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Lazier to hang up gloves for politics  Buddy Lazier has announced he'll be entering a different kind of race.  Lazier, an Indianapolis 500 winner and IndyCar Series champion, is a candidate for one of the four open seats on the Vail (Colo.) Town Council in November.

"At this period in time, I have the time and I want to contribute," said Lazier, 41, a lifelong Vail resident. "I've weighed the time that it takes to do it right, and by running, I'm making a commitment that I'm willing and able to put in the heavy hours."

Lazier and his father, Bob, own the Tivoli Lodge in Vail, and competing in Indy car racing for 25 years means he knows about marketing, he said.  "I bring a strong background of service to a lot of our guests," Lazier said.  Indycar.com

track news
One last hurdle for Milwaukee Mile  The Milwaukee Mile will have a new racing promoter Friday, assuming it pays off NASCAR for races next season by Thursday.

The State Fair Park board of directors gave conditional approval Monday to a contract with Historic Mile LLC, one more step in a long, confusing and sometimes contentious process. It voted unanimously to authorize Chairman Sue Crane to finish the deal if the park hears from NASCAR by 3 p.m. Friday that money has been placed in escrow.

Tony Machi and Jim Beaudoin, the known partners in Historic Mile, sat in with the board for nearly an hour in closed session but left before the vote was taken. More ...

A special farewell to Gil de Ferran  
Gil de Ferran
Two-time IndyCar Champion and 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner Gil de Ferran is preparing for a very special send-off when the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca venue in California plays host to the final round of the 2009 American Le Mans Series – the Monterey Sports Car Championships on October 10. The 41-year-old Brazilian announced recently that he will retire from professional driving at the end of this year's season, though he will continue as President of de Ferran Motorsports, the front-running team he established in 2008. To mark his final race, de Ferran will serve as the race’s Grand Marshal and will be supporting various high-profile, pre-event activities as well as giving the famous “start your engines” command.
Open Letter to Nelson Piquet Sr  A reader writes, Dear Nelson Piquet Sr.  Please shut up.  Your son did not perform as a F1 driver.  Alonso wiped the floor with him.  You got "even" with Flavio but ruined your son's career in the process, if he had one in the first place.  Nobody cares what you think. Saul Rosenberg
Atlanta lowers some ticket prices for 2010  Atlanta Motor Speedway announced Monday that the March 7 NASCAR Sprint Cup Kobalt Tools 500 will feature reduced ticket pricing on a number of seats, including those in the Petty, Winners, Champion and Upper Earnhardt Grandstands located along the track’s frontstretch.

In addition, the track is offering a four-installment payment option to buy tickets for the race. Tickets can be reserved by putting 25 percent of the total ticket cost down and the remaining balance can be paid in equal, consecutive monthly payments.

Adult tickets for the Kobalt Tools 500 start at $39, and student tickets are as low as $19, while supplies last. A limited quantity of frontstretch seats can be purchased for $59.
Additional details are available by calling the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at (770) 946-4211 or (877) 9-AMS-TIX or at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.
Gilliland to attempt 3 races for Joe Gibbs Racing  Joe Gibbs Racing announced Tuesday that David Gilliland will drive the organization's No. 02 Farm Bureau Insurance-sponsored Toyota on three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekends.

Gilliland will attempt to make the field for the races at Lowe's Motor Speedway (Oct. 17), Texas Motor Speedway (Nov. 8) and Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 22).

The Contenders: Franchitti seeking second title  
Dario Franchitti
It was drifting toward 10 p.m. and Dario Franchitti - after a long day in which he subjected the No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing car and himself to the 11 tight turns of the Long Beach street circuit multiple times in practice and three rounds of qualifications - was walking the 1.968-mile layout.

"I take notes. Not about the setup of the car but things I have to do," he said. "Where the bumps are. What techniques to use on certain corners."

Attention to detail has been Franchitti's calling card since well before he earned the McLaren/Autosport Young Driver of the Year award in 1992. In part, such studiousness has led Franchitti to the brink of a second IndyCar Series championship after a year's absence to compete in stock cars. More ...

Senna says he will make F1 debut in 2010  
Bruno Senna
(GMM) Bruno Senna is confident he will make his formula one debut in 2010.

The 25-year-old Brazilian, who came second in last year's GP2 championship but has not raced full-time in 2009, said at an event that he is hoping to reach an agreement with one of the existing teams.

But Senna, the nephew of F1's late triple world champion Ayrton Senna, hinted that the current situation in the sport meant he might need to kick off his grand prix career with a new team.

USF1, Manor and Lotus are scheduled to make their team debuts in 2010, and Senna has already been linked strongly with another new outfit, Campos.

"Formula one is in a very difficult moment and this is not really helping my case very much. But one way or another I'll be racing in it next year," he is quoted as saying by the Evening Standard at a promotional event for the new Need For Speed computer game. More ...

Doohan to race Schumacher and Button in China  Five-time MotoGP World Champion Mick Doohan will return to the race track this November, when the biking legend competes amongst motorsport stars including Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button at The Race of Champions, to be held in the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing. Doohan, who won five consecutive titles at motorcycle racing’s highest level from 1994-1998, will team up with fellow Aussie Jamie Whincup, the reigning Australian V8 Supercars Champion, in The ROC Nations Cup on Tuesday 3 November. Both racers will then compete for individual glory in The Race of Champions on Wednesday 4 November.

Five-time MotoGP World Champion Mick Doohan will return to the race track this November, when the biking legend competes amongst motorsport stars including Michael Schumacher and Jenson Button at The Race of Champions, to be held in the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing. Doohan, who won five consecutive titles at motorcycle racing’s highest level from 1994-1998, will team up with fellow Aussie Jamie Whincup, the reigning Australian V8 Supercars Champion, in The ROC Nations Cup on Tuesday 3 November. Both racers will then compete for individual glory in The Race of Champions on Wednesday 4 November.

Ecclestone voted against Briatore ban - Mosley  (GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone actively voted against Flavio Briatore receiving his lifetime ban from involvement in motor sport at the recent crash-gate hearing of the World Motor Sport Council.

When the F1 chief subsequently arrived in Singapore from the Paris meeting, he suggested that "on reflection" he believed the FIA sanction against his friend and business partner had been too harsh.

"I was on the commission so I am probably just as guilty as anyone else.  On reflection it wasn't necessary," said the Briton, whose stance was interpreted as condoning cheating and slammed by the F1 owner CVC's director Sir Martin Sorrell.

During an interview with London's Evening Standard newspaper, FIA president Max Mosley revealed that the 78-year-old billionaire actually voted against Briatore's lifetime ban.

"The council did not vote unanimously," he said.  "A substantial majority were in favor of punishing Briatore but Bernie was in a minority."

[Editor's Note:  Why would Bernie not vote to ban Flavio after such blatant cheating?  Perhaps Flavio fell on his sword for Bernie to generate all the free PR F1 got for yet another controversy.  What will be the next controversy?]

Massa tests kart in Brazil  (GMM)  Felipe Massa this week returned to a race track for the first time since sustaining serious head injuries at the Hungaroring in July.

The Ferrari driver drove a competitive go-kart at a circuit in Sao Paulo but stopped when it began to rain, the German news agency SID reports.

"He drove six laps and afterwards felt normal," 28-year-old Massa's Brazilian friend and stock car driver Thiago Camilo said.

It is believed his next move will be to Fiat's state of the art driver simulator.  Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali last weekend refused to rule out a return for Massa before November's Abu Dhabi season finale.

Piquet Sr: Renault was managed by Alonso  
Nelson Piquet Sr.
Nelson Piquet Sr has launched another scathing attack on Renault, claiming the team "was managed by Fernando Alonso himself".

Piquet Sr says his son was under enormous pressure at Renault and claims the whole debacle was "inevitable".

"This is not something that should exist in motor racing," Nelson Piquet Sr told the Brazilian media. "In my career I would never have thought about doing something like this. But the circumstances that made him do this were inevitable. He was under great pressure.

"This year was really very bad due to the favoring in terms of cars that Renault gave to Alonso. The team was not even managed by Briatore: it was managed by Alonso himself. More ...

Trulli not well in Japan  (GMM)  Jarno Trulli sat out a Toyota media event in Tokyo on Tuesday but his team boss believes the Italian will be fit for the weekend's Japanese grand prix action at Suzuka.

The AP news agency said the 35-year-old is suffering from a fever picked up in Singapore last weekend.

"We wanted him to take it easy," said Tadashi Yamashina, adding that Trulli is scheduled to be at another event in Nagoya on Wednesday.

Toyota isn't complaining about Max Mosley's F1 budget cuts anymore  Toyota's Tadashi Yamashina acknowledged there have been worries about Toyota staying in F1.

The maker of the Camry sedan and Prius hybrid has posted its worst ever loss for the fiscal year that ended March 31, battered by a global slump and a surging yen, and is projecting more losses this fiscal year.

Yamashina said the team was still focused on winning F1 races.  The company was serious about cost cuts, he added, traveling economy class for some flights and cutting back on menu choices at the canteen.

“We will never give up and hope to someday stand at the center of the podium,” he said.

Q&A with Toyota's Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock  Ahead of Toyota's home race, drivers Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock talk about Japan, its famous fans and returning to the demanding circuit of Suzuka...

Q: How would you describe Suzuka as a circuit?
Jarno Trulli:
It is a very technical and very challenging circuit. There are a lot of high-speed corners and quick changes of direction, so it is a very nice lay-out for a driver. Spa is very similar but I would say a little bit harder because it is longer. There are many different types of corner so you need your car to be strong in all areas and, as a medium-high-speed track, aerodynamics are very important. I am really looking forward to going back to Suzuka after two enjoyable trips to Fuji Speedway because it's one of the sport's great tracks.
Timo Glock: Suzuka is a mega track, one of the best in the world. I am really looking forward to driving there again as it has been five years which is way too long! The main thing about Suzuka is that it is high speed and in a Formula One car that is a lot of fun. It is a really interesting circuit, with lots of different types of corners as well as up and downhill sections. It's certainly not easy. More ...
Lotus Formula One team will be privately owned  The Lotus Formula One team, which has won admittance to the series thanks to backing from Malaysia, will be wholly privately owned, according to reports in the country.

Private investors are expected to contribute between US$30 million and US$45 million per season, according to Asia Sponsorship News, while the team is known to be negotiating a sponsorship with Petronas. Team principal and AirAsia owner Tony Fernandes told ASN that government involvement would remain limited to that Petronas partnership.

'Ownership of the team is expected to be shared between Fernandes, AirAsia deputy CEO Kamarudin Meranun and Naza Group CEO SM Nasaruddin SM Nasimuddin,' adds the report. More ...

Video: Scott Sharp crash  
Lotus to test in February  The 2010 Lotus car will be ready to test in February, Team Principal Tony Fernandes has confirmed. The legendary sporting name will return to Formula One for the first time since 1994 next season with Malaysian backing.

Funded by Tony Fernandes' Tune Group - the same company behind AirAsia, the 12th largest Airline in the world - the 1Malaysia project was allowed use of the Lotus name by Proton as the Malaysian national car manufacturer now owns rights to its usage.

With the 2010 season due to kick off in Bahrain in March, the car will have tested for the first time one month earlier ahead of a return to Kuala Lumpur's Sepang circuit for Round 3. The cars of the newly-formed squad will also be designed and manufactured at the circuit, which is to be site of the team's factory.

Vision teammates wins karting event  IndyCar Series driver Ed Carpenter and Vision Racing engineer Nathan O'Rourke won the Mazda Robo-Pong 200 presented by Bridgestone go-karting event on Sept. 27 at New Castle Motorsports Park.

Forty-seven teams competed in the sixth annual 200-lap endurance karting event on the 1-mile circuit, featuring IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights drivers.

The Crepes & Waffles-Yacaman Racing/D-Power Engines entry driven by Firestone Indy Lights competitor Gustavo Yacaman and Camilo Echevarria finished 10th, while the Screaming Talent/H Power/PBIR/Maranello #1 kart driven by 2006 Firestone Indy Lights champion Jay Howard and Joe Paterson finished 13th. More ...

track news
IMS forced to delay event  The Indianapolis Motor Speedway's Concours d’Elegance, featuring some of the world’s finest classic and antique automobiles and motorcycles, is moving back one year to June 17-19, 2011.

The event, originally scheduled for June 18-20, 2010, is shifting to the new date due to the challenging state of the world economy, IMS officials announced today..

The Concours d’Elegance will be a featured event during the Speedway’s Centennial Era, honoring the 100th anniversaries of the opening of the fabled facility in 1909 and the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911. The event will celebrate the significance of vehicular transportation and competition to Indianapolis.

Vehicles at concours d’elegance competitions are judged on their appearance in an elegant setting, with awards presented in a variety of classes
Menard says he will not be going to #07 car  Paul Menard denied speculation that he is a candidate to replace Casey Mears in the fourth car [Chevy] at Richard Childress Racing next season. Reports this past weekend from Dover International Speedway had Menard, sponsored by his father's company, touring the RCR facility in Welcome, N.C. He supposedly is unhappy with the merger between Yates and Richard Petty Motorsports and is looking for a new home. See more at ESPN Insider
Patrick's signing leaves IRL breathing sigh of relief  Danica Patrick still hasn't actually told anyone what her plans are for 2010 and beyond, but it's taken as gospel that she will remain an IndyCar Series driver for the next three years. The Indianapolis Star reported Thursday that Patrick signed a contract extension to remain with Michael Andretti's team, and Andretti all but confirmed the signing in Curt Cavin's follow-up story.

What does it mean? Mostly that a lot of people in a lot of places -- the Indy Racing League, the league's television partners ABC/ESPN and Versus, the team currently known as Andretti Green Racing, and what's left of open-wheel racing's fan base, to name a few -- can all breathe a big sigh of relief now that Indy car racing's most recognizable star is not leaving for NASCAR.

Although the IndyCar Series can boast of several world-class drivers, including Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti, Helio Castroneves, Tony Kanaan and the rapidly emerging Ryan Briscoe, none of them captivate racing fans of all ages like Danica does. As Americans, Graham Rahal and Marco Andretti have the potential to build a massive fan base to rival Patrick's, but they'll have to start winning a lot more races for that to happen. ESPN

Tony George puts Indy estate up for sale  It's a low-key "for sale" sign, given the high-profile celebrities who are selling their home.

But Tony and Laura George's 12-plus acres in the 8000 block of Spring Mill Road on the Far Northside is available for purchase, at least unofficially. George's family is handling the marketing for a few months before it's officially listed, said his daughter-in-law, Heather Carpenter.

The sign went up Friday.

"We're doing this for a couple of months and then we'll officially list it," Carpenter said. "The market's not very good right now, so we thought we'd put a sign in the yard."

The Georges, co-owners of Vision Racing, declined to disclose an asking price. More ...

Penske to run development driver in Nationwide car  Penske Racing development driver Parker Kligerman will make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut this weekend, competing in the No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Dodge in the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway.

Kligerman will also race for the team in the Nationwide Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday, November 21. More ...

Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC  
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Live from Kansas on ABC
The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup continues this weekend as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races for 400 miles on Sunday, Oct. 4, at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kan. ESPN’s live, flag-to-flag coverage of the race will air on ABC. The telecast begins with NASCAR Countdown at 1 p.m. ET and the race’s green flag is at 2:15 p.m.

Spin’s coverage of the final 11 races of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule will air on ABC, including all 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. ESPN’s coverage from Kansas includes NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying on Friday, Oct. 2, at 4:30 p.m. and a same-day telecast of NASCAR Sprint Cup final practice on Saturday, Oct. 3, at 6:30 p.m., both on ESPN2.

Dr. Jerry Punch will be lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN’s coverage, with analysis by 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Dale Jarrett and two-time NASCAR champion crew chief Andy Petree. Reporting from the pits will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch, with two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion crew chief Tim Brewer in the ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage. More ...

Toyota skips 2010 option on Glock contract  (GMM)  24 hours before his solid second place in Singapore, Timo Glock was informed by his Toyota boss John Howett that the option on his contract to include the 2010 season will not be taken up by the Japanese team.

The information was reported by the German publications Sport Bild as well as newspapers Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) and Bild-Zeitung.

A spokesman for the Cologne based team also confirmed the news, but contradicted those publications who interpreted the move as Glock, 27, having been "fired".

Rather, he insisted that Toyota's partnership with Glock is not necessarily at an end, but that both sides had been given freedom to assess their options.

"The door is not closed," he added, also insisting that the news has nothing to do with the team's future. More ...

Brawn not ready to announce drivers for 2010  (GMM)  Brawn GP is not going to announce its driver lineup for the 2010 season until well after November's Abu Dhabi season finale.

With Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello the main protagonists for the 2009 drivers' title, the pair's future is also yet to be clarified by their Brackley based employer.

While likely champion Button, 29, is thought to be in discussions over his retainer for 2010, his veteran teammate Barrichello is in top form and also linked with a move to Williams.

Nico Rosberg is expected to be joining the increasingly Mercedes-involved team next year, and team principal Ross Brawn told reporters in Singapore that the decision about his teammate will not be declared while the current duo is dueling for the crown.

"We've got this championship going on at the moment and discussions (with drivers) are going on, but nothing will be announced until much later," he said.

No no.1 even with superstar lineup - McLaren  (GMM)  McLaren are refusing to directly confirm that Kimi Raikkonen is set to return in 2010, but team members are dropping lots of hints.

With it all but certain that Fernando Alonso is headed to Ferrari next year, it is believed that Finn Raikkonen's lawyers are in the final stages of negotiating a multi million euro exit from his contract so that he can become Lewis Hamilton's next teammate.

Team chiefs Martin Whitmarsh and Norbert Haug did not specifically mention the possibility in Singapore, but it was clear what they were talking about.

"McLaren has never had the philosophy of specifying a number one," Whitmarsh said.  "We want to have the best available drivers in our cars."

However, in 2007 when Hamilton was pitted alongside Fernando Alonso, the team's policy of employing strong drivers with absolute equality can often lead to tension.

It is also a concern that, as Hamilton and Alonso fought two years ago, they both narrowly lost the world championship -- ironically to Raikkonen. More ...

Renault not expecting to replace ING  (GMM)  Renault is not expecting to simply replace the departed title sponsor ING.

Prior to the Dutch bank's termination of its contract over the crash-gate scandal, ING was already planning to leave formula one after the 2009 season.

Before Flavio Briatore also left Renault because of crash-gate, he was openly looking to the corporate world to replace the lost ING dollars in 2010 and beyond.

But the team's acting managing director Jean Francois Caubet said in Singapore: "I don't think the future for a carmaker will be having a main sponsor like we've had in the past."

He revealed that Renault is therefore prepared to make a bigger relative contribution to the team financially.

"Yes, it's not a problem," said Caubet.

"Ten years ago formula one (sponsorship) was (dominated by) the tobacco companies.  Two or three years ago it was banks, but I think in the future it will be impossible to find title sponsors the same size as ING or whatever."

Button can secure drivers' title at Suzuka  (GMM)  Jenson Button could wrap up the 2009 world championship at Suzuka this weekend.

The Briton leads his Brawn teammate Rubens Barrichello by 15 points, meaning that if he moves another 5 points ahead of the Brazilian in Japan, the drivers' title can be his with two races to spare.

If the 29-year-old wins on Sunday, he will be champion if Barrichello finishes fourth or lower.  Button can also finish second and be champion at Suzuka, if Barrichello is no higher than sixth.

If Button is third and Barrichello is eighth, the Briton can also clinch the title in Japan, and if Barrichello fails to score a single point, Button only needs to finish fourth. More ...

Carmakers fight hike in ethanol at gas pumps  A push by corn-producing states and alternative fuel proponents to increase federal rules boosting the amount of ethanol mixed into gasoline is being fought by automakers because it would be costly and could damage engines.

By Dec. 1, the Environmental Protection Agency must decide whether to approve a request to increase the amount of ethanol that can be mixed with most gasoline sold at pumps to as much as 15 percent.

Most pumps already sell E10, which is 10 percent ethanol.

Automakers want the agency to further study the effects of the proposed increase before allowing it to happen.

Increased ethanol blends could corrode engines that aren't specifically built for E15, according to automakers. More ...

Malaysia needs 129 million dollars for F1 team  Aviation mogul Tony Fernandes said Monday it will cost about 450 million ringgit (129 million dollars) to put Malaysia on next year’s Formula One grid and to complete the 19-race schedule.

“We need 100 to 150 million ringgit to put the car on the grid. And we need (a further) 300 million for the whole competition,” he told reporters.

The ebullient 46-year-old Fernandes, the founder and CEO of Southeast Asian budget carrier AirAsia, is at the forefront of the return to the sport of Lotus, which announced its intention to race again last week.

The team is backed by 1Malaysia F1 Team Sdn Bhd, a public-private partnership involving a string of top local entrepreneurs, as well as national automaker Proton.

Fernandes, who is the team principal, said the Malaysian team would hire 225 people including aerodynamic experts and engineers with mechanical and electronics know-how. More ...

Goodyear to test larger tire  Goodyear will test a new larger NASCAR tire on October 6th at Richmond International Raceway. The 17-inch tire - which is an inch-and-a-half wider and higher - will provide a larger contact patch on the track and is expected to offer better handling and more grip. "The longitudinal grip improves the forward and back motion while the lateral grip helps with cornering," said Greg Stucker, Goodyear Director of Race Tire Sales. "We'll be looking at what performance gains it gives us and what it allows us to do. Roush Fenway Racing is providing the car and driver for the test. Stucker said the car had to be modified for the test. Goodyear will also test a car using the current 15-inch tire to use as a baseline to compare the two tires. Goodyear will also return for further testing at Daytona International Speedway on Nov. 2. Stucker hopes to entice at least 20 to 25 cars to offer the full feel of the draft.  Fox Sports
NASCAR Newscast: Dover Chase Race 2 Recap  
Honda - no regrets as successful Brawn races at Suzuka  (GMM)  The Japanese carmaker Honda insists it does not regret pulling out of formula one at the end of last year.

The F1 circus is currently en route to Japan to race at the Honda-owned Suzuka circuit, where the manufacturer's former team - now known as Brawn GP - will race in the knowledge that both the drivers' and constructors' championships are theirs to lose.

But Honda president Takanobu Ito said the Tokyo giant was in no position to stay in F1 beyond 2008 and therefore cannot regret the decision.

"We are still managing (our company) as if we were treading on thin ice," he said in an interview with Kyodo News on Monday.  "The auto industry is still in great fear."

He said he was "grateful" for the impressive results achieved by Brawn this year, as well as the smooth transition to new ownership.

"We learned hard about the harshness of managing a (F1) team," Ito added.  "We need to make use of that (lesson) the next time we do it, if we ever return."

BMW sells F1 team to Swiss foundation  UPDATE (GMM)  Mario Theissen has played down the negative speculation that is circulating about the BMW-Sauber team's new owner Qadbak.

The group has raised eyebrows in the F1 paddock because the identities of its owners have not been revealed.

Rumors have circulated that one of those involved with Qadbak has spent time in jail for financial-related crimes.

Qadbak has also bought the English football club Notts County, and the governing body Football League has been investigating the transaction before approving it.

The club on Sunday released a statement confirming that the Middle Eastern based  Shafi and Hyat families are involved with Qadbak. More ...

Vettel surprised with pitlane speeding penalty  (GMM)  Stewards at the Singapore grand prix on Sunday confirmed that Sebastian Vettel broke the pitlane speed limit by just 1.4kmh during the race.

The Red Bull driver and championship challenger was at the time challenging the lead of Lewis Hamilton's McLaren, but after serving a drive-through penalty he finished fourth with a mountain to climb to now win the title.

Vettel, 22, said he did not consciously surpass the 100kmh pitlane limit and was surprised when told by radio that he had breached the rules.

"From my point of view, I wasn't in a rush and therefore I can't really explain why I got caught -- we'll have to check if it's maybe an electronic issue, but (the speed limiter) was working before and afterwards so it's difficult to say.

"There's a bit of a question mark there," the German added.

Hamilton excited to race Suzuka for first time  (GMM)  He has raced at almost 50 grands prix, won 11 times and is the reigning world champion, but Lewis Hamilton is yet to race on arguably the greatest drivers' formula one circuit.

In 2007 and 2008, during the 24-year-old Briton's first seasons in the sport, the great Suzuka was missing from the calendar while the Toyota-owned Fuji Speedway held the Japanese grand prix.

Hamilton, who won at Fuji in 2007, won Sunday's Singapore grand prix, and now travels immediately to the second leg of the double-header in Japan.

"I've never been to Suzuka but I've heard that apart from Monaco it is the best circuit," he told reporters when asked about the coming weekend's challenge.

"I grew up watching it and I always wanted to go there," Hamilton added.

However, quite apart from McLaren's problems this year on circuits with a lot of fast corners, he is not sure he will be fully up to speed by the end of his first Suzuka outing.

"I am excited to be there.  It will be a very tough weekend," said Hamilton.

"It's tough to learn and master it in one weekend."

Sutil penalized for Heidfeld crash  (GMM)  Adrian Sutil was fined $20,000 USD and reprimanded by the stewards after retiring from the Singapore grand prix.

When trying to rejoin after a spin, the Force India driver drove into BMW-Sauber's Nick Heidfeld.

"I didn't see him coming as I was on the move already and couldn't react to it, but I'm sorry for it.  It was a race incident," said the German.

Countryman Heidfeld was scathing when he spoke initially with reporters, calling the move "stupid", and when asked what the FIA's response should be, suggested that the governing body should supply Sutil with a brain.

"It was clearly Adrian Sutil's fault," he said in a press document issued by his team.

"He had spun backwards and then just drove back onto the track and straight into my car.  That's something you just can't do."

The incident ended Heidfeld's impressive run of 42 classified finishes in a row, which is a record.

Boss says Renault will 'miss' Alonso  (GMM)  The only thing now missing from Fernando Alonso's move to Ferrari for the 2010 season is a press release.

As the speculation steadily becomes fact, Renault's new managing director Jean-Francois Caubet on Sunday all but confirmed that the 27-year-old Spaniard is now set to depart the French team.

"We will miss him but he will miss us," he told French television TF1 in Singapore.

The ever-galvanizing rumors are frustrating for the specialist media corps, so much so that one reporter jokingly offered Alonso a pink ten euro note if he will simply drop the name of his 2010 employer.

"No enough," he smiled.  "At least 20."

racing news
Penske Fan Appreciation Day  Penske Racing will open up its doors and celebrate the 2009 season with fans on Friday, October 16 at its annual Fan Appreciation Day. Featuring unique access to the on-track stars and high-tech cars of Penske Racing at its state-of-the-art facility, Fan Appreciation Day will include fun and activities for fans of all ages.

With the NASCAR race weekend at Charlotte’s Lowe’s Motor Speedway gearing up that Friday-Saturday, Penske Racing’s stock car standouts will be on hand to meet and greet the fans. Cup Series stars Kurt Busch, Sam Hornish Jr. and David Stremme will be in attendance along with Nationwide Series rookie standout Justin Allgaier and Penske Racing development driver Parker Kligerman of the ARCA RE/MAX Series. More ...

Kahne ditching new Dodge engine  After a crankshaft broke last Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Richard Petty Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne will use an R5 Dodge engine instead of the newer R6 this weekend at Dover International Speedway. Kahne had been using the R6 for many races since debuting it, ironically, at Dover last May. But the team has had issues with crankshafts, and Kahne's engine expired just 66 laps into the race at New Hampshire, relegating Kahne to a 38th-place finish. Scene Daily
Petty-Yates deal still pending  The two big unknowns about the pending merger between Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing can be summed up in two words: "When?" and "If." The two sides have executed a letter of intent and are working toward finalizing the deal. The new organization will continue under the Richard Petty Motorsports name and will switch from Dodge to Ford next season. According to a joint release two weeks ago at Richmond, the team's lineup will include current RPM drivers Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and A.J. Allmendinger as well as Yates driver Paul Menard. Team co-owner Richard Petty estimated Sept. 12 at Richmond that the deal could be concluded within two weeks, but that projection now appears optimistic, as the parties are still ironing out the details. Menard is a key element, in that he brings with him sponsorship from Menards, the Midwestern home-improvement chain founded and owned by his father, John Menard. Though Paul Menard affirmed his commitment to the deal Friday at Dover International Speedway, his assessment of the merger was frequently qualified by the word "if." Sporting News/NASCAR.com
Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Sauber to know about 2010 entry 'next week'
  • Raikkonen frustrated by halted Ferrari development
  • Villeneuve still pushing for 2010 F1 return
  • Fisi disappointed with Ferrari struggle
  • Ecclestone says F1 owner CVC supports him

Sauber to know about 2010 entry 'next week'
(GMM)  BMW-Sauber will soon discover if its place on the 2010 grid is guaranteed.

The FIA recently granted the 13th and final guaranteed team spot to Lotus, because fellow applicant BMW-Sauber had still not secured its funding following the announced withdrawal of its German carmaker owner.

However, later that very same day, the Hinwil based team announced it had been sold to the mysterious Qadbak group, even though it is only on standby to race next year if a confirmed team pulls out or the grid is expanded to accommodate 28 cars.

When asked when BMW-Sauber will definitely know about its 2010 entry, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone answered in Singapore: "Next week probably.  They need to know."

Raikkonen frustrated by halted Ferrari development
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen in Singapore expressed frustration about the reasons for his low qualifying position for Sunday's floodlit race.

The Finn qualified just 13th on the Marina Bay street circuit, while his new teammate Giancarlo Fisichella continued to struggle to adapt to the F60 and is a lowly 18th on the grid.

"We have decided to stop the development of the car and we are paying for it more race by race," Raikkonen is quoted as saying by the Italian newspaper La Stampa.

"I don't know if it was the right decision or not, you should ask the team," he added.  "But we are fighting for third in the championship, not the first place."

Raikkonen predicted that the F60 will also suffer in the sweeping curves of the Suzuka circuit next weekend, but perform better at Interlagos next month. More ...

Vettel emerging as favorite for Singapore win  UPDATE The post qualifying weights have been released.  The weights of the cars which will start tomorrow's Singapore grand prix are as follows.


Weight (kg)
Hamilton 660.5
Vettel 651.0
Rosberg 657.5
Webber 654.5
Barrichello 655.5
Alonso 658.0
Glock 660.5
Heidfeld 650.0
Kubica 664.0
Kovalainen 664.5
Nakajima 680.7
Button 683.0
Raikkonen 680.5
Buemi 678.0
Trulli 690.9
Sutil 693.0
Alguersuari 683.5
Fisichella 678.5
Grosjean 683.0
Liuzzi 656.0
09/26/09 (GMM) Lewis Hamilton has pole, but the Red Bull drivers are emerging as the real favorites for victory in Sunday's Singapore grand prix.

German Sebastian Vettel, who drives for Red Bull, was on a lap with pole position potential when the red flags flew in Q3 for Rubens Barrichello's late crash.

"It was my first run on new tires," he rued of the aborted lap.

Team boss Christian Horner said Mark Webber, ultimately fourth on the grid, was also on a quick lap when the Barrichello incident halted the crucial moments of qualifying.

"Both our guys were on really strong laps and we felt we could lock out the front row today," he said. More ...

Red Flag at Road Atlanta  
We are under a red flag at Road Atlanta for the 12th annual Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6 with heavy rains falling and water collecting on the circuit. This is the first competition red for the American Le Mans Series. All cars in pitlane and drivers are out.

Crews may cover the cars but no other work is allowed. Drivers must re-enter their cockpits once the red is lifted.

Franck Montagny is scored first for Peugeot, followed by Pedro Lamy in the sister car. Audi's Allan McNish is third after dominating the race with Dindo Capello in the early stages. More ...

Dempsey wins again in Star Mazda  Peter 'The Irish Steamroller' Dempsey, starting from his fourth pole of the year, scored his fifth win of the year in the 2009 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, leading green-to-checker driving his #3 Juncos Racing / The Collection / Motorsport Ireland / Queyside.ie Mazda at the Petit Le Mans Presented by MAZDA6 at Road Atlanta.  Dempsey -- who won four races in 2008, only to finish third in the championship after a disastrous race here at Road Atlanta in which he started from the pole and finished 19th after an on-track collision with another car – extends his slim lead in the heated championship battle and provokes an all-the-marbles shootout at the series finale in two weeks at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. More ...
Ecclestone doubts all new teams will race in 2010  (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone on Saturday cast doubt on the health of formula one's new American team for 2010.

"No," he told the British broadcaster BBC in interview from Singapore when asked if he thinks 28 cars will really be ready to watch the five lights go out in Bahrain next March.

Alongside the current teams, new entrants including Manor, Campos, Malaysian-owned Lotus and Charlotte based USF1 are touted to contest the 2010 world championship.

"I think one or two might not turn up," the F1 chief executive said. "That's what I'm being told; possibly USF1 are a doubt." More ...

Peugeot run 1-2 at Petit 4-hour mark  Audi Sport’s Allan McNish and Dindo Capello dominated the opening hours of the 12th annual Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6 at Road Atlanta, but Peugeot’s Stephane Sarrazin and Franck Montagny led just past the four-hour mark Saturday at Road Atlanta. McNish’s Audi R15 TDI led Stephane Sarrazin under yellow at the four-hour mark before spinning during the caution period. The race’s sixth yellow came out when Autocon Motorsports’ Chris McMurry went off at Turn 1 and into the outside tire wall.
Audi takes early lead at Petit LeMans  Audi Sport’s Dindo Capello led Nic Minassian’s Peugeot under yellow as the 12th annual Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6 moved past the two-hour mark. The Audi R15 TDI and Peugeot 908 diesels were the only cars on the lead lap on a drying track with the threat of rain still lurking.

The front-row sitting Peugeots fell back early after Allan McNish, Capello’s teammate, broke away on the opening lap. The French diesels fought their way back, and the third-place Peugeot of Franck Montagny got back on the lead lap right after the restart.

The caution came out when Scott Dixon planted the de Ferran Motorsports XM Acura ARX-02a in the tire wall at Turn 5. More ...

Fisichella warned for slowing Sutil  Ferrari driver Giancarlo Fisichella has received a reprimand for holding up former team-mate Adrian Sutil in qualifying on Saturday. The German was eliminated from Q1 after being caught behind the Italian but still starts two positions ahead of the latter in Singapore.

With Sutil 16th and Fisichella 18th, the Roman continues to struggle for Ferrari after making his debut for the team at Monza two weeks ago. "I lost some time on my fastest lap when Giancarlo was in front of me in the middle sector," Sutil explained after qualifying. More ...

Another sponsor says adios to NASCAR  UPDATE Robby Gordon lost one of his bigger sponsors this week, but the driver/owner has several sponsors that should help him handle the departure of Jim Beam. Gordon said Jim Beam was the primary sponsor for 12 races this year and a to-be-announced sponsor has committed for four of those, leaving him eight to replace from that sponsorship next year. Menards and Mapei are returning, and Gordon said he has a good opportunity for other sponsors such as Polaris, Monster and Camping World to return. Gordon said he can generate a lot of exposure through his various racing avenues, which includes off-road racing. He said he is still not interested in merging with another team. One thing that could help Gordon is if the Indianapolis 500 starts earlier next year, allowing a driver to do both that race and the Sprint Cup Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. "I have a sponsor that I talked to today that said they would take Indy and Charlotte at the right dollars today," said Gordon, who has extensive experience in open-wheel cars. "They've already told me that. If Indy changes, I think you can count me in it - with a new sponsor, a different sponsor that's not on my car today." SceneDaily

09/22/09 Beam Global Spirits and Wine Inc., maker of Jim Beam bourbon, announced Tuesday that it will not extend its sponsorship with Robby Gordon Motorsports beyond this season and will not return to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2010.

The company says that it plans to focus its marketing resources on other platforms.

“It was a difficult decision to transition away from being a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team sponsor,” said Bill Newlands, president of Beam Global Spirits and Wine U.S. “We always take a hard look at our marketing resources and how we can best interact with legal-purchase-age consumers. After an extensive review of our marketing strategy, we have come up with new alternatives to fuel growth for Jim Beam in 2010.”

Patron Highcroft repair summary  Below is a summary list of the work done on the Patr¢n Highcroft Racing Acura ARX-02a since Scott Sharp’s horrific crash Thursday at Road Atlanta in practice for Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6. Thanks to Paul Ryan with Patr¢n Highcroft Racing.

Prep Statistics:
Pre-Petit work list items: 190

Acura ARX-02a Statistics:
Chassis mechanical parts: 4000
Chassis electrical parts: 250
Engine parts: 100 (excluding internals of engine)
Gearbox parts: 350
Parts with tracked life: 1000 (excluding internals of engine)
Custom hardware (fasteners, o-rings, bearings): 450

Rebuild Statistics:
Parts reused: about 10%  More ...

Goodyear Tiires again an issue  Goodyear has a new tire combination here, and some drivers so far aren't all that happy with it. Denny Hamlin was the most critical.

However Goodyear said that during the August 4th test here, with some 10 cars (in order to get plenty of rubber down on the concrete surface), the two primary tire testers were Jimmie Johnson and AJ Allmendinger, according to Goodyear, and both men agreed this was the right combination to bring for the 400. Juan Pablo Montoya was also at that test but he has downplayed his role in selecting the tires. More ...
Schu, Prost, Berger, Massa back Todt for president  (GMM) On the heels of Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone, two more influential voices have publicly backed the FIA presidential campaign of Jean Todt.

Todt, who is in the Singapore paddock this weekend, would work "for the well being of the entire sport", his former Ferrari driver and close friend Michael Schumacher is quoted as saying by the German news agency SID.

Former Ferrari drivers Alain Prost and Gerhard Berger are also backing the 63-year-old Frenchman against the independent candidate Ari Vatanen, as is Felipe Massa, who is managed by Todt's son Nicolas.

The elections take place at the FIA General Assembly on 23 October.
Singapore GP: Hamilton over Vettel in practice 3  Lewis Hamilton topped final practice in Singapore with a time of 1:47.632.  Sebastian Vettel took second for Red Bull (0.227s behind), with Nico Rosberg's Williams third and Heikki Kovalainen making it two McLarens in the top four.

Lewis Hamilton hit out at the state of the Singapore street circuit on Saturday, after struggling for pace in Friday's practice sessions.

The Briton emerged on track for the final session before qualifying with a brand new McLaren chassis, his crew having discovered a problem overnight.

"It's such a bumpy track and the ride on our car was quite poor," said the reigning world champion.  "It's shaking so much.  The car is bumping and bouncing and sliding."

It was said that Singapore organizers had worked to smooth some of the worst bumps on the track since last year's inaugural event, but Hamilton charged: "It's still very bad.  I don't really think it's changed at all to be honest."

It is believed the issues were discussed at length in the drivers' briefing.

Hamilton said the changes to the turn 10 chicane have actually made the circuit less safe.

"Now it's big, fat curbs and there's no runoff, so it's very dangerous," said Hamilton.

"I am sure the GPDA (Grand Prix Drivers Association), at the end of this week, we will have comments on the circuit that will hopefully aid the FIA in improving it next year," he added.



Driver Car Time Behind Laps
1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:47.632 +0.000 15
2. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:47.909 +0.277 17
3. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:48.332 +0.700 18
4. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:48.420 +0.788 14
5. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:48.501 +0.869 16
6. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:48.526 +0.894 13
7. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:48.551 +0.919 16
8. Glock Toyota 1:48.673 +1.041 17
9. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:48.754 +1.122 17
10. Trulli Toyota 1:48.757 +1.125 12
11. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:48.831 +1.199 17
12. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:48.864 +1.232 16
13. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:48.876 +1.244 15
14. Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:48.921 +1.289 17
15. Alonso Renault 1:49.032 +1.400 15
16. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:49.055 +1.423 16
17. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:49.122 +1.490 17
18. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:49.399 +1.767 17
19. Grosjean Renault 1:49.641 +2.009 16
20. Fisichella Ferrari 1:50.039 +2.407 21

Button wants calm amid rumors of Brawn discord  (GMM)  Jenson Button in Singapore called for calm amid increasing rumors of discord behind closed doors at Brawn.

With the Briton now essentially battling only his teammate Rubens Barrichello for the 2009 championship, it is rumored that they are also fighting for the single remaining race seat at the team for next season.

Nico Rosberg is believed to have signed to replace either Button or Brawn, amid rumblings that Barrichello's side of the garage may be withholding information from his British colleague.

"This is the last thing I need at the moment," 29-year-old Button said.  "I just want to be able to focus on racing and doing my job.  I don't think this is a good thing to talk about now." More ...

Barrichello to take grid penalty for gearbox change  (GMM)  Rubens Barrichello is to take a five-place grid penalty in Singapore because his gearbox needs to be changed, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports.

The problems with the Brawn transmission date back to Spa, but the veteran Brazilian persevered with the slightly damaged 'box at Monza and duly won the race.

But it is believed that the team is not willing to take the same risk in Singapore, where many corners, bumps and even underground static electricity mean it is perhaps the hardest circuit on the calendar on gearboxes.

The new gearbox will be fitted to Barrichello's car on Saturday, which is the first official session of the grand prix weekend.

It is believed that if the unit is changed after morning practice, a used replacement can be fitted for the remainder of the weekend, and then a fresh gearbox used at Suzuka.

Mazda and BP introduce advanced biofuel  
BP Dyson Lola Mazda
In the ongoing rolling technology showcase that is the American Le Mans Series, MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development, Dyson Racing and their primary Series sponsor and technical partner, BP, will fuel one of their Mazda MZR-R-powered Lola coupe racecars with a fuel combining both ethanol and biobutanol - an advanced biofuel that BP is developing with its partner DuPont – in the 12th annual Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6.

“This weekend’s debut of an ethanol and biobutanol blend in our American Le Mans Series race car is the perfect example of the technical relationship between Mazda and BP,” said Robert Davis, Senior Vice President, Product Development and Quality for Mazda North American Operations, and the man responsible for the company’s North American motorsport programs under the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development banner. “Advanced biofuels such as biobutanol, along with the choice to use a production-derived 2.0-liter turbocharged MZR-R engine, shows the commitment that both Mazda and BP have to bringing clean, efficient, environmentally sensitive technologies to motorsports, and using motorsports to improve those products before we offer them for sale to the general public.” More ...

Ecclestone 'out of touch' says F1 owner  (GMM)  F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone has been slammed by one of his bosses, amid apparent increasing pressure for him to step down.

In July, CVC board member Sir Martin Sorrell said the Briton's comments about Hitler had been "disgusting".  Now, he has denounced Ecclestone's stance over the lifetime ban of Flavio Briatore as more proof that the Briton is "totally out of touch".

Sorrell is chief executive of the communications services group WPP, but he is also on the board of CVC, the owner of F1's commercial rights.

Earlier this week, Ecclestone was one of the 26 World Motor Sport Council members who decided to ban Briatore for life because of the crash-gate cheating scandal.

But when he arrived in Singapore, he suggested that the flamboyant Italian should take the sanction to the Court of Appeal because it is overly harsh. More ...

BMW and Rahal to return in 2010  
Rahal BMWs
BMW North America and Rahal Letterman Racing announced that it will return to the American Le Mans Series in 2010 with two BMW M3s, a partnership that already has a victory in the highly competitive GT2 class to its credit this season. The announcement came at Road Atlanta, site of this weekend’s 12th annual Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6.

BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team debuted this season at the 57th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring presented by Fresh from Florida. The results so far in GT2: one victory at Road America, two pole positions and two fastest race laps. Those highlights plus similar target groups with the Series made a return for next year an easy decision. More ...

Team USA
Smrz, De Phillippi Win Team USA Scholarships  
Connor De Phillippi (L) and Connor De Phillippi (R)
Connor De Phillippi, from San Clemente, Calif., and Brett Smrz, from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, have been named today as the latest recipients of prestigious Team USA Scholarships. The two teenagers will follow in the footsteps of an array of accomplished American drivers who have earned these awards since Jimmy Vasser became the first Team USA Scholarship winner in 1990.

De Phillippi (pronounced “DEE Phi-LEE-pi) and Smrz (“Smerz”) will have an opportunity to fly their nation’s colors in two world-renowned events in England later this month – the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch and the Walter Hayes Trophy at Silverstone. (Team USA Scholarship drivers swept both events in 2008, with Josef Newgarden becoming the first American ever to win the Formula Ford Festival and Conor Daly becoming the youngest ever winner of the Walter Hayes Trophy.) More ...

Summerton keeps hopes alive with flag-to-flag win  
Summerton celebrates
Adriano Manocchia/AR1.com
For the second year in a row, the battle for the Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda title will go down to the final race of the season, and Jonathan Summerton is once again one of three drivers in contention for the championship.

Summerton leapfrogged his Newman Wachs Racing teammate, John Edwards for second in the standings and closed to within seven points, 176-169, of leader Simona De Silvestro following his fourth victory of the season on Friday afternoon at Road Atlanta. The 21-year-old American Formula 1 hopeful started from the pole and led every lap in the No. 34 Nuclear Clean Air Energy/Entergy/NEI machine, beating De Silvestro to the stripe by 4.208 seconds.

It was Summerton's third victory in his last four Atlantic starts and was his eighth podium result in 11 races this season. Summerton is currently tied with De Silvestro for the series lead in victories and will head for the season finale in Monterey, Calif. carrying the momentum of four consecutive podium results. More ...

Nationwide COT in 4 races in 2010  NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton confirmed Friday what the other races with the new Nationwide Series car will be in 2010.

In addition to the previously announced July 2 race at Daytona International Speedway, the Nationwide car of tomorrow will be used at Michigan International Speedway on Aug. 14, Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 10 and Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Oct. 15.

Massa in training for F1 return - boss  (GMM)  Felipe Massa has commenced training for his 2010 return to formula one, Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali told reporters in Singapore on Friday.

As he recovers from head injuries sustained in July, the 28-year-old Brazilian has already signaled his intention to race in two kart events before Christmas.

"He has started a training program," Domenicali confirmed.

"The next step will be to start on the simulator and then to do some kart.  When these things will be fine we will decide when to bring him back in a proper racing car," he added.

Haug denies Mercedes engine 'too good'  (GMM)  Norbert Haug on Friday sounded less than keen on the FIA's suggestion about how teams should equalize engine performance.

It is widely believed that, although in the midst of an engine freeze, the Mercedes engine is currently clearly the best in the field.

The World Motor Sport Council on Monday was asked to act, but ruled that it will be up to the teams to agree to reduce "the performance of the more powerful engines" rather than be allowed to catch up with the benchmark.

But Haug, Mercedes' motor racing director, said at Monza that the suggestion that the German marque's engine is too good is "wrong".

"I have never experienced an engine that is too good," he is quoted as saying by the German broadcaster Sky.

"If you are staying on the track with your engine in one piece, it can never be too good," he added.

Webber crashes in second Singapore practice  (GMM) Following Romain Grosjean's first session crash, Mark Webber on Friday became the second victim of the walls that run alongside the Singapore layout.

The Australian driver, who earlier played down his chances of winning the world championship despite maintaining an outside mathematical chance, hit the wall hard on the inside of the final corner under the lights of the second practice session at Marina Bay.

The 90 minute session, topped by his Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel, was red flagged to clear the debris and his damaged Renault powered car.

Webber, 32, had said 24 hours ago that Jenson Button's substantial points advantage over the two Red Bull drivers was too great to bridge with four races to go.

"The championship is very difficult now. I think Jenson has to get four or five points on us and it's all over," he said.
Peugeot nips Audi in final Petit practice  
Pos Drivers Cl Car Time
1. Sarrazin/Montagny P1 Peugeot 1m07.678s
2. Capello/McNish P1 Audi 1m07.840s
3. Minassian/Lamy P1 Peugeot 1m07.854s
4. de Ferran/Pagenaud/Dixon P1 Acura 1m08.626s
5. Luhr/Werner P1 Audi 1m08.864s
6. Panis/Lapierre/Dumas P1 ORECA 1m09.847s
7. Field/Field P1 Lola 1m10.139s
8. Drayson/Cocker/Bell P1 Lola 1m10.876s
9. Leitzinger/Franchitti/Devlin P2 Lola-Mazda 1m11.287s
10. Fernandez/Diaz P2 Acura 1m11.429s
11. Pickett/Graf/Maassen P2 Porsche 1m11.456s
12. Van der Steur/Pecorari/Pecorari P2 Radical 1m15.911s
13. Muller/Milner/Muller GT2 BMW 1m20.393s
14. Hand/Auberlen/Priaulx GT2 BMW 1m20.463s
15. Melo/Kaffer/Salo GT2 Ferrari 1m20.583s
16. Henzler/Werner GT2 Porsche 1m20.670s
17. Magnussen/O'Connell/Garcia GT2 Corvette 1m20.877s
18. Sutherland/Drissi/Bell GT2 Riley Corvette 1m20.943s
19. Murry/Robertson/Robertson GT2 Doran Ford 1m21.155s
20. Bergmeister/Long/Lieb GT2 Porsche 1m21.272s
21. Farnbacher/James GT2 Panoz 1m21.319s
22. Beretta/Gavin/Fassler GT2 Corvette 1m21.370s
23. Law/van Overbeek/Neiman GT2 Porsche 1m21.449s
24. Sellers/Cicero GT2 Porsche 1m22.588s
25. Feinberg/Hall GT2 Dodge 1m22.846s
26. Burgess/McMurry/Willman P1 Lola 1m36.816s
Singapore GP: Vettel tops practice 2  Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel set the quickest time in the second Friday practice session under the lights in Singapore.

The German beat Renault’s Fernando Alonso by 0.274s, as the double champion gave his under-fire Renault team some encouragement with second place.

Heikki Kovalainen (McLaren) and Nick Heidfeld (BMW) were third and fourth ahead of championship leader Jenson Button's Brawn.



Driver Team Time Behinds Laps
1. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:48.650 +0.000 31
2. Alonso Renault 1:48.924 +0.274 27
3. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:48.952 +0.302 30
4. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 1:49.098 +0.448 31
5. Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:49.311 +0.661 34
6. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:49.317 +0.667 1
7. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:49.333 +0.683 33
8. Glock Toyota 1:49.342 +0.692 30
9. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:49.358 +0.708 28
10. Kubica BMW-Sauber 1:49.609 +0.959 24
11. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:49.616 +0.966 30
12. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:49.710 +1.060 31
13. Trulli Toyota 1:49.795 +1.145 29
14. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:49.941 +1.291 29
15. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:50.023 +1.373 34
16. Fisichella Ferrari 1:50.253 +1.603 31
17. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:50.527 +1.877 29
18. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:50.605 +1.955 28
19. Grosjean Renault 1:50.972 +2.322 17
20. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:51.423 +2.773 31

Ecclestone backs Todt for FIA president  (GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has publicly voiced his support for the FIA presidential campaign of former Ferrari boss Jean Todt.

Frenchman Todt, 63, is taking on the independent candidate Ari Vatanen in October's elections, and has been controversially backed by the incumbent Max Mosley.

"I have known Jean for many years," Ecclestone said in Singapore on Friday.  "He is a most reliable, gifted and trustworthy person.

"He is determined and dedicated to whatever goals he sets himself and I admire and respect him greatly for everything he has achieved.

"The FIA needs a president that is strong, capable and with experience at the highest levels of motor sport.

"Jean is by far the most knowledgeable and capable candidate for this vitally important role.  I hope everybody will support his candidacy," the Briton added.

Liuzzi in Italian tax evasion probe  (GMM)  Vitantonio Liuzzi is being investigated by Italian tax authorities, the ANSA news agency reported on Friday.

According to the report, the Force India driver is suspected of avoiding paying tax by living in London but still investing in real estate and yachts in Italy.

Wire reports said the tax police or Guardia di Finanza, and 28-year-old Liuzzi, were not immediately available for comment.

Also being investigated for alleged Italian tax evasion are cyclist Davide Rebillin and rally co-driver Tiziano Sivieri.

Red Bull moves to prevent tram interference repeat  (GMM)  Red Bull has taken steps this weekend to prevent a repeat of its gearbox failure in last year's Singapore grand prix.

After the inaugural night race in the Asian city-state, the team suspected that static electricity caused by a passing underground tram could have caused Mark Webber's gearbox to select two gears simultaneously and fail.

The actual cause of the failure was never confirmed, but as a precaution, metal plates have been fitted to the underneath of the gearboxes of the cars driven this weekend by Webber and his teammate Sebastian Vettel.

It is believed that a similar solution has also been adopted by Red Bull's sister team Toro Rosso, after a nearly identical problem was encountered earlier in the Singapore weekend last year.

Versus tries buffalo IndyCar and its fans  Most television viewers still might not be familiar with Versus -- and DirecTV still does not have the cable channel on its platform due to a contract dispute that has reached an impasse -- but Versus president Jamie Davis insists his channel's partnership with the Indy Racing League is strong, worthwhile and growing.

Davis said more people already have watched the IndyCar Series this season (26.7 million) than did last year on ESPN or ESPN2 (25.9 million). Versus has achieved that by tripling the per-event coverage (to seven hours over three shows). [Editor's Note:  Who are they kidding?  This is just the same eyeballs watching more hours. What value is that to a sponsor.  Many people simply don't get Versus nor do they know where to find it.  What we want to know is how many unique viewers do they get?]

Officially, Versus' 11 races have averaged a 0.39 rating, which equates to about 400,000 households, the number Davis projected for the first year of this 10-year deal.

"This first season has been a huge success for us," he said Thursday. "I could not be happier with how it's gone.

"The amount of coverage and feedback from critics as well as fans has only been massively complimentary." Indy Star (an extension of the IRL PR staff)

Déjà Vu in Singapore  
Grosjean wadded up his Renault in the same corner as his infamous counterpart Nelson Piquet Jr. did last year
There were disbelieving looks all along the Renault pit lane in Singapore today when the team's 2nd driver Romain Grosjean crashed his car in exactly the same spot at which Nelson Piquet Jr went into the wall during the 2008 Grand Prix, now infamous for the "Crashgate" race-fixing scandal.

In an extraordinary coincidence, the young French driver lost control at turn 17, where Piquet Jr had been ordered to crash to allow Fernando Alonso, his teammate, to take advantage of the safety car in order to win last year's race.

The accident happened during the first practice session for Sunday's grand prix as Grosjean misjudged turn 16 before the back end of his car began to spin out into turn 17. He smashed into the concrete barrier before spinning and coming to rest on the other side of the track. Grosjean's car eventually came to rest pointing at right angles to the barrier with its front wing damaged and smoke coming out of the back.

"Sorry guys, I lost the car in turn 17," Grosjean said over the team radio. The session was stopped briefly as a result of the collision.

Barrichello again faster than Button  In what has become commonplace since mid-year accusations that the Brawn team were favoring his British teammate, Rubens Barrichello topped Brawn teammate and title rival Jenson Button to the fastest time in the opening free practice session for the Singapore Grand Prix.

Mark Webber and Sebastian were third and fifth for Red Bull, split by Fernando Alonso's Renault in fourth.

The changes to the track since last year resulted in lap times five seconds slower than in the same session last year.



Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:50.179 +0.000 19
2. Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:50.356 +0.177 22
3. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:50.416 +0.237 21
4. Alonso Renault 1:50.567 +0.388 16
5. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:50.614 +0.435 16
6. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:50.699 +0.520 21
7. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:50.715 +0.536 17
8. Kubica BMW-Sauber 1:50.815 +0.636 15
9. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:50.865 +0.686 ù.
10. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:51.089 +0.910 25
11. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:51.427 +1.248 23
12. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:51.544 +1.365 14
13. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:51.643 +1.464 28
14. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 1:51.656 +1.477 15
15. Glock Toyota 1:52.083 +1.904 20
16. Trulli Toyota 1:52.135 +1.956 20
17. Fisichella Ferrari 1:52.390 +2.211 24
18. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:52.905 +2.726 23
19. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:53.232 +3.053 25
20. Grosjean Renault 1:53.458 +3.279 9

Singapore GP: Thursday Press Conference  
Lewis HAMILTON (McLaren Mercedes),
Kimi RÄIKKÖNEN (Ferrari),
Nico ROSBERG (Williams),
Mark WEBBER (Red Bull)


Q: A question to you all. What are your feelings about this circuit, about Singapore? Your feelings about racing at night?
: I think it is great coming here. It is a brilliant change for us to race at night. I think it worked very well last year in terms of the atmosphere. I think it was pretty good whether you were a journalist, photographer, spectator, driver, mechanic. I think it was just a unique one and I think all sporting events at night have a little bit of a different feel to them, an atmosphere. I think they have learned a little bit with the track. They have changed a little bit this year with the bumps here and there, a little bit of kerbing, the pit lane entry and exit, there are a few little tweaks. It was a good event and I like coming to this part of the world. It is not far from home for me, so it is good. More ...
Hard liquor sponsorships in NASCAR suddenly go dry  Four years after lifting a ban of hard liquor advertising on its cars, NASCAR's distilled spirits till is running dry.  The Sprint Cup Series lost two liquor sponsors this week as Jack Daniel's (backer of Richard Childress Racing's No. 07 Chevrolet driven by Casey Mears) and Jim Beam (on the No. 7 Toyota of Robby Gordon Motorsports) announced they were leaving after the season.

Industry analysts say the moves reflect increasing competition for the sports marketing dollar in the spirits industry. CBS ended a self-imposed ban on liquor ads during this year's Grammy telecast, and more local affiliates have followed suit.

"Advertisers today are looking for bargains and with network advertising revenue off about $250 million, there are some deals out there," says H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, former president of Lowe's Motor Speedway for 33 years and now a racing consultant. "Sponsorships of quality NASCAR race cars are not perceived to be dropping."

The companies in separate statements said they weren’t dissatisfied with their NASCAR investments but sought new platforms for targeting consumers.

"Jack Daniel's has enjoyed a good five-year run with RCR and NASCAR, and we are pleased with the overall performance of our sponsorship program," said Tim Rutledge, vice president and brand director for Jack Daniel's. "While it is difficult for us to end our formal relationship, the current economic environment has compelled us to revaluate our spending, and we've concluded that other areas in the marketing mix require additional investment." USA Today

Dempsey on Star Mazda Pole  Peter 'The Irish Steamroller' Dempsey scored his fourth pole of the year during a severely-compressed qualifying session leading up to tomorrow's Round 12 of the 2009 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at the Petit Le Mans Powered by MAZDA6.  Despite a session shortened from 23 to 10 minutes due to crews cleaning up an oil trail laid down by another car, on lap 6 of the session Dempsey turned the pole time of 1:19.584 in his #3 Juncos Racing / The Collection / Motorsport Ireland / Queyside.ie Mazda.  Dempsey, the current championship points leader, also owns the outright lap record, set here in 2008 when he qualified on the pole with a 1:18.328 (though he finished 19th due to an on-track incident).  This is Dempsey's fourth pole of the year, matching his record of four victories so far. More ...
Unwell Grosjean puts Renault reserve on stand-by  UPDATE (GMM)  Romain Grosjean on Friday afternoon was cleared fit to drive in practice for the Singapore grand prix.

After a brief appearance at the Marina Bay circuit, the French-Swiss returned to his hotel on Thursday to recover from a bout of food poisoning.

Renault team reserve Lucas di Grassi was put on standby, performing the 'five second' cockpit extrication test in the garage.

Ultimately however Grosjean felt better on Friday, and will appear in the R29 as of the forthcoming initial Friday practice session.

The logos of ING and Mutua Madrilena have been removed from the team's cars and equipment overnight, but there has not been time to alter things like team clothing and press paper, which still bears the names of the departed sponsors.

09/24/09 (GMM)  In the Renault garage on Thursday, Lucas di Grassi satisfied FIA observers that he can pass the '5 second test' as he unbuckled his seat-belts and leapt from the cockpit of the R29.

The team's 25-year-old Brazilian reserve driver has been ordered on stand-by in Singapore because regular driver Romain Grosjean is not feeling well.

After meeting with doctors, French-Swiss Grosjean, 23, returned early to his hotel room in the Asian city-state on Thursday to rest.

A decision about whether he can drive this weekend will be taken prior to the initial practice session on Friday evening.

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • F1 'clash-gate' with football world cup
  • Massa speeds up kart race return to November
  • Huge car upgrade for BMW-Sauber in Singapore
  • Spa race going ahead this weekend
  • Briatore drivers coy on search for new managers
  • Todt quiet on identity of F1 delegate
  • Manor boss not ruling out Piquet for 2010 seat

F1 'clash-gate' with football world cup
(GMM)  The 2010 British grand prix is scheduled to clash with the final of one of the world's most popular sporting events, the FIFA World Cup.

The apparent July 11 date gaffe, jokingly referred to by the British newspaper The Times as 'clash-gate', could result in sports fans having to choose which event to watch.

The clash, engineered by F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone who co-owns the London football club Queens Park Rangers, is also another piece of bad news for Donington, formula one's new British home.

It is said that to ensure the crowds still flock to Donington despite the clash, Donington organizers are considering erecting big screens so that the evening's big match can still be watched.

Massa speeds up kart race return to November
(GMM)  Felipe Massa's recovery from serious head injuries seems to be speeding along, after he fast-forwarded his expected return to competitive racing.

We reported earlier this month that, pending the go-ahead from doctors, the Brazilian hoped to return to action at the famous Brazilian Ganja Viana endurance kart race in Sao Paulo in early December.

But on Thursday he indicated that his return can now be made even earlier than that, as he announced that he will race in the International Challenge of Go-Kart Champs, scheduled for late November in the southern Brazilian city of Florianopolis. More ...

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