F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
January 15, 2004
Barrichello Signs New Two-Year Deal
Brazilian driver Rubens Barrichello has signed a $15m, two-year
extension to his Ferrari racing deal in Formula One, the Maranello
team announced on Wednesday.
It covers the 2005 and 2006 seasons, according to a spokesman.
Barrichello, who'll be 34 when the new deal expires, faced the press
with the good news at his team's annual ski meeting in Madonna di
'I'm very proud,' said Rubens, who joined the Scuderia in late 1999.
He continued, 'I have done this at the right moment in my career and
it is another step forward. Ferrari are happy with me and I am happy
Barrichello said the two-year deal would not let him relax on the
grand prix grid because there is still a 'lot of work to do.'
The news serves as a blow to Roman hopeful Giancarlo Fisichella who's
recent Sauber switch was seen as a move closer to the world
Former Ferrari tester Felipe Massa was also linked to the drive.
The amiable 31-year-old, Barrichello - who still lives in his home
city of Sao Paulo - said he expected '04 to hold race wins and his
future to fulfil a dream.
'I expect to win the world championship,' he said. 'At least one.'
Barrichello Had Other Options On F1 Grid
A two-year offer from Ferrari was not Rubens Barrichello's only option
to keep charging on the Formula One grid beyond this season.
The Brazilian revealed at a ski/press meeting in the Italian alps that
there were 'other contacts' that would have kept him racing in 2005
'That is certain,' said Barrichello. 'But my first option was always
to stay with Ferrari.'
Rubens said his management stayed firm with the Maranello-based outfit
that a new deal should cover at least two seasons.
'We never talked about a [single] year,' the 31-year-old added.
'So in view of the mutual faith we have in each other, we took the
path that led to the signing of this contract which took place
And Barrichello insists that, despite external assessments of his
over-emotional character, doubts over his future in the paddock
nonetheless left him 'calm.'
'I kept my feet on the ground,' he said of the long wait for a new
deal. 'I knew that this contract was not related to the same dates as
'I had other options but Ferrari's was the best. I kept cool.'
Fisichella Happy With 31st Birthday Present
On Wednesday, Sauber presented their new Formula One driver, Giancarlo
Fisichella, with a personally-crafted 31st birthday cake.
But that wasn't the Roman's best present at the Valencia race-circuit.
Here, at the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo, he got
33 laps at the wheel of his brand-new racing car, the Ferrari-powered
Fisichella completed a program which focused on functionality tests,
according to a press statement issued by the independent Hinwil-based
'The new car felt good on the track,' he said. 'I did a few runs in
the afternoon and everything went well.'
Giancarlo, who's been on the Formula One grid full-time since 1997,
noted that usually at a roll-out, there are 'some problems.
'But today everything was working perfectly,' he smiled.
Fisichella, one of F1's most highly-rated, endured a horror year of
competitiveness in 2003 in a Jordan despite his rain-soaked win at
Next week, Sauber heads to the Circuit de Catalunya with its new C23.
'Then we can make comparisons with other cars and see just how
competitive we are,' Fisichella continued. 'C23 ran so well, so I'm
RB: Three More Chances To Claim Schu's Title
Rubens Barrichello sees a new Ferrari contract set to run until the
end of '06 as 'three more chances' to claim his first F1 drivers'
The 31-year-old's deal brings him up-to-speed with team-mate Michael
Schumacher and Jean Todt and Ross Brawn, all under contract for three
Rubens, who arrived at Ferrari to replace Eddie Irvine for the start
of season 2000, said he hasn't yet 'arrived at the top of my
Moreover, former world champion Niki Lauda believes that Barrichello
is even better than his superstar team-mate from Germany at setting up
a grand prix car.
'When he is faced with a 'funny' car,' said the Austrian, who also
raced scarlet cars in the Seventies, 'Rubens can often get more out of
it than Michael.'
Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn seems to partly agree.
'Many times Michael has adopted Rubens' set-up,' said the large
Briton. '[The Brazilian] is always underrated.'
Rubens Is Underrated: Ferrari's Brawn
Rubens Barrichello is an underrated Formula One driver.
That's the assessment of Ferrari's technical director Ross Brawn who
questions a corner of the racing press which is claiming surprise at
his new two-year deal.
'Rubens is always underrated,' said the burly Briton.
He added, 'But he is always a valued member of the team.'
Barrichello's new $15 million contract, which scuppers the scarlet
hopes of Giancarlo Fisichella and Felipe Massa, was announced in Italy
Brawn said the 31-year-old's contribution to Ferrari was highlighted
'The short practice before [one-lap] qualifying obliged us sometimes
to have the drivers following different paths, and then we chose the
best one,' he said.
He revealed that 'Many times Michael adopted Rubens' set-up.'
Brawn said Ferrari has always been 'totally confident' in everything
that Rubens Barrichello does on and off the Formula One race circuits.
The conclusion of Rubens' new 2-year agreement will mark an almost
unprecedented seven-year stay in scarlet for the amiable and
Williams 'On Alert' For New F1 Driver
Formula One team principal Sir Frank Williams is in no rush to select
a replacement for McLaren-bound defector Juan Pablo Montoya.
The Colombian, JPM, won't swap his BMW-branded overalls until late
this year but budding alternatives, like Mark Webber and Jenson
Button, are already lining up.
'We are not giving the question of 2005 too much thought right now,'
Montoya's current 28-year-old team-mate, German ace Ralf Schumacher,
is likely to sort out a contract dispute and stay at Williams for a
couple more years.
Williams said his Grove-based talent spotters are on the 'alert.'
But he cautioned, 'I'm not standing on the street corner keeping a
BMW-Williams has announced its intention to give second test drives to
two sons of former Formula One world champions, Nico Rosberg and
Nelson Piquet Jnr.
Ecclestone Pledges Support For Bahrain
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has re-asserted his support for the
inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix in the face of persistent terror threats.
The 73-year-old said Formula One was 'extremely serious' about its new
commitment in the Middle East and would continue to offer 'full
He added in a statement issued on Wednesday: 'We have a long-term
agreement with Bahrain to organize the grand prix.'
Bahrain will host its - and its region's - first-ever F1 race, on a
purpose-built, $150 million facility in the deserts near Sakhir, in
April this season.
Bernie said 'nobody' is immune from terrorists who nonetheless
particularly threaten the Middle Eastern region, according to the
British Foreign Office.
Ecclestone insisted that neither he nor the circuit have received any
The head of F1's commercial destiny visited the International Circuit
near Manama late last year and reckons the construction is ahead of
'The entire Middle East region is a victim to [terrorist threats],'
added a spokesman for the Bahrain Formula One circuit near capital
He added, 'Bahrain takes its national security as a matter of
paramount importance and is working ... to minimize any risk.'
Villeneuve Is Paying For Arrogance: Rubens
When Jacques Villeneuve gets to the end of this season having failed
to turn a single lap in a Formula One car, he would have paid for
years of arrogance.
That's the opinion of Brazilian ace Rubens Barrichello who, on
Wednesday, celebrated a new two-year extension to his contract with
In total contrast, JV - the 1997 world champion - is left out in the
cold after an unceremonious dumping by BAR-Honda and a snubbing by the
rest of pitlane.
'He is paying for all he has said over the years,' 31-year-old Rubens
insisted at Ferrari's ski/press meeting in the Italian alps yesterday.
Barrichello said Jacques, from Canada, had 'no respect' for anyone.
'He didn't respect [Jenson] Button and is perhaps paying for that -
for his arrogance,' said the Ferrari driver.
Nonetheless, Rubens insists that Villeneuve is a 'good driver' and
passes on his wishes that he'll find another role in pitlane before
RB also rejected the media's wild and widespread praise for Formula
One's youngest-ever winner, Fernando Alonso, who's 'far from' the
Barrichello said when he arrived at Ferrari in late 1999, as a
27-year-old, he was 'very young' and drove only with 'passion and
He added, 'I've learned to use my head as well as my arms and legs. I
said some years ago 'enough tears and more work'. I've grown up.'
Teammate Schu Is Privilege, Not Problem: RB
Having Michael Schumacher as a teammate is a privilege, not a problem,
according to the German's long-term F1 team-mate Rubens Barrichello.
The Brazilian, having signed a new two-year deal with Ferrari, looks
set to pilot Michael Schumacher's sister scarlet car to the end of
'To have Michael on the team is something to be proud of, and for me
it's not a problem,' said the 31-year-old at an Italian press call in
Rubens' predecessor Eddie Irvine once said that holding town the job
as Schumacher's on-track lackey is the toughest position in all of
But Barrichello insists that he 'never thought' about waiting until
the German's contract ended before pushing for the number-one drive at
Similarly, he also disputes his press-label as Ferrari's number-two.
'If I am to win, it has to be regardless of whether Michael is on the
team,' said Rubens, who is the last of the Ferrari 'dream team' to get
a new contract.
He concluded, 'When I saw the others like Michael, Ross and Jean
renewing their contracts, I always said that I would be happy also to
Rubens Looks Beyond 2006
Rubens Barrichello is already looking beyond a newly-announced
two-year extension to his Ferrari contract in Formula One.
The Brazilian insists that at the end of 2006, when he's thirty-four
years old, 'I'm sure I'll still want to continue to race.'
He added, 'If I still have the determination and the calmness that I
have found, then yeah, for sure. Why would I want to quit?'
Rubens thanked teams Jordan and Stewart for giving him his start in
the sport but says after four years at the Prancing Horse he's finally
Bahrain To Stage Exciting Races: Jordan
Eddie Jordan believes Formula One's newest racing destination, amid
the desert sands in the south of Bahrain, is destined to stage
exciting grands prix.
The F1 team principal, last weekend, met with the Crown Prince Shaikh
Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, toured the impressive circuit and
inspected the pit complex.
'I am amazed at this place,' he said at the time.
Jordan reckons too many people involved in Formula One don't
appreciate the effort and time that is put into building new race
EJ has also visited the new track being built for the Chinese GP in
'The unique aspects of this circuit are its strong links to Arabian
culture and tradition, aspects exuded by the surroundings and
buildings,' he added.
Bahrain will also pose a challenge for the drivers, Jordan insists.
He said the circuit in the desert to the south of Manama provides a
number of quick corners and 'super-fast straights.'
'It also, importantly, is going to provide drivers with overtaking
opportunities,' the flamboyant Irishman predicted.
India Races Towards Seven-Year F1 Deal
Plans for an Indian Grand Prix are progressing, according to F1
Reports are beginning to emerge that the series' supremo Bernie
Ecclestone will meet officials for the touted project in Hyderabad on
Thursday for more talks.
Speculation says a race on the sub-continent from 2007 is now likely.
A draft agreement is already in place and will be discussed at the
meeting with Bernie before a formal announcement is expected in the
Sources on the negotiating team told the local press that this round
of talks could settle the 'entire issue' of the speculated Indian
Media and television rights will take priority, one source asserted.
A 1,367-acre plot of land for the project at Gopanapally Village, on
the outskirts of Hyderabad, has been selected for the seven-year
Parry-Jones Calls For Concorde Overhaul
Richard Parry-Jones, chief executive at Jaguar's F1 backer Ford, has
called for an immediate review of the current Concorde Agreement.
The Briton, also a director of the GPWC 'alternate' series, reckons
costs are escalating out of control in F1 and the current contract
needs a re-vamp.
FIA president Max Mosley recently admitted he had given up the quest
to cut costs in the series because he faced too much opposition from
the top teams.
He added, 'We can have a bit of a go in World Rally, but we can't in
F1 because of the Concorde Agreement.'
Parry-Jones' solution is to review Concorde, not set to be
re-negotiated until the end of the 2007 season, and write in a way to
bring costs under control.
Currently, any new regulation - particularly on the technical side -
requires the unanimous agreement of the ten Formula One teams before
'One of the reasons we formed GPWC was to gain agreement about the
right kinds of measures needed to control costs,' Richard told
'We've got to have a collaborative effort.'
Parry-Jones has previously stated that the way to save the pinnacle of
motor sport from its spiraling costs is through 'better distribution'
Barrichello Does Not Have Ferrari Parity
Rubens Barrichello could have been Formula One's world champion of
2003, according to the Brazilian's former team boss and mentor, Sir
Stewart, for whose team the 31-year-old drove until he switched to
Ferrari in 2000, insists that the focus of Maranello's attention is on
'I think Rubens would have been in exactly the same world championship
position as his team-mate,' said Stewart, upon hearing of Rubens' new
Barrichello has insisted, from day one at Jean Todt's scarlet team,
that he is a kind of 'number one-B' to six-times world champion
Stewart doesn't agree.
'Irrespective of everybody wanting to give both cars equal attention,'
said the triple world champion and Scot, 'the focus has been directed
more to Michael.'
He added, 'Of that, there's no doubt.'
But Rubens, who praises JYS for getting him right in the 'mind
management' department, might just be ready to take the fight to his
Sir Jackie Stewart, also president of the BRDC, concluded: 'I really
think Rubens is capable of doing the job that Michael is doing right
Sauber Lauds 'Remarkable' C23 Roll-Out
Peter Sauber extolled a 'remarkable' roll-out of his Formula One's
team's handsome new challenger at the Ricardo Tormo (Valencia) circuit
New signing Giancarlo Fisichella, of Rome, completed 33 trouble-free
laps in the pragmatic new design which takes several visible cues from
'This many trouble-free laps in a half day of testing is a remarkable
roll-out for us and just the right birthday present for Giancarlo,'
Pushed on a detailed assessment of the Ferrari-powered C23's merits,
however, Sauber insisted that it's way 'too early' to say anything
'We won't know anything about the potential of the car until we can
compare it to other teams,' the German-speaking Swiss continued.
Sauber, meanwhile - sixth in last year's constructors championship -
will do precisely that at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya race-track
from next week.
Technical director at Sauber, Willy Rampf, said the roll-out program
involved tests of the C23 car's cooling, electronics, and fuel and
'The results are satisfying,' he said.
Rampf continued, 'Tomorrow we plan to run different setups and will
use the day to familiarize ourselves with the performance
characteristics of the new car.'
Fisichella's team-mate Felipe Massa takes over the driving on Friday.
Rubens: Montoya Faces Tough F1 Season
F1 driver Rubens Barrichello agrees with Ferrari's technical director
that BMW-Williams ace Juan Pablo Montoya might endure a decidedly
The Colombian, Montoya, has already confirmed his switch to McLaren
ahead of 2005 and that might be the source of friction, according to
Montoya thinks Brawn and Ferrari are simply winding him up.
Brawn's scarlet driver Barrichello, however, appeared to echo the
sentiment when interviewed at the Madonna di Campiglio press call in
Italy on Wednesday.
The Brazilian said if everything is hunky-dory, and Montoya is
fighting for the world title, 'then he'll give his all because he
wants to win.'
Rubens and 28-year-old Juan Pablo are often seen hanging-out in the
But if the Bogota-born 'bruiser' is having a tough season, and is
half-way down the drivers' standings, he's going to have to dig deep,
according to Rubens.
'He's going to need a very good head to be motivated to have the
concentration and the focus to continue to try and win,' said
Rubens concluded, 'If he starts to think that next season is going to
be different then it will be difficult, sure.'
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