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F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
November 3, 2004


'No number one' at McLaren
(GMM -- Nov.3) McLaren will never do-a-Ferrari and appoint a clear number one driver, team chairman Ron Dennis has insisted.

He denied that incoming recruit Juan Pablo Montoya's win over incumbent Kimi Raikkonen in Brazil last month was the first installation of a winter battle to secure the Woking-based team's primary attention.

''No, no way,'' team principal Dennis told a reporter after the season ending grand prix near Sao Paulo. ''We don't have number ones -- we have equal opportunities.''

But Ron Dennis does hope that the combination 'Raikkonen-Montoya' appears - in whatever order - right at the top of the timing screen on a regular basis from 2005.








Hunter-Reay and F1
(GMM -- Nov.3) American driver Ryan Hunter-Reay may have moved an inch closer to Formula One by joining a top London-based management outfit.

The 23-year-old driver, who hopes to become the first United States-born star to grace the pinnacle of motor sport since Michael Andretti in 1993, is the latest client of 'CSS Stellar Management.'

Hunter-Reay, currently a Champ Car single-seater driver and nominated for the 'Greg Moore Legacy' award, said CSS may help 'continue my success' in open-wheel racing.

He continued: ''I'm hopeful they (can) help guide me in evaluating future opportunities, including Formula One.''

Former Champ Car and Indy 500 champion Juan Pablo Montoya, now a four-year veteran of Formula One, is also managed by CSS.







Crisis talks to resume
(GMM -- Nov.3) Formula One team principals will pick up the theme of cost cutting when they stage yet another meeting, in London, next Tuesday (November 9).

At Interlagos, scene of the season ending Brazilian grand prix and a series of remarkable off-track engagements, all teams except Ferrari agreed a package of proposals - such as the severe limitation of in-year testing - for 2005.

The last meeting also mooted a control-tire situation in Formula One, and the fate of the potential eighteenth and nineteenth races next year, the dubious British and French grands prix.








Wirdheim to America
(GMM -- Nov.3) Bjorn Wirdheim looks set to put Formula One aspirations on the back-burner and race in the US-based Champ Car category in 2005.

The Swede, 2003 champion of Formula 3000 and Jaguar's 'third' and test driver throughout the recently concluded season, has won a trial run for Kevin Kalkhoven's PKV Racing outfit in mid-November.

24-year-old Wirdheim, who also tried out for BAR and Jordan prior to the 2004 world championship campaign, completed a Champ Car test earlier this year.








Bernie and Cosworth
(GMM -- Nov.3) A familiar face is prepared to come to the rescue if an alternate buyer is not found for threatened Formula One engine supplier Cosworth Racing, we can reveal.

It is understood that the sport's 'impresario', commercial rights holder and 74-year-old billionaire Bernie Ecclestone, would snap up the formerly Ford-backed company in order to guarantee the contracts of endangered private teams Jordan - negotiating an alternate supply with Toyota - and Minardi.

The most likely outcome, though, is that Champ Car owner Kevin Kalkhoven will conclude a deal to save Cosworth and, in so doing, his entirely Cosworth-powered single seater field in America.







Ford to stay in Rally
(GMM -- Nov.3) Ford pulled the plug on Formula One, but the US carmaker vowed on Tuesday to remain in the FIA-run World Rally championship at least until the end of 2008.

''Our continuation is excellent news for the championship,'' said director of Ford Team RS, Jost Capito.

He said Ford chiefs had been convinced to stay in the WRC after a full review of the marque's motor sport program.

The governing FIA's cost saving proposals for World Rally also helped make the team's case, Jost Capito revealed.








Mexico's 'crossover' F1 track
(GMM -- Nov.3) Mexico's new Formula One circuit will feature a 'combined' layout of oval and traditional grand prix-like design, architect Hermann Tilke has revealed.

The author of most modern circuits on the F1 calendar, such as those in China, Bahrain and Malaysia, said the design at Cancun - to host a grand prix from 2006 or 2007 - is not finished yet.

He told Autosport: ''We plan a track which will cross itself, with the circuit leading under the oval ring outside and inside again.''








Ford management 'to blame'
(GMM -- Nov.3) US carmaker Ford's latest Formula One program failed because it was not headed by the 'right management.'

That's the claim of 1964 world champion and 70-year-old Briton John Surtees.

He said Ford 'squandered money' but does not blame front-line F1 management including principal Tony Purnell and Jaguar managing director David Pitchforth.

''(They) tried so hard to turn things around,'' Surtees wrote in a vodafoneracing.com column, ''but were so restricted by the extravagances and squandering of wealth that went on before them.''

The two and four-wheeled racing legend, though, said Great Britain, in particular, 'should thank' both Ford and Cosworth for its $34 billion motor sport industry.







Massa is 'best overtaker'
(GMM -- Nov.3) Felipe Massa is perhaps the most skilful overtaker in Formula One, according to the young Brazilian's team boss Peter Sauber.

''He is an exceptional talent,'' the Swiss-German said. ''He is fast and is more consistent now, (but) there is hardly another driver who overtook as many rivals as Felipe did this season -- he's a fighter.''

22-year-old Massa will stay at the Hinwil-based grand prix outfit in 2005, as team-mate to former world champion Jacques Villeneuve.

But Peter is sorry to lose Giancarlo Fisichella, to Renault, in 2005. ''I think other teams suddenly developed an interest in (him) because we gave him a quick car,'' Sauber smiled.

He said: ''Who knows -- maybe Giancarlo's eyes will be wandering across to our pit garage with a bit of a wistful look now and then.''








Fisi's a 'fighter' - Flavio
(GMM -- Nov.3) Renault will have one of the very best driver line-ups in Formula One next season, principal Flavio Briatore said.

Alongside Spanish spectacle Fernando Alonso in 2005 will be former Renault (Benetton) driver Giancarlo Fisichella, an Italian who spent the intervening years since 2001 in the comparative wilderness with privateers Jordan and Sauber.

''He's a fighter,'' said countryman Briatore, ''and a finisher -- he is always fast, whether on the first lap or the last. Giancarlo knows the team already, has a modest ego and isn't interested in politics.''








'Trouble free' for Trulli
(GMM -- Nov.13) He didn't score a single point after July, and was sacked by Renault in September, but Jarno Trulli can't envisage a 'better season' in Formula One.

Amid the highs and lows, the amiable Italian won May's prestigious Monaco grand prix from pole, his first victory in nearly eight years at the pinnacle of motor sport.

''Then there was my Spa pole position,'' said the 30-year-old, ''followed by the chance to join Toyota straight away and be competitive.''

Trulli, who is scheduled to complete a huge program of winter testing for his new Cologne-based team, said he enjoyed a 'trouble free transition' into Toyota since the Japanese grand prix last month.

''We have to improve a few things,'' he admitted, ''but generally I feel very welcome and I see a lot of potential.''







Williams 'not good enough'
(GMM -- Nov.3) Juan Pablo Montoya's split loyalty in 2004 did not affect Williams' pace of development, the Colombian driver insisted.

29-year-old Montoya decided well before the radical tusk-nosed FW26 car was shipped to Melbourne that he would steer a silver McLaren in 2005.

Asked if he thought that fact, including his abridged Williams test program, had an adverse affect on Williams' progress in 2004, Juan Pablo replied: 'I don't think so.

''Sadly the car just wasn't good enough out of the box.''

Montoya will officially become a McLaren driver on New Year's Day. He confirmed Ron Dennis' expectation that 'sparks will fly' when JPM and Kimi Raikkonen are formally united.

He admitted: ''No-one likes coming second to their team-mate.''








Glock may leave Jordan
(GMM -- Nov.3) Timo Glock has a firm eye on Formula One's new-for-2006 'Team Dubai' and 'Midland F1'.

The young German completed the season for Jordan in 2004 and, speculation has it, is a leading contender to keep wearing yellow gloves next year.

But Glock's manager appears to see the F1 alternatives as potentially a better bet.

Hans-Bernd Kamps said: ''If Timo sticks around (at Jordan) he will only learn better to drive a nervous car.''

He suggested that a year of solid preparatory test driving, for Dubai or Midland, next season, may serve Timo Glock - with a portfolio of attractive German sponsors such as Deutsche Post - 'better.'








Coulthard to get 'lifeline'
(GMM -- Nov.3) David Coulthard may be thrown a 'third car' lifeline by Formula One team McLaren, Ron Dennis hinted.

The Scot, who raced in his 150th - and presumably last - grand prix for the Woking team in Brazil, has not yet found alternate employment on the 2005 grid.

Dennis, McLaren principal, said the matter will be re-opened some time after November 15, when it is clearer just how many teams have lodged a $500,000 FIA entry to race next year.

He said: ''We'll (better) understand what our obligations are, and whether we have to run three cars or not.

''Then we'll take a look at all the driver options.''

McLaren and Mercedes' links to the new-for-2006 'Dubai' team project may also hand 33-year-old Coulthard a possible F1-lifeline.







'05 tire-rule loophole
(GMM -- Nov.3) A potential loophole has been identified in Formula One's new tire limitation regulation for 2005.

Next year, according to the FIA, a driver will be limited to just a single Bridgestone or Michelin set for both qualifying and the grand prix.

But what if he has a slow puncture? What if he flat-spots (and damages) a tire -- and who determines if it was an accidental, or deliberate, move to precede a mid-race tire change?

''It's going to be tricky,'' admitted Renault's director of engineering Pat Symonds. ''But the FIA are rather good at looking at systematic abuses of the rules.''








Schu 'improved' in 2004
(GMM -- Nov.3) Somehow, Michael Schumacher 'upped his game' in 2004, former driver and respected Formula One commentator Martin Brundle said on the weekend.

The Englishman, who raced - amongst others - for McLaren and Jordan until 1996, said world champion Schumacher's Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello improved markedly over the winter.

''Michael (then) only went and moved the goalposts,'' the 45-year-old told UK's Daily Telegraph newspaper.

He added: ''It's been a season of outstanding performance from him and under-performance from other teams, with the exception of BAR.''

Renault's Pat Symonds, meanwhile, called realizing 'how much faster' Ferrari were than the rest of the 2004 field as a 'low point' of the year.








'05 change to hurt small teams
(GMM -- Nov.3) F1's new aerodynamic regulations may only cost cash-strapped small teams even more money, Williams' Sam Michael has warned.

The Australian technical director said Oxfordshire-based BMW-Williams, and other top teams, will spend the 'same amount of wind tunnel' and analysis time - therefore money - in developing the less efficient 2005 package.

''The only thing (that will change),'' the 31-year-old speculated, ''is the smaller teams can't carry over parts - like front wings or even the whole car - to the next season.''

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