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Latest F1 news in brief
  • BMW opposes plans to limit wind tunnel use
  • Asmer favorite for BMW test spot
  • BMW still ready to supply second F1 team
  • Lauda slams drivers for TC ban fear
  • Rampf wants half second lift from new BMW

BMW opposes plans to limit wind tunnel use
(GMM)  BMW supports the concept of capping formula one team budgets, but is less receptive to the FIA's proposal to limit things such as the use of wind tunnels, team boss Dr Mario Theissen said.

The Bavarian manufacturer's motor sport director and BMW-Sauber team principal told reporters on Monday that he supports moves to reduce costs in the notoriously expensive sport.

A team principals' meeting with FIA president Max Mosley in Paris last Friday revealed that most teams, with the notable exception of Ferrari, are open to the idea of limiting annual spending, perhaps to about $150 million per year.

"We should at least spend some time on evaluating it, how it would work, what would be the cap, what would be included and how to police it," Theissen said.

"I would certainly prefer a budget cap over limitations in specific areas," he added.

BMW is known for having arguably the best wind tunnel in formula one at its Hinwil base, while Ferrari has a different advantage in the form of its private Fiorano test circuit.

Ferrari is thought to have uniquely objected to the budget cap proposal in Paris, while supporting the restrictions on aerodynamic development facilities.

But Theissen said those proposals would not be fair because every team is currently at different levels in terms of wind tunnel and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) capabilities.

"Secondly, it would be almost impossible to police and thirdly, I think the challenge is to spend our resources in the way you get the most performance out of it," the German said.

"If some team decides to spend a lot of money on drivers, it should be possible for another team to spend a lot of money on a computer or a wind tunnel," Theissen said at the launch of BMW-Sauber's 2008 car in Munich.

Asmer favorite for BMW test spot
(GMM)  BMW-Sauber launched its 2008 campaign on Monday without naming an official 2008 test driver to replace Timo Glock, who has switched to race for Toyota this year.

Moreover, team boss Mario Theissen revealed at the Munich event that a decision will probably not be taken this month, even though the Estonian 23-year-old Marko Asmer is being tipped to get the nod.

Theissen confirmed that Asmer, the reigning British F3 champion, will get another run for the team at the Valencia test this week.

Spanish GP2 race winner Javier Villa tested alongside Asmer before Christmas.

"We will have Marko in the car again this week," Theissen told reporters in Munich, where the Swiss based team's 2008 car, the F1.08, was showed to the press.

"Currently there is no idea about another driver, but I wouldn't rule it out," the German chief added.

BMW still ready to supply second F1 team
(GMM)  BMW on Monday reiterated its willingness to supply customer engines to a second formula one team.

One year ago, The German manufacturer said that, like Renault, Ferrari, Toyota and Honda, it is "ready and able to supply a second team with an engine".

On Monday, BMW-Sauber team principal Dr Mario Theissen said at the launch of the 2008 car in Munich: "Since last year we are in a position to do this because our capacity exceeds what we need under the new regulations."

He also explained that prospective F1 customers in the future will probably want to buy not only the engine, but the entire powertrain, including the KERS energy-recovery system, from the carmaker-backed teams.

"So it will become a bigger business and I think it makes sense to take this route.

"If we are approached and it is a good fit, I could imagine doing it," Theissen told reporters.

Lauda slams drivers for TC ban fear
(GMM)  Niki Lauda has slammed formula one drivers who fear the end of traction control in 2008.

The triple world champion, who won 25 races during the 70s and 80s, told Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper: "If they are afraid, they need to go back to driving school."

David Coulthard, a steadfast figure of the drivers' safety union GPDA, has been the most vocal about the banning of sophisticated driver aids because he says they will make racing the rain more dangerous.

"Some people are bound to say drivers are not real men these days but they can say what they like," the Red Bull racer, who is the oldest current driver on the grid at 36, told Britain's The Mirror.

"I'll race in any conditions, but we would all look silly if something was taken away like this and we didn't raise our concerns," Coulthard added.

Intriguingly, back in 2001, Coulthard - then a McLaren driver - opposed the reintroduction of traction control.

"I am a pure racer," the BBC quotes him as saying then.  "I want to change my own gears and I don't want computers to help prevent wheelspin."

At the launch of BMW-Sauber's 2008 car on Monday, German racer Nick Heidfeld insisted that one GPDA spokesman does not necessarily reflect the views of every driver on the grid.

"You have to be careful not to see it this way," he said in Munich.

"I guess (Coulthard) said it in a personal way, as it was not discussed within the GPDA.

"Driving a formula one car is dangerous by itself.  You can just sit outside and it is safer," he added.

Rampf wants half second lift from new BMW
(GMM)  BMW-Sauber technical director Willy Rampf is hoping for a significant lap time improvement with the German team's 2008 car.

After the Swiss based outfit unveiled the F1.08 in Munich, complete with a strikingly bigger front wing, Rampf told the German newspaper Bild: "If the car is less than half a second quicker than its predecessor, I will be disappointed."

Another noticeably new feature of the F1.08 are the carbon-fiber hubs on all four wheels, which are becoming commonplace in formula one.

BMW-Sauber proved that the novelty still needs some tweaking, however, when one of the covers fell off as Nick Heidfeld demonstrated the car inside the BMW Welt facility on Monday.

The 750 horse power machine will make its proper test debut at the Valencia circuit in Spain on Tuesday.

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