Latest F1 news in brief – Friday (Update)

UPDATE Updates shown in red below.


  • How many more teammates will he destroy?

    Todt, Lauda support 'double points' rule

  • Webber got 'tired' of Vettel's winning – Vergne
  • Ferrari 'not necessarily' good move for Vettel – Ecclestone
  • Winning won't drive Red Bull out of F1 – Ecclestone
  • Sahara Force India welcomes technical partnership with Motegi Racing New
  • 'Common engine' would end Mercedes F1 involvement New
  • Fernandes warns of five-team F1 future New
  • Ferrari: F1 2014 secrets revealed New

Todt, Lauda support 'double points' rule
(GMM) Not everyone in formula one is opposed to the sport's new 'double points' innovation.

In fact, even the president of F1's governing FIA is not sure what all the fuss is about, as speculation increases that the rule could even be repealed.

"Well, so much is said, but really it's not such a dramatic change," Jean Todt told the Spanish sports daily AS.

"For me, the introduction of the new 1.6 liter engine with a 40 per cent fuel reduction is much more important. And our priority is to reduce costs.

"I think the change of points in one race is not a revolution," the Frenchman insisted. "It's a small change and nothing more."

And even Mercedes' powerful duo, chairman Niki Lauda and sporting boss Toto Wolff, are not opposed to the rule that aims to keep the title alive by awarding double points in the Abu Dhabi finale.

Triple world champion Lauda even told Speed Week that he backs Bernie Ecclestone's idea to expand the double points beyond the 2014 finale.

"More bonus points should be given in the last third of the season," he said.

Wolff agreed: "A (higher) distribution (of points) for regions or continents would make sense."

Meanwhile, Wolff revealed that Lewis Hamilton has applied to the FIA to race his lucky number 44 for the rest of his F1 career.

Webber got 'tired' of Vettel's winning – Vergne
(GMM) Mark Webber quit formula one because he got tired of being beaten by teammate Sebastian Vettel.

That is the claim of Jean-Eric Vergne, who drives for the second-tier Red Bull team, Toro Rosso.

Frenchman Vergne told Spain's El Confidencial newspaper that he is now over the disappointment of missing out on the departing Webber's seat at the premier Red Bull Racing team to his 2013 teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

Vergne, 23, was asked if he thinks Australian veteran Webber, who is heading to Le Mans with Porsche, quit F1 because he got "tired" of spraying champagne on F1 podiums.

"I don't think he got tired of that," Vergne answered. "He got tired of his teammate winning all the time. And another year of the same made no sense to him.

"He would not even be happy if his team continued to win everything — you have the same car but you're beaten every weekend by your teammate. You would get tired of that," he added, "even when you are on the podium.

"I think Mark is a very good driver and a true competitor," Vergne explained, "but things were not going as he wanted.

"If your teammate is always beating you … the goal is to win, not finish on the podium," he added.

Vergne was also asked about F1's sweeping changes for 2014, and he admitted that the move to the new turbo V6 engine will be "the main issue" for the season.

But he added: "There are many other changes. The (blown) exhausts will be gone, the tires will be harder. Traction will be extremely difficult and sometimes it will seem like children learning how to drive!"

And Vergne tipped Pirelli to recover from its tumultuous season, despite the fact Nico Rosberg suffered a high-speed blowout whilst testing a 2014 prototype in Bahrain recently.

"I think they will do a good job. First of all the tires must be safe," said Vergne. "They will be more conservative."

Ferrari 'not necessarily' good move for Vettel – Ecclestone
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel has been voted sportsman of the year by European news agencies.

Organized by the Polish news agency PAP, 21 European outlets cast their votes and the Red Bull driver emerged with more points than tennis' Rafael Nadal, and British athlete Mo Farah.

Vettel's latest victory is despite widespread claims that the German is only dominating F1 because of Adrian Newey's design genius.

But rival Felipe Massa told Brazil's Totalrace: "It (Vettel's dominance) is because of his talent, no doubt.

"He is an excellent driver who deserves everything he has achieved.

"Many people say he wins only because he has the best car. He does (have the best car), but the work he has done is amazing and if he continues to have a competitive car, he will win more," added Massa.

Vettel's new status as arguably F1's very best driver is also supported by his traditional ally and friend Bernie Ecclestone.

The 26-year-old driver's popularity, however, is another matter, particularly after he was repeatedly booed on post-race podiums in 2013.

"He created this reputation himself when he went ahead of Mark Webber in Malaysia," F1's chief executive told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Now some see him as a person that really he is not. But I don't think he did anything wrong to Mark."

Vettel has committed his medium-term future to Red Bull, but Ecclestone thinks the German will eventually move elsewhere.

"He is young and he won't stay for forever where he is," the 83-year-old Briton said.

"The problem is that all the drivers want to finish their careers at Ferrari, which isn't good," Ecclestone argued.

"I think he should go to the team that can help him win more titles, and that will not necessarily be Ferrari."

Winning won't drive Red Bull out of F1 – Ecclestone
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone is not worried Red Bull's run of dominance will drive the brand out of formula one.

The energy drink company's premier F1 team and its lead driver Sebastian Vettel have won the past four drivers' and constructors' championships — so dominantly in 2013 that many questioned the spectacle of the latest triumph.

But when asked if Red Bull is so successful it may eventually tire both of winning and the sport in general, F1 chief executive Ecclestone answered: "I don't think so.

"Dietrich Mateschitz is so competitive, he loves racing, he likes when his car wins," the 83-year-old told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"The successes of recent years also mean his team has earned much more than some of the others.

"Not only that, where else is he going to find as good a platform to advertise his brand?" Ecclestone wondered.

Red Bull is among the teams with the very highest budgets in F1; so high that many others are struggling to pay their bills in a difficult economic climate.

Ecclestone has little sympathy.

"The teams are spending too much," he said. "Look at the top teams; they have a huge number of staff, 700 or more, no one knows the exact numbers.

"All these people to put two cars on the grid on Sundays. It's ridiculous," Ecclestone added.

At the same time, teams are struggling to attract big brands to their sponsorship liveries, while F1 has managed to do deals with companies like UBS and Rolex.

Asked why the teams are failing to do the same, Ecclestone answered: "I don't know — ask them."

Meanwhile, when asked to tip the 2014 winner, he responded similarly: "I don't know. I think next year will depend most on the engine.

"The winner will be the one with the best engine."

Sahara Force India welcomes technical partnership with Motegi Racing
Sahara Force India is delighted to announce the beginning of a new technical partnership with Motegi Racing, the high performance wheel brand.

The new partnership will see the team’s 2014 car fitted with wheels carrying the iconic Motegi Racing brand. Sahara Force India will also benefit from Motegi Racing’s knowledge in wheel technology to help drive forward performance.

Otmar Szafnauer, Chief Operating Officer: “I’m very happy to announce our partnership with Motegi Racing. 2014 is a landmark year for Formula One with so many changes to the regulations and in order to be competitive we have to focus on developing all areas of the car. It gives me great confidence to have the expertise and experience of Motegi Racing supporting us at such an important time. Our technical team will be working very closely with them to enhance the performance of our wheels."

Jody Groce, President Wheel Pros LLC: “We are very excited about the partnership with Sahara Force India as part of our growth at the highest level of global motorsports. This is a milestone achievement for our company as we prepare to supply our Motegi Racing wheels to compete at the pinnacle of racing technology in Formula One. It’s an interesting time to be involved in Formula One and we are honored to become Sahara Force India’s technical wheel partner as the sport prepares for one of the most significant technical transformations in its history. This program provides the perfect technical platform to communicate the continuous evolution of the Motegi Racing brand. Motorsport is a proving ground for our technology to hone the performance authenticity of our brand."

'Common engine' would end Mercedes F1 involvement
Mercedes chairman Dieter Zetsche has admitted that the German giant would pull out of F1 before entering an arrangement to produce engines with a rival.

The comment was made during an end-of-year interview with German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, when Zetsche was asked whether Mercedes' technical partnership with Renault could see the two parties working together in F1, particularly with the introduction of the all-new turbocharged V6 'power units' in 2014 set to push costs higher and higher.

Despite the alliance between the Three Pointed Star and the Renault-Nissan group set to expand on the road car side in the next year, however, Zetsche was adamant that there could be no collaboration on the track, as F1 – and motorsport in general – was a key component in Mercedes' marketing strategy as it attempts to set itself apart from its rivals.

"While we do cooperate…. part of our marketing is motor sport and the engine is a core competency – we want to show that we can build the best engine," he claimed, “A common engine has sometimes been discussed in F1 but, if it came to that, it would time for us to leave."

2013 proved to be Mercedes' most successful season to date since returning to F1 as a constructor, with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton claiming three races win between them, and sharing the qualifying battle with eventual champions Red Bull, ironically powered by Infiniti-badged Renault engines. After the disappointment of 2012, when it followed back-to-back fourth places in the constructors' championship with a drop to fifth, Zetsche acknowledges the improvement.

“We made a new start in F1 four years ago and battled for a top three place in the constructors' championship right away," he reflected, “Unfortunately, 2012 was catastrophic from our point of view with only fifth place, so we made a few basic changes. Of course, our aim is to win the drivers' and teams' world championships but you can neither buy nor guarantee that in this sport. Therefore, 2013 was a positive season, and second place, from my point of view, is a base from which to improve further."

Mercedes continues with an unchanged driver line-up in 2014, but will operate under the combined guidance of Paddy Lowe and Toto Wolff following Ross Brawn's decision to leave the team and take a sabbatical from F1.

Fernandes warns of five-team F1 future
Caterham team owner Tony Fernandes has issued a stark warning about the future of the F1 world championship if rivals do not heed the call to rein in their spending habits.

Viewing the F1 world from the opposite end of the grid to the likes of Red Bull and Mercedes, the Malaysian also has a different outlook on the struggle to keep a team on the grid, let alone be competitive and challenge for world titles, and warns that the split between the 'haves' and 'have nots' could eventually lead to the sport being reserved for an elite few, but a shadow of its former self.

Fernandes has long been an outspoken critic of the free spending that characterizes the F1 world and, along with others such as Force India's Vijay Mallya, has called on the sport to find a way of policing the profligacy before the smaller teams are driven to the wall in their attempts to remain on the grid. Even though the end-of-year announcements from the FIA and World Motor Sport Council hinted at cost capping measures to start in 2015 [see separate story], the Malaysian is keen to point out the severity of the situation as it stands right now.

"I don't think there is [a cost crisis] – there is one," he told Reuters around Christmas, "You hear about people not having been paid, suppliers taking a long time to be paid. These are certainly not happy days. At the end of the day there may be only five F1 teams if it carries on the way it is."

Much has been made in recent weeks about the possibility of teams fielding three cars. The suggestion, not a new one by F1 standards, would become reality if entry numbers fell below a certain level, with race contracts stipulating a minimum number of cars on the grid. Should it come to fruition, such a field would almost certainly not include Fernandes' Caterham operation – or the likes of fellow midfield and back-of-the grid runners such as Marussia, Sauber, Force India and even multiple world champion Williams.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, current champions Red Bull, mass manufacturer-owned Mercedes and Ferrari, and multi-faceted McLaren would appear safe, with each having a budget in excess of $200m and enjoying the sort of on-track success that begets a bigger share of revenue from the sport in a self-perpetuating cycle.

All eleven teams shared around $750m of the income generated by the sport last year, but the bulk of the revenue still goes to its shareholders, led by private equity firm CVC.

Precise rules regarding the proposed cost cap will be drawn up by mid-2014 but, until then, the teams – who briefly appeared in control of their own fate via the self-imposed Resource Restriction Agreement – will be left to their own devices at a time when the FIA-mandated introduction of a new engine and powertrain will push costs back up.

Ferrari: F1 2014 secrets revealed
The 2014 Formula 1 season marks the end of V8 engines as they’re replaced with smaller units but what else has changed for the sport?

The 2014 regulations will see one of the most significant engine changes in the sport's history.

Video: Ferrari's 2014 F1 secrets revealed

The change from 3.0-litre V10 to 2.4 liter V8 engines for the 2006 F1 season was the last major change in engine regulations.

The switch from a 2.4-litre V8 naturally-aspirated engine to a 1.6-litre, V6 turbocharged engine will change several technical characteristics of F1 cars. The energy recuperation system will be more advanced while the driver will be able to boost engine power via the battery for up to 30 seconds.


The cars that emerge at the end of January 2014 for the start of pre-season testing will be very different to previous models as there are significant changes to chassis and engine regulations.

Chassis changes for 2014:
• The front wing will be narrower and the nose of the car will be much lower
• The rear wing has been reduced in size

Fuel restrictions
• A maximum fuel-flow rate of 100kg an hour (Compared with a maximum fuel flow in 2013 in the region of 160-170kg/hour)
• A maximum of 100kg of fuel to be used through a race.


According to F1 engineers, engines are now referred to as power-trains, to emphasize the importance of energy recovery. The engines will have a single turbo.

There are now two electrical motors rather than one, driving an energy recovery system that has twice the power and 10 times the capacity of Kers (now referred to simply as ERS – Energy Recovery System, because it is regenerating more than just kinetic energy).

According to the FIA, Kers produced 60kW that could be used for 6.7 seconds per lap. In 2014, ERS will have 120kW for just over 30 seconds a lap.

One of the electric motors works like the current Kers. When a driver brakes, a generator captures energy and converts it into electrical power, which is stored in a battery. This can then be re-applied during acceleration to boost performance.


A second electrical motor is attached to the turbo. Normally a turbo has a wastegate on the exhaust, which releases excess energy if the pressure becomes too great. Instead of a wastegate, the motor will convert excess energy into electricity.

The electrical energy can be used immediately or to recharge the battery pack. This second motor is new technology and it is an area that has been left open for F1 to innovate.

Ferrari explains what it takes to comply with new regulations in a great video!

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