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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Van der Garde still stuck in F1 dispute
  • Theissen says four week break 'too long'
  • Another twist in 'car sharing' clash
  • Gene opposes traction control ban
  • High hopes for updated McLaren

Van der Garde still stuck in F1 dispute
(GMM) F1 test driver Giedo van der Garde says his management is still working to solve a contractual dispute between Super Aguri and Spyker.

The Dutchman, who turned 23 this week, originally penned a deal to become Super Aguri's 'Friday' driver in 2007, before switching his allegiance to Spyker at the same time as his girlfriend's father eyed a stake in the Silverstone based outfit.

To f1grandprix.it, van der Garde admits that he currently has two contracts, leading to the present matter before the FIA's Contract Recognition Board.

"We will see where it ends," said Giedo, who is therefore currently stranded without a Super License and instead focusing on his seat in the World Series by Renault.

He explained of the dispute: "The people behind me, the management, are working really hard to get it solved.

"Hopefully we will fix it soon."

Van der Garde said his next target is a race seat in F1 for "2008-2009".

Theissen says four week break 'too long'
(GMM) BMW's Mario Theissen has hit out at the current four-week break between the grands prix in Bahrain and Spain.

The boss of the Swiss-German squad BMW-Sauber echoed the sentiment of the majority of F1's traveling circus, which argues that such a long break would be better suited for a point later in the season, when it makes more sense to have a rest.

The gap in the calendar emerged after Imola lost its provisional spot.

"Four weeks is too long," Theissen said. "Three would have been better."

BMW will, however, use the time "effectively", 55-year-old Theissen promised, both at the Hinwil factory and then at the upcoming Barcelona test.

He also advised team rookie Robert Kubica to relax and settle into his first full season of formula one this year, despite not looking as impressive as teammate Nick Heidfeld so far in 2007.

"Robert has enormous potential," Theissen insisted. "We know that the season will be a learning year for him.

"I have told Robert to take it easy. We are fully aware of his skills," he continued. "He just needs some problem-free races, then things will get going automatically."

Another twist in 'car sharing' fight
(GMM) F1's deteriorating 'car sharing' fight could be about to take yet another turn for the worse.

With Red Bull already investigating possible legal action against Spyker and/or the source of leaked design blueprints, it now emerges that the confidential evidence may even have been tampered with.

The specialist magazine Auto Motor und Sport claims that the designs, which allegedly prove that Red Bull Racing illegally designed parts for sister team Toro Rosso's similar car, feature markings that may have been added after they were anonymously mailed to the Spyker factory at Silverstone.

Auto Motor und Sport describes how STR bosses Gerhard Berger and Franz Tost were "astonished" by some of the unfamiliar markings on the blueprints, which Spyker lodged with the stewards as part of the official protest in Malaysia earlier this month.

One of the documents in question shows codes featuring the letters 'RB3' as well as (S)'TR2', insinuating that one part of Red Bull's RB3 was also illegally used for the STR2 belonging to Toro Rosso.

But, as the leaked document was a copy, it emerges that the blueprint in question may not correspond identically with the original.

If the evidence turns out to be either stolen or tampered with - or both - it almost certainly could not be used in Spyker's pending arbitration case.

Gene opposes traction control ban
(GMM) Marc Gene has come out in opposition to the FIA's ban on traction control for formula one next year.

The Ferrari test driver said the pinnacle of motor sport must be "careful" to ensure that it does not dumb itself down to the level of lesser racing series.

"We have to seek to keep the balance right," Spaniard Gene, 33, is quoted as saying by the newspaper Diario As.

"As things are today, F1 is still the maximum in racing technology; but without the technology, is it really F1 any more?"

Gene disputes the theory that electronic driver aids necessarily rob spectators of a good show.

With traction control on board, for example, he points out that Fernando Alonso's talent was still able to shine alongside his Renault teammate last year, Giancarlo Fisichella.

"Fisichella was always fourth or fifth and rarely out in front," Gene explained. "The same was true at Ferrari, where Michael usually won and the second driver did not.

"Now, in 2007, in my opinion, the driver is still able to make the difference. At the moment I think we have the balance right."

Meanwhile, after earlier insisting that diesel engines would be "feasible" for formula one, Gene now says that the technology is unlikely to ever be used in the category.

The Peugeot prototype he will race at Le Mans this year uses a diesel engine, but Gene now insists: "Even if (F1) teams were allowed to use diesel, I don't think they would.

"Weight is so important in F1, but a diesel engine is much heavier. Something else that is important in F1 is the consistency of the (engine) power, and this is also more difficult with the diesel."

High hopes for updated McLaren
(GMM) McLaren on Wednesday debuted a new bodywork package that it hopes will draw the MP4-22 alongside the pace of its championship challenger Ferrari.

The Woking based outfit is five points clear of Ferrari in the constructors' championship, and level-pegging in the drivers' standings, but team officials confessed after Bahrain that the Maranello built F2007 is nonetheless slightly quicker.

"The updated package is not aesthetically very different," F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh is quoted as saying by the Spanish newspaper Diario As, "but we hope to bring a winning car to Barcelona."

Press reports and photographs from the straight-line test at a private airfield in Menorca on Wednesday indicate that McLaren's chrome-liveried car has indeed been slightly tweaked; with detailed changes mainly to the rear wing, sidepod chimneys and barge boards.

Test and DTM driver Gary Paffett performed the driving duties on the 1.8km grass-lined airfield runway, and will complete the aerodynamic test on Thursday.

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