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Latest F1 news in brief
  • I warned Kimi to stick with McLaren - Hakkinen
  • McLaren, Mercedes, split over supercar
  • Mosley would back GP format overhaul
  • Verstappen waits for Spyker test green light
  • McLaren drivers 'free to race' - Haug

I warned Kimi to stick with McLaren - Hakkinen
(GMM) Double world champion Mika Hakkinen says he advised countryman Kimi Raikkonen to stick with McLaren rather than switch to the Ferrari team.

Hakkinen, who won back to back titles with Ron Dennis' Mercedes-powered outfit in 1998 and 1999, told the Finnish newspaper 'Iltalehti' that he feared Raikkonen would struggle to adapt to the atmosphere at Ferrari.

"I warned him that changing teams might not go well for him," the 38-year-old, whose McLaren seat in 2002 was filled by F1 newcomer Raikkonen, said.

Hakkinen said: "Unfortunately for Kimi, my forecasts are being fulfilled."

Hakkinen stuck stoically with McLaren throughout the 90s, even through difficult times in the wake of Ayrton Senna's departure and the unsettled beginning of the Mercedes-Benz period.

But he said: "Winning the world championship is like a spider-web, which needs many threads, and time.

"Of course it is true that McLaren's recent past had some problems, but it is a team that has always had the capacity to recover.

"It is possible that Kimi has not measured the risks (of joining Ferrari) too well because it looks like being a difficult year for him.

"Also the McLaren car has evolved a lot in the past races, and winning titles can depend a lot on minor factors.

"In this game there are many excellent drivers, so Kimi cannot rely exclusively on his talent," Hakkinen said.

McLaren, Mercedes, split over supercar
(GMM) Rumors of a rift between McLaren and Mercedes-Benz have emerged in the specialist motoring press.

The duo are closely aligned in the world of formula one, with Mercedes-Benz providing works engines and owning the largest slice of Ron Dennis' company.

But Automotive News Europe reports that, despite their collaboration on the $600,000 SLR supercar, Mercedes is actually getting ready to pair with its German car partner for the DTM touring car series, HWA, for the SLR's successor.

Other sources said Mercedes had been "disappointed by the performance" of the original SLR, which is built at McLaren's F1 factory.

A Mercedes-HWA prototype could be ready in time for next year's Geneva motor show, the rumors continue.

Mercedes' decision could lead Woking based McLaren to go it alone with its own new supercar - a successor to the fabled McLaren F1 - that will be fully funded by the formula one team.

It is not known if the supercar split could impact the F1 collaboration, but it is likely to quell speculation of a total McLaren buyout by Mercedes in the near future.

Mosley would back GP format overhaul
(GMM) Max Mosley says the FIA would endorse Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone's plans to revolutionize the grand prix race format.

Renault team boss Briatore said earlier this year that, to spice up the spectacle, F1 should mimic the junior category GP2 and split its results over two short heats.

His plan, also endorsed by F1 supremo Ecclestone, would involve also banning refueling and using a reverse grid for the main race.

Mosley told the Italian magazine Autosprint: "If people like Flavio or Bernie want to change the regulations ... it's all fine for us, as long as they are fair rules equal for all."

But the FIA president cautioned that any such overhaul would be the final say of the World Council.

He also suggested that a better way to improve the racing would be to design cars and circuits that are more conducive to overtaking -- and one way would be to introduce rules that standardize chassis bodywork.

"Nothing else will work," Mosley said.

Verstappen waits for Spyker test green light
(GMM) Contrary to reports elsewhere, Jos Verstappen is still likely to test Spyker's 2007 car later this year.

The Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reports on Monday that no final decision has yet been taken, after former Minardi, Arrows and Benetton driver Verstappen asked for a minimally two-day test run.

A spokesperson for Silverstone based Spyker was quoted as denying the possibility of a test, after some reports said it might be a ploy to put pressure on his underperforming countryman Christijan Albers.

But Verstappen said: "I have spoken on the telephone about this with (Spyker CEO) Michiel Mol. He is a nice guy and the conversation went very well."

35-year-old Verstappen also rejected speculation that demands for money had soured the deal, just as it did for his abandoned A1 GP campaign this year.

He went on: "Everyone must understand that (Mol) has a lot on his plate at the moment and organizing a formula one test for me is not the priority.

"But we have agreed to go back to the table soon for some more serious talks, and until then I can wait patiently."

McLaren drivers 'free to race' - Haug
(GMM) Norbert Haug has dismissed suggestions that the Monaco grand prix showed Lewis Hamilton that he should forget about winning a race in 2007.

The British press criticized McLaren heavily last week, after the Mercedes-powered team ordered the sensational 22-year-old rookie to follow his world champion teammate Fernando Alonso to the checkered flag.

But Haug, who is Mercedes' competition director, told the newspaper 'Express' that the protection of Alonso's winning chances will not become a trend.

"If you drive for us, you are free to race.

"We would be the happiest out of everyone if Lewis wins," the German added, ahead of this weekend's Canadian grand prix in Montreal.

Team boss Ron Dennis, too, insists that Monaco was simply a "one off" that required a more restrictive strategy.

"We will never favor one driver, no matter who it is, we never have, we never will," he said.

"If you are a member of this grand prix team, there is equal opportunity for drivers to race, the vast majority of the time. But Monaco is not one of them."

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