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F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
September 6, 2004


Max's rules to hurt small teams - Dupasquier
(GMM) Max Mosley's new-for-'05 Formula One rules will only make it harder for the small teams, Pierre Dupasquier said last week.

The little Frenchman, who is Michelin's motor sport director, also reckons Ferrari will remain right at the front of the grid.

''Absolutely,'' he said in Italy.

''And those with no money will have an even harder job.''

To fend-off the FIA president's plan to boot one tire supplier out of F1, Michelin and Bridgestone hastily devised a compromise.

It'll mean drivers have less tires to use at a grand prix weekend, thus compelling harder compounds and slower speeds.

Renault's Pat Symonds can't see the logic.

''You'll stop once for fuel,'' the engineering chief noted, ''and then you'll have most cars on the same performance profile.''

Symonds added: ''The tires will be in the basic same condition on all the cars - yet what people really don't want is monotony?!''








Ralf's a 'strange' choice - Mika Salo
(GMM) Former Toyota driver Mika Salo has slammed the Cologne-based Formula One team's style of selecting grand prix pilots.

The Finn, who on the weekend debuted in the Maserati sports car, recalls his last two months as a F1 star as 'not much fun at all.

''I was just covering my arse,'' he said at Imola.

''I had ideas for how to make things better (at Toyota), but you couldn't say them -- you were too scared you'd lose your job.''

At the end of 2002, Toyota stunned the F1 world by dumping its driver line-up - Salo and Allan McNish - after just one season.

Salo recalls: ''I just thought 'ok -- you're making a mistake'.

''I think they're still suffering from it.''

Mika also claims Ralf Schumacher's '05 appointment is 'not the most clever' one. ''Actually, I think it's strange,'' he added.

''I remember Spa in 2002 and I said to (Olivier) Panis, who was joining them, to enjoy his races -- because it might not last!''

So does blonde-haired Mika Salo miss Formula One?

''I miss driving the car,'' he said, ''but not the bullshit.''

Salo's MC12 finished second on Sunday.








Jaguar 'stronger' than Toyota - Klien
(GMM) Debutant points-scorer Christian Klien believes Jaguar has a 'stronger' grand prix car than F1 championship rival Toyota.

The young Austrian's three points at Spa-Francorchamps hauled the Leaping Cat beyond well-financed Toyota in the F1 constructors'.

''We should have been ahead of them,'' said Klien, 21, at last week's Monza test in Italy, ''but we've had some bad luck.

''Toyota scored most of their points when we did not.''

Jag must now start a streak of top-eight finishes, CK added, to demonstrate whose car is better. ''I think it's ours,'' he said.

Klien also denied he had moved over on David Coulthard, who lost his McLaren's front wing at the top of Eau Rouge, last Sunday.

''I knew he was somewhere,'' said Christian, ''but I couldn't tell he was trying to pass because I had lost my left mirror.

''It wasn't deliberate.''







Michelin build 'stronger' rear tire
(GMM) Michelin have prepared a 'higher strength' rear tire for the high-speed Italian GP at Monza, Sam Michael said on Friday.

Three French-clad drivers at Spa-Francorchamps suffered rear blow-outs, apparently cut on a sharp new curb at the 'bus stop.'

One of the Michelin failures was on Juan Pablo Montoya's FW26.

''(Michelin) have devised a new tire,'' Williams' technical director said, denying Bibendum made a bad compound choice.

He insisted the changes are 'just precautionary.'

Michael, from Australia, also said Grove's car will feature 'some mechanical and engine improvements' for the grand prix of Italy.

He said Williams also worked on brakes at the Monza test.

Montoya, meanwhile - who first won at Monza in 2001 - said the track suits the car and BMW engine, 'and I like (the circuit).'








Monteiro 'prepared' for F1 debut - Minardi
(GMM) Former CART driver Tiago Monteiro is 'perfectly prepared' to start a Formula One career, Gian Carlo Minardi said last week.

The back-of-the-grid grand prix team's founder was in charge of the Portuguese's Minardi test session at Vallelunga, near Rome.

''He performed beyond our expectations,'' said the Italian.

So impressed was Gian Carlo, in fact, that Minardi has organized a second test for the 28-year-old, to take place in November.

A spokesman said that test would happen at Misano.

''I hadn't driven an F1 for two years,'' TM explained, ''but I adapted quickly to the speed. My lap time got better all day.''








Panis shunts Toyota at Monza
(GMM) Spain's Fernando Alonso went quickest as Formula One testing wrapped-up at the high-speed Monza circuit on Friday.

Renault's star pipped Jenson Button, in the BAR, as a field of fifteen - and all teams except Minardi - lapped in sunshine.

''We have made our tire choice for the race,'' said Renault's chief test engineer Christian Silk, ''without many problems.''

Olivier Panis' test ended prematurely on Friday when, on approach to the second chicane, he crashed following a rear tire problem.

''(It was) probably the valve,'' the Toyota driver speculated.

''Thankfully I'm completely okay.''







Button is 'Williams-type' driver - Michael
(GMM) Williams' Sam Michael does not doubt that English Formula One star Jenson Button will drive a BMW-powered car next season.

The team's technical director said on Sunday the new driver line-up of JB and Mark Webber is set to be a 'fantastic combination.

''They're both big motivators,'' the Australian told AtlasF1.

He denied that Webber, who debuted for Minardi in 2002, and Button - Williams' driver of 2000 - are grand prix 'rookies.'

''They know how F1 works,'' said Sam, who does acknowledge that neither driver has yet won at the pinnacle of world motor sport.

''They're very much Williams-type drivers.''

Sam Michael also dispelled any fears the highly-competitive drivers will, like the current pairing, not like each other.

''They've both said 'this guy is the best team-mate I could have,'' said Sam. ''I don't expect them to be best mates ... ''








Montoya's wife is pregnant
(GMM) Juan Pablo Montoya's wife, Connie, is two months' pregnant.

Montoya, 28 - the Williams driver - admitted at the Monza test that the couple are excited and Connie, also Colombian, is well.

They have been together five years and were married in 2002.

Juan, who'll switch to McLaren in '05, also doubted anyone - including Spa winner Kimi Raikkonen - can beat Ferrari on Sunday.

''It looks like they're clearly ahead,'' he said.

Montoya added: ''We started (the test) a little bit behind everyone but we looked quite competitive nearer the end.

''We should be ok.''

JPM said he loves F1's frequent visits to Italy. ''The people are nice, the food is nice,'' he smiled, ''the weather's good.''








Piquet Jr. drove 'Lotus 24'
(GMM) Former world champion Nelson Piquet's eighteen-year-old son, of the same name, drove an historic F1 car on the weekend.

The Brazilian, who races in F3, traveled to the revival meeting at Goodwood (UK) for a stint in Jim Clark's old '60's Lotus 24.

''It's definitely going to be interesting,'' Piquet said before the event. ''It'll be good to see how much F1 has changed.''

'Nelsinho' recently tested a modern Williams car.







Bernie - It's the F1 press' fault
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has blamed Formula One websites and newspapers for pedaling the message that grands prix are boring.

''(They) say it's boring,'' said the race impresario, 73, ''so it becomes the thing to say -- people want to think it's boring.''

Most 'people' think Michael Schumacher's success cannot be a good thing for a sport, but Bernie wants the German to win even more.

''I'm disappointed he lost Monaco,'' BE told 'the Sun'.

'I wish he'd won them all because people watch to see if somebody beats him. Every race, people want to see who can do it.''

He admitted he has plans to spice-up the passing action.

Bernie said: ''We're going to get harder tires in and a ballot to decide the grid (order), but also a points system for qualifying.

''That would liven things up -- for sure.''

Ecclestone was also scathing of Jaguar's form in '04, claiming a carmaker-backed team 'should not be' so low in the championship.








Schu - Monza shunt was 'a shock'
(GMM) World champion Michael Schumacher has dismissed a flirt with injury in a high-speed shunt at the Monza track last week.

The German was photographed laying down in apparent shock just after a puncture caused him to strike barriers at around 300km/h.

''It'll take more than that to finish me off,'' he said before demonstrating a Ferrari F1 car for the crowd at the Nurburgring.

But he admitted: ''Certainly, it was a bit of a shock.

''I rested for a little bit,'' said Schumacher, ''had a lay down, but I don't expect any lasting damage. I actually feel fine.''

Michael, 35, does admit it was a lucky escape.

''I was actually surprised when I thought 'ok -- I am alright'.

''I wasn't hurt at all. I just had a long sleep at home!''








Schu and Gordon go 'head to head'
(GMM) Michael Schumacher will race multiple NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon, a Californian, in the 'Race of Champions' this December.

The star of American tin-top racing has confirmed he is also signed-up to contest the novel event at the 'Stade de France.'

Gordon said: ''I met (Schu) in Spain at the F1 race. I would love to beat him and that we'll go head-to-head is awesome.''

Meanwhile, German newspaper 'Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung' claims Puma will soon become a sponsor of the Ferrari F1 team.

Also, F1 teams Renault, Williams, BAR, Jaguar and Jordan sent demo cars to another event on London's 'Regent Street' on Sunday.







Carmakers' 'counter proposal' rejected
(GMM) F1's Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Honda last week wrote a letter to FIA president Max Mosley with a 2005 rule 'counter proposal.'

Max wants the engine formula to be 'one (V10 unit) per two weekends' in 2005 and then a 3.0 liter V8 configuration by '06.

The FIA is believed to have swiftly rejected the proposal.

Meanwhile, in Monza testing last week, McLaren runners Alex Wurz and David Coulthard put laps on a much wider front nose solution.








New rules to 'disadvantage' Ferrari - Mosley
(GMM) FIA president Max Mosley has denied rivals' claims that new Formula One rules for 2005 will unfairly benefit Ferrari.

Instead, the Briton, 64, insists the aero, engine and tire measures are set to 'disadvantage the team that is doing best.'

Teams were given a September 6 (Monday) deadline to decide alternate rules to avoid imposition of Mosley's radical set.

Max said that in early 2003, when the rules were slightly changed, Ferrari struggled to maintain its on-track dominance.

Like top-team McLaren, Minardi's principal Paul Stoddart, though, agrees that the small teams are most affected by rule changes.

''(Big teams) have resources (to respond to changes),'' he said.

''It'll be teams like us that suffer.''

Mosley, meanwhile, also rejected the notion that the '05 changes were imposed to try to slow-down Ferrari and Michael Schumacher.

''The TV figures are still high,'' he said, ''and we've had some record attendances. These (rules) are long-term objectives.''








Briscoe back at '100 percent'
(GMM) Australian F1 hopeful Ryan Briscoe said he's back at '100 percent' after a frightening practice shunt in Spa's Eau Rouge.

Toyota's new 'Friday' driver tested at the Monza track last week but he felt 'no after effects' of the crash caused by a puncture.

'The (Toyota) car is very safe,'' the 22-year-old said Friday.

''The HANS device also did it's job.''

Briscoe awoke with a bit of neck and back pain in Belgium a day after the shunt, ''but ever since I've been 100 percent.''

Meanwhile, Ralf Schumacher's Williams sub, Antonio Pizzonia, is delighted he's been given one more shot in the racing cockpit.

''I was really disappointed when I missed the podium in Spa,'' said the Brazilian, ''but I'm very happy to try again at Monza.

''I really enjoy the track and have raced here in F3000.''







Stability is 'crucial' - BMW's Theissen
(GMM) BMW's Mario Theissen has likened an F1 team to 'an orchestra' in claiming stability is a crucial factor for success.

The marque's boss appears to endorse the notion that new Williams line-up Mark Webber and Jenson Button should stay for many years.

''If I ran an orchestra,'' said the German, ''and I changed members every three weeks, I'd never get a perfect result.''

Meanwhile, Williams' technical director Sam Michael has all but admitted the team must now settle for fourth in the '04 F1 title.

''We need to continue working,'' the Australian added, ''because any development on this car can generally be carried over.''

Williams is 29 points behind third placed BAR-Honda.








Jacques, Hakk, would be 'good for F1' - Bernie
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has swiftly backtracked on claims he'd like to see Michael Schumacher win every race of an F1 season.

The F1 impresario, 73, told the British media last week he was 'disappointed' Ferrari's world champion lost Monaco and Belgium.

''Every grand prix,'' he said, ''people watch because they want to see (who can beat Schumacher). I wish he'd won them all.''

In Sunday's 'Welt am Sonntag' German newspaper, though, Ecclestone claims 'six or seven' wins a year is better for F1.

''It's great to see a superstar,'' BE told the paper.

''But if (MS) wins all the time, you get a shock when he doesn't win -- most fans do not want to see such a long winning streak.''

Bernie said the racing behind Schumacher, however, is 'great.

''Look at Renault, BAR, Williams and McLaren. Great stuff.''

He also reckons the speculated return of world champions Jacques Villeneuve and Mika Hakkinen would be good for grand prix racing.

''(Jacques) should get a chance to prove he still has those skills,'' said Bernie. ''Both (JV and Mika) are charismatic.''








Schu's team to take-on Italy
(GMM) Michael Schumacher's football team, made up of race drivers, will take on a team of Italian actors on Wednesday.

'Nazionale Piloti' will also boast Jarno Trulli, Giancarlo Fisichella, and newly-crowned F3000 champion Vitantonio Liuzzi.

The charity match is scheduled for September 8 at Verviers.







Trulli gets brand new Renault
(GMM) Jarno Trulli is hoping a brand new Renault chassis is enough to solve a recent and mysterious car-handling problem.

The Italian said only 'confidence in myself' will allow a driver to bounce back from a string of less-than-shining performances.

''I do (have that confidence),'' he answered.

''Monza will be my home race, so that brings extra motivation.

''But I just hope to go back to normal performance here.''

Technical director Bob Bell claims when Jarno 'detects' a problem, he struggles to 'extract (its) maximum performance.

''In giving him a different car,'' he added, ''we want to eliminate the possibility that a problem is affecting his pace.''

Bell said Renault, committed to equality for 'both drivers',
dismantled JT's race car from Spa and 'found no problem at all.'

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