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Latest F1 news in brief - Monday UPDATE #2 The V8 Supercars are back on the slate for next year's Australian GP. Race organizers, desperate to secure the V8s after their absence last year, will forfeit the season-opener, most probably to Bahrain. Grand Prix Corporation chairman Ron Walker said holding the opening race was no longer a big deal.

"It's not the greatest thing to have the first race any more," Walker said yesterday. "Taking all factors into account, this is the best option for our event and the people who support it."

After two years of falling attendances, the Grand Prix Corporation was eager to get the V8 Supercars back on the program.V8 Supercars Australia chairman Tony Cochrane said in addition to the date change, he had also won several concessions from the Grand Prix. From next year V8 teams will be allowed to sell merchandise at Albert Park, get a better sanction fee and have a new race program.

"We've got all the concessions we've asked for," Cochrane said. "They've been a pleasure to work with."

07/23/07 Updates shown in red below.

  • Australia loses season open slot for 2008
  • Ferrari denies leaking Coughlan quotes
  • Tost angry with Toro Rosso racers
  • Newspaper slams unfair treatment for Hamilton
  • Italy scolds Massa for foul-mouthed attack New
  • Spy scandal damaging F1 - Montezemolo New

Australia loses season open slot for 2008
(GMM) Melbourne will no longer host the opening round of the formula one season after refusing to run the Australian grand prix at night in future.

Instead, Bahrain will kick off the 2008 calendar, with the Albert Park event following it in mid-March, Australian organizers revealed on Monday.

"Bahrain will stage the first race," a spokesman for the Australian Grand Prix Corporation said, confirming that the Melbourne event will however be started later than usual at 3.30pm.

The later time is a compromise after AGPC chairman Ron Walker refused to meet Bernie Ecclestone's demand for a race under floodlights to help bolster the early-morning TV audience in Europe.

Walker said of the rejected night race option: "Our investigations have convinced us that as things currently stand, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages."

Ferrari denies leaking Coughlan quotes
(GMM) Jean Todt has denied that Ferrari were responsible for leaking to the Italian press excerpts of espionage suspect Mike Coughlan's sworn affidavit.

The Ferrari principal's counterpart at McLaren, Ron Dennis, said at the Nurburgring that the source of the leak probably fails to understand the "implications" of disclosing his chief designer's confidential court statement, which suggests that other team members also knew about the 780-page spy dossier.

"The three recipients of (the) affidavit were told in no uncertain terms that they would be committing a legal breach in the event of any of it being shared with third parties," he explained.

But Todt on Sunday insisted that Ferrari is not the guilty party.

"It's out of our control," the Frenchman told reporters after the European grand prix.

"The more people who are aware, the more opportunity you have to have leaks. We just have to follow the procedures which are in process.

"Honestly, I think other people should be more worried than us on this particular matter."

Tost angry with Toro Rosso racers
(GMM) Toro Rosso's angry team boss Franz Tost on Sunday only grudgingly expanded on arguably the shortest post-race press release in F1 history.

The Faenza based team's press office officially declared after the European grand prix: "Nothing to say today", repeating the same scant comment in Italian.

It followed the wet and wild Nurburgring race, where STR's Scott Speed and Vitantonio Liuzzi were both victims of an early downpour that brought out the red flags.

According to motorline.cc, Tost scowled after the pair skidded out: "Only the good drivers reached the finish line today."

Parent team Red Bull Racing's veteran duo Mark Webber and David Coulthard, for instance, made the most of the carnage to finish an impressive third and fifth.

Tost's apparent frustration with Liuzzi and Speed, whose combined age is a fairly young 47, has led him and team co-owner Gerhard Berger to consider hiring a more experienced lineup for 2008.

Champ Car veteran Sebastien Bourdais and Ralf Schumacher have both been linked with moves to the Italian team.

Amid similar interest in BMW's young test driver Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile, Berger even refuses to rule out a scenario where either Speed or Liuzzi could be replaced this year.

The Austrian said: "In formula one no-one should ever feel one hundred per cent secure."

Newspaper slams unfair treatment for Hamilton
(GMM) The Spanish press has reacted with irritation to what it describes as a "favor for Hamilton" by the Nurburgring marshals on Sunday.

Spain's always partisan newspaper Diario As, whose countryman Fernando Alonso closed to within two points of his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton by winning the European grand prix on Sunday, reckons the track-workers behaved unfairly after Briton Hamilton slid off the circuit.

"With a crane they helped him get going again while the rest of those in the gravel, like Scott Speed, watched in amazement because their cranes took them away from the track rather than back to it," the newspaper marveled.

'As' claims the preferential treatment partly explains why Speed's team Toro Rosso refused to make its usual official comments in a post-race press release.

Jenson Button (Honda), Adrian Sutil (Spyker), Nico Rosberg (Williams) and Vitantonio Liuzzi (STR) similarly aquaplaned at turn one, but only Hamilton was able to return to the track.

Italy scolds Massa for foul-mouthed attack
(GMM) Italy's fickle but usually patriotic press has sided with Fernando Alonso after the European grand prix.

The Spaniard beat Ferrari's Felipe Massa to the flag at the Nurburgring after a late wheel-banging dice, earning the description 'Super Alonso' in the famous sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Super Alonso gives Massa a lesson," said the publication, also rebuking Massa for reacting badly to McLaren driver Alonso's surly word to the Brazilian as they waited to mount the podium.

Massa, in Italian, angrily hit back at Alonso, who had accused him of deliberately making contact with his McLaren's left sidepod in the scrap for the win.

Several publications printed transcripts of their verbal quarrel, in which Massa told Alonso to "f--k off".

He said: "You have got to learn how to f--king driving properly".

La Gazzetta dello Sport observed: "No-one can justify (Massa's) exaggerated reaction to Alonso's criticism.

"Without his problems with the tires, he probably could have held Alonso off, but one has to say that in the rain he is not the best".

Spy scandal damaging F1 - Montezemolo
(GMM) Luca di Montezemolo has broken his silence on the F1 spy scandal by denouncing it as being bad for the sport.

Just days before the matter is considered by F1's governing body in a Paris hearing this week, the saga has now descended into a slinging match of blame after excerpts of Mike Coughlan's affidavit were leaked to the press.

Ferrari team principal Jean Todt at the Nurburgring confirmed that his Maranello based team will be present to argue at McLaren's hearing on Thursday, but Montezemolo suggested that the affair could have an adverse effect on the sport as a whole.

"This is a very delicate affair that harms the image of formula one," the Italian is quoted as saying by the news agency Sport-Informations-Dienst (sid), referring to the rogue Ferrari and McLaren employees Nigel Stepney and Mike Coughlan.

Montezemolo added: "Above all the principle of loyalty is being questioned."

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