Force India can pay bills
Force India is strong enough to pay their bills and keep up development of their car despite financial difficulties according to Chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer.
The team has faced issues after title sponsor founder Roy Sahara was jailed for financial irregularities. Owner Vijay Mallya is also under pressure after failing to repay loans related to his Kingfisher Airlines. Szafnauer told Autosport “We’re a Formula 1 team, you always want more money.”
“But we will definitely be funded to a level where we can pay our bills, and do the development programmes we have planned, and really that’s what it’s about.
“We recently signed a long-term deal with Smirnoff… and FOM will underpin the finances of this team.” The other sponsors of the team are being expanded or resigned.
Szafnauer said the team needs to be careful with their spending because of the major rule changes next year.
Mallya faces questions over Kingfisher
Force India boss Vijay Mallya will appear before Indian investigators to be questioned in connection with the loan repayments connected to Kingfisher Airlines.
Mallya will be asked about the $1.4 billion owed by the airline to its creditors who has asked him to not attend thus weekends Australian Grand Prix and remain for questioning on Friday. Mallya tweeted “Shocked to see Sunday Guardian’s claim that I exchanged mails with them from my protonmail account. Have never heard of protonmail before.
Never ever had nor do I have a protonmail e-mail account. As I said earlier I have never ever heard of protonmail.
Shocked to see media statements that I gave an interview to Sunday Guardian without verification. I have not given any statement to anyone.”
He says he is the victim of a media witch hunt. He said in his posts that he would comply with domestic laws.
Mercedes ad deal
Mercedes have announced a deal with the broadcaster Channel 4. The adverts will air shortly before races and promote a number of cars. Last week they announced that Kayak will be the main sponsor
Hamilton & Vettel never to be team-mates
Christian Horner says that Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel will never be team-mates. Much of the media and drivers have been talking about them clashing on track this year.
Horner says while Vettel was at Red Bull he blocked a deal to allow Hamilton to join in 2012. This means that the Ferrari door while Vettel is there will be closed.
He told The Telegraph “At the time it would have been impossible to accommodate Lewis and Sebastian in the team, and obviously we went on to achieve a huge amount with Seb.”
“The timing didn’t work out. It was one of those things. Lewis has gone on to achieve some phenomenal things in another environment. He’s found his way.” He added he would be amazed if either of them were in the same team.
Horner added that the fight within Mercedes is more harmonious than between Vettel and Webber.
Red Bull giving good feedback
Managing director of Renault says that Red Bull is giving good feedback about the power unit. The relationship between the team and the French manufacturer appeared to break down following a year with an unreliable and uncompetitive power unit.
Cyril Abiteboul says that one of the most outspoken critics of Renault’s power unit Helmut Marko, has this year given positive feedback.
He told Autosport “The engine is much more reliable, the car is also reliable, Red Bull is happy. I’ve had very positive comments from Helmut, so life is beautiful. But I take nothing for granted.”
Red Bull has lost works team status as Renault has returned as a works team. Abiteboul says the relationship has been civil despite the falling out of last year.
He added “I always have had some respect for Red Bull’s capacity to chase performance at any financial, marketing and political cost. While I have respect I am also looking after the programme of a large carmaker which cannot accept its brand being criticised.”
Worried about chasing pack
Claire Williams has told Autosport that she is worried about the chasing pack despite her teams strong performance in testing. Chief test engineer Rod Nelson has said that he thinks that the team can leapfrog Ferrari.
Ms Williams says while she is hopeful of the team closing the gap she’s still very wary of the treat from behind. She said “I’d like to think we’ve closed the gap to Ferrari and Mercedes.”
“What I’m more worried about is the people behind us. The Red Bulls, Toro Rossos and Force Indias look quick and I’m worried about it. But for the fans, it would be amazing if there were some close fights. I think the pack is really constricted.”
She is hopeful that the team has made gained in areas which they were held back in.