Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
August 5, 2005

Is Massa right for Ferrari?
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.5) Michael Schumacher's 2006 teammate is causing a stir in the F1 paddock.

'82 champion Keke Rosberg thinks Felipe Massa, just 24, is the 'right choice' for Ferrari as a replacement for the departing Rubens Barrichello.

''He's young,'' said the Finn, ''and has a big will to prove himself.''

And, while former GP winner John Watson has queried the young Brazilian's red promotion, countryman Nelson Piquet - a triple drivers' world champion - also gave Massa's charge a solid thumbs up.

''He should know he's playing a card for his future,'' Piquet told La Gazzetta dello Sport. ''He'll be able to improve ... because Schumacher won't race forever.''

A third champion, though, put a question mark next to the signing. Niki Lauda said it's a 'middle of the road' decision.

''Barrichello is faster,'' said the always-outspoken Austrian and former Ferrari ace, ''but Massa has age on his side.''

DC back on podium
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.5) David Coulthard returned to the podium this week -- but not at the end of a grueling grand prix.

The Scot sailed aboard the Hugo Boss yacht, steered by Olympic medalist Ben Ainslie, in a race at the famous Skandia Cowes Week event.

''I haven't been on the podium with champagne for so long,'' the Red Bull driver grinned to the Telegraph, ''so I have to thank you for that.''

Pedro wants a BMW ride
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.5) McLaren tester Pedro de la Rosa has jumped on the phone to BMW, according to Spanish F1 chatter.

With Sauber's Felipe Massa off to Ferrari, a key vacancy is now available at the Hinwil team that was tastily snapped up by the Munich based carmaker for '06 and beyond.

Spanish newspaper 'Marca' reported that de la Rosa, 34, called BMW's Dr Mario Theissen to make it clear that he will be available to race.

Jacques Villeneuve reckons he's got a valid contract for the other seat, but it's worth mentioning that de la Rosa's Woking cohort, Austrian tester Alex Wurz, is probably second in line for the BMW seat -- after Nick Heidfeld.

1000 hp?
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.5) Mercedes' Norbert Haug has denied that the last generation of V10 engines are close to tipping the scales at a staggering 1000 horse power.

The German told 'Kicker' magazine that McLaren's 3.0 liter engine is 'one of the best' in the Formula One paddock.

He added: ''If not the best. But no-one has 1000 hp.''

Japanese carmaker Honda, a part owner of the BAR team, reckons it will trouble the elusive fourth figure with a 'super Suzuka-special' in China, the last race of the year.

Asked what was a more accurate assessment, Norbert Haug replied: ''I think we are clearly over nine hundred (bhp).''

F1 tries 'diplomacy'
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.5) Think again if you imagine that Formula One is now on a peaceful cruise to the future.

Minardi's Paul Stoddart reacted to the observation that an eerie silence seems to have replaced the earlier combative mood in F1 politics.

''I think we're in a time where diplomacy must be given a chance,'' he told Update Sport.

The Minardi chief and owner warned: ''(But) if diplomacy fails, then we are prepared to fight for what we believe in.''

Negotiation between Max Mosley (FIA), Bernie Ecclestone and the carmakers' 'GPMA' group is presently taking place. For now, then, you won't hear much about plans for a 'breakaway' in 2008.

Stoddart said he was hopeful that talks could be fruitful.

But he added: ''The manufacturers will only start a breakaway ... if the current negotiations break down.

''Were that to occur, it would be fatal for F1 as we know it.''

Ho-Pin Tung for Rotterdam
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.5) Dutch born racer Ho-Pin Tung will join Christijan Albers and Robert Doornbos on the streets of Rotterdam this Sunday.

Williams confirmed that Tung, of Chinese origin, is to pilot last year's Grove contender alongside the Minardi duo at the novel 'Monaco on the Maas' festival.

Ho-Pin tested Williams' F1 car late in 2003.

RB to BAR - still unofficial
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.5) Nick Fry has refused to confirm the worst kept secret in Formula One -- that Rubens Barrichello will steer a BAR in '06.

The Brackley based principal told Speed TV that 'a number' of other teams' drivers have expressed interest in replacing either of the Jenson Button or Takuma Sato lineup.

He added: ''It's not possible to say at the moment. It remains to be seen what we can announce.''

It is a tricky time for the part Honda-owned outfit -- Ferrari has already green lighted Barrichello's departure, and it's paddock knowledge that BAR is his destination.

With the hazy 'Button situation', though, closing up a seat right now might be demoralizing for Takuma Sato, who is clearly choice-number-three in BAR's order of desire.

Still, Fry doesn't budge on the Rubens talk, even if his presence no doubt satisfies team owner BAT's wish to sell a lot of cigarettes in Brazil.

''Yes,'' the boss grinned, ''and he's also a friend of Gil (de Ferran), so no doubt we're hiring him because of (that)!''

BRDC official in court
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.5) A former BRDC official has appeared in court charged with embezzling $296,000 of the Silverstone-owning racing driver club's cash.

Stephen Beattie, 50 - who was 'finance controller' at the British club - illegally made out dozens of BRDC cheques in his name.

He appeared in a Towcester court last week but was released on bail until a new hearing in Northampton next month.

He was fired by the BRDC, headed by triple world champion Jackie Stewart and promoter of the annual British grand prix, last year.

Ron's 'stressful' finale
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.5) More than a single bead of sweat was produced on the McLaren pitwall in the closing laps of the recent Hungarian grand prix.

Team principal Ron Dennis said that, with Juan Pablo Montoya's gremlins already struck and title contender Kimi Raikkonen in the lead, everyone feared that the Finn might suffer yet another breakdown.

''Very stressful,'' he grinned to Autosport magazine.

Dennis said the pitwall clan switched off the telemetry channels and told the guys in the garage to only use the radio in the event of a problem.

''The pitwall fell into five laps of total silence at the end,'' the Englishman continued, ''which is something I've never experienced before.''

Meanwhile, Ron and his pitwall chums are probably in for a few more nail biting grands prix with the fragile - but lightening quick - MP4-20.

Asked if designers were working on bullet-proofing the silver car, Ron shook his head. ''There are some things,'' he explained, ''that you just can't modify fast enough.''

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