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 Stars' team.

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 Bergamo (Italy).

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 future.

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 others.''

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 lap.''

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 week.

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!''

Monaco moist
(GMMf1NET -- May.18) Heavy rain, which left the F1 street circuit glistening late on Tuesday evening, will not disturb the Monaco grand prix.

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 twenty one.

That theme should be maintained throughout the remainder of the meeting, despite - with the lingering cloud cover - a small chance of rain.

''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 program.

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 2005.

''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 Sauber.

He conceded: ''It would be (BMW's) decision, which I respect and can't interfere with.''

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 in 2004.

Last year, in the tunnel, Alonso clashed with Williams' Ralf Schumacher.

'Flav' told Autosprint: ''I'll talk to him, like I do before every grand prix.

''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 races.

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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