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Judge allows Castroneves to race UPDATE #1 Yes, the granted approval of the request to allow Helio to go to Australia was given.  However, according to Docket 28, though, the order was stayed until the end of business on Tuesday, October 14th. This gives the U. S. Attorney time to appeal the decision. If no appeal is filed by then, Helio is free to go (to Australia).  IsitMayYet.com

10/10/08 Helio Castroneves is asking a Miami judge to change his bail conditions on tax charges so he can compete in a race in Australia later this month.

The race car driver and 2007 Dancing with the Stars champ is currently prevented by court order from leaving the country. A judge scheduled a hearing Friday afternoon on Castroneves' request for the change so he can drive in the Oct. 26 race. Castroneves was indicted last week on federal conspiracy and tax evasion charges and is free on $10 million bail. Prosecutors say Castroneves used offshore accounts to hide millions of dollars in income from the Internal Revenue Service. Castroneves insists he is innocent and that he relied on advice from tax experts for his financial dealings. MiamiHerald.com


Sprint Execs paid huge salary for running company into ground
Sprint Nextel Corp., even as it loses hundreds of thousands of customers, continues to pay its executives astonishingly high salaries and overall pay packages. This according to analyst group Glass Lewis & Company.

Top managers at the telecom company were awarded pay valued at $74 million in 2007, even as the company saw massive customer defections to the competition and was preparing to toss out former CEO Gary Forsee in the process. Sounds like some recent AIG shenanigans, doesn't it? No wonder Main Street no longer trusts Wall Street. Although corporate compensation abuses are almost the norm recently, it's amazing shareholders don't stand up and scream when companies not doing well are lavishly rewarding management.

Of course, Sprint spokesperson James Fisher defended his employer by stating "It's very important to consider that 2007 was a highly unusual year because of compensation that was paid to an exiting CEO, as well as sign-on compensation paid to a new CEO ... we had significant other severance charges for executive changes during the year." Severance charges -- for a management team that ran the company into the ground. I guess all those contracts signed by incompetent management were too hard to bypass since shareholders can't blow holes in those golden parachutes.


Dennis defends Hamilton's driving UPDATE (GMM)  McLaren boss Ron Dennis has advised Robert Kubica, who drives for BMW-Sauber, to mind his own business.

Pole Kubica, who like championship leader Lewis Hamilton is 23, hit out at the British driver this week, claiming many of his colleagues agree that some of Hamilton's on-track tactics are dangerous.

"I think he should focus on his own driving," Dennis hit back at Fuji Speedway.

"He should be mindful of the fact that his objective should be to raise his own game and do the best job he can.  He should keep those opinions to himself."

Kubica has signed to continue at BMW in 2009, and is linked with a future switch to Ferrari.

10/11/08 McLaren boss Ron Dennis has leapt to the defense of Lewis Hamilton after rival Robert Kubica criticized his protégé’s aggressive driving style.

The Pole sparked a paddock argument when he told a newspaper that the Championship leader had incurred the wrath of other drivers for his forceful overtaking maneuvers.

The BMW Sauber driver cited Hamilton's drive in the Italian Grand Prix when he forced Toyota's Timo Glock onto the grass and Red Bull's Mark Webber up an escape road in coming through the field from 15th on the grid to finish 7th.

"What he did was too much and dangerous," Kubica told Bild Zeitung.

"It was a topic (in the drivers' meetings) and most of them had a similar view. But at the end we can only talk. If someone is convinced they're allowed to do it, then we don't have any influence."

Hamilton has declined to be drawn into the spat, but Dennis was rather less restrained in answering Kubica's criticism.

"His objective should be to raise his own performance, do the best he can and keep those comments to himself," he said at the Japanese Grand Prix on Saturday.

"It's refreshing to have a highly talented driver who has the ability to overtake and make the bold decisions he has in what is only his second season in Formula One."


New F2 could hasten the demise of the Atlantic Series

Dr. Jonathan Palmer announces the new F2 series
On Thursday Jonathan Palmer unveiled plans for new FIA Formula Two Championship in Europe.  This means most drivers from Europe with money will now stay in Europe and IMSA Atlantic fields will shrink dramatically.

MSV won an FIA tender last month to supply the cars and operational expertise for the series, which is designed to make reaching Formula One hugely more accessible for talented young drivers by providing the opportunity to race in a top-level international championship at a sensationally low price. There are planned to be twenty F2 drives available for 2009, at a cost of just £195,000 + VAT for the season.

Speaking at a briefing session yesterday (Thursday) for media and prospective drivers at the RBS Williams F1 Conference Centre, Jonathan Palmer said: “The return of Formula Two after 25 years is an enormously significant time in the history of motorsport. There is no doubt the FIA's eagerness to create a prestigious high performance new championship at a radically low cost is perfectly timed." The Formula Two cars are being designed by a six person team from Williams F1, led by Director of Engineering Patrick Head. AT&T Williams Team Principal Sir Frank Williams also spoke at the briefing: “Patrick Head is a truly gifted engineer and I hope that Williams F1 can deliver to Jonathan Palmer a well engineered, safe car for the drivers that is not too difficult to work on or expensive to operate.” The racing cars feature a sophisticated carbon fiber composite survival cell chassis and will be built to comply with the 2005 FIA F1 safety regulations. The F2 car will be powered by a specifically developed new turbocharged Audi race engine, producing a base 400bhp with 450bhp available for a six second period that can be used ten times in each race to promote overtaking. A new Hewland six speed paddle shift gearbox is used. The cars will be assembled and prepared between races at MSV’s Bedford Autodrome facility, whose circuit complex provides direct testing access.

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Nikon Indy 300 bookings down for IRL
Nikon Indy 300 hotel and apartment bookings are only slightly softer than last year, but operators are still confident they will be full come race day.

Citing shattered consumer and business confidence, some operators say they are behind last year's bookings, while others says they are on track to have the tills ringing within a couple of weeks.

Holiday Inn general manager Greg Cox said rooms were still available 'for the first time in many years'.  Perhaps fans want the far more appealing Champ Cars back.

"That comes as a bit of a surprise but I think that might be more about people leaving things until the last minute," said Mr. Cox.

"In the past we have been full by this stage but I have no concerns about it -- we will fill and the event will be as good as ever."

Trackside Equinox Apartments on Main Beach Parade still had three rooms available yesterday for five-night blocks ranging from $3900 to $4700. Availability in that block, a local property agent said, was unusual this close to the event.

Another trackside building, Bahia Apartments, also had rooms available until recently, ranging from $4000 to $6000. A property manager said the apartments were usually booked out years in advance, but that two late cancellations had created unexpected vacancies.

Simon Black, the director of sales and marketing at Courtyard by Marriott, said bookings were probably a little bit behind last year's, but he still expected the hotel to be fully booked by Indy. Their three-night accommodation packages ranged from $340 through to $2200 a night for the grand three-level penthouse.

The trackside Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort was 'heavily booked' and was expected to be full for the four days of Indy, said sales and marketing director Ken Duddy.

Prices there based on a minimum four-night stay started about $580 a room a night.


Hamilton pole not in doubt
(GMM)  Fears have subsided that championship leader Lewis Hamilton's pole position for the Japanese grand prix might be in doubt.

A journalist during the official post-qualifying press conference informed the McLaren driver that he was under investigation for possibly impeding Nelson Piquet.

"Are you serious?  From qualifying?" Hamilton replied in exasperation.  "I don't think so.  At one stage he pulled out of the way of me during the qualifying session but I came in that lap."

It turns out that Renault engineers did make an enquiry with the FIA's Charlie Whiting, but only after mishearing a radio message from Piquet about Hamilton.

Ultimately, there was no incident to investigate.


Allmendinger still working on ride for 2009
AJ Allmendinger says that while he knows what he’ll be doing for the remainder of 2008, he still doesn’t have anything finalized for next year. Allmendinger is driving the #00 Michael Waltrip Racing car this weekend at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and then will drive the #10 Gillett Evernham Motorsports car for the final five races of the 2008 Sprint Cup season. He has talked with Chip Ganassi Racing about its #41 car opening but he said he hasn’t heard too much the last couple of weeks. "That’s kind of been a little bit quiet, but until the seat is taken, I hope I’m always a candidate," he said. "I’ve got no contracts, no obligations to anybody except for these six races, and that’s kind of the way I’m taking it." Scene Daily


Latest F1 news in brief
  • A heated bosses meeting in Japan
  • US investor in Hockenheim talks
  • Hamilton rejects Kubica reproach
  • Hamilton's Grenada deal called off
  • Carmakers unhappy with standard engine talks

A heated bosses meeting in Japan
(GMM)  A heated team managers' meeting has taken place at Fuji Speedway.

Officials for Red Bull pointedly asked FIA race director Charlie Whiting why it took him so long to refer the straightforward infractions of Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica to the stewards two weeks ago in Singapore.

Then, Rosberg was able to finish second, despite the fact he broke the rules by refueling when the pitlane was closed and served a stop-go penalty.

Williams' German driver was not disadvantaged, however, because he was able to pull out a big gap while Whiting and the stewards deliberated.

Red Bull officials told Whiting they believe it took 21 minutes for the decision to be made, and a further 7 before Rosberg had to serve his penalty.

They, supported by other team managers, claim he should have finished eighth if the decisions were made in a reasonable timeframe.

Whiting replied that race control was busy dealing with Felipe Massa's botched pitstop.

But some team managers claim that this situation was also not adequately addressed by the stewards, who did not penalize Ferrari for allowing someone without fireproof overalls to attempt to pull the broken fuel hose from the Brazilian's car.

Whiting replied that, given Massa's ruined race and penalty for an unsafe pitstop, a further penalty was unnecessary.

US investor in Hockenheim talks
(GMM)  Hockenheim's hopes of remaining on the F1 calendar beyond 2010 have taken a turn for the better.

We reported recently that the future of the German venue was not bright, after Hockenheim mayor Dieter Gummer said race losses made the event "no longer justifiable".

But Auto Motor und Sport reports that the circuit, which annually rotates staging the German grand prix with the Nurburgring, is in talks with an American investor.

"There is very strong interest," Gummer said.

Race organizers are not, however, relying on the intervention of the government.  Mannheimer Morgen newspaper reports that state chief minister Gunther Oettinger turned down a request for financial help.

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Dumas memories from Monterey
Romain Dumas
Before last year's Monterey Sports Car Championships and the close of the 2007 American Le Mans Series, Penske Racing's Romain Dumas could not have imagined a tougher fight for victory than his climatic battle with Audi's Dindo Capello at Petit Le Mans. As close as that race was - the winning margin was a razor-thin 0.923 seconds - it was even tighter at the seasons' finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Once again, Dumas and Porsche lost out to Capello and Audi by a race-record 0.41 seconds, basically a car length after four hours. Dumas and Timo Bernhard took their eighth LMP2 victory of the season.

"Last year was a very nice race;" Dumas recalled. "I overtook the Audi four or five times on the last corner. Unfortunately, Dindo passed me on the straight because he had more power."

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Fierberg Heads to Vegas to Clinch Championship
Defending Pacific Formula 2000 Expert Class Champion Ira Fierberg heads to the final round of the Pacific Formula 2000 Championship next week in Las Vegas with a virtually insurmountable points lead in the 2008 Expert Championship in his Personal Injury Law/Sparco USA sponsored Dave Freitas Racing Van Diemen-Ford.

The 2008 season, Fierberg's thirteenth year with Fullerton, CA based DFR,  has been impressive.  "With the help of our very talented driver coach, Dane Cameron, I have been pleased to be significantly quicker and much more consistent than last year at every track and we now have all but clinched our second consecutive Expert class championship and improved in the overall standings to 9th place in the Championship.  I am pleased that we head to the last race in Vegas with a safe margin for the championship and can go race without concern for championship points.  I hope to break the top 5 which remains our remaining unfulfilled goal from the year. I look forward to driving as hard as I can without any real worries about how it comes out, so how cool is that?" 

Fierberg has also thrown out a challenge to his fellow drivers for the series' awards banquet following the second of the two Vegas races on Sunday.  "I look forward to all the fun that Vegas offers which makes for a good event and an opportunity to finally party with new and old friends and really appreciate the wonderful people involved in the Pacific Formula 2000 family.  I'm going to be wearing my pimp bright orange Dolce & Gabbana crocodile loafers to the banquet and I challenge the other guys to try to step up and top that".


F1 Team Principals discuss green issues
Formula One teams agree that the sport must respond in a responsible way to the environmental challenges we face. Here, the leading figures in three major Formula One teams express their thoughts on eco-technology, environmental initiatives and the sport’s green future.

Ross Brawn, Team Principal, Honda Racing F1

“The pressure on the modern world to address the causes of climate change is continually increasing and Formula One is not exempt from this. The FIA and the teams recognise that it is our responsibility to be involved in change for the good and to accelerate these changes through the technology and competition of F1. At Honda, we strongly support the engineering challenge that the introduction of environmental technologies such as KERS provides. Honda has been developing more efficient and lower emission products for decades and the application of fuel efficient and alternative fuel technologies has been intrinsic to our automotive product development.  

The involvement of F1 in research into engines, electronics and the forthcoming regenerative braking systems will drive such developments forward and speed up the introduction of environmental technologies which will filter back to mass production passenger cars and be of great benefit to the environment and consumers.The great thing about competitive motorsport is that it accelerates development and with the F1 field currently working on KERS, the rate of progress in that technology is greatly increased.

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British F3

Cooper Tire signs on as title sponsor
Cooper Tire has been announced as the new tire supplier and title sponsor of the prestigious British F3 International Series. The agreement will commence for the 2009 season and run until the end of 2011.  The US tire manufacturer takes over the role held for 27 years by Avon Tires, a brand owned and manufactured by Cooper Tire & Rubber Company.

The British F3 International Series, widely acknowledged as the toughest domestic single-seater championship in the world, has produced champions and future Formula 1 stars such as David Coulthard, Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello, Mika Hakkinen and Ayrton Senna.

“Through our many years in British F3 with the Avon brand, we know that it is a genuine stepping stone of great drivers on the way to F1, and therefore requires the very best components in every area,” explains Julian Baldwin, managing director of Cooper Tire Europe.

“Avon Tires is very well established in British and European motor racing and, as Cooper Tire grows as a brand in Europe, we want it to stand for the same standard of quality. Cooper’s racing tires deserve to be allied with a high-profile championship in Europe and you don’t get much bigger than British F3.”


Perera to make his way back to Europe
Franck Perera has decided to move back to Europe and is giving up on IndyCar. He's attempting to get back to GP2, with a potentially winning team.


Albers to race for Audi at Laguna Seca
Former grand prix driver Christijan Albers will make his sportscar debut in the American Le Mans Series finale at Laguna Seca next weekend as Audi continue to evaluate drivers for their 2009 program.  The Dutchman, who has raced for Audi in the DTM this season, will partner Emaneule Pirro in the No.1 R10 TDi.


Japanese GP: Team-by-team summary: Friday
Not fast in the morning, but Timo Glock learned the circuit quickly and ended the day with the fastest time at the track owned by Toyota.  "It will obviously be difficult to keep the position for the whole weekend," the German acknowledged.


Fernando Alonso was inside the top five in both sessions, and P2 in the afternoon.  "It's difficult to judge the hierarchy after the first couple of sessions," said engine boss Denis Chevrier.


Title rivals Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa were closely matched for pace on Friday, with Hamilton wielding a fractional edge in both 90-minute sessions.  "It seems very finely balanced with the lap times all very close," said Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, fifth.


Mark Webber was sixth fastest in the afternoon, six tenths and 11 places ahead of his teammate David Coulthard.

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Ecclestone wants Mosley to stay
(GMM)  Despite calling for Max Mosley to resign amid the sex scandal, Bernie Ecclestone now wants the FIA president to stay.

Mosley, 69, is contemplating whether to renew his tenure beyond next October, and F1 chief executive Ecclestone said: "I would re-elect him for another two decades.

"If he wants to stay, it's right that he should," the Briton told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

In the wide-ranging interview, Ecclestone also played down suggestions the night racing concept might be set to spread beyond the inaugural Singapore grand prix.

"It is limited to Asian and overseas races," he said.  "Theoretically all the grands prix in that part of the world could be at night, but in 2009 there will only be Singapore."

Ecclestone also said he would be happy to see MotoGP's Valentino Rossi switch to F1.

Asked how much he would like to see it happen, the billionaire answered: "Very.  I hope he will arrive one day, and Ferrari give him the machine to do it."


Mercedes willing to supply F1 teams
(GMM)  Mercedes-Benz has confirmed its willingness to partner with a customer team or two in formula one.

Amid rumors of talks with Force India about engine and KERS supply for 2009, the German news agency SID reports that alliances with Williams and Red Bull might also be possibilities.

"We have made clear for a long time our readiness to cooperate with a second and possibly also a third team," Mercedes' Norbert Haug is quoted as saying in Fuji Speedway.

He said talks with "several teams" are taking place.

Haug would not specifically confirm that Force India, whose contractual relationship with Ferrari is set to continue in 2009, is among those teams.


American void annoys F1 teams
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone on Friday did not sound confident about the prospects of reinstating North American races on the formula one calendar.

Indianapolis' US grand prix was staged for the last time in 2007, and the paddock is still reeling from the news that the Canadian city Montreal will no longer host a race.

"America works in a different way," the F1 chief executive is quoted as saying by La Gazzetta dello Sport.  "Certain world events, like formula one in some countries or the Olympic Games, are financed by the state.

"In America they are organized by private entities, who want to make a profit even before the race has been held.  It's a bit too much."

The 77-year-old's stance is not popular among the car manufacturers on the grid, for whom the North American market is key.

"We are hugely disappointed," said Honda's Nick Fry.  "It will be a major topic at the next meeting of teams."

Toyota president John Howett said: "Hopefully in the next four years we can establish a real race in the US."

BMW's Mario Theissen stressed the need for the "Canadian race and at least one US one".

Industry News

While they rape fans ISC profits up 300%
While they continue to rape race fans with high ticket prices, and try to get the poor taxpayers to pay to build new race tracks in various cities (so far the taxpayers have told them to go pound sand) International Speedway Corp. (ISC) Thursday released its earnings report for Q3, which saw profits of $38.8M, or $0.79 a share, up 308.4% from $9.5M, or $0.18 per share, in Q3 '07. Revenue rose 9% to $213.2M, up from $195.6M in the year-ago period. ISC cautioned that the weak economy is holding back spending by (raped) racing fans" who are finally starting to wise up.


Green is the hot topic in F1
Green issues are being pushed to the fore in the run-up to the Japanese Grand Prix. During the Fuji race-weekend, all the cars will running with green-striped tyres to show support for the FIA’s ‘Make Cars Green’ campaign. The softer compound tyres will have a single white stripe alongside the green stripes in order to easily differentiate the two types of tyres.

“We hope that the launch of the Make Cars Green tyre will draw public attention to the many environmental initiatives in and around Formula One,” said Bridgestone CEO Shoshi Arakawa.

“Environmental preservation is at the centre of our work at the Bridgestone Group and we hope that this collaboration with the FIA will help to spread this ethos worldwide.” “Since it first launched I’ve been happy to help promote the very positive messages of the Make Cars Green campaign,” McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton said.

“It is a subject that goes far beyond racing. The car is an incredibly positive thing and I think the messages of the campaign help to show us that we can all choose to drive in a greener way.

“The new ‘Make Cars Green’ tyre that all the teams will be running on in Fuji is a great way to promote the campaign and a real first for Formula One. The sport can also help in other ways, especially with the launch of new energy efficient technologies next season.”

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Green tire grooves for Fuji race UPDATE
Green Tire Grooves
Photo to right shows green tire grooves Bridgestone is using this weekend

10/08/08 (GMM)  Teams will sport tires painted with green grooves during the Japanese grand prix this weekend.

Further to the existing white band which designates the softer tire compound, the remaining three grooves will be painted green in support of the 'Make Cars Green' environmental initiative.

The green tires, launched in Tokyo on Wednesday, have the support of FIA President Max Mosley along with high profile drivers like Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton.

"The new Make Cars Green tire that all the teams will be running on in Fuji is a great way to promote the campaign and a real first for formula one," said championship leader Hamilton.

Make Cars Green is an initiative pushed by the FIA to help reduce the environmental impact of cars through means such as driver training and new technologies.

These are showcased in formula one by the introduction of KERS in 2009 along with further eco-friendly innovations aimed at future seasons.

The softer compound tire will retain its traditional single white groove, while the others will be painted green.


Glock on top in Toyota at Toyota track
Timo Glock at Fuji
Sparse Friday crowd should improve with Toyota on top
Using a suspected trick Toyota engine to make headlines and boost ticket sales, Timo Glock gave circuit owners Toyota something to smile about by setting fastest time in the second free practice session at Fuji.

Glock's early 1:18.383 lap remained unbeaten throughout the rest of the session despite the best efforts of all the top teams.

Singapore winner Fernando Alonso was a close second in his Renault, 0.043 seconds behind Glock, with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton only 0.037 seconds slower in third.



Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Glock Toyota 1:18.383 +0.000 44
2. Alonso Renault 1:18.426 +0.043 41
3. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:18.463 +0.080 40
4. Massa Ferrari 1:18.491 +0.108 40
5. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:18.725 +0.342 39
6. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:18.734 +0.351 39
7. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:18.734 +0.351 36
8. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:18.761 +0.378 23
9. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:18.803 +0.420 32
10. Trulli Toyota 1:18.863 +0.480 45
11. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:18.865 +0.482 39
12. Piquet Renault 1:18.888 +0.505 43
13. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:18.981 +0.598 41
14. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:19.040 +0.657 41
15. Barrichello Honda 1:19.258 +0.875 42
16. Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1:19.287 +0.904 41
17. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:19.327 +0.944 36
18. Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 1:19.482 +1.099 44
19. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:19.894 +1.511 37
20. Button Honda 1:19.999 +1.616 42


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Government vows to save Canada GP
  • Honda admits need to reform F1
  • Alonso does u-turn on engine freeze gripe
  • Glock uses 'joker' engine change
  • Buemi pilots F1 medical car
  • Berger surprised at new Heidfeld contract
  • Honda trial 'traffic lights' pitstop system
  • Alonso would not have 'fit' at BMW - Kubica
  • Heidfeld's BMW given FIA 'freeze' all-clear

Government vows to save Canada GP
(GMM)  Local and federal levels of government have vowed to step in and help rescue the axed Canadian grand prix.

Canada's federal minister of international trade Michael Fortier, who spoke with F1's Bernie Ecclestone by phone, met with Quebec's economic development minister and Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay on Thursday.

"The grand prix is an event that we cannot afford to lose, and that we will not lose," Fortier is quoted as saying by the Globe and Mail.

A meeting with Ecclestone, to take place in about 10 days, is reported to be the next step.

Fortier and Tremblay both confirmed that a multi-million dollar debt to Formula One Management is at the heart of the dispute.

Honda admits need to reform F1
(GMM)  Even F1's biggest-spending teams seem ready to compromise on drastic cost-cutting measures for formula one.

Nick Fry, the Honda team's chief executive, wrote in a column for the Daily Telegraph that he backs a 30 per cent budget reduction, and even more radical ideas like a standard engine design.

"We need to reduce the cost of competing by 25 per cent to a third in the short to medium term and improve the revenue flow," he said.

"There is a move to standardize engines and make them last longer, which will contribute to the cost-cutting drive, and to distribute prize money more equitably so that those teams at the bottom get an equal share of the proceeds," Fry added.

He acknowledged that the global financial crisis is putting "a number of teams" under pressure, even though big hitters like Honda are "relatively less affected".

"At the other end of the scale, there are private teams reliant on sponsorship from companies that are clearly under the most enormous pressure, be it a bank or a commercial sponsor," Fry said.

"A grid with 10 healthy teams should be preserved," he explained.  "Unless we do something now some teams that are more exposed to commercial issues, the independent teams, are not going to be around."

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Bernie prepares to bleed Canadian governments dry
Three levels of government agree: Montreal can't afford to lose the Canadian Grand Prix.

Representatives of the federal, Quebec and municipal governments are to meet with Formula One president Bernie Ecclestone "as soon as possible," in an attempt to come to a "financially prudent decision" to guarantee the Grand Prix goes ahead next year.

This week, the Fédération internationale de l'automobile announced the Grand Prix race set for June 7, 2009, in Montreal was dropped from the calendar because of what is described as a contractual dispute between GPFI's executive director, Normand Legault, and Ecclestone that could involve between $10 million and $20 million.

Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay, federal Public Works Minister Michael Fortier and Quebec Tourism Minister Raymond Bachand held a meeting Thursday with the vice-president of Grand Prix Canada, Paul Wilson. They now hope to meet with Ecclestone to save the event.

"What we will be discussing is a business deal," Tremblay said. "If we do nothing, it is gone."

Bachand pointed out that 40 per cent of all Grand Prix visitors are tourists from outside Quebec.

Fortier, the federal minister responsible for Greater Montreal, said Grand Prix Canada has a five-year contract to stage the event in Montreal.

"There are three years left on it," he noted. "I believe on the basis of the contract we can move forward. It is a surprise to me that we've come to this situation. We will do whatever we can to see that the Grand Prix stays in Montreal." Canada.com


Japanese GP: Hamilton tops opening session
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton topped the first practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix in dry and sunny Fuji. Hamilton was ahead of title rival Felipe Massa (Ferrari) by just 0.153 seconds, with their respective teammates Heikki Kovalainen and Kimi Raikkonen completing the top four.


Pos Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:18.910 +0.000 23
2. Massa Ferrari 1:19.063 + 0.153 24
3. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:19.279 + 0.369 20
4. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:19.399 + 0.489 31
5. Alonso Renault 1:19.473 + 0.563 30
6. Piquet Renault 1:19.743 + 0.833 35
7. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:20.121 + 1.211 30
8. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:20.160 + 1.250 26
9. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:20.182 + 1.272 34
10. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:20.217 + 1.307 25
11. Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1:20.288 + 1.378 26
12. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:20.350 + 1.440 28
13. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:20.620 + 1.710 24
14. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:20.628 + 1.718 23
15. Trulli Toyota 1:20.657 + 1.747 33
16. Barrichello Honda 1:20.753 + 1.843 32
17. Button Honda 1:20.769 + 1.859 27
18. Glock Toyota 1:20.823 + 1.913 37
19. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:20.905 + 1.995 24
20. Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 1:21.014 + 2.104 28


Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards won't be penalized
NASCAR Nationwide Series Director Joe Balash said there will be no penalties stemming from a reported shoving incident involving Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick in the Nationwide garage area during a break in practice Thursday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

“It’s done,” Balash said. “From everything that we can tell there was just some heated conversation.”

At one point, Edwards was put in a headlock by a friend of Harvick’s in order to try to break up the argument, according to several sources in the garage area.

Neither driver was willing to discuss the issue. Harvick said, “Ask him” when asked about the incident. Edwards said he did not wish to discuss the altercation in public but acknowledged he was unhappy with certain comments after the Talladega race last Sunday.

Harvick called Edwards a “pansy” after Edwards triggered a multicar accident at Talladega.
"We took care of that privately, I think that's the right way to do that," Edwards said. "Man-to-man, talk about stuff, make sure you understand how everybody feels." Scenedaily.com


Ford, GM could become penny stocks before long
Shares of Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. continued their nosedive Wednesday, making it harder for those companies to raise cash and renewing concerns about the future of Detroit's automobile industry.

Ford shares dropped 8.9 percent Wednesday to close at $2.66. Even accounting for splits and inflation, that is the lowest level since 1985. Shares in GM fell 8.6 percent to close at $6.91 -- a price not seen since 1953.

The dizzying decline has dramatically reduced the value of both companies. It has cut the earnings of white-collar workers who are compensated in part with stock options. The drop in share prices also makes it more difficult for both to trade stock for cash. It definitely limits their ability to do debt-equity exchanges," said analyst Eric Selle of JPMorgan. "That's their easiest way to get cash." GM did a debit-equity swap worth nearly $322 million last month. Selle noted that Ford has done four in the past nine months -- a fact that he said has likely contributed to its weak share price.

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New safety car rules for 2009
(GMM)  The current controversial safety car rules will be scrapped following next month's final race of the 2008 season.

It has been agreed to minimally revert to the old system, whereby the pitlane will stay open for refueling even immediately after the deployment of the safety car.

The recent Singapore grand prix reinvigorated the debate about the current rules, after Fernando Alonso and Nico Rosberg finished first and second mainly due to the way the rules can arbitrarily shake up the race order.

It is expected that, to accompany the revised system for 2009, drivers will need to adhere to a minimum lap time as they drive slowly after deployment of the SC, as has been trialed several times in free practice this year.

Drivers will be alerted about the deployment of the Mercedes sedan by the illumination of a yellow cockpit light, and have just five seconds to acknowledge the alarm by pressing a button.

The minimum time system is possible due to the standard ECU, and GPS positioning.

The new rules are an improvement but not perfect, BMW-Sauber team manager Beat Zehnder told Auto Motor und Sport.

"If at the time of (race) neutralisation you were just past the pits, it will be a problem because you will have do a full lap.

"But at least the new rule prevents you losing places or time against your immediate opponents," he added.


Barrichello admits F1 career could end
(GMM)  Rubens Barrichello has admitted he might not secure a contract to remain in formula one beyond this season.

The 36-year-old Brazilian, who is the most experienced grand prix driver of all time, has had a difficult year with Honda but insists he has never considered voluntarily retiring.

"I've made it clear that if someone offers me a good contract for the next three years, I'll sign it," he said ahead of his team's home race in Japan.

"I see my future in a F1 car, but if it doesn't happen, it's not the end of the world."

Barrichello admits he is not sure what Honda's plans are for 2009, although he confirmed that talks seem to be taking place with his young countryman Bruno Senna.

"There is a lot of silence at Honda right now and I think this is tiresome," he said.  "I've never been in a situation like this, without a contract for next year this late in the season."

Barrichello advises Senna, the 24-year-old nephew of his idol and former mentor Ayrton Senna, not to come to Honda.

"Not because of my situation, but because I think that with his lack of experience, he may waste an opportunity," he said.

"You shouldn't enter F1 just because you want to and burn everything in a year knowing that you have the capacity to be world champion.  It's a big mistake."


Barrichello advises Senna not to join Honda in F-1
Uncertain about his own future, Rubens Barrichello said Bruno Senna would be making a mistake if he decides to join Formula One team Honda next season.

Barrichello said his team is talking with the young Brazilian—nephew of three-time F-1 champion Ayrton Senna and runner-up in this season’s GP2 feeder series—to try to negotiate a deal for next year.

“If I could give him an advice, from a guy who likes the Senna family, I would tell him not to come to (Honda),” Barrichello told Brazilian media from Tokyo, the site of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. “Not because of my situation, but because I think that with his lack of experience, he may waste an opportunity.”

Barrichello said Senna should refrain from rushing into Formula One racing and pointed to countryman Nelson Piquet Jr, who is struggling with Renault this season and could lose his seat in 2009.

“You shouldn’t enter F-1 just because you want to and burn everything in a year knowing that you have the capacity to be world champion. It’s a big mistake.” Barrichello said.


Cup qualifying rained out
Qualifying for Saturday night's Bank of America 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup event was rained out Thursday at Lowe's Motor Speedway. The field for the fifth race in the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup will be set by owner points, giving points leader Jimmie Johnson the top spot as he tries for his third straight Sprint Cup title.

Carl Edwards will start second, followed by Greg Biffle, Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer rounding out the top five.

Missing the race will be Brad Keselowski, Bryan Clauson and Scott Speed - all looking to make their Sprint Cup debut - as well as Derrike Cope. Pete McCole reporting from Lowe's


Edwards, Harvick Scuffle at LMS
A heated exchange between NASCAR drivers Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick resulted in a shoving match between the two drivers in the Nationwide Series garage prior to Thursday's practice session at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

According to witnesses, the confrontation started in the garage stall of Harvick's no. 33 Nationwide team. During the exchange, Edwards grabbed Harvick, who then shoved Edwards onto the hood of the no. 33 car. Several of Harvick's crew members jumped in before the two drivers were seperated.

The incident was apparently sparked by the multi-car crash last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway at that triggered by Edwards and eventually collected Harvick.

Edwards refused to comment on the incident while taking questions in the media center after Sprint Cup qualifying as rained out.
Pete McCole reporting from Lowe's Motor Speedway


Kobayashi again tops Shanghai GP2-Asia testing
One week before the opening of the second season of the GP2 Asia Series, Toyota ace Kamui Kobayashi is definitely putting pressure on his rivals setting once more the fastest laptime of the day in a 1:45.203. His teammate Jérôme d’Ambrosio finished fourth in a 1:46.242 this afternoon proving that the French team Dams might just be the team to beat.

This marks the end of the two-day test session. The second season of the GP2 Asia Series Championship will open on Friday, October 16th with Free Practice at 10am, local time.

Morning times:
Pos Driver Team Time Laps

1. Kamui Kobayashi Dams 1:45.871 19
2. Sakon Yamamoto ART Grand Prix 1:46.071 + 0.200 36
3. Roldan Rodriguez Piquet GP 1:46.447 + 0.576 33
4. Sergio Perez Barwa Campos Team 1:46.715 + 0.844 24
5. Giedo Van der Garde GFH Team iSport 1:46.719 + 0.848 8
6. Javier Villa Super Nova Racing 1:46.878 + 1.007 8
7. Hamad Al Fardan GFH Team iSport 1:46.958 + 1.087 26
8. Jerome D'Ambrosio Dams 1:47.013 + 1.142 15
9. Vitaly Petrov Barwa Campos Team 1:47.042 + 1.171 19
10. Mika Maki Trust Team Arden 1:47.189 + 1.318 26
11. Nelson Philippe ART Grand Prix 1:47.202 + 1.331 10
12. Andreas Zuber FMS International 1:47.227 + 1.356 28
13. James Jakes Super Nova Racing 1:47.263 + 1.392 10
14. Luiz Razia Trust Team Arden 1:47.484 + 1.613 39
15. Earl Bamber My Team Qi-Meritus Mahara 1:47.697 + 1.826 16
16. Luca Filippi BCN Competicion 1:47.844 + 1.973 8
17. Diego Nunes Piquet GP 1:48.115 + 2.244 31
18. Michael Herck DPR 1:48.555 + 2.684 7
19. Chris Van der Drift Trident Racing 1:48.559 + 2.688 22
20. Alex Yoong My Team Qi-Meritus Mahara 1:48.592 + 2.721 24
21. Hiroki Yoshimoto BCN Competicion 1:48.858 + 2.987 17
22. Ma Qing Hua DPR 1:49.259 + 3.388 27
23. Giacomo Ricci Trident Racing 1:49.486 + 3.615 16
24. Hiroki Yoshimoto Durango 1:50.148 + 4.277 3
25. Kevin Nai Chia Chen FMS International 1:51.331 + 5.460 23
26. Davide Valsecchi Durango 2:38.699 + 52.828 3

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Summer ticket sales drop 10 percent at ISC tracks
International Speedway Corp. saw attendance drop about 10 percent for its events running from June through August this year, and its advance ticket sales are down 10-15 percent for the rest of this year and the start of next year, according to investor relations spokesman Wes Harris.

ISC had two NASCAR events at Michigan, plus races at Daytona, Chicagoland, Montreal and Watkins Glen during its third quarter last year and this year. The comparison does not include California, which was in the fourth quarter of ISC’s fiscal cycle last year.

The only sold-out race in the third quarter was Chicagoland, which has 75,000 seats.


U.S. Army to Sponsor Ryan Newman and Stewart-Haas Racing
Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman with the Army car
Rhonda McCole/AR1.com
Stewart-Haas Motorsports announced Thursday that the U.S. Army has signed on to sponsor Ryan Newman and the no. 39 Chevrolet for the 2009 Sprint Cup season.

Newman will join two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart, who will pilot the no. 14 Chevy for the team next season.

"I'm extremely honored for the opportunity to drive the no. 39 U.S. Army Chevy and proud to represent the men and women who serve and protect our country," said Newman, who will depart Penske Racing at the end of the 2008 season.

The U.S. Army will sponsor Newman in 23 races next season, including the all-star event, and will serve as an associate sponsor for the remaining events. The team has not yet announced who will serve as primary sponsor for the remaining races or who will serve as Newman's crew chief in 2009.

The Army sponsorship drew some criticism due to the current legal problems of Haas Automation owner Gene Haas, who is currently serving a two-year prison sentence for tax fraud.

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Grand-Am announces 2009 schedule
A featured endurance race in Mexico City and a new home in South Florida for the season finale join the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona as highlights on the 2009 schedule for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16.

The 2009 schedule will feature 13 weekends of competition, all of them combined events for the Daytona Prototype and GT classes. The Rolex Series will return to all of its 2008 venues with the exception of Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. The series will feature three endurance races in addition to 10 sprint events of approximately 250 miles. Once again, the Rolex Series will run twice with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

The season will begin and end in Florida. The 10th season of Grand-Am Road Racing competition gets underway Jan. 24-25 at Daytona International Speedway with the 47th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, America's Race of Champions. The Rolex Series champions will be crowned Oct. 10 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, in a weekend also feature the final event of the IndyCar Series.

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Atlantic teams and drivers collect awards
Following a thrilling conclusion to the 2008 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda last Friday at Road Atlanta, the drivers, teams, partners and officials gathered at the posh Chateau Élan in Braselton, Ga. to pay tribute to the 2008 season at the annual Awards Banquet.

After wrapping up the title earlier in the day with his second victory of the season, Finnish rookie Markus Niemela and his Brooks Associates Racing teammates were the evening’s biggest winners. Niemela claimed the $250,000 champion’s prize and an additional $2,500 award from Coast Fabrication, as well as a special painting commissioned by Mazda from renowned motorsports artist Jim Swintal. Niemela earned a total of $364,000 in prize money during the 2008 season.

Earlier in the evening, Niemela claimed series Rookie of the Year honors and a $1,000 prize, while the Brooks Associates Racing team was presented with its choice of a full year of brake pads or four car sets of discs/peg drive assemblies for fielding the Rookie of the Year courtesy of Performance Friction Corporation. Nick Harvey, who claimed the 2008 Engineer of the Year Award, and championship-winning Chief Mechanic Duarte Fidalgo, who earned the Top Wrench Award, also represented the Brooks team on stage.

After finishing second in the championship standings, American driver Jonathan Bomarito was honored with a $150,000 prize and trophy, with his 2008 winnings totaling $261,500. Bomarito’s Mathiasen Motorsports owners Ray and Leslie Mathiasen were also honored with the prestigious Team Owner of the Year Award.

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Summerton Awarded Most likely to Succeed Award
Jonathan Summerton
At the year end Atlantic Championship powered by Mazda Awards Banquet held last week in the exquisite Debussy Ballroom at Chateau Elan near Road Atlanta Jonathan Summerton was definitely a winner.

The banquet, a well presented, great food and service event, was a tribute to Vicki O'Connor and her staff. The evening showed highlights of both the drivers in various locations and some of the teeth clenching accidents and crashes. The presentations were interspersed with excellent food.

Jonathan Summerton was awarded one of the highest and most esteemed awards, the  prestigious Michael Rosen Memorial Trophy. This award recognizes both dedication and perseverance to succeed against all odds. Prior award recipients include Buddy Rice, Simon Pagenaud, Alex Figge, Michael Valiante and Raphael Matos.

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ECO's biodiesel car to run in ALMS finale
The environmentally inspired British racing team, ECO Racing is to race its production engined bio diesel sports prototype in the final round of the American Le Mans Series at Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca, California on 16-18 October.

The 4 hour race will mark the world debut of the pioneering car.

Laguna Seca is one of the most demanding and spectacular race tracks in the world and presents a challenge that will stretch Eco Racing’s LMP1 race car and production V10 engine to the limits of endurance.

The drivers of the ECO Racing Radical LMP1 sports prototype will be Japanese star, Hideki Noda and experienced Indy Pro Series driver, Andrew Prendeville.

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Theissen disagrees with axing of Canada GP
(GMM)  More light has been shed on the cancellation of the 2009 Canadian grand prix.

The local Montreal radio station CJAD claims the race's promoter, F1 Grand Prix du Canada, owes the Bernie Ecclestone-led Formula One Management some $10m.

The arguments make no sense to BMW-Sauber team boss Mario Theissen, however, who expressed disappointment with the loss of the last North American stop on the calendar.

"The North American market still is the biggest one, not just for BMW," he told reporters at Fuji Speedway on Thursday.

The German said the development is also a backwards step for efforts to reinstate a US grand prix, after Indianapolis chiefs and Ecclestone failed to reach an agreement for 2008 or 2009.

"The intention should be not to step out of this market but just the opposite -- to use Montreal as door opener for a future US race as well," Theissen added.


BMW never a serious option - Alonso
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso on Thursday played down suggestions that moving to BMW-Sauber was ever a serious possibility for 2009.

The Spaniard has a solid contract to remain at Renault next year, but the deal would allow him to change teams at his discretion.

The recent renewal of Ferrari's current lineup was interpreted as one top alternative removed for 27-year-old Alonso, and BMW has this week confirmed that it too will stay with the same drivers next year.

"It was never a possibility," the double world champion said at Fuji Speedway.

"Also for them (BMW).  It was never a serious approach.  They were quite happy with their drivers and there was no time to talk for me."

The Spaniard said he will make his final decision about 2009 after the season ending Brazilian grand prix.

Just as Alonso is likely to stay at Renault, so too is it widely presumed that Jenson Button will remain with Honda next year.

The British driver on Thursday said a new contract is not yet signed.

"I am positive for next year and hopefully I will be with Honda next season and we can build a very competitive car," Button, 28, said in Japan.

He said he is not nervous about his contractual situation.

"We are not in a rush, it's fine," Button insisted.


Force India welcomes Formula One engine plan
Force India, the Formula One team, has welcomed Bernie Ecclestone's plan to introduce a standard engine for all cars in a move designed to make the sport more cost-efficient.

Ian Phillips, the team's director of business affairs, says the plan will help redress the balance in the sport. Under a Formula One “survival” plan being drawn up by Ecclestone, the sport’s commercial rights holder, and Max Mosley, the president of the FIA, the engines would each be designed to last for half the season and would potentially reduce the hugely expensive cost of powering the race cars by up to 90 per cent within two years.

The world governing body will meet all the members of the Formula One Teams' Association after the Chinese Grand Prix on October 19 to discuss ways of reducing costs.

"A redressing of the balance has been overdue for some time," Phillips said. "Probably for five years we have been overspending and it is time to pull back. The credit crunch has brought it to a head.

"I work for an independent team. It has had four owners in four years and each one of those has not been able to fulfill their desires financially in Formula One and have got out.

"But I think things have pretty much balanced out now."


Ecclestone outlines Formula One plan
The landscape of Formula One is to change dramatically with the introduction of a standard engine for all cars in a move designed to make the sport cheaper for aspiring new teams.

Under a Formula One “survival” plan being drawn up by Bernie Ecclestone, the sport’s commercial rights holder, and Max Mosley, the president of the FIA, the engines would each be designed to last for half the season and would potentially reduce the hugely expensive cost of powering the race cars by up to 90 per cent within two years.

Inquiries by The Times have established that Ecclestone and Mosley are planning draconian reforms that will be imposed on the teams as the sport faces up to its environmental responsibility and the imperative to cut costs.

At present, engine development in Formula One is frozen for five years in a regime that started last year. But they are still units that are designed by each team and they are able to be replaced after every two races, so teams and manufacturers are spending tens of millions of pounds each season on “drive-train costs”, which includes spending on engines and gearboxes.

Under the new proposals there will be one standard engine specification, which each team will be able to build, but it will be identical to those of their rivals. The only difference will be the manufacturer’s name on the block. Teams without manufacturer support will have access to the same engine through an independent contractor.

The proposals represent a huge cultural and philosophical shift for an elitist sport that has always been seen as not only a competition between the best drivers in the world but a battle between some of the best engine and car manufacturers, most of whom have long and proud traditions in motor sport.

Ecclestone, who has never been one to worry about sentimentality, is determined that this reform will be put in place by the beginning of the 2010 season and that it will not fall by the wayside, as many apparently radical proposals in Formula One have done in the past.

“The thing I am most excited about is pushing and pushing and pushing the homologated engine idea,” he said yesterday, during the build-up to this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji. “The new engine will be equalized and there will only be two engine changes a year, so costs are going to dramatically come down, and I mean dramatically.” London Times

[Editor's Note:  AutoRacing1.com proposed Champ Car implement such a plan years ago to save money and the very same manufacturers (Honda, Toyota and Mercedes, only Ford told us yes) told us they would never put their name on an engine that is not their own will now eat their words and buy into our 5-year old idea.  The IRL should implement common engines in its new 2011 cars as well.]


Talladega TV Rating UPDATE ABC earned a final 4.6 national rating for its live telecast of the AMP Energy 500 Sprint Cup race from Talladega Superspeedway, the same rating as was earned by last year’s race telecast, also on ABC. The race averaged 7,439,614 viewers. The race earned ABC’s highest rating so far this season and matched its highest rating from 2007. The network is televising all 10 races in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

10/06/08 The overnight TV rating for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Amp Energy 500 from Talladega Sunday on ABC was a 4.0, down 4.8% from last year's 4.2 over night and down 7% from the 4.3 overnight in 2006.


BMW's worldwide sales down 14.6 percent
German carmaker BMW AG says worldwide sales fell nearly 15 percent in September as the global economic crisis pushed North America and western Europe to curb spending.

The company said Wednesday it sold 121,621 units in September, down from 141,357 in the same period a year ago.

BMW sales and marketing board member Ian Robertson says in a statement: "The situation remains challenging."

track news

Smith says city, county owe him for $2.8 million
Escalating a standoff over government incentives, Lowe's Motor Speedway owner Bruton Smith is demanding that Concord and Cabarrus County reimburse him for $2.8 million worth of improvements around the Concord track.

The 81-year-old billionaire is quarreling with local officials over the $80 million incentives package they promised him last Thanksgiving.

The deal centered on extensive road improvements around the track; it had Smith handling the improvements, then being repaid by the city and county.

The governments want the bulk of the payments spread over up to 40 years. Smith insists the money is due within three to five years.

This is the second consecutive year that tensions between the two groups have loomed over this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Bank of America 500 race at the speedway.

In a letter hand-delivered to the city and county Sept. 25, Jim Guess, a project manager for Smith's Speedway Motorsports Inc., said the company had spent nearly $1.4 million on transportation infrastructure design and another nearly $1.4 million on sound mitigation at Smith's new drag strip. More at Charlotte Observer


Update on Goodyear Indy Tire testing
Goodyear Tire and NASCAR officials, along with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Kasey Kahne and Mark Martin, expressed optimism at the progress made in tire testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

A total of 14 Sprint Cup Series drivers tested Oct. 6-7 at IMS as Goodyear developed a tire for the 16th Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, scheduled for Sunday, July 26, 2009. The final day of the three-day test, Wednesday, Oct. 8, was canceled due to rain.

This was the second Goodyear test at IMS in three weeks and, according to Stu Grant, Goodyear's general manager of worldwide racing, the effort is paying dividends.

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Q&A with Doug Yates
Even though both of his cars were victims of accidents at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, it has still been a pretty good week for Yates Racing co-owner Doug Yates. The team has signed Paul Menard as a third driver for the 2009 season and is coming off a pole run with Travis Kvapil at Talladega. Yates spoke about his team's progress.

Doug Yates
DOUG YATES, Co-Owner, Yates Racing Ford Fusions

IT'S BEEN A GOOD WEEK FOR YATES RACING. "It's been a great week for Yates Racing. Max Jones and myself have worked hard to try to get Yates Racing back in a position where we would be competitive week-in and week-out and I feel very good about the job that we've done this year and getting re-established. This last week with signing Paul Menard as a driver for our organization and bringing the Menards sponsorship over as well is huge. We'll look back and probably say that was one of the moments that helped us take it to the next level where we want to be. We're all looking forward to next year. We've got a great group of young, talented drivers with Paul coming aboard, and Travis Kvapil and David Gilliland. It really gives us a lot to look forward to in the future as far as our driver lineup. And then coming down to Talladega, which I think everybody knows how much I enjoy coming to these races and to have the 28 car back on the pole at Talladega is really special to me. It started with Davey Allison and the things that we did out here with him, and then Ernie Irvan and all the history behind that car number and this race track makes it a very special day. It really gets you excited about just being part of this sport and doing what we do every week and re- energizes our organization and gets everybody's morale up. It's a great time for Yates Racing right now."

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NASCAR scraps NYC 'victory lap' during banquet week
Instead of the victory lap, NASCAR is creating a big tailgating event (scheduled for Dec. 4). NASCAR research indicated the fans wanted to be part of something, rather than just watch it.

The new block party - one of many NASCAR-themed events scheduled that week - will close 43rd St. between 7th and 8th Avenues, for the day, and include concerts, food, race simulators, show cars and other games.

What it won't do, however, is block off traffic all around the city during rush hour on the same Friday as the tree lighting in Rockefeller Center.

"When the cars were fired up, it certainly got your attention, but we're not talking about a four-hour race," a NASCAR spokesperson said. "The lap only took a few minutes."

Last year, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he got e-mails - some angry - from people wondering how the city could think to grant a permit for the lap on a day already penciled in as one of the holiday gridlock alert days.

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Vettel can be champion soon - Williams
(GMM)  Sir Frank Williams has tipped F1's youngest ever race winner to soon be challenging for world titles.

Germany's 21-year-old Sebastian Vettel recorded both his and Toro Rosso's first victory recently at Monza, and next year he will step up to Red Bull's senior formula one team.

"I think, if Vettel can get himself in the right team, he can be winning world championships within two years," Williams, the 66-year-old boss and co-owner of his eponymous team, is quoted as saying by Bild newspaper.


Massa would be worthy champion - Brawn
(GMM)  Honda team boss Ross Brawn has scotched claims that Ferrari's Felipe Massa would not be a worthy winner of the 2008 title.

The Brazilian driver has had a clearly better year than his struggling teammate Kimi Raikkonen, winning five races compared with the reigning world champion's two.

Massa, 27, is 7 points behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton with just three races to go, moving some to wonder how the formerly erratic Sauber driver is now knocking on the door of conquering the pinnacle of motor racing.

Former Williams and McLaren driver Juan Pablo Montoya, now racing in the American NASCAR series, was asked recently whether he thought Massa would be a worthy winner.

"Next question," the Colombian is quoted as saying by the BBC.  "We'll skip that one."

But Brawn, who worked with Massa when he was Michael Schumacher's Ferrari teammate in 2006, thinks assessments like Montoya's are not fair.

"I think he would be a worthy world champion," Brawn said.  "There is no issue there.

"He has been a bit of a slow grower, really, in that he was quite reckless and made a lot of mistakes early in his career but he was always very quick.

"In the year I worked with him at Ferrari, we had our ups and downs during the year but I think he has performed extremely well.  Felipe has come on a long way," Brawn added.


GP2 Asia - Kobayashi tops Shanghai test
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Kamui Kobayashi DAMS 1:45.963 23
2. Sakon Yamamoto ART Grand Prix 1:46.255 25
3. Roldan Rodriguez Piquet GP 1:46.491 14
4. Jerome D'Ambrosio DAMS 1:46.540 39
5. Giedo Van der Garde GFH Team iSport 1:46.599 21
6. Andreas Zuber Fisichella Motor Sport 1:46.721 36
7. Davide Valsecchi Durango 1:46.785 13
8. James Jakes Super Nova Racing 1:47.083 36
9. Vital y Petrov Barwa Int Campos Team 1:47.090 21
10. Mika Maki Trust Team Arden 1:47.126 13
11. Nelson Philippe ART Grand Prix 1:47.161 24
12. Sergio Perez Barwa Int Campos Team 1:47.169 16
13. Hamad Al Fardan GFH Team iSport 1:47.187 18
14. Michael Herck DPR 1:47.430 39
15. Yuhi Sekiguchi DPR 1:47.591 19
16. Alex Yoong My Team Qi-Meritus Mahara 1:47.979 35
17. Luca Filippi BCN Competicion 1:48.038 6
18. Earl Bamber My Team Qi-Meritus Mahara 1:48.065 18
19. Javier Villa Super Nova Racing 1:48.084 27
20. Giacomo Ricci Trident Racing 1:48.664 17
21. Chris Van der Drift Trident Racing 1:49.174 4
22. Kevin Nai Chia Chen Fisichella Motor Sport 1:51.518 16


Blaney to replace Denny Hamlin in Nationwide race
Braun Racing officials announced Wednesday that Dave Blaney will replace Denny Hamlin in the team’s No. 10 Toyota for Friday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

Hamlin was in a grinding crash at Talladega Superspeedway during Sunday’s Sprint Cup race and spent the night in the hospital for observation. A Braun spokesperson said Joe Gibbs Racing officials wanted Hamlin to take it easy this weekend.


Hamilton has changed F1 - Mosley
Lewis Hamilton (L) and his black father.  Similar to soon to be USA President Barack Obama, and golf great Tiger Woods, his mother is white.  All three are breaking down racial barriers by putting themselves forward as black and downplaying the fact they are 50% white.  It's working for all three of them.
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton has had an impact on the traditional "image" of Formula One, according to FIA president Max Mosley.

He is quoted by The Guardian newspaper as crediting Hamilton, the 23-year-old championship challenger who drives for McLaren, for leading F1 away from its perception as a "white elitist sport".

"It has that image, inevitably, because it's so expensive to get into," Mosley, 69, said.

The Briton said Hamilton's success has opened F1's doors not only to a wider public in the UK "but even more so abroad".

"He's come from a pretty ordinary background, he's black and he's very successful.  For us, if he's successful, it will be excellent, really, really good for Formula One.

"But that doesn't mean we're going to help him, and it certainly doesn't mean we're going to hinder him," Mosley added.


Only government can save Canada GP
(GMM)  Only the government can step in to bring Canada back onto the formula one calendar beyond 2009, a spokesman for the axed Montreal race's promoter insists.

Paul Wilson, speaking on behalf of race promoter F1 Grand Prix du Canada, confirmed that a commercial disagreement with Bernie Ecclestone led this week to the cancellation of the contract.

"It's a technical problem with the contract," F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone was quoted by Canadian media as confirming.

Wilson said Montreal can no longer compete with the sorts of fees paid by new race promoters like China and Abu Dhabi.

"We are sorry that Mr. Ecclestone deemed it appropriate to cut short the negotiations and react in this manner," he said.

"For an organization like ours, which is to say a private promoter, the actual business model implemented by the owners and the formula one teams is no longer feasible."

He said the future of the event now rests in the hands of government bodies, that are reportedly interested in rescuing the race.

"It's for them to call the shots.  If they think it's a good idea for the city, for the province, for the country, let's go for it," Wilson said.

"They all want to get together and are very much trying to get moving on this as one."


Mosley meets with FOTA chief
Luca di Montezemolo
(GMM)  Max Mosley on Wednesday met with his Ferrari counterpart and F1 teams' alliance FOTA chairman Luca di Montezemolo in Nice, France.

The FIA president will reprise the meeting after this month's Chinese grand prix with the entire FOTA contingent, to discuss the "urgent" need for "very significant" cost cuts.

Crucially, Mosley seems to have won the full backing of F1's chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, who told The Times newspaper that he also wants to see teams use a standard engine in 2010.

"The thing I am most excited about is pushing and pushing and pushing the homologated engine idea," the Briton said.

The idea is that F1's manufacturers build their own engines according to a common design, with only one scheduled change per driver allowed each season.

Formula One chiefs will meet later this month to discuss a range of urgent issues affecting the sport, including the ongoing global credit crisis.

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Kobayashi must earn F1 seat - Toyota
Kamui Kobayashi
(GMM)  Team boss Tadashi Yamashina says it is Toyota's "dream" to win the formula one title with a Japanese driver.

Williams' Toyota-backed Kazuki Nakajima aside, the Cologne based team's test driver, Kamui Kobayashi, is the first Japanese driver signed by Toyota since the marque entered F1 in 2002.

Yamashina has high hopes for the 22-year old.  "The team is right behind him and hoping that he can become a top driver," he said.

But national pride will not be enough, Kobayashi still having to earn the right to race in formula one.  Yamashina confirmed that he will definitely not be getting "preferential treatment" and that the GP2 race winner will "have to work hard and get there on merit".

Having joined the Toyota Drivers Academy program in 2004, Kobayashi first tested for Toyota in 2006 before becoming the teams third driver in 2008.

Racing in GP2 and GP2 Asia alongside his testing duties, he won events in both series against fellow F1 hopefuls Bruno Senna and Sebastien Buemi.


NHRA mandates safety shutoff
Based on continued testing success of the Electrimotion Safety Shutoff Controller, NHRA is mandating its use on all nitro Funny Cars beginning at the ACDelco Las Vegas NHRA Nationals.

The Electrimotion Safety Shutoff Controller was designed by Dave Leahy of Electrimotion, a company based in Delaware, Ohio, that specializes in electronic control systems.  The controller senses manifold burst panel failure and simultaneously activates the fuel shutoff, shuts off ignition, and deploys parachutes.  Testing on the mechanism began in Reading, Pa., and the controller has been utilized by several Funny Car teams including Jim Head, Robert Hight, Del Worsham and John Force.

Use of this system is part of NHRA's ongoing efforts to improve safety and was one of the areas of focus outlined earlier this year.

To prepare for the mandatory use of this controller, NHRA is strongly recommending that all nitro Funny Car teams install the controller before the Virginia NHRA Nationals. NHRA technical operations officials will use the upcoming event in Richmond as an opportunity to inspect all installed safety devices and to assist teams with any installation issues.


Casey Mears is a father
Casey Mears and Trisha Grablander welcomed their baby yesterday, Oct. 7th. Samantha Mae Mears weighed 8lbs. 7oz. and is 20 3/4 inches long. Sam is named after her Great-Grandmother Mae "Skip" Mears. Mom, Dad, and baby are doing fantastic!


Nikon Indy 300 calendar bursting at seams
The Nikon Indy 300 might be 14 days away, but fans of entertainment on the Gold Coast need not wait until Thursday October 23-26 to satisfy their cravings for action with more than 35 events listed on the Official Off-track Events Calendar.

Featuring everything from auto shows to go kart racing to Jazz shows and Swing Dancing, Business and Driver breakfasts, Bartercard Miss Indy judging and parties galore, the Official Off-track Events Calendar has something for everyone.

One event in particular will kick off the Event week action in a different way with the Australian Premiere of the movie DEATH RACE on Saturday October 18 at Birch Carroll and Coyle, Pacific Fair.

DEATH RACE is the ultimate car action movie where tricked-out cars and sexy female navigators combine to create the most extreme racing competition.

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Clauson prepares for Sprint Cup debut, announces sponsorship
Bryan Clauson will carry sponsorship from the MotorStorm Pacific Rift video game on his No. 40 Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge when he attempts to make his NASCAR Sprint Cup debut in this weekend’s Bank of America 500 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

Chip Ganassi Racing officials announced the sponsorship in a deal with Sony Computer Entertainment America and longtime team sponsor Target.

The 19-year-old Clauson has been competing part time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series this season. He has 23 starts in the series, with one pole, one top-five and two top-10 finishes. He is currently second in the rookie-of-the-year standings in that series.

tv news

Race Central TV to air Exciting Red Bull Feature Content
Race Central TV this week will air unique and high impact content provided by Red Bull Energy Drink alongside Race Central TVs other exciting and exclusive high impact visual elements and features.  This week's show will highlight Red Bull X-Fighters, Red Bull Cliff Diving, Red Bull Soapbox Race, and other exciting Red Bull Features. Future shows will bring Red Bull Flugtag, Red Bull AMA Rookies Cup, Drifting with A.J. Allmendinger and Reese Millen, and the Red Bull Air Races to our many fans across the country. 

The show will air on Thursday October 9th at 7:30 PM ET/4:30 PM PT via the Altitude Sports & Entertainment Network and can be seen nationally via DirecTV and Dish Network.  The show will re-air twice on Friday October 10th at 12:00 PM ET/9:00 AM PT and 4:00 AM ET/1:00 AM PT.  Check your local listings or visit www.racecentralmedia.com for more information.


Hamlin taken to hospital after Dega crashfest UPDATE #2 Denny Hamlin will be back behind the wheel of the #11 FedEx Camry this weekend in Charlotte after his heavy-impact crash last weekend at Talladega. Following his release from University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) hospital on Monday morning, Hamlin met with NASCAR's consulting physician, Dr. Jerry Petty, this week in North Carolina and was cleared to race in the Sprint Cup race this weekend in Charlotte. Hamlin on Talladega: "It was definitely the hardest hit I have ever taken in a race car. It was good to get home, get some rest and take it easy this week. I am feeling better every day and look forward to getting back in the car this weekend. I need to thank everyone at Talladega and at UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham) Hospital, and also Dr. Petty and the NASCAR medical team for taking care of me. I really appreciate all they did for me and for putting my health above everything else. Thanks to all of the fans for their concern and, of course, thanks to everyone at JGR and #11 team who build really safe cars and that showed last weekend. This sport has made big gains in terms of safety – everything from the cars to the walls and those are big steps in the right direction." FedEx Racing PR

10/06/08 Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing was released this morning from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Hospital after spending the night for observation. Following his lap 99-incident in yesterday's Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway, Hamlin was taken to the track's infield care center then transported by ambulance to Birmingham. He was kept overnight at UAB and released this morning to return home to North Carolina. Hamlin had just lead his ninth lap of the race when he lost his right-front tire in turn two, slid up the track and made heavy contact with the SAFER barrier. Joe Gibbs Racing PR

10/05/08 Denny Hamlin was taken to a hospital Sunday after an accident at Talladega Superspeedway. NASCAR said he was alert and awake, but was transported for further observation. Hamlin, one of 12 drivers racing for the Sprint Cup title, was leading midway through the race when his right front tire failed and his Toyota shot into the outside wall. He said very little over his in-car radio after the hit, was slow to get out of the car and seemed to be favoring his right foot. Hamlin's tire failure was the fourth one in the race and fifth of the weekend. Earlier, Brian Vickers' tire exploded as he was racing for the lead and it triggered an eight-car accident. Associated Press


Power hopes to finish what he’s started in Australia
Will Power at Surfers
Australia native Will Power has won two pole positions at Surfers Paradise, but hasn’t finished better than 12th. As he prepares to return to Australia’s Gold Coast for the Nikon Indy 300 on Oct. 26, Power hopes he can finish what he’s started.

“I’ve been there now three times,” said Power, who grew up in Toowoomba, Australia, about a two-hour drive from Surfers Paradise. “First year I got taken out by my teammate, second year I got taken out by Sebastien Bourdais, and last year I was sent out in front of a car, and that basically put us in the back. We had a damaged front wing, damaged suspension and later ended up being taken out by Katherine Legge.

“It’s a track where I’ve been very quick but just can’t break that streak of bad luck there, so I want to go there and finish that race in a good position.”

Power should be able to build on a strong rookie campaign in the IndyCar Series. As one of nine drivers new to the series, Power drove the No. 8 Aussie Vineyards car to 12th in the championship, recording two top-five finishes. He ended the season with an eighth on the streets of Belle Isle and a fifth on the 1.5-mile oval at Chicagoland Speedway.

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Indycar.com features seven days in Paradise
Beginning Oct. 16, IndyCar Series fans can get ready for the Nikon Indy 300 at Surfers Paradise by watching full broadcasts of past races at Surfer’s Paradise on indycar.com. A new race will be available each day, including victories by current IndyCar Series drivers and team owners. Coverage also includes bonus interviews of the drivers and owners as they reflect on their racing history in Australia. This marks the first time that full race broadcasts will be available on indycar.com.

The “7 Days in Paradise” promotion leads into live coverage of the Nikon Indy 300 on race weekend, including live coverage of PEAK Motor Oil Pole Qualifying and live Timing and Scoring.

The complete indycar.com schedule:

Oct. 16: 1991 race won by John Andretti
Oct. 17: 1994 race won by Michael Andretti
Oct. 18: 1996 race won by Jimmy Vasser
Oct. 19: 2002 race won by Mario Dominguez
Oct. 20: 2003 race won by Ryan Hunter-Reay
Oct. 21: 2004 race won by Bruno Junqueira
Oct. 22: 2006 race won by Nelson Philippe


Petit LeMans sets attendance record
A healthy crowd showed up on Saturday
The record-breaking spectator count at Petit Le Mans powered by the Totally New MAZDA6 last weekend at Road Atlanta continued a strong trend in attendance gains for the American Le Mans Series. Attendance this season through 10 races is up six percent over last year’s record with a season-to-date average weekend crowd of nearly 80,000 fans.

Road Atlanta’s four-day crowd of 113,000 saw the deepest field ever assembled in the American Le Mans Series. There were seven winners of this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans entered as well as five drivers who won championships in either CART or IndyCar, plus five competitors who have won the Indianapolis 500.

The crowd witnessed a world-class duel to the end between Audi and Peugeot with Allan McNish, Dindo Capello and Emanuele Pirro coming from two laps down at the start of the race to score Audi’s ninth consecutive overall victory at Petit Le Mans.

“The record-setting crowd at Petit Le Mans powered by the Totally New MAZDA6 was a continuation of what we have seen all season - and further confirms that our fans see the American Le Mans Series as the most innovative, relevant and exciting form of motorsport in the world,” said Scott Atherton, Series President and CEO. “These results are especially satisfying given the constant barrage of doom-and-gloom headlines about the economy, fuel supply shortages and other issues that were unavoidable in the weeks preceding the event. Despite all of these factors working against us, spectators turned out in numbers never before seen at Road Atlanta. And with a truly world-class field combined with one of the most spectacular finishes we have ever seen, fans were no doubt rewarded for their attendance.”

And there still is one race remaining in 2008 - next week’s Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Another strong crowd is expected once again at the season finale.

The final round of the 2008 American Le Mans Series is the Monterey Sports Car Championships from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The four-hour race into darkness is scheduled to start at 2:45 p.m. PT on Saturday, October 18. NBC Sports will air the race from 2 to 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 19. XM Satellite Radio’s Channel 144 will air the race from 4 to 8 p.m. ET on the same day. Live video of qualifying will be available on americanlemans.com starting at 3 p.m. PT on Friday, October 17. American Le Mans Radio will have live coverage on americanlemans.com, which also will feature Live Timing & Scoring.


McNish to re-live Petit LeMans win
A happy McNish after defeating the Peugeot
Five days after authoring one of the greatest comebacks seen in the American Le Mans Series, Audi Sport North America’s Allan McNish will be a guest of Joe Castello on XM Radio’s Powershift, set for 9:25 p.m. ET on XM Channel 144. McNish, Dindo Capello and Emanuele Pirro scored an overall victory Saturday at Petit Le Mans powered by the Totally New MAZDA6 with McNish chasing down, passing and holding off Peugeot’s Christian Klien in the final hour.

XM Satellite Radio is a corporate partner of the American Le Mans Series and the primary sponsor of the Andretti Green Racing Acura ARX-01b. XM Channel 144 also will carry coverage of the Monterey Sports Car Championships at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca from 4 to 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, October 19.


Craig Gore has emergency surgery
Team Australia co-owner Craig Gore is recovering from emergency bowel surgery in a London hospital and is almost certain to miss the upcoming Nikon Indy 300 on the Gold Coast from 23-26 October 2008.

The popular 41-year-old Queensland based entrepreneur is devastated he may miss the race in which Will Power will drive his Aussie Vineyards-backed entry.

Mr. Gore was in London working with his UK partners on several of his current developments including the Townsville Ocean Cruise Terminal, Breakwater Marina and Hope Harbor Marina.

Michael Adamson, Managing Director of International Marina Development & Management said Mr. Gore started to suffer stomach cramps shortly after arriving in London last week.

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Montreal F1 axe is final - official UPDATE (GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed that a "contract problem" spelled the end for the Canadian grand prix.

The English language Montreal radio station CJAD, however, said the F1 chief executive would not give further details.

The 77-year-old Briton expressed his desire to see his sport return to North America in the future, but insists that the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has "for sure" lost the race for 2009.

10/08/08 (GMM)  A Canadian close to F1's governing body has scotched hopes that the decision to axe the Montreal race may not be final.

Bernie Ecclestone is well known for using tough tactics in negotiations with F1 venues, but this is not an example of the 77-year-old supremo hatching a ploy, according to Roger Peart.

"It was voted on by the FIA and that's really the end of it," said Peart, president of the FIA's circuits commission.

"It's a done deal," he told The Gazette newspaper.

"It's sad news for Montreal, it's sad for racing in Canada, and I don't think anyone can do anything about it."

It is believed the reason for the split is contractual, despite an agreement to stage the race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve through 2011.

Ecclestone's London office did not return requests for comment.

Peart suggested that the reason for the situation is commercial.

"I'm surprised but not completely," he said.  "Not completely because the commercial side of the sport is moving on to more glamorous venues.

"I don't mean the city of Montreal as far as that, but the facilities themselves.  Some (facilities) like Montreal are not world leaders anymore, so it's a purely commercial matter, unfortunately."


Tram firm denies Red Bull claim
(GMM)  Operators of Singapore's Mass Rapid Transit (SMRT) system have refuted claims that a passing tram could have caused Mark Webber's retirement from the recent night grand prix there.

Red Bull Racing officials said after the race that the Australian driver's broken gearbox could have been caused by the static electricity carried by a tram line beneath the track at turn 13.

But according to the news wire service AFP, SMRT refuted the claim.

"There is no MRT track beneath turn 13.  The nearest MRT tunnel is about 200 meters away, with a depth of about 10 meters," a spokesman said."

He added that the train wheels and running wheels "do not generate static electricity".


Fuji 'crap' compared to Suzuka - Irvine
(GMM)  Eddie Irvine, a former Ferrari driver and 1999 championship runner-up, has slammed F1's decision to strip Suzuka of its status as the permanent home of the Japanese grand prix.

Following two consecutive races at the Toyota-controlled Fuji Speedway, the sport will return to Suzuka next year and then annually alternate between the two Japanese venues.

But Irvine told Virgin Media that F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone should never have moved the race away from Suzuka simply because of money.

"To move it because of money to a very average circuit like Fuji is very disappointing," the Ulsterman said.

"To me, Fuji is a crap circuit.  It's a horrible, boring place in the middle of nowhere.  The weather is usually horrible and it's just the worst possible place to have a grand prix.

"You have to say that Fuji does not add to formula one."


European automakers seek $54.5 billion in government loans
European automakers asked for $54.5 billion in government loans from the European Union this week, more than twice what Congress approved last week to help the U.S. auto industry.

The European automakers are pushing for the loan program in the face of increasingly stringent emissions requirements and feel shut out of the U.S. program, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association said in a statement late Monday.

Congress approved up to $25 billion in low-cost government loans for automakers and auto suppliers to modernize plants to build advanced technology vehicles that are at least 25 percent more efficient than required by new federal standards.

The U.S. plan gives preference to plants 20 years or older, although it doesn't exclude new plants, terms that favor Detroit's Big Three automakers. Only a couple of foreign-owned factories, including Honda Motor Co.'s Marysville, Ohio plant and a joint Toyota Motor Corp.-General Motors Corp. California venture are older than 20 years. More at Detroit News


Di Resta scores McLaren F1 tests UPDATE Unfortunately, day one of the test took place in driving rain, leaving the young racer to sit in the almost flooded garage with the rest of the team rather than on being out on track impressing team bosses.

“Obviously it’s not ideal, but we can’t control the weather,” Paul said on his official website. “Basically it’s been a washout, which is really frustrating, but at least the forecast is dry for Wednesday, so I should get some running tomorrow (today).”

This is his second test in a single seater in as many weeks after an impressive debut at the wheel of a GP2 car at Paul Ricard, the first time he has been in the cockpit since his title in the F3 Euroseries two years ago. However, the McLaren test does not mean that he is headed to the F1 series in 09.

“My commitment is totally focused on ensuring I win the DTM title for Mercedes-Benz this season. This test in the F1 McLaren is a merely a continuation of the excellent relationship I have with both Mercedes and McLaren and people shouldn’t read too much into it.”

After today’s session, there will be another two day test later in the month.

10/07/08 (GMM)  Paul di Resta, a Scottish driver who currently races in Germany's DTM series for Mercedes-Benz, is this week at the wheel of McLaren's formula one car.

It is the first installment of no fewer than four test days he will enjoy for the Woking-based squad in October, according to motorsport-magazin.com.

On Tuesday and Wednesday the 22-year-old is in action at Silverstone, and he will reprise the effort with two more days later this month.

While F1 teams' official in-season testing program has ended, di Resta's tests are possible due to the 2008 test agreement, whereby inexperienced youngsters are allowed mileage outside the restrictions of the accord.

The former F3 Euroseries champion's chances of moving into F1 recently took another step forward, when he tested at Paul Ricard for leading GP2 team ART.

"It is difficult for a driver to accept that he has no chance to get into F1 -- and I hope I don’t have to," he told The Sun newspaper.

"My job is just to do the best I can.  I am trying my hardest and hopefully they will come knocking on the door or give me a phone call.

"But for now it is up to me to concentrate on the DTM.  The powers-that-be at Mercedes have looked after me and I am sure they will continue to look after me.

"We just have to see what the outcome of it all will be.  I just need to see what the right chance is to get there and make sure it is a good opportunity," di Resta said.


Interview with Bridgestone's Mr. Yasukawa
Planet earth is said to be facing environmental crisis. It is evident that climate change is progressing. If we leave this matter unresolved, the level of sea water could rise and lead to the collapse of our ecological system. Natural resources are limited though a great deal of effort is being put into developing substitute energies for petroleum. Although we cannot deny that automobiles play a major role within this issue, it is not appropriate to feel hostile towards automobiles themselves. These vehicles have a number of benefits for us and have ultimately helped us to overcome many challenges.  These benefits are all a result of innovative technological developments. 

It is true that motorsport has contributed greatly to the development of automobiles. Adverse views that motorsport wastes huge amounts of petroleum for example have been voiced worldwide. Motorsport is however at the forefront of technological development, with some of these technologies being utilized within our road cars, as well as tires.  Hiroshi Yasukawa, Director of Bridgestone Motorsport Department, talks about how the company’s motorsport activities, including Formula One, have responded to such issues. 

Environmental issues are the focus of global concern, and in such circumstances some people say motorsport is rather meaningless as it just wastes energy. What is your view regarding these opinions having spent so many years working in the world of motorsport? 
I believe environmental and energy-saving issues are what we must focus on and these are two areas in which we have worked very hard to develop. I presume the people who say motorsport wastes energy do not understand the essential quality of such sport. We must recognize at the same time that we have not provided these people with relevant information about the sport. Today I would like to talk about these issues.

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Abu Dhabi tower to be named after Michael Schumacher
The Michael Schumacher World Champion Tower (MSWCT) named after the former seven-time Formula One world champion Michael Schumacher, is to be built on a wharf in Abu Dhabi's central business district of al-Reem Island, business officials have said.

'The tower's ecological impact will be limited. Advanced methods will be employed to preserve energy consumption and reduce the level of thermal emissions to zero,' chief executive officer of Deyaar Development, Markus Giebel, told reporters on Tuesday.

Neither the height of the tower, nor the date of its completion, were given.

The Michael Schumacher World Champion Tower, designed by LAVA Architects, is the first of seven such towers planned around the world, each representing the Formula One World Championships won by the German driver.


Piccinini to step down
Marco Piccinini, the FIA’s Deputy President and chair of the World Motor Sport Council, will be stepping down at the end of his term in November to concentrate on other professional commitments.

Piccinini was elected as Deputy President of the FIA in 1998 and was re-elected in both 2001 and 2005.

Piccinini has many other business interests including being a Member of the Board for Directors of the Automobile Club de Monaco, Italcementi S.p.A, Compagnie Monegasque de Banque, Church’s Shoes Ltd. and the Villa Nazareth Foundation amongst others.


Latest F1 news in brief
  • Locals wait for reason for Canada GP axe
  • Senna names STR, Honda as 2009 race options
  • Crisis not hurting Merc's F1 plans - Haug
  • Webber 'not keen' on V8 Supercar switch
  • Patrick Head to lead F2 car design team
  • No F1 race for rebuilt A1-Ring - Mateschitz
  • Better weather expected for 2008 Fuji race

Locals wait for reason for Canada GP axe
(GMM)  Jean Charest, the premier of the local province Quebec, has joined organizers of the Montreal formula one race in wanting to know why the Canadian grand prix has been taken off the 2009 calendar.

"We want know from the people at the grand prix what is going on," he is quoted as saying by The Gazette.

In a brief statement, the race organizers, who have a contract to host the event until 2011, said they learned of the decision to cancel the June 7 race via the media.

"The organization will issue no comment until having spoken to Formula One Management (FOM) and the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA)," the statement reads.

Industry experts are speculating as to the possible reasons for the breakdown, including recalling the serious problems with the surface of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve at this year's race.

But a writer for the Vancouver Sun said: "No one knows why Montreal has been dropped after being included on the preliminary calendar issued in June."

Montreal mayor Gerald Tremblay said on Radio-Canada that he was extremely disappointed with the news.

"We're talking about losses of some $75 million to the local economy as a result.  This is a large sum," he said, confirming that he has scheduled an immediate meeting with grand prix promoter Normand Legault.

"We'll see in the coming hours what we can do," Tremblay added, recalling 2003, when the race was nearly cancelled over tobacco sponsorship.

"I feel bad, the same way I felt those years ago, but I'm an optimist," he said.

Senna names STR, Honda as 2009 race options
(GMM)  Bruno Senna has singled out Toro Rosso and Honda as his options to make his formula one race debut in 2009.

The 24-year-old Brazilian told the news agency Reuters that his chances "are good" to step straight onto the grand prix grid next year rather than sitting out a year as a test driver.

"I'm doing everything I can to convince them I'm their best option," said Senna, whose uncle Ayrton Senna won three world championships before being killed in the 1994 San Marino grand prix.

"The possibilities are good and the competition in some cases is not that big," he explained.

Senna said that if he does need to initially become a test driver, he would split the role with another season of GP2.

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Formula One heiress Tamara Ecclestone poses naked
Formula One heiress Tamara Ecclestone in a new advert for PETA Photo: PA
The heiress and TV presenter follows a long line of models to pose for the anti-fur photo shoot organized by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta).

Miss Ecclestone, 23, is seen pictured with nothing more than a strategically placed F1 checkered flag, with the slogan 'Going Fur-Free Is the Winning Formula'.

She said she was supporting the campaign because wearing fur was more about vanity than about making a fashion statement.

"I enjoy going to fashion shows and I enjoy seeing what's new and fantastic but I just don't understand how fur is necessarily fashionable," she said. "I just think it's terrible to harm living animals all in the name of vanity... it's completely unnecessary."

According to Peta, 85 per cent of the fur industry's skins come from animals living captive on "notoriously cruel" fur factory farms.

The socialite, who now presents Formula 1 for Sky Sports, said: "I think that once you've seen the ways in which lots of these animals are killed and how brutal and grotesque and unnecessary it is, I think that people would automatically choose not to wear fur," she added.

She follows in the footsteps of Leona Lewis, the singer, Naomi Campbell, the model, and Eva Mendes, the actress, who have all posed nude to protest against the fur trade. Telegraph.co.uk


Mike Wallace, AJ Allmendinger to replace Patrick Carpentier
Patrick Carpentier has been released from his duties as the driver of the Gillett Evernham Motorsports No. 10 Sprint Cup entry for the remainder of the season, team officials announced Tuesday. Mike Wallace will drive this weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway with AJ Allmendinger taking over for the remaining five races.

Allmendinger will take over driving duties beginning with the Oct. 19 race at Martinsville Speedway. He had already committed to drive the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 00 this weekend.

Carpentier drove the car in 24 races this season. The team has been outside the top 35 in owners points all year and has needed to qualify based on speed week to week.

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Goodyear Tire testing Q&A at Indy UPDATE Goodyear officials say that early indications are that punctures to tires caused the failures during Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Officials say it appears that there were four punctures to right-side tires during the race, though officials are still looking over the tires. Michael Waltrip Racing's David Reutimann, Red Bull Racing's Brian Vickers, Richard Childress Racing's Mike Wallace and Joe Gibbs Racing's Denny Hamlin all had tire failures during the 500-mile event.

"That was unusual, wasn't it, because … Talladega is a very smooth race track, and we've had very good races there in the past," Stu Grant, general manager of Goodyear Worldwide Racing, said Tuesday. "I'll tell you at this point, we are taking all the tires that lost air back to Akron [Ohio] for analysis. I will tell you right now, at this point the indications are those are punctures from the race track or something off the car.

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