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Latest F1 news in brief
  • FIA, McLaren, slam latest Hamilton racism
  • Trulli absent at Interlagos on Thursday
  • Kubica gives thumbs down to Hamilton scorn
  • Strong finale could help Bourdais keep seat
  • Alonso's 2009 news due 'next week'
  • Barrichello 'on hold' while Honda test alternatives
  • Kovalainen wants winter talks with McLaren

FIA, McLaren, slam latest Hamilton racism
(GMM)  F1's governing body, and the McLaren team, have condemned a new wave of racism against championship challenger Lewis Hamilton.

A Spanish website, whose name will not receive publicity in this news item, included a game inviting visitors to leave virtual nails and hazards on a mock-up of the Interlagos circuit, scene of Sunday's title showdown.

Thousands of visitors to the site left vile and racist messages for the 23-year-old Briton, who earlier this year was subject to taunts and abuse at a test in Barcelona.

"The FIA's position is very clear," a spokesman for the Paris based body said in response.

"Discrimination and prejudice can have no place in sport or society.  Everyone in our sport will join us in condemning these abusive and hateful comments."

A McLaren spokesman added: "We've seen today's statement from an FIA spokesman, and we can only echo it."

Trulli absent at Interlagos on Thursday
(GMM)  Jarno Trulli sat out Thursday's proceedings at the Interlagos circuit, amid reports he is not well.

Switzerland's Motorsport Aktuell revealed that, while other drivers met with the media and attended briefings and other commitments, the Toyota driver remained in his Sao Paulo hotel with a high fever.

Italian Trulli, 34, was visited at the hotel and reportedly treated by team doctor Riccardo Ceccarelli.

"We assume he will be okay for Friday," Toyota team president John Howett said.

Kubica gives thumbs down to Hamilton scorn
(GMM)  BMW's Robert Kubica gave Brazilian supporters the thumbs down in Sao Paulo on Thursday.

The Pole politely smiled but made clear he did not endorse chants - in both Portuguese and English - that he should "smash into Hamilton" to ensure local favorite Felipe Massa wins Sunday's championship showdown at nearby Interlagos.

According to the Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport, the scene took place at an autograph and photo session inside a shopping centre.

F1 veteran and Paulista Rubens Barrichello urged his countrymen to be more polite at the circuit this weekend.

"All I would ask of the guys who come here to cheer Felipe on is to respect Lewis," said the Honda driver.

"I think Brazil can do that quite well and I don't think it's an issue.

"Imagine me doing something against Lewis; would Felipe be happy with that?  Would he be a worthy champion?  I don't think so.

"I think the guys have fought the whole championship by themselves and that's the way it has to be," Barrichello added.

Strong finale could help Bourdais keep seat
(GMM)  Toro Rosso has scheduled three days of Barcelona testing next month but Sebastien Bourdais said on Thursday he is unsure he will be invited.

But the Frenchman, who is hoping to be retained by the Faenza based team at the end of a mixed season, believes a good performance at Interlagos this weekend could tip the scales in his favor.

"I want to finish in style, it is important for next year," the 29-year-old is quoted as saying by La Presse.

"The last impression you make can count because they (the team bosses) have not decided what they are going to do."

Bourdais said he is willing to wait a little longer for STR chiefs Gerhard Berger and Franz Tost to determine their driver plans for 2009.

Alonso's 2009 news due 'next week'
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso at Interlagos denied this weekend will be the scene of the announcement about his future.

But the Spaniard, who is tipped to stay at Renault next year rather than switch to Honda, admitted that the news is looming.

"I think next week," he told reporters on the scene of Sunday's Brazilian grand prix, the last race of the season.

Team boss Flavio Briatore said a few days ago that the 27-year-old looks likely to also spend the 2009 season with the French squad.

"The chance (that he stays at Renault) is fairly big," he told a German newspaper last Sunday.

Meanwhile, Alonso has stated he would like to see Lewis Hamilton beaten to the title this weekend by Felipe Massa, but denied he feels any personal animosity towards his former McLaren teammate.

"But I think I will always prefer any team other than McLaren to win," he confessed.

Barrichello 'on hold' while Honda test alternatives
(GMM)  Rubens Barrichello in Brazil said his formula one career has been put "on hold" by Honda so the Japanese team can test potential candidates for his 2009 seat.

At what could be the Brazilian veteran's last race in his record-setting career of more than 270 grands prix, the 36-year-old admitted he wants to return to the grid next year but has been told to wait.

"It is on hold as Honda wants to try some other people, test them in Barcelona," Barrichello told reporters at Interlagos, a circuit located near his childhood home.

We reported earlier this month that Bruno Senna is expected to test for Honda in November, but Barrichello advises Honda against picking a rookie to replace him.

"If they want to win by next year they need someone who is very experienced with my qualities to do it.  But I am hopeful.

"I am talking to other teams as well, so hopefully it will be fine," Barrichello said.

He said he feels he deserves a better car, after switching from Ferrari at the end of 2005 and having to race the poor Honda single seaters of the past two years.

"I won't stop because I think I deserve better.  If it wasn't for minor problems I think I would have more than 20 points with a car we can see is not good at all," he insisted.

Kovalainen wants winter talks with McLaren
(GMM)  Heikki Kovalainen has denied he is "unhappy" with his role at McLaren, but admits he wants to talk with team bosses over the winter.

It was reported last week that the 27-year-old Finn, who will remain Lewis Hamilton's teammate in 2009, has confided to friends he is uncomfortable with his escalating role as a secondary driver.

"I feel comfortable in this team, I have nothing to be negative about or ashamed of," Kovalainen told reporters at Interlagos on Thursday.

"Somebody told me that there were some quotes saying I was unhappy in the team, but I don't underline that at all."

The report, however, said Kovalainen is unhappy about always running higher fuel loads for the decisive qualifying phase, leaving him out of contention to compete with Hamilton in the races.

"Over the winter we will have a look at things and try to improve for next year," he said.

"I'd like to start the races higher up on the grid because it makes a big difference in terms of the result at the end of the race.

"And with a bit less fuel I have a better chance of starting the race higher up.

"This year is my first year with a top team and next year we need to take a step forward," Kovalainen said.

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