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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Kimi admits title defense nearly over
  • STR chiefs fly in to assess Vettel successor
  • Mosley defends plan for standard F1 engine
  • Bridgestone confirms special paint for night race
  • Clos likely to test for Williams again

Kimi admits title defense nearly over
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen has admitted that, in the absence of a dramatic turnaround in his current form, he is not going to defend his world championship.

Monza last Sunday was his fifth failure to score points at a grand prix this season, meaning the Finn has dropped a full 21 points off Lewis Hamilton's title lead.

"Obviously you don't have to be Einstein to realize that this is not the way to fight for the championship," the Ferrari driver admitted on Wednesday.

Raikkonen is, however, refusing to either give up, or pledge his full support for the much more realistic championship challenge of his teammate, Felipe Massa.

"It's not over, I'll never give up," he said.  "I would like to win a couple more races before the end of the season."

Raikkonen said the crux of his problem is getting the tires to work for him, especially on a wet track, "and it seems to rain almost in every race nowadays", he lamented.

McLaren chief executive Martin Whitmarsh agrees that his team has a definite advantage when the skies turn dark.

"While Singapore is something of an unknown quantity," the Briton said, "I think we've all experienced wet races in Japan, China and Brazil so we feel well prepared."

Ferrari is testing away from the other teams at Mugello this week, hoping to get to the bottom of the F2008's problems.

"We wouldn't mind if it would rain the whole week," Raikkonen said.

STR chiefs fly in to assess Vettel successor
(GMM)  Toro Rosso team bosses Gerhard Berger and Franz Tost have travelled to Jerez to oversee the evaluation of drivers to replace Sebastian Vettel in 2009.

Ironically just days after 21-year-old Vettel recorded the Faenza based team's first win, they are weighing up a future without the German, as Sebastien Buemi drove the STR3 on Wednesday.

Out-of-work Japanese driver Takuma Sato, meanwhile, is scheduled to test on Thursday, and he spent his opening day at the Spanish venue in the Toro Rosso garage.

STR co-owner Berger told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport that the team will not make a decision about 2009 until November or December.

"The drivers that I can get today, will still be there in November," the former winner of ten grands prix said, possibly also referring to the fact that more drivers - including Nick Heidfeld, Rubens Barrichello and Nelson Piquet - might also be clearly on the market by then.

At Jerez on Wednesday, Vettel got a taste of life in a Renault-powered Red Bull, but his RB4 broke down with a gearbox problem.

Also notably, Williams gave the F1 world an early sign of the 2009 regulations, running one of the new higher and narrower rear wings.

Heidfeld will be in action for BMW-Sauber on Thursday, as Robert Kubica has called off his test with an infected tooth.

Mosley defends plan for standard F1 engine
(GMM)  Max Mosley has defended his shock news that he favors a common engine era for formula one.

The FIA president told the French sports daily L'Equipe this week that the move, also alongside standard suspensions and gearboxes, would put a lid on costs and also make teams' research more road-relevant.

"F1 should not lose its status for technological excellence," he agrees, "but it has to be investing in useful technologies.

"I know there are those who say it is not the right move, but I am talking about the real world.

"If Volkswagen can buy an engine (for a road car) less expensively (than to build one), they will undoubtedly do that.

"After they put the VW badge on it, it's all the same.  This is a reasonable way to view the business.

"Unless we think very seriously about cutting costs, in the next ten years we will be in trouble," Mosley said.

Bridgestone confirms special paint for night race
(GMM)  F1 tire supplier Bridgestone has confirmed it will use special reflective white paint for next weekend's first ever night grand prix in Singapore.

We reported recently that, for the inaugural floodlit event, the Japanese firm planned to use the incandescent paint in the groove of the option tires as well as the extreme wet tires for the new Marina Bay street circuit.

"For the spectators and the media it should make it a little easier to tell which of our tires are being used," Bridgestone's director of motorsport tire development Hirohide Hamashima said.

Hamashima also played down fears that Bridgestone's tire allocation for the Singapore grand prix might not be suited to the cooler and darker ambiance of a night race.

"The way the tire works at night will be the same as it works during the day," the Japanese said.

Clos likely to test for Williams again
(GMM)  Dani Clos has confirmed he is likely to return to the wheel of Williams' formula one car before the end of the year.

19-year-old Clos, a F3 Euroseries competitor from Barcelona, was among the three test rookies in action on the 'Young Driver Day' at Jerez earlier this week.

"I believe they were happy with what I did and it is likely that I will test the car again, but I don't know where or when," the Spaniard said in interview with the newspaper Diario Sport.

Clos has been working with the Grove based team all year, primarily in the driver simulator.

"I don't know what is going to happen in the future, but I am going to try my hardest so that we can keep working together," he added.

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