Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Updates shown in red below.
- Kimi pins hopes on new aero package
- Alonso breaks McLaren 'vow of silence'
- Other doors close for Ralf
- Back pain keeps Button out of car
- Bernie in clear after Valencia complaint New
- Sato still upset with ten-place penalty New
- Verstappen slams Albers for manager split New
Kimi pins hopes on new aero package
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen ran at the Silverstone test on Wednesday, declaring that "a lot depends" on the success of a new aerodynamic package for Ferrari's F2007 single seater.
Reports emerging from Germany, meanwhile, suggest that the famous team's mid-season slump could be linked with a major problem in the sole Maranello wind tunnel.
It is reported that the facility's rolling road broke at full speed just prior to the Spanish grand prix, causing significant damage.
Perhaps not coincidentally, the F2007 failed to win any of the three races subsequent to Barcelona.
It is not known if the tunnel is back up and running at full capacity even now, but Finn Raikkonen refused to admit that the season is a write off.
He said at Silverstone, where sporadic rain spoiled afternoon proceedings for the nine teams in attendance: "We have a new aerodynamic package and some other things (here).
"One thing is for sure: we really need better results at the upcoming two GPs than we got in North America," Raikkonen, 27, added.
Alonso breaks McLaren 'vow of silence'
(GMM) Fernando Alonso may already have broken a new 'vow of silence' imposed on McLaren drivers at Indianapolis by Ron Dennis.
The Mercedes-powered team's chairman and principal, concerned about the handling of Alonso and rookie teammate Lewis Hamilton's recent musings about each other to the press, informed reporters on the scene of the US grand prix that the pair have agreed to not talk about one another any more.
"They will only talk about each other in each other's presence," Dennis revealed at Indy, "because then there is no misconception or no misunderstanding."
World champion Alonso, however, went on Spanish radio shortly after the US grand prix - in which he finished behind Hamilton for the second time in the space of seven days - claiming that it is he who does the bulk of the car setup work for his team.
"Hamilton gets my data," the Spaniard told Cadena SER, "but I also get his data. But the one that gets the car ready on a Friday is me."
Other doors close for Ralf
(GMM) Not only do Ralf Schumacher's days on the grand prix grids seem numbered, the beleaguered Toyota driver might also struggle to find a seat elsewhere in the world of motor sport next year.
Veterans like Jean Alesi, Mika Hakkinen and Heinz-Harald Frentzen found refuge in the German touring car series DTM after retiring from formula one.
But, asked about struggling six-time winner Schumacher's plight, Audi's DTM boss Wolfgang Ullrich told AZ: "We are not a catchment basin for frustrated formula one stars."
A spokesman for DTM's governing body ITR, meanwhile, said: "If he brings his brother with him, then Ralf can come.
"No, seriously, in the DTM we are quite busy with very good drivers."
Back pain keeps Button out of car
(GMM) Honda's Jenson Button sat out testing at the Jerez circuit on Wednesday due to back pain.
The British driver, who had been looking forward to trying crucial updates for Honda's uncompetitive RA107 car this week, was scheduled to drive "but arrived in Jerez not fully recovered from a slight back complaint believed to have been caused during his first corner incident during the race at Indianapolis on Sunday", the Japanese squad confirmed.
Test driver Christian Klien replaced him, with Button scheduled to return to action on Thursday.
Bernie in clear after Valencia complaint
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has been cleared of wrongdoing after he was last month accused of trying to interfere with politics in Valencia.
An opposing political party lodged an official complaint when the F1 supremo said a seven year deal for a European grand prix in the port city, featuring a $35m per year race fee, was conditional on regional leader Francisco Camps winning re-election.
Camps' incumbent Partido Popular then cruised to landslide victory.
But it was confirmed on Thursday that the Valencian Electoral Commission has given Ecclestone's behavior the all-clear, ruling that the grand prix announcement was not akin to a political ploy.
The Commission clarified that a freedom of speech clause in the Spanish constitution entitles Ecclestone, 76, to make comments about conditions that need to be met for the conclusion of a contract.
Sato still upset with ten-place penalty
(GMM) Takuma Sato says he is "not happy" with Indianapolis stewards' decision to penalize him following an incident during the US grand prix.
The Super Aguri driver spun out of the 73-lap race, so he will start ten places lower on the Magny Cours grid next weekend after stewards ruled that he overtook Honda-powered colleague Jenson Button under yellow flags at turn one.
Sato immediately claimed that it was in fact Button who had tried to pass him in the wake of the lap-one accident.
"We are not happy with the decision," the Japanese now adds. "I knew about the incident and yellow flag at turn one, it was so obvious.
"On the straight, I knew Jenson was immediately behind and had got my tow. I thought he didn't realize there was a yellow flag. He tried to overtake and we were side-by-side but, going into turn one, he hesitated and braked earlier. I thought he was quitting the maneuver and that's why I held my position."
Sato says the problem is that the marshals' station for turn one is too close to the corner.
"It was only 50 meters before the incident," he explained. "We were absolutely side-by-side, in terms of positioning it looks we were identical on the TV footage, but there was a loop there which shows that Jenson was ahead.
"The outcome is it looks like I was overtaking him - from the scientific point of view - but of course the penalty is really harsh."
Verstappen slams Albers for manager split
(GMM) Former grand prix driver Jos Verstappen has hit out at his countryman Christijan Albers for splitting with his manager.
Spyker's Albers, who has struggled to keep up with his rookie teammate Adrian Sutil so far in 2007, confirmed at Indianapolis that differences with his manager Lodewijk Varossieau led to their split.
"Lodewijk did so much for Albers," Verstappen, who has been linked with a test drive for Spyker's current single seater, wrote in his column for the newspaper De Telegraaf, "and even in difficult times you have to be able to work together."
Verstappen said Albers, 28, could live to regret the decision because Lodewijk is closely aligned with Spyker CEO Michiel Mol and had brought a lot of sponsors to the team.
Verstappen pointed out that bigger teams select their drivers not on the basis of money but on performance, noting that "in this regard, Albers has not made a very good impression".