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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Sutil, Hamilton, to shine in Monaco
  • Massa, Alonso, clash over Hamilton threat
  • F1 bags $1.5bn in Spanish TV deal
  • Alonso is media's top driver - study
  • BMW pit stop crew won't be fired - Theissen
  • Rookie Swede gets Renault test
  • Retirement not looming for Heidfeld

Sutil, Hamilton, to shine in Monaco
(GMM)  Spyker's Mike Gascoyne has tipped team rookie Adrian Sutil to shine on the streets of Monte Carlo later this month.

The 24-year-old has already gained the upper hand so far in 2007 over his experienced teammate Christijan Albers, but technical boss Gascoyne thinks Monaco will be a particularly special event for the young German.

Sutil was Lewis Hamilton's F3 teammate in 2005, and although McLaren's rookie was the most impressive of the pair at the time, Sutil's best lap of Monaco is still a record for the junior category.

Gascoyne said of Sutil: "I think he'll really be able to show what a talent he is (in Monaco).

"I think Adrian is doing a superb job and I think his pace is pretty strong.

"Once he stops making rookie errors, which everyone does, he'll be very good."

While Sutil could shine in Monaco, meanwhile, 22-year-old Hamilton is being tipped to become the first ever F1 rookie to win on his first attempt in the Principality.

"Monaco has always been a very strong race for me and I think the team will be strong there too," the Briton, who topped the Paul Ricard test on Tuesday on the Monaco-like '2D SC' configuration, said.

"I am going to be gunning for a win."

Massa, Alonso, clash over Hamilton threat
(GMM)  Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso have offered contrasting perspectives on the rising profile of formula one rookie Lewis Hamilton.

Before driving to the Paul Ricard test on Monday, Ferrari's back to back grand prix winner Massa this week wrote in his internet blog that Hamilton might emerge to be "even more dangerous" in the championship fight than Alonso this year.

Briton Hamilton, 22, is the youngest ever driver to lead the drivers' standings, despite not yet winning a race.

Massa, who after clashing with Alonso in the first corner in Barcelona then clashed verbally with the Spaniard in the press conference, said of Hamilton: "He is definitely strong and is not bothered by pressure.

"At the moment, you cannot say that Fernando or him are the better driver, but if the situation continues like this, then maybe Lewis can even be more dangerous than Fernando.

"At the moment he seems more comfortable in the car than Fernando.  We need to keep an eye on that, because he can be a dangerous threat," Massa added.

McLaren's Alonso, however, insists that he is more wary of the Ferrari duo Massa and Kimi Raikkonen than his own teammate.

"I have to beat them all if I want to become champion," he said, "but he is the one who worries me least because he is my teammate.  We are here to help each other.

"I am more worried about Ferrari's pace than if Lewis is two points ahead of me."

F1 bags $1.5bn in Spanish TV deal
(GMM)  F1 officialdom has reportedly bagged almost (US) $1.5 billion by selling the sport's exclusive television rights to another Spanish company.

Spain's current F1 broadcaster is Telecinco, which has recorded impressive and continually improving TV ratings ever since Fernando Alonso transformed the popularity of grand prix racing in the country.

Telecinco retains the rights until the end of 2008, when the channel La Sexta - owned by the Mediapro group - will take over for five years until at least 2013.

Presently, 'TV3' broadcasts F1 in the autonomous Catalunya region, but La Sexta's exclusive deal is for the whole of Spain, meaning that TV3 will also lose its F1 rights.

The Spanish news agency EFE estimated the value of the Mediapro deal at $1.5bn.

Alonso is media's top driver - study
(GMM)  A university study has found that world champion Fernando Alonso is the most media-popular driver in formula one.

The University of Navarra, situated in the north of Spain, said research based on the quantity of internet pages and news items shows that the 25-year-old McLaren driver is having the greatest impact on the world's media, notwithstanding the near-unprecedented attention devoted to his rookie teammate Lewis Hamilton.

In the Italian and German markets, however, Kimi Raikkonen came out on top, presumably due to his association with Maranello based Ferrari and the fact that in 2007 he replaces Germany's retired seven time world champion Michael Schumacher, who occupied Alonso's role as most media-popular a year ago.

Ferrari, meanwhile, is the most media-popular team, beating McLaren, the university study found, and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone the most famous non-driving formula one personality.

Jean Todt (Ferrari) is the most popular boss, followed by Ron Dennis (McLaren) and Renault's Flavio Briatore.

BMW pit stop crew won't be fired - Theissen
(GMM)  BMW-Sauber team boss Mario Theissen has denied that the mechanics involved in Nick Heidfeld's botched pit stop during the Spanish grand prix will be fired.

Both the 'lollipop' holder and the mechanic in charge of the right-front wheel-gun, and possibly others, were implicated in a post-mortem of the incident that occurred at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya last Sunday.

Not only was the changing of German Heidfeld's right front wheel prolonged, the 'lollipop' was raised too early.

Finally, none of BMW's 22-man pit stop crew came to the 30-year-old's aid once he pulled to a stop to have a new wheel-nut fitted, and then the frantic warning of a nearby Toyota mechanic - who had picked up the wayward wheel nut - was ignored.

"I waited for half an eternity but no-one came, so I drove away," Heidfeld is quoted as saying by the Cologne newspaper Express.

"This should never happen again."

Theissen, however, rejected suggestions that the errant team members should be given their marching orders.

"No," he insisted, "this incident will not have consequences for our personnel, other than to practice even more intensively -- and pay more attention to the nice warnings of our colleagues from Toyota!"

Rookie Swede gets Renault test
(GMM)  Reigning Renault World Series champion Alx Danielsson will shortly make his formula one test debut.

The 26-year-old Swede, who last year became Robert Kubica's successor for the junior series' title, is to conduct a 'shakedown' for the Renault team at Silverstone in the current R27 single seater.

The test, to take place at the British GP circuit on Friday, will be limited according to the F1 teams' agreement to no more than 50 kilometres, the Dutch magazine Formule 1 Race Report said.

"That is correct," a Renault spokesman confirmed.  "Alx will perform a short shakedown with our car."

It is not known whether Danielsson will subsequently be offered a full test for the French team, with the spokesman explaining that it may be difficult given F1's tighter testing rules in 2007.

Danielsson, who was originally scheduled to test for Renault over the winter, now drives in the Euroseries 3000.

Retirement not looming for Heidfeld
(GMM)  Nick Heidfeld turned thirty last week, but the veteran of more than 120 grands prix ruled out following his countryman Michael Schumacher into retirement any time soon.

"I don't have a problem with being 30, but at the same time I don't feel like I am 30," the German racer, who has not yet been granted an extension to his BMW-Sauber contract beyond 2007, told Auto Bild.

Heidfeld informed the press last year that he hoped his F1 career - which started in 2000 and has also spanned teams including Prost, Sauber, Jordan and Williams - would stretch on for another decade.

"Nothing has changed," said Nick, who has been among the outstanding performers so far in 2007.

"Being a formula one driver is a think the best job in the world, and I would like to do it for a long time yet."

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