Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
November 18,  2005

Midland adopt Russian label
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.18) Alex Shnaider's 'Midland' team will race under the Russian flag.

In a statement, the outfit bought from Eddie Jordan a year ago, and based at Silverstone, said a mandatory license had been issued by the 'Russian Automobile Federation'.

UK-based 'Midland MF1 Racing' is thus F1's first Russian team.

FIA rules state that a team must obtain a license from a national motor sport authority. Shnaider, although a naturalized Canadian, was actually born in Russia.

He said the Russian connection 'reflects this project's core targets and values, and hoped the decision would 'push ... the development of Russia's motorsport' and 'open new horizons for Russian racing drivers'.

Sepang still trying to sell
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.18) Sepang's current owner is still trying to sell the F1 venue.

It is presently owned by 'Malaysia Airports Holdings', with the sale linked to the company's desire to restructure.

But general manager Datuk Ahmad Mustafa told 'The Edge Daily' publication that the agreement with Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management is holding up the sale.

In Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, he said Bernie would expect the Malaysian government to guarantee the race's future, but 'as a sovereign country, (Malaysia can) not be taken to court.

''(They) ... are working out a (solution).''

Malaysia's 'Finance Ministry' agreed in 2003 to buy the Sepang circuit for $103.6 million. The current F1 promoters' contract runs to 2010.

Paffett says F1 test 'proper'
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.18) Gary Paffett has contradicted speculation that his upcoming McLaren test is merely symbolic of his DTM title crown.

The Briton, who has tested for the Woking team before and came close to a 2005 Sauber move, told Autosport that the November run in Spain was indeed a 'proper' test.

The magazine said Paffett, 24, would test for two full days at Barcelona, and might then be kept in the silver car for the next Jerez test event.

''I want to show the team how well I can drive a formula one car,'' Gary Paffett said, ''and now I've got my chance.''

It is acknowledged, however, that the Englishman's Mercedes link - and the 2005 championship win - was instrumental in the test chance.

Monza to appeal court ban
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.18) Monza will appeal a court verdict that threatens the running of next September's Italian F1 race.

A Milan court ruled on Wednesday that race events at the historic venue face bans if measures to reduce noise for local residents are not applied.

Director of the 'Autodromo Nazionale di Monza', Enrico Ferrari, said: ''At the moment we wouldn't be able to host any formula one activity.''

But he told 'La Gazzetta dello Sport' that the November verdict does allow for 'plenty of time' to challenge the court's decision.

The Milan magistrate had upheld a group of local residents' complaint by ruling that motor racing is 'a superfluous, dangerous and socially useless activity with a big impact on the environment.'

However, the weekend's Monza Rally is expected to go ahead, presumably because their sound is quieter than in F1.

Milan deputy mayor Riccardo de Corato baulked at the court's F1 ruling: ''It is right to protect the environment but it is also right that we should avoid (wiping) out important traditions.''

BMW exit a 'major regret'
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.18) Sir Frank Williams has described the departure of engine partner BMW as a 'major regret'.

After a six-year collaboration with the Munich carmaker, Grove has been left without a works supplier following BMW's decision to buy Sauber and go it alone in '06.

''It is a major regret that we were unable to make the partnership work,'' the team co-owner and principal told the 'WilliamsF1 Supporters' site.

He admitted that the behind-the-scenes split inevitably 'had an affect' on the team's form.

Sir Frank continued: ''The marriage ... promised much but unfortunately failed to deliver. We never forget what happened in the past but we anticipate and look towards the future as best we can.''

BMW aside, it is all change at Grove. Like Cosworth and new driver Nico Rosberg, also arriving on the scene is Bridgestone after several seasons on Michelin's F1 tires.

Despite the French based company's grand prix dominance in 2005, however, Frank Williams is confident about sharing a tire with Ferrari.

''For most of the time that we were supplied by Michelin, we received a thrashing. Bridgestone know how to win ... so it's probable that neither will enjoy total domination,'' Sir Frank insisted.

Willi Weber in trouble
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.18) After the Ralf Schumacher affair, 62-year-old Willi Weber is back in the newspaper headlines.

In the German press, it is alleged that Weber - who split with Michael Schumacher's younger brother after a 12-year partnership - will be prosecuted for allegedly embezzling company funds.

The case surrounds the insolvent 'Pole Position Marketing' company - once involved in the licensing of Schumacher merchandise - amid suspicion that Weber moved money from the sinking firm when it struck financial strife.

It is also suggested that the insolvency of the company was announced later than is allowed.

Media reports said Weber's company headquarters in Stuttgart were raided by the Stuttgart public prosecutor's office, amid allegations that more than $6 million was illegally moved to another company.

Earlier this year, Weber settled with a Stuttgart court after alleged involvement in perjury. He agreed to donate $60,000 to charity.

BMW-Sauber to test youngster
(GMMf1NET -- Nov.18) The newly-named 'BMW Sauber' outfit will soon offer a F1 test drive to an up-and-coming young Formula BMW driver.

Nicolas Huelkenberg, Dean Smith, Salman Al Khalifa and Robert Wickens - '05 standouts of the open-wheeler series all over the world - will fight for the privilege at the Formula BMW World Final in Bahrain in December, motor sport boss Mario Theissen said.

The quartet was also named to appear on the support bill at December's Race of Champions in Paris.

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