Latest F1 news in brief – Wednesday (Update)

UPDATE Updates shown in red below.


  • Two DRS zones in Austria

    Hockenheim furious as Ecclestone eyes F1 axe

  • Hospital admits Schumacher outcome uncertain
  • Ferrari made 'absurd' offer to Newey – Marko
  • Finishing the main goal for last-place Caterham
  • No power loss for new turbo engines in Austria
  • Austrian Grand Prix to feature two DRS zones
  • Ferrari position marginally improved, says Allison
  • Haas Hopes New Formula One Team Will Help Boost Sales By $1B
  • Red Bull 'Committed To Formula One For Long Term' Despite Newey's Breakaway Plan
  • Clock ticking on Leimer's Marussia chance New
  • Hockenheim deal 'has no exit clause' New

Hockenheim furious as Ecclestone eyes F1 axe
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone could terminate Hockenheim's contract, as he looks to secure the long-term future of formula one in Germany.

Currently, Hockenheim – to host the German grand prix next month – annually alternates the race with the country's other F1 venue, the fabled Nurburgring.

But it emerged this week that, following the formerly insolvent Nurburgring's sale to a Dusseldorf group called Capricorn, the new owners are close to agreeing a contract to stage the German grand prix every year between 2015 and 2019.

A press release to that effect was issued by Capricorn on Tuesday.

"It is outrageous that this press release was issued," Hockenheim boss Georg Seiler told the German news agency SID.

"In formula one there is an unwritten law that says 'No press releases while you are negotiating'. This is scandalous."

After hosting July's 2014 race, the remainder of Hockenheim's current contract is for grands prix in 2016 and 2018.

Referring to F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, Seiler said: "He cannot and will not terminate."

And DPA news agency also quoted him as saying: "I know Mr. Ecclestone as a fair and good partner. The fact is that I was surprised by this news."

Ecclestone, however, told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that the new annual Nurburgring deal would result in Hockenheim's contract being terminated.

"I met with the people from Capricorn," he confirmed. "The problem is that they need to find revenues on the level of other European races.

"Since the Nurburgring is close to Spa, I offered them the same deal that Belgium has," added Ecclestone, referring to an arrangement where Spa gives up ticket revenues in exchange for a low race fee.

"I have nothing against Hockenheim," he explained, "but it seems that they are not able to meet our requirements.

"To help them, we had to enter into an agreement with special conditions. But it can't stay like that forever," said Ecclestone.

"If we sign a long-term agreement with the Nurburgring, it's best to end the existing contract and begin the new one as early as 2015."

Hospital admits Schumacher outcome uncertain
(GMM) The hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland, has admitted F1 legend Michael Schumacher could be there for the "long haul".

News that the great German had left Grenoble, where he has been in intensive care since his skiing fall in late December, and is no longer in a coma, was met with elation the world over.

But Britain's Telegraph newspaper cited a source close to the Schumacher family – who are otherwise fiercely guarding the former Ferrari and Mercedes driver's privacy – as confirming the 45-year-old is 'drifting in and out of consciousness'.

And Darcy Christen, the Lausanne university hospital's head of media, confirmed that Schumacher's stay "won't be days. It could be for the long haul".

"The transfer doesn't mean that his condition improved markedly in the last few weeks.

"He is still going in and out of consciousness but he is having more moments of consciousness more regularly than in April. He certainly can't talk but there is some degree of communication.

"His doctors and family speak to him but he gets tired very quickly and needs a lot of rest. So this is kept to a minimum," he added.

Italy's La Repubblica newspaper also quoted hospital sources as revealing that Schumacher had been moved from Grenoble to be closer to his home in Switzerland, and because he no longer needs to be in intensive care.

"It will take a few days for him to stabilize completely, after the transfer," the hospital sources reportedly said. "Then the rehabilitation will begin."

The report also said Schumacher's moments of consciousness are brief, but that he is sometimes able to communicate by using his eyes.

"It will be a very long journey, and it is hard to say what will be the outcome," Christen said. "Whatever happens, it will take a lot of patience."

He said Lausanne's neurology department is headed by field leader Professor Richard Frackowiak, and is one of the best-equipped and modern in the world.

"It combines care and research in the best way," said Christen. "There is no better place for Schumacher at this time."

Ferrari made 'absurd' offer to Newey – Marko
(GMM) Red Bull has directly contradicted Ferrari's claim that the Italian team never tried to secure the services of Adrian Newey.

Following weeks of speculation about the hugely-rated engineer, it was confirmed on the day of the Monaco grand prix that Briton Newey, 55, is staying at Red Bull.

However, while still advising the F1 team and mentoring its full-time staff, Newey will focus instead on a new Advanced Technologies Centre, reportedly to feature forays such as the new British bid for the America's Cup.

"Adrian has admitted openly that he is a little tired," Red Bull director Dr Helmut Marko this week told Austrian broadcaster Servus TV.

"This is because in formula one there is gradually less and less room for innovation," he explained.

"We do not want to lose him, so we will build this new centre where – alongside his work in formula one – he can also manage multiple projects," added Marko.

He said Newey, for instance, is still working on the design of the RB11, the 2015 Red Bull car.

For Red Bull, keeping Newey as a mere advisor is the best possible outcome, as it keeps the only designer revered in F1 circles as a 'genius' out of the clutches of its rivals.

Ferrari, for one, is known to have made an enormous monetary offer – in the dozens of millions – to woo Newey to Maranello.

Ferrari, however, denies it. "As I said in Monte Carlo," team boss Marco Mattiacci insisted last week, "we never contacted Adrian."

Marko says that is not true.

"We have had long conversations with Adrian," the Austrian told Servus TV.

"Ferrari made him an absurd offer — both on the financial side as well as in terms of his responsibilities," Marko claimed.

Finishing the main goal for last-place Caterham
Kamui Kobayashi says the main goal for Caterham at this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix is just to finish after a disappointing weekend for the team in Canada.

Neither Kobayashi nor team-mate Marcus Ericsson finished at Montreal due to mechanical problems and the Japanese racer says reaching the checkered flag at the Red Bull Ring is crucial.

"To be totally honest we would benefit a lot from a good weekend," Kobayashi said. "We were unlucky again in Canada, with both cars having to retire because of reliability issues, something we've been focusing on from our side all year, and something Renault have improved dramatically from the early part of the season.

"Even though our pace in the early part of the Canadian GP was not where it should have been, our simulations have shown that, had we finished, we'd have been closer to the pack than it may have looked at the point where I had to retire, so this weekend it's important we cross the line.

"We have to finish the races so we can be there if and when it counts, and that's one of the main goals this weekend."

Kobayashi is one of several drivers who have never raced at the Red Bull Ring, which returns to Formula 1 this weekend after an 11-year absence.

"I've seen a lot of on-boards of the track and it'll be a good challenge," he said. "It's quick, some of it really fast, and there's a couple of big braking zones so, as usual, getting the setup right is going to be crucial. However, until I've actually driven there I don't want to make any predictions about what it'll be like for us so let's see when we get on track."

No power loss for new turbo engines in Austria
Formula 1 engines will not suffer altitude-related power loss at this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull Ring, situated roughly 700 meters above sea level, would cause naturally aspirated engines to lose around seven per cent of their power output, with power decreasing approximately one per cent per 100 meters.

But the sport's new turbocharged power units pressure the ambient air to the same level inside the turbocharger and compressor, meaning that there will always be the same amount of oxygen in the air inside the engine.

This will, however, put increased strain on the three engine manufacturers, with the turbo spinning faster.

"The high altitude will cause the turbo to spin at a much higher rate to compensate for the low ambient pressure – very close to the hardware limit," said Remi Taffin, Renault Sport F1's Head of Track Operations. "We have recreated these climatic conditions on the dyno and feel confident we have a good handle on the preparations."

"The Red Bull Ring is at high altitude which, owing to the low atmospheric pressure, places a different kind of duty on the Power Unit to what we've seen so far," added Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (technical) of the Mercedes team. "It will be interesting to see how well both we and the competition respond to that."

Formula 1 will face a similar test at the Brazilian Grand Prix, the penultimate round of the season.

Austrian Grand Prix to feature two DRS zones
The Austrian Grand Prix, which returns to Formula 1 this weekend, will feature two DRS zones.

Controlled by separate detection points, governing body the FIA has decided to place the two activation areas along the start/finish straight and between the Remus and Schlossgold corners of the Red Bull Ring circuit.

All tracks bar Monaco, restricted to one area due to space, have featured two DRS areas this season. Austrian Grand Prix to feature two DRS zones
The Austrian Grand Prix, which returns to Formula 1 this weekend, will feature two DRS zones.

Controlled by separate detection points, governing body the FIA has decided to place the two activation areas along the start/finish straight and between the Remus and Schlossgold corners of the Red Bull Ring circuit.

All tracks bar Monaco, restricted to one area due to space, have featured two DRS areas this season.

Ferrari position marginally improved, says Allison
Ferrari Technical Director James Allison says recent upgrades to the F14 T have improved the team's position marginally but he remains wary that it will not be easy for the team to recoup lost ground.

Ferrari has claimed just one podium finish so far in 2014 courtesy of Fernando Alonso's third place in China, leaving it third in the Constructors' championship ahead of this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix.

"Every season is dominated by the efforts back at the factory to try to improve the package. If you're in front you work to stay in front and if you're not, then your efforts are aimed at moving your way up the grid," he said.

"Currently, we're doing our level best across every aspect of the car: mechanically, aerodynamically, electronically, every single component, set up wise, everything we can do to try to improve is being done. In recent races we have brought more upgrades than usual to the track and this has improved our position marginally.

"We just need to keep fighting the same fight, we have upgrade plans race by race. If we do a good job with all of those, it will start to tell and we will start to see Ferrari run more consistently relatively to the opposition. But it's not an easy fight, and it's a fight that never ends."

Pirelli will bring the Super Soft and Soft tires to the Red Bull Ring and Allison emphasized that managing the red-banded Option rubber will be crucial.

"We cannot be sure what to expect but, as at any of the tracks this year, management of the Option in qualifying will be extremely important," he said. "You need to ensure you get the tire prepared for a hot lap in Q2, while being sure the tire can then cope with the first stint of the race."

Haas Hopes New Formula One Team Will Help Boost Sales By $1B
NASCAR team co-Owner Gene Haas said that he is launching a F1 race team in '16 in a bid "to double the sales of his machine tools business" to $2B over the next five years, according to Christian Sylt for FORBES.

Haas: “Our five year plan is to double our sales from one billion to two billion a year. About 50 percent of our production is sold in the United States and we sell about 50 percent overseas but in terms of overall markets, the U.S. consumes 5 or 6 billion dollars a year whilst the rest of the world is 80 billion dollars a year."

He hopes that over the next five years "the percentage of our production that is sold overseas will increase from 50 percent to maybe 70 percent." Haas: "I need to penetrate not only Europe and South America but China and Asia. These are all these markets that we have a tough time even getting any kind of notice in and they really like Formula One."

Haas ruled out "taking the easier routes to entering F1 by buying one of its embattled outfits or becoming a sponsor of an exiting team." Haas: "Ownership is really the only way to enter the sport in a practical fashion for my company." Haas "is referring to the Business-To-Business benefits which come from being a team owner." As there are only 11 outfits on the F1 grid, the owners "are members of one of the world’s most exclusive and high profile clubs."

Haas: "Quite frankly I could have spent $100 million in advertising and I don’t think I would get as much bang for the buck as I would in Formula One" Forbes

Red Bull 'Committed To Formula One For Long Term' Despite Newey's Breakaway Plan
Red Bull said it is committed to F1 for the "long term," despite Designer Adrian Newey's plan "to step back from running the team's design office," according to Andrew Benson of the BBC.

Newey, regarded as the best designer in F1, is to move into an "advisory and mentoring" role from '15. Red Bull Owner Dietrich Mateschitz's "right-hand man" Helmut Marko said, "We will do whatever is necessary." Marko: "The team was built around Adrian but we have a group of really good people and are prepared for the challenge."

Marko admitted re-organizing the team following Newey's move "won't be easy," but added, "That's why we are here." Marko said that the Austrian Grand Prix's return "was the culmination of years of planning by Red Bull and Mateschitz."

The race takes place on the Red Bull Ring, which, as the A1-Ring, hosted the Austrian Grand Prix. Marko said that the renovation of the circuit, which is not far from Mateschitz's birthplace of Sankt Marein im Murtzal, "was part of a wider financial commitment to the region, which includes supporting local businesses."

Mateschitz "bought the track," Marko said, because it "would have died more or less" and added he always had the idea of bringing back F1 to the region. BBC

Clock ticking on Leimer's Marussia chance
(GMM) Fabio Leimer is at F1's crossroads.

The reigning GP2 champion missed out on a race seat on this year's grid, but Tages-Anzeiger newspaper says he now has a solid offer on the table.

Marussia is offering to make Swiss Leimer, 25, its test and reserve driver with immediate effect.

"He could enter right now as a test driver for Marussia," his manager, Sven-Oliver Mangold, confirmed.

"It has even been promised that next year he will be one of the regular drivers," Mangold added.

He said it will cost Leimer a sponsorship figure in the "low single-digit million range".

Therein lies the problem. Until now, Leimer's career has been bankrolled by the wealthy Rainer Gantenbein, who over the years has ploughed over EUR 15 million into the burgeoning driver.

But Gantenbein said some months ago that he is "no longer willing" to burn money on the F1 dream, because the sport's system of pay-drivers is "sick".

"It's a bottomless pit," he insisted. "At some point you have to pull the plug."

Leimer's manager Mangold, therefore, is scrambling to raise the necessary money before other opportunities also start to slip away.

He said talks with a "prominent Swiss company" have fallen through.

"I always get the same answer: we only sponsor teams, not individual athletes," said Mangold.

In the meantime, the clock is ticking.

"Marussia has suggested (Leimer contest) the test at Silverstone and then to target the next race," said Mangold, referring to the German grand prix next month.

And what if that deadline passes? "Then formula E would be an alternative," he said, amid reports many well-known names are rescuing and rebuilding their careers in the FIA's new all-electric single seater series.

Hockenheim deal 'has no exit clause'
(GMM) Hockenheim's F1 future is up in the air.

The circuit has a contract with Bernie Ecclestone until 2018, whereby it annually alternates the German grand prix with the Nurburgring.

But F1 supremo Ecclestone and the Nurburgring on Tuesday announced they are close to agreeing a new deal to stage the German grand prix every year between 2015 and 2019 at the Nurburgring.

Hockenheim is furious.

"We have a contract, and it has no exit clause," Hockenheim chief Georg Seiler told the Mannheimer Morgen newspaper.

"The fact is that we will have a grand prix at Hockenheim in 2016 and 2018. Everything else is speculation."

However, Ecclestone said earlier that Hockenheim's contract is based on "special conditions" that would be void if the Nurburgring enters the fray with better terms.

The 83-year-old Briton insists it is only fair.

"The same applies to Hockenheim as well," Ecclestone told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport. "We could reach a new contract with them, on the same conditions that we have with other people."

The Nurburgring on Wednesday did not want to weigh in on Hockenheim's fury.

"We are not aware of the contractual details between Mr. Ecclestone and the Hockenheimring," said Carsten Schumacher, representing the Nurburgring's new owners Capricorn.

"Therefore we cannot judge and do not want to speculate on whether the race will take place in 2016 and 2018 at Hockenheim, or whether it would be possible for there to be two formula one races in Germany," he added.

Schumacher said the Nurburgring had no choice but to issue the press release on Tuesday that so angered its Hockenheim counterparts.

"We had to respond," he argued, "after it was reported in the media that a contract between (Capricorn chief) Robertino Wild and Bernie Ecclestone had been closed."

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :