Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
July 6, 2005

DC to ride Bull in 2006
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.6) Scottish veteran David Coulthard will race into his eleventh full season in F1 next year after signing a new Red Bull contract.

The 34-year-old is to continue as 'lead driver' in 2006, a team statement confirmed.

''David ... is still one of the top drivers in F1,'' said team boss Christian Horner. ''It was ... a very easy and natural decision to extend our agreement.''

Next year's 'RB2' will be powered by a Ferrari engine.

Media reports said DC's new deal includes a pay rise from $1.8m to $3.5m, and the existing $180,000 per point bonus.

The point bonus has already earned him an extra $3m in 2005.

David said: ''I feel more involved here than I did with any other team I've worked for.

''The difficult decision was joining (this year). Since then I have been impressed with the team and the car, which is better than I expected.''

FIA-driver spat shifts gear
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.6) While David Coulthard happily ogles his new Red Bull deal, he might be lamenting becoming entangled in F1's latest political web.

After the Scot criticized F1 rules in the press, FIA president Max Mosley called off Friday's meeting with the grand prix drivers' association.

DC, 34 and chairman of the GPDA, received a letter from the boss of the Paris body, charging him with politicizing a meeting about safety.

''Your comments have distorted the purpose of the Silverstone meeting,'' Max's letter to David read, ''(making) a calm discussion ... impossible.''

Mosley offered to convene a new drivers' meeting in Paris or Monaco.

Coulthard reacted to the Max-ace with bewilderment: ''I have been commenting about the regulations ever since they came out.''

Perhaps in retaliation, an 'open letter' to Max from the GPDA - signed in France by twenty two of the 26 race and test drivers - was then published.

Curiously, though, Coulthard's signature was missing, as was that of his Red Bull colleagues and Michael Schumacher. Adding more intrigue to the plot, Schumacher's piqued Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello broke ranks and put pen to paper.

In the letter, the drivers aimed fire at Mosley for - in a phone call to DC - reportedly pressuring support for the governing body in return for support about driver safety.

''(We) are disappointed not to receive the full support of the FIA president,'' it said.

Tough on tires
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.6) Silverstone is one of the toughest grand prix tracks on tires.

That's the claim of Pierre Dupasquier, the Michelin boss who pointed out the English venue's high speed corners and rough asphalt demands a hard compound.

''This (is) one of the most challenging venues of the season from our perspective,'' said the 67-year-old.

Tire counterpart Hisao Suganuma, of Bridgestone, agreed that Sunday's British GP could be the scene of 'high wear.'

White and yellow in UK
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.6) After blue dominated in France, a distinct white and yellow will color Silverstone's grandstands.

The British grand prix is a home race for BAR-Honda and Jordan, even though both teams are owned by foreign companies.

''Our factory is just down the road,'' said BAR sporting director Gil de Ferran. ''Most of our ... team will be here.

''This is a fast circuit that should suit our car.''

Opposite the main gate at the Northamptonshire circuit, meanwhile, is Jordan Grand Prix, sold by Eddie Jordan to a Russian-born billionaire this year.

Like BAR, most Silverstone-based staff will watch the race.

Yellow clad Tiago Monteiro, though, is not sure he'll fly through Beckett's, Stowe and Club.

The Portuguese said: ''(Silverstone) will probably be one of the hardest for our car.''

Drivers need 'voice' - Webber
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.6) Mark Webber says there is unity among all Formula One drivers.

The Australian pilot, a director of the allegedly split grand prix drivers' association, urged the unit to have 'a voice' about such things as the Indianapolis farce.

''We are as one,'' Williams' 28-year-old told Press Association.

Webber's comments coincided with the axe, by Max Mosley, of a planned GPDA meeting because - the FIA president claimed - it had become politicized.

He continued: ''We don't want to run the sport, but we are part of the whole deal. The public come to see the drivers.

''We are important when we are united. It's good that we can stand up for the sport we love.''

Red Bull to appeal
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.6) Red Bull will tow the other Michelin clad teams' line and appeal the FIA council's 'guilty' verdict.

This is despite team owner Dietrich Mateschitz's earlier resolve that the squad will not 'go to war' with Max Mosley.

The danger of not appealing was potentially taking full blame, and - crucially - legal liability, for the Indy boycott.

'BMW put bad bet on Sauber'
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.6) Eddie Jordan has hit out at BMW's decision to dump Williams and wager its F1 future on Sauber.

The former team owner, who sold Jordan earlier this year, told Sky Sports that fellow principal Peter Sauber is an odd choice for a marque desperate to climb the podium.

''(Sauber) has no knowledge of winning, never mind championships,'' said the Irishman.

''I'm really at a loss.''

Jordan praised Switzerland's Peter Sauber as the 'most genuine' and 'upstanding' guy in pitlane.

But EJ insisted: ''The record book does not say he's a grand prix winner.

''I'm out of it now, but I would have been in a much better position than Peter, because I've been through '98, I've been through 1999.''

Schu set on dubious win
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.6) Ferrari is still baffled about its lack of raw speed at Magny Cours.

Ross Brawn and his scarlet-clad engineers endured, to no avail, a mammoth two-hour debrief at Maranello on the day after Sunday's French grand prix.

And, on Tuesday, testers Luca Badoer and Marc Gene put in the laps at both Monza and Fiorano.

''The drivers were pushing but the car wasn't responding,'' the technical director told Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport when asked about France.

''Without the new (Bridgestone) tires we would have really suffered.''

Team boss Jean Todt insisted that the problem is not just tires.

''The set up wasn't optimized,'' said the French chief. ''We were tremendously slow.''

Slow or not, Ferrari's Michael Schumacher still has a mathematical - if unlikely - shot at a sixth straight crown.

He told Germany's Financial Times: ''If you take a calculator out, you will see that we still have a shot. As long as that's the case, we try.

''I have given up nothing. My aim is to fly to England and win.''

Heidfeld's a Dad
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.6) Nick Heidfeld is the latest new 'Dad' on the Formula One grid.

After Juan Pablo Montoya and Jarno Trulli also became fathers for the first time in 2005, German-born Heidfeld's girlfriend Patricia gave birth to a girl they named Juni.

It seems Nick's 'healthy and lively' daughter held off until he rushed home from Magny Cours late Sunday night.

''Now we are a small family,'' the Williams driver beamed.

Soggy Silverstone?
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.6) It might be summer in England, but the clouds above notoriously fickle Northamptonshire threaten rain for Sunday's British GP.

The early weather forecast for Friday through to race day on 10 July says an overcast weekend - with a persistent threat of showers and drizzle - is likely for Silverstone.

Temperatures in the low twenties should dominate, with the highest probability of rain due on qualifying afternoon.

''The weather can throw anything at you,'' said Toyota's Jarno Trulli. ''You have to be prepared at Silverstone.''

Strong wind is another factor at the flat former war airfield.

Albers on the rise
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.6) Things are looking up in the world of F1 rookie Christijan Albers.

The Minardi driver pounded in an impressive lap at Montreal to out qualify a Red Bull and both Jordans.

''It was a mega lap,'' team boss Paul Stoddart recalled.

He wasn't the only one impressed with Dutchman Albers' 1.18.214. So, too, were five other team bosses, Christijan, 26, told his website.

''I was really surprised,'' a column on albersf1.com quoted Christijan. ''All of a sudden many more journalists wanted to interview me and were linking me with teams I hadn't even thought of driving for.''

Albers admits he could be on the way up the grid next season.

The former DTM star revealed: ''(After Canada) the season really started for my management.''

Williams' engine deal on way
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.6) Williams' engine supplier for 2006 will be revealed in July.

New team driver Mark Webber, clearly disappointed at BMW's decision to buy Sauber, urged Oxfordshire to make the call 'soon.

''You need a manufacturer to succeed in Formula One,'' the ardent Australian told 'PA' at a sponsor event on Tuesday.

''It's absolutely the only way.''

Grove co-owner and principal Sir Frank Williams, meanwhile, was quoted in the British 'Guardian' newspaper as saying an announcement will be made 'in the next month.'

Reportedly on the shortlist are BMW, Honda, Toyota and Cosworth.

28-year-old Webber vowed to stick with Williams, the most successful team of the 1990s but not having won a title now for eight years, and never with a BMW V10 power plant.

Mark continued: ''Frank has been through tough years before and come out the other side.

''I'm sure he'll do it again.

''Either we stick with BMW or we look to find another engine.

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