Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
October 4, 2005
Advantage Bernie in F1 row
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.4) A Williams spokesman has confirmed reports that
the formula one team did not sign a 'binding' document in Munich last
week to commit itself to the 'breakaway' group.
The news strengthens speculation that Sir Frank Williams has been
extended a multi-million dollar carrot by Bernie Ecclestone to sign
his 2008-2012 Concorde Agreement.
But, as well as putting the Grove team in the Ferrari/Jordan/Red Bull
camp, the likely addition of Williams and Red Bull-owned Minardi would
serve a near-fatal blow to the carmakers' 'GPMA' alliance.
Williams' spokesman told The Times: ''It is correct to say that
Williams is not yet a signatory to the agreement, but we do not
consider it appropriate to discuss the reasons for this at the moment.
''We will continue to work for a resolution that is in the best
interests of both formula one in general, and Williams too,'' the
spokesman told the British newspaper, ''in a non-confrontational
Ecclestone reckons the rogue carmakers would be foolish to ditch the
F1 brand and go it alone with all the 'risks and overheads' that go
with running a premier racing category.
The 74-year-old F1 supremo mocked: ''If you sell something at Harrods,
it doesn't mean you want to own the store.''
BAR postpone F1 speed bid
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.4) An inch of Utah rain signaled the red light for
BAR's plans to set a formula one speed record on the Bonneville salt
The Honda owned team was ready to unleash South Africa's Alan van der
Merwe on the 7-mile course in America later this week, but local
weather experts told BAR that the standing water would not evaporate
for some time.
''The project team is on standby,'' a BAR statement explained, ''to
return at the earliest opportunity once the Bonneville Salt Flats have
BAR sporting director Gil de Ferran confirmed that the record attempt
would be rescheduled.
He added: ''(We) are determined to get back out to Utah again as soon
New champ vows 'full power'
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.4) Newly crowned world champion Fernando Alonso will
still be the same cool, calm and quiet Spaniard at the Japanese grand
He may now be the youngest ever drivers' title winner, but Renault's
24-year-old has work to do -- a gripping battle for the constructors'
trophy against team rival McLaren.
''When I get in the car,'' Fernando promised on Monday, ''I will be
working at full power.
''I think we can win the (teams') title.''
As ever, the blue and yellow team enter the grand prix weekend
outpaced by its silver adversary, but Renault are determined to
further close the gap at Suzuka -- new suspension is the main change
to the R25 for the race.
Technical director Bob Bell revealed: ''We are transferring things we
find in the development of the (2006) R26 where possible. Of course,
the main update to come is the E spec engine in China, which should be
a good step.''
And, with one title in the bag and morale at an all time high, Bell
confirmed that Renault will probably take more risks than usual in the
battle against Ron Dennis' team.
''But we can't afford to forget any of our attention to detail, or
compromise our reliability,'' he also insisted.
Flav aimed fire at Schu
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.4) Flavio Briatore has admitted that he engaged in a
little psychological warfare against Michael Schumacher earlier in
The Renault boss chuckled when he was reminded of his 'old taxi
driver' remark aimed at Schumacher, the beleaguered Ferrari
Briatore, 55, told the Guardian: ''In sport you aim for the opposition
weakness. I have a lot of respect (for Michael) but I know his
The Italian team principal reckons new drivers' title winner Fernando
Alonso is 'much calmer' than the 36-year-old German. ''Forget what you
see in public,'' Briatore continued. ''I know them both very well and
I promise you Fernando has more ice in his blood than Michael, who is
boiling with feeling.''
And 'Flav' denies that a demotivated Schumacher is Ferrari's biggest
problem. He reckons the people at the Maranello factory are simply
''I think you need young people,'' Flavio Briatore explained, ''to
give you new energy.''
Schu silent on Suzuka speed
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.4) Michael Schumacher is not sure that the new
Bridgestone tires he tested at Paul Ricard last week will be enough to
return Ferrari to its former F1 glory.
However, with the scarlet team's first title-less F1 season since 1998
now beyond redemption, the German driver agreed that another hard slog
at Suzuka won't change too much.
''Our motivation for next year does not depend on the last two
races,'' said the 36-year-old.
He told his website: ''Our next challenge is to fight for the 2006
Schumacher remained pretty understated about his hurriedly-prepared
Paul Ricard appearance, but did reveal that the pace looked 'good'.
But he warned: ''It is often the case that you don't see the (benefits
of the) developments until you actually try them at the race.
''It would be nice to come out of this trough by the end of the year,
but you can't force things. We are off to Japan to try to do our
Trulli to carry Olympic torch
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.4) F1's Jarno Trulli will carry the Olympic torch
when it passes through his home town of Pescara (Italy) in January
Italian city Turin is set to host next year's Winter Games.
Pescara tourism councilor Moreno di Pietrantonio said the Toyota
driver had been selected to light the overnight tripod in the city as
he was the 'most representative person from Pescara at an
international level', according to the ANSA agency.
The Turin 2006 torch will be lit in ancient Olympia next month.
Wet weather for Suzuka
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.4) After a typhoon threatened the Japanese grand prix
a year ago, local weather forecasters agree that the Suzuka race could
be set for another wet and wild weekend in 2005.
Although a little cloudy but dry at the moment, likely thunderstorms
and showers are expected on all three F1 days.
The polite Japanese crowd's bittersweet favorite in the last few years
has been Takuma Sato, who could be about to farewell formula one after
feeling the BAR-Honda boot.
The 28-year-old Japanese driver told ITV: ''The situation has been
very hard for me but that doesn't mean my relationship with the team
Nicknamed 'Taku', Sato says he enjoys racing in front of his
countrymen. ''Of course there is some extra pressure,'' he admitted,
''but the plus side is the extra excitement.''
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.4) During the famous 1000km Bathurst (Australia)
touring car race in 1992, exactly 13 years ago to the day, Denny
Hulme's BMW suddenly pulled off the track.
Inside, the 56-year-old New Zealander - and 1967 formula one world
champion for Brabham - had died of a heart attack.
''He was honest and sincere,'' said track rival Sir Jackie Stewart,
''with star quality, but no star behavior -- simply Denny.''
Meanwhile, on the fourth of October some thirty five years ago,
another world champion - the then 23-year-old Emerson Fittipaldi - won
his first of fourteen career grands prix, at Watkins Glen (US).
'Minardi spirit' to drive on
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.4) Red Bull may finally show what the boys at Faenza
are really capable of, formula one team founder Gian Carlo Minardi
The Italian, still a Minardi employee under the 2001-2005 ownership
regime of Paul Stoddart, reckons he is not sad to see the baton passed
to energy drink mogul and billionaire, Dietrich Mateschitz.
Asked if he would mourn the departure of the name 'Minardi' from
pitlane, Gian Carlo told f1total.com: ''What is most important is that
the staff will remain in place. With Red Bull, the world will finally
see what we are made of.
''If the name changes, the Minardi spirit will stay the same.''
More than 15,000 supporters have now signed the 'forzaminardi.com'
petition to keep the Minardi name alive beyond 2005. Gian Carlo
Minardi, who says he is happy to see Red Bull in charge, reckons the
team must 'accept the decisions' of Mateschitz.
Minardi, who hardly speaks a word of fluent English and never shared a
particularly friendly relationship with 'boss' Paul Stoddart,
continued: ''Everyone can see what Mr Mateschitz has done with Jaguar.
''At the moment, Minardi make do with an annual budget that a top team
would squander in a month. I believe that Red Bull will make the
necessary investment so that Minardi can show its true potential.''
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