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Final 2007 European appearance for Minardi 2 seater
The Minardi F1x2 Team made its final European appearance of the 2007 season on Thursday, with a highly successful program at Brands Hatch. Among the 60 passengers who experienced the thrill of negotiating the famous Kent circuit’s high-speed dips and bends behind former Minardi F1 Team drivers Zsolt Baumgartner and Patrick Friesacher was VIP guest, Lee Mead.

As viewers of BBC Television’s Any Dream Will Do talent show will know, Lee recently landed the lead role in London West End musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat in dramatic fashion, at the conclusion of a nail-biting, knock-out competition. Today, however, the 25-year-old, from Southend, Essex, traded the Technicolor dreamcoat that goes with the coveted stage role for a pair of Minardi F1x2 racing overalls in order to take the ride of lifetime.

Lee was at Brands Hatch to provide support for another passenger, Julia Temple, whose husband, Crawford, was the high bidder in a very successful charity auction that took place on eBay earlier this year. Following his F1x2 passenger ride, and still obviously more than a little impressed by the experience, Lee commented….

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Formula Nippon

Kanaan steps down to training series

Tony Kanaan

At Honda's urging, Tony Kanaan will race in the Japanese Formula Nippon series at Suzuka next month. "I am honored to accept the invitation and look forward to the event," said Kanaan. "To be part of the Formula Nippon series is a new challenge, and I'm very excited to get in the car. It's an awesome opportunity for me to try another car at another venue."


Ferrari can continue to supply engines to two teams
Ferrari has received the permission of the FIA to continue to supply two other Formula 1 teams with customer engines in 2008 and 2009. This decision was made this week at the World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris.

In the Formula 1 rules for next season it said that a engine manufacturer could supply a maximum of one other Formula 1 team with its engines. This year Ferrari is supplying both Scuderia Toro Rosso and Spyker and thus the Italians can continue to do so for another two seasons.


John Force leaves Texas hospital
After 27 days at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, 14-time NHRA Funny Car champion John Force has returned to his home in Southern California to continue his rehabilitation and to see the fire devastation in the area.

The 58-year-old crashed at more than 300 mph at Texas Motorplex on Sept. 23. He had a compound fracture of the left ankle, broken right foot, broken fingers on his right hand, ligament and tendon damage to the right knee, and a badly dislocated left wrist.

He will continue to undergo physical therapy at home in anticipation of returning to competition in 2008.


Italian firm to collaborate with Cheever
Italian racecar engineering and manufacturing firm Picchio will serve as a primary technical partner to Cheever Group in launching a new Grand-Am Daytona Prototype sports car competing in The Rolex Sports Car Series, it was announced today. The Ancarano, Italy-based company will apply its technical staff to the development of the new car, which will be built at Cheever Racing headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana.

In September 2007, Cheever Group obtained the Daytona Prototype license from established sports car maker Fabcar. The Cheever race team spent the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season developing and competition testing a hybrid Fabcar chassis. Moving ahead, Cheever Group will continue to maintain a strong relationship with Fabcar, including utilizing the racecar manufacturer as a vendor.

Working with Picchio, it is Cheever's intention to produce and race their new Daytona Prototype at the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona in January 2008. At the same time, Cheever Group continues to develop a Porsche-based V8 program for the Grand-Am prototype division in conjunction with the Florida-based Spirit of Daytona racing team.

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track news

Dover earnings off
Dover Motorsports Inc. officials say the expected decrease in NASCAR television revenues were to blame as the company reported lower revenues for the financial quarter that ended Sept. 30. The track operator said it had revenues of $40.951 million, down from $42.441 million in the comparable quarter of 2006, after promoting seven major motorsports events in each quarter.


PCM confirms Champ Car test date for Carl Skerlong
Pacific Coast Motorsports will test Atlantic standout Carl Skerlong in the #29 PCM/DP01/Cosworth/Bridgestone Champ Car at Buttonwillow Raceway on November 28th.

Skerlong’s rookie season featured two podium finishes en-route to his top-ten result in the 2007 Cooper Tires Presents the Champ Car Atlantic Series Powered by Mazda championship. Recognized as an up-and-coming American standout, Skerlong was named to the Pacific Coast Motorsports JR Team in June, which in turn led to this Champ Car opportunity. PCM Team Director, Tyler Tadevic commented, “We’re really looking forward to testing Carl in the PCM Champ Car. We knew when we named him to the PCM JR team that he had the speed and mental ability to succeed in the top level of American open wheel racing. He is a committed young man and I expect he will do very well.”

Skerlong, 19 of Mukilteo, Washington is preparing for his second season of Atlantic competition in the King Taco Swift; US RaceTronics announced Skerlong’s return last month. When he is not testing or training for his sophomore season of Atlantic competition, Skerlong spends his time studying and enjoying dorm-life as he is in his freshman year at Western Washington University. “I can't wait to finally be able to jump into a Champ Car. It is definitely a dream come true to get the chance to pilot a car that is the pinnacle of open wheel racing in the states. I have to thank Shane Senevirante and Tyler Tadevic for the opportunity."

Introduced in 2007, the PCM Jr Team program includes driver involvement in the PCM Champ Car team engineering meetings, tests for the JR team members and inclusion in media and marketing opportunities. PCM began as an Atlantic team, they won the 2004 Atlantic championship and chose this platform to identify and develop promising, young open wheel drivers.


Ticket sales soft at TMS
Texas Motor Speedway has secured just over 1,200 prime frontstretch tickets from corporate sponsors for next Sunday’s Dickies 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race that will be made available to the general public beginning 9 a.m. CT Friday. “When some of our corporate sponsors make it clear that they will not be using all
of their tickets for an upcoming marquee event like the Dickies 500, we always make the effort to make them available to our general race fans this late in the game,” Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said. “I expect them to go fast considering their frontstretch location and the Dickies 500 being the biggest race in the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup.”  The tickets, which range in price from $99 to $130, will be available on a “firstcome, first-serve” basis by visiting or calling the Texas Motor Speedway ticket office at (817) 215-8500.


Surfers success fuels Champ Car drive into finale

Sunshine on another big Surfers crowd

The Lexmark Indy 300 at Surfers Paradise event that concluded last Sunday once again proved an outstanding success with huge crowds, happy sponsors, celebrity appearances and a race won by Sebastien Bourdais that will go down in history. Now the Champ Car World Series heads to Mexico City for its 2007 season finale from Nov. 9-11, the Gran Premio Tecate Presented by Banamex, which also promises to be one hot ticket.

The final four-day attendance figures in Australia was 314,136, an increase over last season and continued evidence that the Surfers Paradise event remains one of the crown jewels on the Champ Car schedule. Much of the attention this year centered around Team Australia and its local hero Will Power, though it was French teammate Simon Pagenaud who escorted rock band Good Charlotte’s lead singer and his pregnant girlfriend Nicole Ritchie through pit lane on race day.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh, who attended two days of the event, was pulling for Power, who failed to finish the race, but left the event happy.

“Obviously I’m a bit disappointed about Team Australia, (but) you can’t help but get swept up in the excitement of such a big international event and it’s a great opportunity for the Gold Coast to be on display for the world.”

In an editorial the day after the race, the Gold Coast Bulletin newspaper labeled it “the greatest single weekend in the Gold Coast’s dynamic calendar of major events,” citing the $60 million annually that it generates for the area. Lexmark Indy 300 Chairman Terry Mackenroth promised a bigger and better event next season. Greg Hooton, the Lexmark Indy 300 General Manager, plans to keep this event growing for years to come.

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Schu drives title-winning F2007

Schumacher watches at Fiorano as Massa sits in F2007

(GMM)  Michael Schumacher this week drove Ferrari's championship-winning F2007 single seater for the first time.

The 38-year-old German, who retired as a seven time world champion at the end of last year, completed a few laps of the team's Fiorano test circuit in northern Italy.

A spokesman for the Maranello based outfit confirmed that Schumacher's demonstration run on Wednesday coincided with a Fiat board meeting, just three days after Kimi Raikkonen wrapped up the 2007 drivers' title.

Schumacher's Fiorano laps, however, were not his first in a formula one car since he raced for the last time at Interlagos last October.  In late June he demonstrated his title-winning F2004 at the same circuit for Ferrari's sixtieth birthday.

On Friday he will appear in Oviedo, Fernando Alonso's Spanish hometown, to collect the Prince of Asturias award.

Schumacher reiterated on Thursday that he does not regret his decision to retire.

"Well, of course I loved to race and I loved to drive and I still do.  But I have closed this chapter, and my new challenge is to spend as much quality time with my family as possible," he said.

"I do not regret anything, I feel free."


Historic night race gets final approval

Singapore Track

The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) has granted approval, via the Singapore Motor Sports Association, for the FORMULA ONE Singapore Grand Prix to hold the first night race in the sport’s history.

“We are well on our way to creating history – with two positive lighting tests under our belt, we are on track to delivering the first night-race in Formula One history,” commented Mr. Colin Syn, Deputy Chairman of Singapore GP.

The electric night-time atmosphere will deliver a different perspective for FORMULA ONE fans around the globe. The later start time will also ensure maximum exposure of the race to the important European television markets.

Esplanade Skyline

“Given that one of our objectives is to showcase Singapore to FORMULA ONE fans around the world, our late start-time will help us achieve this. The stunning city skyline backdrop will be an added bonus” added Mr. Syn.

Said Mr. Lim Neo Chian, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board "The in-principle approval by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) for Singapore to host a night race is yet another positive step in our preparations to present to the world a truly unique FORMULA ONE race. Subject to final safety approvals, FORMULA ONE fans worldwide will be able to enjoy a race experience like no other in Singapore from next year – a dramatic night street race set against our beautiful city skyline."

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track news

New motorsports center at former airport in Montreal

Car track layout

A motorsports centre that includes a 3.8-kilometre race track is to be constructed on a former Mirabel airport site north of Montreal, the builders announced Wednesday.

The International Centre of Advanced Racing (ICAR) is scheduled for completion in the spring, said company president Frederic Senay.

The track will be open for use by professional and amateur drivers.

It will also allow car manufacturers and dealers to showcase their products, and will have a training centre for young race drivers.

The centre will be the home of the ICAR Star Mazda racing team and the ICAR Karting team, which will use a karting track on site.

[Editor's Note: Recall that Champ Car was approached about racing at Mirabel instead on Mont Tremblant when troubles arose in Montreal.]


Latest F1 news in brief
  • 'Silly' decision cost Hamilton title - Ecclestone
  • McLaren figures reject 'wrong button' claims
  • Haug rejects Briatore criticism
  • Rodriguez rejects pay-driver label
  • Now Montezemolo attacks Bernie, FIA
  • 'Don't try' to woo Rosberg, Williams tells Dennis
  • McLaren appeal 'a catastrophe' - Lauda
  • Brazil debut was Nakajima 'test' - Wurz
  • Klien not staying as Honda tester
  • President says Ferrari drivers secure
  • Schu denies Alonso, Kimi, made him quit

'Silly' decision cost Hamilton title - Ecclestone
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone says Ron Dennis is to blame for handing the 2007 drivers' championship to Kimi Raikkonen in last Sunday's Brazilian finale.

The F1 chief executive, who made no secret of his desire that Lewis Hamilton should beat the Ferrari driver or Fernando Alonso to the title, said McLaren committed a "silly" strategy error that cost rookie Hamilton the sport's biggest prize.

"Ron gave Raikkonen the championship," Ecclestone said, referring to the decision to change Hamilton's strategy to a three-stopper after his gearbox went into neutral.

Bernie, 76, told the Mirror newspaper: "He made no time on the road and lost 25 seconds making the stop.  If he had only lost 15 seconds he would have been fourth.

"(Now) Raikkonen is champion.  I just hopes he starts talking more."

McLaren boss Dennis argued in a team-generated interview this week that switching Hamilton's strategy gained him between 10-15 seconds compared with the two-stoppers.

But triple world champion Niki Lauda agrees with Ecclestone.

"A two-stop strategy could have bought him up to fifth place.  We need to look at times.  There are 20 seconds missing.  If this is the case McLaren screwed up," the Austrian veteran said.

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Todt: We had too many failures

Jean Todt

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro team principal Jean Todt paid tribute to his team and drivers after they scored a resounding one-two at Sao Paulo to snatch the Drivers' title for Kimi Raikkonen away from McLaren. He also revealed his satisfaction that the new era at Ferrari had been instantly successful, but also his frustration at the politics that had clouded the 2007 season.

Referring to the Brazilian victory that clinched them the Drivers' championship, Todt said "everything has been perfect: pole position, quickest lap during the race, fantastic job from the team, from the drivers, Kimi, Felipe. In the final result Kimi has been outstanding. The car has been very strong; the team has been very strong. We were not expecting to finish the season like that: nine wins, nine pole positions. So we are very happy."

Todt emphasized Raikkonen's remarkable comeback. "We must not forget that in Japan he was 17 points behind and today he is one point ahead. So he took 18 points in two races. Everybody who was betting on him must be happy tonight. I did not bet on him, but the team did a fantastic job as I said before. In a way, I believe in fair things and it was to the right team and the right driver, but it should not be me who says that. "I always said when we were meeting after races, that until mathematically it is not over we still believe we can make it. That is what we did. Don't forget that Kimi won the first race. So we were strong from the beginning of the championship. We had too many failures but at the end we can be happy tonight."

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Lola unveil LMP2 coupe

Lola Coupe!

Lola have released details of the first ever customer available LMP2 Coupe - the B08/80.

The wind tunnel model (right) is currently testing in Lola's on-site wind tunnel and the initial enhanced aero figures indicate that the design will be a huge step in performance from the current open top LMP2.

Lola Cars International Ltd have had significant interest from existing and potential new customers, several of whom have been to the factory to view the test.

The design is centered around an all new Coupe monocoque with revised suspension geometry and the car will have a third spring option at the front to complement the rear system that has run on the open cars very successfully this year.

However the main performance increase will come from the aerodynamics. Earlier this year Lola's technical team invested heavily in a new CFD hardware cluster through a technical partnership with global technical giant - AMD. This, combined with new FLUENT software has made the aero engineers hungry to push the aero design to enhance the lift/drag ratio within the existing downforce envelope.

Julian Sole leads the design team and the car is expected to make its track debut in the new year.

Meanwhile, the LMP1 Coupe (the B08/60) should test in the first week of December. The monocoque is in laminating and all the assembly will begin in the next 10 days. It is likely that a current Lola customer will run the car in initial testing although this depends on when possible deals can be finalized.


Kimmel parts ways with Tri-State Motorsports
After winning their ninth ARCA RE/MAX Series championship, Frank Kimmel and Tri-State Motorsports have parted ways.

Kimmel, along with his brother and long-time crew chief Bill Kimmel, will compete in the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series under the Kimmel Racing banner as co-owners of the new race team. A car number and primary sponsor for the new team have not been determined.

Car owner/Tri State Motorsports team owner Larry Clement (pictured next to Kimmel) is yet to announce his plans for the 2008 racing season.

"This was a challenging decision to make," said Kimmel. "Larry Clement and I have enjoyed a lot of success in the ARCA RE/MAX Series and he has given me a lot of great opportunities to achieve success. We are excited about this new endeavor of Kimmel Racing for 2008 and beyond -- we wish Larry and Tri-State Motorsports the best as they also move forward."

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track news

Miller Motorsports Park -- Safety Upgrades, Repaving Underway
The racing season at Miller Motorsports Park may be over, but that doesn’t mean activity at the track has slowed down at all.

The state-of-the-art facility is busy making improvements and safety upgrades in anticipation of the 2008 season, and working hard to get as much done as possible before winter weather sets in.

One big project that has already been accomplished is the complete repaving of the 2.183-mile West Circuit, a job that was done under warranty by the paving contractor to remedy some long-term wear issues and repair abnormal wear along the seams.

Other ongoing projects are safety upgrades that will help the track maintain its reputation as the safest road racing circuit in North America, many of which are being instituted following recommendations made by Claude Danis, Safety Director for the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme), the international sanctioning body for motorcycle racing which sanctions the FIM SUPERBIKE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (SBK), during a visit to the track this past July. The cost of these upgrades, over and above the repaving project, will approach $750,000.

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Champ Car gets hammered yet again UPDATE #2 Another writes, Dear Autoracing1.com, With all due respect to Mr. Huffman’s take on John Oreovicz’s article, I think Mr. Huffman’s response is a great example of how some of us Champ Car fans will simply not open our eyes and see that our beloved ship (Champ Car) is clearly taking on water. Do we (Champ Car fans) really think that Kirby, Oreovicz and Phillips (all longtime supporters and defenders of CART/Champ Car) would compromise their journalistic integrity just to help out their buddy Robin Miller just because he lost a Champ Car hard card? Did they jump to Miller’s defense (and compromise their journalistic integrity) when he was fired from the Indy Star or one of the many other jobs Miller lost for speaking his mind? The answer is no. So why would they do it now? Are they on Tony George’s secret payroll and part of some grand scheme to put Champ Car out of business? Again, the answer is no. In fact, we should be looking at Champ Car’s ownership and management team and see if they are the ones on Tony’s secret payroll as they seem to be doing a mighty fine job of killing a once great open wheel series. Fans such as Mr. Huffman should not kill the messengers (i.e., Miller, Kirby, Phillips and Oreovicz) as all these messengers are simply reporting is the harsh reality of Champ Car in 2007. Actually, these four guys are one of the very few journalists in the United States (with the exception of autoracing1.com of course) who even “bother” to mention Champ Car in their articles. Without them…..no one would “bother”. Peter M. Romero, Esq.

Another writes, This guy hasn't the first clue about what RM, DP and JO are all about. These guys are the staunchest supporters Champ Car has ever had. I think the fact that they are about the only guys left that cover the series week-to-week should tell you something about their loyalties. They aren't doing it because it's fun, they aren't doing it because the pay is great, they are doing it because they love the sport and the series. NOW, they have all taken their turns kicking the dead dog that was Champ Car, but only because these guys have given their heart and soul to it, been promised more things than they can count, and seen it all go to Hell in a Handbasket....They aren't trying to influence anything (except RM influencing who gets hired and pouting when it doesn't happen), and they are still deserving of respect. - Ty Webb, Bushwood, Nebraska

10/24/07 A reader writes, Both Robin Miller and David Phillips are overdue for their latest open wheel commentary on SPEEDTV.com.  I suppose they'll next be tag-teaming Oreo and piling on some more.  They're like a little high school click, overreacting after one of them was sent to the principal's office for calling the teacher a prick to his face, and in front of the rest of the class.  These guys, Kirby, Oreo, Miller and Phillips are supposed to be reporters and professionals.  Instead, they're acting like spoiled brats.  Or worse, sharks that smell blood in the water and now they think that as reporters, they can influence and expedite the collapse of a racing series, and finally see their long-sought open-wheel unification at any cost.  I hope the bed that awaits them is warm and snuggly with Tony George.  Personally, these guys whom I once held in high regard, have lost all my respect, as their motives are so transparent. Rich Huffman, Missoula, Montana

10/24/07 In his latest National Speed Sport News article, longtime Champ Car columnist John Oreovicz joins Robin Miller, Gordon Kirby and David Phillips in hammering Champ Car. After a discussion on the ridiculous amount of driver turnover due to non-payment by ride buyers, he closes by saying, Forsythe and PKV (co-owned by series co-principal Kevin Kalkhoven) are supposed to be Champ Car’s marquee teams. Neither owner is lacking for cash, yet both Kalkhoven and Forsythe appear to be penny-pinching at a time when their teams (not to mention their series) are in dire need of investment.

What would it have cost them to just field additional cars for the last two races of the season? A couple hundred grand, or pocket change to men of their ilk. Now, with the news that RuSPORT Racing is set to shut down on Nov. 15, Champ Car is facing its annual car count crisis earlier than ever before. Not to mention the fallout from ‘the prototypical Champ Car team of the 21st Century’ closing its doors after less than five years in business.

The continuing saga of massive turnover of drivers, teams and races and the lack of significant sponsorship has some observers wondering whether Champ Car is going to answer the bell for the 2008 season.

And even worse, the series staunchest supporters are starting to wonder: Why bother?


Drivers pass Indy Pro Series rookie test
Three drivers passed their Indy Pro Series oval rookie tests with Sam Schmidt Motorsports at Kentucky Speedway on Oct. 18. Richard Antinucci, Bia Figueiredo and Matt Lee all successfully completed laps in an Indy Pro Series machine under the direction of series technical director Butch Meyer.

Antinucci, the nephew of 1998 Indianapolis 500 winner Eddie Cheever, won two races in the Indy Pro Series in 2007 driving only the road course events for Cheever Racing. The Kentucky test was the first opportunity for the 26-year-old to drive on an oval.

"Richard did an exceptional job," Meyer said. "We knew from watching him race on the road courses during the season that he is a very talented driver. I was very impressed with the feedback he gave to the engineers throughout the test. He's a very professional race car driver.

"Bia and Matt also did a very nice job and would be very competitive racers in the Indy Pro Series."

Figueiredo, 22, has competed in South American Formula 3 and Formula Renault Brazil while Lee, 17, finished second in Formula BMW competition in 2006 and recorded two top-10 finishes in the Champ Car Atlantic series in 2007.


Young drivers test with Sam Schmidt Motorsports
With the official announcement that 2007 Indy Pro Series champion Alex Lloyd has signed with Chip Ganassi Racing for 2008, Sam Schmidt Motorsports begins its search to replace Lloyd in earnest.

The team, in conjunction with the Indy Pro Series and Firestone, tested two young, up-and-coming drivers at Sebring International Raceway Oct. 22-23.

Cole Morgan, the 2007 Hankook F2000 champion, and James Davison, who ranks second in Star Mazda, got their first opportunity to drive the 450-hp Indy Pro Series cars.

"It seems like we have to reinvent the wheel every year," said team owner Sam Schmidt, whose drivers have won three of the last four Indy Pro Series championships. "We've had a lot of talented drivers do great things in our cars in the past, but the pressure is always on to continue running well with new drivers every year.

"Personally, offering this test is very rewarding as I only wish this type of opportunity was available when I won the FC National Championship in 1993. I applaud series organizers for making this happen."

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Holiday Inn signs multiyear contract renewal with RCR
Holiday Inn has exercised the option in its current contract with Richard Childress Racing (RCR) by signing a multiyear contract extension as the Official Hotel of RCR and the primary sponsor of RCR’s No. 29 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS in the NASCAR Nationwide Series with co-drivers Scott Wimmer and Jeff Burton.

At the same time, Wimmer has reached agreement with RCR on a contract extension with the 10-time NASCAR championship-winning organization.

The 2008 season will once again feature Wimmer and Burton as co-pilots of the No. 29 Holiday Inn Chevrolet, with Wimmer behind the wheel for 23 races and Burton the remainder of the 35-race schedule.  Wimmer will also run a limited schedule of NASCAR Cup Series events next season.

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racing news

GAINSCO Announces new Motorsports Insurance
GAINSCO, INC. announced today the formation of GAINSCO Motorsports Insurance (“GMI”), which will market third-party insurance products to customers in the motorsports industry.

This new marketing unit will be managed by a new addition to GAINSCO and GMI, Christopher S. Maume, who currently operates as an insurance agent in the motorsports industry. “We are pleased to have someone with Chris’ level of passion and experience joining us at GAINSCO,” said Glenn W. Anderson, President and Chief Executive Officer of GAINSCO. “This niche marketing opportunity enables us to develop a fee income business that capitalizes on our successful racing sponsorship and brand. We believe that Chris is the right person to lead this program for GAINSCO.”

The Company believes motorsports insurance correlates closely with its sponsorship of the GAINSCO 99 Daytona Prototype racecar. The GAINSCO 99 racecar recently completed its season long campaign in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series by capturing the 2007 team and driver championships. GAINSCO became the primary sponsor of the No. 99 car and Bob Stallings Racing when the team entered competition in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series in mid-season 2005.

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Commission overturns Kyle Busch’s penalty

Kyle Busch

On October 23, 2007, the National Stock Car Racing Commission heard and considered the appeal of Hendrick Motorsports regarding the No. 5 NASCAR Busch Series car driven by Kyle Busch. The appeal concerned a penalty issued by NASCAR following post-race inspection on September 29, 2007 for the NASCAR Busch Series event at Kansas Speedway.

The infractions concerned Section 12-4-A of the NASCAR Rule Book “Actions detrimental to stock car racing”; Section 12-4-Q “Any determination by NASCAR Officials that the car, car parts, components, and/or equipment used in the Event do not conform to NASCAR rules” and Section 20A-5.9.D(4): “Unapproved intake manifold modifications to the plenum area.”

The penalty assessed was:

• $10,000.00 fine for crew chief Michael Bumgarner.

The Appellants argued that the manifold design had been previously approved, the manifold in question had successfully passed a number of previous inspections, and that modifications permitted under the current NASCAR Busch Series manifold rules were largely subjective in this area when it came to enforcement.

In deciding the Appeal, the Commission considered several factors:

• Cars, car parts, components and/or equipment are not approved by reason of having passed through inspection at any time or any number of times unobserved or undetected.

• While rules enforcement must, by necessity, be discretionary in areas not readily measured by gauge, scale or template, the current NASCAR Busch Series manifold rules place extra emphasis on a strictly visual determination of whether or not too much material has been extracted in the plenum area during the polishing process. By and large, Officials need the flexibility to say when a modification has “gone too far”. However, a direct comparison with the unpolished manufacturer casting or other approved pieces can be inconclusive in some respects without the introduction of additional enforcement parameters.

• The manifold did conform to the applicable NASCAR-approved gauges and other measuring devices.

Therefore it is the unanimous decision of the National Stock Car Racing Commission to rescind (overturn) the original penalty assessed by NASCAR. 

Richard Gore
David Hall
George Silbermann, Chairman

racing news

SPEED Weekly Top 20 Driver Ranking
Updated 10-24-07
Pos.  (LW) Driver (Series)                     Pts
1. (1) Kimi Raikkonen (F1)*                    8.499
2. (2) Jeff Gordon (NASCAR)                    8.335
3. (5) Jimmie Johnson (NASCAR)                 8.307
4. (9) Sebastien Bourdais (CCWS)               7.985
5. (4) Dario Franchitti (IRL)*                 7.632
6. (3) Clint Bowyer (NASCAR)                   7.285
7. (8) Scott Dixon (IRL)*                      7.272
8. (10) Kyle Busch (NASCAR)                    6.948
9. (7) Tony Stewart (NASCAR)                   6.728
10. (13) Tony Kanaan (IRL)*                    6.693
11. (11) Carl Edwards (NASCAR)                 6.660
12. (22) Greg Biffle (NASCAR)                  6.653
13. (12) Justin Wilson (CCWS)                  6.650
14. (18) Denny Hamlin (NASCAR)                 6.482
15. (6) Fernando Alonso (F1)*                  6.422
16. (NR) Ryan Newman (NASCAR)                  6.393
17. (NR) Kevin Harvick (NASCAR)                6.260
18. (16) Felipe Massa (F1)*                    6.231
19. (14) Jeff Burton (NASCAR)                  6.170
20. (15) Casey Mears (NASCAR)                  6.168

Dropped out: Kasey Kahne (NASCAR), Kurt Busch (NASCAR), Martin Truex Jr. (NASCAR)
*Season complete

Provided by STATS Inc.
Current year results, last 10 races, last five races and last race are factored in equally, with an adjustment factor to


McLaren told to pay over $50 million to FIA
McLaren will have to pay over $50 million to the International Automobile Federation (FIA), which will use the money to promote safer motorsport worldwide, Formula One's governing body said on Wednesday.

"Following the judgment of the World Motor Sport Council on 13 September (when McLaren was fined), a sum in excess of $50 million will be paid in December to the FIA," the body said in a statement after a meeting of its world council in Paris.

"This will be used to establish the FIA Development Fund, which will assist the work of National Sporting Authorities (ASNs) in promoting the development of safer motor sport worldwide, especially in countries where the motor sport infrastructure is in need of support", the statement read.

The money represents a fine handed to McLaren in September as a result of a spying controversy.

The FIA had imposed on McLaren a $100 million fine and the loss of their 2007 constructors' points.

The body then said the size of the fine could be halved ultimately, with revenues and prize money deducted from it according to where the team would have ended up at the end of the season with the points scored prior to the hearing. Reuters


Final 2008 F1 Calendar
The 2008 Formula 1 World Championship calendar was ratified at a meeting of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council on October 24.

There are no date or event changes from the previously published list, with the first grand prix of the new 18-race season set to get underway on Sunday March 16 in Australia.

The first street race in Valencia will take place on August 24, while Singapore will stage F1's first night grand prix on September 28.

Interlagos in Brazil will again host the season finale.

2008 Formula 1 World Championship calendar

Mar 16 - Melbourne, Australia
Mar 23 - Sepang, Malaysia
Apr 6  - Sakhir, Bahrain
Apr 27 - Barcelona, Spain
May 11 - Istanbul Park, Turkey
May 25 - Monte Carlo, Monaco
June 8 - Montreal, Canada
June 22 - Magny-Cours, France
July 6 - Silverstone, Great Britain
July 20 - Hockenheim, Germany
Aug 3 - Hungaroring, Hungary
Aug 24 - Valencia, Europe
Sep 7 - Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
Sep 14 - Monza, Italy
Sep 28 - Singapore*
Oct 12 - Fuji, Japan
Oct 19 - Shanghai, China
Nov 2 - Interlagos, Brazil

* night race


Haug defends Dennis amid post-title scorn
(GMM) Former McLaren world champion Alain Prost says he sympathised with Fernando Alonso's plight in 2007 under the hand of boss Ron Dennis.

The Frenchman, who infamously clashed with his then McLaren teammate Ayrton Senna in the late 80s, says he understands why Spaniard Alonso would complain about unfavourable conditions compared with his own teammate Lewis Hamilton in the latter part of this season.

He lays the blame at Dennis' doorstep, who Prost says - despite the team's constant protestations of equality - usually wrests his emotional support for one driver over another.

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FIA announces ten-year engine freeze for F1
(GMM) The FIA's World Motor Sport Council routinely met in Paris on Wednesday and ratified an imminent ten-year freeze on formula one engine development.

The news follows reports last weekend that Max Mosley rejected the alternative proposal of the sport's six car manufacturers for the future engine rules.

The manufacturers wanted a 675 hp formula for 2010 and beyond comprising four-race engines and an energy recovery 'boost' button.

But Mosley, the FIA president, rejected the proposal because the carmakers would not agree to supply customer engines to private teams for 10m euros per season.

"There will be a total freeze on engine development for a period of 10 years, starting from 2008," a statement issued by the Paris based FIA announced on Wednesday.

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track news

NASCAR prepares to fight Kentucky Speedway lawsuit
The Kentucky Speedway’s antitrust lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial in March, but lawyers representing NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. soon will try to convince a federal judge that a trial isn’t necessary.  U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman will hear arguments Nov. 19 in Covington on several motions filed in the case - including a sealed motion for summary judgment filed earlier this year by NASCAR and ISC.

The speedway filed suit in July 2005 alleging NASCAR and ISC violated antitrust laws by restricting which tracks host Nextel cup races and trying to “monopolize the market for hosting premium stock car racing events.”

In an amended complaint filed in April, the speedway said it wanted NASCAR to develop "objective factors" for the awarding of Nextel Cup races; for the France family to give up control of either ISC (a public company that operates tracks and whose majority of voting stock is owned by the Frances) or NASCAR (a private company owned by the Frances); for ISC to sell at least eight of the 12 tracks it owns that host Nextel Cup events; and more than $200 million in damages.  Cincinnati Enquirer


Raikkonen: "I’m so happy it almost hurts"

The Iceman can smile!

Kimi Raikkonen landed at Zurich airport in the afternoon. These are his first words as world champion back in Europe: "I am so happy it almost hurts! This is like a dream come true. This is something I wanted to reach since I've been a child. I was seven years old when I first saw a race track: it was an old, small kart circuit called Bembole; just five kilometres from where I lived. It was like a second home for me.

Now, 22 years later, I have many favorite race tracks, but the most important one is Interlagos, more than 5,000 kilometres away from home! I've always said that the aim of my career is to become world champion. I came very close a couple of times and in the end everything turned out fine. We have always given our best to try to win. Doing that in sport you have to always push to the max until the end. You never know what may happen in a race; you only have to look at the last three races and you know what I'm talking about. Fuji was really terrible for us: we were at the back of the pack and our race was over almost immediately.

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Q and A with McLaren’s Ron Dennis

Ron Dennis

After being stripped of all constructors points and then losing the drivers title to Ferrari in the final race here at Brazil on Sunday afternoon, no one would blame McLaren team boss Ron Dennis if he wasn’t feeling the happiest at the present time. However, he is dealing with the situation quite well as he explained to the team’s official website.

Ron, your reaction to Sunday’s race?
The team has done a great job this year in very difficult circumstances. If you look back over the season both Fernando and Lewis have enjoyed phenomenal reliability, unfortunately, this is the first time Lewis has had a problem in a race that’s cost him time.

Ron, can explain what happened to Lewis’s car?
We don’t quite know the exact cause of the problem yet. However, we can tell you that the result of this problem caused the gearbox system to go into default – to select neutral. This was probably caused by an incorrect command given to the system box. At this stage we do not know why the system received an incorrect command - it could be a sensor. When it defaulted it took a while to mentally recover and then the box worked perfectly after that.

Can you explain how Lewis lost time?
Two incidents happened - Lewis had a small off, which caused him to drop from fourth to eighth. Then he fought back to sixth position before the system problem happened – that caused a 30 second loss of time, so put him 33 seconds behind Fernando. The most important thing to appreciate is not so much the time, but actually the fact that he’s then eighteenth with a quantity of cars in front of him. People are very quick to criticize the strategy, but the simple headline is that Fernando, who executed in our opinion a perfect two stop strategy, was 33 seconds ahead of him when we chose to switch strategies and at the end of the race he was 20 seconds ahead of him, so that’s 33 seconds versus 20 seconds, so we think the strategy made up between 10 and 15 seconds. The reason that he was able to make up the time was because he was constantly fed back into the circuit in clear air or with slower cars that he could easily overtake because of the fact that he was carrying less fuel and that his tires were in better condition. We were also nursing the engine temperatures and we had to just be a little careful that we didn’t over-stress the engine so we lost a little bit of pace by turning the revs down occasionally, but and I stress, I don’t think it was in any shape or form that made a difference to the outcome.

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Q and A with Fernando Alonso post-Brazil

Fernando Alonso

Double world champion Fernando Alonso was forced to hand over his crown to Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen at the conclusion of the Brazilian Grand Prix last Sunday when he finished third behind the two Ferraris. This meant that the Spaniard finished the season one point less than Raikkonen and tied with his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, but due to countback, Alonso ended the closest championship in a long time, third overall.

Here he speaks to the team’s official website at the end of the weekend…

Fernando, how disappointed are you with the result?
Well, obviously you always have the hope to win the Championship until the last lap. I knew that I was running third, so if one of the Ferraris had had a problem I would have become Champion, so there was always the chance, but it didn’t happen. It is a sad moment for me not to win the Championship. But we tried right up to the end, so we have to keep our chin up.

Fernando, there was some nice overtaking in this race, talk us through how this effected your race?
Yeah, but after the first lap the race was not very interesting for me. I had a little fight with Kubica, but that was my only fight. I was just waiting for one of the Ferraris to have a problem, as we did not have the pace to beat them. I tried until the last lap. I’m a little bit sad now because we lost the Championship, but in a way the whole season has been positive, we have been fighting until the end. At the beginning when we launched the car in Valencia we were not expecting this.

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Latest F1 news in brief
  • BMW compile list to replace tester Glock
  • Appeal makes McLaren 'worst losers' - report
  • Wurz denies retirement not voluntary
  • Damon Hill attacks again

BMW compile list to replace tester Glock
(GMM) A list of candidates to replace Timo Glock as BMW-Sauber's primary tester is beginning to emerge.

25-year-old German Glock, the newly crowned GP2 champion, is expected to shortly be signed in a racing role for one of formula one's Toyota powered teams.

Upon imminent confirmation of Glock's plans, BMW motor sport director Mario Theissen is expected to quickly organize a new driver ahead of the upcoming post and pre-season tests.

According to Auto Motor und Sport, reigning A1GP title winner Nico Hulkenberg - the 20-year-old who is looked after by Michael Schumacher's manager Willi Weber - is in the running for the reserve role.

Another young German being mentioned for the drive is Christian Vietoris, as are Estonian rookie Marko Asmer and Ulsterman Adam Carroll, who won two races in GP2 this year.

Appeal makes McLaren 'worst losers' - report
(GMM) Europe's most widely circulated newspaper has slammed McLaren for appealing the outcome of the drivers' world championship.

"If McLaren succeed, they will deserve only one title: Worst Losers, 2007," the German language Bild-Zeitung proclaimed.

Team chiefs Martin Whitmarsh and Norbert Haug insisted on Tuesday that the appeal is not motivated by the desire to snatch away Kimi Raikkonen's crown, but rather to clarify the decision of the stewards at Interlagos over the 'cool fuel' issue.

"(McLaren) wishes to win races and championships on the track," a statement issued by the Woking based team clarified on Tuesday.

"However, if there has been an irregularity, which is not the fault of the team, we feel that the matter must be properly examined to ensure that the rules are applied," it added.

The statement acknowledged that the "significance" and "timing" of the issue is "regrettable".

But despite insisting that winning the title is not the objective of the appeal, McLaren explained that the team will accept the decision of the FIA's Court of Appeal -- which could hand the championship to Lewis Hamilton.

"Ultimately we feel that the FIA should determine whether an irregularity occurred or not, and the team will fully respect the process and any decision that is ultimately given," the statement said.

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Labbe takes over as Crew Chief
Richard “Slugger” Labbe will take over duties as crew chief of the #36 team for at least the next two races. Labbe, a 39-year-old native of Saco, Maine, has been busy for the last several months working with Bill Davis Racing newcomer Jacques Villeneuve. BDR PR

team usa

New supporters jump on Team USA Scholarship bandwagon
Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. – The Team USA Scholarship is pleased to announce that several new supporters have joined the program which has helped nurture the careers of talented young American race car drivers ever since its inception in 1990.

Among the new contributors are Silicon Salvage, one of Southern California’s leading computer surplus and salvage dealers; Integrated Performance Technology (IPT), which works with IT companies to provide B2B executive events at motor racing venues around the world; Dyson Racing, which has been at the top of sports car racing for almost three decades; AutoRacing1.com, a leading source of news; and Metalore, which provides precision design and manufacturing capabilities for the auto racing and medical industries, as well as the military.

"I’ve known the kids who have been selected the last few years and they learned so much from this program," says Silicon Salvage principal Chuck Hulse, who has been around the sport his entire life.

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NASCAR coach reveals winning strategy
This is a must watch video for all oval track fans.  A real insight into what it takes to win an oval race.  This coach really has it pegged.

NASCAR Coach Reveals Winning Strategy: 'Drive Fast'


NCTS ratings trending up for SPEED
Ratings for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville last weekend were up 18 percent, according to Nielsen Media Research. The increase continues a trend on SPEED, as the last three NCTS races all have enjoyed ratings increases, with the most noteworthy growth among younger audiences.

“These numbers are encouraging,” said SPEED President Hunter Nickell. “To be able to deliver consistent ratings increases in this challenging environment is significant.

“The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is delivering a historic points battle between two former champions,” Nickell added. “It’s a series rife with great storylines, and at the end of the day, viewers want to be a part of a great story. SPEED will have all hands on deck as this championship is decided.”

The Martinsville race earned a 0.73 (534,000 households), peaking at 0.82 (598,000 HH). Both numbers were improvements from a 0.62 average and 0.72 peak in 2006. The Men 18-49 saw the most dramatic growth, up 92 percent from a year ago.

At Talladega, the 2007 Nielsen rating was 0.94 (886,000 HH), up four percent from 0.90 (611,000 HH) in 2006. And at Las Vegas, the race earned a 0.49, up 11 percent from the 0.44 in 2006.


Richert departs Red Bull Racing Team
Red Bull Racing Team Competition Director Elton Sawyer on the Departure of #83 Crew Chief Doug Richert: Red Bull Racing Team R & D Manager, Randy Cox, will replace Doug Richert as the #83 Red Bull Racing Team crew chief starting this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Cox's past crew chief roles were in the Busch Series with Kenny Wallace, and also with David Stremme. "In any Nextel Cup Series organization, the crew chief and driver are the two key forces that make a race team competitive, and there must be a balance in both personalities and methods for achieving goals," Sawyer said. "Individually, each person can be strong at their job, but if they aren't efficient collectively, then changes must be made so both sides can reach their optimum potential. The formula we'd put together to try and make the #83 team successful was no longer working, so it was an amicable decision to part ways. Doug Richert made many contributions in helping this team grow in our first year of competition and we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors." Red Bull Racing PR


Edwards and Kenseth in heated exchange UPDATE Carl Edwards apologized Tuesday for his actions following Sunday's race at Martinsville Speedway, saying he was wrong to show his anger toward Roush Fenway Racing teammate Matt Kenseth.

Edwards was caught on videotape confronting his teammate in a heated exchange and raising his arm and making a fist, after the two banged fenders in the Subway 500.

Edwards said on a NASCAR teleconference that trouble has been brewing between the pair for a while and that it's probably been six months since they've had a conversation.

Now, he wants to change all of that. Edwards is hoping that he and his Roush Fenway teammates can do a better job of having a "team spirit," and he says he plans to do his best to communicate better not only with Kenseth, but with all his Roush Fenway teammates.

Edwards took full blame for his actions, pledged to get to know his teammates better and analyzed what could have brought on this type of display. He added that he would take the first step toward mending fences. Scenedaily.com

10/22/07 Roush Fenway Racing drivers Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth got into a heated verbal exchange while both were leaving Martinsville Speedway on Sunday night. Kenseth was about to be interviewed by Speed Channel reporter Bob Dillner in the area of Turn 4 near the access tunnel when Edwards came up to Kenseth to complain about an on-track incident in the race. The two exchanged words and Edwards appeared to raise his hand as if to strike Kenseth, but pulled away. Part of the incident was captured by Speed’s cameras and shown on the network’s post-race programming, “NASCAR Victory Lane” and “Speed Report.”  Officials with Edwards and Kenseth’s teams could not be reached late Sunday for comment. Charlotte Observer


Philippe fastest in Europe test

Richard Philippe

Richard Philippe, younger brother of Champ Car driver Nelson Philippe, tested with ASM today. They won the F3 Euroseries championship this  year and Philippe is trying out for a seat with them next year.  He was quickest during the 2-day test that saw 8 drivers take to the  track.  His lap time was 1 tenth quicker than the pole lap this year at the French  track of Nogaro.  Philippe is now on his way to Barcelona for his last World Series race of the season!


Investor suit vs. JDS Uniphase opens
The shareholder lawsuit filed by the state of Connecticut against JDS Uniphase of Milpitas began Monday in an Oakland federal court with some last-minute legal maneuvering before jury selection starts today.

Despite several attempts on the part of U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken, the two sides failed to reach the kind of settlement that usually ends such cases. Instead, the case is on the verge of becoming one of the few securities litigation cases to go to trial.

"We look forward to the opportunity to have our case heard," said Terri Garland, an attorney representing JDS Uniphase.

Starting in 1999, JDS became the leading fiber-optic company as it used its skyrocketing stock to acquire 11 rivals. But in February 2001, the company imploded.

Executives insist they never saw the collapse coming and were simply caught up in a wave that hit the entire telecommunications industry. The Connecticut state treasurer's office, led by Denise Nappier, sued the company on behalf of all shareholders alleging that insiders knew for almost a year that the company was in trouble, but hid the truth to give themselves more time to sell stock and acquire other companies.

Connecticut's state employee pension fund lost $65 million on JDS stock compared with just $17 million on Enron.

Besides JDS, the Connecticut lawsuit names former CEOs Jozef Straus and Kevin Kalkhoven (Champ Car), former President Charles Abbe and former Chief Financial Officer Anthony Muller.

Jury selection and opening statements are scheduled for today. Including Monday, the trial is scheduled to last 19 days. The judge said she expects the trial and closing statements to wrap up before Thanksgiving and that the jury would be deliberating after the holiday weekend.

That tight timeline for such a complex trial was the source of much of the squabbling between attorneys Monday. But despite some pleas for more time, the judge held fast to the schedule.

"I'm sure we could spend a year on this case without repeating ourselves," Wilken said. San Jose Mercury News (Related article)


UP, the newest team for the Speedcar Series
Union Properties (UP) announced that they will be promoters of a team of two drivers for the coming 2008 Speedcar Series with two cars. French sportscar ace David Terrien will team-up with UAE national Sheikh Hasher Al Maktoum to form this formidable UP team.

The pair has been announced as the latest driving team partnership in the Pan-Asian and Middle Eastern championships, which kicks-off at the Dubai Autodrome circuit, MotorCity, on January 26th 2008.

Sh. Hasher al Maktoum is 22 years old, and is the first Emirati confirmed as a Speedcar driver, and is set to be an enormous hit with fans in the region. He is the current UAE Karting Champion, has competed in Formula Renault Campus, and will drive Speedcar number 85 carrying the name of MotorCity.

David Terrien, 31, will pilot Speedcar number 20 carrying the name of Union Properties. He is a former multiple-time karting champion, French Formula Ford and Eurocup champion, winner of the Sports Car World Cup and the FIA N-GT World Championship. He has also taken part in the Le Mans 24 Hours, and is part of the management team at Dubai Autodrome.

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Nakajima apologizes for knocking over crew
(GMM) Kazuki Nakajima has apologized for hospitalizing two of his Williams teammates in the first formula one pit stop of his career in Brazil.

The Toyota-backed Japanese, the son of former grand prix driver Satoru Nakajima, knocked over five of his pit crew in the Interlagos pit lane.

Two were sent to hospital in Sao Paulo, where they spent Sunday night, but are set to return home to England without serious injury.

"It was totally my mistake, I just braked too late," he was quoted as saying by Speed TV.

22-year-old rookie Nakajima did, however, impress observers with his maiden outing in Brazil, including co-owner Patrick Head, who said at Interlagos "he's set a marker for a future in formula one".

Sir Frank Williams, who did not travel to Brazil at the weekend, said recently: "(It's) too soon to say if he will have an outstanding future or a medium future in F1, but I think he is formula one material."

Nakajima said on Tuesday: "I would love to do F1 next year, but I would be happy with GP2 as well. Whatever I do, it's going to be a really good year for me (in 2008), I think."


McLaren should have benched Alonso - Briatore
(GMM)  Flavio Briatore says McLaren has no-one to blame for failing to win the drivers' world championship.

The Renault boss, who shares a prickly relationship with his McLaren counterpart Ron Dennis, thinks the tension between teammates Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso was a devastating factor as the battle against Ferrari reached its climax in Brazil last Sunday.

Briatore would be delighted to reunite his French squad with Alonso next year, but he nonetheless thinks McLaren should have sidelined the openly uncomfortable Spaniard.

"They should have put a reserve in Alonso's place and Hamilton would have won without any problem," the Italian told Antenna 3 television.


BB&T, RCR extend relationship through 2009

Bowyer never won a race until BB&T contract negotiations were at a critical stage

BB&T Corporation and Richard Childress Racing (RCR) have extended their sponsorship agreement through 2009.

BB&T will continue its role as the official bank of RCR and the primary sponsor of Clint Bowyer’s No. 2 BB&T Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS in 25 NASCAR Nationwide Series races as Bowyer competes for the 2008 Nationwide Series Championship. BB&T will be a major associate on the No. 2 car for the remaining 10 races on the Nationwide schedule and will be featured on the car’s lower rear-quarter panels.

BB&T also will strengthen its position within the RCR family of sponsors and serve as the primary sponsor on Bowyer’s No. 07 Chevrolet Impala SS for NASCAR Cup Series races next spring at Martinsville Speedway and Richmond International Raceway.

“Clint Bowyer and Richard Childress Racing have been ideal partners, delivering success on and off the track,” said BB&T Chief Marketing Officer Steve Wiggs. “We are very pleased with the BB&T brand extension into the NASCAR community as well as the excitement it has created for our employees and clients. Clint’s pursuit of the 2008 championship in the BB&T Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS will be the cornerstone of our sports marketing efforts.”

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2008 season already underway
Preparations for the 2008 season start pretty much right away, even if there is no on track testing until the middle of next month, as Formula One is a sport that never stands still. However, the real fact of the matter over at Red Bull Racing is that work on next year’s cars has been well underway for several months now, just as in other teams, but now comes the time to fine tune and put on the finishing touches. 

If this seems like a bit of rush, consider the fact that there are only 145 days to go until the start of Friday free practice at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne Australia, the opening round of the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship and Mark Webber’s home race.

Red Bull Racing can tackle the coming winter months in the knowledge that fifth place is the best finish the team, in any of its three guises based in Milton Keynes has ever achieved, and even though they inherited one place with the disqualification from McLaren, sixth is still one better than they have ever done before.

It’s not where they really wish to be of course and the big push will start almost immediately when F1 testing resumes at the Barcelona circuit from the 13th to 15th November.  Red Bull PR

racing news

Quotes of the week UPDATE #4
NEEL JANI, Champ Car driver, PKV Racing 
Neel Jani was very impressed with the Australian Champ Car race organization and the interest shown by the public. “This many spectators, I have never seen in a motor sport event. Not even in Formula 1 last year!”

10/22/07 A new quote has been added by Lewis Hamilton.

LEWIS HAMILTON, leading contender for World Drivers Champion before GP of Brazil, McLaren Mercedes F1 team
"It would be wrong," Hamilton said if he was declared World Champion if it meant stripping Kimi Raikkonen of his title on appeal.  "For me, I want to win it on the track.  Being promoted after some people have been thrown out is not the way I want to do it."  He said winning on appeal "would feel weird after Kimi did such a fantastic job in the last two races."  He continued, "He won yesterday and to have it taken away is a bit cruel and probably not good for the sport."

10/22/07 A new quote has been added by Fernando Alonso.

FERNANDO ALONSO, defeated 2-times World Drivers Champion, McLaren Mercedes F1 team
"It doesn't seem like the season has been managed very well," Alonso said.  "The result speaks for itself. McLaren lost the championship probably because of some of the decisions they took, especially in the second half of the season. It's no secret that they haven't helped me a lot.  What Ron Dennis said in China about them not racing against Raikkonen but against me was a declaration of their intent," he added. "So McLaren did its part in losing the title, but Ferrari did a better job than the rest.  In the last races both my hands were tied - I had no power," added the former champion. "I had to do it all the way they said and that made it harder to close the gap.  They preach equality, but perhaps if they had invested in a driver for the championship they would now have the title.  They know what they did or did not invest in me, especially in the last half of the year," he added.  Alonso demonstrating the depth of his rift with McLaren chiefs, said he would be "embarrassed" if Ferrari's Raikkonen is stripped of the title.  "It wouldn't be fair," he said.  "I will hide my head in shame, it would be a lack of respect.  It would sink the sport if they won the title this way."  (McLaren wants the Court of Appeal to find three rival cars guilty of using illegally cold fuel at Interlagos; a decision that would hand the drivers' championship from Kimi Raikkonen to Lewis Hamilton.  Alonso says McLaren lost the drivers' title not because of rivals' illegal fuel, but because of their own errors and bad management.)

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Alonso a ’class act’ - Montezemolo


(GMM) In the days after the 2007 championship climax, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has reserved some high praise for Fernando Alonso.

Kimi Raikkonen stole the crown from McLaren's championship leader Lewis Hamilton and reigning title winner Alonso in Brazil on Sunday.

And while Montezemolo had little admiration for Alonso's McLaren's stable-mates, he heralded the 26-year-old as an "extraordinary driver".

"Alonso is a class act in every respect. I very much appreciate his sportsmanship," Montezemolo is quoted by the news agency EFE as saying on Tuesday.

He added: "Despite losing the title by a single point and perhaps only due to the mismanagement of his team, he arrived at the press conference and immediately congratulated Raikkonen.

"He showed that is he also a champion off the track," Montezemolo said.

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Cadillac to quit SCCA Speed World Challenge
Cadillac's SCCA Speed World Challenge racing program is finished. The team's appearance this past weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca-where it claimed both the drivers' and manufacturers' titles-will be its last, at least for the near future.  GM road-racing boss Steve Wesoloski declined comment, but Joanne Krell, Cadillac director of public relations, said, "Cadillac is out of racing for the time being as it focuses on its core business. AutoWeek


’Sweet Defeat’ for Hamilton

The always smug Lewis Hamilton

Spain's press yesterday called Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen's Formula One title win a "sweet defeat" for Lewis Hamilton, the McLaren Mercedes teammate and bitter rival of Spanish driver Fernando Alonso. "Sweet Defeat," sports daily AS said on its front page below a photo of double world champion Alonso holding a large Champagne bottle after finishing third following Sunday's season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix. Britain's Hamilton, who the Spanish media has accused of being favored by McLaren over Alonso, finished seventh after leading the championship for six months. The newspaper added on its front page headline that McLaren chief Ron Dennis "made Raikkonen the champion of the world." "Neither Hamilton, nor Alonso: the title went to Raikkonen and Ferrari," rival sports newspaper Marca said on its front page which featured a picture of a dejected-looking Hamilton. National Post


Ford boosting engineering help to NASCAR teams
Ford has made tremendous advances in providing engineering support to the Ford NASCAR Nextel Cup teams this year, but there are definite lines drawn on what Ford engineers can and will do to help the teams, said Pat DiMarco, the vehicle dynamics and chassis supervisor at Ford Racing Technology. What the engineers share among the teams is how to tackle problems and find solutions. What’s closely protected is the specifics of the setups each team runs. “We share processes and simulation tools, the development of those to make them better, so if some of the stuff that the Roush guys are working on makes our simulation tools better, that gets applied across the board,” DiMarco, who has Ford engineers working in every Ford NASCAR shop lending help to individual teams. But those engineers who work on behalf of specific teams aren’t allowed to compare notes with the engineers at other Ford teams. They won’t take a setup—and I won’t let ‘em take a setup and go say, ‘Hey, why don’t you guys go try something like this?’ I pride myself on ethics, that my guys don’t go do that,” said DiMarco. “We do not take things off the car on race weekend … it’s more the tools and the methodologies, the processes that we share across the teams. All the teams know that going in.” Ford Racing

[Editor's Note: Let's see, Roush supports Yates, Wood Brothers and Robby Gordon, plus his 5 teams, so we guess it is the rest of the Ford teams that don't share information. Roush thumbed his nose at NASCAR and took the four car rule to essentially run 8 or 9 teams.  We wonder what hefty fees he collects for his services, perhaps as much as if he owned the cars?]


Dennis denies Hamilton finger trouble
(GMM)  Ron Dennis has denied that finger trouble cost Lewis Hamilton the 2007 world championship.

Hamilton, whose McLaren dropped through the field last Sunday when his gearbox slipped into neutral, reportedly told the French newspaper La Presse that he accidentally pressed a wrong button on his steering wheel.

The Briton's claim is backed by on-board camera footage that depicts Hamilton's left thumb as pressing a button before he slowed.

But Dennis is on Tuesday quoted as saying: "There was nothing that Lewis did that had any relevance to the gearbox."

Team boss Dennis speculates that the problem may have been caused by a faulty sensor, but insisted that it was a mechanical rather than human glitch.

"The only reason that we did not win the world championship was the gearbox problem," Dennis told reporters.

Hamilton, who had to pause an interview with reporters in his Sao Paulo hotel room on Monday afternoon to throw up, called the incident a "small hiccup" that cost him a place in F1's record books.

"But I didn't wake up this morning thinking 'oh shoot'," he added.  "I've just got to get on with it."

Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz competition director Norbert Haug has indicated that Hamilton's wish for the 'cool fuel' protest to be dropped is unlikely to change the team's decision.

"Those teams had a competitive advantage," Tuesday's Bild-Zeitung quoted him as saying.  "We cannot brush that aside."


A night of champions in Monterey
The American Le Mans Series honored its teams, drivers, manufacturers, crews and fan favorites at its annual season-ending banquet in Monterey, Calif., site of Saturday’s incredible finish at the Monterey Sports Car Championships. The event served as an affirmation of the season-long champions but there were some special surprises as well.

American Le Mans Series fans from around the world let their voices be heard for three awards. For the fourth time, Corvette Racing legend Ron Fellows received the Most Popular Driver Award. The From the Fans award, given annually to the person or group who made the greatest contribution in the sport, went to Highcroft Racing’s Duncan Dayton. Both awards were voted on by fans at americanlemans.com.

Audi Sport North America’s Allan McNish and Penske Racing’s Romain Dumas both received the MotorsTV Most Popular Driver award in voting among the network’s viewers.

Tafel Racing owner and driver Jim Tafel won the Founder’s Cup, which goes annually to the top gentleman driver in the Series, and Penske’s Ryan Briscoe was the Rookie of the Year.

The Klein Tools Crew Chief of the Year awards went to Audi’s Bobby Green in LMP1, Dyson Racing’s Lou Marrasso in LMP2, Ray Gongla of Corvette Racing in GT1, and Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Tommy Sadler in GT2. IMSA’s Pit Lane and Technical staff voted for the awards.

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racing news

Shav Glick passes away at age 87 UPDATE #2 The following is a statement made by three-time IndyCar/CART champion Bobby Rahal regarding the passing of longtime Los Angeles Times sportswriter Shav Glick.  "Shav Glick was one of the great racing writers of my time or of any other and I feel that motorsports has lost one of its great supporters with his passing. Shav was one of a handful of journalists that helped carry auto racing into the everyday consciousness of America, helping our sport grow with each column he wrote. He and I played golf a lot and I will miss his friendship, humor, intelligence and love for the sport."

10/21/07 Shav Glick, whose insightful coverage of motor sports for The Times made him nearly as famous as the racing stars he chronicled, died Saturday at his Pasadena home of complications from melanoma, said his companion, Doris Syme. He was 87. The complete LA Times article can be viewed at here.


Shav Glick

Former Los Angeles Times beat writer Shav Glick passed away Saturday morning in his Pasadena (Calif.) home after a bout with cancer. He was 86 years old.

A native Californian, Glick got his first byline in a daily newspaper in 1935 at the Pasadena Post – he  was 14 years old. In 1954, legendary publisher Otis Chandler recruited Glick to the Los Angeles Mirror, which became a part of the Los Angeles Times in 1963.  In 1969, Glick began covering motorsports for the Times, retiring from that post in January 2006. 

"Shav was a legendary journalist who brought a greater understanding of NASCAR, in fact all motorsports, to West Coast racing fans," said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. "Shav will be missed by all of us in the NASCAR community, but his contributions will never be forgotten."

"Shav never met a stranger," said Jim Hunter, NASCAR vice president of communications. "He was a great guy, always fair. His contributions to the sport reached well beyond the pages of the Los Angeles Times."

Glick won countless awards in a career that spanned nearly 70 years. In 2004, he was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. He won the Jim Murray Outstanding Journalist Award; STP/AARWBA Writing, Broadcast and Photography honors; and the AMA Hazel Kolb Brighter Image Award. He was only the fourth person in the 18-year history of the Motor Press Guild to receive a lifetime achievement award, and was a member of the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame.

Shortly after his retirement, Glick was honored as the Grand Marshal of the 2006 Auto Club 500 at California Speedway.

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No more contracts for Ganassi crews
Car owner Chip Ganassi is reshuffling his massive NASCAR operation for 2008, releasing a number of crewmen and saying he will not be signing any crewmen to contracts anymore. Winston Salem Journal


Franchitti to make Busch debut


Chip Ganassi Racing officials confirmed Monday that Dario Franchitti will make his Busch Series debut in this weekend's Sam's Town 250 at Memphis Motorsports Park. Franchitti is entered in Ganassi's No. 42 Dodge, following in the footsteps of teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who made his NASCAR debut in the car last year at Memphis. Brian Pattie will serve as Franchitti's crew chief.

industry news

Toyota vehicle sales slip; fall behind GM
Toyota Motor Corp. slipped back into second place behind General Motors Corp. after reporting slightly lower sales for the July-September quarter than its U.S. rival.  Toyota sold 2.337 million vehicles in the quarter ended on Sept. 30, the second quarter of the Japanese fiscal year, a 4 percent increase over prior-year levels but a lower figure than GM's sales reported last week of 2.38 million.

For the first nine months of the year, Toyota's sales were up 7 percent over the year-earlier period to 7.05 million vehicles, said company spokesman Paul Nolasco. That was fractionally behind GM's year-to-date sales of 7.06 million vehicles, but most analysts expect Toyota to regain the lead in coming months. 

"This slip behind is temporary," said George Magliano, a New York-based analyst with consulting firm Global Insight Inc. "They've basically moved past GM and by the end of the year, they'll put some distance between themselves and GM. That's our forecast," he said. More at Detroit News


Bill Davis Racing replaces Mayfield
Bill Davis Racing (BDR) announced today that Mike Skinner and Johnny Benson will share driving duties of the No. 36 Toyota Camry for the remaining four events on the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup schedule. BDR and Jeremy Mayfield, who had been behind the wheel since the season began, have parted ways effective immediately.  

“We wish Jeremy Mayfield the best of luck on his future endeavors,” said team owner Bill Davis. “We appreciate the job he did for us this season and are glad he and Shana were a part of the Bill Davis Racing family. Jeremy is a very talented racecar driver and we all wish him nothing but success with Haas CNC Racing.  

“Mike Skinner and Johnny Benson are seasoned veterans of the NEXTEL Cup Series and we are hopeful the skills and knowledge they both have acquired throughout their racing careers will help us to work toward getting the No. 36 team back on track for the reminder of this season and beyond.”


Hamilton says title on appeal would be ’wrong’


(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton on Monday said he does not want to be declared world champion if it means stripping Kimi Raikkonen of his title on appeal.

"It would be wrong," Reuters quotes the 22-year-old British rookie as saying in his Sao Paulo hotel room.

His team McLaren has lodged an appeal against what has become known as the 'cool fuel' saga at the end of a highly controversial 2007 season.

But it is not clear if Hamilton's comments will have an effect on whether the Woking based outfit ultimately goes ahead with the Court of Appeal proceedings.

McLaren chief executive Martin Whitmarsh said on Monday that the decision to appeal was made in deference to the hypothetical criticism of "fans and formula one insiders".

Hamilton continued: "For me, I want to win it on the track.

"Being promoted after some people have been thrown out is not the way I want to do it."

After finishing seventh in a disastrous outing at Interlagos on Sunday, Hamilton said Ferrari's Raikkonen deserves the title.

He said winning on appeal "would feel weird after Kimi did such a fantastic job in the last two races".

"He won yesterday and to have it taken away is a bit cruel and probably not good for the sport," Hamilton added.


Mayfield replacing Green at Haas CNC Racing


Jeremy Mayfield will replace Jeff Green in the Haas CNC Racing No. 66 Chevrolet, effective immediately, team general manager Joe Custer said Monday morning.  Mayfield also will join Scott Riggs in the driver lineup for next season but the alignment of the two drivers with car numbers in 2008 has not been determined, Custer said.  Green is 27th in the series points standings.  "[Green] did a good job for us, and we appreciate everything he did," Custer said.


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

  • Chandhok says no to F1 drive in 2008
  • Alonso slams McLaren title appeal
  • McLaren to address Alonso future soon
  • F1 title finale a TV ratings hit
  • Hamilton 'lost his head' - world's press
  • Dennis says internet increased pressure in 2007
  • Alonso comments on possible McLaren 'release'
  • Montezemolo keeps up attack on McLaren
  • McLaren appealing to avoid criticism - Whitmarsh New
  • Todt happy Ferrari won both titles on track New

Chandhok says no to F1 drive in 2008
(GMM) Karun Chandhok has counted himself out of the running for a formula one race drive at the 'Force India' team for 2008.

Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya's purchase of the Spyker team was viewed by some as an opportunity for leading Indian racers Narain Karthikeyan, who tests for Williams, and Chandhok, a race winner in the GP2 category this year.

But the publication DNA India reports that Chandhok is instead committed to F1's feeder series for another season in 2008.

"There were three options in formula one for next year including one race drive," he said.

"However, it is important for me to look at it from a long term perspective. If I go to F1 now and do a year, maybe that's all I'll get but if I do a good job in GP2 next year and finish in the top five it will carry a lot of weight for the rest of my career," 23-year-old Chandhok added.

He said he was "confident" he would nonetheless do some F1 testing in 2008.

Mallya agrees that Chandhok is not yet a serious consideration for the Force India team.

"I think he is at least a year away (from formula one)," he said.

"I know that he is committed to GP2 for 2008 so we will see how he performs."

Alonso slams McLaren title appeal
(GMM) Fernando Alonso on Monday refused to back his team's decision to appeal the outcome of the Brazilian grand prix.

McLaren wants the Court of Appeal to find three rival cars guilty of using illegally cold fuel at Interlagos; a decision that would hand the drivers' championship from Kimi Raikkonen to Lewis Hamilton.

But Spaniard Alonso, demonstrating the depth of his rift with McLaren chiefs, said he would be "embarrassed" if Ferrari's Raikkonen is stripped of the title.

"It wouldn't be fair," he told Spanish radio Cadena SER. "I will hide my head in shame, it would be a lack of respect.

"It would sink the sport if they won the title this way."

Alonso says McLaren lost the drivers' title not because of rivals' illegal fuel, but because of their own errors and bad management.

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racing news

Zanardi to be at SEMA Booth


Alex Zanardi, who drove in Formula One and twice won the CART Championship, will make an appearance at the Yokohama Tire Corporation booth (#40709) on Wed., Oct. 31 from 2-3:30 p.m.  The Italian driver competes on Yokohama tires in the FIA World Touring Car Championship.

“We’re honored to have Alex Zanardi join us at SEMA,” said Fred Koplin, director of marketing communications for Yokohama Tire Corporation.  “His dedication mirrors that of Yokohama in the world of motorsports.”


SPEED Quotes - Dale Earnhardt, Jr. on Wind Tunnel
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., following a 23rd-place finish at Martinsville, appeared on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain Sunday evening.  Following are Earnhardt's quotes from the interview:

Despain: Frustrating race today at Martinsville for you.  A 23rd-place finish with what I guess was a seven-cylinder car all day. When did things start to go wrong with your car today?

Earnhardt:  “The car was doing what I call ‘blooping’ down the straightaway and ‘blooping’ out the pipes.  That’s sort of the noise it makes.  It was doing that in practice.  We changed the intake and a couple of other things trying to find more power off the corner.  About 10 laps into the race, we probably broke the inner valve spring first.  Not necessarily, technically, 7 cylinders but definitely down on power the rest of the race.  It was intermediate, at times worse than others, at times not at all, as far as having a miss in the engine.  There at the end we had so many cautions and restarts, I think it wore the engine down and it broke.  When we had that green-white-checkered flag and were riding around waiting on the green-white-checkered, the motor broke.  It wouldn’t go when they dropped the green with two to go.  I was kind of disappointed – we had a really fast car and I think we had one of the top-three cars all day long.  It was really frustrating and has happened to us all year long.  Had a top-five car and had some sort of gremlin come in there and take us out of an opportunity for that finish.  I’m alright.  I’m getting ready for next week and staying motivated but I’m just sad and disappointed for my guys.  Tony Gibson, my crew chief, and the team can’t seem to get the credit for the kind of cars they’ve been building this year and they’re not going to get that credit and it’s unfortunate.”

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Alonso blames McLaren for lost tile


Fernando Alonso has spoken after missing out on a third drivers' championship claiming that McLaren could have been more supportive of his title bid.

"It doesn't seem like the season has been managed very well," Alonso told the Spanish Cadena Ser radio station. "The result speaks for itself. McLaren lost the championship probably because of some of the decisions they took, especially in the second half of the season. It's no secret that they haven't helped me a lot."

"What Ron Dennis said in China about them not racing against Raikkonen but against me was a declaration of their intent," he added. "So McLaren did its part in losing the title, but Ferrari did a better job than the rest."

"In the last races both my hands were tied - I had no power," added the former champion. "I had to do it all the way they said and that made it harder to close the gap."

industry news

Bridgestone plans to be No. 1
Japan's Bridgestone said Monday it would invest 11 billion dollars over five years to ramp up production in a battle against France's Michelin to become the world's undisputed top tire-maker.

It said it would spend a total of 1.25 trillion yen covering the five years from April 2008, up 14 percent from the preceding five years.

The new five-year plan targets group sales of four trillion yen in the final year, up 20 percent from the current business year to March 2008, with operating profit jumping by 80 percent.

Bridgestone Corp. plans to put new factories into operation in Mexico, Poland, Hungary and Japan and to expand existing plants in India and Indonesia, although it is concerned about the US economy.

"Our goal is to establish the status of being the undisputed world number one tire and rubber company," chief executive and president Shoshi Arakawa said.

"Tires are a global product, unlike products whose sales can increase through being adapted to local tastes," Arakawa said, promising "large-scale" production. Turkishpress.com


Alonso says Hamilton win would not be fair


Fernando Alonso says he would be "embarrassed for the sport" if his McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton won the Formula One world title on a technicality.

McLaren are planning to mount an appeal after stewards at yesterday's Brazilian Grand Prix decided not to punish BMW Sauber and Williams for fuel temperature irregularities.

If the two teams were disqualified from the race, Hamilton would move up from seventh to fourth and would secure enough points to win the Drivers' Championship.

However, Alonso says he doesn't think that would be fair.

"I'm not sure what he (Hamilton) would think," the Spaniard says. "I guess if they give you the title, you don't think it's a present, but rather that you deserve it. He would be delighted."


NASCAR TV ratings a sinking ship
This Daily Planet article talks about the sinking TV ratings and the horrible TV coverage ABC is providing for the NASCAR Nextel Cup series. We don't blame ABC as much as we blame NASCAR. NASCAR is and always will be a red-neck sport and as it diversifies by bringing in Toyota, open wheel drivers and foreign drivers, it is driving its traditional fan base right out the door.


Video: Champ Car top-3 at Surfers Paradise
Sebastien Bourdais became the first driver in history to win four consecutive Champ Car World Series titles, with his 30th career victory at the Lexmark Indy 300 on Sunday, October 21. The Frenchman, who is set to depart Champ Car to pursue a career in Formula One next season, is also the first repeat winner in the 17 year history of the Surfers Paradise event. Justin Wilson finished second, while Bruno Junqueira scored a third consecutive podium finish. Robert Doornbos came home in fourth and also clinched the Rookie of the Year title.


British veterans split over ’cool fuel’ saga
(GMM) Two veterans of the British formula one scene are split over Lewis Hamilton's hopes of winning the 2007 world championship at an upcoming Court of Appeal hearing.

Former team boss Eddie Jordan, whose Silverstone based outfit is currently known as Spyker, agrees that stewards at the Brazilian grand prix probably made the right decision not to penalize a trio of questionably legal cars.

Had Nico Rosberg (Williams) and the two BMW-Saubers been excluded for using fuel that was too cold on Sunday, Hamilton would have gained the points he needed to beat Kimi Raikkonen to the crown.

But Jordan told BBC's Radio Five Live that it is impossible to prove that the trio's fuel was too cold at the time that it entered their cars.

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De la Rosa to stay at McLaren in 2008, 2009

Pedro de la Rosa

(GMM)  Team test driver Pedro de la Rosa says he will remain with McLaren in 2008 and beyond.  The Spaniard had been strongly linked with a race seat for Prodrive, but uncertainty about the new team's debut next year led de la Rosa to affirm his commitment to McLaren at the last race of the 2007 season in Brazil.

"I have two more years on my contract and I am very happy with the team," 36-year-old de la Rosa told the Spanish newspaper Marca before leaving Interlagos.

He said Prodrive was an "option" earlier this season.

"It had its logic because I have worked on the development of McLaren cars and it would have been good for them to have a driver who knows the car to perfection.

"The likelihood has cooled considerably," de la Rosa explained.  "I doubt that it is going to happen.

"What is clear to me is that in 2009 and 2009 I will be at McLaren.  Here I am happy and respected.  My relationship with the team is excellent, as always."

track news

Abu Dhabi GP preview

Abu Dhabi

2009 is the year earmarked to herald the birth of a new era in Formula One™. A 2,550 hectare natural island in Abu Dhabi, the Capital of the United Arab Emirates, is currently being sculpted into a circuit that will challenge the very best F1™ drivers and thrill their most ardent fans.

In early 2007, Formula 1’s™ most recognizable face - Mr. Bernie Ecclestone - announced that Abu Dhabi will host a Grand Prix from 2009 in front of an elated crowd of tens of thousands of local people.

“We are delighted to welcome Abu Dhabi into the Formula One™ family, and look forward to a long and successful partnership. Abu Dhabi’s hospitality, the genuine warmth of its people, and ever increasing number of world class facilities, will ensure that its round of the FIA Formula One™ World Championship is a wonderful addition to the Formula One™ calendar,” said Mr. Bernie Ecclestone, CEO, Formula One™ Management.

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi, the capital, and largest of the seven Emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates, will provide an idyllic location for one the world’s most popular sports. With over 200 natural islands, offering some of the most untouched beaches in the region, it is fast becoming one of the most sought out destinations in the world.

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Cloud still hangs over Raikkonen title

Kimi Raikkonen has more than just a Marlboro smoke cloud hanging atop his head

(GMM) A cloud still hangs over Kimi Raikkonen's world championship, despite stewards not penalizing a trio of cars after the Brazilian grand prix.

Nico Rosberg's Williams and the two BMW-Saubers, which placed fourth to sixth at Interlagos, were found by post-race scrutineers to have been using fuel that was more than 10 degrees below ambient temperatures -- a clear breach of the rules.

But stewards said they could not apply penalties due to discrepancies between official temperature figures provided separately by the FIA, Formula One Management, and travelling meteorologist Meteo France.

A statement said it would therefore be "inappropriate" to penalize the cars.

If two or more of the cars had been excluded, seventh placed Lewis Hamilton would have moved up to the requisite fifth place for him to be declared world champion ahead of Ferrari's Raikkonen.

In light of the technical delegate's belief that the three cars were using illegally cold fuel, Hamilton's team McLaren has appealed the stewards' decision.

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