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  • Ralf slams Toyota's approach to F1
  • Ferrari fires salvo as title made official
  • Spy saga would have cost McLaren ECU tender
  • McLaren staffer regrets Alonso exit

Ralf slams Toyota's approach to F1
(GMM)  Ralf Schumacher has questioned Toyota's approach to formula one.

The veteran German, who is struggling to find a seat for 2008 after a disappointing three year tenure at the Japanese team, said Toyota's unique philosophy makes it an unattractive destination for renowned figures like Ross Brawn.

Following a highly successful decade at Ferrari and a sabbatical in 2007, Brawn will return to the sport next year as Honda's team principal.

Schumacher, 32, told the Cologne newspaper Express: "I know that Toyota is the only team that didn't even want to talk with Brawn.

"A contact was offered but there was no reaction to it -- not a single meeting took place," he marveled.

The team's relationship with former technical director Mike Gascoyne famously ended early last year over what Toyota described as a "fundamental difference of opinion".

Gascoyne, now at Force India, said in 2007: "If they continue to follow their corporate philosophy I don't think they've got a hope in hell (of succeeding in formula one)."

Schumacher explains: "The structure of the team is clearly the result of what they call the Toyota Way.  That is why someone like Ross Brawn cannot go there.

"Brawn should have been a candidate for Toyota, given what he could do to strengthen the team.  But Toyota will never allow a one man show," he added.

Ferrari fires salvo as title made official
(GMM)  Luca di Montezemolo has fired a final salvo after Kimi Raikkonen's 2007 championship was only made official last week.

Nearly four weeks have passed since the Ferrari driver mathematically clinched the drivers' title in Brazil, but the 'cool fuel' appeal lodged by McLaren could potentially have handed the crown to Lewis Hamilton late last week.

After the Court of Appeal found McLaren's appeal inadmissible, Montezemolo told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "This season has been more about treachery than sportsmanship, which I saw little of.

"For the first time the lawyers worked harder than the technicians, but our successes prove that we are a true team," the Ferrari president, also referring to the espionage scandal, added.

Spy saga would have cost McLaren ECU tender
(GMM)  McLaren was excluded from the 2007 championship amid accusations of espionage, but next year the 'brain' of every formula one car will be a system co-developed by the Woking based outfit.

According to Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost, however, the anomaly would not have occurred had F1's governing body known that McLaren would soon become embroiled in the biggest cheating scandal in the sport's recent history.

The FIA announced in July 2006 that Microsoft and McLaren Electronic Systems, which is based at the Mercedes-powered team's UK headquarters, had won the tender to supply standard electronics to the entire field in 2008 until 2010.

Toro Rosso's Tost, however, told the Austrian newspaper Tiroler Tageszeitung: "If the (ECU) contract had been awarded this year, this company would not have (secured the tender)."

Indeed, serious opposition within McLaren's rivals, including horror stories about the functionality of the 2008 ECU itself, did not emerge until after the espionage scandal broke.

We reported earlier this year that some teams were uncomfortable with the idea of forcibly working closely - including exchanging data - with a team that is accused of spying.

"How am I to trust a company that is at the centre of a spying scandal?" Renault's Flavio Briatore had said.

McLaren staffer regrets Alonso exit
(GMM)  A McLaren technician has expressed regret that the team parted ways with Fernando Alonso after just one season.

2007 was a tumultuous campaign for the fledgling pairing, but Carlos Miquel - who has covered motor racing for the Spanish sports daily AS since 2000 - quotes an unnamed engineer as expressing incredulity that McLaren did not want to retain the 26-year-old double world champion.

"I do not understand how they could let him go," the anonymous McLaren staffer told the newspaper.

"Alonso is a driver who contributes a lot to his team.  It is a pity he is no longer with us," he added.

The engineer said he thinks Alonso's tenure at the Woking based team was short-lived because he performs at his best as a number one driver.

"That was the only problem," the McLaren technician explained.  "He works better, and his performance level is higher, when he is the team leader."

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