F1: Caterham Confirms Sale, Ecclestone Points To Ferrari For Vettel

TMR Team | Jul 3, 2014

Caterham has made it official, announcing Tony Fernandes' sale of the struggling F1 team.

In a media statement, the team - which will continue to be called Caterham and be based at Leafield - said it is now owned by "a consortium of Swiss and Middle Eastern investors".

The new owners are being "advised" by former HRT and Force India chief Colin Kolles, with the ex-Minardi driver and Dutchman Christijan Albers replacing Cyril Abiteboul - who is pursuing "new challenges" - as team boss.

"We are aware of the huge challenge ahead of us given the fight at the bottom end of the championship and our target now is to aim for tenth place in the 2014 championship," new Caterham team principal Albers, 35, said.

"We are very committed to the future of the team and we will ensure that the team has the necessary resources to develop and grow and achieve everything it is capable of," he added.

Like Kolles, another former HRT official, Manfredi Ravetto, will "assist" Albers in running Caterham, the media statement also said.

(GMM)

Vettel could chase 'fast car' to Ferrari - Ecclestone

Switching to Ferrari could be a way for Sebastian Vettel to kick-start his F1 career, according to Bernie Ecclestone.

After winning four consecutive world championships, the German has stumbled in 2014.

And it's not just Red Bull's fault, as Vettel has struggled even to keep up with his new teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who has stunned the entire world of F1 with his form.

But F1 chief executive Ecclestone, famously close to Vettel, thinks that while the 26-year-old has lost none of his talent, he must be casting his eyes around for a better car.

"With the right car Vettel won everything in the past four years," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"And when he has the right car again, he will win more world titles. He is faster than everyone else," added 83-year-old Ecclestone.

Asked if a change of scene could be what Vettel needs, Ecclestone admitted: "If Ferrari can make a fast car again, Maranello would be the place to go.

"He needs to go where the best car is," he added.

Undoubtedly in 2014, the best car is the Mercedes, where Lewis Hamilton must close a 29-point gap to Nico Rosberg for the title.

Ecclestone said Rosberg is indeed the 2014 championship favourite at the wheel of the Silver Arrow, "Because he speaks German".

But Red Bull team boss Christian Horner is not so sure.

"That (29-point) gap is one race win," he told reporters at Milton Keynes on Tuesday. "One DNF for Nico puts him (Hamilton) right back in it so the gap is almost irrelevant at this stage of the season."

(GMM)

McLaren 'needs a change' with Honda - Button

Jenson Button insists he is "looking forward to" McLaren's new Honda era.

That is despite team supremo Ron Dennis' warning that the most experienced driver in the paddock actually might not get a new contract beyond 2014.

"Do I want him to try harder?" Dennis told British television Sky. "Of course I do."

But 34-year-old Briton Button, who will wear a pink helmet this weekend in memory of his late father John's ever-present pink shirt, thinks the arrival of Honda for 2015 is what McLaren needs as it emerges from a two-season slump.

"Everyone is looking forward to it," he told Germany's DPA news agency.

"A lot is already going on. Ron is again in charge, Eric (Boullier) is on board now.

"In the past, a lot of things were working well, but sometimes you need a change. I feel we are on the right track," added Button.

Dennis said the arrival this year of rookie Kevin Magnussen had given Button a "wake-up call", and even the British driver admits the young Dane has been impressive.

"Kevin is learning very quickly," said Button. "He did not have much experience when he arrived, but within six months he has made up for a lot of that.

"We are not best friends," Button reveals. "I have never been great friends with a teammate -- I have my own friends. But he's a good guy and I like working with him."

However, Button insists Magnussen is not the biggest challenge of his career, instead nominating Lewis Hamilton as his fastest-ever F1 teammate.

"On pace, yes. He (Hamilton) is very fast, but I expected that when I came to the team.

"If you have beaten Lewis, you know you've had a good day," he said.

(GMM)

'No intention to sell' to Red Bull - Renault

F1 engine supplier Renault has denied it is being bought out by disgruntled partner Red Bull.

Team boss Christian Horner is back on the offensive this week, insisting the French marque even had years of warning about its now-struggling turbo V6 project.

"We sat down with Renault to express our concerns about the direction it was going in autumn 2012," he told reporters on Tuesday.

There have been suggestions Red Bull's patience has finally run out, but the lack of alternatives - with F1's only other engine suppliers being arch-rivals Mercedes and Ferrari - is obvious.

"The thing about a team like Red Bull is we always have options, and I'm not going to disclose what they are here," Horner insisted.

Evidently, one of Red Bull's few options is to build its own engine, but the team has played down that likelihood.

But what about simply getting more involved at Renault? There have been rumours the F1 facility at Viry-Chattilon could be sold.

Renault F1 chief Rob White denies it.

"At the moment there is no intention to sell the engine department at Viry. It's still very much a subsidiary of Renault," he told Auto Motor und Sport.

And he said Red Bull taking over Renault would not allow the reigning world champions to simply re-badge the current power unit and dodge the restrictive homologation - or development 'freeze' - that is holding back progress.

"It is not possible to stick another name on the cylinder head and start from scratch. Even Honda can't do exactly as they want," White explained.

Germany's Sport Bild claims that, rather than buying Viry, Red Bull will simply get more involved with Renault's engine project, upping its budget and forcing a restructuring.

To this end, it is believed current Caterham boss Cyril Abiteboul is returning to Renault to lead the revamp.

The focus, it seems, is to follow Mercedes' lead in specifically adapting the engine to a single, works chassis, rather than trying to make it work for every customer.

"You are never going to be able to satisfy everybody," Horner said on Tuesday.

"Renault has tried to keep all of their customers happy, which is an admirable thing to do, but it's not the best way to be competitive."

With that change looming at Renault, it is no surprise the currently Renault-powered Lotus is on the move.

It will mean every 2015 Renault customer has close links to the 'works' team Red Bull -- sister team Toro Rosso, and the user of the entire Red Bull rear end, Caterham.

(GMM)

Lotus in 'contact' with Mercedes for 2015 power

Lotus could be set to move on from its disastrous 2014 season.

Fourth in the constructors' championship not only last year but also in 2012, the Enstone-based team has struggled with the newly V6-powered E22.

Engine supplier Renault, whose troubles with its premier partner Red Bull are well known, has taken much of the blame, particularly for many of the reliability problems.

But French driver Romain Grosjean is not pointing the finger.

"It's not just the engine," he told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, "even if compared to Mercedes we do lack power.

"The problem is probably more aerodynamic in nature," said Grosjean.

"In the second part of the corner we lose grip suddenly. Anything gained in the fast corners, I am losing two or three times over in the slow ones," he added.

Even team trackside boss Alan Permane admits the problem.

"Our car does not like stop-and-go (circuits)," he confirmed. "We need sweeping corners."

That is why the E22 looked much more competitive at Barcelona, and so Lotus is looking forward to the fast corners this weekend at Silverstone.

"Our car is fast," said team owner Gerard Lopez, "but only under certain conditions."

It means Lotus has fallen from the grace of fourth to the depths of eighth in the constructors' standings, four points behind the Red Bull sister team of Toro Rosso.

"At least they have the same (Renault) engine," said German correspondent Michael Schmidt. "But maybe not for much longer.

"Lotus is said to have had contact with Mercedes."

Mercedes already supplies three teams in addition to its own works outfit, but long-time partner and customer McLaren is moving to works Honda power for 2015.

(GMM)

Filed under: f1, Racing, sebastian vettel, renault f1, ferrari f1, bernie ecclestone, red bull f1, News, motorsport, enthusiast, caterham f1

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  • Mitch says,
    5 months ago
    1 like
    Thanks for another great F1 news summary.

    If I want to know what is happening in the world of F1 in one page this is the place.
  • Fred says,
    5 months ago
    Every driver can win titles with the best car.
    So, what makes Vettel so special, if he can't beat his team mate?
    Take Schmacher as an example, who won in a car that wasn't top class (Bennetton Ford) and developed the Ferrari to become a winning car.

    He is fast, no doubt about it, but Bernie's comment is a little lame.

    Good on Ricciardo, who has surprised many people, but it also shows how bad Webber has really been wink
    • Lindsay says,
      5 months ago
      It's very difficult to make a judgement about how good Ricciardo, Vettel and Webber are, relatively, given the huge difference between this year's car and last year's. It takes more than just a good car or a good driver, you need both to work together well. Vettel and Webber have both showed that if they aren't confident with the car, they're off the pace.

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