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F1: 2007

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McLaren's appeal has been set for November 15. I doubt it will make any difference and I'm not even sure that I want it to.

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When I saw it this morning, I said it was what he 's good at. Human beings, please! Hamilton should not be confused.

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Former world champion Fernando Alonso has left McLaren after negotiating an early release from his contract.

McLaren and Alonso have had an acrimonious relationship this season and a team statement said that both parties had "agreed to move on".

Alonso is free to join another team in 2008, and his agent said neither party would pay a financial penalty.

Red Bull and Renault are the favourites to sign him, and BBC Sport understands Red Bull are the more likely option.

...

It is not known who will replace Alonso as Lewis Hamilton's team-mate, but Williams's Nico Rosberg and Renault's Heikki Kovalainen are the favourites.

So...to our Spanish members, where would you like to see Alonso go? And Hamilton fans, who would you like to see at McLaren next season?

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Maybe Redbull, but they can't offer Alonso a good enough car, i think. In this way, Renault could be a better option... I had also heard about Toyota, but that car doesn't work at all...

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I'm not disappointed or surprised. I can't see him ending up anywhere other than Renault.

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He thought he'd have it all his own way and couldn't hack it when he didn't. If McLaren have any sense they'll be saying good riddance.

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Ferrari say McLaren are hypocrites for appealing now. Well, when you get away with behaving as though you're bigger than the sport as Ferrari have for years, then anyone who challenges that is bound to upset them. They're the ones who have broken the rules and got away with it. They're the ones who cried and whinged until the FIA gave the so-called right answer. And now they have the cheek to have a go at McLaren. Ferrari's antics are a cancer of F1 and the sport would be better off without them.

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Hamilton takes Top Gear challenge

Formula One star Lewis Hamilton is to swap his multi-million pound, 230mph McLaren to drive a modest family car for BBC Two's Top Gear show on Sunday.

Hamilton takes part in the programme's "star in a reasonably priced car" feature, where celebrities compete to post the fastest lap around a track.

The 22-year-old Briton is out to beat a time of one minute 44.4 seconds, set by Top Gear's resident driver The Stig.

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_44271291_hamilton_stig203.jpg

Not missing this! B)

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God bless the Suzuki Liana and all who drive the Top Gear track in her. I see that Hamilton and McLaren scooped plenty of prizes at the Autosport Awards last night. The true winners of 2007?

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I don't think any of the top teams come out of 2007 smelling of roses to be honest. The only people to come out of this season with any credit in my eyes are Hamilton and Raikonnen. Hamilton for the way he drove during his first season, the most successful rookie driver ever by some margin, and Raikonnen for quietly going about his bussiness (when all around them were losing their cool) and becoming a well deserved world champion.

I was seriously close to giving up on F1 all together at one point last season and from my point of view if it wasn't for those two drivers, last season would have been a complete write-off (and turn-off).

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Without wishing to take anything away from Raikkonen, I do find it difficult to believe that he would have won the title without all the outside hoo-hah. Consistently, the McLaren was the best car in 2007. Results show that. And, as Steve Rider said at the awards last night, the McLaren was "unlike the Ferrari in every conceivable aspect". Not even the FIA could claim anything other.

Hamilton like Senna, says sister

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The Ferrari may not have been as good as the McLaren (that's debatable, it was so close) and whilst I have a lot of sympathy for your view that McLaren were hard done by you can't doubt Ferrari had the most consistent driver even if they didn't have the most consistent car. I think it's impossible to speculate what would have happened if this season had taken its natural course but I have no difficulty whatsoever believing Raikonnen could have won it without the hoo-hah; he's a special driver and Ferarri weren't that much worse than McLaren.

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I'm not disputing Raikkonen's talents. With a bit of luck he could have won a couple of titles before this year. But, whether it was subconscious or not, I think McLaren at least partly took their eye off the ball. It would take an incredibly ruthless individual or organisation not to. Mistakes were made towards the end of the season that, in normal circumstances, simply could not be explained.

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It's getting to the time where an F1: 2008 thread is needed and I was tempted to open one myself. But let's get this pitiful story out of the way in this thread and hopefully start the new season in March with happier news:

Hamilton saddened by racist abuse

Formula One star Lewis Hamilton says he has been left saddened after being subjected to racist abuse in Spain.

The 23-year-old Briton was taunted by spectators during pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.

"The truth is I feel somewhat sad," he said. "I love this country, especially the city of Barcelona. The people in Spain have always been very warm."

The McLaren driver has become a hate figure in Spain because of his rivalry with former team-mate Fernando Alonso.

The former world champion complained last season that McLaren were favouring Hamilton and fell out with the Mercedes-powered team when they refused to grant him special status. He now drives for Renault.

The Briton, who eventually finished second to Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen in the title race, said he hoped Spanish fans of F1 would understand his rivalry with the favourite.

"The only thing that I have done is to try to give the best of myself and try to win the championship," he told sportlifepress.com.

"At no point have I tried to deliberately prejudice Fernando but the fight has been very tough and my image in Spain has been severely damaged."

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) says Spanish circuits risk punishment as a result of the incident.

"We are surprised and disappointed at the abuse," stated an FIA spokesman.

"This is a clear breach of FIA principles and any repetition will result in serious sanctions."

Reports in a number of Spanish papers said Hamilton was booed and insulted whenever he made his way from the team motor home and into the pits on Saturday for pre-season testing at the Barcelona circuit.

"It is not right the way he is being treated," McLaren test team manager Indy Lall was quoted as saying.

BBC Radio 5 Live's Formula One commentator David Croft explained that some of those present to watch the testing had gone to great lengths to upset the British driver.

"There were about 55,000 fans present over the three days of testing," said Croft.

"(Some) were chanting nasty stuff and booing him when he made his way from the garage to the McLaren area at the back. We've never seen that at Formula One events.

"The officials at the circuit drafted in extra security guards to the stands and put some fences around the team area."

Spain will host two Grands Prix this year, the Spanish race in April at Circuit de Catalunya and the European Grand Prix on the streets of Valencia in August.

Valencia's Ricardo Tormo circuit and Jerez are also used for pre-season testing.

Although the FIA did not spell out the sanctions, either circuit could lose its place in the championship if local organisers fail to deal with any further incidents of racist behaviour.

"We would like to make a plea to the fans to behave correctly," circuit director Ramon Pradera was quoted as saying in La Vanguardia newspaper.

"No type of offensive behaviour can be tolerated."

Gerry Sutcliffe, sports minister for the British government, has demanded the FIA take action to prevent a repeat of the "sickening" racist abuse suffered by Hamilton.

Following racist abuse suffered by English footballers in Spain in recent years, Sutcliffe believes strong action is required now.

"Racism should not be tolerated and this is not the first time British sportsmen have been racially abused in Spain," he said.

"This brings in question whether the Grand Prix should be held at this track.

"I am going to write to the FIA to ask what action they are going to take in response to this.

"I am also going to write to the Spanish Sports Minister to express our ongoing concern about racism suffered by our sportsmen."

The McLaren team said they were disappointed with the reaction of some spectators at the Barcelona track.

A statement read: "Vodafone McLaren Mercedes have raced and tested on Spanish circuits for many years. Everyone connected with the team regards Spain and the Spanish people with great affection, Lewis included."

The Spanish motorsports federation (RFE) issued a stinging condemnation of fans who abused Hamilton and declared its "absolute repulsion" at the incidents in Barcelona.

"The Federation wants to show its absolute repulsion at these incomprehensible incidents and demonstrate its support and solidarity for the McLaren team and especially their driver Lewis Hamilton," said a statement.

"This type of idiots that are confusing sporting rivalry with violence should be aware that the Federation has a zero-tolerance approach to this issue."

The statement said the abuse came from a small and unrepresentative group of spectators present.

It commended circuit organisers for removing offensive banners and said the RFE had asked them to strengthen measures to avoid similar incidents in future.

McLaren's next test will be at the southern Spanish circuit of Jerez from 12-14 February.

_44402957_hamiltoncrowd.jpg

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Well, that's really done their cause a lot of good hasn't it? :unsure::angry: Even if they had a point about Alonso's treatment (which they don't), this is not the way of showing it. It'll be interesting to see how both Spanish races turn out this season. And one has to wonder, as our sports minister pointed out, whether this problem goes deeper than sporting rivalry since our footballers suffered similar treatment in Spain a couple of years back...

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