Indy notebook 2005-11-15

Son of World Champ Rosberg to race Williams in '06; de Ferran thinks BAR can win INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2005 - Following in the footsteps of his famous father, 1982 World Champion and two-time United States Grand Prix winner Keke...

Son of World Champ Rosberg to race Williams in '06; de Ferran thinks BAR can win

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2005 - Following in the footsteps of his famous father, 1982 World Champion and two-time United States Grand Prix winner Keke Rosberg, rookie Nico Rosberg will compete in the 2006 Formula One season that includes the United States Grand Prix on July 2 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Nico Rosberg, 20, will drive for Williams-Cosworth, the team/car/engine combination his father used to win the world title.

"Williams, Cosworth, Rosberg," Nico Rosberg said. "That was a World Championship-winning combination 24 years ago, so it (will) be very nice."

But while he has a famous name, it was Nico Rosberg's talent and potential that earned him a seat with one of the top teams in F1.

"His natural talent in the cockpit is equally matched by his intelligence out of it, as demonstrated by his depth of technical understanding and communication of data over the months spent as a test driver this season," team owner Sir Frank Williams said. "Despite his youth, his wealth of experience reflects the early start made by contemporary drivers. And it is significant to note that Nico has recorded more race starts by the age of 20 than his father recorded in an entire career."

Rosberg won the inaugural GP2 championship in 2005 against stiff competition that included Renault protégé Heikki Kovalainen and American Scott Speed, who finished second and third, respectively, in the final points standings.

"I am really looking forward to starting work at the end of this month and learning as much from the WilliamsF1 Team as I possibly can," Rosberg said. "You always have to prove yourself, wherever you are, especially in F1. Even Michael Schumacher sees that. After being seven times World Champion they still try and pull him down. It's a hard world, but I am ready for it."

Rosberg was born in Germany and lives in Monaco. His father won the 1984 U.S. Grand Prix in Dallas and the 1985 U.S. Grand Prix in Detroit.

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BAR-Honda targets victories in 2006: Gil de Ferran, 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner and now sporting director of BAR-Honda, believes that the team's drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello can win races next season.

"We certainly have two drivers capable of winning races," he said, "and I'm confident the design and race teams are capable not only of producing a good car but also operating it well enough to achieve that objective. Clearly to win, a lot of different things have to come right on the day, and that's the big challenge. But I don't get out of bed thinking, 'Let's finish second'. I didn't have that attitude when I was a driver, and I certainly don't have it now. I'm here to fight for race wins and championships."

As sporting director, de Ferran's role encompasses a number of different aspects.

"It's hard to pinpoint one specific area but, often, I bring a different perspective to meetings and conversations," he said. "I guess that's because I come from a different background. Whether that's helpful isn't up to me to judge. It's also probably fair to say that I understand some of the situations and psychological aspects relating to the drivers because of my racing background, albeit not in F1."

Barrichello's resume includes nine F1 victories, including the 2002 United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Button has yet to score his first F1 victory, but he was third in the 2004 Drivers World Championship and has finished second four times and third eight times in his F1 career.

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BMW names new team: BMW, which bought the Sauber F1 team, has registered its team for the 2006 season as BMW Sauber. After six years as an engine partner to Williams, BMW decided to run an F1 squad and bought a majority stake in the Swiss privateer Sauber team. The team's new name reflects the bonding of the original Sauber team in Switzerland and BMW's engine program in Germany.

"The new team name more or less chose itself," said BMW's motorsport director, Dr. Mario Theissen. "It reflects the makeup of the team - run by BMW but with a core of almost 300 Sauber employees. Plus, the 2006 car was developed by Sauber's proven engineers."

The team's winter testing begins with an interim car and the new BMW P86 V8 engine Nov. 28, in Barcelona, Spain.

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Toyota switching to Bridgestone: Panasonic Toyota Racing will switch from Michelin to Bridgestone tires next season.

"After a rather successful 2005 season, our sights are now set even higher up the grid, and we feel that Bridgestone is ideally suited to the technical demands of F1 in the future and will be the best match for our 2006 car," said Tsutomu Tomita, the chairman of Toyota Motorsport.

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Midland picks driver, livery for 2006: Holland's Christijan Albers will drive for Midland (formerly Jordan) in 2006. He spent his rookie season with Minardi in 2005.

The team also unveiled the new livery for its MF1-Toyota M16 car that will be raced in the 2006 season, including at the United States Grand Prix on July 2 at Indianapolis.

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New F1 team files entry: Aguri Suzuki has filed an entry for a new F1 team, but that entry still has to be officially ratified by the FIA.

"We have cleared all the hurdles we had to clear up to this point," Suzuki said. "Obviously there is a huge amount of work left, but we plan to be on the grid in 2006."

The team will use Honda engines and Bridgestone tires but is still organizing its chassis program.

Former F1 driver Suzuki is also involved in the Indy Racing League as co-owner of Super Aguri Fernandez Racing.

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2006 USGP tickets: Ticket information for the 2006 United States Grand Prix, scheduled for Sunday, July 2, is available online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com, or by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area. Parking and camping information also can be obtained through the ticket office.

-ims-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Gil de Ferran , Christijan Albers , Scott Speed , Keke Rosberg , Nico Rosberg , Heikki Kovalainen , Aguri Suzuki , Frank Williams , Mario Theissen
Teams Sauber , Williams , Toyota Racing , Minardi , Jordan