Latest F1 news in brief

  • Hamilton misses top British gong
  • US GP collects F1 award
  • Ferrari to test at Menorca this week
  • Mallya not disappointed by Ralf's comments
  • No Williams reserve role for Hulkenberg
  • Todt to attend some F1 races in 2008
  • Schu won't lead testing of new Ferrari
  • Sutil's 2008 seat still in doubt
  • Racing driver killed at Interlagos

Hamilton misses top British gong
(GMM) Hot favorite Lewis Hamilton has been beaten to one of Britain's top annual sporting plaudits.

The McLaren rookie was strongly tipped to be named BBC Sports Personality of the Year, but the award instead went to 35-year-old Joe Calzaghe, who is the world super-middleweight champion.

The Welsh boxer attracted more than 28pc of the public vote compared to Hamilton's 19pc. In his debut season of formula one, the 22-year-old won four races and failed to win the drivers' title by a single point.

"He's a worthy winner. I just wish he was here so I could meet him," Hamilton said at the awards evening, after Calzaghe was presented with his trophy in Las Vegas.

The British tabloid Daily Star, tongue-in-cheek, observed: "Sports fans proved they love a winner".

US GP collects F1 award
(GMM) Indianapolis will not host a formula one race in 2008, but June's United States grand prix has been named among the best races of the season.

Promoter Tony George and F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone failed to agree terms for a new contract next year, after the race was staged at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 2000.

The US GP nonetheless accepted the annual Race Promoters' Trophy for 2007, given out by Formula One Management, at the FIA Awards gala in Monte Carlo last Friday.

An FIA statement confirmed that the trophy is awarded "to the promoter who has proved most helpful, in the most difficult conditions".

Ferrari to test at Menorca this week
(GMM) Ferrari will follow the lead of McLaren and Honda by testing at an airfield on the Spanish island of Menorca.

The Real Aeroclub de Mahon, a private airfield on the small Mediterranean Sea island, was this year earmarked by the teams as an ideal location for some straight-line aerodynamic F1 testing.

The airfield boasts an ideal runway of nearly 2 kilometers in length, and an ideal surface, and earlier this year it was reported that venue boss Jose Villalonga was encouraging teams to regularly test there.

Reports from Spain indicate that Ferrari transporters recently arrived at the island's port ahead of testing this week.

BMW and Toyota are believed to have also expressed interest in testing at Menorca.

So-called straight-line testing is currently excluded from the F1 test agreement, but the FIA last week indicated that the practice from 2008 will be banned except at "FIA approved test tracks" and allowed for only five days per year.

"Full size testing to be subject to the (30,000km capped) F1 testing agreement," the summary of the World Motor Sport Council's decisions in Monaco last Friday also said.

Mallya not disappointed by Ralf's comments
(GMM) The owner of the newly acquired Force India team has confirmed that Ralf Schumacher's Jerez test last week was not an audition for a 2008 race seat.

Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya, who met the veteran German as a Toyota sponsor earlier this year, said he was not disappointed when he read Schumacher's media comments playing down his desire to race for the struggling Silverstone based team.

"Ralf came to test and not to compete for a seat in the team," the news agency PTI quotes Mallya as saying.

"He said what he had to and it's fine by me," he added.

Team principal Colin Kolles, however, has told a German magazine that – despite the apparently poor lap times – 32-year-old Schumacher actually performed well last Thursday.

"Ralf did a very good and consistent job. There were too many red flags when it came to trying for purely quick times with fresh tires," Kolles explained to Sport Bild.

Chiefs Mallya and Kolles both insist that a decision about the team's drivers for 2008 is yet to be taken.

No Williams reserve role for Hulkenberg
(GMM) Nico Hulkenberg will secure a Williams test seat in 2008, it has been reported.

The German publication Sport Bild said Willi Weber's new protégé is set to test for the Oxfordshire based team throughout next year, but it is understood that Hulkenberg, who is 20, will not be designated the official reserve driver.

"That would be too stressful," Weber told Auto Motor und Sport, referring to Hülkenberg’s race deal with the ART team in European F3 for 2008.

The young German tested for Williams over two days last week at Jerez.

Weber told Sport Bild: "I strongly believe the contract with Williams will be done by Christmas."

Todt to attend some F1 races in 2008
(GMM) Jean Todt has confirmed that he is still likely to attend some grands prix in 2008.

After fifteen years in the role, Todt has stepped down as Ferrari's team boss ahead of 2008 to concentrate on being CEO of the entire Maranello based company.

But despite Stefano Domenicali's promotion, Frenchman Todt, who is 61, will still attend grands prix next year, Ferrari's head of track activities Luca Baldisserri suggested recently.

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Todt confirmed at the Bologna Motor Show: "If I want to go to races, I will do so."

Schu won't lead testing of new Ferrari
(GMM) After driving at both post-season tests, Michael Schumacher insists he will not lead the development of Ferrari's 2008 car.

The new Maranello built machine, to be launched and debuted in the opening two weeks of January, will be raced next season by reigning world champion Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa.

Asked if he will spearhead the technical development of the car, 38-year-old Schumacher answered: "I do not believe I am responsible for that.

"The official drivers will do so," the retired seven time world champion is quoted as saying by the Spanish newspaper Diario As.

"I will only help with my opinion and my experience if I am asked," Schumacher added.

Sutil's 2008 seat still in doubt
(GMM) Adrian Sutil's place in the 2008 Force India lineup is still the subject of doubt.

Despite the rookie German having a contract to stay at the former Spyker team next year, boss Colin Kolles said recently that two seats at the Silverstone based outfit might be up for grabs ahead of the new season.

Spanish hopeful Roldan Rodriguez is among the swathe of drivers who have tested for Force India since the end of the season.

Accompanied by his manager Adrian Campos to the recent Jerez test, he is quoted as saying by Diario AS: "I think Sutil could go if he is offered a better car."

Sutil, who is 24, has long been linked with the vacant McLaren seat for 2008 alongside his former F3 teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Racing driver killed at Interlagos
(GMM) A racing driver was on Sunday killed at Interlagos, the home of the Brazilian F1 grand prix.

Rafael Sperafico, a 26-year-old Brazilian who has raced in the Champ Car and F3000 categories, died when his stock car was t-boned by a competitor in a fast corner during the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

He had just left the circuit and smashed into a tire wall at high speed when his car, competing in the Brazilian Stock Car Light championship, bounced into the path of competitor Rentao Russo, who is reportedly in a serious but stable condition with head injuries.

The series' doctor Dino Altman said in a television interview that Sperafico, one of three brothers and a cousin who all race professionally, died of massive head injuries and cardiac-respiratory failure.

The crash happened in the fast left sweepers just prior to the pit entry, where in 2003 Fernando Alonso crashed into the stricken wheel of Mark Webber's car during the formula one race.

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