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DATE News (chronologically)
01/23/08
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Mosley threatens to exclude next F1 spy
  • Briatore unfazed by Alonso's lack of speed
  • Huge crowd gathers for Valencia test
  • Villeneuve uncle goes home after crash
  • Theissen expects success for BMW in '08
  • Briatore not expecting driver problems in '08

Mosley threatens to exclude next F1 spy
(GMM)  Max Mosley has warned that the next formula one team found guilty of espionage could be thrown out of the sport.  "Next time, whoever it was, I don't think they would stay in the championship," the FIA president said in an interview with F1's official website.

Briatore unfazed by Alonso's lack of speed
(GMM)  Flavio Briatore on Tuesday seemed unperturbed after Fernando Alonso took Renault's new 2008 challenger to just sixth place on the Valencia test time sheets.

As the pre-season action at the Spanish circuit hotted up in front of 38,000 of Alonso's countrymen, the ever impressive Ferraris locked out the pace.

Moreover, Williams' Nico Rosberg and the McLaren runners, all driving new machinery, were all also quicker than the R28.

But Renault boss Briatore, on a rare visit to a test circuit, told the Spanish newspaper Diario AS: "The car is as it was when it left the factory.

"Before you can start changing things, the most important thing is the reliability.

"From tomorrow (Wednesday), we will begin to look at the settings," the Italian said.

Local media, however, quoted Alonso as saying in Spanish that he had been "more comfortable" in the older R27, which he tested last week at Jerez.

Sources at Valencia also clarified media reports that said Alonso suffered a smoky problem late in the test day with the 2008 racer.

While the 26-year-old did have to abandon the newly unveiled car on the main straight with a few minutes of the session to run, it seems that Renault deliberately ran the car dry of fuel for a consumption test.

Huge crowd gathers for Valencia test
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso's countrymen flocked in unprecedented numbers to the Spanish test circuit at Valencia on Tuesday.

Local newspapers said the crowd tipped the scales at 38,000, who gathered on a public holiday to see the former double world champion and ten formula one teams prepare for the 2008 season.

It is believed that the previous unofficial record for test attendance was set at Jerez last November, when 17,000 Spaniards turned out.

The daily El Pais reported widespread traffic problems around the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo, after track officials underestimated the local interest in the test.

"Our forecasts indicated that about 20,000 people would come," admitted Paul PernĂ­a, the circuit's communications chief.

Track boss Julio Garcia added: "Never in history have so many people come to a F1 test.  99 per cent of them came to see Fernando Alonso," he said.

Williams rookie Kazuki Nakajima was also amazed by the turnout.

"It was just like driving in front of a race crowd," the Japanese said.  "I raced here in GP2 last season and I think there were more people here today."

Villeneuve uncle goes home after crash
(GMM)  1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve's uncle has been released from hospital following his snowmobile crash in Wisconsin (USA) last Friday.

It was reported that 54-year-old Jacques Villeneuve, the brother of Ferrari legend Gilles, had broken his pelvis, legs and injured his spine when he was struck by a competitor at more than 200kph.

The Associated Press on Wednesday quoted Villeneuve, who was returning to Quebec, as not knowing how long he would need to recover.

"I have no idea," he said.  "I have to go and see a doctor in Montreal and he's going to put some screws in place to help me heal better."

Theissen expects success for BMW in '08
(GMM)  The BMW-Sauber team is in a bullish mood as it prepares to take on 'Big Two' formula one teams Ferrari and McLaren in 2008.

At Valencia on Tuesday, the F1.08 single seater was fitted with a radical 'antler' front nose innovation, as team boss Dr Mario Theissen restated his belief that the new car is a "significant step forward" over the impressive 2007 model.

"We are very confident that we can be even more in the fight with this car," the German is quoted as telling the specialist Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell.

BMW took over the privateer Sauber squad in 2006, and last year - following McLaren's exclusion for espionage - the team finished second only to Ferrari in the constructors' standings.

"Since we have not taken long to catch up, I expect us to succeed," Theissen added.

"In terms of size, we are a mid-table team, but in ambition, I see us as a top team," the German added.

Nick Heidfeld was just eleventh quickest at the Valencia test on Tuesday, but Germany's Bild newspaper said the German was carrying "a lot of extra fuel" in his car.

Heidfeld, who at one point broke down and could be seen investigating a problem at the front of the F1.08, revealed: "We have new parts to test every day."

Triple world champion Niki Lauda said of BMW-Sauber: "They have built a very courageous car."

Briatore not expecting driver problems in '08
(GMM)  Flavio Briatore on Tuesday said he is not expecting Renault's 2008 driver lineup to clash.

Former world champion Fernando Alonso did not get along with his 2007 teammate, Lewis Hamilton, before the Spaniard split with the McLaren team.

For this season, Renault has paired him with Nelson Piquet Jr, the son of the tempestuous triple world champion of the same name, and - like Hamilton - a hotly-rated young rookie.

"Nelsinho will not create problems," Renault boss Briatore told the Spanish newspaper Diario AS at Valencia on Tuesday, "because he is young, intelligent, and he knows what he wants.

"He knows he has to improve step by step.  And another thing -- I am not Ron Dennis," he smiled.

"Our teams wear different colors," the Italian continued.  "On the face of it our two drivers are excellent.

"Nelsinho is a smart guy, and to have a teammate like Alonso next to him in a major team is a great opportunity.  He can only benefit from that," Briatore said.

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