No more teams about to drop out – Ecclestone

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Pedro de la Rosa, HRT, Valencia, 2012In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone says no other teams are about to follow HRT in dropping out of Formula One.

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Formula One teams not at risk of collapsing, Ecclestone says (Autoweek)

“They are all safe. We have got a deal with them all, including Marussia. We are continuing with Marussia. I thought they were going to go but they are not.”

Maldonado talks up Williams (Sky)

“We had a couple of aero problems last year, which is not the case now. We have been pushing so hard on that side to develop the car and now we hope to have a very competitive car – even from the beginning of the season. And I feel ready, ready to do great races.”

New Williams passes final crash test (Autosport)

“The new Williams-Renault FW35 has passed the final crash test ahead of its track debut at next week’s Barcelona test.”

Q&A with Sauber?s Monisha Kaltenborn (F1)

“[Kamui Kobayashi] was a great team player – he did so much for the team spirit – so it is surprising when such a pleasant person like him cannot get any support from such a motorsport-loving nation like Japan. This again should be a sort of warning that we maybe need to change something.”

Number crunching gives early F1 form guide (BBC)

“The big surprise is Red Bull, who appear to have some work to do. And the Mercedes – which is a fair bit faster than people expected, at least in Rosberg’s hands.”

Testing vs Racing (Red Bull)

“You’ll often [hear] engineers and team management profess their satisfaction at having ‘got through the programme’. It’s media-friendly shorthand for having done a good day’s work and having ticked all the boxes that needed to be ticked. It?s also a little white lie: no-one ever gets through the programme because the wish-list is endless.”

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On this day in F1

One year ago today Ferrari were projecting an image of calm over the disappointing performance of the F2012 in pre-season testing.

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57 comments on No more teams about to drop out – Ecclestone

  1. OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 12th February 2013, 0:18

    I still wonder why Williams has taken so long to develop the car (if it is for good news, perfect!) because without the big amount of laps and tests done by the other teams, they can easily be outclassed again. Let’s hope they don’t return to the point where they were in 2011, the Nightmare Year for Williams.
    Pastor talks about the problems the car had last year. Sure they had problems, but in Spain (besides the tyres gamble that was in the first races) the car was strong. Probably the biggest disadvantage Williams had last year was the couple of guys behind the wheel. They still have one of those guys, still claiming stewards were “against him”

    • Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 12th February 2013, 5:28

      I still wonder why Williams has taken so long to develop the car

      I think it’s coz they spend too much time, money and resources on keeping that hedge trimmed to look like an F1 car. lol

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 12th February 2013, 6:40

      They were testing 2013-spec parts on the car, so I’m guessing they wanted to evaluate them on a platform that they already know a lot about. Given Maldonado’s comments, some of their mid-season upgrades didn’t work as well as planned last year, so they’re probably erring on the side of caution for now.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th February 2013, 8:41

        Yes, I too don’t see a problem as such in having the car ready as late, although passing the crash test only now does hint at this having been a reworking of some parts that failed earlier. So maybe starting a week late was not completely the original plan at the team, but just a backup solution.

        I do think that they did get a lot of usefull data, and its not as if missing one test is that bad – Red Bull have done so, and McLaren in effect missed most of sensible testing in 2011 too – but they do have to make sure that they get enough running on the car in the remaining ones.

        • Avenger said on 12th February 2013, 12:00

          The biggest change in 2013 are the tyres.Williams has achieved that data already with their 2012 car.I assume we may see sauber style sleek sidepods on that 2013 Williams.

          • Is anyone else concerned about Maldonado’s wish for “great” races rather than good results? In my eyes Maldonado’s idea of a great race is probably where he takes out every driver one by one, even dropping BACK to take out the backmarkers before winning by default..

  2. Brace (@brace) said on 12th February 2013, 0:20

    Waiting for the first comedian to write something about Twitter button in regards to Hamilton’s steering wheel.

    On a more serious note

    One year ago today Ferrari were projecting an image of calm over the disappointing performance of the F2012 in pre-season testing.

    And in fact that did. They kept their cool for the entire season of an edge-of-a-seat title fight and almost pulled it off.

    They have sure kept their cool more then their rival did who couldn’t help calling his colleagues names. I don’t wanna think what he would have said if he was one of those collected by Grosjean in Spa.

  3. A 22 car grid is small enough; the one thing we don’t need is to lose another team. If anything we need more teams, although not another HRT – somebody who will remain at the back for eternity.

    • Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 12th February 2013, 10:27

      Agreed. Remember, in 1991, there were over 30 cars on the grid. Now the grid is at its lowest since ’09.

      • topdowntoedown (@topdowntoedown) said on 12th February 2013, 12:47

        By my reckoning in 1991 there 36 cars in the pitlane – 19 teams, but Fondmetal and Coloni only entered one car each. Of those 36 cars, 19 of them failed to pre-qualify or qualify at least once during the season, and just taking the British GP as a random example, 30th place on the grid was 7.2 seconds behind pole. We might criticise Caterham and Marussia for still being a second away from being competitive, but in those days a second a lap slower than Mansell or Senna would usually have put you 4th/5th on the grid.

        I’d much rather have 22 cars separated by two seconds than 30 separated by seven or more.

  4. CarsVsChildren (@carsvschildren) said on 12th February 2013, 0:30

    Having read the Kamui article, I think Monica needs to take some of the blame for that situation.

    She stated many times at the end of last year that Kamui’s position was not dependant on his financial backing, giving many the impression that the team was not happy with his performance. What sponsor would then waste money backing a driver whose own team didn’t think he was good enough to retain?

    Japan is in a very difficult economic position, but there is still money around. It is a very wealthy country, with some very very successful businesses, and F1 interest is still relatively high despite the withdrawal of Honda and Toyota.

    That being said it is very unwise for companies to publicly waste money at this stage. When you can’t afford to pay people their annual bonuses, or you are moving manufacturing offshore it is not a good idea to spend $10,000,000 on funding a seat with a mid-field team for a rich racing car driver?

    However if the team had publicly stated that he was worthy of a top drive, and they desperately wanted to keep him, but needed backing to do so, then it could have been a different story.

    The end result is was it is, Kamui was unlucky, but also was lucky to get the chance when he did, to get paid doing what he loved, and a podium at his home race. But Sauber cannot complain about him not getting the backing, in my opinion, he deserved.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 12th February 2013, 0:39

      She stated many times at the end of last year that Kamui’s position was not dependant on his financial backing, giving many the impression that the team was not happy with his performance. What sponsor would then waste money backing a driver whose own team didn’t think he was good enough to retain?

      So how is that Kaltenborn’s fault? Kobayashi needed to either improve his performances, or find backing to make up the difference. He was probably told this some time before Kaltenborn said anything publicly, to give him every opportunity to improve during the races or to find those sponsors.

      • CarsVsChildren (@carsvschildren) said on 12th February 2013, 1:05

        Did you even read the article?

        so it is surprising when such a pleasant person like him cannot get any support from such a motorsport-loving nation like Japan. This again should be a sort of warning that we maybe need to change something. When you have a race in a country and you have a ‘local’ hero it helps Formula One to be successful there. But I have also to clarify that we never made any promises to Kamui for 2013

        How do you get sponsors when your team boss is publicly denigrating your performance?

        Which is my point. Monica wants to claim that F1 is in trouble because Kamui couldn’t get sponsorship, yet she made it difficult for him to sell himself to sponsors.

        She is trying to re-write history, by blaming Japan, F1 and the economy for Sauber not retaining one of the most popular drivers on the grid, when really she did nothing to help him retain his seat (probably because they needed to spot for Esteban Gutierrez)

        Now choosing to replace Kamui is fine. It is her right as a team owner, and she needs to take into account the future of the team, and the people that work there, but Sauber also didn’t help the cause in the slightest, and they need to be honest about that.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 12th February 2013, 1:21

          How do you get sponsors when your team boss is publicly denigrating your performance?

          But you’re assuming that Kamui Kobayashi found out that he needed sponsors to stay in the sport at the same as the rest of the world found out that he needed sponsors to stay in the sport. He wouldn’t have. The team would have told him weeks or months in advance that he needed to either improve his performances, or find sponsors to make up the difference, so as to give him every opportunity improve his performances and/or find those sponsors. By the time Kaltenborn said anything publicly, a decision probably would have been made.

          • CarsVsChildren (@carsvschildren) said on 12th February 2013, 1:31

            Perhaps, perhaps not, will will never know. But she certainly did not help his chances to stay in the sport for 2013.

            Her current comments are still nothing but spin. She failed to publicly support a member of her team when it was needed.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 12th February 2013, 1:35

            I don’t see how you can say this:

            Perhaps, perhaps not, will will never know.

            And then finish up with this:

            She failed to publicly support a member of her team when it was needed.

            If you have no way of knowing when a) Kobayashi was told he needed better performances and/or sponsors to stay in the sport, and b) when the team made the decision not to keep him on-board for 2013, then you cannot criticise Kaltenborn for failing to show her support for Kobayashi.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th February 2013, 8:58

          @carsvschildren, to me this is more about what we all read into statements than what really was said.

          To me its clear that Sauber had plans for this year early enough (Guttieres was always likely to get promoted for example) to allow Kobayashi to be on the lookout for another drive. But as @prisoner-monkey says, his driving did not get the attention to scup up a seat in a Ferrari, Red Bull or McLaren (or a Lotus – who were probably going to keep both drivers anyway), and then all teams below that it would be about the sponsor money a driver can raise. And that money did not come big enough, nor soon enough to be of help.

          When you accept that Kobayashi was never planned to stay at Sauber in 2013 (he said as much after his Japanese podium), then the seats he would have to look at were at Williams (beating Maldonado – a race winner AND bringing about 40 million, or beating their promising talent Bottas?), Force India – still undecided while the likes of Bianchi, Sutil, maybe even Kobayashi and Karthikeyan have their supporters upping bids to get their preferred driver in a seat, or end up at a team like Marussia or Caterham, who have clearly chosen (probably out of need) drivers with backing too, but not even offering a car that can achieve more than occasionally get close to a STR, or the odd off form mid field team.

          • CarsVsChildren (@carsvschildren) said on 12th February 2013, 11:30

            O.k lets assume that Kamui knew he was going leave Sauber. Let us also assume that he WAS actively looking for sponsors.

            How does the following statement, quoted in the independent on 15/Nov/2012 help that process?

            “We’re not going to take the last two races and see if he is good or bad, whether it’s a plus or a minus point. That’s not fair to him,” said Kaltenborn, speaking to Press Association Sport.

            “He’s been with us three years now and we know him very well.

            Asked specifically whether Kobayashi required sponsorship to retain his seat, Kaltenborn replied: “No.

            “We didn’t even do that at the end of 2010 when, with regards to running the team, we were starting from scratch again.

            “At that time we took him for his pure skills and he brought no sponsor along. We got nothing.

            “So I don’t think it’s right to now suddenly make it an issue, and there is no pressure on him. It’s about what he does on the track.”

            She publicly stated that his future would be decided on merit, and then fired him.

            What sponsor was going to sponsor him? That statement followed by his firing is a very public vote of no-confidence in the driver.

            Which is fine. I don’t hold that against her or the team. I just find her current comments complaining about Kamui not being able to find sponsorship galling.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th February 2013, 12:24

            lets go back to that first sentence in your own post now @carsvschildren:

            O.k lets assume that Kamui knew he was going leave Sauber

            how can she then fire him? – compare that centence at the end.

            She publicly stated that his future would be decided on merit, and then fired him.

            Sauber having decided NOT to keep him on merits by mid season is not in any way contrary to then saying it was about merit instead of money (i.e. they thought Hulkenberg would bring more to the team – certainly NOT from his backers, as he has only minor ones)

          • We’re not going to take the last two races and see if he is good or bad … He’s been with us three years now and we know him very well

            +

            Kobayashi required sponsorship to retain his seat … No

            +

            our time with Kamui will come to an end after the final two races of the season

            = we tried him, we know him, and it’s not about money — he’s not good enough for us.

            Then, after we basically state he’s not good enough for a mid-field team like us…

            it is surprising when such a pleasant person like him cannot get any support

  5. timi (@timi) said on 12th February 2013, 0:49

    .. Just when Lewis thought he had gotten rid of Button(s)..

  6. Adam Kibbey (@kibblesworth) said on 12th February 2013, 1:10

    Interesting number crunching by Gary Anderson but Jerez is generally only revealing if a car is either really fast (e.g Brawn GP 2009) or severely off the pace (e.g Ferrari last year).

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the Red Bull was slower than its rivals though. Red Bull didn’t start of too well in 2013 either, it was only because of McLaren’s persistence reliability problems that they didn’t wipe the floor with Red Bull early in the season. 2012 really should have belonged to Hamilton, but never mind.

    To early to speculate, of course, but I see this season as being between Button and Raikkonen myself. It’s gonna be very close though.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 12th February 2013, 7:24

      I think Gary Anderson forgets the fact that a lot of teams are sandbagging.. and are not even going for quick lap times this weekend. While I would agree with his methodology of number crunching, it seems a little out of context for pre season testing. On a race weekend’s FP1,2 & 3 this kind of logic would make sense.

      If he thinks that Red Bull is going to be slower than the Lotus and Mercedes, he is seriously mistaken. They were focused entirely on reliability, aero testing and tyre evaluation this test session. Also find it hard to believe that Gary Anderson knows exactly how hard Vettel was pushing on those hards as compared to Felipe on those softs.

      I like that Gary Anderson take a stab at breaking down the numbers.. but I’m still not buying any of his conclusions

      • ME4ME (@me4me) said on 12th February 2013, 8:25

        Indeed im not buying it either. At the end of last week he said it looked like Redbull had “10% more downforce” and looked impressive, while some other cars had over/understeer. Not he’s basically saying they’re the 5th team.

        Personally i do expect Mclaren to be quickest in the first couple of races. Redbull may not have a great start to the season, thats fully possible even for tripple world champions. But they’ll be back. I can’t see them get beaten by Lotus and Mercedes.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 12th February 2013, 8:33

      @kibblesworth I was rather surprised he suggested Red Bull are in trouble. The car looked in good shape on the track, they were clearly not pushing for outright pace and their quickest time came on the hard tyre. I don’t see anything to worry about at this stage.

      • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 12th February 2013, 11:34

        His own analysis also says that Vettel’s adjusted time is only 0.2s adrift from Button’s and yet he concludes the Mclaren is fast and the Red Bull is struggling. Given the number of variables, amount of approximation and adjustment and the fact that the teams are running testing programmes, in arriving at these numbers it seems a bit of a stretch to reach that conclusion with such a slender gap.

        If we saw two team-mates with a gap of 0.2s in qualifying where the conditions are identical I don’t think we would jump to conclusion is that one has a better car.

        I suspect that it’s a case of the BBC trying to create a (probably quite popular in the UK) headline from what little analysis they have got.

      • Adam Kibbey (@kibblesworth) said on 12th February 2013, 16:44

        @keithcollantine I don’t think he suggested that Red Bull were in trouble per se, just that they appeared to be a tad slower than their rivals from what we’ve seen so far. Of course sandbagging and the fact that Red Bull seem to be keeping their cards close to their chest are distorting any conclusions we could potentially draw, and teams obviously need more than pace to win the championship, but nevertheless it does seem to be that Red Bull are either level with their rivals or slightly behind.

        What interests me is that this seems to echo the situation that we saw in 2012. Red Bull weren’t exactly spectacular in testing then either, and they certainly weren’t ahead of the rest of the field when the season began. Until Asia, in fact, I would have argued that the season belonged to either McLaren or Ferrari. Barring 2011, Red Bull have never had a car that screams domination, and they have started the season slower than their rivals in 2012. That’s why I’m inclined to believe that Gary’s number crunching might be more reliable than others give him credit for and that Red Bull might not be the fastest car off the blocs in 2013.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th February 2013, 9:04

      I think its likely that Red Bull are relatively slow in this test.
      But one has to remember that they have never really been showing their speed earlier than needed, and are likely to bring the best bits only to the last test.

      One other factor not really taken into account in that article is the tyres. And track evolution is only reflected as a by thought. So while it might still be true that McLaren can be confident, Lotus positively surprised, Ferrari satisfied that they didn’t miss it as they did last year, and Mercedes quietly promising, the Red Bull is still a great package and in anyone knows what they are doing it will be Newey carefully watching every aspect and slowly adding bit by planned bit to the car to get it in race form.
      Both McLaren and Red Bull (and Lotus) had good cars at the end of last year, they have refined the underdeveloped areas of their cars and there is not much logic in thinking they lost out to their rivals.

    • Dev (@dev) said on 12th February 2013, 9:30

      still early days; even journos know its not much meaningful to know the performance of the new cars but they have to write something to fill in the pages… i think RBR were not using DRS as much as their rivals hence their time could reflect that.. and cars will get massive upgrades before Melbourne. at this stage talking about car performance is pure guess work using very limited data.

  7. Murali said on 12th February 2013, 1:21

    “New Williams passes final crash test”… Maldonado is a Happy guy now.

  8. Klaas de Vries said on 12th February 2013, 4:22

    I don’t understand why big teams need to sandbag. I mean suppose I know for sure my rival’s car is some half a second faster than mine, it’s not that I have a magic wand and make it match my rival, and if it’s the case of my car being faster then I wouldn’t just relax and stop looking for any improvements. The idea is that teams would still be looking for performance no matter how much of an advantage they have at the moment.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 12th February 2013, 4:31

      I don’t understand why big teams need to sandbag.

      Because they don’t want to show their full hand before they have to. They’re big enough, strong enough and experienced enough to know exactly what they’re capable of, so they can afford to muddy the waters a bit by not pushing as hard as they can.

      Besides, testing is not about achieving the fastest possible lap time. It’s about gathering as much information as possible about how the car will perform under every condition imaginable, and harvesting as much data on performance as they can so that the teams can plan out their development schedules for the year. Knowing how a car will perform with low fuel, brand-new tyres and a perfect set-up is a part of it, but it’s not the only thing teams do.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th February 2013, 9:13

      You have to take it the other way around Klaas:
      What reason does a team have to go for fast laps in testing

      – It was mentioned, that Lotus were actually positively surprised by their speed, so that might have been “by accident” – they had not expected to be as fast so saw no reason to hold back. And off course they are still working on their sponsor ship package (honeywell deal?)
      McLaren got Button out to confirm what they have early on after spending a day in the garage. Otherwise we would likely not have seen a fast lap from him at all. Ferrari needed a fast lap to take away uncertainty and nervous feelings after their miss last year. Mercedes needed a lot of laps, and some faster times for much the same reasons.

      Force India, Sauber and STR would all be happy to show a bit of speed to pull further potential sponsors over the line (and drivers in the case of FI). The same goes for Caterham and Marussia, they need to show speed to get people interested.

      This logic fits, as the one team not to have any problems with reliability, nor making up for traumas from last year, nor having to worry about sponsors is Red Bull. The one team that did not push much for lap times at any stage.

  9. Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 12th February 2013, 6:39

    Interesting that Bernie mentions they have a deal with everyone, including Marussia. I’m pretty sure the deal with Marussia is relatively new, as there were rumors over the off-season that Marussia didn’t have a deal with FOM yet.

  10. sozavele (@formula-1) said on 12th February 2013, 7:26

    Providing Marussia and Caterham improve, it will be good not to lose anybody as we need continuity, but if they don’t improve year on year, what is the main point of them being there, they would only be repeating the same performance with little improvement.

    • someone has to be last and they are closer than minardi were for many years

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th February 2013, 9:17

      On the contrary @formula-1, we need MORE teams, as there are so many drivers out there that could still show their hand, or upcoming talents we would all like to see track tested in F1.

      Yes, its hard to get close enough nowadays, but as @q85 writes they are both a lot closer than Minardi ever were. Don’t expect them to get any closer this year (both are treading water with their approach this year), and I fear that for 2014 they might be well off the pace.
      On the other hand, in 2014 we might see a surge in technical problems with many teams that might give them the odd opportunity to achieve more in the races.

  11. BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th February 2013, 9:34

    Ben Edwards has posted this interesting read about his feelings from testing – not about who is fast at all – in describing the feeling of intense and sometimes almost mythical and hard to understand fine detail going on in the background.

  12. petebaldwin (@petebaldwin) said on 12th February 2013, 11:21

    Interesting to see the similarities between Hamilton’s new wheel (above) and his McLaren one. The buttons at the top are the same and he’s got the dial for track conditions (wet, inter dry etc) set out in the same way.
    http://www.racingmodels.com/ekmps/shops/arendonk1/images/mclaren-mp4-27-f1-2012-1-4-scale-steering-wheel.-20405-p.jpg

    If you look at Rosberg’s, is quite different.
    http://acimg.auctivacommerce.com/imgdata/0/1/3/0/6/3/webimg/5465037.jpg

    Is it usual for drivers to keep a specific steering wheel setup when moving teams?

    • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 12th February 2013, 16:23

      @petebaldwin It’s possibly more of a surprise that it hasn’t arisen before, given that this is probably the most important interface between driver and car – after all each driver has a custom seat fitted. It’s not just a change in button layout but a fundamentally different wheel shape too. After all of the years Hamilton has been at Mclaren it probably makes sense to design him a custom wheel and let him focus his efforts elsewhere rather than having to spend time relearning the wheel layout.

      I wonder if the simulator can take any race wheel so that Rosberg and Hamilton can each simulate with their race wheel.

    • JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III said on 12th February 2013, 21:16

      When DC left mclaren he bought his steering wheel from them to make life at redbull easyer. This is the only instance i know of.

  13. Dphect (@dphect) said on 12th February 2013, 12:47

    Did anybody see Jaime Alguersuari’s tweet yesterday? It was a photograph he had taken while being in Silverstone, has anybody picked up on anything about him visiting SFI? It would be fantastic to see him back racing.

  14. dennis (@dennis) said on 12th February 2013, 13:06

    Did I misread Gary Anderson’s article or did he really not factor in the tyres at any point? Massa did his time on super softs, while both Button and Vettel managed to get their laps in on hard tyres.
    I think the Red Bull looks rather splendid considering that. And when you think how Button how drove his time on the first day of testing, with the track being exceptionally green, I think they might be again the ones to beat.

  15. Good to here about marussia being safe. Not only is this good in my eyes but also in the eyes of f1 because it shows that new teams can actualy survive in f1 and progress up the field despite the pace not being the quickest which is understandable.

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