Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
December 12,  2005

Bernie back on F1 board
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.12) Despite only recently resigning from the post, Bernie Ecclestone once again sits on the F1 board.

The 75-year-old left the board last year, when three banks sued him for control of the billion dollar sport. Now, 'CVC' owns most of the banks' former shares, and Bernie is a minor shareholder in the new company, Alpha Prema.

England's 'The Independent' newspaper said Ecclestone was made a Formula One Holdings board member again in late November.

The appointment is probably significant, given that the 'GPMA' group of F1 carmakers intend to quit the sport if a row is not settled this month.

'Blown away' by F1 contrast
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.12) Narain Karthikeyan says he has been blown away with the difference between F1's stragglers and a top flight team.

After spending his rookie year with Midland owned Jordan, the 28-year-old Indian made his test debut for former title winner Williams at Jerez last Tuesday.

Karthikeyan told the Indian media that the difference between the two cars was 'huge'.

Narain is perhaps first in line to become the Grove team's 'Friday' driver next year.

He said: ''Now I know why this team has done so well in grands prix. It's truly fantastic.''

Oxfordshire based Williams has won 113 F1 races since 1979.

Jerez action takes a break
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.12) Water tankers marked the end of Jerez's first week of winter testing.

On Sunday, Bridgestone's four teams - Ferrari, Toyota, Williams and Midland - hung around at the southern Spanish circuit to run on an artificially dampened asphalt.

Full action will resume at 'Jerez de la Frontera' on Tuesday, for the last running before a short Christmas break.

A day earlier, youngsters Markus Winkelhock, Fabrizio del Monte and Russia's Roman Rusinov debuted for the Midland 'MF1' team in a 2005 Jordan.

BMW Sauber's Jacques Villeneuve, however, was quickest of ten runners, while Pedro de la Rosa (McLaren) led Friday's thirteen.

It was Jarno Trulli's last test at the wheel in 2005, and he looked pretty quick in the 2006 spec Toyota TF106 car.

But he cautioned: ''We still have to find how to get the maximum out of the (Bridgestone) tires.

''I can now look forward to Christmas with my family and, for the first time, our son Enzo.''

Cosworth top 20,000rpm
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.12) Williams' new supplier, Cosworth, is probably the first ever to clock up 20,000 revs per minute with a F1 engine.

It is reported in Britain's Autosport magazine that the 20,000 barrier was broken with the new V8 in an interim car at the recent Barcelona test.

''We don't plan to run the engine to 20,000rpm as a matter of course,'' said Cosworth's head of development Alex Hitzinger, ''but it will be available to us.''

Cosworth won 155 grands prix in F1 with the fabled 'DFV' V8.

V8 makes F1 tougher - Heikki
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.12) Driving a formula one car has been made more difficult with the advent of V8 engines, Renault test driver Heikki Kovalainen says.

Renault do not plan to debut the V8 until the New Year, but the Finn - tipped to succeed Giancarlo Fisichella in the Renault race seat next year - has sampled the team's attempt to simulate V8-style power with the rev-limited V10.

''Maybe we have less power than before, but don't be mistaken -- driving a F1 car is never easy,'' Kovalainen said.

He suggested that making a mistake is now more costly, presumably because getting back up to speed takes longer.

''I think it makes it more difficult,'' Heikki continued. ''You can't make many mistakes because it costs you more time, and that makes the job even more challenging.''

Fisichella to race in GP2
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.12) Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella will graduate to GP2 next year -- as a team owner.

The Roman's camp is joining forces with Coloni, team boss Paolo Coloni announced at the 'Bologna Motor Show' in Italy.

The team will be called FMS International.

Giancarlo Fisichella's junior racing team debuted in the Italian F3000 championship this year.

Earlier this year, Coloni admitted that joining the formula one grid as a grand prix team owner was 'the aim'.

Schu friend gets jail term
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.12) A close associate of Michael Schumacher has been handed a suspended jail term, according to reports in Germany.

Jurgen Dilk bought a ten-year-old Schumacher, now 36, his first go-kart. He guided the eventual seven time world champion through the junior formulae until Willi Weber took over for Formula 3 and beyond.

But Dilk stayed in the Schumacher camp and payroll, running the official fan club.

The 62-year-old has been found guilty of tax evasion.

Schumacher had reportedly prepared a written character witness statement for his friend, but Dilk ultimately accepted the suspended one-year jail term and $36,000 fine.

He must also repay $177,000 to the taxation department.

Fittipaldi turns 59
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.12) Brazil's twice world champion Emerson Fittipaldi is celebrating a birthday on Monday.

The winner of 14 grands prix, and twice a winner of America's fabled Indy 500, turns 59 on December 12. His brother, Wilson, raced 35 times in F1 in the 70s, while nephew Christian raced in '92-'94.

Monday also marks the 46th anniversary of legendary figure Bruce McLaren's first grand prix win, at Sebring in the US in 1959. His car was one of eight Coopers in the field.

DC feels 'more pressure'
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.12) These days, it's no uncommon thing to observe that David Coulthard is enjoying a new lease of life in the F1 paddock.

After nearly a decade at the wheel of a McLaren, the Scottish veteran joined new entrant Red Bull Racing in 2005.

In his harshest words against Ron Dennis' silver clad camp so far, 34-year-old 'DC' also explained that he feels a true part of his new F1 employer.

''At McLaren I was a driver and a marketing instrument,'' he told Motorsport Aktuell magazine.

''Now I'm experiencing another side of the job.''

However, being part of the actual establishment of a team comes with its side effects -- for example, Coulthard said the track debut of Red Bull's 2006 car this week carries 'more pressure'.

He insisted: ''If (RB2) does not turn out to be better than the current car, then I must shoulder some of the blame.''

David also revealed how he pushed Red Bull's bosses to scrap the controversial 'driver swap' and install a full-time race line-up for 2006.

Alonso favorite - Zanardi
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.12) Fernando Alonso will start the 2006 championship favorite to retain his crown.

That is the opinion of former grand prix driver Alex Zanardi, who trumpeted the chances of the '05 world champion.

''For 2006 I see him as favorite,'' Italy's Zanardi - who lost both his legs in a Champ Car crash in 2001 - said at the Bologna Motor Show.

Zanardi last raced in F1 for Williams in 1999, but returned to racing in a hand-controlled BMW and even won a world touring car race this year.

The 39-year-old told La Gazzetta dello Sport: ''Even if the regulations are changing, Fernando's triumph has surely made him even faster.''

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