“The tyres are wrong”
John Watson has accused his former team McLaren of effectively hiring a pay-driver to replace Lewis Hamilton in 2013.
Ulsterman Watson, a McLaren winner three decades ago, thinks McLaren was tempted by team newcomer Sergio Perez’s connections to the Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim. “Politically they have always tried to employ the best possible drivers who were available. Not who they could afford but who were available,” he told the Guardian.
Boss and co-owner Vijay Mallya’s financial problems do not affect Force India, deputy team principal Bob Fernley insists.
This week, it emerged that lenders to Mallya’s failing airline Kingfisher are set to sell the billionaire’s collateral assets as they recall the loans. And the very latest reports are that Force India’s title sponsor Subrata Roy, of the Indian giant Sahara, has had 100 of his and the conglomerate’s bank accounts frozen by the Securities and Exchange Board of India over failing to repay investors.
F1 teams and drivers use foul language to hide crucial race tactics and information from their rivals, according to the Guardian newspaper.
The topic of swearing hit the headlines after Sunday’s Abu Dhabi grand prix, when Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel both swore during their podium interview with former F1 driver David Coulthard. Winner Raikkonen recalled the media giving him “sh*t” for not smiling enough after his previous victories, while Vettel used the F-word not only with Coulthard but also in the post-race press conference.
Sebastian Vettel is only on the cusp of securing an ultra-rare on-the-trot hat-trick of F1 titles because of his superior Red Bulls.
That is the claim of Lewis Hamilton, who hinted he rates the talents of the German’s 2012 championship rival Fernando Alonso more highly. “For me, Fernando is more accurate,” McLaren driver Hamilton is quoted by British newspapers in Abu Dhabi.
Finn Kovalainen, whilst highly rated by Fernandes, brings no sponsorship to Caterham.
Caterham boss Tony Fernandes has admitted he “cannot discount going down the pay-driver route” for 2013, according to a report in the Guardian. That would be bad news for Heikki Kovalainen, who already admitted in India last weekend that financial issues are clouding his future.
Sylt estimated Marussia’s value at about $72 million, and said the team owes $125 million in loans.
Marussia is in “talks with potential investors” after recording a $79 million loss last year, the business journalist Christian Sylt reports. Writing in the Guardian, Sylt quoted the backmarker F1 team’s chief executive Andy Webb as saying bosses are “in active discussions with potential new investors”, and also seeking new sponsorship deals.
“We will see what we can do. I think we are a good team together.” – Martin Whitmarsh
McLaren has slightly upped its monetary offer in a late bid to secure Lewis Hamilton’s services for 2013, according to multiple British newspapers. The Daily Mail said McLaren has increased its offer by EUR 2.5 million to 15 million, which is still less than his current retainer of about 19 million.
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