F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
November 5, 2004
Villeneuve at Sauber HQ
(GMM -- Nov.5) On Thursday, former world champion Jacques
Villeneuve tried a Sauber seat for size at the team's Hinwil
A statement issued from Switzerland said the 33-year-old, to
team-mate Felipe Massa from next year, will track-debut for
the team at the Barcelona (Spain) test on 26 November.
''The first day of work in a new team is always something
very special,'' French-Canadian Villeneuve, who drove the
final three grands prix of 2004 with Renault, commented.
Minardi sale extended
(GMM -- Nov.5) The part sale of Paul Stoddart's personal F1
collection has been extended from three to four days,
auctioneers Bache Treharne announced on Thursday.
From November 17 to 20, Formula One cars, such as the first
BAR - but also Jordans, Benettons, Tyrrells and Minardis,
plus equipment and memorabilia - will go under the hammer at
the Minardi team owner's Ledbury (England) HQ.
''It is shaping up to be the largest auction in Formula One
history,'' said a statement.
One of the more interesting lots is the defunct F1 team
Arrows' assets -- including 2002-spec cars, the intellectual
property rights, design drawings and spares.
''I didn't realise how much I had until we started to
assemble everything,'' smiled Stoddart, the Australian
entrepreneur and millionaire.
Chinese F1 team 'premature'
(GMM -- Nov.5) An F1 'insider' has twaddled a Chinese
consortium's effort to buy Jordan and run a Formula One team
from next year.
Mark Thomas, a motor sport agent who is based in Shanghai
and manages BAR's interests in the newest F1 host nation,
said Chinese team ownership is a 'bit premature.
''You have to consider,'' he continued, ''the level of motor
sport culture (in China) and the experience of Chinese
On Thursday, it was reported that Eddie Jordan visited
Beijing to meet with the head of a consortium of Chinese
Williams and Terzi split
(GMM -- Nov.5) A spokesman today confirmed reports that
Williams' chief aerodynamicist Antonia Terzi has left the
Formula One team.
He said Frenchman Loic Bigois had already replaced the
female Italian engineer, who formerly worked at Ferrari and
departed on Wednesday.
Bigois, with experience at F1's Prost, Sauber and Minardi,
joined Oxfordshire-based BMW-Williams earlier in 2004.
''There are no concerns about any rupture in the design
process,'' said the spokesman at Grove. ''Loic has been
working on the FW27 all along.''
It is not immediately understood why Terzi left the team,
but she conceived the ill-fated 'tusk' or 'walrus' nose
design for FW26, and her 'twin keel' chassis solution was
scrapped after a single car.
New surface at Barcelona
(GMM -- Nov.5) Spain's 'Circuit de Catalunya' F1 track near
Barcelona will, for the first time in more than a decade,
get a brand new asphalt surface ahead of the 2005 season.
Work is scheduled to begin in December, after a big Formula
One test later this month, to replace the 15-year-old track.
''We have decided to asphalt in December because it's the
best period to do it,'' said the circuit's general manager
The renovation, including modification of a couple of
corners, should be complete by mid-January, when pre-season
F1 preparations get into full swing.
Coulthard at Williams' HQ
(GMM -- Nov.5) Out-of-work F1 veteran David Coulthard met
for 'more than an hour' with BMW-Williams bosses at
Oxfordshire this week, according to a factory source.
The 33-year-old, who debuted in one of Sir Frank Williams'
cars more than a decade ago, also chatted to co-owner
Patrick Head and technical director Sam Michael.
It is reported that confirmed 2005 driver, Mark Webber,
favours Scottish-born Coulthard over alternatives including
Antonio Pizzonia and Nick Heidfeld.
''I want the opportunity to show what I can do at a team
outside the nine years I had at McLaren,'' Coulthard earlier
told the BBC.
A Williams spokesman declined to confirm DC's visit.
French GP 'will go ahead'
(GMM -- Nov.5) The French grand prix will go ahead in 2005,
according to the country's motor sport authority president
He told the French 'Autohebdo' magazine that reports of
Formula One teams being unwilling to do eighteen or nineteen
grands prix next year deceives the threat to the race held
Regis said he 'renegotiated' a new seven year contract with
Bernie Ecclestone 'around three weeks' ago, that does not
allow the 74-year-old F1 impresario to simply dump the
French grand prix.
He commented: ''As far as I am concerned the fate of
Magny-Cours is completely clear. If the teams call the race
into question, (that) does not have any legal basis.''
F1 in Court's hand - Stoddart
(GMM -- Nov.5) The very foundation of top motor racing is in
the hands of the London High Court, Paul Stoddart said this
The owner of Formula One's poorest team, Minardi, referred
to the case involving 74-year-old Bernie Ecclestone, who is
being sued by three 'banks' who own the majority of the
sport's commercial rights.
They say they, as opposed to 25 per cent owner Ecclestone,
should be able to appoint the majority of the board of
Stoddart asked in an 'Associated Press' report: ''Would we
want to lose Bernie? Categorically not. Do the teams want
more money? Categorically yes.''
The Australian said the strength of the 'GPWC' threat to
'break away' beyond 2007 will depend on the High Court. ''If
Bernie wins (the case),'' said Stoddart, ''I don't see
(GPWC) getting a hand on (F1). (But) if the banks win
control, then I think a deal will be done fairly rapidly.''
Old F1 team-mates to race
(GMM -- Nov.5) A couple of old Formula One team-mates will
attack the fabled '24 Hour Le Mans' race in 2006 at the
wheel of their own car.
Englishmen Martin Brundle and Mark Blundell, who used to
race together in Formula One for Brabham (1991) and then
Ligier (1993), said in a statement they would contest the
2006 FIA GT championship.
Experienced team manager David Price is part of the project,
the statement added.
''Mark and I share a burning desire to race again,'' said
45-year-old Brundle, who - like Blundell - is today a F1
commentator for British television.
Brundle and 38-year-old Blundell both won Le Mans,
separately, in (respectively) 1990 and 1992.
Jag buyer may retain backing
(GMM -- Nov.5) Some of Jaguar's existing sponsors may stay
with the England-based Formula One team even with a new
owner in 2005, we can reveal.
Business development manager Mark Gallagher said the appeal
of the team is not in the word 'Jaguar' but 'the people' who
work at Milton Keynes.
Beck's and HSBC have definitely left the Cat's livery, but
other team backers - such as UGS and Du Pont, although first
wooed to Jaguar by carmaker owner Ford - are believed to be
waiting on confirmation of a buy-out deal before making a
Gallagher commented: ''That the management of the team has
remained intact definitely helps with any future commercial
Coulthard - 'I'm staying in F1'
(GMM -- Nov.5) David Coulthard did not sign a two-year deal
with Jaguar prior to Ford's bombshell that it would try to
sell the Formula One team, the Scottish veteran insisted.
The 33-year-old, who this week visited Williams' English
factory, told 'ESPN' that he saw the rumour in a leading
He told the US publication: ''I have not signed any contract
with any team.''
McLaren's nine-year employee revealed that if he does not
find a home on the F1 grid for next season, he will not
therefore bid farewell to the Paddock.
''Quite frankly I enjoy it,'' he said. ''Why go off and do
something else just because you can?''
FIA at Fuji
(GMM -- Nov.5) FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting
visited Japan's Mount Fuji circuit last month, it has
Earlier reports suggested that the Toyota-owned facility,
undergoing an overhaul that may be completed in early 2005,
wants a spot on a future Formula One calendar.
Suzuka, owned by carmaker rival Honda, hosts the present
Japanese grand prix and - with Belgium's Spa-Francorchamps -
is one of the most popular layouts with grand prix drivers.
Red Bull - 'we've made an offer'
(GMM -- Nov.5) The fate of embattled Formula One team Jaguar
is in the hands of carmaker seller Ford, the Red Bull drink
company said Thursday.
Motor sport 'advisor' Helmut Marko told British magazine
Autosport that 'an offer' to buy Jaguar is on the table.
But he said: ''Alas, Ford seem to have been unable to
clearly react (to the offer).''
The Autosport report said Red Bull has met all of Ford's
'financial requirements' but still the US carmaker is
'reluctant to agree.'
Jaguar will probably run an all-black livery, and 2004 racer
Christian Klien, if it resumes post-season testing at
Barcelona later in November.
More carmakers quit racing
(GMM -- Nov.5) Following Ford's immediate decision to quit
Formula One, world motor sport will say goodbye to three
more car manufacturers after the 2005 season.
The world's second largest carmaker, General Motors, is
pulling the 'Chevrolet' brand out of the US-based Indy
Racing League championship.
''(The) situation was one where the investment in the series
did not meet our business objectives any more,'' said GM's
Meanwhile, the 'Peugeot Citroen' company said on Thursday it
would not enter either manufacturer in the FIA-run World
Rally championship beyond next season.
No Ferrari 'vendetta'
(GMM -- Nov.5) Jean Todt has been asked to relax a 'hard
line' position regarding rule changes for next year.
Minardi principal Paul Stoddart said a cost saving document
signed by all Formula One teams except the one based at
Maranello does not indicate a 'vendetta' against Ferrari.
Stoddart told Autosport: ''(Jean) thought he was set up, but
nothing could be further from the truth. These are not
It is true, however, that - if adopted - Ferrari, with two
privately owned F1 circuits, would lose most from an
agreement to limit in-season testing to just ten days in
Unlike the last Sao Paulo meeting, Todt has been invited to
next Tuesday's gathering in London, as have F1 tyre
suppliers Bridgestone and Michelin.
Gene in Argentina
(GMM -- Nov.5) Formula One test driver Marc Gene drove a
2003 BMW-Williams around Buenos Aires' old Formula One track
on the weekend.
Marc's brother, Jordi Gene, was also in action at the 4.26
km Argentine venue, which last staged a grand prix in 1998,
as he raced in a TC2000 event.
It was reported last month that Grove-based Williams will
not renew Spaniard Gene's F1 testing contract beyond
He may test for Ferrari in 2005.
Jordan man to start work
(GMM -- Nov.5) Jordan's new technical director will start
work next week, a source close to the Silverstone-based
Formula One team has revealed.
Mark Smith, forced to take 'gardening leave' until now, was
formerly one of two chief designers at Renault.
It is suggested that the odd career move, from a top three
team to one of the sport's stragglers, is to circumnavigate
a 'no poaching' rule in force between Renault and Toyota.
Jordan, then, might be paid by Toyota - who may be their
engine supplier in 2005 - to keep Smith in circulation until
he can legitimately join the Cologne-based team in 2006 or
''I'm not sure if that is true or not,'' said the Jordan
BAR back to Bridgestone?
(GMM -- Nov.5) It is common knowledge that Bridgestone want
Toyota to switch from Michelin rubber in 2005, but the
Japanese tyre supplier is also trying to re-attract F1 team
Bridgestone lost BAR, allied with Japanese car manufacturer
Honda, to their French rival at the end of 2003. The David
Richards-led team subsequently leapt to second - behind
Ferrari - in the constructors' world championship.
But, with the new loss of Sauber to Michelin for next
season, it is understood that Bridgestone is renewing a
pressure-fuelled push to get either Japanese carmaker Toyota
or Honda - and preferably both - on board in 2005.
''We do not intend to change tyre supplier at present,'' a
Toyota spokesman said.
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