Force India have extended their deal with Mercedes to supply the entire powertrain from the 2014 season. Force India have been regularly buying their powertrains from Mercedes since they entered into the sport back in 2009. As a result of this extension, Mercedes will now be supplying the 1.6 turbocharged V6 engines that have been introduced as part of the regulation from 2014. F1 has been in a downsizing mode for several years with a view of reducing the environmental impact. The huge V10 engines of the past have consistently reduced to the smallest one yet from 2014.
Force India team principal Vijay Mallya has said that this deal is extremely significant in the history of the team. He said that he cannot think of a better partner to be associated with for supplying the engines under the new regulations. He has also said that the long-term stability that this deal will provide could ensure his dream of making Force India as one of the top teams. The executive director of the Mercedes F1 team, Toto Wolff, has also said that he is delighted to sign this new partnership. He has recalled that Force India have remained as the consistent buyers of Mercedes engines since 2009.
“With new powertrain regulations being introduced next year, I can’t think of a better partner to work with as Formula One enters a new and exciting era. The agreement gives us the long-term stability we require and will enable us to continue our journey towards the front of the Formula One grid,” said Force India team principal Vijay Mallya. “It is a significant milestone to announce our first long-term agreement for powertrain supply under the 2014 regulations. This long-term agreement offers excellent value in terms of the balance between price and performance,” said Wolff.
The Italian tyre brand Pirelli has made changes to the compounds for the 2013 season in the hope of improving the racing spectacle. This has subsequently resulted in the teams finding it difficult to adjust to the new tyre compounds, but the Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso is one of the F1 drivers not complaining. The Spaniard has said that he feels that Ferrari are getting acclimatised to the changes made to the tyre for the 2013 season. Alonso has been testing the new car to the limits in the first few days of the pre-season testing at Jerez.
He has completed close to 100 laps in the third day, and he has revealed that he is concentrating on the tyres over the last few days. This concentration has apparently paid off because Alonso has said that Ferrari are now getting a grip on the handling of the tyres. Alonso has also revealed that Ferrari have been keen to try out several aerodynamic changes to the car. He has said that the car has been reacting to every change he has made so far, and this data will be essential in order to improve the performance of the car before the start of the season.
“Today we concentrated on a comparison of the compounds, starting with the Soft and moving on to the Hard. The track was colder than yesterday, especially in the morning, which made it harder to adapt the car and find the right grip level. We tried various aerodynamic configurations and for the first time, we made some set-up changes to get a good understanding of tyre behaviour and degradation. They are softer and quicker, but also less consistent and they degrade rapidly with every lap,” said Alonso. The new tyres have been criticised for their rapid degradation.
The Ferrari driver Felipe Massa has admitted that the Spaniard Fernando Alonso has been the toughest team he has had so far. Massa has been Ferrari for a long time now, and he has raced alongside three world championship winners – Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen, and Fernando Alonso. Of the three, Massa has said that Alonso is the toughest, which has raised a few eyebrows. Massa was one of the youngest drivers on the paddock when he was racing alongside Michael Schumacher at Ferrari. The seven time world champion was his teammate for little more than a season.
However, he rates Alonso at a much higher level than Schumacher despite the Spaniard having won just two world championship titles in his career. Alonso is yet to replicate the success he had at Renault when he won two world championship titles. Alonso managed to win his third world championship title last season only to lose out to Sebastian Vettel in the final race of the season. Massa has praised Alonso by saying that he had a faultless season and was extremely unlikely not to win the title. Ferrari had an inferior car when compared with Red Bull, but Alonso was still able to come within four points of winning the title.
“Alonso has probably been the most difficult if you look at the figures. But all three drivers were very strong and that’s the truth. But maybe Fernando has been the most difficult and the one I’ve suffered with the most. I hope not to suffer any more. I think that given we did not have the best car in qualifying, even if things were better in the races, Fernando did a great championship. He did really an excellent job and finished almost with the same points as Vettel with a faster car,” said Massa.
The 25-year-old German Sebastian Vettel has said that he does not expect any kind of help from his time at Mark Webber in the final race of the season. The 2012 F1 world championship title concludes with the Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend. Sebastian Vettel has the opportunity to claim his third successive drivers championship title since he leads the table by 13 points over his closest rival Fernando Alonso. After trailing Fernando Alonso for most of the season, Sebastian Vettel found the right mixture of pace and reliability in the last few months of the season.
It has helped him to overtake Fernando Alonso and be in a position where he can relax ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix. He has qualified in the fourth position for the race, while his nearest competitor Alonso is back in the seventh position. Alonso needs to win the race along with a fourth or lower finish for Sebastian Vettel in order for the German to lose the title. Even though this has not been the greatest qualifying session, Vettel is confident that he will be able to win the title. He is also not expecting any help from his teammate Mark Webber.
“First of all both of us have to focus on our start. The situation is clear for all of us and for the two of us; Mark drives his race, I drive my race, fair enough. I think this is why we’re here, to race and race each other. As I said I focus on my launch and ideally maybe I’m already side-by-side! But I think there’s a long way before we get to that, a lot of stuff to do, to go through, to prepare for tomorrow,” said Vettel. Mark Webber is currently fifth in the driver’s championship standings.
McLaren have expressed the confidence that they will be able to catch Red Bull in the remaining races of the season. Due to the fact that Red Bull have been extremely strong in the last few races of the season, they have managed to open a 54 point advantage over McLaren in the constructors world championship title. A number of reliability issues has also made McLaren slip below the table. However, going into the last few races of the season, McLaren are extremely confident that they will be able to catch the leaders in the constructors championship.
Both the McLaren drivers will not be able to win the title now because of the significant advantage at the top of the table held by Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel. Only the Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso is seen as a realistic challenger for the German driver. Gearbox has been one of the major issues for McLaren in the last few races. They had to endure a five-point penalty as a result of changing the gearboxs in the Korean Grand Prix. Even then the result was not satisfactory as Red Bull continued their dominance with the third successive victory. The sporting director Sam Michael, though, is confident of losing the gap to the leaders.
“Vettel’s won the last three and circumstances have led to us not being able to that – reliability wise – in all those races. Getting on top of those issues quickly is something that we’ve done. Red Bull took a good step in Singapore and Suzuka in terms of performance so they are tough competitors, but we’ll go the distance with them. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to get up there in the remaining races and that is our target,” said the McLaren sporting director Sam Michael.
Despite a number of poor performances over the course of the season, it is thought that the Italian team Ferrari will be retaining the services of the Brazilian driver Felipe Massa for the next season as well. The Brazilian has been widely tipped to leave Ferrari after many years at the team. His performances have recently dropped following the serious injury he sustained a few years ago. However, after having seen Sergio Perez, who has been one of the top targets for Ferrari for the 2013 season, sign for McLaren, it seems that they have decided to keep the Brazilian for the next season as well.
Felipe Massa has publicly supported the title challenge of his teammate Fernando Alonso, which seems to have worked in his favour. Fernando Alonso is close to winning the F1 world championship this season, but it is going to be extremely tough in the last few races of the season due to the challenge from the Red bull driver Sebastian Vettel. Ferrari were also considering the possibility of signing Paul di Resta or Nico Hulkenberg, who drive for Force India. Ferrari have already stated that they would confirm the line-up for the next season ahead of the Korean Grand Prix.
Now, it is expected that the 31-year-old Felipe Massa will be part of the 2013 line-up for Ferrari. “Two years without going to the podium is really not nice. Thinking so many bad things, so many things which are negative and don’t help anything. It’s really a relief and I’m sure it will be so important for me, for my brain and for my future as well. So happy for the great race I did,” said the Ferrari driver in a recent interview. Felipe Massa has so far won 11 races in his F1 career.