The F1 Times.com - News http://www.f1times.co.uk Catch up on all F1 news, here at TheF1Times.com's RSS Feed! 1 http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09582http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09582Red Bull, Ferrari digging F1's grave warns MercedesFri, 21 Nov 2014 23:53:26 GMTMercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has warned rivals Christian Horner of Red Bull and Marco Mattiacci of Ferrari that they're playing a dangerous game and potentially digging Formula 1's grave if they push ahead with their engine plans. Horner and Mattiacci are keen to see F1's engine rules relaxed to a degree that would allow unlimited development in 2015 and beyond, allowing rivals to catch up with the superior Mercedes unit. With Mercedes blocking their proposals for 2015, Horner and Mattiacci have taken things a step further and are ready to force a majority vote for the 2016 season, even going as far as calling for the return of V8 engines - something he has now backed down on - or a totally new power unit altogether. "Maybe we need to even go as far as looking at a different engine, y’know, a new engine," Horner said on Friday. "Maybe still a V6 but maybe a more simplified V6 that controls the cost. Cost of development, cost of supply to a team and to the privateer teams. I think that’s something we need to have a serious discussion about during the next strategy group. "Rather than perhaps going backwards with the V8, maybe we should potentially keep the basis of what’s been achieved but look at simplifying it because if the development costs stay at where they are, we will not attract new manufacturers into the sport and we may well drive current manufacturers out of the sport. So we have to think, not just about today but about the future." Mattiacci was in agreement. He too suggested something more drastic for the season after next because the costs are far too high. "Definitely we need to look at something different 2016. In terms of power unit and in terms of regulation," he said. "2015 is clear we will have to – at the moment – accept the status quo but definitely we are not going to accept the status quo for 2016. "The cost of the power unit is a problem. The fact that we cannot enhance our power unit during the season is a cost for us, for not performing. So, the difficulties that that the small teams are facing is an issue on the table – so I think all these problems are very well connected. I think that the strategy group and the F1 Commission are the proper arena where to touch these points trying to find a common direction but, indeed, 2016 is sort-of different." However Wolff argues that it would be crazy to drop the current engines after two seasons considering the millions that have been spent on developing them, added to that the cost of developing a new 'simpler' engine wouldn't help anyone. "We have a big responsibility for all teams and we need to look at the costs but you can’t turn the time back," he warned. "We are all talking about costs and if you would open up the regulations in the way it has been described, that clearly means you don’t care about costs because that would be like digging a grave for Formula One. "We have spent considerable amounts in the development of the power unit. I think we need to be sensible and we need to come up with solutions which enable the small teams to survive and which still enable the big teams to showcase the technology. "Reversing everything, changing the format, changing the engines would just increase costs, it would be the opposite for what we need for Formula One at the current stage." All three did agree on one thing though, and that's the possibility of F1's smaller teams using the 2014 engines rather than the updated 2015 units at a reduced cost. However that would require a change to the regulations as they require that only one design is homologated by the FIA per manufacturer at any one time.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09581http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09581Video: Lotus transporter truck jumps a Lotus F1 carFri, 21 Nov 2014 21:17:02 GMTA semi-truck, a ramp and an F1 car would make for a pretty crazy stunt and that's exactly what EMC and Lotus thought when they brought the three together to set a world record. Watch the above video to see Hollywood stunt driver Mike Ryan drive a Lotus transporter off a ramp to cover an airborne distance of 83 feet and seven inches to set a new world record - beating the previous by 34 feet. If that's not enough, then check out the F1 car which passes underneath the truck mid-jump.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09580http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09580Mercedes will be in a difficult position on SundayFri, 21 Nov 2014 19:13:54 GMTMercedes know that on Sunday, once lap 55 has been completed, that one of their two drivers will be crowned the 2014 World Champion. It's a fact that's been known for some time, but what's also known is that one will succeed and one won't and it's precisely that fact that puts the team in a difficult position on Sunday evening. Celebrating the winner will leave the other driver feeling left out when they're already suffering from defeat and that's why Mercedes have hinted at low-key celebrations on Sunday in respect of the 'loser'. "We have thought about this situation for a long time," Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff said. "It's going to be a great day for one of the drivers and it's going to be a very difficult for one of them. As a team, we must remain neutral and there is a plan in place for how we want to handle this situation. "They are valuable members of the team, we are going to continue with them next year, and while we're going to honour and celebrate the World Championship-winning driver you need to respect that for the other guy it's going to be a very difficult day in his life. "This is why we would like to maintain our role of being fairly neutral in that situation."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09579http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09579Grosjean hit with 20-place grid penalty in Abu DhabiFri, 21 Nov 2014 18:31:43 GMTRomain Grosjean has been hit with a rather large grid penalty for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after his team opted to change his engine and two other components for the race. A new Internal Combustion Engine (ICE), a new Turbocharger (TC) and a Motor Generator Unit-Heat (MGU-H) all adds up to a 20-place grid drop because all three are outside of his season allocation of five. With Grosjean unlikely to qualify on pole, any unserved drops will be carried over to the next event. However as Abu Dhabi is the last of the season, the FIA has confirmed he must serve time penalties instead. One to five unserved grid positions will result in a five-second time penalty, six to 10 a 10-second time penalty and 11-20 will result in a drive-through penalty. The latter is most likely given the Frenchman would need to break into Q3 to avoid a drive-through. Therefore it would make sense for Grosjean to simply sit out qualifying and save his tyres and car for the race.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09578http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09578FP2: Hamilton edges Rosberg in second practiceFri, 21 Nov 2014 16:09:17 GMTLewis Hamilton edged Nico Rosberg in second practice on Friday afternoon in Abu Dhabi under the setting sun to go quickest once again. The pair were fairly evenly matched with less than a tenth separating them, but Rosberg will need to deliver more if he's to win on Sunday and snatch the title. McLaren's Kevin Magnussen put to good use McLaren's upgrades to go third fastest, just eight tenths off with the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel fourth. Williams recovered from an eventful weight-shedding FP1 to take fifth with Valtteri Bottas, whilst team-mate Felipe Massa was tenth. Fernando Alonso's Ferrari came to a halt on its third lap with what appeared to be an engine issue and he finished slowest of all 20 cars. FP2 Full Times - 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: #No.DriverTeamTimeGapLaps 01 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:42.113   35 02 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:42.196 0.083 37 03 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:42.895 0.782 37 04 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:42.959 0.846 33 05 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:43.070 0.957 34 06 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:43.183 1.070 32 07 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:43.489 1.376 33 08 22 Jenson Button McLaren 1:43.503 1.390 23 09 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:43.546 1.433 38 10 19 Felipe Massa Williams 1:43.558 1.445 34 11 11 Sergio Perez Force India 1:43.746 1.633 37 12 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:44.005 1.892 38 13 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:44.068 1.955 32 14 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:44.157 2.044 39 15 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:44.316 2.203 38 16 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:44.763 2.650 37 17 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:44.986 2.873 35 18 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:45.505 3.392 38 19 46 Will Stevens Caterham 1:47.057 4.944 34 20 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari No time   2 http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09577http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09577FP1: Hamilton and Rosberg dominate first practiceFri, 21 Nov 2014 12:09:49 GMTLewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg continued their private battle for the championship in Abu Dhabi as the pair streaked clear of the competition by well over a second in first practice. The pair traded fastest laps throughout the session before Hamilton took control in the closing stages, but only by just over a tenth. Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel were third and fourth with the second Red Bull of  Daniel Ricciardo fifth. All three were evenly matched and covered by two-tenths. The Toro Rosso duo of Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat filled sixth and seventh whilst Valtteri Bottas was eighth after a shorter session than he'd hoped for. Both Williams cars were garaged after bodywork came loose, and in Bottas's case, came free from the car to expose much of the engine and sidepod cooling systems. It was a disappointing session for McLaren with Kevin Magnussen down in P11 and Jenson Button P17 - though the former was analysing updates including a new front-wing for 2015. Meanwhile Will Stevens was slowest on his F1 debut, posting a lap over 2.5 seconds slower than team-mate Kamui Kobayashi. FP1 Full Times - 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: #No.DriverTeamTimeGapLaps 01 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:43.476   32 02 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:43.609 0.133 31 03 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:45.184 1.708 22 04 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:45.334 1.858 30 05 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:45.361 1.885 23 06 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:45.718 2.242 17 07 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:45.835 2.359 32 08 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:45.913 2.437 8 09 11 Sergio Perez Force India 1:45.983 2.507 23 10 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:46.030 2.554 24 11 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:46.049 2.573 23 12 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:46.131 2.655 23 13 19 Felipe Massa Williams 1:46.549 3.073 7 14 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:46.556 3.080 28 15 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:46.711 3.235 31 16 31 Esteban Ocon Lotus 1:47.066 3.590 29 17 22 Jenson Button McLaren 1:47.235 3.759 8 18 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:47.971 4.495 24 19 37 Adderly Fong Sauber 1:48.269 4.793 25 20 46 Will Stevens Caterham 1:50.684 7.208 14 http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09576http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09576Who's driving where? 2015 driver line-up takes shapeThu, 20 Nov 2014 19:54:26 GMTWith a wave of announcements this week, including Sebastian Vettel's move to Ferrari and Romain Grosjean staying put at Lotus, the 2015 driver line-up is beginning to take shape with just a handful of seats up for grabs. McLaren, Toro Rosso, Force India are the only undecided teams, all with one seat each. Despite McLaren having confirmed neither of its drivers, we're pretty certain Fernando Alonso is heading to Woking, but the big question remains...alongside who? Toro Rosso meanwhile has a tough decision as well. Who do they partner with young rookie Max Verstappen? Another rookie maybe, or what about Jean-Eric Vergne. Surely the Frenchman deserves another season!? Apart from Marussia and Caterham - who knows whether they'll be on the grid next season - Force India is the only team left to have an opening, though it's all but guaranteed that Sergio Perez will be staying put. MercedesNico Rosberg (Has a contract)Lewis Hamilton (Has a contract) Red BullDaniel Ricciardo (Has a contract)Daniil Kvyat (Has a contract) WilliamsValtteri Bottas (Has a contract)Felipe Massa (Has a contract) FerrariKimi Raikkonen (Has a contract)Sebastian Vettel (Has a contract) McLarenFernando Alonso (Rumoured - 95% certain)Kevin Magnussen or Jenson Button Force IndiaNico Hulkenberg (Has a contract)Sergio Perez (Unconfirmed - 99% certain) Toro RossoMax Verstappen (Has a contract)Alex Lynn, Carlos Sainz Jr or Jean-Eric Vergne LotusPastor Maldonado (Has a contract) Romain Grosjean (Has a contract) Sauber Marcus Ericsson (Has a contract)Felipe Nasr (Has a contract) Marussia (in administration)TBC Caterham (in administration)TBChttp://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09575http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09575Abu Dhabi secures multi-year contract extensionThu, 20 Nov 2014 16:58:38 GMTThe Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will remain a fixture on the Formula 1 calendar well into the future after the event's organisers secured a multi-year contract extension. Though the announcement didn't give a date, the current deal wasn't due to expire until 2016, therefore it's likely the extension will see the race continue for at least another six years minimum. Formula 1's Bernie Ecclestone believes the venue is the best on the calendar and is therefore pleased to continue F1's association with Yas Marina. "Abu Dhabi has played an important part in pioneering the modern era of Formula One racing," said the 84-year-old. "I said when the Yas Marina Circuit was opened that it may one day be matched, but it will never be bettered. The island has continued to transform each year. We have a wonderful partner here." With the race this weekend set to decide the 2014 championship, demand for tickets is at an all-time high with a sell-out crowd of 60,000 - its highest in history. "The demand has been unprecedented, locally and internationally, and the atmosphere in the stands is going to be fantastic,” said the circuit's chief executive Al Tareq Al Ameri.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09574http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09574Rosberg warns Hamilton to keep title fight 'clean'Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:42:14 GMTNico Rosberg has warned title rival and team-mate Lewis Hamilton to drive cleanly this weekend to ensure the title battle is a fair one. During the FIA press conference on Thursday, Rosberg said he'd be pushing to force a mistake from Hamilton, similar to what happened in Brazil. "I need to do what I can to try and put the pressure on," said Rosberg. "In Brazil Lewis made a mistake so there is a chance. I need to do what I can to keep going like that." When Hamilton was asked if he was confident of a clean fight in Abu Dhabi, considering past incidents this season, he replied: "Yeah. That how it's been. You have to go into the race weekends believing that's going to be the case, yeah. "It's already been discussed at the beginning of the season and several times through the season and particularly after Spa, so there's no reason to revisit it. We're not children, we should know what is wrong and what is right. When asked if he could do anything to be certain of a clean fight, he added: "Don't think so." Rosberg however wasn't so sure, and hit back: "Lewis can do something to keep it clean which is to drive cleanly himself. So it's not like he can't do anything."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09573http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09573Stevens to make F1 race debut with CaterhamThu, 20 Nov 2014 12:09:59 GMTBritish driver Will Stevens will make his Formula 1 race debut with Caterham at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the team confirmed on Thursday. The 23-year-old will race alongside Caterham regular Kamui Kobayashi following the teams return to the grid for the final race of the season. "Stevens was previously part of the Caterham Racing Academy and tested for the outfit in both the 2013 and 2014 official F1 tests following the British GP at Silverstone each year. He clocked up over 1,100km in running and therefore gained his FIA Super license in the process. He has also raced in the World Series by Renault 3.5 championship this year with two wins. Speaking about the opportunity to compete in an F1 race, he said: "I'm absolutely thrilled to be getting this opportunity and am very grateful to everyone involved at Caterham F1 Team for giving it to me. "I feel ready for the challenge of my F1 debut and look forward to working as part of the Team in a race environment after all the work we’ve done together previously in the tests I've completed and back at Leafield in the sim. Hopefully this will be something we will be able to carry through to the 2015 season together". Caterham's head of engineering operations Gianluca Pisanello added: "We know Will very well through his involvement in the Caterham Racing Academy and more importantly he has done a vast amount of time in our simulator, completing around 10,000km, which has built his experience both of this year’s car and with the engineering team that are going to Abu Dhabi. "In addition, his 2014 test at Silverstone in our current car, where he completed over 500kms, was very successful and his race pace was very good. As a result, he was one of our best candidates for this race weekend and we are delighted to have secured his services for our return to the F1 grid. We in fact signed Will last week but have had to wait for confirmation of his Super licence before making our announcement".http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09572http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09572Vettel joins Ferrari on three-year deal starting 2015Thu, 20 Nov 2014 10:34:52 GMTFerrari has announced, just minutes after confirming Fernando Alonso's departure, that four-time champion Sebastian Vettel will replace the Spaniard. The German will join the team for the 2015 season to partner Kimi Raikkonen on a three-year deal according to a statement from the Italian outfit on Thursday. Team principal Marco Mattiacci believes Vettel is the perfect driver for Ferrari as they embark upon a fight to return to the front of the field. "Scuderia Ferrari has decided to put its faith in the youngest multiple champion in the history of Formula 1," said Mattiacci. "In Formula 1 terms, Sebastian Vettel is a unique combination of youthfulness and experience and he brings with him that sense of team spirit which will prove invaluable when, together with Kimi, they tackle the challenges awaiting us, as we aim to be front runners again as soon as possible. "With Sebastian, we all share a thirst for victory as well as enthusiasm, a strong work ethic and tenacity; key elements for all the Scuderia members to write together a new winning chapter in the history of Ferrari." Vettel described the deal as a dream come true - the 27-year-old has never denied it's his lifetime ambition to drive for Formula 1's most famous team. "The next stage of my Formula 1 career will be spent with Scuderia Ferrari and for me that means the dream of a lifetime has come true," he said. "When I was a kid, Michael Schumacher in the red car was my greatest idol and now it's an incredible honour to finally get the chance to drive a Ferrari. I already got a small taste of what the Ferrari spirit means, when I took my first win at Monza in 2008, with an engine from the Prancing Horse built in Maranello. "The Scuderia has a great tradition in this sport and I am extremely motivated to help the team get back to the top. I will put my heart and soul into making it happen."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09571http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09571Ferrari confirm Alonso will leave at end of seasonThu, 20 Nov 2014 10:23:44 GMTFerrari have announced that Fernando Alonso will no longer drive for them following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend, finally confirming what many already knew. The Spaniard has agreed a deal to join McLaren for 2015 where he will partner either Jenson Button or Kevin Magnussen, though that deal isn't to be officially announced until December. A statement from the Italian outfit confirmed the decision was by "common consent" and that he will always "occupy a special place" in Ferrari's history. "In the Scuderia Ferrari roll of honour of great drivers, Fernando Alonso will always occupy a special place," said team principal Marco Mattiacci. "We offer him our heartfelt thanks for what has been an extraordinary adventure with the Scuderia, when in the past five years, he twice came so close to winning the world championship. "I am sure that a great driver like Fernando will always hold the Prancing Horse dear to his heart and I also expect the Ferrari fans will continue to hold him in high regard in his future endeavours." Alonso called the decision to leave a difficult one, but one he has taken careful consideration over. "Today is not an easy one for me, because even if I always look to the future with great enthusiasm and determination, at the end of this season my journey as a Ferrari driver will come to an end," said the Spaniard. "It was a difficult decision to take, but a carefully considered one and from start to finish, my love for Ferrari was a prime consideration. I have always been lucky enough to make my own decisions about my future and I have that possibility now too. I must thank the team for that, as it understood my position. "I leave Scuderia Ferrari after five years, during which I reached my very best level professionally, tackling major challenges that pushed me to find new limits. I also proved to be a true team-player, putting the interests of the Scuderia before my own. When I had to take important decisions about my future, I did so with Ferrari in my heart, driven by my love for the team," he added. "I am very proud of what we have achieved together. Thanks to the efforts of the men and women of Maranello, on three occasions we came second in the Formula 1 World Championship, two of them fighting for the title right up to and including the final race, running in a championship winning position for many laps. Without a shadow of a doubt, these five years produced some of the best moments of my career and I also feel that, in leaving the team, it is family rather than friends I am leaving behind. "Now I look to the future with great enthusiasm, knowing that part of my heart will always belong to the Prancing Horse. I want to thank each and everyone of the team for the trust they showed in me." The team has yet to confirm who will replace Alonso, but it's expected that Sebastian Vettel will take up the vacant seat alongside Kimi Raikkonen.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09570http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09570Force India to trial 'Info Wing' designed by HamiltonWed, 19 Nov 2014 19:15:03 GMTForce India are set to trial a new positioning system on their car during the opening day of the Abu Dhabi end-of-season test. Dubbed the 'Info Wing', two LED screens are attached to the roll-hoop on either side to aid fans in the grandstands and those at home by displaying a cars position and other information such as tyre compound, number of stops and more. The system's inventor is none other than Lewis Hamilton's father, Anthony, who is hopeful that fans will find it useful during a race. "The test is to decide whether the unit is practical for F1 and single seaters. Also, whether the LED display can be seen from the grandstands, and whether it works for the TV audience. "One of the major problems with watching race cars is knowing who is where and who is who without having to take your eyes off the action to find and locate the information on a hand-held device, or one of the circuit monitors. 'By the time you have found the information the car has gone past and you're no better off, and having missed the action as well." He admitted it might not work as expected, but at present it's a prototype with MkIII under development which will also include a driver's initials allowing fans to identify who's who. "It might not work. We might not be able to see the LEDs in the bright sunlight, but it is the concept I hope could be of interest. "It might require further work on the intensity of the LEDs, but I believe this has the potential to make a huge impact on the viewing of races and tests, making it more informative and enjoyable." It will also be tested on Thursday with a similar systems attached to the safety car for initial observations.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09569http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09569Ecclestone offers Caterham a helping handWed, 19 Nov 2014 18:13:47 GMTForce India, Lotus and Sauber continue to ask for financial help from Bernie Ecclestone and the sports owner CVC Capital Partners, but it's Caterham who's received help. The team, which is currently in administration, has raised £2.35 million in funds to make it back on the grid for the season finale this weekend. Ecclestone has also come to their aid, despite lashing out at Caterham last week for what he described as "begging". "They wanted to go, so we've transported them [their freight] at no cost to them," he told Press Association Sport. "We've at least helped them to some degree, something we need not have done. We've even chartered another plane to take them. "We've gone a little bit over the top, but anyway, we've done it."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09568http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09568Bianchi breathing unaided, moved to French hospitalWed, 19 Nov 2014 16:22:53 GMTFormula 1's Jules Bianchi is no longer in an artifical coma and is now breathing unaided, his parents confirmed in a statement on Wednesday. It's the first update on Bianchi's condition for almost two weeks, and it comes six weeks after his freak accident at the Japanese Grand Prix in early October. The Marussia driver suffered a diffuse axonal head injury when his car slid off the circuit and contacted a recovery vehicle, with his helmet taking a heavy impact with the rear of the vehicle. Whilst he is no longer in an induced coma, he remains unconscious and in a critical condition, but encouraging signs means he has now been transferred from Yokkaichi's hospital to Le Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nice nearer his home. "Jules is no longer in the artificial coma in which he was placed shortly after the accident, however he is still unconscious," read the statement. "He is breathing unaided and his vital signs are stable, but his condition is still classified as 'critical'. His treatment now enters a new phase concerned with the improvement of his brain function. "Jules' neurological condition remains stable. Although the situation continues to be serious, and may remain so, it was decided that Jules was sufficiently stable to be repatriated to his native France. "We are relieved, therefore, to confirm that Jules was transferred aeromedically last night from the Mie Prefectural General Medical Center in Yokkaichi, Japan, to Le Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nice (CHU), where he arrived just a short time ago. "Jules is now in the intensive care unit of Professors Raucoules and Ichai, where his care will also be monitored by Professor Paquis, Head of Neurosurgery Service." His family continued to thank the doctors treating Bianchi and expressed their delight in having him continue his treatment in France. "We are thankful that the next phase of Jules' treatment can continue close to home, where he can be surrounded and supported by his wider family and friends," it added. "We have nothing but praise for the outstanding care provided by the Mie Prefectural General Medical Center since the accident. "We owe the medical staff there an enormous debt of gratitude for everything they have done for Jules, and also for our family, during what is a very difficult time for us. "In particular, we would like to extend our thanks to Doctors Kamei and Yamamichi, and also to Mr Ogura, all part of the team of personnel caring for Jules in Japan."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09567http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09567Grosjean confirmed at Lotus for 2015 seasonWed, 19 Nov 2014 13:18:55 GMTThe Lotus F1 Team has confirmed that Romain Grosjean will continue with the team next season, leaving their driver line-up unchanged. Grosjean had hinted that he was seeking a more competitive drive elsewhere following a disappointing season for Lotus. However with the change to Mercedes power next season, it's hoped that the E23 will put the team back on the lead pace. "It's fantastic for me to be continuing with Lotus F1 Team for 2015 and it's superb to have the support of everyone at Enstone," said Grosjean. "It's no secret that we’ve had a really tough season this year, but the team has remained focused and we’re all determined to return to regular points-scoring in 2015. "I have been spending a lot of time recently at Enstone and I'm feeling very positive about the potential of the E23, which should represent a return to form for the team." His focus however remains on the 2014 season and the final race. "We have one race left in 2014 so I'll be pushing to do the best job possible in Abu Dhabi before my focus switches fully to 2015." Team principal Gerard Lopez added: "It is with great pleasure that we can formally confirm that Romain Grosjean will continue with Lotus F1 Team alongside Pastor Maldonado next season. "You really learn something about a driver when they have the chips against them and Romain has delivered impeccably in 2014 despite the very big challenges he has faced. We know that Romain will always get the most out of the car at his disposal, which is why we can't wait to harness his potential with Mercedes-Benz power in 2015."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09566http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09566Webber backs Vettel's switch from Red Bull to FerrariWed, 19 Nov 2014 09:57:54 GMTMark Webber says it's no surprise that Sebastian Vettel has left Red Bull this season to join Ferrari in 2015 - a move his former team-mate always predicted would eventually happen. Whilst Vettel has yet to publically confirm his destination, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has hinted at Ferrari, as has Vettel himself. Webber reckons Vettel will settle at Ferrari and probably end his career with the Italian marque. "No. I've always expected him to eventually go where we all now expect him to go now," responded Webber when asked if he was surprised by Vettel's decision to leave Red Bull where he won four championships. "His next team will be his last in Formula 1," predicts the 38-year-old. Red Bull have three race wins this season courtesy of Daniel Ricciardo and sit 163 points clear of Ferrari in the championship, leading to some criticising Vettel's decision, but Webber compared it to that of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes after he was called 'crazy' for leaving McLaren, but is now in title contention. "He was frustrated, he wants results, but he also knows better than anyone that he will need to be patient," added Webber. "Perhaps his decision is correct. When Lewis left McLaren, everyone said he was crazy. Look at him now."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09565http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09565Booth: 'A travesty if Hamilton doesn't win the title'Wed, 19 Nov 2014 00:28:36 GMTMarussia boss John Booth says anything but a Lewis Hamilton championship win on Sunday would be a travesty for the sport. Booth, who's own team won't be present at the final race of the season after it entered administration, is backing the Briton to succeed, believing he deserves the title more than Nico Rosberg. "It would be a travesty if Lewis did not win the championship this year," Booth told the Mirror.  "It has been fascinating to watch the struggle between the two as they have been outstanding," he added. "But Lewis certainly deserves this world championship." Hamilton has a 17 point lead over team-mate Rosberg, whilst he has won ten races to Rosberg's five, leading to some assessing that it would be unfair for double points to decide a title in Rosberg's favour. World number one golfer Rory Mcllroy is one of those. "I don't think their season should be decided on one race with the double points," he told the Telegraph. "Lewis has won twice as many Grands Prix as Nico Rosberg, but there’s still a chance that Nico might win. "It makes it exciting for the fans but I'm sure Lewis doesn't think it's that exciting. Hopefully, he does come out on top because he's the deserving champion."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09564http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09564McLaren plan to run Honda car at Abu Dhabi testTue, 18 Nov 2014 19:31:50 GMTMcLaren has confirmed that it plans to run its interim development car at the post-season test in Abu Dhabi next week. The MP4-29H/1X1 had its first outing last week at Silverstone during a 'filming day' where McLaren gave the new Honda hybrid-V6 power unit its first shakedown. That test was conducted under tight restrictions as per the regulations, but McLaren are hopeful of running the car and engine in Abu Dhabi where it can test at maximum performance. "We are working extremely hard to ensure that every element of our competitive package for 2015 and beyond is specified to the fullest extent," read a statement. "We have spent the past nine months comprehensively recruiting and restructuring within our design and engineering departments; over the next few days we will be evaluating and trialling a range of aerodynamic upgrades for the forthcoming Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and for the 2015 Formula 1 season; furthermore, we are now only a few days away from formally commencing our exciting technical partnership with Honda. "Subject to satisfactory final bench-testing, it is currently our intention to run our interim development car, the McLaren MP4-29H/1X1, on the test days that will follow the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09563http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09563McLaren delay driver decision until DecemberTue, 18 Nov 2014 19:19:15 GMTMcLaren had been expected to confirm their driver line-up ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix following contractual sign-off from Fernando Alonso, however that announcement will now be delayed. The team confirmed on Tuesday ahead of the 2014 finale, that no driver announcement will come until after December 1st. "Selecting the optimal driver line-up for a Formula 1 team is clearly an important process, and it is therefore one that requires precise and prolonged analysis," read a statement. It's believed McLaren's management are still deliberating over whether to pair Alonso with Jenson Button or Kevin Magnussen. The statement added: "That being the case, and in order to avoid distracting the race team from its primary objective during the final Grand Prix weekend of the season, which is to secure the best possible on-track results, we have decided to defer our final deliberations relating to our 2015 driver line-up until a date no earlier than Monday December 1st."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09562http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09562Force India discover and correct aerodynamic errorTue, 18 Nov 2014 17:43:39 GMTForce India are hopeful of launching an attack of nearest rival McLaren at the final race of the season after discovering an aerodynamic error which has now been corrected. The team sits sixth in the standings, 34 points behind the Woking outfit after McLaren looked to have pulled clear in the last few races. In fact, McLaren outscored Force India by 40 points in the last five events. It had been much more evenly matched before then, and Force India believe they've discovered the reason for the drop in performance. "We took a wrong direction mid-season, and we only worked that out a race or so ago," explained deputy team principal Bob Fernley to Autosport.  "We have moved in the right direction now and although it has helped us move forward with the 2015 car, it lost us some ground just after the halfway point of this year. "So our tail off was the result of that step in the wrong direction." Fernley refused to confirm exactly what the 'error' was, but it has now been corrected with some upgrades which the team will introduce at the last race of the season. With double points on offer, Force India stand a slim chance of regaining fifth in the standings if McLaren suffers from a poor race.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09561http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09561Wolff hopes to have Hamilton deal by next weekTue, 18 Nov 2014 13:59:53 GMTMercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff is keen for the final race of the season to be over so he can begin contract talks with Lewis Hamilton. The pair decided it would be best to leave talks about 2016 and beyond for the end of the season, rather than taking attention away from Hamilton's title campaign. Speaking ahead of the season finale, in which only Nico Rosberg can deny Hamilton a second title, Wolff made it clear that he wants Hamilton to stay. "We want him very much to stay for many more years," said the Austrian. "He's great for the team, he's part of the family, the relationship we all enjoy is more than just a professional racing relationship between driver and team. It's on a different level." The decision to delay Hamilton's contract talks, despite already agreeing a deal with Rosberg, was the right thing to do according to Wolff. "We did that very consciously even when the rumours accelerated around other drivers and our team. We sat down again and said should we take these conversations forward? And we decided: No, it'snot the best thing to do." However talks will begin fairly soon after Abu Dhabi is done and dusted. "On the Monday or Tuesday after Abu Dhabi we will sit down and discuss and hopefully find a solution quickly," he added.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09560http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09560Small teams urge Ecclestone for help in leaked letterMon, 17 Nov 2014 19:25:37 GMTA leaked letter addressed to Bernie Ecclestone from Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley has urged the 83-year-old to help the smaller teams either financially or by forcing a budget cap. Ecclestone had informed the teams that he would raise the issue with CVC Capital Partners, but later decided that it would be a pointless exercise and instead asked the larger teams to give up a share of their prize money to help struggling outfits. That idea was rejected by the 'big five', therefore leaving Force India, Lotus and Sauber without a solution. In the letter, Fernley once again urges Ecclestone to find a way of distributing the sport's revenues more fairly. At present, the 'big five' (Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes and Williams) receive roughly 70 per cent of the revenue directed to the teams which totals £700 million ($1.1bn)*. Of that £700m, just 25 per cent goes to the bottom four (Force India, Lotus, Sauber and Toro Rosso) and the remaining 5 per cent to Caterham and Marussia. "After our meeting in Brazil we clearly see the direction of Formula 1 towards customer cars/super GP2. It is equally clear that the strategy group has no intention at all to reduce cost," wrote Fernley in the letter. "We would like to highlight that we came to you primarily with the request to reduce costs. Due to the lack of interest in pursuing this target we then addressed the distribution of income as a way to absorb the higher costs." In the letter, Fernley also rejected the idea that poor management and overspending was to blame - as suggested by Ecclestone - highlighting that almost 70 per cent of their prize money goes on power unit supply for a single season. "Unlike manufacturer-owned teams, our core business is Formula 1. Yet, we have no choice but to spend most of our income on the engine, and the remaining 30 per cent is by far not enough to construct, enter and run a team over a 20-race season. "The generation of further funds though sponsorship is achievable but we all recognise that other global sporting competitions are chasing the same sponsors which are at lower levels than even two years ago. It is challenging when the Commercial Rights Holder of F1 is also competing against the teams," he added, in regards to F1 itself poaching sponsors such as UBS, Rolex, Johnnie Walker and Tata Communications. The strongly worded letter went as far as comparing F1 to a cartel, something that would certainly raise eyebrows at the European Commission, as well as making clear that they are bound to the sport as it remains their only business unlike the big manufacturers. "We understand that the distribution is based on our bilateral agreements. It is, however, known to us all under which circumstances we signed these deals. The shareholder’s focus during the negotiations was on securing the co-operation with big teams in view of the planned IPO; we were effectively given no room for negotiation. "Our teams have, like the others, a clear intention to continue as constructors in Formula 1, however, unlike the manufacturer teams, who could exit on the whim of a Board decision, Lotus, Sauber and Force India F1 are bound to the sport as it is their only business focus." He demanded a second meeting to discuss the matter further. "I would respectfully urge you to spare time over the weekend to meet with Monisha [Kaltenborn], Vijay [Mallya], Gerard [Lopez] and myself to find an equitable solution to the distribution of FOM funds with a view to presenting a proposal and reaching a consensus with all the stakeholders." *Editors Note: The amount of money distributed to the teams annually is roughly £700m ($1.1bn), however this includes historical bonus payments to the five big teams based on how long they have been in the sport. The actual amount referenced in the leaked document quotes just £533m ($835m) in revenue. This figure does not include historial bonus payments.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09559http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09559Vettel: 'Both Hamilton and Rosberg deserve title'Mon, 17 Nov 2014 16:41:06 GMTCurrent world champion Sebastian Vettel, who is due to lose his crown to either Lewis Hamilton or Nico Rosberg next weekend, believes both drivers deserve the title. The German doesn't buy into the argument that Hamilton's ten race wins to Rosberg's five means he is more deserving, but argues the fellow German has been more consistent and is therefore just as deserving. "Both deserve the title," Vettel told Sport Bild. "Lewis has won more races than Nico, but Nico has driven very consistently and very cleverly. "They are different kinds of drivers but both have done a very good job this year." He compared the title decider to 2010 when he trailed both Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso heading into the final race, but managed to out-smart them and take the victory and the title. "Fortunately the others failed to bring home the points they needed," he said of the race. "I was quite surprised, because the odds were that Fernando and Mark were much more likely statistically to be able to get the places they needed. "So it's a similarly difficult situation for Nico now as it was for me back then," he added, lending Rosberg some advice: "I knew that my only chance was to win the race, so I just tried to concentrate on what I had to do. I didn't want to be updated during the race on the provisional results of the world championship for example."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09558http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09558Paffett and McLaren part ways amid Honda switchMon, 17 Nov 2014 15:21:47 GMTMcLaren has confirmed it will part company with test and reserve driver Gary Paffett as it switches from Mercedes to Honda power next season. Paffett, who has worked with McLaren since 2006, is employed by Mercedes DTM team, therefore McLaren don't feel it would work to have Paffett testing and learning about Honda's power unit whilst he remains under contract with a rival F1 engine manufacturer. Paffett wished the team the best for the future: "I've loved working for McLaren and hope my feedback and input over the years has been beneficial. The engineers I've worked with have been kind enough to say that it has. "I have many friends at McLaren, and I wish all of them the very best of luck for the future. Fingers crossed for a McLaren grand prix win or two next year!" Jonathan Neale, acting CEO, added: "Gary has been an excellent member of the McLaren team for the best part of a decade, and his technical input, on test track and in simulator alike, has been hugely important to us. Just as important, he's a great guy. We wish him well."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09557http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09557Kobayashi confirmed at Caterham for Abu Dhabi GPSun, 16 Nov 2014 23:56:47 GMTCaterham have confirmed that Kamui Kobayashi will race for the team at next weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix following confirmation the team will return to the grid for the season finale. The Japanese driver remains under contract with Caterham, whilst 2014 team-mate Marcus Ericsson has cut ties with the team and will therefore not be racing. Speaking about his return, having missed both the United States and Brazilian GP, Kobayashi said: "I am happy to be racing with the team in Abu Dhabi. It hasn’t been an easy last few weeks, so it will be nice to be back to in the car and work together with the Caterham F1 team members." The administrators in charge of Caterham likely had no other choice but to run Kobayashi as the regulations only allow four drivers per team per season. Caterham have already used three of those slots after it drafted in Andre Lotterer for the Belgian GP. However with Lotterer turning down the chance to return and Ericsson no longer under contract and unwilling to race, the team has just one slot remaining which will be used for the second car. The team haven't confirmed who will drive alongside the Japanese driver, but it's likely to be either Roberto Mehri, Max Chilton or even Rubens Barrichello. Kobayashi is focusing on the job at hand though and took the time to thank fans for making a return possible. "I would like to thank the fans for supporting the team like they have. This team is working hard and never gives up. We deserve to be racing in Abu Dhabi and I am very glad we can race again thanks to the crowdfunding Project. "Now it is our turn to show what we can do – we will all try our best during the weekend ahead and hopefully we can end the season with a positive result for the future of this team."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09556http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09556Majority of Caterham staff made redundantSat, 15 Nov 2014 16:36:08 GMTThe Caterham F1 Team might be enjoying good news at the moment following an announcement that they will be back on the grid for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next weekend, but for the majority of their workforce, it's a different feeling altogether. Almost the entire workforce, totalling around 220 people, were made redundant on Friday despite the administrator's in charge, Smith & Williamson led by Finbarr O'Connell, confirming that the team will race in Abu Dhabi next weekend. A small handful of staff have been kept on in order to ensure the team can operate at the Abu Dhabi race. According to a letter from a former employee, sent to journalist Joe Saward, it was made clear that Fernandes owed staff seven weeks pay before passing control of 1MRT to the administrators this week. "The employees have been made redundant from 1MRT," it reads. "This should be more widely known and Mr Fernandes should be encouraged to do the honourable thing and fund the owed salaries instead of hiding behind 1MRT’s orchestrated lack of funds. "The present situation is the inevitable (and foreseeable) consequence of the manner in which Mr Fernandes sold Caterham F1. It isn't good enough to claim that there were no other buyers. In that event the proper thing to do would have been to wind up the company gracefully while ensuring that employees and suppliers were fairly dealt with. "It is not right that Mr Fernandes should be allowed to profit from evading his responsibilities and suffer no adverse publicity." Further reports suggest former staff are preparing legal action against Mr Fernandes and other former owners as well as the administrators in charge of Caterham.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09555http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09555Wolff: Title loser will get another shot in the futureSat, 15 Nov 2014 13:40:28 GMTMercedes' Toto Wolff insists both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg will have another shot at winning the title in the years to come, so if they lose out next week, they shouldn't dwell on the matter for too long. The pair will go head-to-head next weekend for the title decider in Abu Dhabi in a season-long battle which can be ranked among one the best in the sport, but it's a battle that will rage on in future according to Wolff who compared it to that of Niki Lauda and Alain Prost. "Of course, there will be bitter disappointment for one of them and great joy for the other," Wolff said. "While it won't be apparent to them at the time, both have long careers ahead of them and they have proven their credentials for the years to come. "You only have to look back to such great battles as that of Lauda and Prost in 1984 to see what can be achieved. This was the last title for Niki, who won that year, and Prost was defeated in that battle. But he then went on to win four Championships before he retired. "A top driver always has the ability to engineer another opportunity and both our boys have proven themselves to be just that: top drivers." With one race left, Wolff says it's up to Mercedes to ensure they give each of their drivers a fair shot at winning the title and that means no reliability issues or strategic mistakes. "It is now down to us to ensure that this fascinating year concludes in the right way by giving Lewis and Nico a platform to settle the title purely on the track. "It is fantastic for the sport to have such a finale in what has been one of the great seasons of Formula One. I for one cannot wait to watch the race in Abu Dhabi and I'm sure those at home feel the same. May the best man win!"http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09554http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09554Alonso backs having small teams over third carsSat, 15 Nov 2014 13:01:31 GMTFernando Alonso has backed Formula 1's small teams amid the ongoing financial situation which has already resulted in the loss of to teams this season. With the grid looking likely to reduce to 18 cars next year - unless either Caterham or Marussia can find buyers - the threat of a smaller grid or three-car teams is now on the agenda. Alonso, who started his career at Minardi, believes small teams are essential for F1 and for rookie drivers and says he's hopeful a solution can be found to save them. "I started with a small team, Minardi, all the drivers [should have] the same possibility to start with small teams," the two-time champion told Autosport. "We need everyone in the sport - more teams and more things happening around F1 will help. Hopefully we will find a solution. "I don't exactly know what are the problems and what are the possible solutions, but I know that everyone has tried to meet to find a solution and I'm sure they will do the best for the sport, and we will support [them]." The Spaniard isn't sure what to make of third cars though should F1 be forced into bulking up the grid with more cars and fewer teams. "I don't know, it's something that we've never had," he said. "If that happens it's because they think that is the best solution. "But I don't really have a strong opinion on the third car [idea] because it will be quite new and I don't know if it's the best [solution] or not."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09553http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09553Abu Dhabi will be harder for Hamilton - HillSat, 15 Nov 2014 11:34:57 GMTDamon Hill believes Lewis Hamilton faces a tougher time in Abu Dhabi as he and team-mate Nico Rosberg vye for the 2014 World Championship. The pair are separated by 17 points. That would usually be considered a large gap requiring Hamilton to finish just sixth to guarantee him the title, but with double points in play, he needs second should Rosberg win. That, combined with the fact Hamilton is the 'hunted', means he has a tougher job ahead of him mentally, according to 1996 world champion Hill. "I don't care who you are or how cool you might think you are, between now and the championship it's really difficult," Hill told the Indepedent. "I think it's always harder for the person who's leading. I think the guy who's hunting has kind of resigned themselves, partly, to the possibility of not winning, whereas the other one's got it all to lose." Should mechanical troubles decide the outcome - as they have with several races already this season - then Hill has warned both drivers to accept it and move on, despite admitting it would be a great shame. "If either has a mechanical problem, there's nothing you can do about that. It happens," added Hill. "It would be tragic if Lewis didn’t win the World Championship this year, because then he didn't win it because Mercedes let him down, to be honest. There’s no question. "We’re in a bit of an awkward situation, but there's no good getting cross or blaming anyone else. I think the right approach is to just look at it as a race to become World Champion."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09552http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09552Honda release photos of McLaren development carFri, 14 Nov 2014 18:01:23 GMTMcLaren-Honda's development car broke cover on Friday during a filming day at the Silverstone circuit just 90 minutes from their Woking factory. The MP4-29H, whilst it looks similar to the current challenger, is very different underneath the bodywork and is designed to maximise the information the team can gather on the new Honda hybrid-V6 power unit. McLaren and Honda hope by running it early, they will be able to iron out any problems they may face ahead of pre-season testing next year, allowing them to focus on aerodynamic development. Honda tweeted two photos of the car during the filming day on Friday, but gave no information as to what mileage it completed and whether they encountered any issues. During filming days, teams are restricted to just 100 kilometres of running and they must use Pirelli's 'show tyre'. However this will likely be enough to give the team invaluable data ahead of 2015. http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09551http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09551Caterham will race in Abu Dhabi confirms teamFri, 14 Nov 2014 14:24:03 GMTCaterham will return to the Formula 1 grid at the 2014 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix - the final race of the season - administrators in control of the team have confirmed. The outfit turned to crowdfunding in order to raise funds to get the team racing again and, whilst it has yet to meet the £2.35 million goal, additional outside investment as a result of the initiative has raised enough money. "The Caterham F1 Team is delighted to announce that it will be racing at the final Formula 1 Grand Prix of the season in Abu Dhabi next week thanks to the support of the fans, who have helped the team raise enough money to make it possible through Crowdcube," read a statement. "We set ourselves a major challenge, but it's definitely been worth it! In only a week the fans have made the impossible, possible," said Finbarr O’Connell of Smith & Williamson. "We knew that the best way to keep this team alive and attract possible buyers was to show that it’s still a racing team and be in Abu Dhabi for the finale, and there aren’t enough words to say how grateful we are to all the fans that have made this possible. "We now head to Abu Dhabi ready to show what a hard-working and positive group of people this is and to hopefully secure a future for the team. During the past few days the interest of many potential buyers has increased massively and by racing in Abu Dhabi the team will be showcasing itself as a live and functioning team that deserves to continue into 2015 and beyond. It has hard-working people, team spirit and experience and now it only needs a secure financial future which I’m very hopeful we can achieve. "Once again, I'd like to reiterate that we are racing in Abu Dhabi thanks to all the fans out there – an achievement that will go down in F1 history and one that we can all be very proud of. We still need to raise a bit more cash so please do keep an eye on the Crowdcube website. Let’s go racing!" Luke Lang, co-founder of Crowdcube added: "We're thrilled to have helped get Caterham F1 Team on to the grid for the season finale in Abu Dhabi. It's fantastic that so many people have been inspired to support the team and crowdfund its return to Formula 1." The team haven't confirmed its driver line-up following Marcus Ericsson's departure, although Kamui Kobayashi remains under contract.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09550http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09550Ecclestone: 'Nobody will miss Caterham or Marussia'Fri, 14 Nov 2014 13:44:03 GMTBernie Ecclestone says he's "not at all" concerned by the struggles facing a select number of Formula 1 teams with regards their financial situation. Caterham and Marussia won't be missed according to the 84-year-old following their demise in late-October. "Nobody will miss the two teams because they're not front-running teams; they've only got a name that people would know because of the problem they’re in," Ecclestone told Campaign Asia. "If you want to get recognised you've got to do something. This poor guy in South Africa [Oscar Pistorius], for instance, has got more interest because of what happened with him than when he was winning gold medals. He won medals and afterwards nobody thought about him. If this case hadn't happened he would have been forgotten, probably. "Same with these two teams," stated Ecclestone, who hinted that he would only like big names in F1 such as Ferrari and Mercedes. "You need teams like Ferrari. If you go anywhere and you say to somebody ‘Ferrari’, they'll know what you're talking about. If you say ‘Marussia’, they won't," he added. "So that's it. It's brands again, isn't it? Ferrari's a brand and it's a brand that's particularly connected to a product and it's known for that product."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09549http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09549Caterham preparing freight for Abu Dhabi raceFri, 14 Nov 2014 11:28:16 GMTCaterham are so confident that they'll be racing in Abu Dhabi that the team are preparing freight for the flight to the Middle Eastern race next weekend. The Leafield-based outfit is currently under the control of administrator Finbarr O'Connell at Smith & Williamson, which have turned to crowdfunding in order to raise funds for the team to race. At present they have raised almost 60 per cent of the £2.35 million target, but with the deadline expiring on Friday night, it looks unlikely they'll reach the final amount. However O'Connell is confident that a number of deals currently in discussion will help boost the amount before the fund raising plan closes. "What we will have and what we are negotiating – and why these things always go to the end – is that we are negotiating drivers' contracts at the moment and also sponsorship contracts," he told Crash.net. "It's been agreed that those funds will go in to the crowdfunding initiative. We're very hopeful that those will complete today and they will increase the figure substantially, and so substantially that even though we'll still be a bit short that (joint administrator) Henry Shinners and I will – if that happens – make a decision to go and try to raise the last bit of money to cover all the costs over the run-up over the next week. "That's our plan. So the travel containers are all being filled at Leafield now by the race team. Trucks are in place to bring them to the airport, so that's how confident we are that we are going to go." O'Connell is also confident a buyer can be found for 2015, citing "two to three" new potential investors having come forward because of the success of the crowdfunding initiative.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09548http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09548Villadelprat confident Alonso/McLaren will succeedFri, 14 Nov 2014 10:08:07 GMTProminent Spanish motorsport figure Joan Villadelprat is backing the combination of McLaren, Honda and Fernando Alonso to succeed in securing the title within just a few years. Villadelprat believes the pairing of McLaren and Alonso will bring success and says they will have learnt their lessons from 2007 when the Spaniard famously left the team after a single season when he and team principal Ron Dennis fell out. "I have no doubt the Honda will be a powerful engine, because they have had time to do things well rather than repeat the errors of Renault and Ferrari," he told El Confidencial. "I also see the marriage of Alonso and McLaren as more fruitful than the first time. "To start, this time Fernando is the undisputed number one. Secondly, I think they are both very intelligent and have both learned from the past and forgotten it." Villadelprat, who has previously worked for McLaren among several other F1 teams, believes it's the right time for Alonso to leave Ferrari. "Fernando needed somewhere to go, Ferrari was not going anywhere, the relationship with Marco Mattiacci is zero," he added. "The McLaren option is good because they have taken every experience this year with the Mercedes engines, Honda will have learned from it and with their resources I am convinced it will be a tremendous engine."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09547http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09547Third cars would be painful but we're ready - Red BullThu, 13 Nov 2014 22:19:33 GMTRed Bull are ready to run a third car according to team principal Christian Horner should they be called upon to do so by Bernie Ecclestone. The idea of third cars has been talked about for years, but never has the proposal looked like a reality until now. The collapse of Caterham and Marussia has reduced the grid to just 18 cars which is dangerously close to the 16 car limit which would enact a regulation for top teams to run three cars rather than two. Should that happen, Red Bull are ready to fulfil the need, though Horner admits it would be "painful" with such short notice. "I hope that Marussia and Caterham get their act together," Horner told the official Formula 1 website. "If not, and we had to run a third car, we would be in a position to," he added. "But we will need to know pretty quickly - it's already November. Logistically it would be painful, but if we are called upon to do it then yes, we would be able to support it." Speaking about Sebastian Vettel's decision to leave for Ferrari - leaving the Italian team with three drivers as Fernando Alonso has yet to announce his plans - Horner joked that the team had predicted three cars and prepared well. "Maybe they've [Ferrari] just been very smart and anticipated three-car teams! It is just that the third driver should be a rookie and it is difficult to say who will be the rookie out of the three champions they have signed."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09546http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09546Force India's financial future is safe - FernleyThu, 13 Nov 2014 17:29:40 GMTForce India's financial future isn't in jeopardy according to deputy team principal Bob Fernley, despite the team's name featuring heavily when it comes to talking about Formula 1's financial problems. Force India, Lotus and Sauber are pushing for the sport to change the way it operates by imposing budget restrictions as well as looking at the way it divides prize money in light of Caterham and Marussia's collapse. "Our main goal was to try to save money by doing cost control, it wasn't asking for money," said Fernley. "You've got costs running out of control and you've got income that is totally inequitably split, there's something amiss somewhere. Now we know what the game is, we can work with it. "From our point of view we're quite comfortable. The last few weeks have now exposed what the game plan is. We just want to make sure that we stay a constructor and we will work hard to do that and be competitive." Whilst Fernley admits costs have spiralled recently, particularly the rise in engine costs thanks to the new hybrid-V6, Force India's budget is as healthy as ever. "Our costs have gone from let's say $10m to $30m plus, in the order of that area. So our powertrain is significantly more expensive. If you can't get costs under control and then you've got teams failing … even Williams with the wonderful, wonderful job that they've done; posting a £20m loss? It's not all good. "From our point of view - certainly Force India's point of view - our budgets are as good as they have been for the last seven years. We can run, what you would like to have is more comfort to be able to do it properly." #BeyondTheGrid: Responsible Driving – with Sergio Perez and Smirnoff http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09545http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09545McLaren-Honda test car set for Friday Silverstone runThu, 13 Nov 2014 10:17:09 GMTHonda's brand new 2015 hybrid-V6 power unit will get its first on-track debut on Friday during a 'filming day' with McLaren at the Silverstone circuit. McLaren hoped to run the engine for the first time during the post-season Abu Dhabi test in a fortnight, but with Honda pushing development forward, the engine will receive its first test run tomorrow. McLaren have constructed an interim MP4-29H specifically for the run to ensure they can test the installation of the unit ahead of pre-season testing next year. It hopes the run will iron out any issues they may face, as well as giving them and Honda invaluable data to evaluate over the winter. The team posted a tweet on Thursday morning revealing their intentions: "Getting set for Silverstone tomorrow for a filming day. We'll be parading the interim Honda-engined MP4-29H/1X1 & 2 classic McLaren-Hondas." A certain number of filming days are permissible under the regulations, but McLaren must abide by several rules which include running 'show tyres', sticking to strict speed limits and a set mileage.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09544http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09544Vettel reveals he considered walking away from F1Thu, 13 Nov 2014 09:14:13 GMTSebastian Vettel has admitted he considered leaving Formula 1 this season following the sport's decision to switch from V8 engines to hybrid-V6 power units. The four-time champion had been one of the most vocal about the change prior to 2014, citing the lack of noise as a major threat to the sport. However he chose to continue with few alternative options available to him and he still believes F1 remains the pinnacle of motorsport, despite the change of engine formula. "Of course, you think about everything," the 27-year-old told Auto Motor und Sport in an interview. "Suddenly you have two cylinders missing and you do not restart the car but a computer reboots it, then you ask yourself 'what has this to do with racing. "[But] what is the alternative? The cars have become slower but are still the fastest out there." Whilst he might not have quit F1, the German is making changes after quitting Red Bull for what many believe will be Ferrari - a move which is expected to be confirmed next weekend. "I am hoping, of course, to announce what is happening soon but right now we have to be patient," he added, though he dropped a hint that his car won't be Mercedes powered, leaving few competitive options. "I am aware that before me is a big task that will take time especially at a time when Mercedes has a huge competitive advantage. "It is a step into the unknown, therefore a risk," added Vettel. "If I was not convinced I could be successful there, I would not have dared."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09543http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09543Should we be asking what the point of Bernie is?Thu, 13 Nov 2014 08:50:47 GMT‘How did you go bankrupt?’  ‘Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.’ You may recognise these as being the words of Ernest Hemingway in his novel The Sun Also Rises. They pre-date F1 by several decades, but their appropriateness to the sport’s recent days and weeks and what they’ve confirmed about its solvency is striking.  The edifice crumbled with exasperating suddenness – Caterham and then Marussia’s administrations, followed by confirmation from three other teams that they too are sailing very close to the wind, and then by Marussia ceasing trading definitively, all landed like repeated left-right blows. But just as with Hemingway’s experience even though the tipping point was sudden the building of pressure was gradual, and a long-time coming. Indeed we can trace it all the way back to 2009 – perhaps sooner – when then-FIA President Max Mosley sought to wrestle the sport’s desire to spend itself out of existence. Appropriately too, as Hemingway’s novel popularised the notion of ‘the lost generation’, Mosley’s four-team new generation brought in then is now all but lost, with only Caterham of them left and itself clinging to the vestiges of existence. And Eddie Jordan in Interlagos for one had little doubt as to what had caused it all: ‘There are four reasons why the three teams who entered F1 in 2010 have all failed’ he said (note the fourth was USF1 which didn’t even make the grid). ‘First, Caterham (previously Lotus), Marussia (previously Virgin) and HRT were promised that the sport would have a budget cap of 50m Euros and governing body the FIA failed to impose this. Secondly, the costs for an engine were about £5m last year but have gone up to £15m this season with the introduction of new turbo hybrid engines. ‘Who’s accountable? It's Bernie Ecclestone's job to make sure promises are adhered to, and these costs are not coming down next year even though the manufacturers originally said they would.’  ‘Thirdly, teams have to use Ecclestone's freight but the costs of this are high. There used to be a £10m payment from the commercial rights holder to teams to support the freight costs but Ecclestone withdrew that two years ago. ‘Fourthly, there is the gross disparity of $300m being skimmed off the top of the money allocated to pay the teams as a cash payment for the top five teams, Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Williams and Mercedes.’ In short, cost control flopped, with in addition to the cost cap never happening Ferrari and Red Bull  later cut and run from FOTA (taking their ally teams with them), then emerged with lucrative deals from Bernie as if by magic not long afterwards. This resulted not only what cost control there was in the resource restriction agreement crashing and burning but also a vastly concentrated F1’s available wealth with the few at the top. By definition there was less for everyone else. That a vast swathe of revenue goes off to CVC, following a deal that Bernie inked, doesn’t help either. And as EJ touched upon various matters have ensured that the minimum cost of just turning up in F1 has since ballooned, to around £70m per year; a level apparently over the ability of the teams at the back to raise. Many of the costs – power units, tyres etc – are non-negotiable and have increased rather arbitrarily over time, as Lotus’s Gerard Lopez outlined so eloquently in Austin. Don’t believe for a second the claims made by the likes of Toto Wolff, Eric Boullier as well as (repeatedly) by Bernie that what is happening reflects a Darwinian cull of those outfits which are not being sufficiently prudent. I’m not the first to point out the absurdity of a sport that is thought to generate $1.8bn per year in operating profit apparently not being able to support 11 teams each making 20 appearances. Bernie during Austin’s weekend in response to the gathering storm issued a mea culpa. Saying that ‘there is too much money being distributed badly – probably my fault’ (some cynics reckoned the word he should have chosen instead is ‘definitely’).  ‘I know what’s wrong, but don’t know how to fix it’ he went on, before going on to utter several words to the effect that the ball now was in the teams’ court to re-distribute the cash, as there’s nothing he can do without their say-so. On the face of it an astonishing admission of impotence and failure. Adam Parr the ex-CEO and Chairman of Williams wasn’t having any of it though, reckoning it merely the latest case of Bernie’s divide and rule, tweeting: ‘Masterful diversion. Pits the big against the small teams. But it's not the teams that take out too much from F1.’ And whatever was the case it by my reckoning was disingenuous for Bernie to imply it was now over to the teams. Mainly because it was the very same Bernie that offered the select few at the top the grossly inflated deals in the first place, and it was hardly unforeseen that the resultant skew in cash distribution was asking for trouble. The said teams were never going to turn the deals down; they obviously are going to look out for number one. To return to Hemingway for guidance on this: ‘Everyone behaves badly--given the chance’. As for the claim that there’s nothing he can do to fix it now, such an admission would have been unthinkable from Bernie past. Time was that Bernie helping out struggling teams with upfront payments, or even more than that, was routine (I recall Martin Brundle quipping about ‘Ecclestone-Minardis’ after he went so far as to buy into Minardi in 2003), and the rest wouldn’t argue. These days either he won’t or he no longer can. Whichever way it doesn’t look good. Criticism of Bernie from the fraternity used to be as rare as hen’s teeth, such was his complete control. His rule was in part by fear but based also on achievement. Of course, in the past there was plenty of achievement, but what more recently? As outlined Bernie’s fingerprints are all over the sport’s current mangled state. Really the only part of it that can’t be laid at his door is the power unit cost; Bernie famously, or infamously, being against those from the very inception. Max Mosely was right that the sport seriously missed a trick in not restricting the amount that manufacturers could sell the units to its customers for. Instead we now have the small teams subsidising the big players’ R&D in effect. But to get back to Bernie’s rap sheet there’s plenty on it in addition to the sport in crisis. Chief among these is the CVC deal and its various manifestations – not least Bernie’s bribery trial which ended rather unsatisfactorily, and left him rather as damaged goods.  And then – related to the money-guzzling CVC deal to whatever extent – the sport has increasingly based its financial model on demanding vast hosting fees from venues, which has had the multiple negative impact of both sky-rocketing ticket prices at existing Grands Prix as well as taking the sport away from its core support to up sticks instead in new territories, where in a lot of cases the locals don’t appear terribly interested. This even worse often associates the sport with, shall we say, questionable governing regimes who wield the chequebooks. It's also manifested itself in the sport demanding vast fees for TV rights, meaning TV coverage disappearing behind paywalls. In other words the fans are the ones to miss out, and to fork out. Bernie with equal suddenness appears to be running out of friends also. In his heyday he could rely largely on subservience from the F1 media. He still gets some – as was shown gaudily when for example a couple of F1 journalists that I saw swallowed Bernie’s ‘over to the teams’ comments unquestioningly. But some cracks are appearing. Maurice Hamilton for one, someone who has been writing about this game since the mid-1970s and therefore has first-hand experience of much of what Bernie’s done for F1, noted in recent days: ‘I don't know about you but it seems to me that the real world has finally caught up with Bernie Ecclestone…In one or two interviews at the (Austin) weekend, his appearance and silly answers made him appear a man under siege and all of his 84 years…The impression you have now is that no one has the first idea what's going on. Least of all the man attempting to give out the hymn books.’ Even the staple-diet journal of Autosport got in on the act, with Jonathan Noble writing in his latest column: ‘What is intriguing is not what the solution is – for that will very much depend on how seriously CVC is taking the current situation – but whether the cost crisis has offered us a glimpse of Ecclestone starting to lose his stranglehold over F1.’ To return to Eddie Jordan’s words outlined above, time also was that Bernie and Eddie were as thick as thieves; it apparently used to be said in the paddock that you never say anything to EJ that you’re not also happy for BCE to know. But even now Eddie’s not hesitating to point the finger firmly at Bernie for the sport’s predicament. Worse Bernie’s words in Austin hinted at a man rather out of time; not adapted to the new ways of the team principal not also being the owner (unlike Chapman, Williams, Dennis, Tyrrell et al), him bemoaning that: ‘In the old days, the people sitting around a table would be the guys who could say yes or no. They would ask me to sort it out and it would be sorted. But none of the modern guys can agree anything, even if they wanted to. They all have to report back to somebody’.  As Hamilton noted also his words in public in Austin more generally on occasion appeared rather incoherent and bewildering – earlier in proceedings he once again brought up the subject of engine noise like it was the most pressing matter.   We should be careful of course, Bernie as we know if the master of misdirection. I recall it being said (I think by Joe Saward but don’t quote me on that) that when Bernie speaks you should think of it as like a magician creating a cloud of smoke and shouting ‘abracadabra!’ However tempting it is to have your attention taken by the shout and puff of smoke, what’s actually happening is elsewhere. In this ilk I’ve read it theorised that his latest round of criticisms of the sport was his seeking a more favourable deal from CVC in buying the sport back, as well as in warding off the FIA and possible challenge to his 100-year deal. Perhaps even it was a prelude to him leading a ‘GP1’ style breakaway from the FIA. Others reckoned it was simply Bernie’s latest round of deflection and division. But it’s worth reflecting that had anyone else said them we’d feel safe to conclude that they were ramblings akin to those of an elderly relative at a wedding who’s had a few too many shandies. Possibly, sometimes, we shouldn’t rule out concluding the obvious. As for the broader situation that F1 is heading towards the idea has burgeoned that rather than lethargy it instead is a matter of strategy. That – for whatever reason – Bernie and a cabal of big teams want the squads below to drop over the precipice so that the sport is an effective carve-up for them. With the resultant deficit made up either by three-car teams or as few as five constructors (which would be Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes, McLaren and perhaps Williams) each with a customer 'B team' buying a chassis from its parent. At the very least, even if this destination wasn't deliberate those powerful players didn't appear too perturbed in Austin now that they're reaching it. Force India's deputy team principal Bob Fernley said so in public that he reckoned this could be Bernie’s endgame, and the tone and words of the likes of Wolff in the team principals’ press conference that weekend didn’t do a great deal to emolliate those concerned either. In a major plot twist however CVC of all entities has since intervened reportedly (for the first time anyone can remember) and done so in terms of promising to help the struggling teams out, perhaps by giving up some of its own financial cut. Which of course may tell us something much bigger in terms of the relationship between Bernie and his employer – it wading in presumably to protect an asset being devalued cannot reflect well. Which brings us to likely the greatest dilution of Bernie’s power in F1. That he doesn’t own the commercial rights; he sold them to CVC. Meaning Bernie is a mere employee of it lest we forget, albeit a well-rewarded one. Certainly if Bernie’s ploy for the small teams to drop off was indeed a strategy it appears that CVC does not support it. Further it tells us that the amoral, money-grabbing venture capitalists whom we’ve got well used to portraying as a pantomime villain apparently cares more about the survival of F1 as we know it, or at least is prepared to do more about it and make more of a sacrifice so to do, than dear Bernard Charles. Just stop and think about that for a moment. And with all of this what do we have? A man who has got the sport into a place that very few are content with, possibly too with a future plan that will maul the F1 we know, and whose power base appears to have evaporated. Bernie’s surprised us before, but you could now ask what exactly he offers? Might Bernie be another to find that his F1 existence will erode gradually, then suddenly?http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09542http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09542Big teams don't want small teams in F1 - SauberThu, 13 Nov 2014 00:20:06 GMTSauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn believes F1 bosses and those in charge of the 'big teams' such as Ferrari, Mercedes, Red Bull and McLaren, want rid of smaller outfits. Kaltenborn expressed her view just weeks after Caterham and Marussia folded, reducing the grid to just 18 cars, whilst financial concerns continue to spread amongst three of the smallest teams on the grid in the form of Force India, Lotus and Sauber. With little in the way of help or support from the sports owners or the cash-rich teams which dominate, Kaltenborn has her own view as to what is happening in the sport. "Looking at the proposals which have been made you have to believe there is some agenda, don't you?" she said. "The agenda seems to be that people are looking at four or five names to stay in here, and when ideas are offered to us of a year-old chassis or engines which are maybe a different spec or series, there must be an agenda," added Kaltenborn after it was revealed that Bernie Ecclestone suggested F1 become a two-tier sport with five big names competing at the front, whilst a few smaller teams run old cars or 'super-GP2' cars on a small budget to simply make up the numbers. "There's no-one reacting to it in front, we don't know whose agenda it is," continued Kaltenborn. "That's why it's important we said what we had to on this point because these things are changing every day, but the fact is it cannot remain like this. "It's no way we want to work and can work and the more these ideas are coming up the more we get the feeling that maybe some people don't want us to be around - and maybe the sport is supposed to be changed in a very different way."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09541http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09541Webber urges Button to make Sports Car switchWed, 12 Nov 2014 13:08:15 GMTMark Webber has urged Jenson Button to switch from Formula 1 to Sports Cars as the Britain's future remains in limbo with McLaren yet to confirm its 2015 driver line-up. Button recently admitted he felt like "he wasn't wanted" because of the lack of information surrounding his future with the team as it negotiates with Fernando Alonso. "You want to feel like you are wanted within a team and part of the family," he said. "It's like if your parents were to turn round and say 'You know what, we're not sure if we want you at Christmas this year. But your brother can come, he's great'. You want to feel like you are part of the family and that they want you to be part of the family. That's more important than cash," he explained amid news McLaren are debating whether to partner him or the much cheaper Kevin Magnussen with Alonso. Writing on Twitter, Button added: "Hopefully soon I'll be able to give you more info about my future." Webber, who recently switched from F1 with Red Bull to Porsche's endurance programme in the World Endurance Championship, urged Button to follow him and do the same. "Matey just sign that sports car contract and get on with it. Be mega to have you with/against us next year."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09540http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09540Wolff calls for double points to be scrapped in '15Wed, 12 Nov 2014 12:20:56 GMTMercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has called for double points to be scrapped next season after admitting that "nobody likes the idea" anymore, despite it initially being backed by the teams. The idea behind the proposal was to hold fans interest until the final race of the season by prolonging the title battle, but many believe it has unfairly disadvantaged championship leader Lewis Hamilton. In previous seasons, the Briton would have to finish just sixth to secure the title, however with the double points rule, he must finish second to guarantee him victory. "Nobody likes the double points [rule]," explained Wolff. "We are going to discuss that next time around and I don't think Bernie [Ecclestone] even likes them now. "It's going to be something that we should probably be getting rid of for next season." However, the Austrian admits rules are rules this season and should double points decide the outcome, then it's fair game. "Whoever has the most points at the end of the season is the worthy champion," he added. "You have to be pragmatic, even if it comes down to the situation and we might have a different feeling about it. "It is what it is and whoever wins the championship is going to have his name in the record books and that's it."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09539http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09539Massa: 'Hamilton deserves to win this championship'Tue, 11 Nov 2014 10:10:45 GMTFelipe Massa won't be heeding calls from Nico Rosberg to assist him in winning the 2014 Drivers' Championship if it comes down to it in a fortnight. The Brazilian insists he will be pushing to win the race in Abu Dhabi, a scenario which would drastically reduce Rosberg's chances of securing the title as, if even if he were to secure second, title rival Lewis Hamilton would need to finish just fifth to win. "I'm not helping anyone," exclaimed Massa after Rosberg said he "needed some Felipe Massa help" to increase his chances in Abu Dhabi. "I told him: I want to win the race, and not to help you! Nobody helped me when I could have won the championship, in fact a certain German only harmed me," he added in reference to Timo Glock's decision not to pit in Brazil 2008, handing title victory to Hamilton. Whether he believes Hamilton deserved that title is another story, but this season, Massa reckons the Briton has earned it when compared to Rosberg. "I think Hamilton does deserve the championship. But sometimes things turn out in a different way, as we have seen several times."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09538http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09538Alonso to be confirmed at McLaren next weekMon, 10 Nov 2014 17:01:38 GMTFernando Alonso will be confirmed as a McLaren driver next week, with sources suggesting the announcement will come on the Friday of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Spaniard has kept quiet about his future, fuelling speculation he could end up at Lotus, Mercedes or even buy a backmarker team himself. However the strongest and most feasible rumour, that of joining McLaren, is due to come to fruition next season. McLaren are believed to have agreed a two-year deal for 2015-16 with a one-year option for 2017 should performance objectives be met on both sides. The deal has been signed, but the Woking squad are still deciding who will partner the two-time champion. Kevin Magnussen is seen as the favourite to stay as McLaren have nurtured the young Danish rookie. However he might not be the smart choice and that's something which has torn McLaren's management in two. Half are believed to back Magnussen, whilst the other half are pushing for Jenson Button to remain. The Briton has outscored his younger team-mate by almost double (106 to 55) and his experience could be key to the new McLaren-Honda partnership. Alonso's arrival might also be Button's saviour. Sources close to McLaren have hinted that Alonso is keen for Button to stay for at least one more season to help McLaren's recovery. Whoever they choose, it's likely both will be announced together in a little over a week, allowing for Ferrari to openly confirm Sebastian Vettel's arrival.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09537http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09537How the championship can be won in Abu DhabiMon, 10 Nov 2014 08:17:57 GMTWith the drivers' title going to the wire in Abu Dhabi between Mercedes team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, we've taken a look at where each driver needs to finish to be victorious. Had this been 2013, things would be much simpler with Hamilton requiring just sixth place, regardless of where Rosberg finished, to win his second title. However, the addition of controversial double points in 2014 at the season finale has made the affair slightly more difficult for Hamilton, as he must finish second to guarantee him the crown if Rosberg wins. Below, we've listed every scenario for both drivers to win. How can Lewis Hamilton win the title in Abu Dhabi? - If Hamilton finishes ahead of Rosberg, Hamilton will win the title - If Rosberg wins, Hamilton needs to finish no lower than second - If Rosberg is second, Hamilton needs to finish fifth or higher - If Rosberg is third, Hamilton needs to finish sixth or higher - If Rosberg is fourth, Hamilton needs to finish eighth or higher - If Rosberg is fifth, Hamilton needs to finish ninth or higher - If Rosberg is sixth, Hamilton will win the title even if he's outside the points How can Nico Rosberg win the title in Abu Dhabi? - If Rosberg wins and Hamilton is third or lower - If Rosberg finishes second and Hamilton is sixth or lower - If Rosberg is third and Hamilton is seventh or lower - If Rosberg is fourth and Hamilton is ninth or lower - If Rosberg is fifth, he needs Hamilton to be tenth or lowerhttp://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09536http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09536Rosberg keeps Hamilton behind to take Brazil victorySun, 09 Nov 2014 18:43:18 GMTNico Rosberg took an all important win in Brazil to give his championship hopes a vital boost ahead of the final race of the season in a fortnight. The German fended off a challenge from team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who attacked on several occasions but couldn't find a way past, though he only finished 1.4 seconds adrift after 71 laps. It could have been a different story had Hamilton not spun - the result of pushing too hard to close the gap when Rosberg pitted. Felipe Massa came home third to the delight of the Brazilian crowd. The Williams driver didn't make it easy on himself though. A penalty for speeding in the pits and a mistake when he pulled up in the McLaren box, almost handed the podium to Jenson Button who was fourth. Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel was fifth as team-mate Daniel Ricciardo retired, whilst Fernando Alonso was sixth ahead of his team-mate Kimi Raikkonen who enjoyed a head-to-head battle with the Spaniard. Race Result - 2014 Brazilian Grand Prix: #DriverTeamGapPts 01 Nico Rosberg Mercedes   25 02 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +1.4 18 03 Felipe Massa Williams +41.0 15 04 Jenson Button McLaren +48.6 12 05 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull +51.4 10 06 Fernando Alonso Ferrari +61.9 8 07 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +63.7 6 08 Nico Hulkenberg Force India +70.0 4 09 Kevin Magnussen McLaren +1 lap 2 10 Valtteri Bottas Williams +1 lap 1 11 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso +1 lap   12 Pastor Maldonado Lotus +1 lap   13 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso +1 lap   14 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber +1 lap   15 Sergio Perez Force India +1 lap   16 Adrian Sutil Sauber +1 lap   17 Romain Grosjean Lotus +8 laps   18 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Retired   http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09535http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09535Ecclestone promises help for F1's smaller teamsSun, 09 Nov 2014 08:33:13 GMTBernie Ecclestone has promised Formula 1's smaller teams that he will discuss their financial plight with the sport's majority owner, CVC Capital Partners. Lotus, Force India and Sauber have no say in how the sport is run as they're not part of the Working Group, therefore they receive no financial bonuses unlike Ferrari, Red Bull, McLaren, Mercedes and Williams. With two outfits folding this season in Caterham and Marussia, the financial crisis has finally hit the headlines and Ecclestone seems ready to react after talks with the 'small three'. Whilst he can't promise any help himself, he has promised to discuss the matter with CVC's Donald MacKenzie who recently said he was willing to direct some of the sports profit to helping the cash-strapped teams. "It is unlikely that progress will be made in such a short period of time," said Force India co-owner Vijay Mallya following a meeting with 84-year-old Ecclestone. "So he's [Ecclestone] going back to London to talk to Donald and CVC. That's what he said. "He recognises that the three smallest teams need to get more money in one form or another," he added. "We presented our case, he said he'd talk to Donald and get back to us. "I've heard this before, but the only option is to just wait and watch."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09534http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09534Rosberg takes Brazil pole by just 0.033s to HamiltonSat, 08 Nov 2014 19:40:45 GMTNico Rosberg secured his tenth pole position of the season by the narrowest of margins to Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton. The German ended Q3 just 0.033 seconds faster than Hamilton after the paid traded fastest laps during the session. Rosberg's tenth pole sees him awarded the first ever pole trophy. Williams were a pole threat as Felipe Massa pleased his home crowd to take third, just two-tenths back, whilst team-mate Valtteri Bottas was fourth. The Mercedes-engined cars ruled with McLaren's Jenson Button fifth. The leading non-Mercedes car was that of Sebastian Vettel in sixth, splitting the McLaren cars. Sergio Perez was second slowest after a compromised build-up when Daniel Juncadella crashed his car on Friday, whilst Pastor Maldonado was last, though he will start ahead of Perez when the Mexican serves his US penalty for crashing into Adrian Sutil. Qualifying - 2014 Brazilian Grand Prix #NoDriver Team Q1Q2Q3 01 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:10.347 1:10.303 1:10.023 02 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:10.457 1:10.712 1:10.056 03 19 Felipe Massa Williams 1:10.602 1:10.343 1:10.247 04 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:10.832 1:10.421 1:10.305 05 22 Jenson Button McLaren 1:11.097 1:11.127 1:10.930 06 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:11.880 1:11.129 1:10.938 07 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:11.134 1:11.211 1:10.969 08 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:11.558 1:11.215 1:10.977 09 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:11.593 1:11.208 1:11.075 10 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:11.193 1:11.188 1:11.099 11 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:11.520 1:11.591   12 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:11.848 1:11.976   13 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:11.943 1:12.099   14 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:11.423     15 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:12.037     16 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:12.040     17 11 Sergio Perez Force 1:12.076     18 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:12.233     http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09533http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09533Caterham turns to crowdfunding for Abu Dhabi returnSat, 08 Nov 2014 08:03:13 GMTThe Caterham F1 Team has turned to its fans in the hope of raising £2.35 million to get the team back on the grid for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix later this month. The outfit recently entered administration and with no sign of a potential buyer yet, the administrators are hoping a crowdfunding platform can help to raise the necessary funds. Fans can donate as little as £10, whilst those donating more will receive special gifts ranging from caps to front-wings. If you've got a little extra cash to hand, you could even have your logo on the side of the car in Abu Dhabi. Interim team principal, Finbarr O’Connell said of the plan: "We are working non-stop to get the Caterham F1 Team back racing, initially in Abu Dhabi, but hopefully that will be just a stepping stone to get it back racing on a permanent basis, under new ownership. "In order to achieve that one of our most useful, innovative and effective options right now is crowdfunding. We want to get as many sponsors and fans as possible involved this week and make our comeback something we can all be part of. This team deserves a future and I’m sure that there are plenty of fans and companies out there that agree with us, so I can’t think of a better way to get us all together and show our support to the team than this one, the Caterham F1 Team #RefuelCaterhamF1 project. "In order to make this happen, we've teamed-up with Crowdcube, the world’s leading crowdfunding platform, which has raised £45m for more than 150 organisations since 2011. If we don’t hit the target by next Friday, obviously the pledged funds will be returned, but right now we are hopeful for the future of the team and we are confident that the team showing the world that it can race again will lead to a bright future under a new owner on a proper financial footing." Darren Westlake, CEO of Crowdcube added: "It's fantastic for Crowdcube to be able to support an iconic team in this way; helping Caterham F1 to continue doing what it does best. This is a unique opportunity for motorsport fans to be directly involved in the sport they love, getting behind the team and playing a part in powering them onto the grid - even putting their name on the car."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09532http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09532FP2: Rosberg stays top in Brazilian GP practiceFri, 07 Nov 2014 18:49:56 GMTNico Rosberg remained on top during second practice for the Brazilian Grand Prix, narrowly beating team-mate Lewis Hamilton to the top spot by two tenths. Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen jumped to third ahead of Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo, whilst Williams duo Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were fourth and fifth respectively. More to follow... FP2 Full Times - 2014 Brazilian Grand Prix: #No.DriverTeamTimeGapLaps 01 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:12.123   36 02 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:12.336 0.213 36 03 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:12.696 0.573 32 04 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:12.956 0.833 24 05 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:13.035 0.912 31 06 19 Felipe Massa Williams 1:13.099 0.976 27 07 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:13.122 0.999 20 08 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:13.254 1.131 35 09 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:13.333 1.210 28 10 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:13.479 1.356 33 11 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:13.497 1.374 33 12 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:13.714 1.591 37 13 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:13.882 1.759 32 14 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:13.902 1.779 25 15 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:14.204 2.081 36 16 22 Jenson Button McLaren 1:14.209 2.086   17 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:17.171 5.048 31 18 11 Sergio Perez Force India No time   5 http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09531http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09531FP1: Rosberg tops opening session ahead of HamiltonFri, 07 Nov 2014 16:10:47 GMTNico Rosberg topped the opening Brazilian Grand Prix practice session ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton on Friday. The session saw Rosberg just over two tenths faster, whilst several drivers struggled to get to grips with the resurfaced Interlagos track. Dani Juncadella, driving Sergio Perez's Force India, was the worst casualty. He hit the barriers at Curva do Laranjihna on lap 17, ending his outing. Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen were just two others of a handful to make similar errors, though both avoided contact with the barriers. The sister Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat however performed well with the Russian taking third behind Hamilton, albiet almost a second slower than Rosberg. Fernando Alonso was fourth ahead of home favourite Felipe Massa. Both Jenson Button and Esteban Gutierrez remained in the pits for almost the entire session due to problems, with both failing to set a timed lap. FP1 Full Times - 2014 Brazilian Grand Prix: #No.DriverTeamTimeGapLaps 01 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:12.764   30 02 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:12.985 0.221 32 03 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:13.723 0.959 39 04 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:13.742 0.978 30 05 19 Felipe Massa Williams 1:13.811 1.047 28 06 38 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:13.827 1.063 26 07 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:14.034 1.270 31 08 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:14.114 1.350 32 09 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:14.136 1.372 30 10 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:14.197 1.433 27 11 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:14.434 1.670 31 12 40 Felipe Nasr Williams 1:14.522 1.758 22 13 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:14.678 1.914 33 14 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:14.902 2.138 24 15 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:15.109 2.345 23 16 34 Daniel Juncadella Force India 1:16.030 3.266 17 17 22 Jenson Button McLaren No time   1 18 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber No time   6 http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09530http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09530Marussia ceases trading, employees laid offFri, 07 Nov 2014 15:39:14 GMTThe Marussia F1 Team has closed its doors for good it seems after administrators in charge of finding a buyer announced on Friday that it had laid off the company's staff. The team entered bankruptcy in October and missed the United States Grand Prix as a result. It was hoped they be back on the grid in Abu Dhabi, but with no viable buyer coming forward, the company has been shut down. FRP Advisory administrator Geoff Rowley said: "It goes without saying that it is deeply regrettable that a business with such a great following in British and world motorsport has had to cease trading and close its doors." Finding a buyer looked hopeful with the FIA including Marussia, under parent company Manor Racing, on the 2015 entry list, however with Friday's deadline passing to find an investor capable of paying the entrance fee, FRP Advisory had no other option but to sack almost 200 employees. Meanwhile Caterham, which entered the sport at the same time in 2010 alongside the already-collapsed HRT, is approaching a deadline to find a buyer after it too entered administration.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09529http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09529F1 likely to change lapped safety car rule for 2015Fri, 07 Nov 2014 11:08:23 GMTThe safety car rules surrounding lapped cars will likely change for 2015, with the teams discussing proposals to amend the regulations during a meeting in Brazil on Friday. Currently lapped cars are allowed to unlap themselves by overtaking the cars ahead, including the safety car, before catching up to the back of the pack. This however takes several laps to complete and therefore the safety car is often out for longer than it's needed to clear an accident. A proposal which is set for discussion at the sporting regulation working group on Friday is for lapped cars to simply drop to the back of the pack, which it's believed would take a single lap. Lapped cars would then be credited an extra lap to ensure they remain on the lead lap and would therefore not be disadvantaged by the rule. Among the safety car rule, other changes are up for discussion including engine penalties and whether they're too harsh at present, whether the five-second driving infringement rule is too lenient and whether or not the FIA should allow the use of current F1 cars to be used in streets demos and events.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09528http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09528Employing Alonso would disturb Williams progress - SymondsFri, 07 Nov 2014 08:36:01 GMTPat Symonds reckons employing Fernando Alonso to drive for Williams would hurt the teams progress which has seen them come from backmarker to frontrunner in a single season. In 2013 the team finished ninth with just five points. At present, with two races remaining, they sit third with 238 points, 42 ahead of Ferrari. Williams has been rumoured as a potential destination for Alonso as he seeks to move on from Ferrari, but Symonds rejected the idea, at least for now, claiming he wouldn't be right for the team at this stage in its recovery. "Our process of creating a winning team is not yet complete," he told Auto Motor und Sport. "We have a few areas that we still need to work on. "For me, Fernando is the best driver in the sport, but he also needs a team around him that can handle him," explained Symonds who worked closely with the Spaniard during their time at Renault. "With Alonso's expectations, the pressure would rise at Williams to an unhealthy level that would disturb the progress the team is making." Meanwhile, McLaren - where many expect Alonso next season - have given the two-time champion a deadline for his decision. Racing director Eric Boullier insists he wants a decision before the final race of the season, otherwise it could be the end of a deal.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09527http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09527Button says accepting new McLaren deal not a givenThu, 06 Nov 2014 21:00:42 GMTJenson Button won't necessarily remain at McLaren or in Formula 1 next season, even if the Woking outfit offer him a new deal. At present, Button doesn't know whether he's coming or going as McLaren have chosen to delay any driver announcements as it seeks to sign Fernando Alonso. With Button being left in the dark for so long, he says simply accepting a new deal isn't a given. "When you are put in a position that many drivers have been in over the year, not sure if your contract is going to be renewed, it opens your eyes to different challenges and different possibilities. "Whether it is racing, whether it is doing another sport, or something different altogether, for me I am excited about the challenges ahead. "I have a lot that I am excited about, a lot of different ideas, whether it is for next year or the year after," he said. Button hinted that he wouldn't walk away from F1 altogether, with many expecting the Briton to take up a pundit role with British broadcaster Sky or BBC. "This is a massive part of my life - F1 and motor racing has been - and it is not going to stop. It will continue. "But I don't know where that is going to be right now. "But I never feel like I am being pushed out of the sport, because I will definitely be in the sport in some shape or form. And it is going to be massively exciting."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09526http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09526Rosberg: 'For me to win, Hamilton needs bad luck'Thu, 06 Nov 2014 17:45:14 GMTNico Rosberg has admitted that he needs a problem or bad luck to strike team-mate Lewis Hamilton if he's to win the 2014 championship. The German sits 24 points adrift of the Briton after coming second at the United States Grand Prix, whilst Hamilton went on to secure a tenth victory to Rosberg's four. With just two races remaining - albeit one of those awarding double points - a double-win for Rosberg wouldn't be enough to close the gap if Hamilton were to finish second at both, therefore he admits "something" needs to happen for him to take victory. "It's clear that I need to rely on something happening," he said on Thursday in Brazil. "For sure there’s not enough for me to win, unfortunately, but that’s the way it is. Anyway, in sport so much can happen, so I'm still very optimistic." If Rosberg were to clinch victory courtesy of the controversial double points, he doesn't believe it would cheapen his title. "I wouldn't respond [to those claiming it would]," he said. "Everybody can have their opinion and in sport it's the points that count in the end and of course, then you can debate who deserved it more or less. That's always going to be the case."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09525http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09525Vettel reckons he's come close to winning this yearThu, 06 Nov 2014 16:44:23 GMTSebastian Vettel is hoping to end his winless streak in Brazil - the scene of his last victory - and reckons the unpredictable weather might give him a chance. The Red Bull driver has played second fiddle to team-mate Daniel Ricciardo this season. Whilst Vettel has failed to stand atop the top step this year, Ricciardo has three victory's to his name. The German hopes the advantage will swing his way in Brazil. "I think the weather forecast looks quite interesting," he said. "If everything goes normal, there's a dry race and you have to expect the Mercedes to win because they have quite a big advantage. "I think there's people that haven't won for a longer time and I think it's part of Formula 1 as well sometimes," he added. The four-time champion believes he could have won a few races this year if things had only been slightly different, such as strategy, but admitted in most cases the win has been out of reach. "I think I had races where if things had gone a little bit different this year I could have won," he said. "Performance-wise, I think we got very close to win in Canada. If I'd pitted a lap later it'd be a different story. "In terms of pace we looked very strong in Singapore as well and in Hungary. But obviously where I was when the Safety Car came out in Hungary, it didn’t really favour me. "We had some races where we were closer; the majority of races, it’s not a secret: the win was out of reach because obviously the Mercedes were so far away."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09524http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09524Sauber confirm Nasr will partner Ericsson in 2015Thu, 06 Nov 2014 08:59:13 GMTSauber will have an all new 2015 driver line-up after confirming that Felipe Nasr will partner the previously confirmed Marcus Ericsson next season. The team also confirmed that Brazilian bank Banco do Brasil - a long-term sponsor of Nasr - will also become a partner, suggesting they are paying for the 22-year-old to race for the team. Nasr has F1 experience with Williams after competing in several FP1 sessions for the team this season in his role as test and reserve driver. The Brazilian is also second in the GP2 championship race with four race wins and won the 2011 British Formula 3 championship. Speaking about the announcement, team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said: "We have been following Felipe’s career path for some time now, and he fully deserves his position in Formula One having had a very successful career in junior categories. "We are happy that he will be driving for our team next year. This means that Brazil will have one more young and talented driver in the sport. "Banco do Brasil has been an important partner for Felipe so far, and we are delighted that such a renowned company is contuing to support him during this important step. We look forward to this partnership." Nasr added: "It is a very important step in my career to sign with the Sauber F1 Team for the 2015 Formula One World Championship. This is an unforgettable moment that I owe to all of those who have supported me - my family, my friends, my sponsors, my teams and my country. Today the dream has come true. "Sauber was responsible for the arrival in F1 of great names such as Felipe Massa, Kimi Raikkonen, Robert Kubica and Sebastian Vettel. I am proud now to also be part of this racing family. I had a wonderful year at Williams Martini, where I learned a lot and prepared myself to be a race driver in Formula One." The news of Ericsson and Nasr's appointment leaves both Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez without a seat for 2015 as both are yet to confirm their plans.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09523http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09523All 11 teams present on official 2015 FIA entry listWed, 05 Nov 2014 22:19:15 GMTThe FIA has published a new entry list for the 2015 Formula 1 season which includes all 11 teams which started the current season, albeit under different names. The current nine teams competing in the championship are present alongside Caterham and Marussia, despite both entering administration last month. Caterham is now listed as CF1 Caterham F1 Team, whilst Marussia is listed under its parent company, Manor F1 Team. The listing would support news that both teams are expected to appear on the grid next season, though the true test will come by the end of November when they must lodge an official entry and make payment, which for Caterham is £308,000 and Marussia, with its two points, paying £314,160. Recently, Marussia reported it was close to securing a deal which would see it back on the grid in time for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09522http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09522Sauber boss unhappy with Mattiacci's commentsWed, 05 Nov 2014 20:36:56 GMTSauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn has criticised Ferrari boss Marco Mattiacci following comments he made about Formula 1's smaller teams. The Italian commented that F1 doesn't need struggling outfits and that he had little sympathy for those that don't have viable business models which allow them to compete financially. Kaltenborn dismissed the comments and believes Ferrari's business model would suffer if the smaller outfits were lost, particularly as Sauber pay Ferrari millions per season for engines. "Wasn't it Marco who also said that he's getting questions on ROI [return on investment] from his partners? How does he plan to keep that going so well with the way things are going here? "What if his partners - who are probably paying a lot - come and say 'What's my return on investment with results? What's my return on investment with viewers going down, with the show not being attractive?' "So I wonder if his business model is going to work if he didn't have the backing of those kind of partners or a manufacturer," she said. "Because I think if the manufacturer wouldn't put that money in there, you would have a business model that is defunct. And I know what I'm talking about."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09521http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09521Hamilton set to negotiate his own long term dealTue, 04 Nov 2014 19:30:38 GMTLewis Hamilton looks set to negotiate a new Mercedes contract personally after confirming he and management company XIX Management have split. The Briton, who currently leads the championship by 24 points to team-mate Nico Rosberg, said he hoped the deal would be "long-term". His now former agent, Simon Fuller, played a role in getting Hamilton to switch from McLaren to Mercedes, but Hamilton is either set to go it alone or find new representation. "I'm quite comfortable doing it [negotiating] myself," Hamilton told the Telegraph. "Nico did his himself, Sebastian [Vettel] did his himself, and there's no reason I couldn't do it myself. Whether or not I will, I haven't decided myself. "I hope to see a long future with this team. Nothing needs to be changed too much."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09520http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09520Mercedes closer to agreeing to engine unfreezeTue, 04 Nov 2014 19:13:15 GMTMercedes are willing to accept the demands of Ferrari, Renault and Honda, which could see the engine freeze lifted temporarily next season. Three of the four engine manufacturers support lifting the freeze on engine development completely to allow for unlimited testing and upgrades, but Mercedes believe it would lead to increased costs. However, during the United States Grand Prix weekend, the German marque moved closer to agreeing to a deal which would see a temporary lift during 2015. It's believed, half-way through the season - around July - a development window will open up, allowing engine manufacturers to introduce a modified power unit. The proposal is set to be discussed further at the Brazilian GP, but Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff hinted that they would go along with it simply to bring an end to the discussions. "If this is the compromise needed to guarantee long-term stability and agree long term we are not going to change the rules every year, that is something we will look at," said the Austrian. "What we have said is we are calculating that, and we are looking at the effect of it. What does it mean financially? What does it mean logistically? "We are a team which needs to deliver eight power units at a time. Honda does two, Ferrari and Renault four. So there's a big difference."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09519http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09519Audi has no short-term plans to enter F1 - UllrichTue, 04 Nov 2014 14:30:36 GMTAudi has no plans to enter Formula 1 in the short-term according to the company's head of sport Wolfgang Ullrich. It had been rumoured that Audi were looking to enter a team in 2016 following the appointment of former-Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali. Ullrich however confirmed Domenicali's role isn't motorsport related and that no decision had been taken with regards to entering F1 in the future. "There is no decision that we are going in that direction," he told Autosport. "Audi has a motorsport programme that at the moment is based on the World Endurance Championship and the DTM, and we are working on the cars for next season. There is no other programme." He also dismissed rumours that Audi had been in contact with Fernando Alonso about heading up their campaign. "Mr Alonso was in our pit at Le Mans this year and that is it - there is no contact," he confirmed.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09518http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09518Smaller teams close to agreeing increased moneyMon, 03 Nov 2014 18:59:48 GMTFormula 1's smaller teams are reportedly close to agreeing a deal which would see them rewarded with a larger slice of the prize money pot. Over the United States Grand Prix weekend, three teams came close to pulling out of the event in defiance over how the sport is run and how teams are rewarded financially. Lotus, Force India and Sauber decided at the last minute to race after CVC Capital Partners co-founder Donald MacKenzie promised to resolve the issue, with or without the support of Bernie Ecclestone. Ecclestone himself admitted he might be to blame for the problems and said the only way to resolve them would be for the larger teams, which receive 'historical bonus' payments regardless of how they're performing, to give up a slice of their income. That idea went down like a lead balloon with Ferrari and Red Bull in particular, though Mercedes were more open to discussing the matter with Ecclestone. Williams and McLaren have yet to comment. MacKenzie however recognises that it's unlikely the 'big five' will renegotiate their contracts and he is therefore willing to give up a small slice of the profits from F1 destined for CVC and distribute them between the smaller teams. CVC need the grid to remain at a healthy number in order to keep F1's value relatively high in the event they come to sell the sport as they're likely to do within the next couple of years, even if it means slightly reduced income. The threat of a boycott remains though should MacKenzie fail to follow through with his promise, with the three aformentioned teams reportedly set to miss the Abu Dhabi GP if a deal isn't agreed before Brazil next week.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09517http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09517Stewards penalise 'reckless' Perez for Sutil clashMon, 03 Nov 2014 12:14:17 GMTSergio Perez was branded "reckless" by the United States Grand Prix stewards following his clash with Kimi Raikkonen and Adrian Sutil which saw himself and the Sauber driver retire from the race. In light of the incident, the stewards imposed a seven-place grid penalty for the Brazilian GP, meaning Perez will start seven places lower than he qualifies for the race. He also had two penalty points added to his racing licence. The Mexican driver attempted an overtake on Sutil on the opening lap, but hit Raikkonen's rear and impacted the side of Sutil who had secured Sauber's best grid position of the season in tenth. The crash ended both their races and a Safety Car had to be deployed to clear the wreckage. After the race, the stewards explained that Perez "could not reasonably have expected to complete the manoeuvre," and branded him "reckless". The Force India driver believed he could have scored points if it hadn't been for the opening lap collision. "What happened today is really unfortunate," he said. "I made a move on Adrian at Turn 15 when he left the door open, so I went up the inside. Then Adrian started to close the door and I had to try and brake later than him. By doing so I was unable to avoid contact with Kimi [Raikkonen], which caused me to make contact with Adrian also. I just didn't expect Kimi to be in that position. "It's a big shame because I had a great chance to keep up my run of points finishes and I was determined to do well in such an important race. I feel very sorry for all my fans who came to support me this weekend and I'm disappointed I could not give them a race to remember."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09516http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09516Vergne drops to tenth with Grosjean crash penaltyMon, 03 Nov 2014 09:12:01 GMTJean-Eric Vergne lost out on his ninth place finish after the race stewards handed him a five-second post-race penalty for colliding with Romain Grosjean. The Toro Rosso driver attempted to pass Grosjean, but ran into the side of the Lotus as he did, causing minor damage to Grosjean's front-wing. Vergne went on to finish tenth, but was promoted to ninth when Pastor Maldonado was also given a five-second penalty for speeding. However Vergne's penalty now swaps those positions around again. Grosjean meanwhile finished 11th but felt he lost out on a points finish as a result of the damage from the incident. "Fighting with JB [Jenson Button] was very very tight but definitely good fun," said the Frenchman, adding: "It was less amusing with Jean-Eric though, he broke my front wing and he broke my rear floor which made the car pretty difficult to drive afterwards. "I wasn’t very happy about that as the incident cost me P8. On the plus side, it’s good to be back in the points with Pastor, it’s just a shame not to have been there too."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09515http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09515Hamilton beats Rosberg to take third US GP winSun, 02 Nov 2014 21:57:51 GMTLewis Hamilton became Britain's most successful Formula 1 driver as he secured his 32nd career victory at the 2014 United States Grand Prix on Sunday. The Mercedes driver had to pass team-mate Nico Rosberg on-track to take the victory - his fifth consecutive win - to further extend his championship lead to 24 points. Rosberg had to make do with second after failing to find an answer for Hamilton's pace, though he only finished some four seconds down the road. Daniel Ricciardo recovered from a poor start to take the final podium place ahead of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas. Fernando Alonso was sixth, whilst Sebastian Vettel came in seventh despite starting from the pit lane. Race Result - 2014 United States Grand Prix: #DriverTeamGapPts 01 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes   25 02 Nico Rosberg Mercedes +4.3 18 03 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull +25.5 15 04 Felipe Massa Williams +26.9 12 05 Valtteri Bottas Williams +30.9 10 06 Fernando Alonso Ferrari +95.2 8 07 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull +95.7 6 08 Kevin Magnussen McLaren +1 lap 4 09 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso +1 lap 2 10 Pastor Maldonado Lotus +1 lap 1 11 Romain Grosjean Lotus +1 lap   12 Jenson Button McLaren +1 lap   13 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari +1 lap   14 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber +1 Lap   15 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso +1 Lap   16 Nico Hulkenberg Force India Retired   17 Sergio Perez Force India Retired   18 Adrian Sutil Sauber Retired   http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09514http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09514Ericsson confirmed as 2015 Sauber driverSat, 01 Nov 2014 23:54:18 GMTCaterham's Marcus Ericsson will race for Sauber next season the Swiss team has confirmed. The Swedish driver is currently without a race seat due to Caterham's financial worries which has led to the team pulling out of the next two events. However Ericsson's short-term future is safe, with Sauber signing the 24-year-old to replace either Adrian Sutil or Esteban Gutierrez next year. "Fresh from a very turbulent week, I was suddenly given my best early Christmas present ever," said Ericsson. "The Sauber F1 Team has put its trust in me for 2015, and it makes me proud, as Sauber is known to be one of the best teams in developing young drivers. "It will be a great challenge. I will give my very best to develop both as a driver, and to be part of the challenge to put the Sauber F1 Team back closer to the front where it belongs." Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn added: "We are pleased to announce this cooperation. We have got to know Marcus as a highly motivated driver. He did not have an easy rookie season this year in Formula One, however, he kept calm and improved continuously, mainly in the last races. "We are convinced that signing Marcus can give the team a fresh impetus."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09513http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09513Financial crisis 'probably my fault' admits EcclestoneSat, 01 Nov 2014 23:37:50 GMTBernie Ecclestone has admitted the financial crisis which has struck Formula 1 recently, leading to the loss of two teams, is probably his fault. The 84-year-old says some bad deals have been made, which seemed good at the time, but have likely led to the problems F1 is experiencing at the moment with too much money going to a select few teams. "The problem is there is too much money probably being distributed badly - probably my fault. But like lots of agreements people make, they seemed a good idea at the time," he explained. If the problem is to be resolved, the leading teams - which receive a larger share of the prize money - need to make some sacrifices according to Ecclestone. "We have to decide the best way to sort this whole thing out," he added. "Frankly, I know what's wrong but don't know how to fix it. "No one is prepared to do anything about it because they can't. The regulations have tied us up. If we were in a position where we could help these teams in trouble, we would do it. But we are not allowed to. They say if you give this team $10,000, everyone has to have $10,000. The trouble with lots of regulations and lots of contracts is that we don't think long-term. "It makes no difference to me how the money is shared out. If they sat down here with me now and said they want to share out all of the money we get in a different way, I would say, 'Good, give me the bit of paper'. "I think the situation is such that if enough people want it resolved, we can resolve it. It's a case of the people that are involved in the sport will have to want to look after the sport and prepared to make some sacrifices." The Britain's hands are tied however as he must negotiate in order to satisfy the sport's owner, CVC Capital Partners, rather than for the good of the sport. "If the company belonged to me I would have done things in a different way because it would have been my money I was dealing with. I work for people who are in the business to make money. "I would tear all the contracts up. Take all the money, pay all the teams' debts that should be paid so people haven't suffered because of Formula One. And people haven't got credit for Formula One. And then say this is what you are going to get next year, this is the amount of money we've got and this is what is going to happen from now on in. It's percentages. "We have to open the eyes of those people in a position to turn the lights on and off to what they need to do because I wouldn't want to be in a position where I was too strong and Formula One disappears and someone says it is because of you it disappeared."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09512http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09512Rosberg beats Hamilton to Austin pole positionSat, 01 Nov 2014 19:26:54 GMTNico Rosberg will start the United States Grand Prix in pole position after comfortably securing the top spot on Saturday. The German outpaced chief rival and team-mate Lewis Hamilton by almost four-tenths, giving Mercedes a 1-2 and putting himself in prime position to challenge Hamilton's points lead. The Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa were third and fourth, albeit almost a second down on Rosberg's pole time. Daniel Ricciardo was the best non-Mercedes powered car in fifth ahead of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso. Jenson Button was seventh, but will serve a gearbox penalty and therefore drops out of the top ten. Kevin Magnussen, Kimi Raikkonen and Sauber's Adrian Sutil completed the top ten. Qualifying - 2014 United States Grand Prix #NoDriver Team Q1Q2Q3 01 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:38.303 1:36.290 1:36.067 02 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:37.196 1:37.287 1:36.443 03 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:38.249 1:37.499 1:36.906 04 19 Felipe Massa Williams 1:37.877 1:37.347 1:37.205 05 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:38.814 1:37.873 1:37.244 06 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:38.349 1:38.010 1:37.610 07 22 Jenson Button McLaren 1:38.574 1:38.024 1:37.655 08 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:38.557 1:38.047 1:37.706 09 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:38.669 1:38.263 1:37.804 10 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:38.855 1:38.378 1:38.810 11 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:38.608 1:38.467   12 11 Sergio Perez Force India 1:39.200 1:38.554   13 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:38.931 1:38.598   14 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:38.936 1:38.699   15 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:39.250     16 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:39.555     17 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:39.621     18 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:39.679     http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09511http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09511Force India aren't ruling out race boycottSat, 01 Nov 2014 19:02:33 GMTForce India are contemplating boycotting the United States Grand Prix in protest at the way the sport is run, confirmed deputy team principal Bob Fernley. Whilst Lotus have dismissed reports they could pull out of the race, Force India, along with Sauber, believe it could be the way to go to highlight the issues in the way the commercial rights holder runs F1. "That's something that would have to be discussed with the team owners, but certainly there are discussions going on," he told Sky Sports F1. "The most important thing is to draw attention to the commercial rights holder, and the five [big] teams, that we have lost two teams and that is through poor management and it was unnecessary. It now threatens the integrity of F1." Fernley highlighted the way in which the five big teams have a say in the rules and therefore, as they're cash rich, they have no interest in budget controls. "This is a programme run by the commercial rights holder and the five empowered and enriched teams which are governing Formula 1," he added. "Force India and other teams have no say and absolutely no knowledge of what is going on - and that is the problem."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09510http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09510FP3: Hamilton dominates final US practice sessionSat, 01 Nov 2014 18:38:28 GMTLewis Hamilton dominated final free practice for the United States Grand Prix on Saturday morning to go almost nine tenths quicker than Nico Rosberg. The Mercedes duo continued to dominate, though struggles for Rosberg meant he was nearer to those behind than Hamilton ahead. The Williams duo were third and fourth whilst Ferrari's Fernando Alonso was fifth quickest. FP3 Full Times - 2014 United States Grand Prix: #No.DriverTeamTimeGapLaps 01 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:37.107   13 02 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:37.990 0.883 15 03 19 Felipe Massa Williams 1:38.214 1.107 19 04 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:38.437 1.330 20 05 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:38.727 1.620 13 06 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:38.927 1.820 16 07 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:38.960 1.853 20 08 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:39.000 1.893 22 09 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:39.143 2.036 17 10 22 Jenson Button McLaren 1:39.241 2.134 22 11 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:39.335 2.228 19 12 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:39.448 2.341 18 13 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:39.561 2.454 21 14 11 Sergio Perez Force India 1:39.582 2.475 21 15 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:39.688 2.581 19 16 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:40.208 3.101 22 17 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:41.443 4.336 12 18 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:43.765 6.658 25 http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09509http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09509Vergne still in frame for 2015 seat confirms TostSat, 01 Nov 2014 11:07:28 GMTJean-Eric Vergne could remain at Toro Rosso in 2015, team principal Franz Tost has confirmed, but there is stiff competition for the seat. The Frenchman looked to have lost any chance of staying with Toro Rosso when the team hired Max Verstappen to race alongside Daniil Kvyat, however with the news that Kvyat would replace Sebastian Vettel, a seat opened up at the Faenza team once again. Vergne, alongside three others, are on the shortlist to take the Toro Rosso seat according to Tost. "The situation is still open," he told the official F1 website. "I think the drivers that are shortlisted for Toro Rosso are: Jean-Eric, Carlos Sainz, Pierre Gasly and Alex Lynn. All four are Red Bull drivers and it will definitely be a Red Bull driver." However he confirmed, that whilst he would like to see Vergne stay, the decision would ultimately fall to Red Bull, with Helmut Marko likely to have the final say. "I am still convinced that Jean-Eric can do a very good job in F1 if he gets a competitive car. He has shown this a couple of times and I personally would like to continue with him - but we have to wait to see what Red Bull decides."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09508http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09508Lotus denies it plans to boycott race over financesSat, 01 Nov 2014 10:59:12 GMTThe Lotus F1 Team has denied it will boycott the United States Grand Prix after reports emerged on Friday that it, along with Force India and Sauber, would refuse to race on Sunday due to the current financial crisis. The boycott is in support of bankrupt Caterham and Marussia, as well as the way prize money is distributed in the sport which favours the bigger teams. However speaking on Friday, Lotus co-owner Gerard Lopez dismissed the report and claimed it was the first he's heard of the plans to boycott the event. "I've just found out about the story now, so my answer is no. I've no idea. I have to say a bit surprised," he said. "I've had a meeting with [the other teams] about the cash distribution and so on, and that's it. I'm not aware of this. I don't even know where this comes from." Lotus's Twitter account also refuted the claims, adding: "For any absence of doubt, we will be racing on Sunday. That's kinda why we're here."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09507http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09507FP2: Hamilton pips team-mate Rosberg by just 0.003Fri, 31 Oct 2014 21:12:10 GMTLewis Hamilton remained top of the times come the end of second practice, but only just. The Briton was just 0.003 ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg. Fernando Alonso was third quickest for Ferrari, albeit a second behind the Mercedes duo. Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo recovered to fourth fastest to go ahead of Williams's Felipe Massa and the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen. Sebastian Vettel opted to save his engine and completed just an installation lap to go slowest, almost five seconds down on Hamilton. FP2 Full Times - 2014 United States Grand Prix: #No.DriverTeamTimeGapLaps 01 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:39.085   18 02 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:39.088 0.003 34 03 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:40.189 1.104 29 04 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:40.390 1.305 30 05 19 Felipe Massa Williams 1:40.457 1.372 36 06 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:40.543 1.458 32 07 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:40.631 1.546 34 08 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:40.641 1.556 38 09 22 Jenson Button McLaren 1:40.698 1.613 36 10 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:40.800 1.715 25 11 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:40.828 1.743 37 12 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:41.054 1.969 31 13 25 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:41.110 2.025 36 14 11 Sergio Perez Force India 1:41.123 2.038 35 15 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:41.158 2.073 37 16 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:41.332 2.247 33 17 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:41.420 2.335 34 18 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:43.980 4.895   http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09506http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09506Potential buyers in contact with Caterham administratorsFri, 31 Oct 2014 19:07:07 GMTThe administrators in charge of the Caterham F1 Team are confident of finding a buyer which could allow the team to take part in the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi. Smith & Williamson confirmed in a statement that they have been approached by interested parties with the necessary funding to secure the team's future. "We have received several expressions of interest from parties with the financial strength to fund a F1 race team. These conversations are ongoing. "We believe this approach will maximise the assets of the broader Caterham F1 team and so enable the best outcome for creditors and other stakeholders, including employees of 1MRT." It also confirmed that should a deal fail to materliase for the end of the season, they wouldn't give up on finding a buyer for the 2015 season. "We remain in conversation with a number of credible, interested parties regarding the sale of the historic Caterham F1 racing team. "Our current strategy is to seek a buyer that will allow the team to compete in the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi on 23 November 2014 and we are doing all we can to make that happen. "However, if a deal cannot be finalised in time, then the strategy is to secure a buyer to allow the team to compete in the 2015 F1 championship."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09505http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09505FP1: Hamilton tops opening practice for US GPFri, 31 Oct 2014 18:50:39 GMTLewis Hamilton sailed to the top of the timesheets during first practice for the United States Grand Prix, three-tenths ahead of team-mate Nico Rosberg. McLaren's Jenson Button was third quickest, with Kevin Magnussen fourth, split only by the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat. Fernando Alonso was sixth ahead of Sebastian Vettel - who will start from the pitlane on Sunday - whilst Williams stand-in Felipe Nasr was eighth. Max Verstappen had his second outing for Toro Rosso and went tenth fastest, just a tenth off Nico Hulkenberg. The reduced grid of 18 cars meant Romain Grosjean was slowest for Lotus. FP1 Full Times - 2014 United States Grand Prix: #No.DriverTeamTimeGapLaps 01 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:39.941   28 02 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:40.233 0.292 32 03 22 Jenson Button McLaren 1:40.319 0.378 27 04 26 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:40.887 0.946 33 05 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:40.987 1.046 29 06 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:41.065 1.124 27 07 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:41.463 1.522 20 08 40 Felipe Nasr Williams 1:41.545 1.604 19 09 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:41.722 1.781 24 10 38 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:41.785 1.844 32 11 19 Felipe Massa Williams 1:41.907 1.966 21 12 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:41.965 2.024 23 13 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:42.329 2.388 28 14 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:42.333 2.392 23 15 11 Sergio Perez Force India 1:42.359 2.418 23 16 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:42.516 2.575 24 17 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:42.598 2.657 5 18 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:43.229 3.288 26 http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09504http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09504FIA tweaks qualifying format for 18-car gridThu, 30 Oct 2014 22:25:49 GMTThe FIA has changed the qualifying format for the United States Grand Prix following the loss of both Caterham and Marussia. With a reduced grid of just 18 cars, four less than usual, only the slowest four will drop out in Q1 and Q2 instead of six, leaving ten for the final pole position shoot-out. "Having regard to the principles established in the Formula 1 sporting regulations article 33.1, the stewards decide that the slowest four cars in Q1 will [be] prohibited from taking any further part in the session, and the slowest four cars in Q2 will likewise be prohibited from taking any further part in the session," confirmed a statement. Meanwhile, the stewards referred both Caterham and Marussia to FIA president Jean Todt for punishment as both have failed to show for the US GP. "In view of the Team's current financial circumstances, the Stewards also decide not to impose any penalty. Because of the particular nature of the breach, the matter is referred to the attention of the FIA President."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09503http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09503Domenicali joins Audi 'to develop new business areas'Thu, 30 Oct 2014 16:53:18 GMTFormer Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali will officially join Audi on November 1st, a spokesperson at the German company told GPUpdate.net. The Italian was in charge of Ferrari's F1 activities from 2008 to 2014 when he resigned and was replaced by Marco Mattiacci. It's been rumoured that Audi, a subsidiary of Volkswagen, is set to join the F1 grid in 2016 as part of a plan to expand its motorsport activites. The company was also present during meetings about F1's 2014 power units and supported the case for the current hybrid units. A spokesperson also hinted that Domenicali would help to develop a new business area for Audi, potentially the rumoured F1 team. "Inside the AUDI AG, Stefano Domenicali will be responsible for the development of new business areas in services and mobility, that are complementary to the existing activities of AUDI AG," said the spokesman. "With his previous professional career, he has ideal conditions to support, in his field of activity, the successful internationalisation course of the AUDI AG." At present, Audi competes in the World Endurance Championship and Germany's DTM.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09502http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09502F1 to trial 'virtual safety car' during US practiceThu, 30 Oct 2014 16:32:59 GMTThe FIA will trial a virtual safety car after first and second practice for the United States Grand Prix on Friday, in response to Jules Bianchi's accident. The system is aimed at ensuring drivers stick to a certain speed through each sector by way of a delta time which is believed to be about 35 per cent slower than a dry lap. For example, a lap of the Circuit of the Americas is around 1 minute 40 seconds, therefore drivers would be forced to lap the circuit at 2 minutes 15 seconds if the entire circuit is covered by the limit. It's aimed at avoiding a safety car for each and every incident because of the delay this incurs when lapped cars are released. Drivers will be aided by a dashboard display which will alert them if they're going too quickly, which would also result in a severe penalty to ensure drivers stick to the enforced limit. It's not clear exactly how the system will operate; whether it will be circuit wide or limited to one or more sectors depending on the severity of the incident. The FIA is due to discuss the system in more detail with the teams following Friday's trial. It isn't expected to be implemented fully until the 2015 season however.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09501http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09501F1 budgets: Who's spending the most per point?Thu, 30 Oct 2014 15:36:07 GMTWith the current cost crisis sweeping its way through the sport - something that's more obvious than ever with the collapse of two teams; Caterham and Marussia, in the last week - we take a look at just how much each team is spending and what it's getting them. The table below shows a simplified account of what each team spends per season. Mercedes and Ferrari are both unique in the fact they have an engine operation as well as a team. These two figures have been separated, whilst the engine development costs haven't been factored into the 'cost-per'point' calculation. The table shows that Red Bull, despite a troubled start to the season, outspent all of its rivals, with Mercedes coming close, albeit almost £50 million down on the energy drink-owned giant. Mercedes has the second largest budget of the 11 teams. But its runaway success this year means it's getting a point for every £350,000 it spent with three races still remaining. Sauber and Marussia have spent the most, with the least return as neither are yet to score this season, whilst Marussia with its two points courtesy of Jules Bianchi Monaco means it has spent a whopping £35m for each of them. Williams return to form sees them spending around half a million per point, which is second only to Mercedes, despite a budget of almost half, putting it sixth in the overall expenditure column. F1 Budgets (Total: £1.68bn): #TeamBudgetEnginePointsCost-Per-Point 01 Red Bull £240m N/A 342 £701,754 02 Mercedes £195m £140m 565 £345,132 03 Ferrari £175m £100m 188 £930,851 04 McLaren £190m N/A 143 £1,328,671 05 Lotus £130m N/A 8 £16,250,000 06 Williams £105m N/A 216 £486,111 07 Force India £100m N/A 123 £813,008 08 Sauber £90m N/A 0 £N/A 09 Toro Rosso £90m N/A 29 £3,103,448 10 Marussia £70m N/A 2 £35,000,000 11 Caterham £60m N/A 0 £N/A * calculations based on estimates, accounts and guidance from Autosport Magazine.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09500http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09500Mercedes not talking to any other drivers - WolffThu, 30 Oct 2014 14:47:25 GMTMercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff has confirmed the team won't engage in talks with other drivers until they have a firm decision from Lewis Hamilton with regards his future after 2015. The Briton's current deal expires at the end of next season, but he and the team have agreed to postpone contract talks until the title fight has been decided. If they fail to agree an extension, only then will Mercedes begin talks with rival drivers, but not before, confirmed the Austrian. "We have a contract with both our drivers for 2015," said Wolff. "We want to continue with the current line-up because these two boys are part of the success of the team. "They have known each other so well and they respect each other. The moment you get somebody else in that fight, it could be detrimental to the team's performance. "Therefore our main priority is to continue with Lewis and with Nico [Rosberg] beyond 2015." Fernando Alonso has reportedly informed Mercedes that he wishes to replace Hamilton for 2016 should they fail to keep the Briton. It's believed such a deal has the backing of Bernie Ecclestone, but the pressure of hiring the Spaniard isn't getting to Wolff. "There is no such pressure," he explained. "I think one of the reasons why this team has progressed forward is that we are Mercedes-Benz and we have this huge mother ship in the back ground helping us. "They are also leaving us to the do the business and take the decisions that are the right ones for this tiny little entity, this tiny little unit for Mercedes. "We can call their opinions when we think it is important and Dr. [Dieter] Zetsche and the board are part of the decision-making process, but there is no pressure."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09499http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09499Bianchi remains 'critical but stable' confirm familyThu, 30 Oct 2014 14:24:37 GMTMarussia driver Jules Bianchi remains "critical but stable" according to an update provided by his family on Thursday. The Frenchman was involved in an accident almost four weeks ago at the Japanese Grand Prix in which he suffered a serious head trauma. His family admitted there was little to offer in the way of news, but felt it right to release an update on their son's conditions. "It will be four weeks this coming Sunday since Jules' accident and he remains in the Mie General Medical Center in Yokkaichi," said the statement. "His condition continues to be classified by the medical professionals here as critical but stable. "Although we have no new information to give, we recognise that there are a huge number of people all around the world who are supporting Jules and willing him on in his fight. "We owe it to his many fans to acknowledge the continued outpouring of messages, and to provide some information, however brief it may be." He will remain in Japan for treatment his family confirmed, dismissing some reports that he woulc be relocated to France. "Jules does indeed continue to fight. Although there have been some reports suggestive of plans for Jules' treatment, at this time his fight will continue here in Yokkaichi. We are taking things step by step. "Once again, we would like to offer our sincere appreciation for the patience and understanding being shown towards our family at this very difficult time. "We also continue to be comforted by the knowledge that Jules is receiving the best possible care at the Mie General Medical Centre, with the doctors here remaining in constant contact with the neurosurgeons at the University La Sapienza of Rome, and Professor Gerard Saillant, president of the FIA Medical Commission. "We will provide a further update when it is appropriate to do so. In the meantime, thank you to everyone who continues to keep Jules in their thoughts and prayers."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09498http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/0949818-year-old Ocon impresses on Ferrari test debutThu, 30 Oct 2014 09:44:25 GMTEsteban Ocon completed his second Formula 1 test in a week and managed to impress during both, with Ferrari admitting they were surprised by his performance. It comes just a week after Ocon tested for Lotus - his first F1 experience - in which they described his talent as "exceptional". The 18-year-old European Formula 3 champion drove an F10 at Ferrari's Fiorano facility - a prize for securing the title in his first season. Overseeing the session was the head of the Ferrari Driver Academy, Luca Baldisserri, who had this to say about the Frenchman. "It's always very exciting for us engineers to be there when a young driver gets behind the wheel of a Ferrari Formula 1 car for the first time, because even if we are used to working with rookies, it's a real surprise to see someone to take to the track, showing a level of professionalism as demonstrated by Esteban today. "Despite it being his first time in one of our cars, he tackled the test without making any mistakes and was quick right from the start. "It's not an easy task, especially on an emotional level, because I reckon that driving a Ferrari is a dream for anyone who wants to be a professional racing driver and we hope that today's good results are a good sign for his future." Ocon said he was honoured to have had the opportunity to not only drive a Ferrari, but to witness the 'history and tradition' at their Maranello factory. "It was great to walk around the premises of a great company like Ferrari. Only by being here can you get an idea of how much history and tradition you can sense from the place," he said. "I am very honoured to have had this opportunity.The track is very nice, very technical and varied and the car provides plenty of excitement with all its power and the way it responds immediately to driver input. "I would like to thank all the mechanics and the team which supported me and I hope this day will prove useful for my future as a racing driver."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09497http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09497Video: Construction of Haas F1 Team facilityWed, 29 Oct 2014 22:27:14 GMT Three hundred and thirty-nine days of construction has been neatly packaged into about two minutes. This time-lapse video of the Haas F1 Team facility being built contains 240,000 frames of video per second.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09496http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09496Vettel 'very likely' to start US GP from pit laneWed, 29 Oct 2014 18:28:16 GMTSebastian Vettel admits it's very likely he'll skip qualifying for the United States Grand Prix and start from the pit lane because of the power unit regulations. The Red Bull driver is currently on his fifth internal combustion engine and is likely to replace the entire unit and hybrid systems. Should he do so, the regulations stipulate that he must start from the pits. "I think it's to be confirmed, but, yes, we have to [use an] extra engine at some stage this year and very likely at this event here," he explained. "Obviously we had quite a bad first half of the season in terms of reliability, with a lot of things happening, and that put us in that position. Practice we will definitely run to try to maximise the track time, but more focus towards the race because qualifying fast is not that important if it comes down to Sunday when we start from the pit lane due to the regulations. "Of course we would like to do more but as I said we will use practice and see where we are and go from there. The rules are pretty clear, once you decide to play the joker and take a sixth part, a sixth engine, sixth turbo etc. - all the pieces - you have to start from the pit lane. Even if you qualify on pole you have to start from the pit lane, so that's why instead of burning mileage in qualifying which you may then regret later on in Brazil or Abu Dhabi, where we might not see the finish line, that would be a lot more costly than deciding here not to qualify." Austin circuit's co-founder Bobby Epstein called the decision a "shame", but Vettel says it's a necessary move to ensure they can make it to the end of the season on just six units. "You can talk about obligations but in the end we have to manage the situation with the engines. The rules are the same for everyone, obviously it was our fault being very greedy at the beginning of the season; I had a lot of issues in terms of reliability, taking the engines to the end of their lives."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09495http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09495Renault 'concerned' about reliability at US Grand PrixWed, 29 Oct 2014 18:16:28 GMTThe United States Grand Prix poses a serious challenge for reliability at this stage of the season, according to Renault's Remi Taffin. The event is particularly straining on the power unit and its hybrid systems, and with just three races left and many drivers having used up all their allowed spares, penalties could begin to play a role in the race outcome. "Now we enter the final three races, reliability starts to become an overriding concern so having such a challenging circuit at this point in the year makes everyone a little nervous," said Taffin. Sebastian Vettel is all but guaranteed to use a sixth Internal Combustion Engine for the race and will likely start toward the back of the grid as a result. Other drivers are in a similar position. Taffin though is hopeful they can put checks in place to ensure they get the most from the remaining mileage on the units. "Mileage on each part is high and putting each through its paces means we'll have a very busy weekend to check everything over and safeguard against any issues. "In most cases we have enough flexibility to play around, plus we also have the confidence of knowing our performance and how to fully exploit it."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09494http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09494Fernandes blames 'big teams' for Caterham downfallWed, 29 Oct 2014 15:58:21 GMTFormer Caterham F1 Team owner Tony Fernandes has placed some of the blame for Caterham's downfall on the bigger teams in the sport. The Malaysian businessman reckons the huge budgets teams like Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull operate on make it impossible for smaller outfits to survive and sooner or later those at the back will have to close down. "People can blame whoever, but the big teams are as much at fault as anyone," he told Sky Sports. "The gap has become way too big and it's money. And so I thought, 'Well, I can't compete'. But I can compete at QPR; I can compete at Air Asia. "Rather than continue something where I thought, one, I wasn't able to give it as much time as possible, two, I thought we were on a beating to none anyway, you've got to be brave and say 'Look, we screwed up. You can't compete; you thought you could and time to leave'. "The sport has to examine itself as well. Ultimately we couldn't carry on and we would have eventually gone into administration anyway or closed down the team." Whilst admitting motorsport is over for him as a potential business, he will support administrators as they seek a new buyer for the Caterham team. "There are people who want to go racing, for different reasons and Caterham has everything there to do it. There may even be teams within F1 who want a second team - a Red Bull/Toro Rosso situation. So we'll give it maximum support but it's not something I want to get involved in anymore. You've got to immerse yourself in it. Racing's over for me."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09493http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09493Haas hire ex-Anheuser-Busch marketing managerTue, 28 Oct 2014 21:39:24 GMTThe Haas F1 Team has received a huge boost ahead of its 2016 debut with the hiring of former Anheuser-Busch marketing manager Adam Jacobs. The American outfit is hoping Jacobs will not only help to attract big name brands as potential sponsors and help to spread the Haas brand, but will also help promote F1 throughout America where its popularity lags behind Europe and Asia. "It's a great opportunity to develop and launch a global brand in an organisation led by someone as driven and accomplished as Gene Haas," said Jacobs. "With strong support and leadership already in place, Haas F1 Team is clearly positioned for success. I look forward to helping shape the ways we achieve that success on and off the racetrack. "One of our key objectives as the only American F1 team is to help grow the sport domestically," he explained. "With the massive global reach of Formula One, Haas F1 Team is also uniquely positioned to provide a platform for brands seeking to grow their businesses in key markets abroad." Jacobs previously headed up marketing at beer giant Anheuser-Busch and oversaw Budweiser's motorsport programme and other various sports sponsorship initiatives. He also has experience working in sport as director of marketing at the NFL's St. Louis Rams and briefly worked in IndyCar. "Adam came highly recommended to Haas F1 Team and he brings a wealth of sports marketing experience to our organization," added Haas F1 Team COO Joe Custer. "The projects Adam has overseen are global in scope, involving numerous partners and constituencies. He's built great relationships during his career and we’re proud to have him at Haas F1 Team."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09492http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09492Mercedes engine deal too good to pass on - LotusTue, 28 Oct 2014 15:44:17 GMTThe opportunity to have a Mercedes engine in the back of their car next season was too good of a deal to pass on according to Lotus's Gerard Lopez. The outfit will switch from Renault to rival unit Mercedes next year after inking a multi-year deal. The team will become the German marque's third customer, replacing McLaren which will switch to Honda power. Speaking to Autosport, Lopez believes Mercedes will still be the best option next year, though he expects rivals including Renault to have caught up a little. "Clearly Mercedes has the engine; we expect them to continue having it - they've just done a better job," he said. "We were one of the rare independent teams that could have access to that engine," explained Lopez. "I think for the team it was the right choice." Lopez highlighted Renault's focus on Red Bull and Toro Rosso as a good reason to jump ship as they have very little say in how the unit is developed and what areas are focused on. "Renault has struggled clearly this season. I don't think they will struggle as much next year, but neither do I think they will catch up to Mercedes that fast, and so for us it was a pure performance decision. "I think Renault has already been focusing quite a bit on one team, or at least two teams, in terms of rolling road testing and so on. "It's the way it is and for sure [the switch] is good for us."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09491http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09491Kobayashi and Ericsson break Caterham silenceMon, 27 Oct 2014 22:02:56 GMTKamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson have broken their silence following news that Caterham will not take part in the United States Grand Prix and the following Brazilian GP. The team entered administration last week following a dispute between Tony Fernandes and Engavest SA, with the administrator eventually taking control of the team and withdrawing it from racing until a buyer can be found. Kobayashi took a moment to apologise to the fans for the  "Unfortunately, due to team's situation, I will not able to race in United States GP and Brazilian GP," he posted on Facebook. "I am very sorry for the fans looking forward [to] those races. "I am carefully observing the situation, I will evaluate possibilities and make [the] best choice for my future." Team-mate Ericsson, who's money secured him a seat and helped to fund the team, added: "Turbulent times. A lot of things going on a the moment. But I'm pushing on as usual and keeping my spirit high."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09490http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09490Brothers submit 'serious offer' to buy MarussiaMon, 27 Oct 2014 17:39:09 GMTBritish-Indian brothers Baljinder Sohi and Sonny Kaushal are in negotiations to rescue the beleaguered Marussia F1 Team following confirmation the outfit has gone into administration. Marussia became the second team in just over a week to declare bankruptcy and will miss the United States Grand Prix alongside closest rival Caterham, which has also confirmed it won't be present at the Brazilian GP either. The brothers, who made their money in the steel industry, are close to securing a deal according to Sohi, with a reported £55 million ($89m) offer on the table. "We are very close to a deal," he told the Telegraph's Daniel Johnson. "But it has to be the right price. We have put in a serious offer and we will see what happens." The negotiations are ongoing, but it's believed current owner Andrei Cheglakov is holding out for upwards of £65m ($105m) which includes covering the team's current debt which stands at £30m ($48m). According to various sources, the brothers are serious about taking over the team and ensuring it competes in 2015. At present, Marussia lie 9th in the constructors' standings and are set to land almost £40m ($65m) in prize money, compared to just £6m ($10m) for finishing in last in 2013.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09489http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09489Marussia goes into administration, ruled out of USGPMon, 27 Oct 2014 11:48:17 GMTIt has been confirmed that Marussia will not be present at the United States Grand Prix this weekend, with administrators having been appointed to oversee the team. Bernie Ecclestone confirmed last week that he believed neither Caterham or Marussia would travel to Austin for the race. Whilst Caterham confirmed that to be true, Marussia had remained silent until Monday when administrators, FRP Advisory LLP, confirmed the team lacks the funds to continue racing. "With the existing shareholder unable to provide the required level of funding, the senior management team has worked tirelessly to bring new investment to the team to secure its long term future," said Geoff Rowley, joint administrator. "But regrettably has been unable to do so within the time available. Therefore, they have been left with no alternative but to place the company into administration." No redundancies have been made and the administrators are continuing to search for potential investment or buyers, added the statement. "Following Austin, there are two further rounds of the 2014 championship remaining, in Sao Paulo and Abu Dhabi, and the team's participation in those races will depend on the outcome of the administration process and any related negotiations with interested parties in what is a very limited window of opportunity. "No redundancies have been made following the company's entering into administration and all staff have been paid in full to the end of October. The ongoing staff position will however be dependent on whether the company can secure new investment in the limited time available. "We remain highly focused on engaging with interested parties."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09488http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09488What does the future hold for Red Bull?Sun, 26 Oct 2014 22:18:43 GMTLet us rewind 12 months almost to the day, to the slightly smoggy landscape of the Buddh International Circuit. The Indian Grand Prix had just reached its conclusion, and the smog indeed was now supplemented by no little tyre smoke, as one Sebastian Vettel in his Red Bull let rip with burning up the black stuff via a few doughnuts on the pit straight. He’d just taken his fourth world drivers’ title, and was marking it with a display of even less constrained joy than usual. More pointedly it was his sixth win on the bounce, amid one of those periodic F1 spells wherein it was impossible to envisage anyone else winning a Grand Prix. Indeed he helped himself to the remaining three races of that campaign too with minimal opposition. How things change, and change quickly, you might be thinking.  At that point too last autumn I got a little speculative as to where it all might end. Not to wish Red Bull or Vettel ill, but rather that it's an inevitability. As George Harrison once noted all things must pass.  It’s the way of F1 too, and we’ve seen it repeatedly. And looking through the history books we encounter a few common associated themes.  One common theme is technical regulation changes, and for 2014 we had probably the biggest all-in that the sport has experienced between seasons. Such shifts force everyone to technical base camp and someone else can either by luck or judgement get it right more quickly. Another theme is that it is inevitable that sooner or later key people have to be replaced. If you’re really unlucky a succession of key people can leave in short order.  And whaddayaknow, for Red Bull this year the former knocked the team off its perch. The latter meanwhile for next campaign has the potential to kick the Bulls further away from it. Of all the many impending changes in F1 for 2015 – the overhaul at Ferrari, how Vettel does in his new abode, whichever pastures Fernando Alonso might end up in, the entrance of Honda – perhaps attention has been taken away from another, particularly fascinating, conundrum. That of whither Red Bull. In the season we’re in Red Bull did indeed encounter regulation change peril; the shift in territory exposing a weak flank that we didn’t know existed. In the previous age while Red Bull had much success with its engine supplier Renault, the relationship was rather arm’s length. In an aero formula wherein engines were well known – indeed the sport wasn’t far off a spec formula in that sense – you could get away with a plug in and go approach. But of course in 2014 the world changed, and engines sky-rocketed in importance. Red Bull it seems didn’t adapt, or at least not nearly enough, and what it produced was a world away from Mercedes and its much-lauded planning for months and years with chassis and power unit developed in careful unison. It was of course Ross Brawn at Merc who was more responsible for this than anyone, and in his words having observed the Jerez pre-season test in January, you suspect that the inauspicious Red Bull effort on show then was somewhere near the front of his mind: ‘If you approached it like the old days – just take the engine, plug it in, stick a gearbox on the back of it and stick it on the track – you’ll have a nightmare’ he said, ‘God help those who have not been on the dyno in representative conditions. ‘I remember the problems we had when we put an engine and gearbox and all the other gubbins on a dyno and tried to get the whole thing to run properly – all the energy recovery systems and all the rest. The first few months were a nightmare. Some teams are having problems now: but at what point on that curve are they?’ But perhaps now one year on the Milton Keynes collective is encountering the other common theme in great teams entering a trough after a peak. Namely key figures leaving. That it happened isn’t a surprise – as intimated it’s inevitable sooner or later. But it was harder to foresee that it would happen so quickly. Head of Aero Peter Prodromou’s departure we knew about at the same moment as the fourth title was clinched (indeed it was confirmed around a fortnight before), and it turned out to be the thin end of the wedge. Red Bull's phoenix has had three heads: Vettel-Newey-Horner. All of a sudden having for years looked firmly ensconced two of them are going. Thus leaving Christian Horner for the first time in the mighty team’s existence to unravel the knotted issue of succession.  As ever in the Red Bull case there are echoes from history, such as with Brabham losing most of its crucial people in an eye blink in the mid-eighties, and similar happening to Benetton in the mid-nineties. Then the sport’s preceding dominant force to the Bulls, the Ferrari 'dream team', splintered in no time around about the 2006-2007 mark. None of them returned to their former glories. And like Ferrari many of those departing apparently are seeking new challenges; absurd though it may sound it’s almost as if they got bored of winning.  The wooing of Adrian Newey by Ferrari threatened to at last be successful. In response the Bulls did the only thing they could – employ the nuclear option: offering Newey a role shift that amounted to that if Red Bull couldn’t have him on the F1 front line then neither could anyone else. Vettel was similarly tempted (it seems) by Maranello’s unique charms, as well as more generally by the prospect of fleeing the nest; proving it ‘on his own’. Seb is one conscious of his reputation and his place in history. And you’d have thought piecing together the Ferrari fragments just as his forerunner Michael Schumacher is credited with doing played its part in ensnaring him.  It doesn’t end there either. The afore-mentioned Peter Prodromou is now at McLaren. Vettel’s chief mechanic Kenny Handkammer has departed too, reportedly due to pop up at Ferrari also. And without wishing to sound melodramatic the risks here could even be definitive. Not so much whither Red Bull, but whether Red Bull. If we take the Benetton case referenced – an outfit with many parallels, particularly in that it is a company not in F1 as its core activity – after losing Schumi, Brawn et al to the self-same Ferrari that squad entered a gentle and as it turned out terminal decline. The company quietly withdrew a few years later, having long since lost interest. And what of its two drivers? Red Bull for the second year on the bounce is growing its own, this time filling the Vettel-shaped vacancy with Daniil Kvyat straight from his freshman Toro Rosso campaign. No biggie you might think given the Red Bull drivers’ respective results this season but even with this Sebastian Vettel remained the fulcrum. And as for Daniel Ricciardo, while he has been excellent this year, the transition from happy-go-lucky kid for whom everything is a surprise to team leader who is expected to provide the lantern to lead the squad from the gloom isn’t necessarily a straightforward one. Niki Lauda, typically shooting from the hip, reckoned in Suzuka that Red Bull will indeed be weaker for the change: ‘It pleases me because I think the (Mercedes) driver couple of Hamilton and Rosberg is now even stronger, because this year it’s Ricciardo who is doing a perfect job and Vettel, they were the strongest pair in the other teams. And now it’s Ricciardo and Kvyat, I mean Kvyat is an upcoming, young, less experienced and very quick driver, but if he’s able to pick up the Vettel position in no time I doubt. So I think we have an even better driver (pairing), the two guys against Red Bull now.’ Thus the challenges for the team – perhaps critical ones – are there. But so too are there reasons to not even get close to writing Red Bull off. And overarching among these is that even though its crowns were relinquished in 2014, and the wins total nose-dived, there was still much to admire. The team can claim to have gone a long way towards converting a pumpkin into a gilded carriage. One is that compared to the team’s starting point in pre-season getting a comfortable second in the constructors’ battle with three wins to its name represents not just a major achievement but a minor miracle. Its pre-season testing running as intimated was like something from a wacky inventor, repeated and immediate conking out before disappearing back to the shed for a lengthy round of head-scratching. And while fingers can be (and were) pointed  at Renault, it seems that Red Bull at least created a few problems all by itself, as evidenced from that only Lotus (which missed the first test) completed fewer miles than the Bulls among those with French power. Indeed Caterham did close to twice the distance. After the second test indeed Edd Straw of Autosport opined that if round one was taking place there and then the Milton Keynes cars would qualify nowhere and would do well to cover a third of the race's distance without conking out. No wonder that Christian Horner reckoned in Sochi where the constructors’ crown was passed finally to Mercedes that: ‘considering where we started in pre-season, to even have taken it this far is a result in itself.’  Add in that while the Renault undoubtedly improved as the season went on, the unit clearly didn’t provide anything like the horses that the Merc did. Red Bulls rarely have been good through speed traps but seeing them left on the straights by the Merc-powered cars, almost like Cosworth versus turbo from the early ‘80s, has been a frequent feature this season.  And even with the Merc wiping the floor this year, the smart view is that the Red Bull chassis remains the one to have. Indeed even among its pre-season struggles Jenson Button observing close at hand was wowed by the RB10’s high speed cornering. Then an observing Mark Hughes at the opening round in Melbourne noted that: ‘Several cars are suffering from a pattering effect of their rear ends under braking…There’s an exception to this though, a car that has braking stability and corner entry downforce that’s of a different order to anything else – and it’s the Red Bull. Whenever Renault Sport gets that engine anywhere near as good as the Mercedes motor, the RB10 is gone.’ The evidence remains that the team’s mighty technical abilities were not diluted in 2014. Whether of course this can be maintained in the post-Newey age is the crucial factor though. And unlike just about any other technical head of the modern age Newey was not merely an organiser and delegator but a conceptualist. That he’s to pen next year’s car before stepping back should at least make the adaptation less severe however. And most significantly Red Bull is focussing heavily on negating its gaping weakness, mainly via learning the lessons from the Mercedes operation that defeated it. This is in pulling the engine programme closer to it, including creating an engine support division at its Milton Keynes base.  It is clear from Helmut Marko’s words last month that something akin to what Mercedes (and Ferrari) has is what the Bulls are actively working towards.  ‘We are right now in the process of strengthening the technical cooperation to race at eye level with Mercedes in 2015’ he said.  ‘In times where the power unit is key to success you have to focus on the most promising option. Remember: this season we had four different engine adaptions for the chassis. Next season there will only be one – the one that Red Bull Racing is creating with Renault – and the others have to take it one-to-one. ‘That is the most efficient solution. Mercedes is proving that model very successfully – they only have one power unit version and the same goes for Ferrari.’ In case we didn’t get the message, Marko muttered too that until ‘very recently’ Lotus was the ‘secret darling of Renault’. With Lotus dumping Renault for Mercedes and Caterham’s future uncertain it looks even literally that Red Bull and its B team will have the supplier’s undivided attention. As for what he can promise for next year, Marko said: ‘That we will have a better test season and that we will have more power…We have proven this season that even with a striking power deficit we can compete successfully, and it shouldn’t be all that bad next year.’ Furthermore even with the changes in individuals outlined much of the culture that made the squad so formidable remains presumably. This includes its inimitable swagger, seen most recently with the swift way it took control of the post-Vettel drivers’ market before cranking up the insouciance by Horner in effect making Ferrari’s driver announcement for it. Outwardly there is no sign either of the outfit’s astonishing drive and motivation being diminished.  And at the broadest level the Milton Keynes operation is one that frequently takes pleasure in proving the naysayers wrong. Every year going back to 2010 was meant to be the one that Red Bull got back into its box. Despite the loss of the championships this year, this has yet to happen. If recent experiences of F1 have taught us anything, it’s that if you are to be tempted to write Red Bull obituaries, you need to be careful that reports of its death were not indeed greatly exaggerated. ‘We’ll be fighting very hard to get it (the title) back next year’ added Horner in Sochi. Knowing what we do of the operation, you can take that as something of a guarantee. http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09487http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09487Teams agreed to supply rivals with spare cars - EcclestoneSun, 26 Oct 2014 11:33:09 GMTBernie Ecclestone claims that contracts signed by the larger teams in Formula 1 could result in them supplying cars to rival outfits in order to keep the grid from shrinking further. Whilst the idea of third cars is widely known, Ecclestone has revealed that the third cars would be run by rivals, rather than the team which has designed it. Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, the 83-year-old gave an example of how it might work. "They would supply a third car to someone else so if, for example, Sauber disappeared, a team could do a deal with Sauber. Ferrari could say, 'we will give you a car, all that goes with it, and we want you to put this sponsor on it. You have your own sponsors but we want you to include this one as well and we want you to take this driver'. "The team wouldn't have to go under then would they? If Red Bull decided they would give a car to Caterham for example that could solve their problem." It's believed 16 cars must race at any event before contracts are broken with race organisers, therefore this weekend's United States Grand Prix should go ahead with 18 cars present. However Ecclestone's contracts with the teams states that should the grid fall below 20 cars - giving him a slight buffer - then third cars would be activated, but only once a team has missed more than two races. Therefore third cars would likely not happen until 2015 if both Caterham and Marussia fail to survive as seems likely with both having now appointed administrators. "We don't have to introduce a third car at this stage because they can miss a couple of races. They lose any money they would have got for those races but they don't lose their position in the championship. I have no idea if Marussia are going to make it in the long run. It's better if they didn't have to go into administration," he added.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09486http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09486Marussia to miss US Grand Prix confirms EcclestoneSat, 25 Oct 2014 11:29:52 GMTMarussia are set to join Caterham in missing the United States Grand Prix according to F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone. Caterham has been given special permission to miss the next two races amid an ongoing battle between administrators and management, with the former taking control of the team until it finds a buyer. Marussia has also been battling financial problems and raced with just one car in Russia last time out following Jules Bianchi's Japanese GP crash. Speaking to Reuters, Ecclestone confirmed that neither outfit would travel to Austin for the race next weekend. "Neither of those two teams are going to go to America," he said. Formula One Management is due to ship cars to the circuit today and it's believed Marussia, as well as Caterham, are absent from the shipping list. It will mean that, for the first time since the 2005 Monaco GP, that the grid will feature just 18 cars. It's not clear whether Marussia have permission to miss the event. If they don't, they would break their contractual obligations with FOM, resulting in the loss of any prize money due this season which could cost the team upwards of £30 million if they finish higher than tenth.http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09485http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09485Caterham gets permission to miss US, Brazil racesSat, 25 Oct 2014 10:30:53 GMTThe Caterham F1 Team has been given special dispensation to miss two grands prix following the withdrawal of its management amid a feud between them and owner Tony Fernandes. The team has been taken over by administrator Finbarr O'Connell and Henry Shinners of Smith & Williamson, who will run the team whilst trying to find a new buyer for the F1 entry, intellectual property rights and equipment. Missing an event would usually break the teams contractual obligations with the F1 rights' holder, but O'Connell has spoken to Bernie Ecclestone and come to an agreement with the 83-year-old. "In a telephone conversation today between Finbarr O'Connell and Bernie Ecclestone, Mr Ecclestone agreed to support the administrators in their wish to sell the Formula One team to a party with the financial strength to sustain it into the future," read a Smith & Williamson statement. "Mr Ecclestone also agreed to give dispensation to Caterham F1 such that it could if necessary miss the U.S. and Brazilian Grands Prix but hoped that a new owner would be in a position to race the team at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. "Mr Colin Kolles, the previous principal of the team offered today to hand over management control of 1MRT to the administrators. Lawyers for the administrators and Mr Kolles are currently working on the paperwork to effect this transfer. "The administrators have already been contacted by a number of interested parties expressing a wish to buy the team and they hope that a transaction with an operator of substantial financial means can be concluded in the next few weeks. "It is hoped that any purchaser of the F1 team will take over the employees and that they will be able to recommence their work including that at the Leafield site." O'Connell however warned that their priority is to ensure Caterham's creditors are paid and therefore if the right deal can't be secured, there is no guarantee Caterham's employees will return to work. "We believe this arrangement gives us a much better chance of being able to reach a better conclusion for the racing team and its creditors. "While this is a great step forward in making the whole team and assets more attractive, there is no need for the staff of 1MRT to return to the Oxford site in Leafield until a sale of the Formula 1 team occurs. "This is a difficult situation which is not of our making. We regret any personal impact on 1MRT's employees. As administrators for CSL, we are seeking to maximise the outcome for its creditors and other stakeholders."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09484http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09484Fernandes hits back at Caterham buyer claimsThu, 23 Oct 2014 17:04:05 GMTTony Fernandes has hit back at claims by Caterham's buyer, Engavest SA, after they claimed to have "met all agreed obligations" in order for him to transfer his shares in the team to them. Fernandes however claims that this isn't true, and he has therefore refused to hand over his shares, leaving him as the legal owner of the Caterham outfit. The Malaysian businessman released a statement on Thursday in order to explain the situation further. He claims a term of the sale was for Engavest to "pay all current and future creditors" - something he claims they have not done. "In June 2014, I decided, together with my co-shareholders, to sell my stake in the Caterham F1 team," he said. "We agreed in good faith to sell the shares to a Swiss company named 'Engavest' on the basis that Engavest undertook to pay all of the existing and future creditors, including the staff. "The continued payment of staff and creditors was so important to me that I ensured that the shares would not be transferred to the new buyers unless they complied with this condition. "Sadly, Engavest has failed to comply with any of the conditions in the agreement and Caterham Sports Ltd (the UK operating company of the F1 team) has had to be put into administration by the bank, with large sums owing to numerous creditors. "Our agreement with Engavest was very clear: there was no legal obligation to transfer the shares to them unless certain conditions - which included paying creditors - were met. "Those conditions have not been met. Our lawyers have asked Engavest several times to comply with these conditions but they have failed to engage. "If you agree to buy a business, you must pay its bills. They have breached that promise and now, sadly, it is others such as the employees and the fans of the Caterham F1 team that will suffer if the team ceases to race. I sincerely hope that this will not be the case and that a solution can be found." Caterham Group CEO Graham Macdonald also questioned Engavest's takeover of the team, suggesting the way it has been handled leads him to believe they have no real interest in running a successful F1 team. "It appears to me that they never had any intention of paying these liabilities," he added. "I go on to question how anyone who was interested in the long term future of the business would appoint one of their cleaners - Constantin Cojocar - as the sole director and shareholder of the UK operating company? "We continue to see claims and counter claims from the F1 team which are totally unfounded. "Not only have they failed to pay the creditors (and have even left our shareholders to pay some of the creditors on their behalf), but they have failed to pay us anything for use of our factory and site, or anything for the use of our brand name. "In short the new owners have paid us nothing and, now the administrators have been appointed, they want to walk away from their liabilities."http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09483http://www.f1times.co.uk/news/display/09483Caterham buyer insists they've met all obligationsThu, 23 Oct 2014 14:05:32 GMTCaterham's new management team insist they have honoured all agreements with Tony Fernandes to take control of the outfit, following the latter's suggestion they hadn't paid for his shares. Fernandes wrote on Twitter: "If you buy something you should pay for it. Quite simple." Engavest SA, the company behind the deal to take over the team, denied the allegations in a statement released on Thursday. "On 29 June 2014 Engavest SA signed a Sale and Purchase Agreement with Tony Fernandes and the Caterham Group to acquire the shares of 1Malaysia Racing Team/Caterham F1. "Engavest SA has fulfilled all the conditions precedent, including paying the purchase price for the shares." It added that Fernandes is held responsible for the situation the team finds itself in - which included being locked out of their factory on Thursday morning by administrators seeing to Caterham Sport Limited (CSL), despite that company having nothing to do with the F1 team. "The shares have not been transferred and therefore Mr Fernandes remains the owner of Caterham F1 and is fully responsible for all its activities." A statement from Fernandes' lawyers is expected shortly which may clear matters up, or most likely, confuse things further.