Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
May 5, 2005
Two 'cheats' in F1 - Alonso
(GMMf1NET -- May.5) There are two F1 team 'cheats' on the grand prix
grid, a pointy-fingered championship leader Fernando Alonso alleged.
The Spaniard told local daily 'Marca' that BAR-Honda is the obvious
trickster, but that Ferrari, too, is breaking the rules.
''(Ferrari) are testing more than what it is allowed,'' said the
23-year-old Renault driver.
Interestingly, the Maranello marque - with test driver Luca Badoer at
the wheel at Fiorano - racked up test day 30 of the 2005 in-season on
That is the limit imposed voluntarily, including not running in grand
prix week, by every team except the Scuderia.
But Fernando declared: ''We (have done) six days of testing (while)
Ferrari do twenty.''
(GMMf1NET -- May.5) F1 host nation Bahrain has warned illegal
immigrants to leave after they flew in with easy-to-obtain 'grand prix
visas' last month.
Around 700 people never left the Middle Eastern destination when their
visa - designed to allow easier access to Bahrain for the April 3 race
- expired on April 15, Bahrain's Passport directorate stated.
''We shall now step up inspection,'' secretary Shaikh Rashid told the
Gulf Daily News publication, also warning of possible jail time.
BAR to get 'guilty' verdict
(GMMf1NET -- May.5) F1 impresario Bernie Ecclestone thinks the
BAR-Honda team will be 'found guilty' of cheating.
The Paris court's verdict, involving possible exclusion from the 2005
championship, is expected on Thursday afternoon.
''There's always a reason for these things,'' said Ecclestone, 74.
''It's never a mistake.''
The FIA believe the 007 car's fuel system is deliberately designed to
allow it to be raced under the minimum weight.
But Bernie, who said a financial punishment would not be enough,
indicated that a lesser sanction - other than total exclusion - could
be, for example, an ineligibility to score points for the rest of the
GP chief - Magny Cours' ok
(GMMf1NET -- May.5) Magny Cours' French grand prix is not one of the
most endangered on an ever-competitive Formula One calendar.
That's the insistence of French motor sport authority chief Jacques
Regis, who - on Wednesday - plugged the July 3 race at a special event
Magny Cours, in rural Nevers, has a race contract until 2011.
''I have no problem with the future,'' Regis - who welcomed special
guest Bernie Ecclestone - told journalists.
Indicating an eagerness to bolster traditionally feeble ticket sales,
though, he also launched a novel competition where potential British
patrons - if they attend the race - can win a 'lifetime' ticket.
Wurz pipped to 'Friday' post
(GMMf1NET -- May.5) McLaren surprised many by pronouncing Pedro de la
Rosa, rather than senior test colleague and 'official' reserve Alex
Wurz, as 'Friday' driver for Barcelona.
The duo rolled back into competition for the third role when injured
racer Juan Pablo Montoya got a Spanish-ok.
Woking-based McLaren may, though, intend to alternate the seat, or at
least let the locally-born Pedro enjoy the job at the Circuit de
Earlier, McLaren said it would name a full time resident 'after the
Spanish' grand prix.
''It is really great for me to be taking part ... in front of my home
crowd,'' de la Rosa, 34, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, team 'CEO' Martin Whitmarsh confirmed that new aerodynamic
bodywork for the MP4-20 will debut at Barcelona.
Heidfeld drives Formula BMW
(GMMf1NET -- May.5) On Wednesday, Williams' Nick Heidfeld took to the
wheel of a 140hp 'Formula BMW' car at Valencia.
The German, for a PR event, acted as driving instructor for tennis
stars Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario and Andrew Murray, who both tried the
''That was brilliant!'' said Murray, 17, who doesn't even have a road
car driving license.
It was also grand prix veteran Heidfeld's first time in the junior
race car's cockpit. ''I'm looking forward to ... having another 800hp
behind me on Friday,'' he laughed.
(GMMf1NET -- May.5) Engine maker Cosworth has expressed
'disappointment' at Red Bull's recent decision to go with Ferrari
power from next year.
Head of race engineering Simon Corbyn said the now-independent outfit,
previously owned by Ford, is 'proud' of its achievements so far.
''(It) does not change our objective of delivering competitive and
reliable engines for 2005,'' he declared.
The energy drink-owned car should, meanwhile, be quicker around
Barcelona than a fortnight ago at Imola, according to rookie Tonio
34-year-old 'veteran' teammate David Coulthard, on the other hand, has
taken objection to the aforesaid label.
''It doesn't seem that long ago that I made my debut here,'' said the
Scot, who completed half the 1994 grand prix for Williams before
Ferrari to pack extra punch
(GMMf1NET -- May.5) Ferrari's engine will pack more punch around
Circuit de Catalunya.
Oil and fuel partner 'Shell' said a new F1 blend, SL0907, will
'liberate significant power' for the Spanish grand prix.
It is believed Ferrari want to push the Spanish-spec unit to the limit
because Monaco, scene of the next race, is the tour's gentlest on an
''Exact horse power gains have to remain classified,'' Shell said,
''but (it is) single figures.
''More gains are predicted in the future.''
Bernie's '10 day' test cap
(GMMf1NET -- May.5) F1 should revive the 'Heathrow' idea governing
grand prix testing, Bernie Ecclestone claimed.
Weighing in on the controversial debate, the 74-year-old 'chief
executive' proposed a 10-day limit on in-season running, with a six
hour 'test' session on GP Friday.
Bernie said in London: ''If you want to do more than ten days, then
you can't test on Friday.''
A current 'voluntary' 30-day limit is, because of Ferrari's refusal to
sign up, reportedly on the verge of collapse.
Bernie said the F1 Commission could vote his proposal through.
Pressure on Fernando
(GMMf1NET -- May.5) 'I felt more pressure driving go-karts.'
That was the not-a-care-in-the-world Fernando Alonso at Imola a
fortnight ago, where he won a third grand prix on the trot.
Now, a day prior to opening practice at Barcelona, the Spanish hero
and world championship leader has admitted to feeling the pinch.
But the 23-year-old won't let it get to him. ''If I had to choose
between (that) and driving in front of empty stands,'' Alonso said,
''then I choose pressure.''
He also told local daily 'Marca' that, at times in 2004, Renault
showed less than '100 per cent confidence' in him.
''I notice I am being treated a little better (within the team) this
year,'' Alonso revealed.
Bull boys' burly bikes
(GMMf1NET -- May.5) You won't catch David Coulthard or Tonio Liuzzi
buzzing around the Barcelona paddock on a 'girlie' scooter or bicycle.
Red Bull's F1 duo, and 'wheelie' expert Christian Klien, were let
loose on the Imola circuit a fortnight ago on huge KTM 'Supermoto'
22-year-old 'Friday' driver Klien, although almost dwarfed by the huge
motorbike, pulled an impressive wheelie on the venue's main
April 2 for '06 Oz GP
(GMMf1NET -- May.5) Although a later date had been expected, the
Australian grand prix will be held on a troublesome April 2 next year.
Resigned to losing the season opening slot to avert a Commonwealth
Games clash, GP chief Ron Walker wanted Melbourne to roar into life on
April 2, so close to the Games' closing ceremony, also clashes
headlong with the start of the Australian Football League opener in
''It still has to be approved by the World Motor Sport Council,''
Walker - who said he 'agreed' the date with Bernie Ecclestone -
It will, however, mean that the Albert Park track will, as usual, be
erected in January-February, but 'mothballed' throughout March.
Bahrain or Malaysia will temporarily host the '06 opener.
BAR debut Honda V8
(GMMf1NET -- May.5) Beleaguered BAR debuted a prototype 2.4 liter
Honda V8 engine at last week's Mugello test.
The unit, in a modified F1 car steered by Anthony Davidson and Enrique
Bernoldi, lapped about four seconds off the pace of a current V10,
Autosport magazine said.
Technical director Geoff Willis described the particularly low, small
and less powerful 2006 design as 'strange.'
He added: ''In some ways (it's) more like a MotoGP engine than an
actual F1 V10.''
May 5th in history
(GMMf1NET -- May.5) Twenty years ago today, eventual 1985 world
champion Alain Prost was disqualified from the San Marino grand prix
at Imola when his McLaren-TAG was found to be 2kg underweight.
Lotus' Elio de Angelis inherited the win, one of two in the Italian's
career before he died in a crash at Paul Ricard.
Prost, meanwhile, won next time out, at Monaco.
Imola - although much revised following Ayrton Senna's fatal 1994
crash - also staged the San Marino grand prix on May 5, 1996.
Damon Hill won from Germany's Michael Schumacher, in his fifth race
for Ferrari after switching as a twice Benetton champion.
A day earlier, though, Schumacher snatched his first scarlet pole.
''We still have a lot of work to do,'' he said on May 5 1996.
BAR saga to rumble on
(GMMf1NET -- May.5) BAR will return the favor and take the FIA to
court if found guilty of cheating and excluded from the championship.
BAR-Honda 'CEO' Nick Fry refused to rule out challenging, in a civil
court, an adverse decision of Paris' International Court of Appeal.
''If we were to be excluded,'' he said, ''we would have no choice.
''We would have nothing to lose.
''But we are assuming ... that won't be the case.''
'The Times' in Britain said the Brackley team will probably make some
staff 'redundant' if handed the ultimate penalty.
Meanwhile, in London, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone chucked out rumors
that - should BAR be excluded - some teams might have to run a third
car to make up the numbers.
''You can't suddenly make people run more cars,'' he explained.
Rosberg and Jones' sons
(GMMf1NET -- May.5) Alan Jones and Keke Rosberg won their respective
F1 championships in 1980 and 1982 -- both for Frank Williams.
But when it comes to their hard-charging sons, they could hardly be
56-year-old 'Flying Finn' Keke Rosberg, whose teenage son is now
Williams' official second test driver, is actually banned from
attending Nico's racing events.
''My father is the opposite,'' Asian F3 driver Christian Jones
laughed. ''I don't have to ban him because he never comes.''
Christian hopes to drive for Alan Jones' Australian 'A1 Grand Prix'
team from September.
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