Motor Racing: Formula One driver Hamilton poised for title push
Posted: 07 September 2007 0135 hrs
MONZA, Italy : A relaxed Lewis Hamilton made clear here Thursday that he was ready for a ferocious fight in the run-in for this year's drivers' world championship - and quietly confident about winning Sunday's Italian Grand Prix.
The 22-year-old British rookie, who has set the Formula One world alight with his sensational record-breaking performances, leads his McLaren team-mate and defending double champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso by five points with five races remaining.
The first of those is this weekend's classic clash on the famous old circuit in the Monza royal park where Ferrari run on home turf anxious to keep alive their bid for both the drivers' and constructors' titles.
As if that stirring backdrop were not enough, the race is also set to take place amid a swirl of rumour and counter-rumour concerning the spying and espionage allegations that involve Hamilton's McLaren team and Ferrari.
Motor sport's ruling body, the International Motoring Federation (FIA) is due to hold a meeting of its world council next Thursday to investigate new evidence in the case.
An appeal by McLaren in relation to an earlier hearing where they were charged with receiving a Ferrari dossier was called off.
Hamilton, however, said on Thursday that he had not been aware of the new developments in the so-called 'spy case' and intended to take little notice. He said he had been brought up to 'rise above' issues and move on.
"This is all a new experience for me," said the Briton.
"I am generally a relaxed kind of person and I am not usually rattled by anything or anyone. It is the way I have been brought up."
He said the same feelings applied to his close rivalry with Alonso who, some said, was showing more ragged signs of stress than his young team-mate.
"I have never been rattled in my whole career," explained Hamilton. "So I don't want to start that now."
He said it was to his advantage that he had raced at Monza before in last year's GP2 series and had the greatest of happy memories because it was here that he won that championship.
"Yes, I can definitely draw from last year because that was one of the toughest situations that I had been in," he said.
"I had Nelson Piqeut (junior) breathing down my neck and I had to be in the points to beat him in for the title.
" I did that and now, I know what it takes to succeed like that. It gets tougher and tougher, but I know that you have just got to go out and do it. You just have to do the best job you can."
Hamilton said he believed that even on Italian soil against Ferrari he was racing for the stronger of the two teams.
"If you look at all the stuff through the whole year -- we are still winning and we are the strongest team altogether both here at the track and back at the factory," he said.
Hamilton insisted there was no way in which the off-track distractions of the upcoming 'spy case' hearing and controversy would affect him.
"I have kept away from it and kept myself oblivious to it," he said.
"I have not been on line to check on it. I am just here to get on with my job - and not be affected by it at all. It's a normal working weekend for me."
Hamilton said it would be a close fight with Ferrari in historic surroundings where the Italian team is traditionally strong, but added that qualifying would be the key.
"Qualifying is the key and the way I approach it is the same as always -- but I have yet to discuss that with the engineers. I don't know if they want us to be more aggressive or not, I feel we don't need to be. We have a good enough car already."
The Ferrari drivers Brazilian Felipe Massa and Finn Kimi Raikkonen are third and fourth 15 and 16 points behind him respectively.
Motor Racing: McLaren-Mercedes fined $50,000 by FIA
Posted: 07 September 2007 0414 hrs
MONZA, Italy : The McLaren-Mercedes Formula One team has been fined 50,000 dollars by motor sport's ruling body (FIA) for failing to crash test a new gear box prior to Fernando Alonso's victory in Hungary.
A source from the sports governing body said Thursday the team had been fined because it had broken FIA rules.
A car which has passed regulatory tests prior to the start of the season must carry out new crash tests each time a major new part is put in the car.
However the cars of winning driver Alonso and fifth-placed teammate Lewis Hamilton both had new ultra-light gear boxes during the Hungarian Grand Prix on August 5 which had not be crash tested, the source said.
World Motor Sport Council to consider new 'spy scandal' evidence.
The FIAs World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) is to reconvene next week for another hearing on the McLaren-Ferrari spy scandal, following the emergence of new evidence. As a result, the referral of the matter to the International Court of Appeal has been withdrawn.
In July, McLaren were found to be in breach of the International Sporting Code for possessing confidential Ferrari data, though the team escaped sanction as the Council could find insufficient evidence that the information had been used.
At the time they were warned by the Council that "if it is found in the future that the Ferrari information has been used to the detriment of the championship, we reserve the right to invite Vodafone McLaren Mercedes back in front of the WMSC where it will face the possibility of exclusion from not only the 2007 championship but also the 2008 championship."
FIA President Max Mosley subsequently referred the matter for appeal after complaints that Ferrari had not been able to fully present their version of events to the Council.
That appeal had been due to take place next Thursday, September 13. Instead, the the Council will now assemble on that date to consider the new evidence, the source or nature of which has not been revealed. McLaren, who have been invited to attend the hearing, say they will continue to co-operate fully with the FIA.
Ferrari have confirmed they will also be present. The team said, "(it) wishes to reaffirm its own strong wish that all the elements in this case are brought to light," adding, "Ferrari is confident that the truth will out."
The FIAs statement in full:
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
FIA World Motor Sport Council Decision July 26th, 2007
Following the receipt of new evidence the World Motor Sport Council has been reconvened for a hearing in Paris on September 13th.
In accordance with its decision of July 26th representatives of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes have been invited to attend the hearing.
The FIA Presidents referral of the matter to the International Court of Appeal has been withdrawn.
Michael Schumacher may no longer be racing, but that hasnt stopped him picking up one of Spains most prestigious sporting honours, the Prince Asturias sports award, for 2007.
The Prince of Asturias Foundation presents its awards annually to mark internationally-acclaimed achievements in a variety of fields and previous sports winners have included reigning world champion Fernando Alonso and Tour de France cycling legend Lance Armstrong.
In choosing Schumacher as this years recipient, the Foundation acknowledged both the Germans sporting achievements - he retired at the end of last season having won a record seven world championships - and his humanitarian and charitable work for the United Nations.
This years Prince Asturias awards will be presented at a special ceremony in Oviedo in October.