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F1: 'Financial Crisis' Threatens Formula 1, Horner Visits Ferrari - Reports Photo:
 
 
TMR Team | Jan, 24 2013 | 0 Comments
  • 'Financial crisis' threatens F1 - reports
  • Report - Red Bull's Horner visited Ferrari
  • Wolff hopes angry Brawn doesn't quit
  • Wolff to keep Williams link 'for the moment'
  • Webber to give 2013 Red Bull track debut
  • Pirelli set to name Kobayashi 2013 tester - reports
  • Ecclestone doing his 'best' to save German GP
  • Mateschitz not ruling out Austria GP return
  • Heidfeld backs Hulkenberg's team switch
 

'Financial crisis' threatens F1 - reports

Talented drivers are becoming the victims of a financial crisis in F1, according to media reports.

Major newspapers like Germany's Bild, and specialist outlets including Auto Motor und Sport, say the sport is "sick".

"Only the top four - Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes - are having no problems," said Bild.

Auto Motor und Sport added: "We have to worry about Formula One. HRT has gone. Caterham and Marussia can only survive with pay-drivers. Drivers like Timo Glock and Heikki Kovalainen are losing their jobs.

"The sport must be wondering how it will survive in the long term."

And veteran Swiss correspondent Roger Benoit wrote on Tuesday: "If the 11 teams had to pay all their debts by the end of February, only ten cars would race in Melbourne."

The latest victim of the 'crisis' is German Glock, who is now looking to rescue his career with BMW in the DTM series, after Marussia ended his 'valid contract' as it seeks a driver with a dowry.

"That's the way of F1 at the moment," the 30-year-old wrote on Twitter. "I hope it will change again soon because like this it has nothing to do with sport."

Of the growing power of 'pay drivers', Felipe Massa said on Tuesday: "Honestly, this is not a great thing for Formula One".

The solution, according to Sauber's Monisha Kaltenborn, is to cut costs drastically and urgently.

"If it doesn't happen soon," she is quoted by Switzerland's Blick, "then this sport will be in very dangerous times."

(GMM)

 

Report - Red Bull's Horner visited Ferrari

Rumours Red Bull team boss Christian Horner recently visited Maranello emerged on Wednesday.

The German website motorsport-total.com reported leaks about the Briton's secret Ferrari visit have been made to the Italian media.

The report said Horner met with Ferrari's head of human resources, Mario Mairano, probably last month.

"The thought is that this is an attempt to indirectly gain access to the services of star designer Adrian Newey," wrote journalist Christian Nimmervoll.

It is believed Horner and Newey always sign and renew their Red Bull contracts together.

Horner, understood to have a Red Bull contract until at least 2014, has also been previously linked to Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali's job.

(GMM)

 

Wolff hopes angry Brawn doesn't quit

Toto Wolff says he hopes Ross Brawn stays at Mercedes.

With Wolff buying 30 percent of the German team and now executive director, it is strongly rumoured that he has wooed McLaren's Paddy Lowe to join him.

That would appear a direct undermining of team principal and technical expert Brawn's position, with Daily Express journalist Bob McKenzie reporting that the 58-year-old is therefore "close to quitting".

Wolff said: "It's all speculation. Ross is here as part of the leading team and I hope he is going to stay."

Pressed, he added: "I have had conversations with Ross and I admire what Ross has done but I need to understand the structure."

McLaren has declined to comment, but if he does leave, 51-year-old Lowe would almost certainly have to serve some 'gardening leave'.

Like Brawn, the position of Mercedes' Nick Fry is reportedly also in serious doubt.

"There are many intelligent people there (at Brackley)," Wolff insisted, "and I'd like to meet them, speak to them and analyse and then make my conclusions.

"There is an organisation in place and I'd like to work with it."

As for Wolff's new role, he said he will be mainly devoted to F1, attending all the Grands Prix and the major events on the DTM calendar.

Among his first duties will be keeping tabs on injured F1 driver Robert Kubica's test this week in a Mercedes DTM car.

But Wolff played down the prospect of a return to formula one for the Pole in the short term.

"If the DTM test goes well and we see that he is doing well in a proper race car with downforce, I think there are still some physical constraints to drive a monocoque chassis with his elbow and arm," he said.

"I think we all would love to see Robert doing well in a Formula One car in the future but that is definitely too early at this stage."

(GMM)

 

Wolff to keep Williams link 'for the moment'

As Toto Wolff gets down to work at Mercedes, the situation at Williams remains unclear.

When the Austrian's team switch was announced, Williams made clear that Wolff "will retain his shareholding".

It is believed the 41-year-old's Williams stake is worth up to EUR 40 million.

Sources have said Wolff owning shares in competing F1 teams (he's got 30 percent of Mercedes) is legitimate, but it remains to be seen if the situation will change.

"For the moment I'm going to keep those (Williams) shares," he said on Tuesday.

"I have a responsibility as a shareholder. I can't let everybody else down. I'm going to look at the situation in the next couple of weeks or months.

"I am working 100 percent for Mercedes, as a director of Mercedes and trying to be successful with Mercedes.

"But I've had a long interest in Williams and you can't kill an emotion just by resigning from a directorship."

It is rumoured there could be a silver lining for Williams, with suggestions Wolff's new Mercedes link could deliver a change of customer engine supplier for the currently Renault-powered Grove team.

"No discussions have been held," Wolff said.

(GMM)

 

Webber to give 2013 Red Bull track debut

Mark Webber will give Red Bull's 2013 car, the RB9, its track debut at Jerez early next month.

Although his teammate Sebastian Vettel has won the past three drivers' titles for the Austrian team, it will be Australian Webber first at the wheel as the 2013 pre-season begins in southern Spain on February 5 and 6.

Brazil's Totalrace added that German Vettel will drive on day three.

Webber, 36, also debuted Red Bull's championship winning 2012 car.

"I think - especially in the race - Vettel will still have his nose in front this year, but maybe in qualifying Webber can be there," former F1 driver Nick Heidfeld told Speed Week.

"The team probably put more into Vettel, as they know now very well that he can deliver the title, and also it's likely that Sebastian is going to stay longer than Webber," he added.

(GMM)

 

Pirelli set to name Kobayashi 2013 tester - reports

Kamui Kobayashi looks set to spend the 2013 season testing tyres with F1's official supplier Pirelli.

The Italian marque has invited the media to its Milan headquarters on Wednesday for the launch of the sport's 2013 tyres and a press conference "with Pirelli's main motor sport protagonists".

The French sources F1i and Eurosport are reporting that Japanese Kobayashi, the former Sauber driver, should be announced as the main Pirelli tester for this year.

An Italian source is reporting the same.

Late last year, when 26-year-old Kobayashi was mentioned as a possible test driver for 2013, Pirelli's Paul Hembery answered: "It's a possibility.

"We'll see what happens with him. I imagine he's still trying to get a (race) seat, so we'll wait."

(GMM)

 

Ecclestone doing his 'best' to save German GP

Bernie Ecclestone has not given up on F1's scheduled return to the Nurburgring in 2013.

The financially-embattled venue is scheduled to host the July race, but it is also possible Hockenheim could step in at the last minute.

"I am doing my best to make sure we do not lose formula one in Germany," Ecclestone, 82, is quoted by the Allgemeine Zeitung.

The newspaper said it knows negotiations are still taking place between Ecclestone and Nurburgring officials, but that a deal is not yet signed.

"Whether he (Ecclestone) will sign in the coming days, he did not say," the media report explained.

Nurburgring official Karl-Heinz Steinkuhler would not comment.

(GMM)

 

Mateschitz not ruling out Austria GP return

Dietrich Mateschitz, the billionaire owner of the energy drink Red Bull, is not ruling out a future on the F1 calendar for his native Austria.

Earlier, the former Austrian Grand Prix venue A1-Ring - now refurbished and renamed 'Red Bull Ring' - was touted for the twentieth race date on the 2013 schedule.

But Bernie Ecclestone ruled out the venue in Spielberg, a city with a population of about 5,000, on the basis that the local hotel infrastructure would not be able to cope.

But Mateschitz is quoted by Speed Week: "There is much in favour of a Grand Prix in Spielberg.

"Many conditions and factors could justify it," he added, "but whether it will ever happen again falls into the realm of speculation, and that's something this company doesn't do."

The Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso team owner, however, sounds serious about his grand prix aspirations, insisting that if he ever agrees a deal, it would have to be for "at least three to five years".

(GMM)

 

Heidfeld backs Hulkenberg's team switch

Nick Heidfeld, a former long-time Sauber driver, has backed countryman Nico Hulkenberg's move from Force India to the Swiss team for 2013.

Some have criticised the 25-year-old's move on the basis that Sauber might not be seen as a vastly superior team to Silverstone based Force India.

Asked if he thinks Hulkenberg's move makes sense, Heidfeld told Speed Week: "When you're not going directly to one of the top teams, it is difficult to know whether you're making the right decision.

"Of course, in 2012 Sauber had the faster car, and they have excellent facilities at Hinwil. But they are now doing without designer James Key, who has gone to Toro Rosso.

"It's always difficult to judge if you've picked the right car, but I can understand Hulkenberg's decision.

"He has been able to assert himself against the established and - in my opinion - the slightly overrated Paul di Resta, and now with this change he will get even more attention.

"It can be difficult to have a brand new driver to formula one as your teammate, but Esteban Gutierrez in my view was quite convincing in GP2," Heidfeld added.

(GMM)

 
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