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DATE News (chronologically)
10/22/07
f1
Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

10/22/07
  • Chandhok says no to F1 drive in 2008
  • Alonso slams McLaren title appeal
  • McLaren to address Alonso future soon
  • F1 title finale a TV ratings hit
  • Hamilton 'lost his head' - world's press
  • Dennis says internet increased pressure in 2007
  • Alonso comments on possible McLaren 'release'
  • Montezemolo keeps up attack on McLaren
  • McLaren appealing to avoid criticism - Whitmarsh New
  • Todt happy Ferrari won both titles on track New

Chandhok says no to F1 drive in 2008
(GMM) Karun Chandhok has counted himself out of the running for a formula one race drive at the 'Force India' team for 2008.

Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya's purchase of the Spyker team was viewed by some as an opportunity for leading Indian racers Narain Karthikeyan, who tests for Williams, and Chandhok, a race winner in the GP2 category this year.

But the publication DNA India reports that Chandhok is instead committed to F1's feeder series for another season in 2008.

"There were three options in formula one for next year including one race drive," he said.

"However, it is important for me to look at it from a long term perspective. If I go to F1 now and do a year, maybe that's all I'll get but if I do a good job in GP2 next year and finish in the top five it will carry a lot of weight for the rest of my career," 23-year-old Chandhok added.

He said he was "confident" he would nonetheless do some F1 testing in 2008.

Mallya agrees that Chandhok is not yet a serious consideration for the Force India team.

"I think he is at least a year away (from formula one)," he said.

"I know that he is committed to GP2 for 2008 so we will see how he performs."

Alonso slams McLaren title appeal
(GMM) Fernando Alonso on Monday refused to back his team's decision to appeal the outcome of the Brazilian grand prix.

McLaren wants the Court of Appeal to find three rival cars guilty of using illegally cold fuel at Interlagos; a decision that would hand the drivers' championship from Kimi Raikkonen to Lewis Hamilton.

But Spaniard Alonso, demonstrating the depth of his rift with McLaren chiefs, said he would be "embarrassed" if Ferrari's Raikkonen is stripped of the title.

"It wouldn't be fair," he told Spanish radio Cadena SER. "I will hide my head in shame, it would be a lack of respect.

"It would sink the sport if they won the title this way."

Alonso says McLaren lost the drivers' title not because of rivals' illegal fuel, but because of their own errors and bad management.

"They made a sequence of mistaken decisions in the second part of the season," he charged.

"It is difficult to hide that they haven't helped me much. It wasn't a very well organized season from the point of view of the management.

"There was no sensation of being a team and the result speaks for itself. If we had taken a different approach we would have obtained different results.

"In the last few races my hands and feet were tied. I had no power to make decisions. I had to race as they told me," Alonso added.

McLaren to address Alonso future soon
(GMM) The Spanish newspaper 'Sport' on Monday reported that Fernando Alonso's dubious future at McLaren will be determined in the first half of November.

Team boss Ron Dennis was quoted not specifically as referring to the uncomfortable Spaniard, but he admitted that certain McLaren placements would be addressed "in the next two weeks".

Elsewhere in the Spanish press, Alonso's failure to win a third consecutive title was mourned, but the fact that his bitter teammate Lewis Hamilton also did not win was clearly some consolation.

"Sweet defeat," the sports daily 'As' surmised.

El Pais hailed Ferrari as a "real team" and McLaren "a bunch of egoists".

"The 'Ferrari family' gave McLaren a lesson (in Brazil)," the widely circulated Spanish newspaper added.

Even in Italy, Ferrari's victory was interpreted also as a failing of the McLaren team.

"The rivalry between their drivers was devastating," La Repubblica observed, "while Ferrari managed its drivers and cars well."

Alonso also blamed poor McLaren management for their defeat.

"They preach equality, but perhaps if they had invested in a driver for the championship they would now have the title," the 26-year-old was quoted as saying by Spanish media on Monday.

"They know what they did or did not invest in me, especially in the last half of the year," he added.

F1 title finale a TV ratings hit
(GMM) Sunday's three-way championship finale was a TV ratings hit.

British favorite Lewis Hamilton did not win the title, but 10.4 million of his compatriots tuned in to ITV's coverage; 49.8 per cent of all viewers at the time on Sunday.

Also not victorious was Hamilton's teammate Fernando Alonso, but it was the second most watched grand prix in the history of Spanish coverage.

61.4 per cent of the viewing public were watching Telecinco and TV3's joint coverage, incredibly representing at its peak more than a quarter of the country's population of 40m.

The race fell 228,000 spectators short of the finale last year, however, when Fernando Alonso defeated Michael Schumacher for his second consecutive title.

In Germany, RTL and Premiere's Interlagos coverage attracted 11.13 million viewers, representing 39.8 per cent of those watching television. An extra 1.8 million Germans tuned in to watch Kimi Raikkonen cross the finish line after 70 laps.

This is less than a million viewers fewer than the audience for Michael Schumacher's final race in Brazil a year ago.

Hamilton 'lost his head' - world's press
(GMM) The world's press on Monday marveled at how Lewis Hamilton's championship bid stumbled at the last hurdle.

"Hamilton first lost his head and then the championship," the Catalunya newspaper El Periodico said, referring to how the Briton stumbled with driving errors early on in the Brazilian grand prix.

The Spanish sports daily Marca added: "Hamilton is not the youngest world champion, but instead the driver who most quickly blew a world title".

National newspaper 'Sport' observed: "Hamilton handed Ferrari the championship on a silver platter".

El Mundo similarly noted: "In a team are two sacred rules: teamwork and the establishment of a hierarchy.

"McLaren broke both".

France's L'Equipe reckons McLaren is to blame for poor management of its drivers.

"In the weeks since losing the constructors' crown because of a spying affair, the drivers' title was also lost because McLaren put all efforts into Hamilton rather than Alonso", it read.

Europe's top news magazine Der Spiegel said: "Kimi showed that he adapts to any car, as long as it is not a McLaren".

Corriere della Sera in Italy noticed that Alonso was not too upset to see the title go to his and teammate Lewis Hamilton's rival.

"Alonso cheered Raikkonen's victory more than the Finn himself," the newspaper said.

Dennis says internet increased pressure in 2007
(GMM) After losing the drivers' title at the final hurdle, McLaren boss Ron Dennis hit out at the rise of internet media.

The website of Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport slammed the attack as "another excuse" from the defeated British chief.

"Blame it on the web", Gazzetta mocked Dennis as having said.

McLaren has endured a scandalous season of internal rivalry and the espionage affair, and Dennis is quoted as saying: "The internet is an unregulated source of information that is a nuisance. I have said it before and will continue to say it.

"I am not a critic of the media, but it is a difficult situation when you spend so much time refuting falsehoods and correcting inaccuracies.

"It has added to the pressure on our team, even if the (gearbox) problem in Sao Paulo has nothing to do with it.

"I think the team has coped well throughout the year."

Alonso comments on possible McLaren 'release'
(GMM) Fernando Alonso on Monday was quoted as saying that Renault is not his first choice of alternate employers for 2008.

McLaren is expected to address the issue of the openly uncomfortable Spaniard's contract within the next two weeks.

Alonso, 26, is quoted by a Spanish newspaper as playing down the rumors linking him with Renault, where he achieved his consecutive titles in 2005 and 2006.

"I have not yet spoken with any team," Alonso said, according to El Mundo Deportivo.

"I do not know if McLaren would release me, and if they did, Renault would not be my first choice," he added.

Montezemolo keeps up attack on McLaren
(GMM) Not even championship victory has mellowed Luca di Montezemolo's unflattering assessment of Ferrari's title rival McLaren.

Speaking to Italian state radio on Monday, the president of Maranello based Ferrari hailed Kimi Raikkonen's unlikely victory over his McLaren competitors in Brazil as "sport justice".

"It would have been paradoxical if a driver had won with a car that was judged irregular and suspended," he said, referring to Ferrari's bitter pursuit of British rivals McLaren this year in the espionage affair.

"Yesterday was a triumph of sport in the face of disloyalty," he added.

Montezemolo also reserved no sympathy for British rookie Hamilton, whose points advantage over his championship challengers came under threat early at Interlagos in the form of driving errors.

"After Hamilton's start and that needless attack on Alonso, I knew we could do it," he added.

McLaren appealing to avoid criticism - Whitmarsh
(GMM)  McLaren decided to appeal the outcome of the 2007 drivers' world championship to avoid the criticism of "fans and formula one insiders", the British team explained on Monday.

The Woking based outfit wants the Court of Appeal to overturn the stewards' decision on Sunday not to sanction a trio of cars that finished ahead of Lewis Hamilton in Sunday's Brazilian grand prix.

Should the three cars be excluded or demoted due to fuel temperature discrepancies, Hamilton could earn the extra two points needed to wrest the title from the grasp of newly crowned world champion Kimi Raikkonen.

"We were surprised at and don't really understand the stewards' decision," McLaren chief executive Martin Whitmarsh was quoted by agencies as saying on Monday.

"Therefore we feel that if we hadn't lodged our intention to appeal, we would surely have been criticised by fans and formula one insiders alike for not supporting our drivers' best interests."

Interestingly, McLaren last month explained that it did not appeal its exclusion from the constructors' championship because it believed it was "in the best interests of the sport".

Whitmarsh denied that McLaren's decision to appeal in this case could be interpreted as sour grapes against the team's former driver, Raikkonen.

"Our argument is with the stewards' decision in relation to the cars of (Nico) Rosberg, (Robert) Kubica and (Nick) Heidfeld.  Hence our decision to lodge our intention to appeal," he added.

Todt happy Ferrari won both titles on track
(GMM)  Ferrari would have clinched the constructors' world championship in Brazil even if McLaren had not been excluded amid the espionage affair.

The Maranello based team's boss Jean Todt said he was aware of the detail in discussion with reporters at Interlagos on Sunday.

"I knew that it was always said we had won only because of the decisions (and) not because of the sporting results," the Frenchman said.

"So I will say that is better that it is (also) done on the normal side," he added.

McLaren was commandingly leading the constructors' standings when the World Motor Sport Council disqualified the team.

But Ferrari's one-two at Interlagos, which also clinched the drivers' title for Kimi Raikkonen, would have put Ferrari over the line by a single point even if McLaren had still been eligible to score points.

"To be very sincere, I knew we had won, but I was counting," Todt said.

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