Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
July 25, 2005

F1 future starts Monday
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.24) The group formerly known as 'GPWC' will reveal its 2008 regulations proposals to the media and the FIA on Monday.

It will be distributed in the form of a joint press release bearing the names of F1's carmakers and every grand prix team except Concorde signatories Ferrari, Red Bull and Jordan.

Meanwhile, Bernie Ecclestone responded with caution to the Sunday Telegraph's bombshell that Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa had made a $1bn bid to buy Formula One.

''I'm happy with the banks,'' the F1 supremo said.

''Why do I want to change the shareholders we've got for shareholders we don't know?''

'Schu can count me out'
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.25) Reigning champion Michael Schumacher has counted himself out of contention for the 2005 world drivers' crown.

The Ferrari driver looked sheepish after a grip-less day in front of his home crown at Germany's Hockenheim -- and he knows just who to blame.

''Our main problem is the tires,'' said Schumacher, 36, ''a lack of grip from the tires.''

The German sat in a podium spot until BAR's Jenson Button put a move on him into the hairpin. Later, as Schumacher grappled with a spluttering V10 engine, Giancarlo Fisichella followed.

Michael explained: ''It was like trying to fight with a blunt weapon -- if it is weak then you don't stand a chance.''

Tellingly, Schumacher - ever the eternal optimist - uttered the work 'pessimistic' more than once over the weekend, and denied that rain would have been a savior.

''You have to be competitive when it is dry,'' he insisted.

F1 buyout runs out of fuel
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.25) Reports that Formula One may soon be owned by a Hong Kong conglomerate ran out of fuel overnight.

The 'Tom Group' media company said in a statement that it was 'premature' of the Sunday Telegraph to muse a $1bn deal.

Undoubtedly, though, discussions with commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone and banks that own 75 per cent of the shares, did take place.

The statement added: ''We do from time to time engage in preliminary talks with concerned parties (about) ... investment.''

The media speculation, meanwhile, did Tom Group no harm. On Monday, its stock had risen by nearly three per cent.

At Hockenheim on Sunday evening, though, Ecclestone - F1's 'impresario', told reporters that he was 'not interested' in selling to Tom.

''What I'd like is for the teams and the manufacturers to sort themselves out and own the sport,'' he confessed.

Human error caused Kimi exit
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.25) Finger trouble left Kimi Raikkonen stranded at the side of Hockenheim's F1 circuit on Sunday.

'Speed TV' revealed that the leading Finn's McLaren broke down not because of Mercedes engine failure or a bust hydraulic system, but a fluid leak triggered by human error.

A pressure relief valve had apparently not been re-fastened properly after a check.

Woking principal Ron Dennis said of the failure, and teammate Juan Pablo Montoya's qualifying shunt: ''A pretty unsatisfactory performance all round.

''The mountain is now a bit ... steeper,'' he added, ''but our commitment to the challenge remains undiminished.''

Minardi urge Hyundai into F1
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.25) Paul Stoddart has urged Hyundai to accelerate into F1 with Minardi.

The Australian team owner has heard speculation linking the Korean car manufacturer with Samsung and former BAR boss David Richards' likely interest in mounting a F1 bid.

''I have had no approach from them at all,'' Australia's Stoddart insisted, ''but I would like one.

''That is the kind of way I would like Minardi to go.''

The Minardi chief made the plea as Eddie Irvine and vodka mogul Roustam Tariko were linked with his Faenza squad.

Paul said he briefly spoke to Irvine, the former Ferrari and Jaguar driver whose talks to buy Jordan broke down, at Monaco.

''I am aware he is shopping,'' Stoddart said of the Ulsterman, ''but he is one of five people (who are).''

Alonso has title in pocket
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.25) Fernando Alonso did not leave Hockenheim on Sunday night feeling like the F1 title was already neatly folded in his pocket.

Renault's young Spaniard, who will turn twenty four on Friday, powered to a surely insurmountable 36 point lead over Kimi Raikkonen with seven grands prix left to run.

But he said he could be the one to encounter technical trouble at the next race in Hungary.

''Unfortunately,'' the 23-year-old smiled, ''there are a lot of races to go. But, for sure, this gap is quite nice.''

Even Alonso, though, can acknowledge that the fight for McLaren's luckless Kimi is looking like Everest to climb.

He admitted: ''If we keep finishing races, it will be difficult for him to recover this.''

Montoya may 'help' Kimi
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.25) Juan Pablo Montoya might 'help' Kimi Raikkonen clinch the title.

Colombia's McLaren steerer, though, clearly doesn't really think it will be necessary.

He admitted that, with Raikkonen's Hockenheim retirement, the main title 'fight' will be between the silver pilots for second best.

''I think there are no team orders,'' Montoya, 29, said in Germany, ''because they're banned.

''If I was going to help Kimi, it would be my choice.''

The Bogota-born star also denied that new born son Sebastian had made him any less of a wheel to wheel warrior.

''Some people might say I have changed,'' he answered, ''but I passed eight cars on the first lap today -- so probably not!''

Kimi's come-uppance?
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.25) McLaren's stricken Kimi Raikkonen got what he deserved at Hockenheim, if you believe in conspiracy theories.

One such stirrer reckons the Finn deliberately drove off the circuit at turn one after posting his pole time in qualifying.

The next man out was none other than championship leader Fernando Alonso, who posted a dismal first sector and ended up third on the grid.

Belgian TV commentator Thierry Tassin, according to Autosport, asked Kimi about the flying dust in the McLaren news conference on Saturday.

The 25-year-old, who exited the German grand prix whilst leading with an hydraulic leak, quipped: ''A little part of my wheel went on the dust.''

Shnaider urges team support
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.25) Alex Shnaider has called on Canada to support his Formula One team.

The Russian-born, but Toronto based, businessman signed a small deal with a Canadian sponsor at the German grand prix -- 'Steelback' beer will reside on the Jordan's front wing for the rest of the year.

36-year-old Shnaider, though - to rename the team after his 'Midland' company in 2006 - 'would love' more home support.

The naturalized Canadian told the 'Globe and Mail' newspaper: ''We are in discussions with a number of large Canadian companies that are interested in the opportunities (F1) can deliver.''

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