Latest F1 news in brief – Wednesday (Update)

UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

03/11/15

  • A age 20 Kvyat is the pot calling the kettle black

    Kvyat, 20, thinks Verstappen too young for F1

  • Merhi needs a sponsor to keep Manor seat
  • Berger says Mercedes well clear of rivals
  • Sauber appeals van der Garde ruling
  • Lowe: Mercedes taking nothing for granted
  • Audi chief 'will not comment' on F1 rumors New
  • Experts worry about McLaren-Honda project New
  • Rosberg vows to improve wheel-to-wheel skills New
  • Mercedes announces new partnership with Bose ahead of 2015 season New

Kvyat, 20, thinks Verstappen too young for F1
(GMM) Even another F1 teen, Daniil Kvyat, thinks Max Verstappen might be too young for the pinnacle of motor sport.

Russian 'Dany' Kvyat turns 21 next month, and he has replaced departed quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull.

But when he made his grand prix debut for Toro Rosso a year ago, he was still 19.

That is a year younger than Felipe Massa was way back in 2002, when he debuted for Sauber but struggled and had to revert to a Ferrari test seat the following year.

"I came into formula one at 20," the Brazilian told reporters, "and I felt I lacked experience.

"Despite all the talent he (Verstappen) has, I think he's coming in too early," Massa added.

London's Times newspaper reports that Kvyat agrees with that verdict, including the FIA's move to stop drivers as young as Dutch 17-year-old Verstappen from obtaining a super license from 2016.

"I was 19 when I got in," he said. "But it all starts from zero when you come to F1.

"I don't know, but 18 years old is probably on the edge. But who can say? It is his seat now and it is up to him to do something with it," said Kvyat.

Norbert Haug, the former Mercedes chief, thinks Verstappen's controversial debut is a conundrum for F1.

"If he does well," the German told Focus, "some will say formula one is no longer challenging enough.

"If he does badly, he will be (called) too young and inexperienced."

Verstappen's father Jos, who raced in F1 until 2003 and is still just 43, expects his son to do a good job.

"The first race will be important to reach the finish and hopefully score some points," he is quoted by the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

"Championship points will definitely come. It will also be important for Max to be ahead of his teammate, which is certainly possible," Jos added.

Merhi needs to bring a big check to keep his ride
Merhi needs to bring a big check to keep his ride

Merhi needs a sponsor to keep Manor seat
(GMM) Roberto Merhi has admitted his new race seat at Manor may be short-lived.

F1's governing body has now confirmed the race number 98 for the 23-year-old Spanish rookie, who is joining Will Stevens at the resurrected Manor team in Australia.

But Merhi admitted to Spanish radio Cadena Cope that the former Marussia team, having scrambled to prepare for Melbourne after emerging from administration, may soon need to replace him with a bigger-budget driver.

"Right now we don't know," he said. "We'll see how the first race goes. I'm more focused on racing this weekend so I haven't stopped to see what comes next.

"At the moment I am the driver and we'll see if I can do the whole season or not. It's a team that does not have as big a budget as others and may need a paying driver.

"And I cannot contribute anything because I have no sponsors," added Merhi, referring to Manor who will race in Melbourne with a hurriedly-updated 2014 car with a slightly revised red and white livery.

The Spanish daily AS also quoted Merhi as saying: "I hope that this race will open up the possibility to do more.

"If I want to continue I need a sponsor, but in Spain I am not finding the support. Hopefully this race will help to change the situation."

He said he is realistic about his prospects for Melbourne, insisting that beating his teammate Stevens can be his only goal.

"I will not have the means to fight on equal terms with the rest," said Merhi, "using a car and a power unit of 2014, but I will aim to do my best with humility."

Get ready for another Mercedes parade - 20 races, 20 parades
Get ready for another Mercedes parade – 20 races, 20 parades

Berger says Mercedes well clear of rivals
(GMM) Gerhard Berger has played down Mercedes' claim it will be challenged for victory early in 2015.

Team chairman and F1 legend Niki Lauda warned this week that, contrary to suggestions the German marque is well clear of any rivals, Mercedes is not expecting to dominate in Australia and beyond.

"The competition with be much harder and tighter than last year," Lauda told the German broadcaster RTL.

"Of course, Mercedes is the favorite based on what we did last year, but we will see in Melbourne that Ferrari has caught up by more than a second from last year, while Williams and Red Bull will be at the front again too.

"Seriously, I feel that it will go up and down, back and forth, and no one can say now how it will turn out," the triple world champion insisted.

Fellow Austrian legend Berger, however, says winter testing has shown that Mercedes is clearly ahead of the field.

"They are quite clearly the favorite," he told Osterreich newspaper, estimating the gap to the next-best team to be at least one second per lap.

"And that," Berger explained, "is an awful lot in formula one today."

The former Ferrari and McLaren driver said it is the battle behind Mercedes that is close, with Williams, Red Bull and Ferrari apparently "almost equal" in performance.

Bernie Ecclestone, meanwhile, said that while he hopes Ferrari and others can get closer to Mercedes this year, another season of silver dominance would not be a problem.

"In formula one we have always had these phases when one team dominated," he told DPA news agency.

"Of course it would be great if we had Ferrari and one or two others fighting with them, but if the two Mercedes are fighting each other, that's fine as well," the F1 supremo added.

Sauber appeals van der Garde ruling
(GMM) Sauber is appealing a Melbourne court's ruling that Giedo van der Garde should race for the Swiss team this weekend.

Earlier on Wednesday, a supreme court judge sided with the Dutchman after he was replaced despite having a valid 2015 contract.

"I reject the arguments advanced by the respondent (Sauber) and the other drivers (Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr)," said Justice Croft.

He said van der Garde's right to contest the Australian grand prix will be "enforced".

Sauber had argued in court that it did not have enough time to safely adjust Nasr or Ericsson's car to accommodate van der Garde.

"What we cannot do is jeopardize the safety of our team, or any other driver on the track", team boss and co-owner Monisha Kaltenborn, who is also a lawyer, said in a media statement.

Sauber has therefore appealed the decision, with a new hearing scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

Paddy Lowe
Paddy Lowe

Lowe: Mercedes taking nothing for granted
Mercedes Executive Director (technical) Paddy Lowe has insisted that the team is taking nothing for granted ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

The F1 W06 Hybrid, the successor to the double title-winning F1 W05, demonstrated rapid pace and impressive reliability throughout the pre-season.

But despite being encouraged by what he has seen so far, Lowe admits there is still plenty of work to do to ensure a smooth start to the campaign.

"The team is in good shape after the winter program," Lowe commented.

"So far the car looks to be a step forward in terms of speed and reliability compared to where we were this time last year, so we're hoping for a good result in Melbourne.

"Externally there is sure to be a certain level of expectation after testing – but racing is a very different matter. It's an unforgiving business.

"There is a huge amount of work to do and plenty to make sure you get right if you are to come away from a Grand Prix weekend with a strong result. We're not taking anything for granted.

"All of the preparations concerning the specification of the car, fixes to problems encountered over the winter, dusting off the rulebook to re-familiarize ourselves with the procedures we have to follow – these must all be spot on to ensure a successful start to the racing year."

Audi chief 'will not comment' on F1 rumors
(GMM) Audi chief Rupert Stadler is no longer clearly denying speculation the Volkswagen-owned German carmaker is preparing to enter formula one.

The regular speculation hit a higher gear in the last six months, after ousted Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali joined Audi and conducted a feasibility study about a F1 project.

"Ah, you want to know what competitive programs Audi will have in the future?" the Italian told F1 insider Leo Turrini this week.

"Come to Ingolstadt and I will tell you."

In Ingolstadt on Tuesday, Audi held its annual press conference, and a reporter did ask the carmaker's chairman Rupert Stadler about formula one.

He answered: "The board has a very strong and precise motor sport strategy.

"We are engaged in DTM, the 24 hours of Le Mans, in customer racing and then there are the sporting commitments of (subsidiaries) Ducati and Lamborghini.

"I will not comment on these rumors about formula one."

Stadler was also interviewed this week by the Swiss newspaper Blick, and asked yet again about the F1 speculation.

"At Le Mans we have found an ideal area for the transfer of technology to the road," he said.

"We also have no shortage of competition, with Porsche, Peugeot, Toyota and now Nissan.

"In this respect," said Stadler, "we have our motor sport program clearly defined for the next few years."

Experts worry about McLaren-Honda project
(GMM) Experts continue to worry about the early phase of McLaren-Honda's new collaboration.

Honda announced its intention to return to the sport with the British team way back in May 2013, but almost two years later, the MP4-30 is struggling simply to run.

"I'm surprised that it's not working out," former F1 driver and Swiss commentator Marc Surer told German-language t-online.de.

"Especially as the team was running with the new engine as long ago as Abu Dhabi last year. So there has been enough time for the problems to be sorted out."

Surer said one problem could be the distances involved between the UK and Japan, making "fast solutions difficult".

Also surprised is Gerhard Berger, who late in 1992 drove into the record books as the last McLaren-Honda driver to win a grand prix.

He told Osterreich newspaper that McLaren's current problems are "quite clearly on the engine side".

"I have a feeling that they have miscalculated something," said the Austrian great.

Rosberg and Hamilton waged an epic wheel-to-wheel clash last year in Bahrain, with Hamilton (L) emerging on top.

Rosberg vows to improve wheel-to-wheel skills
(GMM) Nico Rosberg has identified wheel-to-wheel combat as his main weakness alongside reigning world champion and teammate Lewis Hamilton.

With their dominant 2014 Mercedes, the pair dueled intensely for last year's title but Briton Hamilton ultimately won in the championship finale.

Rosberg did secure F1's new 'pole position trophy' of 2014, but acknowledged that Hamilton was "better" in the all-important area of wheel-to-wheel battling.

Asked by Germany's Sport Bild if it is true to say Hamilton is a better fighter while Rosberg is a thinker, the German answered: "No, he just did a better job.

"So I need to improve that," he said. "He was more decisive in the direct duels between us, and that unfortunately had an impact on the final result."

Rosberg cites Bahrain last year as the perfect example, where their thrilling wheel-to-wheel battle for the lead ultimately went Hamilton's way.

"This is one area where I need to improve," he admitted.

Rosberg wearing his Bose headset
Rosberg wearing his Bose headset

Mercedes announces new partnership with Bose ahead of 2015 season
As preparations for the opening race weekend of the new season get underway in Melbourne, the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team is delighted to announce a new partnership with Bose which sees the company become the team's Official Team Partner in Sound.

Renowned as a provider of quality home cinema, music and loudspeaker systems, Bose was founded in the USA in 1964 and has grown to become a global brand celebrated for its commitment to innovation and 'Better Sound through Research'.

The new partnership will see MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS using a range of the latest Bose products, including the QuietComfort headphones and SoundTouch wireless music systems, both at and away from the race track as the team travels around the world with the Formula One calendar.

The iconic Bose logo will feature on the racesuits and helmets of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, on the helmets of the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS pit crew, and on the team's trackside clothing.

Colette Burke, Vice President, Bose Europe
"We're excited to join the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team as we share a similar passion for performance and commitment to excellence. The proprietary technology found in our products will help the team as they prepare, travel, and perform together at every global Formula One race."

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"We are delighted to be partnering with Bose ahead of what should be an exciting new Formula One season. Our two companies share key founding philosophies; the importance of research and innovation and the relentless pursuit of excellence. These joint passions are what will make our new partnership the perfect fit. Being part of a Formula One team is a demanding lifestyle so benefitting from Bose's industry-leading products in sound will become an important part of our routines, with our travelling personnel already enjoying an improved experience on long journeys around the world with the benefit of Bose's QuietComfort noise cancelling headphones."

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