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DATE News (chronologically)
05/21/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief   
  • Aus officials not ruling out night GP
  • Wife backs Ralf to up ailing form
  • RBR drops Hollywood theme for Monaco GP
  • Spyker leaves 'Friday' door open
  • Criticized Kimi buys $3.4m yacht
  • Experts question Hamilton aggression
  • Hamilton rivals not bitter
  • Red Bull named in latest 'flex' saga
  • Berger backs Speed, impressed with Bourdais
  • Alonso suffering with 'doubt' - former boss
  • Showers possible for Monaco GP week
  • Rosberg unmoved after big test crash
  • Corrupt Chinese GP boss fired

Aus officials not ruling out night GP
(GMM)  The state government in Melbourne has responded to F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone by insisting that staging a night grand prix has not been ruled out.

Ecclestone suggested at the weekend that refusing to run the Albert Park race under lights in the future could result in the loss of its contract after 2010.

It is believed that his comments followed his meeting in London last week with the Victorian state premier Steve Bracks.

But after denying that a formal proposal has even been made, tourism minister Tim Holding said the government would "look at" the option.

"Obviously the race itself is more attractive from a television rights perspective (if staged at night), but we'll make a judgment in terms of what's in the best interests of Melbourne ... and whether it's the right look for our grand prix to have," he said.

Holding's comments follow speculation that an auditor-general's report on Wednesday will name the Australian GP as an event that is bad value for taxpayers.

Wife backs Ralf to up ailing form
(GMM)  Ralf Schumacher's wife has backed the struggling Toyota driver to up his game in 2007.

Cora Schumacher, also mother to 31-year-old Ralf's son David, said the German and former grand prix winner is determined to come to terms with the TF107 single seater this year.

"In difficult situations, Ralf develops an extreme ambition," she told Bild am Sonntag.

The newspaper reported that Ralf has put a stop to most PR appearances and interviews in a bid to focus on improving his form, and has also asked his Toyota bosses to let him test whenever possible.

"Everyone who knows him properly, knows what his single goal is to bring the Toyota team forwards," Cora said.

Mrs Schumacher says her husband has already made steps forward in recent weeks, but could not show it properly in Barcelona, where bad luck hit.

But after accompanying Ralf and David to the Paul Ricard test last week, Cora insisted: "I know what Ralf knows, and he will be strong in Monaco."

RBR drops Hollywood theme for Monaco GP
(GMM)  David Coulthard says the Red Bull team is not planning to promote a Hollywood movie at the upcoming Monaco grand prix.

In recent years, the Austrian squad - and in its previous guise as Jaguar - adopted Star Wars, Superman, Terminator and Ocean's Twelve themes, culminating in Scot Coulthard appearing on the podium last season wearing a Superman cape.

But he revealed: "As far as I know, there's no Hollywood connection this year."

Coulthard added that Red Bull will, however, throw a special event this weekend to raise money for charity.

"But I can't say any more about that at the moment," he insisted.

Spyker leaves 'Friday' door open
(GMM)  Spyker has no immediate plans to run a 'Friday' driver at grands prix in 2007.

The Dutch squad intended to make use of the FIA regulation this year but changed its mind following the Giedo van der Garde affair and other teams' tendency to exclusively give the valuable practice time to their two race drivers.

"We are taking this decision on a race by race basis," said team principal Colin Kolles, revealing that only Christijan Albers and Adrian Sutil will take to the Monte Carlo street layout this week.

Several test drivers remain contracted to Silverstone based Spyker, however, leading Kolles to leave the door open for another change of heart later on.

He said: "I hope that each will have an opportunity to run on a Friday at some point over the course of the year, should circumstances allow."

The team's technical chief Mike Gascoyne, meanwhile, warned Spyker fans to not expect a huge step forward when the 'B' car debuts in August.

"It will not be as much as we need to be truly competitive; it is more part of the aero development that is ongoing into 2008," he said.

Gascoyne explained: "Where we are at the moment is a result of the previous lack of investment, (and) we won't see the improvements on the race track for nine months to a year."

Criticized Kimi buys $3.4m yacht
(GMM)  The chairman of the influential team fan club 'Gubbion Ferrari' has added to growing criticism of Kimi Raikkonen's disappointing form so far in 2007.

"We have not yet seen the achievements from him that we were promised," Claudio Paciotti is quoted as saying by the Italian magazine Autosprint.

He wondered of the Finn: "Did he leave his ability behind at McLaren-Mercedes?"

Triple world champion Sir Jackie Stewart had led the Raikkonen criticism, questioning the 27-year-old's focus after he left the Spanish grand prix mid-race to catch the end of a hockey game.

"It has nothing to do with me," Kimi retorted.  "What should I say?"

The Cologne newspaper Express, meanwhile, reports that Raikkonen has shelled out $3.4 million ahead of the Monaco GP on a new 22 meter luxury yacht.

It is being transferred from the port at Helsinki to Monte Carlo for this weekend's race.

Experts question Hamilton aggression
(GMM)  The missing element in the makeup of rookie formula one sensation Lewis Hamilton could be aggression.

That is the revelation of grand prix experts Gerhard Berger and Eddie Jordan.

"I saw how Lewis had been spoiled, never had to fight for a drive, how everything was organized for him and I wondered how he could have a killer-instinct," said Berger, a former ten time GP-winner and co-owner of the Toro Rosso team.

He added: "A successful driver has to be selfish, like Senna and like Schumacher, and in the car I knew how to be nasty if I had to be.

"With Lewis, let's wait and see, but he has shown all the right instincts."

Former team owner Jordan added: "We hope (Lewis) has something steely in there, otherwise he'll be swamped."

Meanwhile, the specialist magazine Sport Bild reports that Hamilton, 22, found the working end of McLaren boss Ron Dennis' bad temper on the morning of the Spanish grand prix.

Apparently, Hamilton broke Dennis' strict 10pm pre-race hotel curfew after a visit to the separate accommodation in Barcelona of his father Anthony and brother Nicholas.

Hamilton rivals not bitter
(GMM)  Two contemporaries of rookie Lewis Hamilton insist that they are not jealous of the Briton's sensational formula one debut in 2007.

Hamilton is F1's youngest ever championship leader after just four career grands prix, but Nico Rosberg says he achieved more when they went wheel-to-wheel in karts.

"I was always a step ahead of Lewis but I see the reality of formula one.  My time will come," Williams' Rosberg said.

The son of former world champion Keke Rosberg then grinned when he added: "I am not asked about my father anymore.  Now the questions are all about Lewis!"

Anthony Davidson, meanwhile, served six years as BAR/Honda's test driver before finally being handed a chance at the racing grid with Super Aguri this year.

Although the 28-year-old only helps to prop up the lower F1 midfield, however, he told the Telegraph: "I couldn't think of a better situation for my first full season.

"I have lots of experience in contemporary cars, there's no pressure and the Super Aguri team are a really good bunch of guys."

Davidson said Hamilton's success demonstrates just how "fickle" the world of formula one racing is, but insists that he is not bitter.

"It's all about luck and timing," the Briton explained.

"When there are only 22 cars on the grid you've got to be lucky to be in one of them.  There are thousands of drivers out there who could do it.  It's a matter of whether you get the chance."

Red Bull named in latest 'flex' saga
(GMM)  Red Bull Racing is the latest formula one team to get caught up in the long-running saga involving allegedly flexing bodywork.

On-board footage has emerged from the grand prix in Barcelona earlier this month showing the two main elements of the rear wing fitted to David Coulthard's 'RB3' moving at high and low speeds.

Deliberate flexing is illegal in F1, but the only checks applied by FIA scrutineers are static.  Red Bull's cars passed both the Thursday and post-race scrutineering tests in Spain.

Ferrari was at the centre of the original flexible wings saga early last year, but as recently as this month McLaren was accused of breaking the rules with its innovative 'bridge' concept for the front wing.

Berger backs Speed, impressed with Bourdais
(GMM)  Team co-owner Gerhard Berger has backed Toro Rosso's Scott Speed amid speculation that the Californian could be replaced later this season.

To the specialist magazine Sport Bild, Austrian Berger addressed rumors that Toro Rosso chiefs were trying to extricate Red Bull junior driver Sebastian Vettel from his contractual 'loan' to BMW.

"Scott showed a good achievement in the last race at Barcelona," Berger is quoted as saying, "so Vettel will definitely not drive for us this season.

"Of course (Vettel) is a talent with a lot of potential, which must be observed for the future.

"But I think formula one racing is too early for him (in 2007)."

Another rumor involving Berger's Faenza based STR at present surrounds the tests of reigning Champ Car title winner Sebastien Bourdais, who will reportedly find out after the Spa-Francorchamps session in July if he will be given a race drive in 2008.

The French racer tested for a second time last week at Paul Ricard, leading Berger to observe: "I have to say, he did a very, very good job.

"One should not underestimate the difficulty of going from a Champ Car to a F1 car, but Bourdais has adapted very quickly."

Alonso suffering with 'doubt' - former boss
(GMM)  An official of Fernando Alonso's former employer Renault says the reigning world champion is probably struggling to cope with pressure in 2007.

Spaniard Alonso, 25, has been outperformed by his rookie teammate at McLaren Lewis Hamilton in recent races, despite soaring to the drivers' crown alongside Giancarlo Fisichella in 2005 and '06.

"I think he'll be questioning himself, deep down inside, as to whether he is really quicker than his teammate, and I think that will give him a lot of self-doubt," Steve Nielsen, Renault's team manager, said.

Showers possible for Monaco GP week
(GMM)  An uncertain week of weather should clear in time for Sunday's Monaco grand prix.

Forecasts on Monday predict that rain showers could fall for Saturday qualifying in the Principality, following a sunny first day of practice on Thursday and possible rain on market-day Friday, when the roads are reopened to the public.

"The whole town turns a bit nuts for the whole week of the GP," said resident and Williams driver Alex Wurz, "but usually it's so quiet in Monaco."

The Austrian went on: "It's a strange week, so many people come down.  Rich, poor, stunning, nice, arrogant ... and some normal ones!"

Rosberg unmoved after big test crash
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg says he is no more afraid of being a formula one driver following his major shunt at the pre-Spanish grand prix test in Barcelona.

Williams had to abandon the test after the German destroyed his FW29 chassis by losing control over damp curbs.

The impact was bigger even than his huge shunt in Brazil last year.

"It was the biggest shunt of my F1 career," 21-year-old Rosberg confirmed, "but it didn't feel like a big one at the time.

"The impact wasn't that great; the problem was that I hit a wall, not a tire barrier, and that did a lot of damage to the car."

Rosberg said he is "very aware" of the dangers of motor racing.

"I understand what can happen and I deal with it by thinking it won't ever happen," he added, explaining that the only time he has even been afraid was when his brakes failed in an F3 car.

"Having said that, I feel very safe in an F1 car because it is extremely strong," Rosberg said.

Corrupt Chinese GP boss fired
(GMM)  The general manager of Shanghai's formula one circuit has been fired.

Yu Zhifei, who was instrumental in bringing the sport to China and remained the key promoter, had last October been implicated in the major corruption scandal.

According to Chinese newspapers, among other abuses Zhifei illegally used public money to buy a house.

He was also expelled from the Communist Party and is likely to be prosecuted, the English language Shanghai Daily said.

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