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Thread: - FORMULA 1 Season 2007 - (RAIKONNEN WINS)

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    Default - FORMULA 1 Season 2007 - (RAIKONNEN WINS)

    There is considerable time left in the start of the season but there are a lot of news coming through. So, just like last time we had a single thread about F1 2006 season I am starting this thread for the 2007 Season. This will allow all of us to discuss things at one place.

    My request to all the F1 fans, please post F1 2007 related stuff here.
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    - FORMULA 1 Season 2007 - RAIKONNEN WINS -699055
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    - FORMULA 1 Season 2007 - RAIKONNEN WINS -699056
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    Barcelona day three - Coulthard quickest in RB3
    Red Bull’s David Coulthard topped the times at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya on Wednesday, during the final day of testing at the Spanish track. Coulthard’s best of 1m 21.855s in the RB3, was a tenth of a second faster than Ferrari’s Felipe Massa.
    The Scot was joined on track by fellow race driver Mark Webber in the second RB3. For Webber, however, the day went less smoothly because of drive train problems. While Coulthard completed a mammoth 116 laps, Webber managed only 61 and finished 11th in the times. Even so, the team were satisfied with their progress overall.

    “We are very pleased with the way this three day test has gone,” commented Paul Monaghan, Red Bull’s head of race and test engineering. “And yes, it’s nice to see David is quickest, at least for today, but more impressive is the fact he completed 116 laps. We can be happy with the mileage we have completed over the three days and also with the fact that our relationship with Renault and Bridgestone continues to improve, as has the overall performance and reliability of the car.”

    Alongside second-placed Massa, Ferrari fielded Kimi Raikkonen who finished the test in seventh. The pair tried out a variety of set-ups as they continued to work through the F2007’s development programme. The Italian team also reached an important milestone, after both cars completed the duty cycle for engines required by the new regulations.

    Nick Heidfeld was third fastest for BMW Sauber, while team test driver Sebastian Vettel was 15th. Although Heidfeld began an aero test in the morning, increasingly blustery conditions at the Spanish circuit forced the team to change to a cooling programme instead. Vettel, in the second F1.07, had a much less productive day, completing only 53 laps in total, after a variety of technical problems and off track excursions marred his running.

    McLaren ended their week at the Circuit de Catalunya with Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton in fourth and sixth respectively. “We completed a number of race simulations, including Grand Prix specific activities such as pit stop practice as the team acclimatise themselves to the new equipment for 2007,” explained Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren CEO. “Alongside this preparatory work, the development programme for the MP4-22 continued apace.”

    Splitting the two McLaren drivers was Nico Rosberg in fifth for Williams. Rosberg was joined on track by fellow race driver Alexander Wurz in the second FW29. Wurz was 14th fastest after spending the session evaluating several new gearbox developments.

    Test driver Franck Montagny completed 113 laps for Toyota and finished in eighth. Team mate Ralf Schumacher, meanwhile, trying out the new seamless shift gearbox for the first time, amassed 86 laps and was 16th fastest in the times.

    Ninth quickest was Giancarlo Fisichella in the Renault R27, just ahead of team mate Heikki Kovalainen in tenth. Despite several technical issues, the pair enjoyed a successful day, completing most of their planned programmes.

    "This was once again a very busy test for the team, with race and qualifying simulations on the first day, followed by set-up programmes on the next two,” explained Christian Silk, Renault’s chief test engineer. “We got through a lot of the programme and made some good progress, but we still have some unanswered questions - which is why we are looking forward to testing in Bahrain next week.”

    Rubens Barrichello was Honda’s fastest runner in 12th, with Jenson Button in the second RA107 finishing in 14th. While Barrichello only completed 36 laps, after an exhaust problem concluded his running prematurely, Button covered 98 laps as he continued to evaluate the set-up and balance of the car over longer tyre runs.

    Christijan Albers took the 17th slot for Spyker, while Takuma Sato ended the day in 18th for Super Aguri. Sato managed to complete a race simulation during the afternoon, while he analysed the Bridgestone tyres and conducted set-up changes. Completing Wednesday’s line-up was Vitantonio Liuzzi for Toro Rosso. Liuzzi, who was in charge of the team’s new STR2, carried out a 43-lap shakedown test during the new car’s maiden run.

    Testing is scheduled to resume next Thursday in Bahrain.

    Unofficial Wednesday times from Barcelona:
    1. David Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:21.855
    2. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:21.958
    3. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:21.965
    4. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:22.103
    5. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:22.271
    6. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:22.292
    7. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:22.363
    8. Franck Montagny, Toyota, 1:22.446
    9. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault, 1:22.758
    10. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault, 1:22.783
    11. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:22.834
    12. Rubens Barrichello, Honda, 1:23.257
    13. Alexander Wurz, Williams, 1:23.271
    14. Jenson Button, Honda, 1:23.278
    15. Sebastian Vettel, BMW Sauber, 1:23.571
    16. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota, 1:23.789
    17. Christijan Albers, Spyker, 1:23.947
    18. Takuma Sato, Super Aguri, 1:24.568

    Source: F1
    19. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso, 1:26.296
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    Bahrain day one - Ferrari one-two in testing

    22 February 2007

    Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2007 Formula One Testing, Day One, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 22 February 2007. World © Patching/Sutton
    Pedro De La Rosa (ESP) McLaren Mercedes MP4/22 Formula One Testing, Day One, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 22 February 2007. World © Patching/Sutton Anthony Davidson (GBR) Super Aguri F1 Team Interim Car Formula One Testing, Day One, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain. 22 February 2007. World © Patching/Sutton

    David Coulthard (GBR) Red Bull Racing RB3 Formula One Testing, Day One, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 22 February 2007. World © Patching/Sutton Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/22 Formula One Testing, Day One, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, 22 February 2007. World © Patching/Sutton
    Ferrari were the early leaders as this week’s Formula One test in Bahrain got underway on Thursday. Nine of the 11 teams are attending the three-day session, which will be followed by a further three days at the circuit next week.
    Felipe Massa clocked the fastest time of 1m 31.766s around the Sakhir circuit, with team mate Kimi Raikkonen less than two tenths of a second behind. Jenson Button was an encouraging third quickest for Honda, with team mate Rubens Barrichello backing him up in fifth behind the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton.

    The Bahrain visit will allow the teams (only Williams and Spyker are absent) to complete some invaluable ‘warm-weather’ running ahead of the first three races of the season - Australia, Malaysia and Bahrain - all of which will take place in temperatures at the upper end of the scale.

    Thursday saw a high of 26 degrees Celsius, as Massa and Raikkonen began Ferrari’s programme of endurance and set-up work, along with electronics development on the F2007. The pair completed 86 and 47 laps respectively.

    The two Honda men were even busier, Button running 83 laps and Barrichello 101 as they continued development of the RA107, the race livery for which is finally due to be unveiled next week.

    It was a good day at McLaren for Hamilton, the British rookie outpacing more-experienced colleague Pedro de la Rosa, as he totalled 83 laps to the Spaniard’s 47. The team ran the Melbourne-spec version of the MP4-22 for the first time, with the drivers’ focus on final sign-off of several elements, including software.

    Sebastian Vettel was the quicker of the two BMW Sauber drivers present, the young German going seventh fastest to Nick Heidfeld’s ninth. Vettel managed 60 laps, concentrating on tyres, traction control and new aero parts for the F1.07. However, technical problems on Heidfeld’s car limited him to just 19 laps.

    There was also car trouble at Toyota, with both Jarno Trulli (eighth) and Ralf Schumacher (15th) having to contend with transmission-related problems which meant they accumulated only 68 laps between them.

    “This was definitely not the first day we imagined here,” said Dieter Gass, Toyota’s chief race and test engineer. “We faced quite a few issues which prevented us running through our programme smoothly. On Ralf’s car after trouble with the clutch we had a problem with the differential control which we investigated throughout the afternoon. With Jarno’s car we had a gearbox control issue in the morning which cost us a lot of time.”

    Anthony Davidson was at the wheel of Super Aguri’s interim car. The British driver made the top ten as he conducted set-up work, controls and aero analysis, whilst also determining the differences between the two Bridgestone Potenza tyres available at the test. Super Aguri are running just one car this week, with Davidson scheduled to drive all three days.

    Renault made a low-key start to their Sakhir session with Heikki Kovalainen and Nelson Piquet Jr down in 11th and 12th spots respectively, the pair racking up an impressive 205 laps between them.

    "We got plenty of mileage under our belts,” reported Renault’s Christian Silk. “Both drivers completed race simulations without any problems, and began some set-up work, which confirmed our conclusion from recent weeks. It was an encouraging start to the programme, and we hope to continue in the same manner tomorrow."

    Red Bull achieved relatively little mileage with the new RB3. Mark Webber was 13th fastest after his 27 laps, just ahead of team mate David Coulthard who managed 31. Stable mate Vitantonio Liuzzi was 16th in the sole Toro Rosso.

    Testing continues in Bahrain on Friday.

    Unofficial Thursday times from Bahrain:
    1. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:31.766
    2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:31.901
    3. Jenson Button, Honda, 1:32.099
    4. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:32.182
    5. Rubens Barrichello, Honda, 1:32.570
    6. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren, 1:32.621
    7. Sebastian Vettel, BMW Sauber, 1:32.652
    8. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:32.787
    9. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:32.810
    10. Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri, 1:32.396
    11. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault, 1:33.139
    12. Nelson Piquet Jr, Renault, 1:33.816
    13. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:34.077
    14. David Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:34.595
    15. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota, 1:35.265
    16. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso, 1:36.345
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    Honda launch environmental livery

    Honda’s 2007 race car will feature a huge image of the earth in place of the traditional advertising and sponsor logos. The RA107’s unusual livery, unveiled at London's Natural History Museum on Monday, is part of a Honda initiative designed to help raise awareness of the environmental issues facing the planet.
    As part of the initiative, anyone will be able to pledge their support to Honda’s green commitment and make a donation to an environmental charity. Those doing so can get their name put on the car, with each name forming a tiny individual pixel which will help build the image of planet earth.

    “Climate change is probably the single biggest issue facing our planet and F1 is not immune from it,” said the Honda team’s CEO, Nick Fry. “On the contrary we believe that F1 with its huge global profile and cutting edge technology can play an important role in not only highlighting the issues but also playing our part in developing solutions.

    “So we at Honda F1 are proud to dedicate our car to the environmental challenge. We believe that solutions can stem directly from engineers working on our F1 programme and are working harder than ever to achieve our dreams and win the world championship while embracing and underscoring Honda’s environmental ethos.”

    Partnering the Honda team for their new concept will be global brands Universal Music, the largest music company in the world, and Gatorade. Existing partners have also enthusiastically embraced the idea and all remain involved with the Japanese squad for the 2007 season.

    The team will be working closely with global environmental charities to develop Honda’s existing environmental ethos within Formula One racing. Those wishing to lend their support and get their name added to the RA107’s livery can do so by visiting www.myearthdream.com.

    Source: F1
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    Bahrain day three - McLaren take charge
    McLaren finished one-two in Sakhir on Saturday as the first leg of Bahrain testing drew to close. World champion Fernando Alonso led the way, clocking a best lap of 1m 30.944s, with rookie team mate Lewis Hamilton just a tenth of a second behind.
    Both Alonso and Hamilton continued with their development programmes for McLaren’s new car, the MP4-22. Even though both 2007 challengers experienced on-track stoppages, the pair covered 127 laps. While Alonso had a slight hydraulic issue, Hamilton’s programme was disrupted by an engine failure late in the day. The British driver’s MP4-22 had, however, survived well beyond its contingency mileage, after completing over 1,200 kilometres.

    Seven-tenths down on Hamilton were the Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen, in third and fourth respectively. Ferrari’s technical programme focused on several areas including a long-run test for the 056 engine, comprehensive Grand Prix simulations and comparisons of various mechanical components. Both Massa and Raikkonen will test again in Bahrain next week.

    Heikki Kovalainen made the top five for Renault, while team tester Nelson Piquet Jr finished in ninth. Kovalainen spent the day concentrating on set-up evaluation and Bridgestone tyre testing, ahead of March’s season opener in Australia. Piquet, meanwhile, wrapped up his pre-season work, collecting data on chassis, handling and tyre behaviour.

    Just behind Kovalainen’s Renault were the Hondas of Rubens Barrichello, sixth, and Jenson Button, seventh. Both drivers spent the morning carrying out aerodynamic evaluations on the new RA107. While Button continued his aero programme in the afternoon, Barrichello switched to a race simulation.

    At Red Bull, David Coulthard was the quickest driver in eighth after an encouraging outing in the RB3, while team mate Mark Webber finished in 14th.

    “Generally over the three days, we made good progress, culminating in both David and Mark completing the equivalent of a race distance each today," said Paul Monaghan, Red Bull’s head of race and test engineering. "David also posted some competitive times, while Mark was working on different aspects of the car's performance. As far as cooling and brakes are concerned, we look in good shape and, although we still have some reliability concerns, I think we can sort these out before tackling the next three days of testing here."

    Friday leader Nick Heidfeld dropped down the order to tenth for BMW Sauber after an unscheduled engine change, with Robert Kubica in the second F1.07 just two-hundredths of a second slower in 11th slot. Both carried out set-up tests and conducted aero work during the day, comparing different front wings.

    Super Aguri’s Anthony Davidson was the 12th-fastest driver during his final track day with the squad before the Australian Grand Prix. Davidson covered 124 laps as he completed a qualifying run and a full race simulation in the Japanese team’s interim car.

    Test driver Franck Montagny was 13th for Toyota, while team mate Jarno Trulli was 15th in the second TF107. Montagny covered 111 laps in total, completing an entire race distance during the morning. Trulli’s progress, however, was more intermittent, due to gearbox issues. The Italian’s TF107 also sported the team’s new aero package, which included an unusual looking nosecone, with the upper elements of the front wing attached directly to it.

    Completing the line-up on Saturday was Toro Rosso’s Scott Speed, who got his first taste of the new STR2 machine. Speed took 16th slot after completing 60 laps in the Italian squad’s 2007 car.

    Testing resumes in Bahrain next Tuesday.

    Unofficial Saturday times from Bahrain:
    1. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:30.994
    2. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:31.094
    3. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:31.718
    4. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:31.867
    5. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault, 1:32.032
    6. Rubens Barrichello, Honda, 1:32.115
    7. Jenson Button, Honda, 1:32.137
    8. David Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:32.220
    9. Nelson Piquet Jr, Renault, 1:32.334
    10. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:32.451
    11. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:32.475
    12. Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri, 1:32.553
    13. Franck Montagny, Toyota, 1:32.917
    14. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:33.034
    15. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:33.062
    16. Scott Speed, Toro Rosso, 1:33.225

    Source: F1
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    The new Honda F1.
    - FORMULA 1 Season 2007 - RAIKONNEN WINS -705024


    - FORMULA 1 Season 2007 - RAIKONNEN WINS -705025


    Well i personally like that black one...
    - FORMULA 1 Season 2007 - RAIKONNEN WINS -705026
    Turn on Inspiration. Turn off Blur.



    Burn Rubber Not your soul.

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    Schumacher to attend selected events

    Michael Schumacher is likely to attend some Grand Prix in 2007 once the circus returns to Europe, his manager Willi Weber says.

    "You don't have Formula One in your life for sixteen years and simply pull the plug," the news agency sid quoted Weber as saying. "It's in his blood, but - before you ask - no, he's not making a comeback."

    Weber also denied speculation that Schumacher was eyeing a stake in the Toro Rosso team.

    Weber will also attend some races this year, in order to retain his old contacts.

    He said that in the form of A1GP driver Nico Hulkenberg, he has 'one of the biggest German talents under contract.
    '

    Webber admitted: "There is already some interest (in Hulkenberg) within the Formula One world, but I am patient. This year he is doing F3, next year maybe GP2, so perhaps the time for F1 will come for him in 2009."

    E.A.
    Source GMM
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    Alonso backs Raikkonen's race win drought

    Reigning World Champion Fernando Alonso says he now understands why his predecessor at McLaren Mercedes, Kimi Raikkonen, failed to be a contender for the drivers' title last year.

    In December Alonso completed his first McLaren test at the wheel of the 2006-spec MP4-21, which in the hands of Raikkonen, Juan Pablo Montoya and Pedro de la Rosa, while a podium contender, did not win a Grand Prix.

    "We have made big progress over the winter," Alonso told the newspaper Kleinen Zeitung. "When I drove a McLaren for the first time, the old car, it was clear to me why Kimi could never beat me last year. But this year we should fight for the title.
    "

    Alonso said his target for 2007 is nothing less than a third successive world championship; a feat achieved in the past only by Michael Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio.

    "After you win two titles," Alonso confirmed, "you are not content with anything less, but luckily for me McLaren has the same goal."

    E.A.
    Source GMM
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    hey guys where are u???
    the season has kicked off with kimi on pole.

    1. Kimi Räikkönen (Finland) Ferrari 1:26.072
    2. Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren 1:26.493
    3. Nick Heidfeld (Germany) BMW Sauber 1:26.556
    4. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) McLaren 1:26.755
    5. Robert Kubica (Poland) BMW Sauber 1:27.347
    6. Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy) Renault 1:27.634
    7. Mark Webber (Australia) Red Bull-Renault 1:27.934
    8. Jarno Trulli (Italy) Toyota 1:28.404
    9. Ralf Schumacher (Germany) Toyota 1:28.692
    10. Takuma Sato (Japan) Super Aguri-Honda 1:28.871
    11. Anthony Davidson (Britain) Super Aguri-Honda 1:26.909
    12. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Williams-Toyota 1:26.914
    13. Heikki Kovalainen (Finland) Renault 1:26.964
    14. Jenson Button (Britain) Honda 1:27.264
    15. Alexander Wurz (Austria) Williams-Toyota 1:27.393
    16. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Ferrari
    17. Rubens Barrichello (Brazil) Honda 1:27.679
    18. Scott Speed (U.S.) Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:28.305
    19. David Coulthard (Britain) Red Bull-Renault 1:28.579
    20. Vitantonio Liuzzi (Italy) Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:29.267
    21. Adrian Sutil (Germany) Spyker-Ferrari 1:29.339
    22. Christijan Albers (Ned) Spyker-Ferrari 1:31.932
    Almost everyone in Pakistan is doing corruption to the extent they can. Our leaders are doing at the level they can do. So why should we complain?

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    massa gave 7 points to kimi
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    Well finally Kimi won, YAY!!

    Was also happy that Toyota out performed Honda.
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    Pos Driver Team Gap
    1 Räikkönen, Kimi Ferrari
    2 Alonso, Fernando McLaren-Mercedes +7.2
    3 Hamilton, Lewis McLaren-Mercedes +18.5
    4 Heidfeld, Nick BMW Sauber +38.7
    5 Fisichella, Giancarlo Renault +66.4
    6 Massa, Felipe Ferrari +66.8
    7 Rosberg, Nico Williams-Toyota +1 lap
    8 Schumacher, Ralf Toyota +1 lap
    9 Trulli, Jarno Toyota +1 lap
    10 Kovalainen, Heikki Renault +1 lap
    11 Barrichello, Rubens Honda +1 lap
    12 Sato, Takuma Super Aguri-Honda +1 lap
    13 Webber, Mark Red Bull-Renault +1 lap
    14 Liuzzi, Vitantonio Toro Rosso-Ferrari +1 lap
    15 Button, Jenson Honda +1 lap
    16 Davidson, Anthony Super Aguri-Honda +2 laps
    17 Sutil, Adrian Spyker-Ferrari +2 laps
    DNF Kubica, Robert BMW Sauber DNF
    DNF Speed, Scott Toro Rosso-Ferrari DNF
    DNF Coulthard, David Red Bull-Renault DNF
    DNF Wurz, Alex Williams-Toyota DNF
    DNF Albers, Christijan Spyker-Ferrari DNF


    A very good start by ferrari but Mclaren's rookie Hamilton had a great race.
    Almost everyone in Pakistan is doing corruption to the extent they can. Our leaders are doing at the level they can do. So why should we complain?

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    kimmi in red of ferrari at last and showed his red hot pace as well assum stuff from kimmi fastest lap by more then 1 second great stuff GO KIMMI GO.
    Bimmmmeeeer 4 Life

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    Excellent race and what an start of the season.
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    F1 gets set for new rules row

    A new row about the legality of formula one cars could be about to break out in the pit lane of 2007.

    The website of American broadcaster Speed TV reports that the under-body of Ferrari's dominant F2007 machine came under quiet scrutiny by rivals and the FIA in Australia.

    It is suggested that the car's floor might have been designed to give a performance advantage by moving, which - as in the 'flexing wings' sagas of last year - is illegal.

    Predictably, the leading antagonist of the new saga appears to be McLaren, who reportedly suspect that Ferrari's floor lowers at speed to give Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa an unfair speed boost in a straight line.


    "We will see how things are in two or three races," McLaren Team Principal Ron Dennis said, explaining that rival teams often seek clarification about rule interpretations early in the season.

    He added: "So it takes a race or two to know what is or isn't permitted."

    A Ferrari spokesman commented: "It's part of the game any time Ferrari is quickest. It's not the first time that there have been questions about legality.

    "If someone has a complaint, there is always the FIA."

    Source GMM
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    Press praise for Kimi Raikkonen

    After the first F1 season since 1991 began without Michael Schumacher in Melbourne, that was how the widely circulated Italian newspaper La Stampa described Kimi Raikkonen's winning debut at the wheel of a Ferrari.

    "Kimi: he smiles less but the substance is the same. Schumi is gone but Ferrari remains," the daily La Gazzetta dello Sport echoed.

    Il Seccolo XIX headlined: "Kimi a la Schumi".

    Corriere della Sera said: "Schumacher's legacy is in good hands".

    Even Germany's Auto Motor und Sport fondly contrasted the generational-change at Maranello based Ferrari, observing that Raikkonen "secured his tenth Grand Prix win with a style that Michael would be proud of".


    The Spanish Diario As, however, compared 'iceman' 27-year-old Raikkonen's podium antics with the famous 'Schumi-leap' of the departed seven time champion.

    And referring to Spain's big hope Fernando Alonso, it observed: "The enemy is a Finn".

    "Even when celebrating his victory, Raikkonen shows no emotion," the newspaper As wrote, and La Gazzetta dello Sport agreed that, on the podium, "Kimi remains ice-cold".

    Source GMM
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    Lauda hits out at Todt's podium antics

    Former champion Niki Lauda has hit out at Ferrari's Jean Todt for acting insincerely and disrespectfully on the Australian Grand Prix podium.

    The 58-year-old Austrian, who won his first two drivers' titles for the Maranello based marque, watched the Melbourne ceremony from the foot of the podium as a commentator for the German TV station RTL.

    Lauda heralded Kimi Raikkonen's win from pole and observed that Ferrari has handled 'the transition from Schumacher to Kimi perfectly.'

    But he hit out at Todt's antics on the podium, accusing the Frenchman of feigning a close relationship with Raikkonen.

    "I have to condemn his behaviour," Lauda said, pointing out that Todt has often compared his relationship with Schumacher as fatherly, which was developed over more than a decade through handfuls of constructors' and drivers' championships.


    Lauda said of Todt: "He was acting as if his best buddy Schumacher had just won."

    After the champagne-soaked celebrations, reporters asked Todt about his relationship with Kimi.

    "It is professional and friendly, and everyone can see that Kimi smiles much more than in the past," he said. "Everyone is really happy. I really enjoyed being on the podium with him."

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    Ferrari favourite for title

    Unsurprisingly, Ferrari has emerged as the overwhelming favourite to wrest the 2007 constructors' and drivers' championships from the grasp of Renault.

    With the Italian squad's pre-season dominance confirmed in the Australian season opener, the popular German daily Bild-Zeitung published the results of a poll showing that 73 per cent of F1 fans believe the red team will triumph this year for the first time since 2004.


    McLaren netted 14 per cent of the vote, and BMW Sauber 7%, while voters are still hopeful that Felipe Massa can deliver the goods this year by taking 36 per cent of the vote regarding '07's likely drivers' champion.

    Melbourne winner Kimi Raikkonen's chances attracted 29 per cent, and Fernando Alonso 11%.

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    Schumacher's absence costs viewers

    The retirement of Michael Schumacher appears to have cost Germany nearly a million TV viewers.

    According to the latest official TV ratings, 1.41 million Germans tuned into Sunday's coverage of the Australian Grand Prix live.

    That compares with free to air broadcaster RTL's 2.23 million viewers of the Melbourne race a year ago, when Ferrari driver Schumacher crashed in the Albert Park circuit's last corner.

    2 million viewers, always forced to wake up early in the morning to catch the season opener, watched in 2005.


    The German viewers watching Schumacher's Ferrari successor Kimi Raikkonen stroll to victory in 2007, however, represented a strong 50% market share.

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