Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
August 17, 2005

Alonso told to relax
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.17) Fernando Alonso can rest easy for Turkey, even though his two-race Renault engine nearly overheated in Hungary before the three week summer break.

The French owned team's engine technical director, Rob White, said the championship leader damaged the car - leading to overheating problems - in the lap-1 clash with Ralf Schumacher.

''The engine is in good shape for Turkey,'' he insisted. ''We maintained (it) in good condition.''

24-year-old Alonso's teammate, Giancarlo Fisichella, also encountered horse power trouble in Hungary. A fuel cell problem caused the V10 to often misfire.

White added: ''The problem has been diagnosed and fixed for the next race and we do not anticipate any after- effects.''

Stewart says Brit GP safe
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.17) Although Silverstone nearly dropped off the calendar in the winter, Sir Jackie Stewart says Britain will 'always' host a formula one race.

The triple world champion, also president of the circuit owning British Racing Drivers' Club, insisted that he is 'driven' to maintain the race's future beyond a new five year - to 2009 - deal.

In reality, though, Bernie Ecclestone actually dropped the British grand prix from the 2005 calendar for a time in the off season, and aims a steady barrage of criticism against the Northamptonshire venue's outdated track facilities.

But Stewart told BBC radio: ''I think by hook or by crook we will always have a British grand prix.''

That may be so, but F1 - especially with governments like Turkey willing to fork out millions for a race - is an expensive and competitive game.

Stewart, 66, called the costs 'incredible'.

''It is very difficult to keep up with the rising costs. To keep (the grand prix) is always a task but we intend to be able to handle that.

''We've got such a strong motorsport industry in this country (but) the economy of that depends on the grand prix.''

Ferrari back in action
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.17) Mere days ahead of inaugural action in Turkey, Ferrari - defying the rules of a nine team test limit agreement including an August ban - returned to the track on Tuesday.

Luca Badoer took to the wheel of a current F2005 to work on 'electronics', the Maranello based team confirmed from Italy.

The Italian test driver, who lapped 136 times, will continue at Fiorano on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, world champion Michael Schumacher started his journey to Turkey, where - just a day prior to opening practice - he will catch his first glimpse of the 'Otodrom'.

''I visited Istanbul a few years ago for a sponsor event,'' the German revealed, ''but I don't know much about the circuit. I've heard that it's quite hilly and has some fast curves.

''I will have a close look at it. I have never had any trouble approaching new circuits.''

Kiesa keeps 'Friday' role
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.17) Denmark's Nicolas Kiesa, it seems, will spend the rest of the 2005 season in the third Jordan.

The Copenhagen born driver, 27 - who assumed the role at Hockenheim after Robert Doornbos won a Minardi race seat - will continue in the role in Turkey, a Jordan press release confirmed on Tuesday.

One time Minardi racer Kiesa, who has struggled for fitness after a long cockpit absence, said he spent the three week break doing 'a lot of training.'

And he admitted: ''To be honest, I'm not sure that if I had a race drive at Hockenheim or Budapest I would have been physically ready for that. I have been doing a lot of work on strengthening my neck and shoulders.''

Jordan rookie Narain Karthikeyan, meanwhile, is already in Istanbul in order to learn the new 'Otodrom' layout.

Of the August break, the Indian also revealed: ''I spent some time with my family, which was very nice.''

Kimi still in fight
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.17) Kimi Raikkonen has targeted nothing but Turkish delight for F1's first Istanbul visit.

The Finn, who is 26 points behind title rival Fernando Alonso's lead, trumped the most recent race in Hungary, and indicated that he has not yet ceded the championship fight.

''It was a great result in Hungary for me,'' the 25 year old McLaren driver said on Tuesday, ''and there are still six races with a maximum of 60 points to be won.''

Raikkonen, unlike some of his rivals, has never been to Turkey or seen the new 'Otodrom'.

F1 drivers put feet up
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.17) The three week summer 'break' and August test ban is a chance for everyone in F1, including the drivers, to put their feet up -- if only for a day or two.

Two thirds of the way through the arduous 19-grand prix calendar, featuring - so far - four back to backs, Red Bull driver Christian Klien headed home, to Austria, to see his father and grandfather.

After that, he took his girlfriend to Sardinia.

''I just wanted to have a quiet time on the beach and get away from the stress of formula one,'' said the Austrian.

''There was no way I wanted to go clubbing!''

BAR's Jenson Button wasn't quite as lucky. After Hungary, while rivals like Kimi Raikkonen set straight off on holiday, the Briton jetted off to Shanghai for PR duties.

He then returned to Europe for a week off.

''Obviously I will also be training,'' said the 25-year-old, ''especially concentrating on neck work because the Istanbul track is anti-clockwise.'' JB's break was, though, short lived. He's currently in Athens, for more PR.

Jenson's mate, David Coulthard - after heading the drivers' meeting with Max Mosley - spent the first few day of his 'break' at the Isle of Wight, on the Hugo Boss racing yacht.

The Red Bull team leader then headed to his native Scotland and stayed at the famous Skibo Castle.

Weber cleared
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.17) Michael Schumacher's manager, Willi Weber, has reached a settlement in a Stuttgart court over a decade long tussle to retain his full twenty per cent take in the German world champion's salary.

The case concerned Weber's alleged involvement in perjury, committed by Udo Wagenhauser - found guilty last year - who denied that a fifty-fifty deal had been struck between Weber and former partner Burkhard Nuppeney.

Schumacher earns an estimated $74m per year in Ferrari salary and personal sponsorship.

Weber, in the Stuttgart court, agreed to donate just over $60,000 to a local charity.

Mansell slams 'greedy' F1
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.17) 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell has launched a scathing attack on a 'greedy' formula one which has 'degrading' rules.

The Briton, who retired after 31 wins and 187 grands prix in 1995, told ITV that the pinnacle of motor sport has 'lost focus' and become little more than a spending race.

''It has got totally out of whack,'' 52-year-old Mansell added. ''The rules ... need to be stronger ... to keep costs down.''

In Nigel's day, a field of 36 had to be whittled down to 26 in a process known as 'pre-qualifying'. Today, F1 cannot fill a maximum twenty four-car grid and qualifying is a single lap format that 'no one likes,' Mansell claims.

''How sad is that?

''I disagree with so many of the current rules,'' he added.

''I can't get my head around qualifying. If I was in charge, I would write a new set of rules for the good of the sport ... not the mighty manufacturers who spend mega money.''

Piquet turns 53
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.17) Triple world champion Nelson Piquet turned fifty three on Wednesday.

The Brazilian, who won his titles in 1981, 1983 and 1987 and retired as a Benetton driver in 1991, is often seen in today's GP2 paddock, overseeing the career of his teenage son, Nelson Piquet Jr.

He was the second driver to ever compete in two hundred grands prix, and turned to US based IndyCars - where he was severely injured in an Indianapolis accident - in 1992.

Back in 1980, Piquet celebrated his twenty eighth birthday by finishing fifth for Brabham in the Austrian grand prix at the Osterreichring. Six years later, at the very same venue, he turned thirty four on Austrian GP day, where his Williams-Honda car overheated.

Piquet's son, often known simply as Nelsinho, drove his father's 1989 Lotus F1 at the recent Rotterdam street event.

'Alonso on title cruise'
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.17) Fernando Alonso should scoop an 'easy' 2005 drivers' championship win, British driver Jenson Button has claimed.

The 25-year-old said Alonso's twenty six point gap over McLaren rival Kimi Raikkonen is enough to almost guarantee that he cannot be caught in the six race run to the checker.

''I think he's got it easy, really,'' Button, referring to the young Renault driver from Spain, told ITV. ''He just needs to finish in the top three in most of the remaining races of the year.''

Indeed, should Raikkonen win the remaining Turkish, Italian, Belgian, Brazilian, Japanese and Chinese grands prix, a mere podium for Alonso every time would guarantee a two-point edge to become the sport's youngest champ.

Button did, though, sound a note of caution for Alonso and his Renault team, who 'messed it up' last time in Hungary.

''I think Kimi's got the quicker car,'' the English racer observed. ''I think that if McLaren don't win the championship, they have lost (it) more than Renault winning.''

Alonso displaced BAR-bound Button at the Enstone based team at the end of the '02 season.

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