Latest F1 news in brief – Friday (Update)

UPDATE Updates shown in red below.


  • Sirotkin to begin Sauber program on Tuesday
  • 'Very high' stakes as Ricciardo eyes Red Bull – Tost
  • Williams expects Symonds impact to be 'immediate'
  • Cooling to pose biggest challenge in 2014 New
  • Marko tips Merc to favor Hamilton for title New
  • Alonso would spell 'trouble' for Red Bull – Lauda New

Sirotkin to begin Sauber program on Tuesday
(GMM) Sergey Sirotkin's preparation for his 2014 formula one debut remains on track.

That is the message not only from the struggling Swiss team, but also the Sirotkin camp, following reports Sauber's Russian rescue deal could collapse.

Sauber responded angrily to media reports earlier this week, insisting the collaboration with Russian partners is in fact "progressing well".

"The contract with Sergey Sirotkin is in place," the Hinwil based team said.

Now, Russian media reports quote the 17-year-old driver's press service as saying Sirotkin will travel to Switzerland next week to "begin the training program for him to be the (Sauber) team driver in 2014".

"During the visit," Sirotkin's management added, "scheduled for 20-22 August, Sergey will become acquainted with team staff, technical equipment and the Sauber formula one car."

Sauber confirmed that Sirotkin's preparatory program will indeed begin "next week following the end of the customary holiday period".

'Very high' stakes as Ricciardo eyes Red Bull – Tost
(GMM) The stakes are higher than ever as Daniel Ricciardo prepares to step up from Toro Rosso to Red Bull Racing in 2014.

That is the warning of Red Bull junior team Toro Rosso's boss Franz Tost, as the world championship-leading squad chooses between Australian Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen or perhaps even Fernando Alonso for the 2014 vacancy.

If Ricciardo, 23, gets the nod, he will be the first Toro Rosso driver to step up to the main Milton Keynes-based team since Vettel in 2008.

But Tost insists the pressure on Ricciardo will be higher than it was for the then 21-year-old Vettel.

"It (2008) was a completely different time," the Austrian, who has argued Ricciardo should stay at Toro Rosso for one more season, is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace.

"At that time, Vettel went to a team that was still under construction. Yet today, if he goes to Red Bull, Daniel goes straight to the champion team.

"The level is very high. We are preparing him in the best way possible but, ultimately, it is up to the driver to deal with it and prove he is capable."

Another difference between 2008 and 2013 is that, while the fresh-faced rookie Vettel arrived at Red Bull to be Webber's teammate, Ricciardo will be facing off against potentially a reigning quadruple world champion.

"You need to have discipline to fight Sebastian Vettel," said Tost, "who is a world champion, and we cannot forget that.

"The level is very high."

Williams expects Symonds impact to be 'immediate'
(GMM) Williams is expecting the imminent arrival of well-known technical figure Pat Symonds to have "an immediate impact" on the struggling team.

Amid the Oxfordshire based team's dire form in 2013, Williams announced a month ago that, as technical director Mike Coughlan departs, fellow Briton Symonds is arriving from backmarker Marussia to be chief technical officer.

Symonds, a prominent technical figure at Renault until the 'crashgate' scandal of 2009, will start work at Williams on Monday, as the August factory shutdown concludes.

Frustrated team driver Pastor Maldonado said in Hungary recently that the shakeup is "very welcome", even though he doesn't know if it will end Williams' slump.

But the team's deputy principal Claire Williams, the daughter of boss Sir Frank Williams, is confident Symonds will make a difference.

"Clearly we are not where we would like, but there are exciting times ahead because of the changes we have made," she told Brazil's Totalrace.

"Pat Symonds is coming after the August break and I think he will have an immediate impact and get us where we need to be," added Williams.

"Our current situation is clearly not what we want, so we had to make some changes."

Interestingly, however, Williams ruled out taking the opportunity of the technical shakeup to shift the team's entire focus to a fresh start for 2014.

"We cannot do that," she insisted.

"Williams always goes to every race trying to score points, wanting to win. As in any year, let's make sure that we continue to develop this car, while thinking about the car for 2014."

Cooling to pose biggest challenge in 2014
Mark Smith and James Key, technical chiefs at the respective Caterham and Toro Rosso teams, have backed up Red Bull counterpart Adrian Newey by claiming that cooling will pose the biggest challenge under the sport's new regulations.

Next season, the current V8 powerplants will be replaced by turbocharged V6 units, with the size of the required air coolers playing a major role in the packaging of cars.

"That’s probably the thing that, I imagine, has most people up and down the pit lane scratching their heads," Smith told the official Formula 1 website of the cooling task teams are faced with. "It’s reasonably easy to come up with a solution that will cool, but to come up with a solution that will cool and give you the optimum aerodynamic performance is the challenge.

He added: "The charged air cooler, for cooling the air from the turbo before it goes into the engine, will, on all of the installations, be quite significant. Physically, the size of the thing will dictate the packaging of everybody’s cooling systems. That’s the biggest single thing, I think, that’s presented itself as a challenge in terms of the overall car architecture."

Key shared Smith's sentiments, adding that very few cooling techniques will be carried over from 2013 machinery due to the significance of the rule changes.

"The cooling requirements are completely different," he explained. "You’ve got a turbocharger with a charge cooler on it, you’ve got a much larger energy recovery system (ERS) which naturally pumps out more heat, and you’ve still got your gearbox, hydraulics, oil and water to cool. You want to package that in the tidiest way you can. There are new technologies involved in all of this – it’s not stuff you can carry over."

Marko tips Merc to favor Hamilton for title
(GMM) Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko has tipped Mercedes to bet everything on Lewis Hamilton taking a shot at the 2013 world championship.

On the face of it, the German squad does not have a number 1 driver, but with less than half the season left to go, and arguably now the fastest car, the last-start winner is Lewis Hamilton.

The Briton's deficit to title leader Sebastian Vettel, however, is 48 points.

Marko told Auto Bild: "We are taking Mercedes very seriously.

"Last year we were 44 points behind Alonso after the summer break, and yet we were world champion in the end. That's how fast things can change.

"Now is their chance and they will put everything on Hamilton," Marko predicted.

But a bold statement like that, particularly from the outspoken arch-enemy, might be seen as a mere attempt to unsettle Mercedes, with Hamilton's teammate Nico Rosberg having won two grands prix so far this season.

It is understandable that the German team is playing down its chances.

Asked if Mercedes can win the 2013 title, chairman Niki Lauda answered plainly: "No.

"Red Bull are still stronger overall," he told Auto Motor und Sport, "and they have this point advantage.

"On paper we have a chance, but in reality it is very difficult," Lauda insisted.

For now, then, there is no talk of team orders.

"We have a clear situation: everything stays open unless it gets really serious," said Lauda.

Tellingly, however, Lauda admitted that Mercedes is still pushing ahead with development of the 2013 car, even with the huge challenge of 2014 now looming large.

"With every race we are taking the car forwards," he said, "but the next three races will be decisive.

"Eventually, we will also need to think about where we are putting our resources. We try to postpone it as long as possible, but at some point, the time will have come."

He admitted the key to unlocking the W04's winning potential has been understanding the Pirelli tires.

"We know more, but not everything. I would say we are at about 70 per cent," said Lauda. "At the beginning of the season we understood nothing."

Alonso would spell 'trouble' for Red Bull – Lauda
(GMM) Niki Lauda has dismissed suggestions Fernando Alonso is a real candidate to race alongside Sebastian Vettel at Red Bull next year.

"He (Alonso) would only bring trouble to the team," Lauda, Mercedes' team chairman and the outspoken former triple world champion, told Auto Motor und Sport.

So, he tipped the reigning title winners to choose between two more realistic candidates to succeed the Le Mans-bound Mark Webber.

"With probably four world championships in Vettel, Red Bull has the luxury to weigh in peace the benefits of Raikkonen or Ricciardo," Lauda told the German magazine.

"One is the better solution in the short term, the other in the long term. In the end they can take a risk. But not Ferrari."

Indeed, Lauda apparently sees sense in the latest rumors linking 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen with a Ferrari return.

"If Raikkonen doesn't go to Red Bull, then Ferrari should try to get him on board," he said. "For a counterweight to Alonso.

"After six years without a title, Ferrari is under great pressure," added Lauda.

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