Latest F1 news in brief – Monday (Update)

UPDATE Updates shown in red below.


  • Sure, sure. Mercedes says Lowe did not tell Rosberg to stand down after one failed pass attempt

    Mercedes denies Lowe call was 'team order'

  • Montezemolo left track during Bahrain thriller
  • F1 to push ahead with making V6 engines louder
  • Mercedes secret is 'double diffuser' of 2014
  • Teams pushing Ecclestone into internet era
  • Massa: Safety Car destroyed our strategy
  • Ferrari felt like it was in a lower class New
  • Ron Dennis (who has the superior Mercedes engines) slams "disrespectful" Sebastian Vettel New

Mercedes denies Lowe call was 'team order'
(GMM) Mercedes boss Paddy Lowe insists his drivers did not ignore a clear team order during Sunday's Bahrain grand prix.

Heading for a sure one-two, Lowe – who rarely talks to Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg during races – told the pair ten laps from the end to "make sure we bring both cars home".

To many listeners, it was a clear team order.

"Ok," Rosberg responded, before launching a series of scintillating attacks on Hamilton.

Afterwards, team chairman Niki Lauda reveled in the spectacle, laughing that Rosberg and Hamilton clearly "didn't listen" to Lowe.

Team director Toto Wolff, however, insists the drivers were free to race.

"The guys are racing," he is quoted by Welt newspaper, "but in the context of a philosophy."

The apparent philosophy is 'don't crash'.

Briton Lowe said afterwards he was happy the silver-clad pair complied.

"It made me happier than anything," he insisted. "It was one of the best races in a decade.

"That (radio message) was not to hold position, I just wanted to remind them to give each other space."

According to Spiegel, Wolff agreed: "They knew not to do anything stupid in the third race."

Rosberg also insisted that Lowe's radio call was not a team order.

"I was well aware that the whole world was thinking 'here we go, team orders', but it wasn't that at all.

"The message was clear anyway, not really necessary to give such a message because we drive very hard but in the end with the necessary respect but we're free to race all the way," said the German.

Another 'team order' issued in Bahrain was to world champion Sebastian Vettel, who was holding up the clearly faster sister Red Bull driven by team newcomer Daniel Ricciardo.

"Sebastian," Vettel's engineer told him, "can you let Ricciardo past, he is faster than you."

Vettel complied, leaving an Australian as the star of the champion team in the floodlit desert, and of the 2014 season so far.

"Daniel has exceeded expectations," team boss Christian Horner is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

"He has proved that he can compete with the best. We knew that he was good, but how good exactly was not entirely clear to us," he added.

Montezemolo left track during Bahrain thriller
(GMM) Luca di Montezemolo did not wait to see Ferrari's drivers collect the dregs of the points in Bahrain.

The Ferrari president, having earlier admitted to pushing for rule changes to spice up the dull spectacle of F1's 'new' era, left the floodlit desert circuit during what many described as one of the best grands prix for a decade.

"I don't think there is much more to see," the Italian was quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport before leaving the track mid-race.

"Seeing a Ferrari so slow on the straight gives me great pain," he admitted. "I was not expecting much from this race, but something more (than this).

"It is necessary to put in extra effort and this week we have several things to try," added Montezemolo, referring to the post-race test in the island Kingdom.

For many, the undoubted spectacle of the Bahrain grand prix, featuring Mercedes' in-house duel but also battles throughout the field, put the lie to Montezemolo and Bernie Ecclestone's weekend of moaning about the new era.

Mercedes' Niki Lauda made the most stinging rebuke after the checkered flag, when he said "Anybody who complains this is boring is an idiot".

According to Auto Motor und Sport, he added: "All this nonsense about sound and fuel … it was one of the best races I've seen in my life.

"I hope that tomorrow Bernie and Luca take the time to watch it on TV."

Mercedes team boss Paddy Lowe, obviously referring to words made by Ecclestone earlier in Bahrain, added: "This was exactly the right response to those who think formula one is unacceptable for the fans."

His colleague Toto Wolff agreed: "This was the best advertising for formula one when it was urgently needed."

F1 to push ahead with making V6 engines louder
(GMM) F1 will push ahead with trying to make the sport's new turbo V6 engines louder.

In an interview with the British broadcaster Sky on Sunday, chief executive Bernie Ecclestone was told by former driver Martin Brundle that changing the sound would surely require a total engine "redesign".

But Ecclestone hit back: "The noise comes from where?

"All the air exits in the end out of what we call the exhaust pipe. So they can maybe do something there to make it sound a lot better," he revealed.

Also on Sunday in Bahrain, McLaren supremo Ron Dennis rebuked world champion Sebastian Vettel for being "disrespectful" when recently he described the sound of 2014 as "shit".

But that doesn't mean the teams are necessarily opposed to change, he added.

"The fact the cars aren't a bit (more) noisy just doesn't matter," Dennis told Brundle on the grid, as he defended the revolutionarily modern new rules, and hit back at the outspoken critics.

"We can fix that (the sound) easily, but what we should be focused on is what's good for the generations to come."

FIA president Jean Todt on Sunday revealed that the sound 'fix' will begin shortly.

A working group will be set up to 'explore ways to improve the turbo noise', according to the Telegraph correspondent Daniel Johnson.

"Todt told reporters that possible solutions to the quieter sound will be tested after the race in Barcelona next month," he added.

Mercedes secret is 'double diffuser' of 2014
(GMM) A secret of Mercedes' 2014 dominance has been compared to the game-changing 'double diffuser' innovation of a few years ago.

It emerged in Bahrain that, beneath the skin of the dominant Mercedes-powered cars in 2014, the new turbo V6 features its turbine and air compressors uniquely packaged at either end of the 'power unit'.

It means that, although McLaren, Williams and Force India are also benefitting from the sleek layout, the works Brackley based team had vast lead-time in designing the aerodynamic concept of the dominant W05 around it.

"We're talking about 2014's double diffuser with the exception that you can't copy it this year," Mark Hughes, a highly respected F1 technical analyst, told the British broadcaster Sky in Bahrain.

"Its impact is maybe not quite as big as active ride (suspension), which was in the order of two seconds per lap, but it's certainly a major technical advantage that they've engineered themselves in for the rest of the season."

Hughes explained that, although the customer Mercedes teams are running precisely the same innovation, it is the works squad that is taking most advantage.

"They gave themselves a big head-start — it was the chassis team's concept to ask for this from the engine people, and they delivered it.

"The difference (for the customer teams) is that they found out about the detail of the engine when they signed the contract.

"But the works team gave themselves three years to conceive the car around that feature.

"For the (customers), it's presented as a little bit of a surprise, but they're still getting an advantage from the system," he added.

Teams pushing Ecclestone into internet era
(GMM) F1 needs to race into the digital era, according to Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali.

A report by the Bloomberg news agency said the official F1 website is only the 39th most popular among rival sports, and worryingly outpaced by the likes of Egyptian soccer and American entertainment wrestling.

The report said chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has resisted embracing the internet to protect the huge revenue stream of exclusive television rights.

Race highlights are therefore limited to a less than three minute clip put to contemporary music, but Domenicali thinks formula one is being left in the pits.

"The young generation wants to see sport in a different way — they don't want to see an entire race for one and a half hours", he said.

"This is a challenge we need to" address," the Italian added, revealing that similarly concerned teams are "almost close" to convincing Ecclestone to change tack.

"People have a more impulsive way of living" today, Domenicali continued. "We need to be able to connect with them."

Massa: Safety Car destroyed our strategy
Felipe Massa will leave Bahrain with mixed emotions after he was forced to settle for seventh place.

The Brazilian started seventh on the grid at the Sakhir circuit, but he quickly found himself battling for third place with his Williams team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

The pair appeared to be set for an afternoon tussle for the final podium spot with the Force Indias, but the late deployment of the Safety Car following contact between Esteban Gutierrez and Pastor Maldonado saw them slip back.

First they lost out to Daniel Ricciardo before the Australian's Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel moved ahead to finish sixth, leaving Massa seventh and Bottas eighth.

"The biggest problem we had in the race was the Safety Car, it destroyed our strategy. It was not great," Massa is quoted as saying by BBC Sport.

"The start was amazing, I managed to get past a lot of cars, the pace was okay and I was fighting but the result at the end was not the right one. I think we need to analyze where we were supposed to finish. We were fighting until the end which is good for us."

Ferrari felt like it was in a lower class
Kimi Raikkonen says this Ferrari felt like it was in a different class compared to the Mercedes-powered teams after a disappointing race in Bahrain.

Raikkonen finished 10th in Sunday's race as both Ferraris spent most of the race falling down the order. The F14 T clearly lacked performance on the straights, but Raikkonen said the deficit was made up of several factors

"We didn't have the speed overall," he said. "We are lacking a bit in a straight-line, we are lacking a bit in downforce, but the car is not handling so badly. It's not like there is a massive problem in handling, we are just lacking the downforce and the speed and the horsepower. But we knew that and we knew it was going to be the most difficult place of the year. We have to see what we can do for the next race.

"One of the Force Indias got me on the exit of Turn 8 and it was like a different class. I was surprised, obviously he came out of the pit lane [on new tires] but I had only done a few laps on my tires and I carried the corner and he just came inside of me and went past. I had no answer and in the next corner he had massive traction also. So it's not just horsepower.

"With the Red Bulls we seem to be able to keep them behind on the straights more easily and then in the corners they seem to get so close and that means we are lacking a bit of downforce as well as straight-line speed."

However, Raikkonen believes Ferrari still made progress on Australia and Malaysia.

"I think we improved the car. It feels nicer and the feeling is better even though the results don't show that. There is a lot of work to do and we can only push forward and improve things, but I'm sure we can move forward at the next race."

Ron Dennis (who has the superior Mercedes engines) slams "disrespectful" Sebastian Vettel
McLaren chairman Ron Dennis has criticized Sebastian Vettel's attitude after he reacted negatively to the sound of the new F1 engines. [Editor's Note: Of course he would say that – any team who has the superior Mercedes Power Unit does not want to see any rules changes that may upset their clear advantage. As long as Mercedes is dominating they 'love' the sound of the engines, regardless of whether the fans hate them.]

Vettel reportedly said that the "noise of the engine is shit" following the introduction of the 1.6-litre V6 turbo-charged power units this year.

FIA president Jean Todt wrote a letter to the four-time world champion warning him about his future conduct, and Dennis also believes that the German acted disrespectfully.

"Being a world champion requires a dignified approach to everything, so putting aside the language, even the sentiment is inappropriate," Dennis is quoted as saying by PA.

"But the simple fact is if he was sat in a Mercedes he would be extremely happy, and I'm quite sure any four or five-letter words would be more of joy.

"He should just reflect on the fact he has had a period of dominance, and just because that dominance is being shaken by Mercedes, it doesn't give him the license to be disrespectful of the obligations placed on him as a world champion."

Vettel finished down in sixth place as Lewis Hamilton won the Bahrain Grand Prix earlier today.

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