CARA Charities Gearing Up for 2009 Fashion Show The worlds of fashion and auto racing will once again come together at the 28th annual CARA Charities Fashion Show and Luncheon on Thursday, May 21 at the Indiana Roof Ballroom. Hosted by popular race broadcaster Bob Jenkins, the event will feature past and present Indy 500 drivers, with scheduled appearances by Will Power, Bruno Junqueira, Mario Moraes as well as some surprise guests that you absolutely won’t want to miss!
The show is known as one of the most anticipated social events during the month of May and this year’s edition promises to maintain the rich tradition of high-energy entertainment, quality fashion and community collaboration.
The theme “Everyone Pull Together” represents the collaborative spirit of the organization, its partners and participants. Proceeds from the day will benefit CARA’s award-winning Buckle Up Baby program, Riley Children’s Foundation, the Cody Unser First Step Foundation as well as the Lyn St. James Foundation.
"Breakfast with Michael" Returns to Indianapolis Motor Speedway
The Michael Andretti Foundation's annual "Breakfast with Michael" fundraising event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be held on Thursday, May 14, at 9 a.m.
The popular and unique program provides an opportunity for fans to become VIPs for the morning by enjoying breakfast at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway's North Chalet and receiving an inside look at the activities that take place at IndyCar® Series events. In addition, an event ticket comes with a non-transferable Indianapolis Motor Speedway garage pass, allowing participants to get behind the scenes during the day's IndyCar Series practice session. Guests will also experience:
Carl Edwards guest on Larry King Live Carl Edwards, Roush Fenway Racing, will be one of the guests on the Larry King Live show tonight, Tuesday, April 28. Larry King Live airs at 9:00 pm – 10:00 pm ET on CNN, and is replayed at 12:00 am – 1:00 am ET, and 3:00 am - 4:00 am ET on CNN, Wednesday, April 29.
Dreams come true for Indy 500 rookies Though four rookies competed in the first three IndyCar Series events of the season, those races were akin to dipping their feet into the water. Now, they’re about to take the plunge.
On May 5, Stanton Barrett, Mike Conway, Robert Doornbos and Raphael Matos will begin preparations for the 2009 Indianapolis 500, “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.” Despite their different racing backgrounds, competing in the Indianapolis 500 has always been the ultimate goal.
Barrett, a native Californian, was hooked on the ‘500’ even before he started racing as a teenager.
“I got to go there a couple of times and watch the race before I started racing,” Barrett said. “In the ’80s and ’90s, when I wasn’t in racing yet and watching it from a fan standpoint, that was the race to watch. I remember you always wanted to know who won.”
David Poole tributes “NASCAR racing was David Poole's world and that world is a lesser place without David in it. David's writing and analysis was always accessible to the casual racing fan, but his real talent was as a contrarian, raising the kinds of thought-provoking questions that could engage the people whose lives revolve around the sport. David always told me his trips to the Northern California coast were the ones he looked forward to most every year. Although we never quite sold him on the virtues of road racing, I always figured we needed just one more race here to bring him around. I'm sorry we won't have that chance.” Steve Page, president and general manager of Infineon Raceway
"David Poole became one of the most influential voices in NASCAR during his 13 years covering the sport as a journalist and broadcaster. It's a great professional loss for NASCAR and the journalism profession. I have known David since our days as classmates at the University of North Carolina and worked closely with him during my time as media relations manager for R.J. Reynolds. David was well-respected within the NASCAR community. Our prayers go out to his wife, children and grandson." Las Vegas Motor Speedway President Chris Powell
IRL Kansas TV rating plummets The Indy Racing League TV ratings took a step back at Kansas this past Sunday. After posting TV viewership gains for the Long Beach race April 19, the IRL earned a 0.15 rating nationally (0.3 share) for the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway on April 26. The race that began airing at 4 p.m. (actually pre-race at 4 p.m. and race at 4:45 p.m.) drew viewership from 171,000 households nationwide. The race, the IRL’s third this season and first oval race, fared much better in the Indianapolis market, earning a 1.0 rating (2 percent share), or about 11,000 households.
The rating at Kansas paled compared to the 0.5 (388,864 households) the IRL race at Long Beach earned. The season opener at St. Petersburg on April 5 earned a 0.3 rating (233,000 households). The NASCAR Nextel Cup race overlapped the IRL race Sunday. The week before, the NASCAR race ran on the Saturday before the Sunday Long Beach race, and likely helped boost the ratings there. IBJ.com
NASCAR will analyze fencing after Talladega crash NASCAR has pledged to analyze the fencing and the circumstances surrounding Carl Edwards’ accident Sunday in which seven Talladega Superspeedway spectators were hit by debris from either the car or the catch fence when Edwards got airborne coming toward the finish line.
After getting tapped while he was trying to block Phoenix Racing’s Brad Keselowski, Edwards’ Roush Fenway entry came slightly off the ground and then was smashed into by Stewart-Haas Racing’s Ryan Newman, vaulting Edwards into the fence. The car landed back on the track.
One woman remained hospitalized Tuesday morning in fair condition after suffering a possible broken jaw, according to a hospital spokesman and track doctor.
Publisher of Motor Trend, Hot Rod, Automobile Files for Bankruptcy Source Interlink Cos., the publisher of Motor Trend, Hot Rod and Street Chopper magazines controlled by billionaire Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos., sought bankruptcy protection as it moves to become a private company.
The company, which also distributes newspapers and other publications, listed debt of $1.9 billion and assets of $2.4 billion as of April 24 in Chapter 11 documents filed yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware.
Source Interlink publishes 75 magazines, mostly about cars and motorcycles, putting it at the nexus of two struggling industries. Iconic Motor Trend is in bankruptcy as Chrysler LLC and General Motors Corp. face a similar fate this week and next month.
GM to force 1,000+ dealers to close General Motors Corp. will force 1,000 to 1,200 underperforming dealerships to close as part of the automaker's restructuring plan that involves eliminating more than 2,600 franchises by next year. Those dealers targeted for elimination will know by May 11, according to a GM dealer who watched a video conference today held by GM executives.
The conference came a day after GM announced it would trim its U.S. dealership ranks by 42 percent to 3,605 by next year, a deeper and quicker cut than what was included in a Feb. 17 plan rejected by President Obama's autos task force.
GM will shed about 500 dealerships by eliminating the Saab, Hummer and Saturn brands. And GM expects 400 to 600 dealerships to terminate the franchises voluntarily based on the struggling sales environment and economy. GM would buy back inventory, signage and parts, the dealer said.
GM executives also expect 400 to 500 dealers might be consolidated with other franchises.
Official: Mercedes to stay in F1 Mercedes doesn’t intend to pull out of Formula One racing despite large first-quarter losses by its parent company and massive cost-saving measures. Daimler, the parent company, reported a net loss of $1.7 billion in the January-March period compared with a net profit of more than $1.74 billion in the first quarter of 2008.
“We look into our Formula One commitment every year. But even if we dropped out of Formula One now, we wouldn’t be saving a cent because the contracts are long-term,” Daimler’s chief financial officer Bodo Uebber said Tuesday.
Mercedes supplies engines to the McLaren, Brawn and Force India teams.
Uebber said the car company had “no sacred cows,” indicating that a future pullout from Formula One could not be ruled out.
David Poole dead at age 50 Tragic news of out Charlotte - Charlotte Observer NASCAR Columnist David Poole dead from heart attack at age 50. The news hit Jimmie Johnson like a sledgehammer to the knees. Johnson was taping a radio spot at the Performance Racing Network in Charlotte Tuesday afternoon when he got word that David Poole, who for my money was the top motorsports writer in the country, died of a heart attack at the age of 50 early this morning.
"David was the one writer who I felt I had to actually win the respect of," Johnson told me over the phone Tuesday afternoon. "And man, he didn't give it to me. I had to earn it. And it was very, very hard. All the drivers read him."
Indeed, as my friend, ESPN.com writer Ed Hinton, told me this afternoon, Poole was "like the school newspaper for NASCAR." The lead motorsports writer for the Charlotte Observer, Poole was to NASCAR what Peter King and Chris Mortensen are to the NFL. Put simply, he was the most authoritative voice in the sport. More at SI.com
Danny Kladis, who had the distinction of being the oldest driver and having the earliest start of living Indianapolis 500 competitors, died April 26 in Joliet, Ill. 1946 Indianapolis 500 starter Kladis was 92.
Although thought of generally as being a Chicago-area driver, Kladis was born Feb. 10, 1917 in Crystal City, Mo. He began racing midgets in 1935, and his career was gathering momentum when it was interrupted by World War II. Kladis flew with the Army Air Corps and was a flight instructor.
After the war ended, he was hired by the youthful Granatelli brothers to drive in the 1946 Indianapolis 500. It was the first "500" experience for all of them, their mount being one of the 1935 front-drive Ford V8 Millers in which the engine had been replaced by a stock-block Mercury outfitted with a Grancor (Granatelli Corporation) head developed by Andy and his brothers.
Earnhardt Jr. Team Grabs Tissot Pit Crew Win in Talladega Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 pit crew won the Tissot Pit Road Precision Award in Sunday’s (April 26) NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.
It was the fourth pit road win in the last five races for a Hendrick Motorsports team. The other recent Hendrick winning teams were: Jimmie Johnson’s crew (at Bristol) and Jeff Gordon’s crew (at Martinsville and Texas).
The quick work on pit road by the No. 88 crew in Talladega helped Earnhardt Jr. to a second-place finish at the 2.66-mile oval. The team’s Chevrolet Impala SS spent the least amount of time on pit road – 255.440 seconds.
“I am really happy about this award,” said No. 88 crew chief Tony Eury Jr. “We have spent a lot of time and effort to make the AMP Energy/National Guard crew great and this award shows that effort. They had awesome pit stops all day at Talladega. I’m really happy for the guys.”
Senna film to begin shooting in May (GMM) Shooting for a documentary feature film about the life and career in formula one of Ayrton Senna will begin next month, British makers Working Title Films have announced.
The movie, with the backing of both the late Brazilian's family and Formula One Management, will span the great triple world champion's years in the top category of open wheel racing between 1984 to his death at Imola ten years later.
London based Working Title Films said the feature will explore Senna's life and work, his physical and spiritual achievements on the track, his quest for perfection and the mythical status he attained since dying at the age of 34.
With the permission of the Senna family, it will be the first documentary about the former Lotus, McLaren and Williams driver, while Formula One Management will provide footage.
Among Working Title's hits include About a Boy, Elizabeth, Dead Man Walking, Billy Elliot and Four Weddings and a Funeral.
A1GP Team South Africa recalls Alan van der Merwe A1 Team South Africa will have a different race driver for the first time in 35 races at Brands Hatch this weekend, after the team recalled Alan van der Merwe. Regular driver Adrian Zaugg has made himself unavailable for selection this weekend, choosing instead to compete in the World Series by Renault round in Belgium, where he could challenge for the championship.
Van der Merwe has been capped by the team eight times before, however, it was Zaugg’s run of success that meant van der Merwe fell out of favor with the South African team.
It brings to an end the highest consecutive run of races currently in A1GP, with Zaugg stringing together the last 34 starts, across three seasons. Ironically, it was van der Merwe who was the previous incumbent of Vulindlela, last racing for the team in Shanghai more than two years ago.
Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC NASCAR Nationwide Series Racing Under the Lights at Richmond
The NASCAR Nationwide Series was born on short tracks racing at night, and the series returns to its roots for the Lipton Tea 250 at Richmond International Raceway on Friday night, May 1, at 7 p.m. ET. ESPN2 will have a live, high definition telecast of the 250-lap race on the 0.750-mile track beginning with NASCAR Countdown. ESPN2 is the home of the NASCAR Nationwide Series all season, with selected races on ESPN and ABC. The race re-airs Saturday, May 2, at 11 a.m. on ESPN Classic.
Dr. Jerry Punch will be the lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN’s coverage from Richmond, joined in the booth for analysis by 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Rusty Wallace and two-time Cup Series champion crew chief Andy Petree. Dave Burns, Jamie Little and Shannon Spake will report from the pits, while two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion crew chief Tim Brewer will be in the ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage.
Allen Bestwick will host the pre-race NASCAR Countdown program with analysis by Wallace and Brad Daugherty, owner of a winning team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, in the ESPN pit studio.
A1GP makes Mexico statement on swine flu outbreak A1GP has this morning released an official statement regarding the swine flu outbreak in Mexico City, and the planned A1GP Mexico City, Mexico on May 24, 2009.
“Obviously we are keeping a watch on the ever changing situation in Mexico with the outbreak of swine flu,” said A1GP Chairman Tony Teixeira.
“While we will not do anything rash to jeopardize the final round of Season Four, we do have to think of the safety of not only all members of the A1GP community but also the members of the public who come to watch us in their thousands in Mexico City.
BMW admits new F1 car a dog The BMW Sauber F1 Team has been struggling all season. The team, which finished the 2008 season in third position, scored only 4 points in four races. BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen is realistic, but hopes that his team can turn the tables and hit back when the European season starts in two weeks time.
Mario Theissen: "The weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix brought the first long overseas section of the Formula One season to an end. The race in the Sakhir desert was as good as over for us as soon as our drivers were involved in collisions immediately after the start. With four races down, we are now looking forward to the start of the European leg in Barcelona. The Spanish Grand Prix in two weeks will be a new beginning for many teams - including ours.
Tiago Monteiro will be running in this year's Le Mans 24 race, after signing up with the ORECA team. The former Jordan, Midland and Spyker F1 driver will be sharing the cockpit with Stephane Ortelli and Bruno Senna, in the car which claimed pole position and second place in Barcelona's opening round of the Le Mans Series at the beginning of April. “I am delighted to return to Le Mans," said Portugal's Monteiro, who has competed in the legendary race before and now drives for SEAT in the World Touring Car Championship. "It is a special race in my heart and it is an honor to be invited; I'm going to make my first appearance in the top category with a superb car and a dream team.
NASCAR team owner heads to the slammer As he was about to be sentenced Monday for federal income tax fraud, those in the courtroom stood up for Larry McClure [owner of the #4 Chevy in Sprint Cup Series, three Daytona 500 wins]. Supporters of the motorsports icon filled the courtroom, which was too small to hold them. Family members, friends, giants of the stock car racing world - around 50 people - spilled into the hallway, stood on benches and stood shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with McClure and his family. Junior Johnson, the fabled moonshiner-turned-dirt track racer and NASCAR team owner, turned out. Joy Stata, a Florida native, was there to support the man who put her hometown of Bartow on the racing map. Jeff Byrd, president of Bristol Motor Speedway, stood outside, having arrived too late to get a seat.
Fireball Roberts daughter dies Pamela Roberts Trivette, the only child of the late NASCAR legend Glenn "Fireball" Roberts, died Sunday at her home in Rockledge. The cause of death has not been announced. She was 58. Fireball Roberts, of course, is the Apopka native who became one of the first NASCAR superstars, winning 33 races, including the Daytona 500. He died on July 2, 1964, after being badly burned in a crash at Charlotte weeks earlier. Pam, as she was known to the NASCAR community, was active in Daytona Beach-area historical functions, and maintained a Web site dedicated to her father at www.fireball22.com. Motorsports historian Roland Via has a tribute to Pam at the Web site he maintains, www.fireballroberts.com, which also has a link to an excellent profile on Pam by Florida Today writer Mark DeCotis, which talks about the book she was writing on her father. Orlando Sentinel
Eight fans injured in Edwards wreckUPDATE A woman who was injured during a wreck at Talladega Superspeedway is listed in fair condition at UAB Hospital. Another woman who was taken to Brookwood Hospital in Birmingham for treatment of a medical condition after the wreck was discharged Sunday night. Her name was not released. A spokesman for UAB Hospital said the fan still being treated, Blake Bobbitt, was in fair condition Monday afternoon. Seven fans sustained minor injuries caused by flying debris Sunday when Carl Edwards' car went into the safety fence on the final lap of the Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway. The other injured fans received treatment at the track and did not have to go to a hospital. ESPN/AP
Carl Edwards smashes into the safety fence on last lap. Debris injured 8 race fans sitting in Talladega's 'suicide seats'
04/27/09 Eight spectators suffered injuries at the end of the Aaron's 499 Sunday when the #99 Ford of Carl Edwards went airborne and slammed into the catch fence on the frontstretch. "None of the injuries are dangerous or life-threatening," said Dr. Bobby Lewis, medical director at Talladega Superspeedway. "It's mostly bumps and bruises with possible minor fractures." Two women were airlifted to an area hospital, but Lewis said that was for traffic concerns and not because of the severity of their injuries. "One has a lacerated lip and possible broken jaw," Lewis said. "The other person was not injured, but has unrelated medical problems." When the car hit the catch fence, pieces exploded off the car as catch fencing bent back severely, but did not break. "I'm not sure if it was pieces of car or pieces of debris from the fence that hurt the spectators," Lewis said. ESPN
Carl Edwards smashes into the safety fence on last lap. Debris injured 8 race fans sitting in Talladega's 'suicide seats'
Talladega Superspeedway officials will evaluate to see if the catch-fence system involved on the spectacular last-lap crash in Sunday's Sprint Cup race needs to be heightened, track president Rick Humphrey said Monday. #99-Carl Edwards' car went airborne into the fence after a nudge by winner Brad Keselowski coming off Turn 4, leaving seven people with non-life threatening injuries. Two women were airlifted to area hospitals.
One was released on Sunday night and another remained hospitalized on Monday in "fair condition" with a possible fractured jaw. Humphrey said the poles and cables, while bent, did not appear to come unattached. That left him to speculate that those injured were struck by pieces from Edwards' car. Humphrey said the track will evaluate whether the height of the catch fence needs to be adjusted to prevent debris from reaching the stands. The Talladega fence was approximately 14 feet from the ground to the top. The distance from the track to the top of the fence at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte is 21 feet. LMS went from a catch-fence system that was 15 feet tall with three feet of hangover to 21 feet with six feet of hangover after parts of an IRL car went into stands during a 1999 race. Three were killed and eight injured in that incident.
Goodyear returns to Indy to test tires this week The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this Wednesday to continue its testing program for this year’s Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the track this July 24-26. This week's one-day session is a continuation from a rain-shortened test at the Speedway last week. Goodyear held three different sessions at Indianapolis last September to begin the testing program, and made some good strides toward this year’s tire recommendation at that time. After the long winter, the tire manufacturer picked up where it left off at the historic, 2.5-mile track. Rain slowed the on-track activity last Monday and Tuesday, forcing Goodyear and the four Sprint Cup teams it was working with to stay through Wednesday. Participating last week were #17-Matt Kenseth (Ford), #39-Ryan Newman (Chevrolet), #43-Reed Sorenson (Dodge) and #83-Brian Vickers (Toyota).
Mercedes can expect 'fair' punishment - Ecclestone
Many teams clamor for budget-capped future (GMM) Up to seven potential teams are eagerly awaiting the outcome of talks and decisions relating to annual budget caps in formula one.
FIA president Max Mosley is pushing for a low figure, currently 33m euros, but last week invited current teams to submit their proposals ahead of this week's World Motor Sport Council meeting.
The FOTA alliance replied that they need more time to discuss the issue, but the German newspaper FAZ reports that Williams, Red Bull, Brawn, Toro Rosso and Force India believe 60 million euros - not including driver salaries - is a workable number for 2010.
The budget cap has triggered many stories about teams wanting to enter formula one, including the British GP2 outfit iSport, who in 2007 won the feeder series with Timo Glock and last year ran runner-up Bruno Senna.
Already mentioned have been David Richards - who would enter either with the Prodrive or Aston Martin names - Lola and USGPE, but also interested is the Spanish operation Epsilon Euskadi, as well as the Campos outfit.
Tensions between the FIA and existing big F1 teams, however, are running high, and Ferrari and FOTA boss Luca di Montezemolo admitted on a visit to Bahrain that he is uneasy about the budget cap speculation.
"I personally have a lot of passion (for F1) and Ferrari has a lot of passion, but this is not a never ending story," he told reporters.
Great Britain’s Brands Hatch Grand Prix Circuit once again plays host to the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport this weekend, Friday 1st – Sunday 3rd May, the Kent-based race track a fixture on the schedule since it hosted the inaugural A1GP races in September 2005.
A1GP’s return to Brands Hatch this week also marks the first anniversary of TW Steel becoming ‘Official Watch & Timing Partner’ to the series, the deal being signed and announced exactly a year ago at the corresponding race meeting. Since then, TW Steel has become a permanent fixture at A1GP events throughout the world during Season Four (08-09), the first in the ‘Powered by Ferrari’ era of competition.
Brands Hatch will see the hosting of the seventh national round of ‘Miss TW Steel’ with Sunday’s finalists competing to represent the UK in the grand finale, also set to be hosted in the UK with details to be confirmed shortly. The winner of ‘Miss TW Steel UK’ will win her very own TW Steel watch and $1500 US. On offer at the grand finale is a cash prize of $25,000 US, a professional photo-shoot with a leading lifestyle magazine and of course, the title of ‘Miss TW Steel’.
Kanaan takes points lead Three races, three winners – and the new IndyCar Series points leader heading into the Indianapolis 500 isn’t one of them. Scott Dixon, winner of the Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 April 26 at Kansas Speedway, called it back in November when he was still deciding where to display his second IndyCar Series championship trophy. The 2009 season would be the most competitive ever.
Dixon, who got off to a rough start with disappointing results on the streets of St. Petersburg (16th) and Long Beach (15th) vaulted from 17th to fourth in the standings with his first victory in seven attempts at Kansas Speedway. The new points leader, Tony Kanaan, is the only driver to finish in the top five in each of the first three races.
Battistini discharged Firestone Indy Lights driver Dillon Battistini was discharged from the KU Medical Center. Battistini was transported to the facility following a crash with Pippa Mann on Lap 59 of Sunday’s Kansas Lottery 100. He was kept overnight for observation after all preliminary tests were negative.
Three drivers added to Indy 500 1996 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Lazier was one of three drivers added to the field for the 2009 Indianapolis 500, as 31 drivers are now named to the 41 entries for "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."
Lazier becomes the fifth winner named to an entry, joining Helio Castroneves (2001-02), Dan Wheldon (2005), Dario Franchitti (2007) and Scott Dixon (2008).
Also named to drive an entry were popular veteran Milka Duno and rookie Nelson Philippe.
The 2009 Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 24. Opening Day is Wednesday, May 6.
New diffuser for Toro Rosso in Barcelona The Scuderia's Toro Rosso's STR4 will be fitted with a brand-new diffuser for the Spanish Grand Prix on 10 May. Team boss Franz Tost said: "We will have some updates to the rear diffuser, giving us more downforce. The entire field is very closely matched and so the key to doing well on Sunday is to qualify well, which is difficult, given you have around five cars in a tenth, so that getting out of Q1 involves being very well prepared."
Briatore: FOTA wants KERS bannedUPDATE (GMM) BMW-Sauber team boss Mario Theissen has refused to back Flavio Briatore's claim that FOTA is seeking a KERS ban for the 2010 season.
The Renault chief and commercial chairman of the Formula One Teams Association, a staunch critic of the new energy recovery technology, said in Bahrain: "Yes, FOTA wants to ban it from 2010".
It is almost certain that KERS champion and FIA president Max Mosley would not agree to banning the technology, but as it is not compulsory, nothing would stop FOTA members from simply unanimously agreeing not to use it.
There was a strong indication in the Bahrain paddock, however, that McLaren-Mercedes do not support a KERS ban, while BMW's Theissen said: "I don't want to comment on that, but nothing is decided."
The next meeting of the teams association is scheduled for May 6 in London.
04/25/09 According to Renault boss Flavio Briatore, the Formula One Team's Association is looking to ban the Kinetic Energy Recovery System from the 2010 season. Talking to the Italian newspaper 'Gazzetta dello Sport', Briatore said that the teams are looking to get rid of the technology despite the FIA's insistence that it is important for the sport's green credentials.
Briatore said: "Yes, FOTA wants to ban KERS from 2010. We understood immediately that it was a money-sucking genius, and the FIA should have taken note of that. It should have been discussed before the start of the season, and the same goes for the diffusers. Having failed to do that has forced on us expenses that are crazy as much as useless."
Now Bernie says F1 open to Silverstone return (GMM) Formula one's doors have not been completely closed to Silverstone, Bernie Ecclestone insists.
The F1 chief executive last year signed a contract to switch the British grand prix to Donington from 2010, vowing never to return to the Northamptonshire circuit owned by the British Racing Drivers' Club.
It is often suggested that, contrary to Ecclestone's argument that the Silverstone facilities are not up to date, the 78-year-old simply does not get along with those who run the BRDC.
But with reports now doubting Donington's chances of being ready for 2010, Bernie has denied that his mind is totally closed to the prospect of ever returning to Silverstone.
"If they were to do what they should have done, and what we've been asking them to do for five years, we'd have to have a look at it," he told London's Times newspaper. "We've got nothing against Silverstone."
However, he denied BRDC president Damon Hill's assertion that talks have already taken place.
"No, I'm not talking to them," Ecclestone told the magazine GPWeek.
Heat off Piquet after strong Bahrain drive (GMM) With one sentence from the mouth of Flavio Briatore, the intense heat fell off the shoulders of Nelson Piquet.
In the approach to the weekend's Bahrain grand prix, rumors hinted that the Renault boss had lost patience with Piquet, who has been outqualified by teammate Fernando Alonso at all 22 grands prix of his career.
Briatore did little to quell the speculation in Bahrain, advising reporters to "see what happens" in the dry conditions of the fourth round of 2009.
"What can I say," he added. "The situation is like everybody sees, difficult for him and in a moment like this you don't kill anybody. This is the first race with the normal (weather) situation and let's see.
"Sunday or Monday maybe we have a different idea, I hope a better idea, of what is going on," said Briatore.
On Sunday, Piquet rose from 15th on the grid to finish tenth versus Alonso's eighth. "Nelson had an excellent race, driving aggressively and consistently," Briatore said afterwards.
Meanwhile, Rubens Barrichello scotched speculation that, at the end of an initial four-race contract for Brawn, he may now be replaced by another driver, perhaps Bruno Senna.
"I promise you, you're going to see me for the whole year!" said the Brazilian veteran, blaming the internet for the rumors.
GM Accelerates its Reinvention as a Leaner, More Viable Company General Motors (NYSE: GM) today presented an updated Viability Plan that will speed the reinvention of GM's U.S. operations into a leaner, more customer-focused, and more cost-competitive automaker.
The Viability Plan is included in an exchange offer whereby GM is offering certain bondholders shares of GM common stock and accrued interest in exchange for certain outstanding notes.
Revised Viability Plan goes further and faster
The Viability Plan announced today builds on the February 17 Viability Plan submitted to the U.S. Treasury. The revised Plan accelerates the timeline for a number of important actions and makes deeper cuts in several key areas of GM's operations, with the objective to make us a leaner, faster, and more customer-focused organization going forward.
Moving Kansas race to Spring did not help Sunday's Kansas City IndyCar race saw the grandstands less than 1/2 full, not a good sign since the race was moved from the sweltering summer to April to make it more comfortable for the fans and the drivers/teams. There was a forecast for rain so that probably kept more than a few fans, who may have otherwise come out, home.
The F1 race in Bahrain also saw a sparse crowd, most not wanting to sit in the hot desert sun for two hours.
Edward's: We'll race like this until we kill somebodyUPDATE "Brad was pushing, he’s doing everything he can," Edwards said. "I saw him go high. I went high. He goes low right here and I didn’t realize he got that far, so I went low to block a little bit and he was already there, so I turned around backwards. At this point I’m thinking, ‘Boy, I wish this was made out of liquid gel material,’ and then I’m very fortunate we hit the wall in a way it didn’t crush my roll cage down on my neck because that would have been a lot worse.
"NASCAR just puts us in this box. Brad did a great job. Congrats to him on the win, but they put us in this box and we’ll race like this until we kill somebody and then they’ll change it, but I’m just glad nobody got hurt today. I’m glad the car didn’t go up in the grandstands and hurt somebody. "
Edwards said Keselowski, who earned his first career Sprint Cup win, was simply doing what he is "supposed to do."
"He’s assuming that I know he’s inside," Edwards said. "He was so quick that I didn’t know he was inside."
"We saw what happened to Regan Smith, you can’t go down below the yellow line or you lose the race, so he’s winning and I was doing everything I could to keep him from winning," Edwards said. "I’m glad I’m all right. This [running to the line], I didn’t know if it mattered if I went across the finish line, but I just wanted to finish the race.”
"It was just a little bit scary because I saw the ground and then I couldn’t tell exactly which part of the car I hit the wall with and I was real worried I hit the roll cage and I had to wait a minute to make sure that there wasn’t something stuck in me somewhere or something," Edwards said. "That’s a little nerve-racking to hit the wall with something other than the side of the race car. That’s the first time I’ve flipped in a race car. That’s it, so we got that out of the way.”
NHLR building special cars for Indy 500 Graham Rahal has a number of reasons to be more confident about his second Indianapolis 500 than he was last year heading into his first. He and his team have a year's worth of experience in the IndyCar Series. He has a new chief engineer, Martin Pare, who brings a wealth of oval-track racing experience from working with Danica Patrick at Andretti Green Racing. Best of all, he's convinced the car he put on the pole for Sunday's Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 at Kansas Speedway isn't as good as the new one his Newman/Haas/Lanigan team will bring to Indy.
"We know the fast car is still sitting back at the shop," said Rahal, whose seventh-place finish Sunday was his best on an oval. "We built that car just for Indy."
Already the youngest driver to win an IndyCar Series pole and race, Rahal, 20, has two more chances to top Troy Ruttman (1952) as the youngest Indy champion. "Youngest Indy 500 winner," he said. "That sounds pretty damn good." Indy Star
The return of slick Tires to F1 Slick tires are back in Formula 1 for the first time since 1997 and for Panasonic Toyota Racing this is a new experience. Ever since the team made its Formula 1 debut in 2002, it has used grooved tires so for this season it has needed to adjust to the greater grip and different handling characteristics of the slick Bridgestone Potenza rubber. Toyota has found the 2009-specification tires have around 8% more grip while the front tires now have proportionally more grip than the rears, making oversteer more common. The team's drivers are familiar with the different characteristics, with Jarno Trulli having made his Formula 1 debut on slick tires in 1997 and Timo Glock winning the GP2 Series title on slicks in 2007. See video on home page.
BMW committed to F1 for now - Theissen (GMM) Mercedes may be rethinking its commitment to formula one, but the same is currently not true of fellow German carmaker BMW, motor sport boss Mario Theissen insists.
Like Mercedes, however, the Munich marque's executive committee does regularly review its support for the Swiss based team BMW-Sauber, he admitted.
"Formula one (for BMW) is valuable," 56-year-old Theissen is quoted as saying by RTL.
"Before the season the project was evaluated again in detail and the financial situation was part of the analysis," he explained.
"But in the long-term we also need success," said Theissen.
So far, the 2009 ambition to fight for the championship is in tatters, with just 4 points on the board after the first four races.
Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld, who collided in the first corner in Bahrain, were ultimately lapped by the leaders and dead last at the finish, and now desperately waiting for a technical update for the Spanish grand prix.
Quotes of the Week "We are going to analyze the data, the numbers. BMW were most in favor of them [KERS] and it seems they have discarded it now. I believe it has been a dramatic exercise in throwing away money." Briatore suggested the KERS would best be used as "anchors in the sea." He added "Yes, FOTA wants to ban KERS from 2010. We understood immediately that it was a money-sucking genius, and the FIA should have taken note of that. It should have been discussed before the start of the season, and the same goes for the diffusers. Having failed to do that has forced on us expenses that are crazy as much as useless." Flavio Briatore, Team Principal, Renault
"In those days [early 2000s], Ross [Brawn], 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." Niki Lauda, 3 times World Champion, commenting on Ferrari's disastrous start of the 2009 Formula 1 season
"I take it very personally when people suggest that because we are Italians we cannot get things to work properly. We have won titles and races in the past with fundamentally the same team." Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal, Ferrari, referring to Niki Lauda's comment that the re-emerging "spaghetti culture" at Ferrari is to blame for the team's struggles since the influences of Michael Schumacher, Jean Todt and Ross Brawn are now missing.
HVM Racing Announces Partnership with iTeam Sports HVM Racing announced today a partnership with iTeam Sports, an organization offering fans the possibility to become involved with a team by buying a share of team ownership.
HVM Racing is the first to venture into auto racing for iTeam Sports, which first launched operations in 2008 offering team ownership in baseball and is now applying its successful business model to racing. The partnership will allow fans to purchase small shares of ownership within iTeam Sports HVM Racing and receive owner-only benefits.
Jimmy Makar and Larry Dixon guests on Wind TunnelUPDATE A reminder that Jimmy Maker and Larry Dixon will be the featured interviews on Wind Tunnel tonight, Sunday, April 26.
04/24/09 Jimmy Makar, Senior Vice President of Racing Operations for Joe Gibbs Racing, will join Dave Despain live in the Wind Tunnel studio as a featured guest this Sunday, April 26. Makar has been with JGR since its inception in 1991, as he and his brother-in-law, Dale Jarrett, were the team’s first two employees. During his tenure with the team, Jimmy has helped mold the organization into one of the sports most prominent operations. They’ve won the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400 three times, and have three CUP championships to its credit with drivers, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart.
Larry Dixon, 2-time NHRA Top Fuel drag racing champion, will also be a featured guest on Wind Tunnel this Sunday. After spending twenty years as a crew member and driver for Don Prudhomme Racing, winning 43 races and 2 championships, Dixon switched to a different team for 2009. This year, Larry is driving a Top Fuel dragster for the newly formed Alan Johnson Al-Anabi Racing. In six events this season, Larry has a win at the Gatornationals and sits 6th in the standings as the series heads into St. Louis next weekend.
Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain airs Sunday night at 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm ET live on SPEED.
Hornish sick, may step out of car Sam Hornish Jr. will have a relief driver standing by during Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega Superspeedway and Penske Racing is in the process of transporting driver Travis Kvapil to the track from the Charlotte area, team officials confirmed. Hornish, coming off his career-best finish of ninth last weekend at Phoenix, awoke Sunday with flulike symptoms and was treated throughout the morning, officials said. Hornish planned to start the race in the No. 77 Dodge, but team officials said Kvapil would remain on standby should Hornish need to exit the car. ThatsRacin
Aaron’s Extends Title Sponsorship at Talladega Superspeedway Talladega Superspeedway announced that Aaron’s Rents, Inc. has extended its contract for title sponsorship on both the Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race and the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The nation’s leader in rental sales and lease ownership activated a clause in its contract that allows the company to extend its role as title sponsor for multiple years. “Aaron’s has been a great partner to Talladega Superspeedway since 2002,” said Talladega Superspeedway President Rick Humphrey. “We are excited that they have decided to extend their contract with us and we look forward to welcoming our fans to the Aaron’s 312 and Aaron’s 499 for years to come.”
“Aaron’s has realized great value partnering with Talladega Superspeedway and producing one of the premier event weekends on the NASCAR schedule, The Aaron’s Dream Weekend.” Stated Robin Loudermilk, Chief Executive Officer of Aaron’s, Inc. “Taking advantage of the option to extend our partnership allows Aaron’s to continue to have a high-profile marketing platform through 2013. Rick Humphrey and his staff have been very accommodating and we appreciate all of their efforts that help make the Aaron’s Dream Weekend such a great experience for all of our guests and those that attend this tremendous facility. We look forward to continuing to build on what we have developed here since 2002.” TSS PR
"Big One" Ticket Buster Monday at Lowe's Motor Speedway Officials at Lowe's Motor Speedway are ready to roll the dice on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday afternoon at Talladega, and the fans will be the winners. Starting Monday at noon, Lowe's Motor Speedway will sell 1,000 tickets combined to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 16 and the May 24 Coca-Cola 600 at a price equal to the number of cars involved in the biggest wreck at Talladega. Fans must call 1-800-455-FANS or come to the Lowe's Motor Speedway ticket office to take advantage of the special offer. "The talk around the Talladega race is always about 'The Big One,'" said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway. "But Sunday, if only a few drivers get caught up in the biggest wreck, the deal on Monday is that much sweeter. Plus, it gives the fans a chance to save some real money on another 'Big One,' the 50th running of the Coca-Cola 600." Following the race, Lowe's Motor Speedway officials will announce the special price for the Monday ticket offer. Ticket packages and payment plan options for both events are available through the Lowe's Motor Speedway ticket office by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com. LMS PR
Sebastian Saavedra wins Indy Lights race Being the leader of the pack was the safest place for Sebastian Saavedra on the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway oval.
Saavedra, who started second in the No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers Inc. car, won the Kansas Lottery 100 under caution after a crash-filled 67-lap race (the first oval event of the season). Ten cars were involved in incidents in five caution periods. Wind gusting to 30 mph after had an impact on the aerodynamics of the 24 starters' cars.
Saavedra overtook pole sitter Wade Cunningham entering Turn 1 on a Lap 10 restart and held off multiple challenges until a final caution for contact on Lap 58. AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing has won two of the four races. Eight teams were represented in the top 10.
Smiles and scorched buttocks in Bahrain (GMM) Championship leader and Bahrain winner Jenson Button revealed a minor injury after Sunday's grand prix -- and gave key rival Sebastian Vettel another chance to display his wit.
It is well known that Brawn were concerned about how its Mercedes-powered car would cope with the scorching temperatures this weekend, amid stories that holes in the bodywork were being cut before the race.
After crossing the checkered flag first, 29-year-old Button admitted: "I've burned the top of my left buttock on a box -- there's an electrical box there."
Cheeky Vettel, who has named his Red Bull 'Kate's Dirty Sister' because it is even faster and more aggressive than his original car, leaned over during the post-race press conference and stroked his British rival's shoulder.
IndyCar race could get rained outUPDATE A flood watch is in effect in the Kansas City area through Monday evening. Showers and thunderstorms are likely through the rest of the day. South winds will be 20 to 30 mph. Tonight occasional showers and thunderstorms are likely to continue. Areas of south-central Kansas were under a tornado watch today.
04/26/09 At 4:00 pm race time for the IndyCars today the forecast in Kansas City is for strong storms and wind with a 70% chance of rain and temperatures around 75 degrees. If rained out the race may have to be run on Monday along with the NASCAR truck race.
With more rain in the forecast, the Indy Lights race could go early today. IndyCar officials informed teams to be ready as early as 10:00 am for the scheduled noon start for the Kansas Lottery 100.
Whitmarsh to face FIA alone next Wednesday (GMM) McLaren will face the FIA next Wednesday without its usual swathe of lawyers.
Amid the 'lie-gate' scandal, the British team has been summoned to the World Motor Sport Council to face multiple charges of fraud.
But, as indicated in boss Martin Whitmarsh's leaked letter to Max Mosley, McLaren is simply prepared to face the consequences for lying to the stewards in Australia and Malaysia.
The team's approach to the Paris hearing means Whitmarsh will simply front up alone, not contesting the charges. The approach is expected to net a points deduction and suspended race ban, but not harsher penalties like exclusion or draconian fines.
"I will go into the hearing alone. But I have yet to take the advice of the stakeholders and the FIA," Whitmarsh said in Bahrain on Sunday.
"It's not a complicated hearing. We have chosen not to contest the charges and that makes the process simpler," he added.
Brawn to be even faster starting in Barcelona Ross Brawn said his team will be introducing a series of upgrades in Barcelona in two weeks' time and that his team's cars should be even faster in Barcelona.
"The car we had today is the same car that we've had in the first four races. It hasn't changed since Melbourne. But the guys back at the factory have been working hard and I am optimistic of a good step forward in Spain. The rate of progress will be very rapid and we need to keep up."
Asked to identify the car's strengths, Brawn ignored his controversial double diffuser to offer his praise to engine suppliers Mercedes. "We have the best engine on the grid," he enthused. "We've done a decent job on the chassis, put that together with the best engine and this [a successful car] is what you get."
NASCAR drivers called too old and fat for open wheel racing Compare that to the top 15 in the Sprint Cup series, where the average age of the top 15 in the points standings is 34. Three-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson is 33; and points leader Jeff Gordon and Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth are 37.
The average age of the top 15 drivers going into Monday’s NASCAR Camping World Trucks series O’Reilly 250 at Kansas Speedway was 36. And that’s supposed to be a developmental series for Sprint Cup.
Meanwhile, the oldest IndyCar driver among the top 15 is 2007 series champion Dario Franchitti, at 35, while the 20-somethings include Rahal, Marco Andretti, 22; E.J. Viso, 24; Ryan Briscoe, Danica Patrick and Robert Doornbos, all 27; Will Power, Ed Carpenter, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Sarah Fisher, all 28.
“The biggest reason for that, and no knock on NASCAR, ” said Rahal, “but IndyCar is far more physical. Look at speeds at Kansas. We’re going 40 miles an hour quicker. And when you look at it that way, your reaction times have to be quicker.”
Schu does not have key Ferrari role - boss (GMM) Michael Schumacher never occupied a crucial role at Ferrari in his years outside the cockpit, team president Luca di Montezemolo insisted on a visit to Bahrain on Sunday.
"He came to a few races last year, he came at the beginning of this season and he will come again," the Italian is quoted as telling reporters at Sakhir by the German SID news agency.
"But he does not have a responsible role because he does not have the time to be at Maranello," Montezemolo added.
Schumacher, 40, was harshly criticized for his role in strategy blunders when he stood on the Ferrari pitwall in Australia and Malaysia.
Montezemolo said: "He gives ideas and proposals as an advisor -- no more and no less."
He said he once asked the German to take over from Jean Todt as team principal, but Schumacher emphatically answered "no!".
"Michael has a good mentality, but I understand that his life is now something else. So I asked him to come to a few races and support us," said Montezemolo.
Meanwhile, when asked to summaries F1's new pecking order that has left Ferrari ninth in the constructors' championship, Montezemolo hit out at "very badly written rules".
Ecclestone tops Britain’s F1 rich list Those who blame the world’s wealthiest people for the financial crisis will get a does of schadenfreude from this year’s Sunday Times Rich List, as many have had billions wiped from their fortunes.
F1 tycoon Bernie Ecclestone has seen his wealth slashed for an entirely different reason - his divorce from wife Slavica. On a related note, guess who’s the highest new entry on the list this year?
Neither of the current British F1 drivers make the top 1,000. Jenson Button is listed as the seventh richest person under 30 with £40m and Lewis Hamilton is 20th with £25m.
Christodoulou on pole for Star Mazda at VIR The name at the top of the qualifying sheet was the same as the previous five practice sessions -- and it was the expected, thoroughly-smashed track record – but the rest of the names, and the small gaps between lap times, were more of a surprise.
First, the expected. English racer Adam Christodoulou took the pole position for Round 2 of the 2009 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at VIR with a record lap of 1:45.868 (111.195 mph) in the #11 JDC Motorsports Mazda. And this time, his breaking of the Star Mazda VIR track record, a 1:47.607 set in 2007 by James Davison, was official.
Truex Jr. unsure of future plans Martin Truex Jr. said he'll make a decision soon on where he'll drive in 2010 and beyond. The two-time Nationwide champion signed a one-year deal last August to stay with Dale Earnhardt Inc., which merged with Chip Ganassi Racing in the offseason. Though Truex says he's "100 percent committed" to Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing and enjoys his crew, the timing and ambiguity caused by the merger — which moved Truex's #1 Chevrolet into Ganassi's shop in late December — left the team in disarray. "We just lost our way and needed time to regroup and that's why we started out slow," he said. "We sat on our hands all winter, not because we wanted to but because we were forced into doing it, and it hurt us." Truex wouldn't put a timetable on a career decision but said he has begun "laying the groundwork" for signing a long-term deal. "There's a lot of things that go into this with the economy the way it is," he said. "I need to put myself in a happy home for the next three to five years. A lot of things will drive that decision." USA Today
Bridgestone confirm softer intermediate for Monaco Bridgestone will introduce a softer compound intermediate tire at next month's Monaco Grand Prix, as the Japanese tire supplier looks to claw back some of the cars' wet-weather performance lost by the reduction in downforce. Bridgestone usually brings a softer compound intermediate to the Monaco Grand Prix each year, but this time around, the softer compound will be used for the remaining of the season.
The softer compound will allow the drivers to retain tire temperature and thus performance with greater ease, while the reduction in downforce this year will mean the tire’s wear rate will not be adversely affected.
Bridgestone also confirmed the tire allocations for the next four rounds of the championship, announcing that the usual separation of two between compounds will not apply at the Monaco Grand Prix in late-May. Instead of bringing the super-soft and medium compounds, Bridgestone will instead bring the super-soft and soft slicks, due to the unique challenges of the prestigious street race.
Backmarker Waltrip undecided about future plans Michael Waltrip says it is too early to decide if he will retire at the end of this season or return in 2010. Waltrip has not won a race since 2003 and enters Sunday's race at Talladega Superspeedway 25th in the Sprint Cup standings. He could retire and devote his full energy to running Michael Waltrip Racing, which also fields entries for #00-David Reutimann and #47-Marcos Ambrose. Waltrip opened the season with a seventh-place finish in the Daytona 500, but has finished 24th or worse in five other Cup races. Waltrip said on Saturday that he still wants to race, believes he can win again in the #55 and wants to win a championship for his longtime sponsor (NAPA). Associated Press
Lauda wants to be a space pilot Triple Formula One world champion Niki Lauda has paid $200,000 (136,000 pounds) for the chance to fly a Virgin Galactic spaceship, entrepreneur Richard Branson said Saturday.
Branson, whose Virgin Group sponsors the Brawn GP team, held a news conference at the Bahrain Grand Prix to publicize his space venture.
He said Brawn's Brazilian driver Rubens Barrichello had also bought a passenger "ticket to space" for the same amount as Austrian Lauda.
"We are not doing upgrades in the space project, we need people who are willing to help fund what is quite an expensive program and these two have been generous enough to pay their way," said Branson. "They can afford it."
Liuzzi wins Bahrain finale, Morbidelli takes title
Liuzzi celebrates, he finally won something
Vitantonio Liuzzi won the final race of the Speedcar season in Bahrain but the big winner was Gianni Morbidelli, who beat Johnny Herbert by the slenderest of margins to claim the championship and the $500,000 prize that goes with it.
The grid saw the top eight from Saturday lining up in reverse with Thomas Biagi on pole ahead of Damien Pasini, Hasher Al Maktoum, Morbidelli, Christopher Zoechling, Liuzzi, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Herbert. Having retired with a spectacular engine failure in the first race, Jean Alesi started 16th and last.
(L to R) Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa
Jorge Lorenzo emerged victorious from a thrilling Polini Grand Prix of Japan at Twin Ring Motegi, the second win of his MotoGP career and a result that retained his 100% podium record in the 2009 season.
The Fiat Yamaha rider took little time in taking the reigns of the race, having started from the front row and showed no fear when faced with the likes of Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi in front of him. However, despite a relatively comfortable advantage, Lorenzo was never quite able to say a definitive ‘sayonara’ to his rivals as the action heated up. He held on to cross the line with a gap of less than two seconds between him and second placed teammate Rossi.
CVC rejects offers to sell F1 - Ecclestone (GMM) CVC has received offers but does not want to sell its majority stake in formula one's commercial rights, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has revealed.
"Lots of people have approached them," said the 78-year-old Briton, "I don't think they are going to sell."
Ecclestone told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that sales of corporate hospitality at grands prix will be down 20 per cent over the next few races, but insisted that trackside advertising revenues are steady.
He is also not concerned about race promoters going out of business [Editor's Note: even though he charges them such a high fee they have no hope of ever turning a profit.]
"It's not possible because we have got the guarantees in place," said Ecclestone, admitting that the only danger is that the guarantors also strike major trouble.
But amid the global financial crisis, he insisted "we shouldn't judge long-term things on what's happening today".
Sunday news briefs from Bahrain (GMM) Toyota test driver Kamui Kobayashi secured the GP2 Asia series championship in Bahrain. "Now we have another step with the main series," said the 22-year-old, referring to the GP2 championship that kicks off in support of the Spanish grand prix next month.
An Hungarian escape-artist will attempt a world record on the grid before Sunday's Bahrain grand prix. David Merlini, who broke the record for holding his breath underwater for nearly 21 minutes last year, will attempt to extend his record at the Sakhir track.
F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone checked on progress at 2009 grand prix finale host circuit Abu Dhabi before arriving in Bahrain this week. "He has had a good look and likes it," said promoter Abu Dhabi Motorsport Management's new chief executive Richard Cregan, formerly Toyota team manager.
With just over two hours until the Bahrain grand prix, local weather experts remain open to the possibility of a light sandstorm in the Sakhir desert surrounds.
Temperatures are in the low thirties at the circuit, but it is the wind - forecast for in excess of 22km/h for the mid afternoon - that is raising the prospect of sand in the air.
Winter tests here were disrupted by sandstorms, which are a problem not only for driver visibility but also because the medical helicopter cannot fly.
Track boss Martin Whitaker played down the risk.
"This issue has now been resolved and new equipment has been installed so that the helicopter can fly (in sandstorms)," he said.
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo arrived in Bahrain on Sunday morning, staging a meeting with fellow FOTA chief John Howett.
As the IndyCar Series returns to the American Heartland at Kansas Speedway, Team 3G will be featuring the name of Country Music artist Rodney Atkins on their car this weekend. Rodney’s latest Curb Records release is “It’s America”, and the single reached #1 on this week’s country music chart.
"Mike Curb and Curb Records has been involved with IndyCar racing for many years" said Greg Beck, Co-owner of Team 3G. "I have worked with his group for a long time, and it is exciting to see Curb Records becoming more involved with Team 3G and the newly combined IndyCar Series.”
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