Latest F1 news in brief – Tuesday (Update)

UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

Valsecchi thinks he should get paid to drive? The cancer killing open wheel racing is pervasive

01/14/14

  • Button's father John dies at 70
  • Williams preparing 2014 car for Jerez debut
  • Ferrari not abandoning 'pullrod' layout for 2014
  • Schumacher wrote $1bn will in 2010 – report
  • Departing Valsecchi not paid by Lotus in 2013 (Paid? Open wheel drivers get paid?)
  • Whitmarsh: John the most devoted father in F1 New
  • Chilton reveals permanent car number New

Button's father John dies at 70
(GMM) Jenson Button's father, a highly popular F1 figure and a long-standing paddock regular, has died.

John Button, a former RallyCross driver and preparer of kart engines, died at the age of 70 at his home in France of a suspected heart-attack, McLaren driver Button's management announced in a statement.

He was an always-smiling presence in the F1 paddock, rarely – if ever – missing a race.

"Ever since Jenson was a boy, racing go-karts, his dad has been at his side, helping him, supporting him," McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh said.

Williams preparing 2014 car for Jerez debut
(GMM) Williams has become the latest team to confirm it will be on track as crucial preparations for the 2014 season begin in two weeks at Jerez.

"We'll be on track in Jerez," the Oxfordshire based team Tweeted, "and everyone is looking forward to getting going now!"

Williams added that the first all-new FW36, to be powered by a turbo Mercedes V6, is currently being put together at the Grove factory this week.

Williams' news has left heads scratching, after Lotus boss Eric Boullier claimed he knew as "fact" that more than one team will be sitting out Jerez.

But numerous international reports have claimed that midfield teams including Force India, Sauber, Toro Rosso and even Caterham are all planning ahead for the first of just three winter tests.

So far, Marussia is the only team that has sent out signals that it is not fully committed for Jerez, and like Lotus it has only a conditional place on the 2014 entry list.

But team president Graeme Lowdon told Reuters there is no cause for concern.

"We're just finalizing administrative details with the FIA and we have absolutely no concerns at all that the entry won't be confirmed," the Marussia chief said.

It is believed both Lotus and Marussia have missed the initial deadline for paying the 2014 entry fee to the governing FIA.

For 2014, the fee is $508,000, plus – controversially – $5080 per point scored in 2013.

A list published by Brazil's Totalrace shows that financially-struggling Lotus' fee amounts to a whopping $2.1 million, almost double that of grandee McLaren's $1.1m.

Marussia, however, only has to pay the basic fee, having not scored a point in 2013.

Lowdon sounded hopeful the 2014 car will be ready for Jerez.

"Testing time in formula one is incredibly limited," he told Britain's Sky, "so if it (the new car) is there and you can use it, you want to use it."

Ferrari not abandoning 'pullrod' layout for 2014
(GMM) Reports that Ferrari has abandoned its innovative 'pullrod' front suspension layout for 2014 were apparently wide of the mark.

In late November, Italy's Autosprint said the Maranello team had "almost certainly" decided to revert to the more conventional pushrod for its new V6-powered car, used by every other team except struggling McLaren in 2013.

And just last week, the authoritative F1 technical illustrator, Giorgio Piola, agreed that his sources also said Ferrari – third in last year's constructors' championship – would not have pullrod suspension this year.

"Usually the information from Giorgio Piola is bulletproof," said Tobias Gruner, correspondent for Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"But even the best-connected experts are apparently also sometimes fed false information."

Ferrari said on Monday that its returning driver, Kimi Raikkonen, will be at the wheel of the 2014 car in the new simulator at Maranello over three days this week.

Finn Raikkonen also revealed his lukewarm reasoning for picking 'lucky' number 7 for his new, permanent race number.

"It's the number I already had last year and I saw no reason to change it," he said. "I like it which is good enough isn't it?"

Schumacher wrote $1bn will in 2010 – report
(GMM) The will drawn up by Michael Schumacher would see his $1 billion-dollar estate divided equally among the three other members of his family.

That is claim of the Argentine daily Ole, as the 45-year-old's coma after his late December skiing fall enters a third consecutive week.

The report said the will and testament was signed by former Mercedes and Ferrari driver Schumacher in 2010, when he returned to F1 after a three-year sabbatical.

It instructs that his fortune, reported to be a billion US dollars, be divided equally between his wife Corinna, his daughter Gina-Maria (16), and son Mick (14).

We reported on Monday that Schumacher's condition, last listed as stable but critical, had not changed since the last medical bulletin issued about a week ago.

The Austrian newspaper Zurich Tagesangeiger reported on Monday that a part of the great German's skull has been removed to relieve pressure on his injured brain.

Departing Valsecchi not paid by Lotus in 2013 (Paid? Open wheel drivers get paid?)
(GMM) As fears about Lotus' health grow, 2013 reserve driver Davide Valsecchi has revealed he has not yet been paid by the Enstone based team.

As reigning GP2 champion, 26-year-old Italian Valsecchi served last year as Lotus' reserve driver, but he admitted last week he is now likely to exit.

"After a 2013 season in which I travelled a lot but did not get on the track, I want to go back to wearing overalls and a helmet," he had said.

When Lotus overlooked him late last season as Kimi Raikkonen's replacement in favor of Heikki Kovalainen, Valsecchi admitted the decision made him "angry".

"I thought that, in their choice, my willpower would prevail over a driver like the Finn, who is at the end of his career," he told the Italian website f1passion.it this week.

Valsecchi admits he is likely to leave F1 because powerful pay-drivers "such as the Mexicans or Venezuelans" have priced drivers like him out of the market.

"I don't conceal my desire to get into IndyCar," he said.

In the meantime, there are real fears among Lotus' fans about the health of the Enstone based team.

Although highly competitive, the black and gold outfit finished last season amid headlines about its elusive Quantum buy-in deal, and now Lotus has been only conditionally listed on the 2014 entry list.

The very latest news is that team CEO Patrick Louis has resigned.

It is believed Lotus, having lost Kimi Raikkonen to Ferrari because the Finn wasn't paid, is struggling to raise its more than $2 million FIA entry fee for 2014.

Now, Valsecchi has admitted the team has failed even to pay his small 2013 salary.

"According to my contract my salary was like that of a waiter," he revealed. "They haven't paid me yet.

"I'm sure that as soon as they'll be in a position to do so, they'll solve their debt."

Valsecchi said the Kovalainen affair made him angry and "bitter", but he trusts Lotus to eventually pay, revealing the team has "always behaved well towards me".

"I'm very grateful to Lotus for having chosen me as third driver, without asking anything in return. I can't complain," he said.

"Try to look for a job as third driver without paying a single euro! We're talking about a team that could sell a seat for at least two or three million euros."

Whitmarsh: John the most devoted father in F1
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh has led tributes to John Button, the father of current driver Jenson, who passed away in his home on the French Riviera on Sunday after suffering a suspected heart attack.

Having attended all bar one of Jenson's Formula 1 races, John Button became one of the paddock's most popular figures, forging a strong bond with the McLaren team when his son signed with them in 2010.

"Speaking on behalf of all at McLaren Mercedes, I want to say how very sad I was to hear the news of John's passing," said Whitmarsh.

"In my long Formula 1 career, I've encountered many drivers' fathers, but I think it's safe to say that John was perhaps more devoted to his son than any of them. Ever since Jenson was a boy, racing go-karts, his dad has been at his side, helping him, supporting him, finding the money for the next race.

"As Jenson grew older, and continued to win in cars, still John was always there, his most steadfast helper and supporter.

"And, even now, in recent years, during which Jenson has become the consummate Formula 1 world champion that he is, the most experienced driver on the Formula 1 grid in fact, still John has been ever-present, as loyal and as loving as ever, a benign and popular member of Jenson's small and intimate entourage.

"This coming season will be Jenson's fifth as a McLaren driver. I believe John has attended every grand prix over the past four seasons, and over that period he's become a unique and, I think it's fair to say, irreplaceable part of the McLaren 'family'.

"He was not only a great dad, but also a lovely man, and he'll be enormously missed by Jenson, of course, by all at McLaren, and indeed by the Formula 1 community at large.

"I'm sure that everyone at McLaren, and indeed everyone in Formula 1, will join me in sending our heartfelt condolences to Jenson, to the Button family, and to their many friends."

Chilton reveals permanent car number
Max Chilton has revealed that he will race with the number four for the rest of his Formula 1 career.

The Marussia driver, who was officially confirmed for a second season on Saturday, will again partner Ferrari protege Jules Bianchi, who has opted for number 17.

The upcoming season will mark the first time Marussia has retained both drivers for a second term.

Latest List of F1 Car Numbers for 2014

Chosen No. Driver’s Name Team Name of the Engine
1 * Sebastian VETTEL (DEU) Red Bull Racing Renault
3 Daniel RICCIARDO (AUS) Red Bull Racing Renault
44 Lewis HAMILTON (GBR) Mercedes Mercedes
6 Nico ROSBERG (DEU) Mercedes Mercedes
14 Fernando ALONSO (ESP) Ferrari Ferrari
7 Kimi RAIKKONEN (FIN) Ferrari Ferrari
8 Romain GROSJEAN (FRA) Lotus Renault
13 Pastor MALDONADO (VEN) Lotus Renault
22 Jenson BUTTON (GBR) McLaren Mercedes
20 Kevin MAGNUSSEN (DEN) McLaren Mercedes
27 Nico HULKENBERG (DEU) Force India Mercedes
11 Sergio PEREZ MENDOZA (MEX) Force India Mercedes
99 Adrian SUTIL (DEU) Sauber Ferrari
21 Esteban GUTIERREZ (MEX) Sauber Ferrari
25 Jean-Eric VERGNE (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault
26 Daniil KVYAT (RUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso Renault
19 Felipe MASSA (BRA) Williams Mercedes
77 Valtteri BOTTAS (FIN) Williams Mercedes
17 Jules BIANCHI (FRA) Marussia Ferrari
4 Max CHILTON (GBR) Marussia Ferrari
TBA TBA Caterham Renault
TBA TBA Caterham Renault

* For the duration of his F1 career, Sebastian Vettel chose N°5

** Subject to confirmation

Leave a Reply