F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
January 6, 2005
New logo for Williams' F1 car
(GMM -- Jan.6) A new logo will strike Williams' F1 livery in 2005, the
A statement explained that Swiss watch maker 'Oris SA' will 'upgrade'
its existing agreement so that, in 2005 'and beyond,' it has an on-car
presence on the new BMW-powered FW27.
Oris joined the Oxfordshire-based F1 outfit in 2003. CEO Ulrich Herzog
said the partnership has had 'tangible' results so far.
Sir Frank Williams, meanwhile, said the deal is 'validation' of
Formula One's value. ''I thank them for their continued support,'' the
team co-owner and principal commented.
The team also confirmed on Wednesday that Draxlmaier Group, and
clothing manufacturer W.L. Gore & Associates, have both joined as
''We already have existing relationships with both companies,'' BMW
motor sport director Mario Theissen explained.
Klien, Liuzzi, sign RB deal
(GMM -- Jan.6) Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi have both signed
one-year contracts to drive for F1 team 'Red Bull Racing' in 2005.
The former Jaguar squad said it had not decided whether the Austrian
or the rookie Italian would kick off the new year in Melbourne
alongside confirmed teammate David Coulthard.
A Red Bull spokeswoman revealed that the 'identical' contracts include
an option for renewal, and that team management in Salzburg (Austria)
would make a decision about Melbourne after test runs in January and
21-year-old Klien, and Liuzzi (23), are both backed by the fizzy drink
magnate Dietrich Mateschitz.
Webber in Bahrain
(GMM -- Jan.6) Mark Webber strolled through the international terminal
at Bahrain Airport on Wednesday night ahead of Friday's 'livery
Frank Williams' F1 team will unwrap the 2005 paint job, and a major
new sponsor, at the grand prix venue near capital Manama. The
28-year-old Australian driver (Webber) will be accompanied by likely
teammate Nick Heidfeld, and seat contender Antonio Pizzonia.
Team co-owner Patrick Head and BMW motor sport director Mario Theissen
were set to arrive in Bahrain on Thursday morning, a local media
Germany's Theissen will then remain in Bahrain on the weekend to open
the new 'BMW Performance Centre,' ahead of the inaugural Formula BMW
Heidfeld told to 'open mouth'
(GMM -- Jan.6) Nick Heidfeld is good enough to become Germany's
'number two' of Formula One.
That's the claim of former triple world champion Niki Lauda, who
agrees that the 27-year-old from Moenchengladbach is now in pole
position to become Williams' second driver in 2005.
The Austrian said: ''Nick's only problem is that he always sells
himself short -- he must learn that sometimes you can open your
Lauda, also a former F1 principal at Jaguar, said Heidfeld has the
natural talent to join world champion Michael Schumacher as a winning
grand prix driver, but only if 'BMW put a good car together.'
Quali 'may change again'
(GMM -- Jan.6) Paul Stoddart has admitted that the format for F1
qualifying may change again prior to the Australian grand prix in
Asked if the Saturday/Sunday aggregate system would go ahead as
announced, the Minardi owner said 'nobody knows.'
Stoddart, an Australian, told Motorsport News: ''We can't keep
changing ... every year. If you did that in football, you'd have chaos
on your hands.''
He said the single-lap format is preferred by smaller teams including
Minardi and Jordan, but vowed to trade-in the guaranteed airtime for
''We can find a compromise,'' Paul said, suggesting that some want a
return to the 12-lap format, ''but the most important people in this
sport are the 300 million who get up day and night to watch our
Speedy American in GP2
(GMM -- Jan.6) American hopeful Scott Speed will drive in Formula
One's new support category (GP2) in 2005.
The 21-year-old Californian, champion in Euro and German Formula
Renault in 2004, has signed a contract with newly-created team iSport
''It's a big step up,'' he said in a statement, ''and that's exactly
what I am looking for as a driver trying to make it to Formula One.''
Speed is backed by the Red Bull search for a US-born F1 driver.
Schu's bodyguard dead
(GMM -- Jan.6) One of Michael Schumacher's bodyguards was killed in
the Boxing Day tsunami in Phuket (Thailand).
The seven time world champion's PR lady and biographer, Sabine Kehm,
said Burkhard Cramer (and, presumably, his two sons) died following
the scale-9.0 underwater earthquake in south Asia.
German-born Schumacher, with a total estimated (annual) income at
around $100 million, donated $10m to the UN and Red Cross' relief
He said: ''The dawning of the New Year has not been as joyful for us
this year because of the catastrophe in Asia.''
Ferrari firm on F1 benefit
(GMM -- Jan.6) According to Jean Todt, the nine-team agreement to
limit testing in 2005 was a direct attack on the constructors' world
The Ferrari principal told Autosprint magazine that his colleagues sat
down in Sao Paulo last October to discuss 'where (Ferrari) can be
damaged the most.'
The resultant agreement to limit in-year testing to 24 days, Jean Todt
added, aimed to curtail Ferrari's advantage in having exclusive use of
the private Fiorano circuit.
French born Todt asked rhetorically: "Why should we lose it -- just to
please others? We have to please our shareholders, our clients and our
fans, but surely we do not have to please our competitors.''
He also confirmed that Ferrari will be represented at the upcoming FIA
and teams' meeting (Jan. 28). Jean said: ''It will be the most
important day of the year for F1.''
'I wanted Button to leave'
(GMM -- Jan.6) Only one member of the BAR-Honda F1 camp wanted Jenson
Button to win a ticket to Frank Williams' rival squad for 2005.
His name is Anthony Davidson. Brackley's 25-year-old test driver would
have won a promotion and lined up alongside Japanese teammate Takuma
Sato on the Melbourne grid.
The Englishman told Autosport: ''It's nothing against Jenson -- any
racing driver would be the same if he sees an opportunity like that
Davidson, who raced twice for Minardi in 2002, then watched a second
racing shot go begging for 2005 when engine partner Honda blocked the
'shootout' run in a BMW-Williams.
'Aggressive' R25 - Fisichella
(GMM -- Jan.6) Giancarlo Fisichella will touch down in Melbourne
knowing that he's never been in better physical shape.
Renault's returning driver revealed that he is already training hard
for the 2005 grand prix season. ''I've been going for a month now,''
the Roman-born star - who'll turn 32 next Friday - said in Rome.
He confessed: ''I've never trained at this time of the year before.''
Fisichella said 2005, after a previous stint at Enstone in 1998-2001,
would be the start of a 'new era' for him. ''I feel content, calm,''
''I am with a top team who know how to win and want to win more,''
He even snuck a sneak-peak at the new R25 in the wind tunnel just
prior to the New Year break. ''It looks nice,'' Fisichella reported,
''aggressive, with many new things on it.''
Blessed Schu applauded
(GMM -- Jan.6) Germany applauded Michael Schumacher's unprecedented
donation to the Asian tsunami relief effort.
National newspaper 'Bild' said the $10m pledge proved that the
36-year-old F1 champion, often criticized for being too cold and
arrogant, 'has a giant heart.'
The Berliner Kurier newspaper called him 'Schumi the Great.'
Meanwhile, in a recent edition of a Swiss publication, Schumacher
admitted that he often goes to church, and believes in God.
He was quoted as saying: ''I believe He watches out for me in the
difficult times. I thank God for all the beautiful moments that I have
experienced so far in my life.''
Prost rejects Schu comparison
(GMM -- Jan.6) Alain Prost says it is impossible to compare him with
current F1 world champion Michael Schumacher.
The four time title winner, who last lifted the drivers' crown in
1993, said not only did the former era boast vastly different cars,
but he and Schumacher enjoyed 'a different status' within their F1
''First of all, this is two different generations,'' said the
Frenchman, ''so we should stop. But, if we want to talk about it,
Michael has always been the number one driver in his team, while I
never had that.
''Our careers were totally different.''
49-year-old Prost also said the mere skill of driving in grands prix
is completely different today than in the 80's and 90's.
He added: ''Now, we talk about a strategy conceived by the whole team,
but in my time the driver did most of it alone. In my time, a F1
driver was a calculator, not (just) a sprinter.''
'Tire rule to topple Ferrari'
(GMM -- Jan.6) 2005 will be a 'giant chance' for Ferrari's F1 rivals
to finally challenge for the world championship, Niki Lauda said.
The triple drivers' title winner and former Ferrari steerer said new
regulations always indicate a golden opportunity to topple the
''Above all I see the new tire rule as a chance for them,'' the
Austrian said of the rule limiting each driver to a single set of
rubber for both qualifying and the grand prix.
When it comes to developing a brand new F1 tire, 55-year-old Lauda
continued, Michelin - Ferrari and Bridgestone's competitor - have a
distinct advantage for 2005.
He explained: ''They have much more data, for example of Mercedes,
BMW, Honda and Toyota, while Bridgestone has only Ferrari. And we know
that tires dictate victory and defeat.''
Juan befriended Kimi
(GMM -- Jan.6) Juan Pablo Montoya will make a special effort to get
along with new McLaren teammate Kimi Raikkonen.
Not famed for his relationship with Ralf Schumacher at Williams, the
29-year-old revealed that Finland's Raikkonen was 'one of the few
drivers' in F1 that he befriended last year.
''We have a lot in common,'' said the Colombian, ''and both of us
enjoy riding motorbikes, for example.
''We have always made an effort to talk in the driver's parade, even
more so since we knew we were going to be working together.''
Perhaps predicting a fiery pairing, though, McLaren's management opted
against pitting Kimi against the new boy in pre-Christmas track
running. Montoya said he supported the decision because it meant he
could work on settling in 'without being compared' to the more
Tough tenure awaiting Webber
(GMM -- Jan.6) Williams' new F1 driver Mark Webber is looking forward
to taking himself to the limit in 2005.
The super-fit Australian defended his earlier statement that nothing
short of grand prix victory is a worthy target for his fourth
Melbourne appearance in March.
''If you only set yourself small tasks,'' the 28-year-old insisted,
''then it's not very challenging.''
Webber revealed that he is expecting a tough tenure with the
BMW-powered collaboration. ''I know there will be days when I will
think 'Jeez, I'm really under the pump here'.''
Mark added: ''But when you get your breath you think, 'yeah, this is
why I'm here -- to consistently test myself against the best'.''
F1 to help tsunami effort
(GMM -- Jan.6) F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has been asked to support
a combined effort of the international sporting world to help rebuild
tsunami-struck south Asia.
French sport daily newspaper L'Equipe is behind the initiative, and
also requested the involvement of FIFA, International Rugby, the NBA,
NFL, PGA Tour, ATP Tour and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The IOC's Jacques Rogge is already calling L'Equipe's initiative a
Drug claim 'comical' - Webber
(GMM -- Jan.6) Mark Webber branded a former F1 team doctor's claim
that cocaine use in the sport is widespread 'utterly ridiculous.'
The Australian said he'd never heard something as untrue or 'totally
comical' since he lurched onto the grand prix scene with Minardi in
''Every driver I know is more than happy to give a drug test at any
time,'' said the 28-year-old, also a director of the Grand Prix
Drivers' Association, ''and the FIA do just that.''
Webber said he'd be happy to be part of 'even more regular' drug
testing in the future. He added: ''And I'm sure every other driver
would be too.''
Asked if he'd ever heard anything about cocaine use in F1, Mark
replied: ''Never -- absolutely never.''
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