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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Hamilton tax u-turn draws mixed reaction
  • FIA too tough on McLaren says Hamilton
  • Raikkonen, Alonso, face long F1 breaks
  • Raikkonen a worthy champion says Coulthard
  • F1 needs number one drivers says Symonds

Hamilton tax u-turn draws mixed reaction
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton's announcement on Monday that he is leaving the country to live in Switzerland met with a mixed reaction from the British press.

The 22-year-old rookie explained that he decided to quit Britain because the local press and fans make his life too difficult.

"You lose your ability to go to places," he told the BBC, referring to his process of becoming a famous Briton in 2007.

"You really struggle to live a normal life. I've not been able to spend a lot of time with my friends, my family.

"I can't go to the cinema. I go to the bathroom in a petrol station and people come in there for autographs," Hamilton added.

British newspapers, however, corrected the McLaren driver's account of why he selected Switzerland for refuge.

"(Swiss) people don't come up to you. They leave you, they give you your space," Hamilton said.

He failed to mention that Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and Nick Heidfeld live in Switzerland also because of the favorable tax conditions for foreigners who work abroad.

The Times headlined: "Swiss allow rookie to swerve high taxes".

The Daily Telegraph: "Lewis Hamilton flees Britain's taxing way of life".

The Guardian: "Goodbye Hamilton Way as Lewis takes Swiss route".

The latter is an ironical reference to the fact that, just a day earlier, Hamilton's home town of Stevenage said it would name a street in his honor.

The Daily Express observed: "Lewis Hamilton has proved his ability at tackling bends but today the formula one star showed that U-turns are his specialty."

To the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag at the weekend, Hamilton had said: "Higher taxes perhaps interests the management, but not me."

FIA too tough on McLaren says Hamilton
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton has accused F1's governing body of being tougher on McLaren than the Woking based team's rivals.

The 22-year-old rookie's Mercedes-powered outfit had a tumultuous season in 2007, ranging from the espionage scandal to the Interlagos appeal that could hand the title back to Hamilton next month.

Referring to the Paris based FIA led by president Max Mosley, he told Sky News: "They're tough on us, maybe more than on others.

"Next year, we know what to expect. We should keep our heads down, be level-headed and just get on with it.

"You just focus on your job and just try to keep it squeaky clean, do everything perfect," Hamilton added.

The Briton also takes issue with commentators who said he profited from a smooth formula one debut with a top car.

"It looked easy, but it was very, very tough with all the experiences I was having to juggle," Hamilton insisted. "It was not easy."

"It's been a phenomenal rollercoaster, one of the bumpiest rides in F1 history."

Raikkonen, Alonso, face long F1 breaks
(GMM) 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen has now commenced a long holiday, but he is still likely to return to the cockpit of a formula one car long before his rival Fernando Alonso does.

After Ferrari's end of season celebrations in Italy last weekend, 28-year-old Finn Raikkonen returned to Finland on Sunday night to visit family and friends.

He revealed that he will not join the team when F1 resumes testing in Spain in mid-November.

"But I might be back on the track in December," Raikkonen said.

"Now I'm on holiday. I'll try to chill out as much as I can and charge up my batteries."

Alonso, on the other hand, currently has no idea when he will be reunited with a F1 cockpit, according to the Spanish newspaper El Mundo Deportivo.

The 26-year-old is about to open talks with McLaren about his questionable future with the team, but has been definitively left out of plans for testing in November and December.

Alonso also knows very little about McLaren's 2008 package, the MP4-23, in case he is given a green light to depart to a rival team ahead of next year, the Spanish newspaper added.

Raikkonen a worthy champion says Coulthard
(GMM) David Coulthard is adamant that his former McLaren teammate Kimi Raikkonen is the worthy 2007 champion.

The Finn, who now drives for Ferrari, snatched an unlikely title victory from the hands of Lewis Hamilton, after the McLaren rookie dropped 18 points to Raikkonen in the last two grands prix.

But when asked by the Berlin newspaper 'BZ' if he thought Raikkonen is a lucky or deserving world champion, formula one veteran Coulthard said: "Kimi deserves the title.

"Lewis Hamilton is young and I am sure that he will win more than one championship. Kimi is fast -- probably the fastest driver at the moment.

"He has just had a lot of bad luck in recent years," 36-year-old Coulthard, now driving for Red Bull Racing, added.

'BZ' also probed Coulthard about where he thought McLaren, for whom he raced for nine years until 2004, went wrong in 2007, including the alienation of Fernando Alonso.

"Ron Dennis can sometimes have problems with communication, which can demotivate the drivers. Alonso felt unwanted by his team, which should not have happened.

"We are talking about a double world champion. Instead the title fell to Ferrari by one point," Coulthard added.

Another observer, Renault's engineering director Pat Symonds, also thinks poor management played a role in McLaren's defeat to Ferrari and Raikkonen.

"There was the allowance maybe to let the drivers forget that they were employees so there was a certain amount of mismanagement there," he told the French team's official podcast.

Symonds also said he hopes Hamilton is not awarded the championship at the November 15 appeal.

"It would be a tragedy for the sport after a year like we've had if suddenly a week after the last race we changed our minds about who was world champion," he added.

"So I very much doubt the FIA are going to do anything about it."

F1 needs number one drivers says Symonds
(GMM) Pat Symonds has suggested that he has changed his mind about whether formula one teams should appoint number one drivers.

The veteran Briton, who is Renault's executive director of engineering, has traditionally agreed with the McLaren-style policy of offering absolute equality to both drivers.

But his boss Flavio Briatore said recently that McLaren counterpart Ron Dennis had erred in signing Fernando Alonso for 2007 but not giving him an advantageous position alongside his rookie teammate Lewis Hamilton.

"Today the roles need to be clearly defined as number one and number two, otherwise you risk destabilizing the team," Briatore, who would gladly reunite Renault with Alonso for 2008, said.

Symonds told the Renault podcast that the Enstone based team has always offered driver equality, even when Alonso won his titles alongside Giancarlo Fisichella in 2005 and 2006.

"Even when we had Fernando winning championships, there were occasions when we had only one wing, so we wouldn't take it to the race," said Symonds, who also worked with Michael Schumacher in the team's Benetton guise.

"We weren't going to favor one driver over the other and I have been very, very strong about that in the past.

"But I have to say I am changing my view," he added.

"Motor racing is a team sport and I think you have really got to do what is best for the team and I think these days it is better to go all out behind one car."

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