Martin Whitmarsh has moved to squash claims that Paddy Lowe, technical director at McLaren will be moving to Mercedes in 2013, where he was rumoured to be replacing Ross Brawn.
Brawn, who oversaw Michael Schumacher’s record-breaking seven world championships, was rumoured to be getting the boot from the Silver Arrows following a shuffle up that saw Norbert Haug being forced from the team following a dismal season for the team who chased a failing RFA device.
It was confirmed that Mercedes has approached Lowe about a move to the team and Lowe’s absence from McLaren’s car launch today did nothing but escalate the likelihood that he was indeed Brackley bound.
However, Whitmarsh confirmed that Lowe would be at McLaren in 2013 but admitted that his future at the team stays “unclear”.
When asked why Lowe failed to make an appearance, Whitmarsh said “I think clearly there was a lot of media interest. I think it’s good that Paddy concentrates on doing his job and I don’t think he wants to create any embarrassment for the team or to any of his colleagues. So of his own election he decided it was better if he wasn’t here.”
Circuito de Jerez, which will host the first of three pre-season tests, will be the background to the launch of Marussia’s 2013 competitor, the MR02.
Their sole confirmed driver, Max Chilton will unveil the car on the morning of February 5th, the same time that Caterham take the cover off their CT-02 with former Marussia pilot Charles Pic.
Timo Glock shockingly announced last week that he was leaving the team ‘by mutual agreement’ and his replacement, while already confirmed, has not been made public. Speculation arose today that GP2 driver Luiz Razia was the team’s second driver but that has not been officially confirmed, with some questioning the idea of running a team with two rookies.
Regardless of his team-mate, Max Chilton will be the first to run the new Marussia, taking control of the MR02 for the first two test days, handing control to his team-mate for the remaining two days.
While you’re waiting for the new Marussia, Ferrari and Force India launch their cars tomorrow (Friday), Sauber on Saturday, Red Bull on Sunday with Toro Rosso and Mercedes launching their cars on Monday. Williams will be the last to launch, skipping the Jerez test and launching at Catalunya in three weeks time.
Photo courtesy of Marussia F1 Team.
McLaren has become the second team to launch their 2013 challenger.
Jenson Button and Sergio Perez pulled the cover off the MP4-28 in front of guests at the team’s factory in Woking, following a parade of historic McLaren cars and a video about Bruce McLaren to mark the 50th anniversary.
The car features a very similar livery to the 2012 edition but Jenson Button who has been a driver with the team since 2010 maintains that the McLaren has developed since last time out in Brazil.
“It might look similar because it has the same colour scheme, but this is completely different to last year – under the skin it’s so, so different. That’s why I think it’s an exciting season for us.“
Paddy Lowe was absent from proceedings which led to a rumour mill in which it was suggested he was definitely following Lewis Hamilton to Mercedes but post-launch, Martin Whitmarsh told Sky Sports, “The one certainty is that Paddy will be part of the team for another year. It’s less certain – as I think has been speculated in the media – beyond that but I’m sure we’ll have some certainty in the near future.”
Ferrari will reveal their car, the F138, from Maranello tomorrow while Force India will unveil their VJM06 at Silverstone.
Ferrari have today announced the name of their 2013 car. Following on from 2011’s ‘Ferrari 150 Italia‘ (to celebrate 150 years of Italian unity) and 2012’s ‘F12012‘, the 2013 model is to be named the ‘F138‘.
The ‘F‘ in the name stands for Ferrari, with ‘13‘ being 2013 and ‘8‘ celebrating the V8 engine which is leave the sport from 2014, replaced by the ‘green’ V6 engines.
The F138 will be unveiled at the team’s base in Maranello on Friday, the day after McLaren who will unveil their car at Woking tomorrow (Thursday).
The F138 will then take to the track in Jerez at the hands of Felipe Massa and Pedro de la Rosa next week when pre-season testing begins. De la Rosa is to run the Ferrari on two days in place of Fernando Alonso, who is to undergo rigid physical training in the build up to the second pre-season test just two weeks later.
Force India are also planning to launch their 2013 machine on Friday from Silverstone where Paul di Resta will be unveiling the car by himself as Force India has not yet announced who will partner the Scot for their 2013 campaign.
HRT could be set to rise from the ashes following interest from an American and Canadian Group.
The group of investors calling themselves Scorpion racing are looking to take over the bankrupt Spanish team which seemed to have bowed out of the sport following three years of unsuccessful racing and money problems.
Autosport is reporting that the investors are already in advanced discussions with F1 ringleader Bernie Ecclestone and have received his blessing to appear on the 2013 grid, should the failed team be taken over in time.
If not, and the more likely of the two outcomes, Scorpion will be made wait until 2014 before making an appearance.
Plans have not yet been revealed, but it’s believed the team would operate from a location near Silverstone with the current chassis and Cosworth engines.
It is unlikely that a full takeover could be made, with an entire team of engineers, drivers, technical directors, background staff etc. being developed before the season kicks off with the curtain opener in Melbourne on March 17th.
BAR’s collapse at the end of 2009 in similar circumstances left Ross Brawn picking up the pieces at the last minute to make a team under his name, now called Mercedes, winning both Championships in 2009.
However, a similar success story is unlikely for Scorpion who are yet to even finalize a deal.
Lotus F1 Team have become the first team to unveil their 2013 challenger, the E21.
The cover was pulled of the car by Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean via a live stream available on Lotus’ YouTube account.
As you can see from the pictures, Lotus have kept the notorious ‘platypus’ nose that came into being last season as part of the technical regulations. In order to make the cars more aesthetically pleasing, the FIA is this year allowing teams to place a so-called ‘vanity strip’ on the stepped nose, to make the entire nose look curved, similar to that of McLaren’s nose in 2012.
Yet, Lotus have opted not to run with the vanity strip in an attempt to ditch the extra weight and perhaps make the car more aerodynamic.
The E21 also features three notable red patches, one on the rear wing, another on the sidepod and a final red area on the engine cover, which features the driver’s name on it.
Will the E21 take Kimi to a second world champion, or Grosjean to a maiden win this year?
Photos courtesy of Lotus F1 Team.
The Russian Grand Prix which is scheduled to take a place on the F1 calendar in 2014, will have a November race day according to the mayor of Sochi.
The mayor, Anatoly Pakhomov, told R-Sport that the Grand Prix would be on after the Winter Olympics which are also taking place in Sochi.
A November race would mean that the Grand Prix would be among the closing rounds of the season, presumably the penultimate race of the season. One would guess that it would be after the Indian and Abu Dhabi rounds but would leave Brazil as the curtain closer.
The inaugural Austin Grand Prix which was the penultimate round in 2013 is expected to be moved to a mid-season slot, to accompany the New Jersey and Canadian rounds.
Yet there have been concerns regarding the race being staged in Novemeber, with the average temperature at that time of year being 14ºC, but known to drop to below freezing point on occasion.