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
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
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
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
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
''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
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
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
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
''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
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
''(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
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
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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