Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
October 26, 2005
FIA wing 'good idea' - Lauda
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.26) Former triple world champion Niki Lauda has
signalled a thumbs-up to Max Mosley's 'duel rear wing' concept for
The great Austrian, 56 - who ran the now-defunct Jaguar team for a
time earlier this decade - praised the governing FIA for its 'good
''I think it will return formula one to its origin,'' Lauda said,
referring to the fact that overtaking and driver skill should be
promoted by the proposed design.
Niki, who drove for teams including Ferrari and McLaren, thinks the
duel-wing concept will favour drivers like Michael Schumacher --
pitlane's most naturally talented.
''With that (design) he could prove to everyone again that he really
is the best,'' said Lauda.
While it received a positive reception at the F1 Commission on Monday,
and has been sent to the technical group for evaluation, the biggest
opposition to the duel-wing idea is coming from teams' commercial
They say the concept, which basically cuts a chunk of the rear wing
out, devalues a prime sponsor advertising spot.
Schu won't cut winter break
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.26) Michael Schumacher has denied that he has been
asked to take a shorter winter vacation in order to help haul Ferrari
out of its competitive plunge.
After testing Ducati's MotoGP motorcycle at Mugello on Monday, the
seven time world champion vowed to 'try everything' to win the 2006 F1
''I can't promise that we will do it,'' Schumacher, 36, added, ''but I
can promise that we will apply total power.''
But will 'total power' involve the German trading-in some of his
traditional Norwegian skiing break to join the hard-graft at test
''Like always I will return to the car in January,'' Michael insisted,
albeit explaining that if 'something important' cropped up, he might
test earlier than Christmas.
Paffett wins F1 test
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.26) Gary Paffett will move a small step towards the
formula one world when he tests a McLaren.
The newly crowned DTM champion, with a long standing link to Ron
Dennis' F1 team, secured the tin-top title at the wheel of a Mercedes.
''I look forward to the (F1) test,'' the Briton said, hinting that the
McLaren run will be a reward for winning the coveted German
''It is a step in the right direction to formula one, which is where I
want to be.''
However, Paffett, 24, admitted that 2006 - at least - will be spent
defending his title, because there are 'no race seats available' on
the F1 grid.
Button sexism slammed
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.26) Jenson Button does not think women will ever
trouble him in Spa's Eau Rouge or Suzuka's 130R.
The 25-year-old (BAR-)Honda driver told a men's magazine - 'FHM' -
that ladies' biology could make their success in grands prix
impossible, even if girl-racers like Danica Patrick and Katherine
Legge are proving pretty handy in lower formulae.
''But in F1 cars,'' JB explained, ''I can't see it happening due to
the g-force in fast corners.
''And one week of the month you wouldn't want to be on the circuit
with them, would you?
''A girl with big boobs would never be comfortable in the car. And the
mechanics wouldn't concentrate. Can you imagine strapping her in?''
Britain's 'Sun' newspaper, though, quoted its female 'motoring
correspondent' as slamming the BAR driver's sexism.
''Oh grow up,'' said Emma Parker.
''If he spent less time staring at grid girls' breasts he might win
More 'zip' for qualifying
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.26) F1's new knockout qualifying format has its
doubters, but some say it should provide a bit more 'zip' for those in
Although the doomsayers reckoned it was too late to fiddle around with
a format involving different fuel loads, Red Bull's Christian Horner
said the system should be good for the 'bigger picture'.
''It is a good solution,'' he said.
''I think qualifying will be an interesting spectacle now.''
Sir Frank Williams agrees that knockout qualifying will probably
provide a boost in terms of the 'entertainment factor'.
''(It) should give a bit more zip for the viewers,'' he added.
FIA president Max Mosley admitted that existing one-lap qualifying had
been overturned because it did not prove exciting enough for
''This is the format,'' Mosley explained, ''that guaranteed the cars
being out there.''
Williams to run 'Friday' car
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.26) Williams will run a 'Friday' car next year -- and
a pay-driver might get the nod to steer it.
After finishing a sub-standard fifth in the constructors' chase, Sir
Frank Williams' formerly title-charging squad can enter a non-racing
spare car for Friday's practice sessions.
Honda, Red Bull, BMW, Midland and Squadra Toro Rosso can also benefit
from the privilege, but Toyota - fourth in the '05 standings - cannot.
With the loss of BMW works power, Sir Frank admitted that the 'Friday'
option is a costly one for a privateer team.
''But we ... will deal with it,'' he told the Autosport website.
Antonio Pizzonia would be a logical choice for the extra seat, but the
Brazilian has indicated that a Champ Car ride might better attract
Ex-Minardi pay-drivers Christijan Albers and Robert Doornbos would be
logical candidates, as are likely Jordan refugees Tiago Monteiro and
Stoddart to walk away
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.26) Australia's Paul Stoddart will walk away from F1
The gritty entrepreneur has sold Minardi to Red Bull, and revealed
that October 31 - the handover date - is his last in the sport after
failing to get a single offer to take up a new job elsewhere.
''You can only do something if someone wants you to do it,'' Stoddart
In fact, Paul thinks his outspoken nature in F1 politics will rule him
out of most jobs that might be on offer.
He vowed to focus on his new 'OzJet' airline, and travelled to
Queensland (Australia) last weekend to oversee his new sponsor
involvement in 'V8 Supercars'.
He said: ''I'm going to miss it badly.''
Stoddart also lamented to crash.net that, without Minardi, Jordan and
Sauber on the grid, F1 might face a dearth of young rookies given a
chance by a privateer squad.
''You do have to fear a little bit,'' he wondered, ''where are these
kids going to get their chance in the future?''
Final Ferrari farewell
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.26) After driving a scarlet single seater for the
last time on the weekend, Rubens Barrichello has now made his final
farewell to Ferrari at the wheel of the novel three-seater.
The Honda-bound Brazilian's grandpa, father, mother and sister all got
a ride in the car, which is based on a F2002 but with seats in each
''Now I feel a hole inside my stomach,'' 33-year-old Barrichello told
La Gazzetta dello Sport. ''I feel incredible emotion -- I felt like
crying when I saw the happiness of my grandpa and father.''
The three-seater topped 290kmh at Fiorano.
Rubens does, however, lament the fact that he cannot test for Honda
prior to the first day of next year. He revealed that his BAR track
debut, because of the Ferrari 'gardening leave', will be on January
More F1 meetings
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.26) Yet another meeting has been staged in a bid to
stave-off the looming and increasing threat of 'breakaway' in 2008.
FIA president Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone, the F1 supremo,
apparently met in Paris on Sunday, prior to Monday's F1 Commission in
Also present was Burkhard Goeschel, a BMW and 'GPMA' bigwig.
Then, on the morning of the F1 Commission in London, the trio met
again, this time also joined by Renault F1 team principal Flavio
''The meetings ... were ... useful steps towards a harmonious eventual
conclusion,'' Sir Frank Williams, who describes the two-series split
as potentially 'disastrous' for the sport, told the Autosport website.
Regulatory and commercial matters aside, the carmakers' 'GPMA' group
is also concerned about the arguable independence of the FIA court.
Minardi's big mistake
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.26) Gian Carlo Minardi says he regrets giving the
'Minardi' name to Paul Stoddart when he sold his formula one team five
The Italian and Faenza based team's founder, who remained an employee
at Minardi to this day, laments the imminent passing of the famous
'Minardi' name to history, with Stoddart's recent sale to energy drink
''We have managed to save all the workforce,'' he told Autosprint.
''If the price to pay was the name, then never mind.''
Still, Gian Carlo - who said he is still paying off old F1 team debts
- reckons he made one major mistake when he sold to Stoddart; not
following the thirty year old advice of an even more famous name.
''(He) told me: 'Minardi, sell your stock, sell whatever you want, but
don't ever sell your name.' That man's name was Enzo Ferrari. Instead,
I gave the name away for free.''
A 'fairer' safety car rule
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.26) The FIA is working on a 'fairer' safety car
system, according to veteran F1 racer David Coulthard.
The Scot, 34, said he was stuck on the bad end of the rule in
Shanghai, following one of two safety car periods.
''It caught me after it left the pit,'' Coulthard told the 'Daily
Record' newspaper, ''so from sixth I ended up ninth.
''I could have been fourth.
''(Race director) Charlie Whiting called me a day or two later to
gauge my opinion.''
The likely change to the rule would involve, in that scenario,
Coulthard - and other racers - being waved through by the safety car
until it found the race leaders.
October 26, 1997
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.26) To many, October 26 1997 - exactly eight years
ago - was and will remain one of the most remarkable days in F1
A day earlier, first, second and third on the grid for the European
grand prix at Jerez - Jacques Villeneuve, Michael Schumacher and
Heinz-Harald Frentzen - had posted identical times in qualifying.
The real drama, though, had yet to come.
In a last-ditch effort to win his first championship for Ferrari - but
with an ailing red car - Schumacher deliberately turned in on
Williams' Villeneuve but only found himself beached in the gravel.
Canada's 26-year-old won the title, and Schumacher later found himself
disqualified from the entire season.
At the end of the race, the synchronised swimming began. Villeneuve,
who was leading, let first Mika Hakkinen and then David Coulthard pass
It was a McLaren one-two and 1998 and 1999 world champion Hakkinen's
first of twenty wins.
Frentzen to leave hospital
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.26) Former grand prix winner Heinz-Harald Frentzen
will probably leave hospital on Thursday after recovering from a huge
shunt in the Hockenheim DTM race.
''The headache is getting better,'' Australian newspapers quoted the
German - who won grands prix for Williams and Jordan - as saying.
Reports say the 38-year-old, who was knocked out when his Vectra
smashed into the barriers, will have to undergo another brain scan
before leaving Ludwigshafen hospital.
One more year for Pedro
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.26) Pedro de la Rosa has vowed to spend one more year
as a test driver.
The 34-year-old Spaniard, who so impressed in injured Juan Pablo
Montoya's McLaren cockpit in Bahrain, reckons being a long term test
driver is an 'extremely hard' F1 job.
''You're working for others, basically,'' Pedro told the 'Marca'
newspaper, ''but you see that you can do at least as good a job as the
''That's extremely hard.''
De la Rosa, who has also raced for Arrows and Jaguar, tested on 25
separate days in 2005, as well as sharing the 'Friday' cockpit at
grands prix with test teammate Alex Wurz.
He doesn't, however, intend to keep Wurz company for ever.
''If I arrive at the end of 2006 and still do not have a race
cockpit,'' Pedro advised, ''then I will try my luck in a different
He admitted that his problem of breaking out of the test cycle now is
his age. ''F1 teams are looking for 20-year-olds,'' said de la Rosa,
possibly referring to the imminent confirmation of Nico Rosberg as
Williams' new rookie.
RB not 'scared' of JB
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.26) Rubens Barrichello has poured scorn at any
suggestion he might be 'scared' of taking on Jenson Button at
(BAR-)Honda next year.
The cheerful Brazilian, a nine-time grand prix winner, has spent six
years at Ferrari alongside multiple world champion Michael Schumacher.
''Button? Someone who was teammates with Schumacher can't be scared of
Jenson,'' Rubens, 33, told the Italian Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.
Briton Button, in 100 grands prix, has failed to win a race.
Barrichello won't even rule out emerging ahead of Schumacher,
Ferrari's eternal number one, in the '06 standings.
He also told Autosprint: ''Who knows if now I'll have better
opportunities to beat him.''
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