F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
March 25, 2005

F2005 to debut - Ferrari
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.25) In a frantic bid to save their embattled championship campaign, Ferrari will fly two 'F2005' cars to Bahrain for next weekend's grand prix.

The new racer was not scheduled to debut until Spain (May).

''No, I'm not confident,'' answered Ferrari principal Jean Todt, ''but I'm confident we're doing everything we can to improve the situation.''

Michael Schumacher and teammate Rubens Barrichello this week rushed back from Malaysia to sample F2005's controls.

Todt said Bridgestone will also unveil a new tire in Bahrain.

''We believe the combination,'' the Frenchman added, ''will allow us to attack again.''

JV may 'walk away' - DC
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.25) David Coulthard this week threw himself an early birthday party.

Following the Malaysian GP, the F1 veteran - to turn 34 on Sunday - invited mates Jenson Button and Jacques Villeneuve to his Switzerland pad.

Red Bull's DC said he 'wouldn't be surprised' if Villeneuve - struggling for pace - 'walked away' from Sauber and F1 after May's Imola GP.

But, in a column for the Daily Record, Coulthard also denied that JV's likely successor and fellow Briton, Anthony Davidson, is the 'next Schumacher.'

He also called Red Bull's grand prix crew 'much more united' than that at McLaren, where he raced for nearly a decade.

Speed - 'Wow!'
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.25) F1 testing at Paul Ricard and Barcelona continued on Thursday.

Toyota's Ricardo Zonta topped the lot in southern France, with McLaren, Renault and BAR - featuring Jenson Button - rounding out a field of eight.

It rained in the morning, spoiling most teams' dry-tire selection.

Over at Circuit de Catalunya (Spain), American debutant Scott Speed - with Williams' duo also on track - turned a head or two with the quickest time.

He shared an '04-spec Jaguar with Red Bull cohort Neel Jani.

''(Scott) put in a solid drive getting used to the extra power,'' said Christian Horner.

Speed, who earned an FIA superlicense enabling him to take the 'Friday' practice role later in the year, commented: ''My first impression of the F1 car was 'Wow!'''

Cold water on Indian GP
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.25) India's top racing official has poured cold water on expectation about a grand prix in the country.

Nazir Hossein, also a foremost player of the governing FIA, told the 'Times of India' that - for example - the Mumbai airport is not able to accept F1's jumbo jets.

He tempered: ''We need to begin by hosting minor races, like F3.''

Hossein is also concerned about an apparent 'lack of seriousness' within the government.

''We can't flip-flop like that,'' he said of Hyderabad's reneged GP bid, ''and expect F1 to come ... (just) because Karthikeyan made it.''

Mark 'beautiful' Webber
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.25) Williams' Mark Webber is one of the 'Most Beautiful People.'

That, at least, is the claim of Australia's Who magazine, which put the 28-year-old driver thirteenth on the list of 25.

It's compiled by Who's editorial team. ''Some of these people have been around for a long time,'' said executive editor Helen Martin.

Grove car 'not quick enough'
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.25) Don't expect to see a blue-and-white Formula One racer at the top of the podium in Bahrain.

Williams' Sam Michael said that, although the FW27 is now a highly modified version of the car launched in January, it's 'still not quick enough.

''But we're getting faster,'' the Australian technical director added.

A statement said the car features an 'unprecedented' number of (mostly aero) changes.

And, despite pressure from engine partner BMW, even Mario Theissen had to concede the 'enormous efforts' being put into 'development of the chassis.'

Germany's Nick Heidfeld added: ''With the desert sand in Bahrain, we might see even less people going out (in) Friday practice.''

Toyota cancel Ricard run
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.25) Toyota called off 'Good Friday' testing at Circuit Paul Ricard, in the south of France.

The team said it would return to Cologne in order to 'conserve' one of the 'gentleman's agreement' 30-days.

It rained at Ricard on Thursday, causing Jarno Trulli to spin his TF105 into the barrier.

''Jarno was due to begin setup and aero work for Bahrain,'' said race engineer Dieter Gass, ''but we feel confident enough ... to stop the program.''

Mosley - 'excellent start'
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.25) F1 2005 is off to an 'excellent start,' as far Max Mosley is concerned.

The FIA president thinks - with the new aero, engine and tire rules - the sport is now safer.

''Had the rules not been changed,'' the Englishman outlined in a statement, the cars would have been much faster.

Mosley also said Michelin and Bridgestone are saving money by manufacturing fewer tires, as are the engine manufacturers.

He claimed: ''The savings are enormous.''

McLaren boost for Spain
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.25) Watch out for McLaren in May's Spanish grand prix.

Team principal Ron Dennis said the MP4-20 is presently lacking 'in two or three areas.

''We know where they are,'' he told Reuters, ''and they are being addressed.

''Our target ... to bring in the next series of changes ... is Spain,'' Dennis said, referring to the race at Circuit de Catalunya (Barcelona).

He also put a bit of pressure on fiery driver combination Juan Pablo Montoya and Finland's Kimi Raikkonen, for driving 'all over the road' in Melbourne.

''We need ... intact aerodynamics,'' Ron insisted.

Sauber silent over JV future
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.25) Don't ask F1 principal Peter Sauber if Jacques Villeneuve's position at the team is 'safe.'

You'll just get an answer like this:

''(That's) not the point,'' he told Britain's Autosport magazine. ''It's not something I'm going to talk about.

''Jacques' performance (in Malaysia) was improved.''

Sauber is sure that Villeneuve, the French-Canadian and 1997 world champion, will 'understand the (C24) car better' when it has more grip.

At any rate, JV, 33, is looking forward to the Bahrain GP.

''I've not been there before,'' said the former BAR man who skipped most of last season.

''It must be strange racing in the middle of the desert.''

Stoddart 'unrepentant'
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.25) Minardi's Paul Stoddart has vowed to spend at least a quarter of every year in south Australian capital Adelaide.

That's where the Australian businessman's new 'OzJet' airline venture will be based.

''I'll have to spend about three months a year (there),'' he told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper in March.

Stoddart, 50, is also unrepentant after throwing the Australian GP into political turmoil, culminating in a successful (albeit withdrawn) injunction against the FIA.

He said: ''I hope we can (now) settle down to ... correct governance in the sport.''

'Masters' car unveiled
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.25) Former F1 champions Alan Jones (1980) and Emerson Fittipaldi (1972, 1974) attended South Africa's 'Durban Motor Show' on Thursday.

There, they helped unveil the new 'Grand Prix Masters' single-seater.

It's based on Reynard's Formula Nippon design.

The novel championship, to probably also feature Alain Prost, Johnny Herbert and Christian Danner, is slated for '06.

F1 used to 'laugh' at Flav
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.25) Ferrari, Williams, McLaren, BAR, Toyota.

All of the aforementioned have a bigger budget than Renault, winner of the first two grands prix of season 2005.

Colorful boss Flavio Briatore said they laughed at him when he signed up for Friday 'Heathrow' testing in 2003.

''We still do less testing than (them),'' the Italian told formula1.com, ''and now nobody is laughing.

''We worked out a perfect balance.''

What's more, Briatore said Renault do everything 'less' than the elite few. ''My motorhome is five years old,'' he revealed to the official website, ''but I don't need a castle.

''All the megalomania ... is ridiculous.''

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