Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
August 25,  2005

Weber sues F1 magazine
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.25) Formula One journalist Tom Rubython is enduring an expensive year at the pinnacle of motor sport.

The editor of 'Business F1' magazine was recently ordered to pay damages to Alan Donnelly after he accused the FIA representative of diverting FIA fees intended for his company for personal use.

Now, Rubython has earned the ire of Michael and Ralf Schumacher's German manager, 'Mr. 20 per cent', Willi Weber.

Weber, asking for damages of up to $180,000, has issued a High Court writ against Business F1 after an article in March alleged he was once involved in prostitution and drug running.

Montoya off to Monza flier
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.25) Juan Pablo Montoya signaled a blistering start to F1 test action at Monza by smashing the circuit record on Wednesday.

After Ferrari ran alone on Tuesday, every rival except Ferrari has rolled through the Autodromo Nazionale's gates to prepare for the fastest grand prix on the calendar.

Colombian Montoya's 1.19.887 record in the McLaren was a full second clear of title leader Fernando Alonso. Sixteen runners circulated in the Italian heat, including test driver Olivier Panis, a whopping eight seconds off the pace with Toyota's new V8, before the unit packed up.

Felipe Massa, who will revert to his Sauber on Friday, showed well - just a tenth behind - alongside fellow Ferrari Monza runner Luca Badoer.

Notable incidents of the day included Pedro de la Rosa, who spun his McLaren on an in-lap. Added to a gearbox glitch, it meant Kimi Raikkonen - to take over the car - hardly turned a lap. Ralf Schumacher suffered a Toyota V10 engine failure, and later spun into the gravel.

BAR decided not to run at all on the 'green' track, so saved a day under the 'gentleman's' test agreement and will kick off on Thursday.

''We reach the highest speeds of the year at Monza,'' said Renault's Pat Symonds, ''so we need to test our specific (aero) packages to ensure safety.''

New technology for F1
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.25) 'Nanotechnology' may soon be used in formula one.

American journal 'Science' said the engineering practice, involving the manipulation of materials at the molecular level, could be used by F1 early as next year.

Scientists in Texas and Australia have reportedly already created sheets of 'nanotube' material that are stronger than steel, and flexible.

A possible application in formula one is the creation of stronger, lighter race cars that could even store energy.

''This is a jumping-off point for a technology a lot of people will pursue,'' Rice University chemist Andrew Barron told the USA Today newspaper.

Toyota chase McLaren
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.25) Toyota would like to chase down F1 frontrunner McLaren -- by October's Japanese grand prix.

Technical coordinator Keizo Takahashi said on Wednesday that the 'main difference' between the 2005 spec TF105 and the Woking built race winner is in the area of aero.

And, unlike some teams, the Cologne based outfit is still charging ahead with 2005 development. Toyota's Jarno Trulli lies between Juan Pablo Montoya and Giancarlo Fisichella in the drivers' title, and the team is just 15 points behind Ferrari for third in the constructors' chase.

Japan's Takahashi insisted: ''Hopefully we can close the gap by Suzuka at the latest.''

F1 'seniors' tour proposed
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.25) Bernie Ecclestone has backed a proposed F1 support category that could see ex-grand prix drivers duke it out in Porsche Boxters.

'Senior' ex-F1 stars 45 years or older would be eligible for the possible Sunday morning category, ITV reported.

''Anything that improves the overall package of a grand prix weekend is a good idea,'' said the formula one supremo.

Former McLaren and Jordan driver, Martin Brundle - 46 - called the proposal to spice up the morning of grand prix Sunday a ''great idea. Count me in.''

Jordan has 'no regrets'
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.25) Eddie Jordan says he has 'no regrets' after selling his formula one team to Midland's Alex Shnaider earlier this year.

The Irishman, caddying for golfing countryman Paul McGinley at the BMW Championship in Munich, likened the competition to the uphill 'privateer v carmaker' battle in grands prix.

''We are being wonderfully hosted here by BMW,'' he said.

''Ask them what they spend on their ... program and then think what a privateer could achieve.

''It's just not in the same league.''

EJ said he sold Jordan because he thought the Silverstone based outfit could no longer win. ''I felt I had more success with drivers than I did with the team.''

He's probably right. Although Heinz Harald Frentzen had a title crack in 1999, Jordan brought names like Michael and Ralf Schumacher, Eddie Irvine and Rubens Barrichello onto the F1 stage.

Multimillionaire Jordan also confirmed that he is not being paid for his caddying duties. ''I can't imagine him sending me an invoice,'' he grinned.

Dutch group eyes Minardi
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.25) A Dutch consortium is reportedly keen on buying a chunk of Paul Stoddart's formula one team Minardi.

Rotterdam newspaper 'Het Algmene Dagblad' reportedly claims that a meeting with the Australian owner, who has two Dutch drivers at the wheel, was held in Turkey last weekend.

grandprix.com reckons bank ABN AMRO and Christijan Albers sponsor Michiel Mol might be involved in the group.

Shnaider 'serious' about F1
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.25) Jordan owner Alex Shnaider has directly refuted suspicions that his Midland company is not serious about formula one.

The Russian born Canadian, who bought the Silverstone squad from Eddie Jordan this year, reportedly owes several Jordan suppliers money, and is already in talks about selling the ever uncompetitive team.

''I am not actively looking for a buyer,'' he told f1.com, although Shnaider does admit that a Russian backer - although perhaps not the one hawked around in Turkey by Eddie Irvine - did look into buying some team shares.

Alex, who once said 'everything is for sale,' reckons gossip about him already tiring of the Paddock is a ''misconception. (I) never meant that I had intentions to sell the team.''

He insists that Jordan, to be known as Midland next year, has a keen eye on 2008, when - he hopes - smaller teams will be able to more easily compete.

Until then, 'Midland F1' can look forward to 2005-like annual budgets. This should see an increase for next year, as Shnaider says he had to pay old bills.

Some are still not paid.

''Obviously some tried to take advantage of the new management,'' Shnaider claims. ''We're not going to pay inflated or ... manipulated bills.''

Donnelly to drive Senna car
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.25) Former 1989 and 1990 F1 driver Martin Donnelly will drive Ayrton Senna's 1985 Lotus-Renault 97T at Donington next month.

The Ulsterman, now 41, never raced again after a near fatal crash in practice for the Spanish grand prix at Jerez.

Donnelly, who debuted in an Arrows at Paul Ricard but drove for Lotus in 1990, is scheduled for a demo run - in the car Senna raced to his maiden win at Estoril - at the World Series by Renault event in mid September (10-11).

''(Ayrton) was one of the first guys who came up to me when I did my first F1 test in 1989,'' Donnelly told Motorsport News.

7-time grand prix winner Rene Arnoux, meanwhile, will drive a year-old Renault (R24) racer.

Schu better on hot lap - RB
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.25) Departing Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello says F1's single lap qualifying system made him appear inferior to six year teammate Michael Schumacher.

The Brazilian, who will switch to BAR for the 2006 season, insists that he is not slower than Schumacher - the seven time drivers' world champion - in terms of 'pure speed.'

'''But (Michael) immediately got the upper hand with the hot lap qualifying,'' said 33-year-old Barrichello, winner of nine grands prix, all with Maranello based Ferrari.

''I am better at building on a lap,'' he added.

Tifosi have eye on Massa
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.25) Felipe Massa says the ardent Monza tifosi are casting a 'thorough eye' on him this week.

The young Brazilian, although a full time tester for the Scuderia in 2003, is undertaking his first test for the team since he was announced as Rubens Barrichello's 2006 race replacement.

Massa, 24, called the F2005 'fast in the fast corners.'

''I am not running the exact aero specification for the Italian grand prix,'' he told the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper, ''but the car seems stable and quite fast.''

Massa, who will switch back to his regular 2005 Sauber mount on Friday, also admitted to - at his maiden run - a little 'tension' at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.

''I think for an F1 driver,'' he said, ''to drive a Ferrari at Monza is truly the maximum.'' He also said the press is following him everywhere in the Italian paddock.

Michelin, curbs, not to blame
(GMMf1NET -- Aug.25) Williams' Sam Michael has absolved Michelin and Turkish curbs of blame for five right-rear tire failures in Istanbul.

The Australian chief said the Oxfordshire based team has used the first day of the Monza test to analyze the problem.

Back at the factory, meanwhile, 'tire deflection tests' have been set up to test the theory that rubbing bodywork could have burst the tires.

Michael said: ''A number of changes will be made during the (Monza) test ... to avoid the problem occurring again.''

Mark Webber and tester Nico Rosberg were in action on Wednesday.

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