After the back to back races of Europe and Spain the teams return to the test track this week to prepare for Monaco. Most of the action is scheduled to be at the Paul Ricard HTTT in France, while one or two teams are expected to opt for Vallelunga...
After the back to back races of Europe and Spain the teams return to the test track this week to prepare for Monaco. Most of the action is scheduled to be at the Paul Ricard HTTT in France, while one or two teams are expected to opt for Vallelunga in Italy.
Despite the widespread reports of peace breaking out in F1, that might not be the case. The GPMA group may have signed a Memorandum of Understanding but a new Concorde Agreement has yet to be decided. A stumbling block could be FIA President Max Mosley's stubborn stance on engine homologation from 2008.
The Sporting Working Group, which met recently to discuss future regulations, voted by a majority to reject the idea of a three year 'freeze' on engine development. However, Mosley isn't caving in and insisted the homologation rule will stand, his argument being that it will keep costs down and prevent "an unacceptable escalation of performance".
Talking of engines, Jacques Villeneuve has explained that his engine was not dropped by clumsy BMW Sauber team members after the Nürburgring, as reported in some places. The Canadian said he had to have an engine change for Spain as a precautionary measure.
"I want to clarify that my engine was never dropped by the team as some people seem to think and wrongly reported," Villeneuve told his website. "A problem was detected by the team after the race in Nürburgring and the engineers decided that it was not worth risking to use this engine in Barcelona as they knew there was a problem."
The rumours surrounding the driver market continue apace, with some predicting that Ferrari will confirm Kimi Raikkonen for 2007 at Monaco. We've had this rumour before, at Imola, and it failed to become actuality, and not only that, Ferrari boss Jean Todt has said not to expect an announcement until Monza in September. Time will tell.
Raikkonen, meanwhile, appears to have given up on his championship aspirations for this season. "The title battle will be fought between Ferrari and Renault because they are always fighting for victories and podiums," the Finn is quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I'll look for winning some races. At least I'll try."
It seems Raikkonen is not the only member of McLaren who thinks the title is perhaps beyond reach. "Probably at the moment we shouldn't be focusing on the championship," CEO Martin Whitmarsh said, according to Reuters. "We should be focusing on making our car go quicker and winning some races."
One person, at least, who is happy, is Fernando Alonso. After wowing the crowds when he became the first Spaniard to win his home race last Sunday, the defending champion is set to stir up Seville when the Renault Roadshow rolls into town this coming weekend.
"Seville will be a second Spanish Grand Prix for me, a fantastic thing with maybe half a million people," Alonso said. "The Roadshow is a great programme because we can get close to the fans and really share their emotion. I am looking forward to seeing my people on Sunday, and to saying thank you to them for their amazing support."
Alonso's team chief Flavio Briatore is not so happy about the advantage the current Bridgestone teams may have next season. Michelin is withdrawing from F1 at the end of 2006 and Briatore is concerned that if everyone ends up on Bridgestone rubber, those already in partnership with the manufacturer will have a head start.
"I believe we need to be worried about that, absolutely," he told reporters in Spain. "If we are all on Bridgestone next year, then if you use them already surely you have an advantage." Briatore thinks the FIA needs to change the tyre rules completely to avert the situation.