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DATE News (chronologically)
09/25/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

09/25/07
  • Minardi tester bruised after car-bomb attack
  • Focus on costs, not Concorde says Mosley
  • Mosley ridicules 'halfwit' Stewart
  • Heidfeld prepared for setback in 2008
  • Karthikeyan admits new Spyker talks New
  • McLaren may yet be banned warns Mosley New

Minardi tester bruised after car-bomb attack
(GMM) Former Minardi test driver Sergey Zlobin miraculously escaped a car-bombing in Moscow with only bruises, a spokesman confirmed on Tuesday.

It was reported briefly on Monday that the Russian's silver Mercedes-Benz jeep-style vehicle exploded in the Russian capital when he turned the ignition.

Police found explosives underneath the car and are treating the case as attempted murder. Photographs of the scene show that Zlobin's car is largely intact.

The Moscow Times also quoted a city prosecutor spokesman as saying Zlobin escaped with only minor bruises and is otherwise unhurt.

"The floor was torn apart and struck me in the legs," Zlobin told NTV television. "I can't even imagine who would do this or what they would want from me."

With connections to large sponsors like the state controlled oil company Gazprom, Zlobin became the first Russian formula one driver when he occasionally tested for Minardi in 2002-2005.

Focus on costs, not Concorde says Mosley
(GMM) Max Mosley has urged formula one team bosses to stop arguing about making more money and focus instead on saving some of the vast sums that are being wasted.

Amid prolonged talks about a new Concorde Agreement for 2008, including the heated row about how much income so-called 'customer teams' should receive, the FIA president last week wrote a letter to every team boss in pitlane.

In a leaked copy that emerged following a media lunch in London on Monday, Mosley argues that there is already plenty of money swilling about in F1.

"Until the basic problem of costs has been resolved, time should not be wasted discussing how the money is to be distributed," he wrote.

Mosley referred to the pending new Concorde Agreement, which is due to replace the expiring one at the end of 2007, by saying it is a "secondary matter" compared with cutting costs.

He added: "The same applies to debating the level of technical cooperation allowed between teams."

Mosley's letter coincides with an interview given this week by Renault boss Flavio Briatore to Germany's Sport Auto, in which the Italian says formula one has "lost focus" on its ideals.

"Far too much time and energy is wasted on these cars that are only toys for engineers," said Briatore.

He added: "Money is spent meaninglessly. The high-speed transmissions, for example, are completely uninteresting to the fans, and now everyone has one. In the meantime, 50 million Euros has been wasted.

"For three months we have discussed whether customer cars should be permitted or not -- with no result."

Mosley, meanwhile, made special mention in his letter of the new KERS technology, which he wants to debut in F1 soon.

Interestingly, a company that is pioneering the development of the energy-recovery technology in England announced on Monday that "a major F1 racing team" has now signed up to use it in the future.

The Silverstone based company Flybrid was formed recently by two former Renault engineers.

Mosley ridicules 'halfwit' Stewart
(GMM) Max Mosley has lashed out at Sir Jackie Stewart following the famous Scot's strong criticism of how the FIA handled the espionage saga.

Triple world champion Stewart, who still attends every race as a sponsor representative, was a regular media commentator throughout the affair that he ultimately branded a "witch-hunt" that unfairly pursued McLaren and Ron Dennis.

Stewart, who is 68, also said the World Motor Sport Council's sanctions probably wouldn't have held up in a normal civil court.

"I thought that it was handled very poorly," Stewart said recently, "and I think (the fine) was (handed down) because it would get an immense amount of attention globally.

"It seems some of the most powerful people (in F1) are more aligned to Ferrari. There are more Ferrari representatives on the World Council than anybody else."

In a media lunch in London on Monday, FIA president Mosley hit back with rancor as he dismissed Stewart as a "certified halfwit" who dresses oddly.

He did not refer to the diminutive Scot by name, but was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying: "There's one particular ex-driver who because he never stops talking, never has the chance to listen -- so he doesn't know what's going on.

"It's annoying that some of the sponsors listen to him because he's won a few championships. But nobody else in formula one does -- not the teams, not the drivers. He's a figure of fun among drivers," Mosley added.

Mosley also apparently poked fun at Stewart's tartan trousers and caps, adding: "He goes round dressed up as a 1930s music hall man. He's a certified halfwit."

Heidfeld prepared for setback in 2008
(GMM) After smooth sailing for BMW-Sauber in its first two seasons, team driver Nick Heidfeld says he is prepared for a setback in 2008 or beyond.

With the exclusion of McLaren for espionage, the Swiss based outfit is now all but guaranteed second place in the constructors' world championship this year.

The feat represents the remarkable progress BMW, now widely recognized as the third force in formula one behind Ferrari and McLaren, has made since switching from Williams and taking over Sauber ahead of the 2006 season.

But 30-year-old Heidfeld, the highest placed BMW-Sauber driver in the 2007 drivers' standings, said: "I am sure that we are not just going to keep on rolling forwards endlessly. I am not afraid of that though.

"It is simply normal (in F1) that sometimes you have to deal with setbacks," he told the German news agency dpa.

"The crucial thing is how you get through it."

BMW's performances this year have been all the more notable because a new team often makes good progress on debut and then falters in its second season.

Equally, it is generally agreed that the most difficult step of all is the final one towards victory and title contention.

Team boss Mario Theissen agrees: "It is true that good results can raise expectations more quickly than one can bring in additional successes.

"We are already feeling that; if we finish fourth or sixth, then it can be classified as only an average result. But we are in formula one to win."

Heidfeld, meanwhile, admits that the last few grands prix of 2007 will give him less of a buzz, because BMW-Sauber now is somewhat "alone" in the pecking order.

"Those in front are too far away," he said, "and the same is true of those behind."

Karthikeyan admits new Spyker talks
(GMM) Narain Karthikeyan confirmed on Tuesday that he is in talks with Spyker about a return to the formula one grid in 2008.

The occasional Williams tester, who made his grand prix debut in 2005 with Spyker former Jordan guise, came close to securing the seat at the Dutch team vacated by axed Christijan Albers earlier this season.

According to speculation, his prospects increased even further ahead of next season with news that his countryman Vijay Mallya, an Indian billionaire, is in the final stages of acquiring a half stake in the team.

"I am in talks with other F1 teams, including Spyker," Karthikeyan was quoted by Indian media as telling reporters in Delhi.

The 30-year-old is currently gearing up to race for India in the A1 open wheeler series, but he is holding out hope for fruitful F1 talks.

Karthikeyan added: "Nothing is concrete but I am sure it would take some shape in the coming days."

"An Indian owning an F1 team is a big thing. It will open up a huge window of opportunities for Indian drivers to race in F1.

"I hope I will also get a chance to drive for Spyker very soon. I'm speaking to them but don't know how long it would take before things crystallize. I can't say how it would pan out."

McLaren may yet be banned warns Mosley
(GMM) F1's espionage saga involving McLaren may not yet be over, Max Mosley has warned.

Fearing infection by Ferrari secrets, the FIA president said inspectors will enter the team's Woking factory before its 2008 car is allowed to race.

"They could be banned for 2008," he clarified to the Daily Mirror.

"If there is serious evidence the information has influenced the design then we would have to look very seriously at their involvement in 2008. I hope that it won't happen."

In the World Motor Sport Council transcripts, McLaren boss Ron Dennis is quoted as urging Mosley to begin the inspections as soon as possible.

"I care only about the McLaren name," he told Mosley, who chaired the hearings in which a record $100m fine and expulsion from the constructors' championship was imposed.

Dennis added: "Once that inspection has been proven to be devoid of anything that could possibly be related to Ferrari intellectual property, I would like that in the public domain as quickly as possible."

Mosley, however, this week dismissed theories that the spy scandal is the extension of a clash of personalities between himself - a lawyer, physicist and son of a notorious British figure - and former
Cooper mechanic Dennis.

"I don't hate Ron," he told the Evening Standard. "We have disagreed (in the past), but that doesn't mean there is personal animus."

Mosley is however openly critical of the British government, saying it will be their fault if the country loses its annual grand prix due to a lack of funding.

"The government has lost its virginity over the Olympics. The grand prix is far more important. If Britain loses it, the government will have to take the blame," he said.

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