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Untimely caution ruins Conquest's chance at top finish  
Alex Tagliani felt robbed
Mark Scheuern/AR1.com
They were fast, they were leading and they were dominating, but Conquest Racing and Alex Tagliani also suffered heartbreak at the Honda Indy Toronto today. The team ran in the top two for more than half the race, leading 21 laps, and was possibly on their way to a first win, but everything just melted away because of an untimely caution period. Conquest and Tagliani, aboard his #34 Rexall Edmonton Indy / King Tut car, had to settle for ninth.

After scoring their best start of the season on Saturday, the team was off to an impressive start in the IndyCar Series’ first race on the streets of Toronto. Tagliani, who was starting fifth, made up three positions at the start to take over second place behind eventual winner Dario Franchitti. The Canadian had the crowd behind him as he remained in striking distance of Franchitti and ahead of Scott Dixon and they cheered even more when he took over the lead on lap 25 following the leader’s early pit stop. More ...

N.Technology to meet FIA in court  The MSC organization, that behind the N.Technology team, revealed on Sunday that it is to take F1 governing body the FIA to court in September. The Italian company described its actions as coming due to 'irregularities' involved in the selection process for 2010 teams, from which its team was not accepted for entry. With the Campos, Manor and USF1 teams being the three selected by the FIA, N.Technology eventually withdrew its application despite chances still existing for selection amid the FIA/FOTA war, in which a number of current teams threatened to leave the sport.

"We are doing this in the name of sport," MSC's Angelo Codignoni said to Autosport. "From our point of view, the procedure for dealing with new entrants was not respected and there was not transparency about the process and preparations for the 2010 championship." More ...

Villeneuve crashes on first lap  Jacques Villeneuve's NASCAR Canadian Tire series debut was a short one as the former Formula 1 champion and fan favorite crashed out on the first lap at the Tide 250 from St. Eustache, Quebec on Sunday.

The crowd favorite started the race on the inside lane leaving him with no where to go as cars stacked up in front in the second turn of the first lap. He finished 22nd.

Defending NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1 champion Scott Steckly won the race, leading 43 of the final 44 laps, however he was pushed hard by DJ Kennington on a restart with six laps to go. Steckly was able to hold on and beat Kennington to the line by 0.319 seconds.

Brawn admits car now inferior to Red Bull  The Brawn GP team started the year off on fire with Jenson Button winning 5 of the first 6 races.  However, the Brawn team had the advantage of running a double rear diffuser.  Once Red Bull Designer Adrian Newey had his version designed and on the Red Bull, the Red Bull team has been on the pace, and on the faster circuits, faster than the Brawn.

Team boss Ross Brawn said after getting beat yet again by the two Red Bull cars on Sunday: "Without doubt it was a very disappointing race for the team, but we were able to score some points to minimize the damage to our championship challenge.

"Quite simply, we didn't have the pace to match the Red Bulls. We opted for a three-stop strategy for both cars to give ourselves the best possible chance of achieving a podium position.

"Both drivers were battling with the tires throughout the race and trying very hard to keep them in the operating window whilst managing their graining issues.

"The problem with the fuel rig at Rubens' second stop dropped him out behind Rosberg which compromised his race strategy and possibly prevented him for achieving third position.

"We will take a close look at the lessons to be learned from this weekend before Hungary and hope to come back fighting there with some performance developments."

German GP race tire strategies  
Felipe Massa: Super Soft / Super Soft / Medium
Kimi Räikkönen: Super Soft / Super Soft / DNF

Lewis Hamilton: Super Soft / Medium / Super Soft
Heikki Kovalainen: Super soft / Medium / Medium More ...

NASCAR on TNT Live! from Chicagoland Speedway   
Marc Fein (host), Larry McReynolds (analyst) and Kyle Petty (analyst)

Petty on the first year of Stewart-Haas Racing: “I think they are phenomenal. (Tony Stewart) takes a lot of criticism and I’ll give him criticism to say it’s a Hendrick car and a Hendrick organization, but Tony has built that team, that group has built that Stewart-Haas team. They have put the pieces in place and they’ve got to go out and perform on the racetrack.”

McReynolds on the people working for Stewart-Haas Racing: “You talk about the pieces, to me the thing that he put in place and has done the best job at is the people. I know when a fan looks at our sport they see racecars, they see horsepower and they see all those things. But I think our sport, like any other sport and any other business, is about people.  I think Tony absolutely hit a homerun from top to bottom of the people he put in place for Stewart-Haas Racing.”  More ...

Toronto Sunday Notebook - 8  A perfect day for racing in Toronto, cool, dry with high fluffy clouds.  The 15,000 grandstand seats were about 80% full at the start of the race, but some people were stuck in a traffic jam caused by parking attendants collecting $22 to park.......Polesitter Dario Franchitti was fastest in morning warm-ups........All drivers were starting on the softer red tires except Matos, Castroneves, Briscoe, Patrick and Mutoh..........The IRL purchased nice looking Taiwan made Kymco Super 8 scooters for use around the paddock by IRL personnel, but why not Hondas?  Is it the IRL's first commercial contract with the Chinese?.........We spotted new IMS and IRL CEO Jeff Belkus going into a private meeting with KV Racing boss Kevin Kalkhoven.  We wonder what the topic of conversation was?  Engines we bet..........Someone should suggest the IRL switch to the Cosworth turbo engine used in Champ Car.  If we recall correctly from Champ Car's last year, that would cost the teams around $750K per year including testing, almost half the cost of the current Honda engine if you include testing.  But what manufacturer might want to badge the Cosworth, but that would take business away from Penske's Ilmor company, so that won't happen.......Several teams told us the value of the series from a sponsor perspective is about $3M per year but with the current car and current engine it costs $6M per year to run a full season and if you want to win the title you need to spend $9M per year.  Now we understand why the teams want to change to the new car and engines ASAP, but can Honda do an engine for $700K and will the IRL source the new car to Panoz or Swift here in the USA so the teams don't get socked with artificially expensive cars because of the dollar exchange rate with the Euro (Dallaras are built in Europe - ouch)?........Spotted ex-CART/Champ Car drivers Stefan Johannson and Mark Blundell.  Blundell is driver coach for Mike Conway.  Blundell is also managing two F1 drivers.........EJ Viso broke a driveshaft in morning warm-up......Met Paul Tracy's father for the first time this weekend.  He is quite the character.......Rumor has it that Marco Andretti's Venom Energy Drink sponsor is not signed for next year and there is some question as to whether they will continue.....ESPN commentator Brienne Pedigo is happy to see the end of this race.  It's not that she doesn't love her job... but she is obviously expecting a child, and running up and down pit road isn't exactly for her right now.  Impact racing was faced with the task of providing a maternity-style fireproof  driver's suit for her to wear.  Brianne plans on returning next season, noting that many of the IRL drivers have babies (or are expecting) and child care shouldn't be an issue......Mark C. reporting from Toronto
Glock launches charity auction  Panasonic Toyota Racing driver Timo Glock on Saturday night launched an online charity auction to raise funds for the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) via www.wfp.org/formula1-auction.

Timo paid a visit to the ring° arena at the Nürburgring, venue for this weekend's German Grand Prix, to publicly announce the start of an auction which will raise much-needed funds for the WFP's 'Fill the Cup' program to feed hungry children around the world.

On offer is Timo's unique signed racing helmet from the German Grand Prix weekend, which was designed by a schoolboy winner of a Panasonic competition. More ...

Raikkonen escapes penalty for Sutil clash  (GMM)  Stewards did not penalize Kimi Raikkonen for his collision with Force India's Adrian Sutil during the German grand prix.

After the Nurburgring race, the FIA officials interviewed both Sutil and Finland's Raikkonen, who collided at the first corner.

The clash ruined a strong weekend for Sutil, who looked on course for a points finish until he had to return to the pits for a new nose.

Ferrari's Raikkonen told reporters in the paddock that the clash was "just a normal racing incident", and the stewards later agreed.

A statement said they "decided that the incident requires no further action".

Toro Rosso to debut double diffuser in Hungary  (GMM)  Toro Rosso is looking forward to a performance boost at the Hungarian grand prix in two weeks.

While Sebastien Bourdais retired at the Nurburgring with an hydraulic failure having qualified last, Sebastien Buemi finished a distant sixteenth in the sister car, which is based on the dominant Red Bull Racing machine.

Despite the visible similarities, however, Toro Rosso insists that while the Red Bull is right at the top, the Ferrari-powered STR4 is "the least technically developed car on the grid".

Indeed, the car is now the only one in the field without a double diffuser; a modification which back at the Faenza factory has required changes to the car's suspension, cooling, hydraulics, gearbox and internal aerodynamics. More ...

Furious Barrichello slams Brawn team, next to be sacked?  
Rubens Barrichello blasts Brawn GP team after the German Grand Prix.  Was this the sound of burning bridges?
(GMM)  Despite Sir Frank Williams believing Rubens Barrichello's post-race comments were a "red card offence", the Brazilian's own team boss has played down the outburst.

After leading early but ultimately finishing just sixth, 37-year-old Barrichello said the Nurburgring had been a "good show from the team on how to lose a race", adding he did not want to go to the post-race debrief because "it will be all 'bla bla bla'".

His former team boss Eddie Jordan was concerned the outburst was a "grave mistake", but Ross Brawn put it down to sheer frustration and "passion".

"That's a frustrated racing driver," said Brawn, when he heard about Barrichello's comments.

"When you get out of a car thinking you should have won a race, and you haven't got all the facts, that can happen.

"It's a passion some drivers have," he added, noting that Barrichello had not been kept fully informed during the race due to a faulty radio.

"Once he has calmed down ... sits down and looks at all the numbers he will realize we were too slow.  There was no capacity to win the race," Brawn said.

In Brawn GP's official post-race media statement, Barrichello was quoted as saying the reasons for his failure to win "are now very clear to me having spoken to the team".  More ...

Schumacher not set for senior Brawn role  (GMM)  Michael Schumacher has played down rumors in the Nurburgring paddock that he is set to take up an offer to work with the Brawn team in 2010.

The former seven time world champion was at the German circuit this weekend in his advisory role for Ferrari, where both he and Ross Brawn worked together so successfully earlier this decade.

It has been suggested Brawn, now boss of his own independent team that is leading both the drivers' and constructors' championships, has offered 40-year-old Schumacher an unspecified senior role.

"If I would have wanted to work, I had the options, and may even now have the options," he told the BBC.

"But right now, it is not what I am looking for." More ...

Dodge Viper SRT10 stays at Chrysler  The new management at Chrysler Group LLC has decided to keep building the iconic Dodge Viper SRT10, meaning the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit won't be shuttered in December, as had been planned.

The Viper was to slither into extinction, having failed to attract a buyer after more than a year of trying and eliciting bids of as little as $10 million for the division that makes a 600-horsepower rocket with an 8.4-liter V-10.

Chief executive Sergio Marchionne and his new management team have been conceiving a future product plan to better define the Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Mopar brands.

The Viper's future was first on the agenda, and the new team decided the Dodge halo vehicle should stay, a spokesman said.

Whitmarsh backs Vatanen for FIA presidency  
Ari Vatanen
McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh has given former World Rally Champion Ari Vatanen his backing in the build-up to the FIA presidential election.

"I don't know Ari particularly, but I think he is clearly fresh and new, and I think refreshing the sport would be quite good," he told Autosport.

"He was a racing driver, very successful, and a World Champion, so I think he understands competition. I think that is fresh. More ...

Hülkenberg doubles down in perfect weekend  
Nico Hülkenberg
Nico Hülkenberg became the second man to build a perfect weekend when he added the race two victory and fastest lap to yesterday's collection and his earlier pole with a crushing display in wet conditions this morning at the Nurburgring, easily winning ahead of Alvaro Parente and Kamui Kobayashi. The German was the first driver since Nelson Piquet in 2006 to claim all 20 points on offer over a race weekend, and took the lead in the driver's championship for good measure.

He kept his head at the start while all around him was chaos: with poleman Sergio Perez slow off the line Vitaly Petrov went right but struck the front left of Lucas di Grassi, who then ran into the back of Perez at turn one to hand the lead to the Russian ahead of Kobayashi, Parente and Hülkenberg, the latter having to dispose of Javier Villa at the chicane for the position. More ...

NASCAR drivers and teams confused by Double-file Restarts  The new double-file restart rule is still causing confusion for drivers and their crew chiefs. Race director David Hoots was questioned about restarts several times during the prerace Sprint Cup drivers meeting at Chicagoland. First, #48-Jimmie Johnson's crew chief Chad Knaus asked about which car controls the start of the race if the leader pulls off to make a late pit stop. Hoots answered that all cars would simply move up in their line instead of reshuffling the whole field, and the second-place car would get to control the restart - even if it had the outside position. Then, #2-Kurt Busch's crew chief Pat Tryson wondered about the scenario that occurred in Friday night's Nationwide Series race, when Carl Edwards illegally passed Brian Vickers on the outside before the start/finish line but gave the spot back and was not penalized. “I’d stress to you drivers that you're good enough that you shouldn't be getting yourself in that position - stay in line until you cross the start/finish line," Hoots said. Hoots then said that NASCAR officials let drivers figure it out for the first six races, but that they should have the restart procedures down by now. #24- Jeff Gordon to ask Hoots if there was a "grace period" for making mistakes like Edwards did in the Nationwide race. "The grace period is over," Hoots said. "We're serious about it tonight."  SceneDaily
Wet race possible at Nurburgring  (GMM)  A damp track and ominous low clouds are hanging over the Nurburgring in the approach to the German grand prix.

A dry line emerged towards the end of the morning's GP2 race at the venue in the Eifel mountains, but the weather forecast is for more light showers throughout the day.

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Webber set to dominate German GP
  • Ecclestone backs breakaway with 'GP1 Series'
  • Glock likely to start from pitlane
  • Rosberg wants 2010 contract by September
  • Brawn CEO Fry ties the knot
  • Alguersuari 'ready' to step in at Toro Rosso

Webber set to dominate German GP
(GMM)  Pole sitter Mark Webber looks set to dominate Sunday's German grand prix.

On Saturday the Australian comfortably set pole position at the Nurburgring, but it was only after the FIA published the starting weights of the field did his true dominance become clear.

Webber's Red Bull was carrying about 56kg of fuel in the Q3 qualifying round: about 15kg more than the chasing Brawns, who therefore must pit about seven laps earlier than the 32-year-old at the end of their first stint.

Any hopes that his teammate Sebastian Vettel's fourth spot on the grid can be explained by fuel was also dashed when it was revealed his fuel weight was identical to Webber's.

Off the back of his maiden pole, Webber's first win is a real probability on Sunday.  "I hope so, I hope so," he told reporters.

"I am in a fantastic position to do it and I am up for it."

Another interesting point to emerge from fuel-correction calculations from Nurburgring Q3 is that Lewis Hamilton, albeit fifth on the grid, was actually the third quickest car on the track if his fuel load - about 10kg more than the Brawns - is factored in.

Also mightily impressive in the top-ten runout was Force India's Adrian Sutil, who qualified seventh with a hefty 73kg fuel load.

Ecclestone backs breakaway with 'GP1 Series'
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has filed trademark applications that indicate he is ready to back the breakaway plans.

Britain's Sunday Express newspaper reveals he, through one of his companies Epsilon Ltd, applied for ownership of the words 'Formula Grand Prix' and 'Formula GP' on June 19.

June 19 was the day on which FOTA originally launched its intention to break away from the official F1 series.

On the same date, Ecclestone also lodged applications to protect 'GP1' and 'GP1 Series' logos, which can be previewed by doing a public search at the European trademark consultation service website. More ...

tv news
Penske and Brabham guests on Wind Tunnel  UPDATE A reminder that Roger Penske and David Brabham will be the featured guests on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain tonight, Sunday, July 12.

07/09/09 Roger Penske, Owner of Penske Racing & Founder and Chairman, Penske Corporation, will be a featured guest on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain this Sunday, July 12.  Roger will talk about his racing programs in NASCAR, IndyCar, and the Rolex Sports Car Series.  In addition, Roger will discuss his recent purchase of the Saturn automobile brand from General Motors.

David Brabham, 2009 24 Hours of Le Mans Winner & Current ALMS Co-Points Leader, will also be a featured guest on Wind Tunnel this Sunday.  Brabham will join Dave Despain live in the Wind Tunnel studio.  As a full-time ALMS Acura driver for the Patron Highcroft team, David raced in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans in a factory Peugeot, winning the prestigious race for the brand with teammates Alexander Wurz and Marc Gene.

Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain airs on Sunday, July 12, 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm ET live on SPEED.

Eye surgery for Chip Ganassi  Following some major eye surgery a few weeks ago at the Mayo Clinic, Ganassi has missed the past three IndyCar races as he heals from the delicate operation. And, as bad as it's been not being at the race track, he can't venture outside much during the daytime hours.

"The reason I'm not at the races is because they put drops in my eye and it's dilated all the time," explained the owner of the Target team whose drivers Scott Dixon and Franchitti rank 1-2 in the point standings for the second straight week.
"The issue is that if I go out in the sun, my brain goes goofy because my one eye wants to stay open. That's why I'd have a better chance at going to a night race."

He also wants to dispel the rumors he's gravely ill..

"Calm everybody down and tell them I'm fine," he said. "Thanks to my computer, I haven't missed anything except the people." More at SPEEDTV.com

Toronto Saturday Notebook - 7  For the record, in spite of what EJ Viso says (albeit with a mischievous gleam in his eyes), Versus TV's IRL anchor woman Lindy Thackston is NOT dating EJ.  Nor is she married to him.  EJ, however, can certainly dream, and it is a nice dream........While watching Tony Kanaan spin out during qualifications, former CART and F1 driver Mark Blundell commented to AutoRacing1 that Tony was simply driving too hard.  "Take it from one who knows," Blundell said, indicating that he'd made the same mistake.  "It's easy to do this stuff (motioning like he was steering a car) but it's very tough to keep this (pointing to his head) straight"...........While it is true that the driver is more important in road races than ovals, the fact is that money still talks on the track.  Richard Antinucci, driving the very low budget Team 3G entry, pointed out that his team is very much lacking in basic equipment.  Certainly one can see the extensive vertical "secondary" planes on the front wings of the leading cars, while Antinucci's car has none, basically as it came from the factory years ago.  Of course, the team has only one car to their name, the same aging car that they failed to put into the show at Indy last may.  While the team had a respectable run at Watkins Glen last week, they will start shotgun on the field tomorrow.........Forget about being competitive in the IRL on $4 million budgets says former Champ Car co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven.  Kevin says that his budget is over $6 million per car, and the Penske team is over $9 million per car.  Then again, the Penske hospitality tent serves prime rib for lunch, and that has to count for something............AutoRacing1 has heard that one of Gil deFerran's rides in his new IRL team has been offered, but could not get the last bit of information to find out who got that offer, but Scott Dixon has been mentioned if Danica Patrick moves over to the Ganassi team as rumored......When Dario Franchitti won the pole at Toronto in 1997, Bobby Rahal qualified third.  On the first lap, Franchitti and Rahal made contact going into Turn 1. This weekend, Dario scored his third pole at Toronto and the next generation of Rahal - Bobby's son Graham - will start third.  Dario laughed and said, "Looking at the grid, I think Graham is third. In 1997 when I got my first pole, his dad qualified third and took me out in the first corner. So I'm going to have a word with the next generation and talk to Graham and work things out for tomorrow morning so we can get through Turn 1."  Tim Wohlford reporting from Toronto
Mercedes wants to supply 4 F1 teams  (GMM)  A third customer team could be added to Mercedes-Benz's formula one roster in 2010, Norbert Haug admitted at the Nurburgring on Saturday.

In addition to the works outfit McLaren, the German marque also supplies engines on a commercial basis to Force India and Brawn.

Recent speculation suggests Red Bull, currently powered by Renault's V8 engine, is in negotiations to also use the Mercedes unit beginning next year.

Haug, Mercedes' competition boss, said the marque is keen to utilize the new FIA rule allowing a manufacturer to supply up to four separate teams because it is a way to make money. More ...

Villeneuve's NASCAR Canadian Tire Series debut postponed  High winds and heavy rain forced the postponement Saturday of the Tide 250 at Autodrome St. Eustache, a race the former Formula One world champion and Indy 500 winner is scheduled to drive in.  With a Sunday's forecast calling for clear skies, no chance of precipitation and mild temperatures, the green checkered flag will wave Sunday afternoon (2 p.m. ET).
Hamilton senses looming end to wins drought  (GMM)  Buoyed by the injection of pace at the Nurburgring this weekend, Lewis Hamilton senses a return to the top step of the podium might no longer be too distant a dream.

The reigning world champion's appearance at the top of two practice time sheets in Germany was powered by significant changes to the MP4-24 package, and he duly qualified a credible fifth on Saturday afternoon.

He told reporters a win in front of McLaren engine partner Mercedes' home crowd on Sunday is unlikely, but heralded a big step forward for the previously uncompetitive car.

"It's put us on the right road because, before, we were almost up to a dead end," said Hamilton, 24.

It had been suggested that the Nurburgring upgrade was the last for the 2009 car, before McLaren turns its full attention to the 2010 campaign. More ...

Sebastian Saavedra wins Lights race  
Sebastian Saavedra
Shawn Payne/IRL
Sebastian Saavedra pulled the Colombian flag from the cockpit of his No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers Inc. car and displayed it on his victory lap on the streets of Toronto.

Saavedra, the pole sitter, passed JR Hildebrand in Turn 1 on Lap 18 of 50 and went on to a 5.8630-second victory over his AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing teammate. It was his second victory of the season and sixth podium finish.

James Hinchcliffe, a Toronto native, finished third -- for the fourth time this season -- and Stefan Wilson of Walker Racing finished a season-high fourth.

All cars started on Firestone wet tires and most pitted for slicks within the first five laps as the 1.755-mile, 11-turn circuit continued to dry after a late-morning thunderstorm. Hildebrand and Saavedra pitted simultaneously on Lap 7, with Hildebrand's No. 26 ARPRO car getting back on the track first. More ...

Germany GP post qualifying weights  

Germany GP post qualifying weights are as follows:
Mark Webber 661.0 kgs
Rubens Barrichello 647.0
Jenson Button 644.0
Sebastian Vettel 661.0
Lewis Hamilton 654.5
Heikki Kovalainen 664.0
Adrian Sutil 678.5
Felipe Massa 673.5
Kimi Räikkönen 674.0
Nelson Piquet 676.0
Nick Heidfeld 681.0*
Fernando Alonso 668.2
Kazuki Nakajima 683.6*
Jarno Trulli 683.7*
Nico Rosberg 689.6*
Robert Kubica 673.5*
Sébastien Buemi 674.5*
Giancarlo Fisichella 662.5
Sébastien Bourdais 689.5*
Timo Glock 662.3*
Sebastien Loeb wants Bourdais' F1 seat  UPDATE (GMM)  Sebastien Bourdais on Saturday scolded his countryman Sebastien Loeb for publicly staking a claim on his endangered Toro Rosso race seat.

Loeb, the multiple world rally champion, threw his name into the hat amid unconfirmed speculation his fellow Frenchman Bourdais might be ousted after Sunday's German grand prix.

An irritated Bourdais, 30, said after qualifying last at the Nurburgring: "He wants to race in F1, that's normal, it's his right.  But that's not how you do it."

07/11/09 (GMM)  Multiple world rally champion Sebastien Loeb has thrown his name into the hat as a potential candidate for French countryman Sebastien Bourdais' endangered Toro Rosso seat.

The 35-year-old, who currently drives for Citroen in the WRC and is second in the 2009 standings, told France's L'Equipe sports daily on Saturday that he would jump at the chance to immediately try his hand at the FIA's other premier series.

L'Equipe said Loeb spent several hours at Red Bull's Milton-Keynes headquarters some weeks ago.

"If Toro Rosso need a driver I'd love to help out," he insisted.

"I've heard talk of this possibility for Sebastien Bourdais.  I'd race instead of him," he added, following rumors 30-year-old Bourdais will be ousted after Sunday's German grand prix. More ...

Haug - Mercedes not taking over McLaren  (GMM)  Mercedes-Benz has no current plans to take over the McLaren team, Norbert Haug said at the Nurburgring on Saturday.

It is often speculated that the German carmaker will up its current 40 per cent stake in the Woking based team, which is also owned by the Kingdom of Bahrain (30pc), Ron Dennis (15pc) and Mansour Ojjeh (15pc).

Asked about buying the team outright, Mercedes' competition chief Haug answered: "That is definitely an option, but not in the economic situation of the moment."

In interview with the German newspaper Die Welt, he insisted that "efficiency and cost saving" is instead at the top of the priority list. More ...

Red Bull fined, Toyota's Glock demoted  (GMM) Red Bull Racing was fined 10,000 euros by F1 stewards at the Nurburgring on Saturday.

They ruled the energy drink-owned team caused a near-collision by releasing the 22-year-old German Sebastian Vettel at a dangerous moment into the pitlane.

It is believed the ruling related to a moment between Vettel and Williams' Kazuki Nakajima during qualifying.

Stewards also penalised Timo Glock after the qualifying session for impeding the Renault of Fernando Alonso in a "potentially dangerous" manner. More ...
Time to end 'autocratic' FIA rule - Vatanen  
Ari Vatanen
GMM)  Ari Vatanen on Saturday made clear he is standing for a form of FIA presidency in stark contrast to that of the controversial incumbent Max Mosley.

"It's the right time for change, you cannot govern in an autocratic manner," the 57-year-old Finn, who announced his candidacy at the Nurburgring circuit 24 hours earlier, told reporters in Germany.

The 1981 world rally champion, and multiple winner of the famous Dakar rally and until this year a European Parliamentarian, indicated he felt compelled to stand for the high office when the state of F1's political conflict seemed untenable.

He blames the way the Paris federation is run.

"You cannot govern any society in a one-sided way, you need to take all partners into account, you need to give people a feeling that they are important, because we are all in the same boat," said Vatanen. More ...

Toronto Saturday Notebook - 5  

Heavy winds blew over tables and chairs
Tim Wohlford/AR1.com
The Brits thought that the rain at Toronto was an attempt to make them feel at home.  Certainly those who came up through road racing channels were looking forward to practicing and qualifying in the rain.  Dan Wheldon was all smiles, Ryan Hunter-Reay was ready to go (imagine a Foyt car leading the field at a street course?!?) while Ed Carpenter looked like he was visiting a proctologist..........advised to take cover in the exhibition center, but the severe storm warning has been lifted.  Security personnel are inspecting the grounds to make sure that things were safe before allowing anyone back into the area.  When things got bad, lightning strikes were reported on the CN Tower, and wind gusts were threatening to blow away every canopy in the paddock.  An entire section of fence in the beer garden blew over as well...........Last weekend, AJ Foyt told AutoRacing1.com, "With my luck this year, if I had a duck, he'd drown!"  Well, given the weather, we did indeed ask AJ how his duck was doing.  The duck hasn't drown, but there is some saying in Texas about a rainstorm choking frogs...  AGR's woes continue.  This morning's practice had the AGR drivers showing up looking decidedly unhappy.  They were the first to leave the track when practice was postponed as lightning strikes started..........Finally, Danica has some competition in the wings.  No, not just Anna Beatriz, but rather in the form of a 10 year old Canadian go-kart racer named Taegen Poles.  She's got the eyes of Emmo when she speaks, Paul Tracy's confidence, and no reservations about running over her competitors.  She's here not just to watch the race, but to talk to drivers to network and get advice.  The point is that drivers are born, not made, and not matter how much racing is screwed up by the previous generation..........Finally at 11:00 local time practice was started on a very wet track.  At 11:01, Tony Kanaan backed his car into the wall at the end of his first lap.  The AGR misery continues....... Tim Wohlford reporting from Toronto
Political war rumbles on in Nurburgring shadows  (GMM)  The leading figures perhaps deserve a light pat on the back this weekend for so far keeping F1's political brawl out of the main spotlight.

But behind the scenes the ructions are definitely ongoing, with an increasingly clear message: Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley are very much on the outer.

According to the latest from the Nurburgring, the rebel FOTA group has bypassed F1's chief executive in the wake of his ignoble Hitler interview and staged crucial talks directly with CVC, the controller of the commercial rights.

An agreement between the two sides is all but done, and the suggestion is that they will present their accord to both FIA president Mosley and Ecclestone as a fait accompli: 'either sign up or the breakaway is on'.

A variation of the speculation is that Ecclestone's FOM company may also be intricately on-board with FOTA and CVC's plan, meaning that the only marginalized entity is the FIA (or Mosley).

F1 is tied contractually to the Paris federation, but the 'fait accompli' is believed possible on the basis of CVC's involvement, meaning that CVC could argue in court that Mosley's defiance is damaging their business.

Another unconfirmed rumor is that FOTA has drafted a letter of resignation that it wants Mosley to sign.  It is believed that his signature would also pave a rapid road to real peace.

Toronto Saturday Notebook - 4  Heavy wind, rain with lightening and thunder has swamped the Toronto race circuit not long after IndyCar practice got underway.  A dozen drivers completed just one lap before the rains hit.  One driver went off heavy into the barriers but the rain is so heavy we cannot determine who it was......The good news is that the fast moving rain cell is moving fast and could mean it stops raining before qualifying and tomorrow looks to be a perfect day for racing......We have learned that just 15,000 grandstands seats were erected for this event - the 6,700 they own on the backstraight plus another 9,000 they erected on the pit straight and one other corner, so with yesterday's sparse crowd, coupled with today's washout, 50,000 for the 3-day weekend may be all they can hope for........We were able to confirm that Andretti Green race promotions got at least $2M in government grants for this event and it could be as high as $4M.  We did hear they sold out their corporate suites, meaning they don't need to sell a lot of tickets to break even..........Former American Honda boss Tom Elliott flew in from Sacramento after a 2-month cross-country camping trip he and his wife Anne like to do in their big camper.....  Mark C. reporting from Toronto
10 reasons why it’s good not to get to Q3  Toro Rosso drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastian Buemi can look at the bright side of not making it out of Q1 qualifying at most F1 races.

1) You get to watch the exciting Q3 session, relaxing with a cool drink in the Energy Station.
2) You don’t have to bother going to the boring Top Three press conference.
3) F1 is all about cost saving and you’ve just saved your team a fortune in fuel and tires.
4) You don’t have to lift your head so high to see the start lights. In fact you don’t need the lights at all: just go when the cars in front move.
5) Your mechanics and engineers have time for lunch before the debrief.
6) Your engine temperature stays lower on the grid as you don’t have to wait ages for the cars to line up behind you.
7) You don’t need tensator barriers around your car on the grid.
8) You don’t have to shake hands on the grid with the Prime Minister just when you want to go for a piss.
9) It’s a great excuse for not doing well in the race, as overtaking is impossible.
10) The mechanics can chat up your grid girl without their wives/girlfriends seeing them on TV.
Conquest teams with Rexall Edmonton Indy again  While Conquest Racing is competing on the streets of Toronto, Ontario this weekend, the team will be continuing to build the excitement for another Canadian stop on the 2009 IndyCar Series schedule. The team is once again sporting the logo of the upcoming Rexall Edmonton Indy on the sidepods of the #34 Conquest machine.

“It’s always with great pleasure that we continue our partnership with Northlands and the Rexall Edmonton Indy,” stated Eric Bachelart, Conquest Racing team owner. “It’s very exciting to be partnering with one of Canada’s best open-wheel racing events. The Rexall Edmonton Indy has become a premiere event on the IndyCar Series schedule and we’re proud to be associated with them.” More ...

FOTA teams still banned from F1 in 2010  Formula One Teams’ Association (FOTA) members have admitted that it was ‘a bit of a shock’ to be informed that they were still not officially entered for the 2010 F1 World Championship on Wednesday – a development that means whilst a breakaway series is ‘on the backburner’, it is most definitely ‘still cooking’.

Ferrari, McLaren-Mercedes, BMW-Sauber, Renault, Toyota, Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Toro Rosso and current world championship leaders Brawn GP walked out of a meeting with the FIA in the Nürburgring paddock mid-week after being told by the head of the governing body’s technical department Charlie Whiting that ‘contrary to previous agreements, the eight FOTA teams are not currently entered into the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship and have no voting rights in relation to the technical and sporting regulations thereof.

The FIA has since explained that in order to be fully entered for next season, the FOTA ‘rebels’ must come to a unanimous resolution with non-FOTA members Williams and Force India and the three newcomers USF1, Campos and Manor regarding the 2010 sporting and technical regulations within the top flight. The FIA’s stance appeared to represent something of a backtrack on the entente cordiale seemingly reached at the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) reunion in Paris a fortnight earlier – and has put the peace deal and whole future of F1 ‘in jeopardy’ once more. More ...

Mayfield's latest drug test still being analyzed  NASCAR was still analyzing Jeremy Mayfield's latest drug test Friday, four days after demanding the driver submit to a random test. "The process continues," NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said, declining further comment. Dr. David Black, the program administrator, said Wednesday the test processed by Aegis Sciences Corp. would be completed by Friday at the latest. His Nashville, Tenn.-based lab typically needs four days to analyze a sample. "I just don't think there's anything to report right now. I did not come to work (Friday) expecting we'd get the results," Mayfield attorney John Buric said. "But then again, I'm a lawyer, and I can wait a year for a ruling. So I am never too surprised when things take time. I wouldn't read too much into it, honestly."  Associated Press
Peter Dempsey wins Star Mazda race in Iowa  Peter Dempsey, sporting bright green hair in celebration of both his Irish heritage and his pole-winning performance in qualifying earlier in the afternoon, put all joking aside to dominate a 21-car field on the 7/8ths-mile Iowa Speedway oval in the inaugural Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear Pizza Ranch 100. 

Surviving a crash-filled race and multiple, hair-raising re-starts, Dempsey pulled away from the field again and again in his #3 Juncos Racing / HOOTERS / Motorsport Ireland / Queyside.ie Mazda, building a 7-second lead heading into the home stretch.  This is Dempsey's second win of the season, achieved with two different teams; he took the top step of the podium in Round 2 at Virginia International Raceway with AIM Autosport early in the season, but switched to Juncos Racing just before the Milwaukee Mile two weeks ago.  After running second for most of the race and finally finishing fourth there, he came to Iowa in second place in the championship… and leaves with a 9-point lead. More ...

Toronto Saturday Notebook - 3  Morning skies are overcast here in Toronto with rain forecast. Practice and qualifying will be treacherous at best......With all this talk about what to do to make the racing better in IndyCar because it has become obvious that fast front-running cars get bottled up behind much slower cars, usually on an alternate fuel strategy, they have decided to open the tech rules on what has been heretofore ‘spec’ regulations by allowing teams to run different parts, configurations, etc. This will of course benefit the teams with the money to take advantage of the new ‘open regulations’ and this will result in the top teams being able to get around the cars fielded by teams that can’t afford those upgrades, etc. How about something that is much simpler and doesn’t cost any money but would absolutely achieve the result desired? Institute mandatory fuel pit stop windows like they had for a number of years in Champ Car.  This would eliminate ‘off strategy’ fuel conservation runs and keep those slower cars in their ‘real’ place on the track. It would result in all drivers going as fast as they can for the entire race, as it would eliminate ‘lucky’ and ‘strategy’ runs resulting in unearned track position and finishes........Also, in Champ Car Tony Cotman painted a white line in Toronto that drivers could not cross going into a particular corner to promote passing and it worked really well.  They should consider that for this weekend's race.........Attendance was way down on Friday from the Champ Car days (as much as 50%) so the initial reports we heard that there was little promotion for the race appear to be true.  None of our taxicab drivers or restaurant waiters knew there was even a race in town.  Yesterday it looked like it was something of a wink-wink, nudge-nudge. As in: We won't tell anybody that you were the only one here if you don't. But who's counting?  There are far fewer grandstands than in the Champ Car days and the number of rows in the grandstands that remain are less as well.  Mark C. reporting from Toronto
German GP: Hamilton fastest again in practice 3  
Mercedes powered Lewis Hamilton gave German fans something to cheer about
Lewis Hamilton's return to the top of the formula one time sheets continued on Saturday morning, as the reigning world champion led the field in the final practice session at the Nurburgring.

At the wheel of substantial changes to his MP4-24, the Briton was two tenths ahead of Fernando Alonso's Renault and the Ferrari of Felipe Massa, two hours before the decisive qualifying phase under dark clouds in the Eifel region.

In total contrast, Heikki Kovalainen's struggle in the Silverstone-spec McLaren continued as he was 19th fastest.

"Unfortunately, we didn't have enough pieces for Heikki to have the same package, so that is why the difference is reflected between the two drivers," said the Mercedes-powered team's technical boss Paddy Lowe. More ...

Barrichello lists excuses after Button defeats  
Rubens Barrichello rationalizes his results
(GMM)  Rubens Barrichello believes there are technical reasons why he has struggled to match the form of his championship favorite teammate Jenson Button this season.

The Brazilian veteran lags 23 points behind his British teammate, having failed to win a single race at the wheel of the Brawn BGP001, which in Button's hands has won all but two of the grands prix in 2009.

Mark Webber is famous for never wanting to offer a "shopping list of excuses", but 38-year-old Barrichello is at pains to point out the reasons for his defeats.

"Technically, I couldn't run the wheel covers which give downforce because my rear brake calipers were altered," he told the Independent newspaper at the Nurburgring.

"And because (Button) is taller he can run with the weight distribution further forward than I do.  So there is an explanation for the tenth of a second that doesn't happen when I have a full fuel load," said Barrichello. More ...

Toronto Friday Notebook - 1  UPDATE Added photo of Rahal with his special helmet and Mark Cipolloni holding one of Dale Coyne's cigars below.

Graham Rahal with his special helmet
Mark Scheuern/AR1.com
07/10/09 Friday started out quite comfortable here in Toronto with low humidity and hazy sunshine......Graham Rahal is wearing a special helmet commemorating his father's win here many years ago.  It is painted two schemes, divided down the middle............Robert Doornbos continues to also carry the McDonald's colors and we hear both NHLR drivers will carry McDonald's the remainder of the year......Fast man in the morning, Will Power, is in an all yellow paint scheme this weekend with Penske Trucking logos.......Dale Coyne was handing out Cuban cigars with a label
One of Dale Coyne's cigars
Mark Scheuern/AR1.com
affixed saying "Our 1st Win - July 5, 2009" in celebration of their first win last week........Many drivers are in different paint schemes each week, a sign of the times that teams are finding it hard to land a sponsor for a full season so they sell them race-by-race and repaint the car in the sponsor's paint scheme.  Happens a lot in NASCAR these days as well.......Friends James Davison and Martin Plowman were 1-2 in Indy Lights practice this morning.  AGR driver Saavedra Sebastian was 3rd........Attendance was rather light this morning compared to the Champ Car days, but not a bad start for new race promoter Andretti Green.......Honda is meeting with the IRL this afternoon, we don't know yet what the topic is, but we hear that Honda is going to give the IRL an update as to where they are with their new engine and Honda wants to hear where the IRL is with regard to new manufacturers coming in........We hear the next generation concept IndyCar we showed you Indy during the month of May is one of the two designs still in the running for the next IndyCar.......Mark C. reporting from Toronto
Saavedra takes Indy Lights pole  UPDATE Note: Herrington's time was disallowed after his car failed post-qualifying technical inspection.

07/10/09 AGR's Sebastian Saavedra won the pole position for Saturday's Firestone Indy Lights race ahead of James Hinchcliffe and fast man from the morning James Davison.  Richard Philippe and Stefan Wilson rounded out the top-5.

Sebastian Saavedra #27 AFS/AGR driver:  "I'm very happy about getting the pole position today. The AFS/AGR guys worked so hard and we found the perfect setup for this particular track. It's very bumpy and slippery but I think the car handled it very well. I am looking forward to the race tomorrow." More ...

Toronto Friday Notebook - 2  You win just one little race and the entire world suddenly wants to know your name.  At least, that's how life is in the Dale Coyne pits this weekend.  Last week, before Justin Wilson won the Camping World 200 at Watkins Glen, the press barely noticed the Coynes.  (However, both AutoRacing1.com reporters were there, talking with Dale before the race!)  This weekend, ESPN and other news outlets were definitely paying attention.  Before the second round of practice, Justin told AutoRacing1, "We have just a little bit more to do."  Obviously they did it, and Justin is a real threat for the pole tomorrow............The weather for Canada is always an iffy proposition.  Earlier weather reports have only a 30% chance of scattered thunderstorms for tomorrow, but local residents are calling for rain tomorrow...................Danica Patrick's not having a good weekend -- she and most of the AGR team are at the bottom of the speed charts.  However, she did pause to sign autographs in an impromptu session behind her hauler.  IRL fans know that Danica never wants to sign autographs.  Within minutes the sight was very crowded, and Danica really could've used some help with crowd control...................You know you're in Canada when Alex Tagliani draws a crowd!  Alex was busy doing an interview with local TV reporters, and by the time he was done the crowd wanting to meet Alex was very large...............CART/Champ Car records are supposed to be honored by the IRL.  At least, that was one of the terms of the merger.  It will be interesting to see if Justin Wilson, or Paul Tracy, or Will Power, or even Dario Franchitti wins the race that ABC will label them the winner of the inaugural event, or if they will announce them as the 2-time winner of the event.  For the record, this is the 23rd running of the event as a street course race (USAC did 4 events at Mosport).........The IRL silly season is upon us!  AutoRacing1 will soon feature our annual silly season page, including the latest rumors heard in Toronto.  One thing is for sure... a change by Danica will cause a whole cascade of moves............His Imperial Majesty, Akihito, the Emperor of Japan, was in Toronto today along with Empress Michiko but they have since departed for Vancouver and Victoria.  Tim Wohlford reporting from Toronto
German police seize Force India Motorhome  UPDATE #2 (GMM)  A dispute involving Force India has not yet been resolved, after "uniformed personnel" were dispatched to the Nurburgring on Friday.

Staff of the Silverstone based team had to vacate their paddock motor home prior to morning practice, when the officers acting on behalf of a local court sought to seize the structure.

Behind the saga is a disgruntled contractor that reportedly has not been fully paid for building the motor home for Force India.  In a statement, the team flagged a dispute over "the quality" of the structure "and its functionality".

It was believed team chief Vijay Mallya had settled the matter with the contractor on Friday, but Force India clarified that it "will fiercely contest the wrongful claims ... if no amicable settlement is achieved".

07/10/09 Force India issued this statement on the situation:

The Force India Formula One Team today received a visit from legal representatives accompanied by uniformed personnel who demanded that the team's motorhome be vacated as they wished to seize the team's property.

This dispute with the contractor has been on-going since last season and pertains to the quality of construction of the motorhome and its functionality. The contractor decided to take matters into their own hands without due notice and process and approached a local German court who were presented with highly disputable facts.

Force India will resolve matters during the weekend with the contractor but will fiercely contest the wrongful claims made by them before the local German Court if no amicable settlement is achieved.

07/10/09 German police seized the Force India motorhome today in Germany for failure to pay the contractor who performed the work to outfit it to their liking.  It was a major embarrassment to the team.
Williams changes Friday practice tactics  (GMM)  Williams has changed its approach to Friday practice at grands prix, Nico Rosberg revealed on Friday.

So often this season, the German has topped the time sheets early on at a race weekend, as he and teammate Kazuki Nakajima spend more time running low fuel and new tires than their rivals.

But at the Nurburgring, Rosberg's best effort was his morning seventh before dropping to thirteenth in the afternoon.

"We have changed the way we approach Friday practice, so we do not expect to be top of the time sheets," he said.

Rahal to wear commemorative helmet  
Graham Rahal in Toronto Friday
Mark Cipolloni/AR1.com
This weekend the IndyCar Series will be making its inaugural stop on the historic streets of downtown Toronto in Eastern Canada. The last time Toronto was an inaugural event for open-wheel, Indy-style race cars was back in 1986, where the legendary Bobby Rahal took the checkered flag for the win.

To commemorate his father’s tremendous victory as well as the inaugural IndyCar Series race, Graham Rahal, with the help of his Canadian-based helmet painting company Artrotondo.com, will be wearing a specially designed helmet for this weekend’s race. The helmet will depict Bobby Rahal’s classic helmet design on one side and Graham’s current jaw-dropping design on the other side. More ...
Tony George breaks silence on his removal from office  The following is a statement by Tony George in response to the June 30th announcement by the Board of Directors of Hulman & Company and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that a new management team comprised of veteran IMS executives W. Curtis Brighton and Jeffrey G. Belskus will head the Hulman-George companies, effective July 1.

“Nearly 20 years ago, I was asked by my family to represent our business as President and Chief Executive Officer. Since accepting that position, I have served at the pleasure of the board and, in doing so, I enthusiastically agreed to commit myself to stewardship of a great institution. While my service as CEO has now ended, I consider my stewardship to be a life-long appointment.

"At a board meeting a little over a month ago, the Board of Directors of Hulman & Co. and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway asked me to propose a management reorganization that would focus my duties exclusively upon the operation, promotion, and development of the Indy Racing League, which I founded in 1994 and have overseen the development of since 1996. More ...

Power tops opening IndyCar practice in Toronto  
Will Power's yellow Penske
Dick Pong
Will Power -- who won the CART race here in 2007 in a memorable rain-soaked drive -- lead the first practice session of the 2009 Honda Indy Toronto.  Raphael "Raffie" Matos showed the speed that the rest of the field has been talking about since Indy, with the second quickest time.   

Danica was slowest in the first practice, some 2.7 seconds slower.  In fact, the entire Andretti Green Racing team seemed intent on being great hosts as they all struggled.  Kanaan was 6th fastest, Hideki 17th fastest, and Marco 16th fastest.    As another publication joked this week, the status of "Big 3" team has been revoked for Team ARG.   


The streets of Toronto are beautiful, with a wonderful weather forecast for the weekend.  However, the local garbage collector's union is on strike, and fans coming from the west on Lake Shore will likely be caught in the traffic jam at the temporary garbage dump set up to ease the situation.   


Parking in downtown Toronto is a problem even without a major street closed up and some 100,000 fans in attendance. Most of the lots on the main streets are $20, but locals tell stories of $4 lots off of the beaten path.  At any rate, race fans should allow lots of time for traffic and parking woes when they come to the track.  Better still is to simply get a hotel room and enjoy the night life of Toronto after the cars go silent.   


Likewise, fans should leave time to tour the National Trade Center.  Not only are there the souvenir and food stands, but the exhibition hall is playing garage to some of the support classes. as well as exhibits from vendors. Tim Wohlford reporting from Toronto 

Practice 1 Results


Driver Name Best Time Best Speed Best Lap Total Laps
1 Will Power (12) 1:02.1733 101.619 35 45
2 Raphael Matos (2) 1:02.2975 101.417 30 36
3 Scott Dixon (9) 1:02.3324 101.360 11 24
4 Ryan Briscoe (6) 1:02.3556 101.322 18 20
5 Paul Tracy (15) 1:02.3930 101.261 18 27
6 Tony Kanaan (11) 1:02.4499 101.169 18 19
7 Dario Franchitti (10) 1:02.4964 101.094 18 24
8 Helio Castroneves (3) 1:02.5057 101.079 14 26
9 Robert Doornbos (06) 1:02.5742 100.968 23 39
10 Graham Rahal (02) 1:02.5765 100.964 17 23
11 Ryan Hunter-Reay (14) 1:02.6661 100.820 33 38
12 Justin Wilson (18) 1:02.6748 100.806 11 12
13 Alex Tagliani (34) 1:02.6923 100.778 17 19
14 Mike Conway (24) 1:03.0203 100.253 39 40
15 Mario Moraes (5) 1:03.0293 100.239 23 35
16 Marco Andretti (26) 1:03.2557 99.880 25 39
17 Hideki Mutoh (27) 1:03.3323 99.760 20 28
18 E.J. Viso (13) 1:03.5222 99.461 19 34
19 Tomas Scheckter (23) 1:04.1912 98.425 33 40
20 Dan Wheldon (4) 1:04.3358 98.203 19 22
21 Richard Antinucci (98) 1:04.4100 98.090 50 51
22 Ed Carpenter (20) 1:04.8593 97.411 23 42
23 Danica Patrick (7) 1:04.9420 97.287 22 22

racing news
Vatanen to run for FIA presidency  (GMM)  Ari Vatanen on Friday announced he intends to stand as a candidate to succeed Max Mosley as FIA president in the elections later this year.

The 1981 world rally champion and former Dakar winner, 57, said his decision is backed by "requests from many FIA member clubs".

It is believed two of the supportive clubs are the influential AAA of America, and Germany's ADAC.

"I think the time has come for a change," said Vatanen.

It is not clear if Vatanen, who last month was not re-elected to the European Parliament, will face off against Mosley in the late October elections, or whether the controversial incumbent will instead step down.

The Finn said: "My main focus is to reconcile views within the FIA and bring transparency to its stakeholders."

The New GM Company Launches Today  

  • GM gets back to the business of building great cars and trucks, serving customer needs
  • New company created from GM's strongest assets
  • Four core brands backed by the nation's largest and strongest dealer network
  • Streamlined organization on a global basis for faster decisions, sharper focus on the customer
  • Commitment to open communications

DETROIT - The new General Motors Company began operations today with a new corporate structure, a stronger balance sheet, and a renewed commitment to make the customer the center of everything the new GM does.

"Today marks a new beginning for General Motors, one that will allow every employee, including me, to get back to the business of designing, building and selling great cars and trucks and serving the needs of our customers," said Fritz Henderson, president and CEO. "We are deeply appreciative for the support we have received during this historic transformation, and we will work hard to repay this trust by building a successful new General Motors."

Created from the old GM's strongest operations in an asset sale approved by the bankruptcy court on July 5, the new GM is built on:

  • Four core brands in the U.S. and the largest, strongest dealer network in the country,
  • A fresh lineup of Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC cars, trucks and crossovers, each with leading-edge designs and technologies that matter to both consumers and the environment,
  • A competitive cost structure, a cleaner balance sheet, and a stronger liquidity position that will enable GM to invest in new products, key technologies, and its future,
  • A winning culture focused on customers and products.

"One thing we have learned from the last 100 days is that GM can move quickly and decisively," said Henderson. "Today, we take the intensity, decisiveness and speed of the past several months and transfer it from the triage of the bankruptcy process to the creation and operation of a new General Motors. More ...

Conquest announces new sponsors for Tagliani  Conquest Racing announced today the addition of three partners for this weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto. Sears/CRAFTSMAN, the Hyatt Regency Toronto on King and The Keg Steakhouse and Bar will be featured on the #34 car driven by Canadian Alex Tagliani.

“It’s with great pleasure that we welcome Sears/CRAFTSMAN, the Hyatt Regency Toronto and The Keg Steakhouse and Bar to the team,” said Conquest Racing team owner Eric Bachelart. “It’s an honor to be associated with such great companies at one of the best events of the season.”

No retailer in Canada is more trusted than Sears Canada. With 122 department stores across the country, Sears offers a broad range of merchandise from apparel and home fashions to appliances and home improvement items, including a broad range of merchandise under the CRAFTSMAN brand including mechanics tools and portable electric tools. More ...

Villeneuve will race two races in South America  "Hopefully I can come back next year," said Jacques Villeneuve during the closing of his last press conference in Buenos Aires, back in September 28, 2008. The Race of the Year had just ended and the Canadian driver was pleased with his great performance in his first experience at the Top Race Series.

Finally, the desire will become true, because Villeneuve will again be part of the show. He will be one of the 41 drivers traveling to Brazil where he will race the first date of the Winter Rosamontes’ Stage at the mythical Interlagos racetrack –in a weekend in which they will share the track with the Formula Truck, and the following month he will take part in the second edition of The Race of the Year in Buenos Aires.

"After last year's experience is a pleasure to drive again at the Top Race.  It was a very fun experience and I had a great time both on and off the car. For this year’s race there are a couple of things I should take advantage of: I know the cars and the two racetracks in which we are20going to race. I won at both venues, Interlagos and Buenos Aires during my time in Formula 1. It is not going to be easy to get those results at the Top Race Series because the drivers I am racing against have many more miles on board of those cars than I do. But at least, I will try,” said Villeneuve. More ...
German GP: Hamilton, on low fuel, fastest in practice 2  (GMM)  Lewis Hamilton made a cameo at the top of the Friday time sheets, heading the second practice session at the cold Nurburgring with almost certainly only a sniff of fuel aboard his McLaren.

The reigning world champion was a couple of tenths quicker than the 2009 contenders Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button, followed by the fastest man of the earlier morning session, Red Bull's Mark Webber.

The final 90-minute session of the day was staged under ominously dark skies and occasional light rain, which caught out Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella early on as he slid into the barrier.

Vettel and Toro Rosso's Sebastien Bourdais narrowly avoided a Red Bull-made scrapheap with a near collision, while Nelson Piquet ended the session beside the track with a failed Renault.

Ferrari continued to embarrass themselves, with Massa only 12th best and Raikkonen a lowly 16th.



Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:32.149 + 0.000 23
2. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:32.331 + 0.182 31
3. Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:32.369 + 0.220 32
4. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:32.480 + 0.331 28
5. Trulli Toyota 1:32.511 + 0.362 32
6. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:32.585 + 0.436 32
7. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:32.664 + 0.515 26
8. Alonso Renault 1:32.774 + 0.625 24
9. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:32.872 + 0.723 32
10. Piquet Renault 1:32.992 + 0.843 29
11. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 1:33.012 + 0.863 36
12. Massa Ferrari 1:33.052 + 0.903 34
13. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:33.128 + 0.979 34
14. Kubica BMW-Sauber 1:33.161 + 1.012 28
15. Glock Toyota 1:33.172 + 1.023 34
16. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:33.182 + 1.033 29
17. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:33.724 + 1.575 27
18. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:33.903 + 1.754 30
19. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:34.025 + 1.876 30
20. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:38.877 + 6.728 3

IndyCar Series drivers happy to have Danica around  Despite claiming to have "pretty good legs," Will Power probably won't be asked to pose in a bikini any time soon.

But the sometime Penske driver is glad fellow IndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick has what it takes to grace the pages of a swimsuit edition.

Power, from Toowoomba, Australia, needs to raise sponsorship money and he thinks being on the outer edges of Patrick's shining star helps other drivers in the series find backers. More ...

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German police give Force India scare  (GMM) Force India narrowly avoided disaster at the Nurburgring prior to morning practice on Friday, when local police knocked on the Silverstone based team's motor home door.

Adrian Sutil confirmed the incident, recalling the arrival of the green-clad German officers as he watched through the windows of the paddock building.

It is believed they were acting on behalf of a local marketing company over unpaid bills.

The police threatened seizing the Mercedes-powered cars or other equipment at the circuit, but team boss Vijay Mallya ultimately intervened and police departed satisfied the dispute had been settled.
Government threatens Aus GP backing axe  (GMM) The head of the local state Victoria has confirmed the government would pull its backing of Melbourne's formula one race if a breakaway depletes the grid of its star names.

"I want value for money for Victorian taxpayers and that means that you want all of the competitors, you want all of the race teams," Labor premier John Brumby is quoted as saying by the Australian news agency AAP. 

"We won't be paying for half an event, simple as that. So I hope that they can resolve this, I'm sure that they can. I think it's very early days," he added.

Brumby's comments follow Australian Grand Prix Corporation chairman Ron Walker saying Max Mosley should end the dispute by quitting as FIA president.

Walker, who was in London for talks with Bernie Ecclestone this week, is a known close ally of the F1 chief executive.
Renault CEO expects Alonso to stay  (GMM) The CEO of Renault on Friday said he expects Fernando Alonso to remain with the French carmaker's formula one team in 2010.

Carlos Ghosn was responding to widespread rumours, also denied by the Spanish driver at the Nurburgring, that the 27-year-old will switch to Ferrari.

"As far as I am concerned, he'll be driving a Renault next year," Ghosn told radio Europe 1.
German quintet show humor with Nazi salute  (GMM)  F1's quintet of German drivers on Thursday showed the sport still has a sense of humor, even amid the scandal involving Bernie Ecclestone and his Hitler comments.

At the Nurburgring, the German manufacturer BMW's F1 boss Mario Theissen slammed the F1 chief executive's dictatorial musings as "disgusting" and said he wants to hear yet another apology.

But as the international media met with local heroes Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Adrian Sutil, Nick Heidfeld and Timo Glock in the official FIA press conference, humor made a comeback.

When Rosberg was illustrating with his hand a car speeding up a hill, Vettel began to snigger before giving the press a full Nazi salute.  The other drivers followed suit and the room exploded into laughter.

To the Express newspaper, Ecclestone apologized for the affair once again, insisting he will not give in to pressure to stay away from the German venue this weekend.

German GP: Webber tops opening practice  
Mark Webber
(GMM)  Mark Webber drew first blood on Friday by going quickest in morning practice at the cold Nurburgring, as his Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel struggled.

Vettel, the dominant winner at Silverstone three weeks ago, was sidelined for much of the session when a minor electrical problem meant he had to abandon the RB5 at the side of the German venue.

When the German, wearing a modified helmet livery for this race, and the Red Bull were returned to the garage, a quick fix had him briefly back out on track but not yet on the pace at a home circuit he is nonetheless still to master in a formula one car.

Another local driver, Adrian Sutil, pulled out of the session in exactly the same place, on the exit of turn 1, with a loss of hydraulic pressure. More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Villeneuve admits F1 return chances 'slim'
  • Friday: another important day in F1 crisis/PR Stunt
  • Webber 'stronger' than Vettel - Button
  • Hamilton wants F1 to axe 'no fun' rules
  • Glock rejects McLaren switch rumor
  • Alonso admits Ferrari an 'option' for future
  • Angry Bourdais slams Toro Rosso axe rumors
  • Glock's race engineer quits Toyota

Villeneuve admits F1 return chances 'slim'
(GMM)  Jacques Villeneuve has admitted his chances of making a return to formula one next year are "very slim".

The international media has been getting excited by the 1997 world champion's recent attendances at grands prix, and declarations in the press that he is in talks to reprise his career that netted 11 wins until 2006.

But as he prepared to contest a NASCAR Canadian Tire Series event near Montreal on Thursday, the 38-year-old confessed his negotiations so far have been "mostly exploratory".

"I would return tomorrow if the opportunity was there," Villeneuve said.  "And there's not many years available to do it so I guess it's now or never."

He said the feeling he got from talks at Silverstone three weeks ago was "quite positive" but admitted a firm contract is not yet on the horizon.

Friday: another important day in F1 crisis/PR Stunt
(GMM)  Friday is yet another deadline in F1's long-running political saga, with rumors the FOTA group set the date for either a final solution or the re-announcement of a breakaway series.

After walking out of the FIA meeting on Wednesday, FOTA chiefs dashed back to London for emergency talks, reportedly to quickly re-establish plans for an alternate championship.

BMW's Mario Theissen denies Friday is the final deadline.

"We only said that want to have the Concorde Agreement signed by tomorrow (July 10)," the German told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport on Thursday.

It is suggested in the Nurburgring paddock that peace is indeed near, with FOTA and commercial rights holder CVC agreed over a new Concorde, and the FIA revealing that it is nearly ready to sign the document. More ...

A1GP News Roundup  It may be the middle of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport off-season but A1GP teams and drivers are still keeping themselves busy and gaining more experience in other series ahead of Season Five, which kicks off this coming October in Australia.

A1 Team Malaysia is embarking on one of its most ambitious Outreach initiatives yet later this month, with an exciting project planned for team members and supporters. On top of that it has also taken Malaysian driver, Jazeman Jaafar to the A1GP simulator.

Outreach, the team’s social responsibility program, aims to assist communities in Malaysia which are less privileged than others, aiming to change lives for the better. The beneficiaries of the upcoming project will be the Terengganu Association of the Deaf, with A1 Team Malaysia members aiming to refurbish the charity’s activity centre. It will be a major undertaking for the personnel, as it will entail plenty of rebuilding, painting and decorating to transform the current facilities into an appropriate environment for children to use and enjoy. This will take place in the outskirts of Kuala Terengganu from 24-26 July 2009. A1 Team Malaysia’s Outreach initiative is linking with the Sultan Mizan Royal Foundation for the project. This charitable foundation has similar values and goals to Outreach, aiming to improve the socio-economic status and well people of Terengganu and of Malaysians generally. More ...

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