Latest F1 news in brief – Monday

  • Vettel continues assault on 'new' F1

    Ricciardo wants 'fair fight' with Vettel

  • F1 could axe Friday morning practice to cut costs
  • Insiders tip Ecclestone to survive corruption scandal
  • Mercedes not happy with 'megaphone' noise fix – Wolff
  • Vettel renews attack on 'new' F1
  • Russian GP 'unrealistic' amid Crimean crisis
  • Smedley: No panic at Williams

Ricciardo wants 'fair fight' with Vettel
(GMM) Daniel Ricciardo says he accepts the "responsibility" of sometimes having to "move over" for his Red Bull teammate.

Team orders is currently a hot topic inside the reigning world champion team, after reigning quadruple title winner Sebastian Vettel answered "tough luck" last time out in China when he was told to let Australian Ricciardo through.

Ricciardo, however, said orders must be followed.

"It's not always nice if you are being told to move over. It's not nice being that slower car, it's frustrating," he told the West Australian newspaper.

"(But) it is our responsibility to obey it, unless it's completely out of order and then we can obviously try and put up a fight and give our reasons.

"But the team are doing all the calculations on the pitwall during the race and you have to respect what they're saying," Ricciardo insisted.

Some believe Vettel's initial reluctance to play the team game in China was due to the tension created by Red Bull newcomer Ricciardo's superior pace so far in 2014.

But Ricciardo thinks that even in the context of his huge recent achievements, Vettel is up for a fight.

"We know it ourselves and even told each other that we want to race hard," he said.

"I want to race the best version of Seb and he wants to race the best version of me. At the end of the day I think we'll both respect whoever's done a better job.

"If Seb has done a better job this year, I won't like it, but I'll definitely respect him for it and give him the credit he deserves.

"I think that's a two-way street. We understand what a fair fight is and we enjoy that," added Ricciardo.

F1 could axe Friday morning practice to cut costs
(GMM) F1 could axe Friday morning practice sessions next year, as teams consider how to cut costs in the absence of a mandatory budget cap.

Although keenly supported by the small teams, and championed by FIA president Jean Todt, the 2015 budget cap was vetoed by the powerful 'Strategy Group' teams including grandees Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes.

The smaller teams are furious, but in a crisis meeting in London last week, they were asked to come back in a fortnight with some cost-cutting rule proposals of their own.

Germany's Sport Bild claims that one of the measures under consideration is reducing the grand prix weekend by one 90-minute practice session from 2015.

Another proposed rule change is the extension of the current 'parc ferme' regulations.

Currently, the specification of the cars is effectively 'frozen' only after qualifying, meaning that until then new parts are almost constantly flown in from the teams' European factories at huge expense.

It is now proposed that, for 2015, 'parc ferme' is to come into effect immediately after a sole practice session on Friday afternoon.

Sport Bild reports that, at Biggin Hill last week, the teams also discussed limiting aerodynamic updates – for example a maximum of four front wing specification changes per season – but could not unanimously agree.

"There was a meeting last week," confirmed Mercedes' Toto Wolff, "and costs were discussed. It is the unanimous opinion of the teams that costs must be drastically reduced."

However, he defended the big teams' decision to veto the budget cap.

"We have to be honest," he is quoted by Speed Week. "There are big differences in the agendas of the teams.

"If you think about Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari – and also McLaren who are with Honda from next year – the main objective is to represent a multinational, global brand.

"And that is of course very different from the small teams who are simply there to race in formula one.

"But formula one is all of these teams together, the big and the small, and you have to respect that and find solutions that will help everyone in the long term.

"The budget cap is a difficult one, because there are some teams who do not want it. And also by their very design it would be very difficult to control, such as for Ferrari who have the formula one team all under the same roof as the major global company," Wolff explained.

Insiders tip Ecclestone to survive corruption scandal
(GMM) Three F1 insiders have tipped Bernie Ecclestone to drive out of the corruption scandal not only with his freedom, but also the keys to the sport.

Some think the Gerhard Gribkowsky saga, that has already left the former F1 banker in jail, will almost certainly end Ecclestone's long reign over formula one and potentially see him live out his days behind bars.

However, a trio of F1 insiders is not so sure.

Even less clear is what F1's teams think. In his recent BBC Panorama piece on Ecclestone's travails, investigative journalist Darragh Macintyre contacted top teams like Ferrari and Red Bull but was faced with a barrage of 'no comment'.

"All that money (the teams have made) brings loyalty," Macintyre said.

A lone voice willing to talk to Macintyre about Ecclestone's personal troubles was Eddie Irvine, an outspoken former Ferrari driver.

Speaking at his own yacht club in the Bahamas, Irvine was asked if he feels sorry for Ecclestone as his Munich trial gets underway.

"Not really," said the Ulsterman. "Bernie knows what he's doing."

Murray Walker, the retired and iconic F1 commentator, agrees.

"He (Ecclestone) has been in scrapes of one kind or another all of his life," the 90-year-old said. "Bernie always comes out on top."

And Richard Williams, a highly respected F1 journalist for the Guardian newspaper, admitted: "I'd be amazed if this turns out to be the one situation that Bernie can't deal his way out of.

"Not only will it (the outcome) not involve him not going to prison, it will probably involve him continuing to be in control of formula one," he added.

Ecclestone, 83, has cut a relaxed figure during the two days of his Munich trial so far, smiling and joking and nibbling muffins in the court canteen with his wife Fabiana.

But his youngest daughter, 25-year-old Petra, paints a slightly different picture in a new interview with the Telegraph.

"It's just stressful," she said of the Munich trial. "It's just a lot of stress coming up, I guess. It's just stressful times."

Mercedes not happy with 'megaphone' noise fix – Wolff
(GMM) One proposed solution to the sound problem in formula one this year is a "megaphone"-style exhaust.

The news was revealed by Toto Wolff, a chief at one of F1's three current engine suppliers, Mercedes.

Together with Ferrari and Renault, the engine-making trio is currently looking into how to turn up the controversially low volume of this year's new 1.6 liter V6 turbos.

Nico Rosberg, a Mercedes race driver, tipped a solution to be found ahead of the Monaco grand prix late this month.

"We will soon be in Monaco and I think we will hear a different sound there," the German said last weekend whilst visiting the DTM season opener at Hockenheim.

"I think it's important that we do work on it, because the noise is part of the show."

Last week, a meeting involving Bernie Ecclestone, Jean Todt and all 11 F1 team bosses took place in London, and top of the billing was the issue of cost cuts.

But also on the agenda was noise.

"We discussed what solutions there might be, and us at Mercedes also have our approaches and proposals," Wolff, also at Hockenheim for the DTM opener, is quoted by Speed Week.

He said some of the proposed solutions will be tested at the post-Spanish grand prix test next week.

"We will try them out on the car in Barcelona and see if they have the effect that we are looking for," said Wolff.

He revealed that the solutions are all focused on the area of the engine exhaust.

"We have some highly complex solutions within the exhaust system," said Wolff, "and also one like a 'megaphone' that simply opens up at the end — with all the problems that brings with it," said Wolff.

"I do not know if the latter is what we should be doing in formula one, but nevertheless we will come with our suggestions and approaches and see in Barcelona."

Vettel renews attack on 'new' F1
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel his renewed his attack on F1's 'new' face, after he was rebuked by the FIA for earlier calling the mild sound of the V6 engines "sh*t".

Now with more refined comments, the reigning quadruple world champion does not hide his obvious disdain for the sport's new configuration.

"We are a sport that is famous for being loud and dangerous," Red Bull driver Vettel told the German newsmagazine Focus.

"We run the risk of losing the essence of motor sports," he charged.

When asked about the new, quiet and V6-powered engines, Vettel responded: "I would prefer a V10 or V12 with 1000 horse power — lots of power.

"I would like to drive cars that are as fast as they can be — I need to feel as though I am taming a dragon or a beast," he explained.

"Compared to last season, this impression has diminished an awful lot," said Vettel, who has struggled in 2014 alongside his new teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

"The car does not know what I want," explained the 26-year-old, referring to the Adrian Newey-penned new RB10 and his troubles at the wheel.

"Under braking and in the corners I have an absolute lack of confidence," added Vettel.

Russian GP 'unrealistic' amid Crimean crisis
(GMM) An unofficial asterisk is still hovering above this year's inaugural running of the Russian grand prix.

Earlier, F1 legend and Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda dismissed suggestions the sport should boycott the Sochi event amid the escalating Crimean crisis.

But last month, it emerged that the burgeoning F1 career of Sauber test driver Sergey Sirotkin was suddenly in doubt, after his sponsor SMP Bank was subject to US and European sanctions.

Sirotkin's backer, Boris Rotenberg, is reportedly close to Russian president Vladimir Putin, with many other Russian athletes also being affected by his frozen bank accounts.

Now, a prominent British politician has cast doubt on the viability of Russia's October grand prix as the threat of open war between Moscow and Ukraine closes in.

Sir Richard Ottaway, chairman of the House of Commons foreign affairs select committee, told the Times newspaper that the Crimean crisis had made the prospect of the F1 race "wildly unrealistic".

"If a new round of tougher sanctions is introduced, formula one may find it impossible to put on a race because of restrictions on the flow of cash," he said.

Times correspondent Kevin Eason also said the F1 teams "will be anxious" about the Russian grand prix in the wake of the Bahrain political controversies, while leading sponsors "may want to distance themselves" from Russia's behavior.

Smedley: No panic at Williams
Rob Smedley has reiterated his belief that Williams have not let themselves down in this season's opening races.

Setting the pace in the final pre-season test, much was expected from Williams at the start of the Championship.

However, to date, the team has yet to really deliver on those outside expectations.

Although the team has scored points in every race and their 36 outstrips the five they netted the whole of last season, some feel Williams have missed out.

Smedley, however, disagrees.

"I was quoted the other day saying there is no panic at Williams and I will reiterate that," Williams' new head of vehicle performance told Autosport.

"The question that was asked to me a couple of weeks back was 'are you disappointed you haven't been able to capitalize on having a quick car?'

"I don't think we've particularly not capitalized on the car we have. I think we have done a reasonable job.

"It is not a perfect job, and I am not going to sit here and say we've done a perfect job, but who has done a perfect job?

"To say that all is lost, because we haven't capitalized on having a quick car in the winter would indicate that is it – that we have shot our bolt.
"Well absolutely not. The development drives on, and the facilities that Williams has got, not only in aerodynamic terms but mechanical as well, are really, really impressive.

"It is just a case of getting all that working and pushing it in the right direction."

The former Ferrari man, who was reunited with Felipe Massa at Williams, is confident that Williams the team needs to return to the front of the grid.

"As at Ferrari, there's a real will to win here – the people here are ready to fight as a team.

"They work really well together and they want to get back on top.

"Sometimes it's just about sending everybody off in the right direction. If we get it right, we will win again."

Leave a Reply