F1: Ferrari Denies Quit Threat, Red Bull Considering Engine Supply Alternatives

TMR Team | Jun 20, 2014

Luca di Montezemolo on Friday hit reverse gear, after he was quoted as having threatened to pull Ferrari out of formula one.

The Italian marque's president made the clear warning last week to the respected Wall Street Journal, as he insisted that any Le Mans foray for Ferrari by 2020 would be at the expense of F1.

Montezemolo has been highly critical of the new shape of the pinnacle of motor sport, and has reportedly written a letter to Bernie Ecclestone asking for a meeting with all the major stakeholders to discuss the future.

But it is believed Ferrari's highly critical stance was discussed at length during the F1 Commission meeting on Wednesday, and two days later Montezemolo is now tempering his earlier remarks.

"A letter to Ecclestone? I don't need to write to him to arrange a meeting," multiple Italian publications on Friday quoted Montezemolo, 66, as saying at a Maserati event in Modena.

"I never said that Ferrari would pull out, but I do think the time has come to make a reflection on our system. I think Ferrari has the duty to seek improvements for the benefit of the teams, the fans, the media and the sponsors.

"And I think that, having been in formula one for 64 years, Ferrari has the right to think about the future," he added.

"Formula one is an extraordinary sport," said Montezemolo, "but we need to do something to make it better."

(GMM)

'Alternatives' to Renault do exist for Red Bull - Mateschitz

Red Bull will decide after its home Austrian grand prix this weekend if it will continue with Renault power into the future.

That is the claim of team owner and supremo Dietrich Mateschitz, in a wide-ranging interview with the Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung ahead of the first grand prix at his very own Red Bull Ring.

Team figures recently played down speculation Red Bull could dump struggling Renault and switch to another engine supplier, saying it is "100 per cent" certain the final Adrian Newey-penned RB11 will have a French-made V6.

But billionaire Mateschitz seems to have a different view.

When asked about world champion Sebastian Vettel's recent derogatory description of the current Renault-powered Red Bull, Mateschitz said on Friday: "When he said 'cucumber', he was talking about the engine or the entire power unit of our car.

"He has a point," said the low-profile Austrian.

"The car itself is excellent, and also strategically no mistakes are being made. Sebastian knows that too."

Recently, Dr Helmut Marko said Red Bull's upper management would sit down this weekend in Austria and make a 'final report' about the team's progress in the wake of Renault's disastrous early form in 2014 and subsequent recovery.

Mateschitz confirmed on Friday: "There will be this final report.

"And then we will decide if there is still potential development in the existing engine, or whether we need to consider a new development in order to reach Mercedes' standard."

Previously, however, Red Bull officials have played down the possibility of a Renault split, as F1's only other engine suppliers are arch rivals Mercedes and Ferrari.

But there have been rumours linking Red Bull with Volkswagen, or a potential move to build a bespoke 'Red Bull' turbo engine -- perhaps in the outfit's forthcoming Newey-led 'Advanced Technology Centre'.

When told there are no real alternatives to Renault, Mateschitz insisted: "There are always alternatives, of course.

"But I don't see Red Bull using a customer Mercedes engine. Because Mercedes wants to be world champion not just this year but also in the next few years."

Finally, Mateschitz gave his tip for the winner of the football world cup, and the F1 world championship.

"When Messi is on top form, then it's Argentina," he said. "And in formula one, Lewis Hamilton."

(GMM)

Trulli adds to F1's 'worry' about formula E - report

According to the Times newspaper, F1 must look over its shoulder at the new 'formula E' series that is rapidly gaining credibility.

The latest name attracting headlines for the FIA's all-electric single seater category is Jarno Trulli, the well-known former F1 driver and Monaco winner.

The 39-year-old Italian has bought a team, and the former Renault and Toyota driver will be at the wheel of the 'TrulliGP' car on city streets including Berlin, California and London.

"I am very pleased to be a pioneer of this new formula E project," said Trulli, who will race against other ex-F1 names like Lucas di Grassi, Jaime Alguersuari, Bruno Senna, Karun Chandhok and Franck Montagny.

And with Trulli in the team owner's circle are the likes of Virgin, Audi, Super Aguri, Michael Andretti, Alain Prost, and Hollywood actor Leonardo di Caprio.

Times correspondent Kevin Eason said the "intriguing" formula E concept is gathering speed just as F1 is gripped in "soul-searching", with its teams locked in factions arguing about costs.

Ferrari has issued its latest quit threat, arguments are raging about the volume of the engines despite formula E being almost completely silent, and the mere "viability" of a sport run by a private equity group "is in severe doubt", he argued.

Furthermore, F1's television audiences are in decline, said Eason, and "sponsors are restless".

"Formula E is a breath of fresh air," he concluded, "and F1 has to worry that fans will believe so."

(GMM)

Beating Vettel 'says a lot about me' - Ricciardo

While the Mercedes duo tussle for title spoils, a very different battle is raging within Red Bull.

World champion for the last four seasons consecutively, Sebastian Vettel is now fighting merely to be the top dog within his own team, following the arrival of the surprisingly imposing Daniel Ricciardo.

In Canada two weeks ago, the 24-year-old Australian stepped it up yet another notch, securing his first career win, and Red Bull's first in 2014.

"It's fun," the always-grinning Ricciardo told Austria's APA news agency on Wednesday.

"I'm learning all the time, not just from Seb but from myself. It's a big challenge when your teammate is a four-time world champion, so if I can beat him, it says a lot about me," he explained.

It has been reported in recent days not only that Ricciardo has had the 2015 option in his contract already picked up by Red Bull, but that the team would also like to keep him on board for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 seasons.

Ricciardo smiled that the opening seven races of 2014 have been "just fine" for his career.

"I think even Seb enjoys it," he said. "For many years he had Mark (Webber) as his teammate, now it's a new challenge. We drive hard against each other but also with a lot of respect.

"If Red Bull wants me to stay," said Ricciardo, "then I am more than happy to. They've done so much for my career. Hopefully I can give them a world championship.

"To do it with them, as Seb did - starting as a junior and working his way up - would be the greatest achievement."

While some have been keen to say Ricciardo has toppled Vettel from his perch, other well-placed insiders are less sure.

Webber, Ricciardo's countryman and predecessor, has hailed the Perth-born star's season but he also warns that Vettel cannot be so easily written off.

"In his (Ricciardo's) first four or five months he has done really well," he told Fairfax Media, "but Seb has had a tough run with reliability.

"You (should) measure them across the course of a few years and see how they go, because the season has been underway for five minutes in reality.

"Daniel couldn't have done much more though," added Webber.

With a similar assessment of their battle so far is Dr Helmut Marko, the architect of Red Bull's driver programme.

"They are at eye-level," he is quoted by Speed Week.

"It's always been the same with us -- two strong drivers in the team who are treated equally. But the current image has been distorted by technical problems that have mainly hit Sebastian."

However, Marko also admits that Vettel has struggled with motivation in 2014.

"As a four-time world champion, you come with high expectations, so when you go to the first test and find you have no power from the engine, it's hard to digest," said the outspoken Austrian.

Vettel, who was told by Marko to "raise your game", has also had to admit that his latest title defence has not been ideal.

"Many things this year are different to the past and for me unfortunately it has not been very good so far," he said at an event in Vienna on Wednesday. "I have had major problems with the car.

"As a driver you always want to get the best from yourself and of course also be in front of your teammate, but our real aim is to catch up to the front," added Vettel.

At the same time, Ricciardo is riding the crest of a wave that took him to the very top of the podium in Canada.

"Taking points off Mercedes in Canada was fantastic," said the Australian, "but realistically they are still the strongest at the moment. We are a bit dependent on their bad luck to close the gap.

"Maybe we can be faster by the end of the season, but maybe the championship would have been decided a long way before that," Ricciardo acknowledged.

"This year it (the title) will be difficult. Hopefully next year we'll be in a better position. We'll see how it goes," he said. "I'll be ready."

(GMM)

'Fight' sticker to stay on Mercedes after Schumacher coma

The words 'Keep fighting Michael' are to remain on Mercedes' dominant F1 car.

The German squad - F1 legend Michael Schumacher's last grand prix team during his 2010-2012 comeback - has been running the twitter hashtag on the cockpit of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg's silver W05 all year.

But better news is now emerging from the Schumacher camp.

His management has confirmed he is no longer in a coma, and he has been moved from intensive care in Grenoble to a rehabilitation ward in Lausanne, near his Swiss home.

The Swiss tabloid Blick on Wednesday said the great German travelled the 200 kilometres between France and Switzerland on Monday by ambulance, and Bild newspaper quotes chief neurosurgeon Richard Frackowiak as confirming the transfer went "very, very well".

Ambulance staff reportedly had to surrender their mobile phones prior to the journey, and Schumacher's booking was done under a false name to protect his privacy.

Nonetheless, further details have emerged. Blick said reports that Schumacher has lost a lot of weight are true, but that Schumacher - who was awake for much of the trip - was able to communicate to the ambulance staff by nodding his head.

Robert Belvi, the chief neurologist at a Barcelona university hospital, said the latest developments in the Schumacher story are positive.

"Waking from a coma means establishing contact with the environment," he told Spain's AS newspaper, "for instance the patient can respond to simple commands -- open or close your eyes, stick out your tongue.

"If he obeys, there is a clear communication between the brain and the environment. Coming out of coma really is a very good prognosis.

"Schumacher has answered the first question: is he awake or in a vegetative state. Now we have to see where the recovery goes, and hopefully it is to 100 per cent.

"It's difficult to see the same person as before, in terms of language, movement. This all depends on the injuries he has suffered.

"But when a patient has woken up, things usually go very fast. The first three months will decide what is Schumacher's pace of recovery and what the lasting injuries will be," Dr Belvi added.

World champion Sebastian Vettel and Schumacher's former Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg this week have both said they do not plan to visit Schumacher at this stage.

"That would not be inappropriate," Rosberg told Bild, "as I'm not in his immediate circle of friends."

But he tipped Schumacher to eventually win his toughest battle.

"I remember one of his last races, in Austin, he was still flat out on every lap even though we were fighting for tenth place or something," the German recalled.

"Then he sat down with us for a two-hour debriefing. After what he achieved in his career, you could forgive him for doing something else, but not him.

"That's why I know that if anyone can fight back from this, it's Schumi," added Rosberg.

So, for now, the Mercedes stickers are staying on the team's championship-leading 2014 car.

"The Schumi sticker will stay on the car as long as Michael is fighting his difficult fight," confirmed team boss Toto Wolff.

(GMM)

Filed under: f1, Racing, renault f1, ferrari f1, daniel ricciardo, red bull f1, News, motorsport, enthusiast

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  • Kermit says,
    3 months ago
    If Red Bull walk away from Renault they will lose the Infiniti backing. This is no more credible than the Ferrari walk away rumours. They all do it to renegotiate their position.
  • 5valvepercylinder
    5 valve per cylinder says,
    3 months ago
    Unless Volkswagen pulls out of the WRC, I don't see them entering F1.

    The other best option for RedBull is "maybe" a switch to Honda for 2015.
    • Fred says,
      3 months ago
      Honda is exclusive with McLaren in 2015.

      Just a lot of hot air from Red Bull.
      Renault delivered great engines the past four years and they will be fine by the end of this season

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