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Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
May 4, 2005


Trulli eyes return to form
(GMMf1NET -- May.4) Toyota should be back up to speed in Spain, the team's Italian driver Jarno Trulli has predicted.

After a stellar start to the season, the 30-year-old - and the Cologne based outfit - is second only to Fernando Alonso and Renault in the championship.

But Imola, the team said, was a blip in performance for the TF105.

Barcelona should be better.

JT, though, noted that Toyota was 'never extremely quick' at the Catalan venue in the winter.

''But we've had substantial aerodynamic revisions since then,'' he said, ''and I am confident.

''The car has been competitive everywhere so far.''








Famous faces in Spain
(GMMf1NET -- May.4) India's first F1 driver will unveil a special guest at Circuit de Catalunya.

Countryman and cricket superstar, Sachin Tendulkar, to attend the Spanish grand prix, is a F1 and Narain Karthikeyan fan, and earlier admitted to offering Jordan's rookie 'advice' for his newfound fame.

Karthikeyan's teammate, fellow rookie Tiago Monteiro, will also be supported by a famous compatriot at Barcelona.

Portuguese football star Deco, who plays for Barcelona, will be at the track.

Monteiro is Portugal's first F1 star since 1996.

''This weekend will not be easy for us,'' he said on Tuesday, ''as Barcelona requires high downforce, one of the major problems of the Jordan.

''We have also only covered a few kilometres (of testing here).''








Alonso 'love triangle'
(GMMf1NET -- May.4) A tabloid newspaper headline threatens to unsettle Fernando Alonso ahead of his home grand prix.

German title 'Bild' has published a story claiming the 23-year-old Renault driver is caught in a love triangle with ex-girlfriend Rebecca and current partner Carolina.

Alonso's camp rebuffed the claims.

Meanwhile, in the Spanish 'Marca' newspaper, it is reported that at least 500 buses and 3000 cars are ferrying fans from Fernando's home region of Asturias to Barcelona.

His countryman Marc Gene, on the other hand - although a Ferrari test driver - will also race around the Catalan layout.

''I will race in the Trofeo Maserati (event),'' the Spaniard exclaimed, ''but it's not the same as F1 of course!''








May 4
(GMMf1NET -- May.4) On this day in 1928, German Formula One driver Wolfgang von Trips was born.

Driving a Ferrari, the 33-year-old was in contention for the 1961 world championship when he crashed fatally on the first lap at Monza.

The shunt also killed fourteen spectators.

Sharing von Trips' birthday is 59-year-old Ulsterman John Watson, who won five grands prix in the seventies and eighties.

And, on 4 May 1980, French driver Didier Pironi won his first of three F1 races, at Zolder (Belgium), in a Ligier.

The former Le Mans winner retired in 1982 after a severe crash in Germany, but was killed power boat racing (1987).








Max to face the music
(GMMf1NET -- May.4) Max Mosley will face the media at Spain's Circuit de Catalunya on Friday.

The president's rare appearance will come one day after F1 team BAR-Honda learn their fate following an almost unprecedented FIA appeal.

It is speculated that the governing body was 'tipped off' about the rumored 'secret' fuel tank by two former BAR-Honda team members.

They now work for a rival team, and may be eligible for the FIA's $1 million cash reward for uncovering F1 cheating.

Triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart seemed to admit the possibility that Jenson Button faces race bans.

''(The) British grand prix could be affected,'' Stewart, president of the race promoter, told The Sun newspaper, ''if (he) is disqualified.''








Gene - 'my heart is red'
(GMMf1NET -- May.4) Today, F1 is nearly as popular as football in Spain, Ferrari test driver Marc Gene marveled.

But the Spaniard, who switched this year from Williams, said he would not - unlike more than 100,000 in Barcelona on Sunday - root for countryman Fernando Alonso.

''Oh no!'' he laughed. ''My heart is red now!''

Gene, 31, said he is enjoying working for the Prancing Horse.

''Information flows (inside the Ferrari team),'' he reported. ''It is something I have never experienced before.''

Gene's test colleague Luca Badoer, meanwhile, continued to run at Fiorano (Italy) on Tuesday.

The Italian worked on tires and prepared the three Spanish-bound F2005 race cars.







Coulthard for president?
(GMMf1NET -- May.4) When David Coulthard calls it a day, he does not want to become president of the ruling FIA.

The 34-year-old veteran is, behind Michael Schumacher, the second oldest driver in pitlane.

But, although retirement must be looming somewhere in the future, Scotland's DC is not - even with all the political disorder and criticism of Max Mosley - eying the ultimate job.

''I don't understand what the tasks involve,'' he told the May edition of F1 Racing magazine.

But Coulthard, on a one-year Red Bull contract, revealed that at the end of his driving career, he wants to remain involved in motorsport.

He added: ''So who knows.

''But doing what, precisely, I don't yet know.''








Paul's new court threat
(GMMf1NET -- May.4) F1 team owner Paul Stoddart has threatened to return to court if the FIA do not allow Minardi to run a V10 engine next year.

The little Faenza based team announced on Tuesday that it had done a deal to run a near-identical 'TJ' Cosworth V10 specification for the newly launched PS05 car in 2006.

Earlier, with the new 2.4 liter V8 formula on the way, the governing body said it 'reserved the right' to - for reasons of economy - allow a smaller, private team to stick with the existing (albeit rev-limited) V10 format.

But the wording of regulation 'Article 22' is hardly concrete.

''I tell you what,'' Stoddart, staunch foe of FIA president Max Mosley, told Autosport, ''if they ... remove or change (Article 22) they'll have a fight on their hands.''








Sato in South Africa
(GMMf1NET -- May.4) BAR's Japanese driver Takuma Sato last week visited South Africa.

The 28-year-old, who lives in Marlow (England), jetted into Johannesburg on a PR tour and played 'urban golf' on the landmark Nelson Mandela bridge.

''It's a great city,'' Sato said before returning to Europe. ''I hope to be back and racing on the Kyalami Circuit.''

Williams' Alain Prost won the last South African grand prix (1993).








Michelin go soft
(GMMf1NET -- May.4) Tire marque Michelin has vowed to go soft in Sunday's Spanish grand prix.

Aiming for just the second ever Michelin clad victory in Spain since Gilles Villeneuve at Jarama (1981), Pierre Dupasquier said Bibendum has developed a 'softer' compound than usual.

''We have found the asphalt (at Barcelona) much less abrasive than it used to be,'' he noted.

Spanish championship leader Fernando Alonso, though, is more than a tad concerned about tire wear for his home grand prix.

Despite the resurfaced and consequently smoother track, the 23-year-old Renault driver said wear is a 'big concern' for all teams' engineers.

''From our perspective, though,'' Alonso said, ''we are very confident.''








Stage set for sunny Spain
(GMMf1NET -- May.4) The stage is set for a clear and sunny Spanish grand prix at Montmelo, in Barcelona suburbia.

A weather forecast said 21-degrees is expected throughout the weekend at Circuit de Catalunya, although a small chance of a shower or two exists for Sunday.

The Barcelona F1 venue is very sensitive to even small track temperature fluctuations, Sauber technical director Willy Rampf explained.

''As it goes up,'' he said, ''the grip level goes down.

''Often you find that what works well in the morning does not work so well later on.''

Perhaps more than temperature, though, wind is a significant factor at Barcelona.

''(The track) is situated on a hill,'' Toyota's Ralf Schumacher described, ''so (the wind) can be changeable, making setting the car up difficult.''

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