Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
August 22,  2005

Williams' failures explained?
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.22) As the Sunday sun disappeared in Istanbul, no-one was any the wiser as to why Williams - and no other F1 team - suffered five right-rear tire failures at the 'Otodrom' venue.

Michelin's director of F1 activity, Nick Shorrock, vowed to check the condition of the other French made tires in the Turkish grand prix.

''But this is a problem that we have seen only on the Williams cars,'' he insisted.

In that way, then, any correlation between the failures and the Indianapolis pullout is perhaps not fair, although it is true that - at the ill fated US grand prix - only Toyota appeared affected.

One piece of speculation in the Turkish paddock, though, is that the FIA were sent a note from Michelin before the race that its seven teams had been told to stay away from the sharp edge of the turn-13 curb.

The Clermont-Ferrand tire supplier apparently ascertained that Mark Webber's practice failure - on his right rear - was caused by the rim rubbing on the curb.

Michelin encountered a similar problem at Spa last year.

F1 summit in Istanbul
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.22) F1's 'GPMA' alliance, otherwise known as every team and carmaker except Ferrari, met in Istanbul on Saturday afternoon.

The object was to prepare for the August 31 meeting with FIA president Max Mosley, slated as the first step to reconciliation with regards to regulations for 2008 and beyond.

Also discussed was a change of qualifying format for 2006, but McLaren's Ron Dennis reckons that - so late in the design process of new cars - scrapping the single lap system is 'virtually impossible.'

He added: ''We have now moved beyond the point ... that we can (do) qualifying with no fuel.''

Weber to field A1 team
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.22) Willi Weber, manager of formula one's famous Schumacher brothers, will run a German national team in September's all new 'A1' open wheeler series.

Timo Scheider is set to take the wheel, 'Mr. 20 per cent' confirmed at the Turkish grand prix, at a test on Wednesday.

GP2 personality David Sears will manage the German team.

''David is one of the best team managers,'' Weber said, ''and Timo one of the best drivers.''

Tyson brings Kimi luck
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.22) Controversial boxer Mike Tyson brought Kimi Raikkonen good luck before the Finn drove his McLaren to victory in Turkey.

''It was nice to see him,'' the deadpan McLaren driver, referring to his grid visit, said.

''He said 'good luck' and that's it.''

Tyson, a newcomer to the world of grand prix racing, was a guest of Renault's F1 team principal Flavio Briatore.

Raikkonen, though, probably didn't need a lot of luck. With the fastest car in the field, the 25 year old confirmed that - a few annoying back markers aside - the ride to the flag was 'not too hard.'

''But I was not too happy with some of the (lapped cars),'' he added.

However, he could have done with a bit more luck in the Monteiro-Montoya stakes. If not for their late race clash, Alonso would be four - not just two - points closer to Raikkonen's championship charge.

'It's not perfect,' Kimi agreed, 'but I can't do anything more than win. Two points are betting than none.''

One 'b' Jordan for Monza run
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.22) Jordan will revert to the rather low-tech toss of a coin to determine who will drive the single 'b' spec racer at Monza.

After a string of debut delays, India's Narain Karthikeyan revealed in Turkey that the Italian grand prix had finally got the green light -- pending the outcome of a pre-race Monza run.

''Tiago (Monteiro) and I will share the car (at the test session) and if things go alright we'll have the car in Monza.''

But, although the troubled EJ15 has been up and running for weeks, only one - for now - exists. Karthikeyan, 28, said the team will toss a coin after the test to determine who gets to race it.

''They said the coin will decide,'' he told the Indian Times.

A second car will then be ready for the Belgian grand prix.

Traffic chaos in Turkey
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.22) Enthusiastic back-seat chatter about Kimi Raikkonen and the challenging Turkish layout soon disappeared as thousands of F1-goers became locked in a traffic nightmare.

75,000 showed up at the 'Otodrom' - usually a 45-minute drive from Istanbul - to watch the inaugural grand prix.

But some fans said they had to abandon their cars on the road approaching Istanbul Park before the kick off, and then the trip home took hours.

A media report said one traffic jam stretched for 15kms.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a spectator and podium presenter at the circuit, called the problems 'small.

''These shortcomings will be overcome,'' he insisted, ''and this will become the world's premier (grand prix).''

Bernie wins website name
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.22) Bernie Ecclestone has won a legal challenge for control of the F1.ch internet domain in China.

The F1 supremo's Formula One Licensing arm complained to the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission when it discovered that a Chinese computer company owned the domain.

'Zhihui Dongfang Information and Technology' used the website for an online computer education program. The 'F1' connection is that, on a computer keyboard, the F1 key activates a help function.

Bernie's company, though, claims it is the 'owner' of the F1 brand, and - in the arbitration court - said 'Zhihui' is infringing upon its intellectual property rights.

The winner? Ecclestone. The Beijing based company has already lodged an appeal with the Intermediate People's Court.

BAR offer to buy Button
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.22) BAR has offered to pay Williams for Jenson Button's 2005 services.

The two formula one teams both want the English driver, but he - already at BAR and desperate to stay with the Brackley team - signed a Williams contract last September.

Sir Frank Williams is adamant that no amount of money or persuasion, even the 25-year-old's plea that he doesn't want to drive the blue and white car, will change his mind.

BAR CEO Nick Fry, though, said the Honda co-owned team is 'open' to a 'deal.

''If it helps, and Williams want to involve us,'' he said, ''then we are all open to help.

''(But) it is up to them to make a suggestion.''

Frank, the Grove co-owner and principal, has publicly criticized BAR for getting involved in the Button-Williams squabble, which he says has nothing to do with what effectively is a 'third party.' Legally, too, BAR would be unwise to start fiddling around with others' contracts.

Honda's Yasuhiro Wada, meanwhile, doubted that cash is the answer. ''I don't think it is the way to go,'' the racing boss said, ''but we may have to think about it.''

Schu finds new 'guru'
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.22) Michael Schumacher has lined up a successor for friend and full time physiotherapist Balbir Singh.

The 42-year-old Indian massaged, prepared food and acted as a sort of 'spiritual guide' for the seven time world champion for the last time at the Turkish grand prix.

Schumacher's replacement 'guru' is Michael Harner, already a regular at the number one Ferrari driver's tests.

''We are on the same wavelength and get on with each other really well,'' Schumacher, 36, said in Istanbul.

''It's a new chapter. I found such a friend in Balbir and it's a bit of a sad feeling.''

Singh, a part of the Schumacher army since 1996, is pulling out of formula one to give more time to his wife and two young children. He plans to start a 'wellness centre' near Cologne in Germany.

He concluded: ''I thank God that He gave me the opportunity to get to know Michael and to become his friend.''

Schumacher's sadness was also tinged with frustration in Istanbul. He tangled with a furious Mark Webber in the race and spent much of the rest of his afternoon trundling around, hoping for retirements so as to minimize the damage of an early qualifying slot next time out.

The dissatisfied German shrugged: ''We didn't really expect to achieve points anyway.''

Montoya move 'stupid'
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.22) If Tiago Monteiro had said 'sorry, my fault,' yet another slanging match would have been averted in Istanbul.

The Portuguese rookie, though - two laps down in his Jordan - is adamant that Juan Pablo Montoya only had himself to blame after Monteiro punted the Colombian out of second place.

The clash, eerily reminiscent of the one involving Jos Verstappen that denied Montoya of maiden victory in 2001, saw Juan Pablo lap 28-year-old Tiago and immediately re-join the racing line while still braking.

''I couldn't avoid him,'' Monteiro - whose painful Turkish toothache was relieved by Jordan principal and former dentist Colin Kolles on Saturday night - insisted.

''It was stupid.

''I braked early and he braked really early -- and really hard. My wheels locked. I don't understand why he did it.''

With a damaged diffuser, Montoya later spun and handed his place to Renault's Fernando Alonso. It hurt not only for McLaren's constructors' championship charge, but also that of teammate Kimi Raikkonen (Drivers').

McLaren boss Ron Dennis weighed in on the row, as did Mercedes' motor sport director Norbert Haug. ''I don't want to make a big deal out of it,'' said the German, ''but it doesn't ring very correct to me when a rookie wants to give driving lessons to the more experienced guy.''

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