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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Schu's F1 car tipped for $8m price-tag
  • Coulthard frustrated by Liuzzi gossip
  • Now BMW prepare to use radical wing
  • Heidfeld says 'closer' to new BMW contract
  • Fisi slams untrue 'disaster' quotes
  • Ferrari have the 'edge' - Hamilton
  • BMW's Theissen wants extra day at GPs
  • Ralf cool on brother's F1 return

Schu's F1 car tipped for $8m price-tag
(GMM) The last car raced by Michael Schumacher in his sixteen year formula one career is expected to fetch an impressive sum when it is auctioned next week.

Despite suggestions at the time that the scarlet '248 F1' single seater he used in his Brazilian finale last October had been gifted to the 38-year-old German, it is reported in the Italian newspaper Tuttosport that premier auction house Sotheby's will sell the car to the highest bidder as part of Ferrari's 60-year birthday celebrations.

A price-tag of more than (US) $8m is expected at the auction next Sunday.

Coulthard frustrated by Liuzzi gossip
(GMM) F1's oldest driver arrived at the Circuit de Catalunya on Thursday and immediately faced rumors that he might be dropped from the Red Bull lineup at the end of 2007.

Team owner Dietrich Mateschitz hinted in an interview last week that his Milton Keynes squad might better be served by installing a young charger alongside one of the existing experienced racers next year.

With Mark Webber newly arrived and regularly in the top-ten qualifiers, the rumors hinting at a step up from junior team Toro Rosso for Vitantonio Liuzzi seem to suggest that David Coulthard - who made his grand prix debut way back in 1994 at Barcelona - is set for the elbow.

"I'm irritated to have to answer questions based on the fact I was born in 1971," Coulthard fumed to the British newspaper The Mirror.

"The statistics show I am quicker in the races than Mark and the car telemetry shows it too. End of story."

Red Bull's motor racing consultant Helmut Marko, meanwhile, was asked by the German press if Coulthard's comments also hint at a growing rift between 36-year-old Coulthard and Webber, who were never friends prior to their linking-up in 2007.

"It's true that they do not go out for dinner together," he said, "but they do have respect."

Now BMW prepare to use radical wing
(GMM) BMW-Sauber are set to follow in the recent footsteps of McLaren and Honda by trialing a radical new wing at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Unlike McLaren and Honda, however, the Swiss based squad did not test the unseen innovation at the Barcelona test last week.

Polish racer Robert Kubica is quoted by the Spanish newspaper El Mundo as saying: "We do have a new front wing that will be tested on Friday morning."

In the German press, team boss Mario Theissen was asked whether the aerodynamic device would be as radical as McLaren's 'bridge' design, or the ill-fated Honda 'elephant ears'.

He predicted coyly: "You will notice a difference."

To reporters in the paddock of the Spanish GP, meanwhile, McLaren's Fernando Alonso said the 'bridge' innovation would be tested again on Friday prior to a final decision about whether the new front wing will be used for qualifying and the race.

The Spaniard admitted: "On the track, honestly, I did not notice too much of a difference (with the wing).

"So we will test it again, comparing it with the previous one, and then decide if we use it."

Heidfeld says 'closer' to new BMW contract
(GMM) Nick Heidfeld in Barcelona said he felt he was moving closer to the renewal of his contract to drive for the BMW-Sauber team beyond this year.

The German has been a surprise standout of the 2007 season so far, and on Thursday presented an 'all smiles' setting with his team boss Mario Theissen as he celebrated his thirtieth birthday in the BMW motor home by cutting a cake.

"I am very content with my current situation," Heidfeld told the Cologne newspaper Express.

"Concerning the contract, I am confident that we are moving closer. From both sides, I do not think there are too many reasons to stop working with each other."

Theissen, however - eager to press on the career of teenage test driver Sebastian Vettel - insists that a decision about the 2008 lineup will not be made until later.

Heidfeld, meanwhile, played down suggestions that BMW's impressive rate of progress could deliver his first victory in 2007.

He said: "I do think expectations are a little too high at the moment. I say it again and again, but people seem to forget where we came from."

Fisi slams untrue 'disaster' quotes
(GMM) Giancarlo Fisichella and his Renault team presented a unified front in Barcelona on Thursday to slam the publication of apparently untrue quotes.

The Roman driver angrily denied to reporters that he had described the disappointing R27 car as a "disaster" to the Italian daily Gazzetta dello Sport; a denunciation repeated by the Renault press office in an official interview.

"These very negative comments about the team never came from me," Fisichella, 34, said.

"Of course, the situation is not easy at the moment, but I would never show such a lack of respect to the people who are working day and night to get to the bottom of our problems.

"I'm both disappointed and angry by these so-called quotes."

Despite revealing the debut of new front suspension and bodywork pieces for the Spanish grand prix, however, Fisichella admitted that pole and race wins are out of the question for now.

He told reporters: "I did not say that Renault is a disaster -- I have always said that the car possesses much potential and we are working hard on it.

"It is not realistic to talk about podiums right now, but if we find our problems and solve them, then it is still possible, especially for the second half of the season."

Ferrari have the 'edge' - Hamilton
(GMM) Ferrari is likely to have a "slight edge" at the Spanish grand prix this weekend.

That is the admission of McLaren rookie Lewis Hamilton, who has once again been followed to the formula one paddock by the near-unprecedented excitement of the British press corps.

"It's going to be extremely difficult this weekend," he warned reporters at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Hamilton said: "Ferrari are extremely competitive. The test here suggests that we have made a significant step forward, and I hope we have closed the gap, but I think they will still have a slight edge."

The 22-year-old has also been quoted as setting out his charge for a title assault this year, leading to renewed suggestions that his world champion teammate Fernando Alonso may be getting frustrated with the attention the rookie Briton is attracting.

But in Barcelona, Alonso rejected team boss Ron Dennis' recent claim that he spoke with him about the issue in Bahrain.

"Well, I had no conversation with Ron, so that is not true and I feel very good," he said.

BMW's Theissen wants extra day at GPs
(GMM) BMW's Mario Theissen has proposed the extension of the grand prix weekend in order to make the sport more responsive to the careers of young drivers.

The team principal of the Swiss based BMW-Sauber team recently scrapped his policy to use Sebastian Vettel on the Fridays of GP weekends because it is too disruptive for the race preparation of the regular drivers.

Theissen suggests that simply adding a test day to the existing three-day schedule, so that teams can freely give mileage to young drivers without the restrictions of the GP and group test formats, would solve the problem.

"Laps at a race weekend are no more expensive than laps at normal tests," the German told the newspaper Stuttgarter Nachrichten.

Theissen added: "The only difference is that at a test, there are no spectators in the grandstands."

Ralf cool on brother's F1 return
(GMM) Ralf Schumacher says he is unlikely to even notice that his retired brother Michael is this weekend back in the formula one paddock after a six month absence.

31-year-old Ralf explained that, because Michael is still a Ferrari employee and on an official visit in Barcelona, it is unlikely that their paths will cross.

"I'd be happier if it was on a more neutral basis then he might stop by," the German, who drives for Toyota, said.

Ralf added: "We probably won't see each other because he is here in his official position, working for Ferrari, so it doesn't really change anything."

Seven time world champion Michael Schumacher is expected to arrive at the Circuit de Catalunya shortly after the end of the Friday morning practice session.

"He will meet for a briefing with Jean Todt, when they will discuss his exact tasks for the weekend," said Schumacher's manager Willi Weber.

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