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DATE News (chronologically)
09/16/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Press criticism 'not clever' - Alonso
  • New spy saga rumors fall flat in Belgium
  • McRae death hits F1 paddock
  • Alonso advises McLaren 'silence'

Press criticism 'not clever' - Alonso
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton at Spa-Francorchamps counted himself out of the espionage affair.

"I don't have Fernando (Alonso)'s email address," the Briton told reporters, referring to the explosive evidence that recently threw open the affair and ultimately led to McLaren's FIA sanction.

Spaniard Alonso, however, chided those with such a simplistic view of the situation, specifically hitting out at the "English press" in conversation with Spanish reporters at Spa.

"After winning two world championships it doesn't matter to me what anyone says about me," the 26-year-old, who closed his championship deficit to Hamilton to just two points on Sunday at Spa, added.

"But anyone who thinks this was about two emails is not, I think, very clever."

He also dismissed Max Mosley's claim on Saturday that the FIA will keep a close eye on whether McLaren treat Alonso differently in the wake of his whistle-blowing.

"I do not protecting," Alonso said, "because I have done nothing that would require it. If Max called me yesterday it was to thank me for my collaboration and nothing else."

He therefore denied that the affair would damage his relationship with McLaren as the 2007 season winds down.

"We have lived in this situation for two, three months and achieved good results, leading both world championships," Alonso explained. "Inside the team, nothing has changed, but no-one (in the media) seems to be interested in that.

"In any team or any job you have bumps. I am happy whenever I am winning, and not happy when I am not," he said.

"Right now I have a winning car and I am fighting for my third consecutive world title, so for that reason, I am happy."

New spy saga rumors fall flat in Belgium
(GMM) Expectations that another espionage scandal would explode at the scene of the Belgian grand prix this weekend appear to have fallen flat.

It was reported recently that McLaren, at the centre of the scandal involving Ferrari, might be in possession of evidence that proves defecting engineer Phil Mackereth took with him to Renault three disks of detailed information about the Woking based team's cooling and electronic systems.

Team boss Flavio Briatore in Belgium bristled at the suggestion that the case sounded similar to the 'Stepneygate' affair.

"If somebody tells me it's the same, I sue somebody, quickly," he said, albeit confirming that he had provided information about the case to the FIA and also to McLaren.

A spokesman for F1's governing body also confirmed that Renault is not currently being investigated.

But "if we are asked to investigate any allegations against another team, we will," the spokesman said.

FIA president Max Mosley, meanwhile, dismissed rumors that McLaren also suspects Ferrari of yet another case of espionage.

"The documents we've so far been given don't support that (claim)," Mosley said at Spa-Francorchamps, confirming that the matters were raised at McLaren's espionage hearing in Paris last week.

He explained: "We were told there was going to be a great bombshell about Ferrari. Well, it turned out to be that Ferrari listen to radio communications in the pit lane. The first thing that Ron (Dennis) had admit in cross examination was that he does the same thing."

McRae death hits F1 paddock
(GMM) Sadness descended even on the formula one paddock on Sunday with news that former world rally champion Colin McRae is believed to have died.

News filtered into Spa-Francorchamps late on Saturday night that a helicopter piloted by the 39-year-old Scot had crashed.

"I knew Colin very well," Renault racer Kovalainen, a rally fan, told the BBC. "It's really, really sad to hear the news."

FIA president Max Mosley added: "It's tragic that he should die like this when he's retired from the dangerous part of his career.

"I don't think anybody disliked him, everyone was his friend in the sport."

McRae won the world rally title in 1995.

Alonso advises McLaren 'silence'
(GMM) Nico Rosberg at Spa-Francorchamps ruled himself out of the running for Fernando Alonso's McLaren seat next year.

Asked directly by the British broadcaster ITV if he was completely committed to staying at Williams for 2008, the German said: "I am."

Paddock speculation does not, however, agree -- and Alonso did the rumors no favors on Sunday morning by openly walking into Red Bull's motor home for a meeting with Christian Horner.

The Spaniard's relationship with McLaren is also at a new low after the espionage verdict, and Ron Dennis admitted that Alonso had turned down the team's request for him to attend the Paris hearing last week.

"We preferred them all to be there -- but they had to come of their own free will," he said.

To the Spanish newspaper Diario As, meanwhile, Alonso reacted with cynicism to McLaren's press statement on Saturday night insisting that Dennis' relationship with the FIA is sound.

"I prefer to stay in the background, but sometimes I think a little bit of silence from the team would silence some of their problems," he said.

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