F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
December 30, 2004

''F1 drivers take cocaine'
(GMM -- Dec.30) The use of cocaine is widespread among Formula One drivers, a former Ferrari team doctor has claimed.

Although random FIA tests have never returned a positive result, Benigno Bartoletti said in Rome that 'as many as one third' of the current field take the drug as a stimulant prior to grands prix.

''There is a lot of cocaine (in Formula One),' the 68-year-old told Italy's 'Quattroruote' motoring magazine.

The Italian said that, for about 90 minutes, cocaine's effect boosts reaction time and a driver's feeling of invincibility. But he warned that when a grand prix goes longer, 'it could become dangerous.'

'10' star to attend Oz GP
(GMM -- Dec.30) Blonde Hollywood beauty Bo Derek will likely be the star attraction at next March's Australian grand prix in Melbourne.

The 48-year-old, female star of the hit 1979 comedy 10 and author of the cornrow braid craze, has been asked to attend the race to help Albert Park celebrate a decade as a grand prix venue.

Australia's grand prix moved to Melbourne in 1996 after southern capital city Adelaide hosted it for eleven years.

Bo Derek also starred as Jane in Tarzan (1981) and Tommy Boy (1995).

Belgian for Minardi job
(GMM -- Dec.30) A Belgian is favorite to fill the 'third driver' role at back-of-the-grid grand prix team Minardi in 2005.

27-year-old redhead Jeffrey van Hooydonk recently tested a single seater at Misano and has since maintained 'good' contact with team principal Paul Stoddart.

Asked about progress, Jeffrey's father admitted a two-season test/race contract was the target. He told F1Racing.net: ''We're working on it. Nothing is signed yet.''

Van Hooydonk, sponsored by Immo Wilton, drove for junior Jordan F3000 team Super Nova and also Coloni in 2004, while countryman Bas Leinders tested for Minardi.

Shake-up at A1
(GMM -- Dec.30) The new 'A1 grand prix' winter championship has made a number of 'personnel changes' within the company.

President and chairman, Dubai's Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum, said A1's focus had now turned from setup to franchise management, race promotion and running the actual championship.

He said: ''I am pleased to be able to promote those people around me who have understood my vision and who can carry it forward.''

Tony Teixeira, for example, is now CEO, and the office in London is being expanded.

RB 'determined' to seat share
(GMM -- Dec.30) Bosses of newly-purchased F1 team Red Bull Racing are 'determined' to give both Vitantonio Liuzzi and Christian Klien a racing job next year.

That's the claim of the Italian-born champion of F3000, Liuzzi, who earlier baulked at the prospect of a job-sharing role.

He told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper that he'd like to continue with Red Bull in 2005, but made note of the other vacant positions at Williams, Jordan and Minardi.

Liuzzi, who hinted that the appointment of David Coulthard came out of the blue, added: ''With Red Bull we've built a very good relationship. (But) the (team) owners are determined to use both of us (Liuzzi and Klien) -- maybe alternating.''

In mid-December, 23-year-old Vitantonio Liuzzi said becoming a part time Red Bull driver would be 'counterproductive.'

'I'm not quitting' - Schu
(GMM -- Dec.30) Team and driver rivals may want the opposite to be true, but world champion Michael Schumacher is adamant -- 'I'm not even thinking about quitting.'

The 36-year-old, a seven time title winner who drives a Ferrari, has achieved so much that - according to some - the only thing left undone is calling it a day.

Asked, for the umpteenth time, about the will-he speculation, Michael told Germany's RTL TV: ''I don't know (why), honestly -- I always say how much enjoyment I get out of being a part of my sport. How much more motivation do you need?''

German-born Schumacher rejects the argument that, with every meaningful record in the bag, there's nothing left to drive for. ''I don't think (that) counts, not in sport,'' he added.

'Red Bull must succeed' - DC
(GMM -- Dec.30) Scotland's F1 refugee is 'relishing' the challenge of driving private team 'Red Bull' to the front of the grand prix grid.

33-year-old David Coulthard has signed a one-year contract, including no options for 2006 or beyond, to appear for the formerly Ford-owned team during next season's 19-race calendar.

But, despite having worked for the giant McLaren outfit since 1996, David now claims that 'small armies can do a lot of damage.'

He also told Autosport: ''McLaren is maybe two or three times bigger (than Red Bull) -- I relish being involved in a situation where you have greater responsibility for leading the team in the right direction.''

DC also claimed that Red Bull billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz would not have put a fortune on the line by investing in motor sport's highest category 'without a serious ... commitment.

''He cannot afford to fail,'' said Coulthard.

Liuzzi to resume testing
(GMM -- Dec.30) F3000 champion Vitantonio Liuzzi will resume testing for the 'Red Bull' F1 team next month.

The 23-year-old Italian, in contention like Christian Klien to become David Coulthard's 2005 teammate, was in England prior to Christmas for 'physical preparation.'

He told Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper: ''After the break ... we'll go back to testing.''

But the black haired youngster, openly not keen on Red Bull's plan to 'seat share' the sister Cosworth-powered car, claimed that 'employment' at RBR will not be the 'sole aim' of his New Year running in Spain.

'Jordan' popular on 'net
(GMM -- Dec.30) 'Jordan' is one of the most popular internet search keywords in the United Kingdom.

It's unlikely, though, that number-7 in 2004's 'top 100 by MSN' is referring to the cash-strapped F1 team that is based in rural Northamptonshire (England).

Jordan is also a busty British model.

'Big brother' was the most searched-for word on 'net search engines in the UK in 2004, followed - curiously - by 'inland revenue'.

'Football' came in at number five, 'cricket' rounded out the year eighth -- and Formula One or Ferrari weren't even in the top 100, although 'Britney Spears' and 'Wimbledon' were.

China to increase F1 fee
(GMM -- Dec.30) China will increase the price of a Formula One ticket ahead of the 2005 world championship finale.

For the inaugural grand prix in Shanghai this year, the price for a three day ticket was around $300 -- a huge chunk of out the average pay packet.

But Yu Zhifei, deputy general manager at the purpose-built F1 venue, said adding dollars to the gate price is a 'traditional rule' at the pinnacle of motor sport.

''(But) we do understand that young people can hardly afford the expensive ticket,'' he admitted.

Yu hinted that higher-priced tickets, such as top grandstand seating, might go up while young people enjoy a cheaper 'grass' rate. The worry, he confessed, was that the 'novelty' factor of the first-ever F1 event in China may soon wear off.

A source in the Chinese media, meanwhile, said Shanghai planned to build a 'F1 theme park' near the grand prix circuit.

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