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 street circuit.

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 Schott.

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 Tuesday.

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 Geoff Willis.

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 power.

Youngsters Will Davison and Will Power both debuted at Minardi's Misano test.

''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 outfit.

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 scene.

You might not have to spend much more than $100 for either, at Friday's JP Humbert motor sport auction not far from Silverstone (Northamptonshire).

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 BMW-Williams.

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 team-mates.''

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 running).''

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 admitted.

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 team treatment.

'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 reported.

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 Minardi.

''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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