Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
July 13, 2005

Flav hints at F1 compromise
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.13) If you ask Paul Stoddart, he'll tell you that most other F1 principals also loathe Max Mosley.

The Minardi boss, though, clearly wasn't referring to Flavio Briatore. The Italian chief seems to be leaning towards a political compromise.

In an interview with Germany's Welt am Sonntag newspaper, the Renault 'managing director' said he generally agrees with the president of the governing FIA.

''We must improve F1 to make it safer and more entertaining,'' said the Italian, ''but to do that, we need a strong regulator like (him).

''We ... need Ferrari too.''

Briatore's comments are a grand diversion after the Indy storm and carmaker-led 'breakaway' hazard, of which Renault is an unmistakable member.

On the other side is Ferrari, the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone. But 'Flav' denied that any F1 'war' existed.

To solve the current impasse, then, he suggested the carmakers, the FIA and Ecclestone sign a new agreement, ''including Ferrari. Then everybody will be going in the same direction.

''It is possible to create a brand new F1 ... that includes the teams, Bernie ... and with the FIA as a regulator -- without the banks.

''We are looking for a compromise.''

F1 army back on duty
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.13) The howl of grand prix engines returned to European skies on Tuesday.

Predictably, crisis-struck Ferrari led the charge, with tester Marc Gene - alone at France's Paul Ricard - evaluating a new aerodynamic bodywork package for Hockenheim.

Ferrari will almost certainly also test at home at Fiorano (Italy).

In Spain, meanwhile, F1's majority prepared to fire up on Wednesday.

Williams, Toyota, McLaren, Red Bull, Sauber and Renault will be among the action at Jerez, while Jordan is believed to be en route to Paul Ricard to run next to Ferrari.

Back in action for McLaren will be veteran tester Alex Wurz, fit after pinching a nerve in his neck last time out.

If fully recovered, the tall Austrian will take over 'Friday' duties from Pedro de la Rosa at Hockenheim and Hungary.

F1 champs to race
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.13) How do you get five former world champions to go wheel to wheel?

You'd better ask organizers of the German 'DTM' category, who will pit Nigel Mansell, Emerson Fittipaldi, Alain Prost, Jody Scheckter and (500cc champion) Mick Doohan against one another in a $615,000 charity race in DTM cars.

'Never before ... has there been a race like this,'' explained Hans Werner Aufrecht.

The 'race of champions' will be a support event at Germany's Norisring this weekend.

Prost, the four time F1 champion, recently tested a DTM car.

'I'll host '06 US grand prix'
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.13) An American circuit has vowed to stage the United States grand prix if Indy says no for 2006.

Following last month's six-car fiasco, Bruton Smith said he would chat to Bernie Ecclestone if Indianapolis chief Tony George slams the door.

For the F1 supremo, though, there's a catch -- billionaire Bernie, 74, would have to lever open his wallet.

''Bless his heart,'' Smith, promoter of a NASCAR race at his Californian (Sonoma) road circuit, told the Winston-Salem Journal.

Ecclestone is reportedly worth up to $3.7 billion.

Smith added: ''He'll have to spend it. He ought to be able to make a deal with me. Money talks.''

Mr. E, though, is likely to snigger at the 'offer'. Although desperate to crack the US market, an F1 race costs a promoter around $15m a pop.

BMW plot course to 2006
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.13) There might be eight races still to run with the works Williams project, but BMW is already hard at work in preparation for 2006.

On 1 January next year, the Munich carmaker will take over Swiss-based Sauber, and an entirely new structure will be ready to race, motor sport director Dr Mario Theissen told 'Kicker' magazine.

Efficiency, experience and the impressive wind tunnel at Hinwil aside, the German said BMW and German-speaking Sauber should simply 'gel' together.

''This aspect,'' Theissen - perhaps contrasting the tension at Williams - said, ''the philosophy, the culture, is so important. The most important.''

Mario continued: ''Two partners can only succeed if there is complete cooperation.''

A bigger budget, then, is not the only recipe for success. ''Of course you need sufficient resources,'' said Theissen, ''but it is no guarantee.

''With Sauber we recognize the right foundation.''

Button buzz 'not true'
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.13) Eddie Irvine has laughed at speculation linking Jenson Button with his old Ferrari seat.

The retired Ulsterman's derision might be retaliation for comments made by Button at Silverstone at the weekend.

BAR's JB, 25, said: ''Eddie Irvine was the only person who'd say Michael (Schumacher) was better than anyone.''

39-year-old Irvine reckons Englishman Jenson would get 'blown away' alongside seven time world champion Schumacher.

Irvine preceded Rubens Barrichello as Michael's Ferrari teammate in 1996-1999.

''(It) wouldn't be a great career move,'' Eddie scoffed.

''There is no surer way of seeing your value plummet than being constantly upstaged by someone with the same machine.

''Anyway, Ferrari are not interested in Jenson. The man they really have their eye on is ... Kimi Raikkonen.''

Irvine may be a seasoned loudmouth, but Ferrari principal Jean Todt seems to agree.

Asked about the Button gossip, the Frenchman replied: ''Sure, he is a good driver.

''But if you are asking me about speculation then I tell you it is zero per cent true.''

Merc play down Kimi blow ups
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.13) Mercedes-Benz is downplaying Kimi Raikkonen's title damaging back to back engine failures at Magny Cours and Silverstone.

On both occasions, the fitting of a fresh V10 - despite the desperate need to finish ahead of Fernando Alonso and with a car advantage - fouled the Finnish McLaren driver's charge.

But Mario Illien, boss of the Ilmor company that builds Mercedes' F1 engines in England, said Raikkonen's Magny Cours blow up was the first for the silver marque in a year.

''This shall not be an excuse,'' he told Autosport. ''We do not look very good having two failures within a week.''

Meanwhile, at Silverstone last Friday, Kimi ground to a halt with an oil pump drive failure.

Illien said the last time an engine stopped for a similar reason was 'five or six years ago' -- in the rear of Mika Hakkinen's car.

Worse still, under the old rules, fixing the pump would not have required a new engine.

Getting to the damaged part, though, would have meant breaking an FIA 'parc-ferme' seal and still incurring a penalty.

'Let's keep 'hotlap' quali'
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.13) Pat Symonds says Formula One should not revert to the old 2002-style qualifying structure.

Renault's head of engineering said the 12-lap, sixty-minute system may have been better than the current 'hotlap' format, but reckons the real objective is to make races exciting.

''A lot of people in this game have short memories,'' the Briton said.

A recent FIA fans' survey found that the majority favored a return to the old format.

Changing, though - Symonds argued - would be akin to 'spoiling the main attraction ... for the sake of the sideshow.

''What we had before guaranteed that the fastest car was at the front,'' he continued. ''I think we have gained from the small element of chaos that qualifying puts into it.

''It can lead to much better racing.

''What we don't need is cars driving around behind each other for an hour and a half. What we need is good racing.''

'BAR can win in 2005' - boss
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.13) BAR has sidestepped Jenson Button's claim that winning may be little more than a dream in 2005.

Although ahead of only Minardi in the constructors' title after an horrific first half-season, the Brackley team's CEO Nick Fry said the race-win objective remains intact.

He said of Renault: ''They are catchable.

''We will worry about them first and then we'll worry about McLaren.

''A win is clearly our objective.''

There is no hiding from the fact, though, that fifth placed Button finished a whopping forty seconds off the race winner - and thirty eight seconds adrift the top Renault - on Sunday in Britain.

But Fry insisted that BAR is in F1's 'top bracket.

''And if you're in that top bracket,'' he added, ''you are in with a fighting chance.''

Button, 25, will visit Shanghai early in August, where - on promotional duties - he'll drive the maglev train.

New aero not magic fix - Todt
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.13) Ferrari will not solve all its problems with the new Hockenheim spec bodywork package, Jean Todt has warned.

The Ferrari boss told Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport that even analyzing the cause of the crisis is not easy.

''You can be sure we will try our best to improve,'' the Frenchman said, ''but these aerodynamics are not the only answer.''

Todt said solving a performance problem is 'harder' for Ferrari than its rivals.

''They all have the same tire supplier,'' he continued, ''so they can exchange information and work to a solution.''

Only Jordan and Minardi, at the back of the Formula One pack, also wear Japanese made boots.

Indeed, the Scuderia's snag is undoubtedly Bridgestone, as the car's pace varies throughout a grand prix distance.

Todt admitted: ''We lack grip.

''With all respect to Jordan and Minardi, it's difficult for us to compare ourselves with them.''

Buon Compleanno!
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.13) F1 driver for Toyota, Jarno Trulli, is today celebrating a birthday.

The Italian, who debuted a Minardi in 1997 and has also driven for Prost, Jordan and Renault, is thirty one on July 13.

He won last year's Monaco grand prix.

Also blowing out a birthday cake on Wednesday will be Belgium's Thierry Boutsen, who won three grands prix in a 162-grand prix career in the eighties and early nineties.

July 13 is also the eight year anniversary of Jacques Villeneuve's back to back British grand prix win in 1996-7.

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