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Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE See updates in red below.

  • Hamilton signs $10m computer game deal
  • Villeneuve rules out F1 return
  • I could have matched Hamilton says tester
  • Press slams Mosley's Hamilton 'attack'
  • Hamilton selects luxury pad in Geneva
  • Kovalainen admits 'interesting' options for 2008 New
  • Raikkonen deserves to keep title - Kovalainen New

Hamilton signs $10m computer game deal
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton has signed a (US) $10m exclusive licensing deal to feature in his own computer videogame in the near future.

After a debut formula one season in which he regularly spoke about learning circuits and attempting to develop his relationship with Fernando Alonso with the help of a PlayStation, the 2007 championship runner-up and rookie's deal is reportedly with American developer EA (Electronic Arts).

The British newspaper The Sun speculates that releases of the first Hamilton game will be on the "Xbox and PlayStation" consoles.

F1's exclusive video gaming rights, however, currently belong to EA rival Sony Computer Entertainment, leading to speculation about what form the upcoming Hamilton game will take. It is also suggested that the F1 rights could move from Sony to EA.

British newspapers also reveal that the 22-year-old will give his first major television interview next week on veteran host Michael Parkinson's show.

Villeneuve rules out F1 return
(GMM) Jacques Villeneuve has ruled out returning to formula one in the near future.

The 1997 world champion has raced in the famous Le Mans 24 hour race and in American stock car events since being pushed out of his BMW-Sauber seat in favor of Robert Kubica last year.

And whilst preparing to drive in Friday's Craftsman Truck Series race in Texas, the 36-year-old said: "I'm done with F1.

"I spent a lot of years there and gave it everything I had. I don't think I would have energy for F1 right now," Villeneuve added.

I could have matched Hamilton says tester
(GMM) Pedro de la Rosa has joined Max Mosley in playing down the significance of Lewis Hamilton's rookie performance in 2007.

The Spaniard, who is the primary test and reserve driver at McLaren, praised Hamilton's widely lauded run to second place this season but observed that the 22-year-old "had the best tools" at his disposal to do so.

FIA president Mosley on Wednesday said there has recently been "a tendency to exaggerate" Hamilton's impact on formula one, adding that "there is always somebody new" to motivate sporting hype.

De la Rosa, meanwhile, told Spain's Radio Marca that while Hamilton "is a great driver", he thinks he also "could have done just as well" with the Mercedes-powered MP4-22.

The 36-year-old also said he doesn't know "anything about the future" of his countryman Fernando Alonso at the Woking team.

Press slams Mosley's Hamilton 'attack'
(GMM) The British press reacted furiously after Max Mosley played down the impact on formula one of 2007 championship runner-up Lewis Hamilton.

The FIA president on Wednesday said the importance of the 22-year-old rookie had been "exaggerated", and also wondered if the apparently innocent Hamilton in fact knows more about the espionage saga than he lets on.

The tabloid Daily Express slammed Mosley's BBC interview as a "Mad rant at 'hero' Hamilton".

The Daily Telegraph added: "Were he to have walked around the streets of London prodding infants with sticks yesterday, Mosley could not have caused greater offence to the British public."

The Independent said Mosley had "continued his unprecedented series of attacks on public figures", while the influential The Times went even further, wondering if the FIA president's comments "could be viewed as part of a campaign against McLaren."

Not all Wednesday critiques were defensive of Hamilton, however, with celebrity British publicist Max Clifford censuring the McLaren rookie for timing his exile to Switzerland with the release of a biography.

"It seems as though he's got time to meet members of the public and get them to sign copies of his book, even though he doesn't want them coming up to him," Clifford declared to PA Sport.

"What a stupid thing to do at this time.

"An autobiography at 22, when you've only been in the public eye for 10 minutes, is a bit presumptuous anyway," he added.

Hamilton selects luxury pad in Geneva
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton has selected Geneva for his new Swiss residence, a newspaper on Thursday claims.

The Swiss daily Le Matin said Hamilton, McLaren's 2007 runner-up, will within two weeks sign a lease on a luxury three-bedroom apartment with a view of Lake Geneva.

Hamilton's new pad also overlooks the Rade, which is Geneva's harbor, Le Matin added.

Swiss resident Dominique Oberegger told the newspaper that he met with Hamilton's father Anthony at Monza last month, and suggested the apartment in Luins.

Father and son subsequently travelled to Switzerland and "found it agreeable" before they went out for lunch.

"Lewis loved the fact that nobody recognized him and that they would not come and disturb him during the meal," Oberegger told Le Matin.

Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso, Nick Heidfeld, Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost also live in Switzerland, a renowned tax haven.

"Over there, people don't come up to you, they leave you alone," Hamilton, 22, told British reporters earlier this week.

"I'm going to a country that I don't know, but it's very exciting," he added.

Kovalainen admits 'interesting' options for 2008
(GMM)  Heikki Kovalainen says a decision about his future on the formula one grid still has not been taken.

The Finnish rookie will re-emerge in his Renault cockpit in the first upcoming post-season test at Barcelona, but his full-time destination for the 2008 season is still unknown.

"We will see what is the best possible option for me," he said in his latest BBC column.

The 26-year-old improved steadily throughout the season, and has even been mentioned as a strong contender to line up alongside Lewis Hamilton next year if Fernando Alonso leaves McLaren.

He said: "There are different options and possibilities - very interesting ones - and I just need to take a bit of time and see what is the best option."

Kovalainen may even be reluctant to stay at Renault next year, given team chiefs' recent suggestions that employing total driver equality is now an outdated philosophy for F1 teams, and their desire to reunite Alonso with the French squad.

"Equal status with my teammate is important," Kovalainen insists.

He said: "It's a good situation that, after a bit of an early struggle, I had some good results and performances and now there are teams interested.

"I don't have any concerns about going up against Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso or Kimi Raikkonen.  If ever I want to win the championship, I can't be afraid of anyone and I need to beat them all," said Kovalainen.

Raikkonen deserves to keep title - Kovalainen
(GMM)  Renault driver Heikki Kovalainen says his Finnish compatriot Kimi Raikkonen deserves to keep his drivers' world championship.

Many commentators believe McLaren rookie and long time championship leader Lewis Hamilton only stumbled at the final hurdles this season, while others think the Briton should be handed the title at the upcoming 'cool fuel' appeal.

But Kovalainen says Ferrari's Raikkonen, who won more grands prix this year than any other driver, "was the strongest" of the championship challengers at the crucial point of the season.

"When he got comfortable with his car - the tyres, the set-up and the team - he really was the guy to beat.  He scored the most points in the last six or seven races.

"He is absolutely the right champion," Kovalainen wrote in his latest BBC column.

The 26-year-old Finn said he hopes the Court of Appeal next month does not interfere with the result of the Brazilian grand prix.

"The right guy won it," Kovalainen continued.

Raikkonen is often slated for his monosyllabic approach to the media, or dismissed as unintelligent, but Kovalainen - albeit a much more outgoing Finn - praises the Ferrari driver's straightforward approach.

"He is very honest and fair and never gets involved in things that aren't his business," Heikki said.

"People in F1 like him because what you see is what you get.

"I get on very well with him and he can be very funny.  Whatever people say about him, he's a very smart guy.

"I see things said about him and they make me smile, but he never gets involved in a war of words or anything.

"Sometimes, he says things in a clever way and it shows his intelligence," Kovalainen added.

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