F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
November 19, 2004
Button's new management
(GMM -- Nov.19) One of the highest-profile RP representatives in
Formula One, Nav Sidhu, may be involved with the management of Jenson
Button in 2005.
''No comment at this stage,'' he said on Thursday. ''I'm helping with
(the) transition from Jaguar to Red Bull right now and we'll see what
the New Year brings.''
Sidhu, whilst not referring directly to 25-year-old English driver
Button, admitted - in the fallout of Ford's decision to sell Jaguar
and quit F1 - that there are one or two 'options to consider.'
Nav, who was 'Head of (F1) Communications' at Jaguar Racing, worked
with the BAR-Honda ace at Williams in 2000.
Button earlier revealed dissatisfaction with the way his current
management handled a fouled switch to Williams.
Red Bull deal 'highly likely'
(GMM -- Nov.19) A deal between new Formula One team 'Red Bull Racing'
and tire supplier Michelin is looking 'highly likely.'
A spokesman at Clermont-Ferrand admitted that an agreement 'needs' to
be in place before post-season testing begins at Barcelona next week.
''(But) we can't confirm anything,'' he told us.
The spokesman also enthused about the collaboration with BAR, who
switched from Bridgestone to the French tire company for the start of
2004. It is reported that Bridgestone made an offer to woo Dave
Richards' team back to Japanese rubber.
''BAR gave us our most consistent results in 2004,'' said the
spokesman, ''and, by switching, (helped) us prove that our tires
really are competitive.''
BAR and Honda - 'no comment'
(GMM -- Nov.19) BAR and Honda have separately refused to comment on
the reported 'buy-out' of the Formula One team.
''We're not in a position to comment at this stage,'' said a Honda
Numerous media outlets claimed on Wednesday and Thursday that Honda
bought between a forty per cent and full shareholding of the team
presently led by David Richards.
A spokeswoman at Brackley, meanwhile, sung from the same 'no comment'
''My comment,'' she said by telephone, ''would be 'BAR has no comment
to make on the subject'.''
(GMM -- Nov.19) F1 engine suppliers Mercedes-Benz, Honda and BMW 'have
not decided' whether to advance a threat to legally challenge the
It is reported that the three carmakers, allied respectively with
grand prix teams McLaren, BAR and WilliamsF1, may take the Paris body
to arbitration over the imposition of 2.4 liter V8's in 2006.
They argue that, under the otherwise binding Concorde Agreement, a 3.0
liter V10 formula is guaranteed until the end of 2007.
''For the time being,'' Daimler Chrysler rep (Mercedes-Benz) Wolfgang
Schattling told us on Thursday, ''nothing has been decided on this
issue so far.''
A BMW spokesman at Munich, meanwhile, confirmed the line by
reiterating that talks with Mercedes-Benz and Honda about how to
handle the situation are 'still taking place.'
Fisi to tackle tricky test
(GMM -- Nov.19) One of Giancarlo Fisichella's most difficult tasks
this winter will be adjusting to the Michelin tire.
The highly rated Italian, who is returning to the top Formula One team
based at Enstone next year, drove Japanese-made Bridgestone rubber for
Jordan and Sauber in 2002-2004.
''I think it will be quite a difficult element of our program,'' the
31-year-old admitted, ''to work out and understand (the Michelin
tire's) behavior as well as testing the new specification tires for
He denied, though, that adapting to a different tire is a long-term
problem for any F1 pilot. ''We have enough time ... to get on top of
it,'' said the Roman.
Fisichella will drive the Renault for the first time next Wednesday,
at Circuit de Catalunya (Spain).
Winning F1 merchandise
(GMM -- Nov.19) BAR's is winning F1 merchandise.
Fitch, the London design firm responsible for the Formula One team's
clothing range, took home two prizes from the annual marketing 'Brand
In the 'Advertising and Sponsorship' class, BAR/British American
Tobacco beat an entry by Vodafone Ferrari.
''(Merchandise) sales at Silverstone over the race weekend ... broke
all team records exceeding £1 million,'' a statement explained.
BMW have 'stamina'
(GMM -- Nov.19) F1 engine maker BMW responded to the claim of Sir
Frank Williams that the German marque's medium-term future at the
pinnacle of motor sport appears 'undecided.'
A contract to 2009 exists between the two companies, but speculation
reckons BMW's unhappiness about the debatably-illegal move to V8 in
2006 may be muscular enough to compel a 'call it a day' call from
''We know that sometimes (F1) is not easy,'' said BMW's head of motor
sport communication Joerg Kottmeier, ''(but) we have a long term
perspective. We have stamina.''
American up to Speed in F1
(GMM -- Nov.19) An American looks set to Speed into the pinnacle of
motor sport next year.
'Red Bull' team owner Dieter Mateschitz admitted that Californian-born
Scott Speed, a centerpiece of the 'Red Bull Search' for an American
grand prix driver, is being considered for the 2005 F1 test driver
''(Vitantonio) Liuzzi and (Christian) Klien will be testing (at
Barcelona) next week,'' the Austrian energy drink magnate and
billionaire revealed, ''and they have a good chance of being our
drivers for 2005.''
21-year-old Speed won the Formula Renault Eurocup in 2004.
Briscoe and Jordan
(GMM -- Nov.19) Jordan and Australian-born F1 hopeful Ryan Briscoe
have been on the blower.
''I can't tell you much,'' the Italian-based youngster - under
ten-year contract to Toyota - told Australian news agencies on
The blonde-haired, Sydney-born 23-year-old's likelihood of sharing a
Melbourne grand prix grid with compatriot Mark Webber next March were
boosted last week, when cash-strapped Jordan announced a new customer
Toyota engine deal.
He said talks with Eddie Jordan have been going on ''for a while. It's
not looking bad -- (but) there's nothing much else to say, really.''
Speculation says Briscoe's manager Max Angelelli may be negotiating a
Toyota engine 'subsidy' for Jordan if Ryan is taken on.
He's coming home for Christmas and hopes a deal is sealed by then.
''I'm pretty sure it will (be),'' Ryan told us.
Sauber tire deal limited
(GMM -- Nov.19) F1 tire supplier Michelin is worried that Sauber might
transfer secret information to engine partner Ferrari.
Sauber, who buy customer engines from the world champion marque,
surprised sport insiders when it reached a commercial deal to run
French-made tires in 2005 after a long collaboration with Bridgestone.
But Michelin competition director Pierre Dupasquier hinted that Sauber
may not receive full 'advanced technology.'
He told atlasf1.com: ''As far as development goes, it depends. Perhaps
(certain things) will not be part of the deal -- we'll see.''
67-year-old Frenchman Dupasquier said one of the conditions of the
Sauber supply may be that the Swiss-based team are now allowed to test
at Ferrari's private Fiorano test track.
Zanardi in America
(GMM -- Nov.19) Inspirational former F1 driver Alex Zanardi will tour
America in November and December.
The Italian-born touring car star, who lost both legs in an horror
Champ Car crash in 2001, is promoting a new book about his career --
'My Sweetest Victory.'
He'll be in New York and even appear on David Letterman's famous 'Late
Red Bull to stay in England
(GMM -- Nov.19) Former Jaguar F1 principal Tony Purnell denied that
the team's new incarnation, Red Bull Racing, will set up shop in
''Wind tunnels are not moveable items,'' he said, confirming that
Milton-Keynes (England) is remaining team HQ.
''England is the centre of the motorsport industry.''
Purnell also said Jaguar's staff foundation, with managing director
David Pitchforth at the helm, is to remain intact.
'Right time' for Ralf exit
(GMM -- Nov.19) Patrick Head said he 'regrets' long-time Williams
driver Ralf Schumacher's decision to leave the team for Toyota in
But Head, team co-owner and a veteran engineer, admitted that after a
record six-season collaboration, it's the 'right time' for both to
seek a new challenge.
He said: ''We really wanted to win the championship (together) -- but
unfortunately we didn't succeed.''
Ralf drove nearly a hundred grands prix for the Oxfordshire-based
Formula One team, winning six.
The 29-year-old, meanwhile, called the decision to farewell Head and
Sir Frank Williams' company 'anything but easy.'
Head claim 'unfair' - Jacques
(GMM -- Nov.19) Patrick Head's criticism that Jacques Villeneuve made
'heavy weather' of the 1997 drivers' world championship conquest is
That's the French-Canadian's scathing claim.
33-year-old Villeneuve said Head, WilliamsF1 co-owner and then
technical director, should be pleased that Grove's last title victory
was won after an 'exciting' showdown.
''I don't think it's fair comment,'' Villeneuve, who next year will
return full-time to the pinnacle of racing with Sauber, told F1 Racing
magazine. ''But why should I care?''
The outspoken 1997 champion reckons Head spent that season working
most closely with Villeneuve's then German team-mate -- Heinz-Harald
''(Frentzen) was always trying to keep Patrick happy,'' said Jacques,
''but it screwed him. We did better than him -- by a long way.''
Anderson working with Midland
(GMM -- Nov.19) 2006 Formula One team 'Midland' made an approach to
Jordan's former technical director Gary Anderson.
The Irishman was instrumental in the formation of Eddie Jordan's
fledgling outfit in 1991.
''We've had a few meetings,'' Anderson told British publication
He hinted that a deal could be struck by the end of November, but
declined to give a definitive 'yes' to speculation that he'll take up
a key role.
It is reported, though, that Anderson is already in Italy, helping
Dallara with the design of the first Midland machine.
Whatever happens, he will never work full-time at the pinnacle of
motor sport again. ''I've done too much of that in the past,'' said
'No problem' at fitting
(GMM -- Nov.19) Renault returnee Giancarlo Fisichella's seat fitting
earlier in November went off without a hitch.
''There were no problems at all,'' said the Roman, who last drove for
the Enstone-based Formula One team - then called Benetton - in 2001.
31-year-old Fisichella will debut in the 2004-spec R24 at Barcelona
He reported: ''I left (the factory) that evening even more excited
about next year. The pre-Christmas sessions will be about learning,
and getting ready to evaluate the new car.''
'Pleased' with tire advance
(GMM -- Nov.19) Formula One team Williams is not looking to change
It was earlier reported that the Grove-based outfit responded with a
request for 'more information' after rival supplier Bridgestone's
The speculation even moved Michelin competition director Pierre
Dupasquier to this week state that there are 'no problems' in the
''We will be continuing (our) partnership with Michelin next season,''
said a team spokesman, ''and (are) pleased with the significant
progress and continual energies committed by (Michelin) to provide
Frank hasn't decided - team
(GMM -- Nov.19) Sir Frank Williams is yet to decide who will drive
alongside Mark Webber in the FW27 car next year.
A team spokesman responded to the owner and principal's earlier
comment that young test driver Antonio Pizzonia is 'most likely' to
move into the racing role.
''It would be a waste of both drivers' time, and our resources, if we
were not serious about offering (Nick Heidfeld and Anthony Davidson) a
fair shot at the seat,'' he said.
''(Their run) is not a waste of time.''
The aforementioned pair are scheduled to complete three days each at
Jerez in December.
But the spokesman in Oxfordshire admitted that 23-year-old Pizzonia is
in pole position for the job because of his knowledge of the car and
He added: ''And by virtue of his race performances this season (when
substituting for the injured Ralf Schumacher).''
Did you know ... ?
(GMM -- Nov.19) A sale deal between Red Bull billionaire Dietrich
Mateschitz and Jaguar's former F1 team owner 'The Ford Motor Company'
was actually agreed in July.
The Austrian energy drink magnate and Ford president Nick Scheele
celebrated the coup by going out for dinner in Vienna. Scheele's
Dearborn bosses in America scuppered the deal.
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