New challenge impossible to resist!

Posted: 4th October 2014 by admin in Formula 1
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Sebastian Vettel sent shockwaves through the Formula One paddock on Saturday morning in Suzuka when he confirmed he will leave Red Bull at the end of 2014.Sebastian Vettel - Formula 1 driver

While the German admits departing the team with which he won four consecutive world championship crowns with was an extremely tough decision, he says the appeal of a new challenge and a new home proved too strong to resist – even if he cannot yet reveal where he is headed for 2015…

Q: Sebastian, there have long been rumours you could leave Red Bull for Ferrari – and now your departure at least is confirmed, which sent shockwaves through the paddock. No one throws away an association of 15 years so easily, so there must be a good reason for you to move on…
Sebastian Vettel: 
Probably because the attraction of doing something new was bigger than [it was] to stay. 

Q: Fleeing the nest after 15 years with Red Bull is a major step. What does that mean for you?
SV: 
It means exactly that: a major step! It was my home and in fact you only move out of home once in your life – that is big. We had a fantastic time in those 15 years but sometimes it is also time to open a new chapter.

Q: How hard was it for you to go for the ‘new’?
SV: 
It felt very hard, because I am not leaving due to any issues. It clearly is a decision for something new, and not against the existing. But then you have to follow your inner voice. And that is not automatically the easier decision – but I hope it is the right one, and that wherever it takes me I will be happy with it. 

Q: How long has this inner voice been speaking to you?
SV: 
It is not the first time that the opportunity for a change has come up. Right now it felt like the right time. The time that I had with Red Bull is something very, very special – hopefully this lasts until the end of the season.

Q: Would it have made any difference if Red Bull had a more competitive car?
SV: 
That is probably the way people look at it – but not the way I see it. I am not leaving because I don’t like the situation. I am not running away from anything. As I just said: it felt like the right time. There was that hunger to do something new. 

Q: Can we expect an announcement from Ferrari? Right now there is only the Red Bull press release stating your departure and Christian Horner saying that you will join Ferrari…
SV: 
I am sure that very soon there will be something to say – but not right now. 

Q: Have you signed a contract with Ferrari?
SV: 
As I just said, I have nothing to announce right now, but it will not take too long. 

Q: Could anything stand in your way of moving to Ferrari then, if you haven’t signed a contract?
SV: 
I didn’t say that. I just said that I cannot announce anything right now. What I can say is that I will definitely stay in Formula One and not go skiing or mountain biking.

Q: Are you aware that staying with Red Bull would very likely give you a better chance of winning races next year – and that Ferrari are more likely to be a long-term project?
SV: 
At the end of the day it doesn’t really matter – as I said that it was the craving for something new; a new challenge! I am leaving in peace. Of course it hurts on one hand – but on the other it feels right as it means a new challenge. 

Q: With the shock of your Red Bull departure, your Suzuka qualifying performance almost drops out of focus. Can you still say a word on it?
SV: 
Of course I am not really happy. We lacked some running in the morning and then it didn’t seem that I was able to go with the track. I struggled more than I had expected in corners that I usually love. With rain on the way it should still turn into a good race – if there isn’t then it will get tough for us. My ideal for the race would be that it rains enough tomorrow so that we can still race – but not enough that we might as well be swimming! Read the rest of this entry »

Marcus Gronholm has inked a deal to become a test driver with Volkswagen, it has been announced. Gronholm joins VW as test driver

The Finn, who won the World Rally Championship with Peugeot in 2000 and 2002, will now “support the works team at test sessions with the Polo R WRC” providing “invaluable assistance when it comes to testing and further developing the [Polo R] World Rally Car.” 

The 46-year-old last competed full-time in the WRC in 2007 with Ford, and during his career he took in 150 WRC events in total, winning 30 rallies as well as taking 60 podiums and 540 stage wins. 

“To get behind the wheel for the World Championship winning team from Wolfsburg is obviously a great opportunity for me,” said Gronholm, who made his WRC debut back in 1989. 

“I am really looking forward to testing and having the chance to work on the further development of what is currently the best rally car out there – the Polo R WRC.” 

Gronholm took his place at the wheel of the Polo R WRC for the first time during the gravel tests in Fontjoncouse, southern France, earlier this month. He will now “assist at selected tests” in the future working alongside current drivers, Sebastien Ogier, Jari-Matti Latvala and Andreas Mikkelsen. 

“We are delighted to have Marcus Gronholm on board as test driver for our WRC project,” said Volkswagen Motorsport director Jost Capito. 

“Marcus is one of the most successful and talented rally drivers around, and will support us with the further development of the Polo R WRC. 

“Thanks to his in-depth understanding of technical aspects and his analytical skills, he will be able to provide our engineers with valuable input.” 

Jose Maria Lopez completed a stunning double victory in Argentina to extend his lead in the World Touring Car Championship drivers’ standings to 60 points over Citroen team-mate Yvan Muller.Jose Maria Lopez completed a stunning double victory in Argentina to extend his lead in the World Touring Car Championship drivers' standings to 60 points over Citroen team-mate Yvan Muller.

The local hero denied Rob Huff, who delivered Lada’s highest finish since entering the WTCC in second.

From pole, Huff led until four laps from the finish when Lopez calmly outbraked the former champion into the Turn 5 hairpin. A second home win in one day left Lopez fighting back tears of joy in the post-race press conference.

Yvan Muller’s progress through the field was delayed when he was forced to engage in a lengthy tussle with former team-mate Tom Chilton when disputing fifth on laps six and seven, but the Frenchman eventually escaped and was able to negotiate the Hondas to claim final place on the podium.

Chilton would later retire after being squeezed onto the grass by the third Citroen of Sebastien Loeb.

Lead Honda honours went to Gabriele Tarquini in fourth, as he edged out team-mate Tiago Monteiro by half a second.

Sebastien Loeb completed the top Read the rest of this entry »

Vettel will bounce back.

Posted: 14th August 2014 by admin in Formula 1
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Mario Andretti is “betting” on Sebastian Vettel getting on top of the new rules and believes Daniel Ricciardo is “one of the special talents.”Mario Gabriele Andretti (born February 28, 1940) is a retired Italian American world champion racing driver, one of the most successful Americans in the history of the sport. He is one of only two drivers to win races in Formula One, IndyCar, World Sportscar Championship and NASCAR (the other being Dan Gurney).

This year’s switch from V8s to 1.6-litre turbocharged V6 engines arguably hit Red Bull the hardest as their engine supplier Renault lost out to Mercedes.

Added to that, other regulation changes have affected the downforce of the cars, a move that Andretti feels has played a large role in Vettel’s struggles.

Unlike last season when he won 13 grands prix on his way to a fourth successive World title, this year the German has only achieved two podium results in 11 starts, neither of which has been a victory.

“It’s really interesting to see that,” Andretti said of Vettel’s struggles. “Sebastian would probably admit himself that he’s had a tough time adjusting to this big change.

“He was so tuned in with more downforce and all that. He’s missing that considerably and up to now it has shown. But I think it’s getting better and I have no doubt that he will totally embrace it because his talent is enormous. But it’s probably taken more time than he thought it would.

“He’s a champion and that Read the rest of this entry »

Mercedes chiefs are heading into the month-long summer break scratching their heads at how to deal with an escalating driver battle.rosberg!

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo may have won in Hungary, but Toto Wolff admits that it was Nico Rosberg who probably should have held the biggest trophy aloft — if only Lewis Hamilton had obeyed a clear and repeated team order.

German media sources report that even though German Rosberg is determined to play cool, calm and controversy-free, he ‘poked his tongue out’ at the outcome of Sunday’s race by uncharacteristically wearing his cap backwards in his post-race meeting with reporters.

He was asked if Wolff is right to say the defiant Hamilton spoiled his victory in Budapest.

“That’s so theoretical. I don’t know,” said Rosberg, before changing his mind.

“Ah, no, no — let’s go with what Toto said. He’s looked at all the data — let’s go with his opinion. He’s the best person to know that.”

It’s as close as the controversy-dodging Rosberg will come to accusing Hamilton of ruining his race.

But he did admit that he thinks Hamilton should have obeyed the order.

“Lewis didn’t let me by although he was ordered to,” said Rosberg, “so that’s obviously not good.”

Beyond that, he closed the door on the topic.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I don’t want to say anything on the subject. I don’t know what Lewis said.

“You all saw what happened,” Rosberg added. “It’s pretty obvious, it was all on the radio, but it’s better if we discuss everything behind closed doors.”