NEWS ARCHIVE

29 FEBRUARY 2004

STODDART WANTS CASH (AGAIN)

Minardi boss Paul Stoddart is once again complaining that engine bills have not been reduced to the $10m which was accepted as a limit for what were called "affordable engines".

28 FEBRUARY 2004

THE GPDA BECOMES PROACTIVE IN F1

The Grand Prix Drivers' Association has announced a competition which will allow six fans the chance to win "a money-can't-buy guided tour of the F1 paddock on race day, during which they will have photo opportunities with several F1 drivers".

27 FEBRUARY 2004

MONTEZEMOLO TO RUN ITALIAN INDUSTRY FEDERATION

Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo is expected to be announced shortly as the head of Confindustria, the Italian federation of industry.

PATRICK RACING CALLS OFF IRL PROGRAMME

Pat Patrick has called off his planned Indy Racing League programme because he has not been able to raise the finance needed for the programme.

MECACHROME LOOKS TO AMERICA

The French engineering firm Mecachrome has announced plans to support Eddie Cheever's Red Bull Cheever Racing team in this year's Indy Racing League.

SILVERSTONE GOING FOR A HOTEL

The British Racing Drivers' Club is applying for planning permission to build a hotel and conference centre in its planned Silverstone High Tech Park.

26 FEBRUARY 2004

THE RUMOURS ABOUT SCOTT DIXON

Scott Dixon has made no secret of his desire to be a Grand Prix driver. A few year ago when racing in the junior formulae in the United States Dixon flew to Europe for a secret test with the Prost Formula 3000 team at Dijon. But his career path has remained in America since then...

25 FEBRUARY 2004

MICHAEL SHOWS FERRARI POTENTIAL

The final day of the Imola test saw Michael Schumacher throwing down the gauntlet to his rivals with a new lap record.

DIXON BOUND FOR FORMULA 1?

There are reports in New Zealand that Scott Dixon, the Indy Racing League Champion, is on the verge of signing a deal with a Formula 1 team.

JAPAN TO JOIN ANTI-TOBACCO FORCES

It is reported in Japan that the Japanese government will shortly announce that it is to sign the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

WHY MINARDI COULD BE AT AN ADVANTAGE IN MELBOURNE

The new Formula 1 regulations for 2004 have been studied from every angle and some think that there are going to be occasions when starting from the back of the grid with a fresh engine is going to be an advantage.

24 FEBRUARY 2004

WILLIAMS AND FERRARI EVENLY MATCHED AT IMOLA

Today's testing at Imola revealed that Williams and Ferrari appear to be closely-matched in terms of performance - if one can conclude anything.

TAG HEUER GIVES UP F1 TIMEKEEPING DEAL

In a very carefully-worded press release TAG Heuer has announced that it is to "relinquish its FIA Formula One timekeeping activity after 12 years of participation".

23 FEBRUARY 2004

WHY RALF NEEDS TO BE CAREFUL

Ralf Schumacher's comments to a German newspaper at the weekend will not go down well at Williams headquarters in Grove. The German driver's contract with the team is up at the end of this year and the negotiation process has been stalled for some weeks.

CHAMP CAR LETS GO ITS MEDICAL EXPERTS

The Champ Car series is planning a change in its safety team with Dr. Stephen Olvey and Dr Terry Trammell not being retained to look after drivers at races.

22 FEBRUARY 2004

RALF DRAWS A LINE IN THE SAND

Ralf Schumacher says that he will be sad to leave Williams at the end of the 2004 but he will do so unless the team improves its financial terms for a new contract.

UNION THREATS WILL NOT AFFECT THE AUSTRALIAN GP

Attempts by electrical workers in Melbourne to disrupt the Australian Grand Prix by going on strike during the Grand Prix weekend are not thought likely to succeed. The electricians want an annual pay rise of five percent.

21 FEBRUARY 2004

RENAULT CONFIRMS TELEFONICA MONEY

As we reported a month ago, Renault F1 has concluded a deal to run with Telefonica sponsorship. The deal is based around Fernando Alonso, Spain's rising star. The cars will feature branding in Australia. Renault is also very keen to have bigger profile in the key Spanish market.

THE FATE OF TOMAS ENGE

A couple of years ago Tomas Enge was an aspiring Grand Prix driver, he had some races with Prost Grand Prix and was looking forward to establishing himself as the first Eastern European Grand Prix driver.

20 FEBRUARY 2004

FRENCH DROP GRAND PRIX PRICES

In an effort to attract more spectators to the French Grand Prix, the organisers have dropped the price of general admission ticket prices by 20%, from 100? in 2003 to 80?.

HUBBERT GOES EARLY

The DaimlerChrysler supervisory board has announced that Jurgen Hubbert is to hand over control of Mercedes-Benz to Dr Wolfgang Bernhard on May 1. Hubbert will remain with the company and in August will take over as head of the Executive Automotive Committee.

FERRARI TESTING HIT BY RAIN

Ferrari had to abandon its test at Mugello yesterday because of rain and snow flurries at the track near Florence. Michael Schumacher managed only one installation lap at the wheel of a F2004 in the morning.

THE F1 PACE HOTS UP AT VALENCIA

Formula 1's propaganda war continued at Valencia on Thursday with McLaren finally wading into battle with a new lap record from Kimi Raikkonen at 1m08.995s, a tenth quicker than Juan Pablo Montoya's lap record of the previous day. Montoya's time was also beaten by Mark Webber in his Jaguar.

19 FEBRUARY 2004

JANI LAPS MANAMA

Sauber test driver Neel Jani was in action today on the streets of Manama in Bahrain, promoting the forthcoming Bahrain Grand Prix. The Swiss driver was at the wheel of a Sauber C22.

GLOCK LANDS THIRD JORDAN DRIVE

Timo Glock has been signed by Jordan to act as the team's third driver at races this year. The 21-year-old German was a frontrunner on occasion in the Formula 3 Eurocup in 2003. Prior to that he made his name as the 2000 Formula BMW ADAC Champion.

A SIGN FROM JAGUAR

For the last few weeks it has been assumed that the new Jaguar is not going to be competitive. At Valencia on Wednesday however Christian Klien put the team on the board by lapping the track in a time of 1m09.514s, just four-tenths slower than Juan Pablo Montoya's lap record of the same day.

MINARDI AND CORONEL

There are stories coming out of Holland that Minardi boss Paul Stoddart has signed Dutchman Tom Coronel to be the driver of Minardi's third car at races this year. Paul Stoddart however says that there is no deal.

18 FEBRUARY 2004

BRITISH FORMULA 3 HOTTING UP

An entry list for the 2004 British Formula 3 series is now beginning to build up and the teams have been testing for the first time this winter. For the moment there are still some important drives left available but most of the major players are now in place.

MURPHY ON THE MOVE

Chris Murphy, former Lola-Larrousse, Leyton House and Lotus F1 designer has quit the Astromega Formula 3000 team to join Opel Team Phoenix in the DTM.

MORE ABOUT THE LIKELY NEW MERCEDES-BENZ BOSS

Dr Wolfgang Bernhard is the man expected to be named as the new boss of Mercedes-Benz next year when Jurgen Hubbert retires.

THE WEAK POINT OF THE GPWC

The announcement that Jurgen Hubbert is to retire as head of Mercedes-Benz next year is not really a surprise. What will be interesting will be to see whether or not Hubbert's departure will have a major effect on the much-vaunted GPWC, an organization which he was so keen to promote.

CART SALE IS COMPLETED

The sale of the assets of Championship Auto Racing Teams is completed and the series will now be brought out of bankruptcy under the new ownership of Open Wheel Racing Series.

GANASSI LAUGHS OFF FORMULA 1 RUMOUR

A report from Autosport.com suggesting that US team owner Chip Ganassi is looking at a Formula 1 project is not to be taken too seriously. Ganassi laughed when told of the suggestion.

17 FEBRUARY 2004

JAGUAR RACING CONFIRMS WIRDHEIM

As we have been predicting for some time, Jaguar racing has confirmed Bjorn Wirdheim as its third driver for 2004. It is anticipated that Wirdheim will bring sponsorship to the team from the mobile phone company Eriksson, although this was not confirmed by the press statement from Jaguar.

TRUST TO SPLIT WITH VERSTAPPEN?

Trust Computers says that it will continue to support Jos Verstappen - but only if he has a different management.

HUBBERT TO RETIRE

Mercedes-Benz chairman Jurgen Hubbert, a key player in the firm's Formula 1 programme and a pillar of the GPWC, is to retire next year. The company is expected to replace Hubbert with Wolfgang Bernhard, an executive who is currently working at Chrysler in the US.

16 FEBRUARY 2004

THE PERFORMANCE OF MCLAREN

McLaren went to Jerez last week hoping to shake off the lack of speed that was in evidence at the previous test in Barcelona. But by the end of the test the times were still not looking great with Kimi Raikkonen only able to set the 10th fastest time of the four-day test.

A VERY ODD F1 PRESS RELEASE

Jordan Grand Prix issued a very strange press release on Monday, clearly designed to stave off criticism from Holland that a deal was not done with Jos Verstappen.

FIRMAN HEADING FOR AMERICA?

Ralph Firman, out of work for 2004 following Jordan's announcement that it will be running Giorgio Pantano this year, is looking to a future in America. Firman says that his first choice would be to continue his career in open-wheelers in the United States but says that he is also interested in DTM if a good drive is available.

MINARDI IN HUNGARY

The Minardi team's major players were in Hungary at the weekend for what was in effect the launch of the 2004 programme with drivers Zsolt Baumgartner and Gianmaria Bruni. The event featured a two-seater race.

15 FEBRUARY 2004

STEPHANIE SHEENE TO WAVE CHEQUERED FLAG IN MELBOURNE

Stephanie Sheene, the widow of Barry Sheene, will wave the chequered flag at this year's Australian Grand Prix. Last year Sheene was invited to wave the flag but was too ill with cancer to be able to attend and he died the day after the race at the age of just 52.

14 FEBRUARY 2004

THE FULL FORMULA 1 ENTRY LIST FOR 2004

With Giorgio Pantano confirmed at Jordan, the full field for the Formula 1 World Championship is now known.

13 FEBRUARY 2004

WHY JORDAN SIGNED PANTANO

Giorgio Pantano will race for Jordan Ford this season alongside Nick Heidfeld. The 25 year old Italian, a former multiple World Kart Champion, won the German F3 championship in his first season of single seater racing and went on to be a winner every year in his three seasons in Formula 3000, winning a total of six races.

PANTANO CONFIRMED AT JORDAN

Giorgio Pantano has been confirmed as the second driver of the Jordan team in 2004. He will partner Nick Heidfeld in the Silverstone based team. The announcement means that Jos Verstappen is out of a job.

TESTING COSTS MORE THAN RACING!

Frank Williams says that cutting costs in Formula 1 is important and that the obvious way to do it is to cut testing but that cannot happen because Ferrari is blocking any restriction.

MONTOYA AT MCLAREN FROM A WILLIAMS POINT OF VIEW

Both Frank Williams and Patrick Head say that they do not see it being easy for Juan Pablo Montoya to fit into the McLaren mode of operation.

WILLIAMS AND HEAD FEAR RENAULT

Frank Williams and Partrick Head reckon that the Renault team will be chellenging for the World Championship this year. "They look very strong," said Williams. "They have World Championship potential." "Renault seems to have done a se

12 FEBRUARY 2004

WILLIAMS SAYS TALKS STILL ON WITH RALF

Ralf Schumacher and the Williams team are still talking, despite their failure to agree on financial terms for a new contract from next year.

HEIDFELD SAYS DEAL WITH MERCEDES-BENZ IS OVER

Nick Heidfeld's deal with Jordan Grand Prix is a very curious one for there is no obvious signage on the car to indicated where the German's backing for the drive has come from.

THE DUTCH SNEAK BACK AT JORDAN?

As Giorgio Pantano waits for the necessary letters of credit to be prepared to guarantee the second Jordan drive for him, we hear that Jos Verstappen and his sponsors may be back in the picture one more time.

WALKINSHAW BACK IN THE LIMELIGHT

Reports in the British media suggest that Tom Walkinshaw, the former boss of the Arrows Formula 1 team, could be back in court again.

11 FEBRUARY 2004

MINARDI TEAM ASIA ANNOUNCED

Minardi has formed a racing team in Asia, in league with Eurasia Motorport. The team will enter cars in the Asian Formula 3 and Formula BMW Asia series. The team, headquartered in Hong Kong, will run as many as four cars in Minardi cars in Formula BMW and one car in F3.

RENAULT'S LOPEZ TO JOIN COLONI IN FORMULA 3000

Argentine driver Jose-Maria Lopez, one of the Renault Driver Development team, is to race for Coloni Motorsport in Formula 3000 this year. Lopez, the inaugural Renault V6 Champion last year will be one of four drivers running for the two Coloni teams in the FIA International Formula 3000 series.

MCNISH AND HERBERT JOIN FORCES AT LE MANS

Allan McNish and Johnny Herbert are to lead a British Audi team at Le Mans in June. The two former winners and ex-F1 men will be joined by last year's winner Guy Smith, Jamie Davies and McLaren test driver Darren Turner. Germany's three-times winner Frank Biela and sportscar newcomer Pierre Kaffer complete the line-up.

TURK MOVES INTO FORMULA 3000

Turkish driver Can Artam has signed to drive for the Coloni Motorsport Formula 3000 team in 2004. The 22-year-old from Istanbul has been competing this winter in the US Formula Renault Winter Series but has raced in a variety of different formula in the course of the past three years.

NEW MINARDI SHOWS IMPROVEMENT

The new Minardi, dubbed the PS4B, was out running at Misano yesterday with Zsolt Baumgartner at the wheel. The Hungarian novice lapped the track in 1m11.080s which is 2.5 seconds faster than the best time recorded by the team at the track back in 2002. Gianmaria Bruni takes over the car today.

PANTANO TO BE SUPPORTED BY FASHION FIRM?

It is rumoured that Giorgio Pantano's sponsorship will be coming from an Italian clothing company.

10 FEBRUARY 2004

PANTANO TESTS FOR JORDAN

Giorgio Pantano was out testing for Jordan on Tuesday at Jerez, underlining the likelihood that he will be joining the the Silverstone as Nick Heidfeld's team mate this year.

TROUBLE FOR BAUMGARTNER

The Hungarian Sports Ministry has cancelled a deal worth $4m, knocking a big hole in the Hungarian driver's budget for 2004. The government has tried to offset the problem a little with a promotional deal from the Hungaroring worth $290,000.

PIZZONIA CONFIRMED AT WILLIAMS

As we have been predicting for some time Antonio Pizzonia has been confirmed as Williams's second test driver in 2004. The Brazilian fulfilled a similar role for the team in 2002 before his unfortunate sojourn with Jaguar Racing.

WORK PROGRESSING IN MONACO

The work to upgrade the racing circuit at Monaco has been continuing quietly in recent months with the esplanade overlooking on the Quai Albert 1 to the south of the Swimming Pool being doubled in size to make way for the eventual construction of the new Formula 1 pitlane.

IMOLA AUTHORITIES REFUSE TO GIVE UP

The mayor of Imola Massimo Marchignoli says that it is not certain that the San Marino Grand Prix will be removed from the Formula 1 calendar in 2005 and says that he intends to negotiate to save the race with Formula One group boss Bernie Ecclestone.

WANT YOUR NAME ON AN F1 CAR?

It is really very simple and you do not need to raise the $5m in sponsorship necessary to become a Formula 1 pay-driver in 2004. You simply have to get a job at British American Racing.

INDIANAPOLIS GOES FOR MORE IMPROVEMENTS

Indianapolis Motor Speedway has bought 16 acres of land at the south end of the circuit and is clearing it to create more parking for the fans on race day. The work going on includes the demolition of old factories and a motel and these will be replaced by parking lots.

SCHREMPP BACK IN COURT

DaimlerChrysler boss Jurgen Schrempp was back in court on Monday fighting the lawsuit from billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian, who claims that Schrempp misled Chrysler investors when he portrayed the takeover of Chrysler as a merger or equals. Kerkorian wants the deal annulled and $1bn in damages.

HELMUT WERNER

Helmut Werner, the chairman of Mercedes-Benz AG between 1993 and 1997 and the man who has championed the company's involvement in top level motorsport - has died at the age of 67. Werner died in hospital in Berlin.

RENAULT PROFITS ENCOURAGING

Renault has announced better than expected earnings for 2003. Europe's fourth largest car company said that its profits had jumped 27% to $3.1bn. The results were in part due to the sales of the Megane range but also to the success of the cooperation with Nissan and cost-cutting.

9 FEBRUARY 2004

INDIA RATIFIES ANTI-TOBACCO TREATY

India has become the eighth country to ratify the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

THE SITUATION WITH PANTANO

Giorgio Pantano will be the second Jordan driver in 2004 if money which has been promised is delivered to Jordan.

JORDAN GRAND PRIX AND PANTANO

There have been reports on BBC Radio Five Live that Jordan is in the process of finalizing terms with Italian Giorgio Pantano to be its second driver in 2004.

6 FEBRUARY 2004

WHY WOULD HONDA AXE ITS F1 PROGRAMME?

There is not much news around at the moment in Formula 1 and so some of the news gatherers are clutching at straws and suggesting that Honda might not continue in F1 when it comes to negotiating a new contract with British American Racing later this year.

THE END FOR JOS AND JORDAN

The soap opera of Jos Verstappen and Jordan appears finally to be over. Trust's marketing manager Muriel Wouda says that a deal was just not possible with Jordan because of contractual difficulties.

5 FEBRUARY 2004

FERRARI SIGNS LICENSING AGREEMENT WITH LEGO

Ferrari has signed a three-year licensing agreement with Lego, the world famous Danish producer of toy building blocks.

PANIS FINE AFTER BIG TESTING CRASH

Olivier Panis crashed heavily in testing at Barcelona on Thursday, crashing backwards into the barriers at the third turn of the Circuit de Catalunya.

VERSTAPPEN AND JORDAN

The second Jordan seat remains open and it seems that Eddie Jordan is content to sit back and play the various rivals off against one another, in the knowledge that when all is said and done he will end up with more money.

4 FEBRUARY 2004

FELIPE MASSA OK

Felipe Massa is under observation in hospital in Barcelona after a huge accident in testing at Turn 1 in Barcelona. The Brazilian youngster suffered what appears to have been a wheel coming off his car as he went into the first corner at the Circuit de Catalunya and went into the barriers.

MASSA HAS A BIG SHUNT IN BARCELONA

Felipe Massa had a big accident testing on Wednesday morning in Barcelona. The Sauber driver was taken to hospital after the high-speed crash but at the moment there are no details available as to his injuries. We will bring you further news later.

3 FEBRUARY 2004

LEAVING BLIGHTY...

David Richards stole Max Mosley's thunder somewhat over the weekend by suggesting that several British-based Formula 1 teams might be forced to leave Britain because of changes in the law in Britain and Europe. But the FIA President rammed home the message yesterday at a lunch with newspaper journalists.

SATO OUTGUNS BUTTON

Takuma Sato broke the unofficial lap record at the Circuit de Catalunya, lapping the track at 1m13.797s, a tenth faster than Jenson Button's time on Monday. Sato was driving the BAR-Honda interim car, while Button set his time in the new BAR 006.

JORDAN AND B&H CONFIRM 2004 DEAL

Jordan Grand Prix has announced continuing sponsorship from Benson & Hedges. Gallaher Group PLC, which owns the Benson & Hedges brand has been funding Jordan since 1996 but it is not yet clear whether B&H will have the same level as sponsorship as last year or whether the deal will be reduced.

MAX PREDICTS TOBACCO SPONSORSHIP BEYOND 2006

FIA President Max Mosley says that he fully expects tobacco sponsorship to go on beyond 2006.

MOSLEY WILL STAND AGAIN

Max Mosley has confirmed that he intends to stand for another term of office as FIA President when the next election comes in October 2005. The 63-year-old has been FIA President since 1993 and prior to that spent two years running the FISA, the FIA's sporting subsidiary, until that organisation was merged into the FIA.

THE FIA FAVOURS CHASSIS SALES

Max Mosley, speaking at his annual pre-season media lunch, said that he believes that Formula 1 teams should be allowed to sell chassis to one another.

BURTI TO CONTINUE WITH FERRARI

Luciano Burti will continue as Ferrari's second test driver in 2004. Burti was taken on by Ferrari in 2002 but the team's expansion of its testing capabilities meant that he was joined last year in the role by Felipe Massa.

PUTTING ONE'S TRUST IN JORDAN

Jordan and Jos Verstappen have apparently not been able to reach an agreement but that did not stop the team rolling out the new EJ14 at Silverstone yesterday with Trust logos on the car. This was not a mistake.

2 FEBRUARY 2004

NEW BAR-HONDA BLITZES BARCELONA

The new BAR-Honda 006 went out this morning in Barcelona and almost immediately set a new lap record of the track, stopping the clocks at 1m13.867s, which is eight-tenths of a second faster than Button's own best - set on January 22 in a BAR-Honda interim car - of 1m14.607s.

SILVERSTONE'S INNOVATION CENTRE

Work starts next month on the construction of a research and development "hub" for the UK motor sport industry. This will be located at Silverstone and is a joint-venture between the British Racing Drivers' Club and the East Midlands Development Agency. The project is expected to cost around $8m.

A NEW PHILOSOPHY AT MCLAREN

The development pace in Formula 1 is such that each new design quickly becomes obsolete as engineers develop the potential of each car as quickly as they can. At the same time designers and aerodynamicists are constantly finding new ways to make cars go faster.

RON DENNIS TALKS ABOUT DRIVERS

McLaren boss Ron Dennis says that he believes that both David Coulthard and Jenson Button have the potential to be Formula 1 World Champions - even if the team will probably not be running Coulthard in 2005.

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI WINS A DRAMATIC DAYTONA 24 HOURS

Former Formula 1 driver Christian Fittipaldi won the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona over the weekend, sharing a Pontiac-powered Doran prototype with Terry Borcheller, Andy Pilgrim and Forest Barber.

BRITISH TEAMS FACE TOBACCO CRISIS

David Richards is warning that new British legislation over tobacco sponsorship could be "a disaster" for British motor racing as it could drive the Formula 1 teams abroad.

1 FEBRUARY 2004

ECCLESTONE PRAISES GERMAN RACES

Bernie Ecclestone says that germany will continue to have two Grands Prix each year, despite the fact that his Formula One group is cutting back on races in Europe.

MORE ABOUT THE BAR-HONDA 006

The technical team at BAR is very keen to go racing this year because of the optimism that the new 2004 package has engendered in the team.

BAR LAUNCHES IN BARCELONA

BAR-Honda has launched its new 006 chassis in Barcelona. The new car represents another major step forward in terms of performance for the team and team boss David Richards says that he hopes that the team will be fighting for podiums in 2004.

STODDART'S TWO-SEATER SERIES HITS TROUBLE

Paul Stoddart's plan to run a two-seater Formula 1 series at the European Grands Prix has gone the way of many other ideas in F1 because the other team bosses have failed to throw their weight behind the idea.

MCLAREN TO BUILD ANOTHER ROAD CAR

Ron Dennis has confirmed that McLaren will be building another road car of its own design after the current project with Mercedes-Benz comes to an end in around five years from now.