Latest F1 news in brief – Friday (Update)

UPDATE Updates shown in red below.


  • Perez: McLaren out to lunch

    Renault says Caterham, Lotus deals 'almost done'

  • Even 'miracle' won't cure McLaren problems – Perez
  • Webber set to return to scene of last F1 win
  • Rosberg's pace 'has surprised' Hamilton – Wolff
  • Staying at Red Bull right call for Vettel – Berger
  • Berger slams F1's unchanging tire situation
  • Ecclestone: Mercedes should have said no to Pirelli test
  • Double DRS for British Grand Prix
  • Pirelli slams lack of team support on tire construction
  • Perez: I'm not racing in F1 to be popular New
  • Two DRS zones confirmed for German GP New

Renault says Caterham, Lotus deals 'almost done'
(GMM) Renault is still yet to finalize new V6 engine deals with existing customers Caterham and Lotus.

At the end of May, the French marque's F1 president Jean-Michel Jalinier said that with Red Bull and Toro Rosso already under contract for 2014, another customer or two "is the ideal".

It has been reported that while Caterham is expected to stay with Renault, Lotus has been in talks with Ferrari.

"We very likely will end up with four teams," Jalinier is quoted by Reuters this week.

"The discussions with Lotus and Caterham have progressed. It's almost done with them, so there's a high probability that we end up with four in 2014."

Even 'miracle' won't cure McLaren problems – Perez
(GMM) Not even "a miracle" could speed McLaren back to the front of the field in the immediate future, new team driver Sergio Perez admitted this week.

Just as the young Mexican arrived at Woking to replace Lewis Hamilton, the great British team faltered with its 2013 car, and currently is ranked behind not only the four big teams but also the similarly Mercedes-powered Force India.

Asked about the chance of a good result at Silverstone late this month, Perez admitted: "There is nothing that can save us; not rain, not a miracle," he is quoted in a French-language report by the Agence France-Presse news agency.

The 23-year-old admitted that his season so far – his first with a big team – has been "frustrating".

"It's not the year I wanted. Last year, at this time, I had more points (at Sauber)," said Perez.

"The (McLaren) car has so many problems, and we are so far behind that there is not a single issue that we can focus on."

He said he is hoping to "at least be on a podium" at some point in 2013, adding: "At the moment, we cannot even think about it."

Perez also dismissed recent criticism of his driving, like at Monaco where Kimi Raikkonen said he wanted to punch the Mexican after their collision.

"I'm not in formula one to not be criticized, or to please everyone," he insisted.

"I'm in formula one to fight for my team. If that attracts criticism for me, then I don't care."

Webber set to return to scene of last F1 win
(GMM) Mark Webber is hoping for a clear weekend to end his winning drought as he returns to the scene of his last F1 victory this month in Britain.

The Australian, whose Red Bull career is in doubt beyond his 2013 contract, has won two of the last three F1 races at Silverstone — but has not recorded a single victory since the British grand prix last year.

At the same time, his teammate and habitual title winner Sebastian Vettel has already won three times this season.

"I need to have a win coming my way," Webber, 37 in August, is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace.

"I just hope I get a whole weekend going right for me," he added.

Webber said his usual Achilles heel, his race starts, has been much less problematic in 2013.

"The starts are beginning to be very good, which is an area I would like to thank the team for, but there are always other areas where you can improve," he said.

Meanwhile, two former F1 drivers have named Kimi Raikkonen as an ideal successor for Webber at Red Bull.

"Yes, I like Kimi," Gerhard Berger told Osterreich newspaper.

"He's the coolest of them all, and surprised me last year with his strong comeback. He would be a good option," he added.

Mika Salo, who now works for the Finnish broadcaster MTV3, agreed: "There are all sorts of rumors about Raikkonen, but I think it would make sense for him to go to Red Bull.

"It would complement his other hobbies, like a bit of rallying and motocross, but it's always hard to say what he's going to decide.

"Certainly, of the number of candidates, Kimi would be one of the most desirable," the former Sauber and Toyota driver added.

Rosberg's pace 'has surprised' Hamilton – Wolff
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton has been "surprised" by the pace of teammate Nico Rosberg at Mercedes early this season.

That is the claim of team director and co-owner Toto Wolff, even though the comments directly contradict a recent statement by the 2008 world champion.

In the wake of Rosberg's pole hat-trick and Monaco win, Hamilton insisted he "expected him (Rosberg) to be even stronger than he has been" in 2013 due to his long experience with the Brackley based team.

But Wolff is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace as admitting Hamilton "probably was surprised by Nico's pace".

"A lot had been written about it not being clear what Nico's pace was (in 2010-2012) compared to Michael (Schumacher).

"Now, he (Rosberg) has proved that he is really fast, and it's surprised Lewis — but I don't think it's a problem," added Wolff.

Indeed, he insists Hamilton is also strong.

"We saw just how much in Canada, where he would have been on pole if not for the braking error. I think we will see great races from Lewis. I have no doubt.

"I don't think there's any reason to say that he's having a problem or difficulties. It's too early in the season.

"He's just starting with the team while Nico has been here for years," said Wolff.

Staying at Red Bull right call for Vettel – Berger
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel has made the right decision in deciding to stay at Red Bull for the next two years, former F1 winner and team owner Gerhard Berger said.

Amid constant speculation the 25-year-old German sees his future at Ferrari or Mercedes, it was announced this week that the reigning world champion has added another season – 2015 – to his current contract.

Asked by Osterreich newspaper if he thinks Vettel made the right call, Berger – Vettel's former boss at Red Bull's second team Toro Rosso – answered: "Sebastian knows very well that he has the perfect environment and the best car.

"It is a thousand times better to be world champion five times with Red Bull than not once with Ferrari.

"He can think about Ferrari maybe some time in the future," the Austrian legend added, "when he can have a winning car."

For now, Vettel is staying at Red Bull, where he seems to be headed for an ultra-rare fourth consecutive drivers' world championship, having extended his lead in Canada to 36 points.

Asked if he thinks the German will follow through in 2013, Berger answered: "Even before the season started I said Sebastian was my favorite.

"But we're not even half-way yet, and the tires are also going to play an incredibly important role."

Another former F1 driver, however, sees the 2013 season at a potential tipping point.

"The next leg of the championship is vital," Mika Salo told Finland's MTV3.

"If Vettel keeps winning, then he's going to run away. Last year Webber won at Silverstone, so Red Bull is really strong there, rain or shine.

"I hope the other teams can do something about it, because it's not going to be very interesting if Vettel just cruises to the championship now," he added.

Berger slams F1's unchanging tire situation
(GMM) Gerhard Berger has blasted the tire situation in formula one, just as Pirelli announced its hands are tied from trying to change it.

Following criticism of its heavily-degrading 2013 tires, F1's Italian supplier announced on Thursday that, contrary to its desire, the construction of the 2013 tires will not now be changing.

A statement said one reason is that rain prevented extensive testing of the tweaked design in Canada, but also "that the teams failed to agree unanimously about introducing the changes".

Former grand prix winner Berger, who sold his stake in Red Bull's second team Toro Rosso some years ago, was asked if he thinks F1's tire situation is acceptable.

"No," he answered clearly to Osterreich newspaper.

"I'll say it again — it cannot be that teams invest millions in wind tunnel tests and engines and then ultimately what decides who is at the front is the tire manufacturer.

"This is wrong," said Berger.

"I'm for real racing and that the best people are at the front; that the sport, not the tires, play the main role."

Ecclestone: Mercedes should have said no to Pirelli test
Bernie Ecclestone has made it clear that he believes that Mercedes rather than Pirelli is to blame for the testing controversy.

Although initially reluctant to express an opinion, Bernie emphasized that Mercedes could have turned down the chance to risk breaking the FIA’s Sporting Regulations.

Ecclestone is known to have an uneasy relationship with Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn after a commercial disagreement during the Brawn GP days, and some have suggested that he wouldn’t mind seeing the former Benetton and Ferrari man carry the can for what happened.

“Wait until the tribunal, they’ve got all the facts," Ecclestone told this writer. “If you offer me stolen goods, it’s up to me to decide whether I want to accept them or not. It’s not up to anyone to tell me what I should do. I should know what I should do.

“Pirelli were doing the right thing, obviously. They couldn’t get out of a tire problem, if there had been proper testing, which there should be, they wouldn’t be in this problem. It’s only because there’s no proper testing that they’re in this problem. As people have been complaining, the obvious thing to do was to get out of it by testing. And they asked."

Asked if he felt Pirelli had done anything wrong, he added: “Not at all."

Ecclestone and the F1 organization have a significant commercial deal with Pirelli for signage and so on, but he denies that has impacted his opinion.

“I don’t care. It makes no difference to me. What is right, is right, you know. The one thing an unmarried girl has got is the right to say ‘no.’ You would have to reckon that Mercedes were in that position…"

Meanwhile Ecclestone played down suggestions that Michelin – a company known to be friendly with Jean Todt – is waiting in the wings to replace Pirelli.

“No idea. I haven’t got a clue. I haven’t spoken to anyone. We have a long-term contract with Pirelli, as the FIA do. And I think most of the teams have – I think they’ve done a deal with all the teams they want to do a deal with." Adam Cooper's F1 Blog

Double DRS for British Grand Prix
Silverstone has confirmed that there will be two DRS zones at the British Grand Prix this year, which takes place later this month.

Previously there had been only one DRS – Drag Reduction System – zone and in 2012 it was at Wellington Straight. However, this season, in addition to the one at Wellington, there will also be one at Hangar Straight too.

“News just in!! We will have 2 DRS zones for the #BritishGP this year: Wellington Straight and Hangar Straight!" Silverstone confirmed today via its official Twitter account.

Pirelli slams lack of team support on tire construction
Pirelli has blamed a lack of support from the teams for its inability to implement a new tire construction ahead of the British Grand Prix.

After a number of tire delaminations at the Bahrain and Spanish grands prix, Pirelli announced that it would be making changes in order to prevent repeat incidents. It originally planned on introducing the revised tires in Canada, but the teams wanted time to test them and so only a prototype tire with a new construction was made available during the Friday practice sessions.

However, in announcing its tire compound choices for the next three races, Pirelli has said it is unable to make the changes "contrary to Pirelli's initial plans" because of a "lack of team support" since Canada.

"This decision is due to the fact that the new tires, which were brought to the Friday free practice sessions in Canada, could not be tested sufficiently due to rain – and that the teams failed to agree unanimously about introducing the changes," a Pirelli press release read. "Instead a change in the tire production process should now ensure that the delamination issue has been addressed."

The tires selected for the next three races see the medium and hard compounds supplied in both Britain and Hungary, while Germany will see the soft and medium will be used. ESPN

Perez: I'm not racing in F1 to be popular
Sergio Perez says he "doesn't care" if his on-track actions lead to criticism during his first season at McLaren, although the Mexican admits that being unable to achieve more than low points-scoring results so far this year has left him feeling frustrated.

Having joined McLaren at the end of last year, after two campaigns at Sauber, Perez immediately stated his intentions to fight for the world title with the Woking-based outfit, but a below-par MP4-28 chassis has not yet yielded a podium finish.

"I feel frustrated," Perez explained to reporters at a press conference in his home country. "I feel that my performance with McLaren has been good. I have total support from my team – as a driver this is very important, to count on your team's support.

"About the criticism, I believe everyone has their own view. I'm not here to be liked by everyone. I'm in Formula 1 to fight for my team and if that causes criticism I don't care."

Perez went on to argue that McLaren's 2013 woes boil down to a faulty wind tunnel to circuit correlation, with simulator readings still not matching on-track data.

"I believe that the main problem – and what has caused these results – is the car performance," said Perez. "In terms of vehicle aerodynamics we have way less than expected. We have a problem with the wind tunnel; it is telling us one thing but the reality on the track is very different, so it's extremely hard to work like that."

Two DRS zones confirmed for German GP
Formula 1 governing body the FIA has confirmed that two DRS zones will be in place for next month's German Grand Prix, which is this year being held at the Nürburgring.

The first zone, retained from the sport's latest visit to the venue in 2011, is situated between Turn 11 and the NGK Chicane, with the detection line before Turn 10.

In addition to the aforementioned zone, drivers will get a second opportunity to use the overtaking device along the main straight, following a Turn 15 detection marker.

Earlier this week, British Grand Prix organisers also announced an increased DRS presence, with zones situated along the Wellington and Hangar straights.

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