Latest F1 news in brief
- Albers cynical about likely Verstappen test
- Symonds seeks two-tenth step in Canada
- Red Bull fits new rear wings for Canada
- Monaco slump was 'rare episode' - Todt
- I don't like Piquet Jr - Kovalainen
- Hamilton factor may help Canada GP sellout
- Ex-manager 'shocked' by Ralf's woes
- Kubica not sorry about Villeneuve absence
Albers cynical about likely Verstappen test
(GMM) Christijan Albers has admitted to cynicism amid reports that Dutch countryman Jos Verstappen is likely to test his Spyker formula one car later this year.
The 28-year-old, who has struggled to match the pace of his rookie teammate Adrian Sutil so far in 2007, told Formule 1 Race Report that former grand prix driver Verstappen's run would be "good for publicity".
"But if you ask me," Albers told the magazine, "a formula one team is assessed rather by performances and results. Of course, though, a sportsman would say that."
He did admit, however, to "appreciating" his bosses' reasons for probably giving Verstappen a test in 2007.
Symonds seeks two-tenth step in Canada
(GMM) F1's reigning world champion team Renault is making strides towards returning to the pace in 2007.
That is the outlook of the French squad's veteran engineering chief Pat Symonds, who suggested to the magazine Auto Motor und Sport that Renault is finally getting to the bottom of the reasons for its mysterious lack of speed earlier this season.
"The modified front suspension in Barcelona was the first step, and the new front wing in Monte Carlo (was) the second," Symonds is quoted as saying by the German publication.
It is understood that the problem with the R27 has therefore been isolated to the front of the car, but even with improved pace, Giancarlo Fisichella still finished a lap behind the McLarens in Monaco.
But Symonds said the new front wing alone delivered one tenth of a second per lap in Monaco, and it should yield another two tenths on the long Montreal straights this weekend.
He added: "All of our data suggests that the car's basic concept is right."
Team boss Flavio Briatore, meanwhile, said: "Starting from the grand prix of France, we want to ride along at the front again."
Red Bull fits new rear wings for Canada
(GMM) Both of Austrian energy drink Red Bull's formula one teams will race new rear wings at the Canadian grand prix.
Many outfits, including Ferrari and Toyota, intend to debut new bodywork on the low-downforce Montreal layout this weekend, but the Red Bull news is particularly noteworthy in the context of the similarly new FIA deflection tests.
We first reported late last month that the intensified scrutineering tests, to be conducted for the first time in Canada, were a reaction to evidence that suggested the Red Bull wings were flexing illegally at high speed in Spain.
The team technical boss, Adrian Newey, confirmed in a press document this week that the RB3 will be fitted with a "smaller rear wing" in Canada.
"We also now have to comply with a new deflection test introduced by the FIA to ascertain if your rear wing is flexing illegally," the Briton said.
It was revealed late on Monday that Red Bull's jointly Gerhard Berger-owned junior squad Toro Rosso has also prepared "new front and rear wings" for the similar STR2 single seater in Montreal.
Monaco slump was 'rare episode' - Todt
(GMM) Jean Todt said on Monday that he thought the recent Monaco grand prix had been a "rare negative episode" for the Ferrari team in 2007.
The Italian squad, which is led by the 60-year-old Frenchman, finished a minute behind the leaders in the Principality, despite Felipe Massa winning the preceding Bahrain and French grands prix with superior pace to the McLarens.
Referring to Monaco, Todt said: "It was one of those rare negative episodes that inevitably occur during a season."
Massa, meanwhile, is also quoted by the newspaper El Mundo as saying: "I know that (the) McLaren (car) did not have anything especially new (in Monaco) -- it was not that they improved, it was that we did not perform at our best.
"I am convinced that Monaco for us was a one-off," said the Brazilian.
Also expecting a better weekend in Canada is BMW-Sauber, whose Robert Kubica said the 2007 car - the F1.07 - is more effective on low downforce circuits like Montreal and Indianapolis.
He commented: "Certainly, the two test days at Paul Ricard with the Montreal layout indicated that."
I don't like Piquet Jr - Kovalainen
(GMM) Heikki Kovalainen has given a noteworthy insight into his relationship with his Renault team colleague Nelson Piquet Jr.
Finn Kovalainen has had a difficult start to his rookie season as the French squad's race driver, after testing for the team last year.
Waiting in the wings in the Renault pit garage, meanwhile, is 21-year-old Piquet Jr, who filled Kovalainen's test-seat shoes this year and wants to move into a racing cockpit no later than 2008.
In a blithe interview with ITV, Kovalainen, 25, was asked which famous racer he most admired -- 1992 title winner Nigel Mansell or triple world champion Nelson Piquet.
He answered: "To be honest I don't really know them so well -– it was too early for me when they were racing.
"(But) I don't really like Piquet Junior so much, so maybe Mansell."
Reigning world champion Fernando Alonso was also giving away subtle psychological clues this week as speculation continues to hint at tension between him and his rookie McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Asked by the UK men's magazine Nuts if Hamilton's success in 2007 had motivated him, the Spaniard answered: "No, because I'm always motivated."
Hamilton factor may help Canada GP sellout
(GMM) The Canadian grand prix this weekend could be heading for a sellout -- thanks to Lewis Hamilton.
Montreal's always-buzzing Circuit Gilles Villeneuve will be missing two usual drawcards in 2007, following the retirement of Michael Schumacher and local hero Jacques Villeneuve's formula one exit.
Canada's National Post reports that the event is not sold out, "but (it) could be by the end of the week, depending on an anticipated rush for general-admission tickets".
The 'rush' is expected due to a late marketing campaign centered around the success of British McLaren rookie Hamilton, who has scored as many points so far in 2007 as his world champion teammate Fernando Alonso.
"People are reacting to the way it's going with him," the grand prix's press officer Normand Prieur said.
"We've been playing with that. We're not hiding that. We wish that he might win his first race here. That would make some history for us."
332,000 spectators attended the Canadian GP weekend in 2006, with 119,000 on race day.
Some rain, meanwhile, is expected in the French speaking city on Friday, but the rest of the weekend is expected to be mostly fine.
Ex-manager 'shocked' by Ralf's woes
(GMM) Ralf Schumacher's former manager says he was "shocked" by the Toyota driver's performance in the recent Monaco grand prix.
The 31-year-old, who is currently the subject of wild speculation concerning his immediate future on the grid, hit a new low in 2007 when in Monte Carlo he was outqualified by a Spyker and then struggled to overtake the orange cars in the race.
But Willi Weber, who negotiated Ralf's expiring $20m per-year Toyota contract before they split, told Bild newspaper: "He finds himself in a downward spiral that continues to get worse.
"Monaco shocked me -- that he hung around behind (Christijan) Albers for so long, seeming to not be able to do anything about it.
"It is not the Ralf that I know."
Germany's Schumacher, meanwhile, is personally more confident about Montreal this weekend, after winning the race for Williams in 2001, finishing second to his brother in 2003 and starting from pole in '04.
"We are working hard on the issues we had in Monaco and I hope we'll see an improvement in Canada," he said this week.
Kubica not sorry about Villeneuve absence
(GMM) Robert Kubica says he is not nervous about racing in Montreal this year, after taking Canadian favorite Jacques Villeneuve's seat at BMW-Sauber.
Former world champion Villeneuve split with BMW last season mere weeks after competing at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, which is named in honor of his late and legendary father.
But although the separation was in ex-tester Kubica's favor, the rookie Pole refused to treat the subject carefully in conversation with the Canadian newspaper National Post ahead of his return to Montreal in 2007.
"I'm really happy that it happened," the 22-year-old, admitting that he hasn't had any contact with Villeneuve since he left formula one, insists.
Kubica continued: "I worked with him and for him. I was trying, during Friday tests, to help him as much as I could, as much as possible.
"(But) I won't cry because I took Jacques's seat. I think it's life and it happens sometimes."
Rather, Kubica said he is particularly looking forward to the weekend's Canadian GP because it is among his favorite tracks on the calendar.
He drove last year's BMW-Sauber on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve last year as the test driver.
Kubica said: "I think our car can perform very well there because of the lower downforce configuration of the track.
"I'm looking forward to it for sure."