Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Updates shown in red below.
- Alonso title would be 'joke' - Lauda
- Dennis hits back at Spanish press claims
- Alonso expects equality for title finale
- Toyota 'interested' in Alonso - Howett
- Alonso, Raikkonen, unfazed by Bernie rebuke New
- Button says not candidate for Alonso seat New
Alonso title would be 'joke' - Lauda
(GMM) Niki Lauda says he would prefer if Fernando Alonso did not win a third consecutive world championship in 2007.
The Austrian legend, who won three titles in his own formula one career, referred to Spaniard Alonso's now openly acerbic relationship with his team boss Ron Dennis.
Contemplating that Alonso could snatch the title from his rookie McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton in Brazil in two weeks, 58-year-old Lauda told the Swiss newspaper Blick: "It would be a joke.
"For weeks Alonso has behaved so badly with his team that he has hardly any friends or supporters left."
Dennis hits back at Spanish press claims
(GMM) Ron Dennis on Sunday had to defend his reaction on the pitwall as Lewis Hamilton's championship hopes became stuck in a gravel trap.
Members of the Spanish press pointed out to the McLaren boss in Shanghai that, while he reacted with visible despair to the British rookie's predicament in the pit entry, he hardly batted an eyelid a week earlier when Fernando Alonso crashed heavily at Fuji.
"When Fernando had his accident, the car was destroyed. There was nothing anyone could do," Dennis told Spanish journalists in China.
"You always chose to see only one side of things," he added, scolding the partisanship of Alonso's home media.
Dennis vigorously denied claims that, although luck fell Alonso's way in Shanghai, the Spaniard might face another uphill struggle at the 2007 championship finale.
"Have you seen anything that would make you think otherwise?" Dennis countered. "There is nothing," he added, also denying rumors that Alonso's tire pressures in Japan, and perhaps also in qualifying in China, had been doctored by the team.
"The tire pressures were completely correct," he insisted, "and Lewis' lap was just very good -- that is all.
"We will always be able to demonstrate that our actions are correct and impartial," Dennis continued.
The McLaren principal refused to answer questions about Alonso's questionable future at the team, but he said: "We are not comfortable if one of our drivers is uncomfortable."
Alonso expects equality for title finale
(GMM) Despite earlier alluding to his position of inequality at McLaren, Fernando Alonso on Sunday said he is expecting to be given a fair chance of beating Lewis Hamilton to the world championship in Brazil.
The Spaniard told journalists from his native country after qualifying fourth on Saturday that he suspected he had driven with detrimental tire pressures.
"I think they are still investigating but I think the tire pressures were quite high, more than normal," Alonso, 26, said.
Now just four points behind his teammate with one race to go, however, he suspects that the Woking based team led by Ron Dennis will now give him equal treatment.
"Maybe it was just by accident that something went wrong and in Brazil it will be fine," he said after finishing second in China.
"I think we will have equality."
Alonso, however, maintains that the second part of the year for him at McLaren has and will continue to be "difficult".
"There is no problem, but we know that it is never going to be a favorable situation towards me," he told Spanish reporters in Shanghai.
"The first step (in Brazil) will be to have a qualifying without problems. I hope I am able to fight for the pole position, because that is one of the few options I have to win (the championship)."
Toyota 'interested' in Alonso - Howett
(GMM) Toyota has openly declared its intention to try to unite Fernando Alonso with one of its single seaters for the 2008 season.
Amid the Spaniard's almost certainly untenable position at McLaren, Toyota president John Howett joined Renault counterpart Flavio Briatore in publicly declaring the Japanese giant's interest in Alonso.
"Toyota would be very interested, if he should be available," Howett is quoted as saying by the news agency Sport-Informations-Dienst.
The Briton added, however, that Toyota has not yet held detailed discussions with the 26-year-old.
Alonso, Raikkonen, unfazed by Bernie rebuke
(GMM) Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen have dismissed Bernie Ecclestone's claim that Lewis Hamilton would make a better world champion.
F1's chief executive said last weekend that Alonso has "done nothing" for the sport since winning back to back titles in 2005 and 2006.
Fellow championship contender Kimi Raikkonen, he added, "barely talks to anyone".
"Everyone has their opinion," Spaniard Alonso said after Sunday's Chinese grand prix.
"I try to be professional. I don't know what I have to do.
"I have a contract to drive the car and be with the sponsors, which is normal, so I try to do both things at the same time and that's all."
Alonso pointed out that one tangible influence of his success on formula one has been the burst of interest in the sport within his native Spain.
"I'm very proud of this," he added, "and I will try to do my best and maybe change his opinion."
Finn Raikkonen's response, on the other hand, was predictably true to form.
"I don't really care too much what people say about me," the Ferrari driver said.
Button says not candidate for Alonso seat
(GMM) Jenson Button has rejected claims that he could be among the contenders for Fernando Alonso's McLaren seat in 2008 -- but said he appreciates the compliment of the formula one 'silly season'.
Honda has already announced that Button and current teammate Rubens Barrichello will remain at the struggling team next year.
That fact hasn't stopped rumors that the 27-year-old Briton might be an ideal teammate next year for Lewis Hamilton -- particularly in light of his previous contractual wrangles that became known as 'Button-gate'.
"It's nice that people are talking about me like that," Button, near the end of a demoralizing season with Honda's RA107 package, told ITV.
"I think it's important that people are always talking about you for different seats in formula one, but I'm with Honda next year."
He also backed the Japanese team's 'earth car' concept for its F1 livery this year, despite rumors that - given the lack of competitiveness - Honda was under pressure to take a more conventional approach to on-car sponsorship in 2008.
Honda's Yasuhiro Wada confirmed last week that the concept "will continue" next year, even if it "doesn't necessarily mean the color is exactly the same or not".
Button said: "I think the concept's worked. It needed to be done.
"The F1 world needed to know that there are issues out there and that we're trying to make a difference."