Latest F1 news in brief – Tuesday

  • Jules Bianchi latest Italian to get crack at F1?

    Only 'emergency' team orders at Mercedes – Zetsche

  • Verstappen not denying 2015 Toro Rosso debut rumors
  • Bianchi not ruling out '2015' Ferrari race seat
  • Perez says Hulkenberg 'strongest F1 teammate'
  • Video: We're all about the racing – Happy Holidays!
  • Symonds – Renault car was better than McLaren
  • Magnussen hails positive impact of teammate Button

Only 'emergency' team orders at Mercedes – Zetsche
(GMM) Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche insists there will be "no team orders" to settle the outcome of the title battle between warring Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

His comments, in Bild am Sonntag newspaper, follow hot on the heels of the Hungarian grand prix, where Hamilton blankly refused to obey the order to let Rosberg past on a different strategy.

"Last Sunday there was no emergency situation," Zetsche said. "The two were not really bumper to bumper, which is why I can well understand Lewis not slowing down to let Nico past."

He said it is only in 'emergency situations' that the pitwall will intervene with the free battle between the silver-clad pair.

"At Mercedes there are no team orders," Zetsche insisted. "I stand by that.

"The skill of the drivers and a little bit of luck will in the end decide who has the edge.

"It is true however that Rosberg and Hamilton are not to impede each other with different strategies — for example two stops versus three stops," he added.

Verstappen not denying 2015 Toro Rosso debut rumors
(GMM) Max Verstappen's father has admitted the 16-year-old might be fast-tracked into formula one with a Toro Rosso race seat.

Recently, it was thought the young Dutchman, whose meteoric rise from karting to F3 this year caught the notice of the F1 world, had now signed a development deal with Mercedes.

But that was only the case until last weekend, when Dr Helmut Marko sat down for new talks with Max and his well-known father Jos Verstappen on the sidelines of the latest European F3 race at the Red Bull Ring.

Marko is reportedly offering Max a Toro Rosso race seat for 2015 in exchange for signing up with the Red Bull junior program for a number of years.

42-year-old Jos Verstappen, who last raced in F1 for Minardi in 2003, told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf: "He (Marko) is a fan of Max's and so for us that is nice."

Verstappen snr did not want to elaborate on his talks with Marko but acknowledged that a fast-tracked route into formula one might be "just one of the options".

Asked whether debuting in F1 at the tender age of 17 is too young, Verstappen insisted: "Definitely not for Max, he's already quite mature.

"We are in a good situation, but it's also tricky — what is the right decision, and also how often is a train like this going to pass by?"

Asked specifically about the Toro Rosso rumors, Verstappen snr admitted: "I hear it as well, of course, and it could well be that Helmut has this in mind for Max.

"We know at least what Red Bull wants, but we really have not decided," he added.

Bianchi not ruling out '2015' Ferrari race seat
(GMM) Jules Bianchi is no longer ruling out a move to Ferrari for 2015.

Recently, after an impressive Ferrari test at Silverstone in injured Kimi Raikkonen's place, the Frenchman admitted that a race seat with the Italian team "is not the plan for next year".

That is because Finn Raikkonen, although struggling for form this year, is firmly under contract for 2015 alongside on-form teammate Fernando Alonso.

Team boss Marco Mattiacci also publicly backed the 2007 world champion and his secure place at Ferrari next year.

But in Hungary, 25-year-old Bianchi, racing for the backmarker Marussia, again attracted attention and stirred speculation by out-qualifying Raikkonen following a Ferrari strategy bungle.

Bianchi, managed by Nicolas Todt, is the cream of Ferrari's driver development 'academy' and almost assured a race seat in red at some point in the future.

2015 will be his third season in F1, and this year he has notably impressed, scoring Marussia's lucrative first-ever points.

"Our goal is to stay ahead of Caterham and finish tenth, which would be a huge boost for the team," he told the French sports daily L'Equipe.

"Ferrari?" he is also quoted as saying. "If they call me one day, I'll be ready to take the plunge.

"2015? 2016? We'll see," Bianchi added.

Perez says Hulkenberg 'strongest F1 teammate'
(GMM) Sergio Perez has singled out Nico Hulkenberg as "the strongest teammate I've had in formula one".

Having moved from McLaren after a disappointing single season with the struggling British giant, Mexican Perez switched to Force India and was paired for 2014 with Sauber refugee Hulkenberg.

"Nico is the strongest teammate I've had in formula one," Perez is quoted by Speed Week. "He is an almost totally complete driver."

Perez, 24, was paired at Sauber with Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi, and at McLaren by 2009 world champion Jenson Button.

This year at Force India, he has 29 points so far versus German Hulkenberg's 69.

The pair looks set to be retained by the Silverstone based team for 2015.

"I hope things will be clearer in the next couple of months," Perez was quoted by the Indian news agency PTI at the recent Hungarian grand prix.

Team supremo Vijay Mallya said in Budapest that he has contract "options" on both Hulkenberg and Perez for 2015 "and I see no reason why we should be looking at any change".

And the Indian millionaire told F1's official website: "The fact that McLaren chose him (Perez) means that they saw something in him — and McLaren is a top team.

"So he obviously has a talent — and we should have him. And we are very happy with him," Mallya added.

Video: We're all about the racing – Happy Holidays!
Force India drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez share a moment of fun before the summer break

Symonds – Renault car was better than McLaren
Renault's engineering director Pat Symonds says he is disappointed that McLaren have been applauded for apparently having the best car in 2005 when he believes his own R25 was actually better.

Renault did win both titles, but the general feeling was that McLaren's car was faster for much of the year, just less reliable. Symonds claims that the Renault car was better, but its true pace was not shown for much of the year because the team took a conservative approach in the mid-season until it clinched the championship.

"I'm surprised people think that way," Symonds told Autosport about opinions that McLaren's car was better. "We had a great start to the season and built a good lead. Strategically we then went quite conservative. Fernando showed it more and therefore a lot of people got the impression that McLaren was a lot faster than us and they would have won but for reliability – but that is not the way it was."

"Yes they were less reliable than us, but that's part of the strategy," he added. "Yes they were faster than us, but there were times when they appeared faster and the gap appeared more than it really was because we were being quite conservative."

Magnussen hails positive impact of teammate Button
Kevin Magnussen has praised the impact of team-mate Jenson Button during his rookie F1 season.

The 21-year-old Dane, who secured a McLaren seat after winning the Formula Renault 3.5 Series, made the dream start to life in the top echelon by finishing on the podium at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

And although he has had to settle for less over the following races, he currently holds 10th position in the championship standings, only 23 points behind Button, contesting his 15th campaign in the top echelon.

With Button's contract set to expire at the end of the season, Magnussen hopes to see him sign a renewal.

"As a rookie, to have someone like Jenson next to me, with all his experience, speed and talent, has been great," Magnussen was quoted by the Press Association.

"I've learned a lot from him, and I expect to continue that because he's a very complete driver. He's very good at everything you have to do as a Formula 1 driver. There have been things to learn from everything he does, which has been great."

Despite learning plenty next to Button, Magnussen says he is far from the former World Champion's pupil.

"We're team-mates, and it's a very normal, healthy team-mate relationship. He's not my mentor, teacher or anything like that, he's my team-mate. He doesn't have any responsibility for me," added Magnussen.

"All he does is push and do the best he can for the team, and I learn from that."

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