GP2: Gasly soars to Monza pole Pierre Gasly broke his rivals' hearts with a stunning lap late in qualifying to claim his first GP2 pole this afternoon in Monza, repeating his efforts from this morning’s free practice to steal the top spot from Mitch Evans and Series leader Stoffel Vandoorne.
The Red Bull test driver stopped the clocks at 1:31.272, two tenths to the good over his rivals in a dramatically close session at the Autodromo, which opened to the usual hot and sunny conditions known well to the teams, with all drivers on track immediately to take advantage of the rubber laid down by the F1 teams just moments before.
Monza Practice 2: Mercedes again dominates with superior engine Mercedes used up all 7 of their remaining engine development tokens for 2015 on their Monza engine to ensure the German brand embarrasses Ferrari in front of their home town crowd. And it's working. Lewis Hamilton again held the edge over teammate Nico Rosberg as their team remained dominant in second Italian Grand Prix practice at Monza despite sandbagging.
Although the gap from the fastest Mercedes time to best-of-the-rest Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari in third came down from the morning's 1.5-second separation, to seven tenths, everyone in the paddock knows Mercedes is just toying with them at this point.
Pierre Gasly has opened his Monza weekend in fine style by taking the top spot in this morning's free practice session at the fabled Italian circuit: the Frenchman stopped the clock at 1:31.669 early in the session for a time which went unanswered by his rivals, with Alexander Rossi and Rio Haryanto the closest to his best lap.
The session opened in sunny conditions which saw all of the field straight out on track. Rossi, Rene Binder and Sergey Sirotkin swapped the top spot between them in the opening minutes: Gasly claimed it as his own 11 minutes into the session before going even faster two minutes later to set a time which was not to be matched.
Justin Wilson dead. Cause - stupidity because of the sport's refusal to add closed cockpits. No use crying over it, more will die until something is done.
The funeral date for Justin Wilson, the 37-year-old English IndyCar driver who was killed at Pocono has been set.
The details have just been confirmed on his website, and also the MSV website.
The funeral will take place on Thursday 10 September at 11.45 at St James the Great Church, High Street, Paulersbury, Northamptonshire, NN12 7NA and afterwards in Hall 5, The Wing, Silverstone Circuit, NN12 8TN.
Flowers or donations to the Wilson Children's Fund should to be sent to John White Funeral Directors, 188/190 Watling Street, Towcester, NN12 6DB (checks to "John White Funeral Directors, Donations Wilson").
Alternatively, donations can be made online here or via mail to:
Monza Practice 1: Mercedes dominates with upgraded engine
On Sunday Rosberg and Hamilton will be celebrating their boring 1-2 Mercedes parade to victory
Making use of its upgraded engine in an effort to destroy Ferrari in front of their home crowd, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were clear 1-2 for Mercedes in FP1 for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
Using the Mercedes engine, which has been revised with use of all seven of its in-season development tokens, Hamilton and Rosberg quickly set about establishing themselves out front and remained there until the checkered flag still not showing their ultimate hand.
Hamilton was the faster of the two, his lap of 1min 24.670secs almost half-a-second faster than main title rival Rosberg.
Jann Mardenborough Steps Up To GP2 Series at Monza
Nissan Athlete and GT Academy champion Jann Mardenborough will take another step up the ladder towards Formula 1 this weekend when he competes in the GP2 Series at Monza in Italy. Dubbed the "Cathedral of Speed," Monza is a great place to make a GP2 debut, and Mardenborough will be out to show the form that has made him one of the standout winners of the Nissan PlayStation GT Academy.
Jann will jump into the #4 GP2 car of Sean Gelael – who is racing in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series at Silverstone this weekend - to compete at Monza.
AdvoCare Expands Roush Fenway Partnership to XFINITY Series In addition to serving as the primary partner on Trevor Bayne's No. 6 Sprint Cup entry, AdvoCare will team with NASCAR XFINITY Series points' leader Chris Buescher as the primary partner for six races during the stretch run for the 2015 series championship.
"I'm excited to have AdvoCare on the car for a series of races to close out the season," said Buescher, who has already posted two wins in 2015. "Everybody knows that AdvoCare prides themselves on building champions and that is our goal - to close out the final races and bring home the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship."
Jenson Button says it's time for closed cockpits on open wheel cars
Formula 1 driver Jenson Button says the time has come for closed cockpits to be introduced to open-wheel racing following the death of IndyCar driver Justin Wilson.
Wilson was struck by debris from a crashed car during the Pocono IndyCar race last month. Force India's Nico Hulkenberg, who has recent experience racing with a closed cockpit when he won the Le Mans 24 Hours, came out against the idea earlier today at Monza but Button disagreed with the German.
"I was one of many drivers who said, 'This is open-cockpit racing, it should stay as open-cockpit racing,'" Button said. "But I think we've all had enough now and it's time to do something serious about it, not just changing the headrest.
Verizon IndyCar Series Increases TV Ratings and Viewership for Second Consecutive Year UPDATE
The Verizon IndyCar Series, in its second season of a shortened schedule, averaged 1.16 million viewers for 16 race telecasts across ABC and NBCSN, marking the series’ best audience since the ’12 season. The average was up 13% from 1.03 million viewers last year and up 22% from 953,000 viewers in ’13. ABC’s five races were up 3% this season, while NBCSN had its best performance since acquiring rights in ‘09, with viewership up 34% from ’14. ABC’s audience was boosted by the net’s best Indianapolis 500 audience since ’12.
New Surface At Watkins Glen To Greet IMSA Competitors in 2016 When the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship returns to Watkins Glen International July 1-3, 2016 for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, teams will have to throw out their notes from previous events, and start a new notebook.
The 3.4-mile natural road course is undergoing a complete repaving – the first for the historic racetrack since 1998 – that should substantially improve the racing surface, both for sports cars and for the NASCAR series that race there.
“This is a significant project for Watkins Glen International,” said Michael Printup, track president. The resurfacing will improve grip, and smooth out some of the bumps that have developed in the 17 years since the last repaving.
Microsoft's Bing Search Engine Sponsoring NASCAR's Chase Grid Battle NASCAR today continued rolling out its marketing campaign around the upcoming Chase for the Sprint Cup, announcing that Microsoft’s Bing search engine will sponsor this year’s Chase Grid Battle. The game, which allows fans to predict Chase race results on a weekly basis, is in its second year, but this is the first year Bing is taking part (Toyota was last year's sponsor).
More than 200 NASCAR workers losing jobs as race team winds down operations Pink slips will soon be going out at Michael Waltrip Racing as the well-known enterprise winds down major operations in the coming months.
A notice filed this week with the N.C. Department of Commerce shows 217 permanent layoffs will be effective Nov. 1. Companies are required to file Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, paperwork on closures or when laying off at least 500 employees, or between 50 and 499 if they make up at least one-third of the employer’s work force.
NASCAR to suspend crew chiefs for lost wheels, ballast weight NASCAR took bold steps to curb lost wheels and ballast weight on Wednesday, issuing Draconian penalties for the two infractions, both of which will now carry a mandatory four-race suspension for the crew chiefs.
Officially, the rules bulletin issued Wednesday afternoon included the following language:
220.127.116.11.1 P3 PENALTY VIOLATION EXAMPLES
Violation examples could include but are not limited to:
NBC Sports Continues Formula One Coverage with ITALIAN GRAND PRIX NBC Sports Group continues its presentation of the 2015 Formula One season this weekend with live coverage of the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, highlighting more than 50 hours of motorsports coverage across NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra this week.
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes, 227 points) looks to build off his victory at the Belgian Grand Prix on August 23, his sixth win in 11 races this season, as he extended his lead to 28 points over Mercedes teammate and rival Nico Rosberg (199 points). Ferrari's Sebastien Vettel (160 points) sits comfortably in third place, ahead of teammate Kimi Raikkonen (82 points) and Williams' Felipe Massa (79).
The new GP3/16 car was revealed to the world's media in Monza today when the third generation car was unveiled in the GP3 paddock ahead of the sixth Round of the 2015 season.
The GP3/16 features a brand new Mecachrome race engine which is a bespoke design for the Series. It is a V6 3.4 liter which is naturally aspirated with 400 HP. Moreover, the third generation car has new aerodynamics to facilitate overtaking and it also enjoys a newly designed monocoque to help accommodate taller drivers. A revised nose is one of the key visual changes to the new machine. The modifications will raise the expectations of the Series and improve on an already highly competitive racing show.
Lotus F1 To Race At Italian Grand Prix After Bailiffs Release Team's Cars, Trucks Lotus will be at the Italian Grand Prix after bailiffs released the "cash-strapped" F1 team's cars and trucks to travel to Monza, according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES.
Fears "were growing that Lotus would be frozen by bailiffs acting for Charles Pic, a disgruntled former test driver claiming his contract was not fulfilled." Renault is looking to "ditch its role as engine supplier to Red Bull to revert to a factory team." Its choice appears to be Lotus, the team it sold to Genii Capital, a private equity business, five years ago. So far, there is "no progress in the negotiations" that would result in Renault acquiring a controlling 65% of the team for an estimated $99.5M. But, "unless there is progress soon, the money seems as though it will run out." London Times.
Team Penske and The LASIK Vision Institute announced a new partnership Wednesday that will see the company serve as the official eye care provider of Team Penske.
The LASIK Vision Institute will have its logo displayed on the Team Penske No. 2 Ford Fusion in Richmond Int’l Raceway on Sept. 12 and the company will activate on-site at several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events through the remainder of the 2015 season.
The World Karting Championship returns to LeMans After 24 years of absence from the world karting stage, this year Le Mans welcomes the biggest meeting of the year for the International Karting Commission of the International Automobile Federation (CIK-FIA) on the Le Mans Karting International circuit of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest. From September 10th to 13th, 2015, the flagship event of the karting season will mark the return of Le Mans to the spotlight of the discipline with a particularly attractive program, as three other categories will reinforce the attractiveness of the CIK-FIA KZ World Championship.
Will Bernie give the Italian Prime Minister the finger?
(GMM) The big guns are now firing over the question of historic Monza's future on the F1 calendar.
With a contract beyond 2016 still not agreed between organizers of the fabled race at the Autodromo Nazionale and Bernie Ecclestone, Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi weighed into the story on Wednesday.
"Formula one thrives not only on money, but also symbols," Renzi, who is expected to attend Sunday's race, told Italian radio RTL 102.5.
"We will tell Bernie Ecclestone clearly, 'Hands off the grand prix at Monza!'" he insisted.
Derrick Walker reflects on IndyCar tenure and future
Derrick Walker flees the 'poisoned chalice' of IndyCar
The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma marked the end of a brief era in the history of IndyCar. After the last car crossed the finish line, the celebration was over and the doors were shut, Derrick Walker was no longer the president of competition and operations.
Walker, 70, ended his tenure at two years after announcing his resignation at the end of the season on July 30th. Just over a week later he helped complete the deal that would bring IndyCar back to Road America for the first time in years.
Respected racing journalist Gordon Kirby has written a profile on Walker, speaking with the former team owner about his short tenure in position "long considered a poisoned chalice."
Ahead of the Belgium GP F1 race, the FIA issued a clarification about exactly what can, and cannot, be said to drivers over the radio. One reason is to limit race fixing and team orders.
Here is the full list:
Messages given on the track, in the pit entry or in the pit exit during reconnaissance laps (a car will be deemed to be on a reconnaissance lap from the time it leaves the pit lane until the time it re-enters the pit lane or reaches its grid position).
1.1 You may tell the driver of a critical problem with the car, e.g. puncture warning or damage.
Cobb may face penalty for having cell phone in truck (Update)UPDATE NASCAR has fined Camping World Truck Series driver Jennifer Jo Cobb $7,500 for having a cell phone in her truck during practice Saturday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Cobb crashed in practice and could be seen with the cell phone in her hand after exiting the vehicle. The driver/owner was fined $5,000 for the rules violation plus an additional $2,500 because she was on probation for walking on a hot track during the May race at Dover.
The no-cell phone rule was implemented after the 2012 Daytona 500 when Brad Keselowski tweeted a photo of the fire under the red flag after Juan Pablo Montoya had crashed into a jet dryer.
Video: Mario Andretti 190 mph Thrill Ride around Pocono Forbes journalist Jim Clash gets the thrill of his life riding at over 190 mph in Mario Andretti's two-seat Honda Indy Car at Pocono Raceway on August 22, 2015.
Pritchett's Gumout dragster to get new name from fans this week at US Nationals
Back in June, Leah Pritchett and the Dote Racing team unveiled the popular "Solid Gold" Gumout Expert Series dragster at Bristol Dragway.
The racing fans loved the new paint and the car was awarded the "Best Appearing Car" of the Thunder Valley Nationals.
Now, the racing fans will have the opportunity to name the latest version of Pritchett's Gumout Top Fueler this week as the Dote team heads to the world's biggest drag race, the 61st annual NHRA U.S. Nationals, set for Sept. 4-7.
Dave Moody to Join NASCAR RACE HUB Every Monday SiriusXM NASCAR Radio host Dave Moody, one of NASCAR’s most popular and opinionated on-air personalities, will join NASCAR RACE HUB, the most-watched daily NASCAR show on television, every Monday beginning Monday, Sept. 7.
Moody hosts his live listener call-in show, SiriusXM Speedway, from the FOX Sports 1 studios in Charlotte, N.C., each Monday through the conclusion of the 2015 NASCAR season. While in-studio, Moody will join NASCAR RACE HUB live for a segment titled "The Pulse with Dave Moody” that will be simulcast on FOX Sports 1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. This segment offers NASCAR RACE HUB viewers the opportunity to hear both Moody and SiriusXM Speedway listeners as they discuss the previous weekend’s race.
Road America plans upgrades for IndyCar (Update)UPDATE Road America has a handful of building projects on the drawing board but doesn't plan to expand its schedule, track president George Bruggenthies said.
During the recently completed NASCAR weekend at the facility in Elkhart Lake, Bruggenthies offered updates on several ideas planned, under consideration or rumored.
Among them are safety improvements required for the Verizon IndyCar Series, a new winner's circle - "something a little more fan friendly," Bruggenthies said - as well as a retail center and expansion of the path that opened up viewing areas on the back side of the course.
IndyCar's Sonoma Finale Shatters NBCSN Record IndyCar Series racing from Sonoma (CA) earned 841,000 viewers on NBCSN Sunday afternoon, up 123% from last year (377K) and up 115% from 2013 (391K). Compared to last year’s finale from Fontana, viewership increased 200% from 280,000.
Scott Dixon's win, which clinched the season title, ranks as easily the most-watched IndyCar race ever on NBCSN. The previous high was 666,000 for tape-delayed coverage from Mid-Ohio four weeks earlier. NBCSN aired three of its four most-watched IndyCar races this season, and six of its top eleven.
Overall, Sunday's race also ranks as the most-watched IndyCar telecast on cable since a Richmond race on ESPN in 2008 (947K).
Plan to make IndyCar Great Again A reader writes, Dear AR1, I read with great interest Mark Cipolloni's article on the X1 Group's proposal to IndyCar to make the series great again. If they design the car as shown, there won't be any interlocking of wheels and the drivers won't be killed due to head impacts. I like it and it cannot happen soon enough. I just hope the series can hang on that long until 2018 - us old guys need to be replaced by the younger generation. Justin Devens
Da Matta: Numerous accidents prove need for closed cockpits
Cristiano da Matta in 2005
Ex-F1 racer and CART champion Cristiano da Matta - who was teammate to the late Justin Wilson in Champ Car in 2006 when he suffered his own serious head injury - has called for closed cockpits on open-wheel racercars.
The 41-year-old Brazilian, who has retired from mainstream motorsport competition, says that the driver's most "fragile part" should not be exposed to direct impacts.
Da Matta's single-seater career was ended by a serious head injury when he struck a deer head-on during Champ Car testing at Road America in 2006, which left him with life-threatening head injuries.
He spent 28 days in a coma, and was in hospital for two months in total.
Da Matta is mourning the death of Wilson, who was killed following a crash at Pocono where debris from a crashing car ahead dealt him a fatal blow on the head. They were formerly teammates at RuSPORT in 2006.
"Real Racing 3" App Gets NASCAR-Themed Update Ahead Of Chase For The Sprint Cup
EA yesterday unveiled a NASCAR-themed update to the "Real Racing 3" app, which has a "variety of star drivers' stock cars for users to unlock over a six-week period," according to Jeff Gluck of USA TODAY. The update "centers around" the Sept. 12 Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Int'l Raceway, which is NASCAR’s final regular-season race.
The game, a free download, "starts with players putting themselves in the seat of an up-and-coming driver trying to break into the Sprint Cup Series." After graduating from the NASCAR Academy (a tutorial), players "must complete a series of levels before gaining access to the Richmond race, where they can compete in a full 43-car field." Though the NASCAR update will "live for only a short time, any cars unlocked by users in the six-week period can be used for the rest of the game."
(GMM) As reported on Monday, Nico Hulkenberg is staying with Force India.
The Silverstone based team announced on Tuesday that the German has signed up for 2016 and 2017.
2015 Le Mans winner Hulkenberg, 28, had been linked with a move to Haas or Lotus, but said: "I know this team inside out and I feel at home here so it made perfect sense to make a long term commitment."
The media statement did not mention Hulkenberg's current teammate, Sergio Perez, although team boss Vijay Mallya has said he also wants to keep the Mexican.
(GMM) Ferrari should have kept Fernando Alonso, according to departed designer Nikolas Tombazis.
At the end of last year, in a wide-ranging team shakeup, the fabled Maranello marque ousted not only Tombazis but also the British engineer Pat Fry.
But Tombazis, who claims he is now shaping up to return to F1, told Italy's Corriere della Sera newspaper that the apparent fruit of the revolution - the SF15-T car now raced by Sebastian Vettel - was actually designed by him.
(GMM) Former F1 doctor Gary Hartstein has continued his attack on his successor, Jean-Charles Piette.
Following the death of Jules Bianchi, Hartstein hit out at F1 drivers who are accepting the current situation, with Piette the medical delegate and the "even more clueless" Gerard Saillant running the FIA's medical commission.
He said Piette was "responsible for the disastrous land-based evacuation" of the unconscious Bianchi at Suzuka last October, and believes the FIA could now be "liable" for the Frenchman's death.
Video: IndyCar finale highlights As the Verizon IndyCar Series season drew closer to its exciting conclusion, everybody knew that the double-points finale at Sonoma Raceway could be the wild card in the championship.
Rising Star Racing's Newgarden Enjoys Career-Best IndyCar Season
Rising Star Racing's Josef Newgarden saw his own star rise dramatically through the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season.
With two IndyCar Series victories for his CFH Racing squad, regularly stout performances in qualifying including taking his career-first IndyCar pole for the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at the Milwaukee Mile, and a strong seventh in the final championship standings, Newgarden marked himself not as just a talent to keep an eye on, but as one to watch, now.
Sunday's season-finale race at Sonoma Raceway promised even more as the young American entered the race with a mathematical shot at the championship title. His fellow Rising Star Racing pilots Neil Alberico and Spencer Pigot were also on hand to support Newgarden as the duo look ahead to their own season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in two weeks' time.
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