USGP Notebook Friday
Golf superstar Tiger Woods is keen to see how Lewis Hamilton will perform in the United States Grand Prix on Sunday, June 17 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Woods is playing in the U.S. Open in Oakmont, Pa., this weekend.
"I'll be interested to see how Lewis Hamilton goes in our Grand Prix on Sunday," Woods told the English newspaper The Sun, "and I will catch up with it at some stage. But hopefully not live. I hope to be taking care of business myself then."
Woods, a motor racing fan, praised Hamilton for his stunning rookie season.
"I've been following his progress pretty closely, and I think it is great he won the Canadian Grand Prix after going close in all his previous races," Woods said. "Without a doubt, he is one of the most exciting talents to hit the sporting scene in recent years. Any time a rookie comes through and wins big, it is a story that captures the imagination.
"But it's not just his results. I've been impressed by the way he has handled himself off the racetrack, and I think he has the potential to be a terrific role model."
McLaren duo gets along just fine: Contrary to various reports, there is no friction between Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes teammates Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton, a top Mercedes Benz official said.
"We have a situation right now where they speak their mind," said Norbert Haug, vice president of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, "but I have to really tell you it is not a problem at all inside the team. I think it is very, very balanced, and I cannot see any of these frictions. Of course, you have a positive competition between the drivers and between the teams, the left-hand and right-hand side of the garage.
"I understand that people are looking for controversial stories. But inside the team, it's different. If you look at our track records in the last couple of races, I honestly do not think that (if) we have the bad feelings inside the team you can achieve that. We must have positive and good feelings, and I think that's what we achieved."
Goals reached: The Super Aguri Honda team already has met and surpassed its goal of scoring a point in the 2007 season thanks to Takuma Sato's eighth place in the Spanish Grand Prix and his sixth place in the Canadian Grand Prix.
"I want to say thank you to the driver and sponsors and everything," said team owner Aguri Suzuki. "It is very impressive because our team is very small. This year our target is to just get points, one point. Now already (it) is four points. I am very, very happy."
Shipping logistics: While the F1 cars and much of the spares and equipment used by the teams is flown on freight aircraft to races outside Europe such as the United States Grand Prix, some of the equipment is sent via sea. The teams have identical sets of equipment so they can ship them to different countries. The same is true for Bridgestone, which supplies tires to all 11 teams.
"Logistics-wise, the two North American races are a challenge because first of all we need to ship all the tires and equipment there," said Bridgestone Motorsport Head of Track Engineering Operations Kees van de Grint. "The fitting kit for Canada was shipped from Australia while the kit for the USA was shipped from Malaysia.
"Obviously, we don't have the usual facilities as we do on the short haul. It's a big organizational operation, but fortunately we have a lot of good people who manage that so we always have the right equipment available. We're not improvising when we get there, but it is different."
Speeding fines: Officials fined four drivers for speeding in the pit lane on Friday. Fines are based on a scale of 200 euros (approximately $267) for each kilometer over the 60-kph (36 mph) speed limit in practice.
Felipe Massa (Ferrari) and Lewis Hamilton (Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes) each paid a 200 euro fine; Adrian Sutil (Etihad Aldar Spyker-Ferrari) paid a 400 euro ($534) fine; and Heikki Kovalainen (ING Renault) paid a 1,200 euro ($1,604) fine.
2007 USGP tickets: Reserved Race Day and three-day "Season Passes" for the 2007 United States Grand Prix, June 15-17, are on sale to all customers.
Ticket information can be found any time at www.indianapolismotorspeedway.com or by calling the IMS Ticket Office at (800) 822-4639 or (317) 492-6700. Ticket Office hours are from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.