Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
July 26, 2005

BAR's plan to retain Button
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.26) BAR is preparing a $9 million bid to keep Jenson Button in the team.

The cash would end up in Frank Williams' hands, as the English F1 principal has the contractual right to compel Button, 25, to drive for him next year.

Part of the deal, Britain's 'Mirror' tabloid revealed, would see BAR tester Anthony Davidson offered to Williams for the 2006 and 2007 seasons.

''I hope it doesn't go to court,'' BAR principal Nick Fry said.

''(Jenson) has made it clear to us this is where he wants to be.''

Startlingly, Fry said forcing Frome born Button to move to Williams against his will would be 'dangerous', 'foolhardy', and a 'breach of human rights.'

He added: ''You do not motivate a driver by waving a contract at them. It is for Frank to decide what he wants to do.''

Although publicly defiant, Williams, forced to wait until 2007 for works Toyota power, is likely to accept BAR's offer in order to part-finance the imminent 2006 customer Cosworth V8 deal.

Ferrari to snub summer ban
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.26) Ferrari will further enrage its F1 rivals by testing unabated in the 'summer test ban' after Sunday's Hungarian grand prix.

''We've got to find more grip from the tires,'' Maranello principal Jean Todt, 59, responded indirectly to the question at the Hockenheimring.

The Frenchman admitted that snaring an eighth drivers' title for Michael Schumacher in 2005 now appears 'very difficult.

''Mathematically it is possible,'' Todt added, ''but we would have to find success quickly.

''With every race it becomes even more difficult.''

Schumacher agreed, saying the titles are presently 'not the most important thing' for Ferrari.

''I don't think we should take it into consideration,'' the German added.

Jean Todt also confirmed that Ferrari is currently testing next year's V8 in a V10 casing, because it is 'simpler.'

Meanwhile, team driver Rubens Barrichello - who didn't even scoop a point in Germany - said Ferrari would bring a 'different' Bridgestone to Hungary.

But the Brazilian warned: ''Four days is not enough time to come up with a ... miracle.''

2006 race likely - Indy boss
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.26) He might not be a happy bunny, but Indianapolis' F1 boss Tony George says the Speedway will probably stage a 2006 race.

But the American reckons a crowd of around 50,000 - less than half the attendance at the farcical six car grand prix in June - is most likely.

''I don't have a great deal of faith as we sit here today,'' George told the Indianapolis Star newspaper, ''but we have an agreement (with Bernie Ecclestone) ... and until we feel compelled to try to change that, it's certainly our preference to have it.''

He criticized the entire Formula One community, which pinned the blame for the Indy fiasco on Michelin, for failing to see the 'whole picture'.

''They need to stop looking at a microcosm,'' Tony George commented. ''They need to look at this as (a problem of) 'the F1 community' -- period.''

Fisi's 'incredible' drive
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.26) 2005 has been a shocker for Giancarlo Fisichella, but the Roman's Hockenheim drive was a lot better than it appeared.

Even Renault boss Flavio Briatore, who has been critical of the 32-year-old this year, called it 'incredible.'

Fernando Alonso's teammate lost a chunk of his rear wing in an early melee, and the team later invited him to retire when his rear brakes faded.

''He adapted his driving brilliantly,'' said engineering boss Pat Symonds. So much so, that he even managed to pass Michael Schumacher late in the grand prix.

Briatore said Fisichella replied 'no thanks' when the pitwall asked him pull into the garage with knackered brakes.

''He made absolutely no errors,'' Briatore told Italian television. ''Super for him.''

Coulthard fined
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.26) Even one of F1's most famous faces failed to convince Turkish authorities to waive a fine after he 'illegally' crossed the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul.

During David Coulthard's pass of the landmark to promote the Turkish grand prix next month, he steered his Red Bull racer into a lane reserved for cars who have paid.

Computers clocked DC in the lane and automatically prepared a 33 Lira ($25) fine.

Although the bridge was closed for the PR stunt, Red Bull duly paid the penalty, the Dogan news agency reported.

''The report did not say whether Coulthard was caught on any speed cameras,'' Germany's DPA news agency joked.

FIA will listen to 'GPMA'
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.26) An eerie peace seems to have broken out in Formula One politics.

Although the rival 'GPMA' group unleashed its own blueprint for the future on Monday, an FIA spokesman indicated that the body led by president Max Mosley may be receptive to the suggestions.

''Our proposals were not a fait accompli,'' he told Britain's 'Guardian' newspaper.

''I think both sides in this debate are much closer ... than some outsiders might think.''

The 'breakaway' group, made up of every team and carmaker except Ferrari, said it wants to soon enter into 'a constructive dialogue' with the FIA.

''(We) have therefore requested that representatives from (the group) will meet with the FIA President shortly,'' the statement read.

Hungarian rain
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.26) Grey clouds will gather above Hungary's grand prix on Sunday.

Similar to Hockenheim, although it rained only in the evening after the race, forecasters say a hot but potentially also wet day awaits the circus in Budapest.

On Friday on Saturday, it will be dry, with temperatures in the hot mid-30s.

Sunday should be a little cooler, grey and overcast.

''It's usually really hot at this time of year in Budapest,'' said Williams' Nick Heidfeld, who claimed the F3000 title there in 1999.

Australian teammate Mark Webber said the historic Hungarian capital is 'beautiful.

''When I find time,'' he added, ''I've promised to visit in the winter.''

Doornbos - 'I'm sorry'
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.26) F1 debutant Robert Doornbos apologized to his idol, Jacques Villeneuve, after they clashed in the German grand prix.

A teenage Doornbos first met the 1997 champion at Spa. Reportedly, their exchange sparked the young Dutchman's verve for racing, and he soon bought his first ever go-kart.

After Robert's grand prix debut at Hockenheim, though, 34-year-old Villeneuve slated him.

''He moved over on me. That was Formula Ford stuff,'' said the angry French Canadian.

Doornbos, though, apologized for the shunt. ''I went to him and said 'I am the rookie and it is probably my mistake','' he told Autosport.

'We've won nothing' - Flav
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.26) Don't forget what happened to AC Milan.

With that, Renault's Flavio Briatore likened F1 to football and warned that anything - even the most unlikely defeat - could happen.

''We have won nothing yet,'' the Italian - whose lead driver Fernando Alonso cruised to a seemingly insurmountable title lead in Germany - warned, ''a few races.''

Like Liverpool in May's Champions League final, it's McLaren and Finn Kimi Raikkonen with the metaphorical mountain to climb.

'Flav', though, insisted: ''You cannot write people off. In the end - boom - Milan lost.''

Perhaps unlike at recent grands prix, though, Renault might have the edge in Hungary. Alonso won his first race in Budapest in 2003 and the 'R25' is also expected to suit the tight layout.

Roman teammate Giancarlo Fisichella says the Enstone based team 'always' seem to have a lightening car in Hungary.

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