Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
December 27,  2005

New 'Bull nearly ready to race
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.27) Unlike many rivals, Red Bull's 2006 contender is just about ready to kick off the new season.

The UK-based team's fledgling technical director told 'Autosprint' that the RB2 car shaken down at Silverstone by David Coulthard will run basically unchanged at the Bahraini year opener.

''The aerodynamics,'' Mark Smith was quoted as saying in the Italian publication, ''especially on the sides of the car, are definitive.''

RB2, meanwhile - the first fully Red Bull-penned car after the team took over Jaguar - will be launched in March.

Smith also praised Ferrari, the team's new engine supplier after a year with Cosworth, who have granted Red Bull's requests for a few slight custom modifications to the V8.

He explained: ''(Ferrari) haven't told us 'this is the engine, build the car around it'.''

Alonso misses Spanish gong
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.27) Spain's 'El Pays' newspaper has overlooked Fernando Alonso as 'sports personality of the year'.

Instead, the honor went to Tour de France legend Lance Armstrong, an American. In the daily's Monday edition, the cyclist was voted ahead of world champion Alonso, of Renault, and multiple MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi.

The poll added up the votes of one hundred leading Spanish sports figures.

Spain's title winner Alonso, however, did pick up the 'Spanish sportsperson of the year' gong, and his youngest ever drivers' championship win was named the 'outstanding sports event of the year'.

Ferrari head for Mugello launch
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.27) Ferrari's 2006 car will be launched on 23 January.

The Italian marque's president has revealed that 'F2006' is to be shaken down at Fiorano, ahead of an official presentation at Mugello, a test track also owned by the Scuderia.

New Ferrari signing Felipe Massa reckons the new season is shaping up nicely, particularly after the team's near-fruitless 2005 with beleaguered tire supplier Bridgestone.

The Brazilian, switching from Sauber, reckons the Japanese supplier's rubber product feels better now than it did at his first Ferrari test in October.

''Undoubtedly this is also thanks to the new regulations,'' the 24-year-old told Italian 'paper Gazzetta dello Sport, ''which now allow us to use softer compounds.''

McLaren not 'better' car - Renault
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.27) Pat Symonds has expressed his frustration that McLaren's defeated 2005 car is widely regarded as the best of the field.

Renault's director of engineering insisted to Autosport that the title winning R25 was actually 'better' than the speedier MP4-20 model.

''Yeah, I am disappointed people think that way,'' he said, faced with the fact that the silver McLaren proved more likely to nab a 'best car of '05' award or plaudit.

Symonds admits that Renault's rival was usually quicker than his blue and yellow car.

But he will not concede that it was better.

Title runner-up Kimi Raikkonen and Alonso both won seven grands prix, but McLaren topped the charts with ten wins to Renault's eight.

Englishman Symonds, however, insists that McLaren's unreliability, and champion Fernando Alonso's be-conservative strategy mid-season, clouded the picture.

First 'MF1' car to run in February
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.27) Midland's new grand prix car will hit the test tracks in February.

2006 signing Christijan Albers revealed on his official website that the M16 - named in deference to the team's new owner and the fifteen-year history under Eddie Jordan - will not see the winter track action next month.

But an interim 2005 chassis will feature the all new Toyota V8 and a new gearbox, as well as much of the M16's electronic systems, the 26-year-old Dutch driver remarked.

Midland confirm V10 advantage
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.27) A study, supposedly carried out by Midland's MF1 team, has shown that Scuderia Toro Rosso will enjoy a huge power advantage in 2006.

The Silverstone based team, concerned that Stir's V10 loophole will be unfair for close V8-powered rivals, apparently conducted tests where V8 data was compared specifically with a V10 limited by the FIA's current rules.

At present, a team may run a V10 in 2006 if it is rev-limited to 16,500rpm, and fitted with a 77mm airbox intake.

But, even so, teams and carmakers claim that Toro Rosso's reigned-in power units will still pack more punch than the works 2.4 liter grunt.

Midland's study allegedly purports that STR will go to Bahrain with around 800 horse power -- which is at least 50-100hp more than the current V8 crowd.

The FIA, however, is keeping pretty quiet on the subject. It is believed that teams have been assured by the governing body that V8s will always be quicker than a limited V10, even if that means that late alterations to the rules are needed.

A Christmas grand prix
(GMMf1NET -- Dec.27) On Christmas Day, a former F1 driver, ex-team owner, and both a brother and a father of more former grand prix stars, celebrated a birthday.

His name is Wilson Fittipaldi, 62.

He is double title winner Emerson's brother, 1992-1994 driver Christian's uncle, and constructor of the 103-grand prix outfit, Fittipaldi-Ford.

If great pre-war grand prix driver Hans Stuck - father of 70s star Hans-Joachim - was still around, he would have turned 105 on Tuesday. The German legend, who won grands prix for Auto-Union in the 1930s, died in 1978.

Meanwhile, although modern F1 is a pretty quiet scene around Christmas, in 1963 the grand prix world was gearing up at this time of year for the South African GP in East London.

On 28 December '63, Jim Clark scored his tenth career win, in a Lotus-Climax.

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