News round up as quiet time continues

While there is little to occupy the fans in the long winter months in the way of track action, business is ongoing off-track. BMW and Midland have now lodged their entries for the 2006 championship but there is yet to be news on the possible 11th...

While there is little to occupy the fans in the long winter months in the way of track action, business is ongoing off-track. BMW and Midland have now lodged their entries for the 2006 championship but there is yet to be news on the possible 11th team for next year, Super Aguri. The deadline for entries for 2006 was November 15th.

The FIA confirmed that it had received an application from the new team but the official entry list will not be published until December. Toro Rosso, formerly Minardi, is also registered while Honda, which bought out the BAR team, has not yet revealed the name it will be racing under next season. Midland will compete as MF1 Racing.

Toro Rosso may benefit from the input of newly-signed Red Bull technical chief Adrian Newey. The design whiz will take up his role at Red Bull in February and team owner Dietrich Mateschitz said Newey may cast his eye over the Toro Rosso cars. Mateschitz was also quoted in the German press as saying Minardi's design department would be doubled.

BMW Sauber is the first team to confirm its launch date, the 16th and 17th of January at Valencia in Spain. Red Bull will reportedly wait until the season opener at Bahrain to reveal its 2006 challenger and confirmation of who will partner David Coulthard is expected before the end of this year. Christian Klien is favourite to get the race seat but Tonio Liuzzi is also in the frame.

Elsewhere, Ralf Schumacher has split with long-time manager Willi Weber, who also manages brother Michael. Ralf declined to make public the reasons for the split but said there was no animosity. Weber told Germany's Bild newspaper: "We simply could not find any common ground for working together in the future."

Ferrari is to build a theme park in Abu Dhabi, with the initial plans involving a race track, rides and attractions. "An opportunity to allow visitors to learn the story and history of Ferrari, to participate in Ferrari motoring activities, and to experience the Ferrari brand also through virtual simulations," says the blurb.

Williams may have lost out on the services of Jenson Button but technical director Sam Michael believes Nico Roberg will be better prepared to enter F1 than Button was when he debuted with Williams in 2000. Rosberg, who replaces Nick Heidfeld for next season, was champion of the GP2 series this year and also tested regularly with the Grove squad.

"I think it is completely different now to when Jenson came in," Michael said, according to the News of the World. "The pressures are much higher now because of the manufacturer involvement in the sport and there is much more limited mileage on the race weekends. Nico comes into F1 much better prepared than Jenson because of the series he has been in. He has already raced on many of the F1 tracks."

The newspaper implied that Michael said Button wasn't worth the kind of salary a top driver commands but BAR's Gil de Ferran is very enthusiastic about Jenson. "He's a man who has been touched by God!" the sporting director exclaimed. I wonder how he gets his halo inside his helmet?

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Ralf Schumacher , David Coulthard , Nick Heidfeld , Gil de Ferran , Christian Klien , Adrian Newey
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , Toro Rosso , Williams , Minardi