Latest F1 news in brief – Tuesday (Update)

UPDATE Updates shown in red below.


  • Brawn hopes Red Bull weakened. Don't count on it Ross, Newey is still there.

    Rosberg says Vettel's car performance 'crazy'

  • Red Bull weakened by latest F1 moves – Brawn
  • On-form Grosjean still sees psychologist
  • Alonso doubts Ferrari can be second best in 2013
  • Lotus investment deal 'losing credibility' – Hulkenberg
  • Schumacher tips Vettel to break F1 title record
  • Official says CVC prepared to 'fire' Ecclestone
  • Formula One still chasing American dream
  • Ferrari Financially Invested In Restoring F1 Team To Dominant Form New
  • Ferrari Sign Oakley Partnership New
  • Alonso 'tired' and 'stressed' New
  • Red Bull's 1.9-second pitstop F1's fastest ever recorded New

Rosberg says Vettel's car performance 'crazy'
(GMM) Nico Rosberg has described the performance of Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull as "crazy".

After a disappointing weekend of pace in Austin, the Mercedes driver admitted that watching onboard footage of F1's dominant champion did not cheer him up.

"I just sit and think 'Are you crazy? How does that work?'" Rosberg told the German newspaper Bild. [Of course Vettel does things with a car others cannot, Rosberg just does not understand he is in another league.]

"What Sebastian's car can do in the corners is madness," he added.

On Sunday, Vettel surpassed Michael Schumacher's old record of seven wins on the trot in a single season.

The statistic was one of the only talking points of the US grand prix, with the possible exception of Red Bull's new all-time pitstop record of 1.923 seconds.

Part of the reason for the questionable spectacle in Austin was undoubtedly because of Vettel's imperious dominance.

"I have to admit," Mercedes' Toto Wolff told Austrian journalists, "when the audience can predict the winner with 90 per cent probability, this might be seen as boring."

But some blame should fall on Pirelli's shoulders, after the Italian marque – tired of the constant criticism of its heavily-degrading tires – made an ultra-conservative hard compound choice for the weekend.

F1 has been warned by Pirelli that if the lack of cooperation remains the same up and down pitlane, fans will have to get used to the spectacle of one-stop races in 2014.

"It will be a topic of conversation in the coming weeks," Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali is quoted by L'Equipe, "because we cannot always have races where the show is absent."

Red Bull weakened by latest F1 moves – Brawn
(GMM) Red Bull has been weakened, and Ferrari and McLaren strengthened, by F1's latest personnel moves.

That is the claim of Mercedes boss Ross Brawn, who said the dominant champions will miss the input of aerodynamics chief Peter Prodromou, who has been signed by McLaren.

"I don't think any team can lose someone of that experience and caliber without it having some impact," Brawn is quoted by the Guardian.

Another move that will have an impact, Brawn added, is James Allison's switch from Lotus to Ferrari.

"James Allison has gone from Lotus having designed a very good car there, to Ferrari, and I am sure next year their car will be a lot better," he said.

"That's the nature of the business.

"It happens in F1 all the time. Red Bull are where they are because they took Adrian (Newey) out of McLaren. It's the nature of F1."

Meanwhile, Brawn defended Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, after the British driver made bad-tempered and contradictory radio calls to his engineer in Austin.

When told to look after his tires, the 2008 world champion hit back during the US grand prix: "That's what I'm doing man, let me focus."

But after the ensuing radio silence, Hamilton later insisted: "You need to give me some feedback, man — tires, temperatures."

When asked about Hamilton's inconsistency, Brawn said: "We are just getting used to working with Lewis. It's not problematic."

Hamilton said he had apologized to his engineer for the outbursts.

"The poor guy has come on the radio and then I come back at him -– I will always say sorry," he said.

"Stuff does not come out like 'Hey buddy, just give me a little moment here'. It's like you are holding on to a bull and it's like 'Give me a frickin' second!'" Hamilton explained.

On-form Grosjean still sees psychologist
(GMM) Romain Grosjean has revealed he still seeks therapy as the result of his tumultuous 2012 season that almost ended his F1 career.

Now, the Frenchman might be regarded as the closest challenger to Sebastian Vettel's utter dominance, having finished second in Austin on Sunday off the back of a string of impressive performances.

But a year ago, so low was Grosjean's trough amid the 'first lap nutcase' saga involving an ultra-rare FIA race ban, the 27-year-old actually enlisted the help of a psychologist.

"I really like it," he is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace this week, "and I continue the treatment because it is making me a better person in my everyday life and that also reflects in the paddock."

Having almost lost his Lotus seat at the end of 2012, which would have seen him return to work as a full-time banker, Grosjean is now clearly leading the competitive Lotus team.

"It is true that if you removed Red Bull, it would not hurt me," he smiled, according to France's RMC.

"But they use the same rules that we do. They do a phenomenal job."

Lotus, waiting for the crucial 'Quantum' millions, is still yet to confirm Grosjean for 2014, but he has clearly now earned his place on the grid.

"We always knew that Romain was very fast, even too fast — sometimes too fast for his car," team boss Eric Boullier is quoted by France's L'Equipe.

"But things have changed now. He has become a father and reached a very high level of confidence, and it shows on the track.

"He is now a damn good driver — I think among the top three or four now," Boullier added.

"He will begin next year with an even different mindset, as we have other goals for him.

"I think it was a combination of the departure of Kimi and his personal life, bringing a lot of confidence. Maybe it was the trigger for him to take off," said Boullier.

Alonso doubts Ferrari can be second best in 2013
(GMM) Fernando Alonso does not think Ferrari can end its 2013 campaign by finishing runner-up to dominant champions Red Bull.

The Italian squad is currently sandwiched between Mercedes and Lotus in the lucrative constructors' world championship with just Sunday's Brazil finale to run.

But Spaniard Alonso said continuing to fend off Lotus is all Ferrari can now realistically hope for.

"There is nothing more we can do in this moment," he is quoted by France's L'Equipe.

"We are fighting to be in Q3 and scoring points on Sunday. Maybe it (finishing second) was just too high a goal.

"You have to be realistic and realize that second place was a dream," Alonso added.

However, while acknowledging that Ferrari's 2013 car is slower than the Mercedes and the Lotus, Alonso said he is proud of his personal performance this year.

Indeed, in Austin, he mathematically clinched the runner-up spot behind Sebastian Vettel in the drivers' chase.

"I am proud," he said, "because we clearly do not have the second fastest car. So finishing second is a great reward for me.

"But I would rather be tenth ten times and once champion, than to always finish second," Alonso insisted.

He is quoted by Spain's AS sports daily as admitting he is feeling "tired" heading into the last race of the season in Brazil.

"My preparation for this race (the US GP) was not ideal," said Alonso. "I was a week on the couch and in bed with headaches, dizziness.

"Physically I feel tired now and I felt stress throughout the weekend," he added.

"I think I'll be fine for Brazil, I am improving day by day and hopefully I feel a little better, less tired and I enjoy the weekend some more."

Lotus investment deal 'losing credibility' – Hulkenberg
(GMM) Nico Hulkenberg has agreed a EUR 1.9 million deal to return to Force India in 2014, according to the veteran F1 correspondent Roger Benoit.

Mere hours ago, Lotus team boss Eric Boullier said the German driver remained Enstone's top choice to replace Kimi Raikkonen full-time next season.

But while the long wait for the Quantum investment group's cash injection continues to stretch out, the Frenchman acknowledged that Hulkenberg could not be blamed "if he signs somewhere else".

"It would just mean the timing was not right for him or for us," said Boullier.

According to Benoit, writing in Blick newspaper, Hulkenberg has indeed decided to return to Force India, who also rescued his career in late 2010 when he was dropped unceremoniously by Williams.

All the Silverstone based team has to do, according to Benoit, is pay Hulkenberg's arrears from 2012 "and an advance" on his EUR 1.9 million fee for 2014.

Hulkenberg raced for Force India in 2012, but for this year switched to Sauber, who have been suffering with financial problems throughout 2013.

Benoit quoted Hulkenberg as saying: "Don't worry, I will have a seat next year."

It is now widely believed that it is the PDVSA-sponsored Pastor Maldonado, and not Hulkenberg, who will be heading to Lotus in 2014.

Hulkenberg admitted he is skeptical the Enstone based team's necessary millions in 'Quantum' investment will ever actually arrive to pay his salary.

"It (the Quantum deal) has been dragging on for so long to the point that it loses credibility," the German admitted.

"When it is repeatedly put off and put off, you eventually lose hope," added Hulkenberg.

Schumacher tips Vettel to break F1 title record
(GMM) Michael Schumacher has tipped his countryman and protege Sebastian Vettel to eventually beat his record tally of seven world championships.

In Austin at the weekend, Red Bull's dominant quadruple title winner surpassed Schumacher's decade-old record of seven wins in a single season.

German Vettel, still just 26, was visibly and audibly emotional when grappling with the significance of the feat, admitting Schumacher had been an "idol" in his youth.

"That's the first I hear of that," 44-year-old Schumacher, who retired for the second time at the end of last season, told RTL television when told his friend Vettel considers him a hero.

Schumacher said Vettel can now stand on his own two feet as a true F1 great.

"If you look at the consistency of his performances and how he achieves it, it is very unique," the great German said.

"There are some really good drivers in the field, but someone who is able to pull together all the facets of the sport so efficiently is very unusual," Schumacher added.

He admitted there are "many parallels" between Vettel's career and his own.

"I am sure that when he was a boy he would sit in front of the TV and try to analyze what I am doing. The nice thing is that even now he still calls me and asks questions," said Schumacher.

From that platform, Schumacher added, Vettel could go on to become F1's first ever eight-time world champion.

"I have always had the attitude that records are made to be broken," he said.

"It is clearly the case that Sebastian is able to achieve the seven titles, as he is still so young and hungry. Maybe he can even go past it.

"I will definitely cross my fingers for him."

Official says CVC prepared to 'fire' Ecclestone
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone will be fired by CVC if he is convicted amid the Gerhard Gribkowsky corruption scandal.

That is the claim of CVC co-founder Donald Mackenzie, who gave evidence on Monday as the $140 million civil case against Ecclestone continued to play out in the London high court.

F1 chief executive is also being pursued in a criminal case by German authorities, who have charged the 83-year-old with allegedly bribing former banker Gribkowsky to the tune of $40 million.

"If it is proven that Mr. Ecclestone has done anything that is criminally wrong," Mackenzie said on Monday, "we would fire him."

He also told the court that Ecclestone claims he "forgot" to tell him about the $40 million payment to Gribkowsky, and had subsequently apologized.

"He (Ecclestone) told me he had never lied to me and I must say that I had trouble believing you could forget payment of $40 million," added Mackenzie.

It is not the first time Ecclestone and Mackenzie have clashed.

In 2009, Mackenzie said Ecclestone should have stepped down after admitting in an interview that he admired Adolf Hitler.

Mackenzie said on Monday: "It (F1) is a successful investment (for CVC) apart from the adverse publicity, and this (Gribkowsky scandal) is a good example."

Ecclestone, however, told British television Sky that the case is not damaging the sport's reputation.

"I don't think so," he said. "It's good because a lot of facts come out of it."

Formula One still chasing American dream
While motor racing fans across the globe planned their Sunday around the U.S. Grand Prix, for Americans it was just another event on an action-packed day of National Football League (NFL) games and NASCAR.

The Circuit of the Americas carved out of the south Texas scrubland, one of the most popular stops on the calendar for paddock regulars and praised by drivers, teams and spectators alike, was supposed to provide the launching pad for a new era for F1 in the U.S. but has so far failed to take off.

When Formula One returned to the United States in 2012 after a five-year hiatus F1 commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone stood in the paddock and enthusiastically outlined a coast-to-coast vision for the sport in America with races in Austin, New Jersey and Los Angeles.

A year later, talk of a race in Los Angeles has disappeared while the elfin Ecclestone breezed through the Austin paddock on the weekend avoiding questions about a New Jersey race that is struggling to get off the ground.

"We can always do more," said McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, noting that the U.S. is a major market for many F1 sponsors especially car makers such as Ferrari and Mercedes. "This is such an important market that I think we have to treat it as a new market.

"I know there have been lots of races in the States before but we have never cracked the States in the way we should have done and I think the opportunity is there and all of the stakeholders, the commercial rights holders, the teams, the promoters all of us should be working together and harder to make sure we demonstrate to the great U.S. public what a fantastic sport Formula One is.

"I think it is reasonable to say we are not doing enough."

Unable to find a permanent home in the United States, Formula One has been forced into a string of unsatisfying one-night stands with Austin, the Texas capital, becoming the 10th venue to host the series after Sebring (Florida), Riverside (California), Watkins Glen (New York), Phoenix (Arizona), Dallas (Texas), Detroit (Michigan), Las Vegas (Nevada), Long Beach (California) and Indianapolis (Indiana).

Americans have had a long-standing love affair with the automobile but the romance of Formula One, which sets hearts of motor sports fans around the world aflutter, has never managed to get pulses racing in the United States.


The Circuit of the Americas, the only purpose-built F1 track in the United States, has provided an attractive foundation for the sport in the U.S. but one promoters have since been unable to build on.

Even in Austin, known as "The Weirdest City In Texas," F1 had to battle for attention with a college football showdown between the University of Texas and Oklahoma State stealing the buzz during Saturday qualifying then going head-to-head against the NFL goliath on Sunday.

Three day attendance was announced at 250,324, a drop of 6 percent from last year's inaugural event but remains one of the most well-attended events on the circuit.

The main reason for a lack of interest in the United States is that F1 is almost devoid of American content with no U.S. teams or drivers on the starting grid.

Attempts to form a U.S.-based team with a factory in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2010 failed and there has been no American driver on the circuit since Scott Speed left in 2007.

Even Ecclestone has acknowledged that in order for F1 to grow in the United States they need to develop an American driver who can win or, at the very least, be competitive.

Mario Andretti, who handed out trophies after Sunday's race won by Sebastian Vettel, remains America's best known F1 driver 35 years after he claimed the series drivers' championship.

No American has won a Formula One race since.

Andretti's son Michael followed his father to Europe and competed briefly in F1 for McLaren alongside the triple World Champion Ayrton Senna.

Andretti told Reuters he would like to see grandson Marco, who currently races on the IndyCar series, give F1 a shot but has no desire to be involved.

"I have no interest in creating a team, the only thing I would be interested in seeing is my grandson Marco getting some proper testing and evaluation," Andretti told Reuters.

"That in itself could be interesting but I agree with Bernie, you don't necessarily have to have a team but if you have a driver representing the U.S. with a top team it would make all the difference in the world as far as press interest."

American Alexander Rossi could be the next American to appear on the F1 starting grid after leaving home at 16 to pursue his F1 dream in Europe.

A winner in F1 feeder series GP2 and currently a reserve driver for Caterham, Rossi made brief appearance in Austin during the first practice session but it is still uncertain when, or if, a full-time F1 seat will ever come.

"It doesn't matter if you win every junior championship in America you have to go to Europe and start all over again and prove to them (F1 teams) you can race in Europe and compete against the Europeans," Rossi told Reuters.

"That's just the way the sport is. Formula One is a European-dominated sport and they don't believe anyone deserves a chance unless they won and competed in Europe." Yahoo Eurosport

Ferrari Financially Invested In Restoring F1 Team To Dominant Form
This year, Ferrari "presented its best financial results in history, with a revenue increase of 6.7%" and net profit of €178.8M ($242M), according to Oriol Puigdemont of EL PAIS. Ferrari's marketing department "indicated that there is no direct relationship between F1 success and sales." The strength of the Ferrari brand "is more than proven," but its F1 structure "is under all types of pressure — not only athletically, but also politically."

Two things "are sacred in Italy: the national football team and Ferrari." Both are "facing delicate moments after an era of global dominance." Since the last time a Ferrari driver "was crowned" (Kimi Räikkönen in '07), "too much time has passed."

In all that time, "Ferrari has not stopped restructuring, but without finding the formula for a return to the highest level, and now, it is taking this more seriously than ever." Ferrari's racing team said in a statement, "We have spent the last 10 years improving the product and in the industrial area, and now, we have focused on F1."

New Ferrari Chassis Technical Dir James Allison said, "I am lucky to arrive at Ferrari as it is making this titanic investment." If "Allison is the most visible face of the new effort, the most recognizable symbol is surely Ferrari's massive wind tunnel that is now fully operational." EL PAIS

Ferrari Sign Oakley Partnership
US eyewear brand Oakley have inked a multi-year deal with Italian Formula 1 giants Ferrari it was announced at the weekend.

The deal was confirmed at the Circuit of The Americas track in Austin, Texas by Oakley CEO Colin Baden and Scuderia Ferrari Team Principal Stefano Domenicali.

As part of the partnership the two brands will share design philosophies, technical advances, inspiration and innovation over a multi-year period.

Alonso 'tired' and 'stressed'
Heading into the final race of this season, Fernando Alonso has revealed that his recent injury and its headaches have left him feeling tired.

The double World Champ suffered back pain and headaches following his 25G impact over the curbs in Abu Dhabi.

But despite racing with his back taped up, Alonso put his F138 home in fifth place in Sunday's United States GP.

The Spaniard later revealed that he feeling stressed and tired but hoped to recover a bit before the season ending Brazilian GP.

"I'm tired," he old ESPNF1. "I'm tired; also I didn't have good preparation for this race physically. I was one week on the sofa, in bed with headaches.

"The race was demanding, it was not an easy race, I had to fight all the way through so physically I feel tired now. I felt stressed all weekend from all the battles etc.

"Hopefully I can feel a little bit better in Brazil, less tired, enjoy the weekend a little bit more. But there are some targets to do with the Constructors' Championship etc so it's not as if we race for fun in Brazil.

"It might seem like that from the outside – there's nothing more to fight for, you go to Brazil to race and have fun – but there's a lot of stress and a lot of pressure on these weekends for the team and we'll all try to do as well as we can."

Alonso, however, has all but ruled out Ferrari achieving second place in the Constructors' Championship after dropping more points to Mercedes on Sunday.

The Scuderia now trail the Brackley squad by 15 points with Lotus 18 points adrift in fourth place.

"We wanted to close the gap a little bit in the Constructors' Championship; that was the goal. We did not have the pace this weekend to do that and we lost a little bit of points again while Lotus got closer, so not a good weekend in terms of points.

"But there's nothing we can do at the moment, we didn't have the pace, we were too slow all weekend; we fight to be in qualifying three, we fight to be in the points on Sunday.

"So we need to do better in Brazil if we want to fight for the Constructors' Championship or that was too optimistic a goal. We need to be more realistic and know that fighting for second place in the Constructors' Championship was a dream and maybe that dream is difficult to come true."

Red Bull's 1.9-second pitstop F1's fastest ever recorded
Amid all the champagne celebrations for Sebastian Vettel's eighth win in a row in Austin on Sunday, Red Bull still found time to claim another Formula One record for the quickest ever pitstop.

The team said after the US Grand Prix that the Australian Mark Webber had stopped in the pits for less than two seconds.

"The team's car data recorded Mark as being stationary for just 1.923sec, an incredible feat," Red Bull said on their website.

Teams have been shaving fractions off pitstop times all season, with lightning-fast changes of tires becoming a part of the show now that the more time-consuming process of refuelling is banned. When McLaren set a record of 2.3sec at the 2012 German Grand Prix it seemed close to the limit but Red Bull said in Malaysia this year that they had done a 2.05sec turnaround on Webber's second stop.

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