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'Only a stupid man would write Schumi off'

The former voice of Formula One, Murray Walker, has warned against writing Michael Schumacher off which is what many have done now that he's lost the World title. Schumacher five-year reign came to an end in 2005 when Renault driver Fernando Alonso clinched the Drivers' title ahead of McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen.

Schumacher could only manage third place as Ferrari and their tyre supplier Bridgestone struggled to come to terms with the revised regulations.

Both the new 2005 Drivers' Champion and the runner-up won seven grands prix during the campaign while Schumacher claimed just one victory, which came at the six-car United States Grand Prix.

The Ferrari driver's lack of form this past season has led many to proclaim that the 36-year-old's over the hill and will never win another title.

Walker, though, disagrees.

"The ill-informed are gleefully pointing out that Schumacher is over the hill and past it which is incredibly stupid," Murray told ITV.

"Schumacher's problem in 2005 was not Michael Schumacher, it was Ferrari and the tyres."

"And they will have been stung into action."

"Their pride will have been very badly hurt this season. I mean Italy is Ferrari and Ferrari is Italy and they have both taken a severe knocking in '05."

But just because Walker believes Schumacher and Ferrari will return to winning-ways next season doesn't mean you should bet your house on it because, as the former F1 commentator admits, even he's been wrong before.

"They will be back - or should be back in 2006," he added.

"But then I remember that at the beginning of 2005 I did a big preview article for F1 Racing in which I confidently said that you can forget about everybody but Schumacher because he will blow them all away."

"How wrong can you be?"

from planet-f1
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Webber: Rosberg will deliver

Williams driver Mark Webbre is expecting good results from his new teammate Nico Rosberg next season. "He knows what he's got to do and he will deliver. I'm very, very sure of that," Webber told Reuters. 

"He's ready to go. He has done well to get the race seat and I think it's something he deserves and it's good for the team," he said. "In all the testing he's done he doesn't make any mistakes and he's been very solid.

"No-one can look in the crystal ball and see the end result, who knows? Jenson (Button) was very young and did a fantastic job as was Kimi (Raikkonen). Those guys were right there right away with very limited experience. Nico is of a similar level I suppose, so he'll be strong."

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Stoddart drives last ever lap for Minardi

In wintery sunshine, the Minardi F1 Team today made its last on-track appearance, Team Principal for the past five years, Paul Stoddart, and official tester, Chanoch Nissany, bringing the final chapter of Minardi's memorable 21-year history F1 at Vallelunga.

read the whole article

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Official: Villeneuve to race for BMW

Plenty of rumours were doing the rounds that BMW was trying to dump former F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve. Today, the team finally announced Villeneuve will officially line up alongside Nick Heidfeld for the BMW Sauber team in 2006. more...

I honestly didn't expect Thiessen to hire JV...but it seems that there aren't many F1 drivers with experience out there..

Zonta: "V8 might be quicker than V10"

Ricardo Zonta was the first Toyota driver to test the 2006 car, along with Jarno Trulli this week. There was quite a lot to get used to - the new car was fitted with a V8 engine and Bridgestone tyres. The team launched its new car and engine very early, which it hopes will be a huge advantage for next year. The V8 is far slower than the V10, but Zonta thinks that it might not be for long. more...

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now that came out of the blue! after the disappointing 2005 season for Bridgestone I would expect the Japanese company to retire!

McLaren successfully "stole" Vodafone sponsorship from Ferrari for 2007! (damn, now I have to throw my Sharp-Ferrari-Vodafone mobile in the sea! <_< )

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Schumacher fastest on return

Michael Schumacher set the pace on the third day of testing this week at Jerez as the German cut his winter holiday short to get back in the cockpit. The German had his first taste of a V8 engine and finished ahead of new team mate Felipe Massa who ran a limited V10 engine..

It was a warmer day in Jerez which meant more meaningful running for the teams. The circuit was still quite cold in the morning and even Michael Schumacher slid off on his fourth lap.

The other red flags of the day were caused by both Williams drivers - Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg. Webber ground to a halt on track while Rosberg spun off. Juan Pablo Montoya caused a red flag and could only manage 48 laps after his Mercedes engine failed.

Renault continued to run two limited V10 cars and BAR was also in action with Davidson and Adam Carroll. Toyota fielded Ricardo Zonta and Olivier Panis while Nick Heidfeld manned the only BMW at the track.

Tomorrow Fernando Alonso will join the test for a day behind the wheel of his Renault and Michael Schumacher will continue testing.

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Alonso signs with McLaren for 2007!

The McLaren team has signed 2005 World Champion Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard will join McLaren in 2007 when Vodafone becomes the team's title sponsor. "I'm very excited about 2007," said Alonso

McLaren's team principal and chairman, Ron Dennis, commented on signing the youngest Formula One World Champion ever: "Its great that our strong belief in the strength and competitiveness of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes package has been further endorsed by the World Champion. We always make it clear that we want to be the best and the only way of achieving this objective is by attracting the best people, the best drivers and the best sponsors. To be able to announce Vodafone as only McLaren's third title partner in more than 30 years and Fernando's employment within only a few days is fantastic news for the team, our Partners, Formula One and the fans."

McLaren did not comment on driver speculations for 2007. "We are in discussions with our current drivers' Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya regarding the 2007 season," continues Ron Dennis. "Both Juan Pablo and Kimi are extremely talented, professional and competitive Formula One drivers and they have and will continue to concentrate on our joint challenge for the Championships."

Fernando Alonso commented about signing at McLaren: "To become part of a team with such a desire to succeed and passion for performance is a dream come true for any Formula One driver. "I'm very excited about 2007 and the fantastic opportunity to drive for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. It will be a new beginning for me and a tremendous challenge and from what I have heard about this exciting new partnership there is something to look forward to. Obviously I will be sad to leave Renault but sometimes possibilities come along which are just too good to miss. I'm pleased that we are able to make this announcement already now as it will allow my current team and I to focus 100 per cent on defending the World Championships next year."

:blink: there are already rumours that Kimi will go to Ferrari in '07.
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Aguri gets green light from teams

click here

Rossi must do more testing - Ferrari

Valentino Rossi must commit to several months of F1 testing if he seriously wants to make a four-wheel switch. That's the insistence of Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, who has reportedly offered the dominant MotoGP champion a future at the Italian team. click for more...

Ferrari wants to keep Schumacher

Ferrari is keen on extending Michael Schumacher's contract beyond the 2006 season. According to Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo Schumacher still has a great future ahead at the Italian team. click for more

Happy Xmas weekend everyone! ;)

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According to the Austrian TV channel ORF Alexander Wurz signed a deal at Williams to become the team's test driver and most likely Friday's test driver for the team. 

 

Wurz was McLaren's test driver for five years but is replaced by DTM champion Gary Paffett in 206. Wurz will put the pressure on Nico Rosberg in his debut season. In case Rosberg won't perform Wurz could replace him.

According to ORF Wurz has been offered a contract with an option to race at Williams in 2007. Webber's contract will expire at the end of the year and the Australian is expected to move to another team

from f1racing.net
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F1 race third best in TV data

A formula one grand prix attracted the third-highest global television audience in 2005. Beaten only by the American Super Bowl and the UEFA Champions League (football) final, June's Canadian grand prix at Montreal drew 51 million viewers. read more

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Willams confirms Wurz for test and reserve role

The WilliamsF1 team confirmed on Monday evening it has signed Alex Wurz as its official test and reserve driver for 2006. Wurz will be the official reserve driver - who will deputise if either Webber or Rosberg is unable to race - and he will be the team's Friday free practice sessions driver at Grand Prix. 

 

"I'm delighted with the agreement we have reached with Alex," said team boss Frank Williams. "Everyone at Williams believes he will bring significant improvements to the team's performance, on Grand Prix Fridays in particular, and to our testing programme in general."

Wurz has been test driver at McLaren for five seasons, before that he spent three seasons racing for Benetton. Wurz stood in for Juan Pablo Montoya in one race in 2005 and finished third. DTM champion Gary Paffett replaces Wurz as test driver at McLaren.

Where this leaves Narain Karthikeyan - who looked set to conclude a deal with Williams in December - remains to be seen. Williams will launch its new Cosworth-powered FW28 car on 27 January.

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Super Aguri set to enter Formula 1

It looks like we will see 22 drivers lining up during the openingrace in Bahrain on 12 March. It is expected that the FIA will give F1's new team Super Aguri green light to enter the sport. 

 

"The FIA has received official notification that all the competing teams have approved the late entry of Super Aguri to the 2006 FIA Formula One World Championship," a spokesperson of the FIA told Reuters. "We have also been informed that the required financial guarantee will be presented to the FIA early next week. A formal announcement of the new team's entry will be made on receipt of the guarantee."

The Japanese team, based in the old Arrows factory in England, is planning to race four-year-old F1 cars. Formula 1 did not have 11 teams on the grid since the Arrrows team folded halfway the 2002 season. 

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all news from F1 Racing Net

Rossi to test Ferrari next week

Next week MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi will be testing with Ferrari at Valencia, Spain. Rossi will join seven times world champion Michael Schumacher at the Spanish track. 

Rossi has been testing with the Ferrari F1 car before, but only at Ferrari's private tracks with no other F1 teams present.

The Italian Motorbike racer will drive the Ferrari F2004, while Schumacher and Massa will be testing with the Ferrari 248 F1 at Valencia. 

Speed impresses Toro Rosso

Scott Speed was at the wheel today as Scuderia Toro Rosso tackles a two day test programme at Barcelona. It was the team's first test of 2006 at this circuit and it proved to be a productive one with the American driver, who celebrated his twenty third birthday yesterday, reeling off a comfortable 85 laps and setting a competitive time. 

 

"Apart from being happy with the work we got through today, I am also pleased with Scott's performance, as it is clear that he has really stepped up his fitness levels in recent weeks," commented team manager, Massimo Rivola. "It was also encouraging to see how the team is shaping up. We have plenty of new young guys, "the Young Toros" as we call them, who are new to the team and it was obvious that they are really motivated to do a good job."

Tomorrow, Tonio Liuzzi takes over at the wheel.

Honda drivers are 'best in F1'

Honda says it has the best driver line-up in Formula One as it launched the car it hopes will take it to race victories this morning ni Barcelona. The team's CEO Nick Fry says he is optimistic that the new driver pairing of Button and Barrichello along with test driver Anthony Davidson could bring the outfit its first win since it joined F1 as British American Racing. 

"This is the best driver line-up of our team's history and it's also the best team of drivers on the grid," Fry said. "You can debate the merits of any one individual but I think our three put together is the best team."

Fry went on to praise new signing Rubens Barrichello.

"Technically he's a big asset and he's working very well with Jenson and Anthony," Fry said of the Brazilian. "His maturity and his depth of experience is going to be a huge asset to the team. There's a great atmosphere between Rubens and Jenson."

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Massa fastest at Circuit de Catalunya

On the fourth day of testing (26/1/06) at the Circuit de Catalunya it was Felipe Massa once again being the quickest man on track with his F2004. The Brazilian completed 73 laps. Michael Schumacher joined Massa with the Ferrari 248, but was a second slower.

The day was cold but dry in Barcelona. Many teams came in action with their new cars. Kimi Räikkönen got back in a Formula One car for the first time since the Brazilian Grand Prix. Räikkönen spend most of his day getting used to the new MP4-21.

Scuderia Toro Rosso also began testing. Liuzzi completed 93 laps with the team.

20005 world champion Fernando Alonso completed over 100 laps in the Renault. The Spaniard had a trouble-free day. He only spun was when he lost the back of his car.

1 F. Massa Ferrari 01:15.970 73

2 R. Barrichello Honda 01:16.361 66

3 G. Fisichella Renault 01:16.365 68

4 N. Heidfeld BMW 01:16.549 89

5 J. Button Honda 01:16.739 81

6 F. Alonso Renault 01:16.754 109

7 D. Coulthard Red Bull 01:16.885 42

8 M. Schumacher Ferrari 01:16.907 78

9 J. Trulli Toyota 01:17.250 85

10 R. Schumacher Toyota 01:17.506 71

11 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso 01:17.590 93

12 K. Räikkönen McLaren 01:17.741 65

13 R. Kubica BMW 01:17.992 93

14 P. de la Rosa McLaren 01:18.258 47

No action at Barcelona today (27/1/06)

The fifth and final day of testing at the Cricuit de Catalunya near Barcelona was brought to a premature end today as arctic conditions froze the Montmelo circuit.

Schumacher did one lap

Ferrari, Honda, McLaren, Red Bull, Renault and Toyota were all at the track hoping for another day on track, but with air temperature hovering between one and two degrees Centigrade and the track just three or four degrees, teams decided to call it a day at lunch time.

Michael Schumacher, Felipe Massa, Christian Klien, Zonta and Ralf Schumacher all ventured on track for an installation lap, but it was so cold that they did not continue.

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On Tuesday Rubens Barrichello was the fastest man out on track in Valencia. But all eyes were not on the Brazilian, but on MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi, testing at Ferrari for the first time together with other F1 drivers out on track. Rossi was unable to complete a lap as he spun after only just a few corners.

In the morning rain halted testing. Only a few drivers went out for installation laps, but most teams remained inside. Honda drivers Rubens Barrichello and Anthony Davidson topped the time sheets. Michael Schumacher, testing the Ferrari 248, was third fastest in Valencia.

Over a hundred persons of the press were at Valencia to witness Valentino's test. The Italian got into the F2004 in the afternoon but was unable to complete a lap unfortunately for him. He spun the car and got stuck in the gravel. On Wednesday Rossi will get another try.

:P
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Valencia - Spain 1 February 2006

Pos. Driver Team Time Laps

1 F. Alonso Renault 01:11.219 52

2 J. Button Honda 01:11.327 89

3 M. Schumacher Ferrari 01:11.831 72

4 JP. Montoya McLaren 01:11.998 68

5 R. Barrichello Honda 01:12.062 112

6 H. Kovalainen Renault 01:12.113 29

7 J. Villeneuve BMW 01:12.619 78

8 R. Zonta Toyota 01:12.660 88

9 V. Rossi Ferrari 01:12.856 52

10 D. Coulthard Red Bull 01:12.930 36

11 A. Wurz Williams 01:12.925 82

12 G. Paffett McLaren 01:12.937 116

13 M. Webber Williams 01:13.050 67

14 J. Trulli Toyota 01:13.076 105

15 R. Kubica BMW 01:13.332 65

Valencia - Spain 2 February 2006

Pos. Driver Team Time Laps

1 F. Alonso Renault 01:10.904 90

2 J. Button Honda 01:10.907 85

3 F. Massa Ferrari 01:11.284 50

4 A. Davidson Honda 01:11.573 128

5 M. Schumacher Ferrari 01:11.649 48

6 C. Klien Red Bull 01:11.796 71

7 H. Kovalainen Renault 01:12.011 89

8 J. Villeneuve BMW 01:12.179 104

9 R. Schumacher Toyota 01:12.182 92

10 A. Wurz Williams 01:12.246 84

11 N. Rosberg Williams 01:12.313 46

12 V. Rossi Ferrari 01:12.315 54

13 P. de la Rosa McLaren 01:12.360 92

14 JP. Montoya McLaren 01:12.488 61

15 J. Trulli Toyota 01:12.525 72

16 R. Kubica BMW 01:12.812 48

Testing continues today at Valencia and Silverstone.

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info from from f1racing.net

Testing times from Sakhir - Bahrain

13 February 2006

Pos. Driver Team Time Laps

1 L. Badoer Ferrari 01:32.297 77

2 A. Davidson Honda 01:32.571 114

3 J. Rossiter Honda 01:32.864 67

4 F. Massa Ferrari 01:32.952 51

5 S. Speed Scuderia Toro Rosso 01:34.280 82

14 February 2006

Pos. Driver Team Time Laps

1 L. Badoer Ferrari 01:31.225 62

2 J. Button Honda 01:31.453 87

3 R. Barrichello Honda 01:31.489 107

4 F. Massa Ferrari 01:31.905 68

5 V. Liuzzi Scuderia Toro Rosso 01:32.702 69

Valencia

Pos. Driver Team Time Laps

1 M. Webber Williams 01:10.601 94

2 C. Klien Red Bull 01:11.254 100

3 P. de la Rosa McLaren 01:11.619 16

4 JP. Montoya McLaren 01:11.700 51

5 A. Wurz Williams 01:12.657 48

6 T. Monteiro Midland F1 01:12.924 82

7 R. Doornbos Red Bull 01:13.696 86

8 Markus Winkelhock Midland F1 01:14.299 77

9 G. Mondini Midland F1 01:24.110 16

Barcelona

Pos. Driver Team Time Laps

1 J. Villeneuve BMW 01:17.514 40

2 R. Kubica BMW 01:17.551 88

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On the final day of testing in Valencia Kimi Raikkonen improved the best time set this year at the Ricardo Tormo track. The McLaren driver was the first to set a time under 1.10sec. which is half a second faster than current world champion Fernando Alonso.

Kimi Raikkonen completed 81 laps today at Valencia without any major problems. Giancarlo Fisichella was able to complete 83 laps, but his day was not without any problems. In the afternoon the Italian had to stop the Renault at the track with what looked like an electronic problem.

At the end of the day Tiago Monteiro caused a red flag as he spun into the gravel. His team mate, Midland test driver Adrian Sutil, also caused a red flag today.

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Valencia day 1: Rosberg sets pace

27 February 2006

Nico Rosberg set the pace on the opening day of the final pre-season test at Valencia on Monday. The Williams driver completed 85 laps - his best in 1m11.030s, 0.2s faster than McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa who put in almost two race distances or 146 laps. read more

Ferrari resumes testing at Mugello

Following its trip to Bahrain, Ferrari resumed testing at the Mugello circuit in Italy today. The final full test of the new 248F1 car before the opening race of the season in less than a fortnight.read more

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