Latest F1 news in brief – Friday

  • Brit Hamilton seems to think the Germans are keeping him

    Hamilton expects contract talks within 2014

  • Azerbaijan, New Jersey next for F1 calendar – Ecclestone
  • 'All' Ferrari efforts now on 2015 – Alonso
  • Wife selling Schumacher's private jet
  • Grosjean in no hurry to secure F1 future
  • Vettel slams Formula E 'cheese'
  • Maldonado would welcome cigarette sponsor at Lotus
  • Rosberg not worried about 'Hamilton track' Hungary

Hamilton expects contract talks within 2014
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton says he has told Mercedes he is not on the move to a rival formula one team.

Rumors have linked the Briton with a high-price return to McLaren, particularly if his teammate Nico Rosberg goes on to secure the number '1' for the 2015 Mercedes.

But team chief Toto Wolff claims negotiations with Hamilton for an extension of his deal beyond next year are already taking place.

"I am sure something will happen this year," Hamilton confirmed when asked about the talks ahead of the Hungarian grand prix.

"I've made it clear to them that they don't have to worry, I'm not out seeing what else there is for me," he added.

"Mercedes has been my family since I started formula one so I don't see that changing any time soon."

Asked if the specific contract talks have already begun, Hamilton said: "We spoke about having a chat at some stage but I think they're quite relaxed as well, as far as I'm aware."

However, another rumor in the F1 paddock is that Mercedes might be considering an all-German 'super team' for the future by pairing Rosberg with Red Bull's reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel.

"I am not concerned about that," Hamilton insisted.

"Ultimately if the team wanted him in the car, that's their decision. I don't have any feelings about it.

"Another German driver? I'm not sure if that's something Mercedes would like. But at the moment I'm here until the end of next year, so it's not going to be any time soon," he added.

Azerbaijan, New Jersey next for F1 calendar – Ecclestone
(GMM) With Mexico set to join the 2015 calendar, two more new grands prix should follow the year after.

That is the news of F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, even though on Thursday there was skepticism in the Budapest paddock that Mexico will actually happen in 2015.

It is believed organizers need to spend at least $50 million upgrading the old Mexico City layout, including fully converting a baseball field into a new section of track.

And Mexican driver Sergio Perez on Thursday said he is not even sure the iconic, sweeping Peraltada corner will be included in the final layout.

Still, he is a "hundred per cent sure" the race will take place in 2015.

"No doubt about it. Last year was a difficult situation due to the time that we had to build the circuit, but now there is no doubt and I think we can all think that we're going there," Perez added.

The Mexicans are not the only hosts clamoring for the F1 calendar.

"Baku is for 2016," Ecclestone, speaking to F1 business journalist Christian Sylt, told Forbes.

He is referring to the capital of Azerbaijan, even though the republic at the crossroads of Europe and Asia was originally targeting an inaugural race for 2015.

And as for the on-again, off-again prospect of a New Jersey street race, Ecclestone now thinks the famous Manhattan skyline might feature on the 2016 schedule.

"Somebody said to me the other day that New Jersey seem to have got their act together now and that they have got the money and are all in good shape," he said.

"Whether or not that is true I don't know. The soonest it could come on the calendar is 2016."

'All' Ferrari efforts now on 2015 – Alonso
(GMM) Ferrari is now focusing "all" of its efforts on 2015, according to lead driver Fernando Alonso.

The Spaniard's comments, made on Thursday ahead of the Hungarian, appear to contradict those of the Italian team's technical director James Allison.

"It's a time of much work on both projects, with plenty of effort still going into improving lap time on the 2014 car," Allison said last week.

But Autosprint quotes Alonso as saying in Budapest: "Now all the team's efforts are focused on the new car.

"It's a choice that leaves us in a difficult situation for 2014, but at this point of the season it is right to think of 2015 above all."

Alonso also commented on his own performance, suggesting he has rarely been better at the wheel, despite the lack of performance from Ferrari's F14-T car.

"Last year was also good," he is quoted by Spain's Marca, "but like 2012 I think this year was a step above. I think I'm at the level of 2012 now.

"Also compared to my teammate, who has the same car, I have rarely felt better," said Alonso, referring to the struggling Kimi Raikkonen.

"With the new rules I have been almost every day in the simulator, also working with Pedro (de la Rosa). I've spent more time in Italy, with the team, than ever before."

Continuing to refer to Raikkonen, Alonso is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport: "I don't know what problems he has."

But if his recent comments sound like criticism, the official Ferrari quotes attributed to Alonso on Thursday insisted he works closely with the Finn.

"Definitely Kimi and I work together a lot and all the meetings are quite long this year because we have a lot of things to sort out after the races," he said.

"It's not a big change compared to the work I did with Felipe or other teammates," Alonso added.

Wife selling Schumacher's private jet
(GMM) Michael Schumacher's wife is selling the private jet the seven time world champion used to fly around the world.

The grey Falcon 2000EX, bearing the former Ferrari and Mercedes driver's 'MS' logo on the tail and the personalized registration 'M-IKEL', clocked up thousands of air miles not only during his F1 career but also afterwards.

But Germany's Bild newspaper reports that with the great German now recovering from brain injuries, his wife Corinna chose to sell the unused jet.

Originally bought for EUR 25 million, Mrs. Schumacher is reportedly seeking EUR 20m.

Grosjean in no hurry to secure F1 future
(GMM) With his Lotus future in doubt, Romain Grosjean could be eyeing a move up the formula one grid.

The Enstone based team is sticking with its other driver, Pastor Maldonado, whose sponsor PDVSA brings millions in crucial backing.

Frenchman Grosjean's Lotus connections, however, are fading — manager Eric Boullier has gone to McLaren, while Renault and oil partner Total are set to be replaced by a new Mercedes deal.

But Grosjean may also be the target of teams higher up the grid, having firmly dispensed with his 'first lap nutcase' reputation.

"You always think about the future, it's natural," Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport quoted Grosjean, 28, as saying ahead of the Hungarian grand prix.

"I want to win races, and soon.

"I will evaluate every opportunity, but right now I just want to find the best setup for this race in Hungary."

Grosjean's name, however, has already been strongly linked with the now Boullier-run McLaren.

"With the arrival of Honda, it could be interesting," he said, "but there are many prestigious teams like Ferrari, a myth, and also Mercedes is very strong," he added.

And what about Williams?

The Grove based team is arguably now the second best on the 2014 grid, and while Valtteri Bottas is riding a wave of form, Felipe Massa is not as happy.

The Brazilian began his weekend in Budapest continuing to fume at Kevin Magnussen, blaming not only the Dane for the Hockenheim rollover, but also the FIA stewards for clearing the young McLaren driver.

"If the stewards are thinking like that," said Massa, "I don't know who they (the FIA) are taking to be stewards to be honest."

When asked about Williams' 2014 form, Grosjean said: "They have been a big surprise.

"They were in huge trouble last season," he told RMC Sport, "but this year they have a car that works beautifully."

But when asked about his plans for 2015, Grosjean insisted he is in no hurry.

"There is no fire on the lake, as we say in Switzerland," he smiled.

"At the moment, I am focused on what I can do with the car, while the managers are allowed to discuss," Grosjean smiled again.

Vettel slams Formula E 'cheese'
(GMM) World champion Sebastian Vettel has slammed the FIA's new fully-electric single seater series, Formula E.

The new series, featuring nearly silent cars and an impressive collection of teams and drivers, will commence a global tour of street circuits starting with Beijing in September.

But according to Vettel: "I think it's cheese."

It is not the first time the Red Bull driver has turned to food for a putdown, having called his uncompetitive 2014 car a "cucumber" earlier this year.

But the quadruple title winner also earned a personal rebuke from none other than FIA president Jean Todt in 2014, when he referred to the sound of the new turbo V6 engines as "sh*t".

Now, 27-year-old Vettel has set his target on Formula E.

"I'm not a fan of it, and as a viewer I would not be interested.

"Now I need to stop," Vettel smiled, according to the German newsmagazine Focus ahead of the Hungarian grand prix.

Maldonado would welcome cigarette sponsor at Lotus
(GMM) Pastor Maldonado would welcome a cigarette sponsor to Lotus.

When the Enstone based team first adopted its familiar black and gold livery in 2011, it instantly triggered memories of the original Team Lotus, sponsored in the 70s and 80s by John Player Special.

But according to rumors in the Hungaroring paddock, John Player Special – now headed by the British tobacco giant Imperial – could be back for real in 2015.

Cigarette advertising in F1 is banned, but Ferrari continues to be backed by Philip Morris, whose Marlboro colors resemble the imagery on the Italian team's cars and logos.

Venezuelan Maldonado on Thursday indicated he would have no problem being sponsored by a tobacco company like Imperial.

"It's difficult to say because I'm not getting involved in marketing and this part of the team," he said.

"But for sure, a sponsor is welcome. Whoever can join the team, it's always welcome.

"From my point of view, it's a good team in terms of image, marketing, one of the best in formula one, for sure," Maldonado added.

Rosberg not worried about 'Hamilton track' Hungary
(GMM) Championship leader Nico Rosberg insists he is not worried about racing on 'a Hamilton track' this weekend in Hungary.

Determined to hit back at his teammate after a mixed weekend in Hockenheim, Lewis Hamilton has won no fewer than four times on the Hungaroring, and another victory on Sunday will be a year-on-year hat-trick.

"It's a great circuit," said the Briton, who after his qualifying crash in Germany and fight through the field to third, lies 14 points behind German Rosberg.

"Maybe it suits my driving style more than perhaps some other circuits, or maybe it's luck, I don't know. Let's see this weekend."

Rosberg, however, said Hamilton's Hungary record does not faze him.

"I don't care about statistics," he is quoted by Finland's Turun Sanomat in Budapest.

"I know that if I am able to bring out my best performance, I can win the race. I assume that I can extend my lead here," Rosberg added.

There is also a slight question-mark about Hamilton's physical condition in Hungary, mere days after his 30G crash and resulting knee, neck and back pain.

"I'm not 100 per cent fit," he admitted to Speed Week, "but I'm not far from it."

Meanwhile, after boss Toto Wolff joked that one Mercedes driver this year will require "psychological treatment" after losing the title on double points, Rosberg admitted he too is no fan of Bernie Ecclestone's Abu Dhabi finale.

"The (double points) concept is really artificial, I don't like it and that is a pity," he said in his Daily Mail column.

On the other hand, "winning is winning, and obviously I will be happy if I win this year's championship whatever the circumstances".

On that point, Rosberg and his teammate share a rare moment of agreement.

Hamilton said: "I'm not going to get to the end of the season, and if I won it that way, say I didn't want to win it that way.

"I just want to win the world championship," he added.

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