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F1 Hot News - II
By Andrew Maitland
April 2, 2004


Fisi doesn't feel well
Giancarlo Fisichella is fending off a high temperature and fever in Bahrain.

Sauber's ace was 17th in the desert on Friday and complained of oversteer.

'It's hard for us to do a laptime on new tires,' said the Italian.

OK WHEN DRIVING

'I haven't felt too well since I got to Bahrain but I'm ok when I'm driving.'

Team-mate Felipe Massa (15th) also complained of turn-in oversteer and spun.

He said: 'If you get even slightly off the line, you're on ice.'








Minardi sign Arab sponsor
Cash-strapped F1-team Minardi has signed an Arab sponsor for the Bahrain GP.

Bank Capital Union's logo is to appear on the sidepods of the PS04B cars.

PARTNERSHIP

The deal forms park of Capital Union's commercial partnership of the circuit.

'We look forward to welcoming their guests to the race,' said boss Paul Stoddart, 'in order to introduce them to the excitement of Formula One.'








Klien quicker than Webber
Christian Klien (5th) was quicker than Jaguar team-mate Mark Webber (8th).

'It was not easy at the start,' said the Austrian rookie on Friday.

'My mechanics did a good job to set the R5 up in the second session.'

Third-driver Bjorn Wirdheim had an hydraulic-leak in the morning session.

'But I got out again in the afternoon,' said the Swede.








Toyota on for Malaysia repeat
Toyota look set to repeat their Malaysian GP form in Bahrain.

Cristiano da Matta (14th) said his TF104 made a 'promising' Friday start.

'Off the line here,' said the Brazilian, 'you go to absolutely zero zip.'

Olivier Panis (16th) made a couple of mistakes in the dust.

BALANCE

'The balance is ok,' said the Frenchman.

Third-ace Ricardo Zonta (10th) was quicker than both race-drivers.

'I think we've found a good compound,' he said.

Mike Gascoyne thinks his team looks 'more competitive' than expected.








Technical problems for Renault
Renault endured a trying start to its Bahrain GP weekend.

In session-one on Friday, Jarno Trulli (18th) suffered a water leak, and his R24 car then stopped out on the circuit with a problem on the engine's fuel system.

It will 'not require' the unit to be changed, said a statement.

BAD LUCK

'It was a bit of bad luck,' said Trulli, 'but it's not too serious.

'It's not a particularly technical layout here.'

Fernando Alonso (9th) didn't fare much better when an hydraulic problem struck.

Head of engine operations Denis Chevrier said the RS24 car engines were, as predicted, polluted by sand, but within manageable and predicted quantities.








Ferrari chased in Bahrain
Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello (1st) finished day-one at Bahrain on top.

'I'm happy,' said the Brazilian, 'but the track has less grip than I thought.'

Team-mate Michael Schumacher (4th) was a few tenths behind and disagreed with many of his track-colleagues by branding the Sakhir layout 'very demanding.

VERY CLOSE

'It seems that everyone is very close,' the German added.

Schumacher was fastest in each sector but could not tie-together a best lap.

Tech-boss Ross Brawn confirmed that Bahrain does not play to the car's strength.








BAR third in Bahrain
BAR was third-quickest in Bahrain ... with tester Anthony Davidson.

His Honda car was, meanwhile, quickest-of-all in the speed trap (326kmh).

'We have not really decided on the [race] tire,' said a pleased Briton.

Jenson Button (7th) returned to the garage with a Michelin tire-puncture.

'I'm relatively happy,' he nonetheless said, 'with the performance.'

Team-mate Takuma Sato (12th) ran-over debris from Fernando Alonso's car.

'I probably lost six or seven tenths on that lap,' said the Japanese.








Pantano makes progress
Giorgio Pantano (13th) is making personal progress on the F1 tracks.

The Italian rookie led the Jordan-Ford effort on Friday and took delight in the fact that their gap to the front of the field seems to have lessened in Bahrain.

'I'm getting more comfortable with the car,' he smiled.

Team-mate Nick Heidfeld (24th) lost most of the afternoon when his EJ14 stopped.

ENGINE PROBLEM

'I prefer more quick corners than this,' the German said.

'My [engine] problem was worse than usual because time here is so valuable.'

Engineering head James Robinson said he 'hopes' the engine can still be used.

Tester Timo Glock (19th) had a small problem with the brakes.

'I had a spin and one or two other mistakes,' the 22-year-old admitted.








Williams on song in Bahrain
Only one Ferrari was quicker than Juan Pablo Montoya's BMW-Williams on Friday.

'I definitely like the track,' said the Colombian in Bahrain.

Team-mate Ralf Schumacher (6th) is also happy with how things are going.

GRIP

'One small problem is that we don't know if the car went faster thanks to the set-up,' said the German, 'or just because of the improved grip levels.'

BMW motor sport director Mario Theissen said the team was protecting the P84 engines from sand by running air-intake filters made of a more dense material.








Raikkonen spews fire
Kimi Raikkonen's terrible start to the 2004 season continues in Bahrain.

He is to be penalized ten-spots on the grid after pulling-over within minutes of a practice track-session with a Mercedes V10 spewing fire caused by a fuel-leak.

'The engine has to be changed,' a statement confirmed.

'All of a sudden I just lost all power,' said the Finnish driver.

TIRE-FAILURE

Team-mate David Coulthard (11th) also ended Friday in the boonies.

He had a left-rear tire-failure.

'It could be [caused by] a number of things,' the Scot said.

Team principal Ron Dennis said the MP4-19's pace doesn't look too bad.

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