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Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • Title didn't relax me, 'iceman' insists
  • Webber rules out move to Swiss exile
  • Vettel awaits Ferrari call-up
  • Relations not rosy after spy saga - Dennis
  • Hamilton vows to defend title lead in 2008
  • Briatore laughs at practice analysis
  • Super Aguri announce new sponsor
  • Glock drops five places for gearbox change New
  • Force India opposed to budget cap New
  • Coulthard '100 per cent' after test twinge New
  • No spares makes life harder for Davidson New

Title didn't relax me, 'iceman' insists
(GMM)  The press has got it wrong in suggesting that 'iceman' Kimi Raikkonen is even more relaxed now that he is a reigning world champion, the Finn insists.

Instead, the 28-year-old driver says his family members were "more excited" than he was when he wrapped up the title last October, and he thinks journalists have changed more than he has since then.

"It's a little easier, because the press don't ask so many questions, or write as much shit about me, as they did in the past," he told the Guardian.

"My day-to-day life hasn't changed, the driving and the racing hasn't changed.

"Sure I'm happy to have won the championship but that's got nothing to do with 2008 when everybody starts from scratch again and we'll see who does the best job," Raikkonen added.

Webber rules out move to Swiss exile
(GMM)  Mark Webber would like to join F1's growing army of Swiss residents.

The Red Bull driver and Australian, however, says he has no plans to move to the landlocked tax haven because his partner and her young son are settled in the UK.

"I would like to live in Switzerland," he told Auto Motor und Sport, "but Ann's small son keeps us in England."

Webber, 31, says he is not a particular fan of his adopted British home.

"I could not live there permanently, because of the weather," he told the German magazine.  "As an Australian it is pretty depressing.

"But because I am so often away, England is bearable," Webber laughed.

Meanwhile, he clarified recent reports that he still sees Michael Schumacher as his all-time hero.

Webber admits that he idolized the great German before entering F1 in 2002, when he "learned another side" of the seven time world champion.

"Some things he did, I don't understand," he explains.  "He found it hard to admit his mistakes."

Webber also says that when the drivers paid tribute to Schumacher in his last pre-race briefing in Brazil 2006, he refused their request to give a speech.

"He said nothing.  I found that unfortunate," Webber says.

Vettel awaits Ferrari call-up
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel is so highly rated by Ferrari that the German youngster might get a chance to race for the famous Italian team this year.

The German magazine Sport Bild reveals that, due to Toro Rosso's engine deal with Ferrari, the Maranello based team may have 20-year-old Vettel's name at the top of their list as potential reserve driver at grands prix.

Should Kimi Raikkonen or Felipe Massa need replacing at a grand prix in 2008, then, the situation would have the curious knock-on effect of requiring STR to also fall back on a reserve driver to substitute for the highly rated rookie.

Sport Bild also claims that BMW Sauber still has a contractual option on Vettel to bring him back into the Hinwil based team in 2010.

Relations not rosy after spy saga - Dennis
(GMM)  Ron Dennis has cast doubt on reports that, with the espionage scandal still bubbling, McLaren and Ferrari may have entered a better era of team relations.

It was dubiously suggested earlier this weekend that, following the departure as Ferrari team boss of Jean Todt, counterpart Dennis and the Italian team's new chief Stefano Domenicali buried the hatchet on the verge of the 2008 season opener.

But mere weeks after his and his colleagues' homes and offices were raided by Italian prosecutors as the spy scandal drags on, Dennis was asked about the reportedly improving Ferrari-McLaren relations by the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

"I am sorry, but it is time for lunch," Dennis replied.

"Sorry, but I have no comment to make."

Hamilton vows to defend title lead in 2008
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton has promised to curb his enthusiasm later this year if he is again defending a big championship points lead.

The McLaren rookie last year lost the title to Kimi Raikkonen after crucial driving and strategy errors in the ultimate Chinese and Brazilian deciders.

Hamilton, 23, said the same situation would be different in 2008.

"If I'm leading the championship, I won't be pushing way over the limit to win the race," he said.

"I'll be conservative and finish in the points rather than come off.

"I'm chasing the same dream but in a slightly different way," the Briton explained.

Triple world champion Niki Lauda thinks the late season mistakes last year were good for Hamilton.

"They were the best things that ever happened to him," he told the Guardian newspaper.

"They may have cost him the title but you only learn when you make mistakes," the Austrian said.

Another triple world champion, Sir Jackie Stewart, hopes Hamilton is in a position to defend a title this year, following a busy winter.

"He can't be as well prepared for the 2008 season as for 2007, physically and mentally.

"How many trips has he taken on jet planes?  How many cities has he been to?  How many personal appearances has he made?" the Scot noted.

Briatore laughs at practice analysis
(GMM)  Flavio Briatore on Saturday laughed at suggestions that the morning practice session was an indication of what to expect in qualifying.

Asked in the Albert Park paddock if he was buoyed by Fernando Alonso's third quickest lap, behind the fastest BMW Saubers, the Italian said: "Yeah, but this afternoon is qualifying," he said.

"Then we will see."

Also notably out of place in the Saturday practice rankings were the four Ferrari and McLaren contenders, who sat between Felipe Massa in eleventh, and Heikki Kovalainen down in twentieth.

Super Aguri announce new sponsor
SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM is proud to welcome Proxim Wireless Corporation (NASDAQ: PRXM), a leader in core-to-client solutions for broadband wireless networks, as official team wireless networking equipment supplier for the Formula One season commencing in Melbourne, Australia. 

Proxim ORiNOCO AP-4000 Dual Radio Access Points will be installed in the SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM motor homes and hospitality areas, as well as in the pit garage and other external facilities.  All the indoor and outdoor Access Points will interconnect to provide a seamless Wi-Fi network across the area. The AP-4000s offer mesh functionality ensuring a reliable, secure and easy-to-deploy wireless network, which removes the need for leased lines and reduces associated costs.

Proxim Tsunami QuickBridge wireless bridges were used during the Formula One season last year, providing a bridge between the SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM pits and the server truck. These easy-to-install QuickBridge products proved reliable and robust throughout the season, which led the SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM to choose to deploy the Proxim ORiNOCO AP-4000 Access Points this year.

Glock drops five places for gearbox change
(GMM)  Timo Glock will move five places down the Melbourne grid on Sunday to fourteenth place, after requiring a gearbox change.

The reigning GP2 champion qualified a credible ninth on his debut for the Cologne based team, but falls foul of the new regulation that punishes gearbox changes during a mandatory four-race period.

Glock's Australia-spec gearbox broke down in the Saturday morning practice session, the team revealed.

"Overall the car was good and I am quite happy with it, so it was a good job by the team," the 25-year-old said after qualifying.

Force India opposed to budget cap
(GMM)  A leading figure of the Force India team has announced his opposition to the proposed budget cap for formula one next year.

FIA president Max Mosley is determined to severely reduce spending in the expensive sport, with detailed talks about how to impose the cap due to take place during the new season.

Ferrari is believed to disagree with the sport's governing body about the idea, but most of the other big teams are open to the limitation of their massive budgets.

Fascinatingly, one of the smallest spenders in the paddock - albeit with significantly more to spend under new ownership this year - is also apparently unenthusiastic about the cap.

"All it is going to do is lead to interminable argument," Ferrari powered Force India's director of business affairs, Ian Phillips, is quoted as saying by The Times.

He also thinks that, because of powerful political player Ferrari's opposition, "it's going to be mighty difficult to implement" the cap.

Mosley has made it clear that the alternative to the smooth introduction of a budget cap will be more draconian limits on wind tunnels and other team resources.

Coulthard '100 per cent' after test twinge
(GMM)  David Coulthard is feeling no ill effects after a trapped nerve in his neck forced him to miss a day of winter testing late last month.

Sebastian Vettel stepped in at Red Bull Racing as the veteran Scot received trackside treatment at Barcelona, but Coulthard was back in action a day later.

Now eighth on the grid for the season opening Australian grand prix in Melbourne, Coulthard - who at 36 is the oldest current driver in formula one - hit out at some of the media coverage of the injury.

"When I checked out a few motor sport websites on my laptop, they had all gone for the big dramatic angle," he told the Herald.

Rather, Coulthard insists that he was "feeling 100 per cent" when he woke up the next morning.

No spares makes life harder for Davidson
(GMM)  Among Super Aguri's troubles in Australia this weekend is a lack of spare parts for its cars, struggling British driver Anthony Davidson says.

The 28-year-old remained dead last in the pecking order by a wide margin following the qualifying session at Albert Park, where he has not coped as well as teammate Takuma Sato with a very limited number of practice laps.

Davidson admits bluntly that the Japanese team's car, after a disrupted winter, is "not very fast", but Super Aguri has also been nervous to collect too much mileage in Melbourne.

"We are on the limit with parts," he is quoted as saying by Press Association.

"Every twitch I've had in the car, every moment you've gone through a rumble strip at the exit of a corner, you know you're risking it because (a crash is) not just going to affect us here but next week as well," Davidson added, referring to the Malaysian grand prix next weekend.

After dropping out in the Q1 cut, the former Honda test driver said he did not enjoy watching the rest of Saturday's qualifying session.

"When I saw the on-board footage of the top guys I felt like crying because it looks so easy.  So goddamn easy," he told the Mirror.

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