F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
December 8, 2004

DC at Jerez
(GMM -- Dec.8) David Coulthard's motor home driver has seemingly settled the 'will he, won't he test at Jerez?' saga.

The veteran Scot's all-blue Mercedes-Benz motor home trundled through the gates of the southern Spanish venue on Tuesday night, intensifying speculation DC will try a 'Red Bull' car.

33-year-old Coulthard drove the past nine Formula One seasons for McLaren.

Red Bull's spokesperson at Milton-Keynes dismissed the 'Will DC test' question, instead confirming that Christian Klien, Tonio Liuzzi and Neel Jani are all scheduled to run at Jerez.

Montoya on move
(GMM -- Dec.8) A grey-clad Juan Pablo Montoya topped the time sheet as Formula One testing resumed in Spain on Tuesday.

The Colombian, in a McLaren, edged Toyota's Jarno Trulli - who tried a developmental all-black carbon fiber racing helmet for size - at a sunnier-than-last-week Jerez de la Frontera.

Ferrari's 2005 test line-up of Luca Badoer and Marc Gene were also in action, as were Pedro de la Rosa (McLaren) and Ralf Schumacher (Toyota), who's still inside a pair of plain white overalls.

Williams, Red Bull, Renault and BAR will join the action on Wednesday.

JB saga 'handled badly'
(GMM -- Dec.8) Jenson Button's bungled move from BAR to Williams was handled 'very badly,' F1 driver Mark Webber said.

The Australian, signed-and-sealed to Sir Frank Williams' Oxfordshire outfit for 2005 and beyond, had hoped to line up alongside the rated English star.

''Yes,'' he admitted, ''I am a bit disappointed. It would have been good to have had someone of his caliber in the other car.''

The comment might be seen as a continuing dig at likely new team-mate Antonio Pizzonia, whom he destroyed at Jaguar Racing a couple of years ago.

Last week, 28-year-old Webber was verbally reprimanded by Grove honchos Sam Michael and Patrick Head for calling the little Brazilian a 'liar' and a 'loser' in a newspaper interview.

A1-Ring revamp called off
(GMM -- Dec.8) Red Bull have abandoned plans to redevelop the former Austrian grand prix venue in the Styrian mountain region, a report said.

The energy drink's billionaire mogul, Dietrich Mateschitz, had promised nearly a billion dollars to improve the A1-Ring.

''The project is finished for us,'' F1's newest team owner told daily newspaper Kleine Zeitung.

A local citizens' group argued that the project would have contradicted noise and air pollution laws, and - on Monday - a government environmental panel agreed.

Kleine Zeitung said Mateschitz could appeal, but would not. ''We were asked to do (it) but it has been rejected,'' said the Austrian magnate. ''We do not need a race track where no cars can race.''

Schu created 'mayhem'
(GMM -- Dec.8) Ferrari is still best at creating mayhem and rampant enthusiasm, not boredom.

That's the claim of Jean Todt, the Napoleon-like Frenchman at the helm of the world championship-winning F1 marque.

''We did (created mayhem) here,'' Todt joked, referring to the parade led by Michael Schumacher's F2004 Ferrari down Paris' Champs Elysees at the weekend.

Organizers didn't close the road to traffic, instead opting for police motorbikes which tried to clear a path for the seven time title winner.

Todt and FIA president Max Mosley, in an Enzo, followed, but Schumacher - for fear of an embarrassing and smoky engine failure due to rising heat - had to stop the V10 after grinding almost to a standstill in the French fans' frenzy.

The German parked it at Place de la Concorde and hopped into Rene Arnoux' road Ferrari.

''What we've seen,'' Todt said afterwards, ''is definite refusal of the claim that people are bored with Ferrari!''

No 'Kimi v. JPM' at Jerez
(GMM -- Dec.8) Formula One's 'iceman' will return to the wheel of his McLaren on Thursday.

But, if you've been itching to see Kimi Raikkonen head-to-head with new team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya, the wait is set to go on -- the 25-year-old will only get going at the end of JPM's current two-day Jerez stint.

Kimi's Spanish run is his first track outing since finishing second to Montoya in the 2004-ending Brazilian grand prix.

He will test on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, following Colombian-born Montoya's Tuesday-Wednesday session.

'Who'll pick up the bill?'
(GMM -- Dec.8) Every Formula One team could pick up the hefty bill of the recent 'BAR-versus-Williams' scuffle for English driver Jenson Button.

It is estimated that the legal costs at the FIA-sponsored contract recognition board were in the region of $1 million.

McLaren's Ron Dennis baulked at the proposal that the cost should be paid out of a bespoke pot of cash contributed to by every grand prix outfit.

''I think not,'' he told F1 Racing magazine. ''I think you will find that the costs have to be borne only by the teams that were party to the hearing.''

Nick to get dry Jerez
(GMM -- Dec.8) After recent and rare December rain at Jerez de la Frontera, weather forecasters believe Formula One teams will this week enjoy a dry track in southern Spain.

It'll be the last winter action of 2004.

Sunny although often cloudy conditions, with temperatures in the mid-to-high teens (degrees-C), will predominate the sky at Jerez at least until Monday, when rain may return.

One driver no doubt pleased with the surely-overcast-but-dry report will be Germany's Nick Heidfeld, who's been given another shot to impress Williams chiefs at the circuit from Wednesday.

The 27-year-old didn't get to demonstrate his skill on a single dry lap last week.

Priaulx to run in January
(GMM -- Dec.8) European Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx's newly-announced test drive for Williams may take place as early as January at Valencia, it is reported.

The run will be a half-day session and - although it's a BMW gift for winning the title and earning a full works drive in 2005 - the 30-year-old Briton promised to take it 'seriously.

''(BMW) have told me they are going to take it seriously,'' Priaulx told autosport.com, ''and I want to do the same.''

Williams deal 'delayed'
(GMM -- Dec.8) An announcement regarding Williams' new Royal Bank of Scotland sponsorship has been delayed, we can reveal.

The $13m-per-year deal was actually agreed in October, but Royal Bank chiefs waited on a final signature while the future of the British grand prix hung in the balance.

In December, just prior to the 2005 calendar's ratification by the FIA World Council, RBS' rubber-stamping of the F1 deal was still pending.

It is speculated that the financial terms of the agreement could be altered if Bernie Ecclestone and Silverstone do not meet a 2005 compromise, and may already have taken a blow after English driver Jenson Button's intended move to Grove hit the dirt.

Honda's 'lifetime' award
(GMM -- Dec.8) Japanese F1 carmaker Honda won a 'lifetime achievement' award in central London at the weekend.

At Grosvenor House Hotel, for the annual 'Autosport Awards', Honda took home the 'John Bolster Award' after - with BAR - coming second in the constructors' title and also for winning the US-based Indy Racing League.

''Racing is at the very core of Honda,'' said HRD president Shoichi Tanaka, who took the trophy from IRL champion Tony Kanaan.

He added: ''We love racing.''

Button won't get 'caught up'
(GMM -- Dec.8) When Jenson Button wins a grand prix, he'll celebrate wildly -- and then move on.

''The world championship is the aim,'' the English driver said this week.

On Sunday, he took home the coveted international racing driver of the year prize from London's annual Autosport Awards.

Button agreed that a maiden win is going to be 'very emotional.

''But I won't get too caught up,'' he promised. ''It's most people's dream to win a race. If it happened in Melbourne (next March) it would be a special moment for everyone in the team.''

GPWC can't match $500m carrot
(GMM -- Dec.8) In just one day, F1 'supremo' Bernie Ecclestone might have loosened an iron grip on Formula One but discretely won the allegiance of the ten competing teams.

The F1 banks' court ruling went against him, but 74-year-old Ecclestone called 'check mate' in the chess-like race to defeat a group of rogue F1 carmakers.

Although 'GPWC' promises more revenue, Bernie dangled a more tangible $500m carrot in front of the teams' collective nose on Tuesday -- and the GPWC can't match it, according to cash-strapped Minardi owner and principal Paul Stoddart.

''And that's just (Bernie's) starting bid,'' the Australian noted.

What's more, Ecclestone is purportedly offering to start the new flow of cash immediately. ''It's a lot of cash,'' he said, ''and I think the teams will want to accept it.''

Ferrari ally absent
(GMM -- Dec.8) Both of Formula One's Ferrari-powered teams failed to show up at the principals' recent summit at London airport.

Private team Sauber appeared to step politically away from Ferrari in recent days -- first, by signing the anti-Ferrari 'Cost Saving Initiative' and then abandoning the scarlet team's near-exclusive tire supplier (Bridgestone).

At the meeting, the rest (eight) of the bosses agreed to contest an unprecedented nineteen grands prix in 2005, two above the maximum allowed in the Concorde Agreement.

Meanwhile, Bernie Ecclestone appeared to suggest that a British grand prix (the nineteenth race) will happen. ''Bernie's word,'' he smiled, albeit warning that Silverstone's BRDC only have until Thursday to sign a new promoters' contract.

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