The F1 - News Catch up on all F1 news, here at's RSS Feed! 1's Wehrlein named Mercedes reserve driverMon, 15 Sep 2014 17:11:05 GMT19-year-old Pascal Wehrlein has been named Mercedes reserve driver following his ADAC Formel Masters DTM victory last weekend. The German also finished runner-up in his debut Formula 3 season in 2012, as well as completing over 12,000km in Mercedes' F1 simulator this year alone. Last week Wehrlein completed a 500km test at the Autodromo Internacional Algarve to prepare him for F1. "I was delighted when I learned that I would be completing a Formula One test for Mercedes," said Wehrlein. "It took me a few laps to get used to the incredible speed, the very hard brakes and the high cornering speeds - it's in another league compared to the DTM. "I adapted quickly and was able to improve in each of my short and long runs and didn't want to go back to the pits. The test was simply the greatest experience I have had so far in motorsport. There weren't any nerves, which surprised me - I just felt ready for it. The feedback from the team and from Toto [Wolff] was very encouraging and I think that I did a good job." Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff says it made sense to promote the youngester as he is familiar with the team, how it works and the car thanks to his simulator experience. "We are delighted to officially welcome Pascal to the team after his successful test last week in Portugal. He has worked hard behind the scenes this year in our simulator, playing a very important role in our pre-race preparations. Aside from Nico [Rosberg] and Lewis [Hamilton], he is the driver most familiar with all the procedures of our F1 W05 Hybrid and therefore the right choice for the role of reserve driver. "He took an important step last week when he drove a Formula One car for the first time - and we were pleased to see him deliver a composed and impressive test, in line with our expectations. This was followed by a fantastic win yesterday at the Lausitzring in the DTM, making the most of conditions where pure driving talent was able to shine. Pascal has a bright future ahead of him and we are excited to have him onboard for what will be an intense conclusion to the Formula One season." says he has the potential to match RicciardoMon, 15 Sep 2014 16:30:03 GMTJean-Eric Vergne reckons Daniel Ricciardo's strong form is evidence that he too could perform well at a top team should he be given the chance. The Frenchman outscored Ricciardo 16 points to ten during their first year as team-mates at Toro Rosso in 2012, but was then outscored 13 to 20 the following season, but Vergne insists he could match Ricciardo in a competitive car. "Doing three years at Toro Rosso makes me very strong," said the 24-year-old. "Daniel in a way is a good help for me because some teams expect world champion drivers, but maybe [the future] is not in world champion drivers, but in younger drivers who are really hungry and motivated, and that's what I am. When you look at my results compared to Daniel all of our career, I have the potential to be what he is." Vergne will lose his Toro Rosso seat to Max Verstappen next season, meaning he could be forced out of F1 unless another team picks him up. He says his focus at the moment is performing well to increase his chances. "Tere are so many drivers who wanted to focus on F1 and got nowhere. So I am not stupid - I have my eyes open I would say. I would really love to race. It depends on the chance I will get to drive in a race, but at the moment my focus is on getting a race seat." determined to get McLaren back on trackMon, 15 Sep 2014 16:17:24 GMTPeter Prodromou returns to work for McLaren this week following an eight year stint at Red Bull, working alongside chief designer Adrian Newey. Prodromou played a key role in Red Bull's dominance after leaving McLaren in 2006 for the Milton Keynes team, but was lured back when he agreed to return last year - though his actual start date wasn't until this week thanks to Red Bull's insistence on him seeing out his contract. Now that he's back and able to work on next year's car, he has promised to do everything he can to get McLaren back where it belongs at the very front of the grid. "It's fantastic to return to McLaren, and to see a mixture of faces old and new," he said. "Of course, I have first-hand experience of just what a passionate, focused and capable race team exists within these walls, and I've already seen the enthusiasm and positivity that exists to return McLaren to world championship-winning glory. "I, too, am determined to work flat-out to do everything I can to help initiate a new chapter of success in McLaren's history." Chief operating officer Jonathan Neale says Prodromour's return is just one part of their recovery plan, but it shows they're serious about moving forward. "I'm delighted to welcome Peter back to McLaren," said Neale. "He joins us at an extremely exciting time: we're making exciting progress with our new engine partner, and our entire design department has been galvanised and motivated by an ongoing restructure that has really begun to bed-in and deliver results. "His position as chief engineer will enable him to play to his considerable strengths as a top-flight aerodynamicist and an engineer, and I'm sure he'll dovetail seamlessly with his fellow engineers. We're steadily putting everything in place to ensure that McLaren can once again return to its race- and world championship-winning ways. "We're under no illusions that we're yet there, but Peter's appointment is a very significant one, and is also a very public reminder that we're adding strength in depth to our organisation all the time." India 'desperate' to beat McLaren - HulkenbergMon, 15 Sep 2014 09:27:49 GMTForce India are desperate to finish ahead of McLaren in the Constructors' Championship according to driver Nico Hulkenberg. The team have slipped steadily down the order since the start of the season when they were, at one stage, third before Ferrari pulled ahead followed then by Williams. The team are now sixth after McLaren's recent run of points finishes have put them just one point clear of the Indian-owned outfit. Hulkenberg concedes they're unlikely to get any higher than fifth, but their target must be to score consistently again and pass their nearest rival. "There's no chance of getting back ahead of [Williams or Ferrari]," the German driver told GPUpdate. "McLaren is our main opponent now and the race is between us and them. Obviously we're desperate to finish fifth in the Constructors', that's important to us and [is] our target. "Our aim should be to replicate the first half [of the season]. We've been consistently in the points." With it looking likely Hulkenberg will remain with Force India next season, the 27-year-old insists he doesn't mind another season with the midfield team. "I'm not massively worried, the situation is what it is. You're always trying to do as good as you can with the package you've got - everyone in the paddock knows that's how it works. "Then hopefully one day the opportunity will come that you have a winning car, or that with this team we can have a winning car."'s title experience not a concern - RosbergSun, 14 Sep 2014 19:59:39 GMTWith the championship battle boiling down to just 22 points between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, some have suggested Hamilton's experience of fighting for the championship in 2007, 2008 and 2010 make him favourite this year despite his points deficit. Rosberg, whilst admitting it might give his team-mate an advantage, doesn't believe it'll swing the title in the Briton's favour and says the additional experience is "not a concern." "It might help him, yes, quite possibly having those experiences. But it's not something that I am concerned about," said the German. "I'm focused on my own thing. He is a strong competitor, he has his strengths and weaknesses, but I concentrate on doing my job with my team and getting the most out of it." Rosberg denies the events in Monza, when he was forced into a mistake, prove the title battle is proving overwhelming. "I am enjoying the moment more than I ever have in the sport because I get to a race and I have a car where I know I can be on pole and I can win," he added. "That's the overwhelming thing at the moment and, thankfully, my mind is just focused on the moment." hopeful of a 'drama free' Singapore one-twoSun, 14 Sep 2014 12:45:28 GMTPaddy Lowe has his fingers crossed for another Mercedes one-two in Singapore, just like they achieved last weekend in Italy, but he's hoping it comes without the drama. The battle between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton has been the source of much controversy and several conspiracy theories and that's something Lowe, despite being pleased with the result, wants to avoid in future races. "As a team we were incredibly happy with the result in Monza," he said of the one-two they achieved when Hamilton took advantage of Rosberg's mistake at the chicane. "It's one of the great circuits of the season and a challenging one to take a win, let alone achieve a one-two finish, so that was extremely satisfying." But a more satisfying result according to Lowe would be a straight-forward win and second place without the need to fend off questions from the media and fans about team-orders. "It's always an action-packed, incident-filled race [in Singapore], with the nature of the track and the heat playing a role in retirements - both mechanical and by human error. "We'll be aiming to steer clear of any drama and come away with another strong result as the season enters its final third." handed grid penalty after Heidfeld clashSat, 13 Sep 2014 16:59:16 GMTNicolas Prost has been handed a 10-second penalty for causing an avoidable collision with Nick Heidfeld during the first ever Formula E race. The Frenchman, who was leading at the time, swerved into Heidfeld at the last corner of the last lap as he attempted to overtake, causing the Venturi racer to fly into the barriers. As a result, the stewards handed the e.dams racer a 10-place grid drop for the next round in Putrajaya, Malaysia. Even though the stewards put the blame on Prost, he insists he wasn't at fault, saying Heidfeld was "going too fast" and "tried to dive-bomb" him. to review F1 Super Licence systemSat, 13 Sep 2014 12:03:53 GMTThe FIA will conduct a review into the way Formula 1 Super Licence's are granted in response to younger drivers making their way to the top tier of motorsport with little experience. At present, a driver must have achieved success in a lower formula, as well as completing 300km of running in a Formula 1 car to be eligible for a Super Licence. However with 16-year-old Max Verstappen taking up a seat with Toro Rosso next season and having completed a single season of European Formula 3, the whole system has been called into question. Young drivers would usually progress through GP3 and GP2 before they're promoted to an F1 seat, but this hasn't been the case in Verstappen's case and some believe he is not only too young, but too inexperience. The FIA hopes to have a new system in place for 2017. "A mandate has been given to the FIA Administration to review the qualification and conditions for the issuing of a super licence, in consultation with all parties concerned," read a WMSC statement. "A proposal will be put forward for WMSC approval in December for implementation in 2016." Prost and Heidfeld crash at the final cornerSat, 13 Sep 2014 11:38:27 GMT Nicolas Prost looked set to take the first ever FIA Formula E victory at the Beijing ePrix after he lead the race from start to almost finish. The e.dams driver made contact with the chasing Nick Heidfeld and when the Venturi driver made a late lunge at the final corner of the final lap, the pair collided, sending Heidfeld into the crash barriers. corner crash hands first FE win to Di Grassi Sat, 13 Sep 2014 11:29:44 GMTLucas di Grassi claimed the first ever FIA Formula E victory at the Beijing ePrix thanks to a last corner crash between race leader Nicolas Prost and the chasing Nick Heidfeld. Heidfield, driving for Venturi, was chasing Prost down in the final few laps and made a late braking move at the final corner to pull alongside the e.dams of Prost, but the Frenchman made a late defensive move which saw the pair collide. Heidfeld hit the barrier and his car rotated twice before coming to a rest on its roll-hoop, the German escaped unharmed though. Audi Sport's Di Grassi made the most of the incident and swept through the carnage to claim the win ahead of Andretti Autosport's Franck Montagny whilst Sam Bird completed the podium for Virgin Racing after Daniel Abt was penalised for failing to complete a drive-through penalty during the race. Race Result - 2014/15 Beijing ePrix: #DriverTeamPts 01. Lucas di Grassi Audi Sport ABT 25 02. Franck Montagny Andretti Autosport 18 03. Sam Bird Virgin Racing 15 04. Charles Pic Andretti Autosport 12 05. Karun Chandhok Mahindra Racing 10 06. Jerome d'Ambrosio Dragon Racing 8 07. Oriol Servia Dragon Racing 6 08. Nelson Piquet Jnr China Racing 4 09. Stephane Sarrazin Venturi Racing 2 10. Daniel Abt Audi Sport ABT 1 11. Jamie Alguersuari Virgin Racing 12. Nicolas Prost e.dams-Racing 13. Nick Heidfeld Venturi Racing 14. Katherine Legge Amlin Aguri 15. Michela Cerruti Trulli GP 16. Ho-Pin Tung China Racing 17. Takuma Sato Amlin Aguri 18. Sebastien Buemi e.dams-Renault 19. Bruno Senna Mahindra Racing 20. Jarno Trulli Trulli GP PP Nicolas Prost e.dams-Renault 3 FL Takuma Sato Amlin Aguri 2 Team radio ban 'complex and controversial'Fri, 12 Sep 2014 18:17:43 GMTMercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff reckons the team radio clampdown will prove "complex and controversial" to both understand and govern. The FIA announced this week that all performance related team radio calls would be banned in an effort to make sure the driver is making the key calls during a race, rather than just following instructions. Wolff expects some controversy to come from the change as engineers are so used to providing mountains of data that it's become second nature. "It has been confirmed that we will now see less radio traffic," Wolff noted. "This is a complex and controversial decision which will require a significant effort from the teams to understand how best we can work around it. "The directive is not yet fully clear and there will inevitably be some controversy, so it will need further clarification as to how much the essential on-track procedures will be affected - particularly before the start of the race." The FIA has informed the teams that they will not be lenient and have also confirmed that code words will also be considered illegal. confirms 20-race F1 calendar for 2015 seasonFri, 12 Sep 2014 12:44:26 GMTThe FIA has confirmed that the 2015 Formula 1 calendar will feature 20 races with the return of the Mexican Grand Prix. F1 will return to the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City for the first time since 1992. Much of the calendar remains unchanged from 2014, though the season finishes a week later. 15/03 Australia 29/03 Malaysia 05/04 Bahrain 19/04 China 10/05 Spain 24/05 Monaco 07/06 Canada 21/06 Austria 05/07 Britain 19/07 Germany 26/07 Hungary 23/08 Belgium 06/09 Italy 20/09 Singapore 27/09 Japan 11/10 Russia 25/10 USA 01/11 Mexico15/11 Brazil 29/11 Abu Dhabi spoke to Ferrari but not seeking returnThu, 11 Sep 2014 20:22:49 GMTHighly rated former team boss Ross Brawn has admitted he held 'what if' talks with Ferrari, but insists he is not seeking a return to the Formula 1 grid. The Brit has guided several outfits to success, most notably Benetton, Ferrari and Brawn GP, as well as helping to build Mercedes up to what it is now, before he retired in 2013. Speculation has linked the 59-year-old with a return to Ferrari after he was seen at their Maranello base a few months ago, but that was a private matter. "I am living a very different life this year and it feels good," he told Auto Motor und Sport. "I am determined not to return to a full-time job." The Italian team are however keen to see him return with new team principal Marco Mattiacci admitting he would be a welcome member of the new-look Ferrari, but that isn't enough to tempt Brawn. "My visit to Maranello in May was purely of a private nature. We talked a little about 'what if' but nothing serious," he explained. Brawn however left the subject with an open end after admitting a return certainly wasn't an impossibility. "Never say never, because you never know what options are going to arise, but at the moment I am pursuing some interests outside of the sport that I never had the time to do before." radio: What will and won't be acceptable?Thu, 11 Sep 2014 19:06:27 GMTThe FIA has chosen to enforce a ban on performance related team radio between team and driver in an attempt to remove the stigma that drivers are simply 'puppets' controlled by higher powers within the team. The ban, which comes under Article 20.1 of the sporting regulations which states: "The driver must drive the car alone and unaided," will see a drop in the number of radio broadcasts simply because the majority of messages at present are performance related. But under this ban, what exactly can they say, and what can't they? Note: This list provides a few examples and is in no way exhaustive. Banned Team Radio - Fuel: If a driver is low on fuel, using too much or too little, then this information must be displayed on their steering wheel. - Brakes: Too hot or too cold? Would a driver benefit from moving the balance forward/backwards? Well this can't be communicated via the team radio. - Tyres: If the driver is wearing the rears/fronts too much compared to a rival, tyre pressures are dropping or they're too hot/cold, then the driver should identify the problem and report it to the team. - Codes: Mix 5, Hammer Time, Map 2, etc. These will also be banned. - Formation Lap: The team cannot request a certain number of burnouts, start procedure, brake/tyre warming etc, this should all be agreed beforehand. - Timing: How often have we heard, driver X is quicker through turns 7 and 8, try saving ERS for this section. This won't be allowed. Allowed Team Radio - Team Orders: As team orders are allowed under the regulations and not considered performance related, but strategic, they can still be communicated. - Traffic: The team can still inform a driver if they're approaching traffic or if they need to open a gap - this happens mostly throughout practice and qualifying of which the team radio limits remain in place. - Pit Stops: The team can call a driver in for a pit stop, or communicate a certain lap to stop on. - Safety: If a radio call is for safety reasons, this is allowed. For example if someone has stopped on the circuit, or if there is debris, the team can pass this information to the driver. Ferrari CEO says F1 performance 'top priority'Thu, 11 Sep 2014 18:45:41 GMTFerrari's new chief executive officer, Sergio Marchionne, has described returning to the front of the Formula 1 grid "not negotiable" and of the highest priority. Marchionne, who also heads up Ferrari's parent company Fiat-Chrysler, removed long-term boss Luca di Montezemolo from the top role in order to oversee major changes at the Italian marque in order to see them return to competitive form. During a press conference on Thursday, he highlighted Ferrari's power unit as the main issue which needs resolving and insisted they would get to the bottom of the problem. "We know the problem," he said. "We have a power unit problem. I have faith in Ferrari and its sporting arm, and that it will be able to resurrect as it did in the past. The sporting arm continues to be an essential element for Ferrari. We'll work in order to try to win, because it's part of this company's DNA. "The important thing is to get back to winning ways, this is essential. The problem is not about the problem we have here on the market. We need to give credibility to Ferrari on the track and fixed on that we need to return to the top. That will give us support to Ferrari. Winning on the track is something that is not negotiable. We must get there, and I don't have the slightest doubt we'll be able to do it." Outgoing Di Montezemolo was also present and he too has no doubt Ferrari will return to the top soon enough. "This is a very important day for me," he added. "Ferrari means culture. Ferrari means passion. Ferrari means to look ahead. That's precisely what we have tried to do throughout these years on all fronts. "We must have some regrets for not having won the title in 2010 and 2012. I consider the last two seasons negative. We have two world champions: from Kimi [Raikkonen] we expect a strong end of season, while Fernando [Alonso] is the strongest driver in the races. We must develop a competitive car, the rest is just talk. "Any second thoughts on the past? Certainly not concerning the drivers. But as far as technicians yes, because as I said earlier we had a lack of specific knowledge in the power unit project." Hamilton the best in terms of outright speedThu, 11 Sep 2014 18:32:39 GMTJenson Button has praised his former team-mate Lewis Hamilton, describing him as one of, if not the, fastest driver in terms of outright speed. The Briton however knows that to be successful in Formula 1 it takes more than just speed, but reckons Hamilton has come a long way in maturing since they were team-mates at McLaren. "He's one of the fastest to ever jump into a Formula One car," Button said of his fellow Brit. "His natural ability is probably better than anyone in terms of outright speed. But we all know F1 is not all about natural ability, it's about how you build on your natural ability and also how your engineering skills are and how you work with hundreds of people within a team to develop a car. "I think he's good [at that now] and when we were team-mates we had a lot of fun racing together. Some of it was controversial, but not a lot of the time." Proof of Hamilton's new-found mental strength has shown through this season as not only has he had to deal with a competitive team-mate, but he's also had to overcome a string of reliability issues. "For me, watching him on TV and speaking to him he seems very comfortable in himself which is not the Lewis I knew when we were team-mates. He seems to be taking it on the chin, with the problems he's had I think he comes across really well. "I don't know if it's just a front or if it is that he feels confident inside that he can still come back after these problems and fight for the world championship, but I really think he can." to enforce team radio limits from SingaporeThu, 11 Sep 2014 12:42:58 GMTThe FIA will enforce an immediate ban on any performance related team radio communications from next week's Singapore Grand Prix. As we reported earlier this week, the teams discussed plans to limit what information can be shared between the pit wall and its drivers to put more emphasis on drivers making their own decisions. Whilst the change wasn't expected until 2015, the FIA's Charlie Whiting has written to all the teams to inform them that the change will happen with immediate effect under Article 20.1 of the sporting regulations which state: "The driver must drive the car alone and unaided." The change doesn't constitute a complete team radio ban, but is instead designed to stop drivers asking for performance related information such as where they can go faster compared to their team-mate. The matter will be discussed further during the Singapore GP weekend ahead of the race to clarify exactly what can and can't be communicated. completes 400km of track running in STR7Wed, 10 Sep 2014 18:52:32 GMTMax Verstappen got his first taste of a Formula 1 car at speed when he took part in a test for Toro Rosso at the Adria International Raceway with the 2012 STR7. The 16-year-old, who had an outing earlier this month in which he drove through the streets of Rotterdam, completed 148 trouble-free laps of the 2.702km circuit just two hours from Toro Rosso's Faenza base. Speaking about the day, in which he not only got up to speed but also practiced starts and pit stops, he said: "I was looking forward to my first drive in a Formula 1 car on a proper race track and I really enjoyed it. "It was a good opportunity to work with Xevi [Pujolar], who will be my race engineer next year, as well as having a chance to get used to all the buttons on the steering wheel. I think it went well and I can’t wait to get back into a Formula 1 car as soon as possible." His future race engineer Pujolar, added: "Max started his run on Intermediates and got up to speed, making no mistakes. We worked through various procedures that make up a race weekend. He was very focused and precise and learned quickly, without having to ask many questions. "Once we were able to fit slicks, he got used to the car in the dry and built up his speed, while we tried various fuel levels, replicating both qualifying and race trim, doing a mix of short and long runs. For a first day, it was very impressive." to get fourth new chassis for Singapore GPWed, 10 Sep 2014 17:45:40 GMTSebastian Vettel will get behind the wheel of a brand new RB10 at the Singapore Grand Prix as the team continues to get to the bottom of the German's struggles. This will be Vettel's fourth new chassis of the season so far. The team replaced his first at the Spanish GP after suspecting it was deformed. That however failed to cure his problems, so the team handed him a replacement for the Italian GP last weekend, though according to Helmut Marko, this wasn't a completely new car. "The chassis in Monza was actually an older one that was used in testing at Silverstone. It was more for psychological reasons," he told Sport Bild. "Now he's going to get a brand new one," confirmed the Austrian. Meanwhile team-mate Daniel Ricciado has used just the one and continues to out-perform his four-time champion counterpart. Though in Monza - where Vettel outqualified Ricciardo - this was down to the hard tyres according to Marko. "With the harder tyres he [Vettel] has had inexplicable problems." urge Magnussen to continue attacking styleWed, 10 Sep 2014 17:35:16 GMTKevin Magnussen has been penalised twice in the last two races for what the race stewards consider dangerous driving, but McLaren have urged the rookie to continue his attacking style. The Danish driver was handed a 20-second penalty in Belgium when he forced Fernando Alonso wide and then a fortnight later, he was given a five-second penalty for doing the same to Valtteri Bottas. Whilst some have praised his attacking style, the FIA believe he is too eager to defend position, but McLaren racing director Eric Boullier reckons the Monza penalty simply wasn't justified. "I think the Spa penalty was deserved to be honest, but I believe, obviously, not the one in Monza," he said. "He was unfortunate to be penalised, but we believe it was just a normal move and a legitimate defence. "I don't think he will have to change his approach. I think Spa was a one off and Monza, for us, was unfortunate, let's say. I think he needs to keep building up his confidence by doing what he is doing." Had it not been for the penalties, he would have finished ahead of team-mate Jenson Button and Boullier says that proves Magnussen is punching above his weight. "It is clear that he is stepping up," said the Frenchman. "He is maybe punching above his weight because he doesn't have the car to be fast enough to chase the better results. But he is trying his best, and it is good for him, good for the fans and good for the show to see this young kid, this young rookie, fighting with the big boys. "His self-confidence is massively growing and it is good for his race craft, which is only going to get better and better." handed Friday practice outing in RussiaWed, 10 Sep 2014 17:26:59 GMTRussian youngster Sergey Sirotkin will make his grand prix debut during Friday practice for his home race in Sochi, Russia next month. The 19-year-old is part of Sauber's driver development programme and had been expected to land a full-time seat this season thanks to Russian investment in the team. That however failed to materialise and he has since been sidelined, competing in Formula Renault 3.5. However the Russian tweeted that he would be behind the wheel of the C33 on October 10th - the Friday of the Russian race. He has some experience of the car when he took part in the Bahrain in-season test earlier this year. Montezemolo steps down from Ferrari roleWed, 10 Sep 2014 09:49:20 GMTFerrari president Luca di Montezemolo has confirmed he will leave the company next month, ending speculation over his future at Ferrari and the F1 team. The 63-year-old has been with the Italian marque for 23 years, but a decision by Ferrari's parent company Fiat-Chrysler to float on the New York Stock Exchange has prompted his departure. "Ferrari will have an important role to play within the FCA Group [Fiat-Chrysler Automotive] in the upcoming flotation on Wall Street. This will open up a new and different phase which I feel should be spearheaded by the CEO of the Group," he said. "This is the end of an era and so I have decided to leave my position as chairman after almost 23 marvellous and unforgettable years in addition to those spent at Enzo Ferrari's side in the 1970s." He will officially leave the company on October 13th. Di Montezemolo's sudden announcement, just days after insisting he wanted to see out the remaining three years of his contract, has likely been pushed by Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne who has been critical of Ferrari's F1 performance. Marchionne will become Ferrari's new chairman and hinted in his statement that change was needed to get the company's F1 team back on track, even though Ferrari itself is expected to announce record profits this year. "Luca and I have discussed the future of Ferrari at length. And our mutual desire to see Ferrari achieve its true potential on the track has led to misunderstandings which became clearly visible over the last weekend." In the statement, Di Montezemolo thanked his staff: "Ferrari is the most wonderful company in the world. It has been a great privilege and honour to have been its leader. I devoted all of my enthusiasm and commitment to it over the years. "Together with my family, it was, and continues to be, the most important thing in my life. "I wish the shareholders, particularly Piero Ferrari who has always been by my side, and everyone in the company the many more years of success that Ferrari deserves." leaves hospital to continue rehab at homeTue, 09 Sep 2014 14:29:10 GMTMichael Schumacher has left the Swiss hospital which was treating him during his rehabilitation to continue the process at home with his family. The German has been hospitalised since late-December when he suffered a skiing accident. He was moved from a French hospital to the Lausanne hospital in Switzerland to be closer to his home. He will now continue his extensive rehabilitation at home confirmed manager Sabine Kehm, though she pressed that this decision shouldn't be considered evidence of massive changes in his health. "Henceforth, Michael's recovery will take place at his home," she said in a statement. "Considering the injuries he suffered, progress has been made in the past weeks and months. There is still, however, a long and difficult road ahead. "We would like to extend our gratitude to the entire team at CHUV Lausanne for their thorough and competent work. "We ask that the privacy of Michael's family continues to be respected, and that speculations about his health are avoided." Kehm also confirmed no building work has taken place at Schumacher's home to accomodate him, as has recently been reported. Bell to join Ferrari from Mercedes?Tue, 09 Sep 2014 12:52:39 GMTIt's expected that Ferrari will confirm the appointment of Bob Bell as it looks to bolster its technical team in the hope of returning to the front of the grid in 2015. Bell, who currently works for Mercedes on "non-F1 projects" after resigning as technical director in December last year, would be a good fit for the Italian team as not only has he worked with Fernando Alonso and James Allison in the past, but he is also aware of the inner-workings at the Silver Arrows. Journalist Adam Cooper suggests Bell might sit directly under team principal Marco Mattiacci and work with Allison on developing the '15 car. However some believe Bell might even take over from Mattiacci in the not too distant future. Mattiacci has only been in the role of team principal since April, but many saw the move as an initiation, to learn the ways of Ferrari before eventually taking over Luca di Montezemolo's role as chairman of the company. With Ferrari's parent company Fiat taking over Chrysler using large amounts of debt to finance the deal, it has been suggested Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne - who recently criticised Di Montezemolo - is looking to float Ferrari in order to raise finance to repay the debt, an idea Di Montezemolo is strongly against. Mattiacci, now that he's been in charge of both the American road car business and the F1 team for a few months, now understands how Ferrari works on both the commercial and sporting sides and is therefore better placed to take over as chairman. He also fits Marchionne's long-term vision for the company. says Ferrari will supply much of their carTue, 09 Sep 2014 12:30:11 GMTThe Haas F1 Team could very well be considered a Ferrari B-team when it debuts in 2016 after team owner Gene Haas admitted that much of the car will be supplied by the Italian marque. The American outfit will be based in Kannapolis, but will have a UK base, whilst it has agreed a deal to use Ferrari's drivetrain. Haas also intends to source several other areas of the car from Ferrari in order to get the best start possible. "We are going to try to get as many parts as allowed by the FIA," he told NBCSN. "It is going to be suspension, it is going to be I think wheels and chassis parts and transmission, engine. Everything down to even the steering modes. "One of the prior Concorde agreements was that the big teams could help the smaller teams, so we hope to get a lot of help from Ferrari to tell us what direction to go in. "Then we are gonna have a lot of other people to help us build those parts. Dallara will probably [be] one of the sub-contractors. "Our goal at least initially is to try to rent, buy whatever we can to go racing because that is what we are here for." The UK base is also a change of heart after Haas initially planned to start an all-American team solely based out of the USA. "The next step is that we have to get our base together. Obviously Ferrari is based in Italy, we have our facilities in Kannapolis," he added. "We are probably going to need to have some kind of facility in the UK, in the southern part where all the other Formula 1 racers are. So, just the logistics of putting all of that together is the next challenge." Bull won't help Ricciardo with team ordersTue, 09 Sep 2014 09:20:07 GMTDaniel Ricciardo will not receive the help of team-mate Sebastian Vettel this season as team principal Christian Horner has ruled out the use of team orders. Ricciardo remains Mercedes' closest title rival with just 50 points between him and Lewis Hamilton and a further 22 behind championship leader Nico Rosberg. Therefore challenging for the title seems unlikely, but is far from impossible. The Australian has also consistently finished ahead of Vettel and currently has a 60 point advantage over his German counterpart. That's not enough for Red Bull to throw their full support behind one driver though according to Horner. "I think that we let the drivers race," he said. "We trust them that they race hard and wheel-to-wheel extremely fairly. "The points difference between Daniel and the two Mercedes is enormous so it doesn't make sense for us to interfere with the two driver's racing. "It's down to what they do on track and that's how they raced [at Monza]." set for team radio clampdown in 2015Tue, 09 Sep 2014 08:31:25 GMTFormula 1 drivers will soon be unable to rely on their engineers for vital information such as fuel use, where they can gain time and tyre wear as the sport is considering a ban on such team radio. F1 team bosses discussed the matter during an F1 Strategy Group meeting last weekend in Monza, and believe fans dislike the constant help drivers receive from the pit wall which makes them seem like 'puppets' following commands. Team radio won't be banned as a whole, as it's understood some radio messages add to the excitement, but those which help performance will fall under Article 20.1 of F1's Sporting Regulations which states that: "The driver must drive the car alone and unaided." The radio calls wouldn't simply be filtered out of television broadcasts, but banned altogether, though it would be difficult to police. Discussions are therefore ongoing between team bosses and the FIA and clarification on the matter is expected before the Singapore GP. What information will be banned is also set for clarification, but it's believed radio calls such as: "your team-mate is faster through corners A, B and C," and "try saving ERS boost for a specifc part of the track, then attack," would be considered illegal as it gives drivers information they wouldn't necessarily have without radio contact. Speaking to Autosport, McLaren racing director Eric Boullier believes it will be better for the sport going forward. "FOM could switch it off, or filter it. But at the end, why not go with another rule that is going to make it simpler and let the driver express himself a bit more on track? It is better, of course." boss criticises Di Montezemolo's commentsMon, 08 Sep 2014 17:26:43 GMTFiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne has criticised Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo for his Monza statement, in which he said he would be the one to decide when he will leave Ferrari. Rumours had circulated the paddock that the Italian was set to announce his retirement, but he addressed the media on Sunday, making it clear that he planned to see out the remaining three years on his contract at minimum. He added: "I will be the first - and I emphasise the first [to announce my departure from Ferrari]." That comment didn't please Marchionne. The boss of Ferrari's parent company warned Di Montezemolo that anyone, including himself, is indispensable and the company would decide when he leaves. "We are good friends but his statements, these are things I wouldn't have said myself," he said. "On volume and economic results Luca has done an outstanding job. I [also] consider myself essential, of course. But I also know very well that I am at the service of this company. So to create positions, illusions that one can operate outside the rules, is talking rubbish. "It's the same for him as it is for me; we serve the company. When the company has a change of plan, or if there is no longer a convergence of ideas, things change. Nobody is indispensable." Marchionne was also critical of Ferrari's recent results and called the six year gap without a title unacceptable. "The heart of Ferrari is winning in F1. I don't want to see our drivers in 7th and 12th place. To see the Reds in this state, having the best drivers, exceptional facilities, engineers who are really good, to see all that and then to consider that we have not won since 2008. "The important thing for Ferrari is not just the financial results, but also it is winning and we have been struggling for six years." Stroll looking to buy Sauber F1 TeamMon, 08 Sep 2014 17:09:31 GMTSauber is on the brink of being taken over by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll according to reports in the Monza paddock over the weekend. The team is in need of investment after a disappointing season and a collapsed financial deal with a group of Russian investors. Stroll, who made his fortune in the fashion industry, was linked with the purchase of a stake in the sport itself, but it's now apparent that he is looking to invest in a team and talks with Sauber have recently taken place. Stroll has strong links with Sauber's engine supplier Ferrari. He has an expansive collection of Ferrari cars - he recently paid £17 million ($27.5m) for Ferrari 275 GTB - and his son, Lance, is a member of Ferrari's Driver Academy. Stroll also lives in Switzerland, not far from Sauber's Hinwil base and owns the Mont Tremblant circuit in Canada. The deal would come at a crucial time for Sauber which is yet to score a point all season and requires major investment to get back on track. It also comes amid a difficult time for F1 when several outfits are struggling amidst rumours 2015 might feature just eight teams. calls on F1 fans to stop booing driversMon, 08 Sep 2014 11:38:33 GMTToto Wolff has called on Formula 1 fans to stop booing drivers on the podium after Nico Rosberg was subjected to boos for the second race weekend in a row. The German has been on the receiving end of the abuse because of the lap two incident with team-mate Lewis Hamilton in Belgium and it continued in Italy where he finished second. Whilst some have argued that booing is just fan engagement and part of the 'show', Wolff believes it is disrespectful and needs to stop. "There should not be any booing on the podium," Wolff said. "It is the top three guys who have had a mega race and whoever it is they shouldn't be doing it. "It is sport and sport should unite. But all those guys have fans; some of them are pretty emotional." The Austrian is however confident Rosberg can overcome the emotional stress it causes. "Does that take a toll on you? Yes. So I think you have to be pretty tough," he explained. "I don't want to even think about being booed - but maybe it is something you need to survive if you want to take it to the top." "Lewis had many of them and he came back and we have seen Nico after Silverstone come back," he added. "You need extreme mental strength to make it to the end and win the championship. "Both of them have it in them to bounce back after weekends. Before the incident at Spa it had been going back and forth." resigns as Caterham team principalSun, 07 Sep 2014 18:02:00 GMTCaterham team principal Christijan Albers has resigned after spending just two months in his role since the team was taken over in July. The Dutch businessman was put in charge following the takeover by a group of Middle Eastern and Swiss investors, but says personal reasons have led to his departure. "Over the past months I have dedicated all my energy to ensure the takeover of the team would go as smoothly as possible and to achieve the best possible result for our investors, sponsors and all the people involved with Caterham," he said. "As such I worked tirelessly to reconstruct the team while, at the same time, making technical updates on the car. In doing this we created both a better foundation for the team's future and achieved significant improvements on the speed of the car. "Due to private reasons and in order to be able to spend more time with my family, I will resign from my position as CEO of Caterham. I wish the team all the best in the future." Manfredi Ravetto is promoted to the role of team principal. admits Hamilton pressure led to mistakeSun, 07 Sep 2014 17:31:10 GMTNico Rosberg has admitted he made his chicane cutting mistake because of the pressure he was under to up his pace to remain ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton. The Briton was charging after Rosberg and closing in at an average of two tenths a lap. As Hamilton closed to within seven tenths, Rosberg locked a wheel and took the escape route at the first chicane which handed the lead to Hamilton. Rosberg admitted he was disappointed with the error - one he actually made twice during the race. "Lewis was just quick coming from behind so I needed to up my pace and as a result just made a mistake," he explained. "It was very bad and that lost me the lead in the end, so I'm very disappointed from that point of view. "Monza is one of the most difficult tracks for braking because of the low downforce and the highest speed of the year. It isn't excuse, it is what it is. It is one of the challenges here and unfortunately I just got it wrong two times in the race." The result closes the gap between the pair to just 22 points with six races remaining. Rosberg isn't too downbeat though as he still holds a substantial advantage. "For me, of course I'm disappointed now right afterwards but it's still second place and a lot of points so it's not a complete disaster. I have to look at reality. There is worse than that, I only lost seven points to Lewis." wins as Rosberg cracks under pressureSun, 07 Sep 2014 14:34:29 GMTLewis Hamilton surpassed Sir Jackie Stewart's win tally of 27 as he secured victory at the 2014 Italian Grand Prix ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg. The Briton started on pole but a troubled start dropped him to fourth, allowing Rosberg to open a gap in the lead ahead of the quick starting Kevin Magnussen. Valtteri Bottas also got away slowly and dropped to tenth but eventually managed to recover to fourth behind team-mate Felipe Massa. Hamilton forced his way past Massa and Magnussen before he began to close in on Rosberg, but the German cracked under the pressure and cut the chicane, allowing the Briton to take the lead where he remained until the 53rd and final lap. Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth thanks to some brilliant overtakes, including one on team-mate Sebastian Vettel. Kevin Magnussen finished seventh but was hit with a five-second penalty which was added after the race and therefore drops him to P10. Race Result - 2014 Italian Grand Prix: #DriverTeamGapPts 01. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 25 02. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +3.1 18 03. Felipe Massa Williams +25.0 15 04. Valtteri Bottas Williams +40.7 12 05. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull +50.3 10 06. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull +59.9 8 07. Sergio Perez Force India +62.5 6 08. Jenson Button McLaren +63.0 4 09. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +63.5 2 10. Kevin Magnussen* McLaren +66.1 1 11. Daniel Kvyat Toro Rosso +71.1 12. Nico Hulkenberg Force India +72.6 13. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso +73.0 14. Pastor Maldonado Lotus +1 lap 15. Adrian Sutil Sauber +1 lap 16. Romain Grosjean Lotus +1 lap 17. Kamui Kobayashi Caterham +1 lap 18. Jules Bianchi Marussia +1 lap 19. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber +1 lap 20. Marcus Ericsson Caterham +1 lap 21. Fernando Alonso Ferrari Retired 22. Max Chilton Marussia Retired retain Massa and Bottas for 2015Sun, 07 Sep 2014 12:38:45 GMTWilliams has announced that both Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas will be retained for the 2015 Formula 1 season. The pairing have helped the team to recover to fourth in the championship this season with several races remaining and just ten points between them and Ferrari. Speaking about the announcement Massa said: "I'm really enjoying my time at Williams and I feel settled here. Williams is such an iconic name in motor racing and I have a lot of pride when racing for this team. "This season we have started to show our true potential and I'm driving a car that is looking strong and has improved a lot as the season has progressed which is very encouraging for the future. It's important that we continue to push in the second half of the season and that we start 2015 with some really good momentum that we can build on." Bottas added: "I've been a member of the Williams team for five years now and we have developed together throughout that time which is a great feeling. The team has also made some very impressive gains this season and I'm confident that I'm at a team that is moving in the right direction and can continue to be competitive. "Sir Frank and Claire have put a lot of faith in me and I'm very grateful that they continue to do so. Felipe and I have a good working relationship and this early announcement will help us both input into the ongoing development of the FW36 and the FW37." reckons Hamilton is favourite for the titleSat, 06 Sep 2014 21:47:09 GMTFernando Alonso believes Lewis Hamilton is probably favourite for the 2014 title at present, despite a 29-point deficit to team-mate Nico Rosberg. The Spaniard, a former team-mate of Hamilton's, reckons the 2008 world champion's experience fighting for the title in '07 and '08 will play to his advantage. "I don't think that Lewis needs any learning for the fight," he told NBCSN. "I think he has the talent and he has the abilities to fight for the championship already from the first year that he arrived. "It is true that in this fight he is maybe more ready because it is not the first time that he will fight for a world championship." That experience could make the difference and that's why the Briton is favourite according to the Ferrari driver. "When there is one race to go [his experience] could make a difference, and probably right now, he is the favorite." Hamilton starts the Italian GP from pole position, alongside Rosberg. hopeful of Monza deal post-2016Sat, 06 Sep 2014 19:13:10 GMTBernie Ecclestone is hopeful of signing a new deal with the organisers of the Italian Grand Prix as long as they can agree new terms in line with other European races. The 83-year-old recently threatened to scrap the race once its current deal expires in 2016 because it pays less than the majority of events - an announcement which was met with much criticism. But speaking on Saturday in the Monza paddock, Ecclestone was more hopeful of a new deal following talks with new promoter and former driver Ivan Capelli. "I spoke to them this morning and the bottom line is simple: all we want is for Monza to have the same terms as all the other European races," he said. "I would like to cross the name out of any [other races] contract then I would like to put in the name 'Monza'." When asked if a deal was possible, he said: "I hope so. They seem competent people." 'I struck the absolute maximum in Q3'Sat, 06 Sep 2014 17:25:39 GMTFernando Alonso believes he got the most out of his Ferrari F14T after posting four almost identical lap times during the top ten shoot-out for pole position. The Spaniard will start seventh, but throughout practice it looked as though he would end up closer to the Mercedes duo. However he believes higher fuel loads and engine performance make for misleading times. "It was a nice session for me, I think," he said after. "It's difficult after free practice because we always create some optimism because we seem to be always a little more competitive - probably we run different fuel loads compare to our opponents. "In qualifying we know they [Mercedes-powered cars] turn up the engine and are a little bit quicker than us normally so we expected a tough qualifying and it was. I was completely on the limit today. I had two runs in Q2 and two runs in Q3 and I did four identical lap times, so I could put 100 sets of tyres on and I would do identical timed laps." Alonso is the highest placed non-Mercedes powered car and he reckons that proves he got the maximum out of the car considering team-mate Kimi Raikkonen qualified 12th. "It was absolutely the maximum and it was positive for me because I see two Mercedes, two Williams, two McLarens, one Ferrari, two Red Bulls, so personally I think I struck the maximum. The important thing is to do a good race tomorrow." won't change approach to racing HamiltonSat, 06 Sep 2014 17:16:22 GMTNico Rosberg says he won't change his approach to racing against team-mate Lewis Hamilton on Sunday despite their falling out in Belgium when the pair made contact. Rosberg will start alongside pole sitter Hamilton for the Italian Grand Prix, and although Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has issued a warning that further contact will not be tolerated, Rosberg says he will continue as before. "The message is that we are keeping on racing, that is the way it is," he replied when asked if Wolff's warning would be ringing in his ears. "It has not changed since before we started the season. The message has been clear. There is no real change at the moment, it is the same as always. "At the moment I'm out to win, it doesn't matter where we are. I'm not thinking about the end of the season yet or anything like that. Every race I'm trying to get the best out of it to try and win the race." The German missed the final practice session after running into gearbox troubles, but he doesn't reckon it impacted his qualifying chances despite finishing four-tenths down on Hamilton. "To be honest straight from the first run in qualifying I had a good feeling and the car was better than yesterday in many areas. We adapted the set-up overnight and worked on it so I actually got straight into it, I was happy about that feeling because I was expecting it to be a bit more complicated. "Mainly overnight by looking at the running yesterday and the problems we had. The team made some suggestions - there's also a whole group of people back in the factory looking at the computer - and we adapted that here at the track. I was quite pleased about that because it felt a lot better." takes Monza pole by comfortable margin to team-mate RosbergSat, 06 Sep 2014 14:13:51 GMTLewis Hamilton secured pole position by a comfortable margin of just under four-tenths as he topped all three sessions to dominate team-mate Nico Rosberg and secure his first pole since the Spanish GP. The Briton's first run in Q3 was enough to secure him the top spot as Rosberg failed to improve by enough on his second run, eventually settling for second. Mercedes power dominated the top six as the Williams pairing of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa start third and fourth respectively, whilst McLaren's Kevin Magnussen outqualified Jenson Button to take the third row on the grid. Ferrari favourite Fernando Alonso could only manage seventh, far better than team-mate Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn failed to escape Q2. Kamui Kobayashi declared his lap "mega" as a final attempt put him ahead of both the Marussia's for the first time in several races. Qualifying - 2014 Italian Grand Prix #Driver Team Q1Q2Q3 01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:25.363 1:24.560 1:24.109 02 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:25.493 1:24.600 1:24.383 03 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:26.012 1:24.858 1:24.697 04 Felipe Massa Williams 1:25.528 1:25.046 1:24.865 05 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:26.337 1:25.973 1:25.314 06 Jenson Button McLaren 1:26.328 1:25.630 1:25.379 07 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:26.514 1:25.525 1:25.430 08 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:26.631 1:25.769 1:25.436 09 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:26.731 1:25.946 1:25.709 10 Sergio Perez Force India 1:26.569 1:25.893 1:25.944 11 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:26.261 1:26.070   12 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:26.689 1:26.110   13 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:26.140 1:26.157   14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:26.371 1:26.279   15 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:27.034 1:26.588   16 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1.26.999 1:26.692   17 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:27.520     18 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:27.632     19 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:27.671     20 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:27.738     21 Max Chilton Marussia 1:28.247     22 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:28.562 Hamilton quickest as Rosberg hits issuesSat, 06 Sep 2014 11:47:22 GMTLewis Hamilton was back on top for final practice for the Italian Grand Prix as this time it was his team-mate Nico Rosberg that had issues. Hamilton's 1:25.519 was the quickest lap of the weekend so far, but only two-tenths quicker than his hard tyre lap, which allowed Fernando Alonso to close in to within just four-tenths. Williams held third and fourth and looked strong on their long-runs, potentially showing their hand and a possible capability to challenge Mercedes on Sunday. Nico Rosberg meanwhile remained in the garage for the entire hour long session with gearbox troubles, but it doesn't look likely that it will need changing. FP3 Full Times - 2014 Italian Grand Prix: #No.DriverTeamTimeGapLaps 01 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:25.519   23 02 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:25.931 0.412 13 03 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:26.090 0.571 19 04 19 Felipe Massa Williams 1:26.114 0.595 18 05 22 Jenson Button McLaren 1:26.242 0.723 21 06 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:26.290 0.771 17 07 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:26.327 0.808 15 08 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:26.437 0.918 21 09 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:26.482 0.963 16 10 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:26.608 1.089 17 11 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:26.829 1.310 20 12 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:27.207 1.688 18 13 11 Sergio Perez Force India 1:27.312 1.793 10 14 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:27.479 1.960 22 15 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:27.498 1.979 12 16 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:28.025 2.506 19 17 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:28.137 2.618 20 18 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:28.265 2.746 21 19 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:28.459 2.940 14 20 4 Max Chilton Marussia 1:28.579 3.060 19 21 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:29.251 3.732 22 22 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes No time   3 hit with sixth engine ten-place penaltySat, 06 Sep 2014 10:22:20 GMTToro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat has incurred the first engine change penalty of the 2014 Formula 1 season following confirmation from the team that they have changed his internal combustion engine. The change means the Russian is now on his sixth unit. As per the regulations, drivers are limited to just five units and a sixth unit brings with it a ten-place grid penalty. "The internal combustion engine used by the above driver is the sixth new internal combustion engine for the 2014 championship season and as this is not in conformity with Article 28.4a of the 2014 Formula 1 sporting regulations, I am referring this matter to the stewards for their consideration," reads an FIA stewards report on the matter. Kvyat will therefore start ten places lower than he qualifies. If however he qualifies 13th or lower and can therefore not move back the full ten places, the remainder will carry over to the Singapore GP. Example: Kvyat qualifies 15th. He drops to 22nd (drops seven places). A three-place penalty will carry over to the next event. You can keep up with component usage for all 22 drivers here. Power unit component usage after twelve racesSat, 06 Sep 2014 10:12:31 GMTWith the increased focus on reliability and durability in 2014, keeping an eye on the number of power unit components throughout the season could prove key to any championship hopes. Should a driver exceed the allocation of any of the components below - of which they get five per season - then they will be hit with a grid penalty. Should a driver use a sixth component for the first time, they will be hit with a ten-place grid penalty. A five-place penalty will be applied to any sixth component after that and so on. Both Red Bull drivers have changed their ICE, TC, MGU-K and MGU-H, whilst Sebastian Vettel is now on his fourth Control Electronics, as is Caterham's Kamui Kobayashi. Here are the latest statistics concerning use ahead of the Italian Grand Prix. ICE - Internal Combustion EngineTC - Turbo ChargerMGU-K - Motor Generator Energy-KineticMGU-H - Motor Generator Energy-HeatES - Energy StoreCE - Control Electronics #DriverTeamICETCMGU-KMGU-HESCE 01 S. Vettel Red Bull 5 4 4 4 2 4 02 D. Ricciardo Red Bull 4 3 4 3 2 3 03 L. Hamilton Mercedes 4 4 4 4 3 3 04 N. Rosberg Mercedes 4 4 4 4 3 3 05 F. Alonso Ferrari 4 3 3 3 3 4 06 K. Raikkonen Ferrari 4 3 3 4 4 4 07 R. Grosjean Lotus 4 5 4 4 3 3 08 P. Maldonado Lotus 5 5 5 5 4 3 09 J. Button McLaren 4 4 4 4 3 3 10 K. Magnussen McLaren 4 4 4 4 3 3 11 N. Hulkenberg Force India 4 4 4 4 3 3 12 S. Perez Force India 4 4 4 4 3 3 13 A. Sutil Sauber 4 4 4 4 4 4 14 E. Gutierrez Sauber 4 4 4 4 3 5 15 J. Vergne Toro Rosso 4 4 5 4 3 3 16 D. Kvyat Toro Rosso 6 4 5 3 2 2 17 F. Massa Williams 4 4 4 4 2 3 18 V. Bottas Williams 4 4 4 4 3 3 19 J. Bianchi Marussia 5 5 4 5 3 4 20 M. Chilton Marussia 4 4 4 4 3 4 21 K. Kobayashi Caterham 4 4 3 4 3 4 22 M. Ericsson Caterham 4 4 3 3 2 3 duo the only source of excitement - BriatoreSat, 06 Sep 2014 09:18:47 GMTFormula 1 should be thankful of the Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton on/off track battle at Mercedes as it's the only source of entertainment this season according to Flavio Briatore. The former team principal was recently involved in discussions to bring additional excitement to the sport before the plans were abandoned following a string of exciting races. Briatore however remains unhappy with the way sport has gone recently, but says F1 must be thankful for the drama coming from the Mercedes garage. "Hamilton and Rosberg are the only ones who are bringing this Formula 1 to life," declared the Italian. "If they were more disciplined, looking at Mercedes' technical advantage, no one would be able to keep in touch with them. "You can't have avoidable incidents which put other people's work at risk, but they are good enough to fight without accidents." Briatore believes the team should already have declared Rosberg its number one driver because of his points advantage, relegating Hamilton to a supporting role. "For me there has to always be a first driver and a second. One wins the Championship and the other helps with the Constructors' title. "After three or four races you realise who is the first, the one with more points. It should be Rosberg in this case." has privately expressed concern over Russian GPFri, 05 Sep 2014 22:24:01 GMTFIA president Jean Todt has privately expressed concerns over the Russian Grand Prix according to FIA insider and close ally Ari Vatanen. However, despite growing tension between the West and Russia over its involvement in the Ukraine crisis, Todt is unable to express his concern publicly, says Vatanen - who himself has called for the race to be cancelled. "Of course Jean knows about my comments, we spoke about it," he told the Telegraph. "I think he partly shares my view. It is true that his hands are tied. I can say things much more openly and freely than he can. "I’m not saying he agrees with everything that I say, but he has a much more reduced room for manoeuvre. He cannot do big moves one day to another. Any movement by people starting to talk about it and then it can spread and lead to action." Vatanen, who despite running against Todt in the 2009 FIA presidential elections, now works closely with the Frenchman after being appointed to president of the commission for closed road racing. The Finn made his own feelings on the matter clear and believes F1 must avoid visiting Russia at all costs as it would give the sport a bad image. "It would send a message of acceptance if we went to Russia. It would say we [F1] condone, effectively, maybe not explicitly, but by our actions we condone what is going on because it is used in propaganda. "It is often said that Formula One should not mix politics and sport, but the Russian regime is already mixing politics and sport in a blatant way, so we have to respond. It is for Bernie and the owners to cancel the race," he added. open to relaxing engine freeze ruleFri, 05 Sep 2014 20:04:27 GMTMercedes has joined rivals Ferrari and Renault in agreeing that a relaxing of the engine development freeze could be beneficial for the sport. The German marque, which has an advantage this season after developing a better hybrid power unit, would be open to the idea, originally suggested by Ferrari's Marco Mattiacci and then backed by Renault's Cyril Abiteboul, even if it cuts their lead. "It's about defining what we want to do," said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff. "Obviously we have a competitive advantage but we would take the challenge [of increased competition] on. "Is it the time to change the rules? Maybe. The discussions we've had so far were pretty open." Wolff is, as are both Mattiacci and Abiteboul, wary that it must be done in a way that doesn't significantly increase costs and therefore further discussions are required on the subject. "There are various concepts on the table and if we decide to go completely in the opposite direction and open it up completely, this will increase costs quite dramatically. "I'm not sure we could deliver all the same specification of engines to everybody - logistically it's not feasible - so the devil lies in the detail." Related: Renault would support lifting engine freeze | Ferrari want power unit freeze to be lifted halts development of E22 to focus on 2015Fri, 05 Sep 2014 18:07:33 GMTLotus has halted development of its 2014 car, the E22, as it looks to turn its full focus to next season following a lacklustre campaign so far. The team have failed to perform anywhere near the same level they did in 2013 when they challenged Ferrari for third place in the constructors' championship. So far this year they have scored just eight points compared to 187 at the same point last year and Romain Grosjean doesn't expect them to score anymore, simply responding with "no" when asked if the E22 was capable of scoring in the last few races. As a result, the team have chosen to stop development and focus on next year's car completely. "We have some problems with the aerodynamic consistency of the car," added Grosjean. "It's a problem we have had since day one and it's something we certainly cannot 100 per cent solve for this year. "We are on next year's car. There is no more development for this year's car," he confirmed. 1 will benefit from Formula E - TodtFri, 05 Sep 2014 17:58:22 GMTFIA president Jean Todt insists the new electric single-seater racing series, Formula E, will benefit other motorsports series, including Formula 1. F1 has moved to hybrid systems this season as it looks to become more environmentally friendly, but the power units are still in their infancy. Todt reckons FE's focus on sustainable racing will filter up and down to other series. "We can expect development in batteries, motor technology and security issues that can be transferred with other series such as F1, WEC etc," he told the official Formula E website. "You always learn from one championship to another one. For example, what generates a lot of cost is aerodynamic development and in Formula E it's quite limited, which I think is a good thing because sometime you see how complicated aerodynamics are on a car. "You take Formula 1 now with all the little winglets that require so much wind tunnel testing. So I would say let's try to develop as much that can be transferred to a city car." The series launches next week with the inaugural Beijing Grand Prix Rosberg quickest as Hamilton hits problemsFri, 05 Sep 2014 14:41:22 GMTNico Rosberg was the quickest driver during second practice for the Italian Grand Prix as his team-mate Lewis Hamilton once again suffered from reliability troubles. The German's 1:26.225 was enough to put him top, but he was only 0.061 seconds quicker than Hamilton who posted the second quickest lap despite electrical issues costing him over an hour of the session. Ferrari had something to cheer about as both Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso were on the pace. The Finn was just a tenth off Rosberg's quickest in third, whilst the Spaniard was fourth. Valtteri Bottas was fifth quickest ahead of McLaren's Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen. Daniel Ricciardo completed the top ten, just behind Felipe Massa, as the Australian looked to recover from engine issues in FP1. Romain Grosjean provided the entertainment as he went off several times, often taking trips through the Monza gravel traps. FP2 Full Times - 2014 Italian Grand Prix: #No.DriverTeamTimeGapLaps 01 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:26.225   41 02 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:26.286 0.061 16 03 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:26.331 0.106 31 04 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:26.565 0.340 26 05 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:26.758 0.533 34 06 22 Jenson Button McLaren 1:26.762 0.537 34 07 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:26.762 0.537 27 08 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:26.881 0.656 44 09 19 Felipe Massa Williams 1:26.935 0.710 33 10 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:26.992 0.767 37 11 11 Sergio Perez Force India 1:27.079 0.854 42 12 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:27.227 1.002 39 13 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:27.476 1.251 37 14 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:27.840 1.615 33 15 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:27.929 1.704 33 16 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:28.029 1.804 35 17 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:28.659 2.434 34 18 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:28.700 2.475 42 19 4 Max Chilton Marussia 1:28.786 2.561 29 20 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:29.085 2.860 29 21 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:29.178 2.953 32 22 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:29.275 3.050 37 'F1 performance to blame for 20m loss'Fri, 05 Sep 2014 11:52:57 GMTThe Williams F1 Team has blamed investment in ensuring it moved toward the front of the Formula 1 grid for losses of more than £20 million ($32m) in the first six months of 2014. The team, as part of Williams Grand Prix Holdings, released its interim financial results on Friday which revealed big losses for the company. In the opening six months of this year, the F1 team recorded a loss of £20.7m ($33.8m), whilst the group as a whole lost £18.8m ($31m) on income of £46.6m ($76m). The losses aren't a major concern however, as CEO Mike O'Driscoll explains that they were expected after the team took a conscious decision to invest heavily in its F1 operation to ensure it was more competitive when compared to recent years. "At the beginning of the second half of last year we began an ambitious strategy to rebuild the Formula One organisation, develop a strong Advanced Engineering division, and divest non-core operations. We have already made substantial progress towards our objectives. "This strategy has required significant investment, as illustrated by our first half results, and it is anticipated that this will also impact the full year results. "After a number of disappointing seasons, our Formula One team has been significantly strengthened across all key functions. Our long-term power unit supply agreement with Mercedes provides strength and stability. As a consequence we have made a significant step-change in our on-track performance. We have also made great progress commercially, underscored by our title partnership agreement with Martini." The teams costs have risen as a result of the 2014 power units which cost an estimated £8m more than the V8 engines, whilst the loss of Pastor Maldonado's sponsorship package is also taken into account. The team currently sit fourth in the championship standings, just ten points behind Ferrari. If they finish fourth, they stand to land a £15m bonus in F1 prize money compared to 2013 when they finished just ninth. Hamilton sets pace in opening Monza practiceFri, 05 Sep 2014 10:44:47 GMTLewis Hamilton opened the first practice session with the fastest lap to give him a commanding lead over the rest of the field, including his team-mate Nico Rosberg. The Briton's 1:26.187 came toward the end of the session, but it was enough to put him six-tenths ahead of McLaren's Jenson Button and a further two-tenths ahead of Rosberg in third. Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was the only other driver to get within a second of the lead Mercedes, but only just. McLaren will surely be happy with Button in second and Kevin Magnussen fifth as they look to exploit the top-speed advantage of their Mercedes engine combined with low-drag bodywork. Sebastian Vettel was sixth ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez - the Mexican suffered a slight off under braking for Ascari which sent him through the gravel trap. Several reserve drivers had an outing with Giedo van der Garde for Sauber, Daniel Juncadella for Force India, Charles Pic for Lotus and Roberto Mehri for Caterham. FP1 Full Times - 2014 Italian Grand Prix: #No.DriverTeamTimeGapLaps 01 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:26.187     02 22 Jenson Button McLaren 1:26.810 0.623   03 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:26.995 0.808   04 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:27.169 0.982   05 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:27.228 1.041   06 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:27.271 1.084   07 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:27.493 1.306   08 11 Sergio Perez Force India 1:27.687 1.500   09 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:27.741 1.554   10 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:28.112 1.925   11 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:28.114 1.927   12 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:28.148 1.961   13 19 Felipe Massa Williams 1:28.150 1.963   14 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:28.300 2.113   15 36 Giedo van der Garde Sauber 1:28.429 2.242   16 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:28.487 2.300   17 34 Daniel Juncadella Force India 1:29.192 3.005   18 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:29.512 3.325   19 4 Max Chilton Marussia 1:30.017 3.830   20 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:30.081 3.894   21 30 Charles Pic Lotus 1:30.125 3.938   22 45 Roberto Merhi Caterham 1:30.704 4.517   23 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:30.948 4.761 would consider driver line-up changeThu, 04 Sep 2014 21:16:55 GMTMercedes boss Toto Wolff has admitted that the team would have to consider changing its driver line-up if they're unable to manage the current pairing of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. The pair have been locked in an intense battle on and off track since the start of the season. Their relationship began to fall apart in Monaco and has failed to fully recover since, in fact it has only worsened with the problems in Hungary and Belgium. Rosberg was punished for his part in their Spa clash and the pair have been warned against further disruption. If disciplinary action fails to deter them, Wolff says Mercedes would have no other option but to change one or both of their drivers. "We would have to take decisions and take the consequences of having a different line-up," the Austrian told the BBC. "If we are not able to manage the two of them following the Mercedes-Benz spirit then we need to admit that," he stated. When pushed on how Rosberg was disciplined - rumours suggest a six-figure fine - he refused to be drawn on the details and said he hoped it would be the last time he'd have to punish a driver. "When you are managing a team it is very important to keep it balanced. I would very much like the penalties we have been implementing to stay within the team because it is just not fair on the driver to discuss that in public. "We have made it very clear this is an unacceptable scenario for us, for both of them. We don't want this to happen ever again." doubt they can close gap to Mercedes by '15Thu, 04 Sep 2014 18:34:29 GMTFerrari will have a brand new car in 2015 which is unlikely to share many components from the off-pace F14-T according to technical director James Allison, but that might not be enough to close the gap to Mercedes. It's not great reading for the Tifosi, but Allison reckons at least some of the mighty advantage Mercedes holds will carry through to next season as he admits they've a huge challenge ahead to catch up. "We are behind our rivals Mercedes in terms of power, but also when it comes to aerodynamic downforce," admitted the Briton who only had a minor role in the initial development of the 2014 car, but will be in charge of next years project. "Every part of the car has to be improved so that it can become more competitive next year." He doesn't believe the engine freeze is the biggest hurdle as manufacturers can change up to 48 per cent of their power unit over the winter, instead the Allison reckons they're pushed for time. "Our problem is not the rules," he added, "it's the time needed to close such a big gap. "But as I said at the start, it's not just the engine which has to improve, the chassis needs to also, as does the suspension and every part of the car. "I don't know if we can close the gap in just one year," he admitted. 'not proud' of Belgian clash and aftermathThu, 04 Sep 2014 18:07:20 GMTNico Rosberg says he's not proud of his spat with Lewis Hamilton at the Belgian Grand Prix after he collided with his team-mate and then refused to take responsibility. The German, speaking at the FIA press conference, addressed the situation and the reason for his apology - which he initially said there was no need for as he wasn't to blame - but revealed a change of heart made him own up to the error. "I took the week to think about it and have a look at it, then discuss with the team on Friday," he said on Thursday. "In the end I decided it was me who needed to take responsibility for it. "They [the team] can't make me apologise, it definitely was a decision that came from me after hearing other people's opinions and having looked at it myself again I felt that it was my responsibility." He believes the boos - which he was subjected to on the podium - were a result of upsetting fans who had come to watch the pair battle it out and he apologised for denying them that spectacle. "In Spa I was not proud of the way it went because in general I really want to contribute to my sport, I want it to be the most entertaining sport in the world. "It was not a nice feeling to hear boos towards me but I understand. They travelled a long way to see an exciting race and a good battle between me and Lewis - I understand that and accept that." says McLaren offer not his main priorityThu, 04 Sep 2014 17:48:20 GMTSebastian Vettel says his attention at present is on returning to form with Red Bull Racing and getting the team back to championship winning ways after a relatively difficult season. The German refused to be drawn on talks about an offer from McLaren - which would see him driving for the team next season or the year after depending on his current contractual situation. The offer isn't his priority at the moment despite rumours he's already signed a deal, something he joked about on Thursday in the Italian Grand Prix paddock. "There was already a lot of talk at Spa on Thursday, and there was talk that I had signed for $150 million for three years. I was asking where the pen was but nobody came back! "I think it is normal that you have lot of talks. But it doesn't change what you do on a regular day-to-day basis. "Obviously we are not yet where we want to be, particularly on my side, so there is a lot of work to do which is my main attention." Many pundits have urged Vettel to take a leap of faith and change teams, believing a new adventure could rejuvenate his motivation, but the four-time champion says he's happy at Red Bull. "I think at the moment I have plenty of challenge, to be honest. "My situation has not changed. I am happy where I am. But you never know what is happening in the future. Right now, I don't feel the need to do something different." returns to Caterham cockpit for ItalyThu, 04 Sep 2014 10:23:10 GMTKamui Kobayashi will return to the Caterham cockpit for the Italian Grand Prix after sitting out the race in Belgium in order to allow Andre Lotterer to take over. The Japanese driver says he supports the teams decision, but is thankful to have the chance to race again this weekend. "I am working for Caterham F1 Team and I always respect team decisions," he said. "Now I am back in the car and looking forward to going racing again." Kobayashi won't take part in first free practice however as the team are committed to running Formula Renault 3.5 driver Roberto Mehri. The team had hoped to place the young Spaniard in the CT05 for the entire Italian weekend, but the 23-year-old failed to secure an FIA superlicence in time. He is expected to take part in the Singapore GP weekend, which could see Kobayashi sidelined once again. deny Alonso has contract opt-out clauseWed, 03 Sep 2014 08:53:07 GMTFernando Alonso looks almost certain to remain at Ferrari for 2015, meaning McLaren will likely have to wait until 2016 to sign the Spaniard. Several reports doing the rounds recently on various websites claim Alonso has an opt-out clause in his contract whereby if he isn't within 100 points of the championship leader on September 1st, then he is a free agent. Another suggests if they fail to finish third in the Constructors' Championship - they're just ten points clear of fourth-placed Williams - then 33-year-old is free to look for a seat elsewhere. It seems these reports aren't based on fact as team principal Marco Mattiacci insists Alonso has no results-based opt-out clauses in his contract. "It's not true," the Italian, who has repeatedly stood firm that Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen will stay for 2015, told Sky Sports. Alonso himself has confirmed he has no intention to leave the team at the moment, suggesting a move may come after next season if Ferrari continue on their current path. would support lifting engine freeze Wed, 03 Sep 2014 08:39:32 GMTLike Ferrari, Renault would also support a relaxing of the engine development freeze which is currently in place for the duration of the season. Ferrari's Marco Mattiacci recently said he would like a number of opportunities throughout the season to work on the power unit and even raised the point during a meeting of team bosses in Belgium. Renault's Cyril Abiteboul agrees that it would be beneficial for the sport if they could develop their unit to bring their performance in line with Mercedes, which currently enjoys a power advantage. He does however believe such an idea would need to be approached cautiously in order to avoid huge additional costs being passed on to customer teams. "I think we need to be a little bit sensible," he told Autosport. "But there should be a system to allow performance to converge rather than performance to diverge. "I know that no one wants to force the sport to go into a certain direction [of increased costs] but this is a sport that has to be a sustainable business to all the players. "So we could open [the freeze] more, as long as it goes in the right direction for the different providers. It [performance] needs to converge from my perspective." The winter does however allow some freedom to work on the power units, though only 48 per cent of the components can be modified - a limit Renault intend to maximise fully. "We have a system that will allow us to do quite a lot of changes, because 48 per cent of the power unit will be able to change next year. And we intend to change 48 per cent of the power unit." Haas renames team ahead of 2016 debutTue, 02 Sep 2014 21:24:04 GMTGene Haas has confirmed a change of name for his planned Formula 1 team which is set to make its racing debut in 2016. The American outfit will change its name from Haas Formula to Haas F1 Team as it seeks to make it clearer exactly what it is for promotional reasons. Speaking about the change, team owner Haas said: "Haas F1 Team automatically conveys our place among the pinnacle of motorsports. "When you hear 'F1' you know exactly what it is - a global racing series that showcases the latest technology and attracts the best talent in engineering and design." The team also launched its new website - 'It's not my intention to move teams yet'Tue, 02 Sep 2014 12:48:42 GMTFernando Alonso has rebuffed recent claims he is set to leave Ferrari for McLaren next season as the Woking outfit makes a final push to secure his services. The Spaniard insists he wants to win the championship with Ferrari and see through a period of change at the Italian outfit. "It's not my intention at the moment to move," he told Sky Sports ahead of the Italian Grand Prix. "I want to win for Ferrari, I want to win here and finish the job that we started some years ago and we will see what the future comes." Alonso is often linked with other teams. In 2013 it was suggested he would join Red Bull after his manager confirmed talks took place. He is now linked with McLaren.  Alonso says the speculation creates tension between him and Ferrari, but he's happy to know that he remains in demand. "Obviously there has been a lot of talk from the summer of last year, the start more or less, but from my mouth never came any interest to leave to Ferrari or any words saying that I will join another team," he added. "There are a lot of speculations which is not disturbing but it creates a bit of tension around and stress. "But also you feel proud, you feel happy that the best teams have interest in you and they say it in public. " Mercedes created a problem for itself?Tue, 02 Sep 2014 08:53:49 GMTForgive me if I start with a footballing analogy. A few years ago Swansea City were promoted to the English Premier League. Like just about any side in that situation the focus as far as most were concerned was on whether they could retain their place in the esteemed division. Unusually though for a side in that situation – arguably unusually for an English football side (as in playing in the English league, I know Swansea is in Wales) at all at that point – they were committed to a possession-based, attractive brand of play, rather than something more safety first and run of the mill.   Such an approach had the potential to bring considerable rewards. But it also had its equally considerable risks, and the main one among them was shown pitilessly in one of their first matches at the top table, against none other than (then) standard-bearers Manchester United. Early on one of Swansea’s defenders, Angel Rangel, picked up the ball not far from his own goal, with opponents nearby. Ordinarily one in that situation employing the ‘traditional’ and low risk approach would have whacked the ball away aimlessly, but Rangel in accordance with his side’s philosophy sought to keep possession and play a pass to a team mate.  But a Man United player intercepted it and within seconds his team had taken full advantage by scoring a goal. It proved decisive as Swansea lost the game 1-0. And sure enough afterwards the vultures in the media and elsewhere swooped, decrying both Rangel and Swansea’s decision to play passing football in defensive areas, declaring it naive and self-defeating; clinging to an impractical ideal.  But the response of the Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers was resolute: ‘I take 100% blame for that’ he said, ‘it was nothing to do with Angel. I ask him to play that way, and he was doing what I asked, playing with courage.’  You may be shrieking at this point ‘what on earth has this got to do with F1?’ (assuming you’re still awake). Well, it serves as a reminder that every decision you make, every approach you frame, will have some downside almost inevitably. Indeed perhaps the most beneficial approaches also have the most conspicuous downsides – you know the one about risk and reward. But Rodgers knew that abandoning a chosen long-term approach simply because on an isolated occasion you’d encountered its foreseeable, and perhaps unavoidable, drawback would be foolish.  He stuck by it, and got his rewards. Swansea did not get relegated, indeed the team became and remain fixtures in the haughty and lucrative Premier League, all the while standing by the style that has served them so well. While Rodgers himself got his big break in getting the job as manager of Liverpool, where he’s continued to impress. And similar thoughts occurred to me after – yes – Spa, Nico, Lewis, collisions and all that. We know that Mercedes has had an explicit approach of letting its drivers get on with it on track this year. We should be grateful for it too, as the absence of team orders, particularly the absence of the more extreme variety, has been the season’s saving grace. Perhaps about the only thing separating this campaign with one such as 2002, with soporific races, results that can be predicted reasonably in advance and a sport in crisis. Instead we’ve somehow got a fine season boasting many thrilling Sundays and a gripping championship battle. But all of this seemed under threat post Spa as, just as Swansea did against Man United, Mercedes in Belgium encountered the most foreseeable downside of its chosen approach, and it was shown rather luridly. Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton came into contact on lap 2 of that race, compromising both of their afternoons in what should have been a straightforward one-two for the Brackley team. Merc boss Toto Wolff in his words afterwards hinted subtly at a change of approach in future. And in addition and again just as was the case with Swansea a few oh-so knowing tribal elders trashed the Merc strategy. Eddie Jordan for one on TV declared that – in a statement that gave scant regard to the fact that the drivers are the ones in the cockpits controlling the cars – ‘the team have to look at themselves first, it’s wrong. What happened here could have been avoided, so easy, by a clear instruction from the team and tell them not to pass each other, don’t cause any problem, until the race settles down. This for me is a boardroom decision, it should never have happened. Don’t blame the drivers.’ His former colleague Gary Anderson while applauding the Mercedes approach as well as describing the clash as racing incident, nevertheless added: ‘But looking back at the season as a whole, I would unhesitatingly blame the Mercedes top brass for a complete failure of management. Would it have been like this if Ross Brawn was still at the helm rather than having left the team at the end of last year? Definitely not. The rules of engagement would have been firmly put in place before the season started, and they would have been enforced decisively.’ Therefore I was rather pleased with the Mercedes team’s eventual official response to it all made at the end of last week. Indeed to some extent it was masterful, achieving about as much as could have been reasonably in the circumstances. Both drivers said words that took a lot of the froth out of the situation while neither really lost face. OK, Nico took responsibility for the contact but anyone with a pair of eyes could see that the culpability – in clumsiness if nothing else – mainly was his. He also got some undefined ‘suitable disciplinary measures’ but again that seemed fair enough as Wolff confirmed, and it was uncontested by Rosberg, that he had made a conscious decision not to yield space as he was fed up doing it before and wanted to ‘prove a point’ (echoes of Alain Prost in Suzuka in 1989). Not deliberately crashing but also not smart in apparently admitting to wilfully not avoiding one. And the team delivered the icing on the cake that the drivers ‘remain free to race for the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship’. I was rather cock-a-hoop. But there was a potential sting in the tail, which you’d have been forgiven for missing. I did initially anyway. This was in the words also present in the Merc statement: ‘It has been made clear that another such incident will not be tolerated.’ Upon first reading there seemed nothing to see. As after all it’s the oldest rule in F1, one that you won’t find a single team boss disputing, that you don’t collide with your team mate. It appeared mere reaffirmation of something that goes without saying anyway. As Niki Lauda said just after Spa’s chequered flag: ‘So far I thought they were clever enough to know that (not to collide with each other).’ But even with this was it the smartest thing to say? Might it cause problems still?  For the remainder of this season it seems to in effect rule out mistakes from either driver when battling the other – and every single one of us makes mistakes. It also seems to rule out racing incidents. The bottom line is that for a long as cars race each other near at hand they sometimes will come into contact, and apportioning blame isn’t necessarily easy. Mercedes could very easily find itself hoist on its own petard. And if another collision does happen then what exactly can Merc do? Will the team not presumably be in exactly the same bind as it has been since Spa? As intimated the Merc response reflected the art of the possible; it was largely framed by necessity. It was difficult to see what more could have been done realistically. Demonstrating as much one website outlined the possible Merc options in response to the Spa clash, disciplinary and otherwise, and concluded that each and every one was likely to be either ineffective, counter-productive, or a gross overreaction (or a combination of some of the three). Eddie Jordan’s solution and those that are similar wouldn’t really solve any problems either, more condense them into a shorter period of time, perhaps creating alternative problems in so doing. Some fans called for Rosberg to be stood down for a race by the team, but that never seemed a goer given it fell into the territory of cutting off your nose to spite your face. If the two silver cars manage to make contact again this year the calls for serious action will be intense – given the team has in effect promised it. But it’ll be double trouble as it’s difficult to see what the team can do. And was it necessary to say this? To bring us back to the risk and reward balance, the reward of Mercedes sticking by its established approach of letting the drivers race remains considerable. To reiterate, we have an exciting and dramatic championship with a lot of exterior interest which Mercedes benefits from, and the team and company also benefit from the reflected kudos of going racing as nature intended.  While with team orders – in whatever form – Mercedes would have to take a resulting PR hit, and the drivers’ title destination maybe even would be undermined in the public eye. As noted with a Jean Todt at Ferrari-style lockdown perhaps the sport as a whole would most likely have been plunged into crisis and recrimination. As also noted other less ‘extreme’ solutions wouldn’t necessarily be effective. As for the risk for the Mercs from its prevailing approach, surely that only lays in the loss of either championship. But is this risk significant? You’ll struggle to find anyone who thinks that this year’s constructors’ crown destination will be anywhere other than Brackley, and for all of the excited chatter about Daniel Ricciardo’s chances of pinching the drivers’ title while Nico and Lewis squabble and for all that the Australian has been brilliant this year given the deficit that remains both in points and – probably more importantly – in pace his chances of so doing remain in the realms of fantasy. It’ll likely take another couple of intra-Merc collisions at least to give him a chance, and history suggests that’s not at all likely. Team mates – even highly quarrelsome ones – don’t collide that often. It’s just that we tend to remember it when they do. Whatever is the case, the risk doesn’t seem nearly big enough to justify a change of approach. It was left to veteran commentator Murray Walker to spell out the situation: ‘I think the whole thing is a gigantic storm in a teacup’ he said.  ‘They’re racing each other for heaven’s sake, they’re in very close proximity and yes the slightest mistake and the slightest deviation from the racing line can result in disaster of some kind or another and that’s exactly what happened in this case and it’ll happen again. ‘You can’t say “there will be no more comings-together”, if Rosberg and Hamilton are wheel-to-wheel there is a danger that they will collide.’ It’s of course part of human nature to seek to seize control, and to reassert it if it appears to have been lost. The desire to do so is probably particularly acute if you are one in authority. Possibly such feelings concentrated the Merc management’s minds; that they felt the need to say something in that regard. But it might not have led them to the best conclusion.  Far the better one would have been to take their cue from what Brendan Rodgers did in a similar situation and stick to your guns. Just imagine if Merc’s response to all of this – perhaps in addition to whatever knuckle-rap it was for Rosberg for his ‘point proving’ – had been: we let our drivers race. With this they might collide occasionally. So nothing changes. It’s hard to see how anyone could credibly have argued. vows not to give up until it's impossibleMon, 01 Sep 2014 18:31:35 GMTLewis Hamilton has vowed not to give up on his championship ambitions this season until it is mathematically impossible for him to win the title. The Briton has suffered a run of bad luck recently with brake failures, engine fires and team-mate clashes meaning he's scored just 30 points out of a possible 75 over the last three races. Team-mate Nico Rosberg however has scored 55, extending the gap between the two to 29, a deficit Hamilton is hoping to claw back starting this weekend in Italy. "My aim for the weekend, of course, is to claw back the gap in the Drivers' Championship," said Hamilton. "It's as big as it's been all season so I've got a lot of work ahead – but anything can happen in this sport. I won't give up until the flag drops in Abu Dhabi and there's plenty of points [200 to be precise] to be won before, so it's far from over yet." It won't be easy for Hamilton though as Rosberg has a similar goal and of course has the advantage of a race win and more in terms of points. "It's still all to play for in the championship and with double points in Abu Dhabi anything can happen," said the German. "I'm focused on taking the maximum points possible in the remaining seven races and I know the team is too." demands incredible focus - RicciardoMon, 01 Sep 2014 16:27:10 GMTDaniel Ricciardo is preparing himself for one of the toughest races of the season where speeds can reach upwards of 360kph, but that's not the only challenge the Italian Grand Prix presents. "The biggest challenges at Monza nowadays are the braking zones," explains the Australian. "The first chicane is the ultimate example: you're coming down to that first chicane at the highest speed an F1 car will reach all year and you're braking into one of the tightest corners you'll take all year. Added to that you're doing this with the least amount of downforce you'll have all year – which means the car tends to slide around quite a bit as well as taking longer to stop. "You can't afford to lock a brake but equally you can't lose time by being too eager on the pedal. It demands that you are really focused all of the time. "I'm not really that keen on super-long straights; I find them a little dull compared to hammering through a series of demanding corners but Monza is the exception to that. There's something about flashing through those trees in front of that massive crowd that definitely gets the pulse all the way up!" The Red Bull driver, fresh from back-to-back wins in Hungary and Belgium, is eyeing a podium at a circuit that shouldn't really suit the RB10 and its Renault engine. "The crowd in Monza is wild. Obviously it's full-on Ferrari but in the past they've always been very generous to me. I'd love to get the opportunity to stand on that brilliant podium and find out!" confident they will match Mercedes engineMon, 01 Sep 2014 13:51:56 GMTHonda can match Mercedes next season according to the company's motorsport chief Yasuhisa Arai who, despite rumours to the contrary, insists they are on target with their power unit development programme. "We are absolutely within our development plan," he told the official F1 website. "Our engine - or more precisely our power unit - is ready for a whole system check." McLaren and Honda also considered running the unit in the rear of the MP4-29 during the Abu Dhabi test, but Arai insists the Jerez test ahead of the 2015 season will be the first time they run the power unit on-track. "In the next couple of weeks we will run simulations and at the beginning of next year we will start to run on the track - very likely at Jerez. That will very likely be the first time to show the whole car, the Honda engine and the McLaren chassis - the Honda McLaren." Speaking about their expectations, Arai is confident Honda can win races in 2015 and therefore match the performance delivered by the Mercedes engine. "I have confidence that we will match Mercedes," he added. "I think that the two other engine suppliers [Ferrari and Renault] will recover next season - I strongly believe that. And we will be there too. "Formula One is a very important part of our strategy - and winning is very important for Honda. We want to raise the awareness of our brand and I trust - I am a firm believer - that we will win races next year. And that will send out a very positive signal for our brand on a global basis." defends changes to Parabolica run-offMon, 01 Sep 2014 13:21:54 GMTThe FIA has defended its decision to tarmac over much of the Parabolica run-off at Monza ahead of this weekend's Italian Grand Prix. The gravel trap has punished many drivers over the past, but that is set to change as a large area is now tarmac, allowing a driver to simply rejoin the track if they make a mistake. FIA race director Charlie Whiting believes that's a good thing and says the change was done for safety reasons which he believes outweighs that of the need to punish a driver. "About 35 per cent of the gravel has been replaced," explained Whiting. "This has been requested for safety reasons by the FIA and the drivers, just as it has been at virtually every other circuit that F1 races on. "Of course we know that it is not as punishing to a driver who leaves the track but that is the price that we pay for much improved safety: a price both the drivers and I believe is worth paying." Lotus driver's Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado have also publicly supported the change.'s full-time return 'good news' - WolffMon, 01 Sep 2014 08:48:40 GMTMercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has welcomed Bernie Ecclestone back to F1 full-time after the 83-year-old's legal problems in Germany diverted his attention away from the sport. The billionaire has now resolved the matter after making a $100 million (£59m) payment to the German authorities to settle the court case. Wolff welcomed the news that Ecclestone's full attention is now back on the sport. "I think stability is important in Formula 1," he said. "I have seen a very strong Bernie coming back from the shutdown and coming back after the court case has been settled, and this is good news. "Whatever the governance, or management of Formula One is going to be going forwards, I think the shareholders and Bernie are looking what is best for Formula One. For us I think it's important to have a strong guy, a strong leader, and good discussions. "We had one in Belgium and I am sure there is lots of talking going on behind the scenes for the future, but for us it is very good that Bernie is fully concentrated, back in shape and strong leading the organisation at this stage." Verstappen has minor shunt during F1 demoSun, 31 Aug 2014 15:54:04 GMT   Max Verstappen's first public Formula 1 demo didn't go exactly how he had imagined in his head after he hit the barriers, damaging the front-wing of the Toro Rosso liveried Red Bull RB8. The 16-year-old, who recently signed a deal to race for Toro Rosso next year, was driving the RB8 as part of a Rotterdam demonstration when he failed to brake in time for the barrier, damaging the front of the car. critical of Mercedes publicly blaming RosbergSun, 31 Aug 2014 12:36:19 GMTFormer FIA president Max Mosley has criticised Mercedes for publicly blaming Nico Rosberg in the wake of his clash with team-mate Lewis Hamilton at the Belgian Grand Prix. The team released a statement following a crisis meeting last Friday in which they stated that Rosberg "acknowledged his responsibility" and that "suitable disciplinary measures" had been taken. The Briton agreed that the German should have been punished for his actions, but doesn't believe it should have been made public. "In every respect but one I think Mercedes dealt with the incident in the right way," he told the Daily Mail. "If they decided to fine or punish Rosberg they should not have announced it. It's as if the team are blaming him publicly. That's not really right." Mosley isn't one to shy away from controversy and was at the helm of the FIA throughout many difficult times, including that of the 'Spygate' scandal. Many have suggested the stewards, under his control, would have investigated Rosberg, but he disagrees and has backed them for classing it a 'racing incident'. "The way I see it, and I'm on the outside now, is that the very experienced race director [Charlie Whiting] and the stewards decided not to act because it was a 'racing incident'. That was more or less that. It was a minor incident with serious consequences. What the drivers did or not say afterwards is not clear. On that basis the FIA could not get involved. "It's then a matter for the team. A lot goes on behind closed doors. What is unusual is announcing it. Personally, I wouldn't have done that.'" and Williams likely to agree new dealSun, 31 Aug 2014 10:57:05 GMTValtteri Bottas is set to remain at Williams for 2015 as both sides are ready to commit to a contract extension which could see him there even longer. The Finn has an option on his current deal to continue through next season, but it requires agreement from both sides. A signature from Williams looks certain as Bottas has impressed the team beyond expectation to secure four podiums in the last five races, putting him fifth in the drivers' standings. Head of vehicle performance Rob Smedley reckons they've a great line-up, one he wouldn't want to change. "I would absolutely love to see [our] pairing continue through next year and that's the plan, obviously," he told "I think that it's just a great blend of youth, enthusiasm – on both sides – and experience." Bottas has also expressed a desire to continue but warned nothing has yet been agreed as it's believed rivals have been in contact. "Personally I don't see a reason to look around at this moment," he told Autosport. "But it's too early to say - it's better to wait for confirmation, and we will speak when we have something to say."'If I have to retire this year then so be it' - ButtonSat, 30 Aug 2014 18:56:16 GMTJenson Button is coming to terms with the idea that he may not be racing in Formula 1 much longer given the driver situation at his current team McLaren. The Briton has been competing in F1 for 14 years, but may not have a choice when it comes to continuing after 2014 as McLaren are reportedly seeking the services of Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel. Whilst it's unlikely they'll get both 'star drivers', it's believed they're close to securing the services of at least one and they're likely to replace Button over Kevin Magnussen. The 34-year-old says he's having a difficult time contemplating life away from the sport. "We haven't sat down and talked about it," he told the BBC about 2015 and contract extensions. "If I have to retire at the end of the season then so be it, but I feel I have so much more to give and I can't imagine life without motorsport and especially Formula 1. "I think uncomfortable is the wrong word for me, I don't feel uncomfortable. It's unusual, yes, but sometimes it's that way. "Our job is to drive as fast as we can, do the best job for ourselves and the best job for the team. I feel we are both doing the maximum we can and a very good job." drivers back changes to Parabolica run-offFri, 29 Aug 2014 17:55:06 GMTWhilst changes to the run-off at Parabolica weren't welcomed amongst Formula 1 fans, it seems the drivers are more open to the change. The famous Parabolica run-off has caught out many drivers in the past who have tried to brake a little too late for the final corner at Monza only to find their car beached in the gravel trap, but that won't be much of a concern this year as the gravel has been replaced with tarmac. Romain Grosjean has welcomed the change from a safety point of view and actually thinks the change will see drivers pushing harder. "Parabolica is a very challenging and quick corner so from a safety point of view it is a good thing to have some more margin for the drivers. "I remember sometimes in the past coming in to the corner and knowing that to brake even a little bit too late then you could be straight in the gravel and then straight to the wall at high speed. I think that now what you will see is the drivers finding the limits sooner, because we know there will not be the big gravel and crash penalty like previously." Pastor Maldonado agrees: "I don't think it will make too much difference really. The approach will be the same which is to take it as quickly and efficiently as possible. Of course there is the obvious safety element which means that you have less risk if you go off. I think this is good from a safety point of view because it is a quick corner with not that much room on the outside." can work with Rosberg despite differences - HamiltonFri, 29 Aug 2014 17:24:55 GMTLewis Hamilton insists he can continue to work with team-mate Nico Rosberg despite their "difficult times and differences" during the 2014 season. The Briton recently admitted he doubted he could trust Rosberg going forward following their Belgian Grand Prix coming together, but following a crisis meeting on Friday, he has changed his mind. "Today we came together as a team and discussed our differences," he said. "Nico and I accept that we have both made mistakes and I feel it would be wrong to point fingers and say which one is worse than the other. What’s important is how we rise as a team from these situations. We win and we lose together and, as a team, we will emerge stronger. "There is a deep foundation that still exists for me and Nico to work from, in spite of our difficult times and differences. We have the greatest team, the strongest group of individuals who have worked their hands to the bone to give us the best car you see us racing today. It’s important that we never forget that and give them the results they deserve. Today, Toto and Paddy told us clearly how we must race against each other from now on in a fair and respectful manner." The team has told them they can continue to fight freely without team orders, but despite this Hamilton admits he has a tough challenge ahead to fight back from a 29-point deficit. "The fans want to see a clean fight until the end of the season and that’s what we want to give them. It’s going to be a tough road from here but Championships have been won from much further back than I am now. And I promise you that I will be giving everything and more to win this for my team, for my family and for my fans." admits Spa crash was 'error of judgement'Fri, 29 Aug 2014 16:54:39 GMTNico Rosberg is hopeful that fans can move on from his clash with team-mate Lewis Hamilton at the Belgian Grand Prix after issuing a public apology. The German was booed on the podium for the clash which the majority blamed him for, though he refused to accept blame immediately. He has now admitted it was a "judgement of error" and took the time during a team meeting on Friday to apologise to the team, Hamilton and F1 fans. "In the days since the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa, I have spent a lot of time thinking about what happened during the race and discussing it with the team," he wrote on his Facebook page. "I have already expressed my regret about the incident but, after meeting with Toto, Paddy and Lewis today, I wish to go a step further and describe it as an error of judgement on my part. "The number one rule for us as team-mates is that we must not collide, but that is exactly what happened. "For that error of judgement, I apologise to Lewis and the team. I also want to say sorry to the fans who were deprived of our battle for the lead in Belgium." The team have made it clear that they won't issue team orders but will also not accept further clashes and Rosberg is hopefuly of a controversy free end to the season. "Lewis and I have been given clear instructions about how we race each other," he added. "As drivers, we have a clear responsibility to the team, the fans of the sport, our partners and Mercedes-Benz to deliver clean racing. We take that responsibility very seriously. "I look forward to concluding the season with hard, fair competition on and off track right up to the final lap of the season in Abu Dhabi." apologises, Mercedes duo free to raceFri, 29 Aug 2014 16:43:53 GMTMercedes have confirmed it will continue to allow its drivers to race, despite the pair making contact during the Belgian Grand Prix which ended Lewis Hamilton's race and harmed Nico Rosberg's chance of winning. During a meeting at their Brackley base on Friday, Hamilton and Rosberg met with team bosses to discuss the matter. Rosberg is reported to have accepted blame and apologised to his team-mate, whilst Mercedes insists they won't employ team orders just yet, but warned no further clashes would be tolerated. "Toto Wolff, Paddy Lowe, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton met today in the boardroom of Mercedes AMG Petronas headquarters in Brackley to discuss the events of the Belgian Grand Prix. "During this meeting, Nico acknowledged his responsibility for the contact that occurred on lap two of the Belgian Grand Prix and apologised for this error of judgement. "Suitable disciplinary measures have been taken for the incident. "Mercedes-Benz remains committed to hard, fair racing because this is the right way to win world championships. It is good for the team, for the fans and for Formula 1. "Lewis and Nico understand and accept the team's number one rule: there must be no contact between the team's cars on track. "It has been made clear that another such incident will not be tolerated. But Nico and Lewis are our drivers and we believe in them. "They remain free to race for the 2014 FIA Formula 1 world championship," concluded a statement. of fans against team orders at MercedesFri, 29 Aug 2014 11:29:28 GMTMercedes took to Twitter and Facebook to canvas their fans opinion on whether they should impose team orders going forward in order to avoid a repeat of the Belgian Grand Prix. Of the almost 20,000 votes, an overwhelming majority of 92 per cent voted in favour of free racing, with just 8 per cent demanding team orders be enacted. Whether the team will actually listen to its fans is yet to be seen, but we might not have to wait much longer. Both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are at the Mercedes F1 factory today in Brackley to discuss the matter with team bosses Toto Wolff, Paddy Lowe and Niki Lauda. The subject of the meeting is to find a way forward which both drivers can agree on without derailing Mercedes championship ambitions, whilst giving both a fair shot at the title. It's also likely that the team will punish Rosberg for his actions, with many speculating he will either be told not to challenge Hamilton for pole position in Monza or, if he finds himself behind Hamilton in the race, to hold back. joins Lotus as three-race sponsorThu, 28 Aug 2014 13:01:59 GMTLotus has announced that multi-national electronics manufacturer Hisense will join the team for the forthcoming Italian, United States and Abu Dhabi races. The Hisense logo showing on the prominent sidepod placement of the E22 at both Italy and the US races, before moving to the air box for the Abu Dhabi GP. The branding is part of a global promotion by the Chinese provider of flat panel TVs, household appliances and mobile communications. Matthew Carter, Lotus F1 Team CEO: "We are thrilled that Hisense has chosen Lotus F1 Team to enhance and strengthen its continued global development. Headquartered in China, Hisense has shown impressive development and worldwide expansion as a challenger brand, something which Lotus F1 Team can relate to closely as we continue to challenge on the track. Hisense has shown it recognises the value of sports marketing on several occasions and to have Lotus F1 Team identified as a key association as part of Hisense’s growth is a substantial compliment." Dr. Lin Lan, Hisense Vice President: "Joining with Lotus F1 Team at the Italian, United States and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix is a very exciting prospect. As we grow our brand awareness globally, we aim to use proven partnerships that we know will deliver. Formula 1, and in particular Lotus F1 Team, has huge potential and we are looking forward to working together over the coming months." chasing Vettel-Alonso partnershipThu, 28 Aug 2014 12:55:01 GMTMcLaren are reportedly chasing the ultimate driver line-up for 2015 and beyond, with team bosses set to launch a final attempt to lure both Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. It's well known that McLaren have already held talks with Alonso in the hope of getting the Spaniard back following their 2007 falling out, but Autosport reports the team are also seeking the services of four-time champion Vettel. The team want a 'star-studded' line-up for their return to Honda power and both Eric Boullier and Ron Dennis are involved in negotiations with the two champions. Whilst Vettel is committed to Red Bull until the end of 2015 and Alonso a year longer at Ferrari, McLaren are willing to wait, but want assurances that the two, or at least one of them, will commit to joining the Woking outfit when their deal expires. The hope is that they can secure at least one earlier, but that would require negotiations with not only the driver but also the team. A decision is expected prior to the Singapore Grand Prix and McLaren are keen to secure the team's future as swiftly as possible as it currently leaves both Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen in limbo with their own futures. Speaking to the official F1 website, Dennis hinted that contracts may prove a problem and insists he is happy with their current line-up regardless of what's happening behind the scenes. "As I say, we'll always look to employ the best drivers available - but they have to be available, don't they? "Having said that, for the avoidance of doubt, Jenson and Kevin represent an excellent blend of capable experience and youthful promise, and we’re very happy with both of them. "The fact that we’re keeping an eye on what a few other drivers are up to in no way contradicts that, because, as I say, if opportunities arise, we'll appraise them - we always have and we always will." targeting Red Bull with Singapore upgradeThu, 28 Aug 2014 09:40:29 GMTMcLaren believe they will be fighting with the current pack of front-runners, minus Mercedes, come the final few races of the season thanks to a major upgrade package. The Woking team has been struggling to keep up with its rivals and only recently surpassed Force India in the constructors' standings to claim fifth. Whilst they're unlikely to move any higher - Williams have a 45 point advantage whilst Ferrari and Red Bull are 55 and 149 ahead respectively - they believe they will be fighting them on track. "It is true that getting in front of Force India was a short-term target, but it is not the final ambition," said racing director Eric Boullier during a McLaren phone-in. "I do feel comfortable and confident about a stronger end of season than beginning. "Our car is working decently on low downforce tracks like Spa and [hopefully] Monza, but from Singapore we will have another big upgrade on the car which I hope will deliver all that is promised. "We should have another couple of updates before the end of the season which should clear us definitely from Force India, but also fighting in the middle of Ferrari and Williams, and Red Bull maybe. "I have no idea if we'll get another podium before the end of the season but if we do our job properly then maybe." want power unit freeze to be liftedWed, 27 Aug 2014 20:19:02 GMTFerrari are pushing to have the power unit freeze lifted to allow manufacturers to work freely on their engines. The idea was discussed during a meeting of team bosses at the Belgian Grand Prix, with the talks instigated by Ferrari's Marco Mattiacci. At present, a manufacturer may only develop their engines for reliability purposes following the pre-season homologation. Mattiacci wants that changed for future seasons. "I would like a certain amount of opportunities a year to work on the engine," he told ESPN. "As you very well know we keep discussing about how to improve - if it's needed - every area of the Formula 1 product. "We had a fantastic race [in Belgium]. But I suppose there are certain areas, the DNA of Formula 1 is innovating, innovating and catching up with the best one and being as fast as the smartest one. "That's what I will keep, as Ferrari, insisting, and one of the areas is engine freezing." The team's own engine is believed to be down on power compared to rival Mercedes, but ahead of Renault. Bull hope new chassis will help Vettel in ItalyWed, 27 Aug 2014 18:56:49 GMTSebastian Vettel will receive a new chassis for the Italian Grand Prix as the team believe an issue with his current chassis might be the reason for his "extremely unusual" pace. The German qualified third for the Belgian Grand Prix last weekend, but during the race he wasn't on the pace of team-mate and eventual race winner Daniel Ricciardo, instead finishing down in fifth. The team hope that changing the chassis will help Vettel recover some lost ground - despite this being his third chassis of the season. "Sebastian has got the best feeling for these tyres as history has shown," said team principal Christian Horner. "We have to look in to it to understand; there's obviously something wrong that he wasn't able to have the same pace as Daniel and be harder on the tyre. "Obviously we missed out on Friday on any running of any real benefit to Seb, and of course we need to check whether something has actually broken on the car. "There's obviously a lot of things that have gone wrong for him. A spark plug failure on Friday robbed him of a lot of time so then he has to take a lot of information from the other car. We know their styles are quite different. So of course we need to check whether something is actually broken on the car because that was extremely unusual what we saw." says 'weak' Mercedes management to blameWed, 27 Aug 2014 12:08:01 GMTFormer F1 team owner Eddie Jordan says he blames the "weak" and "inexperienced" Mercedes management for the problems between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. The pair's relationship hit a new low in Belgium when Rosberg tagged Hamilton's rear causing a puncture and later, according to Hamilton, admitted doing it to 'prove a point'. Jordan says the team must shoulder the blame for failing to control its drivers, something he believes Ross Brawn would have done if he were still in charge. "I blame the team," he told TalkSport. "They say they let the drivers race but they don't because at Hungary, the previous race, Rosberg was told he could pass Hamilton, Hamilton was told to let him go and he didn't let him go. "How can you say you don't have team orders but you actually do? It's a nonsense. "I remember when Ross Brawn said to Rosberg in Malaysia last year 'no, you cannot pass Lewis'. If Ross was there in that team it would be a different show. They would have finished first and second. "It's weak. The guys there are really good guys, but they don't have the experience and they don't have Ross Brawn and, at the moment, they are rudderless. "They are being run by two drivers who are like spoilt kids and are doing what they want to do." departs McLaren after agreeing settlementWed, 27 Aug 2014 11:50:58 GMTMcLaren and former team principal Martin Whitmarsh have officially parted company after agreeing upon a financial settlement. McLaren Group CEO Ron Dennis, who returned to the position in January, removed Whitmarsh from his role after the team suffered its worst ever season in F1. He left in December, but remained employed by McLaren until this week when the pair agreed a generous leaving package in line with his 24 years of service. The team refused to be drawn the details, but it's believed to include a substantial amount of money many times his salary. Dennis installed Eric Boullier as racing director this year alongside Jonathan Neale as Group F1 CEO after changing the structure of the team as he believed a team principal was no longer required. "The first four races this year, the team doesn't come back [to base]," said Dennis. "With the former role of team principal, it was like being out of the company for four months. "I defy anyone to run a company and have four months out of the company." Talk: Mercedes' new slimmer front-wingTue, 26 Aug 2014 00:05:26 GMTMercedes debuted a new front-wing at the Belgian Grand Prix with far smaller proportions than its predecessor used before the summer break. The shorter nose - so short it would fall foul of the 2015 regulations - is also slimmer as it extends back to the chassis to increase airflow to the floor. As you can see in the top image (Belgium), compared with that of below (Hungary), a large portion of the side has been removed to allow air to pass under the nose with less resistance. This not only increases the volume of airflow reaching the diffuser and thus improving the overall downforce of the W05, but it is reportedly lighter than the one before it, adding to an overall weight saving of around 8kg since the start of the season through bodywork modifications alone, giving an average three-tenth per lap saving. The new nose had to undergo yet another crash test over the summer break because it is so radically different in construction. should have judged it better - ButtonMon, 25 Aug 2014 23:36:45 GMTJenson Button has questioned Nico Rosberg's move on Lewis Hamilton on lap two of the Belgian Grand Prix which resulted in contact. The McLaren driver, a former team-mate of Hamilton, doesn't believe Rosberg was in a position to 'have a go' at the time and is certain the German will agree upon reviewing the incident. "I feel for Lewis," said Button. "It's a shame it's not a cleaner fight. "Any driver would look at it now, and I am sure Nico will look at it and say, 'I don't know what I was thinking'. "There was no move. Strange. You should be able to judge situations like that a bit better." Button insists the clash isn't good for the sport despite it creating drama. "Is it good for the sport? It's negative because we didn't see a good battle between those two. "But it does get everyone excited about the next GP in Italy, where none of the fans will be cheering for either of them and would love a coming together," he added. "It adds spice, but it's a shame in that true racers want to see them fighting." unlikely to investigate Rosberg-Hamilton incidentMon, 25 Aug 2014 23:00:01 GMTThe FIA are unlikely to launch an investigation into the clash between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, despite it coming to light that the German chose not to avoid contact to 'make a point'. The BBC reports that the governing body might take action against Rosberg, but this is now thought to be unlikely with a source close to the FIA confirming the matter to be 'closed'. The stewards chose not to investigate the clash, which saw Rosberg swipe Hamilton's left-rear with his front-wing, causing a puncture, but it was revealed after that the stewards did discuss the matter internally before making their decision not to take it further. However with reports that Rosberg said he wanted to make a point by holding his line, aware that it would result in contact, there were fresh claims that the matter should be re-opened and investigated. With no recording of the team debrief available to the FIA and a refusal from Mercedes boss Toto Wolff to elaborate further on what was said, there is very little in the way of evidence. Rosberg however isn't expected to go unpunished. Hamilton's comments after the race prompted Wolff to hint at some form of action against the German for what was considered an unnecessary incident. "It reminds me of being at school… teachers will talk but they don't do nothing," said Hamilton. "You just get a detention. They won't even do that. There’s nothing you can do." Wolff disagrees, adding: "If Lewis said there's going to be a slap on the wrist and no consequence then he's not aware of what consequences we can implement." The general consensus is that Rosberg might be ordered not to challenge Hamilton at the next race in Italy, should he find himself behind the Briton. Whether Rosberg heeds such information is another matter and one that is likely to remain internal to avoid further damage to the teams image. onboard lap of the Russian GP circuit with VettelMon, 25 Aug 2014 19:33:37 GMTSebastian Vettel completes the first onboard lap of the newly finished Sochi Autodrom in Russia which is due to host a round of the Formula 1 championship later this year. doubts Ricciardo will be a title threatMon, 25 Aug 2014 14:09:16 GMTWith victory in Belgiun marking his third win of the season, Daniel Ricciardo reckons his chances of winning the 2014 championship are on the up. The Australian is now just 35 points behind Lewis Hamilton and a further 29 behind leader Nico Rosberg, but Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso doesn't reckon the Australian will pose much of a threat. "No, I don't think so," he said when asked if Ricciardo could win it. "Obviously he's doing an amazing job and he's surprising everyone, but the Mercedes advantage... in qualifying they were two seconds clear," he told Autosport. "When they finish the races they will keep increasing their advantage." However on the off chance the Mercedes driver's continue to tussle and cost each other points, he admitted Ricciardo is best placed to capitalise. "But if any of the rest can do it, at the moment it's only Ricciardo." unsure if he can trust Rosberg in futureMon, 25 Aug 2014 12:21:52 GMTLewis Hamilton says he's no longer sure if he can trust team-mate Nico Rosberg when it comes to the two battling for position on track. The pair have found themselves racing wheel-to-wheel on several occasions this season, but the Belgian Grand Prix was the first time they've made contact doing so. Rosberg's admission that he knew if he stuck to his line he'd make contact with Hamilton has caused much controversy and it's shaken the Briton's trust that they can race on the same piece of tarmac. "When you're out there you have to trust people to think with their heads and not do things deliberately," he said. "But after that meeting [when Rosberg made his comments] I don't really know how to approach the next race." When asked what he'll do if he finds himself wheel-to-wheel in Monza, he replied: "I'll just make sure we’re not wheel-to-wheel." Hamilton believes the motive behind Rosberg's comments might have something to do with the team order saga at the Hungarian GP before the summer break. "It's interesting because we had that meeting on Thursday and Nico expressed how angry he was [about Hungary]. I was thinking 'It's been three weeks and you've been lingering?!' "But I thought we should be good after that, and then this result? It's interesting." race all I needed to prove form - RaikkonenMon, 25 Aug 2014 08:54:24 GMTKimi Raikkonen says a clean race was all he needed to show what he can do in the F14-T after coming through from eighth on the grid to finish fourth. The Finn scored his best finish of the season in Belgium and beat team-mate Fernando Alonso for the first time since rejoining Ferrari this year - though a five-second penalty for Alonso helped. "The race was clean, there weren't any issues in the race like in the past, we always had something happen and this was probably the first race this year [we didn't]," Raikkonen said. "Obviously it helps and meant we could do our own race and the result was a bit better, but it was still disappointing not to fight further up but we knew this race and the next race will be difficult for us. "I think it's the first race this year that was clean, where we don't have damage in the car or any other issues and we can do our own race. The speed wasn't too bad but this is still not good enough. I don't think we deserve any better. If we deserve it we get it. Today we didn't get it and they were a bit too fast for us." He now sits just one point behind the Williams of Felipe Massa in the championship standings, but warned Ferrari don't have the straight-line speed to beat Williams are Valtteri Bottas breezed past him on the Kemmel Straight. "It was not much of a fight really, I mean in a straight line they are much faster. On one lap he almost caught me and I could keep him behind but the next lap there was no chance. For me it doesn't count as a fight." clarifies Rosberg's 'deliberate' commentSun, 24 Aug 2014 20:48:25 GMTMercedes team boss Toto Wolff has moved to clarify comments made by Nico Rosberg during a private team debrief, in which he reportedly admitted to crashing in to team-mate Lewis Hamilton deliberately. Wolff dismissed comments it was deliberate, but confirmed Rosberg wanted to make a point by holding his line and forcing Hamilton to change course. "Nico felt he needed to hold his line," he told PA Sport. "He needed to make a point. He didn't give in. He thought it was for Lewis to leave him space, and that Lewis didn't leave him space. "So they agreed to disagree in a very heated discussion amongst ourselves, but it wasn't deliberately crashing. That is nonsense. It was deliberately taking into account that if Lewis moves or would open then it could end up in a crash." In response to a comment made by Hamilton that Rosberg would receive a 'slap on the wrist', Wolff said: "Well if Lewis has said that it's going to be a slap on the wrist, and that there's going to be no consequence, then he's not aware of what consequences we can implement." The Austrian added that it was too early to decide whether or not to implement team orders in future races to avoid such scenarios. "We haven't decided that yet. I think it would be wrong 45 minutes after the end of the race to say 'this is what we're going to do'. "I'm extremely upset about what’s happened today – not about the fact that two cars have crashed into each other, I'm very upset because we've defined rules all together and we've broken those rules. And I feel let down. Whoever it would have been, Lewis or Nico, I feel let down and the team has been let down. This is why we real have to analyse properly how we can do it better." 'Rosberg admitted crash was deliberate'Sun, 24 Aug 2014 17:54:14 GMTLewis Hamilton claims Nico Rosberg crashed into him on purpose to "prove a point" and says the German openly admitted it during a post-race debrief with the team. Mercedes bosses were already angry with Rosberg after both Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda admitted the German was at fault for the clash. Speaking after a team meeting on Sunday evening, Hamilton revealed that Rosberg wanted to prove a point so chose not to back out and deliberately tapped the rear of the Briton's W05. "We just had a meeting about it and he basically said he did it on purpose," Hamilton said. "He said he could have avoided it, but he didn't want to. He basically said, 'I did it to prove a point'. "He just came in there and said it was my fault," added a gobsmacked Hamilton. "And you don't have to just rely on me. Go and ask Toto [Wolff] and Paddy [Lowe] who are not happy with him as well." Hamilton is under no illusion that he was in no way to blame for the clash which he says was easy to avoid on Rosberg's behalf. "You know, and you can ask Fernando [Alonso] and you can ask all drivers, when a car is less than half a car length alongside you and you are on the inside, it's your racing line. "It's not your job to go massively out of your way to leave extra, extra room. And it wasn't one of those corners where there's a wall there or anything. "Look at Sebastian [Vettel]. He was actually further up [in a lap one move] and he knew he wasn't going to go out the other side. He was sensible about it." According to the BBC, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has confirmed the comments to be true and it could therefore have severe consequences for the championship leader. demoted to 12th by Belgian stewardsSun, 24 Aug 2014 16:21:52 GMTKevin Magnussen has been handed a 20-second penalty for failing to leave enough room for Fernando Alonso when the pair were battling for position on the Kemmel Straight. The McLaren driver was defending fifth place when Alonso had to take to the grass to avoid contact. Magnussen eventually finished sixth with Alonso eighth. However the stewards added a time penalty of 20-seconds to the Dane's time, demoting him to 12th and promoting those behind him. He was also handed two penalty points to his F1 licence. The penalty sees Nico Hulkenberg take up the final points paying position. Revised Race Result - 2014 Belgian Grand Prix: #DriverTeamGapPts 01. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 25 02. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +3.3 18 03. Valtteri Bottas Williams +28.0 15 04. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +36.8 12 05. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull +52.1 10 06. Jenson Button McLaren +54.5 8 07. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +61.1 6 08. Sergio Perez Force India +64.2 4 09. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso +65.3 2 10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India +65.6 1 11. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso +71.9 12. Kevin Magnussen McLaren +74.2 13. Felipe Massa Lotus +75.9 14. Adrian Sutil Sauber +82.4 15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber +90.8 16. Max Chilton Marussia +1 lap 17. Marcus Ericsson Caterham +1 lap 18. Jules Bianchi Marussia Retired 19. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Retired 20. Romain Grosjean Lotus Retired 21. Pastor Maldonado Lotus Retired 22. Andre Lotterer Caterham Retired raises his title hopes after third winSun, 24 Aug 2014 16:06:05 GMTDaniel Ricciardo has closed to within just 35 points of Lewis Hamilton and 64 of championship leader Nico Rosberg to put him in good standings to mount a challenge for the title. The Australian admits things are looking up for Red Bull if they can score maximum points at a circuit where they have themselves no chance of a podium, let alone a win. "I see good things ahead if we can collect maximum points around here," he said. "It gives us a bit more hope for the circuits that are going to come later in the season, Singapore, Suzuka, just a couple to mention. "It is great! We are really motivated right now and it has been a really good day for us on a track where we didn't expect to get maximum points. "I'll keep smiling for a while but I still stay grounded. Monza I know will be tricky again bur the package we bought here was pretty racy, so we'll try to take something from here to Monza, and Singapore, Suzuka will be pretty good for us." When asked if he could win the championship, he replied: "If I am within 50 [points] coming into Abu Dhabi then yeah." bosses blame Rosberg for collisionSun, 24 Aug 2014 15:35:56 GMTMercedes bosses Toto Wolff and Niki Lauda have both put the blame on Nico Rosberg for a lap two collision between the German and his team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton passed Rosberg at the start of the race, but Rosberg found himself in the Briton's slipstream on the second lap as they entered Les Combes. The pair made contact with Rosberg's front-wing making contact with Hamilton's left-rear which caused a puncture. Wolff criticised the move and described the race as "unacceptable." "You don't try to overtake with the knife between your teeth on lap number two and damage both cars," said Wolff. "Lap number two of a long race, a crash between two team-mates. It is absolutely unacceptable. "Lewis is very upset, but there is nothing we can say to him." Triple world champion and non-executive chairman Lauda was equally annoyed and put the blame on Rosberg. "It is unacceptable for me that, in the second lap, Nico hits Lewis. "If these things happen at the end of the race when they are fighting, we can talk about it. But on the second lap, it is ridiculous." He added that they would sit down and discuss the matter later. wins Belgian GP as Mercedes duo collideSun, 24 Aug 2014 14:45:50 GMTDaniel Ricciardo secured his third win of the season and his career as he secured a sensational back-to-back victory to win the Belgian Grand Prix. The Australian made the most of Mercedes' misfortune after Nico Rosberg clipped the rear of his team-mate's car - after Lewis Hamilton managed to take the lead at the first corner - puncturing Hamilton's left-rear. Whilst Rosberg was able to recover to finsh second, Hamilton retired from the race after lapping in the bottom half of the field, the damage to his car seemingly worse than just a puncture. Valtteri Bottas came in third ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen. Meanwhile an intense battle for fifth to eighth broke out in the final few laps, with Sebastian Vettel eventually coming ahead of Kevin Magnussen, Jenson Button and then Fernando Alonso. Sergio Perez and Daniil Kvyat completed the top ten points scorers. Race Result - 2014 Belgian Grand Prix: #DriverTeamGapPts 01. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 25 02. Nico Rosberg Mercedes +3.3 18 03. Valtteri Bottas Williams +28.0 15 04. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +36.8 12 05. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull +52.1 10 06. Kevin Magnussen McLaren +54.2 8 07. Jenson Button McLaren +54.5 6 08. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +61.1 4 09. Sergio Perez Force India +64.2 2 10. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso +65.3 1 11. Nico Hulkenberg Force India +65.6 12. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso +71.9 13. Felipe Massa Lotus +75.9 14. Adrian Sutil Sauber +82.4 15. Esteban Gutierrez Sauber +90.8 16. Max Chilton Marussia +1 lap 17. Marcus Ericsson Caterham +1 lap 18. Jules Bianchi Marussia Retired 19. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Retired 20. Romain Grosjean Lotus Retired 21. Pastor Maldonado Lotus Retired 22. Andre Lotterer Caterham Retired reveal findings of Hamilton's brake failureSun, 24 Aug 2014 10:30:46 GMTMercedes and Brembo have confirmed their findings following an investigation into what happened to Lewis Hamilton's brakes during qualifying for the German Grand Prix. The Briton crashed into the barriers after a right-front brake failed, ruining his chances of securing pole position which went to his team-mate Nico Rosberg. Brembo has ruled out a quality problem and after working through data and simulations, have confirmed the way the disc interacted with the mounting was the blame. "First of all, both parties can now confirm that the quality of the disc material was not a contributory factor," read a statement issued by Mercedes. "Instead, extensive analysis and experimentation has demonstrated that the specific interaction between the structure of the brake material in question and the brake mounting on the F1 W05 Hybrid was at the root of the failure. "Countermeasures have already been applied to both the disc geometry and the mounting to ensure there can be no repeat of the failure." will retain Alonso/Raikkonen - MattiacciSat, 23 Aug 2014 20:08:32 GMTFerrari will reportedly retain both Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen for the 2015 season according to team principal Marco Mattiacci. Alonso's future in particular has been in doubt recently with suggestions he may return to McLaren next season amid disappointing results at the Italian outfit. Whilst many would argue McLaren are faring no better - worse if you go by results - it's believed both the Woking team and its new for 2015 engine supplier Honda have given the Spaniard guarantees that it will be more successful. It's not clear whether that is enough to tempt the double world champion back, or whether he's able to move as he remains under contract with Ferrari for 2015, which may have prompted Mattiacci's comments to Sky Sports F1. "Mattiacci has insisted to Sky Sports F1's Martin Brundle that both drivers will remain with the team for next year." However if speculation about contractual objectives within Alonso's Ferrari contract are true, the Spaniard may be able to wriggle his way free should Ferrari's poor form continue. Mattiacci might be happy to retain Alonso, but they might well have to wait and see if Alonso is happy to retain Ferrari before they announce anything concrete. reckons P2 might be an advantage over poleSat, 23 Aug 2014 16:38:49 GMTLewis Hamilton believes he might have an advantage over pole position by starting second as long as he can get a good getaway on Sunday. The Mercedes driver was outqualified by his team-mate Nico Rosberg on Saturday, something Hamilton puts down to a front-left brake problem which didn't give him the confidence or ability to brake late. "I'm just happy to be up here," he said. "I had a glazed front right, or front left brake, so the car was pulling to the left, or to the right, and there was nothing I could do on the out laps to try and get rid of it so I was struggling under braking. "I could bring the braking point a little bit further back but I was losing massive amounts, particularly through Turn 1. This is a circuit where you need to have confidence on the brakes and today -particularly in Q3 -I was just going straight on everywhere, that's because the left brake wasn't working for some reason - I don't know why it was glazing." The Briton started on pole last year put was almost immediately passed by second-placed Sebastian Vettel thanks to the long Kemmel-straight which follows the Eau Rouge-Raidillon complex. He reckons starting second could be an advantage if he can start well. "I'm not disappointed today, actually. If you look at previous years P2 was actually the best place to start here so I'm quite blessed that is actually the case," he explained. "I started pole here last year and Sebastian flew past me down the top straight so I think it gives you the most opportunity from the start." With the rain on Saturday, any rubber laid down over the P1 grid slot will have also been washed away giving fairly equal grip on and off the racing line. P2 also gifts the inside line for La Source. leads Mercedes Belgian front-row lockoutSat, 23 Aug 2014 14:10:40 GMTNico Rosberg secured his fourth consecutive pole position for the Belgian Grand Prix to start ahead of his team-mate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton. The German waited until Q3 to assert his dominance, but it might well have been a mistake by Hamilton which handed pole to Rosberg. The Briton ran wide on his first attempt, forcing him to set a second banker. However as the track dried out, he had time for just one run whilst Rosberg had two which eventually paid a dividend and his 2:05.591 in the wet was good enough. Sebastian Vettel will line up third, albeit over two seconds down on the Mercedes, but the Red Bull driver will surely be pleased with the position which puts him alongside Ferrari's Fernando Alonso. Daniel Ricciardo was fifth thanks to a scary moment as he approached the Bus Stop chicane. The Williams duo won't be too happy with sixth for Valtteri Bottas and ninth for Felipe Massa but a dry should play to their advantage. Both McLarens made the top ten with Kevin Magnussen beating Jenson Button in seventh and tenth respectively, with Kimi Raikkonen eighth. Jules Bianchi made the most of the conditions to go 16th whilst newcomer Andre Lotterer outqualified his team-mate Marcus Ericsson by almost a second on his debut. Qualifying - 2014 Belgian Grand Prix #Driver Team Q1Q2Q3 01 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 2:07.130 2:06.723 2:05.591 02 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 2:07.280 2:06.609 2:05.819 03 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 2:10.105 2:08.868 2:07.717 04 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 2:10.197 2:08.450 2:07.786 05 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 2:10.089 2:08.989 2:07.911 06 Valtteri Bottas Williams 2:09.250 2:08.451 2:08.049 07 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 2:11.081 2:08.901 2:08.679 08 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 2:09.885 2:08.646 2:08.780 09 Felipe Massa Williams 2:08.403 2:08.833 2:08.178 10 Jenson Button McLaren 2:10.529 2:09.272 2:09.776 11 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 2:10.445 2:09.377   12 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 2:09.811 2:09.805   13 Sergio Perez Force India 2:10.666 2:10.084   14 Adrian Sutil Sauber 2:11.051 2:10.238   15 Romain Grosjean Lotus 2:10.898 2:11.087   16 Jules Bianchi Marussia 2.11.051 2:12.470   17 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 2:11.261     18 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 2:11.267     19 Max Chilton Marussia 2:12.566     20 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 2:13.414     21 Andre Lotterer Caterham 2:13.469     22 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 2:14.438 Bottas leads final practice as pack tightensSat, 23 Aug 2014 11:20:25 GMTValtteri Bottas headed the times on Saturday morning for final practice ahead of qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix. The Williams driver posted a 1:49.465 in the closing minutes to jump to the top ahead of Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo a further two-tenths back. Nico Rosberg was third quickest as Kimi Raikkonen split the Mercedes pair, though it was apparent the duo were running a higher fuel load than those around them. The second Ferrari of Fernando Alonso was sixth ahead of Daniil Kvyat. The session was relatively problem free with most completing a handful of laps as the track dried after the opening 30 minutes thanks to a pre-practice shower. FP3 Full Times - 2014 Belgian Grand Prix: #No.DriverTeamTimeGapLaps 01 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:49.465   12 02 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:49.733 0.268 9 03 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:49.739 0.274 13 04 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:49.817 0.352 9 05 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:49.817 0.352 13 06 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:49.890 0.425 9 07 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:49.893 0.428 11 08 22 Jenson Button McLaren 1:50.203 0.738 11 09 19 Felipe Massa Williams 1:50.423 0.958 11 10 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:50.535 1.070 10 11 11 Sergio Perez Force India 1:50.592 1.127 12 12 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:50.748 1.283 11 13 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:50.814 1.349 10 14 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:50.866 1.401 11 15 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:50.962 1.497 12 16 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:51.509 2.044 9 17 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:51.610 2.145 10 18 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:51.898 2.433 15 19 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:52.457 2.992 14 20 4 Max Chilton Marussia 1:52.984 3.519 14 21 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:54.294 4.829 11 22 45 Andre Lotterer Caterham 1:55.008 5.543 13 signing 'worst thing for F1' - VilleneuveSat, 23 Aug 2014 10:19:06 GMT1997 Formula 1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, known for his outspoken comments, has described the signing of 16-year-old Max Verstappen "the worst decision ever" for the sport. The Canadian has heavily criticised Red Bull and Toro Rosso's decision to give the Dutch driver a seat, despite him only having competed in one season of Formula 3 so far. He also has no F1 experience and is therefore required to complete 300km of running in an old car to gain a Super Licence which will allow him to take part in an official F1 session. "Getting a Super Licence should be meaningful, not just doing three hundred kilometres and it being fine," he told Autosport. "Basically, it's like getting all the presents without deserving anything. But there is this thing of 'the younger, the better'. What's the next step? A team who will sign someone at 15 just to get the image out of it? "He is still a boy so it is very risky. You don't take a 16-year-old, who hasn't even been to university, [put him] in the best hospital as a doctor even if he is very good and very intelligent. "You need to pay dues; you need to deserve it because that is only how you will become a man." Villeneuve believes the decision can only have a negative outcome either for Verstappen or the sport. "It is the worst thing ever for Formula 1 because it will have two effects. It will either destroy him or, even if he is successful right away, then F1 will be meaningless," he added. "What will F1 be? It will be nothing. It doesn't do any good for anyone."