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Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
July 21, 2005


Kiesa signs Jordan deal
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.21) Nicolas Kiesa has signed a one-event deal to replace Robert Doornbos as Jordan's 'Friday' driver at Hockenheim, we can reveal.

Although the Dane, who raced for a while at Minardi in 2003, is expected to keep the job for the rest of the year, team sources say Zsolt Baumgartner and Patrick Friesacher remain under consideration.

27-year-old Kiesa's German grand prix role will be announced on Thursday morning.

The vacancy cropped up when Doornbos headed to Minardi to replace Friesacher, whose sponsorship cash has dried up.

Ironically, Kiesa nearly nabbed Friesacher's Minardi drive at the start of the year.








Michelin want less teams
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.21) An eighth grand prix team wants to wear Michelin tyres next year.

The bombshell has moved the French supplier to propose a 'better balance' in the Paddock, because - it says - the 'strong imbalance' is spoiling 'competition' between it and rival Bridgestone.

''(We are) completely open to allowing for a more balanced split of teams among ... manufacturers, starting as early as the 2006 season,'' 'CEO' Edouard Michelin proposed.

Every top team except struggling Ferrari is Michelin clad, with only the backmarking Jordan and Minardi also on Japanese rubber.

Michelin continued: ''Tyre manufacturers must be able to make their own contribution towards improving the performances of (those) they supply.''








McLaren men snub Max summit
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.21) McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya will both snub next month's driver meeting with FIA president Max Mosley.

At least eleven super license holders are set to travel with David Coulthard to Cannes on the day after the Hungarian grand prix, it is clear.

According to Autosport, though, a Finn and Colombian will instead jet off for holidays.

''I support the objective ... and concept,'' Montoya, 29, told the magazine, ''but I cannot go -- I have already planned a holiday in Colombia.''

Raikkonen was less repentant.

''I am not interested,'' said the 2005 championship challenger.








Ferrari won't 'give up'
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.21) Just two days prior to practice at Hockenheim, Ferrari's Michael Schumacher powered his F2005 out of pitlane -- at Mugello (Italy).

The German, accompanied on track by test driver Marc Gene, lapped eighty five times before setting off for the scene of his home grand prix.

Luca Badoer will take over on Thursday.

36-year-old Schumacher's 'vehicle engineer' reckons the new bodywork package for Hockenheim 'proves' that the Maranello based team has 'certainly not given up' on 2005.

''For every race,'' Andrea Stella added, ''we usually have something new. Whatever the championship situation, we are still fighting to win.''








F1 sponsor in hot water
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.21) German microchip company 'Infineon' has landed in hot water over alleged 'bribery' relating to racing - including F1 - sponsorship.

The firm's aptly named CEO, Ulrich Schumacher, quit, allegedly because of the affair.

Now, another boss - Andreas von Zitzewitz - also quit after his home and office were raided in connection to suspected bribes from a Swiss motor sport marketing agency until 2004.

In that time, Infineon sponsored F1 team Jordan, supplied grand prix rival Ferrari, and backed Le Mans races.

Suspiciously, Infineon's motor sport sponsorships rapidly ended in March 2004 -- when CEO Schumacher resigned.








Rossi switch would be costly
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.21) Valentino Rossi has thrown another bucket of water on speculation that he might soon switch from MotoGP to F1.

The Italian, 26, said he was unfazed by the motorcycle grand prix category's 2007 move to less powerful engines.

''I want to stay for not just one year more,'' he said at a media lunch prior to Sunday's MotoGP round at Donington Park.

''For me it is like a dream with Yamaha ... I want to stay a long time.''

Flamboyant Rossi, though, is an unabashed four-wheel fanatic, having competed in rallies and tested Michael Schumacher's Formula One Ferrari.

But, asked about a possible switch, he said moving from two wheels would be 'difficult'.

''It's another world, a lot of work, a lot of pressure. Maybe a long holiday is better.''

And, with a $28 million annual salary, abandoning MotoGP might prove mighty costly.

''I didn't get my first pay cheque until 1996,'' Valentino smiled to Britain's The Sun.

''It is a great achievement to earn this sort of money.''








DC told to 'be yourself'
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.21) Swear words, grey hairs, a stubble beard -- these are things not usually likened to David Coulthard.

The 34-year-old Scot, though, has changed.

After nearly a decade with corporate-grey McLaren, he was taken aside by new boss Dietrich Mateschitz and told to loosen up, let go -- 'be yourself.'

''I never felt bound by McLaren Mercedes,'' David told Germany's Der Spiegel, ''but it was appropriate to behave a certain way.

''(Mateschitz) told me to say what I think, do what I feel -- as long as I don't say that Red Bull is an awful drink!''

Coulthard says he feels 'more relaxed' at the newfangled team, where he will remain in 2006.

He explained: ''We don't represent a carmaker or a big foreign sponsor -- we represent us.''

Rows with Max Mosley and threats of driver strikes, meanwhile, have replaced sponsor-name dropping and media platitudes, but DC denies that he has always been 'wild.'

''I don't think so,'' he smiled, ''but I do enjoy life.

''I drive a F1 car because I want to, not because I have to.''







Lauda fit for F1 return
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.21) Niki Lauda will return to the F1 paddock at Hockenheim after a recent kidney transplant operation.

The triple world champion, 56, is a pundit for German TV.

Another former F1 title winner, 1992 victor Nigel Mansell, attacked the pinnacle of motor sport for 'bringing itself into disrepute' in the course of 2005.

The Englishman told Autosport that the fans 'deserve better.'

''In half an hour I could write a better set of rules - and I don't care who this upsets,'' said the 52-year-old.

''One set of tires for F1? How dangerous is that? F1 ... keeps shooting itself in the foot ... and there is no need.''








Wheldon keeps eye on F1
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.21) Dan Wheldon is keeping a keen eye on Formula One's 2005 silly-season.

The Briton, who battled through Danica Patrick-fever to win the Indy 500, is the IRL points leader but has not yet signed for another year with the top Andretti Green outfit.

''You've always got to have an eye open,'' he told the Detroit Free Press in Detroit.

''I'm talking to some people.''

Wheldon, 27, reckons he has been approached by two grand prix teams about 2006, 'one pretty strong.'

''We're still in talks about next season. But it would have to be right -- I wouldn't just do it to do it.''

Indy 500 win or not, though, Dan admits that Wheldon-fever hasn't quite caught on back home.

''I'm bigger than Beckham now,'' he joked about his status on the streets in England.








Pitchforth back on F1 scene
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.21) David Pitchforth is back on the market and hopeful of finding a new job in the grand prix paddock.

The big Yorkshireman was praised for his work at Jaguar but not retained under the new Red Bull management guise.

He has spent the last six months on 'gardening leave' because Red Bull declined to release him from his Jag contract.

''I am looking at getting back into motor racing,'' he admitted to Autosport magazine.

Pitchforth said a rest had 'been good.'

''I've taken a bit of time to get my head straight.''

Autosport also reported that the group once called 'GPWC' could finally show their proposed 2008 regulations to the FIA at the German grand prix.

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