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Quote of the week  "Nelson Piquet Jr is unemployable now," said ex-F1 driver Martin Brundle speaking about the Crashgate controversy that he crashed his car in Singapore last year to help Fernando Alonso win.  "A driver who would willingly and intentionally crash his car?  Unforgiveable."
NASCAR Newscast: Chevy Rock & Roll 400 Recap  
Brawn duo pledge open, fair fight for 2009 title  (GMM) Both Brawn drivers said they are looking forward to a fair and open fight to the 2009 world championship.

The Red Bull duo is still mathematically in the hunt for the drivers' crown, but the Brawn one-two at Monza means that Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello are more than the favorites to dispute the title alone.

So even though the enemies for the pair lie within the white and yellow-clad garage walls, their boss Ross Brawn is promising that team orders will not play a role so long as fair play is also adhered to between the drivers.

"All I ask from my drivers now is they compete fairly and openly, they have got to work together fairly, but they're old enough to deal with it," he said after the Italian GP.

Sure enough, both Button and Barrichello said nothing will change now despite the fact the next four races will almost certainly see only one of them realize a lifelong dream of becoming world champion.

"I don't know; I've put on a brave face lately but I absolutely hate this guy. He doesn't know his arse from his elbow when it comes to racing cars," Button said whilst sitting next to his long-time teammate Barrichello in the post-race Monza conference. More ...

Domenicali fuels Raikkonen-Alonso rumors  (GMM)  Stefano Domenicali on Sunday failed to quell the intense speculation about the futures of top F1 drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso.

It is widely expected that Raikkonen, despite his 2010 contract, will make way at the Italian team for the arrival next year of Alonso.

After the Monza race, a Finnish reporter told Domenicali that he wanted to hear the following words from the Ferrari team boss's mouth: 'I can confirm officially that Kimi will drive for Ferrari in 2010'.

Domenicali responded: "I think that as we said, we don't want to discuss this now because I don't think it is correct. More ...

Williams not ready to drop KERS issue  (GMM)  Williams is still not willing to commit to running without active KERS systems in its cars next year.

The British team last week re-joined the FOTA team alliance, whose other members have agreed not to fit the technology to their cars in 2010 despite KERS being allowed in the technical regulations.

Team co-owner Patrick Head at Monza admitted that he does not agree with FOTA's position on KERS, adding that it will be "a subject for further discussion".

Head also told reporters that Williams will not be using Mercedes power in 2010, making switches to Renault or Cosworth the most likely options.

Also on the subject of KERS, the system is unlikely to re-appear in the Renault car at any of the remaining races this season.

The French team had reintroduced the technology for the long straights of Monza, but Fernando Alonso revealed after the race that KERS "did not meet my expectations".

His teammate Romain Grosjean also said his KERS-assisted Italian GP start had been "very poor".

Hamilton, Raikkonen, out of 2009 title race  (GMM)  Lewis Hamilton's defense of his 2008 world championship ended mathematically on Sunday.

With his crash while chasing second place on the last lap of the Italian grand prix, the McLaren driver also dropped out of striking distance of Jenson Button's title lead with four races to go.

With a perfect run of wins, meanwhile, 2007 championship winner Kimi Raikkonen could mathematically match Button's tally if the Briton scores no more points this season, but the Finn would still not be world champion.

In a points tie, the driver with the most wins is declared the champion, and Raikkonen would lose out against Button by a factor of 5 wins to 6.

The results of the Monza race means just three drivers are still in the fight with Button: his teammate Rubens Barrichello and the two Red Bull drivers.

But Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber's poor outings on Sunday leaves them a distant 26 and 28.5 points behind respectively, moving many observers to surmise that the 2009 champion will definitely be a Brawn driver.

"Well, it's never over until it's over, but today's race has made it a big mountain to climb in the remaining races," Red Bull boss Christian Horner told F1's official website.

Barrichello scolds Briatore for personal Piquet remarks  (GMM)  Rubens Barrichello has scolded Flavio Briatore for dragging down even further the tone of the 'crash-gate' scandal.

The Renault team boss is accused of ordering his sacked driver Nelson Piquet to crash during last year's Singapore grand prix, and he came out fighting when he gave interviews in multiple languages in the Monza paddock.

At one point, the Italian revealed that Piquet had had a relationship with a 50-year-old man.

"I do not have anything against anyone and so I am just waiting to see what the FIA says (at the 21 September hearing)," Barrichello, who wore an orange top on his helmet at Monza in partial tribute to Piquet Jr, said.

"For formula one it is a dishonor, about what happened (at Singapore) and of what Briatore said yesterday," the Brazilian veteran, who admitted he does not have a good relationship with Piquet's famous father, explained.

"In my view that (Briatore's comments) was simply too much, going down too low a level," he added.

Team buyout talks 'at crucial stage' - Peter Sauber  (GMM)  BMW-Sauber has a buyer for its Hinwil based team, should the FIA grant it the thirteenth spot on the 2010 formula one grid.

That is the claim of the Swiss newspaper Sonntagsblick, although team founder and minor shareholder Peter Sauber was giving nothing away at Monza when he said: "The negotiations are at a crucial stage.  I can't say anything."

Rumors earlier this weekend suggested that, in addition to plenty of speculated interest from the international private sector, the Swiss government might also be involved in trying to rescue the locally based team in the wake of BMW's announced withdrawal.

Sauber is in competition with Lotus and Epsilon Euskadi for the last place on next year's grid, but Blick reports that more places might open up soon.

The newspaper said FIA officials will this week visit the factories of the Manor, USF1 and Campos teams, in order to gauge their progress in preparing genuinely for the 2010 world championship.

Hamilton apologizes after choke  Lewis Hamilton admitted he made a mistake after crashing heavily out of a sure podium place on the last lap of Sunday's Italian grand prix.

The reigning world champion had just set the fastest first sector of the entire race in pursuit of Brawn's Jenson Button, but lost the rear of his McLaren on the exit of the first Lesmo curve.

"We didn't have the pace so I was pushing every lap like it was qualifying.  The car was still good today, just not good enough.  I can only apologize to my team and all my fans," the Briton told the BBC.

His team boss Martin Whitmarsh admitted disappointment with the loss of the podium, and even a hint of regret at not advising Hamilton to secure the result.

But he also said of the 24-year-old: "You can criticize us or him but we are a racing team and he is a great racing driver.  He was pushing to the end -- that's how he is." 

British F3
Daniel Ricciardo takes international crown  Daniel Ricciardo clinched the Cooper Tires British Formula 3 International Series championship title in fine style today (Sun) at the new Algarve circuit in Portugal. The Australian 20-year-old took a maximum-points finish in the first of the day's races, and claimed a fourth-place finish in race two, enough to lift the crown beyond the reach of any of his rivals.

Ricciardo is the second successive Carlin Motorsport/Red Bull racer to claim the British F3 crown - last year's victor, Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari, was promoted to Grand Prix stardom a matter of months after his championship win. Daniel's title is also the first international championship victory of the modern era for engine supplier Volkswagen, and he becomes only the third Australian to win the British F3 title - Tim Schenken was the first, in 1968, and David Brabham the last, 20 years ago.

"This is everything I've wanted since the start of the season," said a grinning Daniel, "and for it to come around a bit early makes it a bit sweeter. It still hasn't quite sunk in but I'm sure that by the end of tonight I'll realize it and party hard. If I can now follow in Jaime Alguersuari's footsteps that would be great - I'm not saying I'll be in F1 next year, but I'd like to be there in the near future. That's my dream." More ...

Head - FIA must be firm  Williams co-owner Patrick Head has said the FIA must take a firm stance on the race-fixing allegations surrounding the Renault team for the sake of the sport's credibility.

The Anglo-French outfit have been called before the governing body's World Motor Sport Council on September 21 to answer charges that they asked Nelson Piquet Jr. to crash in last year's Singapore Grand Prix in order to help team-mate Fernando Alonso win the race.

Although eyebrows were raised following the race on September 28 last year, the governing body only announced last month it was investigating the outcome - not long after the 24-year-old Brazilian had been sacked by the team following a string of poor results.

Renault announced on Thursday that have commenced criminal proceedings against Piquet and his three-times world champion father, accusing them of making false allegations as well as attempted blackmail.

"If (cheating) proved to be happening in a consistent way I think rightly that nobody would have any interest in Formula One racing because you couldn't believe what you were looking at," Head said at the Italian Grand Prix. More ...

JGR hopes to re-sign Busch soon; no 4th team in 2010  Joe Gibbs Racing president J.D. Gibbs said "there's no timetable" on re-signing #18-Kyle Busch, but as far as he's concerned, "the sooner the better." Busch's contract expires after next year 2010. Gibbs added the organization will not race four full-time cars in 2010. When it came to potential sponsorships, Gibbs said there was nothing JGR "felt was appropriate" to properly run a four-car operation. With the way driver contracts fall, 2011 will have a better pool of candidates, namely #9-Kasey Kahne and Kevin Harvick. Gibbs admits that Kahne "is awesome" but indicated a package deal with Budweiser, given the family's religious convictions, "would be hard." FoxSports
Roush hopes to find a new owner for the #26  The deal between Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing has put Roush Fenway Racing in the position of looking for a new owner to take over the #26 car in 2010. Roush Fenway president Geoff Smith said the RPM-Yates deal has him looking for somebody to take ownership of the #26 car currently driven by Jamie McMurray. Smith was working on a deal to move the #26 to Yates Racing to get Roush Fenway to the NASCAR cap of four cars. With four cars in the RPM stable -- Paul Menard from Yates, Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and A.J. Allmendinger from RPM -- there no longer is room for expansion. Smith hasn't completely given up hope on keeping McMurray in the #26 with another owner using Roush Fenway engines and chassis, but said the only way that could happen was for full sponsorship to be found. Most of the speculation has McMurray going to the #1 at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, but that car isn't fully sponsored for next season. Smith said Erik Darnell, who is driving seven races for the #96 at Yates/Hall of Fame Racing entry this year, also could be a candidate for the 26 if ownership and sponsorship is found. "The Jack Roush pressure, on me in particular, is we don't want any person that came to work for us to lose their job because of a business decision or shrinkage," Smith said. "We want to keep the 26 alive however we can." Smith added that Roush Fenway has not had serious discussions with RPM officials about using its engines and chassis even though Petty said that was the plan. But he admitted it would be financially beneficial for Roush Fenway to supply eight teams vs. five to six. Petty said details of the deal with Yates are 80% complete and should be finalized over the next two weeks to a month. ESPN.com
Chevrolet Equinox Fuel Cell Passes 1 Million Miles  The Chevrolet Equinox fuel cell electric vehicles today passed 1 million miles of gasoline and tailpipe pollution-free driving by homemakers, accountants, computer game designers and others using the vehicles every day in real-world conditions.

More than 50,000 gallons of gasoline have been saved so far in the fuel cell Equinox, more than 100 of which are part of the largest consumer fuel cell demonstration fleet in the world. The fuel cell electric Equinox runs on electricity created by an on-board fuel cell stack. The only emissions are wisps of water vapor.

About 5,000 people have driven the fuel cell Equinox in short test drives. More than 80,000 people in New York, Washington, D.C., and Greater Los Angeles, volunteered to drive the vehicles as part of Project Driveway, which began in November 2007. More ...

Race to Razia, Title to Hülkenberg  
Nico Hulkenberg 2009 GP2 Champion
Luiz Razia has taken a serene victory this morning in the sprint race in Monza ahead of Lucas di Grassi, but all eyes were on the battle for third place between the championship contenders which was resolved, along with the title, in favor of Nico Hülkenberg.

The German needed to claim one point more than Vitaly Petrov to be sure of the title, and soaked up extensive pressure from the Russian until Petrov ran wide late in the race to allow Hülkenberg to become the first driver to win the GP2 title before the final round.

Razia could have been forgiven for suffering from nerves on his first pole position after being promoted to eighth place and his first ever point due to a penalty for Alvaro Parente, but when the lights went out the Brazilian regally led the field away while the rest of the field scrapped over the space left by Javier Villa. More ...

Trulli charity auction brings in €300,000  Jarno Trulli hosted a charity auction in the town of Monza last night, raising Euro300,000 for his Abruzzo nel Cuore appeal.

Jarno has spent the past six months raising funds to help the victims of April's earthquake in the Italian region of Abruzzo, Jarno's birthplace. Through the website www.abruzzonelcuore.net and a charity football game, he had already raised around Euro150,000.

That fund was significantly increased last night in Monza when memorabilia from Jarno, Giancarlo Fisichella, Brawn, Ferrari, McLaren, Red Bull, Renault and Williams, as well as a unique Audemars Piguet watch designed and donated especially for the occasion, was put up for auction in front of an exclusive VIP audience of around 100. More ...
Brawn to test Barrichello's gearbox in practice  UPDATE #2 (GMM)  Rubens Barrichello will not receive a five-position grid penalty at Monza, after Brawn decided against changing his gearbox before the Italian grand prix.

Team boss Ross Brawn had said the team would make a decision about the gearbox on Sunday morning, after it sustained some damage during the Belgian GP two weeks ago.

With the uncertainty, it had been thought Brawn might change the gearbox at high speed Monza, rather than risk a penalty at either Singapore and Japan, where lower grid positions are more difficult to recover.

09/12/09 (GMM) Brawn is still yet to decide whether to change Rubens Barrichello's Spa-specification gearbox ahead of the Italian grand prix.

Despite having some concerns about the unit after the oil leak and fire at the end of the Spa race two weeks ago, it successfully got the Brazilian through third practice and qualifying at high-speed Monza on Saturday.

Rubens Barrichello's gearbox may have issues
The British team would prefer to keep the gearbox in Barrichello's car for the race, because an out-of-sequence change would cost him a five-place grid demotion.

"We're going to have another look at all the information," team boss Ross Brawn told reporters at Monza after qualifying. "There's no decision yet."

He revealed that, with the fuel weights now published by the FIA, an analysis will be done as to the affect the penalty would have on Barrichello's Italian GP. A decision will likely be made on Sunday morning.

Barrichello, fifth on the grid and just ahead of his teammate Jenson Button despite a marginally heavier fuel load, said it might be worth taking the risk of not changing the gearbox.

09/12/09 (GMM)  Brawn will on Saturday morning carry out tests on Rubens Barrichello's Spa-specification gearbox after an oil leak and fire at the end of the Belgian grand prix.

The team has confirmed that his Mercedes engine emerged unscathed from the problem, but doubts about his gearbox persist. More ...

Button rejects need for 'mind manager'  
If Button loses the title it will be the ultimate choke of all time
(GMM)  Jenson Button has rejected suggestions he would boost his chances of securing the 2009 world championship by employing a 'mind-manager'.

Sir Jackie Stewart is a famous proponent of using external help for the all-important role in sports of psychology, and Button revealed at Monza on Saturday that Stewart's former protégé Rubens Barrichello has indeed used a mind-manager.

"Since he got rid of him he's gone quicker," the Briton laughed.

Many observers believe it has been Button's inability to cope with the pressure of leading the world championship that has contributed to his recent slump in form.

But the 29-year-old does not believe a mind manager would help him.

"I don't know what anyone could possibly say that's going to help me," he told reporters in Italy.

"Mind management?  I know what's going on in my head.  You don't.  So why should I listen to you?  It wouldn't work for me.

"I'll say, 'I've been here for 10 years, you haven't.  So what can you help me with?'.

"As my old man (John) just says 'Go and kick some ass!"

Button denied that his stance is an exercise in not being open-minded enough.

"I am pretty open minded with many things, but there are certain things I am pretty stubborn about.  When it comes to that sort of thing I am pretty stubborn."

Ford investment in Petty team same as it was for Yates Racing  UPDATE Richard Petty expects the Richard Petty Motorsports-Yates Racing merger to be closed in another couple of weeks as the teams rush to get ready for the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.  Petty, a co-owner of RPM, said on Saturday that the deal is 80 percent done and many of the details need to be hashed out to finalize the terms of the merger, which he characterized as his organization absorbing Yates Racing. The ownership structure, where the team would be housed and exactly how much help it will get from Roush Fenway Racing is still to be determined, Petty said Saturday at Richmond International Raceway.

“The deal is we have agreed to do something,” Petty said. “The deal is we sit down now and [start] working out what the particulars are, who is going to do what, who is going to take care of what, how much involvement Yates have, how much we have, how much Ford has, anybody else.

“Those are the particulars. Even though they’ve discussed them, they haven’t put them down on paper.”

“The deal with Dodge was not there,” Petty said. “And for us to continue and try to have more factory support, Ford was our best alternative. … The Dodge deal was all going to Penske. Dodge was very willing to work with us in pieces, parts, engineering and all of that, but there was no monetary situation there to help us out.

“Yates already had a couple of Ford teams. We get involved with that, and we’ve got a couple of Ford deals and hopefully in the future we can work out more things with Ford.”

“It was a logic-based decision,” Gillett said. “If you just sit there and look around, a set of pieces fall into place. More ...

Carpentier gets axed from NASCAR ride  UPDATE "We left on good terms," said Carpentier. "Obviously it's difficult for me to put aside everything that I prepare for my future in Canada just to qualify the car, run some laps and quit due to the lack of funds." Baldwin has similar thoughts. "Times are tough for everyone, but even more for small companies like us," said the owner and crew chief. "It's just normal that Patrick finds it difficult to put his life on hold whenever we need him and that it's simply to qualify the car." Moreover, with budget cuts everywhere in NASCAR, even Baldwin has had, in recent weeks, difficulties in purchasing enough sets of tires needed for practice and qualifying.

09/10/09 Michael McDowell will drive the #36 Wave Energy Drink Toyota of Tommy Baldwin Racing beginning this weekend at Richmond International Raceway. Patrick Carpentier is no longer driving the #36 because of a business conflict in Canada. McDowell has been driving full-time in NASCAR Nationwide Series Toyota during the 2009 season and captured five top-10 finishes. TBR PR
Crash-gate ends Piquet's career - Brundle  
By burning his bridges behind him and squealing on his team because he was fired, no team will ever put Piquet in a ride again.  Besides, he is not really that quick
(GMM)  No matter the outcome of the 'crash-gate' scandal, Nelson Piquet's career is over, Martin Brundle wrote in his column for The Times newspaper on Saturday.

With the race-fixing allegations and the September 21 hearing still the main topic of conversation at Monza, Brundle - the former grand prix driver and now commentator for British television - said he did not sympathize with the whistleblower.

"Piquet Jr is unemployable now," said Brundle.  "A driver who would willingly and intentionally crash his car?  Unforgiveable."

Brundle, who started about 160 grands prix until the mid 90s, said he does not sympathize with Piquet's claim that he agreed to crash on purpose to please his paymasters and win a new contract. More ...

Skinner takes his Toyota to victory at Gateway  Mike Skinner was the beneficiary of a wild conclusion in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race Saturday, winning the Copart 200 in a green-white-checkered finish at Gateway International Raceway.

Matt Crafton was involved in incidents in back-to-back restarts with 10 laps remaining that knocked out the first-place and second-place trucks.

On the first restart, Crafton, running third, jumped inside of Todd Bodine, who restarted second. As they approached Turn 1, Bodine’s Toyota angled toward the inside and contact was made with Crafton’s Chevrolet. Bodine did a quarter-spin on the pit lane exit and went across the track, hit the outside wall and made contact with Colin Braun and Rick Crawford. The race was red flagged. More ...

Monza: Post qualifying weights  The post qualifying weights for tomorrow's Italian grand prix have been released.  As stated after the race, the Brawn's look to be on one-stop strategies, with everyone in front of Heikki Kovalainen being on two-stop strategies.  The cars will begin tomorrow's race at the following weights.

Driver Weight (kg)
Hamilton 653.5
Sutil 655.0
Raikkonen 662.0
Kovalainen 683.0
Barrichello 688.5
Button 687.0
Liuzzi 679.5
Alonso 677.5
Vettel 682.0
Webber 683.0
Trulli 703.0
Grosjean 699.8
Kubica 697.5
Fisichella 690.0
Heidfeld 697.5
Glock 709.8
Nakajima 706.2
Rosberg 708.6
Buemi 706.0
Alguersuari 706.0
Hard to predict Sunday's Monza winner  (GMM) The Italian grand prix looks set to be a closely contested race on the high speed curves of Monza's Autodromo Nazionale.

Lewis Hamilton is on pole with his McLaren, but the Q3 fuel weights published late on Saturday by the FIA revealed that he was in fact the lightest car in qualifying.

Moreover, he will need to stop one more time than his McLaren teammate Heikki Kovalainen, who is fourth on the grid with 30kg more fuel, as well as the nicely placed Brawns, who are even heavier than the Finn and lined up just behind him. More ...
Hamilton not penalised for blocking  (GMM) Pole sitter Lewis Hamilton was not penalised despite being summoned after qualifying by race stewards for blocking Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi.

Buemi, who qualified second to last, said he had been "slowed by Hamilton", reportedly as the McLaren exited the pitlane to begin an out-lap.

But after interviewing both Hamilton and Swiss rookie Buemi, the stewards ruled that "the incident requires no further action".

Stewards also looked into whether Tonio Liuzzi should be penalised for blocking Mark Webber, but the FIA officials came to the same conclusion.
Rain for Monza?  UPDATE #2 After fine and warm conditions for qualifying, the skies above Monza opened later on Saturday afternoon, raising the prospect of a wet race on Sunday.  However, although the late Saturday downpour was heavy, delaying the start of the GP2 race, the formula one race forecast at present is for dry conditions, although with plenty of rain predicted once the sun sets.  It also rained heavily at Monza late on Friday, after three hours of practice in dry conditions.

09/12/09 Although yesterday's practice sessions were run in dry and hot conditions, nightfall saw rain accompanied by thunder and lightening hit the town. However, the weather for the remainder of the weekend is forecast to be dry and warm, albeit with some scattered cloud lingering in the skies. Today, Saturday, will see ambient temperatures hit 27°C, with partly cloud skies, identical to Sunday's forecast.

09/10/09 Weather forecasters are predicting that, for the second year in succession, the Italian Grand Prix weekend could be affected by rain. Heavy showers are expected at Monza on Saturday with more, lighter rain on Sunday. In 2008, drivers had to cope with a wet track in both qualifying and the race.

The Italian Grand Prix marks the final European race of the season, with only four 'flyaways' then remaining in Singapore, Japan, Brazil and Abu Dhabi. Last year, Friday free practice proved a total washout in Italy, with McLaren coming off worse with a flooding garage.

For 2009, crowds are expected to enjoy blue skies and temperatures reaching a pleasant 25°C (77°F) for practice on Friday although the weekend's lowest figures are expected on Saturday, as well as heavy rain. Ambient temperatures are expected to rise to 24°C (75°F) on race day although light race is expected to see lower track surface temperatures than on Friday.
ALMS team to fold  
Adrian Fernandez' Lowe's team will be no more
SpeedTV.com reports that ALMS LMP2 team Fernandez Racing  will close its doors on Oct. 30, barring any last minute saviors.

"It's been a good run but we're between a rock and a hard place and our poker hand didn't come up so good this time," Tom Anderson told SpeedTV.com.

"I told our guys that we didn't have anything that's even close so they all needed to go look for jobs. Go look now and go look hard."

"Adrian has always found his own sponsors but we've both turned over every stone looking for something and we even hired a guy with some connections down south to try and find us sponsorship," said Anderson.

"Ideally, the cheapest deal would have been to stay in sports cars because we've got our car, we could lease an engine from Acura and probably do the season for $3-3.5 million. After that, we thought Indy cars made the most sense but it's really tough right now to find anything."

Fisichella not regretting Ferrari switch  
Giancarlo Fisichella in his Ferrari
(GMM)  At the race after his pole and podium, and with his former teammate Adrian Sutil on the front row of the grid at Monza, it was suggested on Saturday that Giancarlo Fisichella might be regretting his decision to trade in his Force India for a Ferrari.

The Roman had earlier described the move as a "dream" near the end of his F1 race career, but in his red-colored car at Monza he was slowest on Friday before crashing in practice and qualifying just fourteenth for his home race.

It was an improvement for the Italian team's car number 3 after two consecutive races off the pace with Luca Badoer, but Fisichella would have been forgiven for casting a rueful eye on the continuing astonishing pace of the Force India team he recently left.

"I'm happy for them but the chance to be a Ferrari driver was the chance of my life.  Even if they (Force India) win the next five races I don't change (my mind)," he insisted.

Fisichella's replacement Tonio Liuzzi is seven places ahead of his predecessor, but Fernando Alonso is skeptical the Silverstone based team can keep up its pace once F1 moves away from unique high-speed venues like Spa and Monza.

"It would be a surprise if they are at the top come Singapore," the Renault driver said.  "I think (them) fighting for wins has to do with the characteristics of these circuits."

Vettel not happy ahead of Italian GP  (GMM) Sebastian Vettel was not happy after qualifying ninth for the Italian grand prix.

The Red Bull driver is at least a place ahead of his teammate Mark Webber, but he is also two rows behind the championship-leading Brawns, who revealed on Saturday that they qualified with heavy one-stop strategy fuel loads.

"That was not very good," the German told his country's broadcaster RTL. "Now we have to see how heavy the others are but I think we needed to do a bit better."

Rubens Barrichello, the highest placed Brawn in fifth place and just 15 thousands ahead of championship leader Jenson Button, said with a less heavy fuel load he could have been on pole. More ...
Both failed BMW engines were new  (GMM) Both BMW-Sauber drivers retired from qualifying at Monza with the same failures in their fresh V8 engines, the team revealed on Saturday.

First Nick Heidfeld and then Robert Kubica had to park their cars during the Q2 session, on the same day mechanics fitted new BMW engines for the high speed demands of the Autodromo Nazionale.

It is believed that while Heidfeld, who had been competitive this weekend, now has just one of his allocation of eight engines left, Kubica's failure means he has completely exhausted his supply of new power plants for 2009.

He will therefore have to tackle the remaining five races of the season with previously-used but still-functioning engines, or begin taking ten-place grid penalties.

"This is a very difficult situation for me, not only for this grand prix but also for the next races," said the Pole.

Team boss Mario Theissen said the two failures were the same but that a thorough inspection will only be possible back at the factory.
Mosley rules out three-car idea  (GMM)  Max Mosley on Saturday dismissed as "fantasy" Ferrari and other FOTA members' desire to field three cars per team next year.

Sir Frank Williams has already indicated that he will veto the suggestion, and the FIA president at Monza confirmed that the newly-signed Concorde Agreement does not include the possibility of three cars.

"The time to think about three cars was before we all signed that (agreement), not after," said the Briton.

He said the Concorde Agreement permits third entries only if the grid drops below 20 cars, but this is unlikely to happen in 2010, given the expected debut of new teams.

"Three cars is a nice story, but it's a little bit of fantasy, and difficult to get unanimous agreement on," said Mosley.

It is believed one of the possibilities discussed by FOTA earlier this week is that the third cars could be fielded by separate teams.

But Mosley said: "That would mean another re-write of the Concorde Agreement."

Drivers warned about Monza curb-hopping  (GMM)  F1 drivers on Saturday were warned about jumping over the new curbs at Monza.

Even though the curbs were modified ahead of this year's Italian grand prix to prevent curb-cutting, race director Charlie Whiting found the need to issue a caution to all teams on qualifying day.

The FIA official said qualifying laps will be deleted if all four wheels of a driver's car are on the wrong side of the high curbs, while 'three strikes' will apply before drive-through penalties are imposed in the race.

"Any individual cutting of a chicane in which a clear advantage is gained will also incur a separate drive-through penalty," Whiting wrote in the communique, adding that offenses on the first lap will not count unless a "clear advantage" is gained.

Meanwhile, FIA stewards fined pole sitter Lewis Hamilton 2400 euros for exceeding the pitlane speed limit in Saturday practice, and Jaime Alguersuari is to take a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change.

However, the penalty will not affect the Spanish rookie, because he qualified his Toro Rosso in last place and therefore cannot be demoted further.

Monza: Sutil again on top Saturday morning  
Adrian Sutil
Adrian Sutil continued his fine form this morning finishing ahead of Jenson Button and Nick Heidfeld. Rubens Barrichello was fourth, Lewis Hamilton fifth, Kovalainen sixth, Liuzzi seventh and Alonso rounding out the top eight. 

Even though the sun was shining and the Monza circuit was registering a very warm 31 degrees, heavy overnight rain was a factor for the teams as they began the third and final free practice session of the Italian GP weekend this morning.



Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:23.336 +0.000 21
2. Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:23.404 +0.068 21
3. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 1:23.490 +0.154 18
4. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:23.575 +0.239 20
5. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:23.633 +0.297 18
6. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:23.803 +0.467 20
7. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:23.849 +0.513 21
8. Alonso Renault 1:23.915 +0.579 17
9. Glock Toyota 1:23.959 +0.623 21
10. Kubica BMW-Sauber 1:23.996 +0.660 18
11. Grosjean Renault 1:24.197 +0.861 15
12. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:24.302 +0.966 20
13. Trulli Toyota 1:24.326 +0.990 17
14. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:24.392 +1.056 20
15. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:24.572 +1.236 23
16. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:24.621 +1.285 21
17. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:25.154 +1.818 13
18. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:25.244 +1.908 16
19. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:25.791 +2.455 10
20. Fisichella Ferrari 1:25.951 +2.615 10

Monza: Fisichella crashes on Saturday morning  
(GMM)  In the hours before his debut qualifying session for Ferrari, Giancarlo Fisichella crashed half-way through the Saturday morning practice session at Monza.

The Roman veteran, replacing Luca Badoer and the injured Felipe Massa at the wheel of car number 3, under-steered off his home track after braking for the Parabolica corner, heavily damaging the left side of the F60 against the tire barrier.

Highlighting the pressure on the 36-year-old this weekend, the live television cameras and media then followed his entire trek back to the pits and even into the Ferrari garage, and then down the paddock as he went for a routine check in the medical centre.

Fisichella was close to the pace but nonetheless also last at the end of Friday's afternoon practice session, and afterwards described his Ferrari debut as "particularly tough" as he adapted to new steering wheel buttons, KERS and an adjustable front wing flap.

"The potential is there to get onto the front few rows, but I need a bit more time to improve, especially in terms of braking and cutting the curbs," he said.

With 15 minutes to go in the final hour-long practice before qualifying, Force India's Adrian Sutil remained right on the pace, with the McLarens also still looking quick.

Mallya: Liuzzi will finish the season  While former Force India driver Giancarlo Fisichella moved to Ferrari for the remainder of the season to fulfill a life-team dream his country fellow Vitantonio Liuzzi gets the chance to return to the Formula 1 grid this weekend with Force India. According to team boss Vijay Mallya Liuzzi will finish the season for them alongside team-mate Adrian Sutil.

When asked if Liuzzi's job as the team's driver is safe for the final five races of the season Vijay Mallya replied in Friday's press conference: "Absolutely, he's OK for the next five races and maybe even beyond. He knows that he needs to perform as well. We've done all we can to produce a car that's now getting competitive and as the driver, he also has to deliver his part of it and he knows that.

"This game is unpredictable in more ways than one and there aren't any guarantees attached to either a car or a driver. But I think I would say that I'm quite happy and quite optimistic that the cars will go well and both drivers will do well."

Liuzzi completed his last Formula Grand Prix back in 2007 for Scuderia Toro Rosso. He finished thirteenth at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

More details on the Petty 'buyout' of Yates  The deal that brought together Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing for next season is more of a buyout than a merger, minority owner Richard Petty said on Friday. "We're basically taking over their deal," the seven-time Sprint Cup champion said before qualifying at Richmond International Raceway. "As far as I know all of that whole operation will be Richard Petty Motorsports." Petty said George Gillett Jr., who declined to comment earlier Friday, would remain the controlling owner. He said Robbie Loomis, the executive director of race operations at RPM, will continue to run day to day operations. He was unsure what role Max Jones, who co-owned Yates Racing with Doug Yates, would take but speculated that he would stay on as the general manager. Jones declined to comment. Sources close to the situation said Yates would continue to run the Roush-Yates engine program that will supply engines to RPM's four teams -- Paul Menard from Yates and Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and A.J. Allmendinger from RPM. Petty said plans are to move from RPM's Statesville, N.C., shop to Yates' facility in Concord, N.C., to be closer to Roush Fenway Racing, which will continue to supply parts, pieces and technical support as it did with Yates. Because engines will come from Roush-Yates, RPM will have to shut down its engine department that employed more than 40 people. Petty said the potential of letting more people go during tough economic times was the tough part of the deal. More at ESPN.com
Spectators to walk to 2010 British GP  (GMM)  Thousands of daily spectators for the 2010 British grand prix at Donington will have to walk up to 45 minutes each way from car parks, according to a local newspaper.

The Leicester Mercury says it has received a draft version of the race's transport plan, showing that the percentage of spectators allowed to drive to the circuit must park up to two miles away and then walk to the gates.

Event boss Simon Gillett's plan is to avoid gridlock on surrounding roads that cannot cope with the expected crowd of up to 100,000 per day.

Spectators who have to park even further away, or arrive by train, will be ferried to the track by bus, the draft plan also revealed. More ...

Button set to blow title bid - Horner  
If Button loses the title it will be the ultimate choke of all time
(GMM) Sep.12 (GMM)  If Jenson Button was not already feeling the pressure of his diminishing points lead, he should not read Christian Horner's latest comments.

With Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber both in the fight to hunt down the Brawn driver for the championship, the Red Bull team boss likened Button's situation to a soccer player about to blow an important match with a penalty shot.

"I'd be a worried man if I was him.  Wouldn't you be?  At the moment he is like Stuart Pearce taking a penalty.  You can see he (Button) has tightened up since (winning in) Turkey," Horner said.

Scarcely attempting to hide the attempt at psychological mind games, the Briton directly questioned his countryman's ability to handle the stress of capturing the 2009 drivers' crown.

"I have known Jenson since he was 11.  He has won a lot of races but not many championships and finds himself in uncharted territory.  He is inexperienced at being the favorite," said Horner.

He said that if he had to place a bet based on street-fighting qualities, he would back Button's rivals to win the championship.

"It's down to mental strength at the end of the day.  It's like the top 25 tennis players.  They can all play the strokes, it's who wins the big points.  It's the same in any sport," said Horner.

Button's boss Ross Brawn confirmed that he has sensed a change in the driver since the easy-riding of earlier this season.

"It's ten years or more since Jenson fought for a championship or more, so he's having to re-engage his thoughts on fighting for it and what I see is perfectly normal.  I don't see anything negative about it," he said.

Schu extends Ferrari contract  UPDATE
Michael Schumacher
The relationship between Michael Schumacher and Ferrari seems to be destined to last forever. After eleven years as a driver for the Scuderia, winning five Drivers’ and six Constructors titles with the team, Michael will continue working as a consultant for the Prancing Horse, which he has been doing since 2007, for another three years. This has been announced by Michael on his website: “Yesterday in Maranello Chairman Montezemolo and I agreed on extending our collaboration for another three years. I’m very happy about it, because I always loved being part of the family Ferrari, a name that stands for passion, high quality and top-level sportiness. The agreement foresees that my contribution is more and more directed to the area of road cars. It was extremely nice for me to participate in the development of the Ferrari California, the 430 Scuderia and the new born 458 Italia, which will be officially presented next Tuesday at the IAA Frankfurt: I can’t wait to be part of the future projects in Maranello." Ferrari PR

09/11/09 (GMM)  Michael Schumacher has extended his contract with Ferrari for three more years, the seven time world champion announced on his official website on Friday.

In the report posted at michael-schumacher.de, the 40-year-old German explained that the agreement will involve "more and more" input into the famous Italian marque's road car department.

track news
Digital Version of IMS Goes Online  An exact digital version of the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway is available now to members of iRacing.com’s virtual racing service on the personal computer.

iRacing’s millimeter-accurate reproduction of The Brickyard is priced for iRacing members at $25. The track package includes the 2.5-mile, four-cornered oval that first opened for racing 100 years ago and is the venue every Memorial Day weekend for the Indianapolis 500 and since 1994 is host to the Brickyard 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race in July. Also included is the 2.534-mile road circuit originally built to accommodate the United States Grand Prix Formula One race and the 2.621-mile layout that each August welcomes the Red Bull Indianapolis GP round of the MotoGP motorcycle world championship. More ...

Hitler finds out Danica is going to NASCAR  
Noted racing photographer found dead  UPDATE A memorial service will be held 7:00 PM Sunday, September 13, 2009 at the Brickyard Crossing 1st floor Parlor for friends of Steve.  In lieu of flowers, a donation to IRL Ministries in Steve’s name is requested.

09/09/09 A member of the IndyCar photography staff, Steve Snoddy, was found dead by his son this morning after having had an apparent heart attack in his home.  He was the owner of the Steve Snoddy Motorsports Group.  More as we get it.

Our condolences go out to his family and loved ones.

Lance Snacks joins Ambrose for 2010  Lance, Inc. formally announced a multi-year agreement to promote their popular Lance Sandwich Crackers and Tom's Salty Snacks lines through sponsorship of Marcos Ambrose and the JTG/Daugherty Sprint Cup entry. Tom's executed a limited NASCAR Nationwide Series Sponsorship with the team in 2009 and the results prompted the move to Cup Series Sponsorship. Lance Brand Director, Tommy Ingram said, "JTG/Daugherty Racing is a great organization and has a proven track record of helping brands win with consumers and retailers. We were impressed with the business results from our 2009 partnership and are pleased to take the relationship to the next level with America's #1 Brand of Sandwich Crackers." More ...
Raikkonen fined 7600 euros for speeding  (GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen was fined 7600 euros by stewards at the Italian grand prix for speeding in the pitlane during afternoon practice at Monza.

Driving his Ferrari, the Finn broke the 60kph speed limit by 37.2kph, it was confirmed in a stewards' statement.

Piquet makes statement of Renault 'Crashgate' charges  Regarding the current FIA investigation, I confirm that I have co-operated fully and honestly with the sport’s governing body. Because I am telling the truth I have nothing to fear, whether from the ING Renault Team or Mr. Baritone and whilst I am well aware of the power and influence of those being investigated, and the vast resources at their disposal, I will not be bullied again into making a decision I regret.

I have every confidence in the FIA investigation and World Motor Sport Council and I will be making no further comment until the conclusion of the hearing of 21 September 2009.

Sutil says top pace at Monza genuine  
Adrian Sutil
(GMM)  Adrian Sutil on Friday said his pace at the wheel of the Force India at Monza on Friday afternoon was genuine.

The German topped the second 90 minute session after displaying consistently fast pace throughout, and he was also third quickest in the morning.

"The progress we have made in the last two races is amazing," he said.  "We now have a very good car and here it is a very nice setup."

Sutil's former teammate Giancarlo Fisichella, who was on pole position and finished second at Spa two weeks ago, was at the bottom of the time sheets on Friday afternoon having made his dream switch to Ferrari.

Sutil, who said a top five qualifying result on Saturday is his minimum target, said he wasn't feeling envious of his former colleague's move to F1's most famous team.

"Actually I think that at the moment we have the better car," said the 26-year-old.

Mosley fears more carmakers to quit F1  (GMM)  Max Mosley on Friday said he would not bet money on formula one still boasting its full complement of car manufacturers on the grid of the 2010 season opener.

Following Honda's withdrawal, BMW is also pulling out at the end of this year, and the FIA president said more of their struggling road-car making rivals could be set to follow.

"I think we may lose another one, might even lose two and there's also one or two of the private teams who will find it difficult," Mosley told reporters at Monza.

"I'd stake my worldly goods on Ferrari being there.  But not on all the manufacturers.  But I may be wrong," he added. More ...

FOTA condemns crash-gate data leaks  (GMM)  The formula one teams association FOTA on Friday condemned the leaking of information and documents relevant to the Singapore GP 'crash-gate' affair.

After the FIA earlier said it was concerned about and investigating the leaks, FOTA seemed to point the finger of blame at F1's governing body, arguing that "confidential documents should remain under the control of the competent authority".

"All parties to the dispute should have the right to a fair hearing carried out in private and not in the public arena, which is producing adverse publicity damaging to the corporate image and credibility of formula one," read a media statement issued by FOTA, of which Renault is a leading member.

On a visit to the Monza paddock on Friday, FIA president Max Mosley denied that the Paris federation has anything to do with the leaks and agreed that more efforts to safeguard information should be made.

FOTA added that it believes "differences within the sport should be handled in a professional manner and condemns the habit of intentionally releasing confidential documents to influence public opinion".

Petrov dominates Monza GP2 quals  Vitaly Petrov has kept his championship hopes going with a strong drive in difficult conditions during this afternoon's qualifying session in Monza to claim pole for tomorrow's race one, ahead of Giedo van der Garde and points leader Nico Hülkenberg.

The Russian, who has been feeling poor all day after picking up an infection on his arm, stopped the clock with a laptime of 1:30.007, four tenths faster than his rivals, to pick up the two points on offer and close the gap to his German rival to 25 points.

Petrov led the field out of the pits at the start of the session and sat at the top of the timesheets for the remaining 30 minutes, with his rivals unable to get close: the Russian even set the second and third fastest laps on his second set of tires and was comfortable enough to get out of the car well before the end of the session. More ...

Monza: Sutil tops second practice  Adrian Sutil continued Force India's excellent form by topping the second practice session at Monza Friday.  The two Renaults followed with the rookie Romain Grosjean beating Fernando Alonso.

Heikki Kovalainen's late run got the McLaren into fourth place.



Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:23.924 +0.000 28
2. Grosjean Renault 1:24.163 + 0.239 31
3. Alonso Renault 1:24.297 + 0.373 35
4. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:24.482 + 0.558 41
5. Kubica BMW-Sauber 1:24.622 + 0.698 40
6. Glock Toyota 1:24.634 + 0.710 36
7. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 1:24.693 + 0.769 34
8. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:24.796 + 0.872 39
9. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:24.799 + 0.875 36
10. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:24.884 + 0.960 44
11. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:24.902 + 0.978 32
12. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:24.921 + 0.997 39
13. Trulli Toyota 1:24.967 + 1.043 40
14. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:24.979 + 1.055 25
15. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:25.003 + 1.079 34
16. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:25.140 + 1.216 35
17. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:25.215 + 1.291 38
18. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:25.386 + 1.462 27
19. Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:25.424 + 1.500 32
20. Fisichella Ferrari 1:25.543 + 1.619 36

Monza curb height lowered at first chicane  (GMM)  The new high curbs at the first chicane were reduced in height following criticism on the first day of the Italian GP weekend.

"For me, these things are a safety risk," Toyota's Timo Glock, who had a violent spin over the new 'combination curbs' in morning practice, told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

He also said damage to the front wing and even the monocoque is possible if a driver strikes the curbs at the wrong angle.

FIA race director Charlie Whiting responded by insisting the curbs at both the first and second chicanes at Monza are actually "only two inches higher" than last year.

He also revealed that the same sort of curbs are used at Montreal, the Nurburgring and Barcelona.

But it is believed the FIA responded by lowering the curbs at least at the first chicane because they may have dissuaded drivers from attempting overtaking moves.

Piquet given immunity amid crash-gate - Mosley  (GMM)  Nelson Piquet Jr will not be punished as part of the 'crash-gate' saga, FIA president Max Mosley has revealed during an interview with Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

"No," the Briton said.  "We have promised him immunity if he cooperates," Mosley added, referring to the Brazilian driver's sworn statement to the FIA about the Singapore GP crash affair.

"We did the same thing two years ago with Alonso in the espionage case," he said.

The same immunity has not been granted to Alonso, the winner of the event last September, this time around, but Mosley said there is no evidence the Spaniard was a part of the conspiracy. More ...

Renault begin criminal proceedings against Piquet  Today the ING Renault F1 Team have announced their intention to begin criminal proceedings against Nelson Piquet, their former driver.  The team have not commented before now on the allegations they told Piquet to crash during last year's Singapore grand prix, resulting in his teammate Fernando Alonso winning the race.  The statement is below.

"The FIA has announced that it is to hold an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council ('WMSC') on 21 September 2009. The ING Renault F1 Team is to attend that meeting and answer allegations that members of the team conspired with Nelson Piquet Jnr to cause a deliberate accident at the 2008 Singapore GP, so that Fernando Alonso might benefit from the resulting safety car.

"The ING Renault F1 Team had not commented publicly during the FIA's initial investigation into this matter.

"However, today the ING Renault F1 Team and its Managing Director Flavio Briatore personally, wish to state that they have commenced criminal proceedings against Nelson Piquet Junior and Nelson Piquet Senior in France concerning the making of false allegations and a related attempt to blackmail the team into allowing Mr Piquet Jnr to drive for the remainder of the 2009 season. The matter will also be referred to the Police in the UK."
Highcroft confirms Franchitti for Petit LeMans  Highcroft has put out a press release saying that Dario Franchitti will rejoin David Brabham and Scott Sharp in its driver line-up for the Petit Le Mans later this month.  Franchitti had previously driven for the squad in the Sebring 12 Hours.

"It is certainly an exceptional field with Audi, Peugeot and also the ORECA guys coming over," said Franchitti. "The P2 cars are also very impressive and been quite close to the P1 cars from time to time. Obviously I have been keeping an eye on my brother Marino and the Dyson boys as well."

"My job at Petit is certainly to be a team player - I'm not out there to be a star - I have to be conservative and make sure I hand the car back in perfect condition at the end of my stints," he said.

"Pulling off a strong finish will be extremely important for Patron Highcroft Racing's championship aspirations." More ...

Theissen optimistic on team's future  BMW Sauber F1's team principal Mario Theissen still believes the team will find a buyer to continue racing in Formula 1 with the Hinwil-based team. The team is still in negotiating with a number of parties.

In Monza Theissen was quoted by Autosport saying: "I cannot say anything new because we are working really hard. There are negotiations ongoing behind the scenes, but I am cannot comment on things that are not finalized and we don't have a decision.

"I can only say there is a chance for the team to continue, but we don't have a decision yet."

Theissen also revealed he expects to announce some news later this month on the future of the team.

Allmendinger discusses Petty-Yates merger  Thursday, September 10, 2009 on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, host Dave Moody spoke with #44 RPM Dodge driver A.J. Allmendinger after the announcement that Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing have signed a letter of intent to merge for the 2010 season and race a four car team in Fords:

Host, Dave Moody: "How long have you known about this?"

A.J. Allmendinger: "I think probably just about as long as you guys have. Maybe an hour earlier. I knew about an hour earlier."

Moody: "Is it safe to say there are going to be a lot of really surprised folks wandering around the halls at RPM and Yates Racing today?" More ...
Sorenson discusses Petty-Yates merger  Thursday, September 10, 2009 on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, host Dave Moody spoke with #43 RPM Dodge driver Reed Sorenson after the announcement that Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing have signed a letter of intent to merge for the 2010 season and race a four car team in Fords:

Host, Dave Moody: "When did you first learn of this?"

Reed Sorenson: "Well, to be honest with you, I've heard rumors and things like that and whatnot of something going on with a merger but as far as knowing exactly what's going on, I haven't really paid too much attention to it. I've just been working with my team and when I've been to the shop this week I really didn't talk to anybody in upper management or anything. I was hanging out with my guys and working with my crew chief there so I didn't know when this was going to happen or what they were working on but obviously it came along this week."

Moody: "So in terms of actually having a face-to-face conversation or even a telephone conversation with somebody in upper management to tell you that you're not apparently a part of the plan for next year, have you or have you not had that conversation as of yet?" More ...
Monza: McLaren lead early  Sebastian Vettel found the funny side of his championship handicap on Friday as his rivals sped around the Monza circuit in Friday morning practice.

Because he is running out of his season's allocation of eight Renault power plants, the Red Bull driver is severely limiting his practice mileage prior to grands prix.

At Monza his mere 8 timed laps, nearly 20 laps below the average, left him two seconds and 17 places behind the pace set by the KERS-equipped McLarens.

But to show he is at least keeping occupied, the German sat at the back of his garage alternatively reading a novel, penciling answers into a crossword and playing the numbers puzzle Sudoku.

"Some of that is for the benefit of the reporters here," team boss Christian Horner told the BBC.  "He's got a wicked sense of humor -- you'll have to hear his Kimi Raikkonen impression one day." More ...

Mercedes Reveals AMG Gullwing  New pictures of the Mercedes Benz SLS have surfaced again, this time however the car isn’t in any fancy duct tape trim.

The Gullwing revival car has quite a bit of American muscle built into it. The front end especially with its big mouth and long sloping bonnet is very bold looking.

The front-mid engined 563 HP 6.3-litre V8 SLS AMG will boast the likes of dry sump lubrication, a seven-speed dual-clutch transaxle transmission, aluminum double wishbone sports suspension in an aluminum space frame chassis with gull-wing doors to provide an ideal 48 to 52 percent front/rear weight distribution and an ultra-low centre of gravity in a most uncompromising sports car concept.

Audi R8 Blows its Top  The secret is out – official pictures of the Audi R8 Spyder leaked ahead of Frankfurt debut.  What you see here are official pictures of the Audi R8 Spyder, which have leaked onto the internet prior to the car’s debut at Frankfurt next week.

As is often the case with leaked pictures, there is no official information at present but it’s probably safe to assume that the open-top will be offered with the current V8 and V10 petrol engines. What is apparent though, is that Audi has gone with the soft-top format to keep weight to a minimum.

Klien, Heidfeld, skeptical about new F1 teams  (GMM)  Skepticism about the new F1 teams for 2010 continues in the drivers' camp.

Nico Rosberg said this week that he has not held talks with Manor, USF1 and Campos about next year.  Also on the market is the BMW-Sauber test driver Christian Klien.

But when asked about whether he is eying the new teams, Klien told the Austrian news agency APA: "You can't visit a factory because there's nothing there.

"You can't sign anything at the moment because the uncertainty about whether they're going to be there next year is still too large," he added.

German driver Nick Heidfeld also said he does not see the new teams as options.

"I try to follow what they're doing but obviously there are rumors that they are not doing a lot and maybe don't have enough money or whatever," he told reporters at Monza.

Piquet evidence leaks 'serious' - FIA  (GMM)  F1's governing body has described as "serious" the fact that official evidence related to the Renault crash-gate scandal was leaked to the media.

As well as Nelson Piquet's statement to the FIA, other evidence believed part of the dossier for World Motor Sport Council members, including telemetry traces - showing Piquet accelerated hard during his spin - and a stewards finding that the Brazilian's claims are "in large part true", found their way into the hands of the press on Thursday.

It has been claimed the leaks may be an attempt to derail the outcome of the September 21 hearing, which could result in Renault being ousted from the sport. More ...

Jay Leno Gets Up-Close Look at New McLaren Supercar  
Q&A with Dario Franchitti  
Dario Franchitti
Former Indy 500 champion Dario Franchitti returns to Patr¢n Highcroft Racing for the upcoming Petit Le Mans event at Road Atlanta - the penultimate round of the 2009 American Le Mans Series.

Franchitti made his debut with the team at this event in 2008 aboard the Patr¢n Highcroft Racing LMP2 class Acura. 

This year's 1000-mile classic will be Franchitti's second drive aboard the team's 2009 Acura ARX-02a LMP1 prototype.

Franchitti will join LMP1 championship leaders Scott Sharp and David Brabham.  The Patr¢n Highcroft Racing squad currently enjoy a 17-point lead in the LMP1 championship with two races remaining.

Franchitti is also in strong championship contention for Target Chip Ganassi Racing in the IndyCar Series.  With two races to go, Franchitti is within 25 points off the championship lead in second place. More ...

Fisichella: "it’s not a dream, it’s true!"  
Italian Giancarlo Fisichella sits in a Ferrari for the first time
One could sense the pride which filled Giancarlo Fisichella, as he walked into the FIA Press Conference, wearing Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team kit for the first time. He was even relaxed enough to answer with humor, when asked what he thought about his new car for this weekend. “At this stage, I cannot tell you much about it, except that it is the color red! But I can say that being here, for my home Grand Prix, with a new team, Ferrari, is a dream — just great and I have received so many texts and phone calls from friends congratulating me. There is a fantastic atmosphere in the team and everyone has been very nice to me. I feel as though I’m living a dream, but it’s not a dream, it’s true!” More ...
Ferrari confirms 5-year Santander deal  (GMM)  A five-year contract announced at Monza on Thursday will see the Spanish bank Santander arrive as a "most important" Ferrari sponsor in 2010, the Italian team said.

Having appeared at a press conference for the announcement of the deal, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo was then quoted in a statement as describing Santander as a "very important" new partner.

Santander branding is currently seen on the rearward-facing rear wings of the McLaren cars, in a deal that commenced when the Spaniard Fernando Alonso joined the British team in 2007.

But with the double world champion now linked strongly with a move to Ferrari, Montezemolo had earlier said the Santander announcement "doesn't mean anything in terms of (driver) choices for the near future".

Alonso's former McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton however clearly expects the 27-year-old to make the switch, as he spoke at an appearance at the Homeless World Cup in Milan.

"It will be great to race him as a Ferrari driver and to battle with him to share out the next ten formula one world championships," the British driver is quoted as saying on Thursday by Gazzetta dello Sport.

Nelson Piquet's FIA statement revealed  The legal statement made to the FIA by Nelson Piquet Jr has been leaked to the F1SA website. It is not clear how this has happened but we believe that the World Council dossier has been sent out and the leak must come from one of the members.

The statement made is as follows:

I, Nelson Angelo Piquet, born July 25, 1985 in Heidelberg, Germany...say as follows:

1. Except as otherwise stated, the facts and statements contained in this Statement are based on facts and matters within my knowledge. I believe such facts and statements contained in this Statement to be true and correct. Where any facts or statements are not within my own knowledge, they are true to the best of my knowledge and belief and, where appropriate, I indicate the source of that knowledge and belief.

2. I make this Statement voluntarily to the FIA and for the purposes of allowing the FIA to exercise its supervisory and regulatory functions with regard to the FIA Formula One World Championship.

3. I am aware that there is a duty upon all participants in the FIA Formula One World Championship and all Super License holders to ensure the fairness and legitimacy of the Championship and I am aware that serious consequences could follow if I were to provide the FIA with any false or misleading statement.

4. I understand that my complete statement has been recorded on audio tape and that a full transcript of my audio recording will be made available to me and the FIA. The present document constitutes a summary of the main points made during my full oral statement. More ...

NHRA fines John Force after altercation  The National Hot Rod Association has fined John Force $10,000 after the Funny Car team owner and driver was involved in a physical confrontation with an NHRA official during the U.S. Nationals on Monday.

Videotape from the U.S. Nationals - drag racing's top event - showed Force making physical contact with the official at O’Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis during a confrontation with Funny Car rival Tony Pedregon.

The penalty, which can be appealed, has to be paid before Force can return to competition.

racing news
Motor Sport Business Forum Sets Agenda  The inaugural Motor Sport Business Forum-North America (MSBF-NA) will feature a two-day agenda of insightful presentations, idea-filled panel discussions, unprecedented keynote speakers, high-level networking and more when the international event takes place at the Orlando Hilton, December 8 – 9.

With well over two dozen speakers already confirmed, MSBF-NA organizers unveiled today the initial agenda for the two-day forum, which will be held in North America for the first time. The packed two-day agenda includes eight featured panel discussions, a keynote luncheon address each day, scheduled exhibition times, networking sessions and much more.

The speakers and presenters confirmed for Orlando is an A-list gathering of management representatives from leading teams, sponsors, championship promoters, governing bodies and industry executives. High-level representation from recognized and relevant sports, marketing and entertainment organizations from beyond motor sport will also be included in the packed two-day agenda, which includes the following panels and presentations: More ...
IndyCar Sponsor negatives begin to appear because of Versus deal  Robin Miller reports in his latest SPEEDTv.com article that Paul Tracy recently met with officials of insurance company GEICO, which sponsored him at Indianapolis and Watkins Glen this season. He was told that they were happy with his efforts and wanted to help him again in 2010. “But they're only interested in the races on ABC,” Tracy told Miller.
Brickyard 400 winners tough to beat in Chase for Sprint Cup  Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson share a common bond entering the tense finale of the Race for the Chase on Saturday, Sept. 12 at Richmond International Raceway.

They've already qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup this season. They've won multiple NASCAR Sprint Cup titles. And they've won multiple Brickyard 400 races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Ten drivers will face intense pressure under the lights at Richmond in the Chevy Rock & Roll 400, competing for the final eight spots in the 10-race Chase that will determine the season champion. Stewart, Gordon, Johnson and Denny Hamlin - who occupy the top four spots in the standings, respectively - already are in. More ...

Richard Petty Motorsports to run Fords in 2010, merge w/Yates  Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing announced today they have signed a letter of intent to merge operations in time for the 2010 season. The four-car team will race Fords under the Richard Petty Motorsports banner.

Richard Petty: "This is a pretty big deal for us. We're thrilled to partner with Ford. We've talked with a lot of folks, but in the end it came down to the success the Gilletts and I think we can achieve with Ford Racing. Right now this deal is real new. There are lots of details still left to be ironed out so we don't have a lot of answers for anyone right now. We'll be working on all that in the coming days, weeks and months, but we do intend to have everything in place before the start of next season. I've won races with Ford and plan to again." More ...
Montezemolo certain Massa to be fit for 2010  (GMM) Felipe Massa is certain to be back in top form at the wheel of his Ferrari at the 2010 season opener, team president Luca di Montezemolo said at Monza on Thursday.

"He'll be 100 per cent ready. I heard from him an hour ago and everything's going great in his recovery. He'll be in perfect shape," the Italian is quoted as saying by the news agency ANSA.

Massa, 28, had plastic surgery earlier this week to repair facial bone damage sustained in his Budapest qualifying crash.

Montezemolo on Thursday also said he hopes to see Michael Schumacher renew his F1 comeback when also fully recovered from injury, and refused to link Spanish bank Santander's arrival as a major new team sponsor with speculation Fernando Alonso will race a Ferrari in 2010.
Priaulx signs up for ROC  Triple World Touring Car Champion Priaulx confirmed for 2009 Race of Champions - Priaulx joins F1 World Championship leader Jenson Button to race for Team Autosport Great Britain - Two-time ROC semi-finalist going for outright glory in 2009 Three-time FIA World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx is the latest name to be confirmed for The Race of Champions 2009, and the Guernseyman is aiming to become the first British winner of the event since Colin McRae 10 years ago. Priaulx, who has driven in The Race of Champions since 2006, will return as a competitor who narrowly missed out on making the final for the past two years. In 2007 the BMW works driver was knocked out by eventual Champion of Champions Mattias Ekström, while Sébastien Loeb went on to win the event after beating Priaulx in the semi-finals in 2008. He also won the ROC Legends competition at the first Race of Champions regional final in Portugal earlier this year. Having enjoyed competing in The Race of Champions at Wembley and Stade de France, as well as the ROC Legends event in Porto, Im excited to see the track in Beijing, which Im told is going to be bigger and better than ever before, said Priaulx.

Ive reached the semi-finals for the past two years, so my aim has to be to win the event outright this year, as well as achieving a good result for Team Autosport Great Britain in The ROC Nations Cup.  

The competition will be tough, but whatever happens it will be tons of fun, which is the spirit of ROC, and it will be spectacular to compete in somewhere as incredible as the Birds Nest Stadium. Fredrik Johnsson, President of The Race of Champions Organisers IMP, said of Priaulx: Andy has been one of the most competitive drivers in The Race of Champions over the past three years, showing again and again that he has a natural ability to jump into any type of car and instantly be quick. Its not just his speed that makes him such a great ROC competitor though he clearly has a lot of fun, and thats what the fans want to see. Priaulx first entered The Race of Champions in Paris in 2006, after winning his second World Touring Car crown. He will be teamed with F1 World Championship leader Jenson Button for The ROC Nations Cup, with the pairing having reached the semi-finals together for the past two years.
Symonds evasive during FIA questioning  (GMM) Pat Symonds refused to answer direct questions about the 'crash-gate' scandal when interrogated by chief FIA steward Alan Donnelly and investigators for the Quest firm recently at Spa, it emerged on Thursday.

After Nelson Piquet's statement to the governing body was leaked to the media, evidence containing a Q-and-A with Renault engineering boss Symonds' also came to light.

56-year-old Symonds, whose team tenure dates back to its Toleman days in the early 80s, admitted that in a pre-race meeting with Piquet in Singapore, the Brazilian driver made the suggestion of a deliberate crash. More ...
Surprised Alonso backs Briatore amid 'crash-gate'  (GMM) Fernando Alonso on Thursday said the 'crash-gate' scandal caught him completely by surprise because he knew nothing about his former teammate Nelson Piquet crashing on purpose during the Singapore grand prix last year.

Spaniard Alonso won the inaugural night race by having pitted on an unusually low-fuel strategy just before the Piquet safety car, and at Monza twelve months on he strongly backed his under-fire boss Flavio Briatore.

"He's always been a nice boss with me. A friend, a boss, he supports my career always," said the 27-year-old double world champion. More ...
Symonds said 'be careful' before Piquet crash  (GMM) Pat Symonds told Nelson Piquet to "be careful" before the allegedly deliberate crash in Singapore last year, and Flavio Briatore said "thank you" to the Brazilian driver after the incident helped Fernando Alonso win the inaugural night race.

The information emerged on Thursday not in the form of unsubstantiated gossip in the Monza paddock, but a formalised statement to the FIA given by the sacked Renault driver Piquet on July 30.

A signed copy of the document was scanned and published by the website F1SA.com.

Piquet, 23, said he agreed to engineering boss Symonds and manager Briatore's request due to his "fragile and emotional state of mind" and the hope the favour would result in a new contract for 2010. More ...
Nice weather at Monza on Thursday  (GMM) Sunglasses and a t-shirt were necessities at Monza on Thursday, and more good weather is expected throughout the Italian grand prix weekend.

Some reports raise the prospect of rain at the fabled circuit near Milan, and indeed the strongest chance is for probably light drizzle at the most at times on Friday and Saturday.

But if there are not light showers, temperatures will be steadily in the mid twenties, and the latest forecast is for a completely dry race-day on Sunday.
Renault accusations escalate  Autosport is carrying a story this evening with some amazing revelations about a meeting which took place between Renault’s Flavio Briatore, Pat Symonds and Nelson Piquet Jr at Singapore last year.

Renault stand accused of deliberately causing Piquet to crash, just after Alonso’s early first pit stop, in order to give Alonso the chance to win the race, as the rest of the field would pit under the ensuing safety car.

The first ever night race, the Singapore Grand Prix was sponsored by Renault’s title sponsor, ING, making it a perfect day for them. Autosport’s Jon Noble quotes ’sources’, in his report as follows: More ...
IRL can't survive a Danica defection  UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, I don't agree with the Indy Star article on Danica sinking open wheel racing.  Her entire career she's won ONE race!!!!!!!!!  This includes feeder series.  You go to her website, and it looks more like she's selling her body.  Racing takes a back seat to her "personal agenda",  whatever that might be.  Granted, she is running better each year----but come on---the schedule and the length of races in NASCAR---she'll need a relief driver in practice for god sakes!!!!  Get the new car for the IRL out earlier---more HP, more American drivers, better TV package---you'll see the series take off again.  Pat Kleibor/Franklin Wisconsin

Dear Pat, We said a long time ago that the best athletes/drivers of any sport should be the heroes.  Putting her front and center and making her the series superstar will come back to haunt the IRL when Danica leaves. Mark C.

09/09/09 When Danica Patrick makes the full-time leap to NASCAR -- and she will be a stock-car regular no later than 2012 -- where will that leave the IndyCar Series?


As opposed to next to nowhere, which is where it currently resides in the American sports consciousness.

Patrick's eventual defection to NASCAR won't kill the sport, but it will deal the open-wheel types a painful and possibly even fatal blow. The folks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway don't want to hear this, but without Patrick -- their one and only marquee talent and celebrity -- IndyCar is as insignificant as celebrity billiards. More ...

Stewart Wins Prelude to the Dream at Eldora Speedway  Tony Stewart won the fifth annual Gillette Young Guns Prelude to the Dream all-star dirt late model race Wednesday night at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, marking the third time in four years Stewart has won the event. Stewart passed Kenny Wallace on lap 13 of the 30-lap event and led the final 18 laps en route to victory. “This was probably the best I’ve run in the Prelude,” said Stewart, who bought Eldora in 2004. “We won last year, I think we led the whole thing, but this was one I had to work for. We weren’t exactly perfect, and we weren’t perfect because I hit the wall on the first two starts right off the bat.”

Clint Bowyer finished 3.358 seconds behind Stewart in the runner-up spot, while Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top-five. Drag Racing standout Cruz Pedregon, David Reutimann, Aric Almirola, Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson comprised the top-10. There were four caution periods during the event, although the laps conducted under caution did not count. More ...
Monza is the home race for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro  
The final European event on the Formula 1 calendar is a very important one for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, it being the home race for the Maranello-based team. The Scuderia makes the short trip to the Royal Park of Monza in good form, after Kimi Raikkonen gave Ferrari its first win of the season, ten days ago in Belgium. However, the main talking point over the weekend is likely to be the driver of car Number 3, as Giancarlo Fisichella, another star of the Spa-Francorchamps weekend, now has the honor and indeed the responsibility of being an Italian driver in a Prancing Horse car at the historic and atmospheric Monza circuit. By his own admission, driving a Ferrari Formula 1 car has always been a dream of his. Since being released from his Force India contract, the Roman driver has had sessions in Ferrari’s static simulator to acclimatize to the F60 cockpit environment and has been extensively briefed by the engineers, to be as well prepared as possible for the weekend ahead. More ...
McLaren Automotive reveals MP4-12C  
No more free chassis for new IndyCar teams  The surviving owners from Champ Car who joined the Indy Racing League got free cars and engines in 2008 as part of the unification agreement. They all had to pay Honda for leases this season but there was still no bill for their Dallara chassis.

Until now.

Ex-ChampCar teams expected to pay for their Dallara chassis at some point, but demanding payment at the end of the season when budgets are depleted seems odd. For a small team like Eric Bachelart, Dale Coyne, Carl Haas, Kevin Kalkhoven, Mike Lanigan and Keith Wiggins received an email from IRL president of competition Brian Barnhart on Tuesday requesting a payment of $100,000 per car.

The teams were given the option of having that money taken out of their next TEAM check (all teams who run the full schedule are given $1.2 million per car by the league) or possibly working out a payment plan.

If IndyCar doesn't have its money by Jan. 14, the cars could be repossessed.  More at SPEEDTV.com

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Ecclestone received pay-raise in 2008
  • Symonds says Singapore crash was Piquet's idea
  • No driver announcements until later - Haug
  • Three car idea 'not thought through' - Haug
  • Ferrari would allow Fisi to keep racing in 2010
  • Liechtenstein firm linked with Sauber buyout
  • Ferrari hints Schu to stay in 2010
  • Ferrari to ask rivals for Massa test
  • Mallya to test Chandhok in F1 simulator
  • Force India motor home rumors 'ridiculous'

Ecclestone received pay-raise in 2008
(GMM)  F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone received a pay-raise of nearly 15 per cent last year, a report in the Financial Times reveals.

The 78-year-old therefore made about $6.5m in 2008, which is more than 80 per cent of the fees set aside for directors of the Formula One Management company.

At the same time, F1's owners CVC recorded losses for the sport in excess of $500m, as teams were paid more prize money - totaling more than half a billion dollars - in the wake of Honda's shock departure.

$22m was written off when Canada dropped off the race calendar.  $84m, meanwhile, was paid off F1's debts, leaving $2.3bn to be repaid by 2014.

Symonds says Singapore crash was Piquet's idea
(GMM)  The accusation that Renault instructed Nelson Piquet to crash on purpose at last year's Singapore grand prix did originate from the now-ousted Brazilian driver, it is reported.

Reports in British newspapers including the Mirror and the Times claim Piquet informed the FIA that he agreed to the race-fixing.

The crash was reportedly discussed in a pre-race meeting with Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds - but not Fernando Alonso - and agreed by Piquet because he thought it might result in a new contract for 2009.

FIA investigators were also informed by Piquet that Symonds, Renault's veteran engineering director, told the 23-year-old driver specifically that the crash should occur on lap 13 or 14 to activate Alonso's race strategy. More ...

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