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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Kovalainen gets green light for Turkey

Heikki Kovalainen has passed his mandatory fitness test and has received the OK to race in this weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix.

The Finn suffered a severe shunt into a tire wall at approximately 150 mph less than two weeks ago in Barcelona. He says has no memory of the accident, caused by a wheel rim failure.

It took several minutes to get him out of his car, and he left the track strapped into a stretcher, yet Kovalainen walked away with only bruises and a "slight" headache.

After spending several days resting in Spain, he travelled to his native Finland to train with McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton.

He will use the spare car in this weekend’s race.

Qualifying change

Two less cars on the grid means a qualifing rule change for this week’s race.

Only five cars will be eliminated in each of the first two qualifying sessions. Ten cars will continue to take part in the final 10-minute session.

Ecclestone looks at the positives

Bernie Ecclestone told PA Sport the loss of Super Aguri has had a positive effect on the paddock: More room.

While the formula allows a maximum of 12 teams, and contractually Ecclestone must have 20 cars on the grid to satisfy promoters, the F1 ringmaster said he much prefers 10 teams.

Ecclestone said it is easier to accommodate growing motorhomes, hospitality suites and equipment with one less team in the championship.

The loss of Super Aguri has signalled for many the end of an era in Formula One, as privateer teams lose out to manufacturers and corporations with deep pockets.

When asked whether he considered helping the struggling squad, as he did in the past with Minardi, Ecclestone said $100m was too rich for him.

Ecclestone went on to express doubt the team’s administrators will find a buyer interested in taking over the team as an ongoing concern in today’s economy.

Still, should a potential buyer be found, Ecclestone would welcome another team despite his preference for 10 teams, telling PA Sport Formula One is not a “closed shop.” Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six

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