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Interesting new auto web site
Los Angeles, CA – With a solid business foundation provided by Dedicated Marketing Solutions, one of the fastest-growing online marketing service providers in the world today, www.CarDevotion.com is being launched with the goal of providing one-stop shopping for consumers seeking new and used vehicle information and financing as well as the latest automotive industry news, unique feature stories and the opportunity to connect with fellow car enthusiasts.

The Editor of CarDevotion.com will be veteran automotive journalist Peter Frey.  A life-long ‘car guy’ and ex-racing driver, Frey is a former Associate Editor of Motor Trend Magazine and freelance automotive writer for national lifestyle magazines and major newspapers. 

“To the delight of enthusiasts everywhere, automotive evolution is stuck on ‘fast forward’ these days,” says Frey.  “Styling, technology and performance are at a level never before achieved.  New kinds of cars are being created, new fuels, hybrid engines, on-board computers and communications, even cars that parallel park themselves.  What’s happening in the automotive world these days is just this side of science fiction.  The editorial mission of CarDevotion.com is to help consumers, enthusiasts and technology junkies make sense of it all.”

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Bourdais to return for 4th ROC
Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais has confirmed that he will return for the Race of Champions this year.

"I am very happy to participate in the Race of Champions and to represent France this year at Wembley Stadium," said Bourdais.

"It is always an honor to be invited to the Race of Champions, it will be my fourth participation and it is an event that I always enjoy."


McLaren charged with spying UPDATE Formula One's 'spy saga' took on new momentum on Friday when the governing body charged McLaren with unauthorized possession of confidential Ferrari information.

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a statement that representatives of the team had been asked to appear before an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris on July 26.

The FIA charged that between March and July the championship leaders had "unauthorized possession of documents and confidential information belonging to Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro".

The March date is earlier than had previously been suspected, raising a question mark over the entire first half of the season.

The statement added that the information included data that could have been "used to design, engineer, build, check, test, develop and/or run a 2007 Ferrari Formula One car".

The FIA referred specifically to article 151c of the International Sporting Code, which refers to "any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally".

If McLaren are found guilty, possible sanctions range from a reprimand to disqualification. twnz.co.nz

07/12/07 McLaren Statement: McLaren is extremely disappointed to note that it has been asked by the FIA to answer a charge of being in possession of certain documents and confidential information belonging to Ferrari. Whilst McLaren wishes to continue its full co-operation with any investigation into this matter, it does wish to make it very clear that the documents and confidential information were only in the possession of one currently suspended employee on an unauthorized basis and no element of it has been used in relation to McLaren’s Formula 1 cars.


Martin to drive at Iowa Speedway Sports Car race
Mark Martin will join Southard Motorsports drivers Randy Ruhlman and Shane Lewis in the Southard Motorsports #3 Preformed Line Products Lexus Riley, as they take on the new 1.3-mile, Rusty Wallace-designed road course at Iowa Speedway for Round 9 of the Grand-Am Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve. While Mark Martin is no newcomer to the world of sports cars or road racing, the Iowa event will be his first time driving in a Grand-Am Daytona Prototype car. Martin holds the distinction of being part of four GT victories at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. A track sponsored test day on Thursday, July 11, will help the teams prepare for Friday's official practice and the 5 p.m. Friday qualifying session. The 400-K race at the newly built Iowa Speedway starts at 8:00pm/ct on Friday July 13th for 192-laps or 2 1/2 hours on the 1.3-mile road course oval in Newton, Iowa, just outside of Des Moines. The race will be broadcast same-day delayed on Friday, July 13th at 10pm/et on SPEED. The No. 3 Preformed Line Products Daytona Prototype is campaigned by Southard Motorsports of Powell, Ohio. The Riley chassis is powered by Lexus engines with technical expertise by TRD Engineering and carries sponsorship from Preformed Line Products from Mayfield Village, Ohio. Martin will also run the Nextel Cup race in Chicago this weekend, driving the #01 U.S. Army Chevy for Ginn Racing. Southard Motorsports PR


NASCAR driver Fike and team member suspended
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Aaron Fike and his fiancée, Cassandra Davidson, a crew member, were suspended indefinitely Wednesday from NASCAR competition after being arrested over the weekend on drug charges. NASCAR issued the suspensions under the rule prohibiting actions detrimental to stock car racing.
The two were arrested Saturday in the parking lot of Kings Island amusement park north of Cincinnati after security officers observed suspicious activity in Fike's sport utility vehicle and found syringes and a brown substance believed to be heroin, police said.

Both were charged with drug abuse, a felony, and possession of drug paraphernalia, a misdemeanor. They had their initial court appearance Tuesday in Mason, Ohio, Municipal Court.


Rahal team to field customer cars
It has long been said that inside every person that follows motorsports, there is a little race-car driver dying to get out. Beginning in 2008, Rahal Letterman Racing will do its best to ensure that those with the required combination of skill and aspiration have the chance to nurture their inner racer.

The Ohio-based race team, which fields entries in the IndyCar Series as well as the American Le Mans Series, has announced that it intends field a limited number of customer cars in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge next season. The all-Porsche series is one of the premier arrive-and-drive sportscar series in the United States, with fields in excess of 45 entries at many of the stops on the schedule.

“I have always had a passion for sportscar racing and I am very excited about the chance to share my passion with the public,” said team co-owner Bobby Rahal. “This represents a new and exciting facet to our race operations and we are looking forward to providing customers with a quality program that will give them the opportunity to compete at a high level.”

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Briscoe on Wind Tunnel
Fresh off a second straight overall victory and third class win of the season, Penske Motorsports’ Ryan Briscoe will be this week’s featured guest on SPEED’s Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain. The program will air live at 9 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 15.


Kimi fastest on 3rd day at Spa
Third and final day of testing this week for the F1 teams at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Today, it was Kimi Raikkonen's turn to take to the track at the wheel of the Ferrari F2007 to continue the work program that begun on Tuesday and centered mainly on finding the best set-up for the car and the development of new components. The day started on a track still damp from overnight rain. From late morning onwards it was possible to run on dry weather tires. Sebastien Bourdais completed his two-day test with Toro Rosso, who are now expected to decide if they offer the Champ Car ace a race seat for next season.

Pos  Driver        Team                Time      Laps
 1.  Raikkonen     Ferrari             1:47.042   69
 2.  Kubica        BMW-Sauber          1:47.265   78
 3.  Alonso        McLaren-Mercedes    1:47.645   75
 4.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault    1:47.699   44
 5.  Fisichella    Renault             1:47.724   76
 6.  Wurz          Williams-Toyota     1:48.437   76
 7.  Trulli        Toyota              1:48.491   76
 8.  Bourdais      Toro Rosso-Ferrari  1:48.585   91
 9.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda   1:48.610   99
10.  Barrichello   Honda               1:48.704   81
11.  Klien         Spyker-Ferrari      1:49.119   63


Q and A with Mark Preston
SAF1 Team 2007 European Grand Prix preview - An Interview with Mark Preston, Technical Director

Q: Mark, at the start of the 2007 season you stated your goals for the year. Have you achieved them yet?

Mark Preston: Almost all of them. Pre-season I had three goals for the team: firstly to get through to Q2 in Qualifying for the first time, secondly to score the team's first point and finally to finish in the Top 10 of the Constructors' Championship. What has actually happened is far beyond what we could have imagined a year and a half ago.

In Melbourne, not only did we get through to Q2, but one of the cars reached the final session in Qualifying! Our first point came in Barcelona with Takuma; it was a memorable event as the team could then say that it had officially joined the ranks of Formula One. A point signifies quite a lot and put us well and truly in the record books.

Q: And your third goal. What chances do you have of achieving that?

MP: Obviously the four points we now have will stand us in good stead for achieving the third goal; however France showed us how incredibly competitive F1 has become. When you think that there was a rule that disallowed cars that were slower that 107% two years ago, and in France most of the grid was covered by 102%; it has certainly tightened up!

Q: So do you have any new goals?

MP: With two out of three already achieved the last one is probably the most difficult. We need to maintain our current level of competitiveness by adding more performance to the car. But, a simple goal that could be added to our list would be to maintain our current position in the Championship. Now that will certainly be a challenge!

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Champ Car promotes Cotman
Champ Car World Series President and CEO Steve Johnson announced today that Tony Cotman has been named Executive Vice President, Operations, effective immediately.

Cotman, who has a long and distinguished career in motorsports, will be responsible for much of the day-to-day operations of the Series including legal, personnel, finance and marketing. He also will continue in his critical role as Race Director until he has identified a replacement and the best time to relinquish his duties.

This is the second senior-level move made by the Champ Car World Series in recent months. In May, David Higdon was named Executive Vice President, Strategic Development & Communications. Cotman and Higdon will continue to report to Johnson and work closely with the rest of the senior management team to enhance the Series both domestically and globally.

“We’re enjoying one of the most successful seasons in recent memory,” Johnson said. “As we grow and prosper, it’s important that we not only hire new executives but also promote quality people like Tony to key management positions so we can pursue the goals that we have established for the Series. Tony is extremely knowledgeable about the operations of the Champ Car World Series and I believe increasing his areas of responsibility will be beneficial to our company as we focus on the opportunities ahead of us.”

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Bernie loses F1 trademark case
Formula One bosses failed to secure exclusive rights to the sport's 'F1' abbreviation on Thursday after Britain's Trademark Registry ruled against them.

Registry Official David Landau, relying on evidence from media coverage and online encyclopedia Wikpedia, found that the public would recognize Formula One as a type of sport rather than a brand name.

"As Wikpedia comments, F1 is the highest class of single-seat, open-wheel formula auto racing. There is no hint in the Wikpedia references to indicate that F1 is seen as anything other than a particular form of motor racing," he said.

Landau said the fact that the Formula One Group was the only organization organizing F1 races "does not mean that the public will perceive F1 as a trademark.

"It just means that currently it enjoys a monopoly on the races. However, if private owners of F1 cars race them on a friendly basis is that not an F1 race, if not on a commercial basis?" Reuters


Bavaria Beer to sponsor Assen Champ Car race
AutoRacing1.com attended the press conference in Holland today where it was announced officially that Bavaria Beer will promote the Champ Car race in Assen through their widespread presence in The Netherlands in bars, cafes, hotels and restaurants, as well as all the supermarkets (around 4000) they sell their products at in The Netherlands. In addition to that the entire BAVARIA fleet of trucks and trailers (around 40) will be livered with the Assen Champ Car race promotion in the weeks before the event! It will also be possible to win rides with Robert Doornbos in the Audi pace car through a BAVARIA prize competition.

Bavaria beer is brewed in the Netherlands and is distributed in more than 82 countries on 6 continents worldwide, making it a perfect match for this international series.  

Pictured above in the various photos: Bart Rietbergen - Peer Swinkels - Jos Vaessen - Arie Luyendyk and of course Robert Doornbos


F1 will not return to Indy
The United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will not be on the 2008 Formula One schedule after eight consecutive annual events since 2000.

After recent meetings, Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Tony George and Formula One Management Ltd. CEO Bernie Ecclestone mutually agreed to not schedule Formula One racing in 2008 at Indianapolis.

"After several discussions, Bernie Ecclestone and I were unable to agree how to keep Formula One in Indianapolis for the near term," George said. "However, we have agreed to leave the door open for a potential future date.

"It has been a pleasure having the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis, and I hope that as we approach our Centennial Era at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, an opportunity might present itself that would allow its return."

The 2007 event was June 17 and was won by British rookie Lewis Hamilton. At the time, George and Ecclestone agreed to a mid-July deadline for a decision about future events. (Related article)

Track News

New offices at Sebring
Sebring International Raceway and the Sebring Airport Authority announced construction begins this month on a new office building at America’s oldest and most prestigious road racing facility with a scheduled completion date of early December.

The new 10,000 square-foot two-story structure will include staff offices, track registration center, gift shop and ticket office.

”This building will be a new landmark for Sebring,” stated Raceway President and General Manager Tres Stephenson. “It will better serve race fans, officials and competitors and further enhances Sebring’s stature in the motorsports industry.”

Racing began at Sebring in 1950, when the former WWII B-17 training base hosted a six-hour endurance race.  Since then Sebring has been synonymous with international sports car racing. The 56th annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring takes place on Saturday, March 15, kicking-off the 2008 American Le Mans Series season.

Since acquiring Sebring International Raceway in 1998, Panoz Motor Sports Group has invested millions of dollars in upgrades to the facility. Despite the raceway’s extensive history, it has never had a permanent headquarters. The new facility will replace existing office trailers, which have been relocated to make room for the new building.

“This new construction project represents the continued commitment of Panoz Motor Sports Group in maintaining Sebring’s reputation as a world-class motorsports facility,” said Panoz Motor Sports Group President and CEO Scott Atherton. “This structure will be an asset to the entire community.”

Mike Willingham, Sebring Airport Authority Executive Director added: “Over the past ten years, Panoz Motor Sports Group has made dramatic improvements to Sebring International Raceway. This office building joins a long list of important new projects at the Sebring Regional Airport and Industrial Park and produces a positive impact on the area economy.”

industry news

GM Sales Soar in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East
General Motors Latin America, Africa & Middle East (GM LAAM) region set a new all-time quarterly sales record in Q2 2007, selling over 293,000 vehicles, up 48,300 units over the same period last year. In addition, GM's quarterly market share in the region increased 0.2 percent to 17.0 percent.

Once again, Latin America played a vital role in GM LAAM's record breaking quarter as sales in those countries climbed 28.9 percent to over 216,000 vehicles. In Brazil, Q2 sales climbed 23.1 percent to a Q2 record of 118,000 units. In Venezuela, GM sales for the period jumped 92.4 percent to 35,860 vehicles, setting an all-time quarterly sales record. In addition, GM set Q2 sales records in Argentina, Chile and Colombia.

Maureen Kempston Darkes, GM group vice president and president of GM LAAM said, "GM sales in the LAAM region are firing on all cylinders. Just five years ago, we sold 129,000 vehicles in the second quarter. For 2007, we more than doubled that to 293,000 and we anticipate continued strong sales through the rest of the year."

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McLaren to answer spy charge at FIA meeting
(GMM) F1's governing body on Thursday summoned chiefs of the McLaren team to appear before the FIA World Motor Sport Council later in July.

As the so-called 'Stepney-gate' spy scandal rolls on, the FIA said in a statement that McLaren representatives will need to "answer a charge that (the team) had unauthorised possession of documents and confidential information belonging to (Ferrari)."

Only a few hours earlier, Ferrari had issued its own statement clarifying reports that an out-of-court 'agreement' had been reached between the Maranello based team and its suspended chief designer Mike Coughlan.

Confirming the agreement about an affidavit, Ferrari explained that the case against Coughlan and his wife in the London High Court "continues in terms of what is decided by the (court)".

The FIA expressed concern that the sensitive Ferrari documents, allegedly sent by Coughlan by disgruntled former employee Nigel Stepney, "could be used to design, engineer, build, check, test, develop and run a 2007 Ferrari F1 car."

The World Council's powers are absolute, but McLaren principal Ron Dennis insisted at Silverstone last weekend that he was sure "we will be completely vindicated with the passing of time".


Verstappen hands Albers cold farewell
(GMM) Countryman Jos Verstappen has refused to give axed Dutch racer Christijan Albers a fond farewell from formula one.

Verstappen, who last drove in F1 in 2003 with Minardi, has never been friends with the 28-year-old, but he saved his most scathing attack for the week that Albers was handed his marching orders by Spyker.

"Albers must look at himself in the mirror," Verstappen wrote in his column for the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf.

"He always blames others for his own mistakes. He has also never had any success during his formula one career, so it doesn't surprise me that the fans were never too bothered about him."

Verstappen, meanwhile, had been provisionally scheduled to conduct a one-off test for Silverstone based Spyker at Spa Francorchamps this week, but the three day session will on Thursday end without him making an appearance.


Another NASCAR team in trouble
Morgan-McClure Motorsports in conjunction with primary sponsor State Water Heaters continue to search for additional sponsorship for their #4 Chevrolet currently running in the Nextel Cup Series. State Water Heaters (Ashland City, TN) signed up to be primary sponsor for 12 races in the 2007 season with the hope of bringing along a co-sponsor. When that didn't happen, Morgan-McClure and State focused even harder on the continuing search for additional funding. "We've had to look at every aspect of our team and try to find places where we can cut back until additional sponsor money is secured," said Morgan-McClure President Larry McClure at the Abingdon, Va. based race shop Tuesday. "We have temporarily released five employees and have every intention of bringing them back as soon as it is possible. Everyone remaining here is making sacrifices to keep this team going in 2007. We probably have the best team we have had in five years. The outlook for 2008 is much better, but first we have to get thru 2007. These guys are like family to me. Telling them they could no longer work here was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I feel responsible for them and taking their jobs away was tough," McClure continued. I look at the money we have been operating on as compared to some of these other teams who are outside the top 35 in owner points and I can't help but think if we had even half the budget they have, there's no telling what we could do. This top 35 rule is hurting a lot of us. I think if you looked at qualifying as just the top 43 fastest cars, we would have only missed a couple races. But the rules are what they are and we are trying to make the best of it with what we have. We continue to search for primary and associate sponsors for the remainder of 2007 and I believe there are good partners out there somewhere for this team," said McClure as he monitored preparations of the Chicago race cars. Morgan-McClure Motorsports PR


Funeral Arrangements for NASCAR plane crash victims
The funeral arrangements for Dr. Bruce Kennedy and Michael Klemm have been scheduled for this Friday [July 13] at Seabreeze United Church in Daytona Beach. The services for Dr. Kennedy are scheduled for 11am/et and the services for Michael Klemm are scheduled for 5:00pm/et. The Klemm family will receive guests at the 500 Club (located in the infield at Daytona International Speedway) immediately after the church service. Both services are open to the public and employees are welcome to attend. Seabreeze United Church is located at 501 N. Wild Olive Ave., on Daytona’s “beachside,” between Seabreeze and Oakridge boulevards.

In lieu of flowers, the Kennedy family requests that donations can be made to the Halifax Medical Center Foundation, C/O Bruce Kennedy Memorial Fund, 303 N. Clyde Morris Blvd., Daytona Beach FL 32120.

The Klemm family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to either the American Heart Association, C/O Michael Klemm, 1101 Northchase Parkway, Marietta, GA 30067 or Camp Boggy Creek, C/O Michael Klemm, 30500 Brantley Branch Road, Eustis, FL 32736. NASCAR


Big Red colors for Montoya at Chicago
Juan Pablo Montoya's #42 Dodge Charger will look a little different this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. His Dodge will carry the colors and logo of Wrigley's Big Red gum. It is the first of three races that Montoya will compete in the Big Red car. CGRFS PR


Jeff Gordon to run Nicorette scheme at Chicago
Jeff Gordon will run a special #24 DuPont Nicorette Chevy paint scheme at this weekend's USG Sheetrock 400 at Chicagoland Speedway . The special paint scheme coincides with one of the most unique sponsorships in motorsports history with Nicorette helping race fans and crew members quit smoking through its QUIT Crew program. Nicorette's QUIT Crew program is currently helping over 200 NASCAR team members from 11 different race teams quit smoking through counseling, support, and the proper use of the smoking cessation products Nicorette, NicoDerm CQ and Commit. Quit smoking support is also available to NASCAR fans throughout race weekend at Nicorette's interactive Winner's Circle Exhibit located in Chicagoland Speedway's fan area. At the exhibit, Nicorette's certified smoking cessation coaches will be on hand to provide individuals with free, quit smoking counseling. For more information about Nicorette's racing program and on how to quit smoking, visit www.quit2winracing.com. Lighthouse Marketing PR


Q and A with Ralf Schumacher
Q. Was it especially disappointing to retire after your best qualifying of the year?

Ralf Schumacher: Yes, definitely. I retired just after one-third distance. I felt the wheel fixation problem as I came into the complex and it was a pity because we were strong all weekend and I was confident of a good result. Our performance level was good all weekend and we really expected to finish strongly.

Unfortunately, after qualifying sixth I lost positions at the start but after that I was able to set lap times which competitive with the cars in front. That showed we had the potential to fight for a top-six finish.

Q. Qualifying sixth seems to be a good step forward?

RS: Both cars qualified in the top 10, which is always our target. Silverstone seems to be good for us. In testing last month we were relatively competitive but I have to admit I was a little surprised. I expected us to be in the top 10 but I didn't expect the top six. It was a nice surprise and a good reward for all the hard work the team put in.

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Will Power makes mark on Champ Car
As the twisting and narrow street circuit near downtown Toronto became increasingly treacherous on a rainy Sunday afternoon, Will Power decided it was time to ignore common wisdom and go for it.

"When it was wet, I just drove like hell," the Aussie said after winning the Grand Prix of Toronto. "I just wanted to get to the front."

That is exactly what people who follow the Champ Car World Series have come to expect from Power. Last year's top rookie moved from third to second in the points standings heading into the race next week in Edmonton, Alberta, the last of Champ Car's three straight Canadian races.

"He doesn't hold anything back," said Team Australia co-owner Derrick Walker. "He just likes to race really hard. And he doesn't let anything slow him down."

Power added the victory in Toronto to a win in the 2007 opener on the streets of Las Vegas. He has 162 points, two behind Dutch rookie Robert Doornbos and one ahead of three-time defending series champion Sebastien Bourdais.  Photos by Wireimage Inc.

Power's rookie teammate Simon Pagenaud echoed their boss.

"Will doesn't like following people. He wants to be out front," said Pagenaud, who finished fourth at Toronto. "But he's good and he's fast, so he can back up what he says. I've learned a lot from watching him and being around him."  More at USAToday/AP


Will ’07 be Bourdais’ Champ Car swan song?
If life is lonely at the top, Sebastien Bourdais knows the feeling.

After a horde of media cleared away, the defending three-time Champ Car champion sat on a cement barrier in the pits on Sunday afternoon in Toronto, trying to make sense of his slip in the drivers' standings after the Steelback Grand Prix.

Bourdais had just been knocked out of the race after his McDonald's car was punted from behind by Robert Doornbos, a rookie on the circuit who has become Bourdais' nemesis. The result capped a rough few weeks for Bourdais. He finished second to Doornbos in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, a week earlier, and afterward refused to shake Doornbos' hand. Prior to that race, Bourdais had to quit after 67 laps in Cleveland because of mechanical problems.

Though he has won three of Champ Car's seven races in 2007, Bourdais, who is tied for 10th on the all-time win list with 26, is not comfortable. He was ahead of Doornbos by two points, 147-145, in the drivers' standings before the race began. When the rain-slicked track had cleared, Bourdais was third with 161 points, three behind the leader, Doornbos, and one back of second-place Will Power. 

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Sachsenring Track Preview
The Sachsenring circuit has been hosting the German MotoGP since 1998, when the race moved from the Nurburgring.

Having been first used for races back in the 1920s, Sachsenring was a racing circuit through the streets of the village of Hohenstein-Ernstthal up until 1990, when the deaths of three people in accidents resulted in the track being deemed too dangerous.

Crowds of more than 130,000 attended the first-ever race at Sachsenring and the first event held there after World War II attracted an amazing aggregate of half a million spectators.

In the 1960s the legendary Giacomo Agostini set a record that still stands today with an average lap speed of 180km/h, but interest in racing at Sachsenring waned from the early 1970s when the win of a West German rider prompted a rule change.

From 1973 until the fall of the Wall only riders from eastern Communist countries were permitted to enter, before the fatalities 17 years ago forced the closure of the 8.7km circuit.

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Stars line up for A1GP ball
Celebrities from across the globe attended The Grand Prix Ball in London on Friday night, presented by A1GP World Cup of Motorsport.

Stars from music, sport and screen were at the exclusive event and walked up the red carpet, where the sight of two A1GP cars and 20 A1GP grid girls greeted them.

Traditionally held on the weekend of the British Grand Prix, the event is now in its 12th year. For the first time it was held in the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Among the guest were former Grand Prix team owner Eddie Jordan, PR guru Max Clifford, nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow, British television actor Ross Kemp and winner of the UK’s latest reality TV show, Britain’s Got Talent, Paul Potts.

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German MotoGP Preview
Casey Stoner still leads the MotoGP world championship by 21 points heading into this weekend's German Grand Prix at Sachsenring, but Valentino Rossi's recent win at Assen will have given the young Aussie plenty of food for thought.

In previous head-to-head battles between the pair it has been Stoner that has emerged triumphant but a fortnight ago in the Dutch race Rossi hunted the 21-year-old down from a lowly 11th on the grid to eventually prevail.

Stoner held him off for 10 laps after Rossi had made his way through the rest of the field but the Italian had the last laugh when he made his move approaching the straight with just over three laps remaining and cleared away.

With Rossi flying and the race close to finished anyway, Stoner sensibly chose not to try and catch Rossi over the closing stages, preferring to ensure he would finish second and that Rossi would only close the gap in the standings by five points.

With the championship now set to resume for what will be the 10th MotoGP race at the Sachsenring and the first in the 800cc class, Stoner is keen to immediately get back to winning form as the second half of the season gets underway, even though his bike isn't yet at its optimum.

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Fittipaldi: ‘Drivers will hold the key'
Emerson Fittipaldi believes drivers are going to be more important than ever in the 2007/08 season of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport.

The Brazilian team principal insists that it will be the best driver line-up that will decide the eventual champions of the third season.

‘A1GP is getting closer than ever,’ Fittipaldi said. ‘Even teams like India were nearer to the front this season and China is improving rapidly.

‘We are not going to have a runaway leader and it is difficult to predict who is going to win the third season.

‘But who will make the biggest difference? It will be the drivers.

‘Everyone knows most of the tracks and we are all very experienced with the car and how to set it up. It will be the driver who will make the biggest difference which is what everyone really wants in a series like this.’

A1 Team Brazil has yet to decide its driver line-up, although Fittipaldi recently admitted that 2006/07 drivers Bruno Junqueira and Vitor Meira are still in the frame.


Cheng to race for China next season
A1 Team China officials have confirmed that Congfu Cheng will be the team’s number one driver for the 2007/08 season.

Congfu Cheng, nicknamed Franky, competed for the team in 12 A1GP races this season with a best result of fourth in the Sprint race in the Czech Republic.

A1 Team China seat holder Liu Yu was impressed with Cheng’s ability when he drove, and will call on him to be the team’s lead driver throughout the third season of A1GP World Cup of Motorsport.

'Motorsports in China is still at its early stage, Franky is currently the best driver to represent China in A1GP,’ said Lu. ‘We also had a plan to improve the performance of our technical team, so there will always be a good car ready for Franky.

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Ferrari cancels hearing
In light of the hearing in the High Court in London on Tuesday, relating to the case between Ferrari S.p.A. and the Coughlans, the Italian team issued a statement in order to make it clear that the legal teams on both sides had reached an agreement on two procedural points that were to be discussed in a further hearing on Wednesday morning.

Therefore, the hearing in which these procedural points were to be discussed was cancelled.

“Mike Coughlan has provided Ferrari with an affidavit relating to relevant facts and Ferrari has agreed not to forward the affidavit to the Italian criminal authorities,” they said. “The agreement reached between the parties therefore concerns only the procedural aspects mentioned above. The case brought by Ferrari in England against the Coughlans therefore continues in terms of what is decided by the High Court in London.”


It was an unpleasant surprise claims Albers
After being dropped from the Spyker Formula One team earlier this week, Dutch racer Christijan Albers has spoken out on the situation that saw his drive with the Silverstone based squad end after last weekend’s British Grand prix.

“First, I would like to say that, as an athlete, I am extremely disappointed; it goes without saying that there is nothing I would rather do than finish the season racing and continue my Formula I career,” he said in a statement on his official website. “This development is not just a disappointment to myself, but just as much to the team, its staff and technicians with whom I have worked together so intensively over the past two seasons. It is also disappointing to the team and personal sponsors who have always supported me and who have made and continue to make so many things possible for me. Subsequently, I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their clear expressions of support over the past couple of days. In this regard I would also like to thank my loyal group of fans.”

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Bridgestone Moves GP2 Tire Production to Europe
Bridgestone Corporation, the sole supplier of tires for both the FIA Formula 1 World Championship and the GP2 Series, has decided to base GP2 Series tire production and quality control at its Technical Centre Europe (TCE), on the edge of Rome. The output will be warehoused at the Bridgestone Motorsport facility in Langley, UK. The GP2 Series is now widely acknowledged as the final step prior to a seat in Formula One.

Until now, all GP2 race tire development and production has been centered in Tokyo. Although, for the time being, design and development will continue to be carried out in Japan, the rationale for the new arrangement is twofold. Firstly, the addition of a second manufacturing site provides a safeguard against the risk of supply bottlenecks in this highly demanding environment. Secondly, GP2 race tires supplied from Europe for European races will have incurred lower transport mileage costs and will have a lower environmental impact.

“We are proud that Bridgestone senior management has shown this confidence in our operation,” says TCE Managing Director Franco Annunziato. “Our engineers share a passion for motorsport. They are strongly motivated by the opportunity to play a key role in this high-profile competition. As an added benefit, the experience will help them in translating the latest technologies into high-performance road tires for the everyday motorist.”

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track news

ISC 2nd-quarter profit shrinks
International Speedway Corp. reported Tuesday its latest quarterly profit shrank 40 percent, gouged by losses on failed efforts to build two new racetracks and Speedplex redevelopment expenses.

The company also disclosed last weekend's attendance at the Pepsi 400 race was only about 120,000, or roughly three-quarters of its grandstand capacity. It blamed rainstorms that delayed the preliminary Busch Series race and discouraged fans from attending the main event.

It also warned investors its new memorabilia joint venture, Motorsports Authentics in Charlotte, N.C., may suffer up to $20 million in losses this year, mainly because of a sharp decline in orders for Dale Earnhardt Jr. merchandise. Sales plunged shortly after Junior announced in May he was defecting from his family's racing team.

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Rain hampers first test day for Bourdais
Ferrari's Felipe Massa finished on top the times on the second day of testing at the Spa circuit, where rain slowed the drivers progress in the afternoon.

It was a case of "Spa weather" at Spa today, with only part of the morning run in the dry, after a damp start and then a wet end to the second day of testing. France's Sebastien Bourdais took over in the cockpit from Tonio Liuzzi today for the Toro Rosso team. Although the weather hampered progress, the team carried out aero work in terms of assessing downforce levels for this track, as well as some work on brakes. The changing conditions provided a useful opportunity to try out the Bridgestone wet and extreme wet tires. An hour was lost at the end of the day when the car stopped on track with a mechanical problem. Bourdais continues testing tomorrow.

Pos  Driver        Team                Time      Laps
 1.  Massa         Ferrari             1:46.698   54
 2.  Alonso        McLaren-Mercedes    1:47.012   68
 3.  Kovalainen    Renault             1:47.754   44
 4.  R.Schumacher  Toyota              1:48.534   29
 5.  Sutil         Spyker-Ferrari      1:48.873   49
 6.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault    1:48.915   40
 7.  Button        Honda               1:49.526   50
 8.  Bourdais      Toro Rosso-Ferrari  1:49.732   53
 9.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota     1:50.295   52
10.  Davidson      Super Aguri-Honda   1:52.438   54
11.  Kubica        BMW-Sauber          1:55.155   29


Coughlan agrees to tell Ferrari about spy saga
(GMM) Mike Coughlan did not appear in London's High Court on Wednesday after reaching an agreement with Ferrari.

Accused along with his wife Trudy of receiving and trying to copy 780 separate pages of confidential team data, the suspended McLaren chief designer will provide a sworn affidavit to Maranello based Ferrari in exchange for the information not being available to prosecutors in Italy.

Coughlan had been ordered by the High Court to provide the information on Wednesday, but the private agreement led to the cancellation of the scheduled hearing.


Klien to test for Spyker at Spa
Christian Klien will test for the Etihad Aldar Spyker Formula One Team at Spa-Francorchamps on 12 July.

Team Principal Colin Kolles however stressed that no decision had been taken regarding the race driver position for the rest of the season. 'We are very grateful to the Honda Racing F1 Team for releasing Christian at such short notice to drive for the final day of our three-day test at Spa. There are many elements to be considered before we can make our final decision on drivers and we will carefully evaluate all the options over the coming days before making any announcement regarding the European Grand Prix and beyond.'

Twenty-four year old Austrian Klien added, 'I am very happy to have been invited to test for Spyker in Spa, one of my favorite tracks, and to have the opportunity to work with a team which is determined to make progress this season. I would like to thank Spyker for this opportunity and also the Honda Racing F1 Team for its help and support in permitting me to test for another team on this occasion.' Spyker PR

The Honda Racing F1 Team will allow its Reserve and Test Driver Christian Klien to take part in a one-day test with the Spyker Formula One Team in Spa this week.  

Whilst Honda's first priority is its 2007 development program, it has always placed great emphasis on supporting its young drivers. As the current testing regulations have restricted Christian's mileage this year, Honda wishes to allow Christian as many opportunities as possible to develop his abilities. 

Christian will test with Spyker on Thursday, the final day of Spyker's three-day test program. 

Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director of the Honda Racing F1 Team, commented: "Christian has had limited time in the car this year as a result of the testing regulations. This test with Spyker could lead to him returning to a race seat and those opportunities do not come along often. As we have demonstrated on previous occasions, Honda will do whatever is possible to help our young drivers to further their careers and keep moving forward." Honda PR


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Tennis beat 'Hamilton hysteria' on British TV
  • Lewis' fast life in the gossip columns
  • Still no deal as Indy deadline looms

Tennis beat 'Hamilton hysteria' on British TV
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton may be the British media's new favorite, but Fernando Alonso is still a bigger draw within Spain.

British broadcasters ITV and BBC were locked in a battle of the viewers last Sunday as the grand prix at Silverstone clashed with the men's tennis final from Wimbledon.

But, despite pole sitter Hamilton's media saturation throughout the weekend, it emerges that Roger Federer's five-set triumph over Spaniard Rafael Nadal actually attracted more Britons to their TV sets.

The BBC broadcast recorded a peak audience of 7.3 million, which is 2.2m more than for the grand prix, covered by ITV.

Incredibly, F1's peak audience of 5.1m only narrowly beat the mixed doubles final, at 4.9m.

In Spain, meanwhile, an average of 5.4 million tuned in to Telecinco to watch Alonso finish second to Kimi Raikkonen, while only 2.1m saw their countryman Nadal get beaten by Federer.

Lewis' fast life in the gossip columns
(GMM) Having won over the specialist motorsport - and even mainstream - media, Lewis Hamilton is now the latest British star to feature regularly in the gossip columns of UK's Fleet Street 'papers.

The McLaren rookie and championship leader's girlfriend Jodia Ma recently moved back to her birthplace Hong Kong, which has left 22-year-old Hamilton at the mercy of journalists wanting to link him with a string of fast-paced women.

London's Daily Star says 43-year-old American rocker Courtney Love, the ex-wife of Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain, "thinks Lewis is just gorgeous. She has been emailing people who know him in the hope they will arrange for her to be introduced to him."

The Daily Mail, meanwhile, published photos recently of Hamilton attending a party on the arm of British popstar Natasha Bedingfield, leaving Lewis needing to deny rumors of a fling as he prepared for the recent British grand prix.

The newspaper added: "Racy Natasha appeared to be making some fast moves on (Hamilton)."

The widely-circulated The Sun then took full responsibility after Hamilton failed to win his home grand prix, headlining that a 'Sun stunner distracted Lewis'.

Accompanying the story was a photo of a topless woman who was supposedly Lewis' grid girl at Silverstone.

"He looked me up and down and winked," she said of their encounter on the pole position slot.

The Evening Standard, meanwhile, reports that Hamilton once dated model and former Celebrity Big Brother housemate Danielle Lloyd, who was at the British grand prix on Sunday.

She recalled: "We were both out with friends, but there was a bit of a spark and we swapped numbers."

Still no deal as Indy deadline looms
(GMM) On the eve of a self-imposed July 12 deadline, organizers of the US grand prix are no closer to reaching a deal for a race at the Indianapolis circuit in 2008.

Talks have been going on between the fabled Motor Speedway's chief executive Tony George and his F1 counterpart Bernie Ecclestone since the existing contract expired last month, but a spokesman on Wednesday said a decision will not necessarily be made by the looming deadline.

Indianapolis' Ron Green said: "We'll get the word out as soon as we know."

The US organizers are seeking a new long term contract, but - also criticizing a lack of promotion - Ecclestone said recently that his sport can live without Indy.

TV News

Watkins Glen IPS races to be shown on ESPN2
The highlights from the Indy Pro Series doubleheader weekend at Watkins Glen on July 7 & 8 will be shown on Thursday, July 12, 5:30 pm - 6:00 pm ET on ESPN2.


Denton Grand Marshal for Brickyard 400
"Desperate Housewives" actor James Denton has been named the grand marshal for the Allstate® 400 at the Brickyard ® on July 29 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

This year represents the 14th running of the historic race, which will be the season's first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event televised on ESPN, and marks Allstate's third consecutive season as title sponsor of the race.

Denton will be on hand to participate in pre-race activities, including the ceremonial waving of the green flag, signaling the start of the race. As a continued Indianapolis Motor Speedway family tradition, IMS Chairman of the Board Mari Hulman George will deliver the legendary command, "Gentlemen, start your engines."


Post-race media clips from Toronto


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Spyker confirms Albers split
  • Piquet lines up Wurz's Williams - report
  • Coughlan's wife copied stolen docs - lawyer
  • Honda confirms Zander appointment

Spyker confirms Albers split
(GMM) Following media speculation, Spyker confirmed on Tuesday that Christijan Albers' contract to race for the Dutch team in 2007 has been terminated with immediate effect.

A statement referred to "commercial difficulties" with the pay-driver, while rumors suggest that India's Narain Karthikeyan and Honda test driver Christian Klien are first in line for the now-vacant seat alongside Adrian Sutil starting at the Nurburgring in less than two weeks.

Spyker said: "An announcement on Albers' replacement and the financial conditions will be made in due course."

It is understood that Klien and Karthikeyan, contracted respectively to Honda and Williams as test drivers, have compiled the biggest budgets for the seat, but that Spyker test drivers Markus Winkelhock and Adrian Valles are also in the running.

Piquet lines up Wurz's Williams - report
(GMM) Christijan Albers has lost his Spyker seat but the Dutch driver may not be the only missing face in the Nurburgring paddock in just under two weeks' time.

The Spanish newspaper 'Marca' is reporting on Tuesday that Alex Wurz's Williams ride is also in doubt, given his conspicuous failure to keep up with his teammate Nico Rosberg in 2007.

Renault test driver and rookie Nelson Piquet Jr, who may even test the Toyota-powered FW29 at this week's Spa Francorchamps test in Belgium, is apparently front of the queue to replace Austrian Wurz, although negotiations between Sir Frank Williams and Piquet's manager Flavio Briatore are still taking place.

21-year-old Piquet's Williams link dates back to 2004, when at the end of that season he tested the famous team's single seater at Jerez, as did Rosberg.

Both are the sons of former world champions and Williams drivers.

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Lesa France Kennedy’s husband, NASCAR pilot killed UPDATE A 10-year-old boy and his parents in that Sanford home also suffered critical burns in the fireball after the crash that killed Dr. Bruce Kennedy and a passenger of the twin-engine Cessna 310.

Both parents yelled to onlookers that their 4-year-old daughter was still inside as flames gutted the house and spread to a neighboring home. Officials did not confirm that the girl was among three people on the ground who died but said there was a "debris field," that included the two destroyed houses and where pieces of the plane had split apart where they found the five victims.

Dr. Bruce Kennedy, 53, was the pilot of the plane that took off at 8:23 a.m. from Daytona Beach International Airport with one other person on board.

Kennedy, a plastic surgeon, is married to France Kennedy, who is president of International Speedway Corp., and also vice president and assistant treasurer of NASCAR. The passenger was a NASCAR pilot, said Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson.

Kennedy called in an emergency shortly after take-off, reporting smoke in the cockpit just after 8:30 a.m., said Federal Aviation Authority spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen.

"They were directing it to Sanford (International Airport) when a mile to two miles north-northwest of the airport, it crashed into a house," Bergen said.

Four people were in the home: the parents and their 10-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter. Pete and Milagros DeChat are listed as the homeowners, according to property appraiser records.

The boy, his father and mother were taken by helicopter to Orlando Regional Medical Center in critical condition with the burns. The 4-year-old had not yet been found.

The boy appears to be the most seriously injured, with 3rd-degree burns over 80 to 90 percent of his body, said Matt Minnetto, a Sanford Fire Investigator at scene. More at Orlando Sentinel

07/10/07 "This morning, at approximately 8:40 a.m. Eastern Time, a Cessna 310 registered to Competitor Liaison Bureau, Inc. of Daytona Beach, crashed in a Sanford, Florida, area neighborhood.  At this time, we can confirm there were two people on-board, including the pilot, Dr. Bruce Kennedy (right) and Michael Klemm (below left), a senior captain with NASCAR Aviation. Both were killed in the crash.

“Dr. Kennedy was the husband of NASCAR Board Member and ISC President Lesa France Kennedy. 

“It is clear that numerous families were affected by this terrible tragedy and unfortunately several people were deceased or seriously injured. Our deepest sympathies and prayers are with all of those who were involved in this tragic accident and their families. We will provide additional information as it becomes available.” NASCAR 


Hamilton leads Day 1 at Spa
Formula 1 descended on the legendary Spa Francorchamps track today for the first time since the 2005 Belgian Grand Prix. The teams began an intensive three day test session. The circuit has been revised for 2007 with a new final chicane, pit entry and start-finish straight. More rain is anticipated overnight, with conditions expected to dry out before the start of tomorrow’s session.

Pos  Driver        Team                Time      Laps
 1.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes    1:46.613  81
 2.  Kubica        BMW-Sauber          1:47.059  80
 3.  Massa         Ferrari             1:47.469  63
 4.  R.Schumacher  Toyota              1:47.787  69
 5.  Piquet        Renault             1:47.997  50
 6.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault    1:48.243  53
 7.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota     1:48.287  64
 8.  Liuzzi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari  1:49.179  63
 9.  Rossiter      Super Aguri-Honda   1:49.228  60
10.  Klien         Honda               1:49.419  63
11.  van de Garde  Spyker-Ferrari      1:49.712  53


IRL issues penalties for post-race brawl
The Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series, today announced penalties for the teams, drivers and non-uniformed hard card credential holders involved in a post-race altercation on pit road immediately following the IndyCar Series Camping World Watkins Glen Grand Prix on July 8.
Team Penske and Andretti Green Racing have been fined $25,000 each for unsportsmanlike conduct on pit road as cars returned immediately after the checkered flag.

Drivers Tony Kanaan of Andretti Green Racing and Sam Hornish Jr. of Team Penske have been fined an unspecified amount for their actions.

In addition, the league announced that Anthony Fedele has had his league-issued hard card, which was granted through Andretti Green Racing, and credential request opportunities suspended indefinitely. Sam Hornish Sr. has been suspended from pit lane for one race.

In addition, the teams, the drivers and Hornish Sr. have been placed on probation until Dec. 31.

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Champ Car adds Atlantic race
The 2007 Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda series champion will be crowned on August 12 following the Generac Grand Prix at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

However, the 2007 series champion will have the opportunity to do battle against his fellow Atlantic competitors at least once more on Saturday, December 1 as officials from the Champ Car Atlantic Championship and Grand Prix Arizona today announced that the Atlantics will contest a non-championship “dash for cash” in conjunction with the Champ Car World Series season finale. It will be the inaugural street race in Phoenix for both the Champ Car Atlantic Championship and the Champ Car World Series. The 50-minute timed Atlantic race will feature a $100,000 purse and has been dubbed the “Dash in the Desert.”

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Heidfeld to skip test
Nick Heidfeld has decided to miss BMW Sauber's test at Spa Francorchamps due to a recurring back pain. The German driver first complained of the problem on the Friday of the French Grand Prix and sat out practice as a consequence.


Fellows to race at Watkins Glen
Toronto's Ron Fellows finished second Sunday driving the #16 Cadillac CTS-V in the SCCA Speed GT Challenge series at the Grand Prix of Toronto. For the next six weeks Fellows will be on a tour preparing for and racing in the NASCAR Nextel Cup and NASCAR Busch Series. Fellows will race the #33 Kevin Harvick Incorporated Chevy first at the NBS NAPA Auto Parts 200 Aug. 3-4 at Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and again at Watkins Glen International a week later. Fellows will do double duty at the Glen where he will drive the #96 DLP Hall of Fame Chevrolet in the Cup race Aug. 12. Before embarking on that journey he will be doing some testing with both Harvick and DLP -- probably at Virginia International Raceway -- in preparation for his NASCAR venture. "After (yesterday) it's all NASCAR," Fellows said. "I am really looking forward to the Montreal race. I think those (NBS) cars are going to be a hoot to drive at that track." He has won on the Formula One Montreal track before in a Camaro in the old GM Racing Series. Fellows also has three Busch race wins and a pair of Craftsman Truck Series wins on his resume. Toronto Sun


Ex-NASCAR publicist pleads guilty of statutory rape
A former NASCAR publicist pleaded guilty Monday to several charges, including statutory rape and taking indecent liberties with a child, for his relationship with a young girl. Richard Norman “Chip” Williams, 50, of Mooresville, is already serving a 26-year prison sentence on federal charges that he had a sexual relationship with a girl who was 11 years old when they met online in 2002.

Williams pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of first-degree sexual offense, one count of statutory rape and three counts of taking indecent liberties with a child, authorities said. He was sentenced to between 20 years and 24 years and nine months, to run concurrently with the federal sentence. Williams will get credit for nearly a year he spent in the Guilford County jail.


New Challenges Face the Pacific F2000 Racers
Buttonwillow, Calif. – A brand-new Hankook tire, a demanding new race track and high ambient temperatures will keep the Pacific F2000 Championship contenders on their toes when the burgeoning open-wheel development series visits the imposing Miller Motorsports Park road course in Tooele, Utah – just west of Salt Lake City – later this week.

Almost two dozen competitors are expected to jostle for honors as the Pacific F2000 series reconvenes after a two-month hiatus. As usual, two 30-minute races will be held – one on Friday and another on Saturday – as part of the Big O Tires NASCAR Grand National West race meeting on July 13/14.

Patrick Barrett, from Los Osos, Calif., leads the point standings at the season’s halfway stage. The talented 17-year-old has won four of the six races including a two-race sweep last time out at Buttonwillow Raceway Park in the PR1 Motorsports team’s #3 Jim Russell Racing School/Alpinestars Van Diemen.

"I feel very confident going into Miller," says Barrett. "It will be a difficult weekend though because of the heat. I believe it will be in the high 90s, and the track is quite demanding.

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Toro Rosso takes bullish approach to Asia
Total Sports Asia was appointed as official sponsorship agent in Asia and the Middle East for the Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula One team.

The region currently hosts Formula One races in China, Japan, Malaysia and Bahrain and there are races already on the horizon in Singapore, Korea and Abu Dhabi, and India. TSA has six offices across the region including all the current Formula One markets.

“At a time when the world of sports sponsorship is increasingly drawing interest from Asian brands, understanding their cultural issues, market needs and the business processes of the region are paramount in being able to bring together established and emerging Asian brands with the emerging Formula One team at Toro Rosso” said Marcus Luer, Chief Executive Officer of Total Sports Asia.

“We have spent many years building up our network and our experience, and now boast a team that not only understands the market, but that also operates in local language’s and has a track record of success in the area of sports marketing. In a team like Toro Rosso, we see many synergies, an Formula One team which is bringing together key experience with innovative ideas and a challenging approach amidst tough competition”

Commenting on the appointment Toro Rosso’s Team Principal, Franz Tost said: “It’s clear that any commercial strategy in sport must now consider strongly the influence and strength of the Asian and Middle Eastern markets and their respective brands. As a challenger team we require specialists in all areas of our operation, sponsorship and commercial partners are no exception. In Total Sports Asia we feel we have identified a partner with specialist experience in a key sector for our business.”


Spyker terminates Albers
Spyker F1 Ltd. announces that, due to commercial difficulties, Christijan Albers will no longer race for the Etihad Aldar Spyker Formula One Team in the 2007 FIA Formula One World Championship. The decision was taken as a result of one of Albers' main personal sponsors continuing to stay in default.

Team principal Colin Kolles stated: 'This has been a very difficult decision. Christijan has started to find some form in the car, but the team's ambitious development program has been seriously compromised by non-payment by one of his sponsors and we are faced with no other option.'

Director of Formula 1 Michiel Mol added: 'The decision to replace Christijan is one of the hardest I have had to take since becoming involved in the team. By terminating the contract with Christijan and the subsequent entering into a new contract it enables Spyker F1 Ltd. to safeguard its strong financial footing needed to fulfill its technical and commercial goals. We do not expect this will have any adverse effect on Spyker F1's financial result this year. We would also like to stress this decision has nothing to do with Christijan's recent performances - we still have faith in his contribution as a driver - but the long-term future of the team is of paramount importance. We would like to thank Christijan for his input and wish him every success in the future.'

An announcement on Albers´ replacement and the financial conditions will be made in due course. Spyker PR

tv news

Toronto Champ Car Atlantic race to be shown on ESPN2
The Champ Car Atlantic Championship race run in Toronto on July 8 will be shown on Wednesday, July 11, 5:00 pm - 5:30 pm ET on ESPN2.


Alonso smokes Hamilton, calls him too cocky
Fernando Alonso has blasted Lewis Hamilton for being too cocky after his pole position at Silverstone. And, in an astonishing attack on his McLaren teammate, Alonso admitted being satisfied by Hamilton’s failure to win the British GP.

The moaning Spaniard, 25, said: “It’s always good when the leader of the championship has more difficulties on the track, above all in England and after being pole.

“On Saturday I was faster than him but later, with less fuel, he was able to get pole and it seemed everything was a party. It tastes better finishing ahead of him because you see that everything before will make him more angry for not winning.”

Hamilton’s delight at being the first Brit to claim pole at Silverstone since Damon Hill in 1996 was shared by his dad Anthony, who punched the air and danced in the pit lane.

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Record breaking attendance for British GP
Silverstone Managing Director, Richard Phillips, has heralded this year’s British Grand Prix as one of the best and most successful events he has ever worked on. A three day crowd of 207,000 fans enjoyed this year’s Grand Prix, including a capacity crowd of 85,000 on the Sunday, and record breaking attendances on both the Friday (42,000) and Saturday (80,000) of this year’s spectacular event.

“I am absolutely delighted with how the last three days have gone,” he said. “Considering what we had to put up with in the weeks leading up to the event, including the torrential weather, flooded car parks and terrorist activities in London and Glasgow, I think the team and our contractors have done an amazing job and put on a fantastic event for the fans. We had to implement a number of contingency plans leading up to the event and, thanks to the team’s experience, hard work and commitment, we have managed to succeed where others might have failed. The fans also played a huge part. The bigger crowds, security procedures and revised traffic systems caused minor delays, and I’d like to thank the fans once again for their co-operation and understanding.”

“We have the best and most passionate fans in the world – they are amazing. To get record crowds on Friday and Saturday, and a capacity crowd on Sunday is fantastic. We had a great race on Sunday, but the atmosphere after qualifying on Saturday was phenomenal. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was electric - we had more fans at Silverstone on Saturday than we had on race day last year. The noise and atmosphere when Lewis qualified on pole is something that will stay with me for a very long time.”

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Coulthard to sell $70m Monaco hotel
(GMM)  David Coulthard is set to secure a multi-million dollar windfall by selling his five-star hotel Columbus in Monaco.

The Red Bull driver and resident of the Principality co-owns the luxury facility with hotel magnate and fellow millionaire Ken McCulloch, who has apparently fallen out with a third partner, Chicago-based Peter Morris.

It is reported in British newspapers that the pair are seeking (US) $70 million, through the property agent Christie and Co.

Christie and Co would not confirm the official valuation of the 181-room hotel to the media, but director Jeremy Hill said it is one of very few independently-owned properties in Monaco to come on the market.


Lime Rock crowd reminiscent of glory days
The American Le Mans Series boasted a record crowd at Lime Rock Park on Saturday at a venue recognized as one of the most charming and historic in all of sports car racing. Traffic backed up as early at 8 a.m. for the race course that celebrated its 50th anniversary. The official souvenir program sold out before noon for the 3 p.m. race and the paddock was gridlocked for the mid-day fan autograph session.  Photo courtesy Regis Lefebure

“It suddenly looked like the 1980s again,” said Lime Rock Park President Skip Barber, “back in the glory days of the Camel GT and the great days of IMSA GTP cars.”

The fans in attendance seemed to revel among their fellow race supporters.

“The crowd on the hillside was enormous,” said Joyce Harris of Williamsburg, MA, an event regular. “As a long-time Lime Rock fan I felt this was an excellent event and I am already looking forward to next year!”  Photo courtesy John Thawley

For those at Lime Rock Park as well as those watching the CBS Sports telecast, there was little doubt that Dr. Don Panoz’ vision a decade ago of resurrecting sports car racing in North America was in full sight. 

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TV deal paving the way for 20-race sked and title sponsorship
What a difference a year makes.

Last July, on the eve of the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto (nee Molson Indy), the chattering classes were going on and on about the possibility of Champ Car and the rival Indy Racing League reaching some sort of agreement on unification.

The IRL's Tony George and Champ Car's Kevin Kalkhoven had both talked optimistically about getting open-wheel racing back to where it once was: one series where "everybody" would race at the Indianapolis 500 and "everybody" would race at places like Toronto.

This would mean that Paul Tracy could take another crack at winning Indy and Toronto fans would get to watch famous American racers like Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti in combat over at the CNE.

And then it all just went away. Poof! Champ Car president Steve Johnson doesn't even want to hear about it these days.

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Frustration mounts for Mario Andretti UPDATE A reader writes, Guess blood is thicker than water. With ALL due respect to Mario, his leadership and his accomplishments, the easiest way to join the two series is for one of the IRL "big" teams to jump ship with their premier sponsors (Since CCWS ownership can't find any - CDW excluded). However, a lot of longtime CCWS fans would prefer that Michael never come back to the CCWS paddock.

Mario sees the F1 chances of Marco flying out of the paddock with each successive IRL race because he knows F1 will never take an IRL driver. Time has shown that Michael does not care for the input of his father and is blinded to the fact Marco will never see the F1 grid as a driver as long as Marco is in the IRL. In my opinion, Marco's F1 tests to date were just a publicity stunt arranged by American Honda with the Japanese Honda front office. Every year Honda arranges such a test for an IRL driver, usually the defending champion. Unfortunately, Mario, Marco and the open wheel race fans lose. Greg W., Renton, WA

Dear Greg, Looking at the anemic attendance at Watkins Glen Sunday, it is clear the IRL is treading water, just like Champ Car. Is there really any question that a merger is needed? Dave C.

07/08/07 No individual has tried harder over the last few years to unify America's divergent pair of open-wheel racing championships than Mario Andretti.

The 67-year-old living legend commands respect in both the Indy Racing League and the Champ Car World Series -- as he should, as an Indianapolis 500 winner and four-time U.S. national champion. Yet even Mario's wisdom, clout and common sense have not been enough to convince IRL founder Tony George and de facto Champ Car boss Kevin Kalkhoven of the need to come together for the greater good of a sport struggling for sponsor dollars and fan interest.

Andretti revealed exclusively to ESPN.com that as recently as a couple of weeks ago, he was confident that progress was being made behind the scenes to create the scenario that longtime devotees of the American open-wheel scene have been dreaming of for more than a decade -- a single series combining the best elements of Champ Car and the IndyCar Series, anchored by the Indy 500.

But a key meeting was canceled at the last minute, and it appears the gulf between the two sanctioning organizations is as wide as ever. "I almost cried," Andretti admitted. "I had a situation put together where a really comprehensive meeting was set to take place and it got derailed."

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Busch cheats way to rain-delayed Busch win? UPDATE #2 NASCAR on Monday cleared Hendrick Motorsports' No. 5 Busch Series team after it rechecked the team's front springs at its research and development center in Concord, N.C.  Kyle Busch won Saturday's rain-delayed Busch race at Daytona Beach, Fla., but during post-race inspection NASCAR officials were unable to get an accurate reading on the car's front spring rate.  After re-measuring the car Monday, NASCAR officials said the car was found within tolerances and passed the inspection process.

07/07/07 NASCAR is taking the front springs from Kyle Busch's No. 5 Chevrolet back to the R&D Center for review after they found the individual left and right springs did not meet series spring rate requirements during Winn-Dixie 250 post race inspection at Daytona International Speedway.  NASCAR has taken the front springs from the car, NASCAR spokeswoman Tracy Judd said. NASCAR rules require the left-front spring rate to be no less than 800 pounds, and the right-front no less than 1500 pounds. The car exceeded both of those spring rates but the total was less than the minimum 3,000-pound total spring rate, Judd said.

No wonder his car was so dominate. Even though Busch cheated to win NASCAR will let him keep his victory and give him a slap on the wrist fine later this week. NASCAR - where cheaters prosper and where "if you ain't cheat'n you ain't trying." 

07/07/07 Kyle Busch held off Kevin Harvick and Dave Blaney in a green-white-checkered-flag finish to win Saturday's rain-delayed Winn-Dixie 250 NASCAR Busch Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

Busch crossed the finish line 0.103 seconds ahead of Harvick, with Blaney .243 seconds back, in a race that required two laps beyond the posted 100-lap distance at the 2.5-mile superspeedway. Tony Stewart and Clint Bowyer completed the top five.

Busch led 65 of the 102 laps and was at the front when Juan Pablo Montoya spun in the dogleg on Lap 98 to bring out the race's sixth and final caution. The race restarted on Lap 101, and though Harvick and Blaney jockeyed for position behind the race winner, they never mounted a concerted threat.

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track news

Coke signs deal with ISC
International Speedway Corporation announced that the company has signed an exclusive ten-year agreement with Coca-Cola North America (CCNA). Specific financial terms were not released. Under the terms of the agreement, CCNA brands will become the "Official Soft Drink," "Official Sparkling Beverage" and "Official Water" for 10 of ISC's wholly owned and/or operated motorsports facilities; as well as the Daytona 500 Experience, the Ultimate Motorsports Attraction. Beginning in January 2008, the partnership will include the following ISC properties:

Daytona International Speedway, including race entitlement rights for the facility's July Nextel [to be Sprint] Cup and Busch series events; The DAYTONA 500 Experience; Chicagoland Speedway; Homestead-Miami Speedway; Kansas Speedway; Michigan International Speedway; Richmond International Raceway. The relationship will extend to Darlington Raceway in 2009, Talladega Superspeedway and Watkins Glen International in 2011, and Phoenix International Raceway in 2012 [no mention of Martinsville or California speedways]. Under the new agreement, CCNA beverages will be served exclusively at the facilities by Americrown, ISC's catering, concessions and merchandising subsidiary, and by other facility concessionaires. In addition, CCNA will leverage its marketing expertise to create a variety of programs featuring ISC properties both at-track and wherever racing fans enjoy their favorite sport. DIS PR


Toyota team replaces drug addict driver
Red Horse Racing announced today that Kentucky’s own David Green will be behind the wheel of the No. 1 RFMS/Red Horse Racing Toyota Tundra for the Built Ford Tough 225 presented by the Greater Cincinnati Ford Dealers on Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway.

Red Horse Racing’s decision to have Green pilot the No. 1 RFMS/Red Horse Racing Toyota this weekend comes following the arrest of Aaron Fike.

“We are still investigating to get first hand information on what happened with Aaron,” said General Manager and Team Owner, Tom DeLoach.  “We don’t expect to have any definitive answers on the events leading up to Aaron’s arrest until later this week.”

Green, a native of Owensboro, Kentucky, is a veteran of NASCAR, having raced in all three of NASCAR’s top tier divisions since making his entrance onto the NASCAR scene in 1989.  Green is the 1994 NASCAR Busch Series Champion and has amassed 386 starts, nine wins, 72 top-five, and 144 top-ten finishes in that Series.

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Toronto was entertaining, but......
A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1, Awesome and exciting race from Toronto yesterday. Anyone who says Champ Car is not worth watching or keeping you glued to your seats from the first to the last lap must be on Crack.
Question: the Toronto Star piece you posted - "Champ Car Wheels Fall Off." Is this the same writer who has found a mission in his miserable life to be bashing Champ Car in Toronto for several years now? Did Paul Tracy by chance steal his girlfriend or something? Werner Fritz, Trevor, Wisconsin

Dear Werner, Yes, entertaining race, but unfortunately the USA TV ratings will again be low because 1) The race was up against the British GP F1 race on network TV, 2) Champ Car still does not have enough big-name American drivers that can draw the Americans to watch. There is no doubt that the level of driver skill in Champ Car far exceeds that of the IRL, but the IRL is beating Champ Car hands down on promoting some of their drivers into household names. The Champ Car race was definitely the better race. Racing is best when it creates apprehension covered with suspense at each corner. Toronto had that the whole way. Dave C.

Another writes, Here in Southern California the Champ Car race had lots of competition for viewers.
F1 on Fox 10:00A.M.
Champ Car on ESPN 10:00A.M.
Angels Baseball on FSNET 10:00A.M.
I have to admit I watched the F1 race on Fox...taped the Champ Car race...followed the baseball game online at the same time. After watching the tape of the Champ Car race it was by far the best.... but the telecast will get low ratings here in So Cal. Scott Anderson


Coughlan still silent amid spy saga
(GMM)  Mike Coughlan is the only major figure in the Ferrari-McLaren espionage scandal who is yet to break his silence.

Sacked Ferrari veteran Nigel Stepney was widely quoted by British newspapers at the weekend, and team bosses Jean Todt (Ferrari), Ron Dennis (McLaren) and even Honda's Nick Fry have all made themselves available to the media as speculation ran wild last week and over the course of the British grand prix weekend.

Plenty of unanswered questions, however, remain in McLaren chief designer Coughlan's court, after it was alleged that the Briton received up to 700 pages of documents bearing the 'confidential' stamps of the Prancing Horse.

Stepney said: "I have no idea how anything came into Mike's possession.  I don't even know for sure that he has had documents.  Do you know for sure?"

More will be known after Coughlan's case hits the London High Court for a public hearing on Tuesday, as Todt has now revealed.

The Ferrari boss explained: "Our lawyers went to visit the house of one of the top management people from a competitors' team.

"They decided after that, that they have some facts, which allowed them to move forward.  And to move forward is to go to the High Court on Tuesday."

For the moment, the only insight into 47-year-old Coughlan's position following his suspension from McLaren is courtesy of an unnamed 'source in the McLaren team' who spoke to the International Herald Tribune on Monday.

The source "reported that Coughlan said he did not know who had sent him the material that had been found.  He also said that when he received the material, he had asked one of his superiors - but not Dennis - what he should do with it," the newspaper added.


Mike Coughlan is the man
McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan has been officially named for the first time as the McLaren employee who is being investigated by Ferrari for spying.

Autosport.com reports that although neither Ferrari nor McLaren would confirm this information, the London High Court listings for tomorrow show that Ferrari's action is against him. A preliminary hearing in the case of "Ferrari Spa v Coughlan & Anr " is scheduled to be heard by the Chancery Division on Tuesday morning.


Toyota NASCAR driver arrested for heroin UPDATE "We were made aware of this incident this afternoon," said Red Horse Racing's General Manager and Team Owner, Tom DeLoach. "We are working with NASCAR to obtain further information on the incident and will release more information as the facts become available to us."

07/08/07 Mason Police said Toyota NASCAR driver, Aaron Fike, was arrested at Kings Island this weekend.  It happened in the parking lot Saturday afternoon.

According to police , Fike struck a Kings Island security officer with the side mirror of his car as he drove away.

When Mason police arrived on the scene, they found heroin inside his SUV as well as syringes and spoons with residue.

Fike was not alone.  He had a woman with him, by the name of Cassandra Davidson.

Both were arrested on drug possession charges and taken to the Warren County Jail.

Fike, 24, is a driver of the #1 Toyota Tundra Craftsman Truck Series.

He's currently ranked eighth in the series.


Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • Stepney-gate won't foul Brawn return - boss
  • 'I need to raise my game' - Hamilton
  • Bernie says no to Austrian GP return
  • Honda make another technical appointment New
  • Button vows to stay loyal to Honda New

Stepney-gate won't foul Brawn return - boss
(GMM) The Stepney-gate espionage scandal will not foul Ross Brawn's likely return to the Ferrari team in 2008.

Ferrari boss Jean Todt at Silverstone stopped short of confirming that the former technical director will certainly be back at the Maranello team next year, but he said the two issues are entirely separate.

"Ross is a great guy. I don't want to speak for him, but he is very sad knowing all that has happened," Todt said.

Brawn and countryman Nigel Stepney, who has been dismissed by Ferrari following accusations that he passed confidential data to a McLaren colleague, were close friends and allies throughout the ultra-successful Michael Schumacher era.

Stepney told British newspapers at the weekend that Brawn's departure was a key factor in his fallout out at Ferrari.

He said: "I missed the one-to-one relationship with Ross. He knew exactly what I could do; I always had 100 per cent support from him."

Todt, though, said a planned meeting to discuss Brawn's future in the next few weeks is still on track.

"There is nothing that will interfere in the choices we have to make for the future," he added.

'I need to raise my game' - Hamilton
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton on Sunday vowed to raise his game after finishing more than half a minute behind his teammate Fernando Alonso in Britain.

To the audible disappointment of his countrymen at Silverstone, the McLaren pole sitter struggled to match the pace of the British grand prix leaders, including winner Kimi Raikkonen.

Spain's partisan 'Diario As' newspaper headlined on Monday morning that reigning world champion Alonso "gave Hamilton a lesson" on his home turf.

Hamilton agreed: "I think I need to step up my game, and I intend to.

"For me as a driver I'm still learning, I still have time to find in myself through experience. Here, I've struggled in terms of pace."

But Renault's Pat Symonds, who worked alongside Alonso during his titles in 2005 and 2006, observed that he always expected the Spaniard to ultimately find his feet alongside Hamilton in 2007.

He told the Guardian: "I think the latter half of the season will be, relatively speaking, easier for Fernando and harder for Lewis."

But Alonso, 25, told 'As' that he thinks he is already on top of Hamilton's game.

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Champ Car wheels fall off
Blame bad luck and a wet track for the opening-lap pileup that cut the field of competitors at the Toronto Grand Prix from a tenuous 17 cars to a bush-league 12 in the first minute of the proceedings. And chalk up the scene outside the gates yesterday – where the scalpers were surrendering to an apparent glut of supply with the words "Half price!" – as an anecdotal observation.

But if you needed yet more evidence that Hogtown's annual festival of revs was in anything but unrecoverable decline, you might have noted that race organizers gave out no less than 5,000 gratis three-day passes at the Argos' season opener a couple of weeks back. So while the shills were parroting an impossible-to-verify statistic that the race brought $50 million in "economic activity" to the GTA this past week, and while the grandstands looked full enough considering the weather, the 22nd annual race by the lake raised at least a couple of intriguing questions. Who, for one thing, actually paid to get in? (The powers that be refused to release paid attendance figures, which is never a good sign.) And more to the problem, now that the Champ Car World Series has fallen into a holding pattern of underwhelming mediocrity in both technology and talent, who actually cared?

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This time Tracy wasn't to blame
This time, Paul Tracy's crash wasn't his fault.

The Scarborough native's bid for a third Champ Car win in front of his hometown crowd didn't make the first full lap of yesterday's Toronto Grand Prix.

Tracy, who started 10th, had made it through the first five challenging corners when he suddenly found the dislodged front wing from Simon Pagenaud's car under the nose of his Forsythe Racing machine.

"I didn't even see it," said a disappointed Tracy. "It was on the ground and I ran over it and that was it. I didn't even feel it."

Tracy pushed the broken wing down the track, but when he attempted to negotiate Turn 7, the car wouldn't oblige.

"I went down the straightaway and there was no steering," he said. "I turned for the kink in the straightaway and I had no steering; my wheel was off the ground so I was just sort of a passenger. We had a pretty good start. I got out of the hole pretty good and made up a few positions, so it's pretty disappointing."

Tracy said that while he's experienced a number of race oddities, this was a first.

"Once someone touches somebody else, the whole wing comes off," he said.  The Star


Bridgestone Tire Strategies GP of Toronto
Bridgestone Tire Performance Summary:  Bridgestone engineers elected to return to Toronto with the same specification of Potenza primary, alternate and wet-condition tires that ran here last year. These specs - the "softest" of the Bridgestone street-course inventory - have also been used at all three previous street circuits this year (Las Vegas, Long Beach, Houston), with the exception of a different alternate tire at Long Beach. For the second straight week, all three Potenza specs were used in the race and, once again, all performed admirably.

From Will Power, #5 Aussie Vineyards/Team Australia Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone: "It's been such a tough weekend and to come away with the win is awesome. The Bridgestone red tires lasted well for me - we went a lap longer than everyone and the tires held on fine. We were fine on the reds and also on the wets. The rain tires were really good for this circuit - the softer Bridgestone rain tires were good for here. For me, tires weren't an issue, it was just doing a good job in the car."

From Justin Wilson, #9 CDW/Rsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone: "We used 'em all today - the Bridgestone alternates, the standards, the wets. It was quite eventful. All of them worked well for me. We were just trying to keep it on the island. After I made contact with Sebastien, it was just trying to get back up through. The tires lasted fine, I was able to pass guys, and it was a good race."

From Joe Barbieri, Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport: "For the second straight week, rain plays a huge role in the outcome. It also provides the chance to show off the fine performance traits of both the Bridgestone slick and rain tires. At the start, Oriol Servia got the jump on Sebastien Bourdais for the lead, in great part because Oriol had the extra grip from the red-sidewall Potenzas. We saw Robert Doornbos run a 41-lap stint and Will Power do 37 laps on the alternates, while Ryan Dalziel went 38 laps and Alex Tagliani 37 on the black-sidewall primaries. Neel Jani and the PKV crew made a great call for rain tires first, helping him to the podium. And Will Power just drove away on his Potenza wets. All in all, another unpredictable race and a tremendous day for the Bridgestone Champ Car program."


Bridgestone Tire Strategies British GP
In 2007, the tire regulations stipulate that the two dry tire specifications must be visibly distinguishable from each other. At the British Grand Prix, the medium compound Bridgestone Potenza tire was marked with a white line in the second from inside groove.

Team Race Driver Tire Choice by Stint: Hard or Medium Compound
ING Renault F1 Team
Giancarlo Fisichella Hard - Hard - Medium
Heikki Kovalainen Hard - Hard - Medium

Scuderia Ferrari
Felipe Massa Medium - Medium - Hard
Kimi Raikkonen Medium - Medium - Hard

Vodafone McLaren
Fernando Alonso Hard - Medium - Hard
Mercedes Lewis Hamilton Hard - Hard - Medium

Honda Racing F1 Team
Jenson Button Medium - Hard
Rubens Barrichello Medium - Hard

BMW Sauber F1 Team
Nick Heidfeld Hard - Hard - Medium
Robert Kubica Hard - Hard - Medium

Panasonic Toyota Racing
Ralf Schumacher Hard - Medium - DNF
Jarno Trulli Hard - Hard - Medium - DNF

Red Bull Racing
David Coulthard Hard - Hard - Medium
Mark Webber Hard - DNF

AT&T Williams Team
Nico Rosberg Medium - Medium - Hard
Alex Wurz Medium - Medium - Hard

Scuderia Toro Rosso
Vitantonio Liuzzi Hard - Hard - Medium
Scott Speed Hard - Hard - DNF

Spyker F1 Team
Christijan Albers Hard - Medium - Medium
Adrian Sutil Hard - DNF

Super Aguri F1 Team
Takuma Sato Hard - Medium - Medium
Anthony Davidson Hard - Medium - DNF

racing news

Quotes of the Week
MARIO ANDRETTI, Legendary Formula One World Champion, 4-times Indy Car Champion, IROC Champion
"I almost cried," Andretti admitted. "I had a situation put together where a really comprehensive meeting was set to take place and it got derailed."  Mario declined to say why the latest potential open-wheel summit never took place. But he did say that he is getting increasingly fed up with both sides' inability to see the need to move forward into the future as a single entity. "They are all in denial -- that's the problem," related Andretti, who in addition to all his success in American open wheel racing won the 1967 Daytona 500 and the 1978 Formula 1 world championship.  "They all have these little victories. Champ Car says things like 'The crowd was up 10 percent at Cleveland.' But give me a break. I was at Portland and the weekend was like going to a funeral. And it's the same thing on the other side. They keep thinking things are getting better. "That's what I fight all the time when I'm reasoning with them," Mario continued. "I'm like a broken record trying to make the point. Then they say they agree, but when it comes down to trying to negotiate through a little bit of give and take, some of the major issues are pulled off the table. "I got them to the altar more than once -- I just can't get them to say 'I do.'"

TONY KANAAN, IRL driver, Andretti Green Racing
"You will have to ask Sam (Hornish Jr.) what happened on the track. He was the one who hit the Team 7-Eleven car from behind. After the race, I wasn't very happy and I got out of the car to talk to him. Sam's dad bumped me and I think that's totally wrong. When something happens on the track, we need to sort it out between ourselves and if we can't sort it out, Brian Barnhart needs to sort it out. Sam's dad can't bump me out of the way like that. I was not going to fight with Sam. I was not going to punch him. We were obviously both hot and were talking about what happened and his dad came in and bumped me."  (Commenting on the post-race brawl in the pits at Watkins Glen involving Kanaan, Sam Hornish Sr. and Jr., and members of the Team Penske and Andretti Green Racing teams)

ROBIN MILLER, Motorsports Journalist, Veteran Open Wheel Expert
"Ms. Duno recently admitted she 'never imagined she’d be a race driver,' and, for the record, she’s not. A bad experiment that, thankfully, hasn’t resulted in any bodily injuries -- yet. Milka is a nice lady, but so is Mari Hulman George and she doesn’t belong in an Indy car, either. The crew boasts a lot of good people -- they just need a real driver. The IRL deserves an F for granting her a license."

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Fight breaks out after IndyCar race
Sam Hornish Jr. and Tony Kanaan had a couple of bumping accidents on the track during today's Indy Car race at Watkins Glen and the hot tempers flared up as the two drivers exited their cars.

Hornish jumped out of his car and ran over to Kanaan's car to have some heated words. Hornish then backed off and Kanaan got out of his car to continue the argument when Sam Hornish's father, who is twice the size of Kanaan (as is Sam Jr.) stepped in and pushed Kanaan and told him to back off. Apparently his father didn't think his son was man enough to fight his own battles so dad stepped up.  Then other members of the Andretti Green and Penske team, including Michael Andretti, jumped in and a number of guys were knocked to the ground, including Sam Sr. before officials could break it up.

Afterward Kanaan said, "You will have to ask Sam (Hornish Jr.) what happened on the track. He was the one who hit the Team 7-Eleven car from behind. After the race, I wasn't very happy and I got out of the car to talk to him. Sam's dad bumped me and I think that's totally wrong. When something happens on the track, we need to sort it out between ourselves and if we can't sort it out, Brian Barnhart needs to sort it out. Sam's dad can't bump me out of the way like that. I was not going to fight with Sam. I was not going to punch him. We were obviously both hot and were talking about what happened and his dad came in and bumped me."

Hornish said afterward, "I got a run on Tony into Turn 6, but he didn't give me room and ran me up on the curbs," Hornish calmly explained. "I had nowhere to go. Then he runs into me coming into the pits and starts calling me every name under the sun.

"He likes to talk about what a great teammate he is when someone on his team wins, but he can't handle it when he doesn't. It's an unfortunate deal. For a guy that likes to claim he's such a great sport, he's always doing stuff like that. If he wants to get out and talk to me about it afterwards, he can do that. But you don't do it in the car. Someone could have gotten hurt in the pits."

It's clear Sam Sr's hard card should be pulled because Kanaan is right, parents who cannot control their tempers only cause problems.


There may be Hope for Champ Car
TORONTO - It's been hard up to now to envision much of a future for the Champ Car World Series.

The Indianapolis-based open-wheel series is a shadow of what it was before the rival Indy Racing League began competition in 1996, splitting an already dwindling fan base, stripping away value for many of the sponsors who provide the lifeblood of auto racing and leaving both series short on race cars.

TV ratings remain minuscule and crowds at races are generally down from the heyday of the sport, although not as bad as some critics would have you believe.

But, after spending a couple of days getting updates from folks with Champ Car and the teams, it appears there is at least hope of a renaissance - maybe even in my lifetime.

The first big step already has been taken with Champ Car getting all of its races back on ESPN/ABC, giving the events a renewed validity and fans and casual observers a chance to actually find the races on the tube.

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Team Australia maintains Triple Crown lead
With a first and fourth place finish today at the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto, Team Australia teammates Will Power and Simon Pagenaud increased their lead in the Champ Car Canadian Triple Crown standings. The duo, who announced the team competition in Montreal prior to the first race in Mont-Tremblant, now head to Edmonton with a narrow lead over Canadian driver Alex Tagliani and his teammate Justin Wilson of RSPORTS.

Power, who started the race seventh on the grid, made his way to the front and dominated the latter part of the race to score his second win this season. His Aussie Vineyard stablemate, Pagenaud, spent most of the race midfield but patiently worked his way through the field to a second consecutive fourth-place finish.

For the second consecutive time in the Champ Car Canadian Triple Crown, rain fell and turned the Canadian event into a thrilling, action-packed race.

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McLaren had pace despite defeat - boss UPDATE Denying that his pit-stop strategy was a costly handicap, Alonso bemoaned a lack of pace after finishing second in the British GP behind Kimi Raikkonen.

"We took a gamble and you never know what would happen," the Spaniard said of the team's decision to short-fuel his McLaren at the first round of pit-stops. "But today Ferrari were a little too quick and second place was the maximum."

"I am happy with second place," Fernando declared. "It is better to win but it was not possible today."

07/08/07 (GMM) Team boss Ron Dennis on Sunday denied that McLaren pole sitter Lewis Hamilton was forty seconds slower than his British grand prix rivals.

22-year-old rookie Hamilton finished a distant third at Silverstone, but Dennis said chiefs on the pitwall ordered him to 'save the engine' for much of the 60 lap race.

He told ITV: "From a very early point we knew that third was the best we could do with Lewis.

"Unfortunately, this is strategic racing. Fernando (Alonso) turned the engine down pretty much after the final stop of Kimi."

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Lloyd wins 2nd Indy Pro race
Results Sunday of the Corning Twin 100s Race 2 Indy Pro Series event July 8 at the 3.4-mile road course, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, laps completed, reason out (if any) and money earned: 
1. (4) Alex Lloyd, 29, Running $22,000
2. (6) Wade Cunningham, 29, Running $17,000
3. (1) Daniel Herrington, 29, Running $13,500
4. (3) Phil Giebler, 29, Running $11,000
5. (8) Richard Antinucci, 29, Running $10,500
6. (5) Hideki Mutoh, 29, Running $10,000
7. (9) Mike Potekhen, 29, Running $9,750
8. (10) Andrew Prendeville, 29, Running $9,500
9. (11) Jonathan Klein, 29, Running $9,000
10. (7) Jaime Camara, 29, Running $8,750
11. (22) Robbie Pecorari, 29, Running $8,500
12. (2) Bobby Wilson, 29, Running $8,000
13. (12) Stephen Simpson, 29, Running $7,750
14. (13) Brad Jaeger, 29, Running $7,500
15. (14) Logan Gomez, 29, Running $7,000
16. (15) Sean Guthrie, 29, Running $6,500
17. (21) Chris Festa, 29, Running $6,000
18. (18) CR Crews, 29, Running $5,000
19. (19) Ken Losch, 28, Running $4,000
20. (16) Joey Scarallo, 28, Running $3,000
21. (24) Doug Boyer, 28, Running $2,000
22. (17) Arie Luyendyk Jr., 25, Mechanical $1,250
23. (23) Ryan Justice, 25, Mechanical $1,000
24. (20) Jon Brownson, 3, Contact $1,000

        Race Statistics
       Winner's average speed: 111.754 mph
       Time of race: 52:28.2245
       Margin of victory: 4.7194 seconds
       Cautions: 1 caution flags for 3 laps
       Lead changes: 1 among 2 drivers
       Lap leaders: Herrington 1-3, Lloyd 4-29.
       Point standings: Lloyd 477, Mutoh 339, Wilson 277, Cunningham
270, Potekhen 231, Camara 231, Festa 203, Klein 198, Pecorari 189, Prendeville 181.


Kimi has taken step forward - boss
(GMM)  After two wins in the space of seven days, Ferrari chiefs on Sunday agreed that Kimi Raikkonen is firmly back at the races.

The Finn went through a difficult period of competitiveness following his debut win for the Maranello team in Australia.

But "everyone can see he has made a step forward in performance," Ferrari's sporting director Stefano Domenicali said at Silverstone.

Italian Domenicali, however, said he is only "50 per cent" happy in Britain, after Felipe Massa's victory chances stalled with his F2007 on the grid.

He said: "With the performance we have had this weekend, we should be celebrating a one-two.

"Such errors should not happen," Domenicali added, explaining that he did not yet know the reason for the problem.

"We are in good shape, even though it is a shame we are so far behind, because the gap to Hamilton is pretty big.

"But we will keep pushing and put pressure on our competitors, who are still very strong.  We must be aggressive."


F1 heads straight from Britain to Belgium
(GMM)  For the first time in two years, the F1 circus is now on its way to the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

The 2007 Belgian grand prix there is not until the middle of September, but - even with an arduous European double header only just concluded - every team is scheduled to test at the circuit for the very first time over three days this week.

Referring to Spa, to host the pinnacle of motor sport from Tuesday, Bridgestone's Kees van de Grint said at Silverstone on Sunday: "There is new tarmac down, as well as a new layout.

"We haven't been there since 2005 so I am very much looking forward to this test."

F1's usual July test venue is the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.

But the Spa layout has been slightly modified since the 2005 race - the last time it hosted a grand prix - to accommodate a new paddock and pit complex, including a revised Bus Stop chicane.

One of the main talking points at the session will be the final evaluation by Toro Rosso of Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais, who flies straight to Belgium from a race in Canada.

The Frenchman said this weekend: "It's going to be their last opportunity to evaluate me so, from there, we'll see what they think.

"There's just too much speculation.  I'm just getting tired already of it before I even get close to it."


Rain turns Atlantic race into crashfest
In a race that saw a 14:29 red flag and 13 cars retire due to contact, French rookie Franck Perera (#11 CJ Motorsport) picked up his second consecutive Cooper Tires Presents The Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda victory in the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto (ESPN2, July 11, 5:00 p.m. ET).

Shortly after the red lights went out and the field roared from its standing start into Turn 1, the skies opened up above Canadian National Exhibition Place. On the opening lap, Mike Forest (#32 Konica Minolta/Miracle Sealants/Dynacor/Earthwater) crashed on the back straightaway and was collected by Matt Lee (#44 Integrated Structures), Frankie Muniz (#13 Chandler Development) and Tom Sutherland (#2 Drive Energy Soda), bringing out the full-course caution.

The rains intensified into a downpour as the field circulated behind the pace car. Just before the field pulled onto pit lane for the red flag to allow all teams to change to Cooper rain tires, race leader Jonathan Bomarito (#23 Miracle Sealants/Konica Minolta/Dynacor)—who got a great jump from his third-place position at the start and charged past Perera and polesitter Raphael Matos (#6 ProWorks) to take the lead—made contact with the barrier at Turn 6. As a result, Dutch rookie Junior Strous (#16 Shell/Best Box/HTP/Red, White & Bluezz USA) found himself at the head of the field for the restart on Lap 6 of what would be a 28-lap race.

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Junqueira tops morning warm-up in Toronto
Pos Driver Lap Time Behind Leader
1 B. Junqueira 59.508 
2 S. Bourdais 59.646 0.138
3 O. Servia 59.646 0.138
4 K. Legge 59.862 0.354
5 S. Pagenaud 59.929 0.421
6 J. Wilson 59.969 0.461
7 P. Tracy 1:00.136 0.628
8 W. Power 1:00.179 0.671
9 D. Clarke 1:00.201 0.693
10 R. Doornbos 1:00.228 0.720
11 A. Tagliani 1:00.270 0.762
12 G. Rahal 1:00.453 0.945
13 A. Figge 1:00.507 0.999
14 N. Jani 1:00.565 1.057
15 J. Heylen 1:00.628 1.120
16 R. Dalziel 1:00.780 1.272
17 T. Gommendy 1:00.810 1.302


Spy duo no longer in running for Honda jobs
(GMM) Team boss Nick Fry has confirmed that the figures at the centre of the Ferrari-McLaren espionage scandal are no longer in the running for jobs at Honda.

"I think that's unlikely," Fry told reporters at Silverstone when asked about the obviously tarnished reputations of Nigel Stepney and Mike Coughlan might still being considered to help bolster struggling Honda's technical lineup.

As speculation intensified earlier this weekend, Fry had to admit that he had met with the accused pair before they were accused of sending and receiving confidential files.

He said on Sunday: "From our point of view they were just two people on a much longer list of people who were spoken to.

"They applied to us wanting to be considered for jobs, and it is as simple as that."

[Editor's Note: Mission accomplished for Ferrari as by smearing his name they have now stopped Stepney from being hired by anyone and taking Ferrari secrets with him.]


Massa starts at back
Ferrari's Felipe Massa went to the back of the field at the British Grand Prix on Sunday after stalling on the starting grid. The Brazilian title contender, who had qualified fourth, began the race from the pit lane after being pushed off the grid with the first start aborted. He was running 19th at the end of the first lap.

tv news

Jeff Gordon to co-host Live with Regis and Kelly show again UPDATE Reminder: This program will air on Monday, July 9.

07/02/07 Jeff Gordon is scheduled to make his 10th appearance as co-host on the popular daytime talk show “Live with Regis and Kelly” on Monday, July 9. The four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion and driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet will fill in for host Regis Philbin. “Live with Regis and Kelly” is in its 19th year of national syndication and continues to wake up millions of Americans each day. “Live with Regis and Kelly” is executive produced by Michael Gelman and distributed by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. Produced by WABC-TV in New York, “Live with Regis and Kelly” airs in over 200 markets across the country. The show is broadcast from 9:00 am - 10:00 am in most time zones.  The network varies.  Check your local listing for your location and time zone.

industry news

Ferrari wheel supplier BBS sold
The Shiltach based German wheel manufacturer BBS has been saved from bankruptcy as it was bought by a Belgian company, motorauthority reports. Punch International NV will assume full ownership of BBS on August 1, including its brand name, manufacturing plants, inventory, patents, and the licensing contracts that the company currently holds. In July 2006 Punch already acquired the German transmission and automotive components group ZF.

BBS us currently still the supplier of Ferrari's F1 wheels and has previously been so for various other teams in different motorsport categories.

In January BBS issued a profits warning after posting a 3.8 million Euro ($4.9M US) loss in the first half of 2006 that was attributed to a sharp increase in the cost of aluminium. BBS tried to restructure its financing with a plan that included early payments from some of its larger customers but this was rejected by one of its creditor banks.

This latest deal is regarded as a success by most of BBS’ 1,200 odd staff, who were notified today of the latest development. With the takeover, BBS subsidiaries in Italy and the US will remain independent, while a proposed project in China is still under negotiation. Motor Authority


Beckhams put Spice into Hamilton hysteria
(GMM) David and Victoria Beckham reclaimed a bit of their lost limelight on Sunday as the 'Hamilton hysteria' hit a new high in the hours before the British grand prix.

The pair, arguably the most famous British celebrity couple, walked into the Silverstone paddock to enjoy the hospitality of Jenson Button's Honda team.

Honda's marketing is handled by 19 Entertainment, who also look after the Beckhams.

Football sensation Beckham and 'Posh Spice' Victoria were photographed with Bernie Ecclestone, as well as Button and his teammate Rubens Barrichello, before getting a tour of the Brackley based team's garage.

"They've not been to a grand prix before, so it's nice they have chosen to come," said Honda principal Nick Fry.


Bass Pro Shops re-signs with DEI
Bass Pro Shops, America’s most popular outdoor store, has signed a three-year agreement with Dale Earnhardt Inc. to sponsor the #1 Chevy and driver Martin Truex , Jr. through the 2010 Nextel Cup season. "Bass Pro Shops has been an awesome sponsor for me," stated Truex. "I have become real close with Johnny Morris and all the people at Bass Pro Shops and I wouldn’t want anyone else to sponsor my race car right now. I feel like we have built a great relationship." BassPro PR


Dale Jr replacement; Menards to return
Max Siegel, president of global operations for DEI said that he hopes to have a replacement for Dale Earnhardt Jr. hired by the end of the month. He would not discuss possible drivers for that seat. Siegel also said that despite some speculation Paul Menard and sponsor Menards will return for next season.

DEI hired Kevin Buskirk to lead its test team. Buskirk, who had been an engineer and crew chief at Robert Yates Racing, replaces Tony Eury Sr., who left to join JR. Motorsports. Roanoke Times


Cameron wins again in Star Mazda
Toronto, Ontario, Canada – Dane Cameron continued his domination of the 2007 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear with a hat trick in round Seven at the Steelback Grand Prix of Toronto – fastest in every practice session, won the pole in qualifying, led every lap on the way to his third win of the season in the #19 JDC Motorsports/Finlay Motorsports Mazda.  Cameron’s record includes four poles so far this season, and he scored an identical hat trick on his way to victory in Round Two at the Reliant Park street circuit in Houston.

Finishing second in a 45-minute race interrupted every few laps by no less than five full-course yellows was Quebec racer Devin Cunningham, driver of the #33 Discovery Channel/AIM Autosport Mazda.  Cunningham won the 2006 Discovery Channel ‘Star Racer’ competition and is making the most of the full-season sponsored ride in the Star Mazda series that was his prize.  He won a rainy Round Five at Portland.

Completing the top-3 in his first-ever Star Mazda podium finish was Alex Ardoin of Lafayette, Louisiana.  Ardoin, who’s previous best finish was 6th at Round 6 in Cleveland, qualified the #51 Oral & Facial Surgery Center/Mundill Racing Mazda in 16th and drove up through the field to finish 3rd.

Also putting in a notable drive was Tyson Sy of Manila, Philippines, who suffered a blown engine in the first few laps of qualifying, forcing him to start the #68 Popsy/Team G.FRO Mazda from the very back of the 22-car field.  He sliced his way up the order in a manner that had the track announcers nicknaming him the “Thrilla from Manila”, running third for several laps before finally bringing the car home in 4th-place. 

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Four veterans feel for Alonso
(GMM) Four veteran formula one figures say they sympathize with Fernando Alonso's position within the McLaren team this season.

His championship leading rookie teammate Lewis Hamilton soared to pole position on home soil at Silverstone on Saturday, causing wild scenes not only in the British grandstands but also in the silver garage.

McLaren mechanics jumped for joy, as did Lewis' father Anthony, whose celebrations spilled into the pitlane.

Alonso's former boss at Renault, Flavio Briatore, observed to the Spanish newspaper 'As': "If Alonso scores pole they (McLaren) applaud, and if Lewis does they really celebrate."

Former German grand prix driver Hans-Joachim Stuck told the newspaper Bild: "I have never seen the (McLaren) Mercedes mechanics so happy like that."

McLaren boss Ron Dennis, meanwhile - admitting to still being upset about the industrial espionage affair - said he was being careful about presenting true equality regarding the treatment of his drivers.

He said: "If I start eulogizing about anybody, I would probably start with Fernando.

"With Lewis it is easy to eulogize about his performance because he is new to formula one. But I want to be balanced."

Sir Frank Williams was quoted last week as saying Hamilton is a "superhuman", and he thinks the reality of the situation must be hitting Alonso hard.

The Briton told the newspaper 'Welt': "Fernando was the world's best formula one driver -- until Lewis came along.

"For Alonso this realization is a serious problem. It must be very hard for him to deal with."


Adam Carroll takes home win at Silverstone
Petrol Ofisi FMS International today celebrated its first victory of the 2007 season after a stunning drive by Adam Carroll at Silverstone. The 24-year-old began from third on the grid and was up to second after the first corner. He was on the tail of Pastor Maldonado for the first half of the race, with less than a second separating the two. He then made his move with eight laps to go, overtaking Maldonado on the outside to take the lead. He quickly pulled out a gap, taking the checkered flag in front of his delighted Italian team. Adam's team-mate Jason Tahinci had a solid race, moving up from his 19th starting position to finish in 16th place.  

Adam Carroll: "It's fantastic to win again, it's been so long and I've had such a hard time that I'm just so thankful to the people that never lost faith in me. I'm nearly crying to tell the truth! Hopefully this is just the start of things. We've shown what we can do together as a team and the team did a cracking job this weekend. With the right opportunity, I can run with the best, we've shown that today. It's absolutely fantastic to win in front of the British crowd and to be on top of the podium. Lewis Hamilton was in this same spot this time last year, and this year he's on pole for the F1, so it's something to be proud of."


Alonso says Hamilton his 'clone'
(GMM) After qualifying third at Silverstone, Fernando Alonso admitted that beating his rookie teammate Lewis Hamilton to the 2007 title is going to be difficult.

To the Spanish news agency EFE, the reigning world champion said this championship fight is harder than the last two because one of his strongest qualities is no longer an advantage.

"I am not going to have an advantage even on the circuits that I am better at," the 25-year-old said, "because all of my information passes straight to him (Hamilton).

"So that advantage has disappeared. Recovering points is very complicated when alongside you there is a clone."

Alonso said "almost all" of his 14 point deficit to Hamilton happened due to bad luck in Canada and France, where he finished in distant seventh places.

He revealed that a "small possibility" to beat crowd favorite and pole sitter Hamilton to the checkered flag today exists because he will stop a lap or two later than the sister silver car.

Alonso said: "I will see if I can do what Kimi (Raikkonen) did last week.

"I have a better chance than at some other races when I was further back and had more fuel. Now I am third with a little bit more fuel (than Hamilton), so for sure I am going to go for it.

"But we cannot forget Ferrari. In the race I think they are still a little bit quicker than us."


Bernie urges Red Bull to sell STR
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has urged Red Bull magnate and fellow billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz to sell one of his F1 teams.

Austrian Mateschitz owns Red Bull Racing and he also took over Minardi at the end of 2005, rebranding it Toro Rosso before countryman Gerhard Berger bought a 50% share.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone said: "Red Bull are super for formula one but I wish they would have more success.

"I can't understand why they have two teams. They should concentrate on one," he told the newspaper Kleinen Zeitung.

It is almost constantly rumored in F1 circles that Toro Rosso is openly for sale, following links with the German race carmaker HWA and even Michael Schumacher and his manager Willi Weber.

Mateschitz, however, insisted last week: "STR is not for sale. This rumor was invented by some super-clever people."


'I was squeezed' by Ferrari - Stepney
(GMM)  Nigel Stepney, the sacked Ferrari veteran at the centre of F1's espionage scandal, has denied allegations that he passed reams of confidential team data to a colleague at McLaren.

"I have no idea how Mike Coughlan got the documents and I have no idea what exactly he is supposed to have," the Briton is quoted as saying by The Guardian.

Stepney, a central figure throughout Ferrari's era of dominance with Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn, is also accused of trying to sabotage Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen's cars this year after being demoted.

As the scandal was about to break, he claims he had to flee Italy with his girlfriend Ash and their one-year-old child.

"There have been high-speed car chases," Stepney revealed.  "Ash has been stalked at the house.  There was tracking gear on my car.  Someone was going to get hurt."

He said his relationship with Ferrari began to "break down" following the departure of Brawn at the end of 2006.

"I began to feel like I was some sort of traitor, just because I no longer wanted to travel," Stepney said.

"I was put in a position where it was difficult to do my job.  I started to look at other teams, and approached (Honda's) Nick Fry."

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