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F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
September 7, 2004


Williams lodge Button contract
(GMM) Formula One team Williams has staked a formal claim on Jenson Button with the Swiss-based 'Contract Recognition Board.'

A spokesman at Oxfordshire said the fortnight delay was due to albeit failed talks to privately settle the dispute with BAR.

Both teams believe they have a binding deal with JB for 2005.

A date for the hearing has not been set, but it is most likely to happen in two or three weeks with a decision due five days later.

Williams is confident the decision will go their way.

''The first step,'' the spokesman explained, ''is for the CRB to decide whether (the matter) falls within their mandate.''

He said Williams would then accept the CRB's ruling.








FIA to accept '05 rule compromise
(GMM) The FIA's Charlie Whiting wrote a letter to technical directors on Monday offering 'three packages' of regulations.

He said the governing body 'would (be) prepared to' submit a combination of the packages' elements to the FIA World Council.

''We look forward to discussing these ... with you during Monday's meeting of the Technical Working Group,'' he added.

The FIA can impose rules to slow down the cars but appears prepared to accept a compromise to avert the risk of arbitration.

September 6 (Monday) had been the deadline for Formula One outfits to devise and submit their own set of '05 regulations.

Whiting's three packages included aerodynamic revisions but only one mentioned the contentious plan for a '2.4 liter V8' formula.

FIA president Max Mosley will face Monza's media on Friday.








Liuzzi has Sauber seat fitting
(GMM) Newly-crowned F3000 champion Vitantonio Liuzzi was in Switzerland on Monday to have a seat fitted at F1 team Sauber.

At the Hinwil factory, the 22-year-old Italian sat in the cockpit he'll take around the Jerez track for a test later in September.

Liuzzi and Sauber are both sponsored by the Red Bull drink.

'Tonio,' as he is known in the F1 paddocks of Europe, is linked to the race seat to be vacated next year by Giancarlo Fisichella.

Britons Anthony Davidson and Gary Paffett are also under consideration by Peter Sauber to be team-mate to Felipe Massa.

''What has impressed me most (about Liuzzi) is the way in which he has been dominating Formula 3000 this year,'' Sauber said.







'F1 bosses are too selfish' - Ecclestone
(GMM) Race impresario Bernie Ecclestone has hit out at Formula One's ten team principals, claiming they are too self interested.

The 73-year-old told BBC Radio that bosses don't consider the 'big picture,' or the good of F1, in the decision-making process.

Ecclestone said: ''We've got ten teams, with ten people each thinking 'how is this (proposition) going to be good for me?'

''None of them look at what's good for F1 in five years.''

The head of 'Formula One Management' said a system of democracy is far less efficient than Bernie's former brand of dictatorship.

He added: ''Now, we listen to other people, which can be good.

''But mostly it's bad.''








FIA to eliminate debris 'shards'
(GMM) F1's governing FIA has asked teams to help reduce the risk of high-speed tire punctures caused by sharp carbon-fiber debris.

The Paris body cannot impose the change, as it would not slow the cars down, but it said it would be in the interest of 'safety.'

Speculation in the Spa paddock hinted technical delegate Charlie Whiting told teams a 'Kevlar' coating on the carbon would help.

A new letter to the teams, though, claimed the goal was to 'eliminate' those materials which leave 'shards' on the track.

Kevlar, a synthetic fiber, is very strong and light and often used in aircraft wings, bullet-proof vests, skis and boat hulls.

Ralf Schumacher's huge vertebrae-fracturing Indianapolis crash was caused by a tire punctured by first-corner accident debris.

Whiting also asked teams to agree to 'eliminate' the use of ballast by reducing the minimum weight limit of grand prix cars.

His letter explained it would reduce the energy in a crash.








Confidence is 'coming back' - Zonta
(GMM) Ricardo Zonta claims his confidence as a grand prix race driver is 'coming back' after nearly three years on the bench.

The Brazilian, 28, was first promoted to Cologne's racing role for Budapest, after compatriot Cristiano da Matta got the flick.

''I'm enjoying myself,'' he said on Monday.

Zonta said he was 'emotional' and 'nervous' in Hungary, though, but felt calmer and 'more focused' for the recent Belgian GP.

He added: ''Now I'm feeling very relaxed in the car.''

But the former 'third' driver messed up pre-qualifying at Spa-Francorchamps and ended up dead last on the final starting grid.

Circumstances in the race, though, put a podium within sight.

''I didn't think the engine would blow -- it just stopped. I pressed everything in the cockpit. I just didn't believe it.''

Monza should suit Toyota's powerful V10 engine.







'I'm unhappy at BAR' - Jenson Button
(GMM) 'We've never been good mates.'

That was the gist of Jenson Button's message when asked what his relationship with BAR-Honda team principal Dave Richards is like.

Button, 24, wants to switch to Williams next season.

He confirmed to a pack of journalists that reportedly unpaid 'bonus' payments is just one reason he wants to leave Brackley.

''(That is) one issue,'' said the Englishman.

'''I'm not going to say exactly what. Contractually, at the end of 2003, we had some differences, and it hasn't been resolved.

''I feel a bit let down by (Richards).''

But he denied the row was a 'money issue' because if he had stayed, ''I would earn more (at the Honda-powered team in '05).

''I want to go to Williams purely to be world champion.

''But another reason is I am not 100 percent happy (at BAR).''

Button said he is hurt by Richards' insistence that he must stay at the team next season because a contract 'option' was taken up.

''I'm pretty sure, as are the lawyers, that I'm going to Williams,'' said Jenson. ''I think the CRB will understand.''








Monza won't be 'walk in park' - Schu
(GMM) Monza will not be a walk in the park.

Michael Schumacher, who failed to snap-up a thirteenth win of '04 at Spa, claims Sunday's Italian GP is set to be another struggle.

''Testing (last week) proved the other teams are improving,'' said the German a day after a Ferrari event at the Nurburgring.

The seven-times world champion got to drive the scarlet F1 single-seater around the 'European GP' track the wrong way round.

''It was fun,'' he enthused.

Back to the right-way-round challenge of Monza, though, Schumacher said the high-speed race will be 'tough' for Ferrari.

''But it is our home race,'' he said, ''so we are motivated.

''The huge crowd alone won't be enough but I can promise we will give our all for (the spectators) and then maybe another party!''








Renault fix engine glitch (again)
(GMM) Renault will try again to solve a small problem that has left Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso with smoking V10 engines.

First, a simple 'o-ring' failed in Trulli's Hungaroring unit, but Rob White said a 'counter measure' had been implemented for Spa.

Alonso spun on his engine oil on the straight after Eau Rouge.

''It was a similar failure (to Jarno's in Budapest),'' confirmed the engine technical director, ''despite the revised parts.

''They were obviously not robust enough.''

White said Renault worked even harder on the dyno since Belgium to approve another fix, which was then tested at Monza last week.

He said an objective of 'zero failures' in the final four grands prix of the season is 'realistic' given the fight with BAR-Honda.

Drivers spend 71% of the Monza lap at full-throttle.







Williams to abandon 'twin keel' car
(GMM) Williams will abandon the novel 'twin keel' approach to Formula One chassis design next season, a source said on Tuesday.

He claims the FW27, to be driven by Mark Webber and (probably) Jenson Button, is more like the 2003 car than the current FW26.

'26' turned heads when it was launched as it boasted a 'tusk like' front nose section, to make best of the twin keel solution.

'Twin' (but without 'tusks') was also adopted by McLaren for '04.

But Williams' nose design, also referred to as the 'walrus' look, was dumped prior to Hungary in favour of a more traditional one.

Earlier, speculation claimed Williams' aerodynamic head Antonia Terzi tried her 'tusks' in the Ferrari wind tunnel back in 2001.

Frank Williams said the nose project had been all about being more 'adventurous and creative -- taking a risk now and then.'

Meanwhile, some 100,000 people turned out to watch Fernando Alonso show off the Renault F1 car in Lyon (France) on Sunday.

''Usually,'' said the Spaniard, ''it's serious business, but here I could really enjoy myself. I just wanted to have some fun.''

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