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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Hulkenberg set for F1 test with Renault
  • Schu visit to be low-profile - spokeswoman
  • Aguri, STR, announce car upgrades for Spain
  • Spyker have taken step back - Monteiro
  • Alonso can cope with Hamilton hype

Hulkenberg set for F1 test with Renault
(GMM) Newly crowned A1GP champion and teenager Nico Hulkenberg will test a formula one car for the first time later in 2007.

That is the promise of the German's manager, Willi Weber, who is famous for steering the career of the most successful and highest earning grand prix driver of all time, Michael Schumacher.

Weber told the German magazine Sport Bild that he is already in contact with Renault boss Flavio Briatore about organizing a test for Hulkenberg, who drove for his 'Team Germany' in the A1GP open wheel series in 2006/2007.

"After we cooperated together with regard to Michael between 1991 and 1995, Flavio and I know each other more than well," Weber is quoted as saying.

In the meantime, Hulkenberg is racing this year in the F3 Euroseries.

Schu visit to be low-profile - spokeswoman
(GMM) Michael Schumacher's role at the Spanish grand prix this weekend will be low-profile.

But the retired seven time world champion's media spokeswoman, Sabine Kehm, also insisted that Schumacher will be an active member of the Ferrari team - rather than merely a guest - at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

"He will be watching structures in the background and looking at where things can be improved," Kehm is quoted as saying by the Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

Kehm's warning follows earlier reports that said the 38-year-old German would probably not even speak to the media this weekend.

The Spanish GP is the first formula one event Schumacher will attend since he raced for the last time last October.

But it is believed that Ferrari and Schumacher's PR representatives have deliberately not organized any structured events to coincide with his visit, despite the obviously large media interest.

Aguri, STR, announce car upgrades for Spain
(GMM) F1 backmarkers Super Aguri and Toro Rosso have this week announced significant upgrades for their cars for this weekend's Spanish grand prix.

Like the bigger outfits in pitlane, the two independent teams used the unusually long four week gap after the Bahrain round last month to hone their packages for the start of the forthcoming run of events in Europe and North America.

The biggest changes for Toro Rosso's STR2 single seater is a new rear wing and new sidepod winglets.

And chief engineer Laurent Mekies explained: "We have now removed all the stickers from the bodywork and replaced them with paint. This not only makes for a less resistant surface, it also brings with it a weight saving benefit."

Honda-powered Super Aguri, meanwhile, introduced a new carbon gearbox and bodywork package at the Barcelona tests last week.

"Our goal this year is to score points," said chief designer Peter McCool. "It would be great if we managed to achieve that this weekend."

Spyker have taken step back - Monteiro
(GMM) Axed Spyker driver Tiago Monteiro has delivered a predictably less-than-rosy account of his former team's progress so far this season.

The 30-year-old Portuguese was surprised and disappointed to lose the seat he had occupied for two years to rookie Adrian Sutil in 2007.

But Monteiro, who is currently ninth in the drivers' standings after taking refuge in the FIA's world touring car championship, praised his inexperienced successor for showing the way to his former teammate Christijan Albers.

"Sutil is a good driver who is making life for Albers very difficult," Monteiro told the Dutch magazine Formule 1 Race Report.

Monteiro said he believed the more experienced Albers was struggling to adapt to Bridgestone's new single-formula spec tire.

"It seems he cannot get used to them," Monteiro said, "but he will have to if he doesn't want to be over-run by Sutil."

On the fortunes of Silverstone based Spyker, however, Monteiro said it appeared that the Dutch-owned camp had taken a step back since 2006.

"I have maintained contract with some of the engineers and mechanics and they are fairly pessimistic," he added.

"The gap to the rest of the field has become even larger."

Alonso can cope with Hamilton hype
(GMM) Pedro de la Rosa has rubbished suggestions that world champion Fernando Alonso is struggling to maintain the support of his McLaren bosses.

The Spanish newspaper 'Diario As' claims that the situation, with Lewis Hamilton the subject of British fervor due to his impressive debut in 2007, is similar to de la Rosa's tenure at Jaguar in 2001, when the overwhelming backing of the British team fell to Eddie Irvine.

McLaren test driver and countryman de la Rosa, however, insisted that Alonso can cope.

"Remember when he was first at Renault," the 36-year-old observed, "he had an Italian boss and an Italian teammate."

De la Rosa also said that 25-year-old Alonso's difficult race in Bahrain last month should not now be considered as typical.

"No-one should try to complicate the situation more than the reality. We are talking about motor racing and the fact is that not everything goes the want you want it to all of the time.

"There is nothing more to it," he said.

De la Rosa also cast doubt on the opinions of formula one experts who think Felipe Massa can maintain the upper-hand over his highly rated new teammate Kimi Raikkonen throughout 2007.

When asked which Ferrari driver he tips this year, McLaren's test driver answered: "Absolutely Raikkonen. He is the quicker.

"At the end of 17 races, he will be our biggest adversary."

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