Mosley: Looking for Ferrari ideas on new McLaren car

The FIA has revealed that they will be bringing in external experts to help scrutinise McLaren s 2008 race-car.

McLaren were thrown out of the 2007 constructor s championship after their chief designer Mike Coughlan was found to be in possession of confidential Ferrari documents. With some worried that McLaren s 2008 car may contain Ferrari intellectual property, the FIA decided to inspect the car thoroughly to ensure that it was completely legitimate.

Max Mosley explained, “That was in the hands of the chief designer at precisely the moment he was designing the 2008 McLaren. The difficulty we have is that you’re not going to find on the McLaren a part that was designed by Ferrari. Instead, what you may find are ideas.

“But at this level of technology and at this level of motor sport, if the idea is given to the chief designer, he will make a component utilising that idea which bears no relation at all to the component perhaps being used by the other car – so we will be looking for the ideas.

“Finding something will not be easy. On the other hand, there are sources we are going to deploy who will give us as good a chance as it’s possible to have to find it. The investigation will be thorough – it will use outside experts and we will do everything we possibly can to make sure that either of the McLarens has no element of Ferrari intellectual property in it. If it does, we will then have to consider taking some sort of action. That would not necessarily be preventing them from running – it would be more likely that they would be given a negative point allocation.”

BMW want to challenge for top spot

Mario Theissen, motorsport boss of BMW Sauber, has revealed his team are hoping to close the gap to Ferrari and McLaren and take their first ever Formula One victory in 2008.

During the 2007 season, the F1.07 car propelled BMW to third position, and the team were continually finishing in the points just behind McLaren and Ferrari. BMW are hoping that over the winter, they can take the next step and catch the top two teams and start challenging for victories in 2008.

“Obviously that is what we are aiming for,” Theissen explained. “We want to win out first year and I hope that ultimately it will be more than just one victory. But we also know how difficult that will be because both Ferrari and McLaren-Mercedes have been at the top for many years now and they obviously have a head start in terms of experience. Getting one up on those teams will be a hard nut to crack!”

However, Theissen knows that his team will also face pressure from other teams vying for position close rivals are expected to be Williams, Red Bull and Renault.

“Not only are our rivals far from standing still they are also under massive pressure,” Theissen continued. “That is why we need to deal with a situation where everyone is putting their foot down just as much as we are – Renault is the first that springs to mind on that score.

“In the closing races of this season, I also saw good form on display from Williams and Red Bull and so we need to keep our eyes on them too. As for Honda and Toyota, it is difficult to guess how things will go for them.”

Alonso remains tight-lipped over his future

Fernando Alonso is giving nothing away about his future, although he has admitted that there are several roads open to him. Many teams have yet to confirm their 2008 driver line-up, with many waiting for Alonso s decision before they decide what drivers to sign.

Alonso has endured a turbulent season with McLaren any many believe that he will break his contract a year early and defect to another team. He has been linked with most of the top teams in Formula One with the latest rumours suggesting that Nico Rosberg of Williams may swap seats with him.

“There are many options open,” Alonso explained. “We are discussing all of them. I have some idea of what I want to do a plan or a hope. I know what I would like to do next year but I don t know if it is possible. Whatever happens, it will be a tough season.

BMW Announce New Chief Designer

BMW Sauber have announced that Christoph Zimmermann has been appointed chief designer for the team after their previous chief designer, Jorg Zander, left to go to Honda earlie this year.

BMW Sauber have been on the look-out for a new chief designer for several months. Eventually, they decided to promote one of their senior Sauber engineers instead of finding a new person to join the team.

“On principle, we fill executive positions internally whenever possible,” BMW motorsport boss Mario Theissen explained. “It also sends an important signal to our workforce.

“I am delighted that in Christoph Zimmermann we have a highly qualified colleague in our ranks who will take over the task of chief designer. From his previous work, he is familiar with the complex technical relationships as well as the specific operational procedures involved. In keeping with our philosophy, we will also replace him internally.”

Honda give three GP2 drivers a testing opportunity

Honda will be giving three GP2 drivers a taste of Formula 1, allowing them to test for the team at Barcelona next month. Mike Conway, Luca Filippi and Andreas Zuber will test the new Honda car at Honda s first winter test on 13-15 November.

Ron Meadows, sporting director at Honda, explained that their young driver programme was important to the team, hence why they were giving the GP2 testers a taste of Formula One. “Honda is committed to developing promising  young talent in motorsport,” he began.

“We will take this opportunity to have a closer look at three young drivers who have done very well in the GP2 series this year. We will also be evaluating their potential to assist Honda in the future with our testing requirements.”

Hamilton moves to Switzerland

Lewis Hamilton has decided to leave Britain in light of the excessive public and media attention he has received in the UK over the past year.

Hamilton will be moving to Switzerland and joins a whole host of other Formula 1 drivers including current team-mate Fernando Alonso and current world champion Kimi Raikkonen, along with seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher.

“Over there people do not come up to you they leave you alone and give you space,” Hamilton explained. “I am going to a country that I don t know but it s very exciting!”

Aside from the intense attention, Switzerland has financial advantages for big earners with wealthy Switzerland citizens paying significantly less tax than their equivalents in the UK. Despite not being one of the big earners in Formula 1 in 2007, Hamilton s impressive debut season will no doubt have sponsors flocking to his door and 2008 is set to be a big earner for the young McLaren driver.

Despite the advantages that Switzerland holds, Hamilton explained that it was a tough decision to make. “It was a tough decision,” he explained. “My dream for years was to move to London – I stayed at a friend’s house this weekend in London and I woke up in the morning and just knew it was where I wanted to be.

“But I’ll meet new people, new faces and I do have a few friends there and my family and friends from home will be able to come and visit me.”

Hamilton then went on to explain about the problems of the media scrutiny and attention. “When I was coming up I knew there were sacrifices you have to make,” he said. “You lose your ability to go places – you don’t understand what that means until you get there and you really struggle to lead a normal life.

“I haven’t been able to spend much time with my friends or my family – it’s not like a normal job, you’re travelling all the time, you live out of your suitcase and it’s tough to manage that and still live a normal life. When you come home and everybody knows you, it makes it so much harder to do normal things. I can’t go to the cinema. I go to the bathroom in a petrol station and people come in there for autographs.”

Hamilton s announcement comes a day after the news that his home town, Stevenage, will be naming a street in honour of the McLaren driver.

Raikkonen: Next season will be easier

Kimi Raikkonen has said that he expects the 2008 season to be easier for both himself and his team. Mid-season, Kimi Raikkonen was an outside challenger to the 2007 title having struggled with his car s reliability and having to adapt to the new Bridgestone tyres, however he pulled off a near-miraculous come-back to with the 2007 drivers title.

“Next year should be easier – not just for me but also for the team,” he explained. “This year we had some difficulties to get the car right as I wanted. We will see what we do for the new car.

“It is very hard to say at this point how good the car will be but we have great expectations. We will see what happens next year but we have a good feeling!”

Raikkonen also explained that he was looking forward to new rule banning traction control and driver aids. “When I came to Formula 1 we didn t have traction control,” he said. “There are so many things coming up I think it will be good fun and more challenging too taking the traction control away will give us more opportunities to overtake.”

McLaren Appeal Date Set for November 15th

McLaren s appeal against the Brazilian stewards decision not to penalise a trio of drivers of fuel irregularities has had the appeal date set. The International Court of Appeal will hear McLaren s case against the decision on November 15th.

Nico Rosberg, Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld were all found to have had their fuel stored at temperatures outside of the permitted range laid down in F1 s technical regulations. The Brazilian stewards investigated the matter but chose not to hand a penalty to any of the drivers.

The appeal has thrown the world championship into confusion if the three drivers are disqualified and Lewis Hamilton is moved up three places in the Brazilian race results, he will overtake Kimi Raikkonen s season tally and therefore take the championship title away from the Finn. However, Max Mosley has quashed any talk of Raikkonen losing the title. “For us, the world championship is over,” he explained. “The result is what it is. A team presented an appeal at the moment, this does not change anything. It is up to them to prove they are right.”

Super Aguri make financial loss in first F1 season

In their first season of Formula 1, Super Aguri have made a loss of £4.5 million. Super Aguri have one of the smallest budgets in F1 and although the team has only posted abbreviated accounts which do not show turnover figures, it is estimated that the team only raised around $5 million in sponsorship fees in 2006. This compares to a team like Ferrari who have sponsorship deals 35 times this size. Top teams will employ up to around 1,000 staff; Super Aguri make do with around 100.

Despite the lack of staff and budget, and with problems with one of their main sponsorship deals, Super Aguri finished a credible ninth in their first season although they owe some of their success to their engine supplier Honda Honda underwrite the engine bills for the smaller team in exchange for adverts on the Super Aguri car.

Klien looking for a 2008 race-seat

Christian Klien has announced his desire to race in Formula 1 again. The Austrian driver has admitted that he after a year of testing for Honda, he is keen to get racing again although he admits there is little likelihood that his future will be settled in the near future.

“I will look everywhere to get back into a race seat again,” Klien said. “The places at Honda are occupied and a further year as a test driver brings nothing. One year testing is useful but it is not a permanent solution.

“There are very many open places but, first of all, everyone has to wait and see what Fernando decided to do and that could be two or three weeks away. But, I know I want to go racing again!”