F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
April 1, 2005
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Apr.1) Renault's Fernando Alonso has accused
Spain of 'over reacting' to his recent F1 win.
The 23-year-old, the first Spaniard to ever lead the drivers' world
championship, said countrymen went 'too far' by camping outside his
''Especially journalists,'' Alonso moaned. ''It's a problem -- and not
what I want.''
It is reported that Fernando - who called the situation a 'security
danger' - had to flee to a friend's house. ''I turned on the TV,'' he
''And saw what was happening,'' said Alonso. ''Their ridiculous
position in front of the house.
''Also when I do badly, they say too much.''
Toyota not ready to win
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Apr.1) Maiden podium aside, Italy's Jarno
Trulli doesn't think Toyota is ready to fight for the world
''I'm keeping my feet on the ground,'' he said in Bahrain. ''We are
not using our full potential yet.''
Moreover, the TF105 - while good in Malaysia - might not be consistent
enough to challenge everywhere, Trulli suggested.
He added: ''This is not our title season.''
Team president John Howett, meanwhile, is more optimistic, hinting
that finishing in the 'top two or three' teams could be a new target.
''And we'll improve the package a lot this year,'' he revealed.
''We must keep up the momentum -- we think we're going to have our
best season ever.''
Jarno Trulli, though, insisted it's 'too early' to start talking about
Williams wanted Michelin man
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Apr.1) Toyota offered no comment to
speculation that F1 rival Williams also tried to woo Michelin's Pascal
''I don't know,'' a coy president John Howett, who won the hunt, said
''We don't think there was strong competition from other teams, that's
not our feeling.''
Toyota snapped up the Frenchman after Michelin, the F1 tyre supplier,
tried to ship him off to a non-racing role.
Howett explained: ''He wanted to stay in F1 so we offered him a
position in our R&D department.''
Vasselon's new job will be in suspension development, he confirmed.
Ferrari face further failure
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Apr.1) Rubens Barrichello's heard it all
before, but repeated the old line -- there is no Ferrari 'crisis.'
''I don't think so,'' the Brazilian, whose scarlet employer hurried
the debut of a brand new car following a Sepang kicking, grinned in
''At least I hope not!''
Actually, RB, 32, is 'enjoying the challenge' of helping haul a big
team back to the top, opposed - perhaps - to (like last year at
Sakhir) following Michael Schumacher home for a one-two.
German racer Schumacher, though, is predicting 'another tough' and hot
weekend -- although not as bad as Malaysia, on both counts.
''Renault is clearly very strong,'' said the world champion, ''so
maybe people will now believe me when I say the day is coming when we
get a fight.''
F1 reacts to jewelry ban
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Apr.1) Jewelry-wearing Formula One stars
shrugged at the FIA's new rule banning earrings and necklaces from the
''A rule is a rule,'' said champion Michael Schumacher, who blew a
fuse last year when he temporarily lost a lucky charm worn around his
''If they tell me I can't wear it, I won't.''
Red Bull's Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi, though, are probably
the most affected -- both wear an earring.
''I don't know why they've brought it in -- I don't think it's
necessary, really,'' said Klien, 22.
Fernando Alonso often wears a bracelet or gold chain; but never in the
car. ''It's a dangerous sport,'' he told ITV, ''and it's better to
take them off.''
David Coulthard explained that, even with fireproof clothing, a metal
necklace - for example - can burn into skin.
Kimi legless again?
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Apr.1) Has F1's party animal, Kimi
Raikkonen, been at it again?
Trouser-less in London and unconscious elsewhere, now a performer at a
recent party in Helsinki said he saw the Finn, 25, drink a little too
''Now I understand why this wonder boy made a mistake pressing the
wrong button on the grid in Australia,'' the performer reportedly
said, according to the Telegraph newspaper.
''McLaren insisted that the performer was misquoted,'' the British
Toyota to side with Ferrari?
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Apr.1) A letter could indicate that Toyota
is readying to side with Ferrari and Max Mosley in the battle for F1's
Although GPWC is itching to formally court the Japanese carmaker,
Tsutomu Tomita effectively told every other team that Toyota would not
automatically commit to the 'breakaway' cause.
A 'source' told Autosport, meanwhile, that Cologne doesn't want to
commit to 'either side.'
The so-called group of nine, perhaps forthwith to be known as the
'group of eight,' will meet with the soon renamed GPWC next week.
Elsewhere, it's reported that Tomita's letter urged the remaining
eight to present their imminent rules and regulations to the FIA, and
Bernie Ecclestone, 'for consideration.'
JB on road back to Grove?
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Apr.1) Following Jenson Button's Malaysian
'not good enough, Honda' outburst, the BAR driver was called to an
immediate meeting, he revealed.
''Then I went to their factory on the Tuesday, we discussed it, and
they apologized,'' the 25-year-old said in Bahrain.
Button's V10 engine blew within three laps, and 30 seconds of his
teammate's similar fiery failure, at Sepang.
But JB came in for criticism after Malaysia for dropping the
'corporate' ball -- but he's unrepentant and 'still angry.
''I've got to show a bit of emotion,'' he claimed. ''Maybe I didn't
have to shout so loudly.
''But it probably helped ... show them that I do care, that I'm not
just along for the ride.''
Others saw the red-faced driver clearing the path for, finally, that
long-awaited Williams return.
Jenson, predictably, countered: ''I'm not thinking about where I may
or may not be.''
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Apr.1) Visibly frustrated, Alex Wurz tried
to put on a brave face in the Bahrain paddock.
The tall Austrian, although contracted as McLaren's number one test
driver, did not fit in the MP4-20 car until now.
Therefore, had hadn't tested it.
''I said to the team that if I were boss, I would go for the safe
option,'' Wurz said Thursday.
''I've done zero miles in this car.''
His deputy, then - Pedro de la Rosa, 34, - is injured Juan Pablo
Montoya's race replacement.
Wurz, 31, said: ''I could go home and cry, slit my wrists, or show
what kind of guy I am.
''I prefer to look forward.''
He'll test the silver car in Friday practice.
DC defends injured Montoya
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Apr.1) Scotland's David Coulthard tried to
stamp on a Paddock rumor that Juan Pablo Montoya broke his collarbone
in a motorbike shunt.
Although the former McLaren driver admitted he didn't know for sure,
he said the Colombian - injured, officially, swinging a tennis racquet
- would have no reason to hide the truth from Ron Dennis' team.
''McLaren had nothing in (my) contract to stop me doing anything,''
said DC, 34, in Bahrain.
''Accidents happen. We've all had the odd injury.''
Webber injury 'better'
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Apr.1) Mark Webber's cracked rib is a 'lot
Williams' Australian driver insisted the injury, sustained at a
pre-season test, never affected his speed.
''When I'm sleeping, doing up my shoelaces, then it does your head
in,'' he smiled in Bahrain.
The 28-year-old said: ''I hope, here, we can get a sniff of the
And, although a mate of world champion Michael Schumacher, Webber's
enjoying the lull - however temporary - of Ferrari.
But he warned: ''That's when they're strongest.''
Championship leader Fernando Alonso, though, warned Schumacher to take
a different approach to the Bahrain GP.
''He should be looking in the Renault garage,'' said the Spaniard,
''not the other way around.
''For sure, their new car will be better.''
Glock to America
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Apr.1) Former Jordan driver Timo Glock has
completed a switch to America's Champ Car category.
The German, with Deutsche Post backing, will drive alongside Ryan
Hunter-Reay at Rocketsports.
''With success in Champ Car,'' he said, ''my position will become
better ... there and in F1.''
Spaniard feeling 'pressure'?
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Apr.1) Spain's Fernando Alonso, 23, denied
he's feeling 'the pressure' of leading the drivers' championship.
''It's not really a problem,'' he said in Bahrain.
Alonso is the first Spaniard to ever sit atop the F1 table.
But, although Spain thinks otherwise, the phlegmatic youngster - who'd
be the youngest ever world champion - is not getting carried away.
''We're only two races in,'' he noted. ''If if was two races to go,
maybe I'd feel pressure.
''We've got to forget all that and think race by race.''
Alonso also confirmed that, after nearly collapsing from dehydration
in Malaysia, 'everything is okay' with a brand new drink bottle
Red slump 'good for F1'
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Apr.1) Ferrari off the podium?
It's good for Formula One, says Flavio Briatore.
The Renault chief might be a beneficiary of the scarlet slump, but
Briatore - the colourful Italian - said newspapers and websites paint
''All you guys used to say 'how boring, Ferrari first and second, oh
my God, Schumacher again','' he said in Bahrain.
''I think this is great, it's better.''
Briatore also professed to not care about the debut of Ferrari's
all-new F2005 racer.
''I only look in our garage,'' he said. ''I don't care about anyone
De la Rosa 'relaxed'
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Apr.1) You couldn't have wiped the smile off
Pedro de la Rosa's face even if you'd tried.
But it's clear that the Spaniard, 34 - who hasn't raced since 2002
with Jaguar - might have liked a more suitable circuit on which to
Back then, the Sakhir layout was a mere idea in Hermann Tilke's head.
''Obviously I'd choose another circuit,'' he told the media in
Bahrain. ''But I look at the bigger picture -- I'm going to race a
'Relaxed' de la Rosa is replacing the injured Juan Pablo Montoya. ''I
feel nothing,'' he said, ''no pressure at all.''
De la Rosa, who's never attacked a single-lap Quali session, reported
that JPM, on the phone, sounded 'pissed off.'
F1's permanent Spaniard, meanwhile, is 'very happy' to see a
countryman on the grid. ''F1 is big in Spain now,'' said last-start
winner and Renault driver Fernando Alonso.
''I'm also happy because (Montoya) won't get a lot of points here!''
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Apr.1) Bahrain's boiling for the grand prix.
The FIA timing screen showed 36-degrees for the green light of Friday
practice at 11am, and a track temperature near 50.
''I don't mind,'' said Malaysian GP winner Fernando Alonso, ''as heat
is good for our (Renault) car and (Michelin) tyre.
''The important thing is the humidity -- it's very low compared to
Malaysia so that's fine.''
It'll top a dry 35 on Saturday, and again for race day.
'Renault still a Schu-beater'
In Al Manama (GMMf1NET -- Apr.1) If he's concerned about a brand new
Ferrari, Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella did a good job of hiding it in
the Bahrain paddock.
''I still think we're in better shape than them,'' said the
32-year-old Roman, although he admitted F2005 'will be quicker.'
The winner of the season opener also downplayed teammate Fernando
Alonso's concern that Bahrain - not a suitable track for Renault last
year - might catch the hat-trick-gunning team out again.
''I see no reason why we can't fight for the win,'' he insisted.
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