F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
October 28, 2004
BAR's winning gearbox
(GMM -- Oct.28) Formula One team BAR has won the British Royal
Automobile Club's annual 'Simms Medal.'
A statement said Brackley's David Richards-led outfit earned the
plaudit after it developed the 'carbon fiber gearbox' in 2004.
RAC's 'Motoring Technical Committee' said BAR is about 'two years
ahead of its (F1) competitors' in being the first to fully integrate a
carbon fiber gearbox into the overall design of the '006' car.
''A number of teams have attempted carbon-fiber gearboxes,'' said the
technical committee's John Wood, ''but it is the small, dedicated team
(at BAR) who have actually achieved it.''
BAR's deputy technical director Gary Savage, meanwhile, revealed that
his team is currently working on an 'even smaller and lighter' carbon
fiber gearbox for 2005.
GPWC 'is serious' - Faure
(GMM -- Oct.28) Renault's Patrick Faure has dismissed claims that the
'GPWC' carmaker group is not serious about leaving the Formula One
world championship in 2008.
F1 Commission member Ron Walker, of Australian grand prix fame, said
Wednesday that the breakaway threat is a 'game of cards' designed to
lever more money out of F1's Bernie Ecclestone.
''We are absolutely not ready to accept that there (cannot be) better
redistribution among the teams of the money generated by Formula
One,'' Faure, the president of Renault F1, told Eurosport.
He said GPWC - now also involving BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari,
following the withdrawal of Ford - gained credibility in the
appointment of a respected commercial rights holder.
Webber eyes Melbourne win
(GMM -- Oct.28) Australian Formula One driver Mark Webber wants to win
his home grand prix in a Williams next March.
The 27-year-old, who has never finished higher than fifth in Formula
One, is moving from Ford-backed Jaguar Racing to the respected
BMW-powered team in 2005.
And he hopes Juan Pablo Montoya's farewell victory for Grove at
Interlagos last Sunday was a sign of more to come.
''I couldn't ask for a better start to the winter,'' Webber - who'll
start testing in plain white overalls next month - told Australian
agencies on Wednesday.
He said: ''Coming second helps for the championship, but wins are
bloody important and we have to be doing that from the start.''
Australia's last drivers' champion, 1980 winner Alan Jones, secured
Sir Frank Williams' first ever drivers' triumph.
Toyota power Jordan's future
(GMM -- Oct.28) Jordan's future on the Formula One grid has almost
certainly been secured, it was reported Thursday morning.
Eddie Jordan appears to have tied up a 2005 deal to fit a customer
Toyota engine to the rear of a Ryan Briscoe-steered EJ15 car.
Briscoe, 23 and a long-term contracted Toyota driver and 2004 tester,
would - with Mark Webber in the BMW-Williams next season - be
Australia's second F1 racer.
''We are now 99 per cent certain that we will be on the grid (in
2005),'' Jordan's commercial director Ian Phillips told British
newspaper The Guardian.
He admitted: ''It has been a nerve-racking few weeks.''
It's expected that the Toyota engine deal is even more affordable than
the annual $10m fee charged by Jordan's beleaguered former supplier
US-based buyer for Cosworth
(GMM -- Oct.28) Champ Car co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven, an Australian,
will shortly announce that he has bought Ford's Cosworth.
The loss of the historic company, threatened by Ford's shock decision
to withdraw it and Jaguar from Formula One after the Brazilian grand
prix, would also have been disastrous for the entirely
Cosworth-powered US-based championship.
The news is also good for back-of-the-grid F1 team Minardi, whose
principal Paul Stoddart was preparing to dust off the old '01-spec
'European' (Cosworth) V10 engine to race in 2005.
Toyota 'low point'
(GMM -- Oct.28) Toyota's situation in Formula One is no different to
the one Mike Gascoyne corrected in the past, the technical director
Gascoyne, who joined the Cologne squad from Renault (nee Benetton)
last December, said his former team had similar problems at the start
of the 2001 season.
He said: ''This year was always going to be difficult. What we have to
deliver now is the same amount of progress, for 2005, that we had at
Benetton (in 2001-2002).''
Toyota's biggest problem is still aerodynamics, Gascoyne also
''It's the key area of development on the chassis for next year,'' he
confirmed. ''We're pushing very hard.''
Gascoyne said potential point scorer Ricardo Zonta's blow up at
Spa-Francorchamps, with two laps to go, was the low point of the 2004
''If we hadn't done that,'' said the Toyota technical director, ''it
would have helped us.''
New quali 'better' - JT
(GMM -- Oct.28) F1's new Saturday and Sunday 'aggregate' qualifying is
likely to be an improvement, Toyota driver Jarno Trulli stated
From Melbourne next March, drivers will do a low-fuel lap on Saturday
afternoon and a race-fuel lap just hours prior to the grand prix, and
the grid will be determined by adding the lap times together.
Trulli, an Italian, commented: ''I haven't had a serious think about
it yet -- we will adapt to it and it will be more predictable than
now, I think.''
As for a driver's approach, though, the 30-year-old said an aggregate
system ensures that 'making a mistake' on track is out of the question
-- but pushing the car hard is also a must.
Jarno Trulli said: ''You couldn't really risk the car in
pre-qualifying this year, but next year will be completely
Ferrari should 'do a Rossi'
(GMM -- Oct.28) Champion F1 team Ferrari should accept the challenge
and 'do a Valentino Rossi,' rival grand prix principal David Richards
BAR's chief essentially dared Jean Todt to put the final signature on
the almost unanimous initiative that moves to negate Ferrari's
advantage of owning two private test circuits.
''(Valentino Rossi) could have won many more MotoGP championships with
Honda,'' Richards told Autosport, ''but he undertook a greater
challenge by moving to Yamaha. I think Ferrari should (do a similar
Richards said if Ferrari demonstrated it could still win the
constructors' title so easily with just ten days of in-season testing,
they would 'prove their strength. (And) the sport needs it.'
F1 champ 'gets $22m a year'
(GMM -- Oct.28) F1's champion team receives $22 million a year in
Bernie Ecclestone-prize money. Minardi gets about half that.
''Maybe you will be quite surprised at that spread,'' said Ron Dennis,
whose (McLaren) team's carmaker partner - Mercedes-Benz - is one of
the 'GPWC' championship members.
$22m represents about four percent of an average manufacturer-backed
F1 team's annual budget in 2004.
This week, the GPWC group - also including Renault, Ferrari and BMW,
but no longer Ford - appointed a respected organizing company and
reiterated the threat to quit F1 'no later than' 2008.
A McLaren 'insider' hinted to UK newspaper The Guardian that it
regrets signing up for the current revenue distribution system, a part
of the 1998 'Concorde Agreement', which runs to 2007.
''We should have pushed for an even better deal,'' the insider said.
Brit TV lose F1 sponsor
(GMM -- Oct.28) UK Newspaper 'The Daily Telegraph' will not renew a
$8.3 million sponsorship of Britain's Formula One television coverage,
we can reveal.
The cut-price agreement with broadcaster ITV, who have a six-year deal
with Bernie Ecclestone, was signed after former lucrative sponsor
Toyota withdrew backing for 2004.
'Hakk is back' after all?
(GMM -- Oct.28) Double world champion Mika Hakkinen may still return
to Formula One in 2005, we can reveal.
Prior to Sir Frank Williams' (failed, as it turned out) signing of
Jenson Button, the monosyllabic Finn - who 'retired' from the sport
after eight seasons with McLaren in 2001 - negotiated secretly with
the Grove-based chief.
''I was totally serious (about coming back),'' he said.
But, when the Button-saga went to the contract recognition board for a
protracted ruling, Hakkinen decided against waiting and simply told
both Williams and BAR - who may also have had a vacancy - that all
deals were off.
But that was then ...
Williams' long-time partner Patrick Head told Autosport this week that
signing Hakkinen after three years on the bench would be a 'risk.'
He added: ''But you have to think seriously about a man who has the
talent to twice beat Michael Schumacher to the title.''
McLaren duo 'to explode' again
(GMM -- Oct.28) Ron Dennis 'doesn't know what's going to hit him' when
Juan Pablo Montoya starts motoring at McLaren, a prominent Williams
'insider' has claimed.
''Juan Pablo can be a real handful,'' the unnamed insider told UK
newspaper 'The Guardian'.
McLaren CEO Dennis, though, said earlier this week that he would never
shy away from the challenge of putting two explosive characters next
to each other in the F1 garage.
In the late 80's, though Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna did just that -
explode - the pairing netted two world championships (one each), and
set yet unbroken records.
''Alain and Ayrton worked,'' Dennis told The Times. ''Frank is a good
friend but he does not have a history of being particularly user
friendly with drivers.''
BAR and Johnnie Walker
(GMM -- Oct.28) Formula One team BAR will race into 2005 with a mighty
budget if negotiations for two new, lucrative, sponsorship deals are
favourable, we can reveal.
It is rumoured that the David Richards-led outfit, based in England,
is talking to current Jaguar backer Pioneer, but also a new-to-F1
company -- whiskey brand Johnnie Walker.
Sources said Diageo-owned 'Johnnie Walker' also commenced negotiations
with BAR rival McLaren, but preferred the former's younger image --
and cheaper sponsor rate.
Schu to help German team
(GMM -- Oct.28) Michael Schumacher's fabled love of Germany and soccer
may be put to good use, a British tabloid newspaper has reported.
Germany's national football team manager, Oliver Bierhoff, was quoted
as saying the seven time Formula One world 'knows how to win' at the
It is suggested that Ferrari's 35-year-old driver, born in a small
German town not far from Cologne, may help the squad with 'mental
'We're still friends'
(GMM -- Oct.28) Flavio Briatore reckons firing Formula One driver
Jarno Trulli in 2004 has not 'broken' the Italians' former close
''Not at all,'' the flamboyant Renault principal said.
He commented: ''If I want to call (Jarno) and say 'let's go out for
lunch or dinner', then I can do that.''
54-year-old Briatore said he replaced Monaco winner Trulli, first with
former world champion Jacques Villeneuve and then (in 2005) Giancarlo
Fisichella, because the now Toyota racer 'was not motivated.'
'I just drive' - Kimi
(GMM -- Oct.28) Patrick Head has warned observers to save analysis of
McLaren's new pairing, Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya, until
after the first grands prix of 2005.
Williams' engineering veteran, who had several infamous altercations
with the feisty South American, said 29-year-old Montoya has both
strengths 'and weaknesses.'
''(Kimi and Juan) could be the best of mates until Melbourne,'' said
the Englishman, ''where one of them will beat the other.''
25-year-old McLaren incumbent Raikkonen, meanwhile, vowed to not waste
time this winter worrying about next year's new qualifying,
aerodynamic, tyre and engine regulations.
''There's no point (thinking about it),'' said the plain-speaking
Finn. ''You can't change it -- I let everyone else make the decisions
so I can just drive the car when they tell me (to).''
'Thanks for Williams drive'
(GMM -- Oct.28) There is a worthy place for both Jaguar and Minardi in
the Formula One pitlane, Mark Webber has suggested.
The rated driver, who started his career in one of Paul Stoddart's
black back-of-the-grid cars before spending two seasons with the
Leaping Cat, said he'd had a 'lucky' run to the front of the grid.
''I've got a Williams seat on the back of (those teams),'' the
27-year-old Australian star revealed.
He added: ''Every time I walk past the Minardi garage I go and see the
guys, and that is something I will miss if these (Jaguar) guys are not
here any more.''
(GMM -- Oct.28) Formula One's 'third' independent team is in no
immediate danger of going out of business, Peter Sauber has stated.
Unlike Jordan and Minardi, the only other surviving F1 competitors
without the backing of an automobile giant, the little Swiss team's
owner revealed that Sauber comfortably 'stood our ground' in 2004.
''We even managed to open (a lead) to the world's second and third
largest automotive manufacturers, Toyota and Ford (in the
constructors' world championship),'' he boasted.
Peter Sauber said the Ferrari-powered team, which is based in Hinwil
(Switzerland), is accustomed to 'making highly efficient use of ...
Ville was 'error' - Renault
(GMM -- Oct.28) Renault 'made a mistake' in hiring Jacques Villeneuve
to drive the final three grands prix of 2004, F1 team president
Patrick Faure has admitted.
The Frenchman said he and Renault principal Flavio Briatore
'underestimated' how long a former world champion would take to get up
to speed after a 12-month lay off.
Faure told Eurosport: ''We thought he could immediately come back and
fight -- but F1 has changed. Physically, he needed many more months of
33-year-old Villeneuve himself, though, called the experience 'very
useful' if only to aid the preparation of a full time return for
smaller team Sauber next year.
The French-Canadian said: ''Unfortunately, there were no points to
celebrate, but at least in Brazil I was competitive.''
Toyota need downforce - Trulli
(GMM -- Oct.28) Toyota will remain in the midfield until the F1 team
find more downforce, Cologne's new driver Jarno Trulli said on
The former Renault star debuted in the TF104B at Suzuka, and raced
again in Brazil last weekend. ''I have noticed a high rate of (tyre)
degradation at the rear,'' the 30-year-old Italian revealed.
''Generally, there is just not enough grip.''
Jarno Trulli is provisionally scheduled to participate in Toyota's
first test of the pre-season period, at Barcelona in late November.
2005 team-mate Ralf Schumacher will also be present.
F1 to recoup aero loss
(GMM -- Oct.28) Formula One teams will have recovered most of the
losses caused by an aero rule change by the time the circus arrives in
Melbourne next March.
Alterations, mainly to the diffuser but also to the front and rear
wing, compromised around 30 per cent of a car's overall downforce when
tested separately in Ferrari and Williams' wind tunnels.
But Ferrari's technical director, Ross Brawn, hopes to halve that
projected figure between now and the start of the 2005 season.
He said: ''We're gradually getting (it) back (in the wind tunnel).''
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