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F1: Mateschitz Offers Webber New Deal For 2014 - Report Photo:
 
 
TMR Team | Jun, 27 2013 | 0 Comments

Mark Webber has the support of Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz as he considers his future beyond a 2013 contract.

That is the claim of the German publication Auto Bild Motorsport, following Australian Webber's claim late last week that "the ball is pretty firmly in my court" regarding a deal for 2014.

Previously, it was believed Red Bull was considering replacing Webber - who turns 37 in August - with either Sebastian Vettel's friend and 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen, or a Toro Rosso driver.

Webber's seven-season run at the Milton-Keynes based team was said to be effectively over, having fallen out with teammate Vettel over the 'Multi-21' affair, and finally succumbing to the lack of support of the influential figure Dr Helmut Marko.

Webber, however, insisted last week that his relationship with billionaire Mateschitz remains strong.

"I'll continue to be in touch with him on where my thinking is at, where my energy levels are, and where my motivation is for still operating at this level," he said.

Citing Auto Bild's report, Die Welt newspaper now reports that Mateschitz has "personally presented the Australian with an offer to extend his contract".

The report added that Webber will consider the offer until August, when Red Bull's bosses Marko and Christian Horner have said consistently they will turn their attention to the team's 2014 driver lineup.

(GMM)

 

Brawn hits back at test-gate rivals' 'spin'

Ross Brawn has hit back at Red Bull's "spin", after the reigning world champions said sitting out the young driver test next month will not hurt Mercedes.

At the end of the recent 'test-gate' hearing, the FIA tribunal banned Mercedes from attending next month's test for rookie drivers at Silverstone.

But Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko said that is hardly a penalty at all.

"You can't really try anything in the young drivers test," he said.

"The drivers at the wheel are just learning about formula one, while Mercedes had three days (in Barcelona) with their regular drivers."

However, team boss Brawn has hit back at Marko's claims by insisting that missing the test is in fact "significant".

"To downgrade the test and to make out it is not significant is not correct, and just an attempt by teams concerned to distort the facts," he is quoted by the Telegraph.

"I think we have a very tangible loss."

Brawn suggested missing Silverstone will not simply equalise Mercedes' advantage of having run with race drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg with the 2013 car at Barcelona in May.

"It is a different league quite frankly to have a three day test, over 1500 kilometres, with new parts, with race tyres that are those we race," he said.

"It is unfortunate the spin that some teams are putting on the punishment that it is not significant."

Brawn's view is even backed by Jonathan Neale, the managing director of the similarly Mercedes-powered McLaren team.

"With the paucity of track testing that we have at the moment, missing the young driver test is obviously problematic," he told reporters in a Vodafone teleconference.

"They (Mercedes) will be sorry to miss it."

Nonetheless, even serving the 'test-gate' penalties will likely not end the finger-pointing at Mercedes, with Hamilton admitting that a good result this weekend will be inevitably traced back to the highly controversial test.

"People will jump to conclusions I am sure," he is quoted by British newspapers.

"We have had a couple of positive races because those circuits have been easier on tyres. That's just made it look like we have had a benefit from the Pirelli test," added the 2008 world champion.

(GMM)

 

Ecclestone waived fee to save Nurburgring race - report

Germany is only on this year's formula one calendar because Bernie Ecclestone waived the Nurburgring's usual race fee.

That is the claim of Bild newspaper, referring to that circuit's financial problems that put at risk the race-alternating scheme with Germany's other F1 host, Hockenheim.

Bild reports that, to ensure the embattled Nurburgring takes its scheduled turn next weekend, F1 chief executive Ecclestone agreed to waive his organisation's usual EUR 14 million race fee.

"Bild has learned that without the gift, there would not have been a Grossen Preis von Deutschland on 7 July," correspondent Helmut Uhl said.

"The Rhineland-Palatinate state and the insolvent Nurburgring GmbH could not have afforded the fee."

A spokesman for the company responsible for the Nurburgring's insolvency process confirmed: "We achieved an agreement in a very short time with Mr Ecclestone.

"The details are not disclosed."

The Nurburgring's insolvency administrator Jens Lieser added: "With his commitment to the Nurburgring, Mr Ecclestone did German formula one fans a big favour."

(GMM)

 

Force India won't prevent di Resta exit

Force India on Wednesday said it will not hold Paul di Resta to his 2014 contract should the Scot want to join another team.

There have been rumblings about the 27-year-old's discontent in the middle of the grid and at the Silverstone based team, amid his recent criticism of race strategies and reports even a garage scuffle broke out in Montreal.

Deputy team boss Bob Fernley said on Wednesday: "Paul is contracted to us anyway for next season, so the question is whether somebody else comes in, so it won't be our decision.

"But we wouldn't stand in his way. That's not our policy. If a driver feels he is better somewhere else, what would be the point in keeping him?"

Fernley said the fact Force India was able to pick up the pieces after Nico Hulkenberg's move to Sauber shows that the team would also cope with di Resta's exit.

"We then proved by bringing in Adrian (Sutil) we are capable of recovering from such a situation and carrying on as normal," he said.

Meanwhile, another British driver - rookie Max Chilton - has revealed ahead of his home grand prix this weekend that he would like to stay at Marussia for a second year.

"When it gets nearer the time then we'll hopefully work on it, but I love the team and obviously I'd love to stay for another year and to keep learning," he said.

"It's what a lot of drivers do; starting out at a team like this, learning, become the driver you are, and you work your way up."

His teammate Jules Bianchi has stolen a lot of the headlines so far in 2013, but Chilton believes he has done a good job in his own rookie season.

"I don't think I've underperformed," said 22-year-old Chilton, who claims the team was "over the moon" with his race in Monaco.

"I know the whole team are behind me, so if I can keep doing that, keep showing them what I can do, then anything is possible."

(GMM)

 

Ecclestone warns F1 calendar could shed historic Monza

Monza, the historic home of the Italian grand prix, could be a victim of F1's continued push into "emerging markets".

That is the warning of F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, who admitted that even the sport's longest-standing European races are not secure.

"It is possible that Europe will lose a couple of races in favour of emerging markets," he told the weekly Italian magazine Panorama.

"If we do move away from Monza - and I say 'if', because no decision has been taken yet - it would be only for economic reasons.

"Of course, the quality of the circuit and the organisation could also be better," added Ecclestone, "but that is not the crucial point."

Earlier this week, 1996 world champion Damon Hill warned Ecclestone that removing the "cornerstones" of the sport, such as key European races, is a real risk.

"Without European enthusiasm," he told the London Evening Standard, "if you just took the sport off to China, India or the States, it would die within minutes.

"But I don't think Bernie's interested in the sport. He's interested in the return it gives," added Hill.

(GMM)

 
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