F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
April 19, 2005

Ferrari refute FIA bias
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.19) Ferrari are very close to the governing FIA. Right?

That's rubbish, according to scarlet-clad technical director Ross Brawn -- and he reckons a winning drought proves it.

The Englishman blamed Ferrari's miserable start to 2005 on the change of regulations.

''You could say our biggest problem is the (one-tyre) rule,'' he conceded in Welt am Sonntag.

''We just didn't do as good a job (as Michelin) over the winter.''

So where's the FIA-Ferrari link? Brawn said that if the Paris body really favoured Maranello's team, they wouldn't have made 'the smallest change' to the rulebook.

''(But) that doesn't mean we have someone else to blame,'' RB insisted.

Ferrari on 'road back'
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.19) Ferrari's on the road back to victory, beleaguered tyre supplier Bridgestone has vowed.

Director of motor sport Hiroshi Yasukawa said a good result for the local team is 'important' at Imola, just a 45-minute drive from Maranello.

He vowed: ''There is a huge amount of potential yet to come.

''We fully expect to see a competitive performance ... this weekend.''

Meanwhile, at Monza on Monday, Ferrari - continuing to flaunt both the gentleman's agreement and existing 'Suzuka' concord - tested with Luca Badoer and an old F2004M on a modified (with two extra chicanes) layout.

JV to 'work even harder'
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.19) Life may not be rosy for Jacques Villeneuve at Sauber, but the embattled former champion has vowed to give it another go at Imola.

He even called Bahrain, where he 'almost' got a point, a 'good race.'

''The car was stronger,'' said the 33-year-old, ''and I could drive more aggressively.''

Tensions, though, mounted at a pre-Imola Barcelona test, where Villeneuve again struggled for pace and was replaced by teammate Felipe Massa.

However, the Canadian - to next test the C24 at Fiorano after Imola - vowed to 'work even harder' on set-up at the grand prix.

''But it seems like we're going in the right direction.''

'I want to race' - Ant
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.19) Anthony Davidson has admitted that 2005 is turning out to be 'more mentally demanding' than before.

The long-serving BAR test driver, desperate for a racing drive, said that this year - particularly as he's no longer doing 'Friday' practice - it's 'easy to get ... frustrated.'

Davidson, who subbed for a sick Takuma Sato at Malaysia, had drives for 2005 scuppered by BAR-Honda, for whom he only recently signed a formal test contract.

''Physically, I am more prepared than I've ever been,'' said the young Briton. ''(But) I just want to race.''

'Renault v. Ferrari' at Imola
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.19) Imola. It's not just 'any old' grand prix circuit for Italy's Renault driver, Giancarlo Fisichella.

He first tasted F3 glory at the 'Enzo e Dino Ferrari' track, and - in Formula One - scored a maiden point in 1997.

So who's going to be Renault's main rival for victory in the San Marino grand prix?

Fisichella answered: ''Toyota have been our main competitors so far, so why can't they be strong at Imola as well?

''Ferrari is our other big concern. We will have a tough job to stay ahead of them.

''I think they'll be very, very competitive.''

Schu - 'nothing to lose'
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.19) Michael Schumacher doesn't just want to return to the F1 podium at Imola.

The seven time drivers' champion wants the biggest San Marino grand prix trophy of all.

''I think we have a very good chance,'' Germany's Ferrari driver said.

He slammed those 'pessimists' who say Fernando Alonso - already 24 points ahead - is the 2005 world champion 'elect.'

''Ok, we have not had a good start,'' Schumacher, 36, admitted, ''but the situation is not miserable and the world title is not yet decided.

''It's not impossible to catch up. Alonso will ultimately try to keep out of trouble, but I have nothing to lose.

''I can take more risks than him.

''And, after testing, the F2005 is not only completely reliable, it is better in every way.''

Michelin go aggressive
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.19) Not content to rest on their laurels, tyre supplier Michelin have hauled never-before-raced specifications to Imola.

French-clad Renault have won every grand prix so far in 2005.

But other teams, like McLaren - bemoaning qualifying pace - and Williams, quietly complained that the ultra-durable Michelin could've been worked even harder on track.

Indeed, Sam Michael - Williams' technical director - explained that Imola is even 'softer' on tyres than Melbourne, Malaysia and Bahrain.

The Australian said: ''Our car has not yet been close to the limits on tyre wear.

''We will have even softer compounds (at Imola).''

Fisi may 'fight' Fernando
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.19) Giancarlo Fisichella can still charge for the championship.

Renault principal Flavio Briatore vowed not to hold the Italian back if he duelled with runaway title leader and teammate Fernando Alonso.

''If they were to fight for the championship,'' Giancarlo's countryman told La Gazzetta dello Sport, ''I'd let them.''

To some, it's amazing that Fisichella - dumped in 2001 - is allowed to drive for Enstone whilst no longer 'Flav'-managed.

Briatore, though, is clearly an admirer.

''It's a pleasure now to watch him,'' Flav said. ''He's deeply changed, much stronger mentally.''

Montoya's the man - Ralf
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.19) Who's the best McLaren man -- Kimi Raikkonen, or Juan Pablo Montoya?

Everyone has an opinion; like Ralf Schumacher, Montoya's teammate at Williams between '01 and '04.

''I think (Raikkonen) makes too many mistakes,'' 'Schu Jr' said in 'Kicker' magazine.

What about Jarno Trulli, who's presently wiping the floor at Toyota with a fair-haired 29-year-old from Germany.

''He is an outstanding driver,'' said Ralf, reportedly paid several million dollars more per year than JT.

''Is he the best teammate I've ever had -- I can't say yet.''

Schu Jr does, though, rate brother Michael's chances of returning Ferrari to the very top step of the podium at Imola.

''If the car and (Bridgestone) tyres make it (on Sunday),'' he said, ''they have a good chance.''

'No time for title talk'
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.19) Fernando Alonso doesn't want to talk about the world championship.

Although commandingly leading the drivers' chase, the young Spaniard said he's too focused on scoring points and 'building' a foundation for later.

''We shouldn't talk about the title based on the first three races,'' Alonso said on Monday.

''It's the last three or four that'll be the important ones. Right now, I'm just enjoying myself and also working hard.''

Renault's all-winning R25 will wear a new front wing at Imola.

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