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DATE News (chronologically)
08/20/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Update shown in red below.

08/20/07
  • Bernie issues India GP deadline
  • Coulthard - I had eating disorder
  • 'Shut up' - Piquet tells McLaren pair
  • McLaren unaffected by scandals - Whitmarsh
  • Alonso wants to stay at McLaren - Haug
  • Kubica laments traction control ban
  • Don't lose cool, Schu manager tells Alonso
  • Renault switch focus to 2008 season New
  • No early debut for Bourdais - Berger New
  • Ralf had Toro Rosso talks - Berger New

Bernie issues India GP deadline
(GMM) India has been given just 40 days to put a detailed plan in motion for its inaugural grand prix in Delhi.

F1's chief executive Bernie Ecclestone recently inked a 2009 race deal with the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), but he has now written to the potential promoter with a September 30 deadline, according to India's Economic Times.

By the end of the deadline, the IOA must have submitted to Ecclestone a detailed business plan and feasibility study, following speculation that funding or even land for a purpose-built circuit has not yet been organized.

"We are working on the project and will come out with a complete detailed plan in a couple of weeks," said IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi.

"The letter given (to us) by Mr. Ecclestone is extendible beyond the deadline."

Trouble could also be brewing on the financial front. Businessman Vijay Mallya, already a sponsor of the Toyota team through Kingfisher Airlines, had been touted as a key backer of the Indian GP project.

But he now says: "If IOA is doing it, let them; why should I invest?"

Coulthard - I had eating disorder
(GMM) David Coulthard has admitted for the first time that he once struggled with an eating disorder.

The Red Bull driver, who at 36 is the oldest current racer in formula one, wrote in a new autobiography that he used to make himself vomit despite weighing under 60kg in his teens.

Scot Coulthard, who is 6 foot tall, said he developed bulimia to try to negate the disadvantage of weighing more than his racing competitors.

"In my mind, the only way I could keep my weight down was by making myself vomit," he said.

"I became skin and bone but I weighed myself every morning, noon and night.

"In the evening, if I was half a pound heavier, I would get in the pool and swim."

Coulthard's admission was welcomed by the eating disorder charity Beat.

A spokeswoman told the Scotsman newspaper: "Hopefully, this will help reduce the stigma attached to suffering from an eating disorder."

'Shut up' - Piquet tells McLaren pair
(GMM) Triple world champion Nelson Piquet has advised McLaren's feuding drivers to keep quiet -- even if he agrees that the spat is "great" exposure for F1.

The Brazilian, whose namesake and son is a test driver for Renault, was famously embroiled in a fierce conflict with Williams teammate Nigel Mansell in the mid 80s. Others recall 1982 when he punched and karate-kicked Elisio Salazar following a crash.

But referring to the tension between Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton at present, he told the Spanish newspaper Marca: "It is never good when you lose respect for your rivals.

"I also think they are missing some opportunities to shut up."

Nevertheless, 55-year-old Piquet said the "war" between the McLaren pair creates good formula one coverage.

And he added: "These days there is more information around and it makes the rivalries bigger."

McLaren unaffected by scandals - Whitmarsh
(GMM) A boss of the British team has played down the effect that various recent scandals have had on McLaren's preparation for the Turkish grand prix.

In between handling a spy scandal, the stewards' penalty in Hungary, and feuding drivers Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, the Woking based outfit is also locked in a heightening battle with Ferrari for the 2007 titles.

Team principal Ron Dennis, meanwhile, left for a rare holiday after the recent Hungarian grand prix; which was one of the most tumultuous races in modern McLaren's nearly three decades of history.

"Each race weekend has its own challenges, we faced some fairly unique ones at the Hungarian grand prix," the team's F1 CEO, Martin Whitmarsh, said, "and there has been much reportage in the press in the two weeks since.

"However none of this has affected the preparation and motivation of Fernando, Lewis and the team for this twelfth round of the season."

Alonso wants to stay at McLaren - Haug
(GMM) Norbert Haug has again rejected persistent speculation that Fernando Alonso is looking to leave the McLaren team.

The German, who is competition director for McLaren's engine and equity partner Mercedes-Benz, recently flatly denied that Ron Dennis has given Alonso a green light to walk away from his contract amid his discomfort in 2007.

"There is a contract," Haug now tells the German-language news magazine Focus, referring to Spaniard Alonso's three year deal that began this season.

He added of Alonso: "And in Hungary, without being asked, he verbally confirmed that he intends to fulfill it."

Haug, meanwhile, described the intense rivalry between 26-year-old Alonso and his rookie teammate Lewis Hamilton as "healthy".

"In Hungary however it was not," the German added.

Kubica laments traction control ban
(GMM) Robert Kubica has lamented the reversal of technologies in formula one.

The Polish driver, who miraculously escaped injury in a massive crash at this year's Canadian grand prix, suggested that he is not particularly a supporter of changes designed to aid safety.

"We've gone from nice, slick racing tires to grooved tires," he said in an interview with the British magazine F1 Racing.

"We've gone from V10s to V8s. And now we go from TC (traction control) to no TC."

Traction control will be banned at the end of the season, with the FIA believing it can police the prohibition better than in the past because all cars will be fitted with a standard electronic unit.

It has been argued that banning traction control will give the drivers more scope to show their talents, but 22-year-old Kubica said the most important thing is for F1 to be at the cutting edge of technology.

"I love racing and driving but I want the cars to be the fastest things on earth," he said.

"I don't mind the challenge of having to do it precisely with my right foot, but ultimately I want to go fast and I don't like things that slow me down."

Don't lose cool, Schu manager tells Alonso
(GMM) Michael Schumacher's manager says Fernando Alonso has reacted badly to the situation at McLaren this season.

Willi Weber, who oversaw his seven time title winning charge's ultra-successful career at Jordan, Benetton and Ferrari, said Schumacher always acted correctly despite some fierce rivalries with teammates.

"Of course you always have your different views, but unlike Alonso, Michael always acted correctly.

"He simply showed who was the better one, and he certainly never thought of leaving the team if he was pushed hard."

Referring to Alonso, who narrowly beat Ferrari's Schumacher to the 2006 title, Weber said he "cannot understand" the Spaniard's behavior alongside rookie championship leader Lewis Hamilton this year.

"I would have expected him to keep his cool and just smile and shift up another gear. But instead he loses his head and behaves the way he did in Hungary," Weber told the German Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

"And because of his behavior his image suffers, which is actually the worse thing that can happen."

Weber said he would advise Alonso to put his head down now and do his talking on the track.

And he "must get the team on his side and under no circumstances close himself off to them".

"The fact that Hamilton does so well should not hurt his pride but instead stimulate him," Weber said.

"If I was Alonso's manager I would not be talking to other teams right now. Changing teams for him would be idiotic.

"He has the fastest car -- what else does he want?"

Renault switch focus to 2008 season
(GMM)  In the midst of a difficult 2007 campaign, Renault's focus has now switched to next year.

Technical director Bob Bell said on Monday that, notwithstanding a "minor" update for Turkey and the usual bespoke Monza package, attention at the Enstone factory was now firmly concentrated on the R28.

"The moment has come to focus our energies on 2008," Bell said, with the French carmaker just fourth in the constructors' standings despite winning in 2005 and 2006 with Fernando Alonso.

Bell said he thought the current pecking order, with Ferrari, McLaren and BMW-Sauber clear of the field, would probably remain stable at the last six grands prix of the year.

"Our objective will, as always, be to get the most out of our package," he added.

"Our design and development resources are already focusing intently on 2008."

Bell said beginning work on a new car so early is "quite different" to the approach of recent seasons.

"The project is on time, and we have been exploring some very interesting new development paths," he said.

No early debut for Bourdais - Berger
(GMM)  Toro Rosso co-owner Gerhard Berger has all but ruled out rumours that Vitantonio Liuzzi could be ousted before the end of the 2007 season.

The Faenza based team has already signed multiple Champ Car title winner Sebastien Bourdais to replace him in 2008.

But with other 2007 regular Scott Speed already ousted in favour of Sebastian Vettel, Austrian Berger told Auto Motor und Sport that the current lineup will almost certainly stay put for the final six races.

Asked about the possibility of bringing Bourdais into the STR lineup early, Berger said: "That would bring even more unrest into our current situation.

"Now is the time to stabilise the team again."

It should also be noted that Frenchman Bourdais, 28, is under firm contract to his American employer Newman/Haas/Lanigan for the balance of 2007, and fighting for a fourth consecutive title.

Tension, however, will no doubt colour the remainder of the Liuzzi-STR relationship, and Berger has praise only for the team's new recruits.

Referring to Vettel, he said: "He calls the factory each and every day and on the Monday after Hungary he was knocking on the doors at Faenza.

"It would never have occurred to Speed to do such a thing."

Ralf had Toro Rosso talks - Berger
(GMM)  Toro Rosso held "discussions" with Ralf Schumacher about a possible collaboration in 2008.

That is the admission of team co-owner Gerhard Berger, despite Schumacher recently laughing off rumours that he might turn to the Faenza based team to rescue his flagging career.

Before STR signed Sebastien Bourdais for next year, reporters in Hungary asked 32-year-old Schumacher if he might become rookie Sebastian Vettel's 2008 teammate.

The German grinned: "Yeah -- maybe twelve years ago."

But Berger told Auto Motor und Sport on Monday: "We had discussions with Ralf, but there was never a concrete offer."

Schumacher and Berger remain friends after working together at BMW-Williams some years ago.

Berger said: "For a grand prix winner like Ralf it would have been really difficult to go back to a team like Toro Rosso."

Berger also said Nelson Piquet Jr is "probably as fast as Vettel", even though he believes Champ Car's Bourdais is the "best solution" for STR.

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