Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
August 11, 2005

Gene wraps up V8 debut
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.11) Marc Gene wrapped up a 'very interesting' debut of Ferrari's 2006 V8 engine at Fiorano on Wednesday afternoon.

The Spanish test driver, at the wheel of a modified 2004 car, put another 58 laps on the brand new 2.4 liter power plant, experiencing no major glitches.

Gene, to shake down Turkey-bound scarlet cars on Thursday, got his best V8-powered lap time down to 59.3 -- a few seconds slower than the V10.

''The main positive characteristics I noticed were in terms of drivability,'' 31-year-old Gene told Autosport, ''particularly in acceleration.''

Ferrari is a full month ahead in its 2006 V8 engine program.

Gene added: ''I am proud that this important moment was given to me.''

Jordan to run Turkish driver
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.11) Turkish local Jason Tahincioglu will slip behind the wheel of a Jordan at the first ever grand prix in Istanbul this month.

The UK-based Formula Renault driver, the first Turkish star to reside a grand prix cockpit, will do a 'demo run' on race day, the Midland owned formula one team announced.

''Jason (is) a young, bright and quick driver,'' said Jordan managing director Colin Kolles. ''It will be an experience he will never forget.''

Tahincioglu, funded by Turkish sponsors, has already driven a half day at Silverstone to get used to the EJ15.

''It was very useful to get used to the car's acceleration and braking,'' said the rookie. ''I was amazed at how different it was from anything I'd ever driven.''

'Driver swap' called off
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.11) The intriguing 'driver swap' between a formula one ace and MotoGP rider has been cancelled.

Red Bull had planned to put Vitantonio Liuzzi, who usually drives an RB1 grand prix car, on energy-drink backed John Hopkins' Suzuki - and vice versa - at Snetterton (UK).

But Hopkins broke his foot, which required surgery, in a heavy crash at the recent German grand prix at Sachsenring.

''I hope we can re-schedule it for later in the year,'' he lamented.

Hopkins intends to return at Brno on August 28.

Jordan send F1 car to India
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.11) Jordan will send a yellow formula one car to India at the end of the 2005 season for a demo run.

The hugely populous country's first and only grand prix driver, Narain Karthikeyan - who has apparently been lobbying the government about a home race - will take the wheel.

''I want to show India just what formula one and the car is all about,'' the 28-year-old told the Press Trust of India.

Karthikeyan, who has struggled for pace and made errors in recent grands prix for the Midland owned team, expressed confidence for the final five or six races of his rookie year on the F1 grid.

He said: ''I know four of the tracks pretty well (and) it's Monza that I'm most confident about.''

F1 power to the people
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.11) Formula one, the pinnacle of global motor sport, will continue to reach out to the people this year.

After Minardi and Williams sent cars down to Dutch city Rotterdam last weekend, the latter, Grove based team said 'similar events' may be held in 2005 in Edinburgh and Singapore.

While Minardi's Christijan Albers and Robert Doornbos smoked up a black racer, Ho-Pin Tung - the Dutch born Chinese driver - pounded the street circuit in a 2004 FW26.

''I tested (for the team) in 2003,'' he said in damp Rotterdam, ''but to demonstrate the magic of F1 for your home fans is truly special.''

In March, Williams' Mark Webber drove an F1 racer across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Later, tester Antonio Pizzonia tore around a city circuit in Melbourne CBD.

F1 takes boat to Turkey
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.11) Unlike recent additions to the formula one calendar, the cars and equipment will make their way to Turkey on the water.

For the first time, the circus will arrive in town not on a 747 jet or two, but at an Istanbul sea port after a short trek from Trieste in Italy.

It will take three full days.

''The return journey will be very tight,'' said Miodrag Kotur, Ferrari's logistic chief, concerned about the subsequent trek to Monza and Spa.

Also unlike the long haul treks to Malaysia, Bahrain or China, Turkey - although in Asia - is actually not far from the teams' European bases, so the usual trucks and motorhomes will be present.

Toyota's Ralf Schumacher, meanwhile, vowed to ride a scooter around the brand new Istanbul layout next Thursday to get to trips with its curves.

''Then you take the car on Friday,'' the German grinned, ''and just do the best you can.''

Red Bull plan 24-hour testing
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.11) Red Bull plan to use their new Bedford (UK) wind tunnel 24 hours a day, it has been revealed.

The energy drink owned team has applied to the local Borough Council to run the facility, currently getting a $4.5 million upgrade, around the clock.

According to the Bedford Today publication, Red Bull documents said the tunnel is 'worth many millions of pounds and ... requires continuous maintenance'. The 24-hour request was also defended as necessary 'due to the intensity of ... formula one'.

Red Bull's wind tunnel, first bought from British Defense by Arrows and sold to Jaguar, dates back to the 1940s. It will be ready to run in September.

A spokesman said: ''At the moment we are setting it up ... for testing, which we will start in the late summer.''

Rossi for Ferrari tester?
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.11) According to Italian speculation, MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi is being lined up as a Ferrari test driver.

Weekly magazine Autosprint quoted anonymous 'Ferrari sources' who said the flamboyant Italian, 26, lapped to within a second or two of Michael Schumacher's best time at a two-day test last week.

Equally intriguingly, Rossi - who is often linked with a four wheel switch but has denied an imminent F1 career - clocked up 375 kms; enough to qualify for a super license.

A spanner in the 'test driver' gossip, though, is Rossi's signed '06 Yamaha deal.

'Wine maker' Trulli
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.11) Not many in the formula one paddock can share the boast -- Jarno Trulli; with an eye on the world championship, and his very own Italian vineyard.

In central Italy, not far from his home town of Pescara in the Abruzzo region, Toyota's 31-year-old ace owns the 75-acre 'Podere Castorani'.

''I'm a quiet man,'' said Trulli, who bought it in 2001, ''and I like simple things.''

Jarno, who runs the site with three friends and his father, Enzo, added that he 'needed' the link with his grandfather -- who was also a wine producer.

JT's name features on the rear of his wine label's bottle, and only in small print. But even the diminutive Italian can admit that it is a handy selling point.

However, he warned: ''If the wine isn't good, it won't sell anymore. We've got to keep pushing quality to the limit. I am a perfectionist.''

Sir Jack denies 'golden' age
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.11) F1 legend Sir Jack Brabham has denied that the 50s and 60s was the sport's 'golden period'.

The Australian, 79 - who last won the drivers' title in 1966 with a car bearing his own name - said today's drivers enjoy a much safer era.

''It wasn't (a golden period) from my point of view,'' Brabham told the McLaren team's 'Racing Line' magazine.

Sir Jack agreed that formula one, back then, was more fun. ''But I probably lost about thirty friends in the time I was racing,'' he added. ''It is good to see that has changed.''

What has also changed, Brabham said, is the 'business' side. He said F1 in his era was, foremost, a sport.

Even so, he'd love a shot at the wheel of a modern-day racer.

''I'd certainly like to have a drive, but just from watching on TV you can see it's a long way from what I had.''

Villeneuve 'not trouble'
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.11) 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve is not a horror to work with.

That's the claim of his race engineer at Sauber, Giampaolo Dall'ara, who denied the commonly held belief that Canada's 34-year-old ace is trouble and strife in a garage.

''Working with him is no more difficult than working with any other driver I've encountered in the past,'' he said.

''I haven't had a single problem with him at the personal level. Of course, he's a special kind of person.''

Dall'ara did, though, reveal that - unlike most drivers - JV can be a little inflexible when it comes to car setup. ''That was something totally new for me,'' the engineer admitted.

''But it seems to work -- we're getting faster each race.''

Fast wasn't really a word associated with Villeneuve at the start of his 'comeback' year at the Hinwil based team.

But the baggy overall-wearing driver insists that his 2006 Sauber contract should be honored by new team owner BMW.

''I have a contract,'' Jacques - the son of late Ferrari legend Gilles Villeneuve, said recently. ''I'm not even questioning it.''

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