Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
July 23, 2005

Teams herald FIA verdict
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.23) F1 bosses have heralded the FIA's decision to scrap a 'guilty' verdict against teams following June's Indy fiasco.

''Now they understand it was a Michelin issue,'' said Renault's Flavio Briatore. ''I want to say Ron (Dennis) did a great job.''

Ron, Flavio's McLaren counterpart, was recently sent on behalf of the guilty-seven to 'negotiate' with Max Mosley at the FIA Senate, where 'new evidence' purportedly swayed the president.

He said, after the world motor sport council agreed with the verdict: ''I think the interests of ... Formula One was ... the reason why ... the decision was arrived at.

''Nobody came out of Indianapolis with anything positive and perpetuating the negatives was not constructive.''

Meanwhile, asked if the mysterious 'new evidence' would be released to the public, the McLaren chairman said F1 should not 'go back into the past.

''If it was my decision,'' he added, ''I think the best thing is to go forward.

''But it is not (my decision).''

Button told to hurry up
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.23) The F1 silly season is set to slip into top gear within a matter of days.

BAR has told Jenson Button to decide 'quickly' whether he is committed to the Brackley team or will race off elsewhere, perhaps Williams or - less plausibly - Ferrari.

''The decision is his,'' 'CEO' Nick Fry said at Hockenheim.

Waiting in the wings of JB's call are men like Rubens Barrichello, strongly linked to BAR, Felipe Massa - perhaps weighing up BMW and holding out for a Ferrari offer - and Germany's Nick Heidfeld.

A BAR source told The Sun newspaper that Button and Barrichello are the 'perfect' lineup.

Brazilian Massa, who admitted that his management is considering his options, said the driver market is currently 'blocked.

''If one (driver) moves,'' the youngster told Autosprint, ''he'll cause a chain reaction.''

Kimi smiles at weather report
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.23) Kimi Raikkonen may smile when he sees the weather report for Sunday's F1 race at Hockenheim.

The McLaren driving Finn, undoubtedly the man to beat in Germany, admitted that rain would not boost his chances of closing the title gap to Renault's Fernando Alonso.

Local forecasts, although predicting cool conditions, now say Saturday and Sunday showers are less likely than before.

''The Michelin full rain tire,'' 25-year-old Kimi admitted, ''is not as good as the Bridgestone, but the intermediates are pretty good.

''Hopefully it stays dry.''

One man who wouldn't mind a rain shower or three, meanwhile, is local hero Michael Schumacher, whose new aero package and tire compound didn't do the business for him in free practice.

''We're not quick enough in the dry,'' the German, asked if he would do a rain dance before bed on Friday night, answered, ''so I would not be too displeased if it is a bit wet.

''It would be interesting to see how we stack up in the rain.''

F1 champs in racing comeback
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.23) Mika Hakkinen may face another ex-F1 title winner or two in next year's 'DTM' championship.

After tasting the German tin-top series at a charity event, Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell - with five F1 titles between them - admitted to pondering a full return to racing.

''It may be too late because I am old,'' said Prost, who won four championships and ran the ill fated Prost Grand Prix.

''But it is also part of your life when you can motivate yourself for a new challenge.''

Williams' 1992 winner Mansell, meanwhile, also told Autosport that he could still cut the mustard in a wheel to wheel.

The Briton said: ''If something was to come up then you never know. I will never predict the future -- who knows?''

Schu not stopping
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.23) Michael Schumacher has rubbished speculation that Ferrari's dismal season is convincing him to retire from Formula One.

The seven time world champion is contracted until the end of next season but, Indianapolis farce aside, he has not won a race on merit since Suzuka more than nine months ago.

He commented at Hockenheim: ''I can't imagine my life without F1. In sport it's normal to have difficult spells.

''Sometimes it happens that someone else works better than you and gets better results.

''So many people say 'this is what Schumacher is going to do' but it is pretty clear that I am not ready to stop yet.''

The 36-year-old did, though, admit that - unlike one year ago - victory on home soil is far from a likely outcome for Sunday.

''I do not feel confident about that,'' he understated. ''I will do my best to get on the podium but ... I don't know.''

'Toyota won't win in '05'
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.23) Ralf Schumacher has warned Toyota fans to postpone any plans for a victory party this season.

The German, 30, said expecting to win is not a 'realistic' target with the TF105.

''Our car is more than a second off the pace,'' Ralf said, ''so we have some way to go.

''You've got to be realistic.

''Where we are now, we can go for as many points as possible and maybe aim for the podium every now and then.''

Hungarian delight
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.23) Whatever the outcome in Germany, title leader Renault is set to fly around Hungary's grand prix track next Sunday.

That's the claim of team drivers Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella.

Alonso, 23, said Hockenheim is not a perfect place for the R24.

''Hungary will be better,'' he vowed on Friday.

The Spaniard likened the German circuit, not far from Mannheim, to July's French grand prix, where Kimi Raikkonen - in the McLaren - lapped seven tenths quicker per lap.

He said: ''Sometimes you have to be realistic. At the moment the McLaren is the car to beat.''

Meanwhile, Fisichella - who thinks his losing streak may finally be at an end - is looking forward to the Hungaroring.

''I think our car is going to be right there,'' said the Roman.

'GPWC' rules not ready
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.23) The group once called 'GPWC' may not, as had been expected, release its 2008 rules at Hockenheim.

BMW's Mario Theissen said the 'framework' would be given to the governing FIA for review 'soon.'

''We will talk about it here,'' the German said at the circuit, ''but I don't know if we are ready to disclose.

''But it is coming.''

Minardi boss Paul Stoddart, an integral part of the team and manufacturer alliance, said the cluster would be ready to unveil the working groups' toil 'in the coming weeks.

''I hope this is the beginning of a united Formula One,'' he added.

And, while money might be a source of contention, McLaren's Ron Dennis reckons the 'regulatory' or 'sporting' aspect of F1 post-2008 will be settled rather easily.

''The subjects that we need to come to a common opinion on,'' he quipped, ''are ... less than 25 per cent of the whole.''

Ron said the teams and carmakers should have a say in the rules because they bear the 'financial consequences.

''I don't think it's unreasonable,'' the Englishman added, ''that we should be part of the process.''

Renault boss Flavio Briatore, meanwhile, urged Ferrari to come to the negotiating table.

''All the time we forget Ferrari,'' said the Italian, ''but Ferrari is important to F1.''

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