1 Comment
F1: Webber's Seat The Main Act In 2014 'Silly Season', Ricciardo In Testing Photo:
TMR Team | Jul, 19 2013 | 1 Comment

The vacant race seat at Red Bull for 2014 is the headline act in this year's driver 'silly season'.

The world champions are giving Toro Rosso driver Daniel Ricciardo a trial at the Silverstone test this week, and the other candidate to replace the Le Mans-bound Mark Webber is Kimi Raikkonen.

Finn Raikkonen said his negotiations about money are not the clincher.

"It is an important aspect, but not everything," he told France's Auto Hebdo.

"Whatever I decide, the money side is quite similar to my current situation anyway," the Lotus driver added.

He admitted to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that a major consideration is the radical new V6 rules, where the current pecking order could be shaken up for 2014.

"It is ten times harder than usual to predict who will be good next year," said Raikkonen.

"Luckily I have the same (Renault) engine for both options."

Red Bull is also leaving its options open, having not ruled out its home-grown talents Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vergne.

"They have recognised," said Dr Helmut Marko, "that the best self-promotion is stepping on the throttle."

Indeed, Red Bull bought Minardi - and re-christened it Toro Rosso - in order to develop drivers to move up to the main team.

But, so far, Toro Rosso drivers have failed to live up to the Sebastian Vettel model.

Marko doesn't quite agree.

"When Vettel came to Red Bull," he said, "everyone said that it was too early for him. But I think he grew into the job."



Horner admits Ricciardo test linked to 2014 seat

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has hinted Daniel Ricciardo's test this week is a 2014 audition as the world champions look to replace the departing Mark Webber.

The news is a blow for Australian Ricciardo's similarly 23-year-old Toro Rosso teammate Jean-Eric Vergne, who earlier was also considered in the running for the top seat alongside Sebastian Vettel.

Unlike Ricciardo, Frenchman Vergne has not been called up to test the championship-leading RB9 at the Silverstone test.

"We're very keen to have a look at Daniel as a prospect for next year," Horner told British broadcaster Sky on Wednesday.

"It's a great opportunity for him," he added.

Horner also said 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen is in the running for the seat.

Asked if it is now a two-horse race between the Finn, who currently drives for Lotus, and Ricciardo, Horner admitted: "Essentially, probably."



Banned Mercedes to receive Silverstone test data

Pirelli will share tyre data from this week's Silverstone test with Mercedes, even though the Brackley based team is banned from running.

Lotus poked fun at Mercedes' absence as the Silverstone session kicked off on Wednesday, showing a 'WhereIsRoscoe' Twitter hashtag on the livery of its F1 car.

Roscoe is Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton's bulldog, who accompanies the 2008 world champion to European tests and races.

But even though Mercedes is banned as a result of the 'test-gate' scandal, Pirelli has revealed it still must share information about the new Hungary-spec tyres with the team.

"Our policy requires that we give all teams the same feedback," motor sport boss Paul Hembery is quoted by Germany's T-Online.

"Everyone gets the same information," he added.

The impact of Mercedes' absence has also been lessened by a clarification from the FIA and Pirelli about what race drivers can test this week at Silverstone.

As a result, Red Bull dropped Mark Webber from its driver lineup at the last minute, and Lotus sidelined Kimi Raikkonen.

Lotus said the clarification had made clear that "race drivers would be unable to test anything other than tyres".

Hembery is quoted by Speed Week: "We have a clear programme, and the teams have to do what we tell them.

"Mercedes already has a lot of data in terms of the shape of the 2012 tyre, and they - like all the teams - will receive an analysis of the test, as is normal."



Ecclestone bosses to 'monitor' bribery case

Bernie Ecclestone's bosses have admitted they will "monitor developments" in the German corruption affair.

On Wednesday, it emerged that the F1 chief executive has finally been served with bribery charges relating to the 82-year-old's $44 million payment to jailed banker Gerhard Gribkowsky years ago.

The next step is for Ecclestone's lawyers to formally respond to the indictment, before the court decides whether to push the case to trial.

"The board will continue to monitor developments in this situation accordingly," the Formula One Group said in a statement.

It is obvious that the affair could end the diminutive Briton's long reign over the sport, with Osterreich newspaper reporting that Ecclestone could be jailed for up to ten years.

But even the charges threaten Ecclestone's job.

Asked, however, if he is thinking about voluntarily stepping down, he answered: "I don't see why I should do that.

"I will do what I have always done: keep working and do my job," Ecclestone told Bild newspaper.

"I won't be doing anything else because of this."

Typically unmoved even when besieged, Ecclestone said he would have no problem agreeing to appear at trial.

"If I need to be, sure, I'll be there. Why not?" he insisted.

Ecclestone added that Wednesday's developments had "not really affected" him.

But that doesn't mean there is not pressure. Ferrari's Luca di Montezemolo said late last year that even formal charges should move the F1 supremo to "step back".

And a spokesperson for Mercedes parent Daimler said on Wednesday: "Compliance is of central importance for Daimler."

The spokesperson added that the company will discuss the Ecclestone case with F1's owners, teams and the governing FIA.

For now, F1's owners CVC are supporting Ecclestone, according to a report in City A.M.

A source told Formula Money editor Christian Sylt that CVC "could have asked Bernie to leave any time in the past three years but haven't because we support him".


TMR Comments
Latest Comments