Prime & Option: the week in review, September 2

As historically happens in the latter half of the season (this weekend is the final European round before Singapore!) on the week between races, all Formula 1 news centers around silly season. Unlike last week when we could talk about the Belgian Grand Prix, it was mostly about 2014 this week.

2014’s Silly Season Remains Strong
As if there were not enough avenues for speculation, the newest line on Kimi Raikkonen’s whereabouts for next season involves a return to his old friends at McLaren. In an interview at, Martin Whitmarsh said, “I’m completely open – last year we had talks with him, but for various reasons it didn’t happen. This year we’ve had no talks – yet.” At this point, who knows whether the Finn might stay at Lotus or go.

Heikki Kovalainen, the other Finn hanging around the paddock, has far fewer options than the myriad ascribed to Raikkonen. Mostly, this is because he refuses to bring along his own sponsorship money to pay for a ride. He said, “I don’t want to look for money and bring money to the teams.”

Meanwhile, Ferrari has its perennial number two seat open, as the team continues to demand more results from Felipe Massa publicly in continued contract negotiations. Though Stefano Domenicali insists “My favourite choice would be, of course, to keep Felipe,” he also noted, “we need good results from Felipe, so that’s why we will not rush as we have to make the right decision for the team.”

Daniel Ricciardo has made himself the butt of a number of possible jokes, with no pun directly intended, by noting in an interview that he has self-proclaimed wide hips. “Even when I signed for Toro Rosso we had to do a few seat…I’ve heard that Adrian does like to build small race cars…Even if I go on a massive diet my hip bones aren’t going to change,” said Ricciardo on the subject of his possible 2014 contracts.

Finally, the annual debate on Melbourne hosting the first round of the season has come up again. Though there are still two years on the current contract for the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park, Louise Asher, the Victoria Tourism Minister, says, “I have asked the chairman of the Grand Prix Corporation, Mr. Walker, to commence preliminary discussions with Mr.Ecclestone over our future contract…we will only sign a new contract if it represents good value for money.”

Todt Faces Opposition from Ward in Presidential Election
David Ward, the Director-General of the FIA Foundation, resigned that position this past week to run against Jean Todt, who hopes to be reelected as the President of the FIA this year. Though not required to resign his position to stand against Todt, Ward said, “whilst the Foundation is independent and there is no legal requirement for me to resign, I believe that it is in the best interests of the charity that I stand down now”

Red Bull Hopes to Improve Webber’s Starts
In his final eight races under the control of Red Bull, that team hopes to improve Mark Webber’s starts. Though it has become a bit of a joke in Formula 1 over the Australian’s years in the paddock that his starts are not perhaps as robust as might be requested, Chirstian Horner said, “We particularly need to address the start issue with Mark” after last week’s Belgian GP. It’s impossible to say why now, but Red Bull has only a seventy-seven point lead over Mercedes with plenty of time to lose points in the constructor’s championship before the season end.

As always, don’t forget about #F1Chat later today. Check out the questions and start pondering your answers.

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