....the latest news from around the world, courtesy of press snoop Lynne Huntting.



RICARDO ZONTA of Brazil will step into the Toyota F1 car at the Grand Prix of Hungary - not just the test car on Friday, but the F1 car formerly raced by Brazilian CRISTIANO da MATTA. Replacing Zonta in the third car will be RYAN BRISCOE of Australia.

TSUTOMU TOMITA of the Panasonic Toyota Racing team said: "We revised our original plans after we reviewed the results of the last three Grands Prix. Ricardo Zonta consistently performed very well, as indeed he also did in the first half of the 2004 season. We believe it is fair to offer Ricardo the chance to show his potential in full race conditions, before we enter into the final step of our driver evaluation for the 2005 season. We decided to retain Olivier Panis as a race driver for the rest of this season, based on the fact that he is the driver who has secured the team's best race result of the year (5th in Indianapolis) and has collected the higher number of championship points (5). Cristiano da Matta will remain a Panasonic Toyota Racing driver until the end of 2004 and could still be called upon to undertake activities accordingly."

Sounds sort of like 'Gardening Leave', driver style.

Shorty, as the diminutive da Matta is called, is currently tied for fifteenth overall in the FIA F1 Drivers Championship standings, with three points. His co-driver, Panis, has five points and is tied for thirteenth overall. This isn't the first time Zonta has been pressed into service midseason.

Jordan F1 team substituted him in for HEINZ-HARALD FRENTZEN in 2001, only to be replaced himself after two races, by JEAN ALESI. This is Zonta's second year as the Toyota Third driver. He spent 2002 racing in the Telefonica Nissan Series, and winning the Championship. Zonta started F1 racing with BAR in 1999 and was with that team for two years. Before that he was the F1 test driver for McLaren while simultaneously racing in and winning the FIA GT Series in the AMG Mercedes.

Toyota has already hired RALF SCHUMACHER of Germany as its 2005 driver, and there has been no word as to his teammate. Right now, JARNO TRULLI of Italy is unattached for next season, after announcing he will be leaving Renault at the end of this season. So stay tuned. Silly Season, F1 Style, is not yet over.

JENSON BUTTON/BAR finished second at the German Grand Prix after starting thirteenth, in what was one of the best Formula One races all season. And he did it without the assistance of the front-wheel torque transfer system which the team ran in its third/test car that weekend. The system was discovered Friday in Scrutineering and FIA had BAR remove it. BAR has since appealed the ban and FIA has agreed to hear the APPEAL, on Monday 9 August 2004 in Paris.

The system, called an "electro hydraulic software controlled device which connects the front wheels via drive shafts and allows controlled torque transfer from a faster wheel to a slower yellow even under braking." The other teams weren't happy that BAR had a system which could possibly allow a quicker and smoother transition from braking to cornering.

Reportedly, BAR's technical director, GEOFF WILLIS said: "The issue is the interpretation of a certain regulation and we have a difference of opinion over what that regulation ins meant to do and that is why we are seeking a better understanding of how it applies. There are potential other much greater knock-knees into other parts of the car and that is why. We are working on all sorts of projects and this project has had several months of work."



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