F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
April 5, 2005

Mr. B slams Bridgestone
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.5) A hot, frustrated Rubens Barrichello hit out at Ferrari tire supplier Bridgestone immediately following the Bahrain GP.

The Brazilian, ailing to the flag with rubber to the canvas, told his team there's 'no point' developing the F2005 if 'the tires are not (developing too).

''I couldn't brake,'' he said, ''I couldn't (put the) power (on).

''They were just picking me off.''

Indeed, Sauber's Michelin-clad Felipe Massa described his easy move on the scarlet 32-year-old as not 'real overtaking.'

Michael Schumacher, though, chose not to slam Bridgestone.

''Remember,'' the German urged, ''with (them) we've won five titles.''

McLaren must improve - Kimi
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.5) Kimi Raikkonen has urged McLaren to improve their qualifying pace.

The Finn said he would've been in with a shout of victory in Bahrain if he hadn't started the race mid-grid.

''We're just not getting enough speed on the single lap,'' 25-year-old Raikkonen explained.

''In the race I can really push, so if we improve I think I can win.

''But I'm spending most of my race stuck behind slow cars.''

Raikkonen's Sakhir teammate, Pedro de la Rosa, proved the theory by setting fastest lap on Sunday.

KR continued: ''This (problem) is nothing new.

''We've had it for at least two years.''

BAR to 'bounce back'
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.5) Honda-powered BAR have not given up on winning a grand prix in 2005.

'CEO' Nick Fry said earlier that the team would even sacrifice championship position to taste maiden victory.

''We'll bounce back,'' he said after another double-DNF in Bahrain.

He added: ''Clearly our speed isn't where we want it to be.

''But we've got a good test coming up.''

Jenson Button will lead the Barcelona session, to sample Geoff Willis' new aero package.

The English driver, though, would - first of all - like a simple finish.

''We've had six (combined) races where we've failed to finish now,'' JB, 25, panned, ''so we need to improve that first.''

Williams' too hot to trot
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.5) The stifling heat got to Williams' BMW engine in Bahrain.

The engine marque's Dr. Mario Theissen said the team 'must' increase FW27's cooling ability to cope with hotter weather.

Nick Heidfeld's V10 ground to a smoking halt.

''We ran the engine at its thermal limits,'' technical director Sam Michael admitted, ''which may have contributed to Nick's ... failure.''

In the race, Munich-based BMW had to turn the revs down, making it hard for, for example, Mark Webber to defend position.

'05 gave Toyota a chance
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.5) Had F1 stayed the same, Toyota might still be propping up the midfield.

England-born technical director Mike Gascoyne admitted that regulation changes in 2005 'leveled the playing field.'

''Undoubtedly,'' he told Reuters.

''Instead of having to catch up, we were able to do as good a job as the top teams.''

Gascoyne said reigning champion Ferrari, for example, were simply 'caught out' in the aero/engine/tire shake up.

But Mike predicted: ''They will ... be strong (again), even if they won't be dominant.''

The Pope and F1
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.5) Renault have postponed Giancarlo Fisichella's F1 drive in Rome.

Scheduled for Sunday, a statement said it had been called off 'as a mark of sympathy' following the Pope's death.

The blast around Circus Maximus will now be held April 17.

Moreover, the governing FIA cancelled world touring car practice at Monza this Friday, while Bernie Ecclestone's 'FOM' denied it refused permission for Italian TV 'RAI' to delay the Bahrain GP telecast.

''At no point did (FOM) refuse ... RAI's request to alter broadcast arrangements,'' said a statement.

RAI, though, merely switched the broadcast from Ch.1 to Ch.2.

DC apologized - JV
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.5) Sauber's Jacques Villeneuve confirmed that David Coulthard apologized for knocking him out of the Bahrain grand prix.

''He made a mistake,'' the French Canadian said on his website, ''but David came to apologize and everything is ok now.

''That's racing.''

Sorry or not, though, Coulthard - the Red Bull no.1 - called the clash 'a racing incident,' but said he and JV are 'mates.'

''I went to see him ... to make sure I was still welcome on his plane,'' the 34-year-old grinned.

Villeneuve, meanwhile, scotched reports that he is about to lose his Sauber drive.

He told his website: ''I have the full support (of) Peter Sauber.''

Podium felt great - Chevrier
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.5) Denis Chevrier described collecting the constructors' trophy on the Bahrain podium as a 'great feeling.

''Up there, I felt very proud,'' said the Renault engine man.

Also on his mind, though, was Fernando Alonso's gutted teammate, Giancarlo Fisichella.

The Roman smoked out of the GP with a V10 failure.

''We're not unduly concerned,'' DC insisted. ''Statistically, these kinds of incidents happen.''

Renault president Patrick Faure, meanwhile, has discovered a downside to winning every grand prix -- 'it'll become a habit,' he warned.

''If we go to Imola and finish second,'' said the Frenchman, ''there'll be some disappointment.''

Ferrari failure - Schu
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.5) World champion Michael Schumacher backtracked on an earlier claim that 'debris' may have caused his retirement in Bahrain.

At the track, the German said 'small bits of debris' hit his Ferrari on the opening lap.

But he clarified Monday: ''After checking, without a doubt, this was not the cause (of the failure).'

Jean Todt owned up to an 'hydraulic pump' breakage.

Schumacher, meanwhile, rubbished speculation his bid for an eighth drivers' title is over. ''Definitely not,'' he slammed.

''I expect to win (races) this year. A lot can happen in 16 races.''

Todt, team principal, continued: ''The situation seems very dark ... but we just need to be reliable and work better with Bridgestone.''

Jarno has Trulli matured
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.5) Jarno Trulli. Good qualifier, poor racer -- right?

Wrong, according to Mike Gascoyne.

''(He) proved that his renowned qualifying expertise (is) backed up by strong and committed race drives,'' an excerpt from the post-race Toyota review in Bahrain read.

Gascoyne, technical director who also worked with Trulli at Renault, summarized the view by saying Jarno has 'matured.

''In the first half of (last) year he blew (Fernando Alonso) away,'' Mike observed.

Meanwhile, it's reported that the TF105 will be significantly updated in Imola, with a new front and rear wing, diffuser and sidepods.

''I'm getting bored with standing on the sides,'' said Trulli, 30, referring to the left- hand step of the podium.

Montoya, de la Rosa or Wurz?
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.5) McLaren is yet to decide if Pedro de la Rosa will keep injured Juan Pablo Montoya's seat at Imola.

Of course, the Colombian, 29 - with a fractured collarbone - might be fit again by late April.

''They've both done a great job,'' said chairman Ron Dennis, referring to de la Rosa and official 'reserve' Alex Wurz.

It's unlikely to be an easy decision, though -- particularly with Ron calling PDLR's fighting drive 'tremendous.

''Of course, he got it wrong on the brakes a couple of times,'' he noted, ''but that is what it's all about -- trying.''

Kimi's team on podium
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.5) Kimi Raikkonen's own British F3 outfit achieved a debut podium.

While the 25-year-old Finn drove to third in Bahrain at the weekend, so too did 'Double-R' driver Dan Clarke -- at Donington (UK).

Sauber's highest and lowest
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.5) Larrousse. Lotus. Simtek. Tyrrell. Ligier (Prost). Arrows. Forti. Pacific. Jaguar.

What have they all got in common?

''We have out lived them all,'' said Peter Sauber, whose independent F1 team notched up grand prix 200 in Bahrain.

He told 'Kicker' magazine, though, that he'd give up every statistic to be on the pace again.

Sauber also called 1994, at Monte-Carlo, the Switzerland-based team's 'lowest' moment. There, Karl Wendlinger went into a coma after a huge harbor shunt.

'Ferrari shock!' - headline
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.5) 'Ferrari shock!'

The Italian press went into misery overdrive as their beloved 'Prancing Horse' continued to fumble in Bahrain.

''The new F2005 has serious problems,'' said Tuttosport, predicting yet more defeat at Imola.

La Republica said the Ferrari 'disaster' 'began' in Australia, 'continued' in Malaysia, 'and in Bahrain was confirmed.'

Spain, on the other hand, sang a rather different tune.

''Bravo Alonso,'' said Tele 5, echoing Flavio Briatore's radio message to winner Fernando.

Marca, meanwhile, said the Renault youngster - 23 - drove 'like a world champion.'

No seat for Verstappen
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.5) Former Jaguar test driver Bjorn Wirdheim has landed a seat in the US' 'Champ Car' championship.

The Swede will be paired at 'HVM' in 2005 by Denmark's Ronnie Bremer, therefore dashing the hopes of another ex-F1 hopeful, Jos Verstappen.

Verstappen, the Dutchman, recently tested Keith Wiggins' car.

''I think Champ Car will suit me as a driver,'' said Wirdheim, also former F3000 champion.

Renault sandbagged
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.5) Renault didn't reveal the full potential of their title-leading R25 in the initial 'flyaway' season.

That's the admission of engineering boss Pat Symonds.

He said Giancarlo Fisichella cruised to the Melbourne chequer, as did Fernando Alonso in Malaysia and - at the weekend - Bahrain.

''To be honest, we've ... not had to go at full speed,'' Pat revealed.

He told the BBC: ''We do have something in hand.''

Symonds' words are significant, and worrying (particularly) for Ferrari, lapped by 23-year-old Alonso on Sunday.

But he tempered the achievement: ''We're not arrogant (about it) or complacent.

''Michael (Schumacher) was pretty quick at the beginning, and Rubens (Barrichello) ... obviously ran out of tires.''

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