Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
November 4, 2005
Schu cools rule disapproval
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.4) Michael Schumacher has swerved away from
his earlier observation that formula one's constantly
changing rulebook is 'a joke'.
Even though the return of tire changing and a 'knockout'
qualifying format is being tipped to suit the dethroned
Ferrari champion, he told a German magazine that he was
'upset' by the 'way the talks (were) carried out'.
36-year-old Schumacher now says, however, that 'the
majority' of the 2006 adjustments are 'very positive'.
He said the axing of the one-tire rule is 'clear progress'
for safety, as is the V8 formula. Schumacher welcomed the
re-election of Max Mosley as 'good' for the sport's
''Max always has an open attitude towards the drivers,'' the
German said, ''and he is always striving for safety and
peace for F1.''
Schumacher was speaking at a sponsor event -- his last
official duty for a good few weeks. ''I'm looking forward to
some calmer days,'' he smiled.
The Ferrari driver won't test until January.
Indian plans to keep F1 ride
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.4) Narain Karthikeyan is currently meeting
with his sponsors in India in a frantic bid to stay in
formula one next year.
The rookie driver, who debuted for the team formerly known
as Jordan, is reportedly on a 'shortlist of three' to be
teammate to Christijan Albers at 'Midland'.
An article in the Indian 'Daily News & Analysis' publication
confirmed that the best pay-drive deal would land one of the
last 2006 spots.
Karthikeyan, also linked with Williams' 'Friday' drive,
commented on Thursday: ''We are still talking, though
nothing is certain just as yet.''
He did, however, dismiss speculation that he was no longer
being considered by Midland.
''As yet it's all speculation,'' Narain added.
More positively, the Indian driver says he is back in the
gym after his huge Shanghai shunt. He reported: ''Even the
minor twinge has passed now.''
'Uncle' Jacques Villeneuve
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.4) It's a little known fact, but 'Jacques
Villeneuve' actually tried to qualify for a grand prix or
three in the early 80s.
He is French Canadian, related to late Ferrari legend Gilles
Villeneuve, but is not the little 34-year-old who won the
1997 title in a Williams.
Nicknamed 'Uncle' Jacques Villeneuve in Canada, the
Villeneuve in question - who turns 50 on Friday - is Gilles'
brother, therefore the 2005 Sauber driver's uncle.
Driving Arrows and RAM cars, 'uncle' Jacques tried but
failed to qualify for two Canadian grands prix and an
American GP between '81 and '83.
Villeneuve did, though, shine brighter in Formula Atlantic,
CART and Can-Am cars, as well as in the world of
Jacques also drove in Le Mans in 1983, a year after the
death of his brother, and in 1985 became the first Canadian
to ever win a CART race.
'Uncle' Jacques Villeneuve was inducted in the Canadian
'Motorsport Hall of Fame' in 2001.
Ferrari confirm Bahrain test
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.4) The next time a Ferrari F1 engine is
fired, it will be within a Sakhir garage at the Bahrain
F1's dethroned champion team announced that it will kick off
a four-day run in the Middle East on Saturday 19 November,
at the scene of March's 2006 season opening race.
Ferrari said in a statement that the possibility was offered
- but reportedly declined - by Bernie Ecclestone's FOM
company 'to all teams'.
At Vallelunga near Rome (Italy) on Thursday, Felipe Massa
and Luca Badoer wrapped up a test comparing tire and car
performance with a F2004 and F2005.
Brazil's Massa, who ran a 'true' V8 engine while Badoer ran
under simulated V8 conditions with a V10, revealed: ''We
were able to see something interesting that will be useful
in Bridgestone's next stage of development.''
Badoer and fellow 2006 tester Marc Gene will do the work in
Nico 'ready' for dad's world
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.4) Nico Rosberg says he is ready for the
'hard world' of formula one -- a world occupied by his dad
at the time of his birth.
20-year-old Rosberg, the first GP2 champion, reckons his
past achievements will mean little when he lines up in a
Williams on the 2006 grid.
GP2 organizer Bruno Michel called Nico's signing 'evidence
that our series works'.
But Rosberg insisted: ''Even Michael Schumacher sees that
you always have to prove yourself, wherever you are.'' Nico,
however, does not count the seven time champion, or his
father, as his biggest hero.
He explained: ''Of course I respect what my father achieved
but my idol is Mika Hakkinen.'' It is probably no
coincidence that Keke Rosberg, the 1982 champion for
Williams, once managed Mika.
Rosberg, who speaks fluently in English, Italian, French and
German, turned down studying an opening in an engineering
degree at a London university to pursue racing.
''But this ... is the validation after ten years ... that I
have chosen the right direction,' Nico agreed.
Joining Jacques Villeneuve (Gilles) and Damon Hill (Graham),
Nico is the third son of a legendary F1 driver who has
driven for Frank Williams. Both Jacques and Damon won the
drivers' championship for the Grove team.
Keke will attend many of the nineteen grands prix next
season, 'Rosberg Jr' reported.
Wheldon - no F1 deal, yet
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.4) 2005 Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon has
denied that his switch to F1 is now all signed and sealed.
The Briton, who also secured America's premier open wheeler
title, has not renewed a new IRL deal despite his
Andretti-Green contract running out on Tuesday.
Raging speculation insists that Wheldon, 27, is on the way
to F1, probably as a 'Friday' driver for the BMW team. But
Dan said his signature is not yet on paper.
''I don't know where my future is going to take me right
now,'' Wheldon told 'Speed TV' at Juan Pablo Montoya's kart
event in Colombia.
In the Indy winner's favor, he shares a manager with Juan,
as well as McLaren tester Pedro de la Rosa -- Julian Jakobi.
But Wheldon, believed to have been offered an attractive
alternative in IRL, persevered: ''I haven't decided where
I'm going to go yet.''
Fry reassures 'priority' team
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.4) Nick Fry has reassured his BAR troops
that the team's winning ambition will not be watered-down by
owner Honda's involvement in the 'Super Aguri' project.
The works Honda team's principal wrote in an internal memo
that the Japanese carmaker's 'number one priority' is to win
races and championships 'with our team'.
''That is why Honda chose to buy BAR,'' Fry said.
He justified Honda's motivation to field what is being
described in the media a 'b' team, by saying it is good for
F1 to have more cars in pitlane.
''(But) we will not allow any significant diversion of
energy into a potential second team or any project other
than winning,'' Fry wrote.
F1 'not healthy' - Sauber
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.4) Bought-out F1 boss Peter Sauber reckons
the current financial situation on the grid is 'not
The Swiss, who in China attended his last grand prix as a
team owner after selling Sauber to BMW, says the carmaker
era made it nearly impossible to merely survive in pitlane.
''Costs have gone up drastically,'' he told Autosport, ''and
I think with those costs ... financially formula one is on a
level today that is not really healthy.''
Sauber says that when he entered F1, in 1993, the pinnacle
of motor racing was still on a 'normal technical level'.
The Hinwil based camp had 60 employees and a $20 million
budget. In 2005, Sauber-Petronas was ten times bigger.
''Budgets exploded,'' Peter confirmed. In 435 grand prix
stars, Sauber never won a race.
He explains: ''With our resources it was impossible to win
with our own performance. In formula one, a podium was like
a win for us.''
Sauber will, at least, stay busy next year and beyond. He
has a BMW consultancy contract, will advise Credit Suisse's
continuing F1 involvement, and is working on a new deal
between BMW and long time Sauber backer Petronas.
Number two 'rubbish' - Schu
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.4) Michael Schumacher has heard it all
If you ask Juan Pablo Montoya and Giancarlo Fisichella,
beaten by their respective McLaren and Renault teammates in
2005, what went wrong in 2005, you'll get differing versions
of 'I was not adapted to the car' (Montoya) and 'I was
Seven time champion Schumacher, 36, doesn't buy it.
In fact, he calls it 'rubbish'.
''They lacked what my former teammates lacked -- enough
speed,'' the German boldly claimed.
Schumacher, who usually comprehensively beat the departing
Rubens Barrichello at Ferrari between 2000 and 2005, told
'Motorsport Aktuell' that most stories about inferior
equipment and 'number two' drivers are imaginary.
He wondered: ''Why is it so hard to accept that some drivers
are quite simply better?''
So where does Schumacher think his new stable-mate, Felipe
Massa, will fit in at Ferrari?
''I expect that he will step at least into Rubens'
footsteps, and if not he might even do a bit better job.''
Gene and Badoer
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.4) Luca Badoer and Marc Gene will continue
to be Ferrari's official test lineup in 2006, the Maranello
team has announced.
Gene, the newly-married Spaniard, joined Ferrari from
Williams last year, while Italy's Badoer will tackle '06 as
his ninth season in scarlet.
Ralf wants wins
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.4) Ralf Schumacher has admitted that
anything other than multiple race wins next year would be
''We do expect victories,'' the 30-year-old German said,
''and I am pretty confident we can achieve that.''
He added: ''Toyota traditionally build a very reliable
engine and on the chassis side we are beginning to uncover
Schumacher is currently holidaying with wife Cora and son
David, and will return to the test track in December.
''First at Barcelona for two days,'' he clarified, ''and
then at Jerez for a further two days.''
Aguri and Mark Preston
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.4) 'Super Aguri F1' has now moved into
Arrows' old Leafield HQ, and reportedly appointed Australian
engineer Mark Preston - of the prospective Preston Racing
outfit - as technical chief.
It was reported earlier this year that the 36-year-old
former Arrows and McLaren engineer has ex-Arrows and Ferrari
man Paul Bowen as 'chief designer', and may even be well
advanced with the design of a F1 car.
With Aguri's plans to use a BAR chassis next year probably
scuppered by the Concorde agreement, Preston may be the
Schu hurts ankle
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.4) According to reports in Germany, Michael
Schumacher has injured his right ankle while playing
football in Switzerland.
The seven time world champion, who is not scheduled to
return to the F1 test tracks until January, was checked over
by a resident medical unit at the ground but given the
all-clear and simply told to pack his bruised ankle in ice.
Schumacher, 36, plays for the Echichens team in the Swiss
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