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Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
August 15, 2005


JV to drive in 'Villeneuve'
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.15) Hollywood heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio is likely to play the part of Jacques Villeneuve in the 2007 movie about the Canadian world champion and his father, Gilles.

34-year-old Villeneuve, who today drives for the Sauber team, also revealed to La Gazzetta dello Sport that he will do most of the driving in the film, including those scenes depicting his father, who died in a Ferrari in 1982.

JV will also advise producers for the screenplay.

''The screenwriters will have to change some stuff to make it more Hollywood-like,'' Jacques told the Italian newspaper.

He said the actors haven't yet been chosen, but 'won't complain' if the good-looking and diminutive DiCaprio is picked.

Jacques also revealed that he hoped 'Villeneuve' would further demolish the rumor that he and his Dad didn't get along.

''I'm proud to be the son of a man so well loved,'' said the driver, who was 11 when Gilles died. ''He was my hero, but it was important to make clear that I wasn't him.''








No Renault caution - Symonds
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.15) Renault must not be 'over cautious' in its campaign to maintain a lead over title rivals McLaren in the '05 championship.

That's the warning of engineering director Pat Symonds, who reckons Hungary - for example - 'slipped through our hands' in the error.

''McLaren are clearly very quick at the moment,'' the Renault chief told Britain's The Observer newspaper. ''The important thing for Renault is to maintain the advantage we have carved out.''

In Hungary, a race ceded to Kimi Raikkonen, Symonds lamented Renault's questionable tire choice.

He admitted: ''We never really got the car dialled in. I think that was partly a function of concentrating ... our practice running on the harder tire.''

It is also a source of Enstone based concern that many of the remaining tracks this season are some that are thought to particularly suit the McLaren racer's strengths.

Symonds, though, noted that at Silverstone - probably Renault's most worrisome venue - Fernando Alonso was on the pace.

He added: ''I think we will see (the) two teams playing something of a cat and mouse game all the way through to the end.

''I believe the edge will switch from one camp to the other.''








Ralf's wife in hospital
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.15) Ralf Schumacher's wife took a turn in hospital on Saturday after a big smash in her Mini at the German Nurburgring circuit.

According to reports, Cora Schumacher slid across the gravel after a tap from a rival racer and smashed into a barrier head-on at 80km/h. Although not injured, she went to hospital with a sore neck.

The front end of her Mini Cooper, though, was totally destroyed.

''It happened so fast,'' Cora told Bild.








'It's not over yet' - Kimi
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.15) Kimi Raikkonen reckons title rival Fernando Alonso and his Renault team will have deserved the 2005 championship -- if the blue and yellow camp lift the crown.

The 25-year-old Finn, who conquered Hungary last month and raced back into contention, has the quickest car but also one more likely to fail.

''It's not over yet,'' Raikkonen, the McLaren racer, told Germany's Bild newspaper. ''Maybe now it's my turn for the good luck and he can have some difficult times.''

Kimi, the hardest driver in F1 to interview, offered a typical response when asked what he thought of 24-year-old Alonso. ''What can I say?'' he shrugged. ''I don't know him.''

What the 'Iceman' does know, however, is that his silver car is quicker than Alonso's Renault. ''The annoying thing is breaking down,'' he added.

''If Renault win the championship, they have earned it. They're a good team.''

Kimi's boss, Ron Dennis, also won't spit the dummy if McLaren - less reliable than its rival - is beaten to the checker. The Briton said it serves 'absolutely no purpose' reflecting on what might have been.

''We have fielded the most ... competitive car this season,'' he remarked. ''Our percentage of wins, however, reflects the reality that we have failed to maximize its potential.''








F1 trickery
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.15) Whether such antics occur today, perhaps we will only discover in a decade or so. 1992 champion Nigel Mansell, though, has an intriguing tale of F1 trickery to impart.

In Adelaide (Australia) for the '94 finale, the Briton found himself in the late Ayrton Senna's Williams. Perhaps more worthy of note, though, was the title duel between Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill.

Mansell put his car on pole. ''It was probably the worst moment of my life,'' he recalled.

Nigel, now 52, says he was 'taken aside' and told to make a slow start so as not to get in the way of the 'Schu v. Hill' battle. ''I'm not prepared to say who by,'' he told ITV.

'Our Nige' also recalled how he got into 'so much trouble' for stopping circuit workmen from - against FIA rules - lowering curbs at the chicane after Schumacher's Saturday shunt.

In the end, Mansell - after Schumacher took out Hill - won. It was his thirty first, and last, grand prix victory.

''But what went on beforehand,'' he said, ''has soured my memories of the day.''








'Wake up, F1' - Stoddart
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.15) Minardi boss Paul Stoddart has renewed his attack on formula one's vastly inflated budgets.

While addressing the South Australian Press Club in Adelaide, the 50-year-old millionaire said grand prix racing 'has a PhD in how to waste money.'

Stoddart said that while Ferrari and Toyota spend $1 billion per year between them on F1, back of the grid Minardi scrape together 'a miserable' $36m for the season.

Stoddart said: ''It's time formula one woke up and grew up. These ridiculous budgets are not sustainable in the long term.''

Stoddart, in town on business for his new domestic OzJet airline, also backed countryman Mark Webber, who has come under fire for failing to excel in his first season at Frank Williams' team.

''(He) certainly could be world champion,'' Paul insisted.







Not so hot in Turkey
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.15) Although most F1 travelers will be packing sunburn lotion and board shorts, the Turkish weather may not live up to expectations at the first ever grand prix in Istanbul.

Although highs of 40-degrees had been expected, Friday will actually throw down a shower or two, and a top of 30. It'll be a similar story on Saturday, although race-day Sunday should at least be dry.

Whatever the forecast, F1 teams are preparing for the worst. BMW's Mario Theissen, for one, revealed that Williams will fit the 'largest air intakes possible' to help keep the Budapest-spec V10 engines cool.

Turkey is also likely to be a challenge for the tire makers. Michelin said it has an eye on the unusually black, new asphalt on the Otodrom layout. ''(It) will absorb bright sunlight more readily,'' warned the motor sport director Pierre Dupasquier.

''That will send track temperatures soaring.''








Another V8 day for Ferrari
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.15) Although not formally announced by the Maranello based team, and while team rivals adhere to a voluntary August test ban, Ferrari ran a final day of initial V8 testing at Fiorano last Thursday.

Marc Gene, after shaking down the Turkey bound F2005 cars, hopped back into the modified 2004 model to verify some repairs to hydraulic problems encountered earlier in the week.

The Spaniard turned another sixty laps.

''In full acceleration, with the throttle valve wide open,'' he told Autosport, ''you can feel the difference in power.''

Whether or not Ferrari have recovered much of the 200 horse power loss by March 2006, though, beleaguered world champion Michael Schumacher vowed to be back in the running for an eighth drivers' championship next year.

''I still have the hunger,'' the 36-year-old German vowed, ''and if we make the improvements we need, then I have no doubt we are capable of winning another championship.''








Schu has eye on tire wear
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.15) Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher, it seems, is keeping a close eye on Bridgestone's rear tire wear -- even during grands prix.

Eagle eyed observers noticed that, in Hungary, the German's F2005 was fitted with asymmetrical rear view mirrors; on the right side, the mirror was elevated, while the left one remained in a more traditional position.

Website prancinghorse.co.uk said the unique setup is adjusted based on where in the world F1 is racing. In Hungary, the right rear will wear more quickly than the left, so the mirror is situated from a higher point so as to give Schumacher a better view of the right tire's condition.

''Rubens (Barrichello) does not run (in) this configuration,'' the website added.








Drivers' quali doubted
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.15) Paul Stoddart says F1 drivers' own proposal for 2006 qualifying may not fit into the one hour format.

The Minardi chief reckons their idea, sent to all team principals after a driver meeting with FIA president Max Mosley, would take longer than the time allocated as a 'contractual requirement' for TV.

He told Autosport magazine: ''At one or two of the longer tracks, like Spa ... it'll be hard to find time for everyone to do a (second) lap.''

Clearly, Mosley also noted that a potential forty laps (two per driver) in an hour might look a little congested.

In the FIA president's letter to the team bosses, he said that if they supported the concept, the governing body would 'prepare a ... proposal to fit all the laps into the hour.'








Alonso 'not worried'
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.15) 2005 title leader Fernando says he is not 'worried' despite a poor showing in Hungary and a closing gap to world championship rival Kimi Raikkonen.

The Spaniard did, though, admit that his problems around Budapest 'surprised' Renault.

''But in reality,'' the 24-year-old added, ''I think we could have been pretty competitive with a trouble free race.

''That doesn't matter because ... we need to score points in Turkey.''

Alonso is 26 points ahead of Raikkonen in the drivers' chase, while Renault lead McLaren by a mere 12 point margin.

Even so, Fernando said he will take the final six grands prix of the year 'one by one.'

Teammate Giancarlo Fisichella supported Alonso's apparent relaxation by revealing that the R25, unlike in Hungary, should perform well on Istanbul's brand new 'Otodrom'.

The Roman said: ''Turkey is much more like the tracks where we have been successful, and the hot weather is good for our car.''








Jordan eye Davidson
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.15) Jordan is 'definitely' interested in putting BAR tester Anthony Davidson in a Midland branded formula one race car next year.

That's the revelation of the Silverstone based camp's sporting director, Adrian Burgess.

He told Autosport that it is not the case that Midland will only look at pay-drive options, even though both Tiago Monteiro and Narain Karthikeyan will be considered.

''If we had a driver of (Davidson's) experience and ability, he'd be able to tell us a huge amount about the car and how to develop it,'' said Burgess, who actually race engineered for Anthony in F3.

Davidson's BAR deal ends next month. ''I want to stay,'' he told the magazine. ''It's the team I love.''

What is clear, though, is that the diminutive star from Hemel Hempstead has had enough of mere testing. ''I've learned as much as I can,'' the Englishman insisted. ''I have to race again.''

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