Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
June 17, 2005

Schu spurns Ralf's quit talk
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.17) Michael Schumacher has scolded younger brother Ralf for saying the seven time champion may soon call it a day.

''I don't know how he came up with that,'' the Ferrari driver, 36, said at Indianapolis.

''I often speak to Ralf and tell him that I'm still having fun, not lacking motivation.

''I enjoy it.

''Honestly, I think he should think and speak about other things.''

Toyota driver Ralf, though, paddled away from the retirement talk by aiming fire at the 'Sport Bild' reporter.

''I don't know what he wrote,'' said the 29-year-old German, ''but he didn't write what I said.

''I never mentioned that Michael is about to stop. I have no idea and I don't care.''

Alonso says win unlikely
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.17) Title leader Fernando Alonso has admitted that victory may elude him at the Motor Speedway.

The Spaniard, who dominated early in 2005, said McLaren and championship charger Kimi Raikkonen's pace a week ago in Canada was 'a bit worrying.'

And, Kimi's silver car should be even quicker in the States.

''It's nice that we only had three days to be sad about Montreal,'' Alonso, 23 - referring to his clash with the concrete barrier - conceded.

''McLaren's pace was a bit worrying. We had to push very hard and in the end the pressure was maybe too much.''

Further dampening his Indianapolis mood is the fact that Fernando, since debuting for Minardi in 2001, has never even finished this race.

And, because he'll have to qualify early on, his chance of a good grid position is minimal.

He admitted: ''That's a big worry too.

''I think a podium is the most realistic target for here.''

Montoya would move over
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.17) Juan Pablo Montoya does not believe McLaren deliberately spoiled his Canadian grand prix to favor teammate and title contender Kimi Raikkonen.

The race leading Colombian, though, admitted that - not being immediately called in to pit under the safety car, unlike Kimi - 'screwed' his charge.

''They had two or three hundred meters to call me in,'' the often fiery 29-year-old said.

''But I make mistakes too. Ron (Dennis) came to my hotel that night and apologized. I don't think Frank (Williams) and Patrick (Head) ever did that.''

The conspiracy theorists, though, reckon Montoya's problems seemed like a convenient McLaren ploy to maximize ultimate winner Raikkonen's championship mission.

''That sounds pretty stupid,'' Juan Pablo retorted, ''when I would've been only nine points behind him.

''Me scoring zero points helps nothing.''

Montoya would, though, back down and help Raikkonen to the crown, but only if his own title chances were departed.

''There are still quite a few races to go,'' he insisted, ''and I think I have the pace now to close the points gap.''

McLaren HQ wins award
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.17) McLaren's $700m F1 factory - known as 'Paragon' or the Technology Centre, has won Britain's Building of the Year gong.

Built around its own lake, the stunning facility in Woking (Surrey, UK) was designed by Lord Foster and dubbed the 'most beautiful industrial building in the country.'

''(It) shows we can compete with those French,'' Royal Fine Art Commission Trust chairman Lord St John told The Guardian, ''or anyone else.''

Ron Dennis once said: ''The environment (at the HQ) will be so good here that my staff will be itching to get to work.''

Button and Playboy
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.17) What do Hugh Hefner and grand prix racer Jenson Button have in common?

The Playboy mansion!

Button, BAR's 25-year-old English - and single - driver, spent the time between Montreal and Indianapolis in Beverly Hills.

There, at the famous swinger's pad, he obliged a US TV network in a documentary about the life of an F1 ace.

Surrounded by scantily clad 'bunnies' near the pool, Jenson grinned to the LA Times: ''This isn't a bad job, is it?''

DC to BAR - 'no comment'
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.17) Red Bull's F1 veteran David Coulthard has declined to confirm or deny rumors linking him with a 2006 switch to BAR.

The 34-year-old Scot, like reported contenders Nick Heidfeld, Rubens Barrichello and Anthony Davidson, would replace the Grove bound Jenson Button.

''If we're all just patient,'' DC told broadcaster ITV, ''then the definitive truth will come out.''

He said: ''For sure there'll be some moves amongst the paddock. Some drivers are already signed up for next year.''

The eleven-year F1 veteran, meanwhile, roasted regular adversary Juan Pablo Montoya not only for jumping a red light at Montreal, but muscling into the safety car pack.

''He got alongside and steered into me,'' David panned. ''I know it sounds like Montoya-bashing, but he's giving people ammunition.

''No one should be surprised by the outcome of a clear rule.''

'Trulli's quicker' - Ralf
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.17) Ralf Schumacher has admitted he is not as quick as Jarno Trulli over a single qualifying hot lap.

The Toyota racer, who has so far failed to shine at his new team, said he does not cope well with an understeering car like the TF105.

''It's true that Jarno does a better job in qualifying,'' German born Ralf said, referring to his Italian teammate.

He told Sport Bild: ''In the race it's a different story.

''But because overtaking is so difficult, nearly everything is ruined by then.''

Schumacher, 29, said he was working on adjusting his driving style to the car's handling characteristic, but warned against expecting too much in his first year at Cologne.

''Sometimes I don't know what people expect. OK, we started well and now it's not as good, but we'll be back on the podium again, definitely.''

Trulli, meanwhile - third in the drivers' chase - ruled out challenging for the '05 crown.

''We have made a lot of mistakes, we lost three podiums in a row,'' he remarked.

''I think it's between Alonso and Raikkonen.''

Who'd Berger back?
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.17) What if you had to bet every dollar on a single F1 driver becoming the 2005 world champion?

Former grand prix star and BMW motor sport director Gerhard Berger knows who he'd back.

Renault's Fernando Alonso might still have a twenty two point lead, but Berger - the Austrian - said he'd rather have Kimi Raikkonen's quick car.

''And it seems to just get further ahead with development,'' said the 45-year-old former McLaren, Benetton and Ferrari F1 driver.

He told Kicker magazine: ''Kimi could've won the last four races and if Alonso fails to finish at Indy, the gap between them will be half.

''Then it's just an open fight.''

Renault, said Berger, are nearing the 'limit' of their budget and development ability, while McLaren continue 'to make steps forward.'

'Big headed' BAR - JV
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.17) Last year's Formula One heroes became zeros because they're too 'big headed and arrogant.'

That's the claim of Brackley's former five-year race driver, Jacques Villeneuve, whose manager - Craig Pollock - founded BAR in 1999.

Villeneuve, now with Sauber, told the local 'Indianapolis Star' newspaper: ''Suddenly, they're back where they started.''

JV, 34, has no doubt where the blame lies.

While boss David Richards, who succeeded Pollock, is no longer at BAR-Honda, Villeneuve reckons the Englishman has a 'big ego problem.

''He was on a mission to destroy me,'' Jacques revealed.

Schu wants ten titles
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.17) Michael Schumacher has shot down gossip he won't retire until he is a ten-time title winner.

''The press lives on rumors,'' Ferrari's seven time champion said at Thursday's rare 'open to the public' press conference at Indy.

Schumacher, 36, has just got back from a motorcycle tour from Ashville to the Brickyard.

And, although he scolded brother Ralf for predicting an imminent retirement announcement, Michael's last race must be somewhere down the road.

Might he emulate Alain Prost or Niki Lauda and try to run a team?

Schu smiled: ''I have a very good life as a driver. I wouldn't want to swap with Jean Todt, who puts in more than 100 per cent all the time.

''Anyway I'm not feeling old -- I'm still young on the inside.''

Feedback can be sent to feedback@autoracing1.com

Go to our forums to discuss this article


Copyright 1999-2014  AutoRacing1 is an independent internet online publication and is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by the IRL., NASCAR, FIA,  Sprint, or any other series sponsor. This material may not be published, broadcast, or redistributed without permission.