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Formula BMW
Gabby Chaves Signs Major Sponsor  
Colombian-American driver Gabby Chaves of Weston, Fla., one of America’s fastest rising stars in racing’s developmental ranks, has signed a major sponsorship deal with Cafe de Colombia.

Cafe de Colombia is part of the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, a non-profit cooperative that stabilizes the market for Colombian coffee, and undertakes research, social assistance and promotion programs on behalf of the small, independent farmers.

Chaves, 15, romped to two dominant wins in the opening two rounds of the 2009 Formula BMW Americas Championship in March and leads the series standings heading into this weekend’s two races at Virginia International Raceway. More ...

Sarah Fisher teams up with Forsythe team  Sarah Fisher Racing's deadline passed last week for fielding a second Indianapolis 500 car, but the team still could have help at Indianapolis Motor Speedway next month. SFR has partnered with Forsythe Racing, a former Champ Car team mulling an IndyCar entry.

"If they had a car, it'd be huge because we'd have an unofficial teammate," Fisher says.

The alliance already is working for Fisher's No. 67 Dallara-Honda, which will make its season debut Sunday at Kansas Speedway. SFR hired chief engineer Tom Brown from Forsythe, which also is providing engineering help and its shop for pit-stop practice.

Fisher feels much more prepared than a year ago when the IRL's three-time most popular driver lost a primary sponsor before the start-up team's Indy debut. Dollar General returns for a six-race schedule after two races last year.

"I can sleep now; it's amazing," she says. USA Today

Bahrain: Thursday Press Conference  
Timo GLOCK (Toyota),
Robert KUBICA (BMW Sauber),
Nelson PIQUET (Renault),
Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN (Ferrari)


Q: Different fortunes for many of you. For three of you not a very good start to the season. For one of you a slightly extraordinary start. Timo, let’s start with the good news. Three points scores, two of them from the pit lane. What are your feelings about the start to the season?
Yeah, it was not a bad start, I would say. Like you say two times from the pit lane. I didn’t really expect the points but we had a strong race in Melbourne and Malaysia as well with the right tire choice. We did everything right in the race and again in Shanghai in wet conditions we had quite a good pace and two times from the back of the field after the start behind the safety car and after I damaged the front wing I had to go in the pit. I think I was again behind the whole field and to come into the points again was good and we have to be satisfied with it. More ...
Q&A: David Richards on 2010 F1 return  
You are seen as one of the contenders to re-enter Formula 1 how serious are you?

David Richards, Prodrive & Aston Martin (Chairman): We are very serious about entering Formula One in 2010 providing that it is commercially viable and there is the potential to be fully competitive.

Q: What do you mean by commercially viable and the potential to be fully competitive?
DR: On the commercial side we would want a situation where the sort of budget you would need to be competitive would be sensible, especially given the challenging economic conditions we face today. And we would expect to see a reasonable return on our investment in the longer term. We would also want the rules to be such that they provide the potential for us to be fully competitive. We would not want to be in Formula One just to make up the numbers. More ...

Bahrain: Team personnel preview quotes  
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren-Mercedes (Team Principal):

“The points we scored in China were encouraging because they showed that, even without a fully competitive car, we have lost none of our ability to attack over a race weekend and to maximize every opportunity that comes our way. Until our package reaches full competitiveness, that must remain our aim for the Bahrain weekend. Once again, we will introduce a series of upgrades to MP4-24 and remain optimistic that they will once again deliver a further performance improvement. Also, as the home of one of our primary shareholders, it is a particularly special race for everyone within the team and we are made to feel very welcome by our Bahraini hosts.”

Norbert Haug, McLaren-Mercedes (Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice President):
“We are looking forward to the second back to back race this season after the first two grands prix within eight days in Melbourne and Sepang. This schedule with four races within five weeks, is a very tough challenge for everybody involved in Formula 1. Our performance in dry conditions looked a step better in Shanghai than at the two races before and our aim is to continue in this direction. Anyway - we cannot expect miracles in Bahrain and everybody in the team is absolutely aware of the fact that we have to work day and night in order to come back to the top of the field. More ...

Q&A with Renault's Fabrice Lom  Renault's engine coordinator at the Red Bull Racing F1 Team, Fabrice Lom, reflects on the team's victory during last weekend's Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai and looks ahead to this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.

Fabrice, Red Bull Racing picked up its first victory in China last weekend - tell us how it was for you...
"We were delighted and also relieved because we had some transmission problems during free practice and we only found the solution at the last minute. And then the race seemed to go on forever and was quite mentally taxing race for the whole team. When we won, it was firstly a great relief and slowly it started to sink in that not only had we won, but we were first and second. We ran to the podium and savored the atmosphere of our wonderful result." More ...
Drivers use Kansas to prepare for Indy  
The chassis setup for the high banked Kansas track is nothing like the Indy track whatsoever, but at least it is an oval
When IndyCar Series drivers take the track at Kansas Speedway April 26 for the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300, it will mark the first race on an oval since the 2008 season ended at Chicagoland Speedway last September. The race also comes four weeks before the Indianapolis 500, meaning teams will be trying to use the race at Kansas to build momentum for the month of May.

Among those looking for positive results at Kansas that they can take to Indianapolis are: Scott Dixon, the 2008 IndyCar Series champion, who led 145 of 200 laps at Kansas last year, before going on to win the Indianapolis 500; Dan Wheldon, winner of the last two races at Kansas, who has moved to a new team in 2009; and Sarah Fisher, the driver and co-owner of Sarah Fisher Racing who will make her 2009 debut at Kansas as a tune-up for Indy. More ...

Patrick graces cover of Shape magazine  
Danica Patrick is featured on the cover of the June issue of Shape magazine, which is available on newsstands and by subscription.

Patrick relays that she relies on win-win “E” strategies -- eating healthy and exercise – to keep fueled and fit for the rigors of the IndyCar Series. During the racing season, a high-protein diet with complex carbohydrates is in order. Many days, breakfast consists of a three egg-white omelet and a bowl of homemade oatmeal with cinnamon, flax meal, brown sugar and a scoop of peanut butter on the side.

Because Patrick is 5 foot 2 and about 104 pounds – the lightest driver in the series – upper-body strength is important to control the 1,600-pound No. 7 Motorola car on the street/road and oval circuits. She tells readers about the diversity of regimens to build endurance and strength. More ...

Andretti Green adds Venom Energy as primary sponsor  Venom Energy will be the primary sponsor of the No. 26 Andretti Green Racing car driven by Marco Andretti for the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway this weekend and the Indianapolis 500.

Venom (Venom? As in snake venom?  How many consumers will feel good about that?  We could think of better names.)  Energy is an energy drink in the Dr Pepper Snapple Group portfolio. The agreement is an expansion of the partnership with Dr Pepper Snapple Group, which will feature multiple brands in a rotation during 10 of the final 15 events of the season and will either hold the position of primary sponsor or major associate sponsor, depending on the race market. More ...

track news
To the chagrin of naysayers, EuroSpeedway now profitable  
CART raced at EuroSpeedway in 2001 and 2003.  It would be foolish for the IRL to not race on this great oval.  They should also race at Assen, another successful European venue.
Dresden - The EuroSpeedway Lausitz GmbH increased profits (EBITDA) by 1.4 million Euros over the financial year 2008. As the managing partners, Hans-Jörg Fischer (42) and Matthias Tomasetti (41), announced today, the profit 2008 could be increased by 17 percent in comparison to the business year before (1,2 million Euros). This is a new record profit in the history of the enterprise. As in all business years since takeover of the circuit by the EuroSpeedway Lausitz GmbH in 2004, the result was gained without any public funding.

"We are very pleased that we could clearly increase our commercial result for the fourth time in a row despite the worldwide economic crisis. With this result we could again confirm that we have been adopting the right strategy to lead the circuit in the right direction since taking over in 2004. EuroSpeedway Lausitz GmbH has reinforced again its position as the most profitable circuit in Germany“, said Fischer, managing partner of the EuroSpeedway Lausitz GmbH.

When asked about ending the operation of EuroSpeedway Lausitz circuit at the end of 2008 Fischer commented: "When my partner Matthias Tomasetti and I leased the circuit in 2004 EuroSpeedway Lausitz was called a ruined investment and sort of multi-million euro graveyard of public money. The circuit was offered for sale by the owner but nobody was interested to either invest or purchase the property. It was at that moment we took over and prevented the EuroSpeedway Lausitz from being closed. More ...

BMW finally drops diffuser protest  (GMM) BMW-Sauber on Thursday finally announced it has formally dropped its protest against the legality of rear diffusers.

Prior to last weekend's Chinese grand prix, the Court of Appeal said the controversial aerodynamic concept was fully legal, following the protest and appeals of the Ferrari, Renault and Red Bull teams.

BMW's similar protest, lodged in Australia, was thrown out on a technicality, so the German team protested again in Malaysia.

It meant the Swiss based camp could theoretically have requested another hearing of the Court of Appeal, despite other previously anti-diffuser teams including Renault and McLaren now using the concept at races.

"We withdrew the protest yesterday," BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen is quoted by the German press as having said in Bahrain on Thursday. More ...
Massa at least happy with safer future  (GMM) A year ago, Felipe Massa also arrived in Bahrain without having opened his championship points account.

The Ferrari driver won the 2008 event, as he also did the season before, but this time around he will not tackle the Sakhir curves amid a crisis with a top car.

If the Italian team departs the island Kingdom still pointless, it will be Ferrari's worst opening four races in the history of the Scuderia.

But Massa, 27, told reporters on Thursday that the pressure is not mounting on his own shoulders if he compares the situation to last year.

Bahrain was round three of the championship in 2008, and Massa's outings in Malaysia and Australian had been littered with driving errors. More ...
Dodson injured in car wreck  Former NASCAR Cup crew chief Barry Dodson suffered multiple injuries in an automobile accident on April 10 in Pawley’s Island, S.C. Dodson was taking a test drive at a dealership when he says the car’s accelerator hung. He crashed into two cars on the lot, totaling both, before he struck a steel pole. Dodson suffered neck, shoulder and closed-head injuries and remains under a physician’s care. “The only escape route I had was a busy four-lane highway,” Dodson said. “So I chose to crash into the cars on the lot rather than taking a chance on injuring someone else.” He declined to identify the dealership.  SceneDaily
No cap on driver salaries  Formula One's governing body has agreed to exclude drivers' salaries and marketing costs from an optional budget cap to be introduced for teams next season.

International Automobile Federation (FIA) president Max Mosley has also written to teams asking them to advise him by close of business on Thursday whether the £30 million ($43.69 million) cap should be revised. He warned that the sport, which saw Honda depart in December, risked losing at least two more teams for 2010 were the cap not to be an option.

"We are now close to concluding the regulations, both financial and technical, for presentation to the World Motor Sport Council on 29 April," Mosley wrote.

"The financial regulations will be based largely on the principles established by the teams and the FIA last year. The key point is that the budget cap for 2010 will cover all team spending except for marketing and drivers." More ...
Haug unhappy with McLaren's image problem  Mercedes Motorsport boss Norbert Haug has said the team is evaluating its partnership with the McLaren Formula 1 team. The German car manufacturer currently owns 40% of the shares in McLaren but is not amused with the team's image problem. "We are part of this team (McLaren) and normally we will also be part of it in 2010," Haug told Germany's Focus about Mercedes' partnership with McLaren. The damaged caused to McLaren's image due to the lying-scandal in Melbourne is something Mercedes is very unhappy about. "For Mercedes it is very important to handle things the right way, but the important positions within the team are currently filled by people who are not part of Mercedes."

Mercedes is currently 40% shareholder at McLaren and engine supplier to Force India and Brawn GP. Haug admits Mercedes could change its position in Formula 1 and put their main focus on multiple teams rather than just one team (McLaren). "At least once a year we evaluate the situation in Formula 1 and think about our future in the sport. There's always the option to change our position in F1 and simply become an engine supplier only."

Brawn GP extends with Endless Advance  Brawn GP is pleased to confirm the continuation of its team supplier partnership with Endless Advance for a sixth consecutive year.

Through its European operating agent, Endless Brake Technology Europe based in Sweden, Endless will provide the Brawn GP team with its RF-650 competition brake fluid throughout the 2009 Formula One season. Since its creation ten years ago, Endless Brake Technology Europe has been a market leader in Europe for advanced motorsport brake technologies.

Ross Brawn, Team Principal of Brawn GP, said: "Over the past five years, the team has developed a close working relationship with Endless Advance and we have been very happy with the quality and performance of their brake fluid. We are pleased to be continuing our partnership this season."

Brawn GP extends with NCE  Brawn GP is pleased to announce the extension of its team supplier partnership with IT Storage and Virtualization specialist NCE.

One of the leading names in the data storage industry, NCE joined the team for the 2006 season and introduced a Data Storage Solution offering the scalability and centralized storage management which is fundamental for the Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacture (CAM) applications used in the design of the team's Formula One cars.

Ross Brawn, Team Principal of Brawn GP said: "We are very pleased to have extended our relationship with NCE this year. Having effective and reliable data storage is essential to a Formula One team's operations and we have seen a great deal of benefit from partnering with one of the best providers in the business over the past three years."

Yarborough shows Logano around Darlington Raceway  The learning curve in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is steep and on Wednesday at Darlington Raceway class was in session for one of the most heralded rookies in series history. The student, Joey Logano, got a one-on-one tutoring session with one of the most legendary names, not only in Darlington history, but NASCAR history, Cale Yarborough. Yarborough invited Joey into his classroom, in this case a 3,400 pound stock car, and took him for a ride at the track “Too Tough to Tame.” More ...
Hamilton thinks KERS will work well in Bahrain  Lewis Hamilton heads into the desert this week for the Bahrain Grand Prix.  The 24-year-old F1 champion was sixth last Sunday in the Chinese Grand Prix - his best performance of the season so far.

From the heavy rain of Shanghai, it's now the sun and sand of Sakhir that Hamilton has to contend with.

The Herts-born motor racer likes the Bahrain International Circuit and feels the layout could suit cars running with the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS). Hamilton said: "I'm looking forward to Bahrain. More ...
British F3
Silverstone test for runaway Ricciardo  The young chargers of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series will be united in their efforts next weekend (2/3 May) to put the brakes on Daniel Ricciardo and stop him from running away with the championship title.

Nineteen-year-old Australian Ricciardo claimed twin wins at Oulton Park over Easter to establish a handy 12-point advantage over his nearest rivals, Britain's Nick Tandy and Austrian Walter Grubmüller, and last week Dan set the pace in testing at the wheel of his Volkswagen-powered Carlin Motorsport Dallara.

The Silverstone Grand Prix circuit is one of the few UK tracks of which Ricciardo has much experience - he won there last year in European Formula Renault - and that may be a bad omen for his F3 title rivals. More ...

Singapore GP tickets sales remain good  Nearly two weeks after the initial launch of tickets for the 2009 FORMULA 1 SINGTEL SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX Early Bird tickets continue to sell well. The 50% of available inventory allotted to early bird tickets for the Esplanade Waterfront Grandstand are now sold out, however fans can still purchase the remaining tickets at the regular rate of S$598.

Based on the sales trend over the last 2 days, it is anticipated that the 3-day early bird Season Walkabout as well as Saturday and Sunday single day early bird Walkabout tickets will be sold out by next week.

Tickets for the Connaught Grandstand are also selling fast and as a result of the strong demand, 750 additional seats have been introduced here. More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • No rain, but sandstorm risk for Bahrain GP
  • Schu confirms talks over Ferrari future
  • Gascoyne eyes F1 return with Ferrari
  • Liuzzi hopeful of 2010 Force India cockpit
  • 'Too late' now for F1 switch - Rossi

No rain, but sandstorm risk for Bahrain GP
(GMM)  Three grands prix into the 2009 season, most formula one figures are looking forward to a fully-dry race weekend in Bahrain.

The recent Sepang and Shanghai events were drenched by rain, clouding the assessment of the sport's new pecking order.

Bahrain is unlikely to be wet this weekend, with climate charts showing no more than 10mm rainfall for an average April month.

Local reports are indeed predicting a very hot weekend, with the possibility of a sandstorm or two.

"That would certainly shake things up," said reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton.  "It's a weird circuit in the sense that you are just driving through the desert; there is no grass anywhere."

Bahrain's meteorology office said the highest chance of a light sandstorm is for Sunday.

"The chance of rising sand is there," a forecaster told the local Gulf Daily News. More ...

Moraes hoping all 4 wheels stay on this weekend  
Mario Moraes at Long Beach
Bob Heathcote/AR1.com
KV Racing Technology driver Mario Moraes is making his second appearance on the 1.5-mile tri-oval in Kansas this weekend and the 20-year-old Brazilian is not only anxious to compete on an oval again, but hopes this time all 4 wheels stay on the car.

“Last year Kansas was really hard for me because we had the wheel nut come off in the first practice (while driving for another team) and then we didn’t make qualifying,” Moraes said.  “But after the test in Homestead with KV Racing Technology earlier this year, I’m very excited and anxious to race on an oval.  I think both the team and I learned a lot and collected some good data at Homestead.  I think we have a good baseline setup for Kansas and I am confident we can have a good race.”

Speed-Crazy Prince Spends Millions in Bid to Dominate Sport  The most important figure in drag racing this year isn't some good-ol' boy who grew up hot-rodding around the sport's birthplace in southern California.

He is 22-year-old Sheik Khalid bin Hamad Al-Thani of Qatar, who offers both wealth and commitment to a sport in which the best-funded team often ends up on top. A drag-racing fanatic since age 12, Mr. Al-Thani has made a long-term commitment to the sport and is spending an estimated $10 million this year to support a team with the best cars, crew, equipment and research available.

In the highest levels of professional drag racing -- where cars surpass 300 mph in less than four seconds -- even the top drivers and team owners can spend endless time hunting for corporate sponsorship money. It costs at least $4 million a year to fund a top team, with expenses including everything from $70,000 Funny Car bodies to $2,500 per racing weekend for nitro-methane fuel to $140 for clutch discs, a couple of which need to be replaced nearly every time the cars speed down the track.

Come race day, while other crew chiefs are wolfing down barbecue pork sandwiches and hobnobbing with sponsors, Alan Johnson, the team's co-owner and chief engineer, sits in front of two 24-inch computer monitors in his sleek trailer, quietly crunching data as he enjoys a plate of deep red tuna sashimi the team chef had flown in from Chicago for $20 per pound. More at Wall Street Journal

Researchers come up with way to destroy 99% of nuclear waste  In a twist on the proverb “Set a thief to catch a thief,” physicists at the University of Texas at Austin have designed a system to facilitate the disposal of spent nuclear fuel that combines nuclear fission with fusion. The hybrid system will destroy 99% of the spent fuel, and the waste that remains will be less toxic than the spent fuel now accumulating in storage at nuclear powerplants around the country, the researchers say.

Physicists at The University of Texas at Austin have designed a new system that, when fully developed, would use fusion to eliminate most of the transuranic waste produced by nuclear power plants.

The invention could help combat global warming by making nuclear power cleaner and thus a more viable replacement of carbon-heavy energy sources, such as coal.

"We have created a way to use fusion to relatively inexpensively destroy the waste from nuclear fission," says Mike Kotschenreuther, senior research scientist with the Institute for Fusion Studies (IFS) and Department of Physics. "Our waste destruction system, we believe, will allow nuclear power-a low carbon source of energy-to take its place in helping us combat global warming." More ...

Chinese rollout onslaught of electric cars  [Editor's Note:  While USA automakers continue to crank out pollution causing, gas guzzling internal combustion engine cars that burn fossil fuels sold by terrorist countries, the Chinese and other more forward thinking countries are working on converting their entire line of cars to electric.  They know, and as we have predicted long ago, the future of the automobile is electric with battery recharges from electricity generated by safe and clean nuclear power plants.]

Chinese auto makers are unveiling a slew of battery-powered cars and other energy-efficient vehicles at this week's auto show here that could make them more globally competitive and eventually help address the air pollution that chokes many Chinese cities.

Alternative-fuel cars were some of the hottest items on display at the Shanghai auto show from homegrown companies like Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd., Brilliance Jinbei Automobile Co. and Chery Automobile Co.

Some of the new and updated models, such as a battery-powered version of Geely's Panda hatchback, may hit the market as early as October, and in some cases they might carry price tags low enough for farmers and other rural residents with limited financial means. More ...

#64 car withdraws from Talladega  After much thought, team owner Larry Gunselman has decided to withdraw the #64 Gunselman Motorsports Toyota from this weekend’s Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. Because of the financial demands required to get a competitive restrictor-plate motor for Talladega, Gunselman decided to focus the team’s limited finances and instead put forth their fiscal and physical energy towards the next three races. After this weekend, the Sprint Cup Series visits Richmond, Darlington and Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The unsponsored team already has two engines for those tracks ensuring they will enter those races; but couldn’t afford to rent a plate motor for Talladega. More ...
Bobby Labonte gets new crew chief  Yates Racing today announced Ben Leslie, former crew chief for the #28 Yates Racing Ford, will serve as crew chief for Bobby Labonte and the #96 Hall of Fame entry for the remainder of the 2009 season. Previous crew chief Todd Parrot will assist the Yates organization as a whole. “Ben’s experience with Ford Racing is really an asset to our organization,” said Max Jones, co-owner of Yates Racing. “The #96 team is fortunate enough to have a Champion driver and a group of experts in the sport. I believe Ben will bring the right changes to this team to help it accomplish some solid finishes this season and climb a few positions in the points.” Prior to joining Yates Racing, Leslie served as a liaison between Ford Racing and NASCAR managing Ford’s development in all three series. Earlier in his career, Leslie worked with several notable drivers including Mark Martin, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch and Ricky Rudd. In 2001 Leslie led Martin to a second-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings, recorded 15 top-10 finishes and a win in the Coke 600. “I’m looking forward to working with Ben,” said Labonte. “He’s done a lot with Ford Racing specifically and I like that he has experience with many Champion drivers. I’m excited to see what we will do together on the track in the next few weeks.” Todd Parrot who aided in Labonte’s fifth-place finish in Las Vegas will remain with Yates Racing and assist with both the #96 Hall of Fame Racing entry as well as the #98 Menards Ford Fusion. HOF Racing/Yates Racing PR
Long Beach IRL TV rating shows some glimmer of hope  UPDATE The Long Beach rating may have gone up because there was no NASCAR race on that day.  The audience for the second IndyCar Series race on Versus was nearly double the network’s maiden effort two weeks earlier.  The 0.52 rating (478,477 viewers) for Sunday’s race at Long Beach, Calif., was equal to what ESPN2 got for the same race a year ago and up from 0.28 for the season opener at St. Petersburg, Fla. The rating in Indianapolis went from 1.2 to 2.1.

04/21/09 The Grand Prix at Long Beach last Sunday scored a 0.5 TV rating for the Indy Racing League, according to New York-based Nielsen Media Research. That’s the same rating the race earned last year on ESPN 2 when it was the swan song for CART.

Since the Versus cable channel isn’t carried in as many U.S. households as ESPN2, viewership was down slightly from last year. This year, 388,864 households tuned in, compared to 485,604 in 2008 (down 20%). Still this year’s Long Beach rating is a dramatic improvement over the 0.3 rating (233,000 households) the IRL earned for its debut on Versus April 5 at St. Petersburg. The TV rating for the St. Petersburg race was down 60 percent from the same race a year ago.

“We see progress,” said IRL spokesman John Griffin. “We attribute the improved rating to three things; The NASCAR race was Saturday night, the attraction and history of the race at Long Beach, and people getting more focused on where to find Versus. At this point, we couldn’t be happier.” More ...

Talladega Drafting Not The Same with New Car  Since the debut of the new chassis and body in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, drafting, and thus the race itself, has been different.

Bobby Labonte, Driver No. 96 Ask.com Ford and President of Breaking Limits:

“These cars are great for Talladega.  Daytona, it’s more of a hand full because that’s a handling type of track.  These cars can bump draft differently, and better in some ways, than the older cars.  The track at Talladega is so smooth and that makes for great racing with the new car.  Unless the pavement wears out or has huge cracks the handling will never be a factor here with this car at this track. 

“It’s actually easier to lose the draft now than ever before.  At the same time, it’s more fun to be up in the draft too.  I think these cars work really well at Talladega to be honest.” More ...

New diffuser for Force India in Bahrain  (GMM)  Force India will use an 'interim diffuser' for its 2009 car at this weekend's Bahrain grand prix, team head Vijay Mallya has revealed.

He said the component is part of a "significant aerodynamic upgrade" for the race in the Persian gulf, including a new floor, revised front wing and "reprofiled sidepods to incorporate the amended rear end".

Giancarlo Fisichella, who stopped over in Dubai prior to travelling to Bahrain, said: "We know where we need to improve, we are missing a lot of downforce and it shows, but now we have started to introduce new upgrades I am hopeful we can start to fix this problem."

Lola considers 2010 F1 team entry  (GMM)  British racing car company Lola has announced it is contemplating a formula one foray for 2010.

Spurred by the FIA's plans for budget caps, the Huntingdon-based marque said it has commenced a "full technical, operational and financial evaluation" in view of developing a F1 car.

"Lola has appointed key new staff to the project and allocated some of its top engineers to this stage of the evaluation," read a statement issued by Lola, which last attempted a F1 team in 1997.

That project was abandoned after one race, but Lola's history of involvement with the sport dates back to the early 1960s.

Currently, it produces prototype Le Mans sports cars.

"The current necessity for formula one to adopt a responsible approach in times of economic uncertainty has created the ideal conditions for us to consider developing a car for the world championship," said executive chairman Martin Birrane.

Ecclestone's F1 cars on show in Bahrain  (GMM)  A selection of Bernie Ecclestone's racing car collection will be open to the public at the Bahrain grand prix this weekend.

The F1 chief executive has announced that 24 of his cars will be on show at the Sakhir track, ranging from the ultra-rare 1937 Mercedes-Benz W125, to the 1978 'fan car' driven by Niki Lauda when the Brabham team was owned by the now 78-year-old Briton.

A1GP News Round Up  After one of the most exciting A1GP World Cup of Motorsport races to date, Vodafone A1GP Algarve, Portugal, momentum for Brands Hatch continues to build while the A1GP drivers have been keeping busy on the pitch and the race track.

Brands Hatch has joined forces with military charity Help for Heroes to help raise money at A1GP Brands Hatch, Great Britain this May Bank Holiday (1 - 3 May).

Help for Heroes was founded in 2007 to offer support to servicemen and women injured in the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The charity has worked on some major projects, including a fundraising single with ITV’s ‘X Factor’, and soldiers representing Help for Heroes will be collecting donations at Brands Hatch during the UK round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport next weekend. More ...

Toyota hopes hybrid pace car will accelerate sales  Denny Hamlin didn't break 110 mph Tuesday at Lowe's Motor Speedway, but he still was impressed with a car whose speed pales in comparison to that of his Sprint Cup ride.  "I thought it wouldn't take off as well as a combustion engine," Hamlin said after about an hour making laps in a 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid that will pace the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24 at the 1.5-mile oval. "The pickup was surprising; I'm amazed it takes off as good as anything."

Acceleration was an important feature in winning approval for the vehicle, which will become the first hybrid used as a pace car for the duration of a Cup event (a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid led the field to the green flag in the 2008 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway before yielding to a 2010 Ford Fusion Sport).

From a standing start at the pit exit in Turn 1, the 187-horsepower, four-cylinder Camry (which wasn't modified from the street model that retails for about $33,000 and gets an EPA-estimated 33 miles a gallon) had to reach 100 mph by the exit of Turn 2 to satisfy NASCAR's standards for pacing the 600-mile event, the longest on the 36-race Cup schedule.

Ed Laukes, manager for motor sports marketing at Toyota Motor Sales USA, said the approval process took about a year and included an on-track test Toyota passed with flying colors.

Hybrids have competed in the American Le Mans Series. Laukes said Toyota has interest in eventually racing them in NASCAR.

"I know it's a ways away, but I wouldn't be surprised down the road sometime if there's hybrid technology in a race," he said. More at USA Today

Q&A with Helio Castroneves  
Helio Castroneves at Long Beach
IndyCar Series star Helio Castroneves will compete in the Road Runner Turbo 300 on Sunday at Kansas Speedway, nine days after he was acquitted in a lengthy trial on charges of income tax evasion.

Here is a Question and Answer session The Star had with Castroneves by phone from his Miami office on Tuesday:

What was your feeling to be back in the race car at Long Beach last weekend, less than 24 hours after your acquittal in Miami?

“It was the best feeling in the world. For me, this is what I was born to do, it’s race. I love to be around the cars, I love to be around the track. I’ve been doing this since I was 11, 12 years old, so to be back in that environment was the greatest feeling in the world.” More ...

Latest F1 news in Brief  UPDATE A reader adds, Dear AR1.com, We have seen now with both McLaren two years ago and Renault last year that Alonso more than likely does bring a substantial talent to the team in being able to work with the engineers and technical staff to develop the car into a winner.  It will be interesting to see as this year progresses if he can apply this magic touch yet again to Renault.  I suspect that they will improve as the year goes on better than the rest and we will once again see that Alonso plays a big part in this equation.  That, coupled with the fact that he is an awesome race driver bodes well for his future with Ferrari if this rumor turns out to be, as suspected, a fact.  This cannot be lost on the Formula One fraternity.  Additionally, Hamilton's behavior vis-à-vis Ron Dennis this year also highlights the suspicion that Alonso was not the real troublemaker at McLaren, and in fact, Hamilton was the one who stirred up the mess that ensued (can you say "Hungary"?).  Sure, Alonso reacted poorly but can you blame the guy?  He hasn't been a troublemaker anywhere else in his career and I suspect that Hamilton was much to blame for the disharmony that ensued at McLaren.

Finally, wouldn’t it be interesting if when Vettel's contract expires with Red Bull this year, McLaren (particularly, Mercedes) snatches up the uber talented German driver?  What would become of Hamilton? Would he go elsewhere or stay and pull the same antics towards Vettel, but with Dennis gone ironically, I doubt the effect would be similar to what we saw at McLaren with Alonso.  It would be great to see Vettel beat Hamilton in an identical car. Ralph Monroe

  • Ferrari needs Alonso not Raikkonen - Coulthard
  • Hamilton will 'never forget' Dennis' input
  • Comments 'not criticism' of McLaren - Haug
  • Merc eyes role as sole KERS supplier
  • No signage for Mercedes' customer teams
  • Bourdais 'too negative' says Alain Prost
  • Vettel 'not for sale' - Mateschitz
  • Red Bull confirm Monaco target for diffuser
  • Gascoyne wants to oust Jordan from BBC

Ferrari needs Alonso not Raikkonen - Coulthard
(GMM)  Ferrari's fortunes may rise again "if and when" Fernando Alonso joins the famous Italian team.

That is the opinion of David Coulthard, who in his column for the Daily Telegraph newspaper was less than complimentary about the contribution to a formula one team of his former McLaren teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

Maranello based Ferrari is enduring its worst start to a season since 1981, having attended the first three races of 2009 without collecting a single point.

"I don't know Felipe Massa that well, so I can't really comment too much on him, but Raikkonen is a former teammate of mine and the Finn has never shown me he can lead a car's development," Coulthard, now attending grands prix as Red Bull's reserve driver as well as a pundit for British TV, wrote.

"Sure, he has blistering natural speed, but I suspect Ferrari will improve dramatically if and when Fernando Alonso arrives," the Scot added.

It is an open secret in the F1 paddock that Alonso, who currently drives for Renault, has signed some sort of document that could see him move to Ferrari in 2011 or even sooner.

38-year-old Coulthard is not only worried about Ferrari's driver lineup, but also the managerial setup in the period following the departure of imperious boss Jean Todt.

"Team principal Stefano Domenicali is a young, approachable and thoroughly nice man.  In formula one, those ingredients do not always work," said the veteran of nearly 250 races.

"His McLaren counterpart, Martin Whitmarsh, may well be suffering from a similar problem.  Are these two young, able team leaders tough enough?" Coulthard wonders.

"Kimi Raikkonen would never have been wandering about the pits with a choc-ice and a coke, as he was in Malaysia when the race was still technically in session, had Todt still been in charge," he observed. More ...

Speedcar Series promises thrilling end to the season  The fifth and final Speedcar Series race weekend is expected to be the most heated this season with 5 drivers in contention for the 500,000 US dollars and Season 2 Championship title. The fifth round will be run as a support event to the Bahrain F1 Grand Prix on 25-26 April, 2009.

Speedcar Series' second season has proved to be unpredictable thus far with the Drivers' Championship standings changing hands a few times through the first 4 rounds. The table is currently led by Gianni Morbidelli with 47 points, followed by Johnny Herbert in second with 40, Jean Alesi on 38, Heinz Harald Frentzen with 36 and Vitantonio Liuzzi in fifth place with 29.

Season 2 is expected to come down to a dramatic finish with the drivers battling over the two day race weekend for the final 20 points allotted to the race winners - 10 points per race. More ...
Indy tire testing  Richard Petty Motorsports driver #43-Reed Sorenson says that Goodyear officials will extend their Indianapolis Motor Speedway tire test into Wednesday for four drivers because of rain that has continually interrupted their efforts. Sorenson, Roush Fenway Racing's #17-Matt Kenseth Ford, Stewart-Haas Racing's #39-Ryan Newman Chevy and Red Bull Racing's #83-Brian Vickers Toyota began testing tires at the track Monday as Goodyear officials work to find a better tire for this season's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the track after a 2008 event in which drivers had to pit regularly because of issues with tire wear. SceneDaily
British F3
July dates for Donington British F3 and GT  The Donington Park rounds of the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series and the Avon Tires British GT Championship will take place over the weekend of 18/19 July, it is confirmed today (Weds).

The rescheduled Donington date replaces the 25/26 April event, the postponement of which was announced last week by championship organizer SRO Motorsports Group.

"Donington Park is a very important venue for British F3 and GT, and the circuit has always been very supportive of the championships," said SRO Motorsports Group General Manager Bernadette Fitzsimons, "so we are very pleased that an alternative date for the event could be found. We are looking forward to visiting the new and improved circuit." More ...

Montoya signed for a few more years  From a GM Racing Transcript, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya was asked: "How long is your contract for that you're currently under? Do you miss Formula One at all?", Montoya said: "My contract is still a couple years, two, three, four, five, I don't know. I'm not going to tell you actually how long is my contract (laughter). But I don't miss Formula One at all." GM Racing Transcript
NASCAR vs. F1 engine comparison  

At the end of the 2006 competition season, both NASCAR Cup and FIA Formula One engines had reached pinnacles of crankshaft speed for their respective classes of motorsport: 10,000 and 20,000 RPM respectively. Although operating at these RPM levels has since been outmoded by regulation (NASCAR’s ever more stringent use of its ‘gear rule’ and the FIA’s 19,000 RPM rev limit introduced in 2007, reduced to 18,000 RPM for 2009), it seemed interesting to compare these  very different engines to see what, if any, areas of commonality might exist.


In order to establish a backdrop for this article, the next few paragraphs give a brief sketch of the highlights of both engines.

A Formula One engine is certainly one of the most refined, developed, sophisticated pieces of machinery on the planet. It is a purpose-built, pure race engine, in a 90° V8 configuration, with 2.4 liters (146.4 cubic inches) of swept volume. There are fundamentally few restrictions on the implementation. Those few restrictions include the 2.4-liter, 90° V8 configuration with a 180° crankshaft, 106.5 mm bore spacing, 98 mm maximum bore, no  variable-length inlet pipes, no metal-matrix composite materials, 58 mm minimum crankshaft height, and one  injection nozzle per cylinder. The engines are DOHC, four-valve-per-cylinder layout with finger-followers and pneumatic valve springs, with the ignition and fuel injection systems controlled by a sophisticated engine-management digital computer system. The engine weight is a minimum of 95 kg (209 lbs) and a center of gravity height restriction further influences the characteristics of the overall package. More ...

Bahrain: Bridgestone preview  Bridgestone will participate in its fourth grand prix in five weeks when the medium and super soft compound Potenza slick tires are used at this weekend's Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, held on 24-26 April.

The allocation for Bahrain is the same as used in the Australian and Chinese races. This is the first time that a Bridgestone super soft compound has been used at the 5.41 km circuit which features a diverse mix of 15 turns.

Bahrain is one of the toughest circuits on brakes visited during the course of the season, and the weather conditions are usually hot and dry. The desert location of the track means that the track surface often has sand on it at the start of the race weekend, with track grip improving as the surface is cleaned by the cars running. More ...

Grand-Am returns after 3-month break  A three-month break for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 comes to an end with the Saturday, April 25 running of the Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway in Danville, Va.

Round 2 of the 2009 season is set to take the green flag for two hours, 45 minutes of action at 2:30 p.m. ET. The race will be televised live on SPEED.  More ...
Toyota Hybrid to pace the Coke 600 and other races  When a Toyota Camry Hybrid leads the 43-car starting field to the green flag for the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway (LMS), it will mark the first time in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) history a hybrid vehicle will serve as the ‘official’ pace car for an entire race. The Camry Hybrid will make its pace car debut on Sunday, May 24, at the Concord, N.C., track. Built at the Toyota manufacturing facility in Georgetown, Ky., the Toyota Camry Hybrid is a 187- horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder vehicle that gets an EPA estimated combined average of 33 miles per gallon. Before being approved to serve as the pace car for the upcoming May race the Camry Hybrid had to pass a NASCAR-mandated performance test. In order to qualify as a pace car for the race at LMS, a vehicle is required to reach speeds close to 100 miles per hour from a stand-by position near the exit of pit road to the time it reaches the exit of turn two, a distance of approximately one-quarter-mile. In addition to the May Coca-Cola 600 and the October 17 race at LMS, the Toyota Camry Hybrid will serve as the ‘official’ pace car at Infineon Raceway (June 21), Chicago (July 11), Watkins Glen (Aug. 9) and Martinsville (Oct. 25). Toyota PR
Nationwide Phoenix TV rating  ESPN2’s telecast of last Friday’s Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race equaled its rating from the past two years, ESPN officials said.

The coverage earned a 1.0 rating from Nielsen Media Research and averaged a little more than 1.2 million viewers.
racing news
Riley Technologies Set To Reveal Track Day Car  This Saturday’s Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway will see scores of Riley Technologies-designed Daytona Prototype and GT class machines do battle in round 2 of the 2009 Rolex Sports Car Series. But not all the excitement will be on the track this weekend, as the famed manufacturer will also will be making the first public showing of Riley Technologies new Track Day Car (TDC). More ...
How fit is an F1 driver?  One question that people who don’t follow motor racing often ask is “how fit are the drivers?” If F1’s not your thing, it’s easy to assume racing a Formula 1 car is no more strenuous than driving on the road.

Toyota team doctor Ricardo Ceccarelli gives some extraordinary insight into the punishing forces an F1 driver is subject to - and how fit they need to be

There is no other sport in the world which compares to the demands Formula 1 puts on the heart.

The heart rate of a top driver can average over 180bpm for a race distance of 90 minutes or more. This is huge and no other sport keeps a heart rate so high for such a long time.

On top of that there is a lot of muscle work for the whole body - heavy work for neck muscles to cope with the G forces, high loads on legs and arms and good lumbar strength to stabilize the body. A normal person could do two or three laps in a Formula 1 car under those stresses before physically they couldn’t continue. More ...

ALMS emphasizes 'green' on Earth Day  What better day than “Earth Day” to emphasize the famous race control call at the drop of the starting flag - “Green, Green, Green”?

That will be the topic Wednesday as American Le Mans Series Chief Operating Officer Tim Mayer serves as keynote luncheon speaker at the Western Automotive Journalists Media Days at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Mayer will address more than 100 journalists who have assembled to hear the developments behind Series green initiatives that have captured the attention of the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as well as SAE International. More ...

ACO announces LMP1 and LMP2 regulation changes  Analysis of the performances of the diesel-engined and petrol-engined prototypes after the Sebring and Barcelona races showed that the diesel-engined cars still enjoyed an advantage. In order to guarantee the equivalence between the different engines, the ACO, in keeping with its undertakings, has decided to impose the following adjustments on diesel-engined prototypes from the Spa-Francorchamps race onwards:

- Reduction of the orifice of the fuel flow limiter of the autonomous fuel tank (the current diameter of 38mm for diesels will now be the same as that for petrol-engined cars: 33mm).
- An additional 30 kilos will be added made up of one or more pieces of ballast sealed by the scrutineers. Once the ballast has been removed the car must not weigh less than 900 kilos.

Clarification: The technical regulations governing the LM P1 and LM P2 prototypes oblige manufacturers to homologate the car or the modifications of the characteristics mentioned on the homologation sheet before an event.

For the Spa-Francorchamps race on 8th May, the delay between:
- the homologation of a new car and the start of the event (preliminary scrutineering) must be 30 days minimum.
- the homologation of modifications of characteristics mentioned on the homologation sheet and the start of the event (preliminary scrutineering) must be 15 days minimum.  Automobile Club de l’Ouest

AGR team expands Dr Pepper sponsorship deal  Andretti Green Racing announced today it has signed a partnership agreement with Dr Pepper Snapple Group (NYSE: DPS) that expands an existing partnership to include Venom Energy, a hardcore energy drink designed to keep you going all day.

The new agreement is tied to the #26 program of Andretti Green driver Marco Andretti and kicks off with this weekend's IndyCar Series event at Kansas Speedway where Venom Energy will serve as primary sponsor of Marco Andretti and the #26 car. Venom Energy will also hold that position in next month's running of the Indianapolis 500. 

Dr Pepper Snapple Group will feature multiple brands in a rotation during 10 of the final 15 events of the 2009 season and will either hold the position of primary sponsor or major associate sponsor, depending on the race market. More ...
Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 Virtual Track Lap  
Q&A with F1 design genius Adrian Newey  Red Bull took a momentous 1-2 maiden victory at Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix, with Sebastian Vettel driving peerlessly to beat team-mate Webber to the flag. A couple of days after the celebrations, the team's chief technical officer Adrian Newey talks about the win, future car developments and more...

Q: Adrian, a couple of days later, how does it feel?
Adrian Newey, Red Bull-Renault (Chief Technical Officer): Waking up on a Monday morning with a one-two always puts a smile on your face. The result is a great confidence boost for everyone at the factory - knowing we can put a car on the grid that can finish first and second, and do so from the front, not inheriting the result because of others having problems. It really is a great reward for all the hard work put in, not just by ourselves, but also by Renault and all our other technical partners.

Q: Where did you watch the race?
AN: I watched it in my kitchen at home, part of the time with my wife Marigold. But she found it too stressful watching with me and went off to another room, later my daughter joined me. Within a few minutes of the finish our neighbors came round and, despite the early hour, we had a celebratory drink. It would have been nice to have been in China, but I'm just very pleased for everyone that we got the result we deserved. More ...

Q&A with Timo Glock  
How do you judge your start to the season?
It has been a good start to the season for me and the team. From a personal point of view it was really positive to be on the podium in just the second race but it also gave the team consecutive podiums after Jarno's third place in Australia. China was a little disappointing overall but it has been great to start the season with a competitive car which is capable of fighting for podiums. I am happy with my performances; I've scored a lot of points already despite some difficult circumstances and I have to thank the team for that as well because they have worked really hard.

Have you adapted easily to the slick tires this year?
I definitely have a much better feeling with the slick tires. Last year one of the main points I had to work on was understanding the grooved tires because they behave very differently to slicks and I didn't have so much experience of them. For me it has been no problem to move back; I have driven nearly my whole career on slicks so it makes life easier this season. Of course, with the different compounds for each race, it is still a big challenge to get the best out of the tires but I feel at home on slicks. More ...

Q&A with Lewis Hamilton  In a Q&A session appearing on his website, Lewis Hamilton looks back at his Chinese Grand Prix performance (he looked like a total wanker spinning out 5 times), congratulates the team for its efforts, and comments on Ron Dennis' decision to concentrate on other divisions of the McLaren group.

A tough race for you in Shanghai, Lewis - were you satisfied with sixth position?

"It was a very tough race - the visibility, particularly at the start of the race, was really terrible - you could hardly see anything - but then things got a little better. It's just a pity that I had a couple of spins. I love driving in the rain but I definitely didn't drive as well as I could on Sunday. Afterwards, people were congratulating me on a good performance, but overall I was a bit dissatisfied with my race."


"Because I wanted to do better. It was good for the team to get both cars into the points, but I felt that I should have done better: I was running as high as fifth before spinning in the early laps (he then spun 4 more times) and, looking at how the race panned out, I feel pretty certain I could have been nearer the front challenging for a podium." More ...
racing news
Mark Donohue Tribute at Watkins Glen  The weekend of April 25-26, 2009, Watkins Glen International and the International Motor Racing Research Center will join forces to present a Mark Donohue Tribute. The weekend will include the launch of Michael Argetsinger's new book on Mark. This is the first definitive biography ever written on Mark and at more than 600 pages, promises to be an outstanding read and a tremendous tribute to his memory. Details of the weekend remain in the planning stage but activities will include an opportunity to drive the 3.4-mile Watkins Glen circuit in your own car. A dedicated session will provide for ex-Donohue race cars to have the track to themselves. Several outstanding cars have already committed to be there. There will also be discussion sessions with key people in Mark's life presenting their memories and stories. More info available at www.UnfairAdvantageRacing.com and theglen.com
Long Beach race a big hit with IRL crowd  UPDATE By all accounts the Grand Prix of Long Beach was a success for the Indy Racing League. The IRL, which signed a five-year deal to take over the former CART event following last season, was greeted by larger crowds (than 2008), increased corporate hospitality activity and strong retail sales, according to several sources at the weekend event this past Friday through Sunday.

All this despite 11.5 percent local unemployment. Long Beach Grand Prix President Jim Michaelian said attendance was up considerably from 2008. He said 10 percent seating capacity was added over last year, but still more is needed to reach the capacity of the race’s salad days.

Traffic on Interstate 710 was more crowded and backed up than it has been since 1999 or 2000, several local media outlets reported. Hot Wheels ran out of merchandise early Sunday, according to Mattel officials, and several other merchandisers reported strong sales.

Vivienne Tondreault, who has been a volunteer Grand Prix race worker and organizer for two decades, credited the weather and the allure of IRL drivers with driving the crowd up. “The Indy Racing League has brought out new fans in droves,” she said. “The attendance is noticeably higher.”

Race organizers don’t think they got a huge attendance bump from Helio Castroneves’ participation because it was announced so late.

“We were pleased by the event, and we think there’s room for growth,” said IRL spokesman John Griffin. “The crowds Friday afternoon were pretty incredible. And we heard from race officials that hospitality activity was way up. There’s little doubt this will become a highlight on the [IRL] schedule and has the potential to be a top 5 race in our series.” IBJ.com

04/21/09 Barely recovered from the 35th annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach this past weekend, Grand Prix Association of Long Beach President and CEO Jim Michaelian is already looking ahead.

"We're already looking forward to next year, taking a look at what we can add to our weekend to enhance the experience for our fans," Michaelian said as workers on Monday began clearing out the remnants of this past weekend's festivities.

Despite the economy, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach saw an increase in the number of people who came to the event over last year, Michaelian said.

Although attendance numbers didn't quite reach the association's target goal of 180,000 over the three-day weekend, it did exceed last year's attendance with more than 175,000. (Last year's attendance was 170,000, he said.)

"The good news is, in a tough economic climate, we exceeded what we did last year, and we're starting to trend upward, which I think is the best sign of all," Michaelian said. More ...

Injured Schu pulls out of motorcycle race  (GMM)  Michael Schumacher is unable to drive a racing car or bike at present as he is still recovering from his crash at Spain's Cartagena circuit in February.

The seven time world champion was hospitalized by the fall, sustained while he tested for the a German Superbike team.

He was scheduled to race this weekend in the opening Lausitzring round of the championship, but has called it off, the German news agency DPA said.

"At the moment I can just about manage to ride a bicycle.  When I have to move my neck quickly I am restricted.  Maybe it is at my age that things heal more slowly now," the 40-year-old said.

Schumacher also said he will now be choosing the venues for his post-professional racing exploits more carefully.

"Cartagena was an example of driving too close to the limit on the wrong kind of track," he said.

New diffuser debut for BMW in Spain  BMW Sauber team principal Mario Theissen has admitted that it is unlikely that a revised aero package, to include its own take on the controversial 'double decker' diffuser, will appear on the F1.09 before the Spanish Grand Prix next month - and even then its use cannot be guaranteed.

"There is no doubt that we definitely have to improve as quickly as possible," he wrote on the team's official website, "Apart from that, there isn't much to be said about the Chinese Grand Prix.

"The weekend had not even begun when the course of the future was set. When it came to the disputed 'double-decker' diffusers, the FIA appeal court reached a different conclusion to that of 70 per cent of the teams, who were of the opinion that this design doesn't comply with the 2009 regulations. Obviously this decision is a disappointment for us, but we will accept it nevertheless. At least how the regulations have to be implemented in this area has finally been clarified." More ...

IRL locks down oval wheelbase  There's an under-the-radar rule change this year as IndyCar Series teams tackle the first oval of the season this weekend at Kansas Speedway. Wheelbase options are out; 122 inches is in.

Partly another cost-saving move passed along by the sanctioning Indy Racing League and partly a competition enhancement, the uniformity (with a half-inch tolerance for caster adjustments) puts more of the emphasis on drivers and their maintenance crews.

"It won't affect the short tracks because everybody had to run the long suspension on the short tracks just to get the car to handle," IndyCar Series technical director Kevin Blanch said. "On the big tracks it will make a difference because what you run into when you have 118, 120 and 122 inches -- and every possibility in between -- is every one of those suspension, because it changes the relationship of the wheel to the sidepod, changes the way the air flows over the car so you have to wind tunnel, shaker rig and 7-post test all those suspensions in every possible configuration. More ...

NASCAR truck team to cut back to part-time  Key Motorsports owner Curtis Key announced Monday that he has cancelled his team's full-time effort in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and will pursue only a limited schedule with driver Mike Bliss for the remainder of the 2009 season.

Key cites lack of sponsorship and his desire to focus on the team's first full-time NASCAR Nationwide Series entry as the reasons for discontinuing the full-time Truck program.  The team will next compete in the Truck race at Lowe's Motor Speedway May 15.
Latest F1 news in Brief  
  • No 'harmony' between Red Bull drivers - Marko
  • Chaos creeps back into Ferrari culture - Lauda
  • Title favorites cautious after three races
  • Brawn's Ray-Ban deal is 'cut-price' - report
  • Haug hopes Vettel to drive McLaren 'some day'
  • Renault racing back to front in F1 - Briatore
  • Even McLaren not committed to KERS

No 'harmony' between Red Bull drivers - Marko
(GMM)  "Harmony" is not the word to describe the relationship of Red Bull's two drivers, according to team advisor Helmut Marko.

"No.  Rather, I would call it healthy competition," the Austrian, team owner Dietrich Mateschitz's right-hand man in racing matters, told sportnet.at.

Before the 2009 season began, Marko admitted that Australian Webber's average lap time deficit to 21-year-old Vettel, at a half a second, was "too much".

Now, the gap is smaller, he agrees.

"In the beginning Mark resisted using Vettel's setup.  He would not accept it.  Now he uses it because it is just faster," Marko said.

Not only is Webber eleven years older than Red Bull's new arrival, Vettel has contested 97 fewer races but already won twice.

The 32-year-old Webber, who broke his leg and shoulder in the winter season, qualified behind Vettel in Shanghai and then finished second to him in the race.

"I have been incredibly determined to get in the best condition I can and the best shape possible to overcome the injuries that I have had to give this youngster (Vettel) a hard time and so far it is working and we are pushing each other hard," he said.

Team owner Mateschitz told Austria's Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper: "Mark has proved that he is one of F1's best drivers.  The combination of our pair is ideal.

"What we wanted is two drivers who are on the limit and can push each other, and that is so," the Austrian billionaire said.

Chaos creeps back into Ferrari culture - Lauda
(GMM)  The Italian press unloaded on the famous Ferrari team in the wake of the Chinese grand prix.

Not since 1981 has the Prancing Horse kicked off such a bad start to a championship, leading the national La Repubblica newspaper to muse that after three point-less races, "disastro" is too moderate a description.

It is impossible in this moment not to recall Ferrari's often calamitous past, before the efficient and dispassionate German, French and British influences of Michael Schumacher, Jean Todt and Ross Brawn respectively oversaw the highly successful era of the early 2000s.

"In those days," said Niki Lauda, who drove for Ferrari in the 1970s, "Ross, because he is English, was the ideal bridge between the Italians, with their spaghetti culture, and Schumacher, with his German efficiency.

"Now the Italians are running it all.  Does it work?  It could be chaos.  That's the problem," he is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. More ...

Hendrick Motorsports' plane crash trials start Tuesday  A trial to determine who was responsible for the Hendrick Motorsports plane crash that killed 10 people Oct. 24, 2004, on the way to a NASCAR Cup race at Martinsville Speedway is scheduled to begin Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem, N.C.

At issue is who is responsible for the accident – HMS Holdings (parent company of Hendrick Motorsports), the pilots themselves or the government, which is responsible for the air-traffic controllers.

The trial covers five cases involving widows Dianne Dorton (wife of HMS engine builder Randy Dorton), Linda Turner (wife of HMS general manager Jeff Turner), and Tracy Lathram (wife of Tony Stewart pilot Scott Lathram, a passenger on the plane); HMS Holdings; the pilots’ estates; and the United States. More ...

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