Latest F1 news in brief – Friday

  • Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz ready to pull plug on F1?
    Mateschitz ready to pull plug on F1?

    Mateschitz confirms Red Bull quit threat

  • Palmer at Lotus to 'finance team budget' – Grosjean
  • Hamilton questions F1's 'green' credentials
  • Rosberg 'up to date' with Hamilton contract talks
  • Toro Rosso car 'as good as Williams' – Sainz
  • Vettel doubted Ferrari seat offer – Arrivabene
  • Spectator arrested after running across track New
  • Massa's crash due to rear wing stall New

Mateschitz confirms Red Bull quit threat
(GMM) Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz has confirmed the threat to pull his energy drink company out of formula one.

His right-hand man and fellow Austrian, Dr Helmut Marko, made the original warning after the Australian grand prix, saying the current rules are preventing the team from ever catching up with its pacesetting rivals.

Red Bull also owns a junior team, Faenza based Toro Rosso.

"Basically what Helmut said was absolutely right," Mateschitz told the Austrian news agency APA.

"We will only stay in F1 if we have a competitive team, and for this you require a competitive power unit.

"If you don't, you can have the best car and the best drivers and still have no chance of competing for the win," he added.

"The problem is that in this area we have no control, as we cannot and will not develop our own engine, simply because we are not a car manufacturer that can justify the investment," said the 70-year-old billionaire.

"A so-called customer engine is also – as everyone knows – not the solution. So we must manage with Renault to get closer to the strength of Ferrari and, in particular, Mercedes," he added.

Also like Marko, Mateschitz is now playing down as "unrealistic" the possibility of selling Toro Rosso to Renault.

"Many topics are always discussed," he admitted, "but as I was not expressly involved, then there cannot have been a lot of talk in this direction."

Renault is also looking into buying other teams, but Mateschitz acknowledged that another option for the French manufacturer is to pull out of F1 altogether.

"Of course it is legitimate for Renault to assess various options, including exiting," he said.

"As an engine supplier, you have the responsibility to supply a competitive power unit, and if you cannot, of course you should leave.

"Equally, the consequences for us would be clear," said Mateschitz.

Jolyon Palmer
Jolyon Palmer

Palmer at Lotus to 'finance team budget' – Grosjean
(GMM) As Romain Grosjean sat out Friday practice early in Shanghai, he said he understands the financial pressures on F1 teams.

Temporarily in his Lotus cockpit in China is Briton Jolyon Palmer, the reigning GP2 champion and son of the former grand prix driver Jonathan.

According to sources, it will not be 24-year-old Palmer's only Friday outing in 2015.

Frenchman Grosjean, yet to open his or the Enstone team's points account this season, said he understands the reasons for having to sit out practice.

"Today, it is not easy to get into F1 so we see more and more drivers using Friday practice to prove themselves, to show they are there," he told RMC Sport.

"This is not ideal for the racing drivers as we lose an hour and a half of practice and we are not delighted to be giving up our 'baby'," said Grosjean.

"But we have an economic reality today that means F1 is not easy. And the teams need to look at every possible solution to finance the budgets," he added.

Lewis Hamilton knows no one ever bought a ticket to watch a 'green' automobile race.

Hamilton questions F1's 'green' credentials
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton has questioned F1's need to boast its environmental credentials through the engine regulations.

Partly to portray a 'green' image, the sport last year switched to fuel-restricted, 1.6 liter turbo V6 engines, and Mercedes immediately sped into the lead.

Hamilton is now the reigning world champion and 2015 points leader, but he told Britain's Daily Express newspaper he misses the scream of the now-departed V8 and V10 era.

"I do care about the environment, absolutely," the Briton insisted. "I love nature, I love trees, I love wildlife. I love the plants and all that.

"But do I feel our little race makes a big difference to the environment? Probably not," Hamilton said in Shanghai, "considering you have a billion cars going round here, planes that sort of thing, power stations."

Perhaps noting that Hamilton was echoing the complaints and arguments about the current rules by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, Express correspondent Gary Chappell wondered if the 30-year-old's response had been "pre-prepared".

Hamilton continued: "When I think about the sport I think it's important for us to be leaders because all it takes is one person to do the right thing and others will follow.

"But do I miss the noise of the old cars? Yes. If we can have clean efficient cars that make lots of noise like the old ones then that would be pretty cool."

Lewis Hamilton
Will Hamilton and Mercedes come to an agreement soon?

Rosberg 'up to date' with Hamilton contract talks
(GMM) Nico Rosberg has joined the rest of the F1 world in tracking the saga of world champion Lewis Hamilton's contract negotiations.

"I am keeping up to date," the Mercedes driver told Germany's Die Welt newspaper, "as we are talking about who will be in the garage next to me next year."

Hardly anyone doubts that Hamilton, 30, wants to stay at F1's most competitive team beyond 2015, while Mercedes has made clear it is also not on the market to change.

But the negotiations, conducted by the British driver himself without the aid of a traditional manager, have been repeatedly delayed and protracted.

Hamilton told reporters in Shanghai that rumors of disagreements between him and Mercedes management over the terms of the new deal are not true.

"I can assure you that is not the case," he said.

"Naturally, there are things they want, and things I want, and we have not come to a conclusion yet. But I have absolutely no doubt that we will in the end."

Jenson Button, the most experienced driver in pitlane, has warned his former McLaren teammate that the delay could ultimately backfire on Hamilton.

"It is a little tricky for a driver when a team are that competitive because he is obviously asking for something above what he was on before," he said.

"And the team will say they don't need to pay him that because if he was not there, they could say the other guy in the team would win the races he won."

Button also said Hamilton should obviously stay at Mercedes for other reasons.

"Mercedes are not always going to be winning," he said, "but you'd stay where he is right now. He has his comfort there, and I think Lewis needs that."

Toro Rosso car 'as good as Williams' – Sainz
(GMM) Carlos Sainz says Toro Rosso must capitalize on its strong start to the 2015 season.

The Spaniard, and his fellow rookie teammate Max Verstappen, have had a strong start as they currently sitting ahead of McLaren, Lotus, Force India and even the senior team Red Bull in the constructors' standings.

Not only that, Sauber is within grasp and even the former Mercedes challenger Williams is not far away, 20-year-old Sainz was quoted in China by Spain's El Confidencial.

But he warned that the situation may not last.

"The car is very nice to drive," said Sainz Jr, "but this is only the beginning of the year.

"Our goal must be to use this opportunity at the start to get a lot of points, as Force India did last year.

"As the season progresses," he admitted, "there will be teams like Red Bull and McLaren that will improve and get ahead of us.

"There is a very interesting battle between Sauber, Lotus and us," said Sainz. "While Red Bull struggles they will fight with us, but I think they will go ahead in the next few races."

But that doesn't mean the Toro Rosso is not a good car on merit. A team insider even referred to the STR10 as a "rocket", given that the Renault engine is not the best on the grid.

Sainz agreed: "I think we have a great car in the corners.

"In terms of downforce and cornering we are on the level of Williams, we just need more top speed, but hopefully it will come during the year and we can start fighting with them."

Daniel Ricciardo, the lead driver for senior team Red Bull, agreed: "You have to take your hats off to them (Toro Rosso).

"The team and the drivers have done everything right. For us it is frustrating, but we know why we are behind them.

"Without wanting to detract from their performance," the Australian added, "if we get our problems under control, we will put our noses in front again."

According to sources Vettel agreed to come to Ferrari back in 2012 if the right people were put in place to turn the team around
According to sources Vettel agreed to come to Ferrari back in 2012 if the right people were put in place to turn the team around. They finally did it and then he signed.

Vettel doubted Ferrari seat offer – Arrivabene
(GMM) Maurizio Arrivabene has admitted Sebastian Vettel was not sure last year if Ferrari's offer of a race seat was genuine.

Ultimately, the former quadruple world champion's switch from Red Bull has been a fairytale for both sides, as Vettel delivered victory in Malaysia amid shades of the ultra-successful Michael Schumacher era.

According to new team boss Arrivabene, Maranello's interest in Vettel dates back some years.

"Even my pre-predecessor Stefano Domenicali was interested," he told Sport Bild, "and had talks, and then again his successor Marco Mattiacci last summer.

"What was interesting is that Sebastian was probably not sure if Mattiacci was serious," Arrivabene told the German magazine.

"Because it is a part of our business that you sometimes talk to other drivers just to push the price of your own.

"But amongst other things, Michael Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm took away this uncertainty, and then things happened very quickly," he revealed (Editor's Note: i.e. they finally agreed to Vettel's terms he wanted in 2012 – to put the right people in place around him).

Spectator arrested after running across track
A Chinese spectator has been taken into custody by Chinese police after he ran across the circuit during free practice two on Friday.

The unknown man is reported to have scaled the catch fencing between the main grandstand and the circuit, before sprinting across the track behind one car and in front of another, before leaping across the pit wall.

He then made it to the Ferrari garage where he requested to drive a car, before finally being apprehended by circuit security. He was later handed over to police and arrested.

Security was immediately ramped up along the main straight in response to the incident.

Massa's crash due to rear wing stall
Williams has revealed that Felipe Massa's accident during second practice for the Chinese Grand Prix was caused by a rear wing stall.

Massa's car snapped away under braking for the Turn 14 hairpin and slid into the barriers midway through Friday afternoon's session.

With the session briefly halted, Williams tweaked team-mate Valtteri Bottas' rear wing to ensure that there was no repeat on his car.

"The first session went to plan, but this afternoon we had a few issues with the rear wing," said Massa, who wound up 17th.

"Under braking I lost all grip in the rear tires and the car spun which put me out for the rest of the session."

Bottas finished the day seventh fastest and is confident that Williams has made a step forward.

"The updates we brought have worked, so we are a little quicker through the corners," said the Finn.

"The temperature here suits us better than in Malaysia, so I think we can be strong in qualifying but we need to make sure we focus on the race and especially on the front-left tire graining."

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :