Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
May 25, 2005

Schu pleased with Sunday axe
(GMMf1NET -- May.25) Drivers' champion Michael Schumacher has offered a resounding thumbs-up to the Nurburgring qualifying overhaul.

The Ferrari driver said he is 'happy' the Sunday session, concluding an 'aggregate' grid position, has been scrapped.

''It is good for the fans,'' German-born Schumacher remarked, ''who won't now have to get their calculator out.

''But perhaps even more important is that we find a solution and then stick to it.''

No doubt fuelling the 36-year-old's optimism, though, is the fact that doing away with the low fuel run will probably help Ferrari - struggling over a single lap - in 2005.

Schumacher said: ''Now, we might have an opportunity to make up our disadvantage by going for a different fuel load.

''This is not bad news at all.''

Schu duel won't be eye-to-eye
(GMMf1NET -- May.25) Ralf Schumacher says there would be 'no point' confronting German brother Michael about his allegedly dangerous overtaking move at Monte Carlo.

The pair were born not far from forest lined Nurburgring, at Kerpen (Germany).

But they won't be sharing a bright and breezy home reunion, after 29-year-old Ralf - the younger sibling - said Schu Senior often 'doesn't consider anyone else.'

He told RTL TV: ''It's worse this year because he is frustrated that his season is worth nothing.

''But it's not worth talking to him, he never sees it another way.''

It is equally clear, though, that Michael is also not in a pacifying mood, as he told 'Bild' newspaper that he would try the move again tomorrow.

Schumacher, 36, added: ''Are we having a race or going out for coffee? I am in a race so of course I am going to race.''

Wurz again in 'Friday' seat
(GMMf1NET -- May.25) Although McLaren vowed to alternate the 'Friday' driving job for the balance of 2005, it didn't mean Pedro de la Rosa and Alex Wurz would switch after every race.

Indeed, in a Nurburgring preview, the Woking based outfit hinted that Wurz - the long serving Austrian - would occupy the spare MP4-20 car at a second successive grand prix.

The 31-year-old also drove at Monaco.

''In addition to tire selection with Michelin,'' Wurz commented, ''I will be working closely with the team on set up work for the rest of the (Nurburgring) weekend.''

Nurburgring's no fun
(GMMf1NET -- May.25) It is safe to say that the Nurburgring, although next to the legendary 'Nordschleife' version, is not the modern grand prix drivers' favorite.

1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, now at Sauber, has won at the German circuit, but he blasted the first sector as 'really annoying.'

''It's slow and just isn't fun,'' said the French Canadian, ''and, for me, spoils it.''

Although close to Toyota's Cologne HQ, team driver Jarno Trulli calls the Nurburgring no more than 'a normal' track.

''I really don't have a favorite corner,'' the Italian - who finished second there in 1999 - answered. ''It's not particularly technical.''

Countryman Giancarlo Fisichella also panned the mountainous layout as 'not the most exciting' on the calendar.

Fisi's confidence thumped
(GMMf1NET -- May.25) Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella admits that his confidence took a whack during the 'tough' Monaco race.

The Roman, third until his Michelin tires gave up the ghost, said the 2005 event was his most difficult grand prix in nearly 150 race starts.

He said: ''The car was really undriveable at the end. After Monaco, it is hard to be totally confident for a grand prix just one week later.''

On a brighter note, the Nurburgring - although not the happiest hunting ground for Renault - should better suit the blue and yellow contender.

Giancarlo agrees: ''For half the race (at Monaco), the car was among the quickest. I think we can come back strongly.''

Red Bull tire swap 'logical'
(GMMf1NET -- May.25) Struggling tire supplier Bridgestone will likely add a fourth Formula One team next year.

Red Bull's motor sport 'advisor' Helmut Marko admitted that, with the confirmed arrival of V8 Ferrari power in 2006, a Bridgestone alliance might be 'logical.'

He added: ''Exchanging experience is an important step on our way ... to the front.''

Of the ten grand prix teams, only Ferrari and underfinanced privateer outfits Jordan and Minardi are currently not Michelin clad.

'Home race' for Toyota
(GMMf1NET -- May.25) Although Japanese owned, Germany's Nurburgring is a 'home race' for the Toyota team.

The Eifel venue is less than an hour's drive from Cologne HQ.

''We should have lots of support,'' Jarno Trulli predicted. ''Everything we do at the racetrack is down to the guys back in the factory.''

And, Toyota confirmed, every one of them has received a free ticket to a grandstand at the Nurburgring this weekend.

Support aside, there is another upside to being so close to the team headquarters, technical director Mike Gascoyne outlined.

The talented Englishman - who thinks the TF105 should be 'okay' around the Nurburgring - said: ''If we need a spare part, it can be delivered in hours.''

Sauber keep JV meeting quiet
(GMMf1NET -- May.25) A Sauber spokesman has refused to confirm whether Jacques Villeneuve has now met with Peter Sauber at the Hinwil HQ.

Earlier, the livid F1 chief revealed that he would summon the French Canadian, and teammate Felipe Massa, to Switzerland after he cost Sauber a points finish at Monaco.

There was even speculation of some sort of 'penalty' for JV, 34.

''It's a family affair,'' the spokesman told Reuters, ''and (will) be discussed within the family.''

Seemingly, at least, Villeneuve - although effortlessly outpaced by Massa so far in 2005 - has the support of his junior cohort.

JV told his website after they chatted: ''(Felipe) completely understood and confirmed ... that his tires could not hold the same pace.''

New quali to 'hurt' BAR
(GMMf1NET -- May.25) Signing up to the Nurburgring qualifying overhaul will probably hurt BAR's comeback performance, CEO Nick Fry said.

But the Briton reckons he took a longer view, for the sake of F1, and ensured unanimity.

''We will have to start first (in the single session),'' said Fry, whose team skipped Barcelona and Monaco after being found guilty of cheating.

He said both Jenson Button, with a noticeably hoarse voice at Monte Carlo last weekend, and Takuma Sato should be reaching for the podium.

Fry answered: ''Yes, (the new qualifying) will hurt us at the Nurburgring. But it also rewards good performance so we preferred to take the longer view.

''If I didn't think we could get a podium at the end then we probably wouldn't bother.''

Prost on F1
(GMMf1NET -- May.25) The answer to F1's ills is not standardization, according to quadruple world champion Alain Prost.

The Frenchman, whose privateer team went bust in 2001, argued against the introduction of a single tire formula.

''I don't think it's a good idea,'' said Prost. ''What's next? Standardized motors, and from there it's just a small step to standardized cars.

''I wouldn't challenge the basic premise that Formula One is a parallel competition between drivers and technologies.''

Irv's yacht
(GMMf1NET -- May.25) Curiously, budding F1 team owner Eddie Irvine rolled into Monaco last week without his luxury yacht, The Anaconda.

It has emerged that the former Ferrari and Jaguar driver's boat, presently being repaired, actually sank in the Miami harbor recently.

Popular Shanghai track
(GMMf1NET -- May.25) Shanghai's new F1 circuit is the third most popular tourist location in the Chinese city.

That is the finding of the local 'Youth Daily' newspaper.

The grand prix venue, raced on for the first time in September last year, finished behind the riverside 'Bund' locale and the magnetic levitation train, according to a citywide poll.

Renault suffer in Q revamp
(GMMf1NET -- May.25) Renault may be disadvantaged by the Nurburgring qualifying revamp, Giancarlo Fisichella said.

The Roman driver reckons the axed 'aggregate' format, with the Saturday session run on low fuel, favored the fastest cars.

''We have a good car,'' said Fisichella, ''so the two part format helped us in the opening races.

''Overall, though, I don't have any problems with the change.''

Unanimous F1 teams pushed for the fix after TV broadcasters, the press and spectators slammed a system that did not produce a grid until mere hours before the race.

Fisichella's teammate Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, criticized the new format for being even more penalizing of a bad result in the last event.

But the Spaniard added: ''You should be consistent, anyway.''

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