Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
May 9, 2005

Red Bull and the dark side
(GMMf1NET -- May.9) The Monaco grand prix, and Star Wars.

Not a lot in common? They will, though, link up in the swanky Principality later in May.

Red Bull, formerly Jaguar, will - according to speculation - adopt a special livery for the grand prix to promote the 'Revenge of the Sith' movie.

Last year at Monaco, Jaguar ran a similar movie promotion (Ocean's 12), including the attendance of big-name stars like George Clooney and Brad Pitt.

'Terminator' Arnold Schwarzenegger also attended a race for Jaguar.

Meanwhile, the Bahrain grand prix circuit at Sakhir will swing open its gates this week to give fans the chance to try the layout in their own car.

It'll cost around $250 per car.

Kimi v. Fernando
(GMMf1NET -- May.9) 2005 leader Fernando Alonso sees a new championship rival in McLaren's Finn, Kimi Raikkonen.

The latter youngster streaked to dominant victory on Alonso's home turf at Barcelona.

''I think we'll have problems to beat them at the moment,'' the Renault driver said in Spain, ''because they look strong.

''But we are strong too.''

Indeed, Alonso's Roman teammate, Giancarlo Fisichella, set the fastest lap of the race. But Fernando, 23, urged Enstone to 'find more' for Monte-Carlo and beyond.

''We are confident we can still win races.''

Raikkonen, meanwhile, hinted that - with a big championship deficit to Alonso - he'll be going flat out from now on.

''We don't have much to lose anymore,'' he said. ''Our only chance is to win races.''

The end of an F1 era?
(GMMf1NET -- May.9) With no scarlet on the Barcelona podium, some are saying 2005 is the end of F1's 'Ferrari era.'

But you won't hear the sport's resurgent guard - McLaren, Renault and Toyota, for example - echoing that sentiment.

''With Ferrari,'' said Spanish GP winner Kimi Raikkonen, ''you just never know.

''All through the race I was waiting for them to do something good.''

The reality, though, is that Michael Schumacher - also with tire problems - could not emulate his pace of Imola.

''Ferrari, Schumacher - the whole package - is extremely strong,'' Toyota's Jarno Trulli warned. ''You always have to worry about their comeback.''

Sick Stoddart skipped Spain
(GMMf1NET -- May.9) An unwell Paul Stoddart, Minardi principal, missed the Spanish grand prix.

In Australia for 'Ozjet' airline meetings, the team owner - with, he said, a 'flu from hell' - was ordered to stay put while on a course of antibiotics.

He hasn't skipped a race since taking over the struggling Faenza team in 2001, and communicated to his crew via 'fax, phone and email.'

Massimo Rivola took the reigns at the Circuit de Catalunya, with a little help from team founder Gian Carlo Minardi.

However, asked about Monaco, Paul said he'd be back in black and in the Paddock even 'if I have to swim.'

Title slipping away - Schu
(GMMf1NET -- May.9) Michael Schumacher's sixth consecutive drivers' championship is slipping away, the German admitted in Spain.

''No question,'' the Ferrari driver conceded after an ill-starred race, ruined by inconsistent pace and deflated Bridgestone tires, at Barcelona.

He said: ''But it's not so far away that we have to give it up -- we will keep on fighting.''

Schumacher, 36, guessed that his tire failures - first on the left rear and then the front - may have been caused by debris.

''But I didn't see anything,'' he added.

And, although a whopping 34 points behind Fernando Alonso's title lead, Ferrari's number one vowed to 'find new motivation' ahead of Monaco.

Schumacher shrugged: 'We don't have anything to lose anymore.''

Tire 'failure' unlikely
(GMMf1NET -- May.9) Bridgestone played down fears that Michael Schumacher suffered a rare double tire failure at the Barcelona track.

The Japanese marque said it had a 'quick look' at the deflated left rear and front Potenza tire ''and the wear ... is perfectly acceptable,'' a spokesman reported.

''It could be debris, a puncture, loss through the valve,'' he speculated of the cause.

Bridgestone did, though, launch a 'thorough' investigation into the incident.

Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn backed up the team suppliers' hypothesis that tire failure was not to blame.

''It's possible that Fisichella's earlier pitstop,'' he said, ''was caused by similar (debris) problems.''

Michelin, meanwhile, admitted that their own F1 product suffered 'some blistering' in

Spain. 'It's just a win' - Kimi
(GMMf1NET -- May.9) F1 team McLaren has vowed to fight for the 2005 world championship.

Dominant Spanish grand prix victory aside, Kimi Raikkonen is still a considerable 27 points behind Fernando Alonso - and nine behind Jarno Trulli - in the drivers' chase.

''It's going to require Alonso not to finish the odd race,'' principal Ron Dennis - who said Imola caused him almost tangible 'pain' - said, ''but we seem to have found a (car) advantage.

''Now we've got to stay ahead.''

If Ron beamed and bubbled after the checkered flag fell, 25-year-old Raikkonen - on the other hand - retained a shade of ice-cool diffidence.

''It won't change my life,'' the monosyllabic Finn said of the win. ''It's just one win, a nice feeling, but nothing else.''

Priaulx to test
(GMMf1NET -- May.9) Touring car champion Andy Priaulx will test Williams' 'FW27' F1 racer at Vallelunga on Tuesday.

The Briton will take the wheel alongside regular test driver, Brazil's Antonio Pizzonia, BMW motor sport director Mario Theissen confirmed at Barcelona on Sunday.

Priaulx, on the weekend, drove his BMW - with teammates Pedro Lamy, Boris Said and Duncan Huisman - to Nurburgring 24-Hour victory on the famed and drenched Nordschleife.

Montoya's shoulder
(GMMf1NET -- May.9) McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya ended the Spanish grand prix at Barcelona with a sore shoulder.

The Colombian, 29 - who missed the Bahrain and Imola rounds with a fractured bone - spent an hour wearing an ice-pack after finishing seventh.

''It was tough,'' he said, ''particularly at turns three and nine and the last two corners where you pull a lot of Gs.''

Teammate Kimi Raikkonen, though, opted to give Montoya the benefit of the doubt after trailing the pace all weekend.

''It's his first race back from an injury,'' said the Finn, ''which is never easy.''

'Don't be hard on Mark'
(GMMf1NET -- May.9) Mark Webber is not to blame for a sequence of poor grand prix starts.

That's the insistence of countryman and Williams' 1980 world champion, Australian Alan Jones.

After 28-year-old Webber again bogged down on the line at Barcelona, 'AJ' told the AAP agency that a bad manual start is '70 percent' down to the car.

''(It's) your clutch and your revs and your engine management and so forth,'' the 58-year-old veteran of twelve grand prix wins said on Monday.

''Having said that, (Webber) is not known for his starts, but we shouldn't be too hard on him.''

Webber himself put the blame on being on the 'dirty side' of the Circuit de Catalunya grid.

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