Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
January 17, 2006
Ralf hits out at F1 media
-- Jan.17) Ralf Schumacher has struck out at the media for
misinterpreting comments made at the Toyota launch on Saturday.
The German racer was reported as criticizing his elder brother, after
saying that Michael Schumacher 'should not be talking about leaving'
Ferrari if the 2006 car is not quick enough to win races.
Some reports of the comments pointed to a growing rift between the
siblings, and others even suggested that Ralf, 30, is jealous of
Schumacher's huge success in the sport.
''Some articles regarding a comment I made about Michael took what I
said completely out of context,'' he insisted.
''I still wish that Michael spends many more successful years in F1. I
am proud of him and his achievements and, like in the past, wish him
all the best for the future.''
'06 German GP safe - organizers
(GMMf1NET -- Jan.17) Hockenheim has denied reports that the running of
events at the formula one venue in 2006 is under threat.
Although the German circuit is undoubtedly in some financial strife,
officials published a statement on Monday promising that 'all events
at the Hockenheimring will take place as scheduled'.
Among the major events planned at Hockenheim this year include the
German grand prix, DTM races and a Robbie Williams open-air concert.
The F1 event is scheduled to run in late July.
boss charged in F1 spy scandal
(GMMf1NET -- Jan.17) In addition to reports that Gustav Brunner is
implicated in the Toyota-Ferrari spy scandal, it has been confirmed
that former F1 principal Ove Andersson has also been charged.
Prosecutors in Cologne, home of Toyota's F1 team, contend that former
aerodynamics boss Rene Hilhorst is also involved, as well as ousted
chief designer Brunner.
All three no longer work at Toyota.
The case, which dates back several years, hinges around ex-Ferrari
workers who allegedly stole software from the Maranello team and used
it to test aerodynamic data for the 2003 and 2004 Toyota single
''Toyota Motorsport has not been formally notified of the matter and
does not have full knowledge of the specific issues,'' a team
It is expected that a German court will hear the charges some time
this year, while the former Ferrari workers in question will be tried
under Italian law.
The team spokeswoman added: ''Toyota Motorsport would like to stress
that the charges have not been brought against the company.''
Andersson led Toyota into F1 in 2002, and remained in charge in '03.
ends Schu's first day in new Ferrari
(GMMf1NET -- Jan.17) The first day in the life of Ferrari's 2006 F1
car ended when the V8 engine spluttered to a halt, according to
Italian sources said the blank-liveried racer, codenamed '657',
stopped on the main straight at Ferrari's private Fiorano test track
after about 50 laps.
The sources suggested that it may have been just a fuel pick-up
But in near-freezing conditions on Monday, the quickest lap was a
credible 59.5s, the Maranello based team's F1 press office reported.
Rain and snow permitting, testing of the car - which is rumored to be
officially designated 'F2006' or perhaps 'F248' - will resume on
Inside' may have spoiled F1 deal
(GMMf1NET -- Jan.17) For many F1 fans, a first glance at BMW Sauber's
2006 car on Tuesday will also be a first glance at new major sponsor
and computer chip maker Intel's revised brand logo.
The logo will apparently feature very prominently on the BMW-owned
team's new white and blue grand prix car.
But according to 'The Inquirer', the new F1 deal and Intel's new logo
and slogan are closely related. Intel marketing director Mark Brailey
reportedly told the publication that the new logo 'allowed Intel to
cut a deal' with the team.
The former 'Intel Inside' logo, it seems, might have wrongly suggested
that an Intel computer chip actually lurked in the F1 machine.
The new logo also includes a new slogan -- 'Leap Ahead'.
''We believe this brand evolution allows Intel to be better recognized
for our platform vision and contributions beyond the microprocessor,''
a company spokesperson added.
F1 teams settle court dispute
(GMMf1NET -- Jan.17) Two law firms have settled out of court with
formula one teams that had vowed to sue them.
'Baker & McKenzie' and 'Linklaters' were being sued for negligence by
McLaren and Williams, after the British teams claimed they had been
given bad advice which cost them a slice of the proceeds of F1's
commercial rights in 1999.
The High Court in London was due to hear the case starting this week.
Linklaters settled with Williams late last year, while Baker &
McKenzie settled with McLaren some time last week. The value of either
settlement is unknown.
In 1999, Bernie Ecclestone sold a $1.5bn stake in F1, but purportedly
did not pay McLaren and Williams because their agreement with the
sport's boss had not been drafted properly.
launched new colors on Monday
(GMMf1NET -- Jan.17) On Monday, F1 outfit BMW Sauber kicked off its
official two-day launch in coastal Spain.
The Switzerland-based team, taken over by Munich manufacturer BMW
ahead of the 2006 season, showed off its new image with a fashion show
at Valencia's 'Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencas' buildings, not far
from the twisty test circuit.
Nick Heidfeld, Jacques Villeneuve, Robert Kubica and Mario Theissen
were among those present, as top Brazilian model Alessandra Ambrosio
graced the runway in BMW Sauber gear in front of the world's media.
In the evening, the team threw a big party.
On Tuesday, the 2006 car and livery will be unveiled and tested for
the first time on track.
For the record, the team's new clothing is predominantly white, but
also features red and blue.
Shnaider supports Russian GP
(GMMf1NET -- Jan.17) Russian-born F1 team owner Alex Shnaider would
like to see his country stage a grand prix.
Although today a naturalized Canadian, the 37-year-old billionaire -
who bought Jordan and has renamed it 'MF1 Racing' for the 2006 season
- says he continues to support plans to stage a formula one race in
Shnaider, whose Midland Group operates mainly in Russia and Canada,
applied to the Russian Automobile Federation for his F1 team's 2006
license, making 'MF1' the first Russian entry.
And, asked if he still supports the concept of a Russian grand prix,
he told the 'Azeri' newspaper that both his team and the country in
general would benefit from F1.
''Definitely, I support it,'' Alex Shnaider said. ''I would do
everything I can to support it.''
Countdown to 2006
(GMMf1NET -- Jan.17) In a few more than fifty days, five red lights on
Bahrain's start gantry will officially mark the start of the 2006
Mid-January is therefore a frantic time of year for F1 teams.
BMW Sauber's first collaborative car will be launched and tested in
Valencia (Spain) on Tuesday, while the next phase of F1 running at
Jerez - also in Spain - is also set to reignite.
Ferrari rolled out its own new racer at Fiorano (Italy) on Monday, and
is set to resume the program with Michael Schumacher at its private
test circuit on Friday. A few days later, the liveried car will then
be launched at nearby Mugello.
McLaren and Toyota will definitely resume Jerez testing on Tuesday,
with Williams and Honda to kick off a day later. At Silverstone, not
500 meters from the team's factory gates, 'MF1' will resume testing.
Renault, as well as Red Bull's two grand prix teams, are not planning
to run again this week at Jerez de la Frontera, but intend to test
further north - at Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona - from the 25th.
Next Friday, Williams' Cosworth-powered FW28 will be launched at
now at home in new Toyota
(GMMf1NET -- Jan.17) Jarno Trulli has now adjusted to the new Toyota.
The 31-year-old Italian, who had led teammate Ralf Schumacher for most
of 2005, fell behind late in the year with the introduction of a 'b'
JT moaned about the heavily revised front end, which has been
replicated in the team's initial design for season '06, the TF106.
''He has had time to get used to the different feel,'' technical
director Mike Gascoyne told Autosport. ''The problems he did
experience have evaporated, and to be honest we didn't need to do
Indeed, so confident is England's Gascoyne in the new car - which has
so far impressed on the winter test track - he says he will be
'disappointed' if a race win does not come Cologne based Toyota's way.
So what about the 2006 championship?
''I don't want to make grandiose claims,'' Gascoyne said, ''but you
could say we are confident.''
set for 'united' future - Stoddart
(GMMf1NET -- Jan.17) It is looking more and more likely that the F1
carmakers' 'breakaway' threat is now almost over.
Having lost Ferrari and Williams to Bernie Ecclestone's 'Concorde'
camp, and with Toyota and Honda only reluctant members of the GPMA
alliance, the pendulum seems to have swung away from the prospect of a
separate world championship for 2008.
Red Bull's teams and Midland are also closely aligned with Ecclestone
and the FIA, leaving only Mercedes-Benz, Renault and BMW firmly
committed to the cause.
It is suggested that GPMA was only ever used as a negotiating tool to
lever better conditions out of Bernie and the governing body.
''The manufacturers have got what they wanted,'' departed Minardi
owner Paul Stoddart told Autosport.
GPMA campaigned chiefly for better equity, money and rules, but
Australian Stoddart just wonders whether the FIA's proposed 2008
regulations are really ideal.
Stoddart explained, referring to the GPMA: ''They have a better deal
from Bernie, but have they got better regulations and a better deal
from the FIA?
''Possibly not, but we will have a united formula one.''
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