Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
December 20, 2005
Klien eyes grand prix win
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.20) Red Bull driver Christian Klien says his ultimate
goal is to win grands prix in a top team.
The Austrian, who in 2006 embarks on his third season in formula one,
said he is following the routine path of establishing himself at the
pinnacle of racing.
''You start as a young driver at a small team,'' Klien, 22, told an
Austrian newspaper, ''until a top team take you.''
For the time being, however, the long time Red Bull-backed youngster
is at the Milton-Keynes based stable, where he hopes for a 'crash free
season' and a maiden podium.
''I want that top three finish,'' Klien insisted. ''I can hardly wait
to get started.''
He is enjoying the team, particularly since his energy drink backer
took over Jaguar.
''With Jaguar, everything was extremely rigid,'' Klien explained.
''You had to wear black trousers, black shoes, all the time.
''But Red Bull leave us to express our personality.''
So what has Christian got planned for Christmas? Surely not skiing in
the Austrian mountains, which is forbidden in many F1 contracts?
''You can't put that in an Austrian's contract,'' he joked.
Honda 'must' win in '06 - Willis
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.20) Brackley based Honda, formerly BAR, could be
about to embark on its best ever year on the grid.
Technical director Geoff Willis, recently returned from key team
meetings in Japan, has revealed that the squad has never felt more
confident after November and December tests.
''We've had very good reliability and performance,'' he told the
team's website. Honda is already running with the '06 V8 and the
complete rear end of the new car, RA106.
The whole '06 car will run early in the New Year.
BAR-Honda had a tough 2005 -- the '007' car wasn't up to scratch from
the outset and the team even had to sit out a two grand prix ban.
But Willis says: ''2006 ought to be one of the best years we've ever
''We really must win races now. We must learn not only to win, but to
win regularly,'' he added.
Sepang slashes F1 prices
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.20) Organizers of the Malaysian grand prix have
slashed prices to as little as $13 (US) for the race in March 2006.
Sepang announced on Monday that the $13 ticket would buy a spot in the
general 'Hillstand' area on all three days of the F1 event.
In 2005, the same ticket cost $53.
Seated grandstand seats, meanwhile, are priced between $130 and $260.
''We want more Malaysians to be part of this spectacular event and
enjoy the event live at the circuit,'' said general manager Datuk
The March 17-19 Malaysian GP is the eighth consecutive F1 event at the
Also on Monday, Indianapolis announced that tickets for the 2006
United States grand prix went on sale.
The race, to be held despite controversy over the six-car furor in
June, will be staged between June 30 and July 2.
Webber - 'I don't need a break'
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.20) Much of the F1 world is looking forward to a bit
of Christmas turkey.
But not Mark Webber.
Williams' Australian driver is disappointed that his Grove based team,
like its rivals, will now stay away from the test tracks over the
Christmas and early New Year, only returning at Jerez (Spain) on
A Williams team spokeswoman confirmed: ''We won't do any more testing
until ... January.''
29-year-old Webber said the Oxfordshire team is still 'getting to
grips' with the new Cosworth and Bridgestone elements, including a new
He explained: ''Personally, I don't feel I need a break.
''I wish we could continue with the program,'' Mark added, ''hence I'm
looking forward to January, and especially February, when we'll have
the new (FW28) car.''
DC said no to Ferrari offer
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.20) F1 veteran David Coulthard says he does not
regret passing up a works drive for Ferrari.
Red Bull's Scottish ace, who drove for McLaren between 1996 and last
year, revealed to F1 Racing magazine that he was on the Maranello
team's shopping list when Eddie Irvine signed for Ferrari at the end
''There was a real chance of going to Ferrari,'' he admitted, ''but
considering the contract that was on offer, it would have been the
wrong thing to do.''
DC, 34, also rejected the thesis that he stayed under Ron Dennis'
silver-clad wing - opposite mighty Finnish drivers - too long.
Coulthard added: ''I always made my choice based on what I thought was
the best opportunity for performance the following year.''
With every offer that came up, including to be Michael Schumacher's
number two, he reckons the Woking based grand prix team was 'always
David Coulthard will spend a second season at Red Bull Racing in 2006.
Alonso move to 'destabilize' Renault
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.20) Norbert Haug has defended McLaren-Mercedes'
decision on Monday to reveal the signing of Fernando Alonso for 2007 a
few days before Christmas '05.
The German, competition director for the engine supplier and team
co-owner, said keeping the news secret would not be the 'right thing
Haug reckons 24-year-old Alonso's cunning triumph over McLaren this
year, with an inferior Renault car, convinced the Woking team that he
should be hunted.
''He used our errors to his best advantage,'' Norbert explained, ''and
at the end of the season showed his true speed.''
Former McLaren driver Martin Brundle says his former team has pulled
off a 'massive coup' not only in landing a world champion, but in
upsetting their arch rival.
Just as the French carmaker was exploiting the double title triumph,
'suddenly (Alonso) goes off and joins the enemy,' Brundle told ITV's
''It's bound to destabilize (Renault).''
The early announcement, however, must be a touch awkward for
24-year-old Alonso, as well.
Just when he should be flavor of the month at Enstone, he might well
be viewed as a team traitor.
As Brundle says: ''Can you imagine being in Alonso's shoes as he
cruises into the pits at the next test, or during the next factory
'She loves Schu'
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.20) Believe it or not, there is someone who loves
Michael Schumacher even more than Italy's Tifosi, Jean Todt or Willi
Her name is Corinna.
''Sometimes when I look at him,'' the Ferrari driver's wife explains
in Timothy Collings' 'Team Schumacher' book, ''I get a tremendously
deep feeling of happiness.''
Mrs Schumacher is clearly proud of her seven time world champion, who
has won more than 80 grands prix in a fourteen year F1 career so far
and takes home an annual salary of at least $60m.
In an excerpt published in the Independent newspaper, Corinna
continued: ''I look at him and think, 'That's my husband.'
''It's a marvellous feeling.''
Alonso's man in the middle
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.20) You'd be forgiven for thinking that Flavio
Briatore was an awkward 'man in the middle' in Fernando Alonso's 2007
switch from Renault to McLaren.
Italian Flavio is not only Renault's F1 managing director and
principal, but the 24-year-old Spaniard's manager.
It is not difficult to see the potential conflict of interest, then,
in Briatore organizing Alonso's $96m deal with Ron Dennis.
'Flav', presumably, will take a tasty slice of the cake.
But we can reveal that, at least at the negotiating table for
Fernando, sat not 'Flav', but Alonso's father, Jose Luis Alonso.
And an 'insider' told Germany's 'Bild' newspaper: ''Fernando's
relationship with Briatore is no longer great.''
Still, Briatore - although perhaps disappointed to see his protégé
split on the promise of a higher salary - is not likely to lose much
sleep. He has another young charge, '06 tester Heikki Kovalainen, all
ready to slide in for 2007.
But there might be a deeper meaning here. As former McLaren driver
Martin Brundle explains, the Alonso switch is perhaps just another
indication that Renault is not fully committed to F1 beyond '07.
The Briton told ITV: ''Certainly, if you were working at the team base
in Enstone, you would be feeling a little concerned right now.''
Sauber wins 'lifetime' award
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.20) A tearful Peter Sauber has accepted a 'lifetime
achievement' recognition at the Swiss sports awards in Berne.
The former team owner, who ran the Sauber team in formula one between
1993 and this year, was honored at Saturday's 'Credit Suisse Sports
Originally an electrician, Sauber honed his appetite for motor sport
by racing a VW Beetle before overseeing the first Sauber car - the C1
- for the 1970 'Swiss hill-climb championship'.
He progressed to sports cars and ultimately to F1, but has sold the
Hinwil based outfit to BMW, and will remain only as an advisor for
Meanwhile, newly crowned 125cc motorcycle world champion,
Switzerland's Thomas Luthi, picked up the athlete of the year gong.
'Kimi can sign '07 deal' - Haug
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.20) Mercedes' Norbert Haug has admitted that Kimi
Raikkonen would be the preferred teammate for Fernando Alonso in 2007.
Adding to Ron Dennis' claim on Monday that the Woking team is 'in
discussions' with both the Finn and current teammate Juan Pablo
Montoya, Haug revealed that if Kimi, 26, wants to sign a 2007
contract, 'he can do that'.
McLaren's Alonso coup has reinvigorated speculation that Finn
Raikkonen has already committed to the Ferrari team for the period
beyond next year.
But Haug, sporting director for McLaren's works engine partner, said
the battle for the second seat between Kimi and Montoya is still
Raikkonen, meanwhile, has kept fairly quiet since his F1 employer
unveiled the Monday shocker, but he did tell Germany's 'Bild'
newspaper that he was 'informed' about the signing.
F1 ramps up V8 revs
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.20) Geoff Willis has calmed fears that the noise
produced by V8 engines is too tame for grands prix.
Without doubt, the exhaust note of the 2.4 liter units being used in
winter testing - compared to even the rev-limited 3.0 liter V10s - is
But after the most recent test session at Jerez, Honda technical
director Geoff Willis reckons the V8 'doesn't sound that different' to
the familiar V10 howl, because teams are now ramping up the revs.
And he also told the team's website: ''They sound quite different in
the pitlane -- if anything the V8s are even noisier. They are
uncomfortably loud now!''
FIA's cost cutting 'doomed' - Willis
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.20) As the FIA prepares to unveil the detail of novel
regulations for 2008, Geoff Willis has said that using rules to cut
costs never works.
''Costs will only be reduced when teams have less money to spend,''
said Honda's technical boss.
The cost of recent changes, including the move from V10 to V8 engines,
have been 'simply astronomical', the Englishman insisted.
Willis believes that if technology is banned, teams simply turn to
finding 'a new solution' with the same budget.
''Trying to control costs via technical regulations is pretty much
doomed to failure,'' Geoffrey added.
He also questioned the wisdom of the FIA's radical 'CDG' wing, which
is proposed for 2008 and designed to improve F1's overtaking
Willis said: ''It's interesting to see new thinking being applied but,
personally, I would be concerned if overtaking became too easy.''
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