F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
February 20, 2004
Sauber Offer To Cool-Down Ferrari
Sauber are to offer details of an innovative new cooling system on its
Formula One race-car to engine-supplier and world champion team
The famous Italian marque, which takes up to $25m from Sauber for
supplying same-spec V10 engines, has a close relationship with its
Sauber's new-car is also fitted with a Ferrari-designed gearbox.
Reports in the Italian media reckon Sauber's cooling system is
ultra-compact and therefore increases aerodynamic performance by
allowing for smaller air intakes.
UNVEILED LOOK-ALIKE F2003-GA
Peter Sauber's team unveiled a look-alike 2003-Ferrari racer, dubbed
C23, in Austria this season, reportedly to aid in Ferrari's collection
A spokesman for the privately-owned outfit refused to make direct
He told us: 'Irrespective of your specific request concerning our
cooling system, we generally don't discuss technical details of our
race car in public.'
Sauber's radiators, to be fitted to the new Ferrari F2004 later this
season, feature a rounded front section to increase cooling
surface-area but not size.
Raikkonen Sets New Lap Record
Kimi Raikkonen proved McLaren might not be in as much trouble as
predicted by smashing a new record established only 24-hours earlier
at the Valencia circuit.
The Finn, in his on/off-form MP4-19 Mercedes-powered car, bettered the
mantle set earlier this week by the innovative new BMW-Williams of
Juan Pablo Montoya.
Raikkonen's time was 1.08.995; but Australian Mark Webber was the
first ace to get heads turning in Spain on Thursday when he also
grabbed an impressive lap.
OUT OF WOODS?
Analysts, however, insist that McLaren aren't yet out of the woods.
The Woking-based team turned up at Barcelona more than a week ago and
never got higher than the midfield; but the previous test at Valencia
was much better.
'We didn't have a good test in Barcelona,' Kimi told reporters in
Spain. 'I don't know why because the test before in Valencia we went
He said: 'It's worrying because there is not long until the season
F1 Rookie Has Work To Do
Zsolt Baumgartner has some work to do.
The Hungarian F1 rookie had his first taste of driving a
850-horsepower Minardi in the rain in Thursday (Imola) and wound-out
the day 8-seconds too slow.
'I'm aware I need to improve,' said the 23-year-old.
'We made some progress but I feel we still need to find a good balance
for the wet. I struggled mainly with traction when the track was
starting to dry.'
NOT TOO HARD ON ROOKIE
Team manager Massimo Rivola opted against being too hard on the lad
who carries personal-backing and additional financial-support from his
'I'd say he's becoming more confident with the car and improving
steadily and consistently. Only at the end of the day he came off and
did a bit of damage.'
Owner and principal Paul Stoddart wasn't overly concerned that PS04B
got its first shower of rain in Italy as he expects grey-clouds to
gather in Melbourne.
The Aussie said: 'This could prove useful. We now move on to the first
race of the season - I'm sure it will prove to be an exciting year of
* Renault's Jarno Trulli, 2nd-quickest at Imola, had an hydraulic
Coronel To Sign As 'Third' Driver
Tom Coronel is about to become Formula One's newest driver.
The little-known Dutchman, with local company Wilux, may be part of a
deal to see the company become title-sponsor in 2004 at
back-of-the-grid team Minardi.
Coronel and Ruud Wildschut, a Wilux director, met Stoddart at
Rotterdam Airport late on Thursday afternoon to discuss the deal and a
'third driver' role.
MEETING IN ROTTERDAM
'Ruud Wildschut called me three weeks ago,' Coronel told the press,
'and today I had to come to Rotterdam to discuss things with Paul
Some reports insist that Coronel, Wildschut and Stoddart actually put
pen to paper on a contract, but our sources maintain that a deal may
not be complete.
One source said Coronel is just a 'promotional part' of the Wilux
* Coronel, the 32-year-old who lives in Huizen, drove touring-cars
last season but was Formula Nippon champion of 1999 and has also won
titles in Formula 3.
Teen Thanked For Speeding In Bahrain
A teenage-driver has been thanked for nearing 300kmh on a public road.
Formula One tester Neel Jani, from Switzerland, fired his
Ferrari-powered Sauber C22 along the King Faisal Highway in the
Kingdom of Bahrain on Thursday.
Twenty-thousand local F1-fans turned out to watch a grand prix
charger, for the first-time ever, drive his racer ahead of the
inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix.
'I'm very proud that I was the very first to drive a F1 car in the
Middle East,' said Jani. 'And it's also the first time I've legally
jumped a red light!'
Sakhir, near the capital city of Manama, will host Formula One this
April on its nearly-completed, $150 million, custom-built Bahrain
'Those attending .. will experience the thrilling atmosphere of the
championship at close quarters,' said chairman Shaikh Fawaz bin
Mohammed Al Khalifa.
* Neel Jani stopped off at the construction site and was 'impressed'
by the ultra-modern F1 facility. 'I can't wait to see the race,' said
Ferrari Cancel New-Car F1 Test
Ferrari called off development on its new F1 charger at Mugello on
But worry not, fans of the scarlet team; it was the Italian rain and
flurries of snow - not a technical drama - that halted Michael
The German ace managed only an out-lap before the bad weather hit.
'We are prepared for the debut,' said the 35-year-old. 'The weather
has been bad today but we are already ahead of the program and ready
for the season.'
ROOM TO IMPROVE
For the first time since 2001, Ferrari are planning to unload a
brand-new challenger - as opposed to a development of its predecessor
- in Australia.
'There are things to improve but that's normal,' Schumacher continued.
'We've tested alone so we don't know where the other teams are,
really,' he said, 'but we think we have a good car. That's the most
* At Imola, Schumacher's test-deputy Luca Badoer was fastest of a
field of eight - including Renault, Sauber, Jordan and Minardi - in an
older F2003-GA car.
Bahrain Ready For First F1 Race
Bahrain is ready to host the Middle East's first-ever Formula One
Despite reports that the track near Manama is behind schedule and may
fail FIA inspections, the $150m circuit will be ready but just days
before a deadline.
Cebarco Engineering is building the circuit and insists that
'everything will be completed' by March the 2nd, five days before it's
handed-over to F1 officials.
The 2004 Bahrain Grand Prix is scheduled for April 2 - 4.
Project director James Chai added: 'There still a little touching-up
TOOK 14 MONTHS TO COMPLETE
The circuit's chairman, however, told the media on Thursday that if
Bernie Ecclestone decided to push the race forward to tomorrow, it
could be done.
'All the electronic equipment for the race has been installed,' he
* Despite the optimistic pleas, however, Bahrain's first planned
single-seater race, a Euro 3000 championship round scheduled for March
19, has been cancelled.
'Top priority is given to F1,' read a statement explaining the joint
decision, 'because the circuit has to be in perfect condition for ...
Raikkonen Needs More Power
McLaren's new MP4-19 racer needs more power and more reliability.
That was the distinctly downcast appraisal of runner-up champion Kimi
Raikkonen on Thursday as he mused on disappointing test-results of the
He told Autosport: 'I guess we need more horsepower but it is not so
easy to find. I'm sure we are not on the level of BMW (Williams) or
'First we have to try to get [the car] to be reliable.'
Analysts predict the main problems as on the new Mercedes-Benz V10
powerplant, which has been 'turned down' in a last-ditch bid to get it
to last the distance.
New rules in 2004 require that just one-engine (per car) be used all
Raikkonen, 24, and team-mate veteran David Coulthard didn't impress
the pace at a recent Barcelona session but Kimi reckons McLaren knows
what the problem is.
'So hopefully we can improve,' he added. 'There is still work to do on
the car but at least it seems to be more reliable now. Now it's just
Poor reliability has had an adverse affect on car-development, said
He concluded: 'They say a solution (to the engine problems) are
coming. For most of the problems there are solutions - it's just that
fixing it takes time.'
Toyota Aim For Podium Finish
F1's youngest team Toyota is aiming for a 'big step forward' this
It will be the Cologne-based marque's third year on the grids but so
far the red-and-whites have only made up the numbers while other teams
fill the podium.
'We are starting to feel that we are gradually recognized as an F1
player,' said Akihiko Saito, Toyota executive vice-president, at a
news conference in Japan.
He said: 'This year we will aim at a podium position.'
Saito confirmed that Toyota is involved in the pinnacle of motor
sports to boost its corporate image and assist sales of road-going
cars in foreign markets.
'This year,' he said, 'we hope to really be part of the F1 community.'
LAST OF MANUFACTURERS
Toyota finished last of the seven automobile manufacturers last
season, so what makes the Japanese-owned team so confident of a
definite step-up this season?
It's really very simple - a new $7m-a-year technical director in Mike
'He's already giving us suggestions,' said team principal Tsutomu
Tomita. 'He's [already] helping with design, strategy and race
'And our machines of 2005 will really reflect his input.'
* Tomita, in Tokyo, admitted that the new TF104 car is 'not
necessarily' the fastest in F1, but said it is 'already an improvement
over our previous models.'
Glock Is Jordan's Friday Tester
F1 team Jordan has signed German rookie Timo Glock as its 'Friday'
The 21-year-old speedster, who won races in Euroseries F3 last season,
will drive all of the official practice sessions of 2004, according to
'Timo ... is one of the most promising talents in Germany,' said Eddie
GERMAN TO DRIVE ALL SEASON
F1's new regulation allows inexperienced drivers to reside a
different-liveried spare-car on Fridays to help 'bottom six' teams
collect additional track data.
It's also a perfect 'training ground' for young drivers,' said Jordan.
The team owner and principal revealed that the 'ultimate aim' was to
bring Glock onto the Formula One circuits as a full-time pilot
some-time in the future.
'I thank the technical staff who made it possible for me to give a
good performance at the [testing sessions] recently,' Timo Glock said
BAR's In The Ballpark, Says Jenson
BAR-Honda is in the 'ballpark' of the top Formula One teams.
According to the Brackley-based outfit's lead driver Jenson Button,
regular podiums are a 'realistic target' for the new season which
starts next month.
He scoffed at claims that impressive performances at recent tests with
the new 006 car, including lap records, were only possible due to 'low
'Maybe people are running more fuel than us,' he said, 'maybe some
people are playing games. But we're quick because of our hard work.
The car is quick.'
EYES RACE WIN
Button, 24, said if regular podiums are possible, 'a win might happen
After four full-seasons in F1, JB is yet to land on the post-race
He said: 'If I don't get one this year there will be something very
The Englishman revealed that he hadn't once hit the pre-season tracks
this winter with the ultimate ambition of smashing lap-records and
'It's just happening,' he told Autosport, 'because we're quick. It's
lifted everyone. Somehow we manage to be quick everywhere we go, which
is good news.'
* Jenson Button was seventh (of 11 runners) in Thursday's trials at
How Many Times Has JPM Been Booked?
Juan Pablo Montoya has lost count of how many times he's been booked
In 2002, the Formula One racer was done in America and last season -
in between duelling for the championship - the Colombian was
pulled-over in France.
'I have a Colombian license and you don't get points on it,' he told
'All they do is ban you in France for two months - so what?! I'm
traveling around so much that I'm hardly there. So what does it
Montoya doesn't like to be in the passenger seat.
'We have a bit of a deal,' he revealed in reference to wife Connie. 'I
drive, but I'm not allowed to go over 125mph. It's a compromise!'
'CRAP' AT SOCCER
The BMW-Williams ace - who'll switch to McLaren in 2005 - might be
worth $18 million behind the wheel, but he's not worth a cent in
'I'm really, really, really crap at it,' he said, 'which is unusual in
'I was always the kid who never got picked at school.'
Montoya said he's never been scared in a racing-car, but he came close
to messing his pants one time in a comparatively tame Citroen Saxo
'I was going about 125mph on a little cliff road on a mountain,' he
said. 'A car drove straight at me, I went off the road, but didn't hit
'I was a lucky boy. I didn't shit my pants but I was pretty shaken
F1 Eyes Dubai
Formula One might stage a second grand prix in the Middle East.
According to a Scottish company, it has won a contract to build a
grandstand and retail buildings for a F1-style circuit in Dubai, in
Bahrain will host the first-ever F1 race in the Middle East in April.
'They see this as a key project so there was a lot of competition,'
said Bone Steel's director Colin Bone, in reference to the more than
$5 million contract.
Scottish steel started leaving Glasgow's dock on Thursday.
Dubai has cropped up a few times in Formula One headlines of recent
weeks; first with the speculated visits of ace drivers Kimi Raikkonen
and Ralf Schumacher.
And other sources speculate that the destination would be an ideal
venue for a non-European base for Formula One, given recent problems
over EU legislation.
FIA president Max Mosley recently hinted that 'a country' - most
likely Dubai - is offering a small fortune to host disgruntled
British-based Formula One teams.
Currency Crisis Hits Formula One
Formula One teams stand to lose more than $100 million this season due
to the diminishing value of the United States Dollar, according to a
Focus-Money, a German business magazine, predicts that this season's
budget of the world championship-winning Ferrari team is $40 million
lower in 2004.
It explains the deficit as due to contracts with financial-sponsors
which stipulate payments to be made in the previously-steady American
The publication continued that, due to the problem, F1 rivals McLaren
and Renault stand to lose $25m each, BMW-Williams about $15m, and
TWO NEW FLYAWAY RACES
Compounding the problem is that F1 teams are being asked to spend
Sir Frank Williams, chief of the aforementioned Oxfordshire-based
outfit, estimated the extra costs involved in racing in China and
Bahrain at $1.8m.
'We do consume cash,' he told Autosport.
'Anybody who isn't worried about that is mad or completely out of
Drivers Not Toyota's Problem
The problem with Toyota is not its Formula One race-drivers.
New technical director Mike Gascoyne insists that Cristiano da Matta
and Olivier Panis would be good enough to win races if the TF104 car
was up to the job.
'Olivier has always been quick enough if you give him the right car,'
the Briton told ITV-F1 in reference to the veteran, 'and Cristiano is
a strong racer.
'Last year he struggled compared to Olivier for outright pace.'
But Gascoyne, who switched from Renault on the promise of a
seven-digit annual salary, admits that drivers aren't the problem as
Toyota eyes season-three.
'We have to design a quicker car,' he said, 'but it won't happen
He revealed 'four steps' of major development on the TF104 this season
and verified that consistent points and fifth in the championship are
'This car is ultimately not quick enough,' Mike confessed. 'But we'll
get the best out of it. Last year, Toyota suffered from a lack of
* McLaren has signed Sparco as a new supplier of 'advanced' Formula
One driving suits designed exclusively to reduce weight and enhance
'We have been wearing a development version of the [suits] at recent
tests and have been impressed with their performance,' said driver
McNish Gets New Career Racing
Allan McNish got his new race-career up and running on Thursday.
The Scotsman, who had hoped to steer a Jordan in F1 this season, ran
in the Audi R8 sportscar for Team Veloqx at Road Atlanta ahead of next
month's Sebring race.
'The Audi and F1 cars are different and I've got to get that feeling
back,' said the former Toyota grand prix driver who tested Renault F1
cars last season.
GETS USED TO SLICKS
McNish last drove the R8 in 2000 and won the endurance race in
He added: 'I've got to get the understanding of even silly things,
like this Audi has got slick tyres - I've been used to grooved tyres.'
Another ex-F1 ace, former Lotus and Jaguar driver Johnny Herbert, is
also at the session and will contest the Sebring and Le Mans 24-Hour
* David Coulthard cast-off the downcast demeanor of his McLaren
teammate on Thursday by refusing to predict how the new MP4-19 lines
up against rivals.
The Scot said at Valencia: 'We'll see in Australia. Right now we're
building up confidence in the car but I can't say who we'll be
fighting at the first race.'
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