Formula 1's Latest Rumours and Talk: Stefanovich Targets Marussia Take over
As teams travel the short distance from Australia to Malaysia for the second round of the world championship, some arrive with higher hopes than others.
Amongst Monday morning’s gossip, Marussia could soon be set for a change of ownership, Sebastian Vettel is confident of a competitive showing at Sepang and Lotus targets European resurgence.
Marussia Set for Takeover?
Serbian businessman Zoran Stefanovich could be poised for an audacious bid to take over the Marussia F1 team.
Stefanovich previously failed in a bid to buy Toyota’s defunct assets and enter his own Stefan GP team back in 2010, but Italy’s Omnicourse (via Grand Prix 247) reports that the Serbian has now focused his attentions on Marussia.
According to Motorsport.com, Stefanovich has been in talks with Marussia owner Nikolay Fomenko since last November amidst rumours that the Russian is struggling to keep up with the more expensive regulations.
Jan Magnussen to Attend Son’s Second Race
Former McLaren and Stewart Grand Prix driver Jan Magnussen will be in Malaysia to watch son Kevin’s second race in Formula One.
Jan missed Kevin’s impressive debut drive to a revised second in Australia because he was competing in a sports car event. Instead, he had to watch the race on television.
Jan is looking forward to catching up with his son in Malaysia and is excited by the prospect of watching him race, as quoted by Grand Prix 247:
Being 6000 miles away watching the race was not a lot of fun. I do not want to do that too often. He was good immediately but what is most impressive is how he developed and how he keeps getting better and keeps finding ways to improv.
For the last couple of years he was extremely fast. The biggest change is how he is using his head and making things happen. As for this weekend at Sepang, I can’t wait to be there to watch him.
Lotus Aims for Spain Resurgence
The struggling Lotus Formula 1 team has admitted it may have to wait until Spain to be competitive again.
The Enstone outfit was forced to sit out the opening pre-season test of the year due to early teething troubles with the E22.
After a disastrous Australian GP weekend that saw both Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado retire, technical director Nick Chester told Autosport that a return to the form of 2013 may take time:
I'm certainly hoping for an improvement for Malaysia and then some more in Bahrain, although as they are back to back it is likely to be small steps.
It may well be Barcelona before we are in a more stable position and compete at the level we want to be at. One thing's for certain, we're not sitting back; we're pushing all the way with the focus on extracting the maximum from the E22.
Chester added that the team will be taking some upgrades to Malaysia to enhance the aerodynamic package:
We are still producing new bodywork and have some good upgrades coming for Malaysia in all areas around the car. We will keep pushing as hard as we can with the upgrade programme.
Vettel Encouraged by Progress
Whilst Lotus’ struggles continue, reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel is hopeful that a return to his 2013 form is just around the corner.
Vettel and his Red Bull team struggled badly in pre-season testing and the German also retired in Australia after only three laps.
However, after Daniel Ricciardo’s second place finish—his disqualification notwithstanding—Vettel hopes that a similar result is possible in Malaysia.
"We still have a lot of work to do with the car but it was encouraging to see that our pace was better than expected in Australia," Vettel is quoted on ESPNF1.
"Hopefully we can build on that and start collecting some strong points in the next two races."
Mercedes Must Keep Pushing, Says Rosberg
One team that is predicted to keep up its impressive early form is Mercedes.
Nico Rosberg stormed to victory in Australia to win by almost 30 seconds from Kevin Magnussen.
Such is the current dominance of the Silver Arrows that rival teams predict the car could be as much as a second a lap faster.
Despite the team’s seemingly unbeatable advantage, Rosberg told Autosport that there will be no let-up in intensity to ensure they stay a step ahead of the competition:
It is early days, so there are still lots of things that can be done better. We have to keep the momentum going and not let our rivals catch up. That is the most important thing: to keep pushing. When you have that advantage there is the possibility that you get a bit confident.
It is a new situation for us and we need to make sure that we keep pushing, which I trust for sure we will. A lot of the people are still here from the Brawn days, and they know what it means to be at the front and to make sure that we stay in front and not get caught. We cannot fall asleep now. The rivals are going to be pushing like mad.