Latest F1 news in brief – Friday (Update)

UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

01/10/14

  • Will Kobayashi's check be big enough for Caterham?

    Caterham not ruling out Kobayashi for F1 return

  • Law change paves road for India GP return
  • Irvine unlikely to serve six month jail sentence
  • Kvyat says Toro Rosso to test at Jerez
  • FIA now ready to police fuel limits in 2014
  • New F1 Documentary '1' Tells Story Of 'Dangerous' Racing Era Of '60, '70s
  • Force India was first choice – Perez New
  • Massa suspects Alonso knew about Crashgate plan New
  • Honda may benefit from delaying F1 return to 2015 New

Caterham not ruling out Kobayashi for F1 return
(GMM) Kamui Kobayashi appears imminently close to securing his return to formula one.

The Japanese lost his Sauber seat at the end of 2012, spending last season as a Ferrari test driver and driving a works Ferrari 458 in the Le Mans series.

But Kobayashi, 27, has also collected millions from his fans to offer to a potential F1 race employer, and just before Christmas was spotted at Caterham's factory.

When asked about the popular former Toyota and Sauber driver, a Caterham spokesman told Sky: "There are lots of drivers being linked with Caterham at the moment which is very good news for us.

"I think it's flattering that somebody of Kamui's experience, talent and popularity would be linked to our team.

"We will be making an announcement on drivers in due course and there are a number of drivers of Kamui's experience who are being considered."

Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic drove for the team in 2013, but so far neither have been confirmed for the new season.

Along with Kobayashi, rookie Marcus Ericsson and former team driver Heikki Kovalainen have also been strongly linked with the seats.

The Caterham spokesman admitted that "at least one" of the team's 2014 drivers will be experienced.

"It's particularly important with the new rules and the new car configuration that you have somebody who has some experience," he said.

The spokesman added that Caterham is "very, very close" to making an announcement.

Law change paves road for India GP return
(GMM) India has moved a step towards securing its return to the formula one calendar.

New Delhi hosted three races between 2011 and last year, but the grand prix will be absent from the Buddh circuit this season.

Many believe the unsupportive government's strict import laws, meaning cars and equipment are mandatorily held up in customs and subject to hefty duties, contributed to the demise of F1 in India.

But news this week indicates that the country may be paving the road for the return of the grand prix.

The Times of India reports that race equipment will no longer be treated as normal imported cargo, so long as the equipment leaves the country within 30 days.

The foreign trade department confirmed the news.

"The decision will be music to the ears of (race promoter) Jaypee … who have been struggling to deal with rising import duties while organizing the Indian grand prix over the last three years," read the Times of India report.

Jaypee chief Sameer Gaur confirmed: "It appears to be a positive development for automobile racing in India. We cannot, however, say more without studying the (department's) order."

And Indian motor sport federation chief Vicky Chandhok added: "I welcome this decision to modify the import policy for cars and bikes for racing events.

"This will pave the way for India to host many more world class international motor sport events."

Irvine unlikely to serve six month jail sentence
(GMM) A Milan judge on Thursday sentenced former F1 driver Eddie Irvine to six months in jail.

The case dates all the way back to 2008, when Michael Schumacher's former Ferrari teammate accused the son of the then Milan mayor of assaulting him at the city's Hollywood nightclub.

But Gabriele Moratti, son of the now former mayor Letizia, denied the charge, claiming a drunk Irvine in fact attacked him with a glass.

Reports suggested the fight was over a text message Irvine, who retired from F1 after the 2002 season, sent to Moratti's girlfriend.

In 2011, it emerged that the case would head to court, after negotiations for a settlement collapsed.

Now, on Thursday in Milan, the judge found 48-year-old Ulsterman Irvine guilty of "mutual injury", and Moratti was given the same six-month jail sentence.

But the Telegraph quoted Moratti's lawyer as saying both sentences would probably be suspended after an appeal.

And AFP news agency said all Italian jail sentences under two years are automatically suspended.

Kvyat says Toro Rosso to test at Jerez
(GMM) Toro Rosso will be among the teams at the Jerez test later this month.

Lotus boss Eric Boullier insisted on Thursday that the Enstone based team will not be the only F1 outfit missing in action when the all-new cars and turbo V6s burst into action in southern Spain late in January.

One of the missing teams, however, will not be Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso.

The Faenza based team's new recruit, rookie Daniil Kvyat, told the Russian publication Championat he is currently training ahead of his first 2014 duties.

"I have already done the seat fitting for the new car in late December," said the 19-year-old.

"I will come back to our factory in January to meet with the engineers and talk about all the new things the driver needs to know.

"Before Jerez I will probably be in the simulator. And once we are in Jerez then the time (before Melbourne) will go very quickly," Kvyat added.

When asked about his schedule at the wheel of the new Toro Rosso at Jerez, Kvyat admitted he is not sure how the track time will be divided between himself and experienced teammate Jean-Eric Vergne.

"The order of the testing can be seen different ways," he said. "Some fans think that because someone is the first (to drive) means something, but that's nonsense.

"Actually I would like to drive on the second day, but the team will decide and anyway it is not so important."

Kvyat also responded to claims the new regulations, particularly those relating to the front nose, has resulted in most 2014 cars looking "ugly".

"An F1 car is always a work of art," he insisted.

"Yes, there are a couple of details you have to get used to and that even I don't really like, but in six months time no one will pay any attention to it anymore.

"The nose? It will be interesting, let's see, but I don't care what the car looks like — what is important is that it is quick."

FIA now ready to police fuel limits in 2014
(GMM) The manufacturer of a crucial fuel flow sensor is now ready for F1's 2014 season.

We reported last October that the governing FIA was in a race against time to ensure teams obey the all-new fuel limits for the radical turbo V6 rules.

The reports said the company awarded the contract to supply the mandatory fuel flow rate sensors was struggling to improve on an error rate of 1.5 per cent.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said that error result was "worrying", and that the company Gill Sensors was working hard to improve the sensor ahead of the winter testing season.

Gill has now confirmed that its fuel sensor "has been homologated by the FIA" for the 2014 season.

The sensor "fulfils the FIA's accuracy requirements", the company added.

"We are delighted that the FIA is confident in the performance and durability of the ultrasonic fuel flow meter," said chairman Mike Gill.

New F1 Documentary '1' Tells Story Of 'Dangerous' Racing Era Of '60, '70s
The new F1 documentary "1" made its London debut Thursday. The film tells the story of the drivers who competed during F1’s dangerous '60s and '70s, and those who stood up to improve safety standards.

Using rare archive footage, "1" features the largest list of F1 interviewees ever assembled for a single film, among them 12 world champions. Contributors include Bernie Ecclestone, Max Mosley, Professor Sid Watkins, Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, John Surtees, Emerson Fittipaldi, Mario Andretti, Nigel Mansell, Jody Scheckter, Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Jacky Ickx and Martin Brundle.

The Spitfire Pictures, Flat-Out Films and Diamond Docs production is directed by documentary maker Paul Crowder, whose credits include the award-winning "Riding Giants," and written by Crowder’s long-time creative partner Mark Monroe, the man behind Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove." Nigel Sinclair co-produced ''1'' with Michael Shevloff.

Force India was first choice – Perez
Sergio Perez says driving for Force India was his first choice after he found out he was leaving McLaren towards the end of last season.

Perez will team up with Nico Hulkenberg at Force India this year after a single lackluster season at McLaren. He was not aware of McLaren's plans to replace him until quite late in 2013, but despite Lotus and Sauber having vacancies, he had his heart set on Force India.

"When it was confirmed that I was leaving McLaren, Sahara Force India was always my first option," he told the official Formula One website. "It is a very good team and in the same way as me, it is hungry for success.

"The discussions with Sahara Force India started around the time of the race in Austin. I attended a couple of meetings and held several telephone conferences before everything came to a positive agreement."

Perez does not regret his time at McLaren but believes he has not yet shown his full potential in F1.

"It has been a very important learning path in my career. I don't regret anything: McLaren is a great team and I will always respect them. Unfortunately, for various reasons, the season did not go as expected and we ended up without a podium. The situation I am in now is different, but it's also exciting. I do not see myself as in a 'holding pattern' and this is part of my journey in Formula One. I strongly believe that my success is yet to be seen."

Massa suspects Alonso knew about Crashgate plan
Felipe Massa believes his former team mate Fernando Alonso knew of Renault’s plan to help him win the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix by causing a deliberate crash.

Massa lost the race to Alonso after Nelson Piquet Jnr, driving the second Renault, deliberately crashed his car on lap 14. This caused a Safety Car period which propelled Alonso to the front of the field.

Massa, who parted ways with Ferrari at the end of last year, said Alonso “knew everything" about the plan when asked about it in a recent interview for Autosport. “But he would never tell me," Massa added.

The details of Renault’s plan to cause the crash came to light almost 12 months after the race. The FIA banned Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds from the sport for their involvement, but accepted Alonso’s denial he had prior knowledge of the plan.

Symonds has since returned to F1 and is now chief technical officer at Williams, who Massa has joined this year. “For sure, I will discuss it with him," said Massa of Symonds, “but I am sure he is not the most important guy in what happened".

“Sometimes people pay more than they need to," Massa added. “I know how it works, these situations, in F1 but I will definitely talk to him."

Massa, who has previously likened the race to a fixed football match, failed to score after a pit lane mishap during the Safety Car period triggered by Piquet Jnr’s crash. The points he lost to championship rival Lewis Hamilton that day ultimately cost him the 2008 title.

Massa added the FIA should have “cancelled" the result of the after once the truth came to light in September 2009.

Honda 'may benefit' from delaying F1 return to 2015
It's a tense time in F1 heading into the 2014, which sees the biggest overhaul in technical and engine specifications in the sport in over a decade, and with manufacturers, teams and drivers alike wondering how they will fare in the upcoming season.

Having powered Red Bull to a fourth world championship in 2013, the spotlight is on just how well Renault will make the transition to the new era. The French manufacturer is also looking 12 months down the road to the return of rivals Honda to the fray as partners with the McLaren F1 team in 2015.

"One could argue it's a good advantage and one could argue it's not," Renault's head of track operations Remi Taffin said when asked whether he felt that Honda's extra year of development will give the Japanese manufacturer the upper hand in the longer term.

"They will not have a car running [in 2014] and I can't see that not being detrimental," he said. "[But] they don't have to focus on 2014 and they are fully focused on '15.

"You have one more year to study your engine and maybe you could end up with a 2015 engine that is much more developed," he conceded. "But at the same time we are going to be developing the engine for 2015.

"We are already working on 2015 and it's very similar.

"It's just a matter of resources," he explained. "They [can] put all their resources, money and people on '15 whereas we have to share."

But Taffin insisted that he'd rather be in Renault's shoes at this point that Honda, despite the pressure on resources and Honda having that extra year to plan and develop.

"Even if you have the best of everything back at the factory, it's always on the car where you validate everything you have been studying through the winter and over the last three or four years," he pointed out.

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