Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
July 27, 2005

'Breakaway' less likely
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.27) The formation of 'GPMA' is a step away from the previously threatened 'breakaway' series.

It is believed that Honda and Toyota, who were not a part of the earlier incarnation, insisted on a new name for the team and carmakers' alliance that did not - by inclusion of, for example, the word 'championship' - directly warn of a Formula One split.

Toyota spokesman Andrea Ficarelli said the 'grand prix manufacturers' alliance' looked forward to the FIA meeting.

And he insisted: ''There is no reason to talk about a breakaway ... unless our proposals are rejected.''

Those proposals, incidentally - although sent to the governing body for review - have not, unlike the proposed FIA regulations, been made public.

Ficarelli also steered away from the suggestion that the GPMA is a fight against Ferrari.

''The position of Toyota,'' he said, ''is if Ferrari agrees to our principles they would be welcome in the group.''

Ferrari plug on
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.27) Luca Badoer kicked off yet another week of testing for Ferrari after a near fruitless German GP.

The 34-year-old Italian drove at the privately owned Fiorano track, which is just down the road from Maranello HQ.

''It is true that we are having a few difficulties with the tires at the moment,'' Badoer - who last raced in F1 with Minardi - admitted.

Team boss Jean Todt said he feels 'embarrassed' that winning is - at present - not a realistic Ferrari expectation.

''You can understand how painful it is for me to speak this way,'' he told La Gazzetta dello Sport, ''but unfortunately this is the truth.''

The Frenchman did deny, however, that the team's focus had now switched to 2006.

Jean Todt added: ''But undoubtedly everything we're learning now - the errors too - will be useful for next year.''

Why Red Bull signed Concorde
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.27) Fledgling F1 team Red Bull followed Ferrari in signing the new Concorde because the F1 format is 'still the best'.

That's the insistence of Christian Horner, one of the newest team principals in pitlane.

He told f1.com that energy drink mogul Dietrich Mateschitz would not have entered F1 if he believed Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley's regime was not right.

''Sure, there is always room for improvement,'' Horner added, ''but with them we know what we get whereas all other plans are ... far from ... concrete.''

Midland-owned Jordan has also signed the 2008-2012 commercial contract.

Meanwhile, Horner revealed that Red Bull-backed American Scott Speed is a frontrunner to land the 2006 'Friday driver' seat.

'Flav' to make movie debut
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.27) Renault boss Flavio Briatore is set to appear in an Italian movie.

The team's 'managing director' will make a cameo appearance in 'Costa Smeralda', filmed around his nightclub 'Billionaire' in Sardinia.

''I'm laughing already,'' he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Flav's Red Bull counterpart, Christian Horner, admitted to being 'surprised' after meeting the 'flamboyant' Briatore for the first time this year.

''(I was surprised) that Flavio is really the sharp business guy he was always portrayed as,'' he told F1.com, ''that it was not made up.''

No tire switch for Toyota
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.27) Toyota is likely to remain with Michelin next year despite speculation of an all-Japanese switch to Bridgestone.

It had been suggested that discussions between Bridgestone and the Cologne based F1 team had taken place.

Toyota technical director Mike Gascoyne, though, hinted to 'Autosport' magazine that it would make no sense to switch to an inferior product.

''If you look at what is happening currently,'' he said, ''it is quite clear which tire brand you must have.''

Farewell to an F1 record
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.27) Emerson Fittipaldi is already saying his farewells to one of the most coveted Formula One records.

At the age of twenty five, the Brazilian winner of fourteen grands prix became 1972 world champion, for Lotus.

Since then, names like Jackie Stewart, Niki Lauda, Mario Andretti, Nelson Piquet, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve have all been older.

Until now. Fernando Alonso, who turns 24 in Budapest on Friday, is steamrolling towards the title in a Renault.

''It will be a great achievement,'' Fittipaldi, now 58, told the El Tirachinas radio program.

''Fernando has a big lead now and can afford to finish third or fourth in the races. Surely he will become champion.''

BMW begin Sauber expansion
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.27) Plans are already underway for a new BMW-funded building at Sauber's Hinwil HQ in Switzerland.

Current team principal Peter Sauber, who has sold the team to the German carmaker and will step down at the end of the year, did not deny that an expansion program will occur.

''We have the necessary space,'' said the Swiss, ''we just have to decide now what kind of expansion makes sense.''

Similarly, BMW's Mario Theissen - likely to take Sauber's post in 2006 - admitted that, even with the Williams collaboration not yet over, the Sauber cooperation had already begun.

The German said plans to 'integrate' the Sauber and BMW camps, for example, had started.

He added: ''We have to ramp up the operations in Switzerland and ... work on next year's car-engine package.

''It is clear that we will expand the facilities and increase the workforce and it will take a bit more money as well.

''This (process) will take more than a year.''

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