Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
October 15,  2005

Kimi says no Ferrari deal yet
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.15) Kimi Raikkonen has tried again to repel paddock gossip that he'll switch from McLaren to Ferrari at the end of next year.

Amid speculation that the 25-year-old Finn has already signed a contract to drive for the red marque in 2007-2009, 'iceman' Kimi insisted he will not decide about his future before knowing who builds the quickest '06 racer.

Raikkonen said in Shanghai: ''Why would I commit myself to something so early? We have new rules next year so who will be quick and who will be not quick is not certain.''

Asked by 'Bild' newspaper when he will complete the Ferrari switch, a wily Kimi replied: ''Perhaps never. I only want to sit in the fastest car. I have definitely not signed anything yet.''

Still, at the last grand prix of the year, Raikkonen is not shy to muse about what cost him the drivers' title this year. ''If we'd had less defects in Europe,'' he insisted, ''maybe we'd still be in it.''

Kimi also fires a parting shot at the Finnish media, who - with all their 'party animal' headlines this year - are reported to have caused Kimi a bit of trouble in the team.

''They do not respect the people they write about,'' he slated.

F1 trying to woo China
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.15) The cost of an average ticket for Sunday's Chinese grand prix is equivalent to almost a month on an average local salary.

With that in mind, and with the F1 novelty of 2004's inaugural race worn off, it's no surprise that near-empty grandstands dotted the gargantuan Shanghai venue on Friday.

The expected influx of Chinese team sponsorship, as well, has fallen well short of formula one's expectations. To that end, a sponsorship event for local Chinese businessmen was held in the city on Friday evening.

''You can have our mobile numbers soon,'' Flavio Briatore said in a speech. ''We are all easy-going people.''

The Renault boss was accompanied by McLaren's Ron Dennis, BAR principal Nick Fry, Mercedes' Norbert Haug, Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley.

''When you see what people are doing here,'' Ecclestone, the F1 supremo, said, ''Europe looks like a third world.''

JV 'annoyed' at DC
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.15) 1997 champion Jacques Villeneuve endured a frantic Japanese grand prix.

Not only was the French Canadian penalized for a clash with Juan Pablo Montoya, he was infuriated with good mate David Coulthard after an on-track disagreement at Suzuka's 130R bend.

''He was pretty annoyed with me,'' Red Bull's 34-year-old DC admitted to the Daily Record.

''He said I'd pushed him onto the grass but the first I knew about it was when he jumped out of his car and said to me 'You drove me onto the grass at 300kph!' Luckily we're mates and a few hours later he'd calmed down.''

A parting shot (or three)
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.15) There are a lot of 'lasts' taking place at formula one's Shanghai circuit this weekend.

Paul Stoddart will host a farewell barbeque in the Chinese paddock on Saturday, and is definitely the most vocal name to be driving away.

''We can't let him leave,'' F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone giggled to the Independent newspaper. ''We'll have to find a job for him, won't we?''

True to form, Stoddart - the plain talking and passionate aficionado - didn't let his final grand prix weekend pass without a little political grumble.

''In life,'' the exiting Minardi owner told the Guardian, ''whether in democracy, in government or in fundamental human rights, you expect fairness and equality -- we don't have that.''

Peter Sauber will also walk through the paddock turnstile for the last time on Sunday evening. Stoddart said of the Swiss: ''He is somebody who is prepared to place the sport's interests before his own.''

Another 'last' is Rubens Barrichello's race for Ferrari. The Brazilian will drive for Honda from next year.

His parting shot is a veiled one but directed at world champion teammate Michael Schumacher.

''Michael (has) the support of a lot of good people,'' 33-year-old Rubens said in Shanghai. ''He is super quick and needs those people to help him.

''If both myself and Michael were going to BAR now under the same conditions - from zero - I believe I'd have a better chance of beating him.''

Rosberg's in for 2006
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.15) Nico Rosberg says he is '110 per cent ready' to race in formula one next year -- alongside Williams' Mark Webber.

The 20-year-old, whose Finnish father Keke won the 1982 championship for Frank Williams, was told by the Grove team owner this week that he would definitely drive a grand prix car in 2006.

Whether he's test or race driver, though, is not official.

''Hopefully I'll be a race driver,'' Nico - the first GP2 champion - told the BBC in Shanghai. Williams' decision is expected within days.

Incumbent 'sub' Antonio Pizzonia is the other candidate for either the race or 'Friday' test driving role.

But Rosberg revealed: ''It's between Antonio, me and another driver.''

Renault 'built for Fernando'
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.15) Giancarlo Fisichella reckons he couldn't keep up with Renault teammate Fernando Alonso in 2005 because the R25 car was 'built for' the Spaniard.

''His driving style is really aggressive,'' said the Roman, whose own style is silky smooth.

''I've struggled a bit with that but have asked the engineers for what I want next year -- so it should be better.''

Also making 32-year-old 'Fisico' sad this year was a spate of technical trouble that did not also seem to afflict his champion teammate.

Fisichella admits: ''But that's life.

''When I didn't have any problems I think I did a good job.''

McLaren pen Intel deal
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.15) According to the latest paddock newsflash, McLaren will almost certainly have a new title sponsor in 2006 -- Intel.

The computer chip maker was earlier enraged by the governing body's deal with rival AMD, and reportedly called off a Monza announcement of the $50m contract.

But all is now apparently well, which will be a relief for Woking based chiefs after long time title backer 'West' raced out of the paddock in July due to the tobacco ad ban.

McLaren b-team 'deadline'
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.15) Shanghai speculation suggests that McLaren's proposed 2007 b-team will get a 'go' or 'no-go' by the end of the month.

The project - reportedly backed by a Japanese company, to be led by Jean Alesi and run out of McLaren's old Woking factory - is 'constantly under review,' McLaren CEO Ron Dennis said in China.

He played a straight bat to gossip about an October deadline.

''To be honest I can't remember what date, if any, attaches to this particular program,'' the Briton revealed, ''but if it was true or not, I wouldn't say.''

F1 in 'peace' talks - Mosley
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.15) Max Mosley called off his scheduled press conference on Saturday because talks about the future of F1 are taking place.

The FIA president sounded optimistic in China, despite five carmakers' persisting threat to race in a separate series in 2008 if radical reform and more money isn't on offer.

Max hinted that progress is being made behind Chinese doors.

''I really don't want to prejudice these discussions by talking too much about what's going on in public,'' he said.

''But I don't see difficulties in the future. I think it's all going to end up peaceful.''

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