Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
December 1, 2005
New Bull to test in December
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.1) Red Bull Racing will debut its new 'RB2' F1 car
It is reported that, while the 2006 racer won't be officially launched
until the first grand prix in Bahrain, the Milton-Keynes based team
intend to 'shakedown' the car at Silverstone on 16 December.
Unlike the Jaguar-derived 2005 car, RB2 has been penned by former
Renault designer Mark Smith and will be powered by Ferrari's new V8
'RB2' will then benefit from the development input of current McLaren
technical director and leading aerodynamicist Adrian Newey, who will
join Red Bull in February.
Red Bull's only confirmed 2006 race driver David Coulthard, meanwhile,
returned to the F1 test tracks on Wednesday in the rev-limited RB1
V10, at Barcelona.
V10 gives STR 'big' boost
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.1) Scuderia Toro Rosso will enjoy a 'big advantage'
if the governing body does not correct the current V10 restrictions
That's the claim of Toyota technical director Mike Gascoyne, who
voiced the ongoing concerns of most carmaker-backed teams who are
honoring the sport's new V8 code.
Nicknamed 'the Bulldog', Gascoyne reckons the renamed Minardi team -
now owned by the successful energy drink company Red Bull - will
easily pull away from 2005 rival Jordan (Midland) next year.
Midland, like Mike's Cologne based employer, will be powered by a
Toyota V8 in 2006.
''Compared to Toro Rosso,'' Gascoyne told F1Today.nl, ''Midland is at
a clear disadvantage.''
Toyota is one of many carmaker teams who are calling on the FIA to
update the V10 compromise, negotiated by cash-strapped Minardi's
former boss Paul Stoddart.
''Toro Rosso is no longer a small, under-financed team,'' the Toyota
On Wednesday at Circuit de Catalunya, despite a rev-limit and air
restrictor on his RB1, 'STR' driver Vitantonio Liuzzi still outpaced
Anthony Davidson (BAR-Honda) and the two Cosworth V8-powered
Gascoyne explained of the current V8 restriction: ''In the case of
Minardi, we were prepared to live with it. But now we're talking about
what is really a well funded team.''
'New' Toyota is F1 trick
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.1) The extremely early debut of Toyota's 'new'
formula one car led to a few raised eyebrows amongst the F1 cynics.
According to whispers in the paddock, there is not a lot that is 'new'
about the so-called TF106 -- indeed, even the monocoque is a mere
development of the 'B' car used late in the 2005 championship.
In its initial statement, Cologne based Toyota worded carefully that
TF106 - the car currently clocking up test miles in Spain - is the
'first phase of (the team's) 2006 race car'. An all-new aero package
will be used in Bahrain.
''The major design change for 2006 has been the implementation of the
V8 engine,'' a spokesman admitted.
''The team is under no illusions as to how much development still
needs to be done.''
Some observers claim that Toyota's boasts about the very early 2006
car's debut may actually be a 'skilful bluff' to put pressure on
rivals to rush their own models.
It is also rumored that Toyota will unveil a 'b' version of the TF106
car - probably with a new monocoque and front end - as early as the
Spanish grand prix in May.
The initial TF106 will be officially launched on 14 January.
Alonso takes home F1 racer
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.1) Fernando Alonso has taken home a money-can't-buy
present -- the Renault he drove to his historic 2005 F1 championship.
Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn presented the Spaniard, 24, his unique award
at a celebration of the French-owned team's success near Paris.
''I saw a big box when I arrived this evening,'' Alonso beamed. ''To
have this car at home is a dream come true!''
Ghosn said the impact of Renault's double formula one title triumph -
the first ever for a mass-market car producer - has been 'enormous'.
He added: ''Now, we must exploit it.''
Button keeps V10 on song
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.1) Jenson Button made a good start to his 2006
campaign by earning 'P1' with his BAR-Honda at the first winter test
Switching between V10-powered 2005 and 2004 BAR cars on Wednesday, the
Englishman soared nearly two seconds clear of the next man -- a
similarly V10-boosted Renault F25 of Frenchman Franck Montagny.
Renault's Jose Maria Lopez (V10) was third, ahead of Christian Klien
(Red Bull, V10) and the first V8 in the field; Jarno Trulli's 2006
In the other Toyota, Ricardo Zonta struck fuel pump trouble, but went
quicker than another V8 -- the BMW-powered Sauber of Nick Heidfeld.
''We still have a lot of work to do,'' said Ricardo Zonta, Toyota's
Brazilian test driver.
Happier, however, was BMW boss Mario Theissen. ''It was important that
we could run the new engine in the Sauber chassis at this early
stage,'' said the German, relieved to have seen a reliable day.
Red Bull veteran David Coulthard, meanwhile, returned to action at
Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya. So, too, did Anthony Davidson -- in
BAR's 'concept car' which is fitted with a V8, a new gearbox and rear.
Also back on track was Australia's Mark Webber, in the dark blue
Williams, while '06 teammate Nico Rosberg struggled with the
Bridgestone-tired Cosworth V8 with hydraulic and pneumatic faults.
Ferrari, on the other hand, are running at two circuits this week, but
staying away from Barcelona. At Valencia, Felipe Massa spun a couple
of times in a F2005, while at Mugello, Marc Gene steered a V8-powered
F2004 around a wet track.
Toyota to solve Trulli issue
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.1) Jarno Trulli says he has left Barcelona feeling
'positive' about Toyota's new TF106 racer.
Although the Italian earlier grumbled that he still does not feel at
home with the front suspension, used on the 'b' car in 2005, he said
on Wednesday that he was 'surprised' with the handling.
''In the straight away the car was correct,'' said Trulli, 31.
''It was running well and it was competitive.''
JT also got a first feel of Toyota's new Bridgestone rubber, after
several years with the Cologne team and Renault on French made
But he warned: ''We still have some work to do with the front
suspension in terms of response.
''But I am confident because the engineers have been working on this
for a long time.
''We hope to solve this before the first race.''
Renault v. McLaren in '06
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.1) Next year should witness a repeat of the Renault
v. McLaren clash.
That is the prediction of Renault F1 president Patrick Faure, who put
a 'big question mark' over whether former champions Ferrari will be
able to join the title battle.
''We probably have a good (2006) package,'' he said at the team's
championship celebration for employees and team partners in southern
''If I had to bet then I think it will be a fight like last year
between McLaren and us.''
2005 drivers' champion, Fernando Alonso, agreed with his boss by
putting himself among those who should be considered favorites for
The Spaniard admitted: ''I will have the number 1 on my car so
probably I will be one of the three or four ... who will be the
favorites to win.''
Alonso, 24, singled out the two McLaren runners, Ferrari's Michael
Schumacher, and 'Honda, if they show they are good enough in winter
''All of us could be champions at the end of 2006.''
Berger spurns 'GP Masters'
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.1) Former ten-time grand prix winner Gerhard Berger
has rejected speculation that he might join old rival Nigel Mansell on
next year's 'GP Masters' grid.
The Austrian and ex-Ferrari and McLaren driver, who would just qualify
for the category at the age of 46, told Autosport that he had
definitely turned down an offer.
''I've no interest in doing this,'' said Berger, even though further
gossip hints that Alain Prost, Jody Scheckter and Nelson Piquet are
considering the '06 series.
Berger drove 210 grands prix between 1984 and 1997.
He added: ''I stayed healthy all those years.
''I don't want to hurt myself.''
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone also chimed in with a bit of criticism of
the Masters category, while former five-time GP winner John Watson
panned Eliseo Salazar - one competitor at the Kyalami opener - as 'not
exactly a GP Master'.
''It was nice to see Nigel and Murray (Walker) back in business,''
Ecclestone, 75, said, ''but whether it would work on more than a
one-off basis, we'll have to wait and see.''
F1 to hit TV as comedy
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.1) The BBC is in talks with a Beverly Hills producer
about making a comedy based on the world of F1.
Darren Star, creator of 'Beverly Hills 90210' and 'Sex and the City',
described formula one as a 'dazzling world' that he is interested in.
''I usually take my cues for shows (from) worlds I'd like to spend
time in,'' he told Variety.
''It's an enormous sport ... that barely exists (in America).
''It's a fun world to explore.''
A BBC figure has already been appointed to develop the project, the
Schu - 21-time F1 champ?
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.1) Michael Schumacher, world champion of 2019.
As far as 1978 formula one title winner Mario Andretti is concerned,
Schumacher - the 36-year-old German - could theoretically be crowned
world champion 21 times.
''If Schumacher wants to,'' the American told Autosprint, ''he can
race until he's 50.''
Andretti, who was still competitive in IndyCars as a 54-year-old (in
1994), says being quick as 'not a physical nor a mental problem'.
''It's just about motivation.
''Your brain might become less reactive, but your greater experience
helps you. If Schumacher keeps his mental condition, and considering
his excellent physical preparation, then he could race for ten more
years at the top.''
Indeed, Andretti won the pole at Monza '82 in a Ferrari, and would
have won if not for problems with his car's turbo.
He was 41.
''Physically and mentally, I was still at the top.'' And Andretti says
he made 'an error' by retiring as a 54-year-old.
''I really only needed a rest,'' he claimed.
V8 leaves DC 'disappointed'
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.1) David Coulthard says he is 'disappointed' that
less horse power will haul him around the tracks of F1 in 2006.
The veteran Scot, however, is a staunch advocate of improved safety,
and therefore agrees that carrying less top speed to the scene of a
crash is ideal.
Although Coulthard, 34, tested with a V10 at Barcelona on Wednesday,
he will be fitted with a V8 Ferrari at the Bahrain opener.
He told 'Speed TV': ''Ultimately, we'll still end up doing the big top
speed, because they'll just give us the wing (levels) to achieve it.
''I'm disappointed about going to V8 and losing horse power.''
Still, Red Bull's Coulthard would rather have a Ferrari behind him
than Cosworth's V8.
He endorsed Dietrich Mateschitz's decision to swap Cosworth for
Ferrari in 2006, because the latter, Williams-bound engine maker is
'limited' in terms of resources.
So, will the Red Bull-Ferrari combo be competitive?
''No way of knowing,'' DC grinned.
''After all these years in F1, I would not presume to buy into the BS
of simulations say this, or they say that.
''The best simulation is the racetrack.''
Zonta softens V8 slam
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.1) Ricardo Zonta has softened his stance regarding
F1's move to V8 power.
Although the Brazilian slammed the 200 horse power loss when he tried
Toyota's 2.4 liter unit at Jerez in September, he now hints that other
tracks may not feel as 'boring'.
''It's dead easy to drive,'' the test driver said in September.
''A little girl could drive that car.''
29-year-old Zonta, however, said the quick curves at Circuit de
Catalunya - just out of Barcelona - hide the fact that V8s pack less
''It was very positive,'' he said on Wednesday.
''Barcelona is a good track for testing the V8 ... where we do not
feel the loss of power.''
At the Spanish track on Thursday, Toyota race driver Ralf Schumacher
will be in action.
GPMA open talks with F1 owner
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.1) 'GPMA' has kicked off talks with F1's new owner, a
key figure of the carmakers' threatened 'breakaway' series has
Patrick Faure, Renault's team president, said the group comprising
four other disgruntled F1 carmakers had now sat down for a crucial
meeting with 'CVC', a British company that bought 75 per cent of the
sport from Bernie Ecclestone and a German bank.
''We will keep on talking,'' the Frenchman - who said 'GPMA' also met
on Tuesday - told the Reuters agency in Paris.
It is understood that the carmaker group, holding out for more
influence and more revenue, has imposed a final deadline of 31
December before irreversible preparation for their 2008 world champion
is moved ahead.
Faure said of the vital talks with 'CVC': ''I hope we can arrive at a
''We can't wait much more -- we need to sign circuits. We are starting
to launch a few things.''
The French-owned team's president also admitted speculation that the
row with Bernie is mainly about revenue.
He explained: ''For the moment there is absolutely no change in our
position. We are still negotiating ... to have a bigger part of the
''In Hollywood, actors don't pay to be in a film.
''If the negotiations don't come off, we will do what we say.''
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