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DATE

News (chronologically)

11/27/03
Industry News

BMW sales soar in China as wealth grows  [Editor's Note: Yet more positive news about the auto industry in China, this time in Beijing again.]   BMW says its sales in China have more than doubled this year.  Chief executive Helmut Panke said the company sold 11,800 cars in China, including 900 BMW 3 Series cars made in the northeastern city of Shenyang, in the first 10 months of the year. The Munich-based company exported 10,950 3 Series and 5 Series cars to China. Sales of the company's top-of-the-range 7 Series cars exceeded expectations, Mr Panke said. 

BMW, DaimlerChrysler's Mercedes-Benz unit and other carmakers are expanding in China as a decade of economic growth averaging 8 per cent a year makes their cars affordable to more people. Luxury carmakers are also overcoming the stigma of having their vehicles made in China.

"There is enormous momentum building in China. The key message to our customers in China is if you are interested in a BMW, you can get the same quality car made to BMW's standards and specifications [in the mainland]," Mr Panke said. "It is not a question of losing the brand's cache."

Mercedes-Benz is in talks to make its C-Class and E-Class cars in Beijing. General Motors will begin making Cadillac cars in Shanghai next year. Ford Motor may assemble Volvo, Range Rover and other premium brands in central China. Volkswagen's Audi unit already makes its A4 and A6 models in China, giving it an estimated 40 per cent of the country's premium-brand market.

Huang Zhizhong, a Beijing-based restaurateur who was considering replacing his BMW 325i with a 7 Series model, said luxury cars "are still the most sought-after status symbol" in China. "Each luxury brand has an image. The BMW image says: `I'm making it'."

BMW started making the 325i in Shenyang last month with Brilliance China Automotive Holdings, the country's biggest manufacturer of minibuses.

11/27/03

Williams BMW test notes - Thursday   At the third day of testing in Valencia the BMW WilliamsF1 Team drivers covered a lot of laps and continued developing components for the 2004 season.   It was a warm and sunny day in Valencia, with occasional winds blowing at the ‘Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana Ricardo Tormo’. Conditions the BMW WilliamsF1 Team and its drivers used for another day of extensive testing.  Just as they had done on Tuesday, Juan Pablo Montoya, Ralf Schumacher and test driver Marc Gené worked on a different program each. But although they focused on development work and didn’t care about lap times, two of them had succeeded in improving the lap times they had set on Tuesday respectively Wednesday, when the third day of testing was over.  Juan Pablo worked on suspension test, covered 52 laps and improved to 1:10.021 minutes, thus gaining second place on the time sheets.  Ralf Schumacher, who had been the fastest on Wednesday, focused on tire evaluation test and lapped the 4.005 kilometer circuit 69 times. At the end of the day he had set a personal fastest lap time of 1:10.601 minutes and was fourth.  Marc Gené came fifth. The local hero had the task to do some test starts and to work on the development of the traction control. The Spaniard covered stunning 87 laps and set his fastest lap of this week’s test so far (1:11.013), when lapping the circuit for the 65th time.  First place was gained by David Coulthard’s McLaren MP4-19.

11/27/03

Sons to follow in famous fathers footsteps   Nelson Piquet and Nico Rosberg will both take part in a forthcoming BMW WilliamsF1 Team test in Spain in early December.   The two young protégés will join incumbent drivers Ralf Schumacher and Marc Gené. The Jerez test will commence on Tuesday 2nd and conclude on Thursday 4th December. Piquet will test the FW25 on the 2nd and the morning of the 4th while Rosberg will run on the 3rd and in the afternoon of the 4th. Rosberg and Piquet were selected for the one-off test roles as part of the team's ongoing commitment to developing emerging talent.  More.....

11/27/03

Audi UK to run Audi R8 at Sebring, LeMans   Audi UK, the British importer of the German prestige car manufacturer, will contest the Le Mans 24 Hours and the inaugural Le Mans Endurance Series next year with an Audi R8 sportscar.

Regarded as the best "open top" sportscar of the modern era, the 2002-specification Audi R8 will be prepared by Audi UK’s new motorsport partner, Veloqx Motorsport.  The Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx R8 will also contest the Sebring 12 Hour sportscar endurance race in Florida, USA (20 Mar) following a winter in which the Brackley, Northamptonshire, based Veloqx squad will familiarize themselves with the LMP900 class Audi.

David Ingram, Audi UK’s Motorsport Manager, commented: "The 2004 Le Mans race will mark the third occasion an Audi entered by Audi Sport UK has contested the famous French race and I’m eagerly looking forward to next June. Apex Motorsport ran the Audi R8C in 1999 while this year Arena Motorsport prepared the Audi R8 that we [Audi UK] bought from Audi Sport almost 12 months ago. Both teams did a fantastic job for us and we are very much looking forward to our new partnership with Veloqx Motorsport.

"Our sportscar program will consist of six races in 2004 and Veloqx are totally focused towards the Audi program in these races and are hungry for success. Sam Li’s team has already made its mark in motorsport but he now wants to build a long-term relationship with a manufacturer in the prototype class which Audi feels is very important."

The Veloqx team, under the direction of Sam Li, has enjoyed great success this year with class wins in the Le Mans 24 Hours and the Le Mans 1,000-kilometre race. They also proved themselves in the highly-competitive FIA GT Championship.

"The competition will be strong, especially from our fellow Audi competitors who know the R8 extremely well but we are confident that our winter test program will ensure our success."

The Audi "factory" team scored three successive victories in the Le Mans 24 Hours (2000-02) while a "customer" team entered R8 recorded a fifth consecutive rostrum finish for Audi in this year’s round-the-clock encounter.
Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx – 2004 Program
20 Mar Sebring 12 Hours, FL, USA (American Le Mans Series, Rd1)
25 Apr Le Mans 24 Hours – Official Test Day
09 May Monza 1000km, Italy (Le Mans Endurance Series, Rd1)
12-13 Jun Le Mans 24 Hours, France
11 Jul  Nurburgring, Germany (Le Mans Endurance Series, Rd2)
15 Aug Silverstone, UK (Le Mans Endurance Series, Rd3)
12 Sep Spa-Francorchamps, Bel (Le Mans Endurance Series, Rd4)

11/27/03
Formula BMW

Juan Pablo at Formula BMW test  Juan Pablo Montoya went to Oschersleben while the Formula BMW ADAC Championship young guns were doing preparation tests for the 2004 season.

 

During its test for the 2004 Formula BMW ADAC Championship season team Muecke Motorsport had the chance of welcoming a very special guest: BMW WilliamsF1 Team driver Juan Pablo Montoya – accompanied by his father Pablo – traveled to Oschersleben to visit the Berlin based team and to watch his younger brother Federico’s progress while preparing for his first single seater season. In 2004 Federico Montoya will be competing in the Formula BMW ADAC Championship behind the wheel of a car entered by Muecke.

“Juan Pablo was really taken with what he saw”, said team boss Peter Muecke. “He has announced that he will pay us another visit in the course of the season, should he find the time to do so.”

Federico’s decision to race for team Muecke may prove to have been a perfect and promising choice for his maiden single seater season, as this is the team the superior 2003 champion Maximilian Goetz has been racing for.
Federico’s team mate will be Sebastian Vettel, winner of the 2003 Formula BMW ADAC Championship Rookie Cup. But the young gun from Heppenheim, Germany was not only the best rookie of the 2003 season but also runner-up in the championship.

“With Sebastian and Federico we have signed the first two drivers for our 2004 Formula BMW ADAC Championship assault”, added Peter Muecke. “But in the coming weeks we are going to sign another two drivers for the 2004 season.”

11/27/03

New McLaren breaks record at Valencia   David Coulthard broke the Valencia lap record in the new McLaren MP4-19, on its third day of testing since it broke cover on Tuesday.  "Is it quick enough to win a grand prix?" he asked. "That's the question and we just won't know until we get to Melbourne and see what everyone else can do."  He wasn't too down though. "The good thing is," he continued, "we're out here now and have more time to develop the car."  Juan Pablo Montoya, who like team-mate Ralf Schumacher was working through a chassis set-up program for new tires and suspension geometry finished up second fastest, with a lap of 1m10.218s, compared to Coulthard's 1m10.021s (Montoya had run a 1m10.081s lap on Tuesday).
Valencia testing day 3 (unofficial)
Pos Driver Chassis-engine Tires Time Laps
1 David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes* M 1m10.021s 51
2 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW M 1m10.218s 57
3 Jarno Trulli Renault M 1m10.419s 109
4 Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW M 1m10.601s 70
5 Marc Gene Williams-BMW M 1m11.013s 88
6 Franck Montagny Renault M 1m11.035s 115
7 Alexander Wurz McLaren-Mercedes M 1m11.252s 95
8 Ryan Briscoe Toyota M 1m11.562s 107
9 Justin Wilson Jaguar M 1m11.866s 124
10 Mark Webber Jaguar M 1m12.133s 79
* = 2004 car

11/27/03

Jordan takes Heidfeld option   According to this Autosport.com article, Formula 1 team Jordan Grand Prix has taken up an option on the services of former Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld. The 26-year-old German will test for the team at Jerez next week. "Nick is a prime candidate for a revitalized Jordan Grand Prix next year," said team boss Eddie Jordan. "We are anxious for him to start getting to know the team at this stage. It is an important test as we have got a lot of new components to try as well as vital tire testing for Bridgestone." Heidfeld will be joined at the test by Formula 3000 racer Jaroslav Janis, who will get his first taste of F1. They will both drive Ford-powered EJ13 chassis.

11/27/03

Brunotti Extends BAR F1 Deal   Glamorous clothing manufacturer Brunotti have extended their sponsorship deal with the BAR F1 team.   Photos

11/27/03
MotoGP

Record crowds for MotoGP in 2003   MotoGP has reported record crowds for the 2003 season.   Rights holder Dorna reports a four percent rise in weekend crowds over 2002 – with a total of 1.7m spectators turning out trackside.  The increase represents an average of almost 70,000 people attended each of the events.  The biggest rises were at the Cinzano British Grand Prix at Donington Park, with a 18 percent increase on race-day and a total of over 107,000 fans for the weekend and the Cinzano Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland at Sachsenring, which welcomed a season record of 204,000 – ten percent more than the previous year.

11/27/03

Fabrizio Del Monte to drive Minardi   The European vice champion title that Fabrizio Del Monte has recently conquered in the Euro 3000 Series on board car #6 of the GP Racing Team, has put Fabrizio’s talent out into the light.  GP Racing and the Minardi F1 team, have made an agreement (thanks to their good relationship) that will allow Fabrizio Del Monte to make his debut on the F1 car on the Vallelunga (now able to cater to a Formula One single seater car by law) track, December 12th.

This test represents personal success for Fabrizio and for GP Racing as well. GP Racing believed in Del Monte’s potential and relaunched his career to the top in the European Motor Sports industry. GP Racing has proven to be the ideal springboard that leads to sport professionalism.  “I believe that Del Monte is one of the most competitive drivers on the international scene. I am therefore very happy that the Minardi F1 team has given him the possibility to prove himself during the test session in Vallelunga. I‘m sure that Fabrizio will fully take advantage of this opportunity!”

Fabrizio Del Monte  “Words can’t express how happy I am. The Minardi team is giving me a once in a lifetime opportunity and I don’t want to ruin it. I’ve been training everyday so I can be 100% prepared and ready. I could only imagine how challenging it will be to drive a Formula One car and so I don’t want to neglect the physical side of it. To all my fans: for an unforgettable experience, come to Vallelunga.” Press release

11/27/03

BAR team to take center stage at MPH show   Lucky Strike BAR Honda will take centre stage at next month's MPH '03 motor show, which will be held at London's Earls Court exhibition centre over the weekend of 11-14 December.

The event, hosted by Top Gear television presenter Jeremy Clarkson, takes the traditional motor show format and added a fast-paced live action arena with stunts, demonstrations and races. BAR drivers Jenson Button, Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson will all be participating during the four-day motoring extravaganza.

BAR will be the only Formula One team appearing live on stage at the event, providing an exclusive insight into the team in action, as well as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the pressure of an F1 pit-stop at first hand. During the live show, audience members will be chosen at random and trained up to be a member of the BAR pit-crew, before performing a tire change on the main stage. Following their nine seconds of fame, one of the BAR drivers will be reviewing the performances with Clarkson to measure them against the high standards of the regular BAR pit-crew.

The team will also bring another element of the F1 paddock to the show by displaying its motorhome in the main hall. A range of pit-stop equipment will be on display around the motorhome and the drivers will be on hand at various points throughout the day to answer questions from the fans and to sign autographs. Official BAR merchandise will also be on sale at the event, giving people a real chance to look part of the team.

The live show will be run on all four days and tickets for MPH '03 are available from the ticket hotline on 0870 060 6030.

11/27/03

New CART testing rule a boon to ladder series  This CART.com article talks about the new rule that will afford Champ Car teams 2 additional days of testing if they use Toyota Atlantic drivers.  Read why this new rule is one of the best CART has implemented in a long time.

11/27/03
Dallara-Nissan

2004 Dallara Nissan World Series Provisional Calendar   [Editor's Note: The Shanghai race shown on the schedule could have been a CART race, it even had a big sponsor, but CART declined to consider the offer.  The race will be at the F1 circuit currently under construction.] 

March 28 Jarama (Spain)
April 24 Dubai (UAE)
May 23 Magny Cours (France)
June 27 Zolder (Belgium)
July 25 TBA (Spain)
August 8 Eurospeedway Lausitz (Germany)
October 3 Catalunya (Spain)
October 17 Valencia (Spain)
November 7 Shanghai (China)

11/27/03

Burti crashes Ferrari at Barcelona Thursday   Ferrari test driver Luciano Burti has crashed his Ferrari F1 car into the pit wall at Barcelona today.. Burti was exiting the final corner when he lost the rear of the car. Burti was unhurt and the car lost both its front and rear wing.  The Brazilian completed 15 laps for the morning when the crash occurred.  Photos

11/27/03

Announcements expected before NASCAR banquet  Next Thursday is shaping up to be a day of answers in NASCAR. News conferences scheduled for next Thursday morning by Richard Childress Racing and Evernham Motorsports at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City should shed some light on several lingering questions left over from the 2003 season.  RCR will start the morning addressing its #30 AOL Chevrolet team in Winston Cup, announcing its new driver for the 2004 season and crew chief, sources said. Although the driver situation remains clouded, sources confirmed Kevin Hamlin, currently the crew chief with RCR's #31 Cup team, will move to the #30 in the same role.  RCR's announcement will be followed shortly by another from Evernham Motorsports.  The scope of the Evernham announcement remains unclear, but sources confirmed the future of veteran Bill Elliott, who drives the #9 Dodge for Evernham, will be addressed at the event. For the past several months, Elliott, 48, has been contemplating retirement, or at least a reduced schedule for the 2004 season. ThatsRacin.com

11/27/03

Some not happy with new Friday rule   Some people in the F1 paddock are not happy with the new F1 rule that allows teams at the bottom of the points standing, to bring in new drivers and test them for 2 hours on Fridays of race weekends.  The rule was meant to give new drivers a chance to be seen and to give them some valuable F1 seat time.  However, some of the drivers who already secured a full-time ride don't like it.  "Friday is a crucial day in the lead-up to the race weekend," Mark Webber told Australasian Motorsport News, "and there will be up to 10 additional drivers out on the track.   Some of the teams will look upon it as a chance to boost revenue and we could possibly see some very inexperienced drivers out there on a one-off basis. There's the real possibility of someone having their first run in a GP car on a Friday at a Grand Prix.  That's not the place for your first run in one of these cars," continued the Australian. "The experienced drivers can generally deal with one less-experienced driver at a time, but if two very inexperienced drivers get together it could be a big drama.  It means that the likes of Pizzonia are excluded," said Webber, referring to his former Jaguar team-mate, "which isn't reasonable."

11/27/03

Wednesday test notes from Barcelona and Valencia  

Ferrari Barcelona test notes
Sauber Barcelona test notes
McLaren Valencia test notes
Jaguar Valencia test notes
Renault Valencia test notes

11/27/03

Latest F1 Hot News items  

Minardis Fall Silent After Day At Donington
Trulli Developed As A Person In 2003
Ferrari Chased By Black BAR At Barcelona: Day 3
French GP Moves To Paul Ricard In 2004?
Bruni On Course To Join F1 Grid
Trulli Vows To 'Do Better' In 2004
Villeneuve Unlikely To Re-Start F1 Career
Lauda Gets Flying On Friday
More To MP4-19 Than MP4-18: Adrian Newey
Piquet Offered Five-Year F1 Contract?
Williams To Build On Success Of FW25
Villeneuve Respects Button
Trio Deal Knock-Out Blow To Coulthard
New McLaren Is Team's 'Biggest Step'
Firman 'Working Hard' To Stay In F1
Ferrari Should Thank Bernie And Max
Williams Duo Lead Again At Valencia: Tests

11/26/03

Mears to drive ROC  Casey Mears will spend his Thanksgiving holiday weekend the same way he spent most of his year, racing. Mears, a member of Team USA powered by CENTRIX Financial, is in the Canary Islands for the Michelin ROC Nations Cup.  "I am honored to have this opportunity to participate in a race of this caliber," Mears said. "It is very special for me to get the chance to race for my country against some of the best racers in the world." The Michelin ROC Nations Cup was created to find the "World's Fastest Nation". Each country participating is represented by a circuit racer, a rally (or off-road) driver and a motorcycle rider. As driver of the #41 Target Dodge for Chip Ganassi Racing, Mears brings his off-road experience as well as his NASCAR experience to the table. Mears will be joined on Team USA by Boris Said, 2002 Trans-Am Champion and Travis Pastrana, Gold medalist at the X and Gravity Games. The Michelin ROC Nations Cup will take place on Saturday, November 29th at 10am. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates PR

11/26/03

Villeneuve admits F1 career is over  In this TSN.ca article, former World Champion Jacques Villeneuve finally admits his F1 career is over.  He also pans BAR team boss David Richards and lauds former teammate Jenson Button.  Juan Pablo Montoya's decision to join McLaren in 2005 has left a vacancy at Williams, but Villeneuve does not believe he would be a target for his former team.   "I don't think Williams will want me back," said Villeneuve, who has also been linked with a test role at McLaren. Villeneuve believes his name was tarnished, and his chances of securing a drive in 2004 severely hampered, by suggestions that he was difficult to work with. "Last year, someone in the paddock was trying to destroy everything I achieved, putting about that I was a pain to work with," he said. "Everyone believed it. Even Bernie Ecclestone believed it because he was telling me I had to change. There was nothing I could do about it. It was out of my hands. "I got a rubbish offer from BAR. It was insulting because there was no money involved. We went back with a counter offer but heard nothing. Everyone knew that Takuma would be in the car next year and if they had told me in May that I wouldn't be driving for them I would have respected it - but they didn't. I didn't race in Japan because why should I risk my life for someone (Richards) like that?"   Now the question remains whether Craig Pollock and partner Kevin Kalkhoven can persuade Villeneuve back to CART in the 2nd PK Racing seat alongside Mika Salo.  CART does have three Canadian races and if OWRS is successful in their buyout, and immediately puts in place some very positive series enhancing programs, thereby raising the image of CART on a worldwide level, it's quite possible Mr. Villeneuve might have a change of heart.  Right now his position is no return to CART, but that's the old CART.  He may have an entirely different view of the new CART.  Time will tell....

11/26/03

Wood Brothers moving  Wood Brothers Racing announced today the team has found a building in Mooresville, and will begin moving out of the team's shop in Stuart, Virginia this coming Monday. The search for a new race shop took several months, but Eddie and Len Wood feel that they have found the right place to start the 2004 season for the #21 Motorcraft Racing Ford Taurus team. Eddie Wood, co-owner of Wood Brothers Racing said today, "We've found a building. We're going to start moving on Monday into a shop now owned by Robert Yates Racing in Lakeside Park in Mooresville. "It was the first building we thought of way back in the middle of the summer when we first started talking about moving, but all the parties just never got together until a few days ago. "Then all the stars lined up just right, everybody got together and from the time we started talking until the papers were signed it was just about 30 hours. "The really ironic thing is that it is the shop that Ricky (Rudd) had when he had his own race team. When he started driving for Robert, Robert bought it from him, and now Robert is leasing it to us. "We'll continue to work on our 2004 stuff here, and move our equipment when space becomes available. We really have to thank Robert and Doug Yates for working with us on this because they are still using the building for some chassis work, and will be there until the middle of December. So we will share the space until they can relocate the work they are doing in that building right now.

11/26/03

Guy Cosmo to ALMS for Sebring & Petit LeMans   Guy Cosmo has been confirmed as the third driver with Bobby Sak and John Olsen for the #12 American Spirit Racing entry at Sebring and Petit Le Mans. “Guy did a fantastic job for us at Sebring this year,” stated Lewis. “He only had 10 laps in the car prior to the event and it was his first time in an LMP car. He was consistently fast and I was extremely impressed by his talent and personality. I’m very happy to have him back. “ “I am very excited to be back with American Spirit Racing for Sebring and looking forward to the Petit Le Mans,” comments Cosmo. “Jon was great to work with this year and he has put together a tremendous program for 2004. I have no doubt that this will be THE premier team in LMP2 to win the Championship.”

11/26/03

Bobby Sak and John Olsen to ALMS   American Spirit Racing President Jon Lewis announced today that Trans-Am rookie standout, Bobby Sak and Formula Mazda pilot John Olsen have been signed as full-season drivers in its ALMS LMP2 Prototype Championship operation. Bobby, who captured the attention of fans throughout North America in 2003 with one of the strongest rookie battles in Trans-Am history, will pilot one of the Team’s Nissan/Lola prototypes. “Bobby has shown some very strong driving talent this year and I am looking forward to a stellar performance with our Team in 2004,” commented Jon Lewis, President of American Spirit Racing. “Bobby has proven that he can run with the best and I am extremely excited about him joining our Team. I feel that the LMP2 prototypes will suit his driving style very well. I am honored that Jon Lewis has asked me to join the American Spirit Racing LMP2 operation,” said Bobby Sak. “The American Le Mans Series has always intrigued me and I am excited to be an integral part of this very strong program. I have every intention of bringing home the Championship for Jon and American Spirit Racing.”

11/26/03

Ferrari on top again at Barcelona  

Pos Driver Chassis-engine Tires Time Laps
1 Luca Badoer Ferrari B 1m17.282s 68
2 Jenson Button BAR-Honda M 1m17.431s 84
3 Felipe Massa Ferrari B 1m17.763s 68
4 Takuma Sato BAR-Honda M 1m17.707s 70
5 Luciano Burti Ferrari B 1m17.893s 60
6 Giancarlo Fisichella Sauber-Petronas B 1m18.246s 83

11/26/03

Williams 1-2 at Valencia again  

Pos Driver Chassis-engine Tires Time Laps
1Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW M 1m10.322s 82
2 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW M 1m10.341s 66
3 Jarno Trulli Renault M 1m10.421s 66
4 Alexander Wurz McLaren-Mercedes M 1m10.761s 93
5 David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes* M 1m11.069s 59
6 Franck Montagny Renault M 1m11.211s 69
7 Mark Webber Jaguar M 1m11.267s 104
8 Marc Gene Williams-BMW M 1m11.747s 20
9 Christian Klien Jaguar M 1m11.929s 86
10 Ryan Briscoe Toyota M 1m12.002s 71
* = 2004 car

11/26/03

CART-Themed Monster Garage Episode TV rating   Monster Garage’s popular host Jesse James and his gang of automotive extremists converted a 750hp Champ Car into a working street-line painter last Monday night on the ever popular Discovery Channel, with the episode delivering one of the highest ratings of the season. The hit cable show followed the crew, which included Rocketsports Racing owner Paul Gentilozzi, through the entire process of transforming a former Walker Racing Champ Car chassis into the world’s fastest street-line painter, drawing in 1,097,000 households at 1.2 with a 2 share. The show’s 1.2 rating eclipsed the 2003 average of 1.1 at 969,000 households and ranked third overall on the night among last Monday’s programs for men ages 18-49. The Champ Car-driven episode will re-air on the Discovery Channel following the “Day After Thanksgiving Marathon” on Monday, November 29 at 9:00 p.m. and midnight ET, and again on Saturday December 27th at 8:00 and 11:00 p.m.

11/26/03

Plummeting TV Ratings for the IRL will cost them money  It looks like the IRL's dismal TV ratings will see it headed for a time-buy situation before long, or at best, a significantly lower TV revenue stream.  This USA Today article says, In the last year, ESPN has negotiated decreases in contracts for tennis' Wimbledon and the French Open and soccer's World Cup and Major League Soccer. After the holidays, the NHL figures to be next. Ditto for the Indy Racing League. Previously, ESPN, then trying to develop ESPN2, paid the NHL $120 million a year for five years. The NHL is shopping for a new deal, but the lone sniff came from Spike TV. With NHL ratings lagging and a work stoppage looming for next season, ESPN/ABC likely will pay about $80 million a year in a three-year deal, a one-third decrease. Considering the state of the NHL, the league should treat it as a post-holiday present.

11/26/03

Bahrain Sports Minister takes over F1 race   Bahrain’s Minister for Sports and Youth has taken over as managing director of the Gulf state’s new Formula One race track. Sheikh Fawaz bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa replaces Hans Geist, formerly of Austria’s A1 Ring track, in the role. Geist is reported as continuing with the project, but in a consultancy position. Al-Khalifa is also the president of the circuit and one of the driving forces in securing a slot on the Formula One race calendar.

11/26/03

CART venues want government support too   This Toronto Sun article says, If the federal government is going to act as the $6-million man at the 2004 Formula One race in Montreal it must do the same for the Toronto and Vancouver Molson Indys (CART), a race executive has charged.

Bob Singleton, general manager of the Toronto and Vancouver races, told The Toronto Sun it would be an outrage if similar sponsorship is not given to Canada's other two major centers of auto racing.  "I'm happy that the federal government saw fit to take a sponsorship position with the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal," Singleton said. "But we (Toronto and Vancouver) have been fighting to find sponsorship dollars, too."

The feds came up with the plan to be a big-time sponsor in Montreal after F-1 bosses said they would drop the Canadian GP from the 2004 calendar because of Canada's refusal to allow tobacco advertisements at the event.  Five of the 10 F-1 teams are backed by tobacco money and each had demanded more than $2 million US in compensation from Montreal race organizers if they could not run cigarette logos on their race cars.

"The same tobacco legislation that is at the centre of the Montreal GP problems also affects Toronto and Vancouver," Singleton said.  When the anti-smoking law came into effect Oct. 1 this year it meant that Toronto and Vancouver would have to find a key sponsor to come up with the kind of money that Imperial Tobacco -- through its Player's brand -- paid for sponsorship.  "We are not asking for a handout," Singleton said. "But we are saying that Toronto and Vancouver deserve an equal opportunity to have Canadian government sponsorship."

11/26/03

Drivers nominated for all-American team   Paul Tracy (#3 Player's/Indeck Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) led the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford nearly from start to finish in capturing his first series title in 2003, and now paces a quartet of CART stars as they look to earn a spot on the prestigious Auto Racing All-America Team, presented by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association.

Tracy joined Bruno Junqueira (#1 PacifiCare Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone), Sebastien Bourdais (#2 Lilly Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone) and Toyota Atlantic champion A.J. Allmendinger as CART representatives to earn spots in the balloting for the 33rd annual All-America team, with voting beginning today among the 300 members of the AARWBA membership. The Champ Car drivers earned berths in the open-wheel racing category while Allmendinger was tabbed in the at-large category. The top-two drivers in each category's voting will earn first-team status, with the third and fourth drivers to be named to the second team. Anyone else that garners at least five percent of the vote will merit honorable mention status.

Frank Biela, Ron Fellows and Marco Werner, all driving champions in the 2003 American Le Mans Series season, have been nominated for inclusion on the 2003 Auto Racing All-America team. Nearly 300 members of the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) will vote to select the 14 drivers, two in each of seven categories, for the All-America team. AARWBA members have annually chosen the All-America team since 1970. Members will select a first team, which will be honored at the annual AARWBA banquet on Jan. 10 in Pomona, Calif.

11/26/03

Acer Ferrari 3000 laptop   If you cannot afford the car, you could at least afford its notebook. The Ferrari 3000 is not a new model of what is regarded by most as the king of cars. It is an Acer laptop in Ferrari red with matching badge to boot. Acer is the official supplier of personal computers, notebooks and servers for the Ferrari F1 racing team this year.   Curiously, Acer has picked an AMD chip for the Ferrari 3000, which is supposed to have the same sort of powerhouse performance as the race car.  Based on an AMD Athlon XP 2500+ energy-saving processor, it is supported by a speedy graphics engine, an ATI Radeon 9200 with 128-megabyte video memory. It comes with 512 megabytes of DDR RAM and 60 gigabytes of hard-disk storage.  The racing-car red laptop also features built-in wireless LAN 802.11b and g connectivity as well as Bluetooth.   A 4-1 MB memory-card drive comes integrated. It has four USB 2.0 ports, an S-Video output as well as a FireWire port. It has a 15-inch display and weighs almost 6.6 lbs, which puts it on the heavy side. Price is Ferrari-like at around $2,000 to $3,000, depending on options.

11/26/03

A failure of our system   Dear AutoRacing1.com, While I was sitting here wrapped in my usual task of begging and chasing money for deserving and talented racing drivers...I was smacked in the face by a simple fact. The racing series (mostly open wheel of course) that count on drivers to fund their own efforts are the very ones that are suffering the most. CART, F-3000, Toyota Atlantic, IPS etc...There must be a connection and even though it is completely obvious to the folks outside of motorsports, insiders continue to miss the point. Here is a job that requires serious sacrifice, effort and risk and a young hopeful is allowed/forced to pay for the privilege. Imagine the state of the NFL & NBA if you had to write a check to build your resume.

NASCAR and F1 have suffered through the years but somehow both have built their very own economy and marketing platforms that put most major companies efforts to shame. Maybe I'm naive, but at no time in history did they ever require the lion's share of drivers and their friends and families to shoulder the burden of company growth. Is acceptance of "that's just the way it is" nothing more than an excuse for laziness or is it just a complete lack of vision? I guess the passing of time will tell the story and answer the question.

As Penske once said (at least, I was told Roger said it) "You know one of the biggest problems we've created in American open wheel racing in our quest to do and get the best of everything: While importing British team managers, engineers and mechanics, we have also imported the European system of let the driver find the money. Teams have gotten lazy in their responsibility of finding sponsorship and placed the burden on the last person on earth equipped for such a task-the racing driver. It'll hurt us in the long run and I consider it a failure of the system"   Name Withheld  Dear nameless, There is certainly a lot of truth in what you write.  And, let me add, that allowing car manufacturers to pump a lot of money into a team (with free engines, etc.) and, therefore, either steal/buy all the best drivers or dictate who a driver should be smacks in the face of fairness and long-term stability. Mark C.

11/26/03

Latest F1 Hot News items  

Klien Shoots-It-Out For Jaguar Drive
Williams Trio Lead At Valencia: Day One
Ferrari Tear Up Barcelona Test Track: Day One
Fisichella Happy After Sauber Debut
BAR 'Concept Car' Unveiled In Spain
Jaguar Opt For 20 Car-Day Test Program
Schu And The 2006 World Cup
Toyota Launch New Car In January
BAR Confirm Switch To Michelin Tires
Williams Are Still Behind Me: Montoya
Wilson Not Driving For F1 Future

New McLaren 'Feels Good,' Says Coulthard
Toyota Conduct Own Spying Investigation
Renault Adapt To Electronic Rule Changes
Montoya: Get On With It, David
McLaren Snap Up Ferrari Aero Chief

11/25/03

Newman wins 4th Qtr. DOY voting  Ryan Newman backed up his convincing third quarter Speed Channel presents Driver of the Year 2003 title by easily topping the vote for the fourth quarter. The winningest driver in the Winston Cup series this year scored three more wins, six poles, and had eight top-five finishes in the final quarter of the season. The 25-year-old, from Indiana who drives the Alltel Dodge, had to rebound from a slow start to his season. Newman acknowledged that, rather than giving up, his team dug in and regrouped from that point. "We had a stretch of bad luck earlier in the season and bounced back from that," he said. "The fact that we won the third-quarter voting and now have come out on top for the final quarter is a statement about the strength of our team." Modestly, he acknowledged the team aspect of the sport when he said, "like I've been saying all along, it's a credit to my entire Matt Borland-led Penske Racing South team. They're the best out there and we share all the ups and downs together." With nine first-place Driver of the Year 2003 votes Newman far outdistanced (107-71) second place vote getter, Kenny Bernstein, of the NHRA who had two. Steve Kinser, racing in the World of Outlaws, was third in the balloting (57 points) followed by Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) who also had two first-place votes. The ageless 59-year-old Bernstein came out of retirement to fill the seat of his injured son Brandon, in the Budweiser/Lucas top fuel dragster and had a remarkable four-for-four wins in the final rounds of the POWERade series. Other drivers getting first place votes were Sam Hornish, Jr. of the Indy Racing League, Greg Anderson of the NHRA, Paul Tracy (CART) and Jeff Gordon (NASCAR). A total of 18 drivers got votes.  In the fan vote - between eight nominated drivers - available at www.speedtv.com, NASCAR's Winston Cup drivers dominated again garnering the top three positions, with Gordon taking the top honors, followed by Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Newman, Anderson, Bernstein and Kinser. Newman was understandably moved by the results. "For the voting media members to consider us as being at the top our game-especially with all the drivers and teams who won championships out there-is quite an honor that we are most appreciative and proud of, " he added. In its' 37th year the Driver of the Year 2003 title is unique because it is the only award that encompasses all of the racing series in the United States and fan participation. A panel of 18 leading journalists and broadcasters from across the U.S. and a cumulative fan vote on Speedtv.com determine the winner. In quarterly voting, points are awarded on a declining 9,6,4,3,2,1 basis. In recognition of this honor Newman will receive a trophy and a Maurice Lacroix Swiss Watch. Maurice Lacroix USA - the official watch of the Driver of the Year 2003 award - is one of the fastest -growing Swiss watch manufacturers in America, with more than 400 quality jewelers representing the award-winning collection in the United States. President of the Driver of the Year 2003 Foundation is Barry Schmoyer, businessman and sportsman of Sarasota, Florida. Further information on the award may be obtained from Driver of the Year 2003 Foundation, PO Box 49827, Sarasota, FL 34230 or from (941) 953-6209. PR

11/25/03
Team USA

Team USA Scholarship To Return After One-Year Hiatus   What do Jimmy Vasser, Bryan Herta, Jerry Nadeau, Memo Gidley, Buddy Rice, A.J. Allmendinger and the late Tony Renna have in common? They were all recipients of Team USA Scholarships in the early stages of their careers.

This winter, at least two more talented young American drivers will carry the patriotic red-white-and-blue Team USA Scholarship colors in the six-race Talley’s New Zealand International Formula Ford Series, which will be held over three consecutive weekends in January 2004. The youngsters also will have a chance to win one of the most prestigious events in the Southern Hemisphere, the New Zealand Grand Prix, previous winners of which include Formula 1 greats Stirling Moss, Bruce McLaren, Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart, Graham Hill and John Surtees.

“I am very proud to have taken part in the Team USA Scholarship program,” says Herta, the 1991 Scholarship winner and subsequently a race winner in both Champ Car and IRL Indy Car competition. “It gave me an opportunity to represent my country in international competition and it certainly helped to advance my career.”

For the first time since its formation in 1990, with Vasser as the inaugural recipient, no Scholarship was awarded in 2002. “The reason was two-fold,” says program manager and long-time auto racing journalist/broadcaster Jeremy Shaw. “Firstly, Red Bull introduced its Driver Search and provided an opportunity for four gifted youngsters to race in Europe. Secondly, and quite frankly, aside from the Red Bull selections, there weren’t any other drivers who I felt were in a position to capitalize in the same way as our 2001 picks, A.J. Allmendinger and Bryan Sellers.”

Allmendinger went on to win the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series and the 2003 Toyota Atlantic Championship, while Sellers won the 2002 Formula Ford 2000 Zetec Championship and recently was confirmed as primary driver for Toyota Atlantic Championship-winning team Lynx Racing for the 2004 season.

“I am delighted that A.J. and Bryan have continued the tradition of success for Team USA Scholarship alumni,” says Shaw. “And I have been heartened this year to see a wealth of new talent ready to follow in their footsteps.”

Long-time Team USA proponents and noted talent-spotters Steve and Christine Horne, whose Tasman Motorsports Group achieved much success in the 1990s in Indy Lights and Champ Car competition, once again have pledged their support. Former winners Vasser, the 1996 Champ Car World Series title-holder, and Herta also are on board.

Negotiations are progressing well with several potential partners, although additional funding is still being sought. All enquiries will be gratefully received.  An announcement to confirm this year’s Team USA Scholarship winners is expected to be made next week.  Contact: Jeremy Shaw, 949-766-9504, jeremyshawracer@cox.net

11/25/03
ROC

Arciero invited to CENTRIX ROC   After winning the Trophy Truck division of the Baja 1000 on Nov. 21-22, Ryan Arciero was invited to participate in the CENTRIX ROC America Challenge on the Canary Islands in Spain, November 29. The race will pit him against other top drivers from the US including Casey Mears, Boris Said and Travis Pastrana.

"My Spanish is going to be very good after spending weeks down in Baja, Mexico preparing and racing in the Baja 1000, and now heading off to Spain's Canary Islands," explained Arciero. "This is a huge opportunity, and one that I'm thankful to CENTRIX for giving me.

"While my family has been racing in the US for the past 45 years, and I've gained success in off-road and now NASCAR racing, I have a good feeling that the people there are going to ask 'who is that guy?' I'm actually hoping that's what they'll say, so I can show them who I really am and what I can do in person. This should be a lot of fun."

Arciero be racing a single seat ROC car, powered by a six-speed sequential, 170 hp, Honda CBR 1100cc Blackbird. The vehicle is equipped with Michelin tires, and Fast & Speed adjustable shocks.

"We were impressed with Ryan's performance at the Baja 1000 this year," said CENTRIX Financial CEO, Robert E. Sutton. "After winning the race, we had to find a way to get him over to compete at the CENTRIX ROC America Challenge."

Arciero's victory was his second Baja 1000 win. The first coming at the 1998 point-to-point Baja 1000 when he teamed with Bob Gordon (father to Winston Cup driver Robby Gordon), to win the Class 1 championship. He also won the Parker 425 and the Baja 500 in the Trophy Truck division.

On paved ovals, Arciero earned six pole positions, six wins, nine top-fives and ten top-ten's in the 2003 Ultra Wheels Super Truck Series.

The CENTRIX ROC America Challenge will be televised on Speed Channel. Date and time TBD.

11/25/03

***Reader Question***What changes are coming for the IRL?  A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, With another year of horrendous crashes and injured drivers behind them, and with their cars now taking flight like airplanes, what can we expect in the way of changes for 2004?  Kurt Schneider, New York  Dear Kurt, Don't expect many changes.  As we understand it, the IRL does not want to muck with their close finishes. It's their #1 marketing slant. We hear they will crank more wing into the cars to slow them down (more drag) and plant them even better to the race track.  They are looking for a 5 MPH reduction in lap speed according to Brian Barnhart.  While not official yet, when we heard this we almost fell off our chair in a fit of laughter, and then immediately went into a prayer session for the poor hapless drivers.  You see, the cars are already at 100% throttle caused by underpowered cars that are already firmly planted to the track with huge amounts of downforce.  This 100% throttle running artificially creates "pack racing."   With even more downforce next year, and more wing (think bigger hole in the air) the packs of cars will be even larger, i.e. more cars in close proximity.  It's the close rubber-tire-to-rubber-tire racing and touching that causes so many crashes in the IRL.  It does not matter if they are running 220 or 215 MPH, there are going to be as many or more crashes in the IRL in 2004.  Racing open wheel cars on high-banked tracks in packs is a sure recipe for disaster.  Drivers are going to clock a lot of sheet time in 2004 once again.  And at 215 MPH, when the wheels touch and air gets under the cars, they are going to take flight just like they do now at 220 MPH.   It's a sad state of affairs really.  CART has little money behind it right now.  All the big money is over in the IRL and it's being used to lure CART drivers and teams into a situation that 1) Destroys a lot of cars, 2) Injures a lot of drivers, and 3) Because of #1 and #2, it is one of the most expensive racing series in the world to compete in. One of these days they are going to launch a car completely over the safety fencing and into a crowded grandstand.  It's only a matter of time.  When that happens, it will be lights out for Tony George's concept of open wheel racing.  Mark C.

11/25/03

Fisichella happy with Sauber debut  Sauber Petronas' new driver Giancarlo Fisichella conducted his first Formula One test for his new team today at the Circuito de Catalunya in Barcelona. He ran a scheduled program, which focused on damper tests, and covered 99 laps with a best time of 1m18.532s.

"For the first day with my new team I'm quite happy with the result," Fisichella said. "I covered almost 100 laps, which is a lot for Barcelona. In the morning we had some problems with the car set-up and my seat position was not the optimum and needed some adaptation. Later I was able to complete the scheduled test program for today, but there is still a lot to learn. It's a very nice and familiar atmosphere at Sauber. Everyone works in a very professional and friendly manner."

"Today has been Giancarlo's first run for us," said chief race engineer Jacky Eeckelaert. "He has the reputation of being a very professional and factually thinking racer and he underlined this. Although he had some minor problems in the morning with his seat he was still very quick on the track and made very few mistakes. And this in a car he had never driven before. He did a very good job today. I can say that I recognized him from the time at Jordan in 1997 when we worked together in one team. He is still the same pragmatic guy."

Fisichella will continue testing in Barcelona tomorrow and Thursday. From 8 to 10 December Felipe Massa will test in Jerez. Test driver Neel Jani will complete the test program for this year on 11 December, again in Jerez.

11/25/03
Industry News

Hyundai to build 2nd plant near Beijing   [Editor's Note:  With Korean car giant Hyundai possibly taking an active role in CART's Seoul, South Korea race, one has to wonder if a project like this near Beijing will prompt Hyundai to want to sponsor a CART race in Beijing in 2005  - see rumors page for info on the Beijing track.]  Hyundai Motor, South Korea's largest carmaker, plans to set up a plant in China to produce 600,000 cars annually by 2007.  The factory would be built near Beijing and construction would begin next year, a company spokesman said.  It will be Hyundai's second Chinese plant.   Last year, Hyundai set up a 50:50 joint venture with Beijing Automotive Industry Holding to produce passenger cars.   The plant in Beijing has so far produced 43,000 Sonata saloons.   The joint venture, Beijing Hyundai Motor, initially planned to expand to 200,000 cars by 2005, and to 600,000 cars by 2010.  "But due to rising demand in the Chinese market, we decided to set up a second plant by 2007," Hyundai spokesman Jake Jang said.

11/25/03

Bell feeling good about Jaguar test   Townsend Bell thought he did a good job in his first test of a modern Formula One car on a full circuit. Bell ran 63 laps today at the Valencia circuit in Spain as 11 cars and drivers began the official re-start of the on-track preparation for the 2004 F1 season. Bell's best was .5 seconds slower than Mark Webber and .4 seconds slower than Christian Klien. While the times were not relevant in comparing drivers, Bell's time represented a good first run in the Jaguar F1 machine.

Bell's best lap was a time of 1 minute, 12.33 seconds as Michelin shod teams tried 8 different sets of tires to assess the various combinations being developed for the next season. The day didn't get underway as planned for Bell as Mark Webber, Jaguar's leading driver tested the car in the morning and on his final lap had an engine problem..."I thought I might not get to run today, said Bell, "but the team did an engine change and I had most of the afternoon to get used to the Jaguar F1 car".

"This was a very different experience from the B.A.R. Honda test which took place in France last September" stated the young Californian. " To race these modern F1 cars on a proper circuit is amazing. The speed sensation is unbelievable, so much downforce! Just as you take a breath after a fast corner you are screaming on to the next corner and so on around the track. It was great!! There is a lot to learn but I felt good about my first shot at a lap in anger. I put it into the gravel on one lap, but with no damage at all".

"It will take some time to wring everything out of an F1 car, but it was a good start I think", said Bell. The test was billed as an evaluation of Townsend Bell and Christian Klien of Austria. The press saw it as a shootout, but it was clearly an evaluation run for the Jaguar F1 team as they tried tires and fuel loads continually to learn things about the Jaguar R4 that will become a part of future developments. The team will test Klien again tomorrow as Webber steps up the workload as well. Jaguar's Tony Purnell, David Pitchforth and John Allison will determine the potential in Bell's performance as it relates to his future in the team. The decision will take some time for evaluation. Bell felt he did his job and is satisfied that he was given ample opportunity to prove himself and thanks the team for making the test a reality.

The times below were set today in Valencia. Townsend Bell pointed out that even though his best was just .5 second off the time set by Jaguar F1 team leader Mark Webber it is not a clear indication of track speed. Webber ran only in the morning which was slower, the fuel loads were different as were the constant changing of tires which effected speeds dramatically. It was not possible to make apple to apple comparisons and that is the way the Jaguar F1 team planned it.  Valencia photos

Pos Driver Chassis-engine Tires Time Laps
1 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW M 1m10.081s 69
2 Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW M 1m10.718s 37
3 Marc Gene Williams-BMW M 1m11.224s 56
4 Alexander Wurz McLaren-Mercedes M 1m11.299s 53
5 Franck Montagny Renault M 1m11.873s 84
6 Mark Webber Jaguar M 1m11.876s 37
7 Jarno Trulli Renault M 1m11.950s 89
8 Christian Klien Jaguar M 1m11.955s 54
9 David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes* M 1m12.035s 47
10 Townsend Bell Jaguar M 1m12.330s 63
11 Ryan Briscoe Toyota M 1m12.660s 70
* = 2004 car

11/25/03

Fellows to have surgery   Popular Canadian racing driver Ron Fellows, who drove the last two races of the 2003 American Le Mans Series season with a painfully dislocated shoulder, will undergo surgery Dec. 1 in Indianapolis to repair the damage. Fellows, who drives for the factory Chevrolet Corvette team in the American Le Mans Series, has won the GTS class driving title the past two seasons in the sports car racing series. He expects to be fully recovered from the surgery to begin his title defense when the 2004 ALMS season starts with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 17-20.  More....

11/25/03

McLarenMP4-19 debuts   The new Team McLaren Mercedes 2004 Formula One car, the MP4-19, made its track debut today at the Valencia circuit in Spain with David Coulthard at the wheel. This week’s three day session will be followed by the start of the team’s full pre-season test program at Barcelona and Jerez in the first two weeks of December, with David and Kimi Raikkonen supported by Third Driver Alexander Wurz and Test Driver Pedro de la Rosa.   More...

11/25/03

McLaren steals Ferrari aerodynamicist   McLaren has signed Ferrari’s chief aerodynamicist Nick Tombazis. Tombazis will work alongside the head of aerodynamics Peter Prodromou as chief engineer after he has finished his military service in Greece in six months time. McLaren’s team manager Martin Whitmarsh said in a statement: "We are pleased to take this opportunity to announce the continued strengthening of our technical team, with the appointment of Nicholas Tombazis as Chief Engineer Aerodynamic Development. We believe this latest addition to the team will help to ensure we maintain the positive development impetus of the past year both in the build-up to and during the coming season."

11/25/03

First-ever law firm to become NASCAR sponsor  LA PLATA, Md. – One of the country’s most established, yet fastest-growing legal firms, has teamed with one of the country’s top sports marketing agencies for a new extensive involvement in motorsports. Jenkins, Jenkins & Jenkins, P.A., headquartered in La Plata, is planning on sponsorships of stock car racing teams in 2004. The firm will work with Williams Company of America, Inc, a Mooresville, N.C.-based agency that is considered the leader in motorsports public relations. “Like other companies, our firm is looking towards motorsports to help as we expand our business and help our clients,” said Frank P. Jenkins, who owns the highly-respected firm with his father, Louis P. Jenkins, Sr., who started the firm over 40 years ago, and his brother, Louis P. Jenkins, Jr. “Our firm’s focus is aimed solely at satisfying our clients’ various needs,” he said. Jenkins, Jenkins & Jenkins specializes in personal injury, all real estate matter, criminal, traffic and corporate law. “Jenkins, Jenkins & Jenkins has some exciting announcements to make in the near future about its involvement with motorsports, and specifically NASCAR racing,” said Williams Company president Richard N. (Chip) Williams. “No law firm has ever attempted the involvement they are preparing to announce, and we are very excited to be working with them.”

11/25/03

Ferrari dominates Tuesday AM testing at Barcelona  

Pos Driver Chassis-engine Tires Time Laps
1 Luca Badoer Ferrari B 1m17.799s 42
2 Felipe Massa Ferrari B 1m18.184s 46
3 Takuma Sato BAR-Honda M 1m19.072s 33
4 Luciano Burti Ferrari B 1m19.192s 37
5 Giancarlo Fisichella Sauber-Petronas B 1m19.743s 37
6 Jenson Button BAR-Honda M no time 2

11/25/03

Montoya warns Coulthard to deliver or F1 career over   After signing for McLaren, Montoya is set to replace Coulthard in 2005. The Colombian gives a strong recommendation for the Scot next season. "One day you think ‘that’s it’ and it’s over for you and the next day everything changes. DC needs to get on with it and show what he can do if he wants to stay in Formula One. The only way is that he raises his game or he has to think about whether he quits now. If you don’t perform, you don’t get the job," Montoya told The Times.

11/25/03

Testing images from Valencia and Barcelona   F1 testing resumes after the long layoff, with McLaren wheeling out the new 2004 MP4-19 at Valencia, whilst Euro F3 hot shoe Christian Klien had his first test for Jaguar. Arden F3000 driver Townsend Bell was also seen preparing for a run in the Jaguar. Over in Barcelona, Giancarlo Fisichella had his first run for Sauber, whilst BAR's Jenson Button tested an 04 concept car.  Valencia photos | Barcelona

11/25/03

Coulthard website shut down from lack of support   This Scotsman.com article says, Try to get into the official David Coulthard website and a message tells you that it has been suspended due to lack of support. It is a feeling the Scottish driver will be growing au fait with.

This week McLaren finally came clean on one of the worst-kept secrets in Formula One, by announcing Juan Pablo Montoya would be joining them from Williams in 2005.

No-one at the team has said as much, but as far as the watching world is concerned, it’s Coulthard who will be shown the door to make way. Even if it transpires that it’s Kimi Raikkonen who vacates his seat, it will only be because the cool Finn got a better offer elsewhere. The point is, his destiny remains in his own hands, come the end of the season the only thing in Coulthard’s will be a begging bowl as he seeks new employment.

The fact is both Montoya and Raikkonen are young men in demand, Coulthard on the other hand is merely one of the sport’s elder statesmen in decline. Having emerged on to the scene in 1994, following the death of Ayrton Senna, he was seen as a cross between lantern-jawed Buzz Lightyear and 007 in the paddock. All honor and glamour, the clean-cut young man with impeccable manners and talent talked a good game. But two top teams and ten seasons later, it’s his inability to turn words into deeds which sees him portrayed as an old man of the pits, whining when things go wrong. Victor Meldrew rather than James Bond. More....

11/25/03

Toyota launch date set   The  Panasonic Toyota Racing team announcing that they are planning to unveil their 2004 car, the TF104, on Saturday January 17th at its factory in Cologne, Germany.   The car launch will be combined with the unique opportunity for the media to see behind the scenes of the Toyota Motorsport factory, where Toyota creates its entire F1 car - engine, chassis and gearbox - under one roof and is sure to be a very interesting event to say the least! 
Launch dates so far:
Williams FW26 – January 5th
Sauber C23 – January 12th
Toyota TF104 – January 17th
Jaguar R5 – January 18th
Renault R24 – January 29th

11/25/03

Bell hopes to become next American in F1   Townsend Bell is one of the drivers being considered as Mark Webber’s teammate at Jaguar Racing for the 2004 Formula One season when this week he will join Austria’s Christian Klien, 20, who finished second in the Euro Formula 3 championship, and England‘s Justin Wilson, who competed in five Grand Prix for Jaguar last year, in a test for Jaguar.  This will be Bell’s second test in a F1 car . The American completed more than 930 miles (1,500 km) of straight-line testing at the Lurcy circuit in central France on a one-mile (1.5-km track. Here he worked closely with Honda engineers to collect data during a three day test with the British American Racing squad in September of this year.  His goal is to become the first US. driver to compete in F1 since Michael Andretti…. “I’d like to play a small part in making F1 more popular in the United States, which would be great for everyone, not just myself,” he said. “None of it matters, however, unless you are getting the results on the racetrack. It is just a question of getting the right opportunity. Maybe that comes tomorrow; maybe that comes next year or the year after. Whether it is fair or not, I get a bit of an advantage because I’m an American, and that is nice, for once.  I'm thrilled to have this opportunity. I've worked hard for chances like this, and I plan to make the most of it. Having tried Bridgestone tires on the BAR, I'm also looking forward to having a run on the Michelins with Jaguar."

11/25/03

BAR tests hybrid car for 2004   Below is BAR's new hybrid 2004 test car a non-painted 'concept' machine that will be at the centre of BAR's winter development program.   First tasks for the car are in evaluation of the team's 2004 engine and rear-end package and in working for the first time with Michelin tires, following the team's split with Bridgestone, announced today.  Jenson Button is at the wheel of the '04 concept car in a three-day program at Barcelona, while Takuma Sato works with this year's BAR 05 .  BAR technical director Geoffrey Willis commented: “This week's program is essentially the start of our 2004 season. We have made significant advances for next year with both engine and transmission."  Shuhei Nakamoto, engineering director for Honda Racing Development, said: "We are excited about seeing our new engine put through its paces on the track. It is lighter, more compact and has a lower centre of gravity than last season's unit."  BAR is planning a much more extensive test program this winter. Willis explained: "Another major technical development is of course our move to Michelin tires. We are embarking on a steep learning curve in order to re-optimize our car, and we are planning to conduct substantially more testing than we did prior to the 2003 season."

11/25/03

BAR switches to Michelin   Bridgestone Motorsport has confirmed that it will not supply tires to the BAR-Honda team in 2004.  BAR will now switch to Michelin, and will test the French rubber for the first time today (Tuesday). BAR has used Bridgestone tires since it entered F1 in 1999, but is understood to have become increasingly frustrated at its close relationship with Ferrari. It will now join Williams, McLaren, Renault, Jaguar and Toyota on Michelin rubber, but will test as planned today in Barcelona alongside Bridgestone teams Ferrari and Sauber on Michelins which will have their logos blacked out. Bridgestone's director of motorsport Hiroshi Yasukawa said: "Whilst Bridgestone is naturally disappointed not to continue its working relationship with the BAR Formula 1 team, we wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors." BAR team principal David Richards said: "We would like to thank Bridgestone for the excellent technical partnership we have enjoyed with them over the past five years. We wish them well for the 2004 championship and beyond."

11/25/03

NASCAR on TSN in Canada through 2007  TSN has renewed its commitment to NASCAR with a new three-year broadcast deal, effective February 2004.  The new agreement provides TSN with 16 NASCAR NEXTEL CUP SERIES races annually, including such favorites as the Budweiser Shootout, NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge and Coca-Cola 600.  TSN has been televising NASCAR since the network’s inception in 1984.   Over the next three years, viewers will see top NASCAR drivers Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kurt Busch compete at the best tracks on the circuit, including Daytona International Speedway, Lowe’s Motor Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway.   TSN’s 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL CUP SERIES schedule is as follows: 
Budweiser Shootout (Daytona International Speedway) - Saturday, Feb. 7
Gatorade 125s (Daytona International Speedway) - Thursday, Feb. 12
Pontiac Performance 400 (Richmond International Speedway) - Saturday, May 15
NASCAR NEXTEL All-Star Challenge (Lowe’s Motor Speedway) - Saturday, May 22
Coca-Cola 600 (Lowe’s Motor Speedway) - Sunday, May 30
MBNA America 400 (Dover International Speedway) - Sunday, June 6
Pepsi 400 (Daytona International Speedway) - Saturday, July 3
New England 300 (New Hampshire International Speedway) - Sunday, July 25
Pennsylvania 500 (Pocono Raceway) - Sunday, Aug. 1
Sirius at the Glen 200 (Watkins Glen International) - Sunday, Aug. 15
Michigan 400 (Michigan International Speedway) - Sunday, Aug. 22
Sharpie 500 (Bristol Motor Speedway) - Saturday, Aug. 28, 2004
Chevy Monte Carlo 400 (Richmond International Speedway) - Saturday, Sept. 11
Sylvania 300 (New Hampshire International Speedway) - Sunday, Sept. 19
MBNA America 400 (Dover International Speedway) - Sunday, Sept. 26
UAW-GM Quality 500 (Lowe’s Motor Speedway) - Saturday, Oct. 16

11/25/03

Latest F1 Hot News items  

Ralf More Like Prost Than Schu
F1 Won't Lose Power In 2004: Toyota
Renault: No Weaknesses Accepted
New Ferrari To Be Ready In January
Early Launch For BMW-Williams FW26
Michelin Must Improve Its Wet Tires
Klien Eyes 'Shoot-Out' For R5 Seat
Toyota Drivers Are Not Perfect: Team
F1 Racers Don't Deserve Germany: Politicians
McLaren Drops TAG
Webber Promises Aussies F1 Success
Has Coulthard Got Montoya On His Mind?
Bahrain F1 Track Has New Managing Director
Renault 'Mates' Spur Team On: Trulli
Schu To Get Tough Time In 2004: Prediction
BAR-Honda Hasn't Switched Tires - Yet
Abramovich In Talks With Ecclestone
Schu Should Keep Racing: Former Champions
F1 Is A Team Sport: Jarno Trulli
Bernie Scrapped Friday Testing, Qualifying

11/25/03

DeLorean car up for auction by CARA   Despite the cancellation of the CARA Charities’ ‘Runway Madness’ extravaganza originally set for Friday, Oct. 31, the popular “Runway Madness Online Auction” has already opened its doors for participants with the annual online auction of valuable racing items and ‘one-off’ products. The auction website, featuring a variety of racing collectables and entertaining specialty gifts, will be found on www.caracharities.org. The CARA Charities online auction will run from Nov. 23 to Nov. 30, midnight (EST). This year’s “Runway Madness” charity event, an annual benefit dinner and party held prior to the CART race at California Speedway and a primary fundraiser to assist worthwhile causes on a national and international scope, was scheduled for another exciting evening. However, the devastating fires in the Southern California area forced the Nov. 2 King Taco 500 and the CARA Charities’ party to be canceled this year.  With the usual large silent auction as part of “Runway Madness,” this year’s online auction is bigger and better than ever before. Leading the unique items in this year’s online auction will be a 1983 DeLorean DMC-12 street car donated by Cars 4 Causes. The DeLorean DMC-12 has 28,485 original miles and is powered by a rear-mounted, 130-horsepower Peugeot-Renault-Volvo fuel-injected, 2.8-liter V-6 engine. The DMC-12 features sleek, clean lines and that sets the car apart from many other collectable automobiles. The body is a high-quality brushed stainless steel (the paint can’t chip or fade and it’s impervious to rust) and the car is complimented with the wild gull-wing doors and features charcoal gray leather. The DMC-12 has a five-speed manual transmission, power steering, power brakes and power windows, tinted glass, AM/FM cassette stereo and Goodyear 195/60R14 tires. There is slight damage to the bumper, steering wheel and driver’s seat. For further information on DeLorean DMC-12 and its parts, supplies and upgrades, click on www.usadmc.com. Some of the other top items in the online auction are a Cosworth V-8 Engine Coffee Table, Romero Brito hand-painted driver’s helmet with display case, a glass top coffee table with Champ Car drivers’ names etched into it, framed autographed grid passes autographed by the winner of the race, several vacation packages and Newman’s Own gift baskets. Other items include many autographed souvenirs from Champ Car drivers and teams. In addition, a strong list of collectables are on the CARA website from the popular Route 66 Rendezvous charity affair at California Speedway in September.

11/24/03

CART will regret leaving Mid-Ohio   This Mansfield, Ohio News Journal article says, It's been a week since the announcement, but I'm still trying to make sense of it.   No Champ Car racing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course next summer? How can this be?    After Milwaukee, no track had a longer and richer history with CART than Mid-Ohio. The last race under the USAC banner and the first to be run as Championship Racing League (later CART) was at Mid-Ohio in 1980. Since 1983, CART made the Lexington track an annual stop........The list of winners at Mid-Ohio is a who's who of open-wheel racing: Johnny Rutherford, Mario Andretti, Bobby Rahal, Emerson Fittipaldi, Teo Fabi, Michael Andretti, Al Unser Jr., Alex Zanardi, Juan Montoya, Helio Castroneves and Paul Tracy. The least talented to take the checkers -- Roberto Guerrero, Adrian Fernandez and Patrick Carpentier -- aren't exactly career backmarkers. 

Mid-Ohio was all about seeing the best at their best. Unfortunately, that isn't enough in motorsports anymore. It's not about competition and it's not about the fans. It's the corporate dollar that greases this wheel.   When Mid-Ohio lost its Miller Brewing sponsorship after the 2001 race, CART stepped in to help with the promotion. CART no longer has the funds to do this, and Mid-Ohio doesn't want to underwrite a race for the millions it can't recoup.

It's the reality of the situation and speaks volumes for how far CART has fallen. That no company has stepped up to sponsor a race that still brought out more than 40,000 people on race day is all you need to know about CART's place in the motorsports universe.   Some have questioned Mid-Ohio's loyalty to open-wheel racing, but who is leaving who?

CART's prospective new owners -- Paul Gentilozzi, Gerald Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven -- say they only want to go where they can make money. That's fair enough, but why is Cleveland still a go?   It's doubtful there was ever a more costly race in the history of the sport than the Cleveland Grand Prix last summer. At Mid-Ohio, they don't have to convert an airport into a race track, bring in grandstands for 25,000 (or was it 50,000 people?), set up enough lights to illuminate 28 football fields, then pay CBS to broadcast it tape delay the next day.   But Cleveland is that coveted urban market they crave, so it stays whether it makes a dime or costs millions.

It's true Steam Corners isn't Seoul, South Korea, and Greater Mansfield isn't Miami, but I thought Mid-Ohio was exotic in that it wasn't exotic. There's something to be said for small-town charm, and with a schedule filled with big cities, it was certainly unique.

No other sport and no other series was as intimate with its fans. The permanent road courses like Mid-Ohio fostered it the best. Good luck trying to recapture the magic in Denver, Las Vegas and Korea.  Here's hoping CART goes through with its impending December sale and the new owners get it together for 2004 so a comeback to Mid-Ohio in '05 is viable.   CART needs it. Mid-Ohio needs it. Most of all, the fans need it.

11/24/03

Still more feedback on Champ Cars, the next generation   A reader writes, Dear Mark Cipolloni, Regarding your latest article on the next generation of Champ Cars, Enjoyed your piece on the next generation of Champ Cars - However, I'm afraid that (presuming that Gentilozzi et al succeed in their purchase of the company) the focus next year will be on keeping a full field of cars rather than starting over with a clean sheet of paper and redefining what the cars in the CCWS will look like.  I understood that your proposal was for 2005, but that being said, it seems to me that the design and engineering for a new car needs to start now (or at least within the next four to six months) for it to be track-ready for the 05 season. It took what - 18 months? - for Dodge to put together a car for Winston Cup competition a few years ago. That was a lower-tech "stock" car that had a host of France-family inspired specifications as prerequisites. Is it realistic to expect the OWRS group to have the resources to expend on redesigning the cars for 2005? Has the sale of the company pushed off the involvement of new engine manufacturers and chassis constructors even further into the future?  David Jacobs, Chicago, IL

Dear David, Clearly, the window for 2005 may have already passed, hence why the article stated 2005 or 2006.  2004 will definitely be a rebuilding year and the focus will be staying alive.  However, that does not mean the technical staff can't be drafting a new specification.  We suspect CART's staff is in close communication with the FIA regarding their plans for the Formula 2 specifications.  If our readers were sharp they would have noticed that the dimensions I proposed for the new Champ Car are identical to a F1 car.  I called for a spec chassis.  CART could contract with Renault tomorrow, for example to supply the entire CART grid with its 2003 F1 chassis.  The design is already in the bag. They could contract with Lola, but they don't have a current F1 chassis design in the can. Certainly Renault, or whoever won the contract, would have to ramp up to satisfy the volume. As for an engine, companies like John Judd's for example, were producing 3.0 L V10's that weighed close to 200 Lbs dry weight back in the early 90's making around the same 750 HP I suggested for the new Champ Car.  The engine ran with a Yamaha nameplate.  That's a 10-year old design that is at least 50 pounds lighter than the current Champ Car engine, perhaps as much as 100 Lbs lighter when you take into account all the turbo plumbing.  We are sure the current generation of F1 engines are much lighter than that, but CART teams can't afford those exotic material lightweights. The bottom line is that CART would need a variation on the F1 V10 engine design, removing some of the expensive exotic materials and lowering the RPM. They do not need an engine from a clean sheet of paper.  I believe 2005 is still possible, but 2006 is more likely.  Unfortunately for CART, Formula 2 will be out in 2005 and will immediately bump Champ Cars down a notch in the world order.  Of course CART could adopt the Formula 2 car for its next generation Champ Car and be ready to go in 2005 with a better performing car.  Could there be a secret plan in place to call it Formula 2 in Europe and Champ Car in North America, with both being a feeder to F1? Wasn't Chris Pook telling everyone who would listen that CART would be a feeder to F1 and use V10 engines?   Renault is doing the F2 car and they have stated they want to begin selling cars in the USA again.  Hmm..... Mark C.

11/24/03

More feedback on Champ Cars, the next generation   A reader writes, Dear Mark Cipolloni, Regarding your latest article on the next generation of Champ Cars, One issue that I haven't seen regarding the turbo vs. normally aspirated argument - the turbo is naturally silenced, perhaps making it more appropriate for downtown street courses. CART doesn't need trouble with some of its most successful venues if an increased noise issue is introduced - remember the cancelled ALMS race in Washington DC? And while the V10 is certainly a beautiful sound, anybody who I've ever taken to their first CART event always marvels at the sound - it may not be the incredible wail of an F1 motor, but it sure sounds a lot different than any normal car and, particularly, pushrod engines such as stock cars. I don't think you need normally aspirated V10s to sell the sexiness of the sound to new fans, and the noise of a non-turbo motor could create some problems that I haven't seen mentioned. Thanks! Lando Magee - Sacramento, California 

Dear Lando, You make a valid point that the screaming V10 engines will be louder than the  turbo engines.  However, if you examine the street circuits that CART races on, the majority are not adjacent to major housing developments like the ALMS track was in Washington DC.  Also, the ALMS races are longer and the fields have a lot more cars.  The Champ Cars are not really on the track that many hours during a weekend.  As I stated in my previous response to the reader below, the CART fans have become complacent with regard to the sound.  Right now, status quo isn't good enough for CART.  It needs a significant shot in the arm and it must redefine itself for current market conditions.  Too many fans are confused between CART and the IRL.  The current engines sound different, but not that different. In CART's core market, the NAFTA market, there must be no mistaking a Champ Car when you hear it. Mark C.

11/24/03
Industry News

Toyota loses logo lawsuit in China   A Beijing court yesterday dismissed a Toyota Motor lawsuit brought against a mainland firm accused of copying its logo. The test case has been closely watched by foreign multinationals worried about protection of their intellectual property rights in China.   The No 2 Intermediate People's Court of Beijing rejected the suit brought by Toyota in December last year against privately owned Geely Group of Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

Geely was accused of using a logo similar to Toyota's trademark "T" on the hood, steering column and boot of its Merry cars.  Toyota had demanded Geely stop using the logos and pay compensation of 13.92 million yuan (HK$12.93 million) and costs of 150,000 yuan. But the court yesterday ordered the Japanese manufacturer to pay costs of 80,360 yuan.

The court said consumers would be able to distinguish between a Toyota and Geely as the two logos were clearly different in design. It said consumers took a long time before buying a car and would not be confused between the two models or decide their purchase on the basis of a small item such as a logo.

"We feel regret that the viewpoint we expressed was not recognised. After we have made a detailed study of the contents of the judgment, we will then decide how to react," Toyota's Beijing office said in a written statement. The Japanese company has 30 days to launch an appeal.   Shi Yusheng, a lawyer for Toyota, said the company was disappointed by the verdict.

11/24/03

PPI personnel changes  PPI Motorsports today announced it has hired former Tide Racing crew chief Mike Beam as competition director for its racing programs. Beam is joined by David Charpentier, who will serve as crew chief for the No. 32 Tide Chevrolet driven by Ricky Craven. Scott Miller, crew chief for the No.32 Tide Pontiac in 2003, is exploring options both within and outside of the team’s engineering group.

Beam, a veteran NASCAR Winston Cup Series crew chief, returns to PPI Motorsports after serving as crew chief for Richard Childress Racing’s No.30 Chevrolet in 2003. As competition director, Beam will help focus the organization’s in-house operations toward increased performance. He will also work with Charpentier and the crew of the No.32 Tide Chevrolet to ensure the team’s at-track competition needs are met.

“Bringing Mike back on board is just what our company needs,” said Cal Wells, president of PPI Motorsports. “We experienced a bit of a learning curve with the switch to Pontiac and our own engine program, and we’re at the point now where we can really push our efforts to the next level. With his ability, experience, and familiarity with how we operate, Mike is an ideal choice to help us do that.”

“I’m thrilled to be back at PPI Motorsports,” Beam said of his decision to return. “It’s like coming home in a lot of ways. I’m really excited to be in a position where I can help set direction not only for the race team, but also for the whole company. PPI Motorsports is a quality operation, and I’m happy to be working with everyone here again.”

11/24/03

Feedback on Champ Cars, the next generation   A reader writes, Dear Mark Cipolloni, Regarding your latest article on the next generation of Champ Cars, I'm confused. You began the year pushing for non-turbo motors in CART. However, editorially, you have continued to point out the benefits of the turbo motor and their increased use with most major automobile manufacturers, further demonstrating the need for CART to stay with a formula that mirrors real world applications. Now you're back to lobbying the non-turbo formula.

Staying turbo/Cosworth will make the "private labeling" of the Cosworth mill much easier, especially for other Ford marques that might benefit from a performance association (Volvo, Jaguar, Aston Martin, Lincoln, even Mazda) as well as manufacturers outside Ford (Chevworth?). I feel this private label approach still represents a key transitional option/opportunity for CART until they have rebuilt the stature of the series enough to then either write a new engine spec with the knowledge there are multiple manufacturers interested in participating; or, they keep the current turbo formula with new engine manufacturers wanting to build motors for the series (Audi, other F1 manufacturers).

CART has made an enormous investment in their turbo identity. It's ingrained in its tradition and history. Walking away from the turbo motor could be very risky. I agree with just about everything else you have suggested, especially a smaller, lighter, nimbler chassis optimized for road racing. The suspensions also need to be supple/sophisticated enough to be tuned for Road America one week and a junk temporary road coarse in downtown Wherever the next.

I would also recommend CART management carefully consider ALL of these potential changes with an eye toward attracting current manufacturers/suppliers in F1 to CART. Just as there is a finite pool of available sponsorship dollars so too are there a limited number of qualified part and systems manufacturers. Helping all these manufacturers expand their businesses can only help CART in the long run. Providing all the F1 manufacturers a new market to sell into also serves to loosen up F1's stranglehold.

I think CART owes Bernie a little payback and should move closer to F1 conceptually. Picture more sensible, cost effective version of the modern F1 chassis/systems with 2.65L turbo V8s carrying the names of 3 or 4 car companies (Jaguar, Porsche, Lincoln, Audi, Mercedes Benz . . . . . Land Rover (kidding). Diversity makes the world go 'round and CART needs to carefully balance maintaining tight controls with stimulating future participation by a multitude of manufacturers.  JN Anderson, Chicago, IL. 

Dear JN, First let me clarify my position on turbo engines vs. a screaming V10.  Yes, CART has a lot of history with the turbo, and yes it would be an acceptable platform for Champ Cars, but after further soul-searching and analysis, I have come to the conclusion that the sound of the cars has a major impact on the fan's perception of what they are watching.  And while the current engine has a nice sound to it, it's simply not unique enough for most to really take notice.  However, the scream/wail of a F1 V10 engine sends chills down one's spine.  It's something no fan will ever forget.  Status quo isn't good enough for CART.  The fan base has become too blasé about the product.  As for your points about all the Ford marques badging the engine, they can do that with any engine regardless of whether it's a turbo or a screaming V10. As for CART owing Bernie a payback, that's one man CART must not make enemies with.  With the oval track cartel against it, CART needs to maintain a good relationship with anyone in the road racing business.  Mark C.

11/24/03

New McLaren brand focus   McLaren today announced a new brand strategy for its group of companies. The TAG McLaren Group of companies will, with immediate effect, assume the new name of the McLaren Group.

The change follows on from the increasing prominence and reputation of the McLaren brand and its importance in the Group’s activities, as witnessed by the continued success of its Formula One racing team and the high profile McLaren F1 and Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren high performance road cars. This increased emphasis on the McLaren brand is also consistent with the Group’s strategy of focusing on its core automotive activities with which the McLaren name is synonymous.

The change has been made with the full support of the Group’s three shareholders: DaimlerChrysler AG; TAG Group (Holdings) SA; and Ron Dennis, CBE. In line with the new brand strategy, some of the Group’s companies’ names will change,
either with immediate effect or following their migration to the McLaren Technology Centre, the Group’s new corporate headquarters. These other name changes are as follows:

- TAG McLaren Holdings Limited, the Group’s holding company, will change its name to McLaren Group Limited.
- McLaren International, the Group’s Formula One racing operation, will be renamed McLaren Racing.
- The Group’s electronics subsidiary will change its name from TAG Electronic Systems to McLaren Electronic Systems.
- The name of the Group’s marketing subsidiary will change from TAG McLaren Marketing Services to McLaren Marketing.

During 2004 two new businesses will also be created: McLaren Applied Technologies; and McLaren Heritage. The former will seek to exploit in industrial and consumer applications the automotive technologies that are developed within the Group. The latter will form a focus for the optimum utilization of the Group’s racing and automotive heritage.

“We are currently in the process of moving to our new corporate headquarters and Research and Development facility, the “McLaren Technology Centre”, and decided that this would be a good time to review our brand and naming strategy,” explained McLaren Group Chairman & CEO, Ron Dennis. “The strategy of focusing on our core automotive business means that it is entirely logical to emphasize the McLaren aspect of our heritage.”

“We are honored that the TAG name has played such a strong part in our success over the years and that TAG retains its long-term commitment to the Group but McLaren is now such a strong brand in its own right that all of our shareholders believe that the name should be at the forefront of our brand strategy. We have used this opportunity to modernize some of the company names and to update some of our graphical identity. I am proud that the McLaren Group is renowned for the high quality of its presentation and its attention to detail, and very much hope that these changes will be seen as consistent with that approach.”

11/24/03

Williams announces launch date   The BMW Williams F1 team is the fourth team to announce their official launch date, however the Grove based squad may be the first team to launch their new 2004 contender with a January fifth date set for the unveiling of the FW26. No venue was announced yet.

11/24/03

Technical rundown with Renault's Bob Bell   The Renault F1 Team’s Technical Director may have been out of the spotlight in the design office last year, but his team was working hard: the verdict from 2003 is extremely positive, and means the team is confident for 2004.  More....

11/24/03

German politicians criticize Schumachers   The Schumacher brothers have been called ‘unpatriotic’ for not living in Germany.   German Finance Minister Hans Eichel was the first to criticize the drivers last month but now Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and other members of the ruling SPD party have added their voices to the controversy.   Lower Saxony state premier Sigmar Gabriel has been amongst the most outspoken, saying: "It's unpatriotic of these people taking full advantage of the possibilities of our country all their lives but then shoveling their money into Switzerland or Liechtenstein.   I even consider that behavior anti-social."

Reinhard Buetikofer, the co-leader of the Green party has even suggested stripping tax exiles of their German citizenship.  He said: “Those who don't want to pay (German) tax can give up their German passports.  Ralf responded, "Germany is simply a taxation jungle. I don't feel like having tax collectors on my heels. I don't want to be hunted down like Boris Becker or Steffi Graf. That's why I used the chance to go abroad for tax reasons."

11/24/03

Ecclestone house sale update   Formula One tycoon Bernie Ecclestone is in talks to sell an £85m Kensington home - the most expensive private house in the world - to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovitch. Ecclestone is expected to accept £70-75m for the property, which he bought in 2001 for £50m but never occupied.

11/24/03

New Tom Kristensen book available   The new book, "Tom K & LeMans" has just become available. Author Nils Finderup is receiving accolades on his latest book, the follow up to the Danish only release "Tom Kristensen, The Life of a LeMans Winner" (2001). The latest release is available through the Tom Kristensen website and Nils is looking for an American distributor. Tom Kristensen is heading for the position of the greatest sports car driver ever. The Dane had his début at the world’s best known race, Le Mans, in 1997 and has won the French classic five times out of seven. This book describes Tom Kristensen’s magical seven races, using words and fantastic pictures, some of which have never been published before. Many of the best photographers within the sport have caught the highlights, the clever angles, the anecdotes and even the rare glimpses of defeat. Through the photographer’s lenses the readers get a unique insight into the race of legends and a driver that already has become a living legend.

11/24/03

Paul Newman on Letterman   CART team owner Paul Newman will be a guest on the David Letterman show tonight (Monday).  Paul is working on a new movie (hence the beard) that we assume he will talk about, but with both he and Letterman owning Champ Car teams, we are willing to bet they talk racing at some point.

11/24/03
Formula 3

Antinucci: Did you know?   Did you know that Italian-American Formula 3 sensation Richard Antinucci, winner of this past weekend's Korea Super Prix and winner of the Blue Riband award for the best overall driver in both the Macau and Korea Super Prix events, is Eddie Cheever's nephew?  Yup, and like Cheever who also lived his early years between the USA and Italy, has his eye on Formula One.  "It was awesome," a delighted Antinucci commented on the win, "Wining these races and being the most successful driver overall in the two end-of-season events is a dream come true.  "Both tracks are very tricky as they are street circuits that no-one has access to all year - it is all down to your driving on the day and having a strong team behind you. I cannot thank my engineer, Peter Berry, and everyone at Hitech enough for all they have done for me."   The American - who switched teams several times during 2003 before landing at Hitech - saw him finish third in one race at Macau but retire in the other when another driver took him out. At both circuits, he was consistently at the top of the timesheets and impressed Hitech team boss David Hayle.   "He was first or second all weekend, and on the pace," the former Fortec team manager commented, "It was unbelievable stuff, nothing was going to stop him."  Having proven he can beat the best F3 drivers in the world, some of which are already F1 test drivers, it remains to be seen what Antinucci's next step will be, F3000, CART or a possible test driver role with an F1 team.  This Italian-American appears to have a bright future ahead of him.  Mark C.

11/24/03

Latest F1 Hot News items  

Renault To Launch In Late January
Sauber's New F1 Drivers Put To Work
Bridgestone To 'Push Hard' in 2004
Gallagher Supports Firman
BAR Sign New Official Supplier
Schumacher Doesn't Fear Coulthard
Manager Questions JPM's McLaren Move
French Grand Prix Canned Until '05
Schu Checks Out Progress On F2004
Jordan 'Looking Around' For F1 Future
Push Another Button, Warns BAR Boss
French Demise Is Good For British GP?
Frentzen Hopes For Jordan Future
Sato's The Right Man For The Job
Jordan To Run Different F1 Liveries?
Montoya's Management Are Winners, Too
Webber Switch Would Cost Frank Millions
Bahrain Will Host Safe Race, Says Minardi Boss
Korea Continues Plans For 2009 F1 Race
New Toyota: Evolution, Not Revolution

11/23/03

Monster Garage on Monday   Jesse James and the crew of his Discovery Channel hit Monster Garage will reveal tonight what happens when a band of mechanics, engineers and fabricators accept the challenge of turning a Champ Car into a working street-line painter. The episode of the popular cable hit will air tonight on the Discovery Channel from 9 – 10 p.m. Eastern Time as viewers can follow the crew through the entire process of transforming a former Walker Racing Champ Car chassis into the world’s fastest street-line painter. The final demonstration phase will see the Champ Car squaring off against a RoadLazer street painter like those commonly used in the State of California’s highway system. The crew included Rocketsports Racing team owner and potential Champ Car World Series owner Paul Gentilozzi, who flew to James’ California shop last month to help oversee the design and production of the car as well, while PK Racing engineer John Ward was on hand to supervise the demonstration phase of the project, which took place last week at the Irwindale Speedway oval in Irwindale, California.

11/23/03

Will Renault save 2004 French GP?   Reacting to the news that their home French GP was cancelled for 2004, the president of the French Renault F1 team put out this statement - ”I cannot envisage a F1 World Championship which would not include a French Grand Prix!”   The French GP is the oldest on the calendar.  Don't be surprised if Renault steps in, puts up the money owed Bernie Ecclestone from last year and saves the 2004 race.

11/23/03

Frentzen's future on hold   Formula 1 veteran HH Frentzen is not sure whether he will be back at Jordan in 2004 because the team is looking for a funded driver. He writes on his website - “Relating to my future in Formula One I cannot give any new information,” he said on his official website. “Eddie Jordan offered me a seat in his team. But at the moment they haven't confirmed an engine contract and the finance of the team hasn't been secured for the next season yet. Here, more patience is needed.”

11/23/03
Formula 3

Korea Super Prix drivers impressed with Kumho tires   Kumho Tires aims to become one of the top eight tire manufacturers in the world by 2007 (and is eyeing the CART series). Top F3 drivers from around the world were left impressed by the performance of their Kumho tires, supplied to all entrants at today's 5th International Korea F3 Super Prix.

"The grip from the Kumho has been good all weekend, and our team has found a good set-up with the tire," said event winner Richard Antinucci. "I found it really important to focus on getting a lot of heat into the rear tires on my warm-up lap and that helped me to get a really good start on the shadier side of the track."

Antinucci burst into the lead at the opening corner of race one and was never headed again, leaving Menu Motorsport's Robert Doornbos to take the eventual runner-up spot.

The Dutchman benefited from prior Kumho experience, gained while racing in the F3 Euroseries this year, where all runners use the high performance rubber.

"I've raced all year in the F3 Euroseries on the Kumho tire, and here with Menu Motorsport in Korea we've found a really good set-up with the tire," said Robert. "It works really well, especially in qualifying and we got a good peak out of the tire. Then during the race we were able to do very consistent lap times without any flat spots. So I was impressed with the tire, it has a good feel."

Pole sitter Lewis Hamilton may have endured a nightmare event, his hopes ending with an early collision in race one, but the McLaren protégé couldn't fault the Korean tire giant – declaring their product superior to other brands.

"I started testing in the UK on the Avon tire and before we came over to do this race, we tested the Kumho tire and I definitely felt they were much better than the Avon tire," said Hamilton. "It's really good to test the tires because you can feel all the different characteristics and compounds and I've been happy with the Kumho tire, and I can get a good time out of them when they're at their best." 

11/22/03

Schumacher visits Maranello   Michael Schumacher visited Maranello for the first time today as a six-times world champion. Michael briefly interrupted his holiday to spend a day at Ferrari, where he met up with Managing Director of the Gestione Sportiva, Jean Todt, as well as Rory Byrne and Paolo Martinelli, with whom he discussed the development of the car which the Scuderia will field in the 2004 Formula 1 World Championship.

Also on the day’s agenda was a visit to the Gestione Industriale. This gave Michael the opportunity to celebrate his fourth consecutive title in the Scuderia’s colours with the workforce.

'It was great to be back in Maranello for the first time since Suzuka. Meeting up with Jean, Rory and Paolo has made me even keener to get back on track, especially as they told me so much about the new car, which sounds really promising. I keep in regular contact with them but today I was able to see the latest developments in the project for myself. We are still right in the middle of preparations for next year, but already I can feel the desire to go racing again. I also visited the Gestione Industriale where I saw a lot of interesting things, including the new 612 Scaglietti. It’s really beautiful! I received a warm welcome from the people working there and it’s true that we are one big family!'

Michael then left for Parma airport at the wheel of a Maserati Quattroporte. Today’s visit was thus also an opportunity for him to take to the road for the first time in the Trident marque’s latest model.

11/22/03

Yates announces personnel changes  Robert Yates Racing announced today several changes to key personnel positions for the No. 88 UPS and No. 38 M&Ms® Racing Teams. Eddie D'Hondt was hired in late October to assume the role of General Manager for the organization, while Mike Ford and Barry Swift return to RYR where the pair was part of the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Championship team. Effective immediately, Ford will assume crew chief duties for driver Dale Jarrett and the No. 88 UPS Team while Swift will oversee all work performed while serving as the shop foreman for both teams.

"This is just the beginning of the changes we will be making over the course of the next month," said owner Robert Yates. "We obviously slipped in 2003 from where everyone expects us to perform and that is everyone from our sponsors, to the media and most importantly ourselves. We know that championship caliber teams require the talent of experienced people and securing the right people is the first step in getting ourselves back to the level that everyone expects us to perform.

11/22/03

Tagliani fire suit up for charity event  Jump online Sunday, November 23 and bid on Champ Car driver Alex Tagliani's 2003 Rocketsports fire suit, that will be auctioned off in the CARA Charities online auction. The Apex design ADM nomex suit carries all 2003 team/series sponsor logos; Johnson Controls, Microchip, Futaba, Saputo, Player's, Cosworth, Ford, Bridgestone and the Champ Car World Series logo.

This is the first Rocketsports' suit Tagliani wore as he raced around in the No.33 Johnson Controls Lola, and it carries the Player's logo, which is now obsolete.

The online auction begins November 23 and runs through midnight (ET) November 29.

Check the CARA website for a complete list of items up for auction.

Other items up for bid include;

For your car collectible friends: 1983 DeLorean with 28,490 miles. Stainless steel exterior and grey leather interior, 5 speed manual transmission, power steering, power brakes and windows.

* Mario Andretti signed Ford GT40 photograph
* Tagliani fire suit
* Be a Crew member for a day
* Zanardi documentary & autographs
* Simple Green Safety Team fire suit
* 2003 grid pass collage
* Hand painted helmet
* Bridgestone bar table & stools
* Vasser fire suit
* Giaffone crutches
* Colts Touchdown Club tickets
* Rutherford fire suit
and much, much more.   Rocketsports

11/22/03

Ranger wraps up title   Sixteen year-old Canadian Andrew Ranger has clinched the Title in the 2003 FRAN AM 2000 North American Pro Championship Series. With his second place finish and fastest lap in Round 13, Ranger has 325 points; clinching the Title by one point before tomorrow's season finale at Arizona Motorsports Park in Phoenix.

Feeling the heat of Ranger's resolve to return to form was Brazilian driver Gustavo Sondermann. Sondermann managed to hold off Ranger for a wire-to-wire victory in only his second FRAN AM race. The margin of victory over Ranger was a mere 0.241 sec.

Ranger's AIM Autosport teammate and fellow Canadian Mark Wilkins took the last podium position; finishing 6.088 secs off the pace. Canadian Dan McMullen and British driver Robert Bell round out the top five finishers.

Heading into tomorrow's season finale, the top three positions in Championship points are locked up. Behind Ranger are yesterday's winner Charles Hall and Bell. Hall (right), driving #33 for GTI Motorsports, was the Champion of the 2003 FRAN AM Winter World Series. Bell, piloting the #7 Team FirstAir car, has managed to secure a 3rd Place finish despite several tough breaks throughout the season. The season finale will be run Sunday at Arizona Motorsports Park.

11/22/03

Bridgestone ready for winter testing   Bridgestone kicks off its 2004 Formula One campaign at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain next week (25-27 November).  After the satisfaction of seeing the Constructors' and Drivers' World Championship titles secured by a Bridgestone equipped team and driver for a sixth consecutive year, Bridgestone has a formidable testing and development program ahead in a bid to stamp its supremacy on cutting edge tire technology for a seventh year. More......

11/22/03

French GP cancelled for '04, back in '05   2nd UPDATE French Grand Prix organizers confirmed today that next year's race has been scrapped, but said they had signed a new five-year deal with Bernie Ecclestone to keep the event at Magny-Cours from 2005.  Circuit boss Roland Hodel described the cancellation of the 2004 race in central France because of financial problems as "simply a break."   "We're having a break in 2004, in agreement with Bernie Ecclestone, and we have signed a contract from 2005 to 2009, with the possibility of adding another five years... the Formula One site, it's Magny-Cours," said Hodel.  "In 2004 everyone who loves motor sport has to launch into action to bring in all the partnerships which are necessary for us to have Formula One back again."  Marcel Charmant, president of the Nievre regional authority announced Friday that the race, scheduled to take place on July 11, 2004, had been cancelled.  "The financial situation of the investment company means that it is not possible to give Bernie Ecclestone the guarantees he requires for the finance of the race in 2004," said Charmant. We now expect the British GP to move to July 11th as discussed on our Rumors page.  We have updated our 2004 schedules11/22/03 - French sports minister Jean-Francois Lamour moved Saturday to save the French Grand Prix amid reports that it has been cancelled due to financial problems.  Lamour said that he would do all in his power to ensure that the French auto sport federation (FFSA) convince the sport's governing body, the FIA, to maintain next year's French leg of the world championship series.  Marcel Charmant, president of the Nievre regional authority said that the race, scheduled to take place in Magny Cours on July 11, 2004, has been cancelled because of financial problems.  "The financial situation of the investment company means that it is not possible to give (F1 supremo) Bernie Ecclestone the guarantees he requires for the finance of the race in 2004," said Charmant.  The regional authority of Nievre is the majority shareholder in the company which owns the Magny-Cours circuit.  But Lamour believes that they may have jumped the gun and said "that the decision to cancel was perhaps announced before it was even decided by the competent authorities (the FIA)."  The FFSA, meanwhile, said in a statement Saturday that their president Jacques Regis would hold a press conference on the subject here next Wednesday.  Michelin F1 11/21/03 - The French Grand Prix, scheduled to take place here on July 11, 2004, has been cancelled because of financial problems, Marcel Charmant, the president of the Nievre regional authority, told Saturday's edition of the Journal du Centre newspaper.  "The financial situation of the investment company means that it is not possible to give Bernie Ecclestone the guarantees he requires for the finance of the race in 2004," said Charmant.

11/22/03

Why CART should switch to a N/A V10  On a number of occasions we have expressed our strong opinion that the next CART Champ Car engine should be a gasoline normally aspirated 3.0 L V10.  We are of the opinion that North America would fall in love with the sound and it would make CART unique in its own right.  We are not talking about a 19,000+ RPM F1 V-10, but something around 15,000 RPM will sound just fine thank you.  Anyone who has heard a F1 engine will attest to its glorious sound, even when the RPM was much lower than today's 19,000.  Here's an example of what we mean - Eddie Jordan brought his F1 car to the recent Macau GP to do some demo laps and give the Chinese their first real glimpse of an F1 car ahead of next year's inaugural Chinese GP in Shanghai.  The F3 pole lap was 2m 13.016s.  Ralph Firman drove the Jordan EJ13 around the Macau circuit in 1m 54.6s.  Jonathan Noble writes in Autosport Magazine - "And if I loved it, you can bet the Chinese were in ecstasy.  Some who had only seen display models at shows could only talk in awe about the wail of the V10 - simply amazed at its power, speed and grace.  I don't think I was alone in feeling invigorated last weekend, though.  I swear there were some grown men nearly crying (with utter joy) in the pitlane last weekend."  With all this CART/IRL merger talk, God forbid if CART were ever to adopt the hideous sounding low-revving IRL 3.5 L overweight boat anchor of an engine when, for not a whole lot more money (if the rules are written strict enough) it can have an engine in 2005 or 2006 that makes grown men want to cry from sheer ecstasy of its sound. A boat anchor or ecstasy, you decide.  Mark C.

11/22/03

Atherton, others, to buy into ALMS   Don Panoz is offering shares in the Panoz Motorsports Group to ALMS president Scott Atherton, and other key management personnel.  Panoz Motorsports owns ALMS as well as the Sebring, Mosport and Road Atlanta tracks.  Panoz has no intention to get out of his racing empire, but he is getting up there in years and must start to divest some of his interest to ensure what he has built has a future after he is gone.

11/22/03
Industry News

Layoffs at Cosworth   Cosworth had laid off over 30 people in its England shop as a result in business being soft.  A lot has to do with F1 going to one engine per weekend in 2004.  The rule, meant to save money, already is.

11/22/03
Industry News

Longtime CART publishing partners getting in bed with IRL   British based Haymarket Publications, a longtime partner with CART, is now getting in bed with the IRL.  They will produce a monthly magazine dedicated to just the IRL IndyCar series.  Racer Magazine, who is owned by Haymarket, will produce and publish the new monthly.  Meanwhile, British based Hazleton Publishing, another longtime partner with CART, will produce the first annual Autocourse for the 2003 Indy 500 and the Indy Racing League. Autocourse will still publish its beautiful Autocourse CART calendar and the 11th annual CART Champ Car annual.

11/22/03
Off-Road

Arciero & Miller win Baja 1000 Truck class   Ryan Arciero and Mark Miller have driven the #81 UMI Racing BFGoodrich Chevrolet Silverado to victory lane... taking the prestigious Trophy Truck class victory and completing a trifecta of victories: The Parker 425, Baja 500, and now... the Baja 1000. This is Ryan's 2nd Baja 1000 and today's win is the third victory in three attempts for the duo. Ryan was actually the first car/truck driver across the finish line, but unofficial results show that #113 (a Class 1 buggy) had an elapsed time that just clipped the overall victory by 4 minutes.

11/22/03

Some in Montreal not happy with F1 antics   This article in the Montreal Gazette and this article in the Toronto Star talk about the backlash of the government paying off the F1 teams because Canada banned tobacco advertising. - -  It is distasteful for the federal government to pay $6 million to Formula One racing to help keep the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, says a doctor adamantly opposed to smoking and drugs in sport. "I am a little bit taken back by that," Dr. Andrew Pipe, who is stepping down as chair of the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, said Thursday. "There is an enormous amount of wealth and money tied up in Formula One racing. The fact they need government subsidies to support their activities and have used their association with the tobacco industry to exert leverage over the government to come forward with that funding, I find that somewhat distasteful." The promoter of the Canadian Grand Prix announced earlier this week that the Montreal race, which had been in doubt because of federal anti-tobacco laws, is back on the racing schedule. Part of the agreement calls for the federal and provincial government to pay $6 million each over three years to compensate up to five teams being forced to race in Montreal without their tobacco sponsorships. Pipe, who is also head of Physicians for a Smoke Free Canada, is pleased Ottawa didn't bow to pressure to ease its tobacco advertising restrictions but criticized Formula One for using the Montreal race as a hostage. "The Formula One organization has not conducted itself well over the last several years as the inevitability of the removal of tobacco sponsorship has become evident," said Pipe, who is director of the prevention and rehabilitation centre at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. "They have been ruthless and that's disconcerting."

11/22/03

Tracy not worried about CART's future  In this Canadian Press article,  2003 CART champion Paul Tracy says he's not worried about CART's future.  "I don't really feel I'm in limbo," Tracy said during a recent visit to Homestead-Miami Speedway. "From everything I'm hearing from my boss, there's going to be a series.  "If it comes to it and doesn't happen, I don't think it will be too hard to find something."   OWRS offered $7.4 million US - about 56 cents a share - in August for all of CART's outstanding stock.

Meanwhile, CART has indicated it will run out of money by mid December and will have to cease operations unless the deal goes through. Putting up an optimistic front, the current CART leadership last week issued a 2004 schedule.  Tracy tried to ignore CART's burgeoning problems throughout the year, preferring to concentrate on his first season with Forsythe's team and the opportunity to finally cash in on the promise he has shown over the years.

Asked if he would be interested in racing in the all-oval Indy Racing League or NASCAR, which is also predominantly oval racing, if CART does not survive, Tracy shrugged.  "I want to continue in road racing because that's what I love to do," he said. "I'd have to take a look at what's going on and I'd certainly check out endurance racing, but I would be willing to talk to anybody who is interested in talking to me."

11/22/03
Formula 3

Korea Super Prix - Hamilton shines again   Click here for qualifying photos.  British ace Lewis Hamilton clinched pole position for the International Formula 3 Korea Super Prix with the fastest lap ever recorded around the Changwon Raceway.   The McLaren F1 protégé set a time of 1min 09.989secs to secure pole for Sunday's race. Brazilian Nelson Piquet Junior lines up alongside Hamilton on the front row, while Piquet's teammate Richard Antinucci starts third, just ahead of Robert Doornbos.

Hamilton believes that on Sunday he can convert pole position into his first victory, in only his third ever F3 start: "I think we have a very good chance of winning, we've been quick in practice and qualifying and I just need to stay calm and collected to come away with the win," he said.  "We put the new tires on and the car felt really good. I made a few changes in my driving style and the quick times just came. I don't have a lot of experience on street tracks," he added, "but my experience of Macau has really helped me this weekend."

Second on the grid overall was Richard Antinucci. The American lost his times from the morning session after his Dallara Renault was found to be underweight, however Antinucci set a time in the second qualifying session that puts him on the second row for Sunday's race. "This afternoon I was five kilograms overweight which proves that we've been genuinely quick all weekend," said Antinucci.

Third on the grid was Hitech Racing's Piquet Junior, "I've found it a difficult weekend so far, I've been struggling to get used to the track as the corners are very tight and the chicane is risky. Yet in qualifying, I cooled the tires down and then on my last lap I took a risk at the chicane and made up all my time there but I don't know if I could have gone faster than Lewis," said Piquet. "In Macau it was a lack of experience, I wanted to go fast straightaway and I shunted early on, but here I've kept off the wall and slowly built up my confidence," he explained.

The Korea Super Prix 2003 will take place tomorrow, over two legs of 25 laps each.

Group 1 qualifying times
1. Lewis Hamilton GBR Manor Motorsport Dallara F302 Honda-Mugen 1min 9.989secs
2. Richard Antinucci USA Hitech Racing Dallara F302/3 Renault-Sodemo +0.207secs
3. Robert Kubica POL Target Racing Dallara F302 Opel-Spiess +0.405secs
4. James Courtney AUS TOM's Dallara F302 Toyota-Tom's +0.457secs
5. Andrew Thompson GBR Hitech Racing Dallara F302/3 Renault-Sodemo +0.745secs
6. Paulo Montin ITA Three Bond Dallara F303 Nissan-Tomei +0.834secs
7. Nicolas Lapierre FRA Signature Plus Dallara F302 Renault-Sodemo 0.919secs
8. Pierre Kaffer GER Superfund TME Racing Dallara F303 Toyota-Tom's +0.872secs
9. Alvaro Parente POR Carlin Motorsport Dallara F302/3 Honda-Mugen +1.295secs
10. Rob Austin GBR Menu Motorsport Dallara F302/3 Opel-Spiess +1.450secs
11. Ernesto Viso VEN Promatecme Dallara F302 Honda-Mugen +1.677secs
12. Ronnie Quintarelli ITA JB Motorsport/Inging Dallara F302 Opel-Spiess +2.367secs
13. Gene Lee KOR Alan Docking Racing Dallara F302 Honda-Mugen +4.242secs
14. Jin Woo Hwang KOR Prema Powerteam Dallara F303 Opel-Spiess +4.435secs
15. Pedro Barral ESP Swiss Racing Team Dallara F302 Opel-Spiess +13mins 28.077secs
Group 2 qualifying times.
1. Nelson Piquet Jnr BRA Hitech Racing Dallara F302/3 Renault-Sodemo 1min 10.249secs
2. Robert Doornbos NL Menu Motorsport Dallara F302/3 Opel–Spiess +0.121secs
3. Tatsuya Kataoka JPN TOM's Dallara F302 Toyota-Tom's +0.183secs
4. Adam Carroll GBR Carlin M'sport Dallara F 302/3 Honda-Mugen +0.262ecs
5. Fabio Carbone BRA Signature Dallara F302 Renault-Sodemo +0.282secs
6. César Campanico POR Signature Plus Dallara F302 Renault-Sodemo +0.311secs
7. Danny Watts GBR Alan Docking Racing Dallara F302 Honda-Mugen +0.395secs
8. Nico Rosberg SF Carlin M'sport Dallara F302/3 Honda-Mugen +0.604secs
9. Katsuyuki Hiranaka JPN Prema Powerteam Dallara F303 Opel-Spiess +0.646secs
10. Hiroki Yoshimoto JPN Swiss Racing Team Dallara F302 Opel-Spiess +1.361secs
11. Naoki Yokomizo JPN JB Motorsport/Inging Dallara F302 Opel-Spiess +2.172secs
12. Fairuz Fauzy MAL Promatecme Dallara F302 Honda-Mugen +2.541secs
13. Marco Bonanomi ITA Target Racing Dallara F302 Opel-Spiess +2.568secs 

11/22/03

Williams will have to pay big $$ to get Webber   Frank Williams will have to pay a large compensation package if he wants to sign Mark Webber as replacement for Juan Pablo Montoya.   Webber has revealed his Jaguar bosses have spoken to Williams, who is searching for a new driver with Montoya moving to McLaren in 2005.   But Webber has a lucrative contract until the end of 2005 leaving Williams having to compensate Jaguar and the 27-year-old's manager, Renault boss Flavio Briatore.  "Frank would have to sign a very large check to get Mark," said an F1 source. "Frank would have to pay compensation to Jaguar and Flavio but 18 months later he could see Mark join Renault. I can't see him doing that but anything is possible in this sport."

11/21/03
Industry News

Wind Tunnel interviews   The LIVE Wind Tunnel is now on hiatus, but for the next 2 weeks we'll be putting together some 'best of' shows we're calling Wind Tunnel : The Interviews.
Monday 11-24 - Richard Petty / Steve Kinser
Tuesday 11-25 - Gil de Ferran / David Coulthard
Wednesday 11-26 - Jeff Gordon / Juan Pablo Montoya
Thursday 11-27 - Dale Earnhardt Jr. / Ricky Carmichael
Monday 12-01 - John Force / Paul Gentilozzi
Tuesday 12-02 - Tony Stewart / Brock Yates
Wednesday 12-03 - "Big Daddy" Don Garlits / Dan Gurney

11/21/03

BAR announces sponsorship deal   Lucky Strike B·A·R Honda announces today that it has signed the UK division of Haas Automation, an American machine tool manufacturer, as an official supplier to the team.

In its twentieth year of business, Haas is now the largest machine tool builder in the United States, and employs almost 1,000 people in its 820,000 square-foot facility in California, the most modern machine tool manufacturing operation in America. Haas manufactures four major product lines: vertical machining centers, horizontal machining centers, CNC lathes and rotary tables.

Haas Automation will supply B·A·R with two high-speed CNC machining centers, which will be operational in the team’s on-site machine shop.

Geoffrey Willis, B·A·R Technical Director, commented: “B·A·R’s partnership with Haas Automation means we will be increasing our on-site manufacturing capabilities by around 25 per cent. The extra machines will reduce our downtime and increase our rate of development, which in turn will lead to performance gain.”

Andrew Stevens, Managing Director of Haas Automation in the UK, said, “We are delighted to establish a partnership with B·A·R. The technically demanding and competitive environment of Formula One is a perfect arena for Haas Automation to demonstrate the high performance characteristics of their CNC machine tools - speed, accuracy and reliability are all requisite components of a high-quality machine tool, and each is used to the full in the machining of components for a Formula One car.”

The Haas Automation tag is already synonymous with racing in the USA. The company formed technical partnerships with a number of American motorsport teams from 1995 onwards, and in 2002 Haas CNC Racing was launched, with the announcement that it would compete in the Winston Cup Series. The Haas CNC Racing Team is based in its own 40,000 square-foot building in North Carolina.

11/21/03

2004 Indy 500 schedule announced  The 88th running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race will follow the event's traditional three-week format, with Opening Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway scheduled for Sunday, May 9, 2004, and nearly a month of pageantry and on-track action will culminate with Race Day on Sunday, May 30.
Sunday, May 9 Opening Day Practice
May 10-14 Practice
Saturday, May 15 Pole Day (MBNA Pole Qualifying, practice)
Sunday, May 16 Second-day qualifying
May 17-18 No track activity
May 19-22 Practice
Saturday, May 22 Freedom 100 race for the Menards Infiniti Pro Series
Sunday, May 23 Bump Day (Final day of qualifying)
May 24-25 No track activity
Wednesday, May 26 500 Festival Community Day
Thursday, May 27 Miller Lite Carb Day (Final practice,  Pit Stop Challenge, concert)
Friday, May 28 No track activity
Saturday, May 29 Public Drivers' Meeting, 500 Festival Parade
Sunday, May 30 88th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race

11/21/03
Industry News

Roger Penske Wind Tunnel quotes   Below are select quotes from Thursday's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on SPEED Channel. The legendary Roger Penske spoke with Dave about his 37 years as a race team owner and Team Penske's plans for the future.

Penske on future with Sam Hornish: "Sam is a champion -- he has certainly proved that on the track. I hope that our team can live up to giving him the equipment so that he can be an Indy 500 winner.

"There has been a lot of speculation about him going over to NASCAR. I will tell you, at this point, we have had a little bit of discussion about it, but there is no plan -- short term or long term. Our real plan today is to see him compete and win another (IRL) championship and of course put an Indy 500 win in his career package."

Penske on comparisons between Mark Donohue and Ryan Newman: "Mark Donohue was really special. When we went to Indianapolis, they kidded us about being the college guys with the crew hair cuts, but his technical approach proved a lot -- I think that he had the best car and that's why he won a lot of races.

"When I compare him to Ryan (Newman) and Matt Borland and the team they put together, I think you have seen a great communication capability. It takes that kind of communication between the crew chief and the engineer and the team. Donohue really started that. Mark led our team in that direction. We were able to hire people who wanted to have a technical package with a team and provide that expertise. Donohue was really the spark plug. If you don't understand the car, I don't think you're going to get in the winner's circle."

Penske on plans to return to F1: "No, not really, Eddie Jordan talked to me really about Gil (de Ferran) and the fact that he might be interested in Formula One, but that was the only comment and maybe that was the tie in (to rumors Penske was buying into Jordan Racing) but Gil obviously has not made that decision and will not be in Formula One ... we have no interest to go back at this point."

Penske on possibility of a third NASCAR Cup car: "There has been interest by our team to possibly look at a third car. Kodak has come back through and talked to four or five teams in Charlotte -- they came to our shop and we made a proposal. So, at this particular time, we have interest, we have engine capability with our Penske Jasper program ... to bring another young driver in might be a real opportunity for us for next year."

Penske on NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Brendan Gaughan: "Brendan is one of the young Dodge drivers and obviously with our relationship with Dodge with Rusty and Ryan, he could be a possibility. You have to decide, do you go with a young driver or do you go with a proven star that has been in NASCAR (WC). At this point, we don't have an official announcement to make. Rumors seem to be the thing of the day when you're in auto racing, but there is a lot of water that has to go across the dam before we can make any formal announcement, I can assure you that.

Penske on Toyota: "As far as our team is concerned, we have a relationship with them in the IRL, we have a long-term contract with Dodge (in NASCAR) and quite honestly I haven't had any discussion as far as a Winston Cup car with Toyota. I know they are going in the trucks -- we are not in the truck series -- but they are going to be a formidable competitor, a fair competitor and I hope to see them in because I think the more manufacturers coming in, with Pontiac dropping out, we don't want to see just one make out there running with all 43 cars the same. We have no plans because we have a long-term contract with Dodge and our drivers."

Penske on other manufactures coming to NASCAR: "I would think you're going to see not only Honda but other manufacturers because of the success of the sport -- it's a great place to showcase the technology and the performance, so let's hope four or five other manufacturers come in and make it a real race."

11/21/03

Lilly gets final FDA approval of Cialis  Eli Lilly today has received the approval letter for Cialis(R) from the Food and Drug Administration. We are told by our Lilly sources to expect to see print and media adds galore in the coming days/weeks.  Further information will be forthcoming. This opens the door for Cialis to be displayed on the Newman/Haas car(s) in the USA. They already had approval to display it in other countries and was on Sebastien Bourdais's car in Mexico City.

11/21/03

Bahrain GP Update   UPDATE Here is a page of photos of the construction.  11/20/03 - The Bahrain International Circuit at Sakhir, to the south of Bahrain's capital Manama, is beginning to look more and more like a Grand Prix circuit with every day that passes. With construction engineers working around the clock to complete the brand new circuit in time for next year's inaugural Grand Prix, there was time for celebration this week as machinery completed the first half of the all important track surface.

As the engineering team begin the 136-day countdown to the Grand Prix all eyes are on the track surface on which drivers such as World Champion Michael Schumacher, Juan Pablo Montoya, Rubens Barrichello, Kimi Raikkonen, David Coulthard, Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber will race for the coveted title of the first driver to win a Grand Prix in the Middle East.

The track laying activities are vitally important not only because the curing process is critical in terms of the final racing surface, but also because it is a milestone on the road to the circuit's completion. 04.04.04 will be a significant date in the Kingdom of Bahrain - traditionally, hosting a Grand Prix demonstrates a country's engineering, business and organizational prowess. Bahrainis are immensely proud of the Grand Prix and see it as the catalyst to promote awareness for Bahrain while endorsing the Kingdom's standing within the Gulf region.

The first layer of asphalt now covers over half of the new circuit and work is on schedule to have the complete circuit covered by early December. The construction team is laying an average of 650 tons of asphalt per day.

Overall some 12,000 tons of stone will be used in the track building exercise - four thousand tons of which comes from Wales and the remainder from Malaysia.

The second layer of asphalt will be laid when all the racing curbs and run-off areas have been completed in the middle of January and the final layer in early February.

As the work on laying the all-important racing surface continues apace, the engineering teams are continuing to weave a magical spell on the construction of the buildings and the landscaping of the area that will give the circuit its unique Arabic appeal.  Press Release

11/21/03

IRL teams test revised Homestead track  Several top IRL IndyCar Series teams tested Nov. 19-20 at the reconfigured Homestead-Miami Speedway outside Miami.  Drivers who participated in the test included: Dan Wheldon (Andretti Green Racing), Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing), Scott Sharp (Kelley Racing), Tomas Scheckter (Panther Racing), Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr. (Marlboro Team Penske).   After Dixon won the Toyota Indy 300 on March 2 at Homestead, construction crews began rebuilding the four turns, which had been banked at six degrees.   The track now has a variable banking system, and the degree of banking increases progressively from the bottom to the top of each turn. At the midpoint of each turn, there are 18 degrees of banking at the bottom, 19 degrees in the middle and 20 degrees at the top.

The track was repaved, and the SAFER Barrier, which debuted in 2002 at the 86th Indianapolis 500, was installed in the four turns.  Under development by the Indy Racing League and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Midwest Roadside Safety Facility since 1998, the SAFER Barrier was designed for multiple impacts by IRL IndyCar Series cars and stock cars during an event. NASCAR joined in the development of the project in September 2000.   Brian Barnhart, senior vice president of racing operations for the IRL, supervised the Homestead test.

“This test was conducted so we could evaluate the reconfigured Homestead-Miami Speedway, as it’s obviously a lot different from when we last raced there in March.” Barnhart said. “Our teams, drivers, manufacturers and league officials gathered valuable data to ensure that the IndyCar Series can put on the best race for the fans, as well as a competitive and safe environment for everyone.”  Barnhart said there would be more testing at HMS in December.

“With all the changes, this is basically a new facility for the IndyCar Series, even though we’ve raced here since 2001,” Barnhart said. “We want to ensure that our teams and drivers, as well as our engine suppliers, Chevrolet, Honda and Toyota, our chassis manufacturers, Dallara and Panoz G Force, and our official tire, Firestone, have all the data they need to ensure a good and safe show.”  The 2004 IRL IndyCar Series season begins with the Toyota Indy 300 on Feb. 29, 2004 at Homestead. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN.

11/21/03

Renault to unveil new car in Italy   The Mild Seven Renault F1 team has today revealed the launch date for their 2004 car. The Renault F1 R24 will be unveiled on Thursday, January 29th, in Palermo, Italy. Renault is the third team this week to confirm the launch date for their 2004 car, Sauber and Jaguar confirmed their launch dates earlier this week.

11/21/03
Industry News

Infineon Raceway repaving complete   Construction crews have just completed work on two critical areas of the road course designed to increase competitor safety at Infineon Raceway.  The hillsides at Turns 1 and 6 have been graded substantially, providing dramatically increased runoff for competitors. There is now more than 120 feet of runoff at Turn 1, and 80 feet of runoff at Turn 6. The newly shaved slopes have been hydro-seeded to aid in erosion control and stabilization.  The old, wooden bridges at Turns 1 and 6 have also been removed and will be replaced by bridges with a sturdy metal framework and ramps to provide easier fan access. The bridges should be erected by March.  The new Turn 1 bridge will be 70 feet longer and will be constructed approximately 100 feet closer to Turn 2. The new positioning will remove the bridge abutment from the runoff area. The Turn 6 bridge, meanwhile, will continue to overlook the Carousel, however its abutment will also be removed from the runoff area. Both redesigns will further enhance competitor safety.  This marks the second major off-season project at Infineon Raceway as the road course was repaved in August. As part of the repaving, more than 3,000 feet of French Edge Drains were installed to keep water from draining under the track surface - the raceway is just 15 feet above sea level. Curbing was also added at Turns 2, 6, 8 and 10. Portions of the road course that were repaved included Turns 1-3, 6-8 and 11. Turns 4-5, 9-10, 12 and the Chute were repaved prior to the 2003 season.

11/21/03

Petty movie update  Richard Petty's life and racing career will soon appear on the big screen. Whether the film showcases the North Carolina landscapes where "The King" became famous remains uncertain. The Randolph County Tourism Development Authority wants the state to develop a film incentive program that keeps the state competitive for this and future movie projects. That comes after officials in Georgia made a push to land the project about the NASCAR legend. Petty, who's from Randolph County, won seven Daytona 500 races and seven Winston Cup championships during his 35-year stock-car racing career. The film could have a $75 million budget and will be a joint venture between actor Dennis Quaid and Disney Studios. Filming is expected to begin between early 2004 and spring 2005. Producers said Georgia has offered a 10 percent savings on the $75 million budget if the film is made in and around Atlanta. That has government officials, including Gov. Mike Easley and state Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, scrambling to find a solution. Easley's office, the state Commerce Department and the North Carolina Film Office are talking with movie producers and studios about the project, but officials would not elaborate on possible incentives. Rebecca Clark, head of the Piedmont Triad Film Commission, said local officials believe the best option is to waive sales taxes on production costs. Local officials estimated Tuesday that the government would give up roughly $1 million in sales taxes to capture $18 million to $25 million for hotel operators, production assistants, construction workers, retail outlets, trades people and actors. An estimated 30 percent of a movie budget is spent in the area where filming takes place. In exchange, Warner Brothers promised to spend $12 million on the 12 episodes, hire 120 local people for production jobs and hire 300 locals as extras. WRAL/AP

11/21/03

2003 STARS OF TOMORROW SPEED CHANNEL DATES AND TIMES
Sunday November 23rd 4:00pm Eastern ICA from Sonoma
Monday November 24th 5:00pm Eastern ICA from Sonoma (replay)
Sunday November 30th 4:00pm Eastern ICC from Sonoma
Monday December 1st 5:00pm Eastern ICC from Sonoma (replay)
Sunday December 7th 4:00pm Eastern ICA & ICC from Moran Raceway
Monday December 8th 5:00pm Eastern ICA & ICC from Moran Raceway (replay)
Sunday December 28th 12:00pm Eastern 3 hours of re-cap, all shows back to back

11/21/03

F1 to follow CART into South Korea  2nd UPDATE A press statement released today stated:  "The Memorandum opens up the possibility of hosting a round of the FIA Formula One World Championship for the country which has played host to the Olympics and co-hosted the 2002 World Cup.  "A new facility will be constructed on a 327 acre site reclaimed from the sea at Jin Hae, ten minutes from the major city Busan, which boasts both an international airport and one of the region's largest container ports. "The project is a joint venture between private business concerns, and has the backing of both the Central Government and that of the local Gyeongnam Provincial Government. The development will be a comprehensive sports resort, comprising hotels and other facilities as well as the race track itself. It will benefit from the existing comprehensive infrastructure and close proximity to Busan, which has a population of 3.9 million.  "Plans are underway to continue the highly successful International Formula 3 Korea Super Prix, the year-end season closer which is now in its fifth year, up to 2009 when the country hopes to host its first F1 event.   "In addition, the new Sang Am street circuit will host a round of Champ Cars in October 2004.   "Domestic motorsport is also developing quickly in Korea, a major automobile manufacturer, with three circuits currently in use and two under construction. Over 40 domestic racing events, plus some regional race meetings, are on the calendar for 2004, and the Korean motorsport governing body the Korean Automobile Racing Association (KARA), is implementing a driver development program to bring youngsters in to the sport.  "The Taebeck and Everland Circuits are currently hosting events on a regular basis, while the Sang Am Stadium Circuit and You Joo Speedpark will be completed next year. Two rallies and various off-road events are also held in South Korea annually. "As well as Korean drivers, two of whom have competed this year in the inaugural Formula BMW Asia series, KARA is also actively developing its own motorsport officials and marshals. Several Korean youngsters have competed in Formula Renault this year at China's Zhuhai International Circuit."   10/22/03 - This Autosport article talks more about this race.  10/21/03 - As AR1 reported exclusively this past weekend, CART will be racing in Seoul, South Korea starting in October, 2004.  Now comes word (from Korea Times) that F1 will likely follow CART into South Korea five years later.  The South Kyongsang (spelled Gyeongsang on map to right) Province government has signed a memorandum of understanding with Formula One Management (FOM) for the hosting of the Korea Formula One Grand Prix World Championship in the town of Chinhae in October 2009. The Province Governor Kim Hyuk-kyu reached the deal with Bernie Ecclestone, FOM president, in London on Oct. 17. The contract for the hosting is planned to be completed in South Korea within six months.   South Kyongsang is on the opposite end of South Korea from Seoul where CART will race, so the two should not interfere with each other.  The town of Chinhae is just the the west of Pusan (spelled Busan on map to right).  Meanwhile, the 5th International Formula 3 Korea Super Prix will be held in Changwon, South Kyongsang (Gyeongsang) Province, from Nov. 18 to 23. of this year.

11/21/03
Formula 3000

BCN team will run 3 cars if needed   BCN Competicion has revealed that it would be prepared to field three entries if it meant that F3000 survived the 18-car minimum imposed on it by the governing body.  Team manager Jaime Pintanel confirmed that it would be prepared to run three cars next season if it helped achieve the 18-car grids required by the FIA.  "We can confirm our participation in the championship - something that we have already done with the FIA," he said.  "With respect to the announcement that there has to be a minimum of 18 cars on the grid so that the championship can go ahead in 2004, we are confident that that will be the case.   However, we are aware that there may be problems preventing the number being reached, but we can say that, in that case, we would be willing to field three cars in order to help reach the 18 required. For us, this alone would signify a few changes to our logistics, since we would need to make some changes to our transportation plans, but we would do it."

11/21/03
Formula 3

Korea Super Prix Practice times, Hamilton shines   In only his third Formula Three race, British youngster Lewis Hamilton set the pace during the opening day's practice session for the International Formula 3 Korea Super Prix. The Manor Motorsport ace lapped the Changwon Raceway in 1min 10.788secs, just 0.05 seconds faster than his closest rival James Courtney. Third quickest was Courtney's TOM's teammate Tatsuya Kataoka. "Changwon is not as narrow as Macau, so you can attack the track with a lot more confidence straightaway, but it's still a challenge over the bumps," stated Hamilton, who made his only mistake of practice at the chicane: "It was nothing major, but I did just clip the tire wall and slightly damaged the front of the car. We're quick today, but it's qualifying tomorrow which really counts."

James Courtney, who was leading the Macau Grand Prix before he retired with a puncture last weekend, was happy with second place after he spun in the morning. "It's been a good day and we've made a few slight changes to the set-up. My last lap was my quickest and I had traffic, so there's no doubt we can go faster tomorrow," said Courtney. "However it's been quite cold today and as the circuit is short, it takes a few laps to get everything up to temperature."

American Richard Antinucci, who set the fifth quickest time of the day for Hitech Racing. He was five places ahead of his Dallara Renault-Sodemo teammate Nelson Piquet Junior, who stayed clear of the wall during practice to record the tenth quickest time.

Last weekend's Macau Grand Prix winner Nicolas Lapierre was seventh quickest. Qualifying for the International Formula 3 Korea Super Prix will take place tomorrow (November 22), with the race, two legs of 25 laps each, being run on Sunday. Full second practice times for this Sunday's 5th International Korea Super Prix, held at Changwon.  Photos
Practice times - 1
1. Richard Antinucci USA Hitech Dallara F302/3 Renault-Sodemo 1min 11.416secs
2. Tatsuya Kataoka JPN TOM's Dallara F302 Toyota-Tom's +0.125secs
3. James Courtney AUS TOM's Dallara F302 Toyota-Tom's +0.343secs
4. Robert Doornbos NL Menu Dallara F302/3 Opel–Spiess +0.399secs
5. César Campanico POR Signature Dallara F302 Renault-Sodemo +0.535secs
6. Paulo Montin ITA Three Bond Dallara F303 Nissan-Tomei +0.608secs
7. Fabio Carbone BRA Signature Dallara F302 Renault-Sodemo +0.665secs
8. Lewis Hamilton GBR Manor Dallara F302 Honda-Mugen +0.698secs
9. Nicolas Lapierre FRA Signature Plus Dallara F302 Renault-Sodemo 0.895secs
10. Danny Watts GBR ADR Dallara F302 Honda-Mugen +0.962secs
11. Adam Carroll GBR Carlin Dallara F 302/3 Honda-Mugen +1.07secs
12. Pierre Kaffer GER Superfund TME Dallara F303 Toyota-Tom's +1.095secs
13. Robert Kubica POL Target Dallara F302 Opel-Spiess +1.159secs
14. Katsuyuki Hiranaka JPN Prema Dallara F303 Opel-Spiess +1.318secs
15. Hiroki Yoshimoto JPN SRT Dallara F302 Opel-Spiess +1.548secs
16. Nico Rosberg SF Carlin Dallara F302/3 Honda-Mugen +1.661secs
17. Nelson Piquet Jnr BRA Hitech Dallara F302/3 Renault-Sodemo +1.753secs
18. Andrew Thompson GBR Hitech Dallara F302/3 Renault-Sodemo +2.069secs
19. Naoki Yokomizo JPN JB Dallara F302 Opel-Spiess +2.238secs
20. Ronnie Quintarelli ITA JB Dallara F302 Opel-Spiess +2.301secs
21. Alvaro Parente POR Carlin Dallara F302/3 Honda-Mugen +2.377secs
22. Rob Austin GBR Menu Dallara F302/3 Opel-Spiess +2.868secs
23. Marco Bonanomi ITA Target Dallara F302 Opel-Spiess +3.469secs
24. Ernesto Viso VEN Promatecme Dallara F302 Honda-Mugen +3.933secs
25. Pedro Barral ESP SRT Dallara F302 Opel-Spiess +4.935secs
26. Jin Woo Hwang KOR Prema Dallara F303 Opel-Spiess +5.030secs
27. Fairuz Fauzy MAL Promatecme Dallara F302 Honda-Mugen +5.565secs
28. Gene Lee KOR ADR Dallara F302 Honda-Mugen +5.845secs
Practice times -2.
1. Lewis Hamilton GBR Manor Motorsport Dallara F302 Honda-Mugen 1min 10.788secs
2. James Courtney AUS TOM's Dallara F302 Toyota-Tom's +0.055secs
3. Tatsuya Kataoka JPN TOM's Dallara F302 Toyota-Tom's +0.384secs
4. Robert Doornbos NL Menu Motorsport Dallara F302/3 Opel–Spiess +0.385secs
5. Richard Antinucci USA Hitech Racing Dallara F302/3 Renault-Sodemo +0.394secs
6. César Campanico POR Signature Plus Dallara F302 Renault-Sodemo +0.458secs
7. Nicolas Lapierre FRA Signature Plus Dallara F302 Renault-Sodemo 0.579secs
8. Adam Carroll GBR Carlin Motorsport Dallara F 302/3 Honda-Mugen +0.701ecs
9. Robert Kubica POL Target Racing Dallara F302 Opel-Spiess +0.707secs
10. Nelson Piquet Jnr BRA Hitech Racing Dallara F302/3 Renault-Sodemo +0.745secs
11. Fabio Carbone BRA Signature Plus Dallara F302 Renault-Sodemo +0.866secs
12. Paulo Montin ITA Three Bond Racing Dallara F303 Nissan-Tomei +0.931secs
12. Andrew Thompson GBR Hitech Racing Dallara F302/3 Renault-Sodemo +1.055secs
14. Hiroki Yoshimoto JPN Swiss Racing Team Dallara F302 Opel-Spiess +1.277secs
15. Nico Rosberg SF Carlin Motorsport Dallara F302/3 Honda-Mugen +1.329secs
16. Katsuyuki Hiranaka JPN Prema Powerteam Dallara F303 Opel-Spiess +1.353secs
17. Pierre Kaffer GER Superfund TME Racing Dallara F303 Toyota-Tom's +1.403secs
18. Alvaro Parente POR Carlin Motorsport Dallara F302/3 Honda-Mugen +1.592secs
19. Ernesto Viso VEN Promatecme Dallara F302 Honda-Mugen +2.062secs
20. Naoki Yokomizo JPN JB Motorsport/Inging Dallara F302 Opel-Spiess +2.270secs
21. Ronnie Quintarelli ITA JB Motorsport/Inging Dallara F302 Opel-Spiess +2.498secs
22. Marco Bonanomi ITA Target Racing Dallara F302 Opel-Spiess +2.902secs
23. Rob Austin GBR Menu Motorsport Dallara F302/3 Opel-Spiess +2.920secs
24. Pedro Barral ESP Swiss Racing Team Dallara F302 Opel-Spiess +2.924secs
25. Fairuz Fauzy MAL Promatecme Dallara F302 Honda-Mugen +3.880secs
26. Jin Woo Hwang KOR Prema Powerteam Dallara F303 Opel-Spiess +4.980secs
27. Gene Lee KOR Alan Docking Racing Dallara F302 Honda-Mugen +7.280secs
28. Danny Watts GBR Alan Docking Racing Dallara F302 Honda-Mugen +11.974secs

11/21/03

Tent City to supplement lack of Bahrain hotels   A lack of hotels in Bahrain will force F1 folks to sleep in tents, luxury tents in a "Tent City."  "The main permission is from the Formula One body and they have given us their full support," said one of the men behind the idea, Rayan Kazerooni.

"They have even offered us a six-year license for the Tent City project," he told the Gulf Daily News, "which would allow us to do it alongside every Bahrain Grand Prix."  Although it's understood there are concerns regarding a lack of hotel rooms in the area, the 'camp' idea will allow visitors to experience traditional Arabic culture.  "We are talking about the history of Bahrain amalgamated with hi-tech Formula One racing," added Kazerooni. "It will create a flavor of past and present. We want visitors to live the Arabian experience."

Bahrain is thought to have just 7,000 hotel rooms, and with over 30,000 race tickets already sold you see the problem. "There is a problem with accommodation," admitted Kazerooni. "They are planning to house people in places such as Qatar.  But this is an inconvenience when you consider it will be several hours between people leaving their accommodation and arriving at the circuit in Bahrain."

The only advantage to staying in a tent?  You will be very close to the circuit.  Hotels are much further away.

"Gulf Air has requested 500 spaces," said Mr Kazerooni, referring to the event sponsor. "They plan to sell a plane ticket, race ticket and tent accommodation as part of a package.  But we plan to approach other airlines in the region to do something similar," he added. "Formula One management will give us a list of all agents they have sold race tickets to and we will offer it to them. We will then go to sport and travel agents in Europe. "It will be a 24 hour operation to get it going."

11/21/03

Latest F1 Hot News items  

Philosophy Change Keeps Renault On Track
Jaguar To Run New Car On Launch-Day
New McLaren 'Completely Different' To MP4-18
Alonso 'Most Promising' In Formula One
Track Surface Goes Down In Bahrain
Montoya Won't Take Secrets To McLaren
Wife Not Pressuring Schu To Quit F1
DC In 'Straight Fight' For McLaren Seat
Briscoe To Drive 'Third' Toyota In 2004
Button Linked With Williams Return
Dudot: 2003 Season Was 'Vintage F1'
Why So Early On Montoya/McLaren Switch?
Schu Spends Day At Home, On Go-Karts

  Much More...click on 2002 archives button below
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