Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
July 22, 2005
V10's a better 2006 bet
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.22) Minardi may power off the rear of the grid in
2006, according to a rumble in the Hockenheim paddock.
Some wags suggest that a rev-limited V10 engine could still pack more
punch than the first generation of 2.4 V8.
''If you just equate the power,'' Toyota's John Howett admitted in
Germany, ''there is a strong probability that a V10 would be a better
Cash strapped Minardi will use the FIA's option of sticking with the
3.0 liter formula, with a rev limit, next year.
Mercedes' Norbert Haug, though, denied that it will become an issue.
He suggested that the FIA will define the V10 'limit' once the
performance of the V8s is clear.
''My understanding,'' said the German, ''is that the V10 will be
handicapped in the right manner so it's not superior.''
Ralf defends Mosley snub
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.22) Ralf Schumacher has defended the swathe of F1
stars who will snub next month's driver safety meeting with Max
Guys like Juan Pablo Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen, both not members of
the grand prix drivers' association, said they would not fly to Cannes
on August 1 for the FIA summit.
''If I were Juan and my home was Colombia then I would probably go (on
holiday) too,'' said Ralf Schumacher, who will attend.
''You don't need twenty people down there -- five or six would do.''
It is understood that twelve of the twenty drivers, including Ralf's
champion brother Michael, will show up.
Another, like David Coulthard and Jarno Trulli, is drivers'
association director Mark Webber, who said it is 'important' the
drivers are heard.
''At the end of the day,'' said Williams' Australian driver, ''we are
the actors in the movie. I hope we're listened to.''
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.22) 'Why me?' That's what runs through Indian rookie
Narain Karthikeyan's head every time his yellow Jordan breaks down.
The 28-year-old admitted to being confused about why the same troubles
don't seem to strike his teammate Tiago Monteiro.
''Yeah, I don't know, really,'' Karthikeyan told India's Hindustan
''Someone says our car is reliable but if you ask me, that is only
relevant to one car.''
At the British grand prix last time out, Karthikeyan's was the only
car out of twenty that didn't make the flag.
Portugal's Monteiro, on the other hand, continues an astonishing run
of reliability, and holds the record for the most number of
consecutive finishes for a rookie.
Narain said: ''It is frustrating and I would like an answer. I know
that luck plays an important role in F1 but for me I have very
Liuzzi wants another shot
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.22) Vitantonio Liuzzi has urged Red Bull to give him
another shot at the F1 grid this year.
The Italian, presently 'Friday' driver for the team owned by a
beverage, found himself in the wrong seat when the driver 'swap' music
Christian Klien will definitely race until the upcoming Hungarian
Liuzzi told ITV: ''I hope I'll race again soon and they give me
another chance. Racing is the most important thing.
''I hope they keep believing in me.''
Austria's Klien and Liuzzi, an Italian, face a similar quandary next
year. With David Coulthard signed and sealed for 2006, Red Bull will
not embark an another season of disruptive swapping.
Liuzzi said: ''It's crunch time. They will decide who's the best.
''David re-signing is pretty good, he has done quite a good job. It
was an understandable choice for the team.''
'No '06 deal yet' - Heidfeld
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.22) From scraps to riches, Nick Heidfeld is reveling
in his new role as a coveted F1 racer.
Despite clinging to Jordan last year after nearly sliding off the
grid, the German has been a revelation of 2005 in the Williams seat he
snatched at the last moment.
Now, with BMW off to Sauber, it is believed he has also had
discussions with BAR-Honda.
''It is not all done for next year,'' the German said, denying the
highly speculated move back to Switzerland - where he lives - with
''But unlike the last couple of years I can happily look into next
season as I'm convinced I will be in a good car.''
For the moment, though, little 'Quick Nick' is stuck with the dismally
slow Williams, and he warned that - an improvement here and there
aside - poles and podiums are out of the question.
''I think we are starting to understand our problems,'' he said. ''It
doesn't sound like a BMW-Williams goal, but I just hope we can score
Schu can't win
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.22) Germany's Michael Schumacher has ruled out
winning his home grand prix.
The Ferrari driver said he felt 'a little pessimistic' about the
weekend at Hockenheim.
''Of course you never know what can happen,'' he said at the circuit,
''but we are not the favorite.
''I can have an exciting race but maybe not right at the front.''
Ferrari will unveil a new bodywork package at Hockenheim, but
Schumacher, 36, doubted it is enough to bridge the gap to Renault or
''I can tell you the aerodynamics are better,'' he smiled, ''but I
think we were a long way behind at Silverstone.
''It is hard to explain how we lost so much speed from last year to
now. The fact is that we are not fast enough.''
Kiesa to Jordan - official
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.21) Nicolas Kiesa will fill departed Jordan 'Friday'
driver Robert Doornbos' seat at Hockenheim, the Midland owned team
With the Netherlands' Doornbos off to Minardi, his replacement -
confirmed only for the German grand prix stint - is from Denmark.
Jordan MD Colin Kolles said a 'longer term position' would be
discussed at the track.
Kiesa, 27, was a similar ring-in at Minardi in 2003, when he replaced
Jaguar-bound Justin Wilson's race role.
''Nicolas will bring some good experience and another viewpoint,''
sporting director Adrian Burgess added, ''and this can only help (race
drivers) Narain (Karthikeyan) and Tiago (Monteiro).''
Coincidentally, Copenhagen-born Kiesa made his F1 debut for Minardi on
the revised Hockenheimring layout.
He finished five laps down.
'Ball in Jordan's court'
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.22) An official announcement may be missing, but
Toyota says it will supply Jordan-Midland with customer engines next
Speculation is solid in the Hockenheim paddock that the Japanese
carmaker is merely awaiting Alex Shnaider's payment for the 2.4 liter
It is also suggested that, despite Toyota's ability to supply only one
team, Williams is also still interested.
''There is no rush on our side to make an announcement,'' said Toyota
'president' John Howett in Germany.
''To some extent the ball is in Jordan's court, but I can confirm that
our intention is to supply Jordan ... next year.''
That aside, he also revealed that there is 'informal discussion' with
Sir Frank Williams' team, but insisted that it is 'too late' for 2006.
Howett coyly added: ''It's dangerous to say never.''
Ferrari still on it
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.22) The drivers' title might be all but gone, but
Rubens Barrichello says Ferrari can still charge for the 2005
constructors' world championship.
The Brazilian, though, warned that the red cars need to improve.
''It just wasn't quick enough at Silverstone,'' said Barrichello.
''But last week we made some steps forward so we should be a bit
Last week the Maranello based team charged around Paul Ricard in sunny
France, but the pre-Hockenheim preparations didn't stop there.
Michael Schumacher put in a day at Mugello before flying to the scene
of the German grand prix, and Luca Badoer and Marc Gene were still at
work late on Thursday afternoon.
Gene, in last year's car, is thought to have run the 2006 V8.
Button blasts F1 champ
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.22) Jenson Button has hit out at countryman and
former F1 champion Nigel Mansell for slamming the 'Mickey Mouse'
''It's difficult for him to really comment,'' said BAR's English
driver. ''I don't think he is involved in F1 any more.''
52-year-old Mansell, the retired 1992 title winner, slammed F1 and
claimed he could write a better set of regulations 'in half an hour.'
Button, though, was clearly not amused at the 'negative' critique.
''There is room for improvement,'' the 25-year-old admitted, ''but
it's no use pointing fingers. A lot of people think watching it is
Even more frustrating for JB is BAR's disappointing season. He said
the Brackley based team got 'a little lost' with the new regulations.
''But look at Ferrari -- they've gone backwards a lot more than we
have,'' Button said.
''I think we are too far behind to win a race (this year). We are
behind in aero, mainly.
''Maybe we can grab a podium if Renault or McLaren slip up.''
F1 tries to kick habit
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.22) Formula One is finding it difficult to kick a
40-year tobacco habit.
Although McLaren sponsor 'West' will disappear at the Hungarian grand
prix next Sunday, other teams - like Ferrari, Renault, BAR and Jordan
- are unclear of what to do in the wake of Europe's July 31 tobacco
On the same day, a British law comes into effect, which - in theory -
makes it illegal for UK-based teams to run tobacco ads even outside
''We are all really waiting to see,'' said Neil England of Gallaher,
Jordan sponsor Benson & Hedges' parent company.
''Everyone's watching everybody else.''
He denied that Gallaher might go the suspected route of Ferrari and
Marlboro by continuing long-term in grands prix with an unbranded car.
Ferrari, for example, is expected to retain tobacco cash with a red
and white livery.
England told the International Herald Tribune: ''We've no evidence
that an unbranded car has any advertising ... value at all.''
Alonso 'proud' to fight Kimi
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.22) Fernando Alonso says he is 'proud' to have a
championship rival in old karting contender Kimi Raikkonen.
The Spaniard, who would become the youngest ever world champion, is 26
points ahead of the McLaren driving Finn, the only man likely to give
Alonso a run for his money.
''To fight with him,'' FA said, ''is much better than to fight with
some other names. He's a great driver.''
Alonso, then 15, met a 17-year-old Raikkonen on the kart track in
1997. ''We don't talk to each other that often,'' Fernando smiled,
''but there's a lot of respect.''
Some of that respect, surely, is due to the fact that - with just
eight grands prix to go in 2005 - Kimi's car is undoubtedly quicker
than the Renault.
Alonso said the fight from now on will be 'a hard struggle.'
He said Kimi's 'aggressive' teammate Juan Pablo Montoya could be a
hindrance. ''He is not a good guy to fight with,'' Fernando said,
''because you can end on the grass.
''McLaren are the team to beat,'' Alonso admitted. ''If we can't win
... we have to minimize the problem -- but this could be a good one
Montoya - 'I'm still in it'
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.22) 'Alonso v. Raikkonen' may be the main attraction,
but McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya would also like a say in the '05
The Colombian, 29, reckons it's 'quite even' between himself and
championship charging teammate Kimi Raikkonen.
''I'm still in with a chance,'' Montoya, the Silverstone winner, told
''If things go my way in the second half of the season, then I should
be able to get Kimi.''
Montoya might be just sixth in the drivers' chase, but he's actually
closer to Raikkonen than the blonde Finn is to title charger Alonso.
On the other hand, Alonso - JPM said - can just 'play it safe' to his
first world crown.
McLaren reliability is also a factor in Kimi's chase, Juan Pablo
suggested. ''The chances of us finishing every race,'' he noted, ''are
'The car is the problem'
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.22) Ferrari have fallen six months behind the top F1
teams, triple world champion Niki Lauda has claimed.
The 56-year-old Austrian, who won the title in 1975 and '77 for the
scarlet marque, said Maranello chiefs made a 'big mistake' in
incorrectly assuming the only problem was uncompetitive Bridgestone
''The car is the problem,'' Lauda told the German 'Kicker' magazine,
''but we are only just realizing it now.
''I, too, thought the tires were at fault, but it is clear (the)
problem runs deeper.''
Hockenheim is Lauda's first grand prix since a kidney transplant.
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