Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
June 23, 2005

Frank may keep BMW power
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.23) BMW would be 'very happy' if Frank Williams' F1 team remain Munich-powered next year.

That's the claim of Dr Mario Theissen, who announced on Wednesday that the German carmaker had bought rival Sauber.

Grove based Williams became BMW's works team six years ago.

''We have informed Frank Williams of the steps we have taken,'' Theissen - to likely succeed Peter Sauber as principal - said in a conference.

''We still want to win races this season.

''If Williams will use the BMW engine (in 2006) will be the topic of the next talks.''

BMW board member Burkhard Goeschel confirmed that the carmaker would 'certainly' be making an 'offer' to Sir Frank.

And Theissen said a BMW customer, like Frank, would get the same engine as Sauber.

He added: ''It won't be second rate or second class. It does not make sense to have two engine types in one season.''

Hot Jerez in F1 action
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.23) Spain's Jerez track burst into F1 life on Wednesday, as Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren) led a field of twelve in searing heat.

Michelin runners Toyota, BAR, Sauber, Renault and Red Bull - who all failed to round the first corner at Indianapolis - also got preparations for Magny Cours' F1 race in top gear.

''It was a difficult day,'' said Renault engineer Christian Silk, ''owing to the wind.''

BAR gave Adam Carroll - four seconds off the ultimate pace - his first taste of the 2005 car, and Alex Wurz sprinted around in last year's McLaren.

Meanwhile, at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya - also in Spain - Luca Badoer continued to test for Ferrari.

'B' Jordan to debut
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.23) Midland owned Jordan is set to unleash a 'b' spec car on the F1 track.

The yellow 'EJ15B' will run for the first time at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya this Thursday (Tiago Monteiro) and Friday (teammate Narain Karthikeyan).

Sporting director Adrian Burgess, who recently took over from Trevor Carlin, said the car is the result of a 'long study' into the 15's problems.

''We've addressed as many issues as we could,'' he said, ''without designing an all new car.

''This is an updated version and it certainly looks a step closer.

''Hopefully we will be ... challenging Red Bull and Sauber, and further ahead of Minardi.''

'Max threatened US axe'
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.23) FIA president Max Mosley threatened to axe the United States grand prix, according to foe and Minardi boss Paul Stoddart.

Although already denied by the Paris body, Australia's ex-pat claims that Mosley spoke on the phone to Bernie Ecclestone, Ron Dennis and Tony George as the Indy saga unfolded.

''To my total disgust,'' Stoddart said, he discovered that Mosley warned against organizing a non-championship race or a chicane being added.

''(He also said that) all FIA-regulated motorsport in the US would be under threat.''

Paul's claim was made in a rare 3,000-word 'personal account' of the US GP debacle.

In it, he linked the affair with 'recent political developments' in F1, the 'majority' of teams' problem with Max, and Ferrari stubbornness.

Stoddart said: ''There are various reasons that other team principals ... will not say publicly ... what they feel privately about Mr. Mosley.

''I have called for his resignation.''

'You can't change the rules'
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.23) FIA president Max Mosley has defended not agreeing to sanction a non-championship grand prix 'show' at Indianapolis.

The Briton, 64, said F1 is not 'entertainment disguised as sport.'

''You cannot (change the rules) if you want to remain a sport,'' he said in a prepared 'Q&A' released by the FIA.

Mosley put the blame for Sunday's 14-car pullout squarely on Michelin, who - he said - should now 'compensate' fans. He also said that next year's US grand prix should be free-of-charge for all 2005 ticket holders.

He denied that Ferrari had anything to do with the decision to refuse the chicane.

''They were never consulted,'' said Max.

And, explaining why the chicane was out of the question, Mosley likened it to making everyone in a 100m sprint run barefoot 'because some had forgotten their shoes.'

He said running through pitlane would've been 'infinitely better' than a 6-car farce.

Mosley added: ''We can't break our own rules just because some teams want us to.''

He also referred to 'rumors' about further tire problems in testing.

Bernie in sexist shocker
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.23) Female Indy 500 racer Danica Patrick has reacted with surprise to F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone's apparently sexist remark.

Just when it seemed F1 could sink no lower in the eyes of America, a quote - uttered prior to Sunday's six car disaster - caught the press' interest.

Quirky Bernie, 74, had jokingly claimed that women should 'dress in white, like all the other domestic appliances.'

Surprisingly, he even repeated the odd claim to Ms. Patrick, 23, in a private phone call.

''I can't believe he would say that directly to me,'' Danica - who finished fourth in the 2005 Indy 500 - told reporters.

''Maybe that's his real feeling.

''It doesn't really matter because I'm in the Indy Racing League.''

No Indy refunds yet
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.23) Indianapolis' 'Motor Speedway' is not yet refunding tickets to the fated United States grand prix, despite fans' class action demanding punitive damages.

''Nothing has changed at this time,'' said spokesman Ron Green.

He suggested that F1 may not be flavor of the month in America, but the real fans stood in line on Monday morning to renew their tickets for the 2006 grand prix.

Green added: ''We were surprised by the number of people.''

Meanwhile, Larry Bowers - the Colorado man who is leading the class action suit - said the fabled 'Brickyard' is also to blame.

''In a way, the Speedway is a victim,'' he told the Indy Star.

''But having collected the money, they are responsible.''

JV pleased about BMW boost
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.23) Struggling Sauber driver Jacques Villeneuve heralded the news that German carmaker BMW has bought the Swiss team.

Although the 1997 world champion's future on the grid is uncertain, 34-year-old JV - from Quebec in Canada - is under contract to the end of 2006.

''(This) will trigger an almost certain budget increase,'' Villeneuve boasted.

Jacques added: ''I am, of course, ready to share my long term experience with BMW.''

With the constant rumors of Villeneuve being replaced, though, it is far from certain that the French Canadian will steer a BMW-Sauber.

Indeed, in material issued to the press, BMW said it would take responsibility for the 'entire package' from next season -- 'including drivers.'

Williams' Nick Heidfeld is already linked with the switch.

''The driver line-up,'' another excerpt of the statement read, ''and the name of the new team will be worked out by ... 1 January.''

Salo in F1 health concern
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.23) 'A lot' of carbon fiber brake dust has been found in the lungs of former F1 driver Mika Salo.

The Finn, 38, was having an operation when doctors discovered the health concern.

'If I have this much,'' he told Finland's Ilta-Sanomat newspaper, ''how much will Michael Schumacher - who has driven 10 years longer than me - have?''

A spokesman for the governing FIA, which may now examine Salo itself, said the Lotus, Tyrrell, Arrows, Ferrari, Sauber and Toyota driver's problems had been brought to their attention.

''(We) are discussing (it) with him.''

Salo contested more than a hundred grands prix.

More sympathy for US fans
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.23) More sympathy has been shown for cheated spectators at Sunday's farcical US grand prix.

Grand Prix Tours, which organizes racing trips all around the world, said it would credit unhappy clients with the cost of their grandstand seat for a future tour.

''We feel our ... customers have been let down,'' said GP Tours' president Barry Simpson.

And, after the US' domestic Champ Car series vowed to let 2005 US GP ticket holders attend the Cleveland race for free, NASCAR venue Irwindale said it would be doing the same.

''A lot of ... (F1) race fans didn't really get their money's worth,'' said VP Bob DeFazio.

''We want our F1 friends to get a look at some real competition.''

NASCAR driver Boris Said, meanwhile, called the F1 fiasco the 'most unbelievable thing I've ever seen in racing.'

''If I was a (F1) driver,'' he added, ''I would've stayed out and probably got in a lot of trouble.''

Stoddart and the FIA
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.23) Paul Stoddart and F1's governing FIA are not getting along well.

In the Sydney Morning Herald, it is noted that the Minardi owner and principal - president Max Mosley's most publicly outspoken critic - has not been invited to a single FIA-organized grand prix press conference in 2005.

''Every other team boss has appeared at least once,'' a column said, referring to Paul's 'troublemaker' status after his legal battle at Melbourne.

Quite deliberately, Stoddart capitalized the first three letters when he called the US grand prix a 'FIAsco' in a 3,000-word tirade of Indy blame.

''There is no question in my mind,'' he wrote, ''that the (June 19) farce ... was the responsibility of the FIA President.''

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