Lindsay Lohan booed off F1 stage Lindsey Lohan being booed off stage at the F1 Rocks Singapore festival is not just a rumor. It's been confirmed by newly released video. Here's the video reports of the star host from Asia Reuters followed by the response of the audience at the actual Formula One concert show.
WHY F1 ROCKS SINGAPORE CHOSE LINDSEY LOHAN AS HOST
Yamaha riders to start 1-2 in Portugal Jorge Lorenzo took his first pole position since Laguna Seca back in June at Estoril this afternoon, the Mallorcan sealing his fifth pole of the season with a strong performance ahead of tomorrow's Portuguese Grand Prix. His Fiat Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi meanwhile took his eleventh front row of the season and will start tomorrow's race from second, with Casey Stoner taking the final front row slot. Dani Pedrosa will start 4th on his Honda.
Having topped both practice sessions this weekend, Lorenzo was the clear favorite for pole this afternoon and the 22-year-old looked smooth and comfortable out on track as he made a few last-minute setting changes before the fight for grid spots. With twenty minutes remaining he took the lead and didn't surrender it for the rest of the session, improving his time several times and never looking in much danger from his rivals.
Richard Petty Motorsports majority owner George Gillett insisted his organization is not in a chaotic state but there are still plenty of things to be decided as part of the intended merger with Yates Racing, which Gillett termed as still on track in a rare news conference Saturday morning. He also confirmed that it would be possible for Prince Faisal bin Fahad bin Abdullah Al Saud of Saudi Arabia to own a very small stake in RPM so that they have aligned interests in future projects together but no discussions have been held.
RPM and Yates Racing officials announced plans to merge Sept. 10 but have not yet completed the agreement.
“Every day documents are being shared back and forth and so forth, documents are being prepared – most of it is in the hands of lawyers at this point, which always scares me,” Gillett said at Kansas Speedway. “I’m not aware of any significant open issues at this point. So I have no reason to think that in normal course we’re not going to be able to get things done.”
Gillett said it seems that the new RPM is leaning toward working out of the current Yates shop but no decision has been made. He said executive vice president Robbie Loomis would play more of a role in the day-to-day operations from a competition standpoint after the departure of former vice president Mark McArdle. SceneDaily
Guthrie to Join RLR/Andersen Racing RLR/Andersen Racing is pleased to announce that Sean Guthrie of Albuquerque, N.M. will drive its No. 9 car in the Firestone Indy Lights season finale on Friday, Oct. 9 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla.
Guthrie, 21, will join Mario Romancini of Sao Paulo, Brazil and Miami as the drivers for the Palmetto, Fla.-based team's two-car effort.
Car Crafters, IZOD, Andersen Racing and Andersen RacePark will sponsor his car. Car Crafters has been providing top-quality collision and mechanical repairs, service and glass replacement to the Albuquerque market since 1982.
Guthrie, who has 41 Firestone Indy Lights starts dating back to 2006, is returning to the series following a suspension after an incident during the April 23 race at Kansas Speedway. He has three career top-five finishes and 13 top 10s in the very competitive series. He was running at the finish in 32 of his 41 starts.
Honda and Repsol Confirm Renewal of their Partnership HRC (Honda Racing Corporation) is very pleased to announce that it has reached a new agreement with Repsol to continue as the title sponsor of the factory Honda Team in MotoGP. The new deal for the 2010 season cements one of the strongest and longest running partnerships in motor sport - a collaboration which began in 1995 and has brought 9 World Championships, 98 race victories and has made Repsol Honda race machines instantly recognizable to fans across the globe.
With Repsol on board once again as a highly-valued partner, the factory Honda team retains an immensely strong platform from which to contest the MotoGP World Championship. Dani Pedrosa from Spain and Italian Andrea Dovizioso will form the talented rider line-up for a second successive year.
Repsol is the official competition fuel supplier for the Repsol Honda Team, thanks to its development of specific fuel produced in the Repsol Technological Centre.
Button unlikely to win title on Sunday (GMM) Although a mathematical possibility, the winner of the 2009 drivers' world championship is now very unlikely to be decided at the Suzuka circuit on Sunday.
For Jenson Button to secure the crown in Japan, he needs to prevent Sebastian Vettel from decreasing his points gap by 6 points, as well as score five more points than his most likely challenger and teammate Rubens Barrichello.
But the Brawn driver qualified just seventh on Saturday, and is pushed even further down the grid for ignoring yellow flags.
Barrichello, 15 points behind the 29-year-old Briton, is also demoted five places for the same offense, but the Brazilian will nonetheless start from higher on the grid than Button.
Historic Mile: Stick a fork in it, it's done Historic Mile LLC, the group that wanted to promote races at the Milwaukee Mile, failed to show Wisconsin State Fair any money Friday.
The group's failure to meet a deadline the State Fair had imposed put the future of the historic racetrack in jeopardy again and raises questions about whether anyone will surface to promote the two races NASCAR scheduled next summer at the track and beyond.
Craig Barkelar, the State Fair's interim executive director, conceded Friday afternoon what many had suspected in the racing community: Historic Mile and its two known investors didn't have the money, or at least enough of it, to move forward and sign a lease agreement.
"Everyone that Historic Mile was counting on has backed out at the last moment," Barkelar said.
Ben Spies to make 'wildcard' entry into Valencia GP Following the announcement on Thursday that Ben Spies will move to MotoGP in 2010, Yamaha Motor Company announces that it will enter the Texan as a wild card into the season-ending Grand Prix of Valencia.
25-year-old Spies will participate as a single rider entry of a Yamaha Factory Racing Team, using YZR-M1 test bikes brought over from Japan. The Valencia MotoGP race takes place 6-8th November, two weeks after the final World Superbike round at Portimao, Portugal.
The wild card entry will provide an opportunity for Spies to get extra circuit time prior to his inclusion in the Tech 3 Yamaha Team for the two-day MotoGP test on the Tuesday and Wednesday after the Grand Prix.
Kansas: Tar of Death It seems there could be trouble with the racing surface at Kansas Speedway. That trouble would be with the seams. The tar filling the seams, to be exact, is sending the Sprint Cup cars off their intended course. Kurt Busch called it, "The tar of death". Jeff Gordon said, "The seams are unreal. I don't know if they put a different sealer on them or what's going on. The seams, beside the wind, are playing havoc today." The four-time champion said the tar-covered seams are forcing drivers to make decisions. "You either got to go above them, straddle them or somehow get below them," Gordon said. "It's definitely challenging." Busch said, "Last year I had a hard time here at Kansas. I don't know when they put that tar sealant down to help with drainage, water getting into the cracks and pot holes developing or big bumps&(but) I couldn't go from the second lane to the third lane or the second lane back to the first lane without crossing the 'tar of death'. It was tough." Racin' Today
Carl Long back at the track Carl Long was happy to be back at a race track - even if he was working for a team instead of driving for one. Long, the part-time Sprint Cup and Nationwide driver, was penalized in May after his engine for the all-star qualifying race was determined to have a displacement of 358.17 cubic inches - 0.17 cubic inches more than NASCAR allows. Long's crew chief, Charles Swing, was also penalized $200,000. This weekend, Long returned to the track at Kansas Speedway, where he will work as a spotter for Front Row Motorsports Sprint Cup team with driver #34-John Andretti. "I've paid my debt to society," he said. As to when he will drive again, Long says that depends on his funding situation. A friend is putting together the "Lets Get Carl Back on Track" fundraiser for Oct. 18 at the Memory Lane Auto Museum in Charlotte. Long will sign autographs at the event, which will also feature door prizes and an auction. Information is available at www.carl-long.com.
If he plans to race, though, Long has to meet the requirements of his "payment plan" with NASCAR. "We'll keep digging at it," he said. "If we don't get it all, maybe I'll get enough to go run a couple of races. They gave me a payment program, but that's about $20 grand a race until it gets paid off." In other words, Long must pay $20,000 prior to each race he plans to enter. He's not complaining, though. Long is pleased to just be back in the garage after settling for working at the shop for weeks. "I'm just thankful to still have a job and be a part of the team," he said. SceneDaily
5 drivers given grid penalties in Suzuka (GMM) Five drivers received five-place grid demotions after qualifying for the Japanese grand prix.
Among those penalized were championship protagonists Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, meaning title chaser and pole sitter Sebastian Vettel is in an ideal position going into Sunday's race at Suzuka.
Button and Barrichello had qualified seventh and fifth respectively, but drop down the order because stewards found they ignored the yellow flags being waved for the Sebastien Buemi incident.
"We acknowledge and respect the decision of the stewards and will do our best to have a good race tomorrow," said team boss Ross Brawn.
Buemi was demoted five places and also reprimanded, for trying to get his heavily damaged Toro Rosso back to the pits and then impeding other drivers in the process.
Adrian Sutil had qualified an impressive fourth but, like the Brawns, was demoted. Fernando Alonso received the same penalty, even though the stewards acknowledged that he reduced his speed after passing "the hazard".
Heikki Kovalainen, who crashed at the Degner corner in qualifying, and Vitantonio Liuzzi are also dropping five places apiece for unscheduled gearbox changes.
Red Bull's Vettel appears the standout favorite to win the race, and is carrying slightly more fuel than closest opponents Jarno Trulli and Lewis Hamilton for the first stint.
"We want to win so I think we are in the best position for tomorrow's race," he said.
Todt backs Alonso's switch to Ferrari (GMM) Jean Todt on Saturday said he approved of Ferrari's decision to sign Fernando Alonso for the 2010 season and beyond.
When he was still in charge at the Maranello team two years ago, he said he would not contemplate working with the Spaniard.
It is believed Todt's rift with Alonso dates back to much earlier this decade, when a then young Alonso turned down Ferrari's offer of a driver development program in order to work instead with Flavio Briatore.
"I am not here speaking for Ferrari," the FIA presidential candidate said on a visit to the Catalunya rally, according to Europa Press.
"It is a team that I left and no longer have any involvement with. I think they have made the right decision; Alonso is a great driver and I wish the best things for him as much I do for Massa."
Kobayashi on standby after Glock crash (GMM) Kamui Kobayashi has been put on standby to possibly race in Sunday's Japanese grand prix.
Timo Glock has a heavy cold and on Friday sat out practice with a high fever, and on Saturday was transported to a local hospital after cutting his leg and twinging his back in a high speed qualifying crash.
Team president John Howett said at Suzuka that he hopes Glock, 27, can drive on Sunday.
According to the rules, a substitute driver can only be appointed prior to Saturday morning practice. But it is believed that Howett will be making a case of 'force majeure' to the stewards of the meeting.
Possibly in 23-year-old Kobayashi's favor is that he subbed for Glock on Friday, even though both sessions were wet.
"We will have to wait and see what they (the stewards) say," Howett is quoted as saying in the German media.
Drivers summoned by Stewards for ignoring yellows (GMM) At least five drivers have been summoned to appear before the stewards and face penalties for ignoring yellow flags during Saturday's qualifying session at Suzuka.
When Sebastien Buemi scraped his Toro Rosso down the barriers and deposited debris across the exit of the famous Spoon curve, the yellow flags and lights were waved and shone.
However, it was instantly apparent that some drivers - most notably the two Brawns driven by Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello - set competitive sectors through the yellow flag zone.
Fernando Alonso, who did not subsequently make it through to the decisive Q3 phase, said he backed off, and was immediately making his view clear.
"I think everybody was improving their times (despite the yellow flags). I backed off. Other people didn't. We'll see what happens this afternoon," the Spaniard is quoted as saying by the BBC.
It is believed that Alonso and both BMWs, despite Nick Heidfeld lifting his arm as he drove past the yellows, were similarly summoned by the stewards.
Superleague embarrasses itself at Monza In Friday's Superleague practice at Monza lap times were way off F1 lap times and approximately eight seconds behind this year's GP2 pace at Monza. 8 seconds slower than even GP2? Oh my.
New look for Alliance's car Alliance Motorsports' Firestone Indy Lights car will be sporting a new look for the season-ending Miami 100.
The No. 24 efusjon energy club car will carry a unique split livery promoting the two new efusjon products - efusjon DAWN and efusjon BREEZE - during the Oct. 9 event.
"We wanted to do something special for the great people associated with the eFusjon energy club for the last race of the season," said Ted Bitting, team manager of Alliance Motorsports. "They have been tremendous supporters of ours since May, and this is just a small token of appreciation for all that they have done for our team. "
A look at the ALMS championship chases Since 2004, the American Le Mans Series’ annual visit to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca means four hours of the world’s premier sports cars, teams and drivers racing into the twilight and darkness on the Pacific coast. It also draws a curtain to the championship chase, and this year is no different.
Heading into next weekend’s Monterey Sports Car Championships presented by Patr¢n, three of the four driver championships and three team titles remain at stake with 25 championship points still available to class winners. How do things break down? We’re glad you asked…
LMP1: Patr¢n Highcroft Racing’s David Brabham and Scott Sharp lead de Ferran Motorsports’ Gil de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud by 21 points. The Patr¢n Highcroft duo must complete 70 percent of the overall winner’s distance to gain points and claim the first championship for both as well as the first for Duncan Dayton’s team.
Trulli tops sunny practice 3 in Japan (GMM) After Friday's rain and wet track, the sun was out on Saturday morning as Suzuka hosted the final practice session before qualifying for the Japanese grand prix.
The much nicer weather coincided with Timo Glock's reduced fever and return to the Toyota cockpit, as the formula one field got in their first dry laps of running at the venue since 2006.
"His fever has gone down, he's not 100 per cent but well enough to drive," said a Toyota spokesman.
The NASCAR Hall of Fame is one step closer to its May 11, 2010 opening day with the placement this week of the first artifact in the 150,000 square-foot entertainment attraction.
The iconic bright orange Unocal 76 spotter ball traveled on a flat-bed trailer from a restoration company in Florida to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Monday. It arrived in three sections, and the construction teams worked on assembly and placement of the ball for three days, completing the project late Wednesday night. Due to its immense size, this item had to be placed much earlier than other artifacts, which are scheduled for placement after the New Year.
This is one of the four spotter balls first installed at Daytona International Speedway in 1969. At the time, the enclosed platform replaced open platforms and offered a better view and more protection from the elements for officials and broadcast spotters. Driver spotters used other locations around the track.
Patrick extends Andretti deal in IndyCar for three yearsUPDATE According to AR1.com sources, indeed Patrick is signed, sealed and delivered to stay with the AGR team in IndyCar and they will help her get a part-time NASCAR deal as well. We await the announcement.
09/24/09 After months of investigation, consultation and negotiation and using NASCAR as a political ploy, Danica Patrick is staying in the IndyCar Series, AutoWeek is reporting.
She has signed a three-year contract extension with Michael Andretti's team, which she first joined in 2007. She will continue to drive the No. 7 car, likely sponsored by Boost Mobile.
Andretti still has not said what his revamped team will be called-—team co-owners Kim Green and Kevin Savoree are out as of 2010--but it will again include Patrick, Tony Kanaan, likely Marco Andretti and perhaps Hideki Mutoh.
Another deadline extension for Donington GP (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has yet again extended Donington's deadline to get its funding in place for the British grand prix.
Contractually, the Leicestershire circuit had to prove it could refurbish its facilities and host next July's race by the end of this September, but F1's chief executive gave boss Simon Gillett an extension until October 3.
October 3 is Saturday, and from the Suzuka circuit in Japan, Ecclestone confirmed that another extension has now been granted.
"They pleaded for extra time and have had several deadlines. It's October 9 to show me they have the finances in place or we will be finished with Donington," he is quoted as saying by the Daily Express.
Montreal not worried about Ecclestone deadline (GMM) Montreal mayor Gerald Trembley insists he is not worried about next week's deadline to reach a final deal with Bernie Ecclestone for a Canadian grand prix in 2010.
A report in the Canadian press on Friday said F1's chief executive is losing patience with the dithering organizers and wants "final answers" when he returns next week from Japan.
"If I don't have them, there won't be a grand prix in Montreal," said the 78-year-old.
Ecclestone also said he was "no longer confident" a race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve will take place mid next year, but Montreal mayor Tremblay told local radio CJAD: "I'm not very concerned about that.
"We're continuing our negotiations and when we have a signed deal we'll make it public."
Asked when a deal will be announced, Tremblay added: "As soon as possible."
Mika Salo eyes NASCAR start Current sports car driver and former Formula One racer Mika Salo will be testing for Michael Waltrip Racing by the end of this year with an eye towards a Nationwide Series debut in 2010.
Salo, who raced in Formula One from 1994-2002, has raced sports cars in America and was an American Le Mans Series champion in 2007.
The 42-year-old Helsinki, Finland native has been to MWR for a seat fitting and told AUTOSPORT magazine that he expects to test in November.
"It will be great to get to test a NASCAR at last," Salo said. "After two years of trying, I finally met the person who could make it happen. Racing sports cars in the US has definitely helped”
"My hope next year is that I can do some races in Nationwide,” Salo said. “Maybe even a full season - but I understand that I may have to raise some money to make it happen.”
Only in NASCAR..... NASCAR’s rule prohibiting Camping World Truck Series drivers from taking tires and fuel on the same pit stop, is being ridiculed up and down pit road.
“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen in racing in 35 years,” says Skinner, the 1995 series champion. “I am so shocked that we haven’t got somebody hurt with that stupid rule. It’s horrible, and it has bit us.
“It probably cost us from winning two or three races this year that we felt like we were going to win. The pit-road rule has been horrible, and it hasn’t saved us any money.”
Wind Tunnel Sunday Robin Miller will be hosting this edition of Wind Tunnel as Dave Despain will be on vacation this coming Sunday. This will be Robin’s first time being the host. He has co-hosted the show more than any other guest.
Guest Host Robin Miller (SPEED Open Wheel Racing Reporter)
We’ve lost our minds and put Robin Miller in charge of this Sunday’s show! For the first time, Robin will be calling the shots on Wind Tunnel and who knows how that’s going to turn out!
Featured Interview A.J. Foyt (4-time Indy 500 Winner)
4-time Indy 500 winner and 7-time USAC champion, A.J. Foyt, will be making his first appearance on Wind Tunnel this Sunday October 4th.
Recognized as one of the best and most versatile racers in motorsports history, Foyt, not only won Indy 4 times (1 of 3 drivers who have done so) but he also won the most prestigious sports car races in the world...the 24 Hours of Le Mans, 24 Hours of Daytona, and 12 Hours of Sebring. On top of that, he claimed victory in the crown jewel of stock car racing...the Daytona 500.
Lorenzo leads Friday practice in Portugal After a month-long break, MotoGP was finally back in action today at Estoril in Portugal for the 14th round of the season. Carrying a special one-off 'Fiat Punto Evo livery for this race, the Fiat Yamaha pair of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi made a strong start to the weekend, finishing Free Practice in first and third respectively.
Temperatures were comfortably in the mid-twenties and both riders were happy to be back on board, using the time to reacquaint themselves with their YZR-M1s after the holidays and work on tire selection and set-up. Dani Pedrosa was on top for much of the first half of the session but with 20 minutes to go Lorenzo moved into the lead and he finished the session well inside the lap record and an impressive 0.359 seconds ahead of Pedrosa. Rossi was less than a tenth off Pedrosa in third and is confident that a little more time to work on set-up tomorrow will enable him improve the balance of his bike in the hard braking areas and close the disadvantage to his young team-mate.
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 1stTime: 1'37.185Laps: 27 "It's good to be back on the bike after one month but also quite hard! I enjoyed today though and we did a good job and made an encouraging start. After a bit of work we were able to do a very good time and I am happy to be in front, it's important at this stage of the championship to make a strong start this weekend. We have one or two things to improve but we are in good shape. I am happy to see Casey back and also to see that he is already strong. Finally I want to mention the special sticker I have on my bike this weekend for Lukas Sembera, a young Czech rider who had a bad accident two weeks ago - I wish him all the best in his recovery."
Historic Mile doesn't have the cash Historic Mile LLC, the group that wanted to promote races at the Milwaukee Mile, will not meet a deadline today to show it has the financial means to do so.
Craig Barkelar, the Wisconsin State Fair's interim executive, conceded Friday afternoon what many had suspected in the racing community: Historic Mile didn't have enough money.
"Everyone that Historic Mile was counting on has backed out at the last moment," Barkelar said Friday.
The acknowledgment means that the Wisconsin State Fair has no one to promote races at the track and puts the future of the historic racetrack in jeopardy. NASCAR has scheduled two races next year at the track, but right now there is no group available to run it.
Ecclestone losing patience over Canada GP return (GMM) Montreal race organizers have reportedly been given ten days to decide whether to host a Canadian grand prix next year.
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has only a provisional date on the 2010 calendar, and the Canadian publisher Sun Media said F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone is losing patience with the stalling talks.
"When I come back from Japan next week, I'm going to need final answers to all of our questions," the 78-year-old Briton said from Suzuka.
"If I don't have them, there won't be a grand prix in Montreal."
After the popular and important North American date was missing from this year's world championship, it was believed that a commercial dispute had been solved and that arms of government had stepped in to ensure a Canadian race for 2010.
Ecclestone revealed: "We're still trying to reach (an agreement).
"I'm no longer very confident. We have waited to have all of the answers. We can't wait much longer."
Vatanen doubts he will lose FIA election (GMM) Ari Vatanen on Friday took issue with incumbent Max Mosley's claim that he will "lose badly" the FIA presidential election later this month.
Mosley, who has been FIA president since 1993 but wants former Ferrari boss Jean Todt to now succeed him, had hit out at Finn Vatanen's stance about the corruptness of the current regime in a leaked letter.
But Vatanen, the 1981 world rally champion and European parliamentarian, believes the existing regime is actually on the wrong end of a changing tide.
"It happens in smaller elections too and this is a Barack Obama thing happening: we believe we have more than half of the votes already and there is a tendency the tide has turned," Vatanen, 57, told the Guardian newspaper.
Bruno Senna asked to test GP2 Series in Jerez Invited by iSport, the team for which he finished runner-up in the 2008 season, Bruno Senna will make a quick – and probably final – appearance in the GP2 Series. The Brazilian driver has been asked to work on the development of the team’s car for next year and will drive on the third and final day of post-season testing session in Jerez de la Frontera (Spain) on Thursday.
Bruno, who won at Monaco and Silverstone for iSport in GP2 last season, explained: "iSport will sign new drivers for 2010 and I will help them by providing a benchmark whilst working on the set up and performance of the car. I got a call from team-owner Paul Jackson and could not resist giving them a helping hand as we built a very good relationship during our days together. For me it is also a good opportunity to drive a single-seater again, as this year I have been mainly driving endurance prototypes in the Le Mans Series. I don't think it will take many laps at all to get back to where I was a year ago with this car. It is a very familiar working environment for me and I am looking forward to trying to push the performance development of the car even further with the team who I had so much success with a year ago.”
Japanese GP: Friday Press Conference Q. John, I know you have been asked this question many times. Do you expect to be here next year? Is it rather late for your budget.
John HOWETT: No, I just can't get my head around that. We plan much further ahead than others. If you run a company you get a budget reduction half-way through the year. We are just professionals and we manage it. We have got alternative scenarios and I expect to be back at Suzuka hopefully without the rain next year.
Q. Do we read into the driver situation that both drivers are free to negotiate their own deals elsewhere if they want to?
JH: I think the market is very fluid. I think we have tried to be fair to the drivers to say that we may not have seats for them and therefore I think it is fair and transparent to do that. We remain in contact with both of them, particularly Timo (Glock). But I do feel there will be movements in the driver market, some movements even that people aren't speculating about at the moment and therefore we want to be free to consider the best option for the team for next year. We think we will have a strong car and we want good results.
Childress to run 4 cars Car owner Richard Childress said he plans to field a fourth car next season even with sponsor Jack Daniel's leaving after this year. Who will drive, though, is unclear. Childress hasn't exercised the option on Casey Mears' contract. That's not surprising since the sponsor approves the driver and with no sponsor, a team is likely to wait. Mears ranks 20th in the points heading into today's race at Dover International Speedway with three top-10 finishes in 27 starts.
"He's done a good job for us," Childress said. "Naturally, you want to run better, but we want all of our cars to run better and we're working on it. We've got them running better the last several weeks. As all of them have stepped up, he's stepped up as well."
Childress isn't the only owner committed to remaining in the sport after losing a sponsor. Robby Gordon said he'll race next year even with Jim Beam announcing this week it will leave after this season. Gordon said Jim Beam was a primary sponsor for 12 races, but he's found another company to sponsor four of those next year.
Japanese GP: Friday Quotes The opening day of practice for the Japanese Grand Prix was severely compromised by rain with most opting to save tires and restrict running to a minimum. Adrian Sutil and Tonio Liuzzi ended the afternoon first and third respectively for the Mercedes-powered Force India team, while for many it was the first time at Suzuka as they looked to get to grips with the 5.807km circuit for the first time.
1 . A. Sutil - Force India Mercedes VJM02 "I've had a lot of experience at this track from 2006 when I was here in Japanese F3 and I really like this circuit. It's a great track with lots of fast and high speed corners and a nice flow. We didn't get the chance to do much driving today unfortunately. It was a really easy session this afternoon - just 10 minutes and my first lap was P1! This morning we did just 14 laps and things went quite well. I was confident we would be back on the pace in Suzuka and at the moment it looks like this: overall we are looking much better than in Singapore. But still nobody really knows the score about the weather and dry set-ups so it will be an interesting weekend for sure."
Massa insists 'no problems' with Alonso (GMM) Felipe Massa insists he has no problem with Ferrari's appointment of Fernando Alonso as his 2010 teammate.
The pair clashed infamously after the 2007 Nurburgring race, when following an on-track scrape they argued in the native tongue of Italy while waiting to go onto the podium.
"Shortly after that, we got over it together," Massa, who several times this week has tested karts in his native Sao Paulo, is quoted as saying by TV Globo. "It's in the past. There are no problems between us."
Massa also said he does not fear the arrival of the Spaniard, who is regarded by some as the most complete current F1 racer.
"He is a great driver," the Brazilian agrees, "but so were my two previous teammates, Kimi and Schumacher. I am calm. Today Ferrari is a team well able to work with two drivers.
Massa comments leave Hamilton 'surprised' (GMM) Lewis Hamilton on Friday said he was "a little surprised" that Felipe Massa is questioning the outcome of the 2008 world championship where Massa insists that if Renault did not cheat he would definitely be world champion.
The pair fought to the wire for last year's drivers' crown, but Ferrari's recovering Massa told a Brazilian TV network that the crash-gate scandal made him feel "robbed" of the title.
"It is my title and what people say doesn't bother me," McLaren driver Hamilton is quoted as saying from Suzuka by the German newspaper Bild.
"I am a little surprised, because we had a very fair title fight over the course of the season," the Briton added.
Kobayashi in for unwell Glock on FridayUPDATE (GMM) Shortly after Friday's track activities at Suzuka, Timo Glock's manager said the German driver is well enough to return to the wheel of his Toyota on Saturday morning.
Glock, 27, was told by the Toyota doctor on Friday morning that he should stay in the trackside hotel with a high fever and cold. He was replaced by the team's Japanese reserve Kamui Kobayashi.
Manager Hans Bernd Kamps has confirmed that Glock's fever, as high as 39 early on Friday morning according to team president John Howett, has now subsided.
"He already wanted to practice in the afternoon but we decided with the team that he should continue to rest," Kamps is quoted as saying by the German media.
He added that it is "very likely" Glock will return to the TF109 on Saturday.
Other teams more likely to quit than Toyota - Howett (GMM) There are other teams that are more likely to pull out of formula one in the near future than Toyota, its team president John Howett insisted at Suzuka on Friday.
The Japanese marque's ongoing participation has been the subject of intense speculation, but the signs in the last two days indicate that Toyota is set to stay on the grid in 2010, albeit perhaps with a drastically reduced budget.
Howett told reporters: "I think there is a lot of uncertainty about a lot of teams to be honest, we seem to be the focus of everybody's attention.
"But to be blunt, there are a lot of teams that on the inside we hear rumors of that are more severe than our condition."
Cologne based Toyota has signed the binding 2010-2012 Concorde Agreement, but the team's 2010 budget can only be approved at a November 15 meeting of its parent company's executive committee.
ABC’s TV ratings for Dover Cup raceUPDATE #2 Saturday's Dover Nationwide race was up slightly from last year, with a 1.2, compared to 2008's 1.1 rating. That makes Dover the fifth consecutive Nationwide race on ESPN2 to be up from last year.
Speed's Truck race in Las Vegas last weekend was also up, averaging a 0.46 rating (that's 340,000 households), compared to last year's 0.39 rating (285,000 households). That makes two weeks in a row that NASCAR's Trucks have increased ratings. The series is averaging a 0.8 rating this season overall.
10/01/09 ABC's live telecast of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 race at Dover International Speedway earned a final national household rating of 3.1, down from the 3.3 rating for last year's race that also aired on ABC. The telecast averaged 5,084,257 viewers. ESPN2's live telecast of Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Dover earned a final national household coverage rating of 1.2, up from the 1.1 rating earned for last year's race. It was the fifth consecutive Nationwide Series race on ESPN2 to be up from last year's race or corresponding weekend. The Dover telecast averaged 1,459,145 viewers.(ESPN), for overnight ratings.
09/28/09 ABC’s broadcast of Sunday’s AAA 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway earned a 2.7 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research, Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports.
The rating from the nation’s largest television markets is 6.9 percent lower than the 2.9 ABC earned overnight for the race in 2008 but 8 percent higher than the 2.5 ABC earned overnight for the previous week’s opener of the Chase For The Sprint Cup at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Honda rules out getting badly beaten again Car manufacturer Honda has said it might one day return to Formula One but not in the near future. The Japanese car manufacturer pulled out of Formula 1 to everyone's surprise in December last year and sold the team to Ross Brawn after being smoked on the track week in and week out by other car manufacturers, making their product look inferior. A similar degradation of Toyota's reputation continues so it is just a matter of time before Toyota management says enough is enough.
Honda Chief Executive Takanobu Ito told Reuters at Suzuka they wouldn't see themselves re-enter the sport in the near future. "It would be difficult to re-enter Formula One racing under current business conditions," he said. "But in the future, if it became a competition based on fuel efficiency and performance, as well as pose a technical challenge, then we would surely want to take part. I do not see that happening in the near future."
Dover terminates agreement to sell Memphis track Dover Motorsports has terminated the agreement to sell Memphis Motorsports Park to Gulf Coast Entertainment, which could not finalize the project financing, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Gulf Coast Entertainment, which plans to build Alabama Motorsports Park in the Mobile area, had agreed in January to buy the 0.75-mile track for $10 million. Bill Futterer, general manager of the Alabama project through his marketing company PSE-3 (which has a financial interest in the project), said Gulf Coast Entertainment still hopes to purchase Memphis once financing is completed.
The deadline for completion of the deal had been extended from the end of April to the end of June and then to the end of September. Dover Motorsports officials declined comment beyond what was filed with the SEC.
Alonso a better fit at Ferrari than Raikkonen Italians are noted for lots of communication - verbal and otherwise. Compare and contrast that to Kimi Raikkonen who talks as if his jaws were wired shut. Listening to him is like having a bad toothache.
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo today said that his new signing Fernando Alonso will be a better communicator than outgoing driver Kimi Raikkonen.
“It’s a matter of personality, because Kimi is the type of person that shows little emotion, he keeps everything inside,” di Montezemolo was quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport.
“These things don’t help with the exchange of information inside the team. In any case I’m thankful to Raikkonen – he brought us a championship that we will not forget,” said the Ferrari man.
di Montezemolo went on to say that he had long admired Alonso and that he believed the Asturian would rapidly become a great Ferrari name.
“We needed a team player, and I think Alonso is that, considering also all the good things our team boss, [Stefano] Domenicali, has told me about him. But it’s also up to us not to make mistakes.
“Fernando is a great driver and a charismatic man, I expect a lot from him.”
Massa says Alonso's Singapore win was title 'robbery'
Vatanen 'will lose' FIA election - Mosley
Silverstone not keen on single GP deal for 2010
Toyota 'committed to F1' through 2012 - spokesman
Button wants to win title fairly
Webber involved in new GP3 team (GMM) Mark Webber is getting involved in the world of motor racing team ownership.
The Australian driver has teamed up with his Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner for the Arden entry in the new GP3 series, which is set to support European grands prix in 2010.
The series confirmed that 'MW Arden', one of ten three-car teams for next season, will race with an Australian license.
"It's something Mark has talked about for a while -- putting something back into the sport and supporting young Australian drivers," Horner said at Suzuka on Friday morning.
Massa says Alonso's Singapore win was title 'robbery' (GMM) Felipe Massa has got his 2010 pairing at Ferrari with Fernando Alonso off to an awkward start, asserting that the Spaniard's controversial win in Singapore last year "robbed" him of the world championship.
The Brazilian, who is recuperating from serious head injuries and set to return as Alonso's teammate next season, suggested that the 28-year-old should have been disqualified as the winner of F1's first night race over the 'crash-gate' affair.
"All of what happened was robbery -- but regarding the race nothing has happened, the result remains the same. This is not right," Massa, who like Alonso is 28, told Brazilian Globo television.
"The robbery changed the outcome of a championship and I lost (the title)," he added, referring to Ferrari's botched pitstop that was triggered by the safety car period to clear Nelson Piquet's deliberately crashed Renault.
Massa said he cannot understand why F1's results are set in stone just weeks after the end of each championship, even when serious race-fixing later comes to light.
"I have seen in football how a referee took money to throw a game and all the suspect results were annulled," he charged.
"In Italy, Juventus were relegated. But here (in F1) they just sent Briatore home. I don't get it and I don't think it was right."
Suzuka wet for morning practice session (GMM) McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen topped the Friday morning practice session at wet Suzuka.
The popular Japanese layout was drying by the end of the 90 minute session, which commenced at 10am local, but lap times were about ten seconds off the pace of the last dry sessions at Suzuka back in 2006.
Toyota reserve driver Kamui Kobayashi is filling in for the ill Timo Glock on Friday, with team president John Howett revealing that the German's temperature is currently over 39.
"Very good," said the Briton when asked by British BBC radio how he thought Japanese Kobayashi was doing. The 23-year-old ended the session 19th fastest, three seconds off the pace.
"He didn't know he was going to drive until 30 or 40 minutes before the session, and he's good," Howett added, insisting that "it's too early to say" if Kobayashi might be considered for a race drive in 2010.
Q&A with new Ferrari driver Alonso Having announced that's he's off to Ferrari next season, Renault had a chat with their double World Champion Fernando Alonso about his decision.
Q: Fernando, your life has been like a fast train: always at top speed and only stopping at a few stations. Have these nine years in Formula 1 gone by quickly for you?
FA: Yes, these nine years have gone by so quickly, in my private life and as a racing driver even more so - we are always moving from place to place, we are always on the go with races, engagements, sponsor events... the truth is that it seems like I only just started yesterday.
Q: Was it worth for you to have done so many sacrifices in your life? FA:Yes, this is my life. It's what I enjoy doing. For me, I'm someone in a single seater with a steering wheel in my hands, it is natural.
BMW sales tick upward For the first time this year, the BMW Group in the U.S. (BMW and MINI combined) reported an increase in sales compared to the same month last year. In September, sales increased by 3.6 percent to 19,175 units compared to 18,506 vehicles sold in September 2008. The BMW Group also reported a year-to-date sales volume of 179,219 vehicles, down 24.2 percent, compared to 236,327 vehicles sold in the first nine months of last year.
Barrett Mertins to make Atlantic debut with Jensen Jensen MotorSport is pleased to announce the graduation of our 2009 Formula BMW Americas driver Barrett Mertins to join our Atlantic Championship team for the final race of the 2009 season at Laguna Seca California.
Barrett Mertins (19) will drive the #2 Jensen MotorSport car in the Atlantic race at the famous Laguna Seca road course on the weekend October 9th-11th, 2009.
Mertins, who lives in Alexandria Virginia, recently completed his first race season as a driver in the Formula BMW Americas championship. With no prior karting or car racing experience, Mertins developed his skills at an impressive rate in the BMW series scoring many top ten finishes en route to an 11th place finish in the championship.
As part of the special celebrations to mark Gil de Ferran's final appearance as a race car driver, which comes next weekend in the American Le Mans Series’ season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the Brazilian is honoring the role US motorsport legend Jim Hall played in his career. Hall is famously the inspiration behind the iconic Chaparral sports cars of the 1960s and ’70s - pioneering machines that totally changed the face of race car engineering. More recently, though, he was an IndyCar entrant and the man who gave de Ferran his first competitive drive in North America.
It was while racing for Hall that de Ferran won the Rookie of the Year award in 1995, scoring a maiden win at Laguna Seca. The following season de Ferran won again at Cleveland to give Hall a final victory as a team owner. Paying tribute to Hall, de Ferran has adopted the No. 66 - as displayed on so many of Chaparral's successful sports cars - for his own de Ferran Motorsports team. Now, to mark de Ferran’s final race behind the wheel, the No. 66 XM Radio de Ferran Motorsports Acura ARX-02a will compete at the Monterey Sports Car Championships presented by Patr¢n in Chaparral’s illustrious white livery.
USA car sales plummetUPDATE GM reported a decline of 45% - so much for the cash for clunkers program helping longterm.
10/01/09 Chrysler Group LLC joined Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. in reporting down sales numbers for September, as the automakers felt the payback from the end of the "cash for clunkers" program.
Chrysler sales fell 42 percent compared to the same month a year ago. Chrysler sold 62,197 vehicles in September, down from 107,349 in the same month last year, and the company's top sales executive said he thought the rest of the year would remain a challenge.
"We believe the remainder of 2009 will continue to be a challenge for the U.S. automotive market," said Peter Fong, who also is president and CEO of the company's Chrysler brand.
Miller to host Wind Tunnel Wind Tunnel original episode No. 435 will be highlighted by a couple of “firsts” for SPEED’s definitive motor sports talk show. SPEEDtv.com columnist and longtime motor sports journalist Robin Miller hosts the one-hour adventure as Dave Despain takes his last scheduled vacation of the year, and racing legend A.J. Foyt makes his first appearance ever on the long-running popular melting pot of news, rumors and discussion
“I am being allowed to host Wind Tunnel on Sunday night (9 p.m. ET) for the first time without Despain or any other parental supervision,” Miller said.
Expect the unexpected when Miller and Foyt get together early in the show.
“The first segment will be dedicated to the first four-time Indy 500 winner and I intend to ask him:
§ Why he and George Bignotti could win but couldn't get along?
§ How brave you had to be in the '60s?
§ Why he didn't have any drivers as close friends?
§ Whether it worse being stung by bees or burned at Milwaukee?
§ Why today's momma's boys couldn't cut it in the old days?
§ … and whether he enjoyed smacking me as much as he did Arie Luyendyk?”
Miller’s other guest will be former motorcycle flat track champion Gene Romero, a 1998 inductee in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Romero, one of the stars of the 1971 cult classic motorcycle documentary On Any Sunday, now promotes dirt track events around the country.
Ben Spies to move to MotoGP in 2010 Yamaha Motor Company., Ltd herewith confirms that Ben Spies, currently 2nd in the World Superbike Championship, will be moving to the MotoGP Championship in 2010 to join the Tech 3 Yamaha Team. The Texan recently signed a two-year deal with Yamaha, which originally planned for him to remain in World Superbike for one more year before moving to MotoGP in 2011, but Spies and Yamaha together have decided to advance the move by one year. The 25-year-old is currently just three points behind and has just two more World Superbike rounds to contest in his efforts to win his and Yamaha’s first World Superbike title.
BMW engines fall off truck at Suzuka (GMM) A transport container carrying eight BMW formula one engines has been dropped at the Suzuka circuit.
Auto Motor und Sport magazine reports that the engines were to be used in Friday practice by Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica, as well as being potential replacement units in the event of engine failures.
It is reported that the engines to be used in the race by the BMW-Sauber drivers were not in the affected container.
On the way into the paddock at the Japanese GP venue, the container reportedly fell off a truck after it grazed a bridge.
Barrichello '99.9 pc' likely to stay in F1 (GMM) Rubens Barrichello on Thursday said he is confident he will extend his record-longest formula one career into 2010.
Although still in this season's title contest, it is expected the veteran Brazilian will part with Brawn at the end of the year.
But he told reporters at Suzuka: "I'm in a much better shape than I've ever been in, winning races and being on the top of the paddock's mouth have opened up my chances a lot."
It has been reported that Barrichello, 37, recently visited Williams' Grove headquarters, and is favorite to swap seats with the Brawn-bound Nico Rosberg.
"I wish to be driving next year a competitive car and I think I'll be driving a competitive car. So far, that's all I can say for the time being. It's not done," he said when asked about the Williams rumors.
"My chances of being in F1 next year? 99.9 per cent, I would say," he added.
Vettel disputes Singapore speeding penalty (GMM) Sebastian Vettel does not think he sped in the pitlane last Sunday in Singapore.
The Red Bull driver's already slight championship chances diminished yet further under the Singapore floodlights, where he received a drive-through penalty for breaching the pitlane speed limit by 1.4kmh.
Team officials unofficially protested the infringement after the race, showing the stewards and race director Charlie Whiting telemetry that did not back up the speeding.
Vettel told the German news agency SID on Thursday that he believes there was a "measuring error" by the FIA.
"I hope the same thing doesn't happy to anyone else in the future," said the 22-year-old. "The speed limit should be independent of the track on which you're driving."
Toyota signs up supplier for 2010 'and beyond' (GMM) Amid all the speculation about Toyota's future in F1, the Cologne based team on Thursday announced a supplier agreement for the 2010 season.
It is believed the Toyota Motor Corporation may not approve the team's budget for next year at a November board meeting, but it has nonetheless been confirmed that ZF Sachs will supply dampers and clutches in 2010.
Toyota has also signed the 2010-12 Concorde Agreement, and a media statement said the ZF Sachs deal is for next season "and beyond".
"Even though we are in the middle of a season, the development and planning for next season has already begun," said team boss Tadashi Yamashina.
"I am convinced that with the team's hard work and the continuing support from our partners we will be stronger than ever," he added.
Elsewhere on Thursday, it had been reported that Yamashina earlier this week confirmed that Toyota will continue to field a F1 team in 2010.
Petty says merger negotiations still ongoing Richard Petty Motorsports co-owner Richard Petty says that negotiations on the team's proposed merger with Yates Racing are continuing, and he still expects the deal to be completed. RPM and Yates officials announced Sept. 10 that they planned to merge. At the time, Petty said he thought the deal would close within a few weeks. "It's still in negotiations, and so far they ain't signed nothing," Petty said Wednesday following a news conference to promote the upcoming races at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "I feel like if it went this far, we are going to go forward with it." SceneDaily
Yamaha World Superbike Team announce 2010 line-up The Yamaha World Superbike Team are proud to announce an all-British rider team for the 2010 season, with double World Superbike Champion James Toseland making a welcome return to the paddock. The popular 28-year-old recognized world wide as the UK’s number 1 rider has taken the opportunity to stay in the Yamaha family replacing Spies and moving across from the Yamaha Tech 3 MotoGP satellite team. Toseland enjoyed a strong rookie season in MotoGP in 2008 and has been a regular protagonist in the mid pack battles over the two years. His focus and commitment combined with his previous experience and success should prove a winning combination with the Yamaha team.
ALMS and IMSA explain Petit LeMans decision The unusual weather circumstances that resulted in a rain-shortened Petit Le Mans powered by MAZDA6 created many questions about how and why certain decisions were made. As a result, the Series feels it important to communicate the process that American Le Mans Series, IMSA and Road Atlanta officials pursued as they dealt with weather and track issues.
The decision to call the race prior to its completion was required for the following reasons…
• Due to the weeks of historically unprecedented inclement weather that the Greater Atlanta area had been subjected to (including additional very heavy rain Saturday morning) the track conditions at the start of the race were fragile at best. The land surrounding Road Atlanta was completely saturated and incapable of absorbing any additional rainfall. The heavy rain that began just before the halfway mark of the race almost immediately created an unsafe condition on the track. There were several areas with water running across the track and standing water up to 6 inches in depth in the Turn 4 and Turn 10 areas. These conditions required IMSA to halt the race per the published red flag procedures.
Räikkönen: Three fantastic years Kimi Räikkönen has thanked the team that took him to his first and so far only Drivers' World Championship title in 2007. Wednesday's news that Fernando Alonso will be joining the team to partner Felipe Massa brings an end to the Finn's association with the legendary marque one year early.
Räikkönen had been contractually bound to continue until the end of next season although the two parties agreed that the deal would be shortened, with Ferrari paying the additional year's salary.
With common consent, we have agreed to terminate the contract binding me to Ferrari to the end of 2010, one year ahead of schedule," Räikkönen explained. "I am very sad to be leaving a team with which I have spent three fantastic years, during which time I won plenty of races.
"Together, we have won 50% of the world titles in that period and I managed to take the Drivers' title in 2007, thus achieving the target I had set myself at the start of my career. I have always felt at home with everyone here and I will have many happy memories of my time with the team."
Q and A with Stefano Domenicali on Alonso deal Starting in 2010 Fernando Alonso will be an official Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver as was confirmed by the Maranello based squad on Wednesday. Following on from the official announcement, the team’s official website spoke to Stefano Domenicali about the team’s new choice of driver for the next three seasons.....
"We’re happy that we made this agreement with Fernando, who is not only a driver of great talent, but also victorious, as he has shown many times throughout his career, also under difficult conditions,” he said. “His contribution will be very important to bring Ferrari back to the level where it has to be, to fight at the top.”
How did you come to choose Alonso?
“As Chairman Montezemolo said recently, all the great champs want to come to Maranello sooner or later. With Fernando we started talking about a prospective for 2011, but then there were the conditions to anticipate the start of our relationship already as of the upcoming championship, we preferred to take the opportunity.”
Shocker - Penske backs out of Saturn dealUPDATE In a statement, Penske cited that the deal had been called off because of concerns related “to future supply of vehicles beyond the supply period it had negotiated with GM.”
Bloomfield Hills-based Penske said it had negotiated a deal to get products manufactured by another company but that agreement had fallen apart.
“That agreement was rejected by that manufacturer's board of directors,” Penske said in a statement. “Without that agreement, the company has determined that the risks and uncertainties related to the availability of future products prohibit the company from moving forward with this transaction.”
GM and Penske had been negotiating toward a final agreement since June 5. The terms of the original agreement called for GM to continue providing Saturn with vehicles for two years.
At the time, Roger Penske, chairman of Penske Automotive, said they had “been in discussions during this diligence period with a number of manufacturers on a worldwide basis. … We would expect to have a lineup going forward, which would be manufactured by a worldwide partner."
In early 2009, GM said it planned to wind down Saturn if a buyer could not be found.
GM’s Henderson noted that Penske’s statement “explained that their decision was not based on interactions with GM or Saturn retailers; rather it was because of the inability to source new products beyond what it had asked GM to build on contract.” Detroit Free Press
Japanese GP Preview - Q&A with Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock How would you describe Suzuka as a circuit? Jarno: 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: 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 1 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.
Mark Martin Through Eyes of Larry McReynolds McReynolds: “I didn’t need Riverside to show me Mark Martin’s determination – I saw it from the day I walked in the door and started working with him. He is one of the most focused, determined individuals I’ve ever met …”
While legendary crew chief Larry McReynolds, now a NASCAR analyst on SPEED, always will be remembered as Dale Earnhardt and Davey Allison’s crew chief, he first led NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie and current points leader Mark Martin midway through the 1982 season.
The duo combined for a 10th-place finish in their first race together at the year’s second event at Pocono Raceway, and concluded their 13-race run together with a fifth-place effort at Riverside before Martin’s family was forced to close the shop doors.
2010 Indianapolis 500 testing notebook Five IndyCar Series drivers tested Sept. 29-30 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with different agendas.
Three-time and defending Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and 2007 "500" champion Dario Franchitti conducted a two-day tire test for Firestone, while Marco Andretti, Vitor Meira and Tomas Scheckter tested Wednesday a possible 2010 Indianapolis 500 aerodynamic package for the Indy Racing League, sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series.
Castroneves, the "500" winner in 2001-02 and 2009, was so focused on testing potential 2010 Indianapolis 500 tire compounds for Firestone that he hadn't even considered that he was back at Indy with the prospect of joining legends A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears in the pantheon of four-time race winners.
ISC dragging feet on Speedway upgrades Auto Club Speedway proposed a multimillion-dollar revamp of the Fontana track to foster closer racing and boost crowds at its two annual NASCAR Sprint Cup races, but the track's owner has taken no action on the plan, The Times has learned.
The plan called for raising the banking of the track's four turns to 23 degrees from the current 14 degrees and narrowing its width in certain sections, all to bring the cars closer together and promote more passing, according to motor racing sources familiar with the proposal who agreed to speak on the condition that they not be identified.
Making the changes probably would cost $23 million to $30 million and could be completed between the track's two NASCAR race dates, and would involve digging up the entire turns to make their banking steeper, they said.
The proposal follows repeated criticism that the Fontana track's current layout -- a wide, D-shaped oval two miles long with relatively flat corners -- produces races that are too boring. One writer dubbed the Fontana track the "slumberdome," especially since NASCAR's Car of Tomorrow chassis started being used full-time in the Cup series last year. More at L.A. TIMES
Alonso agreed 2011 Ferrari deal in summer (GMM) Fernando Alonso on Wednesday admitted that he agreed earlier this season to switch to Ferrari in 2011.
Earlier on Wednesday, it was announced that the 27-year-old will replace the Italian team's Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen next year.
"We already had an agreement this summer starting in 2011, but then, (in) the last days, the picture changed and we decided to anticipate my arrival in Maranello by one year," Spaniard Alonso said.
Team boss Stefano Domenicali confirmed the story about 2011, by which Alonso would change teams only after the current contracts with Raikkonen and Felipe Massa ended.
"With Fernando we started talking about a prospective (seat) for 2011, but then there were the conditions to anticipate the start of our relationship already as of the upcoming championship (and) we preferred to take the opportunity," said the Italian.
It's official: Alonso joins Ferrari for 2010 (GMM) Ferrari on Wednesday announced that Fernando Alonso has signed a three year contract to race for the famous Italian team beginning in 2010.
The 27-year-old Spaniard will replace Finn Kimi Raikkonen, who was contracted to stay with the Maranello squad for one more season.
"With common consent, we have agreed to terminate the contract binding me to Ferrari to the end of 2010," Raikkonen, who is expected to move to McLaren, is quoted as saying in the Ferrari press statement.
El Pais newspaper in Spain believes Raikkonen will receive 45 million euros for the split: substantially more than his agreed 2010 retainer.
"I am very sad to be leaving a team with which I have spent three fantastic years," said the 29-year-old, who won the drivers' championship at the end of his first season with Ferrari in 2007.
"I have always felt at home with everyone here and I will have many happy memories of my time with the team," Raikkonen added.
Ferrari said Alonso's teammate will be Felipe Massa, with Giancarlo Fisichella the reserve driver.
Lots of changes at Suzuka since 2006 (GMM) There have been plenty of changes within the boundaries of the Suzuka circuit since it last hosted a grand prix in 2006.
The fabled venue is loved by drivers and spectators alike due to its exciting layout, but when Toyota's refurbished Fuji Speedway replaced Suzuka three years ago, it was suggested only a major revamp would lead to its return to the calendar.
For F1's traveling circus, the most notable changes this weekend will be the new pit building and team offices, which previously seemed particularly dated in comparison to some of the sport's other venues.
There is also a bigger and better paddock area, and new grandstands.
The drivers and engineers, meanwhile, will be most interested in the new asphalt surface, which extends all the way from after the fabled 130R corner near the end of the lap, to after the equally-famous 'Esses'.
There is also a new pit exit, which sees the cars enter the circuit after rather than before Turn 1, as well as some new asphalt run-off, and many other minor tweaks.
"I am pleased the layout is the same with just resurfacing," said Toyota's Jarno Trulli, who has contested 10 of Suzuka's 21 F1 races. "It's one of my favorite circuits."
Spokesman denies Massa to return in 2009 (GMM) A Ferrari spokesman has played down reports that Felipe Massa is set to return before the end of the 2009 season.
The Italian team announced recently that the 28-year-old Brazilian, seriously injured at July's Hungarian GP, will be fit in time for the start of next year's world championship.
But when asked in Singapore last weekend if an earlier comeback is possible, team boss Stefano Domenicali said he didn't want to "exclude anything", and in the last days Massa has been turning some laps at the Granja Viana kart track in Brazil.
Moreover, Ferrari confirmed that Massa has intensified "his physical preparation" in recent days, and is set to spend some time in the driver simulator at Maranello next week.
But Ferrari spokesman Luca Colajanni denied that a return in 2009 is on the cards for the 2008 championship runner-up.
"There is absolutely nothing true in this story," he said. "Felipe's recovery is proceeding in a very positive way, but there are no plans to accelerate his comeback."
Toyota to recall 3.8 million vehicles Toyota Motor Corp. will recall more than 3.8 million Lexus and Toyota vehicles, its largest ever U.S. safety recall, after drivers reported that floor mats slid forward and in some cases jammed the accelerator pedal, the company and the U.S. government said Tuesday.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Toyota officials urged owners of seven vehicle lines, including Toyota's best-selling Camry sedan, its Tundra truck and three premium Lexus models, to immediately remove driver-side floor mats, particularly if they are not secured.
Martin brings 'hot' car to Kansas Mark Martin's crew chief Alan Gustafson, has chosen Chassis No. 5-527 for this Sunday's race at Kansas Speedway. This is the same chassis Martin drove to Victory Lane at Darlington Raceway in May and Chicagoland Speedway in July. Martin most recently raced the car to a fifth-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway in September. Hendrick Motorsports
Chevy Close To Manufacturers' Title Depending on the outcome of Sunday's Price Chopper 400, Chevrolet could clinch the 2009 manufacturers' title this weekend at Kansas Speedway. If so, it would be the 33rd such title for Chevrolet and the seventh consecutive one. The manufacturers' championship debuted in 1950.
Chevy's top-finishing driver on Sunday must finish ahead of Toyota's top-finishing driver to clinch. NASCAR
Tost hopes to keep Toro Rosso drivers for 2010 (GMM) If team principal Franz Tost has his way, Toro Rosso will race with an unchanged driver lineup when the 2010 season kicks off next year.
Asked by the Swiss newspaper Blick if he is planning to replace either Sebastien Buemi or the newcomer Jaime Alguersuari, he said: "No."
But Austrian Tost acknowledged that the final decision will be made at Red Bull's Salzburg headquarters with the approval of team owner Dietrich Mateschitz.
He is however happy with Sebastien Bourdais' mid-season replacement Alguersuari, a teenaged Spaniard, and especially the Swiss rookie Buemi.
"We had to give up our original plan of having an experienced driver with a beginner, because Buemi was too far ahead of the Frenchman (Bourdais).
"Now Red Bull has again made Toro Rosso a school for the new generation."
Asked about Buemi, who turns 21 next month, Tost answered: "First he had Bourdais under control in qualifying. Now on Saturdays, as was the case in Singapore, he is always clearly faster than Jaime Alguersuari.
"His most important strength is his excellent basic speed, as well as his attitude towards the job. It's a shame he puts too much pressure on himself and is too easily disappointed.
"Buemi has to accept that the development process of a formula one driver takes three years," said Tost.
After an impressive 2008, Toro Rosso has spent most of this season at the back of the field, but Tost insists he has not been disappointed.
"We have to remain realistic as probably the smallest team. Besides, now we are concentrating on next year. Our technical director Giorgio Ascanelli was not in Singapore because he is building the new car in Faenza," he explained.
F1 teams seek 2010 schedule changesUPDATE (GMM) McLaren on Tuesday confirmed F1 teams' concerns about the scheduling of next year's Monaco and Turkish grands prix.
The FIA recently endorsed Bernie Ecclestone's draft 2010 calendar, which showed a healthy 19 rounds between March and November.
Traditionally, the Concorde Agreement stipulates income for a maximum of 17 races per season, with extra events needing to be agreed with the support of the teams.
"The bottom line is that going racing does cost us money, you've heard that before, but under the new arrangements that we have with FOM there is a mechanism by which we have recompense for that," McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale said during the team's Tuesday 'phone-in'.
Revenue aside, the teams expressed concern during meetings in Singapore last weekend about the scheduling of Monaco and Turkey next year as a mid-year back-to-back event.
Ecclestone appears already to have acknowledged the problem, by arranging that if negotiations with Montreal organizers fall through, the Turkish round will be delayed by a week to give teams more time to turn around after Monaco.
But if Canada does get the go-ahead, we reported the paddock rumor from Singapore that one outcome is that Turkey, so badly attended this year, might simply be dropped.
If the Istanbul round is directly preceded by Monaco, it is likely that teams will need to designate it a 'flyaway' rather than a standard European road-transported event, which would have serious repercussions in terms of cost.
Neale admitted that the Monaco-Turkey back-to-back would be a "phenomenal logistics challenge".
"Of course we want to do both events, and it's important that we do them well, but we just need to bear in mind that uprooting all of the infrastructure out of Monaco and moving across to Turkey is not a trivial issue, so we've got some questions around that," he added.
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