Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
January 31, 2006
Webber tries new Williams
(GMMf1NET -- Jan.31) After Nico Rosberg, 2006 teammate Mark Webber
also got a few debut laps at the wheel of Williams' new 'FW28' car at
Valencia on Monday.
German 20-year-old Rosberg, however, did the most work at the wet
southern Spanish circuit, 43 laps, ahead of the test's real kick-off
on Tuesday morning.
''Today was spent completing filming (of the car),'' said technical
director Sam Michael, ''before the proper testing begins.''
Webber, 29, will drive the car on Tuesday.
'Minardi' to keep racing in 2006
(GMMf1NET -- Jan.31) The 'Minardi' name will remain in motor sport in
2006, with confirmation that Gian Carlo Minardi is to loan the famous
brand to the 'GP Racing' F3000 team.
Founded by the Italian in 1979 and making its F1 debut in 1985,
Minardi looked certain to disappear from the tracks this year after
Paul Stoddart sold the Faenza based grand prix outfit he acquired in
2001 to the Red Bull company.
But after buying back his brand, Gian Carlo has arranged that 'Minardi
Team by GP Racing' will race, with the 58-year-old on board only as an
advisor. The deal is useful for GP Racing because it allows sponsors
to be associated with the name.
''I'm just an external advisor,'' Minardi told f1grandprix.it, ''but I
had just ended an adventure and they proposed me to begin another.''
He added that he would attempt to broker similar deals with other
teams in junior racing, but ruled out a return to the F1 paddock.
''(Gian Carlo) Minardi is 58 years old, formula one is stressful and
requires efforts and money that I cannot afford anymore,'' he told the
Cosworth dismiss V10 advantage row
(GMMf1NET -- Jan.31) Cosworth has rejected suggestions that F1's
controversial engine equivalency restrictions are not fair.
The independent British engine design outfit, to supply V8s to
Williams but a 3.0 liter V10 to Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2006, has come
under fire for underestimating the advantage the latter team may still
maintain despite running a rev limit and air restrictor.
''We see no reason to change the numbers,'' Cosworth chief Tim
Routsis, who admitted that Cosworth actually authored the original
figures after the request of the governing FIA, told ITV.
Routsis conceded, however, that equivalency is 'difficult ... to
define', and said horse power is not the only factor.
But F1's main carmakers, who have produced new 2.4 liter V8s at huge
expense, argue that even 'equivalency' is unfair, and that Toro Rosso
should either be clearly disadvantaged or also switch to V8 grunt.
Routsis continued: ''But I don't see anybody else running a V10 at the
moment, so I think it will be a moot point.
''My expectation is that the rules will stay pretty much as they
Rosberg's no pay driver
(GMMf1NET -- Jan.31) Nico Rosberg has contradicted suggestions that he
is a pay driver, after the logo of one of his personal sponsors
emerged on his and teammate Mark Webber's Williams-branded helmets.
The 20-year-old, the rookie son of Williams-Cosworth's world champion
of 1982 Keke Rosberg, told the Times newspaper that - like Webber - he
will be paid by the Grove based team.
Germany's Rosberg, admitting that having a famous surname has often
helped in finding sponsors, told the British publication: ''This is
the first year I will be paid for driving.
''There won't be much left after I pay the expenses of my support
team, but there will be something.''
No matter the logos on the cars, then, Rosberg says he knows what will
happen if he does not perform on the track this year.
''Williams are a team that do not bullsh*t their drivers,'' Nico -
cooler and calmer than his often volatile Dad - said.
''Everybody in F1 knows that. If I'm a lot slower (than Mark Webber),
I'm in trouble.''
Speed would prefer V8 grunt
(GMMf1NET -- Jan.31) Californian F1 rookie Scott Speed says he would
rather be powered by a V8 power plant in 2006.
The new Scuderia Toro Rosso driver, 23, chimed into the engine
equivalency debate by suggesting that the 2006 2.4 liter formula is
the 'future' of the sport.
''Frankly, we'd rather like to have a V8,'' Speed, whose team has
opted for the FIA's temporary regulation allowing two years of
rev-limited and air-restricted V10s, told Speed TV.
Scott added: ''(Having a V8) would be better for the team in the long
run. But a V10 is what we can have right now, and we hope it will work
well for us.''
'STR' is currently still testing with Red Bull's 2005 car, but a
bespoke racer should hit the track early in February, before the STR1
is launched in March.
Scott Speed said eyeing podiums is not a realistic target for the
Faenza based outfit.
He said: ''But definitely points.
''It depends on how the new car will be.
''We have the resources to be well ahead of both (MF1 and Super
Aguri), I believe.''
Ferrari owner back in the black
(GMMf1NET -- Jan.31) The prospects of Ferrari owner 'Fiat SpA' are
looking up, after the Italian carmaker and company reported a profit
It is Fiat's first net profit in five years, and compares with the
$1.97bn loss of a year ago.
The $1.62 billion profit should, of course, be viewed in the context
of the $2bn payment received from General Motors, the Forbes
However, Fiat and Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo commented:
''We have a lot to be satisfied about.''
Montoya on hunt for new team
(GMMf1NET -- Jan.31) Juan Pablo Montoya says McLaren has not yet
decided whether he or teammate Kimi Raikkonen will get the boot for
The feisty Colombian, reportedly disillusioned that Ron Dennis did not
take up an option on his contract to extend beyond this year, admitted
that he is thus looking for a new seat.
''There has been no decision on what is going to happen,'' Montoya,
30, was quoted as saying by the News of the World tabloid, ''but I am
open to offers.''
McLaren has already signed up Fernando Alonso for 2007, meaning that
either Juan Pablo or the highly-rated Kimi Raikkonen will make way.
But Montoya insists that he will not be left standing when the music
of the next silly season stops. ''I am not waiting for anybody,'' he
replied, when asked how long he would wait for Dennis' call.
''I need to find a drive if he doesn't want me.
''If they don't want me, I'll find a team who do.''
MF1 set to launch new weapon
(GMMf1NET -- Jan.31) Midland's first all-new grand prix car will be
launched as scheduled this Friday, the 'MF1' formula one team reports.
Although the car's 'M16' designation has reminded some observers of an
assault rifle, sporting boss Adrian Burgess promises a 'far better'
weapon than 2005's two-year-old Jordan.
He said: ''We've had twelve months of stability now, we know who the
owner is, we know where we're going.''
A year ago, the frantic focus at Silverstone HQ was on trying to fit
the customer Toyota V10 into a car that was designed for a Ford.
''(With the M16) we've been able to attend to details that we couldn't
with last year's car,'' Burgess adds.
He said the M16 has so far performed better in the wind tunnel than
did the Shanghai-spec EJ15.
It will be unveiled to the world's media at Silverstone.
Biaggi to test MF1 car again
(GMMf1NET -- Jan.31) When MotoGP refugee Max Biaggi recently tested
for the Midland-owned MF1 team, he insisted that it was a 'one off'.
But the 34-year-old Italian, who reportedly will definitely not now
race in the World Superbike category in 2006, added that if he ever
re-appeared in the machine, it meant he has decided to be serious
about formula one.
Biaggi, we can reveal, is set to test for Midland-owned MF1 this week.
He is expected to bag a pukka test seat.
''This was an unique thing,'' he said at the time of his Silverstone
test. ''If I drive again, then it means that the thing that really
boils my blood - the motorcycle - won out.''
A new cloud over British GP
(GMMf1NET -- Jan.31) A grey cloud is once again threatening to move
above the British GP.
With news that a $1bn developer, St Modwen Properties, is on the verge
of signing a 125-year lease of the Silverstone venue, a group
objecting to the plan has emerged within the track-owning British
Racing Drivers' Club.
The St Modwen contract must first be ratified by the BRDC at a
February 22 (2006) meeting.
Former British F3 champion and BRDC member Harry Stiller is leading
the group of objectors, who argue that the formula one race - costing
the club some $21m every year - should not be safeguarded at any cost.
''We are being asked to vote on an agreement that could put our club
in jeopardy and as yet we know nothing of the detail,'' he told
England's Daily Telegraph.
''Under the proposed deal it is my belief that we could lose control
of the property entirely.''
A fourth Spanish test track
(GMMf1NET -- Jan.31) A fourth Spanish test circuit could soon be
hosting formula one race teams, it is reported.
The television station 'La Otra' claimed this week that a F1-standard
track on the Spanish coast, not far from the Portuguese border, is now
under construction and should be ready by the start of next season.
Spanish circuits Barcelona, Jerez and Valencia presently host the
majority of F1 test action.
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