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Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
September 30,  2005


Date set for Karthikeyan run
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.30) A date and location has been set for Narain Karthikeyan's F1 demo-drive in the streets of Mumbai.

The Indian, we can reveal, will power along Marine Drive - next to the coast - on Sunday October 30, in the first demonstration of grand prix machinery in an Indian city.

A two kilometer stretch of road will be closed for 28-year-old Karthikeyan's run in his Toyota powered Jordan EJ15.








McLaren rule at Jerez
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.30) McLaren confirmed its status in the F1 pecking-order by going first and second quickest as the final test of the 2005 season continued at Jerez (Spain).

Testers Pedro de la Rosa and Alex Wurz led the charge, chased by the Renault of Franck Montagny. BAR joined the action on Thursday while Red Bull and Toyota also tested.

''I can't believe this is the last test before the end of the season,'' said Austrian Wurz, 31.

''The year seems to have gone by so quickly.''

Of note on the hot and sunny circuit in southern Spain were F1 debutants Lucas di Grassi (Renault), and Indy Racing League champion Tony Kanaan.

Meanwhile, at the French 'Paul Ricard' track in the south of that country, Michael Schumacher took over from Marc Gene as Ferrari charge ahead with tire development.

The German will test again on Friday.








Minardi will stay at Faenza
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.30) Red Bull magnate Dietrich Mateschitz has denied that Minardi, his newly acquired second F1 team, will be moved from Italy.

Contrary to the revelations of motor sport advisor Helmut Marko, the Austrian billionaire said departing owner Paul Stoddart's request that 'Red Bull Rookie' stay put would be honored for now.

''For me they're an Italian team,'' Mateschitz told La Gazzetta dello Sport, ''and they must stay in Faenza. ''But we'll change their image to a mixture of fun and performance.''

To that end, young and trendy Vitantonio Liuzzi - an Italian - is a shoe-in, and America's Scott Speed is also expected to take a cockpit. Team management, however, is unlikely to be harvested from the senior team, said Mateschitz.

He added: ''But it won't be Gerhard Berger -- we need someone who can take care of the team full time and he already has other commitments.''

Mateschitz said it would be 'a dream' to put MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi in a F1 cockpit. ''For him,'' Dietrich grinned, ''our door is open.''

In the interview with the Italian newspaper, the Red Bull boss also rejected speculation that Minardi would not honor the Stoddart-penned deal to stick with Cosworth power in 2006 and 2007.








Kanaan won't make F1 switch
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.30) Tony Kanaan has shrugged off speculation that his Thursday test for BAR-Honda this week might be interpreted as a signal of his plans to switch from America's Indy Racing League.

The 30-year-old lapped 51 times at Jerez and adapted notably quickly to the F1 machine.

But the 30-year-old Brazilian insisted: ''I have a (IRL) contract ... to 2008 so I'm staying there for a long time, I hope.

''I've got a good opportunity in America, you've always got to try to make a living, but formula one has always been a dream.''

The European-based pinnacle of motor racing has, however, always been close to the 2004 IRL champion's heart. Tony is a close friend of Rubens Barrichello, and he used to travel the F1 circuit with Ayrton Senna.

Kanaan added in Spain: ''I'm not here to be tested, I'm here to enjoy something I earned -- I feel like a kid at Disneyland!''








Rosberg takes another F1 step
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.30) Nico Rosberg edged another step towards formula one on Thursday by becoming the first GP2 champion in Bahrain.

The 20-year-old, whose Finnish father Keke won the 1982 F1 title for Williams, is also linked with Sir Frank's team for the 2006 season.

German born Nico's GP2 team, ART, is run by the son of Ferrari boss Jean Todt -- Nicolas.

''F1 is definitely the next step,'' Rosberg said in Bahrain, ''and for sure I will (be a) test (driver) and maybe even be a race driver.''

He told Autosport: ''I'm still talking to Williams and BMW.''

Renault-contracted Finn Heikki Kovalainen finished second to Rosberg in the GP2 standings.








'B' car for Ralf, not Jarno
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.30) The delayed 'b' version of Toyota's 2005 car may be raced by Ralf Schumacher, but not teammate Jarno Trulli, in Japan.

Following its earlier technical and handling problems, 30-year-old Ralf is now happy at the wheel of the car and has told the Cologne based team that he'd like to race it.

Italian teammate Jarno Trulli, though, appears to be around a second per lap off Schumacher's pace in the 'b' car, even though Trulli has led the German throughout 2005.

''I don't feel confident in it,'' 31-year-old Jarno told Autosport.








Ron covets F1 drivers' title
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.30) Ron Dennis agrees with his Renault counterpart Flavio Briatore that the drivers' championship is the one to win.

The McLaren boss, who saw Kimi Raikkonen miss out on the prize to Renault's new champion Fernando Alonso in Brazil, rejected the common perception that he yearns most for the constructors' trophy.

McLaren, with a quicker car, is more likely than Renault to win the 2005 constructors', which gives the winning team - amongst other things - the first and biggest garages in pitlane, and the most prize and travel money.

''It is important,'' Ron told Speed TV, ''but our objective is to put our drivers in a position to win the world championship. If we don't achieve that ... then that is not as we would like it to be.''








Zonta slates 'boring' V8s
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.30) Ricardo Zonta slammed F1's move from V10 to V8 power for 2006 by suggesting that grand prix cars will become too easy to drive.

Toyota's Brazilian tester was at the wheel of a 2.4 liter unit at the Jerez test on Thursday, where he trailed the ultimate pace by nearly 5 seconds.

So far, the V8 horse power reduction over 2005's current 3.0 liter V10s is about 200 bhp.

Zonta, 29, described his Jerez-spec racer to Autosport: ''It's dead easy to drive, not physical at all, not a challenge -- a little girl could drive that car.

''It's a bit boring.''







2006-spec 'Midland M16'
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.30) The first Midland F1 car will be called 'M16', in recognition of the disappearing Jordan name's fifteen year GP history.

The car designation is a combination of 'M' for Midland, but also acknowledging that it will be the sixteenth formula one design built in the Silverstone factory since Eddie Jordan's team debuted in 1991.

The current Jordan is called EJ15.

Since Jordan sold the team to Russian-Canadian billionaire Alex Shnaider, it has endured a trying relationship with the press. Jordan/Midland has been accused of not being serious about F1 and speculation constantly lingers that Shnaider would - if he could - sell the team tomorrow.

''I hope that by now all of those misconceptions and rumors have been cleared up,'' Shnaider told the Canadian 'Globe and Mail' newspaper.

Part of Jordan's terrible PR image in 2005 can be blamed on team principal Colin Kolles, who usually offered a less than friendly face in conveying the team's messages.

To fix that problem, Shnaider hired the always-smiling British former driver Johnny Herbert, who was a popular darling of the British F1 hacks.

The team owner admits that 41-year-old Herbert is making it easier for Midland-owned Jordan to get along with 'our partners, sponsors, media and fans.'








No second tunnel for Renault
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.30) Pat Symonds says that Renault, unlike many formula one rivals, cannot afford to build and run a second wind tunnel.

The Enstone based team works nearly day and night with a single aerodynamic department, which is located on site.

Renault then do a bit of extra wind tunnel research in the Fondmetal facility in Italy.

''A fair few hours go in there,'' Symonds - the executive director of engineering - told Autosport. ''The trouble is that for a second tunnel these days, the actual capital investment is horrific.''

What did play into Renault's hands this year, however, was the 30-day voluntary test agreement. While big-spenders like McLaren, Williams, BAR and Toyota had to cut back their mammoth in-season programs, Renault didn't have to change a lot in 2005.

''The agreement has been the amount of testing we've run with for many years,'' Symonds told the magazine. ''We can't afford to have two test teams.''








Bernie wants Bahrain test
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.30) F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has reportedly proposed that teams conduct some testing this winter at the Bahrain track.

But Renault's Pat Symonds reckons it would be 'madness' to fork out for flights to other continents simply in search of a warmer F1 asphalt.

''What I can say is that we won't (test in Bahrain),'' the executive director of engineering, referring to Enstone based Renault, confirmed.

He told Autosport: ''It's so expensive -- we just can't afford that.

''Bahrain is something like $12 per kilo (of) air freight,'' the Briton explained, ''and we'd be sending a bit more than a suitcase!''








On 30 September
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.30) German born former grand prix driver Jochen Mass is celebrating his fifty ninth birthday on Friday.

The 1989 Le Mans winner drove 105 formula one races - winning just the one - in 1973-1982, but he will be remembered by some for his involvement in the fatal 1982 accident of Gilles Villeneuve.

Mass' only victory, in a McLaren in Spain in 1975, will also be remembered because the race was shortened and half points awarded after a crash involving Rolf Stommelen that killed five spectators.

Meanwhile, on 30 September 2001, double world champion Mika Hakkinen collected his twentieth - and last - GP win.








Senna and Schumacher
(GMMf1NET -- Sep.30) It's not easy being Ayrton Senna or Michael Schumacher.

A man called Ayrton Senna was sentenced in a Scottish court on Thursday after, in March this year, he made obscene gestures at young school girls.

The 37-year-old, who was also put on the sex offenders register, changed his name from John Campbell after his hero - triple world champion Ayrton Senna - died in a F1 crash.

He is a bus driver.

Meanwhile, after a young Spaniard called Fernando Alonso who does not own a car was uncovered this week, a man called Michael Schumacher - it is revealed - lives in London.

But the 41-year-old German, who has a thick German accent, said it is not all rosy to share a name with a F1 superstar.

''It's like with pizza deliveries,'' Schumacher said. ''They think you're joking.

''I booked into a hotel once and they thought it was the real Michael. The staff were all waiting at the desk and there was such a disappointed look on their faces when I walked in.''

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