F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
February 25, 2005
Smith joined Red Bull
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.25) Mark Smith, formerly of Renault and Jordan, will
start work at Red Bull Racing on Monday, a source said.
Following a fleeting stint at Jordan, most paddock analysts expected
the Englishman to wind up at Toyota, alongside former Renault
colleague and technical director, Mike Gascoyne.
But 43-year-old Smith will in fact assume a 'foremost management role'
on technical director Guenther Steiner's RBR tech team, which still
features former Jaguar chief aerodynamicist Ben Agathangelou.
Schu may race beyond 2006
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.25) F1's oldest and most successful driver, seven
time champion Michael Schumacher, has refused to rule out prolonging
his contract beyond 2006.
The German, 36, said racing on would depend on the similar extension
of 'other decision makers', like principal Jean Todt and Ross Brawn,
The 83-grand prix winner also said he doesn't feel his age, 'which is
good, if I want to continue (racing).'
And he can count on the support of wife Corinna, and children Gina
Maria (8) and Mick (5) throughout the quest for drivers' title number
eight in '05.
Michael said the kids 'watch me on TV' every second Sunday, but only
for a lap or two. ''Then they run off and start playing again,'' he
Rookie daunted by PR toil
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.25) Racing at full throttle around concrete-lined
Albert Park is no problem, according to Minardi rookie Patrick
The Austrian is more concerned about a 'massive' PR program put
together by team owner and local Melbourne boy, Paul Stoddart.
''As usual (Paul) wants to make as many people as possible happy with
all sorts of events,'' Friesacher told Autosport.
''The driving does not worry me.''
24-year-old Friesacher said Minardi's 2005 objective, but only after
the reportedly innovative 'PS05' car is ready in late April, is to
'Villeneuve' - the movie
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.25) French-Canadian Jacques Villeneuve will
participate in the making of a movie about his life and that of fellow
F1 racer and enigmatic father Gilles.
'Villeneuve' will be produced for $30m by Gabriella Martinelli.
''When I started my career,'' 33-year-old Jacques said at Montreal
restaurant Newtown, ''... people looked at me like they were seeing my
''(But) I wanted to achieve something myself.''
The 1997 world champion was eleven when Villeneuve Sr died in a brutal
1982 shunt at former Belgian GP venue Zolder.
JV said he's often regarded as resenting his Dad.
'That's totally wrong,'' he retorted. ''He was always my hero.''
Jacques' agent Craig Pollock, meanwhile, said Villeneuve would become
a 'consultant' for the 2006 flick, in order to exert some script
Rookies win F1 'superlicense'
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.25) A fax vote of the F1 Commission has
green-lighted the 2005 debut of grand prix racing's rookie contingent.
We reported earlier in February that Minardi's Paul Stoddart, for one,
questioned the legality of the fax system.
But it was the only way to put Christijan Albers (Minardi), Narain
Karthikeyan and Tiago Monteiro (Jordan) on the Albert Park grid with a
superlicense, as the Commission could not have convened prior to the
Team 'reserve' or 'third' drivers, like Toyota's Ricardo Zonta, also
did not automatically qualify for a license.
But, oddly, it's understood that Minardi and also Toyota did not
actually cast a fax vote.
Webber to win home GP
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.25) If Mark Webber wins at home next Sunday, so too
will countryman Paul Stoddart.
The Minardi team owner said he placed a bet on his former employee
winning the Australian grand prix for Williams.
Stoddart told the Sydney Morning Herald: ''I won $100 on the
Richmond/Collingwood (AFL football) game last week and (the Webber
wager) is similar to that.''
The 50-year-old, though - who gave Webber his debut at Melbourne in
2002 - grinned when he said he would've got better odds had he placed
the bet 'before (Mark) was announced as a Williams driver.'
Stoddart said of the 28-year-old driver: ''We're great mates, and if
Williams get it together, I think Mark will ... win his debut grand
Doornbos to test Jordan
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.25) Although Robert Doornbos thought he had a Jordan
race drive in the bag, the Dutchman will test for the newly
Midland-owned team in 2005.
Dutch countryman Nicky Pastorelli grabbed the official role, but
23-year-old Doornbos is understood to have signed a test deal, and may
even share the 'Friday' role if Jordan unfurl a third car after the
initial 'flyaway' season.
Doornbos, from Rotterdam, knows new Jordan principal Trevor Carlin
from Formula Three.
F1 in Red Square
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.25) Grand prix supremo Bernie Ecclestone has
traveled to Russia for the launch of the now 'Midland'-owned Jordan
While Russian president Vladimir Putin - although invited - cannot
attend, Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov will also show up for the event in
Meanwhile, we can reveal that - with the Kremlin in the background - a
Cossack choir is sure to give the formerly Irish-owned squad a new,
authentic Russian flavor.
To be renamed 'MidlandF1' in 2006, the team is owned by Russian-born
Canadian Alex Shnaider, who made a fortune in the steel industry.
He remarked: ''We want to portray the progressive image that Russia
has today -- modern, intelligent and successful.''
Meanwhile, Ferrari will also launch their new car on Friday, at
Maranello HQ, although the 'F2005' will not be taken to the Australian
Schu won't win - brother
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.25) Michael Schumacher will not win next Sunday's
Australian grand prix.
That's the opinion of the Ferrari driver's little brother -- Ralf
Schumacher, of Toyota.
He told La Gazzetta dello Sport: ''On the podium I see Renault,
McLaren and Ferrari, in that order.
''Toyota? In the top ten.''
Ralf, 29, said Renault don't have the strongest engine, but 'the most
suitable car' for the temporary Albert Park layout.
He played down any suggestion that Ferrari 'sandbagged' in winter
testing. ''For sure,'' said Schu Jr, ''it's not going the way they
And former six-year employer Williams? ''A great engine,'' Ralf
remarked of the BMW, but the FW27 is a ''great disaster. They'll do
Davis left Williams last year
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.25) Contrary to speculation that Williams' senior
aerodynamicist John Davis was 'let go', Patrick Head said Grove's team
man left following a 'fixed term' agreement.
A source close to Davis said he 'resigned' in June last year, prior to
working 'almost' an entire 6-month notice period and leaving in
Head, Grove's co-owner and engineering consultant, insisted, however,
that Davis' stay was 'associated (with) the new (wind tunnel) and
upgrade of the existing tunnel.'
The former technical director also explained that fired chief
aerodynamicist Antonio Terzi left because she had a 'confrontational'
approach and was not 'open' enough with Sam Michael.
Head added: ''Sam tried to get (Antonia) to be more included in the
whole design process, but ultimately it didn't work.''
Indian may keep helmet design
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.25) India's F1 rookie Narain Karthikeyan may not, as
reported, remove the 'tricolor' from his helmet ahead of the
Australian grand prix.
On Wednesday, the 28-year-old vowed to change the design, following a
controversial government ban.
But he now says he'll take the patriotic design to Melbourne, and only
wear a non-offending alternative if asked.
''I'm not going to (change the design),'' the Chennai-born Jordan
driver said, ''unless I have to.''
Sauber's 'strong' car - JV
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.25) Former world champion Jacques Villeneuve has
played down suggestions he is struggling at the wheel of a sluggish
The 33-year-old told Portuguese publication 'Sportmotores' that C24 is
a 'strong' car.
''And with Michelin (tires) it's even better,'' Villeneuve added,
''but it's still too early to predict how (the car) is going to line
up against the opposition.''
The former Williams and BAR driver, who returned from a sabbatical
last year with Renault, noted that Hinwil-based Sauber often launch a
'decent' car, and then markedly improve throughout the season.
JV remarked: ''And we're under less pressure than some of the top
teams, which is also a help.''
Toyota to 'obey' F1 pact
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.25) Toyota scotched a rumor it might abandon a
nine-team pact to voluntarily limit F1 testing during 2005.
With BAR once thought to also be wavering, Cologne's technical
director Mike Gascoyne said the team would 'obey' the so-called
'gentleman's agreement' first mooted in Brazil last October.
Meanwhile, Paul Stoddart, unofficial 'shop steward' for the
non-Ferrari Group of Nine, said at Melbourne airport that the 'real'
championship this year is for 'second place.'
''(Ferrari) are going to run around and around (the test tracks) while
the rest try to reduce spending by running a limit,'' the Minardi
''Will they be ahead? What do you think? Of course they will be!''
'Winter' period red flagged
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.25) F1's 'winter' period ended on Thursday.
At rainy Valencia, a field of three - led by BAR's Jenson Button, who
had a Honda V10 failure - rounded out a sodden week at Valencia
''It's the end of a hard, three-month period,'' Williams' technical
director Sam Michael said.
Team driver Nick Heidfeld and Toyota's Jarno Trulli, who brought out
the red flag when some bodywork went awry, completed the time sheet --
just one week prior to opening practice in Melbourne.
''We're all looking forward to getting to Australia,'' said
25-year-old Jenson Button.
BMW laud '05 F1 design
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.25) BMW's 2005-spec 'P84/P85' F1 engine will top
950bhp before the circus converges on Shanghai in October.
That's the resolve of the German manufacturer's motorsport director,
He said in Munich that the V10's performance is 'almost identical' to
the 2004 design, despite a new FIA regulation mandating double the
''We're still able to head for 19,000 rpm,'' Theissen remarked, ''and
we're already right ahead of 900 (horse power) again.
''It was an enormous challenge, but they've done a great job here.''
BMW, though, had to scrap the intended and 'really aggressive' 'P85'
concept, when the governing FIA announced their two-GP intention.
Heidfeld cracked V10 code
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.25) German driver Nick Heidfeld's speed, but also
clear technical skill, won him a racing role at Grove.
That's the claim of BMW-Williams' co-owner and engineering expert
He said 27-year-old Heidfeld, whilst locked in a head-to-head
'shootout' with Antonio Pizzonia at a winter test, pointed out an
aspect of Williams' BMW engine management that 'immediately gave ...
Head added: ''We'd been carrying these things ... for two years,
without anyone pointing it out.''
In pure speed, though, PD said Heidfeld and Pizzonia - the younger
Brazilian - are neck-and-neck.
''But I think Nick's experience,'' Patrick Head remarked, ''gave him a
Toyota hunt future talent
(GMMF1.NET -- Feb.25) Cologne-based Toyota have renamed their driver
talent academy 'Toyota Young Drivers Program.'
Headed by Noritoshi Arai, three stars - Franck Perera (France), and
Japanese duo Kohei Hirate and Kamui Kobayashi - will feature in 2005.
Of note, Hirate will race in Euro F3 for 1982 world champion Keke
Rosberg's own team.
A statement also said that the European driver program will be merged
with Japan's own 'Toyota Racing School' version.
''We are now looking to find ... Toyota's racing talent of the
future,'' said executive VP of Toyota, Yoshiaki Kinoshita.
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