News and rumours from Interlagos

News and rumours from Interlagos

As the race at Interlagos draws nearer the anticipation is mounting. Will Fernando Alonso become the youngest ever world champion on Sunday? There's a good chance of it; for the 24 year-old Spaniard there's about half a dozen different ways he...

As the race at Interlagos draws nearer the anticipation is mounting. Will Fernando Alonso become the youngest ever world champion on Sunday? There's a good chance of it; for the 24 year-old Spaniard there's about half a dozen different ways he could claim the title, depending on what rival Kimi Raikkonen does. However, the best way is for Alonso to just get on the podium -- but will it be that straightforward?

Nico Rosberg.
Photo by Dave Dyer.

Meanwhile, other things are afoot. With Jenson Button staying at BAR next season, Williams once again is looking for a driver to partner Mark Webber next year. There's been speculation that team tester Nico Roberg is in line for the race seat and that Williams may try the youngster out in competition at Suzuka and Shanghai. However, technical director Sam Michael is not sure that will happen.

"Whether he (Rosberg) races for the last two Grands Prix is something that Frank Williams can decide race by race. I would say it is unlikely but there is still a possibility there," said Michael. "Frank has got a couple of options for our second race seat (next season) and Nico is definitely one of the guys on that list, as are others, so we will have to wait and see."

Rumour suggests that Webber has exchanged cross words with David Coulthard and Michael Schumacher of late, which contributed to him being voted off the board of directors of the Grand Prix Drivers' Association. Coulthard and Schumacher are the other directors, along with Jarno Trulli. Webber said the reason was simply too many directors and that "I haven't lost any sleep over it."

MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi has been attracting his own F1 speculation since he tested a couple of times with Ferrari. Rumours abounded of Rossi joining the team for 2007 and technical director Ross Brawn fuelled the gossip by saying Rossi would test for Ferrari on a regular basis next year. But Rossi scotched that when he said he had not made any such agreement and Brawn had to hastily backtrack.

"I probably got ahead of myself because I was asked how do you go about turning Valentino Rossi into a Grand Prix driver, and to me that is how you would do it, that would be the programme to follow if Valentino wants to go Grand Prix racing," said Brawn about his testing comments. "But he has indicated he has not made that decision yet, so I think we need to wait and see what he wants to do."

There's still a few decisions to be made for various teams in regard to next season's drivers and Jacques Villeneuve, little rumour magnet that he is, is once again under scrutiny. BMW has already signed Nick Heidfeld for one race seat and Villeneuve is adamant that his Sauber contract will be carried through for the other, but BMW is prevaricating. One does have to wonder, if Villeneuve has a contract, why he hasn't been confirmed…

"We have been fully focused on getting Nick under contract for next year in the first instance and now we are looking into the other issue," BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen told Reuters when asked about Villeneuve. "Jacques's first half of the season was certainly not encouraging. Now he is catching up and we just decided we wanted to see him in the second half of the season."

Takuma Sato, who recently discovered he will be out of a race seat at BAR next year, said he has cleared the air with Michael Schumacher after their run in at Spa. Sato's BAR hit Schumacher's Ferrari and they both went out; Schumacher promptly strode over to Sato, still in the BAR, had a bit of a rant then gave Taku's helmet a swift slap to express his ire.

"We are okay," said Sato. "It's in the past, obviously it was racing and it's all done now. I spoke to him here, in the toilet." So now we know where F1's inner dealings take place, although a toilet seems like rather an unlikely place to find clear air.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Takuma Sato , Jarno Trulli , Jenson Button , Michael Schumacher , Mark Webber , David Coulthard , Jacques Villeneuve , Nick Heidfeld , Fernando Alonso , Valentino Rossi , Ross Brawn , Nico Rosberg , Frank Williams , Mario Theissen
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , Williams