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F1: Decision To Stop Developing 2013 Car 'Difficult' - Rosberg Photo:
 
 
TMR Team | Aug, 12 2013 | 1 Comment

More wins in 2013, or the 2014 title? Nico Rosberg is in two minds about how Mercedes should tackle the second half of this season.

The German has won two races in the ever-improving Mercedes so far this year, while his teammate Lewis Hamilton won the most recent grand prix, in Hungary.

But with the sweeping rules changes for 2014 looming, and some teams already turning their full focus to the new cars, Rosberg is unsure how Mercedes should proceed.

Speaking to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, he seemed to acknowledge that, notwithstanding Mercedes' absolutely front-running car, the chance of winning the 2013 title is slim.

"We have been able to celebrate some huge successes," he said. "Unfortunately, especially due to the tyres, we were not consistent enough.

"The progress we have made, however, is huge," Rosberg explained. "But our goal is to be where Sebastian (Vettel) is."

Indeed, with half the season gone, Red Bull's Vettel has a 38 point lead over Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen, while the closest Mercedes challenger is Hamilton, who is 48 points adrift.

Rosberg's gap to the lead, meanwhile, is 88 points.

The 28-year-old acknowledged, therefore, that the 2014 rules revolution is a "huge opportunity" for a works outfit like Mercedes.

So should the Brackley based team throw its full weight behind 2014, or keep developing the current car for more poles and wins?

"That's a difficult question," Rosberg said. "I'm in two minds. On the one hand, I find it so cool to come to a race weekend with the best car, thinking 'I can put it on pole and win'. It's a great feeling.

"On the other hand, half of me thinks next year is such a huge opportunity, because of all the changes. If we just keep driving what we have now, we can still get some good successes out of this car," he added.

What Rosberg is implying is that Mercedes might now consider simply switching the full weight of the team's resources to the 2014 project.

Team boss Ross Brawn admitted that is a possibility.

"For Spa and Monza we have some great update packages in the works," he revealed.

"Depending on how well things go, we will then decide what to do for the rest of the season."

(GMM)

 

Sauber bailout collapse fears 'not worth a denial'

Leading figures of Sauber's Russian rescue deal have played down reports of a delay that means vital money is not yet flowing to the embattled Swiss team.

The German newspaper Die Welt claimed this week that Russian president Vladimir Putin is stalling over the final signature.

Sauber could, therefore, still run off the road because Ferrari is reportedly threatening to cut off its supply of customer V8 engines if a EUR 9 million bill is not paid imminently.

Central to the entire Russian deal is the scheduled debut of teenage Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin, and his manager Nikolay Vetrov confirmed the holdup.

"Yes, we have not had time to implement the whole of the planned ambitious programme," he told the f1news.ru website, "but otherwise everything is going according to plan.

"I just spoke with (team boss) Mrs (Monisha) Kaltenborn, and she said, literally, that this (Die Welt) article is not even worthy of a comment," added Vetrov.

"There is no doubting the realism of these plans."

17-year-old Sirotkin's father Oleg is also closely involved in the Sauber deal, as director-general of the National Institute of Aviation Technologies.

He also confirmed the delay in the Sauber deal.

"Indeed, we are still in the implementation phase of our agreement of intent," he said. "We are preparing all the relevant documents, and it takes quite a long time.

"We have a plan, we're moving on it, we are somewhat behind in some areas, somewhat ahead in others.

"What I would say is that this procedure is more technical than political. In general, we do not see any big problems, but there will be a slight shift in the timing.

"Of course, I want everything to happen tomorrow, but we need patience on all sides and everything will be fine -- that's my point of view."

When asked by Blick newspaper about the Die Welt report, Sauber spokesman Hanspeter Brack answered: "There are some articles that are not even worth the denial."

(GMM)

 

Lotus denies unpaid staff warning of strike

Lotus has played down reports the Enstone based team is struggling to survive financially amid crippling debts.

It was already known that the team's highest-paid member, lead driver Kimi Raikkonen, is waiting on his latest pay instalment.

And reports in the German press said other unpaid staff at Enstone are threatening to lay down their tools, while spare parts are running low because suppliers are also waiting for invoices to be paid.

35 per cent of the Genii-owned team was sold recently to a consortium called Infinity Racing, but it subsequently emerged that the deal is still not actually done.

"There may be some delays," team boss Eric Boullier admitted this week, "but it will be repaired within a few days.

"The package that ensures the future of the company is completed slowly, but we'll get there," he told the Finnish broadcaster MTV3.

Meanwhile, the Spanish sports newspaper Marca said Lotus has officially denied that team members have not been paid and are therefore threatening to strike.

(GMM)

 

Red Bull also leads pitstop race in 2013

Red Bull is leading not only the drivers' and constructors' championships in 2013, its pit crew is also the fastest in formula one.

That is the finding of Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, reporting that the average pitstop for Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber so far this year took just 2.83 seconds.

"In the second half of last year we were on average three tenths faster than Red Bull," McLaren sporting director Sam Michael is quoted as saying.

"Now it's the other way around."

Indeed, Ferrari is in second place with an average time of 2.9 seconds, followed by Mercedes at 3.06 seconds.

Auto Motor und Sport said Red Bull has also recorded every one of the top five fastest pitstops of the season so far, headed by Webber's 2.13 second stop in Malaysia.

Mercedes, however, thinks it can go even faster than that.

"We did a practice stop at the Nurburgring in 1.6 seconds," said sporting director Ron Meadows.

"But, of course, practice lacks the tension of an actual stop during the race," he acknowledged.

In fact, the speed of pitstops looks set to dip in the second half of the season.

After Webber's flying wheel struck a cameraman in the Nurburgring pitlane, the FIA is preparing to introduce a system where a backup row of pins on the wheel nuts will ensure a loose wheel cannot fly off a car.

Auto Motor und Sport said Red Bull voluntarily trialled the system in Hungary, which promptly cost Webber and Vettel an average of half a second per stop.

(GMM)

 

Grosjean celebrates summer break as new father

Romain Grosjean is celebrating F1's August break as a new father.

The Lotus driver, whose wife Marion Jolles met 27-year-old Grosjean as a F1 reporter for French television TF1, confirmed the happy news this week.

"Our son Sacha was born on the 29th of July," he said on Twitter, referring to the very day after he finished sixth in the Hungarian grand prix.

After a wave of up and down form in 2013, Grosjean also qualified a season-best third in Hungary, while many applauded his feisty racing on Sunday.

Asked to name a highlight of 2013, he said: "Well, I would like to say the pass on Felipe (Massa) in Budapest, which at the time I thought may have been the best of my career so far, but of course with the penalty I suppose it's not the same.

"After our performance in the last few races, I honestly believe my first win is now just around the corner," Grosjean added.

Indeed, while earlier it was believed Grosjean's erratic form might cost him his race seat, boss Eric Boullier thinks Lotus has "a future contender for titles" on its hands now.

"It gives me great pleasure to see him learn from those (bad) experiences and to really start delivering the kind of results we've always known he is capable of," he said after Hungary.

"He knows that if he wants to be winning races and fighting for championships then he must deliver this kind of quality drive at every grand prix," Boullier added.

As for his wife and his newly-born son, Frenchman Grosjean told his 165,000 Twitter followers that "All the family is doing very well".

(GMM)

 
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