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DATE News (chronologically)
12/12/08
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Mallya admits 2009 drivers not decided
  • Hamilton vows to enjoy 2009 with less pressure
  • Red Bull's F1 program safe says Horner
  • Honda never serious option for '09 - Alonso
  • Parr admits F1 quit comments 'stupid'

Mallya admits 2009 drivers not decided
(GMM)  The futures of 2008 teammates Giancarlo Fisichella and Adrian Sutil are in serious doubt.

Despite both drivers recently claiming they have solid contracts for 2009, Force India boss Vijay Mallya has admitted that the composition of the team's next race lineup has not yet been decided.

The Indian billionaire said towards the end of last season that both Sutil, the 25-year-old German, and Italian veteran Fisichella will remain with the team in 2009.

But Mallya subsequently struck a technical deal with McLaren-Mercedes, raising speculation that the McLaren-linked drivers Pedro de la Rosa, Gary Paffett or Paul di Resta might be drafted in.

"One McLaren test driver has already tested our car," he told the BBC.  "They bring the McLaren experience with them.

"We haven't finalized anything on the race seat.  I will discuss this issue with McLaren and take this decision at an appropriate time," Mallya added.

Hamilton vows to enjoy 2009 with less pressure
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton has vowed to enjoy his season as reigning world champion, after focusing so intensely on his goal in 2008.

At an event for team sponsor Johnnie Walker in London, the McLaren driver admitted he sacrificed socializing as well as personally enjoying the grand prix destinations this year while he concentrated on securing his first title.

"Next year I am going to enjoy myself a little bit more," the 23-year-old Briton vowed at the event also attended by Mika Hakkinen, the last formula one driver to have won the title for McLaren.

Hamilton insisted, however, that he will still be able to race professionally in 2009.

"It doesn't mean I'm going to be partying all the time, it just means I will have more time with my friends and hopefully get to do more social things," he said.

Hamilton said he does not believe he will ever again feel the kind of intense pressure he experienced in Brazil last month, when he won the world championship from Ferrari's Felipe Massa with a last-corner pass.

"I feel a lot less pressure that's for sure, now that the country and the people know I can do it, so I think we'll see," he explained.

"There was so much pressure on me this year that I didn't go out, I didn't socialize, I stayed in my hotel every night of the race weekends.

"People say 'you get to travel to all these countries' but I never really get to see anything because I'm in my hotel room the whole time," Hamilton said.

"So I want to enjoy it more because I deserve to and I can do that as well as do a good job."

Red Bull's F1 program safe says Horner
(GMM)  Team boss Christian Horner has moved to play down speculation the energy drink company Red Bull's two formula one teams could follow Honda out of the sport on the back of the global financial crisis.

In the wake of the struggling Japanese automaker Honda's decision to quit, Red Bull issued a worrying statement revealing that "other race teams are having similar thoughts".

And with Gerhard Berger recently selling back his 50 per cent share in Toro Rosso back to Red Bull's Dietrich Mateschitz, it was rumored that the move could be designed to simplify the potential sale of the teams.

But Horner told F1's official website that Red Bull is in a strong financial situation, even in light of its new 100 per cent ownership of a second team.

"The funding of Toro Rosso has always been fully provided by Red Bull, so therefore the 100 per cent takeover has no foreseen impact on Red Bull Racing," he said.

He also played down the relevance of comparing Red Bull's situation - with a company funded by sales of a beverage - with the global slump in sales of new cars.

"Thankfully a can of Red Bull doesn't cost the same as a car, so people are still buying and enjoying the product during these times!" Horner said.

Honda never serious option for '09 - Alonso
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has denied suggestions he should be relieved to still have a race seat on the 2009 formula one grid.

As recently as last month, the Spaniard was being openly courted by Honda, who late last week announced they are pulling out of the sport with immediate effect.

Only at the beginning of November did the Honda speculation end, when Alonso's new two-year deal to stay with Renault was unveiled.

"The truth is I am content to be with Renault, but not because Honda has gone away.

"I must say that (going to Honda) was never too serious an option," the 27-year-old former double world champion insisted to the Spanish sports newspaper Marca.

Alonso's future may not yet be totally secured, however, if the latest whispers are to be believed.

It is understood that Flavio Briatore, Renault's F1 team boss, was this week summoned to an emergency meeting with the French carmaker's chief executive Carlos Ghosn.

The subject of their meeting is not known, but it must be pointed out that Renault has lost more than 82 per cent of its share price - more than any other manufacturer - amid the financial crisis.

Parr admits F1 quit comments 'stupid'
(GMM)  Adam Parr, the Williams chief executive, has admitted he regrets making "stupid" comments about the risk of formula one losing another team before the start of the 2009 season.

Earlier this week he said he expected another competitor to follow Honda out of the sport "and there is a very high chance it will be a manufacturer".

Parr's comments added to fears that the global financial crisis could be set to consume formula one, which has frantically been working to slash costs.

"It was a stupid thing to say, not because I necessarily think it's wrong, but because it wasn't constructive," Parr is quoted as saying by the Press Association.

He said he made the comments partly to make a distinction between Honda, run by a board of directors and involved in F1 for mainly marketing reasons, and Williams, with no other objective than to contest grands prix.

"When I made that comment I meant, 'is there a risk another major shareholder will decide not to be in formula one?' and there is a risk and the sport has to be ready and prepared for that," he said.

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