Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
June 22, 2005

Indy 'disappointed too'
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.22) Prior to Sunday's F1 farce, a huge billboard across the road from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway read: 'Put on your race face'.

Now, it says 'We're disappointed too'.

Indy Signworks' Tod Harris revealed that Speedway officials telephoned him at 9.30 on Sunday night, asking the company to paint it overnight.

''We told them 12 noon (on Monday),'' he said.

''We did our job.''

With all the recriminations, likely compensation and lawsuits, it's no wonder the fabled 'Brickyard' is steering sharply away from blame.

Widespread newswire reports in the States insist that the Michelin tire debacle is 'part of a larger battle for control' at the pinnacle of racing.

The Associated Press added: ''(It) underlined how the sport is fractured, with a breakaway series looming in 2008.''

F1 back to work
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.22) You'd be forgiven for thinking this week's major F1 test is 'part two' of the farcical US grand prix.

Most Michelin teams, including Toyota, McLaren, Sauber, Renault and BMW-Williams, will hit the Jerez (Spain) circuit, with an impressive lineup of race drivers.

With Ralf Schumacher still recovering, Toyota is to field Ricardo Zonta and Jarno Trulli, with Kimi Raikkonen, Juan Pablo Montoya and Nick Heidfeld among others to take part.

The Michelin job list, though, will not feature the continuing evaluation of the failed design that ruined Sunday's United States grand prix.

''The important thing now is to look ahead and to prepare the next races,'' Nick Shorrock told Gazzetta dello Sport.

Meanwhile, at another Spanish venue (Barcelona), Ferrari's Luca Badoer kicked off a second test. Michael Schumacher will join the action on Thursday, as will Jordan.

Teams 'damaged F1' - FIA
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.22) F1's seven Michelin clad teams acted 'prejudicial to the interests' of the US grand prix and to 'motor sport generally'.

That is the claim of the governing FIA, after it summoned the Indy boycotters to appear before next Wednesday's world motor sport council.

In a letter separately addressed to the seven principals, it is alleged that they failed to have 'suitable' tires, that they 'wrongfully refused' to race, 'damaged the image' of the sport, and failed to notify stewards.

Although race bans are predictably out of the question, heavy fines and the loss of constructors' championship points are likely.

It should be noted, however, that BAR is presently racing under a suspended ban for cheating.

FIA president Max Mosley said: ''I think Michelin and the seven teams should compensate the (American) fans.''

It's also expected that the FIA will take longer to look into Michelin's bigger role in the debacle, after the French supplier received an undisclosed letter from the body.

Drivers back Michelin stance
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.22) Two F1 drivers have defended Michelin and their teams for pulling out of Sunday's US GP.

''Imagine if someone went into the wall and then to hospital,'' championship leader Fernando Alonso told the Spanish 'Marca' newspaper.

He said: ''Then that would be the big newspaper headline.

''We should remember that not only do us drivers risk our lives, but also those of spectators.''

23-year-old Alonso, though, said he would've - safety aside - gladly joined Ferrari, Jordan and Minardi on the grid.

''The problem was that we weren't allowed,'' Fernando insisted.

Sauber's Jacques Villeneuve agreed that no other option befell the French tire supplier.

''Ferrari didn't accept putting in a chicane,'' the Canadian told jv-world.com. ''It's terrible, but there was nothing we could do about it.''

Recent Champ Car winner and ex-Toyota F1 driver Cristiano da Matta, on the other hand, criticized the sport for not finding a better way out of the mess.

''Running the race with six cars was the wrong thing to do,'' said the Brazilian. ''But you can't let the race happen with dangerous tires.''

Brit GP to be farce-free
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.22) British GP venue Silverstone has joined a band of F1 promoters in confirming that an Indy-like farce won't spoil their race.

BRDC chief executive Alex Hooton reassured the crowd of 100,000, to descend on Northamptonshire next month, that Michelin's problems 'should not be experienced' again.

He blamed the calamity on Indy's high speed, banked corner.

''The problems that arose (were a) direct result of the banking at turn 13,'' Hooton declared.

''It is inconceivable that we will see a repeat.''

More trouble for Bernie
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.22) Britain's ITV is one of several F1 broadcasters unhappy about the farcical six car US grand prix at Indy.

ITV controller of sport Mark Sharman has revealed that is in talks with Bernie Ecclestone.

''(We) are extremely disappointed.

''What happened ... was a huge let down for our audience. We are discussing ... the ramifications,'' he said.

At least some 4.4 million British fans got to see Michael Schumacher glumly mount the podium. In France, the plug was reportedly pulled.

1992 world champion Nigel Mansell unloaded a vitriolic attack on the 'shameful fiasco', and vowed to snub his annual visit to Silverstone.

''It was a sick joke,'' he told the Daily Mail, ''and like watching someone commit suicide.

''I feel so numbed and so sick ... I just can't face (attending).''

'Don't blame me' - Max
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.22) Paul Stoddart has renewed his plea for controversial FIA president Max Mosley to resign.

''He should go,'' the Minardi owner said following F1's shameful six car farce in America.

Paul added: ''(Max) said under no circumstances would he allow a chicane to be put in.''

Mosley, though, responded by defending his decision to reprimand the seven Michelin clad teams - which does not include Stoddart's Bridgestone shod camp - next week.

''If I had had control (of the situation) I'd be the first to accept blame,'' he insisted.

''But I didn't.

''If I was in charge of the tires or the teams, it wouldn't have happened.

''They deprived the fans of a race,'' Mosley told the BBC. ''They owe the fans money and compensation for wasted time.''

BMW has something to say
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.22) Munich based F1 carmaker BMW will host a press conference on Wednesday.

An invitation said the lunchtime conference, to be attended by BMW board member Burkhard Goeschel, Mario Theissen and Peter Sauber, was in aid of a 'newsworthy occasion.'

Amid speculation that BMW will buy Sauber, Frank Williams admitted in North America that, in 2006, he may 'have to pay' for an F1 engine.

Zanardi to drive F1 at Monza
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.22) Alex Zanardi says he did not drive Williams' F1 car at Indy because he 'forgot' to phone the team.

The former grand prix driver, who lost his legs in an horror Champ Car shunt in 2001, was due to appear in a hand controlled car for a demo run.

''I'm a jackass,'' he told Autosprint, but revealed that team co-owner Patrick Head has reschedule the event for Monza.

The 38-year-old Italian driver continued: ''It's strange -- it's more (Patrick) wanting to do it ... than BMW.''

F1's alternate rules
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.22) Formula One teams' rules blueprint for 2008 is 'not dissimilar' to that of FIA president Max Mosley.

Minardi principal Paul Stoddart told Autosport that the group, which excludes Ferrari, is 'almost ready' to reveal its own rules proposals.

''We want aerodynamic performance to be about 30 per cent of what it was in 2004,'' said the Australian, also revealing that the group supports the end of the tire war, and the return of slicks.

Where Max and the teams are believed to differ, however, is on the matter of standard parts, and the one-tire-per-race rule.

Schu v. The Pope
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.22) An old Volkswagen Golf has fetched a higher sale price than a Ferrari once owned by Michael Schumacher.

'Ananova' reported that the world F1 champion's 550 Maranello was withdrawn from eBay after a high bid of just $91,000.

The Pope's old VW, though, sold for $230,000.

Indy's F1 race not dead yet
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.22) Indy president Joie Chitwood has downplayed reports that a disgraced Formula One won't ever return to the 'Brickyard'.

He indicated after Sunday's farcical 'race' that the future of the event was in doubt.

''(But the final decision) is going to affect a lot of people,'' he told the Indianapolis Star newspaper on Tuesday.

Indy's F1 contract runs out next year.

''It's safe to say we're in contact with the right individuals over the next steps.''

Chitwood also said that while some bade good riddance to the traveling circus, there are fans that want to welcome F1 again.

He concluded: ''It's important we ... make good decisions.''

'There were options' - Todt
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.22) Jean Todt has hit out at claims that Ferrari's stubbornness ruined the United States grand prix.

Amid assertions that the Prancing Horse vetoed Michelin's chicane suggestion, Ferrari's team principal said he wanted to compete in a twenty car field.

''Now I am just nervous about the damage done to Formula One's image,'' Todt told the famous Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The Frenchman continued: ''We would have agreed to a tire change of the Michelin teams.''

And, referring to Michelin's option to simply slow down in the banked corner, or drive through pitlane each lap: ''I would not have objected to an increase in the pit speed limit.

''I am sure the (F1) Commission would have agreed also.''

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