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Speculation

A rumor rated as 'speculation' is one that has no supporting information

Strong

A rumor rated as 'strong' is one where we received information from more than one source.

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A rumor rated as 'false' is one that has proven to be false based on new information

These rumors are just that, RUMORS, and are not to be taken as 'fact' unless so noted.  Please visit our Hot News page for news.  If you have a rumor, or can supply more information about one listed here, e-mail us with as much supporting information as possible and we may post it. User Agreement and DisclaimerNewer rumors supercede older ones of the same topic.  Go to our forums to discuss any rumor. 

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1/31/03

FedEx to sponsor the IRL?  UPDATE AutoRacing1.com received this note from Roger Penske's office today - Although Penske Corporation has maintained a tremendous business-to-business relationship with FedEx over the years; Mr. Penske asked that we communicate directly with you relative to continued speculation that he is soliciting FedEx Corporation on behalf of the Indy Racing League. This rumor is simply not true, as discussions you are reporting have never taken place. We would appreciate you setting the record straight regarding this issue. Sincerely, Chris Schwartz Director of Marketing and Communications, Penske Racing 1/25/03 - In the middle of 2002 AR1 was told that Roger Penske was soliciting FedEx to sponsor the IRL, having a number of meetings at FedEx headquarters in Memphis, and according to discussion forums, he was spotted at FedEx.  We found it surprising that a team owner would solicit a sponsor on behalf of a racing series, so we didn't think much of it at the time and just dismissed them as rumors.  Of course Roger does own a lot of businesses -- and since FedEx is interested in business-to-business relationships, who better to sway FedEx away from CART and over to the IRL than Roger?   We never called FedEx to verify it, and FedEx CART told us that when they asked FedEx if they were moving to the IRL, they denied it.  AR1 spies have now learned that free tickets, courtesy of FedEx, are now being handed out to race fans to attend a variety of, you guessed it, IRL races.  The tickets include grandstand seating, free food and a paddock pass.  Why would FedEx be handing out free IRL tickets when no official announcement has been made that they are involved with the series in a official capacity?  Our spies tell us it is because FedEx is taking a very short sabbatical between dumping CART and announcing their sponsorship of the IRL.  All of this is speculation for now, but putting all the pieces together, all signs point that way.
1/31/03


VW eyes F1....now  UPDATE As we predicted, once F1 brought its costs way down, new engine manufacturers would join the series. The German giant Volkswagen thinks that the measures designed to reduce F1 costs are changes for the better. Bernd Pischetsrieder, the new president of the Volkswagen group, revealed to the newspaper Die Welt. “It would be great if we could get into F1 quickly,” he said while being interviewed. Bernd Pischetsrieder, former head of BMW, is the man who has decided that the Munich brand will make a return to F1. Audi has announced today that they are pulling out of the Le Mans program and the Volkswagen group are looking for a new challenge.  We here at AR1 know that additional manufacturers will take a hard look at F1 now, and CART would be wise to adopt identical engine specifications to F1 starting in 2005. (Related article).  12/1/02 - The biggest car show in Germany is starting today and that is where VW leaked that F1 might be in the cards for 2007 and Ford and Jaguar may be out of F1 long before then (see related article).  This TotalF1 article also talks about VW's possible entry into F1.  It says that it would not happen before 2007, if it happens at all.  VW's Bernd Pischetsrieder (pictured right) says manufacturers are spending $250 + million per year in F1 and only two have a chance to win right now.  The rest are losing week in and week out and it is making them out to be losers.  That's a lot of money to spend, and the fact that it tarnishes one's imagine to get annihilated by your competition, isn't sitting too well in many board rooms, including Ford and VW.  F1 will have to undergo serious cost reductions in the very near future......bank on it.
1/31/03

Roberto Gonzalez to drive for another CART team  2nd UPDATE As much as we try to keep these things under wraps, somehow they always leak.  TV Azteca in Mexico reports that Roberto Gonzales has signed to drive for Dale Coyne alongside Joel Camathias. That is what AR1 had heard as well.  This has not yet been confirmed by Dale Coyne, so we will leave this rumor as 'strong' for now. As we have seen with Rodolfo Lavín, a report by the Mexican media does not make it official. Where this leaves Alex Yoong is anyone's guess, perhaps in the IRL.  If the IRL goes after the Shanghai oval (being built as part of the F1 circuit) Tony George will snap up Yoong in a heartbeat.  We have updated our 2003 CART Silly Season Page.  This means CART will have five Mexican drivers in 2003.  1/31/03 - AR1 has been told Gonzalez probably won't end up with Fernández Racing (we guessed at that one), but we do know where now.  Stay tuned....  1/30/03 - The word is now out that Darren Manning will be announced in place of Roberto Gonzalez at Walker Racing today.  AutoRacing1.com has now learned that Gonzalez will almost certainly end up with another team, likely as their 2nd driver.  If we had to speculate (i.e. guess), Fernández Racing needs another Mexican driver to fill out its lineup.  Stay tuned.... Mark C.

1/31/03

Mario to become spokesperson  AutoRacing1.com spies have uncovered an interesting tidbit.  Mario Andretti will soon become an official spokesperson for a large USA car manufacturer.  While we don't want to spoil the announcement, it will be interesting to see what ramifications it has for CART and for the manufacturer.

1/31/03

Sylvania to light and sponsor NHIS 2nd UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact.'  OSRAM SYLVANIA, one of the world’s largest lighting companies, today announced a major agreement with the New Hampshire International Speedway (NHIS), New England’s largest sports facility. Terms of the five-year agreement call for the industry’s innovation leader to provide sponsorship for the September Winston Cup Series race at NHIS. The internationally celebrated event will be named the SYLVANIA 300. New Hampshire Governor Craig Benson joined Charlie Jerabek, president and CEO of OSRAM SYLVANIA, and Bob Bahre, chairman of NHIS, in making the announcement. As we understand it, Sylvania will light the track for free in exchange for free race naming rights.  1/27/03 - We are upgrading this rumor to 'strong.'  It appears that New Hampshire International Speedway may indeed have landed a sponsorship deal for at least one of the two NASCAR Winston Cup events for the future in exchange for free track lighting. Charlie Jerabek, president and CEO of OSRAM SYLVANIA, and Bob Bahre, President of NHIS, will be announcing the details of this momentous multi-year agreement between the world-wide lighting leader and New England’s largest sports facility next Thursday. 1/27/03 -   It is not out of the realm of possibility, especially with NHIS set to make a major announcement with Sylvania Thursday, reportedly on a multiyear agreement. The speculation is that Sylvania will come aboard as a major event sponsor, but with NASCAR looking to air more races on prime-time television, it would seem to make sense for NHIS officials to hammer out a quid pro quo deal with Sylvania to outfit the track with lights ... One of the track improvements Bahre expects to make this season is to resurface Turns 3 and 4, which have long been a source of frustration for drivers and track officials. ''We'll do it the first of April,'' said Bahre, who reported that the Loudon track was blanketed by about 2 feet of snow. ''We'll let it cure for about four months before the first race in July. It should be enough time.'' Last year, Bahre expanded the racing groove of his track and resurfaced it, but problems arose shortly after a Busch Series race in May when fissures were detected in the asphalt's aggregate, prompting NHIS officials to repave those turns. ''I don't think we gave it enough time to cure last year,'' Bahre said. ''We only had about six weeks. But this time we'll have four months, which should be enough time.  Boston Globe

1/31/03

Boat to Hemelgarn  According to the Indy Star, Officials at Hemelgarn Racing aren't talking publicly, but they are close to announcing their driver for the upcoming Indy Racing League season. For the first time in eight years, it probably won't be Buddy Lazier, winner of the 1996 Indianapolis 500, the 2000 IRL championship and a series-record eight races. Instead, all signs point to former Indy pole sitter Billy Boat, who has the financial backing of Curb Records, to keep Hemelgarn's Indianapolis-based team in the IndyCar series.

1/31/03

Why Senna crashed  In response to this article, there were many who believed that Michael Schumacher had an "Illegal Car", with "Traction Control" that was not legal in 1994 when Ayrton Senna crashed and died at Imola being chased close by Schumacher. At Brazil, Eddie Irvine had followed both of them and said that the rear ends of both cars were acting much differently.  Senna's had a lot of movement and Schumacher none.  At Aida,, after  Senna was taken out, he observed the Benetton's of  Lehto and Schumacher, and said they were not the same.  Many believed that Senna's frustrations had to do with the fact that Senna knew that Schumacher's car was illegal, and didn't say anything at the time. Steven Levinson

1/31/03

Papis to drive for Cheever in 500  AutoRacing1.com hears that Max Papis will drive for Eddie Cheever Racing in this years Indy 500. He also drove for him last year in the 500.  We also hear he may race fulltime in CART for Emerson Fittipaldi/Conquest Racing, though that is not definite yet because we also hear Tiago Monteiro still has a shot at that ride as well.  Mark C.

1/31/03

Dario back to CART?  UPDATE With Bourdais confirmed at Newman Haas, this rumor becomes 'false.'   1/30/03 - According to this Pitpass article, In the last few days Sebastien has been attending a three-day test at Laguna Seca ahead of the hoped for confirmation that he will line-up alongside Bruno Junqueira for the legendary team. However if what pitpass hears is correct, perhaps the Frenchman shouldn't take the drive for granted. We hear that serious overtures are being made to a certain Scottish driver, with a movie star wife, with a view to luring him away from IRL, despite the fact that he is due to drive for a team owned by a former McLaren driver and son of a World Champion.  We here at AR1 very much doubt this rumor.

1/31/03

Michael Shank eyes Champ Cars  We are hearing once again that CART Toyota Atlantic team owner Michael Shank is close to putting together an effort to run about 50% of the Champ Car races in 2003.  This rumor has been around for awhile, but now its heating up.  Stay tuned.... Mark C.

1/30/03

19 cars + for CART  AutoRacing1.com has learned that 19 cars are confirmed for CART plus two teams who will run a partial season.  The 19 full-time is now a minimum and that is likely to grow.  We only show 17 confirmed on our 2003 CART Silly Season Page.....for a reason  Mark C.

1/30/03

Walker Racing to announce two drivers  2nd UPDATE This rumor is updated to 'fact' today with the announcement of Lavín and Manning as the two drivers.  1/30/03 - According to AUTOSPORT magazine, Walker's deal with Mexican Roberto Gonzalez fell through last week and Darren Manning has the ride.  It will be interesting to hear today who the second driver is.  1/29/03 - Look for Walker Racing to announce two drivers Thursday.  Roberto Gonzalez was originally announced as a driver for Walker Racing in Mexico City in November. He even did a demo lap around the circuit in a Champ Car. However, we are told something has changed and to possibly expect two new drivers to be presented tomorrow.  We await the formal announcement by the team.  Will it be two new drivers, or Gonzalez and one other?  Recall also, that Rodolfo Lavín made statements to the media in Mexico that he was driving for Walker Racing in 2003 with backing from Corona Beer, but Walker Racing never confirmed that and we were asked to remove that story.....hmm.  Mark C.

1/30/03

Renault way down on power  Rumor has it that the new Renault V-10 has excessive vibrations which meant that the engine was not as reliable as they would have wished. However the problem now is that the engine is believed to be as much as 90-100bhp down on BMW's P83 engine. "The new engine is still lacking in power and we have been down on power for the last two seasons," His said, "but at the same time, we have managed to developed at the same pace as other engine manufacturers. "We have proved that our choice of wide vee is capable of improvements. Our challenge now is to improve the unit at a rate that is faster than our rivals."

1/30/03

BMW to renew with Williams  Rumor has it that BMW will announce that they have renewed with the Williams F1 team when they launch their new F1 contender on Friday.  The other option BMW considered was to pull out of F1 entirely. Now, it seems that the decision has been made to continue with Williams for another five years, though in future, technicians from its development center in Munich are expected to contribute to work on aerodynamics, chassis and transmission design. BMW are also rumored to be planning their own F1spec wind tunnel to assist the project.

1/30/03

Bernie wants Spa back on F1 schedule  Now it's becoming clear why CART did not race at Spa this year. Bernie Ecclestone has now said that he would like to see the Spa race make a return in 2004, although it would all depend on whether or not the Belgium government was willing to allow tobacco advertising at the race. Should Belgium be reinstated it could mean that either Shanghai or Bahrain's race is delayed: "The only thing we may have to do is put one back if we want to run in Spa," Ecclestone told Autosport. However this is unlikely, as Ecclestone has already signed a contract with both countries. The other option is that the teams visit 18 venues "...if I can convince the teams to have 18 races." Asked if he'd like to see a return to Spa Bernie answered, "Yes, there aren't many tracks like that any more."

1/30/03

Don't count out Villeneuve's eventual return to CART  UPDATE More food for thought - Patrick Lemarié, yesterday named as the first driver for PK Racing, is a close friend of Jacques Villeneuve, which means they could make good teammates should Jacques come back to CART in 2004.  1/29/03 - Although Jacques Villeneuve has stated he would never return to the USA to race, his manager, Craig Pollock tells a slightly different story.  In Autosport Magazine, Pollock says, "Jacques thinks CART is the form of racing he will potentially be doing in the future."  We here at AR1 see it this way - if Jacques shows very well in the new BAR Honda this year, and outshines his teammate Jensen Button, then perhaps he will land a ride with a McLaren or a Williams, the only other teams who may be able to meet his salary demands.  However, if the BAR Honda is again uncompetitive, we look for Jacques to throw his hands up in frustration with F1 and race for his friend and manager, Craig Pollock, in a series where he can win races again - CART.  Not that Jacques is washed up, far from it, but in F1, without one of the top 3 teams behind you, your chances of winning are slim and none. Mark C.

1/29/03

FIA to propose engine cost cutting measures  4th UPDATE This ITV-F1 article talks more about the F1 engine situation.  We think you will find it an interesting read.  It too mentions all the rebuilds F1 engine manufacturers currently do.  If indeed the FIA proposal of six races between engine rebuilds happens, costs will be significantly lower.  Even 3 races between rebuilds. After reading that article, you might want to go back and read the article CART, F1, why they must and will use the same V-10 engine platform.  It all starts to make sense.  1/16/03 - This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' based on yesterday's announcements. We saw it coming back in December, now it remain to be seen whether CART does indeed use identical F1 engines in 2005.  12/29/02 - Today, former F1 team owner Alain Prost was the latest in a long chorus from the F1 camp that costs must be cut drastically soon.  We don't hear anyone saying costs should not be cut, and things are fine just the way they are.  Again, we look for common, lower-cost V10 engines in CART and F1 in 2005.  BTW, an estimated $300 million can be saved in F1 each year if all the teams limited their testing to primarily Friday of race weekend.  Some teams have elected to do this, but because it is not mandatory, some have opted for status quo.    12/25/02 - To underscore what we have been saying regarding F1 costs, Nigel Roebuck writes in the latest issue of Autosport Magazine, "Let's face it, when you have got over 800 people on a team working to put two cars on the grid 17 times per year, well something has gone badly wrong with the sport, Hasn't it?  The costs have become terrifying.  Wind tunnels operating 24 hours per day, seven days per week, countless people working on software, all to make the car more efficient, and the spectacle worse!  And then there's the engines....Blocks thrown away after 240 miles -- they've got cracks in them because they are so thin.  They are designed to last just that distance.  Know how many engines the manufacturers are building per season?  Well over 300 per team.  Just imagine the cost of that.....In F1 the problem is that there are so many different interests, it is almost impossible to get consensus to cut costs."  12/24/02 - The Formula 1 team bosses go off on their Christmas breaks rather mystified by the FIA's call for a meeting on January 15th.  The aim of this meeting is to discuss how to cut costs in F1 immediately.   However to cut costs immediately is nearly impossible because designs for 2003 cars are already near complete.  The 1-engine rule per weekend was nixed.  We hear any near-term cost cutting will be minimal and it's hoped some teams can survive until 2005.  It's rumored that Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone will propose new engine rules for 2005 that will see a lot of high cost components stripped from F1 engines so the engines become 1) much more affordable to F1 teams, 2) affordable for CART teams, 3) affordable for new manufacturers.  After all, Chris Pook did not start proposing V10 engines for CART without already having worked out a plan with Bernie as to where he would get them.  As we have speculated on numerous occasions on these pages, the offer that will be made to the F1 engine manufacturers is this (our words) - "you help us by cutting costs in F1 by agreeing to sweeping 2005 rules changes, and we will make the engine rules in CART identical, so those of you who want to use those same engines in the lucrative NAFTA market can.  If we cut costs, companies like Audi and GM have said they would enter the sport and we need them to secure our future."  Will the engines ever be cheap enough to be affordable for CART teams?  Probably not, but the money saved by the manufacturers in F1 can now be shifted to the NAFTA market and CART teams.  In effect, for the same annual investment, and maybe even less, the manufactures get solid worldwide exposure around the entire globe instead of just half.
1/29/03

Players sponsor for Rocketsports too  UPDATE  Players is an official associate sponsor of the Rocketsports team.  Paul Gentilozzi said as much in the press conference the day he announced Tagliani. 1/29/03 - If you look at the photo to the right, you will see Players represented in two places for the Rocketsports team.  It's on the front wing and on Tagliani's helmet. Rumor has it that Players has to pay the final year on Tagliani's Players Forsythe contract, and in return are getting some ad space on the car and on his helmet as an Associate sponsor for the team. (Photo by Dan R. Boyd/USA LAT Photographic, courtesy of CART). Mark C.

1/29/03

Dick Simon CART entry   UPDATE This rumor was false and a mistake.  Dick Simon never applied to CART for entry as a team owner.  Dick Simon did state he loves racing with a passion, and he would be a spokesperson or fill another capacity if CART or IRL wanted or needed his services, similar to what Al Unser and Johnny Rutherford do for the IRL. 1/28/03 - From a usually reliable source - Dick Simon's application to CART to return to the series and take advantage of CART's subsidy program, was categorically denied.  CART is looking to help teams it feels will stay with CART long-term, i.e. they are willing to invest in their future with those teams that have a sound financial package and are deemed likely to stay with CART as it tries to rebuild.

1/28/03

No Friday TV coverage for CART  AutoRacing1.com has heard that CART Friday qualifying and CART Friday night shows will not be broadcast this year on SPEED TV.  Ratings were not high enough to justify them we are told. Mark C.

1/28/03

Three CART driver announcements coming  UPDATE We are upgrading this rumor to 'fact.'  The press conferences have been scheduled.  1/28/03 - AutoRacing1.com has it on good word that three more CART Champ Car driver announcements will be coming out in the next 72 hours.  Stay tuned.....  Mark C.

1/28/03

Players replacement?   UPDATE We spoke with a Players team rep yesterday and got a clarification on why the Canadian Maple Leaf was on the side of the car.  The team was shooting some video and still photography for promo material that will be distributed in countries where tobacco products can't be displayed, such as in Europe.  Hence why the "Players" name was removed from the car.  If current Canadian tobacco regulations stay as they are, as of October 1st of this year, Players will be gone from the car.  The team is hoping they can run the cars the remainder of the year with the livery as they ran at Laguna Seca, but that will depend on the interpretation of the law by the lawyers.  In December the Canadian tobacco industry lost their effort to get the Canadian Tobacco laws changed with respect to tobacco advertising in sports.  However, AR1 sources say they may appeal that ruling soon. If they lose, who will replace Players, which has supported Canadian drivers for so long, is anyone's guess.  The team is hoping someone like Molson, Labatts, Pizza Hut of Canada or Air Canada steps in.  After all, CART does have three very successful races in Canada.  1/26/03 - There has been a lot of speculation on what company will replace Players on the side of the Forsythe cars when the Canadian anti-tobacco advertising law kicks in this October.  At Laguna Seca this weekend, the team is not running the Players name on the side of the car, but instead a Canadian Maple Leaf logo (Photo by Bob Heathcote).  Hmm....could this be a hint of things to come?

1/28/03

Bourdais to live in Miami  Rumor has it that Sebastien Bourdais will rent a condo in Miami, Florida for as long as he runs in CART.  We also heard a rumor yesterday that is very speculative, but is worth mentioning.  Apparently with Bourdais who is French, and with rumors of CART sniffing around Paul Ricard, that Alain Prost is doing some homework on CART in addition to NASCAR.  It would make a lot of sense for Prost, who can't afford F1, at least not right now, to start an all-French team.  In fact, CART would be wise to foster a model by which teams from various countries, go head-to-head.   What if CART had 2 or 3 all-American teams (like Johansson's - both American drivers) going against a few Canadian (Players Forsythe, etc) Brazilian (Fittipaldi),  German (Grajewski, Leberle), British (Team St. George), French (Prost), Chinese (Yoong/Coyne), etc teams?  After all, racing is really a team sport.  This would create a real battle for supremacy among nations.  Patriotism would generate the fan interest in each country to help drive TV ratings.  Mark C.

1/27/03

Gidley to test 2nd Coyne car  UPDATE We forget to update this to 'fact' yesterday.  Memo took one lap in Coyne's 2nd car but gearbox problems ended his run after one lap.  1/25/03 - Word out at Laguna Seca is that Memo Gidley may get some seat time in Dale Coyne's second car on Sunday at the CART open test.

1/27/03

Nurburgring and Imola face the axe  Once again, rumors have risen out of Europe, that in the wake of Austria getting the axe, two more European GP's must fall to make room for the new races.  All indications are that the countries with two races will lose one - The European GP at the Nurburgring, and the San Moreno GP at Imola.  We have long maintained that CART would be well served at these two circuits, especially Imola given the Italian's love for motorsports and the interest they have in CART.  The bottom line - CART will have plenty of good opportunity in Europe, including Spa, Brands, Nurburgring, Imola, EuroSpeedway, Estoril, etc.  Mark C.
1/26/03

Ferrari Chief Engineer scopes out CART with Jensen  5th UPDATE Based on information received from Eric Jensen today we are keeping this rumor as strong, very strong...they will be in Champ Cars, but not immediately.  It was so late in the game, and Eric Jensen's business is growing and quite healthy, so he chose earlier this week to pass on the ChampCar Series until 2004.  Make no mistake, this team is the real deal, it was simply a straight-up business decision to wait until they had all their ducks in order before proceeding....The deal with CART was not done, and then there was an issue with a suitable driving candidate... Luca & Eric both prefer to run one car in Europe, and the two Atlantic cars for 2003... And perhaps later this summer they will try doing some ChampCar races... As it is, they will start testing a new Atlantic car in mid-February, and in early February they will buy a new racecar in Europe to be based there (more to follow on that later)... They have a lot of people (companies) getting involved with their team now; and with the engineering and technical talent that they are hiring, the team should be very competitive....So the long-term looks really good. Even thought their Champ Car program is temporarily on hold, they are doing a lot of cool commercial things in 2003... Such things as: 1) They will launch a Starwood Hotels racing site with weekend hotel & airfare packages to races (yes Starwood is their main sponsor right now), 2) Ford asked them to host their ChampCar VIP hospitality for their Team Ford Racing club members... especially to leverage Starwood Hotels, 3) Air Canada's president invited them to send e-mail offers for Starwood Racing packages to their 6 million club members, 4) They will continue their Bear Stearns Monaco programMark C.    1/14/03 - We have bumped this rumor up to 'strong' after just 1 hour of reinstating it to 'speculation.'  We hear it's not a matter of if, but when the team will be ready.  They are now scrambling to find the best driver they can in such short notice.  Stay tuned to AR1 has this Silly Season continues to heat up.  1/14/03 - We are bumping this rumor back up to 'speculation.'  Our sources spotted Eric Jensen at CART headquarters yesterday, which would indicate to us the two party's have reopened negotiations. We have added the team back on our 2003 CART Silly Season Page.   We have a hunch this team is going to indeed happen.  Stay tuned.....  1/9/03 - This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. Eric Jensen met with CART today and could not come to terms on a deal and have decided to opt out.  They will still run an Atlantic team and do something in Europe as well.  Ferrari Engineer Luca Baldisserri will remain with Ferrari until the season begins.  This is the team we said was on no ones screen and was close to being announced.  As it turns out, the team had a big sponsor signed on since December, but were not comfortable with all the terms in the CART subsidy program.   11/24/02 - As a follow-up on our report on October 5th, AutoRacing1.com, your #1 source for insider information, has learned that Toyota Atlantic team owner Eric Jensen (pictured top right) is hoping to team up with Luca Baldisserri (pictured bottom right) for a CART Champ Car team. Our sources say Jenson has been in contact with CART and they would allow his team to take advantage of the incentive money to step up his Atlantics team to Champ Cars. Right now he's still trying to put the whole financial package together, but we are assured that Luca wants to do it.  Jensen is not looking to drive Atlantics next year and is auditioning new drivers.  His main objective is to move the team and driver Eric Jensen (i.e. himself) into the CART ChampCar series full-time.  Luca will not be with Ferrari in 2003. He is doing some R&D for them now but is not officially part of the 2003 team. Luca is definitely interested in team ownership and his knowledge gained from being Ferrari Chief Race Engineer will certainly serve him well. It would also bring CART a connection, though unofficial, with the mighty Ferrari F1 team. And just suppose Bernie does buy into CART, and just suppose Ferrari decides to start a Ferrari Jr. team in CART as a training ground for their F1 team.....who do you think they would trust to head up that team?  Hmm...... 10/5/02 - We spotted Luca Baldisserri, Chief Race Engineer for Ferrari driver Michael Schumacher in Miami.  Recently at Monza, Baldisserri filled Ross Brawn's shoes, as Brawn was away from the race track with a back problem. So Baldisserri stepped up to the pit wall in order to fill in for the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Technical Director.  He hopes to do something in CART in the future.  The question immediately on our mind was whether that was a team for himself, or was he doing some reconnaissance for the Ferrari team in case they enter CART.  Might the Phoenix indeed be rising?

1/26/03

CART to land China TV deal  2nd UPDATE AR1 was the first to break this news back in December, and we found it copied without proper attribution by ChampCarNews.com recently.  However, if the rumors that Alex Yoong may not end up in CART (because of lack of money) turn out true, one can expect those ratings won't be nearly as high as if he does drive.  12/18/02 - In another AR1 exclusive, we have learned that Beijing TV will be broadcasting all of CART's races on delayed basis (entire race) from 2003 onwards. They are nationwide...second only to CCTV (the largest China TV broadcaster). Given China's huge population, this certainly is very good news for Alex Yoong and for CART and their efforts to race in Beijing in 2004 or 2005.  We will make this rumor 'fact' because CART will now have a good China TV package, but perhaps the Murdoch connection (the original part of this rumor) will also pan out at some point.  12/16/02 - With CART shooting for a race in Beijing in 2005, they need to get their races on TV in China immediately, starting in 2003, and using Chinese descendent Alex Yoong to his fullest.  Rumor has it that CART just (and we do mean just ) learned that their path in to China TV and radio is with their current TV partner, News Corp, that owns SPEED TV and FOX.  Our sources say CART is on the telephone as we type jumping all over this gift horse.  News Corp this week plans to announce a partnership with state-owned Hunan Radio, Film & Television Group, expanding its presence in the mainland's huge but highly restricted media market. Industry sources said the agreement would include joint production and the exchange of television programs. No financial terms were available. A formal announcement will be made on Thursday, the anniversary of News Corp's announcement last year that it would be allowed to broadcast its Putonghua entertainment channel Xing Kong Wei Shi, or Starry Sky Satellite TV, to cable subscribers in Guangdong province. Hunan Radio, Film & Television, seen as one of the mainland's most innovative media firms, is parent of Shenzhen-listed Hunan TV & Broadcast Intermediary. Media is one of the few areas China did not promise to open to overseas investment upon joining the World Trade Organization. Direct foreign and private investment in the media sector has been banned. However, Beijing has allowed a few of the world's biggest media companies, such as Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and AOL Time Warner, to set up offices. News Corp is one of about 30 companies that have applied for broadcasting rights in three-star hotels on the mainland. Other applicants include Phoenix Television, AOL Time Warner's China Entertainment Television Broadcast and Bloomberg TV.
1/25/03

Toyota close to deal with NASCAR, Honda not far behind   4th UPDATE The only thing stopping this rumor going to 'fact' is the official announcement.  According to this Autoweek article, while it’s years from an official announcement, Autoweek word (same word AR1 has had) that an agreement has been reached between Toyota and NASCAR for Toyota to race in Winston Cup in 2007. That’ll be three years after it starts in Craftsman Truck in 2004. Toyota engineers are working on the carbureted V8. It’s still on the computer at this point, but will soon come to three-dimensional form. One problem with the engine is casting it in iron. Most Toyota blocks are aluminum alloy, but engineers found a Toyota facility in Japan that still casts in iron. The Craftsman entry will feature a Tundra body and the Cup car will be a Camry, “whatever the Camry will look like then,” Toyota sources said. Of course it does not matter about the body anymore.  All NASCAR bodies are identical sans the decals and paint scheme.  1/23/03 - We are upgrading this rumor to 'strong.'  This Winston Salem Journal article says, The Toyota question is one of the hot ones on the table for NASCAR officials to consider. But George Pyne, the sport's senior vice president, is doing a nifty tap-dance around the issue of whether or not Toyota will have a NASCAR entry at Daytona next season. NASCAR executives are interested in getting Toyota into the sport, and they have had a number of talks over the past few years. The discussions intensified last spring, with NASCAR hoping that Toyota might have a truck ready for this year's SpeedWeeks. Now Toyota's time frame appears to be for a 2004 Truck debut, followed by a step up to Winston Cup in either 2006 or 2007. If Toyota wants to run on NASCAR's Truck tour next season, the Japanese car maker will have to first submit a Truck body for NASCAR to OK by July 1 and then submit a 358 V-8 by Sept. 1. NASCAR will go to a "common template" Truck next season, according to NASCAR sources, which would make the job easier for both Toyota and NASCAR. "We're excited," Pyne said yesterday. "I think Toyota is taking a long, hard look at NASCAR," Pyne said. "But I don't think any final decisions have been made. But I know they have been working diligently on looking at the Truck series. They've done a lot of due diligence in evaluating NASCAR as an opportunity. "We have had a number of conversations with them, on the racing side and on the business side. Our competition department has had conversations with them about the engine and about the (body) fabrication and aerodynamics." So would Pyne expect to see Toyota at Daytona next year?` "I think it's premature to make any definitive statements," Pyne said. "I don't think anything has been finalized. When it is, we'll be the first to tell you. "It's been an exploratory process on the part of Toyota, and an exploratory process on the part of NASCAR ... to make sure it works for everybody."  1/12/03 - According to this Ford Racing report, the new Toyota stock car development shops are located in a sprawling new campus in Patterson, Calif. Those in the southern California shops are busily working toward having a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series truck on the track in ’04 or ’05 and a Winston Cup car in possibly ’06 or ’07.   1/11/03 - There seems to be little objection from the NASCAR front office to an entry from foreign manufacturers Honda and Toyota. NASCAR CEO Bill France responded to a query about NASCAR's traditional all-American stance by saying, "They build Hondas in Ohio, don't they?"   12/24/02 - According to this Autoweek article, While it’s years from an official announcement, we have word that an agreement has been reached between Toyota and NASCAR for Toyota to race in Winston Cup in 2007. That’ll be three years after it starts in Craftsman Truck in 2004. Toyota engineers are working on the carbureted V8 (carburetors - 1920's technology). It’s still on the computer at this point, but will soon come to three-dimensional form. One problem with the engine is casting it in iron. Most Toyota blocks are aluminum alloy, but engineers found a Toyota facility in Japan that still casts in iron (Iron blocks - 1920's technology). The Craftsman entry will feature a Tundra body and the Cup car will be a Camry, “whatever the Camry will look like then,” Toyota sources said.  AR1 sources tell us Honda will be right behind Toyota with an entry into NASCAR.

1/25/03

CART back on Eurosport & Sky Sports   3rd UPDATE This year CART will be on Eurosport in Europe (click here for tentative Eurosport schedule) as we previously rumored exclusively a few weeks ago, but even better news is leaking out now - CART will be live on Sky Sports in the UK and live on Eurosport in the rest of Europe. The Brits had said they liked the great coverage on Sky last year and complained when we leaked the news about Eurosport.  CART is now finalized the details so fans throughout Europe have the best of both worlds. The rest of Europe gets free Eurosport, and the Brits get to pay a premium for Sky just like they wanted. Now watch them complain they have to pay when the rest of Europe is free......Sigh.  We also hear Sky will televise IRL races, though not sure if they will be live.  Mark C1/10/03 - In an interview with Chris Pook at the Autosport show in England, Chris Pook says  - Will live television coverage continue in Europe this year? That will continue. We have not announced our live European coverage yet and I believe that that is going to happen next week or the week after. We will be live on television in Europe and it will be on a channel that you can easily get to.  Can you say Eurosport?  This rumor is close to going to 'fact.'  1/5/03 - We are upgrading this rumor to 'strong' today (very strong), having obtained the data that at least 14 of the 20 2003 CART races will be shown live on Eurosport in 2003 (click here for tentative Eurosport schedule).  We tip our hat to CART for getting it done.  Once again CART's new administration has proven they listen to reason, coming on the heels of taking the kink out just before Turn 1 at St. Pete, also suggested here on AR1.  We await the official announcement from CART.  Note, some of the dates may change as races will be added when CART releases their final 2003 schedule.   1/5/03 - After being bombarded with reader emails, we panned CART for not being on Eurosport TV in Europe and we now hear someone may be listening.  Word has it that CART is talking to Eurosport, which is available in over 50 countries.  Let's hope it happens.  Staying on the TV rumors mill track, back on December 21st we reported that before Christmas the 300 staff working at Formula One Management's TV headquarters at Biggin Hill were given paid leave while Bernie worked out what to do with the television coverage in what will be a critical year for the sport. In 2002 viewers were given a glimpse of what was possible when Ecclestone provided his 'Super Channel' signal from the US Grand Prix. This depth of coverage will not be available next year when 70% of the F.O.M. TV staff expect to be made redundant.  As it turns out they were laid off, well almost all of them.  If you recall Bernie has decided to keep 30% of the people to help with the 'free' Super Channel Signal Bernie will now provide in 2003, possible through ITV-TV as the host broadcaster.   The details have yet to be worked out.  And what of the other 70% that were redundant?  It was rumored around the holidays that CART had laid off some staff, including some or all of their TV staff were also made redundant (no official word from CART yet).  On the heels of that comes word that CART or the producer may pick up some of Bernie's Digital TV staff in an effort to improve the CART TV package using the knowledge they gained from Bernie's digital TV program, which everyone agrees was excellent.  As HDTV catches on the the USA and TV becomes 100% digital at some point, these digital TV experienced people can soon put CART on the fast-track to even better TV coverage than we see today.  If you recall, CART experimented with Digital TV coverage this past year through HD Net, but the broadcasts were very limited.

1/25/03

Andretti-Green Racing to run 4 cars in the Indy 500  AR1 spies tell us that Andretti Green Racing is preparing to run four cars in this years Indy 500, for Andretti, Franchitti, Kanaan and Wheldon.  From what we hear, the IRL is a little concerned about car count for the Indy 500, so Andretti Green's four cars should help.  We hear Budweiser will be the primary sponsor on Andretti's car, with Motorola having a small presence.  7-11 will sponsor Franchitti and Kanaan we hear, though part of that deal may include some backdoor money from Kool (in exchange for in-store advertising of Kool product).
1/24/03

Players team to get ex-Penske Car numbers  UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to false...partially.   Tracy will run the #3 but Carpentier will not run the #2, so another team gets the other Penske number.  1/20/03 - The Penske team held on to their CART car numbers 2 and 3 last year even though they did not compete in CART.  After one year of inactivity, the CART rules say you must forfeit them.  Expect the Players team to run #2 (Carpentier) and #3 (Tracy) this year.
1/24/03

Pollock waits on Jordan, may sign Lemarie, Salo, Irvine   6th UPDATE You can drop Eddie Irvine from Pollock's possible driver list.  "CART doesn't interest me,” he said in the Sun. “I competed at Le Mans a few years back but, these days, there are too many drivers in the 24-hour event who don't know what they're doing. F1 is the pinnacle and, if there's no place for me there, I don't want to be involved with anything else." "Deciding to leave F1 was a hard call to make but at least now I'll really be able to let rip and do some of the things I've had to hold back on,” he told the Sun. “Now my decision is out in the open it's like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I feel I can breathe again. Throughout my time in the sport I've always had to stay away from anything which could injure me and prevent me from racing. I can now go for all the things I've been putting off. I am free to do whatever I want - and top of my list is getting to grips with snowboarding and tearing round on a Motocross bike."  1/23/03 - Back on January 5th we rumored that Craig Pollock's holdup on announcing his team and drivers was his wait to see whether Eddie Irvine signed for Jordan.  Pollock announced his team last week but no drivers.  Now that Eddie Irvine is out of the running at Jordan as of today, one has to wonder if he is still Pollock's first choice.  Rumors suggested Mika Salo and/or Patrick Lemarie were in line for the ride, but we also heard Pollock may be going to two cars very soon.  We await Pollock's announcement, and wait to see if Irvine, now faced with no ride anywhere, will come down off his high horse with regards to CART and sign with Pollock.  A 2-car Pollock team with Irvine and Salo would be quite potent.  1/15/03 - According to this Toronto Star article, it'll be Frenchman Patrick Lemarie, a friend of Villeneuve's and a former test driver for BAR in the PK Racing seat.  1/10/03 - According to this TSN article, Pollock may sign Patrick Lemarie, a friend of Jacques Villeneuve, to drive, hence why the announcement of the team will be in Montreal. Remember, AR1 was the first to rumor this Craig Pollock team when we spotted him in August at Road America.  It looks like it's going to happen finally. A press conference has been set for Jacques Villeneuve's Newtown restaurant, where a "major development" for the upcoming CART season will be unveiled.  Stay tuned.... 1/10/03 - Heard on Radio-Canada, that Craig Pollock and Chris Pook will be in Montreal next week to announce the new Craig Pollock team.   1/5/03 - Although Eddie Irvine stated in this BBC report back in August that he would not consider racing in the USA, AR1 can report that Irvine is in fact Pollock's #1 pick...if he can get him before the Jordan team does.  According to AutoRacing1.com sources, Irvine has had a slight change of tune since learning that Bernie Ecclestone is apparently orchestrating many of CART's moves behind the scenes....or so the rumors go.  We were holding back on revealing Irvine, but now the word has leaked at AlexYoong.com.....Irvine must decide soon.  1/5/02 - AutoRacing1.com has it on good word that the holdup on Craig Pollock announcing his CART team is the Jordan F1 team.  Why you ask?  Because the #1 driver Pollock wants for his CART team is also trying to land a ride in the 2nd Jordan F1 seat.  Eddie Irvine, Enrique Bernoldi, Felipe Massa and Jos Verstappen of late have all been hailed as potential candidates for the 2nd Jordan seat.  While we know which of the four drivers Pollock wants, we will not reveal the name as requested of us.  Once the remaining Minardi and Jordan seats are filled, there is going to be a mad scramble by those drivers not making it to F1 to get a CART ride.  Only they are likely to find out it's too late in CART as well.  Hence, we suspect Pollock will give his #1 choice an ultimatum soon and we will know who the driver is before long.  As per our rumor below on Pollock, he told CART he would field a 1-car effort, but our sources say he is buying enough equipment as if he were running a 2-car team.  We hear he may start out as a 1-car team and add the 2nd car part way through the season.

1/23/03

Fernández to drive in Indy 500  UPDATE We are downgrading this rumor to 'false' today.  With CART scheduling two races in Europe on May 5th and May 11th, Fernández would miss the entire first week of practice and the first weekend of qualifications at Indy. To make matters worse, if the rumored third European race materializes on May 18th, he would miss the 2nd weekend of qualifications as well.  Pook told us last year, right after being hammered so hard during the month of May at Indy with rumors that CART's coffin was being nailed shut, that CART would no longer leave gaps in its schedule for its drivers to compete in the 500, only to later see them jump ship to the IRL. True to his word, he has made it nearly impossible for a driver to do both CART and the Indy 500.  Teams and drivers have to decide if they want to be oval track racers with Indy 500 aspirations, or road racers with CART and F1 World Championship aspirations. It's really too bad it has to be this way, but as General Carl von Clausewitz, the 19th-century military theorist taught that "war is the continuation of politics by other means," and this CART/IRL "war" certainly has its casualties.......like every war does.  Mark C.  12/11/02 - AR1 has it on good word that Adrian Fernández will drive a 2nd team car alongside Roger Yasukawa in the 2003 Indy 500.  We wonder who the sponsors will be, but can't help to think it will be his Mexican CART sponsors - Tecate, Telmex, etc.  CART has lost many of its sponsors to the IRL and this could be the next step for more.
1/23/03

Minardi may switch to Bridgestone  According to Autosport Magazine, Minardi boss Paul Stoddart is thinking of switching from Michelin to Bridgestone, the tire manufacturer that won the 2002 World Championship. But for now Stoddart is remaining quiet about his tire choice. He said: "A deal is not done yet."
1/23/03

CART and Fittipaldi to reveal new Brazilian TV package 3rd UPDATE Remember you read it here first, your #1 source for the inside scoop.  This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  RedeTV!'s Press Secretary, Vera Jardim, confirmed to Brazilian website "Amigos da Velocidade" that the Brazilian network will broadcast the entire 2003 ChampCar season. All races will be shown live, with the exception of the Milwaukee and Cleveland night races (tape-delayed). The network has yet to hire a broadcast team - it had practically no sports shows whatsoever until now. Transmissions will be off-tube though, with the narrator and commentator staying in Brazil and perhaps one reporter traveling to each race.  We await CART's official announcement. Cassio Cortes   1/13/03 - RedeTV!´s marketing moves in its short existence have been notable for its boldness, plus, they'll probably show most races live, since they've got no hit weekend shows (only a 4 or 5 year-old network) like Record and SBT have, which made these two networks air most races tape-delayed.  So it's a win-win for CART and Brazilian race fans. 1/13/02 - In our continuing effort to bring you the best inside racing coverage, AutoRacing1.com has learned that CART races will be broadcast on over-the-air RedeTV! station (former TV Manchete) in Brazil this year.  Five major advertisers have been secured, one of them being Ford. We await the official announcement from CART and RedeTV!. 1/10/03  AutoRacing1.com has learned that Emerson Fittipaldi, who owns the rights to CART's TV broadcasts in Brazil,  has done a new deal in Brazil for live over-the-air network TV broadcasts of nearly all 2003 CART races.  The few that will not be live, will be shown same day.  We are also hearing that the IRL, who now has more Brazilian drivers than CART, may not be on over-the-air TV in Brazil in 2003, but we are trying to verify that.  Stay tuned.....Mark C.

1/23/03

Kerr also linked to Pollock ride  According to this weeks AUTOSPORT magasine Reigning British Formula 3 champion Robbie Kerr is in the frame for a seat at Craig Pollocks new squad. Kerr played down his chances for a champ car drive insisting negotiations were no further advanced than talks to move up to International F3000. Saying "at the moment I cant do anything unless I get some major backing."
1/23/03

Eddie Irvine's F1 career over, misses out on Jordan ride  We rumored this previously, not it's 'fact.'  He had the chance at a CART ride with Craig Pollock, but it appears his ego would not bring him to take the CART ride (Pollock has not announced his driver yet.  Might Eddie change his mind?).  Eddie Irvine has failed to land the final seat on the 2003 Formula One grid, negotiations with Jordan breaking down for financial reasons.  The news brings an end to nine years at the pinnacle of motorsports for the 37-year-old Ulsterman, after he was recently let go by Jaguar Racing and shirked in favor of a unnamed paying driver by Eddie Jordan.  Irvine admitted as the season drew to a close last year that Jordan was his last chance for a continued job at grands prix: 'It's a sad day,' he told British newspaper The Sun.  'I have decided not to drive in Formula One this year - or at least at the moment.'   Irvine debuted for Jordan in 1993 before launching four years at Scuderia Ferrari and his most recent stay at Milton Keynes, for the new Jaguar Racing project.  He continues: 'In July last year I made up my mind to drive for Jordan Grand Prix. I had very strong feelings about returning to the team which started my F1 career.'   But due to the economic downturn and loss of principal backer Deutsche Post World Net, 'Jordan are forced to look for a driver who brings extra funds to the team' and turned down his reduced salary demands.   Sources hint that Irvine had eventually offered to stoop a $15 million per year Jaguar salary to less than half that figure in order to accompany Giancarlo Fisichella at the EJ13 wheel this year.   Irvine said he could not bring money, but only 'speed, reliability and greater experience' to Jordan.   He said a year alongside rated Italian ace Giancarlo Fisichella, the only contracted Jordan driver, 'would have been fantastic. I would have been working with a driver I really respect.'   Born in Newtownards, Irvine has no hard feelings as Jordan are forced to close their Silverstone factory doors to the veteran racer. 'I have always had a lot of affection for Jordan as a team,' he said.   'They gave me my big break in 1993 and I thought I could end my career with them.'   One of his biggest regrets will be missing out on new rules for 2003, particularly the re-banning of traction control and shoot-out qualifying designed to spice up the action.   He said: 'It's a shame because I really would have enjoyed the rule changes, especially single-lap qualifying.   'It's a huge shame. I was really looking forward to driving for Jordan this season.'   Eddie Irvine looks back on a long career and singles out 1999, the year he nearly won the world championship for Ferrari after Michael Schumacher broke his leg, as his favorite season.   Irvine won four grands prix in Formula One - all in 1999.   'That really was a fantastic season and a very emotional one,' he adds of his title duel with Finland's Mika Hakkinen of McLaren. 'It was a real roller-coaster year which gave me so many thrills.  'I know I didn't win the championship but it was still great battling for it.'   Irvine refused to call the 'sad day' in his Grand Prix career a retirement: 'You never know what can happen,' he insisted.   The news leaves Olivier Panis, the 36-year-old Toyota driving Frenchman, as the oldest man in pitlane - although Michael Schumacher is more experienced.   Felipe Massa leaps into pole position for the second '03 driving seat.
1/22/03

Vasser locked in at Johansson  3rd UPDATE This AP story reports the same thing.  1/22/03 - Stefan Johansson will announce his drivers at 12:00 noon EST tomorrow.  Expect drivers (Vasser and Hunter-Reay) and sponsors to be announced. This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' and our 2003 CART Silly Season Page updated. 1/16/03 - AR1 has learned that Vasser will carry #12 and Hunter-Reay #31. Our 2003 CART Silly Season Page has been updated with this information.   1/15/03 -  This rumor will go to 'fact' very soon.  AutoRacing1.com spies have spotted American's Jimmy Vasser and Ryan Hunter-Reay in Indianapolis and our sources say they are both now contractually committed to Johansson Racing. Word is Stefan Johansson's American Spirit team is one of the best funded teams overall and Stefan has assembled a crackerjack team of the top American and British talent. Although Johansson is not American, the name of his team and the drivers both are, which leads us to believe the sponsors will be American companies.   If rumors are true Ed Nathman has been enlisted to rejoin one of his favorite drivers, Jimmy Vasser.  We also hear that Ryan's engineer... if rumors are to be believed... will be a major coup for the team. Johansson has a record of winning races his first year every time he has started a new team, and with the group he has assembled, he obviously intends to repeat that feat.  We have updated our 2003 CART Silly Season Page.  We await the official announcement.

1/22/03


IRL eyes Laguna, Mid-Ohio and The Glen  According to AutoRacing1.com sources, which corresponds with the CART rumor of dropping races, the IRL will race at Laguna Seca, Mid-Ohio and Watkins Glen in 2004, or soon thereafter.  Watkins Glen is owned by ISC, friends of the IRL, so that one is a no-brainer.  A lot of fans have emailed us asking if CART would really drop Mid-Ohio, Laguna Seca and Road America.  The attendance has been very light at both Laguna Seca and Mid-Ohio of late, so of the three races, we here at AR1 think CART is most likely willing to drop those two events in favor of a Houston or Washington DC street race (the rumored CART Chicago street race is simply replacing the oval race in Cicero so that's a wash).  However, we just can't see how they can justify dropping Road America, the Spa Francorchamps of the USA.  While passing is nearly impossible at Mid-Ohio (too narrow) and Laguna Seca (if not for the Zanardi pass on Herta years ago, we can't recall a pass in recent memory), such is not the case at Road America.  Laguna Seca is making wonderful upgrades to its pit/garage facilities, but they need to modify the track too so the CART or IRL drivers can race (see suggested revision to right - longer straights + hard braking = passing). CART will have a VERY hard time justifying to its fans why they should drop Road America in favor of yet another street race.  There comes a point of too many street races if CART wants to maintain some vestige of diversification.  In the end, we expect that CART will retain Portland and Road America as natural terrain road course events in the USA.  Add to that Mexico City, Montreal, Brands Hatch, Beijing, and Spa, Estoril or Paul Ricard and CART should have at least 7 or 8 natural terrain road courses each year.  Some people have asked if CART and Fontana will go their separate ways.  We think so, although the CART crowd at Fontana dwarfed the IRL crowd so perhaps that will remain on the schedule.  Both CART and ISC seemed pleased after last years event.  Mark C.

1/22/03

Rick Mast to make surprise appearance  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  Rick Mast did make an appearance and announced his retirement from racing.  See hot news page.  1/20/03 -  Inside AutoRacing1.com sources say that the media will be graced on Wednesday by a surprise guest. One day after a tour of NASCAR’s new Research and Development facility, where the health and safety of the driver is the primary focus, there is the distinct possibility the media will have a chance to talk to former driver Rick Mast. Mast left the circuit suddenly last year. That departure started a rumor mill that covered the gamut of possible reasons including aids and cancer. Mast, much to the dismay of the media, stayed quiet about his reasons for stepping aside as the driver of Junie Donalevy’s Fords. Word eventually leaked out that doctors had told Mast he was suffering from long-term exposure to carbon monoxide. Mast, according to sources, will speak to the media during an open interview session, and will be accompanied by Gary Nelson, Director of Competition at NASCAR.  Stan Creekmore
1/22/03

CART eyes Chicago, Houston and DC for 2004  We have rumored this months ago, but based on new information from AutoRacing1.com spies we can now tell you to look for CART to race on the streets of Chicago (with ALMS right smack down Lakeshore Drive by the lake and Grant Park - an ideal setting), in Washington DC (again with ALMS) and back in Houston on a revised and improved street layout, all in 2004. The track layout shown for Chicago (above right) was dug out of our Chicago archives from years ago and shows a proposed street course layout in the same area that appeared in a Chicago newspaper.  We wonder how close the new layout is to the one shown.  We also hear another major USA market is being eyed. In other words, CART is going where the masses of people are, and growing their "big event" concept, which is definitely positive for sponsors.  Let's just hope they don't agree to race on any more Mickey Mouse layouts like some existing street circuits are (i.e. no more parades). With the rumored European and Asian races coming onboard (see rumor below) something definitely has to give on the CART schedule. Venues with the weakest attendance, are likely to face the chopping block - Mid-Ohio, Road America, Laguna Seca, unless CART expands their schedule to 22 or more races.  If CART does drop these venues, we look for the IRL to pick them up starting in 2004, the year we hear the IRL may start road racing.  We have already stated our alarm at CART dropping Road America, but if F1 has the guts to drop Spa, we suppose CART may drop Road America.  Progress?  Let's just call it change and leave it at that.  Mark C.

1/22/03

CART has eye on two Asia , three European races  In the January 16th issue of Autosport Magazine, in an article written by Tim Scott, Chris Pook hints that CART will likely hold three races in Europe by 2004 and they are eyeing two races in Asia (by 2005)......to round out their Pacific Rim menu with Surfers, Australia.  The article says France (think Paul Ricard, owned by Bernie Ecclestone) is likely to join England and Germany. As for Asia, we here at AR1 know CART has a firm eye on Beijing China, and we would expect the other Asian race to be in South Korea or Japan, with South Korea likely to get the nod over Japan.  These six race (3 Europe and 3 Pacific Rim) will leave 14 races in North America for CART (2 Mexico, 3 Canada, 9 USA).  The current CART schedule shows 11 races in the USA, meaning two current events will be axed or CART will expand to a 22-race schedule.  Already rumored to be on the chopping block are Mid-Ohio and Road America.  Also in the article, Pook says CART will use a standard (i.e. CART issued) engine management system to ensure no driver aids like traction and launch control are used.  Max Mosley has hinted that F1 may go this route, with a standard F1 engine management system for the very same reason.  This of course is another example of where F1 and CART can work together to develop a common engine for both series.

1/22/03

NASCAR warns some tracks may lose date   According to this Indy Star News article, NASCAR put its track operators on notice Tuesday that it will be applying the laws of supply and demand when putting together the 2004 Winston Cup schedule. At a news conference at NASCAR's new research and development center north of Charlotte, a panel of series officials headed by president Mike Helton said they will become more proactive in matching lucrative race dates with racetracks. As they danced around what venues might be in jeopardy of losing a race, chairman Bill France Jr., who was not on the panel, stood in the audience and rattled off Atlanta, Charlotte, Darlington, S.C., and Rockingham, N.C., as candidates. NASCAR's stance is certain to add fuel to an already hot fire involving the two juggernauts of track ownership, Speedway Motorsports Inc. run by Bruton Smith and International Speedway Corp., run by the France family. A lawsuit has been filed in Texas over NASCAR not giving Smith's Texas Motor Speedway a second race. France's message was simple: If Smith wants a second race for Texas, he can move it from Atlanta or Charlotte, two of his tracks that have had trouble selling out their fall races.
1/22/03

Estoril may yet replace Chicago  UPDATE According to Portugal Autosport, Estoril motorsport director Marc Piedade (pictured right) is quoted as saying he is trying hard to land a CART race on May 18th (article is in print version out on newsstands today.  It is not on their website yet.).  We thought Estoril was out of the question for this year, but perhaps not. We were told last week by CART to expect some news about Chicago this week.  We expect Chicago to go away and the schedule reduced to 19-races, or to be replaced by Estoril as this report suggests, meaning CART will have 20 races in 2003 as originally announced.   12/6/02 - This rumor is getting close to 'fact.'  As we understand it, Brands Hatch and Estoril were both confirmed by Chris Pook this week on his visit to Europe. Although Spa appears likely to be the third race, there is still an outside chance that Spain will land a race.  If so, the question still remains, will it be Jerez or Valencia?  The three races will be either April 27, May 4 and May 11, or May 4, May 11, and May 18. Rumor has it that Pook may be orchestrating a deal whereby some current F1 drivers may drive the Spa race, restoring more luster to the famous track, diminished when it lost its F1 date next year over the tobacco rift.  That means the race must be either April 27th or May 11th, so there is no conflict with a F1 race.  11/16/02 - Chris Pook and a CART contingent will head to Europe the first week in December.  On the agenda is a meeting with Bernie Ecclestone as well as a meeting with several promoters to finalize where they might race in Europe in 2003 and beyond.  Rumor has it that they will be meeting with race track owner Octagon about moving the Rockingham race to Brands Hatch (we hear Rockingham looks very doubtful for 2003), they will be meeting with a German promoter about a street race in a city in West Germany (not Norisring), the Estoril promoter about the race in Estoril Portugal, Bernie about a possible race at Paul Ricard and the future of CART, and they may even make a trip to Italy for a possible race there.  It will be a busy week.   11/16/02 - We are hearing murmurs of a third European CART race as early as 2003.  Chris Pook has been talking about up to three European races, and we hear Chicago is very iffy for 2003 and may be replaced with a third European race in France, Italy or Germany.  With all the talk of new European drivers and teams coming into CART, a third European venue makes sense.  Right now the three races in question fall on April 27th, May 4th and May 18th.  If this rumor is true, might we see the three European races on three consecutive weekends - April 27, May 4, and May 11?  Of course May 11 is the opening weekend of Indy qualifying, so that would mean any CART teams who may want to also attempt to qualify at Indy won't be able to.   With the rumored all-German team coming, might the third race be in Germany? (Scenes from Estoril, below)

1/21/03

2005 CART engine to be same as F1  In this article, Mark Cipolloni laid out his reasons why CART must adopt the same engine as F1 in 2005.  In this CART.com interview, Mario Andretti gives the first hint that is what is being discussed by saying - "Chris Pook's plan is a good one--to adopt a slightly restricted version of Formula One's gasoline-burning 3.0-liter, naturally aspirated V-10 engines in 2005. CART should continue to encourage the same manufacturers that are involved in Formula One and other manufacturers to provide basically the same engine package for CART, but going with a mechanical valve system."  We here at AR1 think that pneumatic valves won't be needed in F1 engines if they must last 6 races long in 2006.  Revs will have to come way down in order for an engine to run 24 hours (6 races x 4 hours per event weekend).  At that point you don't need pneumatic valves, hence why the engines can and should be 100% identical.  Let the F1 cars be lighter so they are faster. i.e. let the F1 folks maintain their desire to be the fastest......but by all means keep the engines themselves 100% the same.  Read the article, then you decide.
1/21/03

Bourdais in line for 2nd Newman Haas seat?  5th UPDATE Bourdais had this to say to the European press regarding his career and that he is close to signing with Newman Haas - "I was happy with the tests carried out with Renault, except for a mistake. I knew I was able to put in some good performances, so therefore I gave the maximum. I hadn't driven a single-seater in three months at the time, and logically I was a little out of practice. However, feedback with the engineers went quite well, and I have a very good relationship with them. I am a bit disappointed that Renault preferred Frank Montagny, but it was their choice and I respect that. It is now necessary to look ahead, and to go on win races and championships, because that's what's most important: to always be in front on the international scene." "I hope I will be back in the F1 paddock one day, even if this year, the economic situation did not help much" (Indeed, after a very conclusive test with Arrows last summer, the French ace would more than likely have secured a drive with the Leafield based squad for 2003). I did what I had to do, namely to win races and the championship, but it is not always enough. We will see what the future will bring. All is going well with the Newman- Haas team, and I am close to signing a contract. I really enjoyed carrying out these tests for them, the car is very competitive and powerful even if it is very different from an F1 car. Actually, comparison is not really possible, but the role of the driver is certainly bigger than it is in F1, because there is no electronic assistance, and that is a very positive point". "All depends on Cristiano's adaptation capabilities, but it shouldn't be too hard. He has talent and that shone through in the CART series. He will get through it. The use of carbon brakes may be the most delicate aspect; I assume that this was what complicated Zanardi's task when he tried to return to F1. Apart from adapting to the car, the new qualifying rule in F1 will not be easy for him to apprehend. Knowledge of the tracks will be vital to get in the rhythm straight away and that will certainly be a handicap for Cristiano." "I have found nice, simple and honest people and have no apprehension at all about going to the USA, whether it is professionally or personally speaking. It would be a new adventure, in a championship that is one of the most competitive in the world. I would be very happy if I could race in CART with the Newman-Haas team, I would have the chance to show what I am capable of. To be in talks with one of the best teams in CART is a fantastic opportunity… but first it is necessary to see if we will sign a contract."   1/16/03 - This rumor is upgraded to 'near-fact' today.  According to a Lola press release, Bourdais is all but a done deal at Newman Haas.  We await the official announcement.  1/13/03 - This rumor is close to going to 'fact'.  Roberto Moreno said, "Bourdais is up to the job very quickly and I think he's one of those hot shoes."  According to Robin Miller, Bourdais really wants the ride and has endeared himself to the team.  The 23-year-old Frenchman showed up early at Sebring, Fla., last Wednesday morning and was helping the truck drivers set up the tents and pits when the crew arrived. When is the last time you heard a driver doing that?  1/10/03 - This rumor is close to going to 'fact'.  This Indy Star article says Newman-Haas will go with Sebastien Bourdais, the F3000 champ, as its second driver.  We await the announcement.  1/8/03 - After his recent test, Bourdais hinted at really wanting to do CART:  "I already liked the idea of CART but this test has intensified that - it's really an interesting car to drive."  We here are AR1 are close to bumping this rumor up to 'strong.'   1/6/03 -  No sooner did we post on our Hot News page that Newman Haas was testing Sebastien Bourdais again this week at Sebring, did the rumors begin to swirl that this was an indication he was close to landing the 2nd seat at Newman Haas alongside Bruno Junqueira......The assumption being, because only Bourdais is back to test and not the others, indicates he is the leading candidate.  If you recall, our sources at the last test had Bourdais at 51.4 sec, and Ricardo Zonta at 51.3 sec.  Fogarty turned a 52.0 sec. lap.....i.e. Bourdais was right there.

1/21/03

More NASCAR tracks to add lights   According to this ThatsRacin article, it is likely that NASCAR officials will address the likelihood that more tracks will be encouraged to add lights to their facilities to provide more flexibility in setting the starting times for races, particularly those in the season's second half. NASCAR is considering later starts to allow the finishes of some races to extend into the late afternoon and early evening hours in an effort to further boost television ratings.
1/21/03

Davidson scrambling to land CART ride  Although there is only one seat remaining in the upcoming 2003 F1 season and he is currently a strong candidate for the Jordan seat, British racer Anthony Davidson has admitted that he will join the CART series in America if he fails to clinch a deal with Jordan Grand Prix. “We were hunting for a seat in CART but the series is going through a little bit of a rocky patch at the moment and I didn't want to do IRL,” he said. “I'd really like to do CART and circuit racing is what I want. It's what I grew up on (road racing) and it would be a challenge, they (Champ Cars) are fun to drive.”   However, Davidson may have run out of time for a CART seat, as most are taken now.  Working for him is the fact that CART would like another Brit in the series.
1/20/03

Ron Dennis hated by other team owners?  The big story in Lucerne today, where Renault was launching its 2003 contender, is that the McLaren outfit could boycott the first round of the 2003 Championship in Melbourne. Renault boss Flavio Briatore was inconsolable on hearing the news: "I am delighted!" he laughed. "This is the best news of today!"  Ask Michael Andretti about Ron Dennis.....let's just say he has few friends and his attitude over the years, trying to push his weight around in F1, may be coming to an end......and of course he is not happy.....you bet he was shocked when he heard the new rules.  We here at AR1 are sure we have not heard the last of Ron Dennis yet.
1/19/03

FIA to hire laid off team engineers to catch cheats  Rumor has it that the FIA is prepared to hire some of the best engineers that get laid off from F1 teams.  As a result of the severe cutback in technology and drivers aids, they will soon be redundant.   However, rumor has it that the FIA will pick up some of these chaps to catch teams who try to cheat the new rules.  No better way to catch the cheats than to hire those who were the best at it.
1/18/03

FIA to pay reward for deep throats  According to a report in a British tabloid The Sun, the FIA will pay $1m to F1 insiders who tip it off about cheating following the recent in introduction of new regulations aimed at doing away with all hi-tech wizardry such as driver aids. Such devices were banned before but the sport's governing body found itself unable to police the complicated software systems. One or two teams were subsequently accused of 'cheating' and consequently, unable to prove otherwise, the FIA withdrew the ban. The reward is genuine and will be handed to any person who gives us details of a team running an illegal system," a source told The Sun.
1/18/03


Ecclestone on verge of buying Octagon Motorsports  2nd UPDATE We are downgrading this rumor to false.  In an interview with Autosport he said the talks were only relating to helping steer Octagon down a more positive path. ‘I'm not going to buy anything,’ he told the magazine. ‘I talked to them about whether there is a way the fee might be reduced. They've got to cut costs. ‘The biggest problem they have got is the rent to the BRDC (British Racing Drivers’ Club, which owns the Silverstone track).’  1/11/03 - We are upgrading this rumor to 'strong.'  Here is the link to the Financial Times article.  Note the reference to CART as North American F1.  Sounds to us like Bernie may have used that term when talking to the reporter. 1/10/03 - According to this Pitpass.com article, and based on reports in the Financial Times, It's understood that F1 Supremo Bernie Ecclestone is on the verge of purchasing the seriously troubled Octagon Motorsports, and along with it the long-term rights to host the British GP at Silverstone and CART race at Brands Hatch. According to reports Ecclestone would purchase Octagon Motorsports from Interpublic for a nominal sum, though neither Ecclestone nor Octagon are currently prepared to comment. The deal would give Ecclestone ownership of Brands Hatch, Snetterton, Cadwell Park, Oulton Park which all came under the Octagon Motorsports umbrella when it purchased Brands Hatch Leisure from Nicola Foulston several years ago in a deal worth £130m.  If this happens it bodes well for the future of F1 at Silverstone and CART at Brands Hatch.
1/18/03

Acer to move from Prost to Jaguar  According to Grandprix.com sources, the Taiwanese computer company Acer used to be involved as the sponsor of Alain Prost's Ferrari engine deal in 2001 but since the demise of the French team at the start of last year has been directly involved in the BAR Honda team since. That is about to change with their spies are telling them that Acer has done a deal to take over the space on the Jaguars previously dedicated to Becks Beer. The German brewery will remain as a Jaguar sponsor but with a much smaller presence on the car.
1/18/03


Max and Bernie have CART as their trump card  According to AR1 sources, the reason why (if the rumors can be believed) Bernie Ecclestone delayed his decision to take a partial or whole ownership position in CART is to see how the negotiations went with the GPWC.  They knew they were going to push through radical rules changes (announced this past week) and, if the GPWC either boycotts, or moves forward with their threats to start a breakaway F1 series, Bernie will move forward with his trump card - CART.   Bernie owns all the rights to all the races and to the title "Formula One".  In one swift move he can buy CART, declare CART now Formula One, use the CART (nee new F1) teams to run all the races and call it the World Driving Championship.  What about engines you ask?  There will always be someone to supply engines for F1, especially if the costs are reasonable.  We hear John Judd has a V10 read to plop in on a moments notice.  And, the FIA can declare that any driver who participates in a breakaway series will never be eligible for a Super License and can, therefore, never become World Driving Champion.    Therefore, what will the GPWC have?  A series with no official world championship status.  No drivers.  No venues. No Bernie TV deals, etc., etc.  In effect, they will have all their money, but not much else.  Do we expect it to come to this?  No.  But if it does, Bernie and Max hold all the trump cards at the end of the day.  The situation exists whereby the manufacturers and team owners are pushing their weight around (much like they did in CART) because they are paying the big bills and want to control the series.  We all know team owners or the manufacturers can't run a successful series as it will eventually die from in-fighting.  We here at AR1 feel that Max and Bernie put forth such radical changes as a negotiating position, knowing full well they are willing to give some of the more ridiculous ones back to come to a final agreement.  Mark C.
1/17/03

Montoya and Ralf at odds  According to this F1-Live article, Wednesday morning saw Ralf Schumacher complaining about a sore back. So much so that his doctor recommended he take the rest of the month off to get back in shape. He is expected to return in early February, at about the same time the BMW-Williams team will unveil their new FW25 contender. In Barcelona, rumor has it that Ralf's attitude is not quite appreciated in the Williams team, leading people to believe that Ralf is hiding something. We have managed to learn that in fact, Ralf and Montoya are butting heads about the design of the FW25. Each driver wants to have priority regarding the development of the new car, which Williams has said is not possible. Which could mean that Williams have in fact given Montoya the priority...
1/17/03

Driver aides could last until Imola  According to The Times  Max Mosley has said that he would listen to arguments and might allow the ban on driver aids to be delayed. However that delay will probably only be until the first European race, in San Marino on April 20. After that, though, Mosley wants to see a rapid move towards implementing the new rules. Speaking at a press conference at Madonna di Campiglio Jean Todt warned that Mosley's plan to curb the ever-spiraling costs could in fact have the opposite effect if he plans to push forward changes in a hurry. "Reading them in detail, one cannot say that the new rules constitute a revolution. They will have to be studied and applied in a gradual way, using common sense," said Todt. "One must consider that the entire world is going through its worst economic crisis since 1929. It is not just sport which therefore finds itself in a difficult situation. The new rules are put forward as a way of reducing costs, but one has to consider that cost reduction can in itself entail a cost and it will probably be difficult to adapt the cars to the new rules prior to the first Grand Prix in Australia." "One should not expect that launch control and traction control will disappear from the cars in Melbourne already. What is more likely is that, right from the start, we will lose bi-directional telemetry or the use of radios, even though this last rule causes some concern in terms of safety."  "We will have just one engine for qualifying and the race and work with it from 11h00 to 14h00 on Saturday, then the warm-up should not take place on Sunday, even if this is one thing that has yet to be decided," he continued. Todt is hopeful that today's meeting of the team's technical directors and Mosley will clarify a few other issues. "It is clear that one team might be in favor of one modification but not another, with another team adopting the opposite view. We will have to reach an agreement which suits all parties involved. The only thing that is certain is that a reduction of costs is in the best interests of everyone."
1/17/03


IRL car count not much better than CART's  According to this Indy Star article, it appears the IRL car count isn't all what it is made out to be, unless Tony George once again decides to reach in his pocket to fund teams....which we here at AR1 are betting he does in the 11th hour.   The commitment list compiled by The Indianapolis Star has 18 cars for the 2003 season, a list that likely will grow to 21 with the imminent confirmations of Sarah Fisher, Airton Dare and Buddy Lazier. While the figure could still rise to more than 30, for which series vice president Brian Barnhart has planned, it seems the IRL is destined for about 24, fewer than the 26 that started last year's season-opening race at Homestead, Fla. The IRL begins its eighth season March 2 at Homestead. "We've had 33 applications for the Leader's Circle (financial aid) program," Barnhart said. "But we won't know the contenders from the pretenders before the end of the month."  CART will have 20 to 22 cars, not bad for a series most thought was dead.

1/17/03

Will CART return to Road America after 2003?  In all of the recent CART releases, Chris Pook has talked about racing in urban markets—not in places 40 or 50 miles away from cities. Dave Kallman, of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel asked him about that comment when Pook was in Milwaukee to talk about running under the lights there. George Bruggenthies's statement to Dave Kallman yesterday and to Frank Rigas, of the Sheboygan Press today is: "Road America has a long history of bringing the premier disciplines in road racing here," said George Bruggenthies, president and general manager, "and we will continue to do that. We want to deliver the best product to our fans. "We anticipate a great race season in 2003, including CART," he continued. "Then, as with all businesses and contracts, we will talk about the coming years." Our current contract with CART runs from 1999 through 2003.

1/17/03

Davidson eyes Pollock's 2nd seat  Anthony Davidson is trying to land the 2nd Jordan seat, but his chances are very slim.  However, he told Reuters he would also be interested in driving for the new CART team that former BAR boss Craig Pollock announced in Canada on Wednesday.

1/17/03

More cars to be added to grid during season  We are told there is a very high probability that additional cars will be added to the CART grid during the season.  PK Racing's 2nd entry, Eric Jensen's team, Brand Motorsports, etc come to mind.  By the end of the season, there is talk of 22 to 24 cars on the grid. Mark C.

1/17/03

CART, IMG, City plan big fireworks display for Cleveland  UPDATE  The city's downtown fireworks display is scheduled for Friday, after CART qualifying, though hopefully commonsense will prevail and the fireworks will be moved to Saturday night as a grand finale to the race......just like the IRL and NASCAR does. Is it better to attract a bigger qualifying crowd or race crowd we ask? 1/16/03 - Today CART announced that Cleveland will be a night race on July 4th weekend (race actually July 5th).  AutoRacing1.com sources say a big fireworks display out over the lake is planned immediately following the race.  This is sure to draw a lot of people down to the track to witness the fireworks, and many are expected to buy tickets to the race as a result.  Cleveland is always very hot in July during the day, so moving this race to night makes all the sense in the world.  We expect attendance will build for this event, especially as the people in and around Cleveland come to expect the big fireworks display each year.  Mark C.

1/16/03

Minassian, Manning back to Champ Cars  Autosport Magazine is reporting that Nicolas Minassian and Darren Manning may drive for Brand Motorsports in the two European CART rounds this year.  However, we here at AR1 doubt CART will give them engines only to see them turn around and bolt to the IRL as they stated was their intention for 2004.  However, we have a suspicion they will change their mind and run full time in CART in 2004 once they see CART's turnaround is clearly in place.

1/16/03

CART courting Audi and Porsche  UPDATE Don't think talks with Porsche building a CART/F1 V-10 are serious?  Then read this Matt DeLorenzo article on Porsche's Carrera GT V-10.  As they say....a perfect fit.  1/16/03 - Autosport is reporting that CART president Chris Pook is courting German companies Audi and Porsche as part of his drive to attract automobile manufacturers back to the US-based series in 2004. He said that the race in Germany, which has been reinstated on the Champ Car schedule for this year, is key to luring the nation's automotive firms into his relaunched championship. Pook said: "If you're going to have them on board, you obviously need to race in Europe."  Audi has been waiting to enter F1 and CART once the engine rules made entry more economical.  Now that has happened, so expect VW to enter Audi and/or another of its brands in F1 and CART in 2005.  Porsche is a smaller company.  Now they too can afford to build a V10 for CART and F1.  Things are going to get very interesting over the next year or so.  CART will be announcing their new V10 engine rules within 6 months (so manufacturers can be ready for 2005), and we fully expect them to be inline with F1, sans a few VERY minor differences.  Mark C.

1/16/03

FIA to propose engine cost cutting measures  3rd UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' based on yesterday's announcements. We saw it coming back in December, now it remain to be seen whether CART does indeed use identical F1 engines in 2005.  12/29/02 - Today, former F1 team owner Alain Prost was the latest in a long chorus from the F1 camp that costs must be cut drastically soon.  We don't hear anyone saying costs should not be cut, and things are fine just the way they are.  Again, we look for common, lower-cost V10 engines in CART and F1 in 2005.  BTW, an estimated $300 million can be saved in F1 each year if all the teams limited their testing to primarily Friday of race weekend.  Some teams have elected to do this, but because it is not mandatory, some have opted for status quo.    12/25/02 - To underscore what we have been saying regarding F1 costs, Nigel Roebuck writes in the latest issue of Autosport Magazine, "Let's face it, when you have got over 800 people on a team working to put two cars on the grid 17 times per year, well something has gone badly wrong with the sport, Hasn't it?  The costs have become terrifying.  Wind tunnels operating 24 hours per day, seven days per week, countless people working on software, all to make the car more efficient, and the spectacle worse!  And then there's the engines....Blocks thrown away after 240 miles -- they've got cracks in them because they are so thin.  They are designed to last just that distance.  Know how many engines the manufacturers are building per season?  Well over 300 per team.  Just imagine the cost of that.....In F1 the problem is that there are so many different interests, it is almost impossible to get consensus to cut costs."  12/24/02 - The Formula 1 team bosses go off on their Christmas breaks rather mystified by the FIA's call for a meeting on January 15th.  The aim of this meeting is to discuss how to cut costs in F1 immediately.   However to cut costs immediately is nearly impossible because designs for 2003 cars are already near complete.  The 1-engine rule per weekend was nixed.  We hear any near-term cost cutting will be minimal and it's hoped some teams can survive until 2005.  It's rumored that Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone will propose new engine rules for 2005 that will see a lot of high cost components stripped from F1 engines so the engines become 1) much more affordable to F1 teams, 2) affordable for CART teams, 3) affordable for new manufacturers.  After all, Chris Pook did not start proposing V10 engines for CART without already having worked out a plan with Bernie as to where he would get them.  As we have speculated on numerous occasions on these pages, the offer that will be made to the F1 engine manufacturers is this (our words) - "you help us by cutting costs in F1 by agreeing to sweeping 2005 rules changes, and we will make the engine rules in CART identical, so those of you who want to use those same engines in the lucrative NAFTA market can.  If we cut costs, companies like Audi and GM have said they would enter the sport and we need them to secure our future."  Will the engines ever be cheap enough to be affordable for CART teams?  Probably not, but the money saved by the manufacturers in F1 can now be shifted to the NAFTA market and CART teams.  In effect, for the same annual investment, and maybe even less, the manufactures get solid worldwide exposure around the entire globe instead of just half.
1/16/03

Magnussen still eyes CART  UPDATE  Magnussen has announced that he will race for Team Goh in this years Le Mans as the lead driver on their Audi R8. The remaining drivers have yet to be selected. Other than intensive testing up to Le Mans there is no news on the
team participating in other races with their Audi R8. A Danish newspaper article states he, on top of the ride in Le Mans, is looking to either drive in Japans GT series also for Team Goh, but still has not given up on a ride in CART!  11/23/02 - Danish newspaper BT has run a story on Magnussen based on an interview regarding 2003: Magnussen is amongst quoted for: "CART still is first priority and Newman-Haas is still the best possibility". "IRL is also an option but it is less attractive with all the races run on ovals. When there is an accident on an oval it is a big crash..." Regarding Formula 1 Magnussen is quoted for: "There is interest from one of the established teams, but for test and reserve driver...I rather do CART or IRL than being a F1 test driver" Some people wonder if not CART would be better of bringing in Magnussen rather than running some of the European "no name drivers" currently being linked to CART just because they bring money to field a car. Magnussen is recognized by the American fans for his aggressive driving stile and has been based in the US for a number of years now. CART needs to put18 cars on the grid but that is only step one, there also has to be good racing with drivers recognized by the fans.
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