2005 Turkish Grand Prix

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God I love the silly season. :D

Rumour: Schumacher to McLaren?

The silly season has really started in Istanbul. Michael Schumacher is apparently so fed up with Ferrari's lack of pace that he could quit the Maranello based Prancing Horse, a rumour whistled around the Istanbul paddock on Sunday evening.

Most shrugged off the speculation as fanciful. But Germany's 'Bild' newspaper claims that the 36-year-old twice met with countryman and Mercedes' Norbert Haug in Bernie Ecclestone's motor home -- once in Hungary and now in Turkey.

"It is true that we met," Haug told the newspaper when asked about the McLaren switch link, "but we spoke only about the future of formula one. I take it as rather unlikely that he would leave Ferrari."

'Bild' also claims that Schumacher's manager, Willi Weber, has put negotiations with Ferrari - about a post-2006 driving contract - on ice. Michael drove for the Sauber-Mercedes sports car team prior to debuting in formula one.
 
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Ferrari plagued by lack of grip

"There was definitely no light here. It was very dark," said Ferrari team principal Jean Todt after the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday when asked if the light that appeared at the end of the tunnel after the Hungarian Grand Prix three weeks before had been extinguished in Istanbul.

"Yes, we saw some light but we knew that we had a completely different specification of tyres here. We came here with some older specifications because what we had in Budapest was not going to be used here, could not be used here."

"We knew that in all fairness, arriving at a new circuit, you can always have one unexpected surprise, but on Friday morning, we understood that the surprise was not the right one we could have expected."

The Ferraris struggled for grip all weekend. Michael Schumacher had several off-circuit excursions, one of which saw him condemned to start from the back row of the grid, and in spite of a sparkling opening lap during which he picked up eight places, he would eventually retire after a collision with another competitor. Rubens Barrichello drove to a gripless tenth place.

And that lack of grip continues to plague Ferrari. It is, says Todt, due to a combination of a lack of aerodynamic and mechanical efficiency, and the tyres themselves. "We are the only top team with Bridgestone, so if we would be with the same tyres with another very top team it would be easier to answer, but at the moment we don't know. We sometimes try to compare with Jordan and Minardi, but they don't use the same (specification of) tyres."

"This year, the car is again a new specification of aerodynamics, one engine for two races, so it's different from last year. We supply the same engine to Sauber so we have some way of comparing and for sure we cannot say that it's one part the engine, one part the tyres, one part the aerodynamics, but let's say the package is not giving what we used to have in the past and is not giving what we are expecting."

"But saying that, we were using the same car in Budapest with completely different tyres, and we saw that we were very quick in qualifying, we were very quick for the first third of the race. Then we started to drop performance so it gives us and our partners some indications. But then you have to analyse those indications, you have to work, it's a very complicated thing. If it would be easy, we would not be facing this situation."

"The biggest difference from last year to this year is the tyre rule. We could change tyres last year and as I said three weeks ago, if we could have changed the tyres in Budapest we would have won the race, it was clear. But I'm not complaining about that. Let's say that the one tyre for qualifying and the race has been very bad to us so we are paying mainly for this effect."

But, as always, Todt refused to criticise his tyre supplier. "You know in life you have minuses and pluses, and the pluses are still so big compared to the minuses. The pluses are so much due to their support so at the moment, it's normal, we are always reacting to what's just happened but when we do a strategy consideration, a strategic plan, we have to think back over the last five years."

And the situation could change in the future, as it is suggested that Toyota and Red Bull Racing could change to Bridgestone next year, which Todt approves of. "We will do combined testing and also they will do some mileage. Then we will definitely get some advantage out of that."

But Todt still has goals for 2005. "Honestly, I want to finish in the best position in the table as possible. I've lost the dream to win both championships, but now at least we have to secure third position if possible."
 
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Brawn hands Massa a year to impress

Ferrari technical chief Ross Brawn has told new recruit Felipe Massa that he has just one year to prove that is good enough to race for the legendary team.

Brazilian Massa, who currently drives for the Ferrari-powered Sauber team, will be drafted in next year as a replacement for compatriot Rubens Barrichello, who has decided to switch to BAR Honda.

Massa was the team's test driver in 2003 and he will be given the chance to return to the cockpit of a Ferrari in a two-day test at Monza in Italy on Tuesday and Wednesday. Brawn believes that the 24- year-old has the speed to be a success.

"I'm quite happy with the choice and it's really up to him to prove next year whether he's a long term Ferrari driver or not. He clearly has the raw speed but he was a bit rocky when he first started. He has got the talent but we are going to find out next year exactly how much progress he has made."

Massa, who has been contracted to Ferrari since 2001, will return to his Sauber team on Friday at Monza for a one-day test following his two days with his future employers.

He finished Sunday's Turkish Grand Prix in the garage after the engine in his Sauber failed him but he has impressed so far this season with his maturity and talent that has been at least a match for team-mate Jacques Villeneuve.

Villeneuve, who won his world title in 1997, believes Massa could even be faster than this year's champion elect Fernando Alonso, with whom he drove at Renault for three races at the end of last year.

The Canadian even believes Massa could rattle world champion Michael Schumacher. "Someone that arrives in a team is always more hungry than someone who has been there forever," Villeneuve explained. "There is always the chance of a newcomer to really take risks that aren't necessary and to actually beat you, which doesn't mean the person is actually faster than you. It could mean that Felipe beats Michael."

Ferrari will begin to see how the 'new' Massa fares against Schumacher if they compare their lap times at Monza and Brawn said: "It is a useful early start to re-build the partnership. Felipe has always remained a Ferrari contracted driver. He was available for us to test whenever we chose to, so it's just a good start to be able to begin the partnership again."
 
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lol, Villeneuve saying MS has been at Ferrari forever. :D
Massa is definately fast, and he has proven to be a much better driver this year. Yesterday wasn't so good, but he wasn't really left with anywhere to go after he made his one move to try and block (a red bull?) Then he had to shift out the way to avoid smashing into (Heidfeld?) As a result, bye bye front wing...

His fastest lap was almost half a second faster than Villeneuve's, good old slow JVi!
 
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Emlyn_Dewar said:
lol, Villeneuve saying MS has been at Ferrari forever. :D
Massa is definately fast, and he has proven to be a much better driver this year. Yesterday wasn't so good, but he wasn't really left with anywhere to go after he made his one move to try and block (a red bull?) Then he had to shift out the way to avoid smashing into (Heidfeld?) As a result, bye bye front wing...

His fastest lap was almost half a second faster than Villeneuve's, good old slow JVi!

Yep Jacques has got to go
 
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Much as I like Jacques irreverant attitude to F1's politics I would tend to agree that he's past his sell by date now. The thing is I'm struggling to see who is going to drive at Sauber/BMW next year.

Williams have an option on Hiedfeld for next year and I don't see them letting him go until the second half of Buttongate is resolved. Anthony Davidson is a possibility but I'm not sure what his contract status is. The problem BMW have is that they don't have any existing affiliations really that would give them access to new drivers. The GP2 contenders are probably Rosberg or Kovelainen who have ties to Williams and Renault respectively so are unlikely to be available.

Dunno really, anyone else want to throw an idea into the ring?
 
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More news

BAR team principal Fry has revealed that his team would be prepared to pay a compensation package to Williams to keep Jenson Button from switching teams in 2006.

Fry said that he would welcome a situation where Frank Williams would initiate a discussion over terms for Button's services.

The Englishman is contracted to join Williams next year but has stated that he wishes to drive alongside Rubens Barrichello at BAR.

"If Williams came to us and wanted to do a deal then we are open to discussion," Fry said in Turkey.

"The final details have to be sorted between Williams and Jenson but if it helps and Williams want to involve us then we are all open to help the situation."

"It is up to them to make a suggestion. I think he (Jenson) is worth a lot to both teams. We wouldn't be squabbling over him if he were not, but his value is impossible to quantify."

Fry indicated that because BAR is not party to Button's contract with Williams, he cannot initiate any such deal, but said that he was prepared to give Jenson "moral and emotional support" in finding a solution to his dilemma.

With Williams now committed to paying for a supply of Cosworth V8 engines in 2006, which is expected to cost the team around £10m next year, speculation is growing that Frank Williams may hold out for a big pay-off over the Button saga.

But for now Williams remains resolute that Button will drive for him in 2006.

"The contract with Jenson, which I would not want to discuss openly, does not have an engine escape clause," Williams told The Guardian newspaper.

"I think there is a lot of noise currently, but we optimistically believe that he [Button] will be fine. When he is in the car he will have too much to do."
 
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It sounds to me like Frank is playing hardball until he finds out just how desperate BAR/Honda are to hold on to button.

I wouldn't be surprised if Honda end up paying compensation equal to the cost of the Cossies next year and offer a long term cheap supply of engines for 2007 onwards. I don't see Frank settling for anything less.
 
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ashtray_head said:
will their 'old' experience of V8's make that much difference??...do they still do indy engines??

They are really the only engine manafacturer with experience of true racing V8's recently.

They won the championship in 1994 with a V8 - last time a non V10 did...

Plus Renault's engine is limited to 18000rpm and sub 700bhp atm, as is BMW's. Ferrari's hasn't run properly yet, Toyota's has run apparently at 20k and ~710bhp

Cosworths - 21000rpm+ and 750bhpish..

Looks the best around at the moment.

Plus Cosworth are working with them on pretty much the entire rear end of the car which will help them both a lot.

I think that BAR Honda will have to hand over large amounts of wonga to get Button out of his Williams contract.

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McLaren are more likely to win the constructors' championship than the drivers' crown for Kimi Raikkonen, the Woking based formula one team admits.

With the points deficit to Renault down to just nine points, and with a quicker car than the blue and yellows, boss Ron Dennis said the carmaker scrap is 'our strength.

"But we're still focused on giving Kimi the best opportunity to win the championship."

Indeed, team 'F1 CEO' Martin Whitmarsh reckons Raikkonen's best chance to curb the 24-point gap to Fernando Alonso - a much slower moving deficit despite victory in Hungary and Turkey - will be for Renault to make unforced errors.

"It's only going to take something like that," he insisted, "and we're back in it."

From a performance point of view, though, McLaren are on top of the world. Whitmarsh said there's 'no reason' the MP4-20 can't secure one-twos from now until the Chinese finale.
 
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Jean Todt has his fingers crossed that speculation linking Red Bull and Toyota with Bridgestone next year is true.

The Ferrari boss said Ferrari, presently in a competitive ditch with the Japanese tyre supplier, would 'definitely' get a boost from their switch from Michelin rubber.

"We would do combined testing," said the Frenchman, who added that the scarlet situation in Istanbul - although Bridgestone had to revert to an older specification of tyre - was 'very dark.

"I've lost the dream to win both championships," Todt continued, "but at least we have to secure third, if possible."
 
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The controversial 'equivalency' debate was effectively put to bed in the Istanbul F1 paddock.

Some manufacturers were understood to have been considering running a rev-limited V10 engine next season, after the FIA left the option open in the first year or two of the new V8 formula.

The governing body, though, intended the 'loophole' for small teams like Minardi, who will stick with a Cosworth V10 because it is a cheaper option than buying a brand new V8.

However, a manufacturer or three are believed to have considered following suit, in the expectation that the V10 - even rev limited - might actually out-power its V8 rivals.

At the Turkish grand prix, all six F1 carmakers - including Ferrari - agreed to run a V8 in 2006 and 2007 by signing a document to that effect.
 
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Dutch Guy said:
Is the bhp always directly related to the engine rpm?

Can't they use more fuel to get more power at the same rpm?

Only to a certain degree.

They are running pretty close to the maximum fuelling limit now anyway - they can up the mixture to gain small amounts of power - but at the expense of the life of the engine and fuel consumption.

It's generally safer to increase the RPM of the engine rather than increase the mixture to get more power - hence the 'overtake' button which changes the mixture slightly but allows another 250-500rpm to the engine before the rev limiter kicks in.

It's all rather complicated tbh...I don't really understand it completely - but there is an optimum level of fuelling and above that produces minimal increases for losses in life and fuel consumption. F1 cars try to run as close to that as possible.

If that makes sence...

Simon/~Flibster
 
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Now this is more believable...

Raikkonen to replace Schumacher?

Germany's 'Sport Bild' tabloid has had a busy formula one news editor this week. First, Michael Schumacher was in talks with McLaren-Mercedes about a 2007 switch. Now, the publication claims McLaren 'iceman' Kimi Raikkonen will replace the German.

'Bild' said the 25-year-old Finn signed a 'preliminary agreement' with the Maranello based team in May. Raikkonen would therefore become the scarlets' new 'number one' driver. Bild said the information was obtained from a 'very safe' source.

Asked about Fernando Alonso earlier this year, Ferrari boss Jean Todt made it clear who he favoured among formula one's young guard. "I consider a young man, who drives for a German-English team, to be the better choice."
 
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Michael Schumacher angles for a new contract

Behind the rumours of Michael Schumacher joining McLaren there appear to be negotiations for the German to stay on for probably two more years with Scuderia Ferrari. Schumacher's current contract with Ferrari runs out at the end of 2006 and it is always assumed that Michael will stay with Ferrari until the end of his career but Ferrari may not be able to pay the $40m salary that Michael now commands and stories in the German press say that this figure is going to go up to nearly $50m with a new contract. Ferrari would obviously like to keep Michael but the team no longer has an open chequebook, particularly as results this year have been very disappointing. This will effect the team's revenues in 2006 and that in turn may affect the amount of money available to invest for the future. McLaren may not necessarily want to have Michael Schumacher in one of its cars - based on the argument that a victory would always be credited to Michael rather than to the team - but the reality is that as long as Michael remains fast he would be an asset to any team. Schumacher seems to want to go on racing and so, inevitably, there are going to be talks with all possible teams, if only to push up Michael's salary.
 
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