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Latest F1 News in brief UPDATE Update shown in red below.

  • Title 'almost' out of reach, Ferrari admits
  • Toyota needs top car to woo Alonso, says Haug
  • Hamilton wants to keep cherished trophies
  • Fuji debacle exposed Ferrari 'weakness' - Coulthard
  • Nakajima to return to Williams cockpit in China New

Title 'almost' out of reach, Ferrari admits
(GMM) Kimi Raikkonen and his Ferrari boss Jean Todt have all but written off Ferrari's hopes of securing the drivers' title.

Because of McLaren's exclusion due to the espionage saga, Maranello based Ferrari in Belgium wrapped up the constructors' crown with a dominant one-two triumph.

But an ill-starred showing two weeks later in Japan means that Felipe Massa is now mathematically out of the hunt, while Raikkonen lags championship leader Lewis Hamilton by 17 points with two races to go.

"We went to Japan in quite a difficult points situation. For sure, now it looks much worse," the Finn wrote on his website this week.

"It is up to the others how we finish in the championship. It looks like Hamilton has wrapped it up, but at least we will try to make it more difficult for them by winning these last two races," Raikkonen added.

Team boss Todt agreed on Tuesday that it will take a "miracle" in Shanghai and the finale in Brazil later this month for 27-year-old Raikkonen to win the title.

The Frenchman insists that if a McLaren driver ultimately does secure the championship, "it is because we didn't have enough reliability".

Todt added: "This will always remain a positive season, although there were some moments when we really suffered and which did no good to formula one."

Massa also thinks the title is basically over for Raikkonen.

"I think so," said the Brazilian. "For me it's finished, for Kimi it's almost (finished)."

Toyota needs top car to woo Alonso, says Haug
(GMM) Norbert Haug has questioned Toyota's legitimacy to make a serious bid to accommodate Fernando Alonso in the near future.

The reigning world champion, unhappy at McLaren and possibly looking to switch teams for 2008, has been more strongly linked with moves to Renault or Ferrari.

But Japanese giant also has the spending power for Alonso, and a spare cockpit now that Ralf Schumacher has counted himself out of the running to stay next year.

Team principal Tadashi Yamashina said at Fuji Speedway last week: "I don't know if Fernando Alonso will come to Toyota or not. If he wants, I must think about that."

Schumacher, however, said this week that he would "rather drive for McLaren" if he was a double world champion.

"Probably what Ralf meant is that if Toyota wants a world-leading driver such as Alonso, it in response should also provide a world-leading car, like we do," Haug, McLaren engine partner Mercedes' competition boss, is quoted as saying by Auto Motor und Sport.

Haug ruled out employing Schumacher for next year, insisting that the McLaren lineup for 2008 is already "contractually fixed".

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton, however, seems open to the possibility of getting a new teammate in the near future.

He told The Sun: "I don't mind who it is. I have beaten every one of my teammates in the past."

Hamilton wants to keep cherished trophies
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton has reportedly asked McLaren to break with tradition and allow him to keep two of his young career's most important trophies.

Ron Dennis has long insisted that, while his drivers may order replicas at their own expense, original formula one trophies are the property of the Woking based team and are displayed only at the factory.

Like Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Niki Lauda, Mika Hakkinen, and all other fellow McLaren drivers before him, Dennis' policy is enshrined in Hamilton's contract.

But as he stands on the cusp of making history as the first and youngest rookie to win the title, the 22-year-old is pleading with his boss to let him keep a couple of his prizes.

"I want to keep my first win trophy and my first world championship (trophy)," the Briton is quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror.

Hamilton, in Shanghai where this Sunday he could wrap up the crown by winning, added: "Don't underestimate how much this means to me."

Only two trophies are missing from the McLaren collection, which is housed in a corridor inside the team's factory in the UK.

The 1984 German grand prix trophy was stolen, and the 1989 Italian grand prix trophy was given away to the crowd by Prost in the midst of a dispute.

Fuji debacle exposed Ferrari 'weakness' - Coulthard
(GMM) Starting the Japanese grand prix on the wrong tires exposed a "weakness" of the post-Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn era at Ferrari, according to F1 veteran David Coulthard.

Chiefs for the Maranello based team slammed the FIA after an pre-race email from Charlie Whiting, banning cars from starting behind the safety car with anything other than Bridgestone's 'extreme' wet tires fitted, allegedly did not find its way to the decision-makers until after the start.

But others in the Fuji Speedway paddock expressed amazement that, given the severity of the conditions on Sunday afternoon, a team would have fitted the intermediate tire out of choice anyway.

"I must say I was amazed," Coulthard, who drives for Red Bull, wrote in his column for ITV.

"There was just no way intermediates could have worked," the Scot added, referring to the abundance of standing water on the circuit.

Coulthard said: "I don't believe Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn would have done that in this instance and I think it shows a weakness on Ferrari's part."

Ferrari boss Jean Todt, however, defended the decision, explaining that the rain had eased to just "very small drizzle" before the race.

"Once the race started, then the rain got much more intense so definitely, if we would have the choice, knowing that rain would increase as it did, our choice would probably have been very different," the Frenchman admitted.

Nakajima to return to Williams cockpit in China
(GMM)  Williams test driver Kazuki Nakajima will return to the cockpit of the Grove based team's FW29 in Shanghai on Friday.

The 22-year-old test driver, who has occasionally taken over one of Williams' race cars for Friday practice this year, has sat out recent rounds as he concentrated on his GP2 commitments, where at Valencia last weekend he finished the season rookie of the year.

But on Wednesday, ahead of F1's penultimate event of 2007 in Shanghai, the Japanese announced: "I'm driving the car during first practice on Friday.

"It's very important that I do a good job for the team to help them prepare for Sunday's race," Nakajima added.

Nakajima, the son of former grand prix driver Satoru, finished his debut season in F1's feeder series fifth in the championship, and has been linked with a race drive for 2008 with one of the Toyota-powered teams.

"I've learned a lot this year and whatever I end up doing in 2008 - formula one or another season of GP2 - the things I've learnt this year will stand me in good stead," he said.

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