Latest F1 news in brief – Saturday (Update)

UPDATE Updates shown in red below.


  • Will Brawn be pushed aside even though Mercedes now is the fastest F1 car?

    Brawn not confirming he'll be team boss in 2014

  • Raikkonen 'will be in F1 in 2014' – manager
  • Button backs Webber over handling of Porsche news
  • F1 needs rule to stop 'disastrous' wet Fridays – Ecclestone
  • Pirelli management approves 2014 F1 foray – Hembery
  • Analysis: McLaren's new signing
  • Perez tire problem not delamination – Pirelli New
  • FIA tells Lotus front suspension layout illegal New
  • 2014 engines to be more powerful than V8s – report New
  • Red Bull opinions split over Webber successor New

Brawn not confirming he'll be team boss in 2014
(GMM) Ross Brawn has refused to say if he will still be Mercedes' team boss in 2014.

Asked the question at Silverstone by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, the 58-year-old Briton answered: "I hope so."

This weekend's British grand prix is the first race attended in Mercedes team wear by McLaren's former technical director Paddy Lowe, who had been tipped to eventually succeed Brawn.

Brawn admitted: "One day my career will be finished, but I will not stop until we are at the top.

"That will be the day when I can give less than I am now to the team.

"Paddy Lowe has started work earlier than expected, and first he needs to be integrated, but he will take over a lot of the responsibility and, if possible, then my role will change."

Brawn also insists Mercedes will not spoil the broth by having too many technical cooks: now alongside the former Ferrari technical director and Lowe are Bob Bell, Aldo Costa and Geoff Willis.

"I think we have enough," Brawn said.

"Actually it's perfect, as every one of us has an unique task.

"At the moment, Bob is taking care of this year's car, Aldo is managing the 2014 car, and Geoff is thinking about what is important in 2015.

"We are very well positioned," he added, failing to mention Lowe's current responsibilities.

According to the paddock grapevine, 51-year-old Briton Lowe is simply waiting to take over from Brawn.

"I have never feared for my job," Brawn insists. "It has never factored in my thinking.

"I've always done what I felt was right. If that doesn't suit the ideas of other people, then that's too bad, but I'm not going to change for them.

"I have always been aware that life in formula one is like a rollercoaster ride."

Raikkonen 'will be in F1 in 2014' – manager
(GMM) While admitting talks with teams are already taking place, Kimi Raikkonen's manager said he believes the 2007 world champion will be on the grid in 2014.

Hinting that staying at Lotus or moving to Red Bull are possibilities, the inimitable Finn has also insisted leaving formula one altogether can't be ruled out.

Manager Steve Robertson, however, doesn't think so.

"Frankly, it is my firm belief that Kimi will be in F1 next year," he told Turun Sanomat newspaper.

"At the moment I think that's the most important news for everyone.

"With Kimi driving the way he has been, there is demand, and when Kimi enjoys his driving and wants to continue, there's supply and demand," Robertson smiled.

While moving to world champions Red Bull might seem the obvious choice for the former Ferrari and McLaren driver, however, Raikkonen enjoys the freedoms that Lotus permits him — like very minimal sponsor and other 'non-racing' duties.

"I think yes," team boss Eric Boullier said at Silverstone, "Red Bull is chasing Kimi and we want to keep Kimi.

"I think so far he is happy with what he has," the Frenchman added.

Button backs Webber over handling of Porsche news
(GMM) While his own team boss is angry with Mark Webber, Jenson Button has backed the Australian for the manner in which his F1 retirement announcement was handled.

Webber caught Red Bull boss Christian Horner off guard on Thursday morning when the 36-year-old driver gave him only an hour's notice before Porsche announced Webber is heading back to Le Mans in 2014 and beyond.

Horner admitted he was "disappointed" with the handling of the announcement.

But McLaren driver Button, who is one of Webber's closest friends in the paddock, sided with the 36-year-old.

"From what I have heard," Button is quoted by Sun newspaper, "Mark has done everything right."

Button said announcements like the Webber/Porsche one are difficult in the modern era, because if he had let his team on the factory floor know first, it surely would have leaked onto Twitter.

Webber alluded to that on Thursday, saying: "It wouldn't have been an announcement then, would it?"

Button agreed: "From what he's said, the team owner (Dietrich Mateschitz) knew and he also told the team five minutes before the announcement was made.

"He is a great talent and had a good career. He is always outspoken and maybe there are not enough of those characters within the sport," he added.

F1 needs rule to stop 'disastrous' wet Fridays – Ecclestone
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has slammed the regulations after packed grandstands at Silverstone on Friday watched little more than falling rain during practice.

Because the teams were saving rain tires, safeguarding precious new bodywork pieces and expecting better weather for the rest of the British grand prix weekend, the drivers stayed in their garages for the bulk of the opening 90-minute session.

At the same time, a two hour's drive away, the FIA's World Motor Sport Council was meeting at Goodwood, where a new rule allocating drivers an extra set of dry tires for Friday practice next year was voted through.

But those dry tires wouldn't have helped the wet spectators at Silverstone on Friday.

"It was disastrous for formula one," F1 chief executive Ecclestone admitted to British reporters.

"They need to change the regulations to ensure this sort of thing does not happen. The FIA and the teams need to sort it out," he said.

"People pay good money, and there is a television audience to think about, too.

"Maybe it should be that they get six sets of tires to use on a Friday and if they do not run, we take away that number from their Saturday total."

Pirelli management approves 2014 F1 foray – Hembery
(GMM) Pirelli is inching towards a deal to stay in formula one beyond its 2013 contract.

The Italian marque's F1 chief Paul Hembery revealed at Silverstone that new contracts with the commercial rights holders and most of the teams are in place for 2014.

And the latest step is the full support of Pirelli's upper management, he added.

"The company has had many internal discussions about our work, and fortunately we were able to convince the leadership that we should stay," Hembery is quoted by the Russian website

"We have some good ideas to make further progress and will try to implement them.

"We have a contract with the owner of the commercial rights and the majority of the teams, so if they are all satisfied with our work, then we will continue."

The big missing link is a new deal with the FIA, whose president Jean Todt is rumored to favor Michelin's return to F1.

Hembery said Pirelli has decided not to appeal the FIA international tribunal's decision to reprimand the tire marque for the secret Mercedes tire test.

Pirelli was reportedly furious with the outcome and threatening even to sue, but Hembery said "the most important thing is our continued participation in the championship".

However, Pirelli is still unhappy with many aspects of its involvement in F1, such as the ability for a single team to veto changes to the tire specification, such as the shelved move from a steel to a kevlar belt to minimize delaminations.

"We really have to think about other decision-making mechanisms," Hembery is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport, "so that we are able to respond quickly to a problem.

"Surely majority rule would be better than (the need for) unanimity," he said.

Auto Motor und Sport also reported that the 'test-gate' scandal has not deterred Pirelli from organizing more tire development tests with selected F1 teams.

"We have no problem to meet the conditions of the federation," said Hembery.

Analysis: McLaren's new signing
With Matt Morris leaving Sauber for his new position as McLaren engineering director, some have questioned whether he is a logical signing given the Swiss squad's current struggles.

But to do so is to misunderstand exactly Morris's responsibilities as chief designer at Sauber, a team struggling with aerodynamic problems this year.

While Morris has been the figurehead of the Sauber design team in terms of public speaking, he was not the team's technical director. Sauber is unique in that it has not employed anyone in that position since James Key left on the eve of the 2012 season.

Instead, the heads of different technical departments work collectively, meaning Morris shared the key duties with Sauber's well-regarded head of aero, Willem Toet.

In fact, Morris probably does not even get heavily involved in the drawing element of the design of the car as his role is to manage the design office staff to achieve this.

Effectively, Morris was responsible for the Sauber chassis, which in contemporary Formula 1 has to fit within the envelope created by Toet's aerodynamic department.

This is an iterative process because the aerodynamicists come up with new ideas for the shape of the car and these need to be accepted by the chassis department to ensure the mechanical package can be made to fit.

An obvious example of this loop is Sauber's ultra-slim sidepods. The aero department would have had the idea and this demanded repackaging of the radiators, crash structures and electronics.

It needed Morris's team to confirm this would be possible without offsetting the aerodynamic advantage with reduced cooling capacity or additional weight. Morris explained this process in an in-depth interview with AUTOSPORT during pre-season testing.

It's testament to the team ethic at Sauber that negotiation in this design process can be achieved between peers without a technical director calling the shots.

McLaren has stated that in his new role as engineering director, "Matt will work for our technical director, Tim Goss, to ensure our engineering standards and technical decision-making capabilities are of the highest quality."

This means his new role is not so much about design, but process, meaning it is a strategic role to ensure the way McLaren selects one design over another and the execution of that design is carried out well, rather than being involved in the tactical design decisions made when planning a new car.

This means Morris's arrival should help McLaren, which has found its processes led to a flawed design in the MP4-28. Yahoo Eurosport

Perez tire problem not delamination – Pirelli
(GMM) Pirelli on Saturday insisted its rear delamination problems have not returned.

The Italian marque had wanted to debut a new kevlar-belted tire at Silverstone this weekend, but some teams objected against the fundamental change.

As a compromise, Pirelli is now fielding an identical specification tire, but with a new sort of glue that should prevent the tread from separating from the carcass due to the overheating steel.

However, on Saturday, McLaren's Sergio Perez suffered a rear failure, triggering suggestions Pirelli has not succeeded in solving its problems.

But Paul Hembery insists: "A cut in the side of the tire shoulder was to blame," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

The failure caused damage to the floor and rear wing of Perez's updated McLaren, but luckily the team had a spare wing in its luggage.

As for the floor, "Sergio will have to use the old (specification) for the rest of the weekend", a source is quoted as saying.

FIA tells Lotus front suspension layout illegal
(GMM) Lotus has been told to bring a modified front suspension layout to next weekend's German grand prix.

The FIA told the Enstone based team at Silverstone on Saturday that the current layout does not comply with the rules, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports.

That is because the regulations allow a maximum of three suspension elements, but a McLaren-commissioned photo at Silverstone has revealed that Lotus' 2013 layout has an obscured fourth.

2014 engines to be more powerful than V8s – report
(GMM) Next year's V6 engines will be more powerful than the V8s of 2013, according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

Previously, it was thought not only that next year's energy recovery-bolstered turbo V6s would be quieter than the normally-aspirated V8s, but also obviously slower.

Not so, at least on the latter detail, according to correspondent Michael Schmidt.

Currently, the V8 KERS-boosted 2.4 liter V8s pack about 800 horse power, with about 350 newton-metres of torque.

The engine makers Renault, Mercedes and Ferrari are understandably holding their cards close to their chests, but Schmidt reports that Pirelli is expecting cars with full boost next year to be propelled in qualifying by up to 900 horse power.

And torque is set to increase dramatically, to 600 newton-metres.

Pirelli's Paul Hembery said: "At the moment we don't know exactly what to expect.

"But the numbers we are hearing are enormous. We will have to have wider rear tires, but how wide is something we will have to decide in consultation with the teams."

However, heavily-degrading tires will not dominate F1 next year. Hembery said that for "the first year of the new formula, we will be conservative".

The teams got a first taste of the experimental hard compound on Friday, and Felipe Massa blamed the cold tires for his crash on a wet track.

But the degradation was very low, Hembery said.

"Red Bull would have loved these tires," the Briton smiled. "Unfortunately they didn't try them."

Red Bull opinions split over Webber successor
(GMM) According to the buzz in the Silverstone paddock, Red Bull is split as the bosses consider who should replace Mark Webber in 2014.

The rumor is that while Christian Horner would like to sign 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen, Dr Helmut Marko would prefer if a Toro Rosso driver – Daniel Ricciardo or Jean-Eric Vergne – is pushed into the top team.

Marko told German television RTL on Saturday that the issue will be considered in more detail in the summer break.

"It's not about personal preferences," he insisted. "It must be the best solution for the team."

Not surprisingly, Webber thinks his fellow Australian, Ricciardo, is ready to step up.

"But obviously there are some other hats in the ring, so let's see what happens," he told the Melbourne newspaper The Age.

One problem for Ricciardo, however, is that despite having the upper hand over teammate Vergne earlier this season, the Frenchman has looked impressive more recently.

"He has lifted his game and I can't turn a blind eye to that and say he got lucky," Ricciardo admitted.

Whatever happens, Ricciardo thinks he will still be in F1 in 2014 — at Red Bull or Toro Rosso.

"I think so, but you always have to be on your game here," he said.

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