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Ecclestone happy with F1 turnover
Bernie Ecclestone, the billionaire boss of Formula One motor racing, has good reason to celebrate as this year's season draws to a close. Today's penultimate race in China could crown the British superstar Lewis Hamilton as the youngest World Champion, and annual turnover has reached a new high of $4.3bn (£2.1bn). This is according to Formula Money, the first annual review of F1's financial health. An independent report backed by the consultancy firm CNC, it analyses the massive funds flowing through F1.

The biggest component of the sport's total turnover is the $1.5bn spent by the owners of its 11 teams. Six of the world's major car manufacturers, BMW, Ferrari, Honda, Mercedes, Renault and Toyota, alone pump a total of $1.3bn into their teams, providing around half of their revenues. The lion's share of the remainder is made up of on-car sponsorship, which this year totals around $835m.

Companies controlled by Mr. Ecclestone also receive revenues from TV rights, race hosting fees, trackside advertising and corporate hospitality. The TV rights are the main breadwinner for Mr. Ecclestone's F1 Group, which is majority-owned by the private equity firm CVC. They pull in around $380m annually, with the UK's ITV network alone believed to be paying $45m. To date, the teams' only share of the F1 Group's spoils has been 47 per cent of the revenues from TV rights but, under a new deal, this year they expect to get 50 per cent of underlying profits from all commercial rights revenues, bringing their prize money to around $480m. More at Independent Online

racing news

Quotes of the week
BERNIE ECCLESTONE, President and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Association
Regarding the 2007 World Drivers Champion, Ecclestone said Alonso has "done nothing" for the sport since winning back to back titles in 2005 and 2006. "Kimi Raikkonen," Ecclestone added, "barely talks to anyone." He added, "It is painfully obvious to me that the right guy to be world champion is Lewis. In fact my main fear would be if he didn't win it. If Lewis wins the drivers' championship he will act like a real world champion. He will know exactly what is expected of him and what he has to do." Ecclestone hails Hamilton as a "miracle worker" following the dramatic retirement of seven time world champion Michael Schumacher. "But for him I'm not sure where the sport would be heading," he said.

FERNANDO ALONSO, reigning 2 times F1 World Drivers Champion, McLaren Mercedes
"I am really interested to know where I have lost this time, because I do not think I have lost six tenths in the other 100 laps that I have done this weekend," Alonso said. He answered "no" when specifically asked if he suspects McLaren of sabotage, but he also said he has "no idea" if he has been weighed down with much more fuel than pole sitter Hamilton. "If I was 3 or 4 thousandths behind, it doesn't mean anything -- it could be small differences in fuel levels or small details such as that. But six or seven tenths ... I can't remember any time that I was so far behind anybody. That was the strange thing about (qualifying for the Grand Prix of China). "If you have not had a good weekend, you say 'ok, I did not get comfortable with the car, with this corner' ... but I have been fast all weekend, also in qualifying-1 and 2. To be so far behind in qualifying-3 -- I am the most surprised of all." When Alonso was asked how much optimism he will now carry to Sunday's grid, he answered "None. Very little. You are fourth, you have to recover so many points, hope for the rain, hope for the others to have problems and you have the luck to finish." Alonso was also critical of the "atmosphere" he encounters at McLaren at every race, and accused Ron Dennis and his other bosses of planting negative stories about him in the German and British press. "When I joined the team, I hoped for more. I arrived with two world championships, we have improved the car as much as we can -- last year they were struggling to go into qualifying-3 and this year then are going to win the championship. The truth is that the treatment has not been very good."

Alonso seemed particularly bitter about Dennis, a day after the McLaren principal said he was "disappointed" that the Spaniard had not defended the team's principles of equality. "Sometimes it is better to shut up than to lie," Alonso responded. "And if he did that more often, I believe his team would be a better one. I believe that many of the things and the scandals that have occurred this year have been caused by him. I have spoken a lot with Coulthard, Montoya, with Kimi, and all of them left the team and found great happiness. There must be something. If something is going to improve, it has to start with them (the team). You always hear about, or I am always told about, the so-called equality of the team. It is impossible to have it in Formula One -- there is always a better engine, a better lap to stop, always a better something or other." Alonso is staunchly quiet about his plans for 2008, but he said he hopes to be able to prepare for next year "soon". "Sometimes, by the things you hear or the actions, it seems like they also do not have any desire (to continue together). I don't have a problem; I have another 10 teams that could be interested in me. Staying here ... it is necessary to look at whether it is the best thing to do or not," he said (After oddly qualifying six tenths behind his McLaren teammate and runaway title leader Lewis Hamilton in Shanghai, the reigning world champion did not try hard to hide his suspicion that the Woking based team had deliberately slowed down his car).

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McLaren situation makes title bid ’not easy’ - Alonso
Fernando Alonso said on Sunday that he feels the world championship is going to be "impossible" for him to win without another miracle in Brazil.

Alonso's second place in Shanghai means that the drivers' title will now be decided in two weeks in Brazil; but only because his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton accidentally beached his car in the gravel.

The Spaniard, 26, has been hinting all weekend that - despite his bosses' constant avowals of equality - he is facing a tough time in terms of enjoying the right kind of support to lift a third consecutive crown.

"I still need something really dramatic if I want to win. With a normal race, it will be impossible," he told international reporters immediately after the race when asked about the upcoming season finale.

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Hamilton puts heartbreak behind him
Lewis Hamilton admitted he was "gutted" after losing the opportunity to clinch the world championship in China when he slid off the road on worn tires.

But the British rookie vowed to put the bitter disappointment behind him and focus on what he needs to do to secure the title in Brazil in two week's time. Hamilton dominated the wet opening stages in Shanghai, but stayed out too long on an increasingly worn set of intermediate tyres and lost the lead to Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari on lap 29.

By the time he finally gave up the unequal struggle two laps later, his rear tyres were worn almost down to the canvas and he lost control of the car on the left-hand bend in the pit entry, sliding into the gravel and out of the race.

“We were having a great race,” an emotional Hamilton told ITV Sport’s Louise Goodman.

“We didn’t know whether it was going to rain or not and the tyres that I was on were just getting worse and worse. At the end I could almost see the canvas underneath. I was coming into the pits and it was like ice. I couldn’t do anything about it."

Hamilton said he could feel the tyres were in poor condition because the car was handling badly, but had been awaiting a call from the team to pit for new rubber.

"The thing is, my mirrors were completely dirty so I couldn’t see through them, so I couldn’t see my tyres but it just felt like they were completely finished," he explained.

“And I was coming in that lap, so it could have worked out perfectly. I think we had the pace in the dry.

"It’s unfortunate, I'm sorry for the team, they did a fantastic job as always." ITV/F1.com


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Rain in Shanghai
  • McLaren called carpenter after Alonso rage
  • Sutil feels responsible for Albers axe
  • Hamilton admits mistake cost China title win
  • Alonso says title task still 'difficult'
  • McLaren bans Ferrari from team quarters
  • Johnnie Walker ramps up McLaren sponsor deal
  • Team also to blame for Hamilton slip - Lauda

Rain in Shanghai
(GMM) It was raining heavily at Shanghai's F1 circuit an hour before the Chinese grand prix.

1 million Chinese people have been evacuated from eastern provinces as the deadly typhoon Krosa approaches the country, but it is expected that Shanghai will escape the brunt of the storm.

Rain and wind is, however, likely to feature for the formula one race throughout Sunday, even though the morning was mostly dry at the circuit after overnight showers.

McLaren called carpenter after Alonso rage
(GMM) So furious was reigning world champion Fernando Alonso after qualifying fourth in Shanghai on Saturday that he kicked down a door in McLaren's circuit offices.

Mostly Spanish media sources cited wild conspiracy theories including doctored tire pressures and temperatures for the McLaren driver, who nonetheless kept his hopes alive for the world championship by finishing second on Sunday while his British teammate Lewis Hamilton retired.

The 26-year-old, however, verbally wrote off his championship chances following qualifying before requiring a carpenter to be called to repair the damage he caused to a room at the Shanghai circuit.

Alonso also used a different helmet for the penultimate grand prix, after smashing his qualifying-spec lid on the floor of the garage on Saturday.

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Trucks: Bodine Mountain Dew 250 Winner
TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Polesitter Todd Bodine held off Rick Crawford in a two-lap dash to the finish Saturday to win the Mountain Dew 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race by .014 seconds.

Crawford followed Bodine for the final two laps after a restart on Lap 93 of the 94-lap event at Talladega Superspeedway and finally made his move as the trucks roared through the tri-oval with the finish line in sight. Crawford fell just short, as did Bodine's Toyota teammate, Johnny Benson, who fanned out to the inside of Bodine's No. 30 Toyota at the finish and crossed the stripe .028 seconds behind the race winner.

Jason Leffler ran fourth, followed by Dennis Setzer and rookie Willie Allen. With a seventh-place finish, Ron Hornaday Jr. seized the series points lead from Mike Skinner, who had a late-race problem with a hood pin and finished 13th. Hornaday is 14 points ahead of Skinner, marking the third time in the last four races that the championship lead has changed between the two.

"We had a great truck," Bodine said. "That truck's always been fast, but it could never lead a draft. After Daytona, the guys went to work and got it to where it could lead the draft. I knew Rick would make a move somewhere. He just came up a little short.

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Wet safety car rules tweaked for F1
(GMM) F1's safety car rules have been freed up ahead of the Chinese grand prix.

After the rain-drenched race at Fuji Speedway a week ago, Lewis Hamilton came under fire for driving erratically as he led the pack behind the safety car.

His behavior was probed by the stewards, who found that - according to the letter of the current rules - the British championship leader perhaps should have been punished.

But race director Charlie Whiting is reported to have said by Auto Motor und Sport: "If Hamilton had done something wrong, then he would have had to punish ten other drivers."

Stewards in Shanghai have now advised that, behind the safety car in wet conditions, drivers are recommended to keep a distance of ten car lengths to the car in front, rather than the previous five.

In the drivers' briefing in China, meanwhile, the field has also been warned to behave more judiciously in difficult conditions in the future, including keeping a consistent pace.

Pole sitter Hamilton says the rules are now clearer.

"I think we understand a little bit better but I put my hand up and perhaps I didn't do the best job under the safety car in the wet," he said.

"It was tricky for everyone, visibility was the biggest problem but I think we have a better idea."

tv news

NASCAR drivers to be guests on Live with Regis and Kelly
NASCAR drivers Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth will be guests on the Live with Regis and Kelly show on Monday, October 8, 2007.  The show airs at 9:00 am - 10:00 am in most time zones.  The network varies.  Please check local listings for your location and time zone.


DEI’s Gilmore suffers aneurysm UPDATE Dale Earnhardt, Inc. vice president Richie Gilmore has been treated and released from a Birmingham, Alabama hospital after suffering what has been diagnosed as a minor aneurysm. Gilmore suffered stroke-like symptoms on Friday and was taken to Birmingham for evaluation. He is currently back home in Mooresville, N.C.

“I spoke with both Richie and his wife Lisa on a couple of different occasions today and Richie is doing well,” said Max Siegel, president of global operations for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. “He was released today from the hospital and he’s back home getting some rest. He will undergo further evaluation and precautionary testing next week.” Dale Earnhardt, Inc. PR

10/06/07 Richie Gilmore, VP of Competition for Dale Earnhardt Inc.. was airlifted to Trinity Medical Center in Birmingham on Friday afternoon after suffering an aneurysm, according to DEI competition director Steve Hmiel.  Gilmore was released Saturday morning, according to a nurse at the hospital, once doctors controlled his condition with blood thinners. He was expected to fly back to his home in Sherrill’s Ford, N.C.

Gilmore, 41, of Rochester, N.H., was hired by DEI as the chief engine builder in 1998 after spending eight years with Hendrick Motorsports. He has been instrumental this season in combining the engine efforts of DEI and Richard Childress Racing.


Petit: Capello’s Audi leads at halfway
The five-hour mark has come and gone at Road Atlanta with the 10th running of Petit Le Mans past the halfway mark. Audi’s Dindo Capello led as the 1,000-mile/10-hour endurance classic moved past the 500-mile mark by 30 seconds over Penske’s Emmanuel Collard in the No. 6 Porsche RS Spyder. The race pace put the estimated time of finish at just shy of 9 p.m. ET.

Capello’s teammate, Allan McNish, had to come back from a collision at Turn 1 with Memo Gidley in the Team Cytosport Lola and the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT. Capello inherited the lead with the most recent pit stop by the No. 6 crew.

Collard led Patrick Long in the sister Porsche by 32 seconds. That the No. 6 car led was a feat in itself after being penalized for 30 seconds after causing a melee at Turn 6 when Ryan Briscoe hit Darren Manning. Clint Field in the No. 37 Intersport Lola and Luis Diaz in the Lowe’s Fernandez Racing Acura-Lola both were collected in the incident with both cars eventually retiring.

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Jarrett knows his future, world will learn Thursday
Dale Jarrett will race in 2008, but we'll have to wait until Thursday to find out where, when and how much.  After making his qualifying attempt Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway, Jarrett said he would announce his future plans at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

"Have I made my decision? Yes," Jarrett said. "I'm going to race some next year. That's all I'll say."

"It was my decision," he said. "I went to them because obviously part of my job is to do what's best for Michael Waltrip Racing and my sponsor. So I went to them and said, 'Look, I've been thinking about this. Here are some different scenarios. Let's talk about them.' So we did that for about eight weeks."

"The opportunity is there, but that didn't weigh on my decision whatsoever," Jarrett said. "That opportunity, I was told, was going to be there, just whenever I decided to not drive the racecar any more. I didn't let that factor in."

"When we were in Daytona, Terry and I were just talking about it and he said, 'Look, make sure you drive as long as you want to and as long as you can, because once you get out, nobody's ever really gone back and done anything that was very good,'" Jarrett said.

"He said, 'Just make sure you satisfy yourself.' That's who you have to please. Whenever you decide to make that decision, make sure of that. I took that into consideration. I felt like that was very good advice."


Waltrip to announce 2008 plans
Michael Waltrip said Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway, that he plans to make an announcement about Michael Waltrip Racing's 2008 plans on Friday, Oct 12th. Waltrip said he know what he wants to announce, but still has a few things to work out this week. When asked about #44-Dale Jarrett and a possible part-time 2008 schedule, Waltrip said Jarrett is can do whatever he wants and the decision is up to Jarrett. PRN's Garage Pass


Petit 2 Hours: Audi leads
Allan McNish took the lead on the fourth restart at Petit Le Mans just through two hours as Audi regained the lead in the 1,000-mile/10-hour endurance classic at Road Atlanta. He passed Penske Racing’s Timo Bernhard in the No. 7 Porsche RS Spyder in a race mired with lengthy cautions and some heavy damage in the American Le Mans Series’ cornerstone event.

The fourth caution came out when Darren Manning spun the No. 10 Zytek P1 car at Turn 7 after being hit by Ryan Briscoe in the other Penske Porsche. Clint Field in the No. 37 Intersport Lola and Luis Diaz in the Lowe’s Fernandez Racing Acura-Lola both were collected in the incident.

Bernhard held the P2 lead over Danny Watts in the factory Zytek with Highcroft Racing’s Stefan Johansson running third.

Corvette Racing’s Max Papis in the No. 4 Corvette C6.R led in GT1 over Andrea Bertolini in the pole-sitting Maserati MC12 for Doran Racing. The second Corvette, the No. 3 entry, was retired in the first hour when Jan Magnussen went off track hard at Turn 4.

Jamie Melo led in GT2 for Risi Competizione in the No. 62 Ferrari F430 GT that started from pole position. Dominik Farnbacher was running second for Tafel Racing in the No. 71 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR.

Tafel’s other Porsche, the No. 73 car, was withdrawn after Nathan Swartzbaugh’s crash between Turn 5 and Turn 6 when the rear of the car slid out under power. Andretti Green Racing’s Acura also was retired due to contact.


Luhr replaces Pirro
Lucas Luhr (pictured right with Mike Rockenfeller) has been added to the lineup of the No. 2 Audi R10 TDI for Petit Le Mans, replacing Emanuele Pirro. Luhr will team with overall fast qualifier Marco Werner, who will start the 1,000-mile/10-hour endurance classic at Road Atlanta from the back of the grid.

Pirro was feeling the effects of a concussion he suffered in Thursday’s first practice session when he went off at the end of Turn 1 and hard into the outside wall. After meeting with IMSA and medical personnel, Audi concurred with the decision by IMSA Medical to withdraw Pirro from the race.

Werner recorded all the laps during the warm-up and qualified on the overall pole position with a track record of 1:08.906. It puts Penske Racing’s Timo Bernhard on the overall pole after Romain Dumas qualified second overall and first in LMP2 on Friday. This will mark the first time a P2 car has started from the overall pole at Petit Le Mans.

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Alonso slams McLaren near end of nightmare season
(GMM) Fernando Alonso on Saturday afternoon seemed to uncork a wave of intense frustration as he spoke to journalists from his native Spain.

After oddly qualifying six tenths behind his McLaren teammate and runaway title leader Lewis Hamilton in Shanghai, the reigning world champion did not try hard to hide his suspicion that the Woking based team had deliberately slowed down his single seater.

"I am really interested to know where I have lost this time, because I do not think I have lost six tenths in the other 100 laps that I have done this weekend," he said, according to the news agency EFE.

Alonso answered "no" when specifically asked if he suspects McLaren of sabotage, but he also said he has "no idea" if he has been weighed down with much more fuel than pole sitter Hamilton.

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Stewards slam Vettel
Sebastian Vettel has been relegated five places on the Chinese Grand Prix starting grid, less than 24 hours after the stewards annulled a 10-place penalty carried over from Japan. Vettel was deemed to have impeded another car during qualifying in Shanghai on Saturday. The German rookie had originally qualified 12th alongside team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi, in an exceptionally strong performance from the Toro Rosso team.


AGR team looking for better ALMS results

AGR Acura

The last time we saw Andretti Green Racing at an American Le Mans Series endurance event, the No. 26 Acura ARX had taken an LMP2 victory and an overall runner-up at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in its Series debut. With the 10th running of Petit Le Mans this weekend, AGR is back in “endurance mode” with a lineup of Bryan Herta, Tony Kanaan and Vitor Meira. The three, plus team principal Kim Green, took some time to talk about the 1,000-mile/10-hour event at Road Atlanta.

Kim Green
“It’s been a pleasure for AGR to be involved in the American Le Mans Series. We didn’t underestimate the task at hand. We knew we would have to be very good. Overall we wanted to be competitive at every event. At some tracks we have done a good job; at others we haven’t. But it has been a good experience. We’re proud to be a part of the Acura family and look forward to next year.

“In our planning for a third driver for this event, we did look at what happened last year with Vitor’s great race. It was a well-thought-out decision. We’ve raced against Vitor in Indy cars in the past so we know how well he is.

“We certainly see that the Porsches are setting the goalposts a little farther away each race. It’s an indication of the things we need to work on. With the development support from Acura and HPD, it’s critical for us to be competitive to provide them with information.

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Riley Technologies announces new GT2 Corvette
Riley Technologies will open a new chapter in its history with Le Mans, as the famed constructor announced the availability of the Riley Technologies Chevrolet Corvette GT2. American Le Mans Series C.E.O. Scott Atherton confirmed the entry in his annual “State of the Series” speech Friday as he welcomed the Chevrolet Corvette into GT2 competition.
“Our fans are going to relish seeing the Corvette name join the GT2 category and going up against the best in the world,” said Atherton. “GT2 has shown itself to be a fiercely competitive class, and with Riley bringing this Corvette into the field, it will only become more so.”
The Chevrolet Corvette has long captured the imagination of teams and fans alike across the globe. That world wide passion will spread once again with the GT2, as the Riley machine will work on being accepted for competition in a wide variety of series in addition to the American Le Mans Series, including FIA GT2, the ACO 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Europe-based Le Mans Series.

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Maserati surprises Vette team at Petit LeMans
The Doran Racing Lista and Lista Office Maserati MC12 No. 27 was not only close to the two factory Corvettes Friday at Road Atlanta, it beat them in GT1 qualifying for Saturday's 10th annual Petit Le Mans American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race.

Andrea Bertolini took just 1:17.428 to cover Road Atlanta's 2.54-mile, 12-turn road course for an average speed of 118.097 miles per hour in qualifying. Johnny O'Connell's Corvette was almost a full second behind, as its fastest lap was a 1:18.415 (116.610 mph). Oliver Gavin's Corvette's fastest lap in the 25-minute qualifying session was a 1:18.602 (116.333 mph). Bertolini threw down the gauntlet with a 1:18.082 early in the session right before Arie Luyendyk Jr. brought out a red flag when he stopped in Turn 10. The green waved again about four minutes later, and Bertolini responded with a 1:17.977.

The fourth of the eight laps posted by the driver from Castellarano, Reggio Emilia, Italy ended up being the one that counted. Kevin Doran, owner of the Lebanon, Ohio-based team, brought Bertolini in at that point and Bertolini waited in the cockpit on pit road to see if the Corvettes would mount a last-minute challenge. None materialized, and the pole was in the record books.

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Mandarino wins, Cameron champion

Dane Cameron

Road Atlanta, GA – After a heated battle in the second half of the race that saw the front-running drivers swapping places several times per lap, it was ultimately Vancouver’s Lorenzo Mandarino who scored his second win of the season in Round Eleven of the 2007 Star Mazda Championship driving the #15 Team G.FRO/Newway Forming Mazda.  And it was Californian Dane Cameron, struggling all weekend with a car that was a rocket in the turns but slow down the straights – who did what he had to do, finishing 8th in the #19 JDC Motorsports/Finlay Motorsports Mazda and clinching the championship… the first rookie to do so in the 17-year history of the Star Mazda Championship.

“Boy, I really needed this one,” said Mandarino, who has had an up-and-down season of wins and podiums mixed with 18th and 19th- place finishes.  “We qualified second, but the weather made the race a gamble for us.  It rained in the morning, and it was mostly dry by race time though there were some clouds around, so choosing to go with the dry setup and dry tires was a calculated risk.   The G.FRO team gave me a great car for the race and gave me some really good coaching over the radio and helped me make correct decisions about how to run the race.  This is their win as much as mine and is a big step forward toward my plans for 2008, which I hope to finalize soon.”

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ARCA official asks Dario "You speak English?"
Dario Franchitti is a Scot of Italian descent, a former open wheel driver, the defending Indy Racing League and Indianapolis 500 champion. But he also lives in Nashville, is married to a rabid Kentucky Wildcats alum - actress Ashley Judd - and can discern the nuance of several different kinds of barbecue, thanks very much.

His credentials as a cultural Southerner are verifiable despite the brogue. His stock car credentials must soon be the same. He's got about four months before he assumes the wheel of the No. 40 Dodge for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates in the Nextel Cup series.

So there he was on pit road at Talladega Superspeedway on Thursday morning, about to take his first stock car laps in an ARCA series practice. An ARCA official strolled to his car and leaned into the window.

"You speak English?"

Franchitti was flabbergasted, befuddled and amused as his crew howled over the team radio. SPTimes.com


Q and A with Jeff Gordon at Talladega
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 DuPont / Pepsi Impala SS met with media to discuss the CoT issues at Talladega, the Chase, open wheel drivers entering NASCAR, and more.
WAS THERE A LOT OF BUMP-DRAFTING GOING ON DURING PRACTICE? WAS DENNY HAMLIN DOING A LOT OF BUMP-DRAFTING? “Oh, there was some excessive bump-drafting going on out there. I didn’t see what happened. He got into the back of me. Maybe it was a little harder than it should have been but that’s these cars. That’s the situation that we’re in right now. So I don’t know. I didn’t see what happened.”

HOW CONCERNED ARE YOU ABOUT THE ‘BIG ONE’ AT TALLADEGA? “I’m always concerned no matter what. But you come to Talladega and you know there’s a very good chance or possibility of that happening. Most of your goal throughout the day on Sunday is to try to just survive that big wreck. And that’s definitely going to be on our minds on Sunday for sure.”

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Latest F1 news in brief
  • 'I would have been penalized' - Alonso
  • Mosley guilty of 'disrepute' over Stewart insult - Hill
  • Haug defends Dennis over Alonso rebuke
  • Massa ready to help teammate win title
  • Heavy rain expected on Sunday
  • Bernie and Flavio miss Chinese GP
  • Massa, Barrichello Fined

'I would have been penalized' - Alonso
(GMM) Fernando Alonso has openly questioned the stewards' decision not to penalize his teammate Lewis Hamilton for driving erratically behind the safety car last Sunday.

The 22-year-old's bitter title challenger told the Spanish newspaper Diario As on Friday: "I am sure that if it was me (under investigation), I would have gone to sleep with a penalty."

The Spaniard is probably recalling his famous Monza penalty last year, applied after stewards ruled that he impeded Felipe Massa's qualifying lap.

Alonso said of the Hamilton investigation: "But I do not know, because I did not see it (the YouTube clip of the Vettel-Webber crash)."

Reigning world champion Alonso, who is 12 points behind Hamilton after his Fuji Speedway crash, said Hamilton had been warned by race director Charlie Whiting about his driving behind the safety car at Monza last month, after "some drivers complained".

"The race director reminded us before Fuji what you can do -- warm up your tires, zigzag, but with a constant speed.

"He said 'you can move, but not change your speed all the time'."

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Hamilton better champion than Alonso says Bernie
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone says Lewis Hamilton will make a better world champion than his McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso.

F1's chief executive, at the scene of the Chinese grand prix, where his 22-year-old countryman could secure the title near the end of his rookie season, said Alonso has "done nothing" for the sport since winning back to back titles in 2005 and 2006.

Kimi Raikkonen, Ecclestone added, "barely talks to anyone".

"It is painfully obvious to me that the right guy to be world champion is Lewis," Bernie said.  "In fact my main fear would be if he didn't win it.

"If Lewis wins the drivers' championship he will act like a real world champion.  He will know exactly what is expected of him and what he has to do."

Ecclestone hails Hamilton as a "miracle worker" following the dramatic retirement of seven time world champion Michael Schumacher.

"But for him I'm not sure where the sport would be heading," he said.


Annett takes Toyota to Victory Lane at Talladega
Michael Annett, in the Pilot Travel Centers Toyota, made history Friday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway, becoming the first driver in the 55-year history of the ARCA RE/MAX Series to bring the Toyota nameplate to victory lane.

Annett, in a Bill Davis Racing entry, fought off Roush Fenway Racing's Colin Braun on the final lap, and then edged eight-time series champion Frank Kimmel at the checkered flag by a half-car length to win the thrilling ARCA RE/MAX 250 in only his fourth series start.

"I knew they were going to try something (on the final lap)," said Annett. "Colin came to the outside of me going through the trioval. We kind of got together. I just kept my left side on the yellow line, and when we got together it slowed down his momentum. Then Frank (Kimmel) decided to go with me, and that really helped. Frank raced me clean. You can't ask for more out of your competitors.

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Chinese GP: Kimi again on top in practice 3
Kimi Raikkonen (1m36.100s) topped Saturday morning practice in Shanghai ahead of Fernando Alonso (1m36.126s), Lewis Hamilton (1m36.227s) and Felipe Massa (1m36.405s) as Ferrari and McLaren continued to dominate F1.  The weather forecast calls for possible rain this afternoon with possibly more in store for Sunday as a typhoon approaches the area.

However, Raikkonen's hopes of keeping his slim championship hopes alive may have hit a snag in the hours before qualifying in China.

The Finn, despite again narrowly taking his Ferrari to top spot ahead of the McLarens in Saturday practice, slowed late in the 60-minute session with an apparent technical problem.

Saturday morning is the first session of a grand prix weekend in which a ten-position grid penalty applies for an engine change.

Ferrari boss Jean Todt on Friday afternoon admitted that reliability problems had blighted his drivers' push for the championships this year.

"Our drivers have not made mistakes and have done a good job and as a team we did not do a good enough job," the Frenchman told reporters in Shanghai.


1. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari 1:36.100
2. Fernando Alonso Spain McLaren-Mercedes 1:36.126
3. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1:36.227
4. Felipe Massa Brazil Ferrari 1:36.405
5. Ralf Schumacher Germany Toyota 1:36.959
6. David Coulthard Britain Red Bull-Renault 1:36.964
7. Robert Kubica Poland BMW 1:37.024
8. Heikki Kovalainen Finland Renault 1:37.106
9. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW 1:37.176
10. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1:37.315
11. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota 1:37.323
12. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:37.463
13. Jenson Button Britain Honda 1:37.564
14. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota 1:37.679
15. Anthony Davidson Britain Super Aguri-Honda 1:37.732
16. Sebastian Vettel Germany Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:37.759
17. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Renault 1:37.791
18. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Honda 1:37.920
19. Alexander Wurz Austria Williams-Toyota 1:37.926
20. Takuma Sato Japan Super Aguri-Honda 1:38.577
21. Adrian Sutil Germany Spyker-Ferrari 1:38.868
22. Sakon Yamamoto Japan Spyker-Ferrari 1:39.517


FIA wrong to punish Kubica, not Hamilton
(GMM) Felipe Massa says the stewards were wrong to penalize Robert Kubica last Sunday but not Lewis Hamilton.

BMW-Sauber's Kubica at Fuji Speedway was given a drive-through penalty for tagging Hamilton while trying to pass for position, but Hamilton - a week later in the Shanghai paddock - was given the all-clear for driving erratically behind the safety car.

Kubica, of Poland, said in China on Thursday: "I did not hit him on purpose. We have seen many contacts between drivers and nothing happened.

"I hadn't gained any position but (the penalty) destroyed my race."

Ferrari's Massa told the Spanish newspaper Diario As that the Kubica penalty was "hard" and "unfair".

"He was on the inside - the right line - and he didn't mean to hit Hamilton. I don't understand the sanction.

"On the other hand, the man who leads (Hamilton) did many things behind the safety car that were wrong and punishable.

"I have seen the internet video and have no doubt that he should have been penalized for moving suddenly and causing the accident between Webber and Vettel," the Brazilian reportedly told his country's press.

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'I would have been penalized' - Alonso
(GMM) Fernando Alonso has openly questioned the stewards' decision not to penalize his teammate Lewis Hamilton for driving erratically behind the safety car last Sunday.

The 22-year-old's bitter title challenger told the Spanish newspaper Diario As on Friday: "I am sure that if it was me (under investigation), I would have gone to sleep with a penalty."

The Spaniard is probably recalling his famous Monza penalty last year, applied after stewards ruled that he impeded Felipe Massa's qualifying lap.

Alonso said of the Hamilton investigation: "But I do not know, because I did not see it (the YouTube clip of the Vettel-Webber crash)."

Reigning world champion Alonso, who is 12 points behind Hamilton after his Fuji Speedway crash, said Hamilton had been warned by race director Charlie Whiting about his driving behind the safety car at Monza last month, after "some drivers complained".

"The race director reminded us before Fuji what you can do -- warm up your tires, zig-zag, but with a constant speed.

"He said 'you can move, but not change your speed all the time'."


Speed and Franchitti survive first stock car race
Scott Speed learned what a stock car looks like from underneath when he saw another car on his hood during the ARCA Re/Max 250, but the former Formula One driver finished seventh in his first stock-car event at the hairy Talladega Superspeedway. Another open-wheel driver gaining his first experience in a stock car was defending Indy Racing League champion Dario Franchitti, who finished 17th in the restrictor-plate race.

"I lacked the experience to get myself to the front," Franchitti said. "The car was a little bit tight, but it was more me than the car.

"I'm looking forward to the short tracks. I might be insane, but I'm looking forward to going to Bristol and Martinsville."

"The thinking and the reaction are a mile slower," Speed said about comparing the restrictor-plate racing to Formula One. "You have a lot more time to think about things and it's much more a chess game."

In his one incident, Speed got into the back of Phillip McGilton.

"He just stopped in front of me and the next thing I know, he's on top of my hood," Speed said. "We were all pushing each other, and it just kind of happened. ... I feel really bad for the guy. 

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Tickets on sale for 2008 LB Grand Prix
LONG BEACH, Calif. – Tickets for Southern California’s annual “Spring Brake,” the April 18-20, 2008 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, will go on sale Monday, Oct. 8.

The 34th Annual Grand Prix will again feature the cars and stars of the Champ Car World Series, expected to be led by four-time Long Beach winner Paul Tracy, Justin Wilson, and young hot shoe Graham Rahal, as well as the Champ Car Atlantic Championship and the EZ Lube Team Drift Challenge.

Action on Sat., April 19 will include the American Le Mans Series race and the fan-favorite 32nd Annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race.

“As always, we’re dedicated to bringing more than just the finest in racing to the streets of Long Beach and our fans,” said Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach (GPALB).

“Again this year, we’ve lined up a three-day entertainment festival that includes two top concerts, free with a race ticket, in the Tecate Cool Zone and, for the first time, we will be introducing the ‘Green Power Prix-View’ to all of our fans.”

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Hamlin parked for bump-drafting
NASCAR cracked down on bump-drafting in the first Nextel Cup practice Friday at Talladega Superspeedway, and Denny Hamlin was the first culprit.
Hamlin was parked late in the session, though he said his Joe Gibbs Racing was finished in that practice anyway.

"They made a general warning right at the beginning to everyone to stop using the front bumpers, and after that I got hit probably 20 to 30 times," Hamlin said. "So I figured I'd just keep doing what I was doing. Right there at the end, I guess I was a little excessive."

"They said Gibbs cars in specific, they had an eye out on," Hamlin said. "I wonder what makes us different than anyone else, other than we were the first three cars in line. We were working well together, and when I say working well together, we were pushing each other well.

"But they said they didn't want any contact, and we broke that rule. So we're going sit have to sit out for a while."

NASCAR officials said they parked Hamlin for refusing to heed a NASCAR directive.

"I was finished anyway, so they parked me there at the end. We asked them, 'What's the difference between us and everyone else with the front and back bumpers beat off?' We were on TV when we were doing it. Daggone television cameras.

"We're done anyway. They can park us for 15 minutes, they could park us for an hour, they could park us for the rest of the day. We're done."


Petit: Rain on Friday
It's raining at Road Atlanta today and half the field chose to not partake in the morning practice prior to qualifying.

tv news

ALMS announces 3-year SPEED deal
The American Le Mans Series and SPEED, a telecast partner of the Series since 2000, announced Friday at the annual State of the Series address that a three-year extension of the long-running rights agreement has been finalized to keep the world’s premier sports car series on the world’s most highly distributed motorsport network.

“This is a very important step for the growth of the American Le Mans Series,” said Scott Atherton, CEO/President of the Series.  “SPEED has become recognized as the leading motorsports network in the world and is certainly the type of partner with which to move into the future with our many common goals.”

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ALMS announces ’08 schedule and future vision
The American Le Mans Series mapped its vision toward 2010 at today’s annual State of the Series address at Road Atlanta in conjunction with the 10th annual Petit Le Mans by announcing a new three-year television agreement with SPEED, the leader in motorsports television.

In addition, President and CEO Scott Atherton spoke of maintaining the Series’ worldwide leadership for alternative fuels within the auto racing industry, introduced new team and auto manufacturer content in the all-important independent team category and unveiled a 12-race schedule similar in scope to the one in 2007 that has lead to an attendance surge of more than 40 percent over 2006.

“Last year we announced a comprehensive initiative centered around the utilization of alternative fuels for racing - and it could not have gone better,” said Atherton. “We also presented what we referred to then as the best overall schedule in the history of the Series. Today, we are enjoying the most successful season ever - and announcing similar news and programs that will only build upon the very positive momentum we are experiencing.”

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NASCAR Kansas TV ratings plummet UPDATE The final rating for last weekend's Kansas Nextel Cup race on ABC was a 3.1, down 22.5% from last year's race on NBC and down 31.2% from 2005, also on NBC.

10/01/07 The overnight USA TV rating for the NASCAR Nextel Cup: LifeLock 400 on ABC 2:00-6:00pm was a 2.8. Race experienced two rain delays on ABC.  At 6:00pm, the race went to ESPN2 while still under rain delay. Racing resumed from 7:15-8:30pm ET on ESPN2, earning a 2.1 overnight rating.  The 2.8 was down 18% from 2006's 3.4 and down 23% from the 3.6 overnight rating in 2005.  By comparison the highest NFL football game rating on Sunday was a 12.5/24 share.  Football continues to dwarf NASCAR especially as NASCAR's ratings keep dropping.


Greek team enters Superleague
One of Europe’s most multi-faceted sporting clubs is the latest team to unveil its 2008 assault on the new motorsport championship that features the colours of the world’s leading football clubs.

Greek football champions Olympiacos unveiled its Superleague Formula entry in Athens today with manager Takis Lemonis and club captain Predrag Djordjevic revealing the 750-horsepower V-12 powered machine to their team-mates and local media.

Champions of Greece for the past three years, Olympiacos was one of the original four clubs announced when Superleague Formula was launched earlier this year.

Olympiacos joins AC Milan, PSV Eindhoven, FC Porto, Borussia Dortmund, RSC Anderlecht, and Flamengo on the club roster that is growing towards the 20 cars to line up on the grid for the first race in August 2008.

The legendary Greek club has won a total of 60 major championships including 35 Greek championships and 22 Greek cups.

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Senna sets GP2 lap record
Bruno Senna has set a new GP2 lap record as he completed two days of testing at the Jerez circuit in Spain today. The Brazilian, embarking on the first off-season test since the conclusion of the 2007 GP2 Series season, set the stunning lap time of 1:27.015 in this morning's session while driving for newly crowned series champions iSport International.
The test marks a very positive start to Bruno's preparations for the forthcoming season, which will see teams competing in a brand new car for the 2008 championship. This week's test was run using the current cars, and Bruno tested for two separate teams over the two days.

On Thursday the 23-year-old took the wheel of the Campos Grand Prix car, which both Giorgio Pantano and Vitaly Petrov drove to victory during this season's championship. Bruno quickly adapted to the team and car, setting the second fastest time on the first day with a lap of 1:28.107, just seven hundredths of a second off the time of Adam Carroll, who was testing for champions iSport.

On Friday it was Bruno's turn to step into the iSport machine and he blitzed the opposition with his morning lap time that became the new lap record. In the afternoon the team ran very few laps, opting to end the afternoon early and only concentrated on race simulations on old tires, as the crew were already happy with Bruno's speed from the morning session.


Alonso claims McLaren are sabotaging his car
Fernando Alonso has allegedly briefed Spanish reporters that McLaren are deliberately sabotaging his car.

While it is public knowledge that Alonso feels aggrieved at the team's refusal to install him as their number one driver, the Spaniard hasn't gone so far as to claim that teammate and World Championship leader Lewis Hamilton has received preferential treatment.

However, in a deeply unpleasant exchange during Friday's press conference, Alonso pointedly refused to denounce the allegation.

Asked specifically whether 'you think you have been treated in a fair way by the team or could maybe the team favor Lewis by making subtle changes to your car, like tire pressures or wing settings?', Alonso merely replied: "Difficult question... I will not answer."

According to Times correspondent Edward Gorman, present at the press conference, Alonso 'paused for emphasis' and 'gave the clear impression that he believes the team are doctoring his race car to ensure that Hamilton wins the title.'

'No one who heard him could be in any doubt what his intended meaning was and indeed Spanish journalists close to Alonso said he has been saying as much privately for some time.'

[Editor's Note: Recall the days of active suspensions in 1993 when Michael Andretti also drove for McLaren. Given the way his car mysteriously behaved (what code was in those suspension computer programs on his car?), and given all the roadblocks thrown in his way (that one year FIA limited practice and qualifying laps to 7, McLaren never allowing him to test before the season started, etc.) one has to wonder what goes on there with the boys in Woking. Perhaps Alonso's allegations are correct.]


Chinese GP: Friday Press Conference
Participating: Ron Dennis (McLaren Mercedes), Mario Theissen (BMW Sauber), Jean Todt (Ferrari), Frank Williams (Williams).

Q. Can I have all your thoughts on the Japanese GP last weekend?

Mario Theissen: Our drivers got into a collision with another driver and it was very difficult to avoid this under the circumstances. Apparently we had two special occasions, both with Robert, when he touched with Lewis Hamilton first and when he had the final part with Felipe Massa. You can always argue about race situations and if you ask 10 drivers you will get 10 versions. What struck me was that only Robert got a penalty of all the drivers who had a collision. I think that was not justified.

Jean Todt: First of all we were completely unhappy the way the information was given about the tires which had to be taken to start, which compromised our race. We decided, rightly or wrongly, to take intermediate tires and after two or three laps we had to go and change the tires and then move from the second row to the last row.

I just feel it is completely inappropriate to start the race and to spend 19 laps out of a race of 67 laps behind the Safety Car. It was the right decision to start behind it but I don't understand why you do 30% of the race behind it. I can understand two, three or four laps but not 19. The race should have been delayed. They are my two main comments.

Ron Dennis: It was apparent to everyone it was appalling conditions. There was communication between Charlie (Whiting) and some of the teams, certainly our team. Our drivers were very concerned about visibility more than anything else and of course there were incidents, some of which may or may not be ongoing, but I think the reality is we should look at that race and say that we were fortunate no driver was hurt.

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A1GP forced to reduce schedule to just 10 races
A1GP World Cup of Motorsport regret to announce the withdrawal of the planned third leg of the 2007/08 season from the calendar. Despite ongoing discussions with various circuits across Asia, the series has been unable to reach a satisfactory agreement with an appropriate circuit allowing it to proceed with the scheduled event on 2 - 4 November.

Furthermore, following discussions with local authorities, the date for the A1GP Shanghai, China has been changed from 4-6 April to 11-13 April 2008 to better coincide with other regional events and activities.

This season's fixture list is as follows:

Date Event
1)  30 September 2007 A1GP Zandvoort, The Netherlands
2)  14 October 2007 A1GP Brno, Czech Republic
3)  25 November 2007 A1GP Sepang, Malaysia
4)  16 December 2007 A1GP Zhuhai, China
5)  20 January 2008 A1GP Taupo, New Zealand
6)  3 February 2008 A1GP Sydney, Australia
7)  24 February 2008 A1GP Durban, South Africa
8)  16 March 2008 A1GP Mexico City, Mexico
9) 13 April 2008 A1GP Shanghai, China
10) 4 May 2008 A1GP Brands Hatch, Great Britain


Dennis 'disappointed' over Alonso equality doubt
(GMM) Ron Dennis on Friday said he is "disappointed" with Fernando Alonso following an answer the Spaniard gave to the media in Shanghai.

Alonso, who fell twelve points behind his McLaren teammate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton in Japan a week ago, told a journalist on Thursday that he would "not answer" a question about whether he expects equal treatment for the final two races of 2007.

Spanish newspapers in particular wondered after the Japanese grand prix if Alonso's near title-ending crash caused by aquaplaning had been influenced by, specifically, doctored tyre pressures.

The 'Le Matin' reporter on Thursday had asked Alonso, who is 26, whether he suspected McLaren would make subtle changes to his car in Shanghai, including to pressures and also things like aerodynamic settings.

After telling the World Motor Sport Council last month that he shares an extremely strained relationship with Alonso, Dennis responded in China: "I'm obviously disappointed that someone who really has all the knowledge should not be more direct and open with the response."

Dennis insisted that his drivers' equality is enshrined in "numerous clauses" in their contracts.

He said: "Even in very, very difficult circumstances, we never will, never have and certainly are not favouring either driver at the moment. This is a straight fight."

tv news

Weekend USA TV Reminders UPDATE The full Saturday and Sunday TV listings are now shown below.

Courtesy of TVRacer.com
12:00am-12:30am ESPN2
Formula 1 Practice China
2:00am-3:30am (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Practice Talladega
12:00pm-1:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Qualifying Talladega
1:00pm-2:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Talladega
2:30pm-3:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Final Practice Talladega
3:30pm-4:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Talladega
4:30pm-5:00pm (L) SPEED
ARCA RE/MAX Talladega
5:00pm-8:00pm (L) SPEED
6:00pm-6:30pm ESPN2
Trackside Talladega
8:00pm-9:00pm SPEED

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Vettel and Hamilton escape Japan penalties
Lewis Hamilton has escaped penalty after FIA stewards probed his alleged erratic driving whilst leading the field behind the safety car at Fuji Speedway a week ago.

After hours of deliberation, stewards ruled that the 22-year-old championship leader, who earlier on Friday issued a veiled threat to quit formula one over the controversy, was not to blame for the collision between Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel.

In the light of amateur video footage that was posted on YouTube, the Briton had been facing a ten-position grid penalty for Sunday's Chinese grand prix, or even a points deduction.

Toro Rosso's Vettel, however, has had his ten-position penalty reduced to a formal reprimand, the stewards said.

But regarding Hamilton's part in the collision, "no penalty is imposed on him", their statement issued in Shanghai read.


Stewards probe Hamilton for erratic driving UPDATE Hamilton has been cleared by the Stewards of any wrongdoing in Japan.  This entire episode was fabricated by the British media and the FIA to make headlines for F1.  There never was anything to indicate Hamilton was at fault whatsoever.

10/04/07 (GMM) Stewards at the Chinese grand prix are investigating Lewis Hamilton for allegedly driving erratically behind the safety car a week ago at Fuji Speedway.

Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost, whose driver Sebastian Vettel was penalized ten grid places for the Shanghai race for smashing into Mark Webber, is believed to have brought to the attention of stewards new evidence that shows championship leader Hamilton may have contributed to the incident.

The new evidence is apparently a YouTube video that shows Hamilton erratically swerving and slowing his McLaren before Vettel and Webber collide.

"We understand the stewards of the meeting have received new evidence and are looking into the relevant matter," an FIA official confirmed.

"It would be inappropriate for us to comment any further at this particular stage, in particular as to what penalty, if any, might be imposed."

The F1 regulations require the first car behind the safety car to keep a constant gap of about five meters.

"Clearly there was not a sensible rhythm," Webber said on Thursday, confirming that the matter will also be raised in the drivers' briefing in China.

"I think he did a shit job. He did a shit job and that's it," the Australian added.


Upset Hamilton in F1 quit threat
(GMM) A visibly upset Lewis Hamilton has threatened to quit formula one as stewards consider penalizing him for driving erratically behind the safety car a week ago in Japan.

The championship leader, who could secure the drivers' title in China this weekend if he wins, says he has been made out on several occasions during his rookie season to appear like the "bad person" of F1.

"I don't think I put a foot wrong ... but no doubt I'm going to be punished for something," the Briton told reporters, amid reports that on Friday he was interviewed by stewards for the second time.

McLaren boss Ron Dennis, however, clarified that the team has not received "any formal communication from the stewards (that) they wish to see him."

Hamilton, 22, added: "It's just a shame for the sport and if this is the way it's going to keep going then it's probably not somewhere I really want to be."

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Rahal Porsche tops others at Road Atlanta
The first full day of practice for the 10th annual Petit Le Mans may have been tougher for the engineers than it was for the driving trio of Ralf Kelleners, Tom Milner and Graham Rahal  as there were more weather changes than tire changes throughout the three opening-day practices.
But despite conditions that ran the gamut from windy to humid, cloudy to sunny and with the threat of imminent rain hanging overhead most of the day, the Rahal Letterman Racing team showed that it was ready for Saturday’s endurance race by posting the best time of any GT2 Porsche in the field.
The Bell Micro-sponsored Porsche 911 GT3 RSR hung up a time of 1:21.404 (112.329 mph) to lead the Porsche platoon, and finished only behind a pair of Ferraris including the series-leading Risi Competizione machine.

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NASCAR plummet update: ISC reports plunge in profits
International Speedway Corporation recorded a 72 percent plunge in third-quarter profit, blaming it on mounting losses in its sportswear business and several one-time expenses.

ISC, which owns Daytona International Speedway and 11 other tracks, recorded third-quarter earnings of $9.5 million, or 18 cents per share. That was less than one-third the $34.3 million profit, or 64 cents a share, that it made in last year’s third quarter.

The company also reduced its full-year financial forecast for the second time in three months. It now expects revenue of $810 million to $815 million, down $10 million to $15 million from its last estimate issued in July. Earnings per share are expected to be in the $2.70 to $2.75 range.

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Chinese GP: Kimi tops practice 2 as well
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro's Kimi Raikkonen, now the only Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro driver with a chance of taking the Drivers' title - albeit a slim one - seems to be the man on form, at least purely in terms of lap times here at the Shanghai International Circuit. The Finn topped the time sheets at the end of both of today's ninety minute sessions.

As usual, on such a long track and on one which sees very little race action apart from this event and the MotoGP race, the track was very green in the first session of the day, providing little grip. However, gradually, as more laps were completed and it rubbered-in, the situation improved, with Kimi's best afternoon time being around half a second quicker than he managed in the morning. In fact, the top four drivers were all in the same order in both the morning and afternoon.

Fernando Alonso was second fastest for McLaren-Mercedes, followed by Felipe Massa in the second F2007, with the Spaniard's teammate Lewis Hamilton fourth. All four men were inside the 1m 37 second barrier. Fifth and sixth respectively at the end of the day were Jarno Trulli for Toyota and Mark Webber for Red Bull Racing.

The weather is very hot and humid, making working conditions for drivers and mechanics rather unpleasant. However, it appears that the left-overs of a typhoon in the area might bring cooling thunderstorms to the circuit tomorrow afternoon and most of the day on Sunday. However, after the downpour in Fuji, Japan last Sunday, it seems that while the spectators might relish the prospect of a damp track to liven up the show, the top teams would rather opt for the less unpredictable dry conditions.

Pos  Driver        Team               Time     Behind  Laps
 1.  Raikkonen     Ferrari            1:36.607           31
 2.  Alonso        McLaren-Mercedes   1:36.613 + 0.006   28
 3.  Massa         Ferrari            1:36.630 + 0.023   29
 4.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes   1:36.876 + 0.269   33
 5.  Trulli        Toyota             1:37.151 + 0.544   36
 6.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault   1:37.450 + 0.843   34
 7.  R.Schumacher  Toyota             1:37.524 + 0.917   32
 8.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault   1:37.617 + 1.010   27
 9.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota    1:37.646 + 1.039   36
10.  Fisichella    Renault            1:37.970 + 1.363   32
11.  Kovalainen    Renault            1:38.062 + 1.455   21
12.  Button        Honda              1:38.205 + 1.598   41
13.  Barrichello   Honda              1:38.304 + 1.697   40
14.  Kubica        BMW Sauber         1:38.379 + 1.772   39
15.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber         1:38.388 + 1.781   16
16.  Wurz          Williams-Toyota    1:38.531 + 1.924   32
17.  Davidson      Super Aguri-Honda  1:38.975 + 2.368   38
18.  Liuzzi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:39.065 + 2.458   36
19.  Sutil         Spyker-Ferrari     1:39.224 + 2.617   37
20.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda  1:39.360 + 2.753   37
21.  Vettel        Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:39.404 + 2.797   34
22.  Yamamoto      Spyker-Ferrari     1:40.051 + 3.444   38


Latest F1 news in brief UPDATE Updates shown in red below.

  • Press slams F1 for YouTube conspiracy
  • Ralf won't say 'no' to Spyker option
  • Rosberg tells Williams - keep Wurz
  • Trulli hopes for more after Toyota 'downfall'
  • Spyker sale to Mallya consortium now complete New
  • Sutil refuses to confirm Spyker seat for 2008 New
  • Bad day in Shanghai for BMW's Heidfeld New
  • Date set for Liuzzi appeal hearing New
  • Typhoon threatens Chinese grand prix New
  • Williams complaint sparks Prodrive probe New
  • Bernie to auction rare car collection New


Watch the Hamilton YouTube video

Press slams F1 for YouTube conspiracy

(GMM) Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost has admitted alerting the FIA to the YouTube evidence that in China could jeopardize Lewis Hamilton's push for the drivers' title.

Tost, whose Faenza based team is powered by McLaren's arch espionage enemy Ferrari, told the Daily Telegraph in Shanghai that the evidence shows that championship leader Hamilton was at least partly to blame for a collision between Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel in Japan a week ago.

Vettel, Toro Rosso's German rookie driver, was penalized ten grid places for the incident that until Thursday was believed to have occurred away from the view of any video footage.

It is now believed that FIA stewards are investigating even more than the single YouTube clip, such as a different replay angle.

"You could see quite clearly that Hamilton slows down quite unexpectedly," Tost said in Shanghai.

"Sebastian would have had to have gone between the cars (Webber and Hamilton) and there was no chance.

"It was totally unexpected. It looked like Hamilton was stopping, that is why I went to the stewards."

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Chinese GP: Kimi tops practice 1
Kimi Raikkonen set the pace in the first practice session for the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai Friday. The Ferrari driver beat McLaren's Fernando Alonso by just 0.084 seconds, with their teammates Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton taking third and fourth.

Pos  Driver        Team               Time     Behind   Laps
 1.  Raikkonen     Ferrari            1:37.024           24
 2.  Alonso        McLaren-Mercedes   1:37.108 + 0.084   18
 3.  Massa         Ferrari            1:37.128 + 0.104   21
 4.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes   1:37.210 + 0.186   20
 5.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota    1:37.707 + 0.683   23
 6.  Kubica        BMW Sauber         1:38.055 + 1.031   23
 7.  Trulli        Toyota             1:38.208 + 1.184   30
 8.  Fisichella    Renault            1:38.217 + 1.193   16
 9.  Nakajima      Williams-Toyota    1:38.270 + 1.246   30
10.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber         1:38.445 + 1.421   13
11.  Kovalainen    Renault            1:38.551 + 1.527   17
12.  R.Schumacher  Toyota             1:38.661 + 1.637   23
13.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault   1:38.700 + 1.676   25
14.  Button        Honda              1:38.942 + 1.918   18
15.  Barrichello   Honda              1:38.945 + 1.921   22
16.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda  1:39.238 + 2.214   23
17.  Liuzzi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:39.497 + 2.473   22
18.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault   1:39.535 + 2.511   23
19.  Davidson      Super Aguri-Honda  1:39.539 + 2.515   20
20.  Vettel        Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:39.898 + 2.874   24
21.  Yamamoto      Spyker-Ferrari     1:40.126 + 3.102   27
22.  Sutil         Spyker-Ferrari     1:40.149 + 3.125   26


Petit: Audi tops practice 3
Audi moved back into the top two spots atop the time charts in a two-hour night practice for Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Teams moved their focus to race setups and getting their driver rosters eligible to drive in darkness during Saturday’s 1,000-mile endurance classic.

Allan McNish was the quickest driver for Audi in the No. 1 diesel-powered Audi R10 TDI he is sharing with Dindo Capello. The Scot’s fastest lap was a 1:09.467, again under his qualifying record of 1:10.379 set in 2000. The freshly repaved surface stayed fast in darkness, just as it has all week.

Marco Werner was 0.38 seconds behind McNish in the No. 2 sister car he is sharing with Emanuele Pirro as the Audis began to widen the gap to the LMP2 Porsches.

Speaking of which, Romain Dumas was quickest in class for Penske Racing at 1:10.524. Dumas, splitting time with Timo Bernhard and Patrick Long, held a 0.152-second gap to the other Penske car of Sascha Maassen, Ryan Briscoe and Emmanuel Collard. The Lowe’s Fernandez Racing entry led the Acura contingent with a 1:11.642. The Acura-powered Lola of Adrian Fernandez and Luis Diaz sat third in P2 and fifth overall.

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Power was not driving
Team Australia wishes to make the following statement regarding driver Will Power.

Power, who returned to Australia this week ahead of the Lexmark Indy 300 on October 18-21, was involved in a VERY MINOR motor vehicle accident on Wednesday 3 October 2007.

Power was a PASSENGER in a car driving to a media appearance on the Gold Coast with a PR representative driving the car. While stopped at traffic lights the car was hit from behind at slow speed by another car.

At the time Power was on a mobile phone conducting a media interview. Power WAS NOT driving the car.

The accident was VERY MINOR and damage to the car was very minimal.

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