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Cosworth satisfied with Bahrain weekend performance  Cosworth’s widely anticipated return to Formula One as an engine supplier was given the stamp of approval by all four of its customer teams after the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix in Sakhir yesterday.

Working with AT&T Williams, HRT F1, Lotus Racing and Virgin Racing, Cosworth was able to verify the performance of its CA2010 V8 engine in race conditions after encouraging results in pre-season testing. The weekend was marred only by an engine issue on Bruno Senna’s HRT during the race, caused by sudden water loss from the chassis water system. More ...

Intersport Racing to miss Sebring  
The destroyed Intersport Lola
As reported, the #37 AER-powered Lola B06/10 LMP1 race car got airborne and flipped several times on the straight between Turns 9 and 10 of the 3.7-mile, 17-turn Sebring International Raceway circuit while testing for the 58th Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring Presented by Fresh from Florida. The event is the opening race of the 2010 season for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n.

After sorting through the damage, the team determined the driver experienced a failure to the right rear suspension while traveling in a straight line. Jon Field, who was driving the car, was taken to Highlands Regional Medical Center following an accident. He was released a few hours later with no reported injuries. More ...

Brazil race draws improved ratings  VERSUS' live coverage of the Sao Paulo Indy 300 on March 14 garnered a 0.4 national household rating, the third-highest rated IZOD IndyCar Series race on the fast-growing sports cable network.

The race peaked at a 0.6 household rating between 2:15 -2:30 p.m. (EDT) and averaged 411,000 viewers, up 30 percent from the 2009 season average (315,000) and up 76 percent from the 2009 season-opening race (233,000).

ALMS announces new sponsor  The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n put a punctuation mark on its commitment to innovation and advanced technical development with its announcement of Freescale Semiconductor as the official Automotive Technology Solutions Partner of the Series.

Freescale Semiconductor, based in Austin, Texas, is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial and networking markets. It has design, research and development, manufacturing or sales operations around the world. 

With more automobile manufacturer involvement and participation than any major racing series in the world, along with more advanced automotive technology than any series other than Formula One, the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n provides Freescale Semiconductor with significant opportunities to enhance both business-to-business and public awareness of its advanced automotive technology solutions. At the same time, engineers from Freescale Semiconductor will be “embedded” in the paddock at Series races offering support and communication to team and manufacturer engineering personnel.

”Freescale is honored to be the automotive technology solutions partner for the American Le Mans Series,” said Reza Kazerounian, senior vice president and general manager of Freescale Semiconductor’s Microcontroller Solutions Group. “Freescale has more than 30 years of experience in the automotive industry and long-standing customer relationships with the world's leading automakers and tier-one suppliers. The relationship with the American Le Mans Series shows our continued commitment to providing advanced silicon and software solutions for automotive applications.”

Key to the B2B involvement with the Series will be Freescale Semiconductor’s support and presenting sponsorship of two in-depth technical conferences concerning the future of transportation technology. These will be held in conjunction with races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (May 22) and Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda 6 at Road Atlanta (Oct. 2). Along with the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Series represents the pinnacle of racing for automotive technology, including hybrid powertrains, alternative fuels and additional advanced technology that is consumer-relevant.

In addition, Freescale Semiconductor will be a presenting sponsor of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n’s paddock hospitality center, welcoming businesspeople, stakeholders and team participants alike.

“Nowhere has there been a motorsports series more diligent in supporting automobile manufacturers’ work in advancing technologies to make the future of transportation not only more sustainable but more exciting too,” said Scott Atherton, president and CEO of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patro?n. “From Day One, the Series has prided itself on the unique position of developing relevant and innovative technologies that could be tested on the track with consumers eventually benefiting from the end result.  Freescale [Semiconductor] is the perfect company to emphasize how vital that approach is to not only the advancement of motorsports but the entire automobile and transportation industry as well.”

The American Le Mans Series is recognized as the Global Leader in Green Racing. It is the only major race series in the world in which all cars compete on one of five alternative fuels and/or energy sources: clean diesel, cellulosic E85, E10, iso-butanol and E10/gas-electric hybrid.

In 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and SAE International declared the American Le Mans Series the only motorsports entity to meet the criteria for green racing.  Since its launch in 1999, the Series has stood on its unique position of relevancy within motorsports, working closely with up to 13 difference OEM’s on innovative technologies developed on the track that often transfer to the customer showroom.

The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patro?n kicks off its 12th season with the 58th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 20 at Sebring International Raceway.  Green flag for the SPEED telecast is scheduled for 10:35 a.m.  ALMS Radio found at www.americanlemans.com will carry the entire race.  XM/Sirius will also broadcast portions of the endurance classic live.

Prost tells drivers to suck it up  Alain Prost comes from the day when there was no refueling. The drivers had to work with the system they had. He thinks the current crop of drivers should just shuttup and drive, though he phrased it more delicately.

"These drivers have never experienced this before so they are a bit confused by everything, and so are the teams. They have to get used to it and it will be better,” the fifty five year old Frenchman said. “They have got used to a sprint, in free practice, qualifying, race.”

“And having 60 kilos of fuel or 10 kilos makes no difference. But when you start a race with 160 kilos you have to think differently, and they are not used to that. But after a few races I am sure the good drivers, the top drivers, will like it."

NASCAR babies on the way...  Jeff Gordon says his wife is expecting a baby boy.

Gordon made the announcement on his Web site Tuesday. It will be the second child for the four-time NASCAR champion and his Belgian wife, Ingrid.

Gordon's daughter, Ella, will be 3 in June.

Gordon is part of a baby boom this season in NASCAR. Elliott Sadler and Carl Edwards became first-time fathers last month, and four-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson is expecting the birth of his first child in July.

Juan Pablo Montoya's wife is expecting their third child in July - Indianapolis Star

Gordon says to expect torn up cars this weekend  The addition of more SAFER barriers has taken away some of the racing surface at Bristol Motor Speedway, and that may cause the ‘sparks to fly’ in Sunday’s Food City 500 according to five-time Bristol winner Jeff Gordon. Racing has always been tight at the 0.533-mile high-banked track, but now there is less track – about three feet less – at the exits of turns 2 and 4.

“It’s like anything else, we’ll eventually get used to it,” said Gordon, who also has five poles, 14 top-fives and 20 top-10’s in 34 starts at the Tennessee track. “But we already use every inch of the track, so it’ll be interesting to see how much damage the drivers do to the right side of their cars in the first hour of practice on Friday.

“It’s going to be very important to get your car working well for the race, though, because with a narrower track it’s going to be harder to pass.

“If you want to see sparks fly, I think this might be the thing that does that.” Following Bristol is another short-track event at Martinsville, and Gordon wants it no other way.

“I'd rather have the short tracks back-to-back,” said the driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. “It gets you into a mindset, and gets the team really thinking about the set-ups and the cars. The only thing is you might not be using the same race car from week to week. “More than likely you're going to tear one up.”

Gordon enters this Sunday’s 500-lap event 11th in the standings despite three finishes of 18th or worse in four races, and that standing can be attributed to bonus points. His 16.8 average finish this season ranks only 15th, but the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has led three of four events including the most laps led at Las Vegas. That translates to 20 bonus points – tied for the most this season – and a spot inside the top 12 heading into the season’s first short track event.

“Bonus points are nice, but I look at it as we’re leading races and running strong,” said Gordon, who led 219 of 267 laps in Las Vegas before finishing third.

“Even though we finished in the top-five at Vegas and had a good points day, you definitely want to win races when you dominate like that. “Winning is worth more points – and it does so much more for your confidence as a team.”
Patrick's stock car stint could spell end for IndyCar  UPDATE Dear AR1.com, Can’t help notice that Dean McNulty wrote this latest gloom and doom article on the prospects of Danica Patrick leaving for NASCAR spelling the end for IndyCar.  Is this the same guy who has a long history of writing such blatantly biased and unsubstantiated articles against CART while advocating the IRL when he was I believe with the Toronto Sun?  If so, then it is one of those articles that you need to consider the source before drawing any conclusions, let alone take seriously.  For instance, Dean fails to point out that after a few years, Danica Patrick hasn’t launched IndyCar into a new level of popularity, and one star does not a series make.  Would her departure hurt IndyCar?  Obviously it would, but more important to the series in the here and now is the growing likelihood the sport of Open Wheel got a CEO who gets it, at least I hope Bronco does, as neither CART or the IRL seemed to be able to find such a person since the split.  Andy Fogiel, Lansing, MI

If it's biggest star Danica leaves, will the IRL collapse like a house of cards?
IndyCar racing is entering its third full season following the end of the CART/Champ Car/ IRL 10-year war and all is not well.

Although the series will start 2010 with 22 cars on the grid at Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Sunday, the vast majority of those teams are held together with hope and a prayer.

At the top of the open wheel pyramid in the Western hemisphere are three teams that have dominated the podium since the great reconciliation of 2008: Penske Racing, Ganassi Racing and Andretti Autosport (formerly known as Andretti-Green Racing). Together they list nine cars under their respective umbrellas.

There is not a doubt in the world that each of those nine cars and drivers will start every race on IndyCar's 17-race calendar.

The same cannot be said for the rest of the grid.

Mostly the blame can be laid at the feet of [the creation of the IRL and the destructive split it caused in open wheel racing] and to a lesser extent on the brutal recession that has ripped the fun parts out of the international economy.

There is substantial blame left over, however, for those folks who have lorded over open wheel racing on this side of the Atlantic ocean for the past two generations.

What we have in IndyCar is a collection of team owners who for the most part wouldn't spend a red cent of their own money to put a race car on the track. More ...

Mercedes 'didn't want' to supply Red Bull - Marko  (GMM)  Mercedes did not want to power Red Bull this year because the German marque feared being beaten.

That is the claim of Dr Helmut Marko, the motor sport adviser to the energy drinks company mogul Dietrich Mateschitz.

After multiple technical problems with its engine supplier Renault last year, Red Bull Racing tried to switch to Mercedes, known to be the best engine in F1 at present.

It was thought that Brawn (now Mercedes GP) and McLaren exercised their right to veto new Mercedes engine deals, so Red Bull has stayed with Renault power.

To Servus TV, Marko said of Mercedes: "They didn't want us.  Without being arrogant, they knew that if we had that engine, they wouldn't see us (on the track)." More ...

Todt admits finding F1 commissioner 'difficult'  
Jean Todt
(GMM)  Jean Todt says he is no closer to appointing a commissioner to represent him at every grand prix.

Before he was elected as the FIA's new president, the Frenchman said a separate commissioner for all the governing body's series would be named.

In his election agenda revealed last August, the former Ferrari boss said the commissioner would be "responsible for the day to day management and governance" of the series.

But Todt, 64, attended the 2010 season opener in Bahrain and said it has been "difficult" to find the right person for the job. More ...

Gibbs to be inducted in TMS Hall of Fame  Joe Gibbs, once considered a rival to many in the state of Texas as the Super Bowl-winning head coach of the Washington Redskins, will now be hailed by the Lone Star State as he will be the latest motorsports icon inducted into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Gibbs, who owns three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships (2000, ’02, ’05) as owner of Joe Gibbs Racing, will be honored Friday, April 16, during the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Gala held in the Speedway Club’s Grand Ballroom at Texas Motor Speedway during the Samsung Mobile 500 race weekend. More ...
Ryan Newman Sponsor food product recalled for Salmonella  

Ryan Newman's sponsor, Tornado's Ranchero Beef and Cheese taquito product has been recalled over a widespread Salmonella contamination from a common supplier of Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP). Many other products were also effected.

See the following Bing search link for a full list of products.

More Ecclestone comments on Hitler  Bernie Ecclestone, the head of Formula One motor racing, has described the Holocaust as “at best disgusting. And unnecessary”.

In July last year Mr. Ecclestone was forced to make a public apology for comments to the Times where he appeared to praise Hitler’s leadership and his ability to “get things done”.

He later apologized in an interview with the JC, in which he said: “I never supported Hitler, I don’t think there’s anybody in this world who could support Hitler and the atrocities they [the Nazis] carried out.”

Speaking about the scandal which engulfed him and his lucrative sponsorship deals for Formula One last year, Mr. Ecclestone now claims in an interview with the Mail on Sunday to have researched Hitler’s Germany more thoroughly.

He said: ”Since this all happened, I have managed to look a bit more into things. In fact, there has been an awful lot written recently about those days and when you read all that, you realize it probably isn’t what people thought.

He added: ”What Hitler did was at best disgusting. And unnecessary. What happened up until 1939 was, probably, good for the country because it put Germany back on the road but what he did after that was completely unnecessary and I don’t think there was any advantage.

“I don’t think anybody could have got any advantage out of it.”

His remarks last year brought calls for his resignation from the president of the World Jewish Congress Ronald Lauder.

And a senior German Jewish official called for him to be boycotted by Formula One teams. Dieter Graumann, a vice-president of the Central Council of Jews, said: “No team should work with him any more." The Jewish Chronicle

Moss continues recovery  Sir Stirling Moss has thanked well-wishers for their messages of support as he recovers from the injuries he sustained in a fall down a lift shaft at his London home.

Moss suffered two broken ankles and damaged vertebrae in the incident, where he fell three floors after stepping into the lift shaft when a technical fault meant the lift was actually still on the fourth floor.

The racing legend – regarded by many as the best driver never to win the F1 title – has since been recovering in hospital but took time to update fans in a video message posted on his official website from his hospital bed.

"I would like to thank everybody out there who was kind enough to write to me, email me or whatever after the shunt I had at the weekend," he said. "I'm glad to say I'm feeling better. I'm not feeling great, but I am feeling better and hopefully will get out of here within a week or so.

"Obviously I am going to take it a bit easy, which is a bit of a bore. But still, and I should be bouncing back as soon as I possibly can. I hope that means I’ll be meeting a lot of you in the coming months.” YahooEuroSport

Button needs to raise game to beat Hamilton  
Jensen Button

Jenson Button will have to dig deep and raise his game in F1 2010 if he is to successfully get on terms with McLaren-Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton and have a chance of beating his title-winning predecessor over the balance of the campaign, argues the reigning world champion’s former team chief Nick Fry.

Many surmised after Button signed for McLaren in November that he was entering the lion’s den in pitting himself against a fierce adversary and a driver who has been backed by the Woking-based outfit since the age of eleven – and who over the last three years has to all intents and purposes made the team his own, some would say to the exclusion of any other. Just ask Fernando Alonso. More ...

Ecclestone says engineers mucked up Bahrain  BERNIE Ecclestone wants to stop Formula One's engineers from writing the rules after criticism over a dull season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix poured into his office.

The first race of the year was one of the most eagerly awaited in years as four world champions were on the track. But the race was a flop as new regulations, including a ban on refueling, led to a procession with almost no overtaking.

Ecclestone, Formula One's commercial rights-holder, believes that allowing the engineers and scientists who work for the teams to write the technical regulations has led to a sport in which staring at computers and worrying about tire pressures have become more important than the spectacle. More ...

USA Today writes about O'Connell at Sebring  Whether it's racing or being raucous, the 12 Hours of Sebring seems to suit Johnny O'Connell's fearless and freewheeling personality perfectly.

Friday, on the eve of America's oldest endurance race, O'Connell and Corvette Racing teammate Jan Magnussen will make their annual trip to Turn 10 and experience the fun-loving side of Sebring International Raceway that's as famous as its bone-rattling pavement. More ...
The most important word in racing: relevancy  Ed Note: Relevancy is also the biggest factor in the design of the Delta Wing. Though it may not look like it, that car has more relevancy to manufacturers than any current racing car, from a developmental standpoint. The ALMS has the biggest relevancy in another sense, as the cars that are raced, are much like what they sell in the showrooms.

American Le Mans Series President Scott Atherton concedes the circuit's premier class is no longer its fastest. But consolidating the LMP and GT divisions also has shifted the spotlight to a primary ALMS objective: connecting the racetrack to the showroom.

"To be completely candid, this is largely driven by economics, because our series is so closely tied to the auto industry, and it's been a very challenging time. But what also has occurred is the GT class has achieved a level of relevance beyond compare. It's a perfect example of manufacturers racing what they sell," he says. More ...

Webber says impossible to overtake  Mark Webber was particularly critical towards the first race of the 2010 season on Sunday after many felt it had featured a distinct lack of passing. Having started sixth in Bahrain, the Australian eventually finished eighth after losing positions at the start and failing to leapfrog competitors in pit-stops.

Having complained that overtaking was impossible via his personal Twitter account, Webber reiterated the point to Australian newspaper The Daily Telegraph. "It got pretty boring," the Red Bull driver said. More ...

Ecclestone: The inmates can't be allowed to run the asylum  Formula 1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone has stressed that, as teams suggest several regulation changes following a generally processional season-opening on Sunday, the competitors must never be placed in a position to modify rules themselves.

Having feared before the season began in Bahrain that the huge hype may not live up to expectations, Ecclestone remains calm after the general outcry from fans across the internet who, like many drivers, complained about the lack of overtaking and general action. More ...

Alternative Energy takes center stage in LB  Grand Prix of Long Beach's expanded Lifestyle Expo, continues the race's innovative focus on alternative energy as it applies not only to everyday life, but also to the world of fast cars.
Green Power Prix View, free to all with a race ticket, will feature extensive, weekend-long displays of alternative energy vehicles including the latest from Toyota, an SSI Racing Electric Cobra EV and the popular Smart Car.

The Lifestyle Expo will also highlight renewable energy sources, water and energy conservation, green building and healthy lifestyles for inside the home, featuring such products as the Noritz Tankless water heater, energy efficient windows from Pacific Home Improvements and the latest tips from SA Recycling. More ...

Vettel confident he would have beaten Alonso  Sebastian Vettel is convinced that he would have won the Bahrain Grand Prix had he not suffered a rare spark plug failure on Sunday. The German, who started from pole position, successfully defended from a charging Fernando Alonso's Ferrari but feels that the Spaniard never held a realistic chance of winning the race when lying second. After passing team-mate Felipe Massa for second at the start, Alonso trailed Vettel until the Red Bull's problem kicked in on Lap 33. Until then, the Spaniard had tried attacking the German although Vettel is sure that the Oviedo driver's grip levels were soon set to drop.

"In the car I had no idea," Sebastian told the official F1 website of his sudden technical problem. "I just realized that there was a dramatic lack of speed. At some moments if came back again but on the straights there was a fundamental difference to the car before and after Lap 33. The fourth place is somewhat damage limitation but until that hapless lap it was really our race. More ...
Spoiler test at Talladega on Tuesday  UPDATE NASCAR will use restrictor plates with larger holes than they have used in the past at Talladega Superspeedway Tuesday as its Sprint Cup teams test the new spoiler that is expected to replace the rear wing in a few weeks. The test will not only help teams figure out setups for the new spoiler but help NASCAR evaluate which restrictor plate to use with the new configuration. The test Tuesday is the first open test for Sprint Cup teams with the spoiler, and they likely will start with a restrictor plate with holes of 1-1/32 inches (66/64ths) - 7/64ths of an inch more than the plates used last October and 3/64ths larger than the plate used for this year's Daytona 500. The spoiler is expected to replace the wing starting with the March 28 race at Martinsville Speedway, although NASCAR has not announced a firm start date yet. The spoiler will definitely be in use, however, for the April 25 race at Talladega. Most teams are expected to attend the test. But not all teams are going as Richard Petty Motorsports is only sending Paul Menard and Roush Fenway Racing is only sending Matt Kenseth and David Ragan. Teams will fabricate their own spoilers for the test, but NASCAR will end up issuing teams the spoilers for the races. Richardson Racing Products will be making the spoilers and they should be ready for the March 23-24 test at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Darby said. In addition to replacing the wing with the spoiler, the rear quarter panel of the cars will be extended by four inches from the front edge, leaving only seven inches instead of 11 between the ground and the front edge of the rear quarter panel. Scene Daily

03/12/10 Sprint Cup Series teams will assemble on Tuesday, March 16 for an important early-season test at Talladega Superspeedway. Approximately 24 teams are expected to participate in the one-day session, which will target a number of mechanical options in advance of the Aaron's 499 on Sunday, April 25 at Talladega. NASCAR Sprint Cup officials will analyze the data gleaned - along with teams' input - and later make several key decisions for the Aaron's 499. Teams also will test spoilers, which will replace the current wings on the backs of cars. No timetable has been set for the wing-to-spoiler move. Rule changes, announced on Jan. 21, are the impetus behind the test. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams used larger carburetor restrictor-plate openings in the 2010 Daytona 500 and larger plate openings are expected for the Aaron's 499 at Talladega. The switch from wing to spoiler also was a rule change. The wing replaced the traditional stock-car spoiler on NASCAR's new car, now in its third fulltime season. Returning to the spoiler means on-track testing, and another series test - Tuesday, March 23 and Wednesday, March 24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway - will be devoted solely to spoiler work. Both the Charlotte and Talladega tests are exceptions to the current testing policy. Next Tuesday's Talladega session begins at 9 a.m. CT and runs until 5 p.m. CT with a noon-1 p.m. lunch break. Fans are welcome to attend, with free admission. The track's Gadsden and Lincoln grandstands only will be open, with parking lots behind those grandstands opening at 8:30 a.m. Grandstand gates open at 8:45 a.m. Grandstands close at 5:15 p.m. NASCAR PR
Ticket's available for Bristol races  Tickets are available for Food City 500 weekend. A package, consisting of Ford Fan Friday qualifying (March 19), the Scotts Turf Builder 300 and the Scotts EZ Seed Showdown (March 20) and the March 21 Food City 500, is available, starting at only $99. For fans who can only attend the Food City 500, single day tickets may be purchased, starting at $93. Tickets for Saturday’s doubleheader start at just $45, while fans can watch Ford Fan Friday qualifying for only $5, then attend Food City Race Night at BMS for free. A season ticket package featuring nine events during the March and August NASCAR weekends starts at only $199. The package includes the two most popular Sprint Cup races in the sport, along with a pair of Nationwide events, a Camping Truck Series race, the Scotts EZ Seed Showdown, a Whelen Modified event, qualifying and Food City Race Night. For more information concerning tickets, please visit www.bristoltix.com or call the BMS ticket office at 423-BRISTOL (274-7865). BMS
track news
Bristol has largest seating capacity of SMI tracks  Bristol Motor Speedway has the largest grandstand capacity of any of the Speedway Motorsports Inc. tracks, according to the company's annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Bristol's seating capacity remained at 158,0000. Texas Motor Speedway, which was also at 158,000, now stands at 137,000 seats (not including the infield) after the removal of 21,000 seats. Charlotte Motor Speedway also has cut seats from 156,000 to 146,000. Six of the SMI tracks have the same seating capacity as a year ago: Bristol, Las Vegas (131,000), Atlanta (101,000), New Hampshire (96,000), Kentucky (69,000) and Infineon (47,000). Bristol ranks third among all NASCAR Sprint Cup tracks in seating capacity, behind Indianapolis (approximately 250,000) and Daytona (159,000). Scene Daily
Who's hot heading into St. Pete  Coming out of the Sao Paulo Indy 300 on March 14, who is carrying momentum into the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on March 28?

It's the second consecutive street race ... the circuit about eight-tenths of a mile shorter than Sao Paulo, but has four more corners (15). Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe was the 2009 winner by 0.4619 of a second over Ryan Hunter-Reay (then with Vision Racing), and both are favorites this year.

Briscoe appeared in control midway through the Sao Paulo Indy 300, but he locked up the brakes entering Turn 5 and the No. 6 Team Penske car nosed into the tire barrier, allowing Hunter-Reay to pass for the lead. Briscoe's teammate, Will Power, won the season opener, overtaking Hunter-Reay in the tricky final corner with eight laps left. More ...

Q&A with Renault's James Allison  
Robert Kubica in his too slow Renault
Renault's technical director James Allison reviews the season-opening Bahrain GP and Renault's point-less start to the season...

Q: James, what was your assessment of Renault's weekend in Bahrain?
JA: Overall, I'm disappointed that we're going home empty handed because it's not a fair reward for the effort the team has put in over the last few months or the underlying competitiveness of our car. On the flip side, I'm pleased that we've met our initial performance expectations, which is the tricky bit. Our basic competitiveness could have put us sixth or seventh in qualifying, and that's a hugely better position than at the end of last year or at the beginning. It shows that we've made a proper step up with the car.

Q: The team brought a major upgrade to Bahrain. How did it perform?
JA: It was very difficult to judge exactly where the teams stacked up in the pre-season, but we had made our own estimates of where we stood. In Bahrain we found that the car has come out at the positive end of our predictions. Our competitive position, coupled with the data we measured on the car give me good confidence that the new package has delivered the performance that we hoped for. Although Bahrain is a slightly unusual circuit, with very few fast corners, I am confident that we should be able to pick up at the same level in Melbourne, or even take a step forward. More ...

racing news
Quote of the week  
Sebastian Vettel is the fastest driver F1 today
"In my opinion, Sebastian Vettel is the best driver on the F1 grid. What he managed to do is unbelievable. He had corner speeds that were almost beyond gravity. He was driving flawlessly, without even the slightest mistake. Sebastian had controlled the race and after lap three we were able to reduce on fuel because it was not necessary. Alonso did three laps to catch-up but was falling back again after those laps because of the tires. Had it been possible to blank lap 33 (when Vettel's spark plug malfunctioned) the trophy would have been his." Christian Horner, Boss of Red Bull F1 team talking about Vettel's dominating performance, and backing up AR1.com's claim that he is the fastest driver in F1 today
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Di Resta to debut Friday role in Melbourne
  • Indianapolis now plays down US GP return reports
  • FOTA to discuss 'F1 bore' saga on Tuesday
  • Ferrari wants F1's new teams to catch up
  • Santander gets EUR25m value from F1 winter, opener
  • Lopez ponders whether 'cheated' by failed USF1
  • Germany hits back after Italy's Schu criticism
  • Vettel's spark plug puts spotlight back on Renault
  • Coulthard blames Mosley for new face of F1

Di Resta to debut Friday role in Melbourne
(GMM)  Paul di Resta will kick off his season as Force India's Friday driver in Melbourne late next week.

The Scottish rookie has been signed not only as the Silverstone based team's full time reserve driver, he will also take over one of the race driver's cockpits for the 90 minute Friday sessions at most grands prix this year.

But for the season opener last weekend, the team elected to keep Adrian Sutil and Tonio Liuzzi at the wheel of the two VJM03s due to the change of layout.

23-year-old di Resta, however, still attended the Bahrain event.

"It's been new," said the DTM driver.  "I've only ever come to races as a spectator and not been involved with the team.

"I was involved in a lot of team meetings, watching how the formula one environment works and watching how the team operates on a race weekend and also taking part in as much as possible to try and build up a relationship with the team for the future," he added.

It is understood that if Sutil moves aside for di Resta in Friday's morning session in Australia, it will then be Liuzzi's turn to give up his cockpit a week later in Malaysia. More ...

Horrific Intersport crash at Sebring  UPDATE #2 Intersport Racing’s Jon Field was released from a Sebring, Fla., hospital Monday night, hours after a horrific crash during testing for this weekend’s opening round of the 2010 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n.

Field, testing for the 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida, was taken to Highlands Regional Medical Center following an accident in which his AER-powered Lola B06/10 LMP1 race car got airborne and flipped several times between Turns 9 and 10 of the 3.7-mile, 17-turn Sebring International Raceway circuit.

The car eventually came to a stop upright on its wheels. After being taken to the track's medical center, he was transported to Highlands Regional for further observation.

Prior to the crash, the Intersport Lola-AER had posted the fastest time of the afternoon session.

03/15/10 Team manager Brian Alder reported late Monday that CT Scans of the head and neck were negative.

Reports from IMSA indicated that high winds, at times over 30mph, likely played a major factor in the incident. While Jon initially told medical workers that the rear wing collapsed, the wing remained intact even after the catastrophic accident. A punctured tire has also not been ruled out as the cause.

It’s uncertain if the car will be repaired for the race, or whether the team’s spare chassis, currently at its Dublin, Ohio shop, will be used.

03/15/10 Intersport Racing’s Jon Field was taken to a Sebring, Fla., hospital Monday following a crash during testing for this weekend’s opening round of the 2010 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n.

Field, testing for the 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida, had his AER-powered Lola B06/10 LMP1 race car go airborne and flip several times between Turns 9 and 10 of the 3.7-mile, 17-turn Sebring International Raceway circuit. The car eventually came to a stop upright on its wheels.

Field was transported to Highlands Regional Medical Center in Sebring for observation. Photos and More ...

Lorenzo to take part in next test in Qatar  
Jorge Lorenzo
Fiat Yamaha Team rider Jorge Lorenzo will take part in this week's MotoGP test in Qatar, four weeks after breaking a bone in his right thumb during a training incident.

The 22-year-old has spent the time recuperating at home in Barcelona and he has now been given the all-clear by his doctor to get back on his bike. The recovery has gone well and the hand is no longer swollen, but he needs to continue with physiotherapy in order to keep repairing the muscle around the break.

His doctor has confirmed that there is no risk to the broken bone from riding, but he will need to wait until testing starts in order to ascertain if he will be able to ride and use the brake at full strength. More ...

Eddie Wood tells funny story about Morgan Shepherd  When NASCAR’s Sprint Cup circuit rolls into Bristol Motor Speedway for this weekend’s Food City 500, it’s a safe bet that no matter how cool the air temperatures may be there will be some hot tempers in the pits and on the track during the race. Even the most laid-back, low-key people in the sport have been known to use some language that would make a sailor take pause when the cars are running in Thunder Valley.

Wood Brothers co-owner Eddie Wood is known to use some rather salty language at times. His mother Bernece, being the proper, Southern mom that she is, steadfastly maintains that her son didn’t pick up that bad habit until he went off to college. However, Eddie confesses that he learned his first bad words hanging around his dad’s race shop and got in trouble for trying one out during the first day of school, while he sat in Mrs. Fain’s first-grade class.

On the other hand, the Woods’ former driver Morgan Shepherd, the driver who now campaigns a Nationwide Series car with “Racing for Jesus” on the hood, is known for never uttering inappropriate words. And that made for an interesting exchange during the heat of battle at Bristol back in the early 1990s. More ...

IRL happy Versus/DirecTV dispute settled  The Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body for the IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights, issued the following statement from its Chief Executive Officer Randy Bernard regarding the carriage agreement reached today between VERSUS and DIRECTV:

"I would like to thank Derek Chang (executive vice president of content strategy and development of DIRECTV) along with Jamie Davis (VERSUS president) for working diligently to getting this deal done. Everyone wins - DIRECTV, VERSUS and most importantly the fans of the Indy Racing League."

VERSUS is the cable home to the IZOD IndyCar Series, broadcasting 12 races this season.  A re-airing of Sunday's season-opening IZOD IndyCar Series event - the season opening Sao Paulo Indy 300 - will air tonight at 10 p.m. EDT on VERSUS.

Meira bolstered by strong start  
Vitor Meira brought the AJ Foyt Racing entry home 3rd, his first race back since breaking his neck at Indy last year.
If anyone could appreciate what Will Power went through to get back in an IZOD IndyCar Series car, it's Vitor Meira.

So it's fitting that both ended up on the podium in their return to the series at the Sao Paulo Indy 300 on the streets of Sao Paulo.

"It could not be much better than that," said Meira, who finished third in his return to the famed No. 14 car of A.J. Foyt Racing after missing most of the 2009 season with a back injury sustained at the Indianapolis 500.

"I think Will can relate with the back injury and all of that. It gets pretty uncertain sometimes, and having a team behind you, making sure that the seat is available and that they are waiting for you, it makes a big difference on recovery." More ...

Track improvements paid off for race  
The dust from grinding blinds the IndyCar drivers at the start causing a major accident in the first corner
The grinding of 
the Sambodromo concrete frontstretch that is part of the 2.6-mile, 11-turn São Paulo Indy 300 temporary street course not only solved the adhesion issues IZOD IndyCar Series drivers experienced March 13, but improved lap times by about 4 seconds in the March 14 qualifying sessions.

"The response by all parties to the concrete issue symbolized the can-do approach all of our Brazilian hosts have exhibited throughout this process," said Terry Angstadt, president of the commercial division of the Indy Racing League, sanctioning body for the initial race of the season and the series' first appearance in Brazil.

"We couldn't be more pleased with all aspects of our first race here, despite the tight timeline. At each and every stage, when a problem arose, the Brazilian team found a solution." More ...

tv news
Versus, DirecTV reach agreement  After a more than six-month stalemate, DirecTV and Comcast have reached an agreement to return Versus to the top DBS provider's air.

Deal terms were not disclosed, but the agreement returns Versus to more than 14 million DirecTV households, the same level of penetration the network had before the parties' contract expired on Sept. 1 over pricing and positioning issues.

The pact also comes before Versus drops the puck as the exclusive national cable carrier of the National Hockey League playoffs, which face off next month, and as the sport winds down its regular-season and post-season chase. More ...

Parnelli Jones to receive RRDC honors at LBGP  The Road Racing Drivers Club (RRDC) will honor racing icon Parnelli Jones at its second annual West Coast dinner prior to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, on Thursday, April 15. The RRDC Evening with Parnelli Jones will be presented by Firestone, the tire brand that has been associated with Jones since the 1960s.

Two-time IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti is the Honorary Chairman of the dinner, and RRDC president and emcee Bobby Rahal will conduct the "inquisition" of Jones, who was named Rufus Parnell at birth until a high-school friend and classmate decided to call him "Parnelli” - a name that has stuck with him through his life and career. More ...

Michelin aims for 12th consecutive win at Sebring 12 Hrs  Riding a record winning streak that dates back to 1999, Michelin and its technical partner teams will try to put the Michelin Man atop the podium at America’s premier sports car endurance race for the 12th consecutive time at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on Saturday, March 20.

With 11 consecutive race victories and 31 American Le Mans Series class wins at Sebring in the past 11 years, Michelin is the tyre of choice of many of the top manufacturers and teams again in 2010. A pair of exotic turbo-diesel entries from the defending 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning Peugeot team will lead the Michelin prototype efforts along with the highly successful Aston Martin, Drayson Racing, Patr¢n Highcroft Racing and Team CytoSport entries. More ...

BMW, Rahal quietly confident  
RLR Racing will really get some JOY out of a 2010 12 Hours of Sebring win

As a former overall winner of America’s greatest sports car race, Bobby Rahal knows all too well the difficulties and challenges of Sebring International Raceway. That’s why he’s cautiously confident as his BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team prepares for the 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida, the opening round of the 2010 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n.

“I hate being overconfident,” said Rahal, whose organization is starting its second year of a partnership with BMW North America that features two BMW M3s in the Series’ GT class. He also was a guest Sunday on SPEED’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain. “I think we’re competitive. It’s an incredibly tough class. We’re not the main group in the championship but I think it’s the most competitive group.”More ...

SPEED to feature 13 hours of Sebring coverage  SPEED & SPEEDtv.com will combine for 13 hours of uninterrupted live coverage from this year’s Mobil One 12 Hours of Sebring (Fla.), considered by many as the world’s toughest sports car racing endurance test. The race starts on SPEED, Saturday, March 20 at 10 a.m. ET, while SPEEDtv.com will have live and exclusive qualifying on Friday, March 19.

The linear network will take the first two hours of the race, handing off to SPEEDtv.com at Noon ET when NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice from Bristol Motor Speedway take center stage. SPEEDtv.com will offer full production and uninterrupted coverage before transitioning back to SPEED at 2 p.m. ET through to the broadcast’s conclusion at 11 p.m. ET. More ...
Meritus ready to make the step up  
Meritus GP Team

Meritus GP managing director and co-owner Firhat Mokhzani is confident the team has proved it can move up to a higher level after securing its first ever GP2 Asia victory at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) on Saturday.

Racing under the banner MalaysiaQI-MeritusMahara.com, the Malaysian outfit created history to become the first Asian team to win a GP2 race when Luca Filippi crossed the finishing line in 1’06:15.383s to secure second place in the Drivers’ Championships. More ...
Isobutanol gets ALMS approval  There is more energy than ever before in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n. BP announced Monday the introduction of a new advanced bio race fuel utilizing isobutanol and ethanol in the 2010 championship. The blend is the fifth energy source for the Global Leader of Green Racing and the world’s most relevant and technically advanced motorsport championship.

Dyson Racing, with cooperation from partners BP and Mazda, will campaign its Mazda-powered Lola B09/86 LMP2 coupe on isobutanol for the full 2010 season. Chris Dyson, Guy Smith and Andy Meyrick will drive Dyson Racing’s Lola-Mazda coupe with isobutanol power at the season-opening 58th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida on Saturday, March 20. More ...

Will Bratt moves to F2  
Will Bratt

Will Bratt is the latest driver to confirm that he will join the FIA Formula Two Championship for the 2010 season.

The British racer steps up to F2 after winning the Euroseries 3000 title last season, where he took four race wins, nine podiums and four pole positions in the series now known as Auto GP. Bratt impressively secured pole positions and race victories at Valencia (twice), Zolder and Monza – all circuits that Formula Two will visit in 2010. The 21-year-old also went on to contest the GP2 Asia Series over the winter as part of his Euro 3000 championship prize.

In 2008, Bratt was a frontrunner in Formula 3 Spain and also enjoyed his first run in a GP2 car, where he set the second fastest time during a group test at Paul Ricard. Prior to this, the Oxford University graduate scored wins in Formula Renault 2.0 UK and finished as runner-up in the 2007 Formula Palmer Audi Autumn Trophy. His car racing career began in the UK T-car series, where he won the title with 14 wins from just 18 races in 2004.

Will Bratt said: “I'm really excited about the prospect of driving a Formula Two car. It's one of the most high-profile and best-promoted championships on the international stage, plus it's designed to produce a truly level playing field so the onus is on driving talent. Obviously, my aim is to learn the car as quickly as possible and enjoy some good, close and competitive racing but that's not to underestimate the challenge by any means. My experience racing in Europe should certainly be beneficial but, having said that, we know it’ll be a very tough season.”

Jonathan Palmer, Formula Two Series Director, said: "It is great to see Will progress from Euro 3000 to a major international championship like Formula Two. I am sure that he’ll appreciate racing in a series where there is total equality of equipment for every driver – something that Will has not always benefited from during his career. I first came across Will when he raced in Formula Palmer Audi and he was extremely quick, scoring a podium on his maiden weekend. It was clear to me then that Will had real talent and I am delighted to have another driver of his calibre in the 2010 F2 line-up."

NASCAR Hall of Fame Grand Opening  Race fans, tourists, Charlotte residents: All are invited to a full day of free fun May 11, 2010 outside the NASCAR Hall of Fame in uptown Charlotte, N.C., to celebrate its grand opening.

One of the highlights of the daylong event will be a free concert that evening on the Ceremonial Plaza headlined by country music trio Love And Theft, who are preparing to tour with country music superstars Tim McGraw and Lady Antebellum. The stop will be a homecoming for one member of the trio, Charlotte native Eric Gunderson, who grew up in the area and attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The band also features members Stephen Barker Liles, of Florida, and Texan Brian Bandas. Lyric Street recording artist Love and Theft’s debut album, World Wide Open, includes the hits “Runaway” and “Dancing In Circles.” More ...
Ecclestone mulling F1 return to Indy |  UPDATE (GMM)  A spokesman for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway admits it is possible formula one could return to the famous venue.

The US grand prix was held at Indianapolis between 2000 and 2007, after which organizers and Bernie Ecclestone were not able to amicably agree a new deal.

But as the 2010 season began in Bahrain last weekend, F1 chief executive Ecclestone said a return to Indianapolis is a possibility.

"Nothing worked there really, we'd have to have a big change round.  But we'd like to get back there," he said, hinting that "the wrong people" had formerly been in charge of the event.

A spokesman for Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which is no longer headed by Tony George, confirmed: "We continue to have dialogue with formula one, and we've long maintained we're interested in hosting their events.

"2011 would be a long shot," spokesman Chris Schwartz is quoted as saying by the Indianapolis Business Journal.  "Obviously, there's a lot to consider."

He said he did not fully understand Ecclestone's comments, although it is true that the 79-year-old was critical of organizers’ marketing efforts towards the end of the last contract. More ...

F1 to wait before 'bore' reaction - Ecclestone  (GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone thinks F1 should wait three more races before deciding that the refueling ban is a rule failure.

Some teams are pushing for an immediate reaction to Sunday's processional season opener in Bahrain, such as the imposition of a second mandatory pitstop per driver.

But the sport's chief executive Ecclestone told PA Sport that he thinks some races last year were just as boring as Bahrain.

"It wasn't the sort of race that would excite most people I would suppose," the Briton admitted.

"But I think we ought to judge these things a little later on.  It's a bit early.  We ought to wait until we come back from China." More ...

Skip Barber Sebring preview  After providing arguably the best racing of the weekend at the Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the drivers of the 2010 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National next tackle the historic 3.7 mile Sebring International Raceway for Rounds 3 and 4 of the season during the 58th Annual 12 Hours of Sebring. Point leader and MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development driver Spencer Pigot looks to carry his momentum north from Homestead, where he scored a pole and a third before picking up his first career Skip Barber National victory while several drivers look to make that final step onto the top of the podium this weekend. More ...
Bridgestone happy with new tire  Bridgestone, Formula 1's sole tire manufacturer, was pleased with the general performance of its products as its final season in the sport began in Bahrain at the weekend. With most cars making one pit-stop over the course of the 49-lap race, no problems were reported with tires. With the technical regulations having stated since 2007 that all cars must use two types of tire compound over the course of a Grand Prix distance, Bridgestone's Medium and Super Soft tires were available at Sakhir.

Today we were very happy with tire performance," commented Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone's Director of Motorsport Tire Development. "This was the first race under these new regulations so no-one knew exactly what to expect. More ...
Skip Barber announces sponsor  Parathyroid.com today announced a contingency awards package totaling $9,000 for drivers participating in the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda. Starting with the season opening weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the “Parathyroid.com Winner’s Circle Award” will be paid to the top three point earners at each race weekend.

Parathyroid.com will also award two prizes at the season ending banquet. The $1000 “Parathyroid.com Most Improved Driver Award” will be presented to the driver who has made the biggest improvement over the course of the season as voted on by the Skip Barber National Core Coaches. A second $1000 prize, the “Parathyroid.com Spirit of Racing Award”, will be given to the driver who has been chosen by their peers to be the one who is most anxious to help his/her fellow drivers, showing respect for his/her fellow drivers on and off the track. More ...
Happy Schu 'champion of arrogance' - jealous newspaper  (GMM) The Italian press has poured scorn on Michael Schumacher's return to formula one.

The 41-year-old German, whose previous race had been at the wheel of a Ferrari in 2006, managed sixth place in Bahrain after being outpaced all weekend by his young Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.

Large elements of Italy saw Schumacher's decision to return with a rival team as an act of deceit, and the Genoa-based Il Secolo XIX newspaper now crowns him the "world champion of arrogance".

La Gazzetta dello Sport joked that the German failed to turn up in the island Kingdom, and Corriere della Sera said the anonymous performance had been a "strange Sunday afternoon for Herr Michael".

But Schumacher himself said he was happy with his comeback, and Mercedes' chief executive Nick Fry insisted that the team's new driver had finished the event "in great spirits" and excellent physical shape.

"All in all I have to say I am very, very happy and proud about how it went, considering I was completely out for three years and did not have a lot of driving for preparation," Schumacher told his official website on Monday.

Schu return sparks huge German TV figures  (GMM) Michael Schumacher's return to formula one on Sunday triggered impressive television statistics within Germany.

The free to air broadcaster RTL said an average of more than 10 million viewers - a market share in excess of 50 per cent - tuned in to watch the seven time world champion finish the 2010 season opener in sixth place.

The average German audience in Bahrain last year was a little over 5 million.

But Saturday's German TV viewers were very unhappy after Schumacher's decisive qualifying lap in 'Q3' was not shown.

"Michael Schumacher's onboard camera was unfortunately not working," a spokesman for Formula One Management told Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

"He was also seventh, so the cameras were focused on the cars placed further forwards."

Racing on ESPN this week  After a two-week break, the NASCAR Nationwide Series returns to action this weekend and makes its season debut on ABC with a 300-lap race on the high banks of Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. ESPN’s live, flag-to-flag telecast of the event will air on ABC. ESPN2 is the home of the series all season, with select races airing on ESPN and ABC.

NASCAR Countdown presented by Hellman’s airs Saturday, March 20, at 2 p.m. ET. The race telecast starts at 2:30 p.m. with the green flag at 2:43 p.m. Marty Reid will be the lap-by-lap announcer, 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. More ...
Give F1's new formula a chance - Brundle  (GMM)  Martin Brundle has urged F1 followers to "keep the faith" despite Sunday's boring grand prix in Bahrain.

Although billed as a sensational spectacle featuring four world champions, four cars on the pace and exciting driver lineups, the 49-lap opener at Sakhir was less than exciting.

Calls are now being made for immediate rule changes, but grand prix veteran and BBC commentator Martin Brundle is not sure the time is right for a knee-jerk reaction.

"We must give the new system a chance at a number of different circuit layouts with alternative tire compounds," he said. More ...

Massa, Sutil urge caution amid F1 'bore' saga  (GMM)  Felipe Massa and Adrian Sutil have urged caution after the press and some teams called for immediate changes to spice up the staid spectacle of the 2010 season opener.

The refueling ban has been blamed for the mainly processional 49-lap race in Bahrain, with calls now loudening that a second pitstop should be mandated perhaps in conjunction with a different combination of tire compounds supplied by Bridgestone.

Force India's Sutil admitted on Monday that overtaking was not a risk worth taking at Sakhir.

"If you push two laps too hard to gain a position you overheat the tires and then maybe it's over and you need to pit to change that tire set or you lose not only one position but maybe two or three, so it's not worth it in the end," said the German. More ...

Fry, Horner join calls for mandatory two pitstops  (GMM)  Two more team chiefs have joined FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh in agreeing that F1 should react after Sunday's processional 2010 season opener in Bahrain.

The press and drivers slammed the impact of the new refueling ban after the 49-lap Sakhir event, with the Bahrain race staging scarce variation in race strategies and little overtaking.

Heikki Kovalainen is the latest driver to describe the race as boring: "I agree totally, we need to do something about it."

McLaren boss Whitmarsh said after the race that a second pitstop per driver could be mandated to improve the situation, while Bridgestone might also have a role to play as the supplier of tire compounds. More ...

USF1 hoping to race in 2011 - company  (GMM)  A company that has hired two engineers from the failed 2010 entrant USF1 says the American team still wants to race in formula one.

With the 2010 season starting without USF1, South Carolina-based Composite Resources said USF1's Kevin Bialas and Mike Fuller have been hired.

We have learned that Bialas was USF1's composite manager, while Fuller was a composites fabricator.

The company said USF1 "has suspended operations but is still hoping to field a car for the 2011 season". More ...

Krohn Racing ready for Sebring  
Krohn-Risi Ferrari 430 GTE

The Krohn-Risi Ferrari team is excited to be back at Sebring International Raceway for the 58th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida on Saturday, March 20th. The No. 61 “Krohn green” Ferrari 430 GTE, driven by Krohn Racing team owner/driver Tracy W. Krohn, Nic Jönsson and Eric van de Poele, will be looking to add another podium to their endurance portfolio.

Krohn Racing and Risi Competizione, both of Houston, Texas, are partnering for a fourth season to field a Ferrari 430 GTE in the very competitive GT2 class at both Sebring and ALMS Monterey 6-hour race on May 22. The threesome finished third at the 2008 running of the once-around-the-clock Central Florida historic enduro race and was sixth in class last year. Additional, the three Risi-Krohn drivers will also compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, seeking a third podium finish in four years. The Risi-Krohn Ferrari finished second in 2007 and third in 2009 at the classic French endurance race. More ...

Lotus would vote against 107pc rule  (GMM)  Efforts to revive the 107 per cent qualifying rule in formula one will fall flat in 2010.

FIA president Jean Todt and F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone said in Bahrain that they would bring back the rule that excludes uncompetitive cars from the grid.

But a change this year would require the unanimous vote of all teams.

Lotus' technical boss Mike Gascoyne told GP Week: "I personally would vote 'no' because the season's started and it wasn't in the rules.

"But we're well inside 107 per cent, so we don't give a shit!" he added. More ...

Lauda, brother, back Schu to bounce back  (GMM)  Niki Lauda has backed Michael Schumacher to be on the pace by the time F1 returns from its run of overseas races.

On his return to the grid in Bahrain, the 41-year-old German was outpaced all weekend by his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg and finished just sixth.

"The car will be made faster race by race," triple world champion Lauda is quoted as saying by Germany's Bild newspaper.

"You can rely on it that he will soon win.  At the latest, in my experience, it will be in Barcelona where the car is well enough placed so that Michael can get the very best out of it," added the 61-year-old Austrian. More ...

Audi reveals evolution of R15 TDI for LeMans  
Audi's revised challenger for 2010 LeMans assault
Audi will fight for victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours on June 12/13 with an evolution of the R15 TDI diesel race sports car. An extensive testing program with the revised LMP1 vehicle has just begun in the United States.

"From Audi’s perspective, the LMP1 is the better alternative to Formula 1 because this motorsport category features technologies and developments which are relevant to production vehicles," explains Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. "At Le Mans, efficiency is of paramount importance – and today, more than ever before, it is a key deliverable of production vehicles as well and it is one of Audi’s special strengths." More ...
Montezemolo proud and happy after Bahrain GP  
Luca di Montezemolo
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro’s 2010 championship got off to the best possible start as it secured maximum points when, after 49 laps, Fernando Alonso marked his race debut with the team by zigzagging his F10 in salute to the pit wall, as he crossed the line to take the checkered flag, the worthy winner of the 2010 season opening Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.

Equally happy was Felipe Massa, in a fine second place on his return to racing. It had not been as easy as it looked, because the Spaniard’s car had required a rapid engine change in the morning, and Felipe had to nurse his car through much of the race with temperature problems. More ...

Whitmarsh blames tires for F1 bore-fest  
Martin Whitmarsh
Martin Whitmarsh has suggested that Bridgestone’s Formula One race tires are too good and the Japanese manufacturer needs to make tires that wear out quicker as that will add a little more spice to a Formula One race. However, Bridgestone has told AutoRacing1.com in the past that they do not want to do that because if a driver blames his tires for losing the race it is a bad reflection on Bridgestone and they certainly are not in racing to make themselves look bad.

In Sunday afternoon’s season opener here in Bahrain most runners only completed one pit stop and according to the McLaren team boss, this helped to create a dull and boring event that needs to be rectified as soon as possible.

Whitmarsh has suggested that Bridgestone create a tire that won’t allow drivers to go the distance....

"We were one of three teams that said we should have two mandatory pit-stops because we were worried about others one-stopping. I think we have to re-examine that,” he told the BBC. “But I think if we can now push on Bridgestone to have 'racier' tires, we need a super-soft tire that is really going to hurt if you take it to 20 laps. You shouldn't be able to do that with a super-soft tire and I think even the prime, if it's a struggle to get it to do half a race distance, then you force it.” More ...

Press slams new formula after 'Bore-rain GP'  UPDATE 'Overtaking was basically impossible unless somebody made a mistake,' Schumacher said after his first race back in F1 after three years. 'That is the action we are going to have with this kind of environment of race strategy.'

Schumacher finished sixth after starting seventh - Red Bull's Mark Webber dropped back with an engine worry after the start. Lewis Hamilton, who finished third behind Ferrari pair Alonso and Felipe Massa, took advantage of Vettel's engine problem to pass, although he had earlier passed Nico Rosberg to get back to fourth. 'It is a different challenge,' the McLaren driver said. 'It definitely didn't make racing more exciting in terms of being able to overtake.'

Massa thought GP races this season could well be predetermined by the Saturday qualifying sessions, when a car's pace and position on the grid could dictate its final result. 'Obviously the qualifying and the starts are maybe the two key points this year,' Massa said. 'After the first corner more or less the positions will be settled.' Apart from Vettel's failure, that was the case on Sunday.

03/15/10 (GMM)  The British press lashed out at F1's new formula, after the sensationally-billed 2010 season opener in Bahrain proved a questionable spectacle.

Drivers and insiders are blaming the refuelling ban, with most cars adopting similar race strategies at the Sakhir circuit and then being unable to follow their rivals closely enough to overtake.

Red Bull's Mark Webber blamed the rule makers, asking scathingly: "Why do they keep dicking with it?"

The Daily Telegraph's Kevin Garside agreed, arguing that Bahrain was a "warning of the dangers of tinkering beyond repair". More ...

NASCAR means business with substance abuse policy  Now rightfully referred to the most staunch substance abuse program in professional sports, NASCAR's team members Matthew Huffstetler and William Keith have been the latest to discover what happens when they arrive at a race track impaired due to the use of illegal narcotics. Both men are now under indefinite suspension following a March 9th announcement that said they were in violation of section 12-1, actions detrimental to stock car racing, and 12-19, violation of the NASCAR substance abuse policy, of the 2010 NASCAR rule book. The violations were brought to NASCAR's attention back on March 5th.

Huffstetler is a crew member for the #01 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team fielded by the newly formed Daisy Ramirez Motorsports. It's already being widely regarded as a shame that a new team in the series is having to endure the backlash, that comes with this issue, due to the lack of judgment by one of its team members. More ...

Mansell, Brundle, predict more struggle for Button  (GMM)  Two former British F1 drivers have renewed concerns that reigning world champion Jenson Button will struggle in 2010 to keep up with his teammate.

While Lewis Hamilton finished on the Bahrain podium in the sister McLaren, Button's car number one was 20 seconds down the road in seventh place, and he admitted afterwards that he overly nursed his tires.

In his post-race scrum with British newspaper reporters, the 30-year-old was asked if Hamilton, 25, had won 'round one' of the new British battle.

"If you want to write that, you can write that," Button answered.

"It's a fact that Lewis finished in front of me.  He did a better job today," he added. More ...

racing news
Fittipaldi to be watch spokesperson  TW Steel, the Dutch-based international watch brand – specializing in oversized timepieces, announced Sunday at the ‘Bahrain Grand Prix’ that Brazilian racing legend, Emerson Fittipaldi, is to become a Global Brand Ambassador. 

Additionally, TW Steel has announced that to celebrate the association, it now plans to produce a TW Steel Emerson Fittipaldi watch – the design of which will feature direct input by Emerson himself.

Present at the Bahrain International Circuit to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Formula One World Championship, Fittipaldi, the 1972 and 1974 F1 Drivers Champion, was unveiled to the assembled international motorsport media as the latest ambassador for ‘The Watch in Steel’.

“We are incredibly proud and excited to have someone of Emerson Fittipaldi’s iconic stature associated with TW Steel,” commented Stewart Bain, TW Steel’s Chief Commercial Officer.  “Emerson has a real energy about him that’s incredibly infectious.  When we first introduced him to TW Steel he was so enthusiastic about the product we knew we wanted to partner with him immediately.  We’re looking forward to working with him both as a brand ambassador but also as a commercial partner. 

“With that in mind we will liaise with Emerson to design and produce a watch baring his name – something I’m sure fans of both his and TW Steel will embrace as a unique and exceptional timepiece.  The fact that he has never been involved in such a personal design project before is a testament to not only his belief in TW Steel, but also his desire to offer a product that truly reflects the values that made him a legend on the race track and so popular off it.” More ...
Laureus logo on Mercedes GP  
Note the logo behind Schumacher's head on the engine cowling
The MERCEDES GP PETRONAS cars of seven-time World Champion Michael Schumacher and teammate Nico Rosberg will carry the Laureus logo throughout the 2010 Formula One World Championship.

The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation uses sport to improve the lives of young people around the world.

The logo made its debut on the cars in Bahrain and will be carried throughout the season which will end on 14 November in Abu Dhabi, the city which hosted the 2010 Laureus World Sports Awards. Michael Schumacher was honored with the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award in 2002 and 2004. More ...

Vettel hit by bad spark plug, not broken header  
Sebastian Vettel led much of the race but the Ferraris pounced when he slowed
Red Bull Racing has revealed that Sebastian Vettel was hit by an engine problem, and not by an issue with the exhaust as the team initially reported.

Vettel was leading the event from Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa when he reported a loss of power in his Renault engine.

Although the team initially believed the problem was in the exhaust, further analysis has revealed that in fact it was an electrical problem with the engine, caused by a faulty spark plug.

The team said, however, that there had been no damage to the unit.

Domenicali urges caution after boring opener  
A happy Stefano Domenicali after Ferrari finished 1-2 in season opener
(GMM)  Stefano Domenicali on Sunday has urged caution amid suggestions the sport needs to react immediately to a new crisis.

After a mainly processional beginning to F1's new no-refuelling era in Bahrain, FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh said the teams should consider mandating a second pitstop per driver.

It is also suggested that Bridgestone's selection of tires could help contribute to making less processional races now that the strategy options are so limited.

Drivers including Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton warned after the Sakhir race that other events this year could follow a similar pattern to Sunday's processional opener.

And race winner Fernando Alonso added: "The qualifying and the starts are maybe the two key points this year. More ...

F1 to look again at mandatory second pitstop  (GMM)  As the F1 circus is dismantled in Bahrain on Sunday night, talks are already underway to address the sport's new problem.

The debut of the refuelling ban is now the subject of harsh criticism, after some observers slammed a less than exciting 49 tours of the Sakhir circuit.

"The race is quite straightforward.  You start on heavy fuel, you do one stop and then you ... it's pretty much a train the whole way," said Lewis Hamilton, who finished third.

Worse still in Bahrain is that the first and only pitstops took place very early in the race because the leading cars all qualified on Bridgestone's faster soft tire. More ...

Drivers go missing on Bahrain grid  (GMM)  Many F1 drivers were missing from the grid in the minutes before Sunday's season opening Bahrain GP.

Global interest in the new 2010 season had been sky high, but reporters, television cameras and VIPs searched hard to locate F1's most famous faces in the tense moments of preparation prior to the formation lap.

It emerges that the situation was triggered by Bernie Ecclestone, who tightly controls the distribution of pre-race grid passes.

With an apparent shortage for the Sakhir grid, the F1 chief executive decided that the drivers' physiotherapists and trainers would be the ones to skip the pre-race routine.

The drivers were unhappy with the decision but Briton Ecclestone, 79, refused to budge, meaning many of them opted to get out of their cars after the pit-to-grid lap and return to the garages for physical attention.

USF1 Engineers Hired by Composite Resources  Composite Resources, a global leader in the design, prototype and manufacture of advanced composite solutions announced today that the company has hired Kevin Bialas and Mike Fuller from the USF1 racing organization. 

The USF1 organization has been in the headlines of major motorsports news for the past few months regarding its aggressive attempt to create an “all-American” entry for this year’s Formula One World Championship.  The financially strapped team based in Charlotte, NC has suspended operations but is still hoping to field a car for the 2011 season.

Composite Resources, whose founder Jonathan Bennett is a professional road-racing driver himself, saw the opportunity to hire talent with significant motorsports experience.  “Bringing both Kevin and Mike onboard provides us a wealth of composite expertise in the motorsports industry”, stated Jonathan Bennett, founder and Technical Director of Composite Resources. More ...

Rain at start of IndyCar race  Light rain has begun to fall on the streets of Sao Paulo just before the command to start engines.  However, it is clearing so the track should be relatively dry at the start.  A chance of thunderstorms threatens later in the race.
Jury out after 2010 refuelling ban debut  
Michael Schumacher
(GMM)  Michael Schumacher does not believe F1's new no-refuelling era is going to spice up the sport.

The German, who completed his F1 return in Bahrain by finishing in sixth place behind his teammate Nico Rosberg, believes the 49-lap race was an indication of how the 2010 season is going to unfold.

"It's the start and then just sort of 'go your pace' and not do mistakes," the seven time world champion told the BBC.

"Overtaking is basically impossible, other than if somebody makes a mistake -- that's the action we are going to have with unfortunately this kind of environment of race strategy," Schumacher added.

Lewis Hamilton, who finished third, said the new format - where drivers start the race carrying a huge fuel load and look after the tires - had made his race slightly frustrating.

"It definitely didn't make the racing more exciting in terms of overtaking.  I wasn't able to follow in the first third of the circuit.

"But it is an interesting season ahead of us.  Everyone is learning how to use tires more -- try to understand the tires, conserve the fuel load, when to attack and not to attack," added the Briton. More ...

Franchitti earns pole for opening race  
Dario Franchitti ahead of Tony Kanaan
With qualifying postponed overnight to allow grinding of a slick concrete area of track, the battle for the Sao Paulo GP IndyCar pole took place on race morning. Reigning series champion Dario Franchitti took top honors, with Alex Tagliani making a splendid drive to second in his debut with the maiden FAZZT Race Team.

The circuit designer employed some heavy equipment to “rough up” the concrete surface of the Anhembi Sambodromo that forms the one-third-mile frontstretch of the 2.6-mile, 11-turn racetrack for the IZOD IndyCar Series’ season-opening Sao Paulo Indy 300. The slippery surface (drivers transition from asphalt of the 180-degree Turn 11 onto the concrete start/finish line stretch) forced postponement of the three rounds of qualifications to the March 14 race day.

After multiple passes of grinders, supplemented by hosing down the area, veteran driver Davey Hamilton tested the grip level by making passes with the Indy Racing Experience two-seater about 5 a.m. (local). More ...

Ecclestone says 21 races possible in 2011  (GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone on Sunday admitted the F1 calendar could expand to as many as 21 grands prix in 2011.

This year, an equal-record 19 races are scheduled, following the 17 rounds in 2009.

But with India due to join the calendar next year, the F1 chief executive told reporters in Bahrain that the United States could also make a return.

"We can have a look," said the 79-year-old, albeit insisting that there would need to be organizational changes at Indianapolis.

"Twenty one races, no problem."

Ecclestone however said 20 races is more likely.

"It's a round number and easy to remember, I get muddled up now with 19 or 17," he joked.

Engine change for both Ferraris  UPDATE (GMM)  Ferrari has also changed the engine in the rear of Fernando Alonso's F10 ahead of the season opening Bahrain grand prix.

Earlier, the Italian team said Felipe Massa had a precautionary engine change on Sunday morning because "abnormal parameters" were detected.

Each driver is allocated just eight engines for the entire 19-race season, although Ferrari said the Bahrain qualifying engines can be used again in free practice sessions.

"The mechanics are working incessantly to complete the replacement (on Alonso's car)," said the team. More ...

Monster Energy signs up with Mercedes team  
Monster now on Schumacher's helmet
As an integral part of Monster’s ongoing global push, Monster Energy will join MERCEDES GP PETRONAS as a Team Partner for the 2010 Formula One season starting from the first Grand Prix in Bahrain this weekend.

The glowing Monster Energy logo will feature prominently on the helmets of the team’s drivers, Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher, and on their silver racesuits, as the new Silver Arrows race cars compete around the globe during the 19-race Formula One season.

After winning 91 races and seven World Championships, Michael announced his retirement in 2006, before deciding to make his return to the sport with the new Mercedes-Benz works team. Nico, the son of 1982 Formula One World Champion Keke Rosberg, has 70 Grand Prix starts to his name and is considered to be one of brightest young stars of the sport and tipped by many to be a future World Champion. More ...

Paul Rees graduates to Formula Two  
Paul Rees
British racer Paul Rees, son of ex-F1 driver Alan Rees, is the latest addition to the FIA Formula Two Championship line-up after his place on the 2010 grid was confirmed today.

Rees joins F2 after taking five podium positions in Formula Palmer Audi last season, which included a hat-trick of rostrums at Brands Hatch in August. 2009 followed a successful maiden campaign in the FPA series where the 23-year-old took pole position on his championship debut and ended the season as the third highest placed rookie. Rees has also raced in both Formula BMW and Formula Renault 2.0 in the UK.

Paul's father Alan finished third in the 1966 Formula 2 Trophées de France, beating Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart and Graham Hill along the way. He then went on to finish fifth in the inaugural Formula 2 Europe championship in 1967, and he also competed in Formula One for Brabham. More ...

IRL has high hopes for Brazil race  Terry Angstadt, the president of IndyCar's commercial division, predicts grand things for this race as the five-year contract plays out. "It will be the second-greatest event on the schedule next to the Indy 500 in two years," he said. "It will be like Long Beach."

For maybe the first time since joining the Izod IndyCar Series in 2005, Danica Patrick will not be the focus of the crowd's attention in a race. That honor, according to Sao Paulo native Tony Kanaan, will go to series rookie Ana Beatriz and the other Brazilian drivers in today's inaugural Sao Paulo Indy 300.  "This is not America where they clap for everyone, like me, Helio (Castroneves), Ryan Briscoe," Kanaan said. "They will cheer for seven drivers (the Brazilians) and seven drivers only. They don't like Danica. They don't like Dario (Franchitti). They don't like (Scott) Dixon. And, they won't like us (Brazilians) if we don't perform."

A crowd in excess of 50,000 is expected for IndyCar's first street circuit event in Brazil. The other Brazilian drivers are Castroneves, Vitor Meira, Rafa Matos, Mario Moraes and rookie Mario Romancini. Indy Star

Giacomo Ricci flies to Bahrain sprint race victory  
Fist clenched, Ricci crosses the finish line for the win
Giacomo Ricci was all smiles and pumping the air with both fists on today’s podium after he flew from fourth on the grid to leading the race even before Turn 1 and then pulled away from his rivals. Untouchable and extremely consistent, the Italian comfortably won his first GP2 Asia race with a 5.3s gap on ART’s Sam Bird.

The podium was decided in the first corner with Ricci taking the lead ahead of Bird and Coloni’s Alvaro Parente. The trio did not change for the remainder of the twenty lap race while the action and traditional GP2 excitement happened behind. Davide Valsecchi emerged from seventh to fourth place ahead of four energized racers: Meritus’ Alexander Rossi and Luca Filippi and Arden’s Charles Pic and Javier Villa. Fighting against DPR for second and third places in the teams’ standings, the two duos started an impressive battle in the early stages of the race. More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Ecclestone backs return of qualifying rule
  • No protests against McLaren inlet system
  • Hamilton admits he triggered manager split
  • Schu not expecting strong race in Bahrain
  • Sauber looking for sponsors for 2011
  • No AirAsia branding for Lotus - Fernandes

Ecclestone backs return of qualifying rule
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone is supportive of the FIA's efforts to reinstate a 107 per cent qualifying rule in formula one.

FIA president Jean Todt this weekend indicated he will push for the rule, with cars failing to get within 107 per cent of the pole time excluded from the race, to be applied in 2010.

But an immediate rule change would require the near-impossible feat of an unanimous team vote.

Introduction in 2011 requires just a 70 per cent majority.

"We will reintroduce the rule," F1 chief executive Ecclestone is quoted as saying by France's Auto Hebdo.  "Not this year, next year."

Interestingly, the Auto Hebdo report indicated that Ecclestone wants the 107 per cent rule tightened to 105 per cent for 2011.

107 per cent of Sebastian Vettel's Bahrain pole is about 8 seconds, meaning that neither HRT driver would have qualified for the season opener.

At 105 per cent, all of F1's three new teams would have struggled to qualify.

But McLaren team boss and FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh told Finland's Turun Sanomat he is not surprised the new teams are so far off the pace.

"If the new teams were very close it would mean the rest of us had done a poor job," he said.

On Sunday, Ecclestone also indicated that a 20-race calendar including India is likely in 2011. More ...

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