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 team.

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 not possible.''

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 standing water.

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' crown.

''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 last race.''

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 Raikkonen.

''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 Fisichella's ride.

''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 challenge myself.''

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 next year.

''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 strength.

''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 contracted season.

''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 F1 rules.

''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 beyond.

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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