Latest F1 news in brief

  • Renault pace won't affect sponsor talks
  • Trulli happy with post-Schumacher Toyota
  • McLaren to equip simulator for night racing
  • Fry surprised by Super Aguri rumors
  • De la Rosa back to work after birth of daughter

Renault pace won't affect sponsor talks
(GMM) The Dutch bank ING is currently undecided about whether to extend its formula one sponsorships, primarily the title backing of Renault, beyond the end of next year.

The Amsterdam-headquartered company entered the sport last year, and also advertises trackside and through naming rights at a few grands prix.

ING was delighted with the results of the 2007 season, which – after Vodafone – reportedly made it the second most visible sponsor.

But even though Renault has so far failed to replicate its past successes while ING has been on board, the company's global sponsorship chief denies that this will color its considerations about the future.

"There is no relationship between race results and visibility — the brand visibility is not dependent on the performance of the ING Renault F1 team," Isabelle Conner told the Australian newspaper.

She also revealed that ING is spending "between $50 million and $100m" on F1 annually.

Trulli happy with post-Schumacher Toyota
(GMM) Jarno Trulli has made it clear that he does not miss his former Toyota teammate Ralf Schumacher.

The Italian was partnered at the Japanese squad with Schumacher for three seasons until 2007.

His current teammate is German newcomer Timo Glock.

"I think I am listened to a little bit more now," Trulli, who is 33, is quoted as saying by the Cologne newspaper Express.

Trulli finished fourth at the recent Malaysian grand prix; a rare positive result following the difficult 2006 and 2007 seasons.

"The car is now the way I want it to be and we are exactly where I wanted us to be," Trulli explained.

"Behind BMW we are the fourth power," he claimed.

"I will not criticize Ralf Schumacher," Trulli continued to the Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell, "but he had his opinions about the kind of racing car he wanted."

The TF108, however, is less to Schumacher successor Glock's liking, as he comments that Trulli has a "really very unique" driving style.

McLaren to equip simulator for night racing
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen will be perhaps the best prepared drivers for F1's first ever night race in Singapore later this year.

Representatives for the Anglo-German team McLaren were in the Asian city-state at the weekend as race organizers tested the lighting system for the event along a stretch of the street circuit's layout.

Retired double world champion Mika Hakkinen was conducting demonstration driving duties for fans in one of last year's McLaren single seaters, and he told reporters that he thought special testing so that drivers can get used to night driving is not necessary.

Meanwhile, McLaren technical staff witnessed the lighting demonstration on Saturday, and took detailed photographic footage of the scene, the local Pan-Asian news service Channel Newsasia said.

"When we get back to England, we are going to put this on our simulator," McLaren's special projects chief, and long time associate of Ron Dennis, Neil Trundle, said.

Fry surprised by Super Aguri rumors
(GMM) Nick Fry reacted with surprise to speculation that he could emerge as team principal of the newly Magma-controlled Super Aguri.

It is believed that Fry, Honda's former team boss and now the Japanese squad's CEO, was instrumental in bringing together the struggling former owner Aguri Suzuki with takeover group Magma chief Martin Leach.

But when asked if he is first in line to run the Leafield based outfit when the takeover is complete, Fry thought he had wrongly heard the Motorsport Aktuell reporter.

"Me?!" he enquired, shaking his head, albeit admitting that he has known Leach for years.

"I have heard so much recently — even that I was going to be the buyer," the Briton added.

"I am staying as CEO of the Honda team," Fry insisted.

GP2 team boss and former formula one man David Price has also been seen a lot in Super Aguri's hospitality area lately.

But Martin Leach insists: "Aguri Suzuki is still the team manager. He is regarded very highly in the industry and is the right person for this post."

Regarding Price, meanwhile, new team owner Leach insists that he has been brought on board due to his vast experience to help with the takeover.

De la Rosa back to work after birth of daughter
(GMM) Pedro de la Rosa's wife Maria has given birth to their third daughter.

The Spaniard and McLaren test driver, who usually travels to all the races as the Anglo-German team's official reserve, was replaced at the recent Malaysian grand prix by his McLaren colleague Gary Paffett.

It now emerges that 37-year-old de la Rosa was at his wife's side as Luna, a baby sister for Georgina and Olivia, was born in Zurich.

It is understood that he will be back on duty in Bahrain this weekend.

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