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Martini deal finalised?
About a month ago TJ13 reported that Martini is planning on a return to F1. Considering that at the time Brazilian sources were the only ones making that claim, it appears that the info came from somewhere within Felipe Massa’s posse.
Motorsport-Total reports that the deal between Williams and Martini has now been finalised. A shirt bearing the iconic Martini colours appeared on a fanshop’s website, but was taken off again in a matter of minutes. Reasonable doubts remain over the authenticity of the shirt as it showed most of the current sponsors, but was missing any Mercedes-Benz markings. On the other hand there are no Mercedes-Benz markings on the Force India VJM07 shown in Jerez either, so the German engine manufacturer might not be as demanding of exposure, like Renault for instance.
According to Motorsport-Total, Martini had been in talks with McLaren and Ferrari as well, however the prospect of not only being the title sponsor, but also getting to decide the main livery made Williams the favourite for the deal. The final livery is still being decided as new sponsors are still signing on. Genworth is the latest new partner and an announcement of a major deal with Petrobras is expected shortly.
The perils of being a McLaren mechanic
Being a mechanic for a Formula One team is a demanding job, but for some lads, who find themselves on the payroll of McLaren, the job just got a wee bit harder. It appears Jenson Button thought it may do his mechanics good if they embrace the life of a bunny!
Jenson is the ‘Energizer Bunny’ among current F1 drivers, regularly participating in triathlons himself and he now wants to race his own mechanics in the Jenson Button Trust Triathlon, a charity race that is held for the third time and donates its earnings to Cancer Research UK.
“‘I drive for the best team in the world and I have the most fantastic mechanics around me,” he defends his cheeky action to the Daily Mail. “I may have actually signed some of them up for it already without them knowing – I am sure they will thank me for it! As will Cancer Research UK who we are raising money for this year.”
Nice one Jense, not telling them eh?
Anyway, if you have nothing to do on July 12th, take your family to Luton Hoo in Bedfordshire to watch some poor McLaren mechanics die a hero’s death.
Sochi will be ready to race but when? (GMM)
The promoter of the all-new Russian grand prix insists the Sochi venue will be ready for the inaugural race in October. With the questionable readiness of the facilities for the winter olympics currently in the media spotlight, concerns have also been expressed about the new F1 venue.
A double-asterisk on the FIA calendar means the Autodrome Sochi’s October race date is “subject to the homologation of the circuit“. And a report by the Reuters news agency this week described the track as a “fenced-off building site“, littered with “lines of skips and diggers” and “rubble-strewn fringes“.
The pitlane, detailed correspondent Alan Baldwin, “is roughly surfaced, the staircases and corridors above the garages littered with building materials and detritus. Wires dangle from the ceilings, empty shafts await their elevators,” Baldwin explained, adding that the grandstands and VIP suites “are empty shells“.
But promoter Oleg Zabara insists: “Construction of the autodrome in Sochi keeps moving forward.
“All works are being carried out according to the schedule. The racing track is 91 per cent complete. Everything is according to plan, and there aren’t any problems during olympic period,” said Zabara, adding that the team buildings and medical centre are already complete.
Red Bull not to Infinity and beyond? (GMM)
World champions Red Bull could be on the market for a new engine supplier. That is the belief of ex F1 team owner and boss Gian Carlo Minardi, whose former Faenza based team, now called Toro Rosso, is owned by the energy drink company.
Out of troubled engine supplier Renault’s four F1 partners, including Toro Rosso, the senior Red Bull team managed the least mileage of all at the recent Jerez test. Minardi, however, observed that – officially – the Red Bull-owned teams are sending out messages of “tranquillity and calm” about what many others believe is a crisis.
“According to circulating information, the situation seems more difficult than that and not easy to solve,” the 66-year-old wrote in a posting in Italian on his website.
“It seems that Red Bull are exploring a possible change of engine for 2015,” added Minardi.
He said he has also heard that Renault, struggling to solve the obvious problems with its turbo V6 ‘power unit’, has gone beyond the walls of its Viry factory and is now “shopping” around for technical fixes.
“That has practically never happened before as, quite rightly, Renault has always sought to preserve its technology,” said Minardi.
“This news can only feed suspicions of structural problems in the engine that are not easy to solve in the short term.
“Obviously, I hope to be proved wrong as soon as the testing in Bahrain, but undoubtedly we are living through a chaotic time in Formula One,” he added.
Villeneuve the outspoken – new era will destroy F1 (GMM)
F1’s all-new era risks “destroying” the sport, according to outspoken 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve. The French-Canadian, often referred to as an F1 ‘purist’, admitted he is no fan of the radical new rules, featuring energy recovery-bolstered V6 engines.
“I think personally the rules are too restrictive; it’s not formula one,” he told the Telegraph.
42-year-old Villeneuve, whilst announcing his participation in the FIA world rallycross championship this year, said the rules are even a step back from 2013, when drivers often nursed fragile Pirelli tyres to the flag.
Now, the major challenge will be getting a limited amount of fuel to the finish, but the former Williams and Sauber driver said: “It’s not even the driver who determines how much fuel he’s saving — it’s all done electronically.
“I don’t see the point. I know it’s the concept of trying to make it look ‘greener’ because people will be happier, but ultimately it’s not greener. It’s not F1. It’s just a perception, that is destroying Formula One a little bit.”
Villeneuve also said the recent Jerez test showed that the new technology is too complex, while the cars are too slow. “The lap times (at Jerez) were barely faster than what we did in 1997 in Jerez … that’s 17 years ago. I’m not sure why it has become so important to keep going slower,” he said.
Villeneuve was also scathing of the unpopular ‘double points’ innovation for 2014, designed to keep spice in the title fight until the very end.
“It’s turning F1 into a non-epic show, or a game, instead of a proper sport,” he said. “In a way it’s saying, ‘We’re losing fans, how can we make it fakely more exciting?’”
Amid all the speculation about F1’s new era, however, Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali thinks it is too early to draw any dramatic conclusions.
The Italian insisted “a propensity for self-destruction serves no purpose“.
“We have only had one test so far when there were never more than four or five cars on track at the same time. Let’s wait until we see all 22 together before saying that everything’s gone wrong,” said Domenicali.
“Once a path has been chosen, one has to move forward in a constructive manner,” he added.
Due to a mix-up in the archives, today’s news accidentally didn’t mention Mark Webber. We take this opportunity to correct that: Mark Webber. As a companion piece we found a historic picture of Mark’s new employer buried deep in the archives.
Woman on the grid for 2015?
Sauber F1 announced on their website that Swiss Indycar driver Simona de Silvestro becomes a Sauber affiliated driver with the goal of earning the FIA super license and a possible race seat for 2015. If the plan works out, we might see the first woman in F1 since Flavio Briatore’s maîtresse Giovanna Amati tried to qualify an ailing Brabham car in vain for every race she entered in 1992.
Unlike Amati, de Silvestro proved her mettle on the track rather than Flavio’s bedroom. Unable to secure a seat in male dominated Europe de Silvestro went were women get a realistic shot at serious racing – the US of A. A win in Formula BMW USA and 5 wins and a 3rd place in the title standings of the Atlantic championship, USA’s equivalent to GP3, convinced HVM racing to promote her straight to the top tier Indycar series, where she scored 14 top 10 results in 4 season with a second place finish on the street course of Houston, TX standing as her best result.
Caption Competition – who is saying what?
On the subject of “early years” – what are these two saying to each other?
Schumacher wins fight against pneumonia (GMM)
Michael Schumacher has won his fight against pneumonia, according to the major German daily newspaper Bild. Earlier, the seven time world champion’s manager Sabine Kehm played down rumours the lung infection had interrupted efforts to wake Schumacher from his long coma.
She said the great German “still is in a waking up process“. Now, Bild says its sources indicate pneumonia is no longer posing “an acute danger” to the former Ferrari and Mercedes driver’s health.
“Schumacher has already won the fight against pneumonia,” the report claimed.
How fast is the F1 4T Ferrari really? (GMM)
Was Ferrari sandbagging at Jerez?
Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport on Friday revealed that, having studied the data from the recent opening winter test, the top five places in terms of top speed were occupied by Mercedes-powered cars. Topping the lot was the newly Mercedes-powered Williams’ Felipe Massa, who tripped the radar at 286kph on the front straight, and 307 on the fastest part of the southern Spanish circuit.
In contrast, the nearest Ferrari-powered car was the works F14-T driven by Kimi Raikkonen, with just 268 on the straight and a top speed of 289 — considerably down on the leading Mercedes-Benz machine. Auto Motor und Sport’s Michael Schmidt said Ferrari has admitted it did not deploy full power at Jerez, where the all-new and sophisticated V6 ‘power units’ were getting the first real running.
Mercedes’ Niki Lauda, however, said there was no sandbagging in the silver camp. “We went to the limit that we could, as it makes no sense to go deliberately slowly. You learn nothing (from that),” said the great Austrian and Mercedes team chairman.
Renault behind Ferrari and Mercedes but it’s not fatal… apparently
After what can only be described as a disastrous Jerez test, where the Renault teams completed less laps than anyone else, Lotus’ ‘filming day’ was described by Renault as a sign of progress. This, however, was quickly followed by Torro Rosso having a ‘filming day’ at Misano which was also highlighted by the new Renault V6 turbo not being able to keep itself together.
Today Renault’s head of Renault Sport F1 track operations, Remi Taffin, addressed the media in a bid to ‘calm’ the fears of teams and fans alike. Speaking to reporters on a conference call Taffin admitted they “left the first test with a lot to do on our [Renault] side, mainly facing hardware and software issues.”
He continued, “With regard to the hardware we are now confident the problem we had in the first test has been solved and we will be in a position to go out in Bahrain without all these issues.
“As for the software we’ve improved our level. We’re still behind our initial schedule, but now beyond what we would have done in the first test.
“Again we should be okay in Bahrain to go out on the first day with a car that should be working.
“We are ready to do what we would have liked to have done in the first test, which is to properly test the power unit and give our customers a way to discover their cars.”
So that is the whole powertrain then right? And you hope to have it ready for the teams to ‘discover’ their cars? Mr Taffin, may we kindly suggest you seek out a recovery vehicle at Bahrain as we can be certain you will ‘discover’ a few teapots in very close proximity.
It appears Renault have been caught napping in the race to develop these new breeds. Not only are they having problems with structural issues in their engine (now fixed apparently) but software issues as well. And the challenge Renault engineers are facing is getting them to work together.
Not doing much to instil confidence Taffin continues, “It’s not a fatality, but that’s where we are. We are trying do everything at the same time, but then sometimes we have to prioritise so it’s not easy to have everything altogether at once.”
“It’s not a communication problem. It’s how you make them work together. It’s not like one is not talking to the other, it’s basically the language they use.”
So one is talking French and the other? Renault hopes to have their engine running without problems by Bahrain but admits they (and their customers) are behind others, but not months… only weeks…