F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
November 17, 2004
(GMM -- Nov.17) Christian Klien is sleeping easier now that
personal sponsor Red Bull is in the driving seat of the
Formula One team with an HQ at Milton-Keynes.
The rookie Austrian debuted for Jaguar in 2004 but may not
have been part of the formerly Ford-owned outfit's plans for
''I am very glad Red Bull took this decision,'' Klien said
on the Red Bull Junior Team website.
He admitted, though, that a new driving deal is far from
certain. ''Dietrich Mateschitz did not buy Jaguar so that I
may have a seat in a Formula One car,'' said Christian, 21.
But Klien will be testing the interim grey-and-blue 'Red
Bull Racing' racer at Barcelona next week, where
negotiations about the future are likely to also take place.
Red Bull to seal tire deal
(GMM -- Nov.17) New Formula One team 'Red Bull' will almost
certainly wear French-made Michelin tires next year, we can
Its previous team incarnation, Ford-owned Jaguar, had an
agreement with Bibendum, but the 2006 contract extension is
not valid under new ownership.
But, perhaps given that 'RB1' was specifically designed for
a Michelin tire, a source close to the F1 manufacturer
reported that a deal would 'probably' be publicized prior to
November testing next week.
Three Dutchmen and a Minardi
(GMM -- Nov.17) Two Dutchmen could line-up for Minardi next
year, Paul Stoddart said on Tuesday.
It is believed that the Formula One team owner is talking
again to grand prix veteran Jos Verstappen, as well as the
DTM's Christjian Albers and end-of-season Jordan test driver
and countryman Robert Doornbos.
''But let's be realistic,'' Australian-born Stoddart told
Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.
He said: ''We're (also) talking to ten drivers of other
nationalities. Everything is still open.''
But, until a contract - or two - is signed and sealed, the
Faenza-based chief is keeping schtum. Paul vowed to avert
more 'confusing times' like those between Verstappen and
Jordan regarding 2004.
(GMM -- Nov.17) David Coulthard should be snapped up by new
Austrian-owned Formula One team Red Bull Racing, triple
world champion Niki Lauda said.
Lauda, the 55-year-old Austrian who once ran the ill-fated
Jaguar incarnation, warned countryman Dietrich Mateschitz to
sign the 'right people' to ensure timely success.
He told Der Standard newspaper: ''David Coulthard is free
and would be a good solution. He is very experienced.''
The fact remains, though, that Red Bull-backed 'junior'
drivers Christian Klien and F3000 champion Vitantonio Liuzzi
are most likely to front the first-ever Red Bull F1 line-up.
Lauda is unconvinced. ''(Mateschitz) should give tests to
youngsters but pick the fastest (driver).''
Briscoe still in Jordan frame
(GMM -- Nov.17) Toyota-contracted driver Ryan Briscoe might
still race a yellow car next season, Jordan man Ian Phillips
The team's director of business affairs denied that the
newly-announced customer engine deal with Toyota will
include a mandatory flow of Toyota-favored personnel to
''(But) that doesn't mean we wouldn't look at Ryan,''
Phillips told crash.net, whilst insisting there is plenty of
time to think about the 2005 line-up.
Because the engine deal has come so late in the day, Ian
Phillips said the new Toyota-powered EJ15 car won't run at a
test until the end of January.
He also said a short-list of driver candidates will be
devised first by looking at what makes best 'business sense'
for the cash-strapped, Silverstone-based team.
'I'd have a V12' - Berger
(GMM -- Nov.17) He's not a fan of making F1 slower, but
former grand prix driver Gerhard Berger does support some
divisive changes in the FIA rulebook.
In 2006, gone will be the current V10 engines, and in their
place a widely unpopular 2.4 liter V8 formula.
''If I could choose, I'd have a V12,'' Berger - who until
2003 was joint BMW motor sport director - smiled. ''Probably
German car marque BMW, still run in F1 by Berger's former
colleague Dr Mario Theissen, is - with Honda and
Mercedes-Benz - threatening to challenge the legality of the
10-grand prix winner Berger, meanwhile, admitted that the
governing FIA is right to try and cut costs. ''(Rising
costs) may kill Formula One in the long term,'' he stated.
Ligier back on track
(GMM -- Nov.17) Ligier is back on track.
Former Formula One team owner Guy Ligier bought a chunk of
Magny-Cours based 'Automobiles Martini' earlier in 2004.
The JS47, a brand new Formula 3 contender, will contest
various international championships next year.
''This new F3 car sets the precedent for design and
marketing of racing cars of the future,'' said Ligier
managing director Philippe Ligier.
The car was debuted by Alexandre Premat and Tristan Gommendy
Ligier contested 324 grands prix between 1979 and 1996, and
continued after the Alain Prost buyout.
RTE lose Irish TV deal
(GMM -- Nov.17) The Republic of Ireland's new television
channel 'Setanta' has won the multi-million dollar exclusive
broadcast rights to Formula One.
The three-year deal follows a higher bid than incumbent
Irish rights holder, state channel RTE.
''This is a significant milestone for (our) development,''
said Setanta chief Niall Cogley.
Setanta vowed to cover practice, Saturday and Sunday
qualifying, and the (live) grand prix.
An RTE spokesman said the network was 'disappointed' they
lost the rights. ''(F1) viewing figures recently have
dropped ... and Irish interest in the sport is dwindling,''
he added, defending the lower offer.
'No problem' with tire deal
(GMM -- Nov.17) Earlier in 2004, it was reported that
several Michelin-shod Formula One teams were being wooed to
switch by tire rival Bridgestone.
A source said Grove-based BMW-Williams was one to respond to
Bridgestone's advance with a request 'for more information.'
But Michelin competition director Pierre Dupasquier said
this week that there are 'no problems' in the long and
strong collaboration between Sir Frank Williams' team,
Michelin, and engine partner BMW.
''(Williams) was one of the first teams (in 2000) to
approach us with regards a tire supply,'' Dupasquier
recalled. ''Frank called me twice a year at that time -- and
he spoke French!''
Liuzzi will test
(GMM -- Nov.17) Images of the proposed 'Red Bull Racing'
Formula One car interim livery were seen by the media this
The blue-and-silver paint job resembles a can of the popular
energy drink, or Red Bull-backed Christian Klien's 2004
It will debut on an 'interim' car when Klien, and F3000
champion and fellow Red Bull-junior driver Vitantonio
Liuzzi, test at Barcelona from next week.
Indeed, a spokesman for the formerly Ford-owned team at
Milton-Keynes confirmed that 23-year-old Liuzzi will be in
attendance at the Spanish circuit.
Ralf to test 'in white'
(GMM -- Nov.17) Ralf Schumacher will make his debut in a
Toyota F1 car next week in Spain, the German driver
The 29-year-old said on his personal website that, because
still officially contracted to BMW-Williams until New Year's
Day, he'll test at Circuit de Catalunya with a 'virgin white
''I am already very excited,'' Schumacher explained.
Coulthard as F1 manager?
(GMM -- Nov.17) Out-of-work Formula One veteran David
Coulthard may be considering a 'driver/manager' role at a
''(He's) really up for the idea,'' a source close to the
former nine-year McLaren pilot told UK newspaper Sunday
33-year-old Coulthard, linked already with Dietrich
Mateschitz's newly-acquired Red Bull outfit, is thought also
to be looking at new-for-2006 outfits Dubai and Midland F1.
The source said Scottish-born DC, though, would only
consider setting up shop at a new team if he had a
'shareholding' or 'a greater involvement,' such as team
Verstappen had surgery
(GMM -- Nov.17) In August, out-of-work Formula One veteran
Jos Verstappen, 32, had knee surgery.
The popular Dutch driver, who last contested grands prix for
Minardi last year, crashed and rolled a sprint go-kart and
tore knee ligaments.
''I will be fit in no time,'' he told personal website
Liuzzi back in the frame
(GMM -- Nov.17) F3000 champion Vitantonio Liuzzi is right
back in the frame to land a Formula One seat next season.
In September, the young Italian thought he would test the
Sauber in view of becoming a race driver. But Jacques
Villeneuve had earlier locked out the Swiss team's line-up.
''I felt I was out of the frame,'' 23-year-old Liuzzi told
La Gazzetta dello Sport on Tuesday. ''Now I have a concrete
hope of taking part in next year's championship and my mood
is completely different.''
A spokesman admitted that Red Bull-junior program driver
'Tonio' is scheduled to travel to Barcelona next week to
drive the interim Red Bull Racing F1 car.
'I refused to beg' - Hakkinen
(GMM -- Nov.17) Double F1 world champion Mika Hakkinen
called off a return to Formula One because he was not
prepared to 'beg' for a top drive.
The 36-year-old, who lost motivation and 'retired' after a
ninth season for McLaren in 2001, hinted that he came close
to doing a comeback deal with either Williams or BAR.
''I'm not really frustrated,'' the 'Flying Finn' told F1
Racing magazine. ''But I could have done the job, I am
probably fitter now than I ever was at any point in my (F1)
career. I was 110 per cent committed.''
1998 and 1999 champion Hakkinen will contest the 2005 DTM
touring car championship in a Mercedes-Benz next year.
Jordan and Horner
(GMM -- Nov.17) F3000 team owner Christian Horner will be
involved with Jordan 'in some capacity' next year, a source
It was earlier reported that buy-out talks between the
struggling team's principal Eddie Jordan and 31-year-old
Horner - who ran the ultra-successful 'Arden'
support-category outfit for champion Vitantonio Liuzzi in
2004 - ensue.
Berger's still wanted
(GMM -- Nov.17) Former driver and 'co-motor sport director'
Gerhard Berger is still a wanted man in the Formula One
Newest team owner Dietrich Mateschitz, also an Austrian,
said the 45-year-old - who hung up his BMW hat in September
2003 - would be a 'useful' addition to team Red Bull.
''Gerhard is an expert,'' he also stated this week.
It was reported earlier in 2004 that the 10-time grand prix
winner, Berger, is first on Max Mosley's list to become a
key assistant to the FIA president from 2006.
Davidson at Grove - again
(GMM -- Nov.17) Anthony Davidson will return to Oxfordshire
this week to make more modifications to his new Williams
The BAR tester, like Jordan's Nick Heidfeld, is scheduled to
test the BMW-powered FW26 at Jerez (Spain) in December in
view of winning the coveted 2005 race spot alongside Mark
''The main concern is getting (the seat) comfortable
enough,'' said the 25-year-old of the next visit to Grove
HQ. ''I'm clearly smaller than Ralf Schumacher so there's a
bit of work to do to get it just right.''
Davidson, who will stay at BAR in 2005 if he does not land
the Williams job, revealed that he's spoken to Sir Frank
Williams 'a few times' since the Jenson Button-saga kicked
BAR star in magazine awards
(GMM -- Nov.17) Second-placed-in-2004 Formula One team BAR
is arguably the star of authoritative magazine F1 Racing's
'Man of the Year' awards.
The Brackley-based outfit and its three drivers won four out
of the fourteen categories, and placed runner-up in a
''It is especially rewarding,'' said BAR's marketing
director Hugh Chambers, ''as these (awards) are voted for by
international Formula One fans.''
BAR, powered by Japanese engine partner Honda, won the 'Most
Improved Team' award, and also 'Test Driver of the Year'
(Anthony Davidson), 'Overtaking Maneuver of the Year'
(Jenson Button) and 'Personality of the Year' (Takuma Sato).
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