Latest F1 news in brief

  • Diageo happy with McLaren sponsor deal
  • Feisty Barrichello wins Massa kart event
  • FOTA to discuss 'medals' idea this week
  • Updated official Hamilton book on sale
  • Vettel says Ferrari deal would be 'dream'
  • Governments cost Canada F1 race – Ecclestone
  • Nicolas Prost targets Ferrari F1 test

Diageo happy with McLaren sponsor deal
(GMM) Multinational drinks company Diageo has no plans to sever its ties with the top formula one team McLaren.

To advertise its Scotch whisky brand Johnnie Walker, Diageo commenced a reportedly $23 million per year sponsorship deal with the Mercedes-powered team in 2005.

Diageo's chief executive Paul Walsh insists the deal is worth it.

"It is a lot of money but you have 400m people watching a two-hour grand prix and all the other races around the world, it's a great opportunity to promote the brand to the right demographic," he told The Times.

"And, of course, it's now part of the championship-winning team, and that's worth a lot in itself," Walsh added.

Feisty Barrichello wins Massa kart event
(GMM) Rubens Barrichello, who is fighting to remain in formula one, on Sunday won the charity 'International Challenge of Go-Kart Champs' race.

The 2008 Honda driver won the event, organized by Felipe Massa in the southern city of Florianopolis, by beating Lucas di Grassi in race one and finishing the other race in fifth place.

Fellow Brazilian di Grassi, also in the running for the Honda race seat next year and having secured pole position, finished the event second overall, just a single point behind 36-year-old Barrichello.

"Can we quickly send this tape to Honda?" Barrichello joked to Globo TV.

He also complained about 24-year-old di Grassi's driving.

"Everybody wants to win this," Barrichello said, "but we can't go around hitting other people on the track, this is a charity event."

Barrichello's former Ferrari teammate Michael Schumacher finished fourth in the first race and retired from the second.

Barrichello, also critical of the German's style, said: "It seemed like Schumacher thought he was in a war. Maybe he forgot that he is in Brazil now."

12,000 spectators attended the event, also contested by F1 faces including Luca Badoer and Vitantonio Liuzzi, and former drivers Luciano Burti and Antonio Pizzonia.

In the southern region of Brazil, massive flooding and mudslides have cost more than 100 people their lives.

Massa, who won race two, donated 50,000 Brazilian Real ($22,000) to the cause. "I am giving 50,000 Real from my pocket, plus a signed suit to be auctioned.

"It's the least we can do for these people," the Ferrari driver said.

FOTA to discuss 'medals' idea this week
(GMM) Formula one teams will discuss Bernie Ecclestone's 'medals' scoring system for the first time this week, according to BMW-Sauber chief Mario Theissen.

The German said Ecclestone, who insists the new system will be in place for 2009 having achieved the support of the teams, had been premature in his declarations.

"(This week) will be the first time this topic has been discussed by the teams at all," he told reporters at BMW's end of season party in Munich, referring to the forthcoming meeting of the FOTA alliance.

Theissen said there is a chance the proposal will be supported, but indicated there are arguments "for and against" its merits.

More likely to gain the support of teams is a shake-up for the qualifying system, including a possible point for pole position.

Updated official Hamilton book on sale
(GMM) A revised version of Lewis Hamilton's 2007 autobiography 'My Story' has hit the book stores.

'My Story, Special Celebration Edition', at a cost of $30, includes an extra chapter dealing with the 2008 formula one season, from which the McLaren driver emerged as the sport's youngest ever world champion.

"I am far too young to have a full autobiography," the British driver writes in the new edition, apparently addressing the criticism of his original $2m book deal that was inked not six months into his F1 career last year.

The updated hardcover version is bigger, includes more photos and additional written material at the beginning and the end.

Vettel says Ferrari deal would be 'dream'
(GMM) Sebastian Vettel has admitted racing in formula one with Ferrari would be "a dream".

The German driver, who won September's Italian grand prix from pole, was among the standouts of the 2008 season.

After just 26 career grands prix, the 21-year-old is moving up from Toro Rosso to the main Red Bull Racing team in 2009.

Asked by the Spanish newspaper El Pais if he would rather become world champion or achieve a Ferrari contract, he answered: "Be world champion.

"But, being realistic, you can't do that unless you are in one of the best cars, and Ferrari has shown that it knows how to make them.

"Of course, it would be a dream to race one of them," Vettel said.

Vettel is known for being among the friendliest competitors in the paddock.

But he laughed to El Pais: "If you want to find a good friend in the paddock, bring your dog."

Governments cost Canada F1 race – Ecclestone
(GMM) Sidestepping blame for the axe of the Canadian grand prix, Bernie Ecclestone insists governments did not do enough to save the Montreal race.

Quoted by the French language La Presse, the F1 chief executive reportedly told Canadian radio that he made "great efforts" to keep the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as an F1 venue in 2009 and beyond.

But the 78-year-old Briton claims that Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte, who had been linked with the rescue efforts, agrees with him that the governments did not do enough.

"They said the race brings benefits to millions of people in Montreal but they were unable to organize it," Ecclestone is quoted as saying.

He explained that Laliberte became involved in the efforts to save the race, but ultimately pulled out "because he thought the government was not doing enough".

Ecclestone also said he was furious that Canadian officials leaked confidential details to the public, but refuses to rule out reinstating the race at some point in the future.

He said that while returning to Montreal will be "difficult", he "never says never" to anything.

Nicolas Prost targets Ferrari F1 test
(GMM) With his new title as European F3000 champion, Nicolas Prost has targeted a formula one test for Ferrari.

Prost, the 27-year-old son of the former quadruple world champion and team owner Alain Prost, secured the crown at the Magione circuit in Italy.

He started his career late, at the age of 22, but has since collected experience in junior single seaters, at Le Mans, and in the A1 series driving for France.

Prost said: "I hope this title can help me in the future and I would like to do a test with Ferrari."

His father Alain, who had a tumultuous Ferrari tenure in 1990 and 1991, acknowledged that Nicolas' "dream" is a Ferrari test "and we'll see what we can do".

"To get a seat at 27 certainly isn't easy," he added.

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