Grapevine: News from the Paddock - Japanese GP

Not Paid

There were baffled looks when the Minardi cars headed out on track yesterday morning with the words "Not Paid" and "Cheque Bounced" covering a sponsor's name on the their bargeboards on Friday. It was pretty obvious what it meant and it was another of Paul Stoddart's original ways of having a dig. After losing 40 percent of his budget at the start of this season following the collapse of a deal with Gazprom he has got pretty fed up with sponsors failing to front up the cash for their space on the car. So he decided to put the boot into their latest offender by publicly putting the boot into them on international television. The man is not for turning.

Roller Rides

Honda made the most of the fact they own Suzuka when they stole the thunder of the race organisers on the opening day of the weekend by opening the famous funfair exclusively to the media. It is quite an attraction to have at your party - a high-speed roller coaster ride - and it certainly drew plenty of people away from the official welcome party at the Suzuka hotel. One British magazine journalist experienced the loops, corkscrews and drops of the thrill ride a massive 12 times and the Honda press officer even had the ride re-opened at the end of the night for one last go. Fortunately for the organisers of the official party, however, the Honda one closed at nine and the bus back to the hotels was late - so the crowd from the first party simply moved on to the next.

In The Way

Juan Pablo Montoya, relieved of the stressful pressure of a Championship contender after his calamitous performance in the United States Grand Prix, arrived at Suzuka in a playful mood. Hanging out with Scot Allan McNish he seemed baffled by a fan who was more interested in getting a photo with the Renault test driver than with a three-time Williams race winner - so he made sure he got in his way by jumping up in front of the camera as the photo was taken.

No Retirement

Michael Schumacher's press officer Sabine Kehm frantically whizzed around the media centre late on Friday afternoon with a short six-line release. Her brisk arrival, of course, immediately got tongues wagging. Was it the decision the German has been saying he was not going to make ever since he has been asked? Was he announcing his retirement? The answer was as obvious as it was simple. "It is not the retirement release," said a smiling Kehm. It was, in fact, the official announcement from the leader of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association that Australian Mark Webber had joined the group.

shares
comments
McLaren to Run MP4-19 Before the End of Year
Previous article

McLaren to Run MP4-19 Before the End of Year

Next article

Used chassis idea is knocked back

Used chassis idea is knocked back
Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie? Plus

Why is Oscar Piastri F1's most sought-after rookie?

The Australian rising star is fast, consistent, confident, adaptable and has shown excellent racecraft, but there’s already a taint to his reputation. That hasn’t stopped him becoming the hottest property in this year’s F1 driver market and why McLaren moved fast to snap up the 21-year-old

The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver Plus

The unintended benefit that F1's new engine rules era will deliver

Formula 1's incoming engine rules shake-up has multiple targets. But it may also solve what has been a bone of contention since the hybrids arrived in 2014. The new plan will allow the series to pump up the volume

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance Plus

How de Vries made himself impossible to ignore for a belated F1 chance

Nyck de Vries appeared to have missed his opportunity to break into Formula 1 as he was passed over for more exciting talents who have now become frontrunners and title fighters. But after catching the eye outside of the F1 sphere, before his stunning impromptu grand prix debut in Italy, will it lead to a delayed full-time race seat?

Formula 1
Sep 29, 2022
Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment? Plus

Can Hamilton produce another Singapore magic moment?

The Singapore Grand Prix has, explains BEN EDWARDS, played an important role in Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 career. As the series returns to the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first time in three years, he faces the latest challenge with an underperforming Mercedes car

Formula 1
Sep 28, 2022
Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals Plus

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals

Although Ferrari's chances of title glory in 2022 have evaporated, chairman John Elkann expects the team to have chalked up both championships by 2026. Both require drivers to play the team game and, having now become more comfortable with the F1-75, Carlos Sainz may be Ferrari's key to title glory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2022
How F1 has tried to avoid repeating its 2014 engine rules mistakes Plus

How F1 has tried to avoid repeating its 2014 engine rules mistakes

With Formula 1’s future engine regulations now agreed, MARK GALLAGHER wonders if they will provide a more competitive field than past attempts actually managed

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2022
How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Plus

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

STUART CODLING charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2022
The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared Plus

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared

Recent moves within the driver market have reminded MAURICE HAMILTON of a time when contracts weren’t worth the paper they weren’t written on…

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2022