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DATE News (chronologically)
10/23/08
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Ferrari to test young F3 runners
  • FIA tries to topple Brundle's BBC switch
  • Montezemolo hopes for late title effort
  • Montezemolo slams team order ban 'hypocrisy'
  • Schu cheers for Massa but also rates Hamilton
  • Dennis expects Force India linkup to occur
  • Single engine would be reason to quit - Toyota
  • Alonso '99pc sure' of 2009 team
  • Bourdais has 'chance' of 2009 seat - Todt

Ferrari to test young F3 runners
(GMM)  As reported recently, the formula one team Ferrari plans to test young Italian F3 contenders.

In collaboration with Italy's motor racing governing body ACI-CSAI, the test day will take place at Fiorano late in November.

The top three finishers in the Italian F3 series, Mirko Bortolotti, Edoardo Piscopo and Salvatore Cicatelli, will drive the famous Maranello based team's current F2008.

"I hope this initiative can contribute to the development of young drivers and also to the regeneration of motor sport in our country," said Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.

FIA tries to topple Brundle's BBC switch
(GMM)  F1's governing body is reportedly not happy about the continuing commentating career of former grand prix driver Martin Brundle.

It is widely expected that the popular 49-year-old, who currently occupies the ITV commentary box, is set to switch over to the BBC from next year as the sport's broadcasting rights in Britain change hands.

But despite winning six Royal Television Society Awards for his role, Brundle is not popular among FIA figures.

The Briton revealed last year he has been the subject of the Paris body's complaints to ITV that his "commentary is not up to standard".

The World Motor Sport Council last year also cleared the path for the FIA to pursue Brundle for libel for a newspaper column he wrote suggesting the spy scandal was akin to a "witch hunt".

The British newspaper Daily Mail now reports that FIA delegate Alan Donnelly, who represents Max Mosley at grands prix, "has been trying to dissuade BBC executives from  employing Brundle".

Martin Brundle contested nearly 160 grands prix for teams including Tyrrell, Williams, Benetton, McLaren and Jordan.

Montezemolo hopes for late title effort
(GMM)  Despite a mixed season for the famous Scuderia, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said Brazil could be the scene of a "penalty kick in the ninetieth minute".

Felipe Massa is 7 points behind McLaren's Lewis Hamilton with just the Interlagos race to go, meaning even a Ferrari one-two might not be enough to defend the team's 2007 title.

"But we do head the manufacturers' championship, and winning this will allow us to write 'world champions' on our car," the Italian said in interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"My goal at the beginning of the year was to win our eighth title in 10 years.  It's something no-one has ever managed," Montezemolo said.

Michael Schumacher, Ferrari's recent five-time drivers' champion and now an advisor and occasional test driver, describes the 2008 car as "very sensitive to drive".

Montezemolo added: "We have lost many opportunities; we have had problems with reliability, but we are still there.

"The championship will be decided in Brazil and we hope to score a penalty kick in the ninetieth minute.

"I am relying on our guys.  Kimi is available to help and Massa, who is in great form, is racing at home."

Montezemolo slams team order ban 'hypocrisy'
(GMM)  Luca di Montezemolo, the president of the Ferrari marque, has vowed to "speak with" FIA president Max Mosley about F1's current ban on team orders.

Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa's position swapping in Shanghai last weekend threatened to reignite the debate about team orders, a controversial practice that was disallowed following the furor of Ferrari's actions in Austria six years ago.

Today, top teams including Ferrari and McLaren must be careful that any position-swapping in the interests of the championship is done without the orders originating from the pitwall.

"We will speak with Mosley; we must remove this hypocrisy," Montezemolo told the Italy's sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"The important thing is that you do not harm the others, but for the interests of the team, in a team sport, I think it is a beautiful thing.

"Just think of cycling," the Italian said, "when his teammates gets their sprinter to the line."

Montezemolo, however, backed the FIA amid the controversy about stewards penalties in 2008, arguing that the officials are right to be hard on driving discretions.

"Maybe some of them have been a bit picky, but I agree, otherwise the grands prix would become like the jungle.

"The real problem is with the new circuits that are there just for show.  I think Monaco is enough," he said.

Montezemolo also believes formula one should prioritize its return to North America, following the demise of the US and Canadian rounds.

"It is a problem that must be dealt with seriously by Ecclestone; F1 is a global sport and we must be in North America," he insisted.

Schu cheers for Massa but also rates Hamilton
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher, the most successful driver in formula one history, has declined to wade into the debate about which of the 2008 title contenders would be the more worthy champion.

The 39-year-old German is a former Ferrari teammate, mentor, and personal friend of Felipe Massa, but Schumacher also makes clear he rates McLaren's championship leader Lewis Hamilton "very highly".

"I think what he has done in such a short time, just arriving and competing last year with Alonso and being very often quicker, talks for itself," seven time world champion Schumacher told the BBC.

"But then, I am always a little bit concerned when we talk about 'is he the best or not?  Is he better than Felipe?'

"I think you have to look at the circumstances, and they are not always straightforward and clear to understand from the outside," he said.

Schumacher, however, makes no secret that he will be barracking for Brazil's 27-year-old Massa when the championship is decided at Interlagos next weekend.

"Watching it from the outside, it is strange to see that people seem to underestimate a man ready for the world championship -- a contradiction in itself to me," he said.

"I know Felipe can handle it.  I have seen him driving, I drove alongside him, I know how good he is.

"He is a powerful racer and a dangerous opponent, and maybe because he still looks like a boy people struggle to see it," Schumacher said.

He describes the F2008 Ferrari, a car he has tested himself, as "very sensitive to drive".

"Felipe together with the team has mastered it in a way that enabled him to still fight for the championship," Schumacher remarked.

Dennis expects Force India linkup to occur
(GMM)  McLaren-Mercedes is close to inking a deal to collaborate technically with the independent team Force India next year, Ron Dennis has admitted.

It has been reported, and confirmed by Force India figures, that the Silverstone based squad is in talks with McLaren about the use of engines, components and other technical support for 2009 and beyond.

Dennis is quoted by the Spanish newspaper AS as insisting a deal has not been done, but he said he was confident "there will be a positive outcome".

It is believed that the final hurdle to be cleared is clarification about whether existing F1 teams will be allowed to cooperate beyond engine supply, for example the exchange of 'customer cars', in the future.

Sportnet.at quotes Dennis as explaining: "For the moment there is no binding agreement.  I believe it will happen, but it has not yet."

Single engine would be reason to quit - Toyota
(GMM)  A single engine regime in formula one could have moved Toyota, and like-minded manufacturers, to quit the sport.

It is believed that, at FIA president Max Mosley's meeting in Geneva this week with FOTA figures, alternative cost-cutting plans were put in place.

But these agreements may have preceded concrete threats by carmaker teams including Toyota, which was horrified at the concept of racing with an engine it did not itself devise.

"For Toyota it would be a reason to leave formula one," Toyota Motorsport president John Howett, who accompanied FOTA president Luca di Montezemolo to the Geneva meeting, is quoted as saying by sport1.de.

Alonso '99pc sure' of 2009 team
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso says he is now "99 per cent sure" which team he will race for in the 2009 season.

The former double world champion's forthcoming plans have been the subject of intense speculation, with rumors this year hinting at deals with Ferrari, Toyota, BMW, Red Bull, Honda, and even Toro Rosso.

But with it now seeming likely he will stay put at Renault at least next year, the 27-year-old Spaniard has scheduled an announcement for some time during or after next weekend's season finale in Brazil.

"I am 99 per cent sure what I am going to do," he said in interview with the Dutch magazine Formule 1 Race Report.

"Just after Brazil, everyone will know," he added.

It is still suggested that Honda might be his destination for next year, but in the interview Alonso seemed to hint that the reports of a renewed tenure at Renault are right.

He insisted that while his Singapore victory was the result mainly of luck, "there was no safety car in Japan".

"Nobody can deny that we were simply fast there," Alonso said of his win at Fuji Speedway.

"From the middle of the season we knew what our problems were with the car, and now it appears that our work has paid off."

Bourdais has 'chance' of 2009 seat - Todt
(GMM)  Sebastien Bourdais' manager insists there is a "strong chance" the 29-year-old French driver will retain his Toro Rosso seat for next year.

The Faenza based team's chiefs are openly not in a hurry to determine the 2009 lineup, near the end of Bourdais' mixed first season in formula one which followed his ultra-successful career in American single seaters.

"As I have said often, there is a strong chance that Sebastien can remain at Toro Rosso," Nicolas Todt, who also handles the career of Ferrari's championship contender Felipe Massa, told French radio RMC.

"I am hopeful," Todt, also a Frenchman, added.  "It is my task now to make sure he stays in formula one next season."

Todt, the son of the former Ferrari boss Jean Todt, admits that Bourdais' has not been a shining rookie season.

"I think for this reason some people could have some doubts about him.

"But I think Sebastien reacted well to his difficult period and has had some good performances, although not all of them rewarded," he said.

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