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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Heidfeld 'not a top driver' - Irvine
  • Indy 2005 made me quit Ferrari - Barrichello
  • Magnussen's son kicks off open wheeler career
  • Hamilton invites 'date' Minogue to Monaco
  • Super Aguri pull out of formula one

Eddie "The Mouth" Irvine was once the teammate of Michael Schumacher who buried "The Mouth" but, unfortunately, did not shut him up
Heidfeld 'not a top driver' - Irvine
(GMM)  Robert Kubica has been a standout performer of the 2008 season so far, former grand prix winner Eddie Irvine says.

The outspoken Ulsterman, famous for his role alongside Michael Schumacher at Ferrari in the nineties and subsequently with Jaguar until 2002, hailed 23-year-old Kubica's emergence as a consistent challenger to the Ferrari and McLaren runners this year.

"You have to say he has done a fantastic job to be close to those guys," Irvine, who is now 42, told Virgin Media.

Irvine believes Kubica, the first Polish driver to race in formula one, has the measure of his current teammate, German veteran Nick Heidfeld.

"But Heidfeld's never been a top, top driver in my opinion," he added.

Irvine said the recent Spanish grand prix was "boring", but praised the flawless performance of current pacesetters Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa, today's Ferrari duo.

"McLaren now have some catching up to do, that's for sure," he said.

Indy 2005 made me quit Ferrari - Barrichello
(GMM)  Rubens Barrichello said he made the decision to leave Ferrari halfway through a grand prix in 2005.

The Brazilian veteran, who will set a new record as the longest-serving grand prix driver in formula one history this weekend in Turkey, reveals that the final straw was a radio call during the infamous US grand prix at Indianapolis.

Despite the fact that only six Bridgestone-shod cars were contesting the race, Barrichello recalled to the Brazilian television network TV Globo that he was asked to let his teammate Michael Schumacher pass him -- despite the German not being in the hunt for the title that year.

"The team invited me to slow my pace so that Michael could get closer to me and to pass me," Barrichello, who is now 35 and a Honda driver, said.

"In this moment I knew that the time had come for me to go.  That race in the United States was crucial," he added.

Ferrari team members insisted throughout his tenure between 2000 and 2005 that he was joint number one, but Barrichello now concedes that he was in fact Schumacher's subordinate.

"When I signed the contract," he explained, "there was nothing to indicate that the drivers would be treated differently."

History, however, records several instances of team orders, most famously when the Ferrari drivers were booed at Austria in 2002 after Schumacher inherited Barrichello's lead at the checkered flag.

Barrichello said: "Inside, I was often angry about it, because everyone claimed that there were no differences between us, but it was an unequal battle."

Magnussen's son kicks off open wheeler career
(GMM)  Yet another son of a former formula one driver has kicked off his career in open wheeler car racing.

34-year-old Jan Magnussen, of Denmark, made his formula one debut with a one-off McLaren drive in 1995, and then contested 24 further races for the Stewart team until 1998.

He was stepped down at Stewart for poor performances, going on to race in CART, Le Mans sports cars and - currently - the Danish Touring Car series.

His 15-year-old son, Kevin Magnussen, recently made his debut in the country's Formula Ford championship, following on from his karting days.

"Pressure?" he responded to the Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell.  "Why should I feel under any more pressure because of my name?

"It has been the same ever since I sat in a kart for the first time," Kevin Magnussen added.

His father, Jan, had a meteoric junior career, particularly in British F3, prompting Sir Jackie Stewart to quip that he was the best young prospect to emerge on the F1 scene since Ayrton Senna.

Dannii Minogue
Hamilton invites 'date' Minogue to Monaco
(GMM)  According to rumors in the Australian media, formula one driver Lewis Hamilton may be dating a famous local.

The gossip was triggered after Sunday's Australian television 'Logie' awards, when Dannii Minogue, 36, revealed that she has been invited by the McLaren driver to watch Hamilton race at the prestigious Monaco grand prix later this month.

The pair reportedly lined up the date at March's Mercedes-Benz party in Melbourne.

"I look forward to seeing him in Monaco," Minogue, who was once engaged to former world champion Jacques Villeneuve in the late nineties, said.

Super Aguri pull out of formula one
(GMM)  With a media statement and at a news conference, Super Aguri on Tuesday announced that it is withdrawing from formula one and ceasing "all activities" with immediate effect.

The struggling Japanese team was in dire need of financial support, but it is understood that the Honda executive board in Tokyo rejected the proposed partial buyout by the German automotive company Weigl.

"Regretfully I must inform you that the team will be ceasing its racing activities as of today," team boss and co-owner Aguri Suzuki said.

The team's spare parts and motor home trucks will now return to Leafield, after they were locked out of the Istanbul Park circuit on the order of Honda Racing's Nick Fry and F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

Suzuki said his Leafield based outfit, backed by Honda since its inception in 2006, was plunged into crisis by the shock withdrawal of sponsor SS United last year.

"Also, the change in direction of the environment surrounding the team, in terms of the use of customer chassis, has affected our ability to find partners," he added.

The news leaves drivers Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson without places on the F1 grid, and only ten teams and twenty starters for Sunday's Turkish grand prix and beyond.

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