Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
September 14,  2005

Klien to keep Red Bull ride
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.13) Red Bull has given Christian Klien the nod to keep his racing seat for the rest of 2005.

The news will come as a blow to Vitantonio Liuzzi, who had hoped to retain the drive after spending most of the year in his 'Friday' cockpit.

It's not, however, all bad for the talented Italian. Team boss Christian Horner confirmed that both he and Austria's Klien have 'assured futures in F1', particularly following the energy drink's Minardi acquisition.

22-year-old Klien raced in Brazil, Japan and China for Ford-owned Jaguar last year.

''Tonio's role ... will allow him to familiarize himself with the circuits ... ahead of 2006,'' Horner added.

Red Bull also insisted that David Coulthard's 2006 teammate would be announced 'after the end of the season.'

In other news, talks between the governing FIA and the obstinate team-carmaker group appear to have once again stalled. The Max Mosley-led body issued a statement on Tuesday claiming that the breakaway group has made 'no proposal for reducing costs.'

''If some of the manufacturers wish to run a private series with unlimited expenditure,'' it went on, ''the FIA will give them every assistance. It would be an interesting experiment, but too risky for (F1).''

Why would Toyota switch?
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.14) Why on earth would an ambitious formula one team switch from pacesetter Michelin to struggling tire rival Bridgestone?

Undoubtedly, that is a question on many observers' lips after Williams and Toyota - although the latter is not yet confirmed officially - intend to do just that at the end of the year.

Toyota's chief engineer, Dieter Gass, tried hard to explain.

''Next year we go to V8 (engines),'' he said, ''so the slate is wiped clean a little bit.''

This is not, however, the full story. Toyota - although with an F1 HQ in Germany - and Bridgestone are both Tokyo-based companies, and are already commercially linked in the road car market.

There is also the small matter of F1's governing FIA, and the teams, wanting to rid the sport of the current tire war. Michelin, it is clear, is not interested in sticking around to supply a 'control' tire.

''We understand that Michelin prefer competition,'' Gass continued, ''but Bridgestone can see themselves as a sole supplier.''

Switching early, then, would also have the added benefit of offering a head-start in adjusting to the control supplier's qualities and development.

Schu calms mood at party
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.14) Michael Schumacher calmed down after his irate Belgian GP clash with Takuma Sato on Sunday by going to dinner with a dozen friends.

As Ferrari boss Jean Todt revealed, the German driver asked to fast track the stewards' enquiry and left the Spa Francorchamps track early.

36-year-old Schumacher didn't, though, fly back home to Switzerland to sit and sulk. Instead, the destination was Cologne (Germany), where - with wife Corinna - he had already planned a party at an exclusive club.

German daily 'Bild' reports that the party raged on until 5am.

''We had a good time,'' the seven time world champion admitted. ''Whenever I am near Cologne, I plan to see my friends.''

F1 tests at three tracks
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.14) Three test tracks buzzed into formula one action on Tuesday.

A cloudy Silverstone (England) housed the majority of teams, as Renault's Fernando Alonso and McLaren tester Alex Wurz led the way ahead of runners for Toyota, Red Bull and Anthony Davidson, who tested a Jordan.

Olivier Panis was in charge of Toyota's V8 engine, while Pedro de la Rosa debuted Mercedes' 2.4 liter 2006 unit and lapped 7.5 seconds off the pace.

Williams will run Antonio Pizzonia and Nico Rosberg on Wednesday.

At the Spanish 'Jerez de la Frontera' venue, Ferrari's Marc Gene ran alone, as did BAR further north at the Circuit de Catalunya (Barcelona).

'Davidson's troubled run
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.14) BAR's Anthony Davidson drove through problems during his one-day Jordan run at Silverstone.

The Englishman, bidding for a full time race seat next year, sat too low in the yellow racer and suffered an early Toyota V10 engine failure.

''I'm a bit too small (for the car),'' the 26-year-old told Autosport.

Another problem for Davidson - nicknamed 'Ant' - is that he hadn't driven on the British grand prix venue for a year.

But he insisted after a 58-lap day: ''I pushed hard in the afternoon.'' Davidson was 7th quickest of the field of nine, and about four seconds a lap off the leading pace.

He is still contracted to BAR until the end of the year, and will indeed drive the Honda-powered car next at Jerez.

Davidson commented of the 'Buttongate II' effect on the 2005-2006 driver market: ''Jenson is holding everyone up.''

'Team Briatore' ruled out
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.14) With Benetton and (nearly) Fernando Alonso's 2005 title with Renault in the bag, Flavio Briatore has ruled out kicking off a new challenge in the future -- 'Team Briatore'.

''No,'' the outspoken Italian team principal categorically told formula1.com. ''It would only spell big aggravation. I have done Ligier, Minardi, Benetton and Supertec -- that should be enough.''

Flamboyant 'Flav', though, didn't waver on the next question. If able to change one thing about F1, Briatore pointed a finger at the supremo.

''Bernie (Ecclestone),'' he answered. ''The way he thinks. We have to cut costs and put on more entertainment.''

On one aspect, though, Briatore and 74-year-old Ecclestone do agree -- neither of them are going anywhere.

''I have no plans whatsoever to retire,'' said the Renault principal, ''so it looks as if I'm forever as well; at least as long as Bernie is there.''

Bernie Ecclestone called Flavio's belief - that he should adopt a fresh approach to formula one - ''strange. (Briatore) has been following my suggestions for years,'' the little Englishman shrugged.

F1 bench 'not nice' - Liuzzi
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.14) Vitantonio Liuzzi has described the feeling of sitting on the formula one sideline as 'really difficult'.

The last F3000 champion and Red Bull's 'Friday' driver was supposed to equally share the second race seat with Christian Klien in 2005, but the latter and more experienced Austrian - with whom he lives - will have raced 15 times to Liuzzi's four by the end of the season.

On Tuesday, the energy drink-owned squad confirmed that Klien would indeed see out the year.

''I always try to understand the thinking behind the decisions,'' 'Tonio' told the ITV website, ''but it's not a nice feeling to just be testing.

'''We are racers, we have it in the blood.''

Red Bull deny political ploy
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.14) Dietrich Mateschitz has denied that buying Minardi was a clever political ploy for influence within formula one.

Intended or not, the move gives his Red Bull company a second vote in decision making processes. F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, Max Mosley, and Ferrari will all be smiling.

Bernie, the F1 supremo, is sure to get another signature on his 2008 Concorde, while Ferrari - Red Bull's new engine supplier - wins extra support among its dissenting rivals. FIA president Mosley, meanwhile, can bid farewell to his fiercest critic, former owner Paul Stoddart.

''The answer is a clear no,'' Mateschitz told grandprix.com.

''There were no political issues at all behind this takeover.''

Meanwhile, Mateschitz's right-hand-man Dany Bahar told the same website that speculation linking renowned designer Mark Smith with technical boss Guenther Steiner's job is 'just a rumor.

''Guenther is still technical operations director and reports directly to Red Bull,'' he explained, ''while Mark Smith reports directly to Guenther ... and has a title change to technical director.''

'Don't blame Bridgestone'
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.14) Minardi is the most useful tool in analyzing Ferrari's fall from grace.

That's the revelation of McLaren's 'F1 CEO' Martin Whitmarsh, who rejects the notion that Bridgestone should be entirely blamed for the scarlet crisis at Maranello.

Minardi, F1's backmarking reference, also run on the Japanese rubber. Last year, the gap between Ferrari and the team was about 4 seconds a lap.

''At Monza it was approximately two seconds,'' Englishman Whitmarsh remarked, ''and I don't think Minardi has found two seconds.

''Rather, Ferrari have dropped back.''

Whitmarsh said blaming Bridgestone, a single element of the formula one package, is far too simple. He thinks the loss of pace is more to do with Ferrari throttling back after a few years of dominance.

''In contrast,'' the McLaren man added, ''we had never pushed as hard as we did last year. Perhaps Ferrari pushed less.''

Fiat won't sell Ferrari
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.14) Struggling Italian carmaker Fiat will not sell its 56 per cent stake in Ferrari, president Luca di Montezemolo says.

At the Frankfurt (Germany) Motor Show, the Italian chairman vowed: ''Absolutely no.''

Whether Ferrari would be floated on the stock market, though, greeted a less explicit answer from di Montezemolo.

He said Mediobanca, the investment bank with a 34 per cent Ferrari stake, would be involved in that decision. In July, the Italian investment bank sold 5 per cent to Abu Dhabi.

Montezemolo, however, insisted: ''We will not touch the 56 per cent.'' Meanwhile, asked if a Ferrari stock market float might be imminent, he added: ''Not at the moment.''

V8 leaves Pedro 'shocked'
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.14) Pedro de la Rosa was 'shocked' when he floored the throttle of Mercedes' 2006 V8 engine on Tuesday.

At the Silverstone test, the Spaniard clocked 37 laps with the 2.4 liter unit and ended the day nearly eight seconds per lap off the V10-powered pace.

''It is simply lacking in power,'' de la Rosa, 34, told Autosport.

''It is true to say that it is less physical. We have to carry the speed through (a corner), so in a way we may have to change the driving style.''

Williams lose title sponsor
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.14) Sir Frank Williams' formula one team will lose title sponsor 'HP' at the end of the 2005 season.

After BMW's decision to also quit the team, HP - who joined the livery back in 2000 - said it's a 'natural moment' to conclude the relationship even though it is believed that the contract had another twelve months to run.

''We have met our objectives,'' executive vice president Cathy Lyons said in a statement.

''We wish them all the best as they go in a new direction.''

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