Formula 1's Latest Rumours & Talk: Lotus' 2014 Plans, Marussia's Losses & More
The build to the Korean Grand Prix has been littered with little bits of interesting information that has only added to the anticipation of a Grand Prix weekend.
Tidbits regarding the front of the Formula 1 grid, the tail-enders, former drivers and the sport's governing body all make for fascinating reading, especially when on-track fans are fearing a continued formality this weekend.
Here's what's been circulating around the internet in the last few days.
Marussia Records Record F1 Loss
Formula 1 records are few and far between as far as Marussia is concerned.
Despite this, its top brass would have hoped to keep out of the record books on this occasion, having recorded the biggest financial loss in the sport's history.
The team, which operates on F1's smallest budget, made a loss of £56 million last year. However, chief executive Andy Webb is not concerned.
He told The Times that investors were planning to clear an estimated £130 million worth of debt, in lieu of the team signing the Concorde Agreement, which entitles them to a share of the sport's revenue.
As reported by Planet-F1.com, Webb told The Times:
The figures make frightening reading at first glance. But we have restructured the way in which the team is financed so that we start this new financial year without any debt and a clear path, thanks to our investors.
Our investors have met with some incredulity the way F1 costs are run.They were not expecting to enter a spending competition but they have put us on a solid footing and we are secure for future.
But Glock Confident of 10th Place
Despite the team's financial problems, they lie 10th in the championship. Former driver Timo Glock, now of BMW employment in the DTM (German Touring Car Championship), believes they will keep hold of that place by the season's end.
Marussia lost out to rivals Caterham in the final few laps of the 2012 season, but Glock believes such extraordinary circumstances are unlikely to repeat themselves this time around.
The German told GPUpdate.net:
Last year we were 10th until the last race. Unfortunately we lost it at the last moment. I hope they can stay ahead this year, even if it looks like Caterham is slightly quicker at the moment. Caterham need a chaotic race like Brazil last year to beat Marussia. It would be good for the team to keep 10th and to get some money.
Glock, who harbours no ill-feeling toward the team for going axing him in the pursuit of paying drivers, says he does not long for a return to F1 just to make up the numbers.
At the moment I don't really think about it, because it is too far away,cF1 is in a pretty difficult situation with the small teams struggling with their budgets. If one of the top teams comes up and wants me to drive for them then I would think about it, although I would need to talk to BMW first.
FIA Election Battle Becoming "A Farce"
FIA presidential election candidate David Ward reckons the process will descend into a farce if something is not done in the wake of letters of support for Jean Todt.
Todt has garnered support from 11 of the 12 North American FIA clubs, and if El Salvador backs Todt it means nobody can stand against him in the election.
Ward believes Todt's lobbying of these clubs (or ASNs) is a breach of election ethics and is calling on the ASNs to recognise that, and have the letters of support revoked.
Eurosport reported the following quotes from a letter written from Ward to each of the North American clubs:
The absurd situation in which just one club in North America may determine whether or not there can be a challenger to Jean Todt risks turning the FIA election into a farce. This is why I am asking for the support letters to be recognised as a clear breach of the FIA's rules and revoked in my complaint to the Ethics Committee.
I believe there are serious flaws in the FIA's governance system. There are other equally serious problems, for example, regarding the transparency and adequacy of the FIA's financial accounts. The FIA deserves better than this. The FIA membership should not turn a blind eye to abuse of the FIA election system or tolerate deficient governance provisions in the sport that are not accepted in the mobility pillar.
Ward also told Autosport he would consider backing down from the race if another candidate, such as Mohammed bin Sulayem, committed to pressing forward with his ideas for FIA reform.
In the end I am running for the governance reforms, not because David Ward should be president of the FIA. I think the FIA should have these changes. If Mohammed thinks that my reform agenda is worthwhile and, if he is prepared to give solid undertakings and commitments to introduce it, then it [standing aside] is something that I should look at.
It would be incredible folly to stand, and not do well, and have my reform agenda disappear down the plug hole. That would be completely counter productive to my ultimate aim, so I am simply going to wait and see.
While Red Bull Bats off Own Farcical Claims
Suggestions that Red Bull is cheating have been laughed off by the team's advisor, Dr. Helmut Marko.
Ex-F1 team owner Giancarlo Minardi suggested after the Singapore Grand Prix, which was absolutely dominated by Sebastian Vettel, that noises from the German's RB9 were notably different to other engines exiting slower corners—including those of other Renault-powered cars and the sister Red Bull of Mark Webber.
Minardi suggested the team might be mimicking the banned blown exhaust gases effect with trick engine mapping.
According to quotes in Bild picked up by Motorsport.com, Marko dismissed these as "utter nonsense."
Lotus Cool over 2014 Driver Choice
On the topic of F1's most sought-after seat for 2014, Lotus has declared it is not searching for pay drivers to replace Kimi Raikkonen next season.
The Finn's issues with Lotus' financial situation was the cause of his defection to Ferrari next season, but team principal Eric Boullier has denied those problems mean it will need to seek drivers with more budget than talent next year.
As per The Mirror, Boullier said the team would be able to take its time and select the best candidates.
When it comes to drivers we are not simply looking for a short-term replacement for Kimi - we are looking at where we are going to be in the next five years. We can afford to be patient, to ask the candidates to wait as we formulate our strategy for the coming years.
I hope we do not have to take into account commercial considerations when making decisions on drivers because we have worked hard to build our financial strength without having to rely on sponsorship from a driver. We want the strongest line-up possible to continue the progress made in recent seasons - that is the priority.