Formula One: Mercedes caused Red Bull/Renault split – Bernie Ecclestone

F1i 21/11/2015
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Letting it out: Bernie Ecclestone (r) and Niki Lauda.

Bernie Ecclestone claims Red Bull terminated its contract with Renault as a result of instructions from Mercedes.

Red Bull threatened to quit F1 when it couldn’t secure a competitive power unit supply deal having moved to cancel its contract with Renault a year early.

While Red Bull appears like to repair the relationship with the French engine manufacturer for next season, Ecclestone says Mercedes’ originally had agreed to supply the four-time constructors’ champions before reneging on the deal.

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“Mercedes had agreed to do it,” Ecclestone told Motorsport-Magazin.com.

“This is why they cancelled their contract with Renault because Mercedes had agreed then they changed their mind. They didn’t want competition. Neither Ferrari nor Mercedes want competition from Red Bull.”

When it was put to Ecclestone that Niki Lauda claims there has never been an agreement between Red Bull and Mercedes, Ecclestone replied: “Did he say that?

“It’s funny he shook hands with the owner of Red Bull. That’s the reason they cancelled the other contract because Niki Lauda said to them we can’t do a deal with you as long as you have a contract with Renault.

“So you better cancel it and then we’re okay. They cancelled it and then they changed their mind.”

When Lauda was asked about Ecclestone’s comments, he said the commercial rights holder was not aware of the full extent of the discussions.

“Bernie was not present at the meeting,” Lauda said.

“The meeting was about Mr Mateschitz’s problems with Mercedes. If he could put away his aversions. It was just loose talkes and he said he could. Afterwards we never got signals from Renault and Red Bull, that’s why definite negotiations never took place.”

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Verstappen extends F1 points run with fine Brazil showing

F1i 16/11/2015
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Verstappen was the star in Brazil.

Max Verstappen extended his points-scoring run with a 9th place finish in Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix. The Toro Rosso driver initially finished 10th but moved up a spot as a result of Felipe Massa's provisional exclusion from the race.

Verstappen was his usual combative and entertaining self all afternoon, manhandling his car, and rivals, in typical fashion to secure the ultimate championship point of the day.

From a solitary 9th on the grid, with 10th place man and team mate Carlos Sainz starting from the pit lane following electrical problems, Verstappen spent the most part of the race at that level, momentarily gaining a few spots but falling back as pit stop rotations set in.

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But it was anything but a stagnant or boring day out on the racetrack for the young Dutchman who thrilled the crowds with a few bold moves on his rivals, notably Sergio Perez, Felipe Nasr and Pastor Maldonado, who were all passed on the outside or inside of Interlagos' Turn 1, Max's preferred overtaking spot.

"Yes, it was the only chance to overtake there as it was very difficult to get them on the straight," the Toro Rosso driver commented.

"Tenth was really the maximum we could do today. Of course it's not what wanted compared to Lotus, but we have to realistic. It's still very positive and I'm very happy that we scored a point again, and hopefully we can continue like that in the last race."

As the young prodigy continues to hone his talent and gains in maturity, his confidence is evidently rising and with it his level of demand regarding his team.

Verstappen expressed his frustration regarding his car's lack of power in no uncertain terms over the radio on lap 41 when Lotus driver Romain Grosjean snatched 10th from him into Turn 1.

"When you see the guys behind catch up so easily on the straights you just get frustrated, because the car is so good in the corners," he explained.

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Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen ‘bored’ by Brazil Grand Prix

F1i 16/11/2015
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Raikkonen's race goes by in a blur.

Kimi Raikkonen says he had “quite a boring race” on his way to fourth place in the Brazilian Grand Prix.

With the top four drivers all holding station at the start of the race, Raikkonen settled down in to a two-stop strategy while team-mate Sebastian Vettel pulled away on a three-stop.

Having come home in fourth after a lonely race, Raikkonen said he struggled with the balance throughout.

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“It was quite a boring race for me, in the end,” Raikkonen said. “With the new tyres it was OK, but with old tyres I struggled a lot, especially with the front tyres. It was a bit tricky, but started fourth and finished fourth. The handling was not the nicest throughout the race but this is better than the last race.”

And Raikkonen says there are a number of areas to improve on after failing to have a smooth day across the whole weekend at Interlagos.

“We didn’t try any different things, we always try to avoid issues and maximise the result. It wasn’t the easiest of weekends, anyhow, I wasn’t so comfortable with some things on Friday, with the set-up.

“It was better yesterday but I had a mistake on my last lap in qualifying. Today I struggled bit with the tyres in the race so, in many ways, it could have been a lot better, but at least we finished the race this time.

“Now we just have to keep working and improve.”

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