News Update 05/08/2007

           

Hulkenberg set for F1 test with Renault
Schu visit to be low-profile – spokeswoman
De la Rosa blanks Prodrive rumours
Aguri, STR, announce car upgrades for Spain
Spyker have taken step back – Monteiro
Alonso can cope with Hamilton hype
Red Bull wants Vettel for 2009

Hulkenberg set for F1 test with Renault
May 8 (GMM)  Newly crowned A1GP champion and teenager Nico Hulkenberg
will test a formula one car for the first time later in 2007.
That is the promise of the German’s manager, Willi Weber, who is famous
for steering the career of the most successful and highest earning
grand prix driver of all time, Michael Schumacher.
Weber told the German magazine Sport Bild that he is already in contact
with Renault boss Flavio Briatore about organising a test for
Hulkenberg, who drove for his ‘Team Germany’ in the A1GP open wheel series in
2006/2007.
"After we cooperated together with regard to Michael between 1991 and
1995, Flavio and I know each other more than well," Weber is quoted as
saying.
In the meantime, Hulkenberg is racing this year in the F3 Euroseries.

Schu visit to be low-profile – spokeswoman says:
May 8 (GMM)  Michael Schumacher’s role at the Spanish grand prix this
weekend will be low-profile.
But the retired seven time world champion’s media spokeswoman, Sabine
Kehm, also insisted that Schumacher will be an active member of the
Ferrari team – rather than merely a guest – at Barcelona’s Circuit de
Catalunya.
"He will be watching structures in the background and looking at where
things can be improved," Kehm is quoted as saying by the Deutsche
Presse-Agentur dpa.
Kehm’s warning follows earlier reports that said the 38-year-old German
would probably not even speak to the media this weekend.
The Spanish GP is the first formula one event Schumacher will attend
since he raced for the last time last October.
But it is believed that Ferrari and Schumacher’s PR representatives
have deliberately not organised any structured events to coincide with his
visit, despite the obviously large media interest.

De la Rosa blanks Prodrive rumours
May 8 (GMM)  Pedro de la Rosa this week has blanked rising speculation
that he could be at the front of the queue for a race seat at Prodrive
next year.
David Richards’ Banbury-based team is expected to enter formula one in
2008 with a customer car-engine package bought from McLaren and its
engine partner Mercedes-Benz.
If confirmed, Prodrive could turn to McLaren’s test drivers – possibly
to also subsidise the cost of the arrangement – to fill its racing
cockpits.
But de la Rosa, the primary McLaren test driver alongside Gary Paffett,
refused to comment on the speculation in an interview with Spanish
newspaper Diario As.
"I have nothing to say about that.  I don’t know anything about those
rumours," the 36-year-old, after receiving a medal of honour from the
Spanish government for his contribution to sport, said.

Aguri, STR, announce car upgrades for Spain
May 8 (GMM)  F1 backmarkers Super Aguri and Toro Rosso have this week
announced significant upgrades for their cars for this weekend’s Spanish
grand prix.
Like the bigger outfits in pitlane, the two independent teams used the
unusually long four week gap after the Bahrain round last month to hone
their packages for the start of the forthcoming run of events in Europe and North America.
The biggest changes for Toro Rosso’s STR2 single seater is a new rear
wing and new sidepod winglets.
And chief engineer Laurent Mekies explained: "We have now removed all
the stickers from the bodywork and replaced them with paint.  This not only makes for a less resistant surface, it also brings with it a weight
saving benefit."
Honda-powered Super Aguri, meanwhile, introduced a new carbon gearbox
and bodywork package at the Barcelona tests last week.
"Our goal this year is to score points," said chief designer Peter
McCool.  "It would be great if we managed to achieve that this weekend."

Spyker have taken step back – Monteiro
May 8 (GMM)  Axed Spyker driver Tiago Monteiro has delivered a
predictably less-than-rosy account of his former team’s progress so far this
season.
The 30-year-old Portuguese was surprised and disappointed to lose the
seat he had occupied for two years to rookie Adrian Sutil in 2007.
But Monteiro, who is currently ninth in the drivers’ standings after
taking refuge in the FIA’s world touring car championship, praised his
inexperienced successor for showing the way to his former teammate
Christijan Albers.
"Sutil is a good driver who is making life for Albers very difficult,"
Monteiro told the Dutch magazine Formule 1 Race Report.
Monteiro said he believed the more experienced Albers was struggling to
adapt to Bridgestone’s new single-formula spec tyre.
"It seems he cannot get used to them," Monteiro said, "but he will have
to if he doesn’t want to be over-run by Sutil."
On the fortunes of Silverstone based Spyker, however, Monteiro said it
appeared that the Dutch-owned camp had taken a step back since 2006.
"I have maintained contract with some of the engineers and mechanics and they are fairly pessimistic," he added.
"The gap to the rest of the field has become even larger."

Alonso can cope with Hamilton hype
May 8 (GMM)  Pedro de la Rosa has rubbished suggestions that world
champion Fernando Alonso is struggling to maintain the support of his
McLaren bosses.
The Spanish newspaper ‘Diario As’ claims that the situation, with Lewis
Hamilton the subject of British fervour due to his impressive debut in
2007, is similar to de la Rosa’s tenure at Jaguar in 2001, when the
overwhelming backing of the British team fell to Eddie Irvine.
McLaren test driver and countryman de la Rosa, however, insisted that
Alonso can cope.
"Remember when he was first at Renault," the 36-year-old observed, "he
had an Italian boss and an Italian teammate."
De la Rosa also said that 25-year-old Alonso’s difficult race in
Bahrain last month should not now be considered as typical.
"No-one should try to complicate the situation more than the reality. 
We are talking about motor racing and the fact is that not everything
goes the want you want it to all of the time.
"There is nothing more to it," he said.
De la Rosa also cast doubt on the opinions of formula one experts who think Felipe Massa can maintain the upper-hand over his highly rated new
teammate Kimi Raikkonen throughout 2007.
When asked which Ferrari driver he tips this year, McLaren’s test
driver answered: "Absolutely Raikkonen.  He is the quicker.
"At the end of 17 races, he will be our biggest adversary."

 Sebastian Vettel could be the subject of a contractual
tug-of-war in the not too distant future.
The 19-year-old teenager is fascinatingly also legally bound to Red
Bull, and wears the energy drink company’s colours on his helmet, despite
currently testing for BMW-Sauber and being tipped for a bright future with the Hinwil based squad.
But while he is known in the paddock for enjoying the affection of BMW
boss Mario Theissen, billionaire mogul Dietrich Mateschitz insisted
this week that Vettel is likely to be in a Red Bull or Scuderia Toro Rosso
cockpit in 2009.
"We have parked him for four years with BMW," the Austrian told
Motorsport Aktuell magazine.
"We say he is our driver, BMW say he is theirs.
"There are contracts, and if we do the right things, he will be with us
in 2009."

(c) 2007 Global Motorsport Media (GMM)