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F1: Ricciardo's Unexpected Red Bull Challenge: Wide Hips? Photo:
 
 
TMR Team | Aug, 30 2013 | 0 Comments

Even before his 2014 seat has been announced, Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull career has hit a snag.

The German-language Speed Week, and Italy's authoritative Autosprint, report that the Australian has been at Milton-Keynes for a seat-fitting in the 2014-spec RB10.

Designer Adrian Newey is known for his tight-fitting cockpits, and the packaging is reportedly even more problematic for 2014 given the new turbo V6 and 'ERS' regulations.

And while Ricciardo is slightly shorter than his Australian compatriot Mark Webber, the European media reports reveal that his hips are slightly wider than Webber and world champion Sebastian Vettel's.

F1 legend Niki Lauda sees another problem with Red Bull's apparent decision to sign Ricciardo.

"Out of the new generation, Ricciardo is the driver with the most potential," the Mercedes chairman said in an interview with Bild newspaper.

"But at the moment no one knows if that potential is really enough. So it's a risk," said Lauda.

Another F1 grandee considering taking a risk for 2014 is Ferrari. According to recent reports, talks with Nico Hulkenberg about replacing Felipe Massa are underway.

"Hulkenberg is not bad," said Lauda, "but I think he needs another year. And Ferrari doesn't have time to waste."

The great Austrian said that if he was in charge at Ferrari, he would sign Kimi Raikkonen.

"He would give the team a boost, just as Lewis Hamilton has done at Mercedes," said Lauda.

"At Ferrari, Luca di Montezemolo decides alone. Alonso would certainly not like it (Raikkonen as his teammate), but Ferrari does have a problem: if the car is not good, Alonso complains all day.

"If I was Montezemolo, I would pick Kimi," he added.

Finally, Lauda said the fact Nico Rosberg has been able to keep up with Mercedes' new recruit Hamilton in 2013 was a surprise.

Asked if Hamilton's 2013 title bid has been a surprise, Lauda answered: "No, as I knew that he would give the team a boost.

"What has surprised me is that Nico has been at eye-level. Nico has had more bad luck, but as far as the speed, they're both the same," he added.

(GMM)

 

Lauda tips Vettel to win title with races to spare

Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda has tipped Sebastian Vettel to wrap up his fourth consecutive drivers' world championship with two races still to run this season.

Although some think Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton is perhaps Red Bull leader Vettel's main challenger with eight races to go in 2013, triple world champion Lauda thinks the title race is effectively now decided.

"I would go so far as to say Vettel will be the world champion in Abu Dhabi, which is the third to last race," the great Austrian told Bild newspaper.

"His points lead was already big when he dominated at Spa, even though the Red Bull is not really suited to this track.

"Ok, maybe for Monza he is not the favourite, but on every other circuit he has the best car. It is more than enough for him," added Lauda.

The comments indicate Mercedes, already strongly focused on the huge rules challenge of 2014, has now given up on pushing for this year's title.

"We will not give up," Lauda insisted to Osterreich newspaper.

"But I am also realistic. Vettel dominated at Spa, and I think he could have been three, four tenths per lap even faster.

"We have improved so much, but Red Bull is still better," he admitted.

(GMM)

 

Wurz still working for Williams team

Former F1 driver Alex Wurz has revealed he is still working for the Williams team.

The Austrian's last grand prix was with the Grove based team in 2007, but more recently he continued to work for Williams as a driver mentor.

But the Austrian sports magazine Sportwoche reports that 39-year-old Wurz is still working for Williams, albeit in a completely different role.

Wurz, also with a reputation as one of F1's best-ever test drivers, is reportedly working with Williams to help to restructure and recruit staff.

"My task at Williams is to analyse the structure of the team and offer ideas that will help us to make progress," he confirmed.

"Pat Symonds has come to us, but he is just one of several new people that Williams plans to hire," added Wurz.

Wurz played down speculation Williams might be grooming him to one day take over as team boss from 71-year-old founder Sir Frank Williams.

"When I finish my racing career," said Wurz, "and I want to go grey and have sleepless nights, maybe then I will try to be the head of a formula one team!

"Seriously, you never know what awaits in the future."

Wurz still races a Le Mans prototype sports car, currently for Toyota, in the FIA's world endurance championship.

(GMM)

 
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