Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
October 10,  2005

Credit Suisse sign BMW deal
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.10) Sauber's title sponsor Credit Suisse has signed a three-year contract to stay at Hinwil with new carmaker owner BMW.

The bank's 2006-2008 deal was revealed prior to a big party planned this Thursday in Shanghai, at which departing team owner Peter Sauber will be given a send-off after thirty six years in motor sport.

''Whilst we are sad to see him leave,'' said Credit Suisse CEO Oswald Grubel, ''we ... wish him the very best of luck for his new role as a consultant to the new team.''

Tire change makes F1 noise
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.10) It's no real surprise that the loudest opposition to the proposed re-introduction of F1 tire changing next year is coming from the mouths of Pierre Dupasquier and Ron Dennis.

Together, the respective Michelin and McLaren bosses have dominated the 2006 season, so a return to last year's system would provide Bridgestone and Ferrari an opportunity to get back on song.

Michelin motor sport director Dupasquier, though - and McLaren principal Dennis - think that making all the work of 2005 redundant will only ramp-up the cost of 2006.

''If the rules change, we design the tire, it's not a problem,'' said France's Dupasquier, ''but we're not happy.

''We believe (the current rules) are good for saving tires and saving costs. We talked to our friends from Bridgestone and they said it is fine, we don't need any change.

''I don't know why they (the FIA) introduce the change again.''

The proposal, emailed to teams while at Suzuka, will be put to a rare F1 Commission meeting later this month.

Ron Dennis agreed that going back to the old tire-change rule will mean yet another 'massive tire development program'.

He said: ''We just about stabilized the one-tire formula and now it is out the window again.

''All these changes cost a fortune.''

The FIA's constant chopping and changing of the rules is also a sore point for the 'breakaway' alliance of carmakers. BMW's Burkhard Goeschel told the German 'Welt am Sonntag' newspaper that there needs to be a better 'separation of powers' in F1.

''The FIA wants to be the ... law giver, judge and police officer. Other large sports are more democratically organized.''

Alonso is F1's Pass-Master
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.10) After Brazil, with the title in his pocket, Fernando Alonso promised he would stop driving conservatively and unleash a bit of venom on the F1 track.

The Spaniard was not joking.

Alonso, 24, carved through the field from sixteenth to be eighth at the end of lap one, and later put one of the most audacious overtaking moves in recent memory on Michael Schumacher -- around the outside at flat-out '130R'.

''Obviously the championship is not on my mind any more,'' he said, ''so there is no real need to take care of anything.

''I really went for it.

''I probably did two or three passes in the whole championship but here I did like 14.''

World champion Alonso described the move at 300km/h on Schumacher as 'really risky,' but added: ''I had nothing to lose.'' He also passed Mark Webber in a perilous move at turn one after biting the grass on the straight.

BAR's big blue - Button
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.10) Jenson Button says his team, BAR-Honda, is suffering from a 'big problem' at the end of 2005.

On the lucky end of Saturday's Suzuka shower, the Englishman - competing in his 99th grand prix without a win - started the race from the front row.

The first 'screw up' of JB's quest for Japanese victory occurred at the first pit stop, when his fuel flap didn't open.

''I was really annoyed about it,'' 25-year-old Button said, ''but really the pace wasn't there.''

Asked to elaborate, Jenson revealed that his 007 car suffered from 'massive understeer' -- but it's no new thing. The red and white racer has been plagued with the issue in the past few races.

''It seems to have got worse lately,'' JB agreed. ''It's not going to be an easy issue, it's not going to be solved in a day or two. It's a serious problem we need to solve.''

Senna 'no' to Williams test
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.10) The nephew of grand prix legend Ayrton Senna would reject an offer to test Williams' F1 car.

Bruno Senna, already following in his uncle's footsteps by racing in junior formulae, reckons it would be 'too early' to sample the machinery of racing's highest category.

Ayrton Senna, the triple world champion, died in a Williams when he crashed in May 1994. Speculation at Suzuka this weekend reckoned his nephew, more than a decade down the track, was now in line for a formula one run.

''You know how motor sport is with gossip,'' F3 driver Senna told the Autosport website. ''Now is not the right time.

''It's too much of a big step. It would be very hard to say no but I am not ready for it.''

Sato makes no apology
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.10) A furious Jarno Trulli said he wouldn't bother seeking out local Suzuka hero Takuma Sato after their clash in Japan because there'd be 'no point'.

In the end, however, the pair did come together to discuss the incident that saw Japan's Sato excluded from the race result.

Asked how the chat went, Toyota's Trulli said: ''He never understands. He does not think, he never uses his intelligence. He never listens.''

Jarno says there are 'lots' of F1 rivals who agree that Sato is a bit dangerous at the wheel.

''He didn't say sorry,'' Trulli explained.

Some of Trulli's unusual frustration, meanwhile, probably had something to do with the fact that - unlike his typically slower teammate Ralf Schumacher - he just hasn't yet got a handle on the new 'b' specification Toyota.

But Toyota boss, Tsutomu Tomita, also didn't hold back in slamming his 28-year-old compatriot. ''(Sato) goes beyond being enthusiastic,'' said the Japanese. ''It's flat out dangerous.

''I'm extremely annoyed.''

Flav backs FIA proposal
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.10) Renault's Flavio Briatore has refused to back fellow Michelin-clad F1 team McLaren in standing opposed to the proposed re-introduction of tire changing for the 2006 season.

The Italian principal, often known to put the F1 'show' above the self-interested nature of a sporting team, does not back Ron Dennis' obvious argument to safeguard the competitiveness of his top team and tire pacesetter Michelin.

''If it's important for the safety of the driver, it's good,'' Flavio said. ''I'm a flexible guy.''

Briatore obviously backs the FIA's 'knockout' qualifying idea -- because he dreamed it up. He has, however, less support for the plan to ban spare cars, but only because it would leave the garage empty.

''The (race cars) are in parc ferme so the sponsors will arrive (in the garage) and never see the car. We need (the spare car), because otherwise we screw the sponsors.''

Frank hails Bridgestone future
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.10) Sir Frank Williams reckons switching to Bridgestone tires will give his beleaguered team a 2006 boost.

Many in the F1 paddock obviously question the wisdom of scrapping a supplier that has dominated the current season. Similarly, Williams will next year wear a tire on which Ferrari failed in 2005 to conquer a championship it has dominated for half a decade.

''We felt we'd rather be a serious player amongst a small crowd,'' team principal Williams said, ''than one of seven.''

Sir Frank does, however, recognize the danger of sharing a tire with Ferrari, who traditionally monopolize development of the Japanese product.

But he said: ''I am sure Ferrari's eyes have been opened to the necessity of having one or two other teams join.''

Shanghai, then, will be the last grand prix at which Williams will run on Michelin tires. The Chinese finale will also mark a farewell to the six-year Williams-BMW pairing.

''In this period,'' Sauber-bound BMW motor sport director Mario Theissen said, ''both parties benefited and learnt a lot from each other. Unfortunately, we did not reach our mutual goal of winning the world championship.''

Schu to get number '5' in '06
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.10) For the first time since 1999, deposed champion Michael Schumacher will wear something other than the number '1' on his Ferrari in 2006.

In fact, the German's digit will be 5.

''I don't agree with everyone who says Michael is doing something wrong, that he is slower,'' triple world champion Niki Lauda said in Japan.

''He is trying as hard as ever, but when you don't have the car, you don't have the victory. We know this. So that's where he is -- 6th or 7th.''

Suzuka was a bit of a microcosm of the 36-year-old German's 2005 season -- he started ahead of Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, but ultimately had to give way to their sheer superior speed.

Michael was asked on Sunday if going wheel-to-wheel with Alonso, the Spaniard who passed him on the outside of 130R, was fun. ''It's a lot more fun when you are at the rear of the grid and going through the field,'' he said, ''rather than the other way around.

''No, it wasn't so much fun.

''But if you think of the kind of year we've had, to be third in the constructors' championship is not bad at all. But of course I can't be happy.''

Ferrari boss Jean Todt shares Michael's disappointment, saying that the season finale at Shanghai is only cause for celebration because 'this negative season is coming to an end.'

Suzuki denies F1 team bid
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.10) 45-year-old former grand prix driver Aguri Suzuki has denied that he is behind the mysterious Honda-involved eleventh team to possibly join the formula one grid in 2006.

The Japanese, who contested 64 F1 races for teams like Lola and Footwork, today runs the 'Super Aguri' racing team, which is already involved in IRL, GT and the 'formula dream' championships.

Paddock speculation in Japan reckons Aguri might be involved with the Honda 'b' team in collaboration with the Dome organization, who already do some wind tunnel testing for BAR.

''It's my dream to make an F1 team,'' Suzuki told Speed TV, ''but everyone wants to. Some people have said 'you are the second Honda team' ... but this is not the case.''

Still, 'Super Aguri' has plenty of sponsors in Japan, but he denied that he can afford to launch a grand prix project.

''(F1 is) a different level of money. Only manufacturers can have F1 teams. I don't know who (the b team) is, but I'm sure it's not Dome, as I'm working with them in ... GT.''

Bruised and sizzled
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.10) Minardi's pit crew was left bruised and sizzled by the time Christijan Albers and teammate Robert Doornbos had crossed the checkered flag at Suzuka.

The Netherlands' Doornbos, making his second pit stop, overshot the 'box and left the front jack man with a bruised leg.

A lap later, Albers - also a Dutchman - similarly overshot the mark, resulting in the fuel guy mis-placing the nozzle.

''A small amount of fuel spilled on the hot bodywork,'' read a Minardi review, ''and ... burst into flames.

''Fortunately, no serious injuries resulted.''

Albers said: ''Apologies to the team, in particular the front jack man, Sandro Parrini, and the refuellers.''

Ron doubts Kimi switch
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.10) McLaren boss Ron Dennis does not believe Kimi Raikkonen has signed a contract that would see him switch to Ferrari in 2007.

Ron revealed that Raikkonen, 25 - and 'his management' - have told him that no such scarlet agreement has been penned.

''Why don't you guys believe him?'' the McLaren principal asked media reporters in Japan.

''I don't understand it.''

Kimi's McLaren deal runs out at the end of next year. Dennis, meanwhile, admitted that he doesn't know for sure what bits of paper Raikkonen has signed.

He added: ''I haven't a clue.

''But anybody can put anything on a website and it's considered fact. But (this) is certainly not that.''

Dennis is also bemused at the fact that Raikkonen, who has now won more grands prix than world champion Fernando Alonso in 2005, can be so dominant but yet the current points system sees him miss the title.

''It's going to be potentially that a guy wins eight races and does not win the championship,'' he stated. ''That is unheard of.''

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