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F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
September 11, 2004


Quick questions in Italy - Friday 1
(GMM - Monza) I hear you're using a brand new Ferrari engine for the very long straights of 'Autodromo Nazionale Monza' ... ?

Jean Todt: ''It is an evolution, which we validated last week.

''I think it will be a close fight for qualifying.''

Do you agree, Sauber's Giancarlo Fisichella? You're on the Bridgestone tire, too -- is it going to struggle on one-lap ... ?

''The track was very dirty and on my last run, the fronts were past their best by Turn Four. It is better on a long run.''

Kimi Raikkonen, well done -- quickest on Friday, again!

McLaren's Finn: ''Second quickest (if you combine the first and second sessions). It's ok but the car slides a bit too much.''

Is the engine just not quite powerful enough here ... ?

Renault's Fernando Alonso: ''It's not that -- the car is being just so slippery and I struggled to find the braking points.''








Mosley may stand for re-election
(GMM - Monza) FIA president Max Mosley wanted to quit because the job is just 'too much work' for one person, he explained Friday.

The Briton, 64, reckons he gets to the office at nine in the morning, ''and you really can't leave until six or seven (pm).''

He added: ''At a certain point you say 'I don't want all that pressure' but if you don't, so many things get left undone.''

But Max said July's retirement announcement resulted in there being 'pressure on all sides' to stay, at least until Oct. '05.

Mosley confirmed he was now working on a 'new structure.

''Whether I stand again, whether I retire, is an open question that will come out. So -- so much for me and my resignation!''








Kimi is Schumacher's 'heir' - Ross Brawn
(GMM - Monza) Ferrari can't stop gushing about Kimi Raikkonen.

First, it was Jean Todt with an eye on McLaren's Finn, but now technical director Ross Brawn said KR is a Schumacher 'heir.'

''Raikkonen,'' he told Friday's edition of Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, ''has shown he is, more than anyone.''

Brawn said Raikkonen's talent became truly evident in 2003.

''And in Spa we saw that he has the tools to get the job done. He is an exceptional driver -- he appears to make no errors.''







No 'heir' of mine - Michael Schumacher
(GMM - Monza) Michael Schumacher does not necessarily agree that McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen is the 'heir' to his Formula One throne.

Ferrari's seven time world champion said 'whoever is in the most competitive car' is the driver he will most fear next season.

''There are several drivers around who are very good,'' he said at Monza. ''Some of them are young and some are experienced.

''Certainly, I think McLaren will be strong next year.''

But pressed for one driver - Raikkonen, perhaps Montoya, Webber - to pick out of the lot, 35-year-old Schumacher again resisted.

''You cannot do it (pick just one),'' the German insisted.

''Some, or you could say all of them, have high potential and it is just who can get the best out of his car and the team, too.''








Quick questions in Italy - Friday 2
(GMM - Monza) Michael Schumacher, a bit of extra color on your scarlet race helmet this weekend -- what's that all about ... ?

''They are the colors of the Italian flag,'' said the German, ''and it's a 'thank you' to the Ferrari fans here (at Monza).

''They support us whether we're winning or not.''

Olivier Panis, you've just announced your retirement -- did that make your tour around Monza a little bit special on Friday ... ?

''Not really,'' Toyota's Frenchman said. ''The car was vibrating really badly but we just could not find what the problem was.''

Not a good day for you, either, Nick ... ?

''Actually,'' said Jordan's Heidfeld, ''the balance was better than I thought, but then the engine broke in the final session.''

Antonio Pizzonia, you ended Friday's second free practice run in Parabolica's tire barrier. First, are you perfectly okay ... ?

Williams' 'sub' driver: ''I'm fine - it wasn't a hard hit.

''Something happened with the brakes, we think a disc failure.''








Jaguar to remain 'Jaguar' in 2005
(GMM - Monza) As far as David Pitchforth is concerned, the F1 team based in Milton-Keynes will still be known as Jaguar in '05.

Speculation is almost unanimous that Ford is planning to ditch the green persona and paint a 'Blue Oval' on the next GP racer.

Some said the unlikely fate of Ford's WRC team is an indicator.

''I can see why people make that connection,'' Pitchforth admitted at Monza, ''but actually that is very difficult to do.

''I actually haven't heard anything (from Ford) about that.''

Meanwhile, Pitchforth said he was waiting on the outcome of 'Jenson-gate' before signing a couple of F1 drivers for 2005.

He told Reuters: ''We're talking to quite a lot of drivers.

''Some of that does depend on how we get the budget sorted out.''







Quick questions in Italy - Friday 3
(GMM - Monza) Antonio Pizzonia threw his Williams into the Parabolica barrier quite hard in practice -- is the engine ok?

BMW's Mario Theissen: ''It appears so.''

That's a bit of a funny paint-job, isn't it ... ?

''Looks cool, I think,'' said BAR's third driver Anthony Davidson, who often gets an alternate livery for the Friday.

I see you had a bit of a spin at one point ...

He said: ''Well, they've painted the curbs again since we tested last week and I guess it caught me out. It wasn't just me!''

Twentieth -- I guess you don't like that number ... ?

''We had a bit of understeer,'' said Jaguar's Christian Klien, ''but we're making progress. We still have some work to do.''

Wow, Bas Leinders -- a pretty impressive top speed of 361km/h!

Minardi's Belgian 'test' driver: ''Going for very low downforce made the car very difficult when I went for the brake pedal.''








No more racing Stewarts - Sir Jackie
(GMM - Monza) Formula One legend Sir Jackie Stewart will advise his grandchildren to stay away from the motor racing cockpit.

The triple world champion, now 65, told the 'Daily Record' that he and son Paul were 'lucky' to emerge unhurt from race careers.

''I would rather (my grandkids) do something else.

''I certainly won't encourage them.''

Paul Stewart, who helped 'dad' run the Stewart GP team between 1997 and 1999, has now recovered from colon cancer and chemo.

Jackie's wife also had a recent brush with cancer, as did the Knight himself, who had a skin cancer removed from his face.








F1 to have V8 engine in 2006 - Mosley
(GMM - Monza) Formula One will run a '2.4 liter V8' engine formula in 2006, FIA president Max Mosley insisted on Friday.

The Briton said some media agencies had been wrong to report that 'only one' package of rules mentioned the controversial idea.

''I think there is some misunderstanding,'' he said at Monza.

''The three packages we are offering are different, some very restricted and some less so, but they're all 2.4 liter V8.''

Mosley said seven F1 carmakers have agreed on a package.

''Three are not happy,'' he admitted. ''They would prefer a V10 in '06, a single race engine, and then a 2.7 liter V10 in 2007.''







BAR run 'legal' torque system
(GMM - Monza) BAR is running a new 'legal' version of the 'Torque Transfer' system that had been banned at the race in Hockenheim.

Sources said the device, which transfers brake torque to the unloaded front tire, is now not powered electro- hydraulically.

David Richards said at Monza that 'several' rival principals asked why he would bother fighting the FIA's ruling in Paris.

''To see it here,'' said the Briton, ''and to see it go so well, I think they all know exactly why. It's legal this time, yes.''








F1 return is 'unlikely' - Firman
(GMM - Monza) Ralph Firman has admitted it will be 'very difficult' to return to the Formula One motor racing grid.

The 29-year-old, who last year drove a Jordan, lost the seat for 2004 and has since raced in 'Nissan' and 'Le Mans' sports cars.

He's also been testing the new 'A1' winter series charger.

''We've been talking to some F1 teams,'' he told the UK's 'EveningNews24' website, ''but there's been nothing ... yet.

''We will keep trying.''








Qualifying may not change - Mosley
(GMM - Monza) F1's widely-criticized single-lap qualifying format might stay the same next season, Max Mosley admitted at Monza.

The FIA president told a news conference that there's currently 'no agreement' on a new proposal to shake-up the format in 2005.

''I hope we do something in the autumn,'' he said.

But he said it would need 18 votes in the F1 Commission.

Meanwhile, Mosley chewed-up Ron Dennis' comment that proposed rule changes are designed only to 'destabilize' the F1 teams.

''I don't think anyone says 'these cars are not too quick'.''

Max also said the teams could have proposed a 'non-destabilizing' rule package if they liked ''but they (did) not. So we did.

''It's easy to say these things.

''(Ron's comment) doesn't stand up.'' V8' engine formula in 2006, FIA president Max Mosley insisted on Friday.

The Briton said some media agencies had been wrong to report that 'only one' package of rules mentioned the controversial idea.

''I think there is some misunderstanding,'' he said at Monza.

''The three packages we are offering are different, some very restricted and some less so, but they're all 2.4 liter V8.''

Mosley said seven F1 carmakers have agreed on a package.

''Three are not happy,'' he admitted. ''They would prefer a V10 in '06, a single race engine, and then a 2.7 liter V10 in 2007.''







No carmaker is quitting F1 - Max Mosley
(GMM - Monza) Max Mosley doubts BMW, or any other F1 carmaker, will quit when a 2.4 liter V8 engine formula is imposed in 2006.

The FIA president admitted at Monza that it is 'difficult to know' when to believe a player in motor racing's highest echelon.

''You can't please everyone,'' he added.

''My personal view is that no-one is going to leave. I think there will still be enough reasons for them to be here.''

Moreover, Mosley thinks that 'less expensive' regulations may lead to 'one or two' new teams finding their way to the F1 grid.

He added: ''We haven't had a new team since Toyota.

''I know at least four teams who would like to come in, but they can't find an engine. If they can (find one), they'll be in.''








Quick questions in Italy - Friday 4
(GMM - Monza) Is it going to rain on Sunday ... ?

Michelin's Pierre Dupasquier: ''We think it might!''

A new-spec Honda engine here at Monza this weekend ... ?

Engineering director Shuhei Nakamoto: ''Yes.''

A pitlane source said both Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello will opt for the 'harder' Bridgestone tire.

Jarno Trulli, Renault have given you a new R24 chassis this weekend in a bid to overcome your mysterious handling problem.

Did it work ... ?

''I didn't find a good balance - I had a lot of oversteer and very low grip. There are a few problems to solve on the car.''

I suppose Nick Heidfeld's engine problem in the final session means he is likely to be penalized ten places on the grid ... ?

''We're seeing if we can recover (it),'' explained the Jordan team's head of race and test engineering, James Robinson.








Big teams are 'killing' us - Jordan
(GMM - Monza) Private teams will play no part in Formula One's future unless urgent and 'radical' thinking takes place soon.

That is the warning of Eddie Jordan.

The Irish chief is thought to be on the verge of selling most of his shareholding in the uncompetitive team to an Arab consortium.

He asked: ''How can we go about our work ... when we are confronted with the ... things we are currently faced with?''

EJ refers to the persisting ambiguity in '05's regulations.

Jordan said the big manufacturers are 'killing' the privateers.

''It's becoming too expensive -- how can you sell the dream of winning races when you'd just be lying like hell to a sponsor?''







Jaguar run 2005 'interim' car
(GMM - Monza) Mark Webber is driving an 'interim' Jaguar car.

The British team would have introduced 'R5B' in Australia next season, but newly-advised rules mean it will become obsolete.

''This (car) would have been the Melbourne car, if you follow me,'' said Milton-Keynes' managing director David Pitchforth.

''But (the FIA have changed) the rule for the front wing.

''We have to do a new car now.''

Pitchforth was asked whether other teams will have also been caught out, or if Jag had just committed an error of judgment.

''I guess it was a mistake,'' he admitted.

R5B is stiffer and has a lower centre of gravity.








Bernie's being sued
(GMM - Monza) FOM chief Bernie Ecclestone is being sued by the 'F1 banks' over who should appoint the directors of SLEC.

SLEC, the company set-up to control the sport's commercial rights, is majority owned - 75 per cent - by three banks.

But Bernie believes he can still determine who's in charge.

The case will head soon to London's High Court.








Bernie 'no' to Brit GP offer
(GMM - Monza) F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone will not accept Silverstone's offer to promote the British Grand Prix until 2007.

The 73-year-old said at Monza that the circuit-owning BRDC 'know what the conditions are' to ensure the grand prix's future.

Ecclestone continued: ''If they want to sign (the contract we have offered),'' he added, ''then we are happy to sign it too.''

FIA president Max Mosley, meanwhile, admitted that losing the annual race in Northamptonshire is at least 'a possibility.

''There has to be a promoter,'' he told The Guardian, ''and they must sign a contract with (Bernie). He's entitled to say 'no'.''

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