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