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DATE News (chronologically)
06/12/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Hamilton mania leads to Silverstone sell-out
  • 'A groundhog, not a beaver, Anthony'
  • McLaren support Hamilton more - Alonso
  • Kubica engineer also in doubt
  • Trulli not to blame for Kubica crash - FIA
  • Ralf says Toyota to blame for '07 struggle New
  • Kovalainen feared third Canada crash New
  • Toyota forgives Trulli for Montreal crash New
  • British press has no 'respect' - Alonso New

Hamilton mania leads to Silverstone sell-out
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton's maiden victory sparked an "amazing" rush for tickets to the British grand prix next month, according to organizers.

Silverstone's managing director Richard Phillips said in a statement that, with Hamilton leading the world championship by 8 points in his rookie season, nearly every ticket for the event on July 8 is now sold out.

General admission tickets, for example, sold out completely on Monday, hours after Hamilton's breakthrough in Canada.

Phillips explained: "We haven't seen this level of interest since (Nigel) Mansell-mania in the late 80s and early 90s."

British tabloid The Sun quoted Sir Frank Williams as saying that Hamilton's success "makes you think there is a God", while the Daily Express speculated that the 22-year-old could become F1's first ever billionaire driver.

"Every so often someone comes along who transcends their sport; a George Best, Muhammad Ali or Tiger Woods –- and Lewis could be another," marveled sponsorship expert Tim Crow.

'A groundhog, not a beaver, Anthony'
(GMM) While the rest of the specialist media obsesses about Lewis Hamilton, or Robert Kubica's miraculous Montreal escape, a corner of the Canadian press is concerned with a much more pedantic detail.

Anthony Davidson told reporters after Sunday's race that a now very deceased beaver had damaged the front wing of his Super Aguri and his chance of a podium finish.

A journalist for Canada's National Post, however, says the Briton committed a "wildlife identification error" -- Davidson's road-kill was a groundhog, not a beaver.

"A beaver? Give me a break. I think the last time there was a beaver in Montreal was 1649," said grand prix spokesman Normand Prieur.

"This is all because of (British journalists) who have probably never seen a beaver in their lives."

Prier said officials captured many groundhogs - but clearly not all of them - in the vicinity of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in the weeks before the event.

McLaren support Hamilton more - Alonso
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton has rejected theories of internal conflict within his McLaren team, suggesting that it is an invention of the press.

A reporter in Montreal on Sunday asked the debutant winner if he even cared that his Spanish teammate Fernando Alonso had endured a difficult race.

"Of course. That's a bit of a silly question," he started, reporting a "lot of respect" for the reigning world champion and denying that they share a thorny relationship.

The real war, it seems, was being played out by the press; Spain's Diario As exclaiming in a headline on Tuesday that their British counterparts "enthrone Hamilton and despise Alonso".

Another newspaper, 'El Mundo', described the situation at McLaren as "apparent calm, obvious tension".

But Alonso is also showing signs of antagonism, telling the radio transmitter Cadena Ser this week that he does not feel "totally comfortable" with Hamilton as his teammate.

"I am with a British teammate in a British team -- and everyone knows that all of their support and their help is for him," he said.

"But I have always understood this and I do not complain about it."

Alonso agreed that the British press, preoccupied with the local hero Hamilton, is seemingly "indifferent" to him.

But "thank God the Spanish press has more respect," he added.

Kubica engineer also in doubt
(GMM) Robert Kubica - or his replacement - will probably have a different race engineer for this weekend's US grand prix.

It is reported by adrivo.com that BMW-Sauber's top test engineer, Ossi Oikarinen, was in Montreal at the weekend -- presumably to learn the ropes.

Kubica's regular engineer, the Iranian Mehmi Ahmadi, has apparently still not been granted a visa to enter the United States for this weekend's race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"We are still waiting for the visa," BMW spokesman Jorg Kottmeier confirmed.

He said: "If he cannot get it, Oikarinen will do his job in Indianapolis."

Trulli not to blame for Kubica crash - FIA
(GMM) Jarno Trulli was not to blame for Robert Kubica's horror crash during the Canadian grand prix.

That is the insistence of FIA race director Charlie Whiting, who said the governing body studied data and video footage of the moments preceding Kubica's contact with the Toyota of Trulli and a 230kph impact into the concrete barriers before turn 10.

"Trulli did not leave much room, but enough," Auto Motor und Sport quoted Whiting as saying.

"It was not his fault at all."

Trulli, who visited 22-year-old Kubica in hospital on Sunday evening, told the Montreal stewards after the race that he felt Kubica's BMW hit him from behind, while not deviating from his normal line.

BMW-Sauber, too, confirmed that mechanical failure had not led to the incident.

Kubica's crash has, meanwhile, led to calls for improved safety at the Canadian GP venue.

BMW's team founder Peter Sauber told the Swiss newspaper Blick that it was "strange" that a stretch of concrete wall in the direct line of the flat-out kink before turn ten was not protected.

"The cars are more and more strong, the crash tests are harder and harder to pass -- and then some circuits lag behind with safety like this," Sauber charged.

"Walls like those, in such exposed areas, must be lined with tires. If it had been already, Robert's initial impact would have been far less violent."

Ralf says Toyota to blame for '07 struggle
(GMM)  Ralf Schumacher has suggested that Toyota is at least partly to blame for his disastrous 2007 season so far.

The German, a winner of six grands prix, has borne the brunt of a media scathing this season, after failing to match up to his teammate Jarno Trulli at the wheel of the TF107.

But 31-year-old Schumacher said he is less concerned about his 0:6 qualifying record against Trulli than with the uncompetitive car he currently drives.

"Our basic level of performance is not high enough, and we are not collecting enough points," the broadcaster Premiere quoted him as saying.

"Teams that were behind us at the start of the season are now in front, and that is a factor that has nothing to do with my qualifying statistics."

Ralf's latest comments could be interpreted as a reaction to the knock his reputation has taken in 2007 -- or possibly the speculated Indianapolis 'deadline' by which he must either have improved or face an early exit from his seat.

He admits that he is frustrated that in formula one, driver performance cannot overcome the shortcomings of a bad car.

"That is the disadvantage of the sport," Ralf said.  "It is not like GP2, where all the cars are the same and you can just brake ten metres later than your teammate and be a hero.

"In formula one, there are so many factors."

He rubbished theories that a driver like his elder brother Michael could turn around Toyota's poor form, suggesting that the "biggest difference" between Ferrari and the other top teams in recent years were Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne and Jean Todt.

"People like that would help us, absolutely," Schumacher said.  "Michael was clearly a big component, but he did not build the car.

"Without the people around him, he would have got nowhere."

Kovalainen feared third Canada crash
(GMM)  Heikki Kovalainen has admitted that he held back from charging for a maiden podium on Sunday because he feared crashing for a third time at the Canadian event.

While fellow rookie Lewis Hamilton raced to a flawless first experience to the sport this year, Finn Kovalainen has struggled with media criticism accusing him of making too many mistakes, struggling under pressure, and failing to live up to the reputation of his predecessor at Renault, world champion Fernando Alonso.

In the closing stages of the race in Montreal on Sunday, the 25-year-old found himself behind Williams' Alex Wurz and at the wheel of a quicker car -- with the final podium placing as the prize.

"I thought I could pass him," Kovalainen admitted in his column for the BBC.

"To be honest, if I hadn't had such a tough weekend I would've had a bigger go and taken more risks, but I didn't want to risk a third crash of the weekend."

He crashed twice through the practice and qualifying sessions, and lined up at the back of the grid following an engine blow-up.

Kovalainen said: "It was important for myself and the team to show that we could do a job and get some points when I had a good opportunity; that's why I decided to be conservative rather than go for one extra point."

Toyota forgives Trulli for Montreal crash
(GMM)  Toyota's Pascal Vasselon has excused Jarno Trulli for crashing under safety car conditions in the Canadian grand prix.

The Japanese squad's chassis boss said on Tuesday that Italian Trulli, 32, was "concerned" throughout the race about Robert Kubica, after his dice for position with the BMW-Sauber driver led to the Pole's horror shunt.

"(Jarno) had seen the medical car out for a long time," Vasselon said of Trulli, who visited Kubica in Montreal's Sacre-Coeur hospital on Sunday evening.

Trulli later emerged from a pit stop and drove straight into the tyre barrier at turn one.

Vasselon continued: "It's perhaps understandable that his thoughts were elsewhere, and the whole team wishes Robert well."

British press has no 'respect' - Alonso
(GMM)  World champion Fernando Alonso said on Monday that he is "indifferent" to the media hype surrounding his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton this year.

More widely reported in the British media today has been the Spaniard's comments that "all of the help" of team officials is finding its way to the 22-year-old Canadian grand prix winner.

But during the interview with Spanish radio station Cadena SER, Alonso was read some of the sensationalist headlines recently penned by British journalists.

"Thank God the Spanish press has more respect," he said.

Alonso, however, might even have a point, given a glancing look at some of the headlines devised by the same newspaper editors and journalists about the Spaniard's Cadena interview.

The Guardian originally went with "Hamilton comes first at McLaren, whinges Alonso", before changing the final phrase to 'complains Alonso'.

Another said McLaren had been "accused of Hamilton bias", while the Daily Telegraph reckoned Alonso was "venting his frustrations" after losing his championship lead in Montreal.

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