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Previously on TheJudge13
Newey with Webber at Silverstone, not in China (GMM)
Adrian Newey chose overcast Silverstone over smoggy Shanghai for the weekend of the Chinese grand prix. Speed Week reports that Red Bull’s technical boss will not be on the Shanghai pitwall on Sunday because he is actually trackside at Silverstone.
It is at the British grand prix venue that the season opener of the world endurance sports car championship is taking place, and Newey has been spotted chatting with Red Bull’s newly-retired driver Mark Webber. This weekend, Australian Webber is kicking off his new career as Porsche’s lead prototype driver.
“It was just a shorter journey to Silverstone than it was to Shanghai,” a smiling Newey explained.
Dennis hits back at Horner’s stance on Fallows (GMM)
Ron Dennis is keeping the pressure on Red Bull, after an employee reneged on a deal to switch teams. On Saturday, the McLaren supremo vowed to take F1’s reigning world champions all the way to the High Court, after Dan Fallows decided at the last minute to return to Red Bull rather than start work at Woking.
“He’d got no lawful right to change his mind in that way,” Dennis told us from Shanghai. Dennis said Fallows did not answer phone calls, texts or emails, but when asked about the legal battle on Saturday, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner hit back: “Perhaps Ron would have been better giving me a call.”
Dennis has now described Horner’s attitude as “a bit rich. We formally emailed Christian Horner more than two weeks ago, asking him about Dan Fallows’ whereabouts, so it’s a bit rich for him to say ‘Why didn’t Ron call me?’ now,” said the 66-year-old.
“The point is that Fallows has a legally binding contract with McLaren yet Red Bull chose to ignore that and instead convince him to return to Red Bull,” Dennis told us on Sunday before the Chinese grand prix.
TJ13 comment: It appears that Ron Dennis may be somewhat hypocritical in his choice of words. Adrian Newey had signed a contract with Jaguar F1 in June 2001 and was to take over for the 2002 season, yet Ron Dennis came back and made Newey an offer that would prove irresistible. Newey changed his mind and remained at Mclaren before the Red Bull team was created from the remnants of the Jaguar F1 team.
Whitmarsh set for $10m McLaren payout – report (GMM)
Ousted boss Martin Whitmarsh could walk away from McLaren with a $10 million payout.
Last month, when Eric Boullier became the British team’s new chief in the wake of supremo Ron Dennis’ return to power, it was rumoured Whitmarsh agreed not to speak to the media while his contract payout is negotiated. “Martin is a friend,” Dennis said in March. “Some decisions you take in life are not that easy, and I will not elaborate.”
Britain’s Daily Mail now reports that while Whitmarsh’s severance package is still being negotiated, it is “likely” to be around $10 million. Correspondent Jonathan McEvoy said the figure is more than $400,000 for each of the 24 years Whitmarsh served at McLaren.
Lotus bullied over budget cap axe – Lopez (GMM)
Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez on Sunday indicated he was unhappy to have joined the opposition against the introduction of budget caps. The powerful ‘Strategy Group’ teams – comprising the ‘big four’ Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren but also Williams and Lotus – recently wrote to Jean Todt indicating they would not approve the FIA president’s cap proposal. Williams is included in the group due to the team’s past success and history, while Lotus is also a member after finishing the 2013 season in fourth place.
But Lopez hinted to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport that the two smaller teams were bullied into signing the letter. “Williams and us were pulled over the table,” he is quoted as saying.
The biggest teams, however, argue not only that the proposed $200 million cap would not help their small rivals, but that it could not even be effectively policed. And Mercedes’ Toto Wolff is quoted on Sunday: “It makes no sense to introduce rules that are not supported by the three major teams.”
The big teams’ counter-proposal is for cost cuts to be achieved by introducing some new technical and sporting regulations. “We need to find meaningful limits,” Wolff explained, “such as extending the parc ferme or the curfew. We need to discuss, for example, whether it is sensible to fly in new parts on every day during a race weekend, or 24 hour shifts before races.”
The small teams, however, are sceptical, believing that the big teams are already finding ways around the existing cost-saving measures, such as limited wind tunnel use. “When I see the downforce of the big teams, it’s impossible within the allowable limits,” a representative of one small team is quoted as saying.