F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
December 20, 2004
F1 future is near - Ferrari
(GMM -- Dec.20) F1's future will be decided in 2005, Ferrari and Fiat
president Luca di Montezemolo told a German newspaper.
''From 2008,'' the Italian also said in Welt am Sonntag, ''there will
only be one (F1-like) world championship.''
Together with BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Renault, 'GPWC' is threatening to
leave Bernie Ecclestone's set-up for one that shares revenue more
Montezemolo said even the 74-year-old supremo's 'ownership' of the
actual 'Formula One' moniker will not dampen their desire to break
away, because after 2007 F1's value may 'fall to zero.'
''I don't care what (the championship is) called,'' he claimed.
Kiesa report inaccurate
(GMM -- Dec.20) The conclusion of a report that Nicolas Kiesa is
'unlikely' to return to Minardi next year was based on inaccurate
The young Dane, who raced in Formula One at the end of 2003, had -
after a year on the bench - been linked again with Paul Stoddart's
A team spokesman said last week that the Australian entrepreneur would
probably make a selection for 2005 'from among the list of drivers
present at (the recent) Misano (test).'
But the report's editorial statement - 'Kiesa did not test a (Formula
One car) in Italy' - was simply not true.
On November 24, and again on the twenty-sixth, 25-year-old 'Nic' sat
at the wheel of a Faenza-prepared 'F1x2' two-seater machine.
''The (driver) situation remains the same as it was at the time of the
recent test,'' said a Minardi spokesman. ''The 2005 Minardi driver
line-up has not been decided.''
Date shifted for F1
(GMM -- Dec.20) The date of the popular 'Goodwood Festival of Speed'
in England will be shifted to accommodate the recently rescued British
Festival organizers said the GFoS has been moved forward a fortnight
(June 24 - 26) to avoid a clash with the event at historic
Elsewhere, it is reported that the MotoGP round at Sachsenring
(Germany) next year may be delayed a week to avert a similar clash
with the German (F1) grand prix at Hockenheim.
Schu's 'no better' than rest
(GMM -- Dec.20) Michael Schumacher is no better than Kimi Raikkonen or
Juan Pablo Montoya.
That's the claim of English F1 racer Jenson Button, who said the seven
time world champion from Germany is not 'on a different level.
''If (Kimi and Juan) were in the same situation Michael is in they'd
be winning straight away. Michael is not unbeatable,'' 25-year-old
Button told UK tabloid The Sun.
In the newspaper report, BAR-driving JB claims the dominance of
Ferrari allows Schumacher, 36 in January, to 'relax.
''In a lot of races,'' he added, ''(Ferrari) could have lapped the
whole field. It seems that if you have a Ferrari behind you he's going
to pass you.''
The only consolation, Button hinted, is that Schumacher is prone to a
mistake here and there.
DC could earn $40m in 2005
(GMM -- Dec.20) David Coulthard will earn a staggering $40 million at
Red Bull next year -- if he wins every grand prix on the 19-long F1
It's reported that the Scottish veteran, his career rescued by a
one-year contract, is on a $4m retainer with a promised $183,000
A single win, then, would be worth nearly $2m.
33-year-old Coulthard hopes his move from McLaren to the former Jaguar
incarnation allows him to perform a 'Jenson-like' career U-turn.
''He went to BAR,'' DC told UK tabloid The Mirror, ''and was suddenly
doing a good job. To perform you have got to be in the right
environment -- if the psychological side wasn't important then team
support systems wouldn't matter.''
Stewart and Ford split
(GMM -- Dec.20) Carmaker Ford and Sir Jackie Stewart, after a
four-decade collaboration, are about to split.
The relationship started in 1964, when Stewart accelerated a Ford
powerplant in grands prix, before accompanying him to team ownership,
a role at Jaguar, to the present ambassadorial day.
Ford said it and the 65-year-old Scot would not renew the deal for
''It's the right time for me and Ford to start a new chapter with new
challenges,'' the triple world champion commented, claiming that the
'intensive' time commitment is becoming 'difficult to manage.'
Company founder Henry Ford's great grandson, Edsel B. Ford, paid
tribute to Jackie's 'tremendous impact' to the fabled carmaker. ''He
has been much more than a consultant,'' he said.
Ralf 'like a woman' driver
(GMM -- Dec.20) He may be one of the highest paid drivers in Formula
One, but 29-year-old Ralf Schumacher has trouble in the supermarket
That's not the verdict of a disgruntled shopper on the receiving end
of a Ralf-dent -- it's what wife Cora told a German TV show.
''There have been a number of little accidents,'' she said, according
to The Sun newspaper (UK), ''that you might expect from a woman
In Schu Jr's latest scrape, Ralf - still adjusting from the change
from a BMW to Toyota road car - reversed into a park and waited for
the 'beep' of the (absent) parking sensor.
Cora Schumacher said: ''But we heard a different noise.''
Barcelona 'will be ready'
(GMM -- Dec.20) A brand new asphalt surface at Formula One venue
Circuit de Catalunya will be ready for the first winter test of the
The work in Spain began in November, and should be finished by January
15 -- just a week prior to the resumption of pre-season action.
It's the first time in more than a decade that the venue in Barcelona
has had a new surface. A couple of corners will also be modified, it
was reported in November, and the oldest grandstand 'G' will be
Schu voted top German
(GMM -- Dec.20) Michael Schumacher is - for the first time since 1995
- Germany's 'Sportsman of the Year.'
The Ferrari driver, who captured title number seven in Formula One
this year, beat World Cup skier Rene Sommerfeldt and the Tour de
France's Andreas Kloeden to the media-voted prize by a healthy margin.
Schumacher did not collect the award personally as he is on holiday in
Norway, according to a media report.
42-year-old Olympic rower Birgit Fischer captured the female prize.
Renault can win '05 title
(GMM -- Dec.20) Renault will contend for reigning champion Ferrari's
F1 crown in 2005, according to team principal Flavio Briatore.
The Italian told La Gazzetta dello Sport (Italy) newspaper that the
Enstone-based outfit is right on schedule with a three-year plan.
''(In 2004) our goal was to finish in the top three,'' he said from
his winter retreat in Kenya.
Briatore continued: ''We'll be competitive in every race (next
He also explained that Fernando Alonso's troubles in 2004 were due to
the difficult-to-drive R24 car, rather than the Spanish protégé.
Webber 'coup' - magazine
(GMM -- Dec.20) Mark Webber will write a post-grand prix column for
the authoritative Autosport (UK) magazine next year.
The weekly publication described signing Williams' new Australian
charger as a 'major coup.'
28-year-old Webber promised to ''tell it like it is. There is not much
point in doing otherwise,'' the outspoken charger added.
Mark, born in Queanbeyan (New South Wales) and a former Jaguar and
Minardi driver, wrote a column for the monthly 'F1 Racing' magazine in
Enzo museum to 'resemble F1'
(GMM -- Dec.20) Enzo Ferrari's birthplace will be modified to look
like a Formula One car, it is reported.
We revealed last week that the house in Modena (Italy) would become a
museum and a committee - chaired by Luca di Montezemolo - would select
a project to best signify the founder's life.
One report said a new ceiling at via Paulo Ferrari, designed by UK
firm Future System, would be made of aluminum with symmetrical slots
to resemble F1 'racing car air vents.'
Inside, V10 engines, grand prix cars and other equipment of the
Scuderia will fill the museum.
Bernie will stay - 'F1' bank
(GMM -- Dec.20) Despite losing majority control of Formula One's
commercial rights, 74-year-old Bernie Ecclestone will not be ushered
out of the grand prix door.
Gerhard Gribkowsky, the new chief of the SLEC board, said a trio of
F1-owning banks would be 'ill-advised' to exclude the so-called 'F1
supremo' from the future set-up of Formula One.
''In the course of three decades (Bernie) has built up close ties with
the industry,'' Gribkowsky - also chairman of Bayerische Landesbank -
told German Der Spiegel magazine.
He added: ''You have got to recognize his lifetime achievement.''
Bernie's future role, though, will have limits, according to the SLEC
chief. Gribkowsky said the banks will 'no longer (be) pushed' into
taking the most risk but having 'no say' in the running of the sport.
Test limit 'stupid' - LdM
(GMM -- Dec.20) World champion constructor Ferrari will never agree to
further limiting the level of track testing.
Also president of Ferrari owner Fiat, Luca di Montezemolo said the
desire to curb Ferrari's advantage by banning 'training' is akin to
stopping soccer practice and 'manipulation.'
The Italian told La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper: ''If I want my
team to test for five days a week that is my problem. It's my money --
if I throw it out of the window, that's my decision.''
Montezemolo defended the tough stance by insisting there is a
difference between cutting costs - 'a good idea' - and affecting the
'internal decisions' of individual competitors.
He therefore supports the new one-engine-per-two-weekend V10 rule, and
the new-for-2006 2.4 liter V8 formula. ''It's a technical challenge
... and at the same time it (will) cost less,'' said LdM.
Red Bull will 'surprise' - DC
(GMM -- Dec.20) New F1 team Red Bull will be 'competitive' in 2005,
sole confirmed driver David Coulthard insisted.
The Scot, whose long career was salvaged - for one year, at least - by
the drink brand after a lackluster 2003 and 2004 for McLaren,
predicted that observers will be 'surprised' following the upcoming
launch and debut of a silver-and-blue RB1.
''With the developments I know the team is planning,'' the 33-year-old
said, ''things are looking good for 2005.''
Unlike other independent teams like Jordan and Minardi, Coulthard said
Red Bull also plan a big winter test program. But he declined to make
a round of traditional pre-season 'silly predictions.'
Fisi's 'last chance' - boss
(GMM -- Dec.20) Giancarlo Fisichella left Renault (nee Benetton) in
2001 after a 'purely' financial disagreement.
That's the claim of team principal Flavio Briatore, who also used to
manage the countryman racer who has returned to Enstone following a
three-year sabbatical at Jordan and Sauber.
54-year-old Briatore confessed that the 're-hiring' of a former team
racer does not 'seem logical.'
He also warned in La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper: ''This will
finally be (Giancarlo's) big break -- his last opportunity at
F1 beaten to Russia
(GMM -- Dec.20) Germany's premier touring car (DTM) category has
beaten Formula One to Russia.
DTM organizer ITR announced that a street event in Moscow will be held
in June next year.
''To invite DTM to Moscow (was) a great decision for the city and
Russian sport,'' said Russia's sport minister Vyacheslav Fetisov.
Other non-German races on the 11-event 2005 calendar include Spa
(Belgium), Zandvoort (Holland), Avignon (France) and Istanbul
Former twice F1 world champion Mika Hakkinen, and ex-grand prix star
Allan McNish, will drive in DTM next year.
Meanwhile, an historic race for pre-1960 grand prix cars will be held
next July on the fabled Porto (Portugal) circuit. Porto last hosted
Formula One in 1960.
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