Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
September 21,  2005

'Button not worth $50m'
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.21) Eddie Jordan has cast doubt on wild reports that Jenson Button's bill to stay away from Williams could top $50 million.

The ex-team owner said letting a top driver break a cast-iron formula one contract 'would cost good money.

''But I can't believe it would be $50m.''

EJ knows Grove based principal Sir Frank Williams well, and agreed that he is one of the hardest taskmasters in the grand prix Paddock.

''Frank is not a person you tangle with easily,'' he said.

''He sticks to his guns and is a tough negotiator.''

In the end, perhaps Williams decided that forcing 25-year-old JB to fill a cockpit he didn't want to occupy was a bad idea. Or perhaps wheelchair-bound Sir Frank simply wearied of the Briton who debuted for Williams in 2000.

Eddie Jordan said: ''If I was a team manager, I would be thinking 'how could I possibly sign a contract with Jenson Button when seemingly every contract he does sign he no longer wants to honor?'

''He must be very careful not to become tainted goods.''

Kimi - 'I must win'
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.21) Victory is distant championship challenger Kimi Raikkonen's only option for the Brazilian GP.

Anything other than a ten-point haul from the race in a southern district of Sao Paulo would leave Renault rival Fernando Alonso needing a paltry points finish to finally wear the drivers' crown.

''With only three races remaining,'' said Finland's Kimi, the currently dominant F1 driver, ''nothing but another win will do for me in Brazil.''

After an unreliable start to the season, 25-year-old Raikkonen has won six times this year. So, too, has Alonso, but the runaway Spaniard has not tasted victory champagne since late July.

Dubai royal's F1 rival
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.21) According to some, the biggest threat to formula one is not the 'breakaway' band of huge carmakers, but a member of the Dubai royal family.

A 28-year-old known formally as His Highness Sheik Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum, will see his baby - the A1 Grand Prix open-wheeler series - kick off in England this weekend, as F1 races in Brazil.

Although the so-called 'World Cup of Motorsport' boasts big names and former F1 personalities, though, Maktoum played down the inevitable comparison with formula one.

Asked if A1 could ultimately replace F1 as the pinnacle of motor sport, he told BBC Radio Four: ''I don't think so.

''They are two completely different concepts. F1 is driven by technology, innovation, manufacturers. We have provided a platform to find out which driver and which country are the world's best.''

He said this is not possible in F1.

''For example (in) the Olympics, you can't have one javelin heavier than the other. We have built fifty A1 cars. They're all equal.''

'A1', moreover, is designed to mostly fill formula one's non-racing 'winter test' period.

FIA president Max Mosley describes A1 as a 'very interesting idea' but denied that it differs a great deal from the other 'one-make' categories such as the new GP2.

But he conceded: ''The idea could give rise to a commercially successful series, which may stand out from the other one-make series.''

Rubens won't win at home
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.21) Sao Paulo-born Rubens Barrichello has admitted that his dream of winning in Brazil will have to wait at least another year.

The Brazilian, to steer a Ferrari car at home for the last time on Sunday before switching to BAR in 2006, said on Tuesday that the F2005 package is 'not capable' of powering to victory.

''Personally, I've always gone well here,'' an upbeat Rubens, who still lives close to Interlagos, nonetheless added.

''You never know what might happen. Here, like in Spa, the weather could play its part. I will go to the track thinking I can fight for the win.''

There are, though, arguably more significant things going on in the Barrichello household at present. On the day after the Belgian grand prix, his second son - named, of all things, Fernando - was born.

33-year-old 'Rubinho' said: ''Looking at the current situation ... we do not have a car capable of winning (in Brazil).''

Barrichello also insisted that he won't be emotional when the checker comes down on his last home race in a red car.

He remarked of his move to Honda powered BAR: ''I have different aspirations now and I think my decision is a good move.''

Rosberg silent on F1 link
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.21) 20-year-old Nico Rosberg is keeping quiet about his possible future on the F1 grid.

The son of Williams' 1982 world F1 champion 'Flying Finn' Keke Rosberg, German-born Nico is a regular test driver of Sir Frank's 2005 car.

But he recoils in the face of speculation that he is a frontrunner for the 2006 seat originally planned for Jenson Button.

''I don't know,'' he told grandprix.com.

''But even if I did (know) I probably wouldn't be able to say.

''It is really great that talks are going on about me because F1 is the top of the game.''

Quiet and shy Rosberg, who - at seventeen - became the youngest driver to ever control a formula one cockpit, also revealed that Grove based Williams approached him about his current role -- not the other way round.

Referring to a phone call from Williams' technical director Sam Michael, he added: ''That was one of the nicest moments because they came to me.

''I was not chasing after them.''

F1 guys 'envious' - Rossi
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.21) MotoGP sensation Valentino Rossi has hit back at leading formula one figures who doubt his ability to switch successfully from two to four wheels.

The Italian champion named countrymen Flavio Briatore, Jarno Trulli and Giancarlo Fisichella as leading 'sharp, even nasty' criticism of the 26-year-old, amid speculation that he may soon race a Ferrari.

''Maybe they are a bit envious of me,'' Rossi wondered, ''with a will to demonstrate that the formula one world and drivers are better than those of motorbikes.

''I think the opposite. Then again, maybe they're afraid of me.''

Actually, it's probably more to do with the fact that - for example - Giancarlo Fisichella has had his heart set on driving for the famous Italian marque since he first raced a go-kart at the age of eight.

In this vein, Rossi can admit that turning his back on his passion would be a very 'big risk.

''I have to decide in the first part of next year,'' he added, ''and it is very likely that (switching to four wheels) would not be a success.

'It's a really strange thing -- everyone talking about me, without me being in that world.''

'Ant' will be on the grid
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.21) Anthony Davidson says the imminent conclusion to 'Buttongate II' should not affect his spot on the 2006 formula one racing grid.

The BAR tester, who had targeted Jenson Button's vacant seat in the hope his countryman could not find a compromise with Sir Frank Williams, is also linked with a BMW - even a Grove - cockpit.

But Davidson, 26, is most likely to race with 'Midland' after last week testing a Jordan.

The little Englishman told ITV: ''I don't know where I'll be.

''But I'm confident I'll be on the grid.

''I'm obviously still talking to all the teams I was talking to beforehand, but we will have to see what happens.''

The driver nicknamed 'Ant', however, dropped a pretty big hint that his 2006 home will be one of those not affected by Button's motion either way.

Davidson insisted that, unlike the rest of the F1 world, he is not waiting with bated breath for the Button announcement that is expected this week.

''It won't change much for me, to be honest,'' he suggested.

'Muggings, murder, mayhem'
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.21) Unlike other teams' bland look into F1's next destination, Paddock new-boys Red Bull now traditionally offer a witty insight with its grand prix 'preview'.

This time around, the race will be held in sprawling Brazilian city Sao Paulo -- and Red Bull are not too shy to snigger about the danger, pollution, traffic and bad tap water.

''All drivers on the road claim to be related to Emerson Fittipaldi, Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna or Rubens Barrichello,'' the preview said of the traffic problem, ''but none can drive like them.''

In the document, however, Sao Paulo's reputation for 'muggings, murder and mayhem' is actually defended. ''Despite all the dangers,'' it continued, ''there is something wonderfully infectious about the place -- and no, we don't mean the tap water.

''Get a life, get out and enjoy yourself.''

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