F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
March 24, 2005
Schu in imperfect F2005
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.24) Ferrari's new 'F2005' F1 model is not
yet perfect, the world champion team has admitted.
It's understood the car, with a reported engine glitch on
Rubens Barrichello's earlier Mugello debut, might also still
be suffering from overheating.
''Normally we'd have a month or two to sort these things
out,'' technical director Ross Brawn, desperate to fast
track the car's debut to next weekend, said.
On Wednesday in central Italy, Michael Schumacher - with a
fresh V10 fitted - tried the scarlet racer for the first
He called F2005 a 'good step.
''I realized immediately that the car is fast,'' the German
Ferrari will decide on Thursday whether F2005, or the less
competitive F2004M, will be flown to Bahrain for the April 3
Bernie did a deal
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.24) F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has agreed
an unknown settlement with the trio of disgruntled banks.
An apparent confidentiality agreement prevented the
behind-doors outcome to be known, but lawyers told the High
Court judge that the case would no longer need to proceed in
It's unclear whether Ecclestone, 74, relinquished control,
or - perhaps - persuaded the banks to give up their claim
for power over Bernie's Formula One Administration.
The banks own 75 per cent of SLEC, F1's holding company.
It is suggested that the deal might prevent a damaging split
in F1, precipitated by discontented carmakers including BMW,
Mercedes and Renault.
But a GPWC spokesman insisted: ''(This) doesn't change our
BAR on top in France
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.24) BAR's Anthony Davidson led a field of
eight as grand prix testing moved to the south of France
(Paul Ricard) on Wednesday.
The Englishman, 25, sat atop a hard-working field, including
test driver colleagues for McLaren, Renault and Toyota,
including Olivier Panis.
Finland's Heikki Kovalainen got his first taste of the
race-winning Renault R25, while Franck Montagny steered
''We have two 2005 cars available to the test team extremely
early,'' chief test engineer Christian Silk noted.
McLaren, in contrast, plugged away with two older MP4-19B's.
Finn to be Renault 'reserve'
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.24) It's not inconceivable that Heikki
Kovalainen could line up as Formula One's next 'Flying Finn'
at the Canadian or US grands prix.
The 23-year-old, victor over Michael Schumacher in the
latest 'Race of Champions', will apparently travel to the
circus' North American double-header as Renault's 'reserve'
Usual suspect, Frenchman Franck Montagny, has been given
permission to contest fabled Le Mans.
Kovalainen will contest GP2 in 2005.
''I haven't been officially told yet,'' he clarified to
Autosport whilst testing in the south of France.
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.24) 'Have you seen Liuzzi's hair?!'
That catchcry was heard more than once during last weekend's
Malaysian grand prix.
Red Bull's 'Friday' driver, and probable race starter in
April's San Marino GP at Imola, sported an odd mock-Mohawk
''I decided I needed it to aid cooling,'' he jokingly told
the ITV website, ''and asked for something different.
''I think it worked!''
More seriously, though, the Italian - reigning F3000
champion - struggled a bit at Sepang, and spun off after a
He admitted: ''I was a bit scared, because in Australia I
(also) went off.
''Fortunately, they found the (broken suspension).''
McLaren to challenge Renault
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.24) Renault once again looked dominant, but
Kimi Raikkonen actually steered the fastest lap in Sunday's
Malaysian grand prix.
Race winner Fernando Alonso, in fact, managed only the
fourth-best time -- a significant half-second slower than
the leading McLaren.
In a grand prix evaluation, though, renaultf1.com said the
lap chart 'doesn't tell the whole story.'
Indeed, the best 'ideal' lap - taken by combining fastest
sectors - belonged to Spain's Alonso.
But Renault maintains that McLaren, when the MP4-20 gets
clear air in a grand prix, will 'have the pace to fight at
''The battle ... will be tighter than ever,'' renaultf1.com
Full-'Speed'-ahead to F1
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.24) Scott Speed, America's grand prix
hopeful, tried F1 power for size at Barcelona on Wednesday.
The 22-year-old tested for Red Bull, perhaps in view of
becoming the team's 'Friday' driver if racer Christian Klien
is stepped down after Bahrain.
''We're using last year's (Jaguar) to carry out engine
testing,'' principal Christian Horner explained.
Switzerland's Neel Jani is also slated to run.
Speed won the inaugural 'Red Bull Search' for an American
grand prix driver back in 2002.
He said: ''My dream to compete in Formula One no longer
seems so out of reach.''
'Webber will win' - Williams
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.24) Australian driver Mark Webber is
capable of winning grands prix.
That's the claim of Sir Frank Williams, boss of the
28-year-old's new Formula One team.
He finished fifth in Australia and crashed in Malaysia, but
Frank said the FW27 has 'come a long way' since February and
could be a winner later in the 2005 season.
FW added: ''Mark will win when the car can win.
''We've always believed Mark is capable of winning.''
What Williams didn't know prior to Malaysia, however, was
quite how good Webber's new teammate, podium-winner Nick
''On Sunday,'' Frank - who'll travel to Bahrain next weekend
- continued, ''we saw a very good racing driver operating at
the highest level.
''(But) we know we are still some way behind.''
GPWC to settle on name change
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.25) 'GPWC' is soon to be known by a
different name, according to a report.
autosport.com said the frontrunner on a shortlist is Grand
Prix Racing -- 'GPR' for short.
Why the name change? Because Honda and Toyota are to
formally join the carmakers' breakaway group, and Ferrari
recently ditched GPWC to unilaterally align with Bernie
Ecclestone and the FIA.
It's also reported that leading men from Williams, McLaren,
BAR and Minardi are heading up working groups to devise
rules, regulations and marketing.
They'll congregate, for a meeting to be chaired by BAR CEO
Nick Fry, on April 7 and 8.
Ferrari debut 3-seater F1
-- Mar.24) A three-seater Ferrari F1 car appeared for the
first time at Fiorano (Italy) on Wednesday.
Similar to Arrows' 2002 concept, the scarlet-painted car
features a passenger on each sidepod.
It'll be used for promotional purposes.
McLaren pioneered the multi-passenger F1 idea with their
1998 two-seater, while a similar design is still used by
BRDC member arrested
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.24) According to a report, a member of
British GP promoter the BRDC was arrested for fraud.
'Motorsport News' magazine said he's accused of forging Club
checks to the tune of $560,000.
The British Racing Drivers' Club, owner of the Silverstone
grand prix circuit, battled to retain the F1 event during
the winter, amid internal wrangling, such as the enforced
exit of chairman Ray Bellm.
The report said no charges were laid, but the staff member
was fired late last year.
''(A firm) has been instructed to investigate how this ...
happened,'' said BRDC chief executive Alex Hooton.
Verstappen on form
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.24) The Netherlands' F1 veteran Jos
Verstappen made an instant impression when he tried a Champ
Car for the first time on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old former Minardi and Tyrrell driver steered
the 'HVM' Lola entry to the third best lap time of the day.
''It's a lot different to a Formula One car,'' Verstappen -
in the company of every team except RuSport - reported at
''I'm looking forward to seeing what will happen now.''
Ferrari defend 'old' car call
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.24) Ferrari has defended its decision to
start the 2005 season with an 'old' car.
Technical director Ross Brawn explained that the
Maranello-based team, off the pace at Melbourne and Sepang,
had almost completed the design of the F2005's new
transmission when the '05 regulations became clear.
''We realized our transmission and engine package was not
very good,'' the Briton told Motorsport News.
''So we needed the extra time.''
Brawn said enforced changes to the diffuser, in particular,
made necessary a fundamental shift in engine and gearbox.
He added: ''We decided we didn't have the right package, so
we had to start again. Whether it was right, we can judge at
the end of the year.''
Did Renault snub test accord?
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.24) Have back-to-back F1 winner Renault
thrown the group of nine's 'gentleman's' agreement on
testing in the bin?
After the united gang slammed Ferrari's snubbing of the
accord, such as by testing simultaneously at two circuits,
it appears that Flavio Briatore's title-leading mob did just
that on Wednesday.
While Heikki Kovalainen and Franck Montagny ripped up Paul
Ricard, Jose Maria Lopez was photographed testing an
'04-spec 'R24' at Silverstone.
It's reported, though, that all the young development driver
did at the blue-and-yellow car's wheel was a shakedown for
the 'demonstration' car.
It'll be used throughout 2005 for street events.
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