Latest F1 news in brief
- F1's Ecclestone at Olympic velodrome
- Valencia race sell-out unlikely - report
- Safety car to influence Valencia tactics - Haug
- F1 aces accessorize with pop stars
- Toyota may delay KERS debut - Marmorini
- Three teams scrap for coveted fourth place
- Fisichella wants to prove critics wrong
F1's Ecclestone at Olympic velodrome
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has been spotted at the Olympic Games in Beijing.
But the F1 chief executive is not just there to while away the days in formula one's August break, according to the British newspaper Daily Telegraph.
Ecclestone, 77, is instead at the Olympic velodrome "to see if he might learn something" from Dave Brailsford, the performance director for the British cycling team, the newspaper said.
Bailsford has been hailed for overseeing the cycling team's notable showing in China.
Valencia race sell-out unlikely - report
(GMM) Singapore seems headed for a sellout, but the same cannot be said of the other new venue on the 2008 formula one calendar, Valencia.
It emerged this week that about 100,000 of the 106,000 race-day tickets for the Singapore night race, to be held under lights at the end of September, have already been snapped up, almost guaranteeing a full house.
But the same cannot be said of the European grand prix, being held for the first time this weekend on the streets of the Spanish port city Valencia.
The German news agency SID claims that not all of the 112,000 tickets for Sunday have been sold.
Safety car to influence Valencia tactics - Haug
(GMM) More safety car periods than usual will be factored-in to preparations for Sunday's inaugural European grand prix at Valencia, according to Norbert Haug.
Not only are engineers and drivers unfamiliar with the new venue, the layout also boasts a higher than usual average top speed for a concrete barrier-lined street circuit.
Haug, the Mercedes-Benz racing chief in partnership with McLaren, says the team's drivers have been instructed to ease their way up to speed at Valencia this weekend.
"They need to keep the car on the track and collect as much data as possible," the German told Auto Motor und Sport.
Haug also revealed that team strategists need to factor the special circumstances of the new Valencia event into their plans for the race.
"Of course, we must think about the safety car for our tactics more than we usually do," he admitted.
Safety car periods at street circuits can also be generally longer than at more regular venues, given the difficulty in recovering stricken cars behind concrete walls.
F1 aces accessorize with pop stars
(GMM) Getting a pop-star girlfriend seems to be a growing trend among formula one's top race drivers.
Former double world champion Fernando Alonso is married to Spanish singer Raquel Rosario, and high-profile championship leader Lewis Hamilton is known to be dating Nicole Scherzinger, one of the American pop quintet Pussycat Dolls.
But it doesn't end there. Honda's Jenson Button recently split with his model girlfriend Florence Brudenell-Bruce, and has now been photographed out in London with Kelly Rowland, a successful former member of the highly-popular Destiny's Child girl-group.
Elsewhere, 1998 and 1999 world champion Mika Hakkinen has separated from his ex-wife Erja and is currently holidaying in St Tropez with new girlfriend Marketa Kromotova, a 30-year-old dancer and stripper, according to the Cologne newspaper Express.
"I have an exciting new life with Marketa," retired Hakkinen, 39 - now sporting a tattoo in Chinese characters on his right arm - said.
Meanwhile, proving that friendships within the paddock are possible, reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen - married to former Miss Scandinavia Jenni Dahlman - often organizes a game of friendly tennis near his home with Toro Rosso's Sebastian Vettel, the Swiss newspaper Blick claims.
Toyota may delay KERS debut - Marmorini
(GMM) F1 teams are still undecided about whether to use KERS systems on their cars next year, according to Toyota's engine boss Luca Marmorini.
Some teams, most prominently BMW-Sauber and Red Bull, have notably struggled in the current development phase of the energy-recovery technology that is set to debut in 2009.
But Marmorini revealed recently that "all teams are having problems" with KERS at present.
He now tells Switzerland's Motorsport Aktuell: "You don't really need the 400 kJ (per lap output).
"You don't have to use KERS," Marmorini added.
"The FIA has given us full freedom of choice. You always have to consider: the car has to be fast."
Another crucial consideration, he explained, is that KERS failures are likely to cause cars to retire from grands prix.
It is understood that Toyota is among the number of teams who believe a gentleman's agreement to delay KERS until 2010 should be put in place -- primarily on the grounds of safety.
"We are very cautious about such matters," Marmorini confirmed. "Toyota has a lot of experience with this type of technology for road cars, and so safety is our main consideration."
Three teams scrap for coveted fourth place
(GMM) The fight for title honors aside, the remaining seven grands prix of 2008 will play host to a furious race to fourth place in the constructors' world championship.
With Ferrari, McLaren and BMW-Sauber monopolizing the top three positions, the next-best teams have all identified finishing behind the leading trio as their objective for the final portion of the season.
Toyota currently occupies fourth, just four points ahead of Renault. And Red Bull, despite occupying fourth in the wake of the Monaco grand prix in May, now lies a further six points adrift.
It has been said that Toyota's 2008 car is now a rival for the performance of the BMW-Sauber.
"We set fourth as our goal at the start of the season and it's always nice to achieve your goals," Toyota driver Jarno Trulli said in interview with Formule 1 Race Report.
"We can not challenge the top three now, but we can finish right behind them. I would also like to finish seventh in the (drivers') championship," the Italian explained.
"That would mean we have achieved everything we could."
Compared with the lower placings, fourth is said to be worth up to $20m in terms of additional Concorde Agreement financial incentives.
Fisichella wants to prove critics wrong
(GMM) Giancarlo Fisichella admits that his first season with the back-of-the-grid Force India team has not given a full rejoinder to those who believe he never delivered as a top formula one driver.
At the age of 35 and with more than 200 grands prix on the tally, the Italian is an established name and a multiple race winner.
But his tenure at Renault between 2005 and 2007, most notably when his teammate Fernando Alonso won two drivers' titles, raised new questions about his ultimate level of competitiveness, and led to his need to accept a seat at the very rear of the pack in 2008.
Fisichella admits that, despite performing well alongside young teammate Adrian Sutil this year, his critics have not yet needed to eat their words.
"Not yet, no," he conceded in interview with the Dutch magazine Formule 1 Race Report.
"Look, obviously I am convinced that they are wrong, but I am not yet really able to show it," the Roman explained.
Fisichella added: "The car is simply not fast enough. That makes it difficult. I cannot do much more than I am already doing."
He is likely to have done enough to stay at Force India in 2009, but Fisichella is still seeking a good result from the remaining seven races of this season.
"With a spot in the points, I would be very satisfied," Fisichella insists.
He admits that, with approaching 300 career points and 18 podiums behind him, consistently finishing near the back of the pack can make full motivation difficult.
"Of course it is difficult to race at the back. That's just a mental thing. But I accept that it is the way it is for me right now.
"I still love formula one and I hope I get the chance to be around for some more seasons. That is my priority," Fisichella said.