F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
December 31, 2004
Aussie missed Jordan deadline
(GMM -- Dec.31) Ryan Briscoe will have to wait at least another year
before contemplating a Formula One debut.
According to speculation, the Sydney-born driver missed a deadline
imposed by Toyota-powered team Jordan because he could not find the
requisite $7m in sponsor backing.
23-year-old Briscoe, a test driver in 2004, is under contract to
Toyota, but the Japanese giant vowed not to fund the Australian's
maiden grand prix season.
It's believed that Ryan is under a gagging order by Toyota and Indy
Racing League team Chip Ganassi, for whom he is now expected to drive
''I cannot talk about my plans for next year,'' he told Australian
media in Sydney on Thursday. ''Not yet.''
The IRL deal, to include the fabled Indianapolis 500, will likely be
unveiled in January.
Schu's the oldest
(GMM -- Dec.31) He's the most successful grand prix driver of all
time, but - prior to 2005 - he's never been the oldest at the wheel of
a current Formula One racer.
However, with the retirement of Olivier Panis, Schumacher - 36 on
Monday, is now even streaks ahead of all rivals in the wrinkle
department. David Coulthard, next oldest, is thirty three.
But the seven time world champion, from Germany, is still regarded as
one of the paddock's fittest and most motivated. ''I feel much younger
than I am,'' Michael said this week.
He said he often plays football with men like 23-year-old Fernando
Alonso, 'and I don't see much of a difference.
''No, I am not getting worn out,'' said Schumacher, ''and especially
Ferrari habit 'crazy'
(GMM -- Dec.31) Jenson Button is supportive of the majority F1 teams'
push to limit non-grand prix track testing.
The BAR-driving Briton said the amount of money thrown at the habit by
world constructors' champion Ferrari 'is crazy.'
Button told Autosport: ''(Ferrari) test virtually every day -- there
has to be a limit.''
Earlier, every team - with the notable exception of the Italian one
colored in scarlet - agreed to a 24-day limit for 2005 and beyond. It
is believed, however, that BAR's engine partner, Honda, also baulked
at the low number.
25-year-old Button agrees that each team needs between '35 to 40' days
How to reduce F1 shunts
(GMM -- Dec.31) Formula One's medical delegate reckons he has devised
a sure-fire way to reduce the number of crashes caused by car failure.
Prof. Sid Watkins said the governing FIA should impose a $50,000 team
fine for, for example, a suspension failure or other 'serious'
technical breakage, like Kimi Raikkonen's rear wing collapse at
''About $50,000 seems right,'' he said in Britain's F1 Racing
magazine. ''It's more a matter for the FIA.''
'05 to be Schu-fest, too
(GMM -- Dec.31) Formula One should brace itself for another Michael
Schumacher-fest in 2005.
That, also among others, is the opinion of Tony Purnell, continuing
team principal of the Red Bull (formerly Jaguar) F1 squad.
He said at a recent lunch for the media: ''There will be a new era one
day -- presumably when (Michael) retires.''
Contrary to some attitudes, though, the bespectacled Briton doesn't
see the Ferrari driver's dominance as a bad thing. Purnell said:
''It's ok, because he is the best. Bernie (Ecclestone) says having a
legend out there is good for the sport and I suppose you can see his
Where F1 is going wrong, though, in the way that MotoGP and Valentino
Rossi aren't, is - according to Purnell - that viewers tune-in
basically knowing who's going to win. He said if Kimi Raikkonen, for
example, sat in the sister Ferrari, we'd be in for a tight contest.
Dakar rally set for kick-off
(GMM -- Dec.31) With much of F1 in holiday-mode, many motor sport eyes
will today turn to the Sahara desert in Africa -- for the 2005 Dakar
About 700 cars, motorcycles and trucks will lurch out of Barcelona on
December 31, on a 9000km, 16 day trek through five countries.
The final destination is Dakar, in Senegal.
Dakar's race director said the event had never been so popular.
Etienne Lavigne said: ''It's the first time we've ever had to close
the entry book early.''
'Cosworth Technology' sold
(GMM -- Dec.31) 'Cosworth Technology' has been sold by German carmaker
Audi bought Cosworth in 1998 and sold the racing and F1 arm, Cosworth
Racing, to the Ford Motor Company.
Stuttgart-based Mahle GmbH bought Cosworth Technology for an
undisclosed sum. The sale will not be complete until January.
''Cosworth ... will remain a supplier of powertrain engineering and
niche machining and assembly services to the Audi Group,'' said Audi
production chief Jochem Heizmann.
Mahle makes pistons and other engine components.
F1 principal honored
(GMM -- Dec.31) F1's David Richards has been named a Commander of the
British Empire (CBE) in the New Year Honors List.
The departing 52-year-old team principal, also chief of the highly
successful 'Prodrive' motorsport company, earned the recognition for
services to the industry.
Prodrive-led BAR-Honda finished second in the '04 constructors' F1
championship, and Richards' company previously presided over eleven
championships in World Rally (Subaru) and the BTTC.
F1 champion's son to graduate
(GMM -- Dec.31) Nico Rosberg, the German-born teenage son of world
champion Keke, is likely to move up to F1 support-category 'GP2' next
But the 'BCN Competicion' outfit denied in a statement issued
yesterday that a deal to complete the 2005 line-up is done.
BCN said a decision would not be made until mid-January.
''(BCN) is one option,'' Nico - who tested the car recently, as well
as a BMW-powered WilliamsF1 earlier in the season - was quoted as
Finland's Keke Rosberg, now 57, won the drivers' F1 championship in
1982, ahead of Ferrari's Didier Pironi and John Watson.
China to get F1 alternative
(GMM -- Dec.31) If a Chinese motor sport fan cannot afford a ticket
for the grand prix in Shanghai next October, maybe he'll find the cash
for the V8 race.
Australia's premier tin-top V8 'Supercar' series will race around the
purpose-built F1 circuit for the first time in June next year.
Ticket prices were announced this week -- the cheapest for single-day
entry is $8, and the average ticket, promoter Greenland Group said,
In total contrast, a ticket for the Chinese grand prix cost the
average punter around $300 in 2004. ''Where F1 is regarded as a money
burning game for the upper class,'' said Greenland spokesman Zhang
Xinguo, ''V8 is a game for ordinary people.''
V8 organizers expect a crowd of up to 100,000.
'Rossi would be F1 winner'
(GMM -- Dec.31) MotoGP's Valentino Rossi should make the switch to a
That's the opinion of Red Bull (formerly Jaguar) F1 principal Tony
Purnell, who said the flamboyant Italian rider's 'charisma and
personality' is sorely needed in F1.
25-year-old Rossi, the motorcycle champion, tried a scarlet F1 car in
2004 but is rumored to be more likely to round out his career in World
But Purnell said at a media gathering at Christmas: ''He would be
great for F1. The best thing about (Valentino) is that he raced a bike
that everyone knew was not the fastest one (in 2004) but - wallop! -
he's still a winner.''
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