Latest F1 news in brief – Monday (Update)

UPDATE Updates shown on bold below.

09/01/14

  • Massa (L) and Bottas (R) will probably stay at Williams

    F1 experts criticize Mercedes over driver duel

  • Top speeds at Monza to be lower than expected
  • Bottas sees 'no reason' to leave Williams
  • Verstappen was 'prepared' for F1 debut criticism
  • Williams plans to retain Massa, Bottas – Smedley
  • Lotterer open to more Caterham outings
  • Force India duo confident over Monza chances
  • F1 drivers wanted Parabolica tarmac run-off at Monza New
  • Marco Mattiacci wants to deliver 'not overpromise' at Ferrari New

F1 experts criticize Mercedes over driver duel
(GMM) F1 experts have accused Mercedes of mismanaging Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton's dramatically imploding relationship.

The German team said contrite championship leader Nico Rosberg has now apologized for his clash with Hamilton in Belgium and been disciplined.

Britain's Daily Mail claims the penalty is a six-digit financial sum, paid to charity.

But Max Mosley, the former long-time FIA president, thinks Mercedes was wrong to so clearly point the finger of blame.

"If they decided to fine or punish Rosberg they should not have announced it," he said. "It's as if the team are blaming him publicly. That's not really right."

Former team owner and boss turned British television pundit Eddie Jordan agrees, saying the spotlight should not be on the warring protagonists.

"I blame the team," he is quoted by the Daily Star. "They are weak, rudderless.

"They are being run by two drivers who are like spoilt kids doing what they want to do."

Former McLaren driver John Watson even likened chiefs Toto Wolff, Paddy Lowe and Niki Lauda to The Three Stooges and a "Looney Tunes" style of management.

"Lewis and Rosberg are doing nothing different to what two highly competitive drivers have done in the past," he told Express newspaper.

"But the difference is management and having someone that commands respect like Ross Brawn who was in charge last year.

"If you haven't got somebody who commands respect you end up with the lunatics taking over the asylum which is the case here," Watson added.

After the crisis meeting at Brackley last Friday, Mercedes' management of the situation continued in the form of a statement attributed to Hamilton posted on the 2008 world champion's Facebook page.

Referring to the Spa clash but probably also his own comments to the media afterwards, Hamilton was quoted as saying: "Nico and I accept that we have both made mistakes and I feel it would be wrong to point fingers and say which one is worse than the other.

"There is a deep foundation that still exists for me and Nico to work from, in spite of our difficult times and differences."

At the Brackley meeting, it was reportedly resolved that Mercedes would continue to allow the drivers to race freely, albeit within the boundaries of 'clean racing'.

"It (not imposing team orders) was a difficult decision," Wolff told Germany's Bild.

"But Nico and Lewis are our heroes. I hope and believe that they understand our requirements and our goals.

"It is now up to them to deal with this responsibility," he added.

Lauda, meanwhile, admitted to Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper on Sunday that further fireworks can be expected, particularly as Hamilton "lost everything in Spa" and will be keen to "get back these points".

"We have to be careful," he admitted.

"But as long as they do not endanger the clearly defined objectives of Mercedes, they can go on as they like.

"I understand Nico and Lewis very well as they both want to win races and be world champion. But they cannot put the entire project at risk," Lauda insisted.

Top speeds at Monza to be lower than expected
(GMM) Top speeds at Monza this weekend may not be quite as spectacular as earlier expected.

That is the claim of the specialist German publication Auto Motor und Sport, despite predictions the new turbo V6-powered machines could soar beyond the old 370+kph top-speed record of the 2005 Italian grand prix.

Then, it was Kimi Raikkonen's almost 1000 horse power McLaren-Mercedes V10 that screamed down the straights of the Autodromo Nazionale.

But in 2014, as the turbo V6s combine with reduced aerodynamics and therefore drag, top speeds have once again been turning heads in the grandstands very rapidly.

At Barcelona, Felipe Massa's Williams-Mercedes topped 342kph, compared to the fastest V8 in the 2013 Spanish grand prix, Fernando Alonso's Ferrari, that managed less than 320.

In Canada, this year's fastest car was just a tad under 350kph, and similar speeds were seen at Spa-Francorchamps recently.

But Monza is a very special layout — the last truly ultra-low downforce circuit on the calendar. Last year, the top speed was Esteban Gutierrez's 341kph in the Ferrari-powered Sauber.

So with the field of 2014 often proving 20-30kph faster than last year's V8s, speeds of up to 370kph and perhaps even beyond at this weekend's Italian grand prix were predicted.

Not likely, according to the German analysis by correspondent Michael Schmidt. He said pre-Monza team simulations have shown an actual likely top speed this weekend of about 350-355 — or perhaps 360 in a slipstream.

Force India technical boss Andy Green explains: "The regulations have taken about 10 per cent downforce from us and reduced drag by the same amount.

"But this refers to the circuits where we run with maximum downforce.

"If we now go to Monza then we are comparing ourselves with cars that in the past were running with minimal downforce anyway. So the difference will be not so great," he said.

Bottas sees 'no reason' to leave Williams
(GMM) Valtteri Bottas appears out of the running for a change of team prior to the 2015 season.

The Finn has been a standout of this year's championship, outshining the Ferrari veteran Felipe Massa and leading Williams' F1 resurgence with four podium appearances.

The 25-year-old has therefore been linked with a potential move from the Grove squad, perhaps to McLaren as the Woking team plans for a long and lucrative future with new works partner Honda.

But Bottas seems destined to stay at Williams, the team that groomed him from F1 tester to 2014 star.

"Personally I don't see a reason to look elsewhere at this time," he is quoted as saying by Italy's Tuttosport and the Spanish sports daily Marca.

"We are working in the right way and I am confident that this team can be even better than what we have seen so far this year. That's why I'm confident about continuing.

"Perhaps it's too early to talk about the contract," he added, "but I really want to continue this adventure with Williams.

"Until then it's better to wait for confirmation, so we will talk when we have something to say," said Bottas.

Similarly, Sergio Perez is expected to remain at Force India for a second season in 2015, but he is yet to agree a new deal.

The Mexican told the French-language F1i: "There are ongoing discussions.

"My management is in charge and we're just waiting to see if we can soon confirm the team for which I will drive next year."

Perez admitted that Force India is not his only option.

"No, there are others," he said, "but my priority is to continue here. I want to continue and I have some experience with this team, so it would be good."

Verstappen was 'prepared' for F1 debut criticism
(GMM) Max Verstappen says he was "prepared" for the waves of criticism about his formula one debut in 2015.

News that the 16-year-old Dutchman will make history as the sport's youngest ever race driver for Toro Rosso next year has been controversial.

Even his predecessor at the second Red Bull team, Daniel Ricciardo, has his doubts.

"I think Verstappen will answer on the track at the time of his debut and the months after it," the Australian said as he accepted the Lorenzo Bandini award in Italy.

"For me, I think a driver in formula one at 17 is too young, but that's only my personal opinion so it may be different, we'll see. For me, it's too young," the 25-year-old is quoted by Italy's Omnicorse.

Verstappen, whose father Jos raced in the 90s and even for Toro Rosso's former guise Minardi in 2003, gave his critics more fuel at the weekend as he appeared in a F1 car for the street demonstration in Rotterdam.

The 16-year-old crashed the Toro Rosso-liveried car head-first into the barrier, apparently as he fumbled with the complex controls of a modern F1 machine.

Earlier, Verstappen said that when he signed the deal with Red Bull, he expected criticism to follow.

"When you are being announced as the youngest ever formula one driver, you can expect it," he is quoted by the Dutch website RaceXpress.nl.

"I had prepared myself for it, and it's fine that everyone can have their own opinion.

"Next year we will see how it turns out," Verstappen added.

Rotterdam at the weekend was the first time Verstappen's F1 veteran father Jos had seen his son drive an F1 car, having missed the recent Rockingham shakedown.

"I felt no tension," said the former Benetton driver. "When I see how calm he is and how he deals with everything, I just know it will be ok."

Verstappen snr said he is not sure what the next steps for Max will be, amid speculation he will appear for Toro Rosso on Friday mornings later this season.

"I have no clue," said Jos. "It changes from day to day.

"What we have decided is that it will be a little easier now in terms of publicity. After this weekend, Max should focus on his racing and his preparations."

Max agrees: "I do not know exactly what the program looks like and whether I will run in practice sessions.

"Formula one is very different from F3 — the cars have a lot more power, pulling very fast and just continuing to accelerate. I cannot wait to get on a real circuit and go flat out."

Finally, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone said he sees no issue with Verstappen's controversial early debut.

"Why not?" he told Roger Benoit, the veteran correspondent for the Swiss newspaper Blick.

"If he has the talent, he should try it. I see no reason for an age limit. Maybe I'll try to make a comeback," the nearly 84-year-old Ecclestone joked.

The F1 chief executive also acknowledged that Verstappen's debut might be good for the sport in terms of opening the eyes of a younger generation of fans.

"Toto Wolff is always telling me the importance of social networks," Ecclestone said. "Let's see."

Williams plans to retain Massa, Bottas – Smedley
Williams Head of Performance Engineering Rob Smedley says the team plans to retain current drivers Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas into the 2015 Formula 1 season.

Massa joined from Ferrari at the start of 2014, while Bottas has been with the team for several seasons and stepped up to a race seat in 2013. The pair have combined to give Williams a pole position and four podiums this year and Smedley says the team has no reason to change their line-up for 2015.

"I would absolutely love to see that pairing continue through next year and that's the plan, obviously," Smedley told Crash.net.

"I think that it's just a great blend of youth, enthusiasm – on both sides – and experience. There's very little conflict and they're both absolutely down with the fact that there's a common purpose, and that common purpose is to drag this team on the journey that it's on at the minute. It's not about what's happening today and tomorrow, but it's about what's happening in the next six months, one-year, two-year, three-year period."

Smedley says that both drivers are learning from the other as the season progresses.

"It's good to see and Valtteri learns a lot from Felipe while Felipe learns from Valtteri as well because Valtteri is a very, very talented racing driver," he said.

"So even though he lacks a great deal of experience compared to Felipe there's still enough talent there that Felipe can learn from him. I think that's great; you've got two drivers that are pushing each other but also pushing the team."

Lotterer open to more Caterham outings
Andre Lotterer says he is open to more Formula 1 outings with Caterham, having made his debut in the sport with the team at last weekend's Belgian Grand Prix.

Lotterer regularly races for Audi in the World Endurance Championship as well as in Japan's Super Formula series. The German was drafted in by Caterham to aid the squad with an extensive upgrade package on the CT05.

Lotterer retired from the race early on but says he could appear again with Caterham later in the season.

"We're still in touch and I think there's opportunities to do more races," Lotterer told Racer.

"I really have to think about it. 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."

Lotterer added that he was surprised with the level of support he received across the weekend in Belgium.

"It felt like everybody at Audi was behind me and all of the people who supported my career before and in Japan," he said.

"I felt like I carried the whole WEC paddock on my back, Audi was very happy with everything, and I was surprised in general how much everyone was supporting me. It was a nice feeling for me; I didn't expect that. Formula 1 is another dimension."

Caterham has yet to confirm whether Kamui Kobayashi will return to a race seat for next weekend's Italian Grand Prix.

Force India duo confident over Monza chances
Force India drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez are hopeful of putting together a more competitive showing at this weekend's Italian Grand Prix, after a below-par performance at Spa-Francorchamps.

Perez and Hulkenberg crossed the line over a minute behind race winner Daniel Ricciardo in the Ardennes, with their minor points finishes not enough to prevent McLaren moving ahead in the championship standings.

But the pair reckon Monza will yield a better result, given their own and Force India's past form at the venue.

"I expect us to be quite competitive there," said Hulkenberg, who finished fifth at last year's event with Sauber.

"It should be better for us than at Spa-Francorchamps. It's all about power and top speed here and we know the engine will be strong. We also have a new low downforce rear wing that we will use for Monza only."

Perez, a visitor to the Monza podium in 2012, was equally positive, but highlighted the importance of qualifying.

"I think it's going to be a good track for us," added Perez. "It's important to qualify in the top 10 to have a chance of scoring good points. It's difficult to overtake at Monza and if you are out of position it's hard to recover."

Force India trails McLaren by two points in the battle for fifth position, with seven rounds remaining.

F1 drivers wanted Parabolica tarmac run-off at Monza
Marco Mattiacci insists he is more concerned with taking Ferrari back to the pinnacle of Formula One than convincing its fans he is the man to do it.

Ferrari started the V6 turbo era on the back foot with an uncompetitive car and power unit, with just two Fernando Alonso podiums to its name in 2014. Mattiacci, who was brought in to replace Stefano Domenicali after his resignation in April, does not want to set a definitive timeline to Ferrari's revival but insists he is the man to achieve it.

"We have to work very hard and will find many tough days along the way, but we will get back to the top," Mattiacci told Formula One's official website. "I like to deliver rather than overpromise. We have a very clear strategy and a very clear timeline. Like all serious managers you have to try to do the utmost to shorten this scenario."

Mattiacci wants fans to understand there is no quick-fix solution to Ferrari's problems this year but is adamant there is no team better equipped to turn its fortunes around.

"Formula One is not soccer. It's not a case of changing one or two players and the coach and the next season you are winning. This is a very competitive environment with the most sophisticated engineering in the world and with great talents to contribute to it.

"We know that we have a lot of work to do, but we are starting from a very solid platform. I have found incredible assets in this company. We have the most talented couple of drivers, we have a tradition of over 60 years, and an impressive obsession to come back and win." wanted Parabolica tarmac run-off at Monza. ESPN F1

Marco Mattiacci wants to deliver 'not overpromise' at Ferrari
Marco Mattiacci insists he is more concerned with taking Ferrari back to the pinnacle of Formula One than convincing its fans he is the man to do it.

Ferrari started the V6 turbo era on the back foot with an uncompetitive car and power unit, with just two Fernando Alonso podiums to its name in 2014. Mattiacci, who was brought in to replace Stefano Domenicali after his resignation in April, does not want to set a definitive timeline to Ferrari's revival but insists he is the man to achieve it.

"We have to work very hard and will find many tough days along the way, but we will get back to the top," Mattiacci told Formula One's official website. "I like to deliver rather than overpromise. We have a very clear strategy and a very clear timeline. Like all serious managers you have to try to do the utmost to shorten this scenario."

Mattiacci wants fans to understand there is no quick-fix solution to Ferrari's problems this year but is adamant there is no team better equipped to turn its fortunes around.

"Formula One is not soccer. It's not a case of changing one or two players and the coach and the next season you are winning. This is a very competitive environment with the most sophisticated engineering in the world and with great talents to contribute to it.

"We know that we have a lot of work to do, but we are starting from a very solid platform. I have found incredible assets in this company. We have the most talented couple of drivers, we have a tradition of over 60 years, and an impressive obsession to come back and win." ESPN F1

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