Formula 1's Latest Rumours, Talk: Ricciardo's Route, Alonso on Raikkonen & More

Oliver HardenFeatured ColumnistAugust 11, 2014

Formula 1's Latest Rumours, Talk: Ricciardo's Route, Alonso on Raikkonen & More

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    Having won two races in his very first campaign in a leading team, Daniel Ricciardo is arguably the star of the 2014 season.

    Being partnered with a world champion as formidable as Sebastian Vettel would break lesser drivers—but Ricciardo has thrived under the spotlight.

    And the 25-year-old has explained how his career path played a large role in his development from hot prospect to grand prix winner, and he has advised his younger peers to follow the same route to glory.

    While glory has come Ricciardo's way, Ferrari have been starved of success in 2014.

    The Italian team made the bold decision to place two world champions in their cars this year, a move which usually leads to tantrums and toys flying out of prams.

    Fernando Alonso, however, has claimed that he has enjoyed a good rapport with Raikkonen as both drivers work together to lift Ferrari from the doldrums.

    Sergio Perez must have assumed that his career was headed for the doldrums when he was dropped by McLaren at the end of 2013.

    But the Mexican, now with Force India, has recovered well and has claimed that his new team is not so different from his former employers.

    Meanwhile, Alexander Rossi has stepped up his efforts to join the grid, with the American revealing discussions have taken place with a team.

    Closing this week's roundup is Eric Boullier, who has criticised Formula One's self-critical nature.

Daniel Ricciardo Encourages Carlos Sainz Jr. to Start Early

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    Daniel Ricciardo has advised fellow Red Bull stablemate Carlos Sainz Jr. to gain experience in Formula One this year if the opportunity arises.

    Sainz Jr., according to ESPN F1, told AS last month that he had held discussions with backmarkers Caterham with a view to joining the team before the end of the 2014 season, but he admitted that he would like to remain in, and win, this year's Formula Renault 3.5 Series. 

    Ricciardo, a two-time grand prix winner with world champions Red Bull Racing this season, made his debut with the now-defunct HRT team halfway through the 2011—an experience that he says was invaluable in terms of his development—before joining Toro Rosso, Red Bull's sister team, the following year.

    And the Australian has encouraged Sainz Jr. to take full advantage of any chance to make an early grand prix debut, telling Jonathan Noble and Ben Anderson of Autosport:

    It helped me get into F1, settle down with all the nerves, not really in a spotlight, so it eased me into the sport a little bit.

    It also makes you more grateful for what you have.

    You really work hard for those extra last little bits.

    Signing for Red Bull made me more grateful to get the better things so I am sure we will see it with other drivers coming through.

    It didn't harm me. As a driver you want to be in the best team as soon as possible, but it definitely helped me learn in the right way.

Fernando Alonso Describes Kimi Raikkonen Relationship at Ferrari

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    Fernando Alonso has revealed that his working relationship with Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen is no different to any rapport he has enjoyed with a colleague.

    The presence of two world champions in the same team was expected to produce fireworks this season, with Alonso and Raikkonen renowned for their very different styles and personalities.

    Ferrari's lack of competitiveness, however, has prevented the pair from coming to blows, with Alonso explaining that he has an amicable relationship with the Finnish driver.

    The double world champion told ESPN F1:

    Definitely we work a lot together and the meetings are quite long this year because we have a lot of things to sort out after the races. We have been constantly making suggestions and comments about what we have on the track and try to help the engineers to transfer that to Maranello to translate those comments into ideas for the car.

    It's not a big change compared to the work I have done with Felipe and any other team-mate, it's always a working relationship to try to help the team all the time.

Sergio Perez Believes Force India on a Par with McLaren

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    Sergio Perez believes Force India operate at a similar level to the iconic McLaren team, his former employers.

    The Mexican was released by McLaren after only one season at the Woking outfit in 2013 to make way for rookie Kevin Magnussen, with Perez forced to scramble around for a 2014 drive.

    His move to Force India, however, has proven to be inspired, with Perez securing a podium finish in April's Bahrain Grand Prix.

    And with his new team one point ahead of McLaren in the constructors' standings at the midway point of the season, Perez believes Force India are equal to the outfit with 182 grand prix wins to their name.

    Perez told Autosport's Ben Anderson:

    I think the team itself has great people, big potential, and is very hungry.

    We're always willing for success and to be at our best, which gives you a lot of motivation.

    All of the engineers are top class—the same level as McLaren, and McLaren is rated as having probably the best engineers in the sport.

     

Alexander Rossi Confirms Haas Talks for 2016

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    Alexander Rossi has admitted that he has held discussions with the proposed Haas Formula One team with a view to racing for the outfit when it makes its grand prix debut in 2016.

    Haas was granted entry to F1 in April, with the team—founded by NASCAR team owner Gene Haas—set to arrive on the grid in 18 months' time.

    Following the successful return of the United States Grand Prix to the calendar in 2012, the presence of a US team in the sport is only likely to increase F1's profile in America.

    And Rossi, currently the reserve driver for Marussia having previously held a similar role at Caterham, has revealed that he could become the first American representative on the grid since Scott Speed drove for Toro Rosso in 2007.

    Rossi told Crash.net:

    I am thrilled for Haas. His passion and commitment to enter F1 and bring Americans closer to the sport deserves serious respect. America is growing every year and the amount of support I receive personally is phenomenal. 

    We've obviously spoken with Haas and the final step is to have an American driver in F1 that fans can support. If the opportunity comes my way and timing is right, I know I'll be prepared and could do a good job for them. 

McLaren's Eric Boullier Bemoans F1's Negativity

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    Eric Boullier, McLaren's racing director, has claimed that Formula One is doing itself no favours by constantly focusing on its vices.

    Despite F1 producing exciting racing in 2014, subjects such as the sound produced by the new power units, controversial additions to the calendar and rule book and falling interest in the sport have dominated many a news agenda.

    This led Christian Horner, the boss of the Red Bull team, to instruct journalists to put their concerns to Jean Todt and Bernie Ecclestone, the sport's ringmaster's, during the team principals' FIA press conference at last month's Hungarian Grand Prix.

    And although Boullier has admitted that Formula One has problems, the Frenchman believes it is selling itself short.

    He told Ben Anderson of Autosport:

    We are shooting ourselves in the foot at the moment, with everyone criticising, but we have great racing almost every weekend.

    We have more countries interested in hosting grands prix and we should be pushing and supporting these changes because it's great to see F1 going to new countries.

    F1 should be engaging more with the fans and engaging more with new technologies.