Formula 1's Latest Rumours and Talk: Rosberg Slams Perez Driving and More
Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix saw Sebastian Vettel inch ever closer to a fourth successive world title.
The race also threw up a number of other interesting talking points as the issue of team orders again reared its ugly head.
Here are the latest tidbits of news and gossip following the weekend’s action.
Alonso Plays Down Latest Team Orders Controversy
Not for the first time this season, the controversial issue of team orders again reared its ugly head in Japan, and led to another driver being unhappy.
First, there was Sebastian Vettel ignoring his team’s “multi-21” order in Malaysia and fighting his way past Mark Webber. Last weekend saw a disgruntled Romain Grosjean forced to concede position to teammate Kimi Raikkonen.
The latest controversy saw Ferrari’s Felipe Massa given the radio message "multi-function strategy A, now please" by race engineer Rob Smedley whilst running fifth with Fernando Alonso behind him.
According to Autosport, Massa was unhappy with the order, but Alonso downplayed the situation.
We cannot make a big thing about this. We are racing and whatever we do today, we finished more or less in the same positions because we could not achieve anything more. I don't know exactly what happened, but zero problems. Sometimes it is easy, and sometimes it is more difficult, especially when the performance is not super.
Rosberg Happy Perez Got a Puncture
Another unhappy driver after the Japanese Grand Prix was Nico Rosberg after the Mercedes man was hit by Sergio Perez.
Rosberg passed Perez for eighth, but only after a defensive move from the Mexican saw him clip Rosberg’s car, resulting in a puncture for the McLaren.
After the race, Rosberg told Autosport that he was happy that Perez ruined his own race.
Perez was not right with what he did. Definitely dangerous. The rules are clear: if you brake and you close the door then you have to move out again. I was there and he didn't leave space. So it was good he punctured his tyre, which got him out of the way.
An earlier incident between the drivers saw Rosberg penalised for an unsafe release in the pitlane into the path of Perez. This time, Rosberg had no qualms about the punishment.
"It was well deserved and I knew it was coming, too. It was a dangerous release and it was a pity that it happened."
Horner Defends Three-Stop Webber Strategy
Red Bull boss Christian Horner has defended the decision to switch Mark Webber to a three-stop strategy, which may have cost him the chance of race victory.
Webber was running a strong second behind Romain Grosjean in the first half of the race, but his inability to get past the Lotus led to Red Bull switching him to a three-stop strategy.
The Australian questioned his team’s decision at the time, asking them “Are you sure this is right?”
Horner insisted the decision was the correct one because Webber’s tyres had deteriorated significantly enough after his first stint, as quoted on ESPNF1.
The key aspect was obviously the first stint. We went in to the race hoping and thinking it would be marginal for a two-stop but we believed that probably in clear air that we could do that. I think the first stint dictated everything for us when Mark put Grosjean under quite a lot of pressure and went through the tyre phases pretty quickly to the point that he'd run out of tyres by the lap he pitted on - I think it was nine or something like that - pretty early in the race, which was too short for us in our own minds to make a two-stop really work because you'd effectively run out of tyres in that last stint.
Hulkenberg Set for Force India?
Following another fine drive at the Japanese Grand Prix, the future of Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg has been the focus of much attention in the paddock.
Many sources expect the German to sign for Lotus to replace the outgoing Kimi Raikkonen, but BBC Sport’s Eddie Jordan said he expects him to move back to Force India.
When asked about his future by BBC Sport, Hulkenberg remained tight-lipped.
"There is nothing to tell, my future will sort itself in the next couple of weeks."
De Villota Death Linked to Test Crash
The Japanese Grand Prix weekend took place under a cloud after former Marussia test driver Maria de Villota was discovered dead in a Seville hotel room on Friday.
The cause of the Spaniard’s death had been something of a mystery until a post-mortem confirmed she had died of natural causes as reported on Sky News.
A statement issued by the family read: "Maria left us while she was sleeping, approximately at 6am (on Friday), as a consequence of the neurological injuries she suffered in July of 2012, according to what the forensic doctor has told us."