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Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • Ferrari no comment on spy row development
  • Ferrari 'stronger than it looks' - Massa
  • Toyota not rushing to complete 2008 lineup
  • Schu 'deserves' Spanish sports honor - Alonso
  • Schu admits Alonso factor in decision to retire
  • Fisichella states case to stay at Renault
  • Ferrari to attend spy hearing next week New
  • Gearbox saga casts new shadow over McLaren New
  • Rosberg unfazed by mounting speculation New

Ferrari no comment on spy row development
(GMM) A Ferrari boss has refused to comment on the latest development in the ongoing espionage saga, involving the Maranello based team and its 2007 championship rival McLaren.

The FIA on Wednesday called off an upcoming appeal of its July verdict regarding the case, and instead scheduled another hearing of the World Motor Sport Council, after receiving "new evidence" concerning the alleged use of secret Ferrari information by the Italian outfit's Woking based competitor.

The news has reignited speculation that Ron Dennis' team might be heavily penalized by the sport's governing body, with Ferrari fuming after the July verdict that it is "incomprehensible" that a team is not sanctioned despite being found guilty of breaching the International Sporting Code.

Ferrari sporting director Stefano Domenicali told La Gazzetta dello Sport on Wednesday: "It is the FIA that has given this new decision. I cannot say anything about it.

"We will see," the Italian added. "Our president (Luca di Montezemolo) after the race in Budapest requested us to secure six consecutive one-two successes, and we are fully concentrated on our goal."

Team driver Felipe Massa on Wednesday also declined to comment on the spying row, saying in an AP report: "Winning on the track and finishing in front of McLaren is my main concern.

"What happens off the circuit isn't my problem."

Ferrari 'stronger than it looks' - Massa
(GMM) Felipe Massa has rejected speculation that Ferrari, on home turf at Monza, looks set for a heavy defeat at the hands of its championship rival McLaren this weekend.

The Brazilian and his Finnish teammate Kimi Raikkonen respectively forged a dominant one-two in Turkey two weeks ago, as the Italian team works to close the drivers' and constructors' championship deficits to its silver-colored competitor.

But at the pre-Italian grand prix test at the high speed Monza circuit last week, McLaren turned in a dominant display to head the timesheets on all four days.

In a report on Wednesday of the news agency AP, however, 26-year-old Massa insisted: "We are a lot stronger than it looks, that's for sure.

"In testing, I've often lacked the conditions to run at my best."

He was also quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport as saying: "The possibility to win both titles still exists, but it will not be easy. We will try to succeed at Monza.

"The possibility of another one-two, like in Turkey, is also there, but it is never easy. McLaren is very strong but we are working hard and we hope to beat them.

"The tests at Monza went well enough; we will be competitive, how much so we will only know on Saturday and Sunday."

Raikkonen also declined to predict the outcome of Ferrari's home race, but he similarly did not write off the Maranello based team's chances.

"I think you can say that we have a fierce fight ahead of us," the 27-year-old said.

"Traditionally Ferrari has been very competitive here, but also McLaren has been very strong."

Toyota not rushing to complete 2008 lineup
(GMM) Toyota might wait until the end of the season before naming a 2008 teammate for Jarno Trulli.

It is understood that the contract 'option' to renew Ralf Schumacher's existing deal beyond this year expires imminently, and that his Cologne and Tokyo based bosses have already decided not to automatically activate it.

Timo Glock, Nico Rosberg, Kazuki Nakajima and even Fernando Alonso have been touted as potential replacements for the 32-year-old German, while Toyota waits for late-season developments in the driver market.

"It's a risk for us potentially, but we'll see," team president John Howett told the website of the American broadcaster Speed TV.

The British chief, who has traditionally been a resolute supporter of embattled Schumacher, rejected suggestions that Ralf is being kept in the dark merely as a 'fall back position' in the event that a better option does not emerge for Toyota.

"He might be higher than a fall back position, depending on availability," Howett said.

"Probably by the end of the season we should have an idea of what we want to do."

Six-time race winner Schumacher, whose alternatives including Spyker, Toro Rosso and even a switch to the DTM with Audi have dwindled in recent days and weeks, confirmed that he is not expecting a quick decision from Toyota.

"It might well take until the end of the year or whatever," he said.

"Let's wait. Both sides are completely free to do whatever they like."

Schu 'deserves' Spanish sports honor - Alonso
(GMM) Fernando Alonso has welcomed the selection of his 2006 title rival Michael Schumacher as the winner of the Spanish Prince of Asturias award for this year.

Spaniard Alonso, who was born in the Asturian capital Oviedo and won the prize two years ago, declared in an official communication to the organizers that 38-year-old Schumacher is "a great champion" who "deserves the distinction".

Alonso and Schumacher, who retired as a Ferrari driver and record seven time world champion at the end of last season, shared a close and controversial chase for the 2006 title.

26-year-old Alonso emerged from the season as a back to back championship winner, and said of his German rival on Wednesday: "I am happy for him, because he deserves it, and I am happy for my sport that is involved in an accolade of this magnitude."

Current championship leader Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, this week received 'GQ' magazine's Sportsman of the Year award at London's Royal Opera House.

Schu admits Alonso factor in decision to retire
(GMM) Michael Schumacher has admitted for the first time that the ascendancy of reigning world champion Fernando Alonso contributed to his decision to retire as a formula one racer.

At the height of his championship reign earlier this decade, the seven time world champion repeatedly declared that the right time to stop will be when a younger driver starts to regularly beat him.

38-year-old Schumacher told the Spanish language magazine 'Gentleman' this week that he decided to call it a day at the end of 2006 principally because he detected his dedication to the sport beginning to slip.

He added: "And I always said that the day a younger driver went past me would tell me that the moment had arrived to leave."

Schumacher also revealed that he sympathizes with his 2006 championship rival, as Alonso now endures a somewhat negative relationship with the media.

"I have been astonished by the commentaries of certain journalists," the German said.

"This person is the youngest double world champion of all time, but they write that he is arrogant and inaccessible ..."

Fisichella states case to stay at Renault
(GMM) Giancarlo Fisichella has denied that his 2007 points tally alone means that he is in danger of losing his Renault seat for next season.

The Roman veteran's rookie teammate Heikki Kovalainen moved ahead of Fisichella at the recent Turkish grand prix to take seventh spot in the drivers' standings.

It is now believed that Kovalainen, a 25-year-old Finn, is almost certainly guaranteed a spot in the 2008 lineup, with names such as Nelson Piquet Jr and even Fernando Alonso probably more likely than Fisichella to secure the second seat.

34-year-old Fisichella, however, plays down the significance of his now 2-point deficit to Kovalainen.

"I do not believe those two points make the difference," he is quoted as saying by PA Sport ahead of perhaps his last home race at Monza.

Fisichella said of Kovalainen: "I was in front of him until the last race and I could be ahead again after the next one."

The Italian, with 191 grands prix under his belt, denied that he is currently being outperformed by his much more inexperienced teammate.

"That is only down to strategies.

"In my case occasionally they did not work, not because I have made any mistakes," he added.

Fisichella said Renault will decide "very soon" whether or not he will be retained for 2008, amid speculation that the lineup could be announced at Monza this weekend.

"Personally, I would like to stay because I have worked very hard and made very few mistakes," he said.

Ferrari to attend spy hearing next week
(GMM)  Ferrari revealed on Thursday that it will attend the meeting next week of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council.

The governing body convened the Paris hearing in light of what it describes as "new evidence" relating to the espionage saga, in which McLaren is accused of possessing and possibly using confidential Ferrari data.

In a statement issued on Thursday, Ferrari - incensed in July that its championship rival escaped sanction despite falling foul of the rules - divulged that the FIA's evidence relates "to the accusation that (McLaren) has violated article 151c of the International Sporting Code".

It added: "Ferrari is confident that the truth will out".

Gearbox saga casts new shadow over McLaren
(GMM)  McLaren on Thursday found itself embroiled in yet another controversy on the eve of the Italian grand prix at Monza.

It emerged that the Mercedes-powered team was being investigated by the stewards for using a new lightweight gearbox in Budapest last month without first having it crash-tested.

Article 16.1.2 of the regulations states that any "significant modification introduced into any of the structures tested shall require that part to pass a further test".

McLaren, led by chairman Ron Dennis, released a statement to the media denying any wrongdoing, and explaining that team officials informed the FIA that it would be using the revised gearbox casing in Hungary, subject to the rules.

"We are confident that the stewards will come to the same finding," it read.

McLaren said it learned prior to the Turkish grand prix two weeks ago that the gearbox needed to undergo a new crash test, and so decided not to use the technology in Istanbul.

"On 30th August the McLaren lightweight gearbox passed both a push off test and an impact crash test without any problem under the supervision of the FIA," McLaren added.

The Woking based team will therefore use the gearbox at Monza this weekend.

Rosberg unfazed by mounting speculation
(GMM)  Speculation surrounding Nico Rosberg's bright future prospects in formula one continued to grow as the sport congregated on Thursday at Monza.

The German is under contract to Williams also for the 2008 season, but paddock whispers have him nonetheless linked with moves to Toyota, McLaren -- even Ferrari, as an unlikely replacement for Felipe Massa, according to the newspaper Welt.

Rosberg on Thursday seemed unfazed by all the attention.  "Speculation is always positive for a young driver," he said.  "It is unquestionably good if people talk about you."

22-year-old Rosberg also does not seem particularly bothered that his Toyota-powered mount is momentarily not likely to propel him to the top of the podium.

"The people who are important for my future - such as the team bosses - know what they see; that I am doing a really good job this year," he added.

Rosberg's own boss, Sir Frank Williams, agrees.

He said: "If Nico sat in Hamilton's McLaren instead of in my car, it would be he who is fighting for the championship title.

"The two of them are absolutely on the same level, and in the future will surely deliver some legendary duels."

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