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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Massa tells Hamilton he thrives on pressure
  • Details emerge after FIA-FOTA Geneva meeting
  • McLaren downplays tech fears for 2008 title
  • Petrobras wants young Brazilian at Honda
  • Hamilton portrait to be displayed in London

Massa tells Hamilton he thrives on pressure
(GMM)  Felipe Massa has issued a swift rejoinder to championship challenger Lewis Hamilton's claim that it will be the Brazilian feeling the brunt of the pressure when his home race at Interlagos crowns the 2008 title.

"The pressure from the fans only helps.  It's always better to have it," the Ferrari driver said as he touched down from a flight in Sao Paulo, his native city and the scene of next Sunday's Brazilian grand prix.

Massa, 27, won the Interlagos race in 2006, and he was similarly strong last year.

"I've always liked racing at home," he explained.  "You can absorb everything positive from the fans and that helps you do your best."

The Brazilian driver also replied to news that his British rival Hamilton consulted with celebrity magician Uri Geller, who claims to have physic powers, about how to go about sewing up the 2008 title.

"I met him and discussed the power of the mind," Geller, 61, is quoted as saying by the Daily Star newspaper.

Massa said: "It doesn't help with the driving, but if it makes you calmer, if it helps your preparation, then it's valid."

Massa admits his chances of beating Hamilton to the title next Sunday, with the McLaren driver needing only to finish fifth, are small.

"The important thing is to always keep up your hopes and do your best, which for me means to win the race.

"Perhaps it will not be enough, but it is the only thing I can control, so I intend to try to achieve it," Massa said.

Details emerge after FIA-FOTA Geneva meeting
(GMM)  Some details have emerged about what was agreed and discussed in Geneva on Tuesday during Max Mosley's meeting with FOTA officials.

After the FIA president met in Switzerland with the F1 teams' representatives Luca di Montezemolo and John Howett, a joint statement said "significant cost savings for 2009 and 2010" had been settled, but it was not revealed what those measures were.

Anonymous team figures, however, subsequently told media confidantes that one of the chief cost-cutting measures will be the extension of the one-engine per two weekends rule to three races in 2009.

Customer engine packages, meanwhile, will be made available by manufacturers to independent teams for no more than 10m euros per season.

The joint statement on Tuesday also indicated that FOTA would work "urgently on further proposals for 2010 and thereafter".

It is understood that these discussions, to begin taking place with meetings in Brazil next week, will involve expanding testing restrictions, and the future use of customer cars.

It is also believed that, in Geneva on Tuesday, Montezemolo and Howett made clear FOTA's desire for KERS technology to be standardized in 2010 -- which could lead to many teams opting against using their own systems next year.

On the KERS issue, FOTA and Mosley do not see eye-to-eye.

"The FIA intends to keep KERS as a performance differentiator in formula one and, indeed, increase its importance in 2011," Mosley had said before the meeting.

McLaren downplays tech fears for 2008 title
(GMM)  Martin Whitmarsh has moved to downplay fears that Lewis Hamilton's championship bid next weekend could be scuppered at the final hurdle by reliability concerns.

Hamilton's McLaren teammate Heikki Kovalainen retired from the recent Japanese grand prix with a Mercedes engine failure, and the Finn's race in China ended early with what was described as a problem with the 'pneumatic system'.

"Of course, we are keenly aware that the world championship could be won or lost by a mechanical failure," team chief executive Martin Whitmarsh said.

23-year-old Hamilton, who must finish just fifth in Brazil next Sunday to be crowned world champion, will contest Interlagos with a race-old engine, and the same gearbox he raced both in Japan and last Sunday's Chinese GP.

Additionally, Hamilton's unused engine 'joker' for 2008 cannot be used in Brazil, as it is the final race of the season, so an engine problem prior to the race will result in a ten-position grid penalty.

"We don't foresee this being an issue," Whitmarsh insisted, also denying that Hamilton's two-race-old gearbox is a concern.

"The level of reliability inherent in the gearbox means we anticipate fewer problems in this area," he said.

Hamilton portrait to be displayed in London
(GMM)  An enormous painted portrait of Lewis Hamilton will soon be on public display in central London.

Reebok, the McLaren driver's major personal sponsor, has commissioned freelance artist Ian Cook to paint a huge 96 square meter likeness of Hamilton's face.

The work is taking place this week, in Cook's unique style; he drops paint on the canvas and then spreads it around by using various remote-controlled cars.

The finished product will ultimately be hung near the Tower of London from 29 October, and displayed throughout the decisive Brazilian round of the 2008 championship.

"It will take all week," Cook said, "and I'll be working 14-16 hours a day on it."

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