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Bonilla, Nelson Split Virginia International Races Bonilla, Nelson Split Virginia International RacesResults Round 3 of 14, Skip Barber National Championship Presented by RACER - Virginia International Raceway, 17-turn, 3.27-mile road course
Starting position in parentheses
1. (7) Gerardo Bonilla, Orlando, Fla., 10 laps, 89.188 average mph
2. (6) Lorenzo Mandarino, Burnaby, B.C., Canada, 10 laps
3. (5) David Greco, Italy, 10
4. (14) Sy Aryeh, Bedford, N.Y., 10
5. (12) Winston de Wardt, Steamboat Springs, Colo., 10
6. (11) Andy Rossetto, Grafton, Wis., 10
7. (16) Paul Albert, Ottawa, Ont., Canada, 10
8. (1) Pablo Sanchez Lopez, Xochimanga, Mexico, 10
9. (2) Alan Sciuto, Orange, Calif., 10
10. (17) Casey Neal, Middletown, Ohio, 10
11. (4) Jordy Vorrath, White Rock, B.C., Canada, 10
12. (3) Cole Nelson, Atwater, Calif., 10
13. (8) Matt Varsha, Atlanta, Ga., 10
14. (18) Jimmy Holden, Tiona, Pa., 10
15. (13) Chris Cook, Coopersburg, Pa., 10
16. (9) Peter Ludwig, New Paltz, N.Y., 10
17. (10) Garrett Zine, Rio Linda, Calif., 10
18. (15) Richard Heistand, Sunny Isles, Fla., 2 laps (contact)
Race length: 10 laps of 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course for 32.7 miles
Time of race: 21 minutes, 59.907 seconds
Winner's average speed: 89.188 mph
Margin of victory: 0.007 seconds
Lap leaders: Sanchez Lopez, 1; Vorrath, 2; Sanchez Lopez, 3; Nelson, 4; Sanchez Lopez, 5; Vorrath, 6;
Mandarino, 7 - 8; Bonilla, 9 - 10
Fastest race lap: Neal, 2:09.695
Fastest qualifier: Sanchez Lopez, 2:09.072

Results Round 4 of 14, Skip Barber National Championship Presented by RACER - Virginia International Raceway, 17-turn, 3.27-mile road course
Starting position in parentheses
1. (3) Cole Nelson, Atwater, Calif., 10 laps, 89.491 mph
2. (2) Jordy Vorrath, White Rock, B.C., Canada, 10 laps
3. (1) Gerardo Bonilla, Orlando, Fla., 10
4. (4) Lorenzo Mandarino, Burnaby, B.C., Canada
5. (13) Pablo Sanchez Lopez, Xochimanga, Mexico, 10
6. (7) Matt Varsha, Atlanta, Ga., 10
7. (10) Peter Ludwig, New Paltz, N.Y., 10
8. (15) David Greco, Italy, 10
9. (5) Winston de Wardt, Steamboat Springs, Colo., 10
10. (16) Richard Heistand, Sunny Isles, Fla., 10
11. (6) Alan Sciuto, Orange, Calif., 10
12. (11) Paul Albert, Ottawa, Ont., Canada, 10
13. (17) Chris Cook, Coopersburg, Pa., 10
14. (8) Garrett Zine, Rio Linda, Calif., 10
15. (12) Sy Aryeh, Bedford, N.Y., 10
16. (14) Andy Rossetto, Grafton, Wis., 10
17. (18) Jimmy Holden, Tiona, Pa., 10
18. (9) Casey Neal, Middletown, Ohio, 2 laps (contact)
Race length: 10 laps of 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course for 32.7 miles
Time of race: 21 minutes, 55.437 seconds
Winner's average speed: 89.491 mph
Margin of victory: 0.291 seconds
Lap leaders: Vorrath, 1; Nelson, 2; Vorrath, 3 - 6; Nelson, 7 - 10
Fastest race lap: Bonilla, 2:10.397
Fastest qualifier: Bonilla, 2:16.697 (damp)

NASCAR named "Best of America" by Reader's Digest NASCAR named "Best of America" by Reader's DigestNASCAR has been named "Best of America" by editors of the most widely read magazine in the United States. Reader's Digest has created the "America's 100 Best" award which honors the 100 best people, places, ideas and products this country has to offer.   To determine "America's 100 Best" list, the editors of Reader's Digest talked with experts and collected ideas from coast to coast. [Editor's Note:  It doesn't hurt that NASCAR sends a lot of money Reader's Digest way each year with a number of special editions and lots of advertisers.  That wouldn't have anything to do with it, would it?]
Ralf Schumacher loses point with penalty Ralf Schumacher loses point with penaltyThe Race Director has referred Ralf Schumacher to the stewards for an incident that occurred with Nick Heidfeld's Williams following his second pit stop. Having reviewed the evidence, the stewards considered that it was an unsafe maneuver and applied a 25-second penalty. In response, Panasonic Toyota Racing team principal Tsutomu Tomita said: "In view of the extremely vague description of the regulation and a number of similar incidents which have gone unpunished, Toyota has decided to appeal the decision of the stewards in order to clarify this issue for the future." Toyota Racing
Adam Carroll wins race 2 at Imola Adam Carroll wins race 2 at ImolaNorthern Ireland's Adam Carroll wowed onlookers with a determined and exhilarating drive from fourth on the grid to take victory in the second GP2 series race of the San Marino weekend. He was followed home by Alexandre Preamt (ART Grand Prix) and yesterday's race winner Heikki Kovalainen (Arden International) who had started eighth on today's "reverse" grid.

Gianmaria Bruni (Coloni Motorsport,) Olivier Pla (DPR,) and Nelson Piquet Jr. (Hitech Piquet Sports,) took the remaining points positions with Nicolas Lapierre finding some consolation for his failure to finish yesterday, in setting today's fastest lap.

The Championship standings after the first weekend therefore see Kovalainen on top with 14 points, followed by Carroll on 10, Lopez and Bruni on 8, Premat on 7 and Speed on 6.

Results Race 2
1. A. CARROLL GBR Super Nova International 28:31.314
2. A. PREMAT FRA ART Grand Prix 5.460
3. H. KOVALAINEN FIN Arden International 6.715
4. G. BRUNI ITA Coloni Motorsport 9.964
5. O. PLA FRA DPR 11.519
6. N. PIQUET Jr. BRA Hitech Piquet Sports 13.580
7. J. ALVAREZ ESP Campos Racing 25.769
8. S. HERNANDEZ ESP Campos Racing 27.737
9. H. YOSHIMOTO JPN BCN Competicion 29.741
10. B. GARCIA ESP Racing Engineering 37.248
11. J. LOPEZ FRA DAMS 37.482
12. F. FAUZY GBR DAMS 37.965
13. A. NEGRAO BRA Hitech Piquet Sport 45.909
14. R. SHARP GBR DPR 57.807
15. N. JANI SUI Racing Engineering 1 LAP
16. G. PANTANO ITA Super Nova International 14 DNF
17. N. ROSBERG GER ART Grand Prix 12 DNF
18. N. LAPIERRE FRA Arden International 6 DNF
19. M. LAUDA AUT Coloni Motorsport 3 DNF
20. C. ARTAM TUR iSport International 3 DNF
21. S. SPEED USA iSport International 2 DNF
22. C. PICCIONE MON Durango 1 DNF
23. E. VISO VEN BCN Competicion 0 DNS
FASTEST LAP N. LAPIERRE FRA Arden International 1:33.871 on lap 2

Boris Said on SpeedFreaks tonight Boris Said on SpeedFreaks tonightUPDATE Boris Said wasn't a guest on SpeedFreaks after all last night.  That's exactly what the press release from the Trans-Am stated, but they must have had the date mixed up.  We've been telling people how entertaining the SpeedFreaks program was, but we thought last night's show was a disappointment. 04/23/05 2002 Trans-Am Series Drivers’ Champion and current NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Boris Said will appear on SPEED Channel’s popular ‘SpeedFreaks’ show tonight at midnight EDT. Said, who is competing part time in the Trans-Am Series this season, will be part of a feature filmed earlier this month during the Trans-Am season opener, the Cytomax Challenge, at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Said drove the No. 33 Applied Computer Solutions Ford Mustang in that event. Said is also racing in several select NEXTEL Cup races this year, as well as competing in a factory BMW in Germany.

The popular nationally syndicated Motorsports Radio series SpeedFreaks comes to television. Joining host Kenny Sargent are his Pit Crew of Crash Gladys, Statt Mann Caruthers, and Lugg Nuttz.

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Renault losing F1 advantage?
Schu to Imola's defense
Kovalainen won GP2 opener
No Quali agreement
Renault keep team together
Red Bull no Ferrari 'b' team
'Better' Bridgestone
'Wait for Barcelona'
'Ferrari not richest team'
Engine penalty costs Sauber and Massa Engine penalty costs Sauber and MassaSauber Petronas drivers Jacques Villeneuve and Felipe Massa will start today's San Marino Grand Prix from 11th and 18th positions respectively after this morning's final qualifying session. Massa actually qualified in eighth position with a fine effort, but due to his engine change on Friday, drops back ten positions on the grid as a result.

Jacques Villeneuve - "I'm quite happy. Today what was important was to keep position as the track drying every lap. The car was quite fast with the fuel load we chose. The rear was sliding a bit, but that's the way we set it up. Overall I was satisfied with the lap and 12th fastest time in the session."

Felipe Massa - "The car was every bit as good as it was yesterday and I had a good lap, apart from sliding past the apex in the second Rivazza when I got off the dry line. Maybe I lost three-tenths there. It's academic, though, thanks to my engine change penalty which turns eighth fastest time in the session and eighth on the grid into 18th. But we have a very good car, so let's see what we can do this afternoon." Sauber Petronas

Raikkonen retains pole position in Imola Raikkonen retains pole position in ImolaIt rained early Sunday morning, putting an extra spin on final qualifying for the San Marino grand prix.  Christijan Albers came off second best at Variante Alta -- he spun and hit the barrier.  ''The track was damp in some places,'' said Williams' Nick Heidfeld, who dropped a spot to BAR's Takuma Sato.  All eyes are now on the afternoon sky.  ''Our forecast says no more rain,'' Toyota's Mike Gascoyne revealed, ''but we'll see.''

Kimi Raikkonen snatched a dominant pole from fellow front row sitter Fernando Alonso, moving the latter to wonder if McLaren might three-stop. ''I hope the quite big gap between us is down to (that),'' the championship leader remarked.  Raikkonen said: ''We're only halfway there, but our strategy should be strong.''

Raikkonen retained his pole position for the San Marino Grand Prix with a lap which was a huge six-tenths faster than the best time of Fernando Alonso. Alonso's time was only a tenth faster than the BAR-Honda of Jenson Button. Michael Schumacher blew it. After being third on the provisional grid he went off on his qualifying lap at Rivazza and ended up 14th on the grid with Rubens Barrichello in 10th.

The Williams team with Mark Webber qualified fourth, despite setting only the 11th fastest time of the morning session. This suggests that the Australian is running a big fuel load. Jarno Trulli was fifth fastest ahead of Takuma Sato, Alexander Wurz, Felipe Massa and Nick Heidfeld. Barrichello was 10th ahead of Ralf Schumacher, Jacques Villeneuve, Giancarlo Fisichella, Schumacher, David Coulthard, Tonio Liuzzi and the Jordans and Minardis. Last was Christijan Albers who went off on his fastest lap as we stated above.

Starting Order
1. Kimi Raikkonen Finland McLaren-Mercedes 1:19.886 1:22.994 2:42.880
2. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault 1:19.889 1:23.552 2:43.441
3. Jenson Button Britain BAR-Honda 1:20.464 1:23.641 2:44.105
4. Mark Webber Australia Williams-BMW 1:20.442 1:24.069 2:44.511
5. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota 1:20.492 1:24.026 2:44.518
6. Takuma Sato Japan BAR-Honda 1:20.851 1:23.807 2:44.658
7. Alexander Wurz Austria McLaren-Mercedes 1:20.632 1:24.057 2:44.689
8. Felipe Massa Brazil Sauber-Petronas 1:20.593 1:24.337 2:44.930
9. Nick Heidfeld Germany Williams-BMW 1:20.807 1:24.389 2:45.196
10. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Ferrari 1:20.892 1:24.351 2:45.243
11. Ralf Schumacher Germany Toyota 1:20.994 1:24.422 2:45.416
12. Jacques Villeneuve Canada Sauber-Petronas 1:20.999 1:25.260 2:46.259
13. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Renault 1:21.708 1:25.002 2:46.710
14. Michael Schumacher Germany Ferrari 1:20.260 1:26.984 2:47.244
15. David Coulthard Britain Red Bull-Cosworth 1:21.632 1:26.438 2:48.070
16. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Red Bull-Cosworth 1:21.804 1:26.351 2:48.155
17. Narain Karthikeyan India Jordan-Toyota 1:23.123 1:28.976 2:52.099
18. Tiago Monteiro Portugal Jordan-Toyota 1:25.100 1:29.152 2:54.252
19. Patrick Friesacher Austria Minardi-Cosworth 1:26.484 1:30.564 2:57.048
20. Christijan Albers Netherlands Minardi-Cosworth 1:25.921 No Time No Time

Ferrari and Bridgestone talk tires Ferrari and Bridgestone talk tiresFerrari technical director, Ross Brawn joined Hisao Suganuma – Technical Manager – Bridgestone Motorsport in a press conference at the Imola circuit on Friday where they discussed the Imola weekend, the improvement in the Bridgestone compound and the controversial testing situation that sees the Scuderia test whenever they feel the need.  Transcript
Jeff Gordon to host Wind Tunnel Jeff Gordon to host Wind TunnelUPDATE Reminder that this show airs later tonight on SPEED Channel. 04/13/05 NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon will be the in-studio co-host of Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on April 24 (9 p.m. ET) on SPEED Channel.  Viewers can send MAIL questions to windtunnel@speedtv.com NOW or call 1-866-W-TUNNEL from 9pm-11pm ET Sunday nights to be a part of the LIVE call-in portions of the show.
F1 on CBS this weekend F1 on CBS this weekendUPDATE #2 Reminder the San Marino GP is tape delayed on CBS later today. 04/20/05 SpeedTV will rebroadcast the San Marino GP at 12:00 am (ET) on Friday, April 29, and the Spanish GP at 12:00 am (ET) on Friday, May 13. 04/20/05 This weekend on CBS, American television viewers will have access to the fast paced and glamorous world of Formula 1 racing on network TV.  Four races from the 2005 F1 season will be broadcast in prime weekend programming slots on CBS, starting April 24th with the San Marino Grand Prix.  It will mark the first time multiple F1 races have been televised on network TV in the US.  In addition to the four thrilling races, special programming featuring behind-the-scenes footage will bring viewers into the fast lane of F1, focusing on the exclusive, high-profile celebrity lifestyle that makes F1 all the rage with hundreds of millions of people around the world. 

Grand Prix Entertainment, in cooperation with Wasserman Media Group, is spearheading the effort to bring F1 to the U.S.  Michael Heyward, managing partner of Grand Prix Entertainment notes, “Formula One Racing is about glamour, exotic locales, a high-end lifestyle.  We are catering to a younger, more progressive American audience.”  Seth Berman, director of marketing for GPE, will oversee many aspects of the targeted launch.

Fans around the nation can tune in starting with the San Marino Grand Prix on April 24th.  Following San Marino, the CBS broadcast schedule continues with the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on May 8th, the Canada Grand Prix in Montréal on June 12th and the German Grand Prix on July 24th.  The Montreal race will be televised live.

Special programming produced by Grand Prix Entertainment in association with Wasserman Media Group will air during the season, separate from the races, at times to be determined.  The exclusive footage will focus on the lavish culture surrounding F1 by heading behind-the-scenes at the Monaco Grand Prix.  The Monaco Grand Prix takes place the weekend after the Cannes Film Festival and the crossover and excitement between the two events is unparalleled.  Cameras will take the viewers onto multi-million dollar yachts and to exclusive parties where drivers and fans of the sport mingle with A-list celebrities.  In addition to the behind the scenes footage, there will be appearances by Hollywood celebrities and international royalty. 

The Formula One on CBS race program schedule follows (all times are Est. Std. Time):

April 24th      1-3 pm  Race     Republic of San Marino       
May 8th         1-3 pm  Race     Barcelona, Spain     
June 12th      1-3 pm  Race     Montreal, Quebec (LIVE)      
July 24th       12-2 pm Race     Hockenheim, Germany  

The 2005 Formula One World Championship is a 10 team, 20 driver, 19-race season spanning 38 weeks. The 2005 season is underway and is shaping up to be one of the most exciting in memory.  Ferrari, the perennial favorite, has struggled early in the season and Renault has taken advantage by leaping into the top position.  Michael Schumacher, seven-time world champion and the highest paid professional athlete in the world, leads Ferrari and is anxious to make some changes.  New regulations, including a mandate that each car’s engine must complete two races before it is replaced (unless it is destroyed) and restrictions on aerodynamics have closed many performance gaps, placing extra responsibility on the drivers. 

The global popularity of the Formula One World Championship is unsurpassed by any other annual sports property.  Each Grand Prix race attracts hundreds of millions of television viewers in over 150 countries and over 120,000 spectators at the track.  Formula One racing team budgets can reach over $300 million per season.  F1 drivers are an elite and exceptional group of athletes who are among the most highly paid sports stars in the world.

Formula BMW
Formula BMW preview Formula BMW previewThe curtain rises on the second Formula BMW USA Championship season on April 29 - May 1 at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California. Racing on the US Sports Car Invitational weekend, 21 young drivers will begin the 2005 Formula BMW USA Championship hunt at the same track where the 2004 champions were crowned last season. 

One of North America's classic road courses, Laguna Seca's serpentine 2.238- mile's will provide quite a stage for the opening act of the 14-race series, with most drivers making their professional racing debut.  Six days of official testing have been completed in the last four weeks, with many showing potential star quality. Two BMW Juniors, Richard Phillipe (15) and Kevin Lacroix (16), have consistently been close to the top of the unofficial timing charts. Also, catching the eye of Formula BMW USA coaches by posting top-five unofficial times in various sessions were, Maxime Soulet (21), James Davison (16), Robert Wickens (16), John Zartarian (17), Matt Lee (15), Rob Bunker (16), Daniel Herrington (19), Tom Sutherland (16) and Race Johnson (16). 

"After a successful debut season last year, I'm again looking forward to high- quality motorsport with talented youngsters in the Formula BMW USA 2005," said BMW Motorsport Director Dr. Mario Theissen. "The field of participants has expanded significantly since 2004, with 21 drivers registered for the series. And with the Formula BMW World Final in Bahrain, 2005 has a highlight in the calendar. Drivers from all four international Formula BMW Series will give of their best. A Formula 1 test drive is the incentive for the winner."

de la Rosa fined $5,000 de la Rosa fined $5,000McLaren driver Pedro de la Rosa landed a $5000 fine at Imola.  The Spaniard left the pitlane for the first practice session with the clocks still on 10.59am, and was penalized for ignoring the red light at the pit exit.
NASCAR mad at SPEED Channel show NASCAR mad at SPEED Channel showApparently not everyone in NASCAR is enamored with the "NASCAR Nation."  The daily news-magazine show on Speed Channel broadcast a segment Thursday night recounting news reports of the departure of a Busch Series official in relation to the disqualification of Johnny Sauter's Busch car at Texas for a illegal carburetor.  On-air talent also attempted to ask Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president for competition, to comment on reports on the incident, including one from The Charlotte Observer and ThatsRacin.com.

NASCAR President Mike Helton was not pleased with the report and made his feelings clear in a heated discussion with Chris Long, Speed's vice president of studio production, sources confirmed Friday. Speed Channel spokesman Erik Arneson said NASCAR officials believed the show reported the ousting of official Woody Neese, but were informed later Neese's departure was attributed to a Charlotte Observer/ThatsRacin.com report during the segment.  Arneson said he was not aware of any other problems.  NASCAR officials had other misgivings with the program's segment, and were vocal in expressing their disgust that the show addressed the issue in the first place, sources said.   Asked for a response, NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said, "It would serve no purpose for us to comment on that." ThatsRacin.com

San Marino GP Saturday Press Conference San Marino GP Saturday Press ConferenceIt could not be much closer at the front of the provisional grid for Sunday’s San Marino Grand Prix as just 0.003s separate provisional pole sitter Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso with Michael Schumacher third. Here’s what the fastest three qualifiers had to say in the post-qualifying press conference. Transcript
F1 team bosses and Bernie meet F1 team bosses and Bernie meetFormula One team bosses met commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone this weekend in Imola to discuss the F1 qualifying format.  Every team chief except Ferrari's Jean Todt joined Ecclestone to discuss the future of the format over two meetings in the Imola paddock after this year's move to aggregate timing and a Sunday qualifying session is not popular.

This time any new format is for the long-term and Minardi team principal Paul Stoddart said: "We are very aware that we are not going to go changing qualifying again without really thinking it through.  I don't think the public can take any more knee-jerk reactions. I think we have learned from the sins of our past. We have made too many changes to qualifying over successive years and it has been going backwards.

"The 2003 move was pretty well accepted, then in 2004 we just crammed two sessions on a Saturday, and who wants that? This year we cranked in Sunday morning qualifying and aggregate times just to really mess it all up. Now we are getting back to real world stuff."

Kovalainen over Lopez and Speed at Imola Kovalainen over Lopez and Speed at ImolaIn a confusing race of tactics and intense on-track battles, Heikki Kovalainen (right) came through to take victory in the first ever GP2 series race. He was followed home by Jose Maria Lopez (DAMS) and Scott Speed (iSport International.)

The race had been dominated early-on by the Super Nova International of Giorgio Pantano, but when the pit stops panned out, it was his team-mate Adam Carroll who led the race. His lead was short-lived however, as the charging Kovalainen took over when the Northern Irishman was called into the pits with an agonizing 2 laps to go.

So, Kovalainen took the win from Lopez (6.8 seconds) Speed (17.7 secs) Bruni (18.4 secs) Carroll (21.5 secs) Jani (43 secs) Premat (46.9 secs) and Rosberg (48.6 secs,) with Ernesto Viso taking two points for fastest lap. With the reverse grid for tomorrow's race, eighth place finisher Nico Rosberg will start from the head of the field in an all-ART Grand Prix front row. [Editor's Note: The race was confusing for all involved, especially the spectators.  The race started with a rolling start instead of a standing start for fear of numerous broken transmissions (they are said to be fragile), the pit strategies were such that no one knew what was going on, only 13 of 24 cars finished the race and the finish wasn't even close. It all started on Friday in the first session when 16 of 24 cars broke down. Bernie Ecclestone was furious. The GP2 budgets are double what it cost to run the F3000 series last year, which GP2 replaced. This is progress?]

Briatore signs extension with Renault Briatore signs extension with RenaultThe Mild Seven Renault F1 Team is delighted to announce the extension of the contract of Managing Director Flavio Briatore for the 2006 season.   Patrick Faure, President of the Renault F1 Team, commented: “We are extremely pleased with the work the team has done, and the results it has achieved, under Flavio Briatore’s management. This decision has been taken with the full agreement of our future CEO, M Carlos Ghosn, who wishes to maintain the stability of a winning team.” Renault
San Marino GP: Saturday Roundup San Marino GP: Saturday Roundup
Sauber: Jacques Villeneuve - who made a small mistake - is happier with the improved Sauber at Imola; but he's still slower than Felipe Massa. Even Peter Sauber, though, agreed he has made a 'step'. ''The car is a lot better,'' JV confirmed. Brazil's Massa, seventh, will drop ten places after an engine change.

Jordan: ''We expected to be slightly closer to the pace,'' said Trevor Carlin. ''Tiago ... is not very happy with his performance.''

Toyota: Toyota knew Imola would be tougher, with Jarno Trulli - second in the drivers' chase - sixth and Ralf Schumacher twelfth.

BAR: He was aiming for pole, but Jenson Button admitted he's happy just to be sitting in an improved car. ''We've made some big improvements,'' the Briton insisted.

Renault: Fernando Alonso, although he's hardly turned a lap all weekend, is - however - in good shape. ''We're not just looking at McLaren and Ferrari,'' said the Spaniard, ''but Williams and BAR too.'' Giancarlo Fisichella, though, had a shocker -- he's 15th. ''I don't think it was a mistake,'' said a confused Roman after massive oversteer. On another note, Flavio Briatore inked a deal to stay at Renault in 2006.

Red Bull: The RB1 is 'struggling' at Imola, according to fourteenth placed David Coulthard. ''But it's fantastic that the team secured a Ferrari engine deal,'' the Scot - without a drive for 2006 - added. Rookie Tonio Liuzzi slip-slided on the Porsche Cup's dirt, Christian Horner insisted.

Minardi: F1's men in black endured a difficult practice -- one brand new PS05 with a gearbox glitch, the other stranded in the garage with suspension issues. ''I'm annoyed with myself,'' Christijan Albers - although mighty quick through the speed trap - said after his flying lap. Patrick Friesacher ran wide.

Williams: With a turn of surprising pace, Mark Webber - in a very tight field - nabbed an impressive fourth, but insisted he could've been quicker. Further back, Nick Heidfeld rued an 'average' lap.

McLaren: Provisional pole, by a thousandth or three, for Kimi Raikkonen. ''The car suits this circuit,'' said the Finn. Although eighth, Alex Wurz predicted he'll move up the grid on Sunday morning. ''We've improved our first lap performance,'' Norbert Haug noted.

Ferrari: Michael Schumacher, third. ''I think we can be in the fight for the win,'' he said. A dismal showing, though, for Rubens Barrichello -- 11th with bad balance. ''There's not much we can do,'' Ross Brawn lamented, ''as the cars are now in parc ferme.''

Red Bull gets Ferrari engines Red Bull gets Ferrari enginesFledgling F1 team Red Bull will ditch Cosworth and be powered by Ferrari next year. The deal is for 2006 and 2007, a Red Bull statement read. ''Ferrari is synonymous with success in Formula One,'' said sporting director Christian Horner. "Ferrari is synonymous with success in Formula 1 and we are extremely proud and privileged that Red Bull Racing will be powered by Ferrari engines from 2006 onwards. This is an enormous boost for the team and underlines our commitment to compete at the forefront of Formula 1." In Ferrari's separate confirmation of the contract, “We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Red Bull Racing to supply them with our F1 engines,” said Ferrari Managing Director, Jean Todt. “The determination, motivation and enthusiasm of the people at Red Bull Racing were key factors in us taking this decision. This collaboration fits in with the fact that, since 1991, with a break from 1993 to 1996, Ferrari has supplied its F1 engines to other teams.” Ferrari-powered Sauber, meanwhile, is expected to switch supplier next season. [Editor's Note: As we have said before, all the smaller F1 teams are looking to line up with a major manufacturer so they can get engines at no cost or at a very reduced rate. Cosworth has already lost Jordan to Toyota and now Red Bull to Ferrari. They only have Minardi left now and if they lose them too, which is a very distinct possibility given they will have to charge that much more for their engines since they can only sell them to one team, Cosworth will find themselves out of F1. We expect that will indeed be the case despite having an excellent engine now. Cosworth's only hope is to get a car manufacturer to badge their engines. The clock is ticking.]
Raikkonen takes provisional pole in Imola Raikkonen takes provisional pole in ImolaKimi Raikkonen (right) took the overnight provisional pole position by just three-thousandths of a second from Championship leader Fernando Alonso. Raikkonen recorded a best lap of 1:19.886s for McLaren. Michael Schumacher put in a very solid lap in his Ferrari to qualify in third position but the F2005.  Final qualifying to determine the grid for the race is Sunday morning.
 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps
 1. 9 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'19"886 222.302 Km/h
 2. 5 ALONSO Renault M 1'19"889 + 0'00"003
 3. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'20"260 + 0'00"374
 4. 7 WEBBER Williams BMW M 1'20"442 + 0'00"556
 5. 3 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'20"464 + 0'00"578
 6. 16 TRULLI Toyota M 1'20"492 + 0'00"606
 7. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas M 1'20"593 + 0'00"707
 8. 10 WURZ McLaren Mercedes M 1'20"632 + 0'00"746
 9. 8 HEIDFELD Williams BMW M 1'20"807 + 0'00"921
10. 4 SATO BAR Honda M 1'20"851 + 0'00"965
11. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'20"892 + 0'01"006
12. 17 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota M 1'20"994 + 0'01"108
13. 11 VILLENEUVE Sauber Petronas M 1'20"999 + 0'01"113
14. 14 COULTHARD RedBull Cosworth M 1'21"632 + 0'01"746
15. 6 FISICHELLA Renault M 1'21"708 + 0'01"822
16. 15 LIUZZI RedBull Cosworth M 1'21"804 + 0'01"918
17. 19 KARTHIKEYAN Jordan Toyota B 1'23"123 + 0'03"237
18. 18 MONTEIRO Jordan Toyota B 1'25"100 + 0'05"214
19. 21 ALBERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'25"921 + 0'06"035
20. 20 FRIESACHER Minardi Cosworth B 1'26"484 + 0'06"598
Interview with Greg Biffle Interview with Greg BiffleGreg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 National Guard/Subway Taurus, has won two races so far this season, and is in second place in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series standings heading into tomorrow evening's Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Biffle, who won last week at Texas, has reached Victory Lane at PIR in the past in the Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series. He was the Nextel Wake-Up Call guest this morning in the infield media center at the track. Interview
Awards for Briatore and Alonso Awards for Briatore and AlonsoFernando Alonso and Flavio Briatore were recipients of awards at Thursday night’s Lorenzo Bandini Trophy ceremony in Brisighella. Lorenzo Bandini is not a household name. The Italian, killed during the 1967 Monaco Grand Prix at the wheel of his Ferrari, won just one Grand Prix, the first ever Austrian GP held in 1964 at Zeltweg. His career included other notable triumphs, including a win in the Targa Florio forty years ago, but his was a career cut down before its prime – a shooting star that disappeared before it could burn at its brightest.

For that reason, his hometown of Brisighella has awarded since 1992 the Lorenzo Bandini Trophy, to the most promising young driver in Formula 1. In 2005, Fernando Alonso was the recipient of the award, which was presented Thursday evening in a ceremony that included an audience composed of sportsmen, media and political figures.

“This is a fantastic honor for me,” said Fernando. “The Bandini trophy is a prestigious award, and it special for me to be recognized by the Italian fans and jury. I would to thank them all for choosing me to receive this prize.”

Fernando was not alone from the Renault F1 Team, as Flavio Briatore also received the Gold Medal of the Emilia-Romagna region. Preceded in this by such luminaries as former World Champion Niki Lauda, Flavio collected the award proudly in a season where his team currently sits atop the World Championship standings. Renault

Finlay Motorsports to feature at Bimmerfest Finlay Motorsports to feature at BimmerfestThe 5th annual Bimmerfest event is expected to feature 700+ custom and high-performance BMWs, all on display at BMW Santa Barbara, CA today.   The Finlay Motorsports Dinan-Powered BMW Daytona Prototype and M3 race cars will be the centerpiece display in the dealership showroom along with high performance models from BMW specialists Dinan.  Finlay Motorsports drivers Michael McDowell and Memo Gidley will be on hand to sign autographs, answer questions and meet fans.
Biffle dominates Busch race Biffle dominates Busch raceGreg Biffle (right, photo courtesy of Ford) survived an early spinout and grabbed another dominating victory Friday night, this time overpowering the field in the NASCAR Busch Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.  The former Busch Series champion and current Nextel Cup star won the Cup race last Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway and followed it with the win in the Bashas' Supermarket 200 on the mile oval at Phoenix, leading 112 of the 200 laps.  "I just had the car a little too loose at the start of the race," said Biffle, whose best previous Busch finish this season was last Saturday at Texas. "It's been a long time since I spun by myself like that. I was just trying to pass somebody and made a mistake."
Unofficial Results Bashas' Supermarkets 200
Pos. Driver Make
1. Greg Biffle Ford
2. Elliott Sadler Ford
3. David Stremme Dodge
4. Kevin Harvick Chevrolet
5. Tony Stewart Chevrolet
Button goes fastest in Practice 4 Button goes fastest in Practice 4Jenson Button turned the fastest lap of the weekend to lead Practice 4 at Imola: 
 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps
 1. 3 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'20"058 221.824 Km/h
 2. 5 ALONSO Renault M 1'20"114 + 0'00"056
 3. 9 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'20"209 + 0'00"151
 4. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'20"319 + 0'00"261
 5. 6 FISICHELLA Renault M 1'20"351 + 0'00"293
 6. 10 WURZ McLaren Mercedes M 1'20"358 + 0'00"300
 7. 7 WEBBER Williams BMW M 1'20"424 + 0'00"366
 8. 8 HEIDFELD Williams BMW M 1'20"431 + 0'00"373
 9. 4 SATO BAR Honda M 1'20"450 + 0'00"392
10. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas M 1'20"506 + 0'00"448
11. 17 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota M 1'20"802 + 0'00"744
12. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'20"851 + 0'00"793
13. 16 TRULLI Toyota M 1'21"105 + 0'01"047
14. 14 COULTHARD RedBull Cosworth M 1'21"136 + 0'01"078
15. 11 VILLENEUVE Sauber Petronas M 1'21"543 + 0'01"485
16. 15 LIUZZI RedBull Cosworth M 1'22"188 + 0'02"130
17. 19 KARTHIKEYAN Jordan Toyota B 1'22"964 + 0'02"906
18. 18 MONTEIRO Jordan Toyota B 1'24"910 + 0'04"852
M. Schumacher fastest in Practice M. Schumacher fastest in PracticeSaturday morning 'Practice 3' times from Imola run in very cool conditions that slowed lap times: 
 P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps
 1. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'21"356 218.285 Km/h
 2. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'22"885 + 0'01"529
 3. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas M 1'22"971 + 0'01"615
 4. 9 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'23"723 + 0'02"367
 5. 7 WEBBER Williams BMW M 1'23"788 + 0'02"432
 6. 15 LIUZZI RedBull Cosworth M 1'23"894 + 0'02"538
 7. 6 FISICHELLA Renault M 1'24"120 + 0'02"764
 8. 17 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota M 1'24"156 + 0'02"800
 9. 10 WURZ McLaren Mercedes M 1'24"262 + 0'02"906
10. 8 HEIDFELD Williams BMW M 1'24"341 + 0'02"985
11. 14 COULTHARD RedBull Cosworth M 1'24"523 + 0'03"167
12. 3 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'24"757 + 0'03"401
13. 4 SATO BAR Honda M 1'24"770 + 0'03"414
14. 19 KARTHIKEYAN Jordan Toyota B 1'25"197 + 0'03"841
15. 18 MONTEIRO Jordan Toyota B 1'25"197 + 0'03"841
16. 11 VILLENEUVE Sauber Petronas M 1'25"393 + 0'04"037
17. 16 TRULLI Toyota M 1'25"730 + 0'04"374
18. 21 ALBERS Minardi Cosworth B 1'27"658 + 0'06"302
19. 20 FRIESACHER Minardi Cosworth B 1'27"854 + 0'06"498
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
F1 men dope tested
Williams sign teen Rosberg
Wurz 'comfortable'
'No sleep in F1 - de Ferran
McLaren has eye on Spain
JPM to skip Spain, too?
Red Bull and Coulthard
Ferrari lack 'magic' wand
Michelin go soft
Yin-Kin to test Minardi
Renault trailing power race
F1 Indian's now 'a man'
New Minardi to break down
Quali summit on Saturday
'Show JV more respect'
Sato's 'directions'
Alonso to Turkey
CARA selling bracelets for ’Buckle Up Baby’ program CARA selling bracelets for ’Buckle Up Baby’ programFor over ten years, CARA Charities and the Bridgestone/Firestone Trust Fund have raised more than $650,000 through its very successful “Buckle Up Baby” program.  Thanks to their charitable donations, many needy families across North America have been able to protect their children through safety seats given to hospitals, medical centers and clinics.  The “Buckle Up Baby” program was established in 1993.

Now Toyota and CARA have combined to create a new project to continue “Buckle Up” safety with the institution of the new “Buckle Up Bracelet.”

Even drivers are wearing the bracelets

Like other plastic bracelets that gain awareness of important causes, the new “Buckle Up Bracelet,” with a stylish checkered flag theme, will continue the important message of using seat belts for children as well as adults while traveling on the roads throughout North America.  All of the proceeds from the bracelets will go directly to presenting children car seats to medical facilities for underprivileged families.

“We want to thank our friends at Toyota for assisting us in underwriting the costs of the ‘Buckle Up Bracelets,’” said Barbara Butz, president of CARA Charities.  “The new bracelets are a tremendous opportunity to express our continuing need for seat belt awareness.  We want to help more families in protecting their children as well as reminding adults to wear their seat belts while in their cars.  We have established an important cause with the ‘Buckle Up Baby’ program and the bracelets help extend the awareness and need for help.”

The checkered “Buckle Up Bracelets” are available for two dollars ($2.00) each and three for five dollars ($5.00).  The bracelets will be sold at the major North American open wheel races during the 2005 racing season.  In addition, the bracelets are available through mail order at the CARA Charities headquarters at (317) 299-2277 and the CARA website at caracharities.org.

Program Reminder Program ReminderSpeedFreaks Freakin' Saturday Night in the Star Mazda Pits!!
WHO:  Road Racing Champ Ron Fellows;
              Indy 500 Champions Buddy Rice and Helio Castroneves;
              & Star Mazda Series pilot Jonathan "Princess" Klein.
WHEN: Saturday night April 23, 9 p.m. Pacific / Midnight Eastern, SPEED Channel
       THEN, Replayed Wednesday @ 5 a.m. Pacific (8 a.m. Eastern)
ISC reaches settlement with CART, judge says no ISC reaches settlement with CART, judge says noUPDATE Hold the presses. A tentative settlement to pay International Speedway Corp. at least $1.5 million has been reached in the lawsuit that followed the cancellation of the CART Champ Car race scheduled for California Speedway in Fontana in November 2003.

The race, unable to be run as scheduled due to the devastating wildfires, was canceled by CART president Chris Pook when he and speedway officials were unable to agree on an alternate date. [Editor's Note: ISC wanted CART to run the race on Thanksgiving Day weekend and they should have. Whether there would have been a large crowd in attendance or not was irrelevant. ISC had a contract to pay the sanction fee. This decision by Chris Pook and his management team to cancel the race was irresponsible.]

The 88 Corp., which operates the speedway for International Speedway Corp., filed suit against CART. The suit contended that the fires constituted a "force majeure" (major force) and under terms of the contract CART was obligated to return the $2.4 million sanctioning fee, minus an agreed-upon amount for expenses in planning and promoting the event.

CART subsequently went bankrupt. Its assets were sold to Open Wheel Racing Series LLC (OWRS) in U. S. Bankruptcy Court in Indianapolis and its liabilities, among them the lawsuit, were assigned to the CART Liquidation Trust.

Wes Harris, the senior director of investor relations for ISC, said by telephone Wednesday that a tentative settlement had been reached in which ISC would receive $1.5 million from the liquidation trust and up to $500,000 more from OWRS. But on Monday Judge Frank J. Otte wouldn't approve the deal.

"The issue is that there appears to be more than enough money in the liquidation trust to pay the full $2 million, plus other debts," Harris said.

As a result, ISC is guaranteed a minimum of $1.5 million and a maximum of $2 million, and any possible financial obligation by OWRS will be greatly reduced or completely erased.

At the time of its purchase of CART's assets, OWRS officials said they had $500,000 set aside for a possible settlement to the suit. Harris said no further court dates have been set, but that "maybe within the next month we'll get a better idea of how it will shake out." Press-Enterprise

04/22/05 ISC’s 88 Corp. subsidiary has reached a settlement under which it will receive $1.5M from the CART Liquidation Trust and “up to $500,000 more from” Open Wheel Racing Series in a lawsuit that followed the cancellation of the CART race scheduled for California Speedway in November ’03. The 88 Corp. contended the California wildfires were a “force majeure” and that CART “was obligated to return the $2.4[M] sanctioning fee, minus an agreed-upon amount for expenses in planning and promoting the event” Riverside PRESS-ENTERPRISE
Marchy Lee Ying-Kin to test with Minardi Marchy Lee Ying-Kin to test with MinardiThe Minardi F1 Team announced Friday that Chinese driver, Marchy Lee Ying-Kin, will participate in the Faenza squad’s upcoming test at the Mugello circuit, on April 27 and 28. Lee, who is the reigning Formula BMW Asia Champion, will join Minardi race drivers Christijan Albers and Patrick Friesacher, and test driver, Chanoch Nissany.

The team will take two of its latest Minardi Cosworth PS05 chassis to the test, as well as a single PS04B, the latter for comparative purposes and tire evaluation. As a result of his participation in the test, Lee, who won 12 of 15 races on his way to the Formula BMW Asia title, will become the first Chinese-domiciled driver to sample a current Formula One car.

“We have been keeping an eye on Marchy’s progress for some time, and are pleased to be able to give him his first taste of Formula One performance next week," stated Minardi Team Principal, Paul Stoddart. "It will also give the team a chance to have a close look at him in terms of possible Formula One potential. Following last year’s inaugural, and hugely successful, Chinese Grand Prix, I’m sure this test will generate considerable interest among Formula One fans in China and help to raise the profile of the sport there still further.” Minardi

San Marino GP: Friday Press Conference San Marino GP: Friday Press ConferenceFollowing the first day of running in Imola, Italy for the San Marino GP in which McLaren led the way from BAR, Jenson Button, new McLaren race recruit Alex Wurz join Ron Dennis and Gil de Ferran – recently appointed Sporting Director of BAR Honda gathered to answer questions. Transcript
Kahne nabs Busch pole at Phoenix Kahne nabs Busch pole at PhoenixKasey Kahne backed up his fast lap in Happy Hour by taking the Busch Pole for Friday night's Bashas' Supermarkets 200. Kahne was the only driver to break 132 mph.  Paul Menard will get his best start of the season, starting beside Kahne on the front row. Tony Stewart, J.J. Yeley and Carl Edwards round out the top five.
FIA springs drug test on drivers FIA springs drug test on driversJacques Villeneuve was one of six drivers called upon by FIA, the governing body of motorsport, to submit a urine sample for drug testing on Friday.   According to Autoport-Atlas, Formula One championship leader Fernando Alonso and Renault teammate Giancarlo Fisichella were also randomly drawn to take the test following the opening practice session for this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix.   Rookies Vitantonio Liuzzi of Red Bull Racing, Tiago Montiero of Jordan and test driver Robert Doornbos rounded out the group.
New Porsche program won't affect GT2 program New Porsche program won't affect GT2 programPorsche's announcement that it is fielding an LMP2 team in the American Le Mans Series with Penske Motorsports sent shockwaves through the series and the racing world. But for those wondering if it will have any effect on Porsche's GT2 effort in the ALMS, the answer is a resounding "NO."  Both Peter Schwarzenbaurer, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, and Uwe Brettel, President of Porsche Motorsport North America, said as much at Road Atlanta last week in a CBS television interview announcing the Porsche program.   "It will not have an effect on our ALMS customer GT2 program or any other racing program," Brettel insisted. "We are so proud of our GT2 customers, and we intend to support our GT2 customers for more victories in the races to come."  Some GT2 drivers and teams felt at ease with those statements, believing that Porsche's attention to the LMP2 also will mean more attention to the GT2 entries.  "It is very exciting to see Porsche moving back into prototype racing. With the announcement of its racing program expansion, I think we can also expect an expansion in service and support, which will benefit all GT2 teams running Porsches," said Seth Neiman, driver of the No. 44 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche.
Nicolas Lapierre takes first GP2 Pole Nicolas Lapierre takes first GP2 PoleArden International's Nicolas Lapierre leads the GP2 series championship table today, having scooped the first points of the inaugural season with a sensational pole position. The Frenchman put a miserable morning, in which he completed just two laps of practice, well behind him in posting the fastest time of the day, for which he will be rewarded with two valuable points. He was followed by Giorgio Pantano (Super Nova International) and Jose Maria Lopez (DAMS.) The top three drivers were separated by less that 0.1s when the checkered flag fell on the thirty-minute session. Indeed, the top nine drivers were covered by just 0.7s. Nelson Piquet Jr had a frustrating start to his GP2 career in his Hitech Piquet Sports entry. “I had a big problem this morning which really affected my whole day, and meant that my set-up for qualifying was not the best that it could have been. I am quite happy with the result because the other seven drivers ahead of me did not have problems during free practice this morning."

GP2 times from San Marino
1. N. LAPIERRE Arden International 1:33.505s
2. G. PANTANO Super Nova International 1:33.510 +0.005
3. J. LOPEZ DAMS 1:33.577 +0.072
4. E. VISO BCN Competicion 1:33.852 +0.347
5. H. KOVALAINEN Arden International 1:33.927 +0.422
6. S. SPEED iSport International 1:33.984 +0.479
7. A. CARROLL Super Nova International 1:34.122 +0.617
8. N. PIQUET Jr. Hitech Piquet Sports 1:34.183 +0.678
9. G. BRUNI Coloni Motorsport 1:34.187 +0.682
10. J. ALVAREZ Campos Racing 1:34.658 +1.153
11. N. ROSBERG ART Grand Prix 1:34.763 +1.258
12. N. JANI Racing Engineering 1:35.020 +1.515
13. R. SHARP DPR 1:35.101 +1.596
14. F. MONFARDINI Durango 1:35.129 +1.624
15. O. PLA DPR 1:35.303 +1.798
16. A. NEGRAO Hitech Piquet Sports 1:35.672 +2.167
17. A. PREMAT ART Grand Prix 1:35.704 +2.199
18. C. ARTAM iSport International 1:36.016 +2.511
19. B. GARCIA Racing Engineering 1:36.162 +2.657
20. M. LAUDA Coloni Motorsport 1:36.380 +2.875
21. F. FAUZY DAMS 1:37.591 +4.086
22. S. HERNANDEZ Campos Racing 1:38.739 +5.234
23. C. PICCIONE Durango 1:39.148 +5.643
24. H. YOSHIMOTO BCN Competicion No Time
Source GP2 Series

Industry News
ISC announces big expansion plans for Phoenix and Homestead ISC announces big expansion plans for Phoenix and HomesteadUPDATE In addition to the new suites and club seats at Homestead, rumor has it that they will be putting up another 3 to 5 thousand grandstand seats in time for the November Nextel Cup race. 04/22/05 International Speedway Corp. (ISC) is announcing today multimillion-dollar project initiatives at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway. ISC COO John Saunders said Homestead-Miami will add a Turn 1 tower that will feature 16 new luxury suites that will sit above 800 new club suites. Saunders said the tower, similar to the Daytona 500 Club that was constructed last year at Daytona Int’l Speedway, would be completed before this year’s November season finale. In Phoenix, Saunders said the company will continue its expansion of the Bobby Allison grandstand around Turn 1 by adding 14,000 new seats and constructing 28 new luxury suites. The expansion will be completed in April ‘06. The announcement comes as speculation has NASCAR interested in moving the season finale around year to year. Saunders said these upgrades further solidify Homestead-Miami as the host of the final race for years to come. By Scott Warfield, SportsBusiness Journal
Stewart and Labonte to Promote Upcoming Rolex Series Races Stewart and Labonte to Promote Upcoming Rolex Series RacesPlagued by near-zero fans at the race track, the France family is calling in the big guns.  A pair of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champions with Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series experience will do their part to promote upcoming Rolex Series events over the next two weekends in advance of NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races at Phoenix International Raceway and Talladega Superspeedway.  Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Tony Stewart—the 2002 NEXTEL Cup champion—and 2000 NEXTEL Cup champion Bobby Labonte will each run Daytona Prototype demonstration laps shortly before the green flag waves to begin the Subway Fresh 500 at PIR on Saturday, April 23 and the Aaron’s 499 at Talladega on Sunday, May 1.

Stewart—who has made six Rolex Series starts—will drive Howard-Boss Motorsports’ No. 2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford on demonstration laps prior to the Subway Fresh 500 to promote the Rolex Series’ visit to the infield road course at PIR on the weekend of September 8-10. The NEXTEL Cup and IndyCar champion owns three third-place finishes in Daytona Prototype competition, and is likely to try again for a Rolex Series victory later this season.

One week later at Talladega, Labonte will drive the same No. 44 Doran Racing Pontiac Doran that he shared with his brother, two-time NEXTEL Cup champion Terry Labonte, IndyCar star Bryan Herta and sports car stalwart Jan Magnussen in the 2005 Rolex 24 At Daytona around the super-fast high banks of Talladega. Labonte’s run will promote the Rolex Series visit to nearby Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. on the weekend July 29-31, in which Labonte may also compete.

Tickets for the Barber weekend in July are available by calling (205) 298-9040 or on the web at www.barbermotorsports.com. Tickets for September’s Phoenix 250 can be obtained by calling (602) 252-2227 or by visiting www.phoenixinternationalraceway.com. Both event weekends will also feature the popular Grand-Am Cup Series.

Penske mates fastest at Phoenix Penske mates fastest at PhoenixTravis Kvapil, Ryan Newman and Jeremy Mayfield led a Dodge charge Thursday during the first of two Nextel Cup practices at Phoenix International Raceway.  Just to show why he's a three-time winner of the Bud Pole Award this season, Newman went back out in the final moments of the incident-free, 75-minute final practice and stuck a lap of 131.598 mph on the board, edging the Chevrolets of Joe Nemechek and Dave Blaney.  Newman's lap was slightly better than Kvapil's 131.071 earlier in the day, but was accomplished under significantly cooler track conditions as Nextel Cup cars ran under Phoenix's lights for the first time.  A total of 46 cars practiced for the 43-car field, to be decided by Friday afternoon's Bud Pole Qualifying. NASCAR.com [Editor's Note:  Phoenix is a night race.  Qualifying is this evening and the race is Saturday night on FOX.]
Final weekend TV ratings Final weekend TV ratingsUPDATE #2 The final USA TV ratings from this past weekend are in.  The ALMS race in Road Atlanta garnered a disappointing 0.5/2 share on CBS (down from its overnight of 0.6/2 share).  The NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway came in with a 5.7/15 share on FOX (up from an overnight of 5.0/11 share) and the Busch race on Saturday delivered a 2.1/6 share on FOX, the same as the overnight. 04/18/05 While the Nextel Cup race was the weekend's highest-rated sports event, the rating was down from the overnight 5.6/13 (with the Albuquerque, N.M., market missing) earned by the Texas race last year, when the event was run on the first weekend in April, and the 5.8/13 in 2003, so the trend is down for the second year in a row. 04/18/05 The overnight USA TV ratings from this past weekend are in.  The ALMS race in Road Atlanta garnered a disappointing 0.6/2 share on CBS, which is likely to go down in the final tally.  The NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway came in with a 5.0/11 share on FOX and the Busch race on Saturday delivered a 2.1/6 share on FOX.
Industry News
Chicagoland motorsports radio show to debut Chicagoland motorsports radio show to debutChicagoland Speedway VP & GM Matthew Alexander and WMVP-AM afternoon host John Jurkovic will premiere their new Saturday morning motorsports radio show at 9:00am CT reports Sports Business Daily
Industry News
REN teams with University REN teams with UniversityAn innovative joint venture between Racing Employment Network (REN) and Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI has been launched today. Students and graduates interested in pursuing a career in motorsports through intern or full time employment can post their resumes on the Racing Employment Network website free of charge until they are chosen by an employer.

Recognizing that successes on and off the racetrack are a direct result of connecting the right people with the right position, Racing Employment Network has been formed. Made up of a partnership of veteran members of the racing industry, Racing Employment Network is an Internet based employment service 100% dedicated to the niche racing industry.

Boasting job listings from first class racing teams and organizations such as Honda Performance Development, Target Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Rahal-Letterman Racing, RuSPORT, Rocketsports Racing, Walker Racing, and Ilmor Racing Engines to name just a few, Racing Employment Network is fast becoming the ‘single source’ for teams to find the candidates they are looking for.

Motorsports today is going through quite a transformation. With shrinking team budgets, and numerous teams in different racing series chasing the same sponsorship dollars, winning results are paramount in helping to secure funding. Teams recognize the importance of getting well educated engineers, as the development ideas come from them. They are the ones who can find the extra performance in an increasingly restricted environment. Recent college graduates are of interest to the teams because they bring fresh ideas to the table. Equally important to the teams is the opportunity to gain access to fresh pools of labor at affordable costs.

“I can’t think of a better way for students and graduates interested in a racing career to become noticed by the decision makers in racing than by taking advantage of this innovative program. Our easy to use registration process, and links to the movers and shakers of the racing industry make this a win-win situation for the applicants and employers” said Annette Swartwout, Vice President of Racing Employment Network.

Racing Employment Network (REN) was launched in the winter of 2004 as a dedicated human resources portal serving the racing industry. Unlike other aggregator job boards, REN exclusively caters to this specific audience, with unique features and functions that pertain only to the racing industry. This online resource is dedicated to reduce the time and cost attached to current hiring operations for racing teams, and simultaneously creates a single source point for potential employees to review the latest and most comprehensive list available jobs. www.racingemploymentnetwork.com

Industry News
Drive The Glen Drive The GlenOpening Day at Watkins Glen International is Sunday, May 1st and marks the last day to purchase tickets at the advanced prices. Fans will also have the opportunity to get a sneak peek at the latest capital improvements from their own vehicle, and drive the 3.4-mile historic circuit.

On Opening Day the track will officially open for one of the most highly anticipated racing seasons at The Glen in over 20 years. Fans will get a once in a lifetime opportunity to drive three paced laps, or take a ride around the historic facility and see all of the capital improvements and enhancements - before the likes of NASCAR stars Jeff Gordon and Dale Jr., and 2004 Indy 500 winner, Buddy Rice. Motorcycles are not permitted.

For only $15.00, from 9:00 AM until 4:30 PM, fans can drive the track first and feel the excitement of the season as they take on the twists and turns of this famed road course before the historic 2005 season begins. Proceeds from Opening Day will benefit Victory Junction Gang Camp, a Kyle and Patty Petty organization for children with chronic illnesses.

German DTM
Audi wants to strike back in the Lausitz Audi wants to strike back in the LausitzA television audience of 2.22 million watched the live ARD broadcast of the DTM season opener at Hockenheim, 113,000 fans formed an impressive backdrop at the circuit. Only two weeks later on Sunday May 1, Europe’s most popular touring car series stars at Europe’s leading state-of-the-art circuit, the EuroSpeedway Lausitz, situated 130 kilometers south of Berlin. The fans can look forward to a particularly exciting race because defending champions Audi want to strike back following the somewhat unlucky course of events at the season opener.
The Audi squad worked hard after the race at Hockenheim to rebuild Tom Kristensen’s car, which was badly damaged in a start collision. Also, the data recorded during the season opener was analyzed. At Hockenheim, practice results and Mattias Ekström´s pole position demonstrated that the new Audi A4 DTM was quick out of the box. The job is now to find the perfect set-up for the EuroSpeedway – especially for the race.
It should also be taken into account that the circuit layout has changed: The 3.410 kilometer DTM version will be used for the first time. The circuit is more than one kilometer shorter than last year, when Mattias Ekström won.
The spectators benefit from the shortened track layout: Instead of the previous 37-lap distance the race is now held over 42 laps. The atmosphere on the Eurospeedway Lausitz main grandstand was unique last year. More than 70,000 fans are also expected this year. ARD broadcasts qualifying (Saturday from 2 p.m.) and the race (Sunday from 1:45 p.m.) live. Audi
New Minardi breaks cover New Minardi breaks coverIt took late nights, long hours and unremitting determination, but the pay-off for the Minardi F1 Team came at 11.02 CET today, when the first of the Faenza squad’s new Minardi Cosworth PS05 chassis, with Christijan Albers at the wheel, took to Imola’s Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari track for its initial Formula One practice session.

The car of Patrick Friesacher followed three minutes later, and both cars then ran without any major technical issues during the morning session. Unfortunately, Albers’ car was sidelined in the afternoon after a wiring problem developed at the beginning of the session, but Friesacher continued at uninterrupted pace with his technical program.

The team has much to learn about the behavior of the latest Minardi, and many aspects of the car have yet to be optimized, but at the conclusion of today, both drivers had made quantifiable progress in terms of developing an appropriate chassis set-up to cope with the demands of the Imola circuit.

Patrick Friesacher - “In general, I’m happy with the work we’ve done today. We need to find more grip, improve the braking and increase the gearbox shift speed, but overall, we’ve had a positive day. Now we just need to work on the areas we’ve identified. There’s clearly a lot of potential in the PS05, and I particularly want to thank the guys, who worked all night to get my car ready for today. You can see they are a little bit tired, and I would like to be able to give something back to them this weekend for all their work.”

Christijan Albers - “It was a shame we couldn’t get out in the second session, because we made quite a lot of changes to the car between the morning and afternoon sessions but weren’t able to assess the effect they had. I’m particularly disappointed for the guys, who have just been working so hard. I think the source of this afternoon’s problem will turn out to be relatively minor, though, and I have great confidence about the potential for the PS05. Now we just have to work on developing it, and fining a good set-up for this weekend.”

Paul Stoddart, Team Principal - “After a productive first session that saw both cars run virtually faultlessly, the second session proved there is no substitute for testing. A wiring problem put paid to Christijan’s session, and while Patrick got all but one of his planned runs in, today was clearly all about beginning to understand the new car. Overall, the whole team is really impressed with the PS05, which appears to have enormous potential. I’m proud of the job done by the whole team, but particularly the relentless effort by the mechanics to get the cars on track today. Well done!” Minardi

Kahne to join FanFest Kahne to join FanFestComing off a thrilling trip to Victory Lane at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend, NASCAR star Kasey Kahne has confirmed he will be taking a trip of another kind, this one to the 2005 Joliet FanFest. Kahne, and his NASCAR Busch Series sponsor Great Clips, have announced their participation during the 2005 Joliet FanFest scheduled for Thursday, July 7th.

The 25-year-old NEXTEL CUP and Busch Series star will get up close and personal with fans as he participates in a public question and answer session in downtown Joliet, Illinois. Kahne is scheduled to appear at 7:45 pm CST on the main entertainment stage during Joliet’s 2005 FanFest. Kahne will take questions from the audience in attendance, as well as the stage hosts.   

“I’m really excited to get a chance to participate with the 2005 Joliet FanFest,” said Kahne. “NASCAR fans in the Midwest are incredibly dedicated and Joliet’s FanFest just keeps getting bigger. The Chicagoland area is one of Great Clips top markets with over 130 salons so it's going to be a lot of fun."

Few drivers had an impact on NASCAR the way the 25-year-old driver from Enumclaw, Washington did last season. By the end of 2004, Kasey Kahne was a household name. Whether it was his aggressive style on the track or the year-long media frenzy which included being named one of "America's Top-50 Bachelors" by People Magazine, Kahne's popularity hit new heights.

“It is a thrill to have another major NASCAR star like Kasey Kahne participate with FanFest and enhance the experience of all in attendance,” said Tom Mahalik, Vice President of Joliet’s City Center Partnership. “We are excited to be working with Kasey and his sponsor Great Clips to create a fantastic promotion that will help Great Clips’ charity of choice the Ronald McDonald House.”

Joliet’s FanFest is a completely free to the public, family-friendly festival that includes live bands, driver appearances, show cars, and other exhibits. The 2005 FanFest takes place in downtown Joliet, Illinois on Thursday, July 7th. For more information please visit www.jolietdowntown.com.

Edmonton race names PR honcho Edmonton race names PR honchoOrganizers of the inaugural Grand Prix of Edmonton, which will feature the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, announced today that they have selected veteran Canadian public relations specialist Sid Priddle to spearhead public and media relations initiatives for the event which is scheduled to take place from July 15-17.   Priddle, who has more than 30 years of experience in providing strategic public and media relations' counsel to an international roster of corporations and event-marketing clients, was the Director of Communications for the first 10 years of the Molson Indy Toronto (1986-1996).

"It gives me great pleasure to welcome Sid to the Grand Prix of Edmonton," said Greg Macdonald, President and General Manager of the event. "Our team is made up of some of the most skilled event and motorsports professionals in North America, all of whom play integral roles in ensuring the success of the Grand Prix. Sid's event and public relations experience will be an asset to our organization."

Recognized throughout the motorsports industry as outstanding media relations' strategist and tactician, Priddle also led the public relations effort for Brown & Williamson Tobacco's KOOL Champ Car sponsorship program from 1997 to 2002.

Friday roundup from Imola Friday roundup from Imola
Ferrari: Back on the pace on home turf? Michael Schumacher - just a tenth slower than Renault's Fernando Alonso - thinks so. ''BAR's performance was interesting,'' said the German, ''but maybe they were on low fuel.'' Rubens Barrichello, with a car problem in the morning, is also fast.

Red Bull: David Coulthard lamented that the RB1 'isn't that quick' on the north Italian circuit. On debut, Tonio Liuzzi languished at the back of the pack. ''We're further from the top than usual,'' 'third' man Christian Klien agreed.

Minardi: Minardi's new car failed to make an impression on the Imola timesheet. ''We need more grip, better braking and faster gearbox shift speed,'' said Patrick Friesacher, ''but there's clear potential.'' Christijan Albers' day ended with a 'wiring' problem.

Toyota: Trouble-at-Imola is a familiar problem for Toyota, as Jarno Trulli - who conserved mileage in the morning - discovered. ''We're not entirely happy,'' said the Italian. Ralf Schumacher, meanwhile, said the problem - unlike in the past - is not the curbs.

Williams: Nick Heidfeld, quickest of the BMW-powered pair, happily reported that his back is '100 per cent ok' after hurting it in testing. More ominously, the FW27 does not appear quick.

McLaren: Alex Wurz will take Sunday's grid, but 'third' driver Pedro de la Rosa - who collected a $5k fine for jumping the red light in pitlane - topped the sunny timesheet. Kimi Raikkonen, meanwhile, reckons he's right on the pace. ''I suffered from traffic today,'' said the Finn, while Wurz had minor technical trouble.

BAR: Jenson Button -- P2. ''This is where I expected (us) to be,'' said the confident Briton. Takuma Sato agrees that the revised package is 'on the pace.'

Renault: Championship leader Fernando Alonso - who called the R25 'quite competitive' - didn't do a lot on Friday, and Giancarlo Fisichella described imperfect car balance.

Sauber: At last, Jacques Villeneuve - with some new bodywork on the C24 - is somewhere near teammate Felipe Massa's pace. ''The car seemed okay,'' he said with caution. While also pleased with a better car, Massa, though, has been happier -- he'll need a new engine.

Jordan: 'Friday' driver Robert Doornbos' spin at Aqua Minerale provided most entertainment in yellow, but - for the team - at least the EJ15 is still easily quicker than, old or new, Minardi.

Pedro tops Practice 2 too Pedro tops Practice 2 tooMcLaren driver Pedro de la Rosa once again proved he should be a full-time F1 driver by dominating both Friday practice sessions in Imola ahead of Sunday's San Marino GP.
P. No Driver Team - Engine Tires Times Ave/Gaps
 1. 35 DE LA ROSA McLaren Mercedes M 1'20"484 220.650 Km/h
 2. 3 BUTTON BAR Honda M 1'21"052 + 0'00"568
 3. 9 RAIKKONEN McLaren Mercedes M 1'21"704 + 0'01"220
 4. 38 ZONTA Toyota M 1'21"889 + 0'01"405
 5. 5 ALONSO Renault M 1'21"899 + 0'01"415
 6. 1 M.SCHUMACHER Ferrari B 1'22"025 + 0'01"541
 7. 2 BARRICHELLO Ferrari B 1'22"048 + 0'01"564
 8. 10 WURZ McLaren Mercedes M 1'22"174 + 0'01"690
 9. 6 FISICHELLA Renault M 1'22"211 + 0'01"727
10. 4 SATO BAR Honda M 1'22"335 + 0'01"851
11. 12 MASSA Sauber Petronas M 1'22"791 + 0'02"307
12. 11 VILLENEUVE Sauber Petronas M 1'22"955 + 0'02"471
13. 16 TRULLI Toyota M 1'23"343 + 0'02"859
14. 8 HEIDFELD Williams BMW M 1'23"458 + 0'02"974
15. 17 R.SCHUMACHER Toyota M 1'23"466 + 0'02"982
16. 14 COULTHARD Red Bull Cosworth M 1'23"815 + 0'03"331
17. 19 KARTHIKEYAN Jordan Toyota B 1'23"842 + 0'03"358
18. 7 WEBBER Williams BMW M 1'23"964 + 0'03"480
19. 18 MONTEIRO Jordan Toyota B 1'24"573 + 0'04"089
20. 37 KLIEN Red Bull Cosworth M 1'24"625 + 0'04"141
21. 15 LIUZZI Red Bull Cosworth M 1'24"626 + 0'04"142
22. 39 DOORNBOS Jordan Toyota B 1'25"172 + 0'04"688
23. 20 FRIESACHER Minardi Cosworth B 1'26"620 + 0'06"136
Pizza Hut to sponsor Labonte and Vickers Pizza Hut to sponsor Labonte and VickersHendrick Motorsports today announced a program that will feature Pizza Hut as a primary sponsor of Chevrolets driven by Terry Labonte and Brian Vickers this season in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series.  Labonte, a two-time Cup Series champion, will showcase a Pizza Hut paint scheme on his No. 44 Chevrolets in three upcoming NEXTEL Cup events: May 21 at Lowe's Motor Speedway, June 12 at Pocono Raceway and July 10 at Chicagoland Speedway.  In the Busch Series, Vickers' No. 57 Pizza Hut Chevrolets will appear May 6 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway during the track's inaugural weekend of night racing and Sept. 24 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.  Vickers posted a pair of victories, three top-fives and four top-10 finishes at Darlington and Dover in 2003 Busch Series competition.  "We're honored the folks at Pizza Hut have chosen to team with Hendrick Motorsports in their first venture into NASCAR racing," said Marshall Carlson, general manager of Hendrick Motorsports.  "They've laid out a campaign we're all excited to be associated with and we look forward to making the partnership a valuable one for them."
Former LB charity president arrested Former LB charity president arrestedUPDATE Wearing handcuffs, shackles and a jail-issued blue jumpsuit, John Knauf, the former president of the Long Beach Grand Prix Foundation pleaded not guilty Thursday to a charge that he stole more than $250,000 from the charity organization. The foundation raises money for local charities through two major events a black tie charity ball and a charity golf tournament typically held the week prior to the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The foundation is not connected with either the Grand Prix or the Grand Prix Association, which puts on the annual race.  Knauf, 60, was arrested Tuesday. He faces multiple felony counts of theft and state tax evasion.  He appeared in court for his arraignment with a public defender who asked that the Seal Beach resident be released on his own recognizance due to his lack of a criminal record authorities said he has no prior convictions and his medical condition. Press-Telegram 04/20/05 A former president of the Grand Prix Foundation of Long Beach is due in court today to face charges of charity theft.  John Knauf was arrested yesterday for allegedly stealing more than 250-thousand dollars from the nonprofit group. The foundation raises funds before the annual Toyota Grand Prix in Long Beach and distributes the money to selected charities.  Knauf, a Seal Beach resident, faces up to nine years in state prison if convicted of grand theft and tax evasion.  The theft was uncovered when Knauf's successor learned that the foundation's bank account had insufficient funds. AP Story
NASCAR suspends another cheater NASCAR suspends another cheaterUPDATE #2 Car owner James Finch said he twice showed NASCAR officials a carburetor used on his No. 1 Dodge in the Busch Series race at Texas, only to have that part ruled illegal in post-race inspection, leading to his car being disqualified from a 14th-place finish.  "I went to the race at Bristol and we presented a carburetor to them," Finch said Thursday. "We had run it on the chassis dyno and it was better than anything we had. We'd run it on our short-track car at the Snowball Derby.   "We wanted to know if it would be legal for the Busch car."

Finch said officials told him that if booster bars in the carburetor were changed, it would be OK to use. "We sent it out and had them changed," Finch said. "The carburetor was shipped to us in Texas. We took it to the track and NASCAR inspected it, put it on the car and sealed the engine."

Johnny Sauter qualified 10th for the O'Reilly 300, then finished 14th in the race. Afterward, however, the car was chosen for post-race inspection and the engine was torn down.  NASCAR announced Sunday morning that the car had been disqualified and the team stripped of all of the money and points earned with the 14th-place finish. On Monday, crew chief Joe Shear Jr. was suspended for four races and placed on probation until Dec. 31.  In addition, a NASCAR official has lost his job over the incident.  While NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter declined to comment on personnel issues, sources confirmed that Woody Neese is now no longer employed as a Busch Series official and that his departure stems from the incident. Charlotte Observer 

04/20/05 NASCAR Wednesday revealed that one of its inspectors has been fired as a result of the Sauter matter. Although NASCAR had no comment on the details, the Charlotte Observer reports that the inspector was released after an investigation into the case. The newspaper identified the inspector as Woody Neese. Apparently Neese missed that Sauter's carburetor was blatantly oversize and he put the seal on the carburetor indicating he inspected it and it was legal. 04/20/05 NASCAR announced Tuesday that Joe Shear Jr., crew chief of the No. 1 Dodge driven by Johnny Sauter in the NASCAR Busch Series, has been suspended until May 18 (the next four races beginning at Phoenix) and placed on probation until December 31, 2005 after rule violations Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway. For the complete penalty release go to: http://www.nascarmedia.com/releases/index.jsp?release_id=13403.
Industry News
Delphi downgraded to 'junk' status Delphi downgraded to 'junk' statusStandard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered auto supplier Delphi Corp.'s credit rating further into junk status Thursday, citing an investigation into the company's accounting practices and other factors.  Delphi's rating was lowered a notch from BB+ to BB, which will make it more difficult for the Troy-based auto-parts supplier to borrow money.  The move came one day after Standard & Poor's downgraded fellow supplier Visteon Corp., which is also in junk range. Delphi, the world's largest auto supplier, spun off from General Motors Corp. in 1999. Visteon spun off from Ford Motor Co. a year later.  Standard & Poor's said it is concerned about tough industry conditions facing Delphi and other suppliers, including reduced vehicle production at GM and Ford and the high cost of steel and other raw materials. Detroit Free Press
GP2 cars hit with reliability problems GP2 cars hit with reliability problemsThe majority of GP2 runners in the first practice session at Imola this morning were hit with electrical problems thought to be caused by a fuse in the new ECU. Some cars didn't run any laps at all, and American Scott Speed only managed 5 laps. If the problem can't be fixed some wonder whether any cars will be running at the end of Saturday's 37-lap race.
Fisichella looking forward to 'home' race Fisichella looking forward to 'home' raceWith a B specification RS25 engine powering him this weekend, Giancarlo Fisichella is hoping for a competitive showing at his 'home' race.

Giancarlo, how do you sum up your start to the season?
To win the first race of the season, with my new team, couldn't have been a better start to the year. Since then, it's true, I had a problem with the front wing in Malaysia which cost me performance and led to the accident with Webber; and then in Bahrain, the engine broke. But at both races, we won with Fernando, which is very important for the team even if I didn't score points. I think Renault is still the best chassis-engine combination, and there are sixteen races left this season – that's a long way to go. I am determined to fight hard.

The old adage says that your team-mate is your number-one rival; Fernando is sixteen points ahead in the championship now. Does that worry you?
At the moment, anything can still happen. When you look at my season, I was top in the points after the first race, now I am third because of two retirements. Who knows what will happen over the next four or five races? For me, the important thing is to score points, get on the podium and win some races. If the team can continue developing the package, then I think we can fight for the championship and at the moment, Fernando has an advantage over me. But we have the same car, so I think we have the same chance to compete for the title.

How is your relationship with Fernando?
We are good friends. We work well together, he is a nice guy, fast and consistent and it is tough to be quicker than him. That's not a problem; on the contrary, it is an extra motivation for me. That is the way it should be, because it is better for the team.

For an Italian driver, what is it like to have the opportunity to race against, and beat, Ferrari? Do the Tifosi resent it?
I remember how things used to be: twenty years ago, Patrese crashed in the Brabham [in 1983] when he was leading and the fans cheered because that meant Ferrari won the race. Nowadays, I think the Italian people and the Ferrari fans are much closer to the Italian drivers; we have had an Italian on the podium at every race in 2005, and with Ferrari not being so strong in the first races, I think people at home are starting to like seeing an Italian on the podium rather than somebody else! I am happy about that, and want to score a great result for my country.

Does racing in your home country put more pressure on you?
Definitely there is more pressure: it is my home race, in front of my fans, and I want to put in a good performance. I try 100% everywhere, but a strong race here is more special. So I think there is more pressure, yes, but that is not always a bad thing. I am comfortable with this, and I can handle that situation.

What are your best memories from Imola?
For me, they are very clear: firstly, it was in 1992, when I won my first race there in Formula 3, and then in 1997 when I scored my first F1 points in the Jordan, finishing fourth. I have had some special times at this track. Renault
Fernando Alonso set for Istanbul demo Fernando Alonso set for Istanbul demoOn Sunday, 15 May, three months before the inaugural Grand Prix of Turkey, the Renault F1 Team, current leaders of the World Championship, will run their F1 car in the historic Istanbul city centre, at the Sultanahmet hippodrome. The stars of this free-to-all show will be Fernando Alonso and his F1 car, making their first visit to Istanbul to share the emotions of their spectacular sport with the Turkish public.

After last weekend's demonstration with Giancarlo Fisichella in Rome's history-laden Circus Maximus, the Istanbul hippodrome will come to life once again for a major event on 15 May. The historic heart of Istanbul will welcome a parade of historic racing cars on the route of the ancient hippodrome, followed by Fernando Alonso demonstrating his F1 car for ten laps of the circuit.

The people who come to see the F1 car are in for a treat – and one that is completely free! As the current championship leader Fernando Alonso laps the street circuit, it will give spectators who have never before seen an F1 car, the chance to marvel at its phenomenal power and braking capabilities up close. For the Turkish public, it is a unique opportunity ahead of the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix on 21 August to come and sample, in relaxed surroundings, the emotion of motorsport's leading category.
Ibrahim Aybar, Managing Director of Renault MAIS, is delighted with the event: Interest in F1 in Turkey is growing every day. I would like to thank the Governor and Mayor of Istanbul for giving us the opportunity, three months ahead of the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix, to present this unique spectacle to the public. The Roadshow is proof of how determined we and the Renault F1 Team are to take F1 to the spectators, and get them involved in this exciting sport. I hope the public will turn out in force to share the experience with us.

Excited about the prospect of visiting Istanbul, Fernando Alonso commented: "I am pleased that we will be going to Turkey for a new Grand Prix this year. I don't know Istanbul, but I am looking forward to going there, and I am pleased to have this unique opportunity to drive my F1 car in the streets of such an historic city! The Renault F1 Roadshow in Madrid two years ago is an unforgettable memory for me, and I am sure it will be the same in Istanbul. I am looking forward to being able to meet the Turkish fans at an event like this, where they can get close to the action – so that we can really share the excitement of our sport with them. Michelin and Elf, historic partners of the Renault F1 Team, will participate in the event, which has been organized with the assistance of Tomsfed. Renault

Barrichello confident Imola will be different Barrichello confident Imola will be differentRubens Barrichello had the honor of being the first driver to hold a press conference in the Ferrari media motorhome, when he met the press this afternoon. Naturally enough the Brazilian was not keen to dwell on the tough times in Bahrain, preferring to take an upbeat look at the coming weekend.

“Before Sunday in Bahrain, I had done one day’s testing with the new car in Mugello and a handful of laps in qualifying,” Barrichello recalled. “Now, I have a far better understanding of the new car, after doing so many miles of testing over the past two weeks. Now, I understand how to do the set-up and I have a good feeling in the cockpit. The entire team has worked hard and we have made progress on all fronts, from the aerodynamics to the engine, which is very strong and reliable. We have also made a step forward on the tire front. It has put me in a great mood!”

Despite this renewed confidence, the journalists wanted to know how the Ferrari man felt about the team’s low points score so far this year.

“We have not let the pressure get to us,” he insisted. “The team is strong and we know we cannot judge the year on the first three races, especially with such a long championship.”
All the team’s testing bulletins have stressed the amount of tire testing carried out in conjunction with Bridgestone and Barrichello gave an insight into the work involved.

“It is not a simple procedure,” he explained. “You do not just test one set of each type of tire. You might test ten or twelve. Then, once you are happy with the performance level, you then have to evaluate its durability over a race distance. The work we did before this race on the tire front was exhaustive and produced good results in terms of durability and speed. But I am also pleased to say that we found time for me to work purely on improving the car set-up, to learn more about the chassis.”

But what about the gearbox problems that affected Barrichello in Bahrain? “Firstly, they were two separate problems,” answered Barrichello. “Secondly, we understand what caused both of them and thirdly, Michael and I used the same gearbox during testing so we put a huge number of kilometres on it. So, what I feel today is that even if the first three races were not so good, Imola will be a different story.” Ferrari

Kovalainen tops opening GP2 practice Kovalainen tops opening GP2 practiceArden International driver Heikki Kovalainen was the fastest in the inaugural GP2 practice session at Imola Friday morning.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap Laps
 1. H. Kovalainen Arden International 1:35.344 9
 2. H. Yoshimoto BCN Competicion 1:35.532 0.188 11
 3. A. Carroll Super Nova 1:35.605 0.261 14
 4. E. Viso Ven Competicion 1:35.676 0.332 12
 5. G. Bruni Coloni Motorsport 1:35.706 0.362 13
 6. F. Monfardini Durango 1:36.585 1.241 14
 7. A. Premat ART Grand Prix 1:37.007 1.663 8
 8. A. Negrao Hitech Piquet Sports 1:37.308 1.964 16
 9. J. Alvarez Campos Racing 1:37.631 2.287 10
10. C. Artam iSport International 1:37.876 2.532 11
11. N. Jani Racing Engineering 1:37.970 2.626 8
12. M. Lauda Coloni Motorsport 1:38.082 2.738 13
13. S. Speed iSport International 1:38.739 3.395 5
14. S. Hernandez Campos Racing 1:39.319 3.975 9
15. N. Piquet Jr. Hitech Piquet Sports 1:42.001 6.657 5
16. N. Lapierre Arden International 1:51.199 15.855 3
17. C. Piccione Durango 1:52.353 17.009 2
18. G. Pantano Super Nova 1:57.446 22.102 2
19. F. Fauzy DAMS No time 1
20. J. Lopez DAMS No time 1
21. O. Pla DPR No time 0
22. R. Sharp DPR No time 0
23. B. Garcia Racing Engineering No time 0
24. N. Rosberg ART Grand Prix No time 0
Group of seven to meet Group of seven to meetThe Formula 1 Group of Nine appears to have shrunk to a Group of Seven. A meeting is planned this afternoon in Imola and Red Bull Racing and Jordan have not been invited to attend, having decided to split with the group recently in order to attend an FIA meeting in Paris.  This means that Ferrari now has two allies in the struggle for power. The opposition remains strong, however, as with seven votes the teams can still control what is agreed by the Formula 1 Commission. The FIA's recent statement after the Paris meeting seems to suggest that the federation is not intending to involve the F1 Commission in the rule-making process for 2008 and it remains to be seen whether the seven F1 teams will now try and force the federation to respect what they believe to be the terms of the Concorde Agreement.  While this issue is unresolved it is hard to see how there can be any compromise between the two parties. Grandprix.com
Pedro de la Rosa fastest in first practice Pedro de la Rosa fastest in first practicePedro de la Rosa topped opening practice Friday morning for the San Marino GP at Imola.
1. Pedro de la Rosa Spain McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.060
2. Ricardo Zonta Brazil Toyota 1:21.174
3. Jenson Button Britain BAR-Honda 1:21.805
4. Michael Schumacher Germany Ferrari 1:22.085
5. Christian Klien Austria Red Bull Racing 1:22.736
6. Takuma Sato Japan BAR-Honda 1:22.945
7. Kimi Raikkonen Finland McLaren-Mercedes 1:22.962
8. Nick Heidfeld Germany Williams-BMW 1:23.086
9. Alexander Wurz Austria McLaren-Mercedes 1:23.391
10. Mark Webber Australia Williams-BMW 1:23.532
11. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Ferrari 1:23.797
12. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Red Bull-Cosworth 1:24.052
13. David Coulthard Britain Red Bull-Cosworth 1:24.126
14. Felipe Massa Brazil Sauber-Petronas 1:24.175
15. Jacques Villeneuve Canada Sauber-Petronas 1:24.255
16. Narain Karthikeyan India Jordan-Toyota 1:24.512
17. Tiago Monteiro Portugal Jordan-Toyota 1:25.257
18. Robert Doornbos Netherlands Jordan-Toyota 1:25.555
19. Ralf Schumacher Germany Toyota 1:26.333
20. Christijan Albers Netherlands Minardi-Cosworth 1:27.353
21. Patrick Friesacher Austria Minardi-Cosworth 1:27.411
22. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Renault No Time
23. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault No Time
24. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota No Time
Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Fisi to get 'B' engine
Heidfeld 'fine'
Liuzzi knew he'd debut
Schu may race beyond '06
McLaren rumor-monger
Richards' $100k
Shell and Ferrari
Red Bull's 'exclusive' V10
Rubens' smiling again
'Can Liuzzi handle it?'
'Schu could quit' - Button
No pressure on Fernando
Friend of Felipe
JV denies Sauber rift
'Too early' for Schu talks
'It'll be a wet race'
'I can be champion' - Fisi
Andretti to contest 5 more races Andretti to contest 5 more racesMarco Andretti will compete in five additional IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series™ races in 2005, including two races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - the Futaba Freedom 100, run the same weekend as the Indianapolis 500; and the Liberty Challenge, contested during the United States Grand Prix weekend.

Andretti, the 18-year-old grandson of former Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti and the son of Andretti Green Racing co-owner Michael Andretti, won his series debut April 3 at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg driving the No. 26 Vonage Dallara/Infiniti/Firestone.

Andretti will compete in both races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and also will compete on the 1-mile oval at Milwaukee (July 24) and the road courses at Infineon Raceway (Aug. 28) and Watkins Glen International (Sept. 25).

“Obviously, I’m pretty excited about everything,” said Andretti, who will graduate from high school next month. “Getting the opportunity to run at Indy twice in a month is pretty unbelievable. I don’t think any of us really expected St. Pete to go as well as it did for us, but it did, so I’m glad we’re going to get a chance to get back out there this year and try to do it again.”

The Futaba Freedom 100 on May 27 will be Andretti’s first career race on the 2.5-mile oval at Indianapolis where the Andretti family has made 53 starts, including Mario’s 1969 victory.

“This is a great opportunity for Marco and exciting for the whole family,” Michael Andretti said. “He was so impressive with the way that he raced in St. Petersburg with all the pressure and expectations that were on him. I just think it’s good for him to get as much experience as he can right now, and running five different courses like this over the rest of the season in these cars is going to be really good for him.” Andretti won 11 races last season, claiming the Formula TR Pro Series title.
Canadian races get live radio broadcast Canadian races get live radio broadcastNearly 300,000 fans combined to come out and see the 750hp turbocharged Champ Cars at the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford events in Montreal and Toronto a year ago, and Champ Car will provide live action from both Canadian races to even more fans this year via the new Champ Car Radio Network.

Montreal-based Aflalo Communications will provide live and taped coverage of the July 10 Molson Indy Toronto as well as the August 28 Molson Indy Montreal for broadcast on radio stations throughout Canada. The broadcasts will feature trackside race reports and will be highlighted by live coverage of qualifying and race sessions in both markets. The broadcasts will also be carried on the official website of the Champ Car World Series, www.champcar.ws.

“We are always exploring new and exciting ways of bringing Champ Car action to the fans and radio coverage for our Canadian followers is something we are pleased to provide,” said Champ Car President Dick Eidswick. “The Canadian Champ Car fans are among the most passionate anywhere in the world and we hope that those that do not attend the races, will be listening on radio or watching on television.”

AM stations Team 990 in Montreal, Team 1260 in Edmonton, Team 1040 in Vancouver and Team 1200 in Ottawa will be carrying both events live while AM 640 in Toronto has signed on to air the Molson Indy Toronto. More stations are expected to be added as the race date approaches. Broadcast talent and sponsors will also be announced at a later date.

“This is a great coup for us to be able to create and deliver compelling sports radio coverage of the two events,” said Aflalo Communications President Marc Aflalo. “We are extremely excited to be working with Champ Car to promote the races in Canada and are excited to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Toronto event.”

The Champ Car World Series will next compete at Fundidora Park on May 20-22 in Monterrey, Mexico in the fifth running of the Tecate/Telmex Monterrey Grand Prix. The event will be carried in the United States on SPEED Channel, and fans can also follow the action live through the subscription-based Race Director feature on www.champcar.ws.

San Marino GP: Thursday Press Conference San Marino GP: Thursday Press ConferenceAhead of the first practice of the San Marino Grand Prix which takes place on Friday at 11.00AM CET, Giancarlo Fisichella, Nick Heidfeld, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Michael Schumacher talk of the season so far and their hopes for the coming race weekend and beyond. Transcript
Indy 500 'Last-Row Party' to raise money Indy 500 'Last-Row Party' to raise moneyThe Last Row Party will reach a significant number in Indianapolis 500 lore - 33 - this year as the annual gathering to honor the 11th and final row of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing" celebrates its 33rd anniversary in 2005.  The 33rd Last Row Party is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. (local time) Friday, May 27, the evening of Miller Lite Carb Day, at Brickyard Crossing Inn adjacent to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Turn 2.

The fun, light-hearted party, open to the public, will begin with a short program and roast honoring the 11th-row starters in the 2005 Indianapolis 500 field, followed by dinner and additional entertainment. Popular radio, television and IMS public address personality Bob Jenkins will serve as host. The event benefits the Indianapolis Press Club Foundation, which supports scholarships for journalism students.

For more than three decades, the Last Row Party has paid tribute to the resilient drivers claiming the 31st, 32nd and 33rd spots in the Indianapolis 500 field - thus the significance of the 33rd year of the event.  The 2004 Last Row Party honored the newest members of the 11th Row Society, Marty Roth and PJ Jones, and two-time last-row starter Robby McGehee, who received most of the friendly ribbing from Jenkins.  In past years, drivers earning a place in the last row have included some of the greatest legends in auto racing, including Mario Andretti, Gary Bettenhausen, Gordon Johncock, Johnny Rutherford, Tom Sneva and Al Unser.

The back-row qualifiers will be awarded special jackets, checks for 31, 32 and 33 cents, respectively, and have their names affixed to a trophy honoring all 11th-row brethren. A highlight of the evening's festivities is the Press Club Foundation's Silent Auction of racing and other sports memorabilia, tickets to major sporting events, vacation trips, restaurant gift cards and entertainment gift certificates.  To donate items for the silent auction, contact Sue Hetherington at (317) 570-1010 or suheth@aol.com.

Industry News
Kentucky to get Gen-II SAFER Barrier Kentucky to get Gen-II SAFER BarrierKentucky Speedway will invest $1,000,000 to install the second generation of the Steel And Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) Barrier System inside the concrete retaining wall that spans Turns 1 through 2 and Turns 3 through 4 of the 1.5-mile tri-oval track at the facility.   Installation will begin after the season-opening ARCA RE/MAX Series “Harley-Davidson of Cincinnati 150” race on May 14 and will be complete before the June 18 NASCAR Busch Series “Meijer 300 Presented by Oreo” event. Installation will take place at night and will not interrupt frequent race team testing at the speedway.
Industry News
Road Atlanta sponsor charity ride Road Atlanta sponsor charity rideJim Osborn, President of Chili Pepper Racing LLC, announced today that Road Atlanta has joined Trenton Forging as sponsors of the 2005 Post Petit Le Mans Motorcycle Charity Ride to benefit The Lighthouse Family Retreat. The Annual Motorcycle Ride begins with a lap around the famous Road Atlanta Grand Prix road course and then heads up into the twisty mountain roads of Northern Georgia with a scenic lunch stop and ends back at Road Atlanta for a presentation ceremony with the Children and families of The Lighthouse Family Retreat. Professional racecar drivers from SCCA SPEED World Challenge, the American Le Mans, Trans Am, and the Grand American series will be present on this years ride.

"Since Road Atlanta is proud of its reputation as a family-friendly facility, the Lighthouse Retreat is a natural and perfect choice as our official charity, says Brian Skuza, GM of Road Atlanta. "The wonderful services that Lighthouse Retreat provides families facing difficult and stressful situations regarding their children's health are greatly appreciated by the families, and we are delighted to support them. We hope our association with the Lighthouse Retreat will bring increased attention and support for their efforts."

The Weekend festivities begin with 3 day weekend passes, hospitality at the Chili Pepper Racing/Trenton Forging paddock, and pace car rides for the children of the Light House Family Retreat. The Petit Le Mans weekend is scheduled for September 28-October1, 2005. The 2005 Post Petit Le Mans Charity Motorcycle Ride is Sunday October 2, 2005.

Tickets to join the children of The Lighthouse Family Retreat and Chili Pepper Racing for Race Weekend or the 2005 Post Petit Le Mans Motorcycle Charity Ride are available on-line at www.roadatlanta.com/promo/lasso or contact Laurie Osborn at Laurel@chilipepperracing.org

Andretti Foundation fund raiser Andretti Foundation fund raiserThe Michael Andretti Foundation will once again be hosting the "Breakfast with Michael Andretti" program, an opportunity for fans to be a VIP for the morning and get an inside look at the activities that take place at Indy Racing League events with Andretti Green Racing (AGR).

The first "Breakfast with Michael Andretti" program for 2005 will take place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS). This unique opportunity is being offered to fans on Friday, May 20th, 2005.  Other 2005 breakfast events will be announced in the near future.

As part of the "Breakfast with the Michael Andretti" program, the participants will be provided a full-service breakfast served at the Team 7-Eleven hospitality area by the Andretti Green Racing chefs. Other activities included in the program are: A question & answer session with AGR owner Michael Andretti; an autograph for each guest from Andretti; a short appearance by the AGR drivers before they head to practice; Guest speakers; a car tour in the garage area where the participants can get up close with an Andretti Green Racing IndyCar® (Garage access only for adults age 18 & over). As part of the program, participants will receive an admission ticket that will get them access into the IMS grounds and will be valid for the entire practice day.  Cost for the event is $100 per person and space is limited.

All proceeds from the fundraiser will be donated on behalf of The Michael Andretti Foundation to IRL Ministries  and  CARA  Charities.   Fans  can  secure  a  spot  at  the  event  by  sending  an  e-mail  to: foundation@andretti.com.  Checks must be made out to: The Michael Andretti Foundation and are tax deductible.  Specific schedules & information pertaining to the event will be communicated with the participants and will be available on the Foundation website at: www.andretti.com.  Please note that all inclusions are subject to change depending on alterations in the schedule made by the track, the IRL or AGR.

The Michael Andretti Foundation is a 501(c)(3) foundation that was established to help people who have shown need and to help promote programs for better health, education and welfare of America's children and citizens. For more information about The Michael Andretti Foundation, visit www.andretti.com.

Racers put a premium on fitness Racers put a premium on fitnessThe scene is Burke Lakefront Airport. The event is the Grand Prix of Cleveland. And all the hard work Bruno Junqueira put in during the off-season is about to pay off.

As he gets ready to race on the 2.106-mile temporary street circuit off Lake Erie, an event he calls the Champ Car series' toughest, Junqueira has time to reflect on the 6:30 a.m. wake-up calls; the 50-mile bike rides near his Miami home; the Pilates sessions; the running, the weight training.

"It's very hot," Junqueira said. "The temperature is around 100. There's high-speed corners. The lateral G-forces are incredible. It's the toughest track of the year. The steering wheel gets heavy because the track has a lot of grip. It makes your muscles work harder and the temperature makes it harder."

The fifth-year driver for Newman-Haas Racing, the runner-up in the series points three straight years, shed about eight pounds from his 5-foot-7, 148-pound frame in the race last July. The seven-time race winner is convinced his car is tougher to race than a NASCAR vehicle. More from AP

NASCAR fines Crew Chief NASCAR fines Crew ChiefNASCAR announced Wednesday that Greg Conner, crew chief for the No. 66 Ford driven by Hermie Sadler, has been fined for rule violations during opening day inspection at Texas Motor Speedway on April 15.  A fine of $5,000 resulted from violations of Sections 12-4-A (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 12-4-Q (car, car parts, components and/or equipment used that do not conform to NASCAR rules) of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series rule book, due to an unapproved deck lid. NASCAR PR
Bucknum looking for full-time IRL ride Bucknum looking for full-time IRL rideAmerican Le Mans Series driver Jeff Bucknum will attempt to make his first Indianapolis 500 start next month as a second driver for the Indy Racing League's Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. Although he never has competed at the Brickyard, Bucknum certainly is no stranger to the Indy 500. His father, the late Formula One driver Ronnie Bucknum, competed in three Indy 500s from 1968 to 1970, finishing a career-best 15th in 1970. "For a racing car driver, to get an opportunity to race (at Indy), I think no matter where your focus is in racing, what ladder you've tried to climb ... the Indy 500 is basically a dream and a pinnacle point of my racing career," Bucknum said.

"Then (there is) the heritage and history. My father ran there three years ... that's just been a part of, literally, my family. You grow up with that sort of thing, with A.J. Foyt calling your house when you are a little kid; you're jumping up and down because he's calling your house. That's kind of fun stuff and I'm really looking forward to this opportunity."

Bucknum, who was a member of the LMP2 class-winning team in this year's 12 Hours of Sebring sports-car race, passed his Indy Racing League rookie test last month in Phoenix and will make his IndyCar Series debut later this month at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan. Bucknum will team with Dreyer & Reinbold's fulltime driver, Roger Yasukawa, in Japan and at Indy. Bucknum, 38, admitted to being nervous as his first IRL start approaches.

"I'd be lying if I didn't say I was a little nervous going into it because any time you're doing something for the first time, there are things that you know that you're going to expect," he said. "But there are just some things that ... I just haven't had the experience (with), to be honest with you. I'm anticipating some of that stuff, just how it's going to go. I'm going to try to really focus during the practice sessions to get in and mix it up with cars more than trying to just run by myself." Although his deal with Dreyer & Reinbold is for two races, Bucknum said he is working on a deal to drive in the IRL on a full-time basis. Las Vegas Sun

Champ Car most popular in Canada Champ Car most popular in CanadaUPDATE #2 A reader chimes in, Dear AutoRacing1.com,  I should have written in to you last night when I first saw the so-called "POLL" in the Toronto Sun. I said to my wife right at the time that there was no way that NASCAR was so close in voting compared to Champ Car. Then this morning I see that the percentage has now widened. However, I still find it hard to believe that NASCAR is even this close (46%-34%) to CC in Toronto or Canada. You see, I now live in Twin Lake MI where I met my wife, but I grew up just an hour and a half north of T.O.. I can tell you that despite The Sun jumping on the NASCAR bandwagon, (thanks to Dean McNulty), and TSN as well, Champ Car (CC) still has a massive following in all of Canada and the T.O. area. A race that CC has put on for some 14-15 years and has brought hundreds of millions of dollars to the area and this is the thanks they get by local press, the smudging of numbers in a poll because they didn't like the results. I will once again BEG for The Sun to PLEASE bring back Dan Proudfoot, who used to do the writing for the motor sports column. If you research a few years back you will see that Proudfoot would cover all of auto racings events, while McNulty would cover only NASCAR. Now that Proudfoot is no longer there, McNulty still only covers NASCAR with any great interest and will only once in awhile report on CC, or F1 for that matter, (I couldn't care less if their was any news on the IRL, despite McNulty's backing for whatever reason). With all of this said, CC could still become even more popular in Canada if they really tried. All it would take is a television deal with CBC, (Canada's government owned national broadcast), especially with no NHL hockey to compete with. It would also help if they gave a ride to one of the most talented drivers we have ever seen, Michael Valiante. I would also keep a close eye on the JV situation in F1. He may take some heat for being off the pace for Sauber, but I am sure he could still have 4 or 5 years left in him and CC could definitely use the spotlight. Deke McTeer, Twin Lake, MI 04/21/05 It seems the Toronto Sun, which has been campaigning for NASCAR and/or the IRL to replace Champ Car in Canada pulled the poll down when the results were not turning out the way they wanted to see them.  Final tally before they yanked the poll on which race series Canadian fans want to see:
Champ Car: 46%
F1: 18%
IRL: 2%
04/20/05 A poll running on the Toronto Sun website shows Champ Car (41%) as the most popular form of racing for the Toronto readers, even more popular than F1 and NASCAR (37%).  The IRL had better think twice about trying to race in Canada.  They lag with just 2% of the vote at the time of this news item being written.
Industry News
Ford earns $1.2 billion Ford earns $1.2 billionFord Motor Co., which faces many of the same problems as rival General Motors Corp., used its newer truck lineup to post a strong first-quarter profit on Wednesday, even as it warned of tough sledding over the next six months.  Ford earned $1.2 billion over the first three months of the year, which is about one third less than it earned in the same period a year ago, but significantly better than Wall Street expected. On Tuesday, GM said it had lost $1.1 billion, its worst three-month performance in 13 years. Both automakers face high costs for health care, steel and oil, as well as growing competition, particularly from Asian automakers.  Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill Ford and Don Leclair, his chief financial officer, offered some ideas on how to tweak the company's long-range plan, which they now admit won't generate $7 billion in pretax profits next year as promised in 2002, despite the thousands of jobs that were cut and the handful of plants that were closed.  However, the CEO focused on progress: "The plan that we launched in 2002 is working," Bill Ford said. "Our company is profitable and our cash flow is positive."  Detroit Free Press
T-Mobile partners with Jordan F1 T-Mobile partners with Jordan F1T-Mobile is to become the official mobile provider to Jordan Grand Prix. The business supply deal provides Jordan Grand Prix with T-Mobile products and airtime to facilitate more efficient communication between the team and all its partners. Traveling race team members will be able to stay in touch with each other, their business associates and colleagues as well as the factory staff at Silverstone via mobile voice and email services. Team members will have a choice of phones including Blackberry products and T-Mobile will also work with Jordan to introduce new products and services to improve and develop the team's mobile communication.

Christian Geistdoerfer, Commercial Director, Jordan Grand Prix said, "I'm really pleased to have T-Mobile included in our family of commercial partners. It's absolutely vital that members of a Formula One team are in touch with each other and with business partners as we travel round the world at the pinnacle of motor racing. We must be instantly contactable anytime and anywhere, and the innovative products services T-Mobile is providing will help us to be effective in that respect.”

Simon Ainslie, Sales Director at T-Mobile UK added, “The deal with Jordan Grand Prix illustrates our strong product and services portfolio which provides an effective way to ensure team members across the world can instantly communicate. At T-Mobile we’re constantly searching for ways to add value to the service we provide to business customers. We look forward to sharing the Jordan Grand Prix experience as we take advantage of the marketing and business opportunities which form part of the deal.”

The deal gives T-Mobile a range of marketing benefits to exploit the association with Jordan Grand Prix including Formula One hospitality and business networking opportunities, with access to Jordan's facilities for customer events.

Industry News
GPC signs Marchy Lee GPC signs Marchy LeeGrand Prix Communications have today announced the signing of the Chinese racing driver, Marchy Yin-Kin (Marchy Lee). Marchy is the reigning BMW Asia Champion, winning 12 of the 15 races out right.  GPC have negotiated a F1 test with the Minardi Formula One Racing Team in Italy on 28 April 2005.  A GPC spokesman said, “ We are really excited at having signed Marchy Lee, his motivation and enthusiasm is refreshing and we are confident he will shine in Formula One”.  Marchy Lee said “ I am very thankful to GPC for having the confidence in me and for all the help and advice they have given me to achieve my dream of a successful F1 career.”

GPC is one of the world leaders in sports marketing and sponsorship; with a network of active offices in England, Germany, Monaco and Asia. GPC is a team of dedicated professionals with more than 20 years experience in Formula One and the motorsport industry. They have created a network, which includes specialty knowledge of marketing, sponsorship, driver management, television consultation and PR.   For further information on Grand Prix Communications please go the home page on www.grandprixcom.com. Email rb@grandprixcom.com

Industry News
McDonald's earnings up McDonald's earnings upMcDonald's Corp. on Thursday reported higher quarterly earnings in line with the better-than-expected outlook the fast-food company gave last week.   Net income for the first quarter rose to $727.9 million, or 56 cents per share, from $511.5 million, or 40 cents a share, last year.
Power boost for Cosworth at Imola Power boost for Cosworth at ImolaWith the introduction of the PS05 chassis this weekend at San Marino, the Minardi team are able to run Cosworth's latest power- plant for the first time this year. Tim Routsis, Managing Director, Cosworth talks of his 2005 engines with Minardi and Red Bull, the development of the units as well as the V8 engine that is being built for 2006.

Q: What specification engine will the Minardi F1 Team be using for the San Marino Grand Prix this weekend?
"With the introduction of the new Minardi PS05 chassis the team will switch to the TJ2005 Series 10 engine used by Red Bull Racing."

Q: What are the key advantages of the TJ2005 engine, particularly in terms of power and weight, relative to the CK2004 engine that Minardi F1 Team have used until this weekend?
"The latest TJ2005 engine represents significant gains over the CK engine: Peak power increase of more than 60BHP Engine speed increase of 500RPM Engine duty cycle increased (more power for greater period of running) Engine life extended to cover 2 events (1300km nominal) & reliability improved Engine centre of gravity more than 50mm lower Engine stiffness significantly increased High level of integration with car design."

Q: Will it be track tested with the team prior to Imola?"
"The first TJ2005 powered Minardi PS05 chassis successfully completed over 200km at Mugello (Italy) last week without problems."

Q: Are there any differences between the TJ2005 engine that Red Bull Racing is using and the Minardi unit?
"There are no significant differences between Red Bull & Minardi engines. There are always a small number of team specific components to suit a new car installation but other than that, the engines share the same specification."

Q: Are there any further upgrades planned for either of the teams this season?
"A Series 12 engine is scheduled for introduction with Red Bull Racing at the Indianapolis GP (or Canada GP depending on when the scheduled engine change occurs)."

Q: Was this a scheduled upgrade?
"Yes. This engine is currently under development & will deliver significantly more power & revs over Series 10. It will be exclusive to Red Bull Racing & a development version (Series 11) with a gain of 30BHP & a maximum engine speed of 19000RPM has already been successfully track tested by Red Bull."

Q: How is Cosworth overcoming and addressing the challenge posed by next year’s V8 engine?
"Work is well underway on a new V8 engine to comply with the 2006 FIA Formula One Technical Regulations. The fact that these new regulations are much more restrictive & certain engine dimensions are constrained has a significant impact on the focus of the engine design work. By nature, this offers both an opportunity & a challenge."

Q: Do you already have a V8 engine on the dyno and can you disclose power and rpm figures?
"Development engines have been running on the dyno for quite some time & we are very happy with the results so far. Power figures cannot be disclosed for obvious reasons but we can confirm that we are routinely running to 20,000RPM."

Q: When do you expect to confirm customers for 2006?
"Negotiations with potential customers for 2006 & beyond are ongoing."

Q: Cosworth seems to have made remarkable progress in terms of performance and reliability since last season. How has this been achieved?
"Cosworth has made significant changes to the way in which the company (& specifically the F1 engine project) operates over the last 18 months. We are now seeing the results of these changes & everyone at Cosworth is proud of what has been achieved." Cosworth
Ferrari and Shell sign new agreement Ferrari and Shell sign new agreementShell is to renew its technical partnership with Ferrari for a further five years from 2006 until the end of 2010. The contract details, which will remain classified, do agree terms under which Shell will continue to provide fuels and lubricants to Ferrari’s road car division as well as its racing operation.

Luca Di Montezemolo, Ferrari President and CEO, Jean Todt, Ferrari Managing Director and senior Shell management will sign the sponsorship contract in Imola at the San Marino Grand Prix this weekend.

Powering and protecting Ferrari road cars and its racing operations, Shell products were used in the very first Ferrari cars and Shell played a key role in Ferrari’s first Formula One appearance in 1950. Since then, Shell has powered Ferrari to eight Formula One Constructors” crowns and 11 Drivers” titles. Since 1996, Shell has pioneered track-side analysis techniques that account in part for Ferrari’s phenomenal mechanical reliability record.

“We are delighted to be continuing our technical partnership with Shell into 2010,” said Ferrari Managing Director Jean Todt. “Shell gives us a real competitive advantage in terms of reliability and performance. In fact our partnership is now even more important given the recent rule changes affecting engine life. We have one of the strongest technical relationships in the pit lane and the partnership has, and will continue to, play a key role in our success.”
“Formula One is the natural meeting place for a car manufacturer and an oil company, since it provides an opportunity to develop mechanical and product performance in the field and under extreme conditions,” commented Juan Carlos Perez, Vice President, Shell Brands International. “We are delighted to re-sign with Ferrari. Our relationship with Ferrari is one of the most mutually beneficial technical partnerships in automotive history - long may it continue!”   Shell

Ferrari head home in search of success Ferrari head home in search of successDefending champions Michael Schumacher and Ferrari will seek their first win after a disappointing start to the Formula One season when they race on home soil in this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix. The Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari at Imola will be awash with red flags and painted faces as supporters of the champions flock to the high- speed circuit hoping a long run of testing will put the team back on the pace.

Ferrari has been busy testing in the three-week gap between the Bahrain and Imola events, scoring just 10 points in the first three races. Ferrari struggled with a modified version of their 2004 car in the first two races, with the only points scoring finishes a second place for Brazilian Rubens Barrichello in Australia and a seventh for Schumacher in Malaysia.

The team rushed through their F2005 model for the third race in Bahrain but the debut failed to provide the quick fix they needed as Barrichello finished out of the points after tire wear problems and Schumacher retired his F2005 from the race with a hydraulics issue. The recent tests have taken place in Barcelona, in the week after Bahrain, behind closed doors at the team's Mugello and Fiorano test tracks last week and at Monza this week.
Michael Schumacher - "The F2005 was very good right from the start, but now we understand it much better and know how to deal with any problems that may arise. We perfected it and also improved the aerodynamics. I think our winning potential is very high with this car, and we're not worried anymore about the problems regarding reliability that came up in Bahrain."

"The three weeks between these two races have been a help and allowed us to test more. We can strike back and I am absolutely convinced we can win some races this year. Reliability is one of our strongest areas of expertise and the technical failure in Bahrain was my first since 2001, so that's not really something we're overly concerned about, I think we've solved that problem. In general, I think that we're going to be doing quite well at Imola because we have a good track record there. After all, our main goal is very clear: we want to start winning again."
"Imola is important in many ways this year - first of all it is our home-race, which naturally makes it a race that we want to show a good performance at. This year, the start of the European leg of the season is also somewhat of a new beginning for us: we want to begin fighting for the championship title again now, and we believe that our chances are quite good.”

“The Grand Prix of San Marino has always been a good turf for us. I have a lot of fond memories of this circuit, and I'm quite confident that there are more to come. Our F2005 has the most important requirement: it is fast enough. We saw that when our car made its debut at Bahrain. The circuit at Imola is especially demanding on the brakes and the gear-box, but that's manageable. Just like most of the other teams we have new aerodynamic-components on the car and spent most of last week preparing especially for this race. I'm confident that we can fight to win - and I'm absolutely sure that everyone at Ferrari will do their best. We're all looking forward to our home-race and to our Tifosi's support." Ferrari

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
PS05 run 'called off'
Albers' backer out of F1
Bernie to change qualifying
Renault bag Spanish sponsor
Jordan to launch 'b' car
Ferrari declined Imola run
Webber - 'watch Imola'
Alonso 'not the new Schu'
Red Bull thank FIA
'Toyota can win '05 title'
Trouble at Fiat
BAR will vote to change quali
'06 Oz GP hits snag
Ferrari and Imola
Webber '80 percent fit'
Sports car festival at Mazda Raceway Sports car festival at Mazda RacewayFollowing the closest finish in Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series history at California Speedway in Fontana April 3, the road warriors of the Rolex Series and the Grand-Am Cup head to one of the most spectacular road courses in the country April 29-May 1 for the U.S. Sports Car Invitational at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Opening the door for the inaugural visit of the series to the world-renowned 2.238-mile, 11-turn permanent road course will be MarqueMADNESS Fueled by Shell V-Power, a gathering of sports car enthusiasts from all over the Western United States for a unique “all-marques” festival that begins Thursday, April 28. More....

Kahne fastest at Infineon Kahne fastest at InfineonUPDATE Kasey Kahne (Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) posted the fastest time during a two-day NASCAR NEXTEL Cup test session at Infineon Raceway.  Kahne, one of three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series regulars at the session, toured the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course in 1 minute, 16.32 seconds on Wednesday. Carl Edwards (Office Depot Ford) was second at 1:17.10, with Travis Kvapil (Kodak EasyShare Dodge) third at 1:20.00.   Kvapil tested the road course in a NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series stock car. He will compete in both the Blue Lizard Australian Suncream Southwest Series 200, as well as the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event when NASCAR visits the Sonoma Valley, June 24-26.  “I’m really like coming out to the road courses and I think we’ll have a better effort here than we did last year,” said Kahne, who placed 31st in his first NASCAR road-course race at Infineon Raceway in 2004.  “This is the first time I’ve seen this place and it’s pretty tough,” Kvapil said. “I’m just trying to get as many laps as I can so that I get used to this, especially the elevation changes.” 04/19/05 Kasey Kahne (Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) posted the fastest time on Tuesday during a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup test session at Infineon Raceway.  Kahne, who placed 31st in his first visit to Infineon Raceway in 2004, turned the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course in 1 minute, 17.25 seconds. Jeff Gordon (DuPont Chevrolet) holds the track qualifying record of 1:15.968, set in 2004.   “I enjoy coming here and I really like the road course; it’s just a matter of trying different things and getting used to it,” Kahne said. “Hopefully we’ll come back here in June and perform a lot better than we did last year.”  The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will visit the Sonoma Valley, June 24-26, for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 weekend.

Kahne was one of three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers testing the course on Tuesday. Carl Edwards (Office Depot Ford) was second-fast at 1:17.50, with Jose Luis Ramirez (Pro30.com) third at 1:20.54. Travis Kvapil (Kodak EasyShare Dodge) is scheduled to test on Wednesday.  “I’ve never seen this place before today but, man, it’s a lot of fun,” Edwards said. “There are turns and elevation changes everywhere. It should be pretty fun when we come back here (in June).”    Testing resumes on Wednesday with a full day scheduled from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (PDT).

Possible TV conflict for NASCAR finale Possible TV conflict for NASCAR finaleUPDATE On the heels of securing a lucrative, Sunday night broadcast package with the National Football League, NBC says broadcasting NASCAR is very much in its future plans. "We love our relationship with NASCAR," said Mike McCarley, vice president for sports communications at NBC. "We feel like we have a very strong relationship with NASCAR and we certainly want to keep that relationship going." NBC, TNT and FOX ponied up a total of $2.8 billion dollars in 2000 for the rights to broadcast Cup and Busch Series races beginning in 2001. NBC's portion of the deal ends at the end of the 2006 season, but McCarley hopes that isn't where their partnership with NASCAR ends. "We'll sit down with our partners and hopefully figure out a way to make it work," he said. ESPN, who has been mentioned as a returning player in the upcoming fight for NASCAR's broadcast rights, will reportedly pay the NFL $1.1 billion per year over the next eight years for the rights to broadcast "Monday Night Football," also beginning with the 2006 season. NASCAR.com 04/20/05 One week ago, Homestead-Miami Speedway announced it would put up lights so the final race in the Chase for the Nextel Cup could end in television's prime time. But beginning in 2006 NBC will be airing a weekly NFL Sunday night game.  NBC plans to begin NFL programming with a 7 p.m. pregame show, and that would clash with a race starting at 4 p.m., as this year's NASCAR finale will do.  An NBC Sports spokesman said that network officials told NASCAR officials it was about to sign the $600 million a year deal for to bring NFL games back to NBC.  Mike McCarley said both sides "feel confident that we'll be able to work out any scheduling conflicts that arise." NBC's portion of the contract for NASCAR television rights runs through the end of the 2006 season.  Whatever the effect of the new structure of the NFL television package winds up being, one thing is clear. With the NFL prime-time package now in place, NASCAR is now "on the clock" as the next major television rights negotiation to be worked through. ThatsRacin.com
Wheldon expects as much HP as last year Wheldon expects as much HP as last yearDan Wheldon enters the Indy Japan 300 with good memories from each of his two races at Twin Ring Motegi. In 2003, Wheldon, the current IndyCar Series points leader, finished seventh while subbing for the injured Dario Franchitti, and last season, he won the pole and dominated the race to score his first career victory. In the process, he became the first Honda-powered driver to win at Honda's home track.

"Like every year at Motegi, you are always going to get a very exciting and competitive race. This year, in comparison to most, you are going to see the cars running much, much closer, just because of the fact that we seem to be able to extract more downforce from the cars with the new underwing and the fact that the competition level is so close.

"This is my second full season and in that short period of time I've noticed the competition get tougher and tougher. So, I think you're going to see an exciting race and a somewhat closer race than you have in the past.

"To win, you have to have a combination of everything. Obviously, you've got to drive well.  You've got to have a very consistent race car, but Motegi is one of those tracks where you've got to have a pretty fast car as well. When I say 'fast,' I mean it's got to be raceable fast.  It's got to be a car that you can overtake with without losing too much time.

"I am certainly very confident with Honda going into the race. It's a slightly new package for us this year. We're coming back with some different downforce numbers than we've had before, and obviously, we're going back with the 3.0-liter engine. As crazy as it sounds, Honda is so determined in their development of the engine that I don't think we have any less power than we had last year. A combination of all of those things is going to be the key factor in trying to take a consecutive victory in Motegi."

Cheever team names new PR Chief Cheever team names new PR Chief Red Bull Cheever Racing has named Adam Hoover as its new public relations manager. In this role, he will coordinate the team’s public and media relations efforts, manage driver appearances and as well as oversee the Red Bull Cheever Racing Web site www.redbullcheeverracing.com.   Hoover joins the team after spending four years with Indianapolis-based public relations agency, Hetrick Communications. While there, he created and implemented various campaigns for clients such as Indy Jazz Fest, the IMAX Theater in the Indiana State Museum, the Indianapolis Museum of Art and others. Not a stranger to the IRL, Hoover was part of a team that handled public relations duties for Cahill Racing and driver Donnie Beechler during the 1999 Indianapolis 500.
Mexican-born Driver Looks to Make History at Infineon Mexican-born Driver Looks to Make History at InfineonUPDATE #2 Jose Luis Ramirez was released from John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek on Wednesday, one day after being involved in a late-day accident during a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup test session at Infineon Raceway. Ramirez, who is attempting to become just the second Mexican-born driver to ever start a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race when the series visits the Sonoma Valley for the Dodge/Save Mart 350 June 24-26, said he sustained minor injuries to his right foot, right eye and back. He was held overnight on Tuesday at John Muir Medical Center for observation. The No. 52 Pro30.com car Ramirez was driving impacted the foam barriers at Turn 4 on the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course in a single-car accident late in the day. "I'm a little sore but I'll be OK," Ramirez said. "It could have been worse but the fire safety team did a great job. I'm hoping they will clear me to race on Thursday." Ramirez is scheduled to compete on Thursday in a NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series race, at Phoenix International Raceway. The two-day test session continued at Infineon Raceway on Wednesday with NASCAR drivers Kasey Kahne (Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge), Carl Edwards (Office Depot Ford) and Travis Kvapil (Kodak EasyShare Dodge). 04/19/05 Ramirez was involved in a single-car accident late in the day at Turn 4 on the raceway and was transported to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek for precautionary reasons, according to a family member. 04/19/05 Jose Luis Ramirez will attempt to make history at Infineon Raceway during the Dodge/Save Mart 350, June 24-26, by becoming only the second Mexican-born driver in history to compete in a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event.  Ramirez, who is participating in a two-day NASCAR test session at Infineon Raceway Tuesday-Wednesday, is currently a full-time competitor in the NASCAR Grand National West Series and finished 10th in points in 2004.  He’s had two West Series starts in 2005 and is currently 16th in points.  Ramirez also competed in the Telcel MOTOROLA 200 NASCAR Busch Series race in Mexico City this year, starting 33rd and finishing 31st.  The Dodge/Save Mart 350 will mark Ramirez’s first-ever NEXTEL Cup event, if he qualifies, and he feels the weight of an entire country (Mexico) on his shoulders.

“It’s a lot of pressure but I’ve been dreaming of this moment all my life,” Ramirez said in his first visit to the 10-turn, 1.99-mile road course in the Sonoma Valley. “I’ve always wanted to drive a Cup car and to also represent my country is an honor.”

Other NASCAR NEXTEL Cup drivers participating in the two-day test are Carl Edwards (Office Depot Ford) and Kasey Kahne (Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge). Travis Kvapil (Kodak EasyShare Dodge) will take part in Wednesday’s second day of testing.  The car Ramirez will drive in Sonoma is sponsored by Pro30.com, a Northern California-based mortgage bank/software technologies company. The team (Ware Enterprises Racing) is running a five-race schedule in 2005.

“Pro30.com is proud to be a leading lender within the Hispanic community, and we are excited to have Jose compete at Infineon Raceway in front of our hometown crowd,” said Novato resident Bill Coleman, chief executive officer and co-founder of Pro30.com.  Ramirez would become the 18th foreign-born driver to compete in a NEXTEL Cup Series event.  Pedro Rodriguez became the first Mexican-born NEXTEL Cup driver after competing in six events between 1959-1971.  Infineon Raceway has also hosted the series’ first Japanese-born driver, Hideo Fukuyama, as well as Klaus Graff, who was born in Germany.

Disagrees with Barnhart Disagrees with BarnhartA reader comments on Brian Barnhart's recent comment to the Indy Star regarding Champ Car's umpteenth attempt to get the IRL and Champ Car back together.  Dear AutoRacing1.com, I almost fell off my chair when I read what Brian Barnhart said - "Anything that keeps the two series going does nothing to fix the problem with open-wheel racing," Barnhart said. "Equipment is not what has separated these groups for the past 10 years. It's philosophical issues. It's where do you run, who makes the decisions, things like that. We're still in the same place we've been for 10 years." 

This is such a joke I can't believe even Barnhart can get this out of his mouth with a straight face.  Let's see:  the "vision" of the IRL was an all oval series for American drivers, especially American oval track drivers, without (1) road or street courses; (2) the big team owners; (3) major manufacturers' influence; (4) engine leases; and (5) which would drastically cut costs.  Their "vision" failed, and now they are CART, only by another name with slower, clunkier cars.  The rest is all the same as CART at the time of the split.  The only difference is that the fans hate the IRL and especially Tony George. The whole thing is a house of cards, so eventually, I can only hope that the manufacturers ditch Tony as they figure out that more fans hate rather than follow the series, and the house of cards collapses.  At that point,  the teams being supported by Honda and Toyota cannot survive in the IRL and will go back to Champ Car.  Imagine how funny it will be for loudmouth Michael Andretti to "eat crow" and have to explain why he returned to Champ Car (when the real reason is that Honda wised-up and he couldn't survive (in the IRL without their blank check).  Funny stuff! Ira Fierberg, Hermosa Beach, CA

Monteiro getting used to car Monteiro getting used to carTiago Monteiro's confidence in his machine and his team grows with each Grand Prix. After bringing home Jordan Toyota's first Top 10 finish in Bahrain, and despite race conditions resembling Dante's Inferno, where his anti-skid system tried its best to grind down his tires, the championship's only Portuguese driver is encouraged by the return to Europe and the private tests conducted at the Paul Ricard circuit last week, as well as his team's plans.

Jordan Grand Prix surprised Tiago Monteiro by unveiling for him a model of the Jordan EJ15B which will be given to him in July. "I was very impressed by the team's technology and dynamics, they are making a lot of effort to give us a better car for the second half of the season," Tiago explained on the eve of the San Marino Grand Prix."

"We new that this initial phase of the championship would be the hardest for us, but the transition is going well and each member of the team is still very motivated to keep moving forward, and they will continue to be."

Tiago's goal for the upcoming GP's will be the same as for the first few legs of the season. "Finishing races is very important to being able to continue improving the car. The changes we have made for the EJ15 are nor revolutionary, so we shouldn't expect miracles. I expect a hard fight in Imola, but I am ready for it."

"We are entering a new phase of the championship, going from large, modern tracks, in sweltering conditions, to a more conventional circuit format in Europe, with milder temperatures. I know the routes to come, but it's been three years and I was driving a totally different car."

"So the conventional wisdom that since I know the route I will have an advantage is wrong, because the Formula One single-seater is a totally different machine, and the reference points on a track need to be totally revised."

Although Tiago is a newcomer to Formula One, his talent and his consistency have helped him cover more kilometers than any other driver in the championship this season. That's no insignificant statistic for a rookie! "It's very important, and in part I owe it to the excellent reliability of the package I have been given, which has enabled me to finish every race." DCA

Taxpayers would foot bill for NASCAR HOF Taxpayers would foot bill for NASCAR HOFUPDATE This Charlotte Observer article talks about using taxpayer money to fund a NASCAR shrine in Charlotte.  It appears more and more legislatures are concerned that the France family, who will make all the profits from the Hall of Fame, is trying to pad their profits on the backs of taxpayers.  We have received a number of emails from irate Texas fans who are fit to be tied that the France family is trying to get taxpayer money to promote the Texas NASCAR races when in fact they are sold out anyway and they and SMI are making money hand over fist.  Greed. 04/20/05 Leaders of a campaign to bring a NASCAR Hall of Fame to town unveiled a funding strategy for the $137.5 million project at Monday's meeting of the Charlotte City Council, relying heavily on a hike in hospitality taxes.  Luther Cochrane, chairman of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority board, and Smoky Bissell, whose company has real estate and hotel holdings, told council a 2% increase in hotel-motel taxes -- to 8% -- would provide $65 million of the facility's construction costs.  The tax is projected to raise $6 million a year.

Overall, the $137.5 million project includes $100 million in construction costs and $37.5 million for an adjacent ballroom for the convention center. Last week, CRVA executives announced the hiring of architect I.M. Pei's New York firm and targeted a 5.8-acre parcel valued at $13.6 million in Second Ward as the favored site. The city-owned land has been targeted for convention center expansion for several years. City Council will vote next week on whether to donate the property for the NASCAR project. Charlotte Business Journal 

Industry News
Altria profits rise Altria profits riseDespite a worldwide effort to snuff out tobacco use, the tobacco companies continue to make record profits. Altria Group Inc. Wednesday posted an 18 percent increase in quarterly profit, as cigarette prices increased and it gained market share as the improving economy helped it fight off cheaper competition. Strength in the U.S. tobacco market, including market share gains by its Marlboro brand, helped offset weakness at the company’s Philip Morris International unit, where tax increases on cigarettes in Germany weighed on sales.
AGR members released from hospital AGR members released from hospitalTino Belli and Scott Graves, two members of Andretti Green Racing's Indy Racing League® IndyCar® Series team, were released from San Francisco General Hospital Tuesday after being treated for injuries sustained in a multi-car auto accident in San Francisco on April 13. Belli, who serves as Andretti Green Racing technical director, and Graves, the team's director of engineering, were two of four Andretti Green team members involved in the accident, which occurred while the group was driving from Sonoma, Calif., to San Francisco International Airport following last week's IndyCar Series Open Test at Infineon Raceway. Martin Paré, who works as race engineer on Andretti Green's #7 entry, was treated and released April 13, while Brian Page, who is assistant race engineer on that car, was examined and released the same night. Both Belli and Graves will miss the series' upcoming event at Twin Ring Motegi in Motegi, Japan, which will be run April 30.
Champ Car’s loss is ALMS gain Champ Car’s loss is ALMS gainFormula BWM is no longer sanctioned by Champ Car. Formula BMW USA announced today that the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) will sanction the 2005 Formula BMW USA Championship. "IMSA  is  one  of  the  most  respected  names  in  the  North  American  motorsports community and was the best fit to sanction Formula BMW USA in 2005," said Alex Schmuck,  Formula  BMW  USA  Manager.  "The  combination  of  their  unmatched experience and keen understanding of the unique needs of our Championship will provide a firm foundation for the second season of Formula BMW USA."

"IMSA is proud to have been chosen to be the sanctioning body for this premier driver  development  series,"  said  Tim  Mayer,  Chief  Operating  Officer  of  IMSA. "BMW's  reputation  for  quality  and  attention  to  detail  is  legendary  and  we  are committed  to  our  partnership  with  them.  We  are  pleased  to  be  involved  with  so many young talents, and look forward to being a positive part of their experience.

In a related change, the two final rounds of the Championship will be held at Road Atlanta  on  Sept.  29  -  Oct.  1  in  support  of  the  Petit  Le  Mans,  the  American  Le Mans Series' signature event. The change of the final rounds to Road Atlanta's Petit LeMans weekend came as a result of the discovery that the previously announced races in support of the Indy Racing League at Infineon Raceway on August 26-28 could not take place.
GP2 series preview GP2 series previewThe GP2 series gets its green light in Imola this weekend. At 9.30am CET this Friday, the GP2 series will officially begin with the running of the first practice session for our very first race weekend in Imola. The expectancy surrounding the championship is massive, perhaps greater than for any other single-seater series on earth but for Formula One. As the new feeder category for the world’s premier motor racing formula, the GP2 series will play out its 23 races in full view of the F1 community – both teams and fans alike. Story
World Series by Renault
World Series by Renault test at Paul Ricard World Series by Renault test at Paul RicardAfter the Formula One teams, who were preparing the Imola and Barcelona Grand Prix at the Paul Ricard HTTT last week, it was the turn of the World Series by Renault teams to prepare their next races on the south of France test track yesterday.  For the very first time, the complete list of the entered drivers of the World Series by Renault was gathered to start today a two-day test session, the last one before their very first race to be held at Zolder in Belgium on May 1st.  Up to now, the only World Series by Renault car, which had been able to test at the Paul Ricard HTTT, was the development FR 3.5 car. The teams entered in the new series had had the chance to discover this track only with the old Dallara Nissan Chassis last February. For the first time the teams were able to work on the new Dallara Renault chassis and the set ups for the coming races.   The 26 drivers present today were able to complete over 8000KM during the seven hours of testing. Will Power of Carlin Motorsport set the fastest lap on a 1:14.909 almost two seconds faster than Roberto Kubica (Epsilon) driving the ‘old’ Dallara Nissan chassis last February on this same track solution who drove in 1:16.795. World Series by Renault
Mutua Madrileña to sponsor Renault Mutua Madrileña to sponsor RenaultThe Renault F1 Team announced this afternoon the conclusion of a long-term sponsorship agreement with Mutua Madrileña, the Spanish leader in the insurance market.   The agreement, signed today at the Teams headquarters in Enstone, UK, by Renault F1 Team Managing Director Flavio Briatore and the Chairman of the Spanish company, José María Ramírez Pomatta, will see Mutua become a Partner of the team.

The agreement represents Mutua Madrileña's first foray into sports sponsorship, and will seek to consolidate and strengthen the Mutua brand.  Mutua Madrileña («MM») branding will feature on the R25 race cars, driver suits and team clothing, and make its debut at next month's Spanish Grand Prix, coinciding with the launch of the company's new corporate image.

Mutua Madrileña Chairman José Mª Ramírez Pomatta  - "Alliances with major companies represent an important part of our strategy, and we are delighted to become a Partner of the Renault F1 Team. The Renault F1 Team is setting the standard in its field, just like Mutua Madrileña, and both companies share values of leadership, efficiency and determination."

Renault F1 Team Managing Director Flavio Briatore - "We would like to extend a warm welcome to Mutua Madrileña both to the Renault F1 Team, and also to Formula 1. We are proud to welcome a new Spanish partner to the team, and to further consolidate our international portfolio of sponsors. This new agreement is proof that our team is in excellent health, and that our commercial performance is in line with our excellent on-track results. We look forward to a successful partnership with Mutua in the seasons to come." Renault

Industry News
Driver rankings as of April 20th Driver rankings as of April 20thSPEED Channel Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
April 20, 2005
Driver (Series) Pts
 1. Fernando Alonso (F1) 11.791
 2. Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS) 9.040
 3. Dan Wheldon (IRL) 8.570
 4. Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR) 8.495
 5. Greg Biffle (NASCAR) 8.020
 6. Bruno Junqueira (CCWS) 7.784
 7. Tony Kanaan (IRL) 7.469
 8. Sterling Marlin (NASCAR) 6.868
 9. Jamie McMurray (NASCAR) 6.811
10. Jarno Trulli (F1) 6.809
11. Kurt Busch (NASCAR)6.792
12. Rusty Wallace (NASCAR) 6.766
13. Jeff Gordon (NASCAR) 6.751
14. Paul Tracy (CCWS) 6.735
15. Ryan Newman (NASCAR) 6.353
16. Kevin Harvick (NASCAR) 6.315
17. Mark Martin (NASCAR) 6.215
18. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (NASCAR) 6.209
19. Casey Mears (NASCAR) 6.173
20. Dale Jarrett (NASCAR) 6.141
Driver Safety Concerns Driver Safety ConcernsQuestions were raised Sunday about NASCAR's commitment to safety after it allowed two ailing drivers, Kurt Busch and Bobby Labonte, to start the Samsung/RadioShack 500.  Busch was seriously bruised, particularly in his left shoulder, and may have suffered a concussion in Friday's IROC crash, his fourth hard crash in four weeks. Labonte needed IV fluids before the race to combat dehydration.  Ricky Craven was flown in by car owner Jack Roush to stand by in relief, but Busch performed strongly and didn't need relief. Winston Salem Journal
Fans Decide All-Time IROC Champions Fans Decide All-Time IROC ChampionsThe International Race of Champions has partnered with Crown Royal to give fans the chance to select the first four-member all-time IROC team.  Twelve finalists have been selected for Crown Royal's Legends of Victory Lane program, including Mario Andretti, Mark Donohue, Dale Earnhardt, Hurley Haywood, Tom Kendall, Steve Kinser, Bobby Labonte, Mark Martin, Scott Pruett, Al Unser, Jr., Bobby Unser and Cale Yarborough.  Fans of legal drinking age may vote at kiosks stationed at the interactive Crown Royal Experience at IROC and NASCAR events. Votes may also be cast at www.crownroyalracing.com.
Formula BMW
Nelson Philippe’s brother ready to make his mark Nelson Philippe’s brother ready to make his markSiblings can often cast a long shadow, but 15 year-old Frenchman Richard Philippe intends to cast some shadows of his own. His brother Nelson, three years Richard's senior last year became the youngest driver to start a race in the Champ Car World Series at just 17 years-old. Nelson returns for his second season this year and for Richard it will be his first in a racecar.

Having raced for more than half his life, Richard began karting in Argentina when he was barely 8 years-old and has continued ever since having raced in South America, Europe and the U.S. Racing he says is pretty much all he knows. His father Terry, who owns a medical equipment manufacturer, introduced both boys to racing because of his own love for the sport, but according to Richard, never forced them in to it. Both boys developed a passion for it all their own.

He now calls Key Biscayne, Florida home, but having lived on three different continents, has bestowed on him a level of maturity beyond his years. He speaks French, English and Spanish with aplomb; his observations are insightful and lacking naiveté.

When asked what his favorite track is he replies, "I respect all tracks." Pressed to elaborate he explains,

"A racetrack is just a ribbon of pavement. It goes left and right making a circuit and returns to the same place. Some may give me more pleasure to drive than others, but in the end that doesn't matter. I need to go as fast as I can on all of them."

True enough.  Witnessing the trials and tribulations of Nelson's year in 2004, Richards claims that he grew and learned a lot that will help him in his own career, primarily about people. However he is quick to dismiss that he will follow the same path as his brother but rather that he is on his own agenda. Richard puts forth almost adamantly so that he can not do it alone while at the same time recognizing that his destiny lies in no one's hands but his own.

"It's very important to have the right kind of people around you," says Richard.  But how does he know if they are 'right?'   "I don't pay attention to their reputation or past so much as the quality of interaction that I have with the person and how I feel about them."

And what must it be like to be a young racecar driver living in Key Biscayne, a place where distractions are everywhere?

"I like to hangout with my friends and go jet skiing or play tennis. Sometimes when I don't want to go to the gym because my friends are out enjoying themselves I tell myself, 'I could have some fun now, but if I am fit and winning on the racetrack, that will bring me even more pleasure in the future.'"

The tree that casts the longest shadow is often the one with the most leaves and apart from the others. Formula BMWUSA

Critiquing Champ Car's TV broadcast Critiquing Champ Car's TV broadcastAn article in this week's National Speed Sport News lays blame on Champ Car for the blown TV start for the Long Beach GP race and the author, Rocky Entriken, makes some good points - If Champ Car wants to maintain its claim as one of America's premier racing series, it needs to improve its show. Not just the show on the track, but the one I saw sitting in front of my TV set April 10.  I'd put a video tape in on the Nextel Cup race at Martinsville so I could catch the Long Beach Grand Prix live. Now, it is not Champ Car's fault that an Arena football game ran long, but it is Champ Car's fault it ignored that.  They start too quickly.  By the time NBC wrapped the football game, the LBGP was into its third lap. A blue car chasing a white car down Shoreline and I guess those were Paul Tracy and Bruno Junqueira. But with cars whizzing by, quick camera cuts and the fact the sound engineer had the car sounds boosted so high, we could not hear announcers Rick Benjamin and Derek Daly, and we had no idea what was happening. 

This is how you grab an audience?

But the first thought that occurred was, is it absolutely necessary that the green flag waves at the precise minute scheduled? And along that line, why is that precise minute so soon after the broadcast begins?  Back at that Nextel Cup race, the broadcast began at 11:30 local time, and the race did not begin until after noon, with enough time planned for the Fox crew to set up the race, tell what's significant, spotlight key drivers and get us ready for the mayhem on Martinsville's paperclip.

But Champ Car is buying the time on NBC, as I understand it, so certainly it wants to hold the cost down. Fine. How about 15 minutes? There was so much to tell. New season. A bunch of new drivers. Who's driving for whom? Is champion Sebastien Bourdais back? New rules (pit windows are gone?). What's this about standard and alternate tires? The announcers said something at the top about four champions in the field -- who? (Maybe they said, but it was drowned out by the bad sound.)

What does the track look like? I have some idea, but the casual fan does not, and with the quick-cut camera work they were using there was no way to get an idea at the beginning. Virtually nothing showcased Long Beach itself.  No grid. No introduction of drivers. And then always a key moment -- the start, we did not see. As a result, we tuned in to chaos with babbling announcers sounding like they were in mid-race screed and explaining almost nothing.

China and UK motorsports China and UK motorsportsA new collaboration between China and the East of England is being fast-tracked – in the arena of motorsport and related engineering. The East Midlands Development Agency (emda) has been probing the potential for relevant alliances while the Chinese have reportedly been eyeing opportunities in the region’s Motorsport Valley. emda sources told the UK magazine Business Weekly that exporting expertise from Motorsport Valley in the East Midlands to the Chinese market was being investigated. Vast engineering expertise has built up in Northamptonshire around car-makers and motor racing teams. Services available range from engineering consultancy to supply of state-of-the-art telemetry and key components.

A Chinese Grand Prix was included on the Formula One calendar for the first time in 2004 and the Shanghai circuit on which the race was held has just been visited by emda ambassadors on a fact-finding mission.

UK entrepreneurs are using Beijing and Shanghai as centers to promote racing while the Champ Car World Series – in a bid to win new fans and markets both in the United States and around the world – has recently reached an agreement to stage a race in Beijing in 2006.

As the capital city of China and the hosting city of 2008 Olympics, Beijing has now become a city with economic prosperity and steady improvements, as well as the best market for automobile races.

Beijing is not only a city with auto manufacturing plants and purchasing power, but also a city with the best and most professional racing teams, drivers, and fans in China. The city is now working towards becoming an international sports centre and sees the supplier chain as critical. To that end, it is willing to exchange ideas with dedicated clusters in the UK, such as Motorsport Valley.

China Business Solutions, a specialist China consultancy based in Cambridge has been assessing two-way trade opportunities in motorsport. CBS founder Ting Zhang has just returned from a China strategy study project for economic development chiefs in the UK. She toured the Shanghai International Circuit (SIC), which boasts the most advanced F1 race circuit in the world, both on and off track. She says the manager of the events department was very keen to establish a link with Motorsport Valley. Business Weekly

Serving up donuts in Cleveland Serving up donuts in ClevelandDoughnuts were served on Euclid Avenue Tuesday afternoon, courtesy of the 24th annual Grand Prix of Cleveland and former GPC winner Roberto Moreno.  To help draw attention to a string of sponsorship announcements, including presenting sponsor U.S. Bank, race officials got Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell to close six blocks of Euclid between 9th and 14th streets for Moreno to jet down and back in his open wheel machine, put in for a tire-changing pit stop, then spin doughnuts at both ends of the strip.  Cleveland officials expect 14 countries will be represented as participants during the June 24-26 race weekend. That, in turn, has helped make the Cleveland race consistently the No. 1-viewed event on the Champ Car circuit. Race officials said more than 100 million fans around the world will watch television coverage.  For information on pre-race events such as a Miss Grand Prix competition and road rally and classic car show in the Flats, call 1-888-817-RACE. Cleveland Plain-Dealer
Indy pavement fixed Indy pavement fixedIndianapolis Motor Speedway finally passed its repaving test Tuesday, clearing the way for next month's Indianapolis 500.  The surface laid last fall was inconsistent when Firestone tested its first batch of Indy-car tires April 5. That session was postponed because of uneven tire wear, causing some concern within the Indy Racing League.

Since then, the track was scuffed in a procedure known as diamond grinding, which apparently worked.  "Everything's good; there's no issues," said defending Indy 500 champion Buddy Rice, one of five veterans on the track Tuesday. "Long runs, short runs -- everybody did everything."

Private testing continues today.  Lap times were not officially released at Firestone's request, although Buddy Lazier ran a lap in excess of 222 mph in a car prepared by Panther Racing.

But Tuesday's session does not mean tire wear won't be an issue when the 500 is held May 29. A freshly paved track can blister a tire in warm temperatures.

"Blisters usually don't manifest themselves until race day and that's because something is different with the conditions," said IRL president Brian Barnhart, the 500's chief steward. "Whether it's the heat, the (tire) rubber that's put down on the track, the number of cars running or the setup of the race cars, some variable has changed. That's the unknown." Indy Star

Cleveland GP news Cleveland GP newsWith summer quickly approaching and the roar of Champ Cars sounding out to signify the beginning of racing season, fans know it won't be long until the 24th annual Roar by the Shore celebration returns to Cleveland. Several special events are scheduled to take place over the next few weeks to get Northeast Ohio race fans pumped up and prepared for this summer's Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland, June 24-26 at Burke Lakefront Airport.  The Grand Prix will host an event in May that will appeal to both car enthusiasts and families alike. The Powerhouse Parking area in The Flats will host the Grand Prix of Cleveland Road Rally and Car Show on Saturday, May 21 from 1-6 p.m. ET. The road rally will offer an exciting automotive scavenger hunt with several planned stops around Northeast Ohio that will be fun for the whole family. The Car Show will feature classic and custom cars on display from local sports car clubs and collectors. To enter a car in either the show or the road rally, contact the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland at 1-888-817-RACE. All proceeds from this event will benefit United Way of Greater Cleveland.

Watch-and-Win Champ Car racing viewing parties will also be held at local venues in Cleveland during upcoming races on Sunday, May 22, Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 19. Details on the Watch-and-Win parties will be announced in the coming weeks.

During race week, several special Grand Prix promotions are planned. The Bridgestone Champ Car Night will be hosted in downtown Cleveland on the evening of Thursday, June 23. The popular street festival makes its return for the third year in a row and features interactive racing displays, live bands and interview and autograph sessions with some of the fastest professional race car drivers in the world. The Miss Grand Prix of Cleveland Grand Final will also be held at Bridgestone Champ Car Night as the 24th annual Roar by the Shore officially gets underway.

Fans and ticketholders will also get an opportunity to see some of the competitors from this year's Grand Prix up close and personal at the Rock-n-Roar Party that will be held Friday evening, June 24 at the Business Aircraft Center hangar located on the Grand Prix grounds at Burke Lakefront Airport. Live music, a silent auction featuring racing-related items, food, drinks and appearances by some of the drivers will highlight the event, which will also benefit United Way of Greater Cleveland.

Tremendous ticket plan options are also still available for this summer's race. In addition to the popular Green Flag and The Works ticket packages, Grand Prix organizers have announced a special Twilight ticket plan for Saturday, June 25. Fans can purchase a lower reserved grandstand ticket for just $20 and get an opportunity to see all of the exciting Saturday night action after 4 p.m. ET at the Grand Prix. The evening activities include the conclusion of the Trans-Am Road Racing series event, the Formula Ford 2000 race, action from both the SPEED Touring Car and GT series and a special drifting exhibition by the Formula Drift competitors.

To purchase tickets for the 24th annual Champ Car Grad Prix of Cleveland call 1-888-817-RACE and for more information on this year's Roar by the Shore celebration visit the event's official web site, www.grandprixofcleveland.comChampCar.ws

Bourdais taught Mark Martin a lesson Bourdais taught Mark Martin a lesson"He's an incredibly talented young race car driver and he sure showed he's got the hang of it and even taught me a few lessons today," Mark Martin said after Champ Car ace Sebastien Bourdais gave him and the rest of the NASCAR contingent a driving lesson at last Friday's Texas IROC race.
The winning record of the RS25 The winning record of the RS25Renault F1 Team's engine technical director Rob White discusses the RS25 and its successor the RS25B which may well make its race debut this weekend at Imola in the back of Giancarlo Fisichella's Renault.

Three races into the 2005 season, can you explain how engine usage has changed in 2005?
RW: Overall, the way we use the engines in 2005 is an evolution of how they were used in 2004 – but the life cycle is now twice as long. The chassis and engine engineers agree how much running will be done before each weekend, and in what conditions that will be done – usually in the week running up to the event. We then manage our program according to these decisions, and new information that arrives during the weekend: for example, we may adjust our programs to accommodate changing weather conditions. Finally, the use of the engine’s “potential” – for example, the number of laps run at high revs – is managed with the aim of getting the best racing results over both events in which the engine is used.

Does this mean engine use has become more strategic?
RW: It is certainly more complicated now! The first point is that the increased engine life is technically difficult to achieve, but after that, we use the engine differently in practice, qualifying and the race. Only three years ago, we could use a different version of the engine in each session – a ‘qualifying special’ for example, optimized for a much shorter life span, and then a race spec for Sunday. Now, we must make choices on how we use a single engine, and its performance, in each of the sessions across two weekends.
Have the first races given you an opportunity to assess the performance of the RS25 relative to its competitors?
RW: In isolation, we were pleased with the performance of the RS25 when it first ran on the dyno – despite very late rule changes, we hit all our performance targets before the season. However, the isolated performance of the engine is not what matters – we always take a car-wide view of performance, and look at the V10 as part of the whole. This prevents us from making direct comparisons of absolute engine performance relative to the competition. But we are certainly pleased with our engine’s contribution to the performance of the R25 – and with the performance of the R25-RS25 package relative to its competitors.

Following the engine failure in Bahrain, Giancarlo may race with a ‘B’ specification engine in Imola – what is the status of this at the moment?
RW: One of the purposes of the new regulations was to slow down the rate of performance development, and they have succeeded: it is now more difficult to approve new parts for introduction, and we only have a limited number of opportunities at which to introduce these parts. Our approach for 2005 will be to introduce performance developments in packages, and the ‘B’ spec is the first in a series of planned evolutions, that was initially scheduled for introduction in Barcelona.

Following Giancarlo’s engine failure in Bahrain, we saw the opportunity to accelerate the build of a race engine to this spec to fit in his car. However, the final decision on its use will depend on dyno tests, and the detailed analysis of results from testing last week in Paul Ricard. It is important to stress that we will not be taking any short-cuts in the approval process in order to race RS25B at Imola instead of Barcelona. Renault

A historic day for Renault A historic day for RenaultOn 20 April 1985 twenty years ago, a promising young driver won his first race.   In torrential rain, Ayrton Senna crossed the line first at the Portuguese Grand Prix – driving a Renault Turbo-powered Lotus.  He didn’t do things by halves in his first win, taking pole, fastest lap and the checkers. It was the first of some 41 wins for the legendary Brazilian driver. His second win came at the Belgian Grand Prix the same year with two more victories with Renault power in 1986.  Today Ayrton’s nephew, Bruno, competes in the British Formula 3 championship. Renault
BIC and Bapco launch Race for Bahrain BIC and Bapco launch Race for BahrainTwo Bahraini national companies have joined forces to pave the way for a young Bahraini to become a future Formula One driver. Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) and Bapco, the government run fuel supplier, have come together to launch a contest Race for Bahrain with an aim to search for a Bahraini talent that can one day become a Formula One driver.

The competition is open to all Bahraini nationals, aged 18 to 26. Entry forms can be collected from Bapco fuel stations scattered across the Kingdom. The forms must be completed and handed back to the Bapco fuel Stations or posted to BIC latest by the 31 May 2005. Organizers anticipate that thousands will apply, however only 300 candidates will be selected to participate in the first stage of tests to be conducted at the Bahrain International Circuit. Following the initial testing, 100 hopefuls will go to the second stage. The competition will come to a grand finale when ten finalists vie for the top three positions.

The winners of the contest will receive the acclaimed prize of a full season’s race drive, including the use of a race car and all associated costs, in the all new BIC organized Bapco Sponsored Caterham Gulf Se7en Championship due to start in September 2005. The overall winner will also receive special international race tuition from a leading Formula One team.
“The Race for Bahrain contest is a fantastic opportunity, rarely offered in other countries, for any aspiring young Bahraini to come forward and demonstrate their ability to be the next Schumacher,” said the General Manager of BIC, Martin Whitaker.

“To be one of the top three and win a season’s paid for drive in the all-new Bapco Sponsored BIC Caterham Gulf Se7en Championship is an extremely exciting and rewarding prize. We are giving Bahrainis the opportunity and exposure to compete at the very top. This underlines yet another benefit that comes directly from the Bahrain International Circuit and its exclusive place on the FIA Formula One World Championship,” he said.

During the three days of this year’s Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, thousands of visitors collected the entry form through the BIC stand and hundreds have applied.

“Bapco is extremely proud to be associated with such an exciting initiative providing a real opportunity for the youth of Bahrain to prove their ability and talent,” said Bapco’s president, Dr Mustafa Al Sayed.

“The world of international motorsport is a highly demanding sport and only a small number in the world make it to the winner’s podium. It is our hope that the winners from this contest will use this as a positive step on the ladder to success,” he said. BIC

The title is far from lost according to Schumacher The title is far from lost according to SchumacherMichael Schumacher has had an intense week of testing in Italy, completing some 2500KM in the F2005 ahead of this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix. After three difficult races at the start of the season that has yielded just two-points, the world champion wants to get back to the top.

“There is no doubt about this - our objective is to begin winning again and I think we have a good chance,” Schumacher said ahead of the San Marino Grand Prix. “The World Championship, despite the opinion of some pessimists, has not yet been decided."

"For sure, the start of the season has not gone as well as we would have liked but from the outside the situation seems worse than it is in reality. We have had a lot of bad luck. In Australia, for example, I could have finished in the points if the weather had been better," Schumacher said overlooking his accident with compatriot Nick Heidfeld. "I was also very hopeful in Bahrain. The race for the world title has not yet reached the decisive stage. The season is a long one and the classification can change."

Certainly with some 16 races and 160 points still up for grabs, the 24 point deficit to Fernando Alonso is not an insurmountable challenge. “Twenty four points seem like a lot but it is not impossible to catch up," Schumacher stated. "We should remember that events have gone in Fernando Alonso’s favor so far this season. We cannot take it for granted that things will always be like this. Alonso will have to begin thinking about the championship and act differently on certain occasions, keeping out of trouble in order to earn precious points. I, on the other hand, have nothing to lose. I can only attack and press on. All the other drivers can take more risks than he can."

Before Schumacher can delight the Italian fans at Imola, he has a traditional charity football match with the national drivers. The team will meet a squad from Cervia at the Olympic stadium in San Marino and the game will be shown live on Italian television. Following that, it's down to business as there is the championship to chase. Ferrari

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
Wurz to race at Imola
Trulli dampened
Jordan to stay in Britain
Bahrain search for F1 star
DC - 'blah, blah, blah'
Villeneuve and Sauber
Jungle Boy 'ready' to sub
Imola to host wet grand prix?
F1 champ's grandson
Ferrari plough ahead
Liuzzi 'stressed'?
No 'Friday' car - Sauber
Imola 'buzzwords'
Formula Ford
Cooper Tire series to double up at Mid-Ohio Cooper Tire series to double up at Mid-OhioCooper Tires Championship Series President Jon Baytos confirmed today that the next round of the burgeoning series for Formula Ford 2000 cars will feature a pair of races as part of the American Le Mans Series weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, on May 19-21.

"We were originally scheduled to have just one race, but the folks at Mid-Ohio and the American Le Mans Series have shuffled things around and made some space so we can have a double-header," said Baytos. "I have to say a big thank-you to everyone for making this possible. Mid-Ohio is a wonderful race track, one of the most challenging in the country, so this is really good news for our drivers."

The race weekend will be preceded by two days of exclusive testing for Cooper Series teams and drivers on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 17 and 18, followed by more testing on Thursday. Friday will comprise one final practice session and qualifying for Race One, which will take place at 12.05 on Saturday. The green flag to commence Race Two will fly at 4.20 pm on Sunday.

The news comes hot on the heels of an extremely successful season-opening event at Road Atlanta last weekend which drew an impressive field of almost 40 cars and witnessed the emergence of several young stars, including Englishman Jay Howard. The 24-year-old from Basildon, England, swept to victory in both races, beating out a strong challenge from equally talented young Californian Jason Bowles. Howard has not raced at Mid-Ohio before, but he is well aware of the track’s reputation and is looking forward to his first visit to the parkland venue.

Champ Car burns up streets of Cleveland Champ Car burns up streets of ClevelandChamp Car put on a pit stop and donut demonstration today in Cleveland with Roberto Moreno at the wheel. The event was a good time, and the weather had a lot to do with it. It was about 80 degrees with not a cloud in the sky. There was crowd of about 500 people there.  The mayor was there, and all of the local TV stations had news crews present. The people in attendance seemed impressed for the 10 minutes that the whole thing took. Roberto took the car down Euclid, did a U-turn, and then came back. He did this a couple of times and then stopped for a pit stop. After the stop, he pulled down to one end and did about 20 donuts. He then ran back to the other end where he did another 20. After a second pit stop, he pulled back by the trailer.   All in all, people seemed to be most impressed with the donuts and pit stop.  Jim Ziogas reporting from Cleveland

US Bank returns as Cleveland GP sponsor US Bank returns as Cleveland GP sponsorTrusted and long-lasting sponsorship relationships are rare in the fast-paced world of motorsports these days, but the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland proudly announced today that U.S. Bank will return for its ninth season as a partner in this summer's Roar by the Shore spectacular, reprising its role as presenting sponsor of the popular summertime celebration.

"It's a pleasure to welcome back U.S. Bank as presenting sponsor of this year's 24th annual Grand Prix of Cleveland," said Rena Shanaman, Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland General Manager. "This will mark the ninth consecutive year that U.S. Bank has been associated with the Grand Prix and the race couldn't ask for a better partner. U.S. Bank has remained committed to Cleveland and to showcasing the Grand Prix as an event that brings international attention to the city and the region."

The Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank will be held at Burke Lakefront Airport June 24-26.

"U.S. Bank is happy to be back for our ninth year as a sponsor of the Grand Prix of Cleveland," said Kurt Treu, U.S. Bank President in Northeast Ohio.  "This is a world-class event, but more importantly, it showcases the skyline and lakeshore of the great City of Cleveland.  We are proud to once again be the presenting sponsor of this year's event."

 Building on an initiative that began in 2004, U.S. Bank will continue to enhance its promotional partnership with the Grand Prix of Cleveland by creating some exciting opportunities for U.S. Bank customers with special events and promotions featured in its bank branch locations throughout Ohio leading up to the race.

 Another long-time partner of the Grand Prix will also return in an expanded role in '05 with today's announcement that Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire, LLC - one of the most respected companies in the automotive industry - is back as a sponsor of the Grand Prix of Cleveland. Serving once again as the Official Tire of the event, Bridgestone is also the presenting sponsor of the Bridgestone Presents The Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford, which will again headline the on-track competition at this year's race. Bridgestone will also sponsor the Bridgestone Champ Car Night street party celebration in downtown Cleveland that will be held on Thursday, June 23 of race weekend.

"We're incredibly excited to be associated with the Grand Prix of Cleveland again this season," said Al Speyer, Executive Director of Bridgestone Motorsport. "This is a special race for us. With our technical center, our credit card company and more than 50 local retailers all located in the Cleveland and Akron areas, we have over a thousand Bridgestone teammates located here and truly consider this a 'home' race.  We're proud to be back as Official Tire this year and thrilled about sponsoring the Bridgestone Champ Car Night street party as well. Added to all of that, Bridgestone is doing an in-market promotional campaign through which consumers can buy four Bridgestone Potenza street tires and receive two race-day tickets, and this will be supported by local radio and newspaper advertising. So this is going to be a very busy event for us, and everyone at Bridgestone is committed again to supporting this event in every way possible."

For the fourth consecutive year, the Cleveland Convention and Visitors Bureau will also forge a bond with the Grand Prix. The CVB will continue its established marketing partnership with the event, focusing its efforts to attract more out-of-town visitors to the only Champ Car race in the state of Ohio. With more than half of last season's racegoers coming to Cleveland from outside of the region, the relationship and support of the CVB is more important than ever.

A well-established consumer brand name will make its return to the Grand Prix this summer as Coca-Cola will be back as the Official Soft Drink and Water Supplier of the 24th annual Roar by the Shore. The Grand Prix and Cleveland Coca-Cola Bottling last worked together in 2003 and the two will renew their partnership this season.

Grand Prix officials are also happy to welcome several new sponsors to the family in 2005. Mike's Hard Lemonade will serve as the Official Malt Beverage of the Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland Presented by U.S. Bank. Ace Imaging Solutions will be the Official Office Equipment Supplier of this year's event and Great Lakes Publishing has been named Official Publisher for the '05 Grand Prix.

The Grand Prix has also continued to build on its hospitality clientele this year.  Through its association with the United Way of Greater Cleveland, the Grand Prix will be play host to many locally-based corporations who are either returning to the race after an extended absence or are going to experience the Grand Prix for the very first time. Already confirmed are such locally-based businesses as Preformed Line Products, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Multi-Care Management, Great Lakes Publishing and Cooper Tires, as well as national companies like Gulfstream and Volvo, all investing in the high-quality entertainment and hospitality services provided at this year's Roar by the Shore.

Attractive and cost-effective hospitality options for this summer's Grand Prix are still available, along with tickets to this year's event. For more information, contact the new Champ Car Grand Prix of Cleveland downtown business office at (216) 619-RACE (7223) or visit www.grandprixofcleveland.com.

Quaker Steak and Lube, and Stewart deal Quaker Steak and Lube, and Stewart dealQuaker Steak & Lube announced today the automotive-themed restaurant chain will serve as primary sponsor for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race to be held May 20 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.  Quaker Steak & Lube will also serve as associate sponsor of the Morgan-Dollar Chevrolet NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series entries driven by defending event winner Dennis Setzer and NASCAR Nextel Cup driver Tony Stewart.  Stewart, the 2002 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Champion, has won two of the three races he has entered in the Craftsman Truck Series. Pete McCole
USGP schedule and support series announced USGP schedule and support series announcedThe United States Grand Prix Formula One race will start at 1 p.m. (local time) Sunday, June 19, the highlight of three days of on-track action at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that includes an event-record three support series. The 73-lap United States Grand Prix will complete a full day of Formula One action on Sunday. The second F1 qualifying session takes place from 9-10 a.m. Sunday, as the starting grid is determined by aggregate times from the single-lap qualifying sessions Saturday and Sunday.

On-track action starts Friday, June 17, with activity for Formula One and the event’s three support series – the IRL Menards Infiniti Pro Series™, Porsche Michelin Supercup and Formula BMW USA. This is the first year for the Menards Infiniti Pro Series at the USGP, while the Porsche Michelin Supercup and Formula BMW USA return for the sixth and second consecutive year, respectively.

“This is the most fan-friendly event schedule in the six years that the United States Grand Prix has run at Indianapolis,” said Joie Chitwood, president and chief operating officer of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Not only will fans get a full day of Formula One action on Sunday with qualifying and the race, but there are more support series than ever, featuring some of the world’s best sports car drivers and the open-wheel stars of tomorrow. We’re really excited about the entire weekend, starting with the Pit Walkabout on Thursday.”

Two one-hour Formula One practice sessions, at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., are the highlights of the Friday schedule. The Menards Infiniti Pro Series, the final stepping-stone on the Indy Racing League ladder, will make its IMS competitive debut with a practice for its Liberty Challenge race at 9:15 a.m. and qualifying at 12:30 p.m.

Porsche Michelin Supercup sports cars and Formula BMW USA open-wheel, winged formula cars also will be on track Friday. The first Formula One qualifying session at 1 p.m. Saturday is the highlight of a busy schedule that day. F1 drivers and teams, including current points leaders Fernando Alonso and Renault and defending United States Grand Prix champion Michael Schumacher and Ferrari, will practice on the 2.605-mile road circuit from 9-9:45 a.m. and 10:15-11 a.m. before qualifying.

Racing in all three support series will start Saturday, with the historic inaugural Liberty Challenge for the Menards Infiniti Pro Series starting at 4:45 p.m. Among the drivers expected to compete in that event are Marco Andretti, son of Indianapolis 500 standout Michael Andretti and grandson of 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner and 1978 F1 World Champion Mario Andretti; Arie Luyendyk Jr., son of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk; and Al Unser, son of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. and grandson of four-time Indy winner Al Unser.

The first of two Formula BMW USA races is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., with the first of two Porsche Michelin Supercup races at 3:30 p.m. Two support series races will compliment the headlining United States Grand Prix F1 race Sunday. A Porsche Michelin Supercup race starts at 10:30 a.m., right after F1 qualifying, and the event weekend will finish with a Formula BMW USA race at 3:15 p.m.

The popular United States Grand Prix pit walkabout will return for a third consecutive year from 8 a.m.-noon Thursday, June 16, kicking off the USGP weekend.

Tickets for the 2005 United States Grand Prix can be purchased online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com or by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700 or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area.

2005 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX SCHEDULE (All times local; subject to change)

8 a.m.-noon Pit Walkabout

FRIDAY, June 17
Time Series Session
9:15-10 a.m. Menards Infiniti Pro Series First practice
11 a.m.-noon Formula One First practice
12:30-1:15. p.m. Menards Infiniti Pro Series Qualifying
2-3 p.m. Formula One Second practice
3:30-4:15 p.m. Porsche Michelin Supercup Practice
4:45-5:10 p.m. Formula BMW USA Practice
5:40-6:20 p.m. Porsche Michelin Supercup First qualifying

Time Series Session
9-9:45 a.m. Formula One Third practice
10:15-11 a.m. Formula One Fourth practice
11:30 a.m.-12:10 p.m. Porsche Michelin Supercup Second qualifying
1-2 p.m. Formula One Qualifying
2:30-3 p.m. Formula BMW USA First race
. 3:30-4 p.m. Porsche Michelin Supercup First race (16 laps)
4:45-5:45 p.m. Menards Infiniti Pro Series Liberty Challenge race

SUNDAY, June 19
Time Series Session
9-10 a.m. Formula One Qualifying
10:30-11 a.m. Porsche Michelin Supercup Second race (16 laps)
11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Formula One Grid presentation
1 p.m. Formula One United States Grand Prix (73 laps)
3:15-3:45 p.m. Formula BMW USA Second race
Pizzonia standing by in Imola Pizzonia standing by in ImolaWilliams test driver Antonio Pizzonia has been drafted by the squad to attend this weekend’s San Marino GP, as the team’s two racers, Mark Webber and Nick Heidfeld, have suffered injuries recently.  “I have been requested to be at Imola, ready to race in case one of the drivers is not in the best physical condition,” the 24-year-old Brazilian revealed.  Webber is still recovering from a rib fracture sustained during preseason testing, while Heidfeld complained of severe back pains and had to leave early during one of Williams’ test sessions at Paul Ricard, France last week.  "In case they need me, I’m prepared to do my best to score points for our team,” the “Jungle Boy” added. Pizzonia contested four races last year after Ralf Schumacher injured his back in a USGP crash.  SPEEDTV.com
Badoer puts in many test miles for Ferrari Badoer puts in many test miles for FerrariToday was the second day of testing this week for the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team who were once again working at the Monza circuit with their official test driver Luca Badoer. As he continued with development work on Bridgestone tires for the next stage of the season, Luca covered more than five hundred kilometers on a track which was modified with the addition of two artificial chicanes. Testing will continue here tomorrow when fellow tester Marc Gene will be on track, with Luca Badoer switching to the Fiorano circuit for the shakedown of the cars to be used in the San Marino Grand Prix this coming weekend. Ferrari
GP loses one of its best friends GP loses one of its best friendsPatrick Rayney and fast cars went together like Long Beach and the Grand Prix, so it was no surprise that Rayney became a devoted volunteer for the annual race.  "We thought he was the greatest guy in the world," said Carolyn McClellan, a former president of the Committee of 300, a volunteer group supporting the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach that Rayney belonged to.  
"He was a tall, behind-the-scenes kind of gentleman, had a great British accent and was willing to help in a minute's notice," McClellan said. "He knew a lot of people in the city, and any time the committee needed any help at all, he'd reach out to his friends."   Rayney, an executive at The Mulhearn Group (which is affiliated with Prudential California Realty), died from heart disease in his Lakewood home on Sunday, April 10, which was the day of the big race, said sister Margaret Hakanson. He was 58. He had suffered a heart attack about a week earlier, and had recently returned home after heart surgery.   Death may have been the only thing that could separate Rayney from the annual race, his sister said.   "That was the love of his life," she said. "He was so dedicated and so involved that he went every year."   More at Press-Telegram
Wurz in for injured Montoya Wurz in for injured MontoyaWurz in for injured Montoya at Imola
The 2005 San Marino Grand Prix marks the start of the European Formula One season, following the exciting first three flyaway races. Kimi Raikkonen will be joined at Imola by Alex Wurz, who will be competing in his first Grand Prix since the Malaysian race at the end of the 2000 season.

The Austrian will be racing the MP4-20 for the first time as Juan Pablo Montoya is still recovering from the shoulder injury sustained during the Easter weekend. After resting his shoulder for three weeks, the Colombian has undergone a number of tests and scans this week, following which the medical experts have advised that it is still too soon for Montoya to return to the MP4-20 cockpit.

The healing process is well advanced but the need to keep the shoulder immobilized has naturally led to some minor muscle atrophy. Having evaluated the progress of the healing process today, the team and Montoya expect that he will be back in action at the Spanish Grand Prix on 8th May 2005.

Pedro de la Rosa, who took over from Juan Pablo in Bahrain, will be taking the wheel of the Team McLaren Mercedes team's third car during Friday's Free Practice sessions at Imola and in Spain. The driver allocation for the third car for the remainder of the 2005 season will be reviewed by the team after the Spanish Grand Prix.

Alex Wurz - "I am really happy to have the opportunity to race MP4-20 this coming weekend at Imola. Since joining the team at the end of 2000, I have completed over 70,000 testing kilometers and it will be great to have the chance to actually race a Team McLaren Mercedes car. I am looking forward to getting back to competitive action and hope I can secure a good result for the team. The Imola circuit is all about braking hard and accelerating, with all the chicanes and short straights, which means traction, braking performance and stability under braking are all key. To get a good lap, you need to be aggressive and really attack the curbs. It goes without saying that I wish Juan Pablo a very speedy recovery." McLaren Mercedes

Industry News
GM reports more red-ink GM reports more red-inkGeneral Motors Corp. (NYSE GM) today reported a loss of $839 million, or $1.48 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2005, excluding special items and a tax-rate adjustment.
Williams team expects to be faster Williams team expects to be fasterThe Williams-BMW team - and Nick Heidfeld in particular - head to San Marino buoyed by recent aero gains. "The tests we had at Paul Ricard last week, and in Barcelona the week before, were both positive and are a good lead into this weekend," the German claimed. As a consequence of the work we did, we have several new parts on the cars that we validated during the two tests - and Michelin has been working flat out to provide us with the best possible tire too. I feel positive going into the San Marino Grand Prix, especially as I will also have a brand new engine for the race, unlike many of the other drivers."

"We have made progress on performance, and are looking forward to seeing our relative position at Imola," technical director Sam Michael confirmed. We have an aerodynamic upgrade package that will improve the car again, and hopefully help us compete at the front. We will also have two new tire choices that we have worked on with Michelin during tests. Imola is softer on tires compared to the race circuits we have just been to but, as the FW27 has not been close to the limits on tire wear at the first three GPs, we have gone to even softer compounds again. It is also important to have good curb-riding ability without compromising high speed stability, both of which are strengths of the FW27."

Industry News
More USA auto jobs lost to overseas More USA auto jobs lost to overseasMichigan jobs keep drip, drip, dripping away to foreign lands.  More than a dozen contract jobs at Auburn Hills-based Chrysler Group, which provide computer support to the automaker's engineers, are being outsourced to an Indian information technology firm, the automaker confirmed Monday.  Tata Group, India's largest conglomerate, with 90 subsidiary companies and revenue of $13.9 billion, has secured an increasing number of white-collar IT jobs from Detroit's auto sector in recent years.

And it just got another 16 from the local division of DaimlerChrysler AG, Chrysler spokesman Mike Aberlich said. It's unclear how many more might follow.   "There may be a few more, but we don't know that that's the case," Aberlich said. He added that, although 16 positions are being cut, 10 people had to be laid off; six workers landed other positions.  Aberlich characterized the elimination of the jobs as an ongoing adjustment. He said the automaker recently signed a contract with Tata because the automaker needs to "focus on our core values and parts of our business." Detroit Free Press

Industry News
Ford to build in China Ford to build in ChinaFord Motor Co. said it will build an engine plant in China as part of a plan to produce more parts locally and cut import costs in the world's third-largest vehicle market.   The plant will be able to produce 350,000 engines a year and will start operation in 2007, Ford said in a statement. The automaker didn't say how much it will invest in the factory, which will be built with its local partner Changan Automotive Group and Mazda Motor Corp. 

Ford is trying to close the gap with General Motors Corp., Volkswagen AG and Toyota Motor Corp., which have invested more money and sold more cars in China. Ford plans to triple production at its Changan venture to 150,000 vehicles a year. The new engine plant project is part of Ford's $1-billion investment plan announced in 2003.   "By making more components in China, Ford and other carmakers can effectively lower their costs and avoid the higher tariff charges," said Dong Jianhua, an analyst with Southwest Securities Co. in Beijing, speaking before Ford announced the new investment. "Ford is lagging its rivals in China in terms of market share." Detroit Free Press

Jordan acquire Brackley Wind Tunnel Jordan acquire Brackley Wind TunnelSubsequent to the purchase of Jordan Grand Prix in January 2005 by the Midland Group, the team announced today the acquisition of the Jordan Grand Prix wind tunnel facility in Brackley, UK.  This is a capital asset for the future of Jordan Grand Prix and the team is intending to invest heavily in the facility and upgrade it from 40 to 50% model scale.  Jordan Grand Prix Team Principal and Managing Director, Colin Kolles, said: “The acquisition of the wind tunnel facility in Brackley is definitely the right way to go for our team and this will help us make a big step forward. Moreover, we will also be continuing the technical collaboration with Dallara to have a better car in 2006.”   Trevor Carlin, Sporting Director, added: “We are very pleased that the purchase of the wind tunnel has now gone through. It is a crucial addition to our technical department and hopefully it will help us to build a much more successful 2006 car.” Jordan Grand Prix
A warning sign for the future A warning sign for the futureAs Formula 1 forges on towards a potential split with the big teams on one side and the FIA and Ferrari on the other, there is no better advertisement for the stupidity of such a move than what is happening in the United States of America where over the weekend the bosses of Champ Car and the Indy Racing League met for a discussion about whether or not they could somehow stop the split which has blighted American open-wheeler racing since 1997. Neither Champ Car nor the IRL is doing particularly well but neither side intends to give up the fight and with billionaire Tony George pouring millions into IRL and billionaires Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerry Forsythe pouring millions into Champ Car, there is no end in sight to the conflict. Both Champ Car's Dick Eidswick and IRL's Tony George agreed that the sport would be much better off if they had only one series but both admitted after the meeting that they are no closer to finding a solution to the problem.  And while everyone talks about philosophy and other such airy issues, the main problem, as always, appears to be ego. Grandprix.com [Editor's Note:  There is a solution.  Tony George must give in and allow equal partnership with OWRS in a new series, we'll call it the IndyCar World Series for now.  This new series would be jointly owned by Tony George and OWRS.  Tony will be President of the IndyCar National Division.  OWRS will run the IndyCar International Division

The National Division will comprise of the existing IRL teams and 12 to 14 of the current IRL races.  The international division will comprise of the existing Champ Car teams and be more international in nature but still have at least 6 races in North America.  Each will crown a Champion from their 12 to 14 regular season races.  There will also be 5 to 6 joint races at Indy, Long Beach, Mexico City, St. Petersburg, Toronto and Chicagoland.  Points for the overall IndyCar World Series champion will be a combination of points from the regular season plus these 5 or 6 joint races. 

So that everyone is working together and not against each other, Tony George and OWRS will make all major decisions jointly and there will be one set of rules, one marketing department, one PR department and each division will race on alternating weekends so as not to conflict. There will be a joint TV deal as well. 

To appease sponsors, any race team can race in up to three of the other division's races - they can compete for the race win and prize money, but cannot garner points when racing in the other division.  Drivers cannot be stolen by a team in the opposing division, but just like in stick and ball sports, there would be a draft at the end of each season whereby drivers could switch teams and divisions, but it will all be done under certain guidelines. 

There, we've laid out a basic set of guidelines to start negotiations.  Who said it can't be done?  Can't is NOT in our vocabulary.  Tony George, Kevin Kalkhoven, Gerald Forsythe, and Paul Gentilozzi.  Make it happen. ]

Aiming for Toyota victory Aiming for Toyota victoryAfter a dream start to the season with two podiums from the three flyaway races, Toyota returns to Europe sitting pretty in second place in both the drivers' and the constructors' championship six points ahead of McLaren and 11 behind Renault. Now the team heads to Imola for the San Marino Grand Prix hoping to maintain its impressive form and increase its haul of 25 points so far in 2005.

After two consecutive second-place finishes and three starts in the top three on the grid, Italy's Jarno Trulli arrives back at his first home race of the year with 16 points. The European April weather will be very different from the blast furnace conditions of Bahrain and Malaysia so comparative performance is harder to predict. But a cautious Jarno still hopes to build on his strong start to the year.

Ralf Schumacher's fine race day performance in Bahrain led to a well deserved fourth place, his second successive points finish and a share of fourth in the championship with nine points. He now heads to the San Marino Grand Prix determined to maintain his upward momentum at a circuit that holds special memories for him.

A strong performance at Imola depends on a car's ability to deal with the circuit's curbs. Toyota has traditionally struggled at the track but Technical Director Chassis Mike Gascoyne reckons the TF105 is better equipped for the challenge.
Jarno Trulli - "Before the start of the 2005 season I never thought I'd be coming back to Europe in second place in the world championship. But thanks to a lot of hard work from the whole of the Panasonic Toyota Racing team that is the fantastic situation we are in. Expectations are obviously very high now but we have to keep our feet on the ground. Despite the fact that I'm racing at home, I'm not a particular fan of the Imola circuit. The most important factors for performance are braking stability and traction, but the weather will be colder than the last two races and in the past Toyota has struggled over the curbs. Still, the TF105 has improved a lot and with further aerodynamic updates coming for the weekend, we should aim to score more points. That would be a good result."

Ralf Schumacher - "I always enjoy returning to Imola. I took my first ever F1 win there in 2001 and I have enjoyed success at the track ever since - both in the races and qualifying. It would be nice to think I can maintain that record this year with Toyota, even if Imola has not been a kind circuit to the team in the past. It is one of the most technically demanding tracks on the calendar, with lots of long straights and slow corners. That means the brakes take a pounding but our braking performance was strong in Bahrain so we should be confident. Jarno and the team have done a magnificent job to score two podiums in a row, but after fifth in Malaysia and fourth in Bahrain, logic suggests the next podium should be mine! That's certainly what I'll be aiming for." Toyota

Vitantonio Liuzzi ready for race debut Vitantonio Liuzzi ready for race debutIt's all change at Red Bull Racing as the series heads to San Marino and the start of the European leg of the 2005 Formula One World Championship. The big story of course is the news that Christian Klien has been replaced for the next three Grand Prix by Vitantonio Liuzzi as the squad aim to give the 2004 F3000 Champion race experience ahead of what could well be a full time seat in 2006.

While Liuzzi, who won the F3000 race at the same circuit 12-months ago, gets his race debut this coming weekend, Klien will take over the Friday test role after the team successfully lobbied to change the rules, thus allowing the relatively experienced Austrian to run in Friday testing.

Red Bull Racing have scored a point in each of the first three Grand Prix of the season amassing an impressive tally of 12 points, good enough for fifth in the constructors' championship, two points ahead of Ferrari and just a single point behind the BMW Williams squad. Last time out at Sakhir, David Coulthard made best of what was a difficult race for the team by securing eighth spot.

David Coulthard - "I won't bore you with all the 'Imola is a difficult track, car must ride the curbs, have to be aggressive, overtaking is difficult, blah blah blah,' as I'm sure you have heard it a thousand times before. I like the fact we are back in Europe. My track record at Imola isn't too shabby, with one pole, one win, two second places and a third. Any of those results might be hard to achieve this weekend, as although the car has evolved since testing after Bahrain, I doubt that the teams currently ahead of us have been sitting on their hands for the last fortnight. I hope Tonio enjoys his F1 debut on home soil and I will enjoy letting him be the centre of attention with the media!"
Vitantonio Liuzzi - "This weekend will be awesome and I am very excited about driving my first Grand Prix in Italy. It will be unbelievable and it will be good to have the support of the crowd, as my home town is only a couple of hours drive away. I don't feel stressed or under pressure, because Red Bull Racing has always shown confidence and belief in me, and in Christian. I feel excited about my GP debut but I'm quite relaxed. The fact that I won here in F3000 last year is another reason to be in a positive frame of mind. Although I have been driving on Fridays this year, there will be some new challenges this weekend. I think I will be okay with one lap qualifying, as I have practiced it during tests and I was good at it in karting. I will be the first man out in the Friday qualifying, which means I will have a dirty track and I will just have to do the best I can. The biggest challenge will be the whole weekend, especially the race itself which is much longer than I was used to in F3000. This is Formula 1 and I am sure my heart will be beating faster than usual on Sunday afternoon." Red Bull Racing

Piquet gears up for GP2 series debut Piquet gears up for GP2 series debutReigning British F3 Champion Nelson Piquet Jr faces a new challenge this weekend when he heads into the first round of the inaugural GP2 Series at the legendary Imola circuit. In what promises to be a hard-fought season, Piquet will be one of 24 highly-rated drivers battling it out in Formula One's new feeder series, which will run alongside F1 at all the European Grand Prix, with a season finale in Bahrain.

"Overall, pre-season testing has gone well for us," Piquet explained. "The car is easy to drive and in the last couple of tests we had no technical problems. Things seem to be going very smoothly and we are confident we can get the tires and set-up to work well in Imola. Although we have been testing lots of different things, when we went for a fast lap we were consistently quick, and at the top of the timesheets, so we have to be very happy with that."

"I'm really excited that the season is finally starting. I think Imola is going to be a crazy weekend as there is only half an hour free practice before you get 24 cars on the track qualifying. The key thing for us is to get the car set-up as close as possible to what we need before Friday and then the rest is up to me to get used to the circuit quickly with the car. I've been trying to prepare myself as much as possible and have driven a Porsche Carrera S on the circuit to learn its characteristics. The team has worked so hard to get ready for this weekend, and I hope everything comes together for the race."
The weekend format will comprise a 30-minute free practice session on Friday followed by a 30-minute qualifying session. Drivers will then compete in a 180km long-distance race on Saturday and an 80km sprint race on Sunday morning. The grid for the sprint race will be determined from the results of the long-distance race, albeit with the top eight positions reversed.

At the Series' official launch day at Circuit Paul Ricard on 6 April, on which drivers took part in a qualifying session to determine race car numbers for their teams for the season, Nelson finished second fastest out of the 24 drivers, and will run car number 3 for the Hitech Piquet Sports team.
GP2 Imola entry list
1. Scott Speed (USA) - iSport International
2. Can Artam (TUR) - iSport International
3. Nelson Piquet Jr (BRA) - Hitceh Piquet Sports
4. Alexandre Negrão (BRA)- Hitech Piquet Sports
5. Ernesto Viso (VEN) - BCN Competicion
6. Hiroki Yoshimoto (JPN) - BCN Competicion
7. Giorgio Pantano (ITA) - Super Nova International
8. Adam Carroll (GBR) - Super Nova International
9. Nico Rosberg (GER) - ART Grand Prix
10. Alexandre Prémat (FRA) - ART Grand Prix
11. Olivier Pla (FRA) - DPR
12. Ryan Sharp (GBR) - DPR
14. Jose Maria Lopez (ARG) - DAMS
15. Fairuz Fauzy (MAL) - DAMS
16. Mathias Lauda (AUT) - Coloni Motorsport
17. Gianmaria Bruni (ITA) - Coloni Motorsport
18. Neel Jani (SUI) - Racing Engineering
19. Borja García (ESP) - Racing Engineering
20. Juan Cruz Alvarez (ARG) - Campos Racing
21. Sergio Hernández (ESP) - Campos Racing
22. Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) - Arden International
23. Nicolas Lapierre (FRA) - Arden International
24. Clivio Piccione (MC) - Durango
25. Ferdinando Monfardini (ITA) - Durango Piquet Sports

Imola: a demanding circuit for an F1 engine Imola: a demanding circuit for an F1 engineThe San Marino Grand Prix - fourth round of the 2005 Formula One World Championship - will be a difficult challenge for the engines. Fabrice Lom, Engine Race Engineer for Giancarlo Fisichella's car, talks about the specific challenge of this race.

"Imola is a demanding circuit for an F1 engine: it includes a lot of hard acceleration from slow speeds, which means outright power is an important factor. The engines spend 62% of the lap at full throttle, a high value compared to the season average, and average engine speed is also relatively high.

"The circuit layout does not include any particularly long straights: this means that moving parts such as the pistons, which are stressed by long periods at high revs, are not under undue strain. However, this is counterbalanced by the fact that climatic conditions are often cool: colder temperatures mean higher air density, which in turn sees the engine develop more power. Increased power output, of course, increases the strain placed on the V10.
"The primary distinguishing characteristics of the Imola circuit are the numerous curbs, and the fact the drivers use them as part of the racing line. As the cars 'jump' over them, the rear wheels leave the ground, exposing the engine to the risk of over-revving, or excessive use of the rev limiter. For the engine, hitting the limiter is a scenario to be avoided when possible because it increases the level of vibration on the engine. However, it is a preferable alternative to over-revving.

"The presence of curbs does not, however, force us to put the drivers under any unusual restrictions. We would never ask the drivers to take a corner slower in order to protect the engine, but we often study ways of changing the line through a corner in race conditions, or to change gear earlier, in order to minimize the risk to the engine." Renault F1 Team

Latest F1 news in brief Latest F1 news in brief
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'Renault v. Ferrari' at Imola
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Michelin go aggressive
Fisi may 'fight' Fernando
Montoya's the man - Ralf
'No time for title talk'
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