Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
March 9, 2006
Red Bull wants carmaker deal
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.9) F1 team owner Red Bull is hoping to team up with a
major car manufacturer.
Although at present heading up two private squads with customer
engines, the energy drink's billionaire mogul Dietrich Mateschitz
admitted that he would like to join the ranks of the sport's mighty
''We would be a good partner for a manufacturer,'' the Austrian, who
is known to have already spoken with Volkswagen and Audi, told 'Sport
''We have some of the best people, like Adrian Newey and Gerhard
Berger, we have two teams, and the will to win.''
Red Bull already has an imposing budget, but with a carmaker on board
it could begin to woo some of the best pilots.
Mateschitz, 61, confessed that Kimi Raikkonen and Michael Schumacher
would be ideal.
''Kimi would fit very well with us,'' he said. ''Of course it is
pretty unlikely that we will get them. If Michael leaves Ferrari, he
will probably retire, and I believe Kimi is going to Ferrari.''
Ralf defends lack of title triumph
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.9) Ralf Schumacher has defended himself amid
criticism that he has never risen above fourth in the championship.
The German driver, who at 30 is attacking his tenth year in formula
one this year, is a six-time race winner but never looked like
troubling the title winner.
''Well, you have to have some luck to be at the right place at the
right time,'' Schumacher - whose brother Michael won five drivers'
triumphs for Ferrari during Ralf's career - told 'Kolner
He added: ''Of course I could not win with Jordan (in 1997 and 1998),
and Williams never progressed enough that I could win the title.
''And now I am at the beginning with Toyota.''
GPMA, Bernie, plan Bahrain meeting
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.9) F1's carmaker group will meet with Bernie
Ecclestone in Bahrain this weekend, but a spokesman downplayed reports
of an imminent deal.
However, as their threat of a 'breakaway' championship in 2008
subsides, the GPMA representative said 'significant progress' is being
made to appease the irritation of BMW, Mercedes, Renault, Toyota and
''We hope to address several of the outstanding issues (in Bahrain),''
'BBC' quoted the spokesman as saying.
''But it's too early to predict any outcome. We don't want to
speculate but things are moving in the right direction.''
Privateer team owner Sir Frank Williams, who has already signed
Bernie's 2008 contract, agreed that the war is moving towards
''I believe that the chances of (a rival series) occurring (is)
looking less likely with each day that passes,'' he told the Guardian.
'07 move won't harm Alonso's charge - Lauda
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.9) The fact that Fernando Alonso already has a
McLaren contract in his back pocket should not harm his 2006 title
That's the opinion of triple world champion and former Jaguar
principal Niki Lauda, who thinks the 24-year-old Spaniard should still
get along fine at Renault.
''I do not see the major consequences of the move for him,'' the
Austrian told TV broadcaster ORF, ''as long as he is driving a good
Where Lauda, 57, thinks Alonso could run into trouble is if his final
blue and yellow racer turns out to be a tugger.
He said: ''The bottom line is that Alonso, of course, wants to defend
his title. So in that case I do not see why anything should be any
different in the way he beats (Giancarlo) Fisichella.
''But if the results and the points do not come, if there is some
crisis, then there could be some problems.''
Renault's Pat Symonds, however, admits that - title challenge or not -
the team will begin to shut up shop to McLaren-bound Alonso near the
end of the year.
''Of course we wouldn't have him privy to those (development ideas for
2007),'' he told the BBC.
Symonds added: ''But we're not going to cut off our noses to spite our
faces and he's going to think the same.''
Rosberg expects Webber to beat him
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.9) F1 rookie Nico Rosberg expects to be beaten by his
more experienced teammate.
The 20-year-old German, the son of Williams' 1982 world champion Keke,
admitted that Mark Webber is - at present - a quicker pilot.
''For the moment, Mark is on average two tenths per lap in front of
me,'' Rosberg, the reigning GP2 champion, told Germany's 'Sport Bild'.
Williams' new driver characterized Webber, 29, as an 'extremely quick'
driver, particularly on a qualifying lap.
In a separate interview, with Sport1.de, Rosberg singles out Webber's
four years of F1 experience as his advantage.
He said: ''So I must work hard if I want to catch him up. In F1, you
are always compared to your teammate and that's the way it should be.
''My goal is to equal his achievements, or even beat him from time to
Rosberg also revealed that the strength of the 'FW28' package is the
Cosworth engine and the aerodynamics, while the main weakness is the
often unreliable gearbox.
Honda duo eye Bahrain win
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.9) Honda emerged from F1's winter period as a winner
of the test season.
While perhaps a little off Renault's leading pace, the Brackley based
team was the most reliable of the pre-season, and considers itself a
potential winner of the Bahrain opener.
''We're here to challenge for a win,'' English driver Jenson Button
said, ''and that's our objective for every race this year.''
New teammate Rubens Barrichello, of 2000-2005 Ferrari fame, believes
that Honda's decision to join his old team and Toro Rosso at the
recent Bahrain test was one that boosts the winning prospect.
Contradicting Fernando Alonso's claim that the trio of teams may have
wasted their time, the Brazilian said the tyre and setup work on the
relevant venue was the 'best possible preparation' for a race.
Barrichello added: ''So I think challenging for a win is a real
Vodafone's F1 bigwig fired
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.9) Vodafone has fired the man responsible for formula
one sponsorships at Ferrari (2006) and McLaren (2007).
According to the Guardian newspaper, marketing director Peter Bamford
was ousted in the midst of a power struggle between the company's
chief executive and chairman.
A spokesman said Bamford's exit was the 'consequence of a fundamental
review of the group's marketing operations', but did not comment on
whether it might affect the Vodafone sponsorships, such as the $50m
per-year deal with McLaren that kicks off next season.
Bamford joined Vodafone in 1998.
Button buys Bahrain abode
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.9) English F1 driver Jenson Button has reportedly
bought a plush property in Bahrain.
Ahead of Sunday's grand prix on the Gulf island, the Honda star
visited the $3bn 'Durrat Al Bahrain' development on Wednesday,
according to Gulf Daily News newspaper.
Located on the south eastern coast of the island, 26-year-old JB's
villa is not yet complete.
''Coming (here) by helicopter you could really see ... how it's come
along,'' Button - who lives in Monaco - said at the site. ''Bahrain is
like a second home, I feel very relaxed here and I'm looking forward
to when the property is built.''
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