Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
May 19, 2005

Montoya 'ok' for Monaco
(GMMf1NET -- May.19) Juan Pablo Montoya says his shoulder is 'nearly 100 percent' for the Monaco grand prix.

McLaren's Colombian, who in Spain returned from a two-race break after fracturing his left scapula, said the mostly healed injury was tough going at high speed Barcelona.

''When it's just a little (G) load,'' the 29-year-old insisted, ''it doesn't matter. It should be okay here.''

Montoya, meanwhile - and teammate Kimi Raikkonen - are sure to sparkle more than usual in the glitzy Principality.

Ron Dennis' team have done a deal with diamond creator Steinmetz to spell out the drivers' names with expensive stones on their crash helmets.

25-year-old Raikkonen's lid, though, is often unique at Monaco. This year, it features more black than usual, plus images of die and the logo 'Dice'n in the streets'.

Schu denies new Ferrari deal
(GMMf1NET -- May.19) Michael Schumacher has played down press reports of a new one year deal to drive for Ferrari.

'TZ' magazine claimed the Maranello marque offered Schumacher - the first ever seven time drivers' champion - $50 million to race in 2007.

''Every weekend you ask me this,'' the German, 36, laughed in Monaco on Wednesday.

''It is a rumor either about me retiring or deciding to stay.

''But keep asking me -- one day there will be an answer.''

Schumacher also refused to play ball with speculation that MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi - who once tested a Ferrari - might be on the way to F1 in a year or two.

He replied: ''Well, (Rossi) personally didn't say anything, so there's no point (answering).''

'Monaco not so special'
(GMMf1NET -- May.19) Monte Carlo is no longer such an unique race track, two-time winner David Coulthard has claimed.

The Scot, who first raced a Williams-Renault on the famous street circuit a decade ago, said Monaco is now 'more of a normal' circuit.

He refers to the inside curb at turn 1, and the easier exit of flat-out Swimming Pool section.

''(Monaco) is now like Canada in a way,'' Coulthard, now driving for Red Bull, commented.

''Two of the areas that used to have more influence have been taken away.''

Coulthard, 34, also denied that the forthcoming Liuzzi-Klien driver switch in the sister Cosworth-powered 'RB1' race car is a team distraction.

''They both drive at all the grands prix,'' he said, referring to the fact that, at Monaco, Christian Klien will steer the Thursday spare.

Finland's 'secret' recipe
(GMMf1NET -- May.19) Finland. The tiny country must veil the ultimate recipe for producing great F1 drivers.

Not so, according to 1982 champion and original Flying Finn, Keke Rosberg, whose German-born teenage son is now Williams' second test driver.

Since Keke, Mika Hakkinen and Kimi Raikkonen have helped set the grand prix pace, while Mika Salo came close to winning a race and Heikki Kovalainen threatens to join in.

The secret, Rosberg said, is a long, cold winter.

''We drive for months on snow and ice,'' 56-year-old Keke told the German 'Bild' newspaper.

''Whether you're a housewife or a taxi driver, everyone must slide skillfully around a corner.''

And, then, there's the 'ice cool' Finnish personality. Raikkonen, for example, wears an 'iceman' moniker on his helmet.

''Before Kimi was famous,'' Rosberg grinned, ''if he wanted to go to a disco he would stand in line in minus 25 degrees.''

Karthikeyan pulled over
(GMMf1NET -- May.19) 'Who do you think you are -- Narain Karthikeyan?'

While you might hear a policeman say that in India, clearly the Jordan rookie is not so well known around Monaco.

The 28-year-old was pulled up near the Grand Hotel hairpin on Wednesday, for - on a scooter - trying to do a lap of the famous F1 layout while some of it was closed to traffic.

''The cops are not very happy,'' he grinned.

Karthikeyan said the 'cop' scratched his head whilst surveying his Indian race license, but let him off with a warning.

The 'fastest Indian on wheels' also vowed to not move to 'too crowded' Monte Carlo in a hurry.

But he quipped: ''When I start earning big money, I'll think about it.''

Schu's $8m arm
(GMMf1NET -- May.19) Michael Schumacher's arms are insured for $8.28 million each, Britain's Sun newspaper has claimed.

If you think that's a lot, though, there is a limb worth more -- Brazilian soccer star Adriano, who plays for Inter Milan, has his left leg covered for a world record $22m.

Elsewhere, it is reported that Schumacher - as a director of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association - will be involved in talks at Monaco to boost safety at F1 tests.

Fellow director and rival David Coulthard was apparently involved in the writing of a letter to the governing body.

''It's perfectly reasonable for the drivers to send us a letter,'' an FIA spokesman revealed, ''but it's the teams that have to decide whether or not they want us to get involved.''

Flav denies 'too old' quote
(GMMf1NET -- May.19) Renault's F1 press office spent much of Wednesday dismantling Flavio Briatore's snipe at 'too old' Michael Schumacher.

The title leading team said the Italian's quote in 'Bunte' magazine was translated into English incorrectly.

''I admire his successes,'' the 'faulty' quote went, ''... but (Schumacher's) too old.''

Renault, though, said the quote - when accurately translated - went: ''... but (Schumacher) has been ... on his own too long.

''Formula One needs new blood and new stars.''

Less disputed by Renault was Briatore's claim that Schumacher - although struggling in 2005 - is probably enjoying himself more.

''Last year,'' the principal continued to tell Bunte in an unpublished article, ''I didn't have (that) impression.''

Red Bull to decide on Monday
(GMMf1NET -- May.19) Red Bull is to decide on Monday whether Vitantonio Liuzzi and Christian Klien will again swap seats.

After Austria's Klien impressed in the first three grands prix of 2005, Liuzzi - an F1 rookie - tried his hand at Imola, Barcelona and Monaco.

''After Sunday we will make a decision,'' team principal Christian Horner revealed at Monaco.

The Red Bull chief rejected the notion that Klien, 22, appears the stronger of the pair.

Horner insisted: ''For a rookie (Liuzzi has) done an excellent job, and (Christian) is champing at the bit to get back in.''

Meanwhile, Red Bull regular David Coulthard vowed to 'drop my pants' if he wins a third career Monaco grand prix.

He also claimed that McLaren 'replacement' Juan Pablo Montoya is not doing 'a significantly better job (than me).'

Trulli given wings
(GMMf1NET -- May.19) Jarno Trulli will be hoping a radical front 'winglet' or two will boost his pace at Monaco.

Cologne's red and white F1 car, not expected to particularly suit the bumpy street layout, is wearing the aerodynamic innovation in a intense hunt for extra downforce.

Trulli, who then drove for Renault, last year won his maiden grand prix at Monte Carlo.

He admitted to La Gazzetta dello Sport, though, that the relationship with Flavio Briatore - in late May, 2004 - was already starting to crumble.

''This year my mood is different,'' Jarno told the newspaper. ''I'm extremely happy and we might surprise everyone.''

Kimi, Fernando, wary
(GMMf1NET -- May.19) Drivers' title leader Fernando Alonso will not be surprised if a silver F1 racer sets the pace at Monaco.

The Spaniard, a triple winner in 2005, was - however - beaten to Barcelona's checker by McLaren driver Kimi Raikkonen.

He admitted on Wednesday: ''I think at the moment McLaren are a little bit in front of us.''

Monaco, though, is an anomalous circuit, Fernando warned. ''Last year,'' he recalled, ''Ferrari dominated the whole championship but here they were not quick enough.

''(But) we do know the McLaren is quick.''

Raikkonen, on the other hand, singled out 'traction' as one of the most crucial performance elements in the Principality.

And he said of the Renault R25: ''(It is) usually very strong in that area (but) we should be able to challenge to win.''

Webber rules out F1 win
(GMMf1NET -- May.19) Williams' Mark Webber has ruled out winning in Monte Carlo.

The Australian said the Grove built FW27 car is still not fast enough.

''We are working on it,'' he said on Wednesday. ''It's no good dreaming -- we need more grip, more power, more downforce.''

Asked how distant that elusive maiden grand prix win is, the 28-year-old replied: ''We're a way off yet -- but you can still enjoy your (racing).''

Mark said: ''It's great to have street circuits and it's a shame we don't have more of them.''

A few grands prix in the famous Principality, however, have been held on this very date -- the nineteenth day of May.

In 1957, Juan Manuel Fangio took his Maserati to victory.

Twenty eight years later, also on May 19, McLaren's Alain Prost drank the champagne, while in 1996, another Frenchman - Olivier Panis - memorably won his first and only F1 race, for Ligier.

JV could've taken F1 checker
(GMMf1NET -- May.19) Jacques Villeneuve has admitted he might not be in Monaco had he not scored a decent result at Imola.

The former world champion, having resumed a struggle for pace at Barcelona, said his best hope for pace is grands prix that require softer tires.

''I'm very happy I had Imola,'' Sauber's JV revealed, ''because, if not for that result, it would have been very difficult to be here.

''As long as we have a few good races, like at Imola, then I think we'll be alright.''

F1's grid of twenty drivers will be kept busy in the next ten or eleven weeks. In that space of time, no less than eight grands prix will be staged.

''It's a hectic time,'' Renault driver Giancarlo Fisichella agreed in Monaco, ''but honestly I'd prefer to do more races than more testing.''

Similarly, Kimi Raikkonen insisted that, although he'll be practicing at the Nurburgring in about a week, a driver's preparation is identical.

''I'm happy to go racing,'' said the Spanish grand prix winner, ''and at least you get (races) over with quickly.''

Ferrari 'tired' - rivals
(GMMf1NET -- May.19) Ferrari's biggest problem in 2005 is uncompetitive Bridgestone tires, Formula One rivals said in Monte Carlo.

Red Bull's David Coulthard defended his old adversary, Michael Schumacher, amid speculation the seven time champion may be losing his edge.

''I don't think so,'' the F1 veteran answered.

''Even if they're still struggling at the end of the year, we will have to say the tires are clearly a bigger factor.''

Giancarlo Fisichella, meanwhile, wondered whether Ferrari's total dominance may be over, but said Imola proved the scarlet 'package' - when on a good tire - is 'still there.'

And McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen said: ''If you put Michelin tires on their car, they would be at the front end again.''

Rookies to test Minardi
(GMMf1NET -- May.19) Two Italian rookies will test a Minardi Formula One car in November.

It is reported that the Italian Automobile Club and Paul Stoddart's team have penned a deal to support up-and-coming Italian youngsters.

The young pair, to be aged between 18 and 21, will drive at Vallelunga in late November.

''It's a project ... to build a new generation of drivers,'' said the Club's Gino Macaluso, ''who will ... carry on with the prestigious Italian motor racing heritage.''

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