Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
December 13,  2005

Schu doesn't 'deserve' break
((GMMf1NET -- Dec.13) Michael Schumacher is returning to the test track earlier than ever before, because he doesn't 'deserve' a long holiday.

Ferrari's German, who this year failed to win his first championship since 1999 (when he broke his leg), will test at Jerez this week despite usually resting until at least January at his Norway ranch.

Schumacher, 36, says he wants to 'keep working'.

''It was a very sad season,'' he explained at a Ferrari Christmas Party, where the Maranello staff's children were treated to a circus and a visit from Father Christmas.

''In previous years I thought I deserved holidays. This time I want to be together with the team, talk to them, check where we are, and be in the car.''

After 83 career wins, Schumacher added just one more with the Bridgestone-tyred F2005 car -- the embarrassing United States GP.

He insisted: ''I feel very fresh and very motivated, very hungry. I feel it would be too late to wait until January.''

Schumacher said everyone in the scarlet clad team is optimistic of a better showing in 2006. President Luca di Montezemolo gave a speech in which he urged: 'We must get back to winning ways'.

''When you listened to the cheering,'' Michael enthused, ''you realised the desire within everyone to do better.''

Silv settles for Cup clash
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.13) Silverstone has denied that it is pushing for a new date on the 2006 grand prix calendar.

It emerged late last week that qualifying for the British grand prix in mid-June is set to clash with England's opening World Cup football game against Paraguay.

Friday and Sunday action also clashes with major Cup matches.

But, in a statement, the Northamptonshire based circuit's managing director seemed to refute that an urgent meeting with Bernie Ecclestone, to plead for a new race date, had been sought.

''What an unbelievable weekend of sport,'' said Richard Phillips. ''Sports fans are in for a real treat.''

The Silverstone boss reaffirmed the June 9-11 grand prix date, and expressed relief that it at least dodges the Cup's later games.

Kimi, too, in a tux
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.13) World champion Fernando Alonso wasn't the only F1 driver wearing a tuxedo last Friday night.

Also at the official FIA prize-giving ceremony in Monaco was McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen, to claim the runner-up prize, and third best Michael Schumacher, accompanied by his wife Corinna.

''Kimi was presented with his trophy for second place in the driver's world championship,'' McLaren confirmed.

Kimi and Michael, however, weren't beaming as widely as Spain's 24-year-old, who won seven grands prix this year to become the youngest title holder.

A day earlier, Alonso said he was in Florida (US), 'chilling out' at Disney World.

''There were some photographers waiting for me (in Monaco) and the flashes began to go off. I must admit, I hadn't really missed them,'' Fernando Alonso smiled.

''I spent some time in the VIP room with Michael -- we talked about holidays, family, everything but formula one.''

Alonso called his new shining trophy 'beautiful'.

He added: ''I did not let go of it. I took a moment to understand what had just happened to me, but I still haven't really digested this latest experience -- I am the official world champion.''

New Honda tunnel nearly complete
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.13) Honda hopes a brand new wind tunnel at Brackley is the 'missing piece' of the team's title jigsaw.

The 100 per cent tunnel, set for completion in the summer of 2006, will give the F1 team 'all of the main building blocks' with which to win the championship, according to tunnel boss Graham Miller.

The three-storey building at Brackley, at a total cost of more than $50 million, will be run in tandem with the existing half-scale wind tunnel.

''The program is absolutely on schedule,'' Miller confirmed, ''and we plan to be productively testing in July.''

He said the new aerodynamic facility, used to test bodywork pieces such as wings, will - like the existing tunnel - run 24 hours a day.

Miller also revealed that Honda has embarked on a staff recruitment drive to effectively double the aero team.

MF1 still blocking Aguri
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.13) As was reported last week, Midland's 'MF1' team is still the only team refusing to sign a document to allow Super Aguri to make a late entry for 2006.

Every other team has seemingly signed the dispensation, after the Honda-backed Japanese outfit failed to lodge the mandatory $48 million in time with the FIA.

Without Alex Shnaider's tenth signature, presumably because only the top ten F1 teams share the TV revenue each year, Aguri - now reportedly ready to lodge the $48m bond - cannot join the 2006 race grid.

But MF1 boss Colin Kolles told f1racing.net: ''We haven't said yes or no yet. There are actually other F1 teams who are blocking it, but it is not us at the moment.''

It is also speculated that Bernie Ecclestone is keen to induce Midland's signature, as Aguri has vowed to join the Concorde clan if given entry.

'MF1' could be convinced to tow the line on the promise of an enhanced package under the grand prix boss' 2008 contract.

Super Aguri's technical boss Mark Preston, meanwhile, told Autosport: ''We'll continue to develop the (2006) car until we're told to do otherwise.''

F1's V8s 'like GP2' - tester
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.13) Pedro de la Rosa has equated formula one's V8-powered cars to those in the junior 'GP2' category.

The Spanish test driver says the 200 horse power drop, after years with a V10, makes being a GP pilot 'a lot easier'.

''Now you can complete a test and do 100 laps very easily,'' said the McLaren employee, ahead of the resumption of testing at Jerez.

De la Rosa told Spain's 'Marca' newspaper: ''It takes away the adrenaline rush and all the driving skill required to drive an F1 car.

''To me, this is more like GP2.''

He also criticized the FIA for attacking F1's horse power without compensating with an equal loss of downforce.

''(Then) the car would still be fun to drive,'' Pedro claimed.

''Even the crowd is going to notice the sound difference -- it's less spectacular than before.''

Newey 'burnt out' - Stewart
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.13) Triple world champion and legend Sir Jackie Stewart reckons Adrian Newey has done the right thing in switching to Red Bull.

The Scot, who founded the Milton Keynes-based team as 'Stewart Grand Prix' in '97 before it was re-badged Jaguar, said the highly acclaimed technical head was 'burnt out' after years with McLaren.

''Adrian needs a jump start,'' 66-year-old Stewart told monthly MotorSport magazine.

''It happened when he switched from Williams to McLaren -- burnout then a boost.''

Newey joins Red Bull in February.

Klien wants first podium
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.13) Red Bull race driver Christian Klien hopes to secure his first formula one podium in 2006.

The Austrian, who's been given the full time ride next year after seat-swapping with Vitantonio Liuzzi this season, reckons the Milton Keynes based team is sure to make a 'step forward' with RB2.

''We would very much like to achieve our first podium,'' he told ORF's Sport am Sonntag.

''I think with Ferrari (engines) we will have the potential,'' the 22-year-old said. ''We will try, anyway.''

Far from agree with Klien's podium ambition, however, teammate David Coulthard said on the TV program that he wants to 'win a race' in 2006.

The Scot will kick off his ambition on Thursday, when he track debuts the 2006 'RB2' car at English circuit Silverstone.

''Then we will really start testing (the new car) in January,'' Klien continued, ''right through to Bahrain. We want to be truly ready for the first race of the season.''

US retains TV coverage
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.13) American TV broadcaster 'SPEED' has retained the formula one rights for season '06.

The cable channel started showing grands prix in 1994, and will next year add support category 'GP2' to the coverage.

''F1 fans are some of the most loyal and passionate in all of motor sports,'' said general manager Hunter Nickell.

However, a recent TV figures analysis found that the Indy debacle in June this year was felt most harshly in the US itself.

The Europe-based sport felt American fans' wrath when a farcical six-car field lined up on the Motor Speedway's grid.

As much as 45 per cent of the pre-race American TV audience did not watch any of the subsequent ten grands prix in 2005, 'Initiative Worldwide' said.

Fisi checks out new Renault
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.13) Giancarlo Fisichella says he is 'very optimistic' after seeing the brand new Renault R26 in the Enstone wind tunnel.

The Roman, whose 2005 teammate Fernando Alonso became world champion with the R25, reckons the new car has been designed with his handling preferences also in mind.

Fisichella, 32, is therefore hopeful of improving his record of one '05 grand prix win - in contrast to Alonso's seven - in the next championship.

''I will test the new car for the first time on 10 January in Jerez,'' he revealed to Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Giancarlo enthused: ''What I have seen so far in the wind tunnel and on the engine test stand ... looks very positive.''

So, is the drivers' title a realistic target?

He replied: ''Why not?

''My goal is to be able to fight. This year I contributed a lot to the constructors' championship, and next year I want to do the same but perhaps even more.''

'Fisi' finished fifth in the 2005 drivers' standings.

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