Latest F1 news in brief – Monday

  • Arrivabene says rumors are made up to destabilize Ferrari
    Arrivabene says rumors are made up to destabilize Ferrari. They destabilized themselves when they let Aldo Costa get away

    Rumors swirling to destabilize Ferrari – boss

  • Verstappen 'talent of the century' – Lauda
  • Hamilton 'took the blame' for Rosberg crash – Lauda
  • Ecclestone says big-wigs 'plotting' his demise
  • Red Bull return 'unlikely' for Kvyat
  • Red Bull 'in shock' over Verstappen drive
  • Sainz Jr. congratulates Verstappen on win
  • Vettel praises first-time winner Verstappen

Rumors swirling to destabilize Ferrari – boss
(GMM) Maurizio Arrivabene thinks Rumors predicting his demise were designed to destabilize Ferrari.

In Barcelona, following president Sergio Marchionne's insistence that the Maranello team immediately end its winning drought, Rumors swirled that Ferrari was contemplating ousting Arrivabene.

Marchionne, however, rubbished those Rumors when he appeared in the paddock ahead of the Spanish grand prix on Sunday, which was won by Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

"What exactly did Marchionne say?" Arrivabene inquired.

Told by a reporter that the Fiat and Ferrari president had expressed confidence in the leadership team, the Italian added: "There's your answer.

"I don't pay attention to all these Rumors. Those who create them have one goal — to create a tense atmosphere in the team.

"Of course this is not helpful, but we have to keep concentrated on what we are doing, without being distracted by these Rumors," Arrivabene added.

Ferrari cannot beat cars designed by Red Bull's Adrian Newey (top) and Mercedes' Aldo Costa (bottom)

However, the pressure on Arrivabene did not ease on Sunday, as even after Mercedes' double-DNF, it was a Red Bull rather than a Ferrari that won the grand prix.

"Of course, congratulations to Red Bull and Max Verstappen," he said.

"But I see this not as a podium for us but a wasted opportunity," added Arrivabene, after Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel finished second and third.

"Our rivals Mercedes were out and we were not there to exploit it.

"So our problem now is to solve the mystery that in certain conditions of temperature our car does not properly exploit the soft tires in qualifying.

"We think we might have understood the technical reason so in the next few days, during the test to be held here in Barcelona, we will try to find the solution," he added.

Indeed, the ever-demanding president Marchionne agreed that Ferrari has plenty of work ahead of it.

"The important thing is that we have to improve the car a lot," he said.

"We have two difficult races now, Monaco and Canada and we must make improvements to the car quickly."

But when asked if Ferrari can still win the 2016 even though it has now lost not only to Mercedes but also Red Bull, Marchionne insisted: "Yes, of course."

He said both Mercedes drivers failing to finish on Sunday gives Ferrari a points boost.

"It helps a lot," said Marchionne. "It helped Mercedes in the past, with all the problems we had in the races after Australia.

"I'm sorry for Mercedes that it (Sunday's crash) happened, but it gives us a deep breath to move on."

The famous Italian press, however, is not at all happy.

"I would urge everyone at Ferrari to put the champagne for this double podium back in the fridge," wrote La Repubblica's Marco Mensura.

"In two years of Ferrari desperately chasing Mercedes, Red Bull won on the day that Mercedes imploded.

"No, Ferrari has nothing to be happy about," he insisted.

A happy Verstappen is surrounded by reporters
A happy Verstappen is surrounded by reporters

Verstappen 'talent of the century' – Lauda
(GMM) Even Dr Helmut Marko's arch rival Niki Lauda on Sunday had to tip his famous red cap to Max Verstappen.

As the Mercedes team chairman, Lauda was furious in Barcelona after the collision between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg opened the door for Red Bull's new recruit Max Verstappen to record an historic win.

"I have no answer except to take my cap off," the F1 legend, who still wears a red cap to cover his scars some 40 years after his 1976 Nurburgring crash, is quoted by the German news agency DPA.

"What we are seeing is a talent of the century," Lauda added, referring to Verstappen.

For once, Lauda and his compatriot Dr Marko – the architect of Red Bull's often controversial young driver program – completely agree.

"It is unbelievable what he (Verstappen) did," Marko told the Austrian broadcaster ORF. "The way he kept the lead with someone like Raikkonen harrying him is incredible."

Writing for Italy's La Repubblica, correspondent Marco Mensura summarized Verstappen's shock breakthrough in Spain by declaring that – like or not the methods of Marko's brutal regime – Red Bull has uncovered a true F1 star.

"Winning a race like this at 18, at a circuit like this, with someone like Raikkonen attacking for 50 laps, not just anyone can do," he wrote.

"Congratulations to him and those who have understood the talent on their hands.

"That said, I would go against the ocean of rhetoric about this guy (Verstappen) to repeat what I have said before: I would have preferred Red Bull to handle this driver change differently.

"Betting on teenagers is good marketing, but from the sporting point of view it produces one Verstappen for every 50 Alguersuari. Sportingly speaking, it is carnage," Mensura added.

Hamilton broods
Hamilton broods

Hamilton 'took the blame' for Rosberg crash – Lauda
(GMM) Not everyone is pointing the finger of blame at Lewis Hamilton after Mercedes' catastrophic double-DNF in Barcelona.

That is despite the fact that even the reigning triple world champion's boss, team chairman Niki Lauda, is adamant the Briton spiraling out of control and collecting championship leader Nico Rosberg was all Hamilton's fault.

Rosberg, however, is still not happy.

"I feel no solace that Niki Lauda blamed him (Hamilton)," said the German. "I have lost a win and 25 points."

But as far as Lauda is concerned, he is already prepared to put the matter behind the team.

"Lewis looked us in the eye and took the blame," the famous Austrian said.

"He apologized. He took everything on himself. That's fine with me," Lauda told the Austrian broadcaster ORF.

"(Team boss) Toto (Wolff) sees it differently, but I'm a black and white thinker. If someone says 'Guys, I'm really sorry' – if someone makes a mistake and realizes it – then that for me is history," said Lauda.

Lauda may be 'black and white', but boss Wolff said a major factor to consider is that Rosberg was rounding Barcelona's turn 3 "in the wrong engine setting".

"That was the reason he was significantly slower than Lewis," Wolff told Bild newspaper.

"This explains why everything happened so quickly. They both had to make decisions in a split second."

That, according to GPDA president Alex Wurz, is why Hamilton should not get all of the blame.

"I know Sir Jackie Stewart and Niki Lauda have blamed Lewis because they thought that maybe he was being too aggressive trying to push through," the former F1 driver said.

"I respect two drivers (Stewart and Lauda) with six world championships between them," added Wurz, the increasingly high-profile chief of the F1 drivers' union.

"By contrast, Jacques Villeneuve, another world champion, thought it was Nico's fault for closing the door on Lewis so aggressively, which shows how difficult it all is," he added.

"But I believe it was a racing incident and the race stewards agreed with that assessment," Wurz told The Times newspaper. "They (Hamilton and Rosberg) made a misjudgment over what was happening."

Ecclestone mocks those trying to overthrow him
Ecclestone mocks those trying to overthrow him

Ecclestone says big-wigs 'plotting' his demise
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone on Sunday confirmed reports some of F1's major stakeholders are "plotting" his demise.

We reported this month that Mercedes and Red Bull have joined Ferrari in apparently moving against the long-time F1 'supremo', with plans to replace the 85-year-old Briton with a three-pronged leadership team.

Niki Lauda has been named as the potential head of the 'sporting' arm but the F1 legend rubbished those claims in Barcelona.

"Such b——t," he told Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

"Toto Wolff and I have a big enough job here with Mercedes, and we even own shares in the team. We are successful and everything works fine," Lauda added.

One suggestion, however, is that Lauda is already scaling down his other commitments ahead of a possible change of leadership in F1.

For instance, he is no longer a full-time pundit for German television RTL.

Lauda insists: "That was RTL's decision, who did it for budgetary reasons. Less money means less Niki.

"I want to emphasize that it was not my idea," Lauda insisted.

Nonetheless, it is rumored that ahead of the Spanish grand prix on Sunday, big-wigs including Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche and Fiat president Sergio Marchionne actually admitted their plot during a pre-race meeting.

When asked about those Rumors, Ecclestone – who met with CVC's Donald Mackenzie in Barcelona – told Britain's Sky: "I don't know.

"They're trying to do some plotting probably but they don't know what they're plotting for."

When asked by former driver and respected commentator Martin Brundle if the plot is to "get rid" of Ecclestone, the diminutive Briton added: "They've got more chance of getting struck by lightning.

"They should start doing the pools (lottery)," Ecclestone said.

Given Verstappen's win first time out, Kvyat will never get his old ride back
Given Verstappen's win first time out, Kvyat will never get his old ride back

Red Bull return 'unlikely' for Kvyat
(GMM) Christian Horner has admitted it is unlikely Daniil Kvyat will be returning to Red Bull's senior team any time soon.

Just before Barcelona, Dr Helmut Marko made the controversial decision to send Russian Kvyat back to Toro Rosso so that teen sensation Max Verstappen can be instantly promoted.

"It was not easy to convince everyone to get him in the car," Marko admitted to Auto Bild.

Ultimately, however, Marko's highly-controversial decision now appears inspired, after 18-year-old Verstappen made history with his shock first win on Sunday.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner is comparing the young Dutchman with Sebastian Vettel, who also began his climb to F1 stardom with Red Bull.

"We have no new Sebastian," Marko insists. "He is Max Verstappen."

Russian Kvyat, however, might be forgiven for having his bad mood worsened still by the events of Sunday, with Verstappen winning a race at the wheel of a car he only just vacated.

"If I would have won this race?" Russia's Tass news agency quotes the 22-year-old as saying after Verstappen's historic breakthrough. "We will never know.

"But I know my potential and that I can win races and championships. It just seems that my path will be more difficult. I need to be patient," Kvyat added.

But Red Bull appears more than delighted with Verstappen alongside Daniel Ricciardo.

"I think his (Kvyat's) return is highly unlikely in the near future," said Horner, "but you can never rule anything out.

"He has a long-term contract and he will continue to gain experience at Toro Rosso, without being under so much pressure," he added.

Verstappen held off Raikkonen for 50 laps
Verstappen held off Raikkonen for 50 laps

Red Bull 'in shock' over Verstappen drive
Christian Horner says Red Bull is "in shock" after Max Verstappen raced to victory on his debut for the team at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Verstappen, who started fourth, moved into the lead on a two-stop strategy and resisted intense late pressure from Kimi Raikkonen.

He becomes the sport's youngest ever race winner, aged just 18, and is also the first Dutchman to triumph in the top echelon.

"He's the youngest Grand Prix winner now, which is an unbelievable achievement – we're still in shock," Horner explained to Sky Sports after the race.

"It's a dream debut [for Verstappen].

"We took the opportunity with Mercedes not being there [after crashing], we had to cover Ferrari, they probably had at least as quick, maybe a quicker car in clean air.

"But through the tactics that we adopted, through Max's driving… he didn't make one mistake throughout the whole weekend, not just the Grand Prix today.

"To soak up that pressure at such a young age is hugely impressive."

Verstappen's father, Jos, said he also cannot believe the outcome.

"When you see him going around in the last couple of laps and you know how old the tires are, thinking, 'Is he going to make it?' I just can't believe it," said Verstappen Sr.

"The strategy in the beginning you think, 'Oh, does it work out, does it work out?' I think everybody thought that. In the end it did work out and I'm very pleased with that!

"I'm very proud. We did a lot together. I was so happy when I heard the phone call, to move over to Red Bull, and I knew there would be a lot more opportunities."

Carlos Sainz Jr. eyes the other Red Bull seat
Carlos Sainz Jr. eyes the other Red Bull seat

Sainz Jr. congratulates Verstappen on win
Carlos Sainz Jr. has congratulated former team-mate Max Verstappen for winning on his Red Bull debut at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Sainz Jr. raced alongside Verstappen at Toro Rosso before the Dutch teenager secured promotion to the brand's senior squad.

Verstappen used a two-stop strategy to move to the head of the pack, and maturely defended from Kimi Raikkonen late on.

"I'd like to congratulate Max on his win," said Sainz Jr.

"I'm very happy for him and the Red Bull family – I think it's great that Red Bull brings young talent into Formula 1 and we keep succeeding, proving them right."

Sainz Jr. described his own race as "fantastic" as he recorded his best F1 finish in sixth.

"We finally put a whole weekend together – we had a productive Friday, were fast in quali and had good pace in the race today – and I'm a very happy man!" he explained.

"P6 is an amazing result for me and the team, and to achieve this at my home race makes it even better.

"The start to the race was great, I think I did one of the best race starts of my life to be honest, running in a podium position and battling with Ferrari… those first laps were really nice!

"I felt comfortable during the rest of the race, the team did a very good job with the pit-stops and I had a big smile on my face when I crossed the line in sixth position."

Sainz Jr. was given a reprimand by the stewards for crossing the pit exit line before the green light on his way to the grid, but the decision does not alter his race result.

Vettel congratulates Verstappen
Vettel congratulates Verstappen

Vettel praises first-time winner Verstappen
Sebastian Vettel has heaped praise on Max Verstappen for securing his maiden Formula 1 win whilst debuting for Red Bull in Spain.

Verstappen kept Kimi Raikkonen behind him in the closing stages of the race as the pair moved to the front on two-stop strategies.

Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, who pitted three times, came home third and fourth in the other Ferrari and Red Bull machines.

Verstappen, aged 18 years and 228 days, takes the 'youngest winner' record away from Vettel, who was aged 21 years and 73 days.

"Congrats to Max – it is his day," said Vettel.

"We would have loved to have been a bit closer [to victory] but nevertheless it is a great effort for the team, after a not so great day, to come back and recover.

"It's Max's day and as sportsmen we have to respect that."

Vettel and Ricciardo came close to colliding in the closing stages of the race, as the latter attempted a bold move into Turn 1 before ultimately dropping back with a puncture.

Vettel swore over the radio as he complained about the pass.

"In that instance for sure I was complaining [over the radio], because if I didn't play according to his move then there would have been a crash," he commented.

"Then again, it's racing, and I can see he's trying. We've raced many times and it's always good fun. It took the tension away for the last two laps when he had a puncture."

He summed up: "I had high hopes after [the Mercedes drivers crashed] to win the race. We tried everything, in hindsight I was on the worse strategy, but this doesn't matter now."

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