Latest F1 news in brief – Wednesday (Update)

UPDATE Updates shown in red below.


  • Massa gets new car

    New cars for Massa, Maldonado in Canada

  • Sutil happy with smooth F1 comeback
  • Ferrari's test relaxation proposal voted down
  • Williams' Merc deal could pay off for Juncadella
  • Williams sees long future for historic F1 team
  • Report – Marussia in Woking, McLaren in Cologne
  • McLaren backing Perez amid criticism New
  • Hamilton needs 'time' to match Rosberg – boss New
  • Red Bull keeps pressure on amid 'test-gate' New
  • Bridgestone – 'no plans' for F1 return New
  • Hamilton refuses to criticize McLaren New

New cars for Massa, Maldonado in Canada
(GMM) Felipe Massa will use a brand new Ferrari chassis in Canada this weekend.

Since Monaco, where he crashed heavily in two near-identical incidents at Ste Devote, the Brazilian has been recovering from a sore neck.

His 2013 Ferrari did not recover as well. Maranello based Ferrari confirmed on Tuesday that Massa will use "a completely new chassis" in Montreal this weekend.

Ferrari identified suspension failure as the cause of the second Monaco crash.

"Of course we focused on the problems we had with reliability, which absolutely had to be resolved," said team boss Stefano Domenicali on Tuesday.

Spain's EFE news agency also reports that Pastor Maldonado will be at the wheel of a new Williams chassis in Canada, following his heavy Monaco crash.

Sutil happy with smooth F1 comeback
(GMM) Adrian Sutil is happy his return to formula one this year has gone smoothly so far.

After sitting out last season in the wake of his 2011 assault conviction, the 30-year-old returned to Force India this year.

Some, like the great Michael Schumacher who returned to F1 after a three-year sabbatical, struggled on their grand prix comebacks.

"For me," Sutil told Spain's El Confidencial, "it took me a few laps of testing and then no one could have known it was my first day after a year and a half of not being in any (racing) car."

He admits he was "disappointed and angry" at the end of 2011, when it became clear he would be sitting out the following championship.

"The world of motor sport can be so unfair," said Sutil, "but then I asked myself what I wanted to do. I thought about it slowly and decided that, at the age of 30, I could have a second career in formula one."

Meanwhile, Sutil sounds reluctant to heal his broken friendship with Lewis Hamilton, after the 2008 world champion refused to testify during the German's assault trial.

"You can generally only count your good friends on one hand, as good friends are hard to come by," said Hamilton in Monaco recently.

"I want to make sure we get things right."

Sutil replied: "As Lewis said, yes, it (the relationship) is different. I'm still waiting for a coming together, and I can't say anything more."

Ferrari's test relaxation proposal voted down
(GMM) A proposal by Ferrari to ease F1's strict testing limits was voted down in Monaco.

The Italian team, the owner of the Mugello and Fiorano circuits, proposed that teams be allowed to trade wind tunnel hours, straight-line testing and promotional days in exchange for more actual circuit testing.

But Germany's Auto Motor und Sport claims the proposal was narrowly defeated in a vote.

Rumors of Ferrari's proposal were soon deafened by the controversy about Mercedes' 'secret' Barcelona test, about which Ferrari and Red Bull protested.

But Ferrari is also being probed for its own Pirelli tire test, also run at Barcelona but with a 2011 car and Pedro de la Rosa at the wheel.

Red Bull's Christian Horner has defended the Italian team, saying only Mercedes' test with a 2013 car should be under the spotlight.

And O Estado de S.Paulo newspaper also quotes Red Bull designer Adrian Newey as saying: "A test with a 2011 car is legal."

The 'secret' Mercedes test is certain to be a big topic of conversation this weekend in Canada, where another good performance by the Monaco-winning team would be controversial.

Mercedes' Toto Wolff said the Brackley based team's improved performance at recent races is simply the result of hard work.

"Our car has been on pole position for the last four races, which shows our basic speed, so the focus in that time has been on improving our performance on Sunday afternoons," he said.

"We managed this in Monaco, partly thanks to the unique characteristics of the circuit. This weekend will give us a more representative indication of how much progress we have made."

Williams' Merc deal could pay off for Juncadella
(GMM) Williams' new engine deal with Mercedes could be set to pay off immediately for Dani Juncadella.

The 22-year-old Spaniard was signed up by Mercedes for the DTM season in 2013, and he is also a development driver for the German marque's Brackley based works F1 team.

Just before Williams' new V6 Mercedes deal for 2014 and beyond was announced, the Grove based team signed a sponsor agreement with Kazakhstan investment company TAK Group, to promote the capital Astana.

Juncadella, whose uncle is the former HRT team boss Luis Perez-Sala, is also sponsored by Astana.

And TAK Group's Artur Ardavichus has been quoted by Spanish sports daily Marca: "It is difficult to get into Mercedes (F1 team) without special training.

"Therefore, Astana wants Dani to progress and gain experience with Williams, to prepare him to be a formula one driver with Mercedes."

That could mean Juncadella gets to drive Williams' Renault-powered 2013 car at Silverstone in July, for the young drivers' test.

But Marca admitted that Juncadella, refusing to confirm the Williams test rumors, was "surprised" by Ardavichus' comments.

Williams sees long future for historic F1 team
(GMM) Even at the age of 71, Sir Frank Williams sees a long future for his eponymous formula one team.

Asked by La Presse newspaper to reveal the secret of his team's longevity, Williams answered cheekily: "The simple answer is that we started earlier than many other teams."

Indeed, like Ferrari and McLaren, the name Williams is synonymous with formula one, and Sir Frank has no plans to change that.

"We can dream that we will continue indefinitely, and I sincerely hope so," said the Briton.

"As long as formula one exists, we will be there, and we will bring this team back on the path of success.

"Everyone is fascinated by cars, boats and planes, and that will never change. Passion and competition in sport will not change, and we hope to be part of it for a long time to come," added Williams.

The current chapter in the life of the Oxfordshire based team, however, is a particularly difficult one.

But Williams argues: "There has never been an easy time for Williams. The time when we were winning was the least difficult, but it was still very difficult.

"The time of active suspension was very difficult, but easier than it is now, because it was possible to have a definitive advantage," he explained.

"The technological gains of the 90s and 2000s have now been somewhat replaced by gains in aerodynamics, which has made it more difficult for all of the teams."

Report – Marussia in Woking, McLaren in Cologne
(GMM) Marussia's technical collaboration with McLaren is continuing full speed ahead.

That is the claim of Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, reporting that the Russian supercarmaker-owned team is already working 80 hours a week in the McLaren wind tunnel.

That, in part, is due to McLaren working extensively in the state-of-the-art Toyota wind tunnel in Cologne this year, while Marussia also has available for use the McLaren driver simulators.

And from Silverstone, Marussia will finally enter the era of the 'traffic light' pitstop system, thanks to the equipment developed and formerly used by McLaren.

McLaren backing Perez amid criticism
(GMM) McLaren is standing firmly behind Sergio Perez, despite fierce criticism from his rivals in the wake of the Monaco grand prix.

Former team driver Kimi Raikkonen said he wanted to punch the young Mexican after their crash in the Principality, but McLaren sporting director Sam Michael said Perez's moves were nothing unusual.

Fernando Alonso and even teammate Jenson Button also criticized the 23-year-old at Monaco, but on Tuesday Michael said: "All the moves that he did are all moves that have been done by all of those other drivers at some point in their careers.

"It was obviously hard racing, but that's what formula one is meant to be about," he added during a Vodafone phone-in.

Perez has arguably struggled at times under the spotlight for the first time at a top team and amid McLaren's competitive slump, but Australian Michael thinks the former Sauber driver has done "pretty well" alongside the ultra-experienced Button.

"He (Perez) is a talented driver and the way that he's racing at the moment, McLaren support what he's doing," said Michael.

"We're full behind Checo as long as he keeps developing."

Hamilton needs 'time' to match Rosberg – boss
(GMM) The only missing link as Lewis Hamilton adapts to life at Mercedes is time, team boss Ross Brawn insists.

With Nico Rosberg notching up a hat-trick of poles at Monaco, and going on to win the prestigious grand prix, many pundits are analyzing teammate Hamilton's apparent slump — and pointing the finger at his 'hip-hop' lifestyle and the bizarre sight of his bulldog being walked in the paddock.

Briton Hamilton, meanwhile, left Monaco vowing to get his "sh– together".

Brawn, however, is not concerned: "I think it is quite a subtle thing," he is quoted by AFP news agency, "but it will just be time, quite frankly.

"Nico has been with the team four or five years and he knows exactly what buttons to press.

"We have a very good group, very experienced people working with Lewis. It just takes a bit of time," he added.

Red Bull keeps pressure on amid 'test-gate'
(GMM) The 'test-gate' saga is likely to be the big topic of conversation this weekend in Canada.

The Red Bull camp, in particular, is keeping the heat on Mercedes, in light of the shock news in Monaco that the German team tested in secret for Pirelli at Barcelona with its current race drivers and 2013 car.

World champion Sebastian Vettel told Sport Bild: "It's funny, when the rules prohibit testing, and then a team goes testing."

He said it is obvious Mercedes have obtained an unfair advantage.

"Every lap is certainly an advantage," Vettel insisted.

The boss of F1's other Red Bull-owned team, Toro Rosso, agrees: "This is the most blatant rule violation of recent years," said Franz Tost.

Mercedes argues that it cleared the test with the FIA, while Pirelli says its contract with the governing body allows 1000km tests with the F1 teams.

But, with the FIA now investigating, Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko is resolute: "We will not let up."

Bridgestone – 'no plans' for F1 return
(GMM) Bridgestone, F1's official tire supplier before Pirelli, has joined Hankook in playing down the prospect of a formula one foray for 2014.

With Pirelli fending off criticism of its controversial 2013 tires, and now embroiled in the 'test-gate' saga, the Italian marque is yet to sign a new deal for 2014 and is threatening to quit the sport.

A Bridgestone spokesman is quoted by "We have no current plans to re-enter formula one."

Hamilton refuses to criticize McLaren
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton has refused to join the list of former drivers who criticize the great McLaren team.

Some drivers, like Fernando Alonso and Juan Pablo Montoya, have left the Woking based team with little complimentary to say.

The latest ex-McLaren driver is Lewis Hamilton, but he told Spain's Marca newspaper: "I don't know what other people say, but I can't say anything bad about McLaren.

"First of all, they brought me to formula one. Without them I would not be here.

"I have a very good relationship with Martin (Whitmarsh), and also Ron (Dennis)," said the 2008 world champion, despite speculation he fell out badly with the latter during his sixth and final season with McLaren in 2012.

"In my time with them we always won at least one grand prix every year; it's a great team, one of the greatest in history.

"But now what I want is to be a part of a new team (Mercedes) that also wants to make history.

"At McLaren you were a part of their history, but just a little piece — at Mercedes I can play a major role in their history. That's why I chose this option."

Meanwhile, Hamilton revealed that once his F1 career finally ends, he will most likely retire rather than switch to another category, like Le Mans.

"I think when I stop F1, I will stop racing as well," he said.

"I'll dedicate myself to other things; my family, my dog," the 28-year-old laughed.

"I think I'll stop. There is nothing like racing in F1 and I'll be too old for MotoGP," he laughed again.

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