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2014 F1

Post-race rumours rock Monza paddock



F1’s 2015 ‘silly season’ is no longer just about the drivers.

Now, it is major rumblings about the teams themselves that are making waves as the sport packs up after Lewis Hamilton’s win at Monza.

Former Williams chairman Adam Parr issued an alarming ‘tweet’ after the Italian grand prix declaring: “This is the last year of F1 as we know it.

“In 2015 eight teams will contest the championship, with several teams entering three cars.”

The ‘tweet’ immediately sent worried eyes around the paddock, as protagonists wondered who the departing three teams could be.

One might be Caterham, after its founder Tony Fernandes recently sold to a mysterious Swiss-Middle Eastern consortium.

“The economics of the sport is all wrong,” the Malaysian entrepreneur told the Independent newspaper last week. “Bar Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes and McLaren, everyone else is struggling.”

The latest rumour is that the Leafield based team’s newly-installed boss Christijan Albers has quit because promised funds from the new owners did not materialise.

Caterham announced on Sunday that Dutchman Albers has indeed resigned to “spend more time with my family”, with Manfredi Ravetto taking over.

Also undoubtedly struggling is Marussia, who according to driver Max Chilton at Spa had resorted to trying to “sell my seat” to stay afloat.

And Lotus was strongly tipped to be moving to end its current slump by installing Mercedes power for 2015, until speculation emerged the deal has been held up because a deposit to the German marque was not paid.

“No it’s not true,” deputy boss Federico Gastaldi told Britain’s Sky on Sunday. “We’re with Renault at the moment and we’re working for this year, not the next.”

Yet another struggling team is Sauber, but reports are now circulating that Canadian retail billionaire and unabashed motor racing fan Lawrence Stroll is buying the Swiss team.

But could the multiple struggling teams’ potential demise, and thereby the need to boost the grid next year with third car entries, explain the recent quickfire spate of bosses meetings with Bernie Ecclestone?

Mercedes’ Toto Wolff said on Friday that the latest meeting, held at Monza, was “nothing very spectacular”.

“It’s just another meeting we had, another important meeting.”

Also undoubtedly having a series of meetings at present are Ferrari and Fiat chiefs, as persistent speculation continues to strongly insist that Luca di Montezemolo’s departure is imminent.

Even his likely successor, Sergio Marchionne, is now making comments that indicate a lack of harmony behind closed doors.

“Luca di Montezemolo and I are great friends,” the Fiat and Chrysler chairman told reporters on Sunday, “but when I read his statements, I thought they were things I would never have said about myself.

“Everybody is useful but nobody essential,” Marchionne added. (GMM)


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