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 debut.

''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 next year.

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 risk.''

Mosley, the governing body's controversial chief, singled out two or three carmakers who are prepared to spend 'unlimited amounts of money'.

''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 Enstone team.

''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 one-sided deceit.

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 sealed.

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 pacesetter Michelin.

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 retirement.

''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 been saved.

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 race.

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 'Concorde Agreement'.

''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 'A.Company Inc.'

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 Ninja star.

'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 Kimi Raikkonen.

He thinks 24-year-old Spaniard Alonso did the deed for 'financial' ends.

But Mansell warned: ''To do a deal a whole year in advance could be very counter-productive, especially when he is defending ... a world championship.

''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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