Latest F1 news in brief

  • Another Ecclestone ally says no to supremo job
  • Confirmed – Massa spin was driver error
  • Ex-Ferrari chief names future favorites
  • Boss puts stop to early Sutil rumors

Another Ecclestone ally says no to supremo job
(GMM) Another potential successor to F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has counted himself out of the running for the job.

Shortly after Flavio Briatore denied the possibility of replacing 77-year-old Ecclestone when he decides to step down, another of the Briton's closest friends and business partners also played down speculation that he might run formula one in the future.

Alejandro Agag co-owns a GP2 team, is involved in Ecclestone and Briatore's Queens Park Rangers foray, and controls the television rights to formula one in Spain.

But he told Spanish radio Cadena SER: "I see no possibility of replacing Ecclestone, and nor would I fit his shoes.

"I see him as a genius. He turned a group of friends into a true global spectacle that occurs every two weeks," Agag praised.

Some observers and experts, however, insist that Agag, 37, would make a good successor for Ecclestone, also pointing to his experience in the world of politics.

He says Briatore advised him to buy the Spanish TV rights, before 'Alonso-mania' kicked off.

"Nobody wanted them, but Flavio had a blind faith in Fernando and assured me that F1 is going to work in Spain," Agag explains.

He even plays down the media tale about the discord between Briatore and McLaren boss Ron Dennis, recalling a dinner at the recent Malaysian grand prix that was attended by both team chiefs.

Agag says the pair share a "cordial hatred".

Confirmed – Massa spin was driver error
(GMM) A Ferrari spokesman has finally confirmed that Felipe Massa's Sepang spin was caused fundamentally by driver error.

The Italian team has been coy as it investigated the incident, which sparked intense speculation that the Brazilian's position beyond 2008 might be in doubt.

Massa's Malaysian retirement followed the earlier Australian grand prix, where the 26-year-old spun into the wall on the first lap before crashing with David Coulthard.

Ferrari spokesman Luca Colajanni said of Massa's Sepang incident last Sunday: "He went slightly on the curb exiting turn six and therefore the car stalled (aerodynamically).

"As a consequence, he lost the rear in turn seven and spun," he added.

To the Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell, meanwhile, Colajanni also had to deny media reports that Fernando Alonso may already have signed some sort of agreement with Ferrari to join in 2009.

"There is no such contract between Fernando Alonso and Ferrari," the Italian insisted.

"We would like to remind you once again that we already have two drivers committed for the 2009 season," he added, referring to Massa and his current teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

Denials aside, however, voices from the F1 paddock continue to insist that Massa's recent errors have cast a shadow over his future.

"He has certainly not improved his position," Honda test driver Alex Wurz remarked.

Ex-Ferrari chief names future favorites
(GMM) A former Ferrari team boss has advised the Maranello based squad to consider a couple of current drivers should a vacant cockpit arise in the future.

"I would not want to be in Felipe's skin — two big weekends, three big mistakes," said Cesare Fiorio, who led the Prancing Horse nearly twenty years ago before the ultra-successful Jean Todt era.

Amid intense speculation that error-prone Felipe Massa's seat beyond 2008 is in doubt, Fiorio acknowledges rumors that Sebastian Vettel might be a good candidate.

"Although I am convinced that the young German has great potential, there are two drivers on the market who would be a guarantee of success," Fiorio, 68, told the Italian magazine Autosprint.

He said he is referring to Fernando Alonso, and BMW-Sauber's Robert Kubica, two drivers whose current contracts allow them to leave their respective teams at the end of this year.

Fiorio, who also worked with the Prost and Minardi teams following his Ferrari career, is also a great supporter of Jarno Trulli, the Italian driver who powered his Toyota to a laudable fourth place in Malaysia last weekend.

He thinks the 33-year-old is "experienced enough to bear the burden" of being an Italian at the wheel of the country's revered marque.

Boss puts stop to early Sutil rumors
(GMM) The boss of the Force India team has played down rumors that Adrian Sutil's waning form will put him out of the race seat at the end of 2008.

Sutil, the 25-year-old German, was a standout rookie of last season, when pitted against Spyker teammates Christijan Albers and Sakon Yamamoto.

But alongside Roman veteran and grand prix winner Giancarlo Fisichella, Sutil has this year been roundly outpaced at the two initial rounds of 2008.

Some observers are already comparing Sutil's disappointing pace with Albers' form early last year, and the Dutchman's subsequent departure from the Silverstone based team.

"That's not the case at all," team chief Colin Kolles is quoted as saying by the Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell.

Sutil's season so far has also not been helped by two technical failures that gave him early baths from both the Australian and Malaysian grands prix.

"Adrian needs to find and retrieve the performance that we all know very well that he has," Kolles continued.

Kolles says Fisichella is the differentiating factor this year for Sutil.

"When we look at the data, we can see exactly the progress we have made, and this clearly shows that Fisichella has been a giant step for us," he explained.

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