F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
April 21, 2005
PS05 run 'called off'
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.21) F1 rookie Patrick Friesacher will get his
first-ever taste of the new PS05 at Imola on Friday.
Minardi called off Wednesday's planned 'shakedown' run at an airfield
near Faenza HQ (Italy).
A source reported that the 24-year-old Austrian's car, despite
teammate Christijan Albers' run last Friday, was simply not ready for
Albers told website f1racing.net: ''We have to wait and see what the
car can do at Imola, but the first day of testing ... felt good.''
Albers' backer out of F1
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.21) The Netherlands' Christijan Albers has lost a
main F1 backer.
Computer firm Trust, who used to sponsor Jos Verstappen, has withdrawn
from Formula One.
Minardi rookie Albers, 26, previously wore the 'Trust' logo on his
helmet, cap and overalls.
It seems, though, that Christijan's seat at the Faenza-based minnow is
not also in jeopardy, despite a need to replace the personal backing.
Bernie to change qualifying
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.21) F1 'impresario' Bernie Ecclestone is on a mission
to, once again, overhaul qualifying.
The 74-year-old will, at Imola, convene team principals in an bid to
install a better method for determining the grand prix grid.
In 2005, the new 'aggregate' Saturday/Sunday-morning system has been
It's reported that Bernie, the commercial rights holder, wants a
single Saturday session.
''A lot of people agree that the (current) format is ...
meaningless,'' Red Bull's Christian Horner told The Guardian
newspaper, ''as it falls short of reaching a conclusion on Saturday
Ecclestone's latest format, pending team unanimity, could be installed
Renault bag Spanish sponsor
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.21) Championship leader Renault has a new Spanish
sponsor -- insurance firm Mutua Madrilena.
A statement said the agreement, Mutua's first sports foray, would be
'MM' branding will appear on the R25 car from May's Spanish grand prix
''This agreement is proof that our team is in excellent health,''
Flavio Briatore commented.
Mutua recorded a profit of 371m Euro last year.
Renault's Spanish F1 ace Fernando Alonso is leading the drivers' world
Meanwhile, team rival BAR announced a deal with seatbelt supplier
Takata, and renewed the existing 'SAP' contract.
Jordan to launch 'b' car
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.21) Jordan will unveil a 'b'-spec grand prix car in
July, it is reported.
In a news statement, Portuguese driver Tiago Monteiro said he was
'impressed' after a scale model of the EJ15B was unveiled.
Monteiro commented: ''(Jordan are) making a lot of effort to give us a
better car for the second half of the season.''
Eddie Jordan's ailing outfit was bought by Russian-Canadian
billionaire Alex Shnaider prior to '05 kick-off.
Pre-EJ15B, though, Tiago warned that revised parts for the existing
car, tested at Paul Ricard, are 'not revolutionary.
''So we shouldn't expect miracles (at Imola).''
Ferrari declined Imola run
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.21) Ferrari considered testing at Imola in the week
before the circuit's San Marino grand prix on Sunday.
Sporting director Stefano Domenicali revealed that the option was open
as there is 'no testing agreement in place.'
In previous years, the unanimous 'Suzuka' agreement prohibited testing
at a track in the month prior to its grand prix.
But Ferrari, after point-blank refusing to sign the disgruntled group
of nine's 'gentlemen's agreement' to limit testing to 30 days, thus
deem the old pact defunct.
Domenicali added: ''Although we have a different approach ... we
respect ... not testing at a (GP) venue just prior to a race.
'''We want to respect the idea we set with the other teams.''
Webber - 'watch Imola'
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.21) Want to know the real pecking-order in F1?
Then, if you follow Mark Webber's advice, check out Sunday's San
Marino GP at Imola.
''(The return to Europe) will be a real indication for the form
guide,'' BMW-Williams' Australian driver told the country's 'Herald
Webber, 28, also predicts the resurgence at Imola of Ferrari and
''And BAR can only get better -- but we will too,'' he warned.
''We haven't got quite the results we wanted, but then we haven't
deserved anything yet.''
Alonso 'not the new Schu'
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.21) Fernando Alonso is not on a cruise to succeed
Michael Schumacher as F1 world champion.
That's the belief of BAR driver Jenson Button, who - in 2002 - raced
at Renault alongside a notable Spanish tester.
JB, 25, said Alonso - with back-to-back wins in the bag - is doing a
'great job' in the R25.
''But it is still way to early (to pronounce him winner),'' he told
Spanish magazine Sie7e.
Button also denied that Alonso, just 23 and on course to become the
youngest ever F1 champ, is 'the next Schumacher.
''And I don't believe he thinks he is,'' Jenson added.
Red Bull thank FIA
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.21) Red Bull has thanked the FIA and rival F1 teams
for letting Christian Klien drive the 'third' car at Imola on Friday.
Klien, the sidestepped race driver, would've sat out Imola had
Christian Horner failed to overturn a rule prohibiting experienced
drivers from taking the spare cockpit.
''Continuity is very important in F1,'' said Horner, the sporting
A spot of bad luck, though, is that former man Friday - GP debutant
Vitantonio Liuzzi - will be the first car on track for Saturday
''It means I'll have a dirty track,'' said the Italian, ''but I'll
just have to do my best.''
'Toyota can win '05 title'
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.21) Toyota can win the 2005 world championship.
Cologne-based technical director said it, but - given Renault's speed
and a Ferrari recovery - can it be substantiated?
The Briton, noting that both team and driver (Jarno Trulli) are second
in the championship, asked rhetorically: ''Why can't we?''
Gascoyne noted that, at Bahrain, although Fernando Alonso won, the
failed Giancarlo Fisichella R25 moved Toyota closer to Renault.
Toyota's rock-hard reliability is a strong point.
''(And) we're only a couple of tenths off Renault,'' Mike told RACER
magazine. ''It's not going to be straightforward for Ferrari --
they're a long way behind.
''We're racing (Renault) for the championship.''
Trouble at Fiat
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.21) Italian carmaker Fiat's financial predicament
only worsened this week.
The share value of Fiat, owner of Ferrari and Maserati, has fallen to
a record low.
It is believed the situation was not helped by an alleged police raid
on Fiat, supposedly connected to improper activity.
General Motors, however - the world's top automobile manufacturer - is
also in a financial slump.
''It's hard to believe that Fiat will fail,'' a Dow Jones trader
commented, ''but the company is in a very hard situation.''
BAR will vote to change quali
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.21) A move to overturn 'aggregate' qualifying will
get the vote of BAR.
Technical director Geoff Willis said the format's biggest fault is
that it 'extends a problem race' over more than one grand prix
As an example, he explained to Autosport that rather than go
hell-for-leather in the Bahrain grand prix, BAR's Jenson Button and
Takuma Sato adopted a take-it-easy policy 'to get a decent first
qualifying (start position)' for Imola.
''One mistake will blight you for two races,'' he described.
'06 Oz GP hits snag
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.21) Australia may struggle to woo the usual hordes to
grand prix venue Albert Park next year.
F1, in the country, is easily outclassed for popularity by the local
'V8 Supercar' category.
But, given the GP date shift from March to late April - to avert a
clash with Melbourne's Commonwealth Games - the premier V8's may not,
in 2006, rumble as a support event.
A report in the 'Sydney Morning Herald' newspaper claimed that V8 is
'as popular in Melbourne as (Formula One).'
It continued: ''We may soon find out how many grand prix patrons are
there for the V8s.''
Ferrari and Imola
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.21) Ferrari is urging the Tifosi to cheer Italy's
scarlet team to victory at Imola this weekend.
In recent years, sporting director Stefano Domenicali - a local lad -
has been disappointed with attendance at the 'Enzo e Dino Ferrari'
''It was a bit better last year,'' he noted. ''I hope the public
respond and come to support us.''
Imola will, however, be a guaranteed sea of red -- Ferrari, based in
nearby Maranello, have their own grandstand at Rivazza, and invite
more than 1000 guests to the Italian circuit per day.
* At Monza (Italy) on Wednesday, Marc Gene tested a F2004M, while Luca
Badoer switched to Fiorano to 'shakedown' the Imola-bound F2005s.
Webber '80 percent fit'
(GMMf1NET -- Apr.21) Williams' Mark Webber has shouted down claims he
might not be fit enough to race at Imola.
The Australian admitted he pulled out of a pre-San Marino test, at
Barcelona earlier in April, with the same rib injury sustained in
''I did 60 laps (in Spain),'' Webber, 28, told Autosport, ''and I just
said 'look, I just want to be sure that I don't open a can of worms
And, referring to a merciless stretch of upcoming back-to-back grands
prix, he added: ''We know what's coming in May, June, July.''
Webber put his recovery at '80 per cent.'
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