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DATE News (chronologically)
05/15/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief
 
  • No F1 ride for Senna in 2007 - Berger
  • Stewart questions Raikkonen's F1 approach
  • Tester Rossiter joins Super Aguri
  • 'Schu's apprentice' - press
  • Hamilton hype continues to convince
  • Schu exit hurting German TV ratings
  • Rosberg 'stronger', Wurz admits
  • Manager not worried about Ralf's contract
  • De la Rosa criticizes stewards after Alonso clash
  • FIA says McLaren 'bridge' wing legal
  • 'Green' Honda teams up with Scheckter

No F1 ride for Senna in 2007 - Berger
(GMM)  Gerhard Berger has ruled out promoting Bruno Senna to the Scuderia Toro Rosso race lineup in 2007, despite the Brazilian's breakthrough GP2 win in Spain.

Senna, the nephew of STR co-owner Berger's former teammate Ayrton Senna, is hotly tipped to graduate to formula one with STR next year, possibly alongside Champ Car sensation Sebastien Bourdais.

But 23-year-old Senna will only follow in his famous uncle's footsteps "in 2008 at the earliest", Gerhard Berger is quoted as saying by the newspaper Bild.

Stewart questions Raikkonen's F1 approach
(GMM)  Sir Jackie Stewart thinks Kimi Raikkonen is unlikely to achieve as much in his formula one career as McLaren's 2007 rookie Lewis Hamilton.

The former triple world champion acknowledged Finn Raikkonen's natural talent but questioned his focus.

"The way he lives his life is contrary to the complete package; the kind that allowed Schumacher to win multiple championships, (as well as) Senna and Prost, Jim Clark or even me," Stewart is quoted as saying by British newspaper The Telegraph.

In the Daily Express, Stewart reportedly added: "It is an attitude, a mentality, a way of doing business.  Our lifestyle, mind, make-up was different from a Raikkonen -- or for that matter a Jenson Button.

"There are other things in Raikkonen's life he still wishes to carry on doing," Stewart went on.

"He doesn't seem prepared to make the sacrifice of reducing the lifestyle he has chosen because he enjoys it.  He is not prepared to compromise.

"That is why Hamilton has the opportunity to be dominant over time and Raikkonen doesn't, unless something substantial changes."

In the Times, Stewart also accuses Ferrari's Raikkonen of being "oblivious of social skills", while a cursory search for his name at youtube.com shows the Finn falling off a yacht apparently drunk, and telling a F1 reporter on live TV that he was "having a shit" while Michael Schumacher was presented with a trophy by Pele in Brazil last October.

Tester Rossiter joins Super Aguri
(GMM)  James Rossiter has joined Super Aguri as a test driver, the Japanese formula one team announced in a statement late on Monday.

The British 23-year-old, appointed as a secondary test driver for Leafield based Aguri's parent team Honda late last year, will drive the SA07 for the first time this week at Paul Ricard.

"I am very pleased to be staying within the Honda family," Rossiter said.

Super Aguri originally signed Dutchman Giedo van der Garde as its 2007 test driver, before he got tangled up in a contract dispute involving Spyker.

'Schu's apprentice' - press
(GMM)  "Kimi (Raikkonen) had bad luck, but instead of McLaren, now it is Ferrari's problem," wrote the Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport.

A glance at the global press' reaction to the Spanish grand prix shows increasing support for the former 'number twos' at Ferrari and McLaren, as the pressure on Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso rises still higher.

"(Lewis) Hamilton leads the championship and (Felipe) Massa is the favorite for the title," Italy's Tuttosport said, and 'Corriere dello Sport' added that Raikkonen was "out of the fight" in Barcelona in more ways than one, following his alternator failure.

"Never say again that Felipe is a number two," the newspaper added.

"Massa does a Schumi", La Nuova Venezia observed of the Ferrari driver's performance in Spain, and 'La Stampa said: "Now a Brazilian is in our hearts".

German news magazine Der Spiegel said Massa and Hamilton have turned the F1 hierarchy "upside down", while the Cologne newspaper Express referred to 26-year-old Massa as "Schumi's apprentice".

'Bild' called rookie Hamilton "black lightening", and another German publication, Focus Online, likened him to a "black Schumacher".

Spanish newspapers, however, were unhappy with Massa; El Mundo Deportivo observing that his tactics against Fernando Alonso at the first corner were "not illegal but not refined", while 'Diario As' went a step further, calling the incident "unsporting".

Hamilton hype continues to convince
(GMM)  The hype surrounding Lewis Hamilton's rookie formula one year is beginning the convince even seasoned cynics.

Eddie Irvine never had much praise to dish out as a Ferrari and Jaguar driver, but the Ulsterman hints that McLaren's 22-year-old championship leader could turn out to be even better than Michael Schumacher.

"There's nothing you can criticize about the guy," Irvine, who served as Schumacher's Ferrari teammate for four years in the 90s, told Virgin Media, referring to Hamilton's opening four career races.

He said: "I think Lewis seems to be a more complete package than Schumacher.  Michael wasn't great under pressure and Lewis seems to not know what pressure is.

"(His teammate Fernando) Alonso's got a lot to think about now."

Triple world champion Niki Lauda is also not known for gushing, but in The Guardian he admitted to looking forward to F1's upcoming race in Monte Carlo.

"I have to say it's going to be really good watching just how good Lewis is in such conditions," Lauda said.

Nico Rosberg's title winning father Keke, meanwhile, said: "Of course Lewis can win at Monaco.  Why wouldn't he?"

Schu exit hurting German TV ratings
(GMM)  He may have returned to the paddock in Barcelona, but Michael Schumacher's retirement as a driver has had a major impact on the TV ratings in Germany in 2007.

According to reports, F1's German free-to-air broadcaster RTL has recorded a nearly 25 per cent decline in viewing figures so far compared to last year.

Last year, 8 million Germans tuned in to the action at Circuit de Catalunya.  Last weekend, however, only 5.9m watched his Ferrari successor Felipe Massa soar to victory.

Reinforcing that Schumacher's absence is the missing piece, it emerges that 8.9m tuned-in to watch the 'Red Baron' in Barcelona in 2005, and nearly 9.5 million in 2004.

In total contrast, meanwhile, the Spanish struggle of local hero Fernando Alonso could not put a dent in the strong TV ratings coming out of his country.

A total of 6.03 million Spaniards watched the McLaren driver finish on the podium last Sunday -- 400,000 more than for his win in 2006.

The news coming out of Britain, meanwhile, is that the sensational start to Lewis Hamilton's McLaren career has led to a "massive increase" in ticket sales for the grand prix in July, according to Silverstone boss Richard Phillips.

Rosberg 'stronger', Wurz admits
(GMM)  Alex Wurz has admitted that Nico Rosberg is currently the "stronger" of Williams' two drivers in 2007.

The Austrian veteran returned to the grid this season after six years as a test driver.

But with four grands prix in 2007 now behind him, and after failing to open his points account, 33-year-old Wurz acknowledged: "At the moment Nico is stronger."

In qualifying, Wurz's German teammate Nico Rosberg has outpaced his more experienced cohort on all four attempts this year.

"Nico sets a very high benchmark, but that is good motivation for me," Wurz said.

He also denied that Rosberg's superior pace could already be threatening his position at the Grove team.

Wurz insisted: "Williams knows exactly the job that I do for them."

Manager not worried about Ralf's contract
(GMM)  Ralf Schumacher's manager has expressed confidence that the beleaguered driver will soon return to the front of the formula one grid.

In Barcelona for the Spanish grand prix last weekend, Hans Mahr also insisted that Schumacher's personal struggle with the 2007 Toyota will not leave the German without a cockpit next year.

Ralf, 31, has been outqualified by his teammate Jarno Trulli at every GP so far this year, despite enjoying a significantly higher retainer.

Asked about Ralf's expiring contract, manager Mahr told the F1 broadcaster 'Premiere': "We are at the fourth race of 17; there is still plenty of time.

"Only in the summer will we begin to discuss it properly."

He denied that Jarno Trulli's contract extension last year made Ralf "nervous" about his position within the Japanese group.

"Jarno's contract was due to be discussed last year, and Ralf's is due in the middle of this year," Mahr explained.

He said: "I am not worried.  Ralf is one of the very best drivers, even if he is having a little problem with the setup of the car at the moment.

"But it will be put right and Ralf will ride along with the pace -- of that I am certain."

Mahr said he did not know if events so far in 2007 had damaged Schumacher's contract value.

"I also do not know what the other drivers earn," he insisted.  "We will arrive at a contract which corresponds with Ralf's achievements -- and those achievements will continue to improve."

De la Rosa criticizes stewards after Alonso clash
(GMM)  The stewards should have investigated the first corner incident involving Felipe Massa that left Fernando Alonso's car on the gravel and damaged at the start of the Spanish grand prix on Sunday.

That is the belief of Alonso's test driving McLaren colleague and countryman Pedro de la Rosa, who told the newspaper Diario As that he was surprised that the clash at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya passed without the intervention of the FIA.

"At the very least, the stewards should have investigated," de la Rosa, who backed Alonso by saying that Massa had "lost" the corner before closing the door, said.

The Spaniard explained: "I am not saying that Massa's was a punishable action, but the drivers should have been called up for an analysis of exactly what occurred."

Another Spaniard, however - Spyker test driver Adrian Valles - dismissed the clash as a normal racing incident.

He said: "Fernando had to take the risk because the Ferrari was faster.  Massa did not give way and both did not fit into the same apex.

"I do not believe that Massa did anything deliberately wrong."

FIA says McLaren 'bridge' wing legal
(GMM)  F1's governing body has issued the radical McLaren 'bridge' wing with a clean bill of health.

Suggestions in Barcelona last weekend hinted that some of the Woking based team's rivals were concerned that the wing's silver-colored upper element illegally flexed at speed.

But a report on the website of the magazine 'Racer' says the aerodynamic device has been "deemed legal" by the FIA.

An excerpt of the report read: "Spanish GP stewards conducted the FIA-mandated flexing tests in post-qualifying technical inspection at the Circuit de Catalunya on Saturday, and no irregularities were found."

'Green' Honda teams up with Scheckter
(GMM)  1979 world champion Jody Scheckter returned to the formula one paddock last weekend in Barcelona -- in his current guise as a successful organic farmer.

The 57-year-old South African, who was the last Ferrari driver prior to Michael Schumacher to win the world championship, has reached a deal to sell the products of his Hampshire farm - Laverstoke Park - to Honda.

As a direct result of Honda's myearthdream.com concept, including the unique 'Earth Car', Scheckter's farm will provide organic meats, dairy produce, fruit and vegetables to Brackley based Honda at European races this year, the Japanese team said.

"As the partnership develops, the team will be investigating further synergies between the two enterprises, including the possible conversion of the team's transporter fleet to run on pure plant oil fuel," a Honda Racing report read.

Team boss Nick Fry commented: "Through our partnership with Laverstoke Park we can publicize that there are sustainable alternatives to many of our established practices."

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