F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
April 13, 2005

Klien to return in May
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.13) Red Bull F1 driver Christian Klien should be back on the grid at the Nurburgring, in May.

That is, at least, his assumption.

''The decision will be taken ... after ... Monaco,'' the Austrian - replaced after a trio of races by Tonio Liuzzi for Imola - revealed on his website.

At present, Klien can't even assume the reigning F3000 champion's 'Friday' test post.

He insisted: ''I want to race for the team and am right in the middle of very positive ... development.''

Christian claims that, on track, he is regularly 'better' than Liuzzi, but 'I do accept Red Bull's strategy.'

He will still attend San Marino, Barcelona and Monte Carlo.

''It will be hard to just watch,'' Klien admitted. ''To be honest, I am totally disappointed.''

Ferrari hit F2005 throttle
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.13) Tormented world champion Ferrari are ramping-up development of their 'F2005' contender.

On Tuesday, the Italian marque tested it at both Mugello and Fiorano, with - respectively - Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello at the cars' wheel.

It often rained at Fiorano, while at Mugello - also attended by Luca Badoer, who drove an older F2004'M' model - cloud and wind, despite an early wet track, ruled the day.

Schumacher lapped a second per lap quicker than his Italian colleague.

''The three-week break (between Bahrain and Imola),'' said the seven time champion, ''is a help.''

Elsewhere, the majority test action - to kick-off Wednesday - will take place at Bernie Ecclestone's ultra-modern Paul Ricard (France) circuit.

Renault, Toyota, McLaren, Williams, BAR and Jordan will be there.

Speed is 'second in line'
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.13) American 'GP2' driver Scott Speed may be limbering up to also join the Red Bull F1 team.

A spokeswoman told us on Tuesday that there had been 'no outcome yet' to the request that too-experienced Christian Klien be allowed to take the 'Friday' practice role.

The energy drink-backed 22-year-old, second in line for the GP spot, tested an F1 car late last month, and achieved the mileage for a FIA superlicense.

But he told the website of GP2 employer 'iSport': ''I'm fully concentrated on GP2 now.

''I've always dreamt of being the best in my sport, and that means driving in F1,'' he said.

Renault 'buzzing'
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.13) Renault is 'buzzing,' and that will push the dominant-in-2005 F1 team even further.

That is the assessment of chief test engineer Christian Silk, ahead of the Enstone-based outfit's week at Paul Ricard.

He said: ''Everybody is putting in that little bit extra -- working through the night ... to get the job done.''

Giancarlo Fisichella, and drivers' title leader Fernando Alonso, swept-up the season's first three races with the easy-to-drive R25 car.

Silk concluded: ''All the way through the garage, we have a spring in our step.''

Alonso not Ferrari-bound
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.13) F1 man-of-the-moment, Fernando Alonso, will never move to Ferrari to be teammate to number-one Michael Schumacher.

Indeed, Flavio Briatore - both the Spaniard's main manager and Renault principal - said he's already thinking about the 23-year-old's new contract.

The Italian told German publication Motorsport Aktuell: ''It would be great to be able to announce (it) at Monaco.''

Alonso's current deal does not include 2006.

Acknowledging Ferrari's interest in the drivers' title leader, though, Briatore revealed that plenty along pitlane are eyeing the youngster.

But he said: ''There is an easy way Renault can retain (Alonso) -- provide him with the fastest car.

''I don't see any weaknesses in him.''

Hakkinen and Adelaide
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.13) 1998 and 1999 F1 champion Mika Hakkinen has written a letter to the 'SA (South Australia) motorsport board.'

In it, the so-nicknamed 'Flying Finn' congratulated the city as it marked twenty years since Bernie Ecclestone's circus was wooed Down Under.

In 1995, the last year before the street race moved to Melbourne, Mika - now 36 - nearly died in Adelaide after a huge shunt.

Hakkinen, in the letter, singled out the late Dr. Paul Temme, a key member of the medical team that saved his life.

''Please pass on my best wishes,'' he wrote in the letter addressed to V8 event 'Clipsal 500' CEO Andrew Daniels.

Car 'getting better' - Webber
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.13) Williams' Mark Webber on the Imola podium?

Don't be against it, the Australian driver - never before in the top-three - hinted.

''I think we're going to be a lot stronger (there),'' the 28-year-old predicted.

Sir Frank's Grove-based team, testing at Barcelona last week, will unpack on Wednesday at Paul Ricard, in the south of France.

Webber insisted that the FW27, born with aerodynamic flaws, is 'getting better. No question.'

He told the team's website: ''There's a heap of parts coming through.''

Renault car to be 'copied'
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.13) Renault will not develop as impressively as the other F1 teams in 2005.

Why not? Given the R25's stellar early season pace, and trailing rivals, the 'law of diminishing returns' - basically, that something can only be so good - springs to mind.

Title leader Fernando Alonso, in different words, wholly agrees.

The Spaniard noted that everyone else will be busy 'trying to copy our best things.

''It's normal,'' the 23-year-old told Reuters.

''The other teams have a lot of pictures of our car now so we will be a bit less competitive (relative to them) at every race from now on.''

Alonso 'can be champion'
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.13) Fernando Alonso may be on a cruise to become F1's youngest ever drivers' champion.

Four time winner, Alain Prost - who first won in 1985 as a 30-year-old - said grand prix racing 'needs' men like the Spaniard.

''He is a character, he has charisma,'' the Frenchman told Spanish newspaper 'Marca'.

''And he has the ability to be champion.''

Current F1 champion, Michael Schumacher, first won the title in 1994 -- at twenty six.

Alonso would be 24.

''I see the next race or two as crucial for (Schumacher),'' Prost continued. ''If he can't win very soon, it is going to become almost impossible for him.''

Another former driver, Martin Brundle, agrees that Alonso 'looks ready' to become champion.

He told ITV, for whom he is a commentator: ''(Fernando) seems to have sorted out his consistency. Now he delivers.''

BAR make 'step forward'
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.13) BAR have made a 'step forward' despite yet another double-DNF at Bahrain, Jenson Button reported.

The English driver, whose team will test at Paul Ricard from Wednesday, ran a new aero configuration in Spain last week.

A new Honda V10 spec was also tried.

''It went reasonably well,'' said JB, 25, ''although it's difficult to know where we are in relation to everybody else.

''We tried lots of different parts on the car.''

As a morale booster, Jenson smashed the Circuit de Catalunya lap record on a quali-run.

More Imola-bound bodywork, meanwhile, will be tried at Le Castellet.

'Who cares about quali?'
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.13) German driver Nick Heidfeld has branded aggregate qualifying 'very unusual.

''There are advantages and disadvantages,'' the softly-spoken BMW-powered driver contended.

At least, he tempered, Saturday's low fuel run gives the Paddock and public a chance to gauge the all-out speed of each grand prix racer.

Williams' 27-year-old argued: ''Last year, you never knew what fuel people had on board.''

Bernie Ecclestone, meanwhile, lashed out at the GP media for suggesting that '05's new format - with the definitive session held on Sunday morning - is overly confusing.

The F1 supremo told a group of journalists in London: ''It's up to you to make them understand.

''Anyway, those who are interested will (understand), those who aren't won't care anyway.''

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