No unfair comments from Marchionne – Vettel
Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari’s President Sergio Marchionne has not been unfair about his criticisms this season but says that people make “too much noise” about his comments.
Following three very difficult Grand Prix’s for Ferrari, a first lap crash in Singapore followed by engine problems in Malaysia and Japan, Marchionne’s comments about the team’s underperformance have grabbed the headlines.
Marchionne has claimed the team has not focused on quality control at Maranello, having claimed that Ferrari needed to do much better in this area and that it has paid the price for ignoring it in recent years. Other comments said that Kimi Raikkonen was a ‘laggard’ which is often
interpreted as bad news, Vettel says that the reaction inside Ferrari to what Marchionne says is often completely different.
When asked by Autosport in an exclusive interview if Marchionne put too much pressure on the team, Vettel said: “No, but the feeling I have after a couple of years now is that many times the way it gets translated is a bit too harsh.
“So I think whatever he says, he is usually very straightforward and he is right. There is always reason for it. He is fair. But then people tend to make a little bit too much noise about it.”
“Whatever he says in the press, he is saying the same things inside the team and even more straightforward. But for outside it always seems to be a big news, and then this can create a bit of unnecessary turbulences I would say.”
Vettel says that the team has learnt how to react when Marchionne speaks out and that it is usually already working on the areas that are exposed as the problem.
Sainz expects tough fight with Hulkenberg
Carlos Sainz says that he is excepting to have a hard time matching his new Renault teammate Nico Hulkenberg in the remaining four Grand Prix’s of the season.
Hulkenberg has impressed during his first season with the Enstone team and has scored thirty-four points allowing him to be tenth in the drivers’ championship, that’s fourteen ahead of Sainz. But as the Spaniard prepares to make his debut for the team, he is aware of the challenges.
Asked by Motorsport.com if he felt he would be able to take the fight to Hulkenberg this year, he said “It’s going to be difficult because has been driving a car for 16 races that I haven’t driven.”
“It will take time to adapt to it. I would like to do it as soon as possible but I am convinced it will take a bit of time of adaptation. My target is to be on pace as quickly as possible, but it doesn’t come for free.” He admitted there is a lot of hard work, analysis, understanding with the engineers that needed to be done.
There had been talk that he could have moved to Renault sooner, but Jolyon Palmer tried to hang on to his seat until the end of the season before Renault brought him out of his contract. Sainz insists that he would have been happy to see out the current campaign at Toro Rosso if called upon to do so.
“I think it’s the right time [to make the switch]. Things happen as they happen, there’s no need to say, ‘I would have liked earlier or later’.” He added.
Hartley favourite to replace Gasly in Austin
Motorsport.com says it has learnt that Brendon Hartley is the leading contender to replace Pierre Gasly for next weekends United States Grand Prix, with former Formula E champion Sebastian Buemi a close second.
Toro Rosso needs to fill the second seat for Austin, as they agreed to release Pierre Gasly for the race so he could fight for the Super Formula title at Suzuka.
Is believed that team principal Franz Tost wants to use the race to see who should get the second seat next season. Gasly is said to remain the favourite for one seat, but t Tost and Red Bull are less certain about the second seat.
Hartley has emerged as the frontrunner to drive at Austin, with Tost believed to be open to the possibility of the New Zealander racing for the team next year.
Hartley was Red Bull’s reserve driver in 2009-10 and completed a test for Red Bull and Toro Rosso in 2009 before being dropped from Red Bull’s junior programme. Hartley also took part in a young driver test at Magny-Cours for Mercedes in 2012, as well as spending time in the team’s simulator.
He has enough superlicence points to race in F1 but is currently contracted to Porsche and competing in the World Endurance Championship, where he could win the title this weekend at Fuji.
Also, Hartley is understood to be nearing a deal to race in IndyCar next year, meaning there are contractual issues to be ironed out before his Austin appearance can be confirmed.
If that deal isn’t done by next Friday the team has lined up Buemi, who raced for Red Bull’s junior team between 2009 and 2011, to step in if a deal for Hartley cannot be agreed.
Williams should sign Kubica – Ecclestone
Formula One chairman emeritus Bernie Ecclestone says that Williams should not hesitate in signing Robert Kubica to drive alongside Lance Stroll next season, as he is convinced the Pole can return to the sport stronger than before.
Ecclestone has followed the progress of the Polish drivers progress closely in recent months and has no doubts that the former F1 race winner is the man Williams needs to move forward. Yesterday Kubic completed what was a “successful” test, according to the team.
Speaking to Autosport, Ecclestone said “If Robert had not have had his accident, then I think by now he would have been world champion anyway. I think he can come back even stronger than before.”
“Mentally, I think probably he will be more aggressive than he was then: so I can only see good, good things for him. In terms of his physical conditions, years and years ago, when I had a race team, we had a guy called Archie Scott-Brown who drove for us.”
“Archie was bloody quick and he was in a worse position than Robert, much worse, and he managed to be very successful and bloody quick.I don’t think his injury will hold him back.” Kubica has become a major player in the driver market, following his test in Budapest.
Ecclestone convinced there could be big marketing and sponsorship gains to be had if he lands a race drive.
“If he does what I think he is going to be do – be even better than before – then people will get behind him,” said Ecclestone. “He will be good to have for Formula 1. If I were Williams, I would definitely try to persuade him to join.”
Allison on working with Hamilton
James Allison says that working alongside Lewis Hamilton has been one of the best things about moving to Mercedes. Allison joined Mercedes to take over many of the responsibilities from former technical boss Paddy Lowe.
The Englishman is highly regarded as an engineer, he has spent two stints at Ferrari as well as Renault when the team won titles with Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006. His move to Mercedes has coincided with an intense battle with Ferrari but says working with Hamilton has been a highlight.
He told ESPN “It has been a considerable pleasure joining Mercedes this year for many, many reasons but one of those was that it was my first opportunity to start working alongside Lewis.”
“I think I’d only ever said hello to him once in all the years prior to that and the experience of working with him is very different to what I imagined it would be.”