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F1: Ferrari Hoses Raikkonen Reports, One More Toro Rosso Year For Ricciardo Photo:
 
 
TMR Team | Aug, 01 2013 | 2 Comments

Ferrari on Wednesday played down reports it has made a lucrative offer to sign Kimi Raikkonen for 2014.

As Lotus and Red Bull tussle over the Finn's services, and amid wild rumours Ferrari number 1 Fernando Alonso is toying with a switch to Red Bull, the Raikkonen-to-Ferrari story was broken earlier by the German newspaper Bild.

A Ferrari spokesman told the German news agency DPA the team "has no interest in the driver market right now".

But with Felipe Massa's contract expiring, that might not be true. Indeed, the German magazine Sport Bild said Ferrari never lost contact with 33-year-old Raikkonen, who won the title with the Maranello marque in 2007.

Raikkonen's deal was ended a year early late in 2009, when Alonso arrived with crucial Santander backing. But Sport Bild says Raikkonen always maintained a good relationship with team boss Stefano Domenicali.

"I could very well imagine Kimi back at Ferrari," former driver and German-language Sky commentator Marc Surer said.

He said he doubts Raikkonen has ruled out Ferrari as an option simply because the team ended his tenure prematurely in 2009.

"At that time it was because of Alonso's sponsor that Kimi had to go," said Surer.

So as many muse the possibility of Raikkonen returning to Ferrari, others think a sensational switch from the Italian team to Red Bull for Alonso is also conceivable.

"The way I see it," grand prix legend Gerhard Berger said, "Alonso must react.

"He has been waiting (at Ferrari) over three years now for the title. Each time, Red Bull beating him. So he has to try to drive for them in 2014," added Berger, who is close to Red Bull team owner Dietrich Mateschitz.

"With the brilliant designer Adrian Newey, at least they (Red Bull) give him the guarantee to have a winning car."

But even Berger, a former Ferrari driver, acknowledged that Alonso will only be able to leave if there are "escape clauses" in his 2016 contract.

Surer, however, thinks Red Bull pairing Alonso with reigning triple world champion Sebastian Vettel would be a big mistake.

"If that happens, Kimi in the Ferrari is world champion," he said. "It would be like 2007, when Alonso and Lewis Hamilton fought so much (at McLaren) that Raikkonen had the last laugh even with an inferior car.

"So I doubt Red Bull would create a war like that."

(GMM)

 

Tost wants one more Toro Rosso season for Ricciardo

Franz Tost has admitted he would be happy if Daniel Ricciardo spends another year at Toro Rosso.

Australian Ricciardo has earned a place in contention for the departing Mark Webber's 2014 seat at Red Bull.

But also in the running is Kimi Raikkonen, amid F1's hottest rumour that Fernando Alonso also might want to be Sebastian Vettel's teammate next year.

But Toro Rosso team boss Tost told Speed Week he sees "no reason" why Red Bull shouldn't choose 23-year-old Ricciardo over his title-winning rivals.

"Personally," he admitted, "I would rather see him get another year in the maturing process at Toro Rosso.

"I mean, we are talking here about Red Bull Racing, the champion team of the last three years," Tost said.

"Daniel has never been on a formula one podium, he has not won a race -- because our car was not good enough.

"That's the only negative I see for him. Otherwise, I think he will have great successes in formula one."

On the other hand, Tost insisted a young Sebastian Vettel was not so different to Ricciardo when the now reigning triple world champion stepped up from Toro Rosso.

"The biggest difference between Vettel and Ricciardo was that Vettel went to Red Bull when it was not a winning team. They grew up together.

"But Ricciardo must immediately be on the podium and fighting for wins. Perhaps the chance has come a year too early," added Tost.

(GMM)

 

Ferrari 'not pleased' with latest Pirelli shakeup

The big news following the race debut of Pirelli's latest tyre specification is that Mercedes' long struggles could finally be over.

Ferrari, on the other hand, thinks the move to the new specification combining the 2013 compounds with the 2012 kevlar construction has hurt the Italian team's performance.

"There is no doubt that it will be better for some than it is for others," Mercedes' Ross Brawn is quoted by Brazil's Totalrace, "but I still have no idea where we are."

The tempting analysis, of course, is to surmise that Lewis Hamilton's first win of the 2013 season, from pole position in Hungary, showed that Mercedes is the big winner of the tyre shakeup.

Brawn warns: "But it doesn't mean the same will happen in Spa."

But even Paul Hembery, Pirelli's motor sport boss, thinks Hungary might be evidence Mercedes' troubles are finally over.

"The big difference is that they didn't have the overheating problems that we saw them have on the rear tyres in the past 18 months," he said.

"If they've solved those problems, Mercedes will be very strong in the second half of the season," Hembery added.

At the same time, in a post-race media statement, Ferrari made clear that the new 2012/2013 tyres "definitely did not suit" the F138 in Hungary.

"Pirelli's choice contributed to artificially altering the hierarchy in the field, something that has not pleased the president (Luca di Montezemolo) or the men of the Scuderia," Ferrari added.

"This topic will be the subject of further debate in the near future," the statement concluded.

A slightly more cautious team boss, Stefano Domenicali, told Totalrace: "We need to understand if it has to do with the structure of the tyre, or whether it will depend on the compounds that are taken to each race.

"What is clear is that Mercedes have solved their problems with these new tyres," said the Italian.

(GMM)

 

Marussia wants to keep both drivers for 2014

Marussia would like to keep its current race drivers in 2014, boss John Booth has revealed.

Recently, just as Pat Symonds was set to announce his departure for Williams, Marussia's former technical boss admitted 2013 drivers Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi had left the team with "tied hands".

"We need to have drivers who also bring money," he lamented.

But when asked if the inexperienced 2013 duo had done enough to secure their seats for another season together, boss Booth insisted: "Absolutely.

"I'd like to keep them both for next year," he is quoted by Sky Sports.

"At the moment it depends on a variety of (contract) options and option expires and things like that."

But Booth insisted that, despite Marussia taking a "massive gamble" on two rookie drivers, Chilton and Bianchi have done a good job.

"It's been really impressive as to how few mistakes they've both made," he said.

"With two rookies it could have finished in a right old mess, but you can count on one hand the mistakes made between them."

Briton Chilton is substantially backed by his wealthy father, while Bianchi is the cream of Ferrari's driver development 'academy'.

The Frenchman's seat seems secure in light of Marussia's new engine deal with the Italian marque.

But Booth insists: "The two deals are totally separate. The powertrain deal has no bearing on Jules' future at all."

(GMM)

 

Ecclestone still wants F1 future for India - Chandhok

Dropping off the 2014 calendar does not mean India's F1 dream is over.

That is the claim of Karun Chandhok, one of only two Indians to ever race in formula one, and the son of the Indian motor sport chief Vicky.

Chandhok, who contested grands prix for HRT and Caterham (nee Lotus) a few years ago, was reportedly involved in the latest talks between his father and Bernie Ecclestone over the troubled future of the Indian grand prix.

"We are trying to work out a way for the Indian GP to coexist in a now packed calendar, for both sides -- (organiser) Jaypee Group and the Formula One Group," sports car driver Chandhok told the Indian broadcaster NDTV.

It has been confirmed that India will not be on next year's calendar, but that it will return early in 2015.

Chandhok insisted: "I was on call with Bernie earlier today and what we've come to know that everyone must understand is that both sides want an Indian grand prix."

He said the idea of 'rotating' races - or two host countries alternating a single annual F1 date - is possible as more and more grand prix venues scramble to join the calendar.

"However," Chandhok said, "then you have to figure out whether hosting a race every alternate year will be a viable option for all host countries or not.

"Let's not forget that a lot of investment is done for hosting a race, for keeping the safety norms in place. Does it then makes sense to invest so much on the circuits just for one year?

"There will be much deliberation on such matters," added Chandhok, who raised the possibility of India sharing its date with Malaysia.

He said: "But much of it is just speculation. We just need to see how the cards unfold."

(GMM)

 
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