F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
April 12, 2005
Nick 'surprised' Frank
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.12) It's not an easy feat to 'surprise' Sir Frank
But Germany's Nick Heidfeld has achieved the plaudit.
''He's a very good racer at the highest level,'' the knighted
principal and co-owner said.
''I love his moves!''
Heidfeld, 27, has already outclassed highly rated teammate Mark Webber
in one statistical department -- the podium.
'Quick Nick' did it for Sauber in 2001, and took Williams' FW27 to the
top-3 last month.
Sir Frank said: ''We look forward to seeing him on the podium more
often this year.''
It's no secret that BMW motorsport director and compatriot Mario
Theissen is also a fan.
He claimed: ''We're quicker than we were during the winter, and that's
partly down to Nick.''
F1 ancestor revived
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.12) The ancestor of modern grands prix? 'Gordon
Bonnet' cup, 1905.
The Automobile Club d'Auvergne will mark the centenary of the landmark
event on June 2-5 near Michelin HQ at Clermont-Ferrand.
''150 vintage racing and luxury cars ... are expected,'' read a
It explained: ''(They will) cover the same (140km) track ... at the
foot of Puy-de-Dome.''
PS05 'may not be ready'
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.12) Minardi's new 'PS05' contender may not be ready
for a Friday shakedown at Mugello, a spokesman insisted.
A Christijan Albers press release claimed that the Dutch rookie would
drive the 'aggressive-looking' car ahead of its debut at Imola (April
The little Faenza-based team, though, implied that no definite
decision has been taken.
And the spokesman tempered: ''If (the car is) ready by the end of the
week, we'll obviously give it a shakedown (in Italy).
''When we are ready, we will issue an announcement.''
PS05, meanwhile, has passed the FIA's mandatory crash tests.
'I could've won' - Schu
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.12) Michael Schumacher says he and Ferrari could've
beaten Fernando Alonso to the Bahraini checker.
The world champion claimed he had 'no trouble keeping up' with the
Spaniard's Renault 'and (I) could have gone even faster.
''But I wanted to go easy on my tires,'' German-born Schumacher added.
On lap eleven, though, hydraulic failure struck the 36-year-old's
brand new F2005.
But Michael is certain Alonso, 24, or his blue R25, cannot win all
nineteen grands prix.
''It looked like I could do it last year,'' he noted, ''but I thought
then that it's impossible.''
Girl-racer takes the flag
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.12) Brands Hatch, 1980. Long Beach, 2005.
At both, and at no other time, a female racer won the major open
wheeler race in question.
Twenty five years, ago, it was Desire Wilson in the F1 Aurora Series.
On the weekend in California (USA), 'Toyota Atlantic' rookie Katherine
Legge, 24 and from England, trounced the boys.
The former Formula Renault and British F3 driver started seventh and
seized the win when leader Rocky Moran Jr encountered technical
Legge is the first woman to win an open wheeler race in America. ''I
don't think it's quite sunk in yet,'' she beamed.
She was born, incidentally, in 1980 -- not far from Brands.
Pedro's final grand prix?
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.12) Better to exit with a bang.
That was the philosophy with which Pedro de la Rosa attacked the
Bahrain grand prix.
The Spaniard, 34, slotted into the seat because 1) Juan Pablo Montoya
had a fractured shoulder, and 2) Alex Wurz, McLaren's contracted
reserve, was too tall to test the MP4-20 beforehand.
''I wanted to finish on the podium,'' said Pedro, who qualified ahead
of Kimi Raikkonen, ''but I didn't manage it.''
He did, though, set fastest lap and thrilled the crowd with some
De la Rosa (meaning, in Spanish, 'of the rose') continued: ''I wanted
the podium as I knew it might be my last ever Formula One race.''
F1 in Champ Car opener
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.12) An F1 aficionado had plenty of reasons to check
out Sunday's Champ Car opener at Long Beach.
Reigning title winner and former F3000 champion Sebastien Bourdais
conquered the street circuit, with Paul Tracy - who once tested a
Benetton - second.
Bruno Junqueira, second-in-line for Jenson Button's BMW-Williams seat
of 2000, completed the podium, ahead of ex-Jag and Minardi star Justin
2006 'Midland F1' driver Mario Dominguez, and last year's Jordan
fill-in, Timo Glock of Germany, rounded out the top-6.
Juan Pablo Montoya's old Chip Ganassi teammate, Jimmy Vasser, was
eighth, ahead of Cristiano da Matta, who endured a tricky return from
F1 and Toyota.
''But it's good to be back,'' said the diminutive Brazilian.
One-time Prost tester Oriol Servia came next, and '04 Jaguar 'Friday'
driver Bjorn Wirdheim, a Swede, finished twelfth.
Quali's 'crap' - F1
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.12) Sunday and aggregate qualifying is 'crap.'
That may be the rough syntax of Australia's Paul Stoddart, but eight
out of the ten Formula One teams in pitlane agree.
'F1 Racing' magazine asked a senior rep from every outfit what they
think of the new format.
Only Flavio Briatore and Jordan's Colin Kolles gave it a thumbs-up.
''It just doesn't work,'' Minardi principal Stoddart countered. BAR's
Nick Fry is already calling for a rule 're evaluation.'
''Qualifying on Sunday morning is just fundamentally wrong,'' said Ron
Dennis, while Red Bull's Christian Horner at least went further to
explain that the cumulative lap time is 'confusing.'
''We need improvement,'' Tsutomu Tomita (Toyota) concluded.
Midland to paint car blue
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.12) 'Midland F1' will sport a blue, white and red
livery in 2006.
Aping the Russian tricolor, the team now owned by naturalized Canadian
Alex Shnaider - but in Eddie Jordan's yellow strip in 2005 - will race
the predominantly blue, Dallara-built car next year.
Meanwhile, a report on Williams' team website claimed that F1 is
benefiting from 'the end of (Ferrari's) dominance.'
It cited a German poll which found that 'nearly fifty percent' of F1
enthusiasts are happy with the rule changes.
''Only a small minority,'' said the report, ''criticized (them).''
Priaulx to test again
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.12) Andy Priaulx is to be given yet another chance at
the wheel of Williams' F1 car, we can reveal.
Further to a demo run at Rockingham next month, BMW's 30-year-old
European touring car champion is said to have subsequently landed a
'proper' two-day test in Italy.
The Briton debuted for Grove in January, at Valencia (Spain).
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.12) Beleaguered grand prix driver Cristiano da Matta
has lashed out at F1 and Michael Schumacher.
The diminutive Brazilian, who returned to American Champ Car racing at
the weekend having last year felt the Toyota boot, called the pinnacle
of motor sport 'too political.'
And he told the Detroit Free Press: 'I never liked the way (world
champion Michael) Schumacher conducted himself.''
31-year-old da Matta, who left the US as 2002 CART champion, said
Schumacher spent more time 'making his job easier' than genuinely
trying to beat the opposition.
''If (Schumacher) was a real champion,'' Cristiano slammed, ''he
wouldn't cry about things.
''It's good to be back (in Champ Car). It's about racing and you know
you have a chance to win.''
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