Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
September 15,  2005

Flav - F1 boss or party-goer?
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.15) Flavio Briatore has thrown off claims that he is more 'womanizer' and less F1 expert.

The 55-year-old, poised to add Fernando Alonso's championship triumph to that of a young Michael Schumacher ten years ago, insists that his links to numerous beautiful girlfriends belie what really goes on in his office.

Briatore, Renault principal, asked Germany's 'Bild' newspaper: ''Could you lead a successful F1 team of 1000 people if you were always at a party?

''Of course not. The problem is that the Paparazzi sit and waits for me to have some spare time. I wish they pointed their camera at me when I am sitting in my office!

''Sometimes I will work day and night for a week, then I need a break, need to have some fun and relax. Then it's right back to work again.''

'Flav' also scoffed at McLaren counterpart Ron Dennis' claim that Briatore wouldn't know the difference between a formula one car's gearbox and its steering wheel.

''Just imagine what would happen,'' Flavio retorted, ''if I knew as much as (Ron) obviously attributes to himself.''

F1 tests continue apace
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.15) F1 testing at three separate circuits continued on Wednesday.

At a cloudy Silverstone (UK), Renault, McLaren, Red Bull, Toyota and Williams ran in what is one of the final tests of the 2005 race season.

''I can't believe we're nearly at the end of the season,'' McLaren's Alex Wurz remarked.

It was title leader Fernando Alonso, however, at the top of the times. Also of note were Olivier Panis, in the 'b' spec Toyota, and - getting his first taste of F1 - Sakon Yamamoto in a yellow Jordan.

The young Japanese was six seconds off the pace, slower even than McLaren tester Pedro de la Rosa even though the latter's Mercedes-Benz engine featured two cylinders less. Williams' Antonio Pizzonia had a frightening moment when his suspension failed.

At Barcelona, Takuma Sato emerged quickest of BAR's sole charge, while at nearby Jerez (Spain), Ferrari tester driver Marc Gene continued to work on a Bridgestone program.

China predict F1 sell-out
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.15) Organizers predict that a 190,000 sell-out crowd will flock to Shanghai for the 2005 season-ending Chinese GP.

''I hope this year is an even bigger success than last,'' general manager Yu Zhifei - who said the inaugural event contributed 'greatly' to the local economy a year ago - remarked.

''This year will see a boost ... due to an increased awareness of motorsports in China.''

Sign to keep 'Minardi' alive
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.15) More than a thousand Minardi fans have already put their support behind a bid to keep the historic name on the F1 grid.

Following Paul Stoddart's decision to sell the Faenza based straggler, forzaminardi.com is running an online petition pleading with new owner Red Bull to call off likely plans for a moniker like 'Red Bull Rookie'.

''Over twenty years,'' the petition description read, ''(Minardi has) become an important and valuable player in F1.

''We urge the team's new owners to consider keeping Minardi, the sporting spirit of F1, alive. Forza Minardi!'

To sign, go to http://www.forzaminardi.com/petition/petition.php

Meanwhile, Minardi claims that Stoddart's second memorabilia auction took on 'a new and poignant dimension' with the announcement of the team sale.

''It is obviously sad to hear that the Minardi name may disappear from formula one at the end of the current season,'' said Minardi's Bache Treharne auctioneer Chris Hall.

The auction, to see twenty two modern F1 cars go under the hammer, will be held in Ledbury (England) this weekend.

FIA writing new rules
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.15) The governing FIA says it is writing new rules that will allow lesser-funded teams to enter the 2008 world championship.

As talks between the Paris body and existing manufacturers appear to once again stall, Max Mosley drafted a statement earlier this week claiming that he will go it alone in finding ways to lower pitlane's huge budgets.

''New teams intending to apply to enter ... in 2008 have all made it clear that they can do so only if costs are greatly reduced,'' it read.

Mosley hinted that the already published 'draft' rules for 2008 will now be amended to further cut 'unnecessary and excessive expenditure.

''The target is to reduce the budget of a top team from the current $360m to around $120m.

''(This) is still a vast amount of money when compared to any other form of motor racing.''

Klien - 'I'm no rookie'
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.15) Christian Klien has staked a claim to keep his Red Bull seat next year, after the energy drink company's management said that Vitantonio Liuzzi is also a candidate.

Certainly, with the Red Bull buy-out of 'rookie' team Minardi, both youngsters' immediate futures in formula one are assured. 22-year-old Klien, though, said he should be the front runner for the role next to veteran David Coulthard.

''2006 will be my third season in formula one,'' he told Austria's 'APA' news agency, ''so I do not really consider myself a 'rookie' any more.''

He continued: ''In this business, experience is everything.''

Signed-and-sealed 2006 Red Bull driver David Coulthard agrees with Klien that he has now earned a place on the F1 grid.

''I've been pretty impressed with him,'' the Scot, 34, told Motorsport Aktuell. ''In many races this year he has pushed me rather hard and he has also improved with time.''

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