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DATE News (chronologically)
08/30/09
nnw
Ambrose chokes, Edwards wins in Montreal  Marcus Ambrose dominated the entire NASCAR Nationwide race run in the rain in Montreal until the final turn of the final lap when he choked. Ambrose hit the rumble strips, ran wide and Carl Edwards, who was right on his bumper, got around him and beat him to the flag. More to follow....
08/30/09
atlantic
Mosport Atlantic race sees just 10 car grid  The battle for the 2009 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda just got a whole lot tighter as Jonathan Summerton led a 1-2 sweep for Newman Wachs Racing in the Grand Prix of Mosport.

Driving the No. 34 Nuclear Clean Air Energy/Entergy/NEI machine for Newman Wachs Racing, Summerton parlayed his fourth pole position of the season into his third victory of 2009, leading from the race’s standing start all the way through the 45-minute timed event. His teammate, John Edwards, crossed the line second, 1.122 seconds behind in the No. 36 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development/Nuclear Clean Air Energy/NEI/Entergy entry.

Meanwhile, points leader Simona De Silvestro, who entered the race with a 21-point lead over Edwards, crashed her No. 78 Stargate Worlds/Maakoa/Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment/FireSky/Cardinal Technologies machine in Turn 2 six laps from the finish. She was not injured and was scored 10th. As a result, De Silvestro’s lead is now just eight points, 160-152, over Edwards; with Summerton another four points back in third. More ...

08/30/09
f1
Drivers not penalized after Spa carnage  (GMM)  No drivers were penalized for the crashes on the first lap of Sunday's Belgian grand prix.

Two separate incidents that occurred at the Les Combes corner were investigated by stewards: one between Jenson Button and Romain Grosjean, and another after which both Lewis Hamilton and Jaime Alguersuari also both retired from the race.

"Quite simply Romain outbraked himself and hit my back wheel," Button claimed, although the rookie Grosjean reported afterwards that "Button took me out".

The stewards settled the dispute by ruling that the incident "requires no further action".

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton said he was "taken out" by Toro Rosso rookie Alguersuari at Les Combes, but the Spaniard explained that he hit the McLaren because he moved to avoid the carnage ahead.

Again, the stewards decided to take no further action.

08/30/09
f1
Bosses say no to early Alonso switch theory  (GMM)  With the 'silly season' in high gear at Spa, one solution floated to solve the problem of the sluggish Luca Badoer was to speed up Fernando Alonso's switch to the Italian team.

Giancarlo Fisichella is mentioned as the more probable solution for Monza and beyond, but with almost the entire paddock now believing the Spaniard Alonso is bound for the team in 2010, it was reported by an Italian newspaper that he will simply complete the move several months early.

Interestingly in Ferrari's post-race press release, team boss Stefano Domenicali pointed out that Felipe Massa is currently in Miami, where on Monday he will undergo a medical check.

Referring to the struggling Badoer, he added: "We will take a few days to evaluate his immediate future, also based on what Felipe's recovery time might be."

Asked about the report of an early move for Alonso, Domenicali told reporters in Belgium: "I just heard about that one now."

Pressed to confirm that the story is incorrect, he added: "Yes."

Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport also said after the Belgian grand prix that Alonso's current boss Flavio Briatore of Renault "categorically denied the Alonso theory".

08/30/09
f1
Ferrari driver decision within days - Domenicali  (GMM) Stefano Domenicali on Sunday admitted Ferrari is seriously considering whether to replace Luca Badoer ahead of the forthcoming Italian grand prix at Monza.

"For sure Ferrari doesn't want to be last," said the famous team's boss at Spa-Francorchamps, after Badoer qualified and finished at the tail of the field for a second consecutive weekend, while in the sister car Kimi Raikkonen won.

It is suggested Ferrari will plump for the Belgian GP pole and podium sitter Giancarlo Fisichella, but Domenicali would not be drawn during his post-race conversation with reporters in Belgium.

"With regard with what we are going to do for the next races we will tell you in the next three days," he revealed.

"We are going to take all into consideration, it depends how the medical checkup that Felipe (Massa) will do tomorrow (goes) and then we will put on the table all the different things. And then we will make a decision," Domenicali said. More ...
08/30/09
nnw
Ambrose class of field in Montreal  Marcos Ambrose is continuing to make a name for himself in NASCAR and across the border as he prepares for his second NASCAR Nationwide Series start of the season later today.

On Saturday, Ambrose drove his Armor All Toyota Camry to his second NASCAR Nationwide Series career pole at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for today's NAPA AUTO PARTS 200. His first pole award occurred at Memphis Motorsports Park on October 27, 2007. With the top spot for the 74-lap event, he's a fan favorite for his second victory of the season at a site where it has eluded him twice. More ...
08/30/09
atlantic
Atlantic series to continue in 2010  With rumors of its demise and dwindling field size, today the 2010 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda announced it will again team up with the American Le Mans Series and be sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) in 2010.

While the 2010 schedule is still being finalized, Atlantic supporters should expect a calendar similar to the 2009 slate. The Atlantic Championship has already shared the stage with the American Le Mans Series on four weekends and the two series will be on the same card three more times this year, including this weekend at Mosport International Raceway, at Road Atlanta next month and at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in October to close out the year.

“The Atlantic Championship has firmly established itself as the top rung of the open wheel developmental ladder,” said Scott Atherton, President/CEO of the American Le Mans Series. “The series has a rich history of developing many of today’s top professional drivers.  The American Le Mans Series looks forward to being involved with its future growth and continued success.” More ...

08/30/09
gp2
Van der Garde scores second win of the season  Giedo van der Garde has won his second sprint race of the season. After winning the sprint race in Hungary the Dutchman won Sunday's GP2 sprint race at Spa-Francorchamps. Van der Garde finished well ahead of Roldan Rodriguez and Diego Nunes.

The win was set up at the start when the Dutchman blew past poleman Edoardo Mortara as the lights went out to claim the inside line for turn one and a lead which was never in doubt again. Behind him though was chaos, as Dani Clos ran into Nico Hülkenberg leaving Jérôme d'Ambrosio and Luca Filippi nowhere to go but into the pair.

Pastor Maldonado made a strong start to slot in behind van der Garde and Mortara, and was soon looking for a way past the Italian: he tried his luck on the outside of turn five but found the grass instead, spinning across the track and into the wall, forcing Kamui Kobayashi to spin in avoidance, and prompting the safety car out until the track could be cleared. More ...
08/30/09
f1
Ferrari must swap Badoer for Fisichella - Lauda  (GMM)  Niki Lauda has urged Ferrari to dump Luca Badoer and replace him for the forthcoming Italian grand prix with Giancarlo Fisichella.

"Ferrari must absolutely get Fisichella into the cockpit at Monza," the triple world champion told Switzerland's Sonntagsblick.

"They can't afford to muck about with Badoer any longer," Lauda added.

Germany's Sport Bild claims a move for Fisichella is a distinct possibility, after talks with Ferrari kicked off as long ago as Wednesday.

"If Force India have financial concerns, then surely the transfer sum paid by Ferrari would help," Lauda said.

The Bild am Sonntag newspaper said Force India still owes Ferrari money for its former supply of customer engines.

08/30/09
f1
Williams vows to 'block' three car concept  (GMM)  Just as he said no to Michael Schumacher's F60 test, Sir Frank Williams has indicated he will also bluntly reject Ferrari's push to allow third car entries in formula one.

"Three cars?  I would block that," the Briton is quoted as saying by the Swiss Sonntagsblick newspaper.

Toro Rosso's Franz Tost is also lukewarm.  "With 13 teams that would be 39 in the field, but most tracks are not at all equipped for that.

"I think it would be meaningful only if teams withdraw and the field needs to be filled up," the Austrian added.

According to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, meanwhile, McLaren's Martin Whitmarsh called the idea of three cars an "interesting concept".

But he baulked at the idea of a team like Ferrari lining up with a threesome like Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso and Schumacher.

"If it's only about letting the three best drivers drive the three best cars, I am not sure," said Whitmarsh.

08/30/09
racing news
7 candidates selected for Team USA scholarship  Seven talented young American drivers have been nominated as candidates for 2009 Team USA Scholarships.

The 2009 nominees are: 

  1. Connor De Phillippi, 16, from San Clemente, Calif. – current leader of the BFGoodrich Skip Barber National Series with seven wins from 10 races
  2. Liam Kenney, 17, from Sterling, Va.. – finished second in the 2008 VW Vetta TDI Cup, with two wins; currently competing in the German-based ADAC Formula Master series
  3. Timmy Megenbier, 18, from Melrose Park, Ill. – current leader of the VW Jetta TDI Cup Series with three wins from six races
  4. Chris Miller, 20, from Edina, Minn. – recently clinched the F2000 Championship Series title with four wins and seven poles from 12 races
  5. Ben Searcy, 18, from Tuscaloosa, Ala. – finished fourth overall and claimed Rookie of the Year honors in the 2009 F2000 Championship Series with three wins and a pole
  6. Brett Smrz, 18, from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho – a race winner in the BFGoodrich Skip Barber National Series and front-runner in the Playboy Mazda MX-5 Series
  7. Court Vernon, 17, from Key Biscayne, Fla. – currently second in the BFGoodrich Skip Barber National Series (and top rookie) with one win and a series-high four poles More ...
08/29/09
motogp
Pedrosa blitzes Indy pole  Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa today obliterated his MotoGP opposition to take pole position for tomorrow’s Indianapolis Grand Prix. The Spanish ace was easily fastest in both practice and qualifying sessions and looked completely untouchable aboard his factory Honda RC212V at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. His best lap of 1m 39.730s this afternoon was more than a second inside last year’s qualifying lap record and 0.506s clear of his nearest rival - Jorge Lorenzo who will start from second on the grid. 

As well as ultimate speed, Pedrosa displayed consistency too - and it was the same story in the morning session. His quickest eight laps this morning were faster than any other rider in the MotoGP field could manage and his best lap this morning was a full 1.015s faster than his closest rival - Jorge Lorenzo once again. This is Pedrosa’s second pole position of the season after he started from front on the grid at the French Grand Prix at Le Mans in May.  More ...

08/29/09
ga
Angelelli and Frisselle shine in rain  Battling ever-changing and sometimes treacherous weather conditions, Max Angelelli cruised to a one-minute victory in Saturday's Montreal 200 - taking new life in the battle for the 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Daytona Prototype championship in the process.

With only two races remaining, Angelelli - who led the final 12 of 67 laps at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve - and co-driver Brian Frisselle are tied for second with Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, five points behind leaders Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty (274-269). More ...
08/29/09
fil
Herrington wins Lights race, Hildebrand title  Technical partners Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) and Vision Racing found themselves sharing the Firestone Indy Lights podium for the second consecutive weekend, only this time BHA took the top spot for the first time with driver Daniel Herrington and Vision secured second place with James Davison in Saturday evening's Chicagoland 100 at Chicagoland Speedway.

In their 14th race, first-year team BHA, and owners Bryan Herta and Steve Newey have earned their first victory as an organization with driver Daniel Herrington who also earned his first Indy Lights victory in his 27th start.

While it was Herrington's first time on the podium this season, it is BHA's second consecutive podium finish and third overall this season as their part-time hire, Felipe Guimarães, finished second last weekend at Infineon Raceway and third earlier this year at Watkins Glen International. More ...

08/29/09
nascar
Toyota executive says NASCAR providing value  Toyota’s presence in NASCAR has had a little different purpose than other manufacturers in the sport. Sure, the company wants to sell vehicles. But before Toyota could get NASCAR fans to buy its vehicles, the manufacturer had to get NASCAR fans to consider buying its vehicles.

That’s where NASCAR came in – just to be in the mind of a potential car-buyer to look up a Toyota vehicle on the Web site or come into the dealership.

To that end, NASCAR is producing results, said Bob Carter, a Toyota vice president who oversees Toyota Racing Development as the general manager for Toyota Motor Sales USA.

Toyota had dabbled in the NASCAR Dash Series before joining the Truck series in 2004 and then moving into Cup in 2007. It became the first foreign-based manufacturer to make a foray into NASCAR’s top series.

“NASCAR continues to deliver what our goals were when we entered the sport,” Carter said. “We’ve been involved in racing for 30 years. NASCAR has certainly positioned itself as the premier series within the U.S.

“It has a huge fan base. In 2004, for many of the NASCAR fans, we weren’t necessarily on the short list when it came to buying a car. In fact, compared to Chevy and Ford among the [NASCAR] people who were shopping, we were 20 points behind Chevy and Ford. In our third year of Sprint Cup, we’re virtually identical with Ford and Chevy.” More ...

08/29/09
nnw
Rain cancels final Nationwide Series practice  Saturday's final NASCAR Nationwide Series practice at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal has been canceled because of rain.  The session, scheduled to run from 11:30 a.m. EDT to 12:50 p.m., never got under way as attempts to dry a wet track were stymied by more rain.  Drivers did practice earlier Saturday on the 2.71-mile road course despite having to deal with a wet track. Qualifying for Sunday's NAPA Auto Parts 200 is still scheduled for 4:40 p.m. EDT Saturday.  The race is scheduled to begin just after 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
08/29/09
nassprint
New date for Daytona  Daytona International Speedway found a creative way to deal with a scheduling conflict between qualifying for the 2010 Daytona 500 and the Feb. 7, 2010 NFL Super Bowl in Miami.

The answer? Move the pole qualifying session from its traditional Sunday slot to a day earlier. In doing so, Daytona created a racing tripleheader for Saturday, Feb. 6, featuring the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 ARCA race, Daytona 500 qualifying and the non-points Budweiser Shootout for the Sprint Cup Series. The qualifying session, scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET, will kick off the day's activities. More ...

08/29/09
gp2
Parente and Ocean take first win at Spa  Alvaro Parente registered Ocean Racing Technology's first GP2 race victory in Belgium on Saturday after starting from pole position. The Portuguese driver won weekend's feature race as Stefano Coletti was being assisted by medics following a large accident at the high-speed Eau Rouge section of the track.

The 100th GP2 race was delayed for 15 minutes for a serious accident in the pitlane, but when the lights went out all eyes were on turn one: Parente was slightly slower to get away than fellow front row starter Nico Hülkenberg, but he had the inside line and was able to pip the German to the corner and lead the field down to Eau Rouge.

Di Grassi soon made up for his penalty after yesterday's qualifying: a strong start saw him slot past Diego Nunes for third, with Pastor Maldonado just behind the pair, but title challenger Vitaly Petrov went the opposite way and had fallen to ninth by the end of the first lap. More ...

08/29/09
tv news
Wind Tunnel highlights for Sunday  Dave Despain is still on vacation. He will return next Sunday 9/6. This week’s show will be hosted by 4-time Trans Am champion and SPEED personality, Tommy Kendall.

Guest Host  Tommy Kendall (4-time Trans Am Champion & Host of Test Drive on SPEED)

With Dave Despain on vacation this week, concluding his motorcycle ride in Newfoundland, SPEED’s Tommy Kendall will take over the hosting duties for Wind Tunnel this Sunday August 30th.

Featured Interview Danica Patrick (IndyCar Series Driver, Andretti Green Racing)

IndyCar Series star, Danica Patrick, will be a featured guest on Wind Tunnel this Sunday. After claiming her first series win last year in Motegi, Japan, she went on to finish a career-best 6th in the championship standings. While she hasn’t gotten back to victory lane yet this year, she is quietly having her best season to date...currently 5th in the points, the highest ranked Andretti Green Racing driver.

This Week’s Races:

Formula One in Belgium
Nationwide and Rolex Series on the road course in Montreal
IndyCar and Camping World Trucks in Chicago
MotoGP in the U.S. for the Indianapolis GP
ALMS at Mosport, Ontario
AMA Motocross in Southwick, MA

08/29/09
fil
100% throttle Chicagoland 100 qualifying results  Qualifying Saturday for the 100% throttle Chicagoland 100 Firestone Indy Lights event on the 1.5-mile Chicagoland Speedway, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver and speed:

1. (32) Brandon Wagner, 189.954
2. (27) Sebastian Saavedra, 189.942
3. (11) Wade Cunningham, 189.424
4. (24) Mike Potekhen, 188.938
5. (16) Pippa Mann, 188.300
6. (21) James Davison, 188.246
7. (7) James Hinchcliffe, 188.158
8. (15) Martin Plowman, 188.037
9. (28) Daniel Herrington, 187.769
10. (5) Mario Romancini, 187.631
11. (35) Charlie Kimball, 186.873
12. (37) Richard Philippe, 186.510
13. (26) J.R. Hildebrand, 183.790
14. (2) Andrew Prendeville, 177.922
15. (20) Ana Beatriz, no speed
16. (55) Rodrigo Barbosa, no speed

08/29/09
gp2
GP2 mechanic in coma after Spa incident  (GMM)  A mechanic working in the pitlane of the F1 support category GP2 is in an induced coma on Saturday night.

57-year-old Vasco Rossi of the Trident team was struck on the head by a wheel gun after a car caught on a cable while driving down the pitlane at Spa-Francorchamps.

He was airlifted to hospital and will remain in comatose for three days, but is not in a life-threatening condition, a spokeswoman for the series told the Associated Press.

Monaco native Stefano Coletti was also airlifted to hospital on Saturday after a head-on crash at Eau Rouge during the GP2 race, but is suffering from nothing but shock, the spokeswoman added.

08/29/09
ga
Edwards exposes NASCAR drivers talent  NASCAR star Carl Edwards wrecked on his warm-up laps for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race at Montreal and the team was unable to start the race. Edwards said that his tires were cold and the track was getting moist. He spun into a barrier, but was unhurt.  Turning left and right can prove challenging for some.
08/29/09
f1
Trulli favorite for Spa win  (GMM)  Shock pole sitter Giancarlo Fisichella was not driving the lightest car in Q3 at Spa-Francorchamps.

The fuel weights, mandatorily published by the FIA in the hours after qualifying, showed that the Force India driver is in fact carrying four kilograms more fuel for the start of the race than the fourth-placed Brawn driven by Rubens Barrichello.

Fisichella, 36, is however 8.5kg lighter than fellow front-row sitter Jarno Trulli, meaning it is the latter Italian veteran who must be declared the favorite for Belgian GP victory.

"It is looking pretty good for the race," agreed Trulli.  "I'm very confident for tomorrow because being second in qualifying with a good fuel load, I think I'm going to have a good race."

Third placed Nick Heidfeld however is - like Trulli - also significantly fuelled, but neither have as much fuel on board as the two lower-placed Red Bulls. More ...

08/29/09
f1
Webber reprimanded for blocking at Spa  (GMM)  Mark Webber was reprimanded but not materially penalized for holding up a competitor during qualifying at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday afternoon.

Stewards at the Belgian venue said the Red Bull driver breached the rules by impeding another driver during the initial Q1 session.

08/29/09
alms
De Ferran quickest in damp first practice  Gil de Ferran turned in the quickest lap in a damp opening practice for Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport on Saturday morning. The owner of de Ferran Motorsports’ XM Acura ARX-02a set a lap of 1:21.447 (108.689 mph) for a 0.489-second advantage over Patr¢n Highcroft Racing’s David Brabham in the LMP1 championship-leading Acura that he will share with Scott Sharp.

De Ferran, driving with Simon Pagenaud, is hoping this year’s visit to Mosport ends better than last season’s. He ran out of fuel while leading the LMP2 class on the last lap. More ...

08/29/09
f1
Trulli eyes win to rescue Toyota future  (GMM)  Toyota's first ever victory on Sunday might be the Cologne based team's ticket to a future in formula one.

On a topsy-turvy grid, Jarno Trulli is a surprise second on the grid and therefore in a strong position to challenge for the Belgian grand prix win.

Toyota's future in F1 is very much in doubt, with the budget for 2010 delayed for approval until November and Japanese executives warning earlier this year that only wins in 2009 will pave the way to a future in the sport.

"I know we can win the race and I will really be pushing really, really hard because the team needs this win," said Italian Trulli, whose own future is also clouded. More ...

08/29/09
f1
Fisi tempts Ferrari with Spa pole  (GMM)  With a shock pole position in his pocket at Spa-Francorchamps, Giancarlo Fisichella again spelled out his "dream" to move immediately into a Ferrari cockpit.

Luca Badoer was slowest in qualifying and also crashed, heating up speculation the Italian team will turn to a surer bet for pace for the remaining races in 2009.

"Considering the result of today, I need to think about that and if they are going to call me," Italian Fisichella said after qualifying on Saturday. More ...

08/29/09
f1
Webber's changed engine did not fail - Horner  (GMM) Mark Webber's Renault engine was changed after the Saturday morning practice session at Spa-Francorchamps, but it might be used again this season.

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner confirmed that, contrary to Sebastian Vettel's terminal failures at Valencia, the Renault V8 taken out of Webber's RB5 at Spa might not be seriously damaged.

"We don't yet know precisely what is wrong with the engine," the Briton told Germany's RTL broadcaster. It later emerged it was an electrical rather than a mechanical problem.

"As a precautionary measure we changed it," he confirmed.

After initial checks on the removed engine were carried out in the paddock, Webber said: "It looks like it's okay."

Horner also confirmed that, while sister team Toro Rosso stuck with the broader nose this weekend, Red Bull in Belgium reverted to the thin nose seen earlier this season "for aerodynamic reasons".
08/29/09
f1
Race on to unravel bizarre grid order  (GMM) After the shock of the chequered flag in qualifying, the race began to solve the mystery of the upside-down grid order for Sunday's Belgian grand prix.

Giancarlo Fisichella has always been a Spa specialist, but it is believed the keywords of his pole position, and the strange order of the cars beneath him, were 'tyres', 'weather', 'circuit' and 'downforce'.

All factors are inextricably linked, as in the cold temperatures those teams who usually struggle to get their tyres working find that the nature of the Belgian circuit means they are the ones setting the pace in an extremely closely-matched field. More ...
08/29/09
f1
Slow Singapore GP  F1 ticket sales  UPDATE Race promoters Singapore GP have so far sold about 60,000 of the 80,000 tickets released. When asked if attendances could hit the 100,000 mark, Mr. Iswaran said: 'Probably if we can achieve a number close to that, it would already be a very positive outcome in the context of this year.'  With the recession hitting pockets and giants like Ferrari and McLaren having mediocre seasons, the glamour sport has struggled to pull in the crowds.  Other F1 host cities have also been hit hard by the downturn.

08/05/09 With less than two months to go till this year's Formula One night race, organizer Singapore GP has admitted that ticket sales are still sluggish.

About 76 per cent of the corporate hospitality tickets have been sold so far, according to Singapore GP. It is also banking on overseas interests to fill the seats, with regional advertising ramped up by 30 per cent.

Singapore GP senior consultant Harry Apostolides said on Wednesday that sales have so far lagged behind last year's numbers, but could not give specific figures. More ...

08/29/09
f1
FOTA bosses to meet Ari Vatanen  The Formula One Teams' Association will meet with Ari Vatanen this afternoon in Spa, to see what is planning for Formula 1 in the long term. A similar meeting is planned for Jean Todt in Singapore.

Todt has today issued a bunch more quotes from FIA politicians praising him and giving the impression that they will vote for him at the forthcoming election. The intention of this is clearly to give the impression to uninformed clubs that Todt is an unbeatable candidate. Having said that, in FIA circles a statement of support does not translate into a guaranteed vote, as previous FIA President Jean Marie Balestre discovered back in the early 1990s when he was convinced he had enough support to win against Max Mosley and went home disappointed when some of his "supporters" voted for Mosley instead. Grandprix.com
08/29/09
nnw
Nationwide COT to be run 4 times in 2010  NASCAR Nationwide Series teams will run the new car in four events in 2010, beginning with the July race at Daytona International Speedway and then race it about once a month in a slow debut for the model. Nationwide Series Director Joe Balash says that series officials handed teams the rule book for building the new car following a recent series of meetings with owners and fabricators. Balash said those meetings helped the sanctioning body finalize some steps of the process, while others are still in the works.

The series will use tapered spacers at all events, abandoning the usage of restrictor plates to harness horsepower at superspeedways. A tapered spacer serves the same purpose as a restrictor plate, but it is a thicker device. "We still have to finalize a couple of things on the overall schedule before we can announce what tracks we'll be on, but our goal is to have the teams race the new car once a month for four months and then we'll stay away from that last month with the last three races leading into the championship for the Nationwide Series," he said. Balash added that the four events will all be on ovals, but that it will be a diverse group to help the teams.  SceneDaily
08/29/09
f1
Vettel signs Casio deal  
Length of contract: 3 years
Annualized value: US$300,000
Overall value: US$900,000

Sebastian Vettel, the Red Bull driver challenging for the Formula One world championship, has landed a new endorsement deal.

The deal, announced at Spa in the build-up to the Belgian Grand Prix, sees Casio sign the German driver as an official ambassador for Casio's Edifice brand. Also present at the launch was David Coulthard, a Casio ambassador for more than ten years.

"The brand concept is "Speed and Intelligence" and this is a perfect fit with the attributes that lead to success in Grand Prix racing," said Casio's Harald Schroeder. "It automatically adjusts to local time in Europe, USA, Japan and China, while also taking into account Daylight Saving adjustments, all thanks to Casio's Multi Band 6 global radio-controlled timekeeping. In keeping with the Formula One connection, parts of the watch are made from carbon-fiber and although Sebastian has the luxury of his pit crew showing him his lap times on a Pit Board at the race track, the limited edition timepiece also features a 1/20th  of a second split-function analogue stopwatch."

Vettel added: "Time is very important for me, but to be honest, the best thing about this watch is the alarm clock, as I get in trouble if I'm late for work!"

08/29/09
f1
Yet another engine problem for Red Bull  (GMM)  Saturday morning at Spa may have been the final nail in the coffin of Red Bull's Renault relationship, with Mark Webber retiring from the practice session with what is believed to be an engine problem.

After Sebastian Vettel's two failures at Valencia, his Australian teammate pulled into the pits at the cool but dry Belgian circuit with an evil-sounding engine note, and the early suggestion is that he will need the French V8 to be changed prior to qualifying.

Red Bull's RB5 was considered the stand-out favorite for victory this weekend, but Webber failed to set a time in the pre-qualifying practice hour, and Vettel's program remained limited to just 14 laps.

Force India's Giancarlo Fisichella struck and killed a small animal with his front wing during the session, while Luca Badoer avoided his usual ignominy of the slowest lap time -- that dishonor went instead to Williams' Kazuki Nakajima.

08/29/09
f1
Spa: Heidfeld tops practice 3  Nick Heidfeld set a lap of 1m45.388s to top Saturday morning F1 practice at Spa, Belgium. Jarno Trulli was 2nd in his Toyota ahead of Adrian Sutil's Force India.

Romain Grosjean again outpaced his Renault teammate Fernando Alonso for an impressive fourth fastest.

He was another to set his 1m45.878s late-on, but on the following lap around the challenging Spa circuit, the Frenchman took a wild ride across the curbs at Fagnes.

Timo Glock continued Toyota's strong run in fifth ahead of Robert Kubica in the second BMW, Nico Rosberg and Giancarlo Fisichella.

At least the hapless Badoer was not dead last in this session, managing to beat Nakajima's Williams.

Results

Pos

Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:45.388 +0.000 17
2. Trulli Toyota 1:45.462 +0.074 18
3. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:45.677 +0.289 20
4. Grosjean Renault 1:45.878 +0.490 18
5. Glock Toyota 1:45.908 +0.520 18
6. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:45.987 +0.599 18
7. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:46.040 +0.652 19
8. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:46.114 +0.726 21
9. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:46.301 +0.913 17
10. Button Brawn GP-Mercedes 1:46.406 +1.018 20
11. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:46.409 +1.021 19
12. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:46.417 +1.029 19
13. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:46.462 +1.074 17
14. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:46.747 +1.359 14
15. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:46.814 +1.426 22
16. Barrichello Brawn GP-Mercedes 1:46.815 +1.427 19
17. Alonso Renault 1:46.926 +1.538 14
18. Badoer Ferrari 1:47.055 +1.667 20
19. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:47.078 +1.690 19
20. Webber Red Bull-Renault No time N/A 3

08/29/09
racing news
Pastrana tells it like it is  On the Speed show called The Grid, that features highlights of racing around the world. They had a small segment with Travis Pastrana, who has transitioned from two wheels to four. He said in the interview that he had a lot of opportunities to go to NASCAR. He said he turned the offers down and added that the money is great, but that he wanted to find a form of racing where he could challenge himself, and that running around in circles doesn’t do that for a driver. We love to hear someone really tell it like it is, rather than sucking up and spewing forth a bunch of gibberish just for the paycheck.
08/29/09
f1
Mercedes eyes Monza for engine deals clarity  (GMM)  Norbert Haug has revealed that Mercedes-Benz wants to confirm at Monza in two weeks its customer engine plans for the 2010 season.

The news ties in with Christian Horner's earlier comments at Spa that "within the next couple of weeks" Red Bull will "hone in on a decision" about whether to switch from Renault power.

It is believed Red Bull is set to join existing Mercedes customers Brawn and Force India, but the move will require FIA dispensation so that a fourth team can feature the same engine.

However, there has been rumblings about Force India of late, including the team's growing tendency to miss its deadlines for supplier payments.

Haug didn't want to talk.  "We have signed a confidentiality agreement so I cannot say anything," the German told Auto Motor und Sport when asked about the engine situation.

"I do hope that that we can announce the package (for 2010) at Monza," he revealed.

08/29/09
f1
Schu 'comeback' caps on sale at Spa  UPDATE (GMM)  Michael Schumacher's manager says he knows nothing about the official comeback caps on sale in the Spa-Francorchamps paddock this weekend.

For 25 euros, punters can celebrate the seven time world champion's sensational return to F1 with the familiar red cap featuring the insignia 'Schumi', 'comeback' and '09' -- even though Schumacher, 40, called off the comeback due to injury.

"I know nothing about it," manager Willi Weber told Germany's Bild newspaper.

08/28/09 (GMM)  From the merchandising stands at Spa-Francorchamps on Friday, 25 euros could buy you an official cap to celebrate the "comeback" of F1's most successful driver Michael Schumacher.

The only glitch is that the former seven time world champion called off his return to replace the injured Felipe Massa.

The official caps, however, were when he made the decision seemingly already en route to his favorite circuit in Belgium; scene of his formula one debut in 1991, his first win a year later, and five other victories on the awesome layout amidst the Ardennes forest.

The merchandise features the words 'Schumi' and 'comeback' on the brim, and his personal logo alongside '09', to celebrate the sensational return that was not to be due to injury.

08/29/09
alms
Mosport: de Ferran team tops Friday testing  A year after it suffered the cruelest of fates at Mosport International Raceway – running out of fuel while leading in class on the last lap – de Ferran Motorsports found itself on top following Friday’s test session for Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport. Simon Pagenaud set the fastest lap in the XM Acura ARX-02a, a 1:05.470 (135.213 mph) tour around the 2.459-mile, 10-turn circuit.

Pagenaud and teammate/team owner Gil de Ferran saw their four-race win streak end two weeks ago at Road America with a runner-up finish to Patr¢n Highcroft Racing’s David Brabham and Scott Sharp, the LMP1 championship leaders.

Brabham was 0.043 seconds off Pagenaud’s pace. Coincidentally, Brabham and Sharp won in LMP2 at Mosport last year when de Ferran stopped halfway around the circuit on final lap.

“It’s good to be back at Mosport on a high-speed track that suits the Acura well,” Pagenaud said. “As always, the crew has done a fantastic job preparing the car prior to getting here, so it’s already feeling great. It’s a thrill to drive such high-speed corners with such a good car. I had a fun time out there.” More ...

08/28/09
f1
Button fears he is too slow  Jenson Button fears he is too slow again at Spa and that could further undermine his Formula One world title hopes.

Button has struggled over one lap in the last four grands prix, and that has compromised his race, coming away with just 11 points in total from Britain, Germany, Hungary and Valencia.

After finishing 17th in practice around the Spa circuit on Friday, just under a second off the pace set by Lewis Hamilton in his McLaren, a downbeat Button said: "I'm not 100% happy with the car at the moment.

"We definitely don't have a tyre temperature issue here. The tyres are working. They're very hot. More ...
08/28/09
MotoGP
Indy USGP: Pedrosa tops Friday practice  The 2009 Indianapolis Grand Prix began today as the 2008 event finished - wet. Thankfully however, the hurricane force winds that played havoc with last year’s race at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway stayed away this time, and it was Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa who made the best of the conditions to set the fastest time in the weekend’s first hour-long practice session.

In fact both Pedrosa and his Repsol Honda team-mate Andrea Dovizioso displayed impressive commitment on the wet track, with each rider spending time at the top of the timesheets as the famous “brickyard” welcomed MotoGP for a second year. For the first 20 minutes of the session as the track got increasingly wet, Dovizioso set the pace on his factory RC212V, displaying the peerless ability in tricky conditions that saw him win the British Grand Prix at Donington in July and lead the first two laps of last year’s race here. More ...
08/28/09
Atlantic
Vervisch Runs Quickest Lap in Practice Day  Belgian rookie Frederic Vervisch posted what would be the quickest lap of the day on Friday morning in preparation for Sunday’s Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda in the first official on-track activity for Atlantic machines at Mosport International Raceway in 15 years.

Vervisch posted a best lap at 1:10.460 (125.637 mph) in the No. 17 Quartier/Isomo/Shinokki machine for Genoa Racing. It was the first time he had led a session since the season-opening weekend at Sebring International Raceway in March. The current leader in the Rookie of the Year point standings was fourth quickest in the day’s second practice session on Friday afternoon.

“It went quite good,” said Vervisch following the morning session. “It’s good to be back first. I haven’t been first since the beginning of the year in the first practice. The car feels really good and it’s a challenging track, so it’s interesting to play with everything. I’m really happy we’re there. Qualifying will be important. This doesn’t mean a lot, so we have to focus on qualifying, but it looks okay.” More ...

08/28/09
alms
Mosport: Friday Notebook  After seeing six of the first seven venues in the American Le Mans Series for the first time this year, Risi Competizione’s Pierre Kaffer will end 2009 with three familiar tracks. It starts Sunday with Mobil 1 presents the Grand Prix of Mosport at Mosport International Raceway.

Kaffer and Jaime Melo will try to give Risi and Ferrari its third consecutive class victory at Mosport. Melo and Mika Salo ironically beat Kaffer and Dirk Werner in the Farnbacher Loles Porsche last year.

“Since we arrived, we (the Risi team) have started from the base of last year,” Kaffer said. “We know that the lines are the same. The track is the same. What will make the difference is the weather. If it is dry, we will drive one line. If it is wet, we will drive another. Right now we will have to see what we drive, but we won here at Mosport last year and we hope to make this year better with another win.” More ...

08/28/09
nastruck
Chicagoland: Crafton wins truck pole  Matt Crafton took his second career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series pole Friday earning the top spot for the EnjoyIllinois.com 225 at Chicagoland Speedway.

Crafton notched his first pole since New Hampshire in 2005.  More ...

08/28/09
irl
Chicagoland: Friday Notebook  Sgt. Jae Russell of Springfield, Ill., is Panther Racing's "Hometown Hero" for the Chicagoland Speedway race weekend.

For each IndyCar Series domestic race, a National Guard member is selected as the Hometown Hero. Russell will join Panther Racing's Dan Wheldon at the driver autograph session (6 p.m. local time Aug. 28) at the speedway and will be recognized during the pre-race activities for the PEAK Antifreeze & Moto Oil Indy 300 on Aug. 29.

Russell, who joined the Army Reserves in September 2001, has been deployed to Iraq with the 724th Transportation Company to provide security to convoys. From June 2007 until June 2008, Russell was instrumental in training the 33rd BCT for their mission in Afghanistan. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal and the Army Achievement Medal for his service to the United States and the U.S. Army during his deployment. He Russell is currently a full-time training non-commissioned officer for JFHQ. More ...

08/28/09
irl
New IRL Team FAZZT  FAZZT Race Team, a partnership between Azzi Racing Division, ATG and Rubicon Sports Agency, announced today the intent to compete in the IndyCar Series full time beginning in 2010 with driver Alex Tagliani.

The team will begin testing over the winter after Andre Azzi of Azzi Race Division purchased the assets of Roth Racing with the assistance of Alexandre Dufresne and Jim Freudenberg, who negotiated the deal.

Azzi, chief executive officer, and Freudenberg, chief operating officer, will oversee the team. FAZZT has hired Rob Edwards to manage the day-to-day racing operations. The team will be headquartered in Indianapolis as well as have offices in Montreal, including a research and development arm. More ...

08/28/09
f1
2010 Formula One provisional calendar  
March 14 – Bahrain (Sakhir)
March 28 – Australia (Melbourne)
April 4 – Malaysia (Sepang)
April 25 – Turkey (Istanbul)
May 9 – Spain (Barcelona)
May 23 – Monaco (Monte Carlo)
June 6 – Canada (Montreal)
June 27 – Europe (Valencia)
July 11 – Great Britain (Donington)
July 25 – Germany (Hockenheim)
August 1 – Hungary (Budapest)
August 22 – Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps)
September 5 – Italy (Monza)
September 19 – China (Shanghai)
September 26 – Singapore (Singapore)
October 10 – Japan (Suzuka)
October 24 – Brazil (Interlagos)
November 7 – Abu Dhabi (Yas Marina)
08/28/09
irl
Dixon tops opening IndyCar practice at Chicagoland  Scott Dixon set the fastest time of this afternoon's first IndyCar practice session at Chicago.  A long rain delay halted proceedings.

Results

Pos

Driver Team Time Speed
1. Scott Dixon Ganassi 25.1633s 217.460
2. Ryan Briscoe Penske 25.2073s 217.080
3. Helio Castroneves Penske 25.2899s 216.371
4. Danica Patrick AGR 25.3001s 216.284
5. Marco Andretti AGR 25.3068s 216.226
6. Graham Rahal Newman/Haas 25.3170s 216.139
7. Dario Franchitti Ganassi 25.3190s 216.122
8. Tony Kanaan AGR 25.3402s 215.941
9. Mario Moraes KV 25.3616s 215.759
10. Oriol Servia Newman/Haas 25.3789s 215.612
11. Justin Wilson Dale Coyne 25.3869s 215.544
12. Ed Carpenter Vision 25.3874s 215.540
13. Dan Wheldon Panther 25.4037s 215.402
14. Raphael Matos Luczo Dragon 25.4349s 215.137
15. Hideki Mutoh AGR 25.4505s 215.006
16. Tomas Scheckter Dreyer & Reinbold 25.4808s 214.750
17. Sarah Fisher Fisher 25.4824s 214.736
18. Ryan Hunter-Reay Foyt 25.5116s 214.491
19. EJ Viso HVM 25.6373s 213.439
20. Mike Conway Dreyer & Reinbold 25.6642s 213.215
21. Milka Duno Dreyer & Reinbold 25.7149s 212.795
22. Robert Doornbos HVM 25.7392s 212.594
23. Jaques Lazier 3G 25.8805s 211.433

08/28/09
gp2
Parente on pole in Spa Francorchamps  Alvaro Parente has claimed the first pole position for Ocean Racing Technology with a stunning lap just at the close of this afternoon's qualifying session to slot onto the top spot by less than a tenth from Lucas di Grassi and Nico Hülkenberg.

The Portuguese driver set a time of 1:54.970 to take tomorrow's pole position with a stunning lap which was timed to perfection, putting himself on a clear track as his rivals tripped over themselves on the last lap to give Parente his first GP2 pole. More ...

08/28/09
f1
Abu Dhabi to be F1's first 'day/night' race  UPDATE (GMM)  The inaugural Abu Dhabi grand prix will not be a twilight race but F1's first ever 'day/night' race, according to event manager Richard Cregan.

The sport's television broadcasters were issued with a document at Spa-Francorchamps on Friday confirming a race start time change from the originally scheduled 3pm to 5pm local.

Dusk in Abu Dhabi in November is scheduled for shortly before 6pm, meaning that by the end of the race at Yas Marina, it will be completely dark.

Singapore hosted F1's first ever night race last year, but the 2009 season finale will be the first that begins under sunlight but ends with the aid of artificial lighting.

"Yas Marina Circuit has been built from the outset to host day and night-time activities," Cregan is quoted as saying by the local newspaper The National, referring to 40-metre floodlighting structures that have been built at the venue.

"It has always been our intention to showcase to the world this spectacular venue and this decision allows just that opportunity," he added.



08/28/09 (GMM)  The inaugural Abu Dhabi grand prix at the end of this season has been moved to a 'twilight' race time, it was confirmed at Spa-Francorchamps on Friday.  Sunday's race at the 2009 season finale in November will be held at 5pm local time instead of earlier in the afternoon as originally scheduled.  Also to take place at 5pm, with dusk expected in Abu Dhabi around 6pm, will be the second Friday practice session and qualifying on Saturday.  The twilight concept, used for the first time this year in Australia and Malaysia, provided a better television viewing time for the bulk European audience.
08/28/09
f1
Spa: Hamilton tops 2nd practice session  After the morning rain, it was a dry second practice session at Spa-Francorchamps on Friday afternoon.

The final timesheet itself was a mixed bag: the McLarens were quickest (Lewis Hamilton) and 12th, the Ferraris third (Kimi Raikkonen) and dead last, the Red Bulls fourth (Mark Webber) and 10th, and the Brawns a worrying 17th and 18th.

Championship leader Jenson Button was complaining on the radio about the handling of his Mercedes-powered car.

"It is an important day, to know if we can challenge the Red Bulls on a circuit like this," the Briton had said beforehand.

Toro Rosso's Jaime Alguersuari had a failure, apparently in his Ferrari engine, right at the end of the 90 minute session.

Earlier, Badoer's Ferrari triggered a red flag when a wheel fairing fell off at the Blanchimont corner.  He ended the session dead last, 2 seconds from Raikkonen's sister car, and nearly a full second from the next quickest competitor.

Results

Pos

Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:47.201 +0.000 29
2. Glock Toyota 1:47.217 +0.016 29
3. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:47.285 +0.084 26
4. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:47.329 +0.128 31
5. Grosjean Renault 1:47.333 +0.132 34
6. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:47.506 +0.305 27
7. Trulli Toyota 1:47.559 +0.358 33
8. Kubica BMW-Sauber 1:47.578 +0.377 33
9. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:47.579 +0.378 36
10. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:47.602 +0.401 25
11. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:47.702 +0.501 38
12. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:47.743 +0.542 33
13. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:47.790 +0.589 29
14. Alonso Renault 1:47.862 +0.661 30
15. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:47.961 +0.760 32
16. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 1:48.017 +0.816 30
17. Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:48.125 +0.924 34
18. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:48.130 +0.929 37
19. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:48.360 +1.159 29
20. Badoer Ferrari 1:49.211 +2.010 30

08/28/09
f1
Sauber still looking for 2010 team solution  (GMM)  While BMW is still looking for a buyer for its Hinwil based formula one team, there is also a 'plan B' in the event that it has to close.  In the wake of the German manufacturer's announced withdrawal, the Swiss outfit has applied to the FIA for the thirteenth team spot for 2010 but is not guaranteed the entry.

"An alternative is that Hinwil is used as a remote location for BMW, for example for other motor sport projects or for developments in aerodynamics and lightweight construction," team boss Mario Theissen told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.  It is believed the FIA will name the thirteenth team in two weeks, and that Prodrive and Epsilon Euskadi are also in the running.

Theissen says BMW-Sauber has a chance of securing the entry. "There are a lot of interested parties, ranging from simple enquiries to professional projects," he revealed.

08/28/09
f1
Williams would loan Hulkenberg to Ferrari  (GMM)  Williams would release Nico Hulkenberg if Ferrari is interested in using him to replace the struggling Luca Badoer.

The 22-year-old German, who is the British team's test driver and managed by Willi Weber, is one of many names linked with the seat following Badoer's bad weekend at Valencia.

Hulkenberg, the favorite to take out the 2009 GP2 title, is tipped to replace Nico Rosberg as Williams' race driver for next season.

"We would loan Nico to Ferrari but I cannot imagine them agreeing to train a driver for us," Williams' technical director Sam Michael told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

08/28/09
f1
Badoer crashed in parc ferme at Valencia  (GMM)  Add one more faux pas to the list following Luca Badoer's much maligned return to formula one at Valencia a week ago.

His poor pace, multiple speeding fines and a reprimand, being overtaken in the pits and crossing the pit exit white line aside, it has emerged that the Italian crashed into the rear of Adrian Sutil's stationary car in parc ferme as he parked up after the European grand prix.

It is believed the impact damaged the diffuser of the Force India.

"Is that important?" Badoer, 38, responded incredulously when asked about the incident by reporters in Belgium.

08/28/09
Formula BMW
Formula BMW Alumni round-up  
- Nicolas Hülkenberg (DE) has taken another step towards winning the GP2 title: race one in Valencia saw the German start from pole position and eventually finish runner-up. He went on to claim his fourth win of the season in the sprint. Hülkenberg currently leads the Drivers’ Championship on 75 points, ahead of Vitaly Petrov (RU, 55).

- A fourth win in succession at the “Valencia Street Circuit” kept alive the title aspirations of René Rast (DE) in the Porsche Supercup. With four races remaining, the German is now just 30 points behind overall leader Jeroen Bleekemolen (NL), who currently has 172 points to his name.

- FC Basel driver Maximilian Wissel (DE) has picked up his first victory in Superleague Formula. At Donington Park (GB) the 19-year-old reduced the lead of championship leader Adrián Vallés (ES/FC Liverpool) to ten points. More ...

08/28/09
formula BMW
f1
Rossi and Gutiérrez given Formula One drives  Two more former Formula BMW drivers will be given a taste of Formula One this winter. Alexander Rossi (USA) and Esteban Gutiérrez (MX) will complete their first kilometers in a Formula One car as part of three “Young Driver Days”, which the BMW Sauber F1 Team has planned for 1st to 3rd December at the “Circuito de Jerez” (ES).

“Despite having announced our exit from Formula One, we will honor our commitments to young drivers in Formula BMW,” says BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. “Thus we are looking forward to granting another two Formula BMW graduates the opportunity of gathering experience in a Formula One car. Alexander Rossi earned the chance by winning the Formula BMW World Final last year, becoming the first US American to do so. Esteban Gutiérrez won the Rookie of the Year award in the 2007 Formula BMW USA series, and won the overall championship in Formula BMW Europe last year against stiff opposition. In December both drivers will get to leave their mark in a Formula One test.”

08/28/09
Formula BMW
Chaves celebrates Formula BMW Americas title  The first title of the 2009 Formula BMW season has been claimed: victories in rounds 11 and 12 of the Formula BMW Americas series in Elkhart Lake/Road America (US) were enough to secure overall victory for Eurointernational driver Gabby Chaves (CO) with races to spare. The 16-year-old has 205 points to his name, meaning he can no longer be caught by his closest rival, team-mate Giancarlo Vilarinho (BR), at the remaining two races in Mosport (CA). With 154 points, Vilarinho is assured of second place in the championship.

“I think Giancarlo has more wins than I do this year (six for Vilarinho to five for Chaves),” said Chaves after achieving the biggest success of his career so far. “But it has been our consistency and our ability to be there at the end that has won this championship. We have put ourselves in position to score big points in every race and that is what a champion does. I am very happy to have been a part of the Formula BMW Americas series this year and am excited to have won the title.” More ...

08/28/09
track news
ISC puts the screws to the media  Today many media members are paid almost nothing to attend and report on race events.  Journalists never were paid huge sums of money, especially motorsports journalists.  Many live paycheck to paycheck.

Starting the next race, the France family run ISC, that owns Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, will charge anyone dining in the Media Lounge (media, team PR reps, photographers, etc.) $25 for meals during the Pepsi 500 Weekend.  The cost includes all meals for the weekend (lunch and dinner on Friday, Saturday and Sunday) as well as snacks throughout the weekend.

While the price is certainly not exorbitant, what's particularly galling to many media members is the fact that ISC is awash in money, making hundreds of millions of dollars per year in profits.  Having raped race fans for years with very high ticket prices, we guess if they can squeeze $25 from each media member they will have found a way to generate revenue from the poorest people in the paddock. 

So while they offer prayer before every race to almighty god, ISC prays their armored truck carrying their almighty dollars make it safely to the bank by races end.

08/28/09
f1
Vettel saves engine in Spa rain  (GMM)  Sebastian Vettel sat out morning practice entirely at wet  Spa-Francorchamps on Friday, as Red Bull saved mileage on the last two fresh Renault engines in his 2009 armory.

"He'll be having an extended coffee break this morning.  We're trying to avoid the ninth engine," his boss Christian Horner, referring to the prospect of ten-grid penalties, said on BBC radio during the session.

Vettel's teammate Mark Webber was just seventeenth quickest after a short program of 6 laps, but the energy drink-owned team is nonetheless expected to dominate this weekend.

Like Vettel, world champion Lewis Hamilton also did not set a lap time in the rainy conditions.

08/28/09
f1
Business as usual during  Singapore GP  
The Singapore Marina Bay area will remain accessible and open to the public during the Formula One race from Sept 23 to 29.  This was a message the authorities took pains to stress at a media briefing on Thursday to give details of transport arrangements during the Singapore night race next month.

Besides shortening the road closure period and stepping up public transport services, there will be a plethora of transport links and access options to the area.  The road closure days will be shortened from 12 days to seven days, with roads leading to the city open during morning peak hours from 5am to 9am to facilitate travel for worker in the Bay area.

At the same time, public transport will be beefed up, with MRT operating hours extended till 1.15am on the three race nights, and up to 650 trains will be added to cut waiting time for trains to just two to three minutes. The opening hours of LRT will also be extended to coincide with the last train. More ...

08/28/09
f1
Sun turns into rain for morning Spa practice  Just when it seemed shirt-sleeves might be suitable at Spa this weekend, the Belgian skies above the Ardennes turned on wet weather for the opening practice session.

It set the scene for a very quiet morning on the track, but Jaime Alguersuari made the most of the opportunity by fitting a set of wet tires and getting his first experience of F1 action in heavy rain.

"Spa is the best circuit in the world but it has the worst weather, you never know what is going to happen here," Toyota's Jarno Trulli told the BBC.  Trulli was fastest overall in the session. More ...

08/28/09
f1
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Reporters annoy Button in Belgium
  • Massa says vision problem stopped Schu return
  • Toro Rosso to keep same drivers, engine in 2010
  • Alonso grins at Ferrari rumors at Spa
  • Renault puzzled by Vettel's engine dramas

Reporters annoy Button in Belgium
(GMM)  Jenson Button came close to losing his temper in the Spa-Francorchamps paddock when meeting with English speaking reporters.

After the championship leader finished just seventh while his Brawn teammate Rubens Barrichello won a week ago at Valencia, a brave journalist asked Briton Button, 29, what he thinks about those who wonder if he really wants to win the title.

"I don't think people are saying that seriously," he answered.  "Who could possibly say that?"

Button's brow furrowed and he worded the question to himself: "Does Jenson want this title or not?  It's a pretty silly question, isn't it?  Why the f*** am I here?"

It was explained to the winner of six grands prix this year not that his desire to win is actually in doubt, but that it is good to hear his unequivocal response anyway.

"This is not what I have to say because that is not a question, is it?" Button continued.  "In reality, that is not the question -- it can't be.  'Does he want the title?' 'No, I want to finish second or third'," he said mockingly, then laughed.

It is reported that Button was overly critical of Sebastian Vettel's driving at the Valencia start last Sunday, and predicted by pundits that his slump in form has a psychological rather than a technical source.

He told the reporters in Belgium: "What I'd like to do now is stand up, walk away, have a good weekend and then we'll talk about it afterwards because there will be loads of silly questions.

"This is not the part of the job I need to be thinking about too much now, I want to focus on the driving," Button added. More ...

08/27/09
automotive
Toyota recalls 95,700 vehicles  Toyota has begun working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to recall 95,700 vehicles with a brake issue that could lead to poor stopping at low temperatures. The recall involves 2009 and 2010 Toyota Corolla and Matrix models and 2008-2009 Scion xD models with the 1.8-liter engine, and only customers in 19 cold weather states are eligible for the recall.

Toyota says the problem may arise when condensed moisture from the positive crankcase ventilation port seeps into the brake system vacuum port and freezes. As ice accumulates, the brake vacuum port could plug up and "power assist to the brakes would gradually decrease and lead to lengthened vehicle stopping distances." That doesn't sound good. Owners of affected vehicles will soon receive a notice from Toyota, followed by instructions to take the vehicle to a Toyota dealership for no-cost repairs. Dealer technicians will install a newly designed intake air connector that relocates the brake system vacuum port, a one-hour procedure.

While it's definitely a good thing that Toyota caught this issue as soon as it did, we have a bit of an issue with the fact that the recall is only for cold weather states. It's not like a Corolla or Matrix can't cross state lines during winter, and nobody deserves to be met with brakesicles when they try to stop. Hit the jump to pour over Toyota's press release.
08/27/09
f1
Spa is hard on tires  
Bridgestone will bring the medium and soft tires for the Belgian Grand Prix on August 28-30 which takes place on the longest circuit of the year, the 7 km Spa Francorchamps circuit.

Located in the forests of the Ardennes region, the challenge of the Spa circuit is legendary. It features 19 corners and offers a real high speed challenge over its undulating course. This is the first time that the medium and soft tires have been used in a consecutive allocation for a race.

Hiroshi Yasukawa - Director of Bridgestone Motorsport, said: Belgium is the home of Bridgestone Europe so in many ways the Belgian Grand Prix is like a home race for us. Bridgestone Europe employs more than 13000 people throughout Europe, spread between eight tire plants, one technical centre/proving ground and different national sales organizations. In Belgium itself the Bridgestone Group employs 1100 persons as well as hosts the headquarters of Bridgestone Europe and subsidiary, Bandag Europe. Spa is a fantastic circuit to visit as it has so much history and we are looking forward to an exciting race there." More ...

08/27/09
f1
Q and A with Romain Grosjean  
Romain Grosjean was one of two new faces at the recent European Grand Prix when he was called up top take over from the struggling Nelson Piquet at the Renault Formula One team. Now, just a few days later, the Frenchman will take part in the Belgian Grand Prix, his first time in a Formula One car around this legendary track.

Here he speaks to the press as the build up for round twelve continues....

How are your thoughts about coming here and the commitment around these fast corners in only your second Formula One race?
Well, it is going to be interesting to see the difference between the Formula One car and the GP2 car. For me the aim is still to learn. I think there are still many things to learn. Having Fernando (Alonso) is a great help for me. I try to improve and see what he is doing to improve myself. More ...

08/27/09
nassprint
Texas and Phoenix swap Spring race dates  Texas Motor Speedway will have a slight shift in its 2010 NASCAR schedule as the Samsung 500 race week will be run April 15-18, moving the Sprint Cup Series race from the seventh to the eighth event of the season as a result of a date swap with Phoenix International Raceway.  TMS officials agreed to the move to accommodate NASCAR and network television partner, FOX, because the Samsung 500 on its traditional April date would have been pitted directly against the final round of The Masters on television. Phoenix transitions into that slot without a conflict since it will play host to a Saturday evening race.  Texas Motor Speedway PR
08/27/09
nassprint
Waltrip team moves Bootie aside  Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) announced that veteran crew chief Gene Nead has been named interim crew chief for two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip and his #55 NAPA Auto Parts team. Nead officially joins MWR on Monday and will call the final 12 races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season for Waltrip. Robert "Bootie" Barker remains with the organization and will be assisting engineering with special projects. Nead is a familiar face to MWR. Earlier this season, he worked for JTG Daugherty Racing who has a technical alliance with MWR. He led the team's NASCAR Nationwide Series program with driver Michael McDowell. MWR PR
08/27/09
nascar
Evernham & Crocker get married  
Let me introduce you to Erin Crocker Evernham. That's right. The once-controversial first couple of NASCAR is married.

Ray Evernham and Erin Crocker exchanged vows Wednesday night in a Las Vegas hotel in front of immediate family members and friends. ESPN.com

08/27/09
nhra
John Force Racing Drivers Rev Up At Indy Testing  A day after three John Force Racing Mustangs tested at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis expectations are high for the team heading into the 55th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Lucas Oil, September 3-7, 2009. Team owner and 14-time funny car champion John Force observed his young drivers all day and at the conclusion of testing offered his thoughts on the team’s performances.

“We had a good outing today, a good test session.  I’m tired, and even though I never jumped in the car all day, I learned one thing from this test session, besides the fact that my race cars will go down this race track, whether in the heat or at night. (The last night session) gave my daughter Ashley some more experience in a night session. Ashley ran 4.15, (Mike Neff’s crew chief John) Medlen ran a 4.18, (Robert Hight’s crew chief Austin) Coil ran a 4.18 or 4.19 so we are pretty happy.  But what I learned most of all, is that I don’t like the thought of being simply a team owner.  Some people like it, but boy all I did was aggravate everybody all day (jokingly) because I had nothing to do, other than just watch my other three Mustangs run down the track.  So now I head to Topeka to watch my youngest daughters run,” said Force. More ...

08/27/09
f1
Luca di Montezemolo visits Felipe Massa  This afternoon Ferrari Chairman Luca di Montezemolo flew for the second time into Budapest to meet personally Felipe Massa. In this occasion the Chairman has taken to Felipe the dedications and greetings signed by all employees of the Gestione Sportiva department, starting from Stefano Domenicali. The Chairman also met the family and doctors of the pilot, who further reassured him on the improvement of the state of Felipe’s health.
08/27/09
irl
Power released from hospital  Penske Racing driver Will Power has been released from Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in Santa Rosa, Calif. and is en route to Indianapolis.

He will undergo further examination by IndyCar Series orthopedic specialist, Dr. Terry Trammell, on Monday to determine the next course of treatment and recovery.

Power suffered a concussion and compression fractures of his second and fourth lumbar vertebrae during a practice incident at Infineon Raceway on Saturday.

08/27/09
f1
Vettel surprised about Button criticism  (GMM)  Sebastian Vettel has suggested he might seek out championship rival Jenson Button for talks this weekend.

Red Bull's Vettel, who is fourth in the drivers' standings yet still seen by some as Button's biggest challenger for the title, learned at Spa-Francorchamps on Thursday that his British rival had been critical of his maneuvers at the start of last Sunday's Valencia race.

Mainly reported by the German press, Button apparently blamed Vettel's arguably over-aggressive tactics for dropping places at the start of the European grand prix and subsequently not rising above seventh at the checkered flag.

"I haven't heard about it.  I think we are here to race, so I don't know," Vettel, 22, said in Belgium.  "Maybe I have to talk to him later if it was a problem for him. More ...

08/27/09
f1
Vatanen again says Mosley should not be backing Todt  (GMM)  Ari Vatanen has revealed that he asked Max Mosley to his face why he risked neutrality by backing the FIA presidential campaign of Jean Todt.

Finn Vatanen will take on former Ferrari boss Todt in October's elections, but the incumbent Mosley revealed recently that he thinks the French candidate is the best man for the job.

"I have asked him why he is not behaving neutrally," Vatanen said in an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt.

He said that Mosley answered that "in principle he would be completely neutral but on the other hand he promised to help Jean.  I would have wished that Max behaves more correctly," Vatanen said.

The feeling in the F1 paddock is while there is a great deal of good will for Vatanen, he is being out-maneuvered politically by the wily Todt.

08/27/09
f1
Alonso, Kubica, Heidfeld, Rosberg talk 'silly season'  (GMM)  With a Concorde Agreement now in the bag, normal August service has resumed in formula one as talk about the 2010 driver 'silly season' bounced around the Spa-Francorchamps paddock on Thursday.

Apparently the 'key' to the market is Fernando Alonso, as all wait with bated breath to know if and when the Spaniard's Ferrari move will be formalized.

"Who knows," he teased reporters in Belgium on Thursday.

"In formula one at the moment it is difficult to know which team has the better future because every week there are rumors about teams coming in or going out."

Pressed for when an announcement about his plans might be forthcoming, the double world champion answered: "We're still thinking and evaluating some possibilities, so we will see.  Maybe next week is too early."

With the impending departure from F1 of BMW, Robert Kubica is tipped as the man most likely to replace Alonso. More ...

08/27/09
f1
Engine-short Vettel to limit practice laps  (GMM)  Sebastian Vettel's two Renault engine failures at Valencia last weekend means he will have to ease back on practice mileage for the rest of his 2009 championship challenge.

"The last thing I want is a penalty," the Red Bull driver is quoted as saying on Thursday from Spa-Francorchamps.

"That means I will drive less on Friday in practice," said Vettel, 22, according to the German news agency SID.

It is believed that, in addition to the fresh V8 unit that will be in his car for qualifying and Sunday's Belgian grand prix, the German has just one more fresh Renault in the bag for the remainder of the season.

"Naturally that's not an advantage, but it's better to sit and drink some coffee (by not running much in practice) than have to start ten places behind," he explained.

08/27/09
f1
Ferrari drive would be 'dream' for Fisi - manager  UPDATE (GMM)  Giancarlo Fisichella on Thursday played down reports he is at the top of the list should Ferrari drop Luca Badoer and look elsewhere for a substitute for Felipe Massa for forthcoming grands prix.

The veteran Roman's manager Enrico Zanarini earlier this week said it would be 36-year-old Fisichella's "dream" to line up for the Maranello team.

The Italian, who has contested more than 200 grands prix since 1996, did not disagree but clarified that so far there has been no contact with Ferrari.

"Ferrari didn't call me so for me it's nothing," Fisichella said at Spa-Francorchamps.

"If they had called me I could say something more, but I have not contacted them.  I'm a Force India driver, it's as simple as that," he insisted.

08/24/09 (GMM)  Giancarlo Fisichella's manager has refused to rule out a scenario whereby the Roman racer switches to Ferrari for the last races of 2009.

With Felipe Massa and Michael Schumacher injured, Luca Badoer was heavily criticized at Valencia for struggling for pace at the wheel of the second F60 car.

David Coulthard, Anthony Davidson and Marc Gene have all publicly declared their interest in stepping in for the Italian grand prix and beyond, and another name mentioned has been that of Italian Fisichella, the 36-year-old veteran of more than 200 grands prix.

"We have not had contact with Ferrari," his manager Enrico Zanarini is quoted as saying by France's L'Equipe sports daily.

"Giancarlo has a contract with Force India, but in F1 anything is possible.

"It would be a dream for him to drive for Ferrari," Zanarini, who also handled former Ferrari driver Eddie Irvine's career, concluded.

08/27/09
f1
F1 ready for fickle Spa weather  (GMM)  As ever in the fickle Ardennes forest region, it might or it might not rain at some point during this weekend's Belgian grand prix event.

Not a cloud in the sky could be seen throughout most of the charming opening day at Spa-Francorchamps, as the popular circuit's paddock filled with activity and some teams like Red Bull practiced pit stops on the other side of the garages.

Some weather forecasts, however, are forecasting a chance of rain for later this weekend, despite the fact it was unseasonably hot in the region just last week.

In a team preview, Red Bull humorously advised visitors to Spa this weekend to have at the ready things like "rubber boots", a "thermal vest" and "fog lights".

Temperatures will hover in the high teens to low twenties, while a prediction earlier this week by Meteo France, F1's official weather forecaster, said rain is actually not a high likelihood. More ...

08/27/09
nhra
zMax Dragway to host two NHRA events  The National Hot Rod Association has announced that they have added a second date for the zMax Dragway in Concord, NC for the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle series schedule.

The Speedway Motorsports, Inc.-owner facility hosted its inaugural event in 2008 to rave reviews from drivers and fans alike, dubbing it the “Bellagio of drag strips.”

"This track deserves two dates," said 14-time national champion John Force. "I'm excited because we love to be here.

"We're all coming here and bringing our P.T. Barnum show. (Track owner) Bruton Smith gave us heaven and the Taj Mahal right here." More ...

08/27/09
nassprint
New Roller Coaster to be named after Dale Earnhardt  UPDATE Carowinds theme park in Charlotte, N.C. unveiled a new NASCAR-themed roller coaster named in honor of the late seven-time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt to be added to the park for the 2010 season.

Called “The Intimidator”, the new 232-ft-tall coaster will be the tallest attraction roller coaster at the park, bringing the park’s total number of roller coasters to 13.

The Intimidator, a nick-name Earnhardt was famous for, will three trains with eight cars each, with the cars made to resemble Earnhardt’s famous no. 3 Chevrolet race car. The ride’s entrance will also feature a checkered-flag motif as well as several no. 3 replica show cars.

The ride will also feature seven hills – a tribute to Earnhardt’s seven championships – and each ride will last 3:33, in honor of Earnhardt’s famous no. 3.

“Wow, this is exciting,” said Dale’s son Kerry Earnhardt. “To have the Southeast’s largest roller coaster named ‘The Intimidator,’ named after dad and to have it here in the Carolinas is pretty awesome. I guarantee you dad would have been the first one to try it out.” More ...

08/27/09
irl
Power and Philippe injuries could have been avoided  According to this SPEEDTV.com article, a corner worker was seen waving a flag at Infineon Raceway on Saturday but it was down below the turn, on driver's right, and the drivers are looking left and up as they head for the outside apex to take the proper line. Supposedly, a strobe light system near the top of the hill was functioning but it's quite a ways from the edge of the track and not exactly in a driver's sight line.

All Indy cars are equipped with lights on the dash that flash on for a full-course yellow but, according to the Team Penske crew, their telemetry showed Will Power's light didn't come on until after he'd already made contact.

"I had no warning on any kind or, obviously, I would have backed off," said Power. "I came over the hill and there was Nelson."

And, while it was a bang-bang situation, those eight seconds that elapsed before Philippe came to a stop and the big impact were crucial.

[Editor's Note: The IRL needs to seriously look at who can turn on the flashing lights on the dashboards.  If it is just the control tower, that does not work on road courses as the tower cannot see all around the track.  This was practice mind you, so giving every corner worker a button would not be such a bad thing.  In the race, well that's another story.]

08/27/09
automotive
Big 3 sales fade as 'clunkers' wraps up  The Detroit Three automakers' share of "cash for clunkers" sales fell sharply, compared to foreign nameplates, in the final week of the $3 billion incentive program.  General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC sold 38.6 percent, or about 266,000 of the nearly 700,000 clunker replacements. That's far below their combined 45.3 percent share of 2009 auto sales.

The U.S.-based companies said they were hampered by a comparative shortage of small, fuel-efficient vehicles that buyers were seeking and that the Asian automakers provided. 

"We started out hot and near the end, lean inventories had some effect," said GM spokesman Greg Martin. But, he added, "overall, it was a terrific program." Detroit News

08/27/09
f1
Q&A with McLaren's Jonathan Neale  McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale discusses the team's plans for Spa, the 2010 season and Heikki Kovalainen's future during a McLaren media phone-in.

Q: Although the 2009 regulations were supposed to improve overtaking, they seem to have worked only marginally. Is it something that Formula 1 remains committed to working on?

Jonathan Neale: Yes of course it is really important that F1 remains an attractive show that has great drama, and overtaking remains a key part of that. We saw the largest aerodynamic regulation change in 20 years, designed in part by the Overtaking Working Group and in part by the FIA, aimed at slowing the cars down. We saw different tire regulations as well which have caused plenty of drama this year, with the super-soft, soft and medium tires.

But I think what none of us expected was that the grid would be so close. People talk quite fondly about racing in the 1970's and they forget that in those days the difference between first and second on the grid could be up to a second - and sometimes more - and some cars didn't even qualify, So when you have cars that are that far apart, cars coming through from the back to the front, or mistakes being made, produce a lot of overtaking. This year, front-to-back of the grid, is probably only a second and a half and when you have got that level of closeness it is more difficult and more challenging. More ...

08/27/09
track news
State Fair Park gets victory over Milwaukee Mile money  The state Court of Appeals on Wednesday handed the Wisconsin State Fair Park Board a big legal victory in its battle with Milwaukee Mile Holdings LLC (MMH), a former race promoter at the Milwaukee Mile.

In February, state lawyers terminated a license agreement with MMH to promote races at the Mile. On Wednesday, the three-judge panel in the court's 4th District ruled against MMH. The investor group had been seeking a temporary restraining order against JPMorgan Chase Bank, which held a $2.6 million letter of credit and was prepared to pay that money to State Fair.

The decision appears to open the door to Chase paying the fair the money. Still pending is a federal lawsuit MMH's lead investors filed against the bank. It could not be immediately determined whether the outcome of the federal suit will hold up Chase's payment to State Fair. More ...

08/27/09
nassprint
Lance Snacks joins Ambrose for 2010  Team owner Tad Geschickter has signed up another sponsor for the #47 team and Marcos Ambrose in 2010 - Lance Crackers. This is the second former Nationwide Series team sponsor bargaining for more bang for the buck in the Sprint Cup Series with JTG Daugherty Racing. The company announced Saturday that Kleenex would support their Cup efforts in five races next year. Fox Sports
08/27/09
track news
Senna drives 'cool' Abu Dhabi circuit  Bruno Senna became the first international racing driver to tour the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi this week. The Brazilian admits that he is excited by the brand-new track which will be hosting the United Arab Emirates' first ever Formula One Grand Prix this year and the last of the 2009 World Championship season. With the title fight still very much on and Abu Dhabi holding a 1 November slot for its race, the venue could be the scene of a last race title decider for 2009; whatever the circumstances in the championship, the race is highly likely to be an exciting affair as Formula One welcomes a new country to the championship for the first time since Singapore in September last year.

"Every driver from every class is really excited about the new Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi," said former GP2 and current Le Mans Series driver Senna, who hopes to move into F1 next season. "It seems that the state-of-the-art facilities, together with a demanding track layout, will be a new and tough challenge to drivers and teams!" More ...

08/27/09
f1
Raikkonen: "Our goal is to be ahead of McLaren"  "I really enjoy winning, but even a third place can give you some good feelings. We started into the European GP from the sixth position on the starting grid, we had a good start and we managed to gain another place on the podium: we can hardly expect more than this.

"Our goal is to fight for a position amongst the first three teams and we’ve reached this goal. It was definitely one of my best weekends so far this year, together with the ones in Monaco and Budapest, obviously from a technical point of view.

"This year the car runs very well on the city circuits and on the ones with slower corners. In Valencia I had a very good feeling since Friday’s first practice session, when we drove a lot with lots of petrol on board and we knew that if we could gain a decent result in the qualifying and had a good start we’d have the possibility to fight for a place on the podium – and that is how it went in the end. The F60’s race set up is better than the one for the qualifying; due to that fact we could be faster than Kovalainen’s McLaren during the middle stint: during this part of the race I was constantly informed about my own and Heikki’s lap times, giving 110%. The car was set up well and the speed was high enough to overtake him during the pit stop. More ...

08/27/09
f1
Spa must pay to keep hosting popular GP - Ecclestone  (GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has played down the prospect of easing the financial conditions for struggling traditional grands prix, including the much-loved Belgian race at Spa-Francorchamps.

Despite the event's global popularity, less than 55,000 tickets have been sold for Sunday's running, which because of the high fee payable to the sport guarantees a multi million euro loss for the local promoters.

It is a similar story for other traditional European events on the calendar, but F1 chief executive Ecclestone insists they must compete for their places with those other countries desperate to associate with his sport.

"I love Belgium and I would be very happy to keep Spa, a wonderful traditional race, on the calendar," the Briton is quoted as saying by the French language Belgian newspaper La Libre. More ...

08/27/09
f1
Webber and Berger celebrate birthdays on Thursday  (GMM)  Grand prix winners past and present are celebrating birthdays on Thursday.

Australian Mark Webber, who recorded his first victory last month at the Nurburgring, is 33, while 10-time winner and former team boss Gerhard Berger turns 50.

Austrian Berger disappeared from the paddocks after last year's championship, when he sold back his 50 per cent share in Toro Rosso to Red Bull's Dietrich Mateschitz.

"I am a private citizen, unlike Didi who has a company in the background," he said, as he explained to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport his reasons for leaving F1.

Berger however refuses to rule out coming back to the sport he loves at some point.  "If the right task comes along, I would participate again," he promised. More ...

08/27/09
f1
Senna hopeful of 2010 F1 debut  (GMM)  Bruno Senna says his chances of making his formula one debut soon are better than they were at the same time last year.

The nephew of the late triple world champion Ayrton Senna, who this year has not raced full time after finishing runner-up in the 2008 GP2 championship, was under consideration for the Brawn seat that ultimately was retained by Valencia winner Rubens Barrichello.

"This year things seem much more exciting for me as last year it was tough due to Honda (Brawn) not really being prepared to take a risk with a new driver," the 25-year-old Brazilian said on a visit this week to the site of the inaugural Abu Dhabi grand prix.

"Or maybe I could not prove that I was good enough for them," Senna is quoted as saying by the local Gulf News.

He is now being strongly linked with the new Spanish team Campos.

"The odds are much better this year and the scenario too is different.  So far I have been speaking to at least four F1 teams," insisted Senna.

08/27/09
f1
Schu contract talks to take place at Monza  (GMM)  Contrary to earlier reports, Michael Schumacher's contract with the Ferrari team was not recently extended.

It was believed that the 40-year-old German had agreed to remain with the Maranello based team as an advisor beyond 2009 at the same time as he decided to return to formula one to replace the injured Felipe Massa.

But those contract talks have not yet happened, according to his manager Willi Weber, who told the newspaper Abendzeitung that they will probably commence behind the scenes at the Italian grand prix later this month.

"At the race in Monza something will happen," he said, referring to the negotiations about Schumacher's consultancy contract.

Weber also said Schumacher is keen to test Ferrari's formula one car at some point later this year, but that the Italian team knows the seven time world champion's roles must fit with his desire to spend more time with his family.

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