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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Hamilton won't respond to Ecclestone remarks
  • Prosecutors probe spy Stepney in Italy
  • Hakkinen joins elite Laureus academy
  • Toro Rosso logistics manager dies
  • Keke Rosberg to attend all F1 races in 2008

Hamilton won't respond to Ecclestone remarks
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton is reluctant to comment on Bernie Ecclestone's playing down of the Barcelona racism affair.

After McLaren driver Hamilton was racially abused by some Spanish spectators at a recent winter test, F1's chief executive earlier this week dismissed the FIA's subsequent promise of an anti-racism campaign as not "necessary".

The anti-racism group Unite Against Fascism denounced Ecclestone's dismissal as "totally unacceptable", with a spokesman insisting to the British newspaper The Guardian that there "should be a clear message that bigotry and racism are not tolerated in formula one".

But in St Petersburg on Monday to collect his Laureus award, the 23-year-old responded: "It's not really something I want to comment on.

"I've moved forward and I'm looking forward to the first race," F1's only black driver is quoted as saying by PA Sport.

Hamilton returned to testing action at Jerez last week, and he will be back at the Circuit de Catalunya from next Monday.

"Honestly, I can't wait to get back out there," the Briton insisted.

Prosecutors probe spy Stepney in Italy
(GMM)  Alleged Ferrari spy Nigel Stepney on Monday was questioned for three hours by Italian prosecutors.

Michael Schumacher's sacked former chief mechanic, accused of attempted sabotage and passing reams of secret information to rivals McLaren, was "cooperative and thorough", Modena magistrate Giuseppe Tibis is cited as relaying by ANSA.

The Italian news agency also quotes Stepney as saying he was "very calm" at the questioning, but his lawyer Sonia Bartolini told reporters that she thought other people have not been investigated enough.

McLaren officials including Ron Dennis and Martin Whitmarsh were originally slated to also be interrogated by Tibis on Monday, but their presence was called off.

The six McLaren chiefs, however, as well as suspended McLaren designer Mike Coughlan, remain under investigation, and are likely to be questioned in Italy in the coming weeks, ANSA added.

Hakkinen joins elite Laureus academy
(GMM)  Former double world champion Mika Hakkinen has been appointed a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy.

The 39-year-old Finn's election to the post, announced at the 2008 running of the prestigious awards ceremony in St Petersburg on Monday, means that he is now among the 45 fellow legendary sportsmen and women of the academy.

Among the Laureus Sports Academy are Boris Becker (tennis), Emerson Fittipaldi (motor racing), Michael Johnson (athletics), John McEnroe (tennis), Jack Nicklaus (golf) and Steve Waugh (cricket).

They vote by secret ballot to elect the winners of the Laureus awards each year.

Toro Rosso logistics manager dies
(GMM)  Walter Totschnig, the logistics manager for the Faenza based team Toro Rosso, has died.

The 67-year-old Austrian, who was also an avid amateur rally racer and enthusiast, reportedly died at the age of 67 from pneumonia at a hospital in the Swiss resort town of St Moritz.

Totschnig formerly worked for 13 years at Sauber.

Keke Rosberg to attend all F1 races in 2008
(GMM)  1982 world champion Keke Rosberg will attend every grand prix this year as a commentator for German TV.

The 59-year-old Finn, whose German born son Nico races for Sir Frank Williams' Grove based team, has been signed by the specialist broadcaster Premiere, the German newspaper Bild reports.

He replaces Hans-Joachim Stuck as Premiere's expert correspondent, after Stuck left the role to become a motor racing official for the Volkswagen marque.

"I am not a tourist.  I only want to travel to the races if I have something to do," Rosberg, who manages his son's career and also formerly looked after Mika Hakkinen in formula one, said.

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