The rumour mill keeps turning

The rumour mill keeps turning

While F1 is still on the summer break the rumour mill is busy churning out gossip and speculation as there is little in the way of definite news to talk about. We all know how unreliable the rumours can be, although sometimes they turn out right,...

While F1 is still on the summer break the rumour mill is busy churning out gossip and speculation as there is little in the way of definite news to talk about. We all know how unreliable the rumours can be, although sometimes they turn out right, but let's have a look at what those with the crystal balls are ruminating on.

Valentino Rossi.
Photo by Gauloises Yamaha Team.

Since MotoGP ace Valentino Rossi tested a Ferrari again recently, tongues are once again wagging that the champion is contemplating a switch to F1. The latest speculation has it that Ferrari is lining the Italian up for a test driver role come 2007. Rossi reportedly lapped the Fiorano circuit around 1.5 off Michael Schumacher's lap record and has now completed enough miles to earn his superlicence.

Ferrari is never far from the gossip and Renault's championship leader Fernando Alonso has not ruled out a switch to the Scuderia in the future. "Today I say yes, because for the last five seasons they have always produced the best car, the most competitive one," said the Spaniard, according to Autosprint, when asked if Ferrari could be an option.

"Every driver wants to be at the wheel of the fastest car, but it's just a matter of time -- now every driver would like to race in a Renault or a McLaren, because they are winning. So when my contract will be up with Renault I will analyse all available options."

Alonso's teammate Giancarlo Fisichella is not rumour free either -- the Italian has been linked with a Williams swap with Mark Webber. Almost as unlikely is Mika H?kkinen returning to F1 with BMW in 2006. All concerned seem bewildered as to where these stories came from and as rumours go they are at the more off-the-map end of the scale.

Meanwhile, soon to be ex-Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello has supposedly already signed a two-year contract with BAR. The Brackely squad is going to have a surfeit of pilots at this rate, as allegedly Nick Heidfeld has also signed a pre-agreement with the team.

Heidfeld seems much in demand, according to the rumour mill, as if Williams cannot secure Jenson Button's services for 2006, they may well want to keep hold of the German. BMW is also interested but reportedly doesn't want to pay as much as BAR has offered Heidfeld.

Williams is widely expected to run with Cosworth engines next season and is also linked with a switch to Bridgestone tyres. Not so long ago Michelin appealed for a better balance between tyre suppliers and teams and it's thought Red Bull and Toyota may be eyeing Bridgestone as well.

Off track, Bernie Ecclestone has applied for the trademark rights to the name GP1, provoking speculation that he is possibly intending to start a new series of his own. Reportedly it's a contingency plan for Ecclestone should F1 as we know it fall apart in the not-so-distant future.

Just remember folks -- rumour n: general talk or hearsay of doubtful accuracy; a current but unverified statement or assertion.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Jenson Button , Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Mark Webber , Nick Heidfeld , Fernando Alonso , Valentino Rossi , Bernie Ecclestone
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Williams