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Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
September 9,  2005


Button vows to keep fighting
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.9) Jenson Button, desperate to stay at BAR-Honda next year, says talks with Williams are heading 'in the right direction.'

As wild theories - such as one that would see the English driver sit out 2006 and 2007 - do the rounds, JB urged his would-be boss to help 'clear up' the wrangle before the end of the current year.

''I can't say anything else,'' Button, 25, insisted in Belgium.

''We've talked, yes.''

While the willingness to go into detail was obviously lacking, Jenson did reveal that - unlike the livid battle involving David Richards of a year ago, when ironically he wanted to switch from BAR to Williams - 'Buttongate II' is at least amicable.

''It is definitely more amicable,'' he agreed.

''The way I went about it this year has been much better.''

Button also said that he would not hesitate to race Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen at Spa Francorchamps even though splitting the pair could affect the world championship.

He quizzed: ''What else am I supposed to do?

''I'm not going to hold back, we're here to do a job and I think it will spice (the battle) up a bit, if I'm quick enough.''








Alonso must wait for title
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.9) Fernando Alonso does not think he will wrap up his first drivers' world F1 championship on Sunday.

The Spaniard, whose Renault team has replaced cigarette branding with a dragon-inspired livery at Spa Francorchamps, could lift the sport's ultimate prize in Belgium if he outscores rival Kimi Raikkonen by four points.

''I need Kimi to retire from the race, basically,'' the 24-year-old - acknowledging that Raikkonen's McLaren is still quicker - said. ''I don't think that's going to happen.

''I think we'll have to wait but I'm not thinking about it.''

Alonso is right to be pessimistic. Perhaps more than any other circuit so far in 2005, Spa's fast curves are expected to perfectly suit the MP4-20. Finland's Raikkonen, though - who won in Belgium a year ago - is similarly not holding his breath.

''We haven't given up,'' the 25-year-old said at Spa, ''but everyone knows (the title is) not going to be easy for us without problems for Renault.

''Even if we win all the last races it's not going to happen.''








Alonso pay rise ruled out
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.9) Flavio Briatore has warned Renault charge Fernando Alonso to forget asking for a massive pay rise if he becomes the youngest ever champion on Sunday.

At just 24 years of age, the quiet Spaniard is poised to inherit Michael Schumacher's drivers' crown after carving out a near-insurmountable lead.

But Briatore, the team principal, said Alonso and Schumacher - who earns around $50m a year from Ferrari - will not be earning similar cash.

Alonso's current retainer is $9m.

''I don't know if anyone is trying to steal Fernando,'' 'Flav' - although no doubt aware of Ferrari's interest in Alonso - said at Spa Francorchamps. ''We do not pay $45m to any driver, but money is not the issue. I don't think Michael (Schumacher) is too happy to be driving his car at the moment.''

Alonso's contract runs out at the end of next year. Lining up in the Renault queue are names like GP2 star Heikki Kovalainen.








Schu rules out Spa win
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.9) Michael Schumacher says beleaguered Ferrari supplier Bridgestone is working flat out to produce a competitive F1 tire.

Indeed, the Japanese marque will unveil yet another previously un-raced specification at Spa Francorchamps, after - Indy excluded - failing to win a single grand prix so far in 2005.

''You have to trust people and we trust Bridgestone,'' Germany's Schumacher said on Thursday.

''They have so much experience, we have won so many races together, they have won even without Ferrari.

''In 1998 and 1999 nobody believed that McLaren could be caught. In 2002 nobody thought that Bridgestone could be caught. We can catch up.''

Schumacher warned, however, that any catching up will probably have to wait until later this year, or perhaps even until the 2006 season opener.

''I think we can do better (at Spa),'' he insisted, ''but it surely won't be enough to win.

''We're working hard to make everything perfect but we also have to depend on our partners.''







Trulli baulks at Ralf wage
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.9) It was perhaps only a matter of time before Jarno Trulli openly baulked at the fatter pay-packet of teammate Ralf Schumacher.

While Cologne based Toyota is believed to pay the Italian speedster some $9-10 million per year, 30-year-old Schumacher is on a whopping $23m.

This might be fair enough, if Schumacher led the red and whites.

''At Monza I was five tenths per lap faster than Ralf,'' Jarno complained to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.

''Our abilities have been measured and remunerated in opposite directions. But to me, money isn't everything -- I prefer to have a competitive car.''

Trouble is, 31-year-old Jarno doesn't even have that. Although the hard-on-tires TF105 often qualifies well, his rivals moan regularly about 'Trulli's Toyota Train' that holds up quicker race cars.

Still sledging Ralf, he continued: ''They should go and check the race pace of my teammate.''

JT also cast a gloomy glare at the Toyota team, who - although starting well in 2005 - appear to have stalled in terms of car development. Indeed, a 'b' spec car, intended for debut at Monza or Spa, is believed to have been scrapped.

''I'm not accusing anyone,'' he sighed.








Fisichella frustrated
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.9) Fernando Alonso should slip a quiet 'thanks' to his teammate when he ties up the 2005 championship, according to Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella.

The Roman marvels at the fact that, while his own campaign has been blighted by a seemingly dire run of technical trouble, Spaniard Alonso, 24, has raced through the carnage to a near-invincible spot on the drivers' table.

''My 2005 season has been useful for Renault -- everything got broken,'' 32-year-old Fisichella told the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.

''The result is Alonso leading the championship.''

Renault boss Flavio Briatore, who - while a little frustrated with Fisichella's pace - is believed to be ready to confirm the Italian for 2006, agrees that Alonso seems to be the luckier of the two.

But Giancarlo's countryman continued: ''That's the way it seems to be with champions.

''If there is a problem in this team, Fisichella has it.''









'Max can stay' - Stoddart
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.9) F1's team and carmaker majority is no longer calling for the scalp of FIA president Max Mosley.

That's the revelation of Minardi boss Paul Stoddart, whose disdain for the English boss reached such a climax as threatening to sell Minardi and quit the sport if 'Mad Max' were not removed from the job.

Now, though, it's all quiet on the political front.

''Max created that idea by the way he was doing things,'' Stoddart, the Faenza based team principal, told Autosport.

However, Mosley fronted the media at Monza a week ago and - after a deliberate cease-fire in the political squabble for formula one's future - gave a pretty level headed account of the landscape.

Millionaire Paul Stoddart agreed: ''If the Max we've got today is the Max that stays, then I don't see a real problem. It's not the Max we had from February to July.''

The Minardi boss, nonetheless, has bated breathe.

He called the eerie and odd 'peace' presently in the Paddock as ''fragile. (It) could easily be fractured by one person, either side, being silly.''

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