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Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • Ecclestone threatens to quit over McLaren appeal
  • Schu won't test at Jerez says Ferrari
  • Sutil would 'love' McLaren seat
  • Honda to build on 'earth car' concept
  • Toyota to launch new car on January 10 New
  • Ecclestone says McLaren could drop fuel appeal New

Ecclestone threatens to quit over McLaren appeal
(GMM)  F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has threatened to quit if Kimi Raikkonen's newly-won world championship is on Thursday snatched away.

McLaren appealed Brazilian GP stewards' decision last month to not penalize four rival cars despite their fuel being found arguably colder than the regulations allow.

Should the FIA Court of Appeal in London exclude three of the four cars and promote Lewis Hamilton up the Interlagos finishing-order, the 22-year-old rookie could be belatedly handed the championship.

Briton Hamilton, however, has said he does not want to win a title away from the race tracks, and Ecclestone now reveals that such a scenario could compel him into retirement, 35 years after he bought the Brabham team in 1972.

"If anyone thinks that's the best thing for formula one then I'd have very serious thoughts about me retiring," the 77-year-old is quoted as saying by The Guardian.

Schu won't test at Jerez says Ferrari
(GMM)  Despite falling in line behind Michael Schumacher's fastest lap, the German's rivals heard some good news late on Monday at the Circuit de Catalunya.

"Schumacher will not be testing in Jerez in December," a Ferrari spokeswoman said, refuting speculation that the retired 38-year-old might also travel with the team to the next post-season test.

Under Barcelona's cloudy skies, and after a two-week training regime to re-strengthen his neck, Schumacher put in a full day's effort of 64 laps and outpaced the next non-Ferrari runner by nearly eight tenths.

"It looks as though he's got talent.  He will make his way to F1," Schumacher's contemporary David Coulthard, present for Red Bull, joked.

Long time Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer told the Bild-Zeitung newspaper: "What Michael has done is unbelievable.  It's like he has had a day off, not a year.

"He is definitely the world's fastest driver," the Italian added.

Coulthard continued: "For those who doubted Michael's quality even for a moment, he has lost nothing.  It shows that age does not matter -- if he was back in formula one, he would be at the front.

"If McLaren is still looking for a driver, Michael would be a fantastic solution," the Scot added.

Coulthard, who at 36 is now F1's oldest active racer, said: "Just as Paul McCartney can never unlearn great music, Michael will never forget how to drive a car damn fast."

Elsewhere at the Spanish circuit, Toyota's Jarno Trulli tested despite suffering from a fever.

Super Aguri, meanwhile, christened its winter interim car the 'SA07-5B', despite the fact that it is visibly identical to Honda's 2007 contender, the RA107.

Sutil would 'love' McLaren seat
(GMM)  With leading contender Nico Rosberg tied to Williams for the 2008 season, German rookie Adrian Sutil may have inherited pole position to replace Fernando Alonso at McLaren next year.

Renault's Heikki Kovalainen is another favorite, but 24-year-old Sutil told the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph that he would "love" to reunite with his former F3 teammate Lewis Hamilton in the future.

Like Rosberg and Kovalainen, Sutil is under contract - in his case to Force India - for 2008.

But he said this week: "I would love to be driving with Lewis again.  Maybe some time in the future.  But next year would be good."

Sutil, however, acknowledges that he is fortunate to have a secured seat for next year, as more established names like Giancarlo Fisichella, Ralf Schumacher and Tonio Liuzzi struggle to find accommodation on the 2008 grid.

Sutil debuted this year for Spyker, which has been bought by Vijay Mallya and Michiel Mol and renamed Force India ahead of 2008.

"I've had a very nice season working with this team, and I'm glad that I have a drive for next year, when a lot of drivers are still looking," he added.

Honda to build on 'earth car' concept
(GMM)  The disappearance of Honda's infamous 'earth car' does not mean the Japanese team has abandoned the concept, according to a spokesperson.

As post-season testing commenced at the Circuit de Catalunya on Tuesday, young testers Andreas Zuber and James Rossiter emerged on track in plain white RA107 contenders.

Brackley based Honda spent the 2007 season, in which the team managed a meager total of just six points, racing the innovative 'earth car' livery; essentially a giant aerial satellite image of the globe devoid of all sponsor logos.

But the outfit was slammed for hypocrisy by pedaling an environmental message whilst racing in formula one to sell millions of polluting road cars.

"We always use an interim livery in the winter," a team representative, playing down the significance of the 'earth car' absence in Spain this week, is quoted as saying by the Dutch magazine Formule 1 Race Report.

"We are currently hard at work on preparing to lift the environmental concept to the next level, not only for next season, but for the longer term as well," the spokesperson reportedly added.

A statement issued by Honda on Tuesday clarified that the plain white livery in use in Barcelona testing is actually Honda's famous 'Championship White'.

The team's former marketing director Alistair Watkins left Honda in 2007, and his successor David Butler's first challenge is to build on the 'earth car' concept, Honda revealed earlier this year.

Toyota to launch new car on January 10
(GMM)  Toyota will launch its 2008 car on 10 January early next year, according to reports.

The TF108, to be raced by Jarno Trulli and possibly Timo Glock next season, is to be launched in Cologne, the Dutch website f1today.nl reported on Wednesday.

Toyota's 2007 car, the disappointing TF107, was launched at the Expo XXI site, near the Japanese outfit's Cologne headquarters, on January 12 this year.

"Our 2008 car will be very different," Pascal Vasselon, Toyota's general chassis manager, told F1 Racing magazine.

"I wouldn't say 'revolutionary' because nature is continuous," he added.  "For instance, you don't go from being stupid to intelligent, or back again, from one day to the next.

"So, although our car will be very different, it will be a normal evolution according to what we've learned through experience -- and where we are in terms of understanding our performances.

"We started on the 2008 car very early -- in January," Vasselon added.

Ecclestone says McLaren could drop fuel appeal
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has tipped his countryman Ron Dennis to drop an appeal that could take away Kimi Raikkonen's 2007 title.

F1's 77-year-old chief executive is quoted as threatening to retire if on Thursday the FIA's Court of Appeal in London hands the championship to McLaren rookie Lewis Hamilton.

Dennis' Woking based team appealed Brazilian GP stewards' decision last month to not penalize four rival cars despite their fuel being found arguably colder than the regulations allow.

But Britain's The Times newspaper says it is possible that McLaren, "at the eleventh hour", will drop the appeal.

"I don't think Ron has really got the intention of continuing with it," Ecclestone agreed.

The diminutive Englishman, commonly referred to as 'F1 supremo', compared the 'cool fuel' infringement to McLaren's own error at Interlagos, where mechanics illegally fitted an extra set of rain tires to Hamilton's car in practice.

The stewards' punishment was a token fine and the tires' confiscation.

Ecclestone observed: "So maybe if anything does happen at this Court of Appeal, maybe they'll treat it exactly the same as the tires."

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