Ross Brawn, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2011

Ecclestone expects Mercedes/Brawn split

F1 Fanatic round-up

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Ross Brawn, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2011In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone says he expects Niki Lauda and Toto Wolff replace Ross Brawn out at Mercedes.

Sauber C32 launch

Yesterday was one of the busiest days ever on F1 Fanatic. To the best of my knowledge the first images of the new Ferrari F138 appeared here well before they did anywhere else.

That the site withstood the ensuing barrage of traffic so well was thanks to the efforts of Ed Marshall, who’s done some brilliant work in making it run more reliably and efficiently. Thanks also to those who have pledged support to the site which has allowed me to invest more money in the server.

And thanks also to Dan Cross and Elaine Scott who were at Silverstone covering the Force India launch which was going on at the same. Do check out their websites here:

Today we get our first look at the fifth new car of 2013: the Sauber C32. The car is being revealed at 11am UK time so keep an eye on F1 Fanatic for more coverage.


Your daily digest of F1 news, views, features and more.

F1 chief Ecclestone tips Mercedes to split with team boss Brawn (City AM)

“They have got Toto there and they have got Niki. That will probably be enough.”

Bianchi had been set to stay as reserve (Autosport)

Bob Fernley: “The idea of the Nico [Hulkenberg]/Paul [di Resta] partnership not continuing into 2013 wasn’t our plan. Obviously it slightly de-railed our programme. If we’d had an ideal world we’d have liked to run Jules [Bianchi] for two years as a third driver.”

Rossiter to test Force India at Jerez (Adam Cooper)

“The 29-year-old is likely to get a maximum of half a day in the car, while Paul Di Resta will have it to himself for the rest of the week.”

Luca di Montezemolo: “I defined this car as ‘hopeful'” (Ferrari)

“A V6 engine is not part of the Ferrari tradition and in the name of the F138, we are paying homage to the eight-cylinder engine and the fact this is the last year we will use it. I continue to maintain, for economic, musical and power reasons that it would be better to stick with eight-cylinders.”

A V6-engined Ferrari won the contructors’ championship in 1961 and Phil Hill won the drivers’ championship with the car.


Comment of the day

Caterham’s decision to sign Giedo van der Garde for this year provoked more debate about pay drivers:

I think people are looking at this in the wrong way. Now I know I?m Dutch and commenting on a Dutch driver joining the grid, but this goes for most “pay-drivers” currently under contract, especially in the bottom two teams, it?s not like Marussia and Caterham would archieve anything more if they signed former world champions than if they signed rookies.

They?re at the far end of the field and better drivers probably won?t get them higher in the rankings. Faster cars will and for that they need money. It?s not like they signed Jean-Denis Deletraz after all, they?re solid drivers.

Perhaps they won?t extract 100% out of the car, but at the level Marussia and Caterham are playing at, does it really matter much if their drivers are in it for 95% of the maximum performance they could possibly get out of the car?

Now I know tenth place in the constructor?s championship is important but the only reason it ever seemed close was luck on Marussia?s part, Caterham built a better car for three years in a row now.

They might be faster than we expect them to be and without a doubt their money will push the bottom teams further along. Isn?t that we all want?

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Invoke, Oliver Queisser, Sriram, Photozen, Cucamest and Michael Brown!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Today in 1958 Juan Manuel Fangio won the non-championship Formula Libre Buenos Aires City Grand Prix.

The world champion’s former Mercedes team mate Stirling Moss retired after being hit by Jesus Iglesias at the start of the first heat, which was run in heavy rain.

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Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 68 comments on “Ecclestone expects Mercedes/Brawn split”

    1. Nick Jarvis (@)
      2nd February 2013, 0:06

      So, Senna is at Force India next year.
      They chose him over Petrov, Kobayashi, Even Kovalianen..

      1. I believe that Tweet was proven to be a fake.

      2. Who would be waiting on di Resta’s profile and take a screenshot in 3 seconds?

      3. FlyingLobster27
        2nd February 2013, 9:56

        … and Sutil and Bianchi, whom FI say are their top candidates. Given the people who would have been brushed aside, I think it would be beyond shameful that Bruno Senna got the drive.

    2. Hey Keith,

      Congratulations on yesterday! Don’t forget to thank Jake for his RT, eh? ;)

      Re: the di Resta tweet, that was posted in the forum yesterday – you might’ve missed it. Looks like it’s fake.

    3. Hadn’t noticed that di Resta tweet regarding Senna…

      Any truth in this tweet, does anyone know? Or is it a wonderful Photoshop to get the controversy rising?

      (Or even, could di Resta have tweeted it as a fake tweet to get something hyped up?)

    4. Really interesting for di Resta to slip up like that. There’s only one way to really read into it. If Senna got the seat, a major congrats to him.

      Also, quite disappointing to see Montezemolo so quick to dismiss the idea of a V6. It was plenty for Phil Hill, and ignoring the rich heritage of the Dino V6, and the wonderful Dino road car is awfully harsh. I can see an ultra light weight Ferrari of the future with a big robust V6, a modern Dino, doing quite well.

      1. It’s a fake.

        1. You should perhaps think about using block quotes next time? :)

          At first I thought you are saying that Dino V6 is a fake. A fake car? Now that would be something, eh? Secret for the decades! :)

        2. That is comforting. Would have been massively stupid for di Resta to post such a thing.

          1. It would have been massively stupid for Force India to take Senna. They’re not going to go anywhere with him.

            1. WHat if Senna turned out better than DiResta and it turned out he was only terrible last year because Pastor is world class and maybe the tyres didn’t suit Bruno for qualifying.

              Bruno will never win a WDC but given the right opportunities he could win a race.

            2. @Nick! given the right opportunities, everything is possible. That’s far from saying Bruno’s capable of winning a race in his own right. He’s been nothing but lacklustre since 2010

      2. I think Williams would have retained his services if he was as good as Di Resta, given Senna is defined as a “pay driver”.

        1. Tho i agree, Paul has done very little in F1 so far and if Adrian comes into the team and beats him(again) then i cant see how paul can still be regarded as good by anyone(but the BBC who love him)

          1. q85 I do agree that Paul doesn’t meet the hype the BBC bestow upon him but I have to disagree with what you said about Adrian. He had been driving with the team (as Spyker and Force India) for 4 years before 2011 – Paul was a compete rookie. The experience and integration in the team was an obvious advantage for Sutil at the start of the season but as it progressed Di Resta began to challenge (and beat on occasion) Sutil; in qualifying they usually lined up right next to each other after the summer break.

            So I think it would be unreasonable to reference 2011 to make a judgement on who would come out on top out of Sutil and Di Resta if they happen to be paired at Force India.

      3. Well he did say “Ferrari can build the strongest V6”, fat lot of good it will do them if they do, the FIA will ensure “equivalent performance” for the others.

    5. I continue to maintain, for economic, musical and power reasons that it would be better to stick with eight-cylinders.

      PPFFFFF! Bring back V10s, then, if you want power and music… the V8s never sounded great.

      1. +1, the V8s are loud, but they have nothing of the melody of the old V10 or V12s

        1. Agreed, the V10s and V12s sounded much more menacing.

          1. davidnotcoulthard
            2nd February 2013, 6:58

            Yeah, maybe the V6 + Turbo might sound a bit better, perhaps in the high RPMs, than a V8 that roars cries (well…not exactly, but at least you should get the idea).

          2. Its true that they might have sounded more menacing, but If I remember right Ferrari were far from fastest with their last V12, and at the time the best engines were V8s already anyway.

            1. @bascb Ferrari’s issue with the V12 in the V8 era back in 1990-95 was the power delivery issue. All the V8’s could put down their torque without problem, but the Ferrari’s were destroying tyres trying to keep up. Imagine a V12 around Monaco ;)

            2. @bascb, part of the problem, or most of the problem with the V12 was packaging, they were to long but their smaller lighter pistons could rev higher than a V8s, a V10 became the favoured compromise.

            3. The things both of you say are very interesting @hohum and @dragoll, as far as I remember (following F1 only since end of 93) both the packaging and the V12s brute power having other disadvantages indeed led other drive train packages to get the upper hand.
              In my memory the Renault engine of that time was a V8, but I now stand corrected (only the Ford benneton won with in 94 was a V8 Ford).

            4. @bascb, actually the V8’s had the better low end torque but the V12 developed more power at the top-end by higher rpm so delivery was not brutish, a look at the 66 season with Repco Brabham v8 V BRM H16 / and the V12s is instructive.

    6. If they do sign Senna, fake tweet or no, I’d take it as a sign of them thoroughly throwing their weight behind Di Resta. I like Bruno, but he definitely fits the role of a back up driver more than anything else.

    7. “A V6 engine is not part of the Ferrari tradition and in the name of the F138, we are paying homage to the 8 cylinder engine and the fact this is the last year we will use it. I continue to maintain, for economic, musical and power reasons that it would be better to stick with 8 cylinders.

      Well firstly, the world of F1 revolves around more than just Ferrari’s tradition. Secondly, if by economic he is implying fuel efficiency Luca is entirely incorrect in that statement – if he is implying in terms of costs I think Ferrari are more than capable of bearing the financial burden and that of course these new engines have a greater implication on road cars, which is good economically for the manufacturing aspects of F1 (i.e. Renault & Mercedes road car developments). Thirdly, the sound is a largely unknown quantity but I expect that it will remain characteristic of F1 and I for one am rather looking forward to the change if the 80’s turbos are anything to go by! And lastly, the power output is expected to be the same (if not greater: torque levels will likely increase) so that statement is irrelevant.

      1. Blockquote fail! The first part should be the only text in blockquote.

      2. davidnotcoulthard
        2nd February 2013, 7:03

        I’m not that sure what he meant by “musical”, if you want some music you might as well switch back to the V10s….or the old “roars” that have been replaced by the “cries” (It’s just that when the V10s cry it’s musical, if the V8s do…..I’m not so sure)

    8. Well, so far, it looks like modesty panels are all the rage. Including two top teams in McLaren and Ferrari.

      Soooooo Lotus, reconsidering at all?

      1. @mouse_nightshirt – Allison appeared to be implying that Lotus would immediately adopt one if an aerodynamic advantage was found or indeed that they had already found one, they just decided not to show their hand.

        Either way, I hope they do adopt one!

    9. A V6 engine is not part of the Ferrari tradition

      A V6-engined Ferrari won the contructors’ championship

      An engine conceived and designed by Enzo’s own son is not part of the Ferrari tradition? The engine that began a family of cars starting with 206 (2L, V6) and has lead us to the 458 (4.5L, V8)? That’s not part of Ferrari tradition?

      Or it isn’t part of your desired commercial future, Luca?

      1. Here! Here! Amen to that!

      2. Just why would people want these V6’s so badly is beyond me…

        I may be getting too old.

        1. Because they have to produce the same amount of power as the V8 engies, but with two less cylinders, 30% less fuel, and they have to last five races instead of four and incorporate next-generation energy recovery systems.

          Every time the FIA bans a piece of technology a team has developed – like Lotus’ reactive ride height system last year – people complain that they are killing innovation. But the 2014 engine formula presents a significant engineering challenge.

        2. davidnotcoulthard
          2nd February 2013, 7:07

          Maybe because a V6 turbo might sound better that a N/A F1 V8?

        3. @xivizmath, yep like PM says, a fixed engine design/power becomes boring pretty quick.

      3. One of Ferrari’s most famous cars, the 156 ‘Sharknose’, had a 1.5 litre V6 engine. Also, a turbocharged, 1.5 litre V6 engine was used by Ferrari during the ‘Turbo Era’. So I have no idea what he’s talking about.

      4. Luca is being doubly disingenuous, seeing as Ferrari took their last constructors championship for the next 16 years in 1982 and 1983 with the V6 Turbo engined 126 C2 & 3. A V6 engine is undoubtedly a part of the Ferrari heritage, and a successful one at that.

        1. Well the V6 Dino was badged and produced by Fiat, so maybe he was referring to road going models, but Ferarri were a little late going the V8 route as well. Still he should be celebrating Ferarris triumphant V6 past.

    10. Everyone seems to be pointing to Brawn’s imminent departure from Mercedes. But what’s next for him if that happens?

      1. @scuderiavincero I’m still tipping him to head back to the team that gave him his start in F1: Wiilliams. With no Toto Wolff or Paddy Lowe, Frank has no successor at the moment. Ross would be the perfect man for that, IMO.

        If he doesn’t go there, he may just well retire. Ross has had a couple of medical concerns, IIRC, and may just opt to hang his cap now – he’s won pretty much everything there is to win, after all.

        1. Williams would be an exciting prospect, but I think he’d be more likely to follow Schumacher into retirement. He has nothing left to prove.

          1. @adam-tate On the other hand, I think Ross may be keen to leave F1 on his own terms rather than somebody else’s. Whether or not that is the case will have a big impact on his decision on what to do next.

        2. @journeyer Williams certainly someone of Brawn’s calibre, here’s to that!

      2. If Ecclestone said hes going… Hes definatly staying. :]

      3. I question how much experience does Niki Lauda have to replace Brawn? None.

        1. At least not the right kind of experience to win as a team manager in F1

    11. If there is a perfect successor for Frank and his baby, that has to be Brawn. Brawn is an old school F1 engineer with a passion and a real mentality.

      Frank tried with some “managers”, but those guys don’t seem to really be any more loyal then your average CEOs, Directors, Managers and similar bonus-hunting, selfish slavedrivers who have no reservations about jumping ship at any given time.

      Ross seems like much more of a man in Frank’s own niche then Parr or Wolff. They need managers of course, since every job is a profession that requires professionals, but if there needs to be a father figure for Williams, after Frank is gone, I think Ross is one with both credentials, character and loyalty.

      1. I don’t know why but I really dislike Wolff. To me it looks like he doesn’t have the heart for F1 and he doesn’t value loyalty. Ross Brawn is an old-school engineer, and it would be a shame if he was pushed out of Mercedes by a new-school businessman.

    12. Michael Brown (@)
      2nd February 2013, 2:27

      Thank you for the happy birthday Keith!

    13. To the best of my knowledge the first images of the new Ferrari F138 appeared here well before they did anywhere else.

      That is an incredible achievement. As always, well done to Keith and everybody working at F1fanatic for providing the best possible service. This time, even more so. There will be a time when larger companies are fighting over buying the rights to this fantastic site, if for no other reason than eliminating the superior competition.

    14. Proud to see my comment was chosen as comment of the day!

      It’s unfortunate the news of a Dutch driver in Formula 1 was paired with the news that us Dutch have to pay to watch Formula 1 from now on as well, Sport1 will put us back 15 euros a month unfortunately. It’s a bit like the situation in England, some races will be free to watch on Veronica, albeit only 3 races and not half of the season like on BBC. Oh well, I know I’m going to have to pay, can’t live without the sport I love!

      1. davidnotcoulthard
        2nd February 2013, 7:12

        All of a sudden everything looks a bit better in the Nederlands-Indië than the Netherlands…..minus the practice (as defined by the “1 litre of left fuel” rule) sessions, that is.

        1. SE Asia was one of the first to have F1 on pay-per-view. Not only have we gotten used to it, it’s relatively cheaper too (compared to other regions).

          1. davidnotcoulthard
            2nd February 2013, 13:03

            That is, until Kompas TV started taking ESPN HD’s F1 race coverage live.

      2. When I read it, I knew I would see it in todays roundup.
        Regarding Sport 1, it really is bad for the sport: I know 2 or 3 very casual fans, who only watch the races and never anything outside that. They just will not bother anymore. One of them has a 16 year old son who also will stop watching.
        Sometimes I think Bernie wants to cash in on the flotation and after that sell out, leave the sport in despair, so his daughters can come in and buy in at rock bottom…

    15. I don’t understand . how can one compare Wolff to Brawn. Toto Wolff was someone who was leading a F1 team that failed miserably for last 15 years. Meanwhile Ross Brawn is some one who has won 8 WDC in the last 19 years !!!!! Somebody must be out of their mind to bring in an investor in place of some one who revived 3 teams to championships. Poor Lewis !!!!! Moreover it is obvious that Mercedes did not a succeed because they were not investing enough info F1. It was never Ross Brawn or Haug’s fault. Well let’s see what eventually happens. Hope it all works out for Lewis.

      1. I couldn’t agree more with you. How MercedesF1 would prefer having Wolf in place of Ross Brawn is indeed quite strange to me. I am yet to hear about Mr Wolf’s blazing trail of successes in the sport and why he is all so important to turn the team into a winning team. I feel really sorry for Lewis Hamilton. It all looks like the guy’s career is heading for the rocks with his decision to move to MercedesF1. The team seems more focused on the business side of F1 than on building a car that can actually compete with others and win races.

        1. Bernie’s comment is only a single line, and it was reported by Christian Sylt. Sylt is best to be regarded as Ecclestone’s PR man. Bernie uses him when he wants to push a certain agenda. At this moment that agenda seems to be getting rid of Brawn ASAP.

          So the real question is why does Bernie want Brawn out. Brawn who is a proud, even a suborn man who won almost half the championships in the last 20 years, who has an enormous respect and influence and who has nothing more to prove, and even despite the health issues still wants to stay in the sport to look after its best interest, and who if reinstated as a principal will have the full backing of the mighty Mercedes behind him. And Bernie wants to replace him with two far more flexible and pragmatic guys. One of whom he knows since the ’70s, and who has a history of being ”not that good” in a managerial role. And the other is a new-kid-on-the-block, who knows that if he crosses swords with Bernie he might end up like Parr.

          I really wander why….

          1. Well Bernie and Mercedes have been at loggerheads over the “concord agreement”, Bernie can’t afford to let anyone call his bluff and get away with it.

          2. Couldn’t agree more! From Sith observation to the Wolff being much easier to handle.

            As pointed by @hohum , Mercedes was one who was still in limbo while trying to assert themselves as a top team in regards to negotiating power, when it comes to concord agreement, voting and money distribution.

            He already has Red Bull on his side, but he can’t overpower Ferrari and McLaren who wield much more influence.

            So here comes Brawn, one of the most respected people in the paddock, who doesn’t NEED Bernie’s approval in order to get a job in F1. Bernie can’t manipulate Brawn, can’t discredit his reputation in order to make him less influential.

            So he and his mate Lauda decide that they need to get the Mercedes’ board somehow, to by-pass Brawn, because those guys are relatively clueless when it comes to F1 and would be susceptible to the right thing being whispered into their ear. That way they don’t have to deal with Brawn and Haug who are well-respected figures in F1 with enough weight behind them to keep messing with Bernie’s plans, while at the same time having a really good clue about how things in F1 work, being in it for good 20 years.

            So far Bernie and Lauda managed to convince Mercedes to get Haug out and place Toto “Noname” Wolff in his place. Now, Wolff might be a good manager, but as pointed out by Shade, not only would he avoid crossing swords with Bernie, but doesn’t really have much influence in paddock to mess with Bernie’s plans even if he wanted to.

            Meanwhile, team that won more titles in the last 20 years then any other team except Ferrari, doesn’t have a say in this matter at all.

            I wonder what the situation would be if Flav was at the helm of Renault. He and Bernie are said to be good mates, but Flav was one of the most influential guys in the paddock and was always on the forefront whenever F1 teams were pushing for something.
            You can be sure that he would be pushing his own agenda and that he would be one more guy who’s stance would count, be it on Ferrari-McLaren-Mercedes side or Bernie-RedBull side.

    16. New hamilton helmet for mercedes? Personally not happy!

      1. Its basically the same, with the red/green/blue markings on the sides slightly altered, and obviously, monster sponsor instead of vodafone.

    17. Entirely unrelated but at what time (GMT) is the unveiling of the RB9 tomorrow @keithcollantine? I don’t want to miss it!

    18. Ferrari may not be a ‘V6’ team, LdM, but you’re not going to pull off the grid for 2014, are you? Nope.

      So you are going to be a V6 team. Quit whinging about it, you’re the most successful team in F1 and you ought to embrace the new challenge.

    19. If Lauda and Toto are elected to run mercedese F1 it will become a Tom & Gerry outfit. Brawn IS the mercedes F1 team period. Poor Hamilton must be shaking in his boots about his decision to join this team!. He surely couldn’t have known about all this ‘goings on’.

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