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DATE

News (chronologically)

12/18/02

Williams throws in the towel  Well before the season begins, the Williams BMW team has already admitted defeat.  In this AP article - BMW-Williams chief Frank Williams is doubtful that his team can close the gap with Ferrari in the upcoming Formula One season. "Ferrari and Michael were brilliant. We need an enormous jump to catch up with them, but the strict rules don't allow a revolution, only small steps," Williams told the German sports news agency SID in an interview Wednesday. "We have two strong drivers in Juan Pablo Montoya and in Ralf Schumacher. But, I am honest. Michael is the biggest problem for everyone, he is extraordinary," Williams said. Williams said the new car would be ready at the end of January and that he expected it to be more reliable than last season's model. "We were on pole seven times this year and we won only one race. That was very frustrating," he said.

12/18/02

Italian F3 driver passes IRL rookie test  A very happy Marco Cioci from Italy is now eligible to compete in the Indy Racing League after passing his rookie test on Wednesday at Texas Motor Speedway. Testing in a Sam Schmidt Motorsports Indy car, Cioci took just 80 laps to pass the abbreviated two-phase rookie test after a 125-lap preliminary run on Tuesday. Indy Racing League Special Projects Manager Johnny Rutherford supervised the test. Brian Barnhart, senior vice president of operations for the IRL, was also present during the test. "The car was very good and very fast and was easy to improve myself without (a) bigger risk," said Cioci. "I understand more of the car and I feel better about the car. It was a good weekend and a good two days of testing." Rutherford authorized the unique rookie test that consisted of only two-phases rather than the traditional four-phases. The extensive amount of practice Cioci gained in Tuesday's testing allowed for the modifications. Final laps of the test included unofficial speeds in the 216 mph range on the 1.5-mile superspeedway. "Marco did a good job," said Rutherford. "He kind of beat us to the punch. He got here yesterday and ran like 125 laps I think they said. Which is good, but he's never been on an oval before. "I've given a lot of tests and watched a lot of young drivers and he's got all of the ingredients to be as good as anybody I've seen through." Also testing Wednesday with Cioci included current USAC Silver Crown driver Jeff Mitrisin. Mitrisin turned a total of 76 laps in the Sam Schmidt Infiniti Pro Series car with an unofficial top speed of 177.79 miles per hour. "It took us maybe 10 laps to get comfortable with it to run flat out around here," said Mitrisin. "This is my first time in a(n) Infiniti Pro car and adapted real well. I would like to get something together and maybe race the series."

12/18/02

CART stock watch 

MPH closed at $3.50 up $0.01 on Volume of 54,300 shares.
$2.84 Bid - $3.81 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.45 / $3.59
MPH Value Change Up 0.29%
DOW Jones Down 88.04 or 1.03% on Volume of 1.8 billion shares.
NASDAQ Down 30.54 or 2.19%
S&P 500 Down 11.87 or 1.31%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

12/18/02

CART reduces staff  UPDATE As it turns out, the final tally was 18 people from CART laid off yesterday.  12/18/02 - AR1 has learned that CART laid off about 10 staff members in a budget cutting move yesterday.  In the interest of the employees, we won't name names, but word will get around before long.  Mark C.

12/18/02

Update from Newman Haas testing shootout at Sebring, Bourdais quick  2nd UPDATE  Evidently, Sebastien Bourdais was taking a break while Jon Fogarty completed about an hours worth of testing. Our sources say Bourdais has gone out again on sticker tires and has turned a lap time of 51.4...very quick. Again, all three drivers have proven to be very quick and impressive to watch and any will be a welcomed addition to the Champcar grid in 2003. It is expected that a decision on who will drive the second Newman/Haas Champcar may come as early as next week. Stay tuned!  12/18/02 - We have heard from our sources at Sebring. Evidently, Bourdais turned a 51.78 on sticker tires. Fogarty ran a string of 52.0's...so Bourdais was a couple of tenths quicker. Observers say that when Fogarty went out it was noticeably warmer (sweaters taken off) than when Bourdais ran. If that is the case, we believe that the couple of tenths differential could easily be explained by temperature and track conditions...but only the Newman/Haas people know that for sure. What we do know is that Fogarty has shown to be right there in terms of outright speed and consistency with the world's best young drivers despite the fact that he has substantially less experience than these drivers in big, high horsepower cars. Maybe this will open the door for more of North America's best up and coming young drivers to demonstrate their abilities in head to head shoot outs with drivers of the caliber of Zonta and Bourdais. Hopefully CART and its Team Owners will use its best efforts to avail the likes of Michael Valiante, Rocky Moran Jr., Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alex Gurney and others of similar opportunities. Whatever the outcome of this weeks test, we applaud Carl Haas and all the people at Newman/Haas Racing who saw to it that a young American gun was given the opportunity to showcase his talent in such a competitive environment. We think the stature of American drivers and the Formula Atlantic series took a big step forward this week.  12/18/02 - Our sources in Sebring report that 2002 FIA F3000 Champion Sebastien Bourdais has completed his allotted time in the Newman/Haas Champcar. We understand that he was quite quick immediately and drove in rather spectacular fashion right out of the gate. After debriefing with the NHR engineering staff, he appeared to calm down a bit and drive more precisely and was able to clock a very impressive 51.7 sec lap time on sticker tires...You will recall that Ricardo Zonta did a 51.3 sec lap yesterday on sticker tires, and Jon Fogarty did a 52.0 yesterday at the half day point on scrubbed tires. Once again, we think this shows that Fogarty is in the frame in terms of raw speed with the World's best young talents. Remember, Bourdais has a lot of time in big cars, having tested in F1 many times. Our sources say Fogarty appears to be braking earlier than Bourdais and Zonta from high speed (though he is faster through the mid-point and on exit of the corner).  We think this is due to his lack of experience braking from super high speed (180 mph at the hairpin). Fogarty is scheduled to take over from Bourdais shortly. Mark C.

12/18/02

Has Ecclestone begun to exert his influence?  As you know, the rumors that Bernie Ecclestone might buy into CART have been going on for quite sometime.  Today we may have seen the first signs that Ecclestone may be operating behind the scenes.  It appears he may have put into his first employee into place at CART in David Clare, Chief Operating Officer, at least that is how we are reading into it.  From 1987 through 1996, Clare was a direct deputy of Bernie Ecclestone with the Formula One Constructors Association. Clare's responsibilities included financial control, promotion and administration of FOCA and Ecclestone's corporations. As a result, Clare was actively involved in the administration of Formula One, Formula 3000, Sports Car & Rallying, and the Motorcycle World Championship as a liaison with teams, media and television companies, drivers, and federations. As part of his role he was responsible for the management and promotion of various Formula One and motorcycle events, including operations, marketing, sales, negotiations with circuits, federations, and government authorities. These events included the U.S. Grand Prix in Phoenix, Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal as well as the Hungarian, Belgian and German Grand Prix.  Sounds like a person Bernie would hold in high esteem. Mark C.

12/18/02

Minardi to run Cosworth labels  Minardi will run “Powered by Cosworth” labels on its engine covers in recognition of its engine supplier, Paul Stoddart confirmed on Tuesday. ‘Yes, that is in the contract, and no, we will not run “Powered by Ford” as has been suggested,’ Stoddart confirmed. ‘But we would feel honored if Ford (parent of Cosworth) asked us to do so.’

12/18/02

ALMS finalizes 2003 schedule   The American Le Mans Series has finalized its 2003 schedule by confirming the length of two races, changing the television network for two events and removing a tentative round of the series in Europe. The sports car endurance racing series will hold 10 events in 2003, all in North America, beginning with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway Mar. 13-15. The series will make its first-ever appearance in Mexico and will hold an event Apr. 3-5 at the revitalized Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City. The length of the race, which had previously been listed as TBA, has
been set for six hours. SPEED Channel will have live, flag-to-flag television coverage of the race. In addition, the series will return to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., for the second consecutive year Aug. 22-24 and will hold a timed event of two hours and 45 minutes. The length of the race had previously been listed as 500 miles. The race will be televised live by SPEED Channel, rather than by NBC Sports as had been previously announced. The series event that will be held Aug. 15-17 at Canada’s Mosport International Raceway will be televised live by NBC Sports rather than SPEED Channel as had been previously indicated. The series had intended to hold an event at a premier European facility in mid to late May, between the time of the traditional pre-practice for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the actual running of the Le Mans 24-hour race in mid-June. The European event was listed as a TBA on the series schedule when it was announced in October. “Although there has been a great deal of interest, unfortunately we have not been able to confirm a sanction agreement with an appropriate venue or event organizer to hold a European round in 2003,” said Scott Atherton, President of the American Le Mans Series. “The combination of many European tracks experiencing serious financial challenges, coupled with the general state of European sports car racing has prevented us from confirming an acceptable arrangement for the American Le Mans Series and its participants.” Atherton said that the “TBA” will be removed from the series schedule for 2003 and will not be replaced.

12/18/02
IROC

IROC returns to Indy  The excitement of the True Value International Race of Champions series will return for the sixth consecutive year to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Aug. 2, 2003, the day before the 10th Brickyard 400. The True Value IROC series is racing’s “all-star game.” Twelve of the best drivers from various series compete in equally prepared True Value IROC stock cars in a four-race series that concludes at the Speedway. “We are excited to welcome back the True Value IROC Series to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” IMS President and CEO Tony George said. “The IROC race has become an integral part of one of the biggest motorsports weekends in the world.” Drivers from the Indy Racing League and the NASCAR Winston Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series are expected to participate, as well as World of Outlaws standouts Danny Lasoski and Steve Kinser, who have been announced as drivers in 2003. Kinser, a native of Bloomington, Ind., competed in the 1997 Indianapolis 500. “I’m looking forward to running IROC next year and to get a chance to run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway again,” Kinser said. “I’ve never been around there in a stock car before, so that will be different. But, any time I can drive around there in any kind of car, it’s special. “It’s not too far from home, and that will be nice, also.” The True Value IROC race will consist of 40 laps around the 2.5-mile oval. Past winners of IROC at Indy include Mark Martin (1998, 1999, 2000), Bobby Labonte (2001) and Dale Jarrett (2002). The 27th season of True Value IROC competition begins Feb. 14, 2003 at Daytona International Speedway. Other races will take place April 5 at Talladega Superspeedway and July 12 at Chicagoland Speedway.

12/18/02
Industry News

Vodafone Chief Exec to resign  Vodafone Chief Executive Chris Gent has announced his retirement from the helm of Europe's biggest mobile phone group, saying he will give way to an American successor in July next year. Gent, who has steered the firm through some blockbuster acquisitions and seen it grow 10-fold in value to one of the world's biggest companies, is to step down in July and be replaced by Arun Sarin, head of U.S.-based Accel-KKR Telecom. "This appointment is part of a carefully orchestrated succession plan," Chairman Lord MacLaurin said in a statement on Wednesday, adding that Gent, 54, had already expressed his wish to retire from the top job late next year. MacLaurin said Gent had been under no pressure to leave. y," the investor said. Gent was a sports nut and key to Ferrari’s sponsorship. Recently Vodafone have been running adverts in the UK for the new picture messaging cellphones, featuring sport stars in their ads. As well as Soccer star David Beckham, they have had Michael Schumacher staging spoof bike races with Test Driver Luca Badoer in front of the team mechanics, Barrichello is nowhere in sight, memories of Austrian and US GP too sore for Vodafone or Ferrari perhaps?

12/18/02

Sponsor troubles for Foyt  UPDATE AJ Foyt’s primary Winston Cup sponsor, Conseco, files for bankruptcy. Conseco struggling under more than $6 billion in debt, became the third-largest U.S. bankruptcy Wednesday, as the insurance and loan firm sought protection from creditors while it sells its finance unit and tries to restructure itself. Conseco's filing, made in bankruptcy court in Chicago, is the third largest in U.S. history. Conseco has assets of $52.2 billion, according to recent financial reports, putting the firm behind only WorldCom Inc. and Enron Corp. The bankruptcy filings cover Conseco Inc. -- the holding company -- and its troubled loan operation Conseco Finance and some related units. Conseco's insurance units, under the close watch of state insurance regulators, are not affected. While the immediate impact on Foyt’s racing team is unclear, one only has to think back to last year when Kmart filed for bankruptcy and promptly canceled their Winston Cup program..  10/11/02 - We reported previously that Foyt's sponsor Conseco, was close to bankruptcy.  Now comes word Foyt has lost the Harrah's sponsorship as well.  It may be that Foyt will fund his grandson's ride out of his own pocket.  As for his other cars - Driver wanted, bring checkbook.  Foyt said Salazar doesn't have enough money to make a difference. "He's been super to us," Foyt said. "But if I'm going to run out of my own pocket, I'm going to do it with my own family."

12/18/02

Readers agree with CART ladder changes  We have received numerous emails from readers wholeheartedly with Mark Cipolloni's latest article about getting CART's ladder series in line with the rest of the world.  One reader writes a more detailed response.  Dear Mr. Cipolloni, I agree COMPLETELY with your synopsis regarding how CART should adapt its future ladder system to international parameters in terms of race car types. But I would like to suggest one possible scenario specifically involving "Rung 3." As an avid open-wheel race fan (especially CART) I would suggest that Chris Pook approach Nissan about having them form a version of the Telefonica Dallara Nissan series as the Rung 3 series, one notch below CART. Here's why: With Nissan's production car resurgence stateside as of late they should look to motorsports to help with their marketing. It certainly appears that they were pushed aside by the Indy Racing League when it became clear that heavy-hitters (and Japanese arch-rivals) Toyota and Honda were IRL bound-some thanks for spending millions of dollars as an original engine supplier to the IRL in its infancy. A Dallara Nissan-like support series that ran at ALL of the CART venues (or at least all of the NAFTA races) would be a terrific supporting event to emphasize Nissan/Infiniti's sporty character. Plus, I would imagine it would be a very sweet feeling for Nissan/Infiniti motorsports folks to throw their support behind the IRL's rival. But the scenario that I think would really be cool would be this: If the CART Dallara Nissan cars did race at the much-rumored future European races-with identical equipment-it would be fascinating to see how "our" drivers (a sure mix of up and coming Americans, Canadians and Mexicans) would fair against theirs (likely the Euros and Brazilians). Whoever faired well in these events would surely catch the eye of higher formulas on both sides of the pond. I have a friend that races on and off in F3000 (he lives in Italy). I saw him at the recent Michelin Race of Champions and to paraphrase one of our conversations he felt that F3000 is on a downward trend and that the Telefonica Dallara Nissan is definitely on the upswing because F3000-just like F1-is getting too expensive. From what it sounds like, a driver needs at least $1 million plus to do a season of F3000 with one of the better teams. It sounds as though a very good ride in TDN can be had for approximately $600,000-in other words, at least 40% less. And with drivers such as new Minardi pilot Justin Wilson and potential 2003 Newman-Haas driver and former Jordan and BAR F1 driver Ricardo Zonta's stock on the rise, these recent TDN racers are only helping make this series look more appealing to up and coming drivers. But back to Nissan. How many CART race attendees from the U.S., Mexico or Canada do you suppose would rush down to their local Nissan/Infiniti dealers after seeing a group of stunning pace cars including the 350Z, along with the handsome new Infiniti Coupe and sedans for a test drive. CART fans are the EXACT market for these vehicles-above average educations, incomes and (obviously) sporting enthusiasts. If marketed by Nissan/Infiniti correctly I suspect this could amount to several thousand cars sold in the NAFTA countries just form this program alone. Also, if the 2005 CART engine rules do wind up being based upon F1 V10s then the Dallara Nissan-like Rung 3 series makes even more sense. Nissan could borrow V10s from sister company Renault, badge them as Infiniti's and label the Rung 3 cars as Nissans (or vice versa). Whatever the future scenario, Nissan bringing the Euro-based TDN series to North America would be a very cost-effective program that would greatly enhance their production car image. Anyway, just my two cents. Jim Hall Newport Beach, CA

12/18/02

Sneak peek at new Dallara  Here is a photo of the 2003 Dallara, and surprisingly it shows a design that appears to be a complete reversal of current open wheel car design.  Gone is the high nose and back is a lowed nose, which results in a defined wind screen.  The sidepods look straight from a decade old CART Champ Car and note the huge front and rear wings that will plant the cars to the track for the patented 100% throttle IRL racing.

12/18/02

Sato signs with BAR  Takuma Sato will return to the role of test driver at his former British American Racing team next year. The 26-year-old rookie enjoyed a mixed first season of racing with Eddie Jordan's Silverstone-based outfit in 2002, but will accompany departing Honda engines to Dave Richards' Brackley squad for the next three years. 'It's a real shame of course that I will not race for Jordan next year,' said Sato as the news was announced. It is believed that Sato was informed of the decision on Friday as he visited the Jordan factory in Northamptonshire for the annual Christmas party. 'I fully understand the situation now and I leave the team on good terms,' he says. Sato spent a lot of his year in the hedge as he struggled to come to grips with the rigors of Formula One. 'Jordan boosted me a lot and we achieved a lot,' says the Japanese. But the likeable rookie's talent was never in question. He soared to a dominant British F3 title last year and came with the steady support of Jordan engine partner Honda. He adds: 'It was a fantastic experience with Jordan, but we had to find the next opportunity with BAR.' The second installation of Taku's two-year Jordan stint ends not only due to erratic form and a departing Japanese manufacturer, but because chief backer Deutsche Post World Net leave a $30 million black budget hole for '03. Eddie Jordan made it clear that the rookie would have to seriously court the Japanese corporate world, but it is now understood that British backer Benson & Hedges are demanding the Jordan cockpit presence of a local driver. We hear that 36-year-old Ulsterman Eddie Irvine will make his way back to Silverstone as a prelude to intensified B&H support for Jordan Grand Prix. Takuma Sato heads back to the BAR test role he occupied last year; but he could well be developing a car to eventually race in 2004 and beyond. 'That makes it good preparation,' says the Japanese. 'And who knows, there might even be a chance to race in 2003 as I am the reserve race driver.' Sato's three-year deal includes the option of him becoming Jenson Button's race teammate in 2004 and 2005. And the 26-year-old rookie is in good company as a pilot who took a step back from racing before re-launching a successful Grand Prix career on the F1 grid. Mika Hakkinen did it in the early Nineties, Olivier Panis spent a stint as McLaren tester in 2000, and Fernando Alonso revives a racing career next year after a season as Renault developer. 'It's definitely a good thing,' thinks Takuma. 'It will make me much stronger I think. Formula One cars are full of technology and it takes time to find improvements. 'It's a good opportunity to drive the car a lot.' New BAR principal David Richards is delighted to welcome Takuma Sato back to the Brackley cockpit. 'He did a great job testing for us in 2001 and his year racing for Jordan has given him much-needed experience,' said the Briton who has occupied the role as boss for less than twelve months. 'Most importantly however, I believe Taku is the brightest talent to have emerged from Japan to date and he is in Formula One on merit, as he confirmed with his exciting performance in this year's Japanese Grand Prix.' Richards thinks the strong link between Takuma and his team's Japanese engine supplier assists in the communication between Honda and BAR. He says: 'It continues to develop our seamless link between the two companies.' Sato's manager Andrew Gilbert-Scott explains that his young charge's Silverstone departure was amicable and in the best interests of the 26-year-old racer. 'Jordan has always been supportive of Takuma and we would like to thank the team for the year we worked together and wish them all the best for the future,' said Gilbert-Scott. He urges that withdrawing to the testing role will help Sato gather the experience to launch a better prepared Grand Prix racing career in the future. 'One of the difficulties last year was that, because of the problems at Jordan, Taku got very little testing, and for any new driver there is no substitute for mileage,' he says. Taku's testing miles this year were principally limited to 50km shakedowns and, for example, Anthony Davidson's BAR testing program easily outpaced Sato's racing year in terms of mileage. 'He hadn't done the European tracks in Formula 3000 like a lot of the other drivers and couldn't do the mileage, so this will help him develop,' Andrew adds. Finally, Silverstone team boss Eddie Jordan piped up with a few words of thanks and praise for his outgoing pilot. 'Takuma Sato has natural driving talent and a lot of bravery,' said the Irish team boss. 'We had an eventful and exciting season together this year. 'I have every confidence in him and I hope he will build on the ability that we saw demonstrated in Suzuka - perhaps one of the best drives of the season.' Sato scored his debut points in Formula One at his home Japanese Grand Prix; his last race for a while, as it turned out. 'I would like to extend my thanks to Takuma,' Eddie concluded. Jordan is yet to reveal the identity of Takuma Sato's commercially-backed replacement, to partner 29-year-old Italian charger Giancarlo Fisichella. 'Drivers are the least of our problems,' says Jordan, alluding to strong contact with Pedro de la Rosa, Felipe Massa, Enrique Bernoldi and Eddie Irvine.

12/18/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

Wilson Lets The News Sink In
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12/18/02

Chinese going bonkers over the automobile  Last nights ABC World News Tonight news in the USA featured a special report on the booming automotive market in China.  The 1.2 billion + Chinese are buying cars light crazy, resulting in traffic jams and air pollution.  More importantly for F1 and CART, the booming Chinese auto industry will have a positive affect on both the F1 and CART races in China.  Before long we might see a Chinese V-10 engine and Chinese Auto companies heavily involved in both series.  You can bet it has Honda and Toyota looking over their shoulder, both in racing and otherwise.

12/17/02

Barber-CART Scholarship Runoff Puts Over $300,000 Up For Grabs  The Barber-CART Scholarship Runoff will take place this week, December 18-20 at Sebring International Raceway as six aspiring racers vie over $300,000 in scholarships to compete in the 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series. Colin Fleming, Burt Frisselle, Ward Imrie, Scott Poirier, Al Unser and Robbie Montinola will participate in two days of intensive evaluation on and off track to secure the top scholarship valued at $100,000. The Barber-CART Scholarship has been the launching pad for the careers of drivers such as Michael Valiante and Ryan Hunter-Reay, both of whom will join an illustrious panel of judges that includes Bobby Rahal, Chris Kneifel and Tommy Kendall.   More.....

12/17/02

2003 CART Poster  Dick Pong has prepared this 2003 CART poster for AR1 customers.  It includes the latest tentative 2003 schedule as we know it today.  Makes for a good 8.5" x 11" color print to hang on your office wall for reference.

12/17/02

Montermini in ALMS?  Sometime in ’03, CART and F1 driver Andrea Montermini should spearhead the JMB Ferrari team’s effort in the American Le Mans Series. The 38-year-old drove the French team’s lead 360 Modena in this year’s FIA GT Championship, but he and the team are in agreement that he should switch to its new JMB USA satellite operation. Autoweek

12/17/02

Drivers testing for Newman-Haas but not Tagliani  In this translated radio-canada.ca article, Alexandre Tagliani will not test this week for Carl Haas. The team is carrying out tests with new drivers, but a CART rule prohibits any test before January 6 with drivers already registered for the championship. Several drivers began testing Monday in Sebring. The team confirmed the presence of Bryan Sellers, American champion American of Formula Ford, with Jon Fogarty and Ricardo Zonta (former fellow-member of Jacques Villeneuve at BAR). The Brazilian had success Monday with a semi-official time of 51.8 seconds (see AR1 reports below for actual times). The tests should last three days. Newman-Haas does not intend to make any comment on this meeting, and only at the beginning of January will the name of the pilot be revealed who will drive with Bruno Junqueira in 2003. By then, Alexandre Tagliani will know his fate for next season because Player's promised an answer by Christmas. Tagliani, who will take a few days of rest at Mount-Trembling, did not lose his sense of humor, despite a sense of urgency of the situation. "Generally, on this date, the drivers would have already been fitted with their seats and know their test calendar. Me, I always wait and within a week, I won't have any more nails!" Remember that the driver from Lachenaie is still bound by contract to Player's, and it's known that he can't find a ride outside CART.

12/17/02

Yoong confirms move to CART  Whilst in China Yoong took the opportunity to meet many personalities who are common figures amongst the CART paddock, and told reporters he would indeed be participating in the largely American-based series as has previously been reported. "That is what I will be doing," he revealed when asked if there were any truth in rumors he will be driving for the Gerry Forsythe-owned Player's team. "I am grateful to the many Chinese fans and media whose enthusiasm is simply overwhelming. This trip has also enabled me to meet various potential sponsors for my 2003 CART campaign."

12/17/02

Big NASCAR test in west  Many of NASCAR’s biggest stars will be at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Jan. 27-30, 2003, for the largest test session outside of Daytona. In past years, as many as 50 teams from the NASCAR Winston Cup and NASCAR Busch Series have used LVMS’ 1.5-mile superspeedway to prepare for the UAW-DaimlerChrylser 400, Sam’s Town 300 and the upcoming season. NASCAR Winston Cup champion Tony Stewart, four-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Jeff Gordon and 2003 Raybestos rookie-of-the-year contenders Jamie McMurray and Casey Mears have informed speedway officials that they will participate in the test session. Gordon and Stewart used the test at LVMS to springboard their championship seasons in 2001 and 2002. Once again, the speedway’s grandstands will be open free of charge to race fans wanting to watch the testing. There will be no public admittance to the pit areas. LVMS will announce a complete list of participants in the test the week prior to the test.

12/17/02

Fogarty gets another shot in Newman Haas shootout  Brought to you exclusively by AR1, evidently, Jon Fogarty impressed the people at Newman Hass Racing (see news below) enough to be given more seat time tomorrow afternoon following 2002 F3000 Champ Sebastien Bourdais' test.  Zonta evidently will not run anymore as the team feels they have enough data to evaluate him.  Our instincts are that Fogarty has surprised even the NHR personnel with his speed and consistency.  We think maybe the real test was between Zonta and Bourdais for the seat with Fogarty more of a formality.  Given his showing today, Fogarty has put a monkey wrench into some pre-conceived notions about American and Formula Atlantic drivers...again, these Team owners are being remiss in not testing Valiante, Moran, Gurney, Hunter-Reay and others as they offer much better marketing prospects than some of these drivers from abroad.   Because it is still largely a USA based series, CART needs at least a half dozen American drivers in the Series. Fogarty, RHR, Moran, Gurney and Valiante (even though he is from Vancouver, BC) would add some much needed youth and vitality to the Series as well as some critically needed US relevance.  Is it too much to hope that CART sees this?  Mark C.

12/17/02

Fogarty impresses in Newman Haas shootout  UPDATE Well, after lunch Ricardo Zonta went out again on scrubbed tires for several 4 - 5 lap stints. He best was a tenth or two slower than Fogarty managed by the break for lunch. Then he went out on sticker tires and did a 51.6 sec lap, followed by a 51.3 sec lap, followed by an off track excursion at the exit of the carousel ending in a spin (his second...he had one yesterday)...Fogarty has not spun or stalled the car and our sources say he has not put a wheel wrong and has looked very Da Matta-esque behind the wheel of the Newman Haas Champcar.   Fogarty did not get any more laps running as a result of a broken 4th gear which could not be fixed in time to resume testing...but again, on similar tires, under similar track conditions Fogarty was actually quicker than Zonta.   Even we were surprised by this!   Zonta has now completed 1 1/2 days to Fogarty's 1/2 day. It remains to be seen whether Fogarty will get more running time tomorrow as the team was set to test 2002 F3000 Champion Sebastien Bourdais. Hopefully, Fogarty will get more laps to go against Europe's best again tomorrow. Regardless, we believe that he has shown to be as quick as the best young foreign drivers. A head to head shootout with Bourdais would conclusively show this. CART needs these young American guns in the series. Hopefully, Chris Pook and the powers that be at CART see this. CART should also see to it that Michael Valiante, Rocky Moran, Alex Gurney, Ryan Hunter Reay and others are availed of similar opportunities to go against the World's finest young drivers. Mark C. 12/17/02 - Well it's not over yet, but here is what we can tell you.  We have had observers posted at the Sebring test track, site of the Newman Haas Racing shootout, stop watches in hand...Yesterday, Former BAR F1 star and Champcar hopeful Ricardo Zonta managed at 51.95 sec lap after struggling earlier in the day. By lunchtime today, 2002 Formula Atlantic Champion Jon Fogarty had done a 52.06 sec lap...Interestingly, Zonta broke for lunch yesterday having posted a time of 53.2 sec...in fairness we would point out that observers say the track appeared "green" when Zonta first took to the track in the morning after Bryan Sellers' initial run. So here we are, Fogarty apparently within one tenths of the highly rated ex-F1 star. Recall that Zonta is a former F3000 champion (having beaten Montoya to the title), BAR F1 driver, Jordan F1 test driver, FIA GT Champion with Mercedes and Telefonica World Series Champion. Yet Fogarty is a only a couple tenths off at mid-day. As we have been saying all along CART and its Team Owners need to pay attention to the crop of up and coming American, Canadian and Mexican roadracers coming up through their own ranks. Whatever the outcome of the remainder of the day, Jon Fogarty has proven he is in the frame with some of the worlds most coveted young drivers. We would wager that Atlantic standouts Michael Valiante, Rocky Moran, Alex Gurney, and Ryan Hunter-Reay would similarly impress in a head-to-head shootouts and hope CART sees to it that this comes to fruition. As we have said repeatedly, the average American consumer would find CART much more entertaining and appealing if this cadre of young guns was duking it out week in and week out. These are the kinds of drivers the American public can identify with.  Mark C.

12/17/02

Next Fittipaldi test  NASCAR.com reports that Christian Fittipaldi, will be in Daytona Beach on December 20, 21 and 22 to test for Petty Enterprises. An extensive testing session in preparation for the 2003 season. Fittipaldi, 31, and a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, will be getting some seat time at the Daytona International Speedway for the first time as he gets ready for his ARCA debut in February. Fittipaldi and the Petty testing team will also be testing two Winston Cup cars as Christian takes most of the testing laps to further his experience with stock cars. Christian Fittipaldi will be driving a combination schedule consisting of select ARCA, Busch Series and Winston Cup events as he prepares to compete full-time in Winston Cup in 2004 for Petty Enterprises. Fittipaldi will be driving the #44 Dodge Intrepid. A primary sponsor is still being sought for 2003.

12/17/02

New G-Force hits the track  An all-new 2003 Indy Racing League car was on track the first time Dec. 17 at Texas Motor Speedway, with Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Tomas Scheckter and Scott Dixon testing a 2003 Panoz G Force/Toyota/Firestone. Scheckter, 2002 Indianapolis 500 Bank One co-Rookie of the Year, turned the first laps in the new car on the 1.5-mile oval. It was the first time a 2003 chassis by any of the three IRL manufacturers – Panoz G Force, Dallara and Falcon – has been on-track. “(Panoz) G Force looks like they have done a good job,” Scheckter said. “There is still a lot of work to be done, but immediately out of the box we haven’t had any problems. I’m looking forward to the season driving the Panoz G Force.” Scheckter and teammate Dixon each drove a 2002 Panoz G Force equipped with a Toyota engine in the morning before switching to the 2003 car in the afternoon. Simon Marshall, the lead designer of the 2003 chassis, was happy to see a problem-free first day of testing. “It’s a little early to say,” Marshall said of the chassis progress. “There are no problems that we can see at the moment. We are just comparing it to this morning’s run of last year’s car.” Now that the 2003 chassis has been on track, team manager Mike Hull and the rest of the Target Chip Ganassi Racing crew can concentrate on producing a winning combination with a new Toyota engine, new Panoz G Force chassis and Firestone tires. “We have actually been lucky to run the Toyota engine in four tests this winter,” Hull said. “For us, that has been a learning curve, but so far it has been running extraordinarily well. This is our first outing here in Texas with the 2003 Panoz G force chassis, so in fairness to the situation, we haven’t had any problems. We ran the car right out of the box without a problem, and so it is going well".

12/17/02

Rain cuts Wheldon test short  Dan Wheldon and Andretti Green Racing tested for nearly five hours Dec. 16 at California Speedway before rain arrived early in the afternoon. Wheldon, 24, from Emberton, England, tested the new Honda Indy V8 engine, which will make its debut in Indy Racing League competition in 2003, until about 1:40 p.m. (PST). “Overall, everything is going well,” Wheldon said. “I’m confident with the car. I’m learning exactly what I need to learn from this test. We are carrying on the plan that has been put in place, and everything is going according to plan.”

12/17/02

CART stock watch 

MPH closed at $3.49 Down $0.03 on Volume of 20,200 shares.
$2.83 Bid - $3.79 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.40 / $3.55
MPH Value Change Down 0.85%
DOW Jones Down 92.01 or 1.07 on Volume of 1.65 billion shares.
NASDAQ Down 6.1 or 0.44%
S&P 500 Down 7.06 or 0.78%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

12/17/02

Some satellite subscribers missing NASCAR  EchoStar is working through end-of-year contract skirmishes with two programmers, but the company is ready to add another local TV market for its DISH Network service. During his monthly "Charlie Chat" with DISH Network customers Monday, EchoStar CEO Charlie Ergen said the company is trying to negotiate new carriage contracts with TNT, a Turner network, and New England Sports Network, a regional sports programmer that carries Boston Bruins hockey and Red Sox baseball. The current contracts for the two networks expire Dec. 31. Ergen said that "at this time we are not overly optimistic" new deals can be hammered out with the two networks before the end of the year. He emphasized that EchoStar is still in negotiations with the two programmers. On the local TV front, EchoStar will offer a local channel package to its customers in the Spokane, Wash., area beginning this week. Spokane is the 53rd market EchoStar has added to its local TV slate. As for his company's troubled merger with small dish rival DirecTV, Ergen said it will be an "uphill climb" to overcome government resistance to the proposed combination before its merger partner can exit the deal in January. "There is a very slim chance it will go through," Ergen said. Given the newly created Comcast cable giant, and with recently-announced rate hikes for cable companies, "We are very confident that we can go out and compete, and put the best product out there," Ergen said.  SkyReport.com

12/17/02

GI Joes renews sponsorship of Portland race through 2005  UPDATE Here is a related article in today's Oregonian by Jerry Boone.  12/16/02 - In a renewed commitment to the city of Portland and the race fans in the Pacific Northwest, Championship Auto Racing Teams President and CEO Christopher R. Pook announced today that CART will continue its annual Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford event in the Rose City through 2005. Bolstering this announcement is the fact that Portland-area sports and auto retailer G.I. Joe's has signed-on to continue its sponsorship of the event, and the unveiling of plans for CART to work with the Portland business community to build on the past success of the event. CART has raced at Portland International Raceway every year since 1984. "Portland has been and continues to be an extremely important market for CART, so it is only natural that CART should make a long-term commitment to Portland," said Pook. "It is imperative that we support G.I. Joe's and all of the local businesses in the area for their undying commitment to our event, and today's announcement is the beginning of a dedicated effort to support the Portland community. Likewise, Portland International Raceway is a tremendous facility with great race fans, so we are delighted that we have been able to reach a long-term agreement to keep the Champ Cars in Portland." A key component of today's announcement is the extension of G.I. Joe's support of the event, as the company has sponsored every previous Champ Car event at Portland International Raceway. The 2003 G.I. Joe's 200, scheduled for June 20-22, will be the 20th year that Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford visits Portland. "We are extremely pleased to once again have G.I. Joe's serve as the title sponsor of this event," said G.I. Joe's President Norm Daniels. "We have been the title sponsor since the beginning and are excited to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the G.I. Joe's 200 at Portland International Raceway." In a tremendous show of community support, the Oregon Sports Authority, Portland Oregon Visitors Association, Portland Parks and Recreation and Portland Rose Festival Association have formed a formidable business coalition with Global Events Group (the event's promoter) and CART to ensure the future of Portland's race. "The G.I. Joe's 200 has played a significant role in Oregon's economy and provided valued entertainment to the community for the last 20 years. The coalition believes strongly in the value of the race to the community," said Drew Mahalic, Oregon Sports Authority CEO. Added Portland Oregon Visitors Association President and CEO Joe D'Alessandro, "the race is vitally important to Portland's economy - injecting nearly $20 million into the community each year - and adds substantially to Oregonians' quality of life." "The G.I. Joe's 200 has brought the Portland Rose Festival $3.9 million to help finance non-income producing events," said Portland Rose Festival Association President Jim Franzen. "The annual event has contributed $4.3 million in improvements to Portland International Raceway since 1984 and benefits local charities, including the Columbia Pacific Boy Scouts and the March of Dimes." The G.I. Joe's 200 is scheduled to be the eighth round of the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. For more information about the G.I. Joe's 200, visit www.globaleventsgrouppdx.com.

12/17/02

Bernie defends F1 TV numbers  Bernie Ecclestone says that F1's sliding TV figures are not all down to a drop of interest in the sport. Ecclestone said that other issues had to be taken into account, including the French election which had a major impact on figures in France while the British GP was hit by the Wimbledon Finals tennis. Ecclestone also says that "most sports were down a bit in 2002" and blamed this on changes in social activity, including the rise of the Internet and the proliferation of TV channels which means that people have much more choice than previously. "There's only so much time that they can watch," Ecclestone was quoted as saying in The New Straits Times. "They are going to be more selective." But Ecclestone did say that not all the news was bad. Viewing figures are going up in Brazil where Rubens Barrichello developed a much bigger following in 2002. However teams report that whether or not the TV viewing figures were up or down they are receiving less income from TV revenues than has been the case in recent years.

12/17/02

Sellers tests Champ Car  UPDATE We have provided an image courtesy of Allan Craighead of Sellers in the Newman Haas Lola yesterday.  12/17/02 - The Newman Haas shootout has begun, and gets going in earnest Today.  Bryan Sellers Monday tested a CART FedEx Championship car at Sebring International Raceway. Thanks to support from to Newman/Haas Racing, Dynamic Suspensions and Carl Haas Automobile Imports Inc., Sellers earned the test after winning the 2002 Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship. The Centerville, Ohio, native began his first-ever test in a CART car with some installation laps on wet tires. After becoming familiar with the car, Sellers began to steadily go quicker around the 1.6-mile Modified Road course. At the conclusion of the morning session, he had completed numerous trouble-free laps in the No. 11 Lilly Newman/Haas Racing Toyota Lola. "It was everything I expected and more," said Sellers. "The acceleration in these cars is like nothing you imagined. I'm really looking forward to getting out there on slicks this afternoon." Following some other on track activities and lunch break, Sellers continued his test. Once again he used the opening laps to become familiar with the car and the track conditions. As the session progressed, Sellers gained confidence and consistently began to better his lap times. By the end of the day, Sellers had completed a very successful test with no incidents. "You really notice how responsive the car is on slick tires," said Sellers. "I had some problems downshifting, which I know cost me a bunch of time, but I'm very happy with my first day in a CART car. Now I just want to do more!" "Bryan did an excellent job," said Newman/Haas Senior Engineer Peter Gibbons. "I'm extremely happy with how the test has gone thus far." Sellers will conclude his test with Newman/Haas Racing Wednesday, when he does one more session in the morning.

12/17/02

Williams renews with Petrobras  Williams has extended its technical and sponsorship association with Petrobras, the Brazilian state oil company. Since 1998 Petrobras has supplied Williams with race fuels for both the Mecachrome/Supertec and BMW powerplants with good success. The fuels have been formulated at Petrobras’ facility in Cenpes and recently the firm spent $1 million on a dedicated plant to develop test and produce specialist “brews”. The association with Williams has been extended until the end of 2004. "The extension of our relationship with the Williams team will consolidate our technical progress with both state-of-the-art facilities and a partnership with one of the world’s leading motor racing teams,’ said Francisco Gros, Petrobras President. "Our long-term relationship with the Williams team has prospered both because of the technical advances we have all enjoyed, but also because this relationship has clear commercial benefits, one clear example of which is Petrobras’ new forecourt fuel, Podium." ‘It is for these reasons that we are delighted to be renewing our Formula One partnership."

12/17/02

Ford protégé Kahne lands Busch ride  Ford Racing protégé Kasey Kahne, 22, will drive the No. 38 Great Clips Ford for Akins Motorsports in 2003. It will be his first full season in the NASCAR Busch Series. "I'm very excited about a full-time Busch Series ride," said Kahne. "It's a great opportunity for me to move to the next level in stock car racing with a strong team and great sponsorship from Great Clips. I'm very impressed with what this team has done and look forward to working with crew chief Wes Ward and the rest of the guys."

12/17/02

It is official, Wilson to drive for Minardi  Highly-rated English driver, Justin Wilson, has signed a three-year contract to race for Minardi. The Faenza-based team let the much-touted cat out of the bag at a London press call this morning. 'Justin is an exceptionally gifted young driver whose career we have been following for some time,' said Australian team boss, Paul Stoddart. 'I'm convinced he will quickly prove that he has a very bright future ahead of him in Formula One, just as Minardi drivers Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber did before him.' Minardi will make use of lauded customer Cosworth Racing power from 2003 and, with the first British-born F3000 champion in the racing cockpit, have high hopes for the new racing season. 'I believe today's announcement indicates the team's overall level of competitiveness will rise significantly in 2003, in line with the five-year plan laid down for Minardi at the beginning of 2001,' the 47-year-old boss adds. Wilson, 24-years-old, is from Northampton and arrives at the pinnacle of motorsports with impeccable racing credentials. He has put together a sponsorship package worth more than $5 million but is a champion in titles like Formula Vauxhall, Formula Palmer Audi and, most significantly, the 2001 FIA F3000 International Championship. Wilson becomes the second Englishman, the third Briton, and at 1.92m, undoubtedly the tallest driver, on 2003's Formula One grid. Justin headed to Faenza a few weeks ago to try out his lanky legs in a mock-up of the PS03 Minardi challenger. Last year, he missed out on a drive with Eddie Jordan stating he was 'too tall for Formula One,' and earlier this season failed to meet safety criteria to fill-in for the persistently languishing Alex Yoong. But at the recent seat-fitting, Minardi made sure that the racer known affectionately as Flying Giraffe would be comfortable in next year's Minardi chassis. 'We have been working closely with his management representatives in a bid to sort out arrangements that would allow him to drive for the team next season,' Paul Stoddart continues. 'I am therefore delighted to announce that we have signed a three-year contract with Justin that will see him driving for Minardi in 2003, and beyond.' For Wilson, his arrival in Formula One marks the realization of a long-held dream. 'Like most young racing drivers, the ultimate aim has to be to reach Formula One,' he says. 'That dream has now become reality, but I probably still won't quite believe it's happened until I get behind the wheel of the new Minardi for the first time.' He thanked a host of contributors to his arrival at the top, including Dad Keith and manager Jonathan Palmer. 'A great many people have helped me to get to this point in my motor racing career,' says the Englishman. 'And of course Paul Stoddart,' adds Justin, 'For giving me the chance to show what I can do in Formula One with Minardi. 'It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I intend to make the most of it.' The news means Dutch chargers Jos Verstappen and Christijan Albers are left to duke it out for the remaining Minardi seat.

12/17/02

NHIS delays repaving  The repaving of the much-maligned corners at New Hampshire International Speedway, which was scheduled for this fall, has been postponed until the spring. Bob Bahre, chairman of the board and co-owner of the Loudon oval with his son Gary, said late last week that they decided to put off the work, originally slated for early November, until early April. ``The weather came in on us. It just got too cool, too fast,'' the elder Bahre said. ``We talked to the paving guys and we just decided to wait until after the winter and we'll do it right away the first of April or so. Next year there's no Busch race (in May), so we'll be fine for the season.''

12/17/02

Steve Wynn wants to bring F1 back to Las Vegas  According to this Las Vegas Review-Journal article, Steve Wynn's newest resort, Le Reve -- French for "the dream" -- is expected to open in 2005. But Wynn also might have plans for Le Revs -- as in the revving of Formula One engines. A reputable member of my Big Ear Posse, all of whom have excellent hearing, says Wynn has become a fan of F1 racing and wants the world's wealthiest series to compete on the grounds of his new Strip property. One of Wynn's handlers said he hadn't heard about F1 as a future attraction at Le Reve. Wynn was supposed to return the call, but that was a week ago. In 1998, politico Sig Rogich and golf-course developer Billy Walters tried to get county approval for a combination golf course/F1 track at the southern end of Las Vegas Boulevard. While the plan was being passed around like a political football in Southern Nevada, Formula One's chief promoter and most powerful player, Bernie Ecclestone, made an end run and began negotiating with Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Ecclestone signed a reported five-year deal with the Indy track, and 2003 will be the series' third year on the specially built road course at the home of the Indy 500. Rogich still thinks Las Vegas is the perfect location for the series that can certainly boast the most affluent demographic in racing. "(Formula One) represents the type of customers this city is seeking -- high rollers," Rogich said. "(The series) represents the highest in fashion, the best of food and the greatest wines in the world. (They are the type of people) the casinos are always looking for." Rogich's effort to blend an F1 road course with a golf course failed for several reasons. But he said he didn't have enough support for the project. Enter Wynn, who doesn't need support or the public's checkbook. The cost of the road course might be about $5 million -- a drop in Wynn's bucket considering his budget for Le Reve is $1.85 billion. "I've heard he loves the idea of Formula One because he went over there (to Europe) and was impressed with the people and the size and scope of the event," Rogich said. "I heard he came back enthusiastic." Wynn traveled to at least one F1 race this year, Rogich said. It's likely the series will continue to race at Indy, even though attendance has decreased each year. Tony George, the president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, has said his F1 race would sell more tickets if it weren't the only U.S. F1 stop. But before you rush to reserve tickets for the Le Reve race, here's another message from my posse: Wynn might make it an invitation-only event -- not for drivers but for spectators. Yep, the Grand Prix of Le Reve would be seen in person only by high rollers and dignitaries, while the rest of us watched on whatever obscure U.S. cable network aired the race. It's not too far-fetched. Wynn would have to pay Formula One between $15 million and $20 million each year to play host to a race that would be seen by a huge worldwide audience -- the biggest in motorsports. That would be an efficient advertising campaign for Le Reve and a profitable week in the high-roller rooms. The Le Reve is projected to open in April 2005 after 30 months of construction. At $1.85 billion, what's adding a little asphalt to the Le Reve budget?

12/17/02
Industry News

Banker agree to Marconi rescue plan  British telecommunications equipment maker and CART Cleveland GP sponsor Marconi on Monday clinched a deal with its bankers to complete a multibillion-pound rescue by March 15 and arrest the former blue-chip company's dramatic fall from grace. "The timetable gives us a clear path to our emergence before the end of our financial year [in March]," chief executive Mike Parton said. Marconi also named John Devaney, a former head of utility Eastern Group, as its new chairman. The once highly regarded company has struck a deal with its lenders to write off almost £4 billion (about HK$49.54 billion) of debt in exchange for 99.5 per cent of the company's equity as well as some cash and new debt. Formerly a conglomerate known as GEC, which built goods from washing machines to radar for fighter planes, Marconi tried to cash in on the Internet boom by focusing on building telecoms equipment. But like larger rivals Lucent Technologies and Nortel Networks, it has been badly scarred by the shattering of the dotcom dream. Marconi has slashed thousands of jobs battling the downturn. Mr Parton said: "It's been a difficult year but now we can clearly show that we have broken the back of the issues from both an operational restructuring point of view and a financial restructuring point of view." He did not expect any further significant job cuts once Marconi had slimmed down to a workforce of 14,000 early in its new financial year. Rueters

12/17/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

Green Light For Friday Testing
Wilson Lands Grand Prix Debut
A Wild Weekend For Michael Schumacher
Minardi Stay On At Faenza Base
Paffett Eyes Formula One Grid
Mild Seven To Challenge Ruling
Williams Renew With Fuel Supplier
Fisi And Taku At Jordan HQ
Alex Yoong Confirms CART Move
Stoddart Denies European Sale
Brief: Trophies And Parcel Bombs
Iceman Relishes Shoot-Out Challenge

12/16/02

FIA confirms Friday testing  The FIA put out a pres release today that states a sufficient number of teams signed up for the Friday testing option, hence the concept is approved and will be implemented in 2003.  Not all teams have to participate and it was not announced who signed up and who didn't.  FIA Statement: Following the receipt of a sufficient number of team applications, a two hour test session will be run on the Friday of each event in the 2003 FIA Formula One World Championship. Teams taking advantage of the new two hour session will limit their other testing to 10 days during the Formula One season (March-October 2003).

12/16/02

Yoong reaches out to Chinese companies  The F1Live.com article says, (Note - remember as you read this that CART may be in China sooner than you think...per our previous rumors on Beijing.  Most Americans have not yet grasped just how big the Chinese economy will be in 10 years.) Malaysia's first Formula One driver, Alex Yoong, is currently on the final day of his one week visit to China in conjunction with the Minardi “Thunder in China” event held last weekend at the Goldenport circuit in Beijing. Alex made use of the last day of his tour to speak to the Chinese media about opportunities that are available to local companies interested in venturing into the future with him. The world of Motorsport is beamed into millions of households and Yoong explained to the media that he is the best platform for international brand building for Chinese products. Being of Chinese descent, he can relate to the consumers of these products as well as having consumers relate him to the Chinese line. "Chinese companies offering products and services to the world can increase their brand image and quality awareness through me participating in the highest levels of Motorsport in CART as well as in Formula 1. Their products and services displayed on my race attire or race car receive a very high level of exposure through the print and TV media internationally,” he explained. “It maybe some time before another Asian non-Japanese can reach these levels and when another one does come along, I would encourage that he accumulate a good command of the English language as it is an internationally used business language - and be comfortable with the press and TV cameras.” “I have worked hard on these PR aspects of my responsibilities as a racing driver. The ability to represent the sponsors' products and services internationally is very important to me. It is therefore useful for product owners to exploit the effective spokesperson role that I can offer at this point in time. As for companies in China which are not ready for the international markets and are concentrating on the domestic China markets, I am able to offer the link between the young consumers in China and their dreams in life. I like to think that, through me, with my Chinese ethnic origin, I represent to them that it is possible for any Chinese youth to realize his dream of becoming a Formula 1 driver or, for that matter, to realize any dream that he may chose and to not give up in whatever they may try in life." BSA's founder and Executive Chairman, Dato Cam Soh, who was with Yoong at the press meeting, gave his view as an example of benefits in partnership with Yoong. "BSA alloy wheels are exported to 65 countries in the world and our products represent a high level of quality. I can confidently say that through our partnership with Alex Yoong and Formula 1, we have increased the brand image and marketability of our products," he explained. "I personally have total faith in Alex reaching the goal of being a great racing driver and there are no limits to his goal. That's why BSA is committed to supporting Alex on a long term basis. I agree with Alex that companies in China should take advantage of utilizing the great opportunity of reaping benefits with the first Chinese Formula 1 driver in the world." Yoong, who plans to return to Formula One in either 2004 or 2005, has confirmed that a deal has been done to compete in the upcoming 2003 CART series as well as continuing duties as a test driver in Formula One. The respective teams will make the official announcements in the near future.

12/16/02

Chris Pook radio highlights  In conjunction with Portland's announcement that G.I. Joes has renewed their sponsorship of the CART race through 2005, Chris Pook did radio interview today on "The Big Show with Mark Amazon and Ian Verness" on Sports Radio 910 AM, The FAN in Portland, Oregon. THE LOWLIGHTS: 1) Arizona Test was successful, 2) There will be new drivers, new teams joining, and some senior members returning, 3) They covered the Bridgestone Ford deal, 4) Portland International Raceway is an important marketing location due to it's close location to the city. CART and Global Events have plans to better exploit that relationship in the next three years/races. THE HIGHLIGHTS: 1) The fresh face of CART will include new and returning faces. Those returning of note: Paul Tracy, Michel Jourdain, Adrian Fernandez, and JIMMY VASSER (Pook said this), 2) A "New young American driver" will hopefully be announced this week or next week (Pook said that if you were familiar with motorsport, you would know the drivers name), 3) Some more owners announcements are forthcoming. One name that will be very familiar and one that will not. 3) Discussed the marketing and economic impact of the race to the region ($13-$15 million over the race weekend. 4) They (CART) will NOT make money this year, nor next, and are firmly focused on 2005. Bronson Graff, Portland, Oregon

12/16/02

CART stock watch 

MPH closed at $3.52 Down $0.17 on Volume of 24,900 shares.
$2.88 Bid - $3.82 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.50 / $3.75
MPH Value Change Down 4.61%
DOW Jones Up 193.69 or 2.3% on Volume of 1.68 billion shares.
NASDAQ Up 37.91 or 2.78%
S&P 500 Up 20.92 or 2.35%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

12/16/02

Merry Christmas from AAR and Ford Cosworth 

 

12/16/02

Cheever hires Jones  Max Jones, who has won numerous races and championships as a team manager for Roush Racing, has joined Red Bull Cheever Racing as general manager, owner and driver Eddie Cheever Jr. announced today. As general manager, Jones will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of Red Bull Cheever Racing. He replaces Richard Caron, who served as general manager since the formation of the Indy Racing League team in 1997. Caron has been promoted within Cheever Group, the parent company of Red Bull Cheever Racing. "Richard has been instrumental in the success of this race team, including our 1998 Indianapolis 500 victory," Cheever said. "It's time for him to take on new challenges in our growing organization. When Richard and I set out to hire a new general manager we wanted someone dedicated to winning, and Max fits that mold to a tee. He is a proven winner, guiding a number of young drivers and mechanics to winner's circle at Roush Racing. He will bring some new blood to this race team." Jones has worked for Roush Racing since 1990. As general manager for Roush's IMSA, SCCA Trans Am and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series' efforts, Jones is credited with 52 victories and five championships. "Indy cars, especially the Indianapolis 500, is something I have always wanted to do, but only if I could be with a successful team" said Jones, a native of Long Beach, Calif. "I have followed Red Bull Cheever Racing for some time now and the team has all the right pieces to win races and championships. I am very excited to get started." Jones began his career in motorsports as a driver. His road racing career included a victory in the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1991, and victories at Topeka (1989) and Portland (1988) with the factory Chevrolet team. He also won the 1987 SCCA Sport Truck Championship, and the 1986 IMSA Firestone Firehawk Championship. Jones will relocate to Indianapolis with his wife, Linda. He has two children, Brianna and Daniel.

12/16/02

FOX will not televise end-of-year banquet  Fox has no plans to cover the end-of-the-year Winston Cup banquet from New York in the future, and understandably so. While hardly scientific, only 14 percent of those who responded to a survey on the Web site of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution described the telecast on TNT as "great." Forty-two percent of the respondents called it "boring," and another 44 percent said they didn't watch.

12/16/02

No two cars alike  Why is it so hard to reproduce what you did last week in the Winston Cup series? One reason is the chassis and framework of the car. Many team owners and engineers have scratched their heads and wondered why they can't build an exact duplicate to a car of which just won on the track last week. The chassis system of a Winston Cup car is much more complex due to its overall size and general configuration as compared to open wheel cars which offer a decent chassis repeatability rate from system to system. If you think about all the welded round stock that goes into the making of the Winston Cup chassis and roll cage you can begin to see why repeatability is at best, luck.  Inside Racing News

12/16/02

No Winston Cup for Robinson Shawna Robinson will likely forego competing on the Winston Cup circuit in 2003, and will instead try to make her mark in the Busch Series. "The reason that the focus is on the Busch car is because money and sponsors are just really hard to come by right now," Robinson said. "(The Busch Series) is very, very competitive. Believe me, honestly, in this situation, it's not going to be any easier to go run Busch than it would be for me to go run Cup." Robinson had high hopes for last season when she was hired to drive for the newly-formed BAM Racing operation. It seemed that all her work, effort and sacrifice was about to pay off. But a young and inexperienced team, along with on-track mishaps, ended her season abruptly. "If I would have stayed in the BAM car this year and wouldn't have stopped after seven races and ran for the year and grew with the team, because the team would have stayed a lot more consistent, we'd have gone into 2003 knowing that we took everything we learned in 2002 and would be better," Robinson said. "And I feel we could have done that; there's no question in my mind that we could have done that. But, things didn't work out that way. There were a lot of other areas that were researched and tried, and that's what a new team has to do to really find their place."

12/16/02

Strange NASCAR year This Autoweek article says 2002 was among the most unusual Winston Cup seasons in NASCAR's 53-year history. Not necessarily its best, its most competitive or its most memorable. Almost certainly, though, among its most unusual.

12/16/02

Sauber says no to Friday testing  Do you think Ferrari supplying their engines had anything to do with this?  Sauber have said they will not be taking part in the new Friday morning test session. Instead, the Swiss team has said that it has opted for free testing because it wants to make the best use of its new wind tunnel. The announcement will come as a blow to the likes of Jordan and Minardi who were that Sauber would join them in taking part in the new session. In a statement, Peter Sauber said: "Although this was not an easy decision, there were no doubts about it in the end. We're currently building an ultra-modern wind tunnel in Hinwil; this is a clear commitment to a forward-looking strategy. "Our decision to continue free testing, rather than being limited to ten test days during the season, points in the same direction. This is the only way for us to continually optimize the development of the car in the long term."

12/16/02

Renault happy with young guns  This F1-Live.com article says that the Mild Seven Renault F1 Team concluded its four-day test session at the Spanish circuit of Jerez on Sunday, the French squad achieving some very positive results with next year's development items. Testing for the first time the hybrid car, Fernando Alonso drove throughout the entire session covering a significant amount of mileage in good conditions. Teammate Jarno Trulli, in the R202, ran only on Thursday and Friday morning and the team also made use of this final session of the year to put two young French drivers, Franck Montagny and Sebastien Bourdais through their paces with some very pleasing results. "Overall it was a useful test session. Fernando Alonso was able to complete the program as planned, in the hybrid car, and also doing some tyre work for Michelin,” Carlos Nunes, Testing Manager of the Mild Seven Renault F1 Team remarked. “Both young French drivers tested the R202. Franck Montagny's test on Friday was hampered by bad weather conditions and we decided to give him a second chance on Sunday afternoon. Sebastien Bourdais, who ran Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, completed a total of 68 laps. They both did very professional job.”

12/16/02

Monteiro talks about F1 test  [Editors Note - there were rumors Monteiro might race in CART in 2003 but they appear to have died down]  Tiago Monteiro was a logical choice when it came to handing out test drives with the Renault F1 team last week at Barcelona. After three years competing in the French F3 championship, which saw him on the highest step of the rostrum on several occasions as well as shining in the international races (2nd in Korea 2000), this young Portuguese driver had very tough year in the 2002 International F3000 championship. Learning his way through the series and being teammate with the eventual winner of the championship, Sebastien Bourdais, Monteiro did not have the best of seasons and only managed to secure two points by the time the year came to a close. Being in such a highly selective series, where there is no free testing to help the rookies become adapted to their new cars and the tracks used by the F1 championship, Tiago held his head high and now looks to the future full of optimism. F1Live.com interview

12/16/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

Old Ferrari To Kick Off 2003
McNish Admits Minardi Option
Snow Curtails Thunder In China
F1 Prize-Giving In Monaco
Another Test For New BMW Engine
Briatore: Loyalty Lies With Alonso
McLaren Our Closest Rivals: Ferrari
Button Happy With First BAR Test
2002 Testing Wraps Up In Spain
Willis Blamed For FW24 Shortcomings
Irvine: No Comment On Future
F1 To Ponder Aerodynamic Change
McNish: I Should Be Out There
Youngster Makes BAR Track Debut
Schumacher: 2052 World Champion?
Minardi To Make 'Important Announcement'
Villeneuve: I'll Win Or I'll Quit
Brief: Colin Chapman And Casinos

12/16/02

Minardi China event a big hit  CART will need to do things such as this if they have intentions of racing in China in the future.  This F1-Live.com article says that unfortunately, the Minardi F1x2 'Thunder in China' event, sponsored by Malaysian alloy wheels manufacturer BSA, was forced to stop after just one run each by Malaysian F1 driver Alex Yoong who, fittingly, is of Chinese descent, and up-and-coming young Dutchman, Christijan Albers, a tester for the Minardi Formula One team and a highly experienced “chauffeur” at F1x2 events. After waiting for three hours both BSA and Minardi declared the event abandoned as the whole of the circuit was covered with two inches of snow with no sign of the snow fall stopping and as a consequence, the track was declared by the drivers as too dangerous to proceed after they had each taken a passenger each for the first runs. Ironically, according to the officials at the Goldenport circuit, this was the first snow fall in Beijing this year. “It's disappointing not to have been able to run today due to the bad weather and slippery track conditions,” Alex said at the conclusion of Sunday's program, “but I still feel very honored to have been here in China for such an historic event. It's always enjoyable being able to take passengers in the Minardi F1x2 cars, but this is a particularly special occasion, as we are introducing F1 to the Chinese people for the first time. It is a right decision to stop after the first runs as it was just too dangerous to continue. For sure there is a high risk that we might put the car into the walls that line the circuit if we had gone out after the first runs today." Despite sub-zero temperatures and foggy conditions at the circuit an enthusiastic crowd turned out to witness the cars in action. The first Minardi F1x2 passengers on this historic occasion were Dato' Dr Cam Soh, CEO of event title sponsor, BSA International, and Tianshu Shi of the Federation of Automobile Sport of China. “The weather condition is regrettable but it is beyond our control. We are very glad we managed to give 16 media and guest passengers (12 yesterday and 2 today) an experience of their lifetime and we are also very pleased with the tremendous press coverage we had received,” Dato' Dr Cam Soh said on Sunday. “We do not intend to risk the limbs and lives of our drivers and our guests, so, cancellation of the rest of today is the only option available to us. We had however succeeded to bring the excitement of Formula 1 to the people of China through this historical ground breaking event and we are proud that BSA started the Formula 1 education process for the Chinese people."  More....

12/16/02
Industry News

Tobacco advertising suffers a setback in Canada  Players was hoping to get a reprieve from Canadian anti-tobacco laws that would see it out of all sports advertising in October 2003.  However, the momentum is not on their side.  This Canadian Press article says, Canada's anti-tobacco lobby urged the federal government on Friday to crack down even further on cigarette manufacturers after a judge dismissed an industry challenge of the Tobacco Act governing advertising. Canada's three main tobacco companies argued the law forcing them to put warning labels on cigarette packages is unconstitutional because it unfairly limits their right to do business and market a legal product. But Quebec Superior Court Justice Andre Denis rejected their view, noting in his ruling that cigarettes kill 45,000 Canadians a year. "They (tobacco companies) are trying to save an industry in inevitable decline and they have every right to do so," Denis wrote. "Their rights, however, cannot be given the same legitimacy as the government's to protect public health." The law also bans tobacco advertising in broadcast outlets, billboards, street kiosks, bus panels and store displays. Anti-tobacco officials were ecstatic with Friday's ruling. "It's just dynamite, dynamite," said Francois Damphousse, director of the Quebec office of the Non-Smokers' Rights Association. "It's a tremendous ruling because the judge has recognized that tobacco is a major, major public health problem." Donald McCarty, a vice-president at Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd., said the industry was disappointed with the decision. He hinted at an appeal but also said negotiations with the federal government would help avoid years of legal wrangling. The judge also criticized the tobacco companies for using terms such as "light" on their cigarette packages. More....

12/15/02

McNish at Crossroads, burns bridges  This Daily Telegraph article talks about what has happened to Allan McNish during the past 12 years, since, at the age of 20, he was hailed as the new boy wonder of British motor racing by an old boy wonder. "Allan is the next great champion," enthused the late James Hunt. "If you are looking for the natural successor to Stirling Moss, Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart, then he is the obvious candidate. But in motor racing, much can happen." . . . McNish now says, "I've got some big decisions to make because I've also been testing with Penske - the Ferrari of US motor racing - for the new IRL circuit which will effectively replace CART in 2003." (Editor's Note: Bold added for emphasis -- it appears Mr. McNish is convinced CART is dead.  His chances of landing an IRL ride are slim at best, and he just burned his bridges with CART.  Looks like we will be seeing him back in sports cars before long.) McNish continues, "It's always been an ambition of mine to race in the Indianapolis 500 in front of half a million spectators. I've won Le Mans, I've raced in the Monaco Grand Prix, and the Indy 500 is the last of the great theatres I have yet to appear in. That said, I feel I still have some unfinished business in F1."  He does have some interesting comments to say about the late great Ayrton Senna.   More . . .

12/15/02

Ferrari President says Schuey can drive for them until 82  Around 900 Ferrari staff got together to celebrate another successful year’s work at the traditional Christmas lunch. Held at Maranello in the new logistics centre, the lunch was attended not only by the Gestione staff but also directors of the Gestione Industriale, including GT Managing Director Amedeo Felisa. Also in attendance of course, were Ferrari President, Luca di Montezemolo, Jean Todt and the Scuderia’s four official drivers. It was a happy occasion with much applause, as President Montezemolo reviewed the past year and season. “We will continue to work in this calm way in 2003,” promised the Ferrari Maserati President. “Our stated aim for next year is to win a fourth consecutive Drivers’ title and a fifth consecutive Constructors’ championship. The opposition is strong, but that only adds to the challenge. “With your passion, ability and team spirit we know we can do it. When Ferrari loses it will be news and our job is to do all we can to delay that moment.” The President then called Michael Schumacher up on stage with these words: “Irrespective of the length of his contract, Michael will always be part of Ferrari and if he wants to continue his career until he is 82, he can do it with us. After 82 years, I will not be responsible for what happens!” President Montezemolo then invoked everyone to enjoy the moment. “Carry on working like this,” he concluded. “I am proud to be President of Ferrari and President of people like you.”  Saturday afternoon was taken up with another important fixture, as the pits at the Fiorano track were on a live link to the television program Telethon. The RAI cameras filmed Jean Todt, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, along with a 575 M Maranello and a Maserati Spyder. In the course of the broadcast, Jean Todt also announced his involvement, alongside Professor Gerard Faillaint, in setting up a foundation to study brain and spinal cord illnesses. Michael Schumacher is also involved in the project. The busy day closed with the traditional concert for Ferrari employees, which this year was held at Palamaguti di Bologna. Several famous guests were present, including Eric Clapton and the Italian group, Pooh. As usual, the event was hosted by Gerry Scotti.

12/15/02

Davidson leads Day 4 at Jerez  Anthony Davidson ended the final Formula 1 test of 2002 at the top of the timesheets at Jerez in Spain. BAR tester Davidson began the day carrying out Bridgestone tire development, then switched to a car fitted with the new Honda engine, using its extra power to set his best time. "The tire test was quite fun in the morning," he said, "then the engine software program was more monotonous. But the new engine is so much different in power." Alongside him at BAR, Japanese Formula 3 racer Kousuke Matsuura made his F1 debut. But his running was made difficult by a seat position that caused his head to bang against the car's bodywork. He was left with sore neck muscles, but was said to have impressed the team. Mark Webber was second fastest for Jaguar using the older specification Cosworth engine. But his team-mate Antonio Pizzonia continued to have a difficult time with the new 90 degree unit and only managed 17 laps. A problem discovered yesterday proved to be something that could only be fixed back at the factory and his test finished early. Renault's much heralded Fernando Alonso was third fastest, only slightly faster than Formula 3000 champion Sebastien Bourdais. Bourdais will now travel to the US, where he is testing for top Champ Car team Newman-Haas this week.
Pos Driver Car-engine Tires Time Laps
1 Anthony Davidson BAR-Honda B 1m21.254s 78
2 Mark Webber Jaguar M 1m21.549s 53
3 Fernando Alonso Renault M 1m21.635s 19
4 Sebastien Bourdais Renault M 1m21.754s 47
5 Franck Montagny Renault M 1m22.159s 33
6 Kousuke Matsuura BAR-Honda B 1m23.154s 44
7 Antonio Pizzonia Jaguar M 1m23.624s 17

12/15/02

Toyota to sponsor IRL season opener  [Editors Note: The Toyota Indy 300 announcement was made Sunday prior to the Dolphins-Raiders game at Pro Player Stadium. Along with the announcement, the new Toyota Indy 300 logo and showcar were unveiled to the public. Attached please find the race logo as well as photos (captions at end of document) from today's announcement.]  Toyota will be the official title sponsor for the Indy Car season-opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the next three


Miami Dolphins cheerleaders get in the racing spirit at the Toyota Indy 300 announcement prior to the Dolphins-Raiders game at Pro Player Stadium.

years, announced today by Curtis Gray, President of the Speedway, Les Unger, National Motorsports Manager of Toyota Motor Sales USA, and Ken Czubay, Executive Vice-President, General Manager of Southeast Toyota.  Now known as the Toyota Indy 300, this season's event will be held Friday, February 28 through Sunday, March 2, 2003 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "We're excited to be partnering with an outstanding company such as Toyota for the next three years," said Gray. "The Toyota Indy 300 will kick off the 2003 season of the Indy Racing League, the premier open wheel series in the country. With many of the biggest names in all of motorsports reaching speeds of over 200 miles per hour at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the action on the track will be incredible at the Toyota Indy 300." Toyota, in addition to sponsoring the season-opener for the Indy Racing League, also acquires Official Car and Truck status for the Toyota Indy 300. "Sponsoring an event like the IRL season-opening Toyota Indy 300 is a great way for


Homestead-Miami Speedway President Curtis Gray (left) and Ken Czubay, Executive Vice-President, General Manager of Southeast Toyota shake hands during the announcement at Pro Player Stadium prior to Sunday's Dolphins-Raiders game..

us to begin our overall involvement in the Indy Racing League," Unger said. "This provides our South Florida Toyota dealers a terrific platform to market our products in an area where we have sponsored race events in the past." Southeast Toyota and all its dealers will also have an active role in promoting the Toyota Indy 300 in the South Florida area. "We're very excited that our South Florida Toyota Dealers have the opportunity to showcase their entire line of Toyota vehicles at this world-class event," said Czubay. "There isn't a better place to kick off the Toyota/IRL relationship than right here in our back yard." The Toyota Indy 300, to be nationally televised on ABC at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 2, will feature the same cars and drivers that compete annually at the Indianapolis 500. Two-time Indy 500 champion Helio Castroneves and Gil de Ferran of Marlboro Team Penske; Michael Andretti, Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan of Andretti-Green Racing; defending Indy Racing League Champion Sam Hornish Jr.; and IRL veteran Al Unser Jr. highlight the drivers who will compete in the Toyota Indy 300.

12/15/02

Briatore says Renault will win title in 2006  Perhaps a bit delusional, Mild Seven Renault boss Flavio Briatore told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera: "I bank on the following progression: to improve in 2003, in 2004 and 2005 consistently being in the top 3, then in 2006 win the World title. I joined a big organization like Renault, where properly speaking there wasn't a real team. It had to be built.” Briatore is resting his hopes on Renault’s brilliant young new star Fernando Alonso to become the next Michael Schumacher. Briatore worked with the German ace from 1992-95 after snatching him from Jordan and in the process they won two Drivers’ Championships and a Constructors Championship for Benetton. Flavio has high expectations of his young Spanish driver who will be driving for Renault in 2003 alongside the more experienced Jarno Trulli. However the Renault boss feels Jarno hasn’t yet performed to his full potential. Briatore concluded: "Alonso is my discovery and I truly hope he will be able to be Schumacher's heir. I appreciate Jarno Trulli, very much so, but he still has to show his talent."

12/15/02

McNish surprised by Panis signing  Allan McNish says it's the signing of Panis that surprised him the most. "Your first year in F1 is always the most difficult and I know I would have been even better next season. I spent all last year testing for the team so they could be up and running for the start of this season - and although I failed to score a point I still feel I did a good job overall," McNish told The Sun. "Motor-racing is a risky business on and off the track and I always knew when my contract finished I could be told I was no longer required. But it still came as a surprise. I really don't know what Panis can bring to the team. Da Matta is more high-profile because he has just won the CART championship but only time will tell whether he can do it in F1." "I should be out there testing with the rest of them. It may hit me even harder when the season starts in Australia next March and I am no longer part of it." McNish is now looking to the American IRL series for a drive next year. He recently tested one of Penske's Toyota-powered cars at California's Fontana oval. "The average speed is the same as the fastest you clock in an F1 car," he said. "I'm not frantically phoning round because I've been around long enough in various forms of racing and people know what I am capable of - and that I am available."

12/15/02

Stewart worried about F1's future  On Friday the FIA revealed that it might scrap its plan to impose the ban at all its events after the European Union decided to move their date for banning tobacco advertising to July 2005. This has put the future of Europe's races in jeopardy, as races outside the EU that will not be imposing the ban would become more lucrative. However, according to Jackie Stewart this could prove to be a disaster for Formula One as a whole. "We have to be very careful of jeopardizing the foundations of the economics surrounding Formula One," he told Reuters. "To remove Formula One from the European mainland would be difficult for any of the teams to be able to deal with. Most of them have connections with multi-national companies that have very significant European markets." However not everyone is against it. Minardi boss Paul Stoddart has called on all those in F1 to give the FIA their full backing. "Some things in Formula One are incredibly unanimous and this is one of them," said Stoddart. "You can only go on history and the teams were unanimous on Belgium. The FIA have put a lot of work into getting an agreement and I hope the EU looks at the original agreement and honors it."

12/15/02

Head criticizes BAR technical director  In the latest edition of F1 Racing magazine Wiliams manager Patrick Head is quite clear where a lot of the blame lies for last years F24 shortcomings. "The layout of the FW24 and its fundamental aerodynamic concept were settled during the period when Geoff Willis was in charge of our aerodynamics department," said Head. "Clearly an incorrect judgment was made about what level of step we needed to make (to compete with Ferrari in 2002) and how to achieve it." "I have to say I think Geoff was running our aero department in a way that I would liken to a cottage industry," continued Patrick, "and he was unwilling, or unable, to see the bigger picture." "He was encouraged many times to expand our aero capability and he seemed to be more concerned at keeping it small and compact." And of course, after that, he left to go to BAR. Head believes that it was difficult for him to live up to his more illustrious predecessor in the job. "Basically, I don't think he ever really came out of the shadow of Adrian (Newey) in the time he was at Williams." "Having said all that Geoff is a very determined person and I'm sure that in time he'll be capable of leading an aero department at a much higher level than he did when he was at Williams."

12/15/02

2003 Toyota Atlantic poster   Dick Pong made this poster of the 2003 CART Toyota Atlantic season, which also includes the 2003 schedule.  The 12-race season kicks off in Monterrey, Mexico on March 23rd and ends in Miami in late September.

12/15/02

Jerez Day 3, Kimi on top  Kimi Raikkonen set the pace on the third day of testing at Jerez. Kimi took advantage of the warm afternoon conditions to set a best lap of 1m19.777s, ending up a half-second advantage over his nearest rival. Sebastien Bourdais and Franck Montagny had a chance to impress at Renault and it was F3000 champion Bourdais who came out on top, recording a best lap more than half a second quicker than the Dallara Nissan front runner managed.
Pos Driver Chassis-engine Tires Time Laps
1. Kimi Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes M 1m19.777s 49
2. Mark Webber Jaguar M 1m20.304s 95
3. Anthony Davidson BAR-Honda B 1m20.657s 54
4. Alex Wurz McLaren-Mercedes M 1m20.905s 76
5. Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW M 1m21.352s 75
6. Fernando Alonso Renault M 1m22.076s 76
7. Marc Gene Williams-BMW M 1m22.228s 62
8. Jenson Button BAR-Honda B 1m22.652s 72
9. Sebastien Bourdais Renault M 1m23.701s 22
10. Franck Montagny Renault M 1m24.480s 48
11. Antonio Pizzonia Jaguar M no time

12/15/02

Villeneuve's days at BAR numbered  According to this Waymoresports.com article, Jacques Villeneuve cringes at the notion of the BAR-Honda car he helped inaugurate becoming competitive just in time for him to leave the Formula One team. That's exactly what may happen as the outspoken driver from Iberville, Que., enters the final year of his contract with British American Racing. Early indications are that, after four years of frustration, the car will be quicker in 2003, but the BAR team is not expected to extend Villeneuve's contract, reportedly worth $15 million US per year, beyond next season. "It might not be my decision to stay or not," Villeneuve said Saturday at his annual charity ski marathon at this Laurentian Mountain resort. "I might not be wanted there anymore. "It looked last year that I was being pushed out and they ended up being obliged to keep me. That's good, because finally I have a good car and we could do something good. "But it would be annoying if we suddenly became competitive and started winning races and it was decided I wasn't needed," he added. Villeneuve won the Formula One championship in 1997 with Williams, but jumped two years later to BAR, a team founded by a group that included his friend and agent Craig Pollock. Pollock, who remains a part owner and a director of BAR but no longer manages the team, said this week he expects Villeneuve to move to one of the top teams in 2004, perhaps even runaway F1 leader Ferrari. Villeneuve, whose father Gilles drove a Ferrari until he died in a spectacular crash in 1982, was typically unsentimental about the idea of driving for the famous Italian sportscar-maker. "If Ferrari stays on top, yes, but if it does like McLaren and goes backward, it would be less interesting," Villeneuve said, adding Ferrari was only intriguing "because it has been the best team lately." He expects Ferrari to win again in 2003, but rival teams, including BAR, may not be so far behind. A new BAR, called the 005, is to begin testing in January in Barcelona. "Our expectations are high and they seem to be realistic," said Villeneuve. "In the past, when we've had expectations, it was like we were hoping for Christmas and it never happened. "This year, there's a whole new group of technical people working on it and the numbers look amazing, so we should make a big leap forward. The engine should not be more powerful, but it should be a lot lighter, which will allow us to go faster." Since it sputtered onto the F1 circuit with a massive budget but an inferior car in 1999, the BAR experiment has been a disaster for Villeneuve, whose past glories include a CART championship and Indianapolis 500 victory in 1995. Last season, he was 12th in F1 standings, with a meager four championship points from a fourth-place finish at Silverstone in England and a sixth place at the U.S. Grand Prix. He also got into a mud-slinging match with Pollock's replacement as team boss, David Richards, who suggested that Villeneuve's contract was a drag on the team and they would be better off with a younger driver. Richard's got part of what he wanted when 22-year-old Briton Jensen Button was hired to replaced Frenchman Olivier Panis as the second driver for this season, but Villeneuve wouldn't let them out of his contract. Some time in the new year, Pollock will likely start sounding out rival teams about taking on his client, although he said he'd put aside his directorship at the holding company that owns BAR beforehand to avoid conflict of interest. Villeneuve knows his bargaining power will be weakened if he has another disappointing season. "Another bad season and I'll be staying home next year," he said with a grin. "If you win, you're worth more. If you don't win, you're worth less." Earlier in the week, Pollock even floated the notion of having Villeneuve drive for Ferrari as a hostile teammate to world champion Michael Schumacher, letting what many consider the world's top two drivers compete on equal footing. However, Villeneuve said Ferrari showed this year it won't have competition between it's two drivers "as long as Michael is there." Villeneuve arrived at the resort early Saturday after doing tire and electrical testing on the 2002 BAR in Jerez, Spain. The ski marathon, called the Grand Prix 24 Hours at Mont-Tremblant, hopes to raise more than $300,000 for research into juvenile diabetes. Teams of up to six skiers take turns descending the trails. "I haven't skied yet this year so, unlike last year, I'll have to take it easy," said Villeneuve, an avid and reportedly sometimes reckless skier. Villeneuve and Pollock run a similar event in Villars, Switzerland, in January.

12/14/02

Weekly team roundup  Formula One teams are hard at work as they prepare for the 16-race 2003 FIA World Championship that includes the fourth annual United States Grand Prix on Sept. 28 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Once the off-season testing ban ended Nov. 26, all of the teams except Jordan headed for Spain to start testing components of their 2003 cars at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya and at the Jerez and Valencia circuits. A second testing ban will come into effect over the Christmas and New Year holiday period. A look at each team:  More....

12/14/02
Industry News

AARWBA names drivers  Two-time Indy Racing League champion Sam Hornish Jr. and Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series champion A.J. Foyt IV were named to the first team of the All-America Auto Racing Team selected by members of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association. Joining Hornish on the first team in the open division was Championship Auto Racing Teams champion Cristiano da Matta. Joining Foyt in the at-large category were drag racer Frank Manzo and road racer Bryan Sellers.

12/14/02

Latest F1 Hot News 

Green Light For Reform Package
Jenson Button Makes BAR Debut
Barrichello Blitz At Barcelona
Bridgestone: Qualifying A Focus
Mosley Warns Byrne Over Tobacco Ban
Wurz On Top At Overcast Jerez
Pitlane Support For European Snub
Brief: Academies And Magazines
Jordan Donates Winning Challenger
Troubled Week For CART Champion

12/14/02

The FIA Academy  During its previous meetings, the FIA General Assembly comprising member countries of the Fédération, voted to include a new structure in its statutes: a world-wide FIA Academy. The aim of this new body is to develop important projects which will stimulate research and will create the necessary framework for the good of mankind to improve the environment. In addition to its current work with international bodies such as the United Nations, the FIA, with its millions of members world-wide, seeks to increase the ways in which it can help reduce the number of road fatalities, and to propose solutions at the close of 2002 for the hundreds of millions of vehicles on the roads today. The FIA Academy will award two prizes each year: 1) The Automobile World Prize will be awarded to an individual or organisation that has made an exceptional or outstanding contribution to the promotion of road safety, the protection of the environment or the development of human mobility; 2) The Gold Medal for Motor Sport will be awarded an individual that, either through exceptional success or outstanding effort, has made a substantial contribution to international motor sport. During the inaugural meeting of the Academy, President Jean-Marie Balestre, Honorary President of the FIA, was unanimously elected President of the new FIA Academy.

12/13/02
Karting

Gidley teams with Russell Racing for karting  A decade ago, a twenty-two year-old motorcross rider named Memo Gidley enrolled in a mechanics' training program at the world-famous Jim Russell Racing Drivers School. In return for working in the school's shop at Laguna Seca Raceway, Memo got to drive the race cars he wrenched. As a rookie participant in the USAC Formula Russell Championship, the unknown American qualified on the pole in his first race and led from start to finish. He subsequently won nine out of eleven races en route to the 1992 series title, and a racing career had begun.  More.....

12/13/02

Toyota wraps up 2002 testing  The final Panasonic Toyota Racing test session of 2002 drew to a close today as Olivier Panis and Cristiano da Matta ended a four-day session at Circuit Paul Ricard in France. Wet weather conditions throughout the test meant that work revolved around testing Michelin rain tires, wet weather car set-up and engine mapping. Brazilian Da Matta took charge of the TF102 on all days, whilst Frenchman Panis completed 1,311 km in the interim TF102B car.   "I want to say that we have managed a lot this week. It has been wet weather for most of the session and we carried out a lot of work, including a mini tire test for Michelin, in the wet conditions. I feel that we have done a good job and completed good mileage. Today the track was still damp and we did some work on electronic systems which went well. We are making good progress and I am looking forward to testing the TF103 in January."  "I have not done as many laps as I wanted to because we had some small problems this week, which we need to cure. On a positive note it is good we are having these difficulties now rather than next season. I have been full throttle all this year, so it will be good to have a three-week holiday. It will be more than enough to recharge my batteries and I am looking forward to getting started again in January.  "Weather: A predominantly wet week with occasional dry spells. Track conditions: Wet or damp for most of the week.  Both Panis and Da Matta resume testing after the Christmas break, but the opening chapter of Panasonic Toyota Racing's 2003 season begins at Circuit Paul Ricard on 8 January when the team will unveil its 2003 race car, the TF103.

12/13/02

Da Matta interview Sunday   The season's final installment of ESPN's motorsports news show RPM2Night will air Sunday evening on ESPN2 and will feature a lengthy interview with 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series titlist Cristiano da Matta. The winner of seven races and seven poles this past season for Newman/Haas Racing and winner of the National Driver of the Year Award, da Matta filmed the 4 ½-minute interview at the ESPN studios as part of his Champions Tour through New York at the end of the 2002 campaign. The year-end show will air Sunday night at 11 p.m. Eastern Time on ESPN 2, and will re-air Monday morning at 1 a.m. The show will return to its weekly Sunday night time slot in mid-January.

12/13/02

Colin Chapman called liar and cheat  A new biography, by the motor racing historian Mike Lawrence, presents a rather poor portrait of Lotus founder Colin Chapman.  Chapman, he suggests, had the business ethics of a 1950s spiv, used dangerous drugs to maintain a crushing schedule and ruthlessly stole other men's ideas. Lawrence said: "Colin Chapman was my hero and this was by no means an easy book to write. But I feel a fuller story simply had to be told." He presents evidence that Chapman habitually plagiarized ideas from Lotus' competitors, or took the glory for the work of Lotus staff. Lawrence adds: "What shocked me most as the evidence accumulated was the coldness with which he would airbrush other people out of the story and assume the credit for their ideas. I was also pretty stunned at the extent to which he used barbiturates and amphetamines to keep himself going." Perhaps Chapman's darkest hour came in 1978, when Lotus linked up with the American tycoon John Z DeLorean to develop a stainless steel sports car, to be built in a factory funded by the British government. What the government did not know, but what Chapman certainly did, was that the project was a scam. Around $17 million went missing. Chapman died before the full deceit unraveled but at the subsequent trial of Fred Bushell, the Lotus accountant, the judge insisted that had Chapman himself been in the dock he would have received a sentence "of at least 10 years". Yet Chapman retains his devotees, even among those who know about his darker side. Graham Arnold, a Lotus sales director in the 1960s, remains convinced of Chapman's genius and is organizing a complex search of files at the Patent Office to prove it. Arnold said: "Colin was without any doubt one of the finest engineers ever produced by this country. He's way up there in the company of Brunel. "He had the most amazing, restless mind and he turned it to all sorts of problems. There was nothing that he felt was beyond him. For example, for a long period Colin had a painful condition with his ears and he's known to have filed patents, which I hope to retrieve, for devices which controlled the acceleration and deceleration of things like lifts and railway locomotives, where he always had discomfort." So why might these "lost patents" prove difficult to find? Arnold laughs. "Because you can be sure they would have been filed in such a way they would prove of much greater benefit to Colin than the Inland Revenue." Colin Chapman: Wayward Genius by Mike Lawrence (Breedon Books)

12/13/02

More drivers choosing HANS This USA Today article says, after NASCAR's first full year of requiring drivers to wear one of two approved head and neck restraint devices, a USA TODAY survey found that a majority of the Winston Cup series' regular drivers — approximately 70% — are choosing the HANS over the Hutchens. The HANS device, a U-shaped safety collar that sits on a driver's shoulders, has been around since the 1980s and has been tested more extensively than the Hutchens, a series of straps that some drivers say is more comfortable. Both devices help prevent the head from moving forward in a crash, a likely cause of the skull fracture that killed Dale Earnhardt last year. Veteran Ricky Rudd has tried both and prefers the HANS. He says drivers who like the Hutchens because it allows more head movement might be putting themselves in danger. A NASCAR official checks to make sure drivers are wearing a restraint before they get on the track, but it is difficult to tell if the devices are properly tightened. Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he knows the HANS performs better in laboratory crash tests, but finds the Hutchens to be more comfortable. He says he is glad NASCAR is making drivers choose one or the other. "If they didn't mandate it, I probably wouldn't even be wearing one," he says.  [Editors Note:  What it doesn't say is that the Hutchens Device has been known to cause severe injury to private parts.  As Earnhardt said, "if you are not careful to move the jewels out of the way, you can be in for a real hurtin' with the Hutchens because it straps down between your legs."]

12/13/02

NASCAR safety improves, still lags CART and IRL In this USA Today article, Steve Park insists he had fully recovered from a head injury before he returned to racing. But frequent wrecks and a lingering speech impediment caused observers to wonder whether he returned too soon — and whether NASCAR adequately monitors injuries. A USA TODAY computer analysis reveals that Park was involved in the most accidents and spinouts this season, as average of 4.69 incidents for every 10 races he ran. Park admits he occasionally over-drove his car, trying to prove he can still be competitive. But he says most of the wrecks happened simply because he was caught in the middle of the pack, where accidents happen more frequently. Says three-time Winston Cup champion Darrell Waltrip, now a Fox TV analyst: "I've just got to believe that if he could do it over again, he'd lay out a little longer." Unlike other major racing series, NASCAR does not have a formal injury review process. To race, a driver needs clearance from a doctor. Park went beyond those requirements to make sure he was fit. He took the same computer-based neurological test that CART and the Indy Racing League use to determine if their drivers have recovered from head injuries, and scored well in comparison to CART and IRL drivers. But to truly tell whether his brain functions had been diminished, Park would have needed to take the test before the season to establish a baseline, as CART and IRL drivers do, then take it again after sustaining an injury. NASCAR officials are looking at neurological tests, and seem serious about using one next season. NASCAR has earned praise for the safety strides it has made since the death of Dale Earnhardt nearly two years ago. Still, Waltrip says NASCAR has not yet established itself as racing's safety leader: "I wish we were out there leading the fight, not just being a part of it."

12/13/02

CART stock watch  

MPH closed at $3.69 Down $0.05 on Volume of 10,700 shares.
$3.06 Bid - $4.02 Ask on close.
Session Low/High $3.69 / $3.74
MPH Value Change Down 1.34%
DOW Jones Down 104.55 or 1.22% on Volume of 1.6 billion shares.
NASDAQ Down 36.91 or 2.67%
S&P 500 Down 12.08 or 1.34%
Courtesy of C3I.AndersonGroupe - Chicago
www.andersongroupe.com

12/13/02

Simple Green to make donation   Simple Green, the naming sponsor of CART's Safety Team and official cleaner and degreaser of CART, will be represented by Public Relations Director Jessica Carter on NBC's popular "Today" show in New York City this Sunday, December 15th. The appearance is scheduled to take place between 8:00 - 9:00 a.m. ET. Appearing for the third consecutive year on behalf of Simple Green, Carter will make a generous donation of $50,000 worth of toys for the Children's Toy Drive. This year Simple Green will be donating their EGBAR Jr. toy dolls along with 1:32-scale collectible models of the Toyota Tundra Simple Green Safety Trucks used every race weekend in the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series.

12/13/02

Year-end CART shows on SPEED   Following the conclusion of SPEED Channel's first year as a broadcast partner of Championship Auto Racing Teams Inc., the cable network will wrap up the season with a pair of shows next week celebrating the achievements and discussing the happenings of the 2002 campaign. The hour-long CART Year-in-Racing show will premiere on Wednesday, December 18 at 9 p.m. Eastern Time and will feature highlights, interviews and analysis of the 2002 CART FedEx Championship Series season. The 30-minute CART round-table discussion show will premier on Friday, December 20 at 7 p.m. and will feature SPEED Channel's CART broadcast team of Bob Varsha, Tommy Kendall, Scott Pruett, Derek Daly and Calvin Fish. The shows will also be rebroadcast at various times throughout the months of December and January leading into the 2003 Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. The CART season-ending shows come on the heels of a very-successful CART Thanksgiving Marathon on SPEED Channel where replays of 2002 CART events were shown in their entirety on Thursday and Friday of Thanksgiving weekend.

12/13/02

Pook calls a spade a spade   In an interview with Autosport magazine, says that although he knew things were going to be difficult when he took over, he had no idea of the scale of the struggle facing him. "I never believed it would be this intense" he said. "I never believed it would take so much work and there would be so much bad blood. It's been brutal. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that some guys were trying to put us out of business." But Pook states that the battles within CART have hit the hardest. "The worst part was being trashed on the inside by our own people who had made their living, made their careers, made a lot of money in the series." He continues, "I found that disgusting and immoral, as well as all this crap about "I've got to make a living." Don't trash the series that put you where you are today. People who do that have major character flaws in my opinion. Those are harsh words but they are true."

12/13/02

Andretti back with Petty  A new look to a traditionally winning team will grace the #43 Cheerios/Betty Crocker Dodge for 2003. With driver John Andretti back behind the wheel, Gary Putnam will take over as crew chief for the team. The 32-year-old Putnam began serving as a NASCAR Winston Cup crew chief for the first time just last year, taking the reins of the then-#44 Georgia-Pacific Dodge, and is now heading the most recognizable team and most successful car in the history of the sport. "Having John and Gary signed and raring to go gives us all a great feeling about 2003," said Kyle Petty, CEO of Petty Enterprises. "John is a tremendous talent and has proven he knows how to win," Petty said. "I don’t know of anyone in the sport with as great a desire to excel. What he brings to our team on the track and what he brings to General Mills and Petty Enterprises off the track is fantastic. "Gary has proven himself not only highly knowledgeable but a true leader," Petty continued. "We’re excited not just with what he has shown us so far but with his tremendous potential. John is excited and all of us at Petty Enterprises are excited with what he can do for us."

12/13/02

ALMS drivers named  American Le Mans Series champions Ron Fellows and Tom Kristensen have been named to the 2002 Auto Racing All-America Team. Fellows, champion in the GTS class for production-based cars in the ALMS, was named to the First Team in the road racing category. Kristensen, champion of the LMP 900 (Prototype) class, was named to the Second Team. The All-America Team is chosen by members of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA). AARWBA chose 12 members of the All-America Team in six categories: road racing, stock car, open wheel, drag racing, short track and at-large. The membership voted for a first and second team, and any driver who received five percent of the vote was also named to the honorable mention category. The Jerry Titus Award, which goes to the driver receiving the most votes, regardless of category, will be announced at AARWBA’s annual banquet in January, at which the members of the All-America Team will be honored

12/13/02

FIA threatens European Races over tobacco ban  This Sporting Life article says, Motor sport chiefs have warned that European races had been put at risk after slamming the European Commission over plans to introduce a tobacco ban in Formula One from 2005. The World Council of FIA, the sport's governing body, stopped short of abandoning its own self-imposed deadline of October 2006 for banning tobacco advertising at its meeting in Monaco today. But FIA president Max Mosley warned that if the European Union goes ahead with its earlier date then teams would be forced to seek events in countries not affected by any ban. And Mosley added that another consequence will be teams extending their contracts with cigarette companies beyond the current cut-off date of 2006. FIA released the strongly worded three-page letter to the EU's Health Commissioner, David Byrne, as it responded to the decision to introduce a ban from July 2005 instead of the World Health Organization date of October 2006. "Frankly the FIA is astonished at the inconsistency of the Commission's behavior," said Mosley, in the letter. "To change the date of implementation was gratuitous and irresponsible. "The Commission has demonstrated a limited understanding of the issues at stake and a quite extraordinary failure to anticipate the consequences. "As a direct consequence of the Commission's actions the proposed ban on tobacco sponsorship in Formula One now faces considerable problems. "By choosing a date earlier than the world date, the EU will now force teams to seek events outside the EU during part of 2005 and all of 2006 in order to observe contracts which do not expire until the end of 2006. "Such events will inevitably themselves seek long-term contracts and, of course, allow tobacco sponsorship. "Quite obviously, the probable consequence is that the tobacco contracts which currently expire in 2006 will soon be extended beyond that date." Mosley pointed out that Belgium had already been booted off next year's F1 World Championship calendar because of a decision to impose a tobacco ban in that country from next year. Ten of next season's 16 races take place in Europe. Eight are currently within the EU - two in Germany and Italy and one each in Britain, France, Austria and Spain - with the other two being in non-EU Monaco and Hungary and not subject to a tobacco ban. The warning from the FIA could be an attempt to get the EU to go back to the original October date. But with Byrne warning before the meeting that the issue was 'not negotiable' then there is a risk of the sport moving away from its traditional European heartland. China and Bahrain have already been granted races from 2004 which has put at least one European venue at risk anyway because of teams' reluctance to go beyond 17 races in a season. But Turkey want to stage a race from 2005 while Russia, Morocco, Dubai, Egypt, South Africa and Lebanon have all been touted as potential new venues in recent years and there is also talk of adding a second race in the United States. The difficulty would be for many of those countries to build a circuit that would meet FIA's stringent safety requirements by 2005. The British Grand Prix, which already takes place without tobacco advertising at Silverstone, would along with the other European races be at risk even though it has a contract until 2010. But favorites for the chop if a couple of races were lost are Austria and Imola in Italy which stages the San Marino Grand Prix. Ironically, it is understood that if the 2006 date is scrapped then the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne could be under threat because of that government's tough anti-tobacco stance. The Australian government announced in 1998 a sponsorship ban adopting the EU's original directive of 2006 and its health minister recently wrote to members of the EU urging them to stick with the original date. "For the EU to ignore the FIA is one thing; for it to ignore the concerns of a government that has probably the world's most successful anti-tobacco program and which is a leading advocate of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco control demonstrates clearly the flaws and inconsistency of the EU approach," added Mosley. "However, the EU payment of nearly 1billion euros per annum of taxpayers' money to subsidize tobacco growing indicates that consistency is not a Brussels characteristic." Mosley warned that the FIA was not prepared to devote money fighting legal battles with teams and their tobacco sponsors should contracts beyond 2006 now be agreed. Tobacco pumps several hundred million pounds into the sport every year with Philip Morris paying around £45m a year to Ferrari to carry its Marlboro logo on its race-winning cars. McLaren, BAR, Jordan and Renault also rely on cigarette sponsorship to varying degrees.

12/13/02

FIA to meet with F1 team bosses  The Formula 1 team bosses have been called to a new meeting by the FIA (Max and Bernie) in order to hear new proposals to cut costs and make the sport more interesting. It is not yet known what these proposals will be but the team bosses will be presented with them on January 15th after which there is likely to be a period of discussion before another Formula 1 Commission meeting to decide whether any will be accepted by the teams.  Until F1's future rules package has been settled, we don't expect to hear anymore talk about what CART's 2005 rules package will be, nor do we expect to hear anymore talk about Bernie and CART because Bernie is up to his eyeballs in F1 matters at the moment.  Mark C.

12/13/02

Only one car for Panther Racing in 2003  This Indy Star article says, Panther Racing no longer appears to be headed for a two-car IRL program, team co-owner John Barnes said Thursday.  We have updated our 2003 IRL Silly Season page.

12/13/02

Salazar not confident for 2003  This Indy Star article says, Eliseo Salazar is finding it difficult to admit his Indy-car career is likely over. He lacks the sponsorship to continue in the Indy Racing League. And no teams in this struggling economy are offering to hire him. Salazar is expected to join Don Panoz's championship-level sports-car team for 2003. An announcement should come after the holidays. "The first thing I still do in the morning is go to the (Internet Web sites) and read what's going on (in the IRL)," Salazar said Thursday from his native Chile. "Emotionally, I'm still there. I still don't feel like a sports-car driver."

12/13/02

CART should make us of Danica   A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I hope there is a plan in place for CART to use Danica Patrick as a spokesperson or in some other form to get people interested in CART. Not only is she extremely attractive, but a great driver as well....Just what CART needs right now. I have her picture on my computer's wallpaper at work, (in her Argent's driver suit) and all the guys love it....They ask if she is a driver or a model. (and these are pretty much Bubba Car Fans)......It is amazing how many questions they ask about her then....and then they always bring up Sarah Fisher. I tell them that the one race I know of they competed against each other at Long Beach, Danica beat her, as well as Kendall - but they don't know who he is..... Can't think of a better spokesperson for the series right now......other than Mario...Keep up the great work, Tim Clingenpeel, Lafayette, IN

12/13/02

Junqueira to attend Newman Haas party   In this loosely translated brazil.crash.net article, Brazilian Bruno Junqueira, second place champion for Chip Ganassi in 2002, has already started to become involved with the Newman-Haas team where he will race in the 2003 season. The driver went to the United States after one brief stop in Brazil for professional commitments with sponsors. This Saturday, he will participate in a Christmas party given by actor Paul Newman and former-driver and entrepreneur Carl Haas, which will be at the team headquarters in Lincolnshire, Illinois. Junqueira will take advantage of visiting to start work for next season, such as learning the cockpit, and having the team make personal adjustment such as the pedals. The driver returns to Brazil after the 18th for year-end parties, and soon after in January he will be again in the Florida where he will start a period of daily tests with Newman-Haas.

12/13/02

Bridgestone reviews 2002 season  After competing in 36 open-wheel racing events in 16 countries between March 3 and Nov. 17 this year, the Bridgestone Motorsport programs have reason to celebrate. Bridgestone Potenza racing radials provided all the performance qualities necessary for demanding action as drivers earned 2002 season championships on the internationally recognized tire brand.  More....

12/13/02

Brands Hatch to become housing estate  UPDATE Octagon Motorsports, the company which owns Brands Hatch has said that it is not planning to sell the Kent circuit for housing. The 400-acre site is extremely valuable if planning permission could be obtained and its is estimated that it could earn Interpublic as much as $500m. The local authorities are however unlikely to grant planning permission as the local area is heavily protected against development. This has been the major problem for Brands Hatch as it is not allowed to upgrade its facilities and as a result the circuit has not hosted a Grand Prix in 16 years. Grandprix.com  12/10/02 - Looks like CART won't be racing at Brands Hatch very long.  According to Pitpass.com, Octagon the company that lost roughly £38m in the first nine month of this year - after being in profit the previous year - is looking to tighten its belt, and the sale of Brands Hatch to property developers seems like a good way of reducing the deficit. Octagon, a subsidiary of Interpublic one of the biggest advertising companies in the world, bought Brands Hatch in 1999 from Nicola Foulston for £120m. The deal included several other British race tracks including Snetterton and Oulton Park. At the time Foulston had been 'given' the rights to the British Grand Prix by Bernie Ecclestone, but as part of the sale of Brands Hatch Leisure these were passed on to Octagon. It's not just F1 that is going through as bit of a crisis at present, most branches of motorsport are suffering, as Octagon will readily tell you. The news that Octagon is in trouble isn't merely bad news for British race fans in respect of the British GP, the company's financial crisis, and the fact that it owns a large number of British tracks, will have an adverse effect on British motorsport in general. When Octagon bought Brands Hatch, together with the British GP rights, it was hoped that the British round of the F1 World Championship would return to the Kent venue. To meet current F1 standards however a major upgrade was needed, an upgrade that was eventually blocked by environmentalists and local planners. The planners objected to major work being carried out on a circuit that is built on the so-called 'green belt' that surrounds London, while environmentalists were unhappy that a vast area of ancient woodland would need to be destroyed. There was also an issue with rare frogs. Octagon has revealed that it has already had offers for Snetterton and Oulton Park, and it's believed that both circuits could be sold off at a loss. Property developers that wish to purchase Brands Hatch will of course face the same problems - planners and environmentalists - that the circuit faced a couple of years ago. However with the current housing shortage in the region, politicians could well give the go-ahead. More....

12/13/02


Racing groups fight to make racing safer  This Oregonian article says, The battleship gray CART car hurtled down a concrete path, smack into a steel wall at 50 mph. The car survived. The driver -- a fully instrumented test dummy -- did not. It was the first full chassis test crash of a Champ car for CART. The purpose was to establish a baseline of forces to be used in the development of safer cars for the open-wheel racing series. The CART car, with its nose smashed, sat in the foyer of the Westin Hotel in downtown Indianapolis last week, the centerpiece for a three-day conference sponsored every other year by the Society of Automotive Engineers. It draws race teams, researchers, track owners and representatives of sanctioning bodies from around the world. And this time, the panel discussions that drew the most attention covered head restraints, construction of safer racetracks and ways to prevent parts from flying off cars and into spectator areas. Last week's forum was the first since the death of seven-time NASCAR Winston Cup champion Dale Earnhardt at the Daytona 500 almost two years ago. After Earnhardt's death, what had been an interest in racing safety has been a focus in motor sports. CART, the Indy Racing League and NASCAR each have research under way. "It's like we are in competition," said Adam Saal, CART's vice president for communications. "I think that's a great thing. Anything that can advance the safety of the sport is great, no matter where it comes from." Safety always has been a concern in motor sports, but for years, few could agree on what made a car safe. In the early days of open-wheel racing, for example, drivers would routinely jump from moving cars moments before impact, believing they were safer outside the cars at impact than in them. And considering that cars of the 1950s and '60s -- with drivers surrounded by thin aluminum bodies and massive fuel tanks -- there might have been some merit to that strategy. Even today, there is still little common ground on what is needed to improve driver safety. CART, for example, mandates the use of the HANS (head and neck restraint system) device for drivers. The IRL does not. NASCAR requires a restraint to be used at some tracks but leaves the decision on which one to use to the driver. More....

12/13/02

Stoddart - Schumacher the best ever  According to Minardi boss Paul Stoddart, Ferrari's rivals haven't got a hope in heaven of catching up to Michael Schumacher next year. The 47-year-old Faenza team boss speaks from experience after spending seven laps in the back of a two-seater Minardi Formula One car, with the five times championship as his chauffeur. 'I think they are going to try, there is no doubt about that,' says Australian-born Stoddart. 'And I think if you ask Williams and McLaren, they will both tell you that they feel they are well on the way to catching up.' But Stoddart adds: 'Having done seven laps with the best driver the world has ever seen, or is ever likely to see, I don't think they have got a chance in hell.  'But that's my opinion.'  German ace Schumacher was offered a day in the two-seater at Ferrari's Fiorano track after congratulating Stoddart on his team's two world championship points in Melbourne.  Stoddart says: 'I jokingly invited him to our party that night and he said: 'Yeah, I'll come, I'll bring my wife'.   'He actually had another function he was supposed to go to,' remembers Stoddart of the most popular Melbourne post-race party attended by 660 pitlane pundits.  'He didn't go to it, he came to our party.'   'That night we were just sitting at the bar talking and Michael's wife, Corinna, said to me, 'I would love to feel what it's like to be in the car with Michael', and I said, 'Why don't you?   'We will do it at the end of the year'.   After Michael had ferried his wife, Ferrari boss Jean Todt and a host of other personal and Ferrari friends, Paul Stoddart had his turn.   'Without a doubt, he is the best driver the world has ever seen,' says a beaming Paul. 'In fact, it was so good that I had to drive the car the next day and I felt totally inadequate even getting into the thing.'   Michael Schumacher, all-time record-holder for Formula One victories, posted a time at Fiorano to within 107 percent of his fastest lap in the championship-winning Ferrari F2002.   Put that into context, such as remembering that Alex Yoong often failed to qualify the single-seater PS02 within Schumacher's pole time, and Stoddart says the brilliance of F1's champion is clear.  'It was the best kept secret in Formula One, when you consider all the media attention we had throughout the year,' says Stoddart of Schumacher's end-of-year blast in the two-seater.  'Nobody knew right up until the day we did it. And we did a whole day. Michael did more than a race distance, and I can only summarize it like this: Michael at the end said, 'Thank you'.  'He gave me a little memento and he said, 'Thank you', written on the side of it, 'for a most fantastic, really reliable and fast, underlined, car'.   'And I will tell you now that Michael Schumacher 'qualified' a two-seater Minardi within 107 per cent - and those of you that understand exactly what that means will know what I'm saying.  Stoddart concludes with an emphasis of awe in his eye: 'And that's why no one is going to beat him.'

12/13/02

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12/13/02

Heitzler scores court victory  UPDATE  We forgot to mention, these are just procedural issues, and not substantive issues.  The real case is yet to be heard.  12/13/02 - According to the an article written by Steve Mayer in the December 11th issue of NSSN, former CART CEO Joe Heitzler prevailed again last week in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Judge Ronald Lew denied a motion to disqualify Championship Auto Racing Teams' former law firm Thelen Reid & Priest (TRP) from representing Heitzler. Last March 26, CART sued Heitzler, in U.S. District Court in Detroit, alleging breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duties and fraud. Two days later, Heitzler sued CART in Los Angeles alleging breach of contract, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing. On April 1, Heitzler sued CART directors/team owners Pat Patrick and Carl Haas, as individuals, alleging defamation, interference with contractual relations, and infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy. In September, Judge Patrick Duggan in Detroit granted Heitzler's motion to move CART's action to Los Angeles. Judge Lew allows Heitzler to retain TRP in the Patrick-Haas matter where his attorney for the past 20 years, James Turken, is based. In addition, Judge Lew denied the motion of both CART and Patrick-Haas to consolidate the pre-trial proceedings. Patrick-Haas and CART objected to Turken and Los Angeles-based TRP from representing Heitzler. CART and Patrick-Haas's attorney's contended, among other arguments, that since Turken and TRP were privy to confidential CART information, there could not be impartial representation. Judge Lew did not concur. "Defendants point to billing statements from TRP," Lew wrote, "and argue that these `clearly show that (TRP) received confidential information from CART.' An examination of the statements does not, by itself, indicate either a substantial relationship or that confidential information was actually passed to TRP."........Should Heitzler be awarded a judgment against Patrick and Haas, CART shareholders may be in for a surprise. In a declaration by CART Chief Financial Officer Tom Carter stated, "CART's corporate bylaws provide that CART will indemnify board members for lawsuits such as the Plaintiff's suit."........One Heitzler attorney Eric Diamond stated, "We're pleased with the judge's decision. We now look forward to proceeding, now that the pre-trial procedural motions are out of the way." Attorneys for CART and/or Patrick-Haas, however, have not indicated whether they will appeal Judge Lew's ruling.

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