Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
October 27, 2005
19-race calendar unveiled
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.27) 'Ferrari Is Favorite Again'.
That's what the Italian 'Corriere dello Sport' publication proclaimed
on Wednesday after the World Motor Sport Council in Rome
rubber-stamped the 2006 return of tire changing, and a new 'knockout'
More significantly, however, the FIA body also published Bernie
Ecclestone's draft grand prix calendar for next year, allaying fears
of 20 races and confirming Bahrain in Australia's normal kick-off
The calendar, much like 2005's unprecedentedly-long 19-stop season,
again features six back-to-backs, a new June date for the Silverstone
race, and a 'provisional' tag for the season finale, Brazil, with the
race 'subject to contract approval'.
England's 'Mirror' tabloid said British grand prix bosses are 'fuming'
at the earlier date, which will clash with the World Cup opener.
''To make matters worse,'' read the daily newspaper, ''the French
(GP), which is unpopular and badly attended, has been handed
Silverstone's July slot.''
Red Bull boss Christian Horner, though, said the draft looked 'pretty
sensible' and at least avoided the feared 'triple headers'.
''Bahrain and Malaysia to start with will be a tight one,'' he said,
''but no surprises.''
The World Motor Sport Council has also banned team personnel from
climbing pitwall fences to cheer home their winning driver, and set up
a carmakers' 'Commission' to look into introducing 'new and future'
technologies to racing.
'M16' to run in February
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.27) Alex Shnaider had 'no intention' of selling the
Jordan-Midland outfit in 2005, a team 'review' of the season insisted.
The document referred to Monaco in May as a 'downside' to the
newly-acquired squad's brief history -- the car was slow, and sale
''After a few weeks, things calmed down,'' the review continued, ''and
the rumors proved unfounded. (Shnaider) had no intention of selling
Jordan and, despite the uncertainties, the team emerged stronger and
Jordan, which debuted under the regime of Eddie Jordan in 1991, will
be renamed Midland next year. The new management, however - with Dr
Colin Kolles at the helm - endured a testy relationship with the media
amid speculation that not enough was being invested in the team.
It took until Monza for a 'b' version of the mainly 2004 car to be
launched. The team 'review' also confirmed that the first Midland car
- 'M16' - will be rolled out in February.
''Hopefully, the team will be able to maintain its incredible
reliability record, with the continuous collaboration of (Toyota and
Bridgestone) in 2006,'' it said.
Massa starts new F1 job
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.27) Felipe Massa has kicked off his 2006 job as
Michael Schumacher's teammate by testing a V8-powered Ferrari at
The young Brazilian, 25, drove a modified 2004 car at the track near
Rome over 46 laps. He will test throughout November and for most of
the winter 'off' period.
Massa said he embraces stepping into Rubens Barrichello's six-year old
shoes as number two to Schumacher, the world champion.
''It means you will know exactly how you will do compared to
everyone,'' he told the Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper.
Felipe, from Sao Paulo, also played down the Maranello based team's
current 'crisis', saying that Ferrari is still a step-up from Sauber.
''I often think what it will be like -- will I get the car of my
dreams, if I'll be able to win some races and maybe fight for the
''I know most of all I need to learn a lot.''
Bourdais and Renault
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.27) Back to back Champ Car champion Sebastien
Bourdais says he intends to 'start a relationship' with Renault in
Although the Frenchman will stay in America with Newman-Haas next
year, he indicated that - built into the contract - will be a
provision so he can occasionally test the F1 cars.
''Then (I want to) start in 2007,'' Bourdais, 26, revealed.
He said he had targeted Renault, even if the French manufacturer seems
happy to steer away from French drivers at the pinnacle of racing.
''It's got markets all over the world,'' Sebastien acknowledged, ''so
they probably have interest to have non-French drivers.'' He explained
that no real contact had been made with the team.
In fact, the spectacle-wearing Frenchman is believed to not get along
with team boss Flavio Briatore and may even have once turned down an
offer to be managed by his company.
Bourdais added: ''In 2007 obviously it will probably be my last chance
to make it to F1.
''I'd very much like to make the jump.''
BMW fixed on new F1 foray
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.27) Dr Mario Theissen has defended BMW's decision to
forsake Williams and go it alone in formula one with its own team.
The Munich based marque's motor sport director, likely to become the
team principal at BMW-Sauber next year, justified the move by
suggesting that the existing collaboration had given '100 per cent'.
''Extending the partnership into the future,'' the German claimed,
''wouldn't have made us faster.''
But while Williams' Grove chiefs point to a lack of power from the
2005 V10, Theissen suggests that the 'FW27' car could be blamed for
the distinct lack of speed.
''The chassis was not up to scratch,'' he said.
''We had hoped that the extensive modifications halfway through the
year would help, but we initially went in the opposite direction.''
Between Hinwil and Munich, then, BMW has lately been a hive of
activity -- interviews for jobs to fill Sauber's under-staffed wind
tunnel, for example, started in September and are still going.
For the moment, BMW is therefore fully committed to the highest
echelon of motor racing. ''Motor sport without BMW,'' Theissen
claimed, ''is as difficult to imagine as BMW without motor sport.''
Another thump for JB sexism
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.27) Irish driver Sarah Kavanagh has rubbished Jenson
Button's claim that women will never make the grade in formula one.
Honda's JB, 25, controversially told a men's magazine this month that
girls are not built for the pinnacle of racing due to their monthly
cycle and big boobs.
''You couldn't get in the car if you had really big breasts,''
Kavanagh, the 'EuroBOSS' driver from Ireland, agreed, ''but the rest
of what he says is just nonsense.
'''It's like formula one is stuck in some sexist 1970s Playboy vibe,''
she went on to tell the 'Scotsman' newspaper.
EuroBOSS is a championship for four-year old (plus) grand prix cars,
and Kavanagh claims she is still eying an eventual berth in the GP2
Of Button's 'monthly' claim, meanwhile, Sarah slammed the attitude as
'ancient old nonsense'.
''The idea that we can't compete because of our menstrual cycle ...
come on. We have women flying F-16s and going to war -- why can't we
race a (formula one) car?''
Trulli's 'better job' - Ralf
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.27) Jarno Trulli had a better handle on the 2005
Toyota car than formula one teammate Ralf Schumacher.
Surprisingly, that's the confession of German-born 'Schu Jr' himself.
Ralf, 30, said the TF105 machine simply didn't suit his driving style.
''Jarno did a slightly better job with it,'' he told F1 Racing.
''I wasn't able to push it to the limit in qualifying. I was so
desperate to get a clean lap that I didn't push hard enough in the
braking areas, which wasn't good enough.''
Mercifully for the younger brother of Michael Schumacher, however, the
late-arriving 'b' model did suit his style a little better, and he
seemed to have the measure of Italy's Trulli at the final few '05
Frentzen out of hospital
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.27) Former grand prix winner Heinz-Harald Frentzen
left a German hospital on Wednesday after his heavy crash in a DTM
''I was getting bored,'' the 38-year-old, who was knocked out in the
Hockenheim hit, said of his three-night stay with brain and other
''I feel fine under the circumstances.''
Schu takes wife for F1 spin
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.27)
Following Rubens Barrichello's final Ferrari fling, Michael Schumacher
took a turn at the wheel of the novel three-seater F1 car.
At Fiorano, the seven time world champion gave rides to his wife
Corinna, father Rolf, PR lady Sabine Kehm, manager Willi Weber,
ex-'guru' Balbir Singh and one or two team members and engineers.
''Everyone had fun,'' Germany's Schumacher told La Gazzetta dello
Sport, ''also my engineers who know every small detail of the car but
not the thrill you feel inside.''
The scarlet three-seater, however - which clocked a top speed of
290kmh on the private test track - later developed an hydraulic
2005 'not bad' - Karthikeyan
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.27) Although the public perception might be
different, Narain Karthikeyan has described his rookie season in
formula one as 'not bad'.
But the slender Indian says he has 'given up trying to educate' his
home country about how success at the pinnacle of motor sport is not
possible without a top car.
Karthikeyan, 29, became the first Indian ever to race in grands prix
this year, for Jordan.
But he lamented to the 'DNA India' publication: ''It became difficult
to keep explaining that there was little I could do on the grid.''
Expectations at home rose again when the long awaited 'new car'
arrived at Monza. But Narain protests: ''It was hardly a new car --
just the old one with some new bodywork.''
Teammate Tiago Monteiro seemed to take most of the plaudits at the
yellow-clad team -- he beat Karthikeyan to the Indianapolis podium,
and enjoyed enviable reliability. The Portuguese also seemed to get
along with team boss Colin Kolles, while he and Karthikeyan supposedly
But, over a single lap, 'NK' probably had the edge. Of the 24
qualifying laps in 2005, Karthikeyan was ahead 15:9.
Narain insists: ''I am quicker but (Monteiro) finished more.''
Bernie didn't buy Minardi
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.27) Paul Stoddart says Bernie Ecclestone didn't
actually inject a single dollar into his ailing grand prix team in
Two years ago, the Australian's ailing Minardi team nearly collapsed
when a supposed 'fighting fund' for small teams never materialized.
The story faded when Ecclestone, the F1 supremo, reportedly ploughed
$4m into Minardi's bank account. But that, Paul Stoddart now says, is
not exactly the way it went.
''He didn't actually put any money in the team,'' the Minardi boss -
who has sold to Red Bull - told Motorsport Aktuell.
''But just having Bernie behind us boosted our reputation so much that
we suddenly generated new incomes.
''So I never actually had to accept his offer.''
Because Ecclestone came through for F1's smallest team in its darkest
hour, Stoddart will always have an affection for the little Briton.
Stoddart admits to now lamenting his sale of the team, but - really -
he had no choice.
With all the news about an eleventh (or twelfth) team in the air,
Minardi faced the possibility of receiving no FIA prize income for
being outside the top-10 constructors.
But Paul insists that he did not cry when he finally sold out.
''I wasn't far from it, though,'' he admitted.
Ron Walker causes a stir
(GMMf1NET -- Oct.27) Australian grand prix corporation boss Ron Walker
has found himself at the centre of a media controversy.
TV media watchdog 'Media Watch' questioned the way an article in
Melbourne's 'The Age' newspaper had mysteriously been changed just
minutes after it was published.
The original online article was called: 'Grand Prix benefits a
'ludicrous exaggeration'. The story referred to critics of a report
that the annual formula one race in Melbourne pumped $175m into the
Mere minutes later, though, the story had been replaced. The new
headline read: 'Grand Prix pumps $175m into state economy'.
Who, you might be thinking, is the chairman of Fairfax, publisher of
The Age? Ron Walker.
''No one had any influence on the story beyond the editorial staff of
The Age,'' Age editor Mike Van Niekerk insisted.
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