Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
May 23, 2005

Monaco unsafe - Ralf
(GMMf1NET -- May.23) Ralf Schumacher has suggested that Monaco is too dangerous a place to race.

The German driver, who endured an eventful weekend in the Principality, said the famous barrier-lined street circuit is 'not a real race track.'

''It never will be. You would have to bulldoze all the houses and buildings and I don't think they'll be doing that!''

Schumacher, 29, complained of a headache after a nasty qualifying shunt, earlier got involved in the Montoya practice incident, and slammed brother Michael for staging a dodgy grand prix move.

''One millimeter more,'' Ralf said after the family quarrel, ''and one of us could have been dead.

''Sometimes (Schumacher is) not quite right in the head.''

Schu 'crazy' racer - brother
(GMMf1NET -- May.23) World F1 champion Michael Schumacher had to defend his aggressive driving style after, at Monte Carlo, trying overtaking moves on teammate Rubens Barrichello and brother Ralf.

''Michael should have switched his brain on before trying that move,'' said Toyota's Ralf, who jinked at 180mph to make room for Schumacher at the checkered flag.

''He's crazy.''

Earlier on the last lap, the 36-year-old Ferrari man - eyeing on extra point - muscled past teammate Rubens Barrichello at the tunnel chicane.

The Brazilian said: ''I don't want to destabilize the team but I have spoken to Michael and boss Jean Todt (about it).''

Schumacher, though, was not in an apologetic mood.

''I would do it to anyone,'' he retorted.

''We don't give presents and I do not expect any either. I'm not here for a Sunday outing but to be on the edge.''

Winning email
(GMMf1NET -- May.23) An instant email popped up on McLaren's Monte Carlo pitwall. Simply, it read: 'stay out.'

Back at Woking (UK), a key strategist decided that - unlike Fernando Alonso and rivals - Kimi Raikkonen should stay on track rather than pit during a Safety Car period.

''Within seconds of the crash,'' team chief Ron Dennis revealed, ''our men back at base had worked out (that) would be better for Kimi.''

25-year-old race winner Raikkonen, though, said he only skipped sliding into pitlane because he passed the entry before his radio crackled.

''Just after I came past (the pit entry) they told me to come in,'' the Finnish driver revealed.

''I said 'no, its too late' so they told me I need a 20-second or so lead before my stop.''

Kimi also downplayed the significance of winning the historic and unique Monaco event.

''It's just the same,'' he said, ''ten points for winning, but I suppose everyone looks at you in a different way after you do it.''

Podium doesn't thrill Webber
(GMMf1NET -- May.23) 'Not a bad day.'

From that, you'll deduce that Mark Webber didn't particularly enjoy his first ever visit to the grand prix podium.

From third on the grid, the Australian - ultimately behind teammate Nick Heidfeld - called his perpetual bad start system 'a joke' and concluded that Monaco 'could've been better for me.'

And, asked if he was frustrated, rather than exulted, Webber turned on the sarcasm.

''Not at all,'' he answered, then referring to teammate Nick Heidfeld, who - crucially - was called in for an earlier pitstop, ''I am happy to get beaten by him.

''Of course I'm disappointed.''

'Still calm'
(GMMf1NET -- May.23) If Fernando Alonso was not worried about leading the world championship, he's even more unperturbed by the so-called Kimi Raikkonen challenge.

McLaren's Finn, Kimi, has now dominantly won in Spain and now Monaco.

''But he's more than twenty points behind me,'' Alonso - whose Renault suffered extreme Michelin tire wear on the street circuit - insisted.

''I'm not worried, we are still calm.''

23-year-old Fernando's blue-and-yellow team, though - despite being on a harder compound tire to McLaren - vowed to investigate the cause of the unanticipated wear.

The 'Red Bulletin'
(GMMf1NET -- May.23) The 'Red Bulletin' is now in print.

It is a daily newspaper, produced by the similarly named Formula One team, to be published every day of a GP weekend.

''(F1) is an innovative sport,'' supremo Bernie Ecclestone said in the first - Monaco - edition, ''where new ideas and daring concepts are always welcome.''

The energy drink-owning Dietrich Mateschitz paid a rare visit to the Paddock at Monaco, and agreed that Red Bull has become the 'coolest' team.

''It's what the paddock missed for quite some time,'' the Austrian billionaire told F1.com.

''The time was right for us to move in (to F1) because the lifestyle needs of young fans ... were being ignored.''

Alonso dodged Monaco penalty
(GMMf1NET -- May.23) BMW's Mario Theissen reckons Fernando Alonso should have been penalized for cutting the chicane in a scrap with Mark Webber.

The marque's motor sport director said Renault's Spaniard, struggling on knackered tires, stayed ahead of Williams' Australian for a time by using the short cut tactic.

Webber confirmed that 23-year-old Alonso was having trouble stopping 'at all' after the tunnel.

''He went straight one or two times,'' Mark explained, ''so I think he knew he was having trouble.

''It wasn't a perfect move on my side either but I was pretty sure I would not be penalized.''

Theissen, meanwhile, denied that Williams' 2-3 Monaco finish means the FW27 is now quicker than the blue-and-yellow Renault.

''And the McLaren was just in another world,'' the German added.

Massa not 'angry'
(GMMf1NET -- May.23) Perhaps surprisingly, Felipe Massa did not aim fire at Jacques Villeneuve after the Sauber teammate took him off at Monaco.

The young Brazilian concluded that Villeneuve, world champion in 1997 when Massa was just sixteen, simply tried to overtake him 'at the wrong moment.'

''He could see my tires were gone -- he just picked the wrong moment. If he had waited he could have done it better a bit later,'' Felipe said.

''He was a little bit hasty.''

Massa, though, insisted he was not 'angry' at JV, but with the destroyed Michelin tires.

F1 to step up drug testing
(GMMf1NET -- May.23) Drug testing in Formula One will be ramped up, medical delegate Dr Gary Hartstein has revealed.

Instead of simply offering the odd urine sample at a grand prix, drivers may - for example - be tested at home or whilst training after the FIA adopted World Anti-Doping Agency rules.

''There is no suggestion that anyone is using drugs,'' Hartstein insisted, 'but it makes sense ... to have a more sophisticated ... process.''

I can win at 'Ring - Schu
(GMMf1NET -- May.23) Michael Schumacher says victory is a realistic goal for Sunday's European GP at the Nurburgring.

The German, 36, insisted that - on race pace alone - Ferrari is ready to return to the front of the grand prix pack.

''I think we will have a chance, sure,'' the local boy, born - like brother Ralf - not far away at Kerpen, insisted.

''You can say that our main weakness is qualifying, and it was much worse here than anywhere else. If you calculate where we would be if we had a normal grid position, I think you will find we are somewhere much higher.

''I hope we can offer something more to our fans at the Nurburgring.''

Meanwhile, the Schumacher brothers' manager - Willi Weber - told the German 'SID' agency that Michael will announce 'around Monaco time' next year whether he'll retire or not.

Weber said: ''One day he will turn around and say 'ok, I stop now'. But I do not believe this day is some place near.''

Stoddart in another race
(GMMf1NET -- May.23) Minardi F1 team owner Paul Stoddart is enmeshed in yet another race.

But the Melbourne born entrepreneur says the airline business is a walk in the park compared to the 'dog eat dog' world run by Bernie Ecclestone.

Stoddart has vowed to launch his Adelaide based business-class airline, OzJet, in September.

But airline rival 'Virgin Blue' chairman Chris Corrigan said that, if the Spanish grand prix is anything to go by, Stoddart's rivals won't be worried.

''I saw the start of (the Barcelona race),'' he told Queensland's Courier Mail newspaper, ''and (Stoddart's) two Minardi cars were stillborn on the starting line.''

Corrigan dryly smiled: ''It ... was a little prophetic for me.''

Stoddart, though, countered by urging his competitors to 'live' with OzJet. ''To actually fight with us,'' said the Australian, ''is not really going to make anyone win.''

However, he said he enjoys airline politics more than 'dirty' F1.

Kimi eyes German win
(GMMf1NET -- May.23) Williams' racing duo played a part in planting Kimi Raikkonen right back in the title fight.

''Yeah, thanks to those guys,'' the Finn said after winning at Monaco.

Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber both passed the tyre-ailing drivers' championship leader Fernando Alonso to share the podium.

McLaren's Raikkonen explained: ''It's so hard to catch up the points now, because you only get two points more than second for winning.

''As long as there are guys in the middle it is good for me.''

The 25-year-old also predicted yet another storming race at the Nurburgring, where free practice will kick off this Friday.

''Last year we were pretty quick,'' Kimi said, ''with a car that wasn't quick anywhere.''

Even McLaren 'F1 CEO' Martin Whitmarsh said the albeit significant 22 point deficit to Alonso is not insurmountable.

''Kimi can win this championship,'' the Briton insisted.

Ferrari to test
(GMMf1NET -- May.23) Ferrari will test prior to Sunday's Nurburgring race, we can reveal.

Although every other team agree not to run more than 50kms in grand prix week, the struggling Maranello marque is scheduled to conduct Bridgestone development at Fiorano.

Indeed, when asked at Monaco on Sunday, Michael Schumacher said the F2005 would burst back into action as soon as possible.

''I doubt that I will have time (to do the test),'' the German said, ''but the team will test to prepare for Nurburgring.''

Williams' tester Nico Rosberg, on the other hand, will conduct a 'shakedown' test at Silverstone (England).

Meanwhile, Grove racer Nick Heidfeld - who finished second at Monaco - was slapped with a $2800 fine for pit lane speeding on Saturday.

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