Latest F1 news in brief – Monday

  • Domenicali thinks his job is safe. Di Montezemolo is running out of patience

    Pirelli waiting for Sauber tire bill – report

  • Vergne claims he 'thrashed' teammate Ricciardo
  • F1 drivers have doped – expert
  • Ferrari boss running out of patience
  • No pressure on Domenicali despite indifferent form

Pirelli waiting for Sauber tire bill – report
(GMM) Reports of a continuing financial crisis at Sauber are continuing to emerge.

With the Swiss team's Russian savior deal still waiting to be finalized, Bild am Sonntag newspaper reports that Sauber's debts still stand at EUR 80 million, including unpaid bills to suppliers totaling 35 million.

"The time bomb is ticking," the newspaper's correspondents Helmut Uhl and Frank Schneider report.

They claim that, in addition to Ferrari's unpaid customer engine bill, Sauber has also not paid for its Pirelli tires in 2013.

It was already known that lead driver Nico Hulkenberg is waiting for his pay, but Bild am Sonntag now reports that rookie teammate Esteban Gutierrez has also not been paid in 2013.

And the report said 2012 Sauber driver Kamui Kobayashi is also owed about EUR 2.5 million.

Reportedly, the already delayed Russian savior deal is also further in doubt due to the uncertain future job prospects of one of the key figures, Oleg Sirotkin.

That's because if Sirotkin's son, 17-year-old Sergey Sirotkin, does not debut as expected in 2014, the entire Russian deal could be off.

Correspondents Uhl and Schneider report that Sauber might need to consider a 'plan B' — the sale of the Hinwil based team.

Former Force India and HRT boss Colin Kolles is apparently ready on the sidelines with sponsor millions to exchange for a stake in the Swiss outfit.

Vergne claims he 'thrashed' teammate Ricciardo
(GMM) Jean-Eric Vergne, reportedly overlooked for the 2014 Red Bull vacancy, claims he has done a better job than Daniel Ricciardo this year.

The Frenchman conceded recently that the world champion team is more seriously considering teammate Ricciardo to replace Mark Webber because of the young Australian's superior consistency.

But Vergne has now told France's L'Equipe that Ricciardo's reputation is wrong.

"Red Bull is the world champion team and they need a driver who can score points in every race," said the 23-year-old.

"But if you look at the results, Ricciardo finished every race but I did not, and I have more points than him," Vergne insisted.

"But I have this image, even if it is false, but in the paddock Ricciardo is seen as more consistent than me."

Vergne complained that, of his multiple failures to finish races, on only one occasion was it his fault.

And he added: "If you look at the races that I had no problems, I thrashed my teammate — he was nowhere."

Vergne's latest comments coincide with suggestions that, although Red Bull has said the Frenchman should get another season at Toro Rosso, the energy drink company is also keen to give Antonio Felix da Costa his debut.

He acknowledged that the decision-making process at Red Bull is complex.

"It's not that (team boss Christian) Horner takes the decision. Adrian Newey is also heard, as are Dietrich Mateschitz and Helmut Marko," said Vergne.

"I understand the risks of taking a young driver like me or Daniel. And it's even harder when they see a driver who does not finish all of the races."

F1 drivers have doped – expert
(GMM) Even formula one is not immune to doping, according to a French expert.

From 2003 to 2005, Marc Sanson was head of the conseil de prevention et de lutte contre le dopage, or the French anti-doping council.

Recently, the French senate revealed an explosive report about doping, with particular attention to the troubled world of cycling.

But according to Italian media reports, the senate also paid attention to other sports, including the use of beta-blockers in golf.

And Sanson is quoted as claiming formula one drivers have also used performance-enhancing drugs.

"For many years," he said, "drivers have used tacrine, a product used in the treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer's, in order to remember the circuits more easily."

Ferrari boss running out of patience
Formula One may be on its summer vacation, but that hasn't stopped Ferrari promising more major stories as they fight a mounting crisis over their lost form.
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo felt it was essential that he reprimanded two-time champion Fernando Alonso for airing his disappointment in public.

He also made clear that the team are in dire need of inspiration after three years of Sebastian Vettel-led Red Bull domination.

Di Montezemolo's intervention, following Alonso's misjudged outburst, reminded many observers of a similar set of events more than 20 years ago.

Then three-time champion Frenchman Alain Prost was fired by the Italian outfit for comparing his car to a lorry.

This came about in 1991 when Prost said his Ferrari 643 was no pleasure to drive — and suggested it would be easier to drive a truck.

He made the comments after the Japanese Grand Prix and was promptly dropped for the final race in Australia and replaced by Italian Gianni Mobidelli, the team test driver. Prost did not drive again for Ferrari.

After sitting out 1992, he won his fourth title with Williams in 1993.

Alonso, following the Hungarian Grand Prix where he finished fifth, was asked what he would like to be given as a gift to celebrate his 32nd birthday (on the Monday after the race) and replied by saying "someone else's car".

It may have been tongue in cheek — given that his friend Mark Webber is leaving Red Bull at the end of the year — but it was enough to make Montezemolo phone him personally and make his feelings clear.

The Spaniard can consider himself fortunate to have escaped a stronger sanction.

Di Montezemolo, who also addressed the team and made clear that they must improve on a record that shows their last victory was Alonso's triumph in Spain in May, said: "Fernando is a great driver and I understand him — he is a bit like me, he wants to win.

"But he must just remember that one wins and loses together and, for its part, Ferrari must give him a car capable of starting from the front two rows. It doesn't sit well with me seeing our car is not competitive.

"That's why I intervened, even if I didn't want to abuse my authority over my men."

Having survived, Alonso heads into the final nine races knowing he has to make up 39 points to catch defending triple world champion Vettel with a maximum of 225 points available.

He knows he has to succeed and do it Ferrari's way. AFP

No pressure on Domenicali despite indifferent form
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo is not concerned by the work of team principal Stefano Domenicali despite the Italian team currently enduring a poor run of form.

Ferrari has failed to win a race since the Spanish Grand Prix at the beginning of May, and a recent downturn in fortunes has seen Fernando Alonso fall to P3 in the drivers’ championship – a full 39 points behind leader Sebastian Vettel with half of the season gone. However, Montezemolo has complete faith in Domenicali’s ability.

“Stefano was born and raised with us from all managerial points of view," Montezemolo explained to Italian publication Corriere della Sera. “But as a sportsman, he knows he needs results.

“However, when one talks about Domenicali, one fact is key: under his management we have won one constructors’ title and come very close to three drivers’ titles. Two of those we could easily have won and then people’s opinion of Domenicali would be very different."

Montezemolo has however told Domenicali that he must be prepared to take action when necessary.

“There’s one thing I remind him of very often: he has to get the most out of every individual in his organization, never be satisfied and if necessary, take some drastic and painful decisions."

The final comment from Montezemolo comes in the same week as his call for Felipe Massa to up his game if he is to remain with Ferrari in 2014, suggesting that the pressure on the Brazilian has never been greater. NBC Sports

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