- Vettel factor weighed in Webber's quit decision
- Drivers to play bigger role in 2014 – Alonso
- Pirelli vows to address 'marbles' problem
- Alonso attitude triggered Raikkonen signing – Andretti
- Todt backs move for permanent race numbers in F1
- Williams F1 Team Announces Strengthened Aerodynamics Team
Vettel factor weighed in Webber's quit decision
(GMM) Mark Webber has admitted Red Bull's desire to please his former teammate Sebastian Vettel contributed to his decision to quit F1.
The pair shared a fractious relationship at the team, where they dueled for the 2010 title before German Vettel began his four-title winning streak.
This year, after the 'Multi-21' team orders affair, 37-year-old Australian Webber decided to leave F1 and join Porsche's new Le Mans foray for 2014, despite interest from other grand prix teams.
"Teams like Lotus and Ferrari – and even Red Bull to a degree, once they couldn't get Kimi (Raikkonen) – were on the radar so to speak," Webber told BT Sport.
But he admits that the Vettel factor ultimately colored his decision to quit altogether.
"The future has been Sebastian, they want to keep him happy as much as they can, and things come onto the radar and you think 'this is probably not how I would like it', so it does go into the decision," said Webber.
Drivers to play bigger role in 2014 – Alonso
(GMM) Fernando Alonso hopes F1 drivers have a bigger role to play next year, as the wave of radical new regulations hit the 2014 grid.
This year, as Pirelli's heavily degrading tires set the tone, drivers often had to take a back seat to full throttle as they nursed their cars through race strategies, at the beck and call of engineers' informed advice.
But Ferrari's Alonso thinks the new rules for 2014, featuring the introduction of turbo V6s and fuel limitations, could play in favor of the smartest drivers.
"Let's see what kind of driving style will be needed," he told Brazil's Totalrace.
"I hope that the decisions of the drivers becomes more important and the engineers have less control," Alonso added.
World champion Sebastian Vettel agrees that the drivers will have a big role to play in 2014.
"Imagine having only 100 kilos of fuel available for a race!" he exclaimed to F1's official website.
"That might require looking for completely different techniques that allow you to go as quick as normal but also save fuel."
On the other hand, with the formula changing so much, 2014 could be a good season for a rookie to arrive freshly on the scene — like McLaren's Kevin Magnussen.
"It'll be a new challenge for everyone, not just for me," he said.
"The fact that I won't have as much experience as some of the other drivers actually counts a little bit less," the Dane added.
German driver Nico Hulkenberg, however, thinks the actual truth won't be known until the racing gets underway next year.
"Nobody knows," German media quote him as saying at the Essen Motor Show. "It's a new era in formula one.
"You would have to say that Red Bull and the other big teams have the money and the resources to still be at the top," Hulkenberg, who is switching midfield teams from Sauber to Force India for 2014, added.
Pirelli vows to address 'marbles' problem
(GMM) Pirelli will try to solve the problem of trackside 'marbles' ahead of the 2014 season.
That is the vow of the official supplier's F1 chief Paul Hembery, amid complaints the heavily degrading tires of the past few seasons left too much slippery debris alongside the racing line.
"The drivers have of course spoken about it, we understand that and will try to do something about it," the Briton is quoted by Speed Week.
Alonso attitude triggered Raikkonen signing – Andretti
(GMM) Fernando Alonso's frustration in 2013 triggered Ferrari's push for Kimi Raikkonen.
That is the view of the Italian team's former driver Mario Andretti.
"In my opinion, Alonso became frustrated this season, and what he said offended Ferrari," the 1978 world champion told the Spanish sports newspaper Marca.
Andretti is referring to the arguably disparaging comments made by the Spanish driver, after which Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo revealed he "tweaked" Alonso's ear.
"Otherwise," Andretti added, "they never would have hired someone who could challenge him and even beat him."
After four years alongside the often underperforming Felipe Massa, Alonso's new teammate for 2014 is the former team champion Kimi Raikkonen.
"You have to know how to behave," Andretti, still referring to Alonso's attitude of 2013, continued.
"He always had a proper behavior, but that 1 per cent … we saw what was Montezemolo's reaction.
"It will be interesting to see what happens next," he added, "because Kimi is not arriving to help; he is going to try to win.
"It will be a great battle that will be fun to watch."
Todt backs move for permanent race numbers in F1
(GMM) The newly re-elected Jean Todt says he supports moves to reinstate permanent race numbers in formula one.
In an earlier era, F1 fans became accustomed to associating a number with their favorite driver — like Gilles Villeneuve's fabled 27, or the 'red 5' of Nigel Mansell.
But in more recent years, race numbers have simply been assigned by the FIA on the basis of teams' finishing positions in the constructors' world championship.
It emerged recently, however, that a push is on to bring back permanent race numbers, with the obvious exception being the '1' of the reigning world champion.
"I am very supportive of that," Frenchman Todt, the continuing FIA president, is quoted by France's L'Equipe.
"I think it would be nice if the drivers keep the same race number, with the exception of the world champion who always displays the number 1.
"When I watch a grand prix now, I cannot see the name or the number of the driver," he complained.
"I know they need the space on the cars for the sponsors, but I think that there are solutions — for example we could put a number on the helmet."
Meanwhile, Todt admitted he is "a little concerned" ahead of the FIA's new electronically-powered Formula E championship.
"I am surprised about the interest and this is promising," he said, "and I look forward to going to the races in the major cities.
"But I'm also a little concerned because when expectations are too high there may be disappointment. So I am cautious.
"I think the Formula E drivers are well known and very talented, but if a team wants to bring a F1 driver for one or two races, why not?" added Todt.
Williams F1 Team Announces Strengthened Aerodynamics Team
The Williams F1 Team is pleased to announce a strengthened aerodynamics line-up as it gears up for the 2014 Formula One World Championship season.
As part of the on-going work to improve key areas of the business, Williams is pleased to announce that Dave Wheater will join from the Lotus F1 Team to become Head of Aerodynamic Performance, reporting to existing Head of Aerodynamics Jason Somerville. Also supporting Jason as we move forward will be Shaun Whitehead, previously of Red Bull Racing, who joins as Head of Aerodynamic Process.
Commenting on the new appointments, Jason Somerville said: "I'm very pleased to have secured the first class talents of Dave and Shaun, both of whom have enviable track records within F1. With the exciting challenges ahead for 2014, I am confident they will both add strength and experience to the team here at Grove."
Pat Symonds, Williams F1 Team Chief Technical Officer, added: "These two appointments show our commitment to both improving the process of aerodynamic development while focusing on the application of that development to true on-track performance. Dave and Shaun bring a wealth of experience to our team and I welcome them both to Grove and fully expect them to make significant contributions to the renewed competitiveness that we are all working so hard to achieve. With Dave and Shaun on board, and under Jason's stewardship, we will be well positioned to make gains in this important area and support the continuing task of developing the FW36 in what promises to be an exciting year for the sport in 2014."