As Formula One prepares for its second pre-season test of 2014 in Bahrain next week, the news and gossip column continues apace.
Amongst the major week-ending stories, Sauber has announced the signing of a Swiss female driver, Williams has signed an iconic title sponsor and a former world champion has slammed the state of the sport.
The Sauber F1 team has announced that Swiss female driver Simona de Silvestro has joined the team as an affiliated driver.
De Silvestro has competed in IndyCar for the past four years, was named rookie of the year in 2010 and became the first woman to finish on the podium on a street circuit when she was third in Houston last year.
Having been announced at Sauber, de Silvestro said it was a major step to achieving a life-long dream to become an F1 driver, as quoted on Autosport.
This is a major step towards me achieving a life-long dream and I'm so happy to have the opportunity to take this step with such a great team. Sauber is a team with a legacy and the only Swiss team in Formula 1, which I think makes this even more exciting.
I can't thank Monisha Kaltenborn and Peter Sauber enough for their support and belief in my abilities and for giving me this chance. I'm thrilled to have this extremely unique platform on which to prepare myself to take on the challenge.
Brabham raced with the iconic Martini livery
The Williams F1 team will be the envy of the Formula One grid after it announced a deal for Martini to become its title sponsor.
Martini was last in F1 as a sponsor of Ferrari from 2006-08, but it is for the alcoholic drink company’s sponsorship of Brabham in 1975 for which it is most famous for.
As revealed by Autosport, Martini also held talks with McLaren and Ferrari before deciding to go with Williams due to the added attraction of being the title sponsor, with the team set to be rebranded Williams Martini Racing.
Although the details of the new livery have yet to be finalised, it is sure to be revealed before the season-opening Australian Grand Prix and should make the team one of the biggest hitters in terms of merchandising opportunities.
Having announced that he is to contest the new World Rallycross programme in 2014, former F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve has hit out at the state of his former sport.
Speaking at the reveal of his latest motorsport project, Villeneuve told Autosport that the new regulation changes are merely serving to make F1 more artificial and is now catering to the wrong people.
Ex-world champion Jacques Villeneuve says F1 has become "artificial" & is in danger of losing fans' respect http://t.co/c89Xq8dEnU— Andrew Benson (@andrewbensonf1) February 13, 2014
Formula 1 is not epic anymore, the drivers are not heroes. The problem is that the changes are being made in an artificial way and that doesn't work.
It may be fun for six months, but after that everyone gets bored, and once you start going artificial you have to do it more and more to the point where it's not even real racing anymore. With the engine regulations, everything is so restrictive that it's not Formula 1 anymore, there's nothing special about it.
Conserving fuel is fine, and it was great in the past. The problem is that the drivers don't have to do it. It's all done electronically. You sit there and it saves fuel for you, and that defeats the purpose. The epic has been taken out of F1. The overtaking happens because you press a button, not because you make a special move.
They are trying to cater to the wrong people. They are trying to cater to the 'greens', but F1 is not green so there is no point even trying. It gives a good image to governments and parliaments but it's not F1.
And they want to cater to the younger fans that don't have an attention span, and just want an overtake every two seconds even if it is a terrible one, because they don't understand it.
Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher remains in a critical condition as doctors continue the delicate process of his recovery.
Schumacher suffered a serious head injury back in late December when he fell and hit his head on a rock whilst skiing in Meribel, France.
As reported by ESPNF1, "a German tabloid this week reported Schumacher had developed a lung infection, while Bild reported the state of his health is currently 'unknown,' without quoting sources."
Report: Schumacher battling pneumonia as F1 champ tries to pull out of coma http://t.co/fIQGYwnBkE— Car News and Rumors (@autorumors) February 14, 2014
But Schumacher’s family confirmed via his manager Sabine Kehm that he was “still in a waking up process” at the Grenoble clinic where he is being treated.
Michael's family would like to again express their sincere thanks for the continuous sympathy coming from all over the world. The good wishes they receive help the family and, we are convinced they also help Michael, who still is in a waking up process.
As often in such situation no day is like the next. The family is thankful for one's understanding that they would not wish to disclose medical details in order to protect Michael's privacy. As assured from the beginning we will continue to communicate any decisive new information on Michael's health state. We are aware that the wake up phase can take a long time.
The family continues to strongly believe in Michael's recovery and place all their trust in the doctors', nurses' and nursing auxiliaries' team. The important thing is not the speed of the recovery but that Michael's heal process progresses in a continuous and controlled way.