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Frustrated senators blast Takata, signal more safety legislation

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Senators' frustration with what they see as an inconsistent and disorganized response to the Takata airbag recall crisis boiled over last week, signaling a push for more auto safety regulations.No tags for this post.

Study slams CFPB’s proxy methodology

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The statistical method the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau uses to identify which consumers belong to minority groups correctly identified African-American borrowers only 24 percent of the time.No tags for this post.

ZF CEO: We’re not chasing 10-speeds

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ZF Friedrichshafen AG will not follow rivals in pushing for 10-speed transmissions. the German supplier will stop at 9-speed transmissions, says CEO Stefan Sommer.No tags for this post.

Honda in talks with other suppliers for Takata airbag fix, report says

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Honda is in talks with two airbag suppliers to help it stock replacement parts for defective Takata Corp. airbags, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people aware of the planning.No tags for this post.

Mercedes-Benz’s first refusal right upheld

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Mercedes-Benz USA has beaten all claims but one in a lawsuit challenging its use of the right of first refusal to block a dealership buy/sell deal in Fresno, Calif.No tags for this post.

Ford’s Farley sees Europe as a lab for learning

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"I got my PhD in small cars walking through parking lots," in Europe. "I learned about homologation and the tax breaks for different engine displacements. I learned the hard way, and we built that product plan from the bottom up."No tags for this post.

Two-car households will decline, KPMG report predicts

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Two-car households may be on the decline as urbanization increases, but they are far from disappearing, a KPMG report said this week.No tags for this post.

F1: Big chance of showdown crash in Abu Dhabi

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From GMM

Niki Lauda has admitted it is possible Sunday's championship showdown will end with a crash.

Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have endured a tense relationship all season, they actually clashed at Spa and now the 2014 world champion will be decided in Abu Dhabi.

"The chance of a collision is great," admitted team chairman Lauda, "because it's the final blow in the title race. We could see some very risky overtaking manoeuvres.

"But we need to just accept the risk as we are letting them go free. But certainly the risk is much higher than before," the F1 legend added.

But Lauda also told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper that he hopes the warring duo will recognise the bigger picture and keep their battle clean on Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton Nico Rosberg F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg prepare for the 2014 F1 season showdown in Abu Dhabi (Photo: WRI2)

"Every driver knows that aggression like that can quickly end his own race," he said.

Lauda insisted, however, that it is no longer the team's role to sit the drivers down and urge them to drive sensibly.

"We are not going to interfere," he said.

"Fortunately there are no more third parties who can still be world champion, so now we have a showdown. Any admonition would be counterproductive.

"They should be free and able to do what they want to be world champion. I just hope we do well enough as a team to get through the race with both cars and no technical defects," Lauda added.

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F1: Marlboro chief Maurizio Arrivabene set to replace Mattiacci as Ferrari boss

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From GMM

After just seven months in the job, Marco Mattiacci is set to lose his role as Ferrari team boss.

Germany's Sport Bild on Saturday cited 'well-informed sources' in claiming the 43-year-old Roman will be replaced by the Marlboro Europe brand manager Maurizio Arrivabene.

Mattiacci only took over from Stefano Domenicali in April of this year.

He said on Friday that what had struck him most about F1 since switching from heading Ferrari's North American road car arm was "the intensity, the complexity but also the incredible amount of talented people that are in formula one.

Maurizio Arrivabene Bernie Ecclestone F1
Maurizio Arrivabene with Bernie Ecclestone (Photo: WRI2)

"How amazing is this sport, a global platform, the visibility that specifically in my case I don't like for myself, but which is a consequence of the job," Mattiacci added.

"The level of competition, (the) aggression is really high, so a lot to learn, but at the same time I think I brought an understanding of people, choosing the right people and from here how to create an organisation for the future."

Mattiacci has overseen the replacement of the departing Fernando Alonso with Sebastian Vettel, but according to Sport Bild the Italian will vacate his post next week.

"Supposedly," said correspondents Ralf Bach and Bianca Garloff, "Sergio Marchionne was not satisfied with the Roman's work."

Mattiacci's successor, Arrivabene, is no stranger to F1, overseeing Marlboro's sponsorship of the Maranello team and reportedly already close to Bernie Ecclestone.

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F1: Caterham may use 2014 engine next year

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From GMM

Caterham may have to use a 2014 engine if it is to make it onto next year's F1 grid.

The sport is treading new ground this weekend, with an insolvency expert Finbarr O'Connell, now in charge of ailing Caterham, sitting on the Abu Dhabi pitwall.

He is in town to show that the Leafield based team is still in shape to be taken over "off the shelf" by a buyer.

But there are obstacles to clear.

One of them might be on the driver front. O'Connell signed up Will Stevens for Abu Dhabi but he was seconds off Kamui Kobayashi's pace in practice.

But acting team boss O'Connell is quoted by France's L'Equipe: "The amount (of money) contributed by Will played a crucial role" in returning to F1.

Will Stevens, Caterham F1 Abu Dhabi
Will Stevens, who played a big role in Caterham's return (Photo: WRI2)

Whether Caterham can complete its 2015 car, however, is another matter, amid the turmoil of the team's previous management and now the laying off of staff.

"As regards the car," O'Connell admitted, "my engineering team tell me that it's not hugely advanced but that if a purchaser comes along now, it will race in the championship next year."

Another option would be to cut costs by running the 2014 Renault engine instead of the significantly updated 2015 version.

Red Bull's Christian Horner said: "We'd have absolutely no problem in Caterham or any other team using the 2014 power unit if that assisted cost-saving, but that would mean a change in the regulations."

O'Connell, meanwhile, admitted that a new buyer may want to change the team's name, and also replace him as team principal.

"All I can feel is a responsibility for this team," he said, "and I would happily hand over my team principal badge straight away to anybody who would take it out of my hands and then I could go and sit in the stands and enjoy the grand prix."

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F1: Nico Rosberg beats scruffy Hamilton to Abu Dhabi pole (+photos)

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From press release

Nico Rosberg made a step in the right direction, as he tries to overturn a 17-point deficit and beat his teammate Lewis Hamilton in the chase for the drivers' title.

The German secured his 11th pole of the season, some four tenths ahead of Hamilton, who simply seemed off the pace this time.

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes W05 Abu Dhabi F1
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes W05 (Photo: WRI2)

It's also the 19th pole for a Mercedes-powered car this year. No engine manufacturer had claimed every pole in a season since Ford... in 1969.

Considering the point deficit, simply winning Sunday's race might not be enough for Rosberg to win the championship. The 29-year-old even joked about hiring Valtteri Bottas, who, being third on the grid, could help by finishing in front of Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W05, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W05 (Photo: WRI2)

"I will push flat out and keep the pressure high on Lewis to try to force him into a mistake like in Brazil and also hope that the Williams have a chance to be in between us," said Rosberg.

Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Valtteri Bottas F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, Valtteri Bottas (Photo: WRI2)

"I already offered to pay for Valtteri to have a great wellness programme tonight so that he is fully relaxed and will put on a great performance tomorrow... let's see what happens!"

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix F1
(Photo: WRI2)

Qualifying results* - Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (round 19 of 19)
1.Nico Rosberg (Mercedes W05) - 1'40"480 - Q3
2.Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes W05) - 1'40"866 - Q3
3.Valtteri Bottas (Williams FW36-Mercedes) - 1'41"025 - Q3
4.Felipe Massa (Williams FW36-Mercedes) - 1'41"119 - Q3
5.Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull RB10-Renault) - 1'41"267- Q3
6.Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull RB10-Renault) - 1'41"893 - Q3
7.Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso STR9-Renault) - 1'41"908 - Q3
8.Jenson Button (McLaren MP4/29-Mercedes) - 1'41”964 - Q3
9.Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari F14-T) - 1'42"236 - Q3
10.Fernando Alonso (Ferrari F14-T) - 1'42”866 - Q3
11.Kevin Magnussen (McLaren MP4/29-Mercedes) - 1'42"198 - Q2
12.Jean Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso STR9-Renault) - 1'42"207 - Q2
13.Sergio Perez (Force India VJM07-Mercedes) - 1'42"239 - Q2
14.Nico Hulkenberg (Force India VJM07-Mercedes) - 1'42"384 - Q2
15.Adrian Sutil (Sauber C33-Ferrari) - 1'43"074 - Q2
16.Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber C33-Ferrari) - 1'42”819 - Q1
17.Pastor Maldonado (Lotus E22-Renault) - 1'42"860 - Q1
18.Kamui Kobayashi (Caterham CT05-Renault) - 1'44”540 - Q1
19.Will Stevens (Caterham CT05-Renault) - 1'45”095 - Q1
20.Romain Grosjean (Lotus E22-Renault) - 1'42"768 - Q1 **

* Unofficial results
** 20-place grid penalty

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F1: Red Bull wants louder, cheaper V6 power for 2016

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From GMM

Red Bull has proposed a new engine formula for the sport.

Struggling with Renault power all season, the outgoing world champions and also Ferrari are frustrated efforts to convince Mercedes to ease the engine development 'freeze' have until now failed.

A proposal to revert to V8 power also fell on deaf ears, but Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko now says: "Why don't we take the current V6s but not with all the hybrid accessories?

"We could make it a twin-turbo, forget the (fuel) flow rate limit, have the noise back and more than 800 horse power.

"We could keep these engines but save money," he argued.

Helmut Marko Red Bull F1
Helmut Marko has an interesting solution to the current engine problem in F1 (Photo: WRI2)

The proposal may interest the struggling smaller teams, who are complaining loudly about their huge engine bills this year compared to the old V8 technology.

Marko told Auto Motor und Sport: "We have calculated that a customer team would pay a maximum of eight million euros.

"If we release the aerodynamics and have more power, we would have a championship for drivers again rather than the engineers," he predicted.

"We would be two seconds faster in no time and not even we would dare to put seventeen year olds in those cars."

Marko topped his proposal by suggesting that, for F1's image and to cut costs even more, the cars could be boosted by KERS units produced by a single supplier.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner admitted on Friday that Marko's plan is probably too late for next year, "but for 2016, an awful lot can be done".

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F1: Sauber blocks Giedo van der Garde’s pass for the week-end

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From GMM

Giedo van der Garde was denied access to the Abu Dhabi paddock, the Swiss newspaper Blick reports.

The Dutchman has been Sauber's reserve driver in 2014, and this weekend was reportedly scheduled to drive in the first Friday practice session.

Ultimately, it was Adderly Fong, a Hong Kong driver, who appeared on track in Abu Dhabi.

Like Adrian Sutil, van der Garde appeared to have signed a Sauber race contract for 2015, but the Swiss team has instead announced that Felipe Nasr will drive alongside Marcus Ericsson next year.

Blick newspaper reports that the van der Garde camp including his wealthy backers are threatening legal action, moving Sauber boss Monisha Kaltenborn to retract the driver's team-connected paddock pass for the 2014 finale.

"The Sutil camp has also apparently become active on the legal side," the report added.

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F1: Stewards exclude Red Bull from Abu Dhabi qualifying

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Red Bull have been excluded from qualifying in Abu Dhabi after the stewards ruled the front wings of both RB10s were in breach of the technical regulations.

Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel have therefore had their qualifying results discounted, meaning they will start Sunday's race at Yas Marina from the back of the grid.

The FIA's technical delegate Jo Bauer referred Red Bull to the stewards after ruling that the front wings of both RB10s had been designed to flex under load - a contravention of Article 3.15 of the Formula One technical regulations which limits moveable aerodynamics.

Red Bull said in a statement: "Following the decision of the Stewards regarding the front wings on both our cars (Car 1 and Car 3), we are disappointed that we have been singled out for a front wing deflection test when it is clear that other teams are interpreting the rules in a similar fashion.

“The team accepts the decision of the Stewards and will start the race from the back of the grid."

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F1: Sergio Perez signs multi-year contract with Force India

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From press release

Sahara Force India is pleased to confirm that Sergio Perez has extended his contract to continue racing with the team for 2015 and beyond.

The 24-year-old Mexican joined the team at the start of 2014 and finished third in only the third race of the season. Since then, he scored points in eleven races.

"I am delighted that Checo will continue with us. He's a true racer who has done a fantastic job for us this season. The whole team has been impressed with his speed and racecraft, as well as his role away from the track," said team principal Vijay Mallya.

Sergio Perez, Force India VJM07
Sergio Perez, Force India VJM07 (Photo: WRI2)

"He has a very bright future in Formula One and we will do our utmost to give him the equipment to match his talent."

"It's good to announce my plans," added Perez. "I feel at home here and I'm fully committed. I'm enjoying my racing and we've already celebrated some special results together. It's important for me to establish myself in a team and have some continuity."

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Formula E: Sam Bird seals victory in Putrajaya ePrix

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From press release

Sam Bird cruised to victory in the 2014 FIA Formula E Ycapital Management Putrajaya ePrix ahead of championship-leader Lucas di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi.

The Virgin Racing driver crossed the line to pick up the full 25 points and clinch his maiden ePrix win.

Bird dedicated his win to former GP2 team-mate Jules Bianchi, who was severely injured in the Japanese Grand Prix: "I have to dedicate this win to a good friend of mine who is very ill. It's very sad what's happened to him and this one is for Jules. The weekend went really well, we were quick from the first outing and we were quickest in practice.

"Qualifying didn't quite go our way as I think we were not in the best group for doing a fast lap time but we put that right in the race. The first stint I was able to get a very god gap which meant we could take it easy and not make any silly mistakes, do some lift and coasting, and coast to the finish.”

Sam Bird, Putrajaya ePrix
Sam Bird, Putrajaya ePrix (Photo: WRI2)

Audi Sport ABT driver Lucas di Grassi and e.dams-Renault's Sebastien Buemi both managed to fight their way through the field to stand on the podium despite starting at the back of the grid.

Bird's win means he moves up to second place in the championship standings just three points behind

Race results - Putrajaya ePrix
1. Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, 51:1.979
2. Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT, +4.175s
3. Sebastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault, +5.739s
4. Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault, +9.52s
5. Jerome d'Ambrosio, Dragon Racing, +13.72s
6. Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing, +17.158s
7. Oriol Servia, Dragon Racing, +18.621s
8. Antonio Felix da Costa, Amlin Aguri, +19.926s
9. Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing, +20.053s
10. Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT, +45.63s
1. Ho-Pin Tung, China Racing, +5.83s
12. Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi, +56.626s
13. Matthew Brabham, Andretti, +1:05.036s
14. Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, +1 lap
15. Franck Montagny, Andretti, +1 lap (penalty)
16. Katherine Legge, Amlin Aguri, +3 laps (penalty)
17. Jarno Trulli, Trulli, +3 laps (penalty)
18. Nelson Piquet Jr, China Racing, DNF
19. Michela Ceruti, Truli, DNF
Nick Heidfeld, Venturi, excluded (penalty)

Drivers' standings
1. Lucas di Grassi 43pts
2. Sam Bird 40pts
3. Franck Montagny 18pts
4. Nicolas Prost 18pts
5. Jerome d'Ambrosio 18pts
6. Karun Chandhok 18pts
7. Sebastien Buemi 15pts
8. Charles Pic 12pts
9. Oriol Servia 12pts
10. Nelson Piquet Jr 4pts

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F1: McLaren runs RB10 front wing ‘copy’

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From GMM

McLaren's new front wing bears a striking resemblance to the one fitted to the 2014 Red Bull.

In the last race before the British team switches to Honda power, it was fitted to Kevin Magnussen's MP4-29 during Friday practice in Abu Dhabi.

The Danish driver said the new wing is a "very different philosophy" for McLaren.

On Twitter, Red Bull posted a side-by-side photo comparison of its own wing alongside the McLaren version with the caption: "Red Bull Gives You Wings".

An analysis at Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said: "The (Red Bull) concept has been completely copied.

Red Bull McLaren Abu Dhabi F1
"Red Bull Gives You Wings" (Photo: Twitter)

"Compared to the old McLaren front wing, the new version has virtually nothing in common."

Team boss Eric Boullier confirmed: "Most of the first session was dedicated to a number of solutions aimed towards 2015.

"They are associated with a new concept of aerodynamics, which will be embodied in the car next year," he is quoted by

The Frenchman admitted that the 'new concept' is essentially down to the arrival at Woking of Peter Prodromou, Red Bull's former aerodynamics chief.

"So now we are trying to check the conceptual decisions underlying the 2015 car and this work will continue in the tests next week," Boullier added.

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F1: Force India, Lotus and Sauber happier after meeting with CVC’s Mackenzie

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From GMM

F1's three angry teams seemed slightly less angry on Saturday after a meeting with Donald Mackenzie.

The usually paddock-shy CVC chief made the trip to Abu Dhabi to meet with Bernie Ecclestone and Lotus, Sauber and Force India, with the three teams crying foul over how the power and income is distributed within formula one.

Those in the F1 paddock said the body language of the three team chiefs, so exasperated in recent weeks that they had reverted to boycott threats, was notably more upbeat after the meeting broke.

Perhaps the looming threat of an investigation by the European Commission's competition arm had changed things, with the Telegraph reporting that Ecclestone even apologised for suggesting they were holding out "begging bowls".

"They (Ecclestone and Mackenzie) both understand that they need to take action," Lotus owner Gerard Lopez said.

"They are going to go away and look at a number of things."

Gerard Lopez F1 Lotus
"They (Ecclestone and Mackenzie) both understand that they need to take action," Lotus owner Gerard Lopez said (Photo: WRI2)

It is believed another meeting, in Geneva early next week, has now been scheduled.

Reuters quoted Force India supremo Vijay Mallya as observing that Ecclestone and Mackenzie have "done their homework" in past days and are now "seriously thinking" about the problem.

It appears F1's most struggling teams, however - Caterham and Marussia who are already under administration - will not be the beneficiaries of any forthcoming help.

Speaking on Saturday in Abu Dhabi, Ecclestone told the local newspaper The National: "They (the teams) should never have been here in the first place."

Asked if the backmarkers will be on the grid in 2015, he answered: "I hope not. We don't want people walking around with begging bowls."

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Chrysler says it will speed up recall repairs for Jeep SUVs

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Chrysler Group said on Friday it was not satisfied with the speed of repairs of recalled Jeep SUVs that face a heightened fire risk and will enhance dealer communication and owner contact to accelerate the process.No tags for this post.

Ford stamping plant operations suspended after Buffalo snowstorms

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After lake-effect snowstorms this week pounded upstate New York, Ford's Buffalo Stamping Plant has suspended operations until employees are able to travel to work.No tags for this post.
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