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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Rodriguez tests Spyker at Silverstone
  • Hamilton, not Alonso, travels to Paris
  • Coulthard calls for wing tethers
  • Drivers should not be punished says official
  • McLaren accuses Renault in new spy case
  • Europe asks China to stop F1 smoking
  • Brawn among F1 faces as spy hearing starts

Rodriguez tests Spyker at Silverstone
(GMM) Prospective future Spyker racer Roldan Rodriguez on Wednesday tested a formula one car for the first time.

It was rumored recently that the 22-year-old Spaniard, thought to carry as much as $15m in sponsor funds for a 2008 race drive, was a candidate for a seat with the Dutch team next year.

The GP2 driver on Wednesday completed a 50km shakedown at the wheel of the new B-spec car on the short Silverstone layout.

"Roldan performed well," said team boss Colin Kolles.

"We were very impressed by his professional approach and attitude and the team really enjoyed working with him. He gave some excellent feedback that we will be able to integrate into our program for the future."

Hamilton, not Alonso, travels to Paris
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton, but not his 2007 teammate Fernando Alonso, will appear for McLaren on Thursday as the World Motor Sport Council meets to consider 'new evidence' in the espionage saga.

It is believed that the 22-year-old championship leader will be used as a character witness, as speculation mounts about possible hefty penalties for the Woking based team, including total exclusion from the 2007 season.

Alonso, meanwhile - although his email evidence is thought central to the case - will be at Spa-Francorchamps ahead of the Belgian grand prix. His Spanish countryman Pedro de la Rosa, on the other hand, will like Hamilton be in Paris.

Details of the 166-page FIA evidence dossier has continued to leak into the media, with the Daily Mail apparently quoting from an email from engineering director Paddy Lowe to test driver de la Rosa.

"Let's try these new things," Lowe reportedly wrote to the Spaniard, referring to tire use and brake balance.

"They are from Ferrari. Nigel Stepney has sent them to Mike Coughlan."

It also emerges that Stepney and Coughlan not only met once at Barcelona earlier this year, but conversed several hundred times by email, telephone and text-message, particularly before races.

Some of their email conversations reportedly had to be reconstructed after they were deleted from computers, and Italian investigators believe they also met face-to-face several times.

A McLaren spokeswoman would not comment on the reports, but it is known that Mercedes' Norbert Haug met for 30 minutes with FIA president Max Mosley at the Frankfurt motor show earlier this week.

Coulthard calls for wing tethers
(GMM) Following his high speed crash at Monza last Sunday, David Coulthard has called on the FIA to introduce wing tethers.

All four wheels on a modern formula one car are tied with high strength material to the chassis, so they are less likely to break loose and strike either the driver, spectators or marshals in a crash.

Coulthard's accident at the flat-out Curva Grande was caused by the front wing detaching and lodging underneath his Red Bull following contact with the rear of Giancarlo Fisichella's Renault.

"It made me realize that if you put a tether, like we have on the wheels, on the front wing, (then) if the wing did come off, it stays with the car," the Scottish veteran told Speed TV.

"If it goes under the car you lose the steering, and then you're in the sh*t."

Drivers should not be punished says official
(GMM) An FIA official said ahead of the World Motor Sport Council hearing on Thursday that the McLaren drivers should escape penalties regardless of the team's involvement in the spy scandal.

Joaquin Verdegay, a regular FIA steward who occasionally steps in for Spanish motor sport chief Carlos Gracia in Council hearings, answered "no" when he was asked if Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton should have points docked or be kicked out of the 2007 season.

"The drivers have not caused the movement of information from Ferrari nor received it," he said on Spanish radio Cadena SER.

He added: "These gentlemen limit themselves to driving their cars; if the (team) technicians involve themselves in improper activities, then this is a problem solely of the technicians."

Carlos Gracia, meanwhile - who will actually vote on Thursday - vowed to defend Spaniards Alonso and Pedro de la Rosa, for example by lodging an appeal on their behalf if they are personally punished by the FIA.

"If Fernando or Pedro consider that the decision affects them in some way, of course we will unconditionally support them and defend their rights.

"The most important thing is that (on Thursday) everything is clarified and hopefully the drivers are unaffected," he told the Spanish newspaper As.

McLaren accuses Renault in new spy case
(GMM) McLaren has evidence against Renault of a separate case of possible espionage, according to reports.

The FIA this week confirmed that Woking based McLaren has tried to drag Renault into the spy scandal by raising "certain matters regarding Renault F1" that could incriminate the French team.

The Swiss newspaper Blick claims that the evidence is of another possible case of espionage, following the departure of a McLaren engineer to Renault.

Lawyers for McLaren are believed to have told the FIA that Renault copied aspects of McLaren's cooling and electronic systems this year after the defecting engineer took with him to the Enstone based team three unspecified 'disks' of detailed data.

Elsewhere in the media, it is claimed that the espionage scandal could be the final chapter in the formula one career of Ferrari boss Jean Todt.

The German newspaper Bild reports that the Frenchman's relationship with Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo is not good.

It is also claimed that Ross Brawn may have signed to return to Ferrari in 2008, on the condition that Todt has departed.

Europe asks China to stop F1 smoking
(GMM) Europe's health chief has asked China to ban tobacco advertising ahead of the grand prix in Shanghai later this month.

EU commissioner Markos Kyprianou said that while his laws do not apply in China, images of the cigarette logos will be beamed via television images back into European homes.

"In a way it undermines and limits the effectiveness of our own legislation in protecting citizens, especially young people, from this kind of tobacco marketing," he told AP when explaining the content of his meeting with Chinese vice health minister Chen Xiaohong.

Most tobacco advertising in China is banned, but an exemption exists for formula one.

Kyprianou said further talks with China will take place.

Brawn among F1 faces as spy hearing starts
(GMM) Ross Brawn was one of the smartly-dressed familiar faces who turned up at the FIA's Paris headquarters on Thursday morning for the spy saga hearing.

Ferrari sources confirmed that the former technical director, who is currently on a sabbatical but touted to return to the Italian marque next year, will appear at the team's request as a witness.

Lewis Hamilton and Pedro de la Rosa, unfamiliarly dressed in suits, also entered the building in Place de la Concorde with the large McLaren entourage, with rookie championship leader Hamilton telling the media huddle that he was there because "we are a team".

Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, was some 300kms away at Spa-Francorchamps, where he is scheduled to participate in the FIA press conference ahead of the Belgian grand prix.

He will be one of only a few senior McLaren figures at the circuit, with team co-owner Mansour Ojjeh, managing director Jonathan Neale, team boss Ron Dennis and Mercedes' Norbert Haug all in Paris.

Also involved in the extraordinary World Motor Sport Council hearing are the FIA's Charlie Whiting and Max Mosley, Ferrari principal Jean Todt and F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

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