Latest F1 news in brief – Wednesday

  • Rosberg and Hamilton, best pals……Not!

    'Document' helped calm Hamilton-Rosberg rivalry

  • Mourning drivers to carry Bianchi message
  • Teams set to scrap behind Mercedes in Hungary
  • F1 scraps in-season testing for 2016
  • Win risk for smaller teams 'unacceptable' – Lopez
  • Early season criticism 'not pleasant' – Kvyat
  • Bernie Ecclestone To Rule On Sport's Tire Supply

'Document' helped calm Hamilton-Rosberg rivalry
(GMM) A piece of paper helped to calm the situation between warring teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Alone with their dominance in 2014, the pair's title battle spiraled out of control.

But although they are still fighting head-to-head in a close championship contest again in 2015, the waters have appeared much calmer so far this season.

German Rosberg has now suggested a 'document' is the reason for the change.

"There is this document that both of us had to sign," he is quoted as saying by Roger Benoit, the highly-experienced correspondent for the Swiss newspaper Blick.

Asked about the content of the agreement, Rosberg answered: "About how we have to conduct ourselves on the track. At the start, when overtaking, etc."

Boss Toto Wolff has also referred to an agreed set of 'rules of engagement' to better handle the inter-team battle in 2015.

"We as a team don't expect them to be nice," he said. "Or, let's say, to play friends for the media. What we ask them is to be respectful of each other, to respect the rules of engagement."

Notwithstanding that, Rosberg says his relationship with Hamilton goes up and down.

"It changes," he said. "It is a complicated battle because we have to think about the team at the same time as we think about beating each other.

"It is always going to be complicated as both of us want to win, so there's ups and downs and there is always going to be another down. At the moment, it is ok," Rosberg added.

In Euro F3 Italian with French citizenship Jules Bianchi crushed Bottas and Ricciardo

Mourning drivers to carry Bianchi message
(GMM) Mourning F1 drivers will carry on their cars the 'CiaoJules' hashtag tribute to their fallen rival Jules Bianchi this weekend in Hungary.

The collective tribute comes in the wake of the talented Frenchman's tragic death last Friday, nine months after falling into a coma following his 2014 Suzuka crash.

No less than 36 of Bianchi's race driver colleagues, including many from the feeder category GP2, flocked to the late 25-year-old's native Nice on Tuesday for the funeral.

F1 stars including Sebastian Vettel, Pastor Maldonado, Felipe Massa, Romain Grosjean and Jean-Eric Vergne were even pallbearers, while others including Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo also paid their respects in Nice.

"It was extremely emotional," Nico Rosberg told Bild newspaper.

Nico Hulkenberg added: "It was the first funeral I have been to. Incredibly emotional and peaceful."

Also there was Grand Prix Drivers' Association president Alex Wurz, but he denied that he had pushed hard for his colleagues to travel to Nice.

"The presence of the drivers came from the heart," said the Austrian. "No one had to be convinced to come.

"Every one of us knows that the life of a friend and a colleague is far more important than any podium."

Another reason for the large turnout, suggested Bianchi's manager Nicholas Todt, was the former Marussia driver's personality.

"He was so natural, humble," said Todt.

"F1 is a complicated profession, often you can lose touch with reality, but he always knew how to remain humble and nice with everybody and that made him different from the others."

Another great tragedy is that Bianchi died before his full potential could be displayed, as he was apparently destined for a future Ferrari race seat.

And Roberto Merhi, his successor at Manor Marussia, said the Bianchi tragedy as well as that of late test driver Maria de Villota, has been hard on the team.

"They did not deserve it. They are a great team who have had bad luck with this and with Maria," he told the Spanish sports daily Marca. "And I'm sorry for the boss, John Booth, who is an excellent manager, one of the best in F1.

"For me, Bianchi was the most complete of my generation," said Spaniard Merhi, 24.

"I remember he arrived for a kart race in 2002 in Vendrell, in Spain, without knowing the circuit, which in this age is crucial, but he was like a bullet immediately.

"In 2009 he won the F3 euro series with a car that was very good, but he crushed everybody," recalled Merhi, "including Bottas and Ricciardo."

Everyone will be chasing the Mercedes in Hungary

Teams set to scrap behind Mercedes in Hungary
(GMM) Williams might have to take a back seat in Hungary this weekend, despite dicing with Mercedes for victory last time out.

And for its part, Ferrari is hoping Silverstone was just a downwards blip on its trajectory of 2015 resurgence, and that softer tires and hotter weather will favor the SF15-T package.

At the same time, Williams' Valtteri Bottas thinks his Mercedes-powered car might struggle on the tight and twisty Hungaroring.

"Hungary is for sure the most difficult track for us for the rest of the season," the Finn told Turun Sanomat newspaper.

Teammate Felipe Massa, however, is less pessimistic.

"This circuit wouldn't normally suit our car because it's quite low speed," he said, "but we have improved the car so much in recent races".

Also hoping for a good weekend are the Red Bull-owned teams, including Toro Rosso, who are similarly handicapped with an underperforming Renault engine whose role is not as important on the short straights of Hungary.

Max Verstappen, for instance, said the layout is "a bit Mickey Mouse", which could suit what many believe is one of the very best chassis on the 2015 grid.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, however, thinks it is the races after the forthcoming summer break that could prove the real step forward.

"We want to be on the podium and put pressure on Williams in the constructors' championship," he told the French magazine Auto Hebdo.

"For me the best indication will be the first race after the summer break," said Horner.

"Renault has not yet used its tokens and everyone is very much hoping for an improvement."

F1 scraps in-season testing for 2016
(GMM) F1 has scrapped in-season testing for 2016, Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport reports.

And in June, the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport revealed that Jerez had been dropped as a venue for winter testing next year.

It said the pre-season schedule for 2016 has been trimmed for cost reasons from three to just two four-day tests, to both take place in Barcelona next March.

And La Gazzetta dello Sport now claims: "The (two) tests during the season will also be absent for the first time since 2011."

However, official tire supplier Pirelli is still pushing for more testing, with Auto Motor und Sport saying in June that the marque wants one post-season outing at a warm location, and one wet-weather test probably at Paul Ricard.

The Italian supplier's Paul Hembery admitted Pirelli had missed its target of two or three-stop races in 2015, "but then we have no testing ability.

"We have zero testing ability so it is ok to sometimes ask us to do things," he told Sky, "but we also need the ability to do our job."

Win risk for smaller teams 'unacceptable' – Lopez
(GMM) Williams finds itself in the same predicament as Lotus, when the Enstone team tried to push towards the very top of formula one.

That is the claim of Gerard Lopez, the low-profile-in-2015 Lotus team owner, who is currently in the midst of Renault buyout rumors and legal trouble with unpaid suppliers.

However, Lopez insists Lotus is actually back on track, having learned from 2012 and 2013, when Kimi Raikkonen even won a couple of races in a black and gold car.

"What I would not do again, perhaps, is that when you are fourth or fifth, try to gamble in going for first place," he said recently to Auto Motor und Sport.

Now, he sees the independent British team Williams in the same sort of situation.

"Williams is in the same position now as we were two years ago. To try to be third, you need to put yourself in a position of unacceptable risk," he is quoted by the German magazine.

After the performance and budget collapse of 2014, Lotus has re-set its objectives in 2015, and Lopez – highly-critical of the income distribution system in F1 – says the fight to be fifth is now the right one.

So while the earlier media coverage was about Lotus stretching itself with debt, now the reports are about the supposed cusp of liquidation.

"Before, we couldn't count. Now it's said that we're broke, just because we only spend as much as we have," said Lopez.

Kvyat has proven to have the measure of Ricciardo

Early season criticism 'not pleasant' – Kvyat
(GMM) Daniil Kvyat has admitted to some relief that his difficulties of early 2015 are now behind him.

After stepping up from his rookie season with Toro Rosso to the big team Red Bull for 2015, the young Russian initially struggled to match Daniel Ricciardo.

It triggered speculation the energy drink stable might oust Kvyat for 2016.

"It is not pleasant to hear criticism especially from people who don't know what's going on," the 21-year-old told Brazil's Globo.

Red Bull-Renault's performance issues aside, what was 'going on' – he argues – was that reliability dramas were badly affecting Kvyat's race weekends, just as he was trying to settle into a new team.

At the same time, the notoriously brutal Dr Helmut Marko did not hide his concerns.

"It was very difficult for me, no doubt," Kvyat admitted.

"Not everyone took into account that we couldn't do what we needed on Fridays. We couldn't practice. The power unit didn't allow it. I was sitting out entire sessions.

"Things began to change when the power unit improved in reliability and allowed us to be on track on Fridays. And the results started coming from that.

"I had not forgotten from one year to the next how to drive, and honestly I don't need someone to tell me what I need to do to be faster," Kvyat insisted.

Indeed, both Marko and team boss Christian Horner now agree that Kvyat is back on track.

Bernie says to Pirelli and Michelin, 'my ears are a bit clogged, how much did you say you will pay to supply F1 tires? That's what I thought you said. I still can't hear you. How much did you say? I like numbers with a lot of zeros.'

Bernie Ecclestone To Rule On Sport's Tire Supply
Pirelli and Michelin "now face a battle" to convince F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone which of them deserves F1's next tire-supply contract, according to Autosport.

After emerging as the only two manufacturers to submit tenders to the FIA, the two companies then had until Friday "to convince motorsport's world governing body their proposals complied with the technical and safety requirements."

It falls on commercial rights holder Ecclestone "to weigh up the commercial aspects of each bid." Ecclestone "is due to hold discussions over the coming weeks with Paul Hembery and Pascal Couasnon, the motorsport directors of Pirelli and Michelin respectively," before announcing the winner of the '17-19 deal in September.

Hembery said, "Obviously we have a history of 100 years of motorsport, and we've been in Formula 1 for five years. That's a basis for a lot of the validation, if you like, from the FIA's point of view." Couasnon admitted last month that "winning over a skeptical Ecclestone would be the key to success." Autosport

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