Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
November 2,  2005

Ferrari back to work
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.2) Brazil's Felipe Massa, facing a busy winter of Ferrari toil, resumed work at the Vallelunga track near Rome on Tuesday.

Sharing the load with Maranello regular Luca Badoer, the long time test driver, they took turns at the wheel of a F2004 and F2005 'for ... comparative tests.'

A statement also explained that around 1000 spectators watched on as Massa, 25, outpaced Badoer by two seconds.

The test continues on Wednesday.

Aguri not Honda 'b' team
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.2) Former F1 driver Aguri Suzuki has denied that the team he hopes to power onto the F1 grid next year will be Honda's 'B' arm.

Notwithstanding earlier media observations to the contrary, the ex-Arrows and Ligier driver - who even raced once for Jordan in 1994 - said 'Super Aguri F1' would be independent.

''We are not Honda's B-team by any means,'' the 46-year-old added at a Tokyo press call.

Even so, he remained tight-lipped about potential sponsorship, but did reveal that Honda would be a key ally.

Asked about commercial sponsorship and funding for the 2006 season, that will have to - at least - eclipse $100m, Suzuki said: ''I can't make specific comments until we've received the FIA's approval.''

'Super Aguri' do already have the ability, however, to attempt to woo Japanese driver Takuma Sato, who has been dumped by Honda's works team.

''We are at a nice stage in talks with Takuma,'' Suzuki confirmed.

Ferrari hail F1 revamp
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.2) Ferrari has hailed the changes to formula one's rulebook for 2006.

At the end of the worst season for the Maranello team in more than a decade, president Luca di Montezemolo saluted a new 'knockout' qualifying format for 2006, and branded the axing of the one-tire-per-race regulation a 'good move' for formula one.

''We could not go on arriving at Monza on the Saturday to be greeted by empty stands or have people turning on the television for only the final 10 minutes,'' he told the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

''It seems to me to be a good solution as a spectacle and a challenge.''

Montezemolo, a staunch critic of the 2005 formula, said the new qualifying format should reinvoke the 'last second' dash for pole as seen in 'Lauda or Senna's day', and heralded the return of tire changing because he said tires had become 'too important'.

He added: ''Being unable to change tires made races more dangerous.

''The drivers were forced to drive like taxis over the closing laps.'' Unsaid, meanwhile, the change will also allow Bridgestone the opportunity to relive the dominance of the pre-2005 period.

Luca insisted: ''The drivers, cars and engines should make the difference -- not the tires.''

Honda target top step
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.2) After securing second to Ferrari in the 2004 constructors' chase, BAR-Honda's target for 2005 was simple -- to win a grand prix.

At the end of the most recent season, however, the seven-year-old formula one team - although a fifteen-time visitor to the podium - is still yet to collect that victory.

''What we really want to do is to win,'' team principal Nick Fry said this week of the unchanged target for next year, irrespective of the Honda buy-in and change of name.

Second in 2004 or not, BAR failed to build on that momentum in a troubled season that saw its mostly problematic '007' contender even disqualified twice in May.

Fry admits: ''We didn't come anywhere near close enough (to winning). At many tracks the car didn't work anywhere near as well as we would have liked.

''Clearly, we were nowhere near as close to winning a race as we had been (a year before).''

2006 just might, Fry hopes, signal a return of fortune. Brackley based BAR will be renamed something like 'Honda', with the Japanese carmaker throwing full works effort behind its own F1 team.

To that end, Honda will have a 'hybrid' car with the V8 engine running before Christmas, ahead of a January launch for the brand new 2006 car.

Asked about expectations for next year, Nick Fry was succinct: ''To win races -- plural.''

Alan Jones
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.2) 1980 formula one world champion Alan Jones is celebrating his fifty ninth birthday on Wednesday.

The Melbourne born Australian, today remembered as Williams' rough and gruff first title winner, is the son of Aussie race legend Stan.

A 29-year-old Alan debuted in a Hesketh car in 1975, and went on to race 116 times until 1986, winning 12 grands prix.

Today, after a long domestic touring car and F1 commentary career, Jones heads up the Australian 'A1' team, with his son Christian at the wheel.

November 2 is also the 31st birthday of French driver Stephane Sarrazin, who raced just once for Minardi in 1999 (Brazil) but went on to shine in the world rally championship.

No red card for Schu
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.2) It is no surprise that many F1 contracts include clauses forbidding a multi-million dollar driver from engaging in dangerous sporting pursuits.

In Michael Schumacher's Ferrari agreement, though, is a section that explicitly allows the seven time world champion to lace up his boots whenever the urge entices him.

Schumacher, 36, is a passionate football fan, who religiously plays in the F1 drivers' team as well as for the Aubonne team, the local club near his huge Swiss mansion.

''No one could ever tell me to stop playing,'' the German said, ''because it would affect my quality of life too much.''

Former F1 racers 'fat'
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.2) Former formula one driver Christian Danner reckons rivals Alan Jones and Patrick Tambay will struggle to fit inside a single seater these days, let alone win the 'Grand Prix Masters'.

It is a series, to kick off at Kyalami, for 45-year-old and older drivers who once graced racing's highest stage.

Danner, the 47-year-old German who raced just 36 times in the 80s, reckons 1980 champion Jones (59) and Frenchman Tambay (56), might not be up to speed with fitter rivals like Andrea de Cesaris - who last raced in F1 in 1994 - and Stefan Johansson.

Danner grinned: ''Jones and Tambay will be fat!

''I can't wait to see their faces when they take their helmets off after the first race.

''It's going to be fantastic!''

Danner's show of early gamesmanship - and the presence of Nigel Mansell, of course - is perhaps the sort of thing that lured legendary F1 commentator Murray Walker out of his long deserved retirement.

The 83-year-old told the Daily Telegraph: ''What came out of the mouths of people like Mansell and Jones proved that they are real characters.

''Current F1 drivers get few opportunities to express their personality. I'm sure they are characters but they don't get a chance to show it.''

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