F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
November 8, 2004

Hakk's back
(GMM -- Nov.8) Former double world champion Mika Hakkinen will return full-time to racing next year.

The Finn, 36, intended to resume a decade long flirt with Formula One, but on Saturday was confirmed as a Mercedes-Benz starter in the DTM (German) touring car championship of 2005.

He'll drive an AMG-prepared C-Class, motor sport director Norbert Haug let slip at Mercedes' Stuttgart-Unterturkheim plant.

''Soon after I left F1 in 2001,'' Hakkinen said, ''I realized I was not ready to retire for good. When I tested (the DTM car) three weeks ago, my lap times were good and I realized immediately that I still enjoy driving very much.''

Fisichella at Enstone
(GMM -- Nov.8) Giancarlo Fisichella has returned to Enstone (England) for a Renault seat fitting.

The Italian driver, who raced for the Formula One team when it was known as Benetton until 2001, called the experience 'emotional.

''It's a bit like coming home,'' said the former Jordan and Sauber star. ''The factory is a bit bigger these days but the atmosphere is the same.''

Giancarlo's 2005 race engineer will be Alan Permane, who worked with Jarno Trulli and Jacques Villeneuve this season. He said only a few 'minor tweaks' had to be made to Fisichella's old seat setup.

The Roman will debut at Barcelona, on 24 November.

Schu's Ferrari for sale
(GMM -- Nov.8) Want to buy Michael Schumacher's 2004 Ferrari? Just take your chequebook to Maranello next May 23.

Auction house Sotheby's will host the unprecedented sale of current and historic cars, to include the F2004 that beat all comers in Australia, Malaysia, Bahrain, Imola and Spain this season.

Among the other lots are a winning Maserati MC12, and the 1958 Ferrari raced by world champion Phil Hill.

'I'll do it again' - JV
(GMM -- Nov.8) 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve would like to add one more title to the trophy cabinet before calling it a day in Formula One.

The French-Canadian, 33, sat out most of the current grand prix season, but has signed a two-year deal to race a Sauber next season and in 2006.

''I've done it once,'' he told British magazine F1 Racing, referring to the drivers' championship.

JV's former triumph was for Williams, and - even seven years later - he does not see time running out to 'do it again' before final retirement.

Villeneuve said: ''I feel like a baby, like it's 1996 again. If something's easy, then it's no fun.''

Schu donates $2m
(GMM -- Nov.8) Michael Schumacher donated nearly $2 million to children's charity UNESCO.

His manager, Willi Weber, handed over the money - to add to a similar donation last year - on the seven time world champion's behalf at a charity gala.

Schumacher drives for Ferrari in Formula One.

Williams 'won't win' - Ralf
(GMM -- Nov.8) BMW-Williams will not unveil a title-winning car for 2005, departing driver Ralf Schumacher predicted.

The German told UK newspaper 'The Sunday Mirror' that he would have turned down Toyota's big money offer if he thought Grove were knocking on the door of their first championship since 1997.

''I want to be the best,'' said 29-year-old Schumacher. ''I decided it was time to go somewhere else. When you stop believing it will work, it is time to move on.''

Ralf, who has been at Sir Frank's Oxfordshire-based Formula One team since 1999, claims it is possible to stay in the same place 'too long.'

He added: ''(Moving) is the right thing to do. Where else could I have gone? Apart from Ferrari, it's difficult to see which other team could give me what I want.''

Lyons on track for F1 run
(GMM -- Nov.8) Richard Lyons promised to wake Formula One up to his talent if he is handed a maiden test drive in the upcoming winter period.

The Ulsterman, who on Sunday clinched the Formula Nippon title at Suzuka, met with several F1 principals on a visit to the Hungaroring paddock in August.

''(The teams) all said I hadn't won an F3 championship. I said most of the F3 champions got there with big sponsors and rich parents.

''I am making myself with talent and determination,'' Richard told Autosport magazine.

Ralf Schumacher, Pedro de la Rosa and Ralph Firman are notable former winners of the lauded Japanese open-wheeler title.

Why did Jackie quit?
(GMM -- Nov.8) Sir Jackie Stewart did not quit Formula One in reaction to friend and team-mate Francois Cevert's gruesome and fatal 1973 crash.

The two events may have coincided, but the legendary Scot told the Sunday Times that even hearing son Paul ask Mum 'when is Daddy going to die?' didn't compel him to hang up a tartan-liveried helmet.

Stewart said: ''I stopped only because I was burnt out and not enjoying it any more.''

65-year-old Jackie's other son, production company-owner Mark, threw a function for the media at Silverstone to promote a new Stewart DVD, entitled 'Three Times Formula 1 World Champion.'

Rossi switch misjudged
(GMM -- Nov.8) A former motorbike racer does not rate Valentino Rossi's chances of switching to Formula One 'that highly.'

Aaron Slight, the New Zealander who used to ride a superbike, told Autosport that John Surtees and Luca di Montezemolo are wrong if they think the 25-year-old Italian will slide seamlessly into the pinnacle of motor sport.

''We all get a bit excited (about it),'' he said this week, ''because (MotoGP champion Rossi) is flamboyant and successful.''

''(But) I don't rate his chances that highly because of the nature of the business that surrounds car racing, and particularly F1.''

Slight, though, admitted that Rossi's undoubted skill would make the actual driving 'less of a problem.'

'Mark Webber Challenge'
(GMM -- Nov.8) Mark Webber is set to unveil plans for another endurance 'Challenge' for charity.

Last year, in the winter 'off' season, the 28-year-old Australian Formula One driver organized an unique hiking, kayaking and cycling contest through the rugged Tasmanian outback.

Jordan 'securing investment'
(GMM -- Nov.8) Formula One team Jordan is not about to become the sport's latest casualty, the Silverstone-based PR department declared.

Recent media reports suggested that Jordan, founded in 1991, would either be sold to a foreign consortium or lost - like Prost and Arrows - to the big pit garage in the sky.

''Eddie (Jordan) is working with dedication on some business which will secure investment in the team's future and help to make Jordan more competitive,'' a spokeswoman told the Jordan fans' website.

She said discussions with 'a number' of interested parties have been 'encouraging.

''We'll be there next year.''

Klien is top rookie
(GMM -- Nov.8) 2004 Jaguar driver Christian Klien has won authoritative British magazine F1 Racing's annual 'Rookie of the Year' popular award.

The young Austrian was voted by readers ahead of Jordan's Giorgio Pantano and Timo Glock, and Minardi rookie Gianmaria Bruni.

He won more than 51 percent of the vote. ''Please let me thank you so much for the award that you have given to me,'' 21-year-old Klien said.

Rubens' wife had miscarriage
(GMM -- Nov.8) Rubens Barrichello's wife had a miscarriage last Tuesday, the Ferrari driver told the Italian media.

Silvana, who is well but upset, was three months pregnant.

''(We) wanted (three year old) Eduardo to have a brother,'' Barrichello told La Gazzetta dello Sport. ''We are calm because if this time God's Will wanted otherwise, in the future we'll try again.''

GPWC eye Brit GP
(GMM -- Nov.8) If Bernie Ecclestone and Formula One do not want a British grand prix, the 'breakaway' GPWC championship will snap it up, a source revealed.

The source at International Sports and Entertainment, commissioned to promote the potential 2008 F1 alternative, said the historic grand prix at Silverstone is 'absolutely' being courted.

He told Autosport: ''How could you not include a circuit like Silverstone? How could you not have Wimbledon as part of the professional tennis tour?''

Silverstone's owner, the British Racing Drivers' Club - through chief executive officer Alex Hooton - vowed to 'follow' the GPWC's progress 'with ... interest.'

Kimi tried DTM car
(GMM -- Nov.8) Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen tested a DTM touring car at Hockenheim late last week.

The 25-year-old McLaren star tried the AMG-prepared C-Class Mercedes-Benz and a spokesman said the Finn came close to the series' top competitive lap times at the circuit.

After the 'fun' day in Germany, Raikkonen hopped off to nearby Stuttgart for Mercedes' end-of-season 'Stars & Cars' event, the spokesman explained.

Da Matta and Champ Car
(GMM -- Nov.8) Axed Formula One racer Cristiano da Matta has a 'good chance' of returning to the US-based Champ Car grid in 2005 in a third Newman-Haas entry.

The former Toyota-driving Brazilian visited the Champ Car paddock in Mexico City with agent Fernando de Paiva on the weekend.

''It depends on sponsorship,'' Cristiano was reported as telling Autosport magazine.

31-year-old Da Matta won the CART championship with Carl Haas' team in 2002.

Lauda in the air
(GMM -- Nov.8) This winter, there's a sure-fire way to catch a glimpse of a triple world champion -- take a flight from London to Vienna on new low cost airline 'Niki.'

It is owned by Niki Lauda, former grand prix driver and also an experienced commercial pilot who personally flies one of the fleet's five Airbus' several times a week.

The 55-year-old Austrian, who was forever scarred in a fiery 1976 Ferrari crash at Nürburgring, said the two disciplines - racing and flying - are incomparable.

''In racing, you want to win,'' he told The Guardian, ''so you do what you want. (But) when you fly, you must respect the rules.''

Niki calls himself 'an idiot' for once signing over an indefinite license allowing Austrian Airlines to use the 'Lauda Air' tag for their leisure flight arm.

New Renault 'is good' - Bell
(GMM -- Nov.8) The next Renault car will have new electronics and a heavily modified engine, according to technical director Bob Bell.

He said the team are working hard on significant 2005 aero losses, but nonetheless said the R25 car, with a predecessor that was quite tricky to drive on the limit, is a 'good one.

''We already know that,'' Bell added.

Enstone's technical chief does not argue with the FIA president's campaign to reduce the speed of a Formula One racer.

He added: ''The cars were incredibly fast this year and we had to react. Otherwise, F1 would have become unacceptably dangerous.''

F1 'Masters' to race
(GMM -- Nov.8) Former F1 race winners Alan Jones, Johnny Herbert and Rene Arnoux will all race in the new 'Grand Prix Masters' category.

Frenchman Arnoux, 56, won seven grands prix in the seventies and eighties and told Autosport magazine: ''To me, a racing car has one seat.''

The Grand Prix Masters championship is contested by F1 cars of all types built between 1966 and 1978, at tracks including Donington, Nürburgring and Dijon.

MB's to race Aston Martin
(GMM -- Nov.8) It is reported that Martin Brundle and Mark Blundell aim to race a new Aston Martin DBR9 in the 2006 Le Mans 24-Hour event.

The former Formula One team-mates released a statement last week at the same time as the Aston project, headed by BAR principal Dave Richards' Prodrive company, was also launched.

''(Racing an Aston Martin) would be our preferred option,'' Blundell admitted when asked.

Meanwhile, Richards' Prodrive - which also runs the Subaru World Rally team - was listed 66 in the 'Europe 500,' a register of fast-growing organizations.

Ralf's 'reality check'
(GMM -- Nov.8) A back-smashing, 300km/h hit into a concrete wall at Indianapolis left no 'mental or physical' scars, Formula One driver Ralf Schumacher has insisted.

But the 29-year-old German, younger brother of one notable seven time world champion, admits that waking up in a destroyed grand prix car and unable to move a muscle was a big 'reality check.

''I was in a bad state,'' he told UK's Sunday Mirror newspaper, ''and pretty smashed up.''

The former BMW-Williams driver will test-debut in a Cologne-built Toyota F1 car later in November.

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