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DATE News (chronologically)
10/02/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief
  • Sainz thinks Alonso should quit McLaren
  • Boss enraged as title slips away from Ferrari
  • Fuji apologizes for grand prix problems
  • Haug stamps out Ralf-to-McLaren rumors
  • Lauda excuses Vettel for Fuji howler
  • Hamilton to 'wait' for pay-rise - father

Sainz thinks Alonso should quit McLaren
(GMM) Retired world rally champion Carlos Sainz has advised his countryman Fernando Alonso to quit McLaren.

The 45-year-old compared Alonso's difficult relationship alongside a British teammate at a British team to his controversial tenure at Subaru, with Colin McRae, in the mid nineties.

"The pressure from the English press was tremendous," Sainz told the Spanish newspaper Diario As. "What they said and what they did.

"Each event, each section, each test, they tried and tried to make their driver seem like the better one. It is an unbearable situation to be in."

Sainz said he was reluctant to comment specifically on Alonso's tenure at Woking based McLaren, but he clearly sympathizes with the reigning world champion.

"In order to do really well it is necessary to be happy in your situation," he continued. "To me, it mattered more to feel comfortable in the team than to have the best car.

"Fernando knows better than anyone what is going on, but from where I stand, staying at McLaren for him is practically impossible. I am sure he will make the right decision."

Boss enraged as title slips away from Ferrari
(GMM) Luca di Montezemolo has continued to fume at the outcome of the espionage saga involving Ferrari's runaway championship rival McLaren.

After Lewis Hamilton's win at Fuji Speedway last Sunday, and in the light of the tire rule email controversy, the Ferrari president has amplified the view that the FIA was wrong not to totally exclude the British team.

"I still think it was a serious error to not also disqualify the drivers," the Italian is quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"All I want to say is that if Hamilton wins the world championship, he will have won it thanks to Ferrari, because within his car there is plenty of our team."

Montezemolo was also critical of the FIA's allegedly "unprofessional" behavior in not properly informing Ferrari of a pre-race tire rule change, but speculation says he is even angrier with team boss Jean Todt.

The media, for example - like the ten other teams - also knew well in advance of the Japanese grand prix that teams must start the race with extreme wet tires fitted.

Gazzetta said on Monday morning that Ferrari "drowned" in Japan. "This time an email betrayed Ferrari".

The newspaper L'Unita added that "Ferrari did everything wrong".

Montezemolo said: "I have not spoken about it much with Jean Todt. The tire choice was not the right one but it was taken on the basis of not knowing the decision of the FIA.

"I have total confidence in the men who in that moment took their decisions."

Amid speculation that Todt is being pushed out of Ferrari by Montezemolo and the prospect of Ross Brawn's return from sabbatical, Todt suggested in Japan that he has no plans to retire in the next five years.

But he added: "There is no official decision about my future and when the proper time arrives, which can be sooner or later, then we will announce it."

Fuji apologizes for grand prix problems
(GMM) Organizers of the Japanese grand prix at Fuji Speedway have agreed to repay about (US) $3 million to spectators who last weekend could not properly see the circuit from their seats.

A report in the local Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper said the organizers had received complaints from spectators who were located in temporary grandstands located at the rear of the permanent turn one stands.

About 7,000 spectators will get ticket refunds, and another 85 will be reimbursed for transportation, hotel and other expenses because their shuttle buses did not make it to the circuit until 30 minutes after the start of Sunday's race.

"We should bear the costs as the delay was our fault," a representative for the organizer was quoted as saying.

Other spectators complained when their shuttle bus service was stranded at the circuit on Saturday night.

"I'm deeply sorry that our lack of experience has led to so many problems," said Fuji Speedway president Hiroaki Kato.

"We plan to investigate the cause of the problems to prevent them from recurring next year."

Haug stamps out Ralf-to-McLaren rumors
(GMM) Norbert Haug has given a short life to rumors that Ralf Schumacher could be a candidate to replace Fernando Alonso at McLaren next year.

32-year-old veteran Schumacher, near the end of a difficult season and three-year stay at Toyota, announced on Monday that he intends to leave the Japanese team after next month's Brazilian grand prix finale.

He was then quoted in the German press as singling out Mercedes-powered McLaren as a better place to be.

"Toyota say they would like to have a twice world champion in the team. If I had the chance, I would rather drive for McLaren," said Schumacher.

He added that he is "convinced" that his decision to leave Toyota will not be the end of his eleven year formula one career.

Mercedes' competition director Haug, however, quickly stamped out any suggestion that Schumacher might be considered an alternative should Alonso leave the team.

"There are no such discussions," he is quoted as saying by the German newspaper Bild.

Lauda excuses Vettel for Fuji howler
(GMM) Niki Lauda has excused formula one rookie Sebastian Vettel for smashing himself and Mark Webber out of the Japanese grand prix while behind the safety car.

Both of the Red Bull stablemates were in contention for a rare podium at the treacherous Fuji Speedway, but 20-year-old Vettel's error brought him to tears and incurred the wrath of a derogatory Webber.

But triple world champion Lauda told the newspaper Tiroler Tageszeitung of Vettel: "A young driver like him must be forgiven."

Hamilton to 'wait' for pay-rise - father
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton's father-manager has denied that he is pushing McLaren for a huge pay-rise near the end of his son's sensational rookie season in F1.

The pair has now arrived in Shanghai, where 22-year-old Hamilton could with a win become the first ever rookie - and youngest driver of all time - to wrap up a drivers' championship title.

But amid rumors of a new five-year, $110m agreement, Anthony Hamilton denies that the pressure is now on Ron Dennis to ramp up the current $1m a year deal.

"We've got the same contract that we signed when we signed up for this job," he is quoted as saying by the Mirror.

Hamilton Snr, however, suggests that his son will ultimately deserve more as time goes on -- particularly as a record-beating world champion who will have roused the interest of every team boss in the paddock.

"Of course everything changes after a while," Anthony Hamilton confirmed. "But we won't be asking for anything.

"We will be waiting, as normal, to be given things. It's much better to be given than to have to ask for them.

"But I'll make sure we won't have to wait long."

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