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F1: Mateschitz Doubts Red Bull Can Catch Mercedes, Not Giving Up Photo:
 
 
Mike Stevens | May, 14 2014 | 0 Comments

With not yet a quarter of the season gone, Red Bull on Tuesday came close to conceding the 2014 title to Mercedes.

Earlier, team owner Dietrich Mateschitz suggested the reigning quadruple world champions are not giving up on 2014, despite Mercedes' clear dominance so far.

But on Tuesday he is quoted by the major German daily Bild: "We probably cannot catch up the advantage that Mercedes has.

In the constructors' battle, Mercedes is already more than 100 points clear of runner-up Red Bull, and billionaire Mateschitz conceded: "I don't think we can challenge the points lead.

"Even if we are winning (races) again, at the same time the others will still be scoring enough points so that their lead is not challenged," he added.

However, Mateschitz said Mercedes cannot be begruded their likely success.

"Before the season, we did not work as well as Mercedes," he said. "I must ungrudgingly recognise when someone else does a sensational job."

(GMM)

 

Red Bull not giving up 2014 battle - Mateschitz

Red Bull will not give up the battle for the 2014 title.

That is the reigning world champions' order straight from the top, despite some predicting that Mercedes' can achieve the unprecedented feat of winning every single grand prix this season.

Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz, however, wants the Milton Keynes team to keep fighting.

"Our first goal is that we become capable of winning this year," he told APA news agency.

"If we can be competitive then, as long as it is mathematically possible, we are still in the world championship fight -- definitely," the Austrian billionaire added.

Mateschitz acknowledged that a lot depends on Red Bull's beleaguered engine supplier, Renault, and other factors as well.

"A new fuel," he explained, "can bring up to 20 or 30 horse power.

"We have never had the most powerful engine, but a good package overall. Perhaps the grand prix of Austria can be a turning point," said Mateschitz, whose company is the promoter of his country's return in June to the F1 calendar.

"We have a good car," he said. "We started two seconds behind but it is looking much better now."

At the very top of his game in 2014 has been Red Bull team newcomer Daniel Ricciardo, with Mateschitz admitting the extent of the Australian's success was a "surprise".

"Sebastian Vettel has had a lot of bad luck this year," he told Salzburger Nachrichten, "but Daniel has shown no weaknesses from day one.

"This also shows that Toro Rosso is an excellent school for producing future winning drivers, and the very next contender is Daniil Kvyat," Mateschitz added.

(GMM)

 

Red Bull to assess 2014 chase in Austria - Marko

Red Bull will take stock of the 2014 season after its home race in Austria next month.

That is the claim of the energy drink company's Dr Helmut Marko, despite team owner Dietrich Mateschitz insisting Red Bull will keep pushing for the title.

Mercedes has easily won the opening five grands prix of 2014, but Red Bull's rate of improvement since a disastrous winter season has also been impressive.

"The grand prix of Austria is a benchmark," Marko, referring to the June 22 race at the renovated Red Bull-Ring, is quoted by APA news agency.

"By then we will have all the parameters with the engine all together," he added.

"Then we'll see how things look."

Red Bull has made no secret that it regards its RB10 car as a championship winner, with the only missing link being the deficiencies of the Renault engine.

The French marque, however, insists it is rapidly catching up.

"I'd say we are about 90 per cent of the way on our recovery now, with final refinements to come," Remi Taffin said after the weekend's Spanish grand prix.

For the moment, Red Bull is ruling out a change of engine supplier.

"Change to who?" team owner Mateschitz said when asked the question. "We currently have no alternatives, and the contracts with Renault are long term."

So Red Bull is pushing ahead with its French partner, he explained.

"I hope that by mid-season we succeed to some extent in making Mercedes' lead at least no longer unassailable," said Mateschitz. "As always, hope dies last!"

(GMM)

 

Vettel thinks chassis change helped in Spain

Sebastian Vettel thinks his 'new' chassis helped him to pull out of his 2014 crisis.

Until Barcelona, the reigning quadruple world champion has struggled at the wheel of his original RB10 car, affectionately nicknamed 'Suzie' by the German.

So, with Dr Helmut Marko fearing a chassis crack, Red Bull reverted as a precaution to its winter testing monocoque for Vettel to drive in Spain and beyond.

Although grappling with nightmarish reliability for most of the weekend, Vettel ultimately scythed through the field in the race, declaring afterwards: "I feel like I have a car in my hands again."

Asked by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport if he thinks the chassis change was key, Vettel agreed: "I do think it made a difference.

"At least the question mark went away," he added, referring to the uncertain handling of the car he experienced in 2014 until Barcelona.

"As for the pace, it was reasonable," said Vettel.

While happy with the Adrian Newey-penned RB10 overall, Red Bull is pushing engine supplier Renault to make further improvements.

In Spain, the team benefitted from a new blend of fuel supplied by Total.

"In the car itself you don't feel more power," said Vettel, "but we were not as vulnerable on the straight as usual, so I do think it gave us a bit."

But for the moment, he acknowledged that Mercedes is a long way ahead.

"They have a phenomenal engine, two very good drivers, a very good car, and a very good team, they're doing a good job so it would be wrong to complain and moan about how dominant they are.

"They worked better than everyone else in the winter and deserve to be in that position," Vettel added.

(GMM)

 

Rosberg coping with Hamilton's dominance - Wolff

Their battles may be played out on the track, but Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are also waging a war of the minds in 2014.

One silver-clad driver or the other will almost certainly be crowned this year's champion, and so far the ultra-dominant Brackley team's management is giving them a free run to go wheel-to-wheel.

"We are cautiously optimistic," said team boss Toto Wolff. "Perhaps more optimistic than cautious at the moment!"

Briton Hamilton currently has the upper hand, having won four of the five grands prix so far and finally taking the championship lead from Rosberg in Spain.

Some believe it is a major psychological blow for the German.

"Break me down mentally?" Rosberg hit back when asked if Hamilton's superiority is getting to him.

"I think he will struggle with that one."

Hamilton, six months older than Rosberg, is often credited as perhaps the naturally fastest driver on the F1 grid, while it is said that Rosberg's speed is more analytically crafted.

"They are different characters," Wolff told the APA news agency.

"Lewis has instinct and merciless speed," said the Austrian. "Nico's preparation is meticulous. He has a great understanding of the car and is fascinated by the data."

But Wolff said Hamilton also does not neglect the hard work off-track.

"He has become an incredibly hard worker," he said. "This year even more than last. I think everything has now taken a higher priority."

However, Wolff said Hamilton's character has another side.

"He is incredibly sensitive to criticism," he explained, "with strong reactions. But this is also why he drives as he does."

Team chairman Niki Lauda said after Hamilton's Barcelona win that the 29-year-old Briton is currently "unbeatable".

Earlier, 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell hailed Hamilton's 2014 form as "close to perfection".

Rosberg replied: "Lewis is just a human, with strengths and weaknesses. And I know what I can do."

Some predict that Hamilton's advantage may eventually get to Rosberg, but Wolff is not so sure.

"He (Rosberg) has no problem dealing with the situation," Wolff is quoted by Speed Week.

"Of course he is disappointed to finish second behind his teammate, but I have no doubt that they will both have their triumphs against one another," he added.

(GMM)

 

Ferrari wants Brawn, Bell and Newey - report

Bob Bell could be the next piece of the puzzle, as Ferrari looks to end its slump and return to the top of formula one.

Already reported by multiple authoritative sources is that the fabled Maranello team is prepared to 'break the bank' and sign Red Bull's Adrian Newey, who is already paid a rumoured $12 million per year.

"Ferrari badly want Adrian Newey," a Ferrari source told the Guardian newspaper.

"I don't know whether they have talked to him yet, but if not, they will."

But Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said the 55-year-old is happy at Milton Keynes.

"He has made his feelings clear to me about the team," Horner commented after the outbreak of the latest rumours.

"The speculation is purely that. You can understand why Ferrari would be looking."

Newey, however, may not be Ferrari's only target. Ross Brawn has already been linked with a return to Italy, and now the Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo claims Bob Bell is another possible recruit.

It was announced last month that Bell will be leaving his role as dominant Mercedes' technical director, the German team saying he is seeking "new challenges" elsewhere.

"It is rumoured Brawn, Bell and Newey could bring order to Ferrari's technical department," said El Mundo Deportivo.

According to Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport, Ferrari is also close to acknowledging that - given Mercedes' utter dominance - "It is already time" to begin thinking about the 2015 season.

It is believed president Luca di Montezemolo had said Barcelona, Monaco and Montreal are key races before Ferrari must decide if focusing on the F14-T's successor should be the main objective.

Also rumoured is that Ferrari's turbo V6 engine project for 2015, codenamed 666, is currently more advanced than it normally would be at this time of year.

Yet another rumour is that Fernando Alonso has finally lost patience waiting for a title-winning Ferrari, and is now casting eyes at Mercedes.

Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda, however, is quoted by Speed Week: "We have two top drivers already, both going for the win. So what would we do with Alonso?"

(GMM)

 

McLaren may test Honda power in 2014

McLaren could be ready to test a Honda engine before the end of 2014.

That is the claim of team boss Eric Boullier, even though the Frenchman's immediate task after joining McLaren from Lotus is to win races with Mercedes power.

After a promising start, McLaren's season has slumped, and yet the newly-returned 'supremo' Ron Dennis is demanding race wins long before the switch to works Honda power.

"I know why he (Dennis) is saying it," said Jenson Button. "We have to be quicker this year if we want to be quick next year.

"We have to keep on pushing and will not let up, unlike maybe Mercedes once they have a 300 point lead," he smiled.

London newspaper The Times claims Boullier has been given "carte blanche" by Dennis to depart from traditional McLaren methods and "start again".

The highly-anticipated Honda era, meanwhile, may get an unexpectedly early start, with Boullier hinting the Japanese-made turbo V6 could get its first laps in Abu Dhabi at the end of the season.

"We have thought about it," said the Frenchman, referring to whether McLaren could immediately switch to Honda power for the post-race test after the Abu Dhabi finale in November.

"We are currently running a Mercedes engine until Abu Dhabi so we will not run anything else, but we have thought to maybe try the (Honda) car afterwards," added Boullier.

However, he dismissed the suggestion that - already without a title sponsor in 2014 - McLaren might as well write off this season in favour of the 2015 project.

"We definitely are not in a limbo year," he said.

"We are working just flat-out at Woking and a title sponsor doesn't change anything anyway as our budget is in place already.

"Obviously next year's power unit is another programme but it is not affecting what we are doing at all," Boullier added.

(GMM)

 
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