- F1 to be five seconds slower in 2014 - report
- Peace in Bahrain as divisive race goes ahead
- Webber to talk with Mateschitz on Monday - report
- Marko denies Mateschitz threatened F1 exit
- Lotus has active suspension working best - Mercedes
F1 to be five seconds slower in 2014 - report
Bernie Ecclestone is worried F1 cars will be five seconds per lap slower next year compared to 2013.
That is the claim of Auto Motor und Sport correspondent Michael Schmidt, who said F1's chief executive is also pushing to increase the likely revs of the radical new turbo V6s next year from just 12,000rpm to 15,000.
The extra revs would alleviate some of Ecclestone's fears about the tamer tones of the V6s compared to this year's howling V8s, but Schmidt said the change is actually unlikely.
That is because of the current rules limiting the engines' flow rate to 100 kilograms per hour, and each car to just 135 litres of fuel per race.
The amount of fuel allocated to each car would be easy to adjust, but the engine manufacturers Mercedes, Renault and Ferrari are reportedly too far advanced with their V6 designs to now alter the maximum flow rate.
Ecclestone has another problem. Coupled with aerodynamic changes next year, experts are predicting a laptime drop of up to five seconds in 2014.
"Formula one will be not far ahead of GP2 and the Renault World Series," wrote Schmidt.
The small teams are also worried. Currently, they pay around EUR 10 million per year for a customer engine supply, but next year's V6s are expected to cost between EUR 20 and 23 million.
Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda insists: "The longer the contract period, the less it will cost our customers in the long run. In the end, (it will cost them) no more than today."
Therefore, Force India has reportedly extended its Mercedes deal for five years.
Sauber, however, could be looking for a new solution, having hinted in Shanghai a week ago that it can not afford to pay Ferrari's price-tag around the 20 million mark.
"It is rumoured Sauber will have Honda power, alongside McLaren in 2015," Schmidt reported.
"Honda would have preferred to focus on just one team, but FIA president Jean Todt apparently intends to make the manufacturers share the customers fairly amongst themselves."
Peace in Bahrain as divisive race goes ahead
Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone, F1's most powerful figures, say this weekend's controversial Bahrain grand prix is going ahead.
Responding to calls anti-government clashes within the island Kingdom should cause the cancellation of the race, FIA president Todt said in a letter: "It is our firm belief that sport, and the grand prix, can have a positive and healing effect in situations where conflict, social unrest and tensions are causing distress."
Also quoted by the Daily Mail newspaper in Britain, F1 chief executive Ecclestone insisted "it is now too late to make any changes to the calendar".
While Ecclestone will attend the race, the fact the FIA president is staying away has attracted criticism.
An FIA figure is quoted by Speed Week: "Our president is angry.
"It is being said that he is not coming because he is scared, but his response is that his son (Nicolas) is there and so too are many other people he loves and respects."
Indeed, it appears the concerns and criticism made by some actually might not reflect the true situation in Bahrain.
"The situation in Bahrain is calm," said Andrea Cremonesi, the correspondent for Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"The images of violence or protests that land in the newsrooms across the world almost every day are in stark contrast to what you actually witness when first landing in Bahrain."
Mathias Brunner, the correspondent for German-language Speed Week, agrees: "Bahrain is in transition, and many people are unhappy with their situation.
"But it is simply not true that formula one has moved into an area of civil war."
Speed Week's FIA source said some other journalists, "mainly from the UK", have "an agenda".
But even the Daily Mail's Jonathan McEvoy reports this week: "Friendly people, quiet streets, and the only cocktail in sight is not a Molotov but served in a crystal glass with ice and a slice."
Webber to talk with Mateschitz on Monday - report
Mark Webber on Thursday refused to specifically deny reports he is set to quit formula one and spearhead Porsche's Le Mans prototype project next year.
"At the moment there's all sorts of rumours going around," the Australian is quoted by Austria's Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper.
Indeed, in the wake of the 'Multi-21' affair and his nightmare Chinese grand prix a week ago, some conspiracy theorists were suggesting Red Bull was deliberately sabotaging Webber's car.
"There's also a lot of nonsense being peddled," Webber said.
The 36-year-old did not specifically address the Porsche rumours, except to say "I still have a lot to offer".
Salzburger Nachrichten reports that Webber is scheduled to have a "private conversation" with Red Bull magnate Dietrich Mateschitz on Monday.
Marko denies Mateschitz threatened F1 exit
Dr Helmut Marko has scoffed at reports Red Bull could quit formula one over the 'Multi-21' team orders affair.
According to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, owner Dietrich Mateschitz was furious when Sebastian Vettel ignored his bosses orders in Malaysia, triggering Mark Webber's anger and a slew of negative publicity.
Billionaire Mateschitz reportedly told the Milton-Keynes based team that a repeat of the team orders mess could result in him pulling the plug on F1 altogether.
"Nonsense. There's nothing to it," Mateschitz's right hand man Marko told Bild newspaper.
Nonetheless, the affair dubbed 'Multi-21' continues to cause headaches for Red Bull.
A photo of Webber dining with Red Bull's arch-enemy Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso in Dubai was posted on the drivers' Twitter feeds, triggering another wave of rumours.
Marko said: "It's nice that there are at least two friends in formula one."
Pedro de la Rosa, a Ferrari test driver, suggested the entire saga is a storm in a teacup, playing down suggestions Webber could quit Red Bull sooner rather than later.
"No," the Spaniard told Marca sports newspaper.
"How are you going to leave a team that is giving you a great car like that one?"
De la Rosa rubbished the conspiracy theory about Red Bull sabotaging Webber's RB9 in China last weekend.
"There is no sabotage," he insisted. "His teammate didn't follow a team order. He (Vettel) apologised.
"The fuel (situation in qualifying in China) was a mistake, and it's happened elsewhere before.
"I would like to be in his (Webber)'s skin. I don't see the controversy.
"It would be a problem if he wasn't in a position to win races," he added.
Lotus has active suspension working best - Mercedes
The secret of Lotus' speed in 2013 is an hydraulically-controlled active suspension system, Germany's specialist Auto Motor und Sport reports.
Last month, we reported that, under the skin of Mercedes' new W04 car, a system known in the German squad's garage as 'Fric' was legally mimicking otherwise outlawed electronic active suspension.
Auto Motor und Sport reports that it is Mercedes engineers who therefore believe they have uncovered the secret of how Lotus' E21 is looking after Pirelli's highly-degrading tyres so well in 2013.
"We believe that their integrated chassis (system) is working best of all," said Mercedes' Aldo Costa.
Auto Motor und Sport said not only Mercedes, but also Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, Williams and Sauber have been working on similar technology.
It links the four corners of the car hydraulically, balancing the car during braking and accelerating, and adjusting the balance as the fuel load lessens during a race.
Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn admitted: "Lotus has the simplest, but probably the best system."
The news could also explain Romain Grosjean's struggle versus Kimi Raikkonen so far in 2013.
Auto Motor und Sport correspondent Michael Schmidt said the 'Fric' systems are notoriously difficult to tune.
Lotus team owner Gerard Lopez admits: "The suspension tuning window is very small, and we get it right more often with Kimi than with Grosjean."
This is due to the drivers' respective driving styles, with Frenchman Grosjean reportedly preferring understeer to Raikkonen's oversteer.