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DATE News (chronologically)
02/07/12
IRL

HVM Racing Welcomes New Team Manager
Lotus HVM Racing welcomes Shane Seneviratne as the team's new manager effective immediately. Seneviratne, former principal of US RaceTronics, has an 18 year history in Indy Lights and Atlantics, amassing multiple championships.

As part of Dorricott Racing from 1993-2004, Seneviratne was an integral part of winning championships in 1999, 2001 and 2002 with drivers Oriol Servia, Townsend Bell and Jon Fogarty respectively. The 1999 championship was highlighted by Dorricott Racing becoming the first team to achieve the top 3 positions in the Indy Lights Championship.

In late 2004 Seneviratne formed US RaceTronics to compete in the 2005 Atlantic Championship and immediately achieved success with multiple top 5 finishes. Between 2006 and 2008 success continued with 3 poles, 12 podiums and 1 win while the team consistently challenged for the championship.

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02/07/12
starmazda

Freiberg joins Star Mazda with JDC Motorsports
JDC MotorSports will add American Ashley Freiberg to its driver line-up for the 2012 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear season. Seeking to repeat as series champion, the Minnesota-based squad will have the talented rookie behind the wheel in the Mazda Road to Indy series via the newly created TrueCar, Inc. "Women Empowered Initiative."

The former Skip Barber Racing champion, who has four Star Mazda races on her resume, including a top-five finish in 2010 at the Autobahn Country Club, will contest the entire upcoming 18-race campaign, partnering with fellow up-and-comer Juan Piedrahita under the JDC awning.

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02/07/12
irl
alms

Busy days ahead for Pagenaud

Simon Pagenaud
Simon Pagenaud and his engineer with Sam Schmidt Motorsports, Ben Bretzman, have been almost inseparable the past few weeks as they process, plan and prepare for the season-opening Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 25.

"We just had another deep conversation about the car; it's something we talk about every day," said Pagenaud, who will take the No. 77 Honda-powered Dallara DW12 out for a test drive Feb. 20-21 at Barber Motorsports Park (where last April he competed in his first of three IZOD IndyCar Series races). "It's a very interesting time right now because the car is very interesting and different from the old car driving-wise and setup-wise. It's just a matter of the group needing to have a certain chemistry to be ready for St. Pete. We're in the right direction.

"I'm happy with the car to be honest already."

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02/07/12
irl

IZOD IndyCar Series to feature new rules for 2012
Sporting and technical regulations that comprise the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series rulebook were distributed electronically to teams today by INDYCAR.

INDYCAR President of Competition and IZOD IndyCar Series Race Director Beaux Barfield said the goal was to re-format the 2012 rulebook for ease of use in conjunction with the debut of the Dallara DW12 chassis and participation by three engine manufacturers.

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02/07/12
alms

Flying Lizard announces Sebring lineup
Flying Lizard Motorsports on Monday announced its driver lineup for the 2012 Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring. The team will field two new cars in the GT class this season, the No. 45 and No. 44 2012 Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs.

Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Long, both Porsche factory drivers, will return for their fourth consecutive season driving together in the No. 45; this will be Bergmeister's fifth year with the team.

Bergmeister is a five-time GT drivers' champion (2005-06 and 2008-10). The 2008, 2009 and 2010 championships were won with Flying Lizard in the No. 45. Long has won the title three times, 2005 and 2009-10, each with Bergmeister. At Sebring, the pair will be joined by Porsche factory driver Marco Holzer. This will be Holzer's second year with the team. After Sebring, he will return to his regular seat in the sister No. 44 Porsche for the season.

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02/07/12
f1

Williams hits early problems
Pastor Maldonado
Williams ran into a number of snags as F1 winter testing began in Jerez on Tuesday. Following the launch of the new FW34 this morning, Pastor Maldonado was driving the car and issues resulted in only 25 laps.

“We performed a number of system checks on the car today, including testing our new engine installation and some aerodynamic correlation runs,” explains Mark Gillen, Williams’ new Chief Operations Engineer. “Unfortunately testing was cut short with a couple of initial teething problems which we are currently investigating. We intend to get these fixed this evening in time for a full test program with Pastor tomorrow.”

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02/07/12
imsa

Hembrey Becomes Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Race Director
Motorsports veteran Randy Hembrey will bring 30 years of racing experience into the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Development Series race control when the IMSA season kicks off with the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring event, March 14-17, in Sebring, Fla.

In his new position, Hembrey will oversee all aspects of the on-track competition for IMSA’s GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama, and he joins veteran Terry Dale in race control for IMSA’s two other North American development series. The pair has 70 years of combined motorsports experience at all levels of the sport.

“I am excited to be a part of the largest single-make series in North America,” said Hembrey. “With an average of 33 bullet-proof Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars per race, all from Porsche Motorsports North America, we have the largest average entries of any similar series in the world. The racing is so competitive on those Yokohama tires, you never know what will happen.”

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02/07/12
f1

Jerez Day 1: PM Test Times UPDATE Quotes from the day have been added after the times below.

02/07/12 Full lap times as of 3pm local time, on the opening day of the four-day F1 group test at Jerez in southern Spain.

1. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Lotus-Renault 1m 19.670s
2. Paul di Resta Britain Force India-Mercedes 1m 19.772s
3. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 20.219s*
4. Daniel Ricciardo Australia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 20.694s
5 Michael Schumacher Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 20.794s*
6. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1m 20.917s
7. Kamui Kobayashi Japan Sauber-Ferrari 1m 21.353s
8 Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 21.952s
9 Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 22.815s
10. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Caterham-Renault 1m 23.178s
11. Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Williams-Renault 1m 23.371s
12. Pedro de la Rosa Spain HRT-Cosworth 1m 24.209s*

* 2011 car 

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02/07/12
alms

Pagenaud to drive in Sebring for Muscle Milk UPDATE The title of this news item was changed from ALMS to Sebring.  Pagenaud will drive in IndyCar for Sam Schmidt Motorsports in 2012, but will also drive at Sebring as the third driver for the HPD/Honda powered Muscle Milk team.  Pagenaud of course will also have Honda power behind him in IndyCar.

Pagenaud
02/06/12
Muscle Milk Pickett Racing has completed its driver lineups for the season opening race with the signing of former American Le Mans Series Champion Simon Pagenaud to the team's LMP1 car and Roger Wills to its LMPC entry.

Pagenaud, who was one of the team's biggest rivals, will now be joining Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr aboard the HPD ARX-03a LMP1 prototype for the 60th anniversary race of the 12 Hours of Sebring.

The Frenchman won the 2010 ALMS Championship with Highcroft Racing ahead of the Muscle Milk team, scoring four wins in an HPD ARX-01c. His last ALMS start came at the 12 Hours of Sebring last season, where he finished second.

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02/07/12
tv news
nassprint

FOX Sports Announces 2012 NASCAR on FOX Broadcast Schedule
FOX Sports gears up for its 12th season of NASCAR coverage by unveiling the 2012 NASCAR on FOX broadcast schedule featuring 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup points races and 15 events total, highlighted by the 54th running of the DAYTONA 500, live on Sunday, Feb. 26 (1:00-5:30 PM ET) from Daytona International Speedway. Coverage of the “Great American Race” begins that day with a special one-hour pre-race program (12:00-1:00 PM ET) from the DIS infield and a completely remodeled Hollywood Hotel. The flag officially drops on FOX Sports’ 2012 Speedweeks coverage with the BUDWEISER SHOOTOUT, live on Saturday, Feb. 18 in prime time (8:00-10:00 PM ET), followed by live coverage of DAYTONA 500 QUALIFYING on Sunday, Feb. 19 (1:00-4:00 PM ET).

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02/07/12
irl

EBay For sale - 1998 Eddie Cheever Indy 500 Winner
1998 Dallara/Oldsmobile
Racing Pedigree:

Starting from 17th position, Eddie Cheever, Jr. drove this car to win the 1998 Indianapolis 500.

Cheever Jr. led 76 of 200 laps to win the 82nd Indianapolis 500, despite sliding in the first turn of the race's first lap, helping bring out the race's first caution period. He was the first owner/driver to win the race since A.J. Foyt in 1977.

The qualifying average speed was 217.334 mph. Cheever won the race with a 3.14-second margin of victory over runner-up Buddy Lazier.

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02/07/12
automotive

Fisker stops work at Delaware plant to renegotiate DOE loan
Electric car startup Fisker Automotive Inc. said Monday it has suspended work at its manufacturing plant in Delaware and laid off 26 workers while it renegotiates the terms of its $529 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The company said in a statement that it has received $193 million of the DOE loan so far, mostly for its Karma vehicle, which was introduced late last year.

Another 40 contractors and employees who were working in design and development of Fisker's Karma luxury car in Anaheim, Calif., also have been cut.

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02/07/12
automotive

GM's China sales post first drop in 6 months
General Motors reported its first drop in China sales in six months as purchases slowed during the weeklong Lunar New Year holiday.

Deliveries to Chinese dealers fell 8 percent to 246,654 vehicles in January, from 268,071 a year earlier, the company said in a statement today. This year's holiday extended from Jan. 23 to Jan. 29 and marked the start of the year of the dragon.

"People and workers are leaving for their hometowns, families are going on holiday," said Namrita Chow, Shanghai- based analyst at IHS Automotive. "This reduces the number of people looking to buy cars."

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02/07/12
f1

Jerez Day 1: First test times
Full lap times as of 11am local time, on the opening day of the three-day F1 group test at Jerez in southern Spain.

1. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Lotus-Renault 1m 19.670s
2. Nico Rosberg Germany Mercedes-Mercedes 1m 20.219s*
3. Paul di Resta Britain Force India-Mercedes 1m 21.526s
4. Daniel Ricciardo Australia Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m 22.036s
5. Kamui Kobayashi Japan Sauber-Ferrari 1m 22.112s
6. Jenson Button Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1m 22.366s
7. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari-Ferrari 1m 23.391s
8. Pastor Maldonado Venezuela Williams-Renault 1m 23.457s
9. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Caterham-Renault 1m 24.298s
10. Pedro de la Rosa Spain HRT-Cosworth 1m 25.535s*
11. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault no time

* 2011 car

Comment
02/07/12
ga
wec

Dalziel looking forward to biggest year of his career
Dalziel after winning pole for Rolex 24, will race in Grand-Am and the WEC in 2012
Ryan Dalziel is one of the hottest properties in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series at the present time. A proven winner, Orlando-based Ryan also aims to shine on the world stage after Starworks Motorsport announced they had teamed up with Honda Performance Development to take on the new FIA World Endurance Championship.

Ryan, 29 — who also has a home in Hamilton, Scotland — already believes 2012 will be the biggest in his career. But it has not all been plain sailing. Ryan has had his fair share of downs as well as massive highs like winning the 2010 Rolex 24 title.

He reflects on the this year’s 24-hour event as well as looking at the challenges ahead, the massive changes at Fort Lauderdale-based Starworks and teaming up with Venezuelans Enzo Potolicchio and Alex Popow.

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02/07/12
usf2000

Spencer Pigot Wins Opening Cooper Tires Winterfest Race at Sebring
Spencer Pigot (2nd from right)
Spencer Pigot claimed a hard-fought victory in Monday afternoon’s opening round of the six-race Cooper Tires USF2000 Winterfest Championship at Sebring International Raceway. The 18-year-old from Orlando, Fla., headed a Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing sweep of the podium with teammates Matthew Brabham and Trent Hindman finishing second and third, respectively.

Pigot, last year’s runner-up finisher in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, used his experience to excellent effect by qualifying on the pole in his #2 Team Pelfrey/E-merging Technologies/Parathyroid.com/California Scents/Mazda/Cooper Tires Van Diemen-Mazda. His time of 2:26.698, set in streaming wet conditions after a short, sharp rain shower, was almost two seconds faster than teammate Brabham, in the #83 DTE Group/Ace Kangan Institute/Repco/Aviation Components/Australia Wide car, but that advantage disappeared in a hurry as soon as the green flag waved on a by-now dry race track.

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02/07/12
f1

Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
  • Did Adrian Newey outsmart the other designers again with an airtake where the nose steps up?  Speculation is that it may feed air to the rear diffuser
    'Step noses' still the hot topic at Jerez
  • Eyebrows raise as Red Bull shows nose air intake
  • Grosjean thanks knockers for 2009 criticism
  • Lotus frustrated with 'reactive ride height' ban
  • Exhaust blowing saga not over yet - Lotus
  • Renault still Lotus team sponsor - Caubet
  • HRT to be among 'step nose' teams - de la Rosa
  • Van der Garde 'surprised' by Jerez test day
  • Raikkonen to reunite with McLaren engineer
  • Raikkonen not Lotus team owner - Boullier
  • Alguersuari ready for F1 comeback 'opportunity'
  • Teams say F1 officials to decide on Bahrain return

    Read more & Comment...
02/06/12
nassprint

Tommy Baldwin Racing Enlists Ryan Pemberton as Crew Chief for Blaney
Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) hired Ryan Pemberton to lead the No. 36 team as crew chief for Dave Blaney. Pemberton will join the team as they attempt to make the 54th Annual Daytona 500 February 26. The No. 36 team’s 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) schedule is still being finalized as the team seeks funding for all 36 events.

Pemberton comes from a family of racers. The Saratoga, N.Y., native started out sweeping floors at Roush Fenway Racing and worked his way up to a NSCS crew chief in 1997. Most recently, he served as crew chief for Brian Vickers at Red Bull Racing. During his career as a NSCS crew chief, he compiled two wins, 21 top-fives, 92 top-10s and 15 poles.

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02/06/12
motogp

Rossi has rod removed from leg
Valentino Rossi underwent a small operation this morning at Cattolica’s Cervesi hospital to remove the rod that was inserted in his right tibia following his practice crash at the 2010 Mugello GP. The injury is now completely healed.

The operation went well, and the Ducati Team rider will be ready for the second test in Malaysia, scheduled for February 28 to March 1.  Press release courtesy of Ducati Corse

Comment
02/06/12
nhra

Hight wants to take testing momentum to Pomona
As soon as the 2011 Full Throttle Drag Racing season came to a close Robert Hight and his Auto Club Ford Mustang team raced to The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to get a jump start on 2012. They took the lessons learned in Vegas into the shop for the winter and at the 2nd annual PRO Winter Warm-Ups in Palm Beach, Florida they recorded the quickest ET, (4.034 seconds) and fastest speed (316.67 mph) of any of the Funny Car teams in attendance.

Hight is planning on using that confidence and momentum as he begins his Winternationals title defense this weekend at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. The success in Florida of his Auto Club Ford Mustang Funny Car has Hight riding high into Pomona.

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02/06/12
IRL

Baltimore Grand Prix: More bidders join the fray UPDATE Two Baltimore-based contractors -- including a former race car driver-- have also proposed taking over the Baltimore Grand Prix and repaying some of the debts accumulated by the race's former promoters.

Sharon R. Grinnell, president of sGrinnell Enterprises LLC of Owings Mills, and Gregory K. O'Neill, vice president of BMW Construction Specialists of Curtis Bay, approached city officials early last month about organizing the city's IndyCar race.

The Baltimore Sun obtained a copy of the proposal that their group, Baltimore Motorsports Group, LLC, submitted to the city.

"We're the home team," Grinnell said in a phone interview. "Many of our team members have experience running businesses on a day-to-day basis."

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02/06/12
starmazda

JDC MotorSports adds American Ashley Freiberg
JDC MotorSports is very pleased to add American Ashley Freiberg to its driver line-up for the 2012 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear season. Seeking to repeat as series champion, the Minnesota-based squad will have the talented rookie behind the wheel in the Mazda Road to Indy series via the newly created TrueCar, Inc. 'Women Empowered Initiative’.

In addition to always striving to win championships, JDC MotorSports has continually been focused on finding and developing talent behind the wheel. That continues in 2012, with the addition of Ashley to its Star Mazda Championship roster. Thanks in large part to a new driver advancement program by TrueCar entitled 'Woman Empowered', Ashley will join forces with the defending and three-time Star Mazda champion JDC MotorSports. The former Skip Barber Racing champion, who has four Star Mazda races on her resume, including a top-five finish in 2010 at the Autobahn Country Club, will contest the entire upcoming 18-race campaign, partnering fellow up-and-comer Juan Piedrahita under the JDC awning.

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02/06/12
f1

Jamie Alguersuari says he'll be back
Jaime, it’s been over two months since the phone call from Red Bull saying they will not count on you for 2012. How do you feel?

“On December 13th, when Red Bull Racing told me that I was no longer part of the family I said that I was not going to judge them, neither I was feeling like a victim and that this was not a drama.  But let me say just one thing: they hurt me, and moreover, it was unnecessary.”

How do you feel looking back?

“In 2012 I will not be in Toro Rosso but I want to let everybody know that personally I feel very proud of my work and specially with my progression in F1. Red Bull has never demanded so much from anyone! They made me debut in the middle of the Season when I was 19 with not one single kilometer of testing completed.  I ought to face Sebastian Buemi, a great driver, two years older than me, with more mileage and more GP experience.

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02/06/12
nassprint

Danica Patrick sets Super Bowl record for most commercial appearances
When Danica Patrick appeared in her tenth GoDaddy.com Super Bowl commercial Sunday she set a record for the most appearances by a celebrity on football’s biggest day. This was the eighth straight year GoDaddy has run a Super Bowl ad campaign, and the sixth year in which the Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) driver has starred.

GoDaddy.com, the company that also sponsors Patrick in NASCAR, ran two spots Sunday with the former IndyCar driver. Patrick will make her NASCAR Sprint Cup debut in the No. 10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet in the Daytona 500 on February 26.

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02/06/12
f1

New Sauber hits the Jerez track
Perez and Kobayashi unveil the new Sauber
On time, as if for a race start, the brand new Sauber C31-Ferrari left the garage today in bright sunshine in Jerez. At 13:45 hrs sharp Kamui Kobayashi went out on the Spanish track to put in the first laps with the 2012 contender for filming purposes. After today’s promotional day, it will also be Kamui who will start the test program tomorrow before handing over to his team mate, Sergio Perez. Sergio will be on duty on Wednesday and Thursday, on Friday the Japanese will be in the car again.

Kamui Kobayashi:

Kobayashi takes the C31 around Jerez for some photo-op shots
“I obviously can’t make serious judgments on the car because we had just a promotional day and were running only demo tires. But still it is always a good start to the season when everything goes smoothly and according to plan. Being that perfectly on time actually is very Japanese and Swiss as well. All systems worked fine. It is a very nice feeling to be back in the car and with the team and I’m very much looking forward to proper testing now.”

Comment
02/06/12
alms

ALMS on ABC and ESPN in 2012
Four live broadcasts and four ABC shows complement live ESPN3 online programming

Following a successful 2011 season with ABC/ESPN which resulted in a double-digit increase in audience size, the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n today unveiled its full broadcast schedule for the 2012 season, highlighted by four live broadcasts, four ABC broadcasts and an entire season of lap-by-lap coverage online.

Live broadcasts for 2012 include the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge on ABC in August. In addition, ESPN2 will air the Tequila Patr¢n American Le Mans Series at Long Beach, the American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix and Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport live. Additional races on ABC include the Series` opener, the 60th Anniversary Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida, the Baltimore Grand Prix and the ALMS finale from Road Atlanta: Petit Le Mans.

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02/06/12
f1

Sponsor holding up Petrov's 2012 plans - manager
Petrov worries about sponsor coming through
(GMM)  Vitaly Petrov's manager on Monday admitted an indecisive sponsor is delaying the Russian driver's plans for 2012.

It is rumored Caterham is contemplating ousting Jarno Trulli, should Renault refugee Petrov's sponsors agree to buy out the Italian veteran's contract.

The former Lotus squad on Monday announced its test schedule for Jerez this week, with Heikki Kovalainen driving on the first two days, followed by new Dutch test driver Giedo van der Garde.

Trulli is scheduled to drive only on Friday.

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02/06/12
gp3

Marlon Stockinger signs with Status GP for GP3 Series
Status GP - Image may be protected by copyright
Rising Filipino star Marlon Stockinger has signed to join Status Grand Prix as he embarks on his second season in the GP3 Series in 2012.

Stockinger, 20, returns to the Formula One support series confident of success after an strong end-of-season testing campaign with Status GP last autumn. The Manila-based driver regularly featured in the Top 5 of the time sheets at the Barcelona, Valencia and Jerez tests, and impressed the team with his approach and feedback.

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02/06/12
f1

Sauber joins 'stepped nose' club with C31
Sneak peak of the new Toro Rosso nose shows it too is stepped
(GMM) Sauber on Monday joined the growing 'stepped nose' club by revealing its C31 (See our Home page for a feature article).

The Swiss team's new Ferrari-powered car - boasting a modified grey, white and red livery - was revealed at Jerez before its initial laps "for filming purposes" ahead of the opening pre- season test. Like most other cars revealed so far in 2012, the Sauber features the controversial 'stepped wing' solution.

Also spotted at Jerez was Toro Rosso's new car, which has a stepped nose as well. The Ferrari- powered TR7 will be launched later on Monday, as will Red Bull's title-defending RB8.

Comment
02/06/12
f1

F1 test lineup this coming week UPDATE Caterham will be on track with it's new CT01 car the following days:
Tuesday 7th February: Heikki Kovalainen
Wednesday 8th February: Heikki Kovalainen
Thursday 9th February: Giedo van der Garde
Friday 10th February: Jarno Trulli

02/04/12 The countdown to F1 2012 begins proper next week, with the first pre-season test at Jerez getting under way on Tuesday, February 7.

All the teams, except Marussia (formerly Virgin) will be at the Spanish circuit, with nine - including Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari - planning a four-day program. HRT, however, will only be in action on the opening two days, while Mercedes, who will use their old car, will skip the final day.

The full planned line-up is as follows:

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02/06/12
racing news

Lorenzo Camplese joins moves up to the ATS Formel 3 Cup
Eurointernational is pleased to announce that it will enter the 2012 ATS Formel 3 Cup with Italian driver Lorenzo Camplese and a new Dallara F311 VW.

Lorenzo Camplese, 17, was the only Italian driver to win last season in the Formula Abarth European and Italian Championships and in the Formula Pilota China, also with Eurointernational, finishing second on his debut in the FJKRAS event during the India F1 GP.

Lorenzo Camplese : "After the great end of last season in Europe and Asia, I have always considered and wished to continue racing with the Eurointernational Team. Now our efforts and programs have been united to take part in the ATS Formel 3 Cup Series and I am very happy for this project and looking forward to start testing."

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02/06/12
f1

Latest F1 news in brief - Monday
  • New Lotus E20
    Lotus reveals 2012 car with stepped nose
  • Caterham signs Friday driver van der Garde
  • Alguersuari announces no F1 role for 2012
  • Hamilton not worried Button to derail F1 status
  • Teams to blame for 'ugly' field of 2012 - Whiting
  • Boss admits launch McLaren had 'plastic' exhausts
  • Tombazis: Pressure is on at Ferrari
  • HRT parts company with Jacky Eeckelaert

    Read more & Comment...
02/05/12
f1

Q and A with Lotus' Eric Boullier
Eric Boullier
Lotus team boss Eric Boullier shares his thoughts on the new E20 and his goals for the season, which include fourth in the Championship...

Q: How are you looking forward to 2012 and what do you hope can be achieved?
EB:
Obviously 2012 is very welcome after a poor 2011 and very hectic year. It's clear we've maintained our ambition on track and we want to carry on the full restructuring, progress and change that we started one year ago. We now have a clear target.

We know that we have a strong commitment from our shareholders, that we want to be a top team and seen as a top team. 2012 will be the year of our final adjustment to be ready and fully operational from 2013 with an ambitious plan. For 2012 we expect to be in a position to fight for fourth place for the championship.

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02/05/12
f1

Q and A with Romain Grosjean
Romain Grosjean makes his return to F1 with Lotus this season, after running seven races with Renault in 2009.

How does it feel to have a full-time Formula 1 drive?
It's just starting to sink in. It's a dream come true to get this drive. A fantastic emotion and a fantastic challenge as well. I think the team has a really good line-up for this year, with Kimi and myself. Hopefully we can do something special. I think I'll only truly realize it when we get to Melbourne and I see my name on the official entry list. For now I'm really happy to be at the factory as much as I can, to get involved with the team and get ready for testing.

How do you view this season - you had a part season two years ago - so is this a part rookie year?
It's difficult to say how I should view this season. For sure I did seven grands prix alongside Fernando [Alonso] and the experience I gained from that was helpful - and is still helpful today. On the other hand there are still some circuits that I don't know. But I don't think we can say I'm a rookie, just because of the experience I have. Let's say that I am a young driver who still has plenty of things to learn in Formula 1, but we are all expecting a good season.

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02/05/12
f1

Technical Q&A - Lotus’s James Allison on the E20
Following the launch of his team’s 2012 car, the E20, Lotus technical director James Allison looks to the season ahead...

Q: How different is 2012 likely to be from 2011?
James Allison:
If you casually flicked through the regulations you’d be forgiven for thinking that there aren’t many differences from last year, however nestling in there are some fairly profound changes. The most notable changes relate to the exhaust. The teams decided around Silverstone in 2011 that we were going to get rid of exhaust blown rear diffusers, and that point alone requires a very different design concept. Recent car designs have been heavily influenced by their rear exhaust configurations, and the intent of the rule is to stop that happening. The rules on the exhaust geometries themselves have been reinforced by some engine operation rules which don’t sit in the technical regulations, but which arrived by Technical Directive quite late last year. The exhaust issue, although agreed in principle at Silverstone, continued to unfold as late as mid-November, so the challenge has been to roll with the punches as the detail emerged over a fairly extended period - trying to make the best of each version of the rules as they’ve come out, whilst trying to anticipate where the end position is going to be. It’s certainly been an area which has preoccupied us and I imagine the rest of the grid too.

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02/05/12
f1

Q and A with Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen
2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen makes his F1 race return with Lotus this March, when he will grace the grid for the first time since his Abu Dhabi outing with Ferrari at the end of 2009. Following the launch of his new team’s 2012 car, the E20, the Finn discusses his comeback and the year ahead…

Q:Why F1?
Kimi Raikkonen:
Formula One is something very special in my racing career, and you always want to race at the toughest level, so Formula One is where you want to race if you have a choice.

Q: How quickly did the deal come about with the Lotus F1 Team?
KR:
Everything came together quite quickly. We shared a common goal and everyone was happy. This was the only way to do it and everything went pretty well from there.

Q: What do you think of the team now you've completed two days testing?
KR:
I'm happy with the team, they are very nice people, very easy going and it was nice to work with them for the two days I did in the R30. I think we'll have a lot of fun in the season ahead and hopefully we will get some good results. I want a strong enough car to challenge for good results.

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02/05/12
automotive

Chevy to Air Super Bowl ad Despite Objections from Ford
Photo of one Silverado from the video below
Last evening Chevrolet was asked by Ford Motor Co. to stop showing its Super Bowl commercial for the Silverado, the longest-lasting, most-dependable full-size pickup on the road.

The good-humored ad, called “2012”, shows the Silverado navigating a completely over-the-top, outrageous version of the devastation and destruction predicted to occur this year by the Mayan calendar includes giant attack robots, meteors and frogs falling from the sky.

A group of friends, who are Silverado owners, makes its way to the designated meeting spot but notice one of their buddies is missing.  The missing friend, however, did not drive a Chevrolet.  Instead, he drove a Ford and doesn’t appear to have made it to the meeting point.

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02/05/12
wrc

Ford gets ready for Sweden with test
Petter Solberg's Ford on the way to 3rd place last month in Monte Carlo
The factory Ford World Rally Team is testing in Sweden this week ahead of the country's World Rally Championship qualifier from 9-12 February when it will be bidding to extend its run of victories on the Scandinavian snow to six in succession.

Ford drivers have won Rally Sweden on the last five occasions and its driver line-up contains two former event winners. Jari-Matti Latvala triumphed for Ford in 2008, while Petter Solberg was victorious at the wheel of a Subaru Impreza in 2005.

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02/05/12
wrc

FIA/Eurosport WRC talks break down
Negotiations between the FIA and Eurosport for the promotion of the World Rally Championship have broken down and international television coverage of next week's Rally Sweden appears unlikely. The FIA issued a statement Saturday evening confirming it has withdrawn from negotiations and will begin discussions with other interested parties.

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02/05/12
irl

A.J. Foyt hospitalized for infection (Released) UPDATE A.J. Foyt has been released from a hospital in Houston, where he was being treated for complications from knee surgery. A spokeswoman for the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Foyt was released Friday and is still taking antibiotics for the infection.

01/27/12 A.J. Foyt has been hospitalized in Houston for complications from knee surgery and will skip the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The 77-year-old Foyt had knee surgery two weeks ago, and an infection sent him to the hospital Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for the four-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Friday that Foyt may stay in the hospital through the weekend. She said he had been up and walking since the surgery but developed an infection this week.

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02/05/12
f1

2012 Red Bull 'not as ugly as Ferrari' - Marko
'Ugly' Ferrari stepped nose
(GMM)  Dr Helmut Marko on Sunday gave the F1 world a sneak-preview of Red Bull's title-defending 2012 car.

A day before it debuts at Jerez, the Renault-powered RB8 will be revealed on Monday.

And the launch of Adrian Newey's next creation has become even more eagerly anticipated after rival top teams Ferrari and McLaren unveiled their 2012 machines.

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02/05/12
track news

Kentucky parking firm disputes Speedway's numbers
Last year's traffic snarls
The company hired to direct parking at Kentucky Speedway’s inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race last summer disputes track owner Bruton Smith’s recent assertion that hundreds of attendants failed to show up for work on race day.

The head of Brantley Security Services’ event management division claims the company had more attendants on the speedway grounds July 9 than it was obligated to provide.

Smith and Kentucky Speedway general manager Mark Simendinger gave a presentation during last week’s NASCAR media tour in North Carolina detailing steps being taken to expand parking and improve infrastructure around the Sparta, Ky., track before this year’s Quaker State 400.

The effort aims to avoid a repeat of July 9. Gridlock on Interstate 71 and other roads leading to Kentucky Speedway, compounded by parking problems at the track, kept many fans from seeing the race.

“The company that Mark had dealt with as far as the number of parkers, we contracted for 300. Eighty-four showed up,” Smith said during his opening remarks Jan. 25.

A Nashville lawyer whose firm represents Brantley Security challenged those figures in a letter sent to The Enquirer.

Jeremy Curran, president of Brantley Security’s event management division, supported attorney David L. Johnson’s claim that Brantley contracted with the speedway to provide 96 attendants for the Quaker State 400 and, in fact, had 112 show up on race day.

“The biggest thing for an event management company’s reputation is making sure that they fill their calls,” Curran said. “To me, that was (a) complete lie that I think was made up the three seconds before (Smith) went on stage.

“And I just don’t understand the purpose of it, other than ... to deflect blame of the situation that they caused partially. So all we want is that corrected.”

A copy of a signed contract between Brantley Services and Kentucky Speedway does not specify the number of attendants Brantley was requested to provide on July 9. Curran provided a spreadsheet detailing Brantley’s parking plan for the day that shows 10 supervisors, 30 directors and 56 parkers.

Simendinger said Thursday he had no comment on the matter.

Speedway officials have been careful not to mention Brantley by name. Like Smith last week, attorney Mark Guilfoyle stopped short of identifying the company when he provided a statement Thursday on behalf of Kentucky Speedway.

“Obviously, we are in a legal dispute with this company,” Guilfoyle said. “My client’s entire focus is on this year’s race. A brand new team is in place, and there won’t be any parking problems this year.”

According to Johnson, Brantley has not taken any legal action against the speedway. More at Cincinnati.com

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02/05/12
f1

F1 world still busy on winter Sunday
(GMM)  The next pieces are set to fall into place as a busy period in the world of formula one continues.

With four 2012 cars now launched, the next one - Lotus' new E20 car - will head the headlines on Sunday afternoon when it is unveiled online from the former Renault team's Enstone base.

At the same time, F1 teams - including Lotus - are busily setting up at Jerez for the first group test of the pre-season.

"No snow here," Lotus said from Spain ahead of the week's action.

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