Formula 1

Formula 1's Latest Rumours and Talk: Mercedes Boss, Romain Grosjean and More

Oliver HardenFeatured ColumnistAugust 8, 2014

Formula 1's Latest Rumours and Talk: Mercedes Boss, Romain Grosjean and More

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    Ker Robertson/Getty Images

    Mercedes' dominant 2014 season had been in the pipeline long before the W05 car hit the track.

    The Silver Arrows had highlighted this year—and all the regulation changes that came with it—as the year to emerge as Formula One's leading force.

    The marquee signing of Lewis Hamilton in 2012 as well as the arrivals of Toto Wolff and Paddy Lowe in 2013 were all part of a process of putting building blocks in place for this year—but one of those building blocks appears to have taken responsibility for the team's huge upturn in fortune.

    Like Mercedes 12 months ago, Romain Grosjean is keen on making changes for next season, with the Lotus driver revealing part of the thought process he will go through before deciding upon the team with whom he will contest the 2015 campaign.

    While Grosjean is unhappy to be driving in the midfield, another driver is satisfied just to be a part of the F1 community.

    Alexander Rossi has admitted that he thought his Formula One career was on life support when he parted company with Caterham last month, but an opportunity with Marussia has given the American's hopes a new lease of life.

    Meanwhile, Willi Weber has attacked modern-day F1, with drivers and bosses taking flak from Michael Schumacher's ex-manager.

    You suspect that Weber's frustration with F1 extends to the safety standards of circuits, with many feeling that drivers are no longer suitably punished for their on-track errors.

    This has reached a new low this week, with the news that one of the most thrilling bends on the calendar will no longer be lined with an unforgiving gravel trap.

    Here's this week's roundup.

Paddy Lowe Takes Credit for Mercedes Rise

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    Andrew Hone/Getty Images

    Paddy Lowe, Mercedes' technical executive director, has claimed the credit for the team's surge to the top of F1 this season.

    The Silver Arrows are on course to scoop both the drivers' and constructors' world championships in 2014, with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton winning all but two of the campaign's 11 races thus far.

    Mercedes' run of form this year comes after a four-year spell that included only four grand prix wins under the guidance of Ross Brawn, the now-retired team principal.

    And Lowe, who now shares the team principal role with the business-minded Toto Wolff, believes he has had a large impact on the team's sharp upturn in fortunes since joining Mercedes from McLaren in 2013.

    He was quoted by Ben Anderson of Autosport as stating:

    The team was on the ascendency over the last two to three years, and through last year was starting to win races and get pole positions more regularly.

    Credit to Ross, he had been part of that process. I think I've come in and taken that forward to the next level.

    It's not so much about changing where Ross had been leading, it's more augmenting.

    I see gaps that Ross hadn't covered and fill in those gaps.

    Ross has been out since December, and time passes.

    Formula 1 is a fast business; I can't even remember last December. So, no disrespect to Ross, but that's old history.

Romain Grosjean Sure Lotus Links Won't Tie Him to Team

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    Mark Thompson/Getty Images

    Romain Grosjean believes his long-standing links with Lotus will not prevent him from switching teams in time for the 2015 F1 season.

    The Frenchman, who has only scored eight points this season, has been actively seeking a way out of Lotus, telling James Galloway of Sky Sports last month that his options for next season are "open."

    Grosjean's relationship with Lotus stretches back to 2008, when the team were under the Renault guise, with the Frenchman holding the role of test driver.

    He graduated to a race seat for the second half of the following season, racing alongside two-time world champion Fernando Alonso for seven grands prix before losing his drive as the team underwent a restructuring process in the aftermath of the "Crashgate" controversy.

    Grosjean returned to Lotus as a test driver for 2011, participating in free practice sessions in the latter stages of the season before he was confirmed as Kimi Raikkonen's teammate for the next campaign.

    The French driver went on to record nine podium finishes over the course of 2012 and 2013, and although the Enstone-based team has played an integral role in his F1 career, Grosjean has revealed that sentiment will not come into his mind when making a decision over his future.

    He told Autosport's Edd Straw:

    I love the team, I love going to Enstone and I love the atmosphere, but at the end of the day what you want is to win a race.

    I am thinking about the future.

    You have to put two and two together and see what it is going to bring you.

     

     

Alexander Rossi Stresses Importance of Marussia Move

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    Drew Gibson/Getty Images

    Alexander Rossi has admitted that he feared his Formula One hopes were in danger before becoming Marussia's reserve driver.

    The American had been a member of Caterham's F1 setup since 2011 but left the team soon after a change of ownership at the Leafield-based team last month.

    Rossi, however, quickly found a similar role at Marussia, for whom he will participate in a number of practice sessions in the second half of the season.

    And the 22-year-old believes remaining a member of the F1 paddock is vital to his career aspirations.

    Rossi told Jonathan Noble and Matt Beer of Autosport:

    It was critical. Mainly because I didn't want to be seen as being out of the Formula 1 gang, so to get the deal done so quickly with Marussia before the summer break was critical.

    I thought I had everything going for me and if I didn't get this deal done there may have been a loss of interest and loss of faith.

    So the fact this has happened, in my opinion, resets all the negativity, not only over the past few weeks, but the past couple of years.

     

Willi Weber Criticises Modern F1 Stars, Bosses

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    Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

    Willi Weber, the former manager of Michael Schumacher, has bemoaned the current state of Formula One.

    The German has accused the sport's modern drivers of being "wimps" and its ringmasters, Bernie Ecclestone and Jean Todt, of self-obsession.

    A titanic 14-lap scrap during last month's British Grand Prix between Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel, who have a total of six world championships between them, was marred by complaints from both drivers over the exploitation of track limits and driving standards.

    And Weber believes the presence of team radio has prevented today's stars of gaining heroic status.

    He was quoted by ESPN F1 as telling German publication Sport Bild:

    Who wants to see the wimps of today crying on the radio? There are no more characters like Ayrton Senna, Jacques Villeneuve and Michael Schumacher were. They would not complain on the radio but give their answer on the track.

    On Ecclestone and Todt, Weber, the ex-boss of Force India star Nico Hulkenberg, added:

    There are many reasons for the decline of the Formula One. First, the fish rots at the head. Bernie Ecclestone is much too old to embrace the age of new media while FIA president Jean Todt lacks the power to enforce. These men think only of their own interests.

Parabolica to Change Ahead of 2014 Italian Grand Prix at Monza

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    Paul Gilham/Getty Images

    Health and safety appears to have won again, it seems, with the news that one of the most iconic corners in Formula One will undergo a face-lift.

    The latest victim is the sweeping Parabolica corner at Monza, with ESPN F1's official Twitter account posting an image of the turn's gravel run-off area being replaced with tarmac—a month ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.

    ESPN F1 have suggested that the alteration "may be in anticipation of the possible return of World Superbikes to Monza in 2015, with safety officers from the series recently meeting track officials and raising concerns about the lack of run-off areas."

    The right-hander, the circuit's final corner, has often caught out the world's top drivers, with seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher among its victims

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