This week sees Rosberg’s Monaco Grand Prix victory confirmed, Mercedes could be sanctioned after doing a 1,000km test with Pirelli after the Spanish Grand Prix, ‘tyre gate’ is still ongoing, Lotus not worrying about Grosjean, Hanhook maybe testing a tyre for 2014, Williams announcing Mercedes engines for next year and could Vettel be retiring in 5 years…
Read on my friends….
Rosberg’s Victory is confirmed
After Ferrari and Red Bull lodged a formal protest against Mercedes regarding their 1,000km test with Pirelli after the Spanish Grand Prix, it has been confirmed that Nico Rosberg’s victory at Monaco will stand and will not be protested.
That is great news for Rosberg, Mercedes and his fans. Nico drove a great race and deserved the victory exactly 30 years after his Dad Keke won at Monaco!
10 Place Grid Penalty for Grosjean
Due to his part in the incident with Toro Rosso’s Daniel Riccardo, Romain Grosjean will receive a 10 place grid penalty in the Canadian Grand Prix. This again has put Grosjean in the spotlight regarding his abilities in his driver and if he deserves his place within the sport. This brings me onto the next piece of news surrounding Grosjean…
‘We are not worried about Grosjean’- Boullier
After the Monaco Grand Prix, Lotus Team Principal Eric Boullier has stated that he is not worried about Grosjean at this stage of the season. Over the weekend, Grosjean’s abilities as a driver was questioned yet again even though he has received a 10 grid place penalty for his incident with Riccardo in the race.
Boullier has stated that he will be sitting down with Grosjean and discussing his performance from the Monaco Grand Prix and he will be ‘going through the weekend, showing that he had the pace and also making sure that he’s back under control like at the beginning of the season…’ Bouiller has also said publically at this stage Lotus will not be bringing in their reserve driver Davide Valsecchi at this stage of the season.
Raikkonen speaks out against Perez
Kimi Raikkonen after the Monaco GP was very vocal about expressing his views on McLaren driver Sergio Perez. Kimi goes on to state that ‘…the one mistake and move from Perez made him lose ground.’ Kimi goes further by saying that ‘…Perez hit me from behind and it’s not the first time he’s hit someone…’
You cannot really blame Kimi for thinking this as Perez today not only showed that he can race (his move on Alonso was really good!) but also that by defending his position his moves can be seen as ‘dirty’ (such as the battle between himself and Jenson in Bahrain) and unsafe. Kimi has also stated that ‘he should be punched in the face’. I’m closely watching Perez in the next few races…
‘We didn’t know anything’
It has emerged that after the Monaco GP that Lotus and Force India were not approached to do a tyre test after the Spanish Grand Prix by Pirelli.
The FIA after the race announced that Mercedes and Pirelli could be going to an International tribunal regarding this matter [I call it test-gate!]. FIA has found no evidence from the other teams that were apparently approached by Pirelli to do this test.
Lotus Team Boss Eric Bouiller has announced that he is ‘not happy’ with the incident as he feels that it has breached the sporting and testing regulations and they have ‘gained an advantage’ from the test. This brings me onto the next news item…
‘Mercedes’s test was worth a second’-Marko
Red Bull’s Helmut Marko has publically spoke out about the Mercedes test with Pirelli. He believes from talking to Red Bull’s Technical Director Adrian Newey that Mercedes ‘have gained nearly a second’ from the test. He also believes that the current regulations that are in place cannot be ‘overridden’ and state clearly when you can test within the season. And he also believes that there will be a hearing on the matter just like where was on ‘spy gate’ in 2007.
Which brings onto the next point on ‘test gate’…
Pirelli speak out about ‘test gate’ and how it didn’t help Mercedes
Pirelli have denied their Barcelona tyre test favoured Mercedes over the other Formula 1 teams, reiterating that the rubber used was their 2014 compound. The controversy which swept through the Monaco paddock last Sunday morning has overshadowed Nico Rosberg’s victory in Monte Carlo after it emerged the Silver Arrows had completed 1000km of testing over three days following the Spanish GP.
In a statement released on Friday, the Italian manufacturer said: ‘Pirelli, in development testing with teams carried out in 2013, has not favoured any teams and, as always, acted professionally, with transparency and in absolute good faith.
‘The tyres used were not from the current championship but belonged to a range of products still being developed in view of an eventual renewal of the supply contract. Further, none of the tests were carried for the purpose of enhancing specific cars, but only to test tyre solutions for future championships.
‘The use of the car utilised by Mercedes, in particular, was the result of direct communication between FIA and the team itself. Pirelli did not ask in any way that a 2013 car be used: not of Mercedes nor FIA nor the teams which, during the year, were offered the opportunity of participating in tests for the development of tyres for 2014.
‘With regard to the rules which govern its conduct, the company has always respected the contractual limits which bind it to the FIA, teams and championship’s organizers, and has always respected the principles of sporting loyalty.
‘The tests were conducted in observance of the contract between Pirelli and FIA, which gives the supplier the possibility of carrying out tests for the development of tyres with each team of up to 1,000 kilometres, without specifying the type of car to be used, nor sanctioning the simultaneous presence of all the teams for the running of the tests.
‘In this regard, Pirelli has since 2010 made it clear that it is neither possible nor useful to carry out this type of test with all the teams simultaneously. In fact, this type of testing aimed at technological development and researching new solutions, involves many tyres of different types which must be tested with a single car at a time.
‘Already in March 2012, Pirelli sent an email to all the teams, FIA and FOM, inviting the teams to indicate their availability for testing for the development of tyres for 2013. Further, the company explained that it was necessary to conduct the tests with the teams’ cars because it did not have a suitable one of its own (Pirelli has the use of an adapted 2010 Renault and, before that, a 2009 Toyota).
‘The invitation was subsequently repeated in various official contexts and repeated to some teams last March for the development of tyres for 2014.
‘This test, as always, carried out with a single compound never used in a championship, regarded structures not in use in the current season and not destined to be used later during the 2013 season. The tyre tests were conducted “in the dark”, which means that the teams had no information on which specifications were being tested or about the goal of the testing; nor did they receive any type of information afterwards.
‘Further, the tests did not regard delamination in any way, as that problem was dealt with and resolved by Pirelli’s technicians through laboratory tests, with the support of data gathered during the first races of the season.
‘Pirelli always asked for representative cars, that is, with performances comparable to those of the cars being used in the championship underway, without ever referring to those effectively used in the 2013 races.
‘The Barcelona test was conducted in cooperation with Mercedes between May 15 and May 17, 2013. The teams made available one car and two first tier drivers, who alternated at the wheel on different days.
‘The trials were done with a base compound, not in use this year, and 12 different structures which had never been used in 2013, only one of which with Kevlar. The team did not obtain any advantage with regard to knowledge of the behaviour of the tyres in use in the current championship.
‘The type of car used during the tests was the subject of direct discussions between Mercedes and FIA, as shown in the exchange of emails between the team and Pirelli. In particular, Mercedes informed Pirelli that its 2011 car could not be used and that it had already contacted FIA regarding the use of the 2013 car.
‘There is no doubt that the questions relating to the vehicle were the exclusive domain of the team and that Pirelli was excluded from these questions (notwithstanding Pirelli’s need, from a technical point of view, to have a representative car in terms of impact on the performance of the tyres).
‘To confirm that this was an ordinary development test and not aimed at specific interventions, Pirelli made no specific requests about the drivers or about the tyre of Mercedes staff that would be present during the tests and had fielded its normal team for development testing.’
‘Tyre gate continues…
New Pirelli tyre NOT being raced at Canadian Grand Prix
Pirelli have denied their decision to restrict the use of their new tyres to Friday’s practice sessions at the Canadian GP is related to the ongoing ‘Testgate’ furore.
In the wake of the backlash triggered by the Spanish GP featuring over 80 pit-stops, F1’s tyre supplier revealed their intention to produce beefed-up compounds, featuring ‘elements of the structure from last year’, in Canada.
However, having already been warned by the FIA that the regulations only permitted changes made for safety reasons, the Italian company has now confirmed their amended compounds will just be used in the Friday practice sessions at next week’s Canadian GP.
Nevertheless, Pirelli remain hopeful that their new tyres will be used in the British GP at the end of next month.”We’ll be bringing two sets per team for Friday practice with a view to implementing the new rear tyres in Silverstone,” a spokesperson has told Autosport. “As the regulations allow for this and for reasons of sporting equity, we think that this is the best way forward.”
Pirelli, who are still yet to sign a deal to continue as F1’s sole tyre supplier in 2014, have endured a crisis-filled month following the revelation that Mercedes ran a secret three-day test at Barcelona after the Spanish GP.
However, the news that the revamped compounds will only be used in practice in Canada should serve to take some of the sting out of the controversy. Had Mercedes prospered in Montreal while running the new tyres then their success would have been readily attributed to the extra running they enjoyed in Barcelona even though it is unclear which tyres were used during the three-day event.
I believe that this development might avoid the Canadian GP being run under another protest, even though it has been suggested that all the teams did not want to run the tyre over the weekend. I sense that this will be going on for quite some time!
FIA looking into a Ferrari Test
Well, surprise, surprise. The FIA are looking further into a test between the Bahrain and Spanish Grand Prix.
The difference between the two, however, is that the Ferrari test was conducted with a two-year-old car. Their belief is that, because the Mercedes test used a 2013 car, then they have breached the FIA’s Sporting Regulations.
However, a statement released on the governing body’s website on Friday evening confirmed that Ferrari too have been dragged into the row. It read: ‘The FIA has asked Team Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 and Scuderia Ferrari Team which have taken part in tyre tests in the 2013 season to reply to a disciplinary inquiry in pursuance of the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rules.
‘This follows the Stewards’ Report from the Monaco Grand Prix and represents supplementary information required by the FIA in the light of the replies received from Pirelli, who were asked for clarifications on Tuesday May 28th.’
Oh deary me…
Button believes Mercedes will not get a penalty
Jenson Button expects Mercedes to merely suffer a ‘slapped wrist’ for their part in ‘Testgate’ and admits Nico Rosberg probably would have won at Monaco even without the additional running.
The Silver Arrows are current under investigation after Red Bull and Ferrari both lodged complaints with the FIA after it emerged that the German-marque had completed 1000km of testing with Pirelli over three days at the Circuit de Catalunya following the Spanish GP.
In-season testing is banned under the Sporting Regulations, but both Pirelli and Mercedes maintain they did nothing wrong. “Mercedes have done a great job and even without that tyre test I think they would have won the race,” Button was quoted by The Guardian.
“I think the teams that protested are more surprised that it happened. I can’t see the result changing. I don’t know what they can do, if anything at all. Maybe a slapped wrist. I think the teams that protested just wanted clarification because we’d all love to do 1,000km to understand [the tyres] a bit more because we’re all so limited on testing.”
Toro Rosso will have Renault engines for 2014
It has been announced this week that Toro Rosso will be switching to Renault engines for 2014. Toro Rosso have announced their decision earlier than planned has they need to ‘finalise’ plans as quickly as possible. There are doubts over Lotus and Williams as Renault have announced that they want to ‘reduce’ clients as early as next year.
Williams will have Mercedes engines for 2014
Williams have confirmed their deal with Mercedes-Benz that will see the German manufacturer supply engines from the 2014 season onwards.
The much-anticipated ‘long-term’ partnership coincides with next season’s rule changes that will see the introduction of 1.6-litre V6 turbocharged engines and a greater reliance on energy recovery systems.
Mercedes will supply both to Williams. However, the team will continue to build their own transmission systems.
“I’m delighted to announce our new association with Mercedes-Benz for the 2014 Formula One season and beyond,” Team Principal Sir Frank Williams said.
“Mercedes-Benz has been one of the sport’s most successful engine suppliers and we believe that they will have an extremely competitive engine package.”
The announcement signals the end of Williams’ two-year deal with Renault. The partnership, which yielded five world constructors’ titles in the 1990s, brought the team their first victory in eight seasons at last year’s Spanish GP.
“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Renault for their continued hard work since we renewed our engine partnership at the beginning of the 2012 season,” Williams added.
“We have enjoyed a strong relationship that has resulted in much success over the years, including powering us to winning ways once again last year at the Spanish Grand Prix.”
Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams said: “The announcement of this partnership is exciting news for Williams. Securing the right engine supply partnership is a key milestone in the implementation of our strategy for long term success.”
The backdrop for the rule change is an attempt to improve the efficiency of F1 cars. They will have to complete races with a fuel load of just 100kg – the current figure is around 150kg – with additional power coming from an Energy Recovery System (ERS).
The ERS is expected to provide ten times more power than the KERS systems F1 cars currently use. Besides KERS, the new system will also recovery energy via the exhaust turbine.
Andy Cowell, Managing Director of Mercedes AMG HPP, said: “Williams is one of the sport’s iconic names and we are very excited to be working together towards a successful future under the new regulations.
“A further positive is that this new agreement provides Mercedes-Benz with the long-term stability of supplying our works team and at least two partners from the 2015 season onwards, following the conclusion of our relationship with McLaren at the end of next season.”
With Force India also running Mercedes power in 2014, the deal means that they will supply four teams in all, although McLaren switch to Honda the following year.
Mercedes’ Executive Director Toto Wolff, who held a similar position at Williams until the start of this year, added: “It is a win-win situation for both HPP and Williams, which will ensure HPP is able to supply at least three teams on a long-term basis under the new regulations and could open interesting new perspectives for technology transfer.
“We look forward to enjoying much success together over the coming years.”
For their part, Renault Sport F1 President Jean-Michel Jalinier said: “We would like to thank Williams for the warmth it has extended to Renault over the last two years and wish the team the very best for the future.
“We will continue to actively work with the team until the Brazilian Grand Prix in November to end the second incarnation of the partnership with results that do justice to its reputation.”
Renault has 2014 deals confirmed with Red Bull and Toro Rosso, although Caterham and Lotus are both expected to renew their agreements soon. In a statement released on Thursday, the French manufacturer said that it ‘would supply up to five teams if there was a requirement to do so, but this would not make sense economically or be ideal for our resources.
‘Three, or up to four, teams is the ideal for us so the departure of Williams normalizes the situation and makes things much clearer from our side. ‘We will announce the next team within a matter of days, and then confirm the final stage before the end of June. We remain incredibly motivated about the challenge of the 2014 engines.’
Vettel retiring in 5 years?
World Champion Sebastian Vettel has said that he may quit Formula One in 5 years time. The 25-year-old made the remarks in German newspaper Welt Am Sonntag in response to a question about whether he would leave Red Bull one day.
Vettel, who has won the last three titles made it clear he was talking in the abstract.
“I can’t say. Perhaps I will no longer be driving in five years’ time because I no longer have the urge to,”he said. “Perhaps I will compete for another team in five years because I feel ready for a fresh challenge. Every human being evolves as time goes by, priorities shift. Right now I feel completely at ease here and I could not imagine driving anywhere else. The car is quick, the team does well – I see no reason to leave. But that does not automatically mean I will stay forever.”
Vettel has long been linked to a move to Ferrari but any possibility of a move seems some years away.Red Bull have publically said that he is contracted to the end of 2014 and it is believed he has actually signed until 2015 and has options to stay with the team beyond that.
A more immediate question for Red Bull is the identity of his team-mate in 2014.
Vettel has had a tempestuous relationship with Webber, his colleague since the German joined the team in 2009, and their relationship took a turn for the worse when Vettel ignored team orders not to pass Webber to win the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Although Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz has said Webber can stay if he wants, it is considered likely that the 36-year-old will leave the team – and probably F1 altogether – at the end of the season.
Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen – one of Vettel’s two main title rivals this year, along with Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso – have been linked with the team. Asked whether he would like the Finn as his team-mate, Vettel said: “I don’t know how realistic that is. But I get along very well with him.”
The two men are said to be friends and occasionally meet up socially, including to play badminton. But asked if an F1 driver could be friends with his team-mate, Vettel said: “Well, friends is perhaps a bit exaggerated. “We see each other at races and – time permitting – also between the events. We are both uncomplicated, straightforward, honest. We get along fine. But true friends, people you trust with everything, those do not exist in Formula 1.”
What a thought that would be eh guys!
Hankook- Coming into the sport in 2014?
Hankook will not be bidding to replace Pirelli should the Italian tyre manufacturer not renew its Formula One contract.Pirelli are out of contract at the end of this season and although the company has spoken of a desire to continue, recent events could change the picture. Should that happen, Hankook won’t be vying to replace them.
“For 2014, it’s completely impossible not only because of the lack of tyre development time,” competition engineer Michael Eckert told Autosport. “Even if Hankook wants to take three, four, five years to jump into Formula 1 as a supplier, the lack of testing opportunities would make it impossible.
“With the current cars and drivers, it’s impossible [to test] so you need to find a suitable number of vehicles and drivers that would allow you to get some reliable feedback.”
He added that uncertain regulations in the long-term would also put the company of entering Formula One.
“Even if we started this year with the first tyre test, it would take easily three years until you can finish a safe and performing F1 tyre. Now the regulations are changing; engine formula, chassis, and aerodynamics… nobody even knows about the dimensions of the tyres for 2014 – they are still not fixed. It’s not 100 per cent certain they’ll continue with 13-inch tyres. It might be 15 or even 1. It could happen in the next five years that F1 cars are on 18-inch tyres.”
Eckert insisted that a presence in Formula One is not the goal, although that doesn’t mean Hankook won’t consider it in the future.
“It’s not obligatory that F1 has to be the final destination series,” he said. “From an engineering point of view, F1 is the greatest challenge, but from a financial point of view it is a huge investment.
“You have to be ready with all aspects of your company, not only with the tyre itself but the infrastructure regarding the logistics. Currently, all the Hankook tyre production is in Korea and it would be a big help to have a European base like Pirelli does with Turkey. We are not ready to jump into Formula 1 for 2014, it’s not our goal short-term. Certainly we will follow up on it and we are interested in new opportunities from a business point of view and also, from a branding point of view, to go into new market.’
And that’s all the F1 News for this week. My next blog post will be a preview of the Canadian Grand Prix which will be on the blog before Practice 1 on Thursday!