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35,000 show up to see Alonso test  Third and final day of testing for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, working again today alongside six other times at the Cheste circuit, near Valencia. In front of around 35,000 spectators, Fernando Alonso made his official debut at the wheel of a Ferrari Formula 1 car.

The Spanish driver worked mainly on finding the best set-up on the car and assessing its handling with various fuel loads. Fernando completed a total of 127 laps, the quickest in a time of 1.11.470, which was the best time overall at this test.

With the Valencia test ending today, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro will be back on track on 10th February at Jerez de la Frontera, with Fernando Alonso behind the wheel.

Hydraulic problem halts Schuey's test day  
Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher's running was cut short in Valencia on Wednesday when a hydraulics problem turned out to be Mercedes' first mechanical issue of the year. Nevertheless, the 7-time World Champion still managed the third quickest time of the day and notched up another 82 laps. With Michael having shared the cockpit of the MGP W01 with team-mate Nico Rosberg on Monday, the latter enjoyed his first full day of running on Tuesday before handing over to the former Ferrari driver.

With a best lap time of 1:12.438, German Schumacher finished just under a second down on Fernando Alonso's leading time as Mercedes completed a total of 1,134 kilometers (705 miles) over its first three days. However, the mechanical problem eventually endured that Schumacher missed out on the final hour.

"I'm very happy to have been back in a Formula 1 car this week," 'Schumi' summed up. "We had a short run on Monday and then almost a full day today, which has been good. The experience has been very positive and the car is running smoothly, with just a small hydraulic leak which stopped us slightly early today." The main focus is on reliability and doing as many laps as we can, so we're not too worried about looking at the lap times right now. It's a new challenge and a new experience for me this year but knowing Ross (Brawn, Team Principal) so well and working with him again has made it very easy and I feel at home in the team already.

"I'm feeling fresh and motivated and very positive about the season ahead. I can't wait to be back in the car to continue the program in Jerez next week."

LaHood says don't drive recalled Toyotas til fixed  UPDATE Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood now says he misspoke today when he told the owners of more than 2 million recalled vehicles to stop driving and bring them to a dealer -- a comment that sparked fears among owners and drove down the company's stock.

"My advice is if anybody owns one of these vehicles, stop driving it, and take it to a Toyota dealer," LaHood said Wednesday at a House hearing.

This afternoon, LaHood said he directed that statement to drivers who have experienced problems with sticky pedals -- a condition Toyota says is extremely rare.

"If you are in doubt, take it to a dealer," LaHood said. "What I said in (the House hearing) was obviously a misstatement."

02/03/10 Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is telling owners of recalled Toyotas to stop driving the vehicles and get them fixed.  LaHood's warning came Wednesday in testimony before a House Appropriations subcommittee on transportation. LaHood says his advice to owners is to "stop driving it. Take it to a Toyota dealer because they believe they have a fix for it." Toyota's most recent recall in the United States affects 2.3 million vehicles with the potential for sticking gas pedals.  LaHood told reporters earlier in the day that Toyota owners should contact their dealer immediately and "exercise caution until repairs can be made."

Strong day for Sauber despite crash  Following what a have been several turbulent months for the Sauber team, which saw previous owner BMW announce its Formula 1 exit back in July, the Hinwil outfit has enjoyed registering the second fastest time on all three days of Valencia's opening pre-season test, confirming itself 'best of the rest' behind the flying Ferrari.

With Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso having posted convincingly quick times for the red cars at the Ricardo Tormo circuit, Pedro de la Rosa was back in the Ferrari-engined Sauber C29 on Wednesday following a day of running for team-mate Kamui Kobayashi on Tuesday."After the roll-out on Monday, this was my second day of testing with the new car and I'm happy it was another positive one," the ex McLaren test driver commented. "We learned a lot about the setup of the car with these (narrower front) tires and also about the direction we have to go in with our work for the future."

It was not a trouble-free day for Pedro, though, as the only red flag of Wednesday was caused when the Sauber came together with the Williams of Nico Hülkenberg 25 minutes into the session, leaving de la Rosa to travel back to the pits via alternative means of transport.

"We are quite satisfied with the first test," Sauber Technical Director Willy Rampf added. "We did exactly 1001 kilometres (622 miles, 250 laps) in total. As well as being reliable, it was important to see that the car responded to changes in the way we expected. The drivers' comments on the car basically were in-line with that, which also helps the team to work in the right direction." GPUpdate.net

Formula Palmer Audi announces schedule  
Formula Palmer Audi

The 2010 Formula Palmer Audi Championship calendar has been announced and will feature 20 races at seven of the UK’s premier circuits, including Brands Hatch GP and Silverstone.

The championship will commence with a triple header race meeting on the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit before the season continues at Snetterton, Oulton Park and Donington Park respectively. The championship will then visit Rockingham on 28 August, having only previously visited the Northamptonshire circuit once before during the 2002 Autumn Trophy series.

The penultimate event of the 2010 campaign will take place on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit as FPA supports the British F3 and GT Championships, and the season will conclude at Silverstone on 16/17 October with a new-for-2010 four race title showdown.

FPA is providing young drivers with an opportunity to win the biggest prize in British motorsport in 2010, and entries are now open for the grid of 22 cars. This year’s champion will receive a remarkable £100,000 scholarship prize towards a drive in the 2011 FIA Formula Two Championship, and series organizer MotorSport Vision has further enhanced its prize offerings to include an F2 test for the top six finishers in this year’s FPA championship.

A full season in FPA, which includes a pre-season test day at Snetterton, race event hospitality and new onboard video camera technology to aid driver performance analysis, will cost just £59,500 + VAT.

2010 Formula Palmer Audi Championship calendar

8/9 May Brands Hatch (Indy) Rounds 1, 2 & 3
26/27 June Snetterton Rounds 4, 5, 6 & 7
24 July Oulton Park Rounds 8 & 9
14/15 August Donington Park Rounds 10, 11 & 12
28 August Rockingham Rounds 13 & 14
25/26 September Brands Hatch (GP) Rounds 15 & 16
16/17 October Silverstone (National) Rounds 17, 18, 19 & 20

The 2010 Formula Palmer Audi Championship costs £59,500 + VAT. For driver enquiries please contact James Gornall, Formula Palmer Audi Championship co-ordinator, on 01234 332439 or james.gornall@formulapalmeraudi.com.

Q&A with the "other" Nico  Williams have undergone some massive changes over the winter break. Not only will the British team race with Cosworth engines this year, but they have two new drivers for 2010. In Rubens Barrichello Frank Williams has chosen experience, while by signing youngster Nico Hulkenberg he is clearly looking to the future. Ahead of his first test in the FW32 on Wednesday, Hulkenberg reveals his hopes for the season…

Q: Nico, it was always assumed that you would race with Williams in 2010. But after two manufacturers pulled out of the sport and several experienced drivers came on the market, was it really so easy to get the contract signed?
Nico Hulkenberg: Well, I don’t know how sure it really was. You need to ask Frank (Williams). As far as I was concerned I did my job in GP2 as well as I could and tried to make the decision for Frank and the other people who decide as easy as possible. We never really talked about that, not with Frank or anybody else in the team. Sure I knew that suddenly there were a number of good drivers on the market, but nobody in the team ever gave me an indication that they were looking around. All I could do to make my switch to F1 possible was to do a good job in GP2 - and I did that. Look at Lewis Hamilton. He came into F1 and almost won the championship in his first year, so why favor experience over speed?

Q: What does it mean to you to have landed a Formula One drive, especially with such an established team as Williams?
NH: It is great. I have been working with Williams for two years now, even though last year there wasn’t a lot of testing due to the new regulations. I am really happy to be with this team. In fact it was my ultimate goal to get a race seat with them this season. It feels almost like a family. I feel comfortable here, I know all the people and get along well with everybody - at the track and back home at the factory. More ...

New IRL CEO has "zero" open wheel racing experience  Randy Bernard's open-wheel racing experience is, well . . .

"Zero," he said Tuesday. "I'm not going to pretend I have an amazing background."

But that doesn't worry the soon-to-be-former chief executive officer of Professional Bull Riders, Inc.

Nor was it in issue for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation, which on Tuesday announced the hiring of Bernard, 43, as the Indy Racing League's CEO, filling the spot vacated by Tony George.

Bernard, a married father of three, soon will move from his Colorado home to the Indy area, and take over the IRL on March 1.

"He's the hardest worker I've ever seen in my life," said Josie George, the IMS board member who first contacted Bernard after long following his career from a distance. "He never stops. He's the right guy for the job." More ...

Filippi and Rossi ready for GP2 challenge  Tuesday, February 02, 2010 - One more day of tuning at Yas Marina circuit before the second showing of the 2010 GP2 Asia Series cars with warm up for free practice followed by 30 minutes of qualifying at 8h30PM on Thursday 4th. The first race is the night feature race which starts at 6h00PM on the 5th followed by the night sprint race starting at 6PM on the 6th February. The Asian motorsport ambassadors 'MalaysiaQI-MeritusMaharaGP.com' represent a strong link between two worlds with similar cultures: the Asian world, as the Malaysia national team and the Arab world through the team's Saudi partner, Chairman Raad S. Abduljawad. The team is confident it can rank among the top teams with top driving talents in Luca Filippi (Italy) and Alexander Rossi (USA) who aim  to race fast to deliver the team's goals. The pair form a strong and explosive driver lineup for the Meritus-GP team at Yas Island

.In the first race of the season, support the Abu Dhabi GP (November 2009), Italian Luca Filippi finished second having lead a very strong race. He could have won if he did not encounter problems with the tire wear.  He scored the first eight points of the season for the team.

Peter Thompson, President and team founder commented, "MalaysiaQI-MeritusMaharaGP.com is really proud to be coming to Dhabi with a good track experience from race 1. The determination of Luca Filippi (Italy) is remarkable. The team will give the drivers every tool they need to fight for the championship. We are very focused and want to be on highest step of the podium for this event.

The circuit suits our cars and they should be reliable now that we have corrected the tire wear problems in the last event."

Luca Filippi added, "I am happy to be back in Abu Dhabi, one of my two favorite racing tracks.  It won't be an easy race but I like this circuit and its challenges. I will do my best to use my track knowledge to repeat my good results from the first event at Yas Island pushing hard to make to win. I would like very much to gain points in the championship before our next event in Bahrain. The team worked very hard over the winter in preparation for this event and I will look forward to give the team another podium finish."

Alexander Rossi comments: "I like Abu Dhabi and got a good result in my first outing there last November. It is a great track and I hope to bring in some  points  for my first race with MalaysiaQI-MeritusMaharaGP.com. The first sector is pretty fast and sector 3 under the hotel is like a street course with the wall very close like in a city race. I will try to make up times in the pit stops or in the slowest sections. What I really like with the team apart from the technology is the mental dynamic that merges the different cultures of the countries where we race. It is a new experience for me, one that I fully enjoy. Let's go racing now!"

The season begun on October 30-November 1, 2009 at the new jewel of motorsports built by a Malaysian corporation in Abu Dhabi. The Yas Marina Circuit inaugural event was the 2009 Etihad F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the Meritus-GP2 team with Italian driver Luca Filippi scored the team’s best result to date with a second place podium. The season will continue for the third round on February 25-27, 2010 at the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain with the last stop is planned for March 12-14, 2010 for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Yas Marina Circuit is 5.491 Km long track and is located on Yas Island. With the blue color it will be one of a kind, and is meant to have a number of impressive innovative features, including a five star hotel, the Yas Marina hotel. The track runs counter clockwise and features long straights leading into tight corners and a series of fast  corners that contribute to average lap speeds approaching 200kph giving the track a Monaco type of style.
Alonso tops final day of testing in Valencia  
Pos Driver Car Time Laps
1. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:11.470 127
2. Pedro De La Rosa BMW Sauber 1:12.094 80
3. Michael Schumacher MERCEDES GP PETRONAS 1:12.438 82
4. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:12.576 97
5. Jenson Button Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 1:12.951 82
6. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:13.097 75
7. Nico Hulkenberg Williams 1:13.669 126
racing news
Nick Craw named to receive RRDC award  Bobby Rahal, president of the Road Racing Drivers Club (RRDC), named FIA Senate President Nick Craw as the 2010 recipient of the prestigious Phil Hill Award at a dinner preceding the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

The Phil Hill Award has been presented annually since 1993 to the person who the RRDC feels has rendered outstanding service to road racing. The recipient may be a driver, entrant or outstanding member of a sanctioning body.

The award is named in honor of America’s first Formula One World Champion (in 1961), and is not only a tribute to his masterful accomplishments on the race track, it also recognizes his contributions as a great ambassador for the sport. Among his international wins is the 1964 Daytona 2000km race, precursor to the Rolex 24. Hill passed away in 2008. More ...

Roush team predicts who will win Super Bowl  Roush Racing drivers were asked to weigh in on what they think will happen in this weeks’ Super Bowl showdown between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints.

David Ragan, Driver No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion:
"Peyton Manning will lead the Colts to the win. He has played in the Super Bowl before and will be ready to go."

Greg Biffle, Driver No. 16 3M Ford Fusion:
"I'm going to be cheering for the Saints in this year's Super Bowl because they beat one of the best teams in the league (the Vikings) to get there and I think they deserve a world championship after that type of effort." More ...

Ecclestone pushing for 2010 Stefan GP team entry  (GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone is pushing for Stefan GP to receive an entry to race this season, and sees Ralf Schumacher as an ideal driver for the team.

Headed by the Serbian millionaire Zoran Stefanovic, Stefan has set up camp at the departed Toyota's Cologne factory, and is ready to race the 2010 Toyota chassis and engine.

Because Toyota has withdrawn from F1, both car and engine would be rebadged as 'Stefan', and 2008 and 2009 driver Kazuki Nakajima is lined up to take one of the race seats.

Plans to test later this month in Portugal are already in place, and equipment will be sent to the Bahrain season opener, despite Stefan not having an official team entry. More ...

Another woman to drive in ARCA race  Jill George is no stranger to competition and this weekend at the world center of stock car racing will be no exception. George will drive the James Hylton owned #48 Dodge in the ARCA Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200. She will add to a large list of female entries at the first race of the season for the ARCA competitors. ARCA has historically been a proving ground for young and upcoming talent both male and female in the stock car world. The 2010 kickoff will be no different with several female drivers on the entry list including, Danica Patrick’s debut onto the stock car scene.

George is an accomplished driver being the only woman competitor in the ASA Mid-West Tour World of Outlaws and Lucas Oil Dirt Series regular. In 2007 George was chosen as one of 24 drivers for the highly sought after NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program and has been under the tutelage of former NASCAR driver, Andy Hillenburg. She has trained at with Hillenburg at both Rockingham and Charlotte Speedways in preparation for the big stage of Daytona and Live SPEED TV coverage. More ...

NASCAR endorses COPD  The National Association for Stock Car Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) has partnered with DRIVE4COPD, a multi-year public health initiative to alert millions of Americans who may be at risk for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).  The partnership will focus on supporting the efforts of DRIVE4COPD to raise national awareness of this common disease. More ...
WRC seeks USA and Russia growth  World Rally Championship promoter North One is targeting the United States and Russia for the future development of the sport.

North One was appointed Championship promoter by the FIA late last year in a move to improve the overall World Rally product and extend its reach into new markets.

“I think the difficulties that the automotive, media and motorsport industries - in particular rallying - have gone through have brought everyone a lot closer together,” North One chairman Neil Duncanson told SportBusiness International yesterday at the WRC season launch in Paris. “Maybe there is a virtue in the problems we’ve had because it has made us wake up to the fact we need to come to an agreement to move the sport forward so it can become something bigger. More ...

Force India to reveal 2010 car next Tuesday  (GMM)  Force India will launch its 2010 car by posting details online next Tuesday.

The VJM03 will be revealed with the posting of video, photo and text information on the team's official website at 10am.

The next day, as the Jerez group test action begins at Jerez, the Silverstone based team's Mercedes powered car will make its track debut.

Q&A with Nico Hulkenberg  Williams have undergone some massive changes over the winter break. Not only will the British team race with Cosworth engines this year, but they have two new drivers for 2010. In Rubens Barrichello Frank Williams has chosen experience, while by signing youngster Nico Hulkenberg he is clearly looking to the future. Ahead of his first test in the FW32 on Wednesday, Hulkenberg reveals his hopes for the season…

Q: Nico, it was always assumed that you would race with Williams in 2010. But after two manufacturers pulled out of the sport and several experienced drivers came on the market, was it really so easy to get the contract signed?
Nico Hulkenberg:
Well, I don’t know how sure it really was. You need to ask Frank (Williams). As far as I was concerned I did my job in GP2 as well as I could and tried to make the decision for Frank and the other people who decide as easy as possible. We never really talked about that, not with Frank or anybody else in the team. Sure I knew that suddenly there were a number of good drivers on the market, but nobody in the team ever gave me an indication that they were looking around. All I could do to make my switch to F1 possible was to do a good job in GP2 - and I did that. Look at Lewis Hamilton. He came into F1 and almost won the championship in his first year, so why favor experience over speed? More ...
Q&A with IndyCar's new CEO Randy Bernard  THE MODERATOR: I'd like to introduce today's speakers. Joining us for the announcement are: Jeff Belskus, President and CEO of Indianapolis Motor Speedway; Brian Barnhart, the President of Competition and Racing Operations for the Indy Racing League; and finally, Randy Bernard, formerly CEO of the Professional Bull Riders. I'll turn things over to Jeff to get started.

JEFF BELSKUS: This is a big day for the IndyCar Series, for the IZOD IndyCar Series. We've had many good things happening today. We have a team in New York meeting with IZOD about our promotional plans. As I speak, Terry Angstadt and several of our Brazilian IZOD IndyCar Series drivers are meeting with Brazilian President Lula about our upcoming event on March 14th.

Earlier today, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing announced their sponsors and drivers for the 2010 season, and we're gathered here today to introduce our new CEO for the Indy Racing League, Randy Bernard. More ...

Alonso fastest in first hour  
Fernando Alonso kept Ferrari on top Wednesday morning in Valencia
Heavy lines of traffic marked the beginning of the final day of F1 testing at Valencia on Wednesday.

Estimates ranged from 30,000 to an incredible 50,000 spectators at the Ricardo Tormo circuit, with the majority streaming through the gates to see Fernando Alonso's Ferrari debut.

Even the Spaniard's drive exit from the garage into the pitlane at the wheel of the new F10 was complicated due to the masses of eager photographers, but after more than two hours of running he was comfortably heading the time sheets.

Sauber was again impressive with its C29, but Pedro de la Rosa also had an early glitch when he bumped wheels with Nico Hulkenberg, who was getting his first real taste of the new Williams. More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • More than 15,000 to flock to Valencia for Alonso debut
  • Williams doubts rivals exploiting low fuel in testing
  • Schu 'more precise' than 2009 drivers - Brawn
  • Schu has lunch with Ferrari at Valencia
  • Barrichello 'bitter' says Haug after Rosberg jibe
  • Ferrari doesn't 'own' color red - Niki Lauda
  • Schumacher not angry after Briatore jibes
  • No Friday sessions for Williams' tester Bottas

More than 15,000 to flock to Valencia for Alonso debut
(GMM)  Thousands of spectators on Wednesday will flock to Valencia's Ricardo Tormo circuit in Cheste.

The main attraction will be the local Spanish hero Fernando Alonso, who delighted the crowd of 15,000 on Tuesday by simply arriving in the paddock at 3.30pm.

On Wednesday, the 28-year-old will make his debut at the wheel of Ferrari's new formula one car, after his teammate Felipe Massa topped the time sheets on the opening two days of the test.

The Spanish sports daily Marca said an impressive 7,000 spectators were already in the grandstands for the opening test day (Monday), boosted no doubt by the presence of the returning Michael Schumacher.

Specialist F1 websites have also been recording impressive visitor figures and resultant server crashes this week, as the extended post-season period and test ban finally ended. More ...

RWR names Parrott  Officials of Rusty Wallace Racing (RWR) announced today that standout veteran crew chief, Brad Parrott, will lead Brendan Gaughan and RWR’s No. 62 team in the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Parrott, a winner of nearly 20 races in the Nationwide Series since 2002, brings a wealth of veteran knowledge to RWR, having served as crew chief for drivers such as Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Jeff Burton, Dale Jarrett, Juan Pablo Montoya and others. More ...

Vision realized  A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, Now that TG's "vision" has reached fruition, it's certainly appropriate that the IRL has hired a professional bull salesman. Dean from ME
Message to the Fans from the new IRL CEO  
Red Bull to launch in Jerez  2009 championship runner-up team Red Bull Racing has confirmed that it will be launching its new car, the RB6, to coincide with the start of Jerez testing next Wednesday. Drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will be joined by other key team personnel at the south-western Spanish venue.

With this week's 3-day test in Valencia coming to a close on Wednesday, Formula 1 will travel to Andalusia as Red Bull repeats the action of sister team Toro Rosso by launching its 2010 car before the start of a test session.

Vettel and Webber have not appeared in Valencia this week as Technical Director Adrian Newey has chosen to repeat the tactics of last year and focus more on wind tunnel development for the Renault-engined car. The decision to launch in Jerez is also an echo of last year's setup for the Milton Keynes-based team. GPUpdate.net

Q&A de la Rosa gets his break  After years of teams favoring youth over experience, mature drivers are back in fashion for 2010, as limits on testing boosts the value of the older generation. Forty one year-old Michael Schumacher is leading the way at Mercedes, while BMW Sauber have signed their very own ‘racing cougar’ in 38 year-old Pedro de la Rosa. Having served for seven years as McLaren’s reserve driver, De la Rosa can’t wait to get racing - especially now he’s enjoyed a positive first ride in the C29…

Q: Pedro, you haven’t been in a Formula One car for almost a year. Did it all come flooding back?
Pedro de la Rosa: Yeah, and it came sooner than I’d expected! During the first few laps I was a bit nervous thinking about how long it will take to feel right in the car, but in a surprisingly short time everything was back to normal. More ...

Visibility problems for Nico  After completing the initial set-up work with the MGP W01 yesterday morning, Nico had a productive day focusing on long runs which saw him cover a race distance mileage over the course of the day. Although still not entirely comfortable with his position in the car, Nico completed 119 laps today, setting a fastest lap time of 01:12.899.

Michael Schumacher will take over from Nico tomorrow for the third and final day of this week's test.

Nico Rosberg: "I'm very pleased with our first full day of testing and we were really able to get into the program and achieve some good work today. We successfully completed a race distance on the car's second day of running and I'm quite happy with how the car felt on the longer runs with heavy fuel. It felt like the same car, just a little bit slower, but the balance was good. We've still got some work to do on my position in the car as I dropped down by 1.5cm during the day which explains why the visibility got a little difficult towards the end but that's something we can fix before the next test. Overall it's been a positive start to our pre-season testing and I'm enjoying working with the team and feeling very comfortable here."

No of Laps: 119 laps
Best Lap Time: 01:12.899
Kilometers Covered: 482km
Track Length: 4.051km

Ambient Temperature: Maximum 13°C
Track Temperature: Maximum 19°C

Stefan GP plans to test in Portugal  Stefan GP, the Serbian outfit which hopes to be on this year's grid, has announced via a statement on its website that it will be testing its Formula 1 car in Portugal towards the end of the month.

Although all 13 slots are filled for the F1 grid this year, Stefan remains hopeful that at least one team will not be ready in time, leaving it to fill the breach; the squad based in Belgrade has already purchased Toyota F1 chassis, engines and gearboxes.

In a statement on the team website on Tuesday afternoon, it explains that the Stefan S-01 car will be on-track from Thursday 25 to Sunday 28 February with technical support from TMG (Toyota Motorsport GmbH) and the Stefan RG-01 engine.

Furthermore, the statement adds that a full driver-up is yet to be established but does note that the first holds two years' racing experience in F1, rekindling rumors surrounding ex Williams driver Kazuki Nakajima, who was closely association with Toyota. GPUpdate.net

Valencia Testing Day two report  VALENCIA TEST - DAY TWO

Date Tuesday 2 February
Track Circuito de la Comunidad Valenciana Ricardo Tormo
Driver Nico Rosberg

No of Laps 119 laps
Best Lap Time 01:12.899
Kilometers Covered 482km
Track Length 4.051km

Weather Fine
Ambient Temperature Maximum 13°C
Track Temperature Maximum 19°C

Nico Rosberg was back at the wheel of the MGP W01 car today for his first full day of testing for the MERCEDES GP PETRONAS team. Another fine and dry day in Valencia provided ideal winter testing conditions and enabled the team to successfully work through today's program. More ...

Bernard named new IRL CEO  Randy Bernard, longtime CEO of Professional Bull Riders, Inc., has been named CEO of the Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body of the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights.

His hiring was announced today by Jeffrey Belskus, president and CEO of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation, the home of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and owner of the Indy Racing League. Bernard will begin March 1.

"Randy is the right person at the right time to head the Indy Racing League," Belskus said. "He brings a superb sports marketing and promotion background, proven CEO skills, energy and enthusiasm at a time when the IZOD IndyCar Series is positioned for growth." More ...
Carlos Contreras gets Truck ride for Daytona  Carlos Contreras, who was the first Hispanic driver to run full time in one of the three NASCAR national touring series, will attempt to qualify for the season-opening Camping World Truck Series race next week at Daytona International Speedway, the team announced today.

Contreras will drive the No. 00 Chevrolet truck fielded by the new Daisy Ramirez Motorsports team. He will have to qualify on speed for the NextEra Energy 250.

track news
Kasey’s Korner Ticket Package for Infineon  Infineon Raceway has created the perfect ticket package for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Father’s Day, June 20.

Not only will you get two reserved-seat tickets for the big race, you’ll also get to attend an exclusive Q&A session with defending Sonoma champion, Kasey Kahne. You’ll receive both elements for one great price with the Kasey’s Korner ticket package, new for the 2010 race season.

Race fans can secure two tickets to the race on Sunday, June 20, in the Turn 9 Terraces, which have been dubbed Kasey’s Korner, plus access to the Q&A session with Kahne, driver of the familiar No. 9 Budweiser, this coming April for just $99. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Kasey Kahne Foundation. More ...

Red Bull to launch in Jerez next Wednesday  2009 championship runner-up team Red Bull Racing has confirmed that it will be launching its new car, the RB6, to coincide with the start of Jerez testing next Wednesday. Drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber will be joined by other key team personnel at the south-western Spanish venue.

With this week's 3-day test in Valencia coming to a close on Wednesday, Formula 1 will travel to Andalusia as Red Bull repeats the action of sister team Toro Rosso by launching its 2010 car before the start of a test session.

Vettel and Webber have not appeared in Valencia this week as Technical Director Adrian Newey has chosen to repeat the tactics of last year and focus more on wind tunnel development for the Renault-engined car. The decision to launch in Jerez is also an echo of last year's setup for the Milton Keynes-based team.

New McLaren is 'huge improvement' on 2009 car - Hamilton  (GMM)  Lewis Hamilton on Tuesday sounded positive after his first day at the wheel of the 2010 McLaren.

After Gary Paffett gave the MP4-25 its track debut at Valencia on Monday, 2008 world champion Hamilton had his turn on Tuesday and lapped much quicker.

The 25-year-old ended the day third quickest overall, remarking that the car felt like a "huge improvement" and "night and day" compared to the 2009 machine.

The Briton, to be replaced at the wheel for the final day by his new teammate Jenson Button, would not be drawn on the likely pecking order this year, but said McLaren's engineers had succeeded in ironing out the problems of 2009.

Meanwhile, Renault said Robert Kubica officially experienced "no problems" on Tuesday, but the Pole's day ended when the new R30 stopped on the pit straight.

Massa's Ferrari again fastest in F1 testing  
Felipe Massa again fastest
Another good day weather-wise in Valencia provided ideal winter testing conditions and enabled the teams to successfully work through today's program  Felipe Massa was again fastest on the second day of pre-season Formula 1 testing at Valencia in Spain on Tuesday.  The Brazilian, who had been quickest on the opening day of action on Monday, spent most of the day focusing on long runs.

His best effort of 1m11.722s seconds was set in the first hour of running.

Kamui Kobayashi, probably running light to get some headlines and land a sponsor, was 2nd with a time of 1m12.056s.

"It was definitely a good day," said Kobayashi. "We had no problems with the car and covered a lot of mileage. The car felt good. I enjoyed driving a lot and also working with the team.

"It was a difficult winter for everyone but they seem to have done a good job; I want to thank them for that. Now it is important to keep working hard for the remaining test opportunities." More ...

D&RR's UK connection  
Justin Wilson
Justin Wilson and Mike Conway will comprise Dreyer & Reinbold Racing's full-time IZOD IndyCar Series entries for the 2010 season, the team announced during a news conference at its race shop.

"We are excited to be able to put a deal together, for both Mike and Justin," team co-owner Dennis Reinbold said. "They are both really talented drivers and we believe that they will be great teammates. We made a number of productive changes over the off-season and as we continue to build our team we feel that we are making Dreyer & Reinbold Racing more and more competitive. More ...
Button says refueling ban may increase passing  One of the biggest changes to the rules for the 2010 season has been the removal of refueling during a Grand Prix. Fuel strategy has been one of the key aspects of Formula One racing in previous years however 2010 will see cars having to start with enough petrol on-board to finish the race.

McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button appear to have differing views when it comes to the refueling ban. Alonso has previously stated that he believes that without refueling strategy, races will be a foregone conclusion with drivers who fail to qualify in the top three spots left with little opportunity to win the race. More ...

F1 Hopes Bridgestone changes their mind  Today's announcement by the FIA that it intends to reduce the number of tyres at race weekends from 14 to 11 sets per driver points at attempts being made by the governing body to keep Bridgestone in the sport beyond this season. Last November Bridgestone confirmed it would not be renewing its tire supply contract when it ends in 2010, and with few other tire manufacturers coming forward to fill the void the FIA has been forced to re-examine all options.

The proposed reduction in dry-weather tyres for drivers in 2010 represents a considerable 14% reduction in Bridgestone's tire freight, which the Japanese company has to transport around the world 19 times a year. Under its agreement with the FIA, Bridgestone has to supply the tyres to the teams free of charge, with this year's increase from 10 to 13 teams making matters even worse for the Japanese supplier. The only branding Bridgestone is permitted under the supply agreement is to have its logos on the tire sidewalls, but the company increases its profile by agreeing individual sponsorship arrangements with all teams and many races. However, amid the global economic downturn, the bill being footed for its F1 program is become a bitter pill to swallow for the executives in Japan. More ...

Dale Coyne Racing Wishes Wilson and Z-Line Well  After a great two year relationship with Z-Line and the success of Justin Wilson in 2009, Dale Coyne Racing wishes them both success in 2010.

“I wish to personally thank Jim and Monica Sexton of Z-Line Designs for their support over the past two years,” commented team owner Dale Coyne.  “The new relationship and media aspect are great opportunities for Z-Line and their new partnership with Charter Communications and Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.” More ...

USF1 only car to use transverse gearbox  Formula 1's only North American team has opted to use a transverse gearbox in its Type 1 Grand Prix car. The transmission which is being built in house with the collaboration of local specialists EMCO, was selected for reasons of packaging and is unique in modern F1.
Alonso arrives at Valencia test  (GMM)  Fernando Alonso arrived at Spain's Ricardo Tormo circuit near the port city of Valencia on Tuesday afternoon.

After Felipe Massa's two days at the wheel of the new Ferrari, Spaniard Alonso, 28, is scheduled to take over for the final day of the test on Wednesday.

The double world champion, having switched to the famous Italian team from Renault, was spotted in conversation with fellow team members in the Ferrari garage.

After achieving the quickest time on Monday, Alonso's teammate Massa maintained his strong form throughout Tuesday, Ferrari remarking that he was "extremely satisfied with the car's setup and the tires' grip".

Brawn team favorite for Team of the Year award  Three of the United States most legendary teams and an unheralded newcomer are among the hot favorites to be nominated for the 2010 Laureus World Team of the Year Award. It was records all round as Los Angeles Lakers, New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Steelers won their sport’s major championships in 2009, while the Brawn Formula One team astonished the motor sport world by winning the Formula One constructors’ and drivers’ world championships in its debut season.

The Laureus World Sports Awards, which recognize sporting achievement during the period January 1, 2009 - December 31, 2009, are recognized as the premier honors on the international sporting calendar. More ...

Williams doubts diffuser controversy to re-fire  (GMM)  Sam Michael has played down fears the double diffuser legality controversy could be set to re-fire.

Despite the FIA agreeing to ban the controversial rear aerodynamic innovation for 2011, 2010-spec cars have been launched with extreme double diffuser incarnations to race this season.

At the launch of the new Ferrari last week, technical director Aldo Costa said he thought at least one team was "on the limit" of legality with its 2010 diffuser solution.

A day later, McLaren engineering director Paddy Lowe said he thought the FIA's directives about the rule following the saga of 2009 had been "very clear". More ...

Doctor says Schu's neck no longer injured  (GMM)  Michael Schumacher's doctor on Tuesday gave the seven time world champion's neck a clean bill of health.

After the German completed 40 laps in the new Mercedes W01 on Monday, Dr Johannes Peil at Valencia would not confirm whether Schumacher's high profile injury of last summer was now in the past.

Reports referred to "secret" evening tests on Schumacher's neck, and when asked about the injury Peil replied: "I'm superstitious, so we wait and see."

Schumacher sat out Tuesday's running in deference to Nico Rosberg, and was photographed riding a road bicycle out of the paddock.

Dr Peil told the German news agency DPA: "He is now in the normal cycle and can train to the normal extent."

He added on Tuesday that the winner of a record 91 grands prix is "back to normal" following his motorcycle testing crash early last year, and "can now concentrate on driving again".

Summit Point to host endurance race  USERA and Summit Point Motorsports Park will host a special 6 Hour night time endurance race at Summit Point on July 9-10, 2010.  The event, called the Midnight Moonshine Run, will begin at 6pm Saturday and end at Midnight.  Classes will include most club racing Improved Touring and Showroom Stock cars, Spec Racer Ford and USERA’s American Touring Car Championship cars.

The race weekend will consist of evening and night practice on Friday evening, with the grid formation for the race starting at 5:30pm Saturday afternoon for a 6pm race start.  This makes for a mostly night time endurance event, with plenty of excitement as the event draws on the history of moonshine runners from the area as inspiration for some interesting twists to a traditional endurance racing event. More ...
Danica helps ARCA  The Danica Patrick effect has reached ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America) to the tune of seven million dollars worth of publicity.

ARCA, is primarily mid-West based stock car series utilizing former Sprint Cup cars driven by aspiring young drivers or aging veterans. And it’s been used as a springboard for transitioning open wheel drivers such as Juan Pablo Montoya, Dario Franchitti, and Scott Speed.

Since Patrick has signed to run the Nationwide series for JR Motorsports using the ARCA series as a first training ground media outlets, worldwide, have been covering each development. More ...

track news
ISC profit declines 95%  According to a report in the Orlando Business Journal this past Friday, International Speedway Corporation – the parent of NASCAR - totaled $6.8 million in profit during the 2009 fiscal year that ended November 30. That total was down a staggering 95 percent compared to the $134.6 million in profit ISC posted in 2008.

That’s right – 95 percent.

Despite the financial free fall, ISC was still expected to pay a stock dividend. Of course, NASCAR’s typical response was that everything was rosy and that the sky wasn’t falling.

"We are excited about the upcoming 2010 motorsports season, despite the economic issues we still face which had a definite effect on our revenue last year," ISC Chief Executive Officer Lesa France Kennedy was quoted as saying in the OBJ story. "We are optimistic that the economic recovery underway will continue to strengthen and we will begin to see positive changes in consumer and corporate spending. Benefiting our company is the fact that we remain in excellent financial shape highlighted by significant contracted revenue from media income and a solid balance sheet.”

That balance sheet showed that ISC is in fact in ‘excellent financial shape’ as France Kennedy indicated as ISC tilted for $693.2 million in revenue in 2009 (down from $787.3 million in 2008).

Massa in black still quick on Tuesday  (GMM)  Wearing a prototype black carbon helmet for manufacturer Schuberth, Felipe Massa on Tuesday continued to impress at the wheel of Ferrari's 2010 car.

As the Valencia test entered its second day in chilly conditions, the Brazilian led his chasers into the 1m11s and was "extremely satisfied with the car's set up and the tires' grip", according to the famous Italian team.

Again impressive was Sauber's new C29, this time in the hands of Japanese rookie Kamui Kobayashi, while Lewis Hamilton was a full second ahead of test driver Gary Paffet's Monday time in the McLaren MP4-25. More ...

Barrichello reveals 2010 McLaren talks  (GMM)  Rubens Barrichello has revealed he held talks with McLaren before signing with Williams for 2010.

The Woking based team ultimately signed the Brazilian's 2009 Brawn teammate and reigning world champion Jenson Button to partner Lewis Hamilton this season.

But Barrichello, 37, finished last year's standings in third place, having outpaced Button with identical machinery in the second half of the year.

"They (McLaren) called me a couple of times in November at the Brazilian race, to see if I was available," said Barrichello in Valencia, where on Tuesday he continued to test Williams' new FW32 car.

He said he is sure he was not McLaren's only alternative to Button.

"If they called me, I'm sure they called him (Button) at the same time.  I'm sure they were questioning as soon as (Kimi) Raikkonen dropped out of the case, and I'm sure they went on to ask more people, not just us," he added.

Stefan GP ships F1 equipment to Bahrain  (GMM)  Stefan GP has shipped a 40 foot container of equipment to Bahrain.

In the hope of ultimately receiving an official entry to race in 2010, the Serbian team said the move proves "how serious (we) are when they say that we are pushing to ... race" this season.

Bahrain will host the opening race of the 2010 season in mid March.

Stefan GP said last week that it has reached an agreement with former Cologne based F1 entrant Toyota to "receive technical supports" in 2010.

A deal to take over Toyota's 2010 car, complete with engine and gearbox, had already been reached.  It is rumored that Stefan GP is first in line should any of F1's confirmed 13 teams fail to make it to the grid.

"Anyway we are proud of us, and on our power of will, so we will keep going and show some new people belong in F1," a media statement added.

FOTA F1 fan survey  (GMM)  With the backing of Formula One Management and the teams association FOTA, a new global fan survey was launched on Tuesday.

To be found at lgf1racingfansurvey.com, title sponsored by F1's electronics partner LG and also the F1 Racing magazine, the survey is designed to "help shape the future" of the sport.

"The survey we conducted last year enabled us to learn some very useful and interesting things, (and) we are now looking at canvassing an even broader range of opinion holders in order to bring in a far more detailed series of responses," FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh said recently.

"It's an ongoing project, and we still have more work to do before releasing any findings," he added.  Take the survey here

Force India completes driver line-up  
Paul de Resta
Today the Force India Formula One Team and principal sponsors, Whyte & Mackay, confirmed that Paul di Resta will be the team's test and reserve driver for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship. The news was announced at a press conference held at Whyte & Mackay's Glasgow headquarters in Paul's native Scotland.

Twenty-three year old Paul, from West Lothian, impressed in his three day test in Jerez, Spain, in December 2009. He will now attend all races on the 2010 calendar and the team envisages he will participate in a number of Friday practice sessions to fully understand the VJM03, particularly given the ban on in-season testing will continue into next year. Additionally Paul will combine his F1 activities with a program in DTM, which will serve the dual purpose of allowing Paul to learn the current F1 tracks while keeping his racing skills sharp. More ...

New F1 tire rules, point system ratified  Following a highly constructive and positive meeting of the Formula One Commission yesterday, agreement was reached by all the sport’s stakeholders on a number of amendments to the sporting and technical regulations.

The proposals will be submitted to the FIA World Motor Sport Council for final approval within the next 48 hours.

2010 FIA Formula One World Championship

-    Points system

In order to further encourage the ‘race to win’, an adjustment to the points system was agreed. Points for both titles will be awarded at each event according to the following scale:
1st : 25 Points
2nd : 18
3rd : 15
4th : 12
5th : 10
6th : 8
7th : 6
8th : 4
9th : 2
10th : 1

-    Quantity and use of tires

The number of dry weather tires sets allocated per team has been reduced from 14 to 11.

In addition, to encourage teams to run during the Friday practice sessions, one set has to be returned before the start of the second practice session, and two sets before the start of the third practice session.

-    Improving the show

In order to introduce a further element of strategy, cars having participated in Q3 must start the race on the same set of tires with which their grid time was set.

Further measures for 2010 are also being examined.

-    New technologies

The Commission received a strong mandate from the FIA President to examine the introduction of new environmental technologies in the Championship.  The mandate was warmly welcomed by the teams and further proposals will be developed.

2011 FIA Formula One World Championship

-    Diffusers

The permitted height of the main diffuser was reduced from 175mm to 125mm and measures to exclude ‘double’ diffusers were agreed.

Audi plans test run at Le Castellet  
Audi at Paul Ricard in Le Castellet
To further prepare for the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi Sport is planning an additional racing commitment with the Audi R15 TDI that has undergone additional development. For April 11, the participation in the 8-hour race at Le Castellet in southern France is planned for testing purposes.

Originally, the diesel racing sports car that is internally designated as "R15 plus” was to make its racing debut at the 1000-kilometer race at Spa-Francorchamps. The Belgian endurance classic continues to be on Audi Sport Team Joest’s race schedule as the final dress rehearsal for Le Mans. However, to complement these plans, Audi Sport also wants to use the season opener of the 2010 Le Mans Series (LMS) on the high-speed circuit at Le Castellet to test the "R15 plus” in racing conditions. More ...
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Schu's doctor present for Valencia test
  • Ferrari's new car impresses on first test day
  • De la Rosa ends F1 test return with sore neck
  • Sauber numbers decided, points tweak approved
  • Failed Schu comeback would be 'disaster' - Briatore
  • Barrichello's advice to Rosberg: 'Get out of there'
  • Roadblock for 2011 Indian GP
  • Force India to announce di Resta deal
  • Toyota engineer joins Kovalainen at Lotus

Michael Schumacher and his wife Corinne
Schu's doctor present for Valencia test
(GMM)  While the seven time world champion circulated at Valencia on Monday, the jury was still out as to whether his neck injury is now fully healed.

The German, who had to call off his return for Ferrari last summer, travelled to the Spanish circuit for the first test of the winter with his personal doctor Johannes Peil.

Also present, and staying with the 41-year-old in his paddock motor home this week, is his physiotherapist Kai Schnapka.

Some reports referred to "secret tests" on his neck after 40 laps in the new Mercedes W01, while Dr Peil said when asked about the injury: "I'm superstitious, so we wait and see."

Schumacher's pace was unaffected, as he lapped six tenths quicker than Nico Rosberg, although his teammate was struggling with too low a driving position.

Germany's Bild newspaper said there had been no problems with Schumacher's neck.

Schumacher's absence from the cockpit on Tuesday is planned, and he will return to action for the final day on Wednesday. More ...

Fernandez to race at Sebring in Aston Martin  Adrian Fernandez and Aston Martin Racing vaulted into the list of favorites to win the 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida with the Mexican star joining forces with the UK’s premier endurance team for America’s greatest sports car race. The partnership, announced Monday, will see Fernandez drive a works Aston Martin-powered Lola prototype at Sebring, Long Beach and Le Mans in 2010 with the team looking at additional races worldwide following the 24 Hours.

Sebring will mark the first time a prototype with an Aston Martin V12 engine has competed in the American Le Mans Series. The marque has a rich heritage in endurance racing including a victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959. Its main concentration has been on GT cars since 2005 when it re-entering the sport but returned to prototypes at the factory level in 2009. More ...

Fox network sees NASCAR ad revenue increase  An improved television ad sales marketplace is breathing new life into Fox’s NASCAR sales this season, as the network has sold 80 percent of the inventory for the Daytona 500 and is expecting a full sellout before the race.

Ad sales for the rest of the network’s 13-race schedule are pacing 8 to 10 percent ahead of last year’s levels.

Fox’s NASCAR sales push is being helped by a more active marketplace, which is seeing advertising sales slowly rebound across virtually all sports.

These early returns represent a big relief for the sport and the network considering that last year’s TV ratings were the lowest in a decade. More ...

ESPN at Daytona Speedweeks - schedule  ESPN will provide two weeks of comprehensive coverage of Speedweeks and the start of the NASCAR season at Daytona International Speedway across its multimedia platforms. Television coverage, highlighted by a Daytona 500 origination for ESPN’s flagship program SportsCenter, an expanded schedule for ESPN2’s daily news program NASCAR Now, coverage of NASCAR Media Day on ESPNEWS, and NASCAR Nationwide Series practice and qualifying, will culminate with the NASCAR Nationwide Series 300-mile race on ESPN2 on Saturday, Feb. 13.

Other TV highlights include NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series preview shows on ESPN2 and the airing of multiple past Daytona 500 races on ESPN Classic. 

SportsCenter at Daytona airs Saturday, Feb. 14, at 4 p.m. on ESPN2, originating from the Fan Zone at Daytona International Speedway. SportsCenter is ESPN's flagship studio show and television's only nightly, one-hour sports news program. Offering in-depth reports on breaking news, creative highlights, features and in-depth analysis from award-winning journalists, SportsCenter is television's most comprehensive and longest-running sports news show.

In addition to programming on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNEWS, which includes extensive coverage on SportsCenter, other ESPN platforms including ESPN.com, Jayski.com, ESPN Radio, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Classic and ESPN Mobile Properties also will surround the NASCAR Nationwide Series race telecast and the Daytona 500 with NASCAR-related programming and coverage. 

ESPN2 is the home of the NASCAR Nationwide Series all season, with select races to be televised by ESPN and ABC. ESPN also will televise the final 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races of the season, with three on ABC. 

Marty Reid will be the lead announcer for the Daytona race telecast, joined in the booth for analysis by 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Dale Jarrett and two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion crew chief Andy Petree. Pit reporters will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch and Vince Welch. Two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion crew chief Tim Brewer will report from the ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage.

Prior to the 1:15 p.m. ET race telecast, Allen Bestwick will host NASCAR Countdown from the ESPN pit studio at noon, with analysis by 1989 NASCAR Cup champion Rusty Wallace, three-time NASCAR champion crew chief Ray Evernham and Brad Daugherty, a team owner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.   

ESPN2 also airs live coverage of NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying on Friday, Feb. 12, at 3 p.m., as well as NASCAR Nationwide Series practice coverage on Thursday, Feb. 11, at 11:30 a.m.

NASCAR Now, ESPN2’s daily news and information show totally dedicated to NASCAR, originates from Daytona with daily one-hour episodes the week of the Daytona 500. The Monday, Feb. 8, edition at 5 p.m. will feature a roundtable discussion with ESPN analysts Jarrett, Wallace and Ricky Craven hosted by Bestwick. The weekend edition of the program airs at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 14, the day of the Daytona 500. 

Mike Massaro and Nicole Briscoe will co-host ESPNEWS’ coverage of NASCAR Media Day on Thursday, Feb. 4, at noon, and conduct exclusive driver interviews from Daytona for the three-hour telecast. They’ll be joined for analysis by Craven.

ESPN2 airs season preview shows for both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series on Tuesday, Feb. 9, starting at 2 p.m. ESPN Classic will have an airing of ESPN’s acclaimed original movie 3, based on the life and racing career of seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt, at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 14.


SportsCenter at Daytona -- SportsCenter will present a one-hour special from Daytona International Speedway on ESPN2 at 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13, the eve of NASCAR’s Daytona 500. Hosted by Allen Bestwick, with analysts Rusty Wallace, Ray Evernham and Brad Daugherty, SportsCenter at Daytona will preview the Great American Race with analysis, opinion, and interviews.

ESPN.com -- Extensive coverage will originate from Daytona. Award-winning motorsports journalists Ed Hinton, Terry Blount and David Newton and ESPN.com motorsports editor K. Lee Davis will lead the reporting team, with additional contributions from NASCAR Insider Marty Smith as well as ESPN The Magazine’s Ryan McGee. Hinton, Blount, Newton and other ESPN reporters and personalities maintain and regularly update blogs with their insights, perspectives and more within the ESPN Insider premium content section. ESPN.com, along with Jayski.com, will feature extensive video, audio and editorial coverage of the 2010 NASCAR season, as well as providing multiple ESPN Fantasy games and content distributed to other emerging platforms such as Apple’s iTunes Store and Microsoft’s X Box Live.

ESPN.com RaceCast, ESPN.com’s enhanced, live race-day applications features a live animated graphic display, track information, lap leaders, race leaders, driver information and live in-race chat with ESPN announcers and reporters. NASCAR Surround features one-stop shopping for highlights, features, observations and stats of all races, running Friday-Monday.  As part of ESPN.com’s integration with Jayski.com, veteran racing voice Mark Garrow returns as a frequent contributor this year, producing podcasts and hosting regular chats on ESPN.com.

Jayski.com -- ESPN-owned Jayski.com is considered one of the most influential Web sites in the motorsports world. Jayski has gained a reputation for consistently breaking industry stories and serving as the ultimate resource and trackside companion for NASCAR fans. Jayski’s editorial content during Daytona Speedweeks will help NASCAR fans keep up with late-breaking news, including updating any on-track incidents and garage news. Jayski also helps NASCAR fans understand the qualifying procedure for the Daytona 500, and NASCAR’s Top 35 rule, with updates and scenarios. And Jayski’s popular paint scheme section helps fans stay abreast of the new looks for NASCAR race teams.

ESPNEWS – Coverage of NASCAR Media Day from noon - 3 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 4. Extensive reports and interviews during regular programming throughout Daytona Speed Weeks, including highlights from news conferences.

ESPN Radio – The Raceday program airs from 6 - 7 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 13, and Sunday, Feb. 14. Both programs will originate from Daytona with host Pat Patterson and include news, interviews and reports. In addition, ESPN Radio will have daily reports and interviews during other programming in the week leading up to the race.

ESPN International – ESPN International is NASCAR’s exclusive worldwide syndication agent outside of North America. NASCAR and ESPN are leveraging their combined resources to identify broadcast partnerships on a country by country basis to expand the scope and reach of NASCAR coverage. ESPN International is one of the world’s leading syndicators of sports programming and this relationship is helping maximize coverage of NASCAR and provide a solid base of distribution. Through a combination of sales and network programming, the 38 NASCAR Sprint Cup races and 35 NASCAR Nationwide Series races are now available to 113 countries and territories around the world. 

ESPN Classic – To help get NASCAR fans fired up for the opening of the season, ESPN Classic re-airs episodes of its signature series SportsCentury featuring some of NASCAR’s greatest drivers during afternoons on Wednesday through Friday of race week. Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Tim Flock and Tony Stewart will be featured.

In addition, starting at 8 p.m. on Feb. 13, the eve of the  Daytona 500 , ESPN Classic televises highlights of five of the best Daytona 500 races of all time – 1979, 1998, 1999, 2007 and 1976.     

ESPN Deportes -- ESPN’s 24-hour, Spanish-language sports network in the U.S. will carry the NASCAR Nationwide Series race on a tape-delayed basis beginning at 4 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 15. ESPN Deportes’ NASCAR commentator team will feature Andrés Agulla (play-by-play) and Alex Pombo (analysis). In addition to the telecast of the race, ESPN Deportes will have segments for its edition of SportsCenter. 

ESPN Deportes Radio -- The only around-the-clock national Spanish-language sports radio network in the U.S., and MRN Radio  have an agreement that makes ESPN Deportes Radio the exclusive Spanish-language radio home of NASCAR racing’s premier events. ESPN Deportes Radio will provide up-to-the minute NASCAR news and information, highlighted with coverage of NASCAR’s three largest racing series - the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

ESPN Mobile Platforms -- ESPN’s multiple mobile platforms will give fans on-the-go access to all the racing action, news and developments. ESPN Mobile TV (available on MediaFLO and MobiTV and via Sprint) will deliver live mobile streaming of NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup races throughout the season, as well as news, analysis and feature video programs. ESPN MVP on Verizon Wireless will feature race highlights from NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races throughout the season, as well as all the latest news and information, ESPN.com columnists, in-progress race leader boards and customizable alerts. In addition, fans can find ESPN.com coverage of NASCAR on the ESPN Mobile Web site -- the leading sports site on the wireless Web (and among the most-trafficked wireless Web sites in the world), with 9 million unique users per month -- and real-time results on the ESPN ScoreCenter mobile app.

(all times Eastern)

Monday, Feb. 1 6 – 6:30 p.m. NASCAR Now ESPN2
Tuesday, Feb. 2 4 – 4:30 a.m. NASCAR Now (re-air) ESPN2
Tuesday, Feb. 2 5 – 5:30 p.m. NASCAR Now ESPN2
Wed., Feb. 3 3 – 3:30 a.m. NASCAR Now (re-air) ESPN2
Wed., Feb. 3 5 – 5:30 p.m. NASCAR Now ESPN2
Thursday, Feb. 4 Noon – 3 p.m. NASCAR Media Day Highlights ESPNEWS
Thursday, Feb. 4 6 – 6:30 p.m. NASCAR Now  ESPN2
Friday, Feb. 5 2 -2:30 a.m. NASCAR Now (re-air) ESPN2
Friday, Feb. 5 5:30 – 6 p.m. NASCAR Now ESPN2
Saturday, Feb. 6 1:30 – 2 a.m. NASCAR Now (re-air) ESPN2
Monday, Feb. 8 5 – 6 p.m. NASCAR Now ESPN2
Tuesday, Feb. 9 1 – 2 a.m. NASCAR Now (re-air) ESPN2
Tuesday, Feb. 9 2 – 2:30 p.m. NASCAR Nationwide Series Preview ESPN2
Tuesday, Feb. 9 2:30 – 3 p.m. NASCAR Sprint Cup Preview ESPN2
Tuesday, Feb. 9 5 – 6 p.m. NASCAR Now ESPN2
Wed., Feb 10 1:30 – 2:30 a.m. NASCAR Now (re-air) ESPN2
Wed., Feb. 10 2 – 3 p.m. SportsCentury: Dale Earnhardt ESPN Classic
Wed., Feb. 10 3 – 4 p.m. SportsCentury: D. Earnhardt Jr. ESPN Classic
Wed., Feb. 10 5 – 6 p.m. NASCAR Now ESPN2
Thursday, Feb. 11 1:30 – 2:30 a.m. NASCAR Now (re-air) ESPN2
Thursday, Feb. 11 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. NASCAR Nationwide Series final practice ESPN2
Thursday, Feb. 11 2:30 – 3 p.m. SportsCentury: Jeff Gordon ESPN Classic
Thursday, Feb. 11 3 – 3:30 p.m. SportsCentury: Tony Stewart ESPN Classic
Thursday, Feb. 11 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. NASCAR Now ESPN2
Friday, Feb. 12 2 – 3 a.m. NASCAR Now (re-air) ESPN2
Friday, Feb. 12 2 – 3 p.m. SportsCentury: Tim Flock ESPN Classic
Friday, Feb. 12 3 – 4 p.m. SportsCentury: Richard Petty ESPN Classic
Friday, Feb. 12 3 – 6 p.m. NASCAR Nationwide Series qual. ESPN2
Friday, Feb. 12 6 – 7 p.m. NASCAR Now ESPN2
Saturday, Feb. 13 6 – 7 a.m. RaceDay ESPN Radio
Saturday, Feb. 13 12 - 1:15 p.m. NASCAR Countdown ESPN2
Saturday, Feb. 13 1:15 - 4 p.m. NASCAR Nationwide Series 300-mile race  ESPN2
Saturday, Feb. 13 4 – 5 p.m. SportsCenter at Daytona ESPN2
Saturday, Feb. 13 8 – 10 p.m. 1979 Daytona 500 ESPN Classic
Saturday, Feb. 13 10 p.m. – mid. 1998 Daytona 500 ESPN Classic
Sunday, Feb. 14 1 – 3 a.m. 1999 Daytona 500 ESPN Classic
Sunday, Feb. 14 3 – 5 a.m. 2007 Daytona 500 ESPN Classic
Sunday, Feb. 14 3 – 5 a.m. NASCAR Nationwide Series 300-mile race (re-air) ESPN2
Sunday, Feb. 14 4 a.m. NASCAR Nationwide Series 300-mile race ESPN Deportes
Sunday, Feb. 14 5 – 7 a.m. 1976 Daytona 500 ESPN Classic
Sunday, Feb. 14 6 – 7 a.m. RaceDay ESPN Radio
Sunday, Feb. 14 9 – 10 a.m. NASCAR Now ESPN2
Sunday, Feb. 14 8 – 10 p.m. ESPN Original Movie 3 ESPN Classic
Monday, Feb. 15 5 – 6 p.m. NASCAR Now ESPN2
Action Express Racing #9 Porsche on display  
Action Express #9 Porsche V8
Braking hard for turn 1

The No. 9 Action Express Racing Porsche Riley that captured the 48th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona Sunday has found a new temporary home – Daytona 500 Experience.

The No. 9 Porsche Riley with drivers Joao Barbosa, Terry Borcheller, Ryan Dalziel and Mike Rockenfeller captured North America’s most prestigious sports car race, edging the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates by 52.303 seconds.

The 755 laps turned by Action Express Racing on the 3.56-mile road course was the second most in the Rolex 24 and the margin of victory – 52.303 seconds – was the third closest finish in event history.

Now race fans will have the opportunity to get up close to the winning Rolex 24 car inside “The Official Attraction of NASCAR.” The car, complete with the scratches and tire rubber from the Rolex 24, will be on display through the 52nd annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 14. More ...

NASCAR cuts guaranteed grid spots  NASCAR is changing the number of guaranteed starting positions based on owner points from 30 to 25 for the Camping World Truck Series races.

The old rule guaranteed spots to the top 30 teams in the owner standings that showed up to an event as long as that team had been entered in every race during the year.

The rule has no impact for the first four events of 2010 – only 25 trucks were entered in every race in 2009, meaning that only 25 teams are eligible for guaranteed spots. Starting with the fifth race of the season, the top 25 teams in the 2010 owner standings who show up for a race will have guaranteed starting spots in the field.

The new rule will ensure that there will be at least 10 open spots in each race. There will be 11 open spots if a past champion does not use a provisional to get the final spot in the 36-truck field. SceneDaily

Fox network sees NASCAR ad revenue increase  An improved television ad sales marketplace is breathing new life into Fox’s NASCAR sales this season, as the network has sold 80 percent of the inventory for the Daytona 500 and is expecting a full sellout before the race.

Ad sales for the rest of the network’s 13-race schedule are pacing 8 to 10 percent ahead of last year’s levels.

Fox’s NASCAR sales push is being helped by a more active marketplace, which is seeing advertising sales slowly rebound across virtually all sports.

These early returns represent a big relief for the sport and the network considering that last year’s TV ratings were the lowest in a decade.

“We’re definitely going to be in a much better situation than we were last year,” said Neil Mulcahy, Fox Sports’ executive vice president of advertising sales.

Emblematic of the rebounding economy is the automotive category, which Fox said is tripling its revenue commitment from last year. Fox expects to double the amount of auto sponsors that buy into the regular season. Last year, just two autos – Toyota and Ford – bought regular-season schedules.

Both are back this year, as is General Motors. More ...

Wheldon back to karting roots  It's difficult to keep IZOD IndyCar Series driver Dan Wheldon off a racetrack.

Over the weekend, he drove in the Rotax Senior division of the CKI Florida Cup in Homestead, Fla. - the first of 13 scheduled karting events he'll compete in around the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule.

"Kart racing is something that is very close to my heart," said Wheldon, the 2005 IZOD IndyCar Series champion who will compete for the second season in the No. 4 National Guard car for Panther Racing. "It's how I got my start in racing when I was 4 years old. And once you develop a love for kart racing it never goes away, no matter how successful a racing career you might develop over the years in other disciplines."

Wheldon, who earned second place at the World Karting Association event in Daytona, Fla., in December, will participate in two karting events before the IZOD IndyCar Series Open Test at Barber Motorsports Park on Feb. 24-25. He'll return to Homestead (Fla.) Feb. 26 for the second round of the CKI Florida Cup.

"I couldn't say no to an opportunity to race with some of the best up-and-coming talent out there," said Wheldon, 31. "Those kids are keeping me on my toes … and that is not something that I take lightly."

Vitor Meira, who will drive the No. 14 ABC Supply car for A.J. Foyt Racing in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series, also competed in the Rotax Senior division at the Homestead facility.

IndyCar drivers make a show out of Rolex 24  IZOD IndyCar Series driver Justin Wilson co-drove the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates car to a runner-up finish in the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 31.

Wilson teamed with Scott Pruett, Max Papis and Memo Rojas. The No. 01 entry was just one of two Daytona Prototypes to finish on the lead lap, finishing 52.303 seconds behind the No. 9 Action Express Racing car.

"I really enjoyed being part of this team for the weekend," Wilson said. "We seemed to always be first or second. What a great experience."

Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates' second entry, driven by reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray, retired with mechanical issues to finish 15th in the Daytona Prototype class. The two cars combined to lead 285 of the 755 laps (No. 01 led 146 laps).

Ryan Hunter-Reay, who will drive the No. 37 IZOD car for Andretti Autosport this season, teamed with Scott Tucker, Richard Westbrook and Lucas Luhr to finish third overall.

KV Racing Technology co-owner Jimmy Vasser, 2009 Apex-Brasil Rookie of the Year Raphael Matos of Luczo Dragon Racing, 2004 Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Rice, and IZOD IndyCar Series driver Darren Manning also competed in the event.

IndyCar Ties to SuperBowl XLIV  The Indy Racing League Championship Cup, hoisted by Dario Franchitti at Homestead-Miami Speedway in October, will be on display in downtown Miami this week as part of the Eats, Beats and Cleats fan event preceding Super Bowl XLIV.

Eats, Beats and Cleats, which replaces the NFL Experience, will showcase more than 75 current and former NFL All-Stars and other sports legends during the four-day event on Lincoln Road. More ...

Vision Racing looks to fans for support  (Ed note: This is a great idea, and has been done before. They are right that sponsors could stand to know the fans support the sport too. They might get more support if it weren't someone exceedingly wealthy trying to run his own stepson. If they were looking to run a top talent that really deserved a ride, they might get more response. Ed Carpenter has come a long way, but we don’t see him as an IndyCar star for the future.)

If it worked for "Chuck," why can't a viral fan campaign work for Vision Racing?

Last week, the five-year-old IZOD IndyCar Series team announced it had suspended racing operations - note the distinction to ceasing or shutting down - as team principals and a few others continued to search for adequate sponsorship to get driver Ed Carpenter and the No. 20 entry on the racetrack. More ...

GM Tests Show Vibe Brakes Can Stop Unintended Acceleration  General Motors has tested two Pontiac Vibe small SUVs and found the brakes stop the vehicle in case of unintended acceleration.

The 2009-10 Pontiac Vibe, a sister vehicle of the Toyota Matrix, is included in two Toyota recalls related to unintended acceleration, one for sticking accelerator pedals and one for possible floor mat entrapment. The Vibe was designed, engineered and manufactured by Toyota through August 2009 at New United Motor Manufacturing, which was a GM-Toyota joint venture.

“We ran the Vibe wide open at 60 miles an hour and the brakes were able to bring the vehicle to a safe stop within 169 meters, consistent with our internal requirement for brake performance.” said Martin Hogan, GM director of brake systems. More ...

Front Row Motorsports Completes Daytona 500 Driver Line-Up  Front Row Motorsports is now ready for the Daytona 500 with a strong three-car entry.  With the announcing of John Andretti returning to the No. 34 Window World-supported Ford Fusion, Travis Kvapil will move into the No. 37 ExtenZe Ford.  Kevin Conway will return to that seat for the Sprint Cup Series second event at the California Speedway and begin his trek for Raybestos Rookie of the Year. 

Kvapil will move back into the No. 34 Long John Silver's Ford beginning in California. Robert Richardson Jr. will race the No. 38 Mahindra USA Tractors Ford in the Daytona 500, the Aaron's 499 in April at Talladega Superspeedway and the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway in July.  David Gilliland will race the No. 38 Taco Bell Ford for the majority of the season and debut in California. More ...
McDowell to run full 2010 Sprint Cup schedule  It was announced today that Michael McDowell will be running full-time this season in the Prism Motorsports in the #55 Sprint Cup Series car. Initially it was announced that McDowell would be running a second car to Dave Blaney, but only on a partial schedule. The Prism Motorsports team attempted all 36 Sprint Cup Series races in 2010 with their #66 car, with Terry Labonte in the Daytona 500, Blaney in 34 races and McDowell at Talladega. There are no specifics on sponsor or crew details yet, but we will keep you posted. McDowell is an aggressive driver with a lot of talent, and reminds us of Kurt Busch in a lot of ways. If he gets a decent car and crew chief, he could do really well.
Mercedes GP Day 1 report  Formula One's first day of pre-season testing began in Valencia this morning to kick off 15 days of track action ahead of the first race of the 2010 season in Bahrain on 14 March. For MERCEDES GP PETRONAS, the day began with a photocall in the morning sunshine at 8:50am with Nico Rosberg, Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn showing off the new MGP W01 before the car was rolled back into the garage to prepare for the start of the test program.

Nico was the first to drive the new Silver Arrow on track with the main focus of his program to work through the initial set-up of the car and ensure that he was comfortable with his seat and position. Nico drove out of the garage for his first installation run at 10:34 and completed five runs over 39 laps before he finished for the day at 13:40, setting the fourth fastest time - a 01:13.543. More ...
tv news
Kyle Petty on New Role at SPEED  Former driver Kyle Petty has joined SPEED in a role that will position the veteran television personality with John Roberts, Kenny Wallace, Wendy Venturini and Hermie Sadler on the popular NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pre-race show, NASCAR RaceDay Built by The Home Depot. Petty also will appear on the post-race program, NASCAR Victory Lane, and continue his role on the popular game show, NASCAR Smarts.  SPEED caught up with the opinionated Petty to discuss his latest venture.

SPEED:  Up until this point, you’ve served in a limited role for SPEED.  Why have you chosen now to expand that role? More ...

Valencia testing - Massa fastest  
Felipe Massa
fastest on day one
Felipe Massa has finished at the top of the timesheets as pre-season testing begins in Valencia. The Brazilian driver led the way for Ferrari as local favorite Pedro de la Rosa and 7-time World Champion Michael Schumacher completed the top three for Sauber and Mercedes respectively.

With the all-important pre-season testing beginning in Valencia for three days this week, the circus will move on to Jerez for the following fortnight's worth of running before Barcelona hosts four days at the end of the month. Temperatures hovered around 12°C (54°F) on what was a bright day in Valencia on Monday. More ...

Buemi notes lower grip levels  Sébastien Buemi has noted that a difference can be felt in this year's cars after just a short number of laps. The Swiss driver is in the cockpit of the brand-new Toro Rosso on Monday and Tuesday this week before handing over to team-mate Jaime Alguersuari for the final day of the 3-day Valencia test. With the new car having been launched on Monday morning, Buemi was out on-track just minutes later although a gearbox problem around lunch time hampered running. "When you drive, you are aware the car is a bit longer and the new tires do not respond in the same way to the previous ones," the Swiss driver explained. "With the narrower front tires, it does feel as though there is a bit less grip from them." More ...
Schumacher faster than Rosberg on day one  (GMM)  Michael Schumacher was quickly back up to speed as his return to formula one got into a high gear at Valencia on Monday.

Getting into the brand new Mercedes W01 after Nico Rosberg's morning session on the opening test day of the pre-season, the 41-year-old wasted no time putting his three-year retirement into the past.

24-year-old Rosberg's best time, in the very same chassis, was 1.13.543 and good enough for third quickest behind the pace setting Ferrari and Sauber cars.

But after just 18 laps, Schumacher - dogged by a sizeable media contingent at the Spanish circuit - recorded a 1.13.498, marginally faster than Rosberg and 7 tenths off Pedro de la Rosa's very best.

Today's Test Times


Driver Team Time Laps
1. Massa Ferrari 1:12.574 102
2. de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari 1:12.784 74
3. M.Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:12.947 40
4. Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:13.543 39
5. Paffett McLaren-Mercedes 1:13.846 86
6. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1:14.449 75
7. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:14.762 18
8. Kubica Renault 1:15.000 69

GP2 team to run in Renault's F1 colors  (GMM)  A GP2 team will also bear the distinctive colors of Renault's new formula one livery in 2010.

The French team DAMS will be a partner of Renault's driver development program this year, running the F1 reserve drivers Ho-Pin Tung and Jerome d'Ambrosio.

DAMS confirmed in a statement that the Gravity Sport-managed pair will contest the feeder series "in cars bearing the Renault colors".

"Thus, DAMS will become the Renault F1 junior team in GP2, the formula that opens the door to the top category in motor racing," the team added.

Said the Belgian d'Ambrosio: "Driving a black and yellow car will be something very special and I'm determined to defend these colors in the way they deserve."

Toro Rosso expects 'mistakes' with 2010 car  (GMM)  As the lunch break at Valencia ended, it had not been a good morning session for Toro Rosso.

Having cut its technological ties with Red Bull, the Faenza based team was stranded at the bottom of the time sheets, having completed just 10 laps with the new STR5.

Although based on last year's dominant Red Bull Technology machine, Sebastien Buemi was a massive six seconds off Felipe Massa's leading pace.

"I am expecting mistakes and we are expecting mistakes," Toro Rosso technical director Giorgio Ascanelli earlier told reporters in a press conference.

"This explains why we are early (with the car) this time. More ...

Expectations high for Alguersauri  While Sébastien Buemi strapped himself into the cockpit to start our first test session of the year, team-mate Jaime Alguersuari was meeting the world’s press He immediately had them laughing when he pointed out that, when it’s his turn to drive on Wednesday, it will be the first time he has ever taken part in a Formula 1 test session.

Amazing but true, given that he joined Toro Rosso at last year’s Hungarian GP and the in-season testing ban meant he had to jump in at the deep end. “Last year, every Grand Prix was a test, which was a big disadvantage.”

“I’ve been doing a lot of training in Austria and Spain with my personal trainer, which means we had plenty of time to get in good shape for the season,” said the Spaniard. “That doesn’t mean the job is going to be much easier than last year, because F1 is always tough. But I do feel I can be more competitive and better prepared. Last year, everything happened so fast and I didn’t know the car, the circuits or the team. This year, I will get to drive for several days before the first race, while last year I had no testing at all.”

It’s bound to happen a lot in the coming weeks – everyone wants to know what the other drivers think of the return of the Schumi. “I think it’s nice,” reckoned Jaime. “His presence will make the sport stronger and everyone will be motivated. Michael is not just the Number 1 in Formula 1, he is a professional athlete and it’s great he is back. But on the track he will be just one more driver. I admire his love of the sport.”

Jaime Alguersuari is keen to try his hand at driving with a full fuel load for the first time. “The cars will be tough to drive on full tanks, but the car is designed to do that. It will be important in testing to do long runs to get used to this.” He is aware that, even if the circuits in the first half of the season will be new to him, he can no longer claim 'rookie' status. “For sure, expectations will be higher now, with different goals and objectives.”

Rather prematurely, given he hasn’t driven the car yet, Jaime was asked for his thoughts on STR5. “It looks nice from the outside, and I know that its insides are also good. The basis is quite similar to last year’s car and I think we can have a good year, partly down to the fact that I am better prepared. But let’s wait and see as it is far too soon to say. As for the racing, I think the new rules will make it more exciting for spectators, as it will be less about strategy and, with qualifying run only on low fuel, the one who gets the pole position time will really be the fastest guy on track.”

Busy morning as F1 bursts to life at Valencia  
(GMM)  The F1 world - and a very crowded media centre - got its first look at the new Toro Rosso and Mercedes cars on Monday morning, as the winter testing ban ended and Valencia burst into life.

The Ferrari-powered STR5, although not featuring the intellectual property of sister team Red Bull for the first time, seems an evolution of last year's Adrian Newey-penned car as it was rolled out for the photographers behind the pits.

"It looks nice from the outside, and I know that its insides are also good," said Jaime Alguersuari, as his teammate Sebastien Buemi gave the car its track debut.

"The basis is quite similar to last year's car and I think we can have a good year, partly down to the fact that I am better prepared," added the Spaniard. More ...

2010 F1 testing begins in Valencia  After a three-month drought, Formula 1's regular drivers are back out on-track on Monday for the first time since the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix of last year. With Valencia kicking off proceedings, the limited time is crucial as teams strive to develop their new cars before the start of the new season next month. The last time an official F1 test took place was the sport's first ever young driver session at Jerez in December although this week's running marks the moment of truth for many teams as their latest contenders take to the race track for the first time. More ...
Most NASCAR drivers don't fare well in Rolex 24  Full-time NASCAR drivers were shut out from the winner's circle and even podium finishes Sunday at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The 24-hour race was won by the Porsche of Action Express Racing driven by Joao Barbosa, Terry Borcheller, Mike Rockenfeller and Ryan Dalziel. They finished 50 seconds ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing's car driven by Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas as well as Germain Racing part-time Cup driver Max Papis and IndyCar Series driver Justin Wilson. Ganassi's other car - co-driven by his Cup drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray as well as his IndyCar Series drivers Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon - blew an engine while leading less than nine hours into the event at Daytona. About half the field did not finish the race, including four-time defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson as his Bob Stallings Racing car had an oil pump issue and retired with about four hours remaining. Richard Petty Motorsports had two drivers in the field. AJ Allmendinger drove for Michael Shank Racing and was in third when his engine blew less than two hours prior to the finish and the team had to settle for seventh. Paul Menard drove for Spirit of Daytona Racing, which retired before the halfway point and wound up 32nd. Roush Fenway Racing Nationwide Series driver Colin Braun had the best day of the NASCAR contingent as he was part of the fourth-place Krohn Racing team. TRG Motorsports' Bobby Labonte drove one of the team cars and was leading before running out of fuel and having to be towed back to the pits with about five hours remaining. Other mechanical issues plagued the team, which finished 16th overall, ninth in the Grand Touring class. Part-time Cup driver Boris Said was part of a Turner Motorsport team that finished 15th overall, eighth in the GT class. Scene Daily
GAC partners with AT&T Williams F1 team  Global logistics, shipping and marine services company, the GAC Group, has entered into a partnership agreement with the top Formula One (F1) motor racing team, AT&T Williams, to develop cost efficient logistics services in support of their efforts to meet the demands of an industry-wide cost reduction program.

Cutting costs
The strategic partnership will help the AT&T Williams team respond effectively to increasing pressure to reduce costs in the sport.

Under the AT&T Williams agreement, GAC will provide efficient logistics support in connection with the company’s Formula One freight requirements and oversee the management of the equipment for a challenging global program that visits 19 different countries on five continents in nine months. More ...
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Boss expects more sponsors for Renault R30
  • Petrov wants sponsors to help pay Renault bill
  • Alonso worked to simplify Ferrari steering wheel
  • New helmet for Kubica, old one for Barrichello
  • Kobayashi also courted by Renault for 2010
  • De la Rosa may step down as GPDA chairman
  • No rally ban for Lotus' Kovalainen

Boss expects more sponsors for Renault R30
(GMM)  The currently bare advertising spaces of Renault's R30 car could be filled in the near future.

When Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov pulled the wraps off the 2010 livery on Sunday, observers noticed the name of watch maker TW Steel alongside French oil backer Total (and associated brand Elf).

In the wake of the Genii Capital takeover, Renault's 2010 foray also follows the so-called crashgate scandal and the loss of major sponsors ING, Mutua Madrilena, Pepe Jeans, Universia and Megafon.

"(The lack of sponsors) does not have to do with the fact that there are no ongoing discussions with sponsors -- I think that we will be announcing a number of things over the next couple of weeks," said team owner Gerard Lopez.

The Genii head also denied that team partner Renault intends to step out of F1 completely in the near future.

"Certainly at this stage, there's no expectation from us that Renault would leave or that we would do something for them to leave and buy them out," said Lopez.

"There is no multi-year plan that has an ending to it.  There's a multi-year plan that has a performance edge to it, but other than that it will be business as usual this year, next year and the year after," he added.

Meanwhile, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that the R30 presented to the media on Sunday was actually a show-car.

Team engineers said the real R30 "is not much different" to the launch car, the publication added. More ...

Dalziel "over the moon" from Rolex 24 win  
Ryan Dalziel
Scotland’s Ryan Dalziel, together with his team-mates in the #9 Action Express Racing Porsche-Riley Daytona Prototype, triumphed Sunday (31st January) in the prestigious ‘Rolex 24 at Daytona’, America’s premier 24 hour-long endurance race. 

The 48th running of the event was again hosted at the Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Florida while celebrating the opening round of the 2010 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16.

Dalziel (27), from Lanarkshire, shared the race winning entry with Terry Borcheller (USA), Joao Barbosa (PT) and Mike Rockenfeller (DE), taking the checkered flag after 755 grueling laps around the 3.56-mile part-speedway, part-road course configuration at the famed race circuit. More ...

France family expects further NASCAR decline  In the SEC filing Daytona Speedway's parent company ISC reported a slight decrease in fourth quarter revenues, of $202 million, compared to $205 the same period in 2008. That was despite the move of the California 500 from September (2008) to October last season.

Overall for the year (ending Nov. 30th), ISC's total revenues were $693 million, down from $787 in 2008. The ISC reported it anticipates revenue this season between $660 million and $680 million.

The ISC pointed to "continued adverse economic trends which increasingly contributed to the decrease in attendance related as well as corporate partner revenues for certain of the Company's events...."

The ISC concedes "advance ticket sales are still trending down...and corporate partnership sales, while encouraging, are also expected to decrease."

Hence the announcement that NASCAR is cutting both its track sanctioning fees and its purse and point fund money.

The ISC predicts this season attendance will "decrease in the mid-to-high single digits," and it says it expects revenue from sponsorship, hospitality and advertising to decline about five percent.

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