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Latest F1 news in brief
  • 'The week of excuses' - press analysis
  • Hakk to 'probably' test McLaren again
  • Renault 'crisis meeting' on Friday
  • Spyker to test more regularly - Gascoyne
  • Toyota vow to help Ralf improve
  • No 'B' car in 2007 - Red Bull's Webber

'The week of excuses' - press analysis
(GMM) Some sections of the F1 press is conveying a cynical analysis of Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso's high-profile failures to perform in the recent Bahrain grand prix.

The German specialist magazine Auto Motor und Sport headlined "The week of the excuse" after both drivers gave explanations for why they might have lagged behind their less highly-rated teammates at the Sakhir circuit.

Meanwhile, El Mundo Deportivo, a Spanish newspaper, is calling the saga a "Battle of egos".

"After the first three races (of 2007), both drivers should be coming to the realization that before thinking about the title, they must work out how to beat their respective teammates, Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton," a report said.

The Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat says Raikkonen's biggest problem with the F2007 is its front end; and the fact that Massa can cope better with a tendency to understeer.

"We must make the car behave better for Kimi," technical director Mario Almondo insisted to the Italian magazine Autosprint, after Raikkonen said Ferrari must work on improving his pace particularly in qualifying.

In La Gazzetta dello Sport, on the other hand, Spaniard Alonso floated the theory that his car may have been damaged on Friday evening by the falling gantry incident in the McLaren garage at Sakhir.

Hakk to 'probably' test McLaren again
(GMM) McLaren's former twice world champion Mika Hakkinen says it is possible that he will return to the wheel of a Mercedes-powered formula one car for another test at some point in the future.

But the 38-year-old Finn, once again preparing to drive for the German engine manufacturer in the DTM touring car category this year, revealed in an interview that there are currently no talks about a test with McLaren boss Ron Dennis.

"(Dennis) always keeps the door open though," Hakkinen told the news agency Sport-Informations-Dienst.

"I will probably test again but I do not know when or where," he added, after testing for a single day in the recent winter off-season at Barcelona in Spain.

"It will be necessary to wait."

Hakkinen also said he enjoyed the test and would have provided useful data for the team, "but of course I would have preferred to have ended the day as the fastest driver.

"However, that would have been unrealistic," he added.

Renault 'crisis meeting' on Friday
(GMM) Enstone, a village in England's West Oxfordshire, will on Friday be the scene of some forthright soul searching.

It is reported in the German specialist magazine Auto Motor und Sport that a "crisis meeting" will be held at Renault's UK headquarters after the reigning back to back world champions rose only to a comparatively paltry fourth position in the constructors' title.

With Fernando Alonso departed to McLaren, Renault racers Giancarlo Fisichella and rookie Heikki Kovalainen failed to finish higher than fifth place in any of the three 'flyaway' races in Australia, Malaysia, and last weekend in Bahrain.

The report says the meeting has been convened by team principal Flavio Briatore in order to devise a recovery plan.

The Italian has reportedly already internally written off winning the 2007 championship but wants to use the remaining fourteen grands prix this year to claw back the on-average 1.5 second per lap gap to the front runners, after Renault also fell off the pace of BMW-Sauber.

The focus of any Renault recovery is likely to centre around the relationship between the R27 chassis and the Bridgestone tires, and also consider fundamental changes to suspension, wheel base, aerodynamic balance and weight distribution.

Spyker to test more regularly - Gascoyne
(GMM) F1 backmarker Spyker will test more regularly for the remainder of 2007 after admitting that its undersized winter preparation impacted the initial development of the F8-VII single seater.

The Dutch team's highly rated chief technology officer Mike Gascoyne confessed that the first flyaway races of 2007 turned into little more than "fire-fighting" after Spyker sat out crucial pre-season tests at grand prix venues Bahrain and Malaysia.

He said the Silverstone based outfit will from now on basically follow the same test schedule as the rest of the 2007 grid.

"Yes, there's no real deficit for us in terms of testing," Briton Gascoyne explained.

He also said the refurbished wind tunnel near its base in England will be switched on in "the next couple of weeks", while Spyker is currently developing bodywork parts in the respective Lola and Aerolab facilities in England and Italy.

Meanwhile, we reported this week that team boss Colin Kolles had accelerated the projected debut of the 'B' car from Turkey (August) to the Nurburgring (July); information now confirmed by Gascoyne.

He explained: "It's less of an update because we're doing more updates earlier. The Malaysia package wasn't originally planned, and we're doing some parts for Barcelona, and hopefully there will be a package for Monaco.

"So we're doing more sooner, which is good."

The 'B' car will principally feature a new rear end, new gearbox, radiators, dampers and bodywork, Gascoyne added.

Toyota vow to help Ralf improve
(GMM) Toyota has moved to quieten rumors that Ralf Schumacher will be dumped at the end of 2007 by insisting that the team will help its German driver through his current lack of pace.

31-year-old Schumacher has been comprehensively outshone by his teammate Jarno Trulli so far in 2007, leading some observers to argue that it is up to the beleaguered driver to adapt to his car in such a crisis.

BMW-Sauber's technical director Willy Rampf, however, observed that it is not principally up to a top driver to change his style to suit a difficult race car.

"A driver must be able to work in a way that is comfortable for him," Rampf told Motorsport Aktuell, "because only then is he able to perform best."

Toyota team president John Howett agrees.

The Briton said: "We have to help Ralf and make the car more drivable for him."

No 'B' car in 2007 - Red Bull's Webber
(GMM) Red Bull will make steady improvements throughout 2007 rather than introduce a 'B'-spec car, according to Mark Webber.

Asked if a new chassis for the Renault-powered package was on the agenda, the Australian driver told F1's official website: "I don't think so.

"We are not bringing a B-car like some others."

Officials for the Austrian-owned squad have been buoyed by the pace of the 'RB3' contender in the last two races, insisting that - despite recurring reliability flaws - Red Bull is now the fourth quickest team.

Referring to Bahrain, the car's designer Adrian Newey told Speed TV: "We were quicker than Renault, and we were quicker than Toyota."

The Briton also revealed that, like most other teams, the RB3 will be updated for the Spanish GP next month.

"We said all along that the cars are very new cars and we haven't properly developed them yet," Newey insisted.

"We've got some new parts for Barcelona."

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