F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
February 16, 2005
Stoddart tore up Kiesa deal
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.16) A grinning Paul Stoddart ceremonially tore up a
thick contract at Austria's Casino Velden.
The Minardi owner said it had covered Patrick Friesacher's mooted
'third' testing role, but it might as well have been that of past 2005
shoe-in Nicolas Kiesa.
24-year-old rookie Friesacher will race into F1 alongside Christijan
Albers next month, effectively completing the F1 line-up.
The Wolfsberg-born driver, who raced in F3000 last year, said becoming
a grand prix racer is the realization 'of a long held dream.'
It's believed that Danish driver Kiesa's pledged financial backing
Stoddart, though, called second choice Friesacher - reportedly
bringing about a third of Kiesa's promised purse - 'quick' and
''I firmly believe Patrick and Christijan provide Minardi with an
extremely strong young driver line-up.''
Friesacher's manager is Hungarian GP promoter Thomas Frank.
Kimi injured in smash
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.16) Kimi Raikkonen emerged shaken and nursing an
injured thumb on Tuesday afternoon, following a high-speed,
The Finn, at Barcelona, smashed into the barrier at flat-out Turn 11
when - seemingly - a 'foreign body' damaged the McLaren's wheel rim.
25-year-old Kimi's 'bruised but unhurt,' said a spokesperson, who
added that the MP4-20 incurred severe damage. McLaren's race team (not
the test team) is handling the week's Spanish run.
Raikkonen will not test on Wednesday, with Pedro de la Rosa to take
the - hopefully - repaired car.
''It was a big impact,'' KR later explained, ''and I've hurt my
F1's nine set for GPWC summit
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.16) On Wednesday, every F1 team (except Ferrari)
will meet with the rogue 'breakaway' carmaker group.
At the London summit, 'GPWC' will present detail of their threatened
2008 world championship, including an informal counter offer for
Bernie Ecclestone's reputed '50 per cent' Concorde income promise.
The breakaway offer is likely to embrace an up to 80 per cent income
share, a source said.
Having lost Ferrari to Ecclestone, GPWC is made up of BMW,
Mercedes-Benz and Renault, with the casual support of Japan's F1
contingent, Honda and Toyota.
''It may be time for a fresh start,'' one team insider told UK's The
Wurz unseen for 'Friday' job
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.16) Spain's Pedro de la Rosa will drive the spare
McLaren car in Friday practice for the initial phase of F1 season
The team's main six foot three test driver Alexander Wurz, we reported
earlier, does not fit in the unmodified MP4-20 model.
''Pedro has done the majority of the (2005 car's) test work ... so
far,'' read a McLaren statement.
Austrian driver Wurz, until he can slide into the '20', is limited to
mostly tire development at the wheel of a MP4-19B.
But Woking-based McLaren insisted that both men 'will ... work with
the team throughout (2005).'
Wurz may, then, assume the 'Friday' role after April's Bahrain grand
prix, 33-year-old de la Rosa told a Spanish newspaper.
Pedro also admitted to 'As' that Melbourne, Malaysia and Sakhir
represent his 'last chance' to reignite a stalled racing career.
GPWC to call breakaway 'F1'
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.16) 'GPWC' appear destined for a name change -- and
it could be Formula One.
The rogue carmaker group, set to undrape the detail of a threatened
2008 world championship, looked likely to call it something like
'Grand Prix Motor Racing.'
F1's commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone owns the 'Formula One'
moniker, according to conventional wisdom.
But the 'money' section of UK newspaper The Telegraph quoted GPWC
spokesman Xander Heijnen as saying that Bernie cannot restrict GPWC's
use of the 'F1' descriptor.
A Patent Office spokesman confirmed that 'Formula One' isn't fully
controlled because it is more general than brands like 'Coca-Cola' or
Indeed, 'F1' and 'Formula One' are already used legitimately in
triathlon and powerboat racing.
JYS to take Brit GP back seat
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.16) Sir Jackie Stewart has taken a step back from
his job at the top of the British racing drivers' club.
The triple F1 champion and 'president' of the Silverstone owner said -
due to increasing time obligations elsewhere - he'd forthwith fulfill
the role in a mere 'ambassadorial' capacity.
Scotland-born Stewart, 65, recently took on a new position
representing the Royal Bank of Scotland, now a F1 sponsor.
He said it's therefore 'impossible' to devote the same, appropriate,
time to the BRDC. Stewart added that the entire structure at the Club
Sir Jackie and ousted chairman Ray Bellm clashed memorably last month,
with Bellm calling for the Scot's resignation.
Toyota work on another update
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.16) Toyota, who on Tuesday unveiled a major
remodeling of their 2005 car, will expose yet another update prior to
the Malaysian grand prix.
Technical director Mike Gascoyne, who said he'd never had the
resources to do a similar thing at Renault, revealed that the TF105 is
set to look 'totally different' - again - at the second race.
''We'll have the Melbourne car,'' he said at Barcelona, where Jarno
Trulli steered the revised TF105 to ninth, ''and a different (car) in
Eyewitnesses said a spinning Trulli ended the car's debut in the
However, explaining the bigger-than-planned car rehash, Mike -
internally pressured for a podium finish - admitted that TF105 is too
hard on tires.
Ricardo Zonta, meanwhile, in a modified 2004 Toyota, eclipsed Trulli's
best lap by more than a second.
2005 rules 'have failed'
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.16) New regulations have failed to slow F1 down.
FIA president Max Mosley, in the face of Valencia (Kimi Raikkonen) and
Barcelona (Michael Schumacher) track records in winter testing,
admitted that the theoretically slower 2005 field is 'just as fast' as
He insisted: ''But it's where they would have been that is important.
''The most we can hope to do is contain (speed).''
The major 'safety' changes for 2005 include more aerodynamic
limitations, and rules requiring longer lives from engines and tires.
Max is also sure that the 2006 move from a V10 to V8 engine formula
will similarly 'contain' - rather than reign in - the speed of F1
Austria's back on F1 grid
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.16) Austria, once a dwindling spirit in the F1
paddock, is back with a vengeance in 2005.
In late 2003, with the A1-Ring no longer a fixture of the grand prix
calendar, the only Austrian presence in Formula One was test driver
Last year, though, Austrian billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz funded
Christian Klien's F1 (Jaguar) debut, and - now - is owner of the Red
Klien will be joined on the 2005 grid by countryman Patrick
Friesacher, to drive a Minardi car, who harks from (and still lives
''It's very good to have some more Austrians in F1,'' said triple
world champion Niki Lauda.
Countryman Gerhard Berger, who last raced in 1997, recalls 1984, when
a driving trio - himself, Lauda and Jo Gartner (killed at Le Mans,
1986) - represented Austria in F1.
Red Bull halt expectation
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.16) Guenther Steiner is playing down expectations
ahead of Red Bull's Melbourne F1 debut.
Bought from Ford in November, the team is running their 'RB1' car -
basically Jaguar's intended 'R5' model - in Barcelona testing this
''I'm not going to make a prediction,'' said the defiant,
newly-appointed technical director, a German-speaking Italian.
''It would be wrong, though, to expect too much.''
Steiner, last year working in DTM, problematically filled Jaguar's
technical director role in 2001.
Ralf no fan of 'new' F1
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.16) Ralf Schumacher, badly injured last year in a
300km/h smash, is not a fan of the 'slower' F1.
While struggling with understeer in Toyota's TF105, the German
admitted he preferred the pre-2005 style of racing.
''I liked it the way we had it,'' said 29-year-old Schumacher, younger
brother of the world champion (Michael).
He added: ''I think it's a good idea to be slower so we are safer, but
on the other hand ... I'm not sure what everyone, including the
spectator, really would prefer to see.''
Ralf also denied that the new aerodynamic, engine and tire regulation
combination had made it any easier to overtake.
Fiery Fernando, cold Catalan
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.16) Fernando Alonso, to be named a Spanish UNICEF
ambassador, set a mean pace in Tuesday's Circuit de Catalunya F1
The Renault driver led a field comprising seven rival teams and twelve
Michael Schumacher (tenth), in the F2004M Ferrari, continued to trail
the pace, but insists he'll be up there when F1 goes to Melbourne next
The German, at the initially chilly track, said: ''Everything is going
to plan, and I am sure we are going to fight right at the front (at
the season opener).''
Also of note was Antonio Pizzonia's first appearance since missing out
on the Williams drive, in the FW27, with the new Jordan duo - Narain
Karthikeyan and Tiago Monteiro - listlessly bringing up the rear.
''I did more laps today,'' said India's NK, ''than I've ever done in
an F1 car before.
''I've got a lot to learn in a short period.''
F1 in spin over tire change
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.16) F1's new single-tire regulation still has many
key players in a spin.
From 2005, a driver must select a single set of rubber prior to
Saturday qualifying -- and use it right through to the end of the
300km grand prix.
''What I'm finding,'' said Michelin-clad Red Bull driver Christian
Klien, ''is the tire wears quite a bit in the first ten laps and then
''We have a bit of work still to do on minimizing the wear (rate).''
Toyota's Ralf Schumacher, though - on the same French product - is
finding a 'performance drop' throughout a long run.
''Then it comes back up,'' the German remarked.
''We aren't sure how it's going to go on every circuit, especially hot
ones like Malaysia.''
On the F1 pitwall, though, it's a different story -- Renault's Pat
Symonds is pleased that, from now on, a grand prix might be raced
right through to the checkered flag.
Last year, he said, the winner 'was determined after the last pitstop.
''Nothing really happened after that.''
Jacques Villeneuve, meanwhile, is finding that a harder - and more
worn - tire, makes it easier to make a mistake. ''The cars are more
nervous in braking,'' said Sauber's French-Canadian.
Technical director at Toyota, Mike Gascoyne, tips the scale in favor
of near-exclusive Ferrari supplier, Bridgestone.
He said: ''I think the present trait is Bridgestone being consistent,
with maybe Michelin having an initial edge but lacking in
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.16) The much-discussed track surface at Circuit de
Catalunya, Spain's grand prix venue, is improving.
Following a total resurfacing for the New Year, many teams - like BAR,
who called off a January test there - complained of an almost total
lack of grip.
But Renault, like six other grand prix rivals, plonked - for the first
time - their impressive R25 on the Spanish tarmac on Tuesday, and said
the surface is now 'picking up grip.
''At the moment,'' said chief test engineer Christian Silk, ''it means
the fastest times are posted quite late in the day, but we hope to see
conditions stabilize later in the week.''
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