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'Silly season' stories rock Monza paddock

2014-09-08 08:31

BIG CHANGES AHEAD?: It's the F1 'silly season' and rumours are amok. Will there be fewer teams on the grid in 2015? Image: AP / Darko Vojinovic

MONZA, Italy - F1's 2015 'silly season' is no longer just about the drivers. Major rumblings about the teams are making waves as the sport packs up after Lewis Hamilton's win from the Italian F1 GP at Monza.

Former Williams chairman Adam Parr issued an alarming 'tweet' after the race that declared: "This is the last year of F1 as we know it. In 2015 eight teams will contest the championship, with several entering three cars."


The tweet immediately sent worried eyes around the paddock as people wondered who the departing three teams could be. One might be Caterham, since its founder Tony Fernandes recently sold to a mysterious Swiss-Middle Eastern consortium.

The Malaysian entrepreneur told The Independent newspaper in the UK: "The economics of the sport are wrong. Barring Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes and McLaren, everybody else is struggling."

The latest rumour is that UK-based Caterham's new boss Christijan Albers has quit because promised funds from the new owners did not materialise. Caterham announced on Sunday that Dutchman Albers had indeed resigned "to spend more time with my family", with Manfredi Ravetto taking over.

Also undoubtedly struggling is Marussia which, according to driver Max Chilton at Spa two weeks earlierr, 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.


Marussia's deputy boss Federico Gastaldi told Britain's Sky on Sunday: "No, it's not true. We're with Renault at the moment and we're working for 2014, 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 in 2015 with third-car entries, explain the recent quickfire spate of bosses meeting with Bernie Ecclestone?

Mercedes' Toto Wolff said on Friday (Sept 5 2014) that the latest meeting, during the Monza weekend,, was "nothing very spectacular -  just another meeting we had, another important meeting".

Also undoubtedly having a series of meetings are Ferrari and Fiat chiefs. Persistent strong speculation insists 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.

Marchionne, Fiat and Chrysler chairman, told reporters at Monza: "Luca di Montezemolo and I are great friends but when I read his statements I thought they were things I would never have said about myself.

"Everybody is useful but nobody essential."

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 F1 season – fresh reports every day.
Read more on:    sauber  |  caterham  |  lotus  |  2014 italian gp  |  monza  |  italy  |  formula 1

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