formula one 2013

Eddie Irvine handed suspended jail sentence

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Former Formula One driver Eddie Irvine has been handed a suspended six-month jail sentence for his involvement in a nightclub brawl five years ago.

The Irishman, who is known for being quite an outspoken member of the Formula One community, was involved in an incident with Gabriele Moratti back in 2008. It is believed that the brawl broke out after Irvine contacted Moratti’s ex-girlfriend.

Speaking in a statement, Irvine said: “I was struck by Moratti with two or three punches, I lost my balance and fell.”

Despite being handed the suspended sentence, Irvine’s lawyer confirmed that he expected to appeal the court ruling.

Irvine raced in Formula One between 1993 and 2002, enjoying his best patch of form with Ferrari in 1999. Following Michael Schumacher’s accident at the British Grand Prix, Irvine became team leader at Maranello for the second half of the season and lost the championship at the final round of the season to Mika Hakkinen by two points.

The 2014 F1 driver market as things stand

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The driver market for the 2014 Formula One season has been a hot topic for almost six months now, having been kick-started by Mark Webber’s decision to retire from the sport and move to Porsche’s revived LMP1 programme. Following Lotus’ confirmation of Pastor Maldonado for 2014 on Friday, the final few seats are ready to be filled, meaning that we are close to knowing just who will be on the grid in Australia next March.

RED BULL RACING

Confirmed: Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo
Ricciardo was confirmed as Webber’s replacement back in September, stepping up from Toro Rosso.

MERCEDES

Confirmed: Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg
More of the same for the German marque in 2014 after an impressive year.

SCUDERIA FERRARI

Confirmed: Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen
Raikkonen replaces Massa to create the strongest line-up on the grid next season, but also the most volatile. 

LOTUS

Confirmed: Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado
Money helped forge Maldonado’s move away from Williams; Grosjean could flourish as team leader.

McLAREN

Confirmed: Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen
Experience meets potential with this line-up, and it will be fascinating to see how Magnussen fares in 2014.

FORCE INDIA

Confirmed: None.
Candidates: Paul di Resta, Adrian Sutil, Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez, James Calado.
Hulkenberg is the obvious choice here, and with di Resta eyeing up a drive in IndyCar, the second seat is between Sutil and Perez.

SAUBER

Confirmed: None.
Candidates: Esteban Gutierrez, Nico Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez, Sergey Sirotkin, Adrian Sutil
With questions surrounding Sirotkin’s funding, the return of Perez to form an all-Mexican team with Esteban Gutierrez is perhaps the most likely line-up, although Sutil could seek refuge at Sauber should Force India drop him.

SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO

Confirmed: Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat.
Kvyat was not the obvious choice, but some impressive displays in practice at Austin and Interlagos proved that he can challenge Vergne despite his lack of experience.

WILLIAMS

Confirmed: Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa
In Massa, Williams has secured a valuable and experienced driver who should compliment the promising Bottas well.

MARUSSIA

Confirmed: Jules Bianchi
Candidates: Max Chilton, Rodolfo Gonzalez
Chilton is likely to be retained after a solid – albeit far from successful – debut season.

CATERHAM

Confirmed: None
Candidates: Giedo van der Garde, Charles Pic, Marcus Ericsson, Heikki Kovalainen, Alexander Rossi
Kovalainen is closing on a seat, but after missing out on P10 in the constructors’, Caterham may have been forced into a rethink. GP2 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Alexander Rossi could be viable options.

Coulthard backs Hamilton to adapt quickly

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Former Formula One driver David Coulthard has backed Britain’s Lewis Hamilton to adapt quickly to the regulation changes next season, and even go on to win the drivers’ championship should Mercedes provide him with the right car.

Hamilton left McLaren – Coulthard’s old team – at the end of 2012 in a move that many believed would not work out. However, he had the last laugh as he won one race with Mercedes and scored a string of podium finishes whilst McLaren struggled with a troublesome car. Now, Coulthard is backing the Briton to fare even better in 2014.

“Lewis Hamilton is a world-class driver and I have seen nothing to suggest that he is incapable of adapting,” he explained to The Daily Telegraph. “His win in Hungary proved that he could work the tires, drive quickly and sensibly, and claim wins in this formula.”

Coulthard was also quick to praise Hamilton’s teammate, Nico Rosberg, but the one-time world championship runner-up believes that he would not be able to beat the Briton across the course of a season.

“Rosberg has proved a handful for him – perhaps more than many people expected – and the German enjoys the mental challenge of this new style of racing. But I am sure that if Mercedes give Lewis a car with which he is comfortable, he can win his second title.”

Hamilton has appeared at ease within the Mercedes setup, and the team is widely thought to have extensively planned for the regulation changes next season in a move that could give the Silver Arrows an edge over Red Bull in 2014.

van der Garde believes he has done enough to stay in F1

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Caterham driver Giedo van der Garde believes that he has done enough to secure a second season in Formula One after a string of impressive displays across the last few months.

van der Garde made his debut in Formula One at the beginning of the year, and after a difficult first half of the season, he soon found his feet and became the leading driver from the backmarker teams. However, Caterham is yet to confirm who will be at the team next season as Heikki Kovalainen and Marcus Ericsson look to replace van der Garde and teammate Charles Pic for 2014. Nevertheless, the Dutchman is confident that he has done enough to secure his future though.

“I think I’ve shown that I’m a team leader, especially in the second half of the year,” he explained to GP Update. “The team is very satisfied with me and the progress that I’ve made.

“We shall see. We are talking with them as well. My management is quite busy now and hopefully we can have some good news soon.”

Given the fashion in which he outclassed his more experienced teammate during the second half of the season, van der Garde has every right to feel confident about staying in Formula One. His season highlight came during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix when he finished third in Q1 and qualified a season-best fourteenth for Caterham.

Ferrari president unconcerned by driver line-up

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Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has said that he is not concerned about the seemingly volatile line-up of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen in 2014, believing that both drivers will put the common team goal ahead of any personal grudges they may wish to settle.

Traditionally, the team has worked with an implied ‘number one’ driver who is supported by a ‘number two’. Both Alonso and Raikkonen have enjoyed number one status within the team over the past seven years with Felipe Massa serving as their understudies. However, Raikkonen will join the team in 2014 after a five-year absence, and many have questioned this move following Alonso’s dislike for a too rivalrous teammate, as proven by his one-year stint at McLaren when he and Lewis Hamilton locked horns. In di Montezemolo’s eyes though, there is no such problem.

“Whoever has the honour and responsibility of driving for Ferrari must think of the team first and foremost and not of himself,” he explained to RAI. “None of our drivers could ever hurt the other one.”

di Montezemolo went on to explain that the decision to re-hire Raikkonen was made simple by the lingering affection for the Finn following his first stint at Maranello.

“We have taken Raikkonen back for his experience, for what he has done over the past two years and because he is much loved inside and outside the team,” he explained. “I was very pleased to see the enthusiasm that greeted the news of his return, again both internally and externally. I am sure they will help one another.”

Of course, time will tell whether or not the two drivers will work together amicably, but paddock rumors continue to circulate suggesting that Alonso could be tempted by a move to McLaren in 2015 when Honda returns to the sport as an engine supplier. The Spaniard has been quick to deny this in the past, but the team will need to provide him with a better car in 2014 if he is to challenge for his first world championship since 2006 next season.