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F1: Grey Livery And No Vodafone Successor At McLaren? Photo:
 
 
TMR Team | Jan, 21 2014 | 1 Comment

McLaren looks set to enter the 2014 season without an orange livery, and without a replacement for departed title sponsor Vodafone.

The great British team has launched a range of new official replica teamwear, and it is a predictable, Ron Dennis-style grey and white.

Moreover, the main lettering on the shirts and caps is simply 'McLaren', while the full team name now reads as 'McLaren Mercedes', suggesting a successor for departed Vodafone will not be announced.

The news would seem to end speculation the Woking based team could revert to its traditional orange for the 2014 livery, as the curtain falls on the Mercedes era just one year ahead of the switch to works Honda power.

The new teamwear can be seen at mclarenstore.com. (Opens in a new window.)

Meanwhile, in a clear hint that Giedo van der Garde's time at Caterham is up, the logos of the Dutchman's main backer McGregor have been removed from the team's official sponsor page.

It is believed the Tony Fernandes-led team, having fielded van der Garde alongside Charles Pic last year, is set to enter the 2014 season with Kamui Kobayashi alongside rookie Marcus Ericsson.

(GMM)

 

No orange for McLaren after Dennis return

McLaren's 2014 car will not be orange, Italy's Omnicorse reports.

With Honda arriving in 2015, the long Mercedes partnership entering the final straight and title sponsor Vodafone now departed, it had been rumoured the Woking based team could revert to its traditional colours.

"I really like the idea (of an orange livery)," Martin Whitmarsh, whose position as team boss is in serious doubt following Ron Dennis' return, said last year.

"If we're lucky enough to find a sponsor who likes orange, you could see that colour again in formula one," Whitmarsh had said in 2013.

But Omnicorse claims the MP4-29 will in fact retain the chrome finish of past seasons, given that it is not clear a new title sponsor has been signed.

That would leave the door open for a full change of identity for the new Honda era in 2015.

Whitmarsh's proposal for orange, therefore, might have been dismissed by the newly all-powerful and famously meticulous Dennis.

Reports say his 20-minute speech to McLaren staff last week, just before it was announced publicly that he is replacing Whitmarsh as chief executive, was followed by a standing ovation.

Dennis, 66, had promised "changes", and after the disastrous 2013 season, that was welcomed by team staff.

"It's safe to say today's news was received well!" race and test coordinator Clare Martin said on Twitter.

McLaren design engineer Giovanni Banzola added: "So inspired by Ron's speech yesterday!"

Former team driver and long-time F1 pundit John Watson, however, warned that it should not be expected that Dennis' return will lead to immediate success.

"They were subjugated by Ferrari at the turn of the century, then for two years by Renault, four seasons by Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull and Mercedes are now looking very strong for 2014," he wrote in the Daily Mail.

"It is a difficult route to get back to the top, and it won't be a walk in the park just because Ron is coming back.

"It will be a building process, and that process in part is going to start with this new engine formula and working towards 2015 with Honda and then beyond," he added.

(GMM)

 

'F1 not always best option for Brazilians'

The president of Brazil's auto racing federation is not sure it is true that "F1 is always the best option" for the country's rising drivers.

Confederacao Brasileira de Automobilismo (CBA) president Cleyton Pinteiro's comments follow the criticism of well-known F1 figures like Felipe Massa and Rubens Barrichello, who have said more should be done to support new Brazilian drivers on the road to formula one.

Brazil has a rich history of F1 drivers, with Ayrton Senna considered perhaps the sport's all-time great, Nelson Piquet and Emerson Fittipaldi also winning titles, Barrichello holding the record as the most experienced driver and Massa also enjoying a long and successful Ferrari career.

But with that seat now taken by Kimi Raikkonen, Massa has moved to struggling Williams for 2014, and he will be alone in flying the green, yellow and blue colours around the F1 calendar this year.

That's because burgeoning drivers like Luiz Razia and Felipe Nasr have stumbled at the final hurdle to F1, as despite the strong Brazilian economy, both were priced out of the market for race seats in the past couple of years.

Pinteiro, however, insists that F1 is not the be-all and end-all of top motor sport.

"Today, Brazil is a reference in almost all of the categories worldwide," he told Globo Esporte.

"We have strong national motor sport, which pays well and gives the drivers a return for their sponsors.

"Luiz Razia and Felipe Nasr are not absent (from F1) because they lack talent. F1 is not always the best option," Pinteiro argues.

"We have several Brazilians racing in several global categories, which unfortunately is not properly recognised.

"Do a search for who is the current vice-champion of the (German touring car series) DTM. Did you know it is Augusto Farfus?

"A Brazilian won the Indianapolis 500 and another (Brazilian) driver fought for the (2013 Indycar) championship until the very last race," he added.

"The world of motor sport is not limited to F1," Pinteiro insisted.

(GMM)

 

Vettel 'not afraid' of Alonso head-to-head

Sebastian Vettel insists he is not afraid to go head-to-head with one of F1's very best drivers, hinting his next move could be to Ferrari.

Red Bull's reigning world champion is under contract for the next couple of years, but some continue to question his talent compared to a driver like Fernando Alonso.

Kimi Raikkonen, after a two-year sabbatical and then two comeback years with Lotus, has joined Ferrari for 2014, demonstrating he is not put off by Spaniard Alonso's perceived position of dominance at the Italian marque.

But German Vettel insists he is not afraid to go head-to-head.

"Maybe someday I will be on the same team with Kimi or Fernando," he told Sport Bild magazine.

"You always want to beat the strongest opponents, so I'm not afraid," Vettel, who this year will be paired at Red Bull with Daniel Ricciardo, added.

Assessing Vettel's character, 1996 world champion Damon Hill said the German is nothing like his countryman, mentor and friend Michael Schumacher.

"That's what makes F1 interesting," he is quoted by the Times of India. "Vettel is like a puppy, so much enthusiasm, it seems the track is his school playground."

But Hill thinks Vettel could be in for a much tougher fight this year, having utterly dominated the second part of the 2013 season, winning nine races on the trot.

"The championship is likely to go down the wire this time," he said. "It's going to be unpredictable with double points proposed in the final race of the season."

Many believe it is Vettel's dominance that motivated Bernie Ecclestone to push so hard for the controversial double points concept.

"It will make things exciting," said Hill. "I've heard a lot of people say it's stupid but why isn't it a good idea? Maybe it's a great idea."

Not surprisingly, Vettel has slammed double points as "absurd" because it unfairly penalises dominant drivers like himself.

But F1 chief executive Ecclestone told Autoweek: "I said (to him) 'don't be too sure that you are going to have an easy year next year'. There is nothing wrong with it for anybody."

Particularly, Ecclestone added, for the fans and the media.

"The press and television have got a story. (Double points means) the championship is not over. They (other drivers) still have a chance," he told F1 business journalist Christian Sylt.

Ecclestone also revealed that no one, not even powerful Ferrari, can veto the rule change now, as it has been approved by the World Motor Sport Council.

"It is what it is," a relaxed Raikkonen said during his visit to Ferrari's Maranello headquarters last week. "It's the rule and, like it or not, it isn't going to change."

The Finn is also laid back about the radical 2014 rules, despite many drivers predicting a huge challenge with the extreme torque of the new V6 engines.

"My feeling is that it's not going to be as different as people think," he said. "I might be wrong but hopefully we find out that it's pretty simple."

Meanwhile, Raikkonen showed that his recent back surgery appears to have been a complete success, leaping from the drivers' seat of a Ferrari road car over a puddle.

(GMM)

 
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