Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
December 6,  2005

McLaren lose another worker
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.6) With technical director Adrian Newey off to Red Bull, McLaren is preparing to lose yet another high profile employee.

It is understood that former Ferrari man Nicholas Tombazis, the talented aerodynamicist who was recently promoted to the post of 'vehicle project director', will follow Newey through the Woking HQ's doors.

Greece-born Tombazis joined McLaren in late 2003 as chief engineer in the aerodynamic development.

Reports also suggest that Peter Prodomou, head of the aerodynamics department, has circulated his CV to rival teams, as has electronic expert Paddy Lowe, the Briton.

Meanwhile, it is expected that Neil Oatley or Mike Coughlan are first in line to succeed Newey as technical director.

McLaren boss Ron Dennis said in London at the weekend: ''One person I have to acknowledge is Adrian Newey, who has got a challenge ... ahead of him and I wish him well.''

Kimi hailed in Finland
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.6) The ultimate trophy may have eluded him, but '05 title runner-up Kimi Raikkonen has continued to bag the plaudits.

After he accepted Autosport's similar award in London at the weekend, it emerged that the Finnish motor sport governing body - the AKK - had already named Kimi, the 26-year-old McLaren driver, as its own 'Driver of the Year'.

Raikkonen failed to attend the ceremony - at a place called Jyvaskyla - late last month. He addressed the 1000 guests with a special video message.

Kimi also won the award in 2003.

He said at the weekend: ''(2005) could have been better but I am happy. It is always exciting to fight, and of course we wanted to win, but that is part of the game -- and still it was one of the best years for me in F1.''

Raikkonen also told 'Autosport' that he hoped McLaren had done all the learning it needed to do this year.

''I hope we know what we are doing now,'' he said at the awards. ''I think so, anyway. If we can just make the car last, we should be alright.''

Elsewhere, on Monday, Renault's Pat Symonds - honored at the Autosport Awards - won yet another award; a 'BRDC Special' at Silverstone. Honda's Jenson Button was also in attendance.

FIA resume work on CDG wing
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.6) Although F1 bosses have vetoed the introduction of a radical rear wing in 2007, the governing body will plough ahead with plans to spice up the sport with the novel concept.

Picking up where Adrian Newey left in perfecting the so-called 'Centerline Downwash Generating' wing, it is suggested that the Paris-based FIA has appointed Jean-Claude Migeot to take the early blueprint to the next phase.

Migeot, a French aerodynamic engineer who formerly worked for Renault, Ferrari and Tyrrell, founded 'Fondmetal Technologies' -- with one of the best wind tunnels in Europe.

'Auto, Motor und Sport' reports that Migeot, 52, will build a 'CDG' wing prototype and test it in the wind tunnel.

Fisi aims to keep '07 ride
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.6) Giancarlo Fisichella has denied that Flavio Briatore-protégé Heikki Kovalainen will certainly replace him in '07.

The Roman, teammate to Renault's world champion Fernando Alonso, insists that his 'primary objective' is to stick around at the Enstone team for longer than one more year.

''But (that is) forgetting (the fact that) there will be 14 or 15 seats available in one year's time,'' the 32-year-old told Gazzetta dello Sport.

Fisichella admitted that he will be open to rival teams' offers.

He continued: ''I'll have to see who offers the best guarantees.''

And, although 75 points behind 24-year-old Alonso's title charge in 2005, Fisi insisted that the objective for next year is the 'big prize'.

''I hope I'll have better luck.

''Sometimes (in 2005) it was a nightmare.''

Ferrari on 'right path'
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.6) Ferrari has not yet solved every problem that blighted the former champions' charge in 2005.

That is the admission of team test driver Luca Badoer, who revealed that Bridgestone's tires are the centerpiece of the Ferrari winter test joblist.

The Italian told the 'Gazzetta dello Sport' newspaper: ''But we have found the right path -- there are still months ... ahead and let's not forget that Toyota and Williams will give us a hand now.''

Badoer, 34 and born in Montebelluna, revealed that testing of the new V8 engine is also progressing. ''We have already done several race simulations,'' Luca added.

The long time Ferrari tester also said Felipe Massa - Michael Schumacher's '06 teammate - had 'definitely matured' since he last drove for the scarlet team back in 2003.

''He's envied a bit by everyone,'' Badoer admitted, referring to his former test driver colleague, ''me included.''

Monteiro and Midland
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.6) 'MF1 Racing' is still yet to admit that Tiago Monteiro will stay at the Midland-owned team in 2006.

In a statement emailed and faxed to the press on Monday, the Silverstone based team started the headline with the 28-year-old Portuguese's name.

But the document was merely a recognition that the '2005 Portuguese driver' had won Autosport's Rookie of the Year.

''It is probably one of the most important ones,'' Monteiro said in the statement, ''as it reflects the best rookie all over the world in the leading ... categories.''

He dedicated the prize to Midland.

Midland's sporting relations manager, Johnny Herbert, added: ''Hopefully in the future this will be something he could use to his advantage to further his career in (F1).''

Ferrari visits the Pope
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.6) Pope Benedict XVI had a special guest on Monday -- Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.

The Italian, also president of Italian carmaker Fiat, handed over a $1.1m check to the head of the Catholic church, after auctioning the 400th 'Enzo' Ferrari road car.

Montezemolo also gifted a Michael Schumacher-signed 'F2004' F1 car steering wheel.

''It's very complicated to use, Your Holiness,'' Montezemolo told the Pope, to which he replied: ''It's very complex guiding the Church, too.''

The steering wheel was inscribed: 'To His Holiness Benedict XVI, who drives the Christian world'.

A Ferrari delegation, including Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, visited Benedict's predecessor, the late John Paul II, in January.

Meanwhile, Montezemolo was named 'world's most elegant man' in the Japanese 'EX' magazine.

The result was a survey of 450 designers, businessmen, journalists and fashion buyers.

''He stands out from the others not only for his fashion sense,'' read the magazine, ''but also because of his strong personality and charisma.''

DC - 'I can win again'
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.6) David Coulthard has denied that he cannot now add to his tally of thirteen F1 grand prix wins.

Although the vast majority were scored at the wheel of a McLaren, with whom he ended a nine-year pairing one year ago, 34-year-old DC will be reunited with Adrian Newey in '06.

Every one of Coulthard's wins, at Williams and McLaren, were achieved with a Newey-penned grand prix machine.

''I've won grands prix, so I can win again,'' he told The Independent newspaper this week.

David joined Red Bull in 2005, the team earning credibility throughout the season and thus luring McLaren's long time technical director.

DC's last win was Melbourne 2003.

Date set for Schu return
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.6) Deposed 2004 world champion Michael Schumacher will return to track action at the long Jerez test next week, it's reported.

Ferrari's German, 36, is scheduled to run at the southern Spanish circuit on December 15 and 16, with president Luca di Montezemolo insisting: 'He's raring to go'.

''The vacation is over.''

Elsewhere, Schumacher was interviewed for the 'Automagazine' publication. He answered 'Corinna, Gina Maria and Mick' when asked what three items he would pack on a desert island holiday.

And his ultimate ambition? ''I have already achieved it,'' he answered, quickly adding that his first Ferrari title had completed his goals.

Viry salute Alonso crown
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.6) If you're driving on the 'A6 Autoroute' south of Paris, you can hardly fail to miss Renault's latest title salute.

Last week, the Viry-Chatillon factory - where the engines for world champion Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella's cars are built - was decorated as a tribute to the double '05 formula one crowns.

Across the front, huge letters exclaiming 'RENAULT ET ALONSO - CHAMPIONS!' - and a picture of the 'R25' car - can be seen from the A6 Autoroute.

''When you win a world title, you have to let the world know about it,'' read a statement.

250 staff work at the Viry HQ.

Wheldon wants F1 test
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.6) Despite turning down BMW's offer of the Friday drive in 2006, Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon would 'love' a one-off F1 test.

The Englishman, who rejected the Munich based manufacturer's 'BMW Sauber' bid because it did not include a guaranteed 2007 race ride, will stay in the IRL next year to defend his title.

''If it was a test that was scheduled properly, with enough time, then I would love to have a go,'' he told Autosport.

''A one-day test would be difficult to turn down, but it can hurt your career.'' Asked why he turned down the full-time 2006 offer, Wheldon added: ''I didn't feel comfortable with the race stuff.''

'Rosberg Sr' is 57
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.6) 1982 world champion Keke Rosberg turns fifty seven (57) on Tuesday.

The Finn, who won the title despite winning just a single race in Frank Williams' Cosworth-powered car, drove 114 grands prix between '78 and '86.

Uniquely, 19 years after retiring from F1, Rosberg's 20-year-old son - German-born Nico - will make his F1 debut in a Williams-Cosworth next year.

''It warms me that he is here in F1 with this team,'' Keke Rosberg, observing Nico's test at Barcelona last week, told England's Telegraph 'paper.

He added: ''When we started out it was just father and son going karting. A bit of fun. Now it is only the son ... which is how it should be.''

So far, the F1 paddock has been impressed with Rosberg Jr's attitude -- like his dad, there's not a hint of arrogance.

Keke said: ''The only advice I have ever given him is not to change. This business has a way of doing that to people.''

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