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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Rain in Shanghai
  • McLaren called carpenter after Alonso rage
  • Sutil feels responsible for Albers axe
  • Hamilton admits mistake cost China title win
  • Alonso says title task still 'difficult'
  • McLaren bans Ferrari from team quarters
  • Johnnie Walker ramps up McLaren sponsor deal
  • Team also to blame for Hamilton slip - Lauda

Rain in Shanghai
(GMM) It was raining heavily at Shanghai's F1 circuit an hour before the Chinese grand prix.

1 million Chinese people have been evacuated from eastern provinces as the deadly typhoon Krosa approaches the country, but it is expected that Shanghai will escape the brunt of the storm.

Rain and wind is, however, likely to feature for the formula one race throughout Sunday, even though the morning was mostly dry at the circuit after overnight showers.

McLaren called carpenter after Alonso rage
(GMM) So furious was reigning world champion Fernando Alonso after qualifying fourth in Shanghai on Saturday that he kicked down a door in McLaren's circuit offices.

Mostly Spanish media sources cited wild conspiracy theories including doctored tire pressures and temperatures for the McLaren driver, who nonetheless kept his hopes alive for the world championship by finishing second on Sunday while his British teammate Lewis Hamilton retired.

The 26-year-old, however, verbally wrote off his championship chances following qualifying before requiring a carpenter to be called to repair the damage he caused to a room at the Shanghai circuit.

Alonso also used a different helmet for the penultimate grand prix, after smashing his qualifying-spec lid on the floor of the garage on Saturday.

Sutil feels responsible for Albers axe
(GMM) German rookie Adrian Sutil says he feels partly responsible for the departure from Spyker and formula one earlier this year of Christijan Albers.

Albers split with the Silverstone based team in July due to a loss of his sponsorship dollars, but Sutil told the newspaper Algemeen Dagblad: "He had no chance against me."

Albers, who had previously driven for Minardi, and then for Midland-Spyker alongside Tiago Monteiro, was consistently outperformed by Sutil this year.

Sutil continued: "The best thing you can do is beat your teammate. It means you have done your job well.

"I think I made Albers nervous, and as a result a lot of things went wrong for him."

So impressive has Sutil been, that he is strongly linked with moves to Toyota or Williams, despite his 2008 contract with Spyker.

"There is interest in Adrian, but no offer," his manager Karl-Heinz Zimmermann said, according to Sport Bild.

"At the moment Alonso is holding up everything and so all the teams are waiting," he added.

Hamilton admits mistake cost China title win
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton on Sunday refused to criticize McLaren's decision to leave him out on the circuit on worn wet tires.

The struggling Briton, who would have wrapped up the championship in Shanghai if he had won, was limping back to the pits with his badly worn tires when he got beached in the gravel in the pit lane entry.

With Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso finishing first and second, Hamilton's retirement sets up a three-way finale for the Brazilian grand prix in two weeks.

Teammate Alonso is his closest challenger, four points behind.

After returning to the paddock on the back of a scooter, and shortly before leaving the circuit while the race was still going on, a gutted Hamilton told Chinese television CCTV5 that he was disappointed "but there's still another race left".

Asked if the team had made a mistake in terms of tire strategy, he answered: "It was the right decision and just unfortunate."

Hamilton told the British broadcaster ITV that the slide into the gravel was his own fault.

"It's my first mistake all year and to do it on the way into the pits is not something I usually do.

"You cannot go through life without making mistakes. The tires were finished, it was like driving on ice," he added.

Alonso says title task still 'difficult'
(GMM) Fernando Alonso kept his championship hopes alive on Sunday by finishing second while his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton slid into the gravel.

But the now four-point gap to his British rival with just the Brazilian grand prix to go means that the Spaniard has to aim for more than simply a win in Sao Paulo in two weeks.

"It's a very difficult championship," the 26-year-old told reporters after the wet and dry Chinese grand prix in Shanghai.

"I know it will not be easy to take four points off Lewis."

Alonso had written off his chances of closing the then 12-point gap to Hamilton after qualifying on Saturday, when he hinted that his fourth place had been the result of inequitable conditions within his team.

Contemplating Brazil, he said after the Chinese GP: "The performance will be, I hope, very similar between the two of us.

"Hopefully I can do a good race, but for the championship I still have (to do) something really dramatic if I want to win."

McLaren bans Ferrari from team quarters
(GMM) McLaren has banned Ferrari team members from entering its hospitality facilities for fear of another spying scandal, according to reports.

It is claimed by the Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo that the Woking based team sent a letter to that effect to Ferrari boss Jean Todt ten days ago.

McLaren was fined $100m and kicked out of the constructors' championship recently at the end of a scandal involving the transfer of Ferrari secrets.

El Mundo said McLaren workers, meanwhile, have been advised to not even speak with their Ferrari counterparts at races.

Todt reportedly replied to Ron Dennis' letter, informing him that McLaren team members are still welcome to enjoy Ferrari hospitality at grands prix.

Johnnie Walker ramps up McLaren sponsor deal
(GMM) McLaren sponsor Diageo will extend its contract with the Woking based team, it was announced in Shanghai on Sunday.

Alcoholic drinks company Diageo has backed the Mercedes-powered outfit via its Johnnie Walker whisky label for the past two years.

A statement revealed that the new contract is for five years, starting in 2008, including "an increased level of branding and financial support".

Team also to blame for Hamilton slip - Lauda
(GMM) Niki Lauda on Sunday said McLaren and Lewis Hamilton are jointly to blame for the British championship leader's retirement from the Chinese grand prix.

Close inspection of the 22-year-old's rear tires after he beached the car in the pit lane gravel trap showed not only that they were worn, but completely exposing the canvas lining.

Triple world champion Lauda told the German broadcaster RTL that the team had clearly left him out on the circuit with the damaged tires for too long.

"The driver is of course guilty if he goes off in the pit entrance," said the Austrian legend.

"But the team must absolutely bear the blame as well because they had left him out there."

Lauda pointed out that the exposed canvas on Hamilton's right tire, particularly, was clearly visible on the television monitors.

Hamilton told reporters after retiring that he had made a driving mistake, but McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh said it had been the team's decision not to change the tires.

"We didn't want to come in and get on the wrong tire," the Briton told ITV, referring to the extremely changeable weather.

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