Formula 1's Latest Rumours and Talk: Hulkenberg Deal Not Yet Done and More
As another week draws to a close, the F1 rumour mill continues to churn out some fascinating tidbits.
With several seats still up for grabs for the 2014 season, today’s gossip looks at the latest goings on at Lotus, Sauber, Marussia and Williams as a former F1 star continues his remarkable recovery.
I Deserve Another Chance: Chilton
Max Chilton believes he has done enough this year to warrant another spell at the Marussia team next season.
Chilton has been comprehensively outdriven by teammate Jules Bianchi in the majority of races this season, but when the pressure has been on in the last two races. the Englishman outqualified Bianchi in Korea and Japan.
As such, Chilton told The Independent that he feels he has done enough to warrant another crack of the whip.
I feel I'm showing I deserve a seat for next year. Everyone gets judged, so you have to prove yourself, which is hard for rookies these days because there is so little testing, which means it's going to take part of the season to get up to speed. I admit, at times, I haven't got things right, like at Silverstone and Germany, but on the whole it has been pretty good, and since the August break especially I couldn't have done much more.
Bianchi has already been confirmed for 2014, but the team are yet to decide on Chilton’s future.
No Hulkenberg News This Week
Despite reports that Lotus is set to announce Nico Hulkenberg as their replacement for Kimi Raikkonen in 2014, the German’s manager, Werner Heinz, has said there will be no news of a deal this week.
However, Heinz is quoted on Motorsport as saying it is “unrealistic” to expect this to go through by the end of the week.
Should Hulkenberg join Lotus as expected, it will raise the hopes of Esteban Gutierrez staying at the team—possibly alongside young Russian Sergey Sirotkin, who would bring valuable funding to the team.
Salo Backs Bottas for 2014
Former Ferrari driver Mika Salo has backed compatriot Valtteri Bottas for another season with Williams.
Bottas has shown good pace at times this year and has often run close to teammate Pastor Maldonado, but was critical of the Colombian in Autosport after he was almost forced off the track on the final lap in Japan whilst racing for 15th.
I was trying to block him on the inside, but he braked so late that I didn't have anywhere to go other than straight over the chicane, so it was quite risky. If I had kept to my line, we would have crashed for sure. Maybe it was not the fairest move, there was a big risk of colliding. I braked late, but he braked so late that there was no space for two cars and I was on the outside and he was right on the white line so I had to go straight.
Despite the latest incident, Salo told Finnish broadcaster MTV3 via F1 Reports that his performances against Maldonado so far this year warrant Williams keeping him on for another season at least.
If you are far away from the front, being in front of your teammate is the only thing that means anything. He has driven quite a good season and deserves a sequel. He has beaten his teammate pretty steadily, especially in qualifying but also in races. Bear in mind that Valtteri has been learning a lot of new things, while Maldonado was a race winner last year.
Kubica Set for Rally GB Return
Former Lotus F1 driver Robert Kubica will continue his remarkable recovery from a life-threatening Rally accident by driving a Citroen DS3 WRC car at the Wales rally GB next month, BBC Sport has revealed.
The Polish driver has impressed in the WRC2 category this season, winning at Rallye de France last time out. He and co-driver Maciek Baran can seal the WRC2 title with a second-place finish in Spain at the end of the month.
I'm very happy to be able to have this precious experience. Wales Rally GB wasn't part of my original programme. This one-off outing for the works team is a great opportunity for me, but it's also a huge challenge.