Latest F1 news in brief

  • Bernie wants night races in China, Korea
  • British press focus on Hamilton thirst
  • Alonso resigned to difficult season
  • Heikki heralded by Lauda, Gene
  • Todt objects to Schu's two-wheel racing

Bernie wants night races in China, Korea
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone is now hoping to install night races in China and South Korea, after revealing on Sunday that Malaysia has finally agreed to floodlighting the Sepang circuit from 2009.

"We'll speak to the people in China, see what we can do there," the 77-year-old F1 chief executive is quoted as saying by the news agency Bloomberg.

Singapore will host F1's first ever night race in September, and South Korea is due to join the annual grand prix calendar in 2010.

"Obviously when we race in South Korea, it will be good to have a night race," said the Briton, who argues that night time events in Asia will bolster the key European television audience.

Ecclestone admits that he is having trouble convincing Australia to farewell daylight racing, but seemed unfazed at the prospect of a "divorce" with the southern country.

"There's no kids involved so we haven't got a big problem," he joked.

Malaysian organizers, on the other hand, "know it is necessary" to switch to a night race, Ecclestone said, flagging a later than 7pm start and insisting that Sepang bear the costs.

British press focus on Hamilton thirst
(GMM) After ruing his qualifying penalty and botched pit stop, British media turned its attention to the thirst of championship leader Lewis Hamilton when the McLaren driver finished just fifth at Sepang.

23-year-old Hamilton, who is single-mindedly revered by his compatriot press corps, told reporters at the Malaysian circuit that his drink bottle stopped working during the hot race on Sunday.

"The great thing, though, is my fitness. Physically I felt fine and was able to push all race," the Briton said.

BMW's Robert Kubica, not feeling well all weekend, also told reporters after finishing second at Sepang that he didn't have a drink all race because it was as hot as tea.

But the British press ran only with Hamilton's thirst, The Sun headlining that "Lewis suffers water torture", while The Times began its race analysis with the words "Lewis Hamilton battled dehydration".

The Evening Standard added: "Hamilton runs dry — Kimi on top as Lewis is out of luck and water", and the Daily Mirror noted that the championship leader had "nothing to drink" but "loads of bottle".

Team boss Ron Dennis, though, seemed to played down his driver's thirst, insisting that the "only drama was (Hamilton's) seized wheel nut".

"Without that, Lewis would have been on the podium … 100 per cent sure," he said, discounting the possibility that teammate Heikki Kovalainen could have retained third place.

Alonso resigned to difficult season
(GMM) Fernando Alonso is resigned to a difficult season scrapping for the tail end of the points.

The Spaniard was asked by the newspaper Diario AS, after finishing just eighth in Malaysia, if he feels "powerless" at the prospect of a seemingly uncompetitive season in the Renault R28.

"Yes, a little," he answered, explaining that Sepang was particularly frustrating as his car seems to lack the top speed of many of its rivals, making overtaking difficult.

"I feel a bit of frustration knowing that, more or less, I will be unable to do much else in Bahrain.

"I think we have to get used to this. In Barcelona we will have some improvements in the car, but so will all the other teams, so the championship is basically going to keep its tone.

"We saw it last year and every year — the cars that win the first two or three races, keep winning races. There are not going to be any big surprises for the rest of the season," he predicted.

Heikki heralded by Lauda, Gene
(GMM) Heikki Kovalainen is the 'surprise of the year' in formula one so far, Ferrari test driver Marc Gene said at Sepang.

The Finn's highly rated McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton dropped out of podium contention with a bad pit stop in Malaysia, but it remains the case that the championship leader was marginally outpaced all weekend by the occupant of the sister MP4-23.

"I must say something about Heikki Kovalainen," Gene, in Malaysia as Ferrari's reserve driver, wrote in his post-race column for the newspaper El Mundo.

"He is definitely the surprise of the year. Here, he was surpassed only by Ferrari and his (qualifying) sanction, and in his second race as Hamilton's teammate, that is to his credit," the Spaniard added.

Former triple world champion Niki Lauda also singled out Kovalainen for praise.

"He has not too much experience of the team, yet was faster than Lewis the whole weekend," the great Austrian told motorline.

"Without doubt he was the right choice for McLaren because so far he is doing a perfect job," Lauda added.

26-year-old Kovalainen, however, was not overly happy with his lowest rung of the podium in Malaysia; ahead of Hamilton, but beaten by Robert Kubica's BMW, and world champion Kimi Raikkonen.

"It was a pretty good day but I would have liked to have been a couple of positions higher," he said on Sunday.

"I think the work I have done since last year is paying out, so we will carry on and eventually arrive in the higher position," Kovalainen added.

Todt objects to Schu's two-wheel racing
(GMM) Jean Todt on Sunday said he was not happy to learn that Michael Schumacher has made his semi-professional racing debut on two wheels.

It emerged last week that, having survived a fifteen year career as the most successful formula one driver of all time, the 39-year-old German finished on the podium when he made his motorcycle racing debut in the Skoox Cup at a Hungarian circuit.

Todt, the former team boss who oversaw Schumacher's star-studded Ferrari career, was asked about his friend's apparent new career on the sidelines of the Malaysian grand prix.

"It is Michael's life so he takes his own decisions," the unenthusiastic Frenchman is quoted as saying by the Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell.

"But do I agree? Absolutely not! Everyone knows how dangerous motorcycle racing can be," he added.

"But I am not stupid. If it was not in Michael's nature to take risks, he would not have had the kind of career that he has had.

"Some things I like, some I do not. This one, I do not," Todt said.

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