Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
February 13, 2006
Berger won't test 'STR' car
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.13) New formula one team co-owner Gerhard Berger has
denied suggestions that he could test the Scuderia Toro Rosso car.
Although the 46-year-old Austrian contested 210 grands prix - winning
ten - between 1984 and 1997, he ruled out leaping into the new STR01
''Not at my age,'' Berger laughed to Switzerland's Blick newspaper.
He also revealed that the STR deal with Dietrich Mateschitz was not
his only opportunity to return to the grand prix pitlane since hanging
up his BMW chief's hat in 2003.
Berger said: ''I received many offers to become a director in large
teams. But I am an entrepreneur, so I want to have some fun too.''
He said his fifty per cent purchase of Toro Rosso was hashed out over
a drink in Salzburg with his long time friend, Mateschitz.
''Didi said to me, 'I want to buy half of your (shipping) company',''
Berger told Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, ''I replied
'then I want to buy half of Toro Rosso. So we did it!''
Berger will definitely attend the opening grand prix of 2006, in
New Merc V8 is better - de la Rosa
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.13) Mercedes' redesigned V8 engine is an improvement
over the initial version, according to McLaren test driver Pedro de la
But with his engine expiring in a cloud of smoke at Jerez last Friday,
the Spaniard told the local 'Marca' newspaper that the team 'still has
a long way to go'.
''I did feel an improvement,'' the 34-year-old confirmed. ''I do
believe that we are on the right track.''
Sources have confirmed that the updated engine is significantly more
powerful than the previous Mercedes V8 spec, but de la Rosa is
cautious when musing about engine reliability.
''In the coming tests, the focus will very much be on collecting much
more mileage,'' he said.
Like much of the F1 fraternity, McLaren will unfurl at Valencia this
week, where Kimi Raikkonen will feature on a four day program.
The Finn said: ''Hopefully we'll be able to complete some more running
Briscoe admits F1 dream in tatters
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.13) Former Toyota tester Ryan Briscoe has admitted
that his formula one dream may today be little more than a far flung
The 24-year-old Australian, who last year exited the 'IRL'
championship with a fiery crash, has signed to drive selected races in
2006 for an Australian touring car team.
''I still haven't ruled it (F1) out as a possibility,'' Briscoe told
The Australian newspaper.
''But this year is going to be one of those years when I decide to
either keep focused on formula one or decide it is time not to focus
on formula one.''
Briscoe was a stand-out in his European junior career, even beating
current Red Bull racer Christian Klien to the formula 3 Euroseries
Test concludes at wet Jerez
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.13) F1 test action at Jerez (Spain) concluded on
Friday and Saturday.
Both days, however, turned out significantly wet, although on Saturday
it was at least deliberate as Pedro de la Rosa (McLaren) and Heikki
Kovalainen (Renault) conducted wet Michelin running.
On Friday, however, the rain had stopped in the afternoon, leaving
Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella, and Kovalainen, topping a field of
twelve, including McLaren, BMW Sauber, MF1, Williams and Toro Rosso,
whose Scott Speed tried the new V10-powered STR01 racer for the first
''It definitely has less horse power,'' the Californian rookie said,
''and the car tended to oversteer.''
MF1's technical director James Key also admitted that the speed of the
Midland team's new 'M16' 2006 car leaves a little to be desired.
He conceded: ''There are a few issues to resolve on the performance
Many F1 teams now move to Valencia, where McLaren's chrome livery will
debut, but running will also take place at Barcelona and in Bahrain,
scene of the first grand prix in March.
Bahrain test to kick off
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.13) One month before the 2006 grand prix season kicks
off at the very same circuit, Bahrain will burst into formula one
action on Monday morning.
Ferrari, Honda and Scuderia Toro Rosso are now set up in the circuit's
garages, ahead of a rare and controversial offshore test.
Honda and 'STR' will test until Thursday, while Ferrari stay on for a
mammoth nine day session in the Gulf State.
Felipe Massa (Ferrari) arrived in Bahrain on Saturday, and Honda's
Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello and Anthony Davidson are also in
town, according to reports.
''It is important that we test here,'' said Brazil's Barrichello, ''to
make sure we are as strong as we can be.''
Button, too, has been quoted as saying Bahrain will be the 'most
important test of the year', even if other teams argue that it is an
expensive and logistically troublesome way to prepare for the new
Gascoyne hopes tire pact is kept
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.13) Mike Gascoyne has admitted that the new agreement
between Bridgestone teams could be threatened by the start of the 2006
In the winter test period so far, the pact - which sees Toyota,
Ferrari, Williams, MF1 and Super Aguri pool and share their tire data
- has run smoothly.
But when the fire of competition kicks off in Bahrain next month, the
more competitive teams might be less eager to keep sharing their
crucial data with rivals.
''I hope the agreement is kept,'' Gascoyne, technical director at
Toyota, said, ''because it is helpful.
''Ok, sometimes you might find something yourself and someone else
profits from it,'' he added, ''but we have to see the bigger picture
which is that we all get a better tire.''
Gascoyne says the new agreement, distinct from Ferrari and
Bridgestone's previously near-exclusive collaboration, is already
He explained: ''I think they realized that they were shooting
themselves in the foot by focusing on one team. Ferrari and
Bridgestone realized that they needed more data.''
Red Bull budget rivals Ferrari - Flav
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.13) Red Bull could have become formula one's biggest
spender, according to Flavio Briatore.
Like rival team McLaren, the Italian's Renault camp has experienced
the sour end of what he calls Red Bull's recent 'shopping tour' for
Briatore, 55, reckons Red Bull - run by owner of two F1 teams,
billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz - is offering 'extravagant' wages to
those switching to his F1 camp.
''In the past we all thought Ferrari spent the most money,'' Flavio
told Auto Motor Und Sport.
''Maybe we have to reconsider that.''
Earlier this month, Briatore also hit out at Red Bull for 'betraying'
fellow Michelin teams in the vote on '06's tire rules.
He continued: ''They got a lot of sympathy in their first season, but
they start to lose that.''
Renault vow to treat Alonso 'equally'
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.13) Renault says Fernando Alonso will be supported
'equally' until the final grand prix of 2006, before he switches to
It is, however, a sentiment not shared totally by the 24-year-old
Spaniard, who says his French-owned employer is likely to freeze him
out - and favor Giancarlo Fisichella - if he drops out of title
''In that situation,'' Fernando told the Spanish 'Sociedad Espanola de
Radiodifusion' radio network, ''I would expect information and
developments to not be the same (as teammate Fisichella) so that I
cannot take them to McLaren.''
Alonso, however, added that if he is again fighting for the
championship, then he is likely to get full support.
But Renault's Bob Bell, team technical director, said both Alonso and
Fisichella can expect total support, no matter how developed the
He insisted: ''That is what you have to do if you are serious about
Gascoyne explains Bahrain absence
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.13) Toyota did not join three F1 rivals at the
Bahrain winter test this week for financial and logistical reasons,
Mike Gascoyne has explained.
Honda racer Jenson Button has been reported as being surprised that
more of F1's eleven teams did not accompany his employer, plus Ferrari
and Toro Rosso, in flying into the Gulf region.
But with mere weeks until the circus reconvenes at the Sakhir circuit
for the opening grand prix, Gascoyne - Toyota technical director -
says it did not make sense to test in Bahrain.
''Naturally,'' said the Briton, ''those teams will get some useful
information by testing there.
''But the reality is that it is still just one test, and logistically
it means compromising your tests before and after (traveling to and
Toyota's other argument, however - the cost - doesn't really seem
valid when the Cologne based team intend to launch a 'b' car as early
as May 2006.
Gascoyne, at least, denied that an all-new Toyota car - the TF107 -
could be ready and racing by the end of the year.
''The plan is to test the TF107 in January next year,'' Mike added,
also admitting that a second wind tunnel will soon be operational.
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