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DATE News (chronologically)
05/01/08
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Super Aguri future still unclear
  • Villeneuve hopes for GP Masters revival
  • 2009 rules should aid overtaking - Brawn
  • Dennis denies involvement in sex scandal
  • Renault holds out for 'good race' by Piquet
  • Williams to tinker with engine cover fin idea
  • STR's Berger plays down Dubai buyout talks

Super Aguri future still unclear
(GMM)  Super Aguri's fate has been granted a one-week reprieve after a key meeting with Honda officials in Tokyo was postponed on Wednesday.

It is suggested that while the interest of potential new savior Weigl Group, a German automotive company, has received the blessing of Bernie Ecclestone, Honda - until now a key team financier - is yet to green-light the deal.

Part of the reason for Honda's reluctance is that Weigl seems able to initially only stump up a minimal amount of cash, leaving the health of Super Aguri still unclear beyond the end of the 2008 season.

Complicating the negotiations with Weigl, however, was the premature disclosure of the company's name this week to the media.

The German magazine Auto Motor und Sport cited insiders as suspecting that Honda's F1 CEO Nick Fry, a close former colleague of the failed buyer Martin Leach (Magma Group) was responsible for the damaging leak to a British online magazine.

Other members of the Honda board in Tokyo were reportedly furious that the Magma deal failed, even though Aguri Suzuki's curtailed meeting on Wednesday did not result in what some others insiders had suspected -- that Honda would simply abandon the Super Aguri team.

Some sources report that the Wednesday meeting was simply inconclusive because so many officials were absent for this week's string of public holidays.

A full board meeting is scheduled for next week.

One bad sign for the struggling team, however, is that the Super Aguri cars neither travelled to Turkey with most of F1's other cars this week nor returned to the team's Leafield base.

Instead, Reuters reports that the cars have in fact turned up at Honda's Brackley HQ following the Spanish grand prix, although the transporters are in the Italian port of Trieste awaiting the ferry to Istanbul.

Other team members are also planning to travel to Turkey for next weekend's grand prix there.

Villeneuve hopes for GP Masters revival
(GMM)  A group hopes to revive the defunct Grand Prix Masters series, where mature retired formula one drivers went wheel to wheel in high performance single seaters.

The series was last year declared bankrupt following three races in 2005 and 2006, when chassis supplier Delta Motorsport complained that its invoices had gone unpaid.

The fleet of 15 cars, based on the 2000-spec Reynard chassis for Champ Car, was bought by a group that is in the initial stages of planning for a series of races late this year, Autoweek reports.

1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve would like to race, but that would require a reduction of the original minimum age (45) of competitors.

"I watched one of the first races on TV and thought that it would be great to compete against a guy like Nigel Mansell," he said.

Also on the initial GP Masters grids were Emerson Fittipaldi, Riccardo Patrese, Alan Jones and other famous names.

Villeneuve added: "If it happens, I really want to be part of it."

It is believed that the buyer of the cars is currently in talks with a possible investor.

2009 rules should aid overtaking - Brawn
(GMM)  Honda team principal Ross Brawn believes next year's sweeping regulation changes should lead to more overtaking during races.

All formula one teams are already hard at work in preparation for the rule changes, including the drastic reduction of downforce and the return of slick tires.

"The feeling is that if we can have a higher ratio of tire/mechanical grip and a lower ratio of aero grip then intuitively you think that would be much better for one car to follow another," the Briton is quoted as saying by the Telegraph.

Currently, one of the loudest complaints by grand prix drivers is that the aerodynamic setup of today's cars makes it too difficult to closely follow his competitor in so-called 'dirty air'.

Brawn added: "The type of car we're trying to have should mean the cars can follow each other.

"And we have an adjustable front wing so when a driver gets behind another front wing, he can adjust the car so he doesn't lose the aero balance in the corner," he said.

Dennis denies involvement in sex scandal
(GMM)  Ron Dennis has vehemently denied suggestions that he could be the unknown figure behind the covert investigation that triggered the Max Mosley sex scandal.

Mosley, who faces a confidence vote in his FIA presidency next month, recently openly questioned the origin of the News of the World revelations.

He wrote in a letter to FIA affiliates in April that he had been pursued not by the tabloid newspaper, but for "reasons and clients as yet unknown".

The scandal aroused suspicions that Dennis may have ordered the investigation into Mosley's private life, in retaliation for the devastating 'spy scandal' and penalties of 2007.

"I categorically deny that I have anything to do with the News of the World's investigation into Mr. Mosley," Dennis, chairman of the McLaren Group, told the Times.

He also denied that "anyone" connected with his company, or anyone acting on his behalf, had anything to do with the revelations.

Dennis has written to Czech Automobile Association chief Radovan Novak, who recently intimated on Prague radio that the spy and sex scandals may share Dennis as the common link, for a clarification of his remarks.

Dennis confirmed that he is looking for Novak, a close ally of Mosley's, to "withdraw or correct" his statements.

It emerged just this week that Mosley has engaged an expert detective agency, Quest, to identity the source of the News of the World story.

Renault holds out for 'good race' by Piquet
(GMM)  Renault sporting director Steve Nielsen is hopeful that team rookie Nelson Piquet can put his troubles behind him when the formula one season resumes in Turkey next weekend.

After a difficult start to the season, the 22-year-old Brazilian looked to have closed the gap on his teammate Fernando Alonso at Barcelona last weekend, as he made the 'Q3' section of qualifying for the first time.

But in the Spanish race, Piquet spun off and then collided with Sebastien Bourdais' Toro Rosso while trying to regain lost places.

"I would say it was Bourdais' fault but the problem is that Nelson shouldn't have put himself so far back," Nielsen said.

"As it is, he's still to deliver a really good race for us, and hopefully he will do that next time," he added.

Williams to tinker with engine cover fin idea
(GMM)  Sam Michael has signaled the possibility that Williams may tinker again with the huge engine cover fins that are now operating effectively on the Renault and Red Bull cars.

Fernando Alonso joked at Barcelona that his team could now "go to the America's Cup" with the yacht-like appendage, but its debut coincided with a notable step forward for the French outfit.

Red Bull Racing was the first to race with an engine cover fin this year, but Williams technical director Sam Michael said his team had previously experimented with the idea in the wind tunnel.

"Not everything we experiment with internally goes onto the car," he wrote in his column for the Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell.

Michael, an Australian, said he first saw big engine cover fins in Champ Car, up to ten years ago.

But he revealed that when Williams tinkered with the idea, the team found that its aerodynamic efficiency was not good enough for most normal circuits.

"Maybe with their configuration, it works better for them," Michael mused, "so perhaps we will try to make it work for us in the future."

STR's Berger plays down Dubai buyout talks
(GMM)  After emerging recently in Kuwait, Gerhard Berger has now played down speculation that he is also in talks with Bahrain or Dubai-based investors about buying into his Toro Rosso team.

It is almost permanently rumored that the Faenza based squad is on the market, and in March Red Bull magnate Dietrich Mateschitz announced that he is looking to dispose of his 50 per cent share.

Former grand prix winner Berger, however, wants to stay in the paddock, and Motorsport Aktuell reports that he recently met with potential partners both in Bahrain and Dubai.

"To deduct that they are potential buyers is totally wrong," the Austrian is quoted as saying.

"All the teams are always looking for new partners, but when Toro Rosso does it there is always talk of takeovers," Berger marveled.

Referring to his recent Dubai trip, he insisted that he was also in the Arab emirate for a family holiday.

Berger also revealed that Toro Rosso is still undecided about whether the new STR3 will debut in Turkey.

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