Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
July 7, 2005

Kimi to 'walk' Brit win
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.7) Planning on putting a few dollars on a back to back F1 win for Fernando Alonso?

Save your dosh, rival Jenson Button has warned.

Ruling out a triumph for his own BAR team at Silverstone, the English driver said McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen is likely to 'just walk away' with the biggest trophy on Sunday.

''This is a very big aero circuit,'' said JB, 25, ''and McLaren is very strong on aero.

''It's a little bit disappointing but that's the way it is.''

After a dismal start to the season, Raikkonen last year reveled in the 'b' version MP4-19 and soared to the pole.

The Finn said on Wednesday: ''Hopefully I'll be one step higher on the podium than in 2004.''

Even Renault boss Flavio Briatore can admit that his Spanish ace, Alonso, is unlikely to beat Kimi this time.

''McLaren are stronger than us at Silverstone,'' the Italian team principal conceded.

''We'll race defensively.''

F1 war goes to Munich
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.7) F1's disgruntled teams met to discuss the future on Wednesday.

The Munich summit of Renault, McLaren, Williams, BAR, Toyota, Sauber and Minardi - the 'breakaway' faction - had been touted as an occasion to devise a potential opponent to Max Mosley's FIA presidency.

Jordan and Red Bull may also have attended, sources said.

In truth, they probably just progressed their own technical and sporting blueprint for the threatened 'GPWC' series, and potential plans to kick it off before 2008.

It is due to be revealed within a fortnight.

'Young guns have no respect'
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.7) Michael Schumacher says F1's young guns have 'no respect' for him.

''It's not that sort of business,'' said the seven time champion, who - in 1991 - lurched onto the grid alongside names like Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Nelson Piquet.

Schumacher, 36, told The Sun: ''I never had any respect for them ... and the same applies today.

''When I first sat in the car my only aim was to try and beat everyone. It still is.''

Fernando Alonso, 23, and Kimi Raikkonen, 25, lead Ferrari's number one in the drivers' chase.

However, Michael has vowed to keep a zipped lip from now on, after recently predicting an upturn in pace at Magny Cours.

''We definitely expected some more (there),'' he told Auto, Motor Und Sport, ''so I would rather not form a premature opinion now.

''But we are not as far away as some people think.''

DC defends 'old' Silverstone
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.7) David Coulthard has swung the bat for the British grand prix as the latest round of Silverstone-bashing hits the news.

Englishman Nigel Stepney, now Ferrari's Italian based technical manager, is the most recent to deride the circuit facilities at the venue.

''Silverstone doesn't seem to have changed much. The garages are much as I remember them when I started out,'' he said.

''It's an old fashioned circuit.''

Red Bull veteran Coulthard, though, hinted at a wider political issue by suggesting that guys like Bernie Ecclestone often appear 'desperate' to axe the historic race in Northamptonshire.

The Scot continued: ''Silverstone seems to have to work harder ... to keep its grand prix.

''Look at Canada's facilities, they're absolutely terrible, but we endure them because we enjoy the track, the city, the atmosphere.''

DC, 34, has twice won the British grand prix at the rural site of a former airfield.

BMW works team wants wins
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.7) The new BMW works team should race onto the top step of the grand prix podium within two years, Dr Mario Theissen said.

The German, likely to become F1's newest team principal when BMW takes over Sauber next year, reckons the Munich manufacturer's board will expect results around mid 2007.

''We are not going to assume wins in the first year,'' Theissen told Swiss newspaper La Liberte.

''But we think this is the right course for us.

''BMW will consolidate our efforts in 2006 and the next step after that is of course winning.''

Webber's Williams woe
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.7) Mark Webber expected a smoother ride when he signed Frank Williams' Formula One contract.

But the Australian, who was treated again for a badly burnt right hip this week, vowed to put his head down at Oxfordshire and not let the misery of season '05 get him down.

In pre-season testing, the 28-year-old cracked a rib. Last weekend at Magny Cours, a broken seal in his FW27 leaked red-hot gases for over an hour.

''It's okay,'' he said of the painful burn this week. ''More frustrating than anything.

''I've never had all this kind of thing happen in one season. I guess it's sent to test you.''

Aches and pains aside, Webber's team put on one of its worst showings in more than two decades of illustrious history in France.

Even with a major new aero package, the car flopped deep within the midfield -- but Webber refused to cry game over.

''This is a very fickle game,'' he insisted. ''Things can change very quickly.''

Fans told to reject US refund
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.7) A US lawyer has urged American spectators to reject Michelin's offer to refund tickets to the recent Indy flop.

Indianapolis based Henry Price, heading a class action suit to recover losses for fans, said the errant French tire supplier will be getting off light if the offer is a hit.

''Michelin could take the position that it's a settlement,'' he told the Globe and Mail, ''and anyone who did (accept) that would give up the rest of their rights.''

Some fans named Michelin, the Speedway, seven teams and Bernie Ecclestone's F1 companies in suits demanding not only tickets, but travel, accommodation and punitive damages.

'Brickyard' spokesman Ron Green did not answer if he knew whether any settlement-like conditions would be put on the ticket refund proposal.

''When (it) is finalized, (details) will be released,'' he said.

Button's off to Grove
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.7) England's Jenson Button wanted to drive a Williams in 2005.

On 5 August last year, the Grove team issued a statement confirming a contract. The rest, including a chaotic battle with BAR, is now history.

Conventional wisdom at the time, though, said that this year aside, Button would definitely complete the swap for '06.

But, with BMW off to Sauber, JB - 25 - must surely be questioning the wisdom of leaving a part Honda-owned team that loves him to steer a car with a customer power plant.

Like it or not, Frome born Jenson might not have a choice.

BAR hold the primary option on Button, but it is only valid if the team achieve 75 per cent of the championship leader's points tally in August.

Based in Brackley, BAR - clearly - will fail.

So does that mean Jenson has to return to Oxfordshire next year, where he started his career as a twenty year old in 2000?

''It's been well explained,'' Sir Frank Williams told The Guardian.

''If BAR fail to meet the option, then he lands in our lap.''

Historic Silverstone
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.7) Nino Farina led home an Alfa Romeo one-two-three in the first ever F1 world championship race.

On 13 May 1950, it happened at Silverstone.

Fast forward fifty five years, the sport still travels annually to the disused world war II airfield in countryside Northamptonshire, a 'home' race for six UK-based outfits.

Although no longer the flat out blast of the past, the British grand prix is still one of the quickest and most loved layouts on the calendar.

Copse, Stowe and Bridge are spoken of in the same tones as Eau Rouge, Parabolica or 130R, even if outdated facilities often grab the headline.

''Beckett's is amazing,'' said Jordan rookie Narain Karthikeyan. ''It's one of those places where you really feel the speed of your F1 car.''

Like Barcelona, it's well known to the drivers as a popular test venue, but often the scene of a soggy rain deluge.

''It can sometimes be even worse than Nurburgring,'' Williams' Nick Heidfeld giggled about the English weather.

Most drivers will be relieved, though, to see the latest revised forecast for the weekend.

If any rain is expected, it'll be on Friday, with partly cloudy but dry and sunny conditions then expected.

Ferrari 'on way back' - Brawn
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.7) 'Michael Schumacher beats all rivals in the 2005 Chinese grand prix.'

It's the kind of headline Ross Brawn expects in the second half of what has been a miserable season so far for the reigning constructors' champ.

''Our ability to improve is larger than the other teams,'' said Ferrari's technical director Ross Brawn.

''That is because we are behind, but we are not too far behind. We can close the gap,'' he told Gazzetta dello Sport.

Brawn admits that most of Ferrari's troubles came in not adapting as well as its rivals to the new regulations.

Indicating the motivation to recover, though, test driver Luca Badoer - although just four days separated the French and British grands prix - completed a three day test run at Monza on Wednesday.

Brawn said: ''Now we're coming up again. The second half of the season should be better.''

The Englishman admits that lead driver Michael Schumacher has been 'frustrated' with the F2005 package's lack of winning pace.

''We would be worried if he were not,'' Ross, however, explained.

''It shows he is still hungry -- it's just the nature of a champion.''

Eyeing a Silver podium

(GMMf1NET -- Jul.7) Twice British grand prix winner David Coulthard has all but ruled out even landing on the podium at Silverstone this year.

The Scot said a top three finish in his blue and silver Red Bull car would be 'incredible.'

''There are a lot of quick teams out there and we are not keeping pace with development,'' the 34-year-old added.

''But it's not beyond the realms of possibility.''

More confident is Renault driver Giancarlo Fisichella, who has endured a dismal season of car niggles while teammate Fernando Alonso ran away with a hearty title lead.

After yet another trying race for the Roman at Magny Cours, apologetic boss Flavio Briatore did wonder whether Fisi's problems might somehow be 'a little bit' driver-induced.

''We tested here in June,'' the 32-year-old said on Wednesday, ''and McLaren looked maybe slightly ahead of us.

''But we have a new engine here and I will be aiming for a podium,'' Fisichella remarked.

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