Mercedes makes losses
Mercedes has posed a loss of £76.9 million for last year despite winning the drivers’ and constructors’ championships. Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd, the trading name of the Mercedes F1 team, has released its financial accounts up to the end of 2014.
Wolff described the 2014 season as “unprecedented success” after they won both the drivers and constructors championships last year. They scored sixteen wins, fifteen other podiums and eleven one-two’s.
The report says “operating costs rose by £49.5m due to significantly higher performance bonuses payable as a consequence of the record-breaking level of sporting performance, and also increased costs arising from regulation change.”
Turnover rose by £21.7m [£125.2m in 2013 to £146.9m in 2014] because of “higher sponsorship revenue and increased income from the Commercial Rights Holder flowing from improved on-track performance in 2013.”
The report adds the team is committed to “achieving cost reduction in F1 in a fair and transparent way.”
Progress in 2016
Jenson Button is convinced that McLaren and engine supplier Honda can turn around there performance next season. Speaking at a Esso event last week before being confirmed for 2016 he said “I see improvements and I feel over the winter there’ll be a big gain.”
The 35-year old said “there’s still a lot of work we need to do next year to be competitive, but it’s definitely going in the right direction. The output we have now is beyond what we had last year, so Honda are doing a good job.”
He added that there have been times where he has felt he has had “a great lap” in qualifying. But the performance wasn’t there in outright pace. He says the project is “very young project still. We’re a couple of years behind in terms of development.”
- No more progress – Fernando Alonso says there will be no significant progress from McLaren through to the end of the current Formula 1 season. This year has been difficult following there switch to Honda.
- Red Bull Future – Daniil Kyvat says he is focusing solely on the short-term as rumours continue to swirl around the Red Bull. The Russian said “I am just thinking about today – and doing my best today – because worrying about the future right now would not help me so much.” He added that doing his best will be more helpful than worrying.
Fearing repeat of Singapore – Lauda
Niki Lauda is concerned that Mercedes could lose out to Ferrari again this weekend. The team are looking to repeat their world championship win and only need three points to repeat what they did twelve months ago.
Lauda says that Sochi could be challenging on tyres like they were in Singapore. The three times world champion and non-executive director told F1i “Thank God we came out of the Singapore trauma and we are back, that’s all I can say.”
He added “It’s a big relief we are back where we should be, this is very simple. We are doing what we should do. But the championship is not over because my worry is this next race at Sochi has Singapore-type asphalt.”
Pirelli has changed the tyre compounds from last year for this race because they were conservative choice for last year’s race. The tyres choice for this year’s race are the soft and super soft.
Mercedes executive technical director Paddy Lowe said: “This was a tricky weekend last season, with a new circuit to learn and fresh Tarmac which produced slightly unusual behaviour from the tyres.
Race seat or I’ll leave – Palmer
Lotus reserve driver Jolyon Palmer is likely to leave Formula One at the end of the season unless he can get a race seat next season. The current GP2 champion has done a number of practices for Lotus this season.
The team who are likely to be taken over by Renault next year have a free seat following Romain Grosjean’s departure to Haas. Palmer told Autosport “I I would say it is probably racing or nothing.”
The British driver added “I’m enjoying what I’m doing. Having not been in F1 before, to drive the car as often as I have has been great, and to be involved in a team you learn a lot.”
He said he has learned a lot this year but says he feel he wouldn’t be learning a huge amount by doing another year doing the same thing with the same team.
Palymer added he expect the “team will stay largely the same, although maybe the management will change, but all I can do is show the people here what I can do.”
He added he is definitely ready to be racing in F1 and he will be in the car quite a few more times this season.
Haas will score in early 2016 – Lowdon
Manor president Graeme Lowdon believes that Haas will score points early on next season when they make their debut in F1. The team will be the first team in five seasons to join the sport.
There is one of the teams left after Caterham and HRT went bankrupt. Manor who were saved from administration at the last minute took four seasons to score there first points and near their 100th race.
Lowdon said “If you look back to 2009 when we came in, we were subject to all the regulations on the same day we entered and had something like seven months to be on the grid in Bahrain [in 2010] and there was no option at all to delay that in any way.”
His team are likely to see a step forward next year having switched to Mercedes power. Lowdon is confident they can start looking forwards again next season.
He said “We’ve had a really difficult season and not the sort of season that anyone would plan to have” he explained.