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DATE News (chronologically)
04/21/08
f1
Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

04/21/08
  • Next slick tire test in July - Bridgestone
  • Designer plays down 'nose hole' innovation
  • 'Amazed' Todt fully backs embattled Mosley
  • Sutil also has talent for F1 - Gascoyne
  • Buemi vows to 'fight' for F1 race seat
  • Rookie Vettel buys 250,000 euro motor home
  • Barcelona podium very unlikely - Alonso
  • German banker says not Aguri savior
  • Coulthard scolds Button over crash blame New
  • Honda say Barrichello to set record in Turkey New
  • 'Schumi III' makes racing debut New

Next slick tire test in July - Bridgestone
(GMM)  The next test to feature Bridgestone's developments of the intended 2009 slick tires is scheduled for July.

F1's official sole tire supplier said in a statement that it expects to make even "more progress" with the compounds, following the major test with slicks at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya last week.

The first slick test was at Jerez last December.

Teams tried three revised slick compounds at the recent Barcelona session - nine sets allocated to each team - and technical manager Tetsuro Kobayashi said he was happy with the results.

He also responded to some drivers' concerns about the scheduled banning of tire blankets next year by saying the warm-up situation out of the pits was "much improved".

Meanwhile, Ferrari designer Nicholas Tombazis ruled out speculation that the Italian team is planning to roll out a "prototype" of its 2009 car at the next slick test.

"Totally implausible," he said in the pages of La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Designer plays down 'nose hole' innovation
(GMM)  Ferrari chief designer Nicholas Tombazis has moved to play down the perceived significance of the 'nose hole' innovation that will debut at the Spanish grand prix this weekend.

In the pages of the Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, it emerges that the piece has now passed the mandatory FIA crash tests and therefore will feature on the F2008 at Barcelona.

"It is not something revolutionary that will make us two seconds faster," he insisted.

"It is simply an aerodynamic development, like some others that are less obvious but perhaps even more important," Tombazis added.

He contradicted reports that said the 'hole' concept was central to the original design of Ferrari's 2008 car.

As to why it did not appear on the car before now, Tombazis answered: "For two reasons; the difficulty of producing enough spare parts in time for the first races, and also the need to pass the additional crash test."

'Amazed' Todt fully backs embattled Mosley
(GMM)  The former boss of the Ferrari team has refused to join calls for embattled FIA president Max Mosley to resign over the sex scandal.

Some sections of the motoring and motor racing worlds have condemned the 67-year-old Englishman further after he stated at the weekend that he intends to "stay and fight".

But Jean Todt, the son of a Polish Jew who has even been touted by some as a possible candidate to replace the current FIA chief, refuses to accept that the affair is proof that Mosley is racist.

"Absolutely not," the Frenchman, who is 62, is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

"He's a true president.  He knows his brief and is a great worker, reliable, very intelligent, a man of rare elegance.

"He's a true leader.  I'm still amazed people concentrate on things which are nothing to do with his role," Todt added.

Monday did not, however, deliver only good news to the Mosley camp.

It emerged in the pages of the broadsheet Times newspaper - a sister publication to News of the World - that despite Mosley's visit this weekend to the Jordan Rally, the King of Jordan does not want to formally meet with him.

Instead, Mosley will be the guest of King Abdullah's brother, Prince Feisal.

"Definitely Mosley is not going to see the King," a source is quoted as saying.

"If he does see him, it will not be publicized."

Sutil also has talent for F1 - Gascoyne
(GMM)  Mike Gascoyne has made it clear that he also rates Adrian Sutil, the German race driver, as an asset of the Force India team.

The Silverstone based outfit's technical boss was quoted recently as saying the Roman veteran Giancarlo Fisichella is "fully deserving" of his seat on the formula one grid.

Some observers, however, remarked that - by omission - Gascoyne's comments could be interpreted as disparaging of 25-year-old Sutil's difficult start to the 2008 season.

"We obviously worked with Adrian last year and we know his talent and it is a good opportunity for him to have Giancarlo beside him," the Briton is quoted as saying by the Indian news agency PTI.

"Adrian has shown that he has the talent to be in formula one and race at the highest levels, and he is making fewer and fewer mistakes as he grows in experience," Gascoyne added.

Gascoyne insists that Sutil's problem has not only been the difficulty in keeping up with Fisichella.

He points out that in Australia and Malaysia, technical faults put him out of the race.

"In Bahrain, however, he was much closer to Giancarlo and was pushing him," Gascoyne said.

Buemi vows to 'fight' for F1 race seat
(GMM)  Sebastien Buemi has earmarked himself as a contender to race onto the formula one grid in the near future.

The 19-year-old Swiss, currently Red Bull Racing's test driver and a GP2 competitor, reveals that he is "fighting" to be selected as one of the energy drink-backed formula one racers as soon as possible.

Referring to RBR's current drivers, he said: "I am fighting to get their seats, and they are under pressure to keep them.

"It is a very competitive atmosphere, and that keeps an edge between us, I guess.  We keep it professional, though."

Buemi was speaking to the local Jamaica Gleaner newspaper, ahead of his demonstration of a Red Bull F1 car on the streets of capital city New Kingston early next month.

Rookie Vettel buys 250,000 euro motor home
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel has demonstrated that he is expecting a long and fruitful career at the pinnacle of motor racing.

The 20-year-old German, who has so impressed the pundits since debuting for BMW-Sauber and now Toro Rosso, has revealed the huge 250,000 euro motor home with which he intends to attend all the European races this year and beyond.

Bild newspaper said Vettel's new 'Concorde Liner 990' is ten meters long, weighs 7.5 tons, and features leather interiors, a dishwasher, huge TV and king-size bed.

Meanwhile, on the verge of the DTM race at Germany's Oschersleben circuit at the weekend, Vettel - on sponsor duties - defended Toro Rosso's decision to start the 2008 season with its year-old car.

Before his teammate Sebastien Bourdais crashed the STR3 in testing last week, the new car was scheduled to debut in Turkey next month.

"Last year it was very, very difficult for the team to start the season with the new car, so we decided to do it this way (in 2008)," Vettel told the German magazine Sport Bild.

Barcelona podium very unlikely - Alonso
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has contradicted Renault boss Flavio Briatore's recent claim that the Spaniard will be in contention for a podium at his home grand prix at Barcelona this weekend.

After a difficult start to the season with the new R28 car, Briatore optimistically declared at Bahrain that revisions for the Spanish race would prove a "giant leap" in pace.

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

After trying the updated car at the Circuit de Catalunya last week, however, Alonso declared that he is not expecting to be amongst the frontrunners in Spain.

"We started off the season badly, and in formula one it is difficult to regain lost ground in a short time," the 26-year-old told Catalunya Radio.

"We will try, of course, to improve in every way possible to get closer to the best ones," he added.

But Alonso admitted that he is not expecting front-running performance from his single seater for the entire 2008 season.

"A podium would be a surprise," he added.  "Last year, I would say a victory was more likely than a podium now."

Alonso is still dropping hints that he fully intends to return to winning ways next year -- with or without Renault.

"I have to make the best of it and try to keep the top teams having confidence in me," he tactfully said.

Alonso insists that his immediate goal is to improve Renault's form and work towards having a competitive car for next year.

"We need to improve within Renault so that I have the opportunity to have a good car for the coming season," he said.

German banker says not Aguri savior
(GMM)  A German racing executive and banker has ruled himself out of the running to rescue the ailing Super Aguri team.

With the Magma deal off, rumors had circulated that a German concern was willing to step into the breach to buy the Japanese team and save it from imminent collapse.

But Dr Thomas Bscher, also a former driver and motor sport executive, has told the Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell that he is in fact not going to save Super Aguri.

He had been spotted as a guest of the Honda-powered team at Bahrain, but Bscher insists: "I have nothing to do with the business of formula one."

Explaining further, he adds: "I would never engage with a team that races only at the back because I doubt very much that you could make any money that way."

Bscher also said the fact that he was hosted by Super Aguri in Bahrain and not another team is "pure coincidence".

Coulthard scolds Button over crash blame
(GMM)  The friendship between British countrymen David Coulthard and Jenson Button was tested after the pair collided during the Bahrain grand prix recently.

Along with Lewis Hamilton and Adrian Sutil's friendship, the pair are perhaps the closest of any drivers in the paddock; at European races, they always park their motor homes next to each other.

But in Bahrain nearly three weeks ago, Button openly questioned his mate's tactics after retiring with damage, following a failed overtaking move on Coulthard, the Scottish veteran.

"We discuss in our (GPDA) meetings that you shouldn't move across in the braking zone and he moved, and I had nowhere to go," the Briton said.

But on Monday, Coulthard scolded 28-year-old Button, accusing him of not telling the media the full story.

Coulthard, 37, said he was "surprised and disappointed" about Button's accusations.

"I'm disappointed because we're friends, and normally with a friend you would give them the benefit of the doubt until you'd had the chance to talk to each other," he wrote in his ITV column.

Coulthard explained that Button later phoned him, apologizing and explaining that the crash was caused because he lost control of his car.

"There was no 'you did this, you did that'," he added.

"So either he was in more reflective mood than he had been straight after the race, or he simply didn't want to say the same thing to me as he had publicly," Coulthard said.

Coulthard said he is growing "weary" of arguing about crashes "because I think other drivers have got to take responsibility for their actions as well".

"The thing that's most disappointing is that when I screw up I admit my mistake, but when other people cause an accident with me, they seem not to," Coulthard said.

"I feel it's a bit unfair that I'm made out to be some sort of crasher when I've done 230-plus grands prix and generally kept my nose pretty clean."

Coulthard concluded that he has no intention of changing his approach to racing because of his crashes this year, including the one with Felipe Massa at Melbourne.

"I don't want to crash with any of these people -– but I'm not just going to move over and say 'after you, Claude'," he insisted.  "So I will not change my approach."

Honda say Barrichello to set record in Turkey
(GMM)  Honda on Monday clarified that Rubens Barrichello will not celebrate becoming the most experienced driver in formula one history this weekend in Spain.

The sport's official website claims that the 35-year-old Brazilian has entered 256 grands prix; the same number as current record holder Riccardo Patrese, who set the mantle in 1993.

But in a press communique, Barrichello's current team points out that there is a "lack of consensus" amongst pundits as to whether he will officially start a record 257th race at the Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday.

"Rubens will celebrate the milestone ... at the Turkish grand prix on 11 May 2008," Honda announced, amid speculation that Barrichello actually wanted to mark the occasion in Spain.

The pundits' disagreement relates to Imola in 1994, where he was injured in practice, Belgium in 1998 - where he took the original start but was injured and could not re-start - and Spain and France in 2002, where he had problems before the formation laps.

The annual Grand Prix Guide, meanwhile, claims that Barrichello will not reach 257 races at Barcelona or Istanbul, but rather at Monaco at the end of May.

'Schumi III' makes racing debut
(GMM)  The German media already has a name for Michael Schumacher's nine year old son -- 'Schumi III'.

Following in the footsteps of father 'Schumi' and his uncle Ralf ('Schumi II'), Mick Schumacher has kicked off his racing career with a low key kart event in Spain.

The local press said the choice of Spain was to "flee the media pressure"; a claim borne out by the fact that the name on the entry list was 'Mick Betsch', an attempt for anonymity by the use of his mother Corinna's maiden name.

Seven time world champion Schumacher, 39, did not attend the race, as Mick was accompanied by his paternal grandfather, Rolf.

The Spanish newspaper Diario AS published a photo of the youngster at the wheel of his racer - believe it or not, an 'Alonso Kart' - wearing the familiar Schumacher helmet, but painted all blue.

He finished his two races at the Sils circuit, near Gerona, tenth and eighth, and Mick Schumacher will also participate in the next three rounds of the competition.

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