F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
April 9, 2004
Schu back on top: Barcelona
Michael Schumacher resumed his usual Formula One spot - in P1.
The world champion and triple consecutive race winner got back into
his F2004 at Barcelona on Thursday and lapped the damp track quicker
than Fernando Alonso.
Team-mate Rubens Barrichello (3rd) was also in action.
'The weather was a bit tricky early on,' said Toyota driver Olivier
Panis, who revealed that nearly all outfits had their scheduled
He added: 'It started raining on certain corners but not on others.'
McLaren, BAR, BMW-Williams, Sauber and Jaguar filled up the 15-strong
BAR shelve 'radical' rear wing
BAR has been asked to shelve a proposed radical rear wing.
According to Autosport, the Brackley-based outfit showed plans of the
design to the governing FIA who advised them that it would indeed
contravene the rules.
The Paris-based body believes it would give BAR an illegal 'third'
A spokesman said a rule 'clarification' would now be issued to all
Pantano in doubt
Giorgio Pantano's place on the Formula One grid might be in doubt.
The Italian rookie drove his third grand prix in Bahrain last Sunday
but speculation now has Brazilian Augusto Farfus Jr taking his race
Jordan swiftly denied the reports, principally of the Brazilian media.
But rumours persist that Eddie Jordan is not happy with Pantano's
'In F1,' said the Irishman, 'you don't get much time to prove
Farfus, who carries some financial backing, is Euro F3000 champion and
the current series leader of the European touring car championship for
Shanghai nearly ready
Shanghai's new F1 track is just about ready to roll, according to
Media agency 'Associated Press' claims that the Chinese facility, set
to host the F1 series in late September, is nearly complete and now
'We want to give all our country, and the world, a first rate
'object-d'art',' said Xu Zheng, who is the president of the circuit's
Officials believe Shanghai cost less to construct than Bahrain's $150
Empire State Building is red
New Yorkers wondered why their Empire State Building was glowing
On Wednesday, the tall building basked in red light to celebrate the
50th anniversary of the very first Ferrari arriving in the United
'It would have thrilled Enzo Ferrari,' said president Luca di
The US is Ferrari's largest sales market for road cars.
Dixon gets first wet running
Scott Dixon got his first taste of wet running in a grand prix car.
The IRL ace was a couple of seconds slower than world champion Michael
Schumacher at Circuit de Catalunya on Thursday as rain spoiled the
Dixon, 23, was 1.3 seconds slower than fellow FW26 pilot Ralf
'He worked on different engine maps,' said chief engineer Sam Michael.
FIA wants F1 to slow down
F1's governing body wants to slow down the current flock of racers.
FIA president Max Mosley is worried that this year's cars, traveling
an average 3.0 seconds per lap faster than in 2003, are accordingly
He's looking 'very carefully' at enacting powers under the Concorde
'... we can give notice to the teams,' he told Reuters, 'which
requires the Technical Working Group to come up with proposals for
slowing the cars.'
Mosley said the TWG would only have a 'limited time' to enact change.
'If they don't come up with anything, we have the right to impose
According to sources, the TWG would have two months to find a
If they don't, the FIA would provide teams with three alternative
packages of measures and F1 bosses and technical directors would have
to chose from those.
French GP cuts ticket prices
Officials have cut ticket prices to boost attendance at the French GP.
Following the similar action of the Nurburgring track, Magny-Cours'
body FFSA said it would also put on a more spectacular support event
package in 2004.
'We are aiming for a much larger crowd,' said president Jacques Regis.
Support events include F3000, F3, Porsche Supercup and Historic Grand
Regis also confirmed that Mobil 1 has signed to sponsor the event, but
said all the revenue would be gobbled up in administration costs to
Formula One bodies.
The FFSA also wants people to 'change their minds' about the rural
'... especially the press and the teams,' Regis added.
Jacques said the French government gives the grand prix 'no cash'
Canada's F1 'disaster'
Jacques Villeneuve's absence has had a 'disastrous' effect on F1 in
'La Presse' newspaper reports that TV viewing figures have never been
A million viewers used to tune-in to watch the Quebecois race his
Williams and BAR-Honda cars but the most recent grand prix in Bahrain
attracted only 150,000.
Ferrari has eye on Renault whiz
World champion F1 team Ferrari has its eye on Renault's electronics
It is reported that Naoki Tokunaga, currently working for sister brand
Nissan, pioneered the superior electrics system of Renault's
impressive R24 model.
In other quick news, Jenson Button is winning more than F1 podiums.
'BBC Top Gear' magazine voted BAR's Briton the 'fifth coolest racing
driver in history' behind James Hunt, Barry Sheene, Steve McQueen and
Briatore: F1 is 'not a bore'
Flavio Briatore does not agree that Ferrari is robbing F1 of all
The Renault managing director told L'Equipe magazine that the scarlet
team won last year's championship because rivals BMW-Williams and
McLaren 'lost it.
'Michael [Schumacher] is right,' said the Italian.
'If people give you presents, why should you not accept them ... ?
FAR FROM OVER
'But things are far from over this year.'
Fun-loving Briatore is also out to spread the word that F1 is not a
'You don't need to over-dramatise this job,' said 53-year-old
Briatore. 'We need to stop telling the world that we do the most
difficult job in the world.
'There are people who work harder than us and get no perks.'
Schu plays soccer for charity
Michael Schumacher is to star in a soccer match in Naples later this
A team made up of race aces past and present, including Riccardo
Patrese, Max Biaggi, Ivan Capelli and Fernando Alonso, will take on a
team of Italian MPs.
Proceeds of the April 30 match are to go to victims of the recent 'Nassiriya
mission' killings in Iraq and also to a charity for children with
What's wrong with McLaren?
What's wrong with the new McLaren MP4-19?
Reuters asked team principal Ron Dennis whether it was generic,
perhaps fed from the never raced MP4-18 project, or whether the car's
shortcomings have a fix ...
'The most truthful answer is I don't know,' the Briton said.
'If I did, we would address it.'
Dennis reckons the most confusing element of the crisis is that at
certain circuits, MP4-19 is quick, but at others, the pace is
He continues: 'We've narrowed down the areas of weakness.'
There's also strange things, in terms of reliability, going wrong with
In Bahrain, David Coulthard speared off the track at 140mph.
'The [brake] disc that failed is the first one of its type that has
failed in Formula One - ever,' said Ron Dennis. 'And three or four
teams use it.'
Reports are now arising that McLaren is set to shake up its design
Brawn feels sorry for Raikkonen
Ross Brawn feels sorry for Kimi Raikkonen.
The young Finn, Raikkonen, drives for the McLaren team which is
enduring its worst start in Ron Dennis' tenure to a world championship
campaign since 1981.
In Bahrain, the 24-year-old retired from his third straight race.
'It's sad to see someone of his talent not being able to fight,' said
Brawn, an Englishman, is technical director for the dominant Ferrari
He told Autosport: 'But I think it will be good for his character.'
Kimi finished runner-up to Ferrari's Michael Schumacher in the 2003
title chase, but when McLaren finds form, Brawn says Raikkonen will be
a 'stronger' driver.
At the new Sakhir facility, Raikkonen's engine caught fire in
practice, incurring a ten-grid penalty, before it again spat flames in
the grand prix.
'I just want to forget this weekend,' Kimi said at the time.
Bernie supports 'A1 Grand Prix'
The 'A1 Grand Prix' series is not a rival for Formula One.
His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum recently
unveiled the winter series and said F1's Bernie Ecclestone had been
To show his support, top grand prix aces Rubens Barrichello and Juan
Pablo Montoya attended the A1 launch in Dubai prior to the Bahrain GP
Al Maktoum said 'A1' opens up 'possible new venues' for F1 in the
'That's why [Bernie] is supporting it,' he concluded.
F1 works on '50 percent' budget cut
F1 is working towards a fifty percent reduction in annual team
Frank Williams paid F1 counterpart Flavio Briatore a compliment
recently when he said the Italian 'is not a racing man, but he always
makes the right decisions.'
Renault's boss is the man behind the '50 percent' figure.
'I've been saying we've got to do it for years,' said Briatore.
'Now, the others are beginning to realize that it is urgent. But that
is positive, because it means we will get it done,' he told L'Equipe
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