Hot News
for your iPhone
for your iPad
Go to our forums to discuss this news
DATE News (chronologically)

Haas CNC plans no changes despite owner's guilty plea
Haas CNC Racing team owner Gene Haas appeared in U.S. District Court today in Los Angeles and pled guilty to one count of tax fraud.

The plea bargain includes a two-year prison term for Haas, the owner of Haas Automation, which is the largest dollar-volume machine tool builder in North America and the largest unit-volume builder of CNC machines in the world.

Haas' sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 5. If the judge declines to impose the two-year sentence, Haas or the government will be allowed to withdraw from the plea agreement.

Haas, who was arrested in June 2006 after a lengthy investigation, agreed to pay $34.2 million in back taxes for the years 2000 and 2001, as well as a $5 million fine. With statutory penalties and interest on the back taxes, Haas owes more than $70 million to the government.

Read more & Comment...

IRL renews with TMS for 2-years
Texas Motor Speedway has signed a two-year agreement with the Indy Racing League to play host to IndyCar Series races in the 2008 and 2009 seasons, Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage announced today.

The length of the agreement and its conclusion following the 2009 season coincides with the Indy Racing League’s contracts with broadcast partner ABC/ESPN and another series venue, The Milwaukee Mile. That timing is paramount for Texas Motor Speedway, which will have the opportunity to evaluate the new television package and future race schedule of the IndyCar Series before making a decision on hosting future IndyCar Series events.

“The IRL asked us to sign a multi-year agreement to help stabilize their schedule,” Gossage said. “We’re glad to accommodate their needs by staging races in 2008 and 2009. Fans, sponsors, teams and networks can always count on ‘The Great American Speedway!’ to deliver.” Texas Motor Speedway officials want to be assured that the next television contract provides the necessary value to its sponsors and partners as well as lobby vigorously to have the IRL return to its traditional post-Indianapolis 500 schedule that began when Texas Motor Speedway became part of the series in 1997.

From 1997 through 2005 – nine of the first 10 years of the IRL’s existence – the Indianapolis 500 was followed by an off week and then the series headed to Texas Motor Speedway for “America’s Original Nighttime Race.” The IRL tradition came to a halt in 2006 when the IRL opted to sandwich Watkins Glen between the Indy 500 and Texas during the previous off week. This year, The Milwaukee Mile replaced The Glen the week between the Indy 500 and Bombardier Learjet 550k.

“We have proudly and loyally featured IRL IndyCar Series races as key parts of our schedules – oftentimes when other race tracks refused – and are pleased to have reached an agreement to continue in 2008 and 2009,” Gossage said. “There is no greater race year-in and year out on the American racing schedule than the IRL IndyCar Series under the lights at Texas Motor Speedway. We hope the IRL’s new TV contract and schedule for 2010 and beyond make it such that Texas Motor Speedway can continue to be ‘The Second Home of the Indy Racing League.’”

Texas Motor Speedway has played host to 18 IndyCar Series events since 1997, including two annually from 1998 to 2004 that featured six of seven season finales.

The 2008 date for the Bombardier Learjet 550k will be announced when Texas Motor Speedway releases its entire racing schedule for the upcoming season later this week.


Detroit Grand Prix: Take the bus
The message is clear for fans anxious to come down to Belle Isle this weekend and witness the return of world-class auto racing to the Motor City – park in one of the many Grand Prix parking spaces located in and around Detroit and ride to the island in style.

There is no public parking on Belle Isle for race attendees at the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, August 31-September 2, 2007. There are, however, plenty of easy and cost-effective parking and transportation options available for the first Grand Prix event in Detroit in six years.

A streamlined Park and Ride shuttle transportation system, similar to the one used during Super Bowl XL, will be in effect throughout the weekend. Grand Prix organizers have built a new, large bus loop located just over the MacArthur Bridge to Belle Isle in order to accommodate the large fleet of shuttle buses that will transport fans to Belle Isle for the race weekend.

Read more & Comment...

Detroit race TV time change
The Detroit Sports Car Challenge presented by Bosch, the ninth round of the 2007 American Le Mans Series, will be aired from 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1 to 12:30 a.m. ET Sunday, September 2 on SPEED.

XM Satellite Radio will air the American Le Mans Radio broadcast on its Sports Nation Channel 144 from 9 p.m. to midnight ET Saturday. Live coverage will be available via American Le Mans Radio and IMSA Live Timing and Scoring at americanlemans.com.


Antinucci hopes to make oval debut at Chicago
Richard Antinucci, the pole sitter for the Carneros 100 and winner of the Valley of the Moon 100 at Infineon Raceway, said the Cheever Racing Indy Pro Series team has organized an Indy Pro Series rookie test at Chicagoland Speedway next week.

His immediate goal is to compete in the season finale at Chicagoland on Sept. 9. The longer-term objective is to move to the IndyCar Series. Antinucci, 26, nephew of 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever Jr., has competed in eight road/street course races in his first year in the Indy Pro Series.

"I know it's not ideal and I don't expect to be extremely competitive (at Chicagoland) as I am on the road courses, but I have to learn at some point," said Antinucci, who recorded his first victory at Mid-Ohio last month. "That would be a whole different level of experience."

Before entering the Indy Pro Series, Antinucci competed in Formula 3 Euroseries in 2006. He won the Formula 3 World Cup Champion title in 2003.

"There's definitely a chance a (full season) in the Indy Pro Series, but we're really trying hard to get into the (IndyCar Series)," he said. "It's a huge budget that's needed. We need to raise interest."

racing news

Quotes of the Week UPDATE Quote from Lewis Hamilton in response to Fernando Alonso's comments has been added below.

LEWIS HAMILTON, McLaren F1 driver, points leader in the Formula One World Championship
While championship leader Hamilton confessed that the reigning world champion had contributed to the team "hugely" this year, he suggests that Alonso's comments fail to recognize the contribution of McLaren's 1000-strong staff.  "It's a lot of people, so if he's found six tenths, then what have they found?" the Briton wondered.  "It's really through their work."  Hamilton acknowledged a good driver's contribution to a team's performance but said no individual can take all the credit.  "You know ... they make improvements, we test them out, so it's really a team thing; it's not one individual that's found all that time."  (Lewis Hamilton has hit back at teammate Fernando Alonso's claim that he is personally responsible for much of McLaren's step forward in 2007)

FERNANDO ALONSO, McLaren F1 driver, reigning 2-times Formula One World Champion
Despite delivering three victories and his contribution to the title-leading MP4-22 car, Alonso said that he has not noticed "anything given back to me" by the British outfit.  "I gave to the team a lot when I arrived in December," he said. "I remember the first (McLaren) car I drove, I remember the results they had in 2006, and how I brought to the team half a second, six tenths or whatever."   He also said, "I do not know where I am going to race next year. It is impossible to know that.  The only thing I know is that I have a contract with McLaren and that, yes, I can drive here again."   Alonso confirmed that Hamilton phoned him on the Monday after Hungary, where both drivers had told the press that they were currently not talking to one another.  "I congratulated him on his win and he asked me how I would be spending the vacation. I said I was going to stay at my house and the conversation finished there," he said.  "He apologized to me in case he had done anything wrong, and so I asked him if he thought I had done anything wrong as well. He told me 'no', so I did not have anything to apologize for."
RON DENNIS, Team Principal, McLaren Mercedes Formula One team
Dennis quipped: "It's something heavy for him to throw at us!"  (Fernando Alonso was given a huge metal scale model of a 1954 Mercedes-Benz Formula One car from McLaren to mark the reigning world champion's 100th grand prix.)

BERNIE ECCLESTONE,  President and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Association
"Unless something new comes up, there's not an awful lot one can do because you've got to catch the guy with the shooter in his hands, pulling the trigger," Ecclestone is quoted as saying about the Spygate case.  "They can still be in trouble under the different sections in the rules where they should be in control of what goes on in the company.  But the big thing is, people would have to show that they were involved in the theft and they were using the material - that's where they would be in big trouble." 

Read more & Comment...

Hamilton hits back at Alonso comments
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton has hit back at teammate Fernando Alonso's claim that he is personally responsible for much of McLaren's step forward in 2007.

Spaniard Alonso, already at loggerheads with his British teammate and boss Ron Dennis, told reporters in Turkey that he had felt nothing "given back to me" despite delivering up to six tenths per lap of performance to the MP4-22.

Read more & Comment...

No deal with Prodrive yet - McLaren
(GMM) Ron Dennis in Turkey admitted close ties with David Richards' Prodrive F1 project.

The McLaren chairman would not, however, confirm solid speculation that their two companies will definitely link up as formula one's twelfth team gets up and running in 2008.

Richards revealed last week that Woking based McLaren-McLaren is the frontrunner to supply Prodrive from next year with both cars and engines.

Read more & Comment...

Champ Car Europe Tour - Monday
We’ve got one race down, but before many of the teams head to Assen, Holland for the second leg of the European swing, they are taking a detour east to the Nurburgring in Germany.  The historic 14-mile race track is open to the public for two hours this evening and the lineup of drivers scheduled to put in a quick time includes Justin Wilson.  The proximity of the circuit to Zolder makes this the perfect opportunity for the Champ Car paddock to test their skills on the 137 turn track.

tv news

Elkhart Lake Champ Car Atlantic race to be televised
The Champ Car Atlantic Championship race run at Road America in Elkhart Lake on August 12, 2007 will be aired on Tuesday, August 28 at 4:00 pm - 4:30 pm ET on ESPN2.   


Rudd to make 900th start
Ricky Rudd, who will step down as a full time driver after the 2007 season, is scheduled to take the green flag for his 900th career Nextel Cup Series start for the Sharp Aquos 500 at California Speedway. Rudd will run a special scheme, the #88 Snickers Generation Max Ford Fusion. “This is a record that just kind of sneaks up on you,” Rudd said regarding his milestone career start. “I started out as one of the youngest guys in this sport and now I’m one of the oldest guys out there still racing. It’s a real honor to be able to have this kind of longevity with a long and fruitful career. I’ve been so lucky to have remained healthy and competitive to have made it to 900 starts, come Labor Day weekend in my Snickers Generation Max Ford Fusion.” Over this week, Mars US will help celebrate Rudd’s accomplishment by highlighting several of Rudd’s most memorable starts since his entrance into the NASCAR community in 1975. Snickers Racing PR


Dalziel takes Figge to see Scotland
In the break between Champ Car's two European events, Scottish driver Ryan Dalziel is taking the chance to educate his teammate Alex Figge about Scottish culture.

The two Pacific Coast Motorsports drivers flew to Glasgow this morning - Alex's first trip to his teammate's home country.

Being so close to home, Ryan had a 40-strong contingent of friends in Zolder yesterday - joining his parents who attend every race weekend of the Champ Car World Series.

Dalziel completed his second race yesterday after returning from a broken collarbone. The Scotsman missed the San Jose Grand Prix after suffering the injury falling off his mountain bike.

His shoulder is still tender but healing at miracle speed! The team has installed a special belt system with extra padding. His return at Road America was short of a miracle.

If the track had not run clockwise, he would not have been able to compete. His collarbone was broken in five places - he also has 11 pins holding it in place.

"It was great to get another race under by my belt yesterday - the shoulder is starting to feel a lot better," Dalziel said.

"I am looking forward to taking Alex to Scotland - it is certainly going to seem a lot different for a Colorado boy. I'll do my best to get him to try haggis and wear a kilt but I think that might be a bit of a challenge!”


Doornbos takes Champ Car drivers sailing
Robert Doornbos is set to provide his fellow Champ Car drivers with a unique insight into Dutch culture as the Champ Car World Series moves from Zolder in Belgium to this week's Bavaria Beer Champ Car Grand Prix of Holland presented by Audi, Gant, Hertz, Jumbo and Pioneer.

The Dutchman will be joined by Katherine Legge, Oriol Servia, Dan Clarke, and Champ Car Atlantic driver Franck Perera aboard "botters" tomorrow – a traditional Dutch sailing boat used for fishing.

Holding between 12-14 people, the "botters" were first used in the early 19th century. The Champ Car aces will gather in the traditional Dutch fishing village of Spakenburg – located about 50km from Amsterdam.

"It is certainly going to be a much easier pace than driving a Champ Car, but I'm sure all the guys are still going to be competitive tomorrow," Doornbos said.

"Whether we're aboard a DP01 or a 100-year-old fishing boat – drivers can't help themselves. I am sure everyone will want to be the first boat across the line."


Alonso: You cannot pass in F1
Fernando Alonso admitted after the Turkish GP it's nearly impossible to pass in F1 (Will they soon be forced to copy Champ Car's push-to-pass?)

"The start didn't go as we planned," he said.

"To be overtaken by two cars and find yourself sixth in the first corner is not great and the race is a little bit over from that time.

"Also, you know, I was following Nick [Heidfeld] for 17 laps and now in these days in Formula 1 it is very, very difficult to overtake and you need to wait for a mistake from the car in front of you.

"Nick was very, very consistent and driving very well. I waited for the first pitstop and I was lucky to overtake him in the stop.

"Then my race started, but I was half a minute behind everybody by that point."

"I waited for the miracle, and that only happened with Hamilton," said Alonso.

"I only take that place to be on the podium. Third for sure is not the best result from the weekend."


Kimi: Qualifying is everything in F1
Kimi Raikkonen admitted he lost his best chance of winning Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix in qualifying when he made an error towards the end of his final flying lap.

Raikkonen had been carrying one lap’s less worth of fuel than Massa going in to the race and says his failure to grab pole position had cost him a better shot at the win.

“We had a good car, but unfortunately these days in Formula 1 it is pretty difficult to get past,” he said.

“The race was decided really yesterday already.

“I pushed hard and got close when I was supposed to get there and tried to do something in the pit stops but when two teammates are fighting it is usually who is first is going to stay there.”

“The car was very good, but there was nothing that I could have done,” he added.


Manning returning to Foyt team in 2008
At this rate, A.J. Foyt's No. 14 car will finish in its highest position in the IndyCar Series since the 2002 season. The driver will be rewarded.

Team manager Craig Baranouski said Darren Manning, who joined the team for this season, will have the one-year option on his contract picked up.

Baranouski said team officials recognize how good a job Manning has done this season.

"And he gets along well with A.J.," Baranouski said. "He's like (Foyt favorite) Kenny Brack."

Baranouski said team officials are hoping to field a second car next season, but that will depend on sponsorship. He said officials from ABC Supply, the primary sponsor on Manning's car, are negotiating to return for a fourth season.  Indy Star


Ganassi forces Wheldon to stay in IRL
'Dapper Dan' Wheldon has turned into a complete also-ran this season, so his idea that he might be F1 or NASCAR material is quite comical.  Regardless, this Indy Star article says team owner Chip Ganassi is forcing Wheldon to stay in the IRL next year even though it's clear he wants out based on Wheldon's previous statements.

Dan Wheldon won't be the next open-wheel driver to move to NASCAR so long as team owner Chip Ganassi has the final say. And Ganassi does.
Wheldon said Ganassi wants him to remain in Indy-car racing at least for the time being, which includes 2008. Wheldon is completing his fifth full season in the IndyCar Series, his second with Ganassi Racing.

"It's not a difference (of opinion), it's just a difference of timing," Wheldon said of Ganassi's position. "He doesn't really say why, but he thinks I should stay in Indy-car racing -- for Honda."

While Honda-badged engines power all of the Indy cars, the manufacturer has particularly close ties with the driver who won the Indianapolis 500 and the IndyCar championship in 2005.

Wheldon was the first Honda driver to win at the track it owns in Motegi, Japan. He not only won the IRL race in 2004, he repeated the victory the next year.


Latest F1 news in brief
  • No plans to name Ferrari favorite - Todt
  • Hamilton on UK 'Power List'
  • Ferrari can't catch McLaren - Keke Rosberg
  • Still no explanation for Hamilton tire problem
  • Alonso rules out 2008 sabbatical

No plans to name Ferrari favorite - Todt
(GMM) Ferrari's Jean Todt has ruled out nominating a number one driver with five races to go in the 2007 title chase.

Some observers on Sunday suggested that, with Kimi Raikkonen going into Sunday's Turkish grand prix a point ahead of his teammate Felipe Massa, the Finn should have been cleared a path to win the race.

Pole sitter Massa, however, went on to win in Istanbul and become the highest placed Ferrari driver, even though Raikkonen winning would have closed the now 15-point gap to the McLaren drivers by an extra point.

But with the Italian team's former number one driver Michael Schumacher retired and team orders prohibited, boss Jean Todt said Ferrari will for now maintain a policy of equality.

"It would be something inappropriate for drivers like Felipe and Kimi, doing such a good job, after 12 grands prix with just one point difference," he told reporters after the race.

"At the moment there is not any plan to make any kind of strategy between one or the other one."

Hamilton on UK 'Power List'
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton and his father are now among the top eight most influential black people in Britain, according to a publication.

On the newspaper New Nation's so-called top-100 'Power List', the rookie championship leader and his manager Anthony Hamilton rank eighth.

Apart from premier league footballer Didier Drogba, 'Team Hamilton' are the only British sportspeople on the list, which is topped by businessman Damon Buffini, who runs the private equity firm Permira.

New Nation editor Michael Eboda said: "The Power List explodes the recently-trumpeted myths that African Caribbeans are not achieving anything and that there is a dearth of (black) role models."

Read more & Comment...

IMSA statement following Mosport race
"When the last car in the field passed pit in, the Race Director called for pits open in order to give the overall leader, who was the next car, the first chance to pit. The Pit Closed board manager called that he had cars level with him and was unable to signal that the pits were open. While there was confusion on the radio that the pits were actually closed, the Stewards ruled that the pits had opened and that the leader properly was able to pit first.

"The issue regarding penalties assessed to cars 22, 37 and 45, which passed the overall leader, is under review."


Rice, Summerton to test for A1 TEAM USA
A1 TEAM USA will begin preparations for the third A1GP season with Buddy Rice and Jonathan Summerton driving the "We The People" car in the open test Tuesday and Wednesday (Aug. 28-29) at Silverstone's International Circuit.

Rice will be making his debut in A1GP's mandated Lola-Zytek. He drove the A1 TEAM USA-sponsored entry in this year's Indianapolis 500 and is running the full IndyCar Series schedule for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. Rice won the Indianapolis 500 in 2004.

"This is a great opportunity that Rick (Weidinger) and his team have given me," Rice said. "I'm really excited to get behind the wheel of the 'We The People' car. I got to spend a lot of time with Rick and his family during the month of May at Indy. It is obvious how passionate he is for the sport and especially his A1GP team.

"I have followed the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport from the beginning. I think that putting country against country in a true 'World Cup' style of competition is a great way to get new fans interested in motorsports. Rick's team has really stepped up their game over the last two seasons and I'm really excited about getting to experience the A1 TEAM USA effort firsthand."

Read more & Comment...

Infineon: Antinucci wins race 2
Richard Antinucci claimed his second road course win in the last three starts, advancing six positions to win the Valley of the Moon 100 Indy Pro Series event.

Antinucci overtook leader Ryan Justice at the top of Turn 11 on Lap 19 for the first-year driver's second victory in nine road/street course events. Andrew Prendeville in the No. 5 RLR/Andersen Racing car finished third and Logan Gomez, driving the No. 23 Isilon Systems/Flacondos.net/SSM car, was fourth.

Results Sunday of the Valley of the Moon 100 Indy Pro Series event Aug. 26 at the 2.3-mile Infineon Raceway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, laps completed, reason out (if any) and money earned:

1. (7) Richard Antinucci, 30, Running $22,000
2. (1) Ryan Justice, 30, Running $17,000
3. (2) Andrew Prendeville, 30, Running $13,500
4. (3) Logan Gomez, 30, Running $11,000
5. (5) Stephen Simpson, 30, Running $10,500
6. (9) Jonathan Klein, 30, Running $10,000
7. (11) Matt Jaskol, 30, Running $9,750
8. (6) Mike Potekhen, 30, Running $9,500
9. (10) Brad Jaeger, 30, Running $9,000
10. (19) Hideki Mutoh, 30, Running $8,750
11. (16) Wade Cunningham, 30, Running $8,500
12. (14) Phil Giebler, 30, Running $8,000
13. (12) Sean Guthrie, 30, Running $7,750
14. (17) Bobby Wilson, 30, Running $7,500
15. (15) Ken Losch, 30, Running $7,000
16. (21) Micky Gilbert, 30, Running $6,500
17. (4) Jaime Camara, 26, Contact $6,000
18. (20) Steve Ablondi, 9, Handling $5,000
19. (13) Chris Festa, 8, Mechanical $4,000
20. (22) J.R. Hildebrand, 6, Driver Injury $3,000
21. (8) Alex Lloyd, 0, Did Not Start $2,000
22. (18) Robbie Pecorari, 0, Contact $1,250

Read more & Comment...

NHL Racing takes Phanos European Team Cup Lead
Sebastien Bourdais and Graham Rahal of Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing (NHLR) snagged the lead today heading into the second round of the Phanos Champ Car European Team Cup competition by scoring a double podium finish with a win by Bourdais and third place by Rahal.

The NHLR pair was only 2.5 points behind Will Power and Simon Pagenaud of Team Australia heading into today’s race after the two qualifying sessions. But they now sit 9.5 points ahead of the Aussie Vineyards drivers. Power finished today’s race in fourth place while teammate Pagenaud, who clinched the Champ Car Canadian Triple Crown title for them in Edmonton, crossed the finish line 12th.

The strong performance by Dale Coyne Racing driver Bruno Junqueira, who claimed the first podium for his team since 2004 with a second-place finish, along with Katherine Legge finishing 11th, placed the team only one point behind the third place team of the Rocketsports / RuSPORT pair of Alex Tagliani and Justin Wilson, who have scored 54 markers after the first round of the Phanos European Team Cup competition.

Read more & Comment...

Ferrari defend lack of team tactics
(GMM)  Ferrari's sporting boss has played down suggestions that the Italian outfit should have employed team tactics in Turkey.

The Maranello based team's two cars were dominant on Sunday at Istanbul, where pole sitter Felipe Massa led home teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

But Finn Raikkonen, who was a point ahead of Massa before the 58-lap race, set easily the quickest lap of the race, and earlier seemed impatient although unable to get past his Brazilian cohort.

"The race was really decided yesterday," said Raikkonen, who probably would have been on pole on Saturday if not for a mistake on his last lap.

"The car was good but there was nothing I could do."

With now only five races to go, Ferrari face an uphill battle to close the gap to its McLaren challengers for the drivers' world championship, leading some to believe that allowing Raikkonen to win might have been a cleverer strategy in Turkey.

"That is hardly the most important question of the day," Ferrari's Stefano Domenicali told the German broadcaster RTL after the race.

He added: "The most important thing is that we have both drivers right at the front."


Bernie confident Indian GP will happen
Bernie Ecclestone is confident Formula 1 will finally soon have a race in India.

The F1 supremo told ITV Sport at the Kingfisher party in Istanbul on Saturday evening that after years of speculation, a first race in the emerging market was becoming more likely.

“I’ve been trying to put something together there for years,” he told Ted Kravitz.

“Vijay [Kingfisher CEO, Mallya] and I have been talking for 20-odd years, so maybe this time we will get it going.”

And when Ted asked what the chances of a race finally being put together, Ecclestone added: “Very good – this time we’ll pull it off.”  ITV.com/F1


Hamilton may flee England
Formula One championship leader Lewis Hamilton says he may have to leave Britain if he is to lead a normal life. The 22-year-old McLaren driver told British Sunday newspaper reporters at the Turkish Grand Prix that the attention of paparazzi photographers could drive him to seek sanctuary overseas.

"I'm definitely contemplating living outside the UK," said the rookie, who has taken the glamour sport by storm this season.

"I've always dreamt of living in London but it's becoming more and more difficult. Every time I go to London, cameras appear from God knows where."

"I can see from the experience of Fernando what can happen," continued Hamilton, referring to his Spanish double world champion team mate and rival Fernando Alonso who lives in Switzerland.

"He's so big in Spain, he can't stay there because he can't go anywhere and live a normal life. I thought that wouldn't be the case in the UK."

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and retired seven times world champion Michael Schumacher also live in Switzerland while Monaco has long been a favorite with Grand Prix drivers.

"When I was working my way up to Formula One, I was only thinking about getting a drive for a great team and racing," Hamilton said.

"I didn't think about the pros and cons, about the fact that you will pick up sponsors or that people will notice you more.

"It's all new and I'm trying to get used to it," added Hamilton, who leads Alonso by seven points in the standings with six races remaining.


F1 News in Brief UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • Ralf loses cool amid Turkey nightmare
  • Stop press - Alonso shaves tatty beard!
  • Lewis watches GP2 for quick F1 getaway
  • Barrichello follows Button to back of grid
  • Bernie wants Schu back on F1 grid New
  • Dennis denies manhandling Alonso physio New
  • Moaning Alonso 'not focused enough' - Lauda New

Ralf loses cool amid Turkey nightmare
(GMM) Ralf Schumacher's frustration was obvious on Saturday after qualifying an abysmal 18th.

The German, desperate to have his Toyota contract renewed for 2008, looked set for a much-needed boost in Turkey after going third quickest in a free practice session.

But he dropped out in the company of Spykers and Toro Rossos in the first qualifying cut-off.

After exiting the back of the Japanese team's pit garage, he irritably walked straight through the throng of waiting media, and only returned when Toyota media manager Fernanda Villas-Boas warned him about his commitments to the press.

Schumacher, 32, said he had grappled with an unspecified handling issue.

"I had many problems and I do not know what," he told the press, "but the situation is not good."

Ralf's terrible Saturday coincided with a paddock rumor that his last option to remain in formula one next year is a direct swap with Toyota-powered Williams' Nico Rosberg.

Sir Frank Williams, who employed Ralf between 1999 and 2004, interestingly mentioned his former charge when he was asked in Turkey about his unassigned lineup for next year.

He said: "Alex (Wurz) is very highly regarded in our team, as Ralf is in the other Toyota team, and our short list is very short."

Read more & Comment...

Glock wins to retake title advantage
Timo Glock made up for his misfortunes of yesterday by decimating the field in race two at Istanbul Park, claiming the win with another clinical display of brute speed to finish almost ten seconds ahead of Xandi Negrao and Adam Carroll as the German regained his lead in the championship from rival Lucas di Grassi.

After running qualifying pace laps all race long in race one as a result of an unfortunately timed safety car period, this morning Glock resumed apace, and the win was set up by a good start followed by some aggressive overtaking to get to the front of the field.

With a surprising front row of Karun Chandhok and Negrao no one knew what to expect when the lights went out, but both drivers got away well, the former holding onto his advantage and a storming start from Kazuki Nakajima splitting the pair, with Borja Garcia, Glock, Carroll, Giorgio Pantano and di Grassi holding position behind them. One man who lost out yet again at the start was Andi Zuber, who stalled at the back of the field and had to be pushed into the pits to be restarted.

Read more & Comment...

Fans pour into Zolder
On a partly sunny day in central Belgium, there is a huge rush of fans into the Zolder circuit this morning as Champ Car prepares for its first ever race in Belgium The grandstands and hillsides were largely full already for the morning warm-up that just concluded. Huge traffic jams have been reported outside the circuit.

Also seen in Zolder Sunday morning was Kenny Brack, talking with one of his former team owners Bobby Rahal.  Kenny said he wasn't involved in any racing right now but is working on a TV project.  The two were catching up on old times and watching Bobby's son Graham from the media center during morning warm-ups.


Star Mazda Mosport Race Results
Australian racer James Davison took advantage of the confusion resulting from pit stops and tire changes caused by a brief early-race downpour to take his first victory in the Mosport round of the 2007 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear.  Vancouver native Lorenzo Mandarino finished second while series championship leader Dane Cameron filled out the podium.

“I started fifth but I got a good run into Turn One while it was still dry on the opening lap and stayed out several extra laps when it started raining while everyone else pitted,” said the driver of the #7 Velocity Motorsports / Easternats Mazda.  “I pitted in the lead but by crew did a great job changing tires and I only lost four places.  There was only one full-course yellow and it was difficult to pass lapped traffic, but my car was good as the track dried out toward the end of the race and I just stayed out of trouble and brought it home.”

Davison has crossed the finish line first in two previous races, Sebring and Road America, only to be stripped of his victories for ‘driving infractions’ by series officials.  His 2007 record also includes two poles, two podiums and three top-5 finishes.

Read more & Comment...

Hornish Jr. to run 5-6 Chase races
Three-time IndyCar Series champion Sam Hornish Jr. plans to run five to six of the final 10 races in the Nextel Cup season for Penske Racing, team owner Roger Penske said on Saturday.

"That's the game plan right now," Penske said before the start of the Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway. "Obviously, he's got to qualify. But he did a good job at Michigan and if there is a chance to run cars every week, we'll see."

"I told him the more experience you get the better you're going to be," Penske said. "We'll see."


Childress plans no legal action against NASCAR
Richard Childress, in his first public reaction to lawsuit proceedings between NASCAR and AT&T, told ESPN.com Saturday that he has no current plans to take personal legal action against NASCAR in an effort to retain AT&T as sponsor of his No. 31 Chevrolet. I don't really have any plans to do that right now," said Childress, owner of three Nextel Cup Series teams. [Editor's Note: Childress knows that if he were to sue NASCAR he would soon find himself on the outside of the sport looking in.]


Fogarty, Gurney Win Infineon
A hard-fought weekend by the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley team has given Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty a Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve single-season win record and placed the duo in the Daytona Prototype championship lead with a win Saturday during the Armed Forces Grand-Am 250 at Infineon Raceway.

Fogarty and Gurney battled through a tight but cleanly fought race to capture a 1.937-second win over David Donohue and Darren Law in the No. 58 Red Bull Brumos Porsche in the 97 lap race - a margin of victory that was not representative of the pace of the race.

Although the majority of the focus entering the weekend was on the tight championship battle of Fogarty, Gurney, Scott Pruett and Max Angelelli, Donohue and Law inserted themselves into a late race battle for points and the win. Donohue climbed into the lead on Lap 72, and spent the next 22 laps with Gurney glued to his tail. Despite the constant hounding, Donohue was able to keep the championship contender at bay.

Read more & Comment...

Dennis clarifies Alonso comments
(GMM) McLaren boss Ron Dennis on Saturday clarified Fernando Alonso's claim that his contribution to the team has gone unacknowledged.

Reigning world champion Alonso on Friday insisted that he had not noticed "anything given back to me" by his Woking based chiefs despite personally delivering more than half a second of performance to the Mercedes-powered single seater in 2007.

Briton Dennis, however, was reluctant to assign too much of the championship leading team's improvement compared to 2006, when McLaren failed to record a single win, solely to 26-year-old Alonso.

"It is impossible to identify who has contributed what to how fast our racing car goes," he told reporters in Istanbul.

Dennis also had some advice for F1's press when analyzing the media briefings given by Alonso.

"Don't hang so much on to one piece of information presented accurately by Fernando, but out of context in the bigger picture," he insisted.


Lloyd beats Antinucci at Infineon
Alex Lloyd clinched the Indy Pro Series championship in proper fashion - with a victory in the Carneros 100 at Infineon Raceway.

Lloyd, driving the No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon Systems car for Sam Schmidt Motorsports, passed pole sitter Richard Antinucci at the exit of Turn 1 of Lap 1 and went on to a 0.8927 of a second victory in the 14th of 16 races. Mike Potekhen finished third in the No. 53 Apex Racing car and Stephen Simpson in the No. 24 Kenn Hardley Racing car was fourth.

Results Saturday of the Carneros 100 Indy Pro Series event Aug. 25 at the 2.3-mile Infineon Raceway, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, laps completed, reason out (if any) and money earned:

Read more & Comment...

McNish quickest before rain
Allan McNish and Audi sat in the top spot in the first official practice session Saturday for the Mobil 1 presents the Mobil 1 Grand Prix of Mosport. The American Le Mans Series' first practice session at Mosport International Raceway stayed dry for all of two laps as rain pelted the 10-turn, 2.459-mile circuit just after the green flag.

McNish's time of 1:07.283 in the No. 1 Audi R10 TDI he will share with Dindo Capello was 2.692 seconds ahead of Chris Dyson in the No. 20 Dyson Racing Porsche RS Spyder. Dyson's time was the quickest among P2 cars at 1:09.975 but his next lap saw the Porsche go off track at Turn 5 and into the tire wall. The damage was minimal with headlight cover damage and a little mud on the Porsche's body.

Next was the second Audi of Emanuele Pirro and Marco Werner at 1:11.335, a second ahead of Penske Motorsports' fastest Porsche P2 entry of Sascha Maassen and Ryan Briscoe.

Read more & Comment...

Di Grassi takes maiden GP2 win
Lucas di Grassi has silenced his critics after claiming his maiden GP2 win in race one at Istanbul Park, taking the top step of the podium ahead of Giorgio Pantano and Adam Carroll as well as the lead in the championship ahead of fourth placed Timo Glock.

The Brazilian's win was set up by his usual demon start and a good pitstop by his ART mechanics under the safety car, and then later by a mistake by Andi Zuber ahead of him, which meant the lead cycled back to di Grassi when the all of the pitstops shook out.

Di Grassi was not the only fast man at the start: Zuber sliced between teammate Glock and poleman Luca Filippi when the lights went out to take an early lead in the race, with the front row starters falling into place in order behind him but ahead of Pantano, Carroll, di Grassi, Xandi Negrao and Kazuki Nakajima.

Read more & Comment...

McLaren prevent Hungary repeat with second pit box
(GMM) McLaren assigned a separate pit box to each of its drivers in Turkey to prevent a recurrence of the incident that occurred in Hungary three weeks ago.

In Budapest before the August summer break three weeks ago, hostilities between the team's drivers broke out - and stewards also penalized the team - when Fernando Alonso was deemed to have deliberately held up his teammate ahead of the final dash for pole.

Apparently to prevent the drivers from repeating the obstruction in Istanbul, then, McLaren assigned each driver a separate pit area, complete with a separate pit crew, for qualifying on Saturday.

The system is only possible at modern circuits such as Turkey, where the pitlane and garage areas are considerably larger than at more traditional grand prix venues.

"They decided it was easier to have two pit crews and it worked out quite well," Lewis Hamilton confirmed after qualifying second.

Team boss Ron Dennis, meanwhile, had to smile in Turkey when he reflected on the gift McLaren gave to Fernando Alonso to mark the reigning world champion's 100th grand prix.

The Spaniard was given a huge metal scale model of a 1954 Mercedes-Benz formula one car, and Dennis quipped: "It's something heavy for him to throw at us!"


Muller back at Mosport
Needless to say, Dirk Muller feels at home at Mosport International Raceway. In three American Le Mans Series start, he has a victory, a runner-up and a pole position start in the GT class (now GT2). He is back at the famed Canadian venue for the first time since 2001 and Petersen Motorsports/White Lightning Racing and Ferrari.

“It’s more or less the same,” Muller said. “Due to the rough winters they have here, the track is a little cracked in some places. They have patched it up in some places with concrete and that makes the track very challenging.”

Muller holds one of the longest-standing records in the American Le Mans Series with eight consecutive pole positions in a Porsche. The string started at Sears Point in 1999 and carried through Silverstone in 2000. He also holds the record for most GT poles in a season (6 in 1999) and in a career (13).

Muller already has posted three fastest GT2 race laps for Petersen/White Lightning and the Ferrari.

“It was a very good year and I was really at home,” Muller said of 1999. “This year, one of the goals is to be back on pole positions and I’ve been very close so far. I’d like to get one but to get that many in a row is very, very tough. I’m very happy on this track and so happy to be back here.”

Formula BMW

Gutierrez wins yet another Formula BMW pole
Gutierrez Scores Round 13 Pole, Morad Awarded Round 14 Pole after rain washes away 2nd qualifying session

Round 13 Qualifying - Results
1   Esteban Gutierrez (R)    Autotecnica                2:24.275
2   Daniel Morad             EUROINTERNATIONAL          2:24.597
3   Alexander Rossi          Team Apex Racing USA       2:25.026
4   Maxime Pelletier         HBR Motorsport Team USA    2:25.261
5   Steven Guerrero          HBR Motorsport Team USA    2:25.494
6   Philip Major             Autotecnica                2:25.594
7   Ricardo Favoretto (R)    HBR Motorsport Team USA    2:25.624
8   Eric Morrow (R)          Hearn Motorsports          2:25.933
9   Robert Thorne            Team Apex Racing USA       2:26.005
10  Timothy Hollowell (R)    Team KMA Racing            2:26.055
11  Julia Landauer           Team KMA Raci              2:26.088
12  Jordan Dick              JD Racing                  2:26.311
13  Yannick Hofman           EUROINTERNATIONAL          2:26.403
14  Mike Hill                Team KMA Racing            2:26.407

Round 14 Qualifying - Results

1   Daniel Morad               EUROINTERNATIONAL
2   Esteban Gutierrez (R)      Autotecnica
3   Alexander Rossi            Team Apex Racing USA
4   Maxime Pelletier           HBR Motorsport Team USA
5   Steven Guerrero            HBR Motorsport Team USA
6   Robert Thorne              Team Apex Racing USA
7   Yannick Hofman             EUROINTERNATIONAL
8   Jordan Dick                JD Racing
9   Ricardo Favoretto (R)      HBR Motorsport Team USA
10  Philip Major               Autotecnica
11  Eric Morrow (R)            Hearn Motorsports
12  Timothy Hollowell (R)      Team KMA Racing
13  Mike Hill                  Team KMA Racing
14  Julia Landauer             Team KMA Racing


Champ Cars shatter Zolder lap record UPDATE #2 Well our estimate of a 1m12.500 second pole lap time for the Champ Cars was pretty close as Bourdais turned a lap of 1m12.821s and he said he could have done a few tenths faster if everything had been timed right on his qualifying lap.  Regardless, the Champ Cars have set a new mark at Zolder by a wide margin and the track is fast.  "I think it's a lot quicker today because there's so much more rubber down," said Will Power.  "The asphalt is actually really good," said Robert Doornbos.  "They did a good job with that because the rubber gets in really quick and the grip just gets better and better.  Today went really well. It is an amazing circuit to drive with Champ Cars, it’s really fast – turn one and two in particular we have been going faster and faster."

08/24/07 Provisional pole saw Will Power drop the lap record down to 1m13.801s.  With more rubber on the track, tomorrow might see the Champ Cars down into the 1m12s bracket.  Recall our estimate last week that we might see a 1m12.5 sec qualifying lap for the Champ Cars.

08/24/07 Within 15 minutes of the opening practice session the Champ Cars were some 2 seconds under the Zolder lap record despite the circuit being slowed by chicanes and the tightening of some corners to slow the Champ Cars. The old record was held by Christian Montanari in a World Series by Renault car in 2006 at 1m17.122s. With seven minutes to go in the session Will Power is fastest at 1m15.100s in his Champ Car.


Tracy much happier now
While he hurt his effort by crashing in the morning practice session, Paul Tracy is much happier since engineer Tom Brown moved over from PKV Racing.  He and the team have been struggling all season, although they did manage to pull off a win in Cleveland earlier this year.  He thinks he has a car he can work with on Sunday.

“That was a frustrating qualifying session. We made a really good call going out early for the first stint and we had clear track and managed to put in a quick lap. During that lap I lost some time in a couple of spots so I knew that we could still go a few tenths quicker on our second stint. We went out with a few minutes with traffic all around us, (Tristan) Gommendy was in front of me and I kept catching him every time I tried to go fast and just couldn’t put a lap together. Our car is good, we are close, we still need to do some work but it’s nice to know that we are in the ballpark.

"Tom Brown has come in and made little changes on the cambers and casters, wing angles and the like and now the car is like night and day to drive.  It's the first time this year I feel comfortable enough in the car to really drive it.  Before it was just undriveable," said Tracy.  Mark C.


Junqueira and Coyne continue to impress
Dale Coyne Racing and his veteran driver Bruno Junqueira continue to turn heads up and down pit road.   Analogous to the story The Little Engine than Can,  Coyne's low-budget operation continues to hit well above its mark.  Today in Zolder Junqueira was 4th fastest, which brought smiles to the team.

“It was a little difficult qualifying on the reds today," said Junqueira.  "On my second lap the red flag came out which hurt my time. On my last run the tires weren’t up to temperature and that hurt me as well.  I turned in one great lap today and it was good enough for me to get a P4 for tomorrow’s race. This is the best starting position we have had all year and I hope to make the most of it in the race tomorrow. I really like this track and I think that we have a great chance for a top three finish in the race.”


Star Mazda Mosport Qualifying
In a foggy and tense qualifying session that resembled the ‘waiting game’ practice by Formula 1 teams, championship points leader Dane Cameron turned just eight laps, but one of them a true flier of 1:15.745 (116.871 mph) – and then waited until the clock ticked down – to score his fifth pole of the season for this afternoon’s Round Ten of the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear race at Mosport.

“We’ve been making good progress throughout the sessions leading up to the weekend, and we have a race-winning car whether the weather is wet or dry for the race,” said the 18 year-old from Sonoma, California who has won three races and finished on the podium three times so far this year.  “My total focus right now is to win this race and try to wrap the title up at the next race at Road Atlanta in October.  The JDC team is working at a very high level right now, despite a very limited budget, and we’re all feeling very confident.”

Cameron set a quick lap in the low 1:16s early in the session, and sat in the pits watching Jonathan Goring of Norfolk, Connecticut, whittle away at the 4/10ths of a second gap that separated the two.  When it got down to 2/10ths, Cameron displayed one of the indispensable qualities of a top driver by taking to the track for an additional three laps and going a half-second faster before returning to watch the clock in pit lane.

Read more & Comment...

NASCAR team owner to plead guilty
NASCAR team owner Gene Haas agreed to plead guilty to Federal conspiracy charges Friday and will serve at least two years in prison.

Haas owner of the No. 66 ands No. 70 Nextel Cup Series cars was indicted in 2006 by the Internal Revenue Service who charged the 55-year-old Californian with trying to cheat the government out of nearly $35 million in taxes.

At the time of his arrest in June 2006, Haas issued a statement through his company Haas Automation insisting he was innocent of the charges and that the charges “revolved around” the company’s former CFO. He also pled ‘not guilty’ to the charges.

Haas was referring to John Phillips, the former chief financial officer of Haas Automation. Haas had accused Phillips of cheating the company out of nearly $28 million in the same transactions listed in the IRS indictment. Haas Automation won a default judgment against Phillips, who then went to the FBI and exposed the tax schemes.

Phillips was named as a co-conspirator in the case but was never charged with any crime.

According to the IRS indictment Haas and three of his associates created fake invoices in order to create bogus tax deductions.

The IRS said that Haas conspired with the others to create the fake invoices to his own company, a land title company, his NASCAR teams and even a bogus company set up just for the scheme. More at CupScene.com


Haug - I thought Ferrari would dominate
(GMM) Norbert Haug after qualifying said McLaren expected Ferrari to dominate in Turkey this weekend.

Mercedes-Benz's competition director expressed surprise that Lewis Hamilton got within a tenth of snatching pole position for the Turkish grand prix from Felipe Massa.

"If Ferrari is the favorite," he told the German broadcaster RTL, "then we are a half tenth away. We would have nearly snatched it with a really super lap from Lewis."

Haug pointed out that, on Friday morning, the red cars built at Maranello seemed at least a second quicker than their Woking rivals.

"But we are absolutely on eye-level with them," he insisted. "I think the spectators are pleased -- for Sunday, everything is in it.

"I cannot promise a victory, but if we have a good strategy and are reliable, then everything should be possible."

Haug added, meanwhile, that he thought Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, third on the grid, is carrying less fuel than pole-man Massa, who won here in 2006.


Observations from Zolder - Saturday 2
Walking around the circuit just before qualifying there are many more people here today than Friday. Our early estimates are a Saturday attendance of 20,000 paid. Zolder is so wooded it is hard to put an exact number in attendance until the promoter gives us a better number, but there are people all around the circuit. Some of the hillsides are full.....The weather is still overcast as qualifying is about to begin, but the temperatures are quite comfortable.....Katherine Legge had an eventful morning practice, spinning in the Villeneuve chicane, bringing out a red flag, and then again on the pit road exit where her car just snapped around in a straight line as if a driveshaft broke.


Massa nips Hamilton for pole
Lewis Hamilton insisted he was happy to be second on the grid for the Turkish Grand Prix despite making a mistake in the final corner of his flying lap which saw Felipe Massa bump him from provisional pole by 0.044s. More later...


ATT seeks another injunction against NASCAR
As expected, AT&T has asked U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Shoob to issue another injunction to allow its logos on the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing car.  The motion was filed in the Atlanta court Friday afternoon. A hearing isn't expected until the week of Sept. 10 at the earliest.   Shoob granted AT&T's injunction request May 18 on breach-of-contract grounds, but the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the decision Aug. 13.


News briefs from Turkey
(GMM) Honda's chief aerodynamicist Mariano Alperin-Bruvera has left the struggling Japanese team to join BMW-Sauber, it emerged on Saturday at the scene of the Turkish grand prix.


Giancarlo Fisichella has settled a long running dispute with the Italian tax office. The authorities had wanted the Renault driver to pay more than 17 million euros after contesting his official residence of Monaco. As a settlement he has agreed to pay 3.8m euro.


Bridgestone on Friday admitted the blame after Nico Rosberg's Williams appeared to enter the Istanbul F1 circuit for practice with an illegal 'mixed' set of tires. The German's machine featured two unmarked tires and two with white lines, indicating the softer compound.

"This was a mistake on our behalf," said the Japanese tire marque's Kees van de Grint.


A reminder to be sure to read yesterday's news page that already is off into archives due to the sheer volume of news yesterday.  You may find information there that you missed.


Paul Tracy crash photos
At the end of morning practice in Zolder Saturday Champ Car veteran Paul Tracy hit the curbs in the Turn 5-6 chicane, which threw him across the track and into the barrier on the far side.  Our Gary Parravani was there to capture the moment:

Photos by Gary Parravani


Kahne wins Bristol Busch race
With temperatures lingering just below 100 degrees all day long at Bristol Motor Speedway, the Busch Series teams hung in to put on a stellar show under the lights, ending with Kasey Kahne claiming the Food City 250 win after taking the lead from Ryan Newman with less than 10 laps remaining and holding off Jason Leffler's challenge afterwards.

"It was an awesome battle with Ryan Newman and Jason Leffler," Kahne said. "It feels great. This is always one of the tracks you want to win on. It was a battle. The track is so crazy with how many lines there are and how much racing room there is."

The first Busch Series event on Bristol's new concrete surface was a good one from start to finish with multiple racing grooves and many three-wide battles throughout the event. The most heated fell near the finish as Kahne, Newman, Leffler and David Reutimann all mixed it up with a few lapped cars peppered in.

"(I) just squeezed through," Kahne said of his race-winning pass off of Turn 2. "We were scraping Newman on one side, scraping the wall on the other side."

Read more & Comment...

Turkey: Hamilton tops final practice
Pos  Driver        Team                Time      Behind Laps
 1.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes    1:27.325           12
 2.  Massa         Ferrari             1:27.366 + 0.041   15
 3.  Raikkonen     Ferrari             1:27.506 + 0.181   16
 4.  Alonso        McLaren-Mercedes    1:27.743 + 0.418   13
 5.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota     1:28.056 + 0.731   16
 6.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber          1:28.184 + 0.859   18
 7.  Kubica        BMW Sauber          1:28.224 + 0.899   21
 8.  Fisichella    Renault             1:28.261 + 0.936   20
 9.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault    1:28.337 + 1.012   15
10.  Kovalainen    Renault             1:28.364 + 1.039   17
11.  Wurz          Williams-Toyota     1:28.413 + 1.088   16
12.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault    1:28.448 + 1.123   14
13.  R.Schumacher  Toyota              1:28.481 + 1.156   20
14.  Trulli        Toyota              1:28.520 + 1.195   21
15.  Button        Honda               1:28.548 + 1.223   16
16.  Barrichello   Honda               1:28.715 + 1.390   18
17.  Davidson      Super Aguri-Honda   1:28.755 + 1.430   16
18.  Liuzzi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari  1:28.937 + 1.612   20
19.  Vettel        Toro Rosso-Ferrari  1:29.408 + 2.083   19
20.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda   1:29.436 + 2.111   14
21.  Sutil         Spyker-Ferrari      1:30.044 + 2.719   22
22.  Yamamoto      Spyker-Ferrari      1:30.712 + 3.387   21


Zolder: Bourdais tops practice 3
All the buzz this morning remains centered around Dan Clarke’s own version of a “European Adventure” more akin to Chevy Chase than Nigel Mansell. “Suspended” Dan isn’t quite as catchy as “Speedy” Dan, but the fast and furious Brit will be watching the Zolder race alongside the rest of us here in beautiful Belgium. Fortunately, all four cars involved in yesterday’s mishap were off and running this morning in practice, including local hero Jan Heylen and Clarke’s replacement, Mexican driver Mario Dominquez, in the most recent iteration of his former team.  Sebastien Bourdais was fastest in this session over provisional pole sitter Will Power.

Pos Driver Lap Time Behind Leader
1 S. Bourdais 1:14.264
2 W. Power 1:14.422 0.158
3 J. Wilson 1:14.480 0.216
4 G. Rahal 1:14.525 0.261
5 R. Doornbos 1:14.535 0.271
6 S. Pagenaud 1:14.545 0.281
7 P. Tracy 1:14.653 0.389
8 A. Tagliani 1:14.663 0.399
9 T. Gommendy 1:14.682 0.418
10 O. Servia 1:14.684 0.420
11 J. Heylen 1:14.808 0.544
12 N. Jani 1:14.847 0.583
13 M. Dominguez 1:15.109 0.845
14 K. Legge 1:15.191 0.927
15 B. Junqueira 1:15.210 0.946
16 R. Dalziel 1:15.623 1.359
17 A. Figge 1:16.167 1.903


Observations from Zolder - Saturday
We awoke to heavy fog at Zolder Saturday morning but it is expected to burn off by 10:00 AM and become sunny and quite warm......Dinner last night was in nearby Hasselt, a historic little Belgian town with a fantastic downtown of narrow cobblestone streets lined with shops and outdoor cafes. Hasselt is the educational and commercial heart of the Limburg province, the eastern region of Flanders. 43,000 people are employed in Hasselt, and 37,000 attend school there. Many banks, insurance companies and public services have their regional administration centers in Hasselt. As a trade city, Hasselt ranks sixth in Belgium.......We ran into Kevin Kalkhoven in our hotel lobby last evening. He and his entourage finally arrived in Belgium after their plane engine scare we reported yesterday. One of the metal fins that direct air into the engine broke off and it went through the engine and damaged one of the main turbine blades, which caused a fairly noticeable vibration. The crew cut the power in that engine back to 10% and they made an emergency landing in Minneapolis. Apparently the Rolls Royce engine in the plane has had similar failures recently and the company is investigating........The Zolder circuit reeks of history and watching the EuroBOSS cars circulate the track, some from the same year when F1 still ran at Zolder, brought back a lot of fond memories......There are far more media (270) covering this event than any other event so far this year and the media center puts the American ones to shame.


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Alonso revives McLaren tensions in Turkey
  • Ferrari likely to miss drivers' crown - Gene
  • Hamilton slams gossip media attention

Alonso revives McLaren tensions in Turkey
(GMM) With a tentative truce only just declared at McLaren, Fernando Alonso in Turkey has threatened to revive tensions within the championship leading team.

The Spanish reigning world champion told reporters after Friday free practice in Istanbul that, despite delivering three victories and his contribution to the title-leading MP4-22 car, he has not noticed "anything given back to me" by the British outfit.

"I gave to the team a lot when I arrived in December," the 26-year-old said. "I remember the first (McLaren) car I drove, I remember the results they had in 2006, and how I brought to the team half a second, six tenths or whatever."

Alonso confirmed the existence of his "long-term" McLaren contract but, as in Hungary three weeks ago, refused to confirm that he will still be a silver-clad driver in 2008.

He also said that, despite crisis meetings in the Conrod hotel on Thursday and a face-to-face encounter and post-Hungary phone call with teammate Lewis Hamilton, "nothing has changed" since so-called war broke out in Budapest.

The Spanish news agency Agencia EFE quoted him as saying in Turkey: "I do not know where I am going to race next year. It is impossible to know that.

"The only thing I know is that I have a contract with McLaren and that, yes, I can drive here again."

Alonso confirmed that Hamilton phoned him on the Monday after Hungary, where both drivers had told the press that they were currently not talking to one another.

"I congratulated him on his win and he asked me how I would be spending the vacation. I said I was going to stay at my house and the conversation finished there," he said.

Hamilton told reporters on Friday that they had exchanged apologies following their Hungarian falling-out, but Alonso denied this.

"He apologized to me in case he had done anything wrong, and so I asked him if he thought I had done anything wrong as well. He told me 'no', so I did not have anything to apologize for."

Spain's Diario As newspaper, meanwhile, quoted Ron Dennis as confirming that he would review Alonso's contract at the end of the season.

"When the season is over, we will see -- right now there are six races to go," the team boss said.

Read more & Comment...

Zolder hard on brakes
We quizzed the top-3 drivers Friday after provisional qualifying for the Champ Car Grand Prix of Belgium on their impressions of the Zolder circuit and whether there would be a place to pass.  All three agreed it was a fast circuit and two of the three was not sure if they could pass, but Simon Pagenaud felt that with three long straightaways ending in tight corners, Zolder would be hard on the brakes.

“For the first turn you go from seventh gear to third gear,” says Simon Pagenaud. “For the chicane at the end of the back-straight you also go from seventh to third, then into Turn 10 it’s sixth to second gear and for the last chicane before the pits you go from seventh gear to second.

“It is a tough racetrack to pass on, but it’s also a very tough racetrack on brakes. I think at the end of the race some people will be struggling with their brakes and that may provide some passing opportunities, especially in Turn 10  


Record eighth straight pole for Fogarty/Gurney
Jon Fogarty and GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing captured another Grand-Am record this afternoon in qualifying for tomorrow’s Armed Forces Grand-Am 250, as he torched the 2.52-mile Infineon Raceway to score his eighth pole of the 2007 Rolex Sports Car Series season. Piloting the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac-powered Riley that he shares with fellow Californian Alex Gurney, the Palo Alto native set a new track record with a time of 1:28.028 at an average speed of 103.058 mph. Fogarty considers the circuit to be his home track, as he ran his first-ever sanctioned race here in 1995, behind the wheel of an SCCA Formula Vee.
Tomorrow, Fogarty will lead the 18-car Daytona Prototype field to the green flag, a critical advantage given the tight, three-way championship battle that he and Gurney face. With two races remaining, the duo sits in third with 350 points, just four markers behind tied leaders, Scott Pruett and Max Angelelli. A victory on home turf would keep the No. 99 on a championship-winning trajectory.

Read more & Comment...

Ralf still yet to find home on 2008 grid UPDATE It seems that Ralf Schumacher's future is still in doubt. During the Friday press conference at Istanbul Park, John Howett declared that the team has a contract with Jarno Trulli but that they are still studying the driver market for the other race seat. Howett also made clear that Schumacher is still on the list.
John Howett said: "I guess it’s no secret, really. Jarno has a contract and we’re in discussion with Ralf and we’re studying the driver market and Ralf is still definitely on our list. He’s doing a very good job at the moment, as we’ve seen in the last two or three races and we’re just not prepared at this moment to make a decision which is very tough and I have a great deal of personal sympathy with Ralf but that’s the position. We’re waiting to see what moves and I can assure you that Ralf is on our list. We feel that we can wait longer."

08/22/07 (GMM) Ralf Schumacher is still yet to find a formula one home for the 2008 season.

The German and six-time grand prix winner is hoping to keep his Toyota seat, but his chances took a knock after a disastrous first half of this year.

32-year-old Schumacher reportedly turned to his former BMW colleague Gerhard Berger for a back-up plan, but Toro Rosso has now signed Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastian Vettel for 2008.


Summerton heads back to Europe
Jonathan Summerton heads back to Europe this weekend to test for Team USA A1GP at Silverstone and then goes on to race for Volkswagen in the F3 Euro Series.

The new Formula 3 engine from Volkswagen will celebrate its racing début during the DTM weekend on the Nürburgring (31 Aug -02 Sep). For its comeback as an engine supplier, Volkswagen initially equips three vehicles in the Formula 3 Euro Series. Maximilian Götz from Uffenheim (Germany) and Jonathan Summerton from the United States contest the series for the Italian Team RC Motorsport, while Marco Holzer from Augsburg (Germany) competes for AM Holzer Rennsport, using the new two-liter engine delivering about 210 hp of the Wolfsburg-based manufacturer.

"The new Formula 3 engine from Volkswagen has completed many hours of rig testing and reeled off plenty of test kilometers on the track. Now it's time to test it in direct competition," said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "The first races are intended to help us assess where we stand and to give us new information we can use in the unit's evolution for the coming season."

Read more & Comment...

Antinucci tops Lloyd for Indy Pro pole
Qualifying Friday for the Carneros 100 Indy Pro Series event on the 2.3-mile Infineon Raceway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver and speed: 
1. (51) Richard Antinucci, 100.639
2. (7) Alex Lloyd, 100.423
3. (24) Stephen Simpson, 100.089
4. (53) Mike Potekhen, 99.612
5. (12) Phil Giebler, 99.599
6. (1) Bobby Wilson, 99.474
7. (11) Jaime Camara, 99.336
 8. (2) Jonathan Klein, 99.305
9. (23) Logan Gomez, 99.265
10. (55) Hideki Mutoh, 99.106
11. (38) Ryan Justice, 99.084
12. (15) J.R. Hildebrand, 98.927
13. (5) Andrew Prendeville, 98.766
14. (13) Robbie Pecorari, 98.741
15. (3) Brad Jaeger, 98.698
16. (9) Chris Festa, 98.403
17. (54) Micky Gilbert, 98.336
18. (4) Sean Guthrie, 98.229
19. (52) Ken Losch, 98.084
20. (6) Matt Jaskol, 97.901
21. (27) Wade Cunningham, 97.900
22. (8) Steve Ablondi, 90.661

Read more & Comment...

NASCAR puts the squeeze on ATT UPDATE #2 NASCAR is losing its patience in the court battle with AT&T. Spokesman Ramsey Poston said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway that AT&T "has been dishonest with the fans and with NASCAR, and it's time for that to stop."

"The facts are that NASCAR has approved a Cingular 'Go Phone' paint scheme that they used before and could use again this weekend, as well," Poston said. "The decision to have a blank car on the track this weekend is theirs and theirs alone -- RCR."

NASCAR maintains that AT&T and Richard Childress Racing knew the contractual parameters of the Sprint/Nextel exclusivity agreement far prior to the AT&T/Cingular corporate merger, and should "do the right thing and honor the agreement."

"When AT&T merged with Cingular, they knew what the rules were," Poston said. "They knew they could not re-brand that to AT&T. In the same way I very much doubt AT&T is going to invite Sprint/Nextel or any other competitor into their exclusive deal for the iPhone, or invite Sprint/Nextel or any other competitor to advertise at AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants. They understand exclusivity."

Poston noted that Cingular "remains a viable mark," and cited Cingular retail stores in both adjacent towns to Bristol Motor Speedway as proof.

"There's obviously still value in that mark," he said. "There's still marketing and they're still selling services on it, so there's no reason why that mark shouldn't be on the car."

"NASCAR doesn't have the exclusivity with Sprint -- the industry does," Poston said. "More than defending ourselves or Sprint/Nextel, we are defending every driver and team in the garage.

"Sprint/Nextel essentially sponsors every driver. The funds they put into this sport go into the point fund, go to help each race winner and to help promote the entire sport through commercials and marketing.

"That's all part of the [sponsorship] package. Sprint/Nextel are the ones that have devoted their company and resources to NASCAR, and they benefit every single driver in there. So that's why we need to protect the exclusivity of that contract on behalf of the entire industry."

08/24/07 The No. 31 Richard Childress Racing car was unloaded as a plain orange and black car without AT&T logos Friday morning at Bristol Motor Speedway. With NASCAR Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O'Donnell watching, the Jeff Burton crew unloaded the car at 6 a.m. with a car that met NASCAR's approval.
That's because it didn't have AT&T logos on it. It didn't have any logos on the hood or the side panels.

The team hauler was plain black with the 31 number, and the team was wearing gray RCR t-shirts. All AT&T logos have been removed from pit equipment as well.

08/23/07 NASCAR has rejected proposed paint schemes featuring AT&T's "Go Phone" and the AT&T Mobility tagline "More Bars in More Places" as AT&T seeks a way to remain on the No. 31 Richard Childress Racing car, according to AT&T.

AT&T, in a motion filed today in U.S. District Court asking the court to expedite another preliminary injunction hearing, called NASCAR's actions "unreasonable and vindictive" and indicated that its Go Phone scheme was similar to one used in May 2005.

"NASCAR insisted that not only must AT&T Mobility remove the 'AT&T' name and logo immediately, but also that AT&T Mobility feature the very name, 'Cingular,' that AT&T Mobility has spent millions of dollars removing from the marketplace," AT&T states in its motion.

Read more & Comment...

Turkey takes extreme security measures
Turkey has taken intensive security measures for the Formula 1 Grand Prix race to be held in Turkey over the weekend, officials said. The Istanbul Security Directorate will commission 2,000 police officers around the Formula 1 track and spectators will be allowed to enter the area only after being scanned using metal detectors.
“We are aware that there are still some deficiencies, but I don’t think they will influence the course of the race negatively. Minor deficiencies occur in all events. We do not expect big problems to emerge. This will be a very exciting race and everyone will leave here happily,” Turkey Automobile Sports Federation President Mümtaz Tahincioğlu said.

Turkey sees the Formula 1 race organization as a good opportunity to contribute to the country’s tourism and publicity. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who visited the track last week, said the important thing to consider about holding such events was not the expenses incurred, but how they will contribute to the country’s publicity and introduction to foreigners.


Champ Car re-measures Zolder
Champ Car has measured the Zolder circuit as officially at 2.492-miles long, down from the 2.622-mile lap listed on their website and in previous media releases.  BTW, the Euroboss F1 cars are at the Zolder circuit this weekend and their fastest lap times were some 7 seconds per lap slower than the Champ Cars.  We mention this because there were some comments made in the past from the Euroboss folks that their cars were faster than Champ Cars.  With this myth dispelled one has to wonder if the Champ Car Atlantic cars might be as fast as the Euroboss F1 cars. 

Euroboss is a series which features retired F1 cars some 400+ pounds lighter than the Champ Cars.


Champ Car suspends Driver Dan Clarke UPDATE Dan Clarke had the following response to the suspension.

“I’m sorry that today’s incident happened, but I fully accept Tony Cotman’s decision,” he said in a prepared statement. “It’s part of the learning process, but I want to apologize to the fans, the other drivers involved, and particularly to my team. I am determined to take the positives out of this, however, and to focus on doing the best possible job in the remaining four races of this year, as well as build on what I’ve learned this season with Minardi Team USA in 2008. I genuinely hope the other drivers involved in this morning’s incident go on to have a positive weekend here in Zolder.”

08/24/07 Zolder, Belgium -- Following an incident in this morning’s practice session, Dan Clarke has been barred from participating in this weekend’s Champ Car Grand Prix of Belgium.  Champ Car Race Director Tony Cotman will make a decision one week from today as to Clarke’s status for the Bavaria Beer Champ Car Grand Prix of Holland Presented by Audi, Hertz, Gent and Pioneer.

“This morning’s incident was totally unacceptable and completely avoidable,” said Cotman. “Dan was already on probation after previous incidents in San Jose which helped lead me to my decision today.  After the weekend is complete and I have a time to review the incident without the raw emotion of the moment, I will make a decision as to any further penalties against Clarke.”

‘Speedy’ Dan Clarke is coming off of his career best Champ Car result, finishing second at Road America in the last event.  Clarke has made 24 starts in his Champ Car career, finishing on the podium twice and earning one career pole position.


Alonso says Hamilton apologized
Fernando Alonso has finally broken the media silence coming from McLaren, ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday. In candid comments to the press the World Champion said he had no idea with whom he would be racing next year, saying it was impossible to say.

‘The only thing I know, is that I have a contract with McLaren, and that I could race here’.

Alonso also revealed that Lewis Hamilton has apologized to him for what happened at the Hungary Grand Prix. There was a meeting yesterday of the McLaren team, and Alonso has revealed that they discussed the best way of facing the remaining races of the season. Alonso said he hoped that the tension in the team was now over.


LMP2 car again fastest at Mosport
Eager to wrap up a pair of American Le Mans Series championships on Sunday, Romain Dumas and Penske Motorsports fired the opening salvo with an impressive performance in testing for the Mobil 1 presents Grand Prix of Mosport. The Frenchman blistered Mosport International Raceway with a lap of 1:06.765 for the best overall time in the two-hour session.

Dumas’ lap was more than a second under James Weaver’s class qualifying record of 1:07.906 set in 2003 in a Lola LMP675. Even more impressive is that he was 0.404 seconds under Frank Biela’s overall qualifying record in an Audi R8.

Dumas set the fast time of the session on each of his final three laps before rain flooded the track and brought an early end to the session.

“The track is hugely demanding,” observed factory driver Dumas, who with Timo Bernhard has won the last two overall races and four this season. “There is hardly any other race track with so many fast corners back-to-back.  But this is good for our RS Spyder. We can really show our strength here.”

Penske can clinch the LMP2 class championship with a victory this week, and Porsche has the chance to wrap up both the chassis and engine manufacturer titles.

Read more & Comment...

Volkswagen is the Official Pace Car of SCCA
Volkswagen and Sports Car Club of America announced today an official partnership naming Volkswagen the Official Pace Car of SCCA and SCCA Pro Racing. As part of its official sponsorship, Volkswagen will provide pace vehicles for the SCCA SPEED World Challenge Championships and the SCCA National Championship Runoffs(R) Presented by AT&T as well as course vehicles for The Tire Rack(R) SCCA Solo National Championships.

"Volkswagen was a driving force in SCCA history for many years," said Clark Campbell, motorsport manager, Volkswagen of America, Inc. "We're excited to be back on the track with our SCCA partnership, increasing interest in the SCCA competition and bring our new and exciting products to the track."

Read more & Comment...

Infineon: Castroneves leads opening practice
Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves paced the opening day of preparations for the Motorola Indy 300 Presented by Jackson Rancheria at the Infineon Raceway.

Castroneves, who has won the pole for the three previous road/street course events this season, turned a lap of 1 minute, 16.5298 seconds, 108.193 mph, in the Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone. IndyCar Series point leader Dario Franchitti was second fastest with a lap of 1:16.6876, 107.971 mph in the No. 27 Canadian Club car.

Franchitti's Andretti Green Racing teammates Tony Kanaan and Marco Andretti, the only drivers to win IndyCar Series races at Infineon, were third and fourth, respectively. Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Scott Dixon was fifth.

Single-lap qualifying followed by the Firestone Fast Six session are scheduled for Saturday.

Pos Driver Diff Best Time Best Speed
1 Helio Castroneves (3) ... 1:16.5298 108.193
2 Dario Franchitti (27) 0.2359 1:16.7657 107.861
3 Scott Dixon (9) 0.3313 1:16.8611 107.727
4 Tony Kanaan (11) 0.6935 1:17.2233 107.222
5 Sam Hornish Jr (6) 0.7595 1:17.2893 107.130
6 Marco Andretti (26) 0.9030 1:17.4328 106.931
7 Dan Wheldon (10) 0.9202 1:17.4500 106.908
8 Buddy Rice (15) 1.2018 1:17.7316 106.520
9 Ryan Hunter-Reay (17) 1.4777 1:18.0075 106.144
10 Tomas Scheckter (2) 1.5982 1:18.1280 105.980
11 Vitor Meira (4) 1.6873 1:18.2171 105.859
12 Danica Patrick (7) 2.0122 1:18.5420 105.421
13 Kosuke Matsuura (55) 2.1954 1:18.7252 105.176
14 Ed Carpenter (20) 2.4290 1:18.9588 104.865
15 Scott Sharp (8) 2.6232 1:19.1530 104.608
16 Darren Manning (14) 3.2380 1:19.7678 103.801
17 AJ Foyt IV (22) 3.2821 1:19.8119 103.744
18 Sarah Fisher (5) 4.2919 1:20.8217 102.448

Read more & Comment...

Andretti Green team commits to LMS race
After the ACO’s invitation for American Le Mans Series and Japan Le Mans Challenge teams to compete in the Le Mans Series season-ending Mil Milhas Brazil, two Stateside-based squads have revealed intentions to compete in the 1000-mile race at Interlagos.  Andretti Green Racing plans to take its Acura LMP2 prototype to South America while van der Steur Racing is also contemplating the idea of entering its Radical AER.  Autoweek.com reports that Andretti Green Racing will campaign its Acura ARX-01a for Brazilian Tony Kanaan, who races for the outfit in the IRL IndyCar Series and co-drove the prototype in the 12 Hours of Sebring.  Kanaan will most likely be joined by Bryan Herta and either Dario or Marino Franchitti. 


McLaren not at war - drivers
(GMM)  McLaren's main players had a clear message for the formula one media on Friday -- all is now well behind closed doors.

The press has been intrigued by the apparent falling out between team drivers Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton since the Hungarian grand prix three weeks ago.

But, following a sequence of meetings at the plush Conrod hotel in downtown Istanbul on Thursday, Alonso, Hamilton and boss Ron Dennis arrived at the venue of the Turkish grand prix on Friday convinced that hostilities are now at an end.

"We will try now to put it behind us," Spaniard Alonso told reporters here.

"It is not a problem any more, because now would be the wrong time to dwell on what happened in Hungary.  We try to become world champions, so we must think about Turkey and the next six races."

Hamilton put a great deal of the responsibility for the spat on the media's doorstep.

He said of the controversy: "It obviously sells a lot more papers, but we are not at war.

"The fact is that we get on well.  We don't have any issues; we are not fighting.  We are just two extremely competitive drivers."


PCM and Plain Jane Couture Announce Partnership
Pacific Coast Motorsports (PCM) is pleased to announce their partnership with Plain Jane Couture, the primary sponsor on the #29 driven by Alex Figge and the #28 driven by Ryan Dalziel. The partnership includes primary sponsorship of the PCM entries beginning in Belgium this weekend and continuing at the Bavaria Beer Champ Car Grand Prix at Assen, Holland next weekend.

Headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Plain Jane Couture sells in boutiques worldwide, including Europe’s Benelux region. “We are thrilled to represent Plain Jane Couture in Europe,” said team director, Tyler Tadevic.  “Plain Jane’s classy, witty and free-spirited approach to their designs for men and women matches the ambience and approach we take pride in at Pacific Coast Motorsports.  Alex and Ryan are the perfect racing drivers to represent the Plain Jane brand.”

The Plain Jane Couture men’s line is all about casual weekend wear, T-shirts and polo’s with the Plain Jane logo not only spice up a man’s casual wear, but manage to project an air of confidence and sexiness onto every outfit he pulls together. Despina Levantis, President of Plain Jane Couture commented, “Alex and Ryan are young international racing stars and a great fit for Plain Jane Couture.  We are excited to be a part of the Pacific Coast Motorsports Champ Car racing team”


Zolder race promoter happy with Champ Car
We spoke to Zolder race promoter Meindert van Buuren (pictured right) at the end of the day's activities at Zolder Friday and quizzed him on how he felt the first day went.

"It went very well, we had a record Friday crowd for Zolder. We had about 10,000 people here today and although that may not sound like a lot, Belgians work Fridays and Saturday and Sunday will certainly be even better. We need about 45,000 for the weekend to break even."

"Did you see the autograph session? It was packed. We must have had over 1,000 people. It was even bigger than what I saw in Edmonton. This is something new for Europeans to have this kind of access to the drivers. The local media folks were shocked."


Filippi beats iSport team for GP2 pole
Luca Filippi has reignited his stuttering championship run by dominating this afternoon's qualifying session in Istanbul, powering to the top spot late in the session to end two tenths ahead of Timo Glock and Andi Zuber.

The Italian looked strong throughout, running in the top six for the entire session and putting paid to his previous preference for the medium compound tyre. Filippi was fastest on his first set of the hard tyres, and set the two fastest laps on his second set, finishing the session with a time of 1:34.278.

The session started with temperatures slightly lower than this morning's free practice but still hotter than at most circuits, with Zuber and Lucas di Grassi swapping fastest times early in the session until Giorgio Pantano and Filippi started to hit their strides. Zuber and Glock looked likely to run faster again until they were called into the pits as a result of yellow flags for spins by Marco Martinez and Javier Villa, the latter of whom was unable to rejoin the circuit and was forced to sit out the remainder of the session.

Read more & Comment...

Turkey: Hamilton tops practice 2
While McLaren rookie Lewis Hamilton continued to get the best of his veteran teammate Fernando Alonso by topping the 2nd practice session in Turkey Friday, Willis returns to F1 in Turkey, Geoff Willis was in  Turkey attending his first grand prix for more than a year.

After leaving Honda last year following a demotion, the 47-year-old in July joined Red Bull as technical director.

"Having spent a month now with Red Bull Technology, my first impressions are on the whole very positive, although there is plenty of work to do and as usual not much time to do it in," he said on Friday.

Red Bull had a challenging opening day at Istanbul, with David Coulthard's car catching fire in the morning, and teammate Mark Webber struggling for pace.

Meanwhile Super Aguri's Anthony Davidson crashed with a few minutes to go at turn 3.

Pos  Driver        Team               Time      Behind  Laps
 1.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes   1:28.469            28
 2.  Raikkonen     Ferrari            1:28.762  + 0.293   21
 3.  R.Schumacher  Toyota             1:28.773  + 0.304   23
 4.  Trulli        Toyota             1:28.874  + 0.405   28
 5.  Massa         Ferrari            1:28.884  + 0.415   25
 6.  Alonso        McLaren-Mercedes   1:28.947  + 0.478   24
 7.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota    1:28.995  + 0.526   27
 8.  Kovalainen    Renault            1:29.025  + 0.556   28
 9.  Wurz          Williams-Toyota    1:29.093  + 0.624   27
10.  Kubica        BMW Sauber         1:29.368  + 0.899   31
11.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault   1:29.435  + 0.966   12
12.  Fisichella    Renault            1:29.456  + 0.987   28
13.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber         1:29.792  + 1.323   30
14.  Button        Honda              1:29.945  + 1.476   26
15.  Barrichello   Honda              1:30.055  + 1.586   31
16.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda  1:30.104  + 1.635   27
17.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault   1:30.315  + 1.846   25
18.  Davidson      Super Aguri-Honda  1:30.530  + 2.061   24
19.  Liuzzi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:30.702  + 2.233   24
20.  Vettel        Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:30.801  + 2.332   16
21.  Sutil         Spyker-Ferrari     1:31.153  + 2.684   32
22.  Yamamoto      Spyker-Ferrari     1:31.175  + 2.706   32


Two cars missing from Friday qualifying
The Jan Heylen car and the Dan Clarke car will not be taking part in Friday provisional Champ Car qualifying in Zolder due to extensive repairs that could not completed in time. Both cars will be ready for Saturday morning practice.

Conquest Racing had the following statement - Due to the incident involving Jan Heylen (#34 Grafiprint / Cosworth / DP01 / Bridgestone) during Friday morning’s practice session, Conquest Racing will not be participating in the provisional qualifying session. The incident, caused by Dan Clarke, involved a total of four cars from the field and resulted in extensive damage to the #34 Grafiprint car. The team will be working hard to fix Jan’s car tonight and he will be back in the cockpit for Saturday’s morning practice session and final qualifying.


Briatore commits focus to F1
(GMM)  Flavio Briatore insisted on Friday that his likely foray into the world of English football will not affect his focus on formula one.

The Italian boss of reigning world champions Renault confirmed to reporters at the scene of the Turkish grand prix that he is looking to buy the London club Queens Park Rangers.

He insisted, however, that he is not planning a change of career.

"My business is in formula one," Briatore said.

"The focus for me is next year because we need to be competitive again."

Briatore, 57, owns several businesses, including the 'Billionaire' chain of men's clothing stores, the pharmaceutical company Pierrel, and his London restaurant Cipriani.

"It's like Cipriani," he explained.  "I don't go in the kitchen to cook the food.

"I occasionally go there to eat, and with QPR I will occasionally go to a match.  Nothing more."


Malaysia GP gets 5-year extension
(GMM)  Malaysia's contract to host an annual grand prix near Kuala Lumpur has been extended until 2015, it was announced on Friday.

The current contract was due to expire in 2010, but was extended for five years beyond that, the Motorsports Commission of Malaysia confirmed.

Chairman Datuk Azman Yahya said the contract was actually signed in July, with Sepang now committed to staging a night race 'at any time upon notification' by Formula One Management, which is led by Bernie Ecclestone.

Sepang boss Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir, however, clarified in a press conference that the circuit had not yet made any decisions about lighting infrastructure for the future.

"FIA has not told us about the specifications for the night race.  They have engaged a company, which would be conducting a test in Paul Ricard Circuit in September," he said.


Drain cover causes red flag in Turkey
(GMM)  Friday's second practice session in Turkey faced a long delay when a drain cover worked loose.

Twenty two minutes into the 90-minute session, the red flags began waving and the action did not resume for nearly half an hour.

The scene at turn 10 was investigated by marshals and the FIA's Charlie Whiting, amid suggestions that Rubens Barrichello actually ran over the errant debris.

It was initially dislodged when Giancarlo Fisichella ran over it, and safely re-secured before the action resumed.


Turkey: Raikkonen leads Ferrari 1-2 in opening practice
Pos  Driver        Team                Time      Behind  Laps
 1.  Raikkonen     Ferrari            1:27.988            22
 2.  Massa         Ferrari            1:28.391  + 0.403   20
 3.  Alonso        McLaren-Mercedes   1:29.222  + 1.234   20
 4.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes   1:29.261  + 1.273   10
 5.  Kovalainen    Renault            1:29.346  + 1.358   19
 6.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota    1:29.403  + 1.415   23
 7.  R.Schumacher  Toyota             1:29.414  + 1.426   24
 8.  Fisichella    Renault            1:29.541  + 1.553   19
 9.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber         1:29.641  + 1.653   20
10.  Trulli        Toyota             1:29.685  + 1.697   26
11.  Kubica        BMW Sauber         1:29.710  + 1.722   23
12.  Davidson      Super Aguri-Honda  1:30.384  + 2.396   17
13.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault   1:30.398  + 2.410   23
14.  Button        Honda              1:30.483  + 2.495   17
15.  Barrichello   Honda              1:30.580  + 2.592   25
16.  Liuzzi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:30.612  + 2.624   21
17.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda  1:30.624  + 2.636   15
18.  Wurz          Williams-Toyota    1:30.876  + 2.888   12
19.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault   1:30.917  + 2.929   22
20.  Vettel        Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:31.383  + 3.395   22
21.  Sutil         Spyker-Ferrari     1:31.445  + 3.457   31
22.  Yamamoto      Spyker-Ferrari     1:32.270  + 4.282   35


Power leads opening practice in Zolder
Australian Will Power led the opening practice session for the Champ Cars at Zolder, Belgium. His lap of 1m15.100s was 1/10th of a second faster than Sebastien Bourdais at 1m15.235s. Robert Doornbos was third at 1m15.772s.

Pos Driver Lap Time Leader 
1 W. Power 1:15.100   
2 S. Bourdais 1:15.235 0.135 
3 R. Doornbos 1:15.772 0.672 
4 B. Junqueira 1:15.886 0.786 
5 S. Pagenaud 1:15.912 0.812 
6 N. Jani 1:15.933 0.833 
7 G. Rahal 1:16.137 1.037 
8 A. Tagliani 1:16.155 1.055 
9 T. Gommendy 1:16.389 1.289 
10 O. Servia 1:16.666 1.566 
11 P. Tracy 1:16.708 1.608 
12 R. Dalziel 1:17.174 2.074 
13 K. Legge 1:17.284 2.184 
14 A. Figge 1:17.501 2.401 


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

  • Ecclestone slams McLaren Turkey no-show
  • McLaren likely to escape spy rap - Bernie
  • Rivals comment on McLaren driver absence
  • Feuding drivers talking again - McLaren New
  • Hamilton has tough start in Turkey New

Ecclestone slams McLaren Turkey no-show
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone in Turkey slammed Ron Dennis' decision to prohibit both McLaren drivers from traveling to the formula one circuit outside of Istanbul on Thursday.

Instead, feuding drivers Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, and other leading team figures including boss Dennis, met at the plush downtown hotel 'Conrad' for 'clear-the-air talks' following their Hungary bust-up.

But their notable absence at the circuit meant that they could not complete ordinary pre-grand prix routines, such as walking the circuit, and it also drew the ire of the attending media who had to make do without access to the two leading title protagonists.

The Turkey incident follows Hungary three weeks ago, when McLaren officials gagged the drivers from speaking to the press.

"I believe that Ron is not handling the fight between his drivers well," F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone told Spanish press, including the newspaper Diario As.

"It is not a good decision to stop them from coming here. I don't know what is going on. It's strange and it is not good for F1."

One of reigning world champion Alonso's only media engagements in the city on Thursday was a karting event for team sponsor Vodafone.

Shortly before a press conference, one of McLaren's PR representatives warned that the 26-year-old would not be talking about Hungary, the espionage scandal or his teammate Hamilton.

In La Gazzetta dello Sport, Ecclestone was also quoted as saying: "I do not understand. If a driver does not want to answer a question, he is big enough to say 'I do not want to answer' or 'I cannot answer that'.

"It would have been better if they had been here today, but tomorrow they must be here and they cannot refuse to talk."

McLaren likely to escape spy rap - Bernie
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone in Turkey said McLaren are not likely to be punished when the spy saga reconvenes next month.

The FIA's International Court of Appeal will hear the case on September 13, where Ferrari will press its argument about a McLaren employee's confessed possession of team secrets.

But F1 chief executive Ecclestone, a member of the World Motor Sport Council that recently found McLaren guilty but did not hand down a sanction, argues that the appeal is likely to produce a similar result.

"Unless something new comes up, there's not an awful lot one can do because you've got to catch the guy with the shooter in his hands, pulling the trigger," he is quoted as saying by The Sun.

76-year-old Ecclestone admitted, however, that a punishment is still possible.

"They can still be in trouble under the different sections in the rules where they should be in control of what goes on in the company.

"But the big thing is, people would have to show that they were involved in the theft and they were using the material -– that's where they would be in big trouble."

Rivals comment on McLaren driver absence
(GMM) A band of formula one drivers in Turkey sided against the absence on Thursday of their McLaren rivals.

Officially, Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton stayed away from the Istanbul circuit for reasons of convenience and traffic congestion -- more likely is speculation that team chiefs did not want them cornered by the media about various controversies including the spy saga and their tetchy teammate relationships.

Attendance on Thursday is however not compulsory for drivers or team members, unless they are called to appear at the FIA press conference.

At that very media gathering, drivers including Nick Heidfeld revealed that Thursday can still be an important day for the teams.

"We have a couple of things to do," the BMW driver said, "but for me it's just part of formula one, that you turn up on the Thursday, do all your meetings -- it's a bit strange that suddenly you stay in the city."

Ferrari's Felipe Massa pointed out that not coming to the track prior to the first day of action means a driver cannot inspect the circuit -- something Alonso and Hamilton have usually done on foot in 2007.

"We also walk the track on Thursday," Renault's Heikki Kovalainen confirmed, "that's tradition with our engineers."

Former McLaren driver Kimi Raikkonen, meanwhile, said he thought he knew what was going on behind closed doors at the plush Conrad hotel in Istanbul, an hour's drive away.

"I've been to those meetings," the Finn, who now drives for Ferrari, said.

"They stick one driver in one room and the other driver in another and talk to them separately."

Referring to their absence on Thursday, Raikkonen added: "For sure it doesn't help them, but I don't know if it going to hurt. But it doesn't make anyone's life easier."

Feuding drivers talking again - McLaren
(GMM)  McLaren teammates Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton patched up their damaged working relationship with a hotel meeting on Thursday, the Woking based team revealed on Friday.

In a statement, Ron Dennis' outfit confirmed media reports that the pair, who left Hungary three weeks ago not on speaking terms, stayed away from the Istanbul circuit so as to patch up their differences in the nearby city.

Alonso and Hamilton met with their bosses "independently" in the hotel, thought to be the five-star 'Conrad', before finding a "constructive way forward" with a separate face-to-face encounter, McLaren announced in a statement issued to the press.

"We are now turning our full attention to the Turkish grand prix and the rest of the season," it concluded.

Hamilton has tough start in Turkey
(GMM)  Britons Lewis Hamilton and David Coulthard had a tough start to their Turkish grand prix weekend here in Istanbul.

With just 10 laps on the board for the entire 90 minute opening session on Friday, it is understood that Hamilton's McLaren, confined to the garage for most of the morning, suffered from a technical problem at the rear of the car.

Coulthard managed a decent 23 laps, but his session ended with marshals having to extinguish a fire from underneath his Red Bull.

In hot conditions of 33 degrees, nearly every runner had spins on the slippery track.

The Ferraris emerged with clearly the quickest pace, followed by the two McLarens.


Rocketsports and RuSPORT to continue apart - sort of
For the 2007 Champ Car season, two winning teams, Rocketsports and RuSPORT, combined their efforts to campaign Alex Tagliani in the #8 Rocketsports Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone and Justin Wilson in the #9 CDW Cosworth/DP01/Bridgestone. After running for half of the season under the banner name of RSPORTS, the two teams have decided to enhance their marketing effort by re-establishing their original team names.  Both teams believe there is more image value in their historically branded names.
Rocketsports Racing is a company that has been in existence for 27 years, in which five of those seasons have been invested in the Champ Car World Series. To not have the Rocketsports name in existence this season, will neglect it from the opportunity to continue its branding history. The same goes for the RuSPORT team, now under the ownership of Dan Pettit, which has established its name in the Champ Car Atlantic Championship before making the move up to Champ Car four years ago.
The two teams found it necessary to use their old names for strictly business reasons. Sponsor opportunities that were being worked on for a long time require the use of the well-established team names.
The teams will continue to work very closely together and continue to enjoy the benefits of their joint relationship for the remainder of the 2007 Champ Car season.
To be credited from this point on, the #8 Champ Car entry driven by Tagliani will return to running under the Rocketsports name, while the #9 CDW entry driven by Wilson will run under the RuSPORT name.  Rocketsports PR


4-car crash on opening lap in Zolder
The carnage started early in Zolder, Belgium Friday morning. A 4-car accident on the warm-up lap of Friday practice at Zolder, Belgium severely damaged the car of local favorite Jan Heylen. Our cameras were rolling when the cars started out on their first lap ever at Zolder. On the backstraight, between turns 4 and 5, Dan Clarke came flying past Justin Wilson some 50 MPH faster than everyone else was going, clipped Justin Wilson's right-front tire and that turned Clarke's car across the bow of Wilson and he hit Heylen at a right angle sending both cars into the outside wall. Meanwhile Paul Tracy hit Justin Wilson from behind as Wilson slowed because of the accident.

Afterwards a livid Heylen blamed Dan Clarke for the accident. "What the fu%#! What the fu%#! said an obviously disappointed Heylen who saw his 'home' race before his countryman get ruined before it even started.

Wilson told us that, "We were still going slow on our warm-up lap and I went right to pass Jan [Heylen] and Dan Clarke came flying up from behind on the right about 50 mph faster with two wheels on the grass, clipped my right-front wheel, which in turn sent Clarke hard into Jan. I don't know what Dan was thinking," said Wilson.

Clarke had another side of the story saying that "Wilson moved over in front of me and I had nowhere to go but on the grass." Clarke didn't want to take blame for the accident but as Heylen and Wilson put it, "where was he going in such a hurry on the warm-up lap? We were still on cold tires. He doesn't think. He just doesn't think." Mark C. reporting from Zolder.

(L to R) Crash photos, Wilson talking to Conquest team owner Eric Bachelart and Jan Heylen

(L to R) Heylen's and Wilson's damaged race cars

tv news

Weekend USA TV Reminders UPDATE #2 The full Saturday and Sunday TV listings are now shown below.

08/24/07 Those of you who do not get ESPN Classic to see the race live can watch the replay of Sunday's Champ Car race at Zolder, Belgium at 2:00 AM Monday morning on ESPN2 (See below).

Courtesy of TVRacer.com

Formula 1 Practice Turkey
7:00am-8:30am (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Practice Bristol
10:00am-11:30am (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Practice Bristol
11:30am-1:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Bristol
2:00pm-2:30pm (L) SPEED
Go or Go Home Bristol
2:30pm-3:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying Bristol
3:00pm-4:30pm (L) SPEED
Desert Racing Series - 2007 Baja 500
4:00pm-5:00pm The Outdoor Channel
NASCAR Busch Qualifying Bristol
4:30pm-6:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Final Practice - Bristol
6:00pm-7:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Series Food City 250 Bristol
7:30pm-8:00pm (L) -Pre-race
8:00pm-10:30pm (L) -Race ESPN2
Art Mann Presents... Midwest Mayhem
Indy 500 - Special Guests: Mario Andretti, Scott Dixon, Dan Wheldon
9:00pm-9:30pm (R) HDNet
FIM Motocross -GP of Japan
10:00pm-11:00pm (5/27/07) The Outdoor Channel
Survival of the Fastest Michigan
10:30pm-11:00pm SPEED
Trackside Bristol
11:00pm-12:00am SPEED

Read more & Comment...

Kalkhoven in plane scare
Champ Car co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven had a plane scare yesterday when his Gulfstream V lost one of its two engines over the Dakotas on their way to Zolder, Belgium from California. The plane landed safely in Minneapolis and the crew and passengers are on a loaner Gulfstream and will soon land in Belgium.


Lloyd eyes Indy Pro Series title at Infineon
Alex Lloyd already has seven wins in his back pocket and a 98-point lead in the Indy Pro Series point standings with three races remaining, but he's not ready to let up one bit as the series heads to Infineon Raceway for a doubleheader weekend Aug. 25-26.

"We're going in with the aim and ambition of winning both races and certainly coming away with at least one win," said Lloyd, who drives the No. 7 Lucas Oil/Isilon Systems car for Sam Schmidt Motorsports. "That's the way I've been all year is trying to win the race, and if we keep winning races and win more than everybody else out there, then the championship is likely to follow, and that's the same mentality I've got here."

Lloyd opened the season with an unprecedented run of five consecutive victories, including the Freedom 100 on the oval at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After that, he added victories at Iowa and Watkins Glen, although a string of 10 consecutive top-three finishes ended with an 11th at Nashville on July 14.

Read more & Comment...

McLaren drivers not best friends - Haug UPDATE Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso were notable absentees from the paddock at the Istanbul Park circuit yesterday, remaining behind closed doors in their hotel rooms with the McLaren management as they sought to defuse the tension which still hangs in the air following their rift during qualifying for the Hungarian grand prix three weeks ago.
Rather than parade their opinions in front of the press in the 33C heat, the McLaren team principal Ron Dennis and his right-hand man Martin Whitmarsh insisted that Hamilton and Alonso, seven points apart at the head of the drivers' world championship table, talk over their differences in private before making their first appearance of the weekend before this morning's first free practice session. Dennis, who was visibly shell-shocked at the Hungaroring after both his drivers attempted to double-cross each other during qualifying, resulting in Alonso losing his pole position thanks to a five-place grid penalty, came to Turkey for the 12th race of the 17-race season hoping that time would have soothed Alonso's injured pride. Yet although both men talked for almost two hours it was not obvious last night whether they had cleared the air. The Guardian

08/23/07 (GMM)  Norbert Haug on Thursday was not keen to divulge much about what have been described unofficially as 'clear-the-air talks' between McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.

On the eve of practice for the Turkish grand prix, the feuding pair were excused from official duties, including media interviews, at the Istanbul circuit and instead met in the presence of team chiefs in a downtown hotel.

Haug, team engine partner Mercedes-Benz's competition director, divulged only that "internal matters" were discussed at the meeting, despite assumptions that the drivers were told in no uncertain terms by team boss Ron Dennis that the hostility of the recent Hungarian grand prix should not be repeated.

The German insisted, however, that it is "understandable" that the pair are hardly the best of friends as they battle for the 2007 title.

"Those who contend for places five and ten have an easier task to be good friends," Haug added, "but our opponents are outside, and not inside, the team."


Turkish GP Preview
Could the 2007 Formula One world championship have any more drama? We've got 21 points separating the top four drivers, the two leading teams at loggerheads and the recent schism at McLaren.

Ron Dennis must be wondering what he has done wrong. His two drivers are running one-two in the championship, and McLaren is comfortably clear in the constructors' standings. Yet he has got to work out a way of keeping Lewis Hamilton and Alonso focused on finishing the job, and ensure that egos don't rule the roost.

The drivers have had three weeks to work through their differences, after Alonso was demoted from pole position down the grid in Hungary for blocking Hamilton in a tit-for-tat maneuver during qualifying. The Spaniard was furious and finished fourth while the Englishman went on to win the race. The result sees Hamilton seven points clear.

It's been a long time since two drivers on the same team have shared such a rivalry. It wasn't a problem Dennis could have reasonably envisioned. Hamilton's success in his debut year has smashed all expectations, with 10 podiums from 11 races. Alonso, expecting the be top dog at his new team for at least this season, has had to play second fiddle behind the hottest commodity in motorsport.

Read more & Comment...

Meira takes ride with Blue Angels
Vitor Meira got a healthy dose of Vitamin G during his flight with Maj. Nathan Miller of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.

G as in G forces thrust upon the Delphi Panther Racing driver by the high-performance F/A-18 Hornet during the 45-minute flight over Central Indiana courtesy of the U.S. Naval Flight Demonstration Squadron pilot. The Blue Angels will perform their aerial acrobatic maneuvers this weekend at the Mount Comfort Air Show near Indianapolis, while Meira will be competing at Infineon Raceway.

"You have the same smile on your face that you had when we took off, so that's good," Miller said after delivering Meira to the ground. "I was telling him while we were up there that there are a lot of parallels between his team and our team. It's very dedicated and all the teamwork that goes hand in hand. We're grateful that he was able to do this for us and help in our recruiting effort. It's just a great experience to fly with him.

"Now I want to get into one of the (IndyCar Series) cars."

The demonstration flight began with a high-performance climb, in which the pilot and passenger pulled 5.5 Gs (5½ times their body weight) as they shot toward the sky at 90 degrees powered by the twin General Electric turbofan engines with more than 30,000 pounds of thrust, and continued with a series of maneuvers from the show.

Read more & Comment...
Hot News Archives
2000 2001 2002 2003

Search Hot News
Search Help
AutoRacing1 Inc. BBB Business Review