Formula 1's Latest Rumours and Talk: Mercedes, Kevin Magnussen and More

Oliver Harden@@OllieHardenFeatured ColumnistSeptember 29, 2014

Formula 1's Latest Rumours and Talk: Mercedes, Kevin Magnussen and More

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    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    It is often said that when athletes suffer a crushing disappointment, as Mercedes' Nico Rosberg did when he retired from the Singapore Grand Prix, the best thing they can do is to push it to the back of their mind, forget about it and look ahead.

    The Silver Arrows, though, have released more information about Rosberg's struggles at the Marina Bay street circuit, explaining just why the German was forced to start from the pit lane and why he then failed to make progress through the field before calling it a night.

    Meanwhile, Kevin Magnussen has been discussing the demands of driving under a cloud of uncertainty, with his McLaren team continuing to be linked to a big-name signing for 2015.

    Operating in such a harsh environment is something of a rude awakening for the Dane, who is competing in his very first season of Formula One this year—but Magnussen has explained how he is approaching the silly season with a straightforward outlook.

    Elsewhere, Lotus have endured a difficult 2014 season with their unique E22 car, which has finished in the points only twice in 14 grands prix.

    The Enstone-based team, however, are expecting to mount a recovery next season, with the outfit's technical director, as well as one of their drivers, targeting a turnaround.

    Another team who have struggled this year is Caterham, who remain planted to the bottom of the constructors' standings having failed to register a single point in almost five full seasons of F1.

    Although their long-term future remains in serious doubt, the Leafield-based outfit have confirmed that they intend to keep one of their current drivers for 2015.

    Closing this week's roundup is the bizarre revelation that an ex-Ferrari driver, whose grand prix career was previously thought to be over, offered his services to Mercedes at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Mercedes Explain Nico Rosberg's Singapore GP DNF in More Detail

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    Tim Chong/Associated Press

    Mercedes have revealed more details about the reason behind Nico Rosberg's miserable Singapore Grand Prix.

    The German nursed a 22-point lead over teammate Lewis Hamilton ahead of the Marina Bay event when a technical problem was identified on his car just minutes ahead of the start of the race.

    Rosberg's failure to pull away from his grid slot for the formation lap left the team with no option but to start from the pit lane, with the 29-year-old completing just 13 laps before retiring from the grand prix at what would have been his first pit stop.

    Toto Wolff, Mercedes' business executive director, initially explained to the team's official website that a faulty wiring loom in the steering column was to blame for the retirement of Rosberg, who now trails Hamilton by three points with just five races remaining.

    However, after a closer examination of the German's car, the true cause of the issue was revealed in a series of posts on Mercedes' Twitter account, which read:

    Forensic analysis has revealed that the steering column electronic circuits were contaminated with a foreign substance.

    The contamination was not visible and did not manifest itself until Sunday as Nico went to the grid.

    The result was an intermittent short circuit in the electronic circuits meaning @nico_rosberg could not command clutch or engine settings.

    Fresh parts will be used at the forthcoming races. Our hard work on reliability processes will continue at the same intensive level.

Kevin Magnussen Relaxed over McLaren Future Despite Uncertainty

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    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    Despite the ongoing speculation surrounding McLaren's potential signing of Fernando Alonso—as rounded up by Motorsport.com—Kevin Magnussen, one of the team's current drivers, has claimed that he is handling the uncertainty over his future with a realistic viewpoint.

    If McLaren and Honda, the team's 2015 power unit supplier, succeed in signing Alonso, the 2005 and 2006 world champion, either Magnussen or Jenson Button, the 2009 title winner, will be forced out of the Woking-based outfit.

    Although Button, at 34, was widely considered to be the most vulnerable of the pair, he told reporters, as per Sky Sports' Pete Gill, at the Singapore Grand Prix that he was "pretty happy I'll be here next year."

    That presumably leaves Magnussen, who has generally failed to build upon his podium finish at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, fighting to save his future.

    The 21-year-old rookie, though, has said that he will have no problem with finding alternative employment in another series if McLaren decide that—only a year after they promoted him as the Formula Renault 3.5 champion to replace Sergio Perez—he isn't good enough for Formula One.

    The Danish driver told Crash.net's Chris Medland:

    The way I see it is I've always known that if I don't deliver this year then that's it. I've got one chance and I think I'm doing OK...  I knew when I pushed to get this seat that if I go for this seat it's my one opportunity and it's going to be make-or-break. I knew what I was going in to and I think I'm doing OK. 

    If I can't succeed straightaway with McLaren now and be good enough for them then I won't ever be good enough. So there's no reason for me to go for a smaller team and work my way up because if I can't do it straight away then I'll never be world champion. I only want to win and if I can't do that—if I can't see that I have a future with wins and championships—then I'm not up for Formula One, I'll do something else where I can win.

Lotus Expecting Big Changes in 2015

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    Lars Baron/Getty Images

    Lotus have been one of the biggest disappointments of the 2014 Formula One season, dropping from being in contention for regular podiums and occasional race wins to a state which leaves them dreaming of points finishes.

    The Enstone-based team have even found those hard to come by, with Romain Grosjean, the team's lead driver, finishing within the top 10 on two occasions this season: in the Spanish and Monaco grands prix, where he finished eighth.

    There are, however, reasons to be cheerful at Lotus, with the team hoping to make a leap in performance with next year's car, which, according to F1 journalist Joe Saward, will contain the all-conquering Mercedes power unit.

    Nick Chester, the team's technical director, is confident about the team's 2015 prospects, telling the official Formula One website

    There are rule changes to the front of the chassis and the nose, so all the cars will look different next year.

    On top of that, our engine installation and cooling layout will change quite a lot meaning that the car will be significantly different under the bodywork. It will be quite different.

    Pastor Maldonado, who has yet to score a point behind the wheel of this season's E22 chassis, told the same source:

    From what I see and learn the 2015 car looks like being a very good package. There is a lot to look forward to for sure.

    The team at Enstone are more determined than ever to succeed and I can say 100 per cent that I have the same outlook.

Caterham Likely to Retain Marcus Ericsson for 2015

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    Lars Baron/Getty Images

    Marcus Ericsson is likely to remain with the Caterham team for the 2015 Formula One season, the outfit's new team principal has confirmed.

    The Swedish driver has struggled to make an impact in his debut campaign, although he did come within one position of recording the team's first-ever point in May's Monaco Grand Prix.

    Ericsson enjoyed his best weekend of the year in the Singapore Grand Prix, winning the "backmarkers' race" by finishing ahead of Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton, the Marussia drivers, as well as teammate Kamui Kobayashi, who failed to start after a problem on the formation lap.

    And team boss Manfredi Ravetto has claimed that the 24-year-old stands a good chance of remaining at the team in 2015, telling Jonathan Noble of Autosport:

    I saw a strong Ericsson in Singapore who did the best race of his season.

    We are really very happy with the progress he made and our doors are open for him for next year.

    We have started talking to his management and to his financial backers because this year the team invested in his rookie development.

    Next year we would be delighted in having him again in our car and taking the fruits of this investment, rather than seeing him deliver for somebody else.

Rubens Barrichello Offered to Be Mercedes Reserve in Singapore

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    LUCA BRUNO/Associated Press

    Eleven-time grand prix winner Rubens Barrichello has revealed that he offered to be the reserve driver for Mercedes at last weekend's Singapore Grand Prix.

    Prior to the Marina Bay race weekend, Mercedes announced that Pascal Wehrlein, the 19-year-old DTM race winner, would be the team's backup driver behind Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, this year's title protagonists.

    However, Auto Motor und Sport (h/t motorsport.com) reported that Wehrlein did not have the super license required to race in Formula One, leaving Barrichello—who won two races for the team in 2009, when it was known as Brawn GP—to take advantage of the situation.

    The source quotes Barrichello as admitting that he told Toto Wolff, Mercedes' business executive director, in Singapore, "If you need a replacement, I'm ready and fit. Since I've been karting regularly again, I've lost weight."

    Barrichello, formerly of Ferrari, tumbled from Formula One at the end of the 2011 season, when he was replaced at Williams by Bruno Senna, his compatriot.