F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
December 29, 2004
'F1 squirrel 'wreaked havoc'
(GMM -- Dec.29) A little squirrel 'wreaked havoc' at Ferrari's
Maranello HQ, according to a media report.
The Financial Times' website said red-jacketed staff discovered the
animal living in a banana tree.
Ferrari's squirrel 'ran rings' around employees for a month before
being caught. ''Perhaps (the squirrel) could teach the other F1 teams
something,'' the tongue-in-cheek editorial speculated.
Sepang appoint Saatchi
(GMM -- Dec.29) The Malaysian grand prix has appointed one of the
world's top advertising agencies to promote the F1 race near
UK-founded 'M&C Saatchi' edged out all competitors to the Sepang
account, it announced in a statement.
''We had barely a month to come up with a creative pitch that
encapsulated the heart and soul of (F1),'' managing director Lara
M&C conducted surveys and found that there are three distinct groups
at grands prix or tuned-in to the races -- fanatics, fence-sitters and
those who prefer to watch from an arm chair.
Among M&C's other clients are the London 2012 Olympic bid, Foster's,
Reuters and UK newspaper The Mirror.
Pantano in Minardi frame
(GMM -- Dec.29) The race to become Christijan Albers' 2005 teammate at
F1's smallest outfit is heating up.
With Renault tester Franck Montagny staking a claim, we can now reveal
that dumped Jordan driver Giorgio Pantano is also in the running to
steer a Cosworth-powered black car.
A financial dispute meant the 25-year-old left Eddie Jordan's
Silverstone-based team after the 2004 Italian grand prix.
''I think I still have something to show,'' said the Italian, ''and I
never had the chance to show it at Jordan.'
Pantano noted that Minardi had successfully 'boosted' the thriving F1
careers of men like Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber. ''It's something
I want to seek,'' he added.
GP also confessed to 'conversations' with Champ Car teams but said
nothing 'solid' had been offered.
Montagny drive secure
(GMM -- Dec.29) Franck Montagny has denied that a possible drive at
Minardi had marked an end to his official Renault test job.
We reported on Tuesday that the Frenchman had been 'in contact' with
Paul Stoddart's back-of-the-grid squad.
But 26-year-old Montagny, based in Oxford (England) also insisted that
he is scheduled to resume duties for Flavio Briatore-led Renault in
''Regardless of what anyone says about that,'' Franck added, ''that is
good -- no, excuse me, it's very, very good!''
McLaren warn Chinese hopeful
(GMM -- Dec.29) Chinese hopeful Cheng Congfu has one season to prove
he can make the grade in F1.
The 20-year-old became the first Chinese natural to try a grand prix
challenger in the summer, but Woking-based team McLaren warned that,
for Congfu, next season is crucial.
''He wants to continue racing in the (British Formula) Renault
series,'' said McLaren's business development director Stuart Seymour,
according to the Xinhua agency, ''but he needs to be consistently
successful (in 2005).''
McLaren will fund Cheng's '05 campaign, but have already spent a 'big
sum of money' on the youngster, Xinhua also reported.
'I can win title' - Button
(GMM -- Dec.29) BAR may be his second choice, but British F1 driver
Jenson Button reckons he could challenge Michael Schumacher for the
2005 world championship.
''Some people might say I'm too confident,'' he admitted in Autosport
Despite wanting to switch to Frank Williams' BMW-powered team for
2005, 25-year-old JB still thinks Brackley-based BAR has the ability
to prepare him a winning car next year.
Button also denies that Dave Richards' departure will necessarily have
an adverse effect on the team. ''(David) was helpful,'' Jenson
admitted, ''but so were a lot of other people -- especially the
He's keen, too, to sketch his own influence on BAR progress. ''I think
I'm (driving) smoother than I was,'' said Button, ''because I've had
so much confidence in the car.'
Webber wants 'immediate' win
(GMM -- Dec.29) Mark Webber does not intend to perform a gentle
transition from Formula One's midfield in 2005.
Williams' newly-signed Australian, who in a three-year career never
stepped onto a post-grand prix podium for Minardi and Jaguar, said he
intends to win 'immediately' when the new season dawns in Melbourne
28-year-old Webber's best finish in F1 is a fifth. ''Straight away I
want to be up the front,'' he said when asked about 2005. ''That's
what we're striving for, and I assume the championship is even harder
Mark said he used to root for Frank Williams' Grove-based squad when
staying up late to watch grands prix on TV as a youngster. ''I hope I
can add another chapter to (Frank and Patrick Head's) successes in the
Webber added: ''I love the no-nonsense manner they go about
Lego Ferrari F1 on sale
(GMM -- Dec.29) The first products of Ferrari's new three-year
licensing agreement with Lego are on the toy-shop shelf.
A 22-block piece depicting a post-grand prix podium ceremony features
models of Michael Schumacher and teammate Rubens Barrichello, complete
with liveried helmet and name lapel.
Also available is a 1:24 (19 centimetre) scale F2004 single seater,
powered 'by a strong pull back motor,' according to the Lego
catalogue, with authentic sponsor logos.
Finally, Ferrari fans can get close to the pit action with the F1
garage set. Six mechanics depict refuelling and tyre changing, and the
kit can also be modified to simulate the start grid.
Motor racing legend dies
(GMM -- Dec.29) An Australian-born motor racing legend has died, aged
David McKay won the 1960 Australian touring car title, and, later in
the decade, entered open wheeler cars in the country for the likes of
F1 world champions Graham Hill and Sir Jackie Stewart, and Chris Amon.
According to a report of the Australian Associated Press (AAP), McKay
- who died of cancer - was also 'well connected with (Ferrari founder)
... Enzo Ferrari.'
He later became a journalist, editing the motoring edition for
Sydney's Daily Telegraph newspaper and 'Motor' magazine.
Switzerland-based McKay returned home to Sydney and died on December
Byrne 'safe' - spokesman
(GMM -- Dec.29) A Ferrari spokesman confirmed that Formula One car
designer Rory Byrne is 'safe' following the devastating tsunami that
killed more than 68,000 people in south Asia.
The South African-born engineer, with a scuba diving school on the
Thai coast, emerged from the near unprecedented Boxing Day disaster
with his family and property intact, Maranello's PR person reported.
The spokesman also said: ''We kept in contact with him throughout the
Meanwhile, Ferrari principal Jean Todt, holidaying in Malaysia with
movie star girlfriend Michelle Yeoh, also escaped the deadly tidal
waves caused by the huge underwater earthquake, it is reported.
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