Latest F1 news in brief – Monday (Update)

UPDATE Updates shown in red below.


  • Lauda prays to god Mercedes gets to keep its locked in advantage so no one can catch them

    Ecclestone says no F1 action on Youtube

  • Magnussen can win titles after 2015 'pause' – Dennis
  • Lauda not sure how F1 engine row will end
  • 'No sense' to try F1 comeback – Kubica
  • Korea endangers sports car race for Hulkenberg
  • Alonso rules out Le Mans in 2015
  • Ferrari should resist 'revolution' – Todt
  • Verstappen 'too young' for F1 – Todt
  • Decision to oust Vergne 'difficult' – Tost
  • Alonso-McLaren 'mess' could be looming – Villeneuve
  • Williams steals Steve Nielsen from Toro Rosso New
  • Tax Dodger Lewis Hamilton shouldn't have won SPOTY New
  • Hamilton eyes seven more years in F1 New

Ecclestone says no F1 action on Youtube
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has ruled out the broadcasting of grands prix on the internet.

The F1 chief executive, however, has acknowledged that despite his disparagement of things like social media, the sport must develop in this area.

Forbes reports that plans are afoot for an enhanced digital media department for F1, with more staff to develop a better website, app and Twitter experience, and eventually Facebook page.

But F1 business journalist Christian Sylt says F1 "will never upload race footage to Youtube as it could cannibalize its television rights deals".

Asked if F1's Youtube channel will have any actual track footage of the cars, 84-year-old Ecclestone answered simply: "No."

Marissa Pace, who is Ecclestone's digital media manager, said the only video content will be "behind the scenes stuff" like interviews.

Ecclestone explained: "When you (reporters) interview somebody we should really film that and put it up on Youtube because that's something that doesn't hurt anybody and it's good and interesting because it's instant."

The Briton's views on social media are different to those of Donald Mackenzie, the man in charge of F1's majority shareholder CVC.

That probably explains the new approach, even though Ecclestone said he will review the changes in a year and gauge whether it has made more people watch F1 races on television.

"It is all about promoting the TV," confirmed Pace.

"Our intention is not to move viewers away from the TV, it is definitely to keep viewers on the TV but to supplement that experience and make it more exciting and getting people in the grandstands."

Magnussen can win titles after 2015 'pause' – Dennis
(GMM) Ron Dennis has likened Kevin Magnussen to champions Fernando Alonso and Mika Hakkinen, insisting the deposed rookie Dane's career is only on "pause".

McLaren gave 22-year-old Magnussen his grand prix debut this year, but for 2015 he has been installed as merely the reserve driver as the British team starts its new Honda era with Alonso and Jenson Button.

Supremo Dennis admitted he sympathizes with Magnussen as he is stepped aside, remarking at one point during last week's announcement: "Look at his (Magnussen's) poor little face!"

But team boss Eric Boullier insists McLaren is not abandoning the Dane, whose father Jan Magnussen was dropped by the Stewart team after less than two seasons in the late 90s.

"He (Kevin) had a very good year," Boullier said. "As a rookie driver he did a very good job, and there is no reason he should not be back in F1 racing sometime."

Both Alonso and Button, however, have been signed for more than just a single season, meaning that Magnussen's comeback might have to be with another team.

"It could be a possibility, but there is no discussion yet," Boullier is quoted by Sky.

"But Kevin has definitely 100 per cent of our support."

Dennis agreed with that, likening Magnussen's "pause" to Alonso and Hakkinen, whose own F1 careers had faltering starts before they went on to become multiple champions.

"The thing I think he's going to have in common is that one year's testing does not take away your opportunity of being in formula one," he said. "Kevin's so young."

Lauda not sure how F1 engine row will end
(GMM) Even Niki Lauda admits he is not sure what is the future of F1's engine regulations.

Bernie Ecclestone revealed last week that he intends to propose during Thursday's Strategy Group meeting that the sport axes the current turbo V6 rules.

He wants screaming V8s or V10s with 1000 horse power to return, and said whether or not the governing FIA agrees with his proposal or not is irrelevant.

"Well we have six (votes) so if we have four teams want to do that, that's ten. There's 18 votes so that's the majority," Ecclestone told Forbes.

Mercedes, so dominant in 2014 at the start of the new turbo era, has warned that if the engine rules are dramatically changed then it would pull out of F1.

Ecclestone is quoted by F1 business journalist Christian Sylt: "I think they will do that whenever it suits them anyway because we have noticed in the past the manufacturers do that but I would be surprised if they did."

A separate report in Germany's Auto Motor und Sport surmised that the current regulations are undoubtedly complex, as Renault and Ferrari so badly faltered in 2014.

The rules also limit their scope to quickly catch up, and make the entry of marques like Porsche and Audi unlikely as the development 'freeze' becomes increasingly more restrictive.

Smaller teams, meanwhile, are under increasing cost pressure due to the debut of the expensive technology.

One source said the FIA is even powerless to set a 'fixed price' of a customer V6.

"That would be an intervention in the market," the source is quoted as saying. "If only one manufacturer does not agree, the FIA would have legal trouble."

Ecclestone said: "The trouble is that when this engine was thought up, nobody thought about the side effects."

Lauda, Mercedes' team chairman, admitted he is not sure what is going to happen this Thursday and then beyond 2015.

"Next year, the engine regulations stay the same as they are now," said the Austrian great. "For 2016, I cannot guarantee anything."

'No sense' to try F1 comeback – Kubica
(GMM) Robert Kubica has suggested he is close to abandoning the idea of ever returning to formula one.

Amid the Polish driver's burgeoning F1 career in early 2011, he almost severed his arm in a pre-season rally crash.

Now 30, he has returned to professional duties as a world rally driver but until now has never ruled out one day re-joining the F1 circus.

He told the Ferrari insider Leo Turrini's Quotidiano blog: "I do not miss the atmosphere of formula one, but I do miss driving the cars.

"That was the dream of my life. I was born to race on the track and I managed to do it. And then something happened.

"Physically, I can still drive the cars. Last year I participated in some (simulator) tests, and while I cannot say the results were negative, I can't say I achieved the same results as I did in the past.

"As a result, there is no sense to start all over again, so I have focused on the rally."

Meanwhile, Kubica said he has great admiration for the feats this year of F1's new double world champion, Lewis Hamilton.

"The guy who impressed me the most even when we were kids was Hamilton," said the Pole. "He deserves enormous satisfaction for what he has done in 2014."

Korea endangers sports car race for Hulkenberg
(GMM) Korea has become a potential spanner in the works for Nico Hulkenberg.

It was announced recently that the German driver, whilst racing full-time for Force India in 2015, will also contest the Spa and Le Mans rounds of the world endurance championship for Porsche.

The sports car races were possible for Hulkenberg due to gaps in the provisional 2015 F1 calendar.

But that was before the FIA recently announced the official calendar for next year, suddenly featuring a Korea round for early May.

That would mean a clash with the Spa-Francorchamps 6-hour sports car race.

However, insiders have expressed skepticism about the reasons for the May 3 round in Korea, indicating it is simply a trick by Bernie Ecclestone to work around the rules limiting drivers to just four engines for the entire 2015 season.

Indeed, even F1 supremo Ecclestone admitted last week that the race probably will not happen, as even the organizers "would rather it not happen".

"We have to put them on the calendar and if we hadn't have done they could have sued us," the Briton is quoted by Forbes' F1 business journalist Christian Sylt.

Hulkenberg tested the Porsche 919 hybrid car for the first time last week.

Alonso rules out Le Mans in 2015
(GMM) Fernando Alonso says he will not be following Nico Hulkenberg's lead by splitting his F1 duties with Le Mans next year.

There has been speculation the Spaniard could join Force India driver Hulkenberg at Le Mans in the third Porsche prototype entry.

But having signed a reportedly $50 million per year deal to spearhead McLaren's new works Honda project from 2015, Alonso was quoted by Marca newspaper as saying he will focus entirely on formula one for now.

"I would not feel comfortable if I was not devoting 100 per cent to McLaren throughout the year," Alonso said.

"There is a lot of work to do here," he added.

"It (Le Mans) is a race that I love and I am sure I will have opportunities when I am finished with F1, but this year, with all that there is to do, it is not possible."

Ferrari should resist 'revolution' – Todt
(GMM) Jean Todt has urged Ferrari to resist making revolutionary changes after faltering at the start of the new V6 era.

Before becoming FIA president, Frenchman Todt presided over Ferrari's ultra-successful Michael Schumacher era, culminating in the most recent drivers' title earned by Kimi Raikkonen in 2007.

In 2014, the Maranello marque has appeared in crisis as Stefano Domenicali, Luca di Montezemolo, Marco Mattiacci, Fernando Alonso and others all left.

Todt, however, told the Italian broadcaster Rai that while Ferrari needed a refresh, the team should do so "without a revolution".

"Ferrari is not sick," he insisted. "That is a little too exaggerated.

"We all know the great charm of Ferrari in the world but even more so in Italy, where it is a very emotional issue.

"This fascination sometimes means Ferrari makes decisions faster than some other teams.

"You could say that Ferrari is like someone who is a bit tired and needs to go to the doctor," he said.

"The situation needs to be analyzed in detail and make its plan for improving, but without a revolution.

"Winning is part of the history of Ferrari, but you cannot always win. I remember when we started winning, many began to say they were tired of winning because you knew the result before the race.

"The truth is that satisfaction does not exist in either situation."

Todt, 68, hailed Ferrari's new team boss Maurizio Arrivabene, and also 2015 driver Sebastian Vettel, who he described as "one of the best".

Finally, he mentioned his great friend Schumacher, whom he visits at his home in Switzerland "at least once a week".

"It's true, it's been a year (since the accident), but he is young and has plenty of time to recover," said Todt.

Verstappen 'too young' for F1 – Todt
(GMM) Jean Todt says Max Verstappen is "too young" for formula one.

At the most recent meeting of the World Motor Sport Council, the FIA agreed to impose a new minimum of 18 years as well as other criteria for drivers applying for a F1 super license.

The measure was apparently a reaction to the controversial debut of Max Verstappen, who at just 17 has leapt from karting to a Toro Rosso race deal in the space of a year.

FIA president Todt told the Italian broadcaster Rai: "Personally, I do think he is too young.

"A few days ago at the World Council in Qatar, we changed the criteria for the super license," he explained. "Starting from 2016, a driver will not be able to get it before he is able to operate a car on public roads.

"I think this is a logical solution," Todt added.

Toro Rosso refugee Jean-Eric Vergne had an impressive debut in Formula E

Decision to oust Vergne 'difficult' – Tost
(GMM) Jean-Eric Vergne has made a promising start to his post-F1 career.

Dropped by Toro Rosso after three years on the grid, the 24-year-old Frenchman burst onto the Formula E scene at the weekend with pole in Uruguay.

He was then challenging for the race win before suspension trouble struck his Andretti machine.

Vergne had become an established F1 name until this year, and was reportedly in the running to keep his seat for 2015 instead of the rookie Carlos Sainz Jr.

Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost admitted it was a "difficult decision to let him (Vergne) go because there's no doubt he is a very talented driver".

"But our team's remit is to bring on the youngsters in the Red Bull junior driver program and Jev had completed three seasons with us," Tost added.

The recently consummated McLaren-Honda-Alonso marriage could be a short one, according to 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve

Alonso-McLaren 'mess' could be looming – Villeneuve
(GMM) Ron Dennis has dismissed reports Fernando Alonso has built 'exit clauses' into his new McLaren-Honda contract.

It is claimed the Spaniard might want to leave Woking at the end of next year, should the 2015 car not be up to scratch, or if a seat at dominant Mercedes becomes available.

But McLaren supremo Dennis was quoted by Spain's El Mundo Deportivo as saying Alonso has a clear "three-year contract".

"There is no exit clause, or any other inventions of the media that were published in the past days," he said.

McLaren and Alonso have, however, worked together before, when their marriage famously broke down amid the Lewis Hamilton pairing and the 'spygate' scandal of 2007.

Jacques Villeneuve, a former world champion, predicts that more trouble could be on the horizon.

"If things go well, it will be fantastic," the 1997 title winner is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"But if things go wrong, the mess will begin after six months."

Villeneuve claims it is due simply to the nature of Alonso's personality, but a friend of the Spaniard's, former F1 driver Robert Kubica, does not agree.

"I am a friend of Alonso," the Pole confirmed to F1 insider Leo Turrini's Quotidiano blog, "and I do not think he has a bad temper.

"I am sure that in the years he spent at Ferrari he gave the best of himself to hit the targets he set. Now a new great challenge begins for him.

"If he can bring McLaren back to the top, I think it would be the most beautiful achievement of his career," Kubica added.

Even Alonso insisted he is not regarding McLaren as a one-year project, admitting it may take longer for McLaren-Honda to reach its goals.

"This first season will be learning," he is quoted by EFE news agency, "as we have not seen a super-competitive McLaren in the last two or three years.

"We hope to have a good winter and then I will be happy if we can start to be competitive, we learn things, we go on the podium and win some races."

Williams steals Steve Nielsen from Toro Rosso
WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING is pleased to announce the appointment of Steve Nielsen to the position of Sporting Manager with immediate effect.

In this role Steve will be responsible for the overall management and operation of the WILLIAMS MARTINI RACING race team specifically relating to sporting matters and ensuring the compliance and implementation of these directives within the team. Steve joins Williams from Toro Rosso where he has been Sporting Director since 2013. His previous roles over the course of his 27 years in Formula One include positions as Team Manager at Tyrrell, Honda and Arrows, and Sporting Director at Benetton/Renault and Caterham.

Speaking about his appointment Steve Nielsen said; "I'm delighted to be joining a team of Williams' history and stature in what is a very exciting time for everyone at Grove after a very impressive 2014 season. In this role I will be able to help ensure that our operations at the race track are maintaining the highest standards and that we are maximizing our performance at the race track from a sporting perspective. Williams' has a very talented team of people and I'm looking forward to working with them."

Pat Symonds, Chief Technical Officer at Williams, added; "Steve brings a wealth of experience of the sporting side of Formula One and will help us as a team as we aim to climb further up the Championship table. He has won World Championships in the past and knows what needs to be done on a sporting level for Williams to do this again. We have a talented and ever improving race team and with Steve on board we are well placed to make further operational gains next season."

Tax Dodger Lewis Hamilton shouldn't have won SPOTY
Joey Barton has said that a "tax dodger" like Lewis Hamilton should not have won the BBC's 2014 Sports Personality of the Year award.

The Formula 1 champion won the public vote and was given the prize at yesterday's ceremony in Glasgow, pushing golfer Rory McIlroy into second and long-distance runner Jo Pavey into third.

Outspoken footballer Barton hit out at Hamilton on Twitter today (December 15). The driver moved to Switzerland in 2007, citing media scrutiny of his personal life. He later moved to Monaco in 2012.

"Can't believe they gave SPOTY to Hamilton," said Barton, who had previously backed McIlroy to win.

"1. Formula 1 is the most boring sport ever. 2. He brought a dog with him. 3. He's a tax dodger."

He continued: " McIlroy, wins multiple golf Majors and Ryder Cup. Froch, boxing World champion. In fact every other nominee was more deserving the Hamilton (sic).

"Tax exile's should be exempt from winning trophies paid and voted for by the tax/license payer.

"Hamilton was giving everything by this country then moves to tax free country as soon as he starts earning big money."

Last year in a Twitter rant, Barton said that he would like to live in a Darwinist society, because he did not want his tax payments to be spent on the "lazy".

"Some of you should be delighted that the state supports the lazy/work shy amongst us," Barton said.

"I just wish the millions I pay in tax, went to those.. ..went to only those that deserved it. Not those who decide their too lazy to work. Claiming benefits whilst playing computer games all day!"

Hamilton eyes seven more years in F1
Lewis Hamilton has set his sights on another seven years in Formula 1, adding that the "sky is the limit from here".

The Mercedes driver is coming off a successful campaign after winning his second Drivers' Championship while he was also won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award ahead of golfer Rory McIlroy on Sunday.

He follows in the footsteps of fellow drivers Sir Stirling Moss, Sir Jackie Stewart and Nigel Mansell to win the title and is the first since Damon Hill in 1996 to take the honor.

He admits he "appreciates" the award a lot more now than when he finished runner-up during the early stages of his F1 career.

"I came second twice, in 2007 and 2008, but just being there was humbling experience. Back then, I was much younger, so I perhaps I didn't appreciate it as much as I do now," he told BBC Sport.

Having made his Formula 1 debut as a 22-year-old with McLaren in 2007, Hamilton is already a veteran on the grid at the age of 29 but he says he is far from done.

"I feel like I've got another seven years in F1," he said.

"That's the goal. I got the first title in 2008 and now a second title, so the sky is the limit from here." PlanetF1

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