Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
June 16, 2005

Jordan dodge Mercedes deal
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.16) Contrary to gossip, Jordan-'Midland' will not ink a 2006 engine deal with Mercedes-Benz.

We have learned that an announcement of the extension to the current Toyota customer supply, to be a V8 next year, is expected at Indianapolis.

''I can assure you that we will not have a German engine,'' a translated transcript from sportmotores.com quoted team manager Colin Kolles as saying.

The Romanian boss also played down suggestions that Renault 'third' driver Franck Montagny could replace either Narain Karthikeyan or Tiago Monteiro at the French grand prix.

''If he does (drive at Magny Cours),'' Colin insisted, ''it will be as third driver only.''

'Only Senna beats Alonso'
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.16) Only F1 legend Ayrton Senna would outpace so called 2005 'champion-elect' Fernando Alonso.

That's the claim of Denis Chevrier, top engine man at the Spanish youngster's Renault team.

The Frenchman said Senna, Brazil's triple world champion who died after a 1994 shunt, was 'in his own class.'

''Of all the drivers with whom I've worked,'' Chevrier insisted, ''I think Fernando comes next. He might still be young, but I recognize all the signs of a champion in him.''

Denis said Alonso, 23 and leader of the drivers' championship from Kimi Raikkonen, is one of those people - like Senna or Michael Schumacher - who 'never gives up.'

''And he manages to draw the best from everyone in the team -- at the end of a weekend, for example, he thanks every single team member.''

Indy resurfaced
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.16) Sections of Indianapolis' grand prix road course have been resurfaced since the circus' last visit a year ago.

The sections in question, though, have apparently been 'diamond ground' so as to avoid any change in the nature of the track, Ferrari tire supplier Bridgestone said.

''This has been confirmed by our colleagues (in) America,'' said technical manager Hisao Suganuma, ''who have extensive experience of the circuit.''

Director of motorsport Hiroshi Yasukawa, meanwhile, said Ferrari and the Japanese tire marque 'historically perform well' on the US track.

Alonso on Indy cruise
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.16) The 2005 championship is done and dusted.

That, although it's generally held that Fernando Alonso could cruise to the Formula One crown, may not be the case.

Asked if Kimi Raikkonen, 22 points behind Renault's Spaniard, can catch Alonso, Williams' Mark Webber said: 'Yes.'

But the Aussie admitted that Fernando, 23, can - in the last eleven grands prix of 2005 - play a defensive game.

''His brief will be to see the checkered flag,'' said Webber.

''With this points system, even if Kimi wins every race, Fernando can be champion by finishing just behind him.''

Rivals like the point-less Jenson Button, though, and Alonso's teammate Giancarlo Fisichella (42 points behind), have all but given up.

''Fernando is quick, he's consistent, so it's unlikely,'' said the latter Roman.

What McLaren's Raikkonen must really hope for, it is clear, is more Montreal-like races. There, he took a full ten point bite into Alonso's lead, because the Spaniard retired.

Fernando's Indianapolis record is unspectacular. He's raced there four times, and never crossed the checker.

He said: ''I always have bad luck at Indy.''

Schu on quit track - brother
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.16) Michael Schumacher may be winding down his long and successful F1 career, brother Ralf hinted.

The younger sibling, who drives for Toyota, predicted that Schumacher, Ferrari's 36-year-old, will not feature on the grid 'for very much longer.'

He told Sport Bild: ''The success in past years was obviously a lot of fun for him.

''I'm anxious to see what will happen if it stays like this until the end of the season.''

Michael, the seven time F1 title winner, has not won a grand prix since October last year.

And, if he fails to wrap up the 2005 drivers' championship, it'll be his first such title malfunction since breaking his leg in 1999.

Ralf also thinks Ferrari's era of domination, to only worsen in the future, is over.

'Schu Jr' commented: ''I'm not sure whether someone who has had such a successful time, like Ferrari, can still have the bite to fight back to the top.

''And when Michael leaves, a lot of good people will also leave.''

Montoya enjoys blending in
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.16) Not only Michael Schumacher, it seems, enjoys American anonymity.

Juan Pablo Montoya, who spends a lot of spare time in Miami, was - ahead of the grand prix at Indianapolis - spotted in New York this week.

''I could walk down the street,'' the Colombian driver told a small media gathering in Manhattan, ''and no one would know who I am.''

At the Motor Speedway, though, they know who he is. Montoya, 29, has won the Indy 500 and is supported there by legions of South American fans.

''Every year it's pretty much out of control,'' he smiled, ''but it's nice to see the Colombians going a bit wild.''

'Speed's no F1 stunt'
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.16) Publicity stunt? Someone forgot to tell one Scott Speed.

He'll disregard Red Bull's marketing strategy and the 'first American since Andretti' moniker and charge for personal glory at Indianapolis.

''I want to win a world championship,'' said the self assured 22-year-old 'GP2' star.

He won't, of course, do it at the wheel of the third RB1 on Friday. But Speed, referring to the title, insisted: ''It's not a question of if, but when.''

Red Bull's sporting director Christian Horner confirmed that Scott is playing a more important than symbolic role at the fabled 'Motor Speedway'.

While Speed is a product of the energy drink sponsored search for a US born F1 star, he wouldn't be driving the car 'if he didn't have the ability,' the British chief said.

Horner insisted: ''He's very much here on merit.''

Sunny in the States
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.16) A warm and mostly sunny weekend of racing lies ahead at Indianapolis' famous 'Brickyard'.

A report said a low chance of rain and temperatures in the low to mid twenties is likely for Friday through to the grand prix.

Indeed, Sunday should be the warmest day - 26 degrees C - with any early weekend cloud likely to have moved on by then.

Title chaser Kimi Raikkonen, though, warned that Indy weather 'can be unpredictable.

''It can go from one extreme to the other,'' said McLaren's 25-year-old driver from Finland.

Meanwhile, Kimi's Woking team confirmed that his problem at Montreal - although not halting his charge to victory - was with the steering column.

'F1 CEO' Martin Whitmarsh said: ''It was relatively minor and has been resolved.''

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