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Marussia and Caterham merger talks collapsed
This is hot off the press and we’ll post what we have so far. Surprisingly, Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that he is intrigued by the fact Marussia have not signed a commercial arrangement with him and FOM. saying “I have everything prepared here for them to sign,” he tells the Times.
TJ13 reported that over the winter Mr. E was touting the idea that he only wanted 10 teams and that this was easier to manage for the F1 sponsors. Marussia were equally milking the sympathy vote telling the world they had no agreement for 2013 with Bernie and were the only team having to fund they’re F1 excursions without finance from the sport.
The week before the F1 season opener in Australia, TJ13 reported that Marussia were holding out for a deal and had challenged FOM and Ecclestone not to show their cars at the Melbourne races due to F1’s failure to agree terms with Marussia over their ‘image rights’. The implication was clear that the team would seek compensation for any breach of these rights and it was not a heavily veiled threat.
In nonchalant form Ecclestone is in revelatory form. He does not have his angry trousers on, but with the charm of a gentleman combined with the innocence of one who is genuinely bemused at the situation, regarding the Marussia stand off he recounts, “It is not a problem. But they have not been happy and they almost merged with Caterham, so that made me wondering what was happening”.
The report continues alleging that Caterham and Marussia contemplated the merger to “guarantee survival”, but the talks “foundered and the two teams are now in a dogfight for tens of millions of pounds in prize money”.
Marussia Chief Executive Graeme Lowdon confirmed the merger talks had taken place stating, “I wasn’t involved in them (the talks) and as I understand it, the conclusion was unacceptable to our shareholders. So nothing happened,” he informed SKY News.
Marussia has yet to confirm they have reached a commercial agreement with Bernie who you have to love – and we’ll all miss him when he’s gone.
Wearing his hat as Mercedes AMG F1 non-executive chairman Lauda launched a blistering attack on Pirelli for designing the F1 2013 tyres to degrade, calling it “absolutely stupid”. He suggested that he struggled to ‘understand’ what was going on but at least had help from the Mercedes strategy engineers to explain it to him.
Paul Hermbery, Formula 1’s Mr. Nice has hit back at Lauda today when he asked, “Has Niki forgotten how boring the races used to be? It’s always the same: we give the teams a new challenge, and if their driver doesn’t win, they complain.”
Dr. Helmut Marko intervenes on behalf of Mark Webber
Formula Sochi in liquidation
The company established to promote the Russian GP has been placed into liquidation. Omega, it’s parent company appears to the one managing the construction and the staff of Formula Sochi have been transferred to Omega.
It is formula Sochi who hold the contract with Ecclestone and therefore will require dispensation for this to be transferred to the parent company. It is not thought FOM of Mr. E will object to this as they are keen for the inaugural race to take place in 2014. November has been suggested as the date for the F1 calendar.
Sauber sort out the fuel problem
Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn has spoken about the problem that prevented Nico Hulkneberg from competing in the Melbourne GP. “What happened was that many factors led to the creation of a vacuum in the fuel cell – so it collapsed on itself. That damaged the fuel cell. The engineers already had a good understanding of it in Melbourne. We tested some things there and had some tests in Hinwil. We have introduced a couple of measures, and looked at different reasons that should lead us to solve the problem.”
Having seen how close rivals Force India performed Monisha recognises this was a real missed opportunity for Hulkenberg. “He obviously was not too happy about the situation because, if you look at the position he was meant to be starting the race, it was quite a good position. Everything is now speculation in terms of where he could end up. He had a good chance to get in the points and if you see this chance fizzle out, maybe two hours before the race, it is particularly disappointing.”
Nico Hulkenberg despite entering the Australian GP 3 times has yet to complete a racing lap down under. He does not believe the lack of running last weekend will not hamper his efforts tin Sepang. “I don’t feel on the back foot,” he said. “If you haven’t done the race then it’s difficult to comment. You don’t know where you would have been. Things might have been brighter than we think, better, or even worse. We don’t know. And that makes it hard and disappointing but I wouldn’t say on the back foot.
What we’ve seen from the car is that is performing at a level where we can score points.”