Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
September 29, 2005
Pizzonia racing on
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.29) Antonio Pizzonia will see out the 2005 season in
a Williams cockpit, the Grove based formula one team confirmed on
The Brazilian, who first replaced BMW-bound Nick Heidfeld when the
regular driver had concussion at Monza, is to retain the seat in Japan
and China next month.
Also with Spa and Brazil under his belt, the 25-year-old 'Jungle Boy'
will have raced five times in season '05.
Williams' statement, tellingly, made no mention at all of German
28-year-old Heidfeld, who - like works engine partner BMW - is
switching to Sauber from next year.
It will only fuel speculation that the decision to keep him out of the
car has more to do with inter-team politics than a supposed Swiss
Sir Frank Williams said of test driver Pizzonia: ''On the strength of
his races for the team thus far this season, we know he will serve us
well in the next two grands prix.''
Nick 'not fit' to return
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.29) German driver Nick Heidfeld has stated that
injuries sustained in a recent biking accident mean he will have to
sit out the rest of the season.
Not referring directly to speculation that Williams-BMW politics
perhaps had more to do with the decision to keep 'sub' Antonio
Pizzonia at the wheel, 28-year-old 'Quick Nick' insisted that he is
not fit to race the Williams in Asia.
''I have conducted some simulator tests,'' Heidfeld said, ''and it was
determined that I am only able to withstand loads of fifty per cent.
''Unfortunately, because of this, I cannot race again this year.''
Meanwhile, in the Autosport magazine, Williams' technical director Sam
Michael denied speculation that Heidfeld and the team had fallen out
over his 2006 deal to drive for BMW.
''Our relationship has finished on good terms,'' said the Australian.
''We hold Nick in high regard and wish him all the best for the
Nico admits F1 debut 'risky'
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.29) 20-year-old GP2 driver Nico Rosberg has admitted
that he was in the running to replace Williams 'sub' Antonio Pizzonia
for the final Asian leg of the 2005 world championship.
The German, son of Williams' Finland-born 1982 title winner Keke
Rosberg, revealed that he tested the FW27 at Jerez this week in view
of possibly debuting at Japan and China in injured regular Nick
Heidfeld's current absence.
''There was a possibility,'' Nico - off to Bahrain for the GP2 decider
- said, ''(but) in the end I think it was down to them wanting
Rosberg also admitted that he hadn't even met any of the Grove based
team's race squad. ''(Racing) would have been pretty risky for me
because it would have been a big jump into cold water, for sure.
''There was a small chance that it would have gone alright, but a big
chance that it would have been a disaster.
''So (not racing) was the wisest decision.''
'Breakaway' still on
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.29) Seven teams and five carmakers threatening to
split from formula one in 2008 say they will carry on with 'breakaway'
plans despite positive recent meetings with Max Mosley.
At their own meeting in Munich on Wednesday, the so-called 'GPMA'
alliance entered into a 'binding' agreement with the teams to race
only in a series that meets its 'fundamental principles'.
In a statement, the group said their 2008 series partner - iSe - had
been told to 'advance negotiations with key partners' in anticipation
of abandoning the Bernie Ecclestone/FIA umbrella after 2007.
''(The) group remains open and willing to discuss with the current
commercial rights holder and the FIA on the future of Grand Prix motor
racing beyond 2007,'' the statement explained, ''(but) the current
uncertainty leaves them with no option other than to progress
preparatory work for the New Series.''
The GPMA's new threat comes despite supposedly positive recent
meetings with FIA president Max Mosley, suggesting that the main bone
of contention is with Bernie Ecclestone and a commercial deal.
Last tests drive on
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.29) McLaren, Red Bull and Toyota joined Williams on
track as the last session before the upcoming test ban continued at
Local Spanish tester Pedro de la Rosa, who will return to the 'Friday'
car in Shanghai, was quickest of the seven in his McLaren before the
engine let go.
''The reason for this problem will be investigated,'' said a McLaren
spokeswoman. ''Before the failure, the (Mercedes-Benz V10) engine had
been tested extensively across the full power range.''
In the south of France, meanwhile, Ferrari's Marc Gene did another day
of Bridgestone testing at Paul Ricard. Michael Schumacher will take
over on Thursday and Friday.
Alonso at Enstone
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.29) Renault's Enstone (UK) factory rumbled to its
foundation on Wednesday when drivers' world champion Fernando Alonso
visited his team.
In the HQ's conference room, where bottles of champagne waited to be
uncorked, hundreds of Renault workers roared into applause when Pat
Symonds called the newly crowned young Spanish sensation - and team
boss Flavio Briatore - onto the stage.
''What can I say?'' the 24-year-old started. ''I think the truth is
that we have been the best this season. We will be going at full power
in the next two races, and Fisico (Giancarlo Fisichella) and I are
confident for the constructors'.''
Team principal Briatore, meanwhile, said that he had already traveled
to Renault's engine base in Viry-Chattilon (France) following the
title triumph of Brazil.
di Grassi to test Renault car
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.29) 21-year-old Lucas di Grassi will get his first
taste of formula one power this week at Jerez.
At the southern Spanish circuit, the Brazilian - a member of Renault's
driver development scheme - will steer a R25 alongside regular team
test driver Franck Montagny.
Di Grassi, who lives not far from Renault's Enstone base, will get two
days in the F1 car.
''(Franck and Lucas) will be choosing tires for the last races,'' a
Renault statement revealed, ''and putting valuable testing mileage on
further updates to both chassis and engine.''
Newly crowned drivers' world champion Fernando Alonso, it is clear,
will not participate in the week's testing grind. The Spaniard intends
to put his feet up in Oxford.
Beijing, Shanghai, unite
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.29) Beijing will tap into fellow city Shanghai's
knowledge of running a big sports event - the grand prix - ahead of
China's Olympic Games in 2008.
The new Shanghai formula one track, it was announced, has signed a
partnership with the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee.
''With two such big sporting events,'' said the circuit's general
manager Yu Zhifei, ''it would be easy to get lost in the battle for
He added: ''However after much discussion we decided that the best way
forward was an alliance.''
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge will help
unveil the joint venture prior to the '05 ending Chinese GP next
Mansell renews F1 attack
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.29) 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell has renewed his
attack on modern formula one by insisting that the new 'Grand Prix
Masters' series might prove to be a superior spectacle.
The Englishman, among the 45-year-old-and-over field to race in the
new single seater category later this year, said F1's format and
accessibility for the public put the sport in danger of being
''We have a proper qualifying session,'' the 52-year-old explained,
''which is great for the drivers and spectators.
''It won't be like (F1's) current one-lap qualifying format, which is
rubbish if you ask me.''
Mansell will be joined on track by old rivals like Alain Prost,
Emerson Fittipaldi, Ricardo Patrese, Alan Jones, Stefan Johansson,
Andrea de Cesaris, Rene Arnoux, Jan Lammers and Christian Danner.
He reckons the single-seater car will be 'far better' than a F1 car of
the 80s, meaning that Prost - who has done a fair bit of racing lately
- is a more likely favorite to win.
The first race will be held at Kyalami in November.
''(Alain) Prost has been racing a lot recently and I haven't been in a
car for a long time.
''But I was always the underdog in my F1 career.''
Mansell also hit out at how formula one has changed since he forged a
15-year career in the 80s and 90s, in which he won 31 grands prix and
raced for teams like Ferrari and Williams.
He said: ''Everything has been sterilized ... now, the whole thing is
controlled too much.''
Head hisses at BMW's Theissen
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.29) The F1 team he part-owns may have lost the works
support of BMW, but Patrick Head wouldn't necessarily rather be in the
shoes of Mario Theissen.
Head, Williams' former long-time technical director and now HQ-based
director of engineering, said Theissen - the likely 2006 BMW-Sauber
principal - might have bitten off more than he can easily chew.
The pair are not the best of friends, with some suggesting that their
acerbic relationship led to Theissen wanting to go it alone in 2006.
Head told Reuters that Theissen apparently made some pretty bold
'promises' to BMW.
''As I understand it, he's told the board not only that he will
arrange that the team is fully funded through sponsorship but also
that they will win the championship in 2007.
''Well, good luck to you Mario,'' he said.
Patrick Head said he and Sir Frank Williams were reluctant to offer
similar championship-promises to the BMW board.
2006 BMW driver Nick Heidfeld, who for most of this year steered a
Williams, agrees with Head that next year - at least - will be hard
going for the new works team.
''We will be looking for the bigger results to come in 2007 and
particularly in 2008,'' the German told Autosport.
He added: ''It's not just a question of spending a huge amount of
money. I'm pretty sure (BMW) will want to avoid that.''
Star lineup for RoC
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.29) An impressive line-up is already committed to
compete in December's popular Race of Champions event in Paris
62,000 flocked to the Stade de France last year, where GP2 driver
Heikki Kovalainen and world rally star Sebastien Loeb both beat F1
champion Michael Schumacher in the unique head-to-head contest.
''Many other champions are expected to confirm their presence in the
next few weeks,'' event organizer Fredrik Johnsson has announced.
Among those already committed are, again, Loeb and Kovalainen, Jean
Alesi, rally driver Marcus Gronholm, Red Bull's David Coulthard and
NASCAR title winner Jeff Gordon.
''At this year's Indianapolis grand prix,'' Kovalainen admitted, ''the
Americans recognized me and congratulated me on beating Michael!
''This year, I am going to Paris to win again.''
Kanaan tests BAR at Jerez
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.29) Toothbrush and spare underwear aside, Tony Kanaan
remembered to pack the most important thing ahead of his maiden
formula one test for BAR at Jerez -- his mobile phone.
Stored on it is his IRL team chief Michael Andretti's phone number.
''If the BAR guys like me,'' the Brazilian IRL champion beamed at
Jerez, ''I can always give his number to Gil (de Ferran) and Nick
On the day before his Thursday run, 30-year-old Kanaan tried the F1
cockpit for size and was told how to operate the complex steering
''This is a childhood dream come true,'' he grinned, ''and always
something I wanted to do since I jumped in a go-kart. ''I said to Gil
'tell Rubens I got stuck in (the car)!.''
Countryman Rubens Barrichello, who will switch from Ferrari to BAR in
2006, is a close friend of Kanaan's.
The test is a Honda perk for Kanaan for winning the '04 IRL title.
Love letters for Alonso
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.29) Fernando Alonso, who doesn't even own a car,
could not figure out why he was being sent love letters and fan mail.
The Spaniard, who lives in Oxford, did not just win the formula one
drivers' championship -- but he does share a name with someone who
According to the British 'Sun' newspaper, the 27-year-old - who is a
publisher - said: ''It's funny as a don't have a car.
''One girl said she loved me and asked me to ring her.''
BMW to get Cosworth beating?
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.29) Cosworth's customer V8 engine may be 'a long way'
superior to the BMW 2.4 liter, Williams' Patrick Head has said.
The team's engineering director and co-owner told Reuters that he has
seen the proposed specifications of both engines, because both offered
to supply the Grove squad.
''The (Cosworth) is quite a lot higher than the spec of the (BMW),''
said Englishman Head.
The Briton fell out with motor sport director Mario Theissen in the
same year that BMW decided to go it alone for 2006 and beyond by
buying Peter Sauber's Swiss team.
While the Cosworth option, to cost Williams several million dollars
next year, might be a handy little unit, the problem will be
Patrick answered 'no' when he rhetorically asked himself if Cosworth
could keep up with the development might of - for example - Japanese
But he ruled out returning to the role of technical director after
last year putting Australian youngster Sam Michael in charge. Since
then, the team Head co-owns with Sir Frank Williams has struggled.
''From my early 20s to early to mid-50s I was used to doing seven days
a week and 14-hour days and I don't have an interest in taking that
approach,'' Patrick Head insisted.
''Feedback can be sent to
Go to our
to discuss this article
Copyright 1999-2012 AutoRacing1 is an
independent internet online publication and is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed
by the IRL., NASCAR, FIA, Sprint, or any other series sponsor.
This material may not be published, broadcast, or redistributed without