Nico Hulkenberg faces an anxious wait
Back-to-back races in India and Abu Dhabi means there is little time for F1 teams to sit back and relax as the F1 season draws to a conclusion.
With only three races remaining, there is much on the minds of team staff and drivers alike, not just on the job of finishing off the current season but of what lies ahead for the 2014 season.
Here are the latest rumours doing the F1 rounds, including some unanswered questions over the futures of Nico Hulkenberg and Ross Brawn.
Adrian Newey celebrates yet another constructors' and drivers' double with Sebastian Vettel
Adrian Newey has insisted that he is committed to winning more titles with Red Bull.
The chief technical officer of the team, Newey is thought to be the primary reason behind the team and Sebastian Vettel’s success. The design genius celebrated a fourth drivers’ and constructors’ double for Red Bull on Sunday.
He has also won five constructors’ titles with Williams and one for McLaren.
Following an interview on BBC’s HARDtalk on Wednesday, Olympic gold medal winner and America’s Cup champion sailor Ben Ainslie said he was talking to Newey about transferring his talents to designing a boat for a British team.
“Someone with his design and technical experience would be invaluable,” Ainslie is quoted as saying in The Mirror.
However, when asked by Autosport whether he wanted to continue with Red Bull, Newey said he was already fully focused on the challenges of 2014.
Having achieved some success over the last few years, the enjoyment is really in working with my colleagues in Milton Keynes, continuing to develop the way we operate with Christian [Horner]. It has been a great ride. Next year is a huge challenge with the regulations so at the moment I'm fully focused on that. Next year's regulation changes are very big.
The aerodynamic changes are not quite as big as we had for 2009 but they are still very significant. The engine regulation changes are massive and it's not at all clear whether one engine manufacturer will steal a significant advantage over the other two. Reliability will be a big issue, certainly at the start of the season if not for the whole season. The installation of the engine in the chassis is very complicated, so there are a lot of variables.
With 19-year-old Daniil Kvyat confirmed for Toro Rosso for 2014 and 18-year-old compatriot Sergey Sirotkin expected to fill one of the Sauber seats, some drivers have expressed concerns about their ability to compete at the top level.
Neither driver will have passed through the established GP2 feeder series to F1, with Kvyat jumping from F3 and Sirotkin from the Formula Renault World Series, where he is yet to win and lies a distant ninth.
Jenson Button admitted to The Mirror that he was not ready for F1 in 2000 and thinks the step up in class could be a problem for both of them.
Kvyat has done pretty well in GP3, but it is still surprising. It is so make or break for the kid. If he has a few bad races they could replace him. When I started in F1 in 2000, I wasn’t ready but I had to take the opportunity. With Sirotkin, I am not sure he has ever fought for the lead of a race in Renault series. He knows how to drive a racing car, but it is not a question of driving around on your own. A lot of people could do that relatively well. It is when you put them in a race with 21 experienced drivers. [And] Next year is possibly the most difficult year to come in and learn.
Current Force India driver Adrian Sutil echoes Button’s views on ESPNF1, and goes as far as saying their inclusion could be dangerous for the more established drivers.
It's not easy to drive a car like this, and at 17 what do you have? Maybe GP3 experience and then what? So, yes, I think it's probably dangerous for everyone because it's the fastest car in the world and they are not easy to handle. Especially with these tyres it is very technical and you need to know how they work. Sometimes they don't have grip and they grain. There is a certain age and a certain experience you need to drive a Formula One car and this is important.
Yes, I think it's far too early [for them]. They are kids and you need to be a grown up man here in Formula One. It's a tough business and it's sometimes a shame because I think you burn a good talent too early. There is no reason to put drivers in so early, but of course we have a Russian Grand Prix next year and it would be nice to have a Russian driver.
Will 'The Hulk' be forced to hang up his helmet next season?
The question as to whether or not Sergey Sirotkin will indeed get his driver at Sauber could rest with what happens to Nico Hulkenberg.
Hulkenberg had issued an ultimatum to Lotus that he wanted his future sorted by the end of the month, as reported by Autosport, but the decision was thought to hinge on an investment deal with Quantum Motorsports that has yet to materialise.
If the Quantum deal fails to go through, it looks likely that Lotus will sign Pastor Maldonado due to the heavy financial backing he brings through PDVSA.
Hulkenberg had been linked to McLaren, but Sergio Perez’s recent strong showings suggest he will stay to partner Jenson Button again, which leaves Sauber and Force India.
Sauber is thought to be close to a deal to sign Sirotkin, though, due to the investment he brings alongside that of Esteban Gutierrez. Reports coming out of Germany's Auto, Motor und Sport, as reported on Motorsport.com, are even suggesting that Marussia’s Max Chilton and his Aon backing could put him in the Force India frame.
Could the highly rated Nico Hulkenberg really face a season on the F1 sidelines?
Lauda says he wants Brawn to stay at Mercedes
Niki Lauda has played down speculation that Ross Brawn will quit the team at the end of the 2013 season.
It had been reported on BBC Sport on Tuesday that Brawn would leave his position at the end of the season because the two parties have failed to reach an agreement on a role that would keep him there.
However, non-executive Mercedes chairman Lauda told The Times—as reported on Autosport—that the speculation was “rubbish” and a decision would not be made until the end of the season.
The speculation is total rubbish. The situation is absolutely clear.I spoke to Ross a while ago and we agreed that he will come back to me after the final race of the season in Brazil to tell me whether he wants to stay or go. I am trying everything I can to encourage and motivate him to stay. I am the one who asked him to stay. I want him to do it but it is not my decision, it is his decision. If he stays he will be team principal - nothing else - or he will retire.