Formula 1's Latest Rumours and Talk: New Jersey Still On, Guti to Caterham?
With almost two weeks gone since the end of the 2013 season, there is no let-up in the Formula One rumour mill.
Amongst today’s topics, Bernie Ecclestone remains hopeful that the New Jersey Grand Prix will still take place, while a new lead has emerged as to what the Sauber and Caterham driver line-ups may look like.
New Jersey Still On, Says Ecclestone
The on-and-off saga surrounding the Grand Prix of America in New Jersey appeared at an end on Wednesday when it was left off the official calendar for the 2014 season.
The race was originally scheduled for June 1 next year, but due to funding problems and construction delays, it has now been left off the calendar.
However, while there will be no New Jersey event in 2014, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is quoted in a statement released by the race promoters via Autosport claiming that it will go ahead in 2015.
There is great demand for a race in New Jersey and I have no doubt we'll be racing at Port Imperial in 2015.
New races can take many years to get started, but there is significant momentum and we are close to realising a New York City F1 race.
Race promoter Leo Hindery echoed Ecclestone’s sentiments in saying that his team would do everything possible to make the race happen in 2015.
Our entire management team and our supporters in New Jersey, New York and throughout the Formula 1 community obviously want to see the inaugural Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial take place as soon as possible.
Bringing a world-class race to the world's largest media market is a huge undertaking that has required balancing construction of our road course, without tapping any public money, with the sport's own timing demands.
I want to thank Formula One Management, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, mayors Richard Turner and Felix Roque, Roseland Property Company and the other local property owners involved for their patience while we've worked to get this right so that we can finally go racing in 2015.
Honda Admits to Engine Fears
One of the biggest talking points for the 2014 season is how the new engine regulations will affect the racing and whether or not it will shuffle the grid.
With 1.6-litre V6 turbocharged powertrains replacing the 2.4-litre normally aspirated engines, manufacturers will be working flat out during the season to make the engines even more efficient and reliable.
That is a luxury that Honda does not have, as the engine manufacturer returns to F1 with McLaren in 2015.
According to Yasuhisa Arai, Honda's chief officer of motorsports, the experience its rivals will have gained during 2014 will give them an advantage going into the following season.
Arai was quoted in the FIA's Auto magazine via ESPNF1:
There are both advantages and disadvantages of participating from 2014. Many things will happen during the F1 season, and we are in a fortunate situation to be able to observe what will happen.
However, as we are only able to observe, we cannot physically be at the track to see the problems. Other teams can improve on their problems and progress as the race goes on. How they will progress will be a mystery to us and our engineers must rely on our imaginations.
Gutierrez Spotted at Caterham
It appears increasingly likely that Esteban Gutierrez will leave Sauber for a likely move to Caterham after Swiss newspapers Blick and Neue Zercher Zeitung reported the Mexican was seen visiting the UK team’s Norfolk headquarters, according to Motorsport.com.
With Nico Hulkenberg having been confirmed at Force India and young Russian Sergey Sirotkin needing a superlicence to be granted, there are now possibly two seats up for grabs with Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta both in the frame.
"We'll see what's going to happen," Gutierrez is quoted as saying on Motorsport.com. "Obviously we have been looking to different options, even if my idea is to continue with Sauber, because we have been working on a good relationship for a long time."
Caterham is yet to confirm its driver line-up for 2014 with both current drivers, Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde, and Heikki Kovalainen all hopeful.
Pressure on Ricciardo, Says Vettel
According to Sebastian Vettel, there will be more pressure and expectation on new teammate Daniel Ricciardo than there was on him when he first moved to Red Bull.
Both drivers have enjoyed the luxury of driving for sister team Toro Rosso before making the step up, with Vettel grabbing a spectacular first win at Monza in 2008.
However, when Vettel joined the team to partner Mark Webber, he was still a relatively unknown quantity compared to the recently retired Australian—whereas Ricciardo has to match himself against a four-time world champion.
As quoted on ESPNF1, Vettel says the success of the team over the last four seasons means that Ricciardo will be expected to deliver from the off.
It's a great chance, obviously, for Daniel. In some ways it's the same situation I was facing in 2009, but the team has had a lot of success since then so expectations might be a little bit higher. But at the end of the day I think it's a great message that you get the chance to step up. He's still very young and obviously has been part of the Red Bull family for a long time so I am looking forward to next year.