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DATE News (chronologically)
04/09/08
f1
Latest F1 news in brief
  • Mosley' just having fun' - Montoya
  • Canada, New Zealand bodies denounce Mosley
  • Indy official - 'door open' for US GP return
  • Gascoyne unimpressed with Hamilton gesture
  • Alonso was only free for 2008 - Mateschitz
  • Kubica 'got away' from Renault - Symonds
  • Spy scandals delayed Renault innovation

Mosley' just having fun' - Montoya
(GMM)  Former grand prix winner Juan Pablo Montoya says he was "so shocked" by the Max Mosley sex scandal, but stops short of joining the widespread condemnation of the FIA president.

"I was so shocked by it, when they sent (the video) to me, I was like 'no way.'  Now, I'm just like 'Hey, he's just an old guy trying to have some fun,'" the Colombian told the Associated Press.

The former race winner for McLaren and Williams, who switched to the NASCAR series a couple of years ago, is one of very few contemporary drivers who have commented openly on the affair.

Montoya, 32, gives a less solemn appraisal than some figures in recent days.

"I loved that.  I did," he said, laughing, when asked about Mosley's reported romp with five prostitutes.

"It is a laughing matter!  You know, when I first heard about it, it was shocking.  But then he decided to play it like nothing has happened and it's just so hilarious."

Montoya did not want to say if he thought Mosley, 67, should resign.

"I do have an opinion on it, but I am not going to say it, and I am glad I am not there," he added.

Canada, New Zealand bodies denounce Mosley
(GMM)  Two more bodies from the world of international motoring have distanced themselves from embattled FIA president Max Mosley.

The Automobile Association (AA) in New Zealand has retracted an invitation for the 67-year-old Briton, accused of participating in a Nazi-themed romp with prostitutes, to visit the country later this year.

AA spokesman Greg Hunting confirmed to Radio New Zealand that the body has asked Mosley to stay away from its transport and environment summit in June.

"I wrote to him late last week suggesting it might not be possible under the circumstances," he said.

"On the same day I received a note from him saying he regretted not being able to attend," Hunting added.

Meanwhile, it is reported that Motorsport New Zealand is also reconsidering certain events that were to have the involvement of Mosley, spokesman Morrie Chandler revealed.

Elsewhere, Canadian Automobile Association president Tim Shearman (CAA) is believed to have asked written to Mosley asking for his resignation.

Former grand prix driver Hans-Joachim Stuck told Bild newspaper in Germany: "I am no saint, and each person can do with his personal life what he wishes.

"But Mosley is the leader of the FIA.  He is a role model for young people.

"You know, (German chancellor) Angela Merkel and (former chancellor) Gerhard Schroder can't leap around on a nudist beach either," he added.

Stuck said he is surprised that Mosley appears determined to fight the scandal even in the face of widespread condemnation.

"(Mosley) has missed doing the right thing, which was to quickly resign.  What he is doing now, I can not understand," he added.

Indy official - 'door open' for US GP return
(GMM)  Circuit president Joie Chitwood has confirmed that Indianapolis would like to resume its place on the annual grand prix calendar.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Tony George recently said talks are on to revive the formula one race, after he failed to reach a deal with Bernie Ecclestone about 2009.

Chitwood has now told a press conference that, in preparing for the inaugural MotoGP race this year, track officials kept in touch with the FIA so that the circuit can still be reverted to the formula one layout in the future.

"We did not want to make any changes that would preclude us in the future from hosting F1," he explained.

"I know that Tony has said it, I've said it: 'the door is open'.  We think it's a phenomenal racing series; we think it should be back in America.

"Maybe it can come back some day," Chitwood added.

Gascoyne unimpressed with Hamilton gesture
(GMM)  Mike Gascoyne, the Force India technical boss, says Giancarlo Fisichella's defeat of Lewis Hamilton in the recent Bahrain grand prix provided an extra sense of satisfaction.

Earlier in the Sakhir race, it emerges that during Hamilton's nightmare recovery from his poor start and collisions with Fernando Alonso, he waved his fist at Fisichella, the Roman veteran.

"I don't know why he did that," Gascoyne, a Briton like Hamilton, told the Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell.

"Fisichella was fighting with him for position, and he can't expect to just be let past.

"The gesture was totally unnecessary," Gascoyne added, "so it was especially good to be in front of him at the end."

Former triple world champion Niki Lauda was also unimpressed with 23-year-old Hamilton's errors in Bahrain, which culminated in his loss of the championship lead.

"At the moment he does not impress me," the great Austrian observed.  "I thought he would become better this year but he has become worse.

"He is in pretty bad shape," Lauda added.

Former German racer Hans-Joachim Stuck is slightly more sympathetic, reckoning that the pressure is perhaps too high for a driver in his second season.

"The pressure on him is enormous," he told Germany's Bild newspaper.

"He is the team leader at McLaren-Mercedes and has so much hype surrounding him.

"F1 is on such a high level that even tiny errors are punished harshly," Stuck added.

Alonso was only free for 2008 - Mateschitz
(GMM)  The billionaire owner of Red Bull Racing may have let the cat out of the bag regarding Fernando Alonso's plans for 2009.

Dietrich Mateschitz has told a Spanish newspaper that Red Bull was in the running to sign the double world champion this year.

But he seemed to rule out making another bid for Alonso, 26, for 2009.

"His situation was complicated because he was free for one year only," the 63-year-old is quoted as saying by El Mundo.

"In such a short period, we would not have been able to demonstrate our ability.

"I am one of those people who thinks that Alonso is one of the best drivers.  But we could not have delivered the car he needed, and so the decision would have been wrong.

"What we like to do is take one step whilst thinking of the next," he added.

Mateschitz's comments indicate not only that Alonso sought to accommodate himself just for a single campaign in 2008, but also that his plans for 2009 were already well advanced.

It is currently rumored that the Spaniard is hoping to line up at Ferrari next year.

Kubica 'got away' from Renault - Symonds
(GMM)  Renault considers Robert Kubica to have been a driver with incredible potential that 'got away' from the French team.

Kubica, BMW-Sauber's 22-year-old racer who in recent grands prix has been a regular occupier of the front row of the grid and the podium, was earlier in his career closely linked with Renault.

As a teenager, he was part of the Renault driver development program.

"At some point we were doing a bit of rationalization about (the program) and unfortunately we lost him," Renault F1 engineering chief Pat Symonds says.

Later, in 2005, a 19-year-old Kubica won a test with the formula one team as a prize for securing the World Series by Renault crown.

"After that drive, I was very, very keen that we follow on with him.  He really was most impressive in testing and I really wanted to do something with him," Symonds added.

"He wasn't too keen at the time, and of course later we found out that he was on the verge of signing a deal with BMW.

"I feel that he was one that got away from us," Symonds said.

Spy scandals delayed Renault innovation
(GMM)  The espionage scandals had a tangible effect on the poor performance so far of Renault's 2008 car, according to a Spanish newspaper.

Diario AS claims that the French outfit shelved an intended suspension innovation for the new single seater, which is now estimated as the seventh or eighth slowest in the field, because of the spying controversies of 2007.

Following the furor surrounding the defection of a design engineer from McLaren, Renault bosses thought it wise to postpone its debut in 2008 pending the full clearance of the FIA.

Fernando Alonso in Bahrain confirmed that an upcoming suspension development for Barcelona is "similar" to the so-called mass damper, which was banned a couple of years ago.

Renault has reportedly argued to the governing body that while the McLaren engineer brought suspension drawings with him, they were barely legible and therefore cannot be linked with the team's own suspension development.

AS quotes team boss Flavio Briatore as saying "certain cases" have delayed some aspects of the R28 design.

Renault's Barcelona specification car was debuted last week at Elvington Airfield with test driver Lucas di Grassi at the wheel.

Technical director Bob Bell commented: "To say we need to improve is a bit of an understatement -- we need a tidal wave of improvement to move us ahead."

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