Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
October 25, 2005
All-change for F1 '06
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.25) It was a case of 'in with the old and in with the
new' in Monday's meeting of the F1 Commission at a plush London hotel.
The gathering signaled a green light for the much touted 2006
'knockout' qualifying format, but also the axe for the one-tire per
Slicks, a 'control' tire scenario and Max Mosley's new bi-rear wing
concept were provisionally accepted, but will first be examined in
detail by the technical group. Their introduction prior to 2008 will
need an unlikely 80 per cent majority vote.
''Only time will tell if it's a good day for formula one,'' said
departing Minardi boss Paul Stoddart after the meeting. The Australian
is unconvinced that complicated 'knockout' qualifying is a silver
bullet, and reckons the return of tire-changing will only further
drive up costs.
The F1 Commission voted against banning 'Friday' and spare cars. All
changes now move to the World Motor Sport Council in Rome for
''It was a good meeting. No fireworks,'' said another principal.
'Breakaway' still on track
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.25) A separate meeting between Max Mosley and the
disgruntled 'breakaway' carmakers' group did not bring peace to
Prior to joining the F1 Commission action in a London hotel, the FIA
president met with 'GPMA', the alliance comprised of BMW, Mercedes,
Renault, Honda and Toyota that threatens to leave F1 in 2008.
''The outcome (of the meeting) does not change our strategy at all,''
said GPMA spokesman Xander Heijnen. ''We continue our preparations for
the new series.''
Despite the apparently steadfast status-quo, Mosley has recently been
talking positively about the future of grand prix racing. His message
is that peace is near.
''We have not reached agreement,'' he admitted on Monday, ''but (we)
got a lot closer ... so it looks like it will all come together in due
But staunch Mosley-foe Paul Stoddart, attending his final major F1
meeting before handing over Minardi to Red Bull, reported that the
carmakers did not seem 'a happy bunch' behind closed doors.
Midland name 'Friday' driver
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.25) Midland, whose name-change from Jordan was
accepted by the F1 Commission on Monday, has announced that Nicky
Pastorelli, 22, will be the team's 'Friday' driver in 2006.
Silverstone-based Midland waited to confirm the highly anticipated
deal until the Friday practice regulation was also green-lighted in
Pastorelli, who - like 2005 Minardi men Christijan Albers and Robert
Doornbos - is Dutch, was Jordan's '05 tester, but Doornbos and Nicolas
Kiesa filled the Friday role.
Midland has not settled on any other aspect of the 2006 driver lineup,
although Anthony Davidson, Takuma Sato and Albers are contenders for
the ride. Incumbents Tiago Monteiro and Narain Karthikeyan are not
widely believed to be staying at the team.
''(Pastorelli) proved himself very competent in F1,'' said team
principal Colin Kolles, ''and (now) he has an opportunity to keep on
Ferrari hope Schu will stay
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.25) Ferrari's dream driver lineup beyond 2006 would
feature Michael Schumacher, according to president Luca di
But the Italian admitted on Monday to not knowing if Schumacher, the
36-year-old German who has collected five drivers' titles for the
Prancing Horse since 2000, will renew his tenure for 2007.
''If he wants to carry on,'' Montezemolo said at Mugello, ''I will hug
him tight like a child.
''If, however, he wants to quit I'll thank him regardless because in
my mind he will always be number one.''
Ferrari's sparkling form of the twenty-first century dipped markedly
in 2005, with various fingers pointing at Bridgestone, the Aldo
Costa-designed F2005, and Schumacher's possibly waning motivation.
But even though Michael insists he will announce his post-'06
intentions early next year, he admitted to 'not thinking at all' about
''So (the) president can be calm,'' he grinned.
Meanwhile, Montezemolo will be heaving a sigh of relief with Monday's
F1 Commission outcome, after - at the weekend - slamming the now axed
2005 single tire per race rule as both 'dangerous' and 'not in the
spirit' of F1.
Former F1 driver in hospital
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.25) Former Prost, Jordan, Williams and Sauber driver
Heinz-Harald Frentzen is in hospital after shunting heavily in a DTM
The German, 38, suffered head and neck injuries when his Opel Vectra
speared inexplicably into the Hockenheim barrier. Frentzen, a grand
prix winner, was briefly knocked out.
Heinz-Harald was helicoptered to a nearby hospital where brain scans
gave him the all-clear, but - suffering from bad headaches and with
suspected brain bruising - doctors have him under observation.
''I can't remember the crash. I am basically fine,'' he said.
Frentzen drove in 160 grands prix between 1994 and 2003.
Schu tests MotoGP bike
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.25) In a move starkly opposite to that of Valentino
Rossi, F1 superstar Michael Schumacher swapped four wheels for two on
Monday when he rode a MotoGP bike at the Mugello track.
As MotoGP's Rossi keeps the world guessing about his possible future
in formula one, 36-year-old Schumacher - the seven time drivers' title
winner - tried the Marlboro-sponsored Ducati V4 'just for fun'.
Schumacher, who lapped about forty times, reportedly lagged around 20
seconds off Loris Capirossi's recent pace.
He wore Ducati race leathers and a MotoGP-standard helmet liveried in
his color scheme, but reportedly did not blemish the suit's knee
''The guys at Ducati helped me a lot,'' Michael later said.
''It has been a great experience -- super fun.''
Happy birthday Mr. E
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.25) Bernie Ecclestone's impending 75th birthday did
not pass unnoticed by the F1 Commission.
The gathering in London of team principals, circuit promoters,
suppliers and sponsors paid tribute to the F1 'impresario' by
surprising him late in the meeting with a cake -- delivered by a
squadron of girls dressed in the overalls of formula one teams.
Ecclestone's birthday is Friday.
Junior series wants F1 link
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.25) Organizers of the 'World Series by Renault'
category have written a letter to the FIA asking that the championship
winner each season be automatically granted a formula one 'super
Although 2005 champion Robert Kubica will test Renault's F1 car in
December, the Polish driver missed out on a 'Friday' drive for Minardi
earlier this month when he failed to meet the criteria for the
mandatory FIA document.
Although some F3 titles, for example, give their new champion an
automatic F1 license, the World Series by Renault is not recognized in
this way by the governing body.
The only way Kubica, 20, could have got the green light to drive the
Minardi would have been to test for three hundred kms with FIA
supervision and then approval.
Alonso won't 'settle'
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.25) New world champion Fernando Alonso has vowed not
to settle for a single F1 triumph.
Renault's 24-year-old, who is the youngest ever F1 title winner and
the first from Spain, was asked by the 'El Pais' newspaper if securing
the 2005 crown had peaked his career.
''I wouldn't define myself as someone who settles,'' Alonso said on a
visit back to Spain.
Fernando, who won seven grands prix in his victorious year and climbed
the podium in 15 out of 19 races, reckoned both Kimi Raikkonen
(McLaren) but also Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) will give him a hard
time next year.
He explained: ''With the rule changes, it's hard to say.
''But McLaren have always been there (and) Michael is a great driver.
''Ferrari is Ferrari. They'll be back, without a doubt.''
Massa, Piquet, for 'RoC'
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.25) Brazil will sport an impressive lineup at
December's popular 'Race of Champions' event in Paris -- a current
Ferrari driver and a son of a world champion.
Felipe Massa, set to accompany Michael Schumacher at the scarlet team
in 2006, and Nelson Piquet Jr - GP2 racer and son of a triple title
winner - will scuttle around the Stade de France, a statement revealed
Piquet Jr, also a frontrunner in the novel 'A1' category, is a
newcomer to the RoC event.
''I'm looking forward to defending our colors against some of the best
drivers in the world,'' Massa, who drove at the event last year,
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