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 stability.

''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 snowmobiling.

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 track.

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 Bahrain.

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 healthy'.

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 before.

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 unlucky' (Fisichella).

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 'disappointing'.

''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 much potential.''

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 perfect lifeline.

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 third division.

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