Vettel, a major talent, won with the diabolical Toro Rosso while Bourdais was nothing more than a backmarker
Am I disappointed with my F1 results? Yes,” said Sebastien Bourdais, speaking to 422race.com. “Obviously I am. It could have been really good. It started pretty well, with STR2 last year, and at that time I remember people saying ‘well, Bourdais must be really good, because we know Vettel is really good’, and this and that. Then STR3 arrived and I just couldn’t drive the car and Vettel was flying in it. Since it was a fast car, there was nothing to say about that; it blew me away and I couldn’t do anything about it, and then everybody said ‘Bourdais sucks’. They just forgot everything about the beginning of the season." In other words Vettel was able to adapt his driving style for the STR3, but Bourdais didn't have enough talent to do that.
“It was a combination of things between the rear suspension choice and the aero map. It was a car which was pretty understeery in the high-speed corners and very oversteery in the low-speed corners. I just couldn’t drive it. I’ve always needed a strong, good, stable rear end in the entry of the slow and medium-speed corners and a balanced car in high-speed [corners].
“Every time we were trying to fix the rear in the slow corners, we were increasing the understeer in high-speed [corners] and vice-versa. It was very frustrating because, in the end, nobody could do anything about it, because we were not developing the car. Obviously the driver in F1 is always responsible for the result. Everybody was complaining about my pace, but they wouldn’t do anything about it.” And why should they? Vettel adapted and won with the car while Bourdais was left to look like a loser because he could not drive around the car's weaknesses.
ISC third quarter profit down 89 percent International Speedway Corp. fiscal third-quarter earnings fell 89% amid property write-downs as results fell short of analysts' estimates. The company also cut the top end of the year's profit target 10 cents a share. International Speedway has seen attendance slide as consumers cut back on discretionary purchases and companies slow their hospitality spending. The problems prompted the company earlier this year to reduce prices, which it said Thursday was the right move, saying its experience, research and analysis show it has priced events appropriately to meet demand. Next year, International Speedway wants target-price promotions on customers who renew early, as it expands the price reductions to include more than 500,000 Sprint Cup tickets. For the quarter ended Aug. 31, International Speedway posted a profit of $4.4 million, or 9 cents a share, down from $38.8 million, or 79 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue decreased 19% to $172.9 million. Wall Street Journal
TV Ratings down for KansasUPDATE ABC's live coverage of Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway earned a final national household rating of 3.2, down from the 3.5 rating for last year's race that also aired on ABC. Sunday's telecast averaged 5,252,060 viewers. The rating rose from the 2.6 overnight rating that was reported Monday. ESPN PR
10/05/09 ABC's broadcast of Sunday's Price Chopper 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway earned a 2.6 overnight rating / 5 share. Down 16% over 2008's 3/1 rating / 6 share for the overnights. 2008's final national household rating was 3.5 with a 8 share.
J.C. France suspended indefinitely by the Grand Am series
The black sheep of the France family
J.C. France, the 43-year-old son of NASCAR Vice Chairman Jim France and a driver in NASCAR’s Grand-Am road-racing circuit, was suspended from competition Thursday following his arrest early Thursday morning on charges of driving under the influence and alleged possession of cocaine.
“Grand Am has issued a penalty notice and suspended J.C. indefinitely from all competition for actions detrimental to racing,” Grand-Am spokesman Ramsey Poston said. “The penalty is not appealable. JC is being treated like any other competitor. His suspension is immediate and indefinite. “
Fisher to announce 2010 plans The Sarah Fisher Racing team will announce its 2010 schedule Friday and introduce the driver of her second car, the No. 66. The second car will be at "select events."
Dollar General joined SFR in 2008 for two events after the new team lost funding from their primary sponsor. The discount retailer returned in 2009 for six events and will be announcing plans for their 2010 schedule with SFR. The driver-owned team will also reveal a 2010 strategy that involves the addition of a second car, No. 66.
Fogarty leads Thursday Grand-Am practice Competition is hot heading into Saturday's Grand Prix of Miami, the season finale for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16, with the Daytona Prototype championship down to a three-team fight.
Conditions at Homestead-Miami Speedway are expected to be even hotter when the two-and-a-half hour race takes the green flag shortly after 1 p.m. ET Saturday (SPEED, Live at 1 p.m. ET), with temperatures expected to be in the mid-90s, along with high humidity.
"The thermometer said 109 (degrees Fahrenheit) in our pit, so you've got to add about 30 degrees to that in the car," explained Alex Gurney, who currently holds an eight-point lead (309-301) in the standings with co-driver Jon Fogarty in Bob Stallings Racing's No. 99 GAINSCO Pontiac Riley. "The longer you are in these cars, the hotter it's going to get."
France family members arrested for having cocaine A grandson of late NASCAR founder Bill France faces a drug charge after he and his half brother were spotted racing each other in separate vehicles over the Seabreeze Bridge, police said.
J.C. France and Russell Van Richmond were charged with DUI and possession of cocaine. Van Richmond also is charged with possession of hydrocodone and threat by corruption of a public official.
Van Richmond, 40, is the son of a former wife of J.C. France's father. Van Richmond threatened a female officer, telling her, "Do you know who I am? I'm a France. We own this city," according to the report.
France, 43, is a race car driver in the Grand-Am circuit, which was founded by his father, Jim France. Van Richmond owns a state-licensed geology business, records show. They live in a million-dollar riverside home on Revilo Boulevard.
France is expected to be suspended immediately and indefinitely by Grand-Am, said NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston. NASCAR owns the Grand-Am circuit.
According to the reports, the men were racing each other over the bridge just after midnight. France was stopped at Mason and Ridgewood avenues after police said he sped over the bridge in his green 2007 Lamborghini, the report shows. His housemate, stopped in a Porsche sport utility vehicle, was pulled over minutes later at Fairview Avenue and Ridgewood, police said.
The pockets of both men were searched and police found plastic bags with cocaine in them, according to the report.
Both men, who had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech, were also charged with DUI, police said.
Both men bailed out at 1 p.m. today. France posted $4,500 bail and Van Richmond on $10,500 bail.
France and Van Richmond could not be reached for comment today. No one was at the white house on Revilo Boulevard that ends in a cul-de-sac. The house, which sits on the bank of the Halifax River is surrounded by overgrown plants and a lawn with ankle high grass. A glass top table on a red brick back porch held dirty ash trays. Daytona Beach News Journal
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Tickets on Sale Monday Tickets for the 36th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 16-18, 2010, will go on sale Monday.
For the second consecutive year, ticket prices remain unchanged. The 2010 Grand Prix will again feature the IndyCar Series, with such stars as 2009 Long Beach winner Dario Franchitti, Danica Patrick, Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves expected to return to battle wheel-to-wheel on the famed 1.97-mile, 11-turn seaside street circuit.
The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach will scorch the downtown Long Beach streets with continuous action from six racing series, including drifting and Firestone Indy Lights. On Saturday, April 17, the racing spotlight will shine on two fan favorites, the sports cars of the American Le Mans Series and the 34th Annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, with film star Keanu Reeves expected to return as a "pro" and try for a second straight win.
FIA happy with USF1's progress (GMM) An official of F1's governing FIA on Thursday said he was "impressed" this week after visiting the headquarters of the new American team USF1.
Nick Craw, the Paris federation's sport president, also visited the Charlotte base in August, amid rumors USF1 might not make it to the grid next season.
"I am impressed with the progress made by the organization since the Concorde Agreement was signed in late July," Craw said in a team media statement.
Also pictured during the USF1 inspection in North Carolina was Tony Purnell, the FIA's technical consultant.
USF1 team principal Ken Anderson added: "We are proud to show them that, despite what is currently circulating in the rumor mill, our Charlotte shop is fully operational and we are well under way to construction of a unique US-designed formula one race car."
ISC making enemies with the media This letter was mailed to all USA auto racing journalists through the AARWBA association for racing media.
As some of our members may be aware, California Speedway (nee Auto Club Speedway) has decided to charge for meals during the upcoming Cup weekend, October 9-11.
I wish to encourage AARWBA member not to pay the $25, and instead to seek other alternatives.
The issue at play is not the food, but rather the unmitigated greed and a disguised attempt to charge us for access, the first step in a "slippery slope."
If the track had stated that they would no longer serve meals (due to economic considerations), this e-mail would not be relevant or necessary. But turning the Media Center into a profit center is just plain wrong.
The track is owned by International Speedway Corp (ISC), and they are making plenty of money. A few years ago, the fall race had a gross margin in excess of $30 million. But that’s apparently not enough for the controlling shareholders.
USF1 cofounder Ken Anderson talks about the team's preparations for their debut F1 season and the design of their first F1 car...
Q: Ken, we're hearing about a lot of activity in Charlotte these days. What is going on at US F1 Team? KA: It has been quite a ride since we started the team last year, and has become far more intense since the signing of the Concorde Agreement. Our world headquarters is now complete and fully functional, and the 2010 race car is in the construction phase.
Q: So the car is finally being built? Isn't it a little late to get something like that started? KA: Funny that you ask that question - we get that one a lot. Thanks to our in-house design and engineering staff and the aid of our technical partners, for the last 10 to 12 months, the car has gone through thousands of iterations in a virtual environment.
With this virtual design, we can test and be sure that it's right from structural, design and engineering standpoints, so we don't have to make a part, test it, break it and start again. Instead, we've taken out a lot of the guesswork and can get close to a race-ready piece right off of the machines, which is happening now. Our timing is according to plan, with an early November "roller" and a finished car in time for January 2010 testing.
Massa set for FIA medical checks in ParisUPDATE (GMM) Felipe Massa will wave the checkered flag at the end of next Sunday's Brazilian grand prix.
The Paulista is now back in training after recovering from his serious head injuries sustained in July's Hungaroring qualifying, but his return at Interlagos has been ruled out.
Instead, he will travel to his local circuit simply to be with his Ferrari team colleagues for the first time since his accident, and to greet the winner with the famous black and white flag.
It is rumored that, after a medical thumbs-up by the FIA on Friday, and a test in a two-year-old Ferrari early next week, Massa could then make his return in Abu Dhabi for the 2009 season finale.
Interlagos, otherwise known as the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, was the scene of high drama a year ago, when 28-year-old Massa won in front of his ardent countrymen and for a few seconds seemed to have snatched Lewis Hamilton's world championship from the jaws of defeat.
10/08/09 (GMM) Despite earlier disputing claims Felipe Massa will make his return to the cockpit of a F1 car after the forthcoming weekend, Ferrari now admits the Brazilian could be ready for his run in the two-year-old F2007 next Monday.
In a statement of support this week, Sir Frank Williams revealed that stewards at Suzuka last weekend gave the famous Italian team clearance for Massa's October 12 test at Fiorano.
A spokesman initially denied the date, but Ferrari now admits: "Early next week, maybe already on Monday, Felipe will finally get back on the track in a real formula one single seater".
Massa, 28, has been at Ferrari's Maranello headquarters since Monday, racking up hours in the driver simulator at nearby Modena, alongside his engineer Rob Smedley.
Bridgestone to bring special tires to Homestead finale
The Firestone brand has been involved in numerous racing disciplines in its 100 years of competition. The brand will help spotlight two very different races at the Firestone Indy 300, the climactic event to the 2009 IndyCar Series season Oct. 9-10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in South Florida.
Special silvery white tire sidewall "Championship Rings" will adorn the cars of Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti and Ryan Briscoe, making it easier for fans to identify the remaining championship contenders. In addition, Firestone Racing has developed pink sidewall markings for the tires used by Sarah Fisher, who is running an all-pink racecar at Homestead, dedicated to raising awareness and funds for the fight against breast cancer.
Sponsor stays at Renault after crash-gate (GMM) One of Renault's existing on-car sponsors has announced it will not be following ING and Mutua Madrilena by pulling out of the French team with immediate effect.
The latter companies said the crash-gate scandal had triggered their decision to quit, but Pepe Jeans - a London based casual wear brand - said in a statement that it will complete its contract through to the end of 2009.
Pepe Jeans signage appears on the nose of the R29 car, as well as on the outer edges of the driver's side head protection.
In a statement, the company said it "in no way condones" Nelson Piquet's deliberate crash in Singapore last year, but agrees with the FIA that it was individuals to blame for the conspiracy rather than Renault "as a whole".
Meanwhile, it is believed that Megafon - a Russian mobile phone operator - intends to ramp up its involvement with the Enstone based team, as does the French oil company Total.
The only other brand listed as an "official partner" by Renault, Universia, is expected to depart at the end of 2009 along with Fernando Alonso.
(GMM) Marc Gene has revealed it is "highly likely" he will stay as a part-time Ferrari test driver next year rather than return to a F1 race cockpit.
Along with McLaren counterpart and countryman Pedro de la Rosa, the Spaniard has been linked with a seat at the new Spanish team Campos.
But Gene, a 35-year-old who contested 36 grands prix mainly with Minardi, insists he remains happy with his role at F1's most famous team as well as racing Le Mans cars.
"Some teams have contacted me. But, for me, Ferrari is a dream come true," he said at an Abu Dhabi university earlier this week.
"I would have second thoughts about leaving. Regarding the contract, we are talking now but it is highly likely I will stay next year. New teams are coming in but I'm very happy where I am," added Gene.
(GMM) The head of F1's most historically committed team has hinted that it might reconsider its loyalty to the FIA-sanctioned series.
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo was the chairman of the F1 teams' alliance FOTA, which over a rules and commercial argument with the governing body earlier this year threatened to pull out and race in a rival championship.
Ultimately, FIA president Max Mosley acquiesced and all the current teams signed a new Concorde Agreement, binding them to the official formula one category for the next three seasons.
"We have a contract that finishes in 2012, so we have time to consider what to do next," Montezemolo said in an interview with Sky Italia's news channel TG24.
In the meantime, he said the sport "needs to renew, to revive the interest and to once again establish credibility with rules that do not change every day".
Montezemolo added that he does not like "this formula one" of today, and vowed to organize "a day of work with the media, the sponsors and the organizers" in order to "improve" what he describes as an "extraordinary sport".
New team shows off rendering of Wirth Research designed chassis Manor Grand Prix has issued a basic look at its 2010 Formula 1 car. The first chassis should be completed by Wirth Research by the end of next month "We are already assembling components on a mock-up chassis, the first real chassis is being built and should be ready in four or five weeks' time." The car will be fully developed in CFD like the Wirth Acura ARX-02a. Racecar Engineering
Top GM exec quits Fritz Henderson, GM president and CEO, today named Susan Docherty, 46, currently general manager, Buick-GMC, to the position of vice president, U.S. Sales, effective October 16, 2009. She will also become a member of the executive committee. Docherty replaces Mark LaNeve, who announced his departure to a non-automotive company earlier today.
LaNeve said in an e-mail it was a difficult decision to leave.
"It is very emotional to leave the great folks I have worked with and the dealers who have supported me and GM. It has been my honor to work with these people," he said, declining to disclose where he will be working next. "The new company wants to make an announcement in the next couple days. It's nonautomotive and a great opportunity for me."
Howett: Toyota OK with getting demoralized in F1 Toyota team principal John Howett has said that good results are not the most important issue facing the team, as they wait to hear whether they will continue in F1.
The team was chuffed with Jarno Trulli’s second place in the Japanese Grand Prix last weekend, but still face question marks over their long term commitment to the sport. They have otherwise endured a season with fluctuating form – characterized by great races one weekend and dire outings the next.
Howett told Autosport that the global economic climate was more relevant to the team’s future than were results.
“It a good result always helps, doesn’t it? But I can’t say that it is really the fundamental issue,” he said.
Edwards To Grace Cover of ESPN The Magazine ‘Body Issue’ NASCAR star Carl Edwards is one of six cover athletes who will appear on ESPN The Magazine’s cover for its inaugural "Body Issue". The Body Issue, on newsstands Friday, Oct. 9, will feature nearly 80 athletes from a variety of sports in a celebration and exploration of the athletic form.
The issue honors athletes of diverse shapes, sizes, genders and races within the boundaries of taste and frontiers of creativity upon which ESPN The Magazine and ESPN have built their reputations. It is a testament to the work the athletes do, the effort they exert and the price they sometimes pay in reliance on their most important asset – their bodies.
MIS announces earlier start times for 2010 Through surveys, focus groups and countless correspondence with fans from the track president’s e-mail hotline, one simple request was heard loud and clear … The fans want earlier start times!
Michigan International Speedway has worked with NASCAR and its television partners to secure earlier start times for its two premier events in 2010. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LifeLock 400 on June 13 and CARFAX 400 on August 15 will both begin at 1 p.m.
The 1 p.m. start is an hour earlier than Sprint Cup races at MIS in 2009. TNT will broadcast the June event, while ESPN is scheduled to carry the August race.
Atlantic field to get even smaller for Laguna race Just when you thought it could not get worse for the Atlantic Series, Genoa Racing will miss the season finale of the Cooper Tires Presents the Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda Sunday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. due to budget constraints, but it can still look back on a very successful 2009 season.
"Laguna is a particularly expensive event for our team to attend, and unfortunately we just have no budget to do so," said Thomas Knapp, the team manager and chief engineer. "Our highest-placed driver in the championship, Frederic Vervisch, is fourth in the standings and the highest-ranked rookie, and he cannot make or lose any positions by competing in the season finale. We regret not being able to support the series by participating, but this season has taken a particularly heavy toll on our finances. We wish the championship contenders all the best as they head into the finale."
News from NASCAR HOF NASCAR Hall of Fame officials announced today many of the highly anticipated details regarding visits to the new 150,000-square foot interactive, entertainment attraction under construction in uptown Charlotte, N.C., including ticket information, charter memberships, a national sweepstakes, operating hours and the date for the inaugural Induction Ceremony.
Tickets and charter memberships for May 11, 2010 and beyond go on sale at 9 a.m. EDT Oct. 14, coinciding with the historic voting day to determine the first class of inductees in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. That illustrious first class will be formally inducted in a ceremony at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on May 23, 2010.
“We have developed affordable ticket packages that reflect our steadfast promise to offer a superb value. Our guests will always be our top priority,” said Winston Kelley, executive director of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. “We are confident our visitors will be pleased with the amount of activities available, especially when you consider the Hall has more than 50 high-tech interactive exhibits coupled with some of the most intriguing artifacts from NASCAR’s 62-year history.”
New Dodge CEO reaffirms commitment to NASCAR Ralph Gilles, the new president and chief executive officer for Dodge cars, said that the change in leadership over the Dodge brand will not impact Dodge’s interest in NASCAR.
Mike Accavitti, a pro-NASCAR marketing executive, was named CEO of Dodge in June but resigned amid a Chrysler restructuring that separates the leadership of the Ram trucks from the Dodge cars.
“Dodge intends to remain involved in NASCAR competition,” Gilles said in a statement Tuesday. “Our brand-focused strategy for development and marketing of Dodge vehicles through the sport remains a good fit for the company.
Hunter-Reay to run two races on same day at Homestead · Ryan Hunter-Reay on Homestead-Miami Speedway: “The key for Homestead is to minimize the push in turns 3 and 4. That’s where most of the teams have a problem and that’s where we had a problem when I ran for Team Rahal 18 months ago when we opened the season there. We never really fixed it, we just made it a little less bad. It’s not as easy to get around this track as it is the other 1.5 mile ovals. Homestead has its own characteristics to it--definitely not a flat-out, hold-it-to-the-floor track. You get the lack of front grip but then at the exit you have a snap and it gets a little loose so that track brings out the worst in the car sometimes. In the beginning of the race, you’ll have side by side racing but then it becomes a bit of a single groove track once the tires start to go away. I’m looking for a top-10 finish; we’ve had a couple this year and that would be a good way to end the season. The season’s been far from straightforward for the team. Those guys worked hard for me all year and I’ve worked hard for them; and it would be good to get a solid performance in for the entire ABC Supply team.”
MegaFon expands cooperation with the Renault F1 Team Until the end of the 2009 Formula One season, the brand identification of MegaFon – one of Russia’s leading mobile operators – will enjoy an expanded presence within the Renault F1 Team appearing on both the floor and front nose areas of the cars raced by Fernando Alonso and Romain Grosjean.
“The team has emerged from its recent difficulties, and we look forward to continuing our cooperation with the Renault F1 Team," says Andrey Krajnik, the assistant of the general director of OJSC MegaFon company. “We are completely happy with our mutual relations with the team’s existing management, and they enjoy our full support. After all, the Renault F1 Team in Russia has millions of admirers and Formula 1 enjoys a television audience much higher than many competitive sports we have available to follow. Formula 1 represents the pinnacle of sport and technology which is perfectly in line with MegaFon’s communication priorities. MegaFon is always striving for perfection, the development of new technologies and aspires to develop a winning team”.
BMW team bids Kubica farewell BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen said: "Robert played an important role for us and certainly we did the same for him. He joined us in 2006 as a test driver with no Formula One experience, and then we promoted him to be one of our team drivers during that season. He never let us down and, with our first pole position in 2008 in Bahrain and first victory the same year in Canada, he set milestones in the history of our team. We are grateful for his strong and constant performances and wish him all the best for his future."
Briatore to learn football future this week (GMM) After being banned for life by F1's governing body, Flavio Briatore's involvement in the world of football is now set to be considered.
In the wake of the crash-gate scandal, the Football League is set to discuss Briatore's ongoing co-ownership of the London club Queens Park Rangers during a board meeting on Thursday.
It is believed the organization may also ban the 59-year-old Italian, after requesting a dossier from the FIA with the details of Briatore's exclusion from any involvement in formally-sanctioned motor sport.
Interestingly, the League is also considering whether the mysterious Qadbak investment group passes the "fit and proper" test for involvement with the sport.
Qadbak's football involvement relates to its investment with the Notts County club.
The consortium of unconfirmed Middle Eastern and European families has also bought the F1 team BMW-Sauber, although the FIA is not believed to be contemplating that transaction.
Trulli insists '100pc' committed to F1 (GMM) Amid reports of a forthcoming NASCAR test, Jarno Trulli insists he remains committed to his formula one career.
It has emerged that the 35-year-old Italian, a veteran of more than 200 grands prix, will test next month for the Sprint Cup team Michael Waltrip Racing.
Trulli's F1 employer Toyota has stated publicly that he is unlikely to retain his race seat beyond the 2009 season.
But in a media statement on Wednesday, the driver said his forthcoming test dates back to his attendance at a NASCAR race last year, when he asked Toyota's US counterparts if a test "just for fun" would be possible.
Barrett Committed to Driving in IndyCar in 2010 Don’t let Stanton Barrett’s absence from the IndyCar Series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway fool you. He jumped into IndyCar with both feet in 2009 and plans to stay.
Barrett wanted to start his fifth race of the season in the No. 98 Team 3G car this weekend. But, due to a lack of complete funding, the team turned to other drivers with sponsors for Homestead and other 2009 events that Barrett did not compete in.
Ecclestone suggests Briatore could prove innocence (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has hinted that his friend and business partner Flavio Briatore has a chance of one day returning to the formula one paddock.
Briatore, 59, was banned for life by the FIA over the crash-gate scandal, but F1 chief executive Ecclestone said he thought the penalty is harsh and should be appealed.
Ecclestone, who co-owns the London football club Queens Park Rangers with Italian Briatore, has now told his official website F1.com: "If Flavio has new evidence - and he said that he has - then he should come forward right away."
Briatore recently raised the prospect of a lawsuit against the FIA's verdict, vowing that when he is victorious, he will invite all his supporters to a great party.
Ecclestone said he heard about the Singapore race-fixing allegations from Nelson Piquet Snr in May, and immediately discussed it with his friend Briatore.
Lotus to rival Ferrari The new boss of Lotus has promised to restore the iconic British sports car brand to its former glory.
Dany Bahar, who moved from Ferrari to take over as CEO, believes Lotus has massive potential and will focus on lightweight sports cars and motorsport to reinvigorate the brand.
"Lotus was mentioned in the same sentence as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati in the 1970s-1990s," Bahar told reporters in Malaysia. He claims to be working on a business plan that will take Lotus back to the top alongside Ferrari within five years. Reuters
Marmorini returns as Simon leaves Ferrari Ferrari has revealed that Luca Marmorini has rejoined the team to lead its engine and electronics departments. The Italian, who left the Scuderia to join Toyota at the end of the 1999 season, replaces the successful Gilles Simon.
Having joined Toyota as the Japanese marque left rallying to begin its Formula One project in the back half of the 1990s, 48-year-old Marmorini now returns to the Maranello-based team as Head of the Engine and Electronics department.
'Ferrari wishes to thank Gilles Simon for the important contribution he made during his time with the Gestione Sportiva, first, from 1994 to 2006 as head of Engine Design and then as head of the whole Engine Department,' a Ferrari statement reads as Simon leaves the outfit.
'During that time, the V10 and V8 engines built at Maranello won six Drivers' World Championship titles and eight Constructors', as well as taking 106 Formula One race wins.'
Throughout his time at Ferrari, Simon was regarded as one of the 'Dream Team' which helped the squad achieve immense success in the first half of the decade.
Darian Grubb Named Best Crew Chief Darian Grubb, crew chief for the No. 14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevy driven by Tony Stewart, has been named the WYPALL Wipers Crew Chief of the Race following Sunday's Price Chopper 400 at Kansas Speedway.
With Stewart running second when the caution flag flew on lap 236, Grubb made a gutsy call on the team's last pit stop for two tires only.
Leader Greg Biffle and the other top-five drivers all took on four tires. Grubb's decision to go with two tires allowed Stewart off pit road first and he held the top spot for the final 30 laps for the victory. As a result, he now sits fourth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Hendrick cars pass 2nd inspection The cars of championship leaders Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson have passed a second NASCAR inspection.
NASCAR inspected both the Hendrick Motorsports-owned cars after Sunday's race in Kansas for a thorough inspection after the Chevrolets squeaked through a week earlier. The teams were warned they had nearly failed and were to not bring the cars to the track again.
Team owner Rick Hendrick said he had no problem if NASCAR inspected his cars every week. The sanctioning body took him up on the offer when series officials took the cars back to its research and development center.
NASCAR also examined the car of race winner Tony Stewart, as is standard procedure. In addition, Kurt Busch's car was randomly selected for inspection. SI.com
Flying Lizard closes in on another GT2 title After coming so close to a championship in its four years in the American Le Mans Series, Flying Lizard Motorsports is knocking on the door of a second consecutive GT2 crown entering this weekend’s Monterey Sports Car Championships presented by Patr¢n. As it has all season, the Sonoma, Calif.-based team is entering a pair of Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs for their home race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Class championship leaders Jörg Bergmeister and Patrick Long have five victories to their credit this season (all consecutively from St. Petersburg to Mid-Ohio) and hold an 18-point lead in the driver title race with the Lizards holding the same margin in the team standings over Risi Competizione. Ninth-place points will be good enough for both crowns regardless of the finishing position of Jaime Melo and Pierre Kaffer in the Risi Ferrari F430 GT.
The Flying Lizard squad also can score valuable points should Long and Bergmeister falter; Johannes van Overbeek and Seth Neiman will drive the second Lizard Porsche.
Meira comments on NASCAR truck test Vitor Meira will test a NASCAR Camping World Series truck at Rockingham Speedway next week along with fellow Brazilian Nelson Piquet Jr. Amid speculation prompted by an article that appeared on www.speedtv.com, Meira wishes to make it clear that he is not contemplating a move to NASCAR now.
"I plan to run in the IndyCar Series as long as it possible to do so," said Meira. "I love racing the Indy cars and I hope to do it for as long as I am able. The opportunity to test a truck along with Nelson Piquet Jr. came up and it sounded like fun. I thought I might be able to give Nelson some pointers on running an oval because this will be his first time on an oval track. Before I agreed to do it, I asked both A.J. and Larry Foyt about it, and they gave their permission. It doesn't mean I'm looking to go NASCAR racing now because my priority is racing with A.J.'s team in the IndyCar Series. I've really enjoyed working with A.J., Larry, our sponsor ABC Supply and Honda Racing this year and I want to continue to work with them as long as they want me.
"And we have some unfinished business at Indy."
Meira will be at the IndyCar Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway Saturday atop the ABC Supply pit box watching Ryan Hunter-Reay finish out the season in the ABC Supply Dallara/Honda. Meira tested the No. 14 Indy car at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last week for his first time back behind the wheel since his accident in the Indy 500 when he sustained two broken vertebrae. Meira will continue testing the No. 14 ABC Supply car over the winter in preparation for the full 2010 season.
ACO confirms GT1 for 2010; LMP1 rules for 2011 After meeting with the constructors racing or being interested to race at Le Mans and in the various Le Mans Series in Paris today, the ACO announced several decisions for the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
First of all the ACO announced the equalization of air restrictors for open and closed cars for 2011. As a result the advantage of the closed cars should have been reduced and both type of cars should be on the same level of competition. The announcement of the ACO is as follows:
“In the context of the new 2011 rules, entrants in LM P with an open or closed body will therefore set off on an equal footing. Results of studies carried out by the ACO technical consultants confirm that the aerodynamic advantages as from now offset the constraints linked to maintaining a maximum temperature in the cockpit of closed cars.”
Downloads of great Indy 500 radio broadcasts available now Fans can purchase and download the complete IMS Radio Network broadcast from selected Indianapolis 500 Mile Races, reliving the magic moments of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" at any time.
Available race broadcasts can be accessed from a link at www.indy500.com or www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com. Each race download is in MP3 audio format, which can be listened to on a computer, transferred to an MP3 player such as an iPod or burned to a CD. Free, color CD case art also is available for each broadcast.
Each race download costs $9.99. Broadcasts are anywhere from three to more than five hours long.
Japanese Grand Prix Debrief - Q&A with Jarno Trulli How did it feel to stand on the podium in Panasonic Toyota Racing's home Grand Prix? It was a fantastic feeling to stand on the podium and celebrate with all the team and our Japanese fans. My second place was a true reflection of how strong we were at Suzuka because I qualified in that position and there were no retirements at the front; we were genuinely extremely competitive. Japan is always an important race for the team and I personally love visiting the country so it was extra special from that point of view. Everyone in the team has worked so hard this season and to finish on the podium again, after Timo's second place a week ago in Singapore, was another really good reward for them.
Were you in any way disappointed not to win? I was hoping to win the race for Toyota, of course, but second place is still a great result. The team and myself pushed to the absolute maximum all weekend and we got the best result possible; I think Red Bull were just a bit too quick for us to win. But I am certainly not disappointed; all the team, including myself, were extremely happy with another podium.
Kelsey Grammer named Grand Marshal at Auto Club Auto Club Speedway announced that Kelsey Grammer will serve as Grand Marshal for Southern California's Inaugural Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoff race -- the Pepsi 500 on Sunday, October 11 at Auto Club Speedway. Grammer, who stars in the new ABC comedy Hank will give the most famous command in racing "Gentlemen, start your engines" to all 43 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who are vying for the coveted checkered flag. John C. Reilly, star of the upcoming film Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant named Grand Marshal of the Nationwide Series race at Auto Club Speedway, the Copart 300. Fans can take advantage many Pepsi 500 weekend ticket offers starting as low as $35 and including ticket packages to celebrate Hendrick Motorsports 25th Anniversary with Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.; a ticket deal to see the stars of NASCAR and the stars of TNA Wrestling's Bound for Glory 2009; the chance to get up close and personal to Jimmie Johnson and so much more. In addition to top notch live entertainment and a variety of Pepsi 500 ticket packages, fans experiencing Auto Club Speedway can also take advantage of free parking, bring in their own food, or partake in the unbelievable menu items on site as well as other cost-savings opportunities while enjoying a full day of entertainment and fun at a fantastic family value. To purchase tickets call 800-944-RACE (7223), or visit www.autoclubspeedway.com.(ACS)
Talladega raises catchfence As a safety precaution to protect fans and competitors, Talladega Superspeedway extended the height of its frontstretch catch fence by eight feet, president Rick Humphrey told ESPN.com Monday. The decision was made in reaction to a horrific accident on the final lap of the Aaron's 499 Sprint Cup race on April 29, which sent Carl Edwards' Ford airborne into the previous fencing and sent debris spraying into the grandstands. The fence held up in the crash but was destroyed, creating concern about fan safety at the high-speed 2.66-mile venue. Humphrey and his staff hired an outside engineering firm to survey the damage. It was recommended that the fence height be extended. It stood 14 feet in April. It now stands 22 feet, and the top bows out over the track surface. There are other enhancements to the fence, too, though Humphrey said he is not at liberty to discuss them. "The engineering team we consulted with has that information," he said. "It is proprietary information that they've provided to us. They're okay with the height, that's something to the naked eye you'll certainly be able to see. There are other variables you can't get into." ESPN.com
Raikkonen wants 2010 contract by season's end (GMM) Kimi Raikkonen's manager has revealed he is seeking a signature on a 2010 contract for the Finn by the time F1 disbands for the season in Abu Dhabi early next month.
The 30-year-old last week ended his contract for next season with Maranello based Ferrari, warning at Suzuka that if he cannot find another top drive for 2010, he will either stay or home or go rallying.
Raikkonen's manager Steve Robertson told the Finnish daily Turun Sanomat that he is currently in talks with multiple potential F1 teams -- and one or two that do not seem to be on the hunt for a new driver.
"Hopefully within the next 2 or 3 weeks we will have done something," said the Briton.
Previously, Robertson had admitted the possibility of a return for Raikkonen to McLaren.
He adds: "Top teams want to decide upon their drivers before the season ends in Abu Dhabi in November. A solution in that direction would also be in Kimi's best interest."
Dodge's last connection to NASCAR sacked Chrysler's new Italian management has once again shaken up the automaker's executive team, announcing the departure of two recently appointed brand CEOs and splitting the Dodge brand into two groups, one focusing on trucks and the other on cars. The moves, announced Monday, marked the second management shake-up since Fiat Group SpA CEO Sergio Marchionne took control of Chrysler on June 10 when it emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Peter Fong, president and CEO of the Chrysler brand and the company's top sales executive, and Michael Accavitti, president and CEO of the Dodge brand (and former head of Dodge Motorsports and its NASCAR program), abruptly left the company, Fong for personal reasons and Accavitti to pursue other interests, Chrysler said in a statement.
Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Live from California on ABC
The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup continues this weekend as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races for 500 miles on Sunday, Oct. 11, at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. ESPN’s live, flag-to-flag coverage of the Pepsi 500 will air on ABC. The telecast begins with NASCAR Countdown presented by Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen on DVD at 2:30 p.m. ET and the race’s green flag is at 3:31 p.m.
ESPN’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 California includes NASCAR Sprint Cup final practice on Saturday, Oct. 10, at 3 p.m. airing on ESPN2.
What does Jim Beam exit say about NASCAR? NASCAR may have a blue-collar image, but it's an expensive sport. Not only is there the cost of the racing cars, but there's the payroll needed for the experienced staff required to maintain them. With all the overhead, sponsorship doesn't come cheap. Yet attendance and TV ratings are down, making it tough for NASCAR to prove its value.
Two whiskey brands, Jack Daniel's and Jim Beam, announced last week that they're discontinuing their NASCAR sponsorships. Jack Daniel's, owned by Brown Forman (BF.B), cited a "re-evaluation" prompted by the recession, while Jim Beam, owned by Beam Global Spirits & Wine, a subsidiary of Fortune Brands (FO), made its decision after an "extensive review" of its marketing strategy.
With their departure, NASCAR retains just one spirits sponsor: Canadian whiskey distiller Crown Royal.
Regarding Jim Beam's exit from NASCAR sponsorship.... Jim Beam was paying $8M for 15 races with Robby Gordon (No. 7) and Jack Daniel was paying $18M for a full season with Casey Mears (No. 07).
ARCO to Brand Dyson Racing Car at Mazda Raceway The Petit Le Mans LMP2 class- winning car of Butch Leitzinger and Marino Franchitti will be sporting new livery this weekend for the last race of the 2009 American Le Mans Series at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. BP's prominent west coast brand, ARCO, will be sponsoring the #20 Lola Coupe. The Petit win was the second of the year for the #20 Dyson Racing entry, which also has three pole positions to its credit this season.
"In our ongoing partnership with BP/Castrol and their family of brands, we are very pleased to have the #20 car in ARCO colors for the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca," commented John Doonan, Manager, Motorsports Team Development. "For all of us at Mazda, our partners are the key to our success and to be able to showcase ARCO to the fans is very special. We also hope that we can bring ARCO along on the momentum we have going as of late and in preparation for 2010. With three pole positions in a row and the Petit Le Mans victory, we hope we can take them to the front and the top step of the podium to close out the season."
Will's swim training during our driver workouts at the IUPUI Natatorium
In our program and at the guidance of Dr. Trammel, Will can only swim breast stroke and some freestyle with a pull buoy. This avoids rotation at the spine but builds strength in his back muscles slowly.
Will was swimming 2500 meters before his crash. Today he swam for only about 20 minutes but pushed himself hard. He will be back in 2010!
ISC unveils new logo International Speedway Corp. today unveiled a new corporate logo.
ISC's new modernized logo was redesigned for the first time since 1997.
"As the leading promoter of major motorsports entertainment, we felt it was time to refresh and modernize our corporate logo while maintaining certain attributes of the previous version to reflect our proud heritage," ISC Chief Executive Officer Lesa France Kennedy said. "The new logo reflects the company's continuing growth and innovation in motorsports entertainment."
Vitor Meira Nelson Piquet Jr., to test NASCAR Truck Nelson Piquet Jr., whose Singapore crash was central to a recent Renault Formula One scandal, and IndyCar Series driver Vitor Meira will test trucks next Monday at the short track at Rockingham Speedway.
The 24-year-old Piquet, son of three-time F1 champion Nelson Piquet, drove for Renault in 2008 and for most of 2009 before parting ways with the team. His 2008 crash in the Singapore Grand Prix set up a scenario where teammate Fernando Alonso went on to win a race and then, once Piquet had parted ways with the team, it sparked an F1 investigation and recent sanctions. After the investigation, Piquet issued an apology on his Web site.
Guthrie set to return to Firestone Indy Lights Firestone Indy Lights officials have lifted the suspension of driver Sean Guthrie, clearing the way for his return to the cockpit at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Guthrie was suspended indefinitely following an on-track incident during the April 23 race at Kansas Speedway.
"We have spoken with Sean and he has shown he has learned from his actions in Kansas," said Tony Cotman, vice president of competition for the Indy Racing League and race director for the Firestone Indy Lights. "I believe Sean is a good driver and welcome his return this weekend in Homestead. I wish him the best of luck."
Guthrie , 21, will drive its No. 9 car for RLR/Andersen Racing in the Homestead-Miami 100 on Oct. 9 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Guthrie will join Mario Romancini in the RLR/Andersen driver lineup with support from Car Crafters, IZOD, Andersen Racing and Andersen RacePark.
Rahal to appear on "The Golf Fix" IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal got some hands-on golf instruction from The Golf Channel's Michael Breed during a recent visit to Walt Disney World's Palm Golf Course.
Rahal 's lesson with Breed will be used for an episode of The Golf Channel's "The Golf Fix," in which Breed, a top-50 instructor, helps amateur and celebrity golfers with their game. Breed also experienced the IndyCar Series with an Indy Racing Experience 2-seater ride around Walt Disney World Speedway with Rahal as his host.
Rahal's episode premieres at 8 p.m. (ET) Oct. 5, with a re-air at 11 p.m. (ET). The show will also air the episode thought the day Oct. 6. Check your local listings for times in your area.
Fans asked to invade Mazda Raceway podium Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and the American Le Mans Series announced a “Track Invasion” for the Winners’ Circle at the podium ceremony for this year’s Monterey Sports Car Championships presented by Patr¢n. All spectators will be invited to invade the track Winners’ Circle ceremonies and enjoy the traditional champagne shower.
And to improve the quality of the on-track racing, this past spring Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca increased the paved run-off areas in Turns 2 and 11 on drivers’ right and gave it a full workout in May during a sports car race. The result was a drastic reduction of full-course yellows.
Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea to sponsor McMurray at LMS Jeremiah Weed Southern Style Sweet Tea announced that it will be coming along for the ride at Lowe's Motor Speedway on October 17 as primary sponsor of the #26 Roush Fenway Ford driven by Jamie McMurray. In the process, the brand also becomes the first vodka to sponsor a car since NASCAR lifted its ban on spirits sponsors beginning with the 2005 season. "In its first ever major sponsorship, Jeremiah Weed Southern Style Sweet Tea is thrilled to utilize NASCAR as a platform to extend its Southern ideals and traditions to the millions of fans who follow the sport," said Judd Zusel, Director of Innovation, Diageo. "Jeremiah Weed Sweet Tea sees a clear opportunity to elevate the brand even further by connecting with adult consumers that have an undying passion for the sport they love, and encourage them to enjoy our sweet tea vodka responsibly throughout the weekend's race festivities." Mr. Jeremiah Weed, legendary patron father of Jeremiah Weed Bourbon Liqueur, first made this announcement from his home in Weed, Kentucky, and declared that it was now, more than ever, the right time to rally behind America's fastest sport and all of its avid fans. "Jeremiah Weed was born in the south and to thank some of the brand's favorite people for embracing the product, we thought Charlotte would be the perfect place to make our NASCAR debut," said Weed. "We look forward to providing fans a reason to celebrate responsibly all weekend, and will do everything we can to ensure that we are toasting Jamie when hopefully he puts the #26 car in Victory Lane." Jeremiah Weed Southern Style Sweet Tea first introduced itself to the sport earlier this year when it offered to become the official sponsor of air in the stock car tires. To guarantee fans enjoy the race in true southern style, Jeremiah Weed will announce additional details regarding the sponsorship of the #26 Ford leading up to the race weekend. Additional updates from Mr. Weed can be found on the Jeremiah Weed website
(GMM) Timo Glock is expecting to fully ramp up his preparations for the forthcoming Brazilian grand prix within "two or three days".
The German, who was also on the Suzuka sidelines on Friday with a heavy cold and fever, had to sit out Sunday's Japanese grand prix after cutting his left leg in a qualifying crash.
He limped around the Suzuka paddock on Sunday with bulky blue bandages filling the length of his leg, where underneath a 5.5cm wound continued to retain fluid throughout Saturday night and the wee hours of Sunday morning in Japan.
But 27-year-old Glock, now publicly on the 2010 driver market after Toyota failed to pick up the option on his contract, is confident he will be back up to speed at Interlagos in two weeks.
"I think it is a fact that I will be completely fit in two or three days," he is quoted as saying by the German news agency SID.
Button can crawl to 2009 title in Brazil (GMM) There is a river of criticism flowing towards Jenson Button at present, but the fact remains that the 29-year-old can stroll to the world championship in Brazil in less than a fortnight.
His critics do not like the way the Brawn driver, after a dominant start to the 2009 season, is currently crawling his way to a mathematical title triumph.
The Times said he will be a champion "who has not won a race for months, who has tightened up in qualifying and who is now unable to dominate his teammate, Rubens Barrichello, a veteran of 17 seasons in the sport".
The Guardian said the Briton is waiting "in the wings" for F1's biggest prize, with his only rivals Rubens Barrichello and Sebastian Vettel able to win at Interlagos but still lose the title to Button if he finishes an almost anonymous fifth.
'Victim' Piquet talks of 'Crashgate' Nelson Piquet Jr. has described himself as the 'victim' of the 'Crashgate' race-fixing saga which dominated the run-up to this year's Singapore Grand Prix. Having crashed on purpose in last year's race, the Brazilian is now aiming to put his racing career back on track.
Before arriving in Formula One, Nelsinho carried a strong track record, including the 2004 British Formula 3 title and 2006 GP2 runner-up spot to the (then) future F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton. Piquet does believe that the general public will forgive him for his actions in Marina Bay, however, and admits that he has been in discussions with several other teams.
Roush keeping an eye on the Hendrick cars in question Car owner Jack Roush says he understands that the two cars in question Hendrick Motorsports #5 and #48 Chevy's were in fact slightly "out of tolerance," in being off-set a bit to the right, which would help in aerodynamics in corner handling, although Roush said the specific 'miss' was probably too slight to be of any significant advantage. "I've been fined a lot of times for a lot of different things - and if the cars were out of tolerance by a quarter of an inch, which is what I've heard - well, the rest of the garage is held to a much tighter tolerance than that," Roush said. "So we'll see what NASCAR ultimately does about it." mikemulhern.net
Four cars taken back to R&D Center As per NASCAR protocol, Tony Stewart's race winning #14 Chevy along with a random car, this week it is Kurt Busch's #2 Dodge ride, were selected for post race inspection and further analysis back at the Research and Development Center in Concord, NC. But as an added wrinkle, officials also requested that Mark Martin's #5 and Jimmie Johnson's #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy be added to the inspection list. "When you've won and run well, and Jimmie and Chad are always going to know they are under the microscope - that's going to be part of it," said team owner Rick Hendrick. "We actually don't mind that. NASCAR is fair and if they want to check us every week, that's OK. I understand. I really do." No problems were found on the cars during the at-track inspection. FoxSports
Menard's 2010 plans not firm John Menard said on Sunday that plans are not firm as to where his son Paul and the lucrative Menards sponsorship will be next season. "We'll just see how it works out," Menard said. According to Menard, Paul is in the first year of a two-year contract which is non-transferable. Should Yates Racing merge with Richard Petty Motorsports, the contract would be null and void. FoxSports
Chevy clinches manufacturers title again Tony Stewart's victory of the Price Chopper 400 at Kansas Speedway clinched the 2009 Manufacturers' Championship for Chevrolet in NASCAR's premier division. With seven races left on the 2009 Sprint Cup tour, Chevrolet has now collected its 33rd Manufacturers' crown, the most ever by any automobile manufacturer in the sport.
The Manufacturers' Cup has debuted in 1950. It is presented to the automobile manufacturer whose current models in NASCAR Sprint Cup competition earn the most points for a win (9 points), second (6 points), third (4 points), or fourth-best (3 points) finish. A manufacturer earns the points in relation to how the other manufacturers finish.
Button insists more pressure on title rivals (GMM) Jenson Button insists that more pressure is on his title rivals as the 2009 world champion winds down to a battle of two races.
But the fact remains that if there are two more points-outcomes like Sunday's Japanese grand prix at the forthcoming Brazil and Abu Dhabi finales, the Briton will not be world champion.
Some pundits have compared the situation to 2007, when Lewis Hamilton did not emerge with the prize, despite a 17-point advantage with two races go to.
"Vettel is now closer than Kimi Raikkonen was when he won the championship," observed David Coulthard.
Button was asked by reporters after finishing just eighth in Japan how he can avoid the same thing happening to him.
"For whatever reason he (Hamilton) didn't score the points," he answered.
"It's about not making mistakes. That's the important thing. I don't feel under pressure.
"The closer we get to the end of the season, the more pressure there is on the people chasing me," added Button.
Germany's Bild newspaper published a photo-shopped image of Button, 29, wearing a Brawn-branded nappy, after Red Bull's Vettel closed the points gap by 9 points by dominating at Suzuka.
Fastest car aside, another advantage for the 22-year-old German is the full support of his out-of-contention teammate Mark Webber, while Button has to contend with Rubens Barrichello as his closest rival.
In what could turn out to be one of the oddest pairings in the history of American stock car racing, Richard Petty Motorsports' primary shareholder George Gillett Tuesday signed an 'exclusive commercial collaboration' agreement for his stake in the team to Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdullah al-Saud, a member of the Saudi Royal Family.
The agreement signed Tuesday forms a partnership that will see the development of a NASCAR racing circuit and Richard Petty racing schools in the Saudi Kingdom and elsewhere in the Middle East. "The Middle East sport market has immense growth potential as eager fans in the region demand access to more diverse, higher caliber competition. I am delighted, enthusiastic, and honored to have the opportunity to partner with such a visionary in His Highness Prince Faisal," said Gillett after the signing.
According to many however, the agreement signed Tuesday is the first step to Gillett selling his stake in the team. As the two were publicly confirming the agreement, behind the scenes, Gillett and Prince Faisal acting on behalf of the Saudi sports investment group F6 he chairs, have begun a process of 'due diligence', the examination of financial records, with the goal being that Gillett would be bought out by the end of the year.
The primary deal in the works actually centers on British football club Liverpool that Gillett owns a 50% stake in, but the deal would also include Richard Petty Motorsports. The Prince was at Anfield Stadium in England on Saturday as a guest Gillett, who confirmed that he has secured funding from the Saudi prince for his NASCAR team and an agreement to build Liverpool-branded football academies in the Middle East. The entire deal is reportedly worth up to $560 million. NASCAR Examiner
Lorenzo beats Stoner in Estoril Jorge Lorenzo repeated his 2008 Estoril victory from pole on Sunday to significantly boost his title chances as Valentino Rossi could only manage fourth place at the challenging Portuguese circuit.
The Fiat Yamaha pair got away in first and second places on the grid but Rossi was unable to match the pace of Lorenzo as he pulled away quickly at the front. On his return to action Ducati’s Casey Stoner rode brilliantly to follow Lorenzo across the line in second place, whilst Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa was third.
Lorenzo will now feel that with three races to go and an 18 point deficit to Rossi the championship is far more achievable than before the visit to Portugal. The Spaniard was in unstoppable form in the Atlantic Coast sunshine and his fourth win of the year was eventually secured by a 6.3s margin.
Massa to test GP2 car, then older F1 FerrariUPDATE (GMM) Stewards at Suzuka have told Ferrari that Felipe Massa can test a GP2 car next week for the purposes of a "medical exam", the Italian team confirmed on Sunday.
The Brazilian driver, who has been confirmed as Fernando Alonso's teammate for the 2010 season, is recovering from serious head injuries sustained in July's Hungarian GP qualifying.
For the first time since returning home from Budapest to Brazil, he is now en route to Maranello, where his first tasks for this week will be work at the wheel of the team's state of the art driver simulator.
The next step will be the GP2 car, after the FIA officials said it will not violate the total ban on in-season testing.
It has also been reported from Japan that in the slightly more distant future for Massa, 28, will be a test - again on GP2 rubber - in the two-year-old F2007 Ferrari, as was undertaken by Michael Schumacher recently.
Sebastien Bourdais picked up from where he had left off in Estoril by winning the first Superleague Formula by Sonangol race at Monza today after a commanding performance for Spanish side Seville.
The Frenchman backed up his Shootout win on debut last month by beating fellow Portugal winner Olympiacos’ Esteban Guerrieri down to the first corner before reeling off the 40 minute +1 lap race in relative ease. Series debutant Julien Jousse completed the podium for AS Roma while Liverpool came through from eighth to fourth to increase their lead at the top of the standings from Tottenham, who finished fifth. Fellow title-protagonists FC Basel could only manage ninth.
The start proved typically chaotic as the field ploughed into the braking zone for the first chicane. Both Bourdais and Wissel reacted quickly at the lights and were three abreast with Guerrieri into the corner. And it was the Frenchman who emerged ahead at the other side with Olympiacos surviving to slot into second. Behind, home side AC Milan were shuffled back with Giorgio Pantano slipping from fourth to ninth by the end of lap one.Read more & Comment...
Quote of the week "Apparently Formula one is now the feeder series for the NASCAR Truck Series" Bob Varsha, with a bit of sarcasm, commenting on Nelson Piquet Jr testing for a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team this coming week.
Teams' title in hands of Suzuka stewardsUPDATE (GMM) The contest for the constructors' championship will move onto the next race in Brazil.
Sunday's Suzuka event left Brawn half a point shy of pushing Red Bull out of mathematical contention.
But the outcome of a stewards enquiry could have sewn the title up for the Brackley based leaders, after Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button finished behind Williams' Nico Rosberg.
Rosberg was investigated by the stewards after the race for allegedly driving too fast when the safety car was deployed for the Jaime Alguersuari crash.
If he was demoted, Brawn could have picked up the necessary point and celebrated the teams' title in Japan.
But even though it was found that Rosberg went too quickly, stewards also ruled that he had been unable to watch his lap time because of a 'low fuel' message on his steering wheel display.
"The telemetry data shows that the driver from a safety point of view had reacted adequately to the yellow flags and safety car boards. In view of this the stewards intend to take no further action," read the FIA officials' report.
No tension as Alonso gives Hamilton a ride (GMM) Any tension between former McLaren teammates Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso appears firmly in the past.
There was a telling moment on Sunday afternoon, as the formula one field slowly circulated the Suzuka circuit in the back of vintage sports cars for the pre-race drivers' parade.
But the historical car carrying the reigning world champion Hamilton broke down mid-lap, prompting his old rival Alonso to ask his driver to pull over before making room for the Briton in the back seat.
The pair completed the rest of the lap side-by-side and chatting.
Earlier this week, 24-year-old Hamilton had played down suggestions that Alonso's move to Ferrari will mean "total war" for the 2010 title battle.
"We get on very well," he insisted. "He will be very strong at Ferrari and we've got to make sure we do everything to beat him. We've got our work cut out; we've got to do a solid job with our car."
Teams discuss common car launch for 2010 (GMM) At a meeting of the FOTA alliance at Suzuka, a novel cost-cutting initiative for the forthcoming winter period was discussed.
Formula One Teams Association deputy chairman John Howett told reporters after the meeting that several teams support the concept of organizing a single event to officially launch all the cars ahead of the 2010 season.
Traditionally, teams reveal their new cars to the world's media at individual events.
But with the new era of limited testing, most teams are targeting the same period in January to have their new cars completed and ready to launch.
Also briefly discussed at the meeting was the issue of unanimously agreeing to allow a guaranteed 14th team entry for BMW-Sauber's new owner Qadbak.
Sir Frank Williams confirmed his opposition to extending the grid from the traditional 13 teams.
"It's illogical to change the rules suddenly for one extra person," he said, adding that Sauber may still be able to race next year if any of the new teams do not make it to Bahrain next March.
"They may have a chance of getting in based on the gossip that's going around," Williams said.
He said his reluctance is also based on the fact that almost nothing is known publicly about Qadbak, a consortium of anonymous wealthy families.
Parker Kligerman, driver of the Penske Racing No. 22 Penske Truck Rental Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, will make his NASCAR racing debut this afternoon in the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway starting from the pole position.
“I have to thank Roger Penske, the entire Penske Racing organization and our sponsors for the opportunity to make my first NASCAR start today,” said Kligerman. “When I went out on track, the Penske Truck Rental Dodge felt great. It was just a magical lap.”
Kligerman, a 19-year-old native of Westport, Conn., currently races full-time in the ARCA RE/MAX Series and is a development driver for Penske Racing, in association with Cunningham Motorsports. Kilgerman earned his eighth ARCA RE/MAX victory of the season on Thursday at Kansas Speedway and currently trails series points leader Justin Lofton by 15 points headed into the final race of the season.
It's raining cats and dogs......UPDATE #3 Sunday's update from Patrick Behar from Suzuka, Japan:
OK racing day is here...beautiful sunny skies...should be a good race....Timo will not be on the grid but he is OK...stitches on his left knee. Seb Vettel to win or Lewis ?
10/02/09 Friday's update from Patrick Behar from Suzuka, Japan:
Raining and raining again in Suzuka, should be like that all day, tomorrow and Sunday better. The paddock is empty everybody is seeking shelter.
10/01/09 This morning's update from Patrick Behar from Suzuka, Japan:
After the rain ....blue skies over Suzuka...and like every Thursday track inspection with Charlie, and press conference in the afternoon...not suppose to rain on Saturday and Sunday now...and the '10 season is shaping up nicely...
09/30/09 Quote from Patrick Behar, FIA press delegate, from Suzuka, Japan:
"OK ... how can we say that ... the weather is either ... well ... I let you fill the blanks ... it is raining cats and dogs at Suzuka and will be most of the week ... "
Barrichello 6th, Button 10th on revised grid (GMM) Widespread confusion about Sunday's grid for the Japanese grand prix has finally ended, and the big winner is Rubens Barrichello.
The Brazilian was penalized five grid places by the stewards for ignoring yellow flags in qualifying, but actually Barrichello will start sixth, just one place lower than his qualifying allocation.
At the same time, while just two places behind Barrichello in qualifying, and receiving the same five grid demotion, championship leader Button drops to tenth place.
The grid gap between the Brawn duo has therefore increased from two to four places, due to a complicated system whereby the grid is determined in the event of multiple penalties.
The grid is shuffled in the order the offences were committed, rather than all penalties being applied at the same time.
However, the governing body is being criticized in some quarters for allowing the confusion and misreporting to last so long, after FIA officials left the Suzuka circuit on Saturday night declaring that the actual grid order would only be published in the morning.
It was already being widely reported that Barrichello would start the race as low as tenth, with Button - who needs 5 more points than his teammate to seal the title on Sunday - in about 12th.
Glock to miss Japanese GPUPDATE (GMM) Toyota will field just one car in Sunday's Japanese grand prix, after Timo Glock's entry was withdrawn due to injury.
The German, who has been suffering with flu and fever at Suzuka, crashed heavily in qualifying on Saturday and afterwards had a 5cm lower left leg wound stitched in a local hospital.
"We tried to do everything with physiotherapy," said the 27-year-old on Sunday. "The doctor worked until 2am to try to get fluid out of the leg.
"I could just walk a bit better, but at the end, this morning we had to realize it won't work, the cut is too big," Glock added.
Toyota asked the FIA to allow Kamui Kobayashi to replace Glock, but the rules state that substitute drivers have to be nominated prior to Saturday's morning practice session.
Glock added: "I am sure I will be back in Brazil."
10/03/09 Panasonic Toyota Racing can confirm that Timo Glock will not take part in today's Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.
Timo suffered an accident in qualifying yesterday, after which he was taken for a check up at a hospital in Yokkaichi. He sustained a 5cm cut on his lower left leg in the accident and reported back pain, although x-rays have confirmed there is no damage.
In order to ensure he is fully fit for the Brazilian Grand Prix, Timo has been advised to rest so will miss the Japanese Grand Prix.
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