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Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
September 1,  2005


Heidfeld is BMW's top choice
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.1) German ace Nick Heidfeld is at the top of BMW's list to drive for the new works team next year.

Motorsport director, and probable 2006 team principal Mario Theissen, admitted that 'very constructive discussions' are taking place between Williams' 28-year-old and the Munich based manufacturer.

''We are talking with several drivers,'' the German admitted to Sport1.de, ''and Nick is one of them.

''He is someone who we would love to have in the team.''

A crucial piece of the puzzle, though, is whether Sir Frank Williams takes up an option on the driver's service. If so, he'll be committed to the Grove based squad.

Theissen also said BMW feel under no pressure to immediately decide the 2006 lineup.








Schu down but determined
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.1) Michael Schumacher is hopeful that his good record at the last few races this year augers well for his struggling outfit.

The German's faint hope, though, follows his admission that victory for the Ferrari-loving Tifosi at home at Monza is a too distant prospect.

''Our expectations are a bit reduced this time,'' he confessed.

Things, at least, looked a little better than Turkey at last week's Monza test, but even an Italian grand prix podium place is not really on.

Just five races are yet to run on the 2005 calendar. ''(They) are all places where we've been successful in the past,'' Schumacher, 36, noted.

He added: ''We won't let this situation bring us down easily.''

Ferrari's determination to get back on top turned to the Fiorano and Mugello circuits on Wednesday, where Marc Gene and Luca Badoer turned the laps.








Power players meet in Milan
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.1) The focus of the F1 world turned not to Monza, but to nearby Milan on Wednesday, as the teams and carmakers met for a crucial summit with Max Mosley.

Although sources report that Ferrari's Jean Todt was - as usual - nowhere to be seen, the group, including Bernie Ecclestone, supposedly edged closer to finding a solution to the sport's political quagmire.

Top of the Milan agenda were rules and regulations for 2008 and beyond. ''It all sounds to have been pretty tranquil,'' Sir Frank Williams - who sent Patrick Head along to the Italian meeting - told the Guardian newspaper.

Aerodynamics, or making the cars better able to overtake, was reportedly mused at length, with other sources saying that the FIA and the teams are nearing a joint position.

A spokesman for the governing body called the meeting 'very constructive.

''The atmosphere was very good,'' said the FIA man, ''and reflected a genuine desire to move in the right direction.''

Mosley, the FIA president, will now attend the Italian grand prix.








Fisi's football hat trick
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.1) Formula One drivers thrashed a rival football team, made up of Italian actors, on Wednesday night.

The traditional pre-Monza charity match, played at Stadio Brianteo, had Giancarlo Fisichella - who scored no fewer than three goals - firmly in the limelight.

The final score was 7-2. Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher was another scorer.

''We will all have fun,'' the German said before the kick off, ''as we do when we drive.''

Meanwhile, Schumacher's engine chief Luigi Fraboni confirmed that the Italian marque will be racing a 'new step' on the V10 unit at Monza.

''Obviously Monza is an important track for us,'' he added. ''(The evolution) will be the last for this year.''







Schu wins backer until 2010
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.1) Michael Schumacher will wear the words 'Deutsche Vermogensberatung' (DVAG) on his cap until the end of 2010.

The contract extension, reportedly worth around $15 million, has inevitably sparked speculation that the Ferrari driver intends to race beyond his 2006 contract.

''The (DVAG) contract has nothing to do with that,'' Schumacher's manager, Willi Weber, retorted to 'DPA' agency.

It is also reported that the seven time champion, 36, renewed a personal sponsorship deal - worth another $1m a year - with watchmaker Omega through to 2010.

''These partnerships should be seen as separate to Michael's (F1) career,'' Weber, 63 continued. ''He will continue (to have sponsorship) beyond his career.''

Schumacher first started wearing the 'DVAG' cap in 1997.








No Fisi-Webber swap - manager
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.1) Giancarlo Fisichella's manager has rubbished a strong paddock rumor that the Roman and Mark Webber will swap F1 seats next season.

Enrico Zanarini, who used to look after Eddie Irvine's career, told Speed TV that - as far as he knows - Flavio Briatore will not vacate the 2006 Renault car in order to clear a spot for his Aussie charge.

''For sure you've got to have two drivers agreeing (to swap),'' the Italian agent said, ''(and) we certainly don't.''

Zanarini, who also defended Fisichella's less than sterling year so far alongside likely champion Fernando Alonso, insisted that the issue has not even been touted by the Renault boss.

A spokesman at Grove based Williams, meanwhile, added: ''We have a contract ... with Mark Webber for 2006 and there is no change to that.''








Davidson to wait for BAR
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.1) Test driver Anthony Davidson has vowed to wait around a little longer for a 2006 race drive at BAR.

The 26-year-old, so desperate to race next year but free to flee to another team, seems to have a solid Midland offer on the table, and has also talked to the new BMW-Sauber camp.

But, after years of loyal service at Brackley, he told ITV that he has 'the right' to a debut with a Honda V8 in tow.

''I feel I do deserve a chance ... in a car I know.

''I don't know if (my debut) will be at BAR, that is obviously my number one choice.''

Realistically, though - with 'Buttongate II' raging in the background and not close to a resolution - Davidson admits that, sooner or later, he might have to choose between a possible BAR seat or a definite opportunity elsewhere.

He added: ''If there was a drive on the table ... then you have to take it because they don't come along very often.''

If worse came to worse, however, BAR have said that 'Ant' is welcome to stay as a tester.








Focus not on Alonso crown
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.1) Pat Symonds has denied that Renault is now focused on bringing home Fernando Alonso's drivers' world championship.

The Enstone team's engineering director thus denied speculation that Giancarlo Fisichella, 60 points behind and out of the title race, will become the forgotten man of the blue team.

''I don't quite see it that way,'' Symonds told Sky Sports.

Rather, the Briton pointed out that while Alonso is looking good for the drivers' trophy, far more in doubt is the carmakers' duel with McLaren.

''Therefore the focus really has to go on the second car and trying to get the constructors' championship,'' he added.

Unlike most fans, the majority of teams are more interested in the constructors' than the drivers' championship. Renault, it seems, is no different.

Symonds admitted: ''If we can win the constructors', then I think we will almost certainly (also) win the drivers'.''








JV, Sauber, starting to gel
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.1) A slow start to the season aside, Jacques Villeneuve says things are now starting to gel for him within the Sauber camp.

The French Canadian, who was actually quicker than Ferrari bound teammate Felipe Massa in the Monza test last week, reckons he is finally 'getting to grips' with the car.

''I've reached a strong relationship with the engineers and the entire team,'' said the former world champion, who - despite having a 2006 contract - continues to stake his claim with the Hinwil team's new owner BMW.

''It has shown on the lap times too.''

JV, 34, is no doubt also buoyed by the fact that he knows the high speed 'Autodromo Nazionale di Monza' well from his days in F3.







Kimi's the one to beat
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.1) For title chaser Kimi Raikkonen, there is only one objective for the Italian grand prix -- to win.

The Finn, still a nerve racking 24 points behind Renault's Fernando Alonso with just five races left to run, must power to the top of the podium if he is to have any chance of beating his rival.

''I have to win them all,'' the McLaren driver told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport, ''starting from Monza. The car is capable of doing it.''

The 25-year-old knows very well that his McLaren is the quickest car in F1 at present. ''I don't want to be arrogant,'' he continued to the newspaper, ''but whoever wants to win must beat us.''

Nonetheless, the task for Kimi is not an easy one, but the Iceman's attitude is predictably cool. ''We cannot do more than the best we can at each grand prix and see where we are at the end.''

''Of course I wouldn't mind if some teams finished between us and Renault and snatched some points away from them!''

Raikkonen also denied that he was 'angry' at teammate Juan Pablo Montoya after the Colombian lost second place to Alonso in the final minutes of the Turkish grand prix.

''Ok, it would have been better for me if he had held the place,'' Kimi agreed, ''but this is motor racing. I can't change it, so why get angry?

''I cannot do more than win. I cannot control anyone else.''

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