F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
November 24, 2004
F1 and Adelaide
ADELAIDE (GMM -- Nov.24) F1 team owner Paul Stoddart's new 'Ozjet'
airline will likely be based in the South Australian capital city.
It is expected that an Adelaide Airport HQ, mooted after failed
negotiations with a similar Melbourne site, might even see Formula One
cars - perhaps a two-seater Minardi or two - back again on the old F1
Stoddart, mogul of 'European Aviation', advertised 'Ozjet' - to fly
business passengers to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane - on the Minardi
cars' rear wing throughout 2004.
''It will be Adelaide's airline,'' said Ozjet chief executive Peter
Formula One last raced in Adelaide, before moving to the Victorian
capital, in 1995.
Black BAR to debut
(GMM -- Nov.24) A striking black-and-silver 'concept car' livery will
escort BAR's return to the Formula One test track at Barcelona on
The car, often known at other grand prix teams as an 'interim,' is the
front of the 2004 car and the rear end of next year's unlaunched 007,
including new Honda engine, gearbox and rear suspension.
Test driver Enrique Bernoldi will debut the car on Wednesday before
Jenson Button takes the wheel on Friday.
The latter 25-year-old's race team-mate, Takuma Sato, is scheduled to
test on Friday, in an older BAR.
''Many of the (concept car's) reliability-critical systems are exactly
those which will be used for the 007 car,'' said technical director
Gene off to scarlet start
(GMM -- Nov.24) Ferrari new-boy and ex-Williams test driver Marc Gene
got off to a blinding start as, on Tuesday, a four week Formula One
test ban lifted.
The Spaniard topped a field of just four, including Ferrari cohort and
former Minardi team-mate Luca Badoer, at a sunny Circuit de Catalunya.
Jarno Trulli got going in a Toyota, and Australia's Mark Webber
completed the first four laps of his BMW-powered career ahead of
Wednesday's full-swing start.
New car/driver combinations Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren), Giancarlo
Fisichella (Renault) and Jacques Villeneuve (Sauber) are all later
expected at the bumper Barcelona test.
In action, too, will be new team Red Bull Racing, whose
silver-and-blue paint job - although some pit equipment is still
Jaguar-green - waited in the Spanish garage.
Aussie duo run in Minardi
(GMM -- Nov.24) While Mark Webber got used to life at BMW-powered
Williams on Tuesday, two more Australian drivers tasted Formula One
Youngsters Will Davison and Will Power both debuted at Minardi's
''You just can't describe the brakes and the power,'' beamed Power,
who had been slightly quicker than his countryman.
Davison, meanwhile, has a problem -- now he's had a taste of 900 horse
power, ''I want more! I definitely feel I am capable of doing a good
job (in F1).''
Minardi team owner and another Australian, Paul Stoddart, praised the
duo for finding solid pace on debut. ''Let's hope at least one of them
is able to follow in Mark Webber's footsteps,'' he said.
Ecclestone must wait
(GMM -- Nov.24) FOM chief Bernie Ecclestone, 74, faces an anxious
three-week wait after - on Tuesday - a judge in London's High Court
delayed his ruling in the crucial battle for control of the sport.
Earlier, the plaintiffs - three F1 majority-owning investment banks -
had asked for a 'summary judgment.'
Briscoe to test Jordan
(GMM -- Nov.24) Australian driver Ryan Briscoe will test a Jordan F1
car at Jerez next week.
The 23-year-old Sydneysider, who is under long term contract to Eddie
Jordan's new engine supplier (Toyota), admitted last week he had
staged talks about a grand prix debut with the Northamptonshire-based
A source said Briscoe, like Dutch hopeful Christijan Albers, will test
for three days at the location in Spain.
'I chose Frank' - Webber
(GMM -- Nov.24) Mark Webber said 'history' made him choose a career at
Formula One team BMW-Williams.
The Australian revealed this week that he had an alternate offer to
race in 2005 for Renault, managed by agent Flavio Briatore.
''Renault also wanted (me),'' the 28-year-old said in a interview
played in Melbourne for the launch of the Australian grand prix.
''It's nothing against Renault -- it's just that to be able to drive
for Frank is a dream for me.''
Sir Frank's Oxfordshire-based F1 team won nine constructors' world
titles between 1980 - when Australian-born Alan Jones became champion
- and the end of the 90's.
''I want to win straight away,'' Webber continued. ''If we win enough
(grands prix), you never know what can happen.''
Jordan for sale
(GMM -- Nov.24) How'd you like to hang a Jordan F1 engine-cover in
your lounge room? Maybe one of the team's old wheel rims is more your
You might not have to spend much more than $100 for either, at
Friday's JP Humbert motor sport auction not far from Silverstone
A piece of 'race used' Jordan suspension could be snapped up for
around $150, and a side pod from the 2000-spec EJ10 will likely be
sold for $400-$500.
Exhaust bits, radiators, brake pads and signed team memorabilia - and
more - will all go under the hammer.
'Like a dream' - Gene
(GMM -- Nov.24) Working for world champion Formula One team Ferrari is
'like a dream.'
That's what ex-Williams test driver Marc Gene, the 30-year-old
Spaniard, said at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona on Tuesday.
The local star, disillusioned after being left out of consideration
for the 2005 race drive at Grove, said the final phase of negotiations
with Jean Todt about the development job were 'very fast.
''Being here is like a dream,'' he revealed in Spain after going
fastest in a red car on debut. Gene said Ferrari have the 'best car'
in modern grand prix racing.
''(They also) have the best driver,'' he added.
Honda to block 'shootout'
(GMM -- Nov.24) BAR's engine and equity partner Honda may be trying to
block test driver Anthony Davidson's upcoming 'shootout' run for
The 25-year-old Briton is scheduled to stake a claim for the vacant
2005 race drive at Grove with a test at Jerez next Wednesday.
Earlier, BAR-Honda and Sir Frank's team battled for the service of
Jenson Button at the contract recognition board.
It is suggested that Honda, who last week bought a 45 percent stake in
BAR from British American Tobacco, would like to promote Davidson to a
racing seat in 2006.
Exiting team principal David Richards had green-lighted the diminutive
driver's Jerez runout.
DC at Stade Louis
(GMM -- Nov.24) Monte-Carlo resident David Coulthard stopped off at
Monaco's 'Stade Louis II' on Tuesday night to watch the 'home' side
beat Liverpool in a Champions League football match.
''I heard Prince Albert on the radio this morning talking about how
special it would be to achieve something against a good Liverpool
side,'' the Scottish F1 driver told Liverpool's FC website in an
interview at his own 'Columbus' Hotel.
The Champions League final will be held in Istanbul, on May 27.
F1 'must change'
(GMM -- Nov.24) F1 will not survive if the current spending trend
merely persists, Sir Jackie Stewart has warned.
The triple ex-champion Scot admitted the historic British grand prix
cannot really afford to stay on the grand prix calendar.
''The money (in F1) only goes in one direction,'' said the president
of the Silverstone-owning British Racing Drivers' Club, and a former
team owner. ''It does not re-enter the sport.''
On the other hand, though, he noted the massive financial investments
- like McLaren's half-billion dollar Paragon HQ or Williams' $50m wind
tunnel - of the grand prix teams.
Stewart concluded: ''In the meantime, we (the race promoters) all end
up losing money -- so that's not going to work.''
'Tight' at the top - Sam M.
(GMM -- Nov.24) Up to four Formula One team rivals will attempt to
knock world champion Ferrari off their perch in 2005.
That's the prediction of BMW-Williams' Australian-born technical
director Sam Michael.
He said in a recorded interview played for the launch of the Melbourne
grand prix that next year will be 'very tight' at the top.
''Ferrari are always strong,'' said the 31-year-old. ''I can't see
them making any mistakes, so they will be a tough act to beat. BAR,
Renault and McLaren should all be up there as well.''
Juan was 'very good' - Ralf
(GMM -- Nov.24) Juan Pablo Montoya was one of Ralf Schumacher's
'toughest' F1 team-mates.
The German, who drove the last of nearly a hundred grands prix for
Williams a month ago in Brazil, was asked if he ever faced a foe in an
identical grand prix car who he feared more.
''I don't know,'' 29-year-old Ralf - to debut in a Toyota car on
Wednesday at Barcelona - told ESPN. ''I have always had tough
Schumacher mentioned former Williams cohort Jenson Button (2000), and
also the talented men he faced at Jordan in 1997 and 1998 -
''Giancarlo (Fisichella), even Damon (Hill).''
Ralf admitted: ''Juan was very good.''
'We don't need to test'
(GMM -- Nov.24) Tire supplier Michelin proposed that Formula One
forbid all tire testing from 2005, we can reveal.
Competition director Pierre Dupasquier sent the governing FIA a
written document suggesting that no 'specific' tire-only sessions need
to be staged.
The proposal - also sent to Michelin's partners including Williams,
McLaren, Renault, BAR and Toyota - said that at normal team tests,
Michelin will be present but also agree to impose a limit on the
number of new tires that can be assessed.
All teams rejected the idea, it is reported.
Michelin came up with the idea to counter the teams' desire for a
single tire formula, and assist in reducing non-grand prix action.
FW27 to debut in Oz
(GMM -- Nov.24) Williams' 2005 car, the FW27 - to be raced by Mark
Webber - will be ready to debut at Melbourne's season opener.
Team co-owner and Oxfordshire-based principal Frank Williams confirmed
the news in an interview with eurosport.com.
28-year-old Webber, meanwhile, told Autosport magazine that Frank will
almost certainly choose his yet unconfirmed team-mate from a list
featuring Anthony Davidson, Nick Heidfeld and Antonio Pizzonia.
''(They've) all proven themselves quick at certain stages,'' said the
Australian driver. ''I don't think there's anyone else (in the
BAR to do 'more testing'
(GMM -- Nov.24) BAR will do even more pre-season testing this winter
than it did a year ago, the Formula One team's technical director
Geoff Willis said Brackley aims to 'improve reliability' for 2005.
''In addition to the chassis developments,'' he said, ''2005 will also
see major changes to the aerodynamic package and to the tires.''
'Watch your back'
(GMM -- Nov.24) Watch your back, Giancarlo.
Italian countryman Jarno Trulli warned his 2005 Renault replacement
that F1 principal Flavio Briatore is a zealous advancer of Spanish
'number one' incumbent Fernando Alonso.
''I have already told (Giancarlo) Fisichella,'' he was quoted as
saying in Spanish newspaper AS. ''Take Monza (in September) for
example -- I love the track but Alonso was much quicker than me. I
just don't understand how that can be.''
31-year-old Trulli also hinted that his momentary '04 stand-in, 1997
champion Jacques Villeneuve, also failed to perform due to imbalanced
'Massive' aero loss - Minardi
(GMM -- Nov.24) Running an interim 2005 aero package resulted in a
'massive' loss of downforce and lap time, the struggling Minardi team
F1 principal Paul Stoddart has asked, so far unsuccessfully, for the
unanimous support of rival teams to allow the smallest team to race an
'illegal' 2004 contender early next year.
''We will be slow (if forced to comply to new regulations),'' he
warned in October.
At Misano on Tuesday, Israeli test driver Chanock Nissany completed a
back-to-back assessment of the 2004 and 2005 aero packages in a
''There is much less downforce,'' he reported of the latter, ''and I
believe the cars will be much more difficult to drive.''
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