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 Principality.

''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 company.

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 for cheating.

''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 eighty spectators.

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 teeth.'

''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 liking.

''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 explained.

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 Sam Michael.

''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 approval.

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 countries' officials.

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 Armco barrier.

''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 Carlo.

''It would be wonderful,'' Giancarlo - at the famous Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday - grinned, ''to win.''

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