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F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
March 23, 2005


Barrichello's broken F2005
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.23) Ferrari's new F2005 is 'definitely quicker' than the older model, Rubens Barrichello claimed after trying the scarlet car at Mugello.

The Brazilian toured the Ferrari-owned Italian circuit on Tuesday, but pulled to a trackside halt on the ninety sixth lap when he sensed 'something wasn't right with the motor.'

However, his first impression had been of an 'extremely' quick racer.

32-year-old RB commented: ''(F2005) represents a step forward in every area. I'm very happy.''

Ahead of a decision about whether to fast track the car's debut to Bahrain, world champion teammate Michael Schumacher is at the wheel on Wednesday.








Narain dobs-in a doubter
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.23) If Narain Karthikeyan can keep beating his teammate and maybe score a point or two, the sport's first Indian thinks he can stay in F1 beyond 2005.

The 28-year-old, in his home country on Tuesday after a flying visit to Bahrain, noted the recent climb from Jordan of drivers like Giancarlo Fisichella and Nick Heidfeld.

''If I keep finishing,'' he told a video conference, ''I will (also) be on the wanted list.''

Manager Piers Hunnisett, meanwhile, is hopeful he can get a bigger team 'interested.'

Karthikeyan also used the occasion to dob-in a rival who questioned the Indian's physical ability to finish the grueling Malaysian GP -- '(Juan Pablo) Montoya.'

''He felt I wouldn't be able to do it,'' NK said, ''but I showed I could.''








Indian GP 'by 2010'
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.23) The on-again, off-again 'Indian grand prix' may be back on track, according to Suresh Kalmadi.

He's the president of the Indian Olympic Association and staunch advocate of bringing Formula One to India.

''Plans should be firmed up in the next six months,'' he vowed at a sponsor event in Delhi attended by India's first-ever F1 driver Narain Karthikeyan.

Although Hyderabad's original GP bid foundered, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Delhi are still connected with the grand prix pursuit, Kalmadi revealed.

He added: ''I'm sure by (2010) we'll have F1 in India.''








Red Bull's engine supply
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.23) Settling Red Bull's engine supply for 2006 and beyond 'is a priority.'

That's the claim of former GP driver Helmut Marko, of Austria, and motor sport 'advisor' to billionaire F1 team owner Dietrich Mateschitz.

He told 'Sport am Sonntag' that Red Bull might plug ahead with current partner Cosworth, although speculation also connects the fledgling team with BMW and Honda.

''In truth,' Marko answered, ''there are three or four (manufacturers) in the frame.''

He said: ''We aim to make a decision by the end of April, so (the engine) can be integrated with the design of the new car.''








JV boot 'speculation' - agent
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.23) The suggestion that Anthony Davidson is set to replace Sauber straggler Jacques Villeneuve is 'pure speculation.'

JV's manager, Craig Pollock, denied the existence of a 'performance clause' in the French-Canadian's 2005 contract.

''I ... would never have accepted that,'' he told Autosport.

Pollock, ironically the founder of Anthony Davidson's employer (BAR) and author of his test driving contract, suggested the reports are the work of an imaginative British press.

And he dismissed 33-year-old Villeneuve's 'C24' struggle as a simple lack of confidence.

''Jacques isn't comfortable with the setup,'' Pollock said, ''so both driver and team have to find out how to get back to one hundred per cent.''








'Hard but fair' - Ralf S.
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.23) In the controversy surrounding Giancarlo Fisichella's crash into Mark Webber at Sepang, it was easy to overlook that the latter Australian collided earlier with Ralf Schumacher.

Mercifully, neither driver said much about it.

''It proved that Williams' car is harder than mine,'' Toyota driver Schumacher, 29, smiled, ''as he seemed to come away with no damage.

''I think the racing was hard but fair.''

Nevertheless, Ralf - who later lost a chunk of bodywork in the melee - found the rest of the race a struggle, due to 'bad vibration.

''It became so strong that I couldn't read my pit board anymore,'' the German revealed.








Bridgestone come clean
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.23) Bridgestone have come clean regarding Ferrari's dismal showing in the Malaysian grand prix.

The Japanese supplier's Technical director Hirohide Hamashima said the woeful result 'is undoubtedly down to our tires.'

He added in the Italian 'La Gazzetta dello Sport' newspaper: ''There are no attenuating circumstances.

''It is a lesson for us (but) we are ready to respond.''

Bridgestone said a 'new generation' F1 tire would be introduced for Ferrari at the next grand prix, in Bahrain (April 1-3).







Only Renault rule Toyota
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.23) Jarno Trulli's podium feat elevated Toyota to a best-ever second in the constructors' world championship.

''It's commendable,'' said German teammate Ralf Schumacher, who finished fifth, ''considering Toyota have had only fifty races in F1.''

Renault, on 26, rule a commanding 14-point lead over the Cologne-based outfit, with Red Bull, Ferrari, Williams and McLaren all within a 3-point striking distance of Toyota.

Ralf, 29, continued: ''Ferrari, McLaren and Williams have more than a century of experience between them.

''People underestimate how difficult F1 is.''








Michelin man to Toyota
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.23) Pascal Vasselon, ousted project manager at Michelin, will soon re-emerge in grand prix pitlane -- in a Toyota uniform.

It's reported that the Frenchman will take up a position in Cologne's R&D department prior to the San Marino grand prix late next month.

To the chagrin of many Michelin-clad teams, Vasselon - ostensibly due to a lack of performance at the French tire supplier - was moved to the non-racing 4x4 line in America.

But, asked what Pascal's next move might be, motor sport director Pierre Dupasquier said in Melbourne: ''It's up to him.

''He loves Formula One.''








Sato to resume training
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.23) Takuma Sato is getting over a bad dose of 'flu that sat him out of Sunday's grand prix in Malaysia.

BAR's Japanese driver spent race day on a drip but a blood test ruled out any grave ailment.

''It sounds like there were several other people in the paddock suffering from a similar thing,'' said the 28-year-old's manager, Andrew Gilbert-Scott.

He told crash.net that, although a PR trip to Jakarta was cancelled, Sato wasn't scheduled to test at Paul Ricard and will shortly resume a training program for Bahrain.

''I don't see why he shouldn't be able to do that,'' said Andrew Gilbert-Scott.








Sauber hunt 'third' man
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.23) Sauber may reconsider their decision to not run a 'third' car in Friday practice, it's reported.

Following Jacques Villeneuve's claim that it would be a 'big help,' F1 owner Peter Sauber is believed to have commenced a hunt for someone able to foot the $5m bill.

Autosport said the Swiss team has talked to Timo Glock and Minardi hopeful Nicolas Kiesa.

Sauber said: ''We would need (an) experienced, quick driver.''

Villeneuve, 33, said last week that leaving tire evaluation to a 'third' driver would clear time for him to 'look at setup a lot more.

''I started the year not really knowing the car,'' the French-Canadian, a former world and Indy champion, moaned.








Bernie 'backing down'?
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.23) F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is 'close to a settlement' with a trio of control-seeking banks.

The banks' lead lawyer told a High Court judge on Tuesday morning that 'something' could be agreed within a day or so.

The banks, with a majority share in SLEC - F1's holding company - have already won control of one Ecclestone subsidiary.

''He must have figured he risks losing the next round as well,'' someone told FT.com.

On May 10, the banks intended to pursue their claim for Bernie's Formula One Administration and Formula One Management.

The Financial Times speculated that an agreement could lead to a 'quick settlement' between the banks and GPWC.








McLaren and their 'third' car
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.23) McLaren has hit back at Ferrari's complaint that a top team should not be allowed to run a 'third' car in Friday practice.

Maranello's Ross Brawn said at Sepang that there's 'no logic' in giving McLaren an edge that was intended for poorer teams.

But Ron Dennis, McLaren principal and chairman, said he's only doing something that's allowed in the rulebook.

''We are not proud of our 2004 performance,'' he said, referring to the 'bottom six' stipulation.

The only way the rule could be overturned would be through unanimity -- an impossible feat, given McLaren's delight at the benefit.

RD concluded: ''We are entitled (to do it) and feel comfortable.''








Ferrari unmoved over testing
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.23) A letter to Luca di Montezemolo will not change Ferrari's 'attitude.'

That's the defiant stance of Maranello principal Jean Todt, who had a copy of the eight teams' scathing letter sent to him.

Excluding Ferrari-powered Sauber, every F1 team signed the admonition of Ferrari's snubbing not only of the 'gentleman's' test agreement, but the long-held 'Suzuka' accord.

''I have a question,'' the Frenchman fired -- ''If they want to reduce costs, why didn't they come to the (FIA) meeting?

''Sometimes in life we disagree. The important thing is to be able to look at yourself in the mirror, and we can.''

But, gentleman's agreement or not, how can Todt justify violating established guidelines such as that prohibiting Monday running, or testing during grand prix week and the race weekend itself?

''We denounced (the agreement) in a letter,'' Todt explained. ''They made a new agreement and we're not part of it.''

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