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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Honda appoints new marketing man
  • Marko defends Red Bull driver program
  • Piquet Snr loses driver license
  • Hamilton best '07 driver - survey
  • Unhappy Massa reserves spy verdict opinion

Honda appoints new marketing man
(GMM) Formula one team Honda has appointed a new marketing director, following the departure in May of Alistair Watkins.

Alongside 19 Entertainment, Watkins - the son of former F1 doctor Prof. Sid Watkins - was responsible for the radical 'Earth Car' concept for 2007 but he left the Brackley based team to join the Swiss America's Cup squad Anlinghi.

On Monday, it was announced that David Butler - from the sports awards Laureus - had now replaced him, and his first challenge will be to build on the 'Earth Car' concept, Honda said in a statement.

Marko defends Red Bull driver program
(GMM) Red Bull's Helmut Marko has defended the energy drink's arguably failed junior driver development programs.

With Toro Rosso's Red Bull-developed lineup of Scott Speed and Vitantonio Liuzzi on the verge of collapse, former grand prix racer Marko - whose role at races is to liaise with Red Bull's drivers - insisted that the company's up and coming stars justify the driver program.

"We have some very good people (on the program)," the Austrian said in an interview with motorline.cc.

"One of them is Sebastien Buemi, who is in F3 and recently did a very good formula one test."

Marko also singled out Brendon Hartley and Filipe Albuquerque as young stars of the future.

"So we have a multiplicity of good drivers who are very successful in the junior categories," he insisted.

"If you make your judgment about Red Bull's junior program only on the basis of the performance of Speed and Liuzzi, then I don't think that is fair."

Piquet Snr loses driver license
(GMM) Triple world champion Nelson Piquet lost his driver's license in Brazil last month, according to reports.

The news agency Globo News said the 54-year-old, whose son Piquet Jr tests for the Renault team, lost all of his demerit points due to a range of traffic infringements, including speeding.

Piquet reportedly did not contest the cancellation of his credential.

Brazilian authorities would not however confirm the news, or answer speculation that the final infringement was a speeding breach of more than 50kph above the legal limit.

To regain his license, former Brabham and Williams racer Piquet began a driving reform program in the central capital Brasilia on Monday.

He will be accompanied throughout the eight days of classes by his wife Viviane, whose license was confiscated for bad driving, the newspaper O Globo added.

Hamilton best '07 driver - survey
(GMM) Championship leader and rookie Lewis Hamilton was the best performer during the first half of the 2007 season, according to a survey.

According to the website of the Swiss newspaper Blick, 28 experts and former drivers including Flavio Briatore, Norbert Haug, Keke Rosberg, Jody Scheckter and Jean Todt were asked to rank this year's formula one field.

McLaren pairing Hamilton and Fernando Alonso locked out the top two, followed by Ferrari's Felipe Massa and BMW driver Nick Heidfeld.

In fifth spot, Massa's teammate Kimi Raikkonen trailed the pace after his lackluster first half of the season, followed by Williams' impressive Nico Rosberg.

Mark Webber (Red Bull), meanwhile, scraped inside the top nine, while former grand prix winners Jenson Button and Ralf Schumacher could only manage disappointing results with 15th and 22nd places respectively.

Unhappy Massa reserves spy verdict opinion
(GMM)  Felipe Massa has hinted that he too is angry that Ferrari's championship rival escaped the sanctioning powers of the World Council last week.

The Brazilian driver's bosses Jean Todt and Luca di Montezemolo fervently slammed the decision in Paris to let McLaren off with a warning, after the Woking based team's chief designer Mike Coughlan was caught in possession of 780 pages of Ferrari secrets.

25-year-old Massa, who swore and argued with McLaren's Fernando Alonso after their wheel-banging scrap at the Nurburgring, offered a more reserved appraisal of the espionage verdict but made it clear that he is not happy.

"It's certainly not a nice moment for the sport," Massa, who is third in the drivers' championship behind the McLarens, is quoted as saying by the Daily Express.

He added: "It's not up to us drivers to judge, but we can have our opinions."

Massa also said he does not regret reacting angrily to Alonso's provocation after their European grand prix tussle, despite the Italian press branding him a bad loser.

"Something happened that I wish won't happen again," he admitted, "but I don't regret what I did.

"We are fighting for positions, fighting for the championship, and sometimes you can't just control your nerves so easily," said Massa.

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