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DATE News (chronologically)
04/14/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Added two new latest news briefs below.

  • Fry denies 'B' car for Canada
  • Fry denies Honda 'offer' to Brawn
  • Prodrive to reveal F1 plans at British GP
  • STR wants Bernie to solve car sharing row
  • Toro Rosso not planning mirror change
  • 22,000 spectators at Sakhir on Friday
  • Stop mentioning Hamilton's color - Bernie
  • Violence in Bahrain
  • Bahrain near-misses highlight dangers
  • No penalty for rude Raikkonen - FIA
  • Tilke upsets police in Bahrain
  • Renault does not 'understand' struggle New
  • Haug praises rival Massa's pole New

Fry denies 'B' car for Canada
(GMM) Honda's Nick Fry has agreed in Bahrain that reports of a 'new car' for the Canadian grand prix are exaggerated.

As another uncompetitive weekend unfolds for the Japanese squad at the Sakhir circuit, boss Fry said "a large number" of new parts are planned for Barcelona, Montreal and also France, but he denied that they will culminate with effectively a 'B'-spec RA107.

"I think it's just going to be a series of rolling changes, if you like, rather than one change which is going to fix the problem," he said.

Fry explained that the gearbox, engine and rear suspension is likely to be unaltered in the redesign.

"I wouldn't call it a new car but it's not going to be insubstantial either," he concluded.

Fry denies Honda 'offer' to Brawn
(GMM) Nick Fry denied in Bahrain that Honda has made an offer to Ross Brawn in a bid to lure Ferrari's former technical director to the Honda team.

"No, it's not true," the team principal told reporters on Friday, explaining that he thought comments he made in Malaysia had been exaggerated.

Fry explained: "I made one comment along the lines that I'm sure there are a number of people who might be interested in Ross."

The reports sparked comments by members of the Ferrari team, who claim a gentleman's agreement with Brawn exists whereby the 52-year-old will talk to his former team before exploring other options.

Fry said in Bahrain: "In my view he's an incredibly talented person and he would be an asset to most formula one teams."

Although it is true that Brawn is under no contractual obligations to Ferrari, Fry admitted that he thought a handshake agreement does indeed exit.

Fry added: "I'm sure there are a number of people interested in him but we will see what happens later in the year.

"The team principals talk to a lot of people all the time and we are no exception, but obviously in our situation we have spoken to a number of technically adept people.

"We certainly need to strengthen the team in some areas."

Prodrive to reveal F1 plans at British GP
(GMM) Prodrive plans to unveil the structure of its new formula one team at the British grand prix this year.

After making a business trip to nearby Kuwait, team boss David Richards is in Bahrain this weekend, and he explained to reporters that F1 news about Prodrive had dried up recently because he was busy working on his buyout of Aston Martin.

"But we are perfectly on target," the Briton, still wearing his trademark designer stubble, said.

It is rumored that McLaren and Mercedes could supply both car and engine to the Prodrive team in 2008, but Richards was giving little away on Friday.

He said a "full announcement" was being prepared for Silverstone, including suppliers, sponsors and even a driver lineup.

Richards ruled out re-branding the team as Aston Martin next year, but said his two outfits might cooperate in the future.

"Who knows? Five years down the line it might be appropriate," he said, insisting that Aston Martin's immediate future is in sports cars.

STR wants Bernie to solve car sharing row
(GMM) Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost said in Bahrain that he hoped Bernie Ecclestone could help resolve the lingering 'car sharing' saga.

The Faenza based team, along with Super Aguri, is locked in a conflict with Spyker, who have lodged official protests and launched arbitration proceedings against its rivals' alleged use of illegal cars.

Before the F1 circus traveled to the Persian Gulf for this weekend's race, we reported that F1 supremo Ecclestone would propose increasing income for all teams in a move to appease the worsening crisis.

STR principal Tost said on Friday that he hoped a solution like that could be found, but he admitted that some teams like Williams are not keen on expanding the promised revenue from TV to every outfit.

He explained: "As far as I know, (Spyker boss Colin) Kolles is concerned about the money. In my opinion twelve teams should get the money, not only ten.

"If Bernie comes here with a solution like that then we think that is correct. We hope he can achieve it but in formula one you never know."

It is not certain when Ecclestone plans to meet with the team principals at Sakhir this weekend, but we can confirm that the meeting did not take place on Friday.

Toro Rosso not planning mirror change
(GMM) Team boss Franz Tost said in Bahrain that he would be happy to change the design of Toro Rosso's rear mirrors but only if the drivers request it.

Amid news that the FIA is cracking down on aggressive mirror designs that compromise visibility, the Italian squad was reported as one of those that has pushed the envelope of the rules to aid aerodynamic performance.

Sister team Red Bull has now moved its mirrors from their aggressive sidepod mounting back to the cockpit, but Tost said on Friday that Toro Rosso is not planning to follow suit any time soon.

"At the moment we have no changes planned," he said. "That is the situation certainly for here and probably also for Barcelona.

"But if the drivers would like the mirrors closer to them, then that should not be a problem."

22,000 spectators at Sakhir on Friday
(GMM) 22,000 paying spectators attended the opening day of formula one action in Bahrain on Friday.

The figure is 6,000 spectators higher than the previous record for a Friday at the Sakhir circuit, set last year.

Circuit officials said more than 30,000 tickets have been sold for Sunday's grand prix.

Circuit boss Martin Whitaker said: "Normally Friday is very quiet but I think the change in the weekend (format) has made a big difference."

Stop mentioning Hamilton's color - Bernie
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has urged the F1 media to stop referring to the color of Lewis Hamilton's skin.

The F1 supremo suggested in Bahrain on Friday that the McLaren rookie was doing a good enough job this year without needing endless references to his record as the sport's first ever black driver.

22-year-old Hamilton's father Anthony was born in Britain to emigrants of the Caribbean island Granada, sparking press embellishments along the lines that Lewis is the 'Tiger Woods' of motor racing.

"I wish people wouldn't keep on talking about him being colored and all that because he doesn't need to have the praise because he happens to be colored," said Bernie, 76.

"He is just bloody good. He is also young, good looking and talks to people. That's important.

"The point is he is selling the business -- 100 per cent."

Violence in Bahrain
(GMM) Ferrari and McLaren set the pace at Sakhir on Friday, but violence in Bahrain was making the evening news headlines on the tiny Arab island.

Police clashed with political protesters in the nearby capital Manama, who had timed their demonstrations to coincide with the grand prix.

The clashes quickly spread to the mostly Shiite suburbs, where stones and Molotov cocktails were hurled at police, who fired back with tear gas and rubber bullets.

Bahrain is roughly the size of New York City, and the wail of ambulances could apparently be heard at the formula one circuit.

Bahrain near-misses highlight dangers
(GMM) There were two near misses during practice for the Bahrain GP on Friday, acting as a stark reminder that safety is still an issue in formula one.

Cockpit protection for drivers returned to the agenda after Alex Wurz and David Coulthard's clash in Melbourne last month.

But following the incidents at Sakhir, pitlane and also trackside safety are likely to increase in importance.

Red Bull's Coulthard was again involved in one of the incidents on Friday, after he nearly ran over a Toyota brake specialist when returning to his garage.

The second incident occurred on the circuit, after Jenson Button abandoned his Honda following an engine failure.

The Briton had parked his car at a ninety-degree angle to the racing line, meaning that when it started to roll backwards it potentially could have caused a passing racer to strike it broadside.

Marshals then took nearly five minutes before attending to the car, which brought a look of pained relief to the face of Honda chief Nick Fry when the car finally ground to a halt.

"Perhaps someone should have been there a bit quicker," the Briton agreed.

Button thinks the marshals were reluctant because his fellow drivers were not slowing down for the yellow flags, despite the presence of his spilled oil on the track.

He said: "That wasn't very good to see. The marshals didn't want to get too close in case something happened, I suppose."

No penalty for rude Raikkonen - FIA
(GMM)  A spokesman for F1's governing body says the FIA will not take action against Kimi Raikkonen after an incident at Sakhir on Friday.

Nicknamed 'the iceman', the Finn - although quickest in his Ferrari on the opening day of Bahrain action - lost his temper with Toro Rosso's Californian driver Scott Speed during the afternoon session.

On-board and still photography of the incident reveals Raikkonen, 27, showing Speed his middle finger.

"He just didn't look in his mirrors and blocked me completely," Kimi justified to reporters afterwards.

Asked about Raikkonen's impolite behaviour, a FIA spokesman is quoted as telling German newspaper Bild: "He will not be penalised."

Tilke upsets police in Bahrain
(GMM)  F1's exclusive circuit designer Hermann Tilke had a run-in with Bahrain's local police on Friday.

Whilst returning from a day at the circuit he penned at Sakhir to his hotel in the capital Manama, the German engineer was stopped by police on a motorway for exceeding the 100kph speed limit by 50kph, according to the Swiss newspaper Blick.

Apparently Tilke was taken to the police station for no less than two hours before they realised that their speedy prey was one of the leading figures behind Bahrain's annual grand prix.

He was then released without sanction.

Meanwhile, late triple world champion Ayrton Senna's nephew Bruno qualified fifth on Friday as the GP2 season got underway at Sakhir.

The Brazilian's Arden teammate Adrian Zaugg, half a second slower, was just fourteenth.  Luca Filippi, for Super Nova, is on pole.

Renault does not 'understand' struggle
(GMM)  Team boss Flavio Briatore on Saturday admitted that reigning world champions Renault "do not understand" why they have fallen off the pace in 2007.

"Obviously we are not happy," the Italian told reporters after his team qualified among the pace of drivers for Williams, Toyota and Red Bull at Sakhir.

Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen will line up seventh and twelfth on Sunday's grid.

Briatore said: "Unfortunately we do not understand our problems.  That is the biggest problem."

Haug praises rival Massa's pole
(GMM)  Mercedes' Norbert Haug has congratulated Felipe Massa for securing pole at the Bahrain grand prix.

"He has been superb," the German told the broadcaster 'Premiere'.

"He has shown (teammate) Kimi (Raikkonen) the way all weekend," Haug added, referring to the Finn who switched from McLaren to join Ferrari in 2007.

Haug also denied that Lewis Hamilton's front row qualifying performance at Sakhir was achieved with a light load of fuel, despite some observers' surprise that the rookie has outqualified his teammate and reigning world champion Fernando Alonso.

"Without giving too much away," Mercedes competition director Haug said, "he has a substantial amount of fuel on board.

"I can tell you that his strategy is not for show -- we may even drive (the first stint) longer than Ferrari."

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