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DATE News (chronologically)
10/16/08
f1

Chinese GP: Hamilton tops Practice 1
Championship leader Lewis Hamilton turned a fast lap of 1m35.630s in his McLaren Mercedes to top opening practice in Shanghai for the Chinese Grand Prix.  2nd quick some 0.390s behind, was Hamilton's nearest F1 championship rival, Felipe Massa in his Ferrari.  Massa's Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen was a close third ahead of Heikki Kovalainen. 

Results

Pos

Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:35.630 + 0.000 23
2. Massa Ferrari 1:36.020 + 0.390 24
3. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:36.052 + 0.422 23
4. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:36.103 + 0.473 21
5. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:36.507 + 0.877 25
6. Alonso Renault 1:36.661 + 1.031 25
7. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:37.040 + 1.410 23
8. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:37.070 + 1.440 32
9. Piquet Renault 1:37.180 + 1.550 30
10. Vettel Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:37.278 + 1.648 25
11. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:37.491 + 1.861 26
12. Button Honda 1:37.619 + 1.989 25
13. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:37.630 + 2.000 23
14. Coulthard Red Bull-Renault 1:37.638 + 2.008 22
15. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:37.638 + 2.008 26
16. Glock Toyota 1:37.664 + 2.034 29
17. Barrichello Honda 1:37.827 + 2.197 28
18. Trulli Toyota 1:38.219 + 2.589 24
19. Sutil Force India-Ferrari 1:38.285 + 2.655 25
20. Fisichella Force India-Ferrari 1:38.479 + 2.849 26

Comment
10/16/08
speedcar

Speedcar Series announces new Operations Director
Speedcar Series announced today the appointment of Claudio Berro as Operations Director before the onset of Season 2 this December.

With 25 years of experience in the world of motorsport, Berro brings with him invaluable experience having served as Sporting Director of Peugeot-Italy, Team Manager and Press Officer of Ferrari F1 and then General Manager of Maserati and Fiat-Abarth respectively.

The Italian's appointment comes amid 3 days of testing the new and improved Speedcars at the Dubai Autodrome attended by a host of drivers including former F1 stars Johnny Herbert, Jean Alesi and Heinz Harald Frentzen. 

Read more & Comment...
10/16/08
formula bmw
Atlantic

Jensen MotorSport announces major driver incentive
Jensen MotorSport announced today that the team will provide a big incentive for drivers who plan to compete in the 2009 Formula BMW Americas championship. Jensen MotorSport will award a driver who wins the 2009 Formula BMW Americas series championship, specifically while driving for the Jensen MotorSport team, with a sponsored drive on our Atlantic Championship series team in the 2010 season.

“The Formula BMW championships in the Americas, Pacific, and Europe have produced many terrific drivers, including current Formula One stars Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg. However the challenge for most young drivers continues to be the opportunity to graduate up the racing ladder. Jensen MotorSport is proud of our history with graduating drivers from our Formula BMW team to our higher level Atlantic Championship team, including 2006 season drivers Frankie Muniz and Tom Sutherland. With this incentive, we are providing young drivers with a direct path to graduate up the ladder, and also to provide drivers who should win races for our Atlantic Championship team and sponsors in future years” said team owner Eric Jensen.

Jensen MotorSport is a professional car racing team that has been competing in championships in the USA and Canada including the Champ Car World Series, the Atlantic Championship, and Formula BMW. Since 1998, more than forty professional drivers have raced for the team, and many others have advanced their careers by participating in Jensen MotorSport driver development programs.

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10/16/08
alms

Laguna Seca: Bernhard tops Thursday practice
Timo Bernhard drops down the Corkscrew
On a weekend where Roger Penske will be named a Legend of Laguna Seca, Penske Racing set the fastest time in a two-hour test for this weekend’s Monterey Sports Car Championships presented by Patr¢n. Timo Bernhard’s time of 1:11.248 (113.081 mph) set the pace for Porsche and its Porsche RS Spyder at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Bernhard, who clinched his second straight LMP2 championship with Romain Dumas two weeks ago at Road Atlanta, was 0.476 seconds better than Tony Kanaan in Andretti Green Racing’s Acura ARX-01b. Kanaan, the 2004 IndyCar champion, will team with Franck Montagny as Acura hopes to chase down Porsche in the class manufacturer championship.

Acura must sweep the class podium, as it did at Detroit in late August, to overtake reigning champion Porsche.

LMP2 entries held the top three positions overall with Penske’s Ryan Briscoe taking the third position with a lap of 1:12.054 (111.816 mph).

Marco Werner went quickest for Audi Sport North America and fastest in LMP1. His time of 1:12.446 (111.211 mph) in the Audi R10 TDI that he is sharing with fellow class champion Lucas Luhr was 0.711 seconds clear of the sister Audi of Emanuele Pirro and newcomer Christijan Albers.

Read more & Comment...
10/16/08
alms

Laguna Seca: Thursday Notebook
Penske Racing owner Roger Penske will be honored this weekend as the seventh Legend of Laguna Seca. The pre-race ceremony will kick off the Monterey Sports Car Championships presented by Patr¢n, the final race of the American Le Mans Series season.
 
Roger Penske
“Roger is a true racer in every aspect of his life,” said Gill Campbell, CEO/general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “He exemplifies what a racing legend is and has contributed massively to the sport not just as a driver but as a team owner in multiple series.”

Penske won at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 1962 in the Zerex Special, a car modified from a Cooper F1 car. “The Captain” also won for Jim Hall's Chaparral team at the circuit in 1964.
 
The next season saw the launch of Penske Racing. Forty years later, Penske entered the American Le Mans Series with Porsche and its RS Spyder in LMP2 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Since the victorious debut in 2005, Penske has won three consecutive team championships along with 24 wins.

WELCOME BACK PIERRE: JMB Racing’s Pierre Kaffer is back at the scene of his most recent American Le Mans Series victory. In 2004, he and Johnny Herbert drove an Audi R8 to an overall win into the darkness at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Kaffer drove JMB’s Ferrari F430 GT with Ben Aucott and Stephane Daoudi to a fifth-place class finish at Petit Le Mans. He also finished second in GT2 with Dirk Werner in Farnbacher Loles Racing’s Porsche 911 GT3 RSR at Mosport.

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10/16/08
alms

Helio returns to Laguna Seca
Helio Castroneves could hardly believe it. Has it really been seven years since his last race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca? A quick look at the record books says that’s correct. So it was a giddy Castroneves that was patrolling the paddock on the first day of the Monterey Sports Car Championship presented by Patr¢n.

Castroneves will team with Ryan Briscoe in Penske Motorsports’ Porsche RS Spyder, the same car the duo drove to a class victory two weeks ago at Road Atlanta’s Petit Le Mans. A two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, Castroneves has tasted success in Monterey on multiple occasions.

Castroneves at Laguna Seca in 2000
He debuted in 1996 with a third-place effort in Indy Lights and followed that with a runner-up finish the following year. He jumped up to CART the following year and won at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2000 after claiming pole position.

“It’s been so many years since I’ve raced here, plus there’s throwing a new car into the mix,” Castroneves said. “That really adds to the challenge. Fortunately a few weeks ago we got in some good testing time a few weeks ago at Road Atlanta so I’ve gotten used to the RS Spyder again.”

Castroneves is one of multiple open-wheel drivers who are competing in LMP2 this weekend. Tony Kanaan, IndyCar’s 2004 champion, raced to a fourth-place class finish last year with Andretti Green Racing, and he’s back with the team this year alongside Franck Montagny.

And of course Gil de Ferran, a two-time CART champion and ex-Indy 500 winner, is the owner/driver of De Ferran Motorsports’ Acura ARX-01b. He also was Castroneves’ teammate at Penske Racing from 2000 to 2001.

“I’ve talked to Gil a couple of times and has told me that he will be qualifying his car,” Castroneves said. “He told me to ask Roger to let me qualify so it can be like old times again.”

Comment
10/16/08
nassprint

Speed to make Cup debut at Martinsville
Debut #2 for Scott Speed comes this weekend at Martinsville Speedway, where he'll drive the #84 Red Bull Toyota in the first of five races to close the Sprint Cup season. The 25-year-old Speed missed out on his first attempt at a Cup race when rain cancelled qualifying last Thursday at Charlotte. "Martinsville isn't the nicest track to make my introduction to Cup, but it's got to happen sometime," Speed said. "It's going to be a tough race, and I expect to get beaten up quite badly, like everyone else. The drivers are going to be really rough, and I'm not going to make a lot of friends out there being a rookie." Speed has experienced Martinsville's long straightaways and tight corners once before. In his second start in the Craftsman Truck Series, he finished 10th there last March. He'll also drive Bill Davis Racing's #22 Toyota truck in Saturday's truck race. In the span of a short Sunday afternoon, Scott Speed went from points leader to finishing fifth in the ARCA RE/MAX Series championship. He got wrecked by his closest pursuer on lap 27 and returned the favor seven laps later - an incident that classified his car's damage as "terminal" after it hit the inside and outside walls. Still, Speed said he earned valuable "street cred." "Straight out of 'Days of Thunder,' I just said, "Change my tires. Just put the tires on it and let me go out and try it," said Speed (a.k.a. Cole Trickle). "I went out for a lap and a half until the 99 (Ricky Stenhouse Jr., a.k.a. Russ Wheeler) was in our presence. And I did to him what he did to me. From my perspective, I was the championship leader and he disrespected me on the track so there was no way I was going to let him win a championship like that." Speed finished 34th in ARCA's season finale. His 2008 stat line reads like this: four wins, three poles, 10 top fives and 17 top 10s in 21 races. Red Bull Racing PR

Comment
10/16/08
f1

Q and A with Kimi Raikkonen
Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen took part in Thursday afternoon’s official press conference here at the Shanghai International circuit in China, last year’s winner here meeting the press for a barrage of questions about his plans for the race, his thoughts on Lewis Hamilton’s racing and the way the stewards are interfering in race outcomes….

Kimi, a winner here last year and three times on the podium. What are your thoughts about this race?
It is nice to come back here. I have had some good races in the past here but hopefully we can have similar achievement this year but we need to see what we can do.

It is your birthday tomorrow, what is the best present you could give yourself or could be given to you?
Like I said, hopefully I can challenge for a win. The car is definitely improving and it is better for me but we are still not exactly where we want to be. But this is a different place from the last circuit. Last year we had a good time and hopefully this year we can again.

Is qualifying going to be any better for Ferrari than, say at Fuji?
I mean at Fuji I had a pretty okay qualifying but then it didn’t work out in the race as well. For sure qualifying for all the teams is going to make a big difference and if you are driving behind cars it is going to be difficult to get past anybody.

Kimi, you said you would challenge for a win for your birthday present, so what will you do if you are first and Felipe was second?
I always try to win but hopefully we are in a position this weekend to fight for that. I know what the team expects from me and I know what they want, they want both championships, so we will see how the race goes and where we are and then maybe there is some different approach we can take. That we will see during the race.

Read more & Comment...
10/16/08
alms
irl

Penske to be honored this weekend
IndyCar Series team owner Roger Penske will be honored as the seventh Legend of Laguna Seca Oct. 18 prior to the American Le Mans Series race at the California track. He’ll join, among others, IndyCar Series team co-owner and 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal and two-time 500-Mile Race runner-up Dan Gurney on the list. Penske won twice as a driver at Laguna Seca.

Several IndyCar Series drivers will join Penske at Laguna Seca, competing in the ALMS season finale before traveling to Surfers Paradise, Australia, for the Nikon Indy 300 on Oct. 26.

Tony Kanaan will co-drive the No. 26 XM Satellite Radio AGR Acura ARX-01b with Franck Montagny.

“Last year, I drove back from a couple of laps down to finish right at the front,” Kanaan said. “I think Franck and I can be right in the battle for the win. It would be great to win there.”

Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves, who finished first in the LMP2 class at Road Atlanta in the Penske Racing Porsche RS Spyder, will team up again in an attempt for back-to-back victories.

Reigning Firestone Indy Lights champion Raphael Matos, recently announced to drive for Luczo Dragon Racing in the 2009 IndyCar Series campaign, will co-drive for BK Motorsports in LMP2. Firestone Indy Lights competitor Andrew Prendeville will co-drive for ECO Racing’s debut in LMP1.

Comment
10/16/08
fil
Team USA

Firestone Indy Lights to support Team USA scholarship
The Firestone Indy Lights is getting involved in a scholarship program that has helped shape the career of several of today's top American racers. 

The official developmental series of the IndyCar Series is among the supporters of the Team USA Scholarship, which is taking two young drivers to England to compete in the Formula Ford Festival – the same event that helped launch the career of Danica Patrick – and the Walter Hayes Trophy. 

"I'm thrilled to have the Firestone Indy Lights championship as a supporter of the Team USA Scholarship,” said Jeremy Shaw, the program's founder. “Our program has quite a history with Indy Lights, dating from Bryan Herta, who won the scholarship in 1991 and then the Indy Lights title in '93, to J.R. Hildebrand, the 2005 scholarship winner, who was a front-runner this year with RLR-Andersen Racing. It's very encouraging to see the higher echelons of our sport seeking to help out deserving youngsters at an early stage in their careers." 

Ten past winners of the Team USA scholarship have gone on to compete in the IndyCar Series and/or Firestone Indy Lights. This year's recipients are Conor Daly of Noblesville, Ind., and Josef Newgarden of Hendersonville, Tenn.

"Firestone Indy Lights is an essential step for drivers seeking to compete in the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis 500, and supporting Team USA Scholarship is a natural fit for our series," said Roger Bailey, executive director of Firestone Indy Lights. "The success of the program's alumni speaks volumes for the kind of program Jeremy has put together and hopefully we can work with these very promising young drivers very soon."

Comment
10/16/08
irl

Emu Australia upgrades sponsorship
Emu Australia, a sponsor partner of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in 2008, will be the primary sponsor on the team’s two cars entered in the Nikon Indy 300 Oct. 26 at Surfers Paradise, Australia.

“This announcement says a lot about the product we offer, and more importantly, the perception and direction that the IndyCar Series is heading,” team co-owner Robbie Buhl said. “Emu Australia joined us as an associate sponsor partner at the start of this year, and to see them make the leap up to a primary role for the race in Australia is great.

“We hope to assist Emu Australia in maximizing their name and brand in the Australian market."

Buddy Rice will drive the No. 15 entry while Townsend Bell will drive the No. 23 entry. In 17 IndyCar Series races in 2008, Bell and Rice combined for nine top-10 finishes, including a 10th and eighth respectively in the 92nd Indianapolis 500 — the best finishes for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in the race since the team’s inception. 

Read more & Comment...
10/16/08
automotive

GM to lay off 1,600 hourly workers
General Motors Corp. will lay off about 1,600 hourly workers at three assembly plants, citing the reduced demand for many products, the automaker announced today.  The company notified the United Auto Workers on Sept. 29 that it would lay off 700 workers at its Pontiac Assembly plant, about 400 hourly workers at both its Wilmington, Del., Assembly plant and its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly plant, GM spokesman Tony Sapienza said.

Those jobs cut had not been previously announced publicly.

"This is in direct response to decreasing market demand, which is hitting across the industry," Sapienza said.

At the Pontiac Assembly plant, which produces the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, 700 of the plant's 1,200 hourly workers will be laid off as GM reduces plant output from 55 trucks per hour to 24 trucks per hour.

The cuts will take effect Feb. 2, Sapienza said.

Comment
10/16/08
f1

Chinese GP: Thursday Press Conference
During the Thursday FIA press conference of the Chinese Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Robert Kubica and Kimi Raikkonen answered the questions of the gathered press.

Fernando, you come off a roll of two wins. What are your feelings about this race?
Fernando Alonso: "Hopefully we can do well here. Obviously the victory I am still thinking is very far and we are not as quick as maybe the contenders for the win here but we can do a good job again and take hopefully many points for the team. I think the car is really nice to drive now in the last month and a half, so I don't see any reason that here we will not have a competitive car. But as I said maybe not for the win but hopefully the podium will be our target."

Tell us about the continuing development of the car that has helped to make it a winner?
FA: "We have been introducing new parts at every race but some of them were a little bit better from a performance point of view but some of them were not so good, so you know I think we are still not completely sure how the car changed dramatically in the last couple of weeks. We introduced a new front wing but I think it is something more than that. You know, little things in the set-up as well, I think, helped us a lot. We found some new way to set up the car in the last couple of races and it seems to work fine, especially in the long run pace in the race, so we will keep this set-up for sure for this race."

What about the challenges of this circuit?
FA: "I think turn one is our main challenge from a driver's point of view because it is a very long corner that you need to guess more or less to turn in and you need to continually downshift all the way through turn one and you can make good time there. Also there is the very long straight at the back. You need to have a good exit from the corner before but I think it is very similar for everybody and the set-up of the car can also be crucial here as it is a very, very long straight and you need to take some downforce off but you need the downforce in the corners, so you need to find the compromise."

Read more & Comment...
10/16/08
a1gp

Jani: A1GP title will be harder this year
Neel Jani
A1 Team Switzerland racer Neel Jani believes this season’s championship will be even tougher to win than it was in 2008/09.  Then, Switzerland and Jani eventually won what was an epic season-long battle with France and New Zealand to take its first World Cup of Motorsport, but Jani believes the level of competitiveness shown at Zandvoort means there will now be more contenders this season and fighting to retain the title will be tougher.

However, he also believes Zandvoort should not be considered as a form guide for the season to come, especially with his Swiss squad looking to bounce back from a disappointing opening event. Jani had a dissatisfying meeting with just four points scored thanks to fifth in the Sprint race. He suffered a retirement due to mechanical difficulties in the Feature.

The 24-year-old argues, due to a combination of factors including the torrential weather, the new dropped scores rule and the fact the teams are still learning all about their new A1GP Powered by Ferrari cars, there will be more teams in title contention this season and the final standings will look nothing like they do now.

“It will harder than last season to win,” Jani told A1GP.com. “Zandvoort showed how competitive and tough the field is now. That was a weekend without some of the runners who are also expected to be championship challengers, including Germany and Great Britain, while Portugal will be much stronger.

Read more & Comment...
10/16/08
f1

Drivers set to slam Hamilton in Driver's Meeting
Lewis Hamilton about to get his wings clipped....or taken out by another driver if he continues his unfair driving antics.  Some drivers would probably like nothing better than to beach Hamilton in the kitty litter or against a concrete barrier, thereby deflating his championship hopes.
(GMM)  Ongoing negativity about Lewis Hamilton's driving was a major theme in the Shanghai paddock on Thursday.

The McLaren driver, who could win the championship in China this weekend, is to be a leading topic at the drivers' briefing on Friday, as some of his rivals complain about an allegedly brash racing style.

Thursday's FIA press conference was a fascinating affair, as the organizers brought together friends Fernando Alonso and Robert Kubica with their least favorite competitor Hamilton in the hope of some media fireworks.

Elsewhere in the paddock, however, Grand Prix Drivers' Association stalwarts Mark Webber and Jarno Trulli were telling reporters that some of 23-year-old Hamilton's recent driving has been cause for concern.

"The braking areas are an issue because you cannot move around in the braking areas like that," said Webber, recalling the controversial first corner at Fuji last Sunday.

"We lost a marshal at Monza (2000) when there were guys moving around in the braking areas.  That is what we want a chat about."

Webber, who drives for Red Bull, insists that Hamilton is not being picked on.  Kubica, Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, meanwhile, dismissed the theory that Hamilton's fellow drivers are jealous.

"I am not smashing Hamilton, but it is about how you move on," Webber said.  "His respected colleagues are sometimes saying, 'mate, it doesn't need to be like that all the time'."

Comment
10/16/08
Miscellaneous

Jay Leno sued over antique car
The estate of a Macy's department store heir has sued U.S. comedian and car collector Jay Leno, saying a Manhattan garage stole the heir's 1931 Model J Duesenberg and illegally sold it to Leno in 2005.

Two antique cars owned by John Strauss -- the Duesenberg and a 1930 Rolls Royce -- were kept in Manhattan's Windsor Garage for 50 years until 2005, when the garage put them up for auction without Strauss's knowledge, according to the lawsuit filed on Tuesday in New York State Supreme Court.

The garage said it took possession of the cars because Strauss owed $29,000 in parking fees, the lawsuit says.

But the claim was a sham concocted to justify the sale of the vehicles, it says. The estate wants the cars returned and seeks unspecified monetary damages.

Leno purchased the Duesenberg, a custom-ordered town car. Someone else bought the Rolls Royce.

"Notwithstanding the hundreds of thousands of dollars paid by Strauss to the garage over the years, these vehicles were purportedly auctioned off to satisfy certain relatively trivial parking bills," the lawsuit says.

A spokesman for Leno declined to comment. Strauss, who suffered from dementia at the time, died this year, the lawsuit says.

Comment
10/16/08
f1

Hamilton can win title in China
Lewis Hamilton
(GMM)  Six points -- that's the points advantage Lewis Hamilton needs from the Chinese grand prix to be crowned world champion with one race to spare in Brazil.

Should the McLaren driver manage to extend his current 5-point championship lead to 11 points in Shanghai, he will be guaranteed the drivers' title from Felipe Massa and Robert Kubica.

A ten point advantage going into November's Brazilian grand prix will not necessarily be enough for the 23-year-old, as a points tie with Massa would hand the championship to the local, who has scored 5 wins compared with Hamilton's 4 in 2008.

To pull out 6 points in China, Hamilton would need to win the race while Ferrari's Massa finishes fifth or lower.

If Hamilton is second, Massa needs to be lower than seventh, and a championship-winning third place for the Briton would require Massa, 27, to finish the race out of the points.

"For sure whoever does the best job will finish at the top," Hamilton said on Thursday.

Massa said in Shanghai he is not feeling any extra pressure about the task he faces this weekend.

"My attitude has not really changed now from what it was much earlier in the season and I think it will be the same at the last race," he said.

Comment
10/16/08
f1

F1 drivers want racer for stewards role
(GMM)  World champion Kimi Raikkonen on Thursday was among calls from formula one drivers for one of their ex-colleagues to occupy a role in the stewards room.

Following a raft of controversial recent penalties, including in Japan less than one week ago, the drivers in Shanghai suggested a good solution would be to appoint a former driver as a permanent steward.

"It would keep people happier also, that every time you get the same decision," Ferrari's Raikkonen told reporters ahead of the Chinese grand prix.

"Maybe if there would be an older driver there would be more respect and people wouldn't complain as much.  It's only that people want to have the same thing happening every time, the same penalties and same rules."

Read more & Comment...
10/16/08
irl

Power and Franchitti back Surfers race
Will Power after winning the pole last year in Surfers.  Aussie Vineyards boss Craig Gore got well wishes from the team with the Get Well Gorey sign.  Gore was suffering from a broken eardrum.
Australian Will Power and Scotsman Dario Franchitti have thrown their support behind the Nikon Indy 300 continuing on the Gold Coast.

With Indy Racing League heavyweights set to meet Queensland Government officials next week to thrash out the future of the event, the wildcard in the negotiations could prove to be the drivers and teams.

It is well known the competitors love the Gold Coast race, not only for the massive crowd but also because it gives team sponsors international exposure.

Power, who drives for Team Australia, is desperate for the event to continue.

"I am determined to win this race and for me this is the one I'm really chasing hard," he said from his parents' home in Toowoomba.

"Saying that, I know that there are a heap of really fast guys who all want to win. Surfers is one of the big events we visit so all the top guys want to win it." [Editor's Note: Kevin Kalkhoven has said he doubts his Team Australia can continue without the Surfers race.  Surfers is very important to the team's sponsor Aussie Vineyards.]

He rates the Gold Coast second only to the Indianapolis 500 as the best race in the season.

Read more & Comment...
10/16/08
motogp

Stoner to have surgery in Italy
Casey Stoner said he will have surgery on his broken left wrist after the season ends.

The operation will be carried out in Italy after the final race in Valencia, Spain, next weekend, he told reporters at the sidelines of this weekend's Malaysian MotoGP world champion.

Stoner said he would be in cast for one-and-a-half months, adding that it would take about two-and-a-half months to heal.

"It is a broken scaphoid. I broke it five years ago. It had not healed," he said.

Comment
10/16/08
f1

'09 French GP cancelled UPDATE Alain Prost hopes his country will do everything it can to keep the French Grand Prix on the calendar in the future for the sake of the automobile industry in France. "This is not just about saving our spot on the calendar but also about the entire automobile industry in France. It doesn't look good for the future and we should do something about it," Prost told L'Eqiupe.

10/15/08 France's motor racing federation has pulled its backing of the French grand prix.

The Federation Francaise du Sport Automobile (FFSA) announced in a statement that the race, scheduled for June next year at Magny Cours, has been cancelled "for reasons linked to the economic situation".

The FFSA met this week with potential organizers of an alternative venue to Magny Cours, with Bernie Ecclestone openly favoring an event near the capital Paris.

The F1 chief executive is no fan of the remote Magny Cours circuit, which earlier this year committed to a substantial renovation package.

But FFSA president Nicolas Deschaux explained that a reprieve on the 2009 calendar, to also not feature Canada in its final form, is unlikely.

"If a promoter is not identified to succeed the FFSA, the France GP cannot figure in the FIA international calendar in 2009," he is quoted as saying by L'Equipe.

[Editor's Note: With two less races (Canada and now France) on the schedule Bernie and his investors will take a financial hit.  If more races cancel Bernie will begin to squirm, because if there is one thing Bernie does understand, it's money.]

Comment
10/16/08
f1

Alonso determined to wreck Hamilton's dreams
Fernando Alonso has stoked the fires once again ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday by vowing to help Felipe Massa and Robert Kubica destroy Lewis Hamilton's title dream. Alonso, who endured a tempestuous relationship with Hamilton during their time together at McLaren, is desperate to see the Briton lose out to his title rivals. Alonso told the Spanish press last week that he was ready to help Massa overcome a five-point deficit in the final two races and pip Hamilton to the championship.

And the former double world champion, who has won the past two races, says he would love nothing more than to deprive Hamilton of the chance of a first world title.

"You can be here forever, and you cannot misunderstand what I said," he told autosport.com about last week's comments. "When we say all these things, my best relationship is with Robert and I would like to see him win the championship.

"But it is quite difficult because the performance of his car means it will be difficult to recover 12 points. But I will do my own job but when you see the results you prefer some teams to win or some teams to win compared to others.

"I will not be any key part to the championship, whatever driver wins will win because he did a better job in the last two races. You can take whatever you want from my comment but it is very simple."  Sport.co.uk

[Editor's Note:  Most F1 drivers dislike the cocky headstrong Hamilton because he drives like he owns the track and gives the other driver no room, when making passes.  Paybacks are a bitch and one never knows if another driver will take Hamilton out in the last two races as just revenge.]

Comment
10/16/08
f1

Kimi blames McLaren drivers
According to Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen, the McLaren squad was so dirty that the result at Fuji took on an entirely new significance....

Hamilton makes one of his dive-bomb moves at the start in Japan that ruined Raikkonen's (and his own) race.  What mistake will Hamilton make next?
“Finally I managed to start from the first row and end the race with a podium finish,” he said. “The Team was really glad about the points we brought back home and that we managed to get back in the lead in the Constructors' Championship. I have to admit that the second place in the qualifying and the third one in the race are not exactly what I was looking for, because I had the possibility to gain the pole and to win the race on Sunday.”

The team worked day and night to improve the car, but in the end his weekend wasn't so different from many others this year. Finding the right setup seems to depend too much on the weather conditions and they know that they have got the right potential, but quite often it seems really difficult to find the right way to exploit it all the way, but nevertheless they will continue to give it a try - all the time.

Here Kimi reflects on last weekend’s Japanese GP that he believes he could have won if not for the two McLaren drivers....

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10/16/08
f1

Renault to be more aggressive in Shanghai
After two wins in the last two races, Renault engineering director Pat Symonds says his team now has the confidence to be more aggressive in its approach to the Chinese Grand Prix this weekend and challenge for another win.

"We won't approach the race particularly differently, although I think we now have the self-confidence and belief that we can finish on the podium and challenge for the win," Symonds said. "That means that we might take a more aggressive attitude than we might otherwise have done, but we will remain mindful of the need to maintain our points advantage over Toyota."

"It's not mission accomplished until the checkered flag falls in Brazil and we will continue to push and assume that we can still be overhauled," he added. "In Formula 1 you should never rest on your laurels and we will keep that in mind when we determine our strategies and approach to the final couple of races."

Comment
10/16/08
f1

Vettel could be 'trouble' for Webber
Will Sebastian Vettel bury Mark Webber?
Red Bull
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel could be set to give his experienced teammate more than a run for his money at Red Bull next year, David Coulthard has predicted.

Coulthard, who is Australian driver Mark Webber's current teammate and a veteran of approaching 250 grands prix, will be replaced by 21-year-old Vettel for the 2009 season.

"I'm going to be as interested as everyone else to see the intra-team competition between Mark and Sebastian Vettel," the 37-year-old Scot wrote in his latest ITV column.

Vettel has been hailed as a rising superstar of the sport, and Coulthard praised his lights-to-flag debut victory from pole position at Monza recently as "absolutely textbook perfect".

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10/16/08
f1

Chinese GP weather forecast UPDATE (GMM)  Warm and dry conditions look set to dominate this weekend's penultimate grand prix weekend of the 2008 season.

Smatterings of cloud hang above the Shanghai International Circuit on Thursday, but the temperature is in the lovely mid 20s.

The prospect of rain for Friday and Saturday is remote, although local forecasts are predicting a slight chance of a shower on Sunday, when the Chinese grand prix will be held over 56 laps.

Shanghai is, meanwhile, likely to be getting dark towards the end of the race.  Sunday's grand prix is scheduled to begin at 3pm local, and sunset is expected to occur shortly after five.

10/14/08 Early indications are the weekend is going to be dry.  Several weather forecasts predict dry weather on Friday and Saturday, with a small chance of light rain on Sunday.

Last year the imminent approach of Typhoon Krosa threatened an extremely wet race. But as the storm changed course the track was hit by a series of showers that were enough to make the track wet at first, but dried out as the race progressed.

In terms of temperature the weekend promises similar conditions to what the teams found in Fuji, but perhaps 4-5C warmer, putting temperatures in the low to mid-20s.

Comment
10/16/08
f1

Raikkonen vows to 'help' teammate Massa
(GMM)  With his chances of defending his world championship now mathematically over, Kimi Raikkonen has finally pledged his full backing to his Ferrari teammate for the final two races of 2008.

Concluding months of controversy and speculation about the 'number one' and 'number two' status of the Italian team's driver lineup, the Finn is quoted as saying by La Stampa newspaper from Shanghai: "Our goal is a one-two finish.

"I will give my best to help Felipe (Massa) and the team to achieve the results that we want," Raikkonen, 28, added.

After Sunday's Chinese grand prix, the world championship season will conclude in early November in Brazil.

Felipe Massa trails McLaren's title leader Lewis Hamilton by 5 points.

Comment
10/16/08
f1

Symonds denies Renault engine boost
Alonso's Renault does not appear to be lacking power anymore
(GMM) Pat Symonds has denied that Renault's recent actions amid the engine 'freeze' may have contributed to the French team's radical boost in performance.

It is believed that Renault has been among the most disadvantaged teams amid the current freeze in engine development.

Team figures including boss Flavio Briatore have complained that by complying with the letter of the new rules, its engine could be up to 30 horse power behind teams that found loopholes.

Renault, however, introduced approved changes to its V8 unit at last month's Italian grand prix, sparking suggestions that the upgrade could have delivered a performance benefit that contributed to Fernando Alonso's back to back wins.

"It was an evolution regarding our reliability; we have not gained any power," engineering director Pat Symonds said in interview with Spain's sports newspaper Marca.

"We had some problems with our existing specification, and, like all the other teams do, we have tried to solve them.  But there is not anything new as far as performance benefits," the Briton added.

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10/15/08
starmazda

3 vie for Star Mazda title at Laguna Seca
The 2008 Star Mazda Championship season, which concludes this weekend with Round 12 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, has been simultaneously lopsided and exciting; three drivers remain in contention for the championship, two of them having won eight of the eleven races so far… but all three have experienced the sort of adversity that either builds character or derails careers.

(L to R) Joel Miller, John Edwards and Peter Dempsey share the podium at NJ Motorsports Park recently
American John Edwards, who raced in the Atlantic Championship last year but lost his ride, decided to compete in the Star Mazda Championship this year in hopes of winning his way back to Atlantic in 2009.  Driving the #7 AIM Autosport / Mobil1 Mazda, he won his debut event from the pole in Round 2 at Miller Motorsports Park, following up with wins in Race 2 Portland, Race 1 at New Jersey and Road Atlanta.  But he missed the first race and finished 19th in Race 1 at Portland. 

Irishman Peter Dempsey started the season with a podium, followed by a pair of top-5s, but finished 18th in Race 1 at Portland and 19th in Race 2 and looked to be done for the season as his funding had run out.  A last-minute savior in the form of LotusWorks, an Irish-American software company, stepped in to provide funding for one more race and he rose to the challenge with a win at Road American, the first of three wins in a row at the wheel of the #21 Andersen Racing/LotusWorks/Center Jewellers.ie/Quayside.ie/ Allied Building Products Mazda.  He scored a podium finish in Race 1 at New Jersey, and won Race 2, but then, despite starting from the pole, finished 17th at Road Atlanta due to a crash.

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10/15/08
motogp

Dorna and IMG partner on MotoGP
Dorna Sports appointed IMG Sports Media to work as the exclusive global agents for broadcast rights sales for the MotoGP World Championship in key markets across the globe for the next three years.

The world’s premier motorcycle championship is currently broadcast live across the world on over 50 national and continental networks, and under the terms of the new agreement, IMG will assist in increasing international distribution and exposure in those countries where MotoGP is looking to reach its full media potential.

Michel Masquelier, Executive Vice President IMG Media, Head of Acquisition and Sales Worldwide, said, “MotoGP is a first-class property, and IMG is delighted to partner with Dorna. Together we will bring its media coverage to new heights.”

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10/15/08
nassprint

DEI working on the future
Max Siegel, Bobby Hutchens and John Story are trying to hold Dale Earnhardt Inc. together, rebuild it and find solid sponsorships for 2009 in a dismal economic climate. Siegel heard the rumors that swirled through the Lowe's Motor Speedway garage last weekend, including the one that DEI was on the verge of laying off 80 employees after losing Paul Menard and the John Menard and U.S. Army sponsorships. But Siegel says he's doing his best to put together the sponsorship deals to keep DEI running smoothly. "Since I've been with DEI, we've had to deal with perception issues," said Siegel, a two-year veteran with the operation. "But we've got great people and great facilities. Right now, today, it is an interesting dynamic. If you look at the company and our infrastructure and the people who have been there a long time, and look at how our cars have been running, we have made some impressive gains. Last year people were killing us about our engines, so we've made a concerted effort to focus on our joint engine venture (with fellow owner Richard Childress). And there has definitely been improvement."

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10/15/08
automotive

Bridgestone starts move to drop Firestone name
Akron-based Firestone name will disappear in January in many places, but the tire brand will live on as part of a major corporate restructuring for Bridgestone Group's North and South American subsidiaries.

The tire maker on Tuesday said it is removing the Firestone name from many of its subsidiaries effective Jan. 1 to better reflect them as members of Bridgestone Group and to simplify things for the public.

Press Release
Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc. will be known as Bridgestone Americas Inc. starting on Jan. 1. At the same time, Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC's name will change to Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC.  Also on Jan. 1, BFS Retail & Commercial Operations LLC's name will change to Bridgestone Retail Operations LLC.

In other name changes:

* Bridgestone Firestone Latin American Tire Operations will be known as the Latin American Tire division, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations.

* Bridgestone Firestone Canada Inc. will be known as Bridgestone Canada Inc.

* Bridgestone Firestone de Mexico S.A. de C.V. will be known as Bridgestone de Mexico S.A. de C.V.

* BFS Diversified Products, which does business as Bridgestone Firestone Diversified Products, will be known as Firestone Diversified Products LLC.

The name changes "will clearly define Bridgestone Americas and its subsidiaries as members of the global Bridgestone Group," says Mark Emkes, chairman and CEO of Bridgestone Americas Holding.

"Through this effort, we will provide Firestone with its own identity as a historic product and service brand, and we will take a long step forward toward eliminating confusion as to our overall corporate identity."

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10/15/08
irl

Key metrics up for IndyCar since unification
For the 2008 IndyCar Series season, the action on and off the track was fast and furious in this season of unification.

With a more than 40 percent jump in the number of cars on track, a record-tying nine drivers visiting Victory Lane and 13 drivers recording podium finishes, and a record Indianapolis 500 purse in excess of $15 million, impressive numbers were also reached away from the racetrack with stronger at-track attendance, increased television ratings, dramatic increase in merchandise sales and new corporate partnerships.

Those key metrics included:

Television: The first season of unification of open-wheel racing under the IndyCar Series banner saw gains in viewership across ABC/ESPN/ESPN2.  For the 17-race IndyCar Series schedule, average viewership was 1.55 million viewers, an 11% increase over the 1.4 million average last season across the three networks.

ABC averaged 2.7 million viewers for its seven IndyCar Series races, up 10.1% from 2.5 million viewers for the same number of races in 2007.  ESPN averaged 707,000 viewers for four races, up 27.2% compared to the five races run last season.

ESPN2 averaged 821,000 viewers, up 41% from 581,000 viewers last year for five races.

Attendance: At-track attendance, based on media estimates, was up at 12 of the 16 races on the 2008 schedule where the IndyCar Series raced in 2007.

Merchandise: At-track merchandise sales were up 25% in 2008 compared to 2007, according to Main Gate, the league’s merchandising agent. Of the 15 events where merchandise was sold, 14 events experienced gains over their 2007 merchandise sales, with 11 events witnessing double-digit percentage increases.

Online: Indycar.com has enjoyed more than nine million visits to date, marking a 33% increase over the same time last year according to Google Analytics. The league’s website has shown a 19% increase in the number of Unique Visitors this year, and usage of video on indycar.com has experienced 51% growth over 2007.

Mobile: IndyCar Mobile started with a beta launch in January 2008 with the Sports Illustrated magazine ad promoting ‘text DANICA to 23907’ in order to be entered to win an autographed swimsuit issue poster. The official launch of IndyCar Mobile started opening weekend March 29 at Homestead-Miami Speedway with the release of the official short code, 234500, which will be utilized going forward into 2009. IndyCar Mobile debuted this season with 20,000 new visitors with an average of 80,000 non-unique visits from both returning and new users per month to the mobile portal.

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10/15/08
MacauGP

Räikkönen Robertson Racing announce lineup for Macau
Räikkönen Robertson Racing has announced its driver lineup for the 2008 Macau Grand Prix.  The British F3 team, who won the prestigious race in 2006 with Mike Conway, will head to Macau with the team’s British F3 driver Atte Mustonen, Formula Nippon racer Roberto Streit and Macau local Michael Ho.  The Double R team, who won the race in only their second year with then British F3 champion Mike Conway, have a strong reputation around the Guia circuit.  Last year the team competed with now GP2 racers Bruno Senna and Sebastien Buemi, but through bad luck and with Senna unable to compete in the main race, the team came away without any silverware.

Comment
10/15/08
Formula BMW

Formula BMW notebook
Topics:
  • Rossi wins Formula BMW Americas.
  • Guest driver Sechelariu shines in Singapore.
  • Formula BMW Europe prepares for 2009 season.
  • 32 participants at Formula BMW scholarship courses.
  • Formula BMW careers: Chris van der Drift. 

Rossi wins Formula BMW Americas.

Image Alexander Rossi (US) is the first overall winner of Formula BMW Americas. Two victories in rounds 11 and 12 on 28th and 29th September at the Thunderbolt Raceway in Milville (US) were enough to give the youngster the title in the American junior series. Rossi now travels to the season finale in Sao Paulo (BR) as champion.

The young American has started from pole position eight times this season, and took the checkered flag as race winner on eight occasions. This takes his total to 11 victories and 10 pole positions during his Formula BMW career, making him the most successful driver in the current Formula BMW Americas field. Rossi's team Eurointernational secured their third title in a row. "I can hardly find the words to describe how I feel," said Rossi after round 12. "I am delighted, relieved, and grateful. We also had some difficult moments this year, but I had an excellent team behind me."

While the overall championship is already decided, a real scrap is taking place to become the number one rookie. Just 12 points separate Gianmarco Raimondo (CA, 166 points), Mikael Grenier (CA, 111), Alexandre Ruiz (BR, 110) and Giancarlo Vilarinho (BR, 104). Any of this group of four could still claim the title as they head to the final race weekend of the 2008 Formula BMW Americas season, which forms part of the program for the Brazilian Grand Prix from 31st October to 1st November.

Guest driver Sechelariu shines in Singapore.

Image The trip to Singapore was more than worth it for Doru Sechelariu. The Romanian, who had just finished his season in Formula BMW Europe, was a guest starter in races 12 and 13 of Formula BMW Pacific at the eagerly awaited premiere of the "Marina Bay Circuit". The 18-year-old started both races from pole position, and went on to claim two victories.

As a guest driver, however, he was not awarded any points for the championship classification. They went to Ross Jamison (HK), who finished second in both races, picking up a maximum 40 points to extend his lead over Sean McDonagh (US) in Formula BMW Pacific to 56 points. However, there is still everything to play for in the championship. 63 points are still up for grabs in the three remaining races in Shanghai (CN) and Macau (MO).

Read more & Comment...
10/15/08
alms

ALMS GT2 class pre-race quotes
Is there a better place to close the American Le Mans Series’ season than at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca? The Monterey Sports Car Championships presented by Patr¢n has proven over the years to be a fantastic finale with a four-hour race into the California darkness. One of the remaining championships in play is the GT2 manufacturer battle between Porsche and Ferrari with the German marque leading by 15 points with 25 available for the race.

Dirk Werner, Farnbacher Loles Racing
Porsche 911 GT3 RSR
“Laguna’s really an awesome area. The weather still is nice. I think that’s a big reason too, and the track is just awesome. It has obviously the famous corners like The Corkscrew. And I think that the track just provides a good facility for the last race because it has so much atmosphere. I guess every driver just likes to go there because it’s so nice and the track is really challenging to drive. I think it makes sure there is a lot of action going on.

“It has a lot of elevation changes; the surface is very smooth. The track just has a very nice layout; it has slow turns, it has fast turns. It has hard braking areas. It’s easy to get an opportunity to overtake somebody if you set them up right. And it has the famous Corkscrew corner which is really one of the most challenging corners you’ll find because it’s blind and then goes downhill so you don’t see where you want to go. The track is just really state-of-of the art.

“It is just a special place for fans to come because you have a great view on the track, and I think the fans like to come there because the championships will be decided there. We showed a strong performance in the last few races, and our goal is to be up front by the end of the race. The car has been fast, the driver lineups have been good everywhere and we just want to show that we are ready to win another race. We just want to get paid off for all the work that everybody has put into the effort.”

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10/15/08
f1

Q&A with McLaren team's Whitmarsh and Haug
The Chinese Grand Prix could determine the outcome of the drivers' championship this weekend in Shanghai. Lewis Hamilton leads the standings by five points from Felipe Massa, while McLaren Mercedes trail Ferrari by seven points in the constructors' championship. McLaren F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh and Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice-President look ahead to China.

Martin Whitmarsh - Whenever a world championship is at stake, history has taught us that adopting either a too aggressive or too circumspect approach can be risky. How are you playing it this weekend?

MW: "For qualifying, you want to have a suitably aggressive strategy otherwise you are not going to be in the race. Then, as the race develops, you are afforded the possibility to become slightly more circumspect to ensure you’re scoring the points you need to fight for the world championship. And that is the approach we take into these races."

In terms of coping with the pressure, will the team be doing anything different this weekend?

MW: "The reality is that the last race of the season is no different from the first. However, at the end of the year it’s much clearer in everyone’s minds that the championship could be decided by a mistake - one made by another title contender or ourselves. Both teams have made several mistakes this year but, at this critical stage in the season, a further mistake by either side could determine the championship. As a result, everybody within the team is being very diligent and cautious. We have done a fantastic job so far this year and we aim to round off the season by continuing that approach."

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10/15/08
f1

Shanghai circuit expected to be hard on tires
Straight from the excitement at Fuji Speedway, Bridgestone heads to the highly technical and challenging Shanghai International Circuit for the Sinopec Chinese Grand Prix, round 17 of the championship.

There’s no chance for any rest for Bridgestone Motorsport, as they leave Japan straight for China with the Chinese Grand Prix. Shanghai is one of the more recent circuits on the calendar, a Grand Prix first took place here in 2004 on the Hermann Tilke designed track, and it has numerous challenges over its 5.451km.

Shanghai has two long straights and sixteen corners of varying types. Heavy braking, extreme lateral loads and high demands on traction are just some of the factors that Bridgestone’s hard and medium compound Potenza tires will encounter.

Read more & Comment...
10/15/08
superleague

AS Roma and Toccacelo part ways UPDATE Frenchman Frank Perera will take Toccacelo’s seat this weekend in Estoril, as the highly regarded former Champ Car and GP2 driver has turned his heels on the IndyCar series that hires drivers based on nepotism and looks instead of talent and seeks to revive his career in Europe.

10/10/08 After entering the first three races of the season together, AS Roma and Enrico Toccacelo will part ways. The team, lined-up by Fisichella Motor Sport International and directed by Paolo Coloni, will announce the new ride-buying driver soon.

Comment
10/15/08
nascar

NASCAR hits wall as financial crisis widens
Sponsors of NASCAR, the No. 2 sport on U.S. television after professional football, are slamming on the brakes because of the world's financial crisis.  General Motors Corp., Chrysler Corp., Sears Holdings Corp. and Chevron Corp. will cut or drop sponsorships next season. Dario Franchitti, the 2007 Indianapolis 500 winner was forced out of the stock-car series by a lack of sponsors.

Teams with family names revered in stock-car racing like Petty, Waltrip and Earnhardt may enter 2009 with unfunded cars. The circuit might even have trouble filling 43-car fields.

``There's maybe 26 teams that have sponsorship for next year, and five or six that have partial,'' said Michael Waltrip, an owner and driver who shored up his finances by selling a stake to Fortress Investment Group LLC founder Robert Kauffman a year ago. Waltrip, 45, faces 2009 with only one of three cars fully sponsored. He said he might have to shut down one team.

Waltrip, two-time winner of the Daytona 500, isn't alone. Dale Earnhardt Inc., founded by the seven-time NASCAR champion and now run by his widow, has secured a backer next season for only one of four cars. Financial, automotive and consumer goods companies are balking at paying as much as $25 million to support a top team amid job cuts, seized credit markets and slow spending.

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10/15/08
f1

Decision on new French GP venue today
The French Grand Prix will be held at the Magny Cours circuit for the nineteenth and more than likely last time on June 28, 2009.  Bernie Ecclestone has agreed to keep the Grand Prix in France on the condition that it proposes a site more stimulating and accessible that Magny Cours after sponsors called to move the event. Today the FFSA (French federation of Automobile Sport) will pick from one of three choices near Paris:
  1. Disneyland Paris, supported by Alain Prost and Lagardere Sports, is Ecclestone’s preference. The American giant opened its arms and hectares for the F1 program but laid down certain conditions: that the event does not startle its other customers.
  2. Val de France, which is supported by former GP winner Jean Pierre Beltoise. This avenue is meant to be a major complex, not just a circuit, with a technological department that would help with eco friendly research. However, the cost is said to be close to €1 billion.
  3. Yvelines County which is close to the Renault and Peugeot (French manufacturer leaders) facilities.


Comment
10/15/08
f1

Latest F1 news in brief
  • F1 releases footage of Fuji incidents
  • Five-year FIA cost-culling plan revealed
  • Hamilton's driving attracts more rebukes
  • Hamilton denies 'better than Senna' claim
  • Italian F3 champ to win Ferrari test
  • Toro Rosso chiefs delay 2009 driver decision
  • Kimi faces huge winter test program - Costa
  • No 'secret deal' behind Renault boost

F1 releases footage of Fuji incidents
(GMM)  Formula One Administration, headed by Bernie Ecclestone, has released multiple high-quality replays of the incidents that led to controversial stewards penalties at last weekend's Japanese grand prix.

Posted on f1.com, the sport's official website acknowledged that the incidents, all involving championship contenders Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa, have "received a great deal of attention".

In the package is multiple unseen angles - including cockpit views - of the first corner incident that cost Hamilton a drive-through penalty, the crash with Hamilton that cost Ferrari's Massa a similar sanction, and the collision with Sebastien Bourdais that handed Massa an extra championship point in a post-race investigation.

The Guardian quotes former triple world champion and respected analyst Niki Lauda as saying: "The worrying thing for me is that the stewards are really getting too involved in trying to control what the drivers are doing."

Most seasoned commentators believe Massa was right to suffer a penalty for his Hamilton collision, but Lauda sides with those who question Hamilton's drive-through for pushing Kimi Raikkonen wide in the run to the first corner.

"All Lewis was doing was braking late into a corner, which he is perfectly entitled to do," the Austrian said.

"The stewards should only start getting involved when something really serious occurs."

Also highly controversial was Bourdais' penalty, after the Frenchman collided with Massa as he exited the pits, causing the Ferrari to spin.

"Bourdais was on the inside, Massa on the outside, and if (Massa) had given him two centimeters more space, they both would have effortlessly made the corner," said Bourdais' team boss Gerhard Berger, according to racefreaks.nl.

He added: "It is a matter of fact that nothing particularly happened to either of them.  Two cars touching each other is nothing peculiar in the world of racing."

Five-year FIA cost-culling plan revealed
(GMM)  A British newspaper has revealed the FIA's five-year plan to radically slash costs, with the body's president arguing formula one has become "unsustainable".

The centerpiece of the package, to be discussed with the F1 teams' alliance FOTA next week in Geneva, is the standardization of expensive car parts that add little to the show.

The London publication The Times claims that Bernie Ecclestone, the chief executive of F1's commercial rights holder, backs the Max Mosley-devised plan to "dramatically" cut costs.

Among the measures is the introduction of a controversial standard engine design for 2010, additional energy recovery systems and fuel-efficient engines for 2013, and many "common parts" for the chassis.

"We are completely open to new ideas," Mosley, albeit insisting that engines must be made available to small teams at a low cost, said in a letter to the team bosses.

An FIA spokesman said he will not comment prior to the meeting.

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10/15/08
f1

Alonso thinks he can win third straight
Fernando Alonso is on a roll after winning in Singapore and Japan, and the experienced Spaniard is confident he can make it three-out-of-three in China this weekend. The 27-year-old, a two-times world champion, has surprised even himself with his end-of-season victories for Renault and sees no reason why he can't do it again in Shanghai.

Alonso is the complete package and hence the best driver in F1 today
"We saw in Fuji that our level of performance was reasonable compared to Ferrari and McLaren, so you have to feel that once again anything is possible this weekend -- a podium or a victory," he said.

"The whole team is very motivated after our two wins in Singapore and Fuji, and we will do everything possible to have another strong race."

"I can't wait to get back in the car this weekend as it's an interesting place to drive a Formula One car," said Alonso, who is out of contract at the end of the season but is expected to remain at Renault next year.

"I think the circuit provides several interesting challenges for both the drivers and the engineers.

"It's made up of long straights, high-speed corners, but also some slow corners.

"So again it will be a case of compromising with the set-up to find the right balance with a car that is stable in the corners with plenty of downforce, and which still has enough straight-line speed to be able to defend or overtake on the straights.

"That is what we will concentrate on during Friday practice."

Comment
10/15/08
fil

Jim Guthrie and Louis (Butch) Meyer, III to form team
Jim Guthrie and Louis (Butch) Meyer, III announced today the formation of Guthrie Meyer Racing (GMR) to compete full-time in the Firestone Indy Lights (Indy Lights) beginning in the  2009 season.  An exciting four-car driver roster will hit the track as championship contenders when the season kicks off on the Streets of St.  Petersburg in April, 2009.

The pairing of Guthrie and Meyer brings together a combined 70-plus years of motorsports experience, both in and out of the cockpit.  Both men have been a fixture in IndyCar Series racing since the inception of the premier open wheel organization in 1996 and the addition of the Indy Lights in2002.

Guthrie, the 1997 IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year, formed Guthrie Racing in 2004 and began fielding cars in Firestone Indy Lights in the 2006 season.

Meyer assumes the co-ownership reins of GMR after having served as Technical Director for Indy Lights the past six seasons.

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10/15/08
Team USA

Daly, Newgarden Begin Formula Ford Testing at Brands Hatch
Conor Daly and Josef Newgarden
Team USA Scholarship winners Conor Daly and Josef Newgarden commenced their overseas racing careers today on the famed Brands Hatch "Indy" circuit in England.

Both teenagers took to the tight but challenging 1.2-mile road circuit in a pair of Ray GRS06/7 Formula Ford cars under the tutelage of former racer-turned-team owner Cliff Dempsey, who was immediately impressed.

"I’m delighted with them. They’re a real credit to the Scholarship program," said Dempsey. "They’re great kids, really respectful, and clearly appreciate the opportunity they’ve been given.

"They’re not slow either," added Dempsey with a chuckle. "A good (lap) time around Brands is in the 50-second range, and both boys were down within reach of that straight away. I couldn’t be more pleased."

Daly, 16, from Noblesville, Ind., and Newgarden, 17, from Hendersonville, Tenn., arrived in England on Sunday and went directly to the Ray Race Cars factory in south London for seat-fittings and to oversee final preparation on their cars. They made the short trip to Brands Hatch, an hour or so from central London, yesterday and finally got a chance to drive their cars in a full-day test session today.

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10/15/08
nassprint

Lowe's TV rating UPDATE ABC’s broadcast of Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway earned a final national rating of 3.8, according to Nielsen Media Research figures reported by the network.

The figure is down 9.5 percent from the 4.2 final rating for last year’s telecast, which also aired on ABC. This year’s race averaged 6,034,447 viewers.
   
ESPN2’s coverage of Friday night’s Dollar General 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series event at the track, which was halted twice by rain, earned a final national household coverage rating of 1.1, according to ABC. The rating is down from 1.3 for the same race last year, when the event ran without rain delays.

10/13/08 The overnight TV rating for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Bank of America 500 race on ABC Saturday night was a 3.5, down 12.5% from last year's overnight, also on ABC.  The 2006 overnight rating was 4.1 so the trend continues down.  This on top of the massive sections of Lowe's Motor Speedway grandstands that were empty Saturday night.

Comment
10/15/08
nassprint

Jeff Gordon poised to reach another milestone
Another milestone – 20,000 career laps led – is well within reach for Jeff Gordon this Sunday in the TUMS QuikPak 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Gordon, who is currently eighth all-time with 19,823 laps led, can surpass Rusty Wallace for seventh on that list if he leads 150 laps this Sunday – something Gordon has accomplished on nine occasions here. Tack on another 27 and Gordon reaches 20,000. While Gordon is well shy of Richard Petty’s total of 52,194, the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion holds a commanding lead over the nearest “active” competitor in that category – future teammate Mark Martin – who ranks 11th with 11,560. To put that in perspective, Martin would need to lead every lap from now through the 2009 August race in Bristol to move past Gordon’s total.

“Everything I do from this point forward is just icing on the cake,” said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet. “When I started racing in NASCAR, I never would have imagined winning four championships and 81 races.

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10/15/08
irl

Former winner Franchitti glad to be back in Surfers
Dario Franchitti
Former Nikon Indy 300 winner Dario Franchitti believes the fact that next week’s Gold Coast event will not be a championship round will not affect the quality of the race action – and may even add to the spectacle for race fans.

Franchitti was yesterday announced as one of 24 starters for this year’s 18th annual event which will host one of the greatest fields of open-wheel talent ever assembled for the Surfers Paradise street fight.

Franchitti was named as the second driver for the Target Chip Ganassi Racing team last month and will be a team-mate for reigning IndyCar Series and Indy 500 champion, Brisbane-born Kiwi Scott Dixon.

Franchitti won the Gold Coast race in 1999 and will make his open-wheel return after a season with Chip Ganassi’s NASCAR operation.

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10/15/08
track news

LMS executive Wilks resigns
Lauri Wilks, executive vice president of management and administration at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and vice president of communications for Speedway Motorsports Inc., resigned those positions Tuesday.

Wilks, who had been with the track and SMI since 1993, said she wants to take a break from her career in motorsports to spend time with her family.

“For the time being it’s about being a mom,” said Wilks, who along with her husband, Whit, has two sons, ages 8 and 6. “I am going to drive the car pool and bake cakes and do things like that.” Wilks, who in March was named the 2007 Charlotte businesswoman of the year, began her career as a summer intern working in the credentials office at Michigan Speedway, where her mother worked. She also did an internship at Lowe’s Motor Speedway and after earning her law degree from Wake Forest joined the Charlotte track’s events staff and was then promoted to general counsel.

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10/15/08
v8

V8 Supercar sponsor head butts driver
A stunned Michael Patrizi
Mark Horsburgh
Ford star Michael Patrizi was attacked by a sponsor of his team after the Bathurst 1000 on Sunday. The young V8 Supercar driver suffered bruising and lacerations to his face when he was head-butted by a director from electrical testing company Tex Onsite.

The shocking incident occurred at the conclusion of the Bathurst 1000 when Patrizi was walking with his girlfriend in pit lane at Mt Panorama.

Witnesses say the director, whose company sponsors the Ford Rising Stars team, ran 15 meters to confront the 23-year-old rookie before head-butting him. The attacker was restrained by three men as he questioned Patrizi's driving ability.  A shocked Patrizi, who finished the race in 17th place, confirmed the senseless attack.

"To be honest with you, I am still in shock," he said.

"He was full of alcohol and I have no idea why he did it. It is not the sort of thing you need after a race like that."

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10/15/08
Industry News

PRI Industry Roundtable
One of the strongest line-up of panelists ever will greet attendees at the PRI Industry Roundtable taking place at the 21st Annual Performance Racing Industry Trade Show, in Orlando, FL, on Wed., Dec. 10, 2008, the day prior to the start of the three-day event, the largest racing trade show in the world.

Moderated once again by FOX TV Racing Analyst Jeff Hammond, this year’s Industry Roundtable will feature:

Joie Chitwood
President and COO, Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Cruz Pedregon
Team Owner and NHRA Funny Car Champion

Ken Schrader
NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver

Kevin Miller
President and CEO, USAC

Ritchie Lewis
Series Director, Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt

Paul Zalud
President, Snap-On Stars of Karting Presented by IndyCar Series

Scooter Brothers
Director of R&D, Part-Owner of Competition Cams, and Co-Organizer, AETC

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10/15/08
f1

Q&A with Lewis Hamilton UPDATE A reader writes, Talking of Brazil, there was a recent story quoting you as saying you felt you were better now than Ayrton Senna – was that true?
“I never said that (then why did the story quote you?)...

Uhhh, Ever heard of the tabloid press guys?
Come on...you know how it works...someone makes up a story out of thin air....the tabloids, in their desperation to sell papers and spread controversy, jump on it and make a huge story out of it...without ever bothering to find out whether its actually true or not.. Shame AutoRacing1 fell for it as well.

Having said all this I am beginning to think that there be a minimum age requirement in F1.... With all the mistakes Hamilton and Massa have made this year and last it seems the trend for teams to hire such young drivers and put them straight into championship winning cars is backfiring. John Cook

Dear John, Fall for it?  Hamilton was the subject of criticism in the German press, with the respected broadcaster RTL pronouncing him a "megalomaniac".  Hamilton, 23, was quoted as saying: "I know that I am as good as Ayrton Senna was."  Mark C.

10/14/08
Lewis, after a difficult weekend in Japan, how are you approaching the final two races of the 2008 season?
“Last year, Ferrari were very strong in both China and Brazil. But this year I think we have closed the gap to them at circuits where they were always traditionally quick. But, equally, Ferrari has closed the gap to us on tracks where Vodafone McLaren Mercedes was always usually quick. But I’m optimistic about the future: I think we will be quite strong in China this weekend and closer to Ferrari than we were last year. The same goes for Brazil, so these next two races could show the fans some of the closest racing of the season.”

Did Lewis Hamilton really say he was better than Ayrton Senna?
Talking of Brazil, there was a recent story quoting you as saying you felt you were better now than Ayrton Senna – was that true?
“I never said that (then why did the story quote you?)– and I definitely wouldn’t say it about Ayrton because he’s my favorite driver. I think he’s the best driver there ever was and, to this day, I still don’t believe anyone would beat him. If I could achieve just a small part of what he’s achieved, it would be a dream for me.”

What do you say to people who accuse you of being over-confident or arrogant?
“I would never say I was better than anyone else. But I am a Formula 1 driver and all of us have to believe in ourselves to get to where we are. You have to have that belief to go out and win: and that’s what helps you strive for better performance and to achieve more in your life. I look at the other drivers and I want to beat them. I would never say, ‘I’m better than you,’ I just think that all these guys are the best and to be the best I have to beat them. That’s how every racing driver sees things.”

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10/15/08
f1

Toyota has largest F1 budget
Last week’s astonishing events on the financial markets will surely have an impact on F1 sooner or later. Governments are supporting major financial institutions and others are going to the wall.

This will inevitably impact upon a sport like Formula 1 which devours money. New research shows the teams have over $3bn in resources this year. And Toyota has more money to spend than any other team but it is one of three outfits with over $400m to spend. Here are the astonishing figures that show the true cost of competing in F1.

2008 F1 team resources
Including sponsorship, supplier deals, prize money, team owner contributions, tire provision and supply of customer engines where appropriate.

Toyota: $445.6m
McLaren: $433.3m
Ferrari: $414.9m
Honda: $398.1m
Renault: $393.8m
BMW Sauber: $366.8m
Red Bull Racing: $164.7m
Williams: $160.6m
Toro Rosso: $128.2m
Force India: $121.85m
Super Aguri: $45.6m
Total: $3,073.45m

2007 team cost per point
2007 team resources divided by points scored.

Ferrari: $1.9m
BMW Sauber: $3.3m
Williams: $4m
Red Bull Racing: $5.9m
Renault: $7.3m
Toro Rosso: $10.6m
Super Aguri: $19.4m
Toyota: $34.2m
Spyker: $52.95m
Honda: $57.2m
McLaren: No points scored

Average length of current sponsorships by team
Ferrari: 13 seasons
McLaren: 7.07 seasons
Toyota: 5.36 seasons
BMW Sauber: 4.27 seasons
Renault: 3.97 seasons
Williams: 3.83 seasons
Honda: 3.28 seasons
Red Bull Racing: 2.73 seasons
Force India: 2.16 seasons
Super Aguri: 1.88 seasons
Toro Rosso: 1.86 seasons  Source: Christian Sylt / Formula Money

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