F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
November 18, 2004

Honda bought BAR - report
(GMM -- Nov.18) Honda has bought a 40 per cent chunk of Formula One team BAR, numerous media outlets claimed on Wednesday.

Brackley-based BAR, presently owned by British American Tobacco, agreed a deal - said to involve the handover of a non-controlling stake of the shareholding - to the Japanese carmaker.

It is also reported that David Richards will make way for a new Honda-appointed team principal -- Nick Fry.

''There is nothing we can say at this stage,'' Fry was quoted as saying in a BBC article.

BAR shareholder and co-founder Adrian Reynard, though, denied that the subject of a sale to Honda was brought up at the last board meeting.

But he said he would be 'totally supportive' of the reported buy-out.

DC to front Dubai - magazine
(GMM -- Nov.18) F1 veteran David Coulthard zoomed into pole position for a race drive at new-for-2006 Formula One team 'Dubai F1.'

The United Arab Emirates-based monthly magazine 'Arabian Business' said the 33-year-old Scottish driver could front Dubai's projected spend of $1 billion over a seven-year period.

Dubai will build its own wind tunnel and F1 factory in England, the magazine reported, and spend a healthy privateer budget of around $150m per season.

Want to buy a F1 ride?
(GMM -- Nov.18) Minardi team owner and principal Paul Stoddart is offering four rides in a two-seater Formula One car.

Starting Thursday at Ledbury (England), the Australian millionaire - with help from the auction group Bache Treharne - is getting rid of around half of his own grand prix collection, with proceeds to bolster Minardi's team coffer.

''The highest bidder (for the two-seater rides) in each case will travel to Italy next week aboard a private European Aviation flight,'' said spokeswoman Fabiana Valenti, ''and (ride) around the (Misano circuit).''

Proceeds of the two-seat offer, meanwhile, have been pledged to the BBC Children in Need appeal and the 'Diana' National Air Ambulance.

''The world record for one of these (two seater Minardi) rides is $275,000,'' said Stoddart.

Verstappen to return
(GMM -- Nov.18) Jos Verstappen may race in the DTM touring car championship, or the America-based Champ Car category, next season.

The 32-year-old Dutch driver, who narrowly missed a Jordan seat in 2004 after a year with Minardi, is keen to return to the motor racing circuit.

But his manager Huub Rothengatter admitted that Jos' chances now rest 'entirely' on sponsorship.

''We (maintain) many contacts in Formula One,'' he said, ''but it makes no sense to talk (without) having backing behind you.''

Rothengatter appeared to admit that possibilities elsewhere in global motor sport, such as the top German tin-top category or Champ Car, remain 'open.'

He added: ''That (also) goes for F1. I would like to be able to say that a deal is done, but it is too early to say anything yet.''

Liuzzi 'full of potential'
(GMM -- Nov.18) F3000 champion Vitantonio Liuzzi will test for newly-formed F1 team 'Red Bull Racing' next week.

The highly-rated Italian, a centerpiece of Dietrich Mateschitz's 'junior' driver program, is 'full of potential,' according to continuing (Jaguar) team principal Tony Purnell.

''I have known him since his early karting days,'' said the Englishman.

23-year-old Liuzzi had a seat fitted in England on Tuesday, and will take the wheel of the blue-and-silver interim livery from Wednesday at Circuit de Catalunya (Spain).

''(Red Bull) have been very supportive to me and my racing,'' said the youngster known as 'Tonio'.

2004 Jaguar drivers Christian Klien and Bjorn Wirdheim will also test for Red Bull, a spokesman confirmed.

'God Save The ... ?'
(GMM -- Nov.18) Often, triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart stood next to the Queen of England -- and struggled to remember the words to 'God Save The Queen.'

Formula One's famed Scot is dyslexic.

He spoke at the launch of a new charity this week that provides support for other dyslexic people in the country, according to 'The Scotsman' newspaper.

A related study showed that, perhaps due to their undiminished intelligence and determination, successful businessmen are 'five times more likely' to have dyslexia.

Coulthard to test
(GMM -- Nov.18) If he can't snare a new racing role, Scotland's Formula One veteran David Coulthard may become test driver for a top team - like Renault or Ferrari - in 2005.

''Obviously I'd prefer to race,'' the 33-year-old told Autosport magazine.

But McLaren's out-of-work nine-year driver vowed to keep an 'open mind' if Sir Frank Williams, for one, or Red Bull counterpart Tony Purnell, do not come knocking.

He used the example of 1997 world champion and friend Jacques Villeneuve, who struggled to regain form after a one-year sabbatical, as the main reason for wanting to 'stay sharp' at the wheel of a 900bhp charger.

It is suggested that Renault, or even world champion team Ferrari, may already have staged initial dialogue with Twynholm-born Coulthard.

Red Bull 'offered' tire deal
(GMM -- Nov.18) Michelin will offer a tire supply to 'Red Bull' next year, but only because Jaguar's departing owner - the Ford Motor Company - asked them to, Pierre Dupasquier explained.

Bibendum's charismatic competition director, 67, insisted that a final deal is not yet signed.

''We accepted (Ford's request),'' Dupasquier told atlasf1.com. ''We will keep our word, especially (as) it's basically the same team.''

The ultra-Gallic Frenchman confirmed that Michelin has now made Red Bull an offer, and a deal is expected prior to next week's track action in Spain.

He said both Red Bull and Sauber will pay for their French rubber in 2005. ''We're just trying not to spend more money,'' Dupasquier explained.

(GMM -- Nov.18) Midland would prefer a customer Ferrari engine to power their 2006 Formula One championship debut.

Canadian-based Russian owner Alex Shnaider told an Italian newspaper that he has asked Ferrari principal Jean Todt for more information.

''I'm waiting for some answers, and from Cosworth too,'' La Gazzetta dello Sport quoted him as saying. ''We'll take a decision within three months.''

Shnaider also said he had now met Giampaolo Dallara, who was suggested as a worthy chassis partner by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

And, on the subject of potential 2006 race drivers, he reckoned on two 'experienced' ones and a Russian as tester.

Pizzonia 'most likely'
(GMM -- Nov.18) Antonio Pizzonia is 'most likely' to slide into Williams' spare race driving role next season.

That's the hint of Grove co-owner and team principal Sir Frank Williams.

''But it's not a foregone conclusion,'' he told eurosport.com, clearly referring to the Jerez 'shootout' between Nick Heidfeld and rookie Anthony Davidson in December.

Williams, who - prior to a contractual melee - intended to put Jenson Button in the 2005-spec FW27 car, outlined his desire for an 'experienced' team-mate for Mark Webber.

He concluded: ''Grand Prix cars are very expensive (so) you don't want your driver to be on a learning curve. Each punch must count.''

Berger to spurn F1 return
(GMM -- Nov.18) Gerhard Berger is unlikely to trade-in motor sport retirement even for a top job at countryman and friend Dieter Mateschitz's Red Bull Formula One team.

The 10-grand prix winner and former BMW joint motorsport director responded to the Austrian magnate's claim that 45-year-old Gerhard would be a 'useful' advisor.

''I doubt I want to do that,'' he told Swiss magazine Motorsport Aktuell. ''But I (do) keep close contact with Didi.''

In fact, Berger - who raced 210 times for such grand prix teams as Benetton, McLaren and Ferrari - suggested it may be 'difficult' for Red Bull to maintain the money to make a F1 outfit work.

But he added: ''(Dieter) sticks to his projects ... and eventually turns them into a success.''

Britain to woo youngsters
(GMM -- Nov.18) Britain is trying to woo young people to motor sport.

Motor Sport Council (MSC) chairman Graham Stoker urged the entire UK racing industry to attract the attention, particularly, of those under sixteen.

''If (we) don't catch their interest when they're young,'' he said, ''it's unlikely that we'll be able to get them later on.''

If Scotland-born David Coulthard departs the F1 driving scene in 2005, Britain will likely be represented only by BAR's Englishmen Jenson Button, and tester Anthony Davidson.

Did you know ... ?
(GMM -- Nov.18) The fastest speed ever clocked at a Formula One track was triggered by young Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia.

Nicknamed 'Jungle Boy,' the Amazonian soared to the record - a staggering 370.1 kph - at Monza this year whilst driving the injured Ralf Schumacher's BMW-Williams FW26.

Will BMW quit?
(GMM -- Nov.18) Will German carmaker BMW quit Formula One?

Like Mercedes-Benz and Honda, the engine manufacturer is angrily refuting the governing FIA's desire to rid the pinnacle of motor sport of the Concorde Agreement-protected V10 formula.

BMW is maker of arguably the most powerful and high-revving 3.0 litre unit in pitlane.

''They're very unhappy with the V8 (proposal),'' BMW-powered team principal Sir Frank Williams said.

Asked if the unhappiness is muscular enough to convince Munich-based chiefs to call it a day, though, Frank is less emphatic. He does admit that BMW appears 'undecided' about the medium future.

Williams has a BMW contract to 2009.

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