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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Mosley fights on with Jordan Rally visit
  • Piquet attends Barcelona tribute for father
  • F1's Spaniards 'not aware' of anti-racism campaign
  • STR still hoping for new car debut in Turkey
  • Hill wants 'reasonable' Brit GP contract
  • I'm a good teammate, Alonso insists
  • Glock not worried about tire blanket ban
  • Ecclestone inspects Valencia street circuit
  • Super Aguri to contest Spanish GP weekend

Mosley fights on with Jordan Rally visit
(GMM)  Max Mosley's visit to the Jordan Rally this week is not running as smoothly as he perhaps would have hoped.

Despite the Spanish grand prix at Barcelona also taking place this weekend, the embattled FIA president accepted an invitation from the organizers of the inaugural Jordan event to mark his first public outing since the sex scandal broke.

It had already emerged, however, that the Kingdom's King Abdullah II would not be officially receiving the beleaguered Briton.

The British newspaper The Independent, meanwhile, reports that many rally team members have been instructed to avoid Mosley, 68, if they spot him at the event.

It is also believed that a royal dinner on Wednesday evening was so poorly attended because Mosley was a guest.

He plans to meet with teams and bosses on Friday, but one told the Daily Mail that he considers Mosley's visit to be a political ploy: "I do not like our sport being held hostage."

The FIA president's next move could be a visit to Israel, after an invitation from sports minister Galeb Majadle.

"Mosley will see the invitation from a country so obviously sensitive to anti-Semitism as proof that he can discharge his role as FIA president," the Daily Mail said.

"Others will see it as empty posturing ahead of (the) FIA's vote over his conduct, scheduled for June 3," it added.

Piquet attends Barcelona tribute for father
(GMM)  Renault driver Nelson Piquet has attended the opening of a tribute to his famous father at the Barcelona circuit.

The plaque is to honor the achievements of Nelson Piquet Snr, the Brazilian triple world champion and winner of 23 grands prix, who did not attend the event despite an invitation by organizers of the Spanish grand prix.

It is one of many tributes to former and current racing champions along the 'Avenue of Champions' at the Montmelo venue.

F1's Spaniards 'not aware' of anti-racism campaign
(GMM)  F1's two prominent Spanish drivers said they were not even aware that the governing body was going to launch an anti-racism campaign at the Barcelona circuit.

The FIA on Thursday kicked off 'EveryRace'; a reaction to the ugly scenes of racism, directed towards black driver Lewis Hamilton, by a small section of the crowd at a February winter test here.

The governing body distributed to the press a selection of quotes in which eleven prominent members of the paddock - including officials, drivers and bosses - endorsed the campaign.

Notably missing from the named backers, however, was former double world champion Fernando Alonso, and his countryman Pedro de la Rosa, who is a Catalonian local.

"I was not aware," said Alonso, the immensely popular Spanish driver who the offending racists in February claimed to be his biggest fans.

The 26-year-old said he was confident that the Circuit de Catalunya would never again be the scene of racism.

"This weekend it will be ok and it will always be ok here.  Everybody will be able to see that," Alonso added.

De la Rosa, McLaren's 37-year-old primary test driver, was also asked by the press on Thursday about the 'EveryRace' campaign.

"I don't really know what to say," he replied.

"I was not aware of this campaign or anything, to be honest.

"All I can say is that the Spanish people will show to the world how good they are this weekend, and how good historically they've been.

"We've never had any problems here before and we will never have (again).  Wait and see," de la Rosa added.

STR still hoping for new car debut in Turkey
(GMM)  Toro Rosso is still hoping to debut its new formula one car at the Turkish grand prix in two weeks time.

When Sebastien Bourdais crashed the STR3 during recent Barcelona testing, the Italian team admitted that the incident might delay the car's scheduled race debut at Istanbul.

The Frenchman's teammate, German driver Sebastian Vettel, told reporters at the Circuit de Catalunya on Thursday that the crash had caused "quite heavy damage" to the single seater design that was already short on spare parts.

"So that was certainly not at all good," Vettel explained.

"But the goal is still to have the new car for the first time in Turkey," he added.  "We will see."

Team insiders explained that a further delay for the STR3's race debut could have a doubly negative effect, because development of the current car, the STR2, has now definitively ceased.

Hill wants 'reasonable' Brit GP contract
(GMM)  The owner of British grand prix venue Silverstone is on track to securing a contract to keep the formula one race beyond 2009, Damon Hill insists.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone is adamant that, without improved facilities and higher promotion fees, the race could drop off the calendar in 2010.

The British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) has already unveiled plans for a new pit and paddock complex at the Northamptonshire venue to be re-sited between the Club and Abbey corners.

The club's president Damon Hill on Thursday said the plans are on track.

"The negotiations with FOM are ongoing and reasonable terms on a new contract will help us to fulfill our ambitions," the 1996 world champion said.

I'm a good teammate, Alonso insists
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso on Thursday discreetly rebuked the suggestion that he might "damage" Ferrari if he were to join the pacesetting Italian team in 2009.

Following the former double world champion's quiet suggestions of late that the Maranello based team is his preferred employer for next year, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo this week said combining Alonso, 26, with Kimi Raikkonen "would mean wanting to damage yourself".

"I want two equal drivers that work together," he added.

In the official FIA press conference at Barcelona on Thursday, both Alonso and Raikkonen, Ferrari's Finnish race driver, skillfully dodged questions about Montezemolo's remarks.

But later on, in front of the Italian television lenses, Alonso protested that his paddock reputation as a trouble-maker is wrong.

"I have had many teammates during the 23 years of my career, and I have had good times with all of them," he said.

"Some of them are still among my best friends, like Trulli, Fisichella and Villeneuve," Alonso insisted.

"All but Hamilton."

Glock not worried about tire blanket ban
(GMM)  Toyota racer Timo Glock at Barcelona declined to join the growing chorus of formula one drivers who are pushing for a rethink on the ban next year on tire warmers.

Many active drivers are concerned that the ban, slated to coincide with the return of slick tires, leaves them with dangerously low grip for the initial laps of action.

And even though Bridgestone's latest slick tires at the recent Barcelona test had improved the situation, Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA) chairman Pedro de la Rosa on Thursday confirmed that the issue is still a concern to the body.

Rubens Barrichello and Fernando Alonso echoed de la Rosa's words in the FIA press conference at the Circuit de Catalunya.

"I do not share the concerns of some of the others," Glock, the 26-year-old and reigning champion of GP2, is quoted as saying by Motorsport Aktuell.

"I did a 1:21.8 on my first lap (in recent testing here).  I had no problems getting temperature into the tires," he explained.

Glock dismissed the argument on the basis of safety.

"Motor sport is simply dangerous, always," the German said.  "Of course, tires that are not preheated have less grip.

"But, firstly, it is just a matter of getting used to it, and secondly it is the same situation for everyone," he added.

World champion Kimi Raikkonen, meanwhile, did not join the argument about safety, but does not believe the tire blanket ban will not save teams money.

"It's the wrong place to save money," the Finn said.  "It's not (going to save) much and we are going to spend the same money somewhere else anyway."

Ecclestone inspects Valencia street circuit
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone preceded his arrival at the scene of the Spanish grand prix with a quick stopover 350kms away at Valencia, where the European grand prix will be held for the first time in August.

The F1 chief executive's unscheduled visit was to survey the progress of the Circuito Urbano de Valencia -- a bespoke street layout around the Spanish city's port.

Ecclestone, 77, touched down in a private jet at Valencia's Manises airport early in the morning and transferred to a black Mercedes minivan, the Spanish newspaper El Mundo revealed.

He was reportedly then driven through the 5.5km layout's 25 corners, stopping several times to inspect the course in more detail.

Super Aguri to contest Spanish GP weekend
(GMM)  Super Aguri on Friday morning confirmed that it will contest the Spanish grand prix at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

The struggling Honda-powered team did not however confirm who is financing the action, after it earlier emerged that the outfit did not have the necessary 2m euros to participate in the fourth round of the 2008 season.

Honda had already ruled out rescuing the team, making it clear that its supply of free cars, engines and technical support was now the limit of its involvement with Super Aguri.

We reported late on Thursday that the Leafield based team is apparently close to agreeing a new deal with Magma, after the group led by Martin Leach lost its proposed Dubai funding.

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