Latest F1 news in brief – Friday

  • Vettel right to leave Red Bull

    Manor passes crash tests with 2015-legal car

  • Sauber sacked van der Garde to save 330 jobs (bring in ride-buyer with bigger check)
  • Vettel was right to leave Red Bull – Villeneuve
  • German GP must meet 'conditions' – Ecclestone
  • Alonso 'surprised' by McLaren crash saga – Ecclestone
  • V6 rules going nowhere – Todt
  • Bianchi still in coma in Nice – report
  • Sahara Force India works with Adaptavist to fine-tune its IT systems

Manor passes crash tests with 2015-legal car
(GMM) Manor Marussia is on the way to Melbourne.

Although the revived team officially launched its 2015 earlier this week, it was still scrambling to prepare a car for the new regulations.

The modified 2014 car was crash tested on Thursday, with the team now confirming "We have passed".

"That's it," Manor said on Twitter, "we're all set for Melbourne!"

A spokesman told Germany's Bild newspaper: "The team has prepared the cars with which it will start the 2015 season. The cars meet the 2015 regulations.

"Later in the season the team will introduce a new specification of the 2015 cars."

Manor later posted a photo of a truck leaving its Dinnington headquarters, explaining: "That's our freight leaving for Australia".

However, key questions remain. Speed Week wonders if Manor, recognizing how uncompetitive it will be in Melbourne and given the 107 per cent qualifying rule, will simply attend scrutineering in Melbourne and then pack up for Malaysia.

There is also the matter of, just one week before Melbourne practice, finding a teammate for Will Stevens — and one who has a valid super license.

"We are in discussion, very detailed and very advanced discussion, with some very quick young guys," team president Graeme Lowdon told Reuters.

Sauber sacked van der Garde to save 330 jobs (bring in ride-buyer with bigger check)
(GMM) Sauber has found itself in legal trouble just one week before first practice in Melbourne.

It emerged on Thursday that, with a valid contract for 2015, Giedo van der Garde is suing the Swiss team in Melbourne and demanding he race this year.

The Dutchman's case is based on a recent ruling in Switzerland, where it was found that van der Garde should indeed be given one of the places that ultimately were filled for 2015 by Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson.

"We are in an ongoing process with Giedo van der Garde," Sauber confirmed to the Swiss newspaper Blick.

"We have terminated his contract, but we had good reason. We made our decision in the interest of the team and its 330 employees."

Indeed, Sauber grappled with financial problems throughout 2014 and this year's car is now in the prominent colors of Brazilian Nasr's backer Banco do Brasil.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that another driver originally promised a 2015 seat – Adrian Sutil – is also suing Sauber.

Correspondent Tobias Gruner, however, said that action is taking place only in Switzerland, and Sutil is seeking "compensation rather than a forced reinstatement" from the Hinwil based team.

Vettel was right to leave Red Bull – Villeneuve
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel made the right choice in deciding to leave Red Bull for Ferrari.

That is the view of 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, who said it became clear last year that despite winning four titles with the energy drink marque, the Vettel era at Red Bull was over.

"There was this young guy now with a big smile," said the Canadian, referring to Daniel Ricciardo, "and everyone knew — that's the future of Red Bull.

"At 27, he (Vettel) was in Red Bull's view a grandfather. Sebastian also felt that, which is why he needed to change," Villeneuve told Sport Bild.

"After five years in a team you have finished learning, but now at Ferrari he's like a newcomer again."

Villeneuve, whose legendary late father Gilles was also a beloved Ferrari driver, also thinks Vettel and the fabled Maranello team is a perfect fit.

"His attitude is reminiscent of Michael Schumacher," said the former Williams and BAR driver, "and that's why the Italians will love him.

"And that's important at Ferrari, otherwise the pressure can quickly become overpowering. But he comes as the savior of the team, like the Messiah, and is the legitimate heir of Schumacher," added Villeneuve.

However, while Ferrari's 2015 car has appeared good so far, new president Sergio Marchionne warned that it may be as late as 2018 before a title is ready to be won.

"Of course I want to be world champion before that," Vettel said on a visit to his native Germany on Thursday.

"And I absolutely believe in that, otherwise I would not have taken the plunge.

"I am very encouraged by what I have seen so far, but with so many changes in the team it does take some time. The sooner the better," he smiled.

German GP must meet 'conditions' – Ecclestone
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has suggested the matter of the embattled German grand prix is purely financial.

The F1 chief executive has set a deadline of this weekend for the conclusion of contract talks with the Nurburgring or Hockenheim.

Many, however, have argued that as one of F1's traditional host nations, the sport should make an exception to keep the German grand prix alive.

Ecclestone told the German news agency DPA he begs to differ.

"If an organizer wants to schedule a rock concert or a tennis match or whatever," he said, "then they know what the conditions are.

"If they cannot meet the conditions, then it doesn't happen," said the 84-year-old Briton.

Ecclestone also dismissed the notion that a race in Germany is necessarily crucial for F1.

"If it's such a great market," he said, "then you wouldn't think it (organizing a race) would be such a problem for them."

Asked why Germany is struggling so much in F1, Ecclestone answered: "I don't know. It's pretty strange."

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, however, has said a home race is important for the German carmaker, and vowed to help.

But "Whether it is money in the hand or not is not the question," he insisted. "It's basically a matter of the promoter and the rights holder agreeing."

Alonso 'surprised' by McLaren crash saga – Ecclestone
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has reportedly said the circumstances of Fernando Alonso's bizarre testing crash are "completely inexplicable".

The F1 chief executive, however, admitted that after the Spaniard's four days in hospital, he is not surprised the new McLaren-Honda driver is sitting out Melbourne.

"What has surprised me is what happened (in Barcelona). It is completely inexplicable, for him as well," Ecclestone is quoted by DPA news agency and multiple Spanish publications.

"Fernando is a little surprised by what has happened to him."

Amid wild speculation about the cause of the crash and Alonso's medical condition, the 84-year-old Briton said the FIA is now looking into it.

"McLaren doesn't want to discuss it, so there's not much we can do," said Ecclestone.

"It is really a sporting issue. So maybe it is one of those things that is necessary for the FIA to investigate."

Indeed, twelve days after the Barcelona incident, the questions are growing by the hour.

Britain's Mirror newspaper said FIA investigators have not ruled out that Alonso lost consciousness before crashing, which would either indicate something like an electric shock or a pre-existing health condition.

Former F1 doctor Gary Hartstein said the mystery would grow deeper if Alonso also sits out Malaysia.

"That would be head-scratching time, for sure," he told the BBC.

"It would be highly unusual — so much so that they'd have to say something. But for now concussion is the most likely and it explains everything we know at the moment," said Hartstein.

Italy's Omnicorse claims Alonso is currently wearing a device in his mouth to help with Temporomandibular pain.

The Temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to the skull and problems are reportedly often associated with head or neck issues.

"The important thing is that he's fine," said Sebastian Vettel on Thursday.

"Of course it's a shame that he cannot drive, but I believe the speculation does not help.

"He suffered a concussion and it is quite normal to avoid any risk," said the Ferrari driver.

As for Alonso's crash, Vettel said: "I was right behind him, but I was too far away to be able to see exactly how the accident occurred.

"I only saw the last part of it, but the crash itself did not look so dramatic. But it was obviously a shock to hear that he was unconscious."

F1 legend Alain Prost, meanwhile, told Spain's Marca sports daily: "I only know what I've seen or read so I don't know what happened — only a few people do.

"I have no view about it, just that the communications have been strange but I do not want to make judgments. The most important thing is that he is fine," the Frenchman added.

V6 rules going nowhere – Todt
(GMM) Jean Todt sounds unlikely to agree to any major revisions to F1's current engine regulations.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has led the charge for quiet and controversial V6 engines to be scrapped.

And even Niki Lauda, team chairman of the ultra-dominant Mercedes team, thinks the technical regulations need to be revamped.

He said the aggressive-looking drawings of Ferrari's 'concept' car were "interesting".

"These cars we have now are so comfortable even 17-year-olds can drive them," Lauda told the Austrian press. "Formula one must be uncomfortable again."

FIA president Todt, however, insists the V6 rules are going nowhere.

"I feel it is one of the few sensible decisions which has been taken over the last period," the Frenchman told the New York Times, arguing that the sport's new hybrid credentials are crucial.

"Formula one is the pinnacle of motor sport, so we must be an example to society. It is not all happening in a kind of closed golden-gated community where nothing is happening on the other side of the world," added Todt.

However, the V6 rules are undoubtedly expensive, particularly at a time when Caterham has collapsed, Marussia is clinging to survival and even midfield teams are obviously struggling.

Todt insists F1 remains strong, saying the problem of collapsing teams "has always happened".

"In 2016 we have a new team coming," he said, referring to Haas, "and we may make a tender again for one or two teams to encourage teams. And try to reduce the costs."

Jules Bianchi remains in a coma five months after his crash at Suzuka
Jules Bianchi remains in a coma five months after his crash at Suzuka

Bianchi still in coma in Nice – report
(GMM) Five months after his horror Suzuka crash, Jules Bianchi remains in a coma.

That is the claim of the major German daily Bild, even though official news about the health of the talented former Marussia driver had stopped some time ago.

But just a week before the new F1 season begins, the newspaper claims there is actually "no good news" to report from Bianchi's bed in Nice.

"Bild has learned that his condition has not improved," the report said.

25-year-old Bianchi was transferred to his native Nice in November, where the drugs to keep him in an artificial coma were ceased.

Bild, however, said the Frenchman did not wake up.

Sahara Force India works with Adaptavist to fine-tune its IT systems
Sahara Force India is pleased to announce the beginning of a working partnership with Adaptavist, the leading Atlassian experts.

The relationship will give Sahara Force India access to the world’s most technically-advanced Atlassian partner. Working with Adaptavist will enhance the team’s ability to find, share and collaborate on information. The team will also benefit from Adaptavist’s experience and knowledge of issue tracking, code management and the optimisation of the application lifecycle – an important toolset required to continually produce car components race after race. Adaptavist are world-renowned for their Atlassian performance tuning expertise, helping clients get the most from Atlassian software.

Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer of Sahara Force India: “Working with Adaptavist will ensure we get the most from our internal IT resources. The efficient sharing of information is essential for the success of any organisation and with the help of Adaptavist we can extract more power from the software we have in place."

Simon Haighton-Williams, CEO of Adaptavist: “We’re really excited to be supporting Sahara Force India and to be involved in Formula One, which is perhaps the most intense of all sporting environments. The process of designing, manufacturing and operating a prototype racing car is a huge challenge, especially when managing the unique lifecycle of car components. It’s in this area that our solutions can play a part in providing reliable software to further enhance the team’s operational efficiency."

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