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  • Nakajima says pace, not Toyota, won him F1 seat
  • Rodriguez hopes to tie up Force India seat
  • Cosworth return unlikely says Stewart

Nakajima says pace, not Toyota, won him F1 seat
(GMM)  Kazuki Nakajima has played down suggestions that he only secured the sister Williams seat alongside Nico Rosberg for 2008 due to the team's association with Toyota.

The 22-year-old is a longtime member of the Japanese giant's Driver Development Program, and a 'Reuters' report on Wednesday revealed that Nakajima's new contract is a collaboration between Toyota and Sir Frank Williams' team.

"It's a bit complicated but for me personally it doesn't matter," he said.

In an interview with the British broadcaster ITV, he denied that his Toyota connection alone motivated Williams to sign him.

"I believe it (the drive) has come from my performances," said Nakajima, who made his debut last month in the season-ending Brazilian grand prix, and previously was Williams' Friday test driver.

Nakajima is also the son of the former grand prix driver Satoru, who today runs his own team in the premier Japanese open wheeler category Formula Nippon and is involved with the Toyota and Honda-powered series' management.

Kazuki said: "Obviously we have some connections with Toyota through the engine deal, but Frank and Patrick (Head) told me that they were quite happy with the result in Brazil and the race pace was quite strong as well.

"I am sure they chose me because of that," he added.

It is widely believed that the other leading contender for the 2008 Williams seat was Toro Rosso refugee Vitantonio Liuzzi.

The British newspaper The Independent observed: "As an independent at a time when manufacturer-supported teams are doing all the winning, Williams have to do all they can to please the company that lease them engines."

Rodriguez hopes to tie up Force India seat
(GMM)  Roldan Rodriguez hopes to make the final step to securing a Force India race seat for 2008 at the Barcelona test next week.

The 22-year-old Spanish rookie has previously said he has an '80 per cent chance' of lining up on the grid for the Silverstone based team next year.

"I think I already have a foot and a half in the door," the GP2 driver confirmed to Spanish radio station Cadena SER, "but until it is really for sure, everything can change.

"I want to do a good job in the testing and make sure of my spot in the team," Rodriguez added.

To the Spanish sports daily Marca, meanwhile, he responded to those who believe his $15 million in private sponsorship is the real reason the former Spyker team is considering him for a seat.

"That is a normal thing that envious people say," Rodriguez is quoted as saying by the newspaper.

He also said McLaren's split with countryman Fernando Alonso ahead of next season is sure to hurt the British team.

"I think so.  First Fernando helped Renault to grow, and then he did the same with McLaren," Rodriguez said.

Cosworth return unlikely says Stewart
(GMM)  Cosworth is unlikely to return to formula one as an engine supplier, according to Sir Jackie Stewart.

The triple world champion, who won all three of his drivers' titles with Cosworth's famous DFV power plant, says the core of the Northamptonshire based company's formula one people have departed since the end of last season.

Cosworth, the last independent engine maker on the formula one grid, was left without a team partner at the end of 2006 when Williams and Toro Rosso switched respectively to Toyota and Ferrari power.

"Companies come and go, it's true," Stewart, 68, told the Evening Telegraph newspaper.

"But it was just a shame that Cosworth, who have contributed so much, couldn't stay in F1," he added.

Through its now-defunct collaboration with Ford, Cosworth supplied Stewart's own team with works engines in the late 90s, winning the 1999 European grand prix.

But the famous Scot admits that the British company, which was sold to Champ Car co-owners Gerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven when Ford and Jaguar pulled out of F1 at the end of 2004, is unlikely to return to the pinnacle of motor sport.

"It's not impossible for them to come back," he said.  "But the trouble is most of the good people have gone now.

"I was a big, big fan of Cosworth.  I won 25 out of my 27 grand prix with a Cosworth engine.  Great people.  Great company," Stewart added.

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