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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Fuji not 'saddest' moment - Alonso
  • BMW to launch 2008 car in January
  • Britain hails champion-elect Hamilton
  • Spyker sale 'as good as done' - spokesman
  • Publisher withdraws Stepney book
  • Toro Rosso confirm Liuzzi penalty appeal
  • Alonso can still win the title - Dennis

Fuji not 'saddest' moment - Alonso
(GMM) Fernando Alonso has denied that crashing out of the crucial Japanese grand prix on Sunday was the worst moment in his motor racing career.

The high speed crash, caused by aquaplaning on the treacherous Fuji Speedway, gives his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton a near-unassailable lead in the drivers' championship with just two races to go.

But the double world champion says he has had "sadder" moments -- even in his go-karting days.

"I remember being in karts and if I did not win a championship I would have had to go back to school because we would have run out of money," the Spaniard told the newspaper Diario As.

"But now, even if I finish second, third or fifth, I am going to keep racing, I am going to keep on getting paid, and I can go home in a relaxed way," he added.

Alonso, 26, was also asked about Hamilton's verbal assaults in Japan last weekend, in which the championship leader said he would be happier if he gets a new teammate for 2008.

"Lately he talks more about me than anything else," Alonso replied, "but I am not going to say anything about it.

"What he or anyone says doesn't affect me, especially once I have closed the visor."

BMW to launch 2008 car in January
(GMM) BMW-Sauber will launch its 2008 contender, the F1.08, on 14-15 January next year.

The Swiss based team, having stopped development of its current car to focus exclusively on its successor, is the first to unveil its launch date for 2008.

BMW did not also reveal the location for the launch, but in 2006 and this year, the German carmaker took the wraps of its new single seater in the Spanish port city of Valencia.

Britain hails champion-elect Hamilton
(GMM) The British press hailed countryman Lewis Hamilton after the rookie moved within grabbing distance of the world championship in Japan.

Captioning a photo of the 22-year-old's bitter McLaren rival Fernando Alonso, as he waved to the crowd while catching a ride back to the pits on a scooter, The Sun cheekily said: "That's as in 'wave goodbye to your title, pal!'"

"I was fortunate that Alonso went off, but I'm not ready to party yet," Hamilton, now a clear 12 points ahead of Alonso, was quoted as saying.

Fellow British tabloid The Daily Star, however, is already tallying Hamilton's likely monetary windfall for probably becoming the youngest ever world champion, and first rookie to wear the drivers' crown.

"That victory would trigger a megabucks payout in winnings, telly deals and sponsorship –- with much more to follow," the newspaper said.

The Daily Telegraph quoted Lewis' father-manager, Anthony Hamilton, as saying the Fuji result was "great not just for us, but for everybody: the UK, the world."

"40 million Spaniards and a few million Finns might disagree," the newspaper observed, "(but) we can forgive Anthony his champagne moment."

The Independent quotes Hamilton, pondering the feats of Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in the closing laps of the grand prix, as wondering if he is also on the path to formula one immortality.

"Lewis, rest assured, you are," the editorial wrote.

The Spanish newspaper Diario As pedaled a predictably different line; commiserating compatriot Alonso's aquaplaning misfortune and surmising that the reigning world champion "needed the luck today that his main rival had".

'As' scolded Hamilton for spending too much time at Fuji accusing Alonso of disloyalty and asking Ron Dennis for a new teammate for 2008.

"Hopefully (Ron) Dennis grants his wish because the sooner Alonso can escape from the mud in which he sinks, the better," the writer added.

Spyker sale 'as good as done' - spokesman
(GMM) A spokesman has played down reports that the sale of the Dutch formula one team Spyker to the Vijay Mallya-led consortium might be scuppered.

Although the shareholders' board of Spyker's sports-car making parent approved the $125m sale in Amsterdam last Saturday, reports suggested that the deal might come unstuck over uncertainty about some unpaid loans.

Spyker confirmed on Saturday that the final hurdle to the deal is the settling of "minor legal conditions".

But a Spyker spokesman said he expects the deal to be formalized, including with the signing of final contracts, in the next 24 hours.

"All I can say is only minor legal details need to be ironed out before the deal is officially closed. That, in no way, would be a hindrance since the deal is as good as done," he said.

Publisher withdraws Stepney book
(GMM) Just days after proudly announcing the news, a British publisher now says it will actually not publish disgraced former Ferrari employee Nigel Stepney's explosive autobiography next year.

Red Mist Books said last week that the book would detail Stepney's "own account of the Stepneygate saga" that rocked formula one this year.

But the publisher has now released a statement marked 'important' reading: "Please note! Red Mist Books has withdrawn Nigel Stepney's autobiography from publication".

It is not known if Ferrari, pressing ahead with legal action in Italy and England against Stepney, requested the book be withdrawn.

Toro Rosso confirm Liuzzi penalty appeal
(GMM) Toro Rosso has confirmed that it will appeal the stewards' decision at Fuji on Sunday to penalize Vitantonio Liuzzi for "allegedly" overtaking Adrian Sutil under yellow flags.

The 25-second time sanction cost the Faenza based team its first point of the season.

"The team has lodged an Appeal against this decision," Toro Rosso said on Monday in a statement.

Liuzzi's teammate Sebastian Vettel, who looked destined for a podium in Japan, was also penalized by the stewards for crashing into Mark Webber and must drop ten places in Shanghai this weekend.

"In our case, it seems that what we thought was the light at the end of the tunnel was actually an oncoming train!" STR marveled.

Spyker, however, who inherited Liuzzi's point and thereby opened its points account for 2007, showed no mercy, revealing that its officials pressed the stewards for the penalty against Liuzzi.

"We had clear evidence that Liuzzi passed Adrian under yellow flags and I am pleased that the Stewards of the Meeting agreed," team boss Colin Kolles said.

Alonso can still win title - Dennis
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso will still be given "every opportunity" to push for the 2007 title, despite falling 12 points behind his teammate in the Japanese grand prix.

That is the insistence of McLaren boss Ron Dennis, whose policy of absolute driver parity apparently remains intact despite his fractious relationship with Alonso and the Spaniard's possible impending exit from the team.

"It's not over for Fernando and we will continue to give both drivers every opportunity to win the world championship," he told reporters at Fuji Speedway, after Lewis Hamilton won and Alonso crashed.

Runaway title leader Hamilton can secure the title this weekend in China if he wins the race.

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