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F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
December 1, 2004


Drunk Kimi condemned
(GMM -- Dec.1) A drunk Kimi Raikkonen collapsed in the street after a wild night out in Gran Canaria, the German media revealed.

The McLaren driver in Formula One was photographed by 'Bild' newspaper in a drunken pose, and later lying still on a footpath.

He told a Finnish newspaper: ''I must say sorry!''

But the 25-year-old is clearly frustrated that - at the end of a long championship season - he can't go out without massive media scrutiny.

Kimi asked: ''Why shouldn't I go out and have a few drinks? Sometimes I wish I were just a normal guy.''

Former F1 driver and German commentator Hans Stuck condemned Raikkonen's alcoholic bender. He said: ''Raikkonen is a role model for ... children and young people.''








Michelin F1 man 'to 4x4'
(GMM -- Dec.1) Pascal Vasselon will go from organizing Michelin's F1 program to helping develop 4x4 tires.

A spokesman confirmed that the Frenchman is 'moving on' within the Clermont-Ferrand company on New Year's Day 2005.

''(Pascal) will be working in our car tire product line,'' he added, ''with responsibilities for the development of our 'recreational' tires, including 4x4 and SUV.''

Vasselon's successor will be announced on Thursday or Friday, a different source within the Formula One tire supplier intimated.







Heidfeld test sped-up
(GMM -- Dec.1) German speedster Nick Heidfeld's 'shootout' test for BMW-Williams will commence on Wednesday rather than next week, the F1 team confirmed.

He was originally scheduled to drive at Jerez (Spain) from next Thursday, but the run has been accelerated after Anthony Davidson's own try-out struck trouble.

There is a spare race seat alongside Mark Webber at Grove for 2005, but F1 insiders reckon former Sauber and Jordan ace Heidfeld's Jerez session is more about assessing him for Marc Gene's vacated test job.

Favorite for the racing role, Antonio Pizzonia - and Webber - had the Jerez circuit to themselves on Tuesday.

''On Wednesday, Nick Heidfeld will have the opportunity of proving his skills,'' Williams' website report read.








GPDA 'essential' - Schu
(GMM -- Dec.1) Formula One's Grand Prix Drivers' Association is 'essential,' world champion Michael Schumacher - a director - said on Tuesday.

It is a decade since the body was renewed following the last driver-fatalities at the pinnacle of motor sport (Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger in 1994).

''The drivers' views on safety contribute to the FIA's research into accidents,'' Schumacher, 35, said in a statement.

He added: ''I'm confident our input has helped prevent serious injury and save lives.''

In 2004, Jarno Trulli, Mark Webber and David Coulthard were fellow Drivers' Association directors.

Coulthard, a Scot, heralded the 'rare' example of a competitive group - such as grand prix drivers - coming together for 'a common goal.'








Trulli backs early debut
(GMM -- Dec.1) Jarno Trulli has issued full support for Formula One employer Toyota's unusual decision to debut the new TF105 car in early January.

''It's a good idea to get (it) out as soon as possible,'' said the Italian, who this year won his first grand prix in a Renault before he was fired in September.

Trulli referred to the swag of FIA-dictated rule changes for 2005 which will make it 'important' to iron out problems before the Melbourne opener.

He said he joined Toyota 'for a challenge.

''When I left (Renault),'' said 31-year-old Jarno, ''they were second (in the constructors' championship). It would be nice to do the same at Toyota, even though this is a big challenge.''







Jordan go all-Dutch
(GMM -- Dec.1) Jordan will field an all-Dutch driver line-up when it tests for the first time of the winter period at Jerez.

DTM star Christijan Albers and latter-season 'Friday' tester Robert Doornbos are scheduled to steer the Cosworth-powered 'interim' 2004 yellow car from Wednesday.

''In the last few weeks I've prepared myself both mentally as physically might such (a) challenge arise,'' said Doornbos.

F1 principal Eddie Jordan said the Silverstone-based team was 'really very impressed' with Doornbos' testing work in China, Japan and Brazil.








Green light for bumper test
(GMM -- Dec.1) Mark Webber just edged probable 2005 team-mate Antonio Pizzonia as BMW-Williams circulated alone at the Jerez (Spain) circuit on Tuesday.

The Australian's best lap was twenty one thousandths quicker than the man affectionately known as 'Jungle Boy.'

All rival Formula One teams, with the exception of back-of-the-grid Minardi, will get going at the 'de la Frontera' venue on Wednesday. They'll test there for two full weeks before the Christmas and New Year break.








Jordan 'not sold'
(GMM -- Dec.1) Struggling F1 team Jordan has not been sold.

It was reported that Eddie Jordan had 'all but' completed the transferal of the Silverstone-based outfit to GP2 team chief Christian Horner (Arden) and a Chinese consortium.

''Unless/until something happens,'' a Jordan spokeswoman told jordanfansonline.com, ''there is nothing to tell.''







Mexican to debut in 2006
(GMM -- Dec.1) A Mexican will join the Formula One grid in 2006, according to Henri Luzet.

He's the manager of Mario Dominguez, a Champ Car driver who he says is all but signed to steer a 'Midland' grand prix entry.

'Autosport' reported that both Luzet and Dominguez visited Midland's contracted car builder's (Dallara) Parma HQ on Tuesday.

''The whole of Mexico is behind Mario,'' Luzet said, intimating that a probable F1 race in Cancun had helped the choice. ''The ... whole nation (is) ready to invest (in F1).''

He hinted that talks 'with Sauber and Minardi' had also taken place, but waiting for Midland's debut is 'more pragmatic' given that Dominguez is contracted to a Champ Car team in 2005.








GP2 teams unveiled
(GMM -- Dec.1) Twelve teams will contest the inaugural 'GP2' support category for Formula One next year, it was announced.

Regular F3000 runners 'Arden', 'Coloni', 'BCN', 'Durango Corse' and 'Super Nova' were confirmed, while 'Adrian Campos Racing' joins from Spanish F3 and the Nissan World Series, while Nelson Piquet Jr will drive for 'Hitech Piquet Sports'.

'P1 Motorsport' come from British F3, and 'ART' - formerly known as ASM - is run by Jean Todt's son Nicolas. 'DAMS' comes from Renault V6, as does 'David Price Racing'.

Former Den Bla Avis chief Paul Jackson fronts the all-new 'iSport International' team.








A 'moving' tribute
(GMM -- Dec.1) Jenson Button and Takuma Sato carried a moving tribute throughout the 2004 season.

BAR deputy technical director Gary Savage's father Malcolm - a passionate motor racing fanatic - died earlier in the year.

To commemorate Dad's life, Savage donated his spot on the inside of the F1 car's rear wing end plate - dedicated to the name of every F1 team member - to Malcolm Savage, according to the North-West Evening Mail in England.

''One of (Malcolm Savage's) greatest joys was his son's involvement in a sport he adored,'' the newspaper article read.







Elsewhere in motorsport
(GMM -- Dec.1) 2004 Jordan driver Timo Glock will return to the cockpit on Wednesday -- in a 'Formula Superfund' open wheeler.

The series is conducting a three-day test at Estoril (Portugal).

Niki Lauda's son Mathias will also test.

Back in Italy (Vallelunga), meanwhile, another former Jordan driver - Ralph Firman - was last week at work in the 'A1 Grand Prix' single seater.

''It's a very quick car,'' said the Briton, ''and far more physically demanding than you might think.''

Finally, F1's support category (GP2) organizer Bruno Michel unveiled a 12-event calendar on Tuesday, with 'flyaway' races in Turkey and - for the season finale - Bahrain.








Piquet and F1
(GMM -- Dec.1) Triple world champion Nelson Piquet's son will take a crucial step closer to Formula One next year.

Teenager Nelson Piquet Jr, the new champion of British F3, will race for the amalgam-team Hitech Piquet Sports in F1 support-category GP2's inaugural season.

''The competition is very important,'' said the Brazilian, who tested a Williams in 2004, ''as it will be vital to perform well and get noticed.''








F1-turned-rally star
(GMM -- Dec.1) A former grand prix driver is causing a stir in 'World Rally.'

Stephane Sarrazin, the privateer from France, stunned rally insiders when - despite a background in open- wheelers - he often turned heads in a Subaru Impreza WRC.

Sarrazin, whose father was also an amateur rally driver, was ninth in Germany, sixth in Corsica and fourth in Catalunya.

''(Stephane) has been linked with the possibility of a full or part time drive with the Subaru team (in 2005),'' the organizer of wrc.com said.

Sarrazin, in Brazil, replaced an injured Luca Badoer at Minardi (1999), and crashed spectacularly. He tested in 2000 and 2002.









Mosley in London
(GMM -- Dec.1) Max Mosley, the president of motorsport's governing body, was 'guest of honor' at the RAC Club in London.

1979 world champion for Ferrari, Jody Scheckter, was also present.

The FIA-sanctioned 'TGP' (historic) championship was celebrating the end of the 2004 season.

''It's a great honor to have had both the president of the FIA and a great F1 world champion with us,'' said category coordinator Oli McCrudden.








'I want to win' - Fisi
(GMM -- Dec.1) Giancarlo Fisichella did not join Renault to play second fiddle to incumbent driver Fernando Alonso.

The experienced Italian outlined a winning target for the 2005 season.

''For a driver, it is important to be in a top team and to have a chance of winning,'' he said.

31-year-old Fisichella is willing to admit that having a winning car is likely to bring more pressure.

He responded: ''I don't mind -- when I've had pressure in the past, I've still been quick.''







Schu's 'no better' - JB
(GMM -- Dec.1) Michael Schumacher is no better than Kimi or Juan or Fernando -- or a notable 25-year-old Englishman.

That's the opinion of BAR's Jenson Button, who fits the latter driver-description like a glove.

''Michael's (seven) world championships were not all down to him,'' he told an interview with UK newspaper The Guardian.

Button said the Ferrari driver's success has a lot to do with a great car, and the ability to 'get a team behind you.'

The English ace admits he didn't make a good fist of that challenge in 2004, but - now that he's legally tied to BAR-Honda for 2005 - vowed to aim for a maiden win next year.

''Even though I wanted to leave (for Williams),'' JB told the newspaper, ''the atmosphere (at Brackley) is still very good.''








Brit axe may be 'best' - Ralf
(GMM -- Dec.1) Ralf Schumacher has declined to add a sentimental sound bite to speculation that Bernie Ecclestone may have axed the British grand prix.

He said he'd even sacrifice one of his German 'home' grands prix - near his Kerpen birthplace at the Nurburgring, for example - if that was 'the best thing' for Formula One.

''I like to drive Silverstone,'' said the 29-year-old Toyota recruit. ''It's a great circuit. But we're going to Turkey next year, and maybe that is better for F1.''

Ralf added: ''If (dropping the British GP) is good for F1, I'm happy.''

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