Latest F1 news in brief – Friday

  • "People want noise — something special, that's what F1 is all about," said Ecclestone. "Now we have quiet engines and nobody on the track."

    Ecclestone slams Jerez testing 'farce'

  • Newey 'back to the drawing board' amid Red Bull crisis
  • McLaren 'wing suspension' causing a stir
  • Petrov's DTM seat chances '60pc' – Wolff
  • No full Renault fix before Bahrain
  • Brawn fishing, not preparing for McLaren top job
  • Rivals set to copy McLaren suspension New
  • Schumacher could yet make 'favorable' recovery New
  • Kimi Raikkonen appoints Mark Blundell his commercial rights New

Ecclestone slams Jerez testing 'farce'
(GMM) F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has slammed the sport's brave new era, saying the Jerez test this week proves the radical 2014 rules have produced "a total farce".

"Look at the last few days. I said it was going to be like this," he told the Daily Mail, referring to the chaos at the opening winter test, headlined by reigning world champions Red Bull's almost total inability to run the new car.

Ecclestone, who railed against the introduction of energy recovery-powered turbo V6 engines, said he isn't taking the blame.

"They (the FIA and the teams) insisted on these new engines," he said. "If they wanted to race like this they should go to Le Mans."

Ecclestone said the arguments about saving fuel, with each driver now limited to just 100 kilos of fuel per race, don't even stack up.

"Mercedes are taking 23 trucks with them everywhere. If they really wanted to save fuel they should stop that," he insisted.

The 83-year-old campaigned fiercely against the beginning of the new era, arguing that the loss of the roaring naturally-aspirated engines would turn fans off.

"People want noise — something special, that's what F1 is all about," said Ecclestone. "Now we have quiet engines and nobody on the track."

Newey 'back to the drawing board' amid Red Bull crisis
(GMM) Amid world champion Red Bull's testing nightmare at Jerez, bigwigs Christian Horner, Adrian Newey, Helmut Marko and the visiting team owner Dietrich Mateschitz all departed southern Spain on Thursday.

While rival Mercedes and Ferrari-powered teams have managed to collect dozens upon dozens of early pre-season laps, the tally amassed by Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo in the troubled RB10 numbers unlucky 13.

"Adrian has gone back to the drawing board, definitely," team newcomer Daniel Ricciardo, on duty on Thursday, said.

Red Bull had initially pointed the finger at engine supplier Renault, and the French marque duly admitted it has had problems with all of its customer teams, including Toro Rosso and Caterham.

But Marko confessed before departing on Thursday that the latest problems are also Red Bull's making. Paddock rumors suggest Newey has pushed his famously tight packaging too close to the limit in a new era where cooling is a major hurdle.

"I guess now there's only so much he (Newey) can do at the track and I think he's pretty happy working at his office in Milton Keynes," added Ricciardo.

Red Bull is expected to try to get the RB10 running on Friday, the final day of the Jerez test, but the real attention will be ensuring the car is in working order for the crucial final two tests, in Bahrain.

"I think the break before Bahrain is going to help the team a lot," said Ricciardo. "Even if tomorrow doesn't go to plan, we still won't be worried.

"Time is still on our side. Even if we go to Melbourne with whatever (issues), it's a long season. These guys know how to win and I'm sure we'll sort it out," he added.

Undoubtedly, Ricciardo is putting his characteristically-smiling tilt on serious trouble for Red Bull.

There are rumors that, before Newey left, he had a "heated" exchange with Renault's Rob White — each accusing the other of being most to blame for the situation.

And Red Bull's culpability seemed clearer on Thursday, when sister team Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne said a Renault fix had given the new STR9 a "massive step forward" overnight.

Bernie Ecclestone, nonetheless angry at the Jerez testing 'farce', sees some upside to the situation.

"The good thing is that the season could be extremely interesting — really unpredictable, and that is the exciting thing," he told the Daily Mail.

Williams' Felipe Massa agrees that the 2014 revolution has given F1 a total shakeup.

"As I drove around, you could see these major differences between the cars," the Brazilian is quoted by Finland's MTV3.

"I'm not talking about performance, I mean how the cars are braking and how they're coming out of the corners. It seems as though there are three categories of cars on one track — Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault. Even the sound is different," he explained.

McLaren 'wing suspension' causing a stir
(GMM) The first technical rows of 2014 are well underway.

It had already emerged that the FIA is unhappy with some of the radical nose solutions, with one camp of teams accusing the other of fielding either dangerous designs or too cheekily skirting around the 'spirit' of the rules.

Arguably, however, McLaren's wing-like rear suspension arms are causing the bigger stir.

Italy's Omnicorse claims world champions Red Bull have already sent a request for clarification to the FIA.

But that doesn't mean that, even if the design is ruled categorically legal, the other teams will rush to copy it.

"The design is based upon quite a lot of air resistance (drag); especially the part that bends downward," said Red Bull designer Adrian Newey, according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

Mercedes' Paddy Lowe, however – a former McLaren man – is not so sure.

"McLaren will have determined that it found a way for it to work without major disadvantages," he predicted.

But Williams' Pat Symonds thinks that because of the way the suspension arms have to bend backwards towards the rear, McLaren will have lost some stiffness benefits.

"They may have compensated with more mass, so I would guess that the wishbones are heavier than normal," he said.

Some have said McLaren will retain its potential 2014 advantage for a long time, because it will be so difficult for rival teams to change entire rear suspension layouts.

Symonds is not so sure of that.

"It just wouldn't be as perfect a system as McLaren's, because they have based the whole concept of the car around it," he said.

Petrov's DTM seat chances '60pc' – Wolff
(GMM) Vitaly Petrov has a good chance of restarting his motor racing career in the German touring car series DTM.

That is the claim of Mercedes' Toto Wolff, after former Renault and Caterham driver Petrov made his test debut for the German marque a week ago.

"Russia is a highly significant market for the DTM and for Mercedes-Benz," Wolff said at the time.

However, he made no mention of Russian Petrov's chances of actually securing a race seat for 2014.

Wolff told Russia's f1news.ru website that the 29-year-old was predictably "fast" in the test.

"Vitaly has been on the podium in formula one. What else do you need to say?" said the Austrian.

"The test was successful, and now we are trying to bring everything together to sign a contract.

"We are considering the option (of signing Petrov) very seriously," added Wolff. "If you want me to be specific, I would say the chances are about 60 per cent."

No full Renault fix before Bahrain
Renault insists that the problems that have struck its Formula 1 teams are fixable by the next Bahrain test.
The French car manufacturer has had a difficult time at Jerez in Spain this week, with its teams struggling with reliability.

Most in the spotlight has been Red Bull, with the reigning champion outfit completing just 14 laps over the course of the first three days.

But as work continues at Renault's Viry-Chatillon base on Thursday night to implement solutions, the company's F1 engine chief Rob White has made it clear that its problems are curable by Bahrain.

In the meantime, Renault is focusing on workaround solutions to the software issues that have blighted its running this week so its teams can complete valuable mileage on Friday.

"We are extremely confident that the problems we have experienced can be dealt with," White said.

"We don't have a single minor problem or indeed a big howler that is causing the trouble.

"Instead, we have made significant progress and expect, with the understanding we now have, the workaround we have put in place, and with more confirmation work on the dyno overnight, to be able to run tomorrow.

"It will perhaps be in a fashion that most resembles what we would have expected to start the first day with. And if we can do that, then it shouldn't be too shabby."

It is understood that Renault has suffered multiple issues this week with its teams.

The energy store issues on Wednesday were cured by hardware changes made that night.

However, there have been subsequent software and mapping problems that have affected the working of the Renault power unit turbo and boost control.

A temporary fix has now been found to allow the cars to run in a reduced performance capacity.

Beyond those issues that Toro Rosso and Caterham have encountered, Red Bull is suffering from severe overheating problems that are resulting in parts burning.

It is understood the overheating is a legacy of the aggressive packaging of the car, with modifications by both Red Bull and Renault almost certainly needing to be made in time for Bahrain.

White is confident that there is time to get on top of the problems before the second test next month.

"Looking forward to Bahrain and beyond, the aim is to make best use of the time available and to get ready for then," he said.

"We had objectives for the first test that won't have been fully realized and therefore the step up we need for Bahrain is absolutely bigger.

"But we are determined and committed to get there and we will work with the teams to fix the problem." Yahoo Eurosport

Brawn fishing, not preparing for McLaren top job
Ross Brawn on Thursday denied speculation he is set to join McLaren as its new chief executive.

The great British team announced this week that Eric Boullier is switching from Lotus to be the new 'racing director', but the Frenchman will report to an as-yet unappointed chief executive.

Brawn, having stepped down at Mercedes, has been mentioned as the obvious candidate.

But when asked by Britain's Sky on Thursday about the McLaren speculation, the Briton responded: "I'm focused on my fishing at the moment — no discussions, no comments.

"Come the summer I may take stock and things may change – never say never – but it's not my plan. Any approaches I've had I have replied with a polite rebuff.

"I am very flattered but simply I don't want to get involved or engaged," Brawn insisted. grandprix.com

Rivals set to copy McLaren suspension
One of the main technical talking points of the first pre-season test at Jerez has been McLaren's suspension 'blockers', which appeared on its new MP4-29 in Spain.

It is understood that at least one team has asked the governing body for clarification that the design complies with the regulations relating to the maximum number of arms in the rear suspension.

Sources close to the governing body insist, however, that it is fully satisfied the McLaren design is legal.

However, that does not mean that its stance could not be challenged with an official protest in a race.

One more likely avenue for teams, however, is for them to begin working on their own similar design.

Ferrari technical director James Allison admitted that he was likely to take a closer look at it once Jerez had finish.

"I haven't seen it in the flesh, but I would like to see a bit more of it because it does interest me," he said. "I have seen some blurry pictures on some websites."

Williams chief test and support engineer Rod Nelson said that his outfit would likely begin a wind tunnel development program if the FIA rules it okay.

"There are a few bits and pieces [from other teams] that I am sure will be in the wind tunnel," he said, when asked about what designs from other cars looked interesting.

"McLaren's rear suspension is a stand-out example of that and if we think the FIA will deem that to be legal, then we would be remiss to not try it in the tunnel."

Nelson made clear it was up to the FIA to rule on its legality, and said it was a clever way of interpreting the rules in that area of the car.

"They have been quite cute with the regulations," he said. "The rear leg of the wishbones, they have got a kind of dog leg in them now.

"That means they can get these perpendicular surfaces on the trailing edges, but they still have point to point, from the inboard bearing to the outboard bearing, it is the same geometry."

Nelson believes that the biggest advantage from the design would be in helping feed air for the diffuser.

"I would imagine it is making the diffuser work better," he said. "One of the issues we have this year is the lower rear wing, which is illegal in the form we ran last year.

"The point of it was not to just generate downforce on its own but it helped you be more aggressive with the diffuser, so stops it stalling at lower ride heights.

"I would imagine the McLaren wishbones are doing that. It means you can work the diffuser harder." Yahoo Eurosport

Schumacher could yet make 'favorable' recovery
Leading Cambridge neurosurgeon believes Michael Schumacher could yet make a “favorable" recovery after confirmation he is being slowly brought out of his induced coma.

Doctors treating Schumacher at the University of Grenoble hospital have started the process of awakening the seven-times Formula One world champion, who sustained severe head injuries in a skiing accident a month ago.

Unconfirmed reports suggest the 45-year-old has responded positively to neurological tests and instructions this past week.

Although Professor Peter Hutchinson, a neurosurgeon at the University of Cambridge, warned it would be premature to read too much into the developments, there is now a degree of hope for Schumacher.

Prof Hutchinson, speaking to Press Association Sport, said: “He has been in an induced coma for a long time.

“It’s unusual for it to be a month. Typically it’s much shorter than that, perhaps seven to 10 days, but the French do tend to keep people under sedation for longer than we would. At some point you have to reverse that.

“It is very difficult to read at present. The drugs take time to wear off, and it would be a week or so before you could be confident the sedation has left his system.

“In terms of how he’s going to be, it would be a week before it would be clearer.

“But he’s fit, he’s relatively young compared to some of the head injuries we treat and he was conscious immediately afterwards, which suggests it’s not a devastating brain injury, so he still has the potential for a favorable outcome."

Concern had previously grown as to whether Schumacher would ever make a recovery, or even wake again, after undergoing two operations to remove blood clots from his brain in the wake of the accident.

But, in light of growing reports Schumacher was being brought out of his coma, his manager Sabine Kehm was forced to react.

Via a statement, Kehm said: “Michael’s sedation is being reduced in order to allow the start of the waking-up process, which may take a long time.

“For the protection of the family, it was originally agreed by the interested parties to communicate this information only once this process was consolidated."

Kehm has stated no further updates will be given, and out of respect for Schumacher’s family she has urged they continue to be left alone.

Kehm added: “The family of Michael Schumacher is again requesting for their privacy, and the medical secret, to be respected, and to not disturb the doctors treating Michael in their work.

“At the same time, the family wishes to express sincere appreciation for the sympathy they have received from around the world." Cambridge News

Kimi Raikkonen appoints Mark Blundell his commercial rights
MB Partners are proud to announce they will be representing the commercial rights for 2007 Formula One world champion, Kimi Raikkonen in collaboration with his management and advisors.

Raikkonen returns to Ferrari (where he won the championship) this year to join Fernando Alonso for the first of two seasons. He left the team and F1 in 2009 for a career in the World Rally Championship, before heading back to F1 with Lotus in 2012. Raikkonen achieved Lotus F1’s first race win at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and last year secured another victory and a further seven podiums, to finish fifth in the championship standings.

Former F1 driver himself, and now Founder and CEO of MB Partners, Mark Blundell is looking forward to the partnership; “I have known Kimi’s management and advisors for a very long time and as such, we are working closely together on behalf of Kimi. He is without a doubt one of the best F1 drivers on the grid and combined with Ferrari are a powerful commercial proposition."

MB Partners:
“The boutique sports agency with global reach."

Providing a turnkey service for elite sportsmen and women as well as governing bodies and rights holders, we focus on Management, Marketing, Branding, PR and Sponsorship.

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