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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Spyker step down chief designer
  •  F1 drivers win fight over Monza run-off
  •  Burst tire was 'justice' - newspaper
  •  Kovalainen to run New York marathon
  •  Villeneuve, Speed, eye NASCAR futures
  •  Dennis fears 'tainted' '07 title
  •  Alonso urges McLaren to improve starts

Spyker step down chief designer
(GMM) Spyker has stepped down its chief designer John McQuilliam, according to reports.

While it is not known if the news is related to the 'B' car's failure last week to pass a FIA crash test, the Dutch team's boss Colin Kolles confirmed McQuilliam's suspension to the magazine Formule 1 Race Report.

Spyker's chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne said in Istanbul on Sunday that, while the 'B' car will be tested at Monza this week, whether or not it will be subsequently be cleared to race in the Italian grand prix is another matter.

He said: "We should be using the new car in Monza."

McQuilliam joined Jordan - Spyker and Midland's Silverstone-based predecessor - in 1991.

Formule 1 Race Report also confirmed rumors in Turkey that, given the arrival at Honda of Loic Bigois and John Owen, Honda aerodynamic specialist Mariano Alperin-Bruvera is moving to BMW-Sauber.

F1 drivers win fight over Monza run-off
(GMM) Following the long-standing protest of F1's driver union, Monza has made a safety modification to the historic circuit ahead of the upcoming test and Italian grand prix.

Before the three-day pre-race test kicked off at the Autodromo Nazionale on Tuesday, it was reported that the gravel trap at the controversial second chicane has been asphalted.

Spanish newspaper Diario As said the request of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) dates back to 2000, when marshal Paolo Gislimberti was killed during a multiple car pile up at the left-right flick.

The issue reached a head last September, when the GPDA threatened to boycott the Monza circuit because their safety pleas were being ignored.

Leading drivers were at the time also calling for the replacement of outdated curbs at the high-speed circuit, but it is understood that Monza has only modified the second chicane run-off.

Burst tire was 'justice' - newspaper
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton's tire failure on Sunday was swift justice, according to one Spanish newspaper.

Summarizing the weekend's Turkish grand prix, 'El Pais' said lady-luck paid back the British championship leader after the unfairness of teammate Fernando Alonso's stewards' penalty three weeks earlier in Hungary.

"Alonso fetched back some of the points that were taken away from him in Hungary," the newspaper wrote.

The daily 'Marca' agreed: "Hamilton's flat tire allows Alonso to draw a deep breath".

Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport welcomed Felipe Massa's victory for re-opening a four-way battle for the title.

Tuttosport added: "Ferrari's one-two gives the championship new momentum. (Luca di) Montezemolo's dream was fulfilled and Ferrari once again has a chance".

Corriere dello Sport, however, cautioned: "From now on Ferrari may not make a single error".

Austria's Kronen Zeitung, meanwhile, observed objectively: "Now the victory duel between the enemy teams stands at 6:6, with the 'fantastic four' each winning three races" so far.

Kovalainen to run New York marathon
(GMM) Heikki Kovalainen has revealed that he plans to run in the famous New York marathon later this year.

The Renault rookie, who is hoping to be retained by the French team for 2007, said he would try to beat the benchmark set by fellow formula one driver Jarno Trulli in the race a few years ago.

"I think he ran it in four hours something, so I'll be looking to beat his time for sure," the Finn cheerfully wrote in his column for the BBC.

25-year-old Kovalainen cautioned, however, that training for grand prix racing is not the ideal preparation for a long-distance running race.

"I have to make sure I stick with my F1-specific training - things like special weight-training schedules and neck-muscle building exercises - alongside the extra running I have to do," he added.

The 42km New York City marathon, which is sponsored by Renault title backer ING, will be held this year on November 4.

Villeneuve, Speed, eye NASCAR futures
(GMM) Jacques Villeneuve is expected to move into NASCAR's premier Nextel Cup category in 2008.

The French Canadian and former world champion on Monday did 70 test laps in Chicago, ahead of his race debut next month in the lower Craftsman Truck series.

Villeneuve, who lost his BMW-Sauber drive last year, will then contest six more junior NASCAR events before winning a green light for the Nextel Cup in '08.

"He'll have to go through the validation process with NASCAR," his Bill Davis Racing team manager Mike Brawn confirmed to Autoweek.

Nextel Cup director John Darby said Villeneuve will probably be allowed to move into the category next year.

"His resume is certainly good enough," he said. "We know he has the talent and the car control, but we still want to see him.

"We probably won't have any issues with him," he explained.

The same clear path, meanwhile, is unlikely to lie ahead for fellow F1 refugee Scott Speed, who is linked with a NASCAR foray with Red Bull.

Unlike Villeneuve, who graduated to F1 in the 90s off the back of a successful American open-wheel career, 24-year-old Speed has almost no oval experience at any level.

"Until he gains that experience, NASCAR isn't likely to clear him for its Craftsman, Busch or Cup series," Autoweek said.

Team Red Bull's director of competition, Elton Sawyer, agreed: "I don't think you'll see him over here in a Cup car with our team next year."

Dennis fears 'tainted' '07 title
(GMM) Ron Dennis has admitted to trepidation ahead of next month's espionage saga appeal.

On the Thursday after the upcoming Italian grand prix, the spotlight will return to McLaren as F1's governing body, Ferrari and possibly other teams press a case for sanctions to be imposed on the Woking based team.

Before leaving Istanbul following the weekend's Turkish grand prix, team principal, CEO and chairman Dennis revealed that a great deal depends on the outcome of the hearing.

"We are in formula one to win," the Briton is quoted as saying by The Guardian. "But the most important thing is not just winning, it is how we win.

Dennis added: "If we do not come out of that appeal with an unblemished reputation then the results of this season will be tainted."

Alonso urges McLaren to improve starts
(GMM) Fernando Alonso has urged McLaren to improve the performance of his single seater at the start of formula one races.

The Spaniard, surrounded by faster-starting Ferraris and BMWs on the Istanbul grid, dropped from fourth to sixth when the red lights extinguished in Turkey.

His championship leading teammate, Lewis Hamilton, also had a bad start last Sunday, falling from second on the grid to third behind Kimi Raikkonen before the first corner.

"Our start is probably not the best," Alonso, 26, said, explaining that he thinks BMW-Sauber and Ferrari have improved their start-line systems this season more than McLaren.

He added: "At the beginning of the championship we were having good starts, sometimes overtaking the Ferraris.

"Obviously we haven't made our starts worse, we keep improving, but for sure the Ferraris did a bigger step forward than us," said Alonso.

The Woking based team's 'F1 CEO' Martin Whitmarsh agreed with Alonso but said other factors also played a role in Turkey.

"Perhaps our launch control wasn't good enough," he said, "but we were on the wrong side of the track and maybe we had the wrong tires on as well."

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