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Latest F1 news in brief
  • No need for Bahrain night race - boss
  • Red Bull drivers play down rapid Jerez pace
  • 'Risk' caused BMW speed-bump - Heidfeld
  • Liuzzi retains Red Bull links
  • Senna father fined for inhumane treatment
  • Jerez fans close book on F1 racism says de la Rosa

No need for Bahrain night race - boss
(GMM)  The general manager of Bahrain's formula one circuit has added his denial to reports that the race might in the future be staged at night.

Organizers of the event at Sakhir have already played down chief operating officer Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa's recent claim that the circuit is "not opposed to the idea" of lighting the track.

But as the Bahrain GP - unlike the events in Singapore and Malaysia - is already in a favorable European television timeslot, general manager Martin Whitaker told Gulf Daily News about the prospect of a night race: "I honestly believe there is no need for that here."

Red Bull drivers play down rapid Jerez pace
(GMM)  Mark Webber and his teammate David Coulthard have played down the fact that the Australian driver set the fastest lap of the day at Wednesday's Jerez test.

Featuring its unique engine cover fin, the Renault-powered RB4 driven by 31-year-old Webber ended the particularly windy Spanish session atop the field of sixteen runners.

In a team statement, the Milton Keynes based camp said Webber had explored "the performance potential" of the Adrian Newey-penned machine, and described the fastest lap as "encouraging".

The Swiss newspaper Blick quoted Webber as saying: "Clearly, we took a lot of fuel out."

More than a second adrift in the sister RB4, Scottish teammate David Coulthard also warned observers not to read into Webber's apparently rapid pace.

He said no-one should expect "anything different than McLaren or Ferrari to be setting the pace" when the circus gathers in Melbourne next month for the first race of 2008.

Coulthard told the Australian news agency AAP: "We know we're not the quickest, we know we're not the slowest and we know we're more reliable than last year."

Barcelona will play host to the final pre-season test later in February.

'Risk' caused BMW speed-bump - Heidfeld
(GMM)  BMW Sauber has hit a speed-bump because of the "risk" required to make the final step to taking on F1's big two teams Ferrari and McLaren.

That is the explanation of Nick Heidfeld, who recently broke the news that the German team's new single seater, the F1.08, had not been born with the same ease as its impressive 2007 predecessor.

"To make that last step to catch up with Ferrari and McLaren requires a lot of risk," the 30-year-old told the German sports magazine Sport Bild.

"In the design of our new car, we have explored the limits," he said, "because if you want to win, that is what you need to do."

Hinwil based BMW Sauber was hoping to join the hunt for race victories this year, but instead Heidfeld reports that the 2008 pre-season is a "very close" battle involving several teams behind the top two.

Heidfeld said the problems encountered by BMW with its 2008 car have been a combination of aerodynamic and mechanical factors, resulting in him having to "change my driving style".

"But I am sure that during the course of the year we will get closer to Ferrari and McLaren," he said.

"The season is not yet lost; not at all."

Liuzzi retains Red Bull links
(GMM)  Vitantonio Liuzzi has left Red Bull's formula one stable, but the Italian driver insists that his relationship with the energy drink company is not completely over.

"I still have links with Red Bull, and I still speak with (owner) Didi Mateschitz -- he thought it was okay that I leave Toro Rosso," the 27-year-old told the Austrian portal motorline.cc.

As F3000's dominant champion of 2004, Liuzzi entered formula one with Red Bull Racing in 2005 and subsequently spent the last two years at the satellite team Toro Rosso.

His contract was not renewed for 2008, however, leading him to accept the reserve seat at Force India rather than switch to an American open-wheeler series.

Liuzzi said of Red Bull: "We wanted to keep some kind of cooperation going, because we have had a great partnership.

"We don't know what will happen next, but we shall see," he added.  "It is not impossible that I will go back there one day."

Liuzzi said he felt "too young" to turn his back on formula one in order to explore other racing opportunities, such as the Champ Car series.

"Formula one is still the most important category in the world, and I have the feeling that I can give a lot more to the sport," he said.

Senna father fined for inhumane treatment
(GMM)  The father of late triple world champion Ayrton Senna da Silva has been ordered to pay a fine for keeping workers in inhumane conditions, according to reports.

The Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Milton da Silva, the wealthy Brazilian landowner and businessman, was accused of housing 82 employees in appalling living conditions.

Da Silva denies the charges relating to his huge property in the northern Brazilian state of Bahia, but acknowledged that some safety standards were not adhered to.

A Brazilian magistrate said da Silva violated workers' rights and handed down a fine of the equivalent of nearly 280,000 euros.

It is claimed that labor inspectors filed the accusation after a check of the 6000 hectare property one year ago.

Jerez fans close book on F1 racism says de la Rosa
(GMM)  Pedro de la Rosa says the behavior of Spanish supporters at the Jerez test so far has been a perfect way to close the book on the Lewis Hamilton racism scandal.

The Spaniard, who is a native of Barcelona, insists that the bad behavior of a few Fernando Alonso fans recently does not mean that the region or country is generally racist.

McLaren tester de la Rosa told the Spanish radio station Onda Cero that he is glad his countrymen at Jerez, in the south of the country, this week have behaved impeccably as teammate Hamilton returned to work.

After only a handful of Spaniards turned out at the circuit on Tuesday, a healthy crowd of 6,000 gathered on Wednesday as Alonso started work in his Renault.

To safeguard against more trouble involving Hamilton, local police joined with McLaren's own security guards at Jerez, according to the Cologne newspaper Express.

"The most important thing has been the response of the fans," de la Rosa, who is 36, told the radio program Al Primer Toque.

"That has been the best way to end this whole controversy; to demonstrate that what happened in Barcelona was not typical.

"(At Jerez) the supporters have behaved as they always have.  Yesterday, I heard shouts of encouragement to Hamilton from Spanish fans.

"It is the best way to close the book and move on," he added.

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