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Quotes of the week  

Bernie Ecclestone

BERNIE ECCLESTONE,  President and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Association

"Ron [Dennis] 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.  "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."  (Ecclestone, who made no secret of his desire that Lewis Hamilton should beat the Ferrari driver or Fernando Alonso or the title, said McLaren committed a "silly" strategy error that cost rookie Hamilton the sport's biggest prize.)

LUCA DI MONTEZEMOLA, President, Ferrari
"I've read what Bernie Ecclestone had to say about Lewis Hamilton's skin color and that it would be even better if he was a Muslim," Montezemolo said.  "Bernie would be better off talking about how the dishonorable decision taken by the FIA was humiliating for everyone, starting with him."  Montezemolo also cynically denounced the World Motor Sport Council for earlier this year declaring McLaren's car as illegal but allowing Hamilton and Fernando Alonso to continue fighting for the title.  "I've already thought about competing in the next championship with a 8 liter engine -- the team would be disqualified, but the driver would still win," he defiantly mocked.  He compared the concept of a McLaren driver winning this year's title to a "jockey who races with a doped horse."

Jean Todt

JEAN TODT, Chief Executive Officer, Ferrari 
"I could never expect that something like that [spy scandal] could happen. I am very bitter about this unnecessary story, where our main competitor did not have the vision to stop when they could have stopped it. So that is why we had to fight against that.  In a way we are still fighting against it outside the sporting world, but that is something I could not expect. I did not know that it could exist, but sometimes maybe you learn things. Maybe you are a bit naïve on certain things, but we had to move along on the sporting situation. And to move along was to try to win races and possibly to be first and second but we always kept the two things separate." Todt has also taken satisfaction in eventually mathematically winning the Constructors' championship on the track rather than via the FIA's judgment against McLaren. "To be very sincere, I was counting the points. I knew we had won, but I knew that it would always be said that we had won only because of the FIA's decision, not because of the sporting results. So I will say it is better now that it has been done normally." More ...
Testing starts Monday  NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams will test at Atlanta on Monday and Tuesday, after competing in today’s Pep Boys Auto 500. It’s the series’ seventh and final NASCAR-sanctioned test of the season. More significant: It’s the first full-scale test for the new car at a 1.5-mile track.  “It’s the first opportunity for everyone for be on that size race track at the same time at those speeds,” said NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton. “It’s also the first opportunity for some new combinations of drivers and crew chiefs to work together.”

This test will be the fourth this season dedicated to the new car (previous tests for the new car took place at Bristol Motor Speedway, Richmond International Raceway and Talladega Superspeedway). Teams are phasing in the new car by running it in 16 of 36 scheduled events this year. The last of those 16 will be Nov. 11 at Phoenix International Raceway.

team usa
Americans out of luck in the wet  

The usual England rain hurt Team USA

Dartford, England – Team USA Scholarship winners Patrick Barrett and Joel Miller created a strong impression during the opening weekend of the Formula Palmer Audi Autumn Trophy, which featured three races all held in miserably wet conditions at Brands Hatch.

Their ultimate results were disappointing but Barrett, in particular, showed impressive pace, especially in Race One when he ran similar lap times to the leaders after spinning out of sixth place following contact with another car. His race finished in the gravel trap at Druid’s hairpin on the final lap – while he was attempting to regain fastest lap of the race from Jonathan Legris – but he still came away encouraged.

“It was fun, very enjoyable,” said Barrett. “Any time there’s rain, I’m happy. I got by [Alex] Brundle [for sixth place, after starting ninth] on the front straightaway, using the power-boost, but then he tried to repass me going into the hairpin, and his left-front wheel hit my right rear and I went off into the gravel.”

Barrett lost a couple of laps before his car could be restarted. Miller, meanwhile, ran 10th before making a mistake at Paddock Hill Bend and crashing out of the race on lap 8. More ...

Home town immortalizes Hamilton  

Lewis Hamilton

Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton is to have a street named after him in his Hertfordshire home town. Stevenage Borough Council has decided to honor the 22-year-old in a new town centre development to mark his racing achievements.

"The success of Lewis has given everyone in Stevenage a real boost," Sharon Taylor, council leader, said.

Hamilton narrowly missed winning the Formula One world championship title in his first season.

Ms Taylor added: "Everyone in the town is enormously proud of the fact that Lewis comes from Stevenage.

"In particular, our young people see him as a role model and his achievements have definitely raised their aspiration levels.

"He has really helped to put the town on the map."

The exact name of the street is yet to be confirmed. BBC

TC ban will give F1 more opportunities to overtake  During the 2008 Formula One season, a couple of new regulations will be introduced or reintroduced in the pinnacle of motorsport. One of the biggest changes is the banning of traction control. According to World Champion Kimi Raikkonen, F1 will see more overtaking because of this.  Kimi Raikkonen said about the new regulations: "When I came to Formula One we didn't have traction control. There are so many things coming up. I think it'll be good fun and more challenging, too. And taking the traction control away will give us more opportunities to overtake."

The ban of traction control and a general reduction of driver aids thanks to a standard ECU system will leave more room for errors to the driver and allow others to profit from that. Up until now it was virtually possible to push the throttle all the way down without spinning the wheels. Doing so in the future will seriously reduce acceleration performance and could enable competitors to pass.

Wallace Racing announces ’08 programs w/Chevy  Officials of Rusty Wallace Racing announced earlier today that the team will field two full-time entries in the 2008 NASCAR Nationwide Series.  Two-time 2007 pole winner, Steve Wallace, will continue full time in the team’s No. 66 car for 2008, while its new No. 64 entry will feature several drivers.  NASCAR Cup Series veteran, David Stremme, will pilot the No. 64 in at least 17 2008 events, while 18 year-old Kansas native, Chase Austin, will drive the 64 car in 15 races during the 2008 season.  The team plans to put a well-known road racer behind the wheel of the No. 64 for the three Nationwide Series road course events in 2008.  Team officials are currently in discussions with several drivers regarding that role and plan to name a driver in the near future.

Noted Rusty Wallace Racing team owner, Rusty Wallace, “Our entire team is thrilled about our prospects for the 2008 season.  David Stremme has proven that he can get the job done in the Busch Series and we’re ecstatic to have him on our team.  He ran the Michigan ARCA race for us last year and literally lapped the field; we’re looking forward to even more success with him next year,” he continued, “Steve (Wallace) has shown a ton of potential and has been really fast many times this season.  With a full year of experience under his belt, we’re excited to watch him progress even further.  Chase Austin is another talented young driver and we’re planning on putting him through the same program we did with Steve in 2006.  In addition to his Nationwide Series races, we’ll run him in at least five ARCA events as well.” More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Heidfeld doubts McLaren appeal will succeed
  • ITV profits from Hamilton-effect
  • Hamilton adds denial to 'wrong button' reports
  • Kovalainen admits talks with McLaren

Heidfeld doubts McLaren appeal will succeed
(GMM) BMW-Sauber's Nick Heidfeld says he doubts that McLaren will succeed at its controversial appeal date next month.

The 30-year-old German is among the four drivers who stand to be demoted or excluded from the results of the recent Brazilian grand prix for alleged fuel temperature discrepancies.

But when asked whether he expected the Court of Appeal to overturn the stewards' Interlagos decision, Heidfeld said on the weekly sports program ZDF-Sportstudio: "Going by what has happened before in appeal situations, probably not."

Should the BMWs and Williams' be kicked out of the race classification, Lewis Hamilton may retrospectively move up to fifth place or higher and be crowned world champion ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

But Nick Heidfeld protested: "We were not illegal, because we were not punished. If we had done something wrong, we would have been."

ITV profits from Hamilton-effect
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton may have stumbled at the final hurdle to become champion in 2007, but his debut formula one season nonetheless put smiles on the faces of ITV executives.

According to the media agency Carat, Britain's F1 television broadcaster has opened the bidding for title sponsorship next year by doubling this season's (US) $5m rate-card.

Honda was ITV's premier backer for the coverage in 2007, but the Japanese manufacturer would supposedly have to pay up to or in excess of $10m to remain in the role next year, thanks mainly to the average 40 per cent higher average viewing figures compared with 2006. More ...

Hirvonen in easy Rally Japan win  

Mikko Hirvonen (FIN) / Jarmo Lehtinen - Ford Focus RS

BP-Ford World Rally Team drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen today won Rally Japan to claim their second victory of the season and the team's seventh success.  The Finns ended a dramatic three-day encounter with a 37.4sec advantage in their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car.  The result secured at least third place for Hirvonen in the FIA World Rally Championship drivers' standings with two of the 16 rounds remaining.

Behind Hirvonen, Dani Sordo (Citroen) set two fastest times en route to his best result on gravel and Henning Solberg (Ford) matched his career-best finish with third.  The fight for fourth was thrilling.  Matthew Wilson (Ford) began the day 21.7sec behind Luis Perez Companc (Ford) but overhauled the Argentine on the penultimate stage and held on by 2.5sec to score his best result.  Manfred Stohl (Citroen) rounded off the top six.  Petter Solberg (Subaru), competing under SupeRally rules, finished 17th to take two manufacturers' points.  Sébastien Loeb (Citroen) looked set to take the final point for the French team until engine problems on the penultimate test cost more than 12 minutes and he retired before the final stage.  So Jari-Matti Latvala (Ford) took the point for the Stobart-VK M-Sport team, despite dropping 45sec after spinning shortly before the finish of the opening stage. More ...

Red Bull backing for F1 team up nearly 50%  The energy drinks company Red Bull increased financial support to its Formula One operations by 47 per cent last year, according to the latest figures from its Milton Keynes-based racing team. Red Bull Technology received £85.6m from its parent company in 2006.

Capital expenditure increased by 45 per cent to £22.7m as the company invested in hi-tech plant, equipment and a freehold building in London's fashionable Soho Square for its marketing operations. Red Bull also has the most lavish motor home in the F1 paddock – a £5m three-storey structure with two bars, two terraces and a hydraulically operated roof. It is also the only team to print its own magazine at every race, believed to cost £3.5m a year.

The team's operating expenditure soared to £106.7m, with staff numbers rising 32 per cent to an all time high of 478. The design department got one of the biggest boosts with a 36 per cent increase in its numbers, while the R&D budget increased by over a third to £16.7m.

After-tax profit fell by £1m to £744,000 on turnover of £107m. This year the team, featuring drivers David Coulthard and Mark Webber, improved by two places to finish fifth. The Independent

Abu Dhabi F1 circuit gets $204M  The Abu Dhabi Formula 1 circuit has got a contractor financing of 750 million dirhams (204 million U.S. dollars) for its construction, local newspaper Khaleej Times reported on Sunday. The loan was co-arranged by three leading banks operating in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) -- BNP Paribas, Mashreqbank and HSBC, the report said.

By joining their efforts, the three banks have met the requirements of the constructor Cebarco WCT, a joint venture between Bahrain's Cebarco SPC and Malaysia's WCT Engineering.

The Abu Dhabi F1 circuit is developed to hold the Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix from 2009 for a renewable seven year term.

At a length of around 5.6km, the circuit will include high speed areas ending in tight overtaking turns, a street section and a marina section. More ...

Reutimann wins first Busch race  

David Reutimann, Jerry Baxter and Toyota personnel celebrate his first Busch Series victory

David Reutimann's victory Saturday wasn't as much about performance as it was about survival. A race-record 25 caution periods in the Sam's Town 250 NASCAR Busch Series race at Memphis Motorsports Park made sure of that.

Still, Reutimann's performance was pretty good. He scored the first NASCAR Busch Series win of his career by dominating the race, leading 194 of the 253 laps, though many of those were under yellow.

The only challenge Reutimann faced -- other than dodging the cautions -- was an outside move by Mike Bliss with nine laps left. Reutimann's Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota was more than up to the task, however, and pulled away from Bliss.

Fittingly, the race ended with a green-white-checkered finish. No one was going to touch Reutimann, however, and he beat Bliss by three-quarters of a second. David Ragan was third, with Marcos Ambrose fourth and Jason Leffler fifth. More ...

Kyle Busch powers to truck series win at Atlanta  HAMPTON, Ga. -- Kyle Busch held off Ron Hornaday Jr. in an eight-lap green-flag run to the finish Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway to win the EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race.

Less than one lap after the race's final restart on Lap 123, Busch powered from third to first, passing Hornaday for the lead at the start/finish line. In winning for the first time in eight starts this year -- and for the fifth time in his career -- Busch became the first repeat winner in the series at Atlanta.

Hornaday finished .971 seconds behind the race winner and regained the series points lead by four over Mike Skinner with three events left on the schedule. Johnny Benson recovered from a pit road speeding penalty to run third. Mark Martin was fourth, followed by Skinner, who restarted 17th after a pit stop on Lap 51 and worked his way back into the top five.

As Benson battled Hornaday for the lead moments after the Lap 123 restart, Busch moved to outside and charged past both competitors by the time he got back to the stripe. More ...

team usa
Americans qualify consistently among the Top 10  

Patrick Barrett

Dartford, England – A quality field has been attracted to this year’s Formula Palmer Audi Autumn Trophy, and young Americans Patrick Barrett and Joel Miller certainly raised a few eyebrows by qualifying consistently among the top 10 for the trio of races that will take place tomorrow on the famed Brands Hatch “Indy” Circuit.

“I thought the boys did an extremely good job,” said FPA founder and ex-Formula 1 driver Jonathan Palmer. “Brands is a tough little track, especially in these cars, which are not easy to drive fast, so to be knocking on the doors of the guys who have been racing here for a few years was a very good effort.”

Barrett and Miller

Barrett and Miller contented themselves by running just a bare minimum of laps during a practice session held first thing this morning, intent upon making sure they looked after their one and only set of fresh Avon tires which will have to last throughout the weekend. The meat of the day then included three separate 30-minute qualifying sessions to set the grid positions for Sunday’s 28-lap races. More ...
Ambrose wins pole, Dario 3rd in debut  


Marcos Ambrose, driver of the No. 59 Kingsford Ford Fusion captured his first NASCAR Busch Series pole this afternoon at Memphis Motorsports Park.  Ambrose clocked at time of 22.901 seconds at 117.899 mph.

In his first Busch Series start ex-CART and IRL star Dario Franchitti will start third.  

MARCOS AMBROSE – No. 59 Kingsford Ford Fusion – DID YOU KNOW YOUR FUSION WAS THAT FAST? “Yeah, we had a good package yesterday and it but it’s been six months of hard work for us to get to this point.  They brought a brand new car for me and we’re trying to improve it and get it better.  It’s nice to actually deliver something for the guys. Getting the pole doesn’t matter.  We’ve proven that our short track program is getting better and I’m getting better too.” 

YESTERDAY YOU MENTIONED THAT YOU’D LIKE A TOP-10 FINISH THIS AFTERNOON, DOES THIS ADD TO YOUR CONFIDENCE? “Yeah, I just want a top-10, get out of here and move on.” More ...

industry news
Biofuels are a 'crime against humanity'  A United Nations expert has condemned the growing use of crops to produce biofuels as a replacement for petrol as a crime against humanity.

The UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, said he feared biofuels would bring more hunger.

The growth in the production of biofuels has helped to push the price of some crops to record levels.

Mr. Ziegler's remarks, made at the UN headquarters in New York, are clearly designed to grab attention.

He complained of an ill-conceived dash to convert foodstuffs such as maize and sugar into fuel, which created a recipe for disaster.

It was, he said, a crime against humanity to divert arable land to the production of crops which are then burned for fuel.

He called for a five-year ban on the practice.

Mr. Ziegler is not alone in warning of the problem.

The IMF last week voiced concern that the increasing global reliance on grain as a source of fuel could have serious implications for the world's poor. More at BBC News

track news
ISC sells Staten Island land  International Speedway Corporation is about to officially close the book on the Staten Island speedway project.  According to a recent Securities and Exchange Commission filing, ISC subsidiary 380 Development has agreed to sell the 676-acre parcel to a Maryland real estate investment trust for approximately $100 million in cash, net of commissions and other transaction related expenses. The transaction is expected to close in December.

ISC reportedly purchased the property at the end of 2004 for $100 million, with plans to build a 0.75-mile, 80,000-seat race track on the site within five years, at a cost estimated at $600 million. But the company was forced to abandon those plans last year because of widespread local opposition and lack of political support.

"While we are disappointed that we could not complete the speedway development on Staten Island, our enthusiasm for the metropolitan New York market is in no way dampened," ISC president Lesa France Kennedy said at the time. "We continue to view the region as a prime location for a major motorsports facility."

ALMS saw a lot of close finishes in 2007  

Long Beach 2007

The numbers bear it out: the 2007 American Le Mans Series was the closest and most competitive on record. Thirteen of the 50 closest finishes in Series history came during this season’s 12-round schedule, a statistic that stands head and shoulders above any other year of Series competition.

Close finishes and endurance racing usually don’t go hand-in-hand. That wasn’t the case this year. Five races saw margins of victory less than one second, and only Sebring saw just one lead-lap finisher.

The average margin of victory for the remaining 11 rounds was 4.55 seconds.

The Series saw its closest finish ever in LMP2 (0.116 seconds at St. Petersburg) and GT2 (0.202 seconds at Sebring). The combined overall winning margin at Petit Le Mans and the Monterey Sports Car Championships was 1.333. As tight as it seems, it still ranked third among consecutive events this year.

That honor goes to St. Petersburg and Long Beach, which had a combined margin of victory of 1.186 seconds. Coincidentally the Long Beach-Houston overall finishes were 1.25 seconds. In fact, the margin of victory in those three races was a combined 1.676 seconds. To put that in perspective, only 17 of 88 single-event overall victory margins were closer than that, and the closest back-to-back margin of victory prior to this year was the 2006 finish at Utah, a gap of 3.194 seconds.

A total of 23 different entrants scored class podium finishes in 2007, as well.

Fehan explains why Corvette Racing competed in 2007  After watching Corvette Racing finish off a sweep of the American Le Mans Series' GT1 class on Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, GM Racing Program Doug Fehan explained the reasoning for fielding a two-car team in a class that more often than not provided no other competition. Needless to say, it was eye-opening and showed the passion GM has for the Corvette brand and the legions of its followers.

"When the season began, we weren't the only ones to realize that we could possibly go all season long without serious competition. You guys (the media) had a lot of questions about would we continue. Why were we doing this? How long can you last? What's management saying? Are you out of your mind? You're spending all this money racing yourselves. And most of those questions I got myself every time I walked into the RenCen (GM Renaissance Center). So I was pretty much the Lone Ranger there and was approached on a regular basis by upper management with those very questions. And I had a simple answer because I was confident in what would happen.

"At the end of the day, the object is to sell vehicles. And do that, you have to capture customers. I told them at the beginning of the season that if we went forward with this program - as we had laid it out and with no competition - and we saw a drop in sales, or a lack of enthusiasm or participation by our customers at any point during the year, then we could call it quits. More ...

Atlanta: Pole winner interview  


GREG BIFFLE -- No. 16 Lumber Liquidators Ford Fusion (Qualified 1st)

"That was a lot of firsts. A first for Atlanta, a first for the season. I'm kind of surprised we don't have a pole here. We run very well at Atlanta and enjoy coming here and racing. Our car was really fast right off the truck. One of the problems I was having when we switched to qualifying trim is when I'd do my warm-up lap, I'd get to turn three and four and the car didn't really want to turn real good across the bottom and then we'd get really loose and I lost my speed coming to the green. The next time I adjusted that a little bit and we ran second-quick in practice, so I knew tonight I'd just have to be cautious about that part of it. I was somewhat concerned when Kurt Busch went. I knew that was really, really fast lap he put up and then Dale Jarrett right after him. Nobody else seemed like they picked up speed. I knew the 48 was fast and some other guys, so I was concerned with what the track was doing. Was the track actually picking speed up, so when I went out to make my run, I knew three and four was gonna be the key getting up to speed to get the green, so I probably left a little bit too much out there. The car just went around the bottom so good in three and four, it was unbelievable. I thought to myself, 'Geez, I wish I wouldn't have slowed down that much getting in,' but once I took the green, then I knew the track was good and really drove it off into one a long ways and the car kind of took a set and was right back to the throttle quickly. In three and four I didn't come out of the gas all the way, it just felt like the car stuck so good down there that it was gonna be still sticking to the race track. I came off at about a quarter throttle is all -- off the floor -- and kept the throttle down down there, so it was just a great lap. The car handled so well. The track had so much grip that I'm surprised there weren't more guys down in those 28.80's or 90's." More ...

track news
Magny Cours confirmed for 2008  

2007 French GP podium

The FIA World Council met on 24th October and confirmed the 2008 F1 World Championship calendar. The French Grand Prix will take place on the Magny-Cours circuit on 22nd June 2008. The French Motor Sports Federation will look after the promotion and organization of the event, as has been the case for the past four years.

The 2008 French Grand Prix launch is ready!

In the afternoon of Thursday 25th October the purchasing system will be up and running on Internet: www.gpfrancef1.com, and the telephone reservations centre (+33 (0) will also be working. In keeping with its pricing policy, which has made the French F1 Grand Prix one of the cheapest in Europe, the FFSA has decided to maintain the same prices for 2008 for tickets as in 2007.

This freeze should allow the largest possible number of spectators to discover, or rediscover, the fabulous world of Formula 1. So in 2008, access to the spectator enclosures for the French Grand Prix will be 30% lower than in 2003. In parallel to this, up to 15th March 2008 a reduction of 10% will be granted to those who reserve their seats in the grandstands of their choice.

In July of this year the drivers in the F1 world championship put on a magnificent show on the newly-resurfaced track providing the spectators present at Magny-Cours with some spine-tingling overtaking maneuvers. The 2007 French Grand Prix was the turning point of the season as the Ferrari double relaunched the title chase.

Fernando Alonso was the driver who injected all the excitement into the race and his battles with Heidfeld, Kubica and Fisichella on a circuit, where all-round visibility is excellent for spectators everywhere, were among the highlights of the season.

The 2008 race will see the first appearance of Sebastien Bourdais on a French circuit at the wheel of an F1 car. He will be driving for Toro Rosso and his presence will mark the comeback of a French driver to the top formula just as new coming men like Romain Grosjean, the 2007 Euroseries F3 Champion succeeding Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, arrive on the scene. Foreign spectators, always present in Magny-Cours, can now book their tickets and have a great week-end in the Nievre before going in the South of France for summer holidays! French GP PR

Hendrick Motorsports Atlanta COT test plans  Although Casey Mears and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will test with their 2008 teams at Atlanta, they will not drive cars branded with their 2008 numbers. Mears, who will drive the #5 Chevy next season, will run his customary # 25 National Guard/GMAC paint scheme during the two-day session. Earnhardt, who is slated for the #88 Chevy in 2008, will test a #5 car at Atlanta. To commemorate his first laps with Hendrick Motorsports, Earnhardt will sport a "throwback" #5 All-Star Racing Chevy during next week's Atlanta test. Earnhardt's Impala SS will feature a red and white paint scheme identical to the first car campaigned by team owner Rick Hendrick in Cup-level competition. Then known as "All-Star Racing," Hendrick Motorsports fielded the car with driver Geoff Bodine in 1984. The #24 and #48 teams of Hendrick Motorsports will not attend next week's Atlanta test. Hendrick PR
Red Bull Would Want Another Sponsor for Third Team  Team Red Bull boss Guenther Steiner said the team hasn't decided whether it would add a third car for Scott Speed when the former Formula One driver, who will run the ARCA series next year, is ready to move to Cup. But if the two-car team were to expand, additional Camrys wouldn't be sponsored by Red Bull, the energy drink company that also owns the operation. "First we need to see how Scott performs, but if we did a third car we would try to finance it somehow differently," Steiner said. "To have three Red Bull cars doesn't make sense. There is a plan, but at the moment in Cup, we want to perform with two cars at highest level and then proceed to three to four cars in the future." USA Today
FIA confirms McLaren appeal  UPDATE #2 (GMM) An appeal lodged by McLaren that could alter the outcome of the 2007 drivers' championship will be heard by the Court of Appeal on November 15.

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was crowned at Interlagos last Sunday, but if three cars had been excluded by stewards for allegedly using illegally cold fuel, Lewis Hamilton would have scored enough points to beat the Finn.

McLaren is appealing the stewards' decision to not penalize both Williams and BMW-Sauber cars even though scrutineers identified a discrepancy.

FIA president Max Mosley, however, is downplaying the possibility of Hamilton being handed the title on appeal.

"You could argue whether McLaren had a right to appeal the stewards' judgment," he is quoted as saying by the British broadsheet newspaper The Guardian.

"They could have protested the result of the race but they didn't. But even if the cars classified ahead of Hamilton would be excluded, would this change his position?

"The court of appeal will have to rule on that," Mosley added.

10/26/07 The International Court of Appeal will hear McLaren's appeal against the decision of the Brazilian GP race stewards on Thursday 15 November. The stewards decided not to punish BMW Sauber and Williams for the fuel temperature discrepancy that was discovered after the race.

10/23/07 (GMM)  F1's governing body confirmed on Tuesday that McLaren intends to appeal the 'cool fuel' issue.

Despite both team drivers Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso publicly not supporting the decision to revisit the outcome of the world championship, the FIA published a statement confirming receipt of the 'Notification of Appeal' on behalf of McLaren.

The appeal "is against the decision of the Stewards of the 2007 Brazilian Grand Prix, made at 21.35 hrs on October 21st 2007 (document number 41), that it was inappropriate to impose a penalty on cars 9, 10, 16 and 17", the FIA statement read.

Mercedes-Benz competition director Norbert Haug on Tuesday denied that the outfit is appealing because it cannot accept losing the drivers' title to Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

"We just want to get some clarifications on the contents of the regulations and this is in the interest of every team," the German said in a press statement.

Helio still dancing  UPDATE Dancing With The Stars consistently pulls about a 13 TV rating, or more than 20 million viewers. The last Indy 500 got a 4.3. Castroneves knows exactly how many people are watching him dance, and he knows the potential to boost his true calling. He’s fully aware that one win on the dance floor would be bigger -- not as significant, just bigger -- than both of his Indy 500s combined.

”I do believe we’re drawing attention from the show to racing,” he said. “And vice-versa. I’ve gotten e-mails from people all over racing telling me they’re watching and voting for me. But I also believe we’re reaching a new audience of people who didn’t know about racing and the IRL, and that’s a good thing. If I win, it’s an even bigger thing.” SPEED TV


10/24/07 Despite getting his lowest scores of the competition from the judges, Indy Racing League driver Helio Castroneves is moving on to next week on “Dancing with the Stars.”

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, an Indiana University alum, was eliminated on last night’s results show.

Castroneves and partner Julianne Hough received 23 of a possible 30 points Monday night from the three judges for a rumba that prompted judge Len Goodman to say he has “seen more romance at the dentist.”

But when viewer votes were combined with those of the judges, Castroneves survived the cut to seven couples from the original 12. Indy Star

F2000 partners with BMS Group  

F2000 Grid

Greensboro, N.C., The F2000 Championship Series and the BMS Group are pleased to announce a marketing partnership for the upcoming ’08 season. The F2000 Championship Series owners are approaching their third season and are looking forward to increasing their exposure through marketing with corporations in the regions in which they compete. “From Georgia to Wisconsin, New York to Virginia and New Jersey to Ohio, fans will see great open wheel racing featuring the up and coming young stars of the future battling established veterans”, stated F2000 Managing Director Michael Rand.

“With full fields of 35-40 closely matched cars, every position is sure to be fought over right to the end of the season.” The 2008 series schedule is expected to be released in December and is slated for fourteen races consisting of 7 double race weekends.

F2000 field line up for start

The F2000 Championship Series schedule has a mixture of being either the headline race event or in support of the Rolex Sports Car Series, Champ Car World Series or NASCAR supported events. “We are excited about partnering with the series for next season. The corporate marketing opportunities within this series are truly an opportunity”, proclaimed BMS Group founder Ken Burris. “Many of the world’s top drivers emerge from entry level open wheel racing and move towards NASCAR or Indy Cars. This is an opportunity for a company to begin a lifetime marketing partnership. Our events will offer fans an opportunity to visit with the drivers and view the cars up close and personal, thus giving them that on the field experience that is rarely experienced in big time sports.”

For more information about the series, visit www.f2000championshipseries.com and for marketing opportunities, contact the BMS Group at www.burrismotorsport.com.

Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen lead Rally Japan  

Hirvonen and Lehtinen

BP-Ford World Rally Team drivers Mikko Hirvonen and Jarmo Lehtinen lead Rally Japan after today's dramatic opening leg in which three frontrunners were sidelined. The Finns returned to the rally base in Obihiro with a 10.3sec advantage in their Ford Focus RS World Rally Car after a long and tiring day's competition in the forests north-east of the city.

There was bitter disappointment for team-mates Marcus Grönholm and Timo Rautiainen. The FIA World Rally Championship leaders crashed into a tree stump on the final speed test of this morning's competition while leading the rally. The heavy impact damaged the roll cage on their Focus RS and although the car was mechanically sound, the Finns were prevented from continuing for safety reasons. They will not restart tomorrow.

An estimated 64,000 people attended last night's start ceremony in Obihiro for this 14th round of the championship on Japan's most northerly island of Hokkaido. The competition began for real today with two identical loops of gravel special stages on fast but narrow roads north-east of Obihiro, before two passes over a purpose-built super special stage on the edge of the city. The 10 stages covered 106.18km. More ...

Carpentier in the #10 at Phoenix and Homestead  


Patrick Carpentier will drive the #10 Valvoline/Stanley Tools Dodge at Phoenix and Homestead. The plan is being implemented in an effort to give the #10 team a head start on preparations for the 2008 season. Gillett Evernham Motorsports will also field a 2nd Busch Series entry with Carpentier at Homestead. Scott Riggs will drive the #10 car at Atlanta and Texas. Gillett Evernham Motorsports PR
Hmiel Joins Chip Ganassi  Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced today Steve Hmiel, former director of technical operations at Dale Earnhardt, Inc., has accepted a new position with the organization to serve as manager of competition of its Concord racing operation.

”I have said many times in reference to drivers that when good ones become available you owe it to your organization to make a run at them, well the same is true for leaders,” said Team Owner, Chip Ganassi. “Steve became available and I got him.  I couldn’t be happier.  He brings over 30 years of hands-on NASCAR experience with him and a skill set that perfectly complements those of John Fernandez.”

Fernandez will continue to manage the long-term strategic direction of the CGRFS race operations while Steve will focus more on the competition management and preparation – including race engineering.  Both Hmiel and Fernandez will report directly to Ganassi. More ...

Chevy Renews with DEI  Chevy will continue its partnership with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in 2008 and beyond. "Chevy enjoyed a successful relationship, including six NASCAR Cup championships, with the legendary Dale Earnhardt behind the wheel of his Richard Childress Racing Chevy, and we're proud of our longstanding relationship with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. which extends all the way back to when Dale and Teresa Earnhardt founded the business," said Ed Peper, Chevy general manager. "We're pleased to be a part of the DEI family and look forward to continued success with one of racing's leading organizations." Chevy PR
NASCAR and F1 weekend TV ratings  UPDATE The final TV rating for last Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup Subway 500 race on ABC was a 3.7, down 10% from last year's 4.1/9 share and down 21.3% from the  4.7/10 share final rating in 2005, both on NBC.

10/22/07 The overnight TV rating for the NASCAR Nextel Cup: Subway 500 on ABC was a 3.3, down 11% from last year's 3.7 overnight rating, and down 13.2% from 2005's overnight rating.

Meanwhile Sunday's F1 finale from Brazil drew 10.4 million viewers, dwarfing what NASCAR drew in the much larger USA. When you add up all the countries around the world, the cumulative rating of the F1 race broadcast was at least 100 times that of NASCAR. This of course puts into perspective how minuscule NASCAR's popularity is compared to F1.

tv news
F1 ratings tumble on SPEED  F1 races on Speed averaged a 0.15 coverage area rating and 285,000 viewers this season for 16 telecasts, down 17% and 9%, respectively, from last season.  In America only NASCAR counts. 
track news
Groundbreaking scheduled for Portland track  UPDATE Editor's Note: The Winston Salem Journal article author titled it 'Groundbreaking scheduled for Portland track.'  Gardner's project is actually located in Boardman, which is a city of 2,800 in sparsely populated Eastern Oregon. In fact, the entire county (Morrow) only has a population of just under 11,000.   Boardman is over 160 miles away from Portland, so to call it a 'Portland track' is a serious stretch.

10/26/07 If NASCAR executives are looking for a track in the Pacific Northwest for expansion of their Nextel Cup series, Bill Gardner might be the man to talk to.

Gardner, the “Gard” in DiGard, the historic NASCAR teams from the 1970s and early 1980s that carried Darrell Waltrip for a while, is working on what is proposed as a $100 million speedway to be called Pacific Northwest Motorsports Park near Portland, Ore.

Groundbreaking was set for this week, with a number of local and state politicians on hand. It was unknown if Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski would be there.

The track, apparently to be similar in style to Virginia International Raceway in Danville, would include a six-mile road course in several configurations. It is to be completed by the fall of 2008. Winston Salem Journal

One-Eighty, Inc Produces Video For Champ Car  The Champ Car World Series relied on the expertise of One-Eighty, Inc to produce a thrilling video which serves as a companion to the series’ marketing brochure. The three-minute video features racing highlights as well as the exciting sights and sounds of Champ Car’s Three-Day Festivals of Speed.

“One-Eighty, Inc has managed to capture the true essence of Champ Car in this video,” said Garret Mudd, Vice President of Marketing for the Champ Car World Series. “A Champ Car event isn’t just about the racing action on the track but the festival atmosphere that inhabits the race weekend and all the other activities that occur off-track and One-Eighty has done an excellent job at translating that excitement into this video.”

Based in Oregon, One-Eighty, Inc creates short and long length videos using music, narration, humor, drama or intrigue to turn ideas into stories that will get remembered. They have worked on different projects in a wide array of domains with the likes of Red Bull, Nike Golf, Big Bear Choppers and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. More ...

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

Courtesy of TVRacer.com

12:00am-12:30am ESPN2
NASCAR Live! Atlanta
1:30pm-2:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Practice Atlanta
2:00pm-3:30pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Live! Atlanta
3:30pm-4:00pm (L) SPEED
6:00pm-6:30pm ESPN2
Desert Racing Series: 500 mile off-road race (trucks) Las Vegas to Reno
6:00pm-7:00pm Outdoor Channel
Trackside Atlanta
6:00pm-7:00pm SPEED
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying Atlanta
7:00pm-9:00pm (L) ESPN2 More ...
Ford teams 1-2 in Japan  An estimated 64,000 people attended last night's start ceremony for this 14th round of the FIA World Rally Championship in Obihiro. Despite temperatures dropping rapidly towards freezing, fans on this most northerly of Japan's four main islands began lining the streets in the city centre more than four hours before the leading drivers started.

The competition began for real this morning with the first of two loops of gravel speed tests covering 51.74km north-east of Obihiro. Thick fog combined with the low angle of the rising sun made visibility difficult over the opening 9.03km Pawse Kamuy Reverse special stage while ice added to the challenge on the following 13.95km Cup Kamuy.

BP-Ford World Rally Team drivers Marcus Grönholm and Timo Rautiainen were fifth through the opening stage in their Focus RS World Rally Car before setting second fastest time in Cup Kamuy to climb to second overall. Second fastest in the 26.03km Kimun Kamuy, the longest stage of the leg, sent the 39-year-old Finnish pilot and leader of the drivers' standings to the top of the leaderboard. More ...

Earnhardt Jr. launches the Dale Jr. Foundation  Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced the launch of The Dale Jr. Foundation Tuesday night at the eighth annual Dale Jr. Celebrity Sports Auction. His newly-formed charitable organization is dedicated to giving underprivileged individuals, primarily youth, the resources to improve confidence, education and the opportunity to achieve extraordinary goals. "My path in life made it a bit easier for me to reach my goals and get to where I am today, but I realize that not everyone is as fortunate," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I've had the opportunity to meet some really cool kids through the Make-A-Wish Foundation the last few years, and it's made me appreciative of all that I have. I decided to start this foundation as a way to help those who haven't had some of the opportunities I've had. We plan to help those in need who are trying to reach their goals and just need someone to give them a chance to succeed." The Dale Jr. Foundation will continue to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation and will also aid the Victory Junction Gang Camp, with the Dale Jr. Celebrity Sports Auction serving as the annual fundraising event for the foundation. JR Motorsports PR
New F1 aero rules for 2009  

Panasonic Toyota rear wing

On Wednesday the FIA World Council confirmed new aero rules for 2009, which were proposed by the so-called overtaking group comprised of Ferrari’s Rory Byrne together with Renault’s Pat Symonds and McLaren’s Paddy Lowe. The new rules should make it easier to follow another car and to overtake.

The technical directors agreed to proposals which are as follows:
- Front wing width increased to 180 instead of 140 cm.
- Front wing height decreased to 7.5 instead of 15 cm.
- The middle section over a width of 40 cm has to be a standard part.
- The driver may adjust the front wing flaps from the cockpit twice a lap by an angle of a maximum 6 degrees.
- Rear wing width 75 instead of 100 cm
- Rear wing height 95 instead of 80 cm.

The diffuser then starts from the centre of the rear axle rather than from the front end of the rear wheels. It may raise to 17.5 instead of 12.5 cm. The bodywork has to be clean. That means no barge boards, no winglets, no chimneys, no flipups.

Windtunnel research has shown that with the new rules the overall downforce loss will be 50 percent compared to the 2006 aero. If you follow another car within half a car length you will only lose 25 instead of 46 percent of the downforce and the balance shift will be 1 percent to the front rather than 4 percent to the back as it is now.

Q and A Heikki Kovalainen  


Finnish racer Heikki Kovalainen has just completed his rookie season for the French based Renault Formula One team and to many people’s surprise, this inexperienced racer finished the season ahead of his veteran teammate Giancarlo Fisichella. Speaking at a promotional event for sponsor ING in Greece recently, Heikki conducted the following question and answer session.

Heikki, during your first year in F1 World Championship you achieved the 7th position, collecting a higher score than your teammate. Are you satisfied with these results?
Yes I am. My performances have improved with every race, and I think that now, people see me as a driver who belongs in Formula 1 and is capable of strong results. I have scored points in two thirds of the races, I have finished 16 out of 17 races and scored my first podium; plus people have seen that I am an aggressive driver who can really fight out on track, and who gives nothing away. Of course, we were hoping for more at the start of the year, but it turned out that the car was not able to deliver it. So we have had to adapt, and I think that once I found my feet and understood how to get maximum performance from myself and the car, we have done a very strong job.

Could you please elaborate, when mentioning that it was a difficult start to the year for you? What were the difficulties involved during the first 2007 F1 races?
It was a combination of factors. The car was unpredictable to drive and inconsistent on the limit, which was very different to the car I had driven during testing in 2006. As a result, I was over-driving to try and make up the performance deficit, and that was leading to more mistakes. Gradually, I adapted my driving and my approach, working harder with the team to improve the situation. And we made a step forward with the car too, making it easier to drive. As a result, the performances began to improve. More ...

Villeneuve tests for Phoenix Cup race  


Jacques Villeneuve completed another test this week in the Car of Tomorrow in preparation for his second Nextel Cup start next month in Phoenix.

Villeneuve tested at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Illinois along with Bill Davis Racing teammate Dave Blaney.

"It's getting seat time," the 1995 CART champion tells Belleville News-Democrat. "It's getting to work on the COT car, getting it ready for next year since we're planning to run the whole season. The more laps we do at different tracks in different cars is just useful."

In his first ever Nextel Cup start, Villeneuve qualified sixth at the Talladega Superspeedway and finished a respectable 21st - the last of the drivers on the lead lap and ahead of seasoned NASCAR drivers such as Michael Waltrip, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Petty, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Dale Jarrett. More ...

industry news
Penske Automotive Group raises estimate  

Roger Penske

Penske Automotive Group Inc., the second-largest publicly traded U.S. car dealer, said third-quarter profit jumped 29% on sales of luxury vehicles. The company raised its earnings forecast for the year.

Net income climbed to $43.4 million, or 46 cents a share, from $33.7 million, or 36 cents, a year earlier, the Bloomfield Township-based company said Thursday in a statement. The stock rose the most in 2 1/2 years as profit beat analysts' estimates and Penske Auto boosted its dividend.

The earnings gain showed the payoff from CEO Roger Penske's strategy of adding dealers overseas and focusing on import and luxury brands. Those models provide about 90% of Penske Auto's revenue, and sales have held up while the U.S. housing slump dampens car-market demand.

Penske Auto raised its annual earnings forecast to a range of $1.47 to $1.51 a share from $1.40 to $1.50. Fourth-quarter earnings will be 31 cents to 35 cents a share, the company said. Separately, Penske Auto boosted its quarterly dividend by 29% to 9 cents a share. The dividend is payable Dec. 3 to shareholders of record on Nov. 12. Detroit Free Press

Industry News
XM Satellite Radio's loss widens  XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. said Thursday its third-quarter loss widened as sales through retail outlets slowed and the company faced increased costs related to its planned acquisition by smaller rival Sirius Satellite Radio Inc.

Washington-based XM reported a loss of $145.4 million, or 47 cents per share, for the three months that ended Sept. 30 compared with a loss of $85.5 million, or 32 cents per share, a year ago.

Analysts expected a loss of 45 cents per share, according to Thomson Financial.

Revenue rose 20% to $287.5 million from $240.4 million last year, meeting expectations on Wall Street, as XM added 315,000 net subscribers. The subscriber gain is a 10% improvement over the year-ago quarter, when XM recorded 286,000 new net subscribers.

XM said it finished the quarter with 8.6 million subscribers, up from 7.2 million last year.

XM shares fell 25 cents, or 1.4%, to $15.34 Thursday. Detroit Free Press

Industry News
Audi announces €10bn investment  Audi has announced that it plans to invest €10bn (US$14.29bn) over the next five years in order to drive its global sales growth, reports Reuters, citing the company's chief executive officer, Rupert Stadler.
De la Rosa tells Alonso to be 'happy'  (GMM)  Pedro de la Rosa says there is no indication within McLaren that team chiefs are preparing to kick Fernando Alonso out.

The Woking based outfit's principal test driver, also a Spaniard like 26-year-old Alonso, told the radio network Cadena SER that he would advise Ron Dennis and the double world champion to stay together next year.

"If you ask me what I would do, I would stay, because McLaren has proved to be a competitive team and Fernando is a born winner," de la Rosa said.

But the Spaniard also advises Alonso to do make a decision that makes him happy.

"Well, in the end you need to be happy with what you are doing," de la Rosa conceded.

"Nobody (at McLaren) is saying that Fernando is going to go.  In fact, everyone is working as if he is going to stay."

FIA-GT championship to split  

FIA-GT in Dubai

In 2010, the FIA GT Championship will evolve into two separate series, with a World Championship for GT1 cars and a European Championship for GT2 cars.

These Championships will follow new GT1 and GT2 Technical Regulations, to be published following the next World Motor Sport Council in December 2007. They will be based on the concept that 2010 cars will be heavier but more powerful, using production engines, with output controlled by various means including a standard ECU. The new specifications will also seek to reduce operating costs.

The rest of the Technical Regulations will be based on the current GT2 regulations, with some additional aero modifications permitted for GT1. The regulations for the FIA GT3 European Championship will remain the same.

2008 Calendar FIA GT Championship
20/4   GB   Silverstone
18/5   I   Monza
21/6   I   Adria
6/7   D   Oschersleben
3/8   B   24 Hours of Spa*
31/8   RO   Bucharest Challenge 28**
14/9   CZ   Brno
28/9   F   Nogaro
19/10   B   Zolder
23/11   RA   San Luis

FIA announces World Rally Changes  A number of regulation changes will be incorporated into the 2008 and 2009 World Rally Championships.

From 1 January 2008:

- To provide for more equal competition, the running order for each Day will be based on the event classification.
- To aid public understanding, the term “Leg” will be replaced by “Day”.
- The regulations will provide for a 10 minute final service prior to the finish podium. It is intended to create the opportunity for the Service Park to be an attraction until the finish of the event.

From 1 January 2009:

- To increase the challenge of the events and to increase media opportunities, events will be allowed to run mixed surfaces, on the condition that a surface will be used on two consecutive days.
- To create more flexibility, the total length of the special stages will be increased from 360km to 400km. More ...

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