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F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
October 14, 2004


FIA unveil longest ever calendar
(GMM - Oct.14) Magny-Cours, Imola and Silverstone were granted only provisional dates on next season's unprecedented 19-grand prix F1 calendar.

The draft list was published on Wednesday after a meeting in Paris of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council.

France, with an earlier than usual April date, and Great Britain, have asterisks next to their names indicating that a 2005 contract to host a Formula One event is 'under discussion.'

Imola's San Marino grand prix, meanwhile, is 'subject to compliance with (an existing) contract,' according to the provisional FIA calendar.

Guaranteed grands prix at the Nurburgring, Indianapolis and Shanghai will get a confirmed race date no later than December 10, the next meeting of the World Council, the FIA said.

The latter Chinese grand prix is listed as the 2005 season's final event, in late October.

F1's newest grand prix, meanwhile - a Turkish race in Istanbul - got a confirmed August 19-21 calendar slot.








'Hakkinen drove DTM' - Haug
(GMM - Oct.14) Mika Hakkinen did indeed test a Mercedes-Benz touring car in Germany this week, the marque's motor sport director confirmed.

Norbert Haug, who worked with him at the McLaren F1 team until the double world champion Finn retired in 2001, said the 34-year-old drove the current 'C- class' DTM car at Lausitz.

''(Mika) became a real fan of the DTM (in 2004),'' the German told Reuters. ''He has lost nothing from his speed but there is no further agreement.''

Former Formula One drivers Jean Alesi and Heinz-Harald Frentzen today both race in the DTM series.








Pizza boy delivers again - Jerez
(GMM - Oct.14) Antonio Pizzonia remained at the top of the time sheet as Formula One testing ended for a second day at the Jerez (Spain) track.

The Brazilian, in a Williams, was quicker than Toyota's Interlagos race entrant Ricardo Zonta as four other grand prix teams collected pre-Brazilian grand prix miles.

Of note on Wednesday was the running of 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, who will complete a three-race stint at Renault next Sunday before racing for Sauber in 2005.

At the bottom of the times, meanwhile, was an unfamiliar name -- Toyota's young driver academy star Katsuyuki Hiranaka, a Japanese, was a second slower than nearest man Bjorn Wirdheim, Jaguar's 'third' driver.

BAR's Enrique Bernoldi continued a program which included the assessment of next year's new regulations. The former Arrows racer evaluated 'various 2005 tires,' according to a team statement.







Brits receive 'draft' GP contract
(GMM - Oct.14) Silverstone's provisional appearance on the 2005 calendar was welcomed cautiously by Britain's potential race promoter.

''It is progress,'' said the track-owning British Racing Drivers' Club chairman Ray Bellm.

He confirmed that the Club is now in the possession of a 21-page 'draft promoters contract' sent by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone on Wednesday.

Bellm warned: ''(But) as yet, no deal has been concluded.''

The BRDC's chairman set a deadline for the conclusion of a deal as the end of October, even if Ecclestone only requires a final answer for the FIA Council's next meeting in Paris in December.

Ray Bellm said a grand prix promoter needs more time than that to organize a Formula One event.

The Club's chief executive, Alex Hooton, went further to explain that a delay further than the start of November would have an 'adverse impact' on marketing and ticket sales.

Silverstone's proposed race date of July 3 next year would clash with the Wimbledon (UK) tennis final.








BAR to 'go with Davidson' - boss
(GMM - Oct.14) Anthony Davidson and Antonio Pizzonia wait nervously in the wings of F1's 'Jenson Button' saga.

If BAR loses the English driver, 'third' star Anthony Davidson would most likely fill the gap in 2005, team principal David Richards has admitted.

And Frank Williams' test driver, Pizzonia, is an option to line up alongside Mark Webber next season if the CRB says Button remains in Richards' contractual grasp.

''In a few days we'll have the final decision,'' Richards told Italian magazine Autosprint in reference to Saturday's definitive CRB hearing (Milan).

He said: ''We've presented all our paperwork and explained our reasons. I'm confident because I think we are right.''

But if Richards is proved wrong, Button's compatriot, 25-year-old Davidson, is favorite, he admitted.

''In place of Jenson, I really think that I'll go with Anthony,'' said the Brackley principal. ''During the Friday tests (in 2004) he's always shown terrific potential.''








Japanese team could change F1 tire
(GMM - Oct.14) Bridgestone are 'putting pressure' on BAR-Honda and Toyota to switch tires next season, Michelin said on Wednesday.

The French marque's motor sport chief Pierre Dupasquier revealed that rival Bridgestone, currently with just one carmaker-backed partner (Ferrari), is chasing a Japanese team for 2005 and beyond.

''We do know (that),'' the Frenchman told F1 Racing magazine.

The magazine reckons there is 'massive internal pressure' at Toyota to build on the existing road car partnership between the manufacturer and Bridgestone.

It is also suggested that Ferrari-powered Bridgestone team Sauber has approached Michelin.

Dupasquier cleverly dodged the issue by insisting that Michelin is 'not keen' to take on a seventh team.







Two day weekend was 'nice' - FIA
(GMM - Oct.14) Max Mosley is encouraging feedback from the Formula One teams following the unplanned trial of a two-day GP weekend at Suzuka.

The FIA president claims a day of practice and then qualifying and the grand prix on Sunday 'went well.

''It was nice for the public,'' he said, ''and it's a good start to (Sunday).''

Team personnel, such as Ferrari's Ross Brawn, are also supportive of a permanent change, particularly if Bernie Ecclestone really plans an unprecedented 19-race calendar next season.

Renault's executive director of engineering, Pat Symonds, agrees with Brawn, but goes further by advocating a related reduction in testing.

''Maybe it's time for some fresh ideas,'' said the Briton.








Ralf eyes final fling for Williams
(GMM - Oct.14) Ralf Schumacher will drive his ninety fifth, and final, grand prix in a Williams car next Sunday.

The German, who celebrated a competitive return from injury with a podium finish at Suzuka, is already signed to switch to Toyota from 2005.

But, unlike similarly departing team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya or BAR's Jenson Button, 29-year-old Schumacher's departure is now - at least publicly - almost free of all animosity.

''I'd like to thank the entire team for their fantastic commitment,'' said Ralf after his best finish - and only podium so far - of the 2004 season.

He added: ''Everybody has done a great job.''

Ralf, although he does not play a part in the BMW-powered team's future, declared that another good result at the year-ending Brazilian grand prix is 'vital.

''I will keep on giving my very best,'' he continued. ''After all, I have been working with the team for six years, and after such a long time, I owed the (team) a convincing comeback.''








Dallara won't do 'a Reynard'
(GMM - Oct.14) Race car constructor Dallara has denied it is setting itself up for a fall by getting involved with the new 'Midland F1' team.

The Parma-based company's chief, Gian Paolo Dallara, vowed to avoid the mistakes made by F1 team BAR and its now out-of-business car partner Reynard.

''We don't want to do what (they) did,'' Italian Dallara told 'Autosprint' magazine. ''Everything is calculated for the available resources -- there is no danger of letting things get out of hand.''

Dallara last raced in F1 in 1992, as a Ferrari-powered constructor.

Gian Paolo said the Dallara-built Midland team will not try to compete with the lies of Ferrari, Williams and McLaren, but rather with privateer teams 'using the same (sort of) engine.'

A new F1-specific building is being constructed at Varano, and 50 new jobs will be created for the F1 project, Dallara confirmed.

The 2006 Midland-Dallara car, meanwhile, will debut on track next September.







Carlin to be new team's F1 principal
(GMM - Oct.14) F3 team boss Trevor Carlin is set to become Formula One's newest team principal in 2006.

The Briton has been selected to lead Russian-born businessman Alex Shnaider's new Midland-Dallara collaboration onto motor sport's highest stage.

Midland will be based near London at Carlin's HQ in Aldershot, the home of the British Army, according to reports.

Moreover, Dallara and 'Carlin Motorsport' already have a good relationship after several collaborative F3 titles.

Carlin had investigated going alone as a privateer F1 entrant, but plans were canned when existing bosses ruled out changing the rules to allow a team to buy a rival's 'old' car.

Trevor Carlin has racing teams in junior categories World Series (Renault), British F3 and Formula BMW.








FIA 'not in favor' of GP axe
(GMM - Oct.14) The FIA 'would be surprised' if Formula One loses the historic British and French grands prix next season.

A provisional 2005 calendar was issued by the governing body on Wednesday and, although both names featured on the list, final contracts with either race do not exist.

Max Mosley told Reuters TV in Paris: ''It's simply a question of getting a contract but also there is this problem of the number of races.''

The FIA president is referring to the biding Concorde Agreement, which states that there cannot be more than 17 grands prix without the unanimous consent of all teams.

If Britain and France - venues for rounds of the inaugural world championship in 1950 - both take place in 2005, with the other guaranteed races there would be a minimum of 18 grands prix.

Mosley cautioned: ''So there are one or two hurdles to jump. Certainly the FIA would not be in favor of either of those great traditional events coming off the calendar.''








The Pope and Ferrari
(GMM - Oct.14) The Pope in a Ferrari? Luca di Montezemolo has vowed to make it happen.

On Saturday, Pope John Paul II will celebrate 26 years as head of the Catholic Church, and Ferrari's president said the world champion F1 team wants to mark the occasion.

''We will make a Ferrari Formula One car especially for the pope,'' he told a reporter on a visit to the Vatican, according to news agency AFP.

A Ferrari spokesman said the Pope's car would be a smaller-scale version of Michael Schumacher's current F2004.

Montezemolo and the Pope have met before -- in 1990, and also when John Paul II rode in a Ferrari on the Fiorano test track.







Montagny and Jordan
(GMM - Oct.14) F1 test driver Franck Montagny may be part of a deal that lands a Renault engine in the Jordan car next season.

It was earlier reported that Eddie Jordan opened negotiations with the French manufacturer after Toyota effectively ruled out a customer engine supply.

Renault managing director Flavio Briatore offered EJ an initial 'no', but speculation now suggests the Italian is particularly keen to see Montagny, a Frenchman, in a racing seat next season.

British magazine Autosport said a Jordan-Renault deal would almost certainly see the current R24 car's entire rear-end package, including gearbox and suspension, fitted to the yellow car in 2005.








Schu to dedicate week to family
(GMM - Oct.14) F1 champion Michael Schumacher has returned to his home in Switzerland to spend more than a full week away from the cockpit.

The 35-year-old said he enjoys flyaway grands prix in Asia or America, but explained that they do require a 'long' stint away from wife and children.

He said after Sunday's Japanese race: ''The time between now and (Brazil) will be entirely dedicated to Corinna and the children. We will do things together and have fun for a few days.''








Stewart - 'I hardly ever drive'
(GMM - Oct.14) One of the most skilful men ever to get behind the wheel of a Formula One car has given up life on the black stuff.

Sir Jackie Stewart, world champion in 1969, 1971 and 1973, told Scottish tabloid 'Daily Record' that he employed a chauffeur about five years ago.

It was then, said the Scot, that he was pinged for speeding.

''I would consider myself now to be a below-average driver -- I hardly ever drive. I more or less use my car as an office.''

The knighted former champion, though - president of the Silverstone-owning British Racing Drivers' Club - still enjoys burning rubber on a race track.

Earlier in 2004, he sped around Ford's Dearborn test track near Detroit (USA) to help Ford develop the new GT road car.







'I beat Kimi' - Coulthard
(GMM - Oct.14) David Coulthard said beating one of F1's hottest new talents, Kimi Raikkonen, at Suzuka proved he deserves a race seat next season.

''I was the quickest McLaren all weekend,'' the out-of-contract Scot, 33, remarked after being knocked from Sunday's Japanese grand prix by a Ferrari.

Had Jaguar kept racing in 2005, Coulthard would almost certainly have been their man, but he is now pinning all hopes on a seat turning up at BAR or Williams.

Coulthard, who was also quicker than Raikkonen at the fabled Suzuka circuit in 2003, pointed out that he beat the Finn in all track sessions - including qualifying - on the weekend.

''(I was faster) in the wet and in the dry,'' he said. ''Okay, it's just one race, but it shows I still have the pace, commitment and overtaking ability.''








Blow-up 'donkey does F1'
(GMM - Oct.14) An inflatable donkey has become a full time member of Jaguar's traveling F1 team.

Mischievous mechanics, who might not have a job beyond next weekend's Brazilian grand prix, first blew-up the 'Shrek' toy at Spa-Francorchamps.

A website, donkeydoesf1.co.uk, shows Donkey in various poses -- including at the wheel of Mark Webber's R4, with Japanese pit babes, and around and about in the city of Shanghai.

Reports claim Jaguar chiefs initially asked that Donkey be deflated, but turned a blind eye after Ford announced it would quit F1.








'Last chance' for Brit GP - Bernie
(GMM - Oct.14) A provisional spot on the 2005 F1 calendar is Silverstone's last chance to save the British grand prix.

That's the claim of F1 impresario Bernie Ecclestone, who decided not to exclude the historic race from the draft line-up after favorable recent negotiations with the British Racing Drivers' Club.

But he warned: ''It is not something we can argue about any more -- this is my final offer.''

BRDC contacts confirmed that a 21-page draft promoter's contract has been received, but is for one race only. The Club wants at least a two-year deal.

Ecclestone, 73, said he was not sympathetic to the track-owning Club's claims that it can not afford to pay the nominal global fee for a grand prix.

He added: ''(The BRDC) have made a lot of money in the past and they should have saved it for this eventuality.''







Gary Anderson and 'Midland F1'
(GMM - Oct.14) Former Jordan man Gary Anderson may become a 'consultant' for Formula One's newest team in 2006.

Gian Paolo Dallara, whose Parma-based Italian race car constructor will build the 'Midland' entrant, admitted the outfit had targeted Irish-born Anderson.

Anderson was instrumental in the formation of Eddie Jordan's F1 team when it entered the sport in 1991, and was director of engineering until last year.

''(Gary) is experienced, with good technical sense,'' Dallara told Italian magazine Autosprint.

Dallara said the 2006 F1 car was being designed initially for a Cosworth engine, but he is now not so sure the unit will still be available.

The car is therefore now made to ultimately accommodate a 'standard' engine specification, he revealed.








Davidson targeted by new F1 team
(GMM - Oct.14) Even if Anthony Davidson misses out on the 2005 race grid, he is already in the sights of Formula One's newest team.

According to Trevor Carlin, who has been selected to manage the 'Midland F1' project for 2006, drivers 'like Anthony' are exactly who he will target to occupy the Dallara-built car's seats.

Davidson, now 25, finished runner-up to team-mate Takuma Sato in the 2001 British F3 championship -- for Carlin Motorsport.








Turkey is 'worthwhile' GP - FIA
(GMM - Oct.14) Turkey is a 'worthwhile' addition to the grand prix calendar, FIA president Max Mosley said on Wednesday.

At a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris, it was announced that Istanbul - which has built a Formula One circuit on the city's outskirts - won a guaranteed debut for August 19-21 next year.

''It is a country where motorsport is growing very fast with dynamic leadership,'' Mosley told Reuters television. ''I think there is great interest in that area.''

Turkey already hosts a round of the FIA-sanctioned World Rally championship.

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