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Latest F1 news in brief
  • McLaren 'hypocrites', Ferrari lawyer blasts
  • Massa, not Kovalainen, quickest in Spain
  • Promoter beaten to India GP contract
  • Singapore signs title sponsor for GP
  • Kobayashi replaces Montagny at Toyota
  • Jordan 'glad' to be out of F1

McLaren 'hypocrites', Ferrari lawyer blasts
(GMM)  McLaren are "shameless hypocrites devoid of any integrity", according to a lawyer representing Ferrari at the so-called cool-fuel appeal in London on Thursday.

Nigel Tozzi, who also acted for the Maranello based team in the recent espionage scandal, argued vigorously that Kimi Raikkonen should not be stripped of his title if up to four rival cars are excluded from the Brazilian GP classification for fuel temperature discrepancies.

Tozzi's charge of hypocrisy follows McLaren figures' consistent comments recently that the appeal is not a desperate off-track attempt to win the championship for British rookie Lewis Hamilton.

But McLaren lawyer Ian Mill had told the four-man FIA panel on Thursday: "The driver may be entirely innocent ... but he has the benefit of the infringing car."

In September, Mill argued precisely the reverse -- that Hamilton and his teammate Fernando Alonso should be left in contention for the 2007 crown despite the allegation against McLaren of spying.

The Woking based team's chief executive Martin Whitmarsh, present in London, defended McLaren's lawyer.

"Any lawyer has to make the case, he has to be robust in pursuing a win," he told the Daily Telegraph.

"Nevertheless, I asked Ian Mill to back off on this point.  I believe he pursued the point without vigor but inevitably he has to make the case.

"Whilst this was the only appropriate argument from a legal point of view, it's not our ultimate goal in respect of today's hearing," Whitmarsh said.

Ferrari's Tozzi, however, slammed McLaren's argument as "grubby maneuvering by lawyers".

BMW-Sauber's lawyer Ian Meakin joined the tirade, accusing McLaren of waging "naked opportunism" in wanting the Swiss team and Williams' runners excluded for the breach.

Massa, not Kovalainen, quickest in Spain
(GMM)  Despite Heikki Kovalainen topping the time sheets on the final day of the Barcelona test on Thursday, Felipe Massa actually captured the quickest legitimate lap.

"Heikki set the quickest time in 1:20.659 having covered 81 laps," Renault said in a statement issued at the end of the day.

Kovalainen commented: "We've shown how determined Renault is to fight its way back to the front in 2008."

But it later emerged that, while the Finn's pace for Renault was ultimately good enough for second place, he skipped a chicane near the end of the eight-hour test session at Circuit de Catalunya.

Felipe Massa's best lap of 1:21.044, therefore, should be regarded as the quickest of the day and the entire three-day test, including Michael Schumacher who stole the show for Ferrari on days one and two.

Kovalainen's legitimate best on Thursday was a 1:21.136.

The final test of 2007 will be held over four days at Jerez beginning on December 4.

Promoter beaten to India GP contract
(GMM)  The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has declined to confirm reports that the inaugural Indian grand prix will be staged in Delhi in 2010.

Bernie Ecclestone on Thursday announced that JP Associates, an Indian company, has been contracted to build a circuit and host the race.

The news seemed to be at odds with the Indian Olympic Association's earlier exclusive efforts to bring formula one to the populous country.

The IOA's Suresh Kalmadi reportedly reached a provisional deal to promote the race earlier this year, and at his behest hosted circuit designer Hermann Tilke who earmarked acceptable circuit sites near Delhi.

But despite F1 chief executive Ecclestone's announcement of a contract with JP Associates subsidiary JPSK Sports Private "to stage the first ever formula one grand prix in India", Kalmadi refused to confirm the story.

When contacted by the Calcutta newspaper Telegraph, he said: "I'm not aware of this development."

JP Associates chairman Manoj Gaur, however, did confirm the news of a ten-year contract with formula one.

"We are very excited and fortunate that we would cater to the interest through this unique opportunity," he said.

Singapore signs title sponsor for GP
(GMM)  Singapore's largest telecommunications company SingTel will be title sponsor for the island city-state's inaugural grand prix next year.

The event, to be held on September 28 under lights, will be known officially as the '2008 formula one SingTel Singapore grand prix", agencies said.

Work on the part-street circuit, including the construction of pit and paddock buildings, began late in September.

Singapore's initial F1 contract is for five years.

Kamui Kobayashi

Kobayashi replaces Montagny at Toyota
(GMM)  Kamui Kobayashi will replace Franck Montagny as Toyota's third and primary test driver in 2008.

The Japanese team announced on Friday that the 21-year-old, who like countryman Kazuki Nakajima is a product of Toyota's young driver program, is "ready for the challenge of formula one".

Team boss Tadashi Yamashina said: "He tested the car last winter and showed he had the potential to drive in formula one in the future."

Montagny, reportedly to test for the Force India team at Jerez next month, drove for the last time in a Cologne built cockpit at Barcelona on Thursday.

"He is a fast and intelligent driver who has been a real pleasure to work with," test team manager Gerd Pfeiffer said in Spain.

"I know everyone in the test team wishes him good luck in whatever he chooses to do next," he added.

Kobayashi spent the last two years in the F3 Euro Series.

Jordan 'glad' to be out of F1
(GMM)  Eddie Jordan said on Friday he is "glad to be out of formula one".

The Irishman sold his Silverstone based outfit to Midland at the end of 2004.

Since then, it has changed hands to Spyker and most recently to new team owners Vijay Mallya and Michiel Mol, who have renamed the team Force India for 2008.

Earlier this year, Jordan - who early in his career contested rallies - was appointed chairman of Ireland's upcoming round of the world rally championship.

He told Ireland's Independent newspaper: "I'm glad to be out of F1 because, in the last year, it has become so politically orientated.

"It's an absolutely fascinating business, but much better viewed from the outside.  God, it was hard work," he added.

Jordan, however, said he is still proud of his privateer team's achievements at the pinnacle of motor sport, including a stint on the top step of the podiums in the late 90s.

"At the end of the day, we delivered," he said.

"Only five teams in the last 25 years have won multiple grand prix races.  They are Ferrari, McLaren, Williams, Renault and Jordan.  That's a fact.

"I mean, Jesus, Toyota and Honda now spend billions and can't even get on the podium.  Can they win a race?  Not a chance," Jordan added.

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