Latest F1 news in brief
- Alonso to blame for breakdown says Hamilton
- Alonso, McLaren should split - Wendlinger
- F1 a 'ruthless' business says Wurz
- Theissen worried about Honda-style setback
- Australian GP files new record loss
Alonso to blame for breakdown says Hamilton
(GMM) The breakdown of the relationship between McLaren's drivers in 2007 was a gradual process, Lewis Hamilton reveals in his upcoming biography, 'My Story'.
In an extract published by The Sun newspaper, the 22-year-old rookie said Fernando Alonso introduced himself to Hamilton and his father in a hotel in Turkey late last year.
"He came by and said: 'Hello, I'm Fernando'," Hamilton, then a GP2 driver, said.
"He was the world champion, he was fighting to win the title for a second time. It really surprised me he had the time to say hello. I was quite impressed with that."
But the Briton speculates that Alonso, months later, took exception to being pushed so hard at McLaren by a rookie.
"I like and admire Fernando, so I was sad and disappointed that, for whatever reason, our relationship did not improve," he added.
"But it was not for lack of trying."
Hamilton said Alonso also failed to "build any bond" with his Woking based colleagues, beginning with failing to turn up for a pre-season team training week.
"I thought Fernando would be the one trying to set me an example and show me what to do, not the other way around," he continued.
He said team boss Ron Dennis encouraged Hamilton to try "extra hard" to make the Spaniard feel welcome.
"Fernando is very quiet," Hamilton said, revealing that he tried building their relationship by playing computer games in Alonso's motor home room.
But by the US grand prix in June, Alonso had started to voice his suspicion that Dennis was favoring Hamilton.
And Hamilton added: "After the French grand prix someone told me Fernando, who finished seventh, said he was happy the Ferraris had beaten me so I did not take maximum points."
Their relationship then fully imploded in Hungary, when Hamilton refused a team instruction and Alonso famously got revenge by holding up his teammate in a qualifying pit stop.
"It was like my worst nightmare," Hamilton said, insisting that he "did not want to fall out with Fernando" as Alonso stopped talking to him.
"I think I am easy to get on with," he argued. "I do not hold grudges but I felt that if he did not want to speak or to have a decent working relationship, that was up to him."
In Turkey they met at the Conrad hotel for peace talks, but Hamilton says he eventually tired of feeling like his efforts to improve their relationship were not being matched by Alonso.
"In the end, I told Ron: 'I tried to speak to him, but I am not going to go out of my way and defocus myself to make him happy. I'm going to focus on my dream'."
"Then, at Spa-Francorchamps, Fernando ran me wide and off the circuit. From then on it was clear anything could happen. If he wanted to be as aggressive, so could I," Hamilton said.
He added: "It was not healthy, but I felt I could be strong and aggressive without taking any unnecessary risks. It was a real pity that things had come to this."
Hamilton's book will be released on November 5.
Alonso, McLaren should split - Wendlinger
(GMM) A former grand prix driver has advised McLaren to split with the disaffected Fernando Alonso ahead of 2008.
Karl Wendlinger, whose promising formula one career never fully recovered after an horror crash while driving for Sauber in 1994, said the negativity of McLaren's situation this year is reason alone for Ron Dennis and the Spaniard to part ways.
"To spend a whole year in a climate such as that would be unbearable for me," the 38-year-old Austrian told the Der Standard newspaper.
"To keep an unhappy Alonso makes no sense to me," Wendlinger added.
Meanwhile, in a news conference in Madrid on Tuesday, the Spanish sports minister said a lack of unity at McLaren this year cost Alonso and the Woking based team the title.
"In sport you have to work together or else you almost always end up losing," Jaime Lissavetzky said.
"From the outside it didn't look like there was much team work going on at McLaren. They should have applied the basic values of sport," he added.
F1 a 'ruthless' business says Wurz
(GMM) Formula one is a "ruthless" business that did not always sit comfortably with Alex Wurz.
The Austrian veteran, who retired immediately as a grand prix racer prior to the Brazilian GP this month, has delivered a less than rosy account of life in the paddock in a post-season interview with the broadcaster ORF.
"Emotions are out of place in formula one," the 33-year-old said.
Even Wurz's retirement has been met with speculation and cynicism, with some suggesting that he was pushed out - possibly with hefty Toyota compensation - so that Williams could put Kazuki Nakajima in his car.
But he says his toughest tenure was late last century at Benetton, preceding a six-year spell on the sidelines as a test driver.
"The sport is tough and ruthless and a strange playground for politics," Wurz explained.
"It was a shock to me when I realized how badly you could be treated. Basically, the formula one character did not really fit with me."
Wurz says the way he was treated at Benetton in 1999 and 2000 affected his performance, but he also found a friendly side to the sport.
He met his wife, Julia, while she worked as Benetton's press officer, for example. And Wurz refutes claims that it is impossible to have friends in formula one.
"Pedro de la Rosa is a good friend of mine, and I was also friendly with Giancarlo Fisichella and Nico Rosberg," he revealed.
Theissen worried about Honda-style setback
(GMM) BMW-Sauber is still on track to deliver its first grand prix win in 2008, according to team boss Mario Theissen.
The outfit exceeded its own expectations this season by slotting in behind the performance of title challengers Ferrari and McLaren in only the second year of the new collaboration with Swiss based team Sauber.
Theissen says the logical next step is a victory.
"I hope that ultimately it'll be more than just one victory," the German told the Credit Suisse emagazine.
"But we also know how difficult that will be, because both Ferrari and McLaren have been at the top for many years now and they obviously have a head start in terms of experience.
"Getting one up on those two teams will be a hard nut to crack," Theissen added.
A major complication could also be that several well-funded teams, including the recent champions Renault and the Japanese giants Honda and Toyota, significantly underperformed in 2007.
Theissen, also admitting to worrying about the rising profiles of Red Bull and Williams, explained: "Not only are our rivals far from standing still, they're also under massive pressure.
"That's why we need to deal with a situation where everyone is putting their foot down just as much as we are."
He was also asked if he worries about BMW-Sauber suffering a Renault or Honda-style setback in the near future.
"Yes, all the time, in fact," Theissen laughed.
"In formula one, the route to the top is usually a relatively slow one. When things go downhill, they tend to go downhill fast."
Australian GP files new record loss
(GMM) The cost of the Australian grand prix continued to blow out in 2007.
A report tabled in Victorian state parliament on Wednesday showed a more than $34 million loss for March's Melbourne race -- a further $12m worse than a year earlier.
The 2005 race at Albert Park, by contrast, lost only $13m.
The latest report also shows a $4.1 decline in total revenue in 2007. The Victorian government, blaming poor ticket sales and declining private sponsorship, controversially covers the losses.
"The state government ... can't manage these important events and important icons for Victoria," the opposition Liberal party spokesman David Davis said, according to the news agency AAP.