Latest F1 news in brief

  • Hakkinen tests Mercedes road car
  • No Ferrari 'surprise' at Monza – Alonso
  • Penalty shows new FIA system works – Alonso
  • Still no clarity about Ferrari no.1
  • Niki Lauda gets married

Hakkinen tests Mercedes road car
(GMM) Former double world champion Mika Hakkinen is apparently heavily involved in Mercedes-Benz's road car development program.

Photographs have emerged of the retired 39-year-old Finn, who won his titles with McLaren in 1998 and 1999 with Mercedes power, driving a development prototype of the German marque's 2010 AMG E-Class, which was painted in a black and white test livery.

Also in the car was Klaus Ludwig, a famous German ex racing driver, although never in single seaters.

Mercedes has not announced the launch date for the car.

No Ferrari 'surprise' at Monza – Alonso
(GMM) Formula one fans may be expecting an announcement about Ferrari's next driver lineup at Monza, but Fernando Alonso insists he is not part of those plans.

It has been rumored that current world champion Kimi Raikkonen could retire at the end of the year, but Spaniard Alonso told reporters from his country this week that he expects the Finn to stay put.

"Ferrari tend to confirm their drivers at Monza. I don't think there is going to be a surprise," the 27-year-old, who currently races for Renault and has also been linked with BMW-Sauber and Honda about 2009, is quoted as saying by the Spanish broadcaster La Sexta.

Referring to his own team, Alonso said the R28 is missing up to half a second per lap on its rivals simply due to an under-powered engine.

He also disagrees with Renault boss Flavio Briatore's claim this week that he is expecting "at least two more podium finishes" from the final five grands prix of the season.

"It is going to be really difficult to be on the podium in the rest of the year, but I do not see it as a failure," Alonso said, when asked how disappointed he is that his teammate Nelson Piquet is the only Renault driver to have netted a top-three finish with the 2008 car.

"In comparison with my teammate, this has been my best season ever. I have always been in front of him. He got a podium after a great race and with lots of luck."

Penalty shows new FIA system works – Alonso
(GMM) Fernando Alonso believes the decision to strip Lewis Hamilton of his Belgian grand prix victory shows the FIA was right to overhaul the stewarding system for 2008.

In many expert observers' eyes, Hamilton's penalty for an apparently illegal pass near the end of the Spa-Francorchamps race a week ago was evidence of either the FIA's incompetence or, worse, a pro-Ferrari bias.

But Hamilton's former McLaren teammate Alonso believes that, for the first time, all infractions are now being dealt with consistently at races.

"The FIA decided to change (the system) after several big scandals of the past seasons," he told reporters in Madrid this week.

"This year, if you do something wrong, you pay. I touched a painted line in Valencia and I got a 10,000 euros fine.

"The decision to change was done with very good judgment, because in the past four of five years, there were always surprises. You never knew what they were going to do," he said.

Ferrari driver Felipe Massa, meanwhile – the beneficiary of the Hamilton penalty – dismisses suggestions that the incident will discourage drivers to make risky overtaking moves.

"It is true that for good races you need good overtaking," the Brazilian told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"But there is overtaking and then there's overtaking," he continued, explaining that after cutting the chicane, he believes Hamilton continued to use the advantage to immediately re-pass Kimi Raikkonen.

"He did not have the patience to wait for another corner and try again," Massa continued, "and the rules say he should be penalized."

Still no clarity about Ferrari no.1
(GMM) With just five races to go and nearly 20 points between them, there is still no official confirmation about the driver Ferrari intends to favor for the 2008 title.

Felipe Massa, just two points behind McLaren's Lewis Hamilton following the Spa-Francorchamps chicane controversy, believes he should now be getting the entire weight of the Maranello based marque behind him.

"The team wants to win the title and we are going to try our hardest to do it," the 27-year-old told the Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"It is true that Kimi is strong, an excellent driver. But we have to also look at the situation with the championship points," Massa went on.

Reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen nearly got his campaign back on track a week ago before crashing within sight of the Belgian checker.

The Finn said this week that he has still not given up.

"I'll fight to the end," he insisted. "I've got nothing to lose and so I'll give everything, I'll push to the limits.

"The points will be counted at the end of the season. There are still five races to go," Raikkonen added.

Niki Lauda gets married
(GMM) Niki Lauda, the former three time world champion who still attends grand prix as a media commentator, recently got married.

According to the German newspaper Bild, the 59-year-old Austrian's marriage to 29-year-old Birgit, in a civil ceremony, took just seven minutes.

Bild said Birgit Wetzinger donated a kidney to the former racing driver and aviation entrepreneur three years ago.

They met when Birgit was an air hostess with one of his airlines.

"It's true," Lauda said when asked for confirmation of his new wedding status.

"I try to keep my private life to myself, so I don't want to say anything more about it."

About Birgit, however, he said: "Without her I would not be alive today."

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