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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 Wednesday.

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.''








'Leave Bahrain'
(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 '05 season.








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 in London.

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 Catalunya.

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 single seater.

''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.








Cosworth 'disappointed'
(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 Liuzzi.

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 retiring.








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 engine.

''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' bikes.

22-year-old 'Friday' driver Klien, although almost dwarfed by the huge motorbike, pulled an impressive wheelie on the venue's main start-finish straight.








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 30.

April 2, so close to the Games' closing ceremony, also clashes headlong with the start of the Australian Football League opener in the city.

''It still has to be approved by the World Motor Sport Council,'' Walker - who said he 'agreed' the date with Bernie Ecclestone - cautioned.

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 more different.

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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