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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Bernie should buy Brit GP - Mansell
  • Brundle honored, criticized
  • Massa 'not interested' in Coulthard record
  • Prost tips Massa to bag first title
  • Gascoyne not muscled by Spyker chiefs
  • Heidfeld reveals soggy secret
  • Renault, Vettel, Paffett in action
  • Vettel accepts BMW's Friday axe

Bernie should buy Brit GP - Mansell
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone should secure the future of the British grand prix by buying Silverstone.

That is the view of 1992 world champion Nigel Mansell, who is a staunch advocate of formula one remaining at the Northamptonshire venue.

"I think it would be wonderful if Bernie ended up buying the whole thing and doing something very special," Mansell told the Daily Telegraph in Britain.

Silverstone's current GP contract runs only until 2009.  The circuit is perpetually high on Ecclestone's list of gripes as he demands upgrades.

But Mansell said of the 76-year-old: "He is the only person who could afford to do that.  It would cost a lot of money but Bernie is the godfather of motor sport."

The former Ferrari, Williams and McLaren racer, however, refuses to pin the blame for Silverstone's flagging fortunes on the diminutive ringmaster.

"Silverstone have been their own biggest enemy by not investing in the infrastructure," Mansell charged.

Brundle honored, criticized
(GMM)  Former formula one racer Martin Brundle has become an honorary Doctor of Civil Law.

After contesting more than 150 grands prix for teams including McLaren and Williams until 1996, the 47-year-old was awarded the degree by the University of East Anglia also in recognition of his current career as a commentator for British TV.

The news interestingly coincides with former Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn's observation from semi-retirement that relying on British broadcaster ITV's live coverage of the sport is a "very frustrating business".

Brawn also referred disparagingly to the "quality of commentators" of Britain's F1 coverage.

"I sympathize with you," he told readers of the British magazine Autosport.

"Our commentators don't seem very good at conveying what is going on.

"It's very frustrating to watch a race and not have that information which is available to everyone at the track.  So condolences for that."

Massa 'not interested' in Coulthard record
(GMM)  Bahrain grand prix winner Felipe Massa has enthused about the even quicker Ferrari single seater that he tested last week at Barcelona.

The Maranello based team's 2007 car was already the pacesetter this year, but Brazilian Massa, 26, said a heavy update made a significant difference to the pace at the same venue for Sunday's Spanish grand prix.

"Before the update the F2007 was good enough," he is quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport, "and we could prove it by already winning twice.

"But this (updated) car is even better.  I hope that we can repeat our competitiveness of the test in the next race," Massa added.

Massa last week revealed that he thought the new package had taken five tenths off an average lap time, while some observers now estimate the advantage over McLaren to be a full second.

Massa said: "I have a great car and am ready to win again."

He rubbished David Coulthard's lap record on the final day of last week's test by saying a Ferrari driver could "easily" have gone quicker if he had wanted.

"Coulthard's record?" La Gazzetta quotes Massa as saying.  "It does not interest us."

He also commented on McLaren's radical new front wing, and confirmed that something equally as visually impressive will not crop up on the red cars in scrutineering later this week.

"They attract a lot of attention with their wing but we have many innovations and our car is faster.

"I am sure McLaren will still be competitive but we hope to be in front," Massa said.

Prost tips Massa to bag first title
(GMM)  Felipe Massa is likely to emerge later this season with his first world championship.

That is the prediction of quadruple drivers' title winner Alain Prost, who said the current points pecking order is misleading as to the true state of play in 2007.

The Frenchman observed that Ferrari have clearly the fastest package so far this year, "and Massa can be world champion," Prost told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Why?  Because he knows the team better than Raikkonen."

Prost, also a former team owner, also said Ferrari is the favorite to edge rivals McLaren in the constructors' contest.

"They have more recent experience of winning and are always a team that is hard to beat," said the 52-year-old, who drove for the Italian stable in the 90s.

"The only question mark for them is the rivalry between their own drivers, because most recently they have always concentrated on just one driver," he said.

Prost also reserved some praise for Lewis Hamilton, but stopped short of joining in the hype that predicts a definite title assault for McLaren's impressive rookie.

"I think we will know more about that after Barcelona and Monte Carlo," Prost said, "but it is not impossible.  I see him in a psychologically favorable situation.

"He has driven well and without errors, but so many young drivers come in with a bang and then disappear.

"Lewis however has done it now at three different circuits so far."

Gascoyne not muscled by Spyker chiefs
(GMM)  Mike Gascoyne has rejected speculation in the Dutch press that said his decision to debut a 'B'-spec car at the Turkish GP had been overruled by his Spyker bosses.

The heavily updated version of the current F8-VII was originally scheduled by Gascoyne - the Silverstone based team's new chief technology officer - to appear for the first time at Istanbul in August.

That proposed debut date has now been accelerated to the European GP at the end of July, leading to gossip that Gascoyne is unhappy to have been muscled and put under pressure to deliver in a shorter space of time.

Spyker, formerly Midland and Jordan, is widely considered to be the slowest formula one team so far in 2007.

Gascoyne is quoted as saying by the magazine Formule 1 Race Report: "Not (team bosses) Michiel Mol, or Victor Muller, or Colin Kolles makes the decisions about the technical aspects.  I do.

"I have examined in detail our plans and because of the progress we have already made I believe we will be ready with the B car for Germany."

Despite his reputation at Toyota and Renault, however, Gascoyne warned that the revised car is not likely to haul Spyker immediately away from the tail of the grid.

"At my other teams it took me a year to get everything together," he said, "and that will also be the case for us.

"The b car will certainly bring us forward, but there will be no magic.  I am not a wizard."

Heidfeld reveals soggy secret
(GMM)  Nick Heidfeld let slip in an interview more than what his fans bargained for -- he has urinated at the wheel of his F1 car.

The Q&A feature in the popular German tabloid Bild is a mark of his growing stature in the grand prix paddock.

But when asked if he has ever urinated during a race, BMW-Sauber's Heidfeld - the normally shy German who turns 30 later this week - was extraordinarily forthright.

"Yes," he told the newspaper, "it has happened before.  "What am I supposed to do, pull into the pits and ask to have a toilet break?"

The comic interviewer then asked Heidfeld if television viewers should pay close attention for a wet patch on his overalls if, as expected, he races to the podium in 2007.

"It tends to evaporate pretty quickly," Nick smiled.

Renault, Vettel, Paffett in action
(GMM)  Renault's formula one car was in action at the weekend.

At the Renault World Series event at the Nurburgring, won by BMW-Sauber test driver Sebastian Vettel, former grand prix racer Christian Danner took the R27 for a demonstration run.

49-year-old Danner contested 36 grands prix in the 80s for mostly backmarker teams.

Like Vettel, meanwhile, also making a mark at the weekend was part time McLaren test driver Gary Paffett, who surprised by taking his year-old Mercedes-Benz to victory at the DTM round in Oschersleben (Germany).

The 26-year-old is strongly tipped to debut in F1 next year for Prodrive, the new team which could use a customer car-engine package bought from Mercedes-powered McLaren.

Vettel accepts BMW's Friday axe
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel has played down his disappointment at BMW-Sauber's decision to scrap its Friday practice policy in 2007.

Following the complaints of the Swiss squad's race drivers, BMW motor sport director Mario Theissen recently announced that teenage test driver Vettel will no longer appear on track on the opening morning of F1 events.

But at the Renault World Series event at the weekend - won, incidentally, by the German 19-year-old - Vettel insisted that the decision will not overly affect him.

"I will still have some F1 testing during the season," he said, "so I will still get some experience in the F1 car."

Vettel continued: "The situation is how it is.  Obviously I would be very pleased to drive on Fridays; it would give me more experience in the car and of the tracks.

"But I can completely understand the step taken by the team.  They are aiming to improve general performance and if this is part of that process then I must accept it."

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