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DATE News (chronologically)
10/05/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

10/05/07
  • Press slams F1 for YouTube conspiracy
  • Ralf won't say 'no' to Spyker option
  • Rosberg tells Williams - keep Wurz
  • Trulli hopes for more after Toyota 'downfall'
  • Spyker sale to Mallya consortium now complete New
  • Sutil refuses to confirm Spyker seat for 2008 New
  • Bad day in Shanghai for BMW's Heidfeld New
  • Date set for Liuzzi appeal hearing New
  • Typhoon threatens Chinese grand prix New
  • Williams complaint sparks Prodrive probe New
  • Bernie to auction rare car collection New

 

Watch the Hamilton YouTube video

Press slams F1 for YouTube conspiracy

(GMM) Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost has admitted alerting the FIA to the YouTube evidence that in China could jeopardize Lewis Hamilton's push for the drivers' title.

Tost, whose Faenza based team is powered by McLaren's arch espionage enemy Ferrari, told the Daily Telegraph in Shanghai that the evidence shows that championship leader Hamilton was at least partly to blame for a collision between Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel in Japan a week ago.

Vettel, Toro Rosso's German rookie driver, was penalized ten grid places for the incident that until Thursday was believed to have occurred away from the view of any video footage.

It is now believed that FIA stewards are investigating even more than the single YouTube clip, such as a different replay angle.

"You could see quite clearly that Hamilton slows down quite unexpectedly," Tost said in Shanghai.

"Sebastian would have had to have gone between the cars (Webber and Hamilton) and there was no chance.

"It was totally unexpected. It looked like Hamilton was stopping, that is why I went to the stewards."

The news that Hamilton is being investigated primarily on the basis of an amateur video captured on a mobile phone, however, drew derision from within the British press ranks, who have not cheered a countryman to a world championship since Damon Hill in 1996.

'PA Sport' writer Ian Parkes conspiratorially points out that penalizing Lewis Hamilton would almost certainly delay the title being decided until the finale in Brazil.

"Now wouldn't that be fitting," he mockingly wrote.

The Sun added: "Formula one bosses? They're not fit to run a quiet, country petrol station in Chipping Sodbury ... Let alone the multi-billion pound business that is grand prix racing."

Ralf won't say 'no' to Spyker option
(GMM) Toyota refugee Ralf Schumacher has refused to rule out switching to one of F1's slowest teams in 2008.

And for the first time this year, the struggling six-time grand prix winner has backed away from his earlier statements that his chance of staying on the grid beyond the end of 2007 is '100 per cent'.

Asked by Germany's popular Bild newspaper if he might drive for Spyker next year, which is now co-owned by his Indian friend Vijay Mallya, 32-year-old Schumacher replied: "I don't want to say 'definitely not' to anything, but at the moment nothing is fixed."

In Shanghai for his penultimate grand prix with Toyota, Ralf admitted that he has not enjoyed the 2007 season.

"I would be lying if I said it has been fun," said the German. "My results this year have been pretty average; or in fact rather worse than average."

But he insists that he is not yet ready to follow his brother Michael into retirement, or into a different role in the paddock. "As a cook I am not very good, and as a TV expert I'm too young," Schumacher grinned.

More solemnly, he told Auto Motor und Sport: "For three years we have tried to have success, but after our best season in 2005 it went downhill.

"I am not hopeful that it will all be better next year, so it is better to part ways. Luckily I am still young enough to do something else.

"Fortunately I would survive without being a racing driver, but at the moment I don't want to think about it."

Ralf says he made his decision to quit Toyota some time ago.

"But it would have been unfair to announce it before the team's home race at Fuji."

He denies that he is past his prime as a driver.

"If that is true then also (Jarno) Trulli is too slow," Schumacher argued. "We have never been very far apart in the championship points.

"Everyone knows how quick Jarno is, so if it is not working for both the drivers, chances are that the disappointing results have other causes," Schumacher insisted.

Rosberg tells Williams - keep Wurz
(GMM) Nico Rosberg's famous father has urged Sir Frank Williams to keep Alex Wurz at the Grove based team next year.

Austrian veteran Wurz's future in formula one is currently in doubt after a disappointing return to race driving in 2007, but Keke Rosberg - the 1982 world champion - doubted whether there is a better alternative for the Toyota powered outfit.

"You know someone better than Alex?" the Finn was quoted as wondering to sportnet.at.

"If Frank wants to change Wurz, he should have a strong alternative -- clearly stronger," Rosberg, whose 22-year-old son Nico has outperformed Wurz all season, said.

Williams, however, is potentially not short on candidates for the second seat, with Timo Glock, Kazuki Nakajima, Adrian Sutil, Tonio Liuzzi, Giancarlo Fisichella, Nelson Piquet Jr, and Ralf Schumacher all apparently on the market.

Rosberg himself has even been strongly linked with a switch to fill Fernando Alonso's McLaren seat, but in Shanghai he ruled out the possibility.

"There is no option to go to McLaren," the young German stated firmly.

"I have a contract with Williams and would like to win races with them as soon as possible."

His father-manager Keke added: "I do not assume that my son will change teams."

Trulli hopes for more after Toyota 'downfall'
(GMM) Jarno Trulli says Toyota have promised him a much better car for 2008.

The Italian will definitely have a new teammate next year, following the announcement of Ralf Schumacher's departure after the Brazilian grand prix later this month.

Trulli, near the end of his third season with the Japanese team, urges his bosses to push for Fernando Alonso, his former teammate at Renault.

"To have such a champion would give Toyota an idea of where they are and would sweep away many doubts," said the 33-year-old, who alongside Alonso in 2004 secured Renault's only win that season.

"The Japanese bosses maintain we'll have a car two seconds faster. It only that was true I would even give up half of my retainer," he added.

Trulli said he knew immediately when he first tested the current TF107 that it would be a difficult year.

"Instead Ralf (Schumacher) said it had great potential," he scoffed.

"When I came here in 2005, I got on the podium three times in the first five races. I was fooled, because then came the downfall in 2006 and 2007."

Spyker sale to Mallya consortium now complete
(GMM)  The sale of the Dutch formula one team Spyker is now definitively complete.

More than four weeks ago, a consortium led by Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya and Dutch businessman Michiel Mol made a bid for the Silverstone based team, that was accepted by the financially embattled sports car maker after an increase of the price to 88m euros.

Spyker, which bought the team from Midland only thirteen months ago for (US) $106.6m (now 75.6m euros), said on Friday that the sale is final.

"After signing of the official documentation, management of the Spyker formula one team has been handed over to the new owners: Orange India Holdings," the Dutch company confirmed in a statement.

Sutil refuses to confirm Spyker seat for 2008
(GMM)  Adrian Sutil is shaping up as another key ingredient to one of the most delayed and potentially sweeping F1 'silly seasons' in recent memory.

Like Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg, the German rookie is firmly under contract to his existing team for 2008 -- but in the intriguing world of grand prix racing, that does not often mean much.

Kimi Raikkonen was famously sold by Sauber to McLaren at the end of 2001, for example, and Jenson Button a couple of years ago was able to buy his way out of a solid Williams deal.

Impressive Sutil, who was once a teammate of Lewis Hamilton in their F3 days, would not confirm what team he would drive for in 2008.

"It is still too early to say," he told the German broadcaster Premiere at the Shanghai circuit on Friday.

"We will see what happens over the winter, but I am certain that I will drive in formula one (next year)," Sutil added, according to Motorsport-Total.com.

Sutil has been linked for 2008 with Toyota and also Williams, while it is reported that he may even have visited the latter outfit's UK factory to drive its simulator.

Bad day in Shanghai for BMW's Heidfeld
(GMM)  Nick Heidfeld on Friday endured a dismal day of practice ahead of Sunday's Chinese grand prix.

The BMW-Sauber driver pulled off the Shanghai circuit early on during the 90-minute afternoon session with a technical gremlin, just hours after also experiencing glitches in the morning.

Heidfeld's smoky morning problem was an hydraulic defect, but - after a half-hour break - he was able to complete 13 laps when the complete rear of the spare car was fitted to his race chassis.

In the afternoon, he similarly got running again after managing to nurse his car back to pitlane for repairs.

Renault's Heikki Kovalainen also struck technical trouble in the afternoon, the rookie Finn having to pull over at the mid point of the 90 minute session.

Date set for Liuzzi appeal hearing
(GMM)  A date has been set for Toro Rosso's appeal against a stewards' decision at Fuji Speedway last Sunday that cost the Faenza based team its first point of the 2007 season.

STR's Vitantonio Liuzzi actually crossed the line in eighth place ahead of Spyker racer Adrian Sutil in the rain-soaked Japanese grand prix, thereby opening the team's points account to ninth place in the constructors' title table.

Stewards, however, later imposed a 25-second penalty on the Italian's finishing time for allegedly overtaking Sutil under yellow flags.

"The team has lodged an Appeal against this decision", Toro Rosso announced after the Fuji race.

It emerged at Shanghai on Friday that the appeal will be held in Paris on 12 October (next Friday), mere days after Spyker begins arbitration proceedings in a Swiss court against the legality of Toro Rosso and Super Aguri's cars.

The fate of the last point in Fuji is likely to settle the fight for ninth and tenth places in the 2007 constructors' championship; an apparently trivial detail that is however worth several million dollars in FOM income to the higher placed backmarker.

STR boss Franz Tost told Auto Motor und Sport magazine: "If the right thing happens, we will win the appeal."

The German publication claims that the team, co-owned by former grand prix winner Gerhard Berger, plans to argue that marshals failed to wave a green flag for Liuzzi and Sutil after the yellow-flag zone, despite the fact that the stricken Super Aguri was more than a kilometre behind them.

Toro Rosso will reportedly also argue in the October 12 appeal that no flags at all - green or yellow - were being waved at the point at which Liuzzi passed Sutil.

Spyker marked Sutil's maiden point with a media reception in the Shanghai paddock on Thursday, but Tost warned: "Perhaps they celebrated too early."

Typhoon threatens Chinese grand prix
(GMM)  Just days after the washout at Fuji Speedway, formula one is bracing for yet another dreadful bout of Asian weather ahead of the Chinese grand prix.

Shanghai stayed dry albeit humid for the opening day of action on Friday, but most weather predictions agree that the skies are likely to turn black just in time for qualifying on Saturday afternoon.

That, however, may not be the worst of it.  Drivers up and down pitlane called last Sunday's Japanese grand prix the most treacherous in their entire careers, but a potentially enormous storm is brewing on the Shanghai horizon.

One top team's forecast, we have learned, is that a strong category-four typhoon currently ravaging Taiwan could have moved on to Shanghai by race-day.

Indeed, local reports verified that typhoon Krosa is expected to hit the Chinese coastal city of Wenzhou, south of Shanghai, on Sunday morning.

In 2004, qualifying at Suzuka for the Japanese grand prix was called off when a powerful typhoon struck nearby.

Williams complaint sparks Prodrive probe
(GMM)  The legality of Prodrive's proposed formula one entry for 2008 will be examined by the International Court of Appeal later this month.

FIA president Max Mosley has referred the matter to the Court following the receipt of a letter from Sir Frank Williams' team.

Prodrive, the Banbury-based outfit, has made no secret of its intention to use a customer McLaren-Mercedes car-engine package next year, which strictly according to the current Concorde Agreement is illegal.

The FIA intended to allow the use of off-the-peg cars from next year, but arguments about the distribution of income for non-constructors has delayed the finalisation of a new commercial formula one agreement.

In principle, Williams also supports Spyker's efforts to clarify the legality of Super Aguri and Toro Rosso's cars this year, as the matter prepares to go to the Swiss based court of arbitration.

The Prodrive-Williams appeal will take place in London on October 24, with a decision due the following day, an FIA statement on Friday revealed.

Bernie to auction rare car collection
(GMM)  F1's chief executive Bernie Ecclestone is set to add up to (US) $26 million more to his fortune, according to the famous American news network CNN.

It is reported that the 76-year-old billionaire, who is already the third wealthiest man in Britain, is preparing to sell a sizeable portion of his private car collection.

Ecclestone's impressive collection of rare road cars includes Ferraris, BMWs, and Mercedes-Benzs, including the highly sought after 540K Special Roadster that is expected to fetch between $6.5 and $8m -- a near-record price.

In total, 42 of Bernie's cars will go under the hammer in London on October 31, CNN said.

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