Formula One's Latest Rumours and Talk: Adrian Newey, Haas and More
The biggest news coming out of the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix was that Adrian Newey, widely considered the sport's greatest technical mind, is to step back from Formula One.
His new deal with Red Bull will see him devote more time to other projects. A link up with four-time Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie for a British America's Cup team is edging ever closer.
Gene Haas attended the race in Montreal, observing and learning ahead of his new team's debut in 2016. He's set to announce his engine partner soon.
Elsewhere, Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez continue to blame each other for their last-lap collision, and another Red Bull aerodynamicist is staying put.
Read on for a full roundup of the top stories of the last few days.
Adrian Newey Set for America's Cup?
Adrian Newey looks set to be a part of the UK America's Cup team which was launched on Tuesday by four-time Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie.
Rumour linked sailing fan Newey to the team after he met the former Olympian at the 2013 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Ainslie confirmed the interest was there this week, telling BBC Radio:
He's keen to help us but he has a lot of other commitments with Formula 1. We've just got to see how his timing works out in the coming months and years but he would be a huge asset.
He's a fantastic guy and clearly the most successful Formula 1 designer in history and he's very passionate about sailing, about the America's Cup.
Ainslie was involved in Oracle Team USA's remarkable triumph in the 2013 America's Cup, joining as a tactician after the fifth race.
Newey is set to take a step back from F1 after the end of the season, so time should be available. But with the F1 season ending in November and qualifying for the 2017 Cup starting in 2015, whether he'll have sufficient time to make an impact before then is questionable.
On Tuesday, the team was launched at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich. Newey was not in attendance, but Ainslie said, per The Telegraph's Tom Cary, "Adrian has taken a great deal of interest in the development of the team and would be a tremendous asset if he chooses to get involved."
Hopefully a clearer picture of Newey's involvement will emerge in the coming weeks.
Haas Formula Closing in on Engine Deal
Gene Haas has said he will shortly announce which engine his new team will use.
Speaking to Sky Sports, he said, "We haven’t signed a deal yet so I don’t want to overstep my boundaries and put the cart before the horse. But we are in negotiations and hopefully we will have something in the next few weeks."
Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda are expected to be the four engine suppliers when Haas' team joins the sport in 2016.
Of them, Ferrari seem to be the most likely partners for Haas. Speaking at the Indianapolis 500 in May, he told Motorsport.com's Lee Spencer:
We haven’t exactly signed a formal contract but we’re pretty close. We’re leaning towards Ferrari. They’re more open to what we need to do. It’s not that Mercedes isn’t right for us, it’s just that we need more help than Mercedes would want to do at this time.
This comment suggests that an engine supply will be only one piece of a closer partnership. The deal may also see some of Ferrari's experienced personnel working with Haas on the chassis side.
If they are indeed the supplier, that is.
Sergio Perez and Felipe Massa Continue to Blame Each Other
Following their collision at Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix, a small war of words has erupted between Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez. Force India have gotten involved too.
On the approach to Turn 1, Massa went into the back of Perez's car. The Mexican was sent spinning into the tyre wall at the outside, while Massa's Williams hurtled across the inside of Turn 1, narrowly missing Sebastian Vettel before ploughing into the barriers.
Both men were taken to hospital as a precaution, but suffered no injuries.
Despite the stewards ruling the incident was caused by Perez, each man believes the other was at fault. Massa said after the incident, per Crash.net:
I was much quicker than him on the main straight and then just before the corner I started to move on the left and when we did the corner I had my wheel next to his rear wheel on the left, and then it's a corner to the right.
Suddenly he moved his car over to my car and then we touched. Normally when you're turning you might start turning but his car went straight in to my car. Then I saw my front wheel went up and then I couldn't brake anymore so I went straight and had a big accident.
Massa went on to say a five-place grid penalty was insufficient punishment for such an offence.
But Perez hit back, insisting he was the innocent party. Speaking in a statement released by Force India (h/t Reuters' Alan Baldwin), he said:
It was very disappointing to lose such a strong result through no fault of our own.
I was following the same line and braking patterns as in the previous laps and I just got hit from behind by Massa. There was plenty of space on the left of my car to attempt a clean overtake and I cannot understand why he had to scrape by.
I watched several replays of the incident and I can't help but notice how Felipe turns right just before he hits me. I can only think he must have changed his mind and wanted to rejoin the racing line, his misjudgement cost us a big amount of points.
Massa's apparent "right turn" was also highlighted in a tweet by Force India. The in-car shot shows Massa steering slightly to the right immediately before the incident.
As said above, the stewards studied the incident and put the blame on Perez. He undoubtedly changed his line very late and gave Massa no chance of avoiding him.
But one can't help but wonder if Massa should have given himself a little more space.
No Court Date for Red Bull and McLaren over Dan Fallows
Red Bull and McLaren will not be going to court after their row over an aerodynamicist was settled amicably in Canada.
According to McLaren boss Ron Dennis in an interview with Autosport's Jonathan Noble, his team had agreed to a contract with Dan Fallows in September of last year. He was supposed to join McLaren in March. Dennis said:
Just days before Fallows' McLaren start date—and despite having signed a legally binding contract with McLaren, being on gardening leave from Red Bull, and moving to a new home near Woking—he suddenly informed us that he no longer wanted to work for us.
The problem was, he had no legal basis on which to make that U-turn because he'd already formally accepted, and contracted himself to, our offer of employment.
Dennis felt Red Bull had encouraged Fallows—who they promoted to head of aerodynamics—to break the contract, and court action was threatened.
But the teams have now come to an agreement. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner was quoted by Autosport as saying in Canada, "I have a handshake with Mr Dennis which, being a gentleman and a man of his word, means we have an understanding."
Autosport speculates the agreement may involve Peter Prodromou, the former Red Bull head of aerodynamics, being allowed to join McLaren sooner than originally planned.
His "gardening leave" was due to expire at the end of 2014, but Red Bull may have used this as a bargaining chip in the Fallows agreement.
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