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DATE News (chronologically)
04/17/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Ferrari urge Raikkonen to improve
  • Germany, not Fisi, misses Schumacher
  • Williams would snap up Hamilton
  • Briatore eyes mid-year recovery
  • Fisichella wants Patrese's GP record
  • No tension between McLaren duo - Dennis
  • BMW will win a race in 2007 - Mercedes' Haug
  • Ralf not worried about bad 2007 form

Ferrari urge Raikkonen to improve
(GMM) Ferrari has urged Kimi Raikkonen to improve after the Finn's disappointing race in Bahrain.

Some observers were surprised when the highly rated 27-year-old lagged the leaders at the safety car restart in Sakhir, after Raikkonen also made a poor getaway when the red lights went out and was outpaced all weekend by teammate Felipe Massa.

"I have to say that he has to think of a better way of managing this part of the job," Ferrari's technical director Mario Almondo, referring to the botched restart, told reporters.

The Italian also confirmed to La Gazzetta dello Sport that Raikkonen did not have "any specific technical problems" in Bahrain, while Massa won.

The Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport, meanwhile, summed up Raikkonen's weekend by concluding that the Finn did neither "well nor particularly badly" at Sakhir.

Kimi, however, was reportedly critical of his race strategy on Sunday, reckoning that the Ferrari pitwall should have given him a shorter middle stint to ensure he got past Fernando Alonso in the pits.

He said: "Hopefully in the next test we can find something which is a bit better for me."

Ferrari's sporting director Stefano Domenicali defended Raikkonen, arguing that a team could not be unhappy with a driver that is jointly leading the drivers' championship.

"He is new at Ferrari and he is still developing with us," Domenicali said of Kimi.

"I think he is very happy with us and we are very happy with him."

Ferrari has an upcoming aerodynamic test at Vairano before the Italian squad joins the group action at the pre-Spanish grand prix test.

Germany, not Fisi, misses Schumacher
(GMM) After three races without the seven time world champion, German television is apparently already missing Michael Schumacher.

According to free-to-air formula one broadcaster RTL, only 5.78 million spectators tuned in to Sunday's telecast of the Bahrain GP.

6.5m Germans watched the Sakhir race last year, but it should be pointed out that in 2006 the Sakhir event opened the calendar.

Meanwhile, while Germany may be missing Schumacher, it seems that his former rivals are not.

Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella told the newspaper Gulf News that it is every driver's choice when to draw his career to a close.

"He is a good champion, but I do not particularly miss him on the tracks," the Italian admitted.

Williams would snap up Hamilton
(GMM) Sir Frank Williams has made it clear that if Lewis Hamilton was not tightly secured to a McLaren contract, the 22-year-old rookie would be at the top of his driver wish-list for 2008.

"I cry he's not in a Williams, but I rejoice for formula one," said the eponymous team principal, who whilst also referring to Michael Schumacher described the 22-year-old as "another superhuman" racer.

Not only has Briton Hamilton made history after driving to the podium at every race in his fledgling career so far, he has won over some of the most hardened of F1's usual cynics.

Today as a commentator, triple world champion Niki Lauda is famous for letting fly with cogent insults, but even the great Austrian is rolling out the superlatives when describing F1's new boy.

Crediting Ron Dennis for Lewis' "perfect" preparation in junior categories, Lauda also said: "Hamilton made perhaps one small error so far, but most importantly he is showing that he is on a level with the double world champion Alonso.

"I have never seen something like that in all my time in motor racing."

Lauda, however, said Hamilton will "inevitably" make bigger errors this year.

1992 world champion Nigel Mansell, meanwhile, gives at least some of the credit to the competitive MP4-22 McLaren, observing that Schumacher and Ayrton Senna's debuts in inferior machines were arguably more impressive.

"What he's done is what he should have been doing anyway," Mansell told the Daily Telegraph.

Briatore eyes mid-year recovery
(GMM) Renault boss Flavio Briatore has targeted a return to the pace for the beleaguered world champions within the next three races in 2007.

The Italian told the newspaper Gulf News that it was a "mistake" to focus for so long late last season on developing the 2006 car for Fernando Alonso's successful title bid.

"But we cannot undo lost time," Briatore said before jetting out of Bahrain, where his Enstone-built cars finished nearly a lap behind at the checkered flag.

He said Renault would make good use of the nearly four week break before the next grand prix, in Spain, to close the gap to Ferrari, McLaren and BMW.

"We need to correct the mistakes and we hope to do this within the next three races."

Team driver Giancarlo Fisichella, however, has already written off any chance of being a championship contender this year after finishing just eighth in Bahrain.

He said: "I feel a little bit disappointed because at the beginning of the season I was confident to fight for the title.

"Unfortunately we cannot do that any more."

Fisichella wants Patrese's GP record
(GMM) Giancarlo Fisichella says he wants to stick around in formula one for at least four more years.

The Italian, although enduring a difficult season for Renault so far in 2007, is setting his sights on countryman Riccardo Patrese's long-standing record of 256 grands prix.

Already a ten-year veteran with more than 180 races under his belt, surpassing Patrese's record would see Fisichella appearing on the grid beyond 2011.

He told Gulf News: "I want to beat the world record before I consider leaving the circuit."

Fisichella said he also hoped to see out his career at Renault, even though test driver Nelson Piquet Jr is impatiently eyeing the seat.

The Roman, who has also driven for Minardi, Jordan and Sauber, explained: "I will hopefully retire while competing for Renault because they are the best team I have had."

No tension between McLaren duo - Dennis
(GMM) Team principal Ron Dennis has played down any suggestion of tension between McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and rookie superstar Lewis Hamilton.

Many observers interpreted a discussion between Dennis and Alonso on a park bench in the Bahrain paddock last week as a public message that McLaren has not forgotten about the double world champion amid all the Hamilton hype.

Dennis denied to reporters that the conversation was staged, but explained: "It was just a kind of paternal touch.

"We are privileged to have a double world champion in the car and the chemistry between the two is fantastic.

"There is not an issue (between them) and we'll make sure it stays that way. We want to win the world championship.

"We have the young pretender and the champion and we owe it to them to give them equal opportunity."

The Woking-based team's chief did, however, admit that 22-year-old Briton Hamilton's impressive debut so far in 2007, and the reaction of the media, has probably left Alonso a little irked.

Dennis recalled: "The first three questions (from the press) to the drivers in Australia went to Lewis.

"I could just sense Fernando thinking, 'Hang on, I am the double world champion here'."

BMW will win a race in 2007 - Mercedes' Haug
(GMM) BMW's own boasts are more reserved, but key rival Mercedes-Benz thinks its fellow German manufacturer will win in 2007.

Hinwil based Sauber's progress since the BMW buyout has been impressive to the point that Norbert Haug - who is competition director for McLaren's engine partner - thinks Nick Heidfeld or Robert Kubica will climb to the top step of the podium at some point this year.

To the Swiss newspaper Blick, Haug said one specialist journalist will be disappointed when his bet that Ferrari will win 14 races this year is lost.

"We will make sure of that," the German said.

"I also think that BMW-Sauber will soon win a race; and whoever writes off Renault is in my opinion making a mistake."

Ralf not worried about bad 2007 form
(GMM) Ralf Schumacher says his current lackluster driving for the Toyota team will not impede his hopes of securing a new contract beyond 2007.

The German, after struggling to adapt the TF107 to his driving style, has notably lagged behind teammate Jarno Trulli so far this year.

Trulli signed a new three year deal to stay at the Japanese squad last season, but Schumacher's existing long term agreement runs out at the end of October.

"I am not too worried," 'RTL' quoted Schumacher, 31, as saying, "because I think that I will move forward from the problems that I am having.

"Only then will I speak to the team (about 2008)," he added.

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