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Toyota apologizes to its fans  Toyota Motor Corp president Akio Toyoda believes he has betrayed the team's fans after making the painful decision to axe the Formula 1 operation.

Toyoda, the grandson of the company's founder, insists he had to act for financial reasons, notably after Toyota announced the biggest loss in its history in March. The world's largest car maker is now the third major manufacturer to withdraw from F1 in the space of 11 months after Honda and BMW.  Toyota's departure continues the exodus of Japanese companies from motor sport as Subaru and Suzuki withdrew from the World Rally Championship prior to this season. In motorbikes, Kawasaki pulled out of MotoGP, while on Monday, tire manufacturer Bridgestone announced it will not be renewing its supply contract in F1 after next season. More ...

Hulkenberg announced at Williams  
Nico Hulkenberg
Q: How are you feeling about your new appointment?
NH: I’m pretty excited to be racing for Williams. They’re real racers. I’ve been with the team as a test driver for two years now so I know everyone well. I’ve also been working in the factory itself this year with stints in composites, the wind tunnel and sub-assembly. I like the people and the atmosphere within the factory is really good. I’m now in a race seat and I’m really looking forward to next year.

Q:What are your objectives for next season?
NH: I just want to deliver consistently and do a good job for the team. I’d like to have some good races and score point.

Q: What expectations are there from the team?
NH: Of course they are expecting something otherwise they wouldn’t have put me in the car, but I think their expectations are realistic. More ...

Ekstrom wins ROC over Schumacher  
Ekstrom gives Schuey a piggyback ride
Swede Mattias Ekstrom completed a remarkable hat trick of Race of Champions titles today, beating seven-time F1 World Champion, Michael Schumacher in the final in the Race of Champions held in China this week. The double DTM champion added the 2009 crown to the back-to-back ROC titles he won in 2006 and 2007.

On his way to the title, Ekstrom won his group over triple World Touring Car champion, Andy Priaulx, five-time Moto GP champion, Mick Doohan and multiple X-Games gold medalist, Travis Pastrana. He beat eight-time Le Mans 24 Hour winner, Tom Kristensen, in the quarter finals and newly crowned F1 World Champion, Jenson Button in the semi-final.

That is what makes the difference for me...I look across at Michael on the start line and I think 'why should I beat him? His driving his spotless'.  A tenth of a second here and there isn't a lot but sometimes it is enough and driving against Michael is always a pleasure. I always pretend to be thinking about whether to come to The Race of Champions or not but actually I'm never thinking about it.”

Schumacher said: “It has been a nice event, all in all, as always. It has the right mixture of seriousness behind the wheel and a relaxed atmosphere in which to meet some good guys.”

F1 World Champion Jenson Button reached the semi-finals, having won his group and beaten compatriot, Andy Priaulx, in the quarter finals.
The man who was runner-up to Button in the F1 World Championship, Sebastian Vettel, also reached the penultimate round, losing to Schumacher.  Full results can be found at www.raceofchampions.com and a race by race account of The Race of Champions 2009 will appear on the site shortly.

Mass exodus of manufacturers and teams from F1 and WRC  More proof Max Mosley was 100% right.  Let history show had he not forced through major cost cutting in F1 last year that F1 would be dead right now given the mass exodus of manufacturers.

Nov 4 - Japanese manufacturer Toyota announce immediate departure, saying it was a "very difficult but unavoidable decision" due to the economic climate.

Nov 2 - Japan's Bridgestone, F1's sole tire supplier, says it will pull out when its contract expires at the end of 2010.

Sept 24 - Renault title sponsor ING withdraws with immediate effect after the team were handed a suspended permanent ban for involvement in a race-fixing scandal. The Dutch-based financial group had been due to pull out at the end of the year. More ...

FIA calls for cost cutting in wake of pullouts  The announcements this week by Toyota and Bridgestone of their withdrawal from Formula One are of concern to the FIA.

Bridgestone has given almost 18 months’ notice of its intentions, thereby allowing the necessary arrangements to be made for the future supply of tires to the championship.

Toyota’s decision, however, comes just weeks after its F1 team signed the new Concorde Agreement until 2012. 

Urgent clarification is now being sought from the Toyota F1 team as to its legal position in relation to the championship. This will have a direct bearing on the admission of any future 13th entry. More ...

Theissen to 'discuss' 2010 vacancy with FIA  UPDATE (GMM)  F1 on Wednesday was left reeling from the loss of Toyota, but it was the best possible news for those at Sauber's Hinwil headquarters.

The collapse of a confirmed team for 2010 opens the door for the newly Qadbak-owned outfit in the wake of BMW's departure.

"We will be discussing the effect (of Toyota's departure) for the BMW-Sauber team with the FIA," team boss Mario Theissen is quoted as saying by the news agency SID.

However, Wednesday's turn of events is potentially devastating for the hundreds of people who work at Toyota's Cologne base.

"Of course it's really bad for the 600 people who work there," said Sebastian Vettel at the Race of Champions event in Beijing, according to Bild newspaper.

"The question is what happens now with them?  I hope that an investor turns up who can buy the team," the German driver added. More ...

American Wins Walter Hayes Trophy second consecutive year!  
Connor De Phillippi
Junior formula car standout Connor De Phillippi is the latest American to make his mark in European open-wheel racing, following his historic Walter Hayes Trophy win this past weekend (October 31 – November 1) at the Silverstone Circuit in England. The California teenager became the second consecutive Team USA Scholarship driver and youngest-ever winner, when he bested over a 100 other drivers in the prestigious year-old Formula Ford event.

Only a short time after commencing his European adventure as part of the Team USA Scholarship program during the Formula Ford Festival, De Phillippi was back behind the wheel at the Silverstone National Circuit taking part in pre-event testing for the Walter Hayes Trophy, which features over 100 traditional Kent-powered Formula Fords battling for top honors. The reigning BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National presented by Mazda champion, as expected, wasted little time coming to grips with the high-speed road course. As result, when the event officially got underway via qualifying, the No. 22 Team USA Scholarship/Cliff Dempsey Racing Ray GRS08 driver was one everyone was keeping a close eye on. More ...
Two-Day Goodyear Tire Test For 2010 Daytona 500 Wraps Up  On Monday and Tuesday, 17 drivers with 18 cars were in attendance for a two-day Goodyear tire test at Daytona International Speedway in advance of the 2010 Daytona 500. The list of drivers testing tire compounds for Goodyear included #17-Matt Kenseth, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #26-Jamie McMurray, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, #2-Kurt Busch, #18-Kyle Busch, #6-David Ragan, #77-Sam Hornish Jr., #12-Brad Keselowski, #00-David Reutimann, #47-Marcos Ambrose, #78-Regan Smith, #44/43-A.J. Allmendinger, #82-Scott Speed, #96-Erik Darnell, #98-Paul Menard and #09-Sterling Marlin. Drivers toured the legendary 2.5-mile tri-oval shaking down Goodyear tires in both single car and drafting sessions. Penske Racing's Kurt Busch said the drafting sessions consisted of 15, 20 and 30-lap runs. Tickets for the 52nd annual Daytona 500, which start at $55, as well as other Speedweeks 2010 events, are available at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. DIS
Pirelli says no to overpriced F1  (GMM)  As was suggested earlier on Wednesday, Pirelli has rejected suggestions it might enter the race to become F1's new supplier of control tires.

With the Japanese supplier Bridgestone not willing to stay in formula one beyond its 2010 contract, the sport's other recent tire brands Goodyear and Michelin played down reports they might consider taking over the role as official supplier.

Now the Milan based Pirelli company has followed suit.

"Pirelli's previous position on F1 hasn't changed," a spokeswoman is quoted as saying by the Reuters news agency.

"Pirelli prefers to develop tires for racing that will also be used on the road," she added.

Amid the FIA's last tender, Kumho and Yokohama were also mentioned as possibly interested in F1.

Toyota's exit proves once again Mosley was right  Toyota's exit from F1, following Honda, Ford and BMW (with Renault thinking hard about leaving as well) underscores just how forward thinking departing FIA president Max Mosley was to force the F1 teams to reduce costs in the sport so it could survive the mass exodus we are seeing.  He brought in Cosworth to fill the engine supply gap left as these manufacturers have dropped F1 like a hot potato and made it possible for independent teams to once again compete in F1.

Sex scandal or not, controversial or not, hate him or love him, he was the greatest President the FIA ever had.  And to think it was these very manufacturers that have left the sport who were instrumental in forcing Mosley to quit.

Toyota confirms F1 quit decision  (GMM)  Toyota Motor Corporation confirmed officially on Wednesday its decision to pull out of formula one with immediate effect.

"Based on the current economic environment, we realize we have no choice but to withdraw," said the Japanese carmaker's president Akio Toyoda at a news conference in Tokyo.

"Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announces it plans to withdraw from the FIA Formula 1 world championship at the end of the 2009 season," said a Toyota statement.

"TMC, which had viewed its participation in F1 as contributing to the prosperity of automotive culture, remained dedicated to competing at the pinnacle of motor sports even in the face of the abrupt economic changes that started last year."

"TMC also wants to express its heartfelt gratitude to all Panasonic Toyota Racing drivers to date and to all Toyota Motorsport GmbH employees who have helped make the team's achievements possible," said the statement. More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Barrichello visits Williams, reveals McLaren talks
  • Search begins for F1's 2011 tire supplier
  • F1 news briefs: Wednesday
  • Ecclestone wants 20 races on F1 calendars
  • Ecclestone makes concessions but no British GP deal yet
  • Toyota quit announcement to be made shortly
  • Red Bull ready to announce 2010 engine
  • Hamilton Snr eyes Raikkonen for McLaren seat
  • Thousands sign petition to save Spa track
  • Williams not releasing Rosberg until January

Barrichello visits Williams, reveals McLaren talks
(GMM)  Rubens Barrichello this week made his first visit to Williams.

The Brazilian veteran has been signed by the British team for 2010, and he headed straight from Abu Dhabi to Grove to tour the factory and even look around Williams' famous F1 car museum, according to O Globo newspaper.

Barrichello, 37, revealed that he also had talks with McLaren a few weeks ago in Brazil "but my contract with Williams was already signed".

"I am going to realize a dream, because ever since I saw F1 on TV for the first time, I have dreamed of driving for them," said the holder of the record for the most career grands prix.

Barrichello, whose mentor Ayrton Senna died at the wheel of a Williams in 1994, also revealed that his Brawn contract this year was initially for only the first four races with "the rest depending on my results and my work". More ...

Pro racers launch school outreach program  Newly-crowned 2009 Sports Car Club of America Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Series Winner, Brandon Davis, of Orange County, California, is set to launch a new pro racer outreach into Los Angeles schools.

Davis will be the first Racers Who Care spokes-racer to share his personal Quick Tips on Winning in Life with L. A. area students, at Granada Hills’ Kennedy High School, under a newly-developed, ongoing, racer presentation program launched in partnership with Champions USA under the auspices of the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Beyond the Bell program through its 21st Century ASSETS grant

RWC calls the presentation program Quick Tips on Winning in Life, which are applicable to all children and teens regardless of age, cultural background, or life experience:  find something to do in life that you really love, study, learn the art of teamwork, find a mentor, take the long view, be flexible with your dreams and goals, avoid the path of least resistance, and more. More ...
Burton's impressions of new Nationwide car  It’s easy for Jeff Burton to notice the difference in the new Nationwide car, and it’s the same thing he said when he went from the old Sprint Cup car to the new one. Burton was among the eight drivers who tested Monday the new Nationwide car at Talladega Superspeedway and got their first feel of the roomier vehicle. Like the Cup cars, the new Nationwide cars have the bigger greenhouse and are 3 inches higher than the current Nationwide car.

“If you drove an old one and got in one of these cars, these cars are so much bigger, so much more room, so much more ability to put stuff in the car to make it safer,” the Richard Childress Racing driver said. “It’s a whole other ballgame.” More ...

tiwi and Valvoline team up with McCumbee  This Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) marks the debut of the No. 07 tiwi/Valvoline Chevrolet in the WinStar World Casino 350.  With an updated look, tiwi and Valvoline have teamed up to finish out the season with Chad McCumbee and the No. 07 SS Green Light Racing team as they will co-sponsor the truck in the final three races of the season at Texas Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and Homestead-Miami Speedway, respectively.  The tiwi/Valvoline paint scheme is being revealed in conjunction with a product launch that will be unveiled on Thursday, November 5. A new partnership could not come at a better track for McCumbee as TMS has proven to be one of his stronger tracks on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series circuit.  In six starts at the 1.5-mile oval, McCumbee has two top-10’s and an average finish of 12.8.  He has only finished outside of the top-15 once and achieved his first career top-10 here in the No. 07 Chevrolet in the June 2006 event.

“We’ve been close here before,” said McCumbee.  “We had a great run in the fall event a couple of years ago.  I started the race second and passed Mike Skinner and Ron Hornaday on the outside going down the backstretch with only a couple laps to go. “We had a caution and that set up a green-white-checker finish.  I spun the tires a little on the restart and the driver behind me just flat ran me over and caused a big wreck. More ...
Silverstone hopes for 2010 GP deal within 'days'  UPDATE #3 Damon Hill says Silverstone will have to remain patient if it is to secure the long-term future of the British Grand Prix.

In his role as president of the British Racing Drivers' Club, which owns the Northamptonshire track, Hill was part of a delegation who travelled to last weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix hoping to strike a deal with Formula One's commercial rights controller Bernie Ecclestone.

The trip came after Donington Park, which had agreed a 17-year contract with Ecclestone to stage the race from next year, failed to secure the £135 million required for circuit upgrades.

Faced with a backdrop of Formula One's first twilight race held at the spectacular £800 million Yas Marina circuit, the talks proved fruitless. Even so, Hill refused to be downbeat and said the ball was at least rolling.

The 1996 World Champion said: "The groundwork has been done and it's best to see what evolves now.

"There was a lot of excitement when the opportunity came back and Bernie said he was prepared to discuss the situation.

"We did go over to Abu Dhabi to try and get a deal done, but the distraction of the weekend meant it was not the right time. More ...

Kolles leave Force India team  Force India – one of the undoubted surprises of the 2009 F1 World Championship campaign – has announced that it has parted company with former team principal Colin Kolles.

Kolles’ contract with the Silverstone-based squad ended on 31 October, 2009, and the team has confirmed that it has not been renewed. The German was appointed managing director of Midland F1 when Russian billionaire Alex Shnaider purchased the Jordan Grand Prix outfit from Eddie Jordan back at the beginning of 2005, after personally helping with the sale of the team. More ...

Allmendinger in Fords the rest of the season  AJ Allmendinger makes his Ford Racing debut this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The Richard Petty Motorsports driver will race the remaining three races of the 2009 season in a Ford Fusion. Race fans will recognize the familiar "Petty Blue" and red paint scheme on #44 for the rest of the season. Last week at Talladega, Elliott Sadler drove a Ford to a ninth-place finish. Allmendinger will be the only Petty driver in a Ford in any of the remaining 2009 races.

"This is exciting stuff. It's like a new beginning for Richard Petty Motorsports. Whenever you do something new you are a little bit excited and a little bit nervous because you haven't done it before. Elliott drove a Ford for us at Talladega last week and everyone was really positive about the experience. It's our turn this week tire testing a Ford in Daytona and we'll drive one at Phoenix and Homestead as well."
Delphi stays with Hendrick  Delphi announced that it will continue its associate sponsorship of Hendrick Motorsports during the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The announcement was made at a press conference held at the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) in Las Vegas. Delphi will be the primary sponsor for two Sprint Cup races with driver Mark Martin in the #5 Delphi/GoDaddy.com Chevy. The race details will be announced in the near future. Additionally, Delphi will be an associate sponsor of all Hendrick Motorsports 2010 Sprint Cup entries. Delphi will continue to be featured on the uniforms of all Hendrick Motorsports drivers for the 2010 season, including four-time Sprint Cup champion #24-Jeff Gordon, three-time defending Sprint Cup champion #48-Jimmie Johnson, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #5-Mark Martin.

"Our long-standing relationship with Delphi has been fantastic," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "The association has been incredibly important to our company from both a quality and technology standpoint, and we look forward to having Delphi continue as a key partner for the 2010 season."
At least some of NASCAR's ratings are up...  The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race from Talladega scored a Nielsen Household Rating of 1.34 (999,000 households), up 21 percent from last year’s 1.11 (816,000 households), making it the highest rated Talladega Trucks race ever and the second highest rated Truck race of the 2009 season (season opener in Daytona was No. 1). The Halloween afternoon race peaked at 1.67 (1,243,000 households) and carried more than one million households for two hours. Last year’s Talladega coverage peaked at 1.36 (1,000,000 households).
Honda Enter Formula Ford  The Board of Directors of the Sports Car Club of America has ratified a Honda Performance Development, Inc. proposal to begin supplying Honda Formula F engines for competition in the SCCA’s Formula F (FF) class in 2010. Through its introduction to the category, HPD hopes to strengthen FF’s position as the first step in American open-wheel racing.

“We look forward to launching our FF program at the outset of the 2010 club racing season,” said Erik Berkman, president of Honda Performance Development. “We hope that this initial step in HPD’s new grassroots motorsports initiative will help make the FF class more affordable and more competitive.”

The Honda Formula F engine is based on the Fit L15A7, a 1.5-liter engine that can be installed into several existing FF chassis. Testing has shown that the Honda engine provides performance equal to the long-out-of-production “Kent” engine, while featuring a modern fuel-injected design with superior service life, improved availability and lower operating costs. More ...
Meyrick dominates in FIA Historic Formula One finale  Andy Meyrick dominated the final round of the 2009 FIA Historic Formula One Championship last weekend, at the stunning Paul Ricard circuit in the south of France.  Racing for Team AMR, the British racer took pole position and victory in the March 761 F1 car raced by Vittorio Brambilla in the 1976 Formula One World Championship.    The FIA Historic Formula One championship is the pinnacle of historic motorsport and the HTTT Paul Ricard circuit one of the most impressive circuits in Europe.  Competing in a field of 27 cars, Meyrick was on the pace in first qualifying and had high hopes ahead of second qualifying on Saturday afternoon.  While several of his competitors chose to run on new rubber, Meyrick qualified on old tires, yet took pole by an impressive nine tenths of a second.    Lining up at the front of the grid on Sunday Meyrick made a stunning start to lead the field into the first corner and as the cars crossed the line for the first time, Meyrick had already built up a three second gap.  Despite competing against more modern F1 cars with ground effect, Meyrick won unchallenged with a lead of 15 seconds.  Meyrick’s fastest lap was 1.5 seconds quicker than any other competitor in the race.  Speaking about the weekend, Meyrick said, “The FIA Historic Formula One championship is a great championship to be involved in and Paul Ricard is one of the nicest tracks to drive.  With the Le Mans Series now over, it was good to get back into a race car.  Racing of any kind is good experience and this championship offers some great competitors.  There is always the possibility of a mechanical problem on older racing cars, but the team did a great job this weekend and everything was perfect.  It was a great feeling to put the car at the front and win by such a margin.”
Toyota pullout would hurt Kobayashi most  If, as is being increasingly rumored, Toyota does elect to walk away from F1 when a decision about its future is taken later this month, it would leave Kamui Kobayashi facing quite literally a ‘raw’ deal indeed.

It had been anticipated that a final resolution would be reached when the Japanese manufacturer’s executive board holds its annual end-of-year meeting in Tokyo on 15 November to approve – or decline – the budget for 2010, but authoritative German magazine Auto Motor und Sport has now revealed that there will be a separate announcement a week earlier, on 8 November, concerning the company’s Cologne-based F1 operation.

Toyota is the world’s largest car-maker, but in the wake of the global credit crunch it revealed its first annual loss in some seven decades – and insiders have been pessimistic for some time about the likelihood of the F1 project continuing into a tenth consecutive campaign. More ...

A letter from Mario Theissen  
Dear Motorsport Friends,

As the cars crossed the finish line at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday evening, it not only marked the end of the 2009 Formula One season but also the end of an interesting and successful chapter of BMW's motorsport history. After ten years in motorsport's elite class, BMW bid farewell to Formula One.

The finale at the impressive Yas Marina Circuit saw us produce another strong race weekend. Nick performed very well to steadily work his way through the field from eighth on the grid to fifth place by the end of the race. Robert was struck by three pieces of misfortune during the race: he rejoined the race in slow traffic after every pit stop and then dropped back a place after the collision with Sebastien Buemi. However, his engine did manage the final four races of the season without any problems. It is important that today's good result allowed us to make up another place in the Constructor's Championship. More ...

Q&A with surprise talent Kobayashi  
Kamui Kobayashi
Q: What did you think about the new Yas Marina Circuit?
KK: The new facility is just amazing and I've never seen a racing track like
that. The organizers did a great job with the facilities, which were perfect
for everyone. The track itself was interesting and fun to drive; also you
could overtake there which makes it even better.

Q: How would you sum up your second Grand Prix weekend?
KK: It was a great weekend for me and I have to thank the team for this
opportunity. Sixth place was a fantastic result and better than I imagined
at the start of the weekend, so I am very pleased with how things worked
out. Still, there is room for improvement and I have several areas to
improve, such as qualifying pace. My target was to qualify in the top 10 but
I just missed out, so there is a bit of work to do there. More ...

Red Bull Here to stay.  
Christian Horner
Christian Horner believes his Red Bull team will continue to be a force in 2010 despite a rebound in the fortunes of some other teams.

Sebastian Vettel's victory in Abu Dhabi meant he finished just 11 points behind Jenson Button in the drivers' championship, while the team were 18.5 points behind Brawn GP in the constructors' race.

However, wins for Ferrari and McLaren in the second half of the season served notice that they will continue to be a threat after struggling to score any points at all early in the campaign. More ...

Nationwide teams try out their new Car of Tomorrow at Talladega  NASCAR Nationwide Series teams are on the track today at Talladega Superspeedway for a one-day test session to try out the Nationwide version of the COT.  Eight drivers are here giving the cars a shake down before they are introduced during a race for the first time next summer at Daytona.

These cars are different from the Cup COTs and the old Nationwide cars in a big way. The cars were redesigned to look more like what the manufacturers sell in the showroom. Dodge has brought the Challenger and Ford has the Mustang.

Unfortunately, Chevy decided to use the Impala instead of the Camaro and Toyota still has the same ole un-sexy Camry. So thumbs up to Ford and Dodge and thumbs down to Chevy and Toyota.

Drivers here are James Buescher, Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick and Kelly Bires in Chevys; Colin Braun and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in Fords; Trevor Bayne in a Toyota and Justin Allgaier driving the Dodge. Al.com

Baja 1000
Robby Gordon running Baja 1000  The Southern California construction industry remains in the doldrums. And violence in Mexico is still a problem. Despite that double dose of bad news, officials of SCORE are looking forward to a strong Baja 1000 off-road race Nov. 19-22 to complete the 2009 season. More than 275 entries are expected for the 42nd edition of the desert classic, which will start and finish in Ensenada for the 20th time. The star of the show will be Sprint Cup driver Robby Gordon, who leads the overall and TrophyTruck points races going into the 673-mile season finale. For the past decade, Gordon has run SCORE events when his NASCAR schedule permitted. This year, breaks in the NASCAR schedule enabled Gordon to run in three of the first four SCORE events. H skipped the Sept. 12 Sprint Cup race in Richmond, Va., to compete in a SCORE event at Primm, Nev. Gordon won that race to widen his SCORE points lead going into the Baja 1000. Gordon will fly from Ensenada after finishing the 1000 to compete in the NASCAR season finale at Homestead, Fla. San Diego Union Tribune
Raikkonen 'too expensive' for Brawn - boss  
Ross Brawn had a good laugh when he heard how much salary Raikkonen wanted
(GMM)  Brawn GP chief Ross Brawn has played down suggestions that Kimi Raikkonen could be lined up as an alternative to the hesitant Jenson Button for 2010.

With Brawn and Button at odds over the 29-year-old new world champion's desire for a pay-rise, Raikkonen is similarly stalling on signing up with McLaren.

When asked about the technically-available 2007 world champion by Auto Motor und Sport, Brawn said of Raikkonen: "Too expensive.  His management is negotiating as if the compensation of Ferrari doesn't exist."

He is referring to speculation that the 30-year-old Finn's agreement to leave Ferrari one year early involved a termination payment of a rumored 25m euros. More ...

BBC apologizes for Button 'F-word'  (GMM)  2009 world champion-elect Jenson Button turned the airwaves blue after drawing his season to a close in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

As he chatted happily with fellow podium-finisher Mark Webber about their late-race scrap before going onto the podium, he let slip the 'F-word' that was beamed live to millions of international viewers.

"We apologize for any offence caused and we apologized immediately on air after it happened.  It is part and parcel of live broadcasts," said a spokesman for the British broadcaster BBC.

Coulthard eyes return to racing  
David Coulthard
(GMM)  Spending the entire 2009 season trackside but without a cockpit to occupy has left David Coulthard wanting to extend his career as a racing driver.

The 38-year-old Scot was Red Bull's reserve driver for most of this year, but his primary role was as an expert pundit for the British television broadcaster BBC.

"I was fine at the start of the year, but by the end the old competitive juices were bubbling to the surface," Coulthard, a veteran of almost 250 grands prix, wrote in a column for the Telegraph.

"At 38, I know I have some racing left in me -- not in formula one, perhaps, but in other series and challenges," he added while in Beijing ahead of the Race of Champions, to also be contested by the likes of Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel.

Hulkenberg manager hails Williams line-up  
Rubens Barrichello
(GMM)  Willi Weber has welcomed Williams' appointment of Rubens Barrichello for 2010.

Weber, famous for handling Michael Schumacher's successful career, is now the manager of German rookie Nico Hulkenberg, who will be Brazilian veteran Barrichello's teammate next season.

"Rubens is a super driver from whom Nico can certainly learn a lot," Weber told the SID news agency.

Hulkenberg, 22, has won every major championship he has ever entered, including formulas BMW and Euro F3, A1GP, and the 2009 GP2 series. More ...

Todt talks with French PM Fillon about GP  
Jean Todt
(GMM)  In a meeting on Monday, new FIA president Jean Todt told the French prime minister Francois Fillon that formula one is important to the country.

After a constant presence dating back to 1955, the French grand prix was missing from the calendar in 2009, and it will not be run again in 2010, apparently for financial reasons.

The French sports publication L'Equipe quoted Todt as saying the Monday talks were about a "potential new circuit" and the "importance of a French grand prix".

"There are at least three sites that could accommodate the race now: Le Mans, Magny Cours and Paul Ricard," the Frenchman added.

However, Todt acknowledged that it is not within the "role of the FIA president" to select the site for races.

Quote of the Week  "I ask you to be calm, because we are not going to fold for second place. I am very calm and sure that we will be very competitive with teams like Red Bull, Brawn, or McLaren, and Ferrari will be there in the fight. Now a very important challenge begins for me. Because in Ferrari, the biggest team, you always have to win." Soon to be Ferrari F1 driver Fernando Alonso When asked about what he could say to motivate his Ferrari fans.
tv news
Motorsports This Week on ESPN and ABC  
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Live from Texas on ABC

The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is down to three races to go and this weekend the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth for 500 miles on Sunday, Nov. 8. ESPN’s live, flag-to-flag coverage of the Dickies 500 airs on ABC beginning with NASCAR Countdown at 2:30 p.m. ET. The race’s green flag is at 3:30 p.m.

Dr. Jerry Punch will be lap-by-lap announcer for ESPN’s coverage, with analysis by 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Dale Jarrett and two-time NASCAR champion crew chief Andy Petree. Reporting from the pits will be Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Shannon Spake and Vince Welch, with two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion crew chief Tim Brewer in the ESPN Craftsman Tech Garage.

Allen Bestwick will host the pre-race NASCAR Countdown program with analysis by 1989 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty, co-owner of a winning team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, in the ESPN pit studio. More ...

"We can only do as well before doing better!"  This is the wish of Rémy Brouard, the ACO General Manager after the very successful first Asian Le Mans Series.

The lovers of the Le Mans 24 Hours know it all. If you say 1923, their reply will be" Lagache-Léonard, Chenard & Walcker. In a few years’ time will they say? "Tinseau-Nakano, Pescarolo-Judd", when the first Asian Le Mans Series in Japan in 2009 is mentioned. The French team’s name followed by that of Aston Martin has gone down in history as the winner of a new Le Mans Series whose story has just begun.

The figures show that 23 European, Japanese and American teams competed in the event, and that the ACO team on the spot had nothing but positive feedback:

"We’re very happy, congratulation,; let’s start again quickly; give us some more rounds in the Asian Le Mans Series !". Comments that delighted Rémy Brouard, the ACO General Manager who said : More ...

Brawn wishes Barrichello well in his new team  "We are very pleased for Rubens that he will be driving in Formula One once again next year. Rubens was with our team for four years and we regard him as a highly experienced and talented driver whose contribution to the team over that period was significant.

"2009 was a very special season for Brawn GP and I am extremely proud of the spirit in which our drivers Rubens and Jenson fought for the Drivers' Championship. Rubens contributed hugely to our success in the Constructors' Championship with two great victories in Valencia and Monza along with numerous podiums and he was a pleasure to work with.

"We wish Rubens the very best with his new team and thank him for his contribution to Brawn GP this year."

track news
Talladega announces grandstand renovation project  Talladega Superspeedway plans to begin work on a two-phase $13 million grandstand renovation project immediately following Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Amp Energy 500.

The track plans to replace more than half of the grandstand seating with larger seats and wider aisles. The project is expected to be completed in time for the April 25 race weekend. The rest of the seats will be replaced prior to the fall 2010 race weekend.

“This will be a fantastic upgrade for our frontstretch grandstand customers,” said Talladega Superspeedway President Rick Humphrey.  “The new seats are much more comfortable and the wider aisles will be easier to get in and out of during trips to the concession stand.  It’s a big project for us and I’m sure the fans can’t wait for us to get started.” More ...

Teams tire testing at Daytona  More than a dozen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams are expected this morning for a two-day, Goodyear tire test at Daytona International Speedway. Goodyear engineers are working on a tire that will be used during Speed Weeks 2010.

The tests will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Tuesday. Spectators are welcome to watch at no charge from the Oldfield Grandstands.

Bridgestone deal with F1 won't affect IndyCar Series  Bridgestone Corp. plans to stop supplying tires for Formula One after its contract expires following the 2010 season.

Its sister company, Firestone, will continue to be the exclusive tire supplier to the IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights. Firestone tires made their first official racing appearance in 1909 when company founder Harvey Firestone put a set on a car driven by Barney Oldfield in the Indianapolis 300. Two years later, Ray Harroun won the inaugural Indianapolis 500 on Firestone tires.

Firestone joined the IndyCar Series at its first event in 1996 and became the sole tire supplier to the series in 2000. In 2002, Firestone expanded its role as a key promotional partner by becoming the official tire to the IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights and the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. More ...

Two team Patr¢n assault in 2010  After a highly-successful championship-winning 2009 season for Patr¢n Highcroft Racing, American Le Mans Series fans will get to enjoy a triple shot of Patr¢n in 2010.

Patr¢n Highcroft Racing will return in 2010 to defend its prototype crown alongside the new team founded by Scott Sharp - Extreme Speed Motorsports.

While Sharp had originally intended to return to Patr¢n Highcroft Racing alongside his LMP1 championship winning partner, David Brabham, the former Indy 500 polesitter will now concentrate on team ownership - expanding his team's Ferrari 430 GTC assault to a two-car team.

Sharp and Patr¢n Spirits Company CEO Ed Brown will be two of the drivers for the Ferrari GT2 assault. More ...

F1 stalwarts hope Senna lives up to family name  (GMM)  Two formula one stalwarts hope Bruno Senna can deliver on the expectations of his family name.

The 26-year-old Brazilian, whose uncle was the great triple world champion Ayrton Senna, has signed to debut next year with the new Spanish team Campos.

Senna Snr was killed while leading the San Marino grand prix in 1994, but is remembered as one of the greatest drivers ever to have lived and still highly revered.

"I hope Bruno is quick because there is unfortunately an unimaginably great expectation on his shoulders," said Sir Frank Williams, the boss of the team for whom 34-year-old Senna was driving at the time of F1's last fatality. More ...

Italian press turns Ferrari hopes to 2010  (GMM) The Italian press on Monday proclaimed relief that Ferrari's disastrous 2009 campaign is now over.

Even with Lewis Hamilton's McLaren breaking down in the Abu Dhabi finale, the British team still pipped the uncompetitive Ferrari to third place in the constructors' championship.

It is the first time in almost two decades that the famous Maranello based outfit has fallen off the teams' title 'podium'.

"The symbol of Ferrari's 2009 defeat is Giancarlo Fisichella," observed La Gazzetta dello Sport, "who after the disappointing experience was close to tears. More ...

Webber to drive GP3 car, Kubica considers rally  (GMM) Mark Webber will test the car of his new GP3 team MW Arden, a collaboration with Red Bull boss Christian Horner, on 17 November at Paul Ricard.

"I'm intrigued to see what the cars are like to drive, while I also see this as an opportunity to get the series a bit of publicity," the Australian wrote in a column for the Sydney based Daily Telegraph.

Future Renault driver Robert Kubica, meanwhile, is considering entering a Clio into the French championship Rallye du Var late this month.

"It's not 100 per cent certain, but there's a strong possibility," the Pole told French magazine Auto Hebdo.

F2 champion Soucek eyes move up to F1  (GMM) Andy Soucek hopes his new status as reigning Formula 2 champion will unlock the door to the F1 grid.

The 24-year-old has won a Williams test as a prize for his title, after a few years ago testing a Toyota for winning the Spanish F3 crown.

"I don't think many people can say they have driven Williams and Toyota F1 cars," said Soucek.

"I am going to try to show that Formula 2 is a good gateway to formula one," he is quoted as saying by the Spanish sports newspaper Marca.

"I'm working hard, not only in terms of negotiations, but also physically. I can't say anything more. Nothing is signed but things look good," said the Madrid born driver.

Team USA
De Phillippi Wins The Walter Hayes Trophy  Connor De Phillippi had a hard act to follow. One year ago, wearing Team USA  Scholarship colors, his good friend Conor Daly became the youngest driver ever to win the prestigious Walter Hayes Trophy Formula Ford race at Silverstone. Daly made the return trip to England this year to cheer on the latest pair of Team USA Scholarship winners, and was every bit as happy to see De Phillippi take the checkered flag at the end of a thrilling 15-lap Final this afternoon – driving the very same #22 Team USA Scholarship/Cliff Dempsey Racing Ray GRS08.

“I can’t even describe how I feel,” said an ecstatic De Phillippi, who at the age of 16 years, 10 months and six days, beat Daly’s record as the youngest ever Walter Hayes Trophy winner by a mere 10 days. “This is by far the biggest race I’ve won. I can’t thank everyone involved in the Team USA Scholarship enough. It’s been a tremendous honor to be here. Hopefully the right people will see this and help us move up to the next step in my career.” More ...

Ford earns $1 billion  Ford Motor Co. stunned Wall Street today with a third quarter profit of nearly $1 billion -- its first operating profit in nearly two years

The company reported net income of $997 million, or 29 cents per share, a $1.2 billion improvement compared with the same period last year. Wall Street had been expecting the Dearborn automaker to lose 12 cents a share, according to a survey of 11 analysts by Thomson Reuters. Ford lost $129 million during the same three-month period a year ago.

"Our third quarter results clearly show that Ford is making tremendous progress despite the prolonged slump in the global economy," said Ford CEO Alan Mulally. "Our solid product lineup is leading the way in all markets. While we still face a challenging road ahead, our 'One Ford' transformation plan is working and our underlying business continues to grow stronger."

Red Bull staying with Renault in 2010  (GMM) Red Bull will continue to use Renault engines in 2009, after contemplating switching to Mercedes or Cosworth.

Mercedes' exclusive F1 partner McLaren vetoed the proposed collaboration with Red Bull, and changing to Cosworth was reportedly deemed too great a risk in terms of the power, reliability and fuel efficiency of the returning supplier's V8 unit.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that the decision was made shortly before the 2009 season finale.

"We have got good foundations," team boss Christian Horner said in Abu Dhabi.

"We have been well supported by Renault as you don't win races and achieve the kind of results we have had without great support from your engine supplier," he added.
Alonso fined for pit lane speeding  Fernando Alonso's final disappointing weekend with the Renault team was compounded by a pit lane speeding penalty, handed out by race stewards five minutes before the start of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday. The Spaniard was judged to have driven too quickly down the speed-limited lane before the start of the race.

With all cars leaving the pits approximately 20 minutes before the start of the Grand Prix in order to complete a reconnaissance lap before lining up on the grid for final pre-race preparations, the Renault driver exceeded the 100km/h (62mph) limit and was recorded travelling at 111.2km/h (69mph).

As a consequence, the FIA-appointed stewards issued a fine of €2,400 for a breach of article 30.12 of the sporting regulations. With each kilometer exceeded generating a fine of €200, the FIA added another €200 to account for the extra 0.2km.

Whitmarsh: 2010 McLaren quicker than 2009 car  McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh claims that McLaren's 2010 car, which remains in its development stages, is already quicker than the contender raced by Heikki Kovalainen and outgoing Champion Lewis Hamilton this year. Having contributed to a dramatic recovery by the team this season, Whitmarsh is confident that race wins are a target for the entire campaign next year.

With McLaren's miserable start to 2009 having been only worsened by the 'Liegate' controversy, which consequently saw Team Manager David Ryan sacked, the Woking team remained on the straight and narrow to recovery to third overall in the Constructors' Championship, ahead of Ferrari by just a single point.

"Overall, there are plenty of reasons to be cheerful about it," Whitmarsh, who has now completed his first season as Team Principal, commented after Sunday's race in Abu Dhabi. "The team has worked tremendously hard all year to improve the MP4-24, which started the year as one of the slower cars but ended it with two fine wins and a string of impressive points-scoring finishes, culminating in a dominant pole position here - and Mercedes-Benz's engines have been excellent all year.

"Perhaps more important still is that work on the MP4-25 is already going very encouragingly - it's already quicker than the MP4-24 - and there's every reason for us to be confident that we'll be able to continue to develop and improve it significantly between now and the beginning of the 2010 season."

With Lewis Hamilton's current 5-year deal due to run for another three seasons from 2010, his team-mate is yet to be revealed.

Williams confirms Barrichello and Hulkenberg  The strong speculation surrounding the driver line up for the Williams Cosworth team in 2010 has now been confirmed with the announcement that Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hülkenberg will join the Grove based squad and work together next season.

"Rubens needs no introduction. He is not only the most experienced driver in Formula One, but a passionate and talented driver who fought hard for the drivers’ championship this year,” Sir Frank Williams said. "Nico Hülkenberg won the GP2 Championship this season as a rookie and has previously won the F3 Euroseries, Formula Masters, A1 GP and Formula BMW Germany.”

The two new drivers will not move to the team until the end of 2009 and until then, Nico Rosberg and Kazuki Nakajima will remain the team’s official drivers .

“ I would like to thank them for their contribution to the team," Williams added

Bridgestone to end F1 involvement  F1's sole supplier of tires on Monday announced its decision to pull out of the sport after the 2010 season.  Bridgestone posted a net loss of 38.34 billion yen ($420 million) for 1H2009, having made a profit of 37.24 billion yen the year previous.

2010 marks the third year of Bridgestone's exclusive supply contract with formula one, and a media statement said the Bridgestone Corporation in Japan decided not to seek an extension.

A disappointed Hiroshi Yasukawa, boss of the company's motor racing program, said the decision was about the redirection of "resources towards the further intensive development of innovative technologies and strategic products".

Bridgestone entered F1 in 1997 in competition with Goodyear, and later pitted its products against Michelin's.

It was the only supplier in 2007, then entering a contract to be the sole official supplier between 2008-2010.

NASCAR Newscast: Chase Race 7 Talladega Recap  
NASCAR Newscast: Chase Race 7 Talladega Recap
Newman Escapes Serious Injury in Harrowing Accident at Talladega  Ryan Newman was evaluated and released from the infield medical center following a spectacular crash in the late stages of Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. The incident relegated Newman to a 36th-place finish in the AMP Energy 500.

Newman, who was running with the lead pack of cars and challenging for the win, was involved in a multicar wreck with five laps remaining in regulation. His No. 39 U.S. Army/Haas Automation Chevrolet Impala SS was sent airborne after getting hit from behind while traveling in excess of 190 miles per hour on the ultra-fast 2.66-mile oval.

As Newman's flying stock car was descending to earth, the back-half smashed into the hood of Kevin Harvick's car and then proceeded to twirl and barrel roll a number of times before coming to a stop upside down on the infield grass. Though it took a brief time before it was known that Newman was okay, it did take a while for him to be extricated. More ...
Emotional Heidfeld given F1 car by Peter Sauber  (GMM)  Nick Heidfeld had an emotional last few laps with BMW-Sauber on Sunday, but a post-race gesture by the team's founder might have cheered him up.

The Hinwil based team's owner BMW now departs formula one, and although bought by the Qadbak consortium, Sauber does not have a guaranteed entry to return to the grid in 2010.

German Heidfeld raced for Sauber's privateer team in 2001-2003, before returning to the Swiss camp for the start of the BMW era four years ago.

"It now becomes very emotional," said Heidfeld, 32, after finishing fifth in Abu Dhabi.  "During the last laps I had to pull myself together in order to keep my concentration."

The team signed off on Sunday night by revealing that Heidfeld is to receive a special parting gift.

"As a thank you for Nick Heidfeld's seven years of great commitment to the team in Hinwil, Peter Sauber is giving him a formula one car from this era," the team said.

Wedding bells in air as F1 breaks for winter  (GMM)  Wedding bells were in the air as an end-of-term atmosphere swept the Yas Marina Circuit paddock following Sunday night's 2009 season finale.

In the pitlane immediately after the race, a Brawn mechanic held aloft his head a pit-board bearing the words: "Will you marry me Fatna?"

Then, in the post-race press conference, mischievous winner Sebastian Vettel - a lover of British comedies - told champion-elect Jenson Button that he had heard a rumor on the notorious F1 grapevine about his plans for a wedding.

"You know, they write great things in the press.  Thank you for that one Seb," a red-faced Button, probably referring to correspondents in the room from British tabloids, replied.

Vettel's Red Bull teammate Mark Webber soon joined the fun, jokingly revealing that he has already received his invitation to Button's big day.

"Next question," intervened Briton Button, whose Japanese-Argentinean model girlfriend Jessica Michibata has been seen at many grands prix this season.

She said in June that "if Jenson wins the title in November we will celebrate a lot and it will be by him getting down on one knee".

Button, who will turn 30 in January, said on Sunday: "I'm not getting married this year.  I think some things need to be kept private in your life and that's one of them.  Thank you very much."

Merc staying with McLaren, not denying Brawn rumors  (GMM)  Mercedes-Benz on Sunday reaffirmed its commitment to McLaren, but refused to deny strengthening speculation of a new formula one foray with the Brawn team.

The Stuttgart marque's entire board was at the Yas Marina Circuit this weekend, where it was believed stepping back from the McLaren partnership and moving closer to Brawn were discussed at length.

But McLaren, 40 per cent owned by Mercedes, have an exclusive contract with the luxury carmaker until 2011, and it seems that will not be dissolved.

"The only decision that is taken is that we are firm, here, partners and are connected for a long period of time," competition director Norbert Haug is quoted as saying by the Guardian. More ...

track news
Donington owner Wheatcroft dies  (GMM)  Tom Wheatcroft, the owner of the Donington circuit in Britain, has died aged 87 after a long illness.

He bought the circuit in 1971 and redeveloped it, hosting the European grand prix won famously by Ayrton Senna in 1993.

In recent times he has leased the track to Simon Gillett, who last week failed in his final efforts to remain in contract to host the next 17 British grands prix.

"The term 'legend' is maybe used a little too liberally in the world of sport, but without doubt it is justified in the case of Tom Wheatcroft," McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh is quoted as saying by the BBC.

Wheatcroft died on Saturday.

Soucek takes dominant second win  Formula Two champion Andy Soucek took a dominant second victory in Barcelona, leading almost from lights to flag after jumping Robert Wickens at the start.

Nicola De Marco also passed Wickens on the inside going down to turn one, and held second for the duration of the race. Wickens completed the podium despite heavy pressure from Kazim Vasiliauskas, and in doing so secured second in the overall championship standings. Mikhail Aleshin clinched third overall, and the Red Bull-backed duo both qualify for an FIA Superlicense.

De Marco and Vasiliauskas both made fantastic starts, whilst Philipp Eng dropped down the order after a slow getaway from third on the grid. The recovering Austrian immediately set about attacking Julien Jousse for eighth as the pair tussled throughout the opening laps. More ...

Merc, Ville, Richards, Clinton in Yas paddock  (GMM)  A swarm of members of the Mercedes-Benz executive board on Sunday were spotted in the Brawn garage shaking hands with the new world champions.

It is reported that several key members of the carmaker's board, including its chairman Dieter Zetsche, travelled to Abu Dhabi for talks to speed up a closer collaboration with Brawn next year, and to step away from the current arrangement with McLaren.

Other notable figures in the Yas Marina Circuit paddock are Jacques Villeneuve, who told reporters he is still hoping to be on the 2010 grid, and the Prodrive chief David Richards.

The most powerful face at the vast facility however was Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state.

No taxpayer funds for British GP - minister  (GMM)  UK government secretary Peter Mandelson on Sunday ruled out the use of taxpayer funds to save the British grand prix.

"I cannot use taxpayers' money, especially during the current recession," he told BBC Five Live radio.

Business minister Mandelson's argument is that F1 is "very cash-rich", even though if negotiations between Silverstone and Bernie Ecclestone fail, the country will fall off the 2010 calendar.

He said the loss of the race would hurt the UK economy, but insisted that if he was to gamble on the outcome, "I would say yes (there will be a race)".

Lola Aston Martin win race 2 easily  The Lola-Aston Martin is a car that has been designed with the long straights of the Le Mans circuit in mind. But it didn’t have too many problems with the tight corners on the Okayama layout! While Stefan Mücke and Harold Primat dominated the second race, overall victory in the first Asian Le Mans Series went to the Sora Racing Pescarolo thanks to Christophe Tinseau’s and Shinji Nakano’s win on Saturday and second place today. 
WITHOUT TOKAI UNIVERSITY. – The sky was dull and conditions were dry: at 9h00 in the morning it obviously cooler than Saturday (21°). The grid line-up was that of qualifying and not according to the classification of the first race. The Tokai University Courage-Oreca was withdrawn, as at the last minute the Japanese engineers discovered that the cylinder head was cracked. More ...
Chevy dropping SS version of Impala  Chevy is transitioning to Impala in both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series beginning in 2010 as a result of the SS version being phased out of production in mid-2009. Chevy PR
NASCAR will crack down on aggressive driving at Dega  NASCAR plans to crack down on aggressive driving and bump drafting beginning with Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway, particularly regarding two-car breakaways that have become commonplace with the new car. Track officials hope they got the attention of drivers when they parked Michael Waltrip for pushing Jimmie Johnson's car through the corners during Friday's second practice. "It at least sent a good point of conversation out there in the Motorhome 500 lot,'' series director John Darby said after Saturday's qualifying was rained out. The new car has presented a problem because two cars that match up well are able to pull away from the pack. ESPN.com
Ferrari could not evolve 2009 car - Domenicali  (GMM)  Stefano Domenicali has expressed confidence in Ferrari's plans for 2010, despite the famous team's appalling end to this season.

Kimi Raikkonen on Saturday failed to make the top ten in qualifying at Abu Dhabi, while the sister car driven by Giancarlo Fisichella lines up dead last.

Team boss Domenicali said the apparent depth of the crisis is colored by the decision to scrap development of the F60 single seater several months ago. More ...

Losing Renault seat would be 'stupid' - Grosjean  (GMM)  Romain Grosjean believes it would be "stupid" if his formula one career is ended after a mere 7 grands prix.

The French-Swiss 23-year-old was drafted in to replace the ousted Nelson Piquet at Renault, but according to widespread speculation is not tipped to be retained for 2010.

Grosjean has struggled to keep up with his teammate Fernando Alonso in the uncompetitive R29, but he vowed in Abu Dhabi to fight "until the end" to fend off the advances of potential replacements including Timo Glock.

"I'm a fighter until the end.  I am very motivated to stay," he is quoted as saying by the French press.  "I have to wait for the decision of the team.

"It would be stupid to do only seven races with a car down in performance.  If the story stops here, it would be a complete mess," added Grosjean. More ...

Vettel too young for title in 2009 - Button  (GMM)  Sebastian Vettel's youth and inexperience played against him in 2009, according to new world champion Jenson Button.

Briton Button told Germany's Bild am Sonntag that if Michael Schumacher had been at the wheel of the Red Bull, he would have been pushed much harder for the drivers' title.

"When I was 22 I was nowhere near as good as I am now," Button, 29, told the newspaper.

"I was not necessarily slower, but you're not as smart.  I think we saw that with Sebastian.  He made enough mistakes to help me out."

The Brawn driver insists he is not being overly critical of Vettel.

"He is good; very good for his age.  But we have seen that he still has a lot to learn," said Button.  "Over the whole season he was not consistent enough."

Ecclestone 'sure' Sauber solution can be found  (GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone sounds confident a solution will be found to allow the newly Qadbak-owned Sauber team to take its place on the 2010 grid.

Although founded by Peter Sauber in 1993 and racing constantly in formula one ever since, the Hinwil based team's owner BMW is pulling out, and the available team places have been taken up by Lotus, Manor, USF1 and Campos.

The existing teams are not permitting a 14th team to race next year, raising the prospect that Sauber will be locked out.

"I hope they'll be there.  I'm sure we'll find a way," F1 chief executive Ecclestone said in Abu Dhabi.

Sauber himself has travelled to the United Arab Emirates this weekend, and team boss Mario Theissen said the team's progress has stalled because of the lack of a place on the 2010 grid.

"We don't have a clear deadline but it is clear that time is running and it gets more and more difficult for the team," said Theissen.

Moves afoot to add missing elements to Abu Dhabi GP  (GMM)  Even vast amounts of money can't buy the things missing from the imposing new Yas Marina Circuit, Lewis Hamilton remarked before starting his last race as reigning world champion from pole position.

"It's called character, the history of the place" said the Briton, a staunch supporter of Silverstone's efforts to stay on the calendar despite a far less opulent venue and without the support of its government.

"Money can't buy it," the McLaren driver added.  "If it is here for many years and they get Abu Dhabi drivers, then maybe it will have it."

However, it emerges that moves are afoot to add those missing elements to the Yas extravaganza, and money is again the recipe, an Arabian Business report revealed.

Millions are being poured into a fund to establish United Arab Emirates (UAE)-centered Indy and MotoGP teams, and to develop local drivers. More ...

NASCAR holds "town hall"; plans changes to car in 2011  NASCAR held invitation-only meetings at their Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. this week to discuss the future of the sport. On Tuesday, the meeting focused primarily on competition with drivers Jeff Burton and Greg Biffle joining crew chiefs, engineers and technical directors. A second meeting was held on Wednesday with team owners and principals as a follow-up to the discussions held in May.

NASCAR will make modifications to the Sprint Cup Series car for the 2011 season.  Manufacturers were told changes would be made "from the centerline to the bumper on down," a source familiar with the situation told FOXSports.com. The alterations will be made to the front fascia - the upper and lower nose of the car. Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton said "there was a good open dialog" with manufacturer representatives to discuss what aesthetic changes could be made to the car to improve brand identity. The current car has come under scrutiny from competitors and fans alike for having less resemblance to a showroom model than previous editions. Pemberton said styling changes are almost anticipated given that the car will soon meet the four-year mark. NASCAR is also concerned the sportiness of the new Nationwide Series Car of Tomorrow will have a tendency to overshadow the current Cup car The new Nationwide Series car will be run in four races starting next season. Certainly, the Nationwide COT will provide ideas for future generations of the Cup car. FoxSports

Toyota Takes Fourth Straight Truck Series  When Kyle Busch crossed the finish line first Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway, it enabled Toyota to clinch its fourth consecutive NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) manufacturer's championship.

Toyota has won the NCWTS manufacturer's championship each year since 2006, along with a pair of driver titles for Todd Bodine (2006) and Johnny Benson (2008).  Overall, this is the sixth time Toyota has earned a NASCAR manufacturer's title since the start of the 2004 season.

Toyota recently also captured its second consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series manufacturer's crown. More ...

Aric Almirola Pushes Kyle Busch To Talladega Win  
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 51 Miccosukee Resort Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane
John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR
In 298 previous starts in NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series, owner Billy Ballew never had gotten a 1-2 finish from his teams. Scratch that off the bucket list.

With a push from teammate Aric Almirola, Kyle Busch surged past Todd Bodine in the final quarter-mile of Saturday's Mountain Dew 250 fueled by Fred's at Talladega Superspeedway to win his sixth race of the season and the 15th of his career. Almirola ran second, and Ballew had his first 1-2 after 300 combined starts.

The race concluded with a green-white-checkered flag finish that took the event four laps beyond its scheduled distance of 94 laps. Busch led the field to a restart on Lap 97 after contact between, Bodine, Mike Skinner and Johnny Sauter ignited an 11-truck wreck on the backstretch on Lap 91. More ...

Dodge introduces Challenger to Nationwide Series  UPDATE Added photo of the Penske Dodge Challenger below.

(Left to right) Dave Bailey, Senior Manager for Dodge Motorsports Engineering; NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Justin Allgaier and Dodge Engineering Sprint Cup Program Manager Howard Comstock pose next to their NASCAR Nationwide Series Dodge Challenger New Car for 2010
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR
  Dodge Motorsports revealed the Dodge Challenger as the "New Car" for the Nationwide Series and announced an expansion of its partnership with Penske Racing beginning in 2010.

Dodge will provide support for Penske Racing's two-car operation in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, in addition to Penske's three teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Penske Racing will field two teams, both running the full-season schedule.

The Dodge Challenger will be used at the four "New Car" races. Joining Justin Allgaier will be Brad Keselowski in the #22 Discount Tire Dodge. He also will compete in the Dodge Challenger for the four designated races and in a Charger for the remainder of the schedule. Dodge PR

Senna confirms deal for 2010 F1 debut  UPDATE "It is a great pleasure to welcome Bruno Senna in the team," Campos chief executive Enrique Rodriguez de Castro said in a statement.  De Castro described Senna as "one of the most promising up-and-coming drivers of his generation."

Bruno Senna
"For Campos Meta 1 it is an extraordinary honor to be returning the name Senna to Formula One."

Senna was close to joining Brawn GP ahead of the 2009 season, but that seat was ultimately filled by Brazilian compatriot Rubens Barrichello.

"I'm absolutely delighted to fulfill a lifetime dream," Senna said. "After many weeks of hard work and negotiations, me and my management finally made it."

The deal brought the approval from F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.

"It's good for everybody -- good for Campos, good for him and good for the sport," Ecclestone said. "I hope the car is up to him, that's important."

10/31/09 (GMM)  Bruno Senna and Campos Meta 1 have confirmed widespread reports that the Brazilian will make his formula one debut with the new Spanish team in 2010.

By making a post to his Brazilian fans on his Twitter page, the 26-year-old confirmed that the Senna name is set to return to formula one 16 years after the death of his famous uncle.

"After weeks of work and talks, we finally were able to sort things out," he wrote.

The deal was confirmed formally by the Valencia based team on Saturday morning.

McReynolds under fire for comments...  UPDATE Wednesday evening NASCAR on Fox analyst Larry McReynolds took to Sirius Satellite Radio to speak out in anger on a topic recently in the media.

McReynolds was apparently upset about the quotes used in some recent articles published by veteran NASCAR reporter Dustin Long. Click here for a direct link to this series of interviews featuring McReynolds, Kyle Petty and Jimmy Spencer.

Basically, Long gathered three NASCAR TV personalities together for a candid conversation about a wide variety of NASCAR topics. The articles featured many direct quotes and some comments that may be considered controversial in the very small world of NASCAR.

McReynolds was clearly upset and indicated that his belief was that the negative aspects of the sport were emphasized without the positive being presented as well. The thrust of his comments were that much more was said in the conversation but not contained in the final article.

Here is the NASCAR response in full:

There's been a lot of chatter about comments made by Jimmy Spencer, Larry McReynolds and Kyle Petty, all TV personalities, about the state of NASCAR. Their words were harsh to be sure. The most common question I've gotten is, "what is NASCAR going to do to them?" Simply, nothing. There is nothing we can or would do. We've long believed in having an independent media. One of the things that makes NASCAR, or any sport great, is debate. That's healthy for sports. However, I have had my share of strongly worded discussions with members of the media when their coverage was inaccurate or unfair. So, it's a reasonable question to ask, were their comments accurate? Were they fair? More ...

Soucek scores home win  Andy Soucek has taken his first Formula Two victory on home soil after the newly crowned champion put in a commanding drive during race one in Barcelona today (Saturday).

Mikhail Aleshin took second, ahead of a staggering performance from French debutant Tristan Vautier.

Pole-sitter Robert Wickens made a slow getaway, as Soucek blasted by on the run down to turn one. Aleshin had already taken second as Vautier attacked from behind. The 20-year-old jumped from fourth to third off the line before going side-by-side with Aleshin through turns one and two. Aleshin held on as the recovering Wickens began to put pressure on Vautier. More ...

Team USA
A Win and A Second Place For Team USA  
Brett Smrz
Brett Smrz took a clear victory in his Heat race for the Walter Hayes Trophy this afternoon on the Silverstone National circuit. Team USA Scholarship teammate Connor De Phillippi had to make do with a close second-place finish following his fraught eight-lap encounter.

The two Americans qualified comfortably for tomorrow’s Semi Final round which will comprise a pair of 12-lap races to determine the starting positions for the all-important 15-lap Final on Sunday afternoon.

Smrz was unchallenged in the fourth of today’s six Heat races. He qualified impressively on the pole in wet conditions and made a fine start in the #21 Team USA Scholarship/Cliff Dempsey Racing Ray GRS08. Smrz was helped when Cliff Dempsey Racing teammate Cormac O’Neill spun at Brooklands on the first lap, collecting Dempsey’s nephew, Morgan Dempsey, and eventually took the checkered flag 4.298 seconds clear of Jordan Skinner’s similar Ray GRS08. More ...

Abu Dhabi post qualifying car weights  Lewis Hamilton will be carrying more fuel into the start of Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix than the Red Bull pairing of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber behind him. Seventh-placed Robert Kubica is the lightest car on the grid - and will therefore pit first - as Renault, following their poor qualifying session, fuels Alonso and Grosjean up for one-stop strategies.

- Lightest car: Robert Kubica / BMW - 7th - 654.5kg
- Heaviest car: Romain Grosjean / Renault - 19th - 710.8kg

Post-qualifying car weights: More ...

Major grip problems for Force India  The Force India team joined Renault in seeing both of its cars eliminated from the first phase of qualifying at Yas Marina on Saturday. With Adrian Sutil having suffered from problems with his brakes in practice on Friday, grid positions of seventeenth and eighteenth for him and team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi make for uncomfortable reading.

After scoring his first Formula One points courtesy of fourth place at Monza this year, the end of the season has not turned out to be a good one for Sutil who, having been hit by Jarno Trulli on the first lap in Brazil two weeks ago, was knocked out of qualifying at the earliest possible point.

"The car didn't seem to have any grip at all, particularly on the rear, and there was just so much oversteer that I was kept struggling to keep the car on the circuit," German Adrian explained. "I'm obviously very disappointed and we need to figure out what happened; the focus will now be on the race - there's still a long way to go and, of course, I will try my best to get a good result."

Drivers discuss hard racing of Brazil GP  (GMM)  It was a long drivers' briefing in Abu Dhabi on Friday, but not everyone in attendance saw the value.

"(It was) a lot of talk about nothing," Sebastian Vettel smiled to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

The mood of the meeting had been set by the row between Jarno Trulli and Adrian Sutil following their Interlagos crash, but - despite Trulli going into the meeting armed with his laptop, photos and sketches - their dispute actually took a back seat.

Sutil said afterwards he was fed up with Trulli's accusations.

"He will walk around with his pictures for a few weeks more and tell everybody, but ... maybe I will draw a picture for him with a Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck or a Goofy or whatever. More ...

Alonso ends Renault career with 'worst car'  
Fernando Alonso's last race for Renault
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso has prepared to draw a line under his seven-year career at Renault by describing the R29 as the "worst car" in formula one.

The Spaniard won back to back titles with the French team in 2005 and 2006, but next year is switching to Ferrari after a frustrating campaign this season.

There have been some positive moments for Alonso in 2009, but he thinks results like his 16th grid slot in Abu Dhabi are actually more representative of the car's pace.

"We have at the moment one of the worst cars on the grid unfortunately -- or the worst car now, because Toro Rosso is in front of us, Force India is in front of us, and Williams and Toyota are in front of us," he said at the Yas Marina Circuit 24 hours ago. More ...

Kovalainen eyes winter rally as McLaren contract expires  (GMM)  Heikki Kovalainen has given yet another major hint that Sunday will be his last grand prix at the wheel of a McLaren.

The Finn has confirmed he is set to make his debut in a professional rally this winter -- an activity forbidden by contract as he drove in formula one for the British team in 2008 and 2009.

Kovalainen, 28, told the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper that he was jealous to see his countryman Kimi Raikkonen allowed to participate in rallies while employed by Ferrari.

"In my next contract I will make sure that as well as formula one I am allowed to drive rallies," he said in Abu Dhabi. More ...

Kurt Busch will run the older Dodge engine at Talladega  From a Dodge Motorsports Notes & Quotes - Kurt Busch [#2 Miller Lite Dodge] Open Interview - Talladega:


"That's our engine shop and that's where we build the horsepower that we need for the open motors and the restrictor-plate motors. We've phased in our R6 for this race. The 12 of Stremme and 77 of Hornish Jr. cars for Penske Racing will be racing the new engine (R6). I'll still have the R5 package because of the durability questions. The power still shows the same. For us being in the Chase, you can't afford to have an engine failure. We needed to go with the given. With those guys running the new R6 engine, it helps us get ready for Daytona in 2010." Dodge Motorsports
BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team M3 scores GT2 victory  Okayama (JP) – Coming off a third-place finish in the American Le Mans Series championship, Dirk Müller (DE) and Tommy Milner (US) celebrated victory Saturday with the BMW M3 GT2 in the team’s first-ever entry in the Asian Le Mans Series, besting the field at the Okayama International Circuit in Japan.

The drivers of the BMW Rahal Letterman Racing Team put in a flawless performance and crossed the line as winners in the GT2 category after 113 laps, relegating Marc Lieb (DE) and Wolf Henzler (DE) in their Porsche 911 RSR to second with a gap of 0.292 seconds. Following this year’s ALMS victory at Road America (US), this is the second win for the new GT sports car, and also the car’s maiden win in Asia. More ...

NASCAR Drunk Report - Allmendinger Charged with DWI  UPDATE #3 AJ Allmendinger, who was charged with driving under the influence on Thursday, was administered a breath test prior to Friday's first Sprint Cup practice at Talladega Superspeedway.

Allmendinger caught driving drunk
"It's a part of it,'' Allmendinger said after the second practice. "I know what I've done. I respect the punishment and everything that I have to do to gain the trust back of NASCAR and everybody that is out there racing with me.

"It's not the best feeling in the world, but at the same point I respect I have to do it. I understand and I have no problem with that.''

Allmendinger has been placed on probation by NASCAR through the end of the season and, according to sources close to the situation, will be monitored closely by the governing body during that time.

Allmendinger also has been placed on probation by Richard Petty Motorsports and fined $10,000 to be donated to charity.

The 27-year-old driver was charged by Mooresville police after being pulled over at 1:27 a.m. in North Carolina. He was released after registering .08 on the Intoxilyzer and has a court date for Dec. 18. More ...

Pescarolo team wins first Asian LeMans race  
The winning Pescarolo
Jérome MUGNIER - ACO/Nikon
There were four different leaders in the top category, fantastic battles at every level, sudden twists and suspense! At the end of this grande premiere, the Pescarolo prototypes scored a double, first of all in LM P1 with Christophe Tinseau and Shinji Nakano and also in LM P2 for the Oak Racing team. 
Just a few details finally decided the outcome of the race. The Lola-Judd that led initially ran into headlight problems. Slightly overlong pit stops for the Oreca that took up the running spoiled its victory chances. The Lola-Aston Martin had a problem with its front bonnet, and lost first place only 10 minutes from the end. Finally, the win went to the fourth leader, the Pescarolo-Judd entered by Sora Competition. None of the company’s top brass was there to see it! Drivers Christophe Tinseau and Shinji Nakano, plus a technical squad made up of French and Japanese personnel bagged the win much to the delight of team principal, Claude Gallopin. More ...
Abu Dhabi: Button nips Hamilton in practice 3  Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton were left to duke it out in the final minutes of Practice Three as the two Brits battled for supremacy.

In an near repeat of Friday's first session, it the new and the old F1 Champions who led the way around the new Yas Marina circuit in the daylight hours.

But while on Friday it was Hamilton who topped the charts, on Saturday it was Button who took control with his 1:40.625 in the dying seconds.



Driver Team Time Behind Laps
1. Button Brawn GP-Mercedes 1:40.625 +0.000 21
2. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:40.627 +0.002 18
3. Barrichello Brawn GP-Mercedes 1:40.907 +0.282 20
4. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:40.934 +0.309 22
5. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:41.241 +0.616 18
6. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:41.263 +0.638 20
7. Trulli Toyota 1:41.310 +0.685 23
8. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:41.322 +0.697 20
9. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:41.372 +0.747 22
10. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:41.373 +0.748 23
11. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:41.403 +0.778 19
12. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:41.478 +0.853 22
13. Kobayashi Toyota 1:41.499 +0.874 24
14. Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes 1:41.675 +1.050 20
15. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:41.682 +1.057 15
16. Alonso Renault 1:41.897 +1.272 19
17. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:42.156 +1.531 21
18. Grosjean Renault 1:42.213 +1.588 19
19. Fisichella Ferrari 1:42.351 +1.726 23

Sutil, Buemi, not signed up for 2010 yet  (GMM)  Two drivers thought secure with their current teams in formula one have revealed they are technically still on the market for 2010.

Adrian Sutil said in Abu Dhabi that he would be happy to stay at Force India for another season, but has been mentioned amid 'silly season' rumors about Renault, Toyota and even the plum second McLaren seat next to his former F3 teammate Lewis Hamilton.

"You may never know if good packages turn out for me then certainly I will look out for it.

"Options are wide open," the German, who carries the lucrative sponsorship of the German electronics brand Medion, said in an interview with Times of Oman. More ...

Braun wins Truck pole at Talladega  Roush Fenway Racing’s Colin Braun won the pole Friday in a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying session where Austin Dillon’s time was disallowed for failing post-qualifying inspection.

The No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Dillon did not meet height requirements and was disqualified. Dillon failed to make the race because his team is running a partial schedule and therefore not eligible for a guaranteed starting spot.

Braun turned a lap of 179.608 mph to win the pole for Saturday’s Mountain Dew 250. He topped HT Motorsports’ Terry Cook, who went 178.188. Germain Racing’s Max Papis qualified third at 178.052.

GunBroker.com Racing’s Jason White was fourth, with Billy Ballew Motorsports’ Aric Almirola fifth.

Sixth through 10th were Todd Bodine (Germain), Matt Crafton (ThorSport Racing), Tayler Malsam (Randy Moss Motorsports), Stacy Compton (Wyler Racing) and Kyle Busch (Ballew).

Series point leader Ron Hornaday qualified 12th.
NASCAR benches Waltrip  NASCAR has pulled Michael Waltrip (FSY) off the track for aggressive driving at Talladega Superspeedway. Waltrip was warned to give Jimmie Johnson (FSY) some space during Friday's final practice session as he bump-drafted behind Johnson's car. When Waltrip didn't let up, he was black-flagged for the final 30 minutes of practice.

NASCAR is keeping a close eye on bump-drafting this weekend, in large part because of the fallout over the harrowing accident on the final lap of April's race at Talladega. Carl Edwards' (FSY) car was hit by winner Brad Keselowski (FSY), and the contact sent Edwards' car airborne into the fence.

Several fans were hurt by flying debris. USA Today [Editor's Note: Make sure your medical insurance is current if you attend a NASCAR race]

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