Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
May 17, 2005
Toyota dodge FIA slap
(GMMf1NET -- May.17) Toyota will not be punished for racing without a
national competition license, FIA president Max Mosley confirmed.
It emerged last week that the Cologne based team's German
documentation had expired prior to Melbourne and F1 team management
forgot to renew it until after Imola last month.
''There won't be any penalties for Toyota,'' Max told Italian sporting
newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that the Japanese owned team will - as is
common for barrier-lined Monaco - take a second spare car to the
''We have a spare car for both Jarno (Trulli) and Ralf (Schumacher),''
chief race engineer Dieter Gass confirmed.
Schu and Richards
(GMMf1NET -- May.17) Question: What do world champion Michael
Schumacher, and former BAR principal David Richards, have in common?
The Fiat Stilo.
Ferrari's Italian carmaker-owner has unveiled the limited edition
'Stilo Schumacher' and the Stilo Schumacher GP.
While the former includes a body kit and MP3 player, the 'Schumacher
GP' was redeveloped for Britain by Prodrive -- Dave Richards' racing
Prodrive's 'Schumacher' is fitted with special suspension and dampers,
7x18' OZ alloy wheels, low profile tires and a rear exhaust silencer.
'Fed up' in Monaco
(GMMf1NET -- May.17) Jenson Button will leave his overalls behind when
attending the Monaco grand prix.
The English driver's BAR-Honda team, although allowed a hospitality
presence in the Principality, is serving the second of a two race ban
''I'm pretty disappointed about it,'' 25-year-old Button admitted on
Monday, ''but I am sure I'll find some way to look after myself.''
No doubt, friend and rival David Coulthard smiled, JB is talking about
the plethora of glitz-and-glam parties that - for the non-racer -
epitomize the street grand prix in late May.
''I'd love to go to Monaco and hang out,'' Coulthard admitted, ''but
I'll leave that for when I'm too old to race.
''I'm sure Jenson will be well fed up by Friday night because nothing
ever, ever replaces the feeling of driving a good lap in a F1 car.''
Kimi should expect a fight
(GMMf1NET -- May.17) Fernando Alonso has warned Barcelona winner Kimi
Raikkonen not to expect another walk in the park at Monaco.
The title leading Spaniard admitted that McLaren's improved package
was simply quicker than his Renault in Spain.
He warned: ''But I don't think (Barcelona) gave a real picture of the
gap between our cars.''
Alonso, 23, failed - on ailing Michelins - to match Raikkonen's pace
in the first stint at Circuit de Catalunya.
Monte Carlo, though, could be a different story, particularly as
Renault will unveil a major bodywork update.
Fernando said: ''I think we will be much more equal (there). I am
feeling very confident.''
Mercedes' Monaco landmark
(GMMf1NET -- May.17) Sunday's Monaco grand prix is the two hundredth
for German carmaker Mercedes-Benz in Formula One.
Since Juan Manuel Fangio and German teammate Karl Kling lined up on
Reims' French grid in July 1954, the silver marque has also raced with
Sauber and current F1 partner McLaren.
In mid-1955, Mercedes stopped racing when - at Le Mans - Pierre
Levegh's Stuttgart racer flew into the crowd, killing the driver and
By 1995, though, the McLaren-Mercedes alliance kicked off, culminating
in Mika Hakkinen's double triumph in '98 and '99.
The Stuttgart based brand now own 40 percent of Ron Dennis' team.
''Currently,'' Mercedes' head of competition, Norbert Haug, said ahead
of the landmark race, ''I see half a dozen drivers and as many teams
... in a position to win (at Monaco).''
Schu's Monaco setback
(GMMf1NET -- May.17) Michael Schumacher is refusing to moan about
facing a disadvantage before a wheel has even turned at Monte Carlo.
The German's 'F2005' Ferrari, because it failed to finish in Spain a
fortnight ago, will be one of the first cars out for Saturday
qualifying on the slippery street circuit.
Qualifying, on the tight and twisty layout, is crucial in Monaco.
According to Paddock banter, the Maranello team - so successful in the
past - actually requested the new rule.
''We will try to make the best of it,'' 36-year-old Schumacher vowed.
He admitted that Ferrari, on Bridgestone tires, is going through a
'weak phase' in 2005.
''We did so well for an unusually long period of time,'' Michael
lamented, ''and now we're having a little struggle.''
He insisted: ''Giving up is not an option, but giving up before you
even try is completely out of the question.''
Bellm quits BRDC
(GMMf1NET -- May.17) In the wake of Sir Jackie Stewart's successful
bid to stay president, opponent Ray Bellm - already ousted as chairman
- has left the British Racing Drivers' Club.
The pair clashed over Silverstone's new five-year deal to promote the
British grand prix.
Bellm, still a director until he proffered a written resignation to
new chairman Stuart Rolt, likened the ensuing drama to a kick 'in the
''I ... no longer wish to have anything more to do with the ...
Club,'' he told Autosport.
''The (members) want Jackie to lead the Club and good luck to them.''
'F1 fight will be resolved'
(GMMf1NET -- May.17) The 'breakaway' dispute in Formula One will
ultimately be resolved.
That is the opinion of the man who arguably created the carmakers'
'GPWC' alliance -- former Fiat CEO Paolo Cantarella.
''At the end of the day,'' he told Autosport magazine in Italy, ''I
think there will be a resolution.''
Ironically, Fiat - parent company of F1 outfit Ferrari - pulled out of
the GPWC, now an unnamed group also comprising Toyota and Honda, when
it did a unilateral deal with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.
Cantarella, though, maintains that the 74-year-old 'supremo' is
'making too much money.'
He added: ''I started (the GPWC idea) because the cost of F1 racing
has become so high ... (and also) the cake should be bigger.''
McLaren 'difficult' - Montoya
(GMMf1NET -- May.17) Juan Pablo Montoya has admitted he does not feel
comfortable at the wheel of McLaren's MP4-20.
The Colombian, who only returned from injury at Barcelona last time
out, told 'Speed TV' that the Mercedes-powered car is not yet to his
''At the moment it's a difficult car to drive for me,'' the
29-year-old driver admitted.
While Montoya struggled with the handling, his teammate - Finland's
Kimi Raikkonen - took the Spanish win with a dramatic pace.
JPM explained: ''The problem ... for me is (the car) seems to work in
a very narrow window.
''For me to make the front tires work at the beginning of the race is
(also) a big issue.''
Human error caused Wurz crash
(GMMf1NET -- May.17) Alex Wurz was not at fault, but human error has
been blamed for the Austrian test driver's huge Paul Ricard crash.
An Autosport report said a Michelin fitter, confused by an incorrectly
placed barcode sticker, put the failed rear tire 'the wrong way
around' on the McLaren car's wheel rim.
''We know that could have led to minimizing the capacity of the
tire,'' the French company's motor sport director Pierre Dupasquier
The 67-year-old said the tire fitting process has since been revised.
Priaulx at Rockingham
(GMMf1NET -- May.17) Not content to see Frank Williams' grand prix
contenders tear up Monte Carlo?
Head down, then, to Rockingham (UK) on Monaco grand prix Sunday, where
part time Grove tester and touring car champion Andy Priaulx is due to
demonstrate last year's BMW-powered FW26 model.
This weekend, at the 'BMW Power Festival' at the Northamptonshire
circuit near Corby, the 1999 Le Mans-winning car and Priaulx's 320i
tin-top will also be shown off.
Briton Priaulx tested the current F1 racer at the Monaco-like
Vallelunga track last week.
''(He) did a great job,'' said Williams' Australian technical director
''I'm impressed how well he has adapted to a Formula One car.''
GP chief in tax scandal
(GMMf1NET -- May.17) Australian grand prix chief Ron Walker is in
trouble for spending taxpayers' money without state government
A report in the Melbourne based 'Herald Sun' newspaper said the tall
entrepreneur, also chairman of next year's Commonwealth Games in the
city, subsidized - to the tune of $280,000 - hotel rooms for visiting
The Australian Commonwealth Games Association, though, said it did not
agree to the deal.
Walker told the newspaper: ''It wasn't a very big price to pay.''
Fisi - 'I love Monaco'
(GMMf1NET -- May.17) Monaco is Roman driver Giancarlo Fisichella's
favorite grand prix.
Every May, Renault's 2005 recruit - with his family on board - drives
his boat from Italy to the Monte Carlo harbor.
More than that, though, Fisichella simply feels at home in between an
''I love the sensation of driving through the streets,'' said the
32-year-old, ''and I always seem to go well (there).
''It should be the same this year.''
Except, of course, the R25 - unlike his Sauber (2004), Jordan (2002,
2003) or Benetton (2001) - is a race winner.
With Jarno Trulli at the wheel, the car's difficult-handling
predecessor won in style.
Fisichella said: ''The (R25) will definitely be fast there.''
Better still, Fisichella - after Spain - has broken out of the cycle
of qualifying early, making a good grid spot achievable at Monte
''It would be wonderful,'' Giancarlo - at the famous Cannes Film
Festival on Tuesday - grinned, ''to win.''
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