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The big news this weekend is of course the now imminent departure from the sport of Mark Webber. Helmut Marko has confirmed this morning that Sebastian Vettel will get a say over who partners him next year in the other Red Bull car. Speaking to Bild newspaper, he said, “This is a team, and so we need to ensure the greatest possible harmony.”
This is a very different stance from what we have seen from Marko in months gone by. He continued, “The best decision is one that is made in agreement on all sides. This includes Sebastian.” If it wasn’t clear before, it is now even more obvious who rules the roost at Milton Keynes.
Matt Morris to depart
The Sauber Chief designer, Matt Morris will be leaving the Swiss team on 1st July. The Head of concept design Eric Gandelin will take over the role at the start of next month. Following James Key’s exit to Toro Rosso at the end of 2012 after an overachieving season, this leaves the Swiss outfit with a hole in their design department. Willem Toet, the current Head of Aerodynamics, will be handed increased responsibility according to reports.
There is no word as of yet where he will be heading but McLaren looks like the sensible option for Morris. Previously, he worked for Williams from 2003-11, first as senior systems engineer and then as head of transmission design.
Barcelona not sorry
The organisers of the Spanish Grand Prix have remained unapologetic over their selling of tickets for the 2014, already. Valencia this week expressed surprise that tickets for a F1 race at the Circuit de Catalunya have gone on sale. Valencia vice president Jose Ciscar cited ‘a verbal agreement’ between themselves and Barcelona to alternate a single Spanish F1 race, starting with Valencia in 2014, is now ‘in force’.
Circuit president for Barcelona, Vicenc Aguilera told Spain’s Marca sports newspaper: “We have a contract until 2016 and we will organise (a race) every year until then.” Fireworks are set to ensue, but as has been reported previously on TJ13, the Valencia street circuit has fallen into disrepair. Where the money will come from for these renovations is unknown; which could be the deciding factor as to where the GP will remain for the foreseeable future.
Hamilton issues the challenge to Vettel
The tennis match of compliments between Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton has not been suspended due to the rain at Silverstone. Once again Lewis Hamilton heralds the car the German drives. Hamilton said Vettel, ‘is an absolutely fantastic driver, but “he really does have an awesome car.’ More of the mind games that Christian Horner referred to following the Brazilian GP last year. He was referring to the rumours that were spread by Ferrari, of Vettel having an agreement in place for 2014 with the Maranello outfit. This has now been proven wrong by the announcement this week, of the man from Heppenheim signing a new contract with Red Bull.
A solution to the rain at Silverstone
Will Buxton has come up with a novel idea for solving the lack of running in FP1 at Silverstone. Paul Di Resta has summed up the problem with the British weather, stating, “He had never run on slicks during Friday practice of a British GP.”
Another person who will be cursing the wet weather is James Rossiter, who was robbed of the chance for some free practice running in the Force India. He had been set to replace Adrian Sutil for FP1.
The Jenson Button Trust Triathlon
Sunday 14th July at the Luton Hoo estate in Bedfordshire will see a whole host of celebrities and sports people compete in Button’s own triathlon. It is all in aid of Help for Heroes, with the top prize being £7,000. With 500 places, if you want to sign up you had better be fast.
Da Costa to Toro Rosso
Following the announcement yesterday that Mark Webber will be moving to drive for Porsche at Le Mans in 2014, there has been all sorts of speculation about the possible permutations of driver combinations for 2014. There have been several reports saying Da Costa has a Toro Rosso race seat confirmed for next year. This would mean that either Jean-Eric Vergne or Daniel Ricciardo will be moving on, to presumably the senior team. However, Christian Horner has stated he wants ‘the fastest driver’ on the other side of the garage to Vettel in 2014. A further power struggle to ensue in Milton Keynes.
Red Bull have confirmed that Red Bull Junior Team drivers Antonio Felix da Costa and Carlos Sainz Junior will be taking part in the Formula One young driver test set for July 17-19 at Silverstone in the UK. Lisbon born Da Costa will be drive for the first two days of the test, with Sainz finishing the team’s running at the Northamptonshire circuit on day three.
Chilton lacking support
Max Chilton revealed this morning during a soggy first practice that only his family and girlfriend are present the race this weekend. In an interview with Natalie Pinkham the Reigate pilot said his mates were away for a 21st birthday party this weekend, whilst many of his family were away watching his brother in the touring cars championships.
Horner wanted 162 points
In an interview with auto, motor und sport Christian Horner revealed he had wanted the punishment for the Silver Arrows to be 162 points. The figure was reportedly subject to close analysis whilst working with chief engineer Paul Monaghan. Even if you take the 37 points Mercedes scored at Monaco, the 25 they scored at Montreal and the potential 43 points on offer at Silverstone and the Nurburgring, it still only comes to 148 points. Clearly the Red Bull added premium is included in the RB estimate for the points penalty.
Panis sees the potential of Pic
Charles Pic’s manager, former Formula 1 driver from 1994 to 2004 Olivier Panis, believes that people are yet to see the true potential of the young Frenchman. Panis stated, “I never had any doubts about the speed of Charles I know that it can be quickly both on a fast lap in qualifying and in the race he was in training in Bahrain the upper hand against Heikki Kovalainen and was over half a second faster, which says a lot, I think.”
I wonder if the rest of the paddock saw the potential of the Caterham protégé whilst he was marooned in the gravel at turn 18, towards the end of FP1.
The return of testing becomes official
The FIA today confirmed that testing will be legal from January 2014 onwards.
A statement on the FIA’s website reads: “Four two-day track tests will be allowed in season in place of the current eight one-day promotional days and the three-day young driver test. These will take place at tracks in Europe on the Tuesday and Wednesday after a race in order to ensure minimal additional resources are necessary.
“Track testing will now also be permitted in January 2014 in order to allow earlier testing of the new power units.”
The end of blown diffusers
Auto Motor und Sport have reported that the FIA has dictated that the turbo V6s only have one exhaust outlet, and that it must exit beyond the diffuser. Any exhaust blowing or ‘Coanda effect’ will now be impossible. Auto Motor und Sport added, ” the area behind the exhaust pipe is a forbidden zone.” The effectiveness of the RB and Lotus packages will be lessened, with the Newey factor being reduced.
Matt Morris update
McLaren confirm the arrival of the chief designer from Sauber, where he will take up a new role of Head of Engineering. This goes against the usual policy of promoting within the team. Somewhat of a power struggle could ensue with the number of high end designers McLaren are now boasting, according to David Croft of SKY UK.
Williams F1 and ShoreTel announce a new technical partnership
The new agreement will see ShoreTel become an official technical supplier of the team, integrating communications within Williams’ on-track activities at Grand Prix venues around the world. All at the Grove based team will be hoping it can change the fortunes of the team, who are yet to score a point in 2013. Adrian Hipkiss, ShoreTel’s EMEA vice president and managing director, said; “This exciting new partnership with the Williams F1 Team positions ShoreTel at the cutting edge of technology in an increasingly relevant international market.”