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Latest F1 news in brief
  • No Friday drive for Spyker's Valles
  • Fisi writes off title, wins, podium
  • Bernie baulks at Brit GP talks
  • Alonso, Kimi, not keen on Schu return
  • Schu briefing to be one-off - spokeswoman
  • Injured Ammermuller to demo RBR's F1 car
  • Raikkonen to be main rival says Alonso

No Friday drive for Spyker's Valles
(GMM) Spyker test driver Adrian Valles will not as expected appear for the Dutch team on the Friday preceding this weekend's Spanish grand prix.

It was earlier reported that the 20-year-old Spaniard was hopeful of the drive at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, after racking up the miles for his mandatory FIA Super License at the group test last week.

But the Spanish news agency EFE reveals that, while Valles was thought to have done enough laps to qualify for the coveted document, he has not officially obtained a Super License in time.

"I really wanted to drive in front of my countrymen but the request for the Super License was sent behind schedule," Valles explained.

"Still, I am happy, because the team has told me that I am doing a good job and that I can drive as third pilot at later grands prix."

Valles added: "It wasn't to be this time, but we'll see what happens at the upcoming races, and next year I hope to be an official driver for the team."

Fisi writes off title, wins, podium
(GMM) A downbeat Giancarlo Fisichella has ruled out charging for the world championship, winning a single race, or even simply appearing on the podium with Renault's disappointing R27 single seater in 2007.

"I expected to be going for the title this year and instead I will probably not even see the podium," the Roman said in an extensive interview with Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The 34-year-old, who in 2005 and 2006 was teammate to Renault's now departed dual world champion Fernando Alonso, said the current Enstone built racer was "born badly" and urged Renault to focus instead on next season.

"The aerodynamics are not right," Fisichella explained. "From my perspective, it would be better to focus on 2008 so that we do not waste time working on a car that was born badly."

He said the R27 initially looked good in the wind tunnel but turned into a "disaster" when it hit the actual winter test tracks.

"Now, in testing, we are going back to the drawing board because we clearly did some wrong things with the design," Fisichella added.

"But at least we have started to understand our problems in the last few weeks. Like McLaren, we have run the car on the runway of an airport before this race."

Indeed, Renault engineers have fitted a new front suspension layout to the R27 for the Spanish GP, in the hope that it will help the car to better integrate with the Bridgestone tires.

Fisichella, though, said the improvement is "small" and reckons the real problem is the bodywork.

"We are going to have another really hard race -- and to think that only last year we were dominant (at Barcelona)," he sighed.

However, Fisichella is refusing to lay the blame at Bridgestone's door for the chronic lack of grip, however, by observing that BMW-Sauber and McLaren made successful transitions from the Michelin brand.

He concluded: "We, Renault, have done something wrong, the guilt is ours. We even thought about bringing back the 2006 car but with these tires it still would have left us nowhere."

Bernie baulks at Brit GP talks
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has fired another curveball at organizers of the British grand prix by saying he is not prepared to negotiate with the owners of the Silverstone circuit about a new deal for 2010.

The F1 supremo is demanding fundamental improvements to the ageing venue in Northamptonshire, but insisted that he is not open to negotiating about the extension of the current contract with the British Racing Drivers' Club because it is not "responsible".

76-year-old Ecclestone's comments follow Nigel Mansell's recent claim that Bernie should take over the running of the event.

"I want to deal with a promoter rather than the BRDC," Ecclestone, insisting that a deal for 2010 would need to be finalized by the end of the current year, told the British magazine Autosport.

"It is too difficult with the BRDC because you get no guarantees with them.

He added: "Somebody has to take over the commercial side and be responsible."

Bernie reiterated that he is "not prepared to do a deal" for a Silverstone race until plans for circuit renovations are solid, and reacted skeptically to reports that the BRDC is already well advanced with such plans.

"I've heard it all before," Ecclestone said.

Alonso, Kimi, not keen on Schu return
(GMM) World champion Fernando Alonso has sided with 2007 title rival Kimi Raikkonen in expressing muted enthusiasm about the return to the formula one paddock this weekend of F1's seven time world champion Michael Schumacher.

The 38-year-old German is in Spain attending his first race since retiring as a driver last year, but whispers from the Ferrari camp already suggest that his successor, Raikkonen, is far from keen on the prospect of seeing his former nemesis in the Barcelona motor home.

And McLaren's Alonso told the Spanish newspaper El Pais: "He was in F1 for fifteen years but personally I do not miss him.

"Ok, fighting against him was not unpleasant, but now we have a big battle with Massa, Raikkonen and Hamilton.

"It seemed like, with Michael, we had come to a point where it was all a bit monotonous."

Disagreeing with Alonso and Finland's Raikkonen, however, is Ferrari's Felipe Massa, who said this week that he was "very happy" about Schumacher's confirmed visit to the Circuit de Catalunya.

"Thanks to him I improved as a driver and I'll do my best to demonstrate it to him (in Spain)," the Brazilian told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Schu briefing to be one-off - spokeswoman
(GMM) Michael Schumacher's short press briefing on Friday will not be a regular feature of his future visits to grands prix.

That is the information of the 38-year-old German's media spokeswoman Sabine Kehm, who confirmed that Schumacher will formally talk to journalists just once on his return to the grand prix paddock in Spain.

"(Schumacher's) future visits will not follow the same routine," Kehm is quoted as saying by the magazine Auto Motor und Sport.

Despite the enormous media interest in Schumacher's attendance in Barcelona, she also explained that the short briefing in front of the Ferrari motor home on Friday at the Circuit de Catalunya is not considered as an officially organized event.

Injured Ammermuller to demo RBR's F1 car
(GMM) Injured Red Bull test driver Michael Ammermuller will nonetheless return to the wheel of an F1 single seater next weekend, according to reports.

The 21-year-old German is having to sit out this weekend's GP2 race with a wrist injury, but the publication 'Focus' insists that Ammermuller will demonstrate the Red Bull car at Germany's EuroSpeedway Lausitz for the DTM round next weekend.

It is expected that he will then be fit to resume his racing commitments for the ART team in Monaco later this month, including being Red Bull's official 'reserve' F1 pilot.

Ammermuller's father, meanwhile, is quoted as saying that his son's injury will be examined in Austria next week, after they advised him to rest his wrist for now.

Raikkonen to be main rival says Alonso
(GMM) World champion Fernando Alonso has named Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen as an obvious contender for the 2007 title.

After three races this season, Spaniard Alonso shares the lead of the drivers' standings with the Finn, but also his McLaren teammate and rookie Lewis Hamilton.

In an interview with the newspaper El Pais, however, the 25-year-old singled out Raikkonen as the rival who is most likely to maintain his presence near the very top of the order after a close battle this season.

"Without a doubt, he has all the ingredients to be one of the main candidates," Alonso said.

"(Raikkonen) has the experience of having fought for a lot of titles, in 2003, 2004, and 2005, and I think he will be there during the whole championship."

In a separate interview last week, Alonso suggested that the current four-way tussle for title supremacy - involving Hamilton and also Raikkonen's teammate Felipe Massa - would last only until mid-season.

He added: "Eventually one or two will have some bad luck or stop achieving such good results, so that at the end of the championship probably only two or three will be left to fight."

The question of who will fight for the 2007 title is a fascinating and highly debatable one.

"It looks as though Hamilton and Massa are both capable of making a fight of it with their teammates," Toro Rosso co-owner Gerhard Berger observed to the German magazine Sport Bild.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, meanwhile, said: "I would say Kimi or Fernando have the biggest chances, but it is too difficult to really say at the moment."

And Spyker's Colin Kolles added: "The title fight will be as close at the end of the season as it is now."

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