F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
January 27, 2005

GPWC win Japanese backing
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.27) The dwindling 'GPWC' group have won the backing of previously neutral Japanese F1 manufacturers Honda and Toyota.

Following the demise of Ford in F1, and Ferrari's defection to the side of Bernie Ecclestone, the 'breakaway' gang numbered just three -- BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Renault.

And while Honda and Toyota have not officially signed up, in a Wednesday meeting, they - reportedly angered by Ferrari's unilateral move - pledged support for the GPWC's ambition a day before the FIA want to talk about a future regulation set.

A joint statement said all five F1 carmakers 'unanimously agreed' on a framework for the sport's future.

Among the GPWC's agreed principles is the desire for a new system for determining rules 'that only (allow) changes to be made against objectively defined criteria.'

Duo geared for nervy weekend
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.27) Nick Heidfeld and Antonio Pizzonia will discover on Monday if they've done enough to win the single vacant F1 seat at Williams for '05.

Sir Frank's Grove-based team neared the end of their pre-launch test programme at Valencia on Wednesday with an authentic 'shootout' between the contending pair.

Heidfeld, the German, emerged with the quicker time.

On Monday, the new FW27 car will be launched at the Spanish circuit, and a teammate for Mark Webber is expected to be confirmed with just a minute or two to spare.

''I did all I could,'' 27-year-old Nick, with a three-tenth margin, told Autosport, ''and now it's a question of waiting.''

Of the duo's seven head-to-head winter confrontations, Pizzonia emerged on top only twice.

Salary and age cap for F1
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.27) Max Mosley, president of F1's governing FIA, would - believe it or not - like to chew over the possible introduction of a driver salary and age cap in a Friday meeting (London).

It's not certain who, other than FIA-aligned Ferrari, will attend.

The radical 'cap' suggestion is on Mosley's list for 'discussion' at the Heathrow Hilton.

He defended going ahead with the meeting in opposition to the teams' request for adjournment by saying 'early implementation (of cost cutting) is highly desirable in order to achieve financial stability.'

In a faxed letter, Max also appeared to warn non-Ferrari teams that the FIA is 'fully capable' of imposing a new regulation set to govern '08 and beyond without consultation.

da Matta 'better at racing'
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.27) F1 wasn't fun, according to dumped driver Cristiano da Matta.

The Brazilian, whom Toyota replaced with Ricardo Zonta in August last year, is mulling a return to the Champ Car contest he dominated in 2002.

''I'm better at racing than politics,'' he said, referring to the nature of life in the Paddock. ''That's why I became a racing driver.''

He said of 2003 and early 2004: ''It was quite a hard time for me. We didn't improve like I thought we should, but I feel like I'm a better racing driver -- it doesn't mean I had fun though!'

Da Matta is shaping up to drive again for the Newman/Haas squad in '05, but admitted that a deal is contingent on sponsorship.

''I'm not 100% sure (at which team) I'll be driving,'' said Cristiano, ''but I'm pretty sure I'll be in a Champ Car.''

Too chilly in Spain
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.27) Winter testing continued at uncharacteristically cold and windy Spanish venue Valencia on Wednesday.

Williams' head-to-head duo led the pack, with Renault, Red Bull, BAR and Toyota also fielding a runner or two - or three - each.

''Andy Priaulx will drive tomorrow,'' said Williams' Tim Newton, ''as a reward for his success in the ETCC championship.''

BAR made a point of noting that, while Anthony Davidson clocked only the sixth best lap time, he outpaced everyone else also at the wheel of a comparative 2005 car.

Ricardo Zonta (seventh) drove the new TF105, Fernando Alonso struck electrical trouble with the R25, Takuma Sato a second 007 and Olivier Panis worked in another sparkling red-and-white Toyota.

''We haven't begun working on performance (with the new car) yet,'' explained Renault chief engineer Christian Silk.

Red Bull to restore F1 venue
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.27) Red Bull may restore the former F1 track it recently demolished.

Dieter Mateschitz had to abandon a billion dollar redevelopment project of the A1-Ring following government opposition.

But, if left untouched, the cleared site in Styria would forever resemble a deserted wasteland.

''If people want to have a race track that loses two million Euro annually,'' the grand prix team owner was quoted as saying by Autosport, ''then they shall get it.''

Jordan-Dallara work together
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.27) New F1 team owner Midland will unveil their Jordan-branded 2005 car in Moscow (Russia) next month.

The event, to take place in fabled Red Square, may be attended by president Vladimir Putin, it is reported.

''He will be invited,'' a spokeswoman confirmed, ''but whether he can attend is another matter.''

Alex Shnaider, Midland Group owner and chairman, is a naturalized Canadian but was born in Russian city St. Petersburg and migrated as a child.

''Formula One excites me,'' F1's newest team owner said in an interview with the Toronto Sun, ''but now the excitement is finished and the hard work has started.''

36-year-old Shnaider admitted that Bernie Ecclestone introduced him to Eddie Jordan, and that Jordan and Dallara will work together on the 2006 car.

Midland line-up taking shape
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.27) The Jordan-Midland driver line-up for 2005 is beginning to take shape.

Mexico's Champ Car driver Mario Dominguez is meeting with Alex Shnaider in Toronto at the weekend, and new Jordan principal Colin Kolles is now a confessed fan of BAR tester Anthony Davidson.

Meanwhile, Midland's new sporting director, Trevor Carlin, used to employ Davidson.

Kolles told Reuters: ''But it's not only our decision. We'll see if we can find a solution. It's not a question of money, (that's) not a problem.''

He also revealed that Midland will run a F3 (euro) team, to develop Russian drivers.

New Sauber 'not quick enough'
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.27) Sauber's new 'C24' Formula One car is not fast enough, according to the confessional team owner.

Peter Sauber denied that topping the test sheet at Valencia last week was indicative of the new Ferrari-powered model's raw pace.

''We're quite happy with the reliability,'' he told Autosport magazine, ''but on the other hand we have to find speed.''

The German-speaking Swiss also admitted that similarly Michelin-clad BAR-Honda's new '007' is better and quicker out of the box.

Full wind ahead at BAR
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.27) Work on BAR's new wind tunnel will begin shortly.

'Jacobs Engineering Group' have won the contract to design and construct the state-of-the-art aerodynamic device at Brackley (UK), commissioned by new team co-owner Honda.

Technical director Geoff Willis said an innovative tunnel will 'underline (our) ambition to win the world championship.'

He explained that the new facility, at team HQ, will be ready around mid-2006, but would be a 'fundamental element' of the 2007 car design.

F1 urged to attend summit
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.27) Max Mosley is urging F1 teams to reconsider their intention to snub Friday's meeting in London.

In a letter faxed to all principals, the FIA principal said waiting until April will achieve 'nothing.'

The teams wrote Max a letter after the week's earlier Heathrow summit, requesting a delay of the meeting about 2008 so that Bernie Ecclestone can commission research into the effectiveness of the '05 regulations.

Mosley replied to the teams: ''I think it will be a pity if you forgo this opportunity to engage in a dialogue with the FIA.''

He also said some (2008) cost cutting could be introduced sooner, and promised - at the meeting to be attended by Ferrari - to broach the matter of the rule-making F1 Commission.

Max Mosley suggested that a different layout for the Commission, with less members, might be 'more efficient.'

Anderson to snub F1 pitwall
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.27) Jordan's former technical chief Gary Anderson has denied he could return to the yellow-clad F1 pitwall in 2005.

The Irishman left Jordan at the end of 2003, but is today leading the design of the 2006 'Midland F1' car.

Midland chairman Alex Shnaider is Jordan's new 100% owner.

''I'm not working on (the Midland project) full time,'' Anderson said, ''and in fact I'm working (at the moment) for Dallara.''

Asked if he'd consider going full time again, Anderson replied: ''No -- I don't want to do that. If they can keep my role part time, then I'm happy.''

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