F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
March 22, 2004
Webber admits Jaguar 'stuffed' Sunday
If Mark Webber was elated on Saturday afternoon, his delight had gone
full-circle by mid-distance in the Malaysian Grand Prix after an
'I'm ugly enough to know this is our sport,' said the Australian.
Webber, 27, had wrestled his Jaguar R5 to the front-row of the grid
but fell into the clasp of the mid-field pack when his
start-technology failed him.
'We stuffed up the most important part,' he barked at reporters in
'You've got to get off the line.'
Mark started a fight-back to the front of the field but ran into Ralf
Schumacher after 'pissing' the German off by overtaking him no less
than two times.
Webber got a puncture, and then sped in pitlane when he got it fixed.
'It damaged the diffuser,' said the Aussie. 'The speeding was my fault
- and I think because of the damage it hurt the tires and that's why I
spun it out.'
Schu doesn't expect dream F1-season
Malaysian GP winner Michael Schumacher does not think the first two
grands prix of the season indicate an imminent cruise to a seventh F1
'That's two races down,' said the German, 'but sixteen go to.'
Unlike in Australia, the 35-year-old Ferrari driver did not coast to a
one-minute victory at Sepang but analysts believe the run was very
'I'm not relaxed,' Schumacher countered. 'I have 20 points in my
pocket, which is better than last year, but I was under pressure all
the way today.'
The gap to BMW-Williams' Juan Pablo Montoya fluctuated throughout the
'When we needed to be quick,' Michael admitted, 'we were quick
Schumacher also confessed that a maximum-point start to the new
Formula One season does make it an 'easier' platform for the
championship than last year.
'It is a better start,' he smiled, dedicating the win to five-year-old
'It would be a dream to stay in front but we don't live in dreams.'
Bridgestone no longer second-best in heat
Sunday in Malaysia demonstrated that Bridgestone is no-longer the
second best Formula One tyre supplier when track-temperatures go
through the roof.
It was cooler at Sepang during the grand prix than at any other time
all weekend but, even still, new compounds for Ferrari seemed a
'This has really showed that our performance was consistent and quick
in these tough conditions,' said Bridgestone's technical manager Hisao
'Temperatures were in the forties and still we had a strong
Bridgestone is poised to bring new compounds to further grands prix.
'I think this is a turning-point,' said the Japanese, 'and our rivals
can expect us to be strong this year even if we have a scorching
Ferrari technical-director Ross Brawn said the win in Malaysia 'means
more' than the win in Australia given the expectation that
rivals-Michelin would dominate.
'When you think about the fact that we've struggled here in previous
years,' said the Briton, 'then I think this really is down to
Race-winner Michael Schumacher's tyres, however, were not fully
Analysis shows the performance went up-and-down all race but were good
towards the end of each-sector so he was able to build-up gaps at the
Struggling team McLaren has improved
It might not look like it, but McLaren has improved since Melbourne.
David Coulthard struggled home for sixth-place, and Finnish team-mate
Kimi Raikkonen again collected 'nil points' as his transmission
The 24-year-old 'Iceman' then lost his cool when he violently-shoved a
Malaysian track-marshal as he was escorted out of the scorching
gravel-trap to safety.
'We have increased the competitiveness of the car,' said team boss Ron
Dennis said an intensive 'test and development programme' will
continue in the run-up to Bahrain and expects the MP4-19 to be even
quicker in the Middle East.
Coulthard said his silver-car was hard to handle on the Sepang-track.
'In the fast corners,' said the Scot, 'it was difficult and at one
point I very nearly lost it altogether when I had a moment - but I
managed to hold it.'
Raikkonen, meanwhile, reckons a podium was within reach before, for
the second time this season, he pulled-over with a smoking
Mercedes-powered MP4-19 car.
'We've got to improve the reliability,' said Mercedes' boss Norbert
Jaguar to investigate start-line fault
Jaguar has vowed to investigate Mark Webber's start-line fault.
For the first time since 1981, an Australian was on the front-row of a
Formula One grid but he was swallowed-up by the mid-field when five
Team-mate Christian Klien also suffered a slot-start in Malaysia.
'We'll investigate why,' said a team-spokesman, who insisted that both
men had completed successful and quick-starts during the rest of the
20-year-old Klien said he was 'frustrated' by his own poor
BMW failure due to 'defective' part
The Formula One team had a better race-pace than in Australia, but
still BMW-Williams has work to do in order to match the form of
Juan Pablo Montoya put the FW26 on the podium, and pitwall-residents
like Sam Michael - chief operations engineer - heaved a little sigh of
'It was better in the race than in qualifying,' said the Australian.
'But we've got work to do - on the chassis, the engine, the tyres.'
WORK TO DO
Montoya's race team-mate Ralf Schumacher smoked out of the event with
a BMW engine-failure, the first-such occurrence in seventeen grands
Michael said Juan's race was a 'cool blooded' performance.
After Schumacher's engine-failure, and Montoya had given-up the fight
to Michael Schumacher, BMW turned-down the revs on the Colombian's own
'The failure was completely unexpected,' said BMW chief Mario
'It must have been due to a defective part.'
Montoya accuses friend of 'dirty' racing
The friendship of South American Formula One drivers Juan Pablo
Montoya (BMW-Williams) and Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) was strained
even more in Malaysia.
Montoya accused the Ferrari star of performing an illegal blocking
'I came out of the last pit stop behind Rubens,' said the Colombian.
'I got a run on him but I moved and he closed the door. Then he slowed
The BMW-Williams driver, who was successfully chasing-down the
race-leading Ferrari of Michael Schumacher, said Barrichello had made
a 'dirty' move.
CLOSED THE DOOR
'I knew I should not even try to pass,' he said.
'I just backed off and cruised.'
Montoya got a penalty in the United States Grand Prix last season
after a collision with Barrichello, which effectively ended his charge
for the F1-title.
'When you're not in a Ferrari,' said Montoya, 'it's better to back
'It's better to go home with eight points than none at all.'
Button and father embrace in F1-paddock
Jenson Button and father John stood in the Formula One
paddock in embrace.
The BAR-Honda driver had just emerged from his first-ever
post-race media conference after powering to the podium in
nearly his seventieth grand prix.
'He did it all himself - he deserves it,' John told The
LIT UP CIGAR
Champagne-soaked Button also saved a hug for his countryman
and team boss David Richards, who lit-up a cigar to
celebrate the first-podium under his reign.
'He got this podium in a straight-fight with the best in
Formula One,' he said.
Richards added in Malaysia: 'That's real proof of how far
Fellow British racer David Coulthard paid tribute to
'He's been close to it for a while now - it's a great day
'Your first podium is special. It is a great feeling.'
Minardi gets welcome cash-boost
Struggling Formula One team Minardi has received a welcome
Long-time sponsor Allegrini has not only re-signed as a
commercial partner, the Italian team announced in Malaysia,
but it has increased its financial support.
The detergents company, therefore, gets a prominent decal on
the PS04B's nose.
'It shows that we're able to deliver a package that
consistently meets their specific marketing and promotional
requirements,' said boss Paul Stoddart.
Renault expected to fight up-front
Renault expected to fight up the front in Sunday's Malaysian
Team managing director Flavio Briatore was disappointed to
see drivers Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso finish the race
only fifth and seventh respectively.
A team statement said Italian Trulli's car suffered from
And team-mate Fernando Alonso, just 22-years-old, started at
the back of the grid and was switched to a two-stop strategy
so he could avoid the slower pack.
'The gamble didn't pay off,' said a team source.
Briatore explained: 'The result didn't match up to our
'We'll learn from our mistakes and achieve our full
potential in Bahrain.'
Toyota unimpressed by Panis' contempt
Toyota's top-personnel looked unimpressed when veteran
Formula One driver powered down pitlane and offered them the
universal hand-sign of contempt.
The 37-year-old was tipped into a spin at the start but
fought back to run quite strongly in tenth place when a
so-called 'radio communication' error occurred.
'It resulted in an unscheduled pit-stop,' the Frenchman said
'It's a real pity because the car was handling well.'
Team principal Tsutomu Tomita took-heart in the two-car
'It underlines the reliability of the TF104,' said the
'We certainly need to find some more pace but it's a little
In Panis' anger at strolling into the pits unnecessarily, he
was slapped with a drive-through penalty for releasing the
speed-limiter a little too early.
Second time through, he had tempered his disdain with a
shake of the head.
Montoya bemoans the 'blue Ferrari'
Juan Pablo Montoya had a much better race-start in the heat
The Colombian didn't get off the line very well at the
season-opening Australian Grand Prix as he and BMW-Williams
adjust to a new rule outlawing launch-control.
'The reaction of the car was a big difference,' he said in
Montoya finished second to Michael Schumacher on Sunday but
his good start was hampered a bit when he came across the
slow-moving Jaguar of Mark Webber.
'I moved off the line very quickly,' he explained.
'But I had to swerve pretty much straight away and that
kills the acceleration.
'But apart from that it was no problem.'
Montoya, 28, also came across a couple more slow-moving
obstacles in his quest to beat Michael Schumacher to the
line - and both of them were Ferrari-powered.
Juan accused Rubens Barrichello of blocking him, as well as
'It's a bit of a shame,' he said of the Sauber's actions -
'the blue Ferrari.'
Alonso blames team for lost points
Fernando Alonso blamed a disappointing result in Malaysia on
his F1 team.
When the Spaniard came in for service in his second out of
three scheduled pit-stops Renault, without notice, had
decided to top him up to go to the finish.
'What we did was not what we had planned,' he told
'I don't even know why they changed it.'
DIDN'T PAY OFF
Alonso, 22, started at the rear of the grid but the team
decided to change the strategy when his charge for the front
halted in a gaggle of slower cars.
'I think I could have finished even higher up,' Alonso said.
The man behind the decision, Pat Symonds, admitted the move
didn't pay off.
'But he didn't lose any positions,' the engineering chief
Alonso said he was not consulted or even warned of the
He concluded: 'Yesterday, I made the mistake - today, the
Ralf, Webber, accuse each other
Ralf Schumacher and Mark Webber exchanged accusations after
damaging their Formula One cars in a racing-accident during
Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix.
'I overtook him - twice,' said Australia's star of Jaguar
'I think Ralf was pissed off. I just felt something in the
back. It damaged the diffuser and it caused me to come into
the pits because it cut the tyre.'
BMW-Williams' Schumacher sees it another way.
'I made contact with Webber on the third lap,' the
'My front wing was damaged. I was trying to overtake him but
I got to the point when I realised there was not enough room
so I backed off to avoid a hit.
'But Mark didn't give me enough space. He was being pretty
Don't expect much of Dixon: Montoya
Former CART champion Juan Pablo Montoya has warned the
racing-world world against expecting too much from the first
Formula One test of Scott Dixon.
The reigning Indy Racing League champion, who drives a Chip
Ganassi-prepared car, is scheduled to try a BMW-Williams at
this week's Paul Ricard F1-test.
'For the last while he's just been doing ovals,' said
Montoya in Malaysia.
'So it might take him a bit of time to get into the rhythm.'
Montoya, 28, also earned his US-championship in a Chip
Ganassi car as did Sir Frank Williams' driver of the 1999
season, Italian speedster Alex Zanardi.
'He's pretty good,' the Colombian said of New Zealand's top
'The first test ... don't expect anything from Scott - but
the second test that he'll do in Barcelona in April will see
him be a little bit more competitive.'
Montoya is the only Williams driver not scheduled to drive
in France this week.
Teammate Ralf Schumacher will join testers Marc Gene and
Bahrain should get F1 sell-out
Bahrain should have a full-house for its inaugural Formula
There are just thirteen-days left until the first grand prix
in the Middle East and organisers said on Sunday that it had
already sold 30,000 race-tickets.
That's more than 75 percent of the tickets put on sale to
nationals of no less than 40 countries, according to
chairman Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohammad Al-Khalifa.
7,500 tickets were reserved for university students, he
Malaysia's Sepang organisers, meanwhile, stunned attendees
at the grand prix on Sunday when it claimed that 90,000
others watched Michael Schumacher win.
Certainly, the Prime Minister of the country was one
Despite the fact that it was general-election day, PM Datuk
Seri Abdullah Badawi arrived at the track near Kuala-Lumpur
thirty-minutes after the race started.
The Sultan of Brunei was also spotted among the dignitaries.
Renault promise engine evolution by Imola
Renault has promised an evolution to its new V10-engine by
So far, the team's new 72-degree unit has had bullet-proof
reliability but a step in performance is now on-line for the
first race of the European season.
'We haven't sought to hide the fact that we would introduce
an evolution in Imola,' said Renault's engine operations
boss Denis Chevrier in Malaysia.
The Frenchman said 'other modifications' will follow later
Although there were no particular engine problems in
Malaysia, both F1-drivers complained of poor handling and
lost performance at certain points of the race.
Chevrier added: 'We need to establish why.
'Having said that, the speed came back at the end of the
Nothing can stop Schumacher: Michelin
Nothing can stop Michael Schumacher from cruising to a
seventh F1 title.
That's the view of Pierre Dupasquier, the
competition-director for Michelin.
Asked whether anything could stop the German's
Bridgestone-clad Ferrari juggernaut, Dupasquier - a
Frenchman - replied: 'I don't see how.'
He added that Michelin's biggest handicap to Japanese-made
Bridgestone is that all the red-points go to Schumacher,
while Michelin must share the plaudits.
'All of our partners are close to each other,' Pierre told
Ferrari praise look-alike Sauber
Question - how often does one F1 team praise another in an
Answer - not often.
But that's what happened on Sunday afternoon in Malaysia
after Scuderia Ferrari surveyed the official score-sheet
printed by the sport's governing body.
The top-eight finishers at grands prix earn
championship-points, and three of those cars in the heat of
Sepang were powered by engines produced by Ferrari.
Sauber's Felipe Massa crossed the line in eighth-place.
FOUR FERRARI ENGINES
'It is very satisfying to see four Ferrari engines make it
to the flag, three of them in the points,' said Ferrari's
team principal Jean Todt in Malaysia.
The Frenchman added: 'I must congratulate Sauber on their
'This season, it is no easy task finishing in the points.'
Massa, the 22-year-old Brazilian, was an official tester for
Ferrari last season and he may still drive a scarlet car in
2004 to help Maranello's development.
What's more, his Sauber-C23 is a practical look-alike of the
The two Formula One teams run on Bridgestone tyres and
Sauber's new approach to adopting Ferrari-like design
strategies may help Ferrari collect more data.
Sauber also make-use of a Ferrari-made gearbox and
Feedback can be sent to
Go to our
to discuss this article
Back to the top
AutoRacing1 is an
independent internet online publication and is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed
by CART Inc., NASCAR, FIA, FedEx, Nextel, or any other series sponsor.
This material may not be published, broadcast, or redistributed without
Copyright 1999 -
AutoRacing1, Hamilton, NJ