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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Non-member Hamilton donates $30k to GPDA
  • Hamilton regrets agreeing to wire stunt
  • Barrichello scolds Massa for GPDA snub
  • Alonso rules out taking on big three in Turkey
  • F1 switch unlikely for Rossi - Surtees
  • Alonso must switch teams to win again - Surtees
  • Kovalainen fine after cockpit return
  • New Stepney colleague raves about 'F1 spy'
  • Ferrari plays down engine freeze loophole reports
  • Honda to help out of work Super Aguri racers
  • Rain in Turkey on Saturday

Non-member Hamilton donates $30k to GPDA
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton has reportedly agreed to contribute $30,000 to the formula one drivers' union, despite still not wanting to become a GPDA member.

The development comes after Grand Prix Drivers' Association stalwart Jarno Trulli slammed the few active racers - including Adrian Sutil and the two Ferrari drivers - who are refusing to get behind the safety-oriented body.

The Italian revealed that the fees for GPDA membership are $1000 upfront and 200 dollars per point scored.

"If the top guys are uninterested, there's a lack of money for the GPDA to survive and it's always the unlucky ones, the ones who get paid less, who have to sustain the costs," Trulli was quoted as saying.

"What I don't understand is if you might not want to be part of the GPDA then you can do what you want but at least pay the money since you go on the track too," he added.

The Daily Record reports that Hamilton, the 23-year-old McLaren driver who has scored 20 points so far this season, did indeed agree to "dip into his salary and fork out his share".

Hamilton regrets agreeing to wire stunt
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton has admitted that a publicity stunt prior to the Turkish grand prix was a threat to his "cool" image.

The McLaren driver left onlookers baffled on Thursday when, wearing his full F1 drivers' gear, he was swung from a trapeze wire in the role of the god 'Apollo' on the set of a local theatre show.

After photos of the bizarre event were published by international newspapers to unflattering headlines, however, 23-year-old Hamilton now appears to regret agreeing to team sponsor Vodafone's demands.

"Let's forget about that," he told reporters at Istanbul Park on Friday.

"Afterwards I thought, 'That really was not cool'.

"I just turned up and got on with what I'd been told to do.  Now I've seen the footage and it's one of the worst things I've seen.

"I have a cool image and things like that don't help," Hamilton said.

The British newspaper The Times suggested that Hamilton might consider appointing a "media consultant" to "help him sidestep such elephant traps" in the future.

Barrichello scolds Massa for GPDA snub
(GMM)  F1's most experienced driver has criticized his countryman Felipe Massa for pulling out of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association (GPDA).

Brazilian racer Massa on Friday explained that he left the safety-oriented body because "I didn't always like the way it was run".

The development means that both Ferrari drivers, as well as Lewis Hamilton and Adrian Sutil, are not officially associated with the GPDA.

"It is a personal decision," Brazilian veteran Rubens Barrichello told the Spanish newspaper Diario AS at Istanbul Park, "but it is not good for the rest of us.

"If the association wants to be a strong influence on the FIA, it is very important to have the Ferrari drivers on board.

"And if we have the 20 guys of the grid discussing these things, then every situation is possible," he added.

Alonso rules out taking on big three in Turkey
(GMM)  Despite starting the Spanish grand prix from the front row of the grid two weeks ago, Renault's Fernando Alonso has played down the prospect of taking on the top three teams in Turkey.

The Spaniard was a promising fourth quickest in morning practice at Istanbul on Friday, but he revealed that he could struggle to make it into Saturday's 'Q3' top ten here.

"I have good feelings, similar to Barcelona," Alonso told Spanish reporters on Friday, "but tomorrow is the moment of truth.

"The sad thing is that the big three are in another world and we still cannot be aspiring beyond seventh place," Alonso added.

F1 switch unlikely for Rossi - Surtees
(GMM)  Formula one and motorcycle racing legend John Surtees has played down the prospect that Valentino Rossi might launch another campaign to switch to the four-wheeled variety of grand prix racing.

73-year-old Surtees, the only world champion in both premier forms of motor racing, told the Spanish newspaper Marca that he cannot imagine Rossi, the Italian multiple title winner of MotoGP, making another serious bid to switch to formula one.

"I would have liked to have seen it happen," Briton Surtees, who won the F1 title with Ferrari in 1964, said.

"He thought about it for real but in the end he didn't want to," he added, referring to 29-year-old Rossi, who tested for Ferrari several times a few years ago.

Surtees explained: "Now, after he wins another championship, I think he will go to rallying.

"He had his big chance to go to F1 with Ferrari but he decided to stay in motorcycles."

Alonso must switch teams to win again - Surtees
(GMM)  1964 world champion John Surtees can imagine Fernando Alonso soaring to a third drivers' title some time in the future.

The 73-year-old Briton, however - who won his title with Ferrari - doubts that the Spaniard can recreate his successes at Renault, where he won the world championships in 2005 and 2006.

"I think he will be champion again, but I do not know when," Surtees said in an interview with the Spanish newspaper Marca.

"And not with Renault," he added, referring to the 26-year-old's current team.

The Marca reporter asked Surtees if he thinks the next race Alonso wins will be at the wheel of a Maranello-built Ferrari.

"And why not BMW?" the Briton smiled.

Kovalainen fine after cockpit return
(GMM)  Heikki Kovalainen on Friday insisted he felt no ill effects after returning to the wheel of his McLaren cockpit for the first time since his huge Barcelona crash.

"I feel exactly the same as I did on the Friday in Barcelona," the Finnish driver said after the three hours of official practice at Istanbul Park.

"I feel a 100 per cent fit, no issues at all."

Kovalainen, 26, was cleared to race by FIA medical officials at the Istanbul Park circuit on Thursday, after passing the mandatory neurological tests with flying colors.

"It is a combination of tests and calculations," he revealed, adding that all rookies must sit the exam prior to their grand prix debuts.

"Basically they check how your brain and body is working and the reactions.

"I did the test here and improved the score (from 2007), so the impact seems to have had a good effect," Kovalainen joked.

New Stepney colleague raves about 'F1 spy'
(GMM)  After the espionage saga of 2007, a new colleague of Nigel Stepney has offered a more flattering portrayal of the alleged Ferrari 'spy'.

Stepney was sacked by Ferrari amid accusations of industrial espionage and even sabotage, and he has since switched to the FIA GT competitor Gigawave to be their 'director of race technologies'.

GT racer Philipp Peter, in Turkey to commentate for Swiss television, says he only has good things to say about Stepney since they have been working together.

"He is very open and accessible," Peter, a 39-year-old Austrian, tells the Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell.

"His wife and mine get along very well," he said, adding that Stepney's experience has also been an asset to the racing outfit.

"He is a really good guy and on a personal level I like him very much," Peter added.

Ferrari plays down engine freeze loophole reports
(GMM)  A Ferrari official has played down reports that the Italian team exploited a 'loophole' to race ahead in the engine horse power stakes in 2008.

It was reported on Friday that Ferrari may have used the pretext of boosting reliability to add up to 25 more horse power to its V8 unit this year, despite the so-called 'freeze' on engine development.

But an unnamed Ferrari chief is quoted as saying by the German newspaper Bild: "Our new oil system is simply working better.  It flows faster and brings more power."

Ferrari spokesman Luca Colajanni added: "Everything has been done according to the permitted limits."

Honda to help out of work Super Aguri racers
(GMM)  F1 team Honda's CEO Nick Fry on Saturday said the outfit has not yet decided how to support the drivers Anthony Davidson and Takuma Sato following the collapse of the satellite team Super Aguri.

"It's something that we are thinking about at the moment," he told Reuters at Istanbul Park, scene of the Turkish grand prix.

Both Sato and Davidson have had either test or racing roles with the Brackley based operation in the past.

Fry said Honda "will help" the duo "if we can", now that they are out of work.

"But there's nothing planned at the moment," he warned.

Fry also defended himself amid accusations that he was instrumental in Super Aguri's collapse, but said he understands former team boss and owner Aguri Suzuki's emotion when commenting in the immediate aftermath.

"To be fair to him, he'd just announced to the world that he was pulling out of formula one and obviously there are fairly serious financial ramifications for him," he said.

Rain in Turkey on Saturday
(GMM)  Rain drenched the Istanbul Park paddock on Saturday ahead of the final morning practice session.

It stopped prior to the hour of pre-qualifying practice at 11am local, but lingering damp patches meant that race control declared the circuit officially wet.

It is expected to now remain clear for the rest of Saturday, including qualifying, and Sunday's race.

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