F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
February 8, 2005

Author: Andrew Maitland (GMMF1.NET -- Feb.8) Twice F1 world champion Mika Hakkinen will never race in Formula One again, he told a Finnish newspaper.

The 36-year-old, who in 2005 returns to active duty at the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz touring car (DTM), said 'age' is now a factor.

''It's over,'' tabloid Iltalehti quoted the 1998 and 1999 title winner as saying. ''Write that down.

''The day is drawing nearer when my reaction is slower, my vision weaker, and so on.''

Speculation, however, had said that Hakkinen - the same age as current champion Michael Schumacher - verged on a deal to be Williams' teammate for Mark Webber. He's still linked with a test driving role.

Author: Simon Tipping (GMMF1.NET -- Feb.8) Nelson Piquet Junior, teenage son of the 1980's triple world champion, will test BAR-Honda's car, the F1 team announced.

The Brazilian youngster, holder of last year's British F3 title, is set to try the '006' model at Jerez (Spain) on Tuesday.

We reported in December that Piquet, supported by a Brazilian faction of BAR co-owner BAT, 'pulled out' of an earlier scheduled run.

The 19-year-old, who made his F1 test debut for Williams - got the nod 'in recognition of his achievements in (F3) ... in which he became the youngest-ever winner,' the team also said.

Author: Andrew Maitland (GMMF1.NET -- Feb.8) Red Bull's 2005 challenger, with a darker F1 livery, debuted at Jerez on Monday.

Team number one, David Coulthard, rolled the car - an update of last year's Jaguar - out of the garage in Spain and later played down any expectation of a forthcoming grand prix win.

''Whether I will still be competing when (the team) is eventually challenging for podiums is a different matter,'' the Scot told Autosport, ''but what I can do is help build (the) foundation.''

'RB1' will be launched in Melbourne.

Team principal Christian Horner, meanwhile, tempered expectation by insisting that he 'inherited' RB1 following the Ford takeover. ''I haven't had an input.''

Author: Simon Tipping (GMMF1.NET -- Feb.8) In fog, the first Midland-owned, Toyota-powered Jordan ran at Silverstone (Northamptonshire) on Monday.

2005 driver Tiago Monteiro took the wheel of the car dubbed 'EJ15' -- essentially last year's yellow racer without the former Ford Cosworth V10 engine installation.

''We had to wait all morning before we got started,'' said new team principal Trevor Carlin.

''We're now looking forward to getting ... into the full program.''

Portugal's Monteiro, who called the day 'cool', reported no major technical hitches. ''So far so good,'' he quipped.

Narain Karthikeyan, meanwhile - from India - will get into gear at the English location from Wednesday.

Author: Andrew Maitland (GMMF1.NET -- Feb.8) Max Mosley has rubbished a carmakers' document that outlined a future vision for grand prix racing.

The FIA president said the document, endorsed - for the first time - by Toyota and Honda, went into no detail about how the vision might be implemented.

Mosley said: ''It reads like a fairytale -- wealth for all and beautiful weather every day.''

The Englishman also denied the teams' accusation of favoritism for Ferrari. ''I'd like to slow them down,'' Max insisted.

''Formula One would be much better, in my opinion, if the other teams were more competitive.''

He then called the teams' brooding boycott of a recent London meeting 'silly' and 'a little childish.'

Author: Simon Tipping (GMMF1.NET -- Feb.8) The sale of Jordan to Alex Shnaider's Midland Group took an incredibly short one week and one day to complete.

Legal firm 'Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw' (MBR&M) handled the acquisition, and even advised Midland on their earlier 'attempted' (albeit unsuccessful) purchase of Jaguar from Ford.

A report said the Jordan sale was fast-tracked so that the new owner could 'garner sponsorship and working capital' in time for the looming Australian grand prix.

Author: Simon Tipping (GMMF1.NET -- Feb.8) Former Toyota, Ferrari and Sauber driver Mika Salo will be 'mentor' to the next young Flying Finn.

Juho Annala, a star of Scandinavian F-Ford, has signed a deal to drive for Alan Docking in the 'national' championship of British F3 in 2005.

''To have Mika guiding my career is more than I could dream of,'' said the twenty year old.

''He's one of my heroes.''

2005 will be Juho's second year in a single-seater.

Docking, meanwhile, said 39-year-old Salo - who, incidentally, also competed for the team in 1990 - can give the youngster 'invaluable' advice 'both in and out of the car.'

Author: Simon Tipping (GMMF1.NET -- Feb.8) Former champion Jacques Villeneuve has denied being disturbed about speculation of a design 'flaw' in Sauber's new F1 challenger.

The French-Canadian confirmed there's 'a lot to do' to make the Hinwil-built racer a winner.

''But that's why I decided to join Sauber,'' JV told his official website. ''I want to help the team ... get better.''

33-year-old Villeneuve will run at Jerez de la Frontera (Spain) this week, a test that'll be 'really important' in gauging the C24 against rivals, he stated.

Author: Simon Tipping (GMMF1.NET -- Feb.8) Felipe Massa is looking forward to going wheel-to-wheel with a former world champion in 2005.

Sauber's incumbent driver will be stacked up against new teammate Jacques Villeneuve, who in 1997 took the drivers' title.

''He's going to be a tough guy to beat,'' the 24-year-old Brazilian admitted.

''I look forward to beating him probably about as much as he does to (beating) me.''

French-Canadian JV slammed Massa when, back in 2002, the wild and mistake-prone rookie debuted. But Felipe, who then tested for Ferrari throughout 2003, insists he's since improved.

''Even the critics were important in my learning curve,'' he confessed, ''but the past is past -- I met Jacques late last year and he seems to be motivated.''

Author: Simon Tipping (GMMF1.NET -- Feb.8) Ralf Schumacher has delivered a less scathing verdict than teammate Jarno Trulli on Toyota's new grand prix racer.

The German said that, so far in winter testing, TF105 'compares quite well' with the other launched 2005 contenders.

''Mechanically the car is good,'' the 29-year-old brother of F1's world champion stated, whilst warning that a February prediction will mean nothing come March 6.

''Only there,'' Ralf said, referring to Melbourne, ''everyone will bring the best package they have and then we'll see where we all are.'

(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.8) F1's Olivier Panis is suffering from the 'flu.

Last Wednesday at Valencia (Spain), the Frenchman - Toyota's former racer and new full time test driver - had to go home early with a fever.

''Valencia is already quite tiring, physically, for a driver,'' said the 38-year-old, ''and I felt really bad at lunch.

''So we decided to stop.''

(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.8) Bahrain's grand prix track is the scene of some feverish activity.

After a busy 2004 calendar of racing, including the inaugural Formula One event last April, the unique sand/cement track verge needed a revamp.

''The huge job of removing and replacing all of the stabilized sand ... is nearly done,'' a spokesman said.

The 2005 Bahrain grand prix, round three, is slated for April 3.

(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.8) Ferrari supplier Bridgestone has denied speculation of a major problem with excessive tire wear.

At last week's Valencia session, Ferrari lingered in the midfield while Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello reportedly complained about a lack of durability.

''We got the data we wanted to get,'' technical manager Hisao Suganuma told Autosport.

The Japanese then denied that the Valencia-spec even resembles the tire that'll have to last through qualifying and the grand prix in Melbourne.

He added: ''We are happy with the (pre-season) data we have so far.''

(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.8) Robert Doornbos thought he had a 2005 Jordan drive all wrapped up.

Then, though, 'Midland' took over, installing new management and Trevor Carlin protégé-duo Narain Karthikeyan and Tiago Monteiro.

The Dutchman, Doornbos - who 'Friday' tested for Eddie Jordan's team last year - said the newsflash 'totally overwhelmed' him.

He told his website: ''I was pretty confident I'd be on the Melbourne grid.

''Now we're going to plan-B.''

Robert revealed that management had commenced talks with Jordan about a test role, but had also received an offer from a non-F1 category.

But he insisted: ''For the moment, I'm sticking with F1.''

(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.8) It's odd that, at the moment, the word 'stability' should be used in connection with Jordan.

Not only did owner Eddie Jordan - having switched from Ford to Toyota power - sell up, new owner 'Midland' imposed new management and a rookie driving duo.

But (new principal) Trevor Carlin, taking heat for not plumping for a bit of experience at the wheel, said Narain Karthikeyan and Tiago Monteiro do, indeed, inject a little stability.

He said the pair, both junior Carlin men from F3 or World Nissan, are like 'old friends' to a few of the new Carlin mechanics and engineers.

And Trevor added: ''At Jordan there are plenty of good people, but most I don't know. It'll be a real help to be familiar from the word 'go' with the guys in the cockpit.''

(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.8) France's Franck Montagny has vowed to race toward a 2006 F1 debut.

The Renault test driver enjoyed a muscular link with Minardi last year, the clout of team chief Flavio Briatore, and a bit of Renault-infused cash to stake a 2005 claim.

But with only a back-of-the-grid berth available, Briatore pulled Montagny off the market and committed him to another year of development.

''It's not that bad,'' Franck jokingly told his website.

''I could be a bit happier, but I'm making a living and I've heard that patience is a virtue.''

(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.8) A crucial vacancy could be about to emerge in the F1 driver market.

Overlooked for the race drive, Antonio Pizzonia might just opt to spend the next year or two rejuvenating a F1 flirt in an American Champ Car.

The Brazilian is Grove's key test driver.

His manager, Jaime Brito, flew to Chicago last week -- home of the renowned Newman-Haas team, which may still be considering racing a 'third' entrant in 2005.

Meanwhile, Jordan refugee Timo Glock tested for Rocketsports' Champ Car team at the weekend.

(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.8) The identity of David Coulthard's 2005 F1 teammate will be unveiled after the Barcelona test next week.

Team chief Christian Horner said both candidates, Jaguar incumbent Christian Klien and F3000 champion Vitantonio Liuzzi, will run at the Spanish track.

He added: ''We'll decide after that.''

Horner refused to comment on speculation that 22-year-old Klien is the more likely, or whether 'seat swapping' will occur, but admitted that the young Austrian 'would benefit' from a second year on the grid.

And he said of Italy's Liuzzi: ''He's undoubtedly a star of the future.''

(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.8) Former F1 designer Sergio Rinland will re-join the racing Paddock in 2005.

The Argentinean, of Brabham and - more recently - Sauber, signed a technical consultancy deal with GP2 entrant Coloni.

Team owner Paolo Coloni, meanwhile - who signed former Minardi driver Gianmaria Bruni for 2005 - outlined an ambition to join the F1 grid in a few years.

''That's the aim,'' he told Autosport.

Elsewhere, the UK's Duke of York - shown around by chairman Ron Dennis - visited McLaren HQ in Woking on Monday.

(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.8) There are some who think that, with over a dozen wins and a decade near the front of the grid in the bag, David Coulthard should have retired at the end of last year.

''I think that's a pretty defensive attitude,'' the veteran Scot, who on Monday debuted Red Bull's first Formula One car (at Jerez), told Autosport.

''I want to live my life, not worry about damaging my statistics.''

Coulthard, 33, also said that F1 - even after a very long McLaren tenure - is still a 'significant' part of who he is. But what's he got to prove at an energy-drink owned team in 2005?

Nothing, DC said. ''I am very happy,'' he told the magazine, ''for everyone to ignore me and let me get on with it.'''

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