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DATE News (chronologically)
01/14/08
f1
Latest F1 news in brief
  • Alonso rumors did not faze Trulli
  • Schu warns brother against DTM switch
  • F1's Bourdais fears high French hopes
  • Fisi wants 'few more years' on F1 grid
  • Different BMW to amaze rivals - Heidfeld

Alonso rumors did not faze Trulli
(GMM)  Jarno Trulli insists he was never really concerned about rumors linking Fernando Alonso with his Toyota seat for 2008.

Before the Spanish double world champion Alonso sealed his return to Renault after an ill-fated single season with McLaren, he was also strongly linked with a move in 2008 to Toyota, as well as Red Bull.

But Trulli, the 33-year-old Italian veteran of more than 180 grands prix, told the newspaper 'Diario AS' that he enjoyed a mostly relaxing winter break.

"I didn't think anything about it; I was usually working in the factory over the winter and knew I had a contract until 2009," he said.

Trulli does, however, wonder about the manner in which Toyota, the Japanese team that is based in Cologne, Germany, handled the Alonso rumors.

"Maybe they should have slowed down the rumors that Fernando or Kovalainen could be arriving to take my place," said Trulli, who was Alonso's teammate at Renault in 2003 and 2004.

He says he would enjoy working with Alonso again, even at Toyota.

"It would have been nice to have him again as my teammate," Trulli admitted, "but that has been the case and we both took our separate paths.

"I was waiting to see if he would come (to Toyota) during the winter, but as soon as Timo Glock was signed, I knew Fernando would be going back to Renault," he added.

Schu warns brother against DTM switch
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher has advised his younger brother Ralf to resist offers to rescue his embattled motor racing career in Germany's premier touring car category, DTM.

It was recently reported that 32-year-old Ralf, who lost his Toyota seat at the end of last season and performed poorly in a subsequent test for formula one backmarker Force India, may have received contact from DTM teams about joining the series next year.

But seven time world champion Michael Schumacher, who happily retired in 2006 as F1's most successful ever driver, and now an occasional tester for Ferrari, doubts that DTM would be a good alternative for his brother.

"I would not recommend him to go to DTM," the 39-year-old told Bild newspaper at the Ferrari-Ducati global media event in the Italian Dolomites last week.

"I believe that neither of us have the talent to drive those cars quickly -- I have even tried them (the cars) and it is a completely different world.

"You would need two years to get used to it," he added.

Michael Schumacher, meanwhile, said he was surprised when his brother left Toyota and could not find a competitive alternative in F1 for 2008.

"I was surprised," he admitted.  "I did not expect that.

"But as I have already said, there are many other interesting things with which he can now do with his life," Schumacher added.

F1's Bourdais fears high French hopes
(GMM)  Sebastien Bourdais says he fears that the French people are expecting too much from his looming debut season in formula one.

The 28-year-old Frenchman won F1's then feeder series, F3000, in 2002, before crossing the Atlantic and triumphing in four of the five Champ Car championships he contested until finally getting the call back to Europe.

Bourdais will race alongside Sebastian Vettel at Gerhard Berger's second Red Bull-backed team, Toro Rosso, in 2008 and beyond.

"What worries me is the fact that some people do not understand that I do not have the same conditions as Hamilton at McLaren," he said, referring to the British rookie who won four grands prix as a F1 rookie last year.

"Next year, I will certainly not be world champion," Bourdais explained in the French sports newspaper L'Equipe.

"In France, much is expected that I can not fulfill."

Bourdais was also asked why he thinks he is the only active Frenchman on the grid.

"If you look at F1 from a historical perspective, sometimes there were up to ten Frenchman there at the same time, and now there are a lot less.

"It is cyclical, the same that it has always been, and will always be.  That is simply the nature of the sport," he said.

Bourdais also revealed that Paul Newman, the Hollywood actor and co-owner of his former Champ Car team, has been invited to a grand prix this season.

"He does not know when he will come," Bourdais said.  "When I told him that I was going to formula one, he was disappointed but also pleased for me," he added.

Fisi wants 'few more years' on F1 grid
(GMM)  Despite now driving for arguably the slowest team in formula one, Giancarlo Fisichella insists that he is not yet thinking about retirement.

The Italian veteran of nearly 200 grands prix lost his Renault seat at the end of last year, and for 2008 has taken up residence at Force India; the Silverstone based team that in the former Jordan (2005), Midland (2006) and Spyker (2007) guises filled the lowest rows on the grid.

It is understood that Fisichella, who is celebrating his thirty fifth birthday on Monday, has penned a two year race contract.

To the Indian Express newspaper, he describes F1 as an "itch" that he still finds necessary to scratch.

"So be it any team, one steps into a cockpit to give their best," he said.

Fisichella was Fernando Alonso's teammate at title-winning Renault recently, but he denies that stepping down to a much less competitive car is a motivation-sapping feeling.

"I love F1 and want to be a F1 driver for a few more years, especially because the Force India project is interesting," he explained.

He also backs team owner Vijay Mallya's plan to merely break away from the last row of the grid in 2008, before eyeing the podium only in 2010.

"Being modest is better than talking big," the Rome-born driver agreed.

"I guess moving out of the last row would make it a big leap forward," Fisichella added.

Different BMW to amaze rivals - Heidfeld
(GMM)  F1's most competitive teams will be "amazed" when they clap eyes on the new BMW-Sauber F1.08, team driver Nick Heidfeld claims.

The 30-year-old German was a top performer of last season, taking the 2008 car's predecessor to fifth place in the drivers' championship; behind only the four Ferrari and McLaren runners.

Heidfeld and Polish teammate Robert Kubica's new car will be unveiled in Munich on Monday, and Heidfeld suggests that team chiefs' winter proclamations that a race win is the target for 2008 is not empty rhetoric.

Asked by Bild newspaper about the F1.08, he answered: "It looks quite different from our last car, because the 2007 one was very simple.

"This time, there are many more details.  Our opponents at Mercedes and Ferrari will be amazed when they see it," Heidfeld added.

He also said he is not intimidated about the prospect of joining F1's top quartet - Raikkonen, Alonso, Massa and Hamilton - in the battle for wins in 2008.

"I know that in the past I have beaten every one of them," Heidfeld answered.

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