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Ferrari slow in Brazil with eye on 2010  (GMM) Ferrari on Friday ended the opening day of the Brazilian GP weekend at the very tail of the timesheets, but with a firm eye already on the 2010 world championship.

Kimi Raikkonen was just 18th quickest in the afternoon practice session and Giancarlo Fisichella dead last in the sister car.

But after stalling his F60 at the end of the pit exit and trudging back to the paddock, Roman Fisichella admitted that his car had been fitted with some development items for the next Ferrari single seater.

"We were experimenting with some mechanical elements aimed at next season," confirmed engineer Chris Dyer. "Without any winter testing available before the new car makes its debut, we have to exploit every opportunity."

Despite his low spot in the pecking order, Finn Raikkonen said: "It will only take a small step forward to climb back up the order, but we are definitely facing a difficult weekend."
Alonso admits top Interlagos pace not real  (GMM) Fernando Alonso topped Friday afternoon practice at Interlagos, but the Renault driver is not expecting to be a pacesetter in either qualifying or the Brazilian grand prix.

The Spaniard, who will switch to Ferrari for the 2010 season, admitted his late speed in the 90-minute session had been powered by a low-fuel qualifying trial.

"I think something in the middle (of the field) is our target for tomorrow," he told reporters in Sao Paulo.

There were some sprinkles of rain at Interlagos on Friday, but the forecast had been for a much wetter day. Saturday's weather forecast is also uncertain, but it is expected that there is a higher chance of dry weather for Sunday.

"I think today was the day they predicted rain and it didn't rain much, so maybe that means rain for Sunday?" wondered Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.
Senna insists Campos deal not signed yet  
Bruno Senna
(GMM) Bruno Senna on Friday denied recent reports in the Spanish press that he has signed a contract to race with the new Campos team in 2010.

But the Brazilian, in the Interlagos paddock, admitted that he expects to make his formula one debut next March, and also named the Spanish outfit as an option.

"It's not done yet, we are in good condition with Campos in the negotiations but it's not done. It's only done when it's signed," he told the Reuters news agency.

The 26-year-old, whose late uncle Ayrton is buried in the nearby Morumbi cemetery, also revealed talks with other teams.

"We are still talking to other teams in case things go bad with any of the teams we are negotiating with," said Senna. "Manor and Campos are the strongest possibilities."

He said he hopes a deal for 2010 can be announced in two weeks.
Friday spectating 'not easy' - Massa  (GMM)  Felipe Massa on Friday admitted his first appearance in a formula one paddock since his July accident had been "not easy".

The Brazilian was a mere spectator in the paddock, pitlane and on the Interlagos pitwall, where a year ago he won his home race and nearly the world championship in style.

"It's not easy, I have to say," Massa told reporters when asked how it felt to be watching his rivals rather than preparing to race them.

"It would have been fantastic to come back at this race but we need to wait a little bit more," said the Ferrari driver. More ...

Brazilian GP: Alonso on top in 2nd practice  Fernando Alonso set the fastest time of the second practice session in Sao Paulo, lapping just a fraction faster than the Toro Rosso of Sebastien Buemi. Rubens Barrichello was third quickest a tenth behind the pair but just ahead of Mark Webber and Jenson Button. Jarno Trulli was sixth quickest in his Toyota and then came Sebastian Vettel with Nico Rosberg eighth, Adrian Sutil's Force India and Lewis Hamilton's McLaren.

Romain Grosjean was 11th ahead of Robert Kubica's BMW Sauber, the Toyota of Kamui Kobayashi, Kazuki Nakajima, Nick Heidfeld, Tonio Liuzzi, Heikki Kovalainen, Kimi Raikkonen, Jaime Alguersuari and Giancarlo Fisichella, the last-named having stopped out on the circuit

Friday Practice Session 2


1. Fernando Alonso Spain Renault 1:12.314
2. Sebastien Buemi Switzerland Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:12.357
3. Rubens Barrichello Brazil Brawn-Mercedes 1:12.459
4. Mark Webber Australia Red Bull-Renault 1:12.514
5. Jenson Button Britain Brawn-Mercedes 1:12.523
6. Jarno Trulli Italy Toyota 1:12.605
7. Sebastian Vettel Germany Red Bull-Renault 1:12.611
8. Nico Rosberg Germany Williams-Toyota 1:12.633
9. Adrian Sutil Germany Force India-Mercedes 1:12.720
10. Lewis Hamilton Britain McLaren-Mercedes 1:12.749
11. Romain Grosjean France Renault 1:12.806
12. Robert Kubica Poland BMW Sauber 1:12.862
13. Kamui Kobayashi Japan Toyota 1:12.869
14. Kazuki Nakajima Japan Williams-Toyota 1:12.929
15. Nick Heidfeld Germany BMW Sauber 1:12.948
16. Vitantonio Liuzzi Italy Force India-Mercedes 1:12.950
17. Heikki Kovalainen Finland McLaren-Mercedes 1:12.992
18. Kimi Raikkonen Finland Ferrari 1:13.026
19. Jaime Alguersuari Spain Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:13.041
20. Giancarlo Fisichella Italy Ferrari 1:13.275

Brawn signs another 1-race sponsor  Brawn GP is pleased to confirm a one-race partnership with Spanish insurance company, the MAPFRE Group, for the Brazilian Grand Prix which takes place at the Interlagos circuit in the city of Sao Paulo this weekend.

The partnership will see MAPFRE and Banco do Brasil branding on the engine cover and front wing of Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button's BGP 001 cars for the duration of the weekend.

The MAPFRE Group is the largest insurance company in Spain and Latin America and the agreement with Brawn GP will represent the company's first venture into Formula One at the sport's only Latin American Grand Prix venue. More ...
Hamilton visited Senna's grave  (GMM)  Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton this week visited the grave of his childhood idol Ayrton Senna.

The McLaren driver wanted to visit the Morumbi cemetery, located near the Interlagos circuit, on his previous visits to Sao Paulo in 2007 and 2008, but on both occasions he was in contention for the title.

"I've wanted to do it for the last two years, but I was being followed and all kinds.  I wasn't yesterday, at least I don't think I was," he said on Friday.

"It's an awesome place, very simple, just a plaque.  For me it was special," the 24-year-old added.

Senna was killed during the 1994 San Marino GP, when Hamilton was just 9.

No sparks as Alonso meets with Massa  (GMM)  Before afternoon practice kicked off at Interlagos, Fernando Alonso met in the paddock with his 2010 Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa.

The pair were photographed smiling and shaking hands, showing "how unfounded are the current rumors regarding bad feeling between them", the Italian team said.

Their apparent rift centered about Brazilian Massa's comments about Alonso's alleged role in the crash-gate scandal, with Rubens Barrichello predicting it is the start of a fiery pairing.

"Alonso and Massa will be a Latin partnership and we will see a few more sparks than if they were two Finns," said the veteran. More ...

F1 official robbed in Sao Paulo  (GMM)  The F1 fraternity's first brush with Sao Paulo crime on its 2009 visit was reported on Friday.

David Warren, commercial director of the sponsorship and Paddock Club company Allsport Management, was robbed en route from the international airport to the sprawling metropolis.

The driver of Warren's car pulled over to fix a puncture, shortly before the group of thieves pounced and stole his luggage.

"I'm in two minds about Sao Paulo," admitted BMW-Sauber driver Nick Heidfeld.

"You hear about all these muggings year after year, which puts you off any major excursions," said the German.

Ahead of the race weekend, Red Bull jokingly published a 'survival guide' to the Brazilian city, advising visitors to answer "no" to questions like "should I stop at red traffic lights?" and "should I stop if a car runs into the back of me?"

Rossi on top down under  MotoGP action got underway at Phillip Island in Australian today and Championship leader Valentino Rossi was in menacing form, leading the way almost from start to finish in the first practice session. His Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo finished the day sixth fastest, escaping unhurt after sliding off his YZR-M1 in the closing stages.

After heavy rain for the last two days the coastal track was granted a reprieve today and the sun shone brightly throughout the day's action. Rossi, who has not won at what is his favorite track for the last three years, set off in strong style and continued to improve his pace throughout the session as he fine-tuned the setting of his Yamaha, shaking off the issues that troubled him last time out in Portugal.

Lorenzo meanwhile struggled today - he was feeling slightly unwell and also lacked grip, ending the session by sliding off at turn four. He was totally unhurt however and hopes that some overnight alterations to his setting and a good night's rest to recover his strength will see him on the pace tomorrow. More ...

FIA calls for open and honest election  Formula One governing body the FIA has demanded that its elections are run in an 'honest and open' manner next week. The federation revealed a letter on Friday in which presidential candidate Ari Vatanen describes current President Max Mosley as having violated 'the principle of neutrality '.With Mosley an open supporter of Jean Todt, Vatanen's sole rival ahead of next Friday's elections, the Finn explained in a letter dated Wednesday 14 October that neutrality must find a place at all times 'which all persons must adopt who due to their position have a particular influence on voters'.

Vatanen, World Rally Champion of 1981, stresses that such actions opinion-swaying actions from the current President could indeed be punishable in 'all of the French courts'.

Mosley, in a letter also published on the FIA website, responded to Vatanen's claims on Thursday, beginning with the following: 'I am surprised you seek to criticize me for supporting the other candidate. You joined me for lunch on 3 July 2009 and repeatedly asked me to support you. You will recall I told you then I would support Jean Todt, as I thought he was a better candidate.'

With the FIA having published both letters online 'in the interest of transparency', it released a brief statement:

'The FIA will be calling on all candidates to avoid negative campaigning and prejudicial leaks to the media. Candidates should focus on the positive aspects and opportunities of the upcoming election and its effect on motoring and motor sport.'
Brazilian GP: Massa watches as Webber tops Practice 1  (GMM)  Felipe Massa donned a set of headphones and followed the morning practice action from the Interlagos pitlane.

The Brazilian is still recovering from serious head injuries sustained in a Hungaroring qualifying crash in July, but is in his native city this weekend to wave the checkered flag.

Red Bull's Mark Webber topped the 90 minute session, which was intermittently affected by rain.

Title contenders Rubens Barrichello and Sebastian Vettel were next quickest, with championship leader Jenson Button seventh.

Romain Grosjean caused a red flag by smashing through a polystyrene braking marker, and fellow rookie Sebastien Buemi ended his session with a crash.



Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:12.463 +0.000 29
2. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:12.874 +0.411 32
3. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:12.932 +0.469 27
4. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:12.989 +0.526 25
5. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:13.048 +0.585 25
6. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:13.067 +0.604 21
7. Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:13.141 +0.678 29
8. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:13.147 +0.684 23
09. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:13.232 +0.769 23
10. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:13.321 +0.858 24
11. Trulli Toyota 1:13.326 +0.863 26
12. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 1:13.464 +1.001 28
13. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:13.503 +1.040 24
14. Kubica BMW-Sauber 1:13.563 +1.100 24
15. Fisichella Ferrari 1:13.619 +1.156 23
16. Alonso Renault 1:13.787 +1.324 28
17. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:13.829 +1.366 26
18. Kobayashi Toyota 1:14.029 +1.566 27
19. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:14.040 +1.577 38
20. Grosjean Renault 1:14.173 +1.710 23

Mosley hits back after Vatanen legal threats  (GMM)  Max Mosley has hit back after Ari Vatanen accused him of breaching French law and defaming him.

In a letter leaked to the press, the Finn Vatanen had questioned the outgoing FIA president for favoring his rival Jean Todt for the role, warning that he might take legal action.

But in a written reply, published by the FIA on Friday, Mosley hit back by suggesting Vatanen is guilty of hypocrisy, because at a lunch in July the 1981 world rally champion "repeated asked me to support you".

And an FIA press release urged "all candidates to avoid negative campaigning and prejudicial leaks to the media".

Briton Mosley, 69, said in his letter to Vatanen that his backing of Todt is only a personal opinion, and expressed surprise that he thinks defamatory remarks were included in his recent letter to Jordan's Prince Feisal.

"I know of no provision of French or any other law which prevents an outgoing office holder offering his personal view on who is most qualified to be his successor," said Mosley.

He also dismissed as "wild and irresponsible" Vatanen's claims that FIA resources have been deployed to benefit Todt, and actually accuses the former European parliamentarian of benefiting from other funds so that clubs can attend rallies to support him.

"Perhaps you should take advice as to whether such direct financial aid is lawful," Mosley wrote to Vatanen.  "I suspect the response will be that it is inappropriate but not illegal."

Harley says it's the end of the road for Buell  The final chapter in the story of Buell Motorcycle Co. may have been written as Harley-Davidson Inc. said Thursday it was shutting down the East Troy bike manufacturer it owns after more than a decade without a profit.

Buell, which began as an experiment in a Mukwonago barn 26 years ago and developed into a company that was acquired by Harley, has struggled in the recession.

It was just more than a month ago that a Buell 1125R won the coveted American Motorcycle Association's sport bike championship. It was the first pro championship for an American motorcycle manufacturer since 1986. More ...

Gordon says back is doing better  Jeff Gordon met with media Thursday at Lowe's Motor Speedway and discussed many items, including the latest on his back problems:


"I'm happy to report nothing. Everything is good. I haven't had any issues. The last little scare was Watkins Glen and I didn't know how long it was going to take to recover from that and I feel like I'm fully recovered from that and I haven't had any back issues. I mean it's still there, but I haven't had pain or anything that's been too uncomfortable or any distraction in the car, so I'm happy about that. We've basically been doing the same things. During the week I would go to a chiropractor and get different types of treatments that they call manipulation, where they just stretch you out as much as they can, literally stretching each spinal cord in the lumbar area to try to just give it some relief; as well as the stem treatment. I mentioned that last week. It is electric-static stuff making the muscles do things which is the best way I can describe it (laughs). It's supposed to loosen the muscles up. So I do that during the week. I've been able to incorporate some of that on the weekends because I like what that does and some adjustments as well." Chevy Racing
Audi can make DTM history  On October 25th the Hockenheimring will be the venue of the title decision in the DTM for the third time in a row. And for the third consecutive time, Audi can secure the prestigious title – a feat no automobile manufacturer has ever achieved in the most popular international touring car racing series.

In 2007, Mattias Ekström kept Mercedes driver Bruno Spengler at bay at Hockenheim. Last year, Timo Scheider kept his cool and did not give Paul Di Resta a chance. Both times, Audi had come to Hockenheim with an advantage of just two points. In 2009, the cushion is clearly bigger: Timo Scheider has 56 points to his credit; his immediate rival Gary Paffett has seven points less. Ten points will still be awarded at Hockenheim.

Consequently, the starting base before the finale is relatively simple: Paffett has to win or finish second in order to thwart Audi’s plans. If the Briton should win, Scheider needs to finish fifth to successfully defend the title. If Paffett finishes as the runner-up, the Audi driver has to at least take seventh place. In any other constellation, the new and old champion will be Timo Scheider. More ...
New Ford engine at Talladega  UPDATE Doug Yates confirmed that the new FR9 Ford engine will debut at Talladega Superspeedway in two weeks. "We had our sights on Charlotte, to run it here," Yates said. "We just wanted to take our time and make sure everything was right. We're fortunate to have the luxury to do that. We're looking forward to Talladega -  but you know how much I love restrictor plate racing anyway." FoxSports

10/11/09 Ford will delay the debut of its new Sprint Cup engine, Doug Hervey, who oversees Ford's North American racing operations, said Saturday. The engine was scheduled to have debuted next week at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Instead, Ford will debut the restrictor-plate version of the engine at Talladega in three weeks. As for the non-restrictor-plate engine, it likely will debut at Texas or Homestead. Virginian Pilot
Burton says decision on crew chief is near  Jeff Burton met with members of the media at Lowe's Motor Speedway and discussed his thoughts on the status of his team:


"We're real close. I don't have a definite date but we're real close to having all that figured out. There's a lot of things that are changing at RCR. There's a new way of doing business going into next year and in the midst of that crew chief search for the #31. We're really optimistic that we have that put to bed and we'll be able to talk about that fairly soon." Chevy Racing

Kate Edwards pregnant  Carl Edwards says he'll become a first-time father at the start of next NASCAR season. Edwards' wife, Kate, is due in mid-February. The couple are having a girl.
Rosberg has a cold and no news about future  (GMM)  Nico Rosberg appeared in the Interlagos paddock on Thursday with a slight cold.

"It's nothing serious," the Williams driver told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

German Rosberg, 24, said he had no news to tell amid speculation he is set to leave his team of four years in order to switch to Brawn with Mercedes backing.

"I can't even say when a decision is going to be made, because I don't know," he explained. More ...

Speed plays down chances of F1 return  (GMM)  Scott Speed has played down the possibility of a return to formula one.

The Californian's one and a half season tenure at Toro Rosso ended acrimoniously in 2007, and he is now a firmly-established NASCAR driver with the Red Bull team.

"I hardly even follow formula one any more," he told the Dutch publication formule.nl, albeit admitting he is happy to see his energy drink sponsor doing so well in F1, and his former teammate Vitantonio Liuzzi back on the racing grid.

Next year, the Charlotte based USF1 outfit is scheduled to debut in F1 with the eventual aim of fielding an all-American lineup.

"My future is in America," Speed, now 26, said.  "I have an extremely good relationship with Red Bull and it's never been any different.

"I am very happy with what the company has done for me and I will remain always loyal to them."

Vatanen accuses Mosley of breaking law, defamation  (GMM)  The battle for control of F1's governing body has continued to intensify, but Ari Vatanen insists he is not employing "dirty" tactics to defeat his rival Jean Todt.

Ahead of next Friday's election, a French bailiff (huissier de justice) has delivered to the incumbent Max Mosley a letter penned by Vatanen, who is upset the FIA president is openly backing Todt's campaign.

In the letter, revealed by the British newspaper Daily Telegraph, the Finn accuses Mosley of breaching French laws requiring the non-profit FIA to remain neutral during the processes of its democratic election.

"The breach of this principle of neutrality during election campaigns, when aimed at distorting the results of the election, is punishable by all of the French courts," Vatanen wrote.

The 1981 world rally champion also accuses Mosley of defaming him in a controversial recent letter.  "I reserve all right to take action on account of the act previously committed against me," he added. More ...

Webber cool on Vettel supporting role  (GMM)  Mark Webber has reacted reluctantly to Sebastian Vettel's claim he is set to drive to support his championship charge this weekend in Brazil.

Unlike 22-year-old Vettel, Red Bull's Webber is out of contention for the 2009 title and two weeks ago at Suzuka spent his race afternoon testing parts for this Interlagos round.

German Vettel, who needs to win on Sunday in order to boost his chances of staying in the fight with the Brawn drivers, told reporters on Thursday he is happy that Webber is now his backer rather than an internal rival.

"I think it is a good thing not to have the situation they (Brawn) are facing, (where) they have to race each other," he said. More ...

Recycled plastic trophies for Brazil GP  (GMM)  The top three finishers at Interlagos on Sunday will be presented with environmentally-friendly recycled plastic trophies.

The Brazilian chemical company Braskem is working from an on-site laboratory and over the three-day event will collect blue caps from disposable drinks bottles.

They will be ground and melted and then pressed into blocks and cut into shape, the blue plastic feature atop a wooden base.

Rain at Lowe's Motor Speedway  Rain in the Charlotte area since Wednesday morning and continuing into Thursday has delayed all track activities so far at Lowe's Motor Speedway today. Nationwide Series practice was scrubbed, Sprint Cup Series practice for the NASCAR Banking 500 was scheduled to start at 3:00pm/et [and run to 4:30pm/et] and is under a rain delay. Rain has ended as of 4:20pm/et and some areas of the track is looking dry. NASCAR's John Darby was interviewed and says they are pressing on and hope to gets the Sprint Cup cars on the track by 6:00pm/et for some practice. There is a 70% chance of rain Thursday evening. Sprint Cup Series qualifying is scheduled for 7:10pm/et.
Ford employee caught sending company secrets to China  A Ford Motor Co. employee has been charged with stealing its trade secrets for the Chinese, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Xiang Dong Yu, also known as Mike Yu, 47, of Beijing, China, was arrested on Wednesday at Chicago O'Hare International Airport when he tried to re-enter the country from China. He has been charged with theft of trade secrets, attempted theft of trade secrets and unauthorized access to a protected computer, according to U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg.

According to the indictment, Yu was a product engineer for Ford from 1997 to 2007 and had access to Ford trade secrets. Law enforcement officials say that just prior to leaving Ford, Yu copied approximately 4,000 Ford documents, including what they described as "sensitive Ford design documents" onto a portable hard drive. More ...

Indy Lights team folds  More fallout from the pyrrhic IRL victory over CART/Champ Car - Panther Racing's Indy Lights program will be shut down as of Friday, Oct. 16. All Lights equipment, upon its return from Homestead, is for sale.
Genoa Racing Atlantic Team For Sale  A very rare opportunity. Every piece of equipment, from the cars to the transporter, is meticulously prepared and presented. This inventory should be seen to be appreciated, and all items can be inspected at the race shop in Indianapolis, 20 minutes from the airport.

Swift/Mazda 016 racecars: (3) chassis #'s 035, 039, 041 - ea. w/1 race Cosworth engine
Low-time cars with everything required to run them properly
gearbox maintenance kits - 45 gear sets/car - 30 pr. spring sets/car - 4 wheel sets/car - spare nose-wing assembly/car
F&R quick-lifts & car stands, bodywork stands, under-wing stands, gear change stand

Genoa 3-car Transporter: Kenworth T-600 tractor & Concepts 48' race trailer from new. Fresh conversion for '08,
w/75'x25' awning - designed for efficient loading and storage
Stocked with car hardware & spares, tooling & jigs, laptop computers & monitors
Beautiful dual-stage air-conditioned interior, with epoxy coated custom cabinetry, (5) fixed dbl. length & (6) roll-out Listas, and stainless steel surfaces throughout More ...
racing news
World-Wide Buyers Set to Descend On PRI Show  The motorsports industry will certainly be contributing its share to help rebuild the American economy as buyers from more than 60 nations have signed up to attend the 22nd annual PRI Trade Show in Orlando, Fla., Dec. 10-12 in the Orange County Convention Center.

As racers seek every competitive advantage available, national borders no longer serve as barriers in purchasing the kind of winning motorsports technology on display at the PRI Trade Show.  The show has grown to become what’s generally considered the single best place to conduct motorsports business internationally.  This year’s PRI Show has already seen buyers from 61 different nations register for the trade show that attracts more than 40,000 attendees. More ...
Grand-Am announces 2010 Grand-Am Koni schedule  Ten races, spanning across the U.S. and Canada, will make up the 2010 Grand-Am KONI Sports Car Challenge schedule, which Grand-Am Road Racing announced today.

Nine of those races will be held in conjunction with the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16. The single stand-alone race is the popular Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières in Quebec, Canada.

The 2010 schedule will kick off with the Fresh From Florida 200 at Daytona International Speedway. The season opener will be during the Rolex 24 At Daytona weekend, scheduled for Jan. 29-31, and will consist of several fan-friendly events, such as the return of the grid fan walk, behind-the-scenes paddock access and car club activities, which will be included in all events throughout the season. Newly-crowned Grand Sport (GS) champion Ken Wilden and Street Tuner (ST) titlist Christian Miller are expected to begin defense of their 2009 crowns at Daytona. More ...

Latest F1 news in brief - 2  
  • F1 absence has not changed Massa - Barrichello
  • Raikkonen yet to make plans for 2010
  • Kubica hints experienced driver to be 2010 teammate
  • Massa allegations 'not important' - Alonso
  • Brazil eyes 90,000 crowd for Sunday's GP

F1 absence has not changed Massa - Barrichello
(GMM)  Rubens Barrichello on Thursday played down suggestions his friend and countryman Felipe Massa has changed since his serious accident in July.

Brazilian Massa, 28, has been particularly outspoken in recent times, suggesting his 2010 Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso knows more about crash-gate, and saying Jenson Button might blow the world championship.

Barrichello was asked by a British reporter if he thinks Massa's absence has changed him.

"No, I don't think he has (changed).  I think he's been the same person and all my wishes, when I was at the hospital, were that he was the same guy," said the Brawn driver.

Barrichello, 37, said he believes Massa's apparent outspokenness is a combination of his sitting out races, and the media paying particular attention to his comments.

"In formula one if you're not traveling with everyone all the time and not hearing what the same people are talking about, you just get different ideas and maybe you're flying on your own ideas," he said.

"He's been out for a month and then he comes back in and talks about something and it becomes a lot more important.

"For me it's just the fact that he's been out and not living the world that we're living in," Barrichello added.

He also said Massa appears to be the same driver as before his Hungarian shunt.

"After I saw him with my own eyes and I saw that he was the same, I wished that he could drive the same way, and he went to Fiorano and did that," said Barrichello, referring to Massa's test earlier this week in a F2007 Ferrari.

"From all the people that I've spoken to and to himself, it looked like he got into the car and on the third lap he was on the pace," he added. More ...

Nelson Piquet, Jr. tests a Red Horse Racing Toyota Truck  Shunned by the Formula One community for blowing the whistle on his team boss at Renault, Flavio Briatore, for ordering him to intentionally race crash to bring out a caution to put his teammate in position to win the Singapore Grand Prix, Brazil’s Nelson Piquet, Jr. found himself in at the Motor Mile, a short track in Radford, Virginia to test a Toyota Tundra Truck owned by Red Horse Racing.

NASCAR fans may not have heard of the son three-time World Champion Nelson Piquet, Jr. but he may be making the jump to stock car racing if the far-flung world-wide series turns its’ back on him. More ...
tv news
Jimmie Johnson To Be First Non-Boxing Athlete On HBO's "24/7"  HBO Sports’ groundbreaking “24/7” reality franchise, which has captured seven Sports Emmy® Awards, will debut its first non-boxing series with 24/7 JIMMIE JOHNSON:  RACE TO DAYTONA, an all-new, four-episode, all-access series chronicling the driver and his team as they prepare for the Daytona 500, the Super Bowl of auto racing, it was announced today by Ross Greenburg, president, HBO Sports. Debuting TUESDAY, JAN. 26 (10:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT), the four-week series spotlights one of racing’s biggest stars, reigning three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, and gives viewers an inside look at the driver and his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team as they prepare for the biggest race of the year.

Noted Greenburg, “Taking our reality series ‘24/7’ behind the scenes in the world of NASCAR is like a dream come true. The ‘24/7’ franchise thrives on larger-than-life personalities, engaging storylines and unrestricted access.  With Jimmie Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports team, we have all of those ingredients, and more. We look forward to presenting a compelling television program that takes race fans deeper inside NASCAR than they’ve ever been before.” More ...

racing news
Forbes Names ISC CEO Lesa France Kennedy Most Powerful Woman in Sports  International Speedway Corporation (“ISC”) today announced that Forbes has named ISC Chief Executive Officer Lesa France Kennedy the Most Powerful Woman in Sports.  In selecting its list, Forbes focused primarily on individuals “whose decisions affect the largest sports-related revenue streams--be they from teams, leagues or corporate sponsors.” 

The article dated October 14, 2009, states France Kennedy’s “26-year career at ISC spans a period that expanded the sport past its Southern base.”  The article added, “She rose to president in 2003 and to CEO this June.  Analysts say she's played a big role in most all of the company's acquisitions and improvement projects dating back to the 1990s.” More ...

Brazilian GP: Thursday Press Conference  Title rivals Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello and Seb Vettel attended Thursday's press conference for the Brazilian GP.

Q: Gentlemen, first of all questions to you all. Are there any particular preparations you have made for this race? Who would like to start? Sebastian. You have prayed for rain obviously.

Sebastian VETTEL: Yes, successfully today. No, we will see. Nothing special really. I have been here a couple of times and I like the circuit. It is up and down but preparation-wise nothing special.

Q: Jenson?

Jenson BUTTON: Not really. I've been spending a few days in the sun which is quite nice before coming here. I arrived here on Tuesday to get used to the time zone but it is really strange with the weather. Tuesday it was cold, yesterday it was really hot and today it is raining. It is very up and down with the conditions and it is going to be the same for the weekend. There is a very good chance of rain but also there is the possibility of it being dry, so it's a tough one. It's the same for all of us and I am sure we will make the best out of every situation. More ...

Another blow after Donington funding scheme launched  (GMM)  Donington's bid to host the 2010 British grand prix received yet another blow on Thursday.

On Wednesday, 12 days before the contract with formula one could be definitively cancelled, the venue revealed a loans investment proposal with the aim of raising the money for renovations to the Leicestershire track.

But the Reuters news agency revealed on Thursday that the financial analysis firm Standard and Poors has issued Donington Holdings a CCC+ credit rating.

According to Standard and Poors' ratings definitions, CCC-rated obligations are "vulnerable to non-payment", with the obligor "not likely to have the capacity to meet its financial commitment" in the event of adverse business.

The Times newspaper all but wrote off Donington's chances of success, referring to a "nation in recession, the markets staggering back to their feet and Donington little more than a motor racing shanty town in a Leicestershire field".

Renault livery unchanged in Brazil  (GMM)  Contrary to pre-event rumors, Renault will race with an unchanged livery in Brazil this weekend.

It had been speculated that, in the wake of ING's departure as title sponsor, the team might launch a new image for the final two races of 2009 by dropping the orange from the livery of its R29 car.

But as mechanics worked on the cars and presented them for scrutineering at Interlagos on Thursday, the livery appeared identical to the one raced at Suzuka two weeks ago.

Button to stroke it to title in Brazil  (GMM)  Jenson Button on Thursday said his two title rivals need to be more aggressive in Brazil this weekend, while he seeks a "balance" between speed and caution.

The lowest step of the podium at Interlagos will guarantee the Brawn driver wraps up the championship with a race to spare, and his opponents Rubens Barrichello and Sebastian Vettel confirmed that their only possible strategy is victory.

"They need to be more aggressive than I am, for sure," Button, 29, told reporters in Brazil.

The Briton deflected criticism that his championship, if achieved, will be remembered for a second half devoid of victories since June and an apparent struggle to even keep up with the occupant of the sister car. More ...

Vettel vows to grow beard until title over  (GMM)  Sebastian Vettel has vowed to keep growing his beard until he is either crowned the 2009 world champion or beaten by his rivals to formula one's biggest prize.

Having won in Japan two weeks ago with an unshaven stubbly look, the 22-year-old German appeared at the Interlagos circuit on Thursday, scene of Sunday's penultimate round of the season, wearing a tatty beard.

He has apparently agreed a pact with some of his closest mechanics at the Red Bull team to avoid the razor while he is still mathematically able to clinch the title.

FIA reacts after Rosberg speeding glitch  (GMM)  F1's governing body has reacted after Nico Rosberg escaped penalty despite speeding during a safety car period at Suzuka two weeks ago.

The stewards considered penalizing the Williams driver after the Japanese race, but investigations revealed that he was unable to keep track of his lap time because a low-fuel warning message was filling his digital display.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports on Thursday that the situation was due to the fact that the display of the fuel warning was given a higher priority than the safety car delta time by the standard electronics supplied by McLaren MES.

The FIA has reacted to the glitch by allowing the teams to program their own priorities for the drivers' digital display, meaning that in future the standard ECU software cannot be blamed for speeding.

FIA plays down neutrality breach claims  (GMM)  F1's governing body on Thursday played down reports that senior FIA officials are breaching their neutrality by assisting Jean Todt's push for presidency.

The leaked emails made it appear that the Frenchman is being unfairly favored due his support by the incumbent Max Mosley, but an FIA spokesman insists that other officials are bolstering the campaign of Todt's rival, Ari Vatanen.

"We are aware that people are campaigning on behalf of both candidates," the spokesman was quoted as saying by the PA news agency.

Earlier on Thursday, the Daily Telegraph newspaper indicated that the FIA statutes do not preclude employees lobbying for electoral candidates, but that the situation might be a breach of French law.

The FIA spokesperson insisted: "The election is being conducted in accordance with the FIA statutes and with the law.  Nothing we have seen has contradicted that."

Another wet Brazilian GP in store  UPDATE (GMM)  It is a warm but wet day at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, in sprawling metropolis Sao Paulo, as the F1 circus gathers ahead of the Brazilian grand prix weekend.

Thursday's weather feels warm and in the mid twenties, and amid the humidity is the occasional shower of rain.

The weather is forecast to remain changeable throughout the penultimate event on the 2009 calendar, with temperatures tipped to drop beginning on Friday.

10/15/09 Wet conditions are expected during the Brazilian Grand Prix.  Showers and temperatures below 20 degrees Celsius are expected for practice on Friday. It will be slightly warmer for qualifying on Saturday, but the rain won't stay away. Things are also not looking good for Sunday's race as scattered thunder storms are predicted.

BMW technical director Willi Rampf admits it is always difficult to drive in wet conditions at Interlagos.

"The weather can play a decisive role in Interlagos with the likelihood of rain at this time of year being pretty high," he said. "Heavy rainfall causes rivulets of water on the track, which leads to aquaplaning."

formula bmw
Nasr celebrates double victory in Singapore  It was a perfect weekend for Eurointernational’s Felipe Nasr (BR): the Brazilian made a guest appearance in the Formula BMW Pacific series in Singapore at the end of September and won both races from pole position. Nasr lined up as a guest driver at the “Marina Bay Circuit” and set out to impress in rounds 11 and 12 of the season.

In the first race of the weekend, the podium line-up was completed by championship leader Rio Haryanto (ID) from Questnet Team Qi-Meritus and James Kovacic (AU/Eurointernational) in second and third respectively. Kovacic had raced in the Formula BMW Americas series in 2009. After a hectic start with a subsequent safety car phase, Nasr dictated the pace with ease and celebrated a lights-to-flag victory, finishing 4.22 seconds ahead of Haryanto in second. In the second round, Eurointernational’s 400th Formula BMW race, Formula BMW Americas Rookie Cup winner Michael Lewis (US) and Kovacic picked up another two podium finishes for their team: however, victory was never in doubt for Nasr, who crossed the finish line 2.069 seconds ahead of Lewis.

“I’m really grateful to be here this weekend,” said Nasr after his double success, which came on the support program for the Singapore Grand Prix. “It has been a great week for the team and me and to have three Eurointernational cars here on the podium is very good.”

Safety measures taken at Interlagos final corner  The FIA has revealed that a small number of measures have been taken ahead of this year's Brazilian Grand Prix as, like with all circuits on the calendar, updates are made to improve safety ahead of Formula One's annual visit.

With Interlagos being one of the most traditional venues on the calendar, modifications will always be minimal due to the limited amounts of space available in the surroundings of the São Paulo circuit; however, a number of changes have been made ahead of the 2009 race.

The largest visual difference to the circuit sees the outside wall of Turn 14 (Subida dos Boxes), the fast sweeping left-hander onto the start/finish straight, brought in towards the edge of the track in order to lessen the blow should a car leave the circuit.

Other changes include new artificial grass on the outside of Turn 4 (Subida do Lago), improved concrete drains at Turns 3 (Curva do Sol), 7 (Ferradura) and 11 (Mergulho), a debris fence added to the left-hand wall before the pit entry and all tire barriers increased in thickness by two rows.

Ferrari previews Brazil  And so we come to the penultimate round of the season, the Brazilian Grand Prix. That in itself is an unusual statement, as the race at Interlagos has brought the curtain down on the Formula 1 calendar every year since 2006. In the past three years, the fact this was the final round has added to the buzz, but even so, the current championship situation means that the weekend should provide the usual Brazilian mix of tension, drama and excitement.

In the past few years, Felipe Massa has been very much at the centre of this excitement, so it is appropriate that, for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, this week started under the sign of the Brazilian flag, when our driver came to Maranello and on Monday, got behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car for the first time since his accident during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix back in July. Running a privately owned F2007, fitted with tires used in GP2, the session went well, despite being interrupted by heavy rain. “The moment I got back in the car, it was exactly like before the accident, as if nothing had happened,” said Felipe. “It was important to demonstrate to the people who work with me that nothing has changed, that I can be competitive and that I can contribute to what will be the new car and to next year’s fight for the title. I knew that everything was 95% alright and after the test I can even cancel out the last 5% of doubt I had.” Felipe’s absence from the cockpit creates an unusual statistic in that this will be the first time since 1999 that Ferrari has not had a Brazilian driver lining up on the Interlagos grid.

Having returned home from the Far East and Japan, part of the Scuderia has already made the journey west to Brazil, with the remainder arriving in the next few days. The cars and equipment were flown directly to Sao Paulo from Japan, after the race cars had been rebuilt in the Suzuka paddock on the Sunday night after the race.

The Interlagos circuit has been good to Ferrari in past years and has provided the backdrop to some significant moments for the Prancing Horse: 2006 saw a fantastic win from Felipe Massa, dressed for the occasion in overalls bearing the Brazilian national colors. That day, Michael Schumacher did not make the podium, but emotions ran high as it was the German’s last F1 race. The following year, it was Kimi Raikkonen who clinched the win and the world title, with Felipe joining him on the podium in second place. Last year produced possibly the most exciting race and championship finish of all time, when Felipe crossed the line as winner of the race and for a short moment as winner of the Drivers’ title, only for Lewis Hamilton to snatch it away in the final few hundred meters.

While the atmosphere at Interlagos will surely be as intense and emotional as ever, Ferrari arrives here in a very different situation to those past years, fighting for the more modest aim of finishing third in the Constructors’ championship. Perhaps the team can take heart by looking back to 2005, another difficult season for the team, as back then, the cars were more competitive here than at other tracks. This year, when again the team is struggling to match the quickest cars, the F60 will benefit from the use of KERS, which should make a significant difference on the uphill sections to the main straight, as well as the shorter back straight. However, as other teams continue to develop their current car, the challenge facing the Scuderia, whose technical focus has long since shifted to 2010, gets ever tougher.

The famous anti-clockwise track demands a large degree of compromise in terms of car set-up, as it is fast in parts, but sufficient downforce is also required to deal with the slower middle sector. However, in order to improve the chances of overtaking and defending position, maintaining a good top speed level is important for Sunday afternoon. A further factor for the engineers to take into account is that the circuit is around 800 meters above sea level which saps power from the engines. At 4.3 kilometers in length, this is a very short track: last year, Massa’s pole winning lap time was a very short 1’12”368, which means the qualifying times are invariably much closer here than elsewhere. When one considers that close lap times have been a season-long feature, it could be a case of the difference between a place on the front three or back three rows of the grid being decided by hundredths of a second, therefore a perfect lap will be required to ensure a chance of delivering a reasonable result the following afternoon.

In recent races, Bridgestone have brought tires that stand next to one another in the list of compounds, but for this race, the supply reverts to the previous practice of bringing two types that are significantly different and here the choice will be between the “Supersoft” and the “Medium” which has occasionally proved problematic this year, especially in the opening round in Melbourne, although less so in Bahrain and at the Nurburgring. The Supersoft could come under severe strain because of the characteristics of the track, which would then impact on strategic choices regarding when to run it and for how many laps during the race. The weather could also play its part, as at this time of year, almost every day sees rain at Interlagos, although its time and duration is hard to predict.

Between them, our two drivers have two wins and five further Sao Paulo podiums. In fact, they are very closely linked in one instance: the 2003 race ended in rain-induced chaos and after the checkered flag, Kimi was declared the winner. It was only a few days later that it was decided there had been an error and that the real winner was Giancarlo Fisichella, then driving for Jordan. In an amusing ceremony on the grid at the following round in Imola, the two drivers duly swapped their second and first placed trophies. Kimi, who will celebrate his thirtieth birthday this Saturday, won for real in 2007, with three second places and one third since 2003, while Giancarlo finished second in 2000.  Ferrari  PR

4.5 million Fords are recalled  Ford Motor Co. is recalling 4.5 million vehicles because of a switch that can overheat and catch fire. It's the automaker's eighth recall in a decade involving the same switch, which has resulted in the recall of more than 14 million vehicles.

Ford is recalling 1.1 million Ford Windstar minivans, with the model years 1995 through 2003, which could have the problem. The automaker also is recalling 3.4 million additional vehicles that have the switch, including Ford Excursions, Explorers and Rangers of various model years, going back as far as 1992.

"While the data show the majority of the vehicles being recalled do not pose a significant safety risk, we are recalling the vehicles to reassure customers and eliminate any future concerns," Ford said in a statement. More ...

Windsor refutes Cosworth 'scandal' talk  Peter Windsor, the team principal of the new USF1 outfit, has played down talk of a 'scandal' regarding Cosworth’s involvement in the selection process for the 2010 F1 season – insisting that he finds the situation 'very odd'.

A number of potential entrants voiced concern over the fact that those teams seeking a place on the grid for next season were told they would have to go with Cosworth engines, with USF1, Campos, Manor and Lotus all agreeing to use the engine.

Others however voiced concern over the fact they were being told to use the Cosworth motor, with Prodrive amongst those to have said they didn’t feel it was right to have been told what engines they should use if they wanted to secure a slot on the grid.

However, in an interview with 422race.com, Windsor said he didn’t understand what all the fuss was about and said that the engine deal had simply been one of a ‘number of criteria’ team’s were expected to fulfill. More ...

track news
Watkins Glen announces Rahal event  Watkins Glen International will host a vintage racing series event next year billed as Bobby Rahal's Legends of Motorsports.

Rahal, a partner in promoter Historic Motorsports Productions, says his group will invite a full complement of vintage racing cars and teams to The Glen next June.

Among the classes of cars expected to participate are: GTP/Group C; 3.0 Liter era Formula One; 2.0 Liter Sports Racers; Trans-Am; Can-Am; NASCAR; IMSA GT/Production Cars; BOSS Cars; and F5000.

Rahal said additional events at other road courses will be announced in the future.

Silence Greets Thrilling IndyCar Finale  The Sunday morning newspapers told the story – or rather, they didn’t.

Checking my hometown  newspaper and surveying many of the papers that appear on the internet, it was quickly apparent that Saturday night’s rousing IndyCar Series finale made virtually zero impact outside of Homestead-Miami Speedway.

What a shame.

It isn’t that many years ago that the idea of open-wheel drivers, vying for a championship in a wheel-to-wheel battle at more than 200 mph would have brought a media room full of writers from around the country and a wave of interest from coast to coast. More ...

tv news
Potential hope for IRL's anemic TV package  Comcast Corp. executive Jeff Shell said at an industry conference in June that expanding the sports business at his cable networks was the "top of our list over the next five years."

If Comcast's bid to control NBC Universal succeeds, it would advance Mr. Shell's goal overnight, creating a potential new rival to Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN.

As the cable-TV giant and NBC Universal's parent, General Electric Co., work through details of a deal that would merge Comcast's cable networks with GE's NBC Universal, people close to the negotiations say the two companies see the creation of a combined sports business as a key benefit of a partnership.

The new company would marry Comcast's Versus and Golf Channel cable-sports networks and multiple regional sports networks with NBC Universal's broadcast-sports operation and rights to major sports events, including a Super Bowl and two Olympic games. More ...

Donington talks over £135m bond scheme for British grand prix  Simon Gillett, chief executive of UK racing circuit Donington Park, yesterday revealed he is in negotiations with CitiBank about a £135 million bond issue scheme to finance the £50 million revamp required to host the British grand prix.

On Monday, Bernie Ecclestone gave Donington two weeks to provide the financial guarantees to prove it is capable of hosting next year's race.

An earlier Goldman Sachs fundraising round was scrapped in April. The bonds, which will mature in 2016, will pay an annual yield of 15 per cent. It is understood that it will be clear by next week whether the scheme is likely to raise the necessary funds. More ...

team usa
De Phillippi, Smrz Complete Their First Day of Testing at Brands Hatch  
Connor De Phillippi and Brett Smrz
The latest pair of Team USA Scholarship drivers, Connor De Phillippi and Brett Smrz, today completed a successful first test session at Brands Hatch, where they will make their European racing debuts in this weekend’s Formula Ford Festival.

After an overnight flight from Boston to Dublin, followed by a seat fitting at Cliff Dempsey Racing’s shop in Ashbourne, County Meath, another overnight ferry journey to Holyhead in north Wales and then a lengthy drive to Brands Hatch in south-eastern England, De Phillippi and Smrz were able to take a brief look around the famed Brands Hatch Indy circuit prior to their first taste of their identically prepared Ray GRS07/08 Formula Ford cars. More ...

Video: First Laps around Abu Dhabi F1 circuit  
Organizers assure taxpayers they are not on hook for A1GP fiasco  Nikon SuperGP General Manager Greg Hooton was available in the Nikon SuperGP Pit Lane at 3.00pm today, please see below for a copy of the statement which he read at that time.

“I need to make it clear that this event is happening next week. Do not lose sight of the fact that I’m standing in V8 Pit Lane where next week the V8 Supercars will for the first time ever have two, 200km races. The V8 Supercars are absolutely a major aspect of this event and will be here in force next week,” said Hooton.

“There are certainly rumors surrounding the appearance of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport at the Nikon SuperGP at this time, there is no question about that. More ...

N. Technology and the FIA  The FIA selection process of the new 2010 teams is set to return to the spotlight with a further report that N. Technology is to take legal action against the sport’s governing body.

N. Technology withdrew its application in June and then threatened to take the FIA to court citing “irregularities” in the selection process.

Notably, parent company MSC organization felt that their application was ultimately compromised as the proposed new team had not opted to use Cosworth engines. Campos, Lotus, Manor and USF1 will all use the British-built V8 next year. More ...

Quotes on NASCAR Hall of Fame's Inaugural Class  

About Bill France Jr.

Betty Jane France, his wife and NASCAR's assistant secretary and international Community relations director:
"Our entire family is honored to have Bill chosen for the Hall of Fame’s charter class. And I know that if he was still with us, he would be also feel honored by this recognition."

About Dale Earnhardt

Teresa Earnhardt, his wife and President and CEO of Dale Earnhardt, Inc.: "It is truly an honor to see Dale Earnhardt recognized as one of the five most influential members of the NASCAR family and inducted in the first class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Of the many legendary accomplishments and accolades of his career –- from the seven championships to the win in the Daytona 500 to the founding of Dale Earnhardt, Inc. -- this is another defining moment.  It is the achievement of a lifetime and is celebrated by the millions of Dale Earnhardt fans around the world."

Dale Earnhardt Jr., his son: "For what my Dad achieved in this sport –- both on and off the track –- he certainly earned his place in history and deserves to be distinguished in this inaugural class of NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees. I want to thank the voting panel and nomination committee for recognizing that and honoring him this way.  It means a lot to the Earnhardt family, and it means a lot to my Dad's fans, which I am one.  He was the man, plain and simple." More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Massa 'certain' Alonso involved in crash-gate
  • Simon Roberts returns to McLaren from Force India
  • N.Technology/FIA court outcome known soon
  • Aus GP organizers reveal $40m race loss
  • Vatanen ejected during Mosley meeting
  • Lauda tips big teams to bounce back in 2010
  • Lotus eyes experienced drivers for 2010 line-up

Massa 'certain' Alonso involved in crash-gate
(GMM)  Felipe Massa risked tainting his forthcoming 2010 pairing at Ferrari with Fernando Alonso this week by declaring that the Spaniard must have known about Nelson Piquet's deliberate crash in Singapore.

"Without a doubt he knew it," Brazilian Massa, who will be joined at Ferrari by the current Renault driver next year, told a group of journalists in a Sao Paulo restaurant on Wednesday.

"There is no way he couldn't know it.  I'm certain," he added, when asked about 28-year-old Alonso's knowledge of the crash-gate affair.

By the Spanish news agency EFE, Massa was quoted as adding: "Without a doubt, Fernando knew it.  Logically he had to.  There is no way he couldn't have."

Italian reports added that Massa and Alonso have had no contact since the Spaniard was confirmed as a 2010 Ferrari driver.

Later, a statement appeared on Ferrari's official website, playing down Massa's comments that caused "some uproar on the internet".

The Italian team said Massa, also 28, wanted to clarify his comments.

"What I've said is the outcome of a hunch I've had and is not based on any concrete evidence," said Massa, who insisted he respects that the FIA cleared Alonso of any implication in the affair.

"What is certain is that this episode will not mar in any way the relationship I'll have with Fernando when we will be teammates," he added. More ...

track news
Indy Speedway up for sale?  There are rumors that now that Tony George has been moved out of his position running the Indianapolis Motor Speedway by his own family members, that the facility may be up for sale. There seems to be little more to the story than pure speculation at the moment but if the Hulman-George family, which has own the facility since 1945, when it was acquired from Eddie Rickenbacker, does decide it has had enough of motor racing the obvious people to sell the track to would be France Family, owners of the International Speedway Corporation, NASCAR and GrandAm. There is speculation that the speedway could be worth as much as $600m. The venue has much scope for expansion as it is currently used for racing only three times a year.
Mosley shows Vatanen the door  Ari Vatanen was marched out of Max Mosley's office on Tuesday, after a three‑minute audience with the world motor sport president. Vatanen, who is standing for election as the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile's president, was in Monaco for the Sportel conference and had been invited to meet Mosley at the FIA offices. But Vatanen told fellow delegates, including Prince Albert of Monaco and Uefa's president, Michel Platini, that the meeting ended after he attempted to discuss the electoral process.

Vatanen says he sought to clarify suggestions that the election Mosley is overseeing will involve the 210 FIA voters receiving ballot papers in named envelopes. Vatanen told those at Sportel that when he recommended that, in the interests of transparency, ballot papers should be distributed at random, Mosley escorted the Finn smartly to the door of his office, with the exclamation: "I am not arguing with you." More ...

Medium and super soft tires for Brazil  Bridgestone heads to Sao Paulo for the Brazilian Grand Prix on October 16-18, where the medium and super soft compound Potenzas will be put to use around the undulating anti-clockwise Interlagos circuit. This is the penultimate race of the season and the final time that this allocation will be seen.

The combination of medium and super soft has been seen previously this year in Australia, China, Bahrain and Germany.

Hirohide Hamashima - Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tire Development:

What are the challenges of Interlagos?

“This is a very challenging and exciting circuit. The first corner comes at the end of a long straight, and it goes downhill, meaning that finding the correct braking point is difficult. We expect to see some overtaking and brake locking here, and this could damage the tires. The circuit surface often starts very dirty and we see a lot of improvement over the weekend. As we saw last year, the weather can also be a very big challenge.” More ...

Hamilton warns fellow Brit of hate in Brazil  Jenson Button must prepare for a cauldron of hate when he bids for world title glory in Brazil on Sunday.  The Brit takes on teammate and title rival Rubens Barrichello in the Brazilian’s backyard in Sao Paulo.

Brawn GP star Button leads his pal by 14 points with Germany’s Sebastian Vettel two further back.

And Lewis Hamilton knows just what Button will face after going up against Brazilian Felipe Massa in their championship decider in Sao Paulo last year.

Hamilton was driven to the Interlagos track in a bullet-proof car amid fears he would be targeted by armed gangs in the local slums.

The McLaren Mercedes team took on extra security in case fans — who booed the Brit every time he went down the home straight — tried to sabotage his car.

Hamilton, 24, said: “It was the most intense experience of my life. I had two per cent of the fans wanting me to win while the rest were for Felipe.

“There is going to be a lot of support for Rubens this year as he is the local boy. But I think every driver deals with these situations in their own way.

“I’m sure that Jenson, Rubens and Sebastian are just focusing on their own races rather than each other.”

ACO brings broadcast rights in-house  The Automobile Club de L’Ouest (ACO) takes the opportunity of the Sportel to announce that it brings back the marketing of all its motorsports competitions excluding motobikes, starting November 1st 2009. This includes 24 Hours Le Mans, Le Mans Series in Europe, Asian Le Mans Series.

Rémy Brouard, Managing Director of the ACO, is delighted to announce that “this decision gives the ACO the opportunity to optimize the distribution of their rights.

The sales of the right will be done by:
- Fabrice Bourrigaud for the 24 Hours, Marketing and Commercial Director of the ACO,
- Patrick Peter, Managing Director of Le Mans Series

Stewart excited to drive for Dale Jr.  Tony Stewart will drive in his third Nationwide Series race of the season Friday, stepping into JR Motorsports' No. 5 Chevrolet for the Dollar General 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

This will be Stewart's first start for the JRM team, co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Rick Hendrick, and he should be a strong contender to take it to victory.

"It's going to be a lot of fun driving for Dale Jr. and Mr. Hendrick this weekend," Stewart said. "I raced at Daytona earlier this year with HMS and was lucky enough to get a victory. This will be my first race under the JRM banner, and it's exciting. JRM consistently puts strong cars on the track, and we're hoping to capitalize on that with the Delphi team."

Kahne stands by bogus caution statement (Kiss his career goodbye)  During the NASCAR video teleconference on Tuesday, Kasey Kahne answered a few questions for Insider Racing News. The questions and answers are below:

Q. Sometimes in the heat of the moment, we all say things that we shouldn't say. Do you still stand by your statement that NASCAR threw a phantom caution to make the race more entertaining?

KASEY KAHNE: I never said phantom. I think other people may have said that. But I was frustrated. We had a Budweiser Dodge. We made adjustments to get it to where it was. We were a 25th place car at the start of the race and we figured out how to get in the top six, top five. Kurt Busch made a mistake and got me in Biffle, and then I was in another wreck right after that. So I was frustrated. I was disappointed and kind of what had happened to us in the Chase, we have had top ten cars in each race and had a few different problems now that we couldn't do anything about. I said that, and yeah, I didn't see anything on the track. My eyes are wide open, so at the time I was definitely frustrated. But we also need exciting races and we need exciting finishes, and a track like that, the tire we are racing on there, there's things that make that race, to me, pretty boring, and we needed a caution there at the end to make it exciting and I guess that's what the fans got. More ...

Statement from Roger Curtis on the inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame class  NASCAR on Wednesday announced the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame: Dale Earnhardt, Bill France Sr., Bill France Jr., Junior Johnson and Richard Petty.

Statement from Roger Curtis, president, Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., on the inaugural class:

“These gentlemen make up an amazing class of inductees and are truly deserving of what an inaugural hall of fame class should be. More ...

Force India announces new chief operating officer  The Force India Formula One Team's chairman and team principal Dr Vijay Mallya today confirmed at its Silverstone headquarters, in the presence of all staff members and McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, that Otmar Szafnauer has been appointed to the position of Force India chief operating officer. Otmar will take over the role from Simon Roberts, who has now completed his one year secondment from McLaren Applied Technologies.

Otmar has a wealth of Formula One experience having held, amongst other senior motorsport management positions, director of strategy and business planning for Honda Racing F1 Team from 2006 - 2008 and operations director at British American Racing  from 1998 - 2001. He will now take over Simon's direct responsibilities, including overseeing factory and trackside operations and will ensure maximum productivity from all Force India in-house departments. Furthermore he will liaise with McLaren Applied Technologies and Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines to strengthen the existing relationship. More ...

Jan Magnussen being taken out on last lap at Laguna Seca  Final lap contact by the #3 Corvette Racing C6.R and #45 Flying Lizard Motorsports GT3 RSR at the 2009 Monterey Sports Car Championship at Laguna Seca. Video is slowed down, first full speed, then ...
McMurry to step back from fulltime driving  
Amid the hoopla of Gil de Ferran’s retirement following the Monterey Sports Car Championship presented by Patr¢n, another driver quietly exited the stage after building an impressive array of results in his American Le Mans Series career. On the podium following the race, emotions for AutoCon Motorsports were particularly high as Chris McMurry bid farewell to full-time racing. 

McMurry, who ran with Team Bucknum Racing, Miracle Motorsports, and more recently with AutoCon, is hanging up the array of colorful helmets he became known for after 57 American Le Mans Series starts, six class wins including Sebring in 2005, 23 podiums and 46 top-5 finishes, and two appearances at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. More ...

Dale Jr. still leads NASCAR drivers in sales  Danica Patrick has won just 1 of 81 IRL races (1.23%). But Dale Earnhardt Jr. has Patrick easily beat on that winning percentage. "Little E" has won 1 of the last 129 Sprint Cup races (0.77%) and he's 0 for the last 51. Yet, Earnhardt seems to be humming along in the business world. This week, Nationwide announced this week it was renewing its deal with him and we just got the NASCAR.com SuperStore sales rankings and guess what? Earnhardt is in his familiar No. 1 spot. Here's the list of the Top 10 best-selling drivers on the Web site:

Top 10 Best-Selling NASCAR Drivers
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2. Tony Stewart
3. Jeff Gordon
4. Jimmie Johnson
5. NASCAR-branded items
6. Kyle Busch
7. Carl Edwards
8. Kasey Kahne
9. Mark Martin
10. Dale Earnhardt Sr. CNBC.com
McLaren surprised by Ferrari's 2010 car focus  (GMM)  The McLaren team has admitted it is surprised that Ferrari ceased developing its 2009 car.

The British outfit's engineering director Paddy Lowe said on Wednesday that with track testing banned, it is during the three hours of Friday practice at grands prix that a lot of development for current and future components takes place.

Departing Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen said this week he is hoping for a podium in Brazil but "every race things are more and more difficult for us because the other teams continue improving their cars". More ...

racing news
Schumacher announces support for Todt as Mosley successor  Seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher expressed his support Wednesday for Jean Todt to succeed Max Mosley as the president of motorsport's ruling body, the FIA.

'I am totally convinced that Jean Todt is the right person to become the next FIA president,' the 40-year-old German said in a statement on his website www.michael-schumacher.de.

Schumacher's public expression of support for Todt comes as no surprise as he has worked with the Frenchman for 15 years at Ferrari.

'It is time for some changes but these changes must be carefully managed by someone as experienced as Jean, who on the one hand has put together the right team to deliver the performance the FIA needs, and on the other hand will be actually able to effect change,' said Schumacher explaining his decision.

Mosley has already said that he believes former Ferrari principal Todt should become his successor, and has questioned whether the second candidate former rally world champion Ari Vatanen has the capabilities necessary for the job.

Vettel not reverting to mind games amid title push  (GMM)  Sebastian Vettel on Wednesday said he is not prepared to escalate his battle for the 2009 world championship into a psychological war.

"I don't think very much about that," the 22-year-old German said in an interview published by Germany's Abendzeitung.

Vettel enters this weekend's penultimate round in Brazil with only a slim chance of overhauling championship leader Jenson Button for the drivers' title at Abu Dhabi in less than three weeks.

His Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner has already compared Brawn's Button with a football player about to blow a decisive penalty.

Horner's latest appearance in the media is to observe that "he (Button) can lose everything and he will not be able to get that out of his mind". More ...

2010 Brickyard 400 Tickets On Sale Now  Tickets for the 2010 Brickyard 400, scheduled for Sunday, July 25 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, are on sale now.

Fans have three methods to purchase tickets for one of the premier races on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule:
*Online: Visit the Tickets section of www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com.
*Phone: Call the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700, or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area.
*In person: Visit the ticket office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street. More ...
Drivers tell Danica to quit IndyCar and do NASCAR fulltime  UPDATE Roush Fenway Racing offered Danica Patrick, whose introduction to NASCAR was a Ford Racing test several years ago, an opportunity to run NASCAR when her Indy Racing League contract was up three years ago and have entertained her as a guest at Sprint Cup races. But co-owner Jack Roush isn't interested in Patrick if she remains in IndyCar  which apparently is a condition for any NASCAR team interested in signing her. "She'd like to drive her IRL car and on off weekends come drive a Nationwide or Sprint (Cup) car, and that's not going to work," Roush said Tuesday at RFR headquarters. "Those of us who understand how difficult this business is know that. This is really, really, really, really hard to do. She may be able to do it or she may not. I hope that she can, but she certainly won't be able to do it with distractions or a minimized effort. If she wants to do this, she'd need to come in with all her heart and soul and commitment and make that determination of what was possible. I'm not sure it's possible. It's potentially possible, but I'm stopped short of saying it's likely that she can do this, based on what she's done. She's talked to us a couple of different times, and there was no timetable on getting back to us. I told her if she wanted to do this, she should do a Nationwide or truck program first with great enthusiasm and then she should reconsider and take stock of things and decide what the timetable should be for a full Cup program. As long as she's got an interest in running the IRL with priority in her schedule, she doesn't have the time for a concerted effort. And without that, she will not be successful." USA Today

10/10/09 All-in or not at all.

That's the message Juan Pablo Montoya and Jimmie Johnson had for Danica Patrick and her plan to give NASCAR a shot.

Patrick is hoping to work out a deal with JR Motorsports to run a few Nationwide races next season while continuing to race full-time in the IndyCar Series.

"I wouldn't be doing both cars, to be honest with you," Montoya said Friday. "That's my advice. The cars are so different. You will get comfortable [in the Nationwide car] and then go to the other thing, and every time you come back will be like night and day."

Johnson, who was listening when Montoya gave his opinion on Patrick's plan, shook his head in agreement.

"I think that's a valid point," Johnson said. "The overall thing she needs to accomplish is getting seat time. That's everything in learning these cars and these tracks. She may have raced at some of these tracks, but not in a closed-body vehicle. So it boils down to seat time."

Interesting season ending IndyCar stats  Some quickee facts and stats at the conclusion of the 14th IndyCar Series season:

Of the 40 drivers who started at least one race, 27 earned a top-10 finish, 18 a top five and 15 wound up on the podium.

Nine teams (counting Will Power in the Penske Racing car as part of Team Penske) finished on the podium. Four teams (Team Penske, Target Chip Ganassi Racing and Andretti Green Racing) had multiple podium finishers during the season. The fourth? Vision Racing with Ryan Hunter-Reay (runner-up at St. Pete) and Ed Carpenter (runner-up at Kentucky Speedway).

Dario Franchitti became the third driver to win multiple IndyCar Series championships. Sam Hornish Jr. leads with three (2001, 2002, 2006), and Scott Dixon has two (2003, 2008). More ...

Sarah Fisher To Be Grand Marshal At NASCAR Race  Sarah Fisher Racing’s (SFR) Sarah Fisher will be the Honorary Grand Marshal at the Dollar General 300 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C. on Fri., October 16. Two Dollar General cars fielded by Braun Racing will be painted pink for the race in support of Susan G. Komen for the Cure® and its efforts to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research and community programs. Brian Vickers and Reed Sorenson join Fisher in this effort to celebrate National Breast Cancer Awareness month.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series race comes on the heels of Fisher’s IndyCar Series event at Homestead-Miami Speedway this past weekend, where the four- time “Most Popular Driver” winner drove a pink car of her own. Fisher’s team partnered with Komen for the Cure to “go pink” for October’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in a multi-faceted initiative to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. Prior to attending the race in her signature pink suit, the IndyCar driver will join Komen President and CEO Hala Moddelmog, NASCAR wives and mothers and other famous motorsports women at a pre-race luncheon, celebrating women at the Bank of America Corporate Headquarters. More ...

tv news
ESPNews to air NASCAR Hall of Fame announcement  ESPNEWS will have live coverage on Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 4:00pm/et as the first five inductees into the new NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C., are announced. NASCAR Chairman Brian France will reveal the names of the first five in a news conference at the Charlotte Convention Center adjacent to the site of the under-construction Hall of Fame. NASCAR Now host Mike Massaro will host the telecast with ESPN NASCAR analyst Brad Daugherty. Following the news conference, more reports and analysis of the announcement will air on NASCAR Now at 5:00pm/et on ESPN2.  ESPN PR
racing news
Vatanen accuses Todt backers trying to block a 'mini-revolution  FIA presidential candidate Ari Vatanen says that rival Jean Todt backers are trying to block a "mini revolution".

F1's commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone and current FIA President Max Mosley have come out in support of Frenchman Todt, with Mosley having stated in a recent letter to Vatanen's nominated vice-president (sport) for the Middle East, HRH Prince Feisal al Hussein of Jordan, that the 1981 World Rally Champion will "lose badly". More ...

Roush to visit RPM  Jack Roush is scheduled to take a tour of the Richard Petty Motorsports facility on Wednesday. Other managers from Roush Fenway Racing will join Roush on the tour of the Statesville, N.C., shop. There have been ongoing talks since before September of a merger between Yates Racing, a sister organization of Roush Fenway, and RPM. Regardless of whether RPM merges with Yates, majority team owner George Gillett has said his team will be running Fords in 2010. Given that Roush is the principal supplier of Ford engines, RPM will be working directly with RFR in one form or another. FoxSports
Donington plans announced  In the light of recent speculation and criticism, not least from Bernie Ecclestone, Donington has today announced the funding plans that it insists will enable the Midlands circuit to host the British Grand Prix from 2010 onwards.

There has been much talk in the press of Ecclestone looking to Silverstone, the traditional host of the race, to take the fixture back, but Donington boss Simon Gillett insists the circuit will be ready for next year. Furthermore, Silverstone would need to guarantee substantial upgrades itself if Ecclestone were to reinstate the race at the Northamptonshire site, and it remains to be seen where the funding for that venture would come from.

An official statement from Donington read: More ...

A1GP to return to Zhuhai  China is again on the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport calendar with the series heading back to the Zhuhai International Circuit in Season Five for a race there on 15 November 2009. When the series last visited there in 2007 the track held its most successful motorsport event to date.

Commenting on the announcement A1GP Chairman, Tony Teixeira, said:  “This is great news as China has become an important stopover for our series. We have now been to four different circuits in the country for a total of six races, and the welcome has always been warm. I vividly remember the Zhuhai fans in 2007.  They were very enthusiastic, and were especially excited to see A1 Team China on the podium. This is an important region for us both in terms of racing and economically, so it was never a question of if we would return but when.” More ...
Williams announces Toyota engine split  UPDATE Toyota Motorsport confirms it has reached agreement with Williams F1 to end its engine supply contract at the end of the 2009 Formula 1 season.

An extension of the contract, which began in 2007, was signed earlier this year but at the request of Williams F1, has been terminated by mutual agreement.

Tadashi Yamashina, Chairman of Toyota Motorsport, said: "We have enjoyed a productive working relationship with Williams and I believe both companies have benefited from that partnership. We respect the wishes of Williams to look for other opportunities and wish them well for the future."

Since the partnership began, Toyota engines have powered 10 podium finishes; three for AT&T Williams and seven for Panasonic Toyota Racing. Toyota PR

10/14/09 (GMM)  Williams on Wednesday confirmed it will part company with its current engine supplier Toyota at the end of 2009.

Team principal Sir Frank Williams thanked the Japanese company for stepping forward with a three-year supply "at a time of great difficulty for us" in 2007.

"Toyota has been a very decent partner who have always respected our independence and provided us with a first-rate technical product," he said.

Also in the media statement, the Grove based team said it will confirm its new supplier for 2010 "in due course".

Brazilian media reports this week said the outfit will be powered by Cosworth engines, but a deal with Renault has also been speculated.

What they said about IndyCar Championship  UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Regarding the opening paragraph - “What they said about IndyCar Championship  The 2009 IndyCar Series championship came down to a three-man winner-take-all battle between Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti and Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe. Here's what members of the media had to say about the title fight - which was clinched by Franchitti with his win in the Firestone Indy 300 on Oct. 10.

Who knew? “

~ ~ ~

Who knew, indeed? With Versus gone from DirecTV, I turned to the Internet for the live stream from IndyCar.com (as I had done for Japan). But there was no mention of the video feed for Homestead on the IRL site, and my login resulted in a ‘This Program is not available in your Territory’ message, so… no race for me: the first IndyCar (read Champ Car/CART) race missed in at least a decade. Not that I didn’t try – I tried everything to login in, even re-registered with a promise from IndyCar.com that they would send me a confirmation e-mail in ‘about five minutes’. Four days, later, I’m still waiting.

However, I was pushed over to a page at IndyCar.com that reminded me to “Vote For Helio” on Dancing With The Stars, so I really didn’t expect much.

Tell me again somebody – anybody – how American Open Wheel Racing is better off with these bozos that it was with Champ Car/CART?  Even the Government couldn’t bail out this sorry mess…

Name Withheld By Request, Chicago, IL

10/13/09 The 2009 IndyCar Series championship came down to a three-man winner-take-all battle between Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti and Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe. Here's what members of the media had to say about the title fight - which was clinched by Franchitti with his win in the Firestone Indy 300 on Oct. 10.

Who knew?

Who knew that 300 miles would blur past without a crash, or an engine oiling the Homestead-Miami Speedway asphalt, or a piece of debris littering it? Not a single caution flag? You've got to be kidding!

Who knew, with Scott Dixon and Ryan Briscoe reeling off laps of 210 mph in a sizzling duel to collect a possibly decisive two-point bonus for leading the most laps, that they were flat-footing it right out of a title?

And who knew, one year ago, that a driver who abdicated his 2007 IndyCar throne and rolled snake eyes on a failed gamble on a ``second career'' in NASCAR, would not only return to IndyCar again in 2009 but rule it?

Even dapper Scot Dario Franchitti, in championship elation and after a kiss from actress/wife Ashley Judd, asked, ``Who'd have thought?''

Gary Long, Miami Herald


His head still swimming after emerging with the IndyCar Series championship, Dario Franchitti's body got the treatment Sunday as former teammate and champion Tony Kanaan tossed him in the pool of a South Beach hotel, a celebratory prank he saw coming.

While that and other gut instincts were proven right in returning to the series this year after spending half of 2008 in NASCAR, Franchitti was admittedly less prescient about winning his second title in three years. The stakes had been raised quickly in his time away, he believed, and Job 1 was getting past Scott Dixon, the defending champion and Chip Ganassi Racing teammate.

But in surviving a grueling three-way battle with Dixon and Team Penske's Ryan Briscoe, his adaptive skills became obvious, and Franchitti now aims to apply them to more title runs.

Gary Graves, USA Today More ...

Pedrosa and Dovizioso visit Honda Training Centre  
Pedrosa and Dovizioso training
Students at the Honda Australia Rider Training (HART) centre 20km north of Melbourne had an exciting surprise this morning when Repsol Honda aces Dani Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso visited the facility on their way to this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island. The factory Honda pair discussed riding technique and safety equipment with the instructors and students at the state-of-the-are training centre, which opened in May this year and forms part of Honda’s ongoing commitment to rider safety.

Pedrosa and Dovizioso also took the chance to test their skills on the pioneering Honda Riding Simulator which recreates a variety of realistic road riding environments and allows students to prepare for the hazards of motorcycling in a safe environment. Of course both riders displayed the ultra-quick reflexes and exquisite machine control to be expected from Grand Prix champions. But, like any normal students, they came unstuck with some of the less familiar hazards thrown their way by the simulator: weaving bicycles, wayward pedestrians and swerving vehicles. Pedrosa and Dovizioso left the HART training centre convinced of its value in promoting rider skills and safety.  More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Ecclestone tips Button to thwart title climax
  • Vettel pays $4000 for Beatles album
  • Silverstone plays cool as GP hopes re-lit
  • Candidates trade blows as battle for FIA winds down
  • UK gov't helped Brawn team to survive - Nick Fry

Ecclestone tips Button to thwart title climax
(GMM)  Wearing his hat as F1's commercial ringleader, Bernie Ecclestone's dream outcome to this year's title contest is a repeat of 2008, when the world championship was still undecided at the last corner of the season finale.

But a mere third place will guarantee the title for Jenson Button this weekend in Brazil, with a full race to spare.

"I would like to see him do me a big favor and get the world championship clinched in Abu Dhabi, but if he can't wait, well, I understand that," said Ecclestone, the sport's 78-year-old chief executive.

Albeit a big supporter of Sebastian Vettel, billionaire Ecclestone believes Button, 29, is the worthy winner -- because according to his desired 'medals' scoring concept, the Briton would already have the 2009 drivers' title in his possession.

"I think he'll get the job done," Ecclestone agrees.

If Button doesn't leave Sao Paulo with the title, however, his task for the Abu Dhabi finale is likely to be a simple one.

For instance, even if his nearest challenger and teammate Rubens Barrichello wins on Sunday while Button sleeps in the hotel, the Briton will still head to Yas Island two weeks later with a four point advantage.

And if Button is just fourth in Brazil, he will need only a single point in Abu Dhabi to emerge as world champion.

Red Bull's Vettel is a further 2 points adrift the Button-Barrichello challenge, but on his website Michael Schumacher advised his German countryman that "it's not over until it's over".

Mercedes' Norbert Haug agrees that "the momentum is with Sebastian", describing Vettel's recent Suzuka victory as the "most impressive of the entire season".

Triple world champion Niki Lauda however believes that Button cannot lose the title now unless he ceases to be "intelligent".

Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton however very nearly stumbled at Interlagos a year ago, recalling the "most intense experience of my life" in front of the massed grandstands of Brazilian enemies at Interlagos.

"I had two per cent of the fans wanting me to win while the rest were for Felipe (Massa)," said the Briton.  More ...

A1GP teams announced for Surfers  With the start of the Nikon SuperGP on Thursday October 22nd, it is time for fans to get their flags at the ready with the official team list of A1GP World Cup of Motorsport announced (despite ongoing bankruptcy issues with the series).

Nineteen countries in total are on the list, with the variety sure to give everyone someone to cheer for at the four-day event on the streets of Surfers Paradise.

Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland and the USA will all be represented when the cars line up on the grid next week.

Nikon SuperGP General Manager Greg Hooton welcomed the official release of the team’s ahead of what is the season-opener for A1GP. More ...

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