Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
June 19, 2005

Cool Kimi ignores tire menace
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.19) Kimi Raikkonen is taking a typically cool approach to Michelin's Indy F1 tire debacle.

McLaren's Finn, desperate to further close the gap to championship leader Fernando Alonso, vowed not to worry about a Ralf Schumacher-like failure on the flat out oval banking.

''I think they'll be ok,'' the 25-year-old said after snaring a front row look at the first corner in qualifying.

''Maybe we need to be careful but I will still go as fast as I can.

''It's a little bit difficult.

''Michelin is telling us what they think should be done but we want to go out and win the race.''

Pole sitter Jarno Trulli, meanwhile - at the wheel of the offending Toyota, accused of running dangerously low tire pressures on Friday - admitted to not feeling totally confident with the car.

''I don't know what will happen,'' he acknowledged.

'I don't think it's our car, it's not set up and it's not pressure -- it's something else.''

Stoddart to agree
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.19) Minardi's Paul Stoddart has indicated that he will agree to some sort of 'dispensation' to allow a twenty-car grid to line up at Indy.

His back of the grid team, as well as Ferrari and Jordan, wear Bridgestone tires, unlike the other seven who may sit out the grand prix if its Michelins are deemed unsafe.

''In the interests of safety I will agree,'' Stoddart told Speed TV.

The most likely dispensation, but only if allowed by the stewards, is that Michelin teams can use Barcelona-spec tires, to arrive in the US on Sunday.

Another suggestion is a mid-race tire change and penalty.

''At the start of the season,'' Stoddart recalled, ''we were told that the penalty was exclusion.''

He also compared the situation to Melbourne, where - despite having the agreement of the teams - stewards did not allow Minardi to race the 2004 spec car.

Montoya slams F1 rule
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.19) Juan Pablo Montoya has slammed the fact that a bad result in one race is carried over to the next.

McLaren's Colombian, who has been consistently quicker than teammate Kimi Raikkonen at Indy, qualified just eleventh.

He blamed the fact that his Montreal disqualification meant an early qualifying run.

''I think it's pretty sad,'' the 29-year-old said. ''I have a car that could win, so it's pretty hard.

''Running early, you get completely screwed. The track is dirty, you get all the dirt and you're just done.''

Team boss Ron Dennis said Montoya did an 'excellent job.'

Bernie expects 20-car grid
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.19) Bernie Ecclestone is '100 per cent sure' it'll be alright on the night.

The F1 supremo says he expects no less than twenty cars on the grid, despite Michelin reportedly instructing teams not to race the current Indianapolis-spec tire.

''At the moment,'' Michelin's Nick Shorrock admitted, ''we do not feel comfortable saying to our teams 'you can do the full 73 laps satisfactorily'.''

But Bernie, the 74-year-old, admitted that breaking the 'single tire' regulation - and at least three others - and fitting new tires, could attract the protests of F1's three Bridgestone-shod rivals.

Indeed, Ferrari's Ross Brawn told Autosport that the scarlet team would 'certainly' be unhappy if every top team except the red one followed the rules in America.

Ecclestone said: ''I am sure the stewards will let them run and we will see afterwards what will happen.''

Morning tire decision due
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.19) Uncertainty about the running of the United States grand prix at Indy will persist until mere hours before the race.

Decisions about whether F1's seven Michelin clad teams will tackle the race at all, if not allowed to run a Barcelona specification tire, are not expected until late morning.

''Clearly it is an option not to start the race,'' McLaren's Ron Dennis admitted.

While Renault's Flavio Briatore confirmed that his drivers won't race the unsafe Indy tire, others - like BAR, Red Bull and Williams - have indicated that they are happy with the Michelin product in question.

Asked if he'd encountered a single problem, BAR's Jenson Button - third on the grid - answered 'No.

''I'm just hoping we can go out there and have a good race.''

Brundle backs blueprint
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.19) F1's proposed 2008 rules blueprint has been given the thumbs-up by former driver Martin Brundle.

Now a TV pundit, the ex-McLaren and Jordan star told the Sunday Times that he is 'impressed' with a proposal that, in some people's minds, threatens to 'dumb down' grands prix.

''Many perceive it as a giant step back,'' he said, referring to Max Mosley's plan including standard brakes, no traction control and slicks.

The Briton said: ''In my view the show has to take precedence.''

Brundle does, though, baulk at the concept of a '90 percent' reduction in downforce, which would alter the appearance of a modern racer.

The 45-year-old has his own ideas, too. Martin said he'd broadcast all car radios and put cameras in the drivers' briefing.

Brundle is also backing Kimi Raikkonen in the 'psychological battle' with title contender Fernando Alonso.

''I think (Kimi is) cooler under pressure,'' he said, suggesting that the strain is starting to show on Renault's Spaniard.

'I could win' - Schu
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.19) Michael Schumacher has refused to rule out winning his first grand prix of 2005 at Indianapolis.

Ferrari's seven time champion, who qualified fifth, hinted that - unlike Canada - he's carrying plenty of fuel.

''We can only cross our fingers,'' said Schumacher.

Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella agrees that pole sitter Jarno Trulli, and maybe third-on-the-grid Jenson Button, are on low fuel.

The Roman added: ''(Kimi) Raikkonen looks quick and Ferrari are on the pace, I think.

''The target will be to win.''

Schumacher, though, is not bold enough to say his scarlet car is finally back in the ball game for top pace.

But he said: ''I think we can win. There is a possibility.''

However, Michael Schumacher noted that his Brickyard-spec F2005 racer does not feel as quick as it did at San Marino.

He added: ''If it did, we would probably lap everybody. But we could be quick enough to win.''

Ralf ruling 'right' - brother
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.19) Michael Schumacher has backed doctors' decision to keep brother Ralf out of the F1 cockpit.

FIA delegate Gary Hartstein, from New York, ruled that the risk of serious injury in the event of another - even slight - concussion, is too high.

''I think that's quite right,'' Ferrari's 36-year-old said.

Ralf, 29 and at the Brickyard on Saturday, told Speed TV that he feels '80 per cent' fit after the déjà vu oval hit.

He explained: ''To have another impact within 24 hours was a high risk to take.

''But I'm basically okay. I don't feel 100 per cent, but I thought I might be able to drive.

''I accept the decision.''

'Schu Jr' - who broke vertebrae at the same spot a year ago - also thanked the FIA for insisting on the installation of a SAFER foam barrier in front of the concrete.

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