F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
November 22, 2004
Romania building F1 venue
(GMM -- Nov.22) F1 is looking to stage two more grands prix in Eastern
In 2005, only Hungary will represent the region on the grand prix
calendar. But both Romania and Bulgaria have expressed interest in
welcoming the traveling circus to town.
A Romanian race may take place in the Arad region, with HOK - the
company involved in Arsenal's new football stadium - commissioned to
design a track.
''There's no reason why we can't have a circuit with as much character
as Spa (in Belgium),'' said architect Clive Brown.
Up to $100 million may have been put aside for the project by the
'Biggest ever' F1 sale
(GMM -- Nov.22) The biggest-ever auction of F1 memorabilia - including
grand prix single seaters - was wrapped up in Ledbury (England) on the
Minardi's Paul Stoddart sold about half his personal collection.
Bids ranged from $8, for a t-shirt, to $180,000, for a 1997 Tyrrell
025 Formula One car in running order, according to a statement.
2004 Minardi racer Zsolt Baumgartner and former team star Nicolas
Kiesa attended the auction, while $70,000 was raised for charity
through the auction of two-seater F1 rides.
''I'd like to thank Zsolt and Nicolas,'' said Stoddart, ''who gave
freely of their time.''
More to test Jordan
(GMM -- Nov.22) Dutch driver Christijan Albers will not be the only F1
hopeful to test a Jordan car next month.
The 25-year-old star of German DTM racing, who had a seat fitted at
Silverstone last week, is scheduled to run at Jerez (Spain) on 1
''Drivers for the remainder of the (four day) test will be announced
shortly,'' said a Jordan spokeswoman.
Richards 'not fired'
(GMM -- Nov.22) David Richards was not 'fired' as BAR principal
because of the recent Jenson Button-shambles.
Indeed, the Prodrive-leading Englishman said in a teleconference that
he was the 'only person' involved who emerged smelling like a rose.
''I came out as cleanly as one would expect,'' said Richards, who'll
be replaced in February by former managing director Nick Fry.
Richards' Prodrive arm was commissioned in 2001 to lead a five-year
recovery plan for the struggling Formula One team.
''We've done it in three,'' DR smiled.
Monteiro at Misano
(GMM -- Nov.22) Portuguese driver Tiago Monteiro will test the Minardi
PS04 Formula One car at Misano (Italy) on Monday.
The 28-year-old former Champ Car star said his job is to 'prepare the
car' so Paul Stoddart's locally-based team can assess up to twelve
more race hopefuls prior to season 2005.
Monteiro, who tested the Renault F1 car at Barcelona a couple of years
ago, finished second in the open-wheeler Nissan World Series.
BAR to go into administration
(GMM -- Nov.22) F1 team BAR are prepared to go into administration in
order to protect the intended 45 per cent buy-out by engine partner
Current owner British American Tobacco is trying to buy the last 10
per cent from original shareholders including ousted founder Craig
Pollock, Adrian Reynard and Rick Gorne.
A BAT spokesman said the BAT/Honda venture 'expects' to acquire the
shares in British American Racing GP Limited 'from the administrator.'
''This is an important step for both partners,'' said Honda's managing
director Takanobu Ito in the Friday statement.
'We'll race more' - BMW
(GMM -- Nov.22) F1 engine maker BMW is prepared to race more than a
19-grand prix calendar.
Never before has a (2005) season schedule looked so busy, but - to
spice up the show - Williams' team partner agreed that more races and
less track testing is a good idea.
Motor Sport director Dr Mario Theissen also reiterated BMW's contempt
for the contentious shift to 2.4 liter V8's in 2006.
''We'll have to build a completely new engine concept,'' said the
German, ''and (teams) will have to develop new chassis. We think this
will escalate costs, rather than reduce them.''
Theissen said a wasteful 80 per cent of all Formula One running occurs
away from the racing action.
'Selling' Red Bull
(GMM -- Nov.22) What does Dietrich Mateschitz want to do -- win the
Formula One world championship, or sell more cans of Red Bull energy
Ask the eccentric billionaire's countryman and triple world champion
Niki Lauda, and the answer is simple.
''He is a marketing genius,'' said the Austrian in an AFP report.
Personally, 60-year-old Mateschitz - F1's newest team owner - has
earlier said that 'everything' with the Red Bull logo on it is
therefore part of the company's renowned marketing strategy.
He told Austrian economy magazine Format: ''Red Bull must be
synonymous ... with spirit and creativity.''
Testing to resume
(GMM -- Nov.22) On Monday, Toyota and world champion marque Ferrari
will reacquaint the sky with the scream of Formula One engines at
Circuit de Catalunya.
For the first time since the '04-ending Brazilian grand prix, track
action - the first pre-season test - re-starts at the Spanish venue
BMW-Williams, McLaren, Renault, BAR, Sauber and newly-acquired Red
Bull Racing will join the action a day later, while Minardi run at
Italy's Misano venue.
No Rossi switch - yet
(GMM -- Nov.22) Race sensation Valentino Rossi will switch to Formula
One when he no longer has 'the passion' for MotoGP.
The skilful Italian said at Shah Alam - not far from Kuala-Lumpur -
for a Yamaha launch event, that it is 'easy' to remain motivated on
two wheels 'as long as I am having fun.'
25-year-old Rossi told Malaysia's 'The Star': ''I have not lost the
passion (for motorcycle racing) yet.
''I plan to continue for some time.''
Yoong and A1
(GMM -- Nov.22) Former Formula One pilot for Minardi, Alex Yoong, will
probably not drive in the novel 'A1 Grand Prix' championship next
The Malaysian, who snapped up the national franchise in the new
Dubai-based winter category, hinted that the only goal is to 'win for
(Malaysian) national pride.
''We'll get the best people to fill key roles,'' said the man who
drove in Formula One in 2001 and 2002, ''(and) groom future Malaysian
28-year-old Yoong said the Malaysian A1GP franchise will select a
'main driver' and a 'reserve driver' in mid- 2005.
F1 spinners at Macau
(GMM -- Nov.22) French driver Alexandre Premat won the prestigious F3
Grand Prix of Macau on Sunday.
He beat Poland's Robert Kubica and Lucas di Grassi, of Brazil, after
favorites Nico Rosberg - son of 1982 F1 champion Keke - and Lewis
Hamilton both crashed.
Another son of a world champion, Australian-born Christian Jones (son
of 1980 winner Alan), came to grief on the street circuit, while
Nelson Piquet Jr drove from 27th on the grid to a credible tenth.
Schu is Germany's 'best'
(GMM -- Nov.22) Seven time Formula One world champion Michael
Schumacher is Germany's top sportsperson in a hundred years.
That is, at least, the finding of more than 100,000 voting viewers of
television broadcaster ZDF.
The 35-year-old Ferrari driver, ahead of canoe star Birgit Fischer and
tennis' Steffi Graf, called the 20th century accolade a 'total
''I would never have expected an honor like this,'' said Schumacher.
Bernie battle to resume
(GMM -- Nov.22) The battle for control of Formula One racing resumes
in London's High Court on Monday.
74-year-old 'impresario' Bernie Ecclestone is being sued by three
banks who argue that a 75 per cent share in SLEC should have bought
them a louder voice.
He admitted to some consternation about potentially facing an
enemy-dominated board of directors by telling the 'Scotland on Sunday'
newspaper that his reign will end when he gets 'fired.
''Maybe they'll want to pension me off,'' he shrugged dismissively.
''You never know.''
One day, Ron will quit
(GMM -- Nov.22) One day, when an early March dawns, Ron Dennis will be
on a boat -- not perched wearing a black leather jacket on the
Melbourne pit wall.
''I want to see McLaren continue to win grands prix,'' the 57-year-old
Formula One team principal told UK newspaper The Sunday Times.
He said: ''One day, (I want) it to have nothing to do with me.''
For now, though, Ron is 'happy' to be on the row of stools known
affectionately in F1 circles as the 'Prat Perch.'
Meanwhile, behind Woking's multi-million Pound factory doors,
engineers are hard at work on the next high performance
McLaren-Mercedes road car, codenamed 'P8.'
Dennis explained of the approximately 100,000 Pound car: ''It will be
our version of what other people (like Ferrari and Porsche) have
Look elsewhere for BAR boy
(GMM -- Nov.22) David Richards fans have been warned to look elsewhere
for the former BAR principal in 2005.
''Don't expect to see me in the (F1) pitlane too much next year,'' the
He, and his consultancy company Prodrive, has been ousted by the F1
team's owner - British American Tobacco - with a year to run on a
But Richards refused to rule out a return to the pinnacle's Paddock,
perhaps for either new team Dubai or Midland. ''You never say never,''
DR commented. ''That's something you learn pretty quickly (in Formula
Prodrive, involved in World Rally, recently launched the Aston Martin
Le Mans project, but Richards also vowed to spend more time with his
Ralf 'didn't do bad'
(GMM -- Nov.22) Ralf Schumacher didn't do a bad job in 2004.
How can the German racer, son of Ferrari's champion Michael Schumacher
and just ninth in the drivers' title, be so confident? ''People seem
to be a bit sad that I am leaving (Williams),'' 29-year-old Ralf
He'll start a highly-paid tenure at Cologne-based Toyota this week,
with a test run in Spain.
Dr Mario Theissen, who fronts BMW's foray with Sir Frank Williams' F1
team, is a countryman and keen Ralf-supporter.
He said the German returned from a six-race absence due to injury
''very (strongly). We can look back to a very good cooperation,''
Theissen told ESPN.
F1 wheel nut for sale
(GMM -- Nov.22) Want a genuine Ferrari F1 engine? How about a set of
overalls, worn by Jordan's fired driver Giorgio Pantano?
UK newspaper The Daily Telegraph published a run-down of the best
online merchandise available at grand prix team official websites.
The Ferrari engine is a '00-spec 049, signed by Jean Todt and a cool
$53,000. You can pick up a 1996 Goodyear team tire for a tad under
Jordan, meanwhile, are selling a used wheel nut for $28 and those
yellow Pantano overalls are $1120.
The BAR-Honda website is offering a 2002 gear ratio for $175, and you
can buy a McLaren (Silver Lake) bottle of wine for $35, the newspaper
Button may stay - BAR
(GMM -- Nov.22) According to David Richards, team driver Jenson Button
may be convinced to stay at BAR beyond 2005.
The former F1 principal, ousted by owner BAT as engine partner Honda
takes a 45 per cent team stake, reckons 'great foundations' are down
''I don't suppose (Jenson will) be making that decision in the short
term,'' said Richards, who was locked in battle for the 25-year-old
driver in 2004 with team rival BMW-Williams.
52-year-old DR predicts that BAR may be able to challenge Ferrari for
the world championship next year.
He also revealed that work on a new wind tunnel was set to commence
Klien 'to race'
(GMM -- Nov.22) Christian Klien will get a second stab at a Formula
One race drive next year.
A deal has not been struck, but 'Red Bull' F1 owner Dieter Mateschitz
revealed in German newspaper Bild am Sonntag that the 2004 Jaguar
driver has been offered 'the opportunity' to race on at Milton-Keynes.
Meanwhile, Mateschitz - Austria's first billionaire - said Red Bull
Racing was looking to secure an engine deal with BMW for the 2006
He said the team 'have a good relationship' with the Munich marque.
(GMM -- Nov.22) Irish racing driver Richard Lyons underlined his claim
for a Formula One spot on Saturday.
The 25-year-old, who earlier sealed Japan's premier open wheeler
Formula Nippon championship, added a Japanese GP title to the resume
''(This) is as satisfying for me as my Formula Nippon win,'' said
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Ayrton Senna's nephew - Bruno Senna - finished
second in a crash-strewn Formula Renault Challenge event at Macau.
Brit GP 'safe' - report
(GMM -- Nov.22) The historic British grand prix is safe, a newspaper
'Scotland on Sunday' sent a journalist to interview 74-year-old F1
impresario Bernie Ecclestone.
A resultant article quoted the commercial rights holder as saying he
would be 'shattered' if Silverstone didn't host a race next season.
''I don't want to be shattered,'' Bernie smiled - as the journalist
noted - 'knowingly.'
The track-owning BRDC's president Sir Jackie Stewart, meanwhile,
renewed a plea for government backing to improve the Northamptonshire
''(We) have been left to save the British grand prix for the nation,''
the Scot told The Sun, ''(and) the economy of a large region around
Silverstone and for 40,000 jobs in the industry.''
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