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DATE News (chronologically)
12/03/08
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Raikkonen spending winter in Finland
  • Team heads gather in Geneva for FOTA meeting
  • Davidson set for race return in sportscars
  • GP2 champ Pantano says F1 'abandoned' him
  • Nakamoto leaves Honda F1 team (in disgrace)
  • Trulli and Glock set for Bahrain test

Raikkonen spending winter in Finland
(GMM)  Deposed world champion Kimi Raikkonen has spent much of the time since the last race of 2008 in his native Finland.

Reports from the Nordic country reveal the 29-year-old is in Helsinki, Finland's capital which is a short distance from Raikkonen's birthplace of Espoo.

He was photographed training with a local ice-hocking team, with whom he is friends with some of the players.

The tabloid Iltalehti said that, while in Helsinki, Raikkonen has also organized to sell one of his three houses near the Finnish city.

The eight-bedroom house on the exclusive island suburb of Kaskisaari was reportedly put on the market by Raikkonen, who lives mainly in Switzerland, for 14.5 million euros.

According to the newspaper, some foreign embassies have expressed interest in the property.

Team heads gather in Geneva for FOTA meeting
(GMM)  Formula one team bosses have travelled to Geneva, Switzerland, for Thursday's meeting of the FOTA alliance.

We previously reported that the sport's ten teams intend to discuss Bernie Ecclestone's proposed 'medals' scoring system for the first time, as well as a possible shake-up for the qualifying format.

More pressing on the agenda, however, is cost-cutting, under the threat that FIA president Max Mosley will impose draconian measures if the teams cannot themselves propose worthwhile money-saving proposals.

With Mosley already threatening to proceed with engine standardization, the pressure is on FOTA to put together a cohesive package before next week's meeting of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council.

"A lot has been defined for 2009, more is to come for 2010 and 2011 to reduce costs and improve the show.  These are the leading principles," Ferrari spokesman Luca Colajanni confirmed to The Guardian newspaper.

Believed to be the most radical of the proposals for discussion is a move from 2.4 liter V8 engines for 2011 to fuel-efficient turbo 1.8 liter engines.

This specification, using about 30 per cent less fuel than the current engines, could pave the way for a ban on mid-race refueling.

Davidson set for race return in sportscars
(GMM)  Out-of-work former formula one driver Anthony Davidson looks set to turn to the world of prototype sportscars for 2009.

The 29-year-old Briton's short-lived grand prix career ended abruptly a few races into the 2008 season, when Super Aguri went out of business.

But while his 2008 teammate Takuma Sato is back in the running for a F1 race seat, Davidson has returned just once for a Honda test, and a few appointments as a race commentator on British radio.

He has therefore turned to the world of sportscars, and recently tested a prototype Peugeot.

The French marque's team manager Serge Saulnier said Davidson is in consideration for a 2009 seat.

"He tested the car for us and we have some other drivers to test," Saulnier told Motorsport News.

"He did well.  The target of this test was more for him to get the feeling of the car.  He's now got a good idea of the car and the team, so he will know about us if we consider a collaboration."

GP2 champ Pantano says F1 'abandoned' him
(GMM)  Giorgio Pantano has admitted his recently-won GP2 championship is unlikely to lead to a career in formula one.

If his fears are confirmed, the 29-year-old would be the only GP2 champion, in the company of Nico Rosberg (2005), Lewis Hamilton (2006) and Timo Glock (2007), who has not gone on to secure a seat in the premier category.

In the pages of the Italian magazine Autosprint, the frustrated Italian slammed the situation as a "joke", where contenders he defeated in 2008 - Bruno Senna and Sebastien Buemi - appear poised to make their grand prix debuts.

"I feel total indifference towards me.  I read of Senna and Buemi but, really, what have they done?

"At this point, a guy in my situation must think that being a racing driver is not advantageous, doing another job would be better," said Pantano.

It appears that not only Pantano's age played against him in the eyes of F1 team bosses.

He actually made his F1 debut for the uncompetitive Jordan team in 2004, before being replaced near the end of the season.

Prior to his abortive Jordan tenure, Pantano had tests with Williams, McLaren and Renault.

Pantano charged: "Money is becoming the priority in order to race, talent doesn't exist any more."

He said the only figure in the F1 paddock who has not "abandoned" him is F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, who spoke with Pantano on the phone a few days ago.

"The only real drives still available are at Honda and Toro Rosso," he said.  "Bernie told me that if anything moves, I'll be the first to know."

Nakamoto leaves Honda F1 team (in disgrace)
(GMM)  Shuhei Nakamoto, Ross Brawn's technical predecessor, has left the Honda F1 team.

After becoming senior technical director in 2006, the 51-year-old Japanese is therefore arguably most responsible for the last two Honda single seaters, which in 2007 and 2008 finished the constructors' championship in respectively eighth and ninth positions.

Nakamoto, who lives in England, will now return to the Honda Racing Corporation as vice president, reportedly to focus on the marque's motorcycle racing operations.

Initially working on Honda's motorcycle racing program, Nakamoto joined Honda in 1983.

Trulli and Glock set for Bahrain test
Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock will be in the car for Toyota when the popular Formula One team tests in Bahrain later this month, it has been confirmed.

Toyota F1 communications coordinator Alastair Moffitt told the GDN last night that it is essential both Grand Prix drivers participate in the tests, which will kick off their pre-season winter programme.

"We will be working on things which will help us next season, and their experience will be invaluable," Moffitt said.

Toyota will be on the track at the Bahrain International Circuit for two three-day testing sessions.

The first will be between December 10 and 12, followed by the second between the 15th and 17th.

Both tests will be private, closed-door sessions, according to Moffitt.

Toyota test driver and GP2 ace Kamui Kobayashi will also be in the kingdom for the tests, although the schedule of which drivers drive on which days has not yet been determined.

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