Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
August 16, 2005

Schu's batteries recharged
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.16) How does a seven time world champion spend his time in F1's summer 'break' in August?

Michael Schumacher, it seems, recharged his batteries - after a below-par two-thirds of the 2005 season - on a motorbike tour of one of his favorite holiday destinations -- Norway.

''It was amazing,'' the German, 36, told his website. ''The nature, the scenery. We have a Norwegian friend who picked out great locations for us to travel to.''

Schumacher, who holidayed with his wife Corinna and their two young children, is no stranger to Norway: he often spends the winter months on the slopes at his own holiday retreat. But a Norwegian summer break is rare.

He added: ''It was so beautiful that it was almost overwhelming.'' Michael also spent a few days in St Tropez with Jean Todt and the Ferrari chief's partner, Michelle Yeoh.

After all that, Michael can't wait to be reunited with his scarlet cockpit. ''I can see why this break is so precious for some,'' he admitted, ''but personally I would go without it.

''I am pleased that it is time to return.''

Turkey's new 'Otodrom' layout should, meanwhile, prove no problem for the Ferrari powered master, who traditionally adapts well to new challenges on the calendar.

Williams bag 'good' engine
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.16) Antonio Pizzonia thinks Williams can still be successful even without a works engine in 2006.

Grove's test driver, although strongly linked with a switch to the Brazilian 'A1 grand prix' squad, said news of the interim Cosworth deal should not be read as a backwards step.

''We will have a good engine supplier next season,'' he told Manaus newspaper Amazonas Em Tempo, ''and that is the really important thing.''

Clearly wanting to invoke memories of their former collaboration (under the Ford banner), including championships in 1980 and '81, Sir Frank Williams - when announcing the Cosworth deal - sat in the team museum amid Alan Jones' winning racer.

A joint statement said Cosworth is 'well advanced' in the development of the 2.4 liter V8, which is already revving over and above 20,000 rpm.

''Some teams and manufacturers have absolutely no experience of V8s,'' Williams - referring to Cosworth's V8 know-how - said on Monday, ''while others enjoy only limited experience.''

F1 to 'promote Turkey' - PM
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.16) Turkey's first grand prix, to be raced on Sunday, will have 'one goal' -- to promote Turkey.

That's the insistence of the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who tried out the new F1 media centre with a news conference at the shining new 'Otodrom' circuit.

''The only goal of this event is to promote Turkey and Istanbul,'' he said on Monday.

''Formula One is one of the most important sporting events in the world. The car races ... will make a very important contribution to (the) Turkish economy and will provide promotion facilities.''

Erdogan's conviction also makes sense to the bidding consortium for a potential 2009 South African GP. The group's David Gant told 'AP' that F1 would 'fuel' economic growth.

''We can't grow more gold, diamonds or make more beaches,'' he told the news agency.

''We have to optimize the utilization of them.

''One way is to attract more people to use these resources and fuel this economic growth.''

Firman to A1
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.16) Former F1 driver Ralph Firman will return to the controls of a top single seat race car next month.

After missing out on landing the British seat, Firman - although sporting an unmistakably English accent - will head up the Irish A1 entry.

The 30-year-old's mother is Irish. ''I have always been very proud of my Irish heritage,'' Ralph - whose A1 participation may clash with some of his racing commitments in Japan, said on Monday.

Firman, whose new boss is ex-Jordan and Jaguar marketing man Mark Gallagher, drove for Jordan in 2003. Gallagher was made redundant by Red Bull in March.

He told Autosport that former F1 team owner Eddie Jordan is not involved in Ireland's A1 team. ''(Jordan) offered me assistance,'' Gallagher admitted, ''but I didn't even ask him to put any money (in).''

'Fab Felipe for Ferrari'
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.16) A former Ferrari F1 driver has backed the Maranello based team's appointment of Felipe Massa, to replace the departing Rubens Barrichello, next year.

Jean Alesi, who piloted a scarlet car between 1991 and 1995, said the young Brazilian - panned by some as simply the best driver who will put up with Michael Schumacher as teammate - has 'demonstrated his potential' since debuting for Sauber in 2002.

''Sauber was the perfect platform for him to showcase his talent,'' the Frenchman told Blick. ''This certainly promises a lot for the coming season.''

Alesi, now 41 and a DTM driver since retiring from formula one in 2001, has no doubt that Ferrari is a good move for the 24-year-old ace. What remains to be seen is what the Brazilian can do in his last six grands prix for Sauber.

Jean, who also raced a stint for the little Hinwil based team, wondered: ''Maybe even ... a first ever (Sauber) victory?''

'I'd rather my McLaren'
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.16) Juan Pablo Montoya would rather step out of a smoking McLaren than still be plugging away at the formula one team that gave him his grand prix debut.

The Colombian backed his decision, actually made as long ago as 2003, to this year swap his Williams ride for Ron Dennis' silver outfit.

''I feel it was right,'' he told a press conference in home city Bogota, ''even if things did not work out at first.''

In fact, 29-year-old Montoya's team swap, although fuelled by a disagreement with Williams management, even looks a little prophetic, given Sir Frank's loss of works BMW power and Monday's notice of what is effectively a customer supply of Cosworth V8 engines for 2006.

It might explain, even after finding his feet and race winning pace, his unusually non-Latin reaction to some recent McLaren retirements -- including at Hungary, where a broken driveshaft gave away the win.

Juan Pablo Montoya explained: ''I'd rather have the car fail than to be at Williams and finish every race eighth.''

Massa has won Turkish GP
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.16) Felipe Massa has already won the first ever Turkish grand prix.

Like many of his formula one rivals, the Brazilian turned to his PlayStation console ahead of the sport's inaugural visit to the purpose built Istanbul Otodrom.

Massa, who is Ferrari bound for 2006, selected the 'difficult' setting and his Sauber. ''I did the race simulation,'' the Brazilian grinned on Monday, ''and I won!''

The 24-year-old reckons computer games are 'very accurate' in depicting a new layout.

Felipe added: ''I'm looking forward to see how well the track suits the car in real life!''

In real life last time out, at the sweltering Hungarian track, Sauber's car overheated -- and it could be even hotter in the Turkish city.

Technical director Willy Rampf, though, said the Hinwil based team has 'taken steps' to prevent fires under the engine cover this time out.

Why Frank said 'no' to BMW
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.16) In the end, Williams opted for a clean-break strategy after works engine partner BMW 'ditched' the team for Sauber.

An 'insider' at Grove HQ said co-owners Sir Frank Williams and Patrick Head, even in the face of a customer BMW V8 offer for 2006, would rather 'push the bloody cars' than rely on Munich for another year.

''That's why we're with Cosworth,'' he told The Guardian.

Publicly, at least, there's no sour grapes after the partnership curdled this season -- at least from BMW, who will now run their own team.

Likely BMW-Sauber boss Mario Theissen wished Williams 'every success' with Cosworth. ''But before that,'' the German motor sport director told Reuters, ''a strong finale to the current season is our common goal.

''This means BMW is free to concentrate its resources on the new project starting in 2006.''

With new directions sought for both Williams and BMW, though, one can't help but lament an apparent missed opportunity for the union.

Theissen said the problem was one of 'total integration.'

''What we have missed,'' he told the English 'Guardian' newspaper of Williams, ''is the formation of one homogenous team.

''Apparently the ... way to run the business is different ... between Williams and BMW.''

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