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Latest F1 news in brief
  • Hakkinen's son starts karting career in Italy
  • Also Sauber considering F-duct removal for Monza
  • Lauda denies predicting Ferrari 'pasting'
  • Webber supports driver's crash injury recovery
  • No decision on Whitmarsh's FOTA successor yet
  • Massa had head-start on Belgian GP grid

Hakkinen's son starts karting career in Italy
(GMM)  Mika Hakkinen's 9-year-old son has begun a serious karting foray.

Hugo Hakkinen, born at the end of 2000, made his debut recently at a round of the Italian WSK Master Series at Siena.

He now races in the series' Mini class, open to youngsters between 9 and 12, wearing a white helmet with the light blue Finnish cross.

1998 and 1999 world champion Hakkinen, 41, attended the event with his new partner.

"Hugo is making good progress, but it takes a little bit of time to develop," said the Finn.

"We chose Italy to start off Hugo's karting, and I'm really happy with the choice," added Hakkinen.

Also Sauber considering F-duct removal for Monza
(GMM)  Sauber is yet another team considering removing the F-duct system from its car for the forthcoming Italian grand prix.

McLaren intends to have a non-F-duct rear wing and engine cover at Monza next weekend, with simulations showing that weight saving and aerodynamic efficiency could mean a conventional setup is the more competitive option for the high speed circuit.

Robert Kubica has also hinted that his Renault will not have an F-duct at the Autodromo Nazionale, even though Ferrari's Stefano Domenicali indicated that the F10 will still be running the device at Monza.

It has now emerged that Sauber could be yet another team contemplating its F-duct options for Italy.

"We will have the option to take off the F-duct," said the Swiss team's new technical director James Key.

"We will only make the final decision at the track," he added in an interview with Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

Key also said Sauber is already working on the 2011 car at its Hinwil base.

"There are some areas of the regulations that are not yet 100 per cent clear, such as the functionality of the (adjustable) rear wing.

"But there is already enough for the teams to move forward with the development for next year," he revealed.

Key also said he is confident about Sauber's financial situation for 2011 and beyond.

"That is not my area, but I have no great concerns," he said.

"I know we are actively working on it and that at Spa we were able to show a new logo on the rear wing.

"The direction is positive.  With the improvement of the car, we have shown what we are capable of.  If we can maintain that, I expect a further step forward next year.

"I am planning for the long term with Sauber," added Key.

Lauda denies predicting Ferrari 'pasting'
(GMM)  Niki Lauda has denied making scathing comments about Ferrari's likely punishment at the forthcoming World Motor Sport Council disciplinary hearing.

The Italian team angrily bit back at the triple world champion's apparent prediction that it will "get a pasting" by the FIA for implementing illegal team orders at Hockenheim.

Ferrari's website columnist had responded by suggesting the Maranello based team's famous former driver had missed "a fine opportunity to keep his mouth shut".

Interestingly, 61-year-old Lauda insists that he actually did keep his mouth shut, therefore insinuating that F1's official website manufactured the interview.

"I've never said that stuff," he is quoted by the Telegraph as having told the Italian press.

"On television I only said that team orders are not good for F1 and for the spectacle, and that a team like Red Bull, by leaving Webber and Vettel free to fight, is doing the right thing.

"Please write that I didn't do any interview," he reportedly said in the Italian report.

Ferrari confirmed that Lauda's denial was made to the Corriere della Sera newspaper.

"I am very pleased Niki has denied making these statements: it shows that fresh air is really good for you!" said the team's website columnist, who is known as the Horse Whisperer.

Webber supports driver's crash injury recovery
(GMM)  Mark Webber has vowed to support the rehabilitation of injured single seater racer Chris van der Drift.

New Zealander van der Drift, 24, broke his ankle, shoulder and two fingers in an horrific crash during the Superleague race at Brands Hatch in July.

Next Tuesday, in the days before the Italian grand prix at Monza, fellow Antipodean Webber will flag off a kart race in Milton Keynes to raise money for van der Drift's specialist treatment.

2010 championship favorite Webber, 33, badly broke his leg in a cycling crash before last season.

"It's really humbling to see so many good friends from within the industry support me through this difficult period," said van der Drift in a statement.

No decision on Whitmarsh's FOTA successor yet
(GMM)  A decision about Martin Whitmarsh's successor as FOTA chairman has not yet been taken, the McLaren team boss has insisted.

At Spa-Francorchamps last weekend, it was reported that Briton Whitmarsh will be replaced as head of the teams' organization by Williams' Adam Parr.

The Italian report also said Toro Rosso's Franz Tost will succeed Whitmarsh's current deputy Stefano Domenicali.

But a report in the Portuguese language Globe Esporte insists that Whitmarsh's tenure will not end until the end of the year.

However, Globo said it is likely that the next FOTA chairman will represent an independent team, meaning that Williams' Parr is a likely candidate.

"My mandate runs until the end of the year," Whitmarsh is quoted as saying.

"A vote is likely to happen between November and December," he added.

Massa had head-start on Belgian GP grid
(GMM)  Felipe Massa escaped penalty despite clearly getting a head-start in last Sunday's Belgian grand prix.

Before the five red lights went out at Spa-Francorchamps, BBC commentator Martin Brundle observed that the Ferrari was about "two meters" ahead of its starting area on the grid.

A spectator's amateur footage, posted on video sharing website Youtube, now supports Brundle's observation, but the Brazilian was not penalized by the stewards.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said Massa, who finished the race in fourth place, was "at least 1 meter" ahead of his grid box.

Ferrari's post-race press release mentions neither Massa's grid error or the fact that he made up two early positions once the race had started.

The German report speculated that if FIA officials, or any of his competitors, had noticed the incident, Massa would probably have received a drive-through penalty.

Sensors in the grid boxes are supposed to ensure the cars' correct positioning as well as whether the competitor made a jump-start.

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