Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
October 24,  2005

Rubens' last red blast
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.24) Rubens Barrichello drove a scarlet single seater for the last time at Mugello on the weekend.

The Brazilian, who steered a Ferrari in formula one since 2000 but will switch camps for 2006, will not participate in the Maranello-devised winter test program before debuting the Honda in January.

At the traditional Ferrari 'World Finals' event in Italy, 33-year-old Barrichello tried the cockpit of his F2005 for the last time, alongside Michael Schumacher. His last actual Ferrari run will be in the new three-seater scarlet model.

A crowd of 30,000 gathered at the World Finals event, a statement said.

''(Rubens) got a particularly warm reception,'' the statement added.

Ferrari and Fiat president Luca di Montezemolo recalled Barrichello's greatest red-clad wins -- Hockenheim 2000, Monza 2002 and Shanghai last year.

He explained: ''Rubens was always a fundamental part of the family.''

Max's latest radical plot
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.24) The already-controversial Max Mosley will again stun formula one's team principals on Monday when he details a radical new bodywork concept for grand prix cars in 2007 or 2008.

In London's Park Lane, the FIA president is set to unveil a mandatory rear wing package that would ban the current single wing and replace it with two new wings -- one behind each rear wheel.

Also with fatter, slick tires, the wing - called 'centerline downwash generating wing' and designed with FIA partner AMD - aims to reduce downforce but generate an area behind each car that allows a rival to overtake.

The 'CDG wing' concept looks much like a modern formula one rear wing but with a chunk of it missing in the middle.

''We can give motor sport fans exactly what they have asked for,'' Mosley told British newspapers, ''wheel-to-wheel racing with much more overtaking.''

By mooting the concept in Monday's F1 Commission meeting, the governing body hopes to introduce the change for 2007, ahead of the end of the current Concorde agreement.

The F1 Commission will also vote on the proposed 'knockout' qualifying format, as well as the re-introduction of tire changing and the possible banning of 'Friday' drivers and spare cars.

Toyota target 2006 win
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.24) Mike Gascoyne says he was slammed as 'idiotic' when he said Toyota could produce the second or third quickest car in 2005.

In the end, of course, Ferrari bagged third in the constructors' chase, but Gascoyne - Toyota's technical director - reckons the Cologne team was still the 'most improved' of the entire field.

''I find the perception that we started well but didn't develop as well as other teams unfair,'' the Briton said. Indeed, some outsiders say Toyota is now structured so immensely that reacting to problems is not as quick as rivals.

The evidence, they say, is that the TF105 started off as a quick car but ended down the field. Backing up the claim is that Toyota even raced a 'b' car in the final grands prix, and it didn't necessarily look a whole lot better.

''I thought we were going to blow them all away,'' Jarno Trulli - who even fell behind teammate Ralf Schumacher in the 'b' car - agreed in reference to his season's lightening start. ''The resources are there but we have to learn how to use them properly.

''On the aerodynamics we can be better and it's important that reaction rates get quicker.''

On the bright side, however, both Jarno and Ralf praise the people and organization-side. ''I came from Williams,'' said Germany's Ralf, ''but I arrived at a team that is a lot better organized.''

Trulli came from Renault, but he also doesn't regret the move. ''Coming to Toyota is the best thing I've done in my life,'' the rated Italian said.

The aim, then, for 2006, is simple -- to win. ''Whether it's realistic or not,'' said principal Tsutomu Tomita, ''we'll have to wait and see.''

Spain flocks to Alonso
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.24) Some holidayed, some trained -- but one grand prix superstar blew kisses to masses upon masses of adoring compatriots.

Fernando Alonso, the youngest ever world champion, flew to his home Asturias region in Spain last Friday to accept the 'Principe de Asturias' award.

A day later, thousands - at least 30,000 - flocked to the town square of his home town Oviedo where the ultra-idolized 24-year-old Renault driver stood and waved from a balcony.

''(This) crowns the season,'' Alonso told La Nueva Espana newspaper.

Meanwhile, Renault said its title winning R25 would roar around the Stade de France in December at the Race of Champions.

''The (car) and its V10 will roar one more time for all the spectators,'' read a statement.

Schu's still on it - DC
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.24) Michael Schumacher is still capable of conquering formula one, fellow grand prix driving veteran David Coulthard insists.

The Scot, at 34 still two years the seven time title winner's junior, reckons the post-China hype about Germany's deposed champion is wrong.

''If Schumi had had a competitive package,'' DC told Scotland's Daily Record newspaper, ''he would have been in there with (Kimi) Raikkonen and (Fernando) Alonso and that would have been a great sight to have seen.''

In fact, Coulthard saw Schumacher's spin behind the safety car in China not as a sign that a star is fading, but evidence that Michael has still got his foot on the throttle.

''He is always aggressive and looking for a chance,'' Coulthard continued. ''We saw him lose a little motivation ... but it's premature to suggest he won't win again.''

EJ spurns Kimi-Ferrari 'spin'
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.24) Eddie Jordan has poured scorn on gossip that Kimi Raikkonen will be off to Ferrari before long.

The former F1 team owner says the Finn is 'made for McLaren' and the Ferrari rumor is just like all the Valentino Rossi talk -- 'spin'.

''I don't know who peddled the rumor,'' 'EJ' told Britain's F1 Racing magazine, ''but I don't believe it for a second.

''If I was a gambler I'd actually put money on (Juan Pablo) Montoya going to Ferrari.''

Ireland's Jordan, who highly rates the feisty Colombian Montoya, reckons the 30-year-old's personality 'doesn't really suit' the McLaren style.

Kimi not 'bitter'
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.24) Kimi Raikkonen has denied he is feeling 'bitter' about losing the 2005 drivers' title, despite being arguably the quickest guy in the quickest car.

The quiet Finn won just as many grands prix as world champion Fernando Alonso, and only failed to snare the coveted crown because, at least in part, his superior McLaren package often broke down.

''It's racing,'' Kimi, 26 - who also came tantalizingly close in 2003 - told formula1.com. ''There's no point looking back, I only look forward.''

Raikkonen reckons luck played a part in his defeat to the usually slower Renault package. ''I guess we have been unlucky, but there is no point speculating about what ifs.''

In a spot of good news for the season runner-up, though - or 'first of the losers' as his boss Ron Dennis might put it - the MP4-20 was the class of the field and it's a good basis to kick off the 2006 car.

Raikkonen will next test in January.

Champion trio ogle F1
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.24) A trio of champions have their sights on the pinnacle of racing.

Gary Paffett, 24, became the first British driver ever to snare the German (DTM) touring car championship at the weekend.

But he said formula one is 'the dream'.

''I know I am quick in a formula one car,'' he told the 'Sun' newspaper, ''I just need the chance to prove it.''

Paffett has tested for McLaren and was tipped for a Sauber race drive in 2005, but will more than likely stay with Mercedes in DTM in 2006.

Sebastien Bourdais wrapped up his back to back Champ Car title in Queensland (Australia) on Sunday, and will almost certainly try again in 2006.

But the Frenchman, also a former F3000 champion, is still keen on F1.

''I have not completely given up on F1,'' he said in Surfer's Paradise, ''but so far I haven't had a chance to prove what I can do.

''We'll see if I can get a chance for 2007 but I can't predict the future.''

An unlikely champion with an eye on grand prix racing, meanwhile, is world rally conqueror Sebastien Loeb. Bourdais' countryman raced at Le Mans this year and told Autosport that he'd love an F1 test.

''But only for pleasure,'' Loeb, 31, insisted to the magazine, ''just to know how I measure up.''

Red Bull's next F1 rookie
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.24) Teenaged talent Sebastian Vettel probably has a future in F1.

The skinny-looking German, who recently tested a BMW-Williams as part of a BMW junior contract, is also supported by formula one-mad Austrian energy drink Red Bull.

Vettel, 18, is now a rising star of the F3 EuroSeries, and wears a Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi-style Red Bull-liveried race helmet.

The 'Frankfurter Allgemeinen Zeitung' publication reports that Vettel might even have said 'no' to an offer to line up for Red Bull's rookie 'Squadra Toro Rosso' team in 2006, because he is just too young.

''If he keeps up the momentum,'' Red Bull magnate Dietrich Mateschitz was quoted as saying, ''Sebastian can have his chance with us in the next two to three years.''

One young German who probably will make the big step to F1 next year is Nico Rosberg, albeit son of the Finnish born 1982 Williams champion Keke.

For winning the inaugural GP2 title, Rosberg, 20, has been awarded the 'German ADAC Junior Driver of the Year' prize, a trophy once held by superstar compatriot Michael Schumacher.

Jo Siffert
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.24) Twice grand prix winner Jo Siffert conquered the 1968 British GP - at Brands Hatch and ahead of rivals including Stewart, Hill, McLaren and Brabham - in a privately entered Lotus car.

Three years later, however - and exactly 34 years to the date - the Swiss, 35, was killed in a non-championship F1 race at the same English track.

Also on 24 October - but in 1965 - the late American-born Richie Ginther gave Honda its first ever grand prix win as a full works entrant in Mexico.

October 24 was also the date of the final of eighteen grands prix in the 2004 season, held in Sao Paulo (Brazil).

Button's long winter
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.24) In a sign of his contemporary dedication to (BAR-)Honda, Jenson Button will drive in every pre-Christmas winter test.

The English driver, who tried to leave the team last year but in 2005 fought to stay, says he is determined to pull his weight ahead of next season in a bid to lift the title.

''Whether we can win the championship,'' he told the Sunday Mirror, ''is just a question of whether we can build a car that's good enough.''

25-year-old JB's big winter, of course, might have something to do with the fact that '06 teammate Rubens Barrichello is on forced 'gardening leave' while his current Ferrari deal runs out.

Button's friend, compatriot and on-track rival David Coulthard, however, defended the Briton's driving at the end of another win-less campaign.

DC, who drives for Red Bull, pointed to the biggest 'underachiever' of the season, Jenson's axed teammate Takuma Sato. Compared to JB's tally of 37 points, Japanese 'Taku' got just 1.

''It shows how well Jenson must have driven,'' Coulthard told the Daily Record newspaper.

''He has all the ingredients to be a grand prix winner -- I hope the turmoil of his contracts and personal relationships is behind him.''

Four more years for Max
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.24) Max Mosley will be re-elected as president of the FIA on Friday.

With no rival candidate having met an October 7 deadline to stand against the unpopular but redoubtable Briton, the FIA general assembly in Rome is a formality ahead of a new four year term.

In the 'Business Day' publication, even, a source close to Mosley played down speculation that unsupportive F1 bosses could move a motion of 'no confidence' in his leadership.

The source said: ''Max is ... in a difficult position, but I don't think there is any reason why there would be a vote of no confidence in him.''

DC to race beyond 2006
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.24) David Coulthard has denied reports that 2006 will be his last of twelve full seasons on the F1 grid.

The rumor first sprang up in Shanghai after Red Bull promised the 34-year-old Scot a spot on the management lineup after he hangs up the helmet.

''I want to make it clear that I do not expect 2006 to be my last year in F1,'' Coulthard told Scotland's tabloid Daily Record newspaper.

DC said of the promised management position at Red Bull: ''I'm not thinking about that.

''I am a racer and I believe I still have the talent to win.''

Coulthard switched to Red Bull from McLaren last year, where he won 13 grands prix alongside highly rated teammates Mika Hakkinen and Kimi Raikkonen.

DC described 2005 at the fresh-thinking team as 'invigorating' and targets fourth for the 2006 constructors' world championship.

''I'd like to say I'll win a race in 2006,'' he explained, ''but the jump might be a little too much -- we still have a little way to go yet.''

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