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DATE News (chronologically)
10/15/08
f1
Latest F1 news in brief
  • F1 releases footage of Fuji incidents
  • Five-year FIA cost-culling plan revealed
  • Hamilton's driving attracts more rebukes
  • Hamilton denies 'better than Senna' claim
  • Italian F3 champ to win Ferrari test
  • Toro Rosso chiefs delay 2009 driver decision
  • Kimi faces huge winter test program - Costa
  • No 'secret deal' behind Renault boost

F1 releases footage of Fuji incidents
(GMM)  Formula One Administration, headed by Bernie Ecclestone, has released multiple high-quality replays of the incidents that led to controversial stewards penalties at last weekend's Japanese grand prix.

Posted on f1.com, the sport's official website acknowledged that the incidents, all involving championship contenders Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa, have "received a great deal of attention".

In the package is multiple unseen angles - including cockpit views - of the first corner incident that cost Hamilton a drive-through penalty, the crash with Hamilton that cost Ferrari's Massa a similar sanction, and the collision with Sebastien Bourdais that handed Massa an extra championship point in a post-race investigation.

The Guardian quotes former triple world champion and respected analyst Niki Lauda as saying: "The worrying thing for me is that the stewards are really getting too involved in trying to control what the drivers are doing."

Most seasoned commentators believe Massa was right to suffer a penalty for his Hamilton collision, but Lauda sides with those who question Hamilton's drive-through for pushing Kimi Raikkonen wide in the run to the first corner.

"All Lewis was doing was braking late into a corner, which he is perfectly entitled to do," the Austrian said.

"The stewards should only start getting involved when something really serious occurs."

Also highly controversial was Bourdais' penalty, after the Frenchman collided with Massa as he exited the pits, causing the Ferrari to spin.

"Bourdais was on the inside, Massa on the outside, and if (Massa) had given him two centimeters more space, they both would have effortlessly made the corner," said Bourdais' team boss Gerhard Berger, according to racefreaks.nl.

He added: "It is a matter of fact that nothing particularly happened to either of them.  Two cars touching each other is nothing peculiar in the world of racing."

Five-year FIA cost-culling plan revealed
(GMM)  A British newspaper has revealed the FIA's five-year plan to radically slash costs, with the body's president arguing formula one has become "unsustainable".

The centerpiece of the package, to be discussed with the F1 teams' alliance FOTA next week in Geneva, is the standardization of expensive car parts that add little to the show.

The London publication The Times claims that Bernie Ecclestone, the chief executive of F1's commercial rights holder, backs the Max Mosley-devised plan to "dramatically" cut costs.

Among the measures is the introduction of a controversial standard engine design for 2010, additional energy recovery systems and fuel-efficient engines for 2013, and many "common parts" for the chassis.

"We are completely open to new ideas," Mosley, albeit insisting that engines must be made available to small teams at a low cost, said in a letter to the team bosses.

An FIA spokesman said he will not comment prior to the meeting.

Hamilton's driving attracts more rebukes
(GMM)  Timo Glock and reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen have added their voices to the growing discontent about Lewis Hamilton's driving tactics.

As McLaren's 23-year-old closes in on his first title, the opposition to his often brash on-track style has grown louder, with Robert Kubica recently leading the way by using words including "overconfident", "aggressive" and "dangerous" to describe some of Hamilton's moves.

The Pole, backed by his friend and Hamilton nemesis Fernando Alonso, is now quoted as saying by Sport Bild: "Hamilton makes up his own rules, particularly at the starts."

Toyota's Glock, aggrieved by a Hamilton maneuver at Monza last month, told the German broadcaster RTL: "In the next driver meeting, Jarno Trulli will ask (Hamilton) why he blocked him for two laps when he was a lap down (at Fuji).

"Jarno lost one and a half to two seconds, because Hamilton would not obey the blue flags," the German charged.

Raikkonen said this week: "What Hamilton did at the start at Fuji was not clean.  He didn't give me a chance to turn into the corner.

"You have to learn how to find braking points when you are six years old in go karts.  Obviously you should know how it goes at this level," the Finn added.

In an interview with the German newspaper Bild, Hamilton tried to explain his rivals' unhappiness.

"They are my opponents, and if you are going for the championship as I am, it has to be expected that your rivals try to put maximum pressure on you even off the track.

"I have good friends among the drivers and I respect them all.  I am also sure that they respect me as well.

"But clearly not everyone is going to publicly support me -- and why should you praise your opponents?" the Briton added.

But even Hamilton's usually staunchest supporters, like triple world champion and legend Sir Jackie Stewart, were unimpressed with the McLaren driver's Fuji outing.

"This was not his finest hour," the Scot told rbssport.com.  "His approach in that first corner was slightly arrogant to other drivers.

"Weaving in and out of other cars, as Lewis did in the run to the first corner, puts other drivers in the position of having to avoid his maneuver.

"The Japanese race demonstrated that Lewis is still very young, in only his second season, and although he comes across as very cool in interviews, he doesn't always have the same level of mind management when he's racing.

"Lewis Hamilton can still win the championship, but not if he drives the last two races the way he drove in Japan," Stewart added.

Hamilton denies 'better than Senna' claim
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton has denied claiming he is a better driver than was his hero, the late triple world champion Ayrton Senna.

We reported earlier this month that the McLaren driver and championship challenger was the subject of criticism in the German press, with the broadcaster RTL pronouncing him a "megalomaniac".

Hamilton, 23, was quoted as saying: "I know that I am as good as Ayrton Senna was."

After the Japanese grand prix, the Briton was asked whether he actually feels he is better than the great Brazilian.

"I never said that -- and I definitely wouldn't say it about Ayrton because he's my favorite driver.  I think he's the best driver there ever was and, to this day, I still don't believe anyone would beat him.

"If I could achieve just a small part of what he's achieved, it would be a dream for me," Hamilton said.

He was also asked to respond to claims that he is often perceived as being over-confident and arrogant, and explained that his belief in himself often comes across wrong.

"Sometimes I've said things that have either come out the wrong way or been taken out of context so people get a different feeling of what I've said when I haven't expressed myself correctly.  I'm only human and every now and then people make mistakes.

"Communication is so important in life and some of the things I've said were not meant to harm anyone.  I don't feel like I've hurt anyone," Hamilton said.

Italian F3 champ to win Ferrari test
(GMM)  The winner of the Fiat-powered Italian F3 championship this year will be granted a test with the country's famous formula one team Ferrari.

The Italian website 422race.com revealed the news, explaining that 18-year-old Mirko Bortolotti and Edoardo Piscopo, 20, are the favorites for the prize.

The news is expected to be confirmed officially in the coming days.

The last Italian F3 driver to graduate to formula one was the series' 1994 champion Giancarlo Fisichella.

Toro Rosso chiefs delay 2009 driver decision
(GMM)  Toro Rosso chiefs will delay the decision about the team's 2009 driver lineup until after the conclusion of the current season, the Spanish sports newspaper Marca reports.

Sebastian Vettel is set to leave the Faenza based team for parent squad Red Bull Racing at the end of the year.

Team bosses are also contemplating whether or not to renew the contract of Vettel's current teammate, Sebastien Bourdais, for 2009.

Team boss Franz Tost praised the French driver after last weekend's Japanese grand prix, following a difficult rookie season.

"Bourdais was a front runner right from the beginning, going on to have his best ever race for us," the Austrian said.

In the frame for 2009 race seats are Sebastien Buemi, Takuma Sato and Bruno Senna.

Kimi faces huge winter test program - Costa
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen, to next month be deposed as F1's world champion, is facing a long winter of on-track preparations for the 2009 season.

Ferrari technical director Aldo Costa has told a Finnish newspaper that the 28-year-old, who has struggled recently with the F2008 car, will take responsibility for a "large part" of the team's test program ahead of next year.

"Kimi will do approximately 9000 kilometers, or 30 grand prix distances," Costa is quoted as saying by Turun Sanomat.

"In one month's time he will drive many more laps than during the entire season," he added.

Raikkonen is hoping the sweeping new regulations for 2009 allow him to return to contention for the title.

"So much is going to change," the Finn said.  "Around Christmas time we will see exactly how it is going and how much we have improved or not."

Since last Sunday's Japanese grand prix, Raikkonen has faced renewed claims that he is no longer fully motivated.

By finishing third in the Fuji race, the Ferrari driver dropped out of mathematical contention for the 2008 crown, but he seemed not to realize this when he faced the media.

Asked by a reporter for the French sports publication L'Equipe if he still rates his chances of winning this championship, Raikkonen answered: "There's always a chance.

"I saw last year that things can go right or wrong, so we keep pushing and trying."

A few days later, he defended his error.

"I didn't think of the title really after Spa, because that would have been the only way to control the point situation.  Now it was just a matter of time when it was over," he explained.

No 'secret deal' behind Renault boost
(GMM)  Technical boss Bob Bell insists hard work and constant development has propelled Renault up the 2008 grid, amid wild rumors of FIA favoritism.

Germany's usually more sensible Sport Bild is repeating outlandish speculation that the radical progress of the R28 car could be the product of some sort of secret preferential deal between the previously struggling team and the governing body.

The Enstone built car has struggled for front running pace for most of the season, but Fernando Alonso recorded back to back wins in Singapore and Fuji, causing Bell to claim that "we now have an advantage over BMW".

The astonishing turnaround has however led to the implausible report about furtive performance assistance by the Paris based FIA - such as secretly allowing traction control or mass dampers - with Max Mosley perhaps fearing the sport could lose the French manufacturer.

Technical director Bob Bell has a more rational explanation.  "We have placed great emphasis on constantly developing our car and we have taken several new parts to each race this season."

As well as the new parts, Bell explains that team engineers simply now understand the chassis better, leading to better in-race tire management and giving the drivers confidence to "go and find that extra bit of performance".

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