Latest F1 news in brief

  • Silverstone braces for wet weekend
  • Drivers to escape spy scandal penalties
  • Lewis can't save Brit GP – Ecclestone
  • Hamilton wants to never leave McLaren

Silverstone braces for wet weekend
(GMM) British grand prix Silverstone is bracing for wild weather on the eve of the 2007 event.

As players at the Wimbledon tennis tournament can attest to, much of the UK has been affected by torrential rain in recent days, and Northamptonshire is counting on much the same for the F1 weekend.

Plenty of spots pattered the Silverstone paddock on Wednesday, and local forecasters predict more uncertain weather through to the race on Sunday.

Bracing for the storm, race organizers have announced that, for example, extra manpower and temporary roadways have been drafted in to avoid the carpark quagmire that was the British grand prix in 2000.

"We have actioned a number of contingency plans to minimize disruption to the fans and ensure that the customer experience is not compromised," the circuit's managing director Richard Phillips confirmed.

Drivers to escape spy scandal penalties
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone and sources close to Max Mosley have allayed fears that the Ferrari-McLaren spy scandal could affect the outcome of the drivers' world championship.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone, however, warned that if McLaren is found guilty by the newly established FIA investigation, constructors' points could be docked.

But he said similar fates were not likely to dent Lewis Hamilton or Fernando Alonso's charge for the title.

"I don't see that," 76-year-old Ecclestone is quoted as saying by the Guardian.

"There is no way it would affect the driver. It is nothing to do with them."

Nonetheless, F1's governing body is looking into possible breaches of the International Sporting Code and the F1 regulations, and its maximum powers include a team's total exclusion from the championship.

A source close to FIA president Max Mosley, however, said McLaren had so far reacted correctly to the saga.

"It may well be that McLaren will be vindicated in this and the whole business be put down to a couple of renegades," the source said.

Auto Motor und Sport, though, revealed that the issue is not about a few mere design blueprints transferred from Ferrari's sacked Nigel Stepney to Mike Coughlan, who has been suspended by McLaren.

In the 'package' sent to Coughlan in May was also details about internal structures, operating procedures, engineers, car setup data, race strategy secrets, future developments plans, as well as notes relating to quality control and tests.

Lewis can't save Brit GP – Ecclestone
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has scotched any suggestion that the surging popularity of Lewis Hamilton might be enough to save the British grand prix.

A recent trend in formula one has been to accommodate the annual calendar to make the most of the sport's biggest star of the day.

In the Michael Schumacher era, Hockenheim and Nurburgring each hosted an annual grand prix in Germany. Next year, meanwhile, F1 will for the first time stop off in two Spanish locations off the back of Fernando Alonso's success.

Asked if Hamilton had similarly softened his stance about the perpetually embattled single race at Silverstone, though, F1 chief executive Ecclestone told the Times: "No, not at all.

"(The BRDC) have known for five or six years what they need to do and they've done absolutely nothing."

Race organizers the BRDC's president Damon Hill last week mentioned Hamilton as a factor that could work in Silverstone's favor regarding the negotiations about 2010 and beyond.

Hill also expressed the hope that the BRDC and Bernie could "bury the hatchet" and ink a new deal.

But Ecclestone retorted: "I don't have a hatchet to bury.

"They should do what should have been done five years ago.

"I feel sorry for the public that here we are at the British grand prix again and we've got a third-rate circuit."

Hamilton wants to never leave McLaren
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton has counted himself out of the F1 silly-season by suggesting he never wants to leave McLaren.

The rookie and clear championship leader, whose impact on the sport since entering formula one this year has put him among the most sought-after and marketable names, said at a sponsor evening in the UK on Wednesday: "To be honest, I really want to see out my career with McLaren."

Hamilton, 22, described it as a "privilege" to race for Ron Dennis' Mercedes-powered team and ruled out a switch any time soon to other top squads including Ferrari.

Referring to McLaren, he said at the event hosted by Tag Heuer: "It's a team I have always wanted to race for. I have been here since I was 13 years old and to be a British driver in a British team is good for the fans over here as well."

A near-sellout crowd of about 85,000 is expected at Silverstone for the race on Sunday.

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