F1 news in brief – Thursday (2nd Update)

UPDATE #2 Video for last F1 news item noted below:

10/31/13 Updates shown in red below.


  • The unbeatable Newey/Vettel duo appears set to continue for many years at Red Bull. Newey who came to F1 from CART IndyCar, is pure genius

    Red Bull's Newey era set to end? Nope!

  • Newey says he's staying with Red Bull for many more years
  • Vettel not ready to lift throttle in 2013
  • Red Bull denies driver reshuffle for Webber, Ricciardo, Kvyat
  • Raikkonen won't give up fights with Grosjean – manager
  • Chilton could block Hulkenberg's Force India return
  • Lowe got married before Abu Dhabi
  • Bids For Germany's Nurburgring Racetrack Currently Being Assessed
  • NBC to offer live qualifying for final three F1 races on CNBC (But all qualifying was live on Speed) New
  • Infiniti Red Bull Racing celebrates in style New

Red Bull's Newey era set to end? Nope!
(GMM) The Adrian Newey era at Red Bull could be nearing its end.

It emerged last weekend that, after four consecutive championship clean-sweeps with Sebastian Vettel, the eyes of the team's famous designer may be wandering elsewhere.

"Maybe the America's Cup, who knows?" said the 54-year-old Briton, admitting a new project could be on the horizon.

Now, the Mirror newspaper reports that Sir Ben Ainslie, the famous British sailor, is travelling to Abu Dhabi this weekend and will meet with Newey.

"Someone with his (Newey's) design and technical experience would be invaluable," said Ainslie.

It is already known that Red Bull is losing its other two key figures in Newey's renowned aerodynamics department.

McLaren is waiting for Peter Prodromou's 2014 contract to expire before welcoming him to Woking, and we reported recently that his 'number 2' has also been signed by the British team.

Until now, that 'deputy' has been unnamed, but Germany's Auto Motor und Sport has now identified him as Dan Fallows.

Fallows' job title at Red Bull is aerodynamics team leader.

"McLaren obviously have lost significant technical staff over the last few years and it is only natural that they are looking to recruit," Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told F1's official website.

Newey says he's staying with Red Bull many more years
Adrian Newey insists he is committed to winning more Formula 1 world championships with Red Bull after the team racked up its fourth consecutive title double.

Newey has previously voiced a desire not to spend his entire career in F1 and has also been a regular target of approaches from other teams. But he insists that the enjoyment he gets from working at Red Bull means he remains fully focused on his role as chief technical officer for the team.

"The joy of working with this team is to have been involved in taking it from the ashes of Jaguar to where we are today," he said. "Having achieved some success over the last few years, the enjoyment is really in working with my colleagues in Milton Keynes, continuing to develop the way we operate with Christian [Horner]. It has been a great ride.

"Next year is a huge challenge with the regulations so at the moment I'm fully focused on that."

Newey stressed that the scale of the challenge the team faces in 2014 cannot be underestimated. As well as the change in powertrain, there are also significant changes to the cars.

"Next year's regulation changes are very big," said Newey. "The aerodynamic changes are not quite as big as we had for 2009 but they are still very significant.

"The engine regulation changes are massive and it's not at all clear whether one engine manufacturer will steal a significant advantage over the other two. Reliability will be a big issue, certainly at the start of the season if not for the whole season.

"The installation of the engine in the chassis is very complicated, so there are a lot of variables." Racer.com

Vettel not ready to lift throttle in 2013
(GMM) A fourth title is already in his pocket, but Sebastian Vettel is not ready to lift the throttle in 2013.

That is the claim of Red Bull's Christian Horner, who said the German driver and the Austrian team is targeting victory at the final three races in Abu Dhabi, Texas and Brazil.

"It's like three FA Cup finals," he said. "We want to win every race."

A win under the floodlights at spectacular Yas Marina this weekend will see Vettel match a record set by Michael Schumacher at the height of Ferrari's dominant 'noughties' era.

Only Alberto Ascari, with 9 wins on the trot, has won more consecutive races than Schumacher (7) and – if he triumphs in Abu Dhabi – fellow German Vettel.

"I have never worked with Sebastian," Schumacher told Sport Bild this week, "but we are very similar in our approach and our attitude.

"It may be that he copied some aspects from me, but he has been on his own level for a long time now," the seven time world champion added.

"Records are made to be broken," said Schumacher. "That's what sport is about. So why should it be any different for mine?

"I think it's great that someone that I know so well for many years, and who I like, is the one who can do it. To that extent I am very relaxed," he insisted.

Former F1 driver Mika Salo, who in 1999 subbed at Ferrari for an injured Schumacher, thinks Vettel may now be racing past the legendary German.

"Vettel's superiority at the moment is completely incomprehensible," the Finn told the broadcaster MTV3.

"In fact, I don't remember seeing something like it in F1.

"Schumacher won a lot of races by being a smart and ruthless driver, but Vettel is winning now just with brute speed," added Salo.

Red Bull denies driver reshuffle for Webber, Ricciardo, Kvyat
(GMM) Red Bull and Toro Rosso have denied rumors they could shake up their F1 driver lineups for the final two races of the 2013 season.

Speed Week reports rumors from the Abu Dhabi paddock that this weekend's race at Yas Marina could be Mark Webber's last in F1.

The Australian, who has admitted suffering with motivation problems, has already announced his switch for 2014 to Le Mans.

He will be replaced by countryman Daniel Ricciardo, but the latest rumor is that the 24-year-old could made an early move from Toro Rosso ahead of the US grand prix in Austin later this month.

That would free up a seat for the last two grands prix of 2013 at Toro Rosso, who have signed inexperienced youngster Daniil Kvyat for next season.

"I think it's nonsense, and I know nothing about it," Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost is quoted as saying.

"Anyway, Daniil has no super license, so how can he race?" the Austrian added.

However, Tost's argument about the super license does not bear up to scrutiny.

Auto Motor und Sport reports that, because Toro Rosso wants to field Kvyat in Friday practice in Austin and Brazil, a test in a 2011 car has been lined up for the 19-year-old at Misano in early November.

"That's right," Tost confirmed, "but the story for this is that he will do the first practice for us in Texas and Brazil."

Red Bull Racing, meanwhile, denied that Abu Dhabi will be Webber's last grand prix.

"Mark Webber will drive the last three races for us," the team told Speed Week.

Raikkonen won't give up fights with Grosjean – manager
(GMM) In a further sign that Kimi Raikkonen's relationship with Lotus is dead in the water with three races still to run in 2013, his manager says the radio rudeness in India last Sunday was unprecedented.

"I've never heard of a driver being spoken to like that," Raikkonen's manager Steve Robertson told Turun Sanomat newspaper.

He is referring to Alan Per mane’s radio message to Raikkonen during the Indian grand prix, where the Finn was told to "get out of the f***in way".

Speaking to Finland's Ilta Sanomat, Mika Hakkinen agrees: "In the teams that I drove, radio messages were never delivered with profanity."

The double world champion added that Per mane’s radio call to Raikkonen was neither "smart" nor "correct".

Another former F1 driver, Mika Salo, said it is up to F1 team members to "remain calm".

"Raikkonen's departure is a big blow to the team both in terms of marketing and the results," he told MTV3 broadcaster.

"You can see they are now trying to make Grosjean into a winner, so that they can still explain to sponsors and investors that they have a good guy in the garage," added Salo.

Lotus team boss Eric Boullier apologized for the outburst, but only after Permane revealed on Twitter that some of Raikkonen's fans threatened to "kill my family".

Permane called those fans "losers", but the tweets were later deleted.

Robertson, meanwhile, said Raikkonen – who angered Lotus recently when he said he only signed for Ferrari because he hasn't been paid – has no intention of giving up wheel-to-wheel battles with his teammate Grosjean.

"Kimi will always try to fight whenever it is possible," he said. "Of course, Kimi also knows how to fight for the team, so that if his teammate is fighting for the championship, for example, he wouldn't get in the way.

"But Grosjean is not fighting for the championship, so in that way he is just like any other driver on the track," Robertson insisted.

Chilton could block Hulkenberg's Force India return
(GMM) A lack of sponsors and the power of pay-drivers could lock Nico Hulkenberg out of formula one.

On the one hand, the German is the hot property at the tail-end of the 2014 'silly season', linked with moves to Lotus, McLaren and Force India.

McLaren, however, is tipped to stick with the Mexican-backed Sergio Perez, while Pastor Maldonado's PDVSA millions are speaking loudly at Lotus, whose 35 per cent team sale to a group of investors may have failed.

Staying at Sauber could be problematic for Hulkenberg because of the importance of Sergey Sirotkin, Esteban Gutierrez or even Vitaly Petrov's powerful backers, and even a return to Force India may now be off the table.

McLaren is desperately seeking a F1 seat for its youngster, the new Formula Renault 3.5 champion Jan Magnussen, and Marussia seems to fit the bill.

"Kevin has impressed us in the tests he has done," sporting director Graeme Lowdon is quoted by France's L'Equipe.

"We are a team that brings young drivers into F1 so it (signing him) would fit with us," he added.

However, with the Ferrari-linked Jules Bianchi already signed for 2014, Lowdon said he would also like to keep Max Chilton on board, because continuity and experience will be important for the all-new rules next year.

Briton Chilton also has millions in backing courtesy of the insurance giant Aon, where his father Grahame is the vice chairman.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said Chilton's departure at Marussia could see his reportedly EUR 12 million in Aon backing race straight to Force India.

Force India is believed to be extending its deal with Adrian Sutil, who has some backing by the German computer company Medion.

That leaves the substantially unsponsored Paul di Resta, who has had an often fraught 2013 season, in the dark.

"It's mighty tough out there at the moment," the Scot told the Telegraph this week. "Who wouldn't be worried?"

In short, even Hulkenberg and his manager Werner Heinz are having "sleepless nights" about the situation, the Swiss newspaper Blick claims.

Lowe got married before Abu Dhabi
(GMM) Paddy Lowe, 51, married his girlfriend Anna Danshina, 31, between the Indian and Abu Dhabi grands prix.

Bild newspaper reports that Ross Brawn's future successor as Mercedes team boss proposed to Danshina, who Lowe met in 2012, just three weeks ago.

"It just felt right," Briton Lowe, who for years was McLaren's technical director, told the German newspaper.

Bild said Lowe will forgo a honeymoon by returning to the pitwall in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

Bids For Germany's Nurburgring Racetrack Currently Being Assessed
After local politicians loaded the Nurburgring with debt equating to around 50 years worth of profit, the famed and feared track "went into administration and is now looking for a new owner," according to Christiaan Hetzner of REUTERS.

The assets "include the track and adjacent amusement park that features a rollercoaster that mimics the cockpit g-force in an F1 car" — although after four years, safety concerns have delayed its maiden voyage until the end of this month.

There are "precedents for such interest." Volkswagen's Porsche bought the Nardo Ring circuit in Italy in May '12, while Silverstone, the home of the British Grand Prix, "is owned by a group of more than 800 drivers including F1 stars such as Lewis Hamilton."

Indicative bids "are currently being assessed for the track and park, which typically has an annual revenue" of €50M-€60M ($68M-$82M) and underlying profits of €6M-€8M ($8.2M-$11M), "making it more profitable than many carmakers." By law, any buyer "must keep the circuit open to the public and the motor industry."

The administrator, Thomas Schmidt, said he has a "sufficient number of legitimate non-binding bids for all the Nurburgring assets" and hopes for a deal early next year. Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen declined to comment.

Peter Meyer, president of German motoring club ADAC, which has also said it is seriously considering making a bid, said, "The Nurburgring is without a doubt the cradle of German motorsports. It's an automotive cultural treasure." Reuters

NBC to offer live qualifying for final three F1 races on CNBC (But all qualifying was live on Speed)
It's sad but when F1 was on Speed all qualifying was live. Now on NBCSN good luck. NBC Sports Group will air qualifying for the final three Formula 1 Grands Prix of the season live on the CNBC network.

Live qualifying coverage begins this Saturday, Nov. 2 at 9 a.m. ET on CNBC from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Qualifying coverage continues on CNBC on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 1 p.m. ET for the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. Live F1 coverage on CNBC concludes Saturday, Nov. 23 at 11 a.m. ET with the Brazilian Grand Prix qualifying.

Donuts in Abu Dhabi

Infiniti Red Bull Racing celebrates in style
To celebrate winning the Formula One Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships for the fourth consecutive year, Infiniti Red Bull Racing ran one of its Formula One cars at one of the most recognized locations on earth.

Perched 210 meters above the sea, on a helipad 24 meters wide, Infiniti Red Bull Racing’s 750bhp Formula One car became the first to run on the Burj Al Arab helipad. Usually reserved for on-track use, the car was involved in a spectacular show of burning rubber and tire smoke, against a stunning backdrop of the Arabian Gulf, overlooking scenic views of Dubai’s impressive skyline.

Seconds after completing donuts in the car, David Coulthard stepped out of the cockpit and said: “That was a lot of fun. When Red Bull first suggested the idea to me I said 'why not?'. I like getting involved with anything that pushes the boundaries and it's what Red Bull stands for. I think this will produce fantastic, iconic shots in an amazing town and I’m really privileged to be part of it."

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