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F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
November 12, 2004


Ford 'not talking'
(GMM -- Nov.12) It is hoped that apparently stalled negotiations over the sale of F1 engine supplier Cosworth will shortly resume.

Sources close to Champ Car co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven reported last week that the Australian had 'definitely' done a deal to secure the future, in Formula One and elsewhere, of the historic name.

But the ball, now, bounces firmly within the halls of power at Ford HQ, Dearborn.

''From what I can tell,'' said a source with an obvious interest in the outcome of the sale, ''they are not talking at the moment.''








Ferrari won't agree
(GMM -- Nov.12) Ferrari is no closer to joining its nine Formula One rivals in agreeing to reduce track testing next season, a team spokesman said Thursday.

''We told you before,'' he added, ''we are working on a proposal and (that) has not changed.''

The 'proposal' will be an alternative set of cost-cutting suggestions, such as further electronic and engine restrictions, including the possible re-banning of traction control.

Another Ferrari source, meanwhile, said the world champion team was 'not influenced' by Ron Dennis' intimation that - if it doesn't join the rest in cutting testing in half in 2005 - scarlet victories will become meaningless.








Bernie to front Brit GP
(GMM -- Nov.12) Bernie Ecclestone may promote a reportedly salvaged British grand prix in 2005, Silverstone owner The British Racing Drivers' Club revealed.

''It's a suggestion that has been made,'' chief executive Alex Hooton told Reuters.

He insisted that it wasn't official, but indicated that a deal was struck with the Formula One teams at a recent London meeting.

UK sport minister Richard Caborn, however, 'welcomed' the 74-year-old F1 supremo's decision to 'take on' the promotion of the embattled and historic race, in a statement.

He also said the government would help to make 'the necessary circuit improvements' to guarantee a sustained British grand prix.







'Ant' chasing race spot only
(GMM -- Nov.12) Anthony Davidson may only flee a long-term BAR contract if he lands a race seat at BMW-Williams, a spokeswoman for the Briton's current employer suggested.

The Brackley-based BAR member said everyone at the team will 'miss (Anthony's) invaluable contribution' to car development if he is judged best at a Jerez 'shootout' next month.

Moreover, what is now clear is that the 25-year-old BAR tester, and Jordan star Nick Heidfeld, are not dueling merely for Antonio Pizzonia's current test drive.

''We have a long term contract with Anthony,'' said the spokeswoman, ''(and) have always stated that we would support him if he secured a race seat with another team.

''He has done an outstanding job this year, (and) deserves to take his career to the next level.''








Bourdais and Renault
(GMM -- Nov.12) French Formula One team Renault have 'no plans at all' to give Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais another run in the winter.

The 25-year-old Frenchman, who last Sunday secured the US open-wheeler title in Mexico, was involved in a 'shootout' for a team role two years ago, but missed out to Renault incumbent and countryman Franck Montagny.

This week, French racing's federation president Jacques Regis urged companies, like Renault, to be 'more active' in supporting local motor sport talent.

But a Renault spokesman denied that its current policies are 'in conflict' with Regis' reckoning.

''I do not think that it is misplaced to suggest that 'success for France' is exactly what the team's consistent improvement since 2002 has brought,'' he said, also citing a French test driver and a 'strong' sponsor base with French companies including Elf and Michelin.








Sauber vow tire-silence
(GMM -- Nov.12) Formula One team Sauber has pledged a vow of silence for when the subject of tires is mentioned in conversation with engine partner Ferrari.

The little Swiss-based outfit, led by Peter Sauber, shocked insiders when it announced it would leave the Ferrari-Bridgestone camp for rival tire brand Michelin in 2005.

It is risked, analysts claim, that a two-way leak of tire data between the Ferrari-Sauber alliance may ensue.

''Peter informed Jean Todt about his decision to switch,'' a Sauber spokesman told us. ''(He) took this decision because he believes that a partnership with Michelin will bring us forward from a performance point of view.''







Ferrari 'should join' - BMW
(GMM -- Nov.12) World champion team Ferrari should join all nine of its Formula One rivals in vowing to cut test budgets in half, BMW motor sport director Dr Mario Theissen insisted.

Only Jean Todt has declined to sign a voluntary agreement to limit teams' in-season programs to just 24 days from next season.

Ferrari, with test coffers contributed to by near-exclusive tire supplier Bridgestone, spend about $90 million - significantly more than any other rival - on non-grand prix running every year.

''I certainly hope they join,'' Theissen said at a motorsport conference in Frankfurt. ''Restricting testing is a very good way to cut costs, particularly on the engine side.''








Jordan prepare 'interim' car
(GMM -- Nov.12) Jordan will commence a winter test program in 'early December (at) Jerez,' a statement issued on Thursday announced.

Speculation about the future dogs the struggling team based at Silverstone, but - at the team HQ - it's a flurry of activity, the statement explained.

''Jordan is hard at work preparing an interim version of the EJ14 with a 2005 spec aero package,'' it read.

When contacted, though, a Jordan spokeswoman declined to confirm reports that the team joined Minardi in officially lodging a half-million dollar entry to compete in 2005.

''The deadline for entry ... is 15 November,'' she said.








Bernie may lose control
(GMM -- Nov.12) Bernie Ecclestone will discover on Friday if he is likely to lose control of Formula One.

The London High Court will rule on the case brought by a group of banks who own seventy-five percent of the Formula One holding company (SLEC).

They believe they should, logically, be allowed to appoint the majority of the company's board of directors.

''If the banks win control,'' Minardi principal Paul Stoddart speculated earlier in November, ''then I think a deal (with the GPWC group) will be done fairly rapidly.''







Sauber against 19 grands prix
(GMM -- Nov.12) Formula One team owner Peter Sauber is 'not in favor' of traveling to an unprecedented nineteen grands prix in 2005.

The binding Concorde Agreement stipulates a maximum of seventeen championship races, but F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone apparently successfully negotiated with the teams so that the embattled British and French grands prix may be salvaged.

''I think it is important that we have both British and French grands prix,'' the Swiss said in an interview with website atlasf1.com. ''(But) it is not a good scenario to have so many (races).''

Sauber said there are at least two 'unnecessary' events, not including those at Silverstone and Magny-Cours, that could be cancelled to make room on the 2005 calendar.








Davidson at Grove
(GMM -- Nov.12) 25-year-old English driver Anthony Davidson is 'dead chuffed' he'll shoot-it-out for a Williams race seat next month.

The BAR test driver will show Sir Frank what he can do at Jerez, just days before former Jordan and Sauber star Nick Heidfeld is given a run on the same Spanish test circuit.

Williams tester Antonio Pizzonia, scheduled to run alongside contracted 2005 driver Mark Webber at Barcelona later in November, also stands a chance of filling the coveted seat.

''I can't wait to get in the car,'' Davidson - who race debuted a Minardi as team-mate to Mark Webber in 2002 - told British magazine Autosport.

He visited Oxfordshire earlier in the week, where cockpit technicians tweaked an old Ralf Schumacher seat.








BMW to offer customer engine
(GMM -- Nov.12) If every Formula One rival - Ferrari included - signs up to reduce testing next year, it will 'become possible' for BMW to offer a customer engine program.

''(However) it isn't our intention at the moment,'' Dr Mario Theissen revealed at an industry event in Germany.

The Munich marque's motorsport director also said BMW is in 'intense discussions' with engine rivals Honda and Mercedes-Benz about taking the FIA to arbitration over the 2006 V8 engine imposition.

He added: ''(Next week) we should know what to do about it.''







Ferrari 'too fast' - designer
(GMM -- Nov.12) The FIA are right to make Formula One slower, Ferrari's F1 car designer Rory Byrne said.

The South African reckons the field of grand prix challengers, in which his F2004 was clearly the fastest, was getting 'a bit too fast' this year.

He told British magazine F1 Racing: ''When you've got such a number of accidents, sooner or later someone is going to be unlucky and get injured - that's the theory.''

Byrne also rejects any pro-Ferrari conspiracy theory linking the aerodynamic, tire and engine restrictions with the need for a closer world championship.

''I think the rule changes have been done, as far as I'm aware, entirely logically,'' Rory commented.







Badoer drove most
(GMM -- Nov.12) Luca Badoer spent more time in a Formula One cockpit this year than any other pilot.

The official Formula One season review book said the Ferrari test driver collected a tad more than twenty-two thousand kilometres of running since November last year.

Renault's tester Franck Montagny came in second, with nearly 21000kms, ahead of Toyota and BMW-Williams counterparts Ricardo Zonta and Marc Gene, and - the first race driver in the list - BAR's Takuma Sato.

Seven time world champion Michael Schumacher ranked eleventh.

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