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Latest F1 news in brief
  • McLaren denies spy saga knowledge
  • F1 fans think McLaren is guilty
  • WMSC member - McLaren should escape penalty
  • Even without Schu, Nurb ticket sales higher
  • Liuzzi hits out at Toro Rosso problems
  • No F1 link in Indy's MotoGP deal

McLaren denies spy saga knowledge
(GMM) McLaren has put further distance between itself and suspended chief designer Mike Coughlan.

The Woking based team on Monday angrily denied Coughlan's alleged admission that he told several fellow McLaren employees about his possession of reams of secret Ferrari material.

The contents of his confidential sworn affidavit were reportedly leaked to the Italian press by Ferrari, the other main player in the espionage saga that has scandalized formula one.

McLaren rejected reports of Coughlan's quotes as "erroneous speculation" that gave rise to "inaccurate and misleading" coverage.

The strongly worded statement continued: "This is unfortunate and is prejudicial to a fair interpretation of these matters."

The Mercedes powered team reiterated that "the fact that (Coughlan) held at his home unsolicited materials from Ferrari was not known to any other member of the team prior to (3 July)."

F1 fans think McLaren is guilty
(GMM) Most formula one fans believe that McLaren must or will be punished for its alleged involvement in the Stepney-gate spy scandal.

In an online poll, more than 70 per cent of German-speaking respondents think the outcome for Ron Dennis' Woking based team at the upcoming World Council hearing will be negative.

McLaren has denied its involvement, but suspended chief designer Mike Coughlan has reportedly admitted to possessing confidential material belonging to Ferrari and told several team colleagues about it, including team manager Jonathan Neale.

Only 27 per cent of those who voted in Auto Motor und Sport's poll think McLaren should escape sanctions, which could range from fines to docked points or total exclusion from the world championship.

WMSC member - McLaren should escape penalty
(GMM) A member of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council has given a strong hint about which way he will be voting when his colleagues meet in central Paris on July 26.

Spaniard Joaquin Verdegay confirmed to the newspaper 'Diario As' that he will be present when the governing body's espionage case against McLaren is heard this month.

He made it clear that he thinks the Woking based team should escape sanctions for allegedly possessing and using stolen material from Ferrari.

Verdegay said: "It is going to be very difficult to demonstrate that McLaren used that information and that it did so knowing where it came from.

"Certainly what I hope happens is that Dennis' team do not even get a reprimand, because it is almost impossible to prove anything."

He explained, however, that the situation could change if Dennis "confesses" to the crime -- and in the light of a McLaren statement on Monday, that is highly unlikely.

The team said that it has "categorically established that no Ferrari information has at any stage been used to develop its car".

Even without Schu, Nurb ticket sales higher
(GMM) Michael Schumacher's retirement as a formula one driver was a big blow for Germany.

But, even without the seven time world champion on his local Nurburgring grid this weekend, the 2007 European grand prix is expecting a bigger than usual crowd.

The historic circuit's managing director Walter Kafitz explained that ticket sales have been 12 per cent better than at the same time last year; simply because there is now only one annual race in Germany.

From this year, the Nurburgring and Hockenheim will annually alternate hosting the single event.

Kafitz explained: "On one hand we simply wanted to keep formula one with us, and on the other get the (financial) losses under control."

Ferrari 'advisor' Schumacher will, meanwhile, attend the race this weekend, where we he will inaugurate the newly-renamed 'Schumacher-S' corner.

One of the 38-year-old's contemporaries, Renault racer Giancarlo Fisichella, said racing in Germany without Schumacher on the track will be a strange feeling.

The Italian added: "But there are a lot of racing fans there and the Nurburgring is an historic venue. We need to make sure we put on a good show for everybody."

Liuzzi hits out at Toro Rosso problems
(GMM) Vitantonio Liuzzi has hit out at Toro Rosso's appalling reliability record so far in 2007.

As well as teammate Scott Speed, the Italian racer is coming under increasing pressure simply to retain his seat for next year, but that hasn't stopped him criticizing the Faenza based outfit for fielding cars that regularly break down.

The biggest culprit recently has been the new seamless-shift gearbox, which is also proving fragile in the back of sister team Red Bull Racing's '07 cars.

"We're already past the middle of the season and we have to hurry up and understand what's going on," Liuzzi told Speed TV.

He added: "We're trying to improve the speed, that's for sure, but even with the standard gearbox we had problems."

In an interview released by RBR this week, team boss Christian Horner admitted that gearbox reliability in particular has been unacceptable.

He vowed: "Every aspect of the gearbox has been reviewed and we are aware of the need to get on top of it quickly."

No F1 link in Indy's MotoGP deal
(GMM) Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Joie Chitwood has rejected suggestions that the departure of formula one has anything to do with MotoGP.

Mere days after it was announced that a US grand prix will not be held at the historic venue in 2008, a new three-year race deal with MotoGP's governing body Dorna was unveiled for Indy.

One Indiana newspaper proclaimed: "Who needs F1? Motorcycle racing coming to Indy in 2008".

Chitwood, however, said the door has been left open for F1 to return in the future, as Indianapolis would have had no problem hosting both European based series in 2008.

"We would have been busy, but we would have done it," he said on Monday.

"We've got the staff, we've got the personnel, we've got the experience. We would have done all four, and nobody would have known the difference."

Indy's MotoGP round will require modifications to the formula one road circuit, including a new four-corner section bypassing the banked Speedway turn 1.

In addition, the motorcycles will race anti-clockwise, unlike the F1 single seaters that ran clockwise around the layout since 2000.

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