Latest F1 news in brief – Tuesday

  • Ferrari needs and wants Ross Brawn back

    Trouble for Mallya in India

  • Mattiacci says Ferrari wants Brawn back
  • Drivers defend controversial Parabolica gravel
  • Teams agree date for first 2015 test
  • Renault declares Red Bull new 'works team'
  • Verstappen admits blame for Rotterdam crash
  • Lotterer could return for Caterham at Monza
  • Honda open to customer teams from 2016
  • I won't give up in title fight, Hamilton vows
  • Two DRS zones retained for Monza
  • Van der Garde gets another Friday morning track cleaning outing

Trouble for Mallya in India
(GMM) Force India supremo Vijay Mallya has run into serious business trouble in his native India.

Amid the decline of his airline Kingfisher, the former billionaire has now been declared a 'willful defaulter' by the public sector lender the United Bank of India.

India's Telegraph newspaper said it means Mallya will lose his director positions from his companies and be unable to borrow from Indian banks.

An insider explained: "Any company in which they are directors, those companies would be affected. The idea is to exclude them from the financial sector."

Mattiacci says Ferrari wants Brawn back
(GMM) Ferrari wants Ross Brawn back, the team's new boss Marco Mattiacci has made clear.

Briton Brawn stepped down as Mercedes' team boss last year, but before that he had been Maranello's authoritative technical director during the ultra-successful Michael Schumacher era.

Mattiacci, who replaced Stefano Domenicali early this year, told CNN that he has had talks "several times" with Brawn recently.

"Everyone would like to have Ross or would like to see Ross back at Ferrari," he said.

"He's one of the most respected personalities in F1 with the highest knowledge and pedigree. Everybody would be happy with someone like Ross."

Earlier, Brawn and Ferrari played down a visit the 59-year-old made recently to Maranello.

But Mattiacci has now admitted it was "very nice to spend a few minutes" with Brawn at the time.

Asked to rate out of ten his chances of securing Brawn for 2015, he insisted: "I don't like to do that kind of game.

"I think I have to work with what I have, not what eventually I will have.

"James (Allison) is the technical director and I want to start from this point. To tango you have to have two," Mattiacci added.

"Maybe Ross is happy with what he is doing."

Drivers defend controversial Parabolica gravel
(GMM) Charlie Whiting has defended the controversial asphalting of Monza's iconic Parabolica corner.

During the recent summer break, a cry of outrage spread around the world when it emerged some of the famous gravel trap at the Italian grand prix venue's high-speed final bend had been covered with tarmac.

Former F1 driver Karun Chandhok said at the time that it was "another great corner that will lose its challenge".

But the FIA's Charlie Whiting has now defended the move, saying only 35 per cent of the gravel has been replaced, and that it had been done with the consultation of the drivers on safety grounds.

Indeed, two active F1 drivers have this week applauded the move.

"I think this is good from a safety point of view because it is a quick corner with not that much room on the outside," said Lotus' Pastor Maldonado.

"The approach will be the same which is to take it as quickly and efficiently as possible. Of course there is the obvious safety element which means that you have less risk if you go off."

His teammate Romain Grosjean agrees.

"Parabolica is a very challenging and quick corner so from a safety point of view it is a good thing to have some more margin for the drivers," he said.

"I remember sometimes in the past coming into the corner and knowing that if you brake even a little bit too late then you could be straight in the gravel and then straight to the wall at high speed."

Teams agree date for first 2015 test
(GMM) F1 teams have agreed the likely date for the opening winter test of 2015.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that the first of three pre-season tests in Europe will begin on February 1, at Jerez.

The other two tests will take place at Barcelona, in late February and early March.

At Jerez, a lot of attention will be on Honda, as the Japanese marque returns to the F1 track after a six-year absence in the form of McLaren's new works engine supplier.

"That will very likely be the first time to show the whole car, the Honda engine and the McLaren chassis — the Honda McLaren," Honda's F1 chief Yasuhisa Arai told F1's official website.

"Jerez will be the first time."

It remains to be seen who will be at the wheel of the new Honda-powered McLaren.

McLaren and Honda are reportedly making an audacious $32 million per year bid to woo Fernando Alonso from his Ferrari contract, which may contain a performance exit clause that was triggered on 1 September.

Asked if he was "prepared to move mountains" to secure a truly top driver like Alonso or Sebastian Vettel, McLaren supremo Ron Dennis said: "Well, that depends on whether you respect drivers' contracts or not, and I do."

It is believed veteran Jenson Button is the man most likely to make way for Alonso at McLaren, but the Briton was asked on Monday if he can imagine being the Spaniard's teammate.

"I don't believe in rumors," Spanish reports quote Button as saying during a promotional event with footballer Cristiano Ronaldo.

"I have great respect for Alonso," he added. "I've known him since karting and I really like how he works.

"He is very fast, complete and very strong mentally."

Renault declares Red Bull new 'works team'
(GMM) For the first time, Renault has declared Red Bull as its official 'works team'.

Recently, amid a Red Bull-pressured restructuring of the struggling French supplier, Cyril Abiteboul returned from Caterham to head Renault's preparations for a stronger 2015.

He admitted to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that not making Red Bull its clear focus for the new turbo V6 era was a mistake by Renault.

"Renault has tried in recent years to treat all four of its customers equally," Abiteboul said.

"From the perspective of Caterham, where I worked a year ago, it was nice. But for Red Bull it was counterproductive," he explained.

So Abiteboul declared that, now, Renault's "works team is called Red Bull".

He therefore dismissed claims that Red Bull has or intends to take over so much responsibility on the engine side that it is planning for a future with its very own 'power unit'.

"Red Bull is a chassis manufacturer and that's what they want to focus on," said Abiteboul.

"Development of an engine is a far too complex task to be established quickly. But it is true that there will be a much closer integration between Red Bull and Renault."

It has been rumored, for instance, that Red Bull will exclusively take over the entire electronic side of the project, with Renault remaining in charge of the engine.

Renault, Total and Red Bull's title sponsor Infiniti are expected to contribute the funding.

Abiteboul replied: "We are in the process of distributing the tasks as efficiently as possible.

"The question is where Red Bull can help us in the best way. The plan should be decided at the latest by October."

Verstappen admits blame for Rotterdam crash
(GMM) Max Verstappen has admitted the blame for crashing during his first proper run in a formula one car.

With all eyes on the 16-year-old after his controversial announcement as Toro Rosso's 2015 racer, the Dutchman steered into a barrier whilst demonstrating a Red Bull car during the street event in Rotterdam at the weekend.

"No excuses. I'm guilty," Verstappen is quoted by De Telegraaf newspaper.

"I was late with the clutch in the anti-stall system," he added, with the crash reminding some of the way the late Maria de Villota also lost control when she was testing a Marussia in 2012.

The incident occurred during a third donut-laden lap of the Rotterdam layout, and Verstappen explained: "Twice it went fantastically, one time there was a mistake.

"It's a learning process. But after everything, this is what I've always wanted — to drive a formula one car."

If Verstappen is granted a super license by the FIA, Toro Rosso intends to run him on Friday mornings at grands prix later this season.

Lotterer could return for Caterham at Monza
(GMM) Mere days before the Italian grand prix, the identity of Caterham's second race driver is still unclear.

Reports from Japan suggest Kamui Kobayashi will definitely not be back at the wheel of the car at Monza, having already sat out Spa-Francorchamps.

After reigning Le Mans winner Andre Lotterer and his sponsor Hype filled in at Spa, it was expected that Spanish rookie Roberto Merhi and his Russian backers had now put up the rumored EUR 300,000 for the Monza seat this weekend.

But new speculation reports that Merhi, 23, admitted mere hours ago that "I still do not have the super license. I have to do 300 kilometers" in a F1 car.

Merhi is a former F3 euroseries champion, but the FIA is apparently nervous about a rookie getting his first experience of a F1 car at the sport's highest-speed circuit.

The Red Bull junior Carlos Sainz jr has also been linked with the Monza seat, but also still in the running is Lotterer.

"We're still in touch," German Lotterer, who impressed at Spa but retired early during the Belgian grand prix, told Racer when asked about Caterham, "and I think there's opportunities to do more races.

"It was a great experience for me and I have to look at the schedule and see if it is more of a one-off chapter for me or if it makes sense to do more."

Monza does not clash with the calendars for Lotterer's two racing responsibilities this year; Super Formula in Japan and the world endurance championship.

"(At Spa) it felt like everybody at Audi was behind me and all of the people who supported my career before and in Japan," he added.

Honda open to customer teams from 2016
Honda says it would be open to supplying customer teams in Formula 1 from the 2016 campaign, having clarified that its power unit exclusivity agreement with McLaren will only last for one season.

After spending six years on the sidelines, Honda will return to the sport as the Woking-based outfit's engine supplier in 2015, marking a second phase as technical partners after a previous stint from 1988 to 1992.

But while the Japanese manufacturer's comeback season is devoted to McLaren, its motorsport chief, Yasuhisa Arai, has not ruled out working with other squads in the future should there be sufficient interest.

"In 2015 we don't have the plan to supply any team other than McLaren," he told the official Formula 1 website.

"In 2016 or after, if some teams or partners ask us to supply them too, we will take a look at that situation."

But Arai made clear that Honda will put a winning partnership with McLaren before potential financial gains.

"Even in 2016 McLaren will be our main partner in Formula 1," Arai went on to explain.

"And even if we supply other teams from 2016 our main focus will always be to win – to make the engine better through more data – and not necessarily to look at a return on investment. If you win that comes automatically."

I won't give up in title fight, Hamilton vows
Lewis Hamilton insists that he will not give up in his quest for the 2014 Formula 1 title, as he looks to cut Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg's 29-point championship lead at the Italian Grand Prix.

Hamilton has experienced a challenging run of weekends, battling through the field to third in Germany and Hungary after consecutive technical issues in qualifying and retiring in Belgium following a clash with Rosberg.

A total of 200 points are available over the final seven races, including the doubled Abu Dhabi season finale.

"My aim for the weekend, of course, is to claw back the gap in the Drivers' Championship," said Hamilton.

"It's as big as it's been all season so I've got a lot of work ahead – but anything can happen in this sport. I won't give up until the flag drops in Abu Dhabi and there's plenty of points to be won before, so it's far from over yet."

Whilst Rosberg is aware that nothing is guaranteed, the German remains hopeful of fending off Hamilton.

"It's still all to play for in the championship and with double points in Abu Dhabi anything can happen," he said.

"I'm focused on taking the maximum points possible in the remaining seven races and I know the team is too."

Two DRS zones retained for Monza
The FIA has retained the traditional pair of DRS zones for this year's Italian Grand Prix.

Since the introduction of the overtaking device in 2011, Monza has featured two activation areas, the first being placed between Lesmo 2 and the Ascari chicane and the second coming along the start/finish straight.

Separate detection points control the zones; the first before Lesmo 2 and the second before Parabolica.

Van der Garde gets another Friday morning track cleaning outing
Sauber reserve Giedo van der Garde will get his seventh practice outing of 2014 at the Italian Grand Prix.

The former Caterham racer, who also got behind the wheel of the C33 in Bahrain, China, Spain, Britain, Germany and Belgium earlier this season, will replace Adrian Sutil for the opening 90-minute session at Monza.

"It is great to be back again in the cockpit on Friday morning, particularly at Monza, where there is always a special atmosphere and the Italian people are really passionate about motorsport," said van der Garde.

"During the first practice session we will test different configurations in order to find the best possible package."

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