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Sochi shake up
The first movements post Christmas in the world of F1 are not drivers but in fact a circuit organiser. With the news first of Sochi failing to submit their race application on time being waved, then the setback over the airports still needing to be resolved, the Russians have decided to bring in some support from a circuit that has been a success (at least of sorts).
The CEO of the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, Richard Cregan, is to work with the Sochi organisers for the next 3 years as the race looks to become an important part of the F1 calendar. Some might argue that Yas Marina has been lucky in the racing it has had so far with the 2010 title being decided there, Vettel retiring on the first lap in 2011 and Lewis retiring from the lead in 2012 to give way for Raikkonen’s now infamous comments.
“The combined, impressive experience that the international consultants have, their understanding of the Formula One world, and the desire to do the Grand Prix at the highest level guarantee a good result of our teamwork,” said Oleg Zabara, one of the Sochi promoters.
“Knowledge and experience which we will get in the course of this cooperation will ensure not only hosting the world-class Grand Prix, but also effective use of the Autodrome in Sochi all year-round.”
Cregan has admitted he took his time over whether to take over the role at Sochi. Having being the team manager at Toyota before the team pulled out of F1, Cregan knows only too well that throwing money at a project will not guarantee success. With little over 2 months until tickets go on sale, the race is on to convince fans from around the world to come and visit the site on the 2014 Winter Olympics.
Webber sees the funny side
Mark Webber decided to get involved on Twitter, telling Brett Lee to get into Piers Morgan after the Brit had challenged the ex-Austrlian fast bowler to a net session. (Apologies to any who don’t have much interest in cricket. I understand it can be as exciting as watching paint dry for many)
“…give his big toe a tune up while you’re there too” tweeted Webber, before Lee was due to bowl. It was good to see Webber in high spirits as when Morgan replied to Webber saying, “Get back to chasing Vettel’s tail, mate.“, the Austrlian did not rise to the obvious jibe. Instead replying, “ lost SV’s tail years ago matey, retired from f1, so can follow you do ya crazy stuff. #netsession”
In truth, a very modest reply from the Webber given the fact he was challenging Vettel for the win back in Malaysia and was haunted with bad luck throughout the season. Were it not for a poor last corner in Austin, he may have even taken pole there as well!
Ferrari to reward Raikkonen and Alonso
The battle next year at Ferrari will be an intriguing one between the experienced pair, but it will also be suitably rewarding. If either of the pair manage to claim the 2014 World Drivers’ Championship they will bag themselves a LaFerrari.
The £1 million supercar which has a top speed of 220mph was launched in 2013. As if any firther incentive to reign victorious was needed, a car which has can do 0-60 in under 3 seconds will certainly appeal.
The opportunity for ‘first blood’ will have to wait until Melbourne, after Ferrari revealed that it would not be holding its yearly Vroom ski event, which Raikkonen would almost certainly had an advantage over Alonso in.
According to the newly reelected President of the FIA, not everyone is opposed to the idea of double points at the final Grand Prix of the season. Th Chairman of Mercedes is reportedly in agreement with the FIA’s decision.
“More bonus points should be given in the last third of the season” he said. Either the Austrian has been over indulging in the Christmas turkey or he has extreme confidence in how the 2014 Mercedes car will develop.
In his interview with speedweek, Toto Wolff agreed, stating “A distribution (of points) for regions or continents would make sense.” At least all at Brackley seem to be singing from the same hymn sheet, with Lewis Hamilton revealing how competitive he thinks the team will be next year.
The Brit spoke of how he feels the team have the right personnel to be able to compete with the other front runners in 2014. If Ferrari and Mercedes do produce contending cars, it could be a very tough introduction to the front for Daniel Ricciardo!
As for the double points idea, the situation appears to be getting very messy. Ecclestone wants it to be more than for just 1 race, the FIA are happy with it being installed for only the season finale, while Red Bull and most F1 fans don’t want it – along with the Abu Dhabi organisers who will not want to pay the extra money for the hosting fee. This argument looks set to continue to…
Ignorance is bliss…
Oh to be 19 years old and fresh faced without a pessimistic bone in your body. The young Russian, Sergey Sirotkin has been commenting on his position with Sauber next year following the confirmation of Esteban Gutierrez for the second race seat in 2014.
Speaking to Russian website, f1news.ru he said, “In my opinion, it’s the best option for my development — to continue in the World Series by Renault and be third driver for a formula one team.
“The (Sauber) contract doesn’t say how often I’ll drive the car on Fridays, but the position of third driver does include visits to the grands prix.” When asked in more depth about his FP1 role this season he replied, “I have no doubt that one of them will be the grand prix in Sochi.
“We are also talking about testing for the super license. There is not really a rush, so it should be done either before the start of the season, or at the very beginning.”
Without a superlicense he is still in a very disadvantaged position, even if he does aim to concentrate on World Series by Renault (3.5) for 2014. One only has to look at the position Davide Valsecchi found himself in last year, as he failed to get a single FP1 drive.
The contract Sitorkin has stating he will visit race weekends is weak at best. As many will tell you, contracts in F1 mean very little until you are in the driving seat (no pun intended). With less reliance on the Russian money now that many of the Mexican backers of Sauber have resigned for 2014, including the most important one TelMex, Sochi could be the only outing Sirotkin gets.
Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn commented, “Our goal remains to prepare him for a debut in formula one.” Hmmm, I wouldn’t hold your breath Sergey.
Formula E debut
It was announced earlier today that Formula E will be making its first public showing in Las Vegas on 6th January 2014. The Spark-Renault SRT_01E Formula E car will be driven by Lucas di Grassi at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
fiaformulae.com states, “The new Formula E car is capable of speeds in excess on 150mph and has been designed and built by Spark Racing Technologies, together with a consortium of the leading names in motorsport including Dallara (chassis), Williams (battery design), McLaren (powertrain & electronics), Renault (system integration) and Michelin (tyres).”
Before some of you may wonder why they are launching this new and ‘green’ products in one of the most unsustainable cities on earth, the question is answered. “The event will also be held in conjunction with the International CES – a global consumer electronics and consumer technology tradeshow that takes place every January in Las Vegas, Nevada.”
The CEO of series promoters Formula E Holdings, Alejandro Agag, said, “It’s going to be a fantastic spectacle and a great way for us to start the New Year in a very positive way. 2014 is, of course, a very big year for Formula E with the championship starting in Beijing in September. Before then we want to showcase this amazing fully-electric car to as many people as possible so they can see, and hear, what to look forward to.”
There is, as yet, no news when the cars will make their European debut to the public. Any TJ13 readers who live nearby, please get down there and tell us what you think of the cars.
Whether the series will be a
roaring whirring success or another flop (read A1GP) remains to be seen? Going to places where there is no Formula One will surely help to spread the idea of Motorsport…