Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
August 4, 2005
Button threatens sabbatical
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.4) Jenson Button has reportedly fired a warning at
Frank Williams -- let me stay at BAR, or I'll spend the year on the F1
F1 impresario Bernie Ecclestone rubbished the suggestion as media
''There's no danger of that happening,'' the 74-year-old billionaire
told the Mirror newspaper.
He said: ''He has a contract. We need a British driver in F1.''
25-year-old Button's warning is evidently in reaction to Williams'
stated intention to haul the Englishman back to Grove, even against
JB's current boss, BAR principal Nick Fry, may be about to lose his
man, but the clichés keep coming -- the contractual adversity, Fry
said, is making Jenson 'stronger.'
''People who take a few knocks often come out the stronger,'' the
Fry urged the public and media to cut Button, who drove the 'maglev'
train in Shanghai at 430kmh on Wednesday, a little bit of slack after
also bungling his contracts last year and appearing disloyal and
''He's a race car driver,'' said Nick. ''I think it's very harsh to
point the finger.''
'Interesting' F1 test - Rossi
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.4) Motorcycle champion Valentino Rossi kept tongues
wagging by lapping within three seconds of Michael Schumacher's
Fiorano record after a second day at the wheel of a F1 racer.
The flamboyant Italian, 26 - who will continue to ride for Yamaha in
2006 - said he requested the two-day session to 'get a better
understanding' of a grand prix thoroughbred.
''The two days were intensive and interesting,'' Rossi, supported by
Marc Gene, added.
Also interesting was the presence, at the private circuit near
Maranello HQ, of Luca di Montezemolo and Jean Todt.
Meanwhile, further north at Monza, Luca Badoer completed a third
successive test day in the F2005, lapping 86 times.
Massa earned top job - Schu
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.4) Michael Schumacher thinks new 2006 teammate Felipe
Massa has earned his spot at team Ferrari.
Massa, who is also from Sao Paulo but nearly ten years younger than
Rubens Barrichello, will replace the BAR-bound Brazilian after a
three-year Sauber stint and a season as test driver in 2003.
''I am happy for Felipe,'' said Schumacher, the seven time champion.
''He has been doing a good job for quite a while.
''We have not been the only ones who were interested in him.''
36-year-old Schumacher, thought to have fallen out with Rubens
particularly after their last-lap Monaco moment, wished his six-year
teammate 'all the best' at BAR.
''With him I shared a lot of beautiful memories,'' said the German.
Massa, 24, meanwhile, made no bones about it -- he intends to slip on
scarlet overalls for one reason only; race wins.
''Driving for Ferrari is every driver's dream,'' said the youngster.
''I expect to learn a lot and challenge for wins.''
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.4) Ralf Schumacher, who has struggled to keep up with
teammate Jarno Trulli this year, hopes his Hungarian podium for Toyota
was the first of more in 2005.
The 30-year-old said his TF105, with which he has had a tough time
adapting to, was quick from the first practice lap.
''We were in the top five all the time,'' the German told his website,
''so I had a feeling it might turn out right.''
In the race, podium man Schumacher led home Jarno Trulli, who nursed
bodywork damage all day after taking an early hit from Rubens
Ralf, to spend the break with his young family in Austria, is also
pleased that the hard working Toyota team can also enjoy a breather in
the August test and grand prix ban.
He said: ''They really deserve a few days with their families. Some
very hard and hectic weeks lie behind us now.''
Dream 'not over' for Narain
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.4) Narain Karthikeyan, F1's first and only Indian, is
confident that his dream is not yet over.
The 28-year-old and manager Piers Hunnisett, on a trip back to India
for the August break, revealed that 'talks are going on' with a team
''Some teams have shown interest,'' said Karthikeyan, who - according
to speculation - has already been told by Jordan-Midland management to
look elsewhere for '06.
Asked about Midland, he added: ''Anything can happen. We are keeping
our options open.''
Narain, visibly jet lagged after a huge round of sponsor calls,
enjoyed an impressive start to his rookie year but, lately, has earned
all the wrong news headlines due to some wild driving and mistakes.
Hunnisett, meanwhile, said Karthikeyan's F1 objective is to ''win,
stand on the podium. We aren't sure we can get that with what we
He said he might consider a 'test driver' role for the Indian
youngster with a 'big' team.
''One has to think of the long term,'' Narain's manager quipped.
'06 Indy still not on
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.4) Indianapolis officials still have not decided if
F1 will be invited back to the irritated 'Brickyard' next year.
Speedway president Joie Chitwood admitted that the memories of booing
fans and flying beer bottles at the sight of the 2005 US grand prix
have not yet abandoned him.
''We have to make sure having (it) is good for us,'' he told the St
Petersburg Times newspaper, ''the city ... and the fans.
''We have to make the right decision for all involved,'' Joie said,
''and right now we're seeing if it's possible.''
The tricky thing for Indianapolis is the significant investment made
at the venue for F1, not to mention a signed 2006 contract.
Chitwood added: ''We're not looking for it to be over yet.''
In Indy's favor, though, is the Speedway's commitment - and appeal -
to the sport run by Bernie Ecclestone. The Speedway's president
doesn't think a US GP would work elsewhere.
He added: ''I'm not sure a race in Las Vegas or wherever would really
match up to what we have.''
Rubens has 'multi year' deal
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.4) Departing Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello has
already signed a contract to race elsewhere next year and beyond.
The Maranello marque's president, Luca di Montezemolo, let the news
slip by referring to the Brazilian's acceptance of a 'multi year'
contract, no doubt at Honda-powered team BAR.
Barrichello, 33, was contracted at Ferrari for 2006 only.
His replacement and young countryman Felipe Massa, on the other hand,
has - significantly - only signed a one year deal, perhaps putting
into context Valentino Rossi's new Ferrari test and similar '06 MotoGP
Pressed on the subject, 24-year-old Massa said: ''Results are more
important than contract lengths.''
With that, he laid out the plan for 2007, where he still expects to be
fighting at the top -- ''I hope to battle (title challengers) Kimi
(Raikkonen) and (Fernando) Alonso.''
Massa has, though, already attracted a doubter. Five grand prix winner
of the 70s and 80s, John Watson, told the BBC that Ferrari - who he
said could not attract a top driver to be Michael Schumacher's
teammate - will be 'weaker' without Barrichello.
And on Felipe Massa, the Ulsterman said: ''Obviously he's capable, but
he looks like a chubby kid (and) he used to drive like a on-off
'A1' in action
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.4) With F1 hungrily easing into a well-earned break
in grands prix and testing, many racing eyes turned to Silverstone on
Wednesday for the first major test of the new 'A1' category.
Great Britain, with Robbie Kerr at the wheel, set the pace on the
'national' track layout, with fifteen other nations - ranging from New
Zealand to Switzerland and China - also in action in the UK.
Brazil's Nelson Piquet Jr was also quick, as was Swiss entrant and
ex-F1 tester Neel Jani, and Portugal's Pedro Lamy.
1980 world champion Alan Jones' Aussie son Christian steered the green
and gold open wheeler, Alex Yoong piloted for Malaysia and Thomas
Scheckter for South Africa, while F1 veteran Jos Verstappen got going
Also testing were France, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan and the US.
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