Latest F1 news in brief
by Andrew Maitland
March 17, 2006
Alonso says no to Rossi's challenge
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.17) World champion Fernando Alonso has politely
rejected Valentino Rossi's proposal that the pair go head-to-head to
settle the question of who is quicker.
Rankled by Alonso's claim that he could join the MotoGP ace on a
podium, rider Rossi challenged the Spaniard to a battle waged on
motorcycles, formula one and rally machinery.
Asked if he had heard about Rossi's dare, Renault's 24-year-old Alonso
said in Kuala Lumpur: ''Yes, but I don't know if he really said it.
''If he did (say it), I will have to say no -- I am totally focused on
my job at the moment.''
F1 mag found guilty of libel
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.17) F1's former Jaguar principal, Tony Purnell, has
won a libel court action against controversial F1 magazine 'Business
The magazine, headed by editor Tom Rubython, claimed that Purnell
bribed an F1 journalist.
At a forthcoming trial, a jury will consider possible damages to
Purnell, the 47-year-old English entrepreneur.
Indian set for cockpit return
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.17) After a long cockpit absence, Williams' second
test driver Narain Karthikeyan will return to the wheel back in Europe
The Indian driver is scheduled to steer the new 'FW28' for the first
time, before flying out to Australia for round three of 2006.
''I'm really looking forward to it, really excited and I hope I can
shine in the test,'' NK, 29, told Reuters.
Toyota expect better weekend
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.17) In Malaysia, Ralf Schumacher thinks Toyota should
perform better than the Bahraini nightmare of a week ago.
The German confessed that the catastrophic lack of grip is
mysteriously linked to the way the 'TF106' car works with new Japanese
tire supplier Bridgestone.
He said on Thursday: ''But we have a different tire here, and the
(hot) conditions should be a bit better for us.
''Yes, it should be a lot better,'' Ralf continued.
''For this race, it could be a quick fix. But we also have to admit
that we still don't understand the reasons for (what happened in)
DC applauds Heidfeld penalty
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.17) David Coulthard has applauded F1's new permanent
steward for reprimanding Nick Heidfeld after the pair diced on track
With BMW-Sauber's Heidfeld found in the wrong for driving Coulthard
off the track, the veteran Scot said it's the first example of what
the Grand Prix Drivers' Association has 'been asking for' in recent
''Hopefully now we can have some consistency,'' the Red Bull driver
went on to say.
''The stewards felt he was in the wrong because I had the line for the
34-year-old 'DC', however, admitted that new permanent steward Tony
Scott-Andrews had been 'a lot harder' on Nick than - for example -
after an incident involving Takuma Sato a few years ago.
Coulthard explained: ''But that's good if it's consistent from race to
race. We need to know how far we can push it.''
DC's 'sex in a sauna'
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.17) Red Bull ace David Coulthard set pulses racing in
Thursday's FIA press conference by likening driving in the steamy
Malaysian grand prix to 'sex in a sauna'.
''Unless it was having sex,'' the cheeky Scot told reporters, ''I
can't imagine wanting to do anything in a sauna.''
At the Sepang circuit near Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, temperatures rose
to a searing 36C. Friday is heading for similarly uncomfortable
humidity, while the chance of rain on all three days of the grand prix
event still persists.
Renault find Fisi's 'F-word' glitch
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.17) Renault has identified the cause of an engine
problem that moved Giancarlo Fisichella to repeatedly swear into his
in-car radio in Bahrain.
After the Roman publicly apologizing for turning the live TV airwaves
blue, technical director Bob Bell revealed that the 33-year-old's V8
had suffered from a throttle control problem.
''When he was at full throttle,'' the Briton explained, ''the engine
was delivering only 90 per cent of its full power.
''That's why we didn't see it in the garage or on the installation
Fisichella's teammate, championship leader Fernando Alonso, told
reporters in Malaysia that he was sure a similar problem won't recur.
Asked if he was worried, the Spaniard replied: ''No. One hundred per
cent -- no.''
Schu worried about health of V8
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.17) Michael Schumacher admits he is worried about the
health of his V8, after Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa was forced to
have his engine changed in between the opening Bahrain and Malaysian
''Naturally, I'm a little bit concerned,'' the German told reporters
at Sepang, knowing that Red Bull's David Coulthard also suffered a
Ferrari V8 failure after the Bahraini checkered flag.
However, sources indicate that Ferrari did extensive checks on
Schumacher's engine prior to opening practice in Malaysia -- including
the use of an endoscope.
Weather conditions in Malaysia were fairly mild as free practice
kicked off on Friday morning -- 33C, with just 51 per cent humidity.
No engine change for Montoya, says Dennis
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.17) Responding to his Colombian driver's complaints,
McLaren principal Ron Dennis has denied that Juan Pablo Montoya had an
engine problem in Bahrain.
Confirming that the 30-year-old would almost certainly race the same
Mercedes-Benz V8 in Malaysia, he dismissed Montoya's claim that his
engine was up to 7kph slower than teammate Kimi Raikkonen's on the
''His problem was not the engine, his problem was the tire
selection,'' Ron told Spanish newspaper 'AS' when attempting to
explain Juan's half-second per-lap deficit to Kimi.
Dennis reckons Montoya and his engineers selected a tire that was too
soft, while Kimi chose a different option.
Adamant of an engine problem, however, JPM replied: ''We were on
different tires, but that was not the real reason (for the deficit).
''You only have to look at the speed traps to see it.''
A quiet morning in Malaysia
(GMMf1NET -- Mar.17) Another quiet Friday looks set to descend on
formula one, with nearly half of the race drivers not even setting a
lap time in Malaysian morning practice.
In 34C temperatures and bearable humidity, 'Friday' test trio Alex
Wurz (Williams), Robert Kubica (BMW) and Anthony Davidson (Honda) set
the pace, with Juan Pablo Montoya the quickest racer, after doing just
McLaren teammate Kimi Raikkonen, however, completed only installation
laps, as did both Renaults and the BMW-Sauber race cars.
The two Williams and Honda race drivers, meanwhile, did not even
change out of their shirts and shorts, leaving the work to Wurz (19
laps) and Davidson (25 laps).
''The (two-race per engine) rules restrict track time,'' moaned Red
Bull's David Coulthard, fifth best in the morning after doing 7 laps,
''but isn't the whole point of someone coming to a GP to see the cars
MF1's Tiago Monteiro, however, is probably the least-pleased racer of
all in pitlane, his M16 stopping after 8 laps with suspected Toyota V8
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