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DATE News (chronologically)
04/05/08
f1
Latest F1 news in brief
  • Record crowd at Sakhir on Friday
  • No green light for Kimi's MotoGP test
  • Mosley begins legal action against paper
  • Whiting confirms Q3 rule tweak
  • Briatore expects 'giant leap' for Spanish GP
  • Briatore expects Piquet 'recovery' in Bahrain

Record crowd at Sakhir on Friday
(GMM)  A record Friday crowd of 24,000 spectators attended the Sakhir circuit, organizers of the Bahrain grand prix have revealed.

The official figure is 2000 more than on the first day of practice last year.

The seated capacity of the circuit near the Bahraini capital, Manama, is 36,000.

"For a Friday this is the best ticket sale we have had so far in the past five years," the circuit's marketing and public relations manager Samer Al Shaikh said.

No green light for Kimi's MotoGP test
(GMM)  Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali refused to say whether world champion Kimi Raikkonen will be allowed to test a MotoGP bike any time soon.

After former team champion Michael Schumacher's much publicized forays on two wheels, Finn Raikkonen in Bahrain revealed that he also harbors a desire to sample the other premier form of grand prix machinery.

When asked if the 28-year-old will be given permission to risk his life away from his formula one cockpit, Domenicali revealed that Raikkonen already spends some of his spare time on a motocross bike.

"I would say that he's more concentrating on four wheels from now until November and then we will see," he added.

Mosley begins legal action against paper
(GMM)  Max Mosley has now commenced legal action against the British tabloid newspaper News of the World.

A spokesman for F1's governing body, the FIA, said: "Lawyers representing Mr. Mosley have today served proceedings against the News of the World claiming unlimited damages."

The confirmation comes amid further details about the investigation that resulted in the News of the World report, in which the FIA president was depicted in video with five prostitutes.

Germany's Bild newspaper reveals that the footage was captured by two prostitutes who each wore tiny 'pin cameras' that were about the size of a match.

The investigation, that reportedly went on for seven weeks and may even have involved telephone and computer surveillance, was conducted by a specialty British agency, and the primary client may not yet be known.

It may, however, essentially be irrelevant for Mosley, whose support base is continuing to erode.

In the wake of several manufacturers and national bodies, America's AAA (American Automobile Association) joined the dissenting chorus.

"After careful consideration, AAA has conveyed to Mr. Mosley that it would be in the best interest of all concerned if he were to step down," managing director for public relations, Yolanda Clark Cade, said in a statement.

Renault team boss Flavio Briatore was asked for his thoughts on the scandal by the Spanish press in Bahrain.

"At my age, I cannot talk about sex," he joked.

"Seriously, this is a matter for the FIA to decide.  For me, this is not interesting or funny.  We are here to talk about motor racing."

Whiting confirms Q3 rule tweak
(GMM)  Race director Charlie Whiting in Bahrain confirmed that drivers who complete in-laps too slowly in the final qualifying session (Q3) here will be referred to the stewards for penalty.

The rule tweak, introduced after Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen were penalized in Malaysia, will also apply to the remainder of the 2008 season.

Whiting said the imposition of a maximum lap time for in-laps is to "avoid the possibility of an incident caused by the speed differential of cars".

The maximum lap time for the Sakhir circuit is 1 minute, 39 seconds.

Briatore expects 'giant leap' for Spanish GP
(GMM)  Flavio Briatore is confident that Fernando Alonso will be in contention for a podium finish at his home grand prix in Spain later this month.

The Renault boss spoke after Alonso told the Spanish press in Bahrain that the performance of the R28 single seater here looks set to be "worse" than in Malaysia, where he finished just eighth.

Alonso, 26, also said that breaking into Q2 on Saturday might prove difficult.

"At the Barcelona test we will make a giant leap forwards," Briatore told Spanish reporters on Friday.

The Italian said he was very confident about Spain because his technicians plan to introduce changes to the car "that other teams are already using".

"I am sure that we will be fighting to be on the podium in Barcelona," he added.

Briatore refused to entertain speculation that Alonso is already planning his move for 2009 to the Ferrari team.

"We will try to keep him at our team and give him a competitive car.  At the end of the year we will see what is going to happen," he said.

"At the moment we do not have any problems like this.  This is the third race of the season," said Briatore, but he acknowledged that no F1 contracts are "bullet-proof".

Asked how much he would bet that Alonso is still racing a Renault in twelve months, Briatore laughed: "I never gamble money."

Briatore expects Piquet 'recovery' in Bahrain
(GMM)  Flavio Briatore said in Bahrain that he expects Nelson Piquet to begin shining for Renault at this grand prix event.

Following a dire debut for Piquet in Australia, and a better showing in Malaysia, the team boss said Sakhir should be the place where the 22-year-old rookie is able to demonstrate his true talents.

"For a young driver, your debut is very complicated when you have a companion like Fernando," Briatore told Spanish reporters.

"This is the first circuit that Piquet knows from GP2, so I hope he can start to recover here.

"I am already very happy with the work that he is doing with the team," the Italian said.

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