Edwards Scores Second Atlantic Victory In the first Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda race of the Harrah’s Autobahn Grand Prix presented by Mazda doubleheader, John Edwards picked up his second series victory and led a 1-2 sweep for Newman Wachs Racing on the team’s home turf.
Edwards started from the pole position in the No. 36 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development/Nuclear Clean Air Energy/NEI/Entergy machine and led every lap, beating teammate Jonathan Summerton to the stripe by 6.486 seconds to get the win. It was the first 1-2 sweep for Newman Wachs Racing – which is based some 60 miles from Autobahn Country Club in Mundelein, Ill. – in three and a half years of Atlantic competition. The team was formed prior to the 2006 season by late actor Paul Newman and longtime Chicago-area racer Eddie Wachs.
It was Edwards’ first Atlantic win since taking the season opener at Sebring in March and was his fourth podium result of the season, allowing him to move into sole possession of second place in the championship standings with half of the 12-race season now in the books. Edwards will also start tomorrow’s second half of the doubleheader from the pole position.
Hospital says Massa's condition 'life-threatening'UPDATE "During the course of his examination they established that he suffered serious, life-threatening injuries, including loss of consciousness and a fracture of the forehead on the left side and a fracture on the base of the skull."
07/25/09 (GMM) Felipe Massa is in a "life-threatening" condition on Saturday night after undergoing surgery on his fractured skull.
Brawn team boss Ross Brawn confirmed that the piece of Rubens Barrichello's car that fell off and struck Massa on the helmet at the Hungaroring during qualifying weighed 800 grams and is made of steel.
It resulted in the 28-year-old Brazilian driver sustaining a cut forehead, skull damage and brain concussion, and after surgery he is in intensive care in the central Budapest hospital AEK.
Hildebrand wins Edmonton Indy Lights race By the time Richard Philippe had made 20 laps around the bumpy, taxing track, he knew he wasn’t going to catch leader J.R. Hildebrand. At least not without the benefit of a restart. But on a relatively quiet afternoon at the Rexall Speedway, there were no cautions during the Indy Lights race. Instead, Hildebrand went post to post to register his third win of the season — with an advantage of more than 14 seconds.
Philippe was second, followed by Sebastian Saavedra.
“I was just trying to maintain the lap time, and I just started to get into a rhythm,” said Hildebrand, a 21-year-old driver from California.
Gustavo Yacaman veered off the track during the 31st lap. Thirteen laps later, Ana Beatriz bumped James Davison, but otherwise it was Hildebrand’s show.
AGR boys IRL's biggest bust All that noise about Danica Patrick jumping to NASCAR or being poached by rival Target Chip Ganassi could be a distraction for her Indy Racing League team. But where there is conjecture, rumour and the occasional nugget of truth related to the impending expiration of her contract with Andretti Green Racing, there is less talk about the dismal performance of the stable, or rather the three drivers in it who are not named Danica.
The AGR boys, collectively, have been the biggest bust of this IRL season. Marco Andretti is seventh in the drivers standings, Tony Kanaan is eighth and Hideki Mutoh 11th. That's terrible news for the only four-car team on the circuit, a conglomeration with championships and Indy 500 wins on a record that has not seen this many blots in years.
All four AGR pilots were awful in qualifying in Toronto two weeks ago, at a race owned by the team, no less. They saved a modicum of face by finishing sixth through 17th on race day, led as they have been all year by Patrick, but it's never a win-win situation for AGR.
Massa head surgery 'positive' - Ferrari (GMM) The outcome of Felipe Massa's head surgery late on Saturday was "positive", Ferrari confirmed in a statement.
The Brazilian driver is now in intensive care, and unofficial word from the central Budapest hospital AEK is that the operation was to remove a piece of damaged bone from his left eye-socket.
Speculation suggests the surgery took two hours and Massa, 28, is now under observation. Brazilian media reports say the 2008 championship runner-up is expected to make a full recovery.
Reportedly in attendance at the hospital are Massa's brother Eduardo and friend and compatriot Luciano Burti.
McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen, as well as other drivers including Rubens Barrichello and Nico Rosberg, said before leaving the Hungaroring on Saturday that Massa's crash should inspire more talks about how to better protect drivers' heads.
It emerges that in the wake of the death of Henry Surtees, who last Sunday died in a F2 crash as the result of his helmet striking a flying wheel, the drivers discussed the issue of the vulnerability of single seater drivers' heads at length in the pre-Hungarian GP briefing.
"Something needs to be done. Yes, absolutely," said Barrichello.
Alonso on three stop strategy, Button heavy (GMM) Fernando Alonso is on a very light initial fuel load and a three-stop strategy for the Hungarian grand prix.
When asked at the Hungaroring if the pole sitting Spaniard, who celebrated Renault's first pole since 2006 on Saturday, will stop two times or three in the race, team boss Flavio Briatore answered: "Three."
Indeed, when the FIA published the starting weights of the field, Alonso's R29 tipped the scales a full 18kg beneath his fellow front row-getter Sebastian Vettel.
F1 news briefs from Hungary (GMM) The timing foul-up at the end of qualifying on Saturday wasn't the only technical problem so far this weekend in Hungary. On Friday, the mobile phone network O2 crashed, leaving British based teams including Red Bull and Williams offline. Suffice it to say, many journalists and other personnel at the circuit were also affected.
Mercedes' Norbert Haug was not impressed with the timing failure in qualifying, which left millions of live television viewers - not to mention drivers like the pole sitter Fernando Alonso - initially unaware of the final result. "At formula one level it is not acceptable," said German Haug.
Fractured skull, intensive care for Massa after crash
Filipe Massa suffered serious head injuries during qualifying for the Hungarian GP
(GMM) Felipe Massa is undergoing surgery at Budapest's AEK hospital on Saturday night following his frightening qualifying accident at the Hungaroring, the Ferrari team has revealed.
The 28-year-old Brazilian was reportedly conscious and stable as he was airlifted by helicopter to the nearby hospital, but telephoto images after he was struck by debris from Rubens Barrichello's car showed a gash below his left eyebrow.
The Speedweek publication said he was confused and distressed when in the circuit medical centre, and had to be tranquilised; information confirmed by his friend and countryman Barrichello.
Ferrari also revealed that hospital checks showed Massa has a cut on his forehead, "a bone damage of his skull and a brain concussion".
Massa in medical center after bizarre crashUPDATE Felipe Massa had a cut on his head before being sedated and airlifted to a Budapest hospital, his countryman and rival Rubens Barrichello said after qualifying at the Hungaroring.
A piece of tubular metal debris, apparently from the rear of Brazilian Barrichello's Brawn car, struck Massa, who drives for Ferrari, in the face in the dying moments of the Q2 session.
A spokesman for the Italian team said Massa, last year's championship runner-up, was "stable" after being ambulanced to the circuit medical centre and then helicoptered to hospital.
"He was very agitated," Barrichello is quoted as saying by Britain's Daily Telegraph. "He had a cut in his head, which could have been from the part of my car that was on the track.
"He was talking, was conscious, but they have to analyze the cut (in hospital). He was moving his arms and legs, they had to make him sleep because he was agitated," Barrichello added.
Given the FIA's attitude towards head injuries, it is almost certain that Massa will not be starting the Hungarian grand prix on Sunday from tenth position.
Here is a video of the accident. Note the metal tube hitting him in the helmet.
Felipe Massa is carried by medics. Note his damaged helmet and his left eye appears to be closed and have a cut above it. More photos here
07/25/09 (GMM) Felipe Massa was stretchered into the Hungaroring medical center following a bizarre crash during the Q2 qualifying session.
The Ferrari driver did not steer before slamming head-first into a conveyor belt-covered tire barrier at high speed.
The rumor in the wake of the crash was that the Brazilian may have been struck by debris, although speculation he was unconscious at the point of impact seems wide of the mark given the tire marks in the asphalt run-off area.
Massa, 27, was taken by ambulance to the medical centre and the beginning of the Q3 session, which he was due to participate in, delayed.
He was conscious when taken into the circuit facility, and his countryman Rubens Barrichello visited him and reported afterwards that Massa was talking.
Dani Pedrosa kept up his pace in Saturday morning’s practice session for the British Grand Prix, racking up the fastest MotoGP time for the second successive run-out at Donington Park. The 2006 racewinner at the Midlands circuit was under two-tenths quicker than nearest rival Jorge Lorenzo courtesy of an exceedingly quick late lap.
Lorenzo and Pedrosa engaged in a brief shootout on a dry track, at one point both level at the head of the timesheet with exactly the same time. It took a further lap from Pedrosa to distance the Spanish pair.
A crash three minutes in at Melbourne gave Casey Stoner something to think about early on, but the Ducati Marlboro rider appeared unfazed as he rejoined the action soon after. There was no repeat of the low speed tumble en route to his third place finish on the session’s results board.
Completing the top quartet of the class’ ‘big four’, Valentino Rossi was just behind and still under half a second slower than Pedrosa. Colin Edwards, Toni Elías, Andrea Dovizioso, Marco Melandri, Randy de Puniet and Mika Kallio completed the top ten.
Goodyear, drivers happy with Indy tire Any lingering concerns about tires again making a mockery of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard were put to rest Friday during two hour-long practice sessions at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Goodyear was embarrassed a year ago when rapid tire wear produced a race run in short stints between mandatory cautions that resulted in a race-record 52 of 160 laps under caution. After seven visits to the Speedway for more than 13,000 miles of testing, Goodyear saw the results it was hoping for Friday. Goodyear's Greg Stucker admitted to a "few butterflies" as the day began, but they quickly flew away as it became clear NASCAR's 16th visit to the Speedway would not be a repeat of the 15th. "Everything we've seen we're very happy with," said Stucker, expressing complete confidence that Sunday's race will go off without a hitch. "There was a little apprehension, but it settled when we saw the track rubber in so quickly." Indianapolis Star
Ganassi plans to fill #1 ride Chip Ganassi, co-owner of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, on replacing Martin Truex Jr., who is leaving the #1 Bass Pro Chevy for Michael Waltrip Racing next year: "We're going to fill it. Everything's fine. I'm not going out of business. We're going to have two cars next year. You guys always ask silly questions. I wish I had great answers for you. I'm unable to make things up. All I can tell you is we're fine. We're talking to a few guys, and I'll tell you in due time.. .. I'm a bit of a gambler in that sense. I don't feel the need to announce my plans July 1 like a lot of people do. I'm not going to be dragged into that. We're going to make the best decision at the right time. We're on my calendar. I'm not on anybody else's calendar." USA Today
Hungary GP: McLaren completes practice hat-trick, Sutil crashes (GMM) McLaren completed the hat-trick of fastest times in practice sessions by once again going quickest at the Hungaroring on Saturday morning.
Heikki Kovalainen had been quickest on Friday morning, before his reigning world champion teammate Lewis Hamilton topped the other two sessions that precede qualifying.
However, the third practice is often an unreliable indication of form, given that teams invariably prepare for either the forthcoming low-fuel Q1 and Q2 qualifying segments, or the heavy-fuel Q3 decider.
Championship leader Jenson Button was clearly working on Q3 as he lapped 17th quickest on Saturday, but even so he was multiple tenths slower than the pace of the Red Bulls, who were in the middle of the time sheets.
Alonso says adjustable front wing useless (GMM) New measures this year including KERS and adjustable front wings have been formula one flops, according to Fernando Alonso.
In an interview with Britain's Independent, the Renault driver was asked about two changes that were designed to spice up the show: 'boost button' KERS systems, and the driver-adjustable flaps.
Alonso and his team's negative attitude about KERS is well known, but when asked about the cockpit-mounted button that can adjust the angle of a front wing element twice per lap, the Spaniard answered: "I never touch it!
"So far, nine races, I never use it. It's not useful at all. KERS, the aerodynamics, they are two new regulations that didn't work this year," Alonso added.
Barrichello not asked to be no. 2 - Button (GMM) Jenson Button on Saturday played down rumors the Brawn team has moved towards installing him as the 'number 1' driver for the remainder of 2009.
The Briton is 24 points clear of his teammate in the championship, and speculation in Hungary is that Ross Brawn has now stepped in to ask Rubens Barrichello to support Button's title bid for the last eight races of the season.
"Jeez, I don't think Rubens would do that, do you?" Button, 29, replied, according to BBC Sport. "No, it's definitely not the case."
After the Spanish grand prix in May, 37-year-old Barrichello hit out at suspected favoritism towards Button, and two weeks ago in Germany he once again blamed the team for his drop from the lead to sixth place.
But Button insists: "We're free to race, as every team in F1 should be. There are two drivers in the team, and you shouldn't be working for each other.
"We've both got a chance of winning the championship, or fighting for it, so why should one driver help the other?" he added.
Castroneves tries to make amends with Canadian fans
Castroneves with his "I Love Canada" T-shirt
Helio Castroneves didn't want to hear any residual boos from Paul Tracy fans this weekend during the Rexall Edmonton Indy. So the team Penske driver took a proactive approach - wearing an "I (heart) Canada" T-shirt with Tracy's No. 15 inserted in the maple leaf heart at the circuit.
The reigning Indianapolis 500 champion wasn't the most popular IndyCar Series driver in Toronto two weeks ago when his car got tangled up with Tracy's as they competed for second place late in the race on the Exhibition Place course. Sustained boos - something the effervescent Castroneves isn't used to hearing - rained when he returned to pit lane.
"I will use it most of the weekend," he said. "I admire the fans. They're supporting their people and that's the way it should be."
Both Tracy and Castroneves said the incident was "one of those racing things."
Quotes From ESPN News Conference ESPN will have live, high definition coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 26, beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET, the first of 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races to be televised on ESPN and ABC to close out the 2009 season. Rich Feinberg, ESPN vice president, motorsports, event production, and four former NASCAR Sprint Cup champions who are members of the telecast team – Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree, Rusty Wallace and Ray Evernham – participated in a news conference Friday at the speedway. Some highlight quotes:
Mark Martin topped the speed charts in Allstate 400 at the Brickyard practice at Chevy Day at the Brickyard, Friday, July 24 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Martin, driving the No. 5 CARQUEST/Kellogg's Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, turned a fast lap of 180.643 mph on the 2.5-mile IMS oval. 2000 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race winner Juan Pablo Montoya wasn't far behind, posting a lap of 180.581 in the No. 42 Target Chevrolet for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.
Montoya, whose car carries a "Retro Target" paint scheme this weekend reminiscent of the colors he carried to victory in the 2000 Indy 500, sat atop of the speed chart for much of the second practice session until Martin posted his lap.
Edwards Takes First Career Atlantic Pole for Race #1
JOLIET, Ill. - In qualifying for Race #1 of this weekend's Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda doubleheader, John Edwards earned the first pole position of his Atlantic career at the Harrah's Autobahn Grand Prix presented by Mazda.
Driving the No. 36 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development/Nuclear Clean Air Energy/NEI/Entergy machine for the Mundelein, Ill.-based Newman Wachs Racing, Edwards posted a best lap at 2:004.600 (102.857 mph) around the 3.56-mile, 21-turn permanent road circuit. The 18-year-old from Cincinnati, Ohio was nearly a half-second quicker than his next closest competitor, points leader Simona De Silvestro, and he heads into Saturday's race looking for his second career Atlantic win.
Edmonton: Hildebrand takes Indy Lights pole J.R. Hildebrand won the pole for the Firestone Indy Lights Grand Prix of Edmonton. Hildebrand, the Firestone Indy Lights championship point leader, posted a quick lap of 1 minute, 5.9065 seconds (107.771 mph) to earn his fourth pole start of the season. He will be joined by first-time front-row starter Richard Philippe in the 50-lap Grand Prix of Edmonton on the 1.96-mile, 14-turn Edmonton City Centre Airport circuit July 25.
J.R. HILDEBRAND (No. 26 ARPRO Andretti Green/AFS Racing, Pole): "The car was just really good right from the get go. Last weekend we had a little bit of trouble trying to make too many changes for the qualifying session. I think it just kind of got us behind. But today we just kind of stuck with the game plan and went out there and went quick."
Court rules in NASCAR's favor; Mayfield suspended An appeals court has ruled in NASCAR's favor, granting its request to keep Jeremy Mayfield off the race track. The decision Friday by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals means Mayfield is once again suspended for failing a May 1 random drug test. A federal judge lifted the driver's suspension July 1, and NASCAR appealed to the appeals court in Richmond, Va. That court issued a stay until the appeal can be heard. U.S. District Court Graham Mullen, who allowed Mayfield to return to competition, still has a request before him to overturn his earlier decision based on NASCAR's claim that Mayfield tested positive for methamphetamine a second time. Mayfield is not entered in Sunday's race at Indy. Associated Press
Teams give details of 'cost regulation document' (GMM) FOTA figures on Friday began to lift the lid on the mysterious 'Cost Regulation Document' that will replace Max Mosley's preferred budget cap beginning next year.
The FIA confirmed on Friday that once the legally-binding contract is signed off by the F1 teams, the Concorde Agreement can be pushed through and the recent tumultuous period of political instability sidelined at least until 2012.
Until now however the actual content of the document has been closely guarded by the FOTA alliance, and even on Friday only a few details were divulged.
Toro Rosso's Franz Tost told reporters at the Hungaroring that, quite apart from this year's frenetic rate of development, only three changes to fundamental aerodynamic parts next year will be allowed.
MotoGP: Pedrosa fastest at Donington Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa fired the opening shot for this weekend’s British Grand Prix, finishing on top of the timesheets at Donington Park in a session that started very wet and ended almost dry. His factory Honda team-mate Andrea Dovizioso was also on the pace, recording the fourth fastest time with a lap just 0.442s behind Pedrosa.
Rain fell for the first half of the practice this afternoon before sunshine allowed a dry line to slowly develop around the 4.023km (2.500-mile) circuit. Pedrosa used the initial part of the session to work on the wet settings on his RC212V and then began to up the pace, extracting the absolute maximum from Bridgestone’s treaded wet tires on his final flying lap. The surface never fully dried however, and Pedrosa’s fastest lap was 10s off his own lap record at Donington - a time of 1m 28.714s set in 2006.
Heidfeld criticizes Bridgestone's 2009 tires (GMM) Nick Heidfeld is not the only formula one driver openly critical of Bridgestone's current tires, the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport reports.
This weekend's Hungarian grand prix is the first race since the sport's official supplier scrapped its policy of leaving a gap between the compound stiffness of its two available tires.
But BMW-Sauber driver Heidfeld said after Friday practice: "I'm afraid the tires are still not really good."
The German press report said many drivers support the 32-year-old's view, regarding the inconsistency of the 2009-spec slick tires. He also said the tires are too sensitive to ambient and track temperatures.
"Tiny differences can have a large effect," Heidfeld commented, revealing he has made his opinion "forcefully" known to the Japanese manufacturer.
"But nothing happens," he added. "Whatever Bridgestone makes is always going to win."
Williams, Force India, played hard in F1 talks (GMM) F1's governing body on Friday confirmed that a new Concorde Agreement will shortly be signed.
An FIA statement said negotiations with Bernie Ecclestone and the 13 teams for 2010 are complete, with the tripartite contract only now needing the rubber-stamp of the World Motor Sport Council.
"Subject to the approval of the WMSC and on receipt of confirmation that a satisfactory cost-reduction agreement is in place, the new Concorde Agreement should be ready for signature at the end of next week," it read.
It had been rumored that the matter would be resolved shortly after the recent German grand prix, but Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that non-FOTA members Williams and Force India have been pushing hard on a number of issues.
For example, the two teams reportedly wanted unanimity - rather than majority rule - to be necessity for team votes, and external financial auditors to keep tabs on the teams' pledges to reduce costs.
Rules previously in dispute have now been agreed: the minimum weight limit is increasing from 605 to 620kg, and fuel pitstops have definitely been banned.
KERS remains in the official rules, although FOTA teams have agreed not to fit the hybrid technology next year. Theoretically, the non-FOTA teams Williams and Force India could legally use KERS systems in 2010.
Di Grassi fastest in Hungary practice Lucas di Grassi has arrived in top form in Hungary this weekend setting the quickest lap time in this morning’s Free Practice at the Hungaroring in a 1:28.261. He is four tenths clear from Vitaly Petrov and Javier Villa.
In the heat of Budapest with the track temperature rising to 41°C, the Super Nova Spaniard was the fastest man in the early laps of the session but he was soon to be denied the top spot when di Grassi set the pace just before the ten minute mark. His lap time was never bettered although Pastor Maldonado seemed to be on his way to be quicker. However, as the Venezuelan set the fastest sectors 1 and 2, he lost the rear of his car in turn 13 prompting a yellow flag.
When the track was clear and with twenty minutes left on the clock all drivers set their goal to claim the top spot, starting with Petrov. But the Russian’s attempts could not bring him closer than four tenths to the Brazilian.
Hungary GP: Hamilton keeps McLaren on top in Practice 2 Lewis Hamilton kept McLaren at the top of Friday's time sheets at the end of the afternoon session in Hungary.
But the reigning world champion insisted that, despite appearing to be back at the very top after a difficult first half of the season for the British team, he still expects the Red Bulls and the Brawns to have the edge.
Advised by a reporter for Italy's Sky Sport that he seemed in a particularly good mood after topping the ultimate 90 minute session in Budapest, Hamilton replied: "I don't think I'm in a different mood at all.
"For sure we still have a lot of work to do to be quickest."
Possible good news for Chevy teams In what looks like good news for NASCAR's Chevrolet teams: a major General Motors shakeup Thursday puts racing aficionado Brent Dewar in charge of the entire Chevrolet brand world-wide. The 54-year-old Dewar, currently running GM's European operations, will take over as head of the "global" Chevrolet brand, which will include Chevrolet in North America. Dewar's boss will be Bob Lutz, who is GM's new head of marketing and communication. Lutz is one of the eight key men on the "executive committee" that GM CEO Fritz Henderson -- looking for a meaner, leaner operation - has created. The others are Tom Stephens as boss of global product development, Nick Reilly as head of international operations, Ray Young as chief financial officer, Tim Lee as head of global manufacturing and labor relations, John Smith as boss of corporate planning and alliances, Mark LaNeve and head of U.S. sales, and Bob Socia as boss of global purchasing and supply, Henderson is also pruning jobs. Among the men leaving GM: Ralph Szygenda, chief information officer; Troy Clarke, president of GM North America (Henderson himself will now be in charge of North American operations); Maureen Kempston Darkes, in charge of GM's Latin America, Africa and Middle-East projects; Michael Grimaldi, CEO of GM Daewoo; and Jonathan Browning, head of global sales, service and marketing. Ed Peper, who has been running GM's North American Chevy operations, is moving over to Cadillac as general sales manager. mikemulhern.net and Detroit Free Press
Edmonton guaranteed IRL race in 2010 Edmonton's place on the Indy Racing League circuit is guaranteed for 2010 and IRL officials are open to discussing a contract extension.
"If they want to move forward, we're going to listen," said IRL vice-president of public relations John Griffin, who added that IRL officials Terry Angstadt and John Lewis would be meeting with their Northlands counterparts this weekend but a new deal was unlikely to be consummated.
"I don't think we'd be in a position to turn it around that quickly," he said.
The IRL schedule for 2010 will be released Aug. 1 and Griffin said it will feature 17 or 18 races. That final number may well depend on whether Angstadt returns from Brazil on Friday confident that the season could start with a pair of races held a week apart in the South American country.
There will definitely be one race, in early March in Ribeirao Preto, hometown of IRL driver Helio Castroneves.
Coulthard back in Red Bull reserve role (GMM) David Coulthard has stepped back into the role as the reserve driver for Red Bull's two formula one teams.
With the energy drink outfits' former reserve Jaime Alguersuari moving into the full time Toro Rosso seat this weekend and beyond, his predecessor Brendon Hartley has opted instead to focus on his racing pursuits in F3 and the Renault World Series.
Before Hartley was granted a FIA superlicense earlier this season, Coulthard fulfilled the reserve role, and the 38-year-old Scot confirmed in Budapest on Friday that he is once again on standby for the Red Bull teams.
Coulthard, who retired last year after nearly 250 grands prix and 13 wins, already travels to each race as a team consultant and commentator for British television.
Alguersuari dead last in debut F1 session (GMM) Jaime Alguersuari fended off the criticism about his premature formula one debut in Hungary by finishing his first ever practice session just two tenths slower than Toro Rosso teammate Sebastien Buemi.
The pair were at the tail of the field after the initial 90-minute session at the Hungaroring, but despite never previously rounding a corner in a F1 car, 19-year-old Alguersuari - whose full name is pronounced 'Heimi Al-gay-shuari', started cautiously but drove professionally.
There was one anxious moment, however, when his Ferrari-powered car stopped in the middle of the pitlane and had to be pushed by his jogging mechanics back to the garage.
As happens whenever a driver's job is on the line, Heikki Kovalainen worked hard for his money Friday morning and turned the top time by snatching the fastest time from Nico Rosberg in the closing seconds of the Friday morning session at the Hungaroring.
The McLaren driver jumped up the order with his final lap and managed to nip Rosberg's Williams by 0.059 seconds.
Kovalainen's McLaren teammate, Lewis Hamilton, was third fastest, ahead of Red Bull's Mark Webber, who had led the way for much of the morning and was in front until the final scramble for quick laps.
FOTA denies opposing Todt as FIA president (GMM) A FOTA spokesperson has denied simplistic media reports characterizing the battle to succeed Max Mosley as FIA president.
Those reports claim October's election is essentially a choice between Mosley's preferred successor Todt, who stands for unpleasant continuity and is a 'patsy', and Ari Vatanen, heavily favored by the F1 manufacturers' alliance.
But the FOTA spokesperson told inthenews.co.uk that "there is quite a lot of mischief-making going on".
"The media are trying to create a war between 'the FOTA backed Ari Vatanen' and 'the FIA backed Jean Todt', if you like, but Mosley is perfectly entitled to back somebody," the spokesperson said.
"There is this big thing where people are saying that Todt is Mosley's man, but Jean Todt is Jean Todt.
"His record in motor sport is second to none and the idea that he is some patsy is totally bonkers."
The spokesperson acknowledged that 63-year-old Todt, who ran the Ferrari team with an iron fist for 14 years until 2007, is not universally the most popular figure in the paddock.
Button admits 'no excuses' for Hungary struggle (GMM) With three words, championship leader Jenson Button on Thursday summed up his situation as basking sun beat down on the Hungaroring.
"There's no excuses," said the Briton, who has struggled in the cold of F1's last two outings while title chasers Red Bull dominated.
It was said that at Silverstone and the Nurburgring, races that shattered Button's dominance of the opening part of the 2009 season, the Brawn car could not gets its tires to work.
Although set to cool down slightly for the decisive sessions on Saturday and Sunday, Hungary will be markedly warmer, and the twisting nature of the circuit near Budapest is expected to not flatter Red Bull's aerodynamic advantage.
Weekly NASCAR cheaters report Rick Ren, the crew chief for NASCAR Camping World Series points leader Ron Hornaday, has been fined and placed on probation for an illegal part found on Hornaday's truck last weekend.
Hornaday was not assessed a points penalty after presenting a truck for initial inspection with an illegal rear-end housing last weekend at Kentucky Speedway.
Ren was fined $5,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31, according to a NASCAR news release. The Kevin Harvick Inc. driver remained the series leader by 96 points over ThorSport Racing’s Matt Crafton.
Toyota to close Calif. plant Toyota Motor Corp. will shut a California auto-assembly plant that operated as a joint venture with General Motors Corp. for 25 years, the first time Japan’s largest carmaker has closed a factory at home or abroad, according to two people familiar with its plan.
The company will negotiate the timing of the closing with Motors Liquidation Co., an entity responsible for the disposal of the assets GM shed in bankruptcy, said the people, who declined to be identified because the information wasn’t public.
Yet another sponsor for Franchitti Times are tough in racing, a sponsor driven sport. Increasingly teams are selling sponsorship on a per race basis because there are not enough sponsors willing to pony up for an entire season. IndyCar's Chip Ganassi Racing and its NASCAR team, Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, will introduce another sponsor livery on its cars at the Edmonton IndyCar Series race and Brickyard 400 Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis this weekend.
It's hard to keep up with what car Franchitti is driving because the sponsor changes weekly
Vaseline MEN Lotion will be an associate sponsor of Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. Vaseline MEN will be the primary sponsor of the No. 10 Dallara-Honda driven by Dario Franchitti this weekend’s IndyCar Series race at Edmonton, will appear on the No. 1 Chevrolet driven by Martin Truex Jr. at select races, starting at Dover on September 27.
“One of the advantages that our team has is the ability to provide a sponsor with opportunities and assets in multiple forms of auto racing thereby giving them the ability to market to different audiences,” explained Steve Lauletta, president of Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc. “I think this is a great opportunity for both of us.”
Grand-Am driver bilks Grand-Am & NASCAR drivers out of millionsUPDATE Grand-Am race-car driver Henri Zogaib told members of Daytona Beach's racing community that he hobnobbed with luminaries such as John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and Henry Kissinger.
He pledged more than $1million in donations to health-care and political causes and served on Florida Hospital Foundation's Executive Board.
Now, Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents say Zogaib, 36, and friend Paul Bellanca, 48, who manages Krispy Kreme franchises near Daytona Beach and Melbourne, ran a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors of at least $5.4 million, FDLE spokeswoman Susie Murphy said.
FDLE agents served warrants Wednesday at Bellanca's Sawtooth Lane home in Ormond Beach and Zogaib's beachfront condominium on South Atlantic Avenue in Ponce Inlet. Three other search warrants were served at banks where money received from investors may be held, Murphy said.
No arrests were made.
"I'm not getting any money back," said Grand Am driver Ryan Dalziel, who, along with his family, invested $550,000 with Zogaib. "I want him to go to prison. ... He's hurt and destroyed a lot of families."
Three Grand-Am teams penalized Three teams competing in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16, have been fined and penalized for rule infractions committed this past weekend at Barber Motorsports Park.
Penalized were two teams competing in the Daytona Prototype class, the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley and the No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley, along with the No. 86 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3 competing in the Acxiom GT division.
The three teams were found to be using equipment in violation of Section 9-7 (refueling equipment).
The infractions were discovered following the race on July 19.
The two Daytona Prototype teams were fined $15,000, while the GT team was fined $7,500. In addition, each team and driver was assessed a 15-point penalty in their respective championship.
Barrichello now 'Mr. Happy' after Nurburgring outburst (GMM) After slamming his Brawn colleagues in the wake of the recent German grand prix, Rubens Barrichello wore a 'Mr. Happy' t-shirt to Thursday's team briefing at the Hungaroring.
The veteran Brazilian hit reverse gear in the hours after his Nurburgring outburst, having despaired at how he could finish just sixth having led for the first stint of the race.
On the following Tuesday, he took a call from team boss Ross Brawn, and wrote on his Twitter page that he is now "over it".
"It was a nice conversation," Barrichello recalled. "He (Brawn) said he had heard things he didn't like, and that he had said things he shouldn't have as well.
"He told me we had a new update coming to this race and he wanted me to be perfectly straight to deliver my very best for this race," he added.
De Silvestro Brings Points Lead to Chicago for Doubleheader Fresh off her third victory of the season last weekend at Lime Rock Park, Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda points leader Simona De Silvestro brings her points lead with her to the Chicago suburb of Joliet, Ill. for this weekend’s Harrah’s Autobahn Grand Prix presented by Mazda doubleheader. Both races will be televised live on HDNet beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 25 and 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 26.
Last weekend, De Silvestro earned her second straight victory and third in the past four races in the No. 78 Stargate Worlds/Maakoa/Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment/FireSky/Cardinal Technologies machine for Team Stargate Worlds to extend her lead in the championship to 17 points (89-72) over Newman Wachs Racing teammates John Edwards and Jonathan Summerton. The victory was the fourth of De Silvestro’s Atlantic Championship career, moving her past Katherine Legge and making her the winningest female driver in the 36-year history of the series.
What De Silvestro would really like, however, is to become the first woman to win the Atlantic title. She still has a long way to go to accomplish that goal, as the series hits the halfway point in the 12-race campaign following Saturday’s race and kicks off the second half on Sunday. That also leaves plenty of time for the likes of Edwards, Summerton and the rest of the series to mount a challenge for the championship.
DEWALT terminates NASCAR sponsorship DEWALT®, a leading manufacturer of industrial power tools, announced today that it will not renew its agreement with Roush Fenway Racing to sponsor Matt Kenseth, driver of the #17 Ford® Fusion® for the 2010 NASCAR® season. While the motor sports program has been a valuable marketing tool for DEWALT during the past twelve years, the company has decided to redirect its resources in light of an unprecedented decline in the construction industry.
Les Ireland, President of the North American Power Tools and Accessories Group for DEWALT, commented, "We have been proud to have Matt Kenseth, Robbie Reiser, Jack Roush, and the entire #17 DEWALT Racing team at Roush Fenway Racing represent DEWALT in front of millions of NASCAR faithful. During our sponsorship, Matt and the crew won the 2000 Rookie-of-the-Year Award, two World Pit Crew Championships, the 2003 Series Championship, and have qualified for the "Chase for the Cup" for every year since its inception as well as 18 races, most notable this year's Daytona 500. DEWALT manufactures tools and accessories that are Guaranteed Tough(TM) for the jobsite, and Matt's style, personality and success have been an outstanding fit with our brand. Having a presence at the track has provided a great experience for power tool users, our distribution partners, our employees and NASCAR fans."
F1 saga to be over 'within one week' - Theissen (GMM) A final resolution to F1's political situation is unlikely to be settled in Hungary this weekend, but the end is nigh, Mario Theissen told reporters in Budapest on Thursday.
Bernie Ecclestone said more than a week ago that he would have the situation sorted within 48 hours, and another expected deadline - prior to the Hungarian grand prix - is now due to pass without result.
But BMW's Theissen insists that the cost regulation document, and then the Concorde Agreement, are on the way to being signed off by all parties.
When that occurs, an incredible period of uncertainty and hostility will end, and F1 can look forward to at least a few seasons of relative stability.
"I am really optimistic now," the German said.
"I have been rather pessimistic in the past on both cost reduction and Concorde Agreement, but now it looks like we can do it within a few days," added Theissen.
(GMM) Nico Rosberg on Thursday boiled his options for the 2010 season down to three teams: McLaren, BMW, and Williams.
The 24-year-old German currently drives for the latter British team, for whom he debuted almost four seasons ago, but recent speculation has linked him with moves next year to BMW-Sauber or McLaren-Mercedes.
"Obviously from my side, McLaren and BMW would be interesting options for next season," he admitted in an interview with the news agency DPA ahead of the Hungarian grand prix in Budapest.
However, to reporters at the Hungaroring circuit, Rosberg insisted that staying put at Grove based Williams for a fifth consecutive season is also a strong option for 2010.
Coulthard didn't push Webber hard enough - Mateschitz (GMM) Mark Webber's now retired teammate did not push the Australian hard enough, according to Red Bull team boss Dietrich Mateschitz.
On the day his team confirmed the extension of Nurburgring winner Webber's contract, the Austrian drinks magnate drew a parallel between his run of form and the departure of David Coulthard.
Ahead of the 2009 season, Red Bull replaced 38-year-old veteran Coulthard with Sebastian Vettel, the young German who won two races this year before Webber recorded his breakthrough pole and victory two weeks ago.
"In the past year David Coulthard didn't push Mark enough," Mateschitz is quoted as saying by Germany's Sport Bild.
"The rivalry with your teammate is important. When Sebastian came, an old fighter like Mark saw the challenge and only then did he win," the billionaire added.
Coulthard is still an advisor to the Milton-Keynes based team.
Webber's Nurburgring pole position and victory, both firsts after 131 prior attempts, came shortly after two locking screws were removed from his right leg, which he badly broke in a pre-season cycling crash.
"I don't think it is entirely a coincidence," he wrote in his latest column for the BBC.
Q&A with Jaime Alguersuari Carlin’s Formula Renault 3.5 racer Jaime Alguersuari was announced as F1 driver for Scuderia Toro Rosso this week and will take up his F1 duties at the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend – becoming the youngest ever driver to take part in an F1 event. The Spanish racer has spent nearly two seasons with the British Carlin Motorsport team in preparation for his F1 opportunity. Here we talk to him about how that experience has helped prepare for the highest echelon of single seater motorsport……….
Do you feel your seasons in F3 and World Series have helped prepare you for F1? British F3 is a really nice championship, you find really nice and difficult tracks, and of course the weather is sometimes a challenge! So you learn a lot. It’s a long championship with lots of testing, so there’s a lot of track experience. You also learn a lot about developing a car in F3, which I think will be helpful. British F3 has been very important in my career and I will never forget that. I think World Series is completely different – some of the drivers have been in the championship for many more years than I have and I think that gives them an added benefit. In the end I am a young driver always in the top five and pushing hard so I think we are doing ok for our first year.
Do you intend to continue with your Formula Renault 3.5 program at the same time as racing in Formula1? I think that is the aim; I am a young driver, so I need to do as many races as possible. I need to experience as many situations as possible. For me, for sure it would be good because it would give me more experience and of course there are no clashes with Formula 1, so there is not really a reason not to do it. If it becomes an issue, then obviously we may have to reconsider.
Hungary weather update A traditionally hot and humid race, this year's Hungarian Grand Prix could prove to deliver some cooler temperatures than expected as weather forecasts predict Thursday to be the hottest day of the weekend.
The general thinking up and down the pit lane is that championship leaders Brawn GP are more likely to enjoy a positive race in hotter conditions whereas the Red Bull Racing squad, as we saw in China, Britain and Germany, can generate tire temperatures more easily, particularly on sub-20 degree track surfaces; no such readings are expected at the Hungaroring although, with the ambient temperatures expected to decrease over the course of the weekend, things could be evenly matched at the front.
Red Bull re-sign Webber, Vettel for 2010 Red Bull Racing has confirmed today that Mark Webber will continue to drive for the team in 2010, alongside his teammate Sebastian Vettel.
Christian Horner: “I’m delighted that we have re-signed Mark for 2010. He has continued to show huge commitment and determination this season, especially following his bike accident at the end of last year. His recent results show he is on the form of his life – most notably with his recent win at the German GP – and he has the motivation to deliver at the highest level. It was therefore a straightforward decision to extend the relationship. We believe that the driver line-up of Mark and Sebastian is one of the strongest in the sport.
Mark Webber: “I’m extremely happy that Red Bull and I have been able to agree to race together again next year. Even in the leaner and tougher years at the start of my relationship with the team, I’ve always enjoyed working with them, so now to go through this purple patch, which we hope will continue for a good while to come, makes the work even more enjoyable. We’ve got a very exciting finish to this year’s Championship, but I’m also looking forward to helping to develop and race the RB6 in the 2010 World Championship.”
TMS president Eddie Gossage fighting cancer Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage has been absent from TMS because he has been undergoing treatment for an undisclosed form of cancer. Gossage, 50, was diagnosed with cancer early last fall and began treatment this spring. Gossage, who oversaw the construction of the track and was the general manager for its first race in 1997, declined to be interviewed. A statement from TMS vice president of media relations Mike Zizzo said Gossage "would like to keep his illness private and does not plan to discuss it publicly." Gossage was informed by doctors in February that treatment needed to begin, and it was done around the Samsung 500 in April and the Bombardier Learjet 550 in June. He was at the track for the IndyCar Series race in June and looked thinner than he did at the Sprint Cup event in April. He hasn't appeared at any TMS public functions since the June race as he has undergone more intense treatments over the last month. Gossage is hoping to return to work next month. "I've been talking to him almost every day either by phone or text," Zizzo said. "His brain is in overdrive. If it were up to him, he'd be back tomorrow." Zizzo said Gossage doesn't want to talk about his illness because he doesn't want that to be what people identify him with. Gossage's father, H.L., died of lung cancer in 1998. "He's trying to keep it under the radar and keep it as low-key as possible," Zizzo said. Dallas Morning News
For lack of a full 2009 sporting program, the Gravity Racing International decided to prepare for the future … and compete in the 24 Hours of Spa with one of its Mosler MT900. A rather unique entry which won’t go unnoticed, in as much that the American power beast will be raced by none other than … Jacques Villeneuve in person, teamed up with Ho-Pin Tung, Vincent Radermecker and the team manager Loris de Sordi.
“As we had announced last year Gravity is not present in 2009 for various reasons “, Loris explained. “The Belgian GT regulations have not evolved, and regarding the GT1 category, we preferred waiting to discover more about the 2010 international regulations. We now know more, and we will shortly be making a decision on the mater. The intention, initially, was to let Vincent Radermecker, the Gravity associates and myself race this Mosler at the 24 Hours, but due to business commitments emanating from those in charge of the team, two other drivers had to be found. Ho-Pin Tung is contracted to Gravity Sports Management, and the various contacts Jacques Villeneuve enjoys with those responsible for the team resulted in the former Formula 1 world champion, and Indy 500 winner, being present for the 24 Hours. We’re obviously delighted …”
Rosenzweig joins Carlin in Spa Jake Rosenzweig joins Carlin’s British F3 racers for this weekend’s round of the 2009 Cooper Tires British F3 International Series in Spa. The American racer comes fresh from his first F3 Euro Series podium in Zandvoort last weekend and will be hoping for a repeat performance on his British F3 debut. Rosenzweig will be racing alongside championship leader Daniel Ricciardo, Max Chilton, Henry Arundel and Philip Major. Last time out at Donington, Daniel Ricciardo took a podium in race one to boost his championship standing, but lost out in race two having been the innocent victim of an over ambitions overtaking maneuver by Renger van der Zande.
Brits on top as Superleague Formula roars into the UK Superleague Formula by Sonangol reaches the UK with Liverpool FC, Tottenham Hotspur and Glasgow Rangers – the three British soccer clubs contesting the dramatic football-themed race championship – all riding on massive highs.
After overall wins in both France and Belgium, Liverpool has established a healthy 24-points lead at the top of the 2009 league table as the teams arrive at the scenic Donington Park circuit for the third of six rounds on 1/2 August.
“I’m very, very happy to be racing at Donington leading the championship,” enthused Adrian Vallés, the 23-year-old Spanish striker who races for ‘The Reds’. “This will be a great honor and I really hope that Liverpool fans come out to watch me in action. Everything has gone very well for us so far this season with a win, two thirds and a sixth place. I love the Donington circuit – it’s going to be a very exciting weekend.”
Pedal to the Metal for First Race of A1GP Season Five
One of the biggest mistakes in IRL history was letting the hugely popular Surfers Paradise race fall into the hands of A1GP
A spectacular 24-strong parachute drop over Main Beach this morning heralded the official launch of a ‘new era’ for Australia’s premier motorsport event – the Nitro SuperGP on Queensland’s Gold Coast – which will kick off Season Five of A1GP World Cup of Motorsport later this year.
Now less than 100 days away from the starter’s flag, the Nitro SuperGP will see more than 20 nations battle head-to-head when A1GP joins the Australian V8 Supercars Championship Series on the streets of Surfers Paradise from October 22-25.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said for the 19th year in a row the world’s motorsport spotlight would shine on the Gold Coast event – making it one of the longest-running and most successful of its kind in the world.
“The Gold Coast has become a permanent fixture on the international motorsport circuit and the festival has been entertaining locals and visitors alike for nearly two decades. And this year is expected to be bigger and better with the sleek, Ferrari-powered A1GPs mixing it with the pure muscle and brute force of our home-grown V8 Supercars,” said Ms Bligh.
Prost eyes FIA role alongside president Todt (GMM) Retired quadruple world champion Alain Prost says he would consider playing a role if his countryman Jean Todt becomes the next FIA president.
He told sport365.com that he has already discussed the possibility with the former Ferrari boss, who will contest the October elections against the independent candidate Ari Vatanen.
"Ari Vatanen is a very good candidate, and Jean Todt is an excellent candidate," Prost, 54, said.
"Jean's disadvantage is that the (F1) manufacturers are not very positive about his possible arrival. But there are also the automobile clubs to consider, the safety, the mobility, the environment ... in short, an enormous amount of work," he added.
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