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
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
''(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
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
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
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
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
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
Spain flocks to Alonso
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.24) Some holidayed, some trained -- but one grand
prix superstar blew kisses to masses upon masses of adoring
Fernando Alonso, the youngest ever world champion, flew to his home
Asturias region in Spain last Friday to accept the 'Principe de
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
(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
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
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
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
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
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
''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
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
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