Latest F1 news in brief – Tuesday

  • Hamilton tells Rosberg to try and beat him, knowing all too well the German cannot

    Hamilton tells Rosberg to race him

  • Sandstorm hits Bahrain
  • Horner plays down Red Bull quit threat
  • No 'team orders' at Ferrari anymore – Arrivabene
  • Jorda preparing for Lotus test debut
  • Sky presenter suspended for Alonso insult
  • Fiat hails 'inevitable' Ferrari reform
  • Hamilton reveals he is not Laureus winner

Hamilton tells Rosberg to race him
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton has urged his teammate to get into the "racing" spirit and try to take him on next time around.

Rosberg, now 17 points behind in the championship standings, ended the Chinese grand prix complaining about his fellow Mercedes driver's tactics as he controlled the pace from the front.

"I don't know what there is to talk about, man," British reporters quoted reigning world champion Hamilton as saying between the Chinese and Bahrain grands prix.

Rosberg argued that he didn't want to try to overtake Hamilton at the time, but instead wanted a bigger gap between himself and the chasing Sebastian Vettel to conserve his tires.

Indeed, Mercedes engineers urged the leading Hamilton to speed up so that Rosberg could increase his gap to Vettel, and are now contemplating issuing team orders to prevent the same tactics in the future.

But Hamilton insisted: "I grew up watching the sport. You want to see overtaking, you want to see a battle.

"I want the guy to be up my ass if he's got the pace to be up my ass, and if you can't defend it, you lose it.

"I want to race, man. This is motor racing. Racing," he emphasized.

"Nico didn't try (to overtake)," Hamilton continued. "They (Mercedes) said maybe he was just comfortable second and I said, 'Well that's the difference between us'."

At the very least, the internal spat at Mercedes will be music to the ears of the chasing Ferrari team, who acknowledge that on pure pace, it is not quite ready to take Mercedes on at every race.

"If I am going to say we are going to win in Bahrain and we are going to give them a tough time," Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene said, "you see! Everybody laughs.

"We just want to say that we will try to stop you from laughing."

Sandstorm hits Bahrain
(GMM) A sandstorm has welcomed the world of formula one to Bahrain.

As the sport left Shanghai and headed for the Persian Gulf's island Kingdom, the local meteorological bureau warned of high winds and the risk of a thick sand haze.

Indeed, on Monday, visibility was poor at the Sakhir circuit and the track, paddock and surrounding roads were covered in sand.

But the conditions are not believed to have caused any flight delays, as was the case amid severe sandstorms a fortnight ago, for the thousands of F1 arrivals.

Horner: We were only joking
Horner: We were only joking

Horner plays down Red Bull quit threat
(GMM) Christian Horner is now playing down Red Bull's F1 quit threat.

Earlier, directing their anger at engine supplier Renault, the energy drink company's mogul Dietrich Mateschitz and Dr Helmut Marko said the situation could move either the French carmaker or Red Bull to pull out.

But team boss Horner has now clarified Mateschitz's remarks.

"If you look closely at his comments," he is quoted by DPA news agency, "he was encouraging Renault to continue to improve and do the job properly."

Horner said Renault, as a company and a F1 competitor, is in fact "better than we see of them now", insisting all the comments have been about "how to deal with the current situation".

"It's a long season but hopefully at the end we will look back and say this was a low point but we recovered," he added.

For Red Bull, it is a much more promising time for its junior F1 team, Toro Rosso.

Boss Franz Tost has been notably less critical of Renault, telling De Telegraaf newspaper: "It is not good for our cooperation if we openly criticize.

"I am convinced that sooner or later they will come up with a solution," he said, referring to Renault's performance and reliability issues.

Also on the bright side, Red Bull has unearthed a true talent in 2015 in the shape of Max Verstappen, who has impressed the F1 world despite his mere age of 17.

Dutchman Verstappen was having another good race in China when his Renault engine failed, and he admitted that he furiously threw his helmet in frustration behind closed doors.

But Tost insisted: "Technical problems are part of the game. This kind of experience is part of Max's learning process.

"And I must say it is nice to see how Max deals with everything. He is professional and dedicated."

Verstappen himself concluded: "I think Red Bull is quite happy with me, but not with the engine!"

Arrivabene - No more team orders at Ferrari
Arrivabene – No more team orders at Ferrari

No 'team orders' at Ferrari anymore – Arrivabene
(GMM) Maurizio Arrivabene has ruled out boosting Ferrari's title hopes with the help of 'team orders'.

After just three races, Sebastian Vettel is not only splitting the two Mercedes drivers in the championship, but he has scored more than double the points of his teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

It has raised suggestions that, if German Vettel is going to have any chance of taking on Mercedes with an inferior car, Ferrari will have to adopt its former approach of designating clear 'number 1' and 'number 2' driver roles.

But team boss Arrivabene said there is no doubt that Finn Raikkonen will continue to enjoy full equality.

"We will give him all of the necessary support," he is quoted by Italy's Autosprint, "and I do not want to hear about team orders.

"When I arrived at Maranello I saw the old rules of engagement, and I made some changes in the presence of both drivers and their race engineers — so that everybody is informed.

"The only rule in force is that of mathematics," Arrivabene insisted.

La Gazzetta dello Sport also quotes the Italian as explaining: "As long as both of them are in the (title) battle, Seb and Kimi are free to fight each other, but not cause problems."

Carmen Jorda
Carmen Jorda

Jorda preparing for Lotus test debut
(GMM) Carmen Jorda says she is on track to test this year's Lotus car.

The 26-year-old Spaniard's appointment as development driver has been controversial, with many saying it was more about money or marketing than a serious effort to groom her as a future grand prix star.

But she is quoted by Germany's Welt newspaper: "My aim for this year is to drive the E23 in the coming months.

"I will prepare for it in the simulator. It is planned that I will do at least 20 days before I go into the car," Jorda, a former GP3 driver, added.

Interestingly, Jorda disagrees completely with fellow female test driver Susie Wolff, who is opposed to Bernie Ecclestone's idea of an all-women's F1 series.

Jorda said the very fact that women have never succeeded in formula one is evidence that they should not be competing head-to-head with men.

"What about Serena Williams against (Roger) Federer," she told AFP news agency, drawing an analogy between motor racing and tennis.

"What's going to happen? Ask him this next time!" said Jorda when told about Jenson Button's claims that there is "no reason" women cannot race in F1 against men.

More Italian media saying Alonso was a big part of the problem at Ferrari
More Italian media saying Alonso was a big part of the problem at Ferrari

Sky presenter suspended for Alonso insult
(GMM) A presenter for Italian F1 broadcaster Sky has been suspended for insulting Fernando Alonso.

Referring to the Spanish driver's Barcelona testing crash, Paola Saluzzi's offending 'tweet' during the Chinese grand prix weekend said Alonso had now recovered his memory to realize he is "arrogant" and an "imbecile".

We reported that the 'tweet', which was removed and for which Saluzzi apologized, caused Alonso to refuse to speak to Sky Italia at the track last weekend.

Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Sky has now suspended the female journalist.

The sports newspaper said Sky has not officially confirmed the news, but Saluzzi reportedly did not appear in her usual place on a SkyTG24 program this week.

Her colleague Gianluca Semprini is reported to have said: "I greet with affection Paola Saluzzi — see you in a few days".

Meanwhile, Alonso's manager Flavio Briatore has blasted former F1 driver Jean Alesi, who similarly mocked the McLaren-Honda driver last weekend.

Media reports say Frenchman Alesi joked that Alonso "fainted again" when he was lapped by the two Ferraris on Sunday.

Briatore hit back: "In five years, Fernando finished (the championship) second three times, losing one time due to someone else's error.

"Alesi got no results for Ferrari."

Former F1 driver Emanuele Pirro, however, said it is no coincidence that Ferrari's resurgence happened straight after the departure of Alonso.

"Two decisive changes by Ferrari were the engine, and the driver," he told Italian radio Rai this week.

"Alonso had become more of a problem than an asset because he was always dissatisfied," said Pirro, a former Benetton driver.

"Now a young and enthusiastic driver who is always smiling (Sebastian Vettel) has come and he is driving so well. In Bahrain, where it will be hot, the Ferrari will be very good again," he added.

Axed Luca Montezemolo a bitter man
Axed Luca Montezemolo a bitter man

Fiat hails 'inevitable' Ferrari reform
(GMM) Fiat chairman John Elkann has hailed the sweeping changes made by a resurgent Ferrari ahead of the 2015 season.

New York-born Elkann, Fiat-Chrysler chairman and the grandson of the great patriarch Gianni Agnelli, was quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport as insisting that the fabled Maranello team needed to react.

"2014 was a disaster," he said, "and change was inevitable.

"The most important was the release of Luca di Montezemolo, who had led for over 20 years with great energy and commitment.

"He was particularly good at preserving the charm and magic of the brand, creating the best cars in the world and until 2008, managing to succeed on the circuit, thanks to the unbeatable Todt and Schumacher," said Elkann.

"The task of returning to these glories now belongs to Sergio Marchionne, but many other things have been changed at Maranello and we are happy to see that we had a good start to 2015.

"Maurizio Arrivabene has taken the lead of the Scuderia, at the steering wheel are two great champions and the team has risen back to the top step of the podium," Elkann added.

Like Elkann, Ferrari legend Niki Lauda also thinks the departure of Montezemolo as president was the right move for the fabled Italian marque.

"It was painful for Luca," the now Mercedes team chairman told La Repubblica, "but it worked.

"I am a friend of Montezemolo, but I have to admit that after 23 years, maybe a cycle was finished. I hope, indeed dream that one day the two of them (Montezemolo and Marchionne) will make peace," Lauda added.

Hamilton reveals he is not Laureus winner
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton has ruffled feathers for more than one reason over the last few days.

On Sunday, he enraged Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg for allegedly "compromising" the German's race strategy by driving too slowly in the lead.

Then, on the podium, a photographer captured the moment when Briton Hamilton, the reigning world champion, celebrated by squirting champagne in the face of a cringing Chinese grid girl.

"We would hope people in the industry would be respectful to these women," the chief of an anti-sexism group told the Daily Mail.

Finally, Hamilton then broke protocol by counting himself out of the running for the 2015 Laureus World Sports Award, despite being nominated.

Ahead of the actual ceremony that will take place on Wednesday night, Laureus chairman Edwin Moses – a guest of Laureus sponsor Mercedes – attended the Chinese grand prix and even appeared on the podium.

But Hamilton has already revealed that, among fellow nominees Cristiano Ronaldo, Novak Djokovic, Marc Marquez and others, he is not going to be the winner.

"Unfortunately I'm not too excited," said the 30-year-old Briton, "because I know I haven't won it.

"I'll keep pushing so that at some stage I do get it."

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