Category Archives: F1 News

Don’t count us out yet, says Marussia boss

Marussia/Manor F1’s Graeme Lowdon says that the team is still trying to race in 2015, despite not being able to get to Abu Dhabi.

The team made a huge effort to make the trip, and plans only fell through at the last minute on Wednesday. Despite the team not being present at the final race of the year Lowdon stressed the importance of resuming work on a 2015 programme if the commercial issues can be addressed.

“We got very close, very close to getting there – really close,” Lowdon told this writer. “Anyone who knows us will know that we only want to do things properly and it just couldn’t be done in the end. As a racing team you always want to race and that’s what we wanted to do in Abu Dhabi.

“There are various scenarios for the team, but to race it is very important to have a car ready for 2015, and that is what potential investors are interested in. They are interested in ensuring that work on the 2015 programme can be resumed quickly. Don’t count us out yet.”

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Raikkonen looking forward to working with pal Vettel

Kimi Raikkonen says he’s looking forward to having Sebastian Vettel as a team mate next year, and acknowledges that he knows the German better than any of the other current drivers.

The pair have often shared a private jet while travelling between races.

“Time will tell, obviously,” said Raikkonen today. “I think it’s nice to be with him in the same team. The main thing is to get the team, Ferrari, in the position where we should be – at the front. Obviously on the way we’ll try to beat each other all the time. I think we can have fun and things can go in a good way.

“Obviously I haven’t worked with him before, in the same team. I know him best out of any of the guys. Our relationship has always been very straightforward, so I don’t expect any changes on that side. I expect to be normal, let’s say, and good, and hopefully we can get the team where we should be.”

Regarding the prospects of Ferrari making that step he said: “I’m sure we can, but is it good enough? Time will tell. I trust 100% the people that are designing the car, working on it, all the guys. So we know it’s going to be much better, it depends a lot what the other people will find and do. Is it good enough, we’ll see next year.”

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Ferrari is the “dream of a lifetime,” says Vettel

Ferrari has finally confirmed that Sebastian Vettel will partner Kimi Raikkonen in 2015, adding that the German has a three-year deal.

Vettel made it clear that he is fulfilling a dream by signing for the Scuderia.

“Scuderia Ferrari has decided to put its faith in the youngest multiple champion in the history of Formula 1,” said Marco Mattiacci. “In Formula 1 terms, Sebastian Vettel is a unique combination of youthfulness and experience and he brings with him that sense of team spirit which will prove invaluable when, together with Kimi, they tackle the challenges awaiting us, as we aim to be front runners again as soon as possible.

“With Sebastian, we all share a thirst for victory as well as enthusiasm, a strong work ethic and tenacity; key elements for all the Scuderia members to write a new chapter in the history of Ferrari.”

Vettel commented: “The next stage of my Formula 1 career will be spent with Scuderia Ferrari and for me that means the dream of a lifetime has come true. When I was a kid, Michael Schumacher in the red car was my greatest idol and now it’s an incredible honour to finally get the chance to drive a Ferrari. I already got a small taste of what the Ferrari spirit means, when I took my first win at Monza in 2008, with an engine from the Prancing Horse built in Maranello.

“The Scuderia has a great tradition in this sport and I am extremely motivated to help the team get back to the top. I will put my heart and soul into making it happen.”

The team made the announcement immediately after issuing a statement about the departure of Fernando Alonso.

Alonso said today that he first told the team of his intentions in September. Meanwhile confirmation of his expected move to McLaren won’t be confirmed until after December 1.

“In the Scuderia Ferrari roll of honour of great drivers, Fernando Alonso will always occupy a special place,” said Mattiacci. “We offer him our heartfelt thanks for what has been an extraordinary adventure with the Scuderia, when in the past five years, he twice came so close to winning the world championship. I am sure that a great driver like Fernando will always hold the Prancing Horse dear to his heart and I also expect the Ferrari fans will continue to hold him in high regard in his future endeavours.”

“Today is not an easy one for me,” said Alonso. “Because even if I always look to the future with great enthusiasm and determination, at the end of this season my journey as a Ferrari driver will come to an end. It was a difficult decision to take, but a carefully considered one and from start to finish, my love for Ferrari was a prime consideration. I have always been lucky enough to make my own decisions about my future and I have that possibility now too. I must thank the team for that, as it understood my position.

“I leave Scuderia Ferrari after five years, during which I reached my very best level professionally, tackling major challenges that pushed me to find new limits. I also proved to be a true team-player, putting the interests of the Scuderia before my own. When I had to take important decisions about my future, I did so with Ferrari in my heart, driven by my love for the team. I am very proud of what we have achieved together.

“Thanks to the efforts of the men and women of Maranello, on three occasions we came second in the Formula 1 World Championship, two of them fighting for the title right up to and including the final race, running in a championship winning position for many laps. Without a shadow of a doubt, these five years produced some of the best moments of my career and I also feel that, in leaving the team, it is family rather than friends I am leaving behind. Now I look to the future with great enthusiasm, knowing that part of my heart will always belong to the Prancing Horse. I want to thank each and everyone of the team for the trust they showed in me.”

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F3 champ Ocon lands FP1 chance with Lotus

Euro F3 champion Esteban Ocon will drive for Lotus in FP1 on Friday, and in next week’s Abu Dhabi test.

The French youngster recently drove a 2012 car at Valencia.

“It is a fantastic opportunity for me to drive in my first session at a Grand Prix and I am tremendously grateful to Lotus F1 Team and Gravity Sport Management,” he said. “The practice session on Friday will be my first time driving the Yas Marina circuit and my first time in the latest generation Formula 1 car, so there will be a lot to learn, especially as I will be completing the team’s programme for the free practice session. For the test day we will have far more time me to learn and develop with the car so I’m really looking forward to Abu Dhabi.”

Deputy team principal Federico Gastaldi added: “Esteban is a superb young talent and we are particularly excited to give him this opportunity. He impressed all our engineers when he drove for us in Valencia, but this will be another step in his development programme. It’s great for us a team to support developing drivers, especially one with the potential of Esteban.”

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Marussia abandons last minute attempt to get to Abu Dhabi

Marussia’s last minute attempt to get to the Abu Dhabi GP appears to have failed due to the inevitable financial issues.

Sources in the Abu Dhabi paddock said that the freight would be coming today, and Williams and Caterham were told by FOM to remove equipment that they had stored in the neighbouring garage earmarked for Marussia.

In addition the Ferrari power unit guys assigned to the team were wearing their Marussia shirts today.

However this evening a team member Tweeted: “Once again it’s all over, we tried and failed,” adding the hashtag “Gutted.”

Max Chilton had been linked to the Caterham seat until it became apparent that Marussia was trying to make the trip. It remains to be seen whether he still has a chance of driving the green car. Will Stevens was in the team’s garage today, but he will require superlicence approval.

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Caterham still finalising second driver deal, says O’Connell

Caterham has yet to confirm who will drive its second car alongside Kamui Kobayashi in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

The late revival of Marussia has seemingly caused leading candidate Max Chilton to drop out of the running.

“It should clearly be decided very soon,” administrator Finbarr O’Connell told this writer. “I’m just waiting so that I can announce what’s going to happen.”

O’Connell admitted that Marussia’s late decision to go to Abu Dhabi had taken Chilton off the market.

“I had heard rumours that he was interested in the seat if Marussia weren’t running. I wish him well in Marussia if they are. He’s under contract and clearly he would never do anything against his contract.

“He can only race one car in one team. I’m told this is possibly the latest arrival ever if Marussia come tomorrow.”

Roberto Merhi, who ran three FP1 sessions this year, signed a contract with the previous management which stipulates that he would drive Marcus Ericsson’s car if it became available.

However, while the Spaniard was given a ‘provisional’ superlicence to run in FP1s, it seems that he still doesn’t have a full one: “My understanding is that he doesn’t have a superlicence.”

Regarding the prospects of the team getting a superlicence for another rookie – such as Will Stevens, who had hoped to run FP1 earlier this season – he said: “We’ll have to wait and see. I’ve said to them all that I won’t mention their names as it won’t be fair.”

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Grosjean finally confirmed at Lotus

Romain Grosjean has finally been confirmed at Lotus for 2015, alongside Pastor Maldonado.

The Frenchman said in Brazil that the news would be made official during the weekend, and during the week after the race he Tweeted confirmation only to delete it.

Speaking on Facebook today he said: “A few days before the last Grand Prix of the season, I am very happy to announce that I will be a Lotus F1 Team driver in 2015! We are already working on the development of the new car and I am confident that next season will allow us to fight again for podiums! A huge thank to all of you for your support.”

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