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DATE News (chronologically)
Latest F1 news in brief
  • De la Rosa not sure of Turkey race seat
  • Sato rules out retiring from F1
  • News of the World denies McLaren link
  • Schu missing from sports Hall of Fame
  • Production error caused Kovalainen crash
  • Massa eyes Turkish triple
  • Lauda scoffs at Alonso-to-Ferrari rumors
  • Sutil the victim of blackmail
  • Kovalainen passed fit to race in Turkey

De la Rosa not sure of Turkey race seat
(GMM)  McLaren reserve driver Pedro de la Rosa on Thursday morning said he did not yet know if he will be stepping into Heikki Kovalainen's race cockpit for the Turkish grand prix.

"I have no idea whether I will or not," the 37-year-old is quoted as saying by the news agency EP.

Regular driver Kovalainen spent the night in a Barcelona hospital with concussion following his huge crash during the Spanish grand prix two weeks ago.

Whether or not de la Rosa, a Spaniard who is ironically from the Catalan region, will need to step up to the race cockpit in Istanbul will be determined after Kovalainen's mandatory FIA medical exam at the Otodrom venue today.

De la Rosa said: "The important thing is that Heikki recovers one hundred per cent as soon as possible.

"I have not really changed anything about my preparation, because there is always the possibility that I will race.

"The only different thing is that I have strengthened the left side of my neck more than usual, because that is particularly important at this circuit," he added.

Mercedes-Benz competition boss Norbert Haug, meanwhile, explained that de la Rosa was put on standby to replace Kovalainen because he is "the most experienced" of McLaren's backup drivers, including the Briton Gary Paffett.

The German added that Kovalainen, 26, has been feeling better "with every passing day" since he resumed training in Finland last week.

Sato rules out retiring from F1
(GMM)  Takuma Sato has ruled out immediately retiring from formula one, despite the collapse of the Super Aguri team.

The Leafield based outfit was set up with the key support of Honda ahead of 2006, partly to keep the immensely popular Sato on the grid following a Japanese backlash in reaction to his removal as a works driver.

"At this time I am not sure what will happen next as I have been concentrating all my efforts on racing for Super Aguri," Sato, the 31-year-old with 91 races and 44 points under his belt, said in a statement.

Like his 2008 Super Aguri teammate Anthony Davidson, Sato has in the past also spent time as a Honda test driver.

"I will be looking at my options with my manager and will make an announcement once it is appropriate," he added.

"However, I have no intention to retire from F1.

"I feel I am driving at the top of my game and want to give so much more to my fans and supporters in Japan and worldwide who have been so incredibly supportive to me during my whole career," he said.

News of the World denies McLaren link
(GMM)  The British tabloid News of the World has rejected suggestions that agents working on behalf of the McLaren team were involved in the investigation that triggered the Max Mosley sex scandal.

Including by the Czech motoring chief Radovan Novak, it has been insinuated recently that the newspaper expose, which revealed the now embattled FIA president's sadomasochistic romp with five prostitutes, could have been retaliation for the devastating spy saga of 2007.

Team chairman Ron Dennis categorically denied the charge, and now a source at the News Group newspaper News of the World has played down any possible McLaren link.

"I have not at any stage seen any sourcing from anyone other than our source who just saw an opportunity," the source is quoted as saying by The Times -- which is another newspaper published by the Rupert Murdoch-run News Group.

The newspaper source added: "Certainly I have never seen evidence of sourcing or influence by anyone in motor racing or motoring or any interest group involved in motor racing or motoring."

Schu missing from sports Hall of Fame
(GMM)  A controversy has erupted in Germany following the inauguration of a state-sponsored sports Hall of Fame that fails to mention three of the country's most famous sporting names.

Michael Schumacher, the most successful driver in formula one history, and tennis' Boris Becker and Steffi Graf, are missing from the list of 40 mostly deceased German sporting heroes, as unveiled this week by Deutsche Sporthilfe, the German sports foundation.

German president Horst Kohler launched the Hall of Fame earlier this week in Berlin, with the aim of encouraging young people to take up sport.

German Sport Aid Foundation head Ann Kathrim Linsenhoff, however, revealed that up to three new names will be added to the roll call every year.

The initial list was selected by a jury of 25, weighing up sporting achievements, their legacy and impact, personal attributes and whether they were a good role model.

Five names on the list, however, have connections with Germany's Nazi past, moving some sections of the domestic media to denounce the list as a 'Hall of Shame'.

Production error caused Kovalainen crash
(GMM)  McLaren has finally got to the bottom of the cause of Heikki Kovalainen's huge crash during the Spanish grand prix two weeks ago.

Engine partner Mercedes-Benz's racing chief Norbert Haug has told German publications that the left front wheel rim broke due to a production error.

It had already emerged that the brand new wheel in question had only turned a few laps out of the box before it failed.

"A formula one rim is very complicated and comprises of several different alloys.  Something has apparently gone wrong," he is quoted as saying by Bild newspaper.

McLaren's wheels are externally produced by the Japanese supplier Enkei, who are believed to now be reviewing the production and testing practices for its F1 products.

The German magazine Auto Motor und Sport reports that the wheels fitted to Lewis Hamilton's car at Barcelona were from a different Enkei batch.

Massa eyes Turkish triple
(GMM)  Felipe Massa has set his sights on winning a third consecutive Turkish grand prix at the Istanbul Park venue this weekend.

On both of his previous visits to the Otodrom as a Ferrari driver, the Brazilian set pole and won; in 2006, the triumph was his first grand prix victory, in front of his legendary then teammate Michael Schumacher.

"It is a very special circuit for me, so what I say is, 'there is no two without three'.

"There is no need to hide my plans for the weekend.  I want to achieve a trio of victories in Turkey," the 26-year-old added.

Massa says he followed his teammate Kimi Raikkonen home for second place at Barcelona two weeks ago after qualifying just third.

"I could then not win on a circuit that is very difficult to overtake on," he is quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Right now, the competition with Kimi is strong and my second place was still a good result.  On Sunday, however, I will try to win."

Massa currently lies fourth in the drivers' classification, eleven points behind championship leader Raikkonen.

He played down the disadvantage of having to use a race-old V8 engine at Istanbul, and a gearbox that has now contested a full three - of a mandatory four - races.

"It should not be a problem, given that the regulations allow some of the components to be looked at anyway when necessary," Massa said.

Lauda scoffs at Alonso-to-Ferrari rumors
(GMM)  Niki Lauda has backed Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo's recent claim that the Italian team would be unwise to tinker with its driver lineup for the 2009 season.

Rumors recently have linked former double world champion Fernando Alonso with a Ferrari switch, but Montezemolo said pairing Kimi Raikkonen with the Spaniard "would mean wanting to damage yourself".

"Raikkonen and Alonso together?" former triple world champion Lauda, 58, is quoted as saying by the German news agency DPA.

"Last year Raikkonen was champion and now he is number one.  Why must we now discuss whether Alonso is going to go there?" the great Austrian wondered.

"They already have the perfect team with Massa, so why should they bang their heads together?" Lauda, who won two (1975, 1977) of his drivers' world titles with the Maranello based team, added.

Sutil the victim of blackmail
(GMM)  German F1 driver Adrian Sutil enlisted the help of police after the owner of his old computer tried to blackmail him for 10,000 euros.

The magazine Auto Bild Motorsport will reveal in its Friday edition that a person from the German state of Bavaria came into the possession of a computer containing an abundance of the 25-year-old Force India driver's private information.

In return for 10,000 euros, the man offered to return the hard drive to Sutil, containing private emails, photos and bank transactions.

The blackmailer, who now faces a maximum penalty of five years in jail, was caught by police after a meeting was set up to exchange the money and data.

"I am glad that it is all over now," Sutil commented to the German newspaper Bild-Zeitung.

Kovalainen passed fit to race in Turkey
(GMM) At a mandatory FIA medical examination at Istanbul Park on Thursday, McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen was declared fit to contest the Turkish grand prix following his massive crash and hospitalization at Barcelona two weeks ago.

"I feel 100 per cent, and if I had not felt 100 per cent I would have told the team already and stayed at home," the Finn, 26, said.

Kovalainen explained that his light concussion and delay in returning from Spain did not adversely affect his preparation for this race, adding that he has done "a lot of fitness training" in Finland in recent days.

Outside the Medical Centre at the circuit, he happily posed with the 'thumbs up' for photographers and gave interviews to the media.

"I think the accident probably looked worse than it was for me. I had a little headache but was back in training almost immediately," Kovalainen explained.

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