Sepang: Latest F1 news in brief

  • Alonso warns Hamilton to be ready for F1's dark side
  • Alonso fined twice for speeding
  • Team chiefs slip up at Sepang
  • Bernie wants another Friday shakeup
  • Spyker sell F1 car space on eBay
  • Renault rule out new car in 2007
  • BMW talks have priority – Heidfeld's manager
  • F1's Finnish duo keep Sepang interest high

Alonso warns Hamilton to be ready for F1's dark side
(GMM) World champion Fernando Alonso has warned his rookie teammate Lewis Hamilton to be "prepared" to experience the unfriendly side of the formula one press.

Briton Hamilton, 22, admitted in Malaysia that after his debut podium at the Australian grand prix, he was still adjusting to the "out of body experience" of being the sport's new golden boy.

But McLaren's Alonso said Hamilton only needs to look at fellow rookie Heikki Kovalainen to find out what life is like in the paddock when things go wrong.

"What has happened to Lewis is the normal thing — when everything goes right, everything is exaggerated, but it is also the same when things go badly," the Spaniard told Diario As.

"It's the opposite situation to Kovalainen," said Alonso.

"(Hamilton) drove a great race in Australia and he deserves what everyone said about it.

"But the other side is that when he is sixth or seventh it is going to be hard for him, so he should be prepared for that as well."

Alonso fined twice for speeding
(GMM) Reigning world champion Fernando Alonso was twice fined for speeding in the Sepang pitlane on Friday.

Both infringements of the 60kph limit took place in the afternoon session for Malaysian grand prix practice — the first after stewards caught his McLaren at 63.3kph and the second at 61.4.

It cost him 1000 Euro in total.

Alonso, hinting that it was probably his error rather than a technical problem, was quoted as saying by the Spanish news agency EFE: "It will be necessary to find out where I was speeding — on the entrance to the pit lane or on the exit.

"I obviously don't want it to happen also during the race because it could ruin our day."

Team chiefs slip up at Sepang
(GMM) A slip of the tongue from two team bosses in Malaysia gave a clear insight into how much they are missing their champion drivers.

During a press conference at the Sepang circuit, reporters wondered if Renault's Flavio Briatore thought the departure of Fernando Alonso had contributed to the team's decline in 2007.

He said: "We have the people, the finance, the drivers, everything. You turn the page and you try to do the best you can, and at this moment everybody is motivated to give the best to Fernando and Heikki.

"I mean Giancarlo. I'm sorry, I'm sorry."

Later in the same FIA-organized press conference, it was Ferrari principal Jean Todt's turn to slip up while he explained a problem with new driver Kimi Raikkonen's red car in Australia last month.

"It is true to say that, at the end of the grand prix, on the last laps, Michael … you see!," Todt, realizing his mistake of starting to utter the name of retired seven time world champion Michael Schumacher, smiled as the room burst into laughter.

Briatore quipped: "You see, I'm not the only one!"

Bernie wants another Friday shakeup
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has proposed that F1 once again shake up its format for the Fridays of grands prix.

The F1 supremo apparently backs BMW's policy of running a young test driver in a practice session, but also agrees with Nick Heidfeld's argument that it is currently an unfair system because it is not adopted by all teams.

Ecclestone, 76, has reportedly suggested that the system be made fair by requiring every team to sideline a race driver on Friday and fill the seat with a rookie.

But Renault's Flavio Briatore, a staunch supporter of spicing up the GP show for spectators, said at Sepang that race organizers are not keen on the idea.

"They want to have the two racing drivers (in action) on Friday as well," he said.

"Maybe there is a time to discuss it but for the moment we haven't spoken about it."

Spyker sell F1 car space on eBay
(GMM) Spyker has turned to the internet auction website eBay to fill up the last spaces on its formula one livery.

From today, anyone with deep pockets can log into eBay and bid for a spot on the orange racer.

"We think that this is a unique opportunity for all those eccentrics and philanthropists out there who want to propose marriage in style, support their chosen charity or highlight just causes," said Media Republic's Bas Verhart.

Bidding for a logo on the nose of the Spyker car starts at 500,000 Euro, with prices reportedly rising to 3m Euro for an engine cover.

Renault rule out new car in 2007
(GMM) Renault has ruled out designing a "new car" for the 2007 season.

Giancarlo Fisichella recently urged that it might be the only way for the reigning world champions to recover their lost position as a formula one pacesetter, but his rookie teammate Heikki Kovalainen explained that team chiefs have decided against the option.

"We have been talking to the engineers and designers and the outcome was that we will not design a new car in the middle of the year," the Finn said on F1's official website.

Kovalainen, 25, explained that Renault will instead stick to its "planned developments" while also trying to understand the cause of the current lack of grip.

He added: "It will be a step by step development and not the big overhaul.

"And if I manage to keep the car on the track you will see our comeback within the next few races."

BMW talks have priority – Heidfeld's manager
(GMM) Nick Heidfeld's manager has played down speculation of a switch to Toyota or Honda next year.

Werner Heinz insisted that negotiating with BMW Sauber about 2008 is the "highest priority", according to Sport Bild.

"I want to make that absolutely clear," the German added.

"With Toyota there has so far been no contact. The first discussions over Nick's future will naturally be with BMW.

"The only thing I can say is that Nick is definitely staying in formula one. He is one of the best drivers in the field and absolutely one of the best drivers who is on the market."

F1's Finnish duo keep Sepang interest high
(GMM) F1's Finnish duo kept the interest levels as high as the ambient temperatures on Saturday morning as the final pre-qualifying practice session was held at sweltering Sepang.

After his Ferrari crew decided to use his Australia-spec engine for the rest of the weekend, Kimi Raikkonen did not emerge from the pit lane to give the V8 a try until late in the hour.

Only his countryman Heikki Kovalainen did less than Kimi's tally of 7 laps. The word in the paddock was that the Finn's R27 Renault had to wait in the garage to have a faulty oil pump repaired.

He did just 6 laps and was eighteenth.

F1's British contingent, meanwhile, have reason to cheer prior to qualifying, with rookie Lewis Hamilton outpacing Ferrari's Felipe Massa to emerge with the quickest Saturday lap time.

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