Formula 1's Latest Rumours & Talk: Lotus' Driver Decision, New Races & More
Driver announcements, shake-ups and the potential return of a seven-time Formula 1 world champion.
Throw in two new races for F1 in the future, add a dash of Williams humour, and you have the latest mumblings making the rounds on the internet.
It is F1 silly season, but surprisingly a lot of this is concrete stuff.
Here is the latest word from the F1 street.
Perez Confirms McLaren Exit
Sergio Perez confirmed on Wednesday what had already been reported: He is leaving McLaren at the end of the year.
The Mexican released a statement via Twitter and then appeared at the Formula 1 Teams’ Association forum at Austin.
The statement published on Twitter read:
I would like to thank McLaren for giving me the opportunity to be with them this season. It has been an honour for me to have been in one of the most competitive teams in the sport and I do not regret even a bit having joined them. I have always given the best of me for the team and still despite this I could not achieve what I aimed for in this historic team.
I would like to wish the team the very best in the future. I will always be a fan of McLaren. In the meantime, I will be looking at my future to ensure my position in the best possible package to fight for wins.
Speaking at the forum, as reported by Planet F1, Perez said it will be difficult to get on the F1 grid next season.
It's a difficult situation right now because the decision was taken late, but I'm confident I'll do the best for my career. But I will not be in Formula One just to be in Formula One. I will find the right option for my career, with the aim to find a good team to give me the opportunity to win races.
Lotus Confirms Kovalainen’s Appointment
Autosport reported on Wednesday afternoon that Heikki Kovalainen was the favourite to replace Kimi Raikkonen at Lotus for the remainder of the season, and by the evening a two-race deal was confirmed.
With Raikkonen sidelined by injury, the team had largely been expected to take third driver Davide Valsecchi (what else are reserve drivers for?), before it emerged they had serious talks with Nico Hulkenberg.
When Hulkenberg declined, rather than their Italian wingman, Lotus opted for the man who had driven for the squad in its works Renault days in 2007.
The website’s Jonathan Noble wrote:
One of the main hurdles was securing the blessing of Caterham for the deal, because Kovalainen is under contract to the outfit until the end of the season.
But despite a history of friction between Caterham and Lotus dating back to the Team Lotus naming dispute, sources suggest that an amicable deal has been reached for Kovalainen to be released to race for Lotus in the United States and Brazil.
Kovalainen has already visited Lotus' Enstone headquarters to finalise his preparations for a return to racing action for the first time since 2012.
Schumacher Also Considered
Michael Schumacher rejected an offer from Lotus to race in the final two Grands Prix of this season in place of Kimi Raikkonen.
After the Finn’s withdrawal, 2014 candidate and current Sauber driver Nico Hulkenberg was approached, with Heikki Kovalainen later confirmed.
However, according to Reuters, they had also contacted seven-time world champion Schumacher as well.
Lotus was impressed by Nico Rosberg’s performances against Lewis Hamilton this year, according to Planet F1, and that cast a new light on Schumacher’s own ability after what had been perceived as a poor comeback alongside Rosberg at Mercedes.
His manager Sabine Kehm told Reuters:
Michael's performance against Nico and Nico's performance against Lewis made a lot of people aware of how good Michael still was. Plus, he is still very fit. But he just feels so good in his new life.
New Races on the Horizon?
Races in Moscow and Morocco could join the Formula 1 calendar soon, according to reports.
Motorsport claims that a $600 million deal has been confirmed between the King of Morocco and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
According to the website, German newspaper Bild reported Ecclestone had verified the deal earlier in the week.
The website quotes Christian Sylt, who wrote in Autoweek: "The most likely possibility seems to be that the deal is for a Grand Prix in the North African country of Morocco."
Meanwhile, Hermann Tilke will design a new circuit on the outskirts of Moscow.
GP Update reports that it would be the third Tilke facility in the country, after the non-F1 compliant Moscow Raceway and the Grand Prix-hosting Sochi track.
Confusion at Williams in 2014?
There is a good chance there will be substantial confusion at Williams in 2014.
GP2 driver Felipe Nasr (pronounced NASA) will follow compatriot Felipe Massa (do you need to ask?) to the Grove squad next season.
Nasr, according to Italian F1 blog BlogF1.it (translation required), will be the reserve driver to Massa and teammate Valtteri Bottas.
Nasr, 21, won the British F3 title in 2011 and raced in GP2 this season and last.