Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
August 1, 2005
Massa's off - Sauber
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.1) Peter Sauber pulled the cat from the bag
when he said it is now 'too late' for BMW to retain Felipe
Massa for next year.
The Swiss boss, therefore, all but confirmed the young
Brazilian's 2006 departure to Ferrari, to replace a
BAR-Honda bound Rubens Barrichello.
Departing principal Sauber told Gazzetta dello Sport that he
would have signed the promising 24-year-old for 2006.
He added: ''But it's too late now.''
Also tellingly, Massa didn't go out of his way to deny that
he looks likely to become Michael Schumacher's new teammate
at the Prancing Horse.
''It wouldn't be a problem,'' he told the paper. ''If I beat
him, then it would mean I'm on my way to (becoming) a
Felipe did, though, admit to some surprise that Peter Sauber
let the bombshell slip.
''I don't think he said that,'' he added, ''because I am
still talking with BMW. I think (going to Ferrari) can be a
possibility but it's too early.''
Smoking light is on
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.1) Finally, F1's tobacco backed teams based
in Britain have their piece of paper from the government.
Sport minister Richard Caborn wrote to FIA president Max
Mosley with the news that Renault, BAR, McLaren and Jordan
can continue to wear cigarette liveries outside of Europe
without fear of criminal action.
It might not, though, matter to Jordan. It is believed that
Sunday's Hungarian grand prix was B&H and Sobranie owner
Gallaher's last F1 event.
And it definitely doesn't matter to McLaren. On Sunday in
Hungary, all West stickers removed after a nine year
partnership, new - but small - 'Johnnie Walker' decals were
Ron Dennis, though, insisted that the $26m deal is not for
title sponsorship. The front and rear wings remain
''We are in the position where we have six months plus to
prepare,'' the Woking chief said.
''We would prefer to launch our title sponsorship prior to
the first race (of 2006) ... but it's still under
Track notes - Hungary
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.1) Coincidence or not, it remains the case
that - before he retired from the lead with a broken
driveshaft - McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya ran over a
portable generator, on the grid for Jenson Button, when
taking up his spot prior to the Hungarian grand prix.
Mechanics repaired damage to the front wing and right front
corner. The Colombian, whose right hand driveshaft later
failed, claimed the BAR generator was in the wrong place.
It might not be much to boast about, but - Imola DQ aside -
Hungary represented Takuma Sato's first point of the 2005
season. BAR might have scored a lot more, said teammate
Jenson Button, if not for a bungled tire selection. ''Our
choice,'' he added, referring to the harder Michelin
compound, ''did not work for us here.''
An hydraulic gremlin struck F1's Minardi-driving Dutchmen.
''We tried to fix it,'' said Christijan Albers, ''so at
least it improves my qualifying position for Turkey.'' All
the effort will put him out before Sauber's Jacques
Villeneuve in Istanbul.
Williams' Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber were the last cars
to pit with their two stoppers in Budapest, which at least
put a better spin on a dismal qualifying. ''We ran within
0.8 of the fastest cars here,'' said technical director Sam
Michael. ''Well done to the people in Grove.'' Webber,
though, sounded a note of caution -- the FW27 really
struggles in long, quick corners; there aren't many at the
Narain's 'no' to A1
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.1) Jordan's Narain Karthikeyan has issued a
resounding 'no' to speculation he might drive for India in
the new 'A1' series.
The 28-year-old rookie denied reports he might even test the
open wheeler car as soon as this week ahead of the
category's kick off in September.
''I am certainly focused on F1 racing only,'' Narain told
the Press Trust of India, ''and not on other racing
Kimi - 'I'm back in it'
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.1) Kimi Raikkonen counted himself back in
the title hunt after taking a ten-point bite out of Fernando
Alonso's lead in Hungary.
The McLaren driver, who stormed out of Hockenheim one week
ago after refusing to talk to the press, moved to within
twenty six points of Fernando with the Renault's pointless
run to eleventh place.
''We seen to go backwards and forwards all the time,'' said
Finland's Raikkonen, ''but it definitely looks better again.
''There are six races to go. If we can do this kind of
result, and maybe something happens to him, we can
definitely still fight for it.
''It looks much better now.''
25-year-old Kimi's Budapest triumph also coincided with his
first wedding anniversary. Wife Jenni and his mother and
father came along to the race for the ride.
He grinned: ''Now it feels like the best way to go on
holiday so of course I am happy.''
Alonso blames Ralf
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.1) Fernando Alonso pointed the finger of
blame at Toyota's Ralf Schumacher after losing a ten point
chunk out of his title lead.
Even half an hour after the checkered flag in Hungary,
podium man Ralf - of Germany - claimed no knowledge of the
first corner Renault- squeeze.
The 30-year-old asked: ''Was he there? Did we touch? I
didn't realize that -- Sorry.''
The touch dislodged the front wing from Alonso's blue and
yellow racer, and it later crumbled underneath his car,
further damaging its efficiency.
24-year-old Fernando said: ''I was very surprised how many
moves Ralf made. He did not give me any room at all -- I was
up on the curb, nearly on the grass.''
His boss, though - dressed in the brightest of bright shirts
- shook off the disappointment and denied that Alonso and
Renault should mourn Kimi Raikkonen's win.
''It's not a funeral,'' said Flavio Briatore. ''These things
happen. We kept (Fernando) out there to get a better
qualifying for Istanbul.
''I think this is a one off for us.''
Friendly Finnish face
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.1) Kimi Raikkonen enjoyed plenty of blonde
haired support in Hungary; thousands of Finns travel to
Budapest for their closest thing to a 'home' race.
Among the friendly Finnish faces this weekend was friend and
double champion, for McLaren no less -- Mika Hakkinen.
Now a 'DTM' touring car driver, the 36-year-old told the
Telegraph newspaper that the man who succeeded him in 2002
is 'back in the championship.
''He is a driver of enormous ability and is respected by the
people at McLaren, especially Ron Dennis,'' Mika said.
''No one knows better than me how important that is.
''Kimi will be Finland's next world champion -- if not this
year, then next.''
Drivers off to FIA summit
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.1) David Coulthard, Jarno Trulli and Mark
Webber will lead the drivers' convoy to Cannes on Monday for
alleged 'safety' talks with FIA chief Max Mosley.
World champion Michael Schumacher, who remains drivers'
association president but is still unpopular among the
ranks, will also attend -- on the day of his wedding
The Ferrari driver refused to let too much slip prior to the
summit in the south of France.
''There is no point going into details about what we want or
don't want to discuss,'' said the German, 36.
''We want a good conversation and to clarify certain points
that we consider to be important.''
Coulthard, though - the behind-the-scenes 'leader' of the
group - has a clearer agenda. He said a driver should be
promoted to the F1 Commission -- a rules think-tank.
It is believed that Jacques Villeneuve and Ralf Schumacher
(and more) are also signed up to fly out, too.
DC, 34, also feels strongly about the regulation linking a
poor race finish with a bad starting slot for qualifying for
the subsequent grand prix.
''It's daft,'' he told Autosport, ''and it's not Formula
The '06 F1 tire puzzle
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.1) Much of the 2006 tire puzzle will slot
together in the next few weeks, with most teams expected to
sign contracts by then.
Red Bull, currently with Michelin, appear the most likely to
switch allegiances, with the new Ferrari V8 engine
partnership to kick off.
''It is the most important decision we will take this
year,'' said team boss Christian Horner, ''and it is
important that we get it right.''
Also in Autosport magazine, meanwhile, McLaren's Ron Dennis
played down the prospect of a mass exodus back to the most
likely control tire supplier of the future, Japanese marque
He said: ''I wouldn't for one minute not talk to anyone, but
if you ask 'are we in negotiations', no we are not.''
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