- Report - Gilles Simon working on F1 engine for Honda
- Danica Patrick 'not interested' in F1 switch
- New Ferrari not quickest in field - Domenicali
- McLaren replaces Mercedes-bound Lowe
- Caterham exhaust 'legal' insists van der Garde
Report - Gilles Simon working on F1 engine for Honda
Honda may already be working on a formula one project for 2014.
When revealing its all-new turbo V6 'power unit' for next year near Paris on Monday, Renault's Jean-Michel Jalinier said he "definitely" expects more engine makers to enter F1 under the 2014 rules.
"That's why the number of our customers will fall in the future," he is quoted by German website motorsport-total.com, "because there are more competitors."
Honda, the Japanese marque that pulled out of F1 at the end of 2008 due to the global financial crisis, could be one such competitor.
The German-language Speed Week reports that Frenchman Gilles Simon, Ferrari's engine boss during the ultra-successful Jean Todt era, could already be working with Honda.
After leaving Ferrari, Simon worked for the FIA, but most recently he has been designing a turbo V6 for Craig Pollock's intended 2014 F1 supplier Pure.
But with Pollock's plans now collapsed, Speed Week reports that British sources suspect the newly UK-based Simon could be working on a F1 engine for Honda.
For its last F1 foray, Honda was based at Brackley, which is now the headquarters for Mercedes' similarly Ross Brawn-led works team.
Danica Patrick 'not interested' in F1 switch
Danica Patrick has played down suggestions she might switch to formula one.
Speculation the 30-year-old American could have a future on the grand prix grid was kindled by her high-profile pole position for Nascar's premier Sprint Cup opener at Daytona.
Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko was quoted by Bild newspaper as saying while Patrick is not "on the top ten" of his list of promising F1-worthy candidates for the future, he would offer her a test.
According to Austria's Kleine Zeitung newspaper, Patrick described Marko's offer as "nice" but insisted: "I do not need to be in formula one to have a full life."
She said she has "never been really interested" in exploring any F1 options.
"It is speculation in the media," she added, "but it has never been seriously discussed."
That is despite Williams test driver Susie Wolff admitting recently that Bernie Ecclestone is "massively pushing" for a female driver to be on the F1 grid.
"At some point I think in the future we will definitely see it happen," she said.
New Ferrari not quickest in field - Domenicali
Stefano Domenicali has admitted Ferrari will probably not field the fastest car at the 2013 season opener next month.
Based on the results of the opening two tests of the pre-season, most paddock-watchers think world champion Red Bull is still in the lead.
Veteran correspondent Roger Benoit, of the Swiss newspaper Blick, ranks Lotus second in his early 2013 pecking order, followed by McLaren and then last year's runner-up Ferrari.
"The target is to be close together with the leading cars," Maranello based Ferrari's team boss Domenicali told Reuters.
"I would be very surprised if it (the F138) was the quickest at the first race. But if we are all close together in a couple of tenths, then the season is really long and everything is possible."
Last year, Ferrari and Fernando Alonso fought back into contention after a dire start, and both the Spanish driver and Felipe Massa have said the F138 is on "a different planet" compared to what they had early in 2012.
Still, their 2013 machine will probably not be dominant, Domenicali warns.
"In Australia it is not the end of the championship, it's just the start. We need to be careful and stay cool," he added.
McLaren replaces Mercedes-bound Lowe
Paddy Lowe is no longer McLaren's technical director.
Hot on the heels of reports the 50-year-old has been placed on 'gardening leave', the British team announced that long-time McLaren engineer Tim Goss has replaced Lowe.
"The great mystery is no more," Tobias Gruner, the correspondent for Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, said.
"The only thing missing is the official confirmation."
He is referring to speculation Lowe will almost certainly be joining Mercedes after his 'gardening leave'.
McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh said: "He's been a good and successful F1 technical director, and we wish him well when he embarks on a fresh challenge in 2014."
Whitmarsh's comment will increase speculation Lowe has been drafted by Mercedes to replace team boss Ross Brawn.
"I cannot officially say anything," Niki Lauda, Mercedes' new shareholder and executive chairman, told Reuters.
"If Paddy Lowe is coming or not, I cannot tell you now ... (but) Ross is in his position and will stay in his position. Everything is under control."
Prior to the news about Lowe's 'gardening leave' breaking, Brawn told F1's official website on Monday: "I am responsible for the sporting side; running the team on an operational level.
"If we can maintain that then there will not be a problem."
A report in the UK newspaper Express said confidently: "Brawn feels his status has been undermined and will not hang around the new regime."
Caterham exhaust 'legal' insists van der Garde
After Williams removed its controversial solution for the 'Coanda'-effect exhaust late last week, heads are now turning in Caterham's direction.
Williams' move to remove the solution reportedly followed the FIA's Charlie Whiting telling team designer Mike Coughlan at Jerez that he deemed it illegal.
But while Williams' solution attempted to find a loophole in the regulations, Coughlan said recently he thought Caterham's similar approach is "clearly not allowed".
A Caterham spokesman said: "We are continuing to evaluate a range of options at the pre-season tests as per our normal programme."
But the team's new Dutch racer Giedo van der Garde is not so sure that means Caterham will remove the solution.
"I am told that it is legal, so I am not worried," he is quoted by the Dutch magazine Formule1.
"I expect to find the same exhaust on the car in Barcelona."
The third and final four-day pre-season test begins on Thursday.
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