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Latest F1 news in brief
  • 70,000 Singapore GP tickets to go on sale
  • Rosberg is F1's best qualifier - Wurz
  • Ferrari finances looking healthy for '08
  • BMW not ready to beat top teams - Heidfeld
  • FIA make presence felt at Jerez
  • Hamilton to 'rise above' racial abuse

70,000 Singapore GP tickets to go on sale
(GMM)  Organizers of the inaugural Singapore grand prix will on Thursday release 70,000 tickets for the September night race.

This first phase of sales follows a delay, during which the promoters have been working to increase the original capacity from 65,000.

Another 10,000 seats could also be added to the final tally, pending negotiations between organizers and the Singapore Recreation Club and Singapore Cricket Club over the addition of extra grandstands on a particular stretch of the street layout.

Rosberg is F1's best qualifier - Wurz
(GMM)  Alex Wurz has praised his former Williams teammate Nico Rosberg as the best qualifier in formula one.

On all but one qualifying occasion last year, 33-year-old Wurz was beaten to a better grid position by Rosberg.

Wurz's struggle for performance last year preceded his decision to retire from the sport as a racer and switch to Honda as the Japanese team's primary test driver -- a role in which Wurz is credited for being arguably the best in F1.

"Nico developed so much between the 2006 and 2007 seasons," the Austrian veteran told Motorsport Aktuell.

"Especially in qualifying, I think that he is the best in the paddock," Wurz added.

Even without racing in the season finale, Wurz ended 2007 with 13 out of Williams' 20 points, but team co-owner Patrick Head does not think the former McLaren test driver performed strongly last year.

"We did our best to help him, but it did not work," the Toyota-powered team's engineering veteran said.

Head acknowledges the highlights of Wurz's season, including the podium in Canada, but insists that at other races there was seldom "a sign that he could frequently go into the points".

Ferrari finances looking healthy for '08
(GMM)  As well as having seemingly the quickest car for the forthcoming season, Ferrari also boasts a particularly healthy financial outlook.

The accounts of the Italian marque's manufacturer parent, Fiat, revealed recently that the famous Maranello sports car maker recorded sales of (euros) 496m last quarter, with a trading profit of 196m -- increases of more than 20 per cent.

Additionally, the F1 financial report Formula Money reveals that Ferrari received a whopping (US) $100m payment from Formula One Management, for winning the 2007 championship under the improved financial terms of the sport's new ownership.

The amount also includes part of an extra payment for Ferrari, promised by FOM for committing to F1 over a proposed breakaway series a few years ago.

In contrast to McLaren, which had to cough up $100m to the FIA for the espionage scandal, Ferrari's payment is believed to be the biggest amount ever received by a championship winning team.

Red Bull driver Mark Webber was asked about Ferrari's reported $100m windfall in discussion with Australian journalists recently.

"They're in good shape so it's nice to be in that position if you could be, yeah," he said.

BMW not ready to beat top teams - Heidfeld
(GMM)  Despite recent signs that BMW Sauber is making improvements to its 2008 car, the German team's drivers are not expecting to challenge Ferrari and McLaren for race wins early this season.

As he began the penultimate test of the pre-season at Jerez on Tuesday, the Swiss newspaper Blick quoted Nick Heidfeld as predicting more time as F1's third force in 2008.

"We have not moved closer to McLaren and Ferrari," he reported, adding that the F1.08 does, however, appear to narrowly have an edge on close challengers Renault, Williams and Red Bull.

Heidfeld's Polish teammate, Robert Kubica, confirmed in Spain: "Yes, we still have problems.

"The car is too unstable," he added, also explaining the untrustworthiness of relying on test time sheets.

Kubica said: "Sometimes, we are not as good as the time sheets show us to be.  And at other times we are better than the times suggest."

FIA make presence felt at Jerez
(GMM)  Two FIA transporters on Tuesday arrived at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain, giving rise to rumors that F1's governing body intends to conduct some anti-doping tests this week.

It is also being suggested that the strong presence of the Paris based Federation at F1's penultimate pre-season test is a reaction to the racism scandal that broke out ten days ago at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

Only a small crowd gathered for the Jerez test on Tuesday, but Fernando Alonso's supporters are likely to be in force on Wednesday as the Spaniard begins work for Renault.

Because of the Lewis Hamilton racism controversy, media interest in the otherwise ordinary three-day test is higher than usual.

The British tabloid Daily Star reported on Tuesday that the McLaren driver's extra security precautions amounted to a "ring of steel".

The newspaper also said the crowd of 250 Spanish supporters had been "hand-picked" by operators of the Jerez circuit.

"Security staff were warned to be extra vigilant.  It was almost a lockdown in a bid to protect Lewis.  Anyone looking remotely like they were going to cause trouble was turned away," a source said.

Hamilton to 'rise above' racial abuse
(GMM)  Having declared last week that the racism controversy had saddened him, Lewis Hamilton on Tuesday was quoted as saying he intends to "rise above" the sort of abuse he faced ten days ago in Spain.

For the first time since avid Fernando Alonso fans donned black makeup, scrawled abusive messages on banners and shouted racial insults at him in Barcelona, the McLaren driver on Tuesday resumed Spanish pre-season test duties at Jerez.

His first day of Jerez action passed without incident and he even set the fastest lap of the day, but Hamilton insists that the recent events did not leave him daunted.

Hamilton said he often turns to the song 'Rise Above It', which featured in Cool Runnings; a movie about how a few Jamaican athletes rose above ridicule and entered a bobsled team in the 1988 Winter Olympics.

"I think, as with everything being thrown at you, you try and take it on the chin and ride above it," the Briton, whose grandparents come from the Caribbean island of Grenada, is quoted as saying by the Antigua Sun.

"(In) that film, there is a song 'Rise Above It' and for me, it's useful for any tough time -- you might have to just rise above it," Hamilton said.

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