Latest F1 news in brief – Thursday

  • Bianchi not ruling out 2014 Ferrari seat
  • Sochi track will be ready for Russia GP – Tilke
  • Sauber boss admits delay in Russian rescue deal
  • Next Russian drivers emerge on F1 radar

Bianchi not ruling out 2014 Ferrari seat
(GMM) Jules Bianchi has admitted it is possible he will be called up for a Ferrari race seat in 2014.

While president Luca di Montezemolo admitted Brazilian Felipe Massa's future is uncertain, the head of Ferrari's driver development program, Luca Baldisserri, has left option the possibility Bianchi could have a change of scene for 2014.

The Frenchman currently drives for backmarker Marussia.

When asked about 2014, the 24-year-old driver told Nice-Matin newspaper: "Frankly, it's too early to talk about it.

"We will analyze the possibilities after the season," said Bianchi, who is managed by Nicolas Todt, who also handles Massa's career.

"I do not forget that with Marussia I was given the chance to make my grand prix debut. If I stay in this team next year, it will be in good faith — that's all I can say.

"I am pleased with the first half of the season, especially the first few races," he added.

"Then things got more complicated. But I think the most important thing in these six months is the experience I have gained."

Whether Ferrari now regards Bianchi as experienced enough to replace team veteran Massa, or whether Nico Hulkenberg is seen as the safer option, is an open question.

"I don't know what Ferrari's plans are," Bianchi said.

"If the team ever turns to me, it is because, in their opinion, I am ready to go to Maranello. We'll see.

"Maybe I will be asked to join the team this winter. Of course, I will not say no!

"If not, and I spend another season with Marussia, or go to another team to gain more experience, that is also a good option," he added.

Sochi track will be ready for Russia GP – Tilke
(GMM) Hermann Tilke insists he is "100 per cent certain" the circuit in Sochi will be ready for next year's inaugural Russian grand prix.

Big doubts hang over the 2014 race on the Black Sea coast, after a dispute between the promoter Omega and the Russian automobile federation resulted in Russia missing the deadline to apply to be on next year's calendar.

Earlier, there were also reports of construction delays, while German Tilke, whose company is responsible for the design of new F1 circuits, expressed concerns about the quality of the local construction contractors.

But Tilke has now told Russia's Championat he is "100 per cent certain" the circuit, part of the infrastructure for the 2014 winter Olympics, will be ready on time.

"Nothing else is in my area of responsibility," he said.

"The track will be built on schedule," Tilke added, insisting that even the construction delay between November and the end of the 2014 games in February will not pose a problem.

"No, everything will be ok," he said. "The track will be ready on time."

Tilke also insisted he is no longer worried about the quality of the construction work. "All of these problems were long ago. Everything is now solved," he said.

Sauber boss admits delay in Russian rescue deal
(GMM) Monisha Kaltenborn has admitted Sauber's Russian rescue deal is facing delays.

Despite reports of an enormous investment in the struggling Swiss team by Russian government-linked entities, we reported recently that the money is yet to start flowing.

Sauber's financial crisis, therefore, may not yet be over, with the German newspaper Welt reporting that Ferrari's ultimatum of a EUR 9 million engine supply bill being paid by the end of the August break is still in effect.

It is suggested the entire Sauber deal has to be signed off by none other than Russian president Vladimir Putin, and as yet he not done so.

Team boss Kaltenborn has admitted a delay.

Welt quoted her as saying it is only because of "bureaucratic obstacles and complex questions of detail", and did not elaborate.

Another German newspaper, Bild-Zeitung, reports that Kaltenborn and team founder Peter Sauber have kicked off their August 'break' with a trip to Moscow.

Correspondents Nicola Pohl, Frank Schneider and Helmut Uhl said the Sauber chiefs' visit to Russia is to "sign contracts with potential sponsors", because "no money is yet to flow" from the country in northern Eurasia.

Next Russian drivers emerge on F1 radar
(GMM) Amid the country's rising presence in the sport, the next Russian drivers have appeared on the formula one radar.

The Black Sea coastal city of Sochi is set to host the inaugural Russian grand prix next year, the supercar maker Marussia has a F1 team, and struggling Sauber has been bailed out by a swathe of Russian government-linked entities.

And the next Russian connection with formula one could involve the great British team Williams, who in recent days have been linked with the new Russian GP2 team Russian Time.

Italiaracing reports a link between the ownership of the Russian Time team and the father of Artem Markelov, an 18-year-old competing in the German F3 series.

Elsewhere, Oksana Kosachenko, the former manager of Russia's first F1 driver Vitaly Petrov, has reportedly started working with a new Russian hopeful, Nikolay Martsenko.

It has been rumored Kosachenko is set to step down as commercial director of the F1 team Caterham.

"Actually, I have two interesting proposals," she told Russia's Championat, insisting that, at the moment, she is still working for Caterham.

Kosachenko, however, played down suggestions Martsenko is poised to make the leap into F1.

"We are discussing Nikolay seriously, but I met with his father just recently and we have a clear conviction that he needs a third season in the Renault world series," she said.

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