Formula 1's Latest Rumours and Talk: Bernie Bemoans Quiet F1 and More
As teams rush to make improvements to their cars before the second grand prix of the season, there is plenty to talk about in the F1 paddock.
Amongst today’s rumours and talk, Bernie Ecclestone has spoken out against the lack of noise produced by the cars, McLaren outlines its plan to catch Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton denies wedding bells could soon be ringing.
Ecclestone ‘horrified’ by New Engine Noises
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone says that he is horrified by the lack of noise the new Formula One engines are producing.
The radical switch from 2.4-litre V8 engines to 1.6-litre V6 power units has audibly reduced the familiar high-pitched scream of F1 engines to a low drone that has led to complaints from many quarters.
Whilst many of these rumbles of discontent may not be loud enough for the authorities to sit up and take notice, when Ecclestone talks, the FIA invariably listen.
Ecclestone is quoted in The Telegraph:
I was not horrified by the noise. I was horrified by the lack of it. Ron [Walker, the chief of the Australian Grand Prix] is right with regards to their contract. And I was sorry to be proved right with what I've said all along; these cars don't sound like racing cars. I've been speaking with Jean [Todt, president of the FIA] this afternoon and what I've said is that we need to see whether there is some way of making them sound like racing cars.
I don't know whether it's possible but we should investigate. I think let's get the first few races out of the way and then maybe look to do something. We can't wait all season. It could be too late by then.
Raikkonen Blames Problems on Brakes
Kimi Raikkonen has laid the blame on his disappointing start to the season on his brakes.
Many anticipated a close battle between Raikkonen, who won the title with Ferrari in 2007, and new double title-winning teammate Fernando Alonso.
However, Raikkonen only managed 12th on the grid in Australia and finished eighth to Alonso’s fifth in the race.
As reported by Autosport, Raikkonen has identified the root of the problem as Ferrari’s new brake-by-wire system.
We identified some general problems which we have to tackle in Maranello and there are other aspects linked to the set-up on my car to do with the brake-by-wire system. Getting this device working correctly is definitely something that contributes to the general feeling from the car, because it has a great effect on corner entry.
Having said that, the F14 T improved right through Friday and Saturday and not getting into Q3 was not down to the competitiveness of the car.
McLaren Aiming at Aggressive Approach to Catch Mercedes
New McLaren boss Eric Boullier is targeting the Spanish Grand Prix as the race that his team draws parity with engine supplier Mercedes.
Following a disastrous 2013, when the Woking team endured one of the worst seasons in its illustrious history, McLaren now leads the constructors’ standings after both cars made the top three following Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification.
Their positive result was somewhat masked by the fact that Nico Rosberg dominated the race to win by nearly 27 seconds from Kevin Magnussen after pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton had already retired.
As quoted by Autosport, Boullier admitted that McLaren has work to do in order to close the gap by Barcelona at the earliest.
It's true that Mercedes has some pace [advantage], maybe between half and three quarters of a second over the rest of the field
Now we are pushing very aggressively on performance development. Clearly we need to catch up with Mercedes. Our target is to catch up by Barcelona, and then build up over the first few races in Europe.
Magnussen Not a World Beater Yet, Says Boullier
If McLaren is to catch Mercedes, much will depend on the performances of drivers Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen.
After getting the better of his world champion teammate in Australia, Magnussen is currently the talk of the town.
However, when asked by ESPN.co.uk whether Magnussen could possibly emulate what Lewis Hamilton achieved in his debut season when he came close to winning the title, team boss Eric Boullier was adamant that it is far too early to judge.
You cannot base all your expectations on one race. First of all the biggest difference between Lewis and Kevin is that Lewis went through a lot of testing with McLaren before joining, and it was a different time and a different era.
This weekend Kevin did a brilliant job, but benefited from a few abandons and the decision of the FIA stewards, but he did a very good job. He was mature enough to build over the weekend, and obviously he had a strong drive in qualifying and the race.
But there is no expectation other than trying to build him up and helping him develop the potential he has so that he can win when we have a car that can win.
Hamilton Denies Scherzinger Engagement Rumours
Lewis Hamilton has denied reports that he is set to become engaged to popstar girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger.
The Daily Mail reported that Scherzinger and Hamilton may be planning a summer wedding in August after media reports that she accepted his marriage proposal.
Hamilton, who took pole position in Australia before retiring after only three laps, felt the need to take to Twitter to pour cold water on the rumours that had been circulating in the media.
Hey all, need to talk about these rumours. I thought I should let you guys know that I haven't proposed to Nicole.— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) March 17, 2014