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F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
November 9, 2004


Anthony, Nick, to test Williams
(GMM -- Nov.9) Anthony Davidson and Nick Heidfeld will test for the BMW-Williams team next month, it was announced on Monday.

A statement said the tests, at Jerez but separated by a few days, are 'intended to assist the process of determining the team's full driver line-up for 2005.'

With Jenson Button's move from BAR recently blocked by the contract recognition board, the Grove-based team have a key racing vacancy.

Williams' statement also said 2004 test driver Antonio Pizzonia, who if signed would vacate that tenure, is scheduled to run alongside Mark Webber at Barcelona later in November.

No mention was made of David Coulthard, the out-of-work McLaren veteran, or newly crowned Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais, who said on Sunday he would be phoning Sir Frank Williams.








Ferrari to snub F1 meeting
(GMM -- Nov.9) Invited this time, still Ferrari will not meet with its nine Formula One rivals at a key team principals' gathering on Tuesday.

A document, mainly agreeing to cut track testing, was signed by all teams - except the world champion one based at Maranello - in Brazil last month.

''We will not be there (in London),'' a Ferrari spokesman said, citing 'previous commitments' for Jean Todt, who had been infuriated by the apparent 'vendetta' against his outfit.

Minardi boss Paul Stoddart, instrumental in the odd show of (near) unanimity within pitlane, warned Ferrari that it should sign up or their rivals will 'do it without them.'

He revealed that plans for a tire monopoly would be of secondary importance at the Heathrow Hilton.

''But we can just decide,'' said the Australian, ''(that) we're not going to test more than 10 days. Ferrari's decision not to attend is disappointing, but we can't wait for them.''








African GP talks falter
(GMM -- Nov.9) Race organizers must secure crucial government backing, or the mooted South African grand prix may falter, it was reported.

Earlier, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone said a race in Cape Town no later than 2010, supported already by the private sector, is only a question 'of when.'

The consortium's head, David Gant, said an initial round of talks with all layers of government 'indicated political will.'

But he has now revealed that attempts to engage in a second round of talks 'have not been very successful,' according to Johannesburg's Sunday Times newspaper.

Gant also admitted that convincing the South African government to waive anti-tobacco advertising legislation may prove difficult.







'BAR' two-seater F1
(GMM -- Nov.9) A re-branded Minardi two-seater F1 car tore up England's Silverstone circuit last week.

One lucky passenger was Mark Sutton, the renowned grand prix photographer.

The 39-year-old, after a mandatory medical, was treated to a few laps of the British GP venue in the 'BAR-Honda' liveried car following a sponsor competition, the ITV website reported.

BAR tester Anthony Davidson was the chauffeur. ''It would have been better if it had been in the dry with more grip,'' said Sutton, ''but it was still unbelievable.

''I asked (Anthony) what he thought of the car and he said 'It's a dog!'''








'Sensible' Sauber - Villeneuve
(GMM -- Nov.9) Sauber is not a 'political' Formula One team, 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve revealed this week.

The French-Canadian, who recently visited Hinwil for a seat fitting, said choosing a new employer for 2005 was a matter of - firstly - not replicating a disastrous five-year BAR tenure.

''I really wanted to avoid (that),'' he told British magazine F1 Racing. ''Before I signed, I went to Switzerland, spoke to Peter (Sauber), and we shook hands -- that's how it should be.''

33-year-old Villeneuve said the Ferrari-powered customer team is 'level headed and sensible.'








'Michelin might have won'
(GMM -- Nov.9) Michelin might have won every grand prix in 2004 if it, and not tire rival Bridgestone, supplied world champion team Ferrari.

But that doesn't mean motor sport director Pierre Dupasquier would swap today's set-up - with Michelin having McLaren, Williams, Renault and BAR on the books - for Bridgestone's all-eggs-in-the-Ferrari-basket option.

The Frenchman said: ''What would it mean? Would we understand our tires better? Would we know why we are winning? Maybe not. Maybe we would be winning because we had the better overall package, and not necessarily the better tire.''







FIA may accept late entry
(GMM -- Nov.9) Jordan will survive to contest a fifteenth Formula One world championship in 2005, a leading team man insisted.

Director of commercial affairs Ian Phillips told news agency Reuters that 'everything will be in place' prior to the first round of the season in early March.

''We are fully confident,'' he added.

Time, though, is running out. Jordan and Toyota are dotting the i's and crossing the t's on a cut price customer engine deal, but the FIA deadline for official 2005 entries is next Monday.

A spokesman for the Paris-based governing body, however, said the FIA would accept entries 'afterwards, on condition that every (other) team agrees.'








Stewart - 'wear your undies'
(GMM -- Nov.9) Grand prix drivers should wear full-length underwear and baggier overalls, staunch Formula One safety advocate Sir Jackie Stewart said.

The 65-year-old Scot, involved at many levels of the sport for more than four decades - including as a triple world champion - said he discovered a while ago that drivers were 'cutting the arms and legs' off protective fire proof under clothing.

''They were doing it to keep cool,'' he remarked. ''They're not going to address these issues themselves so they have to be forced -- now there's a regulation.''

Stewart said even Mark Webber, a director of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association, had not been aware of the rule and - as he was also cutting off arms and legs - was 'pretty shocked' to find out.

Sir Jackie also told drivers to forget about appearance and wear baggier overalls, because air 'is the best insulator there is.'








BMW 'know how to win'
(GMM -- Nov.9) Williams' engine partner BMW 'knows how' to win a world championship, according to the Munich marque's former motorsport director Gerhard Berger.

The Austrian, who also won ten grands prix until he retired as a driver in 1997, said BMW has built the 'best engine' in Formula One since it re-entered the sport five years ago.

45-year-old Berger admitted that 2004 - with a single win and fourth in the constructors' chase - was not a 'great' season for the BMW-Williams collaboration.







'No sympathy' for Brit GP
(GMM -- Nov.9) Former triple world champion Niki Lauda has no sympathy for Britain, which may lose its historic grand prix at Silverstone.

Next month, a definitive FIA calendar for the 2005 world championship will seal the fate of the oldest race on the Formula One calendar.

55-year-old Lauda blames the circuit-owning British Racing Drivers' Club, who seem destined to lose the race after apparently failing to reach a deal with F1 impresario Bernie Ecclestone.

''It's up to (them),'' Niki told UK's The Guardian. ''Many, many grands prix happen around the world -- why the British fail to get things right I do not understand.''








Montoya motivated
(GMM -- Nov.9) McLaren-bound Juan Pablo Montoya rejected critics' claims that he was not motivated in the final throes of season 2004.

The Colombian driver, who won last time out for Williams in Brazil last month, said he was pleased with his whole year's performance this season.

''There have been some really good races,'' 29-year-old Montoya said in an interview, ''but they have been in the midfield and therefore did not get much exposure.''








'I can keep up' - Massa
(GMM -- Nov.9) Felipe Massa showed his talent by keeping up with team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella in 2004, the young Brazilian has claimed.

22-year-old Massa, to be paired with another top driver - former champion Jacques Villeneuve - at Sauber next season, struggled early on but reckons he improved as the car did.

''I think the second part of the year was very good for me,'' said the Sao Paulo-born star. ''I was competitive with Giancarlo and with other drivers as well.''







Zonta 'deserves' F1 spot
(GMM -- Nov.9) Brazilian driver Ricardo Zonta deserves a spot on the Formula One racing grid, compatriot Rubens Barrichello reckons.

32-year-old Barrichello, who is Michael Schumacher's subordinate Ferrari team-mate, said people in Formula One do not take the Toyota test driver - four years his junior - as 'seriously' as Zonta's talent would merit.

''I've always said that (he) didn't have a chance at BAR (in 1999 and 2000),'' Rubens commented of Ricardo's former tenure alongside world champion Jacques Villeneuve.

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