There was no Lauda ban – McLaren

McLaren have clarified that they did not ban Niki Lauda following the three-time champion’s criticism of Lewis Hamilton.

This website published a story earlier today, quoting sources GMM and Auto Motor und Sport, which alleged that McLaren had refused to talk to the Austrian after he had said that Lewis Hamilton should drive more safely in Canada.

But McLaren Group Head of Communications Matt Bishop told “It’s nonsense. No ban. No problem.”

Ricciardo confirms Silverstone F1 debut

Jun.30 (GMM) Before HRT could release an official statement, Daniel Ricciardo confirmed reports he will be making his formula one race debut next Sunday.

It is now widely reported that the Australian, who turns 22 on Friday, will replace Spanish team Hispania’s Indian regular Narain Karthikeyan from Silverstone.

“It’s pretty, pretty exciting,” he told the Herald Sun newspaper at Heathrow airport, where he was departing for Budapest for his next Formula Renault 3.5 race.

“It’s awesome, just awesome,” added Ricciardo, the Red Bull-backed youngster who in 2011 has been the Friday driver at the energy drink company’s junior Toro Rosso team.

The Herald Sun said Ricciardo is being loaned by Red Bull to HRT.

“To make the first one at Silverstone, it’s great,” Ricciardo said. “It’s a circuit I know well and it’s just up the road from my second home in Britain.”

HRT not confirming Ricciardo reports

Jun.30 (GMM) HRT on Thursday would not confirm reports Daniel Ricciardo is poised to join the Spanish team’s race lineup.

Australian media reports and also German sources earlier reported that Red Bull-backed rookie Ricciardo, 21, will replace Indian regular Narain Karthikeyan from the British grand prix next weekend.

“Ricciardo is Toro Rosso’s third driver,” a spokesman for the Hispania team told us on Thursday. “If we have something to say, we’ll release an official statement.”

Ferrari happy with V6 engine rules compromise

Ferrari is happy with F1’s engine formula for the future. The FIA had earlier announced controversial four-cylinder engines for 2013, but in the face of opposition from teams and engine makers has now agreed to let the sport be powered by 1.6 litre V6s in 2014 and beyond.

Ferrari, whose founder Enzo Ferrari’s main passion was big engines and horse power, had been the most staunchly opposed to the four-cylinder plan. But after the FIA rubber-stamped the V6 compromise this week, team boss Stefano Domenicali commented that the decision was good for the sport.

“We now have the necessary time to prepare for this new project,” he is quoted by the German news agency SID.

It is believed Renault and Cosworth are also happy. “It is good that the compromise reached has been confirmed by the World Motor Sport Council,” agreed Mercedes-Benz’s Norbert Haug.

Source: GMM

Ricciardo to replace Karthikeyan at HRT

Daniel Ricciardo is poised to make his formula one race debut at Silverstone next weekend. Australian media reports say the 21-year-old, backed strongly by Red Bull and until now the Friday driver at Toro Rosso, will replace HRT regular Narain Karthikeyan at Silverstone.

The Spanish team has been contacted for comment.

Ricciardo, who turns 22 on Friday, had been widely tipped to debut at junior team Toro Rosso this season but both Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi have performed strongly enough to keep their race seats so far.

Just days ago, Red Bull driver manager Helmut Marko hinted that Ricciardo is close to joining the grid.

“In the simulator and in practice, his results are very good, but we need to see what he can do in the race,” Marko commented.

Source: GMM

Council votes to put US GP back on track

The 2012 US grand prix is back on the right track after the Austin council signed off the Circuit of the Americas’ Texan state funding.

After a vote was delayed last week and a dissenting new member was sworn in, it was feared a negative outcome could sound the project’s death knell.

But local reports reveal that the council voted 5-2 in favour of the project receiving $25 million annually in state funding for the next decade.

It seems the next twist in the road will be efforts to move the race’s provisional debut date, with the US grand prix currently paired with Canada in hot June next year.

“Mr Ecclestone has most of the say for when these races are scheduled,” said project attorney Richard Suttle, according to the Austin American Statesman.

“If you ask my personal preference,” added circuit president Steve Sexton, “I would prefer it be in the fall.”

Source: GMM

Buemi insists ‘clearly faster’ than Alguersuari

Sebastien Buemi has hit back at claims he has become the driver under pressure at Toro Rosso. Rumours in Valencia had indicated the Swiss’ teammate Jaime Alguersuari was most in danger of losing his race seat to Daniel Ricciardo after struggling to match Buemi’s pace so far in 2011.

But Spaniard Alguersuari, 21, drove strongly to two consecutive eighth places in Montreal and Valencia, triggering new speculation that it is Buemi whose future is now most in doubt.

Veteran Blick correspondent Roger Benoit revealed that Buemi has been spending time this week in Red Bull’s Milton Keynes simulator.

“I am working harder and at some point it will pay out,” Buemi told the Swiss newspaper.

He insists that although Alguersuari’s race results were better in Canada and Valencia, the truth is more complex.

“I was clearly faster than Alguersuari in both qualifyings,” said Buemi. “And in Valencia he had another set of tyres because he missed the first hurdle in qualifying!” he exclaimed.

“Of course I have to live with it, and what counts in the end is the speed, and I have that,” added Buemi.


Clampdown to cost Red Bull five tenths – Horner

Red Bull could lose up to five tenths of a second per lap when the exhaust blowing clampdown takes effect at Silverstone next weekend.

But team boss Christian Horner has thrown a cat amongst the pigeons by saying on Austrian television Servus TV that, until now, the RB7 has only been benefitting from “cold blowing”, not the “hot” concept that is so effective when the drivers are off the throttle under braking and in corners.

“In our case, this (effect) happens only with cold-air blowing. Other teams blow hot air and get even more benefit,” said the Briton.

If true, Red Bull’s key rivals might fall even further away from the pace of the dominant RB7 in Britain and beyond.

“How this affects us compared to the others, we will only see at Silverstone. According to our simulation it’s as much as 3 to 5 tenths and perhaps a bit more with some other teams,” said Horner.

Former F1 driver Karl Wendlinger said: “I believe Red Bull’s superiority will be greater at Silverstone. The (exhaust) system is being banned for all but Adrian Newey is a genius in aerodynamics and this is very important at Silverstone.”

But McLaren reserve driver Pedro de la Rosa told EFE news that “nobody has the foggiest idea” how precisely the field will line up in Britain.

“It will have a strong impact and the cars will be slower because of the lost downforce,” he said.

“There is a ray of hope, as we all know which car was the pioneer of the technique and have been able to maximise the performance better than anyone else,” said the Spaniard, presumably referring to Red Bull.

At least Timo Glock is aware of the effect that the clampdown will have on his struggling Virgin car.

“We have never benefitted from this technology, so for us, everything stays the same,” the German told Auto Motor und Sport.


FIA rubber-stamps V6 engine rules for 2014

As expected, the FIA has rubber-stamped the revised engine rules for the future. The F1 Commission met recently and decided to scrap the ratified four-cylinder rules for 2013 in favour of a turbocharged V6 formula, to debut in 2014.

“The new power plant will be a V6 1.6 turbo unit with energy recovery systems,” confirmed the FIA after a fax vote of the World Motor Sport Council.

A report on F1’s official website said the new energy recovery systems, to be known as ERS rather than KERS, “are expected to be more powerful” than the current ones.

“They will ensure overall power outputs remain similar to current levels, despite an anticipated drop in the permitted rev limit,” added the report.

Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport said the V-angle – 90 or 120 degrees – is yet to be specified, while the expected rev-limit will increase from the 12,000 proposed for the four-cylinders to 15,000rpm in 2014.


Pirelli swerves Ferrari’s call for softer tyres

Jun.30 (GMM) Italian tyre supplier Pirelli has shown it does not favour Ferrari by deciding to take its hardest compound to Silverstone next week.

Team boss Stefano Domenicali as well as Ferrari driver Felipe Massa had openly admitted they hoped Pirelli would swerve the hardest tyre because the Italia 150 car has struggled on it elsewhere this season.

But having originally announced a month ago the hard/soft combination for the British grand prix, Pirelli re-confirmed that decision on Wednesday.

“Silverstone is one of the quickest tracks of the year, requiring the use of the hard tyre to cope with the sustained high speeds that are a characteristic of the British circuit,” the marque said in a media document.

Said motor sport director Paul Hembery: “We are confirming the decision we took a few weeks ago, after once more consulting all the teams”.

Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport quotes him adding: “Silverstone is a big challenge for us and probably one of the hardest circuits that we face during the year.”

Hembery told ANSA news agency: “Ferrari should not be unhappy, as after Barcelona their engineers understood the problems they have had.”

Commented Massa’s Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso: “The tyre choice is the same for everyone and there’s no point discussing if the pair of compounds chosen is more suited to one team or another.”