F1: Ricciardo Denies Webber Comments, Raikkonen Wants More Renault Photo:
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TMR Team | Aug, 27 2013 | 0 Comments

Christian Horner and Daniel Ricciardo have denied Mark Webber's suggestion the decision about his 2014 successor is already made.

Obviously referring to his young compatriot Ricciardo, Le Mans-bound Webber said just before Sunday's Belgian grand prix that the news is "good for him and good for Australia".

Red Bull team boss Horner, however, hit back: "I have never known a driver sign another driver.

"We have not yet made a decision," he insisted, according to Express newspaper.

The British broadcaster Sky said at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday, however, that Ricciardo has indeed been signed, with the news to be announced within days.

Horner also denied that.

"We will take a couple of weeks to think things over," he insisted. "It's not a football transfer window, so no rush," he told the BBC.

The 24-year-old Ricciardo also denied Webber's news.

"He really said that?" the Toro Rosso driver was quoted on Sunday by Russia's f1news.ru. "We all know Mark -- he likes to make predictions, sometimes they are right, sometimes they're not."

"It's nice that he supports me, so I take his words as a compliment."

"But I'm sure if I had a contract, I would know about it. I don't think we're going to have to wait long for the team, but I still haven't heard anything," added Ricciardo.



Renault factor involved in Raikkonen talks - Lopez

Gerard Lopez has admitted Renault is involved in Lotus' push to keep Kimi Raikkonen at the team in 2014.

It has been rumoured the Finn is pushing hard for a closer collaboration between Enstone based Lotus and Renault, who are reportedly looking for more exposure given world champion team Red Bull's ever-closer ties to Infiniti.

Team owner Lopez on Sunday said Lotus has made "progress" regarding the talks with Raikkonen.

"We understand what Kimi is waiting for," he is quoted by Russia's f1news.ru.

Asked if he is talking about his unpaid salary, Lopez answered: "No, I mean the technical side.

"He is interested in what our relationship will be with Renault next year, things like that. The chances that he will stay are very high. I really believe in it.

"The financial side is not a problem. What we are discussing is options that will allow us to establish a closer collaboration with Renault. Nothing more, nothing less."

Asked, however, if any deal between Lotus and Renault for 2014 exists already, Lopez admitted: "Not yet.

"This is all part of the negotiation process. I think it will happen soon enough."

Meanwhile, the latest wild rumour as the F1 paddock packed up at Spa late on Sunday was that Fernando Alonso could be poised to move his backing by the Spanish bank Santander from Ferrari to Lotus in 2014.

Niki Lauda, however, urged the Spaniard to focus on the task at hand.

"All his whining and complaining about the Ferrari just discourages the whole team," the triple world champion said on German television RTL on Sunday.



Alonso should be 'careful' with 'sensitive Italians' - Lauda

Niki Lauda has urged Fernando Alonso to change tack when it comes to working with Ferrari.

As his title campaign drove off the rails in July, the Spaniard entered the summer break criticising Ferrari's development, and having deployed his manager for talks with Red Bull.

But Lauda, now Mercedes' team chairman but once a highly-successful Ferrari driver, has some advise for Alonso.

"If you drive for Ferrari," he told the German broadcaster RTL, "you sometimes have to expect that the car is not that great.

"But his mechanics work day and night on a car that is not as good as a Red Bull at the moment -- and he complains," said Lauda.

"But you have to constantly motivate the people -- the Italians are very sensitive," he added.

"They expect him to say 'I didn't win, but I want to thank you all that we finished second, and we are going uphill now'.

"That is the way to deal with the Italians," said Lauda.

The famous Austrian said Alonso runs the risk that Ferrari will eventually turn away from him.

"He has to be a bit careful," said Lauda. "Alonso is sometimes really not likeable.

"For me, as a package, he's the best racer out there today. But if, compared to Vettel, Hamilton or Rosberg he was to lose his two tenths of 'magic', then we would have to see what is his reputation.

"At the moment he lives off his performance," he concluded.



Button plays down McLaren exit talk

Jenson Button has played down suggestions he is on the market for 2014.

The 2009 world champion said he was only being mischievous when, on Thursday at Spa-Francorchamps, he informed journalists that McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh has not yet taken up the option on his contract.

Button's comments triggered rumours he might be in the running to move to Red Bull or Ferrari in 2014.

"I was only winding him (Whitmarsh) up," the 33-year-old is quoted by the Daily Mail.

"That was very unfair of me, but I was just stating a fact.

"It's obviously not going our way at the moment, but it will, and I'm very happy here, I feel good here, and I still feel we can achieve so much together.

"I'll be here for my future in formula one," added Button.



Red Bull plays down chance of Monza dominance

Red Bull is playing down expectations Sebastian Vettel will continue his dominance next weekend at Monza.

Although some insiders thought Mercedes would have the upper hand on the long Spa-Francorchamps straights, German Vettel dominated the Belgian grand prix from start to finish.

Monza is an even higher-speed and lower-downforce circuit, but Vettel is not so sure the RB9 will continue to dominate in Italy.

"It's very difficult to predict," said the reigning triple world champion, whose points advantage over Fernando Alonso is now 46 points with eight races to go.

"We had some painful years (at Monza), where we just got hammered down the straights, and we've had years where the loss down the straight was limited, so we could come back in the corners.

"How it turns out to be this year is difficult to say," added Vettel.

Designer Adrian Newey is also unsure.

"I think Monza could be a difficult circuit for us," he is quoted by Italy's Autosprint. "There are a lot of straights and not so many corners."



Michelin 'ready' for 2014 F1 tyre talks

Michelin has confirmed it is poised to return to formula one.

The sport's existing tyre supplier, Pirelli, has said a 2014 tender at this late stage would be "farcical".

But French marque Michelin, reportedly backed by the FIA's French president Jean Todt, said on Monday it is ready for talks so long as they begin soon.

The Michelin rumour gained strength at the weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, where Pirelli's fraught and highly-controversial season took yet another turn, when Friday practice was marred by more punctures.

"Our position is now known," Michelin's competition boss Pascal Couasnon on Monday told Le Figaro.

"If they (F1) are willing to talk, we are ready to do so.

"There must be a time when it is no longer possible -- we still need the physical time to produce tyres. By the end of October, it may be too late."

But he made clear that Michelin, who wants to supply 18-inch tyres rather than the current 13-inch ones, is not simply willing to step into Pirelli's shoes.

Couasnon also said he is no fan of F1's new era of deliberately heavy degradation.

"How F1 is presented today I do not like it at all," he admitted. "It disappoints me and even makes me almost angry.

"F1 is not about changing a tyre after a few laps, we offer a beautiful image of an important product for the automotive industry."


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