F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
October 10, 2004
Schu debuted 2005 'hybrid' Ferrari
(GMM - Suzuka) Ferrari will start the 2005 season with a 'hybrid'
version of the current Formula One single-seater, technical director
Ross Brawn revealed.
''We'll introduce the new one later,'' he told Italy's La Gazzetta
dello Sport newspaper.
The chassis, tire and engine regulations are changing next season, so
the Maranello-based world champions will modify the F2004 so that it
is legal to start the year at Melbourne.
English-born Brawn said the objective then will be to use the
knowledge of the opening flyaway grands prix to 'optimize' the F2005.
The 'hybrid' Ferrari was tested for the first time by Michael
Schumacher at Jerez last week.
But the German driver returned to the garage without a smile on his
face. ''(Michael) said it had less grip (than the current car),'' said
Brawn, ''(but) it was quite difficult to drive. (Schumacher) was a bit
Brawn said the goal of the 2005 regulations is to add three seconds to
a lap time, but reckons Ferrari will be 'around 1.5 - 2 (seconds)
slower' than in 2004.
New F1 team 'may buy Cosworth'
(GMM - Suzuka) Formula One's new-for-2006 team, 'Midland', may buy
Russian-born Canadian Alex Shnaider told British broadcaster 'ITV'
that he has not bought Ford-owned Jaguar, but snapping-up Cosworth
would solve the problem of where to find an engine in 2006.
''We are looking at (buying Cosworth),'' he admitted.
Shnaider also denied Minardi counterpart Paul Stoddart's claim that,
with a diminishing grid of F1 rivals, the value of a team 'franchise'
is now minimal.
''(It is) the perfect time (to enter F1),'' he countered. ''(F1) is in
turmoil and we as a company are used to working in markets which are
always in turmoil.''
Minardi get conditional support - Sauber
(GMM - Suzuka) Formula One cannot give Paul Stoddart unconditional
support in a request to run an illegal car next season, fellow
independent team principal Peter Sauber explained.
At Suzuka, Stoddart - the struggling Minardi chief - said he had found
the support of only a handful of teams to run a car to faster 2004
regulations in 2005.
He claims the lateness of the 2005 technical code and the lack of
affordable customer engines makes it a case of 'force majeure.'
''There is not a clear cut answer to give,'' Swiss owner Sauber said.
''On the one hand, I'd like to help him -- but on the other hand we
have to be a bit careful.''
While a more competitive Minardi would never be a threat to the likes
of Ferrari, Peter Sauber said it would not be fair to apply the same
argument to Sauber's position.
He asked: ''What would it cost us to go closer to Ferrari?''
BAR's David Richards evaded an answer by insisting that the Minardi
request is a matter 'for the FIA' to rule on.
Schu on 'awkward' pole
(GMM - Suzuka) Michael Schumacher admitted that a drying track helped
him to secure pole in an 'awkward' race-day qualifying session at
The German, in a Ferrari, had the benefit of running second-to-last in
the final run after trailing Toyota's Jarno Trulli in the re-scheduled
A 'super' strength typhoon near the region in Japan, which ultimately
averted Suzuka, meant Saturday qualifying was postponed and run on
Schumacher will line up ahead of brother Ralf, who qualified half a
second further down the road, with Jaguar's Mark Webber a surprise
Most qualifiers wore dry-compound tires, after seeing early runners
more than ten seconds off the pace with an intermediate tread.
Bernie offers to promote Brit GP
(GMM - Suzuka) Having threatened to axe it mere days ago, Bernie
Ecclestone has now offered to promote the British Grand Prix.
The F1 impresario now says Silverstone owner, the British Racing
Drivers' Club, has two offers on the table -- his, and the
much-publicized one involving 1992 champion Nigel Mansell.
''I have given the BRDC another option to consider,'' 73-year-old
Bernie told British newspapers from London.
Ecclestone said all the teams, including seven which are based in the
United Kingdom, now have to agree to the running of an unsanctioned
eighteenth race in 2005.
He commented: ''With a bit of luck ... there should be a British Grand
'It's time to race' - Ralf
(GMM - Suzuka) Officials were right to cancel Saturday at Suzuka, BAR
driver Jenson Button believes.
Like most F1 travelers to the Japanese region, the Briton sheltered in
a hotel as the outskirts of a 'super typhoon' brought winds of about
''(If) there were trees flying around,'' he said, ''we definitely
should not be driving.''
Ralf Schumacher, who qualified behind brother Michael in Sunday's
rescheduled final qualifying, agreed that the decision to cancel
Saturday was 'very reasonable.
''After breakfast,' he revealed of the revised Saturday campaign, ''I
went to the gym, and we had lunch in a restaurant.
''Now I'm looking forward to the race.''
Brother Michael joked that he would spend Saturday either playing
'football or backgammon,' and it appears he had to settle for the
The German, 35, tried to book a local gym so he could organize an
indoor soccer match, but it was already occupied.
F1 drivers had typhoon party
(GMM - Suzuka) Most Formula One drivers spent the day with each other
when practice and qualifying was cancelled on Saturday.
Pole sitter Michael Schumacher said although a 'super typhoon' was
wreaking havoc outside the Japanese hotel, the drivers had a 'fun day.
''I don't think we've done that before,'' said the world champion,
''all the drivers together like that.''
Mark Webber, a surprise third on the grid for departing team Jaguar,
agreed that Saturday - reportedly involving bowling and soccer - had
been a 'good day.'
'Thanks, David' - Ralf S.
(GMM - Suzuka) Ralf Schumacher cynically credited David Coulthard for
helping him secure a front row start in this afternoon's Japanese
The pair collided at Shanghai a fortnight ago, putting Williams' Ralf
a lucky seventeenth in the pre-qualifying order.
''Being out late like that,'' said the German, ''definitely helped me
-- so thanks to David. It was good to be fast there and then I could
go out late in the second (session) and also be fast.''
Schumacher, 29, said despite the typhoon and overnight rain, the track
was mostly dry - apart from some 'wet patches' - in morning
Zsolt to start from pitlane
(GMM - Suzuka) Zsolt Baumgartner will start Sunday's Japanese grand
prix from the Suzuka pit lane.
The Hungarian driver spun his Minardi in the early morning
pre-qualifying session, which was run at 9am after a typhoon warning
compelled Saturday's total cancellation.
''We got the car back (to the garage) just a few minutes before final
qualifying,'' said a team spokesman, ''so (we) elected to miss the
Baumgartner said he just lost the back end in pre-qualifying.
Montoya under pressure
(GMM - Suzuka) Juan Pablo Montoya blamed bad tire pressure for a poor
qualifying effort at Japan's Suzuka circuit.
The Colombian driver will line up a lowly thirteenth on the grid, as
Williams team-mate Ralf Schumacher found the front row.
''It went wrong in pre-qualifying,'' he told reporters afterwards. ''I
think the (tire) pressures were not right.''
Technical director Sam Michael backed the 29-year-old's pressure claim
by admitting the team 'made a mistake.
''That's why he was slow,'' said the Australian engineer.
Old Honda F1 cars at Suzuka
(GMM - Suzuka) Four former GP drivers are showing off a flock of
Honda-powered Formula One cars at the Suzuka circuit.
The Japanese engine manufacturer, this weekend, is celebrating forty
years (1964) since it became involved at the pinnacle of motor sport,
on a track it owns.
1964 world champion John Surtees, and Jacques Lafitte - who last raced
in 1986 - joined Japanese stars Aguri Suzuki and Satoru Nakajima on
the old Honda test circuit.
An old Williams and McLaren were among the Honda-powered cars on
Webber devotes third to Jag 'guys'
(GMM - Suzuka) Mark Webber dedicated third place on the Suzuka grid to
Jaguar mechanics, who face an uncertain future in Formula One.
The Australian driver took advantage of a drying track to put his
'Leaping Cat' third, just one position behind his best-ever GP start,
at Malaysia (2nd).
Webber, 27, vowed to push for a point or two in this afternoon's grand
prix -- the Milton-Keynes' penultimate.
''It's probably going to be a tough race for us,'' he said in Japan,
''but we'll give it everything and see where we are.''
The Williams bound star offered a special cheerio to his number one
mechanic, 'Paddy' (Alan Maybin), who will retire after the 53-lap
''He has been in Formula One for a long time,'' said Mark, ''so good
Coulthard to build more hotels
(GMM - Suzuka) F1 veteran David Coulthard, and business partner Ken
McCulloch, are set to build twelve more 'Dakota' hotels.
The first Dakota was built in July, in Nottingham (UK), and the next
should be ready in spring 2006, according to the 'Scotland on Sunday'
McCulloch and Coulthard already own the luxury 'Columbus' hotel in
Brit GP not 'saved' - BRDC spokesman
(GMM - Suzuka) The BRDC has denied that a little known group, which
hastily recruited Nigel Mansell to give it credibility, has 'saved'
the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
'Brand Synergy' chief Kim Cockburn claimed that a seven year deal has
been agreed with F1 impresario and current rights holder Bernie
''We're keeping (the race) at Silverstone,'' she told British radio.
''I can confirm (that).''
A spokesman for the Northamptonshire circuit's British Racing Drivers'
Club, though, said the claim is 'not correct' and 'mere speculation.'
''Discussions continue with all parties,'' said the spokesman, ''but
no agreement has yet been reached.''
The BRDC's CEO Alex Hooton, meanwhile, said he has now met with
Cockburn and can confirm that 'Brand Synergy' has no 'proper business
plan' or confirmed financial backing.
Jaguar 'not sold' to Red Bull
(GMM - Suzuka) Jaguar Racing has not been sold to energy drink brand
Red Bull, the F1 team's managing director David Pitchforth insisted.
Web reports said the sale of the Ford-owned team to Austrian magnate
Dieter Mateschitz is now 'complete.'
But Pitchforth told sources at Suzuka that the report only surfaced
after a radio interview was translated into German text, and then
re-translated back to English.
Team principal Tony Purnell is not in Japan this weekend, but said
recently he was 'sifting' through the realistic team buyers from the
''I think one has to be fairly confident,'' he added, ''that a (buyer)
will be found.''
2005 Ferrari 'felt strange' - Schu
(GMM - Suzuka) Michael Schumacher said the 2005 technical regulations
The world champion tested a 'hybrid' Ferrari car, modified to emulate
the slow-down aerodynamic, tire and engine regulations, at the Jerez
(Spain) track last week.
Schumacher, 35, said the biggest difference he noticed was the lack of
power, after Ferrari de-tuned a current V10 unit to last the
mandatory-in-2005 two GP weekends.
He remarked: ''The first session was difficult, but I soon got used to
Technical director Ross Brawn, meanwhile, confirmed that Ferrari will
kick off 2005 with the 'hybrid' car, and an evolution of the current
Schumacher ends losing streak
(GMM - Suzuka) Michael Schumacher ended a two month drought of F1 wins
on Sunday when he won the season's penultimate Japanese grand prix
His younger brother, Ralf - who returned from injury two weeks ago in
the Williams - joined the Ferrari champion on the Suzuka podium, as
did BAR's Jenson Button.
Local favorite Takuma Sato was fourth.
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