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F1: Azerbaijan Replacing Axed Korea - Ecclestone Photo:
 
 
TMR Team | May, 09 2014 | 0 Comments

Azerbaijan is taking Korea's full-time place on the F1 calendar, Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed.

It is expected a city street race in the capital Baku starting in 2015 will be announced later this month.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone this week indicated the oil-rich former Soviet race is taking the place on the calendar formerly occupied by South Korea, where a race at unpopular Yeongam was last held in 2013.

Korean organisers have baulked at the sport's high sanctioning fees.

Speaking this week to F1 business journalist Christian Sylt, Ecclestone said of the country: "I don't want to go back there."

"Baku has been signed," he told the Independent. "It will start in 2015 and will replace Korea.

"They (Korea) did a good job with the track but what they forgot to do was build all the things they wanted to build," said Ecclestone, referring to facilities around the harbourside circuit.

Sylt claims that the Azerbaijan deal was brokered by Flavio Briatore, the ousted former Renault boss and close friend of Ecclestone.

"Briatore put the idea in the mind of the president of the country and that got things going," a source is quoted as saying.

(GMM)

 

Mercedes to test 'megaphone' exhaust in practice

Mercedes is preparing to show off a louder engine note during the Spanish grand prix weekend.

Early this week, team chief Toto Wolff revealed that one proposed solution to the turbo V6 sound 'problem' is a sort of "megaphone" addition to the exhaust.

Along with Ferrari and Renault, F1's three engine makers have been considering how to spice up the sound of F1 2014, after some spectators and promoters were shocked at the difference compared to the screaming V8s of 2013.

"The solutions range from very complex solutions within the exhaust system down to a simple megaphone at the back," Wolff is quoted by Kolner Express newspaper.

"The 'megaphone' is a parallel exhaust that simply opens up at the end, with all the problems that brings with it," the Austrian added.

Insiders say Wolff is concerned that the solution will interrupt the thermal and aerodynamic integration between the 'power unit' and the current exhaust layout.

Nonetheless, he said that sound solutions will be tried on the W05 car at the post-race Barcelona test next week.

But Germany's Bild newspaper claims that Mercedes' plan is actually to test the 'megaphone' exhaust during free practice for the Spanish grand prix on Friday.

"Bild's information is that the solution will be testing in the morning," said correspondent Lennart Wermke. "Whether it is also used in the race is still open."

Whether Mercedes can afford to be tinkering with the volume of the engine during the race weekend depends on the challenge posed by improving rivals Red Bull and Ferrari.

"Barcelona is incredibly important," agrees team chairman Niki Lauda. "It is a key race," he is quoted by Osterreich.

"Who is good there will be good over the next three or four races as well," he explained.

"Barcelona is an important measure; even more important than usual because this year the car and engine are being developed more.

"If we dominant there (in Spain) too, it looks very, very good for us," admitted Lauda.

(GMM)

 

Red Bull plays down Vettel's chassis change

Red Bull has played down the significance of Sebastian Vettel getting a brand new chassis for this weekend's Spanish grand prix.

Just days after the reigning world champion struggled to match teammate Daniel Ricciardo's pace in China, Dr Helmut Marko said the team was looking into whether Vettel's RB10 - affectionately dubbed 'Suzie' by the German driver - was damaged.

"We don't understand why Vettel's tyre wear was so much higher than Ricciardo's," Marko said.

A few days later, he announced: "In Barcelona, Sebastian will have a new chassis, because sometimes even a small hairline crack can have large consequences.

"In 2012, Sebastian had problems compared with Mark Webber, but after a chassis change suddenly everything was much better and when he regained his confidence, he was almost unbeatable and won the title," Marko added.

However, chief designer Rob Marshall is now insisting that Vettel's chassis change was planned all along.

"Sebastian will get a new chassis for Barcelona," he confirmed, "which was scheduled at the start of the season and then the next one will be for Dan at some time around Silverstone."

In the interview posted on Red Bull's website, Marshall played down the likely benefit of Vettel's new chassis, insisting the change is more precautionary.

"It shouldn't be (a benefit)," he said, "as the idea is that they are all the same.

"From our point of view we'd rather give them one or two new chassis during the season that we have been able to check out in the factory using various testing methods," added Marshall.

Indeed, triple world champion Niki Lauda also seems to doubt that a chassis flaw has been Vettel's problem so far in 2014.

The Mercedes team chairman insists that Ricciardo is simply "an outstanding driver" who has adapted better than Vettel to the radical new regulations.

"Vettel adapted his driving style to the diffuser-type, on the throttle, hot air onto the diffuser, he was used to this for many years to make the best outstanding performance of his old car, so he is still hooked up to this old system," Lauda told the Mirror newspaper.

"The new guy comes in and does not know about this bullsh*t from the past and gets on with it."

But former McLaren and Ferrari driver Lauda tipped Vettel, the title winner for the past four seasons, to eventually catch up with Ricciardo.

"I have been in this situation (too) and Sebastian has to adapt his driving style to drive the car as well as Ricciardo does," he said.

(GMM)

 
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