Mark Webber

Webber questions Mercedes’ future after Spa bust-up


Former Formula 1 driver Mark Webber has become the latest figure to question what direction Mercedes can head in following the fall-out between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton at the Belgian Grand Prix.

After a dispute over team orders in Hungary, Rosberg went into the race weekend at Spa looking to “prove a point”, and refused to back out of an overtaking move on Hamilton on the second lap of the race, leaving the Briton with a puncture. Rosberg finished second whilst Hamilton retired, allowing the German to extend his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship to 29 points.

In a post-race debrief, Rosberg admitted that he could have backed out of the move and chose not to, leaving team bosses fuming. However, he has now accepted the blame in a meeting held today in England.

For Webber, the team must rein its drivers back in to ensure that another on-track clash does not happen.

“Now we have a very difficult situation at Mercedes where the drivers are not enjoying a good relationship,” he explained on Red Bull’s in-house TV channel, Servus.

“It’s going to be interesting, not just for the rest of this year but can they drive together in the future? Is it okay for 2015 for the team to have the two guys together?

“The thing is, who is now going to try to put this back together? Is it the people who pay Niki’s and Toto’s wages? Because at the end of the day, if the drivers are not listening to these guys, do they have to say, ‘Lewis and Nico, you go chat to the big guys at Mercedes, because they’re paying you guys to get the job done in a team environment.’

“At the moment it’s not a team, it looks like the drivers are doing their own thing.”

Ecclestone has ‘no doubts’ Monza will remain on F1 calendar

1 Comment

MILAN (AP) Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone is confident the Italian Grand Prix in Monza can find the needed cash to stay on the calendar.

Ecclestone tells the Gazzetta dello Sport, “We will find the right solution – I no longer have doubts – to provide a future for the Italian GP.”

No circuit has hosted more F1 racing than Monza, but officials at the track outside Milan have had trouble producing the estimated 25 million euros ($26.6 million) per year that Ecclestone seeks to keep the race in place after the current contract expires next year.

Ecclstone says, “Things have been cleared up and there is only one go between, (Angelo) Sticchi Damiani, the president of the Italian Automobile Club.”

The Italian GP next year is scheduled for Sept. 4.

Alternative engine solution rejected by F1 Commission

Nico Rosberg

Plans to introduce a new alternative, cheaper engine into Formula 1 for 2017 – hypothetically a 2.2-liter V6 similar to what is seen in IndyCar – will at least temporarily go on the backburner.

The F1 Commission has rejected the so called “alternative engine solution,” where several companies submitted proposals to be that alternative supplier.

“The F1 Commission voted not to pursue this option at this stage — however, it may be reassessed after the Power Unit manufacturers have presented their proposal to the Strategy Group,” the FIA said on Wednesday.

“The parties involved have agreed on a course to address several key areas relating to Power Unit supply in Formula One,” the statement added.

Meanwhile the statement outlined four things the current manufacturers – Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda – would be tasked with improving on the current 1.6-liter formula:

Those are:

  • a guarantee of supply to teams
  • the need to reduce the engines’ cost
  • simplification of the specification
  • “improved noise”

Further meetings between the manufacturers and the governing body are scheduled, including one this weekend at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix season finale.

As F1 heads into the final weekend of the season, political/paddock items such as Red Bull and Toro Rosso’s respective power unit futures, whether Renault’s takeover of Lotus will finally become official and what will happen with Manor’s team leadership stake – this marks Graeme Lowdon and John Booth’s final weekends although ex-McLaren man Dave Ryan has been hired as the team’s new racing director – are among the talking points.

Stoffel Vandoorne’s Super Formula test hampered by engine woes

Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne
1 Comment

You couldn’t make this stuff up.

Dominant GP2 Series champion Stoffel Vandoorne had his first go in a Super Formula car at Suzuka on Wednesday, but the engine woes that have hampered his Formula 1 team’s efforts (McLaren) all season appear to be equal opportunity woes.

Vandoorne only completed a limited day of running due to technical issues; naturally, and in an unfortunate coincidence, the Super Formula cars also have Honda power.

The Belgian is now en route from Japan to Abu Dhabi, where this weekend’s final round of the GP2 season will be held alongside the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

FIA Formula E to remain at Battersea Park following vote

1 Comment

Wandsworth Council’s Community Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee voted seven to four late Tuesday night, in favor of retaining the FIA Formula E event in Battersea Park.

This will see the London ePrix – the season finale for the electric open-wheel championship – continue at the site for at least the next two seasons.

The 2016 race will run July 2-3, to avoid a direct head-to-head clash with the British Grand Prix a week later in Silverstone.

Battersea Park’s race faced local opposition in recent weeks, which put the race under threat.