Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
December 22, 2005
Official - Aguri win teams' green light
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.22) After much back room wrangling and probably the
involvement of Bernie Ecclestone, Super Aguri has been given a green
light to lodge a late entry for 2006.
The Japanese owned, Honda backed and Leafield (UK) based team
confirmed on Wednesday that every existing team had agreed unanimously
-- even, it seems, the previously errant 'MF1' squad.
''SUPER AGURI F1 Limited will now apply to the FIA to complete its
championship entry application,'' the team said.
''I would like to assure all the teams that the SUPER AGURI F1 team
will cooperate and do our best to reach your expectations,'' team boss
Aguri Suzuki, a former GP driver and IRL team owner, explained.
The teams' green light comes after visits to Leafield HQ by Renault's
Pat Symonds and Charlie Whiting of the FIA, and documented evidence of
long term financial stability, requested by Sir Frank Williams.
Mosley 'sure' Aguri will race in 2006
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.22) With the signatures of all ten F1 rivals in its
pocket, 'Super Aguri' has one final hurdle to clear before a Bahraini
debut is certain -- FIA clearance.
But we can reveal that the governing body has now received the $48
million entry deposit, and that the hold-up was anti-money laundering
legislation that delayed the transfer from Japan to France.
In addition, FIA president Max Mosley told a German publication on
Wednesday that he saw no more real obstacles to Aguri's grand prix
''I am sure that in 2005, eleven teams will make the start,'' he was
quoted as saying by 'Auto, Motor und Sport'.
Sato at front of queue - Aguri Suzuki
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.22) F1's newest team principal, Aguri Suzuki, has
admitted that Takuma Sato is at the front of the queue for a race ride
Speculation says the Leafield based outfit, which won the agreement of
every rival to make a late FIA entry on Wednesday, garnered Honda's
2006 backing - including sponsorship and V8 engines - mainly due to
the backlash surrounding the dismissal of the Japanese driver.
''I have been speaking with Takuma,'' Suzuki told the Italian
'F1grandprix' website, ''but I cannot say anything about the other
(race) driver yet.''
Names linked with the vacant ride include Honda's Anthony Davidson and
Adam Carroll, but also another Japanese driver, Kosuke Matsuura.
Aguri said: ''I think they all are talented.''
The Japanese, who raced in 88 grands prix and even scored a podium,
also confirmed that 60 or 70 people are already working for the team,
although sources say the final count before Bahrain will be 100.
FIA unwrap cut-price future
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.22) The governing FIA released detailed technical
regulations for a new low-cost formula one on Wednesday.
The Max Mosley-led body aimed fire at so-called 'financial profligacy'
in the sport and said the new code would hopefully make a privateer's
budget of $100m enough to compete with the rich carmakers.
''The FIA believes current manufacturers' budgets are unsustainable,''
read a media statement, ''and are putting the whole of formula one at
Mosley, the governing body's controversial chief, singled out two or
three carmakers who are prepared to spend 'unlimited amounts of
''We don't want (this) in F1.''
So, the FIA will ban 'new' car innovations after one season. It will
curb aerodynamic research and ban some materials. It will reduce the
amount of expensive ballast that can be used. It will impose an engine
rev-limit, and a standard ECU. It will impose a control tire. It will
increase engine life from two to three races. It will impose testing
limits. It will ban spare cars. It will allow a 'free market' for the
sale of cars and parts to other teams.
And, to spice up the racing, the split rear wing will be introduced,
tires will be slicks and wider, and the 'ten-grid' penalty for engine
changes will be scrapped.
Instead, a weight penalty will be imposed.
Bernie rips Dennis, Alonso 'deceit'
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.22) What was heralded as a clever coup has been
slammed as 'not intelligent' by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
The sport's diminutive boss, 75, criticized McLaren chief Ron Dennis
and world champion Fernando Alonso for doing a dirty deal behind
Flavio Briatore's back.
''I know what happened (but) I can't tell the details,'' Bernie told
La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Ecclestone's account is given credence by the Renault boss' insistence
that he had nothing to do with Alonso's huge-price switch from the
''Flavio has been left ... deceived,'' Bernie added. ''On top of that,
with Dennis being Briatore's worst enemy, (Ron) spited him by exposing
things publicly in order to make it difficult for him.
''Dennis' move hasn't been intelligent.''
So, what looked like a skilful move into formula one's fastest car,
has been turned sour for Spaniard Alonso.
England's The Telegraph newspaper said it believed Briatore - Alonso's
manager - had asked lawyers to look into the legality of his driver's
On top of that, Fernando, 24, has to drive for the blue and yellow
team next season, and Kimi Raikkonen must go into 2006 unsure of the
loyalty of his own employer.
Kimi says future undecided
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.22) F1's Finn Kimi Raikkonen has once again denied
speculation that a swap to Ferrari in '07 is already signed and
It is claimed that some sort of document linking the 26-year-old
McLaren driver to Maranello exists, dependent only on Michael
Schumacher's future beyond next year.
''My own situation is still the same -- nothing has been agreed
regarding the future,'' Raikkonen said on Wednesday.
The latest round of gossip follows world champion Alonso's bombshell
2007 contract at McLaren, and the fact that Raikkonen's Woking deal
runs out - like Schumacher's at Ferrari - at the end of 2006.
'Iceman' Kimi added: ''I'm focusing on the new season and will make
decisions next year.''
'06 not 'back to the future' for Bridgestone
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.22) Beleaguered F1 tire supplier Bridgestone has
denied that next year's regulations will be a case of 'back to 2004'.
Some quarters have censured the governing body for bringing in the
'one tire per race' rule only to scrap it just one year later for '06
-- a move that would seem to favor Ferrari's tire supplier over '06
But Bridgestone's test operations manager Kaz Hamamura says next year
is not a case of just pulling its dominant old '04 tires out of
''Although the new rules are more similar to the rules that we had in
2004,'' said the Japanese, ''the latest 2005 specifications should be
the benchmark for new tire development.''
As well as the regulations giving Bridgestone an obvious boost for the
New Year, the supplier will also benefit from the defection of
Michelin teams Toyota and Williams.
However, the Japanese marque's main problem this year was providing
tires that were soft enough to be competitive, but able to last not
only qualifying but the whole race.
Hamamura confirmed that, because long distance durability is less of a
concern, the 2006 Bridgestone products will be softer.
He insisted: ''That is the only similar point (to 2004), but
technology comes from 2005, not from two years ago.''
Hockenheim sale to 'save' German GP
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.22) Following news that Hockenheim had been put up
for sale, it is suggested this week that the German grand prix has now
A lack of funds will be made up by the partial sale of the redeveloped
Hockenheimring in south western Germany, home of the country's F1
According to reports in Germany, much of the new part of the circuit -
redeveloped in 2001 and 2002 into a Hermann Tilke design - and the
Mercedes-Benz grandstand, are on the verge of being sold to a leasing
company. The F1 promoter will then rent the venue year-on-year.
A final contract is expected to be signed by the end of January '06.
According to the initial reports of about a month ago, the plan was to
sell the circuit for around $30m and rent it for $2m a year.
2006 car won't be ready - Super Aguri
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.22) New F1 team 'Super Aguri' has admitted for the
first time that a new grand prix car will not be ready to contest the
Bahraini season opener.
It is the clearest official indication yet that the Honda-backed
Japanese team intend to kick off the year with Arrows' 2002 'A23' car,
bought from Paul Stoddart.
'Aguri' had hoped to run the '05-spec BAR-Honda, but using the car of
a current competitor is presently outlawed by a clause in the
''Of course we do not expect to be on the pace straight away,'' said
team managing director Daniele Audetto, who worked for Tom
Walkinshaw's team when it went bust in '02.
He added: ''We will use the first grands prix to train the team before
our definitive car reaches the track.''
The 'A23', modified to comply with more rigorous crash testing in 2006
and also new technical regulations, is expected to be kept in use
until at least Imola, round four next year.
'Super Aguri' also confirmed on Wednesday that Leafield would run the
team 'in conjunction' with a Tokyo (Japan) based company called
Aguri launch F1 logo
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.22) New F1 entrant 'Super Aguri' has launched a black
and white team logo.
According to a statement issued by the Leafield-based, Japanese team,
the complex symbol represents a racing curve, fire and 'Shuriken' -- a
'Breakaway' threat is empty - Mosley
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.22) FIA president Max Mosley has rubbished the
concept that F1 will split into two separate championships in 2008.
He hinted that the threat of BMW, Mercedes, Renault, Honda and Toyota
is an empty one, and that the sport's 'real argument' is not about
money but 'costs'.
''One manufacturer is spending a sum greater than half its total
annual dividend (on formula one),'' the Briton said on Wednesday.
''This is unsustainable and sooner or later the (carmaker's)
shareholders will notice.''
It is against this backdrop that Mosley made no apology for radically
changing the rules for 2008, despite the danger that five
manufacturers' exit poses.
The carmakers' breakaway union is called 'GPMA'.
''Of those five (carmakers),'' Max predicted in the British Guardian
newspaper, ''two will probably stop their formula one programs and the
other three will come and join us in the FIA championship.''
He also attacked the carmakers for failing to supply affordable
engines to smaller teams, and then breaking a promise to the FIA to
exchange traction control for concessions to small teams.
Fisi a winner in Alonso swap - Mansell
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.22) 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell has added
another dissenting voice to the controversy surrounding Fernando
Alonso's '07 switch from Renault to McLaren.
After Niki Lauda and Bernie Ecclestone chimed in with their qualms,
the 53-year-old ex driver - who raced his last grand prix in a McLaren
and soared to the title in a Renault-powered Williams - reckons the
deal is bad news in the short term for Renault, McLaren, Alonso and
He thinks 24-year-old Spaniard Alonso did the deed for 'financial'
But Mansell warned: ''To do a deal a whole year in advance could be
very counter-productive, especially when he is defending ... a world
''It is also a brave (decision) ... because I'm a big Adrian Newey fan
and obviously he has just left McLaren,'' Nigel told nobok.com.
And the move will destabilize not only McLaren's main rival, Renault,
but also the silver clad team itself, Mansell reckons.
Referring to McLaren, the '92 title winner wondered: ''Is whoever will
make way for Alonso going to be happy?
''I can tell you, no.''
Perhaps the only short term winner in the deal is Giancarlo
Fisichella, Renault's keen incumbent and no doubt desperate to keep up
with Alonso next year.
If 'Fisi' and the reigning champion are neck and neck next season,
'don't be surprised if (Fisichella) gets the better engine and the
better support,' Nigel thinks.
''That's just common sense.''
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