F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
April 22, 2004
F1 aces play soccer for Ayrton
Formula One drivers paid tribute to Ayrton Senna ... by playing
At the Stadio Morgani in Forli, near Bologna, world champion Michael
Schumacher, Felipe Massa and Rubens Barrichello took on the 1994
Brazilian 'World Cup' team.
Senna, Brazil's race legend, died at the nearby Imola circuit ten
The trio of Brazilian drivers were joined by Italian Jarno Trulli,
Spanish star Fernando Alonso and soccer legends such as Aldair, Dunga,
Careca and Leonardo.
All proceeds of the match, attended by 6000 and kicked off by Senna's
sister Viviane, went to the Ayrton Senna Foundation which helps
* Old McLaren team-mate and friend Gerhard Berger will drive a lap of
honour at the 'Enzo e Dino Ferrari' track on Sunday in Ayrton's
winning Lotus 98T (1986).
Pantano's familiar territory
Giorgio Pantano hopes familiar territory inspires him to speed in
The Italian pay-driver has struggled alongside Nick Heidfeld in the
EJ14 so far this season but the return to Europe means he at least
knows the race circuits.
Pantano tested at the Silverstone track last week under a cloud of
speculation as team boss Eddie Jordan travelled to Holland to meet Jos
'It was good,' said Giorgio said, 'as more time in the car is
definitely a help.
'I'm glad we're in Europe where I know the tracks a bit more.'
Formula One's European season kicks off on Friday at the Imola track
in Italy, and Pantano knows all of these circuits following his recent
campaigns in F3000.
Giorgio, 25, said the event dubbed the 'San Marino GP' is like a home
'And I even tested here in the Jordan in both wet and dry conditions.
'So this should be better than the first three races.'
McLaren step was 'too big'
McLaren tried to step too far ahead with the uncompetitive MP4-19 car.
Engine partner Mercedes-Benz's competition chief Norbert Haug revealed
that the silver collaboration wanted to take a 'giant stride in
development' this season.
'Yes, we made mistakes,' the German told Stern magazine.
'We have problems with the whole package.'
This publication has revealed that an innovative carbon/titanium
gearbox is just one of the '19' car's many problems, including a
temperamental Mercedes V10.
Haug admitted that McLaren's anticipated step in 2004 was 'perhaps ...
Rossi tries Ferrari for size
On Wednesday, MotoGP champ Valentino Rossi tried a Formula One car on
The Italian accepted an invitation of the title-winning Ferrari team
to take to the wheel of an older F2003-GA model in an unannounced
maiden test at Fiorano.
One notable analyst in Italy lauded Rossi's performance as 'very
Although Ferrari didn't release any lap times, Italian media sources
said 25-year-old Rossi did a few more than 20 tours with a best time
of 59.5 seconds.
Michael Schumacher, by contrast, lapped at a tad over 58 seconds on
'It was a very exciting day for me,' Rossi said in a statement.
'Driving an F1 car was an amazing experience.
'It was great for me to follow in Schumacher's footsteps for a day.'
Also at the sunny circuit was Luca Badoer who shook down the
Imola-bound F2004s, and Rubens Barrichello who, like Schumacher, did a
few laps in a Maserati MC12.
Rain not expected at Imola
Despite previous reports, rain is not really expected at Imola this
A weather source at the 'Enzo e Dino Ferrari' circuit near Bologna
(Italy) said a partly cloudy sky and about 16 degrees lingered at the
F1 venue on Wednesday.
And the overcast conditions are expected to clear somewhat later on
17 degrees and a mostly sunny day is forecast, before some cloud
returns to the region on Friday as Michael Schumacher starts a defence
of his 2004 clean-sweep.
A 15-20 percent chance of rain persists for Friday and Saturday.
That probability is set to rise to around 30 percent on Sunday, as the
circus goes racing at Imola, where cloud and 16.5-degree ambient
Britain set to lose GP in 2005
Britain will not host Formula One beyond July if a new promoter fails
to step forward and vow to immediately bring the Silverstone circuit
up to scratch.
That's the latest warning of F1 impresario Bernie Ecclestone.
The FOM chief acquired the promotional rights to the race earlier this
week in a move which put it in real danger of making a hole for his
new wave of F1 venues.
'I'd be delighted if [F1] were to go ahead at Silverstone,' said
He told the Daily Telegraph that Silverstone, located in rural
Northamptonshire and owned by the British Racing Drivers' Club, should
look closely at Bahrain.
'That's what facilities should look like,' Bernie, 73, continued.
'Silverstone has to fall in line. I put a chunk of money into it and
all I saw were new car parks - they're nice but we need a new pit and
'Unless the BRDC do this, there will not be a grand prix in the UK in
Schu plans on 'four from four'
Michael Schumacher plans to make it four from four this weekend in
The world champion revealed that his Ferrari car, which won the
opening three grands prix of 2004 from pole, is to wear a new
'aerodynamic setup' at Imola.
'Imola puts the brakes and the engine under some stress,' said the
He added in nearby Bologna: 'I think we can approach [the race] in a
positive frame of mind, particularly after the good start to the
season we have had.'
Schumacher, who is an Ambassador for nearby San Marino, said the first
race in Europe is the 'natural place' for the first 'big phase' of car
He concluded: 'We'll do everything here to continue our series of
Theissen supports Imola axe
Deserting Imola is probably a good thing, according to Dr Mario
The BMW chief told reporters he is glad the Italian circuit near
Bologna is a European event, because the F1 facilities are 'not really
state of the art.'
It is therefore favourite to make way for the inaugural Turkish GP in
After the three 'exotic' overseas races of '04, F1's move to Imola
means outfits can finally take their own transporters and motor homes
to the grands prix.
'Logistically,' said Theissen, 'that makes our work easier.'
Rubens in Portugal
On Monday, Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello flew out to Portugal.
There, at the old Estoril Formula One circuit, the Brazilian climbed
behind the controls of a 2002-spec car and did 10 laps for a 'Shell
Oil' promotional event.
Barrichello spun his Jordan in Estoril's last grand prix back in 1996.
The circuit was knocked off the F1 calendar for reasons of safety.
'I enjoyed the warm welcome that the people gave me,' said Rubens.
'I know just how passionate about Formula One they are.'
On Wednesday, prior to playing football at Forli near Bologna,
Barrichello took part in a ceremony to officially 'hand over' the keys
of Fiorano to Ferrari.
Schu blamed himself for Senna crash
Michael Schumacher blamed himself for the death of Ayrton Senna.
Di Spiers, who looked after the Benetton motor home in 1994, recalls
that the German 'cried his eyes out' after being told that Senna had
'He said he pushed Ayrton too hard,' she told The Times.
Schumacher, then in his mid-twenties, chose at the time not to attend
the great Brazilian's funeral - a decision Ferrari's reigning world
champion now regrets.
'I felt it was not necessary to go to church,' he explained.
'My feelings about racing were confused. It was only after a test at
Silverstone that I felt I could go on. Now I regret that I wasn't
Jordan lost a friend in 1994
It is still the only flight Eddie Jordan has ever endured in total
The Formula One principal had lost a great friend at the Imola race of
'I think it was the only flight I've been on like that,' said the
Irishman who returned to the UK with the rest of the Formula One
EJ said the world is a 'lesser place' without Ayrton Senna, who had 12
years earlier got his first ever Formula Three test in a Jordan car
'He was staggeringly quick,' Jordan recalled.
Eddie failed to sign him for 1983, but the titanic battle of Senna and
Jordan driver Martin Brundle throughout that year is a matter of
Prince Andrew in China
Prince Andrew visited China's new Formula One circuit near Shanghai.
'Britain is the global leader in automotive innovation,' said the Duke
He said he hoped Britain could therefore 'help' Shanghai make its GP a
Bernie's tobacco solution
Bernie Ecclestone has a solution for Formula One's 'tobacco' problem.
The supremo has reportedly offered disgruntled governments free
'anti-smoking advert' space on the F1 tracks in return for not banning
Bernie's theory is that, if 'Marlboro' or 'Benson & Hedges' signage on
a F1 racer is so powerful, anti-smoking health messages should be
A total ban on cigarette advertising falls on the European Union next
Imola lost its spectacle
Imola lost much of its spectacle after the tragedies of 1994.
Ferrari engineer Luca Baldisserri said safety changes at the Italian
track, such as the introduction of more chicanes, has made overtaking
One plus at Imola, however, is that temperatures are much more 'F1'
'It means less of a strain on the cars,' said Luca.
'It allows us to run the car in a 'purer' aerodynamic form.'
The F2004 model has a new front wing and turning vane bodywork for
Baldisseri thinks it's a shame that Bernie Ecclestone is likely to
take the 'Enzo e Dino Ferrari' circuit off the calendar in '05 to make
way for new races.
'I remember as a boy,' said the Italian, 'climbing over the fence to
get in without paying. It's an emotional place - even if there's more
Senna was better than Schu
Ayrton Senna was a better driver than Michael Schumacher.
That's the belief of F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone who told The
Independent that Senna 'could have done better' than Michael if he'd
lived beyond Imola 1994.
'I think Michael's super,' said Bernie, 73.
'But if they were in the same car, my money would be on Ayrton.'
Ecclestone, who tried to sign Senna for Brabham back in the 80s, said
the late champion had an ability to focus without thinking about it
'as much as Michael.'
A1 and Bahrain
The recently launched 'A1 Grand Prix' series is likely to race in
A statement issued by the Kingdom's new Formula One circuit said a
number of 'exploratory negotiations' are in progress to bring sports
events to the region.
'Nothing has been finalized or approved,' said the statement.
A1 plans to run a single-seater category of racing in the winter
period, between September and March, also in Dubai, China, Japan,
Malaysia, Australia and Korea.
No F1 boycott in Spain
Formula One is not likely to boycott next month's Spanish Grand Prix.
This publication suggested that Barcelona might be the ideal venue for
a strike because Spain is a signatory of the controversial European
Arrest Warrant law.
But another media outlet denied it is a realistic possibility.
'It would be financial suicide,' grandprix.com quoted a 'team boss' as
'It is not something over which we are going to risk our businesses.'
Williams not ready to win: BMW
BMW-Williams is not ready to win a Formula One race in 2004.
Dr Mario Theissen, director of the Munich side of the collaboration,
made the claim as he also said Ferrari's rivals now have to 'close the
'Our rivals made more progress than expected,' he said of the winter
Highlighting the need for steady chassis improvements this season,
Theissen also acknowledged that there is some work still to do on the
BMW P84 engine design.
He said Munich is working on delivering 'peak performance' also in the
'It won't be done overnight,' said Mario, 'but we're still in the
Toyota engine is most powerful
Toyota's is the highest revving V10 engine in Formula One.
Engineers for rival teams reportedly carried out acoustic analysis of
Cologne's RVX-04 at a recent grand prix and it showed up as therefore
the most powerful.
Such an analysis is accurate to within 250rpm, a source told F1 Racing
In Bahrain, scene of the last race three weeks ago, Olivier Panis
finished 9th, just out of the points, and Brazilian team-mate
Cristiano da Matta was tenth.
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