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Nico Rosberg: “Lewis has been the best driver on the grid…”

Nico Rosberg was typically gracious in defeat in Abu Dhabi, conceding that teanm mate Lewis Hamilton did a better overall job this year

He says he never gave up on his title hopes indespite dropping down the order after he hit ERS problems.

The German could still win the title by finishing fifth if Lewis Hamilton retired, and did everything he could to keep on target until he finally tumbled out of the points.

“I still believed in it for a long time, because there was still always the hope… there was always the possibility that also gets a problem or something, and then I only need to finish fifth or sixth. I believed until the end. The very last lap I was still pushing, because that’s what I do, I don’t give up, I just push all the way. That’s also why I wanted to finish the race.

“I’m very disappointed. All in all Lewis deserved to win the championship today, that’s clear.
Lewis won it because he won it, and whatever happened today didn’t make any difference to his championship win. So there’s no point to really focus on that at all.”

Rosberg said that whatever happened today, it had been a great year.

“All in all it’s been a great season for the team, I’m proud to be a part of that. Lewis was that little bit better driver this year, a tiny bit, in the races only. So he deserves the win. For me there’s some great things about this year, I’ve been quicker in qualifying over the two years, and that’s a very good base to work on. I need to work on my racing a tiny bit, and then I’m good to go.

“His level is massively high, his driving out there, he was the best on the grid this year. I was against him, the best on the grid. It was very close, a pity it didn’t work out. But I’m proud to be in this moment with the team, it’s a very special year, the car has been incredible. To be able to fight with for wins all the time and battle it out with Lewis has been great. Very intense was at times. It was an intense battle, but a great battle.

“That’s what I race for, the battles like that. Lewis has been the best driver on the grid this year, and to be up against him, and battling it out, the level was incredibly high. But I also have to find and deliver and be on a level playing field with him, and that’s been a great challenge for me. Most of the time it’s been enjoyable. Of course sometimes it’s not been enjoyable, but all-in-all, a great year.”

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Lewis Hamilton: “Obviously we both wanted it…”

Lewis Hamilton got his hands on his second World Championship after a superb victory in Abu Dhabi on a day when team mate and rival Nico Rosberg was struck by technical problems.

The Brit’s 11th win of 2014 finally secured him a title to add to the one he earned with McLaren back in 2008.

“This has been an incredible year,” said Hamilton. “I just cannot believe how amazing this has all been. Coming to this team last year, the decision to come here, when a lot of people said it was the wrong choice, the steps we took last year and then coming into this year, it was just unbelievable. And the fan support has been phenomenal. I never in a million years thought I’d have that kind of support.

“I said coming into this weekend that I wouldn’t change the season, the way it’s gone, for anything really because I’ve learnt a lot. If anything, I felt very, very strong with the way I came out of the good and the bad.”

Regarding his relationship with Rosberg he said: “I think it’s been so intense between Nico and myself all year long. There’s been good moments and bad moments. Without a doubt we’ve had a friendship or a relationship that we built a long, long, long time ago, so that will always be there. He was a very, very fierce competitor this year, he did an exceptional job. He’s going to be quick for a long time. I’ve got to pick up my qualifying pace for next year. It could have been either one of us.

“Obviously we both wanted it. But I think with our relationship, we’ll continue to try to lift the team up, we’ll work together as we have done all year long. Perhaps things naturally will ease up a little now. He was graceful enough to come up to me and see me after the race, which I really appreciated. It was really big of him to be able to do that. It’s very, very tough, I know what it’s like losing a championship so, for sure, we’ll keep working at it.”

Hamilton admitted that it had been a season of emotional highs and lows.

“Spa was a low moment. It was a very difficult scenario to be in and going back years ago, I wouldn’t have reacted the way I did this year. I would have chosen another way, which wouldn’t have been a positive, and I guess with age, and just maturing and having a different perspective on life, I think I handled it a different way, I really thought for the following days and really turned my focus to a different area.

“I came back to the next races with a slightly different approach and I won’t explain exactly what I did because I need to bring it to the next races next year but I did tweak some of my approach throughout the weekend which helped me get those wins. I’ve still got some improvements to make, qualifying was good this year but could be better. It would make it much easier if I could get qualifying sorted because the race pace is very much there.”

Lewis is currently signed up until the end of next season, but he is expected to sign an extended deal soon.

“This really is something incredibly special, what this team has put together, and I think we’ve got great people in their right positions. Me and Nico will continue to push the team forward, as will the boss of Mercedes, who have been so committed and building the best engine. These guys know just as much as I do, it’s been phenomenal this year. I think it’s really important the steps we take moving forwards to continue improving and I 100 percent believe the team will do that. I’m looking forward to battling with people for sure, but I do believe that we’ll be there fighting with people hopefully for some time.

“I definitely don’t feel that I’m looking for a new challenge. As I said when I joined this team, I wanted to be a part of something that was building and growing and knew success like the team hadn’t really had before. And so I feel like this is just the beginning. We still have another year to go, so there’s no particular rush, but this is my home. I feel very happy here. And obviously the team did a mega job, so I’m forever grateful for them.”

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Ricciardo, Vettel face pitlane start as FIA investigates wing flexing

Red Bull Racing is under investigation by the stewards after FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer reported the cars of Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel to the stewards for a front wing flap flexing offence.

Bauer reported that the front wing flaps were ‘designed to flex under aerodynamic load,’ which in other words equates to the cars gaining an advantage via illegal means.

Adrian Newey and team manager Jonathan Wheatley have been to see the stewards to state their case.

If the cars are deemed to be illegal they will be sent to the back of the grid. However clearly the wings will have to be modified so that will be a change of car specification, which means that both drivers will have to start the race from the pitlane.

However the FIA could also take further action if the offence is regarded as a case of blatant cheating.

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Horner pushing for less high tech version of V6

Christian Horner continues to make clear his frustration with the current F1 engine regulations, and has suggested that the sport moves to a simplified version of the V6.

Although he admits he’d like to see the V8s back – a desire he shares with close ally Bernie Ecclestone – Horner says that a revised V6 with twin turbos and a common ERS system would be a good compromise.

“If you roll back the clock for when this engine was thought about, you go back to Max [Mosley’s] rule, we’re talking about a four cylinder engine, and it was quite different. Those regulations were given to engineers, engineers then discussed them and there was a compromise sought because a four cylinder was felt to be wrong for Formula One. The four cylinder at the time was supposed to bring in more manufacturers into Formula One and the compromise was to go to a V6.

“And then, unfortunately when a bunch of engine engineers are left on their own to come up with a set of regulations, they’ve come up with something tremendously complicated and tremendously expensive. The engines that we have today are incredible bits of machinery, incredible bits of engineering but the cost to the collective manufacturers has probably been close to a billion euros in developing these engines, and then the burden of costs has been passed on, unfortunately, to the customer teams.

“So unfortunately, I think we have to recognise what’s been done from an engineering point of view and now look to simplify things, potentially retaining the V6 philosophy, perhaps going to a twin turbo that would address the sound issues that we’ve had this year and maybe even a standard energy recovery system would dramatically reduce the costs, dramatically reduce development and therefore the supply price to the customer teams also. So I think that’s something that the strategy group need to discuss and look at.”

Asked why the manufacturers would support such a move he said: “I think the scenario is such that it’s unsustainable, it’s unsustainable for manufacturers, any of the manufacturers, to keep spending at the level that they are, and therefore, rather than perhaps going backwards with the V8, maybe we should potentially keep the basis of what’s been achieved but look at simplifying it because if the development costs stay at where they are, we will not attract new manufacturers into the sport and we may well drive current manufacturers out of the sport.

“So we have to think, not just about today but about the future. 2015, there’s very little that can be done with the regulations but for 2016, an awful lot can be done and I think that the teams, together with the FIA and the promoter, have to have that responsibility to ensure that those issues are addressed and the sport is sustainable and attractive to new manufacturers to come in.”

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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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