F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
March 4, 2005

Mark not keen on F1 quali
Melbourne (GMMF1.NET -- Mar.4) Mark Webber is not keen on F1's new qualifying format, to be debuted at Albert Park.

From 2005, the grand prix grid will be determined by the 'aggregate' time of two single-lap sessions, separated by a whole day.

''I think it's a bit of a shame,'' said the Australian driver, 28.

He hinted that a shaky weather forecast for Saturday could play a bigger role than ever before, making the starting order 'a lottery.

''That could be frustrating,'' said Williams' recruit.

Stoddart 'na´ve' - Mosley
Melbourne (GMMF1.NET -- Mar.4) Max Mosley has little sympathy for 'na´ve' Paul Stoddart, whose Minardi team was banned from exiting pitlane for Friday morning practice.

The FIA president said every team has known about the new aerodynamic regulations since 6 September 2004.

''If he decides not to run,'' Mosley said in an FIA dossier, ''we think it unlikely that the Melbourne organizers will seek compensation.''

Max also accused some of Stoddart's apparent allies, such as McLaren and BMW-Williams, of 'using' the Minardi man.

''(They) will turn on him as soon as it suits them,'' said Mosley.

DC not 'trendy' enough?
Melbourne (GMMF1.NET -- Mar.4) David Coulthard brushed aside suggestions he grew a trendy beard because his old image wasn't 'hip' enough for marketing-savvy Red Bull.

''It's hardly a major change of image,'' he scowled at a big late-night party to mark the team's F1 debut in Melbourne.

Men like Mercedes' Norbert Haug, BMW's Mario Illien, ex- world champion Niki Lauda and Williams' Antonio Pizzonia stopped by for a look -- and a drink.

Pop star 'Pink' provided the entertainment.

Back to the beard issue, though, 33-year-old Coulthard said that - after nearly a decade at McLaren - he's done with 'trying to please others.

''And I really don't give a sh*t about the age issue. I wouldn't want to turn back the clock.''

'Monday' F1 testing
Melbourne (GMMF1.NET -- Mar.4) Bernie Ecclestone has dreamt up a way to reduce spending in F1 -- make the Monday after a grand prix an 'open' test day.

The F1 supremo said such a scheme could negate the teams' desire to spend vast sums of money on sending '50-odd people' to a separate F1 venue.

''Costs are too high,'' the 74-year-old was quoted as saying.

Alonso worried about R25
Melbourne (GMMF1.NET -- Mar.4) Fernando Alonso is still worried about a potential lack of reliability in his admittedly 'very fast' R25 car.

The Renault driver, from Spain, said at Albert Park on Friday that he hardly amassed a trouble-free race distance in winter testing.

''Yeah,'' he said, ''every time we tried we had a few problems -- whether electrical, overheating, hydraulic.

''We kept stopping.''

The 23-year-old, meanwhile, criticized Renault team members for telling the media he doesn't work hard enough in F1.

''Because of that, everyone thinks it,'' he bristled.

''It wasn't true but now I have to deal with it.''

Speeding in Melbourne
Melbourne (GMMF1.NET -- Mar.4) Victorian Police will meet with the Australian grand prix promoter with a concern about apparent speeding in Wednesday's F1 street parade.

A laser speed gun, reportedly used by the local Herald Sun newspaper, clocked a V8 supercar at 157km/h, and Christijan Albers' Minardi doing 200.

When contacted, a police spokesman said video footage would be reviewed, but AGPC executive Tim Bamford insisted that 'a lot of safety precautions' were in place.

On the topic of excessive speed, India's Narain Karthikeyan felt the FIA's wrath at Albert Park on Friday, the Jordan driver slapped with a USD $6110 fine for pitlane speeding.

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