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DATE News (chronologically)
05/21/08
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Monaco not my favorite track - Massa
  • Graham Rahal not interested in F1 switch
  • Alan Jones wants A1 to replace Aus GP
  • Mugello shakedown for Williams FW30
  • More crashes likely at Monaco in '08 - Haug
  • Heidfeld also expects strong Monaco for BMW

Monaco not my favorite track - Massa
(GMM)  Two weeks after utterly dominating the Turkish grand prix at his favorite circuit, Ferrari's Felipe Massa has admitted that he is not similarly fond of Monaco.

"I have to admit that this is not one of my favorite circuits," the Brazilian said as he arrived in Monte Carlo ahead of the highly popular street race.

Despite insisting at Istanbul that he can be competitive at every circuit on the calendar, the 27-year-old concedes that the tight confines of the historic Principality are not to his liking.

"In terms of driving pleasure, I prefer the fast flowing places like Turkey, Bahrain and Barcelona for example.

"But that does not mean we cannot be strong here," Massa added.

"You always find tracks you like more than others, but this does not mean you cannot be competitive at those you are not so keen on."

Ferrari struggled to keep up with 2007 Monaco pacesetters McLaren last year, but Massa thinks the Maranello based team is in "better shape" ahead of this year's late May edition.

Graham Rahal not interested in F1 switch
(GMM)  As American racing's Kyle Busch (NASCAR), Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti weigh up futures across the Atlantic, another IndyCar hotshoe has revealed that he is not as keen on the idea of a career in formula one.

Graham Rahal, whose father Bobby raced a couple of grands prix in the 70s before leading the Jaguar team for a time in 2000, is currently preparing for his first Indy 500 -- the marquee event that paved the European futures of drivers like Jacques Villeneuve and Juan Pablo Montoya.

In the past, 19-year-old Rahal has enthused at the concept of racing at the pinnacle of open wheeler racing, but he now appears turned-off when contemplating a F1 foray.

"If you're not with McLaren or Ferrari, you're not going to win a race," he is quoted as saying by the Sun-Times News Group.

"I don't like that.  I couldn't go there with a backmarker team, because it's too tough on your self esteem, too tough knowing you can't win," Rahal added.

Even more strikingly, he told last Sunday's Indianapolis Star newspaper: "Maybe it's just me, and I have to be careful saying this, but I don't find formula one interesting.

"(If) you go over there with a top team, that would be really cool.  But if you don't, I find nothing cool about running for 15th every weekend."

Rahal said he has been buoyed by the unification of the previously separate American single seater categories, IRL and Champ Car.

"I can stay here my entire life," he said.

Alan Jones wants A1 to replace Aus GP
(GMM)  1980 world champion Alan Jones has vowed to campaign to replace the Australian grand prix at Albert Park with the open wheeler alternative, A1 GP.

The Australian, who is heavily involved with his country's A1 team entry, acknowledges the possibility that Melbourne will not renew its contract with formula one officials beyond 2010.

61-year-old Jones, who was the first driver to win a title for Williams, says A1 - to field Ferrari-built cars for its next season - would ably replace the grand prix spectacle at a fraction of the price.

"It would probably only cost five per cent of what it does now," he is quoted as saying by the local Herald Sun.

"We could race with the (Supercar) V8s and put on a good show, and we wouldn't insist on running at night," Jones said.

He added: "I'd certainly like to talk to someone at Melbourne events."

Mugello shakedown for Williams FW30
(GMM)  With Nico Rosberg at the wheel, Williams last week conducted a 50 kilometer shakedown with its Monaco-specification FW30 car at the Ferrari-owned Italian circuit Mugello, located near Florence.

Meanwhile, with Giancarlo Fisichella marking his 200th race at Monte Carlo this weekend, and Rubens Barrichello to continue to build on his new record for grand prix longevity, it has emerged that Monaco will in fact be Sir Frank Williams' 600th event as a F1 team boss.

More crashes likely at Monaco in '08 - Haug
(GMM)  Mercedes-Benz's Norbert Haug hopes all twenty formula one drivers safely emerge from the 2008 running of the Monaco grand prix this weekend.

The German marque's competition boss warns that, on the tight confines of the famous street circuit, the field will be tested to the limit without driver aids including traction control.

"I hope no one gets injured, but we do have to count on numerous safety car phases," Haug is quoted as saying by Bild newspaper.

"Before the electronic aids were brought in, there were stoppages every ten minutes.

"So I suppose that with the ban now, crashes are more likely than before," he explained.

1982 world champion Keke Rosberg, meanwhile, believes the driver aid-less cars of today will be even harder to control at Monaco than in his own era.

"Now there is less margin for error," the Finn, whose 22-year-old son Nico races for Williams, said.

Rosberg added: "We had longer braking distances and bigger tires -- the cars today are harder to control."

Heidfeld also expects strong Monaco for BMW
(GMM)  Team driver Nick Heidfeld has added to expectations that BMW-Sauber could be set for a very competitive showing on the tight streets of Monaco this week.

Austrian legend Niki Lauda has tipped the Hinwil based team to achieve its maiden victory in the Principality, and Heidfeld's on-form teammate Robert Kubica said recently that he has a "chance" to win there because the 2008 car's strength is in slower corners.

31-year-old Heidfeld, meanwhile - despite struggling to keep up with Kubica so far in 2008 - won at Monaco on three occasions during his junior F3 and F3000 career.

In F1, he finished second for Williams in 2005.

"Theoretically, the chance that the F1.08 will be strong at Monaco is pretty good," the German is quoted as saying in an interview with Frankfurter Rundschau.

"The track should suit the car, and myself as well," Heidfeld added.

23-year-old Kubica told the Swiss newspaper 20 Minuten: "Before the season I was asked where we are most likely to do a really good result, and I said Monaco."

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