F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
March 31, 2005
FIA call for April summit
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Mar.31) F1's technical regulations will stay
the same until the end of 2007, the world motor sport council ruled.
The FIA body met in Paris on Wednesday, deciding that - for example -
the proposal to kick a tire supplier off the grid would not be
In a statement, all teams were also invited to discuss the potential
2008 rulebook on April 15, despite their recent snubbing of a similar
summit and consternation about how the sport is governed.
''The new regulations (will) be published ... no later than December
31 2005,'' the FIA vowed.
Sauber accept some blame
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Mar.31) Sauber has accepted at least some of
the blame for Jacques Villeneuve's dire full-time return to Formula
Peter Sauber admitted that, despite a whiz new wind tunnel at Hinwil
HQ, the C24 car is not generating enough grip.
''I was delighted because at our first test with Michelin in
November,'' said the Swiss, ''we were fast (with the old car).
''Unfortunately we're missing grip -- we're therefore not using the
tires to full effect.''
The team owner, who has attended 197 of Sauber's 199 grands prix to
date, confirmed that wind tunnel work is feverish back at base.
Sauber concluded: ''(Finding more grip) will mean the drivers don't
have to play so much with the setup.''
No scarlet 'panic' - Ferrari
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Mar.31) Ferrari has denied it panicked after
a Malaysian GP thrashing.
Since then, the Maranello-based team fast tracked the new F2005's
debut to Bahrain, despite an original Barcelona (8 May) plan.
''Everyone's working as methodically as ever,'' said technical manager
He added: ''Nobody is panicking.
''We know the importance of being strong.''
Undoubtedly, though, the crew wearing scarlet look set to be the most
stressed in the desert setting near Al Manama.
To help them adjust to a brand new racer, though, some team members
didn't travel to Malaysia, but instead worked on the new car's test
Stepney revealed: ''Therefore we should encounter less surprises.''
Australia and racing
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Mar.31) Australia has stepped into world
motor sport's limelight.
Not only has Champ Car team Walker Racing been bought and renamed Team
Australia, 1980 F1 champion Alan Jones unveiled the Australian 'A1'
entry in Sydney.
Sheikh Maktoum's 'World Cup' championship is also slated to race at
the 'Eastern Creek' track west of the city, while Jones' son -
Christian - is expected to take the green and gold car's wheel.
Aussie neighbor New Zealand will also get an A1 franchise, Maktoum
''Melbourne has F1,'' Jones noted, ''the Gold Coast has Indy and
Adelaide has the (Supercar) 500.
''I think it'd be good to have A1 in Sydney.''
Ferrari 'bold' - Bridgestone
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Mar.31) Beleaguered F1 supplier Bridgestone
has hailed Ferrari's 'bold' decision to race the new car in Bahrain.
The Japanese marque admitted it was to blame for the champions'
miserable performance so far in 2005, despite the fact that Ferrari
plugged ahead with the 'old' car.
Ferrari's sparkling F2005 will race on new rubber in the sandy setting
near Al Manama.
But technical manager Hisao Suganuma warned: ''This is only the (new
car's) debut race.
''We will undoubtedly extract more and more potential ... as it runs
over the rest of the season.''
F1 'jewelry' banned - FIA
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Mar.31) F1's governing body has banned the
wearing of jewelry, such as earrings, whilst driving.
A spokesman said the 'immediate' ban, apparently proposed by the FIA
medical commission, was ratified at the world motor sport council
summit in Paris.
The ban, including heavy chains like that worn by Red Bull 'third'
driver Tonio Liuzzi, would also apply to world rally and other pilots,
a statement added.
Red Bull's Christian Klien wears an earring, while world champion
Michael Schumacher always drives with a sentimental 'amulet' around
The FIA also vowed to adopt World Anti-Doping Agency rules for F1 and
other motor sport.
Red Bull suggest Sauber loan
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Mar.31) Two more names have been added to
speculation that Sauber may dump Jacques Villeneuve.
Red Bull's Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi.
Dieter Mateschitz, who bought Jaguar from Ford late last year, said
he'd loan one of his youngsters to Peter Sauber if his old chum came
The Red Bull magnate used to own a chunk of Sauber.
He told Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell: ''Villeneuve might
suddenly regain his old form ... but the possibility (of a loan)
''I would definitely consider it.''
Red Bull appear determined to alternate Klien and Liuzzi alongside
David Coulthard in 2005, although if Klien is moved aside, he's too
qualified to take up the 'Friday' job.
It's also suggested that Red Bull would like to put American Scott
Speed into the 'third' car for June's Indy GP.
DM added: ''We want both (Liuzzi and Klien to be) fully serviceable
... next year.''
'I can win again' - Fisi
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Mar.31) Giancarlo Fisichella has touched
down in Bahrain aiming 'to win.'
''We've done it twice already,'' said Renault's Roman, the Melbourne
winner who - in Malaysia - controversially ran into Mark Webber.
Fisichella, 32, urged Italian fans, in local magazine La Gazzetta
dello Sport, to support him.
''I don't want to rob Ferrari of fans,'' he insisted, ''it's just that
I think Italians should back an Italian.''
In Fisichella's home town next Sunday, he - and test driver Franck
Montagny - will steer blue-and-yellow R24s around the Circus Maximus
He smiled: ''I hope I'll be doing it as a winner!
''I never dreamed I'd drive an F1 car on the streets of Rome.''
A1 'not serious' - Ecclestone
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Mar.31) F1 impresario Bernie Ecclestone has
laughed at claims the new 'A1' championship is a genuine threat.
The 74-year-old boss of grand prix racing told US agency Bloomberg
that Sheikh Maktoum may be struggling to sell the concept to
Indeed, in Sydney for the Australian launch on Wednesday, the Dubai
royal admitted he was talking to a local pay-per-view broadcaster.
''(A1) would be on a satellite channel in the middle of the night,''
Bernie said from London.
''It's not serious.''
The Sheikh, who admitted A1 is a 'risk' that he 'hopes' will make
money, denied he established the so-called 'world cup' of racing in a
direct challenge to Ecclestone.
''Bernie is a friend,'' he said in Sydney, ''and, anyway, I'm not
stupid enough to go against him.''
Maktoum conceded that he hasn't yet signed a single television deal
for A1, despite a September start date.
'Baby' Alonso is F1 tip
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Mar.31) With Michael Schumacher, Fernando
Alonso is - according to one bookmaker - equal favorite to become
world champion in 2005.
It's well worth a flutter, the Spaniard reckons.
''At the moment, we're the best,'' the Renault driver, 23, told the
''Our program says we'll have a developed car basically every two
races,'' Fernando added, ''and if we keep it up, I definitely have a
Alonso, who'd become the youngest ever Formula One drivers' title
holder, is the current world championship leader.
''I want to be world champion,'' he said, ''but whether I'm youngest
or not, it's not that important to me.
''Anyway, I have another two years to try it!''
Ever cautious, FA insists that Renault still face competition --
particularly on the imminent return to Europe.
He said: ''The other teams, like Williams, McLaren, Ferrari and
Toyota, are usually better in (those) races.''
Williams' new rear
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Mar.31) Take a long look at Williams'
rear-end at the Bahrain grand prix -- it's new.
According to some reports, the modified FW27 could be worth between
two to three tenths per lap on the desert layout.
''Hopefully the new parts will bring us a bit nearer to the dominant
Renaults,'' team co-owner and principal Frank Williams said.
He revealed that the aerodynamic department at Grove HQ have produced
'many' new bits, following a calibration error found on the wind
Williams continued: ''But we've got to keep working if we're going to
join in the fight for the world championship.''
Wurz for Imola?
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Mar.31) Should the injured Juan Pablo
Montoya skip a second or third grand prix, Bahrain 'third' driver Alex
Wurz might line up on the grid.
Spain's Pedro de la Rosa got the nod this weekend, because he's
already collected more than 2000km at the MP4-20's wheel.
''I'm definitely going to enjoy it,'' said Pedro, a Bahrain track
rookie who last raced in F1 for Jaguar.
On the other hand, Wurz - the very tall Austrian - will turn his first
lap in a hurriedly modified cockpit in Friday practice.
McLaren said he'll then test the MP4-20 in Europe after Bahrain, to
'be able to share ... duties with Pedro at future races.'
''Of course I would have preferred to race,'' said a disappointed
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Mar.31) Formula One's warring tire suppliers
expressed delight that a proposed 'monopoly' was voted down by the
world motor sport council.
Michelin, in particular, said it wouldn't have stuck around without
rival tire 'competition.'
''It only makes sense to commit,'' said motor sport director Pierre
Dupasquier, ''if you can compare ... and show you can offer an
In a statement, Japanese foe Bridgestone said it was 'pleased' with
the decision to 'retain healthy competition' in F1.
Fisi to burn rubber in Rome
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Mar.31) Giancarlo Fisichella can't wait to
drive an F1 car through Italy's capital next Sunday.
The grand prix winner, born in Rome in 1973, will be the star of the
Renault 'road show.'
A 1.2km track will wind around Rome's historic 'Circus Maximus'
Renault's Spaniard, Fernando Alonso, completed a similar 'road show'
event in Madrid last year.
''We couldn't miss the opportunity to allow Giancarlo to run in
Rome,'' said principal Flavio Briatore.
JPM's title dream ended?
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Mar.31) McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya does
not think sitting out Bahrain has killed his 'championship challenge.'
The Colombian, who apparently slipped and cracked a collarbone when
playing tennis, hinted that anything can happen in such a long F1
''I'm obviously disappointed,'' the 29-year-old revealed in a
''It's difficult but we have to follow medical advice. I'll cheer for
the team from my TV.
''At least it's early in the season.''
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