F1: Toro Rosso Teammates No Longer Friends, Mercedes Warns No Miracles Photo:
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TMR Team | Feb, 25 2013 | 0 Comments
  • Toro Rosso teammates no longer friends
  • Zetsche warns 'no miracles' for Mercedes in 2013
  • Williams' clever brake duct innovation legal

Toro Rosso teammates no longer friends

Jean-Eric Vergne says he is no longer friends with his Toro Rosso teammate.

Until they were paired together at the second Red Bull team, Frenchman Vergne and Australian Daniel Ricciardo were friends.

They had been signed to the energy drink company's notoriously tough driver development programme on the same day, thereafter working together in Formula Renault.

But now in the high-stakes world of F1, and fighting for a place at the world championship team, the friendship has ended.

"I don't know if it's because we are in F1 or he (Ricciardo) thinks he has definitely beaten me that we cannot have any relationship, but, no, we don't see each other away from the track and we are not friends," Vergne is quoted by the Melbourne newspaper The Age.

Vergne insisted, however, that their working relationship is intact.

"I don't care about going on holiday with my teammate. I have my friends and I don't need any more," he added.

Ricciardo, who is almost a year older than Vergne, confirmed that the close friendship of the past is over.

"We've never come to blows or anything like that," he said. "There's never been a moment which has separated the friendship -- it's just grown apart with competition."

"I imagine we're probably like most other teammates. I think it's how it should be. I think when you're a direct rival with someone, you want to have your own space."

"I think it would be sort of hard to have a true friendship because, at the end of the day, we're fighting for maybe one spot and there can't be any conservative approach about it," added 23-year-old Ricciardo.



Zetsche warns 'no miracles' for Mercedes in 2013

Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche has played down expectations ahead of Mercedes' fourth-consecutive season as a works formula one team.

The Brackley based team has made big changes for 2013; swapping Michael Schumacher for Lewis Hamilton, ousting Norbert Haug and installing Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff in upper management.

"It was evident in the last few years that we have had a good engine, maybe the best, and good drivers, but we were not competitive because of the chassis," Zetsche said in an interview with Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper.

"We did not get to the level that is expected of Mercedes, so the team management had to be reinforced," he insisted.

Zetsche sounded happy with Lauda and Wolff, who were recruited not just as bosses but also shareholders of the Brackley based team.

But he warned: "Improvements are of course not immediately visible after the nomination of new people.

"We should not expect any miracles this year.

"With the new engine next year, we will have more of a chance to implement what we want now," said Zetsche.

Nico Rosberg, who has been with Mercedes since the start of the current project in 2010, has sounded very confident this winter and is predicting race wins.

New recruit Hamilton, however, has been much more guarded, and is quoted by Germany's SID news agency after the Barcelona test: "The best part of our car is the engine.

"The weakest part is the downforce.

"Vettel and Alonso say that Mercedes can fight for the title? I don't really see it like that at the moment."



Williams' clever brake duct innovation legal

Williams has impressed F1's eagle-eyed technical experts with an innovation aboard its new FW35.

Although designer Mike Coughlan's Coanda exhaust solution will have to be removed from the 2013 car, respected German correspondent Michael Schmidt reports on Friday that a clever brake duct solution is fully legal.

The British team probably got the idea from Red Bull, who were ordered by the FIA to remove a similar solution from the title-winning RB8 last year.

The governing body ruled that Red Bull was using the brake ducts as an aerodynamic aid, by channeling airflow through the wheel with the rim, hub and nut all playing a role.

But Auto Motor und Sport's Schmdit said Williams' version is legal, crucially because the exit holes for the airflow are stationary, meaning the layout cannot be deemed a banned moveable aerodynamic device.


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