europa Press quoted Alonso as saying: "I'm more worried about the 1.8 second gap to Mercedes."
Raikkonen, too, was not celebrating his Saturday triumph.
"It gives me no satisfaction to be ahead of him (Alonso)," he said. "What I want is to be fighting for the top positions.
"Of course it's nicer to be in front of him than behind, but whether you're sixth or seventh doesn't make much difference," Raikkonen added.05/10/14 (GMM) Ferrari is a hotbed of rumors at the scene of the Spanish grand prix.
The first rumor was that Ross Brawn, the team's ultra-successful technical director during the Michael Schumacher years, could be on the way back to Maranello full-time following a recent visit during his retirement.
But Luca di Montezemolo, the Ferrari team president who is stepping up his presence in the wake of boss Stefano Domenicali's exit, shook his head disapprovingly when asked on Friday about the Brawn speculation.
"I am sure (Marco) Mattiacci will do a good job, even though he has just arrived," said the Italian, referring to Domenicali's inexperienced successor.
"But I don't believe in a one-man show."
Indeed, Montezemolo did little to quell the Brawn rumors when he suggested that Mattiacci was only selected to replace Domenicali because "there was no other alternatives".
"To be honest I didn't have time to think of anybody else as I didn't want to leave an open position," he said in Barcelona.
The Brawn rumor is not the only one swirling around the Circuit de Catalunya.
France's L'Equipe reports that Fernando Alonso is looking for a way out of his 2016 Ferrari contract in order to join Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes next year.
The publication cited "Spanish sources", but it may also have been fuelled by Toto Wolff's recent description of Alonso as a 2014 title contender and "race monster".
"Absolute nonsense!" Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda rapidly fired when asked about the Alonso connection.
"Both of our drivers, Nico (Rosberg) and Lewis, have long-term contracts and we will hold to them. We see no reason to replace either of our drivers," he is quoted by Sport Bild.
Montezemolo, however, at least acknowledged that Alonso is currently frustrated.
"When we give him a very competitive car again, he will be extremely happy," he said.
"My problem is not my drivers, it is making the team competitive again," Spain's El Mundo quotes Montezemolo as saying.
The third Ferrari rumor, meanwhile, is linking Red Bull's technical boss Adrian Newey - the highest paid and most highly rated engineer in F1 - with Maranello.
The rumor has been repeated by numerous Italian sources including La Repubblica, but also the respected correspondent for Auto Motor und Sport, Michael Schmidt.
"Newey is said to have received an offer," Schmidt said. "It would not be the first."