Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
October 20, 2005
'Schu keep going' - Bernie
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.20) Bernie Ecclestone hopes beleaguered
world champion Michael Schumacher keeps peddling in formula
one 'for a long time'.
The 74-year-old F1 supremo, who knows well that arguably the
sport's biggest draw might drive away from the grid at the
end of next season, reckons the German 'made Ferrari what it
Bernie told Sport Bild: ''Ferrari will produce a car capable
of winning next year -- I hope Schumacher keeps fighting for
victory for a long time.''
36-year-old Schumacher's only win in 2005 - out of 84 in his
career - was the farcical United States grand prix in June.
Ecclestone, meanwhile, is also glad that youngster Fernando
Alonso was the one who finally overthrew the past champion.
''You couldn't get a better champion,'' the little Briton
''Super. He's like Alain (Prost) -- he drives with his head
and does only what is necessary to reach his goal.''
Renault to avoid rivals' errors
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.20) 'Arrogant' Ferrari took its former F1
dominance for granted, and McLaren underestimated the new
Those are the bold claims of Renault technical director Bob
Bell, who thinks the French marque can avoid its rivals'
mistakes to emerge with a worthy 2006 title defense.
''Absolutely, we can repeat our success,'' said the Briton.
''We have no intention of making the same errors some others
He continued: ''There is no arrogance about our position,
and we never take anything for granted -- I think that
happened to Ferrari at the start of this season, while
McLaren clearly underestimated us at the end.''
Away from the track, too, Renault intend to exploit the
benefit of being the world's first non-sports car
manufacturer to conquer formula one.
''Now we need to move to the next stage,'' F1 president
Patrick Faure urged, ''initially in our communication but
then at the tens and thousands of Renault points of sale
around the globe.''
'Coke' denies F1 talks
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.20) Beverage giant Coca-Cola has denied
that it is contemplating a grand prix attack.
In response to reports that 'Coke' could become either a
team title sponsor or even buy the championship's naming
rights, director of communications Philipp Bodzenta told
German publications that there are 'no discussions at
present' about F1.
He denied that talks about F1 sponsorship, 'in whatever
form', have occurred either with teams or Bernie Ecclestone.
''That is not to say that we can never hold a conversation
(about F1) in the future,'' Bodzenta added.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, similarly, fired a blank when
asked about Coca-Cola. ''We are in constant negotiations
with many enterprises,'' he said.
Bridgestone 'image' blasted
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.20) Bridgestone's bleak 2005 season in
formula one will hit the Japanese tire supplier where it
hurts -- sales.
That's the belief of tire rival Michelin's retiring F1 boss
Pierre Dupasquier, who reckons the losses with Ferrari will
ultimately damage 'credibility' and 'image'.
''Whether you're a success or you screw up at this level,''
the Frenchman, 67, told the British 'Guardian' newspaper,
''it will mean something to the driver of any type of car.''
Predictably, Bridgestone UK's Taka Horio denied the charge,
claiming that business in Europe is 'increasing' rather than
starting to hit the dirt.
''At the moment our tire performance is not as good as we
expected,'' the Japanese admitted, ''but because of the
positive elements of formula one, our brand awareness is
Head of Bridgestone tire development Hirohide Hamashima, at
least, does see a link between poor results and poor image.
But he insisted to Gazzetta dello Sport that the marque 'is
not inferior' to French champion Michelin.
''We take some blame for what happened,'' he continued,
''but Ferrari's overall package wasn't so competitive.
''I don't want to blame the car (but) it's certainly been
difficult to find the right balance.''
Hamashima also denied that Bridgestone lobbied the FIA to
re-allow tire changing in 2006. ''We didn't ask anything
like this,'' he insisted, although admitting that it would
be a better regulation for 'spectacle' and 'safety'.
Massa set for Ferrari test
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.20) Brazil's Felipe Massa will complete a
rapid transformation from Sauber to Ferrari driver by
testing for the scarlet clad team next week.
The 24-year-old Paulista, replacing Rubens Barrichello who
is still under contract but not to test again in 2005, is
reportedly to drive a F2005 from Wednesday next week at the
'I'll try everything to make sure I'm fighting at the front
from the very first race,'' said Massa, who debuted for
Sauber in 2002 and tested for Ferrari a year later.
''When you go to a new team, you naturally need some time to
get used to the car and the people, but I'm confident I can
be up there straight away.''
Meanwhile, at the Mugello track in Italy, Barrichello -
driving a red single seater for the last time - and Michael
Schumacher will be showing off a pair of F2005s this weekend
at the traditional 'Ferrari world finals' event.
Also on track will be a 1975 ex-Niki Lauda 312T, a 1991
Alain Prost F1-91, and Schumacher's 'F2001' single seater.
Red Bull pull another plug
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.20) Now with a second formula one team,
energy drink Red Bull - after similarly ending the search
for a US-born F1 driver - has also pulled the plug on former
F1 driver Eddie Cheever's Indy Racing League team.
The 47-year-old American's squad finished fourteenth (Alex
Barron) and fifteenth (Patrick Carpentier) in the IRL season
finale in California.
Red Bull, the Austrian energy drink owned by billionaire
Dietrich Mateschitz, backed Eddie Cheever (IRL) for four
''We wish (Red Bull) all the success in their future
endeavors,'' said Cheever, who isn't sure if he'll return to
IRL next year, ''and - who knows - perhaps it will make
business sense and our paths will cross again.''
JV's goodbye to Sauber, Massa
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.20) Jacques Villeneuve has bid farewell to
Peter Sauber and Felipe Massa at the end of a tough F1
return for the French Canadian.
JV, 34, thanked Swiss-German Sauber - who has sold his
Hinwil team to BMW - for taking a punt on the 1997 champ.
''Peter gave me the chance to drive in F1 again,''
Villeneuve told his website, ''and I want to thank him for
''He is a really passionate guy, he loves racing. He put
together a very efficient team with a much a smaller budget
than most others (in F1).''
Although it is possible that not everyone at BMW agrees,
Jacques thinks his 2006 Sauber contract will be honored. JV
reckons the team will 'become a very strong contender'
''I am excited to be part of that project.''
Jacques also had some kind words for Felipe Massa, his
Ferrari-bound Sauber teammate.
Although JV slated the young Brazilian in 2002 for seeming
to not even know how to drive 'in a straight line', the
Canadian now says Felipe is a 'great guy' and 'very quick'
''I would like to wish him all the best,'' Villeneuve
continued. ''I was really happy to work with him this year
-- we had a lot of fun together.
''He has invited me to eat some pasta at Ferrari next
JV is currently holidaying in Paris.
Bernie gives F1 '95/100'
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.20) F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has given
the 2005 season a score of 95/100.
The diminutive Englishman said grand prix racing was docked
at least five points when it gave Indianapolis a farcical
embarrassment in June.
''I heard a lot of noise and many complaints about that,''
the 74-year-old told Sport Bild.
''But America is like that -- you get sued if you say 'good
morning' to someone at 5 past noon.''
More broadly, Bernie is a keen supporter of trying to limit
testing but also of kicking out a tire manufacturer. ''If we
had a control tire,'' he explained, ''we won't need to do
all that testing.''
Ecclestone is also pushing for yet another revision of the
points system, after a new format was introduced in 2003.
''There must be a larger incentive for victory,'' he said,
referring to the current 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 system, as opposed
to before when second won just six points.
''At the moment it is possible to become champion without
having to win a race.''
Schu will be back - Alonso
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.20) Michael Schumacher might prove a tough
rival in years to come, but Fernando Alonso does not want
the seven time champ to quit.
24-year-old Alonso, who in 2005 became the first driver in
five years to rupture Schumacher's reign, reckons F1 would
'miss' the German star.
''I'm glad I beat him while he's still here,'' Alonso told
the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
The young Spaniard says he respects Schumacher, 36. ''He has
been in F1 for fourteen years,'' he marveled, ''his
motivation is impressive.
''Then again, winning - succeeding - is addictive, and it
drives Michael. I think we have this feeling in common.''
Renault's Alonso would also like to take Schumacher on next
year. ''I still think he's the favorite for 2006.''
He explained: ''This year Ferrari struggled, but I don't
think they will be that far behind again. I hope
(Schumacher) returns, stronger than ever. Anyway, it is
harder to defend a championship than it is to win it.
''It is going to be difficult for us to match this perfect
Indian F1 demo delayed
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.20) Narain Karthikeyan's demo-drive in
Mumbai has been postponed after the Indian street proved too
bumpy for an F1 car.
The Jordan rookie's run along Marine Drive had been
scheduled for next Sunday, but the 'Mid-Day' publication
said the two-kilometer stretch of road failed to meet the
standard set by the local automobile authority (WIAA).
A special grinding machine is presently smoothing out the
bumps, and joints in the road are being filled with a
''Even a two-inch bump could send Karthikeyan into the
sea,'' WIAA chief Nitin Dossa said.
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