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Alonso makes first public appearance for Ferrari  Twice Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso made his first public appearance with his new Ferrari team at an event in Valencia, Spain on Sunday.

The 28-year-old, who begins a three-year deal with the Italian team in January when his Renault contract expires, appeared with new team mate Felipe Massa and president Luca di Montezemolo.

"It is a very important day to me, a very happy one, the first day I could enjoy all the atmosphere and all of what the Ferrari world means," the Spaniard, who finished ninth in this season's drivers' standings, said in a public address. More ...

Mosley wanted to punish McLaren more  Max Mosley says he wanted to ban McLaren over the Spygate affair in 2007 but was outvoted by fellow World Motor Sport Council members. The former FIA president also claims the whole episode led to him be seen a "bully" by many people.

In a tell-all piece in The Sunday Telegraph, Mosley claims he was in favor of banning McLaren after they were found guilty of being in possession of confidential Ferrari information.

'The only safe thing would have been to exclude them from 2007 immediately and also from the 2008 championship. But with little or no income for 18 months and over 1,000 employees, their situation would have been dire. A ban would also have destroyed the great championship battle which was going on between Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen. More ...
racing news
Marlene Vukovich found dead  Marlene Vukovich Amible, daughter of Bill and Esther Vukovich and sister of Indy 500 legend Bill Jr was found dead Saturday December 12th in her home in Fresno, CA. More details when we get them.
No Durango team for GP2 in 2010  The GP2 field will be reduced to 24 cars next season, because ongoing financial problems have sidelined the Italian Durango squad indefinitely, this week's AUTOSPORT magazine reveals.

Durango missed the final two rounds of the 2009 main series and has been ruled out of the current Asia series. Series organizer Bruno Michel admitted that the team is unlikely to return.

"At the moment it doesn't looks like they will be on the grid for 2010," he told AUTOSPORT. "We are always open to trying to find solutions, but that doesn't seem to be the case at the moment."

Schu camp quiet amid comeback reports  (GMM)  Michael Schumacher, his spokeswoman and his doctor on Sunday refused to comment on intense speculation the 40-year-old is set to return to the formula one grid in 2010.

German reports including in Bild and Express newspapers and the news magazine Focus say the seven time world champion has now essentially agreed a one-year deal to drive alongside Nico Rosberg at Mercedes next season.

But his spokeswoman Sabine Kehm is currently refusing to comment, as is Johannes Peil, Schumacher's doctor who earlier this year called off the temporary Ferrari return due to a lingering neck injury.

Peil told Bild am Sonntag: "At the moment there's no comment about that from me."

Schumacher, meanwhile - who would be 41 when he lines up on the Bahrain grid next March - participated in a kart race in his hometown Kerpen this weekend.

He said: "I'm sorry, I don't want to say anything.  I'm here for the karts and just want to have fun."

Sato's Lotus hopes are dashed  The new Malaysian-backed Lotus team have dashed Takuma Sato's hopes of a Formula One comeback with them next year, the Japanese driver's management have confirmed.

"We know Taku has not got Lotus - we found out yesterday," his commercial manager Matthew Winter said. "He has now come off the list."

Lotus F1, run by AirAsia airline entrepreneur Tony Fernandes, are due to announce their driver line-up in Kuala Lumpur on Monday with Italian Jarno Trulli on pole position for one of the two race seats.

Finland's Heikki Kovalainen, replaced by world champion Jenson Button at McLaren, could be the other.

Bad news just keeps coming for NASCAR  Mike Mulhern reports that on the heels of the sudden dismissal of General Motors head Fritz Henderson, came the unexpectedly decision by new Chevrolet boss, and long-time racer, Brent Dewar to step aside too.  Dewar, promoted to the job just five months ago, is leaving GM next April, but he has already turned his keys over to a new man, Jim Campbell. And that, on the same day that the new head of Buick was also shuffled out, after even less time on the job.

Then, on top of all that chaos in Detroit, came another hard blow to NASCAR, with word that Jim Hunter, one of the sport's most authoritative voices down in Daytona headquarters, and one of the sport's most knowledgeable figures, has been hit with cancer. Hunter, a former newspaperman, was once head of Darlington Raceway, once head of Talladega Speedway, currently head of NASCAR's communications division....but is best known for his work as the France family's 'consigliore,' the man they all turned to in times of trouble, and the point-man in dealing with hot button issues. Hunter missed the last four races of the 2009 season and has been taking massive doses of chemo to fight the disease.
BMW must modify car for LeMans  BMW will need to make changes to its controversial V8-powered M3 if it is to race in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2010.

BMW announced plans last weekend to contest the French endurance race with the GT2-spec M3 that Rahal Letterman Racing ran in the 2009 American Le Mans Series. That car is homologated for use in U.S. and Asian series that run under the Automobile Club de l’Ouest rules, but is not cleared to race in the 24 Hours or the Le Mans Series in Europe.

ACO sports manager Vincent Beaumesnil said significant changes would have to made to the car before it could be homologated for Europe. He said it “would have to be a different car.”

Asked about the extent of any changes, Beaumesnil said: “We have had a request from BMW, but it is too early to speak about it.”

A BMW statement declared that it was “in positive discussions with organizers and governing bodies regarding the approval of the car.” But a company spokesman acknowledged the likelihood of the M3 undergoing revisions before it was cleared to race in Europe.

“The car will have to be modified,” he said. “It will not be a new car, but there will be changes that have a little bit of an influence on performance.” AutoWeek.com

Danica tests with JR Motorsports  According to a photo posted on Dale Earnhardt, Jr's Facebook page, Danica Patrick tested a JR Motorsports Chevy at Walt Disney World Speedway on Friday.
Road to Indy now goes through road courses  UPDATE  The press conference announcing the new ladder system for the IZOD IndyCar Series. 

12/10/09 Seeking to create a defined path for young, career-minded race drivers to reach the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500, the Indy Racing League has launched the "Road To Indy," a developmental ladder system that includes Firestone Indy Lights, The Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear and the Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda.

The announcement of the program, which is designed to advance drivers from Cooper Tires Presents the USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda to the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear to Firestone Indy Lights, and finally, the IZOD IndyCar Series, was made at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Orlando, Fla.

More ...

Rick Russell out at Petty  Rick Russell is the latest casualty in the Richard Petty Motorsports/Yates Racing merger. The president of the team has parted ways with the company, sources told FOXSports.com. Russell, who had been with Evernham Motorsports since its inception in 2000, came to the company following a seven-year stint with Action Performance (currently Motorsports Authentics) where he served as vice president and general manager. Max Jones, principal of the team formerly known as Yates Racing, will assume Russell's position. Fox Sports
Elite Engines to Supply Mazda MZR Engines for USF2000  Officials of the Cooper Tires presents the USF2000 National Championship powered by Mazda announced today that Elite Engines of West Bend, Wis. will be the official engine preparer of the Mazda MZR powerplant that is destined to become the spec engine for the series' top division, the Championship class.

The announcement was made at the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Show at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. by Dan Andersen, co-owner and chief executive officer of Andersen Promotions, which administers the series, and Steve Knapp, the owner of Elite Engines.  Knapp is also a former Formula 2000 champion (1996) who went on to reach the top ranks of the sport as a driver. He was the third-place finisher and Rookie of the Year at the 1998 Indianapolis 500. More ...

Jolyon Palmer tops Portimão test  
Jolyon Palmer
Jolyon Palmer has impressively set the ultimate pace during the final day of Formula Two winter testing in Portimão, Portugal.

The young Briton closed out the final Formula Two action of 2009 with a fantastic display in the second afternoon session. The 18-year-old set a 1:35.519s lap time in the final frenetic 75 minute stint and even came close to bettering his time soon after. He recorded a 1:35.573s just two laps after his pace-setting lap, which would have also been good enough to beat his rivals.  More ...
Zach Veach and Jensen MotorSport Join Forces  
Zach Veach
With the 23rd annual Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Show as the backdrop, Zach Veach and Jensen MotorSport announced today that Veach will compete in the 2010 Cooper Tires Presents The Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda. The 15-year-old driver will be the youngest in the 37-year history of the series.

Veach formed a two-year partnership of his ADS/Secur-IT-Vault-backed entry with the long-time Atlantic team owned by Canadian Eric Jensen. The team contended for top-three results throughout the 2009 season and Jensen, who also made three starts in the cockpit, earned the prestigious Team Owner of the Year Award at the season-ending awards banquet.

“I’ve indeed been lucky and often privileged to coach upcoming drivers who strive to become tomorrow’s open-wheel stars,” said Jensen. “Every so often, an individual comes along that truly makes you stand up and take notice, with both the raw, God-given talent and desire that simply cannot be taught. From what I’ve already seen in several private tests at both Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Nevada, Zach might very well be one of America’s great next generation drivers.” More ...

Judge's orders Brian France case files opened  A Mecklenburg judge on Friday ordered the unsealing of previously secret court files in NASCAR Chairman Brian France's legal battle with his ex-wife. Lawyers said District Judge Jena Culler's ruling also means courtroom hearings in the case will also be open to the public. France had argued against that on the grounds that it could cause disclosure of information protected by a confidentiality agreement. France's attorney indicated in court that he will immediately appeal to the N.C. Court of Appeals, and that he wants no information revealed before the higher court rules. The judge isn't expected to issue a written order before the middle of next week, and she said no information will be released before then. France had filed a civil case against his ex-wife, Megan France, last year, a few months after they divorced in Florida. The judge found that while the Frances have a private interest in keeping details of their dispute secret, there is no compelling public interest. Charlotte Observer
Vettel and Schumacher ready for kart race  Formula 1 stars Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher will be competing in the annual Kerpen Kart Club karting race this weekend. Racing against a selection of professional karting drivers, the two Germans will be competing in different classes. Fresh from collecting overall victory in Felipe Massa's Challenge of the Stars event in Brazil less than two weeks ago, Schumacher will return to the more familiar surroundings of Kerpen as he prepares for his latest challenge.

Racing for the KSM Motorsport team, 'Schumi' will be sharing the same colors as Vettel although the Red Bull driver will be competing in the KF2 category. The event will feature a swarm of professional kart drivers from Germany and abroad, with 7-time World Champion Schumacher's presence only adding to the spectacle.
Dyson to run new alternative fuel  
Dyson Racing
Mazda- LolaB09/86
Dyson Racing will be at Sebring International Raceway early next week for two days of testing that will kick start its 2010 season. Team manager Michael White says the sessions will focus on engine updates and reliability with the test being run exclusively on bio-butanol, the same fuel the team ran in one of its Mazda-powered Lola B09/86 coupes for the final two American Le Mans Series races in 2009.

Although White hasn't received the official word from sanctioning body IMSA that bio-butanol will be an accepted fuel but "we're pretty confident that it will be one.

"It's just a better fuel (than the E10 blend)," he added. "It's less prone to detonation. There were no adverse effects on the internal components." More ...

Soucek Hails ‘Best Season’  The prestigious FIA Gala in Monaco capped a sensational season for Andy Soucek as he was officially crowned the inaugural FIA Formula Two Champion.

With seven wins and 11 podiums from 16 races, Soucek claimed the title in imperious fashion. The Spaniard took his first race victory at round four in Brno, Czech Republic, before going on to finish every race inside the top four for the remainder of the season. On 1 December, Andy Soucek piloted the Williams F1 car in Jerez, Spain as part of his prize for winning the 2009 FIA Formula Two Championship, setting the fastest time of the day.

Andy Soucek said:

“I am incredibly proud of my success in Formula Two. It was the best season of my life, and I have enjoyed every moment. More than anything else, Formula Two has opened doors in Formula One for me, which is a dream for any driver.

“I was expecting to be right on the top before the season started, but I didn’t expect to win by such a margin. Every race was a different challenge and every single win was special: my first in Brno was incredible, and then Imola and Barcelona, where I won the last two races in front of all my friends, family and sponsors – that was the perfect end to my championship.

“There were a lot of very good drivers who were really quick at different circuits, so it was a real challenge for me to actually score so many wins. In doing so I think I beat a lot of records in the history of Formula Two, which is a great honor.” (press release)

Mika Duno following Danica to NASCAR  

Milka Duno

IndyCar Series regular Milka Duno will make her stock-car debut during the ARCA Series test at Daytona International Speedway Dec. 18-20, driving Braun Racing's No. 90 Toyota.

“This will be a new challenge for me and one that I’ve been looking forward to,” Duno said. “I know it won’t be easy – it will be hard work – but work that I’m ready to take on.”

Duno holds the record for the best finish by a female driver in the 24 Hours of Daytona with a second-place overall finish in 2007.

Duno competed in the American Le Mans Series in 2001 and has competed in the Rolex and IndyCar ranks and says she has had previous opportunities to compete in a stock car.

“My goal was to reach open-wheel racing in the United States and the Indy 500,” said Milka, “I just completed my third season in IndyCar and this year I decided not to once again pass on an opportunity to get behind the wheel of a stock car.”

Braun Racing, which now fields entries in the Nationwide Series, began as an ARCA team in 2002.

"Milka and I met and I expressed an interest in her testing for NASCAR and she expressed interest as well - and we were more than happy to make that a reality," team owner Todd Braun said. "She is a very talented driver and has experienced success in both sports car and open-wheel racing - the natural progression would be for her to drive a stock car. I have always enjoyed working with drivers new to NASCAR and I look forward to the test with Milka." SceneDaily

Flying Lizard 2010 ALMS GT2 effort  
Flying Lizard Porsche
Flying Lizard Motorsports will try for its third consecutive American Le Mans Series class championship with two Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs in the team’s seventh season of competition in the Series. Jörg Bergmeister and Patrick Long, both Porsche factory drivers, will reunite in the No. 45 Flying Lizard Porsche to defend their 2009 GT2 driver’s championship title. Team principal Seth Neiman and Darren Law will drive in the No. 44 Porsche.

“We are delighted to return with Porsche for the 2010 season,” said Neiman. “We have a very strong relationship with Porsche: both organizations are committed to being competitive over the long haul. The continuity of being with the same manufacturer for six years allows us a stability that few of our competitors have attained. In my view, that’s how you get better: keep the situation stable so that you can refine and learn.” More ...

Toyota Q&A with Kyle Busch  
Kyle Busch
KYLE BUSCH, Owner/Driver, No. 18 Miccosukee Resort & Gaming Toyota Tundra,  Kyle Busch Motorsports

How did this ownership opportunity present itself?
"For this year, I've been working with my Late Model teams across the country and racing here or there and I felt like working with KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) and those guys, the next logical step for me to move up in my racing career and what I wanted to do, ownership-wise, was the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.  For us this year, we're looking forward to being able to house two full-time truck teams in the Camping World Truck Series -- myself in the Miccosukee Resorts Tundra and Tayler Malsam in the No.56 Talking Rain Tundra.  I've got a lot of leadership that's come on this year with Rick Ren being ultimately one of the best guys in the sport to go after and try to bring in to our field of operations and make him director of competition and ultimately handle everything on the day-to-day basis so we can allow my busy schedule to stay as busy as it needs to be with the (NASCAR Sprint) Cup (Series) stuff.  I'm really excited about the driver lineup.  We have Tayler Malsam, a young 20-year-old driver who I feel like has got a lot of potential and a lot of drive, just like myself.  We're also looking at Brian Ickler, who has been racing for my Late Model team, racing in the ARCA Series this past season and racing in the Truck Series last year as well.  I feel like there's a lot of potential in Brian, in order to bring him along.  And with the leadership of Rick, I feel like we can have all three of us be capable of winning races on a weekly basis." More ...
New GM exec quits after only 9 days  General Motors Co. today confirmed Buick GMC General Manager Michael Richards has quit after nine days on the job.

"We wish him the best," said Susan Docherty, GM's vice president of sales, service and marketing, who did not name a replacement.

The confirmation comes less than 24 hours after the surprise retirement of Chevrolet Vice President Brent Dewar, who had been appointed to lead the automaker's largest and most important brand five months ago.

Richards, who departed "to pursue other career opportunities," was most recently vice president of marketing and sales for the global automotive business at Trilogy, based in Austin, Texas.

Trilogy made a strong counteroffer to keep Richards, and he was said to be considering that offer in light of Friday's management shakeup engineered by Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre, according to a source familiar with the situation. More ...

track news
Kentucky loses appeal against ISC  "ISC" today announced the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has affirmed the lower court’s ruling in which it dismissed, in its entirety, the civil antitrust action brought by Kentucky Speedway, LLC against ISC and the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (“NASCAR”).   

“We are extremely pleased with today’s decision by the appeals court,” said ISC Chief Executive Officer Lesa France Kennedy.  “This ruling again reaffirms the validity of a business model that has significantly benefited the sport’s fans, business partners and other industry constituents for more than fifty years.  Further, this confirms NASCAR, much like other sport properties such as the NFL, MLB and the NBA, has the right to host its events when and where it decides is best for the sport and its fans.”
Formula Two Portimão, Portugal Friday test times  Kazim Vasiliauskas set the fastest time in the final hour of today's (Friday) test in Portimão to confirm his place at the top of the times.

Dean Smith was second in the final session and second overall, although his fastest time of the day was set during the morning running. Benjamin Bailly was the last driver to pass the checkered flag under the evening sunset, and his fantastic final lap promoted the promising Belgian to third.

Danish driver Johan Jokinen led for much of the final session, but he eventually dropped to fourth after using his last set of fresh tires earlier than the majority of his rivals. Spaniard Ram¢n Piñeiro ended the day in fifth overall - the 18-year-old having set his quickest lap time during the opening hour of the morning session. More ...

Final changes to 2010 F1 calendar  In the aftermath of an FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) meeting on Friday, the sport's governing body has confirmed the final calendar ahead of the 2010 World Championship season. In modifications to the original plan, Abu Dhabi will retain the final race slot as the Japanese and Korean Grands Prix move back by one week each. As known previously, Bahrain will kick off the season on 14 March before a fortnight's break leads the championship into Australia. Malaysia - now with a 4pm start time - and China will follow before Barcelona once again welcomes the European season, just one week ahead of Monaco which was moved forward in order to allow time for team transportation to Istanbul.

The Canadian Grand Prix makes its welcome return in June before Valencia's European Grand Prix slots into the end of the month in order to avoid both the immense heat and Spanish holiday period which coincided with its previous August date. After much wrangling, the British Grand Prix at Silverstone has been officially confirmed for Sunday 11 July, coincidently the same date as the football World Cup final in South Africa. More ...

FIA confirms new points and stewards systems  UPDATE (GMM)  A new points system for 2010 was approved by F1's governing body during a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council on Friday.

The FIA's Monaco meeting means that grand prix winners next year will receive 25 instead of 10 points, while the nine finishers behind him also score points.

It was also confirmed that - subject to the approval of the track - Korea will as scheduled host its inaugural race next October, while Abu Dhabi resumes its season finale place by swapping with Brazil.

Another notable decision is that Alan Donnelly will no longer be the chief steward next year, and that permanent stewards will instead "sit with experienced former F1 drivers" to "reach decisions very efficiently".

It is rumored that Donnelly will move on to become FIA president Jean Todt's F1 Commissioner, who will travel to every race on the 2010 calendar.

Measures to improve F1's spectacle, meanwhile, could be implemented when the Sporting Working Group meets next month to make recommendations to the World Motor Sport Council "to consider in advance of the 2010 F1 season", the FIA added.

12/11/09 The World Motor Sport Council met in Monaco on 11 December 2009. The following decisions were taken:


The FIA President opened the meeting by reaffirming his strong commitment to encouraging an ever closer collaboration between the mobility clubs of the FIA and its National Sporting Authorities. A particular emphasis will be placed on developing synergies between sport and mobility on safety matters, as well as economic and environmental sustainability issues.


Board representatives from the global automobile manufacturers will be invited to participate in the Manufacturers Commission. The Commission will examine strategic sporting and mobility matters relating to the broad range of the FIA’s activities.


F1 Stewards

A smaller permanent group of F1 Stewards will sit with experienced former F1 drivers to provide a permanent panel of three FIA stewards, together with one steward representing the National Sporting Authority, to deal with F1 at each Grand Prix.

There will no longer be a non-voting Chairman and each group of stewards will elect their own Chairman amongst themselves for each race. Utilizing video and radio exchanges they should aim to reach decisions very efficiently. More ...

Failed GP venue Donington's woes deepen  (GMM)  Donington's woes continued to deepen on Friday.

After F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone recently left open the door to a new deal for the British grand prix at the Leicestershire track, he then signed a 17-year deal with Silverstone and announced that Donington's GP hopes were "dead".

The track, under the control of administrators in the wake of the failed F1 funding schemes and currently unusable due to abandoned construction works, had already lost its blue-riband MotoGP race, also to Silverstone.

According to a report in the local Derby Telegraph, Donington's round of the 2010 British Superbike series will also no longer take place.

The championship's promoter Jonathan Palmer said: "It is very important for the teams, our broadcast and commercial partners and above all the fans that we prepare a calendar consisting of venues where there is no doubt about whether or not the event will actually take place."

At the time of writing, Donington Park's official website carried only a message announcing that the service is "unavailable".

tv news
F1 posts strong TV numbers  Formula One posted strong audiences on European television in 2009, particularly in Eastern Europe, according to the Yearly Sport Key Facts report by Médiamétrie’s Eurodata TV Worldwide.

In Hungary, Formula One drew the highest average live audience of the 2009 sports competitions studied in the report, with an average of more than one million viewers (audience share of 41.2 per cent) and audiences in the Czech Republic gave the second-highest audience despite no local driver or grand prix. More ...

No word yet on F1 reserve role for di Resta  (GMM)  Paul di Resta on Friday sounded confident of securing the role as Force India's reserve driver for 2010.

The 23-year-old Scot, a frontrunner in the DTM series for Mercedes' works team, impressed at the recent young driver test at Jerez, going second, fourth and second quickest respectively over the three days.

Di Resta was notably faster on all three days than fellow Force India tester JR Hildebrand, an American, after team boss Vijay Mallya said the duo were competing for the full-time reserve role.

"The testing went superbly well and it is something I've been waiting for a long time," di Resta, third in this year's DTM series, told his local West Lothian Courier newspaper.

He said Mercedes powered Force India has not yet told him he has secured the seat.

"There has been no word yet and although I am hoping to hear in the near future I understand these things take time," said di Resta, whose cousin is the reigning IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti.

racing news
Race-ready Dodge Viper revealed  
2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR-X
The 2010 Dodge Viper SRT10 ACR-X, a special-edition turnkey racing car targeted at road-racing enthusiasts and priced from around $110,000, will be the centerpiece of a new Dodge Viper Cup spec series that kicks off next July. The current-generation Viper is slated to go out of production at the end of the 2010 model year.

Developed by the Street and Racing Technology (SRT) team, the ACR-X combines attributes of the Viper Competition Coupe and the Viper ACR. Powered by a special version of the production Viper's 8.4-liter V10, fitted with a low-restriction exhaust and factory headers, the ACR-X delivers 640 horsepower.

The Viper ACR-X will commence production in the spring. More ...

Around the net: F1 on Friday Dec 11th  
(GMM)  Qatari drives Williams' 2009 car:


Move to F1 now even more unlikely for Danica Patrick:


217 grand prix drivers vote Senna sport's best ever:

F1 driver parade to get makeover - Fry  (GMM)  Proposals to immediately improve the spectacle of the grand prix weekend will be developed by the formula one teams.

After Thursday's meeting of the F1 Commission in Monaco, the FIA announced that the teams' Sporting Working Group has been given a "strong mandate" to make changes for the benefit of spectators in 2010.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that an example of one of the proposals will be the improvement of the pre-race driver parade.

Although parades with individual cars is common at some races, most events see the drivers climb aboard a decorated flat-bed truck for a slow lap of the circuit. More ...

F1 set for new points system  UPDATE (GMM)  A new MotoGP-style points system could be approved for the 2010 formula one season during Friday's meeting of the World Motor Sport Council.

Chaired by Bernie Ecclestone and attended by new FIA president Jean Todt, the F1 Commission met in Monaco on Thursday for the first time in several years.

Made up of stakeholders including teams, promoters, suppliers and sponsors, the commission agreed that F1's expansion to 13 teams required a new points system.

In a system that is similar to the MotoGP series, grand prix winners will next year receive 25 points, and points will be won all the way down to tenth place.

There will be a five-point difference between first, second, third and fourth places, with fifth through tenth receiving 8, 6, 5, 3, 2 and 1 point respectively.

The F1 Commission also approved new world champion team Brawn's name-change to Mercedes.

12/10/09 Formula One looks set to implement a new scoring system for the 2010 championship.

The idea was put forward by the F1 Commission - a body made up of key stakeholders from the teams, promoters, suppliers and sponsors, and chaired by president Bernie Ecclestone.

Ecclestone had planned to introduce a new medals system, based on race wins, ahead of the 2009 season, but saw the proposal dropped.

Instead, the F1 Commission - which met on Thursday in Monaco for the first time in its new structure since the signing of the new Concorde Agreement - appear poised to opt for a radically different scoring system. More ...

The sad story of IndyCar TV Ratings  UPDATE #5 Just when you thought the news couldn't get any worse for the IRL and their Versus TV deal, it did.  Versus' distribution dropped by about 9 million homes December 1 when a free preview period with Dish Network, Time Warner Cable and Cox ended. Versus execs say they are negotiating with those distributors about getting moved back to the well-distributed tiers and are confident a deal can be worked out. "These free previews were a great opportunity to give millions of additional customers exposure to Versus' premiere programming, and we're currently in conversations with these TV providers to finalize a more permanent increased level of distribution for the network," Versus said in an e-mail.

10/31/09 With the championship on the line between three drivers the season finale IndyCar race at Homestead-Miami Oct. 10 scored just a 0.15 national rating on Versus, meaning 171,000 TV households tuned in nationwide, according to New York-based Nielsen Media Research. In Indianapolis, where IndyCar races usually get good ratings, the Oct. 10th race garnered a 0.23 rating, meaning just 3,000 TV households in central Indiana tuned in, according to Nielsen. 

We updated our table below comparing Versus in 2009 and ESPN in 2008. The IRL's big season finale saw ratings drop a whopping 81%.  Conclusion - the Versus TV deal the IRL signed made the series essentially invisible.  Someone should be fired for such stupidity.

Take that all you Chicken Littles out there.  This is Big Bird speaking and I tell ya' this Versus deal is a winner!
10/19/09  The IRL saw big declines in viewership during its first season on Versus.  Versus averaged a mere 315,000 viewers for its 12 races, down 60% from 778,000 for 11 races on ESPN/ESPN2 last year. To put that in perspective, the least viewed IRL telecast last season drew 377,000 viewers. 

Bruce Martin wrote a story this past weekend on Versus.com that the sky wasn't falling for the IRL (what would you expect a Versus.com article to say?) so don't mind all those Chicken Littles out there.  Well the sky may not be falling but the bottom sure as heck is falling out and the ship is taking on water.....fast.

09/25/09 Just when you thought IndyCar TV Ratings could not get any worse, recent IndyCar TV Ratings

  • Infineon Raceway: Versus 0.25 (281,000 USA Households)
  • Chicagoland: Versus 0.24 (271,000 USA Households)
  • Motegi, Japan: Versus 0.14 (165,000 US Households

And to think that Versus had the gall to put out a PR puff piece recently through the Indy Star stating how they are growing IndyCar TV ratings.  See the revised table below for the season tally to-date with just one race to go.

09/09/09 A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, As bad as the data looks in your table, it breaks down even worse:
Overall = Down 42%
Versus compared to last years broadcast venue = Down 52%
But the most revealing to me is that year-to-year on ABC they are down 20%

It almost leads one to surmise that people don't want to view the product no matter what channel it is broadcast on.  A shame, as they put on a pretty good show, considering the ox carts they are forced to drive. Bob in FL

Dear Bob, We are convinced the IRL management does not understand the ramifications of switching from a network like ESPN (with all it's news and broadcast outlets) to a channel like Versus that has zero international distribution and, because it's owned by Comcast, is never going to be liked by Dish, DIRECTV, Cablevision, Time Warner, and all the other competitors to Comcast.  DirecTV has dropped Versus and although the others still offer it, they put it in with some obscure premium package that costs extra money, which is where it will stay, and where only a few will watch it.  If the IRL's goal was to make IndyCar invisible, they are succeeding.  It makes for a case study on how to be pennywise and pound foolish.   Mark C.

09/08/09 This was supposed to be a breakout year for the IRL.  After merging with Champ Car in 2008, 2009 was the first full year of the merged series and things were supposed to be running on all 8-cyclinders.  That was until the IRL signed their new TV deal.  We saw Champ Car make the same idiotic mistake with Spike.

IndyCar's commercial boss, Terry Angstadt says that IndyCar's TV ratings are just where they expected them to be.  Really?  Below is what the great Versus TV deal is delivering for the league.  We'll let you be the judge on just how good or bad it is. With Versus now off DirecTV, the ratings can only go one way, and it isn't up.

2009 vs. 2008 IndyCar TV Ratings


2009 Network

2009 Rating

2008 Network

2008 Rating

% Change
2008 to 2009

St Petersburg






Long Beach












Indy 500






























Watkins Glen










































Motegi, Japan




0.27 (rainout)
0.19 (live)
0.33 (re-air)








Genoa Racing to Enter ALMS' LMPC Division  Genoa Racing is the latest team to announce its intention to enter the American Le Mans Series’ new Le Mans Prototype Challenge class for 2010. The Zionsville, Ind.-based team is returning to its roots in endurance sports car racing, having campaigned top cars in Can-Am some 30 years ago.

Since then Genoa Racing has enjoyed tremendous success in International Formula 3000, Atlantic, Indy Lights and IndyCar competition. In more than 240 formula car starts its heritage includes a championship, 17 victories, 20 poles and a front-row starting position at the 1998 Indianapolis 500 in conjunction with Thomas Knapp Motorsports. Some of its past drivers include Ivan Capelli, Juan Manuel Fangio Jr., Thiago Medeiros, Jimmy Vasser and Greg Ray. More ...

De Silvestro impresses HVM  HVM Racing and Team Stargate Worlds wrapped up a successful test Wednesday with Swiss driver Simona De Silvestro behind the wheel of an HVM IndyCar.  De Silvestro ran 147 clean laps over two days at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway.

"She was very impressive," said Keith Wiggins, HVM Racing team principal and owner.  "From the first laps, she showed she was capable of driving the car fast and she progressed rapidly.  She was fast, consistent and gave good driver feedback.  In fact, by the second half of the first day, we were so comfortable that we began working on development of our 2010 program using her feedback.

"By day two, I think everyone forgot she wasn't a seasoned professional.  Everyone enjoyed working with her." More ...

Senna voted best ever  
Aryton Senna
Three-time world champion Ayrton Senna has been voted the greatest Formula One driver of all time.  In an Autosport magazine survey taken by 217 drivers, seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher -- one of those polled -- had to settle for second place. Juan Manuel Fangio, who won five titles between 1951 and 1957, was third.

Senna died in a crash at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. He won 41 races.

Each voter -- including the earliest surviving grand prix winner, Jose Froilan Gonzalez, and the oldest living F1 driver, 98-year-old Paul Pietsch -- was asked to name their top 10.

Whitmarsh to replace di Montezemolo  McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has been voted in as Luca di Montezemolo's successor as the chairman of the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA), AUTOSPORT reports.
Italian F3
Lee to Tackle Italian Formula 3 in 2010  Following an excellent two-day test at the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours in France, American Matt Lee announced today that he will compete in the Italian Formula 3 series in 2010.

The 20-year-old from Syosset, N.Y. will attempt to become the first American to ever win this championship, which has produced stars such as Formula 1's Riccardo Patrese and Giancarlo Fisichella and the Rolex series' Max Angelelli.

Lee, who finished second in the Formula BMW USA series in 2006 before advancing to Atlantics, has signed with Alan Racing based in Cologno Monzese, Italy for 2010.  The team finished third in this year's championship with Pablo Sanchez Lopez. More ...

Brawn name change approved  As well as suggesting a new top ten scoring system on Thursday, Formula 1 governing body the FIA has confirmed that the Brawn GP team will be able to switch its name to Mercedes GP for 2010, owing to the German manufacturer's long-time association with the sport. With Brawn having taken the name only this year after the sudden demise of Honda, Mercedes' acquisition of the Brackley squad has now led to its third relabeling within as many seasons; although the FIA suggests that this may not always have been possible, permission has been granted due to the circumstances.

'The F1 Commission agreed that the Brawn team will be allowed to change its chassis name from Brawn to Mercedes,' an FIA statement reads.

'The team will continue to receive payments based on its historical performance. This has been granted on a one-off exceptional basis due to Mercedes-Benz's long-term involvement and commitment to Formula One.'

Renger van der Zande completes F2 testing line-up  
Renger van der Zande
Renger van der Zande will contest the second day of Formula Two testing in Portimão, Portugal on Saturday (12 December), completing the 22-strong field of drivers.

The highly rated Dutchman joins F2 testing after a successful 2009 campaign in the British F3 International Series. He was drafted in by Hitech Racing to compete in a number of rounds during the year and impressed by taking three wins and nine podiums from 16 races on his way to finishing third overall despite not completing the season. He also won in F3 Euro Series and took a strong seventh place finish in the Macau Grand Prix - the top finish by a driver from a British F3 team.

The 23-year-old has a wealth of speed and experience, and has represented his nation in A1GP as well as contesting one round of the 2008/09 GP2 Asia Series. He also finished fourth overall in the 2008 F3 Euro Series after scoring two wins and a total of five podium finishes, and has previously won the Formula Renault 2.0 series in his native Netherlands in 2005. More ...

Dempsey Racing Expands Mazda RX-8 GT Program  GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT class fixture Dempsey Racing announced today it is expanding to a two-car effort for the 2010 season. In addition to the familiar No. 40 Mazda RX-8 driven by team principal Patrick Dempsey and 2008 GRAND-AM KONI Challenge Champion Joe Foster, a brand-new Dempsey Racing No. 41 Mazda RX-8 GT will hit the track at the traditional Roar Before The 24 test event January 8 – 10, 2010.  Behind the wheel of the No. 41 Mazda will be reigning GRAND-AM Rolex Series GT class champion Leh Keen and GRAND-AM KONI Challenge Series GS standout James Gué.

“What an opportunity we have to expand our team during such tough economic times and do it in a way that benefits both the Seattle Children’s Hospital and the Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing in Maine,” said team owner Dempsey.  “On top of that to be able to bring Leh to our team as the current GT-class champion and team him up with James, who has clearly showed his stuff in KONI Challenge, means that we have two Mazda RX-8s that will be capable of running up front.  We are very excited to get going with this new program and get to Daytona.” More ...

Byrd aims for '500' program  Jonathan Byrd II, whose father was a longtime IndyCar Series team owner and Indianapolis 500 entrant, is featured on the Dec. 17 episode (9 p.m. EST) of "American Chopper" on TLC as he discusses with the team a brand design for an IZOD IndyCar Series team that would compete in the 2010 Indy 500.

Jonathan Byrd, who died Aug. 20, saw several of his drivers land top-10 finishes in the 500-Mile Race, including Gordon Johncock (sixth in 1991), Scott Brayton (sixth in '93), Vogler (eighth in '89), Stan Fox (eighth in '91) and John Andretti (10th in '94). John Paul Jr. drove one of his cars to victory in the IndyCar Series race in September 1998 at Texas Motor Speedway. IndyCar.com

Volkswagen buys stake in Suzuki  Volkswagen will buy nearly 20 percent of Suzuki for $2.5 billion in a deal poised to continue VW's ambitious growth plans and bolster its global product offerings.

The companies announced the agreement on Wednesday, and it could close in January. The deal allows VW to draw on Suzuki's small-car capabilities and strong position in India. Also, it fortifies VW as it takes aim at the title of world's largest automaker, though Suzuki CEO Osamu Suzuki has been vocal about his company not becoming another VW brand.

Under terms of the deal, Suzuki will use about half of the money from VW to buy shares of the German carmaker.

VW also recently purchased 49.9 percent of Porsche AG.

racing news
HPD begins sale of performance parts  Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD), the racing arm of American Honda Motor Company, Inc., will begin offering performance automotive parts for sale to registered racers competing in amateur and entry-level professional racing series, it was announced today.

The announcement took place concurrent with the annual Performance Racing Industry (PRI) trade show in Orlando, Fla. HPD is offering performance parts for racing as a component of its grassroots motorsports initiative, announced in July.

“We at HPD are extremely proud of the legacy we have established in open-wheel and sportscar racing,” said Erik Berkman, HPD president. “One of the cornerstones of our new motorsports initiative has been to establish a connection between our accomplishments in premier series and those of the many competitors who support Honda and Acura through the club racing and entry-level professional ranks. More ...

racing news
Honda HPD launches ServiceExpress  American Honda Motor Company, Inc., through its racing arm, Honda Performance Development, Inc., is expanding the scope of benefits available to members of its Honda Racing Line program for amateur and entry-level professional racers.

American Honda’s service publication support is now available online to Honda Racing Line members 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through ServiceExpress, Honda’s official online reference source for the independent repair community. ServiceExpress will offer Honda Racing Line members the most up-to-date service information, and will make it available at the same time it becomes available to authorized Honda/Acura dealers and repair centers.

“We have been very pleased with the growth in registration since we launched the Honda Racing Line program this past July,” said HPD President Erik Berkman. “We are working regularly to expand the list of benefits available to Honda Racing Line members, and are announcing this link to factory-authorized technical support from ServiceExpress as the first of numerous advantages which will be available to them in the future.” More ...

Korea on track for 2010 GP debut  (GMM)  Organizers of a grand prix in South Korea have scotched rumors the inaugural event might not appear on Friday's final version of the 2010 formula one calendar.

The South Cholla event is provisionally scheduled for October next year, but rumors emerged this week at the Motor Sport Business Forum in Monaco.

"It is totally on plan," race official Kevin Lee said in the Principality on Thursday.

"We have a plan to finish the whole construction work at the circuit on July 5 next year and up until now it is roughly 60 percent done," he added.

Provisional versions of the 2010 calendar feature 19 rounds; two more than this season and the highest number since 2005.

Andretti team signs Kimball  AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport announced today it has signed driver Charlie Kimball to the team's 2010 Firestone Indy Lights lineup.

Kimball, a 24-year old native of Camarillo, Calif., ended his 2009 rookie campaign with a ranking of 10th in the Firestone Indy Lights standings. Kimball posted two top-five and eight top-10 finishes in 15 starts.

Kimball is the second driver signed by the team for 2010. Englishman Martin Plowman was announced as an AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport driver on Oct. 10.

An announcement regarding the sponsorship program for Kimball's entry will be made in early 2010. More ...
racing news
SPEED Announces Finalists for Mario Andretti Trophy  NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, NHRA Top Fuel king Tony Schumacher and World Superbike phenom Ben Spies each made history in 2009 and these ultra-talented racers are among 15 finalists for the 2009 SPEED Performer of the Year and the Mario Andretti Trophy as part of the 4th Annual SPEED Performance Awards.

“What an incredible year for racing,” said SPEED President Hunter Nickell. “Whether you are a fan of two wheels or four, nitromethane or gasoline, road courses or ovals, all of these guys delivered amazing performances … picking one winner is going to be a tough call.” More ...

track news
ISC Names Matthew Becherer President of Homestead-Miami Speedway  International Speedway Corporation today announced it has named Matthew Becherer as president of Homestead-Miami Speedway effective immediately. Becherer accepts the role from his most recent position of vice president of marketing for Richmond International Raceway. Current Homestead-Miami Speedway President Curtis Gray is leaving the Company to pursue other opportunities. More ...
IMG Severs Links With Ailing A1GP  A1GP has suffered another huge blow after IMG Media curtailed its rights partnership with the crisis-hit motor racing series. IMG Media confirmed that it had “terminated its deal to market A1GP’s worldwide media rights with immediate effect”, citing A1GP’s struggles to meet scheduled deadlines this year. “It is a regrettable but unavoidable decision as despite continued assurances A1GP has been unable to commit to IMG’s deadlines and have therefore rendered the contract untenable,” the statement added. “IMG Sports Media continues to wish A1GP every success for the future during this difficult time.” More ...
Schu capable of competitive F1 return - Fry  (GMM)  Amid rumors Michael Schumacher is considering a sensational return to formula one, Nick Fry on Thursday threw another log on the fire.

The 40-year-old is linked with the vacant second cockpit at Mercedes GP, and the Brackley based team's chief executive refused to deny that Schumacher could become teammate to his German compatriot Nico Rosberg.

"I think whether it be Michael or another prior world champion, I think that just adds another very interesting element," he told the Reuters news agency from the Motor Sport Business Forum in Monaco.

When asked specifically about Schumacher, Fry said only that the team is "discussing things with a number of different drivers".

The Briton insisted, however, that a veteran like Schumacher - who turns 41 next month - could be competitive alongside 24-year-old Rosberg. More ...

All teams agree to common launch for 2010  (GMM)  All F1 teams have agreed to participate in a common launch for 2010 cars next month.

Spanish media reports this week said the cost-cutting initiative, likely to take place at the Ciudad de las Artes y de las Ciencias (City of the Arts and Sciences) complex in Valencia on January 30, was backed by most teams.

But reporting from the last day of the Motor Sport Business Forum in Monaco on Thursday, the Associated Press and Reuters news agencies said in fact all teams have agreed to take part.

"We have agreed among all the teams to do a joint launch," Mercedes GP chief executive Nick Fry said.

The topic was expected to be discussed further in Monaco on Thursday afternoon.

Tony Fernandes indicated his team supports the initiative, but revealed that the 2010 Lotus will not be ready to launch in late January.

"I won't have a car at that time.  I could come with a Matchbox car," he joked.

Summerton signs up for Formula Two test  
Jonathan Summerton
American racer and rising star Jonathan Summerton will join the Formula Two test on the second day of running in Portimão later this week (12 December).

Jonathan becomes the first American to drive a modern day F2 car and he arrives with an impressive portfolio of results. The 21-year-old drove for Mucke Motorsport alongside Sebastien Buemi in the F3 Euro Series in 2006, and took one victory on his way to finishing ninth overall, ahead of his F1-bound teammate.

A limited budget meant he could only enter selected rounds during the following season, but the Florida driver took a victory for Team USA in A1GP before he returned to compete in the States for the last two years. After finishing third in the Formula Atlantic Championship in 2008, he improved to finish as runner-up in 2009. He had also been a frontrunner in Indy Lights before a lack of finance curtailed his season. More ...

Latest on Waltrip's plans  So, what will Michael Waltrip be doing in 2010? Waltrip told Dustin Long that as of now he thinks he'll only run four Cup races next year...all four restrictor-plate races (unless more sponsorship is found). As for Nationwide? "I'd like to run some Nationwide races, I'd like to run some Truck races, so I'm still just seeing what's out there,'' he said. "I'll do anything, I just want to race every now and then'' and then he laughed. Good news for Mikey fans, he says he'll be back on Speed's broadcast of the Truck races next year. Hampton Roads
Jaguar top luxury car brand  Jaguar has been named the top luxury car maker in the U.S. by the JD Power customer satisfaction index for the second year running.

Out of a total 1000 points available in areas including dealership facility, salesperson, paperwork/finance process, delivery process, and vehicle price, Jaguar scored 898 points. The British brand was particularly commended for its friendly dealers and efficiency in dealing with paperwork.

Jaguar beat Cadillac by just five points in the final tally, with Lexus, Mercedes and Jaguar's sister company Land Rover completing the top five.

Still in talks, Heidfeld hopes for Mercedes seat  (GMM)  Nick Heidfeld has revealed he is still in talks about the 2010 season, admitting that Mercedes GP is his first choice.

"I am still in promising discussions," the 32-year-old German is quoted as saying by Rheinischen Post.

"There are still teams with free cockpits and I hope I can be with a good one that can win races," said Heidfeld, a veteran of 169 grands prix but no wins.

With Nico Rosberg already confirmed for one seat, rumors are currently linking Michael Schumacher with the other.

But if the seven time world champion does not sensationally come out of retirement, it is expected that fellow German Heidfeld is the next in line.

"Whoever knows F1 knows that of those with free cockpits, Mercedes offers the best chance to be in the front," he said, admitting that he would prefer to work with an existing rather than a new team.

Mercedes GP chief executive Nick Fry said at the Motor Sport Business Forum in Monaco on Thursday that talks with "numerous drivers" are ongoing.  He would not specifically deny the Schumacher rumors.

Atherton stars at Motor Sports forum  An address by American Le Mans Series President and CEO Scott Atherton highlighted the inaugural Motor Sport Business Forum North America on Tuesday morning. More than 260 delegates turned out for the opening day of the event in Orlando, Fla., with Atherton earning laudatory praise for his remarks during a panel on the State of North American Motorsports.

Top executives from leading U.S. and worldwide motorsports governing bodies expounded on their respective racing series while also setting the overall tone for the MSBF-NA in total.

“This panel is about the state of North American Motorsports, but we believe the focus should also be on the future of motorsports,” Atherton told the gathering. He highlighted a variety of energy-related initiatives the American Le Mans Series has explored in recent years. The focus on leading-edge technologies and innovations that impact alternative energy applications and propulsion for the Series’ participating manufacturers has made the Series the Global Leader in Green Racing, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Energy and SAE International. More ...

racing news
Tools for Winning  Race engineer Nick Harvey and driver coach Michael Zimicki are bringing their championship winning experience to you in an intense two day seminar to get you ready for the new season.

The seminar will delve into the essential skills to becoming a winning driver, the key building blocks that apply in any formula at any experience level, tools you'll use throughout your career.

Sections include:

  • Technical feedback
  • Understanding car changes
  • Data evaluation
  • Driving evaluation
  • Adaptation
  • Racecraft
  • Communication with team
  • Fitness and Nutrition
  • Pre event prep and track walk
  • and much more.

More info at www.ToolsforWinning.com

Call or e-mail to reserve your spot!

January 16th-17th, 2010 Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort and Spa

Ferrari signs Jules Bianchi  UPDATE #2 (GMM)  Jules Bianchi has played down suggestions he might usurp Giancarlo Fisichella as Ferrari's reserve driver for 2010.

Jules Bianchi
The 20-year-old Frenchman, whose career is being handled by Felipe Massa's manager Nicolas Todt, has been signed for an unspecified role by the Italian team.

Veteran Fisichella insists his role as Ferrari's new third driver is secure, but rumors have indicated that the late arrival of Bianchi could see the Roman relegated.

Bianchi will race this year for Todt's ART team in GP2.

"I am thinking about my first season in GP2," he told the French newspaper La Tribune.  "After that, we will see about the future and F1." More ...

Latest F1 news in brief  
  • Prodrive quiet, Renault board set to meet
  • AirAsia boss to stay in charge at Lotus
  • Abu Dhabi wants return to F1 finale date
  • Brawn backs Rosberg to replace Button
  • F1 should embrace not resist 'new media'
  • Kimi turned down F1, not other way around - manager
  • Valencia to host common car launch on January 30

Prodrive quiet, Renault board set to meet
(GMM)  Following rival bidder Gerard Lopez's comments on Wednesday, David Richards' Prodrive company has refused to be drawn on its link with a buyout of the Renault team.

Lopez, of the reported Mangrove/Gravity group, is said to be the frontrunner for the deal, and openly confirmed the reports while attending the Motor Sport Business Forum in Monaco.

Asked about his plans, he told the Press Association: "It would be very different from a start-up team.

"If we were to do a deal with Renault, we would still be basing ourselves as a constructors' team, but it will be a different kind of business," Lopez added.

It is rumored that if Lopez is the successful bidder, the Enstone based team might continue to be called Renault.

Bernie Ecclestone revealed this week that up to four parties are in the running for the buyout, but Richards' Prodrive elected not to follow Lopez in confirming the rumors.

"There have been so many rumors about Prodrive and formula one, so we are not commenting on the latest," a spokesman was quoted as saying in a French language AFP report.

Other French reports said the Renault board is scheduled to meet on Thursday to discuss the sale of the team.  The French carmaker would not confirm the reports. More ...

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