Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
November 1,  2005

F1 bank urges peace
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.1) The German bank that controls F1's commercial rights, Bayerische Landesbank, says it is 'crucial' that the prospect of breakaway is ended.

BayernLB's Dr Gerhard Gribkowsky, a regular in the paddock in 2005, called on the teams and carmakers to 'focus their energies' elsewhere.

Referring to the five errant 'GPMA' carmakers, he said: ''Mr. (Bernie) Ecclestone and the shareholders are committed to continuing ... dialogue and to finding solutions.''

As a start, BayernLB has taken sole control of the 75 per cent SLEC share from two American banks, allied to its earlier court win over Ecclestone, wrestling control of F1.

Gribkowsky says the banks 'support' Bernie, the F1 'CEO', and have no immediate plans to sell their share in the sport.

''A divestiture ... is currently not a relevant issue,'' he insisted. ''All shareholders need to act ... to support the future development of the sport and that is exactly what we are doing.''

'B' team to be unveiled
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.1) A mysterious Honda-backed 'eleventh' team for formula one is likely to be announced at Honda HQ in Tokyo on Tuesday.

A press conference is scheduled, where the so-nicknamed 'b' operation - headed by former F1 driver Aguri Suzuki and with Takuma Sato to be at the wheel - should be outlined, possibly with 'Softbank' backing and the involvement of race team Dome.

The deadline to enter a team for 2006 is November 15, including a $48m refundable deposit.

''We are the supporting act ... rather than the leaders,'' BAR-Honda principal Nick Fry said on Monday.

''Starting a new team is a huge undertaking,'' he added, bearing out speculation that 2007 might be a more likely debut, particularly as current rules require that each team design and build a unique car.

If so, and the unnamed operation has entered for 2006, a $12m FIA fine will apply.

Rumor has it that the 'b' team could be based at Arrows' old HQ in Leafield (UK).

Albers set for Midland drive
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.1) Another piece of the 2006 puzzle is set to fall into place on Tuesday, with Dutch driver Christijan Albers about to unwrap a two-year Midland deal.

The 26-year-old, to lose his Minardi seat in the Red Bull reshuffle, has signed a contract to race for the Alex Shnaider-owned team in 2006 and 2007, rumors in Holland suggested.

A press conference on Tuesday morning will confirm the news.

''There has been a lot of talk about Midland in the press,'' Albers told the Dutch 'F1Racing.net' website, a sponsor of the rookie driver.

He added: ''You are never sure ... until you have signed the contract and are driving out of the pit garage.''

Albers was also linked with Williams' 'Friday' practice seat.

''But racing always is the prime option,'' Christijan continued, ''and we're aiming for that.''

'Honda' to launch in January
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.1) The 2006 'Honda' formula one car will be launched in January next year.

Team principal Nick Fry, to stay at the helm even with the full acquisition of BAR by the Japanese carmaker, insisted that the car is 'on target'.

It will carry the hopes of a team desperate to leave 2005 in the past and take off where it left in 2004 -- looking for that maiden victory.

''We didn't win anything (this year),'' Fry said, ''so to be honest there weren't any highs.''

Improved, then, is the driver line-up, with Ferrari refugee Rubens Barrichello joining Jenson Button, thus leaving out the inconsistent Takuma Sato.

''We know Rubens and Jenson will be with us for several years to come,'' Fry beamed. ''I'm sure they'll live up to their equal number one status.''

The team chief also revealed that Barrichello, 33, would kick off his winter program in January, with a V10 engine.

'Minardi' is no more
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.1) It's official -- Paul Stoddart no longer owns a formula one outfit, but Red Bull boast two.

The formal handover of the little, passionate, Faenza based operation to energy drink magnate Dietrich Mateschitz was completed on Monday.

''It's all done, they own it,'' a rueful Stoddart, initially a grand prix car collector and aviator, told Reuters.

''They didn't mess around.''

To many Minardi fans' chagrin, the 20-year-old Minardi name - founded by Gian Carlo Minardi who remained an employee to the end - will forthwith be traded for Squadra Toro Rosso ('Team Red Bull', in Italian).

Austrian and BMW's Franz Tost will likely succeed Stoddart as boss, with Vitantonio Liuzzi and Scott Speed at the wheel.

''I firmly believe the competitive spirit that has burned brightly within this team for the past 21 years,'' Paul Stoddart said in an earlier statement entitled 'The last word... for now', ''will live on under its new owners.''

The car in front is a V8
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.1) With four months to go until a new era dawns in formula one, Toyota might just be the car in front when it comes to the V8.

The rumor mill insists that while its rivals might be struggling for reliable miles, the fledgling Toyota 2.4 liter V8 is leading the pack.

''We seem to have done more kilometres than the other teams,'' the Cologne team's president John Howett agreed, ''so we seem to be in a good position.''

More of an unknown for 2005, however, is the team's switch from grand prix pacesetter Michelin to Bridgestone, even if the Japanese marque is delighted about the restoration of tire change pitstops.

Howett told 'Speed TV': ''It was very hard to decide to move, but ultimately we think Bridgestone will recover. The V8 engine might require different characteristics from the tire, which could be more favorable for Bridgestone.

''We may have made the wrong decision, but at the moment we're confident that it will add something to the package.''

Kimi out for a month
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.1) Kimi Raikkonen's minor knee surgery will put the Finn out of action for about a month, his spokeswoman said on Monday.

Anna Sorainen revealed that the McLaren driver's arthroscopy, to remove damaged left knee cartilage via a small incision, was 'very minor' and would leave Kimi, 26, on crutches for 'a few days'.

''It took place last week and went very well,'' she added, explaining that the operation would not delay the '05 runner-up's planned January return.

Raikkonen's silver clad teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, meanwhile, has traveled to Colombia for team sponsor Mobil 1.

On Saturday, the 30-year-old visited the Autodromo de Tocancipa, located south of Juan Pablo's home city Bogota.

November 1, 1998
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.1) November 1 might be a relatively quiet day in 2005, but seven years ago it had the transfixed interest of the entire F1 world.

Almost to the minute, at Suzuka 1998, Michael Schumacher - still without a Ferrari title to his name - lined up on the Japanese grand prix 'finale' grid, alongside McLaren rival Mika Hakkinen.

Basically, the winner would wear the crown.

Schumacher stalled, putting him to the back of the grid, and allowing Hakkinen to exhale breathe. But the Ferrari driver, dead last, stormed the first lap to be twelfth at the start of lap 2.

Soon, though, Schumacher became bottled up behind old nemesis Damon Hill, before a rear tire blew. 'Flying Finn' Hakkinen was world champion.

''Life goes on,'' Schumacher said, ''and now we must look forward to trying again next year.''

Honda query radical FIA wing
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.1) BAR-Honda has given a lukewarm reception to the FIA's proposed 2008 radical rear wing.

Team principal Nick Fry said the idea, effectively to chop out a middle section of the current design to aid overtaking, needs 'a lot more work' to ensure it's a good move.

The FIA's proposal was devised with the help of commercial partner AMD computational fluid dynamics (CFD).

''We're one of the biggest proponents of CFD,'' Fry insisted, ''but it only gives you a good guide for what you should be doing, it doesn't ... give you all the answers.''

The concept has been passed on to F1's technical working group, and Fry agrees that 'more work' and 'more wind tunnel tests' need to be done.

In the 'knockout' qualifying department, Fry gave a thumbs-up, but he dithered when asked about the scrapping of the '05 tire rule.

''Those of us on Michelin tires clearly had a big advantage over our Bridgestone rivals,'' Fry said of the return of tire changing.

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