Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
July 4, 2005
'F1 will return to Indy'
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.4) Bernie Ecclestone reckons Formula One will return
to the US in 2006.
The F1 supremo said at Indianapolis a fortnight ago that, with the
disastrous six-car grand prix, the future of his sport there was 'not
''I think we'll find a way,'' he told ITV prior to the French grand
prix at Magny Cours.
''We'll be back next year for sure.''
74-year-old Bernie, who some claim has never been seen so angry on the
Indy grid, blamed 'egos' for ruining a potential Sunday afternoon
''Well, I was upset with a lot of it,'' he admitted. ''People's egos
got in the way of reality.''
In the old days, Bernie would have rounded the grid and simply
demanded a race. But he told Germany's Bild that Formula One is now
''That's the problem,'' he added.
But F1, in general, is okay, according to Mr. Ecclestone. ''We've done
a bit of damage to our image,'' he admitted, ''but we are strong.
''One thing won't destroy it. I won't let it.''
Alonso faces tough Brit fight
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.4) Magny Cours may have been all about Fernando
Alonso, but Sunday's British GP could hum a different tune, the
Well on the road to becoming F1's youngest ever champion, the
23-year-old driver called Silverstone 'not a perfect place' for his
He said: ''It's one of those races with a red cross against it on our
calendar. We haven't gone really well there in the past.
''I think the podium is our maximum target for that one.''
In complete contrast, the former World War II airfield in
Northamptonshire is a happy hunting ground for McLaren, which is good
news for Alonso rival Kimi Raikkonen.
''We've tested there already this year,'' the Finn remarked, ''and we
were pretty quick.
''I think we will have a good week.
'I don't know if his car or my car is quicker overall. Silverstone
will be better for our car -- maybe we'll be slightly ahead (of
Heidfeld on F1's long road
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.4) German driver Nick Heidfeld is on a fast road to a
tasty F1 future.
Williams' 28-year-old may appear to be out of contract and making way
for Jenson Button, but his manager insisted 'Quick Nick' will
'definitely' take the '06 grid.
''We have several options,'' Werner Heinz told the German 'DPA' news
Heidfeld is strongly supported by Munich based BMW and Mario Theissen,
who both switch from Grove to Sauber next year.
Nick drove a Hinwil built car in 2001-2003.
He didn't want to comment directly, but noted the fact that he was
happy at Sauber and still has 'good contacts.'
''Ok, I live near Hinwil,'' Heidfeld grinned, ''but that will hardly
be the decisive factor.
''I want to cooperate with the best team possible for me.''
German compatriot Theissen also isn't buying into the gossip. ''There
is six months,'' he said, ''until we have to really think about
Indy 'no' to 2005 F1 re-run
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.4) Indy has bellowed a plain 'no' to Michelin teams'
offer of a free non-championship F1 re-run.
Speedway boss Tony George told the Indianapolis Star: 'There will be
no (race) ... this fall.
''Our position to Bernie ... is that the sooner we get the focus back
on the real issues that affect all of us, the better.''
The Brickyard's spokesman Ron Green, meanwhile, confirmed that the
current priority is coordinating errant F1 tire supplier Michelin's
vow to repay more than 160,000 tickets.
''Priority number two,'' Green quipped, ''is working on an event for
He said the fabled venue had 'no energy' for anything else.
Dupasquier 'cried' at Indy
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.4) Pierre Dupasquier reckons the Indy fiasco a
fortnight ago made him cry.
During the US grand prix shambles, Michelin's 67-year-old motor sport
director and Frenchman said he found a corner and 'cried for fifteen
At Magny Cours, he also reported incredulity at the FIA's
unwillingness to sanction a compromise, such as a chicane on the oval
Dupasquier told Reuters: ''When a friend ... is hurt ... you do not
take a rifle to shoot him.''
Sunday's French grand prix, though, was business as usual for the
locally based Clermont Ferrand tire company.
Michelin clad Fernando Alonso (Renault) and Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren)
pounded a dominant 1-2.
''It confirmed what we always knew,'' said Pierre's colleague Nick
Shorrock. ''(We) produce racing tires that unit speed, durability and
''We have had no problems at all throughout the weekend.''
Mosley, DC, to meet
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.4) A new spat is taking shape between the F1 drivers'
body and Max Mosley.
The FIA president has vowed to meet with the grand prix drivers'
association (GPDA) this Friday at Silverstone after it was revealed
that he gave GPDA director David Coulthard an offhand phone call.
An FIA spokesman confirmed to The Guardian that 'there was contact'
between DC and Mr. Mosley.
He told the newspaper: ''There was a frank exchange of views.''
It is believed that Coulthard, 34, was singled out by Max because of
his experience and the fact that his signature topped a 19-driver
statement backing Michelin teams after the Indy flop.
Moreover, the GPDA appears at odds with its president, Michael
Schumacher, as the Ferrari driver - who did not sign the document -
disagrees fundamentally about the no-show.
Renault future sound, for now
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.4) A new Renault president took a close first look at
F1 on the weekend.
Renault's Carlos Ghosn, 51 - with a reputation for cost cutting - is
reportedly not as supportive of the French carmaker's grand prix foray
as predecessor Louis Schweitzer.
On his first visit to a Formula One paddock at Magny Cours, Ghosn held
a news conference.
''As an individual, I am very interested in motor sport,'' he
''(But) we are not in F1 out of habit or tradition. It is a cost if
you don't get results. It is an investment if you do.
''It is an investment now and for the next few years.''
Williams wants BMW 'answer'
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.4) Williams has commenced talks with BMW about a V8
engine supply for 2006.
The pair were set to continue a six-year works deal until 2009, but
Munich based BMW splashed out and bought Sauber.
It leaves Frank Williams pondering BMW's offer of a second rung deal,
or heeding Mark Webber's advice to make a 'clean break' and go
Sir Frank has also spoken to Honda, Toyota and Cosworth.
''I would like (BMW's) answer by week thirty,'' Williams said in the
Magny Cours paddock. ''We are now in week 26.''
He said Grove 'failed' in dissuading BMW from abandoning their 2009
'No pressure' in Ferrari snub
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.4) Ferrari's Jean Todt has denied that he 'put
pressure' on Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello to ignore a
19-driver statement backing Michelin teams' no-go at Indy.
It's suggested that, while Minardi's Bridgestone clad men signed, the
four Ferrari and Jordan drivers heeded their employers' political
posture and strayed well away.
''We prefer to put pressure in the tires,'' the French principal,
''That's more important to us.''
Todt said: ''I think it's unfair to (put pressure on a driver). If
they feel they should do something, they should do it.''
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.4) Roland Ratzenberger is often referred to as the
'forgotten' driver of Imola '94.
The popular Austrian, aged 31 - who just a fortnight before had
qualified for his first ever grand prix - slammed into the barrier
The next day, triple world champion Ayrton Senna crashed and also died
at the race in Italy.
On the fourth of July 2005, Ratzenberger - who drove into F1 on a
five-race deal for Simtek - would have turned 45.
Also celebrating birthdays on Monday are former McLaren and Stewart
driver Jan Magnussen, 32, and 57-year-old winner of seven grands prix
in the 70s and 80s, Frenchman Rene Arnoux.
Kimi catch to carry on
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.4) Kimi Raikkonen's horse power disadvantage will
drag into the upcoming British grand prix.
The Finn's new spec Mercedes V10, the only at Magny Cours, failed on
Friday, meaning that an older spec had to be fitted.
But teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who tackled the entire Magny Cours
event with the older Merc, will have a new spec power plant fitted
from Friday practice at Silverstone.
Kimi, though - due to the two-race engine rule - must plug ahead with
his French unit.
''What happened on Friday really destroyed our weekend,'' he said on
Sunday. ''Ok, I only dropped two more points to Alonso but we wanted
McLaren boss Ron Dennis, meanwhile, also reckons the 25-year-old could
have won in France if not for the ensuing ten-position engine change
And the Briton remarked: ''His qualifying lap ... was the best I have
seen from him.''
'Grove needs urgent test'
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.4) BMW's Mario Theissen wishes this week's trek from
Magny Cours to Silverstone was for a test.
The German 'motor sport director' said Williams' new bodywork package
'desperately' needs to be sorted out before the next race.
''But with this calendar it's impossible,'' Theissen, referring to
July's unprecedented four grands prix, said.
Mario, at Magny Cours, did not pull any punches after the race in
calling the performance of the FW27 'weak.'
''Clearly the updated car is not working properly at the moment and we
would normally want to test it to find out why.
''We'll look at the data and maybe find some answers,'' he said.
Merc to defy BMW lead
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.4) Mercedes-Benz, with a forty per cent team stake,
will not follow German rival BMW into the Formula One ownership game.
That's the view of Norbert Haug, who said at Magny Cours that he
admired Munich based BMW's new 'commitment' to the sport.
The German, head of the Stuttgart link with Ron Dennis' McLaren crew,
grinned: ''I am happy we do not have to pay for it (like BMW do).
''There is no need for us to change our thinking.''
Beer in bar for BAR's Button
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.4) Fourth may seem like nothing to celebrate, but
Jenson Button found a bar near Magny Cours and ordered a rare glass of
The BAR driver, who had a podium confiscated after the Imola no-no,
said it felt 'so good' to be back on the scoreboard.
''It's not the podium,'' said JB, 25, ''but it's still nice. We have
had a horrible year but this is good going to the UK.
''We are not going to win (at Silverstone) at the moment but third
might be a good target.
''I'm not going to build up something that's not going to happen.''
BAR boss Nick Fry admitted that being beaten in the constructors'
world championship by Minardi and Jordan had become 'embarrassing.'
''At least we're off zero now,'' he beamed at Magny Cours. ''But the
next objective is a podium and then a win.''
Fry, meanwhile, said he would not reprimand Jenson's Japanese
teammate, Takuma Sato, for botching an impossible overtaking move on
Speed traps revealed that Sato entered the braking zone a huge 40km/h
quicker than usual.
''He was ambitious in the extreme,'' said Fry, ''but that's Taku's
fighting spirit. Clearly we don't want it to happen every time.''
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