Latest F1 news in brief – Tuesday

  • Sainz Jr.

    Sirotkin expects Friday seat for Russian GP

  • Mercedes rules out F1 cooperation with Renault
  • Sainz hopes son on road to F1
  • Salo defends Pirelli after Rosberg blowout
  • Formula One Facing Cost Crisis As Smaller Teams Are Struggling To Survive
  • F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone Says Double Points Rule Could Be Voted Down Next Month

Sirotkin expects Friday seat for Russian GP
(GMM) Sergey Sirotkin says he has "no doubt" he will drive a Sauber at his inaugural home grand prix in Russia next year.

It was expected a race seat for the teenager was part of Sauber's 'Russian rescue deal', but in fact Sirotkin will only be the test driver in 2014.

"Our goal remains to prepare him (Sirotkin) for a debut in formula one," said team boss Monisha Kaltenborn, as last week she confirmed Esteban Gutierrez as Adrian Sutil's teammate for 2014.

18-year-old Sirotkin told the Russian website that he supports Sauber's decision.

"In my opinion, it's the best option for my development — to continue in the World Series by Renault and be third driver for a formula one team," he said.

"The (Sauber) contract doesn't say how often I'll drive the car on Fridays, but the position of third driver does include visits to the grands prix."

Asked specifically about the participation in Friday morning practice sessions, he added: "I have no doubt that one of them will be the grand prix in Sochi.

"We are also talking about testing for the super license. There is not really a rush, so it should be done either before the start of the season, or at the very beginning."

It sounds unlikely, therefore, that Sirotkin will take part in Sauber's official winter testing program.

"It's hard to say," he admitted. "There is a chance, of course, but everyone is going to be developing completely new technology and so there may be some problems that need to be fixed.

"So I don't know what the team's decision will be."

Mercedes rules out F1 cooperation with Renault
(GMM) Mercedes has ruled out cooperating with Renault in the development of its all-new turbo V6 engines for formula one.

On the road-car side, however, Mercedes and Renault-Nissan do cooperate, and it is expected the alliance will only be expanded further in the months to come.

Henry Foy, a correspondent for the Financial Times, said the cooperation comes as "all global carmakers explore partnerships and joint ventures to reduce costs and grow in new markets".

"The moves are designed to cope with the worst European car market in two decades and unprecedented pressure to innovate into new areas, such as more fuel-efficient cars," he added.

But Dieter Zetsche, the chairman of Mercedes and its parent Daimler, said the alliance with Renault does not mean the two F1 engine suppliers will work together in developing their engines for grand prix racing.

"No," he insisted during an interview with Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"While we do cooperate, we do not do any common advertising campaigns. And part of our marketing is motor sport.

"We have also said that if the 'common engine' was introduced in formula one, that would be our signal to leave," explained Zetsche.

"Engines are a core competency for us and we want to show that we can build the best one," he added.

Sainz hopes son on road to F1
(GMM) Carlos Sainz Jr could be the next rookie in line for a Red Bull-powered step into formula one.

For 2014, it was expected that Antonio Felix da Costa would replace the Red Bull Racing-bound Daniel Ricciardo at the energy drink company's second F1 team, Toro Rosso.

But, instead, the Russian teenager Daniil Kvyat was selected from the Red Bull Junior Team, while Portuguese da Costa was appointed a F1 test driver.

Now, in 2014, the leading Red Bull-backed hopeful will be Spanish 19-year-old Carlos Sainz, who shares a name with his famous rallying legend father.

Red Bull has trimmed its Junior Team for this season, with Sainz Jr joined only in the program by new GP3 driver Alex Lynn and Pierre Gasly, a 17-year-old Frenchman.

Sainz senior, the two-time world rally champion, is hoping his son can be the next to step up to F1.

"I know that he has the talent," he told Speed Week. "But that is not enough. To make it to formula one, he will also need a lot of luck."

Sainz Jr will contest the full Formula Renault 3.5 series in 2014.

Salo defends Pirelli after Rosberg blowout
(GMM) Former F1 driver Mika Salo has defended the sport's official tire supplier Pirelli, after the latest round of negativity surrounding the Italian marque.

After its tumultuous 2013 season, including a barrage of criticism and questions about the quality of its tires, Mercedes' Nico Rosberg suffered a high-speed blowout during testing of a 2014 prototype recently in Bahrain.

The news triggered another round of speculation about Pirelli's place in F1, moving the Milan company to officially declare that the "safety" of its tires for 2014 "is not in question".

But former Ferrari and Sauber driver Salo said the latest criticism was not justified.

"The drivers were testing prototype tires," he told the Finnish broadcaster MTV3. "They knew what they were doing.

"It's right that they fall apart in the testing rather than in the grands prix," added Salo.

Formula One Facing Cost Crisis As Smaller Teams Are Struggling To Survive
F1 had turnover of $1.35B in '12 and generated an operating profit of $426M "once payments to its 11 teams had been deducted," according to Baldwin & Weir of REUTERS.

That "might suggest unconstrained happiness up and down the paddock but appearances are deceptive." Behind the luxury brands, "the celebrity guests and the lavish hospitality suites, many of the smaller teams are battling to survive."

When asked whether the sport faced a cost crisis, AirAsia airline entrepreneur and Caterham Owner Tony Fernandes said, "I don't THINK there is one. There IS one. You hear about people not having been paid, suppliers taking a long time to be paid. These are certainly not happy days." The teams shared around $750M of the income last year, "but are questioning a structure that takes so much money out of a sport with a high cost base for teams flying around the world to 19 annual races."

The division between the rich and the also-rans is evident on the track, where Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel ended the season winning the last nine races and his fourth title in a row, with "such predictability testing the patience of many fans."

Marussia CEO Graeme Lowdon said, "There is a large disparity in the distribution of money and the controls on cost don't appear to be as effective as they could be. It's not good for the sport and it's not good for the fans. Without them there is no commercial model."

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone said, "Ever since I have been in Formula One, there have been the haves and have nots. Whatever sport there is, people will spend what they think they have to spend in order to win." REUTERS

F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone Says Double Points Rule Could Be Voted Down Next Month
F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone said that the "controversial decision to award double points at the final grand prix of each season could be overturned by next month," according to Tom Cary of the London TELEGRAPH. Ecclestone said that "the rule change is likely to be put to a new vote at the next meeting of the Strategy Group in January."

The idea of issuing double points at the season finale "was greeted with derision by almost everyone within the sport when it was announced this month." Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo became the latest to voice his objections this week when he said he found the concept "too artificial." Montezemolo said, "I'm not enthusiastic."

According to Ecclestone, however, "the change could well come as soon as next month." Ecclestone said, "Personally my preference would be for the final three races to be worth double points. But it may well be that the rule is canceled altogether at the next [Strategy Group] meeting in January. I think it should be the final three races or nothing" TELEGRAPH.

EUROSPORT reported world champion Sebastian Vettel said that "the double points idea was absurd." Vettel: "This is absurd and punishes those who have worked hard during a whole season. I respect the old traditions in F1 and do not understand this new rule." EUROSPORT

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