Latest F1 news in brief

  • Piquet also tried to lose weight for 2009
  • Rossi admits another F1 chance unlikely
  • 2009 cars look like 'harvesters' – Lauda
  • Gascoyne eyes next job outside UK
  • Heidfeld says drivers' title target realistic

Piquet also tried to lose weight for 2009
(GMM) Nelson Piquet is another current formula one driver who this winter embarked on a weight-loss program ahead of the forthcoming 2009 season.

Numerous of the Brazilian's rivals also attempted to shed pounds, on the eve of the debut of heavy KERS systems but an unchanged minimum car-plus-driver weight limit of 605kg.

Kimi Raikkonen, Rubens Barrichello and Nico Rosberg have revealed they lost weight, while 23-year-old Piquet's Renault teammate Fernando Alonso is believed to have shed some 4 kilograms.

But according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, the frustrated Piquet managed to lose just 1kg.

"I have nothing more to lose. I am simply bigger than Fernando," he said.

Rossi admits another F1 chance unlikely
(GMM) Valentino Rossi believes he turned down his only opportunity to switch to formula one.

A few years ago, the Italian and multiple MotoGP champion tested Ferrari's single seaters and was believed to have been offered the 2006 race seat alongside Michael Schumacher.

Rossi, now 29, ultimately opted to stay on two wheels, but has admitted he often wonders if he made the right decision.

"In 2006 I decided to stay with the bike and, of course, I still have some doubts, but just to climb inside the red car at Mugello and work with Ferrari was fantastic," he said, referring to his recent outing at the wheel of last year's F2008.

On the day of the launch of this year's Yamaha mount on Monday, Rossi pledged a "few more years" to the world of premier motorcycling and said a future in rallying is possible.

He played down the possibility of another flirt with F1, despite the results of his latest Mugello test.

"To try the Ferrari again was a great emotion. I have always been a great fan of racing cars, not just of rally. I was fast, so I was happy; I am fast enough also in F1.

"I had my chance and I decided to stay with bikes. The choice is made and I don't think that there will be another possibility."

2009 cars look like 'harvesters' – Lauda
(GMM) Former triple world champion Niki Lauda has added his voice to jibes about the aesthetics of formula one's class of 2009.

Six of the nine teams have now revealed their 2009 contenders, conforming with sweeping new bodywork regulations designed to promote overtaking.

But the loss of detailed aerodynamic appendages, and the radical new unsymmetrical look of the front and rear wing dimensions, have raised eyebrows on the verges of winter test tracks.

The famously straight-talking Lauda told the German sports magazine Kicker: "They look like combine-harvesters, with the enormous front sections — especially the Renault."

59-year-old Lauda said the best-looking car so far is the McLaren MP4-24, which following Lewis Hamilton's 2008 drivers' championship bears the number one.

"The only one that almost still looks like a racing car is the McLaren-Mercedes," the Austrian confirmed.

Gascoyne eyes next job outside UK
(GMM) Out-of-work British F1 engineer Mike Gascoyne has admitted that he is likely to be based outside of the UK for his next job.

It emerged last week that the 45-year-old, who has also worked for teams including Renault and Toyota, commenced legal action against Force India following his recent premature dismissal.

In the regional English newspaper Oxford Times, it is reported that Gascoyne's country house in West Oxfordshire has been put up for sale for about 2.5m euros.

"I will probably work abroad in the future so will not need such a large home in the UK," he is quoted as saying.

Gascoyne entered formula one in 1989 as a young aerodynamicist with McLaren, subsequently working in technical management roles for Tyrrell, Swiss-based Sauber, Jordan, Renault and Cologne based Toyota.

Heidfeld says drivers' title target realistic
(GMM) It is not far-fetched to aim for the drivers' world championship this year, BMW-Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld insists.

The 31-year-old struggled for most of 2008 alongside his teammate Robert Kubica, and despite approaching his tenth season on the grid is yet to record a single race win.

But Heidfeld is refusing to limit his target for the forthcoming season to finally breaking his 153-grand prix victory drought.

"I don't constantly think about clinching my maiden win," the German said, insisting his only real chance of race victory was when he finished second to Kubica in Canada last year.

"After all, it's my goal to win the title and not just a race," he added.

Heidfeld said he is convinced that if the car is a winner, "I can make it".

Team boss Mario Theissen admitted last month that BMW's final target – to fight for the titles in 2009 – is set to be the "most difficult" since the German marque bought Sauber three seasons ago.

But Heidfeld said BMW's "major improvements" of 2008 means the team this year "won't have to make such a big step forward" in order to challenge McLaren and Ferrari.

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