Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
June 28, 2005
Ralf keen on smooth return
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.28) Ralf Schumacher will present himself
for duty '100 per cent fit' at the French grand prix.
Toyota's German driver was told not to complete the Indy
weekend after smashing into the oval wall with tire failure.
Schumacher, who will turn thirty on Thursday, confirmed that
- although also sitting out last week's Jerez test - he is
now ready to drive again.
''I think every driver is pretty eager to race at Magny
Cours,'' the 29-year-old, referring to Michelin teams' Indy
boycott, told his website.
Ralf, whose teammate is Jarno Trulli, has not enjoyed a
sparkling season so far in the Cologne designed car, but
Magny Cours might just be the ideal scene for an F1
Two years ago, in a Williams, he won his last GP, in rural
France. 'Schu Jr' also expects a quick racer in 2005.
''Magny Cours is a very smooth race track,'' he noted,
''which should suit our car more than some others.''
Let's test at Indy - Michelin
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.28) Michelin will ask the governing body to
allow tire testing at Indianapolis prior to the next F1
grand prix there.
Ahead of partner teams' Wednesday hearing at the FIA world
council, the French company released a statement insisting
that tires taken to the US GP - leading to the disastrous
six car farce - were 'not intrinsically' flawed.
''But (they) were insufficiently suited to the extreme
racing conditions encountered through turn 13 ... this year.
''Testing at Indianapolis was not possible,'' it read.
''Michelin had to carry out simulation work based on the
results of less severe testing.''
The Clermont-Ferrand based tire supplier to seven of F1's
ten teams also insisted that adding a 'chicane' would not
have left fans 'deprived of a high class competition.'
Michelin then vowed to take 'safe, competitive tires' to the
remaining ten races of 2005.
DC, Button in plane scare
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.28) F1 veteran David Coulthard was last
week involved in his second plane scare in five years.
Sharing a private jet with fellow British racer Jenson
Button, Coulthard's pilots made an emergency landing at
Madrid airport after sensing an unidentified burning smell.
It turned out to be a malfunctioning coffee machine.
DC, 34, and BAR's 25-year-old Button, were returning from
the test at Jerez to attend last weekend's Goodwood
''At no time were the drivers in any danger,'' Button's
spokeswoman told Autosport, ''and there was no cause for
In 2000, two pilots were killed when David Coulthard's plane
crashed in France. The Scot emerged with broken ribs.
Red Bull blast France
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.28) Red Bull ditched convention and instead
hit out at France in a pre-Magny Cours grand prix statement.
A typical F1 'preview' glosses over the nature of country
and race circuit, and provides the media with driver and
team management quotes.
But Red Bull, the new F1 kid in pitlane after buying Jaguar
from Ford, roasted France -- where, incidentally, the
caffeine-filled 'energy' drink is banned.
''According to American writer Mark Twain, France has
usually been governed by prostitutes, which is a bit
unfair,'' the statement began.
Red Bull called the French grand prix in rural Nevers ''the
dullest of the year. It is a great place,'' it said, ''if
you like to look at cows.''
Local hotels, with 'broken plumbing and dangerous
electricity' got a blasting, as did the local town of
''If you pronounce it the English way,'' Red Bull said, ''it
perfectly describes how many times people want to come back.
''The French ... have never been forgiven for moving the
race to an industrial estate in the middle of the
Even French capital Paris failed to escape the F1 team's
vitriol. ''Do not bother with the Eiffel Tower,'' the
pre-race statement concluded, ''until they have removed the
F1 teams to meet
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.28) Most of F1's non-Ferrari teams will
meet on Tuesday to discuss Wednesday's FIA world council
Every Michelin clad team was summoned by the governing body
to face possible penalties for the Indy boycott.
''The teams (have) agreed not to make any comment until
Wednesday,'' England's The Guardian reported, ''but sources
... hinted that the seven are divided in their approach.''
Clearly, the 'approach' in question pivots around Paul
Stoddart's bombshell that another race boycott lies in wait
should the seven be slapped.
''The teams were totally innocent victims,'' said the
Bridgestone shod Minardi team owner.
It is suggested that some teams may not even show up at the
FIA council in protest of Max Mosley's running of the sport.
Others are believed to want to offer to compensate fans for
the six car United States debacle, in a peace-making bid to
stave off further discord.
Jordan fans disappointed
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.28) Jordan fans have expressed
disappointment with the F1 team's decision to abandon
traditional pre-British grand prix festivities at
After Eddie Jordan sold to Russian-Canadian billionaire Alex
Shnaider earlier this year, the now 'Midland'-owned team
said there would be no 'village' for the fans in 2005.
''Fans are therefore denied their annual pilgrimage to the
home of the team,'' said Jordan Fans Online's Phil Giles.
Jordan's Chris Leat was quoted in Giles' report as
apologizing to disappointed fans.
''Midland ... will host events in the future,'' he revealed,
''and we look forward to welcoming ... fans back to our ...
Revival road is 'long' - Schu
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.28) Reigning world champion Michael
Schumacher has warned that the road back to the top in
Formula One 'is a long' one.
And Ferrari's number one driver, despite winning the
farcical US grand prix last Sunday, said Magny Cours is
unlikely to prove a 'huge leap forward' over the
''But we can certainly do better,'' the German insisted.
''The title race is now a little more open. However, we have
to avoid becoming overly optimistic. The gap to ... Fernando
Alonso is a big one.
''At least we are now in a better situation.''
Schumacher, 36, also rejected the interpretation that the
next four races - to be run over the next five weekends -
will prove 'decisive' to the title.
''There are so many races after July,'' he remarked, ''that
it makes no sense (saying that).
''We will see what we can get out of Magny Cours.''
India 'no' to free TV for F1
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.28) F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has not
succeeded in taking the pinnacle of racing to India's
Although the 74-year-old offered 'millions' to the
Broadcasting Corporation of India (Prasar Bharati), the
government refused to allow Narain Karthikeyan's yellow car
to be seen on national television network Doordarshan.
In hugely populated India, F1 is - instead - aired on a
private sports channel.
The Press Trust of India (PTI) branded the government's
decision to ban any tobacco-related broadcast 'obsessive'.
''Prasar Bharati was offered millions of dollars by ...
Ecclestone to telecast the event on Doordarshan,'' said the
public TV broadcaster's CEO K S Sarma, ''but ... the health
ministry struck it down.
''(Bernie) said 'sky is the limit' ... but the health
Rubens' 'big fight'
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.28) All is not well, or so it would seem,
between Rubens Barrichello and his Ferrari team.
The Brazilian admitted he is having to 'put up with a lot of
things' within the red camp.
An obviously frosty relationship has developed between
Rubens and teammate Michael Schumacher after near clashes at
Monaco and Indianapolis.
And, believed to be no longer willing to play second fiddle
to the championship winning German, Barrichello is now
linked with a switch next year to BAR.
''You know, I'm just a little Brazilian against a very big
''It's a very big fight.''
F1 dead in US - Andretti
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.28) Michael Andretti says F1 kissed America
goodbye by allowing a six car shambles to descend on the US
grand prix this month.
The son of 1978 world champion Mario, and Ayrton Senna's
short-lived McLaren teammate in 1993, told the Toronto Sun
that it would 'never have happened' in the States.
''You can't treat fans that way,'' 42-year-old Andretti
said. ''We think about the fans.
''Over there the fans take a back seat to the politics. I
was over there a full year, so what happened didn't surprise
''It's a different world with ... completely different
BMW to plough on at Grove
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.28) BMW may have bought Sauber, but the
German carmaker will not abandon Williams' ship, motor sport
director Mario Theissen vowed.
He says race wins are still the joint objective in 2005.
''We want success,'' Theissen, to take up a top job at
Sauber from 1 January 2006, added, ''and we want it this
''We will pursue this target with no limits whatsoever.''
Champ Car in F1-fiasco coup
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.28) Champ Car capitalized where F1 stumbled
by honoring the grand prix tickets of more than 1000
dissatisfied Indy fans at the weekend's Cleveland race.
''It's great they did this,'' said one F1 spectator in
Asked who he blamed for the F1 fiasco, Justin Yager replied:
''It's all Michelin.''
Cleveland's Champ Car event is staged at Burke Lakefront
One notable racer on the actual tarmac, meanwhile, didn't
turn down an opportunity to aim fire at his former Formula
''There's so much technology ... involved with those cars,''
former Toyota driver Cristiano da Matta - who won the recent
Portland race - told USA Today, ''that you learn what makes
the car drive.''
Alonso expects tough battle
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.28) Title leader Fernando Alonso is
expecting to encounter a tough battle for victory at Magny
The Spaniard, who has won four grands prix in 2005, singled
out McLaren to be fast on the ultra smooth asphalt, 'like
they are everywhere.'
23-year-old Alonso's Renault camp, though, turned up in
France - the team's home race - with a mighty challenger a
He snared pole and wound up battling with Ferrari.
''We expect to be competitive,'' Fernando agreed. ''Will it
be enough to win? It definitely won't be easy.''
DC regrets joining McLaren
(GMMf1NET -- Jun.28) David Coulthard says he shouldn't have
signed for McLaren a decade ago.
Red Bull's current racer, who left the Ron Dennis-led Woking
camp last year after a nine season run, admitted that he
could have stayed at Williams and driven to the 1996 or 1997
''I sat on that grid for my first race (for McLaren in 1996)
and realized I'd sold out,'' the 34-year-old told the 'Mail
on Sunday' newspaper.
''I guess money meant a bit more to me back then.
''You should never take payment over performance. It was
When the Scot finally did reside a race winning McLaren, he
was up against Mika Hakkinen, eventually a double world
champion who had Ron on his side.
Twice, DC moved over for the Finn.
''That's two races I could, and should, have won,''
Twynholm-born Coulthard insisted.
''And it has bugged me to this day.''
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