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 principal predicted.

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 for later.

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 minutes.

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 2005.

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 Silverstone.

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 until Melbourne.''

'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 25-year-old Davidson.

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 2006.

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 right.''

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 marque.

Following the Ferrari coup, Toyota - and Japanese F1 rival Honda - appeared in a joint statement with GPWC members BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Renault.

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 Autosport.

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 category.

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 2005.

''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 driving ability.''

36-year-old Schumacher isn't sure, though, how the modified 2004 Ferrari will look in Melbourne, stacked up against a purpose-built field.

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 maximum.''

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 two.

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.''

Feedback can be sent to feedback@autoracing1.com

Go to our forums to discuss this article


Copyright 1999-2014  AutoRacing1 is an independent internet online publication and is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by the IRL., NASCAR, FIA,  Sprint, or any other series sponsor. This material may not be published, broadcast, or redistributed without permission.