Latest F1 news in brief – Monday

UPDATE Update shown in red below.


  • A race at London's Olympic Park was just a pipe dream

    Ecclestone admits Olympic stadium GP unlikely

  • Schumacher 'should know the rules' – Whiting
  • First taste of HRT was 'total disaster' – boss
  • World of F1 now closed for business
  • Pirelli says tire war not good for F1
  • Sauber not definitely staying with Ferrari in 2014
  • Ricciardo not surprised to miss Red Bull seat
  • Lotus pushing to debut 'double DRS' at Spa New

Ecclestone admits Olympic stadium GP unlikely
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has admitted it is unlikely a bid to stage a grand prix at London's Olympic stadium will succeed.

A company called Intelligent Transport Services recently launched the bid to take over the Olympic venue and use it for a formula one race once this week's Games have ended.

But on a visit to Olympic Park at the weekend, F1's chief executive said he actually favors rival plans to stage a London street race that would see the cars drive past some of the city's most famous landmarks.

When asked about the Olympic stadium plans, Ecclestone said: "I would rather have a race where we originally planned in central London.

"It is a project we are going to try and make happen," he is quoted by the Times newspaper.

Schumacher 'should know the rules' – Whiting
(GMM) Charlie Whiting has pointed a finger of criticism at Michael Schumacher and Mercedes in the wake of the recent Hungarian grand prix.

The Hungaroring race start was delayed when Schumacher, who at 43 is F1's oldest active driver, lined up on the wrong grid slot.

Marshals then had to push the great German's Mercedes off the grid after he deliberately stopped the engine, forgetting that the race re-start procedure had been changed way back in 2005.

Whiting, who is the official race starter and the highest ranking FIA official at grands prix, confirmed to German newspaper Bild am Sonntag that Schumacher caused the start chaos.

"Michael should know the rules," the Briton added.

Bild asked Whiting if drivers are required to pass a rules test prior to being awarded their coveted F1 super license.

"Not by the FIA," he answered.

"We assume that a team competing in formula one knows the rules. It is the responsibility of the teams to ensure that its drivers – its employees – know the rules," said Whiting.

Flanked by Rubens Barrichello (326 grands prix) and Riccardo Patrese (257), Michael Schumacher (299) is the second most experienced driver in formula one history.

First taste of HRT was 'total disaster' – boss
(GMM) HRT boss Luis Perez-Sala has admitted his first taste of the struggling Spanish team was not a happy one.

The former Minardi driver was appointed by HRT's new owners Thesan Capital last year.

His first taste of life at HRT under his predecessor Colin Kolles' rule was at the 2011 British grand prix.

"What I saw, I did not like," Perez-Sala told El Pais newspaper.

"It was a total disaster. There was no organization, no credibility. No aerodynamic research. No home, no identity.

"Everything was outsourced. No technician was based at the same place. They said it was a Spanish team, but there was nothing Spanish," he added.

Since then – even though HRT remains at the rear of the grid – a lot has changed. Perez-Sala, who has overseen the team's relocation to plush headquarters in Madrid, said the restructuring followed an "autopsy" of HRT's first two seasons as Campos and Hispania.

"It was clear that Pedro (de la Rosa) had to be with us," he explained. "He was the key.

"He was Spanish, he is experienced, he is honest. He has been more than ten years in formula one, knows everyone and knows how to develop a car with the mechanics and the engineers.

"He contributes a lot as a driver, but having him with us helps us to grow, to have a plan without taking stabs in the dark."

De la Rosa, who was enticed by Sala to join HRT despite being offered only half the pay of his McLaren reserve role, admits he too had a "bad" first impression of the team.

"They had been in formula one two years and yet it did not look like a serious project. They had a bad structure that was difficult to change.

"I wanted to sign before, but I had no trust. When I saw Luis was there, I thought about it.

"Then there were some good arguments: to race again with a team with a Spanish license, Spanish bosses, mechanics and engineers, a Spanish driver.

"I liked the idea of being here (in Spain) not in England where the other teams are, but to create something different and a structure that is staying in Spain. It sounded good," said de la Rosa.

HRT's chief executive Saul Ruiz de Marcos revealed that the team's budget in 2012 is EUR 50 million, which is seven times less than the biggest teams, and half that of immediate competitor Caterham.

"If we succeed, we can get sponsors and make money in three years," he said. "The secret is to spend every last euro to develop the car aerodynamically, which is where you gain the most time."

De Marcos said one strategy is to "get closer" to the lucrative Indian and Chinese markets, which have not yet been fully tapped by formula one.

"We already have a driver of Indian nationality, Narain Karthikeyan," he said, "and we are developing what will be the first Chinese driver in the history of formula one, Ma Qing Hua."

World of F1 now closed for business
(GMM) Formula one is officially on holiday.

A gentleman's agreement between the 12 competing teams means every factory has closed its doors and sent home its staff for a full 14 day period.

"What can you do during this period? Nothing, absolutely nothing," Autosprint's Alberto Antonini wrote.

McLaren was the first to shut down, closing its doors at Woking on midnight after the Hungarian grand prix.

Red Bull went home on Friday, and will re-open next Friday.

Mercedes, Force India, Lotus, Williams, Sauber, Caterham, HRT and Marussia have all chosen to close between August 6 – Monday – until the 20th, while Toro Rosso's shutdown began on Sunday.

France's Auto Hebdo said only Ferrari's shutdown plans are not clear.

"Formula one is making a pitstop," Peter Sauber wrote in his Blick column, "and I think it's been a good system since 2009."

Williams' Bruno Senna, currently back in his native Brazil, said the F1 shutdown is his first "real vacation" in "several years".

"The engineers can't even take their laptops home," he is quoted by Globo.

"I will not see a sponsor, I will not see the team, I will not see a journalist — I'm staying home and will sleep in my bed and enjoy the sun," said Senna.

Pirelli says tire war not good for F1
(GMM) Pirelli chief Paul Hembery thinks it would be wrong for formula one to return to the 'tire war' era.

Recent rumors hinted FIA president Jean Todt would like to see Michelin return to the sport, but the French marque has said it would only race in F1 again if it can compete with a rival manufacturer.

Michael Schumacher thinks a tire war ensures "decent tires" to race on, but Pirelli motor sport director Hembery is staunchly opposed.

The Italian marque's contract as F1's sole supplier runs to the end of next year.

"Let's wait and see if the rules change," Hembery is quoted by Brazil's Globo Esporte.

"If it happens, let's consider what to do. The teams are definitely not interested in a tire war," he insisted.

Neither, clearly, is Pirelli.

"There is a safety issue," Hembery said. "The tire companies would push the limits with safety, because that's how you get performance. We saw what happened at Indianapolis (in 2005).

"I don't think it's good for suppliers, and it's certainly not good for the category.

"It means spending millions to be half a second faster, and you're still not proving that you have the best tire, because in the end it's the teams that are winning. It makes no sense.

"Nobody can actually remember which tires were on what cars when there were the tire wars, because all the money was being spent on a performance that the public couldn't see.

"All the teams I've talked to don't want it. They consider it a waste of money in an area they can't control that is of limited value to the public," Hembery concluded.

Sauber not definitely staying with Ferrari in 2014
(GMM) Sauber has not decided if it will stay with Ferrari power in 2014.

The Swiss team has expressed grave doubts about the increased costs of renting engines for the radical new V6 regulations in 2014.

Before and after Sauber's recent BMW era, the independent Hinwil based team was and is a longstanding Ferrari customer, but the current agreement runs only to the end of the V8 era.

"It is obvious that we will go first to our current engine partner, because we have a long shared history," chief executive Monisha Kaltenborn told the German website

"But it's all open, because I think they themselves (Ferrari) also do not know much more than us about certain conditions."

With the apparent demise of Craig Pollock's 2014 venture Pure, and the likelihood that Cosworth will bow out of F1 prior to the V6 era, Sauber's options appear limited to either Ferrari, Mercedes or Renault.

Kaltenborn continued: "We have made it clear that the financial aspect is very important for us.

"We do not want to go back to the days when you had to pay so much more money for engines."

Meanwhile, Kaltenborn played down rumors Sauber's salvation could be Volkswagen.

Her boss Peter Sauber recently confirmed he met at the Geneva motor show with VW chairman Martin Winterkorn.

"That's all there is, there's no more to say about it," Kaltenborn insisted. "We are not in further talks."

Ricciardo not surprised to miss Red Bull seat
(GMM) Daniel Ricciardo did not interpret Red Bull's decision to keep Mark Webber in 2013 as a door slammed in his face.

Now the cream of the energy drink company's driver development program, Australian Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne were signed to Toro Rosso this year and regarded as candidates to graduate to the main team in 2013.

But on much improved form in the first half of this year, Ricciardo's countryman Webber has secured a new contract for next season.

The 23-year-old insists he is not disappointed.

"Not in a negative way, but I never thought it would happen, at least for next season," Ricciardo told the West Australian newspaper.

"I knew there was a lot to be done. But I had 20 races to get through this year and to prove that I could be something extraordinary to take that seat."

Scoring a meager 6 points so far, Toro Rosso has had a tough 2012 season after ousting former drivers Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari at the end of last year.

Still, Ricciardo thinks he has done enough to at least keep the seat for 2013.

"I don't think they're searching for someone to replace me yet, unless the season goes pretty poorly from here.

"But if I continue what I'm doing or even improve a bit – that would be nice – I estimate I would stay here."

Lotus pushing to debut 'double DRS' at Spa
(GMM) Technical boss James Allison has confirmed speculation Lotus intends to debut its so-called 'double DRS' system in Belgium next month.

On British broadcaster Sky's 'F1 Show', television pundit Ted Kravitz explained that – unlike Mercedes' pioneering device – the Lotus version is in fact not attached to the rear wing DRS.

He said Lotus actually calls it the "F-duct".

"(In a race) you can only use DRS at one point on the circuit, where they'll have this straight-line speed boost at pretty much any point over 150mph," said Kravitz.

That will be a big advantage on the long straights and sweeping curves at fabled Spa-Francorchamps.

"And they (Lotus) say it's about 4 or 5 kilometers per hour (benefit) — that's a huge advantage," said former Toyota driver and pundit Allan McNish.

Lotus has tested it on Kimi Raikkonen's black and gold E20 during Friday practice at the most recent Hockenheim and Hungary events.

And amid suggestions the entire concept will be banned by the FIA for 2013, technical boss James Allison believes it is still worth the investment and effort now.

"(Even) If it goes away next year it's still something we think is worthwhile putting our effort into," he said.

"We hope to have it ready to deploy at Spa," Allison added, insisting it will require a lot of effort to have both cars ready to race the system in Belgium.

"It's a reasonable amount of time on the calendar but in working terms not very long at all because of the shutdown," he said.

Leave a Reply