Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
July 19, 2005

Red Bull not persuaded
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.19) Red Bull has denied it was persuaded to side with 2006 engine supplier Ferrari in a political war for F1's future.

Sporting director Christian Horner told Reuters that the decision to become just the second team to sign the 2008-2012 Concorde Agreement was made with 'total' independence.

He said: ''We felt the timing was right.

''Hopefully all the parties will get around the table ... but we wanted to make a decision prior to being ... in a meeting that involved voting.''

Monday's brief announcement leaves the six carmaker-backed outfits, and Minardi, still musing their own 'breakaway' championship, with Jordan likely to follow Ferrari and Red Bull's course.

Williams, to lose works BMW support next year, is seen by some as a newly 'independent' dark horse.

''We've managed (since 2000) to get ... a freebie engine,'' team owner Frank Williams said last month, ''but next year, maybe, we have to pay.''

DC set for Mosley summit
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.19) David Coulthard has arranged for 'a number' of F1 drivers to attend Max Mosley's meeting in the south of France next month.

Prior to the recent grand prix drivers' summit at Silverstone, Mosley - the FIA president - called off his appearance after saying Coulthard's press comments threatened to politicize the issue.

Perhaps fearing the same outcome, DC - who drives for Red Bull - yesterday rescinded new claims of a potential driver 'strike' on the matter.

Now, he's talking up F1 safety.

''If you look at this circuit,'' David, 34, said in Turkey at the weekend, ''there's so much run off that you'd be unlucky to hit something.''

DC, a director of the GPDA, will fly to Cannes with his driver cohorts on the Monday after the upcoming Hungarian GP.

Schu to head late Mugello run
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.19) Michael Schumacher will head a last-minute Ferrari test ahead of his home grand prix of Germany.

On Wednesday, the day before he is due to arrive at the Hockenheimring circuit near Mannheim, the 36-year-old will be churning up Mugello in Italy.

The struggling Maranello based team, the only team not committed to a voluntary test limit which would forbid running in GP-week, is due to debut a new aero package in Germany.

Schumacher told his website: ''We're not trying to hide the fact that we're ... on the hunt for performance right now.''

He also defended his reluctance to give up on the drivers' title, even though it seems only a miracle would bring him back into contention for an eighth crown.

''I travel to every race ... aspiring to try everything that's within our means,'' MS vowed.

Friesacher verdict due
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.19) Minardi delayed the decision to drop Patrick Friesacher on Monday after receiving a new financial proposal from the Austrian rookie's F1 management.

On Sunday evening, the 24-year-old driver's agent - Thomas Frank - received a fax confirming that broken sponsor promises had terminated Friesacher's contract.

On Monday, his replacement - Frank's Hungarian charge Zsolt Baumgartner, or Jordan 'Friday' driver Robert Doornbos - was set to be named.

But Minardi postponed the announcement after Frank faxed an alternate Friesacher sponsor package to Paul Stoddart that may be more lucrative than Zsolt or Robert's.

A new decision is expected on Tuesday.

A Midland (Jordan) spokesman, meanwhile, confirmed the speculated Doornbos rumblings.

''We'll try not to block the move,'' Ron Fine told the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail.

Ralf eyes quickest revival
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.19) Ralf Schumacher reckons he is on the road to giving Toyota teammate Jarno Trulli a stronger run for his F1 money.

The German spent a rare three full days at Jerez last week, on a program of little more than race setup fine-tuning after struggling for speed in the first half of season 2005.

''We have improved the setup of the car,'' Ralf, 30, confirmed.

''It was a really good test.''

Undoubtedly, Ralf - younger brother of world champion Michael Schumacher - is less comfortable with the handling of his TF105 car than is Trulli.

Schumacher continued: ''I wanted to run through some different options with my engineer.

''Due to my accident at Indianapolis I haven't really been able to test for a while.''

Fisi eyes '05 win
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.19) Giancarlo Fisichella, who has not tasted podium champagne since winning in Australia, has vowed to trump another race in '05.

The luck-forsaken Roman, although a whopping 53 points behind Renault teammate and title leader Fernando Alonso, vowed not to cede defeat just yet.

''Maybe the McLaren is a bit quicker than us,'' the 32-year-old admitted, ''but not by much. I think it's very close.

''Certainly we can go to every track and be in with a chance.

''That will be my aim -- I'm certain I'll have the chance to win before the end of the year.''

Date set for Kanaan's BAR run
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.19) IRL champion Tony Kanaan will test BAR's Honda powered car on September 29, the Brackley based Formula One team confirmed.

The 30-year-old Brazilian, a close friend of former rival and countryman Gil de Ferran - also BAR's new sporting director - is set to try the '007' racer at Jerez, in Spain.

Kanaan, full name Antoine Rizkallah Kanaan Filho, revealed that the F1 run was spurred on by Honda after he last year claimed the IRL title.

''It'll be a dream,'' he quipped, nonetheless adding that the session would be 'serious'.

EJ points finger at F1
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.19) Formula One will hit the right track when everyone improves their game.

That's the view of former team owner Eddie Jordan, who pointed an Irish finger at team bosses, Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley in a column for F1 Racing magazine.

Referring to their failure to avoid last month's Indy calamity, EJ said his former colleagues 'appear to be impotent.'

''(Team bosses) report to car company chairmen, sitting at desks far from the race track.''

Jordan also slighted F1 supremo Ecclestone for losing his former omnipotent power, and FIA president Max Mosley for failing to avert political mayhem.

''Max seems to be at loggerheads with (the manufacturers) ... and is unwilling to compromise,'' he added.

''And Bernie once had influence and control. This no longer appears to be the case.''

Green light for Hockenheim
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.19) It might no longer be the scene of low downforce blasts down seemingly endless forest lined straights, but Hockenheim still hosts one of the best grands prix of the year.


''It is a bit easier than usual to overtake there,'' said title leader Fernando Alonso, ''because we have some big straights into slow corners.''

Thus, the German grand prix - on the circuit chopped and revised after the 2001 event - is often an exhilarating one.

It's also usually one of the hottest races of the European summer, causing the odd headache for the tire supplier.

''We run with much more downforce than on the old circuit,'' said Alonso's Renault teammate, Giancarlo Fisichella, ''so it's important to choose the right tire.''

BAR's Jenson Button was the undoubted star of the 2004 race, after climbing from thirteenth on the grid to second.

Mark Webber, the Williams driver from Australia, recalls the 'great atmosphere' of Hockenheim's famed 'stadium' - or 'motodrom' - late lap section.

''It's always a tremendous buzz,'' the 28-year-old said, ''seeing the packed grandstands.''

Renault ward off tire crisis
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.19) A Monaco-like tire crisis should not strike Renault at sizzling Hockenheim, the team insists.

The championship charging outfit turned up in Monte Carlo in May and endured their worst race of the season -- track heat and high traction demands left Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella with destroyed Michelins.

''We have had some problems,'' Spaniard Alonso, 23, acknowledged, ''so it's something we need to watch carefully.

''But it was hot at (the) Jerez (test) last week so I am sure we can be very competitive.''

Similarly, teammate Fisichella does not think a Monaco-like situation will reoccur with the R25 in Germany.

''We understood what happened (there),'' the Italian remarked, ''and found the reasons.''

He said Renault made adjustments to weight distribution and traction control to protect the rear tires at tough and hot Hockenheim.

Fisichella added: ''And we've since raced in Canada where you also need good traction and we had no problems at all -- in fact, we were quickest.''

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