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DATE News (chronologically)
04/04/08
f1
Latest F1 News in brief
  • Schu tests Ducati MotoGP at Mugello
  • Trulli denies Sepang exhaustion
  • Toro Rosso to test new car in Barcelona
  • Alonso breaks silence on McLaren breakdown
  • McLaren to support Hamilton for title - Alonso
  • Bridgestone may color F1 tires in 2009
  • Mosley sex scandal was 'trap' - Theissen

Schu tests Ducati MotoGP at Mugello
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher's motorcycle racing foray continued on Thursday, when he tested for the Italian MotoGP team Ducati at Mugello.

The retired seven time formula one world champion got the call-up after the team's regular test rider, Vittoriano Guareschi, fell on day two of the three day test and knocked his coccyx (tailbone).

But Schumacher, the 39-year-old German, insisted: "I repeat it very clearly that I have no intention at all to step into any kind of MotoGP competitions."

His successor at Ferrari, reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen, commented at the Bahrain circuit on Thursday that he had heard about Schumacher's MotoGP tests and would like to do the same one day.

"I never tried road racing.  I have done motocross often and that is more normal for me," said the Finn.

"For sure I want to try the MotoGP bikes once, but we'll see," Raikkonen added.

Trulli denies Sepang exhaustion
(GMM)  Jarno Trulli on Thursday denied that he was on the verge of exhaustion after finishing fourth in the recent Malaysian grand prix.

The Toyota driver is believed to have stayed in the cockpit of his car long after driving it into the Sepang circuit's parc ferme, after successfully fending off Lewis Hamilton's late-race advances.

Trulli, 33, admits he was hot and tired in Malaysia but insists it was nothing out of the ordinary following a hard race.

"It was hot for everyone," he said, explaining that he often needs to take his time to recover.

"I took it easy because I know the way I am.  When I have to get out (the car) I just have to take a little bit more time compared to the others because, physically, my body reacts in a different way.

"We have made some studies during the years and I just have to take it easy.  I didn't have to get on the podium, so I took my time," Trulli said.

Toro Rosso to test new car in Barcelona
(GMM)  Following the debut of the 2008 car earlier this week, Toro Rosso is planning to test the STR3 properly for the first time at the upcoming Barcelona test.

It is expected that the Ferrari powered single seater, based on the Adrian Newey penned RB4 model that is already being raced by parent team Red Bull, will make its grand prix debut in Turkey next month.

"We had the rollout last week," team racer Sebastian Vettel, referring to the Vairano shakedown conducted by the teenager Brendon Hartley, confirmed in Bahrain on Thursday.

Vettel, 20, said the initial test went off without a hitch.

"Regarding reliability, everything looked very good," the German reported.  "We had no major problems, so that is positive.

"Coming up we have a test in Barcelona with the new car, then we can have something more to say," Vettel added.

Alonso breaks silence on McLaren breakdown
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso says he left McLaren at the end of 2007 because he knew his winning days for the team were over.

The former double world champion has returned to Renault this season, where due to the R28's lack of performance he has already ruled out making a tilt for the title.

But after the tumultuous 2007 season, where amid the spy scandal he was regarded by some team members as a traitor, Alonso on Thursday said his chances had he stayed at McLaren would not have been calculably better.

"The (2008 McLaren) car is a winner, but I knew that I was not going to win because of what happened at the end of the year," he told the Spanish newspaper Diario AS in Bahrain, thus breaking his silence about the breakdown of the McLaren relationship.

Alonso, 26, reveals that he did not feel supported at the Mercedes-powered team, where he was paired with the rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton.

Referring to his return to uncompetitive Renault, he said: "I prefer to be in eighth place with a thousand people who want me to finish seventh, rather than in third place and the other way round."

Alonso insists that leaving McLaren was the right thing to do.

"When you know that somewhere is not the best place for you, if you do not feel comfortable and that it is not right for you as a person, it's best to go somewhere else, isn't it?

"Throughout the season I had the feeling that I was going to lose the championship because of strange and difficult things to understand.  I knew that, sooner or later, it would be time to leave, because I did not share the philosophy of the team."

He says he does not feel responsible for McLaren's failure to win the titles last year.

"No, I think there is only one culprit," Alonso coyly answered.  "Sometimes, in sport and in life, people turn out to be different to how you thought they were going to be, and you end up being disappointed.

"I think this summarizes last year for me."

He said he felt betrayed in 2007, "but not by anyone in particular, just in general."

Alonso, however, insists that even the disastrous McLaren chapter, and an uncompetitive 2008 season, are not going to convince him to retire from the sport.

"Right now, in 2008, I can not see an end," he said.  "I know that I want to keep going for many years."

McLaren to support Hamilton for title - Alonso
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso in Bahrain said he does not expect Lewis Hamilton to face a title challenge from his new McLaren teammate in 2008.

Alonso, the 2005 and 2006 world champion, left the Anglo-German team at the end of last year after complaining of inadequate treatment in comparison with Hamilton.

The Spaniard has been replaced for 2008 by Heikki Kovalainen.

Alonso said he believes the path will have been cleared for Hamilton to fight unimpeded for the title.

"I do not know how things stand now in regards to the two McLaren drivers, but I do not think he will have difficulties," Alonso, referring to 23-year-old Hamilton, told the Spanish newspaper Diario AS in Bahrain.

"I assume that the team will be working to win the championship with him, not with Kovalainen," Alonso added.

Alonso made it clear that he regards Michael Schumacher, and not Hamilton, as his greatest past challenger for the title.

"Michael was able to get things from his car that others can not," he explained.

Alonso said it is "incredible" that, after just nineteen races and five wins, Hamilton is already being compared with the most successful driver in formula one history.

"Yes, right now, yes (I do find the comparison incredible)," he insisted.

"When Hamilton has won several world titles, fine, but after five grand prix wins when he is sitting in a McLaren - the best car - I think more calculated assessments should be made."

Bridgestone may color F1 tires in 2009
(GMM)  Bridgestone could consider using different colored rubber to distinguish its slick tire compounds next year, it has emerged.

Currently, F1's official tire supplier paints a white line inside a groove to visually distinguish the 'option' compound from the 'prime', as required by the rules.

But with slick tires expected to return to the grid next year, the painted-groove method will not be possible.

"We are working on this," spokeswoman Rachel Ingham told the Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell.

"It is clear that, for the benefit of the fans and the professionals, the compounds next year will be distinguished," she promised.

One option is the Champ Car-style red colored side walls, and Ingham also confirmed that coloring the entire tire is also "technically feasible".

Mosley sex scandal was 'trap' - Theissen
(GMM)  Team boss Mario Theissen stands by BMW's condemnation of the Max Mosley spy scandal, but the German does appear to reserve some sympathy for the embattled FIA president.

Mosley hit back strongly at BMW and Mercedes-Benz's joint statement of disapproval of his allegedly Nazi-themed orgy on Thursday; the 67-year-old Briton pointing out their "history ... before and during the Second World War".

But even in the face of Mosley's hard response, Theissen stands by the German carmakers' stance.

"We have commented on the public perception of the situation.  And that doesn't need any discussion and any explanation," he said in Bahrain.

Theissen emphasized, however, that Mosley appears to have been set up, as it becomes clearer that the British newspaper News of the World did not instigate the investigation into the FIA president's private life.

"It certainly looks like a trap, and that is something which in our view is not acceptable either," he said.

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