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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Nurburgring wants to keep F1 race
  • Villeneuve to race Speedcar in 2009
  • No place for Rossi at Renault - Briatore
  • New McLaren to launch on 16 January
  • Alonso requires 'winning car' - Briatore
  • Schu shrugs off Barrichello bitterness
  • No plans for more Bortolotti tests
  • Hamilton wants to jet into space

Nurburgring wants to keep F1 race
(GMM)  Walter Kafitz, the boss of the German formula one circuit at the Nurburgring, has rejected suggestions the country could soon be permanently unrepresented on the sport's annual calendar.

The Nurburgring currently alternates the privilege of staging a single annual grand prix in Germany with Hockenheim.

But it has emerged that, without state support, Hockenheim will not host races in 2010 or beyond.

Although carrying similar financial losses, however, the Nurburgring is happy to continue to organize grands prix into the future, Kafitz told the German news agency SID.

"The Hockenheimring is clearly in a worse situation to us," he said.

He revealed that even in Hockenheim's absence, the Nurburgring will seek a new contract, covering the period beginning in 2011, to host formula one every two years.

"We regard a race every two years as a good compromise between the benefits to the region and what it costs us," Kafitz said.

Rejected by F1, too slow for NASCAR, thought he was too good to return to Champ Car, Villeneuve has to now settle for the lowly Speedcar series
Villeneuve to race Speedcar in 2009
(GMM)  1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve has signed up to contest the full 2009 season of the Speedcar series.

The 37-year-old French-Canadian, who contested the last of his 165 grands prix in 2006 with BMW-Sauber, will drive for the Italian-based GP2 team Durango.

Villeneuve contested a couple of races during the inaugural Speedcar series, won by fellow former F1 race winner Johnny Herbert, last year.

The second season begins this weekend in Dubai.

No place for Rossi at Renault - Briatore
(GMM)  Renault boss Flavio Briatore says he would not offer Valentino Rossi a formula one race seat.

"I would not give him a car," fellow Italian Briatore confirmed to the newspaper Il Riformista.

Rossi, 29, flirted seriously with a switch from MotoGP to F1 with Ferrari a few years ago.

Recently, after another Ferrari test to celebrate his latest title, he left the door open to racing in formula one after he retires from motorcycles, perhaps in 2011.

Briatore said: "He belongs to the world of bikes.  There, he is without an equal, and some say that without him MotoGP would not be half of what it is."

Briatore, however, confessed that Rossi's flamboyant personality would be "very good" for formula one.

"He appeals to everyone, as a rock star does."

New McLaren to launch on 16 January
(GMM)  McLaren will launch its 2009 car on 16 January, the British formula one team has confirmed.

Wearing the number 1 for 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton, the Mercedes-powered single seater is to be designated MP4-24.

The launch will take place at McLaren's Technology Centre in Woking (UK).

"I had my seat fitting earlier this month and while the plan at the moment is to start testing in January, I'm really keen to get going," said 23-year-old Hamilton, who is preparing for the team's fitness camp in Finland.

The Briton added: "I've already had a close look at the new car and the engineers have explained the philosophy behind it and just how different things will be next year."

Alonso requires 'winning car' - Briatore
(GMM)  A contract will not be enough to keep Fernando Alonso at Renault beyond 2009, team boss Flavio Briatore has admitted.

After months of intense speculation, the French team announced last month that the 27-year-old Spaniard has signed to stay with Renault next year and also in 2010.

But in comments published by the news agency EFE, Italian Briatore said the only guarantee of keeping the former double world champion is a "winning car".

"We cannot offer him anything else," he explained.

"If you have a bad car, you won't keep any good driver."

Briatore added: "Our goal is to be world champions again in 2009 together with Fernando, and I think we have a good chance."

Schu shrugs off Barrichello bitterness
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher has shrugged off the recent outspoken form of his former Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello.

The first signs of 2008 Honda driver Barrichello's renewed acrimony arose on the night of the season finale in Brazil, when the 36-year-old sang a derogatory song about the German at a nightclub.

Barrichello then continued his tirade by talking about the team orders saga of Austria 2002, saying Ferrari threatened him with the sack and accusing Schumacher of being directly involved.

At the weekend, they went head to head at Felipe Massa's charity kart event in southern Brazil, and after a slight tangle, Barrichello said: "It seemed like Schumacher thought he was in a war.

"Maybe he forgot that he is in Brazil now."

Schumacher has now responded in the pages of the major German newspaper Bild.

"He (Barrichello) is like that.  He complains whether he is the winner or the loser," the seven time world champion said.

Barrichello defended his recent outspokenness about Schumacher.

"I have nothing personal against him," he insisted.  "He is an exceptional driver.  What I have said has been the truth.

"I just wanted to say that I could have achieved something more with Ferrari for Brazil in different circumstances."

Ferrari's press office declined to comment.

No plans for more Bortolotti tests
(GMM)  Mirko Bortolotti, who so impressed during his debut test with Ferrari last week, is not currently scheduled to reappear in the team's formula one car.

When the top three finishers in this year's Italian F3 series were granted F1 tests at Fiorano, 18-year-old champion Bortolotti was clearly the quickest.

He even surpassed the benchmark time set down by regular test driver Andrea Bertolini by nearly three tenths, and was six tenths quicker than a time set earlier this year in the F2008 by Kimi Raikkonen.

But when asked if the next step is a more serious F1 test with Ferrari, Bortolotti told motorline.cc: "No, there have been no invitations like that.

"Now I have to go and develop myself more, because I am still very young and have a lot to learn still."

Bortolotti, whose plans for the 2009 season have not been finalized, is currently studying for a diploma in tourism.

Although born in Austria, Bortolotti has lived most of his life in Italy, and races with an Italian license.

Hamilton wants to jet into space
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton is planning to spend an incredible (US) $1m on Christmas presents.

The 2008 world champion reportedly wants to take his girlfriend Nicole, and three members of his family, into space.

The Evening Standard said the five tickets on a 2010 flight of the highly exclusive new Virgin Galactic airline will cost the 23-year-old McLaren driver just shy of $1m.

"Lewis thinks it would be the perfect way to say thank you to Nicole and his family for their support throughout his triumphant year," said a source.

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