Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
July 30, 2005

Paddock notes - Hungary
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.31) F1 veteran David Coulthard was given an official warning after nearly impeding Ralf Schumacher's qualifying lap in Budapest. Stewards ruled that the Red Bull driver slowed down too much after his own flying lap. The Scot will travel to Cannes on Monday for driver safety talks with FIA chief Max Mosley.

Juan Pablo Montoya is sporting a new helmet colour scheme around the Hungaroring. It features more yellow, in deference to the Colombian flag, than the McLaren drivers' former design.

Jordan's Tiago Monteiro will line up last for the Hungarian grand prix after his Toyota engine was changed prior to qualifying. The Portuguese did not do a hot lap.

Fernando Alonso's hopes of lining up better than sixth were dashed when he ran onto the grass in the final corner. The Spaniard is sixth and, even with a healthy lead in the drivers' title, he vowed to 'take risks' to move on in the race. ''Let's be aggressive,'' he told reporters.

Michael Schumacher is almost certainly on a low fuel load after securing Ferrari's first pole of 2005 -- by the amazing margin of nine tenths! It is his sixty fourth such achievement, and one short of Ayrton Senna's all time pole position record. ''This shows how much effort Bridgestone are putting in,'' Schumacher, 36, said.

Dodging the tobacco ban
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.31) Although Ferrari, Renault and Jordan are expected to sidestep the law, BAR - owned by British American Tobacco - will remove cigarette logos ahead of Sunday's Hungarian GP.

It is believed, though, that the British based contingent - including BAR - were given a green light to smoke-on after a personal 'yes' from PM Tony Blair.

He reportedly told the teams they can, without fear of criminal prosecution including jail, continue to wear tobacco liveries outside Europe.

In the Telegraph newspaper, meanwhile, it is reported that Ferrari has found a loophole that allows it to dodge the EU ban and run Marlboro-branded at Monza in September.

''I suggest you read the law passed by the Italian parliament,'' said a team spokesman.

It is believed that a reference to 'cross border' sporting events leads Ferrari to think that a 'home' race is exempt.

Hungary may also attempt to dodge the ban next year and beyond by denying that the grand prix is a 'sports' event. ''We're saying that (it is) an event of outstanding economic significance,'' said a government spokesman in Budapest.

The grand prix itself is backed by Marlboro.

'Schu are too light'
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.31) While those in red caps rejoiced, a key Ferrari rival had a word of warning for Michael Schumacher -- don't expect to beat me.

McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya, on the front row but miles off the scarlet pace, reckons Schumacher is running very light.

''I'm surprised at his pace,'' the Colombian, 29, said in Hungary. ''It was quite a bit quicker than we expected.

''Michael was extremely quick.''

The logical answer, particularly when a driver or team has been struggling all year, is a light car. By definition, then, the German would have to pit earlier than others.

Montoya said: ''If not, then he can definitely win.

''But from what we saw in practice, we should be able to.''

'Schu can win' - Alonso
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.31) Fernando Alonso wouldn't mind if reigning champion Michael Schumacher won Sunday's Hungarian grand prix near Budapest.

''I will be very happy,'' the 24-year-old, who knows that main rival Kimi Raikkonen must win if he has any chance of snaring the title, grinned.

Even if Alonso messed up the final corner of his qualifying lap, this has not been the best weekend for Renault.

Fernando has wound up sixth, and vowing to attack in the first two corners to try to get ahead of his foe from Finland.

He added: ''I might even try to pass Kimi at the start. The key factor will be to avoid getting stuck behind Trulli.''

'Breakaway still alive'
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.31) The carmakers' threatened 'breakaway' is still alive and could even be committed to as early as September this year.

That's the new warning of the 'GPMA' alliance through new spokesman Ron Dennis, of McLaren.

The 58-year-old Briton told the Independent newspaper that a 'new world championship' will be 'inevitable' without a 'satisfactory conclusion' to the current political negotiations.

''There will most definitely not be, in my opinion, two world championships,'' he added.

Ron was a key player in the GPMA meeting with Max Mosley in Cannes. It went well, sources agree, with regulations - if not the commercial and legal aspects - already 'agreed' by the governing body.

Dennis' message, for the moment, is clear. More money, better governance. And to Bernie Ecclestone: ''If you do not come with us ... then we'll go ... without you.

''This should send a very clear message to (Ecclestone and the banks).''

(GMMf1NET -- Jul.31) The big news in the Budapest paddock is that Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello appears to have signed a two year deal to drive for BAR-Honda from 2006.

His countryman, triple world champion Nelson Piquet, broke the story when he told the Brazilian press that 33-year-old Rubens' next move - after six years in red - was now sealed.

BAR's Gil de Ferran, who has known Barrichello since childhood, didn't exactly deny it. ''It's always nice to work with old friends,'' Gil - also Brazilian - told a TV station.

Rubens is contracted to Ferrari for 2006.

''If that's the story,'' Barrichello reacted in Hungary, ''then (Piquet) should stick to his son's career.

''The fact is that I have nothing to add.''

Further weakening Rubens' half-denial, though, was Bernie Ecclestone's reported quotes in the Brazilian media confirming Barrichello's departure from (and Felipe Massa's '06 arrival at) Ferrari.

There is, though, some 'wild card' speculation for Rubens' vacated Ferrari seat. One theory says Ferrari has asked 2006 engine partner Dietrich Mateschitz (Red Bull) to release David Coulthard for a year.

Takuma Sato would be Barrichello's teammate, with Jenson Button off to Williams.

Schu nears Senna record
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.31) Michael Schumacher seemed unexcited when he moved to within a quick lap time of another F1 record.

His first pole of the season, but the sixty fourth of his career, edged the German to sniffing distance of one of the last non-Schumacher records in the business -- that of the great Ayrton Senna.

''It's not really what drives me,'' the Ferrari driver said afterwards. ''It is a nice side effect but I find championships, or wins, more important.''

There was no mention of the fact that, while the late Senna managed the feat in 162 grands prix, Schumacher is still yet to notch up pole-65 despite sixty four extra starts.

In Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper, it is reported that Michael Schumacher has been invited to the Karting World Finals in Malaysia in November this year.

''I could decide to go there,'' he reportedly replied.

'Kimi's not too wild' - Ron
(GMMf1NET -- Jul.31) Kimi Raikkonen is not the wildest driver in pitlane.

That's the view of McLaren principal Ron Dennis; and, no, he's not referring to opposite lock or 'pedal-to-the-metal-through-Eau Rouge'.

The 58-year-old Englishman denied that F1's Flying Finn is the only one who's ever drunk a little too much on a wild night (or three) on the town.

He said: ''I know of only one ... driver who doesn't drink alcohol. ''I know many drivers ... let their hair down.

''They go far beyond the boundaries that Kimi has explored.''

Also in the UK's The Independent newspaper, Dennis denied that he is lining himself up as either the next Bernie Ecclestone or Max Mosley.

''One thing I don't want to do is run Formula One,'' he insisted.

''I have no interest whatsoever in running the show.''

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