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Da Costa finishes on top in Barcelona  Portuguese Antonio Felix Da Costa was fastest in the second day of testing after recording the quickest time in the morning session. His time of 1:37.934 was the fastest achieved after two test days in Catalunya. In the afternoon session Daniel Abt headed the timesheets as he repeated his form from day one.

GP3 Series pre-season testing continued for the second and final day in Barcelona at the Circuit de Catalunya. There were just two changes to the drive line-up: Aaro Vainio for Lotus GP returned to action after missing day one and Frenchman Yann Zimmer stepped in at Status Grand Prix replacing Tom Blomqvist who tested the previous day. More ...
Ferrari to preview Enzo replacement  Ferrari will show the replacement for the Enzo supercar to a select group of current and potential customers at the end of 2012, Ferrari Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo said. “We want to surprise people not just in terms of price but also with the car itself,” Montezemolo told Automotive News Europe on the sidelines of the Geneva motor show last week.

Ferrari has not decided when the new limited-edition model will make its public debut. A company spokesman said the most likely choices would be either January 2013 at the Detroit auto show or next March at the 2013 Geneva show. More ...

Reaction to NASCAR's decision on No. 48  Larry McReynolds, NASCAR analyst on FOX & SPEED, and NASCAR Race Hub analyst Jimmy Spencer reacted to the fines & suspension being upheld for No. 48 crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec.

Larry McReynolds: The personal side of me is uncomfortable about this whole deal because I have a lot of respect for Rick Hendrick, and have a lot of respect for Chad Knaus. He’s a friend. We do shows together. But I am not surprised they upheld it. I’m really not. He didn’t even use the word precedent, I don’t think that’s the right word to use, but I think the template was set back in 2007 when the 48, ironically, and the 24, unloaded at Infineon (Sonoma, Calif.) with those fenders. The template fit that day, but NASCAR has said since day one, and to quote (NASCAR Vice President of Competition) Robin Pemberton, ‘This is a gold surface, don’t mess with it.’ This is how you are to build this race car. I was not a bit surprised they upheld it. I don’t see (Chief Appellate Officer) John Middlebrook over-ruling it either. More ...

Of course Hendrick/Knaus lose appeal with NASCAR  Hendrick Motorsports lost its appeal Tuesday for illegal C-posts on the Daytona 500 car of five-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, but team owner Rick Hendrick isn’t willing to give up the fight.

Hendrick plans to make one last-ditch effort to keep Johnson crew chief Chad Knaus atop the pit box and to regain the points the team lost as part of the penalties.

"I don't accept it," Hendrick said after learning of the decision. "Period.”

Citing rules for illegal aerodynamic modifications relating to the contour of the car, NASCAR suspended Knaus and car chief Ron Malec for six races, docked Johnson 25 points and fined Knaus $100,000 for the C-posts of the Hendrick car submitted Feb. 17 for Daytona 500 opening-day inspection. Jeff Gordon, listed as the team owner, was also docked 25 owner points. More ...

Dallara will not build IndyCar aero kits for 2013 (Thank God)  Thank God that Dallara, the company that produced the two ugliest IndyCars in modern times, has decided not to build an IndyCar aero kit for 2013 when car-design rules will allow for two different aero packages in the Izod IndyCar Series.

Andrea Toso, the head of research and development for Dallara's IndyCar project, told IndyCar.com that it would be cost- and time-prohibitive for the manufacturer with an Indianapolis base to build different kits.

Instead, Chevrolet, Honda, Lotus and perhaps other companies that IndyCar is talking to will build the kits that will make the Dallara cars different in appearance and performance. Teams will be limited to two different kinds of kits, but most figure to use the ones produced by the manufacturer that builds their engines.

“You have to be humble enough to provide the platform and let them play,” Toso said......as a collective sigh of relief goes up from all IndyCar fans worldwide.

racing news
Honda outlines all its North American Racing initiatives  American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (AHM) and its subsidiary, Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD), will continue to expand HPD's performance-brand footprint to highlight Honda's exciting and fun automotive products.  This strategy gets a turbo boost in 2012 through three basic elements:

1.    Underscoring the performance pedigree of Honda products through HPD.  With the return of OEM competition in the IZOD IndyCar Series; its expanded sports-car programs in ALMS, WEC, and Le Mans; and new performance-product introductions across the grassroots racing spectrum, the Honda and HPD brands will demonstrate high value for our customers and unprecedented exposure for the Honda brands.

2.    Customer-focused information and service.  A major restructuring of HPD's customer-facing website offers a unique opportunity for fans to obtain real-time information about their favorite racing programs, an e-commerce platform to conveniently obtain Honda and HPD-branded products, and a chance to interact directly with HPD and its community of followers.  HPD's new website, launching this month, will also be a place for consumers to experience the "fun" of experiencing Honda and HPD racing products. More ...

Alonso: Ferrari must improve  
Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso has warned Ferrari must "improve a lot" if they are to mount a serious bid for the 2012 Formula One world titles.

"We definitely still need to improve a lot, working on our understanding of the F2012, adapting my driving style to a new car which, with the loss of aerodynamic downforce at the rear and the new Pirelli tires, is a bit harder to drive."

"We know in which direction we need to go in terms of car development and that's an important step," Alonso continued. More ...

Mallya pumps in $32M into Force India  Sahara Force India team principal Vijay Mallya has pumped in $32 million into his Formula One team ahead of the season opener in Melbourne Sunday.

Watson, the personal investment company used by the liquor baron, has loaned Force India nearly $10 million while Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines and his beer and spirit arm has generated the remaining $22 million through sponsorship, The Scotsman reported Monday.

The Silverstone-based team is eying to better its last year's sixth place finish in the 2012 Constructors' Championship.

Force India found a co-owner Subrata Roy led Sahara Group last year when the Indian company bought a 42.5 percent stake in the F1 team. Sahara said that it would invest a further $100 million into the mid-field outfit.

Andretti fired by Donald Trump  
Andretti thinks his firing by Trump was unfair
On Monday morning, racing legend Michael Andretti still was in a state of shock about being fired from NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" on Sunday night.

"If you watch the clip, you'll see that I really was upset," said Andretti, who had been on the elimination-style competition show for more than a month. "I had the feeling that they wanted to get me off the show."

Andretti's team was asked to promote the new Buick Verano. Everyone thought Andretti, with his racing background, was going to make the presentation, but the quiet son of Mario Andretti allowed comedian Adam Carolla to take the lead. Carolla flopped and was fired, but host Donald Trump said someone else should go too, and that was Andretti. More ...

INDYCAR expects aero kit rules soon  INDYCAR vice president of technology Will Phillips said his intent is to have a draft of 2013 aero kit regulations prepared "very soon."

Bodywork open to development and for sale by any approved manufacturer will be introduced for the 2013 IZOD IndyCar Series season. Phillips said the three engine manufacturers - Chevrolet, Honda and Lotus - in addition to "a few other companies we're talking to" have shown interest in designing, manufacturing and supplying the aero kits that will sell for $75,000 each.

For 2012, all IZOD IndyCar Series teams will utilize the oval and road/street course bodywork that is part of the Dallara package. The sidepods and engine cover will be universal for the diverse set of racetracks, while Dallara-designed and -produced front and rear wings will be different for the ovals and road/street circuits. More ...

Record field hits track for opening round of USF2000 Championship  Interest in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, the first step on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder, has skyrocketed over the winter, such that a high-quality field of 35 entries is poised to take the green flag in the opening rounds of the 14-race championship.

The pair of races will be held in support of the 60th 12 Hours of Sebring on March 15-16.

A total of 22 Championship Class cars are on the entry list, along with 13 National Class cars, which include 10 of the newly eligible SCCA Formula Enterprises Van Diemen-Mazdas. Previously, the largest field since USF2000 was re-introduced in 2010 after a three-year hiatus comprised 19 cars at the 2011 season finale on the streets of Baltimore. More ...

IndyCar Series drivers race around the clock  Three IZOD IndyCar Series drivers are entered in the 60th 12 Hours of Sebring, which will be held on March 17. Simon Pagenaud (Schmidt-Hamilton Racing) will drive a P1 for Muscle Milk Pickett Racing; Ryan Hunter-Reay will compete in P2 for Level 5 Motorsports and E.J. Viso will compete in PC with CORE Autosport.

Other drivers with IZOD IndyCar Series ties in the field are Bertrand Baguette (Oak Racing P1), Martin Plowman and Francesco Dracone (Conquest Endurance P2), Raphael Matos (Performance Tech Motorsports PC), Bruno Junqueira (RSR Racing PC) and Townsend Bell (Alex Job Racing GTC),

Seat time, not lap time, key element of tests  It's hard to judge results at any IZOD IndyCar Series test sessions, as teams and drivers concentrate on different aspects of performance aside from pure speed.

Some teams work on aerodynamics. Some focus on race setups and others take time to learn and develop their cars into race-winning machines.

Add in the changing track and weather conditions over a week in Central Florida and the results can be even more skewed.

Looking at statistics, two-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon was the top overall driver during of the Open Test on March 5-6 and 8-9 at Sebring International Raceway. More ...

Nissan to power DeltaWing  UPDATE
Revolutionary racer powered by Nissan 1.6-litre DIG-T engine technology

• Nissan leads efficiency charge as founding partner of project
• Innovative new racing car to run at Le Mans with Nissan technology
• Nissan DeltaWing will act as test bed for new road car technologies
• Drive for efficiency will see car use half the fuel of its conventional counterparts, bringing Nissan “PureDrive” principles to the track
• Initial backers include racing legends Dan Gurney and Don Panoz, concept designer Ben Bowlby and Michelin
• Special invitation from ACO to occupy ‘Garage 56’
• Car to wear number ‘0’ and run outside race classification

Nissan is aiming to change the face of endurance racing forever by becoming a founding partner in the most radical motorsport project of its time – Nissan DeltaWing.

A highly advanced and hugely efficient Nissan engine will power the remarkable DeltaWing car as it races in anger for the first time at the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours (16-17 June). More ...

Ford engine design costing owners big money  The owners of millions of Ford-150s and other top Ford models are paying up to thousands of dollars each just to replace spark plugs, in a problem emerging across the country as vehicles reach the recommended mileage for routine maintenance.

The culprit lies in a design Ford used in eight models between 2004 and 2008. Mechanics at Ford dealerships and independent auto shops say the plugs are prone to breaking even when the most expert mechanic does the work, with the risk of shards landing in the engine cylinder, requiring engine removal on rare occasions. Because the job is more complex, shops are charging more labor time to replace spark plugs, with additional costs for each of the eight plugs that break. Owners are reporting spending up to $2,200 for a job many say they could do themselves for under $50 on other auto models. More ...

Chase Card Services Agrees To Sponsor No. 24 Car In Five Races  JP Morgan Chase’s credit card division yesterday announced it has signed on as the primary sponsor of the AARP Foundation’s No. 24 Chevy driven by Jeff Gordon for five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races this season. The company’s credit card division, Chase Card Services, will appear on the car in Bristol (March 18), Charlotte (May 27), Indianapolis (July 29), Richmond (Sept. 8) and Dover (Sept. 30). It is the second year Chase Card Services has taken primary sponsorship on the No. 24 car. As it did last year, the company will donate $0.03 to the AARP’s Drive to End Hunger Campaign for each purchase made with an AARP Visa Card from Chase and $1 for each new account opened for that card. Chase contributed $2 million to the Drive to End Hunger in 2011. SportsBusinessDaily.com
Briatore: "Auto GP can be a winning concept"  
Coloni and Briatore
Auto GP World Series had a very special guest for the opening round of the 2012 season: former F1 top manager Flavio Briatore showed up in the paddock on Sunday to visit his longtime friend Giuseppe Cipriani and Series boss Enzo Coloni, the two being friends since the years of Coloni's F1 commitment.

Briatore, who was in Monza with his wife Elisabetta and his 2 years-old son Nathan Falco, watched Race 2 from a private lounge on the main straight, and enjoyed the show provided by the drivers on the Italian track. After the race he was happy to share his thoughts on the Championship and on the feeder series scenario. More ...

Lamborghini Gallardo Successor to Feature Revolutionary Design  
Will this limited edition not street legal Lamborghini Sesto Elemento influence the Cabrera?
The Lamborghini Gallardo entered the market in 2003 and with over 12,000 cars built, this car is the company’s most-produced model to date. But the Gallardo is due to be replaced by a new sports car supposedly named Cabrera which will be unveiled next year.

In an interview with Car and Driver, Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann said the Cabrera will make “a clear cut” from the Gallardo, especially visually. He stated:

We always say that design is not an evolution but a revolution, and this will be the philosophy of the follow-up to the Gallardo. More ...

Trans Am Partners With GoRacingTV.com  Trans Am Race Company announced today it will partner with GoRacingTV.com to provide a unique form of video coverage for the 2012 season. The partnership will afford Trans Am fans coverage of their favorite race series worldwide.

“We’re extremely enthusiastic with the package GoRacingTV.com has presented,” said Trans Am Race Company President, John Clagett. “Using the latest online and video technologies, we feel we can provide our fans with exciting news coverage and behind the scenes information. In addition, through GoRacingTV.com’s mobile App, fans can have their Trans Am fix where ever and whenever they want.” More ...

Varhaug takes Race 2 win in Monza thriller  The second winner of the World Series era of Auto GP is Pal Varhaug: the Norwegian driver brought newcomers Virtuosi UK to a stunning victory after a thriller race that saw him recover from P7 on the grid, thanks to a great pace and a lightning quick pit-stop by the team. The early part of the race was led by Max Snegirev, taking a good start from P2 and so preceding Giacomo Ricci, Chris Van der Drift, Facu Regalia, reverse poleman Antonio Spavone and Varhaug into first corner. More ...
Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday  
  • Renault, which supplies several top F1 teams like Lotus, is already focused on 2014
    Renault already putting '70pc' into 2014 engine
  • Ricciardo earning less than $500k in 2012
  • Williams in no rush for new title sponsor - Parr
  • Grosjean happy if Melbourne rain falls
  • Caterham F1 Team adds Visa
  • Brawn: W03 can win races
  • Pirelli confident tire life will be shorter
  • Marussia must focus on basics before KERS - Glock  More ...
tv news
Motorsports This Week on ESPN  
NASCAR Nationwide Series at Bristol 
After two races in the western US, the NASCAR Nationwide Series moves to the half-mile Bristol (TN) Motor Speedway this weekend for a 300-lap race and ESPN will have a live telecast on Saturday, March 17. The NASCAR Countdown pre-race show airs at 1 p.m. ET with the race’s green flag at 2:13 p.m. All NASCAR programming on ESPN and ESPN2 is also available on computers, smartphones and tablets with the WatchESPN app and WatchESPN.com.

Booth: Lap-by-Lap announcer Allen Bestwick; analysts Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree.
Pit reporters: Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch, Vince Welch.
NASCAR Countdown: Nicole Briscoe (host); Rusty Wallace, Brad Daugherty (analysts). More ...

Mitch Evans fastest in opening day of Barcelona GP3 test  
Mitch Evans
GP3 Series testing resumed in Barcelona at the Circuit de Catalunya for the second official pre-season test of 2012. There were six new faces on show: Carmen Jorda (Ocean Racing Technology), Kotaro Sakurai (Status Grand Prix), Tom Blomqvist (Status Grand Prix), Kevin Ceccon (Trident Racing) and John Wartique (Atech CRS GP). Carlos Sainz Junior stepped in at Lotus GP for Aaro Vainio who will return to action on day two of the test.

MW Arden Ace Mitch Evans posted the fastest time of day with a lap time of 1:38.609, just ahead of Cypriot Tio Ellinas and Daniel Abt in the morning session. It was the German who then went quickest in the afternoon, with times slower compared to the earlier part of the day, until the dying moments of the test. More ...
The 12 Hours of Sebring LIVE on Motors TV in Europe  Hot on the heels of Grand-Am and NASCAR Nationwide, the High Speed Television Channel is pleased to confirm coverage of yet another major U.S championship for 2012: The American Le Mans Series. All ten races will air live on Motors TV this season, kicking off with the 12 Hours of Sebring (March 17) and concluding at the blue riband Petit Le Mans (October 20).

Launched in 1999 by entrepreneur and motorsport enthusiast Don Panoz, ALMS represents North America’s premier endurance category. Sharing its technical regulations with the Le Mans 24 Hours through a partnership with the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, its season-opening 12 Hours of Sebring stands out as the most prestigious event on the calendar. This year the race also plays host to the World Endurance Championship, which begins its new era alongside ALMS at the Florida venue. It marks a fitting return for the revived series, with Sebring’s second running in 1953 having hosted the inaugural world championship sportscar race. More ...
35-Car Grid Set to Challenge in USF2000 Season-Opener at Sebring  Interest in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, the first step on the Mazda Road to Indy ladder, has skyrocketed over the winter, such that a high-quality field of 35 entries is poised to take the green flag in the opening rounds of the 14-race championship. The pair of races will be held in support of the 60th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh from Florida at historic Sebring International Raceway on March 15-16.

A total of 22 Championship Class cars currently grace the entry list, along with 13 National Class cars which include 10 of the newly eligible SCCA Formula Enterprises Van Diemen-Mazdas. Previously, the largest field since USF2000 was re-introduced in 2010 after a three-year hiatus comprised 19 cars at the 2011 season finale on the streets of Baltimore. More ...

Gregory & Appel Insurance Announces Expanded Mazda Road to Indy Sponsorship  Gregory & Appel Insurance announced today that it is expanding its "Securing Tomorrow" award to all three Mazda Road to Indy ladder series. 2012 will mark its seventh season honoring the future stars of the IZOD IndyCar Series.

For 2012, the "Securing Tomorrow" award will be given to the driver in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda, Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear and Firestone Indy Lights who accumulates the most race wins during the season. The USF2000 winning-most driver will be awarded $1000 and the Securing Tomorrow trophy. The Star Mazda winner will be awarded $2000 and a similar trophy. The Firestone Indy Lights winner will be awarded $3000 and a large trophy. More ...

Media Chief Paul Brooks Leaving NASCAR  NASCAR announced today that Paul Brooks, senior vice president of NASCAR and president of NASCAR Media Group, is leaving the company on May 4, 2012, to focus on a variety of personal and outside business interests. Brooks, who has been with NASCAR for 19 years, will continue as a senior advisor to the company in key areas, including broadcasting, media strategy and innovation.

“Paul’s accomplishments at NASCAR are beyond measure and have contributed significantly to the success of our entire industry over the last two decades and prepared us in many areas for future growth,” said NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian France. “We are grateful for his years of dedicated service, support his decision to pursue other interests and wish the very best to Paul and his family. He will be greatly missed.” More ...

SPEED previews the F1 season  The inaugural race of the 2012 Formula One World Championship is right around the corner, with live coverage of the Australian Grand Prix set for Sunday, March 18 at 1:30 a.m. ET/10:30 p.m. PT (replay at 3 p.m. ET/Noon PT).

SPEED also is set to broadcast practice starting at 1:30 a.m. ET/ 10:30 p.m. PT on March 16, with qualifying at 2 a.m. ET/11:00 a.m. PT on March 17. The Formula One audience can also catch live streaming of the first and third practice sessions at SPEED.com.

All 20 Formula One races are to be broadcast on SPEED or FOX in 2012. SPEED will include 30-minute, pre- and post-race shows for the four events scheduled to air on FOX (Grand Prix of Canada, Grand Prix of Europe, the British Grand Prix and the German Grand Prix). More ...

Marussia F1 team adds associate sponsor  The Marussia F1 Team is pleased to announce that it has joined forces with JCC, the advanced lighting technology company.

JCC has been at the forefront of lighting technology since the 1980s and is developing the next generation of LED lights that are highly energy efficient and have minimum carbon footprint.  LED lighting is revolutionizing the office and home environment. JCC are market leaders in Fireguard domestic lighting and specialists in office and commercial lighting. More ...

TV News
Waltrip joins Andretti voting panel  Three-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip, recently inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, has agreed to become a voting member of the SPEED Performer of the Year panel, giving the distinguished group six Hall of Fame racers, including Mario Andretti, Dan Gurney, Sir Stirling Moss, Don Prudhomme and Scott Russell.

The winner of the annual award is presented the Mario Andretti Trophy on a special episode of SPEED Center in February.

“Adding Darrell certainly gives the panel one of the definitive voices in all of NASCAR,” said Andretti. “One of the best in the business on the track during his driving career, he continues to maintain a connection with the sport through his television work and keeps an active link with race fans. His perspective during the selection process for this award will be invaluable.” More ...

Ike Janacek Appointed Edmonton Indy General Manager  
Dumontier (L) and Janacek (R)
François Dumontier, President and CEO of Octane Motorsports Events, promoter of the Edmonton Indy, is proud to announce that Edmontonian Ike Janacek, until recently General Manager of downtown’s Sutton Place Hotel and Co-Chair of DMF Downtown Cluster, has been named General Manager of the Edmonton Indy. The 11th round of the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series is scheduled for July 20-22 at Edmonton’s City Centre airport racecourse. Janacek’ appointment comes into effect today.

“I am extremely proud to welcome Ike Janacek as our new Edmonton Indy General Manager. He brings to our team a significant knowledge of Edmonton and its travel business community, having served for the last decade as an executive at one of the City major hotel. His experience in management, sales, marketing and especially in customer services is unique. As I previously said, satisfying customers is part of Octane’s DNA. I am confident that with Ike at the helm of the Edmonton Indy, we are more than ever in a position to deliver an outstanding event to our fans”, stated today Octane’s CEO François Dumontier, noting that Janacek has earned a Gold Key Award (recognizing service excellence and commitment) from the Alberta Hotel & Lodging Association. More ...

Corvette Racing to Debut New Wide-Body Race Cars in Sebring Season  Following an intense preseason testing program, Corvette Racing will begin its quest for the American Le Mans Series GT championship in the season-opening 60th Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on Saturday, March 17. Originally constructed as a training ground for B-17 bomber crews during World War II, the runways and service roads of Sebring Airport became a proving ground for legions of Corvette racers. Corvette Racing will continue this motorsports tradition with the competition debut of a new generation of Compuware Corvette C6.R race cars and a revised driver lineup at Sebring International Raceway in the most demanding endurance race on the ALMS calendar. More ...
IndyCar teams with DreamWorks on 'Turbo'  UPDATE INDYCAR, the sanctioning body for the IZOD INDYCAR Series and Firestone Indy Lights, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway ("IMS") announced today a first-of-its-kind movie-themed collaboration with DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) for the Company's upcoming animated feature film "Turbo," which is scheduled to be released on July 19, 2013.

DreamWorks Animation's "Turbo" is the story of an ordinary garden snail with an impossible dream: to win the Indy 500. When a freak accident gives him extraordinary speed, Turbo sets out to try to make his impossible dream come true.

"The Indianapolis 500 is a one-of-a-kind live event that has fascinated people of all ages for many, many years and Turbo is a character whose biggest ambition is to add his name to its list of international champions," commented Jeffrey Katzenberg, Chief Executive Officer of DreamWorks Animation. "DreamWorks Animation's alliance with the INDYCAR team represents an authentic tie-in between a real-life race and an imagined adventure that is certain to culminate in a thrilling ride for the whole family next summer." More ...

Too soon for Mercedes title challenge - Haug  
Norbert Haug
(GMM)  Norbert Haug on Monday played down reports Mercedes could be set to be a shock title contender in 2012.

Some new analysis in the sport's specialist media claims the W03, to be raced by Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg this season, was actually quicker than all comers in the crucial 'long runs' during recent pre-season testing.

But Haug, Mercedes-Benz's motor sport vice-president, insisted it is unlikely the former Brawn, Honda and BAR team can leap from fourth in the constructors' world championship to first in just a single bound. More ...

GM's buyers reject 'Obamamobile' Volt  
Chevy Volt
Pity the Chevy Volt.

Ever since it became known that the plug-in hybrid car's batteries had burst into flames after government crash tests, the Volt has become the whipping boy of Republican politicians. Conservatives have equated General Motors Co.'s Volt with everything from government bailouts to radical left-wing environmentalism.

"Although we loaded the Volt with state-of-the-art safety features, we did not engineer the Volt to be a political punching bag," GM CEO Dan Akerson said during a Congressional hearing on the Volt in January. "And that, sadly, is what the Volt has become."

Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich faulted the Volt for its lack of space for a gun rack. Front-runner Mitt Romney called it "an idea whose time has not come." American Tradition Partnership Inc., a conservative group, referred to Volts as "exploding Obamamobiles." More ...

Penske teams suffer fuel injection problems  Secret or not, #2-Brad Keselowski and the rest of his team have learned their lesson from last year's comments about the electronic fuel injection system and want no more fines from NASCAR. So the outspoken driver bit his proverbial tongue on Twitter Sunday afternoon after leaving Las Vegas Motor Speedway very disappointed with his 32nd-place finish. For the second consecutive week, Keselowski had some fuel pickup issues, and this time it hurt him much worse than it did in a fifth-place run at Phoenix. After Landon Cassill blew his engine on Lap 246, Keselowski couldn't get going on the restart and was well off the pace as cars passed him on both sides. After the race, Keselowski said there was still fuel in the gas tank, meaning it was an issue with the fuel system. Keselowski, however, wasn't the only Penske driver affected. AJ Allmendinger in the #22 had his troubles much earlier, but they continued throughout en route to a 37th-place finish. According to the team's Twitter feed, the fuel pressure issue first showed up on Lap 149. The team spent several laps in the garage about 40 laps later, first trying to replace one part, and then later swapping out the whole electronic fuel injection system. NASCAR.com
Dodge says teams are interested  Dodge Motorsports president Ralph Gilles said Dodge is moving forward and hopes to remain in NASCAR despite losing Penske Racing as its signature team. Gilles spoke Sunday morning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after the unveiling of the 2013 Dodge Charger Sprint Cup car. Two weeks ago, Roger Penske announced his two-car Dodge team (Dodge's only major team) was switching to Ford in 2013. Gilles said he already has heard from several NASCAR teams who are interested in switching to Dodge next year. More ...
Busch: NASCAR Fuel injection still unreliable  UPDATE Drivers aren't the only ones worried about NASCAR's new electronic fuel injection systems. Engine builders are too.

Tony Stewart, Joey Logano and Mark Martin are all big name drivers who have had major issues with the new EFI systems during the opening weeks of the Sprint Cup season.

But some are worried about the bigger picture here – that NASCAR executives are leaving it up to teams themselves to deal with McLaren engineers over EFI problems.

Usually NASCAR itself wields a heavy hand with this sport's suppliers, making them toe the line.
However it appears to some here that NASCAR simply doesn't the expertise or engineers savvy enough to get a hand on EFI. More ...

Marussia Preview of the 2012 Qantas Australian Grand Prix  
The Marussia team had almost no pre-season testing time
The Marussia F1 Team is delighted to be heading to Melbourne for this weekend’s 2012 Formula 1 Qantas Australian Grand Prix and the start of a brand new season, the team’s third year of F1 competition.

Melbourne is a fantastic place to get things started. It’s a lively, cosmopolitan city that simply loves seeing Formula One roll into town every year. The feeling is mutual. Formula One loves Melbourne and the teams always receive an incredibly warm reception from the country’s legions of motorsport fans. Being the season-opener and in relatively close proximity to the Far East, this race also sees its fair share of fans from Asia - and there are many - making the trip to soak up the excitement. More ...

Latest F1 news in brief - Monday  
  • Bernie Ecclestone
    Ecclestone says F1 budget cap 'could happen'
  • Ecclestone defiant amid latest Bahrain reports
  • F1 will adjust to 'ugliest' 2012 cars - Lauda
  • Hamilton vows to focus more on F1 in 2012
  • Schumacher insists 'still good enough' for F1
  • Vettel to push for rare title hat-trick
  • No personal sponsors for champion Vettel
  • Raikkonen broke wrist in Christmas crash
  • Sauber flattered as Red Bull copies 2012 exhaust
  • Mercedes 'even faster than Red Bull' - reports
  • Red Bull not yet a great team - de la Rosa
  • Marko not worried about new cheat rumors
  • Optimistic Grosjean eyes third for Lotus
  • Salo plays down Ferrari test in 2011 car
  • No Spanish GP share deal in place yet
  • HRT was 'risky team' for Senna - mother
  • De Villota admits not Marussia reserve
  • Briatore blasts F1 'show'
  • Enzo Ferrari museum opens in Modena
  • Ferrari not writing off original F2012 exhaust design yet More ...
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