Formula 1's Latest Rumours and Talk: Ricciardo Reaction, Kimi's Issues and More

Oliver HardenFeatured ColumnistMarch 17, 2014

Formula 1's Latest Rumours and Talk: Ricciardo Reaction, Kimi's Issues and More

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    Nico Rosberg’s emphatic victory in the Australian Grand Prix was overshadowed by the disqualification of Red Bull driver and home hero Daniel Ricciardo as Formula One's new era got off to a promising start at Albert Park.

    In our post-grand prix roundup, we have Ricciardo’s reaction to his punishment, as a fellow Aussie has his say on whether the team will be successful in their appeal against the decision; we have Kimi Raikkonen’s thoughts on a challenging weekend in Melbourne; a former F1 driver reacts to the new sound of F1; Claire Williams discusses what it’s like to be a woman in F1 and an early prediction is made for the next round in Malaysia.

Ricciardo Reflects as Stoddart Expects Successful Appeal

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    Daniel Ricciardo will win his appeal against his disqualification from the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, according to former team boss Paul Stoddart.

    Ricciardo was controversially excluded from the classified results over five hours after finishing second to Nico Rosberg after his car was found to have breached fuel consumption rules.

    Former Minardi owner Stoddart, who sold the team to Red Bull in 2005, believes the stewards’ decision will be overturned. He was quoted by the Herald Sun newspaper as telling the 3AW radio station:

    Daniel did not gain any advantage and that will be proven by Red Bull in their appeal.

    They’ll be able to prove that he didn’t gain an advantage, that the team felt what they did was right, that they were following their own sensor from the actual fuel injection system on the engine.

    And the Renault engineers would’ve known exactly how much fuel was going into that engine.

    We’re talking teams with budgets of $400-$500 million here—they have far better equipment than the FIA.

    Formula One cars are restricted to the usage of 100kg of fuel over the course of a grand prix this season—about a third less than in 2013—with race director Charlie Whiting telling Sky Sports ahead of the race that a zero tolerance approach would be adopted should any car exceed the limit.

    Speaking in Melbourne on Monday for the first time since his disqualification, Ricciardo described his reaction to his punishment, telling the Herald Sun:

    We’ll see what happens. I’m not really in a place, not in the mindset to talk about it right now. I still stood there (on the podium) and that was a great feeling.

    I still obviously feel good about it. (The disqualification) doesn’t change anything but it would be nice to have the eighteen points.

    It’s not my fault.

Kimi Raikkonen Not Expecting Ferrari Quick-Fix

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    After a rather understated started to his return to Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen has admitted that he doesn’t know how long it will take for him to be at ease with the F14 T.

    The 2007 world champion endured a difficult start to the season, finishing a distant eighth (he was moved up to seventh following the disqualification of Ricciardo) after struggling with the handling of his car and the new-for-2014 brake-by-wire system. This led to a handful of off-track excursions over the course of the weekend, including a crash on the exit of Turn 3 in qualifying.

    The Finn is known to demand precision from his steering, which was further hindered when he suffered graining of the front tyres, leading to a number of lock-ups.

    And although Raikkonen says the team have identified areas for improvement, the 34-year-old is unable to predict when the amendments will be made.

    He told Jonathan Noble of AUTOSPORT:

    We know more or less what we want to do, but some things are not happening overnight.

    It takes time to produce certain parts, or to have a certain way of putting the things on.

    We also cannot promise that it is going to fix the issues once we get something that we want.

    I have been in these situations before and sometimes it takes a while.

    Unfortunately it is not the easiest position right now, but looking at how difficult everything was, we got everything out of it.

    It is not what we want to achieve but it could have been even worse. I am sure we can only get better from there.

Martin Brundle Concerned by F1's New Sound

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    Former Formula One driver Martin Brundle has shared his views on the new direction of the sport after experiencing the first taste of the new era at the Australian Grand Prix.

    The beginning of the 2014 season was one of the most highly anticipated in living memory with the introduction of 1.6-litre turbocharged engines and a host of other technical alterations adding a sense of mystery to proceedings.

    Among the most noticeable changes is the sound, with the quiet hum of the new powertrains replacing the screech of the 2.4-litre V8 engines. And although Brundle—a veteran of 165 grands prix between 1984 and 1996—confessed that he was initially alienated by the difference in noise, he grew to enjoy the sound as the weekend progressed.

    In a column for the Sky Sports F1 website, the 54-year-old wrote:  

    Each day I grew to like the throaty sound just a little bit more especially when behind a car accelerating at full throttle. But there simply isn't enough volume and some of the intense drama has been lost.

    Some regret the loss of the high-revving 2.4 V8s. I didn't particularly like them to drive or to listen too because they were gutless wonders and painful to the ears. As someone pointed out to me, what's the point in very loud engines when you then need to put earplugs or your fingers in your ears which can ring for days afterwards?

    Others commented that it was nice to be able to discuss with friends and family what was going on around them, and to be able to hear that PA system and other noises.

    Noise pollution is becoming a horror story for race tracks around the world and so at least it helps in that respect, but I'll never forget as a kid approaching a track with F1 cars already circulating and feeling incredible anticipation and excitement. Sadly some of that is missing now watching live.

    Brundle discussed potential solutions to ensure the spectacle isn’t lost, adding:

    I can't imagine anything can be done in the short term, but hopefully for next season they can specify a megaphone exhaust and even twin pipes although I suspect that would cost tens of millions for the three manufacturers to redesign and re-map their motors.

    Something needs changing, especially as they don't use anywhere near the 15,000 rev limit to save fuel and ride the torque lower down the rev range.

Claire Williams Unfazed by Stereotypes in Mission to Rebuild Team

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    In a period when female involvement in Formula One is increasing far beyond grid girls smiling for cameras, Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams has revealed that she is oblivious to how she is portrayed as a woman in a man’s world.

    In an interview with The Independent, Williams—daughter of legendary team principal Sir Frank—has stated that her gender has no bearing on how she carries out her duties, telling David Tremayne:

    Everyone is interested in the female element, which is really weird because I've never, ever considered it. I grew up in F1, so I've been surrounded by men all my life and am used to that.

    When I was put into this role I never thought, “Oh God, will people take me seriously because I'm a woman?” I've never really found that it's been more of a challenge doing this role because I'm a girl.

    I'm just there to do my job. The girl thing just doesn't come into it.

    Williams became the second woman to hold a high-profile position at a team in March 2013 after Monisha Kaltenborn became team principal of Sauber in May 2012.

    Williams announced in February that Susie Wolff will become the first woman to drive in a grand prix weekend for 22 years when the Scot drives in two free practice sessions later this season, while Sauber recently signed Simona De Silvestro with a view to earning a 2015 race seat with the team.

    Meanwhile, Williams discussed her desire to return the team to the top of the sport after a string of disappointing seasons, adding:

    I feel a real responsibility to give something back to this team. To see how they have been these last few years has been heartbreaking. There's a sense of duty to bring it back to the front.

    I would hate for the Williams legacy to fade away. There are stories that it will go the way of Tyrrell. Well, over my dead body. No way. That's not going to happen. My dream is to make this a world championship-winning team again.

Malaysia "Not in the Mood" for F1

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    Australian Grand Prix winner Nico Rosberg told Sky Sports that he “would love to race again tomorrow” in the aftermath of his victory, but the Mercedes driver’s enthusiasm for the Malaysian Grand Prix, the second round of the 2014 season, is not shared by the boss of the Sepang circuit.

    Razlan Razali has predicted that this year’s Malaysian Grand Prix will be a subdued affair, with F1 taking a backseat due to the ongoing search for the Malaysian Airlines flight, which went missing earlier this month.

    The Boeing 777 plane, its crew and over 200 passengers are yet to be located, despite the efforts of 25 countries. It disappeared while en route from Kuala Lumpur, the host city of the Malaysian Grand Prix, to China.

    Razali believes F1’s presence in the country is an unwelcome distraction from the ongoing search, and he has been quoted by motorsport.com as telling AFP:

    People are not in the mood for an event like this. Everywhere, be it on radio, newspaper, TV or social media, it is all about finding MH370.

    Razali, though, confirmed that the Malaysian Grand Prix will go ahead, albeit with a sombre atmosphere, adding:    

    Whatever it is, Formula One will go on and the concert after that will proceed but we will be sensitive and not go overboard.