Latest F1 news in brief – Saturday

  • Button told to 'hurry-up'

    Hay fever and leaking oil spoil Hamilton momentum

  • Raikkonen will be 'great' again – Mattiacci
  • Lotus to test 18-inch Pirelli tire
  • Newey could design Infiniti supercar – report
  • Button hurry-up printed on 'chip paper' – Neale
  • Investors saved Caterham from Silverstone axe – Kolles
  • Ecclestone admits F1 buy-back possible
  • Sauber to stay with Ferrari power in 2015

Hay fever and leaking oil spoil Hamilton momentum
(GMM) More technical trouble is not the only thing on Lewis Hamilton's mind at Silverstone.

The 2008 world champion went into his home grand prix weekend determined to start clawing back some of the 29-point deficit to his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.

"Yes," he sniffed to reporters, "the tables turned in Monaco and broke my momentum and he has had it for a few races. Now it is time to do the same thing the other way round."

But that was before he broke down with an oil leak during Friday practice, even though he still topped the times.

"It happens," said Hamilton, "but I don't know why it happens to my car so much. I really needed that (session). I can't keep stopping."

Also being addressed by Mercedes team management at Silverstone was the ever-growing divide between the 'Hamilton camp' and the 'Rosberg camp' as their title fight intensifies.

"We had a bit of a situation in one of the last races when we asked (the drivers) for feedback on the car," boss Toto Wolff is quoted by the Mirror.

"They said 'Nope'. Anything you want to say? Nope. And when the meeting was over they plunged into detailed discussions with their engineers," he added.

Wolff said the matter has been resolved.

But Hamilton's troubles do not even end there. During his media briefing at Silverstone, a team aide handed him a hay fever pill, as he is suffering with the pollen in the air around rural Northamptonshire.

That alone, however, will not hold back his silver car. "If everything runs normally, Mercedes can do a one-two on every circuit," Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel said at Silverstone.

Williams' Pat Symonds agrees.

"I can't explain Austria," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, referring
to Felipe Massa's pole and the smaller than usual gap to the otherwise dominant Mercedes two weeks ago.

"I assume they (Mercedes) will be back here," Symonds added.

Raikkonen will be 'great' again – Mattiacci
(GMM) New team boss Marco Mattiacci insists he is not afraid of making changes to put Ferrari back on the path to victory.

His predecessor Stefano Domenicali has already gone, and the latest paddock rumor is that engine chief Luca Marmorini could be the next to pay the price for the fabled Italian marque's poor start to the new V6 era.

"I will not name names," Mattiacci was quoted by Autosprint at Silverstone, as he refused to rule out personnel changes.

He insisted, however, that the struggling Kimi Raikkonen is safe.

"Kimi is a great champion," said Mattiacci, who already has the Finn under contract for 2015.

"It makes no sense to talk about a problem of the individual, it is a problem of the team as a whole. He will return to being a great," he added.

In other areas, however, Mattiacci said Ferrari needs to "change the mentality" and "take more risks".

Leading that charge, he said, will be technical boss James Allison, who made his name by producing innovative Lotus cars on a much smaller budget.

"He's my right arm," smiled Mattiacci. Siding so strongly with Allison appears to have marginalized Ferrari's other technical chief, Pat Fry.

But he said Ferrari's current problems date back to choices made in "past years" — including the once troubled wind tunnel, and not focusing strongly enough on computer simulation.

The biggest issue is the turbo V6.

"If Williams is so strong today," said Mattiacci, "the predominant factor is the engine. And I do not think Red Bull is in a crisis.

"Give me time to work," he insisted.

Lotus to test 18-inch Pirelli tire
(GMM) Pirelli will test a much lower-profile tire during next week's post-British grand prix test at Silverstone.

F1's official tire supplier, whose public profile has been much lower in 2014 as drivers label its new approach as "conservative", said the 18-inch tire will "showcase the way that formula one could look in the near future".

The Lotus team will be running the novel tire design.

"Larger wheel and tire sizes reflect modern market trends," Pirelli said in a statement.

The current F1 tires have a 13-inch profile, unlike rival categories like GT, Le Mans and Formula E.

Newey could design Infiniti supercar – report
(GMM) One of Adrian Newey's first non-F1 technical projects could be an Infiniti supercar.

The sport's highest paid and most highly rated engineer is stepping into a mere 'advisory' role for Red Bull, having admitted his frustration with ever-tightening technical regulations.

Newey said at Silverstone that the trend of the rules is in the direction of a single-make series, like a glorified GP2, and "We're already, in my opinion, in grave danger of getting close to that".

So the 55-year-old's main office next year will not be in Red Bull's F1 factory, but in the new 'Advanced Technologies Centre', where according to speculation he could begin work on an America's Cup yacht design.

And what about a supercar branded as Infiniti, Nissan's luxury division and the reigning world champion team's title sponsor?

"Adrian it itching to do something new," Andy Palmer, Nissan's British executive vice president, told topgear.com.

"Watch this space."

Button hurry-up printed on 'chip paper' – Neale
(GMM) Even the great Ayrton Senna got a 'hurry-up' from McLaren supremo Ron Dennis.

That was the claim at Silverstone of Jonathan Neale, the Woking based team's managing director, after Dennis this week told senior driver Jenson Button to "try harder".

Button is out of contract at the end of 2014, so many interpreted Dennis' comments as the start of negotiations.

Champion trio Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton have all been linked with Button's seat, and the 34-year-old Briton – the most experienced driver on the grid today – reacted coolly to Dennis' quip.

"It isn't the only team in formula one," Button said.

It is believed members of McLaren's senior management also did not appreciate Dennis' message, but Neale insists the newspapers the words were printed on should be thrown away.

"It's chip paper," he said at Silverstone.

"I think he (Dennis) did the same thing to Ayrton Senna. I'm pretty sure he did the same thing to Kevin (Magnussen). I think if you listen to my phone on a daily basis he'll be doing the same thing to me," said Neale.

In truth, both Button and rookie Dane Magnussen might have reason to worry.

McLaren is on the hunt for a top driver to lead the new Honda era, and the team ousted newcomer Sergio Perez after a solid single season last year.

Is Magnussen worried?

"Everyone knows at McLaren that if you don't deliver you don't deserve the place," the 21-year-old told F1's official website. "I think that's the way it should be."

Investors saved Caterham from Silverstone axe – Kolles
(GMM) Caterham would not be at Silverstone if not for the team's mysterious new owners.

That is the claim of Colin Kolles, well-known in the F1 paddock for leading backmarker teams including Midland, Spyker and HRT.

Now he has been brought in as an 'advisor' by Caterham's new Swiss-Middle Eastern owners, and he promptly installed the former Minardi driver Christijan Albers as team boss.

Apart from that, almost nothing is known about who Malaysian aviation entrepreneur Tony Fernandes sold the Leafield-based team to.

"I suppose you probably know as much about the overall management structure and the investor as I do," Gerry Hughes, Caterham's track boss, admitted to reporters at Silverstone.

Mystery and skepticism therefore abounds, but German-based Romanian Kolles – earlier linked with the potential new F1 entrant Forza Rossa – insists Caterham's owners should be applauded.

"I did not expect to return to formula one in this way," he is quoted by Speed Week.

"We have been working for quite a while on various projects, and then the Caterham plans suddenly took shape.

"But if we had not come, Caterham would not be at Silverstone. We have saved this team and done Tony Fernandes a big favor.

"We have made sure he can leave formula one with his head high, as without us, the racing team would have collapsed before Silverstone," Kolles revealed.

As for the investors, Kolles said there are no plans for enlightenment.

"They will remain invisible," he said.

"In recent years I have had so many problems with investors who meddled too much — at Midland, Spyker, Force India and most recently the Carabante family at HRT.

"This time we have people who leave those at the front to do the work, while the investors stay in the background.

"The names would not tell you anything," Kolles insisted. "They are Dubai and Kuwait nationals from Switzerland."

New boss Albers, meanwhile, told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf that he cannot rule out making changes at Caterham.

But "Let us first see how this weekend goes," he said, amid speculation Kamui Kobayashi or Marcus Ericsson's place might be taken by Albers' talented Dutch countryman Robin Frijns.

Ecclestone admits F1 buy-back possible
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has admitted he might buy back formula one.

The Silverstone weekend kicked off amid rumors major shareholder CVC could be considering selling its stake.

The reported front-runners are multiple consortiums, separately involving grandee teams Red Bull, Ferrari and even Lotus' Gerard Lopez.

But also in the running now is F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who is reportedly at risk of being ousted by CVC over a corruption scandal for which he is currently on trial in Germany.

The Daily Express newspaper, however, claims 83-year-old billionaire Ecclestone could simply buy back the sport he so successfully developed.

"I have spoken to (CVC's) Donald Mackenzie and I am looking at it," the diminutive Briton confirmed.

"Our company has been a very good investment for CVC and it would be a very good investment for me or anyone who owned it."

Kaltenborn claims Sauber will stick with Ferrari engines

Sauber to stay with Ferrari power in 2015
(GMM) According to word from Silverstone, Lotus is poised to announce its switch from struggling Renault to leading Mercedes power for 2015.

The Enstone based team, fourth overall in the last two years, has languished this year but reportedly plans to revive its fortunes with Mercedes.

"The (Renault) engine is still fragile," Lotus driver Pastor Maldonado told F1's official website at Silverstone. "There are stupid things that are costing you time and resources."

Lotus' new Mercedes deal has been made possible by customer McLaren's switch to works Honda power for 2015. Force India and Williams are Mercedes' other teams.

What about the others in pitlane?

Despite all the noise, Red Bull and Toro Rosso are expected to stay with Renault, completing a fully Red Bull-linked circle of teams for the French marque with Caterham to continue using a Renault power unit and Red Bull gearbox.

The other engine supplier in F1 is Ferrari, whose customers are Marussia and Sauber.

Swiss team Sauber has notably struggled in 2014, but it will not change its engine supplier for 2015.

When asked if it is even a possibility, team boss Monisha Kaltenborn told Speed Week firmly: "No."

On the driver front, however, it could be different.

Sauber's current drivers are Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez, but plugging hard in the background are testers Giedo van der Garde, Sergey Sirotkin and Simona de Silvestro.

"We have several options when it comes to drivers," Kaltenborn admitted. "When the time is right, we will make an appropriate decision."

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