Formula 1's Latest Rumours and Gossip: Red Bull Defend Cheat Claims and More
With only days to go before Sebastian Vettel could be crowned world champion for the fourth year in succession, the team has found itself duty-bound to defend the legality of its cars.
It’s also the time of the year when the remaining seats for 2014 are set to be finalised, with one particular Lotus seat looking like it has found an owner.
Hulkenberg Wants Lotus Move Finalised This Month
Following on from his stunning drive to fourth place in the Korean Grand Prix, it looks highly likely that Nico Hulkenberg will up sticks and join Lotus for 2014.
The only stumbling block appears to be the uncertainty surrounding the finances of Lotus as Hulkenberg will not bring any investment with him.
The Enstone team is currently trying to secure an investment deal with Infinity Racing, but Hulkenberg told Autosport that he wants a decision to be made sooner rather than later to avoid a repeat of 2010 when he was dropped by Williams.
I want to have some certainty about my future – and not in November. It needs to be at the end of the month, for sure. There is obviously a certain cut off point. I have experienced falling over the back in 2010, and I am not going to risk doing that again.
Another less likely stumbling block is that Lotus may be put off by the German’s extra weight in the chassis as he is one of the taller drivers on the grid.
Team boss Eric Boullier told Autosport that this is not an issue.
I prefer to have talent and let my engineers work on saving weight in the car. It is true that 10kg on paper is roughly three tenths of a second, but the target is to at least be on the weight limit. And then, you don't have this issue anymore.
Renault Dismiss Red Bull Cheat Claims
With every period of dominance in Formula 1 comes raised eyebrows about the legality of the winning cars in question.
It happened with Jenson Button and his Brawn car at the start of 2009 with their clever double diffuser and again with Red Bull and their exhaust blown diffuser in 2012.
At the Singapore Grand Prix, rumours circulated that the team was using a banned form of traction control, but Renault engineer Ricardo Penteado is quoted in Brazil's O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper (via Motorsport.com) stating that such rumours are nonsense.
Everything is checked by the FIA. The electronic control unit is distributed by the FIA itself, to ensure that all the (electronic) programmes are in compliance with the rules. It would be foolish to try to do something illegal. It would end your credibility, the team would be excluded -- it makes no sense.
Magnussen Force India Move Unlikely
With the jockeying for remaining race seats gathering pace toward the end of the season, McLaren junior driver Kevin Magnussen has emerged as a possible contender for a Force India drive.
Paul di Resta has suffered an alarming slump in form and Adrian Sutil is pressuring the team to make a decision on his own future.
With Magnussen set to win the Renault 3.5 title and McLaren keen to place the exciting prospect, he looks a valid option.
Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley, however, told Autosport that the young Dane is not an option.
You can't ignore a driver that has done such a fantastic job in World Series, but Kevin is not our driver. We have a wonderful relationship with McLaren, but for anybody coming into the team we want to look at the long-term, not training someone for someone else.
Pirelli Defends Korea Tyre Choice
It appears that not a race can go by without Pirelli suffering criticism about their 2013 spec tyres.
Both Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso had criticised the Pirelli tyres before the Korean Grand Prix because they struggled to make them last even in qualifying.
When a flat-spot led to a spectacular delamination on Sergio Perez’s tyre during the race, memories of Silverstone came flooding back.
It is likely that Pirelli will bring a harder compound to Japan, but motorsport director Paul Hembery told Autosport that the Korean tyres made for an exciting grand prix.
Without the Perez issue, the race was as interesting as we could get, and more like the type of races we had at the beginning of the season. We've come off the back of Monza where everyone moaned that they were falling asleep because it was a one-stop race and nobody knew what to write about. So you are damned if you do and damned if you don't sometimes. I just wish people would let us know what they want.