Latest F1 news in brief
- Kimi too 'passive' for Ferrari - Andretti
- Rosberg under contract for 2008 - Williams
- FIA slams 'ban motor sport' article
- Switzerland lifts motor racing ban
- Watch us in America, says Williams' Michael
- Alonso makes case for number one status
- Hamilton 'rapped' Monaco sorrow away
- Fisi launches motor racing school
- Alonso could solve Renault woes - Andretti
Kimi too 'passive' for Ferrari - Andretti
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen's "passive" personality could be holding the Finn back at Ferrari.
That is the claim of F1's world champion of 1978, Mario Andretti, who during a stint in his grand prix career drove with the famous Italian marque.
"I don't know Kimi that well, but I always think he looks somewhat passive," Andretti, who is now 67, told the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's website.
He added: "I don't know if it's that way inside or not. Maybe he doesn't have the team rallying around him as much as you might expect."
Finn Raikkonen switched from McLaren to Ferrari this year to become the highest paid driver in the paddock, but currently lags behind his teammate Felipe Massa and both McLaren racers in the drivers' championship table.
Andretti, however, said he had expected Raikkonen to immediately outpace Brazil's Massa, but reckons he could still ultimately emerge as the stronger force at Ferrari.
"I'd imagine his character is stronger than Massa's, and I think that ultimately he might endure a high-pressure situation better."
Rosberg under contract for 2008 - Williams
(GMM) Even Ferrari will be sniffing out the finer details of Nico Rosberg's contract with Williams, according to Gerhard Berger.
Berger, who co-owns Scuderia Toro Rosso and is a former ten time grand prix winner, said he has been impressed this year with the 21-year-old German's second season on the F1 grid.
"Alongside Lewis Hamilton, Nico is for me the superstar of the season," the Austrian told the magazine Sport Bild.
Berger added: "He has become interesting for each and every grand prix team -- Ferrari included."
Rosberg's current boss, Sir Frank Williams, probably sensed the growing swell of paddock interest in his driver, because he this week declared that Nico is already under contract "also for next year".
"We want to finish fifth in the constructors' championship and finish several times on the podium," Williams said of his goals for 2007, "and then next year be even closer to the front."
Even Nico's veteran teammate Alex Wurz admits that Rosberg is "simply faster" than him at present, and his impressive speed in 2007 has inspired Williams' usually petulant co-owner Patrick Head to offer praise.
"Nico is a great driver," the Briton said, "and all he needs now is a super-fast car.
"We will try to give him one soon."
FIA slams 'ban motor sport' article
(GMM) F1's governing body has struck back at a journalist who thinks formula one should be banned.
British newspaper The Herald's James Porteous said this week that motor sport is "dangerous" because of its contribution to global warming.
"A couple of degrees more will trigger catastrophe," he wrote, also dismissing the FIA's new push for more environmentally-friendly rules in the future as "general waffle" and "greenwash".
Porteous wrote: "The faster the car, the faster it destroys the Earth -- simple. Winning races and saving the planet are not compatible."
The FIA's communications manager Mark Culter reacted by saying he was "appalled and dismayed at the naivety" of the writer.
"Did he call any F1 teams or speak to anyone from the FIA before arriving at his uneducated conclusions?" he said rhetorically.
"F1 has always been at the cutting edge of technology and will continue to be with energy-efficient systems such as regenerative braking and biofuels.
"In this way, F1 will act as a catalyst to speed up the development and use of eco-technology on our roads."
Switzerland lifts motor racing ban
(GMM) Switzerland has finally lifted a more than fifty-year ban on organizing motor racing events such as formula one.
A photograph in the country's national newspaper Blick showed politicians celebrating the occasion by spraying each other with champagne.
The ban fell back in 1955, after more than 80 spectators died in an horror crash at Le Mans.
But in parliament this week, it was lifted when 97 votes defeated 77, with politicians arguing that motor racing would be of benefit to Swiss car component manufacturers and tourism.
Those opposed said motor racing was damaging to the environment and would promote hooligan driving on the roads.
The news, however, instantly sparked speculation of a return of the Swiss grand prix; a formula one event that was last held at the Bremgarten circuit and won by Juan Manual Fangio in 1954.
"But where are we going to build this apparent circuit?," a skeptical Beat Zehnder, BMW-Sauber's team manager, wondered in Montreal.
"Talking about a grand prix is, I think, simply unrealistic," he added, explaining that Switzerland can probably not compete with big-spending countries like Abu Dhabi and South Korea for a spot on the calendar.
Watch us in America, says Williams' Michael
(GMM) Sam Michael has urged the racing world to not write off Williams as F1 swings into North America.
Last year, the Cosworth-powered FW28 did not perform well for the back-to-back races in Montreal and Indianapolis, but technical director Michael insists that this year's car is very different.
"Last year, fast circuits were poison to our car," the Australian is quoted as saying by the technical magazine Auto Motor und Sport, "but that was because of our aerodynamic inefficiency.
Sam Michael explained: "This year though we are normally always among the three quickest cars in the speed traps."
Alonso makes case for number one status
(GMM) Fernando Alonso thinks Monaco would have helped his quest to emerge as McLaren's clear 'number one' for the rest of 2007.
The Spaniard is tied on points in the drivers' championship with rookie teammate Lewis Hamilton, but Monte Carlo was his second win for the silver camp.
"It is understandable that the team still has doubts about who should be the number one," Alonso is quoted as saying by the Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport.
He said: "We are tied on points and we have the same opportunities, which is why winning in Monaco was very important from that point of view.
"Now it is up to me to take advantage of it."
Alonso also dismissed the British press' furious suggestions last week that only illegal team orders prevented Hamilton from going for the win in Monaco.
"The only certainty is that if you arrive at your first pit stop with a ten second disadvantage to your teammate, it is going to be very difficult for you to pass him," the 25-year-old said.
Hamilton 'rapped' Monaco sorrow away
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton blew off his frustration after finishing second in the Monaco grand prix by picking up a microphone.
The McLaren rookie would soon be at the centre of the team orders storm, but on Sunday evening he headed to Monte Carlo's VIP nightclub Amber Lounge, which is the brainchild of former Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine's sister Sonia.
The Spanish newspaper Diario As published a photo of Hamilton, 22, 'rapping' on stage during a stint as a DJ.
At the weekend, he then went to London's Wembley Arena to see Beyonce perform, and even met the American R&B singer at the nightclub after-party.
Fisi launches motor racing school
(GMM) Renault driver and grand prix winner Giancarlo Fisichella has launched the Fisichella Motor Sport Academy, which is located at the Vallelunga circuit near Rome.
With his manager Enrico Zanarini, the 34-year-old already owns a GP2 team, but the new academy is believed to be the first school in the world that is dedicated totally to racing.
As part of the new Fisichella Motor Sport Technopole building and complex, the academy has been created "to satisfy the many requests from individuals who seek a career in the world of motor sport," a statement explained.
Courses will help students earn diplomas to become mechanics, telemetrists, race engineers, aerodynamicists, technical directors, team and driver managers, trainers and press officers.
Alonso could solve Renault woes - Andretti
(GMM) 1978 world champion Mario Andretti thinks part of Renault's problem this year is a poor driver lineup.
The French squad soared to back-to-back drivers' and constructors' titles until Fernando Alonso left for McLaren at the end of last year.
"I think they underestimated how important the talent of the driver is, and when they lost Alonso they weren't able to replace him," the Italian born American, whose grandson Marco tested a Honda last winter, told the Indianapolis Motor Speedway website.
Andretti suggested that Heikki Kovalainen alongside Giancarlo Fisichella is not a championship winning combination.
"Kovalainen is probably a good rookie, but he hasn't shown a hell of a lot yet, and Fisichella is, well, Fisichella!
"No matter what you put him in, he will not give you consistent performance."
He derided suggestions that Renault's struggle is all about the switch from Michelin to standard Bridgestone tires in 2007.
Andretti said: "I think if you put Alonso back in that car, he'd have it up to speed in no time."
"Flavio Briatore's a guy who's proud of not paying superstar money to a driver, but I'm sure if they'd been paying Alonso what he deserved, he might well have stayed there.
"Maybe they thought they had such a good car that they could get by without a superstar driver."