This page will be updated throughout the day.
Please if you are on Twitter press the tweet button below. If you re-write and tweet individual story headlines don’t forget to include #F1.
You may not realise how hugely important this is and has helped grow our community significantly.
Mercedes breached fuel flow rules in Melbourne – report (GMM)
Is this the ‘trickery’ referred to just days ago by Luca di Montezemolo?
In an open letter, the Ferrari president warned the FIA to be ready for team “trickery” in the area of “fuel, software” and “consumption” as a result of “grey areas” opened up by the new regulations.
Germany’s Auto Bild reports that Mercedes, already dominating the new turbo V6 era with its powerful new engine, has triggered the FIA’s attention in Australia in the area of the sport’s new fuel consumption limits. As well as being limited to just 100kg of fuel per race, each car is limited in 2014 to a maximum fuel rate of 100 kilograms per hour, enforced by a fuel flow sensor. Auto Bild claims that at least one team, believed to be Mercedes, went over the fuel flow limit in practice at Albert Park.
It is believed the FIA also warned Ferrari on the same subject during winter testing.
The Auto Bild report said that in Melbourne, the FIA has now reacted not by penalising Mercedes but by easing the tolerance by which rules breaches are measured, particularly in the wake of pre-season problems with the sensor. Boss Toto Wolff denies that the FIA tweak has anything to do with Mercedes. “We actually voluntarily reduced our fuel flow rate,” he insisted. “Had we not done that, we would have been five tenths faster yesterday.”
‘Monster’ Mercedes producing 900hp – report (GMM)
Mercedes’ new field-leading turbo V6 engine could be producing much more horse power than was earlier believed.
Before travelling to Melbourne, team chairman Niki Lauda revealed that the basic 1.6 litre Mercedes unit is producing “about 580hp.” As it is known that the sophisticated energy-recovery or ‘ERS’ side adds 160hp to the equation, then Mercedes’ 2014 ‘power unit’ equates to about 740hp at present.
However, the German newspaper Bild reports that Mercedes’ competition believes the ‘monster’ Mercedes unit is actually producing “up to 900 horse power” when operating at full tilt. Asked about the 740 versus 900 figures, Renault-powered Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko said: “For sure the engine has more power than they are saying.”
The Austrian was speaking on Saturday, where despite Daniel Ricciardo’s surprising feat of splitting the two Mercedes on the grid, world champion Sebastian Vettel failed even to make the top ten.
“We tried some new software but it did not work,” said Marko. “Mercedes is having no problems with the engine and has power in excess. They are able to do a strategic race.”
My ‘servant’ days are over – Massa (GMM)
Felipe Massa has kicked off the next phase of his formula one career with two thumbs up.
One thumb is for his move to Williams, where despite the British team finishing the 2013 season deeply uncompetitive, he has found himself powered by the plum Mercedes engine.
“I am happy, that’s true,” the Brazilian, who lost his Ferrari seat after eight years to Kimi Raikkonen, told the German newspaper Bild. “I’m glad I went this way. It could have been a stroke of luck. The car feels good,” said Massa. “The fact that Williams changed to the Mercedes engines is the first step to success,” he insisted. “I feel that the car is strong and I’m hungry to finally win again.”
Massa’s other skywards-facing thumb is for the end of the Ferrari era, where despite intense highs and the almost title-winning 2008 season, the 32-year-old has also experienced some deep lows.
Asked by correspondent Nicola Pohl to describe what four years as Fernando Alonso’s ‘water-carrier’ feels like, he answered: “I’ll tell you one thing. The time as a servant is over! Williams wants me to take a leadership role in the team. In a team you sometimes have to do things that you don’t understand in the moment. But you’re not a racing driver if you cannot win,” Massa insisted.
Ecclestone doubts Susie Wolff will race in F1 (GMM)
Bernie Ecclestone does not think Susie Wolff will ever realise her dream of lining up on the F1 grid. Briton Wolff, whose Austrian husband Toto is the Mercedes chief and Williams co-owner, will need a full race super license in 2014 as she appears on the Friday mornings at Silverstone and Hockenheim at the wheel of the Mercedes-powered Williams.
But F1 chief executive Ecclestone, who once notoriously admitted he hopes the 31-year-old is “as quick in a car as she looks good out of it”, doubts Wolff will ever actually race in grands prix. “Susie Wolff is good,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald, “but will she ever be in a position to show how good she is? I doubt it.”
“The big problem with a woman, even if she’s good enough, is having the opportunity to show that,” 83-year-old Ecclestone explained.“Because a team won’t take a woman driver unless they bring them massive sponsorship. So you could have a very, very good woman driver and she would not get what she deserves,” he added.
A greater matter on Ecclestone’s mind at present is the sport’s all-new turbo V6 era.
Fiercely critical of the move to quieter engines, the diminutive Briton will have heard with alarm the criticism in Melbourne of the ‘sewing machines on wheels’. “I think at the beginning when all this started we thought this would attract a lot of manufacturers who manufacture the size of engine that we are using in 2014,” he said.
“Formula one is entertainment,” Ecclestone insisted. “The trouble is that sometimes we forget that. These are the people who buy the tickets, turn on the TV and produce the money so that the sport can grow.”
FIA president Jean Todt, however, is just as fiercely dismissive of Ecclestone’s and the fans’ concerns, insisting the matter will be all forgotten “after a few laps in Melbourne”. The Frenchman is taking criticism of the highly-controversial ‘double points’ idea for the season finale much more seriously.
As far as he is concerned, the tweak to keep interest in the championship until the end is merely “a little change”, and far less significant than the important “revolution” to modernise F1’s engine regulations.
But Todt also admitted the FIA is prepared to drop the ‘double points’ idea. “If it doesn’t work, it is easy to get rid of for next year,” he told the Daily Mail. “We will see if there is more interest at the end of the championship. If not, I would be the first to say let’s go back to the way it was.”