2005 Belgian Grand Prix

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Bernie Recommends Williams Dump Button, and Run Rosberg

The wider implications of the 'Buttongate II' saga continue to rumble on in the F1 paddock.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has now chimed in on the dispute, advising Sir Frank Williams to forget about the 25-year-old Brit and instead bring a promising young rookie onto the grand prix scene.

''I have told Frank that he should give Nico Rosberg a go,'' 74-year-old Bernie, referring to the young GP2 title challenger and German son of 1982 world champion Keke, ''and forget about a driver who doesn't want to drive.''

No doubt, Button and his management will be pleased to hear Ecclestone's comments, as it indicates support for their attempts to wiggle out of the signed-and-sealed 2006 agreement and remain at BAR-Honda.

Interestingly, Rosberg, 20, is linked with Williams 'sub' Antonio Pizzonia's Brazil seat, after it emerged that regular Nick Heidfeld may not race again for the team this year.
 
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Fat French Git Alert!
Ferrari's Jean Todt says he will miss Peter Sauber but not Paul Stoddart when his F1 colleagues exit the Paddock at the end of the 2005 season.

''Peter is a real racer,'' the French F1 principal told reporters after the Belgian grand prix at Spa Francorchamps, ''and did great work.''

On the other hand, Todt said Stoddart 'contributed nothing to F1.

''I met him once or twice when he took over Minardi and he once let Michael (Schumacher) drive his two seater. But my feelings about him have since changed.''

Clearly referring to their political scuffles, Todt uttered a resolute 'no' when asked if he would miss Stoddart, after the Australian entrepreneur sold his little Italian team to Red Bull.

The Ferrari boss also thinks Stoddart's departure will be a good thing for the future of grand prix racing. Minardi's new owner, Dietrich Mateschitz, has already allied his existing team with Ferrari and the FIA by signing the new 2008 Concorde.

He added: ''(Mateschitz's) bravery is admirable. It is courageous enough to take over a team, but to take over a second is very impressive.''
 
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More news...

Todt won't miss Stoddart

Ferrari's Jean Todt says he will miss Peter Sauber but not Paul Stoddart when his F1 colleagues exit the Paddock at the end of the 2005 season.

'Peter is a real racer,' the French F1 principal told reporters after the Belgian grand prix at Spa Francorchamps, 'and did great work.'

On the other hand, Todt said Stoddart 'contributed nothing to F1.

'I met him once or twice when he took over Minardi and he once let Michael (Schumacher) drive his two seater. But my feelings about him have since changed.'

Clearly referring to their political scuffles, Todt uttered a resolute 'no' when asked if he would miss Stoddart, after the Australian entrepreneur sold his little Italian team to Red Bull.

The Ferrari boss also thinks Stoddart's departure will be a good thing for the future of grand prix racing. Minardi's new owner, Dietrich Mateschitz, has already allied his existing team with Ferrari and the FIA by signing the new 2008 Concorde.

He added: '(Mateschitz's) bravery is admirable. It is courageous enough to take over a team, but to take over a second is very impressive.'
 
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Ferrari or Bridgestone slump?

Michael Schumacher's little swipe at the helmet of rival Takuma Sato after their clash might not be forgiven, but it should probably be understood.

The German, who had urged the Ferrari Tifosi to perform a 'rain dance' on Belgian grand prix race day, discovered that the red marque's problems might just have more to do than mere Bridgestone grip.

Even with the Japanese tyre supplier's fabled wet tread, the red cars continued to struggle against Michelin-clad rivals around Spa Francorchamps. One interpretation, though, is that either Ferrari or Bridgestone - or both - are in an all-encompassing decline.

'I think we can be very satisfied,' said Michelin boss Pierre Dupasquier. 'We know we've made progress with our wet weather rubber and have continued to build on that.'

Sources report that Rubens Barrichello's intermediates were completely destroyed near the end of the race, while Michael Schumacher - still annoyed about the Sato shunt - issued a terse 'not quick enough' comment before leaving.

'We were not that strong,' technical director Ross Brawn agreed.

Personally - I'd go with it's more Ferrari than Bridgestone.

I suspect there really is something fundamentally wrong with the car - usually Barrichello is closer to M.Schumacher than he has been this year - and Barrichello has been unable to adapt to it.
 
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"SATO needs "therapy" says Schumi"

Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher told BAR driver Takuma Sato he needed "therapy" after the pair clashed at the Belgian Grand Prix.

Sato, who was demoted 10 places on the grid for the Brazil Grand Prix after a post-race investigation, clipped the German's car, forcing both off track.

"I don't know what sort of therapy might help him," said Schumacher.

"I'm not very happy. It's not the first time he's been involved in an incident like this, so it's not good."

Sato said Schumacher's early use of the brakes approaching a corner was at least partly to blame.

"It was very fast into turn one. Michael and I were overtaking a Jordan on the right and because of that we were very close to the pit wall and I was getting boxed in," he said.

"Into turn one Michael braked very early. Unfortunately I locked up the brakes and hit him."

BAR chief Nick Fry was also quick to jump to the defence of the Japanese driver, who was dressed down by Schumacher after the incident.

"Clearly Takuma made a mistake but these things do happen, you saw today many of the top drivers making mistakes and Michael has made his fair share so I don't think it's very fair to say that kind of thing about Taku," he said.

"Taku couldn't hear what Michael was shouting at him which is probably a good thing."
 
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Trulli Furious After Clash with Monteiro

Jarno Trulli crashed out of the Belgian GP after Tiago Monteiro slowed suddenly in front of him, although the incident was completely missed by the TV cameras.

Trulli hit the back of the Jordan before spearing into the tire wall. He was furious with the Portuguese driver, especially when he continued to lap without further problems. It’s the third time this year that Monteiro has been involved win an incident with a high-profile driver, and yet still finished the race. He went on to finish eighth.

“I don’t know what happened,” he said.”‘But he told me by mistake he hit his pit limiter button, so he slowed his car to 80kph in the middle of the corner and I hit him straight in the back. I couldn’t do anything.”

Curiously when the Jordan team presented its data to the stewards the story had become one of a misfire rather than finger trouble by the driver. It was accepted that he was not at fault, and no penalty was applied.

Trulli’s race had already been ruined by a tire decision under the safety car. While nearly everyone else who made the mistake of going to dries immediately switched back, he stayed out for one more lap, which cost a lot of track time.

“Basically I have asked several times to keep intermediate tires. After Fisichella’s shunt the team decided to go on slicks. It was wrong. I kept saying I couldn’t follow the safety car. They made me two laps behind the safety car, and then I came in, because it wasn’t possible. I was 50 seconds off from the last car. I climbed up to eighth or ninth, and then I had this accident. It’s very bad luck, that’s all I can say.”
 
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And the official results...

Race Results.
Code:
[b]Pos	No	Driver			Team			Laps	Time		Grid	Points[/b]
1	9	Kimi Räikkönen		McLaren-Mercedes	44	1:30:01.295	2	10 
2	5	Fernando Alonso		Renault			44	+28.3 secs	4	8 
3	3	Jenson Button		BAR-Honda		44	+32.0 secs	8	6 
4	7	Mark Webber		Williams-BMW		44	+69.1 secs	9	5 
5	2	Rubens Barrichello	Ferrari			44	+78.1 secs	12	4 
6	11	Jacques Villeneuve	Sauber-Petronas		44	+87.4 secs	14	3 
7	17	Ralf Schumacher		Toyota			44	+87.5 secs	5	2 
8	18	Tiago Monteiro		Jordan-Toyota		43	+1 Lap		19	1 
9	15	Christian Klien		Red Bull Racing		43	+1 Lap		16	 
10	12	Felipe Massa		Sauber-Petronas		43	+1 Lap		7	 
11	19	Narain Karthikeyan	Jordan-Toyota		20	+1 Lap		43	 
12	21	Christijan Albers	Minardi-Cosworth	42	+2 Laps		18	 
13	20	Robert Doornbos		Minardi-Cosworth	41	+3 Laps		17	 
14	10	Juan Pablo Montoya	McLaren-Mercedes	40	+4 Laps		1	 
15	8	Antonio Pizzonia	Williams-BMW		39	+5 Laps		15	 
Ret	16	Jarno Trulli		Toyota			34	Accident	3	 
Ret	14	David Coulthard		Red Bull Racing		18	Engine		11	 
Ret	1	Michael Schumacher	Ferrari			13	Accident	6	 
Ret	4	Takuma Sato		BAR-Honda		13	Accident	10	 
Ret	6	Giancarlo Fisichella	Renault			10	Accident	13

Fastest Laps.

Code:
[b]Pos	No	Driver			Team			Lap	Time		Speed		Laptime[/b]
1	17	Ralf Schumacher		Toyota			43	15:33:37	225.329		1:51.453 
2	7	Mark Webber		Williams-BMW		44	15:35:10	223.655		1:52.287 
3	15	Christian Klien		Red Bull Racing		43	15:34:15	223.069		1:52.582 
4	2	Rubens Barrichello	Ferrari			44	15:35:19	223.053		1:52.590 
5	3	Jenson Button		BAR-Honda		44	15:34:33	221.610		1:53.323 
6	9	Kimi Räikkönen		McLaren-Mercedes	34	15:13:57	220.662		1:53.810 
7	11	Jacques Villeneuve	Sauber-Petronas		44	15:35:29	219.810		1:54.251 
8	19	Narain Karthikeyan	Jordan-Toyota		43	15:34:54	216.711		1:55.885 
9	10	Juan Pablo Montoya	McLaren-Mercedes	14	14:34:48	216.518		1:55.988 
10	5	Fernando Alonso		Renault			31	15:08:23	216.252		1:56.131 
11	16	Jarno Trulli		Toyota			3	14:09:59	214.732		1:56.953 
12	6	Giancarlo Fisichella	Renault			9	14:22:02	214.431		1:57.117 
13	1	Michael Schumacher	Ferrari			10	14:23:49	213.834		1:57.444 
14	4	Takuma Sato		BAR-Honda		10	14:23:56	213.670		1:57.534 
15	8	Antonio Pizzonia	Williams-BMW		32	15:11:23	213.658		1:57.541 
16	12	Felipe Massa		Sauber-Petronas		28	15:02:55	213.282		1:57.748 
17	18	Tiago Monteiro		Jordan-Toyota		41	15:30:02	213.032		1:57.886 
18	14	David Coulthard		Red Bull Racing		8	14:20:08	212.016		1:58.451 
19	20	Robert Doornbos		Minardi-Cosworth	38	15:28:18	207.296		2:01.148 
20	21	Christijan Albers	Minardi-Cosworth	6	14:17:31	206.480		2:01.627

Pit Stops

Code:
[b]Stop	No	Driver			Time			Lap	Time of day	Time	Total time[/b]
1	21	Christijan Albers	Minardi-Cosworth	4	14:12:50	40.482	40.482 
1	20	Robert Doornbos		Minardi-Cosworth	7	14:19:09	39.831	39.831 
1	17	Ralf Schumacher		Toyota			10	14:23:54	32.808	32.808 
1	10	Juan Pablo Montoya	McLaren-Mercedes	11	14:25:32	36.695	36.695 
1	9	Kimi Räikkönen		McLaren-Mercedes	11	14:25:55	38.154	38.154 
1	16	Jarno Trulli		Toyota			11	14:25:56	39.686	39.686 
1	5	Fernando Alonso		Renault			11	14:25:57	37.235	37.235 
1	1	Michael Schumacher	Ferrari			11	14:25:59	38.994	38.994 
1	4	Takuma Sato		BAR-Honda		11	14:26:00	40.853	40.853 
1	3	Jenson Button		BAR-Honda		11	14:26:04	52.506	52.506 
1	12	Felipe Massa		Sauber-Petronas		11	14:26:05	46.995	46.995 
1	14	David Coulthard		Red Bull Racing		11	14:26:06	47.956	47.956 
1	7	Mark Webber		Williams-BMW		11	14:26:06	49.904	49.904 
1	15	Christian Klien		Red Bull Racing		11	14:26:11	56.910	56.910 
1	8	Antonio Pizzonia	Williams-BMW		11	14:26:11	55.395	55.395 
1	2	Rubens Barrichello	Ferrari			11	14:26:15	42.653	42.653 
1	18	Tiago Monteiro		Jordan-Toyota		11	14:26:26	39.730	39.730 
1	19	Narain Karthikeyan	Jordan-Toyota		11	14:26:31	49.941	49.941 
2	1	Michael Schumacher	Ferrari			12	14:29:38	32.798	1:11.792 
2	4	Takuma Sato		BAR-Honda		12	14:29:39	34.727	1:15.580 
2	14	David Coulthard		Red Bull Racing		12	14:29:41	49.169	1:37.125 
2	7	Mark Webber		Williams-BMW		12	14:29:41	35.675	1:25.579 
2	3	Jenson Button		BAR-Honda		12	14:29:44	40.149	1:32.655 
2	8	Antonio Pizzonia	Williams-BMW		12	14:29:47	55.694	1:51.089 
2	16	Jarno Trulli		Toyota			13	14:33:03	34.773	1:14.459 
2	15	Christian Klien		Red Bull Racing		13	14:33:08	35.015	1:31.925 
1	11	Jacques Villeneuve	Sauber-Petronas		20	14:46:42	38.267	38.267 
2	21	Christijan Albers	Minardi-Cosworth	21	14:51:19	37.470	1:17.952 
2	17	Ralf Schumacher		Toyota			24	14:54:25	36.486	1:09.294 
2	20	Robert Doornbos		Minardi-Cosworth	23	14:55:30	35.894	1:15.725 
3	17	Ralf Schumacher		Toyota			25	14:57:21	31.085	1:40.379 
3	20	Robert Doornbos		Minardi-Cosworth	24	14:58:42	36.564	1:52.289 
2	12	Felipe Massa		Sauber-Petronas		29	15:04:50	34.444	1:21.439 
2	18	Tiago Monteiro		Jordan-Toyota		30	15:07:23	34.244	1:13.974 
2	2	Rubens Barrichello	Ferrari			31	15:08:47	32.142	1:14.795 
3	15	Christian Klien		Red Bull Racing		31	15:09:40	33.700	2:05.625 
2	5	Fernando Alonso		Renault			32	15:10:16	32.578	1:09.813 
3	7	Mark Webber		Williams-BMW		32	15:10:46	33.048	1:58.627 
2	19	Narain Karthikeyan	Jordan-Toyota		32	15:11:33	39.796	1:29.737 
3	16	Jarno Trulli		Toyota			32	15:11:34	35.298	1:49.757 
2	10	Juan Pablo Montoya	McLaren-Mercedes	33	15:11:59	32.999	1:09.694 
3	12	Felipe Massa		Sauber-Petronas		32	15:12:13	32.610	1:54.049 
3	3	Jenson Button		BAR-Honda		33	15:12:53	32.558	2:05.213 
3	8	Antonio Pizzonia	Williams-BMW		33	15:13:16	33.876	2:24.965 
2	9	Kimi Räikkönen		McLaren-Mercedes	35	15:15:50	31.518	1:09.672 
4	7	Mark Webber		Williams-BMW		38	15:23:20	31.890	2:30.517 
4	8	Antonio Pizzonia	Williams-BMW		39	15:25:57	32.409	2:57.374 
3	2	Rubens Barrichello	Ferrari			40	15:27:05	31.851	1:46.646 
4	17	Ralf Schumacher		Toyota			40	15:27:28	30.360	2:10.739
 
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Heidfeld out for another one huh? Jenson's reportedly "satisfied" with the progress of negotiations with Williams, Bernie backing Nico....

At this stage I really wouldn't be surprised if Nick's sat in the Williams for the last time. Nico only has one GP2 race left this year and that's mid-week after the Brazillian GP. Time will tell but I think we'll see Pizzonia in for Brazil then Nico in Japan and China with a view to running him full time alongside Webber in 2006.
 
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rpstewart said:
Heidfeld out for another one huh? Jenson's reportedly "satisfied" with the progress of negotiations with Williams, Bernie backing Nico....

At this stage I really wouldn't be surprised if Nick's sat in the Williams for the last time. Nico only has one GP2 race left this year and that's mid-week after the Brazillian GP. Time will tell but I think we'll see Pizzonia in for Brazil then Nico in Japan and China with a view to running him full time alongside Webber in 2006.
not a bad theory there.....the plot thickens... :confused:
 
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Off topic I know but I thought you guys might like to know this.

Zanardi secures Italian series title
Alex Zanardi has secured the Italian Touring Car title with two wins at the Varano circuit over the weekend.

Hot on the heels of winning his first international race in seven years last month, the Italian clinched his first title since losing his legs, taking the crown with one round remaining.

The Italian was driving a BMW 320i.

Zanardi, who won the second World Touring Car Championship race at Oschersleben last month, confirmed he would compete in the Italian championship again next season.

Zanardi told Gazetta dello Sport: "I'm happy, even though this series is simpler compared to the world championship. I'll be back next year, but in the meantime I want to thank the Team BMW Italy-Spain who supplied me with a really fantastic car.

"I don't mean to abuse of a common phrase, but I must say that the best victory is the next one. The success at Varano gave me a special energy for the next WTCC race at Istanbul.

"Uncertainty is what life is about: I take things as they come, but this year is turning out to be exceptional for me."
 
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Just arrived home from sunny Belgium, so might get some pics up later. I didn't really take many during the race though as we were in a stand :)

normal_CRW_3485-02.jpg

Now there's a proper car :D
 
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rpstewart said:
Heidfeld out for another one huh? Jenson's reportedly "satisfied" with the progress of negotiations with Williams, Bernie backing Nico....

At this stage I really wouldn't be surprised if Nick's sat in the Williams for the last time. Nico only has one GP2 race left this year and that's mid-week after the Brazillian GP. Time will tell but I think we'll see Pizzonia in for Brazil then Nico in Japan and China with a view to running him full time alongside Webber in 2006.

Certainly a possibility - however Williams still do have a valid contract for 2006 with Button...

They're going to make some money from it if the above happens. They can legally stop him from driving for anyone else for the duration of the deal *allegedly 2 years + option...*

And as for the Zanardi winning the ITCC - how fantastic. Serious role model for anyone into morotsport or with a disability. :D

I have no end of respect for Zanardi. Wasn't a fan of his in F1 - but was a nice guy and when he had his accident I hoped he would survive.

I didn't expect him to be racing again.

All credit to the dude. :D

Simon/~Flibster
 
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Matt said:
Oh... you don't realise how many elevation changes there are at Spa until you have to walk around the bloody track!

Walk?? Walk?!!?!?

Drive the thing and listen to your engine stuggle massively in places.. ;)

Well..your engine would struggle more than most. :p

Simon/~Flibster
 
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More from Toad...errr....Todt..

TODT: GOOD RIDDANCE TO STODDART

Ferrari boss Jean Todt has said he will not shed any crocodile tears if and when his Minardi counterpart Paul Stoddart leaves Formula 1 at the end of this season.

Stoddart is expected to bow out of the sport – at least temporarily – following the sale of his Minardi team to Red Bull Racing, which will take over the reins of the Faenza-based squad in November.

Many paddock figures have expressed their regret at the prospect of losing one of F1’s most outspoken and down-to-earth characters.

But Todt made it clear that he, for one, will not mourn the Australian’s departure.

Asked whether he will miss Stoddart, Todt replied: “No. I don’t think he’s given anything to Formula 1.

“I had a few opportunities to meet him at the beginning when he took over Minardi [in 2001], then he came a few times with the two-seater and allowed Michael to [drive].

“I would say my feelings changed over the last period, so I will not miss him.”

Stoddart has been a resolute sparring partner of both Todt and FIA president Max Mosley, with whom Ferrari is now closely aligned.

The Red Bull takeover of Minardi will have important political ramifications because RBR has allied itself with Ferrari and the FIA in the ongoing debate over Formula 1’s future.

Todt hailed the change of ownership as good news for the sport and contrasted his feelings towards Stoddart with his high estimation of Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz.

“His bravery is admirable,” said Todt. “It’s already brave to take over one team, but to take two is impressive.

“So what I feel is good for the team…is that a strong investor is taking over and I’m sure he’s going to give that good continuity.

“So it’s good for Formula 1.”

Stoddart has admitted that it will be hard to leave Formula 1 because of his passion for the sport and the competitive environment, and says he can’t imagine taking more than a temporary sabbatical.

“This has been a very emotional weekend and I really haven’t thought much about what happens next,” he said. “I still love Formula 1 and that is really what is important.”
 
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'Jordan test is Ant's big chance'

Anthony Davidson has his "big chance" to claim a race drive in Formula One when he tests for Jordan on Tuesday, according to Johnny Herbert.
Davidson has been released from his BAR-Honda commitments to test at Silverstone for Jordan, who are looking for drivers for next season, when they will be renamed Midland.

Jordan's sporting relations manager Herbert has been impressed by Davidson's contribution at BAR during his five years of testing, as well as his record in junior formulae.

But Jordan get the chance to see his abilities at first hand tomorrow in a test session which Herbert concedes can give Davidson a headstart in the race for a full-time drive.

He said: "He has potentially got the experience and with the speed he has shown at BAR from that point of view he's a good option for us."

"It's a good opportunity for him. If he goes to Silverstone and does very well then it's going to be a big plus."

"I think he's got the support in the team because obviously everyone has seen what he has achieved in the BAR. But it's still down to how we slot in the pieces of the puzzle to make it possibly work."

"He has got a chance on Tuesday and it is another time for him to say 'right, this is what I can do'. It's a big chance."

"We know what he can do but this is in a car that is not at the end of the grid he has been at and it will be interesting to see what happens."

Davidson may have to wait for his graduation to the grand prix grid to be confirmed though.

Jordan are in the midst of major restructuring as they prepare for Midland's Formula One debut and Herbert, recruited in a bid to improve their battered reputation, does not expect a decision on drivers to come soon.

Midland are expected to ditch their current policy of recruiting only pay drivers, giving Davidson his chance, but confirmation of that is likely to take time.

Herbert said: "It's all down to how the restructuring works out and how things pan out for next year."

"As far as our position is at the moment, until we get all the structure correct in the first place with Midland, it's only then you can look at the row of drives you've got available for selection and try to work out who are going to be the right two."

"It's always very hard to put a date to it but I think it's going to be later rather than sooner. The sooner we can do it the better it is for everyone but I know it's very rarely that simple."

Davidson's rise to prominence has come on the back of his testing duties at BAR, even though the man himself believes his forte is in wheel-to-wheel combat.

The Hemel Hempstead-born driver's success in junior series, including a European Formula Three title, is often overlooked, but not by Herbert.

"He did catch my eye because he was one of them who stood out from the rest," he said.

"When he got the BAR deal his career resurrected itself, especially last year when he did so well in the Friday practices."

"That was positive, it was good they kept him on and it is a shame that so far he has not had that final break to get him into racing."

I'm wondering if he'd be better off testing at BAR and going for a good drive rather than Jordan/Midland...

I'm not at all hopeful about their car next year.

It wouldn't surprise me of the Red Bull B Team overtakes them fairly rapidly or even is ahead of them to start with...
 
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DC BACK ON OFFENSIVE OVER RULES

David Coulthard has reprised his criticism of Formula 1’s technical regulations following a rain-affected Belgian Grand Prix, claiming they are adding an unnecessary element of danger to races held in changeable weather conditions.

The Scot believes the (dry-weather) requirement for a single set of tyres to be used for qualifying and the full race distance has indirectly led to a situation where teams have no suitable tyres to call upon in damp conditions once their intermediates start overheating.

“As we must now use one slick tyre for the race, it has to be a hard compound to last the distance,” he said.

“That makes it more difficult to get it into its operating window in terms of temperature; so putting a slick tyre on a damp track doesn’t work.

“On the other hand, intermediate tyres on a dry track will overheat, so you end up with this no-man’s-land area where no tyres fit.

“It’s very entertaining for the crowds, but it’s dangerous for us because while the wet tyres are burning up, the slick tyres, as we saw, don’t work in these conditions.”

Coulthard was one of a number of drivers to switch to ‘slicks’ only to have to change back to intermediates on the very next lap because the car proved undriveable without the aid of substantial grooves to displace surface water.

He later retired from the race on lap 19 after the first Cosworth engine failure in competition this season.

He's never been a fan has he... ;)

Sad to say - I think he's right though.
 
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BAR prepared to wait for Button

BAR-Honda will wait until the winter for Jenson Button to escape his Williams contract, by which time chief executive Nick Fry hopes the Englishman will have a grand prix win to his name.

Button claimed a podium finish for just the second time this season with third place in Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix, courtesy of an impressive fightback after a slow start.

His Spa-Francorchamps performance proved Button is not distracted by his ongoing contract spat with Williams, for whom he is contracted to drive next season.

The 25-year-old wants to escape that deal in order to stay at BAR, claiming the Brackley-based team are a better bet to power him to his first Formula One win.

Team boss Fry wants to prove Button right before the end of this season though, and has high hopes for an improved car in the final three races.

"Our target is ambitious, I know," he told PA Sport.

"But we said at the start of the season that we would try to win a race and I think Spa was a demonstration that we are prepared to take some risks to do it."

"The Honda engine is just getting better and better and there's more development for the last three races, we are just going to keep pushing."

"It's difficult to make a major leap forward in Formula One at this time of the season but our improvements will be worthwhile."

"Normally for the Suzuka race Honda does something a little bit special and this year will be no different, we will have more engine development."

Button's discussions with Williams have yet to reach an amicable conclusion and Fry is not holding his breath.

BAR have already signed Rubens Barrichello for next season and want Button to partner the Brazilian.

However, Fry is in no rush to complete his driver line-up and will bide his time in the hope of snaring Button.

He added: "There is lots of dialogue between Jenson and and his management and the Williams chaps. If there is dialogue there is hope but there is nothing concrete at the moment."

"The two sides are still talking and we are still hopeful. I'd clearly like to see it come to fruition, I think that's in everyone's interest."

"From our point of view we'll just sit and wait. Jenson is the one we'd like to have in the car and we've said we'll wait until the end of the season or beyond if necessary."

For Button, Sunday's performance, when he was beaten only by title rivals Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso, ended a three-race absence from the podium and gave him encouragement for the last three races, in Brazil, Japan and China.

Aerodynamic and engine improvements are scheduled for Interlagos in two weeks and Button hopes a difficult season can end on a high note.

"It's been a little while since I've been on the podium," he said. "I think the next three races will be better for us so I am really positive."

"We have a lot of aerodynamic work coming for the next two races and I think we hopefully will be challenging the Renaults. They will be taking it a bit easier, so that might earn us a few points which would be nice."

"I am happy that we can make a good improvement. We are very positive for the last few races because of the downforce level that you run at those circuits."

"We are looking forward to it and hopefully we can get a few more podiums, that would be a nice way to end the season."

I agree with most of the retired drivers on this one - He signed the damn contract - honour it...

Trying to wiggle out just makes him look a complete prat with no respect for anyone..same as last year tbh with the original Buttongate
 
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Looks like Stoddy may not be away for long. :D

'Stoddart will be needed at Red Bull'

It is not clear whether Paul Stoddart will be handed a job after Red Bull take over his Minardi team on November the 1st. Certainly, the $47m sale contract states that Australia's Stoddart, who bought the Faenza team from Gian Carlo Minardi in 2001, will walk away from the squad.

But new owner Dietrich Mateschitz's 'right hand man' Dany Bahar admitted at Spa that whether or not Paul is retained as a consultant is 'not defined.' He told Autosport: "I'm sure we'll need him in some way and he'll be very close to our team. Much more, I can't say."

51-year-old Stoddart agreed that he still loves the sport. "I am going to miss it so, so much," Paul lamented. "I don't think I'm finished in this Paddock," he insisted. Interestingly, Stoddart still owns much of Arrows' team assets from the 2002 collapse, and will retain his Ledbury (UK) factory despite the Minardi sale.

He says the 'saddest thing' about the Spa announcement is that the 20 year old Minardi name will probably disappear from the category next season.

Bahar, though, denied reports that Minardi is to be renamed 'Red Bull USA'. "We don't know what we will call it yet," he insisted. What is clear, is that guys like Tonio Liuzzi and American driver Scott Speed are in the pole position to race.

He still owns much of Arrows *well - until later this year at the next auction...* and will retain the factory at the European Aviation site iirc...

Considering that neither of those was owned by the Minardi team but by him personally - I'm not surprised he'll keep them..

But Stoddy is one of thos rare people in the pitlane now...someone who is passionate about the sport. He loves it.

He started running his own team in TGP and Boss Championships because he loved racing..

He then moved onto F3000 - getting the change to run Webber in his cars back in 2000

He got the chance to buy Minardi..and he took it. Good for him. He wanted to do something and he did it. :D

It's something I'd love to do..
 
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