Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
May 22, 2005

Webber injury healed
(GMMf1NET -- May.22) Mark Webber's rib injury is now completely healed, the Australian driver has revealed.

Williams' new recruit landed in Melbourne for the F1 season opener with a cracked rib, sustained on a winter test lap, and taking pain killers.

''It's good, no problem,'' Webber - third quickest in Saturday qualifying - said at Monaco.

He added: ''It was still a bit tricky in Barcelona, because of the high g-loadings, but the team adapted the seat really well for me and I tested at Vallelunga without a single problem.''

Mark, 28, also denied that the rib injury - which caused him to slow a usually flat-out training regime - did not really affect his race fitness.

''Actually (the injury) was a pretty bad thing,'' Webber said. ''I couldn't do a lot. Luckily I was pretty fit to begin with!''

Montoya penalty 'too hard'
(GMMf1NET -- May.22) Juan Pablo Montoya, sent to the back of the Monaco grid for causing a practice pile up, has denied he 'brake tested' former F1 teammate Ralf Schumacher.

The Colombian, accused of slowing down to reprimand Ralf for earlier blocking him, said he was only trying to 'avoid an accident' with the Toyota.

He moaned: ''A guy comes out of the pits in front of me on a timed lap and I get a penalty.''

Mercedes' Norbert Haug admitted that his man made a 'small error' but was 'disproportionately' punished.

''He could have won this race,'' said the German director, while Schumacher recalls that Montoya pulled alongside to communicate a less-than-friendly hand message.

McLaren, though, continued to grumble about the too-heavy slap. ''Incidents are part of grand prix racing,'' said Ron Dennis.

''To ruin a driver's entire weekend I think is a bit extreme.''

Ralf had headache
(GMMf1NET -- May.22) Ralf Schumacher complained of a headache in the hours following his big shunt at Monaco.

But his manager, Willi Weber, also assured 'Premiere' television that 'everything else is fine' after the double whack at the Tabac bend.

''I clipped the left side barrier with my front wheel,'' the Toyota driver, 29, explained, ''which sent me into the other side of the barriers.

''I'm perfectly ok but I just feel sorry for the whole team.''

Meanwhile, given Ralf's other - morning practice - crash, Weber denied that, although Schumacher does not like the overly 'dangerous' street circuit, he will now drive a wary race.

''I've known him for years,'' Weber said, ''and I am sure he will do everything to drive out of the back of the field.''

BMW on way to Sauber
(GMMf1NET -- May.22) BMW and Williams are heading for divorce, former BMW motor sport director Gerhard Berger has warned.

The Austrian told a Salzburg newspaper that he still meets 'from time to time' with former colleague Mario Theissen and Burkhard Goeschel.

''It has been clear for some time that something has to change,'' said 45-year-old Berger, a ten time grand prix winner.

''If I had to predict which way it will go, I would say Sauber.''

Williams' Mark Webber, a notable third on the provisional Monaco grid, admits that the way the FW27 car uses the Michelin tyres is a significant 2005 problem.

''We are probably using them a fraction too hard,'' the Aussie admitted, ''but in all areas we need still to improve.

''Ok, we're third, but the gap to the Renault and the McLaren is not very impressive.''

Kimi's 'best' car
(GMMf1NET -- May.22) McLaren's MP4-20 is the best racer Kimi Raikkonen has driven.

The near-certain Monaco pole sitter, who dominated at Barcelona, admitted on Saturday that the Adrian Newey-penned car is similarly good on the fabled street circuit.

''With this gap we may be able to play with the fuel a little bit,'' the Finn, 25, said.

''To be honest I expected it to be a harder fight but I don't know what happened to Renault.

''This is the best car I have driven, but I'm surprised at just how well it has gone here.''

Front row rival Fernando Alonso, despite falling a half second short of Kimi, also let fly with the quotables after Saturday qualifying, calling May 2005 'the best moment in my career.'

Team Irv 'good for F1'
(GMMf1NET -- May.22) Bernie Ecclestone says it is good news that Eddie Irvine may soon join the team owners' circle.

The F1 impresario insisted it will be 'good for F1' if Irvine's Russian backer snaps up the Silverstone based team for around half the price paid by Alex Shnaider six months ago.

''I like the idea,'' he told England's Daily Telegraph newspaper. ''He will make a lot of noise and upset a few people.''

Shnaider bought the team from Eddie Jordan for around $45 million, including $20m in debt.

But Irvine - who won't, incidentally, be personally investing a penny - could snap up Jordan for a paltry $22m.

So why did an apparently disinterested Russian-Canadian buy Jordan in the first place? ''Because they like to party,'' Mr. E, 74, grinned.

FIA court slams F1 carmakers
(GMMf1NET -- May.22) Accused of unfair play, the FIA Court of Appeal has slammed five of Formula One's car manufacturers.

Secretary-general David Ward said in a lengthy statement that the 'attack' - coming via a statement attributed to Honda, BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Renault and Toyota - was 'misconceived' and revealed a 'lack of understanding' of the FIA and sports governance.

Reportedly fuelled by Honda, the carmakers' criticism came shortly after the FIA court banned BAR for two grands prix.

Ward said the carmakers' attack was mounted 'without the slightest evidence,' and insisted the Court is 'independent, fair and transparent.'

'I wasn't happy' - DC
(GMMf1NET -- May.22) F1 veteran David Coulthard has revealed that he 'wasn't happy' at McLaren last season.

''Definitely not,'' he admitted to Britain's The Daily Telegraph newspaper, ''but you can't expect everything to be rosy all the time.''

Stubble beard aside, one of the commonest observations in the F1 paddock these days is that DC - now at all-fun Red Bull - is more at ease and content.

''I don't spend a lot of time looking back,'' the Scot, 34, continued, ''but (McLaren in 2003 and 2004) was a difficult time. It looked as though we were losing a bit of direction.''

Montoya 'could've killed me'
(GMMf1NET -- May.22) Jacques Villeneuve says the 'stupid' driving of Juan Pablo Montoya could've killed him on Saturday.

The Canadian's Sauber clipped David Coulthard's Red Bull car after Montoya allegedly 'brake tested' Ralf Schumacher up the quick Monaco hill.

''It could have been terrible,'' the 34-year-old driver said. ''If I'd have hit David's wheel, I could have been up in some hotel with me dead and someone else dead.''

Jacques' father, Gilles, died when his Ferrari took off after a similar clash in 1982.

And, in 2001, the flying wheel of JV's BAR struck and killed a marshal in a near-identical incident involving Ralf Schumacher at Albert Park.

Villeneuve said: ''(Montoya's) was stupid driving, extremely, extremely dangerous so hopefully he can quickly learn from the penalty.''

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