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F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
September 13, 2004


Trulli fired
(GMM - Monza) Jarno Trulli will not race a Renault again.

The Italian, who believes the Enstone-based team are sabotaging his car's pace, may be replaced by Jacques Villeneuve for China.

Sources close to Flavio Briatore-led Renault say a formal announcement, albeit not naming the successor, is being drafted.

Once again at Monza, Trulli - reportedly off to Toyota next season - struggled to drive the R24 model over the 53-lap race.

But he was flying over the last three laps.

''Most of the time, I just couldn't drive (it),'' JT said.

Briatore fumed that he can't 'understand' how the 30-year-old failed to find the same speed in the first 50 Italian tours.

Worse still, Renault lost second in the F1 carmakers' chase to BAR, a cause not helped by Fernando Alonso's lose in the chicane.

Flavio earlier accused Jarno of suffering from a 'syndrome.'








Quick questions in Italy - Sunday 1
(GMM - Monza) It looked like a strange spin at the second chicane, Fernando Alonso. Tell us what happened ...

Renault's driver: ''I just took too much curb on the way in, but I was really surprised when the marshals didn't give me a push.''

Giorgio Pantano, we saw you against the barrier at Parabolica. Would it be right to assume you just made a mistake there ... ?

''To be honest, I don't know exactly,'' said the Jordan driver.

The Italian added: ''I think I aquaplaned - it was a big crash.''

You and McLaren's David Coulthard tangled at the first chicane, with a few laps to go in the race. Were you trying a move ... ?

Williams' Antonio Pizzonia: ''Yes - I was trying. He had more straight line speed than me but he made a mistake in Parabolica.

''We both locked wheels and hit but we were both ok.''








Bruni - 'I'm fine' after blaze
(GMM - Monza) Gianmaria Bruni emerged without serious injuries from a spectacular pitlane fire at the Monza circuit on Sunday.

The young Minardi driver was in for pit service when about a liter of fuel spilled from the hose and briefly erupted in flame.

''Everyone's ok,'' a team spokesman told us.

He said 'Gimmi', though, inhaled fumes from the fire extinguisher, and could not breathe properly for a few minutes.

''Some of the fire stuff got into my helmet,'' Bruni, 22, explained, ''and I couldn't breathe - but I'm totally fine now.''

Boss Paul Stoddart said Minardi would 'investigate' the leak.







'You're P1, Rubens!'
(GMM - Monza) Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello had a red mist down en route to F1 victory, over team-mate Michael Schumacher, at Monza.

''At one stage,'' said the Brazilian, ''I wasn't seeing.

''I was just pushing. I was telling myself 'you deserve this, just push the throttle down and go as fast as anything'.''

After pit stop number three, the first to change incorrect wet tires, Rubens saw no-one ahead, and no-one in the rear mirror.

''I radioed the team and said 'where am I?' and they said 'P1'.

''I said something in Portuguese that I can not repeat!''

Barrichello, 32, also confirmed that Michael was effectively told by the Ferrari pitwall to 'hold station' in the race's last laps.

''They said 'save the engine' because we had pushed so hard in that race. At that stage, I felt pretty comfortably, I'd say.''








Button - 'That's for Grandad'
(GMM - Monza) BAR driver Jenson Button would have liked to dedicate victory in the Italian GP to sick grandad Stuart Lyons.

In the end, the 24-year-old star had to settle for third.

Lyons, 83, watched the race from a hospital in Bath.

Asked what's wrong with grandad, Button told the British media: ''A lot of things, actually, but he was so determined to watch.

''He has followed my career since I was karting.''

Button admits he didn't expect the two red cars to be so quick in Italy. ''Their pace was untouchable,'' he said of the Ferraris.

''But this is still good -- I dedicate this podium to BAR, too.''

World champion Michael Schumacher, meanwhile, revealed that he spun at the second chicane after contact with Button's sidepod.

''[Jenson] couldn't avoid it,'' said the German.

''It's just one of those things that can happen.''








Carping Trulli is 'mad' - Briatore
(GMM - Monza) Flavio Briatore has reacted angrily to F1 team driver Jarno Trulli's claim of favoritism in the Renault pit.

Enstone's managing director said the Italian is 'mad' to suggest that Renault is slowing down his car to elevate Fernando Alonso.

Trulli, 30, will leave Renault at the end of 2004.

Briatore said in Gazzetta dello Sport: ''Why would we do that?

''We are fighting for second in the constructors' championship and we need to get both cars to the finish and in the points.

''We pay him -- and he should show Toyota he is still fast.''

But, after Pescara-born JT once again languished - sporadically - off the pace at Monza, rumor is he will not race again in '04.

Trulli denied the lack of speed is in his head.

''I am strong,'' he countered to ANSA agency, ''and I will push, even if some people want me to leave (Renault) sooner.

''The car is not the same as it was.''







Marshals only push a Ferrari - Alonso
(GMM - Monza) Fernando Alonso kicked the Monza barrier in frustration after Italian marshals refused to give him a push.

Renault's young Spaniard spun out of third position at the track's second chicane and frantically summoned the helpers.

''I guess if you don't drive a red car,'' said the livid 22-year-old afterwards, ''then they just don't want to help you.''

Last year, at the Nürburgring, German marshals gave Michael Schumacher a push after the Ferrari spun into the gravel.

A marshal-assisted driver is only then allowed to continue the grand prix if he is deemed to have been in a dangerous spot.

Alonso said the 'rules' allowed the Monza marshals to help.

Furious at team-mate Jarno Trulli, Renault officials pardoned Alonso after the race. ''It happens,'' said Pat Symonds.

''He was taking a lot of risks and pushing the car to the limit, which is what we want,'' said the team's engineering director.

Alonso said the R24 'wasn't very fast' at the Monza track.








Bad choice was DC's fault - McLaren
(GMM - Monza) McLaren passed the buck to departing driver David Coulthard for choosing the wrong tires for Monza's grand prix.

Team CEO Ron Dennis said the Scottish veteran was 'adamant' the track would stay wet enough to justify starting on intermediates.

''But we had to switch to dry (after the parade lap),'' he rued.

Coulthard, 33, admitted he might have finished higher than sixth if he'd made a better call. ''It thought it'd be ok,'' he said.

''We probably should have gone for slicks and the grid.''

Dennis, though, thinks there's at least 'one more' win in the heavily-revised MP4-19B for the remaining three '04 grands prix.

Asked if he was gutted, also by Kimi Raikkonen's Mercedes engine damage caused by a water leak, Dennis said: ''You get used to it.

''(But) it is disappointing as we only want to win.''








BMW's Mini gift was 'rude' - Ferrari
(GMM - Monza) Ferrari was unimpressed when F1 carmaker rival BMW presented a yellow 'Mini Cooper' to the champion team at Monza.

The keys to the BMW-built car, with a Ferrari logo painted on the roof, were handed to Luca di Montezemolo by Burkhard Goeschel.

Ferrari president, Montezemolo, was later heard to suggest that the gesture had been 'rude' and just a 'cheeky' marketing ploy.







I didn't try to trick Schu - Montoya
(GMM - Monza) Juan Pablo Montoya has dismissed as 'rubbish' Michael Schumacher's claim of a 'clever' driving trick at Monza.

The world champion said after the race that Juan tried to make it look like Michael had 'gained an advantage' after the first bend.

Schumacher cut the chicane at the race's start.

In qualifying, Zsolt Baumgartner was penalized for doing just that, so Michael knew he'd have to let the Williams pass him.

Schumacher said: ''I slowed down to let Juan go through.

''But he was playing it a little bit smart -- he slowed down, as well, to make it appear as if I was gaining an advantage.''

Montoya was amazed at the accusation.

''No way,'' said the Colombian. ''That's rubbish.

''I was full throttle but I just couldn't grip the track.''

Schumacher, meanwhile, dedicated second place in the Italian Grand Prix to his grandmother, Anna, who turned 80 on Sunday.








Minardi's $5m damage bill
(GMM - Monza) Minardi's run of carnage has had a devastating effect on the Paul Stoddart-led, cash-strapped Formula One team.

Added to crashes at Spa, the PS04B of Zsolt Baumgartner was a total write-off after a clash with a Jordan in Monza practice.

''It didn't really look as dramatic as the crash at Spa,'' admitted boss and owner Paul, ''but there was a lot more damage.

''The car is a write-off.''

Estimates put the recent damage bill at around the $5m mark, with Stoddart also believed to have said the team is 'out of money.'

Then came Sunday - and a huge fire on Gianmaria Bruni's racer.








China will be 'staggering' - F1 aces
(GMM - Monza) Formula One's next stop is the inaugural Chinese GP, to be staged on the state-of-the-art circuit in Shanghai.

World champion Michael Schumacher has never been to China.

''Certainly I'm looking forward to it,'' said the German driver, ''but I think we all are -- to experience a new country, too.''

The Ferrari driver said he'd 'have a holiday' there first.

Brazilian team-mate Rubens Barrichello has heard that the new circuit is 'amazing' but the facilities are 'even more amazing.

''I've only seen the track on paper,'' he admitted.

But BAR's ace Jenson Button has been there for real, the Englishman describing the track infrastructure as 'staggering.

''Also, it should be a good race,'' said the 24-year-old.

''It looks like overtaking should be possible there.''

China is, of course, an important market to crack for the world of GP racing, with its population 25-times the size of the UK.

''For us,'' Ron Dennis told Autosport, ''it represents a business opportunity. Most teams have spent several months (on it).''







'Parc ferme' + rain = safety risk
(GMM - Monza) FIA chief Max Mosley has denied that F1's parc ferme rule, coupled with rain, puts drivers at a safety risk.

It poured prior to Sunday's race on the high-speed Monza track, but cars' settings were determined a day earlier, for the dry.

Usually, a wet F1 set-up sees cars raised in height, thus reducing the risk of aquaplaning or 'skidding' on standing water.

''If there was a problem,'' Mosley said earlier, ''between the teams, the stewards and the FIA, I'm sure we'd find a solution.

''We'd never race in conditions that were absolutely dangerous.''

Pat Symonds, of Renault, said the permitted set-up changes for wet weather are ''minimal. We can change the tires,'' he said.

Symonds said brake ducts and cooling exits are the only other allowed changes, making driving in the wet 'much more difficult.'








One more rule change likely - source
(GMM - Monza) Another F1 rule change is likely next season.

With either Williams or McLaren set to finish outside the 'top four' teams, one will be entitled to run a 'third' car on Friday.

FIA president Max Mosley called the situation an 'anomaly.'

He said at Monza: ''If things stay as they are, you'll get a team running a third car that was never intended to run a third car.''

Max said the change needs a majority vote in the F1 Commission.

The rule was designed so that the least competitive teams have a more level playing field to race against well-financed rivals.

A source at a top team admitted the rule was likely to go.








Pizzonia move 'silly' - Coulthard
(GMM - Monza) David Coulthard branded Antonio Pizzonia's failed overtaking move in the closing stages of the Monza race 'silly.'

The pair clashed at the track's first chicane.

Williams' 'sub' explained that the McLaren had more straight line speed but that Coulthard made a mistake in the Parabolica corner.

''It was a good opportunity,'' said the young Brazilian.

''But we both locked our wheels and touched.''

Coulthard said the clash was 'inevitable' as he suspected that the former Jaguar racing 'Jungle Boy' was going to try something.

''Unless you slipstream past in a straight line,'' 33-year-old Coulthard told Autosport, ''then you can't out-brake someone.

''When the impact came I was ready for it.''








Ferrari's 'best season ever' - Barrichello
(GMM - Monza) 2004 has been Ferrari's 'best season ever,' according to the winner of the race at Monza, Rubens Barrichello.

The Brazilian said the year only lacked 'at least one win for me.

''From the bottom of my heart,'' he said in Italy. ''With the points we have, the wins we have, the team is very well.

''The guys behave well, even when we win a lot, and in 30 minutes we have a meeting about the China race -- it shows how we are.''

Rubens, 32, hopes his triumph - making him the third different winner in three races - shows that Formula One is not 'boring.

''I don't think today was (boring),'' he beamed.

''Ok, it was wet at the start, but ... looking at the Tifosi, as far as my eyes would reach, they have hearts like Brazilians.''








Rubens to succeed Schu - Ross Brawn
(GMM - Monza) If Michael Schumacher drove a different car, Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello would be world champion by now.

That is Ross Brawn's claim.

Maranello's technical director told publication 'People' that the Brazilian has just been 'unlucky' that Schu is so 'unstoppable.'

He said: ''People ask me who could replace Michael when he does quit, but I don't think it's an issue -- Rubens is good enough.''

Meanwhile, Michelin has ordered an enquiry into the Monza GP, where it could not match the pace of practice or qualifying.

''A bit strange,'' agreed motor sport director Pierre Dupasquier.







F1 may lose team in 2005, warns Todt
(GMM - Monza) Ferrari principal Jean Todt has warned that 'at least one' Formula One team may not be on the grid next season.

The Frenchman was echoing Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo's call at Monza for higher revenues at the pinnacle of motor sport.

''I know soccer teams who get more (revenue),'' he claimed.

Todt conceded the involvement of seven major carmakers makes it 'very difficult for the small teams' to find a budget and engine.

''Definitely there is a risk (of losing a team),'' he added.

''Maybe more than one, I don't know. If that happens, then we will definitely damage F1. Some are really struggling.''

Jordan and Minardi are F1's poorest teams.








Villeneuve to test Trulli's Renault
(GMM - Monza) Giancarlo Fisichella and Jacques Villeneuve are more likely than Jarno Trulli to race a Renault at Shanghai.

A rumor hit melting point, following Trulli's persisting lackluster pace at Monza, that he will be let go immediately.

All eyes turned to Fisichella, already signed as Fernando Alonso's 2005 team-mate at the Enstone-based Renault team.

But current employer Peter Sauber was quoted by the 'grandprix.com' website as denying Fisi will be available.

He told the online publication: ''I do not think Renault would want to spend the kind of money that I would want [for] that.

''(Briatore) has made his bed and now must lie in it.''

Speculation, therefore, said out-of-work '97 champion Villeneuve is favorite, and may test the car at Jerez starting on Tuesday.

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