2006 San Marino Grand Prix - Race 4/18

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Q & A with Mosley on the 2008 Entry list

Conducted and provided by the FIA

Q: Why was Prodrive chosen to be the 12th team?

Max Mosley: "Prodrive has the best combination of financial backing, technical capability and motor sport experience and is well known to the FIA through its participation in the World Rally Championship. Also, Prodrive's chief executive, David Richards, has experience as a Formula One team principal."

Q: What was the process the FIA went through to reach this decision?

Mosley: "After the World Motor Sport Council decided that entries for the 2008 Championship would open on 24 March 2006 and close on 31 March 2006 we informed all of the current teams as well as other organisations we knew to be interested. We also issued a press release to inform anyone else who might want to tender an entry.

"We soon received applications from the 11 current Formula One teams as well as another 11 teams. Where necessary, we wrote to teams to ask for further information about their financial position and experience in running motor sport operations.

"Once we had gathered all the information we informed the World Council of the list of potential entries. A fax vote ensued and Prodrive was chosen as the 12th team.

"The World Council concurred that there was no reason not to accept the current teams as they are already in the championship and have confirmed their ability to compete effectively. Prodrive was chosen mainly because of its financial position, capabilities and experience."

Q: Were you surprised by how many teams wanted to enter the championship?

Mosley: "I was delighted but not entirely surprised. Formula One is the pinnacle of motor sport and thanks to the new regulations brought in for 2008 it is potentially open to more teams. What pleased me most was the high calibre of entries received. With this kind of demand Formula One has a bright future."

Q: Why do you think there was such a significant response?

Mosley: "Hopefully because of the new rules we've introduced to the sport. The 2008 Sporting Regulations have reduced the cost of competing and should improve the sporting spectacle at the same time. It makes for a very attractive prospect."

Q: Will there be room for more teams in future or is 12 the maximum?

Mosley: "The limit of 12 teams was imposed for safety reasons and circuit facilities, pit garages, etc, are designed for this number. It would be very difficult to enlarge the facilities and we would also have to look very carefully at the safety issue. The number is unlikely to increase."

Q: What have you said to the teams that didn't make it this time?

Mosley: "We informed all the teams that were not successful, although we did not tell them which teams were. We asked them to keep in touch in case a vacancy occurred."
 
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Hill confirmed as BRDC president

Former world champion Damon Hill has been elected today as the new president of the British Racing Drivers' Club.

Hill replaces Jackie Stewart, who presided over the BRDC for the past six years.

Hill, who won the Formula One World Championship in 1996 with Williams, was ratified as the new president in the Annual General Meeting of the club at Silverstone today.

Hill was nominated for the role by Mike Knight and Jackie Oliver, two present members of the BRDC Board. His nomination also gained the support of the Board of Directors, as well as chairman Stuart Rolt and Stewart himself.

"Damon, like his father Graham, is a shining example of excellence from a family absolutely steeped in motor racing. I wish him all success in the future," Stewart said earlier this month, when Hill's nomination was revealed.

Hill's main challenge in his new role will be to push forward development plans for the Northamptonshire circuit, as well as gaining government support for the British Grand Prix.

In his opening speech for the AGM today, Stewart said: "We are still waiting for the delivery of the Sports Minister's famous promise in July 2003 that the Government was going 'to put its money where its mouth is' for the development of Silverstone.

"Whilst the [British] Grand Prix is contractually retained through to 2009, the pre-eminence of the British motorsport industry will remain under threat until we have a public/private sector partnership for the long-term future of Silverstone and the defence of the Grand Prix."

45-year-old Hill retired from motor racing after the 1999 season.
 
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Ban Yuji Ide, says F1 legend

A formula one legend has called for struggling rookie Yuji Ide to be stripped of his FIA 'Super License'.

Sir Stirling Moss, one of the greatest drivers of the 50s, called the Super Aguri straggler's botched attempt to overtake Christijan Albers at Imola 'disgraceful'.

He also criticised stewards' decision to hand the 31-year-old nothing more than a formal reprimand, rather than an actual penalty.

Dutchman Albers' Midland rolled five times in the gravel trap, but later pleaded with Ide's critics to give any grand prix newcomer a 'second chance'.

However, 76-year-old Moss told the Mirror in Britain: ''The guy really isn't competent enough. ''The FIA have to get stricter.''
 
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2008 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP ENTRY LIST

Code:
TEAM				CONSTRUCTOR

BMW SAUBER F1 TEAM 		SAUBER BMW
HONDA RACING F1 TEAM		HONDA
MF1 RACING 			MF1 TBA
PRODRIVE			PRODRIVE TBA
RED BULL RACING			RBR TBA
MILD SEVEN RENAULT F1 TEAM	RENAULT
SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO 	FERRARI
SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM		SUPER AGURI HONDA
SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO		STR TBA
PANASONIC TOYOTA RACING 	TOYOTA
VODAFONE McLAREN MERCEDES 	MCLAREN MERCEDES
TBA WILLIAMSF1 TEAM		TBA

Race numbers will be determined and published as per the final order of the 2007 FIA Formula One World Championship.
 
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Bernie offer is F1 peace 'breaker'

Although peace at Imola seemed imminent, a serious hurdle has emerged between the warring carmakers and F1's owners.

The British 'Sunday Express' newspaper has reported that, with no hands looking to be shaken in agreement this month, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has now withdrawn his offer to the 'GPMA' group of 60 per cent of F1's revenue.

The 75-year-old will seemingly only reconsider the proposal if the carmakers themselves (ie. not their subsidiary teams), sign the commercial agreement to 2012.

This will almost certainly not happen.

To the carmakers' teams, Ecclestone is only offering 50 per cent, although it is substantially more than the current share of income.

The Sunday Express quoted a source as saying that the impasse could be viewed as a 'deal breaker', as previous talks had been based on the 60 per cent.
 
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F1 Cornering Speeds Accelerating, New Rules Fail to Slow Cars

Juan Pablo Montoya has backed former teammate Alex Wurz's claim that cornering speeds are now higher than last year.

The Colombian racer, who used to test alongside Wurz until the 32-year-old Austrian switched to Williams, said he starkly noticed the difference whilst running at Silverstone this week.

McLaren's Montoya explained: ''Copse (corner), for example, is really fast (now) and you don't really lift.''

The speed boost, despite the governing FIA's intention to slow F1 down with less powerful engines, is due to a combination of the 2.4 litre V8s and the return of tyre pit stops.
 
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Flav knocks Red Bull's $9m 'castle'

Flavio Briatore, who reigned over Renault's double title in 2005, has criticised F1 rival Red Bull for wasting money on a gargantuan motor home.

Paddock residents, including journalists, enjoyed the taste of grilled swordfish and asparagus at lunchtimes at Imola, but Italy's Briatore makes the unavoidable observation that a three-storey castle will not make a formula one car go faster.

''You also have to win, though'' the 56-year-old Italian - who separately revealed that Red Bull's 'Energy Centre' cost $9 million to build - told 'AP', ''not just gain attention.'' Referring to Renault's $2m HQ, whose basic structure is now more than five years old, 'Flav' added: ''We're the world champions and ... I'm content with this. ''I prefer to spend my money on the team.''

Ooooooooooooh! Handbags at dawn...

Which is more impressive to potential sponsors though Flav?
 
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Cosworth 'series 4' V8 gets nod

Cosworth's first major race engine update of the season got the thumbs up after its final test this week at Silverstone. The new V8 engine ran faultlessly and the team is aiming to introduce it at next week's European Grand Prix.

"Silverstone was a crucial evaluation of the latest CA2006 developments prior to the first in-season race engine upgrade," said Simon Corbyn, head of F1 race engineering. "We had no issues associated with the new components at this week's test. As per Cosworth convention, the race versions of the upgraded engines will be designated 'Series 4'."
 
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No Part Unchanged at Honda, But It Won't be a 'B' F1 Car

Unlike Japanese rival Toyota, Honda do not plan to introduce a 'b-spec' formula one car in 2006.

''I don't think we will,'' the team's technical director, Geoff Willis said.

However, he explained that the Honda racer that arrives in Brazil for the season finale will be 'much faster' than the launched version, while boasting hardly a single unchanged part from the original RA106.

Willis said: ''But we will not call it a b-car.''
 
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Prodrive announcement greeted

Warwickshire is to be the home of the world’s newest Formula One team being run by motorsport giants Prodrive.

Fen End in Kenilworth will be the base for the team following today’s confirmation that Prodrive is one of the 12 teams to have gained entry to the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship.

John Deegan, Warwickshire County Council's Strategic Director of Environment and Economy, is delighted with today's announcement.

"I've been working closely with Prodrive for the past two years and today's announcement that their Formula One team will be based here in Warwickshire is fantastic news for the county," stated Deegan. "Warwickshire is demonstrating again and again the tremendous skills base available and is becoming a major player in motorsport engineering and research."

"The news also comes as the best possible tonic for the county after last week's announcement from PSA Peugeot Citroen that it plans to close the works at Ryton. Warwickshire County Council wishes Prodrive as many successes in Formula One as the company has enjoyed in rallying."

Warwickshire has already won the business of everything from World Rally Teams through to specialised research and development companies.

Prodrive has already made plans to house its Formula One team in a new purpose-built operation in Warwickshire. This is part of a larger development to support the UK’s automotive and motorsport industries and is still subject to planning permission.

Should this be granted, construction would commence at the end of this year. In the meantime, Prodrive will run the F1 programme from its existing facilities.
 
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Montezemolo: Schumacher 50-50 to stay

The chances of Michael Schumacher extending his Ferrari contract after the end of the season are 50-50, according to Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.

Montezemolo told Italy's Gazzetta dello Sport that he expected the seven times Formula One champion to decide his future within the coming month.

Furthermore, he denied reports in Germany that the 37-year-old was seeking a two-year extension after the expiry of his contract at the end of the season and that Ferrari were considering the request.

"It's up to him to decide and he knows that if he wants to stay for two years then we will agree. He has to say it," declared Montezemolo.

"Having a competitive car helps, but Michael had already realised that (was the case before he won the last race at Imola)", added the Italian.

"His future depends more on his head than on Ferrari.

"I think Michael wants to continue for a year, but not to find himself in five months' time facing the same questions he has now.

"It would suit him to sign for another two years, but he is assessing whether he will still want to race in 2008."

Schumacher won the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola, Ferrari's home race, last month -- his first victory since the hollow triumph at the six-car U.S. Grand Prix last June.

Asked about other potential signings, and specifically McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen and MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi, Montezemolo replied:

"I am of the opinion that one does not have to risk indigestion in life but abundance is always to be preferred. We do not have a driver problem today.

"We will talk to Rossi in the coming weeks to make a decision. With Raikkonen, there is absolutely nothing other than the fact that we believe he is one of the best three (drivers) at the moment."
 
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Interview: Rossi nearing F1 decision

MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi says the option to switch to Formula One with Ferrari remains open even if speculations that the team have signed both Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen are true.

The Italian, who is racing this weekend in the Turkish MotoGP round in Istanbul, was once again probed by the media about his decision whether or not to switch to Formula One with the Ferrari team - a decision he says he will make in June.

But Rossi dismissed suggestions that Ferrari have in fact made that decision for him, by filling in their two racing seats with Schumacher and Raikkonen.

Q: Did you see Schumacher's victory at Imola last weekend?

Rossi: "Yes, and I greatly enjoyed it. I am by now a true Ferrari fan."

Q: The question is, are Ferrari still Rossi fans? Isn't it possible that, with Raikkonen coming over and Schumacher staying, Valentino will be left out?

Rossi: "No, no, it's not like that. The door is open, and I'm very happy about it. I mean, the fact that Ferrari have given me time to make a decision myself is a nice thing and a big vote of confidence."

Q: How much longer before you decide?

Rossi: "A bit more; I'll have to give an answer by June. I am thinking about it, and it's not an easy choice. In fact, I'm an indecisive person by nature - I want to keep deliberating about it over and over, rather than act by instinct. I just have to assess the pluses and minuses of the whole thing."

Q: And it's hard to do in this case?

Rossi: "Yes, especially because I tend to think about it before I go to bed, so I then have trouble falling asleep!"

Q: Who would you prefer as your teammate at Ferrari? Schumacher or Raikkonen?

Rossi: "Well, Schumacher has always been very nice with me. So I find him pleasant. But, then, I don't know Raikkonen, so maybe he's very pleasant too."

Rossi also commented on the Istanbul track, which last year hosted the inaugural Formula One race in Turkey.

"This is a very strange circuit," the Italian said. "There are too many blind turns, and there are downhill slopes that with these bikes you could even take in neutral gear.

"After the fast bend, which is perhaps the very best one of the season, there are two other turns that seem to have been put there just to annoy you. And on top of that, there are potholes."

Q: Potholes? But this circuit was inaugurated only last year

Rossi: "Yes, but Formula One ran here before us. That's how the asphalt got ruined."

Q: We are back talking about F1?

Rossi: "It won't be long before this big thing ends, trust me."
 
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