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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Honda accepts slow start for 2008 car
  • Williams return to Grove with wing problem
  • FIA warns Spain after Hamilton abuse
  • New McLaren passes crash tests
  • Sainz Jr to drive for Schu's go-kart team

Honda accepts slow start for 2008 car
(GMM)  Leading figures of the formula one team Honda admit that their challenger for the 2008 season, the newly launched RA108, is not performing strongly in its initial testing phase.

The white and green single seater, albeit reliable, spent the entire weekend at Circuit de Catalunya among the slowest test runners.

"The car is completely new which means we are starting from zero in terms of developing the setup," British driver Jenson Button said in a statement provided by he Japanese team.

"We are also experiencing some drivability issues as we work with the new ECU," he added.

The Brackley based squad's test boss Steve Clark said he is hopeful that the performance of the car will improve in the weeks before Melbourne, the opening race of 2008.

"The RA108 is so different aerodynamically to its predecessor that it is going to take some time over the next few tests to optimize the chassis settings," he said.

Clark acknowledged Honda's unimpressive showing on the Barcelona time sheets, "especially on single fast laps, although our long run consistency is a little better", he added.

F1's next three-day group test will be held at Jerez from 12 February.

Williams return to Grove with wing problem
(GMM)  A Williams spokesman says the British team abandoned the Barcelona test on Saturday night because of a front wing issue.

Reports from the Spanish circuit revealed that a mounting problem for the piece caused Japanese rookie Kazuki Nakajima to crash heavily with a failed wing on Friday.

He and German teammate Nico Rosberg resumed running on Saturday, after new parts were hurriedly prepared at the team's Oxfordshire factory and flown to the Circuit de Catalunya in Sir Frank Williams' private jet.

But team officials ultimately decided to simply return to Grove rather than keep running on Sunday, after it is believed the modified front wing showed up drivability issues.

"We could not implement an appropriate short term solution so we decided to return to the factory to address it in time for the Jerez test in just over a week's time," a Williams spokesman confirmed.

FIA warns Spain after Hamilton abuse
(GMM)  F1's governing body on Sunday night said it will not tolerate a repeat of the racial abuse directed at Lewis Hamilton by Spanish spectators at the recent Barcelona test.

A spokesman for the Paris based FIA told publications that it had noted the events of the three-day session at Circuit de Catalunya, during which supporters of Fernando Alonso threw rubbish at McLaren personnel and screamed abuse at Hamilton.

Hamilton, whose grandfather is from the Caribbean island of Grenada, was taunted with cries and banners ranging from 'Stop talking shit', to 'hijo de puta' (son of a whore) and 'negro de mierda' (black shit).

"The FIA is surprised and disappointed at the abuse directed at Lewis Hamilton," the FIA spokesman said.

"An act of this kind is a clear breach of the principles enshrined in the FIA statutes and any repetition will result in sanctions," he added.

The Spanish sports daily Marca also reveals that Alonso, despite clashing with his former teammate Hamilton at McLaren last year, does not condone the behavior of his countrymen.

A source close to the 26-year-old double world champion told the newspaper: "Some of these people are animals."

New McLaren passes crash tests
(GMM)  McLaren's car for the 2008 season, the MP4-23, passed all the mandatory FIA crash and homologation tests last week, the Mercedes-powered team said.

Sainz Jr to drive for Schu's go-kart team
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher has teamed up with two friends to put Spanish rally legend Carlos Sainz's son on the right track to formula one.

The semi-retired seven time world champion has become a part-owner of the KSM go-kart team, which launched its 2008 campaign at the weekend in Bergheim.

'KSM' stands for the initials of the team's three owners; Peter Kaiser, Schumacher and Thomas Muchow, and is based near the former Ferrari racer's German birthplace, Kerpen.

Two time rally world champion Sainz's son, Carlos Sainz Jr, will race for KSM in 2008, beginning with the Deutsche Kart-Meisterschaft event at Kerpen later this month.  Both Carlos Sainz's attended the launch.

"I also started in karts," Schumacher, 39, said, "and we all know that the sport is a basis for a career in motor racing.

"Maybe we can put some guys towards formula one," the German added.

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