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DATE News (chronologically)
07/22/09
irl
Honda pushing IRL to make decision  UPDATE #2 The clock is ticking on the IndyCar Series and its efforts to create a new formula for the future. Although series officials still say that new cars and engines could be introduced for the 2011 season, Honda Performance Development president Erik Berkman disputed that notion in an interview at the recent Honda Indy Toronto.

In fact, Berkman claimed that time is running out in terms of plotting a new direction for American open-wheel racing for 2012 and beyond.

Erik Berkman
"To do it right, we need two years," Berkman said of Honda's preferred timetable for creating and executing a new engine formula. "To do it [in a less than optimum manner], we need 18 months. I know some people believe we can do it quicker than that, but if there needs to be some tooling made … we're not going to do it twice.

"We need to know by Christmas so we can put a plan in place and budget for it," he added. "If we get into the first quarter of next year and it continues to draw out, we won't be able to do it for 2012."

"None of the five manufacturers that were previously identified in the roundtable process have opted out or made noise that they are going to," Berkman said. "But our last meeting was a long time ago. There has been some communication between companies and between the league and companies. The comments coming from other companies besides Honda, as I understand it, are that they are still interested. One of these companies has come forward and indicated to the league an increased level of interest than what we understood before. That was a surprise to me and that gives me encouragement. More ...

07/22/09
f1
Q&A with Toro Rosso's Franz Tost  Scuderia Toro Rosso will tackle the final eight races of the season with a new technical upgrade package and one new driver – you will have to wait a few more days to find out who he is. Team Principal Franz Tost answers some of the obvious questions.

The season got off to a reasonable start with a few points finishes, but then the team appeared to get left behind. Why was that?

Toro Rosso had quite a successful start to the season, scoring points in Australia and China and later, in Monaco, we picked up another one. However, from then on, we lost touch with the other mid-field runners. There are various reasons for this: firstly, the other teams improved their cars, regularly producing updates to their technical package. We introduced a few small updates, but nothing major. For example, we are the only team never to have run with a double diffuser, one of the key elements to car performance this year. Why? It was a financial decision. Rather than incur the costs of constant updates, we chose to keep costs within budget by waiting, before delivering one major update package, which will make its race debut at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Secondly, apart from the limitations on car development, we also had one driver who did not live up to our expectations. More ...

07/22/09
racing news
Jacques Villeneuve talks about his future in racing  UPDATE See Rumors article stating that Jacques Villeneuve is close to securing a contract to drive for the new USF1 team in 2010.

07/22/09
Jacques Villeneuve is still optimistic about his floundering career
UPDATE
After being in Brazil to race in the Argentinean series of Top Race20at Interlagos, Jacques Villeneuve gave his opinions on several topics like his present, his future and his goals.

- "I like the cars in Top Race, the atmosphere and the level of the series. I come here to do my job driving the car and to have a good time. My priority is Formula 1 or NASCAR, but who knows? It is possible that I will race more here, next year. It would be good, I like it and I have enjoyed the two races I have competed in."

- "The objective is to improve and have a better result in Buenos Aires. I'm not satisfied with my performance, because I came from very far and I didn't reach the expectations. Maybe it was the car, maybe we could have avoided the accident, probably, it was me. It was a stupid bump, something unnecessary. I come to race two races during the season, so there is no need to crash my car like that. But I will have another opportunity in Buenos Aires, my revenge." More ...
07/22/09
nassprint
Carfax sponsors their first Cup race  Carfax and its dealer customers are treating NASCAR fans to another historic event next month at Michigan International Speedway (MIS).

Carfax will be the title sponsor of its first-ever NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the CARFAX 400, on Sunday, Aug. 16. The event follows the NASCAR Nationwide Series CARFAX 250 race on Saturday, Aug. 15 as part of the “Show Me the CARFAX Race Weekend” at MIS.

The doubleheader marks the first time MIS has had a corporate partner who is sponsoring both NASCAR events on the same weekend, strengthening its ties with arguably one of the best partners in motorsports, track President Roger Curtis said. More ...

07/22/09
f1
Ferrari denies supporting Todt  Ferrari have revealed that they never expressed their support for Ari Vatanen in the FIA presidential elections, which will take place on October 23rd.

The announcement comes after former world rally champion Vatanen released a statement last week, in which he criticized Max Mosley for publicly backing his rival Jean Todt.

In his statement Vatanen said: "At Ferrari they don't want Todt to be president, because they think the sport would lose credibility.

"The same would happen if it was Ross Brawn or Flavio Briatore running.

"The president of the FIA must be someone neutral." More ...

07/22/09
irl
Bridgestone Edmonton Preview  Per IndyCar Series rules, each entry must declare to the league within one hour after qualifying on which dry-condition tire spec it intends to start the race. All cars must use at least one primary set and one new alternate set during the race, each for a minimum of two green-flag laps. Firestone Racing is bringing the same primary tire specification that was used in the 2008 Rexall Edmonton Indy, and the softer-compound alternate tires will be used at this track for the first time in the IndyCar Series.  The rain tire is the more durable, "road course rain" specification.  The primary spec is a durable road course compound and construction, designed to withstand the high speeds encountered on the fast and bumpy temporary airport circuit. The alternate tires are identical in construction to the primaries but contain a softer tread compound which will provide more grip and faster lap times, yet will trade off compound durability in exchange for those shorter-term advantages.

From Al Speyer, Executive Director, Firestone Racing: "Firestone Racing is looking forward to the IndyCar Series' second trip to Edmonton.  The fans are some of the most knowledgeable and enthusiastic that we encounter anywhere on the schedule, and the temporary airport circuit provides plenty of room for exciting racing.  So far this season, the Firestone Firehawk alternate tires have added a lot of drama and strategy to qualifying and racing on street and road courses, and we anticipate that will hold true this weekend and that the IndyCar Series will put on a great show for the crowds.  In fact, one of the reasons we introduced the alternate tire concept to the IndyCar Series this year was due to the amount of interest shown by fans in Edmonton last year, who had seen the alternate tires in action during the Champ Car races there."

07/22/09
f1
Alguersuari not too young for F1 - Alonso  (GMM)  Fernando Alonso on Wednesday dismissed any complaints about the age and inexperience of formula one's youngest ever rookie, fellow Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari.

At 19 years and nearly four months, Toro Rosso's new recruit has only ever conducted two straight-line aerodynamic tests in F1 machinery.

But Alonso, who also debuted at the age of 19 for Minardi in 2001, insisted he does not have "any problem" with Alguersuari's rapid ascent.

"All the signs are that he is very good," the 2005 and 2006 world champion, who drives for Renault, is quoted as saying by the news agency EFE. More ...

07/22/09
automotive
Ford adding more hybrids  During the Ford 2010 model preview in Dearborn this week, one of the efficiency improvements promised for the near term by Powertrain VP Barb Samardzich was increased hybrid applications. When we asked Fusion hybrid applications manager Gil Portalatin about potential future applications, it turned out that they won't debut until the next-gen hybrid system appears in 2012. At that point a production plug-in hybrid will be added as well. Of course, no one was interested in discussing the specifics of which platforms will be hybridized (as is all to often the case). Portalatin told ABG that Ford is not pursuing any mild hybrids but did acknowledge when asked about larger hybrid applications, "we're investigating those possibilities."

Another technology that is coming is automatic start-stop, which is sometimes labeled as a micro-hybrid in Europe as on the Smart ForTwo. Most of the start-stop systems used to date are based on a beefed integrated starter-generator similar to what General Motors used for its mild hybrid system. According to advanced powertrain engineering manager Brett Hinds, Ford will leverage its direct injected engines to provide a starter assist much like Mazda's Intelligent start stop. This uses a crank position sensor to stop the engine at a position where one piston is half-way down the power stroke. On re-start, fuel is sprayed into the cylinder and ignited to get the pistons moving, taking load off the standard starter. Ford labels the system assisted direct start. We likely won't see that system until about 2011.  Ford PR
07/22/09
automotive
Daimler sells off part of its stake in Tesla  Just two months after buying 9% of Tesla Motors, Daimler has reportedly sold nearly half of that stake. According to Reuters, a 4% percent of the electric car startup is now owned by Aabar Investments, an Abu Dhabi-based investment fund. In a way, the stake is still in the family, since Aabar already bought 9.1 percent of Daimler's stock earlier this year. At the time of its original investment, Daimler and the fund indicated an intention to pursue joint projects in low emissions transportation.

Aabar has indicated it would be interested in pursuing some kind of joint venture with Tesla. The fund is controlled by the Abu Dhabi government and managed by the International Petroleum Investment Company with the intent of diversifying beyond oil.  Source: Reuters

07/22/09
f1
F1 teams wow Russian fans  For the second straight year, Formula One cars were back in action last weekend around the Kremlin. With McLaren Mercedes, Red Bull Renault and Williams Toyota on hand, race fans in Moscow were treated to the sights and sounds of Formula One around the historical centre of Russia.

With an estimated 200,000 fans in attendance Heikki Kovalainen, David Coulthard and Kazuki Nakajima performed for the spectators on the temporary circuit.

"I couldn’t believe how many people came along to see Sunday’s demonstration," Kovalainen said. "The crowds were huge, packed deeply around the whole circuit and loving every minute of the performance.

"The MP4-23 is an old friend to everyone in our team," he said with reference to the 2008 challenger. "It was fantastic to get behind the wheel and just have some fun.” More ...

07/22/09
automotive
Chevrolet announces the 2010 Camaro TRANSFORMERS Special Edition  Fans of the new Camaro and the blockbuster TRANSFORMERS movies can now combine their love of the car and the films with the Chevrolet Camaro TRANSFORMERS Special Edition announced today at Comic-Con in San Diego.


Camaro Transformers Edition
"When the first TRANSFORMERS movie was setting box office records, we had countless customers asking to purchase the 'BUMBLEBEE' Camaro," said Karen Rafferty, product marketing director, Chevrolet. "Now, they can buy one with the new Camaro TRANSFORMERS Special Edition. Streets all over North America will be buzzing in no time."

Features such as an EPA-rated 29 highway mpg on the V6-powered Camaro, Bluetooth phone connectivity, USB connectivity, XM Satellite Radio and OnStar combined with TRANSFORMERS design cues add to the car’s status as a 21st century sports car.

“Hasbro is thrilled to team up with Chevrolet and excited to see the Camaro TRANSFORMERS Special Edition come to market for our fans to enjoy,” said Samantha Lomow, Global Brand Leader for TRANSFORMERS at Hasbro. “The yellow Camaro with the black stripes has become so iconic and closely associated with the BUMBLEBEE character that this edition was a natural fit for both companies.” More ...

07/22/09
racing news
Todt calls for Vatanen 'dignity' as new battle heats up  (GMM)  With F1's political crisis close to being resolved, off-track attention is now turning to who will succeed FIA president Max Mosley when he steps down in October.

Currently, there are two candidates: Mosley's preferred heir Jean Todt and the independent candidate Ari Vatanen, whose first war of words is now fully in swing some three months before the election.

Finn Vatanen, 57, alleged in an interview this week that former Ferrari boss Todt's campaign is financially backed by the FIA; a claim that has already attracted rebukes from Todt's spokesman and the FIA Foundation.

63-year-old Todt has now issued his own censure by calling for "all candidates" to "conduct their campaigns with dignity".

"In future I hope everyone can stick to the issues and respect the integrity of this democratic process," the Frenchman added. More ...

07/22/09
automotive
GM Announces Q2 Global Sales Up Nearly 20%  Strong sales performance in GM's Asia Pacific region helped General Motors sell 1.94 million vehicles globally during the second quarter 2009. When compared with the first quarter 2009, sales were up nearly 20 percent. GM sales outside the United States grew to 72 percent of total sales. Compared to second quarter 2008, GM's total sales were down 15 percent, reflecting continuing economic pressures and production cuts in the U.S. market, which pushed North America sales down 32 percent (307,000 vehicles).

The strength of GM's portfolio of fuel-efficient and affordable products carried the company through some very difficult times. Despite ongoing negative publicity regarding the company's restructuring and eventual Chapter 11 filing, GM's second quarter global market share of 12 percent was down only 0.3 ppts compared with a year ago and up 0.8 ppts from the first quarter.

GM sold 3.55 million vehicles in the first half of 2009. On a year-over-year basis, GM total global sales were down 22 percent for the first six months of 2009. More ...

07/22/09
irl
Chitwood leaves IMS for ISC  
Is Humpy Wheeler in line to run IMS?
UPDATE #2
Former Lowe's Motor Speedway president H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler was at the Indianapolis 500 and plans to be back at the famed Brickyard for Sunday's Sprint Cup race. Could he be positioning himself to become a permanent fixture there? "Could be," Wheeler said on Monday night. There is an opening now. Joie Chitwood, the president and chief operating officer at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, announced on Monday he is resigning to become vice president of business operations for International Speedway Corp. in Daytona Beach, Fla. "We were talking," Wheeler said. "Things have kind of slowed down a little bit. The latest move about Chitwood leaving added to the drama. We'll see what happens." Asked directly if he were interested in a position at IMS, Wheeler said, "We'll see." ESPN Insider

07/21/09 This SPEEDTV.com article analyzes why Chitwood may have chosen now to leave IMS and not wait until after the year is over.  Our take?  Was he asked to find another job?  Humpy Wheeler was at Indy in May to be interviewed for the job so the Hulman George family already knew Chitwood was on his way out, either forced or otherwise.  Will Wheeler eventually be announced as Chitwood's replacement?  This would give the France family a friend on the inside of IMS, and in Chitwood, a person who has all the inside info needed to gather the data they require to someday buy the Indy Speedway.

07/20/09 Indianapolis Motor Speedway President and Chief Operating Officer Joie Chitwood announced July 20 he was stepping down from his position after this week's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and returning to his home state of Florida. His last day with IMS will be Thursday, Aug. 6.

"This is a disappointment for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway," said Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Belskus. "Joie provided the leadership you would expect for a facility that hosts the largest sporting events in the world. With his history in the sport combined with his business acumen, Joie was well-suited for the role of president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and we appreciate how he has represented IMS. We wish him all the best."

Belskus will assume the daily responsibilities of managing the Speedway. It has not been determined if Chitwood will be replaced. More ...
07/22/09
nassprint
Plenty of tickets available for Allstate 400  Tickets for Allstate 400 available: Established in 1909, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has long prevailed as an icon of motorsports excellence. Beginning in 2009, the Speedway celebrates its Centennial Era, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the facility in 2009 and the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in 2011. Tickets for the two remaining events in 2009 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and Red Bull Indianapolis GP - can be purchased online at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com at any time. Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are on sale. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information. IMS PR
07/22/09
f1
FIA body scolds Vatanen after Todt jibes  
Ari Vatanen accused of making false claims about Jean Todt and Michelle Yeoh
(GMM)  The FIA Foundation has formally rebuked Ari Vatanen.

Finn Vatanen, 57, earlier this week accused fellow FIA presidential candidate Jean Todt of receiving favoritism in the form of FIA funding, including the use of a private plane and travelling with his actress girlfriend Michelle Yeoh.

A spokesman for Todt responded by saying Vatanen had "misrepresented the (FIA) campaign's achievements", and denied the improper use of FIA funds.

On Wednesday, the chairman of the FIA Foundation Carlos Macaya wrote to Vatanen about the controversy, and made the letter available to the press.

The letter expressed "concern" about Vatanen's "totally false" claims, insisting that Todt's girlfriend Yeoh is in fact a voluntary ambassador for the Made Roads Safe campaign, while Todt also has official roles.

Like Todt, Vatanen is also a trustee of the FIA Foundation, an independent charity.

"It is very disappointing that you have chosen to misrepresent the work of a fellow trustee in this way and belittle the magnificent contribution being made by Michelle Yeoh," Macaya wrote.

"I appreciate that during the forthcoming election for the FIA presidency there needs to be open and robust debate.  However, I would ask that you do not again misrepresent the role of the FIA Foundation in this way," he added.

07/22/09
irl
Highlights of Belskus and Chitwood press conference  Outgoing Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Joie Chitwood confirmed Tuesday that a sports car race could be in the track's future. (See full transcript on our home page)

The subject of another race on the road course was one of several topics discussed as Jeff Belskus was formally introduced as the president and chief executive officer of the Speedway and IMS Corp.

"Nothing substantial (being planned), but I've had many people write me letters saying they'd like to see a 24-hour race or a 48-hour race," Chitwood said. "(The road course) is such a great part of our property and we use it once a year with MotoGP. Is there a way to use it more?"

Chitwood might be able to help facilitate another IMS event in his new role as vice president of business operations for International Speedway Corp., the Daytona Beach, Fla.-based organization that owns the Grand Am Series. More ...

07/22/09
f1
Team USA car to start testing in October  Team US F1 expects to have its new car ready by the end of October, as it ramps up its efforts to be on the Formula 1 grid next year.  Work at the team’s Charlotte factory has been pressing on following confirmation of the squad’s 2010 entry, and team principal Ken Anderson has revealed that the design of the new car is well advanced.

“Quite a lot of it is ready to manufacture,” Anderson told AUTOSPORT. “The chassis is locked down, because we were waiting to hear if the Cosworth engine rev limit was 20,000rpm or 18,000rpm.

“The chaps will now start building the chassis in August. We will have it rolling on the ground in late September, without bodywork or stuff, and then the bodywork will get added in October.” More ...

07/22/09
f1
Brawn GP cars get big aero upgrade  With the last two Grands Prix having taken place in cooler temperatures than most so far this season, the championship-leading Brawn GP cars struggled to build up the optimum tire temperatures required on-track. Team principal Ross Brawn is confident that this problem can be addressed, however, as a hotter race approaches.

With the Mercedes-powered Brawn car generating such tire temperatures which must be monitored to stay cool in most races this season, problems in the Chinese, British and German Grand Prix meant that sub-20 degree track temperatures saw Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello struggling to do the opposite - keep their Bridgestone Potenzas up to operating temperatures.

"The last two races at Silverstone and the Nürburgring have been frustrating for the team as we have not been able to achieve the full potential of our car at the same time as our competitors have taken a good step forward," admitted team principal Brawn. "However, we are confident that the inherent performance of the BGP 001 which was demonstrated during the first half of the season has not disappeared and the problems that we faced were unique to the circumstances of those races. More ...

07/22/09
irl
nassprint
Changing Indy 500 start time not being discussed  For those hoping that the Indianapolis 500 might change its start time to encourage drivers to be able to do both the IndyCar Series race and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 on the same day, think again. Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Belskus, who oversees both the IRL and the race track, said Tuesday during a news conference at the track that he has had no discussions about changing the start time since taking over the position three weeks ago. The Indianapolis 500 start time likely would have to change from its recent 1 p.m. EDT slot for it to be possible for a driver to do both events. It would be hard for Lowe's Motor Speedway to start the NASCAR race later than 5:45 p.m. because of the length of the 600-mile race, which takes more than four hours to complete. With the crossover of open-wheel drivers to NASCAR - such as Tony Stewart, Juan Pablo Montoya, Robby Gordon, John Andretti and Sam Hornish Jr. - heavy interest could be generated if drivers could do both races and rumors have circulated that the start time could be altered. SceneDaily
07/22/09
nassprint
ESPN supportive of consistent race start times  Julie Sobieski, ESPN vice president, programming and acquisitions, was asked about consistent starting times for NASCAR Sprint Cup races during a media conference call Tuesday:

JULIE SOBIESKI: "There's definitely been a lot of dialogue about start times, and a lot has been written. With ratings being down, there's lots of factors that are contributing to that. Can consistent start times make a difference? Certainly that's possible. We'd be supportive of consistent start times with ESPN and we know that's also been a priority for NASCAR to try and look at, so if it's good for the fans, and we think it's going to benefit ratings, then certainly we're onboard with that concept. It's ultimately NASCAR's call when it comes to the schedule of their races, and certainly the tracks as well. All we can do is have the open dialogue and support ultimately where NASCAR and the tracks feel (the starting time) is best to serve the fans. Nothing is set for next year, so I think that dialogue is ongoing and continuing, and we'll see where that ends up. NASCAR is going to need to make the decision that they feel is best for all their constituents involved." ESPN PR

07/22/09
nassprint
Mayfield Attorneys: NASCAR hasn't proved case  
Jeremy Mayfield's substance abuse case becomes more intriguing with every turn
UPDATE
An independent drug test on Jeremy Mayfield was negative for methamphetamines, contradicting the results of a NASCAR test taken 40 minutes earlier, the driver claimed in court documents filed Tuesday. In response to NASCAR's claim that Mayfield again tested positive for methamphetamines on July 6, Mayfield submitted an affidavit to the U.S. District Court that said he traveled to Frye Regional Medical Center in Hickory, N.C., right after NASCAR collected a sample at his Catawba County home. In a room he described as "very sterile," Mayfield said he emptied his pockets, washed his hands and was ushered into a bathroom, where he provided another urine sample. Mayfield said in the court filing he received confirmation from Laboratory Corporation of America in Raleigh, N.C., that his sample was negative on July 10 - the same day NASCAR informed his counsel that its sample was positive. Dr. Harold Schueler of the Broward County (Fla.) Medical Examiner's Office, filed an affidavit on behalf of Mayfield that claimed the levels of methamphetamine in NASCAR's test are "astronomical" and "could not be remotely accurate, unless Mr. Mayfield was deceased or a chronic abuser." Associated Press

[Editor's Note: If this statement is true that NASCAR's sample of Mayfield's blood had astronomical levels of Meth, these are serious allegations and may prove that NASCAR indeed has it out for Mayfield to go to such lengths as to spike his blood sample.  If proven true it could be a major black eye for NASCAR at a time when TV ratings are down, ticket sales are down and merchandise sales are way off.  While it's not yet time to order the flowers and plan the funeral for NASCAR, the vultures are beginning to circle.]

07/21/09 Attorneys for Jeremy Mayfield filed papers on Monday arguing NASCAR has not shown sufficient reason that the court should overturn the decision to lift the Sprint Cup driver's suspension for violating the substance-abuse policy. The papers filed in U.S. District Court are a counter to NASCAR's request on Wednesday asking for an immediate stay of the injunction after Mayfield tested positive for methamphetamine for a second time. The counterclaim did not address the second test. Mayfield has since claimed the governing body spiked the July 6 test to get the desired results. His attorney, John Buric, released results of another test taken on the same day but performed by LabCorp, an independent laboratory not hired by NASCAR, that came up negative for methamphetamines and amphetamines. NASCAR officials argue that the LabCorp test should not be recognized because there is no evidence that the sample is legitimate or that proper procedure was used. Asked for specifics about the test, such as whether Mayfield was directly observed giving the sample, Bill Bonello of LabCorp said, "LabCorp does not comment on drug testing results." More at ESPN
07/22/09
nassprint
Almirola's future up in the air  Since the #8 team folded, Aric Almirola has gone to almost every Cup race in an effort to keep his name circulating in the garage as a driver looking for a ride. "I've been going and talking to people and showing my face," said the 25-year-old Tampa, Fla., native. "I'm really scared of basically being out of sight, out of mind. I've been trying really hard to not let that happen. I don't want to be forgotten, and I want people to think about me if they have an opportunity or if they're looking to put somebody in the seat. … Or if I run into somebody and they're thinking about it, I want to be someone that crosses their mind." Almirola, who remains under contract with EGR, says he has talked with team officials about possibly returning to the seat at some point but has been given no indication that will happen. Whether with EGR or another team, Almirola still wants to return to NASCAR's top series as soon as possible. He says he would be open to taking a full-time Truck ride in 2010, however, if the opportunity arose. Right now, though, he doesn't know what his future in the sport - long term or short team - holds. SceneDaily
07/22/09
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Hot Hungary could swing supremacy back to Brawn
  • Political crisis damaged F1 - poll
  • Fatalities can also happen in F1 - Lauda
  • Senna not interested in mid-season F1 drive
  • Alguersuari's biggest worry is fitness
  • F1's engine rules do not interest Mario Illien

Hot Hungary could swing supremacy back to Brawn
(GMM)  Forecast hot weather in Hungary this weekend is expected to help Brawn GP get back on terms with the pace of championship chasers Red Bull.

The weather in the capital Budapest, just a short drive from the Hungaroring in nearby Mogyorod, has been very hot so far this week and is expected to remain in the mid and even high thirties until Friday practice.

Saturday and Sunday will be cooler, but the sunshine has the Brackley based team hopeful for better performance than at Silverstone and the Nurburgring, where Red Bull's RB5 was dominant.

The heavy braking nature of the twisty track, and a significant aerodynamic upgrade, is also buoying the mood of the Brawn team.

Team boss Ross Brawn thinks the Mercedes-powered car's problems at the last two venues were magnified by Red Bull taking "a good step forward".

"We are confident that the inherent performance of the BGP001 which was demonstrated during the first half of the season has not disappeared and the problems that we faced were unique to the circumstances of those races," he said.

If the Hungarian weather helps Brawn get more out of the Bridgestone tires, while Red Bull hope for cooler ambient temperatures, Jenson Button is confident that more good results should follow at the remaining races of 2009.

"The second half of the season has more warm-weather tracks," the championship leader said in an interview with Motorsport Aktuell. More ...

07/22/09
f1
Campos denies de la Rosa deal done  UPDATE (GMM)  Adrian Campos has denied reports that a two-year contract to bring Pedro de la Rosa back to the formula one grid in 2010 has been penned.

Spanish reports last weekend said the 38-year-old McLaren test driver is now assured a seat at the new-for-2010 Campos team, to be announced by the Spanish outfit at Valencia next month.

But the Spanish news agency EFE said Campos on Tuesday denied the existence of any finalized driver deals, even though he admitted that at least one of the team's drivers for next season could be unveiled at the European grand prix in late August.

07/18/09 (GMM)  As has been speculated in recent weeks, Pedro de la Rosa has now penned a two-year contract to race with the new Campos team beginning next season, the Spanish newspaper Diario AS reports.

The 38-year-old McLaren test driver's deal will reportedly be unveiled by the Spanish outfit at the European grand prix at Valencia next month.

Barcelona local de la Rosa, who has 72 grands prix under his belt but not a single F1 race since 2006, is to be perhaps joined at the Spanish team by Bruno Senna or the Mexican Sergio Perez, who drove for Campos in the recent GP2 Asia series.

Perez, 19, is also backed by Telmex, the telecommunications giant.

07/21/09
automotive
nascar
Toyota says it's losing money in USA  Toyota's top executive in the United States said Monday the company was reviewing its entire operation here, including whether to close a factory in California and when to open a factory in Mississippi.

In an hour-long interview with reporters at Toyota's Washington office, Yoshimi Inaba said Toyota is not profitable in North America despite cost cutting in the organization [and despite NASCAR involvement], but he said he hopes the company could be profitable in its next fiscal year in North America. Inaba, who is president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor America and chairman and CEO of Toyota Motor Sales USA, is taking up his responsibilities at a crucial time for the Japanese automaker.

Toyota's sales have fallen 38 percent in the first six months of the year -- to 770,000 cars and trucks from nearly 1.25 million vehicles in the first six months of 2008. U.S. industry auto sales fell 35 percent in the first half of the year.

Among the issues the company is considering in its re-evaluation process is whether to keep open the 25-year-old New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. assembly plant in Fremont, Calif. The plant, which employs 4,700 people, is a joint venture formed with General Motors, but the Detroit automaker recently withdrew from the pact during its stay in bankruptcy court.

"That put us in a very difficult position," Inaba said. "We are carefully evaluating all the options."

He didn't commit to a timetable for a decision on Nummi, but said a decision would be made "quite soon." He said Toyota hadn't received an incentive package from California yet. More at Detroit News

07/21/09
automotive
Ford surpasses Toyota in quality  Ford Motor Co.'s newest automobiles had fewer problems than any other manufacturer -- including Toyota Motor Corp. -- according to a new survey of initial quality, details of which were obtained by The Detroit News.

It was the first time ever that the Dearborn automaker beat its arch-rival in the survey, which was conducted for Ford by the RDA Group of Bloomfield Hills. The study also put Ford in a dead heat with Toyota in customer satisfaction.

"We've been tied with Toyota before, but it sure feels better to be on the top!" wrote Bennie Fowler, Ford's global head of quality, in a memo to employees Friday, a copy of which was obtained by The News. "We can all be pleased with the progress we have made in quality, even as we face external and internal challenges in a tumultuous climate. Our progress has come as the result of our union partnerships in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, along with the work of dedicated teams in manufacturing, product development, purchasing, marketing, sales, service, legal, IT and others who follow disciplined, standardized processes." More ...

07/21/09
nassprint
ESPN/ABC takes over with NASCAR ratings falling  ESPN's famous hype can't always mesmerize — recall the fates of Cold Pizza, Arena Football, Stephen A. Smith and ESPNHollywood— but it can always pound away.

And as it airs what's left of NASCAR's season starting with Sunday's Brickyard 400, it's deploying heavy throw-weight to a sport that didn't used to need it.

Fox's first-half NASCAR coverage finished down 12% from last year. TNT then picked up races and ended down 6% from 2008 and, as ratings drooped annually, was down 21% from 2006. ESPN/ABC, in its third year airing NASCAR's top circuit, saw its race ratings slip slightly last year. More ...

07/21/09
f1
Brawn GP previews Hungarian GP  The second half of the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship continues in Hungary this weekend as Round Ten takes the Brawn GP team to the beautiful city of Budapest for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The 4.381km Hungaroring, located 19kms from the capital, has hosted the Hungarian Grand Prix since 1986 and produced some fantastic races over the years. The low speed and high downforce circuit is one of the most technically and physically demanding tracks on the calendar with a twisty layout of interlinked corners which can really test the drivers and cars.

Both of Brawn GP's drivers have achieved victories at the Hungaroring with Rubens Barrichello winning in 2002 and standing on the podium in 2001 and 2004, and Jenson Button taking his first Grand Prix victory in the thrilling wet race of August 2006. More ...

07/21/09
Track News
Ride Pocono Raceway for Victory Junction  On Sunday, August 2nd, Race Fans attending the Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 will have the unique opportunity to take a lap around Pocono Raceway’s 2.5 mile Super Speedway and help a worthy cause, Kyle and Pattie Petty’s Victory Junction.

For a $10 donation, fans can take a ride on a Martz Bus, with all proceeds benefiting Victory Junction.  Rides are available for both infield and grandstand spectators from 9:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.  Infield fans will be able to access the Infield Martz Bus via a gate located on the turn #3 side of Pit Road entrance.  Grandstand spectators will be able to access the Grandstand Martz Bus at the over the track crossing near the entrance of Turn #1. More ...

07/21/09
irl
Inside Track: Rexall Edmonton Indy Fast Facts  
07/21/09
irl
Management of driver Doornbos bankrupt  BREDA - The court in Breda Tuesday morning has given the bankruptcy of GR8 Industries, working in the motorsports and football.

The court ruled that the management company could not fulfill its obligations to a large number of small creditors, and therefore to a receiver.

The creditors include suppliers, the father of a driver, the operator of a website, a photographer, a travel agent and a FIFA-approved broker.

GR8 Industries worked in the past for Formula 1 driver Christijan Albers and until recently also as drivers Robert Doornbos, Yelmer Buurman and Renger van der Zande. Albers broke in 2007 with his manager Lodewijk Varossieau, founder of GR8. Even then there was a row over payments which caused the break-up between parties.

The question is what else will happen with the management of Robert Doornbos, who debuted this year in the Indy Racing League. Varossieu its counsel Mr. Boudewijn Cremers commissioned the bankruptcy ruling on appeal to challenge. According Cremers, a large number of contested claims.

07/21/09
racing news
Lesa France-Kennedy to speak at PRI  International Speedway Corporation Vice Chairperson and CEO Lesa France-Kennedy has been announced as the keynote speaker for the inaugural Motor Sports Business Forum-North America (MSBF-NA), preceding the 22nd Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Orlando, Dec. 10-12.

Opening two days prior to the start of the PRI Trade Show at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, the Motor Sport Business Forum-North America (MSBF-NA) is preparing for its inaugural event at the new Hilton Orlando, Dec. 8-9, 2009.

A who’s who of top executives from the international motorsports industry is expected for the event, including major international sponsors, top team principals, sanctioning body executives and the organizers and operators of some of the most successful races and circuits in the world.  Among those already confirmed in addition to France-Kennedy include Steve Phelps, NASCAR chief marketing officer; Roger VanDerSnick, International Speedway Corporation executive vice president and COO; Roger Edmondson, Grand-Am Road Racing and AMA Pro Racing president; and Ron Rogowski, UPS director of sponsorships and events. More ...
07/21/09
f1
Alguersuari not promised seat beyond 2009  
Jaime Alguersuari
(GMM)  Jaime Alguersuari has revealed he has not been promised anything by Toro Rosso beyond the 2009 season.

Reportedly on the back of sponsorship by Repsol and La Caixa, the 19-year-old Spaniard will become the youngest ever F1 driver this weekend when he drives out of the pitlane in the car previously raced by Sebastien Bourdais.

Amid the in-season testing ban, Alguersuari has no experience at the wheel of formula one cars beyond two straight-line aerodynamic tests.

"I do not expect anything from him for at least his first three races," said team boss Franz Tost this week.

To the El Mundo newspaper on Tuesday, after PR trips to Barcelona and Madrid, Alguersuari concurs: "We will speak about next year later.  I assume that I am a bet for the future.

"There is no pressure, I am here (in 2009) to learn," he said in Spain before flying to Budapest.  "The first race will be the most difficult of all."

Alguersuari, who became emotional when asked about the death of his British friend Henry Surtees, listed his objectives for his first few grands prix as to "observe and to learn".

07/21/09
f1
Senna overlooked again  Bruno Senna, who was linked with a move to Toro Rosso following Sebastien Bourdais' sacking, has insisted that it is too late for him to break into Formula One this season.

The Brazilian was among the names mentioned in connection with Bourdais' seat before the season even started but at that time the four-time Champ Car title-winner was handed a late reprieve.

Senna missed out in the GP2 Series as he was holding out for an F1 place but, despite also being in the running for the second Honda ride, he had to settle for competing in the Le Mans Series

Bourdais’ exit from Toro Rosso opened up the possibility of Senna finally making the jump to the top flight, before Toro Rosso eventually decided to pick Red Bull protégé Jaime Alguersuari instead. More ...

07/21/09
track news
Singapore looking for group to build new racing facility  The Singapore Sports Council (SSC) today released a Request For Proposal (RFP) offering local and international consortia a unique opportunity to build and manage the Changi Motorsports Hub (CMH). Set to become Asia's first premier motorsports and entertainment centre, the CMH will feature top-notch motorsports facilities and amenities for motorsports enthusiasts, businesses, consumers and tourists alike.

A world-class motorsports destination, CMH will sit on a 41-hectare sea-facing site near Changi Airport and will be conveniently connected to the City's key tourist attractions and landmarks as well as the Central business district. Expected to be ready by the end of 2011, the Hub will feature a permanent racetrack of at least 3.5 kilometers along the coastline, complemented with a permanent sheltered grandstand for at least 8,000 spectators who will have unblocked views of the entire racetrack. More ...

07/21/09
f1
F1 teams to shut down factories next month  (GMM) Formula one will enter a rare two-week period of total inactivity in August, as part of the teams association's efforts to cut costs.

There is an unusual three-weekend gap between the forthcoming Hungarian grand prix and the subsequent race in Valencia, and FOTA has decided to take advantage of the lull so that all the teams can not only take a genuine break but also save some money.

All the teams, including the non-FOTA outfits Williams and Force India, have agreed to completely shut down their factories between August 3 to 16.

The timescale of the two-week shutdown gives the teams a week on either side of the summer calendar break to both recover from and prepare for the adjacent grands prix.

Force India confirmed on Tuesday: "All production, design and build will cease and, aside from security and maintenance, the factory will be shut."

The 10 teams' unanimous agreement to shut down their factories was confirmed with an exchange of letters last month.

07/21/09
f1
Samsonite partners with McLaren  McLaren and Samsonite are proud to announce a licensing agreement for a superior range of travel luggage under the co-branding of McLarenSport and Samsonite Black Label. The initial phase of this cooperation between the two companies is an edgy, yet casual collection linked to the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team. The collection will be launched in Fall/Winter 2009 following the completion of an intensive testing phase by the team, which has been travelling with prototype styles since the first Grand Prix of the 2009 season in Australia.

On this occasion Mr. Prashant Vatkar, Vice President- Middle East said, “As the significant leaders in cutting edge travel solutions we are proud of our collaboration with the McLaren group. This will add more value and strength to our operations and give more exposure to our elite Samsonite Black Label products. The new collection will be available in all our Samsonite Black Label stores and with our affiliates towards the end of fall 2009.” More ...

07/21/09
track news
Fair Board fights for Milwaukee Mile money, new promoter  UPDATE In a move that is spun in a news release as a mutual decision, State Fair Park and Wisconsin Motorsports have ended their contract for racing promotion rights at the Milwaukee Mile on the fairgrounds.

Wisconsin Motorsports lasted less than six months after taking over for Milwaukee Mile Holdings in February.

Here's the announcement:

West Allis, WI – July 20, 2009 – At a special meeting of the Wisconsin State Fair Park Board of Directors held this evening, Monday, July 20, the sole item on the agenda was The Milwaukee Mile.

Wisconsin Motorsports, LLC, CEO and President Claude Napier met with the Fair Park Board to discuss track operations and the license agreement held by Wisconsin Motorsports for The Milwaukee Mile. As a result of the discussions, the parties mutually agreed to formally end the contract. “We appreciate the hard work and efforts of the staff and volunteers at The Milwaukee Mile,” stated Fair Park Board Chairman Susan Crane. “This is difficult because we know the passion behind the efforts made by everyone at Wisconsin Motorsports. However, this is what must be done if we are to have any hope of keeping major racing.”  More ...

07/21/09
f1
Q&A with Timo Glock ahead of Hungarian GP  
Tell us about your podium in Hungary last year.
It was a really special moment for me to be on the podium in Formula 1 for the first time, and it was great to be fighting right at the front. Everything came together and it worked out perfectly. It was the race immediately after my accident at Hockenheim so maybe it surprised some people to see me being so competitive. But the truth was that Hockenheim was a turning point because we got the car really working well for me. After that, the fantastic result in Budapest was the start of a great run in the second half of the season.

What did it mean to finish on the podium for the first time in F1?
I really enjoyed that feeling; it's what I have worked so hard to achieve all through my career. When I left Formula 1 at the end of 2004 I knew it would be really tough to get back but I never gave up and I gave everything in Champ Cars and GP2 to get my chance. But getting back to Formula 1 was just the beginning and it was a great moment to stand on the podium in Hungary after finishing second. That gave me a lot of satisfaction and I really liked the feeling. I am determined to do it many more times!

Was that your best performance in Formula 1 so far?
It was the best result of last year but I was also very proud of my performances in several races, particularly finishing fourth in Singapore and Canada and some other races where the result maybe wasn't as good but I drove really well. This year I was on the podium again in Malaysia so that is one of my best performances as well; it's always a highlight when you finish on the podium. More ...

07/21/09
superleague
Interview to Jean-Michel Aulas, President of Olympique Lyonnais  Olympique Lyonnais became the latest addition to the Superleague Formula grid in 2009 with ambitious plans to become as successful on the track as they have been on the pitch. Club president Jean-Michel Aulas took some time out over the weekend at Zolder to outline why they joined the series and the role he sees Superleague playing in helping shape Lyon’s future business strategy.

Superleague Formula: What was the motivation behind Olympique Lyonnais joining Superleague Formula?

Jean-Michel Aulas: “Superleague Formula is a fantastic championship and Olympique Lyonnais is one of the top football teams in Europe, so there was an interest for the club to come and see what was going on and participate. On a personal level, having previously worked in Formula 1 and above all with Alain Prost in the past, it was a concept that attracted me straight away.” More ...

07/21/09
irl
Castroneves seeks support for Indy race in Brazil  Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves met with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Monday to seek support for an Indy Racing League event in the South American nation next year.  Castroneves said the race would help Brazil promote its ethanol, which is being used in IRL cars.

The IRL has been racing with 100 per cent ethanol fuel since 2007, and Brazil is the second largest ethanol producer in the world after the United States. It is also the largest exporter of the fuel.

Castroneves, who gave Silva the helmet he wore to win his third Indianapolis 500 in May, said the president promised that the federal government would do what it can to get the race to Brazil, which has five regular drivers in the series.

Terry Angstadt, president of IRL's commercial division, said last month it was 90 per cent certain that a race would be held in Brazil. More ...

07/21/09
f1
irl
IndyCar too hard for Lewis Hamilton  The reigning F1 world champion, Lewis Hamilton, was quizzed on his future by Sun readers in an exclusive Q&A session. McLaren ace Hamilton, 24, said: "I'm into all kinds of sports, a bit like Michael Schumacher. I'd love to try a MotoGP bike but not particularly race one. I would love to try one of Malcolm Wilson's rally cars - and one day I might try a NASCAR. But if Mercedes-Benz want to go to Le Mans one day and take me, I'll do that." Hamilton ruled out chasing glory at the grueling Indy 500, though. He said: "To do the Indy 500 you have to be going at it. It would be unreasonable for me to expect to get in the car and go and win it. The Sun
07/21/09
motogp
Rossi and Lorenzo plot victorious Donington farewell  Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo make the short hop across the channel this week for the British Grand Prix, the final race before the MotoGP summer break. Fresh from their one-two finish in Germany on Sunday, the Fiat Yamaha pair is on top of the world and looking forward to a special farewell race at Donington Park.

There has been Grand Prix racing at the East Midlands track for the last 22 years and Valentino Rossi remains the most successful rider in history there, holding the records for the most wins in all classes and the most premier class wins. The eight-time World Champion took his first ever 500cc win there in 2000 and the track holds a special affinity for him as he lived in London for several years and was adopted as an honorary Brit by the local fans. The Italian has seven wins to his name there but is without a victory since 2005, something he will be looking to rectify this weekend as he arrives on top form following his fourth win of the season. More ...

07/21/09
a1gp
20 countries competing in Surfers race  The introduction of A1GP World Cup of Motorsport alongside the Australian V8 Supercars Championship Series to this year’s Nitro SuperGP event will see more than 20 countries competing on the streets of Surfers Paradise in a first for the event.

To celebrate, event organizers are selecting ‘ambassadors’ for each team from the community to cheer on their team during and in the lead-up to the October 22-25 event.

The official Nitro SuperGP launch, to take place this Thursday at the Southport Surf Club, will kick off the program with Serginho van Dijk of the Brisbane Roar and Joey Wright, coach of the Gold Coast Blaze, to be in attendance as the ambassadors for A1 Team Netherlands and A1 Team USA respectively. More ...

07/21/09
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Todt hits back at Vatanen in war of words
  • Alguersuari to keep racing in World Series
  • Palmer defends Williams after F2 fatality
  • Webber, Trulli, to stay with same F1 teams
  • Alonso to Ferrari move 'logical' - Weber

Todt hits back at Vatanen in war of words
(GMM)  The battle to succeed Max Mosley is hotting up, after Ari Vatanen on Monday accused fellow presidential candidate Jean Todt of receiving favoritism in the form of FIA funding.

Independent contender Vatanen, who is taking on incumbent Mosley's preferred heir Todt in the late October election, said the Frenchman flies around the world "with his girlfriend" in a "private plane".

"In fact, he is doing a campaign totally supported and paid (for by the) FIA," the Finn added.

A spokesman for Todt, the former Ferrari boss, told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper that the 63-year-old did not want to get involved in a war of words.

But he did move to clarify former European Parliamentarian Vatanen's assertion that Todt and his partner Michelle Yeoh's work as global ambassadors for FIA campaigns are anything other than above board.

"As (Vatanen) is a trustee of the (FIA) foundation, it's unclear why Ari has misrepresented the campaign's achievements and Michelle's participation in this way," the spokesman said.

The spokesman also denied that the couple's recent trip to Africa was "at the expense of the FIA". More ...

07/20/09
BritishFF
American Newgarden moves into 2nd place  
After becoming the first American to win the historic Formula Ford Festival in England, Josef Newgarden has moved to the difficult British Formula Ford series where he is earning the respect of European race experts.  He may be one American headed to F1.
The battle for the lead of the MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain came alive at Donington Park this weekend, Josef Newgarden closing to within 17 points of season-long series leader James Cole, with Newgarden, Chrissy Palmer and Daniel Erickson sharing the Donington victory spoils.

There were celebrations also for reigning Formula Ford Champion Wayne Boyd, who underlined the promise he displayed so often last season with a masterly victory at Donington in round 12 of the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series. It was his maiden Formula 3 win.

Race 1
More ...

07/20/09
irl
Edmonton race stuck in neutral  The course is constructed, the grandstands are up, the weather forecasts are good.

In one week, cars will hit the pavement at the Rexall Edmonton Indy. But the sporting event's financial sustainability has become the topic of almost as much discussion as the race itself, after a deficit last year put city taxpayers on the hook for $5.3 million--$4 million more than anticipated.

Councilors appear split on whether the costs have been worth it.

"It's a question mark," said Coun. Ed Gibbons. "It's still early to say whether the Indy was right or wrong to do, and you can't cancel it anyway. We went in with the business plan thinking we'd do well by it. A vote's a vote and we're living with it. And I'm hoping for the best." More ...

07/20/09
track news
ISC names Chitwood head of business operations  ISC today announced Joie Chitwood III will join the Company as Vice President of Business Operations, effective August 10, 2009.  In addition, the Company announced W. Grant Lynch Jr. will become Chairman of Talladega Superspeedway and Vice President, ISC Strategic Projects.

Chitwood, 40, will lead strategy development and oversee business execution across the Company’s 13 motorsports facilities and Americrown Service Corp., ISC’s catering, concessions and merchandising subsidiary.  He will report to ISC Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Roger VanDerSnick.  In his new role as Chairman of Talladega and VP, ISC Strategic Initiatives, Lynch will oversee strategic management and community leadership for one of ISC’s premier facilities while continuing to provide leadership and execution for key strategic projects across the Company. More ...

07/20/09
irl
Canadian racers make mark in open-wheel cars  Races for Indy cars have been run in Canada since 1967, but Canadian drivers didn't begin making their mark on the sport until the 1980s.

Jacques Villeneuve, brother of legendary Ferrari Formula 1 driver Gilles Villeneuve, was the first driver of Canadian descent to win an Indy-style race. That triumph occurred at the Road America road course in a CART-sanctioned race in 1985. Gilles son, also named Jacques Villeneuve, enjoyed an even more successful career in American open-wheel racing. Driving for Forsythe-Green Racing, an early iteration of the team known as Andretti Green Racing, he won a CART race as a rookie in 1994 before winning the Indianapolis 500 and the CART championship a year later. Villeneuve went on to become a top Formula 1 driver, winning the 1997 title.

Scott Goodyear, who serves as the booth analyst for ESPN on ABC's IndyCar Series broadcasts, began racing in the CART in the late 1980s and finished a close second to Al Unser Jr. in the 1992 Indianapolis 500. Goodyear had another memorable near miss at Indianapolis in 1995, He also won the CART- sanctioned Marlboro 500 at Michigan International Speedway in 1992 and '94 before advancing to a successful career in the IndyCar Series.

The Toronto native finished second to Treadway Racing teammate Arie Luyendyk in the 1997 Indy 500, won three IndyCar Series races and finished second in the 2000 series championship. More ...

07/20/09
irl
Edmonton circuit undamaged by summer storm  Temporary structures at Edmonton City Centre Airport in place for the second Rexall Edmonton Indy this weekend escaped damage July 18 as a violent storm rolled through the area.

No major injuries were reported during the evening thunderstorm that packed winds that uprooted mature trees, hail as large as a toonie and knocked out power to tens of thousands of residents.

Conquest Racing driver Alex Tagliani was arriving via airplane at the height of the storm.

"It was the first time in all my traveling years that I had a white knuckle hold on my armrests," he said

07/20/09
f1
Q&A with Red Bull's Adrian Newey  With the team currently lying second in both the Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championships Adrian Newey gives his views on the first half of the 2010 Red Bull Racing F1 campaign.

RB5 was good enough to give the Brawn a run for its money even before the scramble to produce a double diffuser. How much did the work involved in fitting a double diffuser to our car upset the planned development program?
AN: "It was a huge amount of work as the car wasn’t designed to work with a double diffuser and, in particular, it wasn’t an easy marriage with the pullrod rear suspension. We decided we didn’t have the resources to redesign the gearbox and rear suspension to better suit the double diffuser concept, so we kept the existing mechanical package and adapt as best we could. The first attempt was our Monaco package, which was a small step that didn’t work as well as we would have liked. The second step was then introduced for the British Grand Prix."

Did this affect the overall development program of the car?
AN: "It took up a lot of my time and during that intensive two month period I was less involved with the rest of the car than I would normally have been. But we were able to handle our usual development in parallel." More ...

07/20/09
f1
Monday F1 news briefs: part 3  (GMM)  Sebastien Buemi's young formula one career hit a literal high point when he sat behind Red Bull Air Race world champion pilot Hannes Arch and experienced g-forces in excess of 10G.  "It was great fun, even though I sometimes didn't know which way was up or down," said the Swiss.

-

Nick Heidfeld swapped his BMW-Sauber seat for the saddle of Troy Corser's Superbike during a fan and partner day at the Nurburgring, the Swiss based F1 team revealed on Monday.  "Of course I wanted to touch the ground with the knee area of my racing suit while cornering and I came up trumps," the German boasted.

-

The walls of the Kremlin reverberated the sound of F1 engines at the weekend as three teams and drivers sped and smoked their way around a 4km demonstration track in the heart of Moscow.  In action during the Bavaria City Racing event were McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen, Williams' Kazuki Nakajima and David Coulthard in a Red Bull, watched on by thousands of local Russians.

-

Former triple world champion Niki Lauda may be 60, but he will soon be the proud father of newborn twins.  He told Austrian media he does not intend to be present when his 30-year-old wife Birgit gives birth.

-

F1's new teams for 2010 are in recruiting mode: former Minardi technical boss Gabriele Tredozi has signed with Campos' chassis partner Dallara, as reportedly has former Red Bull and Honda aerodynamicist Ben Agathangelou.  Manor has appointed Christian Silk, formerly chief test engineer at Renault.

07/20/09
f1
Monday F1 news briefs: part 2  (GMM)  Toro Rosso's new 19-year-old race driver Jaime Alguersuari will not relinquish his seat with the Carlin team in the Renault World Series.  "Obviously his F1 commitments will take priority," said his boss Trevor Carlin.

-

Paul Tracy, a bitter rival during Sebastien Bourdais' successful prior career in the United States, has said he is "not surprised" Toro Rosso fired the Frenchman half-way into his second formula one season.  "The guy was a misery even when he had the best car and was winning everything, so I guess he's been pretty unbearable this last 18 months," the Canadian wrote in his racer.com blog.

-

F1's governing body the FIA, as well Ferrari and its driver Felipe Massa, all separately issued statements of condolences on Monday following the death of 18-year-old F2 driver Henry Surtees, whose father John won the 1964 world championship in a Ferrari.


-

Surtees died after he was struck on the head by a flying wheel at Brands Hatch, and it has been rumored that the F2 cars, designed and built by Williams, did not feature wheel tethers.  In fact, the single seaters comply fully with the F1 safety standard of 2005.

-

MSC has launched legal action after the FIA overlooked its application to take N.Technology into formula one in 2010.  The Italian outfit has expressed concerns about the process that led to the new teams Campos, Manor and USF1 being selected to debut next year.

07/20/09
f1
Hartley not focused on F1 reserve role return  (GMM)  Brendon Hartley on Monday said he is not focusing on whether he will now return to the role as Red Bull's formula one reserve driver.

When the New Zealand teenager was replaced in the dual Red Bull Racing and Toro Rosso backup role after Silverstone, he insisted it was his decision to concentrate instead on his formative racing career.

But just one race into his successor Jaime Alguersuari's new appointment, the teenaged Spaniard has been promoted to replace Sebastien Bourdais as race driver at Toro Rosso. More ...

07/20/09
racing news
Vatanen continues charge against rival Todt  
Ari Vatanen
(GMM)  Ari Vatanen on Monday revealed he is already backed by some influential figures and bodies as he vies to become the next FIA president.

The former world rally champion and European Parliamentarian, who is to face off against the incumbent Max Mosley's preferred successor Jean Todt, insists the October elections represent a choice between stale continuity or the fresh winds of change.

Interestingly, the 57-year-old Finn claims his view is widespread.

"The big, big majority of people involved in the FIA are not happy with the current state of affairs," he said in an interview with Italy's 422race.com.

"FIA is not in a very good health," Vatanen, who has criticized the way in which Todt has been positioned as Mosley's natural heir, added.

He believes the former Ferrari boss is being favored.

"Jean goes with a private plane with his girlfriend, supposedly as a FIA representative, to various parts of the world," said Vatanen.

"In fact, he is doing a campaign totally supported and paid of FIA," he added. More ...

07/20/09
nassprint
Sadler to run new Dodge motor at Indy  Elliott Sadler will run the new Dodge R6P8 engine for the first time at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Sadler finished fourth last year in the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard with the previous Dodge engine. Sadler is tied with Tony Stewart for the longest active DNF streak (42 races) of drivers that have competed in every race. Regan Smith is at 51 races, but has not competed in every race during that span. Says Sadler, "This year I’m going to be racing the new Dodge R6 engine there, so I really feel like we are going to be fast and racing for a chance to win at the end. This is the first time that we’re running that engine in the #19 this year so I guess you could say I’m pretty optimistic based on what we’ve seen from the #9 over the last couple weeks. “ RPM
07/20/09
nascar
McGriff makes history, starts NASCAR race at 81  Ever the gentleman, Hershel McGriff was good-natured about finishing 13th in a national NASCAR series race at age 81. "My competition was faster," he deadpanned. Although he certainly would have taken a victory, McGriff seemed nevertheless pleased with his showing in the Bi-Mart Salute to the Troops 125 on the road course at Portland International Raceway, part of the NASCAR Camping World West Series. Jim Inglebright of Fairfield, Calif., won the race. McGriff was the defending champion in Portland winning the only other time the series -- then known as Winston West -- visited the track in 1986. McGriff, who last raced in 2002, broke his own record as the oldest driver. In a career that has spanned more than six decades, he has four NASCAR Cup series victories and 37 wins on the West series. He is a member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame. ESPN/AP
07/20/09
dtm
Four Audi drivers excluded  UPDATE Four Audi drivers have been excluded from Sunday’s DTM race at Zandvoort due to infringements that occurred after the race.

Alexandre Premat and Timo Scheider – who finished fourth and eighth respectively – were penalized because they took too long to turn up to be weighed after the race, with officials describing their lateness as “significant”.

Revised order:
Pos Driver                Car
       
1. Gary Paffett          Mercedes
2. Mattias Ekstrom        Audi
3. Oliver Jarvis          Audi
4. Martin Tomczyk        Audi
5. Bruno Spengler        Mercedes
6. Paul di Resta          Mercedes
7. Maro Engel            Mercedes
8. Tom Kristensen        Audi
9. Jamie Green            Mercedes
10. Ralf Schumacher        Mercedes
11. Susie Stoddart        Mercedes
12. Mike Rockenfeller      Audi

07/20/09 With excellent tactics, British driver Gary Paffett wins the fourth season round of the DTM at Zandvoort in The Netherlands. For the Mercedes-Benz driver, it already is his second season win after his success at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz. The 2005 DTM champion takes over the lead in the points’ standings with a total of 24 points from Mattias Ekström (22 points). “The track is really difficult, but we had a great car and a superb performance today. The Mercedes-Benz team has done an outstanding job throughout the weekend”, said Paffett about the twelfth DTM victory of his career.

Oliver Jarvis and Gary Paffett
Oliver Jarvis and Gary Paffett

After a great recovery from ninth on the grid, Audi driver Ekström crossed the finish line in second place, 1.431 seconds down. “That was a race with a lot of action. I started well down on the grid, but of course, I hoped to be able to move up the order, because I was really fast. The car was very good and I was able to keep a consistent pace. I think that I can be happy with my result”, said the Swede, who won the race on the circuit in the dunes last year. With an impressive performance in his year-old Audi A4 DTM, Briton Oliver Jarvis claimed third place. With Alexandre Prémat (F), Martin Tomczyk (D) and Markus Winkelhock (D), three more Audi drivers followed in fourth to sixth place, completing the quintet of Audi drivers behind the winner. More ...

07/20/09
f1
Toro Rosso confirm Alguersuari  
Jaime Alguersuari
Scuderia Toro Rosso is pleased to announce that, as from this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, Jaime Alguersuari will drive for the team, alongside Sebastien Buemi. The 19 year old Spaniard will thus become the youngest ever driver to take part in a Grand Prix weekend.

Jaime Alguersuari: “I would like to thank Red Bull for giving me this great opportunity to race in Formula 1. Ever since I started racing this has been my dream and thanks to the Red Bull Junior Program I will now realize my ambition of lining up on a Grand Prix grid. I am aware that I’m facing a very tough challenge, because coming into Formula 1 is never easy, coming into Formula 1 in the middle of a season is even harder and doing so without any testing is really difficult. But already I feel that I am getting great support from the team, who have quite a reputation for looking after rookie drivers.”  More ...

07/20/09
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Surtees' son dies after F2 crash
  • Concorde Agreement to be signed this week
  • Struggling teams can't 'do a Brawn' for 2010
  • Australian sponsors not interested in Webber
  • Hamilton eyes Le Mans with Mercedes return
  • Fate of Hockenheim's F1 race still 'open'
  • Cosworth works hard to prepare engine for F1
  • New teammate makes 'no difference' - Buemi
  • Toro Rosso confirms Alguersuari

Surtees' son dies after F2 crash
(GMM)  Henry Surtees, the 18-year-old son of 1964 world champion John Surtees, died after an accident in the Formula Two race at Brands Hatch on Sunday.

The Briton, who finished the previous day's F2 race in third position, was struck on the head by the flying rear wheel of a competitor's car following a crash.

Surtees lost consciousness immediately and crashed into the barriers at the next corner without lifting his foot off the throttle.

After being stabilized trackside and at the Kent circuit's medical centre, he was airlifted by helicopter to the Royal London Hospital where he later died.

A hospital spokesman confirmed the death.

His father John Surtees, 75, won six grands prix and was also a motorcycle world champion and formula one constructor.

Concorde Agreement to be signed this week
(GMM)  Formula one's political crisis is tipped to end in the middle of this week.

It is said that a new Concorde Agreement, to bind the teams and the commercial rights holders to the FIA until the end of 2012, is ready to be given the final green light by Max Mosley and the 26 World Motor Sport Council members.

An addendum to the agreement is the separate so-called Cost Regulation Document, which was discussed and was close to completion after the 13 teams for 2010 met last week at FOTA's Geneva headquarters.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that Williams' chief executive Adam Parr has been tasked with ensuring that the FOTA teams' undertakings to reduce their budgets to 1990s levels are understood and accepted by the non-FOTA independent teams.

"There have been very long negotiations and now it is time for the conclusion," Hermann Tomczyk, the German club ADAC sport president and an FIA official, told the SID news agency. More ...

07/20/09
automotive
Buy truck, get AK-47  The owner of a Missouri dealership is giving away free AK-47s with the purchase of any truck.  This guy has all the answers for the CNN correspondent.
 
07/20/09
racing news
Quotes of the week  
"That's the first law of Disney at work--wishing will make it so. Using ethanol for fuel is like electing the dumbest kid in school as class president. As for plug-in electrics, they're just not plausible right now. Lithium-ion batteries are too expensive by at least an order of magnitude. They're not energy-dense enough. And we generate a lot of our electricity from coal. I don't think Shai [Agassi, of Better Place] is being disingenuous. I think he really believes what he's saying. I see it all the time from those Palo Alto types. They think the whole world is like a computer company, and they're always trying to recreate the dot-com economy. You see exactly the same mind-set with Tesla. It's all going to work out. It worked out with eBay. It worked out with SAP. But transportation is a different world. I mean, Shai's bragging about driving an electric RAV4 with a seventy-mile range. How many of your friends are going to buy that car?" Bill Reinert of Toyota talking about the state of the auto industry as it tries to go "green."

"I don't trust anything NASCAR does, anything Dr. David Black does, never have, never will.  Black is the administrator for NASCAR's drug-testing program.  And they picked the wrong woman [Mayfield's stepmother] to use against me because that (expletive) is trash and has got nothing on me but lies.  She's tried everything she can do to get money out of me. I won't help her, so I guess she found a way to get money from NASCAR by giving them an affidavit full of lies.  She don't deserve the Mayfield name.  She's hated me since my dad got killed because I won't give her any money. She goes on the Internet and blogs lies about me and Shana (his wife) and everything you can imagine. She's broke, and I guess she got NASCAR to give her some money."  Jeremy Mayfield, NASCAR driver, Mayfield Motorsports, commenting after testing positive for another methamphetamine test.

"Brian France talking about effective drug programs is like having Al Capone talking about effective law enforcement.  They're playing this high school s-, they better be ready. I'm coming after them in a big way. I'm prepared to go all the way and have the backing to do it if it takes everything I've got. I'm not going to back down for something I didn't do." Jeremy Mayfield  More ...
07/20/09
automotive
What your car color says about you  

Once popular silver now ranks 2nd behind white as the color of choice for car buyers
Like fashion designers, automobile manufacturers gather all the data they can to formulate their predictions of colors that will appeal to consumers. They also have to rely on psychology and cultural influences that can have an effect on color preference, especially in turbulent economic times.

Due to uncertainties posed by the global recession, the DuPont color design staff recently consulted two experts for their opinions on potential psychological and anthropological factors that might skew color trends. More ...
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