France cut F1 ticket price
(GMM -- Dec.17) Magny-Cours will try to build a bigger crowd at next
year's French grand prix by lowering the price of a ticket.
''The sport needs to generate more enthusiasm and attract new
spectators,'' racing federation president Jacques Regis commented in a
The event in agricultural Nevers is regarded as one of the more
threatened and least popular on the modern F1 calendar, and - like
Silverstone - had to fight for a 2005 spot.
Next year, a race day (July 3) ticket can be bought for about $85.
Trial 'won't affect Minardi'
(GMM -- Dec.17) Paul Stoddart's Formula One team will not be affected
by a court trial involving founder and current employee Gian Carlo
The Italian, and financial director Stefano Sangiorgi, are charged
with illegal financial activity relating to team sponsorship deals in
Stoddart took over in late-2000. ''It's improper to comment when a
court case is in progress,'' a Minardi spokesman at Faenza told us.
He added: ''But I can categorically confirm that whatever the outcome
of the trial, it will not have any effect on the operation of the ...
Montoya in Miami
(GMM -- Dec.17) Juan Pablo Montoya was the year's best Latin American
driver, an award event found.
The Colombian's official website said the new McLaren driver traveled
to Miami (Florida) for the ceremony evening.
''Fox Sports highlighted (Juan Pablo's) achievements,'' jpmontoya.com
said, which included a win at Sao Paulo and fifth in the drivers'
championship for BMW-powered Williams.
The website report continued: ''Juan Pablo will spend a few days more
BRDC take Silverstone
(GMM -- Dec.17) F1 circuit owner The British Racing Drivers' Club is
now Silverstone's operator and promoter.
The announcement came after former American leaseholder Interpublic's
agreement was formally terminated this week.
BRDC subsidiary Silverstone Circuits Limited, with Richard Phillips
appointed managing director in Andrew Waller's place, is now in charge
of the Northamptonshire venue, including organization of the rescued
Formula One event to take place in July next year.
''(This) gives us complete control over the future of the venue,''
said BRDC chief executive Alex Hooton, ''and ensures that the circuit
has a very bright future.''
Sauber snub not sinister
(GMM -- Dec.17) Peter Sauber's F1 team have denied any sinister
implication of the Swiss principals' absence from a recent meeting at
Some media outlets linked politically the Sauber snub with the
continuing cold-shoulder of customer engine supplier Ferrari,
particularly after Sauber signed the anti-Ferrari testing agreement
and then switched to (Ferrari rival) Michelin.
''Peter was simply unavailable due to an earlier commitment,'' a
spokesman explained to us. ''The invitation came on short notice.''
New BAR 'must win' - Willis
(GMM -- Dec.17) F1 team BAR 'must start winning' next season,
technical director Geoff Willis warned.
The Englishman admitted to British channel ITV that the Honda-powered
006 was perhaps not good enough to finish higher than second or third
in grands prix 'on merit' in 2004.
Willis said the new 007 is an 'evolution' - rather than an all-new
concept - of the current car.
He added: ''But it's quite a lot more sophisticated -- I've really
been impressed by what the design team have done.''
Skeptics say Brackley-based BAR, despite finishing second to Ferrari
in the '04 constructors', is not yet worthy of a 'big four-or-five'
label. ''I think we can design a better car than Williams or
McLaren,'' Geoff counters, ''and in many areas our (current) car is
superior to the Ferrari.''
Fisi's 'still motivated'
(GMM -- Dec.17) Renault is impressed with returning driver Giancarlo
After the pre-Christmas sessions at Barcelona and Jerez, chief test
engineer Christian Silk said the Italian - who last raced a mild-blue
car in 2001 - performed 'extremely well.'
He added: ''(Giancarlo) has worked very hard -- he is clearly enjoying
being back with us. Of course, it helped that we have worked with him
before and know him well.''
Renault's new R25 car will run for the first time in late January.
Jani has Red Bull contract
(GMM -- Dec.17) Teenager Neel Jani will no longer test for countryman
Peter Sauber's Formula One team.
The Swiss, backed by energy drink sponsor Red Bull throughout his
junior career, tested for Dietrich Mateschitz's formerly Ford-owned
team at Jerez (Spain) last week.
''(Neel) will not test for Sauber any more,'' said a spokesman at
Hinwil, who confirmed that the team's Red Bull sponsorship had also
He revealed: ''(Neel Jani) now has a Red Bull Racing contract.''
Webber is 'third best' in F1
(GMM -- Dec.17) Mark Webber is the third best grand prix driver in the
That's the finding of countryman and Williams' 1980 world champion
Alan Jones, who ranked the 28-year-old from Australia behind only
Ferrari's Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello.
''I can't see a single thing wrong with this guy,'' he said in a
personal ranking of 2004's top ten drivers for UK magazine Autosport.
''Who else, other than Michael Schumacher, can you say that about?''
58-year-old Jones said Webber 'carried' Jaguar through 'another shitty
Schumacher, meanwhile - Alan explained - has been the best of all ever
since Ayrton Senna died, and reckons Mark, Kimi Raikkonen or Juan
Pablo Montoya could only 'give him trouble' if Ferrari drop their
JV out to restore 'pride'
(GMM -- Dec.17) Former F1 champion Jacques Villeneuve is feeling
something he hasn't felt for a while -- he wants to go racing.
The French-Canadian, ousted after a five-year stint at BAR at the end
of 2003, returned to the grid with Renault in the latter part of this
In 2005, though, he's a full-timer again -- with Sauber.
''I'm finding it easier,'' he admitted to the Australasian edition of
Motorsport News magazine last week. ''Sometimes at BAR I had to say to
myself 'ok, be professional, do your job'. Now I'm waking up and
immediately I just want to be involved.''
The irony, though, is that - despite beating Michael Schumacher to the
drivers' title in 1997, Villeneuve is having to prove himself all over
again. ''No, I don't think so,'' JV countered.
He added: ''I'm doing this because I want to, not because I have to
prove something. I do have pride, all humans do -- and that makes me
want to prove something. But it's not the reason.''
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