Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
August 10, 2005

BAR's new title sponsor?
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.10) 'Intel' is on the road to a major sponsorship deal with an F1 team.

Speculation says the computer chip maker, already with a small Toyota contract, is in talks with BAR, McLaren and Williams about 2006 and beyond.

Intel's F1 interest is reportedly in response to key rival AMD's presence in the sport.

Website bar-talk.com said the Brackley based team has offered Intel a title sponsorship deal to effectively replace co-owner BAT's tobacco sponsor Lucky Strike.

A source said: ''Make no mistake, BAR Honda is a serious contender for this deal.''

F1 bomb scare in Rotterdam
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.10) Up to 300,000 lined Rotterdam's streets on Sunday to see Dutch locals Christijan Albers and Robert Doornbos burn rubber.

The 'Monaco aan de Maas' event, though, also hit the headlines for the wrong reasons, after a bomb scare led to the arrests of three people.

An email, allegedly from Muslims and sparking a lengthy police search, falsely warned that bombs had been planted along the 3km route.

''(The program) demonstrates the value of events that bring ... formula one closer to the fans,'' said Minardi boss Paul Stoddart.

Meanwhile, it has been clarified that Albers' appearance at the upcoming DTM race in Zandvoort will not include a shoot out between his Minardi and Mika Hakkinen, at the wheel of a DTM.

''All attention will go to Christijan attacking the four year old track record,'' read an albersf1.com press release.

Stoddart said an F1 car would be sent to the late August event even though the little Faenza based team will be testing at Monza on the days just prior to the Zandvoort race.

''By using some of our British based personnel,'' he said, ''we have been able to accommodate both commitments.''

Ferrari make early V8 debut
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.10) After a mock up prototype recently hit the track, Ferrari - one month ahead of schedule - debuted its actual 2006 2.4 liter V8 at Fiorano on Tuesday.

According to Italian reports, Marc Gene lapped the private facility three seconds slower than Michael Schumacher's best with a current power plant.

The Spanish tester, in a modified 2004 car and the V8, completed a total of just under 100km.

Ferrari confirmed that Tuesday's test was an 'engine testing program aimed at next year.'

''The sound (of the V8 engine) is ... just as loud (as the V10),'' said the German 'Bild' newspaper. Bild also said the engine is about 730 horse power -- approximately 220 less than the V10.

BMW, Toyota and Honda have already track debuted their V8s. Gene will continue on Wednesday.

Narain's Indian 'insult'
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.10) Jordan's Indian rookie, Narain Karthikeyan, has backed away from claims that his country could soon host a grand prix.

After talking up the event's future prospects, the 28-year-old told the Pioneer newspaper that getting ready for an inaugural race would be 'tough' for any Indian state.

''No city in India is ready to host a race,'' Karthikeyan added.

''It requires huge infrastructural development.''

Narain, though, has apparently met with a government minister about throwing a F1 race in Chennai.

He also insisted that several teams have 'approached' him about switching camps for 2006.

''Some other formula one teams have been impressed with my performance so far,'' he told India Express. ''But it's too early to decide on the matter.''

Elsewhere in India, the 'Mahatma Gandhi National Foundation' has called on the government to ban Karthikeyan from using the Indian flag design on his grand prix helmet.

Eby J. Jose, president, said the tricolor design - with replicas for sale on his website and featuring commercial logos - was an 'insult'.

'Theissen for BMW top job'
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.10) Peter Sauber says Mario Theissen should take over as team principal at his Hinwil based F1 team.

The Swiss, who has sold Sauber to German carmaker BMW, reckons the current BMW motor sport director is a worthy front runner for the post.

Peter Sauber told 'Sport1': ''Mario Theissen would fulfill the requirements for the job. I personally hope that he makes it.''

Sauber, who will step down as owner and principal after December 31 this year, will retain a part time role as an 'advisor' for BMW next season.

Turkey's 'nervous' F1 debut
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.10) Nobody, not even the circuit's designer, knows what to expect at the first ever Turkish grand prix this month.

Renowned track creator Hermann Tilke - who also penned Sepang, Shanghai, Bahrain and the new Hockenheim - says he is 'a bit nervous' ahead of August 21.

The German added: ''There's so many things that can go wrong.

''It's only after the first race that we'll be able to make a judgment of what it's like.''

Preparing for a brand new circuit is also an arduous task for the drivers. For Williams' Nick Heidfeld, the most obvious training was to hop out to the local shop to pick up a copy of the latest formula one 'PlayStation' game.

''Obviously, the possibilities of preparing for a race are limited when you haven't got proper data,'' he said.

''I'll also prepare in our simulator at the Williams factory.''

What can be properly predicted, though, is the weather. Most experts agree that Istanbul will be as hot, if not even hotter, than Hungary.

'We'll lift crown' - BAR
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.10) Two thirds into what might be described as BAR's annus horribilus, boss Nick Fry reckons the Brackley team will ultimately win the title.

For sure, it won't happen this year. But the BAR CEO said that with part-owner Honda's full backing, formula one's ultimate prize is realistic.

''(Honda) have done it enough times before. There's no reason why we shouldn't do it again,'' he said.

While Honda have indeed done it all before - six times with Williams and McLaren in the eighties and nineties - BAR, founded in 1999 and banned for two races this year, have not.

Fry, though, insisted that his world championship boast is made with 'a straight face.'

''We know it's going to be difficult,'' the Briton continued, ''but we are convinced it will happen, otherwise we wouldn't bother.''

Hakkinen denies F1 return
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.10) Mika Hakkinen has slam dunked media gossip that he may return to formula one with BMW's new works team next year.

The Finn, who retired as a two-time McLaren world champion in 2001 but returned to racing this year in the German DTM series, was linked by Germany's 'Bild' publication to alleged Sauber talks.

Bild said BMW's Mario Theissen would almost certainly pay Jacques Villeneuve up to $4.5 million to cancel his 2006 driver contract.

Williams' Nick Heidfeld is considered favorite for the other seat, and may even have already signed a letter of intent.

''There are many options,'' BMW director Mario Theissen said, ''but still no decision.''

36-year-old Hakkinen, though, told Autosport that he is not one of those options. ''I'm extremely comfortable in the Mercedes family,'' he remarked.

''I don't fully understand where this story comes from,'' he added. ''I know of no contact, but you should ask my manager.''

Indeed, Mika Hakkinen's manager, Didier Coton, called the Bild story 'pure speculation.'

Stoddart to auction F1 gear
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.10) Minardi boss Paul Stoddart is to hold another auction of formula one equipment and memorabilia.

After the Australian sold Minardi, Tyrrell, Arrows, BAR and Benetton gear from his personal collection last year, he has again asked auctioneers Bache Treharne to do the same at his Ledbury HQ.

''F1 cars will go under the hammer as well,'' Paul Stoddart said, ''with this being the final opportunity to purchase the former Arrows F1 equipment in a public sale.''

The auction is set for September 17 and 18.

Button rekindles love affair
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.10) English formula one driver Jenson Button and ex-fiancÚ Louise Griffiths are reportedly back together.

The UK's 'Sunday Mirror' tabloid said the BAR star, who dumped 27-year-old Griffiths three months ago, celebrated their reunion at a St Tropez hotel at the weekend.

''Jenson called the wedding off because he got cold feet,'' the newspaper quoted an alleged 'friend' of the pair.

''But he's never stopped loving (her).''

Schu 'unbelievable' - rivals
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.10) Win or lose, Ferrari's Michael Schumacher is the most lauded formula one driver of the time.

And, with seven world championships behind him, the 36-year-old German's plaudits come from rivals past, and present.

Mika Hakkinen, title winner in 1998 and 1999, marvels at Schumacher's ability to dig deep whether he is a front runner or, more relevant to this season, a mid field dweller.

''Michael is unbelievable,'' Mika told the Bild tabloid. ''He can be having a poor run but still say 'I want, I want, I want'. That is quite unique.''

Similarly, '05 champion-elect Fernando Alonso sees Schumacher's seven drivers' titles as granting him the right to be called the 'best ever'.

''But that was the past,'' the 24-year-old Spaniard hastily added. ''Now is now.''

Meanwhile, Hakkinen - now a regular in the DTM category - recoiled when asked what advice he could offer friend and compatriot Kimi Raikkonen in his own battle for F1's crown.

''He doesn't need my advice,'' Mika explained.

''Kimi is so good that I think I have nothing to tell him about racing. Maybe off the track I can give him some tips.''

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