Latest F1 news in brief (Moscow event a flop) UPDATE Just in case you received the 'official' Moscow Racing press release, in which they claim 500.000 spectators watched this F1 exhibition last Sunday, please have a look at this 4 min and 9 sec long YouTube video showing the spectators along the 'track' from inside a Porsche 997 turbo taking part in the show ... I think the person who wrote the press release made a typing error, it must be at most 50.000 (and even that figure is very optimistic ... ).
If you watch the video, you will see all the empty blue grandstands, mainly on the left hand side of the track ... even the person who shoots this video realizes there aren't many seats occupied and tries to avoid filming these. There are quite a few videos of this event, made by spectators along the track, and all of them show it was very empty, a long way from 500.000 ... that’s for sure!
- Sparse Moscow turns out to cheer Rosberg, Red Bull
- Williams doubts Donington F1 switch
- Fisichella - no plans to retire
- Hamilton not bitter about 2007 Alonso rift
- Driver errors caused three-way title tie
- The Stig impresses F1 champ Alonso
Sparse Moscow turns out to cheer Rosberg, Red Bull
|Photos from Moscow event where a sparse crowd showed up|
Contrary to the press release that said hordes of Moscow locals on Sunday turned out to watch two Williams and Red Bull formula one cars drive on a temporary circuit through Red Square and past the Kremlin, the overhead helicopter shots showed the grandstands 80 to 90 percent empty. At the place where the cars did donuts, 50 or 60 people watched. The cameras did their best to not show the disappointing turn out.
Nico Rosberg piloted the Toyota-powered Williams, and Russian local Mikhail Alyoshin was at the wheel of the Red Bull Racing machine, for the demonstration organized by Rotterdam Racing.
"I've never been (to Russia) before," German Rosberg, who recently turned 23, said. He was accompanied on the visit by team boss Sir Frank Williams.
"There is clearly a massive appetite for formula one here," Rosberg added. If there was, they certainly did not show it in Moscow Sunday. This event had to be a financial disaster for the event promoter and makes one wonder if an F1 race in Moscow is just some wishful thinking by some rich people while the people could give a hoot about racing.
Joint championship points leader Lewis Hamilton, and British compatriot Jenson Button, were also busy at the weekend, at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex (UK).
Referring to crowd favorite Hamilton, who drove his 2007 McLaren up the famous hill, spokeswoman Janet Bradley said: "The crowd went absolutely wild, they loved him."
Williams doubts Donington F1 switch
(GMM) Team boss and F1 veteran Sir Frank Williams has expressed doubt about the switch of hosts for the British grand prix in 2010 and beyond.
F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, and FIA president Max Mosley, have confirmed that Donington Park is to take over from historic Silverstone, the permanent venue of the event since 1987.
Some observers, however, wonder not only how Donington will find the time to upgrade the rudimentary venue, but the necessary $200 million, not to mention local planning permission.
"When I'm at Donington in 2010, if I'm really there I'll believe it, but I'm not certain," Williams told his team's official podcast.
Williams believes two years is enough time to get the track ready, but wonders about the immense expense of overhauling Donington, last the scene of a grand prix in 1993.
He said: "I don't know much about Silverstone's affairs but I would guess (Donington) is a much more expensive project than the one Silverstone are required to do if they wish to retain the grand prix.
"I will just find out in course where we are supposed to be," Williams added.
Fisichella - no plans to retire
(GMM) Giancarlo Fisichella has made clear he has no plans to hang up his helmet.
The Roman is among a scarce few in grand prix history to contest more than 200 races.
Fellow F1 veteran David Coulthard will retire at the end of this season, while Rubens Barrichello is fighting to have his contract renewed.
At the Hockenheim test last week, however, 35-year-old Fisichella made clear he signed a "two year contract" with Force India, beginning in 2008.
Nonetheless asked if he was contemplating retirement, the Italian added: "No".
"I am enjoying myself and love this sport.
"Next year I will still be here," Fisichella clarified, "and only after that will I think about my future -- with this team or with another team, I don't know yet," Fisichella said.
Hamilton not bitter about 2007 Alonso rift
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton has revealed he does not look back with any bitterness despite his sour relationship with Fernando Alonso last year.
So uncomfortable at McLaren was Alonso, a former double world champion, that the parties negotiated an early end to their contract.
But Hamilton, the 23-year-old British driver, recalls a purely "sporting rivalry" with the Spaniard in 2007.
He plays down suggestions that, as a rookie, he failed to show Alonso the right level of respect.
Hamilton told the German newspaper Handelsblatt: "If you go into your first season and are against the world champion, that is a privilege. I admire what Fernando achieved, but the first person you always have to beat is your teammate.
"That was my goal," he added.
Hamilton admits that the low point last year was Hungary, when the now infamous "pit blockade" incident occurred in qualifying.
He said the teammates then got together in an Istanbul hotel room for clear-the-air talks before the next race.
"I was sad and disappointed that our relationship did not improve," he admits.
Hamilton, who made his formula one debut only last year, said he greatly admired Alonso for his championship feats in 2005 and 2006.
"Naturally I followed formula one closely and saw how well he drove. It showed me how to behave and how to become more professional.
"It would be great if, in the future, someone is in the same position and looks at me and thinks, 'That is how to be world champion'."
Driver errors caused three-way title tie
(GMM) A three-way tie for the lead of the championship at the mid-point of the 2008 season may be good for the sport, but the situation has been caused mainly by driver errors.
That is the assessment of Peter Sauber, the founder of the Hinwil based formula one team that is now controlled by BMW.
"I can not remember a situation like this from ever before," the Swiss - now sporting blonde hair as a gesture for the German team's recent Montreal win - wrote in his latest column for the newspaper Blick.
Only two points behind the three-way tie between Lewis Hamilton and the two Ferrari drivers is BMW-Sauber's Robert Kubica, on 46 points.
"I also can not remember when, after nine races, the leader has so few points in the bank -- 48 this season, compared with 59 to 84 in recent years," Sauber, 64, added.
"One of the reasons is the high rate of errors from the drivers -- great performances sprinkled with poor ones.
"The pendulum has been especially strong for Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton. After his dominant victory at Silverstone, the Briton is now on a high, with the Brazilian, following his orgy of spins, down low.
"At the moment none of them have convinced me they are favorite, not even Kimi Raikkonen. Nobody expected Robert Kubica to be so far at the front, but (at Silverstone) even he was caught out following eight flawless races.
"Surprisingly to me, the teams have also been fluctuating, above all, Ferrari," Sauber continued.
"At times they have been the big favorite, and then, as in Melbourne, collapsed. At Silverstone they were again inexplicably weak," he added.
The Stig impresses F1 champ Alonso
(GMM) Former double world champion Fernando Alonso has dealt a blow to rumors he is the mysterious character known in motoring circles as 'The Stig'.
The Stig, who always wears plain white racing gear and helmet, is an anonymous and highly-skilled test driver for the British television program about cars, Top Gear (BBC).
It is often speculated that Alonso, the 26-year-old Spaniard who currently races for Renault, is The Stig.
But the rumor exited the realms of possibility during the recent British grand prix weekend, when The Stig actually appeared in the Silverstone paddock.
He performed some laps of the damp Northamptonshire circuit at the wheel of a two-seater formula one car -- watched on closely by none other than Alonso.
"Whoever's in that car is a seriously good driver," the 19-time grand prix winner is quoted as telling the Top Gear website.
"I've no idea who he is, but he's definitely ex-F1," Alonso added. [Editor's Note: Perry McCarthy is 'The Stig' !]
The Stig's passenger, a lottery winner, bought the ride in a charity auction for $70,000.