Latest F1 news in brief – Tuesday

  • Toro Rosso crash test

    Williams to run at Jerez, Toro Rosso passes crash tests

  • Pic working with Craig Pollock, loses Caterham seat
  • Schumacher 'will not give up' – family
  • Ferrari had fastest pitstops in 2013 – report
  • Quantum chief says Lotus buy-in deal not dead
  • Van der Garde becomes Sauber reserve
  • It's Official: Markus Ericsson joins Caterham
  • It's Official: Kobayashi joins Caterham
  • Full Caterham Press release
  • Final 2014 F1 driver line-up

Williams to run at Jerez, Toro Rosso passes crash tests
(GMM) Williams has announced that its 2014 car will make its debut at Jerez next week.

"Valtteri Bottas will do days 1 and 2," the British team said on Twitter, "Felipe Massa days 3 and 4".

Grove based Williams added that the car will be in a "heritage blue livery", presumably as a precursor to an official launch, which has yet to be announced.

The team, a poor ninth in the 2013 constructors' standings, said on Saturday that boss Sir Frank Williams was present in the factory race bay when the newly Mercedes-powered FW36 was fired up for the first time.

"2014 starts here," Williams announced.

Meanwhile, the second Red Bull team Toro Rosso, having already announced a Monday launch before the Jerez test, said its new STR9 is now clear to debut after passing the FIA's mandatory crash tests.

An image of the car's frontal test can be seen above.

"A team truck will set off from the Faenza factory at the end of this week," Toro Rosso said on its website, "making the long trek to southern Spain, carrying not only the car but also all our hopes for the coming season."

Pic working with Craig Pollock, loses Caterham seat
(GMM) Charles Pic will not be racing in formula one this season.

Having debuted for Marussia in 2013, and switching to Caterham last year, the latter team's boss Cyril Abiteboul announced on Monday that the 23-year-old French driver has been left without a race seat for 2014.

"Unfortunately Charles won't be with us this season," fellow Frenchman Abiteboul told Infosport+, "but I want to thank him for the job he did for us last year."

Pic was strongly backed in F1 by Idec Groupe, Lagardere and even Renault, and so presumably his successors at Caterham have arrived with even more lucrative sponsorship.

Abiteboul also hinted that performance may have been an issue, saying Pic "has some talent which can develop in a larger, more mature team".

Caterham, however, is the only remaining team in pitlane yet to announce its 2014 drivers.

The logos of McGregor, the sponsor of Pic's 2013 teammate Giedo van der Garde, have been removed from Caterham's official website, suggesting that the team will enter 2014 with an all-new driver lineup.

International reports say the most likely 2014 pairing is Kamui Kobayashi alongside rookie Marcus Ericsson.

Britain's Sky, the Reuters news agency, and France's RMC said Caterham is expected to confirm its new drivers on Tuesday.

RMC added that Pic, having worked until now with Olivier Panis, is now being managed by Jacques Villeneuve's well-known former manager, Craig Pollock.

Schumacher 'will not give up' – family
(GMM) Michael Schumacher's family has issued a statement but no new information about the health of the seven time world champion.

Some days ago, his manager Sabine Kehm said the great 45-year-old German remained in an artificial coma in a "stable" condition, and for the first time did not use the word "critical".

And the latest message from the former Ferrari and Mercedes driver's family, including his wife, children, father and brother Ralf, said they are "deeply touched" by messages of support from around the world.

"That gives us strength," the statement reads.

"We all know he is a fighter and will not give up!"

One of the messages of support in the past days has come from Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who said he is hoping "to hear some good news as soon as possible".

A neurosurgeon at France's university of Bordeaux, Jean-Marc Orgogozo, told Le Point newspaper: "Every day, every week you are in a coma, the chance that the situation will improve diminishes."

Schumacher fell whilst skiing in the French Alps a few days before Christmas, striking his helmeted head on a rock and lapsing into coma with brain injuries.

Ferrari had fastest pitstops in 2013 – report
(GMM) Ferrari won the season-long race to become the fastest pit crew in formula one.

That is the finding of Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, revealing that although Red Bull and Mercedes performed the fastest single pitstops in 2013, Italian marque Ferrari's crew performed consistently the quickest over the entire calendar.

And the same German magazine reported recently that Ferrari was the only team that got through every grand prix of the year without a single technical failure.

The report said the average speed of Ferrari's 89 pitstops in 2013 was 2.78 seconds, significantly faster than Mercedes' 2.95.

World champions Red Bull came in third, a hundredth of a second behind Mercedes.

McLaren's average pitstop in 2013 took 3.18 seconds, the analysis added.

Quantum chief says Lotus buy-in deal not dead
(GMM) Mansoor Ijaz, the man behind Lotus' delayed buy-in by the Quantum group, insists the deal is not dead.

Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez said less than a week ago that, after repeated delays in concluding the 35 per cent deal, "we cancelled it".

"The money never arrived," said Lopez. "For 2014, our budget is complete with our new sponsor PDVSA."

Ijaz, however, insists the deal is still on, albeit now in a different form.

But why would Lopez so publicly declare otherwise?

"In every clarification," Ijaz told the grandprix247.com website, "there is also the possibility of additional misunderstandings arising, or journalists taking liberty with the actual words uttered.

"This happened in our case," he said.

Ijaz said he remains on good terms with Lopez and other Genii executives who are "doing everything possible to assist me in concluding the deal".

"No one regrets the delays we have suffered in completing the Lotus investment more than I do," he explained. "And no one is doing more to fix it than I am because that is what the team deserves for standing so clearly and strongly behind me for 7 months."

Ijaz said a new target for completing the deal is between the forthcoming Jerez test, and the Bahrain tests in mid February.

And he issued a stark warning for those he described as "bloggerheads and irresponsible journalists" who have questioned his character and accused him of often being behind shady deals that ultimately collapse.

"When we finish the Lotus financing, we will take each and every one of those bloggers and journalists who slandered me to task for their irresponsible behavior," he said. "Then we will see how big their mouths are."

Van der Garde becomes Sauber reserve
(GMM) Speculation Caterham has decided to install an all-new race lineup for 2014 became certain on Tuesday.

On Monday, team boss Cyril Abiteboul told French television that Charles Pic will not be driving for the team this year.

And on Tuesday morning, the Swiss outfit Sauber announced that Giedo van der Garde, who was Pic's Caterham teammate in 2013, has been signed as reserve driver for the forthcoming season.

It further solidifies rumors Caterham will shortly confirm returning Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi alongside Swedish rookie Marcus Ericsson for 2014.

Sauber said Dutchman van der Garde, 27, will this year take part in "some Friday sessions and several tests".

"He has four years experience in GP2 and he drove one year in formula one," team boss Monisha Kaltenborn said. "These are good credentials to work successfully with our team."

Van der Garde, who is sponsored by McGregor and married to its chief Marcel Boekhoorn's daughter, said in the media statement that he wants to prove this year "that I deserve a race seat with the Sauber team in 2015".

It's Official: Markus Ericsson joins Caterham
Caterham has signed GP2 graduate (6th place) Marcus Ericsson for the 2014 Formula 1 season.

Ericsson moves up to F1 after four years in GP2. Sixth in last year's standings was the high point, but he had been expected to fight for the title after replacing reigning champion Davide Valsecchi at DAMS.

He is set to become the first Swede to start a grand prix since Stefan Johansson's F1 career ended in 1991.

"This is a very proud day for me and everyone has helped make my F1 dream come true," Ericsson said.

"I'll be making the step up to F1 with Caterham in 2014 and I'm already excited about the season ahead, and the first race in Australia in particular."

"It is absolutely amazing", he said in an interview with Viasat.

I want to show that I am a fast driver , can deliver under pressure and made ​​a good impression , he says.

In the end , I have noticed that it's been close and now it is clear . It is of course a surreal but nice feeling .

"We are very pleased that Marcus driving for us in 2014. This is the result of a long process, but it has been worth all the time and effort it is important to us. This will be our fifth year in F1, and we must begin to move upward. Where we believe that Marcus can play an important role," said Caterhams team boss Cyril Abiteboul.

It's Official: Kobayashi joins Caterham
The deal brings Kobayashi back into F1 after a season with Ferrari's GT program in the World Endurance Championship.

The 27-year-old Japanese driver had made his F1 debut as stand-in driver for Toyota in late 2009, before racing for Sauber from 2010-12.

"It's a great feeling to be back as an F1 race driver and I'm really pleased it's with Caterham," said Kobayashi.

"Throughout all our discussions I've been very impressed with where they want to take the team, and how much investment has been made already to help them achieve their goals.

"I first visited the factory in Leafield just before Christmas and it's clear how hungry the whole team is to make progress.

"From what I've seen, Caterham now has everything in place to progress this year and for many seasons to come."

Full Caterham press release
Caterham F1 Team and Caterham Racing have confirmed their 2014 driver line-ups with the announcement that Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson will race in Formula One in the forthcoming season with Robin Frijns and Alexander Rossi as F1 team Reserve Drivers. In addition, Alexander and Rio Haryanto will contest the 2014 GP2 honors with Caterham Racing.

Kobayashi joins the UK based team after one season out of F1, rejoining the sport as it heads towards a new era in F1 history with all-new rules for the season ahead. The popular Japanese driver joins F1 rookie Marcus Ericsson in an exciting, dynamic line-up that will push the team to achieve its targets throughout the season ahead whilst giving, for the second year running, an opportunity for a leading GP2 driver to make the step up to F1, demonstrating the logic of Caterham’s direct involvement in that F1 feeder Championship. Supporting them at all GP2 race weekends as Reserve Driver will be Robin Frijns, one of motorsport’s most highly rated young drivers.

Alexander Rossi renews his GP2 challenge with Caterham Racing and, after finishing the 2013 season as best rookie, he will start the new season as a serious championship contender. He will combine his GP2 commitments with another year as a Reserve Driver for Caterham F1 Team at all non-GP2 race weekends, continuing his development towards an ultimate race drive in Formula One. Alexander is joined by Rio Haryanto, the Indonesian driver who has progressed in GP2 since his first season in the series in 2012 and who, with Alexander, makes one of the strongest driver pairings in the championship.

Cyril Abiteboul, Team Principal and CEO, Caterham F1 Team: “I’m very pleased we can finally unveil our F1 and GP2 drivers for the year ahead. The process may have taken longer than we’d have liked, but we didn’t want or need to be rushed into such important decisions and we have been in the happy position of having a wide range of drivers to choose from for both series. I believe that we have exciting, dynamic talents in both F1 and GP2 and I know just how excited everyone in the F1 team and Caterham Racing are about working with all five drivers.

“In F1, I’m delighted that we’ve been able to bring Kamui back. He is a very popular driver and it’s very good for the whole team we’ve been able to attract such an exciting driver to join us at a critical point in our development. His pace speaks for itself, and his extensive experience of developing cars, particularly in his years with Toyota, will be incredibly important for us as we tackle one of the most challenging seasons F1 has ever embarked upon.

“Alongside him is Marcus who will be racing in his debut F1 season in 2014, but as a driver who has prepared perfectly for the step up to F1 with his graduation through the ranks. He started his single-seat career by winning Formula BMW UK in 2007 and rose through the ranks to GP2 where, last year, he won in Germany, scored two poles, three fastest laps and five podiums. He’s physically and mentally prepared for what lies ahead, and he will have all the support we can give him across the team to help him fulfill his obvious potential in Formula One.

“Robin is another new addition to our driver roster and he comes to us as one of the most highly rated talents around – just look at how he dominated the two Renault-backed series he competed in during the 2012 and 2013 seasons for clear evidence of that. He won Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 in 2011, recording five wins that year, and then he won Formula Renault 3.5 in 2012, putting three more victories on the board. He has raw pace and impressed our engineers enormously with the sessions he’s completed in our simulator – put simply, he has the talent to go right to the top of our sport. He will be our Reserve at all races where Alexander is focused on GP2 and he will have a number of F1 runs throughout the year, immersing him in the F1 team and helping him develop his understanding of what it takes to operate at the top level.

“In GP2 we want to be competing for race wins and titles from the first race. Alexander showed last year that he’s ready to make a push for the championship, and we’re continuing his F1 development in 2014 by combining his GP2 commitments with another year as an F1 team Reserve Driver. I firmly believe he has the talent to achieve the ambitious targets we are setting him and I’m excited about seeing him fulfill his potential in GP2 this year. Rio joins the team with two years of GP2 already under his belt and he and Alexander make a formidable pairing – we’re all excited about seeing them and the team add to Caterham Racing’s already crowded trophy cabinet and use that as a benchmark for the F1 team!

“By any measure, we have an exciting range of drivers across F1 and GP2 who will make headlines for both teams throughout the year – sometimes because they’re pushing a bit too hard, but, on balance, that’s what motor racing needs. Our F1 team will benefit enormously from having Kamui and Marcus spearhead our challenge in 2014 – they provide powerful motivation for us to renew our efforts to succeed throughout the season ahead and demonstrate that our shareholders and senior management know what it takes to progress. Overall, I’m pleased that we’re able to give all five of the drivers we’ll work with in F1 and GP2 the platform to show what they can do on a global stage and I’m excited about seeing all of them develop in green throughout the year ahead."

Caterham F1 Team

Kamui Kobayashi: “It’s a great feeling to be back as an F1 race driver and I’m really pleased it’s with Caterham F1 Team. We’ve been talking to Cyril and Tony since last year about driving for the team for 2014 and beyond and throughout all our discussions I’ve been very impressed with where they want to take the team, and how much investment has been made already to help them achieve their goals. For me, it’s a great honor that the team hired me based on the value I bring in racing terms, and the experience I have and I am so happy that I am able to make this announcement today. I will do my very best to lead the team and work as hard as possible to achieve our targets.

“I also want to give special thanks to all the fans who have made donations to KAMUI SUPPORT. Their donations and gestures gave me extra strength to come back fighting and I am very pleased that the money they raised not only helped me but will now go to helping Caterham progress this year. Every single one of you who helped with KAMUI SUPPORT will race with me in 2014 and that makes me very proud."

“I first visited the factory in Leafield just before Christmas and it’s clear how hungry the whole team is to make progress. Last year was a tough season but the new rules this year mean that everyone in F1 is starting again and that means everybody has a chance to improve. From what I’ve seen, Caterham now has everything in place to progress this year and for many seasons to come. We’re all realistic about what we can actually achieve this year, and until we’ve run the car properly at the tests it’s still too early to see where we are compared to the other teams, but whatever happens we have to move forwards this year. For me, it’s a chance to start again with a new team but one that’s serious about progressing, and for the team, 2014 is the first chance to show what they can do with all the people and infrastructure they’ve built up in Leafield since moving there in 2012.

“I can’t wait to start work again, and one of the benefits to making this announcement so close to the start of the tests means I only have a few days to wait to get back on track! Before then I’ll be at the factory as much as possible, working in the simulator and with everyone there to prepare as much as we can for the tests in Jerez and Bahrain. Physically and mentally I’m fully prepared, now I just want to get back to work!"

Marcus Ericsson: “This is a very proud day for me and everyone who has helped make my F1 dream come true. I’ll be making the step up to F1 with Caterham F1 Team in 2014 and I’m already excited about the season ahead, and the first race in Australia in particular.

“It’s obviously great for Sweden that we’ll have a Swedish driver back on the grid in 2014. This is what I’ve been working for since I first started racing karts back when I was nine years old, and now I know I’m ready for the step up to F1. Caterham is a young team and together we can take on the challenges the new rules will present in 2014 – learning together and continuing to develop as the season progresses.

“After a good break at home over Christmas, the hard work has already started. My physical fitness has always been good but I’ve been working even more on that since the discussions with Caterham began, and I’m going to be in the factory in Leafield as much as I can before and during the tests in Spain and Bahrain so I can play an active role in helping understand the 2014 car, and what we need to do to unlock its performance. We have a big task in front of us but it’s an exciting one, and one both the team and I are ready for."

Robin Frijns: “I am more than happy that Caterham and Renault have given me the chance to be in Formula One in 2014. Nowadays it's rare to find an F1 team that will put so much trust in a young driver like me, but during the negotiations I had a very strong feeling that the team really believes in me, which I couldn’t appreciate more! This was one of the main reasons why Caterham has been my number one priority for quite a while and I am so thankful that it worked out.

“There are many good reasons to believe that Caterham will be moving up the grid in the next few years and I feel that every member of the team is strongly committed and really working hard to make that happen. Also, when I visited the factory for the first time, I saw that the working atmosphere in Leafield is very positive, which gave me a good feeling right away. My personal goal for this season is to help the team as much I can and also gain valuable experience to make sure that I can establish myself in the team and in F1. I am sure that we will have many great years together."

Final 2014 F1 driver line-up:

Team Driver 1 Driver 2
Red Bull-Renault Sebastian Vettel Daniel Ricciardo
Mercedes Lewis Hamilton Nico Rosberg
Ferrari Fernando Alonso Kimi Raikkonen
Lotus-Renault Romain Grosjean Pastor Maldonado
McLaren-Mercedes Jenson Button Kevin Magnussen
Force India-Mercedes Nico Hulkenberg Sergio Perez
Sauber-Ferrari Adrian Sutil Esteban Gutierrez
Toro Rosso-Renault Jean-Eric Vergne Daniil Kvyat
Williams-Mercedes Felipe Massa Valtteri Bottas
Marussia-Ferrari Jules Bianchi Max Chilton
Caterham-Renault Kamui Kobayashi Marcus Ericsson

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