F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
January 31, 2005
EJ won't go to Melbourne
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.31) Rock-drumming F1 man Eddie Jordan will not
travel to Melbourne for the '05-opening grand prix in little over a
month, we reveal.
''That's right,'' a source at the team recently bought by Midland
Group's Alex Shnaider confirmed.
The charismatic Irishman, who entered F1 in 1991, will retain a
'commercial and sponsorship' presence at Silverstone HQ, though, but
not a formal title.
The 'Jordan' moniker, and 56-year-old EJ, will then disappear at
season's end -- but fellow back-of-the-grid resident Paul Stoddart is
sure F1 will hear the music beating again.
''I doubt we've seen the last (of Jordan) in pitlane,'' Minardi's
FIA snubbed in London
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.31) Only Ferrari turned up at a meeting with FIA
president Max Mosley in London last Friday.
All were invited, but the Group of Nine (Go9) snubbed the summit
arranged to talk about rules for 2008 because they believe it can wait
Mosley called it a bout of 'sulking' -- perhaps regarding the
unilateral FIA-FOM-Ferrari commercial agreement.
Mosley, Jean Todt and Ross Brawn, therefore, sat in the huge Heathrow
Hilton conference room, and chatted for one hundred and twenty
Subsequent reports said the Go9 would meet in mid-April, for a single,
marathon dialogue to map out the future. ''We're not going to be
rushed,'' said a Go9 source.
The technical code for 2008 and beyond must be settled by December 31
Jordan lose Smith
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.31) Mere weeks into the job, Mark Smith - Jordan's
new technical director - has quit.
The former Renault man, who worked at Jordan for a decade until 2001,
is thought to have baulked at the recent 100% 'Midland' buyout.
Interestingly, Smith's move to Jordan had - from the onset - been
earmarked as a contractual 'detour' to cash-laden Toyota.
We reported last year that Toyota, following a promise not to poach
any more Renault staff, might be 'parking' the lauded engineer at
It's also reported, though, that Smith is not alone in flinching at
the Alex Shnaider buyout, while some whisper that the yellow-clad
exodus might not be voluntary.
F1 testing in top gear
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.31) With just five weeks until Melbourne, Formula
One pre-season testing has slipped into top gear.
At a cold Barcelona on Friday, Ferrari - featuring Michael Schumacher
and the 'M'-spec F2004 - and Sauber arrived to spoil McLaren's peace.
The German world champion's red car featured a novel 'mini wing' near
the ground on the front wing.
Sauber's Jacques Villeneuve ended his day at the wheel of C24, Sunday,
in the tire barrier. The French-Canadian - unhurt - had oversteered
under throttle at Turn 9.
''We'll now analyze the data to understand what happened,'' promised
technical director Willy Rampf.
Meanwhile, another Spanish venue - the twisty Valencia - hosted
Renault, Toyota and BAR. All teams had a 2005-specification contender
(or two) to run.
New McLaren thaws icy track
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.31) The life of McLaren's 2005 Formula One car is
off to a 'positive' start, team 'F1 CEO' Martin Whitmarsh insisted.
Both Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya tried the silver MP4-20
during the mostly private session at an unusually arctic Circuit de
Catalunya (Barcelona) last week.
''It's been freezing,'' Colombia's Montoya - who (harmlessly) drove
into his mechanics during a simulated pitstop - said Friday, ''so it's
a bit hard to tell, but everything seems okay -- we won't really know
'Ant' cool on Jordan chatter
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.31) BAR tester Anthony Davidson has played down any
suggestion he might race for Jordan (Midland) in 2005.
The diminutive Briton said the team, including managing director and
apparent admirer Colin Kolles, hadn't contacted him yet.
''(But) it's nice to read it on the internet and elsewhere,'' said
According to speculation, 'Ant' can vacate the 'third' BAR role this
season, but only if he can be recalled by the Honda-powered camp for
He is, though, hesitant about fledgling Jordan-Midland. ''They've not
even done one test (this year),'' Davidson noted, ''and Melbourne's
just around the corner.
''But, yes, I want to race, we already know that.''
FIA support Ferrari limit
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.31) Ferrari were right to snub a F1 pact to limit
in-season testing to 30 days, the FIA's Max Mosley said.
The Briton, after a quiet meeting with the world champion marque in
London last Friday, admitted that Ferrari's own proposal to limit
actual in-season mileage would be better.
Mosley called the Group of Nine's plan 'flawed' because, to fully
exploit a day's running, teams would take more people - and more cars
- to a test.
''And that becomes very expensive,'' he commented.
Max said: ''It's a pity (Ferrari's rivals) didn't turn up (at the
meeting) to hear the other side. I think Ferrari (are) absolutely
Spaniard to test Toyota
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.31) Spanish F3 champion Borja Garcia will taste
Formula One power in April.
He's the first to benefit from a new pact between the Toyota team and
the junior championship.
Toyota, exclusive supplier of engines to Spanish F3, will henceforth
offer the season's champion a grand prix test run.
''It's a dream come true,'' '04 champion Garcia, to contest GP2 in
2005, said. He'll test Toyota's F1 car at Valencia (Spain).
Honda work on V10 flaw
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.31) Honda have begun the task of fixing a
2005-design engine fault, BAR test driver Anthony Davidson revealed.
The Englishman, and team cohort Takuma Sato, experienced multiple
V10-related problems at the wheel of the new '007' car at Valencia
last week, despite new regulations requiring a longer engine life.
''We hope to resolve (the engine issue) over the next few tests,''
said the 25-year-old, ''with more reliability testing.''
Otherwise, diminutive 'Ant' - who recorded a personal best lap time in
the 007 - is pleased with the fledgling model.
Honda's Shuhei Nakamoto, meanwhile, admitted that the '05 long-life
reg poses a 'tough challenge.'
Toyota didn't join GPWC
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.31) Japanese-owned F1 team Toyota are not now part
of the 'GPWC' group.
Principal Tsutomu Tomita, though, admitted that a unilateral
'Concorde' extension signed by Ferrari angered the German-based
Following the Ferrari coup, Toyota - and Japanese F1 rival Honda -
appeared in a joint statement with GPWC members BMW, Mercedes-Benz and
They'd got together for a meeting.
''We wanted to discuss the direction in which our sport is going,''
the Japanese explained.
He confessed that the FIA-FOM-Ferrari accord left Toyota 'unhappy',
because of the total lack of consultation.
Verstappen looking to America
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.31) F1 veteran Jos Verstappen is lining up a Champ
Car test drive.
The Dutchman, who last raced for Minardi in 2003, is said to have
switched attention to the American category and talking to the
Rocketsports squad, Forsythe, Conquest and Fittipaldi.
''I want to be in a car that enables me to show how good I am,''
Verstappen - once Benetton, Simtek, Tyrrell and Arrows driver - told
Verstappen, 32, said a decision about 2005 will only be made after a
round of track testing.
'We'll get along' - Webber
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.31) Williams' Mark Webber has denied he cannot work
with possible 2005 teammate Antonio Pizzonia.
On the eve of Frank Williams' final choice between the young Brazilian
and Nick Heidfeld, Webber said he had 'no influence at all' about who
would get the job.
The 28-year-old also downgraded the gravity of a Pizzonia rift, dating
back to their Jaguar tenure in early-2003.
''Antonio and I have sat down and had dinner,'' Webber told Autosport.
''We do talk to each other -- the Jag thing is in the past.
''There is an extremely high chance that we will (work together).''
Senna's 'goal' is F1
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.31) 'Senna' may drive again in Formula One.
The legendary triple world champion, Ayrton Senna, died following a
shunt at Imola in 1994, but nephew Bruno - now 21 - is also racing
toward a grand prix dream.
''I can't really say whether or not I'm going to make it,'' the
Brazilian said in a recent interview, ''because I'm only taking step
one, step two, in motor racing.
''(But) my goal is definitely Formula One.''
Senna, who had a family racing 'ban' imposed on him by Ayrton's father
Milton in 1994-2004, is today a driver in the British Formula BMW
Tire monopoly still on agenda
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.31) F1's governing body would still like to speed a
tyre supplier off the grid.
Max Mosley, FIA president, said a tyre monopoly - rather than the
fiery tyre war between Bridgestone and Michelin - would succeed in
slowing the cars and reducing cost.
''If we're going to do anything like that,'' he said after a lonely
London meeting with only Ferrari last Friday, ''we'll have to get on
to it very quickly.''
Max said the next step would be to consult the two tyre companies.
Button might stay at BAR
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.31) Jenson Button might just stay at BAR next year
-- if the Honda-powered 007's a grand prix winner.
The Englishman, who tried to switch to Frank Williams' team for the
imminent Formula One season, said the GP breakthrough 'must' occur in
''By 2006 I want to be going for the championship,'' he said, ''so if
it's not a good season (with BAR), then maybe I'll change.''
Departing from Brackley, the 25-year-old insisted, would not be
personal. Button reckons a grand prix driver's career to be only a
decade or so long.
''It's really short, if you think about it,'' said JB, who's got an
eye on Melbourne's silver winning trophy.
Asked if he could scoop the Australian prize, Frome-born Jenson Button
replied: ''Why not?''
FIA call another meeting
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.31) FIA president Max Mosley, snubbed by every grand
prix team except Ferrari on Friday, has scheduled another meeting.
It'll happen - if they turn up - in Paris on April 15, just after the
second ever F1 race in Bahrain.
''I wonder whether they'll still be sulking (then),'' the 64-year-old
said after a boycotted summit at London's Heathrow.
Mosley suggested that the slighted Hilton meeting, slated to discuss
technical regulations for 2008 and beyond, had still been productive.
He added: ''It's easier to talk to one team. The meeting was to
consult the teams about what we're going to do (for 2008) -- if they
don't want to (be consulted), that's fine.''
Old car is maxed-out - Schu
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.31) The new 2005 breed of Formula One car will, even
more than before, sort the men from the boys.
That's the belief of world champion Michael Schumacher, who steered
the regulation-spec 'F2004M' in testing last week.
''Driving it, actually,'' said the German, ''is quite exciting --
we're moving more, playing more, and there is more room for raw
36-year-old Schumacher isn't sure, though, how the modified 2004
Ferrari will look in Melbourne, stacked up against a purpose-built
He said: ''It's not much different (to the 2004 car), so we're happy
with reliability. (But) our (old) car, in a way, has reached the
Max coughed at GPWC threat
(GMMF1.NET -- Jan.31) The threat of a breakaway (GPWC) category is a
lot of meaningless 'huffing and puffing.'
That's the claim of FIA president Max Mosley, who dismissed the
likelihood of Formula One's current carmaker contingent splitting in
He said: ''It's impossible to take (the breakaway group) seriously --
there simply isn't the money (for two similar series').
''In the end, they'll all be in Melbourne in March 2008.''
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