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Latest F1 news in brief - Friday
  • Hamilton's wrecked McLaren at Spa
    'Aggressive' Hamilton knocked unconscious in Spa crash
  • Mercedes plays down Monza victory hopes
  • Abu Dhabi a Toro Rosso sponsor, not buyer - Tost
  • Pirelli moves further to limit camber
  • McLaren gambles again with big Monza wing
  • Vettel revives winning 'smiley' tradition
  • Brazilian Nasr eyes F1 with Raikkonen's manager
  • Sponsor good news for Toro Rosso, not Alguersuari
  • New steering still has problems - Trulli

'Aggressive' Hamilton knocked unconscious in Spa crash
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton thinks he was knocked unconscious after crashing out of the recent Belgian grand prix.

Cockpit replays of the incident, where the McLaren driver actually dented the Spa-Francorchamps barriers after clashing with Kamui Kobayashi, showed Hamilton completely motionless for 15 seconds in the wake of the impact.

The 2008 world champion admits it is possible he was knocked out.

"I don't really remember much from hitting the wall," the Daily Star newspaper quotes him as saying at Monza.

"It's possible I was out for a couple of seconds, I'm not really sure."

The crash was the latest incident in a series for Hamilton this year, and he told the BBC 2011 might go down as the "worst" in his F1 career so far.

"I have got to find my way, learn from any mistakes and try to smooth out the creases through these last seven races," he is quoted as saying by the Guardian.

Hamilton, 26, said he has managed to avoid all the media speculation about his aggressive driving style since Spa.

"I don't read them, but I hear there are pretty bad stories written about me, so I am thinking it will be good to give you guys something good to write about me," he told reporters ahead of the Italian grand prix.

"I guess I'm an easy target at the moment because I'm always in trouble."

Some of his rivals defended Hamilton on Thursday, including Sauber's Kobayashi, who insisted F1 drivers "need to be aggressive".

Agreed Mark Webber: "He's not that aggressive, he's ok.  He's just had a tough run in the last few races."

Hamilton's own McLaren teammate Jenson Button, however, admitted he doesn't always agree with his countryman's methods.

"I personally feel it's better to talk to the team than talk though the media, but we are built differently," he said.

Mercedes plays down Monza victory hopes
(GMM)  Mercedes is working "almost exclusively" on its 2012 car, team boss Ross Brawn has revealed.

He was speaking ahead of the Italian grand prix at Monza, where Ferrari's Felipe Massa had singled out the Brackley based team as a potential frontrunner this weekend.

Massa thinks Mercedes' engine/KERS/DRS combination will be particularly effective on the long Monza straights, but Michael Schumacher insisted: "I don't think we have a reason to talk about victories at the moment.

"We'll have to postpone this until next year," said the German.

According to the Guardian newspaper, Brawn confirmed that the "focus is firmly on 2012 now and I think that would be the case for the majority of the teams".

As well as Massa, however, McLaren's Jenson Button is also predicting a strong showing for Schumacher and teammate Nico Rosberg in Italy.

"The Mercedes was very quick in a straight line at Spa," he said.  "I'm hoping that was their Monza wing, because if not they are going to be very, very fast here."

Abu Dhabi a Toro Rosso sponsor, not buyer - Tost
(GMM)  Spanish oil company Cepsa is not buying Toro Rosso, team boss Franz Tost insisted ahead of the Italian grand prix.

Before arriving at Monza, the Red Bull-owned team confirmed new sponsorship deals with Cepsa as well as Nova Chemicals, which is also linked with Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC).

IPIC is also linked with Aabar, the part-owner of Mercedes GP, triggering speculation Toro Rosso might also be changing hands.

The rumors said Abu Dhabi wants to relaunch Toro Rosso as 'Team UAE' (United Arab Emirates) and relocate it from Faenza to Abu Dhabi's Yas circuit.

According to The National newspaper, Tost insisted: "These companies are sponsors, not investors or shareholders in the Toro Rosso team."

He said the Yas relocation stories are "fanciful" not only for logistical reasons but because Toro Rosso has "already started" to upgrade its existing factory.

Pirelli moves further to limit camber
(GMM)  In a further blow to Red Bull's hopes ahead of the Italian grand prix, Pirelli has issued yet another clampdown on its guidelines about tire camber.

It had already emerged that, after the tires on the winning RB7 cars worryingly blistered at Spa two weeks ago, F1's official supplier had told teams to limit their camber angles to just 3.75 degrees at Monza.

Previously, the recommendation was 4 degrees, with designer Adrian Newey admitting that the camber on the Red Bulls in Belgium was set slightly higher.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that the camber directive issued by Pirelli for Monza is actually just 3.25 degrees.

As recently as Hungary in late July, the recommendation was 4.5 degrees.

Pirelli chief Paul Hembery said Monza is "very hard" for the tires, with aggressive camber increasing the risk of overheating "especially with the hot weather that is predicted".

McLaren's Jenson Button thinks the new cautious approach "will put some people in trouble" in terms of lap time.

McLaren gambles again with big Monza wing
(GMM)  McLaren may have got it wrong when designing its bespoke rear wing for Monza, according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"If you walk up and down the pitlane you'll see that some cars have a wing on that looks like the thickness of two sheets of paper," said the team's Jenson Button.

Auto Motor und Sport reports that McLaren's is visibly the biggest of them all.

Last year, Button surprised the paddock by performing strongly with a notably big rear wing at Monza, while his teammate Lewis Hamilton - and the rest of the field - wore traditionally-thin Monza wings.

Button's decision paid off in 2010 because of the drag-shedding F-duct, which could be deployed anywhere around the circuit, with the big wing producing more grip in the corners.

But in 2011, the similar 'DRS' system for the rear wing can be used in the race only in its designated zones.

Another difference with 2010 is that with the exhaust-blown diffusers now producing much of the rear downforce, running more wing at Monza is not as beneficial in terms of the top-speed trade-off.

Williams' technical director Sam Michael, however, is not sure.

"On Friday we will test a Monza wing against a Spa wing," he revealed.  "My gut feeling is that more downforce may be the better solution."

Vettel revives winning 'smiley' tradition
(GMM)  Every time Sebastian Vettel wins in 2011, he adds another smile to his collection.

Germany's Bild newspaper reports that there are seven small 'smiley' stickers aligned in a row inside the cockpit of the runaway championship leader's Red Bull.

One was added to 'Luscious Liz' after each of his seven 2011 victories so far in Australia, Malaysia, Turkey, Barcelona, Monaco, Valencia and Spa two weeks ago.

The 24-year-old confirmed at Monza: "(Adding) the faces was my idea.  It's an old tradition."

He is referring to 2004, when a large yellow smiley sticker was added to the exterior livery of his formula BMW car after every win.

"By the end of the year the nose was almost completely covered in them," laughed Vettel, who as a seventeen year old won 18 of the 20 races.

Brazilian Nasr eyes F1 with Raikkonen's manager
(GMM)  British F3 champion Felipe Nasr is hoping his new title, and well-connected manager Steve Robertson, open doors for him in formula one.

Brazil's Globo Esporte reports that McLaren and Ferrari are both interested in signing up the 19-year-old from Brasilia to their young driver programs.

"I can not say anything," Nasr said.  "I have mentioned these two teams because of Steve's very good relationship with them."

Robertson, who formerly managed Jenson Button, was Kimi Raikkonen's manager throughout the 2007 world champion's race-winning stints at McLaren and Ferrari.

Nasr continued: "I know that in time he (Robertson) can negotiate an opportunity to test.  I think at the time Steve sees that I am ready, he will contact those teams."

The report said Nasr's most likely destinations for 2012 are the Renault World Series or GP2, but with the latter category less likely due to his shortage of sponsors.

He said he turned down an opportunity to join Red Bull's roster of young development drivers two years ago.

"Actually I preferred to be managed by Steve Robertson, whose resume includes two champion drivers (Raikkonen and Jenson Button).

"He is 100 per cent focused on me, which is different from Red Bull who are looking at five or six drivers at a time," added Nasr.

Sponsor good news for Toro Rosso, not Alguersuari
(GMM)  Boss Franz Tost as well as Jaime Alguersuari have denied that Toro Rosso's new sponsorship deal has secured the future of the Spanish driver.

The fact that the logos of the Spanish oil company Cepsa have been added to the livery of the STR6 this weekend was interpreted by some as good news for Alguersuari.

The 21-year-old Spaniard, as well as his Swiss teammate Sebastien Buemi, are under pressure by Toro Rosso's owner Red Bull to prove they should not be replaced for 2012 by Daniel Ricciardo.

"It's good that they (Cepsa) have come along, because the team needs the money," Spanish media reports quote Alguersuari as saying at Monza.

"But I don't think they have come for me, they have come for Toro Rosso because we are a young team with huge potential," he insisted.

And Tost told The National newspaper: "Jaime's future with the team is exactly the same as it was before Cepsa came on board."

Alguersuari also told Spanish reporters that Toro Rosso's 2012 car has been in the wind tunnel now for "about a month and a half".

Meanwhile, he said he quickly got over the Belgian grand prix two weeks ago, when Bruno Senna took him out at the first corner.

"I don't stay angry for long," said Alguersuari.  "Bruno sent me a message and apologized, which I accept.  We can all make mistakes, even big ones like that.

"I hope I never make one that destroys the race of another."

New steering still has problems - Trulli
(GMM)  Jarno Trulli might need to endure another race without Team Lotus' new power steering system.

The Italian veteran has struggled all season with the original system and even sat out July's Nurburgring race whilst waiting for the new one to debut in Hungary.

"For me it makes a lot of difference because I can actually feel the car and get the exact car behavior, which I didn't have with the old one," he said at Monza on Thursday.

"I was pretty much a passenger before rather than a driver.  With the new one it's normal power steering."

At the same time, it emerged that Trulli had to do without the new steering at Spa two weeks ago for "technical reasons".

The new system is back on the car for Monza, but 37-year-old Trulli hinted that the problem is still not entirely solved.

"We might have to probably jump another race but at the moment I just want to concentrate and focus on this one," he said.

Also hoping to stay with his current team in 2012 is fellow Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi, who thinks HRT is finally set to make some progress off the back of the grid.

"The big project is for the future, for 2012, and I have to say the new owner Thesan are planning big things for the team," he said on Thursday.

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