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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Canada GP bailout needed 'very soon'
  • Sponsor Allianz extends Williams deal
  • Raikkonen admits motivation struggles
  • Alonso rated best F1 driver
  • Senna says test is 2009 Honda seat audition

Canada GP bailout needed 'very soon'
(GMM)  Even amid reports of efforts to raise millions to save the axed Canadian grand prix, a bailout needs to be finalized and presented to Bernie Ecclestone "very soon".

"I think we need an answer very soon," Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay, central to any direct negotiations with the F1 chief executive, confirmed to the city's Gazzette newspaper.

It emerged this week that local hoteliers have agreed to raise the standard room tax and pledge the extra $5 million to the organization of the annual race at the nearby Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

That would be in addition to an extra $5m to be jointly contributed by Quebec and federal governments, with Ecclestone demanding about $30m to reinstate the race for 2009.

Some more of the extra money could come from the city of Montreal itself, by way of Tremblay drastically slashing the cost of the lease of the track on the Ile Notre Dame to just $350,000 per year.

But he said the package needs to be presented to Ecclestone immediately.

Referring to the 78-year-old billionaire, Tremblay said: "He's not interested in where the money's going to come from, he just wants to get the money to which he thinks he's entitled."

Sponsor Allianz extends Williams deal
(GMM)  Allianz, the Munich based insurance organization, has extended its sponsorship of the British formula one team Williams.

Williams, eighth in the 2008 constructors' world championship, said the news means the relationship will enter a second decade in 2009.

"There is little which can be more satisfying than enduring relationships of this nature," team boss Sir Frank Williams commented.

Raikkonen admits motivation struggles
(GMM)  Dethroned world champion Kimi Raikkonen has confirmed suspicions he struggled with motivation at times during the 2008 season.

The Ferrari driver this year began the defense of his drivers' title strongly, winning two of the first four races.

But Raikkonen, 29, struggled with subsequent developments of the F2008 car, and ultimately finished behind both Lewis Hamilton and his own teammate Felipe Massa in the final classification.

Reports throughout the season queried Kimi's motivation, and he now confirms: "That is the way it is; if you know you are fighting only for third place then you maybe don't have the same speed for the whole race as normal.

"If you have no chance to overtake or improve your position, it is definitely not very interesting," he told the Finnish broadcaster MTV3.

Raikkonen, however, vowed to be in top form next year, when from the first race he will be back in contention for the crown.

"When you are driving for the title, naturally things are completely different," he said.

Ferrari spokesman Luca Colajanni was also quoted by MTV3 as confirming that the 2008 season was a difficult one for Kimi.

But he insisted: "Even when he was in a bad mood, he always behaved professionally."

Alonso tops British list of best F1 drivers
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has been voted by readers of a British newspaper as the best driver of the 2008 season.

The Spaniard finished the drivers' championship outside of the top four, and Britain's own Lewis Hamilton earlier this month stole Alonso's record for becoming the youngest ever world champion.

The pair each attracted more than 1000 votes apiece in The Times' ranking, with Alonso emerging with the number one spot by a margin of just ten.

The 27-year-old's minor victory made headlines in the international specialist media, including the websites of La Gazzetta dello Sport (Italy) and Marca (Spain).

The Times' Edward Gorman wrote of Hamilton: "He won the world championship and he produced some incredible drives but he was also erratic and unconvincing at times."

72 votes behind McLaren's Hamilton, his 2008 title runner-up Felipe Massa came in third.

Winners of one race apiece, Robert Kubica (BMW) and Sebastian Vettel, meanwhile, ranked higher than the reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen.

Newcomer Timo Glock took eighth spot ahead of the other Toyota driver Jarno Trulli, and Hamilton's teammate Heikki Kovalainen scored enough votes for only 12th.

Britain's other drivers, Jenson Button and David Coulthard, fared poorly in the ranking, with 17th and 19th positions respectively.

And two drivers that only completed the initial four races of 2008, Super Aguri's Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson, managed to avoid last place.

That dishonor befell Williams' Kazuki Nakajima, who will again line up on the grid for the British team in 2009.

Senna says test is 2009 Honda seat audition
(GMM)  Bruno Senna has confirmed that his test with the Honda team next week is an audition for a race drive in 2009.

"I will do the best I can and I hope it is enough to earn the seat," said the 25-year-old, who - along with fellow GP2 competitor Lucas di Grassi - will drive the RA108 at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

"It will be up to the team to decide, of course, but I have to do everything I can to show that I have the necessary potential," Senna added.

The Brazilian said he has "worked hard" in preparation for his maiden outing in a grand prix car, which will be more than 14 years since his famous uncle Ayrton was killed during the 1994 San Marino grand prix.

"I have worked hard to prepare, particularly on my neck," he said in interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"A few days ago I was in Brackley to talk with the engineers, and learn the various systems and procedures," he explained.

Senna said he met Ross Brawn, Honda's team boss, for the first time at the Monaco grand prix earlier this year.

"I think it is very exciting to work with a man as experienced as successful as he is.  I can learn so much."

He has also been linked with one of Toro Rosso's vacant seats next year, but insists that his family's links with Gerhard Berger was never a guarantee of a drive.

"Gerhard does not mix personal with business and he would not give me any opportunities if he did not believe that I am good enough," Senna explained.

A Honda seat for 2009 would re-establish the Japanese manufacturer's famous relationship with the Senna name, for Ayrton Senna won all three of his drivers' titles with Honda power.

"It would be something special," Bruno Senna admitted.  "I think Ayrton and Honda had such a good relationship because they shared the same values, like dedication to the job."

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