Latest F1 news in brief – Friday

  • The high cost of the much hated hybrid F1 engines means Manor, Force India, Sauber and Lotus are all teetering on going belly-up

    FIA wants new F1 team for 2016

  • Magnussen still hopeful of F1 return
  • Haas admits driver interest 'picking up'
  • Ferrari has not closed gap on Mercedes – Briatore
  • Mercedes to use 'logic' not 'data' in future – Wolff
  • FIA happy with Ferrari-Haas relationship – reports
  • FIA seeking 'human telemetry' for F1
  • FIA engine clampdown 'no surprise' – Renault
  • Massa thinks Monaco one-off slump for Williams
  • Ecclestone not ruling out India return

FIA wants new F1 team for 2016
(GMM) F1's governing body has commenced the search for a new formula one team.

Up and down the paddock, fevered discussions about the future of the sport are currently taking place.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport believes that Manor, Force India, Sauber and Lotus are all now in danger of imminent collapse.

Correspondent Michael Schmidt says that has led to "some last-minute panic". In Monaco, the paddock whispers were all about 'customer cars'.

Bernie Ecclestone is pushing for his 'super GP2' solution, while another proposed plan is for big teams to field a third car.

But it emerged in Monaco that the big teams' own idea is to prepare two extra cars apiece, supplying them to the bottom half of the grid who would in turn give up their status as 'constructors'.

Now the FIA has stepped in.

On Thursday, the governing body launched a new selection process to identify a new F1 team for "the start of the 2016 or 2017 season".

In a statement, the FIA said the new process is in "due regard for the sustainability and future success" of the sport.

Expressions of interest must be lodged by the end of June, with a final decision to be made three months later.

"In the event that no applicant is considered suitable by both the FIA and the commercial rights holder," the statement added, "no additional team will be selected."

Magnussen's driving career will be wasted waiting for an F1 ride
Magnussen's driving career will be wasted waiting for an F1 ride

Magnussen still hopeful of F1 return
(GMM) Kevin Magnussen says he is not losing hope for a rapid return to the F1 grid.

After a solid debut for McLaren last year, the 22-year-old Dane was relegated to the reserve role for 2016 as champions Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button spearhead the new Honda-powered era.

"Yes I have itchy feet," Magnussen told reporters in a McLaren teleconference, "but I'm also very young so I can afford one year to do what I do now.

"It's actually not a bad thing – being on the sidelines watching – because you learn different things," he added.

But while he watches, another McLaren-backed junior, Stoffel Vandoorne, is emerging as a genuine star of the future as he dominates the feeder series GP2.

"I guess everyone is a threat when you're competing for a formula one seat," said Magnussen when asked about the impressive 23-year-old Belgian.

"What can you do about it? Stoffel is doing a really good job and he deserves to get to formula one," he admitted. "I think there's something wrong if he doesn't get to formula one."

So what next for Magnussen? He was earlier linked with a move to Indycar, or to join his father Jan in sports cars, but for now is focused only on F1.

"We know formula one is unpredictable," he admitted. "I believe McLaren will take care of my career, no matter what.

"It's not that I'm only gunning for the McLaren drive," said Magnussen, "of course I'm doing that as well.

"(But) if there's no vacancy here, together with Ron (Dennis), Eric (Boullier) and my management I'll look for something else."

Danica Patrick was mocked as an 'appliance' by Bernie Ecclestone so Gene Haas is considering her as one of his drivers. After all, she is winning so many races in NASCAR and dominated IndyCar that she must qualify to be an F1 driver
Danica Patrick was mocked as an 'appliance' by Bernie Ecclestone so Gene Haas is considering her as one of his drivers. After all, she is winning so many races in NASCAR and so dominated IndyCar that she must qualify to be an F1 driver

Haas admits driver interest 'picking up'
(GMM) Haas, the new American F1 team for 2016, is now turning its attention to drivers.

It emerged recently that due to his link to the team's technology partner Ferrari, Esteban Gutierrez appears in pole position for one seat.

But Californian GP2 driver Alexander Rossi might also be a contender, while team owner Gene Haas has not ruled out a spectacular switch from Nascar for Danica Patrick.

The shortlist, however, is undoubtedly much longer than that, Haas indicated in a recent interview with USA Today.

"I think the seriousness of the interest is picking up quite a bit," he said.

"Right now there's a lot of churning in the garage there in formula one. "Some people are doing really well and everybody else is doing really bad.

"Some of the teams they thought would do good really missed it."

He might be talking about Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez, who have been openly disappointed with Force India's progress in 2016.

That is despite team boss Vijay Mallya declaring to F1's official website this week that "the chances that I will keep them (Hulkenberg and Perez) are absolutely very high".

Haas said: "The drivers we would probably be getting are drivers who have gone to another team and aren't happy with that team's progress.

"I think drivers are very cognizant of the fact that if they choose the wrong venue, they can screw their careers," he explained. "Because when there's technological issues they haven't overcome, they're wasting a whole year."

Ferrari isn't going to catch Mercedes, who developed the current F1 engine technology way before anyone
Ferrari isn't going to catch Mercedes, who developed the current F1 engine technology way before anyone, anytime soon

Ferrari has not closed gap on Mercedes – Briatore
(GMM) Flavio Briatore insists Ferrari has made no progress in 2015.

Several times recently, the Italian has defended Fernando Alonso's decision to leave Maranello just as it appeared to bounce back into contention.

Briatore, who is still involved in Alonso's management, said: "Look, I don't deny that Ferrari has become the second force this season. It's true."

But he told the Ferrari media insider Leo Turrini's blog that it is not because Ferrari has dramatically improved, but because its rivals "disappeared".

"Red Bull has the disastrous Renault power unit," said Briatore, "while Williams is penalized by the engine Mercedes makes available to it. It is clearly not on the same level as the one used by (Lewis) Hamilton and (Nico) Rosberg.

"The others fell back, Ferrari remained firm but they did not close the gap that Mercedes had.

"If you look at the gap (Sebastian) Vettel had against the Mercedes at the end of the race in Barcelona, you'll see it's more or less the same that Alonso had last year.

"Same with qualifying in Monaco if you compare what Vettel (2015) and Alonso (2014) did," Briatore added.

"If you say that Ferrari has already won a grand prix, I say 'congratulations' but it was because of a strategy error by Mercedes, just as Vettel's second place in Monaco was as well."

Briatore said he is making his comments about Ferrari not to be "hostile" but to "say it how it is".

Finally, the 65-year-old Italian said he has no interest in taking over from Bernie Ecclestone as F1 chief executive.

"The way I see it," said Briatore, "the future of formula one is very grey.

"We have absurd rules, we hear engineers tell drivers to save tires, save engines, save fuel — this is racing in the new millennium?" he wondered.

Mercedes to use 'logic' not 'data' in future – Wolff
(GMM) Mercedes has resolved to rely less on data and more on human input in future, following the strategy disaster of the Monaco grand prix.

Ever since Lewis Hamilton lost a sure victory in the Principality due to a late extra pitstop, the reigning world champion team has been feverishly analyzing what went wrong.

"We have looked at all the data and gone through all the options again and come to the following conclusion," team boss Toto Wolff told the German newspaper Bild.

"If the same or a similar situation as Monaco were to arise in the future, we would not decide because of the data or the computer, but because of logic and common sense," he insisted.

Britain's Mirror newspaper, however, has revealed that Hamilton's own input was instrumental in the ill-fated decision to pit him during the safety car period.

The report said Mercedes initially told him to stay on track, before Hamilton intervened by radio: "Are you sure it's the best thing to stay out?

"These tires have lost all their temperature and everyone else is going to be on options now."

Mercedes replied: "Ok, copy, copy. Box, box."

A team spokesman commented: "Lewis had his input but we make the decision and we got the calculations wrong."

Other teams thought Haas was secretly doing wind tunnel testing for Ferrari.  They are not.
Other teams thought Haas was secretly doing wind tunnel testing for Ferrari. They are not.

FIA happy with Ferrari-Haas relationship – reports
(GMM) A recent inspection by F1's governing body cleared Ferrari of wrongdoing as it pushes ahead with aerodynamic development in 2015.

The story was first reported on Tuesday by Italy's Omnicorse, following rumors emerging from the recent meeting of the Strategy Group.

The report claimed Mercedes had complained that Ferrari might be violating the restrictions on wind tunnel use by helping the American team prepare for 2016.

Haas' 2016 car, reportedly based on the current Ferrari, is being wind tunnel-tested at Maranello, meaning the extra data could be fed back into the works team's current development program.

Omnicorse said the FIA had resolved to send its aerodynamic expert Marcin Budkowski to Maranello to look into the accusations.

Luis Vasconcelos, writing for Finland's Turun Sanomat newspaper, reported that the inspection in fact took place last week, with concerns also having been raised by Red Bull and McLaren.

"They (the teams) were convinced that the massive aerodynamic package introduced by Ferrari in Barcelona would have been impossible with the restricted wind tunnel time," he said.

Omnicorse correspondent Franco Nugnes said: "His (Budkowski's) investigation revealed nothing abnormal in the relationship between Haas and Ferrari, at least in the context of the current rules."

FIA seeking 'human telemetry' for F1
(GMM) F1's governing body wants to plug the drivers into the telemetry.

Omnicorse, a specialist Italian publication, claims the FIA will test the real-time collection of heart, respiratory and temperature information from F1 stars as they drive on track later this year.

The ambition is to eventually mandate the collection of 'human telemetry', in the name of safety.

The report said the move would arm medical staff with crucial information in the event of crashes, such as those suffered by Jules Bianchi in Japan last year, or the mysterious winter testing incident that hospitalized Fernando Alonso.

As recently as two weeks ago, McLaren admitted that the cause of Alonso's Barcelona crash might remain a mystery forever.

"We could see everything through the telemetry and he was fine and the way he describes the locking sensation and the moment he crashed the car, we can see it," managing director Jonathan Neale is quoted by Express newspaper.

"In the three weeks that followed," he added, "we went through a meticulous process with the FIA. We took that car apart, ran bench tests, combed through the data, opened it all up.

"The FIA were brilliant and gave us the data they had and we shared everything with them, we could not find anything," said Neale.

"Poor Fernando too, he was like a pin cushion when they finished with him. He had been through so many different tests.

"I have got nothing more to be able to sift through," Neale added. "He (Alonso) was thoroughly put through his paces. The reality is none of us really knows (what happened)."

FIA engine clampdown 'no surprise' – Renault
(GMM) Renault says it is "not surprised" the FIA is clamping down on supposedly non-performance engine upgrades in formula one.

As the mid-year month of June approaches, it is believed Honda – for example – has found 50 horse power since Melbourne without spending a single 'token'.

Amid the so-called 'engine freeze', the FIA's token system gives manufacturers some limited scope to improve the performance of their power units during the season.

But many changes, ostensibly for reliability reasons, can be done without exchanging tokens.

Honda is not alone. Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault also have not used a single token between them so far during the grand prix season, Italy's Omnicorse reports.

So over the Monaco weekend, the FIA issued a directive warning that any modifications to the engines from now on can only be made with 8 days notice, and accompanied by reams of explanatory data.

"I'm not surprised," Renault's F1 chief, Cyril Abiteboul, said.

"Like last year, there were about 50 requests for modifying the engines put forward by the manufacturers.

"It must not be easy to manage all of these requests so I am not surprised if the FIA wants to have more control over the situation," the Frenchman added.

Massa contemplates Williams' struggles
Massa contemplates Williams' struggles

Massa thinks Monaco one-off slump for Williams
(GMM) Felipe Massa has backed Williams to recover immediately from a bad weekend in Monaco.

Valtteri Bottas said after the street race that it was the "second year in succession" the British team struggled in Monaco.

Technical boss Pat Symonds told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "There is no excuse.

"We had the same thing last year and obviously learned nothing from it."

Massa, Bottas' teammate, agreed: "We suffered in the practice sessions, in qualifying and in the race and I'm not sure it was just the tires."

But "I think what happened last week will not happen again," the Brazilian is quoted by Spain's El Mundo Deportivo.

"This was the worst circuit for us so I am very confident that in Canada and Austria, and even Silverstone that our car will be better again."

In fact, Massa said Williams can expect to bounce back even stronger than before Monaco.

"I don't know what new parts we have for Canada but definitely for Austria we should take a big step," he said.

Ecclestone not ruling out India return
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone is not ruling out a return to the F1 calendar for India.

Last week, a source close to the former promoter Jaypee indicated that the New Delhi race – scrapped for financial and bureaucratic reasons after its third edition in 2013 – appeared unlikely to return any time soon.

Indeed, India was already not featured on the recently-leaked provisional 2016 calendar.

"While the official line is that negotiations are happening, I don't think anyone expects the race to come back in the near future," the source told a local newspaper.

But now, F1 supremo Ecclestone has been quoted by the Telegraph India as saying he would be "happy" if the Indian race came back.

"I hope we have a race in India next year," said the Briton. "I am waiting for the promoters to come back to me."

The leaked 2016 calendar, however, already features 21 race dates, triggering speculation Ecclestone is under pressure to reduce it to twenty.

Asked how he will fit India in too, the 84-year-old answered: "We will do whatever is needed to make sure India is back.

"We just need the Jaypee Group to say that 'we are happy to carry on' and we can revive the existing contract."

Ecclestone warned, however, that time is running out for the promoter.

"They (Jaypee) need to be in a hurry," he said. "Within the next two months, we need to know."

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