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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Mosley moves to end McLaren spy affair
  • Williams tabs Hulkenberg for test role
  • Light test puts Albert Park night race back on agenda
  • Rodriguez applies for F1 superlicense
  • FIA could scrap slick tire return - Mosley

Mosley moves to end McLaren spy affair
(GMM)  Following what the British press described as a "groveling" apology by McLaren, FIA president Max Mosley has moved to end the so-called Stepneygate spying scandal.

Although the Paris body is yet to agree, Mosley has "asked the members of the World Motor Sport Council for their consent to cancel the hearing scheduled for 14 February 2008", a statement on Thursday said.

The February hearing had been scheduled in the light of a report filed by FIA technical inspectors showing that McLaren's 2008 car is indeed infected by Ferrari intellectual property.

But given McLaren's undertaking to freeze certain aspects of development of the MP4-23, Mosley said the matter should be closed "in the interests of the sport".

A statement issued by Ferrari, however, confirmed that the Italian team intends to go ahead with criminal and civil actions in Italy and England relating to the case.

Ferrari added: "In the light of McLaren's apology and the guarantees it has presented, Ferrari respects the proposal of the FIA president" to cancel the upcoming hearing.

But while the matter may soon be closed from a sporting point of view, it may signal the end of Ron Dennis' long career as team boss, the British newspaper Daily Mail observed.

The 60-year-old "was fighting for his formula one life last night" after the admission of "cheating and corruption", the newspaper said.

Williams tabs Hulkenberg for test role
(GMM)  The British team Williams on Thursday announced that Nico Hulkenberg has been signed as official test driver for the 2008 season.

The 20-year-old German, who is managed by Michael Schumacher's long time agent Willi Weber, made his formula one test debut in the team's Toyota-powered FW29 recently at Jerez.

"To have represented myself sufficiently well to have been appointed as the team's official test driver is the most amazing news and for me, Christmas has come early," he said.

Alongside the F1 test role, Hulkenberg will again contest the F3 Euroseries next year.

Light test puts Albert Park night race back on agenda
(GMM)  The possibility of a formula one night race in Melbourne may soon be back on the agenda, following the extensive testing of an Australian-made circuit lighting system.

With the involvement of Red Bull driver Mark Webber, the company Hella in November staged a secret demonstration of its glare-free technology at the local Calder Park track with a formula three car.

The FIA, F1's governing body, was represented at the test, and a specialist camera team was delegated by the sport's broadcast and media organization, Formula One Management, Hella said.

A report, and footage of the demonstration, was then submitted to the FIA and FOM for their evaluation and official approval.

The Melbourne newspaper Herald Sun reports that Hella Australia official Thomas Plessinger is currently in Europe for meetings "involving FIA and other potential F1 opportunities".

"We are submitting our technical measurements and television footage to the FIA and Formula One management and we are waiting for their response," he said.

Rodriguez applies for F1 superlicense
(GMM)  Force India hopeful Roldan Rodriguez has submitted to the FIA an application for a formula one superlicense, a report in the Spanish sports daily Marca says.

The 22-year-old Spaniard and rookie, reportedly with up to $15 million in sponsor backing for a 2008 race seat, is hopeful of being granted the credential, which would allow him to participate in official F1 events in 2008 and beyond.

The main requirement of the superlicense is accruing more than 300km of formula one testing, and Marca claims that Rodriguez, who in 2007 finished the GP2 series in 17th place, has collected more than 850km at recent tests for the Silverstone based team.

Adrian Sutil is expected to line up in one of Force India's 2008 cars next season, while hopefuls including Giancarlo Fisichella, Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi are also in the running for the second seat.

Team owner Vijay Mallya is expected to make his decision late this month.

"All of them are very good -- they would all bring different strengths to the team," he told F1's official website.

"In the past the team was looking for money, so money was the prime motivating factor for the driver lineup.  Now that has changed," Mallya, an Indian businessman and billionaire, added.

FIA could scrap slick tire return - Mosley
(GMM)  The reintroduction of slick tires in 2009 is not set in stone, FIA president Max Mosley has warned.

Bridgestone supplied a developmental slick tire for teams to experiment with at the recent Jerez test.

It is planned that the current grooved tires, introduced in 1998 to cut cornering speeds, will be scrapped after next season, in unison with new regulations to slash aerodynamic downforce by as much as 50 per cent.

But Mosley told the British magazine Autosport that if the new bodywork rules do not reduce cornering speeds as intended, the return of slicks may be called off.

"The theory is: much less downforce and more mechanical grip should improve the racing and overtaking," he said.

"(But) if it turns out that the promised reduction in downforce hasn't happened and the cornering speeds go up, we'll just put the grooves back in," Mosley added.

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