Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
February 27, 2006
Injured DC not getting married
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.27) David Coulthard's spokesman has denied that the
Scottish F1 veteran is getting married.
Although the 34-year-old only recently split with former fiancÚ
Simone, a French magazine has claimed that Coulthard is now engaged to
Belgian pit lane reporter Karen Minier.
DC's spokesman, however, told Scotland's 'Sunday Mail' newspaper that
the speculation was wrong.
Meanwhile, tabloid gossip is not the only pain in Coulthard's world at
present, after the Red Bull driver trapped a nerve in his back before
testing in Spain last Friday morning.
''The pain meant he was forced to call it a day (after four laps),''
read a Red Bull statement.
Alonso to nab 'easy' title - Webber
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.27) Fernando Alonso should romp to an easy back to
back championship in 2006, according to a rival.
Williams' Mark Webber has told the Sydney-based 'Australian' newspaper
that the young Spaniard, and his Renault team, are ahead of everyone
in winter tests.
''I always thought last year would be one of the easiest championships
he would have,'' 29-year-old Webber said. ''(But) Looking at what I
saw this past week (at Barcelona), he might have an even easier one.''
Australian-born Webber said the only doubt about an easy second crown
for Alonso, 24, is his 2007 switch to McLaren, and the possible damage
it could have done to his relationship with Renault.
But he reckons the blue and yellow team will be 'dominant' and score
'a lot of one-twos' at least early in the season.
Mark Webber also predicted: ''I'm expecting (Honda's) Jenson Button to
''McLaren might be good in the end (but) I don't think (they will be)
in the first part.''
Button proves that V8 is no-slow for F1
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.27) Max Mosley's quest to drastically reduce the
speed of formula one has failed, according to the latest test
England's Jenson Button, driving the impressively quick 2006 Honda car
in Barcelona last week, logged the test's best lap in 1.13.9.
Amazingly, even with twenty per cent less horse power than with the
old Honda V10, Button's February 2006 lap time compares to the best he
set at Circuit de Catalunya in April 2005 of 1.13.5 -- a mere three
With softer tires for new 2006 rules, tighter packaging and better
aerodynamics with the V10 - and nearly a year of frantic development -
Button proved the theory wrong that V8s would dramatically slow F1.
As the Spanish test drew to a close, meanwhile, so too did
disappointed BMW Sauber's at Imola, where bad weather reigned all
Most teams will now complete their winter testing with pre-Bahrain car
shake downs at Valencia (Spain), but Silverstone (England) will also
be in use, as will Mugello in Italy.
Finn is fave, bookie says
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.27) Ignoring Europe's winter form, sports betting
outfit 'Sportsbet' has named Kimi Raikkonen as favorite to win the
formula one crown in 2006.
At 3/1, McLaren's Finn is ahead of reigning champion Fernando Alonso
(4/1) but also Michael Schumacher (3.5/1).
Honda's Jenson Button, however, is a wise bet at 13/1, as is Giancarlo
Fisichella (21/1), Mark Webber (51/1) and Red Bull's David Coulthard,
At another betting agency, however - 'Bet365' - Schumacher is the
season's favorite at 3/1, followed by Raikkonen (3.25/1) and Alonso
Former Minardi owner Paul Stoddart agrees that the Ferrari number one
would be worth a flutter.
''Ferrari is enormously advantaged by this year's tire rule,'' he told
The Australian newspaper, ''but there should be different winners
through the year.''
49-year-old Stoddart, meanwhile - who said he was missing F1 'really
badly' - is in no doubt about the team likely to take home the wooden
He said: ''Jordan (MF1) will come last.''
F1 can cope without Schu - Ecclestone
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.27) Bernie Ecclestone says formula one would cope
without current 'superstar' Michael Schumacher.
In fact, the grand prix supremo asserts in the German 'Sport Bild'
magazine that - should Schumacher retire soon - the paddock would
claim a successor in a mere 'two or three races'.
''No driver, no person, will ever be bigger than formula one itself,''
said the 75-year-old.
Bernie singles out rookie Nico Rosberg, as well as hopefuls Nelson
Piquet Jr and Heikki Kovalainen, as contenders for the label of future
Interestingly, Ecclestone didn't mention Kimi Raikkonen, or reigning
champion Fernando Alonso. But the supremo lambastes the latter
Spaniard's future McLaren boss, Ron Dennis, for 'stupidly' deceiving
Flavio Briatore in the controversial 2007 switch.
JB on road to title assault
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.27) Jenson Button, although without a maiden win, is
gearing up for a drivers' world championship assault in 2006.
The English racer, whose team is consistently named as a standout of
winter testing, said Honda is also setting fear in the hearts of
rivals by proving so reliable with the 'RA106' package.
''In Bahrain testing I completed 360 laps in three days,'' 26-year-old
Button told ITV Sport, ''which is just unheard of, especially for
He said: ''In 2005, (we did) about 80 laps maximum over two or three
days, so this is a massive step forward.''
Ferrari and Toro Rosso aside, JB also expects to get a jump on all
rivals at the season opener.
Referring to the recent Bahrain test, which the eight unnamed teams
decided against attending, he insisted: ''I still don't understand why
(they) weren't present (there).
''When we arrive in Bahrain for the race it's going to make a big
difference, especially having worked with Michelin so closely and
tested tires at the circuit in the right temperatures.''
Kimi still undecided about 2007
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.27) Kimi Raikkonen has seemingly responded to
speculation that he turned down a $72m offer to stay at McLaren beyond
The Irish 'Setanta' broadcaster quoted the Finn, who is strongly
linked with a move to Ferrari, as saying that he had 'not decided'
what to do in 2007 and beyond.
Raikkonen added: ''But (this indecision) cannot go on for too long.
''At some point everyone needs to make a decision.''
Kimi, 26, denied that he is baulking at the concept of facing off at
the silver clad outfit with 2007 arrival Fernando Alonso.
He said: ''I don't care who my team mate is, I am not afraid of
anybody. That (fact) will not determine whether I stay (at McLaren) or
go somewhere else.''
In the Italian 'Gazzetta dello Sport', Kimi continued that he will
wait to gauge the pace of his McLaren in 2006 before making the call.
And he insisted: ''I have lots of options.''
Monteiro better than Karthikeyan - MF1
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.27) Midland's 'MF1' team has defended dumping Narain
Karthikeyan after the Indian's rookie F1 season in 2005.
Sporting director Adrian Burgess suggests that Tiago Monteiro,
Karthikeyan's Jordan teammate who has been retained, is a better bet.
''(Narain) would have occasional lapses in concentration,'' Burgess
said, ''whereas Tiago wouldn't.''
He also explained why, often, Karthikeyan seemed quicker in qualifying
than the Portuguese in the sister car.
Burgess said of Monteiro: ''He likes to get some miles under his belt
before he goes all out.
''You knew that as soon as it came to the first race, over a full hour
and a half, (Narain) couldn't drive every single lap like a qualifying
Kolles admits to 'tough' 2005
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.27) Colin Kolles insists that Midland's MF1 team is
'serious' about succeeding in formula one.
The Romanian, team principal of the Russian outfit based at
Silverstone (UK), faced a baptism of fire in 2005, at the helm of a
team beset with rumors and a disastrous PR image.
Kolles, a former dentist, also became the target of an adverse media
image, lambasted for his confrontational attitude and nicknamed
'Chavski' after wearing a Burberry cap to Melbourne.
Colin Kolles admitted: ''It was tough for us, with people not
believing in us ... but that's life.
''Now it's time to move forward, step by step.''
BMW don't expect '06 win
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.27) BMW Sauber does not expect to win a single race
in 2006, according to team boss Mario Theissen.
The German, motor sport director for the Hinwil based team's carmaker
owner, said targeting the top step of the podium in the first year
after buying Sauber would be 'unrealistic'.
''Winning can't be scheduled,'' Theissen commented, ''you just have to
wait and see how your competitors deliver.''
He added: ''But obviously we hope to get as close to winning as
Ralf still in Schu's shadow
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.27) Ralf Schumacher says his surname has often been a
negative influence on his F1 career.
The German, six years younger than seven time title winner and brother
Michael, was quoted as complaining in the 'Daily Ireland' newspaper
that much of the paddock has an unconstructive attitude towards him.
''People have always felt that one Schumacher is enough,'' said
30-year-old Ralf, who races in F1 for Toyota.
He added: ''There (has always been) more focus on the teammates I had
than the other way round.''
Schumacher, who struggled for most of 2005 against teammate Jarno
Trulli, also hits out at the media for pedaling untruths about him.
''The problem,'' Ralf contended, ''is that generally there's only 10
per cent of the truth around.''
Max Mosley to quit in 2009
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.27) Max Mosley has vowed to quit for good when his
current tenure as FIA president expires in 2009.
The 65-year-old, who was recently re-elected to the post unopposed,
actually resigned two years ago but was called back amid the pleas of
the racing fraternity.
''This is my last term of office,'' he promised to Italian race
magazine Autosprint, ''and I already have my replacement lined up.''
England-born Mosley also revealed that he would like to 'lessen my
workload' as soon as stability is restored at the sport's pinnacle.
Michelin still in front - analysis
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.27) Michelin maintains the upper hand in formula one.
That is the finding of German specialist magazine Auto Motor Und
Sport, which wrote that rival Bridgestone - defeated at every race
except Indianapolis last year - is still struggling to produce
competitive tire compounds.
Bridgestone shod Ferrari's technical director Ross Brawn was quoted as
saying that the 2006 tires' 'construction is good', but that driving a
really quick lap is still wearing the compound out too quickly.
Senna to compete in Melbourne
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.27) Two of the most famous names in world motor sport
will unite on Melbourne's Albert Park F1 circuit late next month,
according to the Australian Herald Sun newspaper.
Bruno Senna, the nephew of the late Brazilian triple world champion,
will race in the F3 support events, courtesy of the 'Double-R' team --
which is co-owned by F1's current pacesetter, Kimi Raikkonen.
Senna's uncle, Ayrton, died when his Williams slid off the track at
Imola in May 1994. Before that, his final grand prix win was in
Adelaide, the previous home of the Australian GP.
Melbourne will host the third race of 2006, on April 2.
Alonso braces for 'close' '06 contest
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.27) Reigning F1 champion Fernando Alonso disagrees
with Mark Webber's assessment that he will stroll to an easy second
crown in 2006.
Williams' Webber said on Monday that Alonso, head of the Renault
lineup, could have an 'even easier' run to the world championship than
he enjoyed last year.
But on the website of Canadian sports broadcaster TSN, 24-year-old
Alonso is quoted as saying that the imminent battle is likely to be
'very close' and fought between Renault, Honda, Ferrari and possibly
He commented: ''McLaren are now improving a lot and they could be
ready for the first race, so we have to wait and see how every team
develops to know who will be the winner.''
Alonso, however - the youngest ever winner and champion in the sport's
history - acknowledged that his new 2006 Renault R26 will be 'up there
Schu's fitter than ever
(GMMf1NET -- Feb.27) Michael Schumacher will tackle F1's season opener
in 2006 in better shape than ever before.
The deposed world champion admitted recently that a failing of 2005
was not doing a 'particularly good job' on his own physical
''I can do better,'' Germany's Schumacher, the oldest racer in grands
prix, was quoted as saying at the time. ''I have to train harder.''
Indeed, he cut his usually protracted winter break short over
Christmas, and was spotted at one of several test sessions with little
weights attached to either side of his red crash helmet.
And Schumacher now tells the German 'Sport Bild' magazine: ''I am
ready (for 2006).
''I have been training for the entire winter.''
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