The F1 - News Catch up on all F1 news, here at's RSS Feed! 1 tweaks qualifying format for 18-car gridThu, 30 Oct 2014 22:25:49 GMTThe FIA has changed the qualifying format for the United States Grand Prix following the loss of both Caterham and Marussia. With a reduced grid of just 18 cars, four less than usual, only the slowest four will drop out in Q1 and Q2 instead of six, leaving ten for the final pole position shoot-out. "Having regard to the principles established in the Formula 1 sporting regulations article 33.1, the stewards decide that the slowest four cars in Q1 will [be] prohibited from taking any further part in the session, and the slowest four cars in Q2 will likewise be prohibited from taking any further part in the session," confirmed a statement. Meanwhile, the stewards referred both Caterham and Marussia to FIA president Jean Todt for punishment as both have failed to show for the US GP. "In view of the Team's current financial circumstances, the Stewards also decide not to impose any penalty. Because of the particular nature of the breach, the matter is referred to the attention of the FIA President." joins Audi 'to develop new business areas'Thu, 30 Oct 2014 16:53:18 GMTFormer Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali will officially join Audi on November 1st, a spokesperson at the German company told The Italian was in charge of Ferrari's F1 activities from 2008 to 2014 when he resigned and was replaced by Marco Mattiacci. It's been rumoured that Audi, a subsidiary of Volkswagen, is set to join the F1 grid in 2016 as part of a plan to expand its motorsport activites. The company was also present during meetings about F1's 2014 power units and supported the case for the current hybrid units. A spokesperson also hinted that Domenicali would help to develop a new business area for Audi, potentially the rumoured F1 team. "Inside the AUDI AG, Stefano Domenicali will be responsible for the development of new business areas in services and mobility, that are complementary to the existing activities of AUDI AG," said the spokesman. "With his previous professional career, he has ideal conditions to support, in his field of activity, the successful internationalisation course of the AUDI AG." At present, Audi competes in the World Endurance Championship and Germany's DTM. to trial 'virtual safety car' during US practiceThu, 30 Oct 2014 16:32:59 GMTThe FIA will trial a virtual safety car after first and second practice for the United States Grand Prix on Friday, in response to Jules Bianchi's accident. The system is aimed at ensuring drivers stick to a certain speed through each sector by way of a delta time which is believed to be about 35 per cent slower than a dry lap. For example, a lap of the Circuit of the Americas is around 1 minute 40 seconds, therefore drivers would be forced to lap the circuit at 2 minutes 15 seconds if the entire circuit is covered by the limit. It's aimed at avoiding a safety car for each and every incident because of the delay this incurs when lapped cars are released. Drivers will be aided by a dashboard display which will alert them if they're going too quickly, which would also result in a severe penalty to ensure drivers stick to the enforced limit. It's not clear exactly how the system will operate; whether it will be circuit wide or limited to one or more sectors depending on the severity of the incident. The FIA is due to discuss the system in more detail with the teams following Friday's trial. It isn't expected to be implemented fully until the 2015 season however. budgets: Who's spending the most per point?Thu, 30 Oct 2014 15:36:07 GMTWith the current cost crisis sweeping its way through the sport - something that's more obvious than ever with the collapse of two teams; Caterham and Marussia, in the last week - we take a look at just how much each team is spending and what it's getting them. The table below shows a simplified account of what each team spends per season. Mercedes and Ferrari are both unique in the fact they have an engine operation as well as a team. These two figures have been separated, whilst the engine development costs haven't been factored into the 'cost-per'point' calculation. The table shows that Red Bull, despite a troubled start to the season, outspent all of its rivals, with Mercedes coming close, albeit almost £50 million down on the energy drink-owned giant. Mercedes has the second largest budget of the 11 teams. But its runaway success this year means it's getting a point for every £350,000 it spent with three races still remaining. Sauber and Marussia have spent the most, with the least return as neither are yet to score this season, whilst Marussia with its two points courtesy of Jules Bianchi Monaco means it has spent a whopping £35m for each of them. Williams return to form sees them spending around half a million per point, which is second only to Mercedes, despite a budget of almost half, putting it sixth in the overall expenditure column. F1 Budgets (Total: £1.68bn): #TeamBudgetEnginePointsCost-Per-Point 01 Red Bull £240m N/A 342 £701,754 02 Mercedes £195m £140m 565 £345,132 03 Ferrari £175m £100m 188 £930,851 04 McLaren £190m N/A 143 £1,328,671 05 Lotus £130m N/A 8 £16,250,000 06 Williams £105m N/A 216 £486,111 07 Force India £100m N/A 123 £813,008 08 Sauber £90m N/A 0 £N/A 09 Toro Rosso £90m N/A 29 £3,103,448 10 Marussia £70m N/A 2 £35,000,000 11 Caterham £60m N/A 0 £N/A * calculations based on estimates, accounts and guidance from Autosport Magazine. not talking to any other drivers - WolffThu, 30 Oct 2014 14:47:25 GMTMercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has confirmed the team won't engage in talks with other drivers until they have a firm decision from Lewis Hamilton with regards his future after 2015. The Briton's current deal expires at the end of next season, but he and the team have agreed to postpone contract talks until the title fight has been decided. If they fail to agree an extension, only then will Mercedes begin talks with rival drivers, but not before, confirmed the Austrian. "We have a contract with both our drivers for 2015," said Wolff. "We want to continue with the current line-up because these two boys are part of the success of the team. "They have known each other so well and they respect each other. The moment you get somebody else in that fight, it could be detrimental to the team's performance. "Therefore our main priority is to continue with Lewis and with Nico [Rosberg] beyond 2015." Fernando Alonso has reportedly informed Mercedes that he wishes to replace Hamilton for 2016 should they fail to keep the Briton. It's believed such a deal has the backing of Bernie Ecclestone, but the pressure of hiring the Spaniard isn't getting to Wolff. "There is no such pressure," he explained. "I think one of the reasons why this team has progressed forward is that we are Mercedes-Benz and we have this huge mother ship in the back ground helping us. "They are also leaving us to the do the business and take the decisions that are the right ones for this tiny little entity, this tiny little unit for Mercedes. "We can call their opinions when we think it is important and Dr. [Dieter] Zetsche and the board are part of the decision-making process, but there is no pressure." remains 'critical but stable' confirm familyThu, 30 Oct 2014 14:24:37 GMTMarussia driver Jules Bianchi remains "critical but stable" according to an update provided by his family on Thursday. The Frenchman was involved in an accident almost four weeks ago at the Japanese Grand Prix in which he suffered a serious head trauma. His family admitted there was little to offer in the way of news, but felt it right to release an update on their son's conditions. "It will be four weeks this coming Sunday since Jules' accident and he remains in the Mie General Medical Center in Yokkaichi," said the statement. "His condition continues to be classified by the medical professionals here as critical but stable. "Although we have no new information to give, we recognise that there are a huge number of people all around the world who are supporting Jules and willing him on in his fight. "We owe it to his many fans to acknowledge the continued outpouring of messages, and to provide some information, however brief it may be." He will remain in Japan for treatment his family confirmed, dismissing some reports that he woulc be relocated to France. "Jules does indeed continue to fight. Although there have been some reports suggestive of plans for Jules' treatment, at this time his fight will continue here in Yokkaichi. We are taking things step by step. "Once again, we would like to offer our sincere appreciation for the patience and understanding being shown towards our family at this very difficult time. "We also continue to be comforted by the knowledge that Jules is receiving the best possible care at the Mie General Medical Centre, with the doctors here remaining in constant contact with the neurosurgeons at the University La Sapienza of Rome, and Professor Gerard Saillant, president of the FIA Medical Commission. "We will provide a further update when it is appropriate to do so. In the meantime, thank you to everyone who continues to keep Jules in their thoughts and prayers." Ocon impresses on Ferrari test debutThu, 30 Oct 2014 09:44:25 GMTEsteban Ocon completed his second Formula 1 test in a week and managed to impress during both, with Ferrari admitting they were surprised by his performance. It comes just a week after Ocon tested for Lotus - his first F1 experience - in which they described his talent as "exceptional". The 18-year-old European Formula 3 champion drove an F10 at Ferrari's Fiorano facility - a prize for securing the title in his first season. Overseeing the session was the head of the Ferrari Driver Academy, Luca Baldisserri, who had this to say about the Frenchman. "It's always very exciting for us engineers to be there when a young driver gets behind the wheel of a Ferrari Formula 1 car for the first time, because even if we are used to working with rookies, it's a real surprise to see someone to take to the track, showing a level of professionalism as demonstrated by Esteban today. "Despite it being his first time in one of our cars, he tackled the test without making any mistakes and was quick right from the start. "It's not an easy task, especially on an emotional level, because I reckon that driving a Ferrari is a dream for anyone who wants to be a professional racing driver and we hope that today's good results are a good sign for his future." Ocon said he was honoured to have had the opportunity to not only drive a Ferrari, but to witness the 'history and tradition' at their Maranello factory. "It was great to walk around the premises of a great company like Ferrari. Only by being here can you get an idea of how much history and tradition you can sense from the place," he said. "I am very honoured to have had this opportunity.The track is very nice, very technical and varied and the car provides plenty of excitement with all its power and the way it responds immediately to driver input. "I would like to thank all the mechanics and the team which supported me and I hope this day will prove useful for my future as a racing driver." Construction of Haas F1 Team facilityWed, 29 Oct 2014 22:27:14 GMT Three hundred and thirty-nine days of construction has been neatly packaged into about two minutes. This time-lapse video of the Haas F1 Team facility being built contains 240,000 frames of video per second. 'very likely' to start US GP from pit laneWed, 29 Oct 2014 18:28:16 GMTSebastian Vettel admits it's very likely he'll skip qualifying for the United States Grand Prix and start from the pit lane because of the power unit regulations. The Red Bull driver is currently on his fifth internal combustion engine and is likely to replace the entire unit and hybrid systems. Should he do so, the regulations stipulate that he must start from the pits. "I think it's to be confirmed, but, yes, we have to [use an] extra engine at some stage this year and very likely at this event here," he explained. "Obviously we had quite a bad first half of the season in terms of reliability, with a lot of things happening, and that put us in that position. Practice we will definitely run to try to maximise the track time, but more focus towards the race because qualifying fast is not that important if it comes down to Sunday when we start from the pit lane due to the regulations. "Of course we would like to do more but as I said we will use practice and see where we are and go from there. The rules are pretty clear, once you decide to play the joker and take a sixth part, a sixth engine, sixth turbo etc. - all the pieces - you have to start from the pit lane. Even if you qualify on pole you have to start from the pit lane, so that's why instead of burning mileage in qualifying which you may then regret later on in Brazil or Abu Dhabi, where we might not see the finish line, that would be a lot more costly than deciding here not to qualify." Austin circuit's co-founder Bobby Epstein called the decision a "shame", but Vettel says it's a necessary move to ensure they can make it to the end of the season on just six units. "You can talk about obligations but in the end we have to manage the situation with the engines. The rules are the same for everyone, obviously it was our fault being very greedy at the beginning of the season; I had a lot of issues in terms of reliability, taking the engines to the end of their lives." 'concerned' about reliability at US Grand PrixWed, 29 Oct 2014 18:16:28 GMTThe United States Grand Prix poses a serious challenge for reliability at this stage of the season, according to Renault's Remi Taffin. The event is particularly straining on the power unit and its hybrid systems, and with just three races left and many drivers having used up all their allowed spares, penalties could begin to play a role in the race outcome. "Now we enter the final three races, reliability starts to become an overriding concern so having such a challenging circuit at this point in the year makes everyone a little nervous," said Taffin. Sebastian Vettel is all but guaranteed to use a sixth Internal Combustion Engine for the race and will likely start toward the back of the grid as a result. Other drivers are in a similar position. Taffin though is hopeful they can put checks in place to ensure they get the most from the remaining mileage on the units. "Mileage on each part is high and putting each through its paces means we'll have a very busy weekend to check everything over and safeguard against any issues. "In most cases we have enough flexibility to play around, plus we also have the confidence of knowing our performance and how to fully exploit it." blames 'big teams' for Caterham downfallWed, 29 Oct 2014 15:58:21 GMTFormer Caterham F1 Team owner Tony Fernandes has placed some of the blame for Caterham's downfall on the bigger teams in the sport. The Malaysian businessman reckons the huge budgets teams like Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull operate on make it impossible for smaller outfits to survive and sooner or later those at the back will have to close down. "People can blame whoever, but the big teams are as much at fault as anyone," he told Sky Sports. "The gap has become way too big and it's money. And so I thought, 'Well, I can't compete'. But I can compete at QPR; I can compete at Air Asia. "Rather than continue something where I thought, one, I wasn't able to give it as much time as possible, two, I thought we were on a beating to none anyway, you've got to be brave and say 'Look, we screwed up. You can't compete; you thought you could and time to leave'. "The sport has to examine itself as well. Ultimately we couldn't carry on and we would have eventually gone into administration anyway or closed down the team." Whilst admitting motorsport is over for him as a potential business, he will support administrators as they seek a new buyer for the Caterham team. "There are people who want to go racing, for different reasons and Caterham has everything there to do it. There may even be teams within F1 who want a second team - a Red Bull/Toro Rosso situation. So we'll give it maximum support but it's not something I want to get involved in anymore. You've got to immerse yourself in it. Racing's over for me." hire ex-Anheuser-Busch marketing managerTue, 28 Oct 2014 21:39:24 GMTThe Haas F1 Team has received a huge boost ahead of its 2016 debut with the hiring of former Anheuser-Busch marketing manager Adam Jacobs. The American outfit is hoping Jacobs will not only help to attract big name brands as potential sponsors and help to spread the Haas brand, but will also help promote F1 throughout America where its popularity lags behind Europe and Asia. "It's a great opportunity to develop and launch a global brand in an organisation led by someone as driven and accomplished as Gene Haas," said Jacobs. "With strong support and leadership already in place, Haas F1 Team is clearly positioned for success. I look forward to helping shape the ways we achieve that success on and off the racetrack. "One of our key objectives as the only American F1 team is to help grow the sport domestically," he explained. "With the massive global reach of Formula One, Haas F1 Team is also uniquely positioned to provide a platform for brands seeking to grow their businesses in key markets abroad." Jacobs previously headed up marketing at beer giant Anheuser-Busch and oversaw Budweiser's motorsport programme and other various sports sponsorship initiatives. He also has experience working in sport as director of marketing at the NFL's St. Louis Rams and briefly worked in IndyCar. "Adam came highly recommended to Haas F1 Team and he brings a wealth of sports marketing experience to our organization," added Haas F1 Team COO Joe Custer. "The projects Adam has overseen are global in scope, involving numerous partners and constituencies. He's built great relationships during his career and we’re proud to have him at Haas F1 Team." engine deal too good to pass on - LotusTue, 28 Oct 2014 15:44:17 GMTThe opportunity to have a Mercedes engine in the back of their car next season was too good of a deal to pass on according to Lotus's Gerard Lopez. The outfit will switch from Renault to rival unit Mercedes next year after inking a multi-year deal. The team will become the German marque's third customer, replacing McLaren which will switch to Honda power. Speaking to Autosport, Lopez believes Mercedes will still be the best option next year, though he expects rivals including Renault to have caught up a little. "Clearly Mercedes has the engine; we expect them to continue having it - they've just done a better job," he said. "We were one of the rare independent teams that could have access to that engine," explained Lopez. "I think for the team it was the right choice." Lopez highlighted Renault's focus on Red Bull and Toro Rosso as a good reason to jump ship as they have very little say in how the unit is developed and what areas are focused on. "Renault has struggled clearly this season. I don't think they will struggle as much next year, but neither do I think they will catch up to Mercedes that fast, and so for us it was a pure performance decision. "I think Renault has already been focusing quite a bit on one team, or at least two teams, in terms of rolling road testing and so on. "It's the way it is and for sure [the switch] is good for us." and Ericsson break Caterham silenceMon, 27 Oct 2014 22:02:56 GMTKamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson have broken their silence following news that Caterham will not take part in the United States Grand Prix and the following Brazilian GP. The team entered administration last week following a dispute between Tony Fernandes and Engavest SA, with the administrator eventually taking control of the team and withdrawing it from racing until a buyer can be found. Kobayashi took a moment to apologise to the fans for the  "Unfortunately, due to team's situation, I will not able to race in United States GP and Brazilian GP," he posted on Facebook. "I am very sorry for the fans looking forward [to] those races. "I am carefully observing the situation, I will evaluate possibilities and make [the] best choice for my future." Team-mate Ericsson, who's money secured him a seat and helped to fund the team, added: "Turbulent times. A lot of things going on a the moment. But I'm pushing on as usual and keeping my spirit high." submit 'serious offer' to buy MarussiaMon, 27 Oct 2014 17:39:09 GMTBritish-Indian brothers Baljinder Sohi and Sonny Kaushal are in negotiations to rescue the beleaguered Marussia F1 Team following confirmation the outfit has gone into administration. Marussia became the second team in just over a week to declare bankruptcy and will miss the United States Grand Prix alongside closest rival Caterham, which has also confirmed it won't be present at the Brazilian GP either. The brothers, who made their money in the steel industry, are close to securing a deal according to Sohi, with a reported £55 million ($89m) offer on the table. "We are very close to a deal," he told the Telegraph's Daniel Johnson. "But it has to be the right price. We have put in a serious offer and we will see what happens." The negotiations are ongoing, but it's believed current owner Andrei Cheglakov is holding out for upwards of £65m ($105m) which includes covering the team's current debt which stands at £30m ($48m). According to various sources, the brothers are serious about taking over the team and ensuring it competes in 2015. At present, Marussia lie 9th in the constructors' standings and are set to land almost £40m ($65m) in prize money, compared to just £6m ($10m) for finishing in last in 2013. goes into administration, ruled out of USGPMon, 27 Oct 2014 11:48:17 GMTIt has been confirmed that Marussia will not be present at the United States Grand Prix this weekend, with administrators having been appointed to oversee the team. Bernie Ecclestone confirmed last week that he believed neither Caterham or Marussia would travel to Austin for the race. Whilst Caterham confirmed that to be true, Marussia had remained silent until Monday when administrators, FRP Advisory LLP, confirmed the team lacks the funds to continue racing. "With the existing shareholder unable to provide the required level of funding, the senior management team has worked tirelessly to bring new investment to the team to secure its long term future," said Geoff Rowley, joint administrator. "But regrettably has been unable to do so within the time available. Therefore, they have been left with no alternative but to place the company into administration." No redundancies have been made and the administrators are continuing to search for potential investment or buyers, added the statement. "Following Austin, there are two further rounds of the 2014 championship remaining, in Sao Paulo and Abu Dhabi, and the team's participation in those races will depend on the outcome of the administration process and any related negotiations with interested parties in what is a very limited window of opportunity. "No redundancies have been made following the company's entering into administration and all staff have been paid in full to the end of October. The ongoing staff position will however be dependent on whether the company can secure new investment in the limited time available. "We remain highly focused on engaging with interested parties." does the future hold for Red Bull?Sun, 26 Oct 2014 22:18:43 GMTLet us rewind 12 months almost to the day, to the slightly smoggy landscape of the Buddh International Circuit. The Indian Grand Prix had just reached its conclusion, and the smog indeed was now supplemented by no little tyre smoke, as one Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull let rip with burning up the black stuff via a few doughnuts on the pit straight. He’d just taken his fourth world drivers’ title, and was marking it with a display of even less constrained joy than usual. More pointedly it was his sixth win on the bounce, amid one of those periodic F1 spells wherein it was impossible to envisage anyone else winning a Grand Prix. Indeed he helped himself to the remaining three races of that campaign too with minimal opposition. How things change, and change quickly, you might be thinking.  At that point too last autumn I got a little speculative as to where it all might end. Not to wish Red Bull or Vettel ill, but rather that it's an inevitability. As George Harrison once noted all things must pass.  It’s the way of F1 too, and we’ve seen it repeatedly. And looking through the history books we encounter a few common associated themes.  One common theme is technical regulation changes, and for 2014 we had probably the biggest all-in that the sport has experienced between seasons. Such shifts force everyone to technical base camp and someone else can either by luck or judgement get it right more quickly. Another theme is that it is inevitable that sooner or later key people have to be replaced. If you’re really unlucky a succession of key people can leave in short order.  And whaddayaknow, for Red Bull this year the former knocked the team off its perch. The latter meanwhile for next campaign has the potential to kick the Bulls further away from it. Of all the many impending changes in F1 for 2015 – the overhaul at Ferrari, how Vettel does in his new abode, whichever pastures Fernando Alonso might end up in, the entrance of Honda – perhaps attention has been taken away from another, particularly fascinating, conundrum. That of whither Red Bull. In the season we’re in Red Bull did indeed encounter regulation change peril; the shift in territory exposing a weak flank that we didn’t know existed. In the previous age while Red Bull had much success with its engine supplier Renault, the relationship was rather arm’s length. In an aero formula wherein engines were well known – indeed the sport wasn’t far off a spec formula in that sense – you could get away with a plug in and go approach. But of course in 2014 the world changed, and engines sky-rocketed in importance. Red Bull it seems didn’t adapt, or at least not nearly enough, and what it produced was a world away from Mercedes and its much-lauded planning for months and years with chassis and power unit developed in careful unison. It was of course Ross Brawn at Merc who was more responsible for this than anyone, and in his words having observed the Jerez pre-season test in January, you suspect that the inauspicious Red Bull effort on show then was somewhere near the front of his mind: ‘If you approached it like the old days – just take the engine, plug it in, stick a gearbox on the back of it and stick it on the track – you’ll have a nightmare’ he said, ‘God help those who have not been on the dyno in representative conditions. ‘I remember the problems we had when we put an engine and gearbox and all the other gubbins on a dyno and tried to get the whole thing to run properly – all the energy recovery systems and all the rest. The first few months were a nightmare. Some teams are having problems now: but at what point on that curve are they?’ But perhaps now one year on the Milton Keynes collective is encountering the other common theme in great teams entering a trough after a peak. Namely key figures leaving. That it happened isn’t a surprise – as intimated it’s inevitable sooner or later. But it was harder to foresee that it would happen so quickly. Head of Aero Peter Prodromou’s departure we knew about at the same moment as the fourth title was clinched (indeed it was confirmed around a fortnight before), and it turned out to be the thin end of the wedge. Red Bull's phoenix has had three heads: Vettel-Newey-Horner. All of a sudden having for years looked firmly ensconced two of them are going. Thus leaving Christian Horner for the first time in the mighty team’s existence to unravel the knotted issue of succession.  As ever in the Red Bull case there are echoes from history, such as with Brabham losing most of its crucial people in an eye blink in the mid-eighties, and similar happening to Benetton in the mid-nineties. Then the sport’s preceding dominant force to the Bulls, the Ferrari 'dream team', splintered in no time around about the 2006-2007 mark. None of them returned to their former glories. And like Ferrari many of those departing apparently are seeking new challenges; absurd though it may sound it’s almost as if they got bored of winning.  The wooing of Adrian Newey by Ferrari threatened to at last be successful. In response the Bulls did the only thing they could – employ the nuclear option: offering Newey a role shift that amounted to that if Red Bull couldn’t have him on the F1 front line then neither could anyone else. Vettel was similarly tempted (it seems) by Maranello’s unique charms, as well as more generally by the prospect of fleeing the nest; proving it ‘on his own’. Seb is one conscious of his reputation and his place in history. And you’d have thought piecing together the Ferrari fragments just as his forerunner Michael Schumacher is credited with doing played its part in ensnaring him.  It doesn’t end there either. The afore-mentioned Peter Prodromou is now at McLaren. Vettel’s chief mechanic Kenny Handkammer has departed too, reportedly due to pop up at Ferrari also. And without wishing to sound melodramatic the risks here could even be definitive. Not so much whither Red Bull, but whether Red Bull. If we take the Benetton case referenced – an outfit with many parallels, particularly in that it is a company not in F1 as its core activity – after losing Schumi, Brawn et al to the self-same Ferrari that squad entered a gentle and as it turned out terminal decline. The company quietly withdrew a few years later, having long since lost interest. And what of its two drivers? Red Bull for the second year on the bounce is growing its own, this time filling the Vettel-shaped vacancy with Daniil Kvyat straight from his freshman Toro Rosso campaign. No biggie you might think given the Red Bull drivers’ respective results this season but even with this Sebastian Vettel remained the fulcrum. And as for Daniel Ricciardo, while he has been excellent this year, the transition from happy-go-lucky kid for whom everything is a surprise to team leader who is expected to provide the lantern to lead the squad from the gloom isn’t necessarily a straightforward one. Niki Lauda, typically shooting from the hip, reckoned in Suzuka that Red Bull will indeed be weaker for the change: ‘It pleases me because I think the (Mercedes) driver couple of Hamilton and Rosberg is now even stronger, because this year it’s Ricciardo who is doing a perfect job and Vettel, they were the strongest pair in the other teams. And now it’s Ricciardo and Kvyat, I mean Kvyat is an upcoming, young, less experienced and very quick driver, but if he’s able to pick up the Vettel position in no time I doubt. So I think we have an even better driver (pairing), the two guys against Red Bull now.’ Thus the challenges for the team – perhaps critical ones – are there. But so too are there reasons to not even get close to writing Red Bull off. And overarching among these is that even though its crowns were relinquished in 2014, and the wins total nose-dived, there was still much to admire. The team can claim to have gone a long way towards converting a pumpkin into a gilded carriage. One is that compared to the team’s starting point in pre-season getting a comfortable second in the constructors’ battle with three wins to its name represents not just a major achievement but a minor miracle. Its pre-season testing running as intimated was like something from a wacky inventor, repeated and immediate conking out before disappearing back to the shed for a lengthy round of head-scratching. And while fingers can be (and were) pointed  at Renault, it seems that Red Bull at least created a few problems all by itself, as evidenced from that only Lotus (which missed the first test) completed fewer miles than the Bulls among those with French power. Indeed Caterham did close to twice the distance. After the second test indeed Edd Straw of Autosport opined that if round one was taking place there and then the Milton Keynes cars would qualify nowhere and would do well to cover a third of the race's distance without conking out. No wonder that Christian Horner reckoned in Sochi where the constructors’ crown was passed finally to Mercedes that: ‘considering where we started in pre-season, to even have taken it this far is a result in itself.’  Add in that while the Renault undoubtedly improved as the season went on, the unit clearly didn’t provide anything like the horses that the Merc did. Red Bulls rarely have been good through speed traps but seeing them left on the straights by the Merc-powered cars, almost like Cosworth versus turbo from the early ‘80s, has been a frequent feature this season.  And even with the Merc wiping the floor this year, the smart view is that the Red Bull chassis remains the one to have. Indeed even among its pre-season struggles Jenson Button observing close at hand was wowed by the RB10’s high speed cornering. Then an observing Mark Hughes at the opening round in Melbourne noted that: ‘Several cars are suffering from a pattering effect of their rear ends under braking…There’s an exception to this though, a car that has braking stability and corner entry downforce that’s of a different order to anything else – and it’s the Red Bull. Whenever Renault Sport gets that engine anywhere near as good as the Mercedes motor, the RB10 is gone.’ The evidence remains that the team’s mighty technical abilities were not diluted in 2014. Whether of course this can be maintained in the post-Newey age is the crucial factor though. And unlike just about any other technical head of the modern age Newey was not merely an organiser and delegator but a conceptualist. That he’s to pen next year’s car before stepping back should at least make the adaptation less severe however. And most significantly Red Bull is focussing heavily on negating its gaping weakness, mainly via learning the lessons from the Mercedes operation that defeated it. This is in pulling the engine programme closer to it, including creating an engine support division at its Milton Keynes base.  It is clear from Helmut Marko’s words last month that something akin to what Mercedes (and Ferrari) has is what the Bulls are actively working towards.  ‘We are right now in the process of strengthening the technical cooperation to race at eye level with Mercedes in 2015’ he said.  ‘In times where the power unit is key to success you have to focus on the most promising option. Remember: this season we had four different engine adaptions for the chassis. Next season there will only be one – the one that Red Bull Racing is creating with Renault – and the others have to take it one-to-one. ‘That is the most efficient solution. Mercedes is proving that model very successfully – they only have one power unit version and the same goes for Ferrari.’ In case we didn’t get the message, Marko muttered too that until ‘very recently’ Lotus was the ‘secret darling of Renault’. With Lotus dumping Renault for Mercedes and Caterham’s future uncertain it looks even literally that Red Bull and its B team will have the supplier’s undivided attention. As for what he can promise for next year, Marko said: ‘That we will have a better test season and that we will have more power…We have proven this season that even with a striking power deficit we can compete successfully, and it shouldn’t be all that bad next year.’ Furthermore even with the changes in individuals outlined much of the culture that made the squad so formidable remains presumably. This includes its inimitable swagger, seen most recently with the swift way it took control of the post-Vettel drivers’ market before cranking up the insouciance by Horner in effect making Ferrari’s driver announcement for it. Outwardly there is no sign either of the outfit’s astonishing drive and motivation being diminished.  And at the broadest level the Milton Keynes operation is one that frequently takes pleasure in proving the naysayers wrong. Every year going back to 2010 was meant to be the one that Red Bull got back into its box. Despite the loss of the championships this year, this has yet to happen. If recent experiences of F1 have taught us anything, it’s that if you are to be tempted to write Red Bull obituaries, you need to be careful that reports of its death were not indeed greatly exaggerated. ‘We’ll be fighting very hard to get it (the title) back next year’ added Horner in Sochi. Knowing what we do of the operation, you can take that as something of a guarantee. agreed to supply rivals with spare cars - EcclestoneSun, 26 Oct 2014 11:33:09 GMTBernie Ecclestone claims that contracts signed by the larger teams in Formula 1 could result in them supplying cars to rival outfits in order to keep the grid from shrinking further. Whilst the idea of third cars is widely known, Ecclestone has revealed that the third cars would be run by rivals, rather than the team which has designed it. Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, the 83-year-old gave an example of how it might work. "They would supply a third car to someone else so if, for example, Sauber disappeared, a team could do a deal with Sauber. Ferrari could say, 'we will give you a car, all that goes with it, and we want you to put this sponsor on it. You have your own sponsors but we want you to include this one as well and we want you to take this driver'. "The team wouldn't have to go under then would they? If Red Bull decided they would give a car to Caterham for example that could solve their problem." It's believed 16 cars must race at any event before contracts are broken with race organisers, therefore this weekend's United States Grand Prix should go ahead with 18 cars present. However Ecclestone's contracts with the teams states that should the grid fall below 20 cars - giving him a slight buffer - then third cars would be activated, but only once a team has missed more than two races. Therefore third cars would likely not happen until 2015 if both Caterham and Marussia fail to survive as seems likely with both having now appointed administrators. "We don't have to introduce a third car at this stage because they can miss a couple of races. They lose any money they would have got for those races but they don't lose their position in the championship. I have no idea if Marussia are going to make it in the long run. It's better if they didn't have to go into administration," he added. to miss US Grand Prix confirms EcclestoneSat, 25 Oct 2014 11:29:52 GMTMarussia are set to join Caterham in missing the United States Grand Prix according to F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone. Caterham has been given special permission to miss the next two races amid an ongoing battle between administrators and management, with the former taking control of the team until it finds a buyer. Marussia has also been battling financial problems and raced with just one car in Russia last time out following Jules Bianchi's Japanese GP crash. Speaking to Reuters, Ecclestone confirmed that neither outfit would travel to Austin for the race next weekend. "Neither of those two teams are going to go to America," he said. Formula One Management is due to ship cars to the circuit today and it's believed Marussia, as well as Caterham, are absent from the shipping list. It will mean that, for the first time since the 2005 Monaco GP, that the grid will feature just 18 cars. It's not clear whether Marussia have permission to miss the event. If they don't, they would break their contractual obligations with FOM, resulting in the loss of any prize money due this season which could cost the team upwards of £30 million if they finish higher than tenth. gets permission to miss US, Brazil racesSat, 25 Oct 2014 10:30:53 GMTThe Caterham F1 Team has been given special dispensation to miss two grands prix following the withdrawal of its management amid a feud between them and owner Tony Fernandes. The team has been taken over by administrator Finbarr O'Connell and Henry Shinners of Smith & Williamson, who will run the team whilst trying to find a new buyer for the F1 entry, intellectual property rights and equipment. Missing an event would usually break the teams contractual obligations with the F1 rights' holder, but O'Connell has spoken to Bernie Ecclestone and come to an agreement with the 83-year-old. "In a telephone conversation today between Finbarr O'Connell and Bernie Ecclestone, Mr Ecclestone agreed to support the administrators in their wish to sell the Formula One team to a party with the financial strength to sustain it into the future," read a Smith & Williamson statement. "Mr Ecclestone also agreed to give dispensation to Caterham F1 such that it could if necessary miss the U.S. and Brazilian Grands Prix but hoped that a new owner would be in a position to race the team at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. "Mr Colin Kolles, the previous principal of the team offered today to hand over management control of 1MRT to the administrators. Lawyers for the administrators and Mr Kolles are currently working on the paperwork to effect this transfer. "The administrators have already been contacted by a number of interested parties expressing a wish to buy the team and they hope that a transaction with an operator of substantial financial means can be concluded in the next few weeks. "It is hoped that any purchaser of the F1 team will take over the employees and that they will be able to recommence their work including that at the Leafield site." O'Connell however warned that their priority is to ensure Caterham's creditors are paid and therefore if the right deal can't be secured, there is no guarantee Caterham's employees will return to work. "We believe this arrangement gives us a much better chance of being able to reach a better conclusion for the racing team and its creditors. "While this is a great step forward in making the whole team and assets more attractive, there is no need for the staff of 1MRT to return to the Oxford site in Leafield until a sale of the Formula 1 team occurs. "This is a difficult situation which is not of our making. We regret any personal impact on 1MRT's employees. As administrators for CSL, we are seeking to maximise the outcome for its creditors and other stakeholders." hits back at Caterham buyer claimsThu, 23 Oct 2014 17:04:05 GMTTony Fernandes has hit back at claims by Caterham's buyer, Engavest SA, after they claimed to have "met all agreed obligations" in order for him to transfer his shares in the team to them. Fernandes however claims that this isn't true, and he has therefore refused to hand over his shares, leaving him as the legal owner of the Caterham outfit. The Malaysian businessman released a statement on Thursday in order to explain the situation further. He claims a term of the sale was for Engavest to "pay all current and future creditors" - something he claims they have not done. "In June 2014, I decided, together with my co-shareholders, to sell my stake in the Caterham F1 team," he said. "We agreed in good faith to sell the shares to a Swiss company named 'Engavest' on the basis that Engavest undertook to pay all of the existing and future creditors, including the staff. "The continued payment of staff and creditors was so important to me that I ensured that the shares would not be transferred to the new buyers unless they complied with this condition. "Sadly, Engavest has failed to comply with any of the conditions in the agreement and Caterham Sports Ltd (the UK operating company of the F1 team) has had to be put into administration by the bank, with large sums owing to numerous creditors. "Our agreement with Engavest was very clear: there was no legal obligation to transfer the shares to them unless certain conditions - which included paying creditors - were met. "Those conditions have not been met. Our lawyers have asked Engavest several times to comply with these conditions but they have failed to engage. "If you agree to buy a business, you must pay its bills. They have breached that promise and now, sadly, it is others such as the employees and the fans of the Caterham F1 team that will suffer if the team ceases to race. I sincerely hope that this will not be the case and that a solution can be found." Caterham Group CEO Graham Macdonald also questioned Engavest's takeover of the team, suggesting the way it has been handled leads him to believe they have no real interest in running a successful F1 team. "It appears to me that they never had any intention of paying these liabilities," he added. "I go on to question how anyone who was interested in the long term future of the business would appoint one of their cleaners - Constantin Cojocar - as the sole director and shareholder of the UK operating company? "We continue to see claims and counter claims from the F1 team which are totally unfounded. "Not only have they failed to pay the creditors (and have even left our shareholders to pay some of the creditors on their behalf), but they have failed to pay us anything for use of our factory and site, or anything for the use of our brand name. "In short the new owners have paid us nothing and, now the administrators have been appointed, they want to walk away from their liabilities." buyer insists they've met all obligationsThu, 23 Oct 2014 14:05:32 GMTCaterham's new management team insist they have honoured all agreements with Tony Fernandes to take control of the outfit, following the latter's suggestion they hadn't paid for his shares. Fernandes wrote on Twitter: "If you buy something you should pay for it. Quite simple." Engavest SA, the company behind the deal to take over the team, denied the allegations in a statement released on Thursday. "On 29 June 2014 Engavest SA signed a Sale and Purchase Agreement with Tony Fernandes and the Caterham Group to acquire the shares of 1Malaysia Racing Team/Caterham F1. "Engavest SA has fulfilled all the conditions precedent, including paying the purchase price for the shares." It added that Fernandes is held responsible for the situation the team finds itself in - which included being locked out of their factory on Thursday morning by administrators seeing to Caterham Sport Limited (CSL), despite that company having nothing to do with the F1 team. "The shares have not been transferred and therefore Mr Fernandes remains the owner of Caterham F1 and is fully responsible for all its activities." A statement from Fernandes' lawyers is expected shortly which may clear matters up, or most likely, confuse things further. to meet with Las Vegas race organisersThu, 23 Oct 2014 11:06:09 GMTBernie Ecclestone will meet with the organisers of the proposed Las Vegas Grand Prix ahead of the United States GP in a weeks time. The 83-year-old revealed that he was approached by a group of businessmen with the idea of taking F1 back to Las Vegas where it last raced in 1982. Though the idea has been dismissed by some, it's believed plans are actually at an advanced stage with renowned track designer Hermann Tilke already having already visited the city to look at potential routes. Speaking to Autoweek, Ecclestone confirmed the meeting will take placed, but admitted he wasn't sure as to whether or not the race will actually go ahead. "There is a consortium in Las Vegas that wants to arrange a race," he said. "They are very serious and want me to go out there on the way to Texas so we will see. "Whether they are going to do it I don't know," he added. The idea of racing down the iconic Las Vegas strip is part of a plan to diversify the city and how it earns its revenues. Whilst gambling revenue hit almost £4 billion in 2013, it has been in steady decline with forecasts putting 2014 almost 12% down on the same time last year. Hotels and local businesses are keen to attract new tourists for purposes other than gambling and F1 could help do just that. would welcome Caterham collapseThu, 23 Oct 2014 10:48:47 GMTFormula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone says he would welcome the collapse of Caterham, believing it would be better for the sport. The Leafield based outfit is embroiled in an ownership row after it emerged that former owner Tony Fernandes has yet to transfer his shares in the business to Engavest SA, meaning the team is still legally owned by the Malaysian businessman. The matter doesn't concern Ecclestone who compared their situation to street beggars, which he believes to be bad for F1's image. "I think it's better they go," the 83-year-old told the Sun newspaper. "I don't want people going around with begging bowls," he added. The situation at Caterham is far from resolved, with both sides claiming to be in the right. Ecclestone says he isn't aware of what's going on exactly and doesn't really care/ "I don't know who owns them," he explained. "I don't know and I don't care. "Let me tell you something, they will tell you whatever suits them to tell you." Ecclestone is keen to see a handful of teams collapse in order to force the eight most competitive teams to field three cars each instead of two, so his comments are understandable. you buy something, you pay for it - FernandesWed, 22 Oct 2014 22:34:05 GMTTony Fernandes has hit back at a statement from the Caterham F1 Team which suggests it will take legal action against the Malaysian businessman. It became apparent on Wednesday that the Leafield based F1 team remains under Fernandes' ownership despite a statement in June confirming it was sold to a consortium of Middle Eastern and Swiss investors known as Engavest SA. The statement adds that "the seller (Fernandes) has refused to comply with its legal obligations to transfer their shares to the buyer" therefore leaving the buyer "in the invidious position of funding the team without having legal title to the team it had bought." There is clearly more to the story than meets the eye and Fernandes moved to somewhat clear that up, or at least make clear from his side that money is still owed to him from the new investors. "If you buy something you should pay for it. Quite simple," he tweeted. The AirAsia owner is believed to have re-taken control of the team, with team principal Manfredi Ravetto confirming he has been asked to take a back seat until the issue is cleared up. It isn't clear whether Caterham will be present at the United States Grand Prix in a couple of weeks - or at any of the remaining races this season. It would require a deal to not only be struck with the administrators dealing with Caterham Sports Limited (CSL), but with Engavest SA too. Michael to leave McLaren at end of seasonWed, 22 Oct 2014 20:42:39 GMTSam Michael will leave his role as sporting director at McLaren at the end of the current season, the team confirmed on Wednesday. Michael handed his resignation in to the company in March and parts on good terms, confirm McLaren. The 43-year-old will return to Australia to be with his close family after spending 20 years travelling the world with the Formula 1 circus, previously with Williams before he joined McLaren in 2012. The statement also refuted reports that CEO Jonathan Neale and technical director Tim Goss will leave the team. "They are not leaving and there are no plans for them to leave," it confirmed. bosses threaten to quit Formula 1 as it emerges that Fernandes legally owns teamWed, 22 Oct 2014 20:26:02 GMTCaterham's new 'owners' have threatened to quit the team and the sport after revealing that former-owner Tony Fernandes has failed to meet his obligations as previously agreed. A strongly-worded statement released on Wednesday revealed that the Malaysian businessman is in fact still the owner after he failed to transfer shares in the company to its new management. The team has been run in "good faith" since the deal was announced, with the new management believing, as per an agreement with Fernandes, that the shares would be transferred and he would exit the outfit altogether. That hasn't happened according to Caterham and they are therefore powerless to resolve the recent issues surrounding the bankruptcy of Caterham Sports Limited (CSL). "On 29 June 2014, Caterham Enterprises Ltd, Caterham (UK) Ltd and Sheikh Mohamed Nasarudin (Seller) and their shareholders Tony Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin Bin Meranun entered into a Sale and Purchase Agreement (SPA) with Engavest SA (Buyer) with regards to 1Malaysia Racing Team Sdn Bhd/Caterham F1 Team. "Since the date of the Agreement, the Seller has refused to comply with its legal obligations to transfer their shares to the Buyer. The Buyer has been left in the invidious position of funding the team without having legal title to the team it had bought. This is in total contradiction to the Seller’s press release of 3 October 2014 which stated that Mr Fernandes and his Caterham Group had no longer any connection with the Caterham F1 Team." The statement adds that it is exploring all options including withdrawing from the sale of the team, whilst it is also pursuing legal action against Fernandes and other involved parties. "The administrators of Caterham Sports Limited have been appointed on behalf of Export-Import Bank of Malaysia Berhad (Exim), a creditor of Mr Fernandes and the Caterham Group. The Buyer has no connection with Exim. Caterham Sports Ltd was a supplier company to the Caterham F1 Team. Very regrettably, the administrators' appointment has had devastating effects on the F1 Team's activities. Since their appointment, the administrators have released various press statements which have been severely detrimental to the management of the Caterham F1 team. "After three months of operating the Caterham F1 Team in good faith, the Buyer is now forced to explore all its options including the withdrawal of its management team. Lawyers have been instructed by the Buyer to bring all necessary claims against all parties, including Mr Fernandes who, as an owner, will run the F1 operation." The news could see Caterham miss the United States Grand Prix in just a couple of weeks time. Should it miss the remaining three races on the calendar, it will lose all rights to its F1 licence and will therefore be forced out of the sport. at risk as manufacturer goes bankruptWed, 22 Oct 2014 00:39:21 GMTCaterham Sports Limited, which manufactures the Caterham F1 Team's Formula 1 cars, has gone into administration, putting hundreds of jobs at risk. Whilst the team itself insists this is nothing to worry about, it's likely to have some impact on how it operates, especially heading into next season. Though they share a name and a base in Leafield, the two companies are completely separate of one another. The F1 team and its all-important licence, are owned by 1 Malaysia Racing Team (1MRT). Caterham Sports Limited (CSL) is a separate company, though it is contracted by 1MRT to build its cars and upgrades. With the latter having gone bankrupt, owing upwards of £20 million to external suppliers according to administrator Finbarr O'Connell, it could delay Caterham's 2015 plans unless a deal can be brokered. The situation is already somewhat resolved after employees of CSL were transferred to 1MRT prior to the bankruptcy ruling, however if no agreement can be reached between the two parties to resolve the debt, the F1 team may be forced out of its Leafield base which is owned by both companies. "I'm trying to enter into an arrangement with 1MRT whereby they [the employees] can stay here at the Leafield site," explained administrator O'Connell. "If I can reach an agreement with them then hopefully jobs are not at risk," he added. "If I can't reach an agreement then all those employees, 1MRT will have to decide what to do with them, but they won't be at the Leafield site." teams can't win championships - DennisWed, 22 Oct 2014 00:20:36 GMTMcLaren chairman Ron Dennis believes it to be a near impossibility for a customer team to win a world championship under the current engine formula. The Briton claims the advantage gained by building your own engine, like Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull - through Renault - makes it extremely unlikely that a customer team will be able to beat them because they simply don't have the same level of detail and information as a manufacturer team. He made his comments whilst reflecting on McLaren's recent relationship with Mercedes and the teams switch to Honda power next year. "The one thing that jumps at you, if you look at all the qualifications this year, is the time difference between the Mercedes-Benz works team and other teams," said Dennis. "And by and large it is always in excess of one second, putting aside the pace that they can generate in a grand prix when they are on their back foot. "My opinion, and it is an opinion held by many people within our organisation, is that you have no chance of winning the world championship if you are not receiving the best engines from whoever is manufacturing your engines. "Effectively, if you don't have the control of that process, meaning access to source code, then you are not going to be able to stabilise your car in the entry to corners etc., and you lose lots of lap time. "Even though you have the same brand of engine that does not mean you have the ability to optimise the engine." That's part of the reason behind McLaren's move to Honda as they will effectively become Honda's 'works team' even if the Japanese manufacturer supplies other outfits. "You have to start by putting yourself in a position where you have the best engine available. "We have had a great partnership with Mercedes but we intend to hit the ground running with Honda and that is the first step." suspends three directors including PhillipsTue, 21 Oct 2014 07:22:54 GMTSilverstone Circuits has suspended three high level directors including managing director Richard Phillips, with some sources suggesting they were escorted from the premises. Along with Phillips, finance director Ed Brookes and legal and estates director David Thomson have also been placed on leave with full pay. The sudden change could suggest problems at the Northamptonshire based circuit, with suggestions it is in financial trouble after failing to find a buyer, whilst spending has accelerated faster than income partly thanks to 'The Wing' and new 'Arena' layout. A statement from chairman John Grant described the changes as a restructuring of the organisation to increase profitability, but gave little detail as to exactly why it's been implemented so suddenly. "I am pleased to inform you that the BRDC Board has today initiated a process of restructuring of the Silverstone Circuits (SCL) organisation to help secure a stable future for the Circuit, the British Grand Prix and our Club," said Grant in a statement. "As you are aware, following termination of the sale of SCL almost 6 months ago, your Board decided to adopt a more hands-on approach to the running of SCL, with the Silverstone Holdings Board disbanded in May and Lawrence Tomlinson and I being appointed Joint Interim Chief Executives of SCL last month. With the lease of our development land and industrial estate to MEPC a year ago, the business is now smaller and the structure needs to be resized and realigned to reflect our concentration on circuit activities. This will enable us to improve efficiency, increase revenues and create a more profitable business for the long term. "We expect minimal disruption to the business and intend to keep personnel changes to the minimum. However, given the changing needs of the business, we expect to restructure to provide a more operational and customer-oriented organisation. To this end, we have today initiated a process of consultation on a number of potential changes within senior management positions. Coincident with this, Managing Director Richard Phillips, Finance Director Ed Brookes and Legal and Estates Director David Thomson have been suspended on full pay. "Lawrence and I will continue to work as Joint Chief Executives of SCL to ensure a smooth transition, with the continuing support of Patrick Allen who is assisting with the development of our customer proposition. "While he must await the outcome of the consultation process before providing any further details, please be assured that I will keep you updated as the restructuring programme progresses." 'scared' by Caterham suspension fixTue, 21 Oct 2014 01:15:36 GMTKamui Kobayashi has admitted to being 'scared' ahead of practice for the Russian Grand Prix after the team found an issue with his suspension, but didn't have the necessary parts to change it. Instead, according to a Facebook post by the Japanese driver which was meant to be private, the team wrapped the faulty suspension rod in carbon fibre. Kobayashi came close to refusing to drive, saying he was "seriously troubled" by the issue. "Scary," he wrote in his post which has been translated by the BBC as it was written in Japanese and meant for his family. "Last night [the Friday ahead of the Russian GP] a suspension defect was found. There's no spare so it was repaired by wrapping it in carbon. "It's checked all the time but, even so, being asked to race like this is too scary! I want to go home already. "From here on there are still practices and the race to go. I'm seriously troubled. As a racing driver, should I drive? Should I safely decline? I drive again in 15 minutes…" Caterham assured Kobayashi that his car was safe to drive and said they "kept [him] informed at all times" about the suspension situation. A team spokesperson added: "It was extensively evaluated at Sochi and Leafield and ultimately a carbon-fibre wrap was applied to provide additional reinforcement - a normal procedure. "The component was signed off as safe and re-checked between each subsequent session, to be absolutely sure there was no issue. "Kamui withdrew the post mentioned and drove the car in this form throughout the rest of the weekend, with no hint of any other problem with the suspension." to challenge Nissan over Eau Rouge trademarkTue, 21 Oct 2014 01:02:54 GMTThe Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium are preparing to object to Nissan's use of and trademark application against the 'Eau Rouge' name. The Japanese car manufacturer, which owns Red Bull title sponsor Infiniti, has filed a trademark request against the name after launching a Sebastian Vettel designed version of the Infiniti Q50 called the Q50 Eau Rouge. Whilst the car is only a concept and as yet no decision has been made as to whether it will be launched as a production model next year, Nissan are keen to secure the name should they decide to. Pierre-Alain Thibaut, director of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, isn't happy and says the circuit will object to the claim. "It's like they want to steal the brand from the circuit," he told Bloomberg. "We consider it exactly the opposite of fair play." Infiniti plans to demonstrate the car at the United States Grand Prix next month, where it will be driven by Vettel around the Austin circuit., Domenicali join panel to investigate Bianchi crashTue, 21 Oct 2014 00:36:48 GMTThe FIA has put together an accident panel in order to fully investigate Jules Bianchi's Japanese Grand Prix crash a fortnight ago. The panel will consist of former team bosses Ross Brawn and Stefano Domenicali - both of which recently left the sport - alongside drivers, FIA chiefs and medical experts. The FIA, under president Jean Todt, is keen to make changes following the accident and believes a thorough investigation must take place in order to put a plan of action into place to ensure such a crash cannot be repeated. "We will learn from what has happened, because we cannot be facing such a situation again," said the Frenchman. Alongside Brawn and Domenicali is GPDA chairman Alex Wurz and F1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi. It will be led by the FIA's safety commission president Peter Wright. Their aim is to examine the crash, the evidence and come up with solutions to ensure it doesn't happen again according to an FIA statement. "The group will carry out a full review of the accident to gain a better understanding of what happened, and will propose new measures to reinforce safety at circuits, with recommendations to be made for the FIA President." The findings are due to be presented at the FIA's World Motor Sport Council on December 3rd. to remain at Force India for 2015 seasonTue, 21 Oct 2014 00:36:26 GMTNico Hulkenberg will stay with the Force India team next season, he and the team confirmed on Monday. The German rejoined the team at the start of this season after a brief spell at Sauber. He currently sits eighth in the standings with 76 points, five more than Williams' Felipe Massa, and has scored in 13 of the 16 races so far. "It's good to confirm my plans for next season," said Hulkenberg. "This is a team I know extremely well and we've enjoyed a great year together with some special results. "The team has big ambitions and I believe we can have a competitive package once again next year. "We have a strong partner in Mercedes and everyone in the team is motivated and hungry for more success. "I have a good feeling for 2015 and there is a lot to be excited about as we try to build on the results we have achieved this year." Team boss Vijay Mallya said he was proud to have "one of the best" driving for his team once again. "We know him extremely well: he's a true racer and he knows how to motivate the team. "I am convinced he is one of the best talents on the grid and I am proud that he will continue to race in the colours of Sahara Force India." reward DTM's Wittmann with Toro Rosso testMon, 20 Oct 2014 00:30:30 GMT2014 DTM champion Marco Wittmann will realise a boyhood dream when he gets the chance to test a Toro Rosso Formula 1 car thanks to BMW. The touring car team negotiated the test with Toro Rosso as a reward for Wittmann's championship victory, which he secured in dominant fashion over second-placed Mattias Ekström. Speaking about the test, BMW motorsport chief Jens Marquardt said it was a pleasure to reward their driver with such a special prize. "Marco Wittmann has an extraordinary season behind him, in which he has given BMW Motorsport an awful lot of pleasure. "It is now our turn to reward him for his efforts. The contract renewal for the coming season is a logical step for us, as he has consistently impressed us in the three years he has been working with us within the DTM - both on and off the track. "For this reason, BMW M GmbH has come up with something very special. I am delighted that we can also make his childhood dream come true with the Formula 1 test. "Thanks to the relationship we enjoy with our premium partner Red Bull, it was possible for us to organise a test drive in the Toro Rosso. "We are excited to see how he fares in this car - and are then looking forward to more top-class performances from Marco in the BMW M4 DTM." still holds hope of 'dream' F1 comebackSun, 19 Oct 2014 17:21:15 GMTRobert Kubica still holds hope that a Formula 1 comeback might be possible within the next few years should further surgery to his hand and arm prove successful. The Polish driver was involved in an accident whilst competing in a rally ahead of the 2011 F1 season. His right-hand was partially severed and his arm badly injured. Despite various operations and physiotherapy, he's yet to regain full movement which would make driving an F1 car near impossible due to the dimensions of the cockpit - though he has enjoyed a relatively successful World Rally Championship career since. Speaking to the BBC, Kubica revealed that another operation this winter could give him the movement he needs to make a "dream" return to F1. "The arm and hand are OK," said the one-time race winner. "From a mobility point of view, there have been some improvements. From a limitation point of view, it's pretty much the same. "So I need to have more surgery - and there are possibilities - but it's a tight season, there are many rallies and they are long events. "Formula 1 would be a dream to come back but we have to stay realistic," he added. "If I decide to try and come back I will have more surgery this winter and maybe with the help of the doctors, and with some luck, it will be possible." Mercedes celebrate Constructors' title winSun, 19 Oct 2014 11:30:04 GMT Join Lewis, Nico, Niki, Toto, Paddy and the entire Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team behind-the-scenes at their bases in Brackley and Brixworth for two days of World Championship celebrations! change Brazil tyres after Massa criticismFri, 17 Oct 2014 12:09:43 GMTPirelli has announced it will bring the medium and soft compound tyres to the Brazilian Grand Prix, altering its initial decision to bring the hard and medium. The tyre supplier come under criticism from Felipe Massa who called the choice "dangerous, very dangerous" and "unacceptable". He made his comments in light of the new surface at the Interlagos circuit, adding: "Normally whatever track I go to where they put down new asphalt, it gets even easier on the tyres. I have no idea why they choose these tyres." In reaction, Pirelli had asked the teams if they would support a change in the nominations from hard and medium to medium and soft. "The tyre nomination for the Brazilian Grand Prix has been changed, following Pirelli's proposal and with the unanimous agreement of all the teams," read a statement. "Although the hard and medium nomination has been used in Brazil for the last two years, the recent resurfacing of the Interlagos track has prompted the change to medium and soft. This new choice is the same nomination as the United States Grand Prix the weekend before." Paul Hembery added: "We've always said that we would be open to any changes if they were required. After further technical analysis of the impact of the revised circuit surface, together with a risk assessment suggesting a low probability of compound overheating due to extreme track temperatures, we have made this change with the unanimous agreement of all 11 teams." need a calculator jokes Mercedes' Wolff as they disagree on engine freeze rulesFri, 17 Oct 2014 12:01:33 GMTMercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has offered Ferrari a new calculator after the Italian team remarked that lifting the engine freeze wouldn't result in higher costs. Ferrari and Renault have made clear that they would support a move to allow in-season power unit development in an attempt to level the playing field and catch-up with rival Mercedes. The German company voted against the plans, effectively blocking such a move until at least the 2016 season, citing increased costs as the biggest factor. Ferrari's Marco Mattiacci rebuffed the claims and said they see no reason why costs would rise, but Wolff was puzzled as to how they came to such a calculation. "We are developing an engine and power unit until the end of the year, and then it is being manufactured, frozen and then delivered to customers at the same time," explained Wolff. "If you have a development cycle in-season, and you bring a new spec in-season for the end of June/end of July then the whole development process, because the most expensive bit is running parts on the dyno, is happening twice a year. "I don't know how they [Ferrari] make that calculation - but we probably need to send them a calculator. "There is no way you are not spending more. You are spending considerably more and every other argument is just because they don't think they are where they should be." His comments didn't go down too well with Ferrari's Mattiacci. "I think what is unfair is that Toto [Wolff] offered me a calculator, because he says we are not good at calculations. "Honestly, from our point of view, there is not a cost increase." Jr patient amid reports Vergne might keep driveFri, 17 Oct 2014 10:26:57 GMTAfter admitting to being shocked at missing out on the opportunity to race for Toro Rosso next season, Carlos Sainz Jr potentially has another shot at the seat but says he remains patient whilst awaiting a decision. It looked as though Max Verstappen would join Daniil Kvyat for 2015, but with Sebastian Vettel announcing a shock departure from parent team Red Bull and Kvyat's subsequent promotion, a seat has become available at the Faenza based team. Sainz Jr is surely favourite, but recent comments from both team principal Franz Tost and team owner Dietrich Mateschitz have given Jean-Eric Vergne a lifeline after the pair admitted it might make sense to keep an experienced driver alongside rookie Verstappen. That could scupper Sainz Jr's shot at an F1 seat next year, but the 20-year-old insists he is keeping his expectations in check to ensure he's not too disappointed should the decision go against him. "When everybody was saying I was already sat in the Toro Rosso, I was the first to lower the expectations," he told Spain's El Confidencial. "I was telling people I am a Red Bull driver, like any of the others and with Red Bull you never know what is going to happen. "If you think about logic, merit, numbers and results then it would be me, but we know that in F1 things do not always go this way. "It is necessary to be patient," he added, "because things can change very quickly." to introduce 'major upgrade' in Abu DhabiThu, 16 Oct 2014 19:32:02 GMTMcLaren will deliver a "major upgrade" for the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi according to racing director Eric Boullier. Whilst the final race is worth double points, that isn't the reason McLaren are introducing it there, but rather they hope it will benefit next year's car whilst also boosting the MP4-29's performance. "We have another major upgrade coming before the end of the season," said Boullier during a McLaren-Mercedes phone-in. "It is not designed to bring an advantage for the double points, it is more about building the foundations for the future. 100 per cent it is applicable to next year's car." The team have outscored everyone but Mercedes and Red Bull at the last two races and opened a 20 point gap to Force India. On the other side, they've also closed to within 45 points of Ferrari. Surpassing Ferrari is feasible according to Boullier, but it's not a specific target for the team. "If the performance on our car is good and we can deliver some strong races like in Russia we will see if we can take back another championship position. I would be delighted to," he added. "I don't think we have a clear target this year other than rebuilding the team and getting ready to fight back as soon as possible." must 'take risks and kick ass' - MarchionneThu, 16 Oct 2014 10:36:50 GMTNew Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne has demanded his team "kick some ass" and take risks in an effort to return to the front of the grid. The Italian-Canadian recently took control of the manufacturer following Luca di Montezemolo's departure this month and made clear his priority was to get Ferrari back to the top. Speaking to Autocar, he admitted taking a risky approach could backfire and result in an increased number of mistakes, but doesn't believe they have anything to lose considering their current position. "We've got to kick some ass and we've got to do it quickly," said the 62-year-old who is also chairman of Ferrari's parent company Fiat. "It takes what it takes. We might screw up, but we've got nothing to lose, right? Let's risk something." He admitted he was furious to see how badly the team performed at their home race last month, but insisted the brand is committed to F1. "I go to Monza and see that the first six cars are not Ferrari or powered by a Ferrari engine, and my blood pressure just popped," he added. "[This] continues to be my main objective in terms of Ferrari going forward. A non-winning Ferrari on the Formula 1 track is not Ferrari. "I can live with periods of bad luck, but it cannot become a structural element of the brand." Montezemolo confirms Alonso's Ferrari departure Wed, 15 Oct 2014 22:36:09 GMTFormer Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has confirmed that Fernando Alonso will leave the Italian team at the end of the current season. It's a well known secret that Alonso and Ferrari have agreed to split after a difficult relationship without great success, but as of yet nobody close to the company had confirmed the news. Speaking to Italian television, Di Montezemolo gave two reasons why the Spaniard had chosen to leave early. "Fernando is leaving for two reasons," he said. "One, he wants another environment. Two, because he is an age when he cannot wait to win again. "He has been disappointed not to have won [the title] in these years and he needs a new stimulus." Di Montezemolo negotiated Alonso's release from his current contract - due to expire at the end of 2016 - before he was replaced by Sergio Marchionne as Ferrari president. Alonso is set to join McLaren and will be replaced by Sebastian Vettel who confirmed his exit from Red Bull during the Japanese Grand Prix weekend. don't understand Kobayashi's commentsWed, 15 Oct 2014 14:41:54 GMTCaterham team principal Manfredi Ravetto says he was surprised by comments from Kamui Kobayashi following the Russian Grand Prix. The Japanese driver told reporters after the race that he was told to retire from last place on lap 21 in order to save engine and component mileage. Ravetto says this simply isn't true and the real reason behind the retirement was because of an issue they spotted on the car's telemetry. "Actually, I was very surprised to hear Kamui referring to some mileage-saving instruction coming from the team's management: we saw via telemetry that there was a potential issue with the brakes and we decided to avoid any risks," explained Ravetto. "Kamui officially confirmed this as well and I’d like to add that he had also asked us to change the previous set before qualifying because he felt some vibration. "To be clear: yes, we instructed Kamui to retire because the safety of our drivers is our first concern!" Ravetto added that there was no reason to retire on any other grounds as the team has made great progress in the latter half of the season and believes it can overcome Marussia or Sauber to secure at least 10th in the Constructors' Championship. "Regarding Kamui's comment, all I can say – and again, I’m answering with facts – is that the team has continuously made progress since the British Grand Prix, we've managed to qualify very well in the last two races, getting very close to Q2, and in Suzuka we repaired Kamui's heavily damaged car in time for the next session without any problems, so I cannot understand his comment." Bull deny Vettel early Ferrari test at Abu DhabiWed, 15 Oct 2014 10:04:32 GMTSebastian Vettel won't be allowed to leave his Red Bull contract early according to team owner Dietrich Mateschitz. The German is contracted to Red Bull until the 28th November, five days after the Abu Dhabi season finale. Those five days also cover the final in-season test, meaning Vettel won't be able to test for his new team - most likely Ferrari. "Only after [those day] will he become a free agent," said billionaire Mateschitz. He also made it clear that the four-time champion will no longer be invited to technical meetings for the 2015 season to avoid him taking information to a rival outfit. "Sebastian will be totally equally treated and get the same material as Daniel [Ricciardo] in the final races," he added. "However, he will not get any information on our developments for 2015." deny reports Bianchi sped up under yellowsWed, 15 Oct 2014 09:20:42 GMTMarussia have moved to dispel reports suggesting Jules Bianchi sped up under yellow flags at the order of the team to ensure he remained ahead of Caterham's Marcus Ericsson. Some media outlets have run stories which suggest Bianchi didn't slow at all - and may have gone even quicker - when he approached the incident at Turn 7. The team called the isolated media reports "distressing", but said it had a duty to Bianchi to respond and make clear what actually happened. "These allegations are entirely false," read a statement. "Jules did slow down under the double waved yellow flags. That is an irrefutable fact, as proven by the telemetry data, which the team has provided to the FIA. "Charlie Whiting, the FIA's race director, confirmed that the team had provided such data, that he himself had examined this data and that Jules did slow." The team also made clear that it never asked him to speed up in order to keep Ericsson behind, or to open up a larger gap to the Caterham. "It is quite clear from the [radio] transmission and the transcript that at no point during the period leading up to Jules' accident did the team urge Jules to drive faster, or make any comments suggesting that he should do so," it added. "[The team is] distressed to have to respond to deeply upsetting rumours and inaccuracies in respect of the circumstances of Jules' accident. "However, given that these allegations are entirely false, the team has no alternative but to address these. "The team sincerely hopes that, having clarified these facts, it can now avoid any further distractions to its primary focus at this time, which is providing support for Jules and his family." doesn't need to deliver to save his job - BoullierTue, 14 Oct 2014 23:56:34 GMTJenson Button is still in the frame for a seat at McLaren next season according to racing director Eric Boullier, despite making it clear that the team are chasing Fernando Alonso among others. The Briton admitted he was bemused by the delay, but Boullier hopes the wait will soon come to an end with a definite announcement before the season finale in Abu Dhabi. "I hope to sort out our decision on the driver line-up before the end of the season, yes," Boullier said. "It's true that it takes a bit more time than maybe we have to deal with, but it's still on course to be before the end of the season, yes," he confirmed. Boullier says he understands it is a difficult time for Button and team-mate Kevin Magnussen as their futures remain uncertain, but he insists Button remains a candidate and he doesn't need to prove his talent. "I understand that he may not feel comfortable and he is obviously concerned about his future. But again, unfortunately, I'm in charge of McLaren Racing and we have to build the best for the team and drivers are obviously very important for our discussion. "We know the value of Jenson and we know he is a world-champion-class driver and has been a world champion already. We don't need him to deliver an extra job on track in order to save his job." rules out taking a sabbatical in 2015Tue, 14 Oct 2014 20:44:57 GMTIt's unlikely Fernando Alonso will take a sabbatical next season, ruling out one of the potential career paths the Spaniard could take in 2015. The Ferrari driver is set to leave the Italian marque at the end of the season and has been linked with numerous teams as well as taking a year out to ensure he's in the best possible place to secure a competitive seat for 2016. The latter is unlikely according to Alonso though who says his choice will make sense when it's finally revealed. "Probably not a big risk," he said when asked if he could be without a seat. "As I said in Suzuka, I understand the curiosity and the fans wanting news, but do not worry. Relax, enjoy and when it is time to know it you will know it. "My mind has been set for the last two or three months. When you know you will understand that probably it was very obvious what I will do." The two-time champion also looks to have ruled out Lotus as a potential destination after admitting his 2015 car will "probably not" be powered by Mercedes. set for engine penalty at United States GPTue, 14 Oct 2014 18:07:34 GMTSebastian Vettel looks likely to land a ten-place grid penalty for the United States Grand Prix after team principal Christian Horner admitted his current unit is approaching the end of its life. The German is currently on his fifth and final unit. Any subsequent unit brings with it a ten-place drop, and any changes after that result in a further five-places. "We have to look after what has happened here but I think the reality is that Sebastian will take a sixth engine in Austin because it is inevitable he is going to have to use it," said Horner. "I do not think this engine can really go too much further." Vettel suggested that he might not even run in qualifying for the race in three weeks time because he would likely start outside the top 15 with Mercedes and Williams showing strong form. provide update on Bianchi's conditionTue, 14 Oct 2014 17:49:44 GMTMarussia have given an update on Jules Bianchi following a crash at the Japanese Grand Prix which meant the Frenchman had to be rushed to hospital for an operation to relieve pressure on his brain. The 25-year-old remains "critical but stable" at Japan's Mie Hospital and his injuries have been described as "challenging" due to the severity. "The past nine days have been extremely difficult for Jules and his family," read a statement from Marussia on behalf of the Bianchi family. "As a consequence of the accident at Suzuka, a number of medical challenges have needed to be overcome and the situation remains challenging due to the diffuse axonal traumatic brain injury Jules has sustained. "Jules remains in a critical but stable condition in the Intensive Care Unit of Mie General Medical Center in Yokkaichi." His family, who remain at his bedside, also thanked everyone for their support over the past week. "The Bianchi family continue to be comforted by the thoughts and prayers of Jules' many fans and the motor sport community. "In particular, the many demonstrations of support and affection during the course of the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi were of enormous comfort to Jules' parents and the relatives and friends also present at the hospital." bemused by McLaren's driver line-up delayTue, 14 Oct 2014 17:40:31 GMTJenson Button admits he's no longer annoyed by McLaren's decision to delay its driver line-up - essentially leaving himself and team-mate Kevin Magnussen in limbo - but now finds it rather amusing. The Briton is without a contract for 2015, as is Magnussen, and the pair are waiting on McLaren to complete talks with a number of drivers before they find out if they've got seats for next year. When asked if he was annoyed by the team's delay, he said: "Not anymore. I was annoyed at the last race, but I am more relaxed with it. "It is getting so close to the end of the season, it is actually getting funny," he told the BBC. The 34-year-old has made it clear that he would like to remain in F1, but with 15 wins and a world championship to his name, he says people shouldn't be concerned if he's on the sidelines, but should instead focus on rookie Magnussen. "You shouldn't worry about me. I am in a great place in my life right now and whatever happens next year I am happy. "It's tougher for my teammate," he added. "I have been in the sport for a long time. Kevin is in his first season and there is more pressure on him to get a drive. "I just hope they [McLaren] make the right decision." will not give up this fight says his fatherTue, 14 Oct 2014 08:51:50 GMTJules Bianchi's father insists his son will not give up as he remains in a critical but stable condition following his Japanese Grand Prix crash. The 25-year-old suffered a diffuse axonal injury to the brain when his car hit a recovery vehicle at high-speed. Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, his father Philippe Bianchi said his son's survival was already a miracle, but whilst there remains a long road ahead for the Marussia driver, it's a fight he won't give up. "The situation is desperate," he said. "Every time the telephone goes, we know it could be the hospital to tell us that Jules is dead. "He will not give up, I'm sure of that. I can see it. I believe it," he added. "I speak to him. I know he can hear me. "His doctors have told us that this is already a miracle, no one has ever survived such a serious accident. But Jules won't give-up. "His trainer Andrea says that if there is one person who can make it happen, with his will, it's Jules." champion Palmer confident of 2015 F1 seatMon, 13 Oct 2014 18:29:44 GMTJolyon Palmer is confident he will be in Formula 1 next season after securing the 2015 GP2 title with a win in Russia at the weekend. The 23-year-old has a 56 point lead over Williams reserve Felipe Nasr and McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne and believes the title win will help secure him an F1 seat next season. "I'm confident [I'll be in F1]," said Palmer. "The first priority was to win GP2 and I was always confident that if I did win GP2 I was going to be in F1. Now that's done and I'm confident I'll be in F1. "I'm not saying it is going to be easy, but this title is a big help. We're going to have to wait for a few weeks and see what happens. I feel ready for it. I'm driving at the top of my game right now." The British racer would be the first champion to rise through the ranks from GP2 to F1 since Romain Grosjean and he reckons he's 100 per cent ready for the jump. "I know the tyres thanks to GP2. It is the perfect Series to feed into Formula 1; it is the same tyres, the same tracks, the cars are even now a similar speed especially into the corners. I feel absolutely ready for it and I am confident it can happen." votes against relaxing engine freeze rulesMon, 13 Oct 2014 13:08:41 GMTMercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has made it clear that the German manufacturer will not support a change to the regulations which could allow in-season development of the power unit. The teams voted on the matter during the Russian Grand Prix weekend with two of the three engine suppliers voting yes. Mercedes went against Ferrari and Renault as Wolff reckons it would be unfair to change the rules just because they don't suit someone. "We have already voted against it in the Strategy Group and I don't think we will change our mind in the next month or whenever the meeting will take place," said Wolff in reference to an F1 Commission vote on the matter. "We have rules and we have governance, and the governance is in place in order to avoid quick, knee-jerk decisions being made that upset stability, upset the commercial setup and I strongly believe you cannot change rules in October for the following year just because you think they don't suit you." Wolff however is more open to a change for 2016, once the impact has been thoroughly researched. "For 2016 we are going through an ordinary process, we are going to have a look at it again and then decide whether it is the right thing to do. "We've looked at it because we wanted to take up the challenge and say 'okay, somebody wants to do in-season development, what's the in-season development? Let's take the challenge up'. But what does it mean as a consequence for the series itself? What does it mean commercially? How much does it cost? I think as a serious business you have to explore these costs and not just say 'why don't we do it?' So we need to explore those costs and also you need to look at what it means logistically." 'I just got the corner completely wrong'Mon, 13 Oct 2014 10:44:16 GMTNico Rosberg is rueing a first corner error which cost him a potential victory at the Russian Grand Prix, allowing team-mate Lewis Hamilton to extend his championship lead. The German managed to slipstream Hamilton and get alongside on the first lap and briefly took the lead before locking-up. He then ran wide and was forced to hand the position back before pitting for fresh tyres. "I just went completely wrong," said Rosberg. "It was actually an easy situation. It's just the first time at this track, first time down there with 160kg [of fuel] in the tank. I just got it wrong completely. "It was just a mistake on my side. I just braked too late, that was it. Very unnecessary. It was my corner and should have been the lead I had. Very disappointed with that." He managed to recover to second to limit the damage. "After that my tyres were square so I couldn't see where I was going and had to pit. I thought that was the end of the day but then partly I'm happy to have managed to get back all the way to second. "In hindsight, I could have pushed more during the race. It's always easy to know more afterwards. In the end my tyres were fine. It is a pity but difficult to know that during the race." dedicates Russian victory to BianchiMon, 13 Oct 2014 10:18:24 GMTLewis Hamilton dedicated his Russian Grand Prix victory to Jules Bianchi who remains in a critical condition following his Japanese GP crash. The Briton cruised to victory to extend his championship lead over team-mate Nico Rosberg, but admitted the excitement was toned down because of the events of last week. "It would be great to dedicate it to him and his family," said Hamilton after the race. "It would make a very small difference to them, but every bit of positive energy hopefully will help. We all need to be sending positive vibes that way. "I think the whole week there has been one person in mind and that's Jules." Hamilton's win helped Mercedes secure the Constructors' Championship in Russia, but he and motorsport boss Toto Wolff both agreed the celebrations had been overshadowed by the accident. "Of course there is excitement and happiness for the team and everything," added Hamilton. "But without a doubt every time I got in the car this week, I've honestly just been keeping him in my prayers every day." Wolff added: "We must not forget what happened last week and even if we have celebrations, and even if the boys are very happy with all the hard work, we will not forget what happened to Jules." wins as Mercedes take Constructors' titleMon, 13 Oct 2014 02:17:00 GMTLewis Hamilton extended his championship advantage to 17 points over team-mate Nico Rosberg after securing his ninth win of the 2014 season. The Briton finished ahead of Rosberg to give Mercedes an eighth 1-2 finish, which was enough to secure the team the Constructors' Championship with three races remaining. Williams's Valtteri Bottas came home third ahead of the McLaren's of Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen. Red Bull struggled for pace, eventually finishing seventh and eighth behind Fernando Alonso. Race Result - 2014 Russian Grand Prix: #DriverTeamGapPts 01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes   25 02 Nico Rosberg Mercedes +13.6 18 03 Valtteri Bottas Williams +17.4 15 04 Jenson Button McLaren +30.2 12 05 Kevin Magnussen McLaren +53.6 10 06 Fernando Alonso Ferrari +60.0 8 07 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull +61.8 6 08 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull +66.1 4 09 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari +78.8 2 10 Sergio Perez Force India +80.0 1 11 Felipe Massa Williams +80.8   12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India +81.3   13 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso +97.2   14 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso +1 Lap   15 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber +1 Lap   16 Adrian Sutil Sauber +1 Lap   17 Romain Grosjean Lotus +1 Lap   18 Pastor Maldonado Lotus +1 Lap   19 Marcus Ericsson Caterham +2 Laps   20 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham Brakes   21 Max Chilton Marussia Retired takes first Russian pole ahead of RosbergSat, 11 Oct 2014 20:56:17 GMTLewis Hamilton secured the first ever Russian Grand Prix pole position to deny team-mate Nico Rosberg by just two-tenths. Williams's Valtteri Bottas was third quickest by a further two-tenths whilst McLaren's Jenson Button was fourth ahead of local favourite Daniil Kvyat. Qualifying - 2014 Russian Grand Prix #Driver Team Q1Q2Q3 01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:38.759 1:38.338 1:38.513 02 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:39.076 1:38.606 1:38.713 03 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:39.125 1:38.971 1:38.920 04 Jenson Button McLaren 1:39.560 1:39.381 1:39.121 05 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:40.074 1:39.296 1:39.277 06 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:39.735 1:39.022 1:39.629 07 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:40.519 1:39.666 1:39.635 08 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:40.255 1:39.786 1:39.709 09 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:40.098 1:39.838 1:39.771 10 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:40.354 1:39.929 1:40.020 11 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:40.382 1:40.052   12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:40.273 1:40.058   13 Sergio Perez Force India 1:40.723 1:40.163   14 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:41.159 1:40.536   15 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:40.766 1:40.984   16 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:42.526 1:41.397   17 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:42.648     18 Felipe Massa Williams 1:43.064     19 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:43.166     20 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:43.205     21 Max Chilton Marussia 1:43.649 Hamilton remains dominant despite spinSat, 11 Oct 2014 10:52:21 GMTLewis Hamilton continued to dominate practice for the Russian Grand Prix during third practice despite a spin. The Briton was almost three-tenths quicker than team-mate Nico Rosberg, whilst Williams's Valtteri Bottas was third, just a tenth down on Rosberg. Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo split the Williams cars, whilst Daniil Kvyat wowed his home crowd to go sixth quickest. FP3 Full Times - 2014 Russian Grand Prix: #No.DriverTeamTimeGapLaps 01 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:38.726   15 02 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:39.016 0.290 25 03 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:39.097 0.371 20 04 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:39.755 1.029 16 05 19 Felipe Massa Williams 1:39.954 1.228 22 06 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:40.009 1.283 27 07 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:40.011 1.285 20 08 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:40.151 1.425 15 09 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:40.205 1.479 26 10 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:40.338 1.612 21 11 22 Jenson Button McLaren 1:40.355 1.629 19 12 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:40.669 1.943 23 13 11 Sergio Perez Force India 1:40.699 1.973 26 14 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:41.146 2.420 21 15 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:41.520 2.794 20 16 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:41.915 3.189 22 17 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:42.436 3.710 4 18 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:43.109 4.383 11 19 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:43.975 5.249 12 20 4 Max Chilton Marussia 1:44.737 6.011 9 21 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus No time   2 plans yellow flag speed limit after Bianchi crashSat, 11 Oct 2014 10:04:13 GMTThe FIA hopes to implement a yellow flag speed limit in light of Jules Bianchi's crash at the Japanese Grand Prix after an initial investigation found speed was a major factor. The Frenchman lost control of his car whilst under double-waved yellows for an earlier accident involving Adrian Sutil. As he hit a wet patch off the racing line, he over-corrected and veered off the circuit and into a recovery vehicle. The governing body hopes a speed limit, or more likely a delta time drivers must adhere to, could go some way to making it safer whilst marshals and recovery trucks are on circuit. "There are some things to learn and we want to engage with all teams and drivers to make sure we come up with good, sound and well thought through ideas," said Charlie Whiting. "It is better to try to put in place a system where it is much clearer to everybody how much we think cars should slow down in similar circumstances. "That is what we are working on, starting tomorrow morning, with a meeting with all the teams to discuss exactly that. "We want a way of trying to impose a speed limit - it probably won't be a speed limit as such, but there will be a way of controlling speed with complete certainty and complete clarity." Hamilton surges clear of the field in RussiaFri, 10 Oct 2014 16:00:22 GMTLewis Hamilton moved clear of the F1 field during second practice by some margin. The Briton's 1:39.630 meant he was the only driver to dip below the 1:40 mark. FP2 Full Times - 2014 Russian Grand Prix: #No.DriverTeamTimeGapLaps 01 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:39.630   27 02 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:40.494 0.864 32 03 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:40.504 0.874 32 04 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:40.542 0.912 30 05 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:40.573 0.943 33 06 22 Jenson Button McLaren 1:40.718 1.088 32 07 19 Felipe Massa Williams 1:40.731 1.101 30 08 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:41.108 1.478 32 09 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:41.396 1.766 30 10 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:41.531 1.901 33 11 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:41.630 2.000 24 12 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:41.677 2.047 27 13 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:42.061 2.431 25 14 11 Sergio Perez Force India 1:42.090 2.460 29 15 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:42.233 2.603 31 16 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:42.892 3.262 30 17 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:42.905 3.275 33 18 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:43.055 3.425 33 19 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:44.135 4.505 22 20 4 Max Chilton Marussia 1:44.530 4.900 29 21 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:44.952 5.322 27 Rosberg tops first ever Russian practice sessionFri, 10 Oct 2014 09:42:29 GMTNico Rosberg topped the first ever practice session for the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Mclaren's Jenson Button. FP1 Full Times - 2014 Russian Grand Prix: #No.DriverTeamTimeGapLaps 01 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:42.311   29 02 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:42.376 0.065 25 03 22 Jenson Button McLaren 1:42.507 0.196 28 04 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:42.720 0.409 27 05 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:43.026 0.715 28 06 11 Sergio Perez Force India 1:43.129 0.818 26 07 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:43.164 0.853 29 08 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:43.212 0.901 23 09 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:43.327 1.016 24 10 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:43.542 1.231 9 11 19 Felipe Massa Williams 1:43.741 1.430 22 12 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:43.821 1.510 25 13 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:43.976 1.665 21 14 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:44.506 2.195 30 15 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:44.625 2.314 26 16 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:44.876 2.565 26 17 37 Sergey Sirotkin Sauber 1:45.032 2.721 22 18 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:45.190 2.879 25 19 45 Roberto Merhi Caterham 1:46.782 4.471 18 20 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:46.922 4.611 18 21 4 Max Chilton Marussia 1:47.284 4.973 26 am 100% committed to Mercedes - HamiltonFri, 10 Oct 2014 07:41:05 GMTLewis Hamilton insists he is 100 per cent committed to staying with Mercedes next season and will likely stay beyond then. The 2008 world champion currently leads the championship by ten points to team-mate Nico Rosberg with four races remaining and that's his only focus at the moment. "I'm focused on one thing and one thing only right now... Winning this championship!! I am committed 100% to @MercedesAMGF1," tweeted the 29-year-old. It comes as rumours have linked the Briton with a return to McLaren next season, whilst others are pointing at Ferrari, and whilst Hamilton admits the chopping and changing is interesting, there is a lot of "silly conversations" going on. "I think it's in an interesting time in Formula 1 - Ferrari's making changes, top drivers making changes, a lot of fiction, a lot of silly stories going around," he said. "Whoever is starting those silly conversations, I've made clear and always have been very clear that I'm here to do the job that I'm contracted to do until the end of next year. "We've confirmed that we'll sit down and talk about the future at the end of the year." Beyond 2015, Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda is confident Hamilton will remain with the Silver Arrows. "With Lewis now we're negotiating to renew his contract after 2015 for two or three years," he told Sky Sports. "We're just talking to him how long does he do. We're all positive, he's positive this is going to happen." to run sole car for Chilton in RussiaFri, 10 Oct 2014 07:17:22 GMTMarussia have informed the FIA that it will field just one car for the Russian Grand this weekend out of respect for Jules Bianchi. The Frenchman remains in a critical but stable conditions in hospital following his Japanese GP crash last weekend. The team have built up a second car which has undergone scrutineering and therefore the team aren't falling foul of the regulations which stipulate they must run two cars. However it won't leave the garage, despite the team nominating reserve driver Alexander Rossi in Bianchi's place earlier this week. "Jules car crew have built a second car, which has been scrutineered and is ready to race, and this will remain on his side of the garage throughout the weekend," read a statement. "In support of Jules and his family, the team and their cars will carry the familiar #JB17 graphic, to ensure that although Jules is not with them in Sochi this weekend, he is, nonetheless, racing on with the Marussia F1 Team." The team were granted special dispensation by Bernie Ecclestone following the incident, which would have allowed them to pull out of the race completely. Max Chilton will however race, but admitted it would be a difficult weekend. "I don't know how to put into words how truly devastated I am by what has happened to Jules," said the Briton. "The support from the F1 family has been incredible and all we can do is be there to support Jules' family at this difficult time. It is going to be a very emotional weekend for the whole team, but we will try to get through it and keep praying for Jules." 'A grey cloud hangs over this race'Thu, 09 Oct 2014 18:34:19 GMTAdrian Sutil has spoken at length about his feelings for the first time since he witnessed the crash of Jules Bianchi at the Japanese Grand Prix last weekend. The German driver was standing just metres away from the recovery vehicle which was struck by Bianchi's Marussia when he lost control of his car in the wet conditions. Sutil said the Russian GP would be run under a "grey cloud" and all the drivers would be praying and racing for Bianchi this weekend. "So hard to say in words," said the Sauber driver. "Of course, very shocking moment for everyone, for myself. "Probably everyone has seen it. It’s just… we have to pray right now. This is all we can do. We can hope that we get some better news. "It's just that we are now here in Sochi, a grey cloud over us but try to be professional enough, more professional and focus on the race weekend again and also good to get rid a little bit of this mood but still it affects everyone. My thoughts are the same. Pray for the best and race for him." When asked to recount what he saw, Sutil explained that the incident happened so quickly he only remembers the moments after the crash. "I was standing there and of course I was not expecting anyone to go off and when I realised that there was a car coming it was in the gravel already. I just saw the last seconds. I don’t know what happened before. I can’t really say. I was just a witness until when the fatal crash really happened. But I haven't seen what happened before. That's it." confirm switch from Renault to Mercedes powerThu, 09 Oct 2014 17:18:33 GMTThe Lotus F1 Team has confirmed it will switch from Renault to Mercedes power for the 2015 season and beyond after signing a "long-term deal". The team has struggled for pace this season and the team have put that down to a chassis design flaw and an underpowered engine. It hopes that a fresh start next season will see them back at the front. The Enstone outfit has used Renault power ever since it was owned by the French company between 2002 and 2010 before changing ownership and name. Speaking about the announcement, Lotus CEO Matthew Carter said: "We are pleased to have been chosen by Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains in a significant long term deal. "We intend to return to the front of the field with the goals of winning Grands Prix and being a strong championship contender once more and we see this new agreement as one step towards this aim. "The Mercedes-Benz Power Unit has shown good performance on track and it is our goal to marry this motive force to Enstone's chassis expertise. It is our desire that the E23 Hybrid, powered by Mercedes-Benz, heralds a new era of success for Enstone. At this juncture we would also like to thank Renault, who have been so closely associated with the team over its history and for the joint success we have achieved together." Lotus will replace McLaren as Mercedes third customer when the Woking team switches to Honda next year. "It was strategically important for Mercedes-Benz to continue to supply three customers throughout this generation of Power Unit, in addition to the primary focus on our Silver Arrows works team, and it was therefore clear that we would be looking for a new customer from 2015," Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said. "Lotus F1 Team is an impressive organisation that has delivered competitive on-track performances in recent seasons. We are pleased to welcome them to the Mercedes-Benz family and look forward to building a productive and performant working relationship in the years ahead." Andy Cowell, Managing Director of Mercedes' engine division, added: "We are delighted to welcome Lotus F1 Team as a customer of Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains from the 2015 season. Lotus F1 Team is a strong technical group with excellent facilities and I am confident that together we will deliver a step forward in track performance next year. In 2014, the organisation at Brixworth has demonstrated that it can support three customer teams to the high standards expected of Mercedes-Benz, in addition to our focus on the works Silver Arrows. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to continuing doing so from 2015, as we seek to make further gains in both performance and reliability." It's likely the deal will see Total branding dropped from the Lotus car as the team will switch to Petronas fuel and lubricants. Mercedes' back-up plan should Hamilton leaveThu, 09 Oct 2014 12:11:55 GMTMercedes have reportedly put a 'Plan B' in place should contract negotiations with Lewis Hamilton fail to materialise for the 2016 season. The Briton is already contracted for next year alongside title rival Nico Rosberg, but should Hamilton fail to sign a contract extension for 2016 and beyond, then Fernando Alonso could likely take his seat. According to paddock sources, that might explain why Alonso and McLaren have yet to agree a deal as the Spaniard is looking for a single-season contract with options to continue if Hamilton remains with the Silver Arrows. McLaren however are looking to sign the Ferrari driver for at least two years, but know they can't offer performance guarantees and are therefore in a difficult position to negotiate. If a one-year deal isn't on the table, then Alonso may be forced to take a sabbatical to ensure he is in a prime position when it comes to agreeing drivers for 2016 - but that decision could backfire if the top teams (Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren and Williams) have all agreed long-term deals by then. It leaves the two-time champion in a difficult position as he chases the best possible seat to ensure him of a so desperately wanted third title. to vote on relaxing engine freeze rulesThu, 09 Oct 2014 12:03:18 GMTFormula 1 team bosses are to vote on whether or not the engine freeze rules should be relaxed during the season to allow rival manufacturers to catch up and create a level playing field. Currently, only during the winter off-season can changes be made for performance gains - though these changes are also restricted - meaning that should one engine supplier have an advantage over its rivals, it's likely to carry that through the entire season - as has been the case with Mercedes this year. Both Ferrari and Renault support easing the rules during the season, but Mercedes are believed to be against the proposal, suggesting it would inflate already high development costs. Ferrari's Marco Mattiacci rubbished these claims, instead believing it would boost revenues for smaller teams whilst only costing a little more. "It is an idea that is a win for the media, a win for teams and a win for all the stakeholders," he told Autosport. "Looking at it from the small teams' perspective, if I have the possibility to deliver a more performing engine to them, then they have the opportunity to score more points and gain revenue. "We are still working on developing the engine right now even if we cannot apply changes [during the season], so I can't see costs increasing." For any change to be implemented, it will require a unanimous 'yes' vote this weekend, when team bosses will meet ahead of the Russian Grand Prix. Alonso goes from saviour to scapegoatThu, 09 Oct 2014 00:45:46 GMT'The one thing Ferrari didn't need to change was its leading driver. So it will change its leading driver.' Some of you will recognise these words as being those of Autosport's Pablo Elizalde, summing things up in his inimitable way on Twitter during what was a tumultuous and eventually harrowing last Grand Prix weekend in Japan. And it indeed sums that precise matter up rather aptly. Ferrari we’re told, not for the first time in its extended existence, is doing something that appears to outsiders rather, erm, individualistic. After years of meagre results, the succession of seemingly irrefutable reports of recent days appear to confirm that it is chasing out the door the man who looked to the rest of us by far the best thing about it in Fernando Alonso. Even it seems his replacement in Sebastian Vettel is all but in position. If you need evidence to back up the assertion of Fernando doing quite well by Ferrari then you only need a cursory glance at the numbers. Only Alonso has won a race there during his five-year spell in Maranello – indeed he’s won no fewer than 11 of them. In that time almost never has a Ferrari car been the raw pace standard bearer; there have only been two poles won in the dry – both by Alonso natch – and they both were four plus years back. He somehow very nearly won two titles. The Spaniard’s claimed 1162 points, his various team mates’ total is 541. This year, with a fellow world champion stable mate who was supposed to match him – some reckoned would ‘find him out’ even – he’s been even further ahead than usual. All the while, the consensus view was firmed up that he is the number one driver in contemporary F1. If you think Ferrari’s in bother now then subtract Alonso’s personal contribution and you’ve got bother being something you flashed past a while ago as you are stranded in your runaway handcart. We knew there were rumblings about that driver-team relationship, that Alonso understandably wasn’t thrilled with yet another year of substandard machinery provided. But the majority view remained that due to a lack of alternative options that were either not risky or already taken, and that the first proper James Allison machine awaited next year, Alonso would however grudgingly stay put for 2015.  Subtly though murmurings have gathered lately – and to some bewilderment – that in fact it was Ferrari that wasn’t happy with him. We know of course about then Ferrari President Luca Montzemolo’s ‘ear tweak’ of Alonso mid last season, in response to Alonso’s throwaway line to the effect of wanting someone else’s car. But unless one is determined to take offence that could only be considered a gross overreaction. After all, if we’re going to start getting into debates about who out of Alonso and Ferrari had been keeping up their respective ends of the bargain… But over the Suzuka weekend the matter developed further, with some articles appearing that claimed that the new Ferrari boss Marco Mattiacci wasn’t happy with Alonso’s wandering eye. That he wanted long-term commitment from Alonso to Ferrari’s long-term mapped-out route to recovery. That Alonso’s contract demands were excessive. Then after the Japanese race we had more, this time in an article from Mark Hughes on Motorsport Magazine’s website, with an apparent inside track of what had gone wrong. But even in here Alonso’s rap sheet remains rather light. Certainly not heinous. Especially not in the context. Most specifically Alonso is accused in the article of ‘making waves’ within the team. ‘The waves created internally by Alonso’s remarks have frequently made life difficult for the management’ said Hughes. ‘His subtexts, the throwaway lines in public or to favoured journalists became all about how the team had let him down. He was the warrior pulling the team along in his wake – and they were being found wanting.’ The problem here is that even if Alonso did say this sort of thing almost no one would argue with him. See the statistics outlined above, and indeed Hughes himself opines more than once in his article that Alonso has indeed performed minor miracles behind the wheel of a Ferrari and consistently. So essentially his crime was to say something entirely non-contentious in public. Indeed you think he hardly needed to say it. Pass the smelling salt… Hughes went on: ‘There are those who have worked at Ferrari during Alonso’s time there who swear he is not disruptive, that he makes his points but then withdraws.’ Indeed over the Suzuka weekend Rob Smedley, recently ex of Ferrari of course, was not for the first time gushing in his praise of the Spaniard.  ‘There are others’ Hughes continued  ‘who say that there was a honeymoon period of about a year where the driver immersed himself in the team and its people, but that his focus switched to himself in the wake of the lost title-decider of Abu Dhabi 2010.’  A little while afterwards I re-read an article on the same website written by Nigel Roebuck, covering similar subjects but with rather different conclusions, published a week or so prior to the Suzuka weekend. And with the benefit of knowing how matters indeed developed when all were gathered in Japan his words hang rather heavy. ‘It is believed, however, that although all the (Ferrari) engineers and technicians devoutly want Alonso to stay, one part of Ferrari – headed by Marco Mattiacci…wants to change direction, and to replace Fernando with Sebastian Vettel. Indeed a well-informed Italian colleague tells me that the word is that Mattiacci is hoping that Fernando will ask to be released for next year – in which event he would reputedly not be obliged to pay the 25 million euros required to buy out his contract. ‘Why, though, would Mattiacci wish to see him leave? Because, according to the Italian grapevine, he knows that Alonso is the de facto leader of the team, and he wants to demonstrate that he is in charge, that his law must be accepted, and he believes that with Vettel that would be easier to achieve – not least because, unlike Alonso, fully conversant both with the language and the mentality at Ferrari, Sebastian doesn’t even speak Italian…’ So on this account, just as happened to Alonso’s sometime ally and sometime nemesis Luca Montezemolo a few weeks beforehand, Alonso it seems is being forced out in a power play.  So between Hughes and Roebuck we have two rather divergent accounts. Both presumably are very well-sourced from within or at least near the Italian team. But my judgment is that Roebuck’s is the one more likely closer to the mark. This is because its fit with what we know, about Alonso’s contribution and about Ferrari modus operandi more broadly, is closer – as outlined the apparent offence at Alonso’s ‘making waves’ and the like seems problematic; rather an overreaction given everything. And if we are to construct a hypothesis that explains the split of opinion it seems possible at least that Hughes’ information was from the ‘one part of Ferrari’ that Roebuck mentions, that wanted Alonso gone, and its airing was intended to help this end. Rather cloaking the power play-inspired exit with more noble justifications, therefore making the transition smoother. If so it would fit with recent Maranello top brass behaviour, given that as intimated something like this is what plenty think happened with Monzezmolo’s exit. His ousting was down officially to the F1 team’s struggles. Unofficially, and the interpretation made by many close at hand, was that this was an excuse and in fact it reflected FIAT CEO Sergio Marchionne wanting full control in advance of the upcoming FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) Group flotation on the Wall Street stock market, as well as to lower the exclusivity and price of Ferrari road cars.  The curious intra-Ferrari split of opinion on Alonso’s conduct that Hughes reported also would be consistent with the hypothesis. As would Alonso’s public hints in Singapore that elements at Ferrari were putting whispers out with an intention of discrediting him. Indeed, Hughes’ article also outlines a post-Singapore meeting in which Mattiacci said ‘all the things that were guaranteed to rile someone of Alonso’s warrior disposition’, almost as if he was seeking an eruption. Our hypothesis fits with past behaviour too. On Ferrari’s modus operandi it is worth reflecting that Ferrari has quite a history of building a driver up to revered status, only to later knock them down, and hound them out.  Several names apply. Juan Manuel Fangio left the team after a single unhappy season. John Surtees stormed out in mid-1966 after a series of run-ins with the eccentric team manager Eugenio Dragoni. Niki Lauda fell seriously out of love when the Scuderia, mainly as it lost faith in him both clumsily and egregiously following his fiery Nurburgring accident. Gilles Villeneuve – often cited as the quintessential Ferrari driver – spent the last two weeks of his life utterly disillusioned with the squad for not backing him after being ‘duped’ by team mate Didier Pironi in Imola, and resolved to leave. Alain Prost was chased out amid a time-honoured Maranello meltdown in late 1991. We know the one about him comparing his Ferrari to a truck; less well-remembered is that when he did so he was referring to the car’s handling after the shock absorbers had failed, rather than generally. Even Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari departure was messy. There are other worthy pilots ushered out of the factory gates that could be listed in addition to these. Indeed, ushering Alonso ever so subtly towards the exit door due a perceived lack of long-term commitment has distinct echoes of Schumacher’s last days at Maranello. Schumi, by then 37 years of age, was cautious about committing and Luca Montezemolo in response snapped up Kimi Raikkonen. One thing led to another and Schumi indeed ‘retired’ at the season’s end, though it was pretty clear to most that he felt he’d been forced out, and ahead of time. Exploring quite why Ferrari is so insistent on building up drivers to knock them down probably could fill an article on its own. Possibly it is that its environment has often been rather highly strung and overly political and disputatious. Perhaps it goes deeper though, and for this we can turn to The Golden Bough, an 1890 work by James Frazer, which argued that – perhaps similar to Ferrari’s behaviour – most religions and mythologies derived from fertility cults that revolved around the worship and periodic sacrifice of a sacred king.  Comparisons between an F1 team and religion may seem crass, and indeed they almost always are, but Ferrari perhaps if we extend our imaginations briefly has a few more parallels than most. The myths, ritual, mass worshipful following, mysterious creation figure – James Allen earlier this year described Ferrari at its most political as being rather like The Borgias.  And to take us closer to Frazer’s work, the team has its saviours, its messiah figures, who are welcomed as such in the early days, only upon faltering or failure to be condemned to humiliation as well as to exile or execution. They carry the hopes but also the sins of those around them; they are the scapegoat, and their destruction absolves the sinners. And the belief in the old king must be eroded – in exposing them to contempt, revealing them as a false god – before the next one can by anointed.  Assuming I haven’t lost you yet there seems a lot of this with Alonso right now, and with the previous saviour-to-scapegoat journeys at Maranello mentioned. A recurring aspect in Scuderia past is that it often prefers heads on spikes than to address its more fundamental problems. And as outlined it seems that factions at least within Ferrari, and influential ones, have lately been trashing the previous ‘godhead’ so to clear the way for the new one. Perhaps we shouldn’t be too pessimistic, as there are a few reasons for hope for Ferrari next season and beyond. Mattiacci and Marchionne have both impressed observers so far, and certainly cannot be accused of not recognising that the team needs to change. The team has won vital concessions in thawing the engine freeze, and it is thought that the areas in which it can improve herein are glaring. And Ferrari in the post Newey age probably has the sport’s most admired technical brain in James Allison. Reportedly Mattiacci has given him carte blanche. But then again as Giancarlo Minardi was quoted by Roebuck predicting: ‘If Ferrari lose Alonso, it will be a disaster for the team, and it will last for years…’ And of the previous oustings mentioned virtually none of them were followed by a spell of success. Indeed most were followed by a period of doldrums, certainly compared with what went before. Possibly unsurprising – not only is a talented driver lost, I’d imagine whatever lingering loyalty remains in the team for the fallen hero doesn’t help either. One hopes for the team’s sake that Ferrari knows what it’s doing on this one. must reconsider enclosed cockpits - WilliamsWed, 08 Oct 2014 20:47:23 GMTEnclosed cockpits must be considered for Formula 1 cars if they can help protect a driver's head according to Claire Williams, deputy team principal of the Williams F1 Team. With the argument for cockpits having flared up once again following Jules Bianchi's Japanese Grand Prix accident, F1 bosses have come under pressure to look at the concept again after recently shelving the idea because it would look ugly. Williams though says the idea needs to be discussed internally in more depth to see whether it could have helped in this and future situations. "It's something we have to look at," she is quoted as saying by the Associated Press. "If it can improve safety then of course it has to be on the agenda as a conversation to have. Enclosed cockpits aren't easy technically for us to integrate into a Formula One car and of course they change the very nature of what a Formula One car looks like. "We have to look at all the options available to us whether it's an enclosed cockpit or not, but those conversations need to go on behind the scenes." The 38-year-old added that safety is more important than looks. "We have to find ways to ensure our drivers are as protected as possible. The aesthetics of a Formula One car — yes they are important, they are the very fiber and DNA of Formula One and what cars look like is important — but safety has to be paramount." retains Caterham seat for Russian GPWed, 08 Oct 2014 19:47:18 GMTKamui Kobayashi will continue to race for Caterham at the Russian Grand Prix this weekend as his future at the team continues to hang in the balance. The Japanese driver almost lost his seat in Belgium, but was reinstated at the last minute. He has then been confirmed on a race-by-race basis since. The team has confirmed he will once again be in the car for the weekend, but Roberto Merhi will take part in the first practice session. "Kamui didn't have the best of luck at his home race, but at a new circuit like Sochi, where all drivers start the weekend on a level playing field as it's a new track, he could definitely make the difference," said team principal Manfredi Ravetto. Kobayashi added: "It's always extremely exciting to race at a new circuit – I had a chance to do a few laps of this new Russian circuit in Sochi with the Codemasters 2014 F1 Game in Suzuka last week and, even though it was a video game, it seemed like an interesting circuit because of its mix of corners, some of them very tight, and high speed sections. "I am looking forward to driving there in real life. It will be an interesting challenge for us all and we will do our best. Our thoughts are also with Jules and his family at this difficult time." misquoted over Schumi 'normal life' commentsWed, 08 Oct 2014 10:39:35 GMTReports suggesting Michael Schumacher "can live a normal life" has given fans hope that the seven-time world champion's recovery has taken a major leap forward. The comments came from FIA president Jean Todt following a visit to Schumacher's Swiss home where the 45-year-old is now living and undergoing rehabilitation. Unfortunately, Todt was misquoted thanks to various translations from the original source. The Frenchman did indeed visit Schumacher, but when asked by French media for an update on his condition, Todt replied: "He will probably no longer be able to drive in Formula One, that's what we can say." With regards to living a normal life again, Todt simply said: "We have to hope for that. "I believe that what is important is that he is living, that his family is close to him, that we really believe that things will improve." unveils 2016 European GP layout in BakuTue, 07 Oct 2014 22:40:06 GMTBernie Ecclestone attended an event by Azerbaijan's minister of youth and sport Azad Rahimov on Tuesday to unveil the layout for the 2016 European Grand Prix. The Hermann Tilke-designed street circuit in Baku, which features a 2.2km straight, is set to join the calendar in 2016 under the European GP title. Speaking on Tuesday, Ecclestone welcomed the new race to the calendar: "Azerbaijan is the latest addition to the Formula One calendar and I am pleased to see they have designed an innovative new street circuit that will definitely help to create a world class event when we race there in 2016," said the 83-year-old. Rahimov added: "We have been working very closely on the circuit layout with Hermann Tilke and his team since early 2013. Our brief to Tilke Engineering was simple - create a circuit that is unique, one that will help the Grand Prix in Baku quickly establish itself as one of the most exciting, thrilling venues on the F1 calendar, and one that the fans and teams alike are excited about. "Most importantly, we wanted a track that would showcase the best of Baku, our capital city, and I am delighted that the circuit the F1 teams will race on in 2016 has achieved exactly that aim." Circuit architect Tilke gave some further details on the layout itself. "We have created a challenging street circuit, in terms of engineering and design, and one that thrives on Baku's very attractive urban atmosphere and its great combination of history and 21st century style. The historic city centre, the beautiful seaside promenade and the impressive government house all combine to provide the perfect backdrop for a spectacular new track. "Obviously street circuits present a number of challenges, in terms of circuit design, but we have been able to incorporate some unique features that will provide the teams and fans with fascinating racing. For example, there will be an extremely narrow uphill section at the old town wall that will reward pinpoint accuracy and courage, and we have an acceleration section of almost 2.2 kilometres along the promenade which will see the cars running flat out at very high top speeds - something that will create an incredible spectacle for the race fans on track and the viewers at home." has traumatic brain injury confirm familyTue, 07 Oct 2014 17:32:23 GMTJules Bianchi has suffered a "diffuse axonal injury" - a type of traumatic brain injury - according to his family who released a statement on Tuesday evening in Japan. The 25-year-old remains in a critical but stable condition at Mie General Hospital where he underwent three hours of surgery following his accident on Sunday. His injury is the consequence of rapid deceleration which has an affect on the nerves and brain. The severity of the injury isn't known exactly and has only been described as "severe". Bianchi's family thanks fans for their support and messages during this difficult time. "This is a very difficult time for our family, but the messages of support and affection for Jules from all over the world have been a source of great comfort to us," they wrote in a statement. "We would like to express our sincere appreciation. "The hospital will continue to monitor and treat Jules and further medical updates will be provided when appropriate." They also thanked Professor Gerard Saillant and Professor Alessandro Frati who have both travelled to Japan to assist with Bianchi's care at the request of the family and Ferrari. "They arrived at the hospital today and met with the medical personnel responsible for Jules' treatment, in order to be fully informed of his clinical status so that they are able to advise the family," added the statement. "Professors Saillant and Frati acknowledge the excellent care being provided by the Mie General Medical Center and would like to thank their Japanese colleagues." What is a Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI)? This type of injury is one of the most common and devastating types of traumatic brain injury, which occurs over a more widespread area than in focal brain injury (caused by a specific impact). "DAI, which refers to extensive lesions in white matter tracts, is one of the major causes of unconsciousness and persistent vegetative state after head trauma. It occurs in about half of all cases of severe head trauma. "The outcome is frequently coma, with over 90% of patients with severe DAI never regaining consciousness. Those who do wake up often remain significantly impaired."'t jump to conclusions without the facts - GPDATue, 07 Oct 2014 09:21:07 GMTNew Grand Prix Drivers' Association chairman Alex Wurz has warned the media, fans and fellow drivers to avoid jumping to conclusions over Jules Bianchi's Japanese GP crash. Whilst Bianchi remains in a "critical but stable" condition, and without all the facts present, it wouldn't be right to spread unconfirmed information. Wurz though understands it is important to shed some light on how such an accident can happen, but says it must be done through a proper investigative process as is currently under way within the FIA. "Obviously, such a terrible accident throws up a lot of questions and opinions," Wurz is quoted as saying by Autosport. "By nature, we all like to have answers, conclusions and solutions as soon as possible. "All of us drivers understand and also feel the need to investigate and discuss this matter," he added. "But we shall not jump to conclusions without having all evidence and information, and also having the chance to hear other parties' point of view." Wurz also warned drivers not to speak about the incident in detail to the media, but to instead engage in private discussions until such a time when things have become clearer. "I recommend to all the drivers to refrain from a public discussion," said the Austrian. "Any such discussions and the pursuit of solutions shall be done in a closed circle to ensure respect and privacy for Jules's family, but equally to ensure this analytical process can be done in its best way. "We need to give the experts time to analyse everything and, of course, we offer our full support to whichever authorities may be involved in this process. "But foremost, we want to support the family and friends of Jules. We do this in the best way, not by inflaming knee-jerk conclusions." doctor arrives in Japan to aid BianchiTue, 07 Oct 2014 08:46:10 GMTProfessor Gerard Saillant has flown to Japan at the request of Jules Bianchi's family to act as an intermediary between them and the doctors treating their son. The 25-year-old remains in Mie General Hospital's Intensive Care Unit for a second night following three hours of surgery for 'severe' head trauma as a result of a high-speed impact with a recovery vehicle. Professor Saillant is a leading orthopaedic surgeon and president of the FIA Institute. He advised surgeons and the Schumacher family following Michael Schumacher's skiing accident last December. On Monday evening in Japan, head of FIA communications Matteo Bonciani told the waiting media that Bianchi remains "critical but stable". The update was given with permission from Bianchi's family. According to Sky Sports, a further update is expected late-Tuesday. Meanwhile Japanese police investigating the accident have announced they will take the case no further. The FIA and Marussia however will conduct a thorough investigation into the cause and outcome. insists FIA not at fault after 'freak accident'Mon, 06 Oct 2014 15:51:06 GMTFormer FIA president Max Mosley insists the governing body were not at fault in anyway for Jules Bianchi's crash during the closing stages of the Japanese Grand Prix. The FIA has come under scrutiny for not deploying the Safety Car for Adrian Sutil's stricken Sauber, with many believing double-waved yellow flags wasn't enough to prevent another accident as happened in this case when Bianch went off and hit a recovery vehicle dealing with the first car. "I think what happened in Suzuka was very unfortunate, a freak accident, and I can't really fault any of the people involved – the marshals, or the race director, or any of those people," he told Sky Sports. "Everything was done as it should have been." Mosley suggested the blame most likely lays with Bianchi for possibly not slowing down sufficiently under double-waved yellow flags which tell a driver to 'slow right down and be prepared to stop'. "The first thing that happens when there is an accident is that your first line of defence are yellow flags. So you get stationary yellow flags, waved yellow flags and then double-waved yellow flags, which are increasing degrees of caution to the drivers. "You deploy the Safety Car if the obstruction, or the danger as such, cannot really be dealt with under double-yellow flags and you need the Safety Car. "It would appear he [Bianchi] didn't slow down as perhaps he should have done. Why that happened remains to be seen, but it's certainly the case that the yellow flags were deployed, so he should have slowed down and there should have been no risk of him going off, but that doesn't seem to have happened." Note: It has been highlighted that double-waved yellow flags were not being shown at marshal post 12 (the post just after Sutil's accident) in the moments before Bianchi's crash. In fact a green flag was being shown, therefore at this time, it would be wrong to put any blame on Bianchi for failing to slow. ask for patience over Bianchi updatesMon, 06 Oct 2014 08:43:34 GMTThe Marussia Formula 1 Team have asked for "patience and understanding" with regards to updates on Jules Bianchi's condition following his Japanese Grand Prix crash. The Frenchman remains in hospital after hitting a recovery vehicle attending to Adrian Sutil's Sauber. The 25-year-old underwent surgery for "severe head trauma" at Mie General Hospital. The only official update came from the FIA three hours after the incident, but it is known that Bianchi was moved to Mie's Intensive Care Unit on Sunday night following the operation. Sky Sports News reports Bianchi is on a respirator to aid his breathing and he remains in a critical condition. More information will be released when it is appropriate according to a Marussia statement. "Following the accident involving Jules Bianchi during yesterday's 2014 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit, the Marussia F1 Team would like to acknowledge the huge outpouring of support and affection for Jules and the Team at this very difficult time," read the team statement. "With regard to the communication of information concerning Jules' medical condition, we will respect, and be guided by, the wishes of the Bianchi family. Together with Jules' care, they will remain our highest priority. "Therefore, we would ask for patience and understanding with regard to further medical updates, which will be communicated in conjunction with the Mie General Medical Center in Yokkaichi, where Jules is being treated, when they feel it is appropriate. "Representatives of the Marussia F1 Team and Scuderia Ferrari will remain at the hospital to support Jules and the Bianchi family." F1 driver De Cesaris dies in motorbike crashSun, 05 Oct 2014 20:38:56 GMTFormer Formula 1 driver Andrea de Cesaris has passed away following a motorbike accident in Italy on Sunday. The Italian is believed to have died when riding his motorbike in the Bufalotta region of Rome when he collided with a guard rail at high speed. The 55-year-old competed in 208 grands prix between 1980 to 1994 and drove for no less than ten teams - Alfa Romeo, McLaren, Ligier, Minardi, Brabham, Rial, Scuderia Italia, Jordan, Tyrrell and Sauber. His best race result was second place at both the 1983 German and South African GP's, the same year he finished a career best eighth in the championship for Alfa Romeo. He returned to racing F1 cars in the Grand Prix Masters series. The news has shaken the F1 paddock as it comes on the same day as Jules Bianchi's frightening crash at the Japanese GP. transferred to ICU following operationSun, 05 Oct 2014 19:02:05 GMTJules Bianchi's operation has been completed and he has been moved to the Intensive Care Unit at Mie General Hospital. The Frenchman was involved in a collision with a recovery vehicle on the 42nd lap of the Japanese Grand Prix, resulting in the race result being called several laps early. Bianchi sustained "severe head trauma" which required urgent medical attention. He was removed from the circuit whilst unconscious by ambulance. According to reporters posted at the hospital, Bianchi has now been transferred to ICU but is not breathing unaided despite French reports to the contrary. The hospital is due to release a statement on Monday with further details of the surgery and his current condition. The majority of the grid visited the hospital according to some reports, with Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci, Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado as well as members of the Marussia team remaining present until his surgery was complete. send their thoughts to Bianchi after crashSun, 05 Oct 2014 15:49:45 GMTSebastian Vettel: "Everything that happened with the racing on track is secondary today, one of us is in a bad shape and we don't yet know how he is. Jules had a bad accident and we hope to have some very good news, very soon. Not knowing what's going on feels terrible, I think all the drivers really feel with him, as we know how difficult and slippery it was today; we hope for the very best." Daniel Ricciardo: "Right now we're all thinking about Bianchi and that's the biggest concern for us. We heard he had a pretty big crash and it's not nice when we don't know if the driver is okay. Bianchi is my main concern at the moment." Lewis Hamilton: "Our first thoughts go to Jules - it overshadows everything else when one of our colleagues is injured and we are praying for him. Next to this, the race result doesn't seem significant at all." Nico Rosberg: "My thoughts are with our colleague Jules and his family and team-mates, and we are hoping for some positive news." Fernando Alonso: "The only good news we want right now relates to Jules Bianchi. I hope that we hear very soon that he's alright." Kimi Raikkonen: "Right now, let's hope we get some good news about Jules Bianchi soon." Romain Grosjean: "Firstly, my thoughts are with Jules and I hope he is not seriously hurt." Pastor Maldonado: "My thoughts and prayers are with Jules tonight, I hope he is okay." Jenson Button: "For me, the race doesn't really matter today. I haven't seen anything of Jules' accident, but the most important thing to say is that all our thoughts are with him, his family, and his team right now. It's an accident that you hope never happens in Formula One." Kevin Magnussen: "Let's really hope that Jules is okay. It's such a bad feeling when something like this happens, so let's hope and pray for him." Nico Hulkenberg: "I didn't see what happened in the accident that ended the race, but I hope Jules is OK." Sergio Perez: "Like everybody my thoughts are with Jules and I hope we hear some good news soon." Esteban Gutiérrez: I think it was the right decision to stop the race. I really hope that Jules will be ok." Adrian Sutil: "My thoughts are with Jules who went off in the same place as I did. Everything else is irrevelevant at this point in time. Everybody in the paddock should think of him, and I hope that he is in good hands." Jean-Eric Vergne: "I was very happy about my race until I was informed about Jules' accident. Getting some news about him is all that matters at the moment." Daniil Kvyat: "The only important thing this evening is that I hope Bianchi will be ok." Valtteri Bottas: "I really hope Jules is ok after the incident and that it is nothing serious." Felipe Massa: "My main focus at the moment is that Jules is ok." Marcus Ericsson: "I hope Jules wasn't badly injured in his accident, all thoughts are with him." Kamui Kobayashi: "I'd like to say that I hope Jules is okay and that his crash wasn't too bad." defends decision not to deploy Safety CarSun, 05 Oct 2014 11:09:26 GMTLewis Hamilton has defended the FIA's decision not to deploy the Safety Car for Adrian Sutil's accident, despite Jules Bianchi then going off and hitting a recovery vehicle attending to Sutil's Sauber. "That's what they do all the time," said the race winner about clearing a car under double-waved yellows instead of a Safety Car. "That's normal protocol just to get cars off the track for safety. "If the car was sitting there and someone would have gone off, they'd have hit the car. There's the yellow flag, and with the yellow flags you're supposed to have a big lift, especially when it's double yellow." The Briton said he was shocked to hear of Bianchi's accident and that he was seriously injured and added: "I hope he will be okay." The Mercedes driver also defended the decision to start the race when they did, with some drivers criticising the decision because of the wet conditions. "They weren't really that bad," he explained. "It was wet, obviously, but I've had much, much worse races in terms of aquaplaning and stuff. "When we went back out it was good, we were behind the Safety Car for a little bit too long. I kept saying on the radio 'we're good to go, we're good to go' because the track was great. "But towards the end it started to rain a little bit more but it wasn't causing me any problems particularly. But perhaps for others, it's so easy to lose temperature in these tyres, if you slow down a bit, then it's very, very difficult." undergoing surgery for 'severe head injury'Sun, 05 Oct 2014 09:31:35 GMTJules Bianchi has been rushed to hospital following an incident on lap 43 of the Japanese Grand Prix which resulted in the race being red-flagged and ended early. The Marussia driver reportedly struck a recovery vehicle which was attending to Adrian Sutil's Sauber at Turn 7. The Safety Car and Medical Car were then sent out before the race was stopped as the extent of the incident became clearer. The FIA have confirmed the Frenchman was unconscious when he was removed from the circuit via ambulance and police escort rather than helicopter which was a decision made by the medical team. "The driver is not conscious, he has been taken to hospital by ambulance," confirmed FIA press officer Matteo Bonciani. "Further updates will follow - for the moment we cannot say anything. We will keep you updated as fast as we can." Bianchi's father has confirmed the 25-year-old has suffered a serious head trauma and is being operated on. He described his condition as "critical". An update from the FIA says Bianchi has undergone a CT scan which shows a severe head injury. He is currently undergoing surgery and will then be moved to intensive care. "The driver was removed from the car, taken to the circuit medical centre and then by ambulance to Mie General Hospital. "The CT scan shows that he has suffered a severe head injury and he is currently undergoing surgery. Following this he will be moved to intensive care where he will be monitored. "Mie General Hospital will issue an update as soon as further information becomes available." This story will be updated when more information is known. wins double red-flagged Japanese GPSun, 05 Oct 2014 09:26:50 GMTLewis Hamilton took victory at the Japanese Grand Prix after passing team-mate Nico Rosberg for the lead of the race on lap 29. The race began under Safety Car conditions following a brief red flag for nine laps until the weather conditions improved. Rosberg led until lap 28 when Hamilton attempted an overtake around the outside at Turn 1 to secure the lead and managed to pull away from there on. The rain however returned in the closing laps and several cars stopped for wet tyres. Adrian Sutil aquaplaned at Turn 7 and hit the barriers. The race was red-flagged again as it became clear that Jules Bianchi had gone off at the same corner on the following lap and struck a recovery vehicle removing Sutil's car. Bianchi was rushed to hospital by ambulance and was unconscious according to the FIA with further updates expected. Race Result - 2014 Japanese Grand Prix: #DriverTeamGapPts 01. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 25 02. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +9.1 18 03. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull +29.1 15 04. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull +38.8 12 05. Jenson Button McLaren +1:07.5 10 06. Valtteri Bottas Williams +1:53.7 8 07. Felipe Massa Williams +1:55.1 6 08. Nico Hulkenberg Force India +2:07.6 4 09. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso +1 lap 2 10. Sergio Perez Force India +1 lap 1 11. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso +1 lap 12. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +1 lap 13. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber +1 lap 14. Kevin Magnussen McLaren +1 lap 15. Pastor Maldonado Lotus +1 lap 16. Romain Grosjean Lotus +1 lap 17. Marcus Ericsson Caterham +1 lap 18. Max Chilton Marussia +1 lap 19. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham +1 lap 20. Jules Bianchi Marussia Retired 21. Adrian Sutil Sauber Retired 22. Fernando Alonso Ferrari Retired plan to run Honda development car Sat, 04 Oct 2014 20:25:23 GMTMcLaren plan to delay the debut of their 2015 car, most likely to be called the MP4-30, after revealing plans to run a Honda-development car at the first pre-season test or sooner. The team will switch from Mercedes to Honda power next year and it hopes by running a special version of their current car aimed solely at evaluating engine and gearbox installations, it will allow them to work on the MP4-30 for longer without the distraction of installing a brand new power unit. Racing director Eric Boullier says it could be run at the Abu Dhabi test following the final race of the season, but it's more likely it will be used at the opening pre-season test in Jerez. "We are building a development car because we have a lot of systems to check, with electronic connections and whatever," confirmed Boullier. He hopes it will give his technical team more time to develop next year's car whilst a separate team can work on ironing out any engine issues which are likely to strike. "We have this development car that we will put on track either at Abu Dhabi, or Jerez, or even later Barcelona or somewhere else, when we feel the need and are ready to do so. "We can obviously do it while we do not affect the work we are doing with next year's partner. That allows us to keep working flat out on next year's car." Phanfone a 'massive threat' to Japanese GPSat, 04 Oct 2014 17:33:09 GMTThe Japanese Grand Prix faces a 'massive threat' from the closing Super Typhoon Phanfone according to the FIA's official weather service UBIMET. The race, scheduled to start at 15:00 local time is almost certain to be a wet affair as the typhoon gradually inches closer to the Suzuka circuit with winds between 100-120kph expected. The governing body had considered bringing the race start forward by a few hours, but with the logistics involved including satellite feeds having already been booked, that plan was abandoned. UBIMET reports the "rain will largely be persistent - possibly with an occasional drier interlude - but it will also become heavy at times, this more likely after midday". The weather company also suggests there may be severe damage to buildings in the area depending on which path the typhoon takes with one simulation having it hit the circuit in the early hours of Monday, whilst others have it passing close to the circuit. If the predicted conditions become reality, it's likely the race could be cancelled or completed under the safety car with half points awarded as it wouldn't reach 75 per cent race distance. But that might only be half the problem as packing freight and having it flown out of Japan may also prove difficult with the Russian GP the following weekend. "Typhoon [Phanfone] creates challenges for the Premiere in Sochi," added UBIMET. "The huge mass of equipment that Formula 1 operates must be dismantled and packed up immediately after the race - Sunday evening into Monday (local time) and after that transported from Japan to Russia. The Grand Prix of Russia takes place on the following Sunday, October 12th. Keeping to this tight schedule will be wholly dependent on how the typhoon behaves and will surely be a tough challenge." needs time to understand Red Bull snubSat, 04 Oct 2014 14:03:46 GMTJean-Eric Vergne says he's yet to understand Red Bull's decision not to promote him to Sebastian Vettel's seat following confirmation that the German will depart the team at the end of the year. Red Bull announced that rookie Daniil Kvyat will instead make the leap to the top team to partner Daniel Ricciardo, with Vergne likely to be without a seat at Toro Rosso next season. When asked about his future, he replied: "That's not a question you should ask me. I have absolutely no idea, I have no expectation right now - I don't know. "I don't have anything to say about the situation at the moment, I need a little bit of time to realise it and as well to understand the decision." Despite his unknown future, the Frenchman was still able to joke with reporters in the Japanese paddock. "Maybe I will do the Tour de France in cycling next year," he said whilst smiling., Maldonado hit with 10-place grid penaltiesSat, 04 Oct 2014 11:06:31 GMTJean-Eric Vergne and Pastor Maldonado have both been handed 10-place grid penalties for the Japanese Grand Prix after changing their engine for a sixth unit. The pair had both headed to the Japanese GP on their fifth unit, but failures in practice mean both have been forced to install new units. As per the regulations, the first sixth unit results in a ten-place penalty which pushes Vergne down to 21st position after he qualified 11th. "Unfortunately Jev [Vergne] takes a ten place grid penalty because today's engine change meant fitting his sixth of the season," explained Toro Rosso technical director Ben Waterhouse. Maldonado meanwhile will start last after qualifying 17th. As he can only be moved back five places, he will still need to serve a further five-place penalty at the Russian GP next weekend. takes Japanese pole ahead of HamiltonSat, 04 Oct 2014 07:16:04 GMTMercedes secured yet another qualifying 1-2 with Nico Rosberg taking the top honour of pole position for the Japanese Grand Prix. The German was almost two-tenths quicker than team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the final top-ten shoot-out. Hamilton had no answer for his sensational lap of 1:32.506. The pair were clear of the chasing pack as Valtteri Bottas secured third, over six-tenths slower than Rosberg, with team-mate Felipe Massa fourth. Fernando Alonso was the best-placed non-Mercedes engined car in fifth, ahead of the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo and the pair of McLarens led by Kevin Magnussen. Jenson Button, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen completed the top ten. Q2 saw no major dramas other than the outgoing Jean-Eric Vergne outqualifying the promoted-to-Red Bull Daniil Kvyat by two places. Marcus Ericsson put Caterham ahead of Marussia as he secured 19th to not only beat both Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton but also Kamui Kobayashi. Qualifying - 2014 Japanese Grand Prix #Driver Team Q1Q2Q3 01 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:33.671 1:32.950 1:32.506 02 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:33.611 1:32.982 1:32.703 03 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:34.301 1:33.443 1:33.128 04 Felipe Massa Williams 1:34.483 1:33.551 1:33.527 05 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:34.497 1:33.675 1:33.740 06 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:35.593 1:34.466 1:34.075 07 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:34.930 1:34.229 1:34.242 08 Jenson Button McLaren 1:35.150 1:34.648 1:34.317 09 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:35.517 1:34.784 1:34.432 10 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:34.984 1:34.771 1:34.548 11 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:35.155 1:34.984   12 Sergio Perez Force India 1:35.439 1:35.089   13 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:35.210 1:35.092   14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:35.000 1:35.099   15 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:35.736 1:35.364   16 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1.35.308 1:35.681   17 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:35.917     18 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:35.984     19 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:36.813     20 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:36.943     21 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:37.015     22 Max Chilton Marussia 1:37.481 confirms Red Bull exit, set for Ferrari switchSat, 04 Oct 2014 06:15:32 GMTSebastian Vettel looks set to announce he will replace Fernando Alonso at Ferrari for the 2015 season after confirming he will leave Red Bull at the end of the year. The German has won four titles with the team since he was promoted from Toro Rosso in 2009, but feels a change of team is now appropriate. Whilst it hasn't been confirmed where Vettel is heading - though heavily hinted by team principal Christian Horner - news from high level sources that Alonso has agreed to leave for McLaren suggests Vettel will take up his seat. A statement released by the team confirmed Vettel's departure and it's believed he activated a break clause in his contract which wasn't due to end until 2015. "Sebastian Vettel has advised us that he will be leaving Red Bull at the end of the 2014 season," it read. "We want to warmly thank Sebastian for the incredible role he has played at Red Bull for the last six years." Red Bull will promote Daniil Kyvat from Toro Rosso to drive alongside Daniel Ricciardo. "As we wish Sebastian well in the next stage of his career, we also look to the future with excitement, as the vacancy makes way for the next generation of Red Bull racers. "The Red Bull Junior Programme has developed some proven talents in recent times, including Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, who has excelled in the RB10 and become a three-time Formula One race winner in his first season with the team. "We’re pleased to announce that Daniel will be joined in the team for 2015 by another rising star from the Junior Programme, Daniil Kvyat." Rosberg quickest as Hamilton crashes in JapanSat, 04 Oct 2014 06:07:22 GMTNico Rosberg was the quickest man in Japan on Saturday morning during final practice as team-mate Lewis Hamilton crashed at Turn 1. The Briton still managed to go second quickest before his off - the result of carrying too much speed through the corner - though he was a second down on Rosberg's best. Fernando Alonso went third quickest ahead of the Williams duo whilst Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was sixth. FP3 Full Times - 2014 Japanese Grand Prix: #No.DriverTeamTimeGapLaps 01 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:33.228   14 02 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:34.210 0.982 10 03 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:34.439 1.211 12 04 19 Felipe Massa Williams 1:34.564 1.336 12 05 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:35.061 1.833 16 06 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:35.086 1.858 13 07 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:35.251 2.023 16 08 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:35.494 2.266 8 09 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:35.538 2.310 17 10 22 Jenson Button McLaren 1:35.549 2.321 16 11 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:35.732 2.504 15 12 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:35.995 2.767 5 13 11 Sergio Perez Force India 1:36.365 3.137 8 14 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:36.407 3.179 22 15 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:36.460 3.232 6 16 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:36.558 3.330 19 17 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:36.617 3.389 12 18 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:36.626 3.398 20 19 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:37.367 4.139 12 20 4 Max Chilton Marussia 1:37.883 4.655 17 21 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:38.102 4.874 15 22 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:38.784 5.556 12 leaving Ferrari now an almost certaintyFri, 03 Oct 2014 12:12:05 GMTFernando Alonso looks almost certain to leave Ferrari at the end of the season after informing the team that his desire is to leave for rival McLaren. The Spaniard's relations with the Italian team have steadily declined over recent months as Alonso grows impatient over their performance. The 33-year-old has been with Ferrari for five years and has so far failed to secure a so desperately wanted third title. Ferrari admit they're unlikely to be fighting for titles until 2017 at the earliest as new team principal Marco Mattiacci completes his restructure. According to sources close to Ferrari, Alonso has stated his intention to leave, but with a contract in place until 2016, the decision rests with Ferrari hence Alonso's recent comments about his future resting in the team's hands. Whilst no deal is in place with McLaren, the situation is expected to become clearer over the next few weeks with sources expecting a formal announcement in early November around the time of the United States GP. Both Alonso and Ferrari now seem committed to a divorce with only a last minute change of heart likely to prevent such a fall out. says small mistake led to FP2 crashFri, 03 Oct 2014 11:46:53 GMTDaniel Ricciardo has admitted a small mistake during second practice led to him going off and into the tyre barrier opposite the pits. The Australian had recently gone quickest, but as he prepared for a second run, he lost control under acceleration and ran across the gravel before hitting the barrier at a relatively low speed. "I made a mistake in FP2," Ricciardo admitted. "I did a quick lap and then I was trying to get a good exit to start the next one. "We were trying to cool the tyres and there was a yellow flag so I was trying to go slow enough to miss it at the start of the lap, but I think the tyres cooled too much and I was too hard on the throttle for the situation and lost the car." He is however hopeful that data collected by team-mate Sebastian Vettel will be sufficient for him heading into third practice and qualifying. "It's not ideal as we missed running this afternoon, but Sebastian did a full session so we will be able to see his data," he added. "The Mercs were really quick today, we think we're there but then they pull a gap. I think we should be able to be third on the grid." India report Toro Rosso over Singapore penaltyFri, 03 Oct 2014 10:32:24 GMTForce India have asked the FIA to investigate Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne after finding evidence to suggest he didn't serve his full five-second penalty at the Singapore Grand Prix. The Frenchman was handed two five-second stop and go penalties in Singapore, but went on to finish a career-best sixth regardless. Article 16.4c of the Sporting Regulations says a car "may not be worked on until the car has been stationary for at least five seconds." However according to Force India, Vergne was stationary for just 4.4 seconds before his mechanics began working on his car. Force India's chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer has therefore asked the FIA to review the case "in light of new evidence," which is permitted under Article 13.10. Szafnauer believes the FIA should add an additional five seconds on to his time - a penalty which would prove valuable for Force India as it would promote Sergio Perez to sixth and an additional two points. Hamilton quickest amid red flags and crashesFri, 03 Oct 2014 08:09:22 GMTLewis Hamilton found his form in second practice for the Japanese Grand Prix as he posted a 1:35.078 to clear team-mate Nico Rosberg by almost a quarter of a second. The Mercedes advantage once again looks strong as third-placed Valtteri Bottas could only get within 1.2 seconds of Hamilton's time, whilst the top ten were covered by over two seconds. The session however was dominated by crashes and red flags as several drivers struggled with Suzuka's demanding layout. Tenth placed man Daniel Ricciardo crashed at the final right-hand turn leading to a red flag, whilst Jean-Eric Vergne stopped on track with an engine issue, triggering a secon red flag. Esteban Gutierrez lost control of his Sauber whilst entering the Spoon Curve and hit the barriers before local favourite Kamui Kobayashi's session ended after just four laps with a crash as well. FP2 Full Times - 2014 Japanese Grand Prix: #No.DriverTeamTimeGapLaps 01 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:35.078   28 02 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:35.318 0.240 27 03 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:36.279 1.201 24 04 22 Jenson Button McLaren 1:36.409 1.331 28 05 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:36.436 1.358 24 06 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:36.529 1.451 19 07 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:36.637 1.559 26 08 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:36.714 1.636 31 09 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:36.943 1.865 27 10 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:37.186 2.108 3 11 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:37.219 2.141 19 12 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:37.504 2.426 16 13 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:37.563 2.485 31 14 19 Felipe Massa Williams 1:37.700 2.622 18 15 11 Sergio Perez Force India 1:37.786 2.708 8 16 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:37.798 2.720 27 17 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:38.010 2.932 25 18 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:38.365 3.287 9 19 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:39.069 3.991 22 20 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:39.306 4.228 20 21 4 Max Chilton Marussia 1:39.333 4.255 24 22 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:42.760 7.682 3 Rosberg leads Mercedes Japanese practice 1-2Fri, 03 Oct 2014 08:02:36 GMTNico Rosberg pipped Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to the fastest first practice lap by just 0.151 seconds for this weekend's 2014 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso was third quickest, albeit half a second down, whilst Valtteri Bottas split the two Ferraris as the gap behind Alonso grew substantially with Kimi Raikkonen 1.2 seconds behind his team-mate in fifth. Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo split the two McLarens with Kevin Magnussen leading the way in sixth. Sebastian Vettel and Daniil Kvyat completed the top ten. Caterham showed promise as a new front-wing for this race has - as they predicted - lifted them clear of main rival Marussia. Marcus Ericsson was nearly 1.5 seconds quicker than Roberto Mehri, Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton. FP1 Full Times - 2014 Japanese Grand Prix: #No.DriverTeamTimeGapLaps 01 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:35.461   27 02 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:35.612 0.151 26 03 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:36.037 0.576 19 04 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:36.576 1.115 25 05 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:37.187 1.726 19 06 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:37.327 1.866 24 07 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull  1:37.466 2.005 27 08 22 Jenson Button McLaren 1:37.649 2.188 24 09 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:37.686 2.225 26 10 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:37.714 2.253 26 11 19 Felipe Massa Williams 1:38.012 2.551 22 12 38 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:38.157 2.696 22 13 11 Sergio Perez Force India 1:38.324 2.863 10 14 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:38.582 3.121 9 15 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:38.851 3.390 21 16 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:39.046 3.585 19 17 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:39.097 3.636 26 18 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:39.318 3.857 18 19 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:40.031 4.570 18 20 45 Roberto Merhi Caterham 1:41.472 6.011 24 21 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:41.580 6.119 10 22 4 Max Chilton Marussia 1:41.757 6.296 15 'ready' for Ferrari chance if Alonso leavesThu, 02 Oct 2014 13:12:06 GMTJules Bianchi says he's ready to make the step from Marussia to Ferrari next season should Fernando Alonso leave the Italian marque. The Frenchman has spent two years at Marussia and is a member of Ferrari's Junior Academy which has seen him test for them on several occasions. Speculation about Alonso's future continues to strengthen and when asked whether he was ready to fill a potential vacancy, he responded: "Of course I feel ready. "I have been working on that since I [joined the] academy at the end of 2009. Now I nearly two seasons [experience] in Formula 1. I think I have good experience and I feel ready for that, for sure. "Obviously at the moment both drivers have a contract so it's not the question - but if there is the opportunity it will be good for me and I feel good. It looks like the logical step for me if something happens like this." says his future is in the hands of FerrariThu, 02 Oct 2014 13:00:35 GMTFernando Alonso says he will leave his future in the hands of Ferrari. If they want him to leave the team at the end of this season, he will happily do so. The Spaniard's future has been the topic of much speculation with links to Red Bull and particularly McLaren. Alonso however has repeatedly affirmed his allegiance to Ferrari. His latest admission is the first time he has openly admitted that leaving is possibility, but it's a decision he will leave to Ferrari team principal Marco Mattiacci to make. "I always put the interest of the team and the interest of the tifosi - this big brand Ferrari that is bigger than all of us - in front of my own interest," he said on Thursday. "So if there is something to talk about in the future and something better for Ferrari, I will do whatever." When asked if driving for McLaren or Red Bull was an option, he replied: "This is a very difficult question to answer. And I will repeat the answer, probably I will do the best for Ferrari." Ferrari have in place a five-year plan to return to winning ways which might not achieve instant results, which is something Alonso is seeking during his 'prime' years. "I want to win and I'm ready to maximise the performance of this moment of my career," added the 33-year-old. "I feel good. I feel fit, I feel confident." typhoon could see Japanese GP cancelledThu, 02 Oct 2014 12:40:06 GMTThe FIA is monitoring Typhoon Phanfone amid concerns it could cause problems for the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend. The typhoon is due to hit Suzuka on Sunday according to some simulations, whilst others have it missing the area but it will likely still bring with it heavy rain and strong winds. There are fears the race will need to be cancelled or moved to either Saturday evening or Monday. The governing body is set to make a decision on Friday when it knows more about the typhoon's expected path and arrival. Speaking during the drivers' press conference, Jenson Button was hopeful that it wouldn't cause too many problems. "I hope that we can race on Sunday, that's the first thing, I think. With a typhoon coming this way it's always very tricky. Hopefully it will miss us. "It's going to be a mixed weekend in terms of weather; tomorrow there's a good chance of rain as well." The Japanese GP is often hit by heavy rain which most recently in 2004 led to qualifying being postponed until Sunday morning. insists bailiff rumours 'unfounded'Wed, 01 Oct 2014 20:43:54 GMTThe Caterham F1 Team released a statement on Wednesday evening denying rumours surrounding the future of the team. According to reports, bailiffs and police had been called to Caterham's Leafield base to begin removing various assets including show cars in order to repay various debts left behind by former owner Tony Fernandes. The team called the rumours "unfounded", instead explaining that a supplier to the team had run into trouble. "There have been unfounded and unsubstantiated rumours concerning actions against 1MRT, the entrant and owner of CaterhamF1," read the statement. "An action was threatened yesterday against a supplier company to 1MRT. This company is not owned by 1MRT and it has no influence over the entry of CaterhamF1 or the entrant." The reports also questioned whether the team would make it to Japan for this weekend's event, but this was also denied. "Also contrary to uncontrolled rumours, all operations are currently in place at Leafield and the race team is doing its preparation in Japan." This comes despite a post on The Sheriffs Bailiff website which claims to have acquired numerous assets from Caterham including parts bound for Japan.