Sebastian Vettel laughs off Ferrari rumors

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Defending Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel has laughed off stories linking him with a move to Ferrari, and has insisted that he remains committed to Red Bull despite Adrian Newey’s plans to take a step back.

Newey has been the brain behind Red Bull’s success over the past four years, designing all of Vettel’s championship winning cars. However, it was confirmed in Canada that his role will change as of next season, and will be involved in more projects external to the F1 team.

Nevertheless, Vettel remains as committed as ever to Red Bull, even after a tricky start to the season.

“Ha, these kinds of rumors come up once a year, so I am never surprised when it is Ferrari rumor time again,” he joked when talking to the official Formula 1 website.

“I have known Adrian now for quite some years. We’ve had fantastic victories together, and I know he loves motor racing so much that he will always be around. I really can’t see him doing something else to be honest.”

So far this year, Vettel has struggled to live up to his own lofty expectations after four straight championship victories. The RB10 car has not been entirely to his liking, so much so that new teammate Daniel Ricciardo has had the upper hand at Red Bull in 2014.

“Well, it is no secret that the year so far wasn’t the smoothest for me,” Vettel explained. “We had a lot of difficulties to overcome, but when you look at where we were in winter testing then we have made a fantastic step forward.

“Looking at the whole situation I have to say that he wasn’t giving me a harder time than I used to have with other team mates. Of course, if you look at the results it is correct to say that he has been in front most of the time – and in previous years I was in front of Mark [Webber] – but from that you cannot draw any conclusions as every race is a different story.

“There are always two sides of a story. He [Daniel] is doing a good job. I do not doubt that. He has had the ability to get the maximum out of the car since race one – and on my side, well, we had a couple of things to overcome, so it is good that the other half is doing well.”

Yesterday on MotorSportsTalk, we looked at the story behind Vettel’s tame title defence, highlighting the problems that have dashed his hopes of a fifth straight world championship in 2014.

Lauda labels Verstappen USGP penalty ‘the worst I’ve ever seen’

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Mercedes Formula 1 non-executive chairman Niki Lauda has called the FIA stewards’ decision to penalize Max Verstappen for his last-lap pass on Kimi Raikkonen in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix as “the worst I’ve ever seen”.

Verstappen charged from 16th on the grid to take third place from Raikkonen on the last lap after a stunning fight through the field, completing the fightback with a bold pass in the final sector.

However, the stewards stripped Verstappen of P3 after he appeared to put all four wheels off the circuit when riding the kerb to pass Raikkonen, causing outcry in the F1 community.

Speaking to reporters after the race in Austin, Lauda condemned the stewards’ decision, slamming them for interfering in the late fight.

“We had meetings at the start of the year to see how far stewards should go in decisions during a race because it always says ‘under investigation’,” Lauda said, as quoted by Crash.net.

“So we complained about that and we agreed all together that the stewards would not interfere – very simple.

“If the driver goes over another and upside down, only then would they weigh in. That was at the beginning of last year.

“For six months it was OK, but this decision was the worst I’ve ever seen. He did nothing wrong.”

Lauda said F1 team bosses would discuss stewarding at the next Strategy Group meeting, which is due to be held in the next two weeks.

“These are racing drivers. We are not on the normal roads and it is ridiculous to destroy the sport with these kind of decisions,” Lauda said.

“At the next strategy meeting, we will put it back on the agenda and start all over again, because we cannot do that.

“They go too far and interfere and there was nothing to interfere with. It was normal overtaking.”