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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Health alert on eve of British GP
  • Red Bull 2009 talks nearing end - Webber
  • Hamilton - I'm fitter than Button
  • Judge clears path for Mosley privacy trial
  • Raikkonen confirms engine change
  • Hamilton 'complete' but still learning - Dennis
  • Button not motivated - John Surtees
  • Brawn plays down Alonso-Honda link
  • Honda looking beyond 2008 season - Brawn

Health alert on eve of British GP
(GMM)  On the eve of the British grand prix weekend, a health threat in the region of the Silverstone circuit has emerged.

Germany's Bild-Zeitung newspaper is reporting that the drinking water in the immediate vicinity of the Northamptonshire venue has been found by local health authorities to be contaminated with parasites.

Bild claims that the parasite in question causes diarrhea, stomach cramps and fever -- just as a quarter of a million spectators prepare to descend on Silverstone for the formula one event.

Red Bull 2009 talks nearing end - Webber
(GMM)  Mark Webber is ready to drive a better car at Red Bull in 2009 and beyond, but the Australian insists he would not turn down a better offer from a faster formula one team.

"I know I have the talent to win grands prix," the on-form 31-year-old driver told Dutch sports daily AD Sportwereld Pro, "but I've only had a couple of chances to battle for the podium."

It is an open secret that Webber is negotiating about the 2009 season with Red Bull, for whom he has raced since leaving Williams at the end of 2006.

"In order to win a title you have to have a car that is fast on every circuit you go to.  I've never been in that position, not even with Red Bull," he said.

"When I smell the chance to fight for the title with Red Bull, I will certainly grab it.  But if there is a better opportunity somewhere else, then it will be the time to leave," Webber added.

Webber said talks with Red Bull about next year are already taking place.

"I think we are about a month away (from finalizing them)," he explained.

Hamilton - I'm fitter than Button
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton would challenge formula one rival and countryman Jenson Button to a fitness challenge to decide who is in the best physical shape.

The 23-year-old McLaren driver was impressed this week when he learned that Button, who drives for Honda, finished 117th of the 1700 entrants in a semi-professional triathlon last month.

"That's pretty good," Hamilton admitted, but "I think I'm fitter than Jenson -- but I've got to prove it," he told the British newspaper The Daily Mail.

"So if someone wants to get us going up against each other I'd look forward to it," he added.

Reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen, however, would probably not be interested in taking part in the battle of machismo.

The laconic Finn, who drives for Ferrari, told the Daily Telegraph that he only trains "if I feel like it".

"If not, I do more or less what I feel like.  I don't have schedules.  I never do any planning.  I hate planning," Raikkonen added.

Judge clears path for Mosley privacy trial
(GMM)  A London High Court judge has cleared the path for Max Mosley, the FIA president, to sue a British tabloid newspaper for 'exemplary' as well as conventional compensatory damages.

Lawyers for the newspaper, the News of the World, were arguing that the exemplary - or punitive - damages be struck from Mosley's breach of privacy case, The Times newspaper reports.

In late March this year, the News of the World reported that Mosley engaged in alleged Nazi-themed sex acts with five prostitutes.

The trial begins next week.

Raikkonen confirms engine change
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen has confirmed his car will undergo an unscheduled engine change following his run to second place in the recent French grand prix.

The right exhaust pipe fitted to the Finn's Ferrari single seater and V8 engine failed and fell off at Magny-Cours two weeks ago.

Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali said afterwards that using the same engine at Silverstone would be "ambitious" given its arduous outing in France.

The Magny-Cours engine was due to be carried over to Silverstone, but a change for Silverstone would go unpunished, according to the new 2008 rule allowing one out-of-sequence change per driver.

"I'll use a new engine because the team doesn't want to risk anything, although the rules say that you will not be punished if you have to change the engine," Raikkonen, 28, said.

Hamilton 'complete' but still learning - Dennis
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton is a "very complete driver" but still learning the ropes in formula one, his McLaren boss Ron Dennis insists.

Following a sequence of recent mistakes, which have seen his championship lead cut down to a ten-point deficit, 23-year-old Hamilton was the subject of intense criticism, mainly waged by the British press.

But in interview with BBC Newsbeat, Dennis defends his protégé.

"It doesn't matter what age you are, you're always going to learn as you go through life.  And of course Lewis isn't the exception.

"Inevitably the learning curve for him is steeper now than it will be in two or three years time.  But he's really risen to the challenge and he's a very complete individual and a very complete racing driver and it's a pleasure to work with him," Dennis added.

Dennis also suggested that, following the critique of Hamilton's performances particularly at Montreal and Magny-Cours, there has been a misunderstanding about the rigors of life on the F1 grid.

"Most people don't really appreciate how difficult the drivers' workload is.  It's one of those things.  You've got to put it behind you and focus on the next race," he said.

Button not motivated - John Surtees
(GMM)  Jenson Button's stalled formula one career is leading to questions about his motivation.

John Surtees, also a Briton who raced in formula one for Honda in the 60s, told a Swiss publication this week that 28-year-old Button is a "big question mark" in his mind.

After more than 100 attempts, Button won his first grand prix in 2006, but in the past two years his machinery has not been up to speed.

1964 world champion Surtees said in interview with Motorsport Aktuell: "He seems to be having problems with his motivation."

Also this week, David Coulthard - one of Button's on-track rivals who is also a close friend - joked that the wavering form of F1's other Britons is giving him reason to contemplate victory at Silverstone this weekend.

"Lewis is looking a bit shaky right now with all these penalties and pitlane crashes.  Jenson just seems to be cruising.  I'm going to have to step up," he is quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph.

Button denies he is struggling with motivation and is looking forward to 2009, when Brackley based Honda could be more competitive.

"I'm in a happy place," he told the BBC.

"Hopefully the fans aren't too frustrated because I feel pretty happy with the situation," Button added.

Honda looking beyond 2008 season - Brawn
(GMM)  Ross Brawn has rejected suggestions that Honda has abandoned trying to improve the lackluster 2008 car in order to fully focus on next year.

It has been rumored that the struggling Brackley based squad is using the opportunity of sweeping technical rule changes for 2009 to get a jump on its rivals.

But to the BBC, team principal Brawn said Honda is still working to improve the RA108.

He does admit, however, that some priorities in the team's design office are now switching to the next car.

"One advantage we have is we're not fighting for a championship, and when you are, you have to put a lot of resources into fighting for that championship," he said.

"So the top two or three teams for sure are going to have to balance their efforts for this year and next year perhaps more than we will."

While admitting that 2008 is more a "consolidation year", Brawn insists that improvements to the current car will be still being made in a few races time.

He admitted: "But it's more about building the team and the structure for the future, creating the systems and the philosophies that we need to succeed in the future."

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