Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
September 10, 2005
JV's manager slams BMW
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.10) Jacques Villeneuve's manager, ex-BAR boss Craig
Pollock, has expressed doubts about BMW's takeover of the Sauber F1
34-year-old JV, a Canadian, has an existing contract to drive for the
Hinwil camp next year, but speculation insists that BMW is lining up
an alternate queue of candidates for its new works squad.
Villeneuve has previously admitted that he is not looking elsewhere
for a 2006 ride.
''Sauber is already suffering from a loss of guidance and dynamics,''
Pollock told the German 'Auto Bild' publication of the atmosphere
within the Swiss team since it was snapped up by the carmaker.
''It's like a vacuum at the moment.''
Pollock, 49, believes that Munich based BMW is developing plans for
2006 'too slowly.
''Right now they have ten people in the wind tunnel,'' he revealed,
''in January (they'll have) perhaps 30, but every other big team works
with maybe seventy or 80.''
The Scot also hit out at BMW's engine, which he reckons is now one of
the more under-powered in pitlane.
Rain could drown Belgian GP
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.10) Fears in pitlane suggest that Sunday's Belgian
grand prix will be either cancelled or reduced to a farcical
procession behind the safety car.
Thunder, lightening, absolutely torrential rain and rivers through
bends including Eau Rouge washed out Friday afternoon practice in the
notoriously unpredictable Ardennes region.
''If it rains like that (on Sunday), there is no way we will be able
to race,'' said a blunt world champion Michael Schumacher, who
revealed that he had 'prayed' for conditions that would allow him to
run Bridgestone's superior wet tire.
''Maybe the safety car will be able to drive, but not us. I watched
Doornbos try to do a lap but he had to creep back to the pits. It's
Drivers' fears were sparked after Vitantonio Liuzzi, in the fourth
minute of the drenched session, aquaplaned and smashed into the
barrier at Les Combes. ''From what I hear (the weather) could get even
worse,'' Schumacher added.
Michelin boss Pierre Dupasquier agreed that any rain tire - even the
FIA-mandated 'extreme' specification - 'can not handle' that amount of
But F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone baulked at the concept of axing the
race. He told BBC radio: ''They've been racing in these conditions for
years. There'll be a race on Sunday.''
The making of 'lucky' Alonso
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.10) 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve says he
played a hand in the making of his successor some eight years on.
The 34-year-old Quebecois, who plugs away with the Sauber team,
revealed that - in the late-90s - he chatted to current Renault boss
and renowned driver-manager Flavio Briatore one race weekend.
''We were chatting about drivers,'' Villeneuve told the PA Sport
agency. ''Alonso was in Formula 3000 and I told Flavio that he was one
driver he should take over.
''Obviously he did.''
Briatore, meanwhile, has admitted to feeling some pressure at Spa,
given that 24-year-old Alonso could wrap up the coveted drivers'
''People ask stupid stuff like 'where's the party?','' the Italian
groaned. ''We don't want to do any party. Maybe we fight until the
The team principal also scoffed at McLaren counterpart Ron Dennis'
claim that Alonso will likely inherit the championship because he was
the 'luckiest' driver out of him and quicker title combatant Kimi
''44 million Spanish people have a different idea,'' 'Flav' retorted,
''and so do about 50 million French people. It's 100 million against
one. But I always respect the minority opinion.''
Webber could've raced Renault
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.10) Williams' Mark Webber says he does not regret
choosing Sir Frank over Renault for season 2005.
The Australian, in the background while Williams lost BMW works power,
has endured a difficult year in the Grove built car as Fernando Alonso
strolled towards the title in a rival machine.
Managed by Flavio Briatore, Webber seemingly could have had Giancarlo
''I don't waste time wishing I had gone to Renault,'' the 28-year-old
told ESPN. ''If Renault did not have the start of the season they had,
there was a chance that maybe they don't continue in formula one.
''I wanted to come to Williams to drive for Frank, and try to
It has definitely been a challenge for Mark.
''It's been a kick in the stomach, for sure,'' said the plain talking
Australian, ''but it could always be worse, let me tell you. In this
game, 12 months goes by soon enough -- things happen quickly.''
Meanwhile, Webber says he has spoken to David Coulthard after the
fellow GPDA director lashed out at his 'hooligan' driver tactics of
the recent Turkish grand prix.
''I sat down and said: 'How you going?','' Mark revealed of the
conversation. ''He said I was a bit cheeky, but he was cheeky in
Melbourne with me.''
Webber insisted: ''We're all big boys.''
Schu to race in 2006
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.10) Michael Schumacher has put a lid on at least one
lingering doubt -- the German world champion will race his Ferrari
''I want the title back,'' the 36-year-old - to definitely lose his
drivers' crown to either Fernando Alonso or Kimi Raikkonen - told the
German 'Bild' newspaper.
''Anyway, why should I stop? I'm still having fun, I'm still fit, and
it is going to be a challenge, recovering this position to our former
''I am already looking forward to the winter tests.''
Clearly, however, Schumacher is not enjoying these grands prix as much
as he used to. For the first time, he is reported to have told another
publication that Maranello's slump is leaving him 'demoralized.'
Michael agreed that there is no guarantee of success in 2006, his last
''I am not going to promise anything,'' Schumacher continued, ''apart
from my dedication to winning again.''
He also refused to further entertain speculation of a switch to
McLaren. ''I've been around long enough to know that I do not have to
answer everything,'' he smirked.
'No decision' on B-team
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.10) Mercedes' Norbert Haug has tempered speculation
that McLaren intend to drive into 2007 with a second - 'B' - team.
''There have been no decisions,'' the German said at Spa
Francorchamps, ''nothing precise. Nothing planned.''
It was reported that McLaren and Mercedes, backed by a Tokyo based
investment company, would use year-old cars and engines to supply the
junior team. Haug scoffed at the idea as 'not allowed' by the current
''And everyone should know that we don't think that's the key to the
future,'' he told the press.
FIA president Max Mosley, though, is on a mission to legalize the
practice of selling used cars to a smaller team. But Haug insisted
that the idea is more a proposal than a set-in-stone rule for 2008 and
Meanwhile, the boss of F1's poorest team agrees with Mercedes'
competition chief that Mosley's plan would be 'extremely dangerous' to
implement at the pinnacle of racing.
''I don't think anyone,'' Minardi's Paul Stoddart told Autosport,
''ought to mess with what has been so successful.''
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