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Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE More news briefs added below
  • Williams to turn 65 on Monday New
  • F1 to consider cockpit roll-cages - Schumacher New
  • Speedy Schumacher fined at Sakhir New
  • Slow Button on fire in Bahrain New
  • Kubica disputes Sepang clash apology
  • FIA tests mirror visibility in Bahrain
  • Heidfeld pours cold water on Hamilton hype
  • Davidson recovered from quiet 'flu
  • Downbeat Barrichello targets top twelve
  • News briefs from Bahrain

Williams to turn 65 on Monday
(GMM) Sir Frank Williams has vowed to try and let his birthday pass without a mention when he flies back to Britain from Bahrain on Monday.

The eponymous boss of F1's Grove based team, who has traveled to the Persian Gulf to oversee this weekend's event, is turning 65.

"I hate all celebrations," Williams, who has been confined to a wheelchair since 1996, smilingly told the news agency 'sid'.

Williams' current driver Nico Rosberg, whose father Keke won the title for Sir Frank in 1982, commented: "This man is easy to admire.

"He is still a really big F1 fan, but he can be difficult as well," the German racer fondly said.

"If you've just done a bad session he doesn't have to say a lot -- you can see it on his face."

After briefly working as a driver and a mechanic, Williams founded Frank Williams Racing Cars in 1966, finding success once he had teamed up with current team co-owner and technical expert Patrick Head a decade later.

He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1999.

F1 to consider cockpit roll-cages - Schumacher
(GMM) F1 could consider enclosing the cockpits of formula one cars to improve safety.

That is the revelation in Bahrain of Toyota racer Ralf Schumacher, who is also a director of the safety-oriented Grand Prix Drivers' Association.

He told the news agency 'sid' that discussions about cockpit safety have moved higher up on the GPDA's agenda following the incident in Melbourne last month involving Alex Wurz and David Coulthard.

"We are thinking about how to make the cockpits safer," Ralf admitted.

He explained: "Ideally we would like to stop the cars from leaping over each other, but we could also think about higher cockpit sides or (roll) cages."

Speedy Schumacher fined at Sakhir
(GMM) Toyota driver Ralf Schumacher was the first driver in Bahrain to be asked by the stewards to dip into his wallet after speeding in the pit lane.

During the Friday morning practice session at Sakhir, the German broke the 60kph limit by 7.2kph, incurring a fine of (US) $1,400.

Slow Button on fire in Bahrain
(GMM)  Jenson Button's nightmare season continued to worsen in Bahrain on Friday.

While lapping amongst the slowest runners in the afternoon free practice session, the Honda racer pulled over on the exit of turn two with a fiery engine failure.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa then slid on the spilled oil and spun, although avoiding the barrier.

Button, however, avoids an engine penalty as all competitors are only required to fit their race-spec power plants for the start of Saturday practice and qualifying. 

Kubica disputes Sepang clash apology
(GMM) Tension is still a factor in the BMW-Sauber garage in 2007.

Although teammates Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica deny that they struggle to get along, rumors of a strained relationship continue to regularly circulate.

In the Malaysian grand prix, the pair collided at the first corner, sparking Heidfeld's revelation after the race that Kubica had "apologized" for the clash.

But Pole Kubica, 22, told the Swiss newspaper Blick in Bahrain: "What I am supposed to have apologized for?

"Obviously Nick misunderstood my words."

Kubica's manager Daniele Morelli added: "There is nothing to be sorry about. Nick simply closed the door on Robert and they made contact."

Kubica insists that the only missing link for him in 2007 is bad reliability, after failing to score a single point compared with Heidfeld's tally of 10.

He also pointed a finger at BMW strategists "mistakes" in both events this year in mistiming his qualifying runs.

"Just give me a reliable car and I will deliver the results," he said.

"In Malaysia I was the only one who could be close to the pace of McLaren and Ferrari until qualifying, when our problems began."

FIA tests mirror visibility in Bahrain
(GMM) Concerned about backmarkers' reluctance to move over for quicker cars this year, FIA scrutineers on Thursday tested the rear-facing mirror designs on all formula one cars.

At Bahrain's Sakhir circuit, officials for the governing body required one driver from each team to sit in his car and read a hand-written message held by another scrutineer ten meters behind.

There is no word yet on whether all of the drivers passed the test, after concerns arose about the questionable design and location of mirrors on some cars.

After discovering that sidepod-mounted mirrors were too difficult to see out of, primarily due to excessive vibration, for example, Red Bull has now switched to a more standard cockpit mounting.

Sister team Toro Rosso, however, still mounts its mirrors on the sidepods.

The word in the Sakhir paddock is that further mirror tests will be carried out in the near future.

Heidfeld pours cold water on Hamilton hype
(GMM) Nick Heidfeld has poured cold water on the hype surrounding impressive McLaren rookie Lewis Hamilton's formula one debut in 2007.

22-year-old Briton Hamilton is poised to make history as the first ever rookie to score three consecutive podiums in his first three races, but the British media has gone into an unprecedented overdrive vaguely reminiscent only of Jenson Button's debut in 2000.

But in Bahrain for the third race of the 2007 season, BMW's Heidfeld agreed that - as Button's twelfth place at Sepang a week ago proves - media hype is not always right.

The German, 29, said: "90 per cent of all rookies were future world champions when they arrived, but the only way to see is to wait for what happens.

"Lewis is doing a really good job, especially when you see that in the last race he did not make a mistake under the pressure of both Ferraris.

"But on the other hand you have to notice that (teammate Fernando) Alonso was quite clearly faster so far," Heidfeld said.

"Lewis has done a good job but no-one should forget about the guys who are ahead of him in the championship."

Alonso, meanwhile, pointed out on Thursday that Hamilton's debut has not given him anything to worry about yet.

Asked to sum up the rookie's performance in Malaysia, Spaniard Alonso said: "He kept the pressure and he kept the Ferraris behind me.

"And thanks to him keeping them behind we were first and second."

Davidson recovered from quiet 'flu
(GMM) Anthony Davidson said in Bahrain that he is now fully recovered from a bout of the 'flu.

The Super Aguri rookie, who hardly rates a mention in the British press due to the excitement surrounding countryman Lewis Hamilton's podium-fuelled early career, endured a difficult race in Malaysia because he was not feeling well.

But after traveling to hospital after the Australian GP with back problems, and approaching the second race not fully recovered, it emerges that he tried to keep his Sepang illness quiet.

"After Melbourne I didn't want to play up the 'flu last weekend, otherwise I'd sound like a sick note," he said on Thursday.

"But I feel 100 per cent for the first time now and I'm ready to fight this weekend."

Downbeat Barrichello targets top twelve
(GMM) A downbeat Rubens Barrichello has targeted a mere top-twelve qualifying effort in Bahrain.

The Brazilian driver broke ranks with his Honda colleagues on Thursday by reporting that the struggling RA107 racer "has not improved" since it debuted disappointingly in Melbourne last month.

Barrichello, 34, thus set a modest target for round three at Sakhir: "If I am able to push the car to the limit in qualifying then a grid position in the top twelve should be possible."

Meanwhile, even despite speculation of a completely re-vamped car for the Canadian grand prix in June, teammate Jenson Button warned that there will be "no easy fix" to the Japanese squad's problems.

"It is going to take a little bit of time. It is not going to be the next race, it will be four to five races down the line," the Briton said.

Button added: "We've known for three months that the car is not quick, but there's no easy fix."

News briefs from Bahrain
(GMM) It may be located in the middle of a desert, but Bahrain's Sakhir circuit was drenched with rain in recent days.

More predictably, however, Friday morning dawned hot and dry, despite a touch of cloud cover. The threat of thunderstorms later on still exists, however, but race-day Sunday should be sunny, dry and warm.


Spaniards Fernando Alonso and Pedro de la Rosa cast aside lingering gossip about a tense relationship by sharing a game of tennis at their hotel, the Ritz-Carlton, in Bahrain.

In a match lasting nearly three hours, and with the final scores at 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, world champion and current championship leader Alonso was the winner.


It is true that the F1 media is presently falling at Lewis Hamilton's feet in praise for the McLaren rookie's stunning early career.

In the Bahrain paddock on Friday morning, however, one photographer took the mantra too literally when he stumbled backwards trying to snap a shot of the strolling McLaren driver.

Hamilton, 22, dodging the carnage at his feet, grinned before enquiring: "Are you ok?"

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