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
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.
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
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.''
(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
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.''
(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
''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
''And the McLaren was just in another world,'' the German
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
''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
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
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
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
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
Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber both passed the tyre-ailing
drivers' championship leader Fernando Alonso to share the
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
The 25-year-old also predicted yet another storming race at
the Nurburgring, where free practice will kick off this
''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
''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
''I doubt that I will have time (to do the test),'' the
German said, ''but the team will test to prepare for
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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