Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • Bernie rests

    Ecclestone holidays after paying $100m settlement

  • Montezemolo slams 'gossip' about Ferrari drivers
  • Massa wants Williams to beat old team Ferrari
  • Nasr says Sauber seat 'possible' for 2015
  • Albers not denying Caterham to axe 'double nose'
  • McLaren looking to 'refresh' driver lineup – Boullier
  • Ferrari target '360 degree' turnaround

Ecclestone holidays after paying $100m settlement
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone's bribery trial and charges have been officially dropped, after the F1 supremo lodged his controversial $100 million settlement with Munich authorities.

After the deal was announced recently, the 83-year-old Briton had one week to actually pay the funds — $99 million to the Bavarian state, and $1 million to a German children's charity.

"After the payment of the agreed amount to the recipients, the court ceased criminal proceedings", Munich spokeswoman Margarete Notzel confirmed to the German news agency DPA.

Ecclestone is celebrating the end of proceedings by holidaying aboard his huge luxury yacht Petara off the Croatian island of Havr, the Daily Mail reported.

"The bottom line is it's been three and a half years of aggravation, travelling, meeting lawyers, and god knows what else, so it is good it is out of the way," the billionaire said.

It is not yet clear what Bavaria will do with Ecclestone's millions, the largest criminal court settlement in German history, but minister president Horst Seehofer insisted: "We are certainly not breaking into cries of joy."

Montezemolo slams 'gossip' about Ferrari drivers
(GMM) Luca di Montezemolo has dismissed "unfounded gossip" about Fernando Alonso's future at Ferrari.

The Italian marque's colorful president was responding to what he described as typical "summer" speculation that the Spaniard could be looking to end his contract early and switch to another team.

At the same time, there have been rumors that Alonso, already reportedly the highest paid driver in F1, is demanding a huge pay-rise from Ferrari.

"We know that the summer heat always produces silly stories," Montezemolo said, adding that the latest rumors are "senseless".

Alonso seemed to back the comments, insisting that driving for Ferrari "has a more intense feeling than doing it with any other team. That's what always makes it so appealing."

On the other hand, having not won a single grand prix since last May, the Spaniard said the most important thing in F1 "is to win.

"You feel them (wins) all very intensely, but I think the win is much more important than the way in which it is obtained," Alonso added.

Meanwhile, Montezemolo also dismissed suggestions struggling Kimi Raikkonen could be ousted, insisting Ferrari is "lucky to have two great champions".

He said Maranello is working hard behind the scenes to make "in-depth changes" following a disappointing first half-season in the new turbo era.

Founder Enzo Ferrari's only living son, Piero Ferrari, said his late father would be "happy" with how the team is reacting to the current situation, as there are "no reactions that can be seen as emotional".

"Instead there is a careful and meticulous analysis of what must change prior to decisions being taken," Ferrari added.

Massa wants Williams to beat old team Ferrari
(GMM) Felipe Massa says his new team Williams is locked in a battle with Ferrari, for whom he raced in formula one for eight years until his ousting last year.

With Williams ending its slump this year but fabled Ferrari struggling in the first half-season of the new V6 era, Brazilian Massa thinks he left the Maranello marque at the right time.

"I think so," he told Brazil's Sportv.

"It was very important for me. Sometimes a change does you good," said Massa, "I needed it even if some things did not all fit together yet.

"But it will (fit), and I think we can have a very positive future with this new team," he added.

Valtteri Bottas has been the real star of Williams' 2014 resurgence, but teammate Massa says he is happy to be involved in the fight to displace Ferrari as a top-three force in the constructors' world championship.

Williams lost its top-three place to the great Scuderia last time out in Hungary, but Massa insists: "Our fight now is with Ferrari.

"We were in front until the last race and Ferrari had a better race than Williams, but the chance to finish the year ahead of Ferrari is very large. That's what we want.

"To be able to come up in one year into the top three, ahead of a big team like Ferrari, is very positive," he added.

Nasr says Sauber seat 'possible' for 2015
(GMM) Felipe Nasr has set his sights on a 2015 race debut in formula one.

The Brazilian, whose name rhymes with that of his countryman and Williams stablemate Felipe Massa, is the Grove squad's official reserve driver in 2014 and a frontrunner in the GP2 series.

Significantly backed by Banco do Brasil, the 21-year-old says his management has already opened negotiations for a F1 race seat in 2015.

"Conversations have begun already," he told Brazil's Sportv. "My management is looking around.

"Force India is difficult, but I think Sauber is possible."

Nasr said he is not interested in joining a back-of-the-grid team like Marussia or Caterham.

"I think I would not accept it," he revealed. "It's almost like racing in GP2. In fact I think it would be better to continue in GP2 because you're not burning yourself in F1.

"I'm not saying I want a great team, but a midfield one that gives me a position to fight for the points would be fantastic. I think it's possible," Nasr added.

He said stepping up at his current F1 employer, Williams, is unlikely.

"It's hard to get a place at Williams because the two drivers (Massa and Valtteri Bottas) have done a good job and the team will not want to change that.

"I will keep up with all of the teams and see what happens.

"Williams has given me a very good background on what to expect in F1. I participate in all of the meetings and I'm always on the team radio," said Nasr.

Albers not denying Caterham to axe 'double nose'
(GMM) New team boss Christijan Albers is not denying Caterham will axe the 2014 car's unseemly nose.

We reported last month that the distinctive solution at the front of this year's green-liveried car could be the popular victim of a development push by the team's new management.

In the wake of the unsuccessful Tony Fernandes era, Caterham is currently last in the constructors' standings, but new management headed by Albers and Colin Kolles have targeted rising above tenth place and securing about $20 million in official prize money.

We reported in July that the team's mysterious new Swiss-Middle Eastern owners have approved a timely development push, involving sending a 60 per cent car model into the state-of-the-art Toyota wind tunnel in Cologne.

Speed Week now claims that the curious 'double nose' could have been replaced by an all-new solution when the season resumes in Belgium next week.

Italy's Omnicorse tips that the new Caterham nose will resemble the solution at the front of the impressive 2014 Williams.

Asked about the nose reports, Dutchman Albers said: "We will see at Spa-Francorchamps."

The reports also said the under-developed Caterham is set to be updated with reduced weight, a new floor, front and rear wings, sidepods and engine cover.

McLaren looking to 'refresh' driver lineup – Boullier
(GMM) Eric Boullier has admitted McLaren is looking to eventually "refresh" its driver lineup.

Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen only debuted this year, but Mexican Sergio Perez was also only a single season into his McLaren career when he was ousted at the end of 2013.

It is rumored strongly that, ahead of the start of its works Honda partnership, Woking based McLaren is seeking a top driver to spearhead the project, such as former team racers Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton, or quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel.

"I can only do my best and hope that is good enough," said Magnussen.

"Anyone at McLaren should feel that you have to deliver to your best to deserve to be there and that goes for me and Jenson as well."

It is believed that if McLaren does oust a current driver to make way for a newcomer, it would be the 2009 world champion Jenson Button, 34, who is out of contract.

McLaren supremo Ron Dennis made waves recently when he urged Button to "try harder".

"Jenson knows the important thing is to score as many points as he can," team boss Boullier is quoted by Britain's Mirror newspaper.

"He doesn't have to prove anything as he is a world champion and has won many races for McLaren.

"We need to be realistic as well, because in one, two, three years we may need to refresh our driver lineup and obviously we will be seeking the best drivers at that moment in time," he added.

For his part, Button – the second-oldest driver in F1 but even more experienced than Kimi Raikkonen – insists he intends to stay on the grid for a sixteenth consecutive season in 2015.

"Right now, my interest is to race in F1," he said.

"In F1 the emotions are all over the place — it is highs, it is lows. I have lived my life like that for a long time and I want to continue my life like that.

"I am young and fast and enjoy what I do for a living, and I don't want that to change," added Button.

Ferrari target '360 degree' turnaround
Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci insists his team can pull off a "360 degree" turnaround and compete at the front of the grid.

The Italian outfit have been well off the pace of Mercedes so far this campaign with Fernando Alonso 87 points behind Championship leader Nico Rosberg with his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen another 60 points adrift.

The Scuderia, though, have improved in recent races with Alonso finishing second behind Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull in Hungary before the summer break.
Mattiacci admits they still have a "huge amount of work" to do, but is confident they can do it.

"We need to improve the car at 360 degrees," Mattiacci is quoted as saying by Crash.net. "It's not just the power unit, it's not just aerodynamics, it's not just the chassis; it's the team, the car… so it's a huge amount of work that has to be done.

"Am I confident? I'm confident about the team spirit that we're building and the quality of the people that we have – the strength and the plan that we have. That's why I'm confident." Planet F1

Leave a Reply