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F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
January 25, 2005


Jordan sell for $50m
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.25) F1 team Jordan cost 36-year-old Canadian-Russian billionaire Alex Shnaider about $50m, it's reported.

The deal was confirmed on Monday.

''I wholeheartedly believe that Midland ... will make the team stronger,'' colorful Irishman Eddie Jordan, no longer with a shareholding in the team that'll bear his name in 2005, said.

EJ will retain a 'commercial and sponsorship' role.

Shnaider said buying Jordan, rather than entering as an all-new outfit in 2006, would give 'Midland' a 'year of learning' prior to 'getting faster.'

He added: ''The establishment of the Midland F1 team will continue according to schedule.''

Jordan started in F1 in 1991.








F1's 'ice man' in hot water
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.25) Finland's Kimi Raikkonen found himself in hot water as he arrived in Barcelona to guide a sleek new McLaren's maiden laps.

A day earlier, the 25-year-old had landed in the tabloid press following another wild night on the town.

''It's his private life,'' said team 'CEO' Martin Whitmarsh, ''but it's not a welcome thing -- we take the reports very seriously but we'll only deal (with Kimi) when we understand what really happened.''

He admitted that McLaren is extremely upset with Kimi, and will reprimand the star employee.

''We have multi-national sponsors,'' Whitmarsh continued, ''who don't want to get involved in that kind of imagery.''

Raikkonen dealt with the drama in much the same way he would on the track -- ice cool. ''It doesn't make me any slower,'' said the deadpan driver.








Ferrari deny sly F1 deal
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.25) Ferrari have denied they went behind everyone else's back to seal the multimillion dollar deal with F1 tsar Bernie Ecclestone.

In a statement issued on Monday, the world champion F1 constructor said it had informed the other GPWC carmakers that it might pursue a deal with the 74-year-old ringmaster.

But McLaren's Ron Dennis replied that the other teams would not, like Ferrari, 'rush into' a new Concorde Agreement as any new money would not become available until 2008.

''I presume (Ferrari) have had some financial inducement,'' said the Englishman, ''but that's not ... a situation that exists with any of the other teams.''

Ferrari rejected Dennis' claim.

The Maranello-prepared statement concluded that the new Agreement would come into effect in 2005 'on the revenues owed to the signatories.'








McLaren car a 'close call'
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.25) It was a close call to get McLaren's new MP4-20 car ready for a January launch, chief designer Adrian Newey admitted.

The Briton said the basic design for the sleek silver model was set in May last year.

''The timescales have been challenging,'' said Newey, ''but that is all part of the excitement of F1.''

Like the revised aerodynamic and tire regulation, F1's engine code - mandating a longer life V10 for 2005 - also came 'extremely late,' Mercedes' Norbert Haug continued.

The German said it put a 'big strain' on the engine team.

He added: ''It was therefore an interesting and busy winter (for McLaren).''








F1 court battle to resume
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.25) F1's Bernie Ecclestone is limbering up for the return to court of a fierce legal battle.

The 74-year-old 'supremo' lost the last round to three banks who now control Formula One Holdings.

Now, they're going against Ecclestone's Formula One Administration, in a ten-day case to be heard from May 10 2005.








McLaren to use 'third' option
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.25) McLaren will field a third car on the Friday of all grands prix in 2005, team F1 'CEO' Martin Whitmarsh confirmed.

He said the rule, for those in the 'bottom six' of the previous constructors' championship, would have 'obvious benefits.'

For example, the spare's pilot can do tire and set-up work 'without worrying about engine mileage.

''It's a nice thing to have.''

As to who'll reside the third Mercedes-powered MP4-20 from Melbourne on, Whitmarsh declined to nominate either test driver Pedro de la Rosa, of Spain, or the very tall Alex Wurz.









McLaren abandon '20' debut
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.25) Kimi Raikkonen had to abandon the 'shake down' of McLaren's all-new MP4-20 at Barcelona following a light snow shower.

The Finn, 25, had completed 25 laps.

''We're getting a good feel for the car,'' he reported, despite a technical niggle or two, ''and I'm looking forward to doing a bit more here tomorrow.''

Teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, of Colombia, will try the new racer on Thursday.







'Slow to spot' F1 boost
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.25) Some F1 teams and sponsors have been failing to fully exploit brand positioning, a new report showed.

The report's author, the company 'Margaux Matrix' (backed by David Coulthard, Martin Brundle and Mark Blundell), said - for example - that sponsors were 'slow to spot' the value of the on-car camera.

'F1 Brand Exposure Yearbook 2004' is powered by analyzing brand recognition in televised grands prix.








Juan qualm with Ferrari plan
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.25) Ferrari risk falling out of title contention by opting to delay the introduction of their new 'F2005' car until May.

That's the opinion of McLaren rival Juan Pablo Montoya, of Colombia.

The 29-year-old, at the launch of the sleek and purpose built (for the radical new regulations) MP4-20 model in Spain, predicted that Ferrari might have an early upper hand in the reliability game.

The scarlet team will stick with a modified 2004 car until the Spanish grand prix (round five).

But Montoya commented: ''The biggest question is (Ferrari's) pace -- where do they stand?''










Jacques' off for F1 win
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.25) Jacques Villeneuve denied that switching from Williams to fledgling F1 team BAR at the end of 1998 had been a mistake.

There, until the end of 2003 when he was ousted, the French-Canadian struggled to rekindle the magic of a 1997 drivers' championship triumph.

''I don't regret it,'' he told 'swissinfo'. ''Going with a new team is always a big risk.''

Jacques' not off to Sauber in 2005 and 2006, though, to tread water. The 33-year-old reckons a podium or two aren't out of the question, ''and possibly a win as well.'' Villeneuve added: ''It depends on the tires.''







New Renault 'looks the same'
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.25) Far from bolster safety, F1's new regulations only make it easier to crash, according to Fernando Alonso.

The Spanish driver tried a fully '05-modified Renault last week and said a lack of tire and aerodynamic grip 'will lead to ... more spins.'

He told Autosport: ''We're trying to increase safety but I'm not sure that was achieved.''

Alonso, 23, claimed a ready-to-race 2005 F1 model will be only a tenth of a second slower per corner. ''So if you have an accident,'' he remarked, ''I don't think the outcome will be very different.''

Fernando also said the new 'R25' car, to be launched in Monaco in a week, looks similar to the 2004-spec model.








Saga 'affected me' - Button
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.25) Jenson Button is relishing the 'pressure' of, for the first time, racing into a new season as a true championship contender.

The Englishman, 25, said beating Ferrari to the checker is 'the aim' of the BAR-Honda team and their 007 car.

''Hopefully we'll be able to do that,'' he said.

''We have to win now. There's no reason why we can't win in Melbourne -- I have confidence in my ability.''

Button also admitted, in Autosport magazine, to worrying about the 'BAR vs. Williams' saga late last year. He said the furor affected him.

JB added: ''Having a clear head this season will help a lot.''

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