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Latest F1 news in brief - 2
  • Symonds backs divisive diffuser designs
  • Domenicali 'embarrassed' by scoring saga
  • Raikkonen knows 2009 'important' - boss
  • Domenicali backs Todt for FIA top job
  • Force India, new teams, back budget caps

Symonds backs divisive diffuser designs
(GMM)  Pat Symonds has contradicted his Renault boss Flavio Briatore over the rear diffuser saga.

While Briatore recently accused three teams of fielding illegal solutions at the rear of their 2009 cars, technical boss Symonds patted his rivals on the back for clever engineering.

"Toyota and Williams have found a very good, very interesting solution with the diffuser which we hadn't done and I'm sure that everyone is looking at that at the moment," the Briton is quoted as saying recently by Australasian Motorsport News.

A giant row about the issue is brewing ahead of the Australian grand prix, with formal protests against the aforementioned teams, and also Brawn GP, possible.

On Monday, Ferrari made clearer its position against the disputed diffuser designs.

"We are convinced that certain interpretations that have been applied do not correspond to the nature of the regulations," team boss Stefano Domenicali told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"We expect the federation (FIA) to clarify its position as soon as possible.  If it is illegal it should not be used, and if it is legal then other teams, including us, will try to adapt."

Domenicali 'embarrassed' by scoring saga
(GMM)  Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali on Monday said he felt "embarrassed" by the saga surrounding alternative scoring systems.

First, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone proposed an Olympic Games-style system of medals, followed by the FOTA team alliance arguing that 2009 should instead see the margin between first and second places simply widened by a point.

The governing FIA ignored both suggestions and this week announced the immediate introduction of the 'winner takes all' scheme, but then had to back down following FOTA's objection.

"I feel embarrassed about what has happened in recent days," Domenicali is quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"We wanted a greater gap between first place and the others, but instead everything is staying as it was."

Raikkonen knows 2009 'important' - boss
(GMM)  2009 is an "important season" for Kimi Raikkonen's future at Ferrari, team boss Stefano Domenicali said on Monday.

The Finn, widely regarded as the highest-paid formula one driver, struggled to match his teammate Felipe Massa last year as he carried the 'number 1' of his 2007 title.

But Domenicali on Monday said Raikkonen, 29, is "strongly motivated" for the forthcoming challenge and "much leaner -- he has lost three kilos".

"He knows this is an important season for him as a driver and as a Ferrari man, and he is smart enough to understand it," Domenicali told La Gazzetta dello Sport in an interview.

When asked to clarify if Raikkonen's tenure with the team will be evaluated in the context of 2009, the Italian answered: "Certainly."

Luckily for the self-titled 'Iceman', he has settled in with the 2009 car better than he did its predecessor.

"Honestly I can say that I like the new car more than the car we had last year," Raikkonen said on Monday.

Domenicali backs Todt for FIA top job
(GMM)  Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali on Monday added fuel to speculation that his predecessor may be preparing to bid for presidency of the FIA.

Last week it emerged that 63-year-old Jean Todt had amicably severed his last ties to the Maranello based marque, moving the Italian sports newspaper Tuttosport to muse that the Frenchman may be clearing the path to succeed Max Mosley.

Domenicali, who took over long-serving Todt's role at the beginning of last year, was asked about the speculation on Monday in interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Probed as to whether the future of the sport would be better served by Mosley or Todt, Domenicali answered: "I worked alongside him (Todt) so I do not know Mosley as well.

"I personally believe Todt is a person who knows how to interpret a role well in the context that is required," he added.

Force India, new teams, back budget caps
(GMM)  Existing and potential small F1 teams on Monday offered backing to plans to make the sport more competitive for privateers.

Officially, the FOTA team alliance is vehemently opposed to the voluntary budget caps for next year -- so much so that ill-informed sources are pondering the possibility of a Melbourne boycott.

But Silverstone based Force India on Monday cautiously backed the cut-price concept, director of business affairs Ian Phillips insisting that "the days of spending what you want are gone".

"I don't know if 30 million (pounds) is the right figure, but it's the sort of figure we should be aiming for," he said.

Prospective 2010 entrant USGPE (US Grand Prix Engineering), through its sporting director Peter Windsor, heralded the FIA's moves as "commendable, courageous" and "very positive".

David Richards was more guarded, but he admitted he is still looking to bring his Prodrive organization into formula one.

"I think there are lots of discussions, so it would be wise to let the dust settle before we see what happens," he is quoted as saying by GP Week.

"There's a lot of water to go under the bridge before any of these things happen."

Richards, however, confirmed that F1 is "somewhere we should be at some point, but ... we wouldn't be there to make up the numbers, and we wouldn't be there to lose our shirts."

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