Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
May 18, 2005
Schu screamed at soccer rival
(GMMf1NET -- May.18) F1's Michael Schumacher nearly came to blows in a
'friendly' charity football game on Tuesday.
In heavy Monte Carlo rain, and after a heavy tackle, the Ferrari
driver was observed 'screaming' at a member of Prince Albert's 'World
Schumacher, 36 - who scored a goal but ultimately lost the game (2-4)
- is captain of the drivers' 'Nazionale Piloti' squad.
After the game at Stade Louis II, the German - with quiet reference to
Bridgestone's superior wet weather tire - joked: ''If we have one per
cent of today's rain on Sunday, I will be very pleased.''
Proceeds of the game will go to children's charity.
'I'll get a '06 ride'
(GMMf1NET -- May.18) Narain Karthikeyan will stick around in Formula
One next year, the talented Indian driver has assured.
With back-of-the-grid Jordan, the 28-year-old has demonstrated skill
and - perhaps most vitally - consistently dominant pace over
Portuguese teammate Tiago Monteiro.
''I am faster than him nine times out of ten,'' Narain claimed.
He told the Times of India newspaper in Monte Carlo: ''I've already
impressed a lot of people.
''I'm going to be here next year too, with Jordan or some other team.
I'm very sure of that.''
He admitted to more than one approach of a rival team chief.
''Yes,'' Karthikeyan responded, ''but I am not going to say who.''
However, if Jordan is the most realistic choice for 2006, he reported
no concern at reports that team owner Alex Shnaider is keen to install
a Russian born driver.
Karthikeyan insisted: ''It will take a minimum of five years for a
Russian to come in.''
Another Bridgestone jab
(GMMf1NET -- May.18) Luca di Montezemolo has fired another bullet in
underperforming tire supplier Bridgestone's direction.
The Ferrari president, who is also chairman of Italian industry group
Confindustria, told a Unions' meeting this week that many Italian
companies are 'world renowned.
''One example is (Ferrari supplier) Brembo,'' Montezemolo said in
He added: ''If Ferrari's tires were as good as its brakes it would top
the Formula One standings also this year.''
Want to fix F1?
(GMMf1NET -- May.18) What's wrong with Formula One racing?
That is what the governing FIA wants to discover by launching a
near-unprecedented online fans' survey.
In early 2005, the Paris body initiated an extensive campaign to
investigate the state of F1 and the direction it should take for the
The FIA/AMD Formula One Survey 2005, to be launched at Monaco,
recognizes fans - like teams, manufacturers, suppliers, circuits and
broadcasters - as F1 'stakeholders', the FIA insisted.
The survey's results will be made publicly known, a source close to
the governing body added.
Quali 'must' change
(GMMf1NET -- May.18) Sir Frank Williams has renewed a plea for the
rejection of Formula One's divisive 'aggregate' qualifying system.
The Grove based principal said the format, not producing a pole sitter
until the morning of grand prix Sunday, must change, 'and urgently.'
He also told Italian magazine Autosprint: ''There might be ... small
modifications in the future.
''The big problem is that some cars have smaller (fuel) tanks than
Williams admitted the possibility of reinstating the classic 12-lap,
one-hour system, but outlined a hitch in integrating it with the new
one-engine per two races rule.
He said: ''At least, with the current system, it's all over in one
Darth Vader in Monaco
(GMMf1NET -- May.18) Star Wars' famous Darth Vader character will
feature on the Red Bull F1 car's engine cover at Monte Carlo this
On Tuesday, the team's 'Energy Centre' - floating in the harbor - was
unveiled with similar branding to promote George Lucas' latest episode
('Revenge of the Sith') in the glitzy Principality.
The American filmmaker, and some stars of the newly released
blockbuster - in nearby Cannes for the film festival - will be guests
of the F1 team in Monaco, and are scheduled to walk the grid.
''Monaco is the perfect setting to promote a movie,'' Red Bull's
'sporting director' Christian Horner remarked.
''Hopefully, the force will be with us!''
(GMMf1NET -- May.18) Heavy rain, which left the F1 street circuit
glistening late on Tuesday evening, will not disturb the Monaco grand
A weather report said the adverse weather front should have passed by
- at the latest - mid Wednesday morning.
Indeed, the weather forecast for Thursday - traditionally the first
day of practice for the historic Monaco race - is for a sunny top of
That theme should be maintained throughout the remainder of the
meeting, despite - with the lingering cloud cover - a small chance of
''I've been looking forward to Monaco for weeks,'' Sauber driver, and
Monte Carlo resident, Jacques Villeneuve admitted.
''It's a great circuit and just the kind of challenge I like.''
Updated in Monte Carlo
(GMMf1NET -- May.18) Williams will be one of several teams with a
thoroughly updated car for Monaco.
The slow, twisty street circuit is unique in F1: maximum downforce
matters, while - to a degree - outright aerodynamic efficiency, or
drag, does not.
''We do have more aerodynamic improvements for the FW27,'' Williams'
Sam Michael admitted.
He added: ''Our rate of (aerodynamic) development is without doubt one
of our strengths.''
Sauber, at Monaco, will reveal new front suspension and an updated
power steering system, while Red Bull's Guenther Steiner said the RB1
should also show off some new bodywork.
''(It) will give us more downforce,'' said the Italian-German, ''which
is very important at this circuit.''
Ferrari, Schu, drive on
(GMMf1NET -- May.18) Undeterred by gentlemen's agreements or
principles of the past, Ferrari continues its relentless testing
Just two days prior to Thursday practice at Monaco, world champion
Michael Schumacher - alongside test driver Luca Badoer - ran at
Fiorano before rain spoiled the fun.
A day earlier, in a test described as a 'shakedown' by the Maranello
based outfit, Badoer lapped 56 times on the private test circuit, in
Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello's Monaco-bound cars.
And, with the team's genuine struggle in 2005, it is no wonder Ferrari
bosses have - according to 'TZ' magazine - reportedly offered to
lengthen Schumacher's $50m per year contract to the end of 2007.
Elsewhere, a Ferrari gearbox specialist - Diego Ioverno - revealed
that much of the F2005's reliability problems can be blamed on the new
predominantly-carbon gearbox casing.
''As soon as you use a new technology,'' he explained, ''you have many
lessons to learn.''
Sauber needs more money - JV
(GMMf1NET -- May.18) Jacques Villeneuve has bemoaned F1 employer
Sauber's limited budget.
The former world champion won the title for Williams in 1997 before
moving to the well-heeled BAR team until 2003.
F1's most competitive privateer team, then, was an unfeigned shock to
the system for Canadian Villeneuve, who has struggled for pace in
''We have a lack of resources,'' the 34-year-old told his website.
''We have a great wind tunnel but we don't spend enough time in it.''
Cash strapped it might be, though, Villeneuve complimented Peter
Sauber's team for using its cash wisely.
He conceded: ''It's a ... different approach but it would be good to
keep this level of efficiency with more money.
''I've never worked with a team with this level of resources compared
to the others.''
Frank unsure of BMW plans
(GMMf1NET -- May.18) Sir Frank Williams has admitted to not knowing
whether engine partner BMW want to buy Sauber.
''I don't think so,'' the F1 principal told Italy's Autosprint
magazine, ''and I don't think Peter Sauber wants to sell.''
But he admitted: ''Really, I don't know what will happen.''
BMW motorsport director Dr Mario Theissen, though - who would
apparently become boss of a BMW-owned Sauber - is no doubt, and
publicly, critical of Williams' Grove based outfit.
Still, Sir Frank thinks the more likely outcome - although not, as far
as he is concerned, desirable - is a simple BMW engine deal for
He conceded: ''It would be (BMW's) decision, which I respect and can't
Flav, Fernando, to 'talk'
(GMMf1NET -- May.18) Flavio Briatore will 'talk' to Renault's title
leader Fernando Alonso before the Spaniard turns a wheel at Monaco.
Briatore, the team principal, well remembers that the unforgiving
Principality was the scene of his Spanish driver's only real mistake
Last year, in the tunnel, Alonso clashed with Williams' Ralf
'Flav' told Autosprint: ''I'll talk to him, like I do before every
''But I'm sure he'll be able to read the race well, with the maturity
and the awareness displayed previously.''
Indeed, 23-year-old Alonso - in the five races so far this year - has
won three times and never failed to appear on the podium.
Crashes aside, though, Briatore is pretty confident he'll be taking a
trophy or two home.
And, in reference to Sunday's black tie award ceremony, he smilingly
revealed: ''I'll put my tuxedo in my suitcase.''
May 18 - Schlesser
(GMMf1NET -- May.18) In early 1988, Bernie Ecclestone bet Max Mosley
that McLaren would win every grand prix that year.
The wager was 1,000 UK pounds. Mosley, FIA president, won.
He had a Frenchman by the name of Jean-Louis Schlesser, driving - at
Monza - a Williams-Judd in a one-off appearance, to thank.
At the chicane, race leader Ayrton Senna collided with Schlesser,
ensuring that Ron Dennis' team could win a maximum 15 of the sixteen
What on earth does Jean-Louis Schlesser have to do with May 18? On
that date in 1928, 40-year-old cousin Jo Schlesser - who died during
the French grand prix of 1968 - was born.
Today is also former Sauber, Williams and Jordan driver Heinz-Harald
Frentzen's 38th birthday.
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