Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
October 3,  2005

Ferrari 'making progress'
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.3) Michael Schumacher has revealed that he was not originally scheduled to test tires at Paul Ricard (France) last week.

The German, according to the Italian press, supposedly told Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn that he wanted to personally inspect the new Bridgestone specifications for Japan and China.

''There are definitely signs that we are making progress,'' Brawn, in reference to Michael's decent pace on Thursday and Friday, explained.

Meanwhile, like BAR teammate Takuma Sato in Brazil, Jenson Button will enjoy the extra power of Honda's 'Suzuka special' engine in Japan on Sunday.

''I ran the Suzuka engine at Jerez last week,'' team tester Anthony Davidson said, ''and it felt good and strong.''

Trulli to race 'b' Toyota
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.3) Jarno Trulli has followed teammate Ralf Schumacher's lead in opting to debut the 'b' Toyota car in Japan this weekend.

Unlike Schumacher, however - who loves the updated model - Italy's Trulli admits to finding the decision to ditch the regular TF105 model 'difficult'.

He said: ''I don't necessarily get more out of the car over one lap.

''But I will go for it because it's the car we'll use as a basis for next year.''

30-year-old Ralf Schumacher, on the other hand, is delighted that - after a season in Trulli's shade - he at last feels comfortable at the wheel of a red and white racer.

''(The car) has addressed some of the issues that I had found more difficult with the standard car,'' the German said.

Technical director Mike Gascoyne admitted to the 'risk' of taking a brand new car - with minimal spare parts - to flyaway grands prix, but basically conceded that Ferrari has now beaten the Cologne based camp to third in the constructors' championship.

''So we think it's worth taking the risk,'' said the Englishman, ''and maybe we might be able to push for third at the final race in Shanghai.''

Ferrari may join test pact
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.3) Ferrari might fall in line with its formula one rivals next season by signing a voluntary 2006 agreement to limit testing.

Of the ten teams, the Maranello based Prancing Horse was the only to rebuff the 'gentleman's accord' this year when it argued that tire supplier Bridgestone should be entitled to more miles than rival Michelin, with several top teams on the books.

However, with Toyota and Williams set to switch to Japanese rubber, Ferrari boss Jean Todt told Autosport that he was 'in discussion' about whether to join the test limits.

There has, incidentally, been talk of expanding the 30-day limit for '06, amid talk that BAR-Honda considered joining Ferrari in the test free-for-all.

A sticking point for Ferrari, though, will be retaining the advantage of having invested in its private test track at Fiorano.

The team's technical director Ross Brawn admitted of the Fiorano issue: ''That's something we would have to resolve.''

Schu reign 'over' - Brundle
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.3) Michael Schumacher's decade-long reign at the top of the F1 tree is over, according to former teammate Martin Brundle.

The retired Briton and F1 commentator told his column in the 'Sunday Times' newspaper that Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen took over the mantle during 2005.

''At times this year,'' the 46-year-old wrote, ''Schumacher has looked as though the trials and setbacks ... of the season have robbed him of some energy.''

Brundle, Schumacher's teammate at Benetton in 1992, said he stood at a corner during a Brazilian practice session last month and - 'for the first time' didn't see Schumacher's exciting driving style.

He added: ''To my surprise he appeared to lack commitment and confidence. It's the first time I can recall him looking ordinary.

''The most extraordinary reign in F1 history is probably over.''

Francois Cevert
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.3) Exactly thirty four years ago today, Francois Cevert won his only grand prix.

The handsome Frenchman, a protégé of Tyrrell teammate Jackie Stewart, won the formula one race at Watkins Glen (USA) on October 3, 1971.

29-year-old Cevert was killed in a violent practice crash at the same circuit two years later, a move that pre-empted Stewart's withdrawal from the race and total retirement from F1.

Button's toothache
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.3) Prior to jetting off to Japan for the '05 season finale, Jenson Button will lay in a dentist's chair for a bit of pain relief.

According to the British tabloid 'Sunday Mirror' newspaper, the BAR driver was due to have a bad toothache seen to.

Meanwhile, the 25-year-old Englishman calls the Honda-owned Suzuka circuit 'one of my favorites' on the F1 tour.

''I think if we sort out the issues we had in Brazil,'' JB said, ''we'll be reasonably quick.''

BMW struggling with V8
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.3) BMW may be struggling to surpass 19,000 rpm with its early 2.4 liter V8 engine design for 2006.

Last week, Williams' Patrick Head revealed that the specification of his team's 2006 Cosworth power plant 'is quite a lot higher' than the works BMW.

The Munich carmaker's motor sport director Mario Theissen appeared to confirm the unpleasant news when musing to news magazine 'Der Spiegel'.

''It will be a genuine challenge (with the V8 designs) to surpass 19,000 rpm again,'' the German remarked.

Customer supplier Cosworth has previously let slip that the 2006 Williams unit is already clocking up around 20,000 rpm on the test benches.

BMW, a fierce opponent of the move to abandon the V10-route, is also thought to be grappling with the common problem of excess V8 engine vibration, particularly in the upper range on the rpm scale.

Other marques, however, don't know what all the vibration fuss is about. Toyota's Ricardo Zonta, who has slammed the 200hp loss as 'boring,' at least expected to be rocked with vibration at the wheel of an early V8 at Jerez.

The Brazilian said: ''I was pleasantly surprised at how smooth the Toyota is. I think the guys have done a good job.''

No F1 ride for Wheldon
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.3) Briton and new IRL champion Dan Wheldon will not be lining up on the formula one grid next year.

Although his manager Julian Jakobi had been in talks with Williams about the vacant 2006 seat, the 27-year-old told the Indianapolis Star newspaper that he would not be returning to Europe any time soon.

Asked whether the Williams seat was a real possibility, Wheldon answered: ''At least not in the time frame that I have.''

The newspaper suggested that Jakobi's new priority is to seal a new multi year contract with the Andretti-Green team.

Wheldon, at least, will cross the Atlantic in December this year, when he reportedly will take part in the popular 'Race of Champions' event in Paris.

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