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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Schu to test Ferrari at Barcelona next week
  • Raikkonen had ear infection in Bahrain
  • Hamilton-mania stalls in British bookstore
  • China F1 boss loses jail appeal
  • McLaren 'not a winning team' - Alonso
  • Schu to appear in reality-TV show
  • Renault set to install new supercomputer
  • Hamilton GPDA snub a 'pity' - Rosberg

Schu to test Ferrari at Barcelona next week
(GMM)  Occasional test driver Michael Schumacher will be back at the wheel of Ferrari's formula one car as testing resumes at the Circuit de Catalunya next week.

According to reports in the Italian press, the 39-year-old German's F2008 single seater will be equipped with simulated 2009 levels of downforce and Bridgestone's latest development slick tire.

Regular race drivers Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen are also slated to join the Barcelona action, which precedes the forthcoming Spanish grand prix at the same venue.

Massa will drive on the first two days of the test, and Raikkonen will round out the action on day three.

Raikkonen had ear infection in Bahrain
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen struggled through the Bahrain grand prix weekend in more ways than one, according to reports.

The reigning world champion was off-color at Sakhir, as he was outperformed all weekend at the desert venue by his Brazilian teammate Felipe Massa.

The Finn, 28, argued that he simply did not get the setup of his Ferrari right, and it is true that he is not a fan of the Bahrain layout.

But the Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell claims that Raikkonen also struggled physically, with an ear infection.

Kimi also encountered a dose of bad luck, when Ferrari's novel new pitstop lights system - which has replaced the more common 'lollipop man' - didn't function well during his first stop.

At recent races, a series of LED lights, mounted horizontally on the team's pitlane gantry, informs the Ferrari drivers when it is time to exit the pits.

The 'green' light is apparently triggered automatically with the removal of the fuelling hose.

"There was a problem with the system, so it took a bit longer, but it didn't change much," Raikkonen insists.

Hamilton-mania stalls in British bookstore
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton-mania appears to have taken a back seat to commercial reality, with reports that the former championship leader's official biography is now in book stores' bargain bins.

It emerged last year that, not six months into his formula one career, the publishing house HarperCollins had paid at least $2m upfront for the rights to the McLaren driver's life so far.

But after 'Lewis Hamilton: My Story' was issued in November for about $40, it now emerges that copies are being sold for about $2.

The British tabloid Daily Star reveals that branches of Home Bargains, an English discount store chain, is desperate to offload its stockpile of 50,000 copies.

China F1 boss loses jail appeal
(GMM)  The fired general manager of Shanghai's formula one circuit has lost an appeal against his four year jail term for embezzlement.

Yu Zhifei, who was instrumental in bringing the sport to China and a key promoter until his removal, was in January sentenced amid a major corruption scandal, including his using nearly (US) $150,000 in public money to buy a house.

The Caijing Magazine now reports that the 54-year-old this week had his appeal turned down by the Higher People's Court of Wuhu City in China's eastern Anhui Province.

His lawyer had argued that the money should have been considered "welfare" given his poor health and senior position, the Chinese news agency Xinhua said.

The decision is final.

McLaren 'not a winning team' - Alonso
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso says he chose to leave McLaren at the end of last year because the Anglo-German outfit is "not a winning team".

The former double world champion is quoted by the Dutch website f1today.nl as justifying his return to Renault this year, following his spectacular falling out with British McLaren duo Ron Dennis and Lewis Hamilton in 2007.

"McLaren seem like a winning team, but they are not," Alonso, 26, said.

"Some teams are able to produce good cars," he said.  "They seem like winners, but in fact they are not, like McLaren.

"They haven't won any titles in years, so I would rather be with Renault, who in the same period collected two drivers' and two constructors' championships."

Alonso said he decided to switch to Renault for the 2008 season because they are the right choice for the "coming years", despite their lack of competitiveness at present.

"I could have gone to a couple of other teams, but ultimately Renault seemed like the right ones, with the experience, to make a good car and win races."

For the moment, however, Alonso is making no concrete commitment to the French outfit for 2009.

"Next year I want to be with a team that can win," he said.

"At the moment I think it will be Renault, because by the end of the season we will have made up a lot of our deficiencies and then we can make a small further step for the next season," Alonso added.

Schu to appear in reality-TV show
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher is set to appear in a Swiss reality television show about football.

The former seven time world champion, who lives in Switzerland and plays for a local football team, is among several celebrities who have this week begun training to star in 'Der Match' (The Match).

Beginning later this month, the show is about the selection process for a celebrity football team that will take on a Swiss legends side in Lucerne.

The Lucerne match will be broadcasted on live TV in May, the German newspaper Bild said.

Renault set to install new supercomputer
(GMM)  Renault is set to become the next formula one team to turn to the powers of a supercomputer to help it move up the grid.

It has emerged that Appro, a California-based company, has won a contract to supply a high-performance 'Xtreme-X2' supercomputer to the French team's new CFD facility at Enstone (UK).

The computer, apparently increasing the team's computing capacity by a factor of five, will be shipped and installed at the factory by the end of June, Appro confirmed.

Hamilton GPDA snub a 'pity' - Rosberg
(GMM)  Nico Rosberg has stepped up the pressure on friend and formula one rival Lewis Hamilton to join the drivers' safety-oriented union, the Grand Prix Drivers' Association.

McLaren racer Hamilton, as well as world champion Kimi Raikkonen, Adrian Sutil and Anthony Davidson, are the only active formula one drivers who have resisted calls to join the GPDA.

Following widespread media reportage of Hamilton's stance, however, GPDA chairman Pedro de la Rosa recently insisted that no pressure is being put on the 23-year-old Briton.

But even Rosberg, whose rivalry and friendship with Hamilton dates back to their karting days, would like to see him at their meetings at grands prix.

"What am I supposed to say to him?" the Williams driver is quoted as saying by Motorsport Aktuell.

"He can decide for himself.

"The only thing is that I think it is a pity that there are leading F1 drivers that are not in the GPDA," Rosberg added.

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