Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • Ericsson will always have a ride now
    Ericsson will always have a ride now

    Ericsson's backers have bought Sauber – report

  • Bianchi had 'difficult time' in Ferrari talks – Massa
  • Horner tips Mercedes switch for Vettel in 2018
  • Ferrari needs 'time' amid F1 recovery – Berger
  • Super Soft tires preferred for Germany
  • Video: Nico Hulkenberg's Hungary preview

Ericsson's backers have bought Sauber – report
(GMM) Monisha Kaltenborn has declined to confirm or deny reports it is Marcus Ericsson's Swedish backers who have bought the Sauber team.

The Swiss outfit announced on Wednesday that it will be fully acquired by a Swiss-based group called Longbow Finance, resulting in the retirement of founder Peter Sauber.

"As a Swiss company, we are very pleased with having secured the future of a Swiss presence in a highly specialized and innovative industry," said Longbow's Pascal Picci.

But the Swiss newspaper Blick claims that Longbow is in fact powered by Tetra Laval, a Swedish multinational headed by billionaire Hans Rausing that already finances Sauber driver Marcus Ericsson's seat.

"On the background of the purchase agreement, we do not comment," Kaltenborn, who remains team boss, told the newspaper when asked about the Tetra Pak rumors on Thursday.

She also would not say what Longbow has paid for the team, which will continue to be called Sauber.

Kaltenborn admitted: "Of course I am very relieved and happy that we found a solution. It is certainly one of the best days in my tenure as team boss.

"Now we need to stabilize as a company and then move forward step by step.

"Having a competitive car as soon as possible is one of the key strategic objectives," she added. "But giant leaps should not be expected this season.

"The challenges remain enormous, but now at least they are positive challenges."

Kaltenborn also would not comment on claims that, with Ericsson's backers now owning Sauber, the 25-year-old Swedish driver's career is at least secure.

"As I said, we will analyze and discuss all of this in the next weeks. We only ever do contracts for one year with drivers," she insisted.

Jules Bianchi
Jules Bianchi

Bianchi had 'difficult time' in Ferrari talks – Massa
(GMM) Jules Bianchi was enduring a "difficult time" in his relationship with Ferrari when he crashed at Suzuka in 2014.

That is the claim of F1 veteran Felipe Massa, as the sport this week marks the one year anniversary of the tragic death of the former Marussia driver.

Bianchi, 25, was widely regarded as a Ferrari driver of the future when he speared off the track in fading light during the 2014 Japanese grand prix.

Massa agreed: "He was a driver who should have had the chance to race for Ferrari. At the time, there was talk that he could go there and that they were talking.

"He was having a difficult time in his talks with Ferrari," the Brazilian, who drove for Ferrari for eight years until he was dropped at the end of 2013, told UOL Grande Premio.

"But his talent was clear. I always thought he was a driver who could be very successful in F1," added Massa, who was close to Bianchi as they shared a manager in Nicolas Todt.

At the time of his ultimately fatal crash, Bianchi was the leading member of Ferrari's driver development academy.

Will German Vettel move to the German Mercedes team?
Will German Vettel move to the German Mercedes team?

Horner tips Mercedes switch for Vettel in 2018
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel's former boss thinks the German driver may soon run out of patience for Ferrari.

Christian Horner, who oversaw Vettel's four consecutive world championships for Red Bull, told Sport Bild that he senses a lack of calm in the 29-year-old's current disposition.

"I have the feeling that Seb is a bit rattled," Red Bull team boss Horner told the German newspaper.

"I know from personal experience that he has to feel good in order to perform well. And I'm not sure whether he likes (Ferrari president) Sergio Marchionne's pressure.

"I can well imagine that in 2018 Seb will switch to Mercedes if he doesn't start making progress with Ferrari," Horner added.

The Italian press is currently characterizing Ferrari as being in 'crisis', having failed to capitalize on its progress and being out-performed in recent races by Red Bull.

But Gerhard Berger does not agree with Horner that Vettel is becoming rattled by the pressure.

"I know him from the Red Bull days," the former Toro Rosso co-owner told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, "and he is a true leader. He never loses heart."

Gerhard Berger
Gerhard Berger

Ferrari needs 'time' amid F1 recovery – Berger
(GMM) F1 legend Gerhard Berger says Ferrari needs "time" to recapture its glory days.

The Italian press is currently characterizing Ferrari as being in 'crisis', having failed to capitalize on its progress and being out-performed in recent races by Red Bull.

Technical director James Allison is said to be departing, Ross Brawn has denied rumors he will replace him and Red Bull's Christian Horner is predicting Sebastian Vettel will soon lose patience and switch to Mercedes.

But Berger, who drove for the Maranello marque during two separate tenures in the 80s and 90s, told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera: "Ferrari is always in my heart. I spent the best years in Italy.

"They (Ferrari) need time," he said.

"Last year was better than expected, but it made expectations grow too much. Everyone expected a comeback and instead the gap is even bigger," Berger added.

Asked if Ferrari needs yet another transition year, he answered: "Arrivabene and his boys need to be left to work.

"Probably in 2017 they will be able to fight on par with Mercedes, but it will not happen in the next three or four races. The closer you get to the summit, the harder the climb becomes," he added.

Earlier this month, Ferrari's former technical chief Ross Brawn said the great strength of the Michael Schumacher era was that president Luca di Montezemolo successfully shielded the team from the typical Ferrari turmoil.

When asked about Ferrari's current 'crisis', the now departed Montezemolo said this week: "For people like me who deeply love Ferrari and spent the most important years there, sometimes the best way to demonstrate that love is to keep quiet.

"I have proposed for some time not to talk about formula one, but I'll be very happy to do it again later, given the passion that I have," he is quoted by Tuttosport.

Super Soft tires preferred for Germany
Pirelli has revealed the driver-by-driver tire selections for the German Grand Prix, with the red-marked Super Soft compound favoured over the yellow-marked Soft and white-marked Medium.

Ferrari, Sauber and McLaren will all take nine sets of the Super Soft rubber to Hockenheim, with most other teams choosing eight or seven sets, leaving limited sets of Softs and Mediums.

Force India has again opted for a different approach, though, with drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez taking three sets of the Medium tire, four sets of Softs and six sets of Super Softs.

For 2016, each driver receives 13 dry-weather sets per Grand Prix, with Pirelli choosing two sets for the race (only one of which must be used), and a set of the softest compound, only for use in Q3.

Drivers are free to select any combination of the chosen compounds for the other 10 sets.

For next weekend's round in Germany, which follows the Hungarian Grand Prix as part of a back-to-back, Pirelli hasallocated a set of Softs and Mediums for the race, and a set of Super Softs for qualifying.

Video: Nico Hulkenberg's Hungary preview
Force India driver Nico Hulkenberg previews this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring

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