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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Night race plan still on track - Singapore
  • Ten teams extend Monza test on Friday
  • Ferrari 'friendlier' than McLaren - expert
  • Group proposes changes for more F1 passing
  • Europe wants F1 to kick tobacco habit

Night race plan still on track - Singapore
(GMM) Singapore officials are still confident that the city-state's inaugural grand prix next year will be the first in the history of formula one to be held at night.

Minister of trade and industry Lim Hng Kiang said on Friday that Singapore is working with the FIA to ensure the safety of a floodlit street race.

"We're committed to doing whatever is necessary - the lighting levels, the road conditions - to make sure it is safe," he said, as construction on the pit buildings began formally on Friday with a groundbreaking ceremony.

Lim added: "The various tests and the various assessments have been going on track, so we're fairly confident."

Singapore's initial F1 contract is for five years.

Ten teams extend Monza test on Friday
(GMM) Nine of F1's eleven teams have elected to stay at Monza on Friday for an extra day of testing.

Every current formula one outfit ran at the high speed circuit on Thursday, which was scheduled to be the last of a three day test preceding next weekend's Italian grand prix.

Torrential rain, however, washed out the entire morning's running, and much of the afternoon was disrupted by the resultant drying surface and 'green' track.

Only Renault and Spyker chose to return to their bases on Thursday night, with the current testing agreement allowing an extended day in the event of bad weather earlier in the test.

"Having completed its major test items, and in order to save mileage for testing later in the year, the team opted not to prolong the test by an extra day," Renault explained in a statement on Thursday.

Ferrari 'friendlier' than McLaren - expert
(GMM) With five races left to run in 2007, three formula one experts have commented on the four-way fight for title supremacy.

Hans-Joachim Stuck, a German driver of 74 grands prix in the 70s, said the contrasting garage atmospheres at McLaren and Ferrari this season could have an impact on the late October championship verdict.

"Ferrari is simply a driver-friendlier place," the 57-year-old told Sport Bild.

The Italian team lies behind its Woking based rival, however, in both drivers' and constructors' chases.

But he said of McLaren: "It is surely not a coincidence that Alonso does not feel well there. Senna had problems with the team boss Ron Dennis, as did Montoya and now Fernando.

"That cannot be simply a coincidence."

But BMW-Sauber technical director Willy Rampf played down the apparent cool atmosphere at McLaren.

"I don't know the details of what's going on at McLaren," he said, "but they're an extremely serious, professional bunch.

"Something like that certainly won't be enough to distract them.

"I think it's possibly more a case of froth and nonsense. There's always going to be rivalry between the drivers –- and that's a healthy thing."

Rampf said frosty colleagues Alonso and championship leader Lewis Hamilton may actually drive the team forwards.

"There's nothing worse than when the two drivers are in a comfort zone, with one slow and the other fast -– and both are content with the situation.

"You get the drivers you ask for," he concluded.

Former French F1 driver Patrick Tambay, meanwhile, urged Ferrari to forget any distractions and work to close the points gaps.

"Your goal is clear," he told L'Equipe in a direct message to Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa. "Attack, attack, attack."

Tambay also suggested that he would wager a few euros on the Prancing Horse, despite its seemingly overwhelming deficit to McLaren at present -- and the British team's dominance of the Monza test.

"The next courses generally should suit Ferrari the best," he noted.

"What is really clear is that if someone wants this title, than they can not take the liberty of any more errors."

Group proposes changes for more F1 passing
(GMM) F1's Overtaking Working Group (OWG) has agreed on its first recommendations to improve the spectacle of grand prix racing.

Following the mostly processional Turkish grand prix, the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport reports that the group - headed by team technical boffins Paddy Lowe (McLaren), Pat Symonds (Renault) and Rory Byrne (Ferrari) - is now ready to push ahead with its concepts for improving overtaking through more conducive FIA design rules.

After extensive tests with a 25 per cent model in the Fondmetal wind tunnel in Italy, funded by all the teams except Spyker, it emerges that the OWG will propose a range of changes to be phased-in between around 2009-2010.

Among them are: a wider front wing, a narrower and higher rear wing, a steeper diffuser, and the banning of winglets and bargeboards.

Slick tires may also be reintroduced in 2009.

Europe wants F1 to kick tobacco habit
(GMM)  The European Commission has vowed to redouble its efforts to stub-out formula one's persistent last links to tobacco.

The EC's health commissioner Markos Kyprianou will specifically target Ferrari, the last team on the grid still accepting sponsorship from a cigarette brand (Marlboro), and the three race venues that allow trackside tobacco-related adverts, according to the Financial Times.

"Formula one race drivers are viewed as heroes," Kyprianou said.

"They can become role models.  So the young people watch these people with tobacco signs on their chest and the wrong message goes out."

The consultancy firm Sport+Markt estimates the value of Ferrari's Marlboro contract at $200m, making it one of the most lucrative in F1 despite the team not being able to display the logos at many events because of the European Union's 2005 ban.

Kyprianou is also reported to have met this week with Monaco's Prince Albert, urging him to disallow cigarette advertising for the historic grand prix there.

F1 venues China and Bahrain also allow tobacco signage.

'FT', however, said Kyprianou was unlikely to win the support of F1's governing body because the European Union does not share a good relationship with the FIA.

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