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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Dennis receives award on McLaren anniversary
  • Team mistake cost me Canada win - Alonso
  • Montreal mishap makes me stronger - Hamilton
  • Coulthard reflects on F1 past and future
  • Mosley right to keep job - Raikkonen
  • R28 not tainted by spy scandals - Symonds
  • Vettel confident despite unknown future
  • Alonso wants Renault to turn focus to 2009

Ron Dennis
Dennis receives award on McLaren anniversary
(GMM)  Following its disastrous Canadian grand prix, McLaren this week received some welcome good news.

On the forty year anniversary of the famous marque's first grand prix win, it emerged that team boss Ron Dennis has won the annual Prince Philip Medal for innovation and excellence in engineering.

"It's an award for all who work at McLaren, not just for me," he said.

40 years ago on Monday, founder Bruce McLaren won the team's first race at the 1968 Belgian grand prix.

Team mistake cost me Canada win - Alonso
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso told the Spanish press after crashing out of the Canadian grand prix that the team's "terrible" strategy mistake cost him a possible win at Montreal.

Although the Spaniard crashed out of third place on lap 45, he would have still needed to pit again, leading the 26-year-old to assume that seventh or eighth was the likely outcome at the checkered flag.

"That's why it was so important to overtake Heidfeld," said the Renault driver, who spun into the wall while trying a different racing line to attack his BMW rival.

"The strategy was a big mistake.  We could have won the race if we had stayed on the track rather than pitting with the safety car," he added.

Alonso told the Spanish newspaper Diario AS that he is particularly annoyed about his team's bad strategy call because opportunities to fight at the front will be scarce with his current car.

"What happened with Hamilton and Raikkonen is obviously not normal.  We will not have many chances to fight with BMW for the podium.

"It was presented to us but not collected," he added.

"I asked on the radio twice if they were sure that strategy was the best one, and they said yes.  But when I saw Heidfeld in front, I realized that I was right."

Renault's engineering boss Pat Symonds defended Alonso's strategy at Montreal by pointing out that race winner Robert Kubica also pitted with the safety car.

Alonso said: "I have not spoken to anyone at the team about it yet."

Montreal mishap makes me stronger - Hamilton
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton insists that falling foul of the usually rapturous British media contingent after bumping out of the Canadian grand prix will not dent his confidence ahead of the next race.

The McLaren driver will be demoted ten positions on the Magny Cours grid next weekend for ignoring a pitlane traffic light at Montreal and smashing into Kimi Raikkonen's duly stationary Ferrari.

But despite the crash, his lost championship lead, the French GP setback, and the widespread criticism of his rookie error, 23-year-old Hamilton insists that the chapter "will make no difference" to his mindset.

"It hasn't knocked me confidence-wise.  I'm not gutted or disappointed," British newspapers quote him as saying this week.

"You can't win them all.  Going forward the mood is strong.  The fact is we destroyed everyone (in Canada).  With the car we have right now there is no stopping us.

"This makes me stronger.  I can't wait for Magny Cours."

McLaren's Finnish team doctor, Aki Hintsa, insists that Hamilton's show of confidence after the Canadian mishap is not empty rhetoric.

"We have sophisticated ways of measuring these things and I can tell you Lewis has improved physically and mentally since the start of the season," he told British reporters.

"His statistics are very impressive and from those I can tell you this will not affect him one little bit," Hintsa added.

Coulthard reflects on F1 past and future
(GMM)  Seven races into his fifteenth consecutive season of formula one, the sport's oldest driver admits he is in a "reflective" phase of his career.

Amid uncertainty about his role in the paddock for 2009, David Coulthard scored his first points of the year with a surprise podium in Canada last Sunday.

"I am in a reflective mood in my career as obviously 15 seasons is a long time for anyone, especially after such an ugly start to the season," the 37-year-old Scot admitted afterwards.

Montreal was Coulthard's 62nd podium, in a F1 race career that stretches right back to 1994, when as a 23-year-old Williams test driver he stepped in to replace Ayrton Senna following the great Brazilian's death.

Rumors suggest that if Coulthard does not continue racing for Red Bull next year, he has a solid offer to become an expert pundit for British television's formula one coverage in 2009.

"Definitely the clock is ticking," he smilingly admitted at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, which was the scene of his very first points in 1994.

"I've had a great journey in my career and through life and the alternative doesn't excite me very much," said Coulthard, who recently attended a NASCAR race.

It is clear that Coulthard's Montreal podium is no guarantee of a renewed F1 contract for 2009.

When asked by Motorsport Aktuell, Red Bull's motor racing advisor Dr Helmut Marko insists that "it is too early in the season" to discuss the veteran's future.

Mosley right to keep job - Raikkonen
(GMM)  Reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen has again defended beleaguered FIA president Max Mosley amid the noise of the sex scandal.

More than two months ago, the Ferrari driver was a rare sympathetic voice for Mosley, whose job was on the line after he was caught with five prostitutes.

Raikkonen, the 28-year-old laconic Finn, said then: "It's his personal life and he can do whatever he wants and it's not really my business or anyone else's to put their noses in."

68-year-old Mosley last week was reconfirmed as FIA president following a confidence vote, and Raikkonen says those who backed the Briton made "a good decision".

He added in Canada last weekend: "For me it doesn't really matter.  I think it is his personal life and really has nothing to do with F1."

R28 not tainted by spy scandals - Symonds
(GMM)  Renault has fended off suggestions that its 2008 car could be tainted by the espionage scandals of last year.

Earlier this season, it emerged that the French squad delayed using a particular suspension innovation until very recently, following the scandal surrounding engineer Phil Mackereth's defection from McLaren.

In the World Motor Sport Council hearings before Christmas about the Renault spy case, it was revealed that among Mackereth's McLaren drawings was a device referred to as a "J-damper".

It is suggested that the R28 raced by Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet now features similar technology.

"I don't know.  What's a J-damper?" Renault's engineering chief, Pat Symonds, said at Montreal last weekend.

"If you can tell me what that is, I can tell you whether we've got one, I guess.  It's not an engineering term.

"All I can say is that everything on our car has been checked by the FIA," the Briton added.

Symonds explained that, following the mass damper episode and banning of 2006, Renault now always gets FIA clearance before debuting any significant new technologies.

He said: "It is true that we ran new suspension components on the car in Barcelona and I can confirm that we checked very carefully with the FIA whether they felt that those suspension components infringed any technical regulations, sporting regulations or indeed the laws of the land."

Vettel confident despite unknown future
(GMM)  German youngster Sebastian Vettel is confident about the future, despite the appearance that his situation in formula one is uncertain.

The 20-year-old rookie is widely regarded as a star of the future, but his current team is facing an uncertain future, as Toro Rosso co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz is looking to sell his 50 per cent share.

The Faenza based team's current use of what is effectively a 'customer car', meanwhile, will not be tolerated beyond 2009, and on top of that, Vettel is actually contracted only to Red Bull, who may be eyeing his services for next year.

Despite the apparent turbulence, however, Vettel expressed confidence in an interview with F1's official website.

"I know a little bit of the internal situation so I am very confident," he said.

"My focus is only for this year and so I don't have any concerns," Vettel added.

Alonso wants Renault to turn focus to 2009
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has asked Renault to seriously consider abandoning development of the current car so as to focus on readying for 2009.

Pat Symonds, the French team's engineering chief, admitted recently that the sweeping rule changes for 2009 poses a dilemma for those teams that cannot juggle continuing to develop the 2008 car and also focus on designing the entirely new machine.

"We are a big team but we are not big enough to handle two major projects and I think some of the people who are maybe struggling a little bit this year, for example Honda, I think have pushed a lot more effort into next year than we have been able to," Symonds said.

Renault has improvements for the R28 due both at Magny Cours next weekend and also Silverstone in July.

Former world champion Alonso, whose current contract would allow him to leave Renault at the end of the season, advises the team to contemplate switching its attention to 2009.

"It's a difficult decision, and I have a strong opinion about it," he is quoted as saying by the BBC.

Alonso, 26, says the performance of the improvements for France and Britain should influence Renault's final decision about what to do.

"Maybe at those tracks it will be good, so we can carry on developing this car.

"If it's not good, maybe the season will already be over so it's time to think about next year," he added.

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