F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
January 26, 2005

Ferrari 'further isolated'
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.26) Ferrari, on Tuesday, were further isolated from their grand prix rivals at a principals' meeting inside Heathrow Hilton (London).

Not only did they shake hands on a 30-day test limit, a letter agreeing to leave Ferrari in the cold as the only team to (so far) sign Bernie Ecclestone's new 'Concorde,' was signed.

They also asked FIA president Max Mosley to delay a planned Friday meeting, slated to discuss another radical overhaul for the technical code, including a tire monopoly.

Among other proposed (by the FIA) changes are the elimination of telemetry, standard brakes, a mandatory engine rev-limiter and two-day GP format.

In the letter, it said teams need a few grands prix - maybe up to seven or eight - to first evaluate the 2005 regulation set.

Ferrari did not attend the meeting.

Ferrari build 3-seater F1
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.26) World champion marque Ferrari will soon unveil a three-seater Formula One car.

The Maranello-designed vehicle should be ready by Spring.

Ferrari principal Jean Todt said the three-seater, similar to Arrows' concept of 2002, would be better than the (Minardi-like) two-seater concept.

The Frenchman told 'Autocar' that the single passenger 'is blind' in the traditional two-seater model.

The three seat Ferrari will feature a passenger on each sidepod.

Todt was ferried around Fiorano in a re-painted Minardi two-seater in 2003, with a notable chauffeur -- Michael Schumacher.

Montagny and Jordan
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.26) Franck Montagny is near the top of the list to race in Formula One with Midland-owned Jordan in 2005, we can reveal.

Renault's test driver, a Frenchman, is also linked with the second Minardi berth.

New Renault up and running
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.26) Fernando Alonso debuted Renault's 2005 grand prix car at Valencia (Spain) on Tuesday.

The familiar-looking 'R25' stopped twice on track in the day-one shakedown.

''I have a good first impression,'' said the Spanish driver after fifteen laps. ''The engine is powerful ... and the driving position is comfortable.''

Interestingly, teammate Giancarlo Fisichella - in the older Enstone-built model - amassed more mileage but stopped the clock with a much slower best time.

Also circulating at the twisty (and windy) Spanish venue were Red Bull, Williams, BAR and Toyota.

Ron won't quit McLaren
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.26) McLaren rebuked the F1 rumor mill following talk that chairman and principal Ron Dennis might quit to head-up GPWC.

Martin Whitmarsh, the Briton's right hand man and 'F1 CEO', said he imagines Ron being 'zimmer-framed' to the pitwall.

He added: ''I don't believe Ron will be standing down ... any time soon -- and certainly not during the course of 2005.''

On the subject of Adrian Newey, though, Dennis himself admitted that he's 'in dialogue' with the designer and assessing 'various options,' including a sabbatical.

'It's a boy!' - Montoya
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.26) Juan Pablo Montoya, in about late March, will be father to a baby son.

The F1 driver, from Colombia, revealed that he and wife Connie - seven months' pregnant - are having a boy.

''Right now, we think he's going to be called Sebastien,'' said Montoya, McLaren driver.

The 29-year-old competitor also revealed that Mrs. Montoya is sporting a 'big belly.

He added: ''You see the baby kicking around a lot and it's hard to imagine it's your baby in there! When he comes, hopefully it's going to be great.''

'Respect' at Sauber - JV
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.26) According to Jacques Villeneuve, the best trait at new F1 employer Sauber is 'respect.

''And that includes the boss,'' smiled the '97 drivers' champion, referring to fellow resident of Switzerland, Peter Sauber.

In a published interview with major team sponsor Credit Suisse, 33-year-old Villeneuve also admitted that driving a few grands prix for Renault last year - in terms of scoring points - 'was a mistake.

''But at least the team benefited from the impressive media coverage,'' JV insisted.

A1 delayed
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.26) The first ever 'A1 Grand Prix' race will be delayed a week to dodge a motor racing clash.

Originally slated for Sept. 18, the date for Goodwood and a BTCC event, the England A1 round - at former GP circuit Brands Hatch - is now scheduled for Sept. 25.

''Many of the fans ... were not going to be able to attend our event,'' said A1 founder Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum.

The A1 debut, though, will now take place on the day of the Brazilian (F1) grand prix.

Bruni out of Minardi race
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.26) Gianmaria Bruni is no longer in the race to drive for Minardi in '05.

The young Roman, just 23, debuted for the Faenza-based team last year but will now step back to fledgling support category 'GP2' with Coloni.

He nearly clinched the Euro3000 championship in 2003.

''I am a racing driver and I need to race,'' 'Gimmi' said, explaining the move.

Montoya 'surprising' McLaren
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.26) McLaren and new signing Juan Pablo Montoya are in a 'honeymoon period,' team F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh predicted.

The Briton is unsure if the Woking-based team, and Williams' feisty Colombian since 2001, will always share their current style of relationship.

''You never know,'' Martin smiled.

Whitmarsh also said 29-year-old Montoya had surprised McLaren with his technical ability, and dedication to becoming fitter -- like shedding 6kg.

''I'm really getting on well with everyone,'' Montoya said on Monday, ''including Kimi (Raikkonen).''

But Whitmarsh admitted that all may change in and around Melbourne, 'in the heat of the battle.'

Wurz will fit - McLaren
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.26) Both Alex Wurz and Pedro de la Rosa may drive a 'third' car in Friday practice at 2005 grands prix, McLaren principal Ron Dennis hinted.

But he said whichever test driver is nominated for Melbourne, will go on to do the same job at least until May.

Dennis admitted feeling surprised that no-one tried to change a rule that allowed a top team like McLaren - even if it finished in the 'bottom six' last year - to exploit it.

''As far as I can tell,'' said the Englishman, ''I can't see (the rule) changing this season.''

Team 'F1 CEO' Martin Whitmarsh, meanwhile, confirmed that Woking will - somehow - squeeze lanky Austrian, Wurz, into the more compact MP4-20 model.

He revealed: ''The only issue of modification ... at the moment ... is the fire bottle.''

EJ - 'I've been lucky'
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.26) Eddie Jordan paid tribute to his family as the charismatic former team owner prepares to swing out of the F1 turnstile.

The Irishman thanked, especially, wife Marie.

''In many ways,'' said EJ, who'll stay in a commercial role in 2005, ''I owe them everything. Their unrelenting support has allowed me to pursue my dream.''

Jordan, who gave Michael Schumacher his debut in 1991, said the Silverstone-based grand prix team - and thus a substantial living - were borne out of 'a hobby.'

He added: ''I realize that very few people are lucky enough to experience (that).''

F1 tire regulation 'unclear'
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.26) There's too much confusion about F1's new long-life tire regulation, according to Hisao Suganuma.

The Japanese, technical manager at Bridgestone, said the Ferrari-supplying marque - but also rival Michelin - will seek 'clarification' from the FIA.

''Or maybe we have to go via the teams,'' he told Autosport.

Suganuma's main concern is that, according to the current understanding, a driver cannot change a tire if it's damaged - and therefore dangerous - but still inflated.

Another concern is how the FIA intend to police whether or not a driver has run over what it's calling 'unavoidable debris.'

Wind disturbed F1 test
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.26) Red Bull's Christian Klien surprisingly emerged fastest from a chilly and windy test session at Valencia on Tuesday.

The Austrian outpaced Antonio Pizzonia, although at least one unofficial timesheet put Williams' Brazilian hotshoe atop the field of ten.

Pizzonia, crucially, went nearly a full second quicker than Nick Heidfeld, the other contender for Grove's spare racing seat.

''We haven't tested here for about a year,'' remarked Williams' team manager Tim Newton.

Takuma Sato tried the new BAR-Honda (007) for size, while Toyota and Renault also circulated.

''(The new car) felt pretty good,'' said the Japanese, alongside tester Anthony Davidson, in another new BAR. ''I'm looking forward to running in slightly lower wind.''

FIA reject teams' appeal
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.26) F1's governing body have rejected a nine-team appeal to adjourn a technical meeting (Friday) with Max Mosley.

Paul Stoddart, the teams' apparent spokesman after Tuesday's Heathrow Hilton (London) summit, said a better date would be post-Bahrain, to consider the raft of '05 reform.

''The (Friday) meeting will go ahead,'' confirmed an FIA spokesman, who noted that Ferrari, BAR, Renault and Williams have already submitted their own proposals for '08 and beyond.

Mosley, the FIA president, would like to impose yet another raft of sweeping changes for a 'new' F1 -- like a 2-day weekend, a control tire supplier, standard braking and no spare car.

Even Bernie Ecclestone appeared to support the teams' requested delay. ''The commercial side and technical side will all be wrapped up together,'' the F1 supremo said in London.

Delegation watch Badoer test
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.26) A delegation from the Italian Olympic Committee watched Luca Badoer test at Ferrari's private Fiorano circuit on Tuesday.

Meeting Luca di Montezemolo, Jean Todt and Michael Schumacher were president Gianni Petrucci and 50 medal-winning athletes.

They also toured Maranello HQ.

''The victories of the Olympic team and Ferrari are the expression of Made in Italy,'' Petrucci commented.

With Badoer finished on track, the delegation got a close look at the test driver's mount -- the '03-model F2003-GA fitted with 2005 components.

Badoer will resume work at Barcelona on Friday, alongside drivers' champion Schumacher.

Renault 'weak area'
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.26) Renault identified a weak area on the design of last year's F1 car -- and fixed it.

Engineering director Pat Symonds discussed the similar-looking 'R25' model - most revised in the nose area, evidently - prior to it debuting at Valencia on Tuesday.

''We have addressed (the weak area),'' he promised in Autosport magazine.

Symonds also vowed that the new V10 engine is more powerful than its predecessor, despite being designed to handle twice the mileage.

Ferrari snub 30-day cap
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.26) Ferrari will not join every other F1 team in agreeing to limit testing to a 30-day program in 2005, we can verify.

Team spokesman Luca Colajanni said the scarlet marque would push ahead with their own 15,000km cap, to save around 3 million Euro.

''We're doing our own project,'' he reiterated.

Minardi's Paul Stoddart, though - after a landmark teams' meeting west of London - warned Ferrari that going against a nine-team agreement is risking credibility.

''One day (Ferrari will) realize they can't race against themselves,'' said the Australian, the nominated spokesman.

50-year-old Paul Stoddart also confirmed that Ferrari had been invited to Heathrow, but failed to turn up.

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