GP2 Asia Series: Kamui, congratulations on this title. Fantastic job!
Kamui Kobayashi: Thank you!
GP2 Asia Series: How does that feel, being the GP2 Asia Champion?
Kamui: It feels great, really! That’s what really mattered today. It’s important to show that you can be quick and take risks, but in the end, my job is to take the title. Job done! Now we have another step with the main Series. It’s another target and another challenge. I can’t wait…
Kobayashi clinches Asian GP2 crown Nunes leads a Piquet GP 1-2 podium finish as Kobayashi becomes Champion
The Toyota Formula One test driver’s poor start from pole position today meant that he could not celebrate his GP2 Asia Series title on the podium, but the new champion managed to make his way back to the front of the field again thanks to an early pitstop. His closest rivals failing to score, Valsecchi most notably stalling on the grid, Kobayashi’s P4 finish was enough then to clinch the 2009 GP2 Asia Series crown.
While Kobayashi completely missed his take off at the start, both Piquet drivers managed a perfect launch, Nunes even better than Rodriguez and the Brazilian took the lead. The rest of the race looked pretty easy for the two men who never faltered and crossed the finish line in that same order, bagging eighteen points and putting their team in second place of the Championship, four points clear from Barwa International Campos Team.
Philippe and Jackson collideUPDATE Below is a video of the crash:
04/25/09 While running in the opening practice session, Richard Philippe lost control of his Genoa Racing car and spin directly in front of Ali Jackson. Philippe’s car clipped the right rear wheel of Jackson’s car and turned the car into the turn four wall. Jackson and Philippe were transported to the infield care center. Jackson suffered a sprained right thumb and right foot contusion and was released. The Guthrie Meyer Racing team is preparing Jackson’s backup car and Ali hopes to start at the rear of the field in tomorrow’s Kansas Lottery 100. Philippe was released with no injuries.
Rain halts NASCAR truck race NASCAR officials have postponed the Camping World Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 250, originally scheduled for Saturday night at Kansas Speedway. The race was halted because of rain after 52 of 167 laps with Mike Skinner in the lead. It will resume at 11 a.m. EDT Monday.
“It’s still not good," Skinner said of his truck. "It’s not as good as Ron [Hornaday's] and a couple others. We’re really, really tight but [crew chief] Eric [Phillip's] done a great job with this truck. He’s gaining on it, we’re getting it a little bit better all the time. If the best we can hope for is either we get to half way and it rains again or we get the thing worked out a little bit.
"My Tundra is not that good, trust me but it looks good out front and feels good out front. It feels good to lead laps every once in awhile. At least we got five [bonus] points.”
Tickets from Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 will be honored on Monday.
Wade Cunningham wins Indy Lights pole 2005 Firestone Indy Lights champion Wade Cunningham won his first pole in two years, winning the pole for the Kansas Lottery 100. Cunningham recorded a two-lap qualifying average of 187.458 mph.
Sebastian Saavedra qualified second, Ana Beatriz was third, J.R. Hildebrand fourth and Pippa Mann fifth.
The Kansas Lottery 100 is scheduled for 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday, while the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 is scheduled for 5 p.m.
Branson in talks over bigger Brawn deal (GMM) Sir Richard Branson is in Bahrain for negotiations about ramping up his sponsorship of the Brawn team.
The head of the Virgin brand said in Australia last month that he intended to rev-up his backing, but admitted on Saturday that he is now in competition with other brands interested in sponsoring the former Honda team.
"At the moment we are negotiating, as are other people, and we may or may not end up doing a full branding exercise," said the British billionaire.
Branson said he is committed minimally to the current deal for the rest of 2009, but on the other hand hopes to up the stakes immediately -- no doubt with a full title sponsorship.
"But someone could come in and pay a silly price," he acknowledged. "If that happens, we will bow out gracefully. At the moment we've made an offer we feel we can afford."
Backers cautious amid McLaren scandals - Whitmarsh (GMM) McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh on Saturday admitted that scandals past and present would give the team's sponsors pause to evaluate their commitment.
So soon after the 'spy-gate' affair and $100m penalty of 2007, McLaren is now gripped in 'lie-gate', triggered by Lewis Hamilton and sacked team manager Dave Ryan being economical with the truth when addressing stewards in Australia.
It has been reported not only that Mercedes-Benz is questioning its commitment ahead of the World Motor Sport Council meeting next Wednesday, but that the same is also true of key corporate backers.
"You would expect in these times any of our sponsors to be prudent about what they're doing," Whitmarsh said in Bahrain on Saturday.
"No one can commit to being with us for many, many years beyond their existing contracts. We're realistic in that regard. We need to do a better job in all sorts of departments."
There is a feeling inside the Sakhir paddock that, in light of the recent scandals and negative headlines, McLaren is angling for a new start.
F1 regulars have commented upon McLaren's different approach in Bahrain, including a drinks bar and contemporary music around the team's designated hospitality building here.
"We have to try to be better in many ways. There is no revolution going on here, but there is evolution. We need to be more accessible, more frank and open," Whitmarsh continued.
"We should reflect more on the positive aspects of this sport perhaps a bit more than we have in the past."
Toyotas not extremely light in Bahrain (GMM) The Toyotas are not much lighter on fuel than their direct rivals for victory in Sunday's Bahrain grand prix.
When the FIA published the weights of the cars after qualifying at the Sakhir circuit, it emerged that pole sitter Jarno Trulli was among the lightest cars.
But his teammate and fellow front row sitter Timo Glock was even lighter, and both TF109s were only a handful of kilograms away from the starting weights of the previously dominant Brawns.
Sebastian Vettel's third placed Red Bull, meanwhile, is carrying just 10 kilograms more fuel than Trulli, meaning that it is not clear if the difference is enough to differentiate a two or three stop strategy.
"We already saw yesterday that our pace over one lap and our consistency over long runs has been good," said Toyota's chassis boss Pascal Vasselon.
Williams wants budget cap for 2010 (GMM) In Bahrain, leading lights of FOTA have made clear their trepidation about Max Mosley's plans for a low budget cap next year.
While open to the idea of radical cost-cutting, the official line of the Formula One Teams Association is that 33m euros is far too low a figure, and that the ultimate cap should be phased in over a number of years.
The British team Williams is a FOTA member, but chief executive Adam Parr said on Saturday he thinks a definitive cap should indeed be imposed for 2010.
He admitted that 33m is probably too low a number, but is not sure phasing in a cap over a few years is the right way to go.
"There is a counter argument that in business, generally, if you've got to do something you just get on and do it," said the Briton in Bahrain.
Hildebrand to replace Andretti A1 Team USA is to promote its rookie, JR Hildebrand, to full race driver at Brands Hatch next weekend.
Regular driver Marco Andretti is unavailable for selection due to his IRL IndyCar commitments, and so the team will allow Hildebrand the chance to make his debut on the notoriously tough British circuit.
Hildebrand is in strong form, having just come off victory at last weekend’s Indy Lights race in Long Beach, California. He has competed in three rookies sessions for the squad this season, making the top ten running in each session.
"I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to drive for A1 Team USA and Andretti Green next weekend at Brands Hatch," said Hildebrand.
"Marco and the guys have done a good job learning more and more about what we need and I hope to make the most of all their hard work. I've really enjoyed driving in the rookie sessions at the other A1GP rounds I've attended and am excited to be able to take the car all the way through the weekend."
Gordon's back still hurting him Jeff Gordon will chase his fifth Sprint Cup title with a bad back. Gordon expects to drive with some discomfort this season and the pain he felt last week at Phoenix International Raceway has not entirely subsided. The four-time Cup champ said the tracks in Richmond, Va.; Martinsville, Va.; Bristol, Tenn.; and the road courses could affect him later this year.
The short tracks would affect Gordon the most because they tend to be more physically grueling.
"I'm getting stronger and I don't expect it to happen overnight and go away," Gordon said Friday at Talladega Superspeedway. "It's going to take time."
Gordon said his creaky back made it difficult to communicate with his team last week (He must have had extreme pain then if he could not even talk), and he couldn't really give crew chief Steve Letarte information and feedback. He refused to use his health as an excuse for a poor performance at Phoenix.
Renault keeps KERS in Bahrain (GMM) Renault has decided to keep KERS on its two cars for qualifying and the grand prix in Bahrain.
The French team is determining on a race-by-race basis how useful the energy recovery technology is, and after Friday practice was not committed to using KERS for the rest of the weekend.
But even though it has got the green light for Bahrain, team boss Flavio Briatore is a vocal critic of the expensive and controversial technology.
He told Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport that the F1 teams' alliance FOTA "wants to ban it" for 2010 and beyond.
Renault is one of four teams using KERS this weekend, including McLaren, BMW and Ferrari.
Meanwhile, Sir Jackie Stewart is at Sakhir, making his first visit to a grand prix since scaling back his role as the embattled bank RBS' sponsor ambassador.
Also in Bahrain for a rare appearance at an overseas race is Sir Frank Williams, while former F1 faces including Jean Alesi, Johnny Herbert and Heinz-Harald Frentzen are here to contest the Speedcar support races.
No penalty for Earnhardt and MearsUPDATE #2 Dale Jr. and Mears are 'cool': from a GM Racing Dale Earnhardt Jr. Press Conference Transcript:
TALK ABOUT YOUR OPINION ON THE PROBATION AND WHAT HAPPENED AFTER LAST WEEKEND’S RACE. “I don’t really have one. Me and (Casey) Mears are cool. We’ve been buddies. What happens on the track stays on the track. It’s good to be on probation every once in a while I guess.”
HAVE YOU TALKED TO CASEY ABOUT IT? “Yeah, me and Casey are real good friends so we definitely wouldn’t go the week without having a discussion about it. He’s having a better season this year but is still not satisfied and I’m definitely in the same position he is and we’re just trying to run better. It’s just frustrating. I knew that he had made a mistake because Casey doesn’t run over people but I just lost my cool. It happens.”
WAS SOME OF THAT YOUR FRUSTRATION COMING OUT? “Well not really. I just hated leading the race and running good and then getting wrecked running 20th. That’s all that was.” GM Racing PR
04/21/09 NASCAR officials have placed Hendrick Motorsports’ Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Richard Childress Racing’s Casey Mears on probation for the next six Sprint Cup races as a result of their on-track incident last Saturday following the conclusion of the race at Phoenix International Raceway. Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88, and Mears, driver of the No. 07, both violated Section 12-4-A – actions detrimental to stock-car racing – of the 2009 NASCAR rule book. Hitting another competitor’s car after the race had concluded is considered to fall under that rule.
On the cool-down lap after the race, Earnhardt Jr. spun Mears in retaliation for an accident that happened late in the event. Mears then bumped Earnhardt Jr. on pit road. The probation takes effect beginning with this weekend’s event at Talladega Superspeedway.
04/21/09 NASCAR will NOT penalize Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Casey Mears for their post-race incident at Phoenix.Virginian Pilot
Motegi qualifying rained out, Rossi on pole The rain gods today played havoc with the 2009 MotoGP World Championship for the second race in succession - this time causing the cancellation of qualifying for tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix. With deep standing water on the Twin Ring Motegi circuit, it was decided that conditions were too dangerous to ride, so grid positions for the race will be determined by each rider’s fastest time in the two practice sessions so far, which saw Yamaha's Valentino Rossi first and Casey Stoner 2nd on his Ducati.
Herbert wins Speedcar race Johnny Herbert scored a dominant win in the penultimate round of the Speedcar Series on Saturday morning in Bahrain. Championship leader Gianni Morbidelli finished only fifth, but with only the Sunday morning event still to come the Italian now heads Herbert by a reduced margin of just 51 points to 50. Heinz-Harald Frentzen finished second, and on 44 points he is also still in contention.
Herbert improved his title chances by taking pole position in the single session in the JMB car on Friday, although he was just 0.053s clear of Heinz-Harald Frentzen's Continental Circus entry. After his two wins in the last round in Dubai Jean Alesi took third, ahead of Tonio Liuzzi, who was handicapped by technical gremlins.
Morbidelli, who had a seven point lead going into the weekend, was fifth. The top eight was completed by Damien Pasini, Christopher Zoechling and David Terrien. Hasher Al Maktoum was the top local driver in ninth, ahead of Chris Buncombe.
(GMM) On Saturday morning, Timo Glock ended the final practice session before qualifying in Bahrain with the fastest time.
But when the checkered flag on the 60-minute session waved, the German's Toyota was being loaded onto the back of a flat-bed truck, after a mechanical problem struck in the dying minutes.
It is another scorching day in the Sakhir desert, with temperatures rising into the high thirties.
After installation laps when the green lights shone, the track fell into silence for almost a quarter of the hour.
Like Glock, Sebastien Bourdais will be worried in the two hours before qualifying, after spending most of the session in the Toro Rosso garage.
Heikki Kovalainen's program was slightly limited due to an early problem, when he pulled his McLaren to a halt in the pitlane after a sensor predicted a problem with his newly-fitted Mercedes engine.
The Finn went on to complete 12 laps but was nearly a second off the leading pace. Felipe Massa had a better session for Ferrari with the second quickest time, while his teammate Kimi Raikkonen was fifth.
At the other end of the timesheet, the Brawns were a second off the pace, and the Red Bulls just 11th and 18th, but the order is often confused in the hours leading up to qualifying.
Vilarinho Earns First Formula BMW Americas Pole The Virginia International Raceway offers a fair number of opportunities for a driver to shift gears while on a trip around its 3.27-mile, 17-turn layout, but it only took one of those shifts to make the difference Friday as Eurointernational's Giancarlo Vilarinho scored the first pole of his Formula BMW Americas career.
Vilarinho used a best lap of 1:57.314 (100.346 mph) to wrest the pole from series points leader and Eurointernational teammate Gabby Chaves on his 10th time around the circuit, and explains that a change in his shifting strategy made the difference.
Genoa Racing Signs British Driver Dillon Battistini Genoa Racing has signed Dillon Battistini to drive its No. 63 Indy Lights Series entry for this weekend’s Kansas Lottery 100 at Kansas Speedway. Battistini caused a sensation in 2008 when he won his first oval race at Miami Homestead and went on to win the most races of any driver in the Indy Lights Series in 2008, including the prestigious Freedom 100 at the Indianapolis 500 weekend. He will team up with rookie Richard Philippe.
When GM and Chrysler go belly up, NASCAR will feel the pain Heavy storm clouds are hanging over some NASCAR teams at Talladega Superspeedway this week: Chrysler appears headed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy within the next week, and then Italian car maker Fiat will likely pick and chose the parts of the American automaker that it wants to buy and take a major stake in the Detroit company – and what that means for NASCAR's Dodge teams, like the ones owned by Roger Penske, Richard Petty and George Gillett is anybody's guess.
The Obama administration has given Chrysler until April 30th to make a deal with Fiat before giving the car maker enough money to survive. Such a bankruptcy would apparently force the U.S. government to take over some key parts of Chrysler's business, perhaps some of the health care and pension plan aspects. Bankruptcy would apparently also leave all those Cerberus investors without much, if anything, to show for the billions they invested in the car maker a few years ago when buying it and taking it private. Fiat would gradually buy enough of Chrysler, or its parts, to eventually have controlling interest. One interesting angle – Fiat owns Ferrari, the Formula One powerhouse, though Ferrari is operated independently.
Edwards leads final practice at Talladega If Friday's final practice is any indication, Carl Edwards should have a pretty good seat up near the front on Sunday. He ran the fastest lap of the session -- 194.904 mph -- as most teams opted to work on qualification setups in the second of two practices. After Saturday's qualifying, the cars will be impounded until race day.
Carl Edwards promises he'll try not to make the same mistake twice.
In the last visit to Talladega Superspeedway last fall, Edwards stayed well behind the main pack of cars in an effort to stay out of trouble. But with less than 15 laps to go, Edwards wound up smack dab in the middle of a multi-car accident ignited when he bumped teammate Greg Biffle from behind, sending him out of control at the front of the pack.
Birmingham Mayor pushing for 2010 Indy Car event Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford wants to bring open-wheel racing to Barber Motorsports Park in 2010 for an event that is projected to have a $20 million economic impact on the region.
Langford hopes to expand Birmingham’s annual sports and tourism calendar by bringing another international event to the Magic City.
Hosting a three-day Indy Racing League race at Barber would attract 25,000 out-of-town visitors and visitors who stay in local hotels are projected to spend an average of $195 daily during their anticipated four-day trip, according to a Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau study. Those not staying in hotels are projected to spend an average of $100 per day.
Langford said he wants to leverage the city’s recent successes hosting major golf and tennis events to lure more visitors to Birmingham.
Andretti and Petty Discuss Indianapolis 500 Richard Petty, co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports and John Andretti, driver of the No. 43 Window World/Richard Petty Motorsports/Dreyer and Reinbold Racing Honda-Dallara spoke this afternoon at the Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway about their participation in this year’s Indianapolis 500.
It will be the first time Richard Petty has entered a car into the Indianapolis 500. Window World, a sponsor of Andretti and Front Row Motorsports in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, will also be making its debut at the Indianapolis 500.
Window World will be the only new sponsor in motorsports in 2009 to have sponsored an entry in the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500- both with Andretti behind the wheel
Andretti will be looking to make his 10th start at Indianapolis.
Mercedes to stay in Formula One McLaren's partners Mercedes will stay in Formula One despite pressure from powerful union representatives in Germany for them to leave, motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug said on Friday.
"Some people have suggested that Mercedes are pulling out," he told reporters at the Bahrain Grand Prix. "Mercedes is not pulling out."
"We have the confirmation... for our activities," he added, while recognizing that was not open-ended.
Helmut Lense, chairman of the workers council and a member of the managing board of Daimler AG, which owns Mercedes-Benz, had urged the Stuttgart manufacturer to pull out as part of a 2 billion euro ($2.63 billion) cost-cutting plan.
'What a guy' - Raikkonen slams Coulthard (GMM) Kimi Raikkonen bit back at his former McLaren teammate David Coulthard on Friday, after the retired Scot questioned the Ferrari driver's car development abilities.
Amid Ferrari's current slump, 38-year-old Coulthard suggested the Italian team would do better to dump the 2007 world champion and instead hire Fernando Alonso.
"The Finn has never shown me he can lead a car's development," Coulthard, now Red Bull's reserve driver and a pundit for British TV, wrote in a column.
To the Finnish broadcaster MTV3 in Bahrain, 29-year-old Raikkonen responded: "I don't know any driver who develops the cars.
"I think it's pretty funny to hear comments like those from people who never really achieved anything. It's none of my business, what a guy," the Finn added.
Kobayashi on pole in Bahrain GP2 After achieving a first pole position in Malaysia three weeks ago, Dam’s Jérôme d’Ambrosio posted another quickest laptime in today’s last qualifying session of the 08-09 GP2 Asia Series Championship.
However, following a black flag received in Sepang’s sprint race the Belgian will drop ten places on tomorrow’s feature race grid. It will be his teammate and Championship leader, Kamui Kobayashi, who will hence start on pole position, pocketing the two bonus points in the process and taking him even closer to the title.
Shanghai’s feature race winner Roldan Rodriguez and Sepang’s feature race winner Diego Nunes at Piquet confirmed their morning’s good form and will start tomorrow’s race respectively from second and third place.
HVM Racing Signs Nelson Philippe for Indy 500 HVM Racing will field a second car in the 2009 Indy 500 with former HVM driver Nelson Philippe at the wheel. The entry in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing will be the 22-year-old Frenchman’s second stint with HVM. Philippe won at Surfers Paradise and finished fourth in the Champ Car championship when he competed for HVM in 2006.
Philippe will compete alongside HVM teammate E.J. Viso, driver of the No. 13 PDVSA HVM Racing Honda Dallara.
“We are excited to have Nelson driving again for HVM Racing,” said Keith Wiggins, team principal. “He won for us in 2006, which was quite an accomplishment for such a young driver and had his best ever season. Although coming back will be to a new Series, a new track, with huge competition and in the biggest event of the year, we will work together to achieve a good result. We always like challenges.”
Sponsorship of the Philippe car will be announced shortly. HVM Racing PR
TRG sponsorship on hold David Gilliland is ready to put the TRG Motorsports #71 Chevy through its paces at the Aaron's 499 to be run at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, April 26. The team heads to the famed track located outside of Birmingham, Alabama with superspeedway redemption on their mind. TRG Motorsports failed to qualify for the Daytona 500 and is looking to show the world that the TRG Motorsports Chevy and five guys can work their magic at a superspeedway. The team heads to Talladega 36th in owner points, just 26 out of 35th position. Gilliland will have to qualify in speed. Kevin Buckler, TRG Motorsports team principal, looks at Talladega as just another challenge for this tight-knit team. "This will be the team's first restrictor plate race," Buckler said. "The guys know we have something to prove after what happened at Daytona. We found a good superspeedway car for David that Slugger really likes, so we are going in with a good piece. David has done well at Talladega and has a lot of confidence. We haven't had a problem getting into the races, we just need to perform better and get the tire monkey off of our back to finish well. This team needs a big time performance this weekend! We will be running the familiar TRG Motorsports blue this weekend. We have experienced funding delays with the sponsor that was announced last weekend at Phoenix. The team continues to persevere in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and pursue all avenues for funding and sponsorship with the goal of running the full 36 race schedule." TRG Motorsports PR
Problems continue to plague NASCAR Problems continue to plague NASCAR and Goodyear as they search for the right tire combination for Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Goodyear has held three tests already this year at the 2.5-mile speedway and working to schedule another with drivers Reed Sorenson, Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman and Brian Vickers.
Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said on Friday that teams were still getting only about 12 laps of wear on the tires. "We're still not where we want to be," he said.
In last season’s race, won by Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR had to throw a caution every 10 to 12 laps of green-flag racing because the tires Goodyear provided were wearing to the cords and producing an enormous amount of dust.
Bahrain GP: Friday Press Conference TEAM PRINCIPALS: Flavio BRIATORE (Renault), Stefano DOMENICALI (Ferrari), Christian HORNER (Red Bull)
Q: It has been likened to a football match starting and then all the football players sitting down for the first 15 minutes. Flavio, I don’t know what would happen at Queens Park Rangers but when we had the free practice this morning everyone stayed in the pits for the first half hour. We don’t have any testing. Why doesn’t everyone want to go out? Flavio BRIATORE: I believe everybody was waiting for somebody to go out to clean the circuit. It looked like at one point that everybody would go out together. This is the reason.
Q: Do you think it is a waste of time, Christian? Christian HORNER: I think the problem is we are tire limited as well on a day like today. The amount of tires that we have for the two sessions is not enough. If we had another couple of sets of tires... But unfortunately we cannot afford to waste them and in the first half an hour when the circuit is very dusty or green you end up in that stand-off situation where everybody is waiting. I think a couple more sets of tires would certainly help seeing more cars on track early.
Q: Stefano? Stefano DOMENICALI: I totally agree with Christian and Flavio for sure. We have seen for example our situation. We went out and for a different reason we had a spin, so we destroyed a set of tires for our drivers, so then we had to use only that in the morning.
Montezemolo en route to watch over Ferrari (GMM) As Ferrari's fortunes flagged even further, word spread in the Bahrain paddock that Luca di Montezemolo is set to arrive in the Persian Gulf on Saturday.
The Ferrari president may also be on official FOTA business, but figures in the Italian press insist Montezemolo is desperate to avoid his team sinking to the Scuderia's lowest ever trough this weekend at Sakhir.
Never in the history of the Prancing Horse has it attacked the opening four races of a championship without recording a single points finish.
The news coincided with Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen slumping to 16th and 18th respectively on the second Friday timesheet, after the Finn Raikkonen earned a 4000 euro fine for speeding in the pitlane.
NASCAR Phoenix TV Rating PlummetsUPDATE NASCAR on Fox tumbled to a 3.6/7 (6.0 million) on Saturday night for racing from Phoenix. Saturday's 3.6/7 is the lowest NASCAR rating ever on FOX, as well as an -18% decline compared to last year's 4.4/8.
04/20/09 The overnight TV rating for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Subway Fresh Fit 500 from Phoenix Sunday was a 3.3/6 share, down 17.5% from last year's 4.0/7 share overnight rating.
McLaren admits guilt to FIAUPDATE (GMM) The 'lie-gate' saga has continued to be a topic in the Bahrain paddock, as McLaren's World Motor Sport Council grilling looms for next Wednesday.
The latest twist in the scandal is the leaking to the press of a letter from Martin Whitmarsh to Max Mosley, in which the McLaren chief acknowledges that McLaren broke the rules and groveling apologizes.
"Certainly, there's been no leak about it from us and I can't comment on it," Whitmarsh, asked about the Times newspaper leak, said in Bahrain.
The Guardian said the contrite letter is a break from McLaren's "previously oppositional stance towards motor sport's governing body".
Some have therefore interpreted the letter, and the leak, as a maneuver to reduce the prospect of a harsh penalty next week. According to rumors, the most likely punishments are either a 30 point reduction or race bans.
"It's very difficult to predict what the court will do," Red Bull's Christian Horner commented. "It would be a shame to lose a team for a couple of races but then again there has to be a penalty for lying to the stewards."
McLaren are reported to have admitted to the FIA that they are in breach of Article 151c of the Formula One sporting regulations. According to British newspaper The Times, the new McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has written to Max Mosley, president of the FIA saying that his team are in breach of the regulations and apologizing for the incident.
Article 151c of the Formula One sporting regulations covers bringing the sport into disrepute. McLaren are currently facing the possibility from being excluded from Formula 1 for lying to the stewards at the first race of the season in Australia.
The letter from Whitmarsh is said to also include mitigating arguments and appears to be an attempt by the Woking based team to co-operate with the FIA and limit the scale of the punishment that they will receive.
Rahal and Bell Micro Enter Personal Services Agreement Sports Management Network, Inc. announced today that the firm has secured a personal services agreement for star IndyCar driver client Graham Rahal with San Jose, California-based Bell Microproducts, Inc. The agreement, which consists of multiple elements, will see Graham personally interact with Bell Micro customers and employees at select events as well as establish a unique presence on the internet through Graham's personal website - - www.grahamrahal.com. Courtesy of Bell Micro, the “Graham’s View” section of www.grahamrahal.com will continuously feature columns written by Graham and video blogs featuring the 20-year old IndyCar racer.
Ford reports $1.4B first-quarter loss Ford Motor Co. today reported a better-than-expected net loss of $1.4 billion for the first three months of 2009 and said it is on track to return to profitability in 2011.
After taxes and excluding special items, Ford lost $1.8 billion in the first quarter, or 75 cents per share. Wall Street was expecting a loss of $1.24 a share, according to a survey of 11 analysts by Thomson Reuters before today's release. Analysts based their estimates on average projected revenue of $22.12 billion.
"Our results in the first quarter reflected the extremely difficult business environment and weak demand for autos around the world," said Ford CEO Alan Mulally. "Despite the challenges, Ford made strong progress on our transformation plan by gaining share with strong new products, slowing operating-related cash outflows, reducing outstanding debt, lowering our structural costs and reaching new agreements with the UAW."
Bahrain GP: Rosberg tops practice 2 Williams young gun Nico Rosberg set the fastest time of the day in Friday's second free practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix. His 1m33.339s lap was nearly two tenths faster than Renault's Fernando Alonso could manage, while Jarno Trulli ended the day third quickest.
Treasury readies for Chrysler bankruptcy The U.S. Treasury is preparing for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing for Chrysler LLC that would allow a Chrysler-Fiat partnership to proceed, according to people familiar with the planning.
However, an Obama administration official characterized the preparations as contingency planning, which Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., also emphasized Thursday. "They are preparing all options," Stabenow said.
Chrysler faces a Thursday deadline to cut labor costs and shed debt or be reorganized in bankruptcy.
The Free Press previously reported that the Obama administration wants to protect retiree health care, often a target for reduction in a bankruptcy, to a greater degree than the debt of banks and bondholders.
Piquet GP set the pace in Free Practice The final round of the 08-09 GP2 Asia Series season opened this morning at the Bahrain International Circuit where a new champion will be crowned. With 36°C in the air and a track temperature of 47°C, the conditions were tough on the drivers.
In a trouble-free practice, both Piquet GP cars set the exact fastest lap time, although Rodriguez was stationed in the pitlane for almost half of the session while his team were trying to fix an ignition problem on his engine. Once repaired, the Spaniard went back on track and in a matter of two laps rejoined his Brazilian teammate at the top of the timing sheet.
Behind the solid duo, but five tenth away, Luiz Razia emerged in third place at the wheel of his Arden car, ahead of Qi-Meritus’ Alvaro Parente. Title contender Davide Valsecchi signed the fifth best lap time and barely edged Championship leader and rival Kamui Kobayashi at Dams.
Clarke to Lead A1 Team Great Britain at Home Event
Dan Clarke (GBR), driver of A1 Team Great Britain
A1GP World Cup of Motorsport heads to Brands Hatch for the penultimate round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport 2008/09 season next weekend, 1- 3 May, with Dan Clarke hoping for success in front of his home crowd and Aaron Steele getting his first chance in the Rookie session at his local track.
Home nation A1 Team Great Britain has had a mixed season to date sitting tenth in the championship, despite claiming two podium finishes and a pole position in Chengdu, China. However, the team has always performed well on home soil and Clarke will be looking for a boost from the British crowds to help get a good result next Sunday.
“I haven’t raced at Brands since 2004 when I won the Formula Ford Festival and because of that success this circuit will always be special for me,” said Clarke. “It’s also a great place to go racing, both for drivers and fans and I’m sure it will suit the A1GP car.
Valentino Rossi was quicker than Casey Stoner on Friday in Japan. That was the result that everyone was awaiting after the latter’s dominance in Qatar, but the Italian’s fightback doesn’t tell the whole story of the first free practice session for the Polini Grand Prix of Japan.
Reigning World Champion and 2008 race winner Rossi left his final push to the last possible moment, cutting more than half a second off his previous best time in the session to edge out the current series leader. The Italian stopped the clock at 1’48.545 to bring an end to Stoner’s perfect record in practice, qualifying and warm-up sessions in 2009.
Ducati Marlboro man Stoner threw himself into the challenge with an early 1’48.601 lap of the Twin Ring Motegi circuit, but elected to return to the garage instead of returning fire once Rossi had taken the advantage.
Rossi’s Fiat Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo had expressed his desire to record times closer to those of Stoner in the run-up to Japan and, like Rossi, his ultimate lap was also his most effective. The Spaniard was the final rider to go round in under 1’49.
Bahrain run-offs painted The Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix got underway in a burst of color with some artistic flourishes added to one of the world's already more unique venues.
Around the Bahrain International Circuit, stunning new decorations have been incorporated into the run-off areas, underlining the Arabic influences of the fourth round of the 2009 season with nearly 15,000 square meters of previously featureless tarmac now adorned with colorful Arabic calligraphy and artwork.
"Now that we are at the start of our sixth grand prix in five years, the race is well and truly established as part of the Formula One world," circuit CEO Martin Whitaker explained, "As a celebration of Bahrain's place on the international sporting map, we're delighted to have introduced this new way of representing the kingdom visually as a truly eye-catching addition to our grand prix."
Keeping the colors and textures flying, another innovative new presentation – the 'Field of Flags' - sees some 1600 individual three-meter tall flags, 'planted in an area of desert between turns four and five giving the impression of a traditional sporting tournament while, from overhead, the 'Field' becomes a giant animated Bahraini national flag.
Reunion Special to Open All-Star Week on SPEED SPEED kicks off coverage of the 25th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race in grand fashion on May 11 with a trio of specials, highlighted by an All-Star reunion show that brings together a diverse band of participants, all ready to share their All-Star memories.
25th NASCAR All-Star Reunion (May 11, 10 p.m. ET) will be hosted by Kyle Petty and Randy Pemberton and include appearances by drivers Bill Elliott, Ryan Newman, legendary broadcaster Barney Hall and many others. From Darrell Waltrip’s controversial win in the first All-Star race to Kasey Kahne’s unlikely fan-assisted victory in 2008, stories will be shared by those who were closest to the action.
“With the historic 25th running of the All-Star race, we wanted to bring our viewers some of the voices and stories that have helped shape and define this unique event,” said Steve Craddock, SPEED SVP of Programming. “Just like the race itself, this conversation will be fun, unpredictable and very special for the fans.”
Herbert takes final qualifying session of the season It was an exciting final qualifying session for the season, as Johnny Herbert stormed to the top of the times with only three minutes remaining. Despite a successful outcome, the F1 ace fought hard to get to the top spot with old rival and friend Jean Alesi dominating most of the 45 minute qualifying.
New drivers Azzam, Cioci and Giudici started the session by taking advantage of series' veterans Gianni Morbidelli and Vitantonio Liuzzi, as they tried to follow their path. It wasn't long though before the newcomers fell back giving Morbidelli an early lead and placing him at the top of the times.
Ecclestone could rescue British GP (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone is his usual inscrutable self in Bahrain, but interestingly he did not completely rule out getting involved with the British grand prix saga.
On Thursday it emerged that legal action between Donington's owners and leaseholder has commenced, raising the prospect of formula one having to move away from the country altogether.
The court case has been scheduled for June 8.
Speaking with reporters, F1 chief executive insisted that if Donington fails, his sport will definitely not fall back on Silverstone. He also ruled out simply stepping in and becoming the Donington promoter.
"I'm too busy," he snapped.
But the 78-year-old Briton said: "I've been in talks with (track CEO) Simon (Gillett) and we've been talking through the money situation.
"I'm trying to help him sort things out. What he really needs is an investor, that's the best hope of saving the race," Ecclestone said.
When put to him that he could simply step in and personally safeguard the race, he added: "Let's see what happens, shall we.
"At the moment, it's all speculation. I haven't thought about it."
New sponsor for former Surfers Miss Indy contestUPDATE TW Steel, the Dutch watch brand ‘Big in Oversized Watches’, has been announced today as the naming rights sponsor for the Miss SuperGP model search.
The winner of what will now be known as the TW Steel Miss SuperGP competition will be chosen from finalists across Australia and New Zealand and crowned at the Gold Coast’s Nitro SuperGP, October 22-25.
Chief Executive Officer of TW Steel, Jordy Cobelens, flew in to Australia to sign the contract today with the executives of Procon Leisure – the national organizers of the model search – accompanied by Miss SuperGP ambassador Samantha Adams at the Nitro SuperGP offices.
Based on an initial three-year relationship, the TW Steel Miss SuperGP program will further help to promote TW Steel’s growth in the all-important Australian marketplace, while complementing the company’s existing Miss TW Steel programs run in conjunction with other selected A1GP World Cup of Motorsport events.
“TW Steel is proud to partner with Procon Leisure and support such an established, well-executed and more importantly, highly-popular Australian event!” said Cobelens.
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing announced today that Milka Duno will be returning to the team's IndyCar Series effort for 2009. The Venezuelan driver will be competing in a limited schedule starting at Kansas City, Kansas this weekend.
"We are very excited to have Milka back with our team. We had significant momentum last year and we want to pick up where we left off and continue to get results," commented Dennis Reinbold, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing co-owner. "Also, we are very proud that CITGO is returning as a primary sponsor on the No. 23 car," continued Reinbold.
Not only will Duno be partnering with driver Mike Conway, who will be piloting the No. 24 Dad's Root Beer machine, but she will also bring her oval experience to the table that will aid in Conway's learning curve as he visits Kansas for the first time.
After years of dedication and passion to the racing world, during which I had the chance to learn how to challenge myself, how to deal with others and more importantly I've learned a lot about TIMING, timing on the start, timing on the curves, timing on the finish.
A lot of days went by sleepless, a lot of days thinking if it was the right time, a lot of days of insecurity. But finally I made a decision.
It was the right time, for me, to move on in to a different project, a different stage of my life. The business world. I chose the investment banking world, as a place, where I feel comfortable to grow my business career. Using two precision advices of my father, humbleness and commitment, I believe I will succeed in this new Venture.
I've just joined State Capital, a leading boutique Investment Banking. We advise international clients on several products like M&A, Restructuring, Wealth Management and Investment Management. State Capital has been particularly successful in the last nine years by closing several M&A transactions. The firm is headquartered in Miami, with offices in New York, Chile, Argentina and Brazil (Porto Alegre and Sao Paulo). I would like to thank you all for the continuous friendship and support shown me during these years of racing.
Foyt Racing and Continental Airlines Offer Indy 500 VIP Weekend A.J. Foyt Racing is offering an Indy 500 VIP Weekend to the highest bidder in the Continental Airlines Frequent Flyer Program’s Onepass Online Auction. It is the fifth straight year for the popular program.
The winner and a guest will receive two Race Tickets and two Bronze Badges for the race weekend. They will meet A.J. Foyt and race driver Vitor Meira in the team’s garage at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Saturday, May 23rd. They will see the No. 14 ABC Supply Dallara/Honda as it is being prepared for the first race of the Speedway’s three-year Centennial Celebration.
Beginning in 2009, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway celebrates its Centennial Era, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the facility in 2009 and the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in 2011.
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