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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Villeneuve, Frentzen, not Hamilton fans
  • Force India to use Ferrari KERS system
  • Dino Toso stepped down from Renault role
  • UAE club voices support for embattled Mosley
  • Abu Dhabi GP to be held in October 2009
  • Red Bull lineup better than rivals - Webber
  • Schu not MotoGP test rider - Stoner

Villeneuve, Frentzen, not Hamilton fans
(GMM)  Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 world champion, has made it clear that he is not among McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton's legions of fans.

Speaking in Dubai, where he is again racing in the Speedcar stock car series, the French-Canadian singled out his current formula one favorites as Felipe Massa - his 2005 teammate at Sauber - as well as former double world champion Fernando Alonso.

Villeneuve, 37, said the clash between Spaniard Alonso and rookie Hamilton at McLaren last year was "in bad baste".

He thinks Hamilton did not show his experienced and successful teammate enough respect.

"It was just fitting that Hamilton treated Alonso with a little more respect," Villeneuve told the Gulf Times.

"I didn't like that sort of treatment, it was very disappointing to see it in the open," he added.

Villeneuve said Hamilton should have followed his example of 1996, when he entered formula one and was pitted at Williams alongside experienced veteran Damon Hill.

"I was there to learn and I wanted to learn, something that Hamilton did not show last season being in the company of a two-time world champion," he said.

Villeneuve even plays down the comparison between the Hamilton-Alonso spat and his fierce rivalry with Michael Schumacher in 1997.

"I always held him in respect," he insists, referring to Schumacher.

One of Villeneuve's contemporaries, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, similarly spoke out against Hamilton when he made his Speedcar debut in Bahrain last weekend.

The German, a winner of three grands prix, said he would gamble money that BMW-Sauber will get the upper hand on Mercedes-powered McLaren in the near future.

"Why?  Because Nick Heidfeld is better than Lewis Hamilton," Frentzen, Heidfeld's teammate at Sauber in 2003, told Sport Bild.

"When there are three teams that are so close together, drivers that are able to push the development forward are even more important.

"To me, it is very clear that Heidfeld is the better one," he added.

Force India to use Ferrari KERS system
(GMM)  Force India looks set to step up its relationship with Ferrari for 2009.

Not only will the Silverstone based team continue to use a customer engine built by the famous Italian marque next year, Force India is reportedly planning to run a KERS energy-recovery system that is also developed by Maranello based Ferrari.

"We will run a Ferrari engine and the electronics of Magneti Marelli," team co-owner Vijay Mallya, apparently referring to the introduction next year of a system that will store and re-use energy captured under braking, is quoted as saying by the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport.

Ferrari confirmed recently that its engine and electronics departments have been merged ahead of the major regulation change for 2009.

Force India, however, will continue to build its own gearbox, and the outfit's first 'quick shift' transmission will be introduced at the Hungarian grand prix in August.

Mallya said he was delighted in Bahrain, where Force India driver Giancarlo Fisichella finished ahead of the highly rated McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton.

"I could not hide my laughter," the Indian billionaire said.  "In Bahrain, our team made one more step forwards."

Dino Toso stepped down from Renault role
(GMM)  Leading Renault engineer Dino Toso has been shuffled out of his position at the French formula one team.

With the title 'director of aerodynamic technology', Toso was promoted to lead the Enstone (UK) based team's new CFD centre just last year.

But in a communique to the press, Renault confirmed that head of aerodynamics Dirk de Beer will now take over from Toso.

"Dino Toso remains an employee of the company and we can not make any further comments on his position at the moment," Renault said.

Toso joined Renault from Jordan in 2001, before he began a three-year battle with cancer in 2004.

UAE club voices support for embattled Mosley
(GMM)  Max Mosley has received a rare shot of support amid the sex scandal, in the form of the United Arab Emirates' automobile and touring club.

Despite widespread condemnation of the FIA president's involvement in a recent jaunt with five prostitutes, Mohammed ben Sulayem said he is a "full supporter" of the sanctity of an individual's private life.

The IATC (UAE) president is adamant that Mosley should keep his job amid the scandal, even though the region surrounding the Persian Gulf is not renowned for its moral liberality.

"I think (the scandal) has been used for the wrong reasons," ben Sulayem said, according to the Daily Telegraph.

"Surely he did not break the law.  This is something that is allowed there.  I am a full supporter.

"If someone wants to use this for the wrong reasons, it is not acceptable," he added.

Ben Sulayem points out that, while the motoring and racing worlds have been quick to denounce Mosley, very few figures have defended the 67-year-old Briton against the backdrop of his record as FIA chief.

"How fast can we forget what this man did for motor sport?" he asked.

"Where it was and where it is now.  He did not commit anything that weakens the FIA.  We as members of the FIA elected him."

Abu Dhabi, one of the seven emirates, will stage its inaugural grand prix late next season.

A government owned company also has a five per cent stake of Ferrari, and local developer Aldar Properties is building a multi-billion dollar F1 theme park on Yas Island.

Abu Dhabi GP to be held in October 2009
(GMM)  The inaugural Abu Dhabi grand prix has been allocated an October race date for 2009, it has emerged.

The largest of the seven United Arab Emirates last year penned a minimally seven year deal for a race, to be held on the man-made Yas Island.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper this week revealed that the 2009 Abu Dhabi grand prix, title sponsored by Ferrari backer Etihad Airways, will be held in October next year.

It was previously believed that the race could be given an early spot on the 2009 calendar.

Red Bull lineup better than rivals - Webber
(GMM)  Red Bull may find an edge over its nearest formula one rivals later this season because of its superior driver lineup, according to Mark Webber.

The Australian wrote in his column for the Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell that he believes development work at the Renault-powered outfit will be "done properly" this year because he and veteran David Coulthard are at the wheel of the RB4.

"We have two drivers.  Williams and Renault have only one," Webber noted.

The 31-year-old, however, concedes that Kazuki Nakajima and Nelson Piquet - widely considered to be the lesser drivers at their respective teams, "can be good at times".

But he thinks that, particularly this year, a consistently strong pair of drivers is crucial, given the sweeping regulation changes looming for 2009.

"We must extract the full potential from the current car as quickly as possible," Webber said, referring to the fact that teams must begin working on their single seaters for next year much earlier than usual.

Schu not MotoGP test rider - Stoner
(GMM)  Reigning MotoGP champion Casey Stoner has played down suggestions that Michael Schumacher could already be quick enough to compete at the highest level of motorcycle racing.

The seven time world champion has been dabbling on two wheels since hanging up his formula one helmet, including recently stepping in at a Ducati test when the Italian team's regular test rider was injured.

It emerged from the Mugello test that 39-year-old Schumacher's best lap was about 8 seconds off the pace of race riders Stoner and Marco Melandri.

Stoner, an Australian, dismissed reports that the German can now - as is the case at Ferrari - be referred to as Ducati's official occasional test rider.

"Michael's not testing anything.  He's just riding a bike, he's having fun," he told Speed TV.

"No matter how much experience he has in F1 he would need to learn to ride a bike a little faster before he started giving advice on electronic systems and suspension."

Stoner, 22, agrees however that Schumacher's riding is "quite exceptional" for someone with very little experience on two wheeled racers.

Schumacher's manager, Willi Weber, agrees that the German is simply making the most of his professional retirement.

"He only lasts two minutes on the sofa," he told Germany's Bild newspaper.

"It is impossible for him to do nothing," Weber added.

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