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F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
December 2, 2004


Jordan name tech director
(GMM -- Dec.2) Renault's former chief designer Mark Smith started work as 'technical director' at Jordan.

He worked there for a decade until 2001, and even helped pen Eddie Jordan's first ever grand prix car.

''I am so glad that Mark is back,'' said Irish entrepreneur Jordan, who heralded Smith as a 'major part' of the team's most successful stint in the late-90's.

Smith said returning to Silverstone HQ was all about also returning the yellow cars to the front of the grid, but also 'something a little special for me.

''This will not be easy or instant,'' he remarked, ''but it is a challenge that I relish.''








FIA publish 'entry list'
(GMM -- Dec.2) F1's governing FIA published the 2005 team and driver 'entry list' on Wednesday.

World champion Michael Schumacher takes the coveted 'number one' spot, while BAR's '04 impresser Jenson Button will spend next season at the wheel of car three.

The only real surprise on the list of ten teams was the appearance of defunct 'Jaguar Cosworth', but a statement explained that a change of name had been 'applied for' by new owner Red Bull.

Juan Pablo Montoya slots in at McLaren as 'number 10' to Kimi Raikkonen's car 9. Jordan entered as 'Jordan Toyota' and both Jordan and Minardi have until March 3 to name drivers.

''Names of drivers are subject to ... the agreement of the contract recognition board,'' the FIA statement read.








Teen to test Red Bull
(GMM -- Dec.2) Swiss teenager Neel Jani will test for Formula One team 'Red Bull' on Friday.

The energy drink-owned outfit, sold as 'Jaguar Racing' by Ford last month, is - like most other grand prix entrants - at the Jerez circuit this week for a bumper F1 test.

Red Bull's press office said Jani would run 'as part of the team's ongoing driver evaluation program.'

Neel, a 'junior' Red Bull driver, was part-time test driver for Swiss team Sauber in 2003 and 2004.

Likely 2005 race line-up Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi will also test in southern Spain, with the latter 'in the R5C' interim car.

''(However) the drivers may swap chassis,'' said a spokesman.







'Quick Nick' not quick
(GMM -- Dec.2) The start of Nick Heidfeld's 'shootout' run at Jerez could have gone better for the German hopeful.

The 2004 Jordan driver, who's vying for the spare test or racing berth at Williams next year, took the wheel of an FW26 next to Australian ace Mark Webber.

But the weather did not play ball.

Heidfeld managed a century of laps in Spain, but his best was good for just tenth (out of 15 runners) and getting up for three seconds slower than Webber.

Technical director Sam Michael, however, said the man known often as 'Quick Nick' did a 'great job.'

On Thursday, he'll drive against Antonio Pizzonia, the Brazilian deemed most likely to graduate to the racing berth in 2005.

''It's ok,'' soft spoken Heidfeld told a group of reporters at the end of the day. ''The time is not good because I had mostly a wet track today. I have to say the car is nice to drive -- very predictable.''









Massa reigns in Spain
(GMM -- Dec.2) On Wednesday, seven F1 teams and a field of fifteen signaled a proper start to the bumper winter test at Spanish venue Jerez de la Frontera.

Felipe Massa, on a mostly damp track, ended the day quickest of all for Michelin-shod Sauber.

''The mixed weather was not very helpful today,'' said race engineer Giampaolo Dall'Ara. ''Tomorrow Jacques (Villeneuve) will further acclimatize to the team and the car.''

Toyota, Williams, BAR, Ferrari, Red Bull and Jordan also circulated.

BAR tested young F3 guns Alan van der Merwe and Adam Carroll, and the former was quickest -- by a massive five seconds.

Dutch duo Christijan Albers and Robert Doornbos, meanwhile, got Jordan's winter program running in 'interim' Cosworth-powered cars.







Fiorano still foggy
(GMM -- Dec.2) Fiorano remained foggy, but Andrea Bertolini got Ferrari's test at the private circuit back on track.

On Monday, Luca Badoer had to call it quits in Italy when thick fog reduced visibility to near-zero.

Bertolini, on Wednesday, braved the still damp and murky venue near Maranello HQ and assessed new 'mechanical' car pieces, Ferrari press officer Luca Colajanni reported.








FIA's Blash in UK
(GMM -- Dec.2) The governing FIA's 'chief observer' at grands prix, Herbie Blash, was in Lingfield, England, on Wednesday.

He was helping a new firm called 'Activa Composites' to launch their Formula One spare part business.

Herbie Blash was a lead mechanic at Lotus in Graham Hill's day, but is now arbiter of such things as F1 driver disqualification.

Activa MD Arnie Webb said the market for F1 parts was in the region of US$48m.








Dupasquier, 67, to retire
(GMM -- Dec.2) 2005 will be Pierre Dupasquier's last full season as competition director at F1 tire supplier Michelin.

The 67-year-old Frenchman was quoted as saying chiefs at Clermont-Ferrand 'anticipate' his retirement at some point during 2006.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Michelin's F1 project manager Pascal Vasselon had been shipped off to America to head up a '4x4' recreational vehicle tire program.







Stewart drives forklift
(GMM -- Dec.2) Triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart demonstrated his driving talent on Wednesday -- at the wheel of a forklift.

The Scot delivered a nearly $2m palette of ten-pound (UK) notes near Edinburgh as a Christmas gift from the 'Royal Bank of Scotland' to ten UK charities.

Stewart, 65, is an ambassador for the Bank and will continue to represent it in Formula One next year if an expected sponsorship deal with BMW-Williams is confirmed.

''He was the ideal man for the job,'' said a Royal Bank spokesperson. ''His driving skills should come in handy too.''








Indy star discards F1 'dream'
(GMM -- Dec.2) Top Brazilian racing driver Helio Castroneves can admit he'll never race at the pinnacle of motor sport.

The 29-year-old, who - like Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello - was born in Sao Paulo, won the famed Indianapolis 500 twice and still races in the US' IRL.

''Formula One matters way more here,'' he told an interview with Brazilian TV, ''and also in Europe. I just can't leave everything I achieved in the US behind just to chase a childhood dream.''

Helio tested Toyota's F1 car in 2002.








Bernie pal 'in court'
(GMM -- Dec.2) A close associate of Formula One 'supremo' Bernie Ecclestone was charged with possessing a penknife and baton in his briefcase.

50-year-old Nicky Samengo-Turner, of a banking boutique specializing in motor industries, twice pleaded 'not guilty' at Bow Street Magistrates' Court (London).

He fumed at the Crown Prosecution and the police.

''They're spending money on this?!'' he marveled. ''There was no criminal danger to anyone.''

Samengo-Turner was remanded on unconditional bail until a hearing in January.








Stoddart slams corporate Oz
(GMM -- Dec.2) Paul Stoddart has lashed out at corporate Australia for failing to help young countrymen make it in Formula One.

The Melbourne-born owner of Minardi took a punt on Mark Webber in 2002, but indicated he would not be doing the same for hopeful trio Ryan Briscoe, Will Power and Will Davison.

''I can give them a test,'' said the 49-year-old, who - true to his word - ran the two Wills at Misano last week, but added: ''Sadly, I can't afford to run them without corporate backing.

''When Mark is world champion,'' Paul continued, ''there will be an awful lot of companies in Australia who wish like hell that they'd gotten involved.''








Honda claim 'huge' - JB
(GMM -- Dec.2) Jenson Button has claimed he only tried to quit BAR because Honda's long-term commitment was in doubt.

Now, the Englishman - who had a planned switch to Williams canned by the contract recognition board - calls Honda's 45 per cent equity claim 'huge.

''It's the best thing for BAR,'' he told UK newspaper The Guardian. ''It's very exciting.''

Button may, also, be excited that the Honda buy-out accompanied the early end to F1 principal David Richards' tenure.

''I think he's been a good team principal,'' the 25-year-old replied when asked if he's happy to see the tension-fuelled partnership at an end.

JB said he 'didn't know' Honda planned to buy a slab of BAR when he agreed the Williams swap.







China to BE - 'how much?'
(GMM -- Dec.2) How badly did China want to woo Bernie Ecclestone's grand prix circus? Answer -- 'very.'

That's the finding of 'Business F1' magazine, which quoted a senior Shanghai-based executive.

''(China) approached Ecclestone,' he told the magazine, ''and asked how much (a grand prix) would cost. Ecclestone quoted his opening offer (about $30m) and the ... government accepted.''

China - the most populous country in the world - is undoubtedly a vital market for cash-hungry F1, but even Williams' marketing director can admit that Shanghai is not without problems.

Jim Wright spent grand prix day in September in a Shanghai hospital bed after a road smash.

''(The) standard of driving ... is totally unacceptable,'' he told Reuters.








Want Schu to make it 8?
(GMM -- Dec.2) Hands up if you want seven time F1 drivers' champion Michael Schumacher to make it eight in 2005 ...

With two hands dragging on the pavement is Oliver Peagam, the executive director of popular British magazine 'F1 Racing.'

He told German radio 'DW': ''We very much hope someone can (challenge Michael). He's going for an eighth title, which is obviously beyond record.''








Brits test McLaren
(GMM -- Dec.2) Brit duo Lewis Hamilton and Alex Lloyd tested a MP4-19 McLaren on Wednesday.

The pair, getting their prize for winning the 'McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year' award, lapped twenty times each around Silverstone's 'national' layout.

''My heart was beating like a trip hammer even before I left the garage,'' Hamilton beamed.

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