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