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DATE News (chronologically)
04/24/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Three new Hot News items added as noted below.

  • Mosley backs customer cars for 2008
  • No green light for night racing yet - FIA
  • Dennis reaffirms vow to step aside
  • Alonso insists no 'bad thoughts'
  • Prodrive F1 entry not for sale - Richards
  • Alonso has McLaren's 'total support' - Haug
  • Honda wind tunnel to blame - Barrichello New
  • F1 journalist back in court New
  • Albers' manager denies Winkelhock rumours New

Mosley backs customer cars for 2008
(GMM) Max Mosley has backed Spyker's decision to take its rivals to arbitration but says the controversial customer car issue will be clear-cut next year.

Although some team principals dispute the FIA president's confidence about the legitimacy of the incoming rule, Mosley insisted on Monday that running the same car as another team will be legal in 2008 and beyond.

"In 2007, there is a dispute about what the Concorde Agreement means and it is right and proper that if there is a dispute it should go to arbitration," Mosley, who earlier spoke alongside Michael Schumacher for the launch of the UN Global Road Safety Week, told Reuters in London.

"(But) in the end in 2008, it won't be a problem."

Mosley, 66, has consistently argued that there is not "enough money" in formula one to sustain twelve different constructors.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is currently working on a new definition for the term, which will outline different commercial benefits for 'constructors' and a mere 'entrant'.

But Mosley, the 'M' in the formula one constructor March which in the 1970s famously built and supplied customer cars, said: "You either have customer cars or you have people struggling at the back of the grid being lapped four times."

No green light for night racing yet - FIA
(GMM) F1's governing body has not yet given a green-light to night racing, according to the FIA president Max Mosley.

Speaking at the launch of the UN's inaugural Global Road Safety Week in London, the 66-year-old on Monday said the dangers of the innovative idea still need to be fully assessed.

"We would not sanction night racing for formula one without a very careful investigation," Reuters quoted him as saying.

The night racing concept for F1 is the brainchild of Bernie Ecclestone, who wants to create a better European TV timeslot for races by staging them after sunset in Asia.

Singapore, Australia and Malaysia could be among the first night races as early next season.

Mosley revealed: "So far there hasn't been an application but if there is a serious attempt to run a night race then we will have a very careful look at it.

"It would be a big step and we wouldn't want to make a mistake."

Dennis reaffirms vow to step aside 
(GMM) Ron Dennis has reaffirmed his intention to hand over the reigns of McLaren in the near future.

The Mercedes-backed team's long time boss, who turns 60 in a few weeks time, revealed last year that he wants to be "on a beach" rather than in his Woking office within a decade.

McLaren's current F1 chief executive Martin Whitmarsh is first in line to run the outfit - which celebrated its fortieth anniversary last year - into the future.

Dennis, never likely to relinquish his role of chairman, is also the CEO.

"It's a role that I know Martin wants," the Briton told the magazine F1 Racing, "and rightly so.

"I don't see myself continuing to work as hard as I currently do forever, and there are things I want to do that I just wouldn't have the time to do if I were to remain as chief executive officer of the McLaren Group in the long term."

Dennis recently sold half of his personal stake in the team to a Bahrain company, and Mercedes' parent company Daimler Chrysler is rumored to be eyeing the rest.

Alonso insists no 'bad thoughts'
(GMM) Fernando Alonso has bucked reports that the opening few races of 2007 have left him 'rattled'.

The reigning world champion and drivers' championship leader might be forgiven for feeling flustered about the performance and hype of his rookie teammate at McLaren in 2007, Lewis Hamilton, or his lackluster outing earlier this month in Bahrain.

But Alonso, 25, is quoted by the Spanish news agency EFE as insisting that he still considers himself to be in a honeymoon-like period of this season.

The next grand prix is at Barcelona, where a sellout crowd of Alonso's countrymen are expected.

"You are always really optimistic during the first months of a season," he said, "and you think that you can repeat all of your past successes.

"There are no bad thoughts at all -- they usually come a little bit later, when things happen and you start to have doubts."

Alonso insisted: "But at the beginning of the season all of your expectations and predictions are good ones."

The Spaniard said switching from Renault after five years at the French team has left him feeling "refreshed".

"I have a different image but I have not changed as a person," Alonso continued.

"But changing teams has made me feel ready for new challenges; I feel that this is a new chapter in my life and it is exactly what I needed."

He failed to match Briton Hamilton's pace last time out in Bahrain but Alonso insists that he approaches every race freshly and "thinking that I can win".

"Five minutes before you put on your helmet it would be a mistake to think that you are not going to beat everyone," he explained.

Prodrive F1 entry not for sale - Richards
(GMM) David Richards recently denied persistent speculation that he may be looking to sell formula one's twelfth team spot.

The former Benetton and BAR-Honda principal won the coveted tender for the vacant 2008 opening, but his likely car-engine partnership with McLaren-Mercedes led to rumors that Ron Dennis might buy the Prodrive entry and run it as a 'B' team next year.

It was also rumored that the current 'car sharing' row had worried Richards or scared off potential sponsors.

But he would have been heartened by Max Mosley's renewed backing of the customer car issue for 2008 and beyond this week, and admitted recently that he has been consistently "reassured" by the FIA president and also F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone about next year.

Richards also said of his Prodrive entry: "It is not for sale and it never has been for sale."

Alonso has McLaren's 'total support' - Haug
(GMM) McLaren-Mercedes will not nominate a 'number one' driver in 2007 or in the near future, according to Mercedes' Norbert Haug.

Amid the confusion and hype surrounding rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton alongside world champion Fernando Alonso this year, the competition boss of McLaren's engine partner said the pair will "remain equal" throughout the season.

"We have never had a number one and a number two," Haug told the Spanish publication 'As', "and this is not going to change."

According to 'As', McLaren has ruled out theories that a fallen garage gantry slowed Alonso's car in Bahrain; Haug suggests that the Spaniard simply "did not feel comfortable" with his brakes.

The German - a former journalist - also played down reports of a growing rift between Alonso and Hamilton, explaining: "There is no indication that finishing fifth in Bahrain affected Fernando. Not at all.

"In fact, Fernando congratulated Lewis himself after the race. We are a team, and - after all - there was no disaster; he was only five seconds away from third place.

"Even with his brake problems, he could have finished in front of Kimi in the second Ferrari. It was very close and only decided by a few meters in the pit stops.

"Fernando knows that racing goes like this sometimes -- you could even see that in television interviews afterwards he smiled and looked perfectly happy.

"He has our total support and confidence," Haug concluded.

Honda wind tunnel to blame - Barrichello
(GMM)  Rubens Barrichello has pointed the finger at Honda's wind tunnel as the Japanese squad look for reasons for the disastrously uncompetitive RA107 racer.

"Either the tunnel is not producing the correct results or when the parts are produced they do not come out right," said Brazilian Barrichello, the most experienced driver on the 2007 grid who switched to Honda last year.

He added: "I need to say that the car has improved a lot in the wind tunnel, but this improvement still hasn't taken place on the track."

Honda's three-storey, $50 million, 100 per cent tunnel at Brackley is fairly new, and some observers have commented that the crucial 'commissioning' period may have been rushed.

Barrichello, who is rumoured to be considering retirement at the end of 2007, has already hit out at the car's excessive aerodynamic drag, resulting in low top speeds and braking instability.

He said the upcoming Barcelona test will be "extremely important" for Honda, with more suspension and aerodynamic configurations on the way.

Barrichello wrote on his website: "I'll keep on trying and stepping on the gas!"

F1 journalist back in court
(GMM)  F1 journalist and regular court visitor Tom Rubython was back in the dock this week.

The BusinessF1 magazine editor and owner lost an appeal against $150,000 libel damages, awarded last year to former Jaguar chief Tony Purnell who in an article had been accused of bribing journalists to write puff pieces back in 2005.

Rubython had appealed the verdict on the basis that the jury had been improperly directed, after a justification defense was used for Purnell's complaint about the article entitled "Purnell bribed top journalist to puff achievements".

Albers' manager denies Winkelhock rumors
(GMM)  Christijan Albers' manager has hit out at rumors that the Dutch driver's Spyker race seat is in danger.

It was reported this week that reserve driver Markus Winkelhock was shaping up to take the ride, after Albers struggled to match the pace of his rookie teammate Adrian Sutil so far in 2007.

The news, however, was denied on one Dutch website by Spyker's team principal Colin Kolles, after some observers expressed skepticism that the team would dump a driver with such substantial financial backing.

To another Dutch publication, f1today.nl, 28-year-old Albers' manager Lodewijk Varossieau said: "These rumors are news to us.

"Christijan has a watertight contract for the whole formula one season and like the team he is working as hard as he can to improve the car.

"I would put this gossip into the realm of the fairytales."

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