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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Alonso agrees - engine freeze has hurt Renault
  • F1 news briefs: Thursday
  • Orgy setup to be revealed soon - Mosley
  • Montezemolo to head new F1 teams' alliance
  • Piquet working harder now - engineer
  • Schu involved in pedestrian crash in UK

Alonso agrees - engine freeze has hurt Renault
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso backed team boss Flavio Briatore's claim this week that Renault has fallen back because of its rivals' unfair approach to the so-called 'freeze' on engine development.

Briatore said that while the French squad conformed with the spirit and letter of the development moratorium, "others took another course and are far ahead of us now".

Alonso, the former double world champion who turned 27 this week, agreed when he addressed Spanish reporters this week.

"Two years ago the R26 was a very good car, in the corners and on the straights.

"Did the freeze harm us?  Perhaps, yes.  Renault has always had a good engine and this year we realize that we are a little bit behind.

"It is always a difficult thing, going to the limits of the legalities.  Maybe we have been more legal than the other teams and have lost 20 or 30 horse power for that reason," the Spaniard added.

Alonso also expressed concern that Renault is one of the teams that is yet to run a version of the KERS system that is allowed in F1 from 2009.

"To spend so long without testing it is not a good sign," he said.

"On the other hand BMW is already using it at the test tracks so I see them with an advantage at the moment."

F1 news briefs: Thursday
(GMM)  The F1 drivers' football team, captained by Michael Schumacher and with opera tenor Placido Domingo as honorary coach, played a charity match against a Hungarian all-star team in Budapest on Wednesday.  The final score was 6-6, watched by 10,000 spectators.


F1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella's race team, already operating in GP2 and Formula BMW, will also run the football squad AS Roma's entry in the forthcoming inaugural Superleague Formula series.  Roman Fisichella, who drives for Force India, is a lifelong Roma fan and personal friend of captain Francesco Totti.  The first race of the championship across Europe takes place at Donington on August 31.


The failed suspension piece that caused Timo Glock to crash heavily at Hockenheim was damaged in incidents that occurred at Silverstone two weeks earlier, Toyota confirmed this week.  The Japanese team said it has "revised its inspection processes" as a result.


Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali insists the Italian team is not in crisis, despite the uncompetitive showing at Hockenheim two weeks ago.  At the Jerez test last week, it is understood tire-related issues were identified as the cause of the German grand prix slump.  "I think we understand the problems we had," Brazilian driver Felipe Massa said.

Orgy setup to be revealed soon - Mosley
(GMM)  Max Mosley is determined to get to the bottom of what he regards as a formula one-related conspiracy to destroy him.

The FIA president has successfully sued the British scandal newspaper News of the World for its expose about his orgy with prostitutes, but Mosley believes the real culprits of the set-up have yet to be revealed.

Working on the 68-year-old's behalf is the renowned British investigative squad Quest, and the fruits of their Labour will "soon" be known, Mosley told the press this week.

"Soon you will know who was behind it," the Briton is quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Meanwhile, when asked by the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport if he believes he was the victim of a set-up, Mosley answered: "It is very likely that it was not the newspaper working alone.

"The investigations are ongoing, so it would be unfair of me to express any specific suspicions before anything is proved," he explained.

Mosley said that, even before the News of the World orgy, he was warned by F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone that someone was out to get him.

"Bernie gave me a name," he confirmed, "but I am not about to prematurely accuse anybody of anything.  There is still no proof that this person was involved at all."

Mosley, however, was quick to name those F1 personalities who supported him throughout the affair -- Gerhard Berger, Frank Williams, Vijay Mallya, Dietrich Mateschitz, and Ferrari.

He intends to step down as FIA president late next year, but plays down speculation that Jean Todt is still in pole position to succeed him.

"Todt would be a very good man for this office," Mosley said, "but I cannot imagine that he wants to do it -- he could get much higher paying jobs than to be FIA president, which is an honorary position."

Montezemolo to head new F1 teams' alliance
(GMM)  Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has been selected to head up the newly formed formula one teams' alliance.

At a meeting at the Italian team's Maranello headquarters this week, representatives for F1's ten teams agreed to establish the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA), to work in unison on commercial and regulatory conditions.

A Ferrari spokesman said after the Tuesday meeting that no decision had yet been taken about who might head up the association, if indeed a figurehead was required.

But Sport Bild, the German specialist magazine, reports that Montezemolo - who also presided over the Tuesday meeting - is to be the official FOTA spokesman for the next 12 months.

Piquet working harder now - engineer
(GMM)  One of the men closest to Nelson Piquet insists that the Brazilian rookie is now beginning to make progress after his difficult first half-season in formula one.

Despite the 23-year-old's breakthrough podium at Hockenheim two weeks ago, two contemporaries of Piquet's eponymous father - Derek Warwick and Alan Jones - said this week that the youngster appears no match for the triple world champion of the 80s.

But Ricardo Penteado, Piquet Jr's engine engineer at Renault, insists that the young driver is now making real progress as he adjusts to life on the grand prix grid.

"I think that when he arrived in F1, Nelson relied a lot on his natural talent and his innate ability.

"Then he understood that this was not enough, so he dug deep and worked hard," Penteado said.

Penteado, who is also Brazilian, believes the Hockenheim podium - while mainly the fruits of an inspired race strategy - will give Piquet the confidence he needs to continue making progress.

"The result removes a little pressure," he said.

"Confidence itself can really make the difference in qualifying, which was where Nelson had difficulties (in Germany)."

Schu involved in pedestrian crash in UK
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher's spokeswoman has confirmed the retired seven time world champion was involved in a road accident in England.

A car dealer in Kent, a county in southeast England, told the Mirror newspaper that he was struck as a pedestrian on Sunday by a modest Fiat Ducato van -- which had the former Ferrari racer at the wheel.

The dealer said Schumacher, who was on his way to a private jet at a nearby airfield, was overtaking a slower vehicle at the time.

"(Schumacher) was screaming, 'What the fuc*ing hell were you doing in the road?'  He seemed cross, as if I was in the wrong.  I called the police."

The police breath-tested and questioned Schumacher, but at first did not believe the 39-year-old German was actually the legendary winner of 91 grands prix.

The dealer, who said his worst injury was a bruised leg, explained: "An officer came in and said 'This guy's claiming to be Michael Schumacher'.  Then another told us she'd seen his id and it was him.

"He still didn't apologize.  He just got back in the van and drove off without even looking at me.  He was arrogant."

Schumacher's spokeswoman Sabine Kehm said: "There was a collision but nobody was injured.  Michael cooperated with police.  There is nothing else we wish to say."

Kent Police said no further action will be taken.

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