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 option.''

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 Mosley.

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.''

Karthikeyan cross
(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 Times newspaper.

''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 little.''

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 stopped.

Christian Klien will definitely race until the upcoming Hungarian grand prix.

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 BMW-Sauber.

''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 some points.''

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 McLaren.

''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 announced.

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 year.

Speculation is solid in the Hockenheim paddock that the Japanese carmaker is merely awaiting Alex Shnaider's payment for the 2.4 liter V8 deal.

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 stronger here.''

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' sport.

''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 great.''

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 advertising ban.

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 Europe.

''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 for us.''

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 title chase.

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 ITV.

''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 slim.''

'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 tires.

''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.

''Feedback can be sent to feedback@autoracing1.com

Go to our forums to discuss this article


Copyright 1999-2014  AutoRacing1 is an independent internet online publication and is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by the IRL., NASCAR, FIA,  Sprint, or any other series sponsor. This material may not be published, broadcast, or redistributed without permission.