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DATE News (chronologically)
FOTA on verge of collapse (3rd Update)  UPDATE #3 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact.' FOTA, the once unified and powerful alliance of formula one teams, has collapsed.

It emerged recently that, with top teams Red Bull and Ferrari already departed, membership fees were going unpaid and the exit of FOTA chiefs Martin Whitmarsh and Eric Boullier could drive the final nails in the coffin.

The Telegraph reported that there were disputes about the group's purpose, years on from the volatile Max Mosley era and breakaway series threats.

Now, on Friday, FOTA was formally disbanded.

Secretary general Oliver Weingarten confirmed the news, saying the "changing political and commercial landscape" had caused the decision.

"The teams will probably think they can exist and fight their own corner but there will be something when they will realize they will be stronger in numbers," he lamented in an interview with the Associated Press.

"There is a crisis around the corner -- whether on the track, with the impact of the new regulations, whether on the governance side, or on the commercial side," Weingarten warned. More ...

Dreyer & Reinbold still hoping to put together Indy 500 deal  Dreyer & Reinbold Racing is the potential Indianapolis 500 team that few in the sport have been counting on. That’s fine, team owner Dennis Reinbold said Thursday.

“I like laying low,” Reinbold said. “We haven’t had anything to point to.”
Yet, Reinbold is pointed squarely at being at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May as he has been since forming the Indianapolis-based team for the 2000 season.

Reinbold still owns a car, has eight employees working on various projects and is seeking sponsorship. He’s been close to confirming a deal only to have it fail to materialize. More ...

107% rule to result in depleted F1 grids  Former team owner Gian Carlo Minardi wonders whether the 107% rule could result in depleted grids this season.

Ahead of the final pre-season test many questions are still to be answered. While most attention is focused on the plight of the Renault powered runners, and in particular world champions Red Bull, others are wondering just how much of an advantage the works Mercedes team will enjoy in the opening rounds. And then there's Ferrari and Williams.

However, the question that Gian Carlo Minardi is pondering is the 107% rule. Initially introduced to F1 in 1996 - though the FIA wanted it in place mid-1995 - the rule was intended to weed out uncompetitive cars at a time when due to the smaller number of entries everyone qualified for the race no matter how great the speed differential between those at the front of the grid and those at the back. More ...

Villeneuve to run Indy 500 (2nd Update)  UPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.

02/26/14 The Indianapolis Star has confirmed that Jacques Villeneuve, who won the 1995 Indy 500 and finished second in his only other appearance in 1994, will drive the third car for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports in the May 25 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Villeneuve, 42, will join Simon Pagenaud and Mikhail Aleshin, a series rookie, on the team led by former IndyCar Series driver Sam Schmidt.

Jacques Villeneuve at Long Beach in 1995 in the Players Champ Car in an era when IndyCar racing was threatening F1 for top dog in the world before Anton George created the IRL and destroyed everything
Villeneuve won the CART title in 1995, the last CART IndyCar World Series champion before the 1996 CART/IRL split created by Tony George that destroyed the sport. He competed in 33 CART races as a full-time driver in 1994-95, winning five times. More ...
Cosworth to make Formula 1 return in 2015  Rumor has it that the legendary Engine manufacturer Cosworth are in the process of developing an engine for Formula 1 in 2015, possibly for the Gene Haas American F1 team, but that is just speculation at this time.

The engine, officially known as a Power Unit will be of the same 1.6l Turbocharged V6 configuration that is now mandatory due to the new regulations that have come into place for 2014.

Cosworth declined to comment on the matter. It is expected that an announcement for their participation as an engine supplier next year will take place later in 2014.

2014 F1 noses could get even uglier - report  
It's alarming to hear that the proboscis monkey looking F1 noses could get even worse
(GMM)  F1's ugly face of 2014 could get uglier still.

That is the warning of the German specialist magazine Auto Motor und Sport, claiming that car designers are looking into nose solutions for the new rules that are even less attractive than those already used during testing.

With the 'gentleman's appendage', asymmetrical and 'vacuum cleaner'-style noses already in action, respected correspondent Michael Schmidt said some all-new solutions could be seen as early as this week at the final Bahrain test.

"(In the wind tunnel) we are trying every kind of nose that is in circulation," admitted Force India technical boss Andy Green.

Schmidt concluded: "If that is the case for Force India, then the big teams will be doing even more."

It is likely Lotus' unique, double-tusk solution is causing the most head-scratching among rival teams, with many perhaps not having initially considered the idea of utilizing the concept of asymmetry.

"Our spies tell us that some teams are considering 'anteater' noses that do not grow from the middle of the car, but to the left or to the right," said Schmidt.

Horner 'fits the bill' to replace Ecclestone - source  
Christian Horner, the next F1 czar?
(GMM)  Christian Horner is being hotly tipped as the next 'F1 supremo'.

A source at Delta Topco, the CVC-controlled group that owns the sport's commercial rights, has named 40-year-old Briton Horner as the top choice to succeed embattled chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

The news follows suggestions external figures like Justin King, the outgoing Sainsbury's chief, or F1 marketing specialist Zak Brown are in fact the more likely picks.

Horner, the Red Bull team boss, has repeatedly denied he is interested in the job, even after a judge last week damagingly found that Ecclestone had paid a "bribe" to Gerhard Gribkowsky.

If convicted of that very offense by a German criminal court later this year, the F1 board would certainly remove the 83-year-old. More ...

Chances of Sage, Hawksworth and Filippi landing IndyCar ride  Question: I feel bad for Sage Karam. He was the Indy Lights champion but can't find a ride but the fourth-place finisher Jack Hawksworth is getting a test and a serious look. I know Karam's ties with Ganassi as a "development driver" but ask Alex Lloyd how that worked out. Please tell me IndyCar is evaluating the scholarship so that a driver can at least get a part-time IndyCar ride. (Marco, Vincennes, Ind.)

Answer: It's not being considered, and it shouldn't, in my opinion. What good does it do for the driver to take $1 million and then run only a couple of non-IMS races. No offense to those tracks, but do they draw enough attention, build the car count and justify a seven-figure donation from IndyCar? I don't think so, and I don't think you do, either. As for Sage, it's too early to judge his decision; I hope it works out for him. As for Hawksworth, I'm told he was solid at the test, and I think there's a chance he lands at Herta if he can secure more money from his backers, although Filippi is still the leading candidate. Curt Cavin, Indy Star

Red Bull conducts 'secret' test in Spain?  
Red Bull deny they are secretly testing their 2014 RB10 'lemon'
(GMM)  Red Bull has denied claims the struggling world champions are secretly running the troubled Renault-powered RB10 between the two Bahrain tests.

Spaniard Pius Gasso, a respected and reliable F1 source and former racing driver, said he believes an RB10 is running at the Idiada facility in Spain, south of Barcelona, ahead of the resumption of official testing later this week in Bahrain.

Gasso even 'tweeted' a link to an audio file of the alleged 'secret' testing.

Another source told Speed Week correspondent Matthias Brunner that Red Bull's Idiada running would be contrary to the tight testing limitations.

"They would only be able to drive at Idiada with a current car if they had declared it a 'PR day'.  And the rules say clearly that it would be purely for marketing and PR purposes," said the F1 source.

A Red Bull spokeswoman said simply: "We are not at Idiada!"

Vettel involved in Nurburgring buyout bid?  
Vettel denies any involvement in a Nurburgring buyout
(GMM)  Sebastian Vettel's manager has denied the reigning world champion is involved in a possible buyout of the Nurburgring.

With the German grand prix venue's future uncertain, we reported last week that F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone is no longer a candidate to buy it.

Ecclestone had confirmed in January he made a bid for the financially-troubled track.

"We want to make sure there is a formula one race in Germany every year in the future," he said. More ...

track news
Bruce Knox out at COTA  he Circuit of the Americas near Austin, Texas, has apparently lost one of its longest-tenured, most experience executives with the recent departure of Bruce Knox, executive vice-president of COTA.

The circumstances could not be confirmed. “Per company policy,” said Julie Loignon, vice president of COTA's public and media relations, “we can't comment on personnel matters.”

Knox's history with COTA began in 2010, long before ground was broken for the road course, making him easily one of the facility's longest-tenured employees. He was installed into the project by minor investor Red McCombs.  More at AutoWeek

Indianapolis 500 open to adding 34th car to Indy 500  
The DeltaWing was originally supposed to be an IndyCar
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is open to the idea of an experimental 'Garage 34' entry at the Indianapolis 500 in the future.

AUTOSPORT understands that there have been discussions within IndyCar about the idea of a 34th entry for the Indy 500 modeled on the lines of Garage 56 at Le Mans.

This is an invitational entry reserved for experimental vehicles which has so far been used by the DeltaWing - which was originally proposed for IndyCar (pictured in 2010) - and Nissan ZEOD. More ...

Dillon to bring Dale Earnhardt's No. 3 back to Cup series, Start on pole (8th Update)  UPDATE #8 Another reader counters, Dear AR1.com, Mordichai is all wet. Everybody without a clue flaps their gums about big restrictor plates. Cup engines are designed around the size of the restrictor. Cam timing and compression ratio is optimized to suit the amount of air available. 16 to 18 to 1 compression ratio, not much air gets through the restrictor, compress the hell out of what you get through the restrictor. Slap a big restrictor on it and it will blow up. The engine shop would have needed to know about the big restrictor well ahead of time to build a suitable engine.  Between the engine shop and NASCAR word will get out.  There are about a million things NASCAR could overlook to help the team. Safe to say Dales engine has the same restrictor as everyone else.  John Miller

02/24/14 Mordichai writes, Dear AR1.com, Well how convenient that his daddy's No. 3 sits on pole then on Sunday his car has such a big restrictor plate that the other cars could not even catch him in the draft.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. makes headlines and gives NASCAR just the PR they need to start the 2014 season. You just cannot make these things up - it's just so transparent.

I saw this Q&A on your story quotes and thought I would write what should have really been said...

"Just the race car was so superior to a lot of the competition out there.  It starts in the body shop, the engine room at Hendrick, all those guys that put all that effort in.  I keep saying it over and over, but just a reference to how much goes into the body of this car.  There are 11 coats of clear coat on top of the decal.  These guys work their guts out all winter long on every part of the car from front to rear.  It's perfectly prepared.  The whole series is like that it is so competitive, but I love this crew that I'm with.  We are as competitive as we can be.

Except his answer should have been...

"Well, it was crazy, it just seemed like all I had to do was push the pedal to the floor and our car went faster than all the other ones...go figure. I want to personally thank NASCAR for giving me this much needed victory, because our merchandise sales were beginning to slump, and my daddy's number is back on the track now, and I needed to make a statement."  Mordichai Rosen, Los Angeles, CA. More ...

Doctors stop trying to wake Schumacher (Update)  UPDATE (GMM)  Michael Schumacher's manager on Monday denied reports doctors have stopped trying to end the seven time world champion's long coma.

The latest edition of the German newsmagazine Focus, which is said to be close to Schumacher's inner circle, said "complications" had led the doctors at the Grenoble hospital to abandon efforts - which began almost four weeks ago - to wake the former Ferrari and Mercedes driver.

"This (awakening) phase can take a long time, which much to our regret can lead to many misinterpretations," Schumacher's manager Kehm told the German news agency DPA. More ...

Will Formula E race at Bayfront Park in Miami?  
CART Champ Cars on streets of Miami.  What killed the race?  Heat and humidity.  Any race held in high heat and humidity fails 100% of the time.  So if Formula E wants to succeed in Miami the race needs to be held in December, January, February or March
Formula E’s inaugural Grand Prix of Miami is 13 months out, and little by little information is slipping out about the event.

A recent article in the Miami Today gave the most information on the proposed street race, and some of it is a little odd. Most interesting to me is that neither the Dade County Commission nor the City of Miami have voted to grant Formula E and Andretti Sports Marketing a permit to hold the event. Considering Formula E organizers have been talking about this for almost a year, and have a date on their schedule it seems odd to me that they don’t have a permit.

They still have almost thirteen months to pull the event together, and I’m sure there are handshake agreements in place, but if I learned anything in my decade as a reporter it’s that governments are squirrely things. More ...

Keene Out at Ganassi  UPDATE #2
The Ganassi team has moved Race Strategist Tim Keene along. Was Keene the first of the United SportsCar era to learn the hard way: you don't talk out of turn about NASCAR?
Our apologies as we overlooked updating this rumor to fact yesterday, after Chip Ganassi Racing Team Principal Mike Hull confirmed Keene and the team had parted ways.

One thing we'll add is that we have heard from a few sources who indicated that there may be more than meets the eye surrounding Keene' firing. Recall Keene made his feelings regarding United SportsCar's technical regulations in this Gordon Kirby article after last month's Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. Keene also laid into the series' administration during the television broadcast.

Could it be that the 800-pound gorilla of American motorsport -- NASCAR -- was behind Keene's dismissal? Remember, NASCAR does not look fondly upon those who criticize their product, and have been known to take a hard line with those who do. More ...

Will Marlboro be back in racing with e-cigarettes?  
Marlboro sponsored Michael Schumacher
Tobacco company Altria Group Inc., is launching its first electronic cigarette under the MarkTen brand in Indiana starting in August and expanding its smokeless product offerings.

The owner of the nation's biggest cigarette maker, Philip Morris USA, announced the details of its NuMark subsidiary's foray into the fast-growing business Tuesday.

Philip Morris USA is the maker of Marlboro cigarettes.

It's the last of the nation's major tobacco companies to market an electronic cigarette in an industrywide push to diversify beyond the traditional cigarette business, which has become tougher in the face of tax hikes, smoking bans, health concerns and social stigma. The Richmond, Va.-based declined to say whether it plans to expand beyond the initial statewide test market or whether it plans to advertise on TV - a place tobacco companies have long been prohibited from marketing traditional cigarettes. More ...

Pippa Mann to run Indy 500  
Pippa Mann hopes to make her third Indy 500 start in 2014.
IndyCar driver Pippa Mann tweeted earlier today that she intends to be part of this year's Indianapolis 500, and we presume that means as a competitor. The 30-year old Brit, of course, suffered burns as a result of the horrific multi-car crash that claimed the life of Dan Wheldon during the 2011 IndyCar finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. She attempted to run the Indy 500 in 2012, but never made an attempt to qualify.

In 2013, Mann made her return to the series last year, running four races, and scoring a career-best finish of 15th at Pocono.

Mann, who is very popular amongst IndyCar fans, also did the color commentary for Indy Lights radio broadcasts last season, and in our opinion, was exceptional in that capacity. More ...

Red Bull to lose title sponsor Infiniti  
Infiniti adorns the Red Bull sidepods
(GMM)  Red Bull could be set to lose its major title sponsor Infiniti.

Just as the world champion team is faltering on the pre-season test circuits, Germany's Sport Bild reports that the luxury Nissan brand Infiniti does not intend to renew its Red Bull deal beyond 2015.

Reports estimate the value of the deal, involving team naming rights and a conspicuous purple presence on the Red Bull livery, at EUR 40 million per year.

It is believed Infiniti is baulking because it wanted to move beyond being merely a financial partner to the top F1 team. More ...

Honda to Starworks  
Starworks could be getting Honda power for Sebring.
According to this Sportscar365 article, Honda and Starworks Motorsports will join forces at the 12 Hours of Sebring. Honda will be the fourth engine manufacturer competing in the DP class, joining Ford, Chevrolet, and Dinan.  We await the official announcement.

A fourth DP engine manufacturer is set to debut at the Twelve Hours of Sebring with one sports car racing’s most successful teams.

Sportscar365 has confirmed that Starworks Motorsport has been named the first team to utilize Honda Performance Development’s new V6 twin-turbo powerplant.

The Peter Baron-led squad has reunited with the California-based manufacturer after having won the 2012 FIA WEC LMP2 Championship, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with a HPD ARX-03b.

Starworks will field a single Honda-powered Riley DP beginning at the Twelve Hours of Sebring next month. More ...

Bourdais to drive for Dragon in Formula E  
Sebastien Bourdais and his broken trophy in Toronto last season.
During the IndyCar Media Day in Orlando, KVSH Racing's Sebastien Bourdais mentioned that he'll "probably end up driving," for Jay Penske's Dragon Racing in "Formula E once the IndyCar season is over."

Bourdais, of course, drove for the Dragon IndyCar team in 2012 and 2013. While there has been no official announcement, Dragon is rumored to be running only the Indianapolis races this upcoming season in IndyCar and focusing their energies on Formula E.

AR1 Staff

Raikkonen could be next F1 father  
Raikkonen's new partner, 26-year-old Mintuu Virtanen, following the end of his marriage to Jenni Dahlmann
(GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen could be the next father on the F1 grid.

The Finnish press is now reporting openly about the identity of the Ferrari driver's new partner, 26-year-old Mintuu Virtanen, following the end of his marriage to Jenni Dahlmann.

Amid unconfirmed rumors she is pregnant, the newspaper Seiska claims that Mintuu is now living in Raikkonen's luxury villa on the Helsinki island Kaskisaari.

At the same time, Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg told the German-language Speed Week that his fiance Vivian is planning hard for their wedding.

When asked about the prospect of having their first child, Rosberg said: "I congratulate Sebastian (Vettel) and of course we are thinking about it.

"One day it would be nice, but there's nothing certain yet."

Ferrari engine stops spark to save fuel  
Ferrari F14 T
(GMM)  Ferrari looks to have come up with another of the big innovations of the 2014 season.

It emerged last week that the new F14-T features an unique cooling system that allows the red single seater to have very small sidepods, notwithstanding the high demands of the all-new 'power unit' rules.

Now, Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Ferrari's new V6 engine is also highly innovative. More ...

Red Bull looking for new engine supplier (Update)  UPDATE
Are Red Bull eyeing new engines from Cosworth?
(GMM)  Red Bull and Renault have denied rumors the reigning world champions could split.

Together, after Sebastian Vettel won the last nine grands prix of 2013, Red Bull and Renault are now embroiled in a technical crisis after the new V6 'power unit' struggled to merely run in the rear of Adrian Newey's RB10.

It has triggered rumors Red Bull is on the lookout for a new engine supplier.

Reports have emerged that Cosworth, without a customer for the 2014 season, has nonetheless completed its turbo V6 design that will not be raced this year.

The wilder rumors indicate Red Bull could take over the project and run its own engines for 2015.

When asked about the split rumors, Renault Sport's Remi Taffin told Sport Bild: "I know nothing about that. More ...

Keselowski latest to be muzzled by NASCAR  
Drivers who have been muzzled by NASCAR also stop winning.  Just ask Kyle Busch 2 years ago and Keselowski last year.  It's NASCAR's way of showing you who is boss.  It's their way or the highway.
Don’t be surprised if 2012 Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski is not quite as outspoken and critical this season as he has been in the past.

It’s not that Keselowski is tired of paying NASCAR fines — he estimates he’s paid out more than $75,000 in fines the past few years. Instead, he’s taking his criticism and strong opinions about the sport behind closed doors, talking directly to NASCAR officials about changes he thinks should be made.

After being fined and called on the carpet several times for being outspoken and critical, Keselowski says he now has more of a private forum with NASCAR officials.

Asked if he had been muzzled by NASCAR officials, Keselowski said, “I don’t have a muzzle on my face right now, but maybe I should have. More ...

Nicole Scherzinger rejects third marriage proposal from Lewis Hamilton  
Lewis Hamilton, shot down again?  Maybe she thinks that earring is to 'girly'
X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger has apparently rejected a marriage proposal from Lewis Hamilton.

The couple recently reconciled after splitting in December due to the pressures of their busy work schedules.

A source told the Daily Star Sunday that the Formula 1 driver keeps asking Nicole to marry him.

The insider claimed that Hamilton has been knocked back three times by the former Pussycat Dolls singer.

A pal is quoted as telling the newspaper: “Lewis is so desperate to hold on to Nicole this time around that he keeps asking her to marry him. But she’s playing very hard to get. More ...

Camera on Michael Schumacher’s helmet may have caused it to shatter  
Michael Schumacher
Experts from French ski academy Ensa are doing tests to check whether the headcam made the impact when he hit his head on rocks worse

Michael Schumacher’s ski helmet might have broken because it was weakened by the camera fixed to it, investigators have revealed.

The German F1 legend, 45, was using the gadget to film his son on the slopes when he fell and smashed his head on a rock seven weeks ago today.

Experts from French ski academy Ensa are doing tests to check whether the headcam made the impact worse. More ...

Ferrari sandbagging at Jerez?  
Was Raikkonen pedaling the Ferrari at Jerez?
(GMM)  Was Ferrari sandbagging at Jerez?

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport on Friday revealed that, having studied the data from the recent opening winter test, the top five places in terms of top speed were occupied by Mercedes-powered cars.

Topping the lot was the newly Mercedes-powered Williams' Felipe Massa, who tripped the radar at 286kph on the front straight, and 307 on the fastest part of the southern Spanish circuit. More ...

New Ferrari has no radiators? (Update)  UPDATE IndyCar already uses Mezzo heat exchangers - See here.

02/14/14 Autosprint correspondent Alberto Antonini also reports that Ferrari may have come up with "the technical revolution" of the 2014 season.

The new F14-T features noticeably small sidepods, despite the huge cooling demands of the new 'power unit', and Autosprint said the secret underneath the skin is a radical system that replaces traditional radiators.

Antonini explained that it is "very likely" Ferrari is working with the world leader in 'microtube heat exchangers', the American company Mezzo Technologies.

Gordon would retire if he wins 5th title  
Not fast like when he was young, Jeff Gordon will retire if he wins 5th title
Might Jeff Gordon retire if he wins a 5th NASCAR Sprint Cup title?


The four-time champion, who last won the crown in 2001, said, “If I win the championship this year, I’ve put in 20-plus great years and I do this now because I love it, because I like being competitive and because I want another championship.

"I want a Sprint Cup championship. I go home, and I look in my trophy room and I see four trophies that are championship trophies, but they say Winston Cup on them. You can name me a four-time Sprint Cup (champion) for technical reasons all you want, but, to me, I’m not. I want that before my career is over. More ...

Schumacher contracts pneumonia - reports (Update)  UPDATE Sabine Kehm, the manager of Michael Schumacher, has dismissed reports that the German racing legend had contracted a lung infection.

Reports about the seven-time World Champions' condition surfaced late Tuesday night after German publication Bild claimed that Schumacher had contracted pneumonia while he was in a medically induced coma.

However, Kehm dismissed the claims on Wednesday.

"As always, my answer is: announcements about Schumacher's health status, that are not done by his official doctors or by his management need to be treated as speculation," she told German news agency DPA. More ...

Muscle Milk Pickett Racing exploring IndyCar options (5th Update)  UPDATE #5 This rumor is downgraded to 'false.'  Muscle Milk looked at the TV ratings IndyCar gets on NBC Sports Network and concluded that with infomercial ratings it was best to stay in sports cars.

09/01/13 Klaus Graf admitted after Sunday's American Le Mans Series race that he was speaking more with his heart than his head.

“Whatever the new [sports car] series will be, we will be with a new package,” he said in the winner's news conference.

Afterward, the co-founder of Muscle Milk Pickett Racing backtracked, saying he doesn't know what series team principal Greg Pickett will have the team racing.

Will it be United SportsCar Racing or the IndyCar Series? That decision apparently is about a month away.

“That was me as a sports car driver speaking in there,” Graf said with a smile. “Very successful businessmen don't make harsh decisions without a lot of thought, and if they commit to something they commit to doing it right.” More ...
Toro Rosso loses designer Furbatto  
Did Furbatto design that nose?
(GMM)  Toro Rosso has split with its chief designer Luca Furbatto, the Italian website blogf1.it reports.

The report said the Faenza based team did not comment.

Furbatto, who moved to Toro Rosso after a long stint at McLaren in late 2011, designed the Red Bull-owned team's Renault-powered 2014 car, the STR9, in collaboration with technical director James Key.

Aston Martin To Say 'No Mas' To USCC  
No. 97 Aston Martin
With the official TUDOR United SportsCar Championship test at Sebring coming up in less than 10 days, the focus has officially shifted to the second round of the series and the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup. While all of the key players from the battles for class honors at Daytona will mainly be back in action at the ex-military airport circuit, one key protagonist in the GT Le Mans class fight could be absent from the premises.

Prodrive’s Aston Martin Racing, which dominated the FIA World Endurance Championship in both the GTE-Pro and GTE-Am classes last season, has made inklings about forgoing the remaining three rounds of the NAEC, which it had originally committed to in the offseason. The reaction comes off of a disappointing effort in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, where they never made a serious challenge for the top step of the podium, nor were fast in any of the practice and/or qualifying sessions, dating all the way back to the Roar Before the 24 tests in early January. More ...

2014 IndyCar driver lineup taking shape (2nd Update Sebastian x 2)  UPDATE #3 As first revealed by AR1.com, look for KVSH to announce Sebastian Saavedra as their 2nd driver for 2014 tomorrow.  The two Sebastiens ran all 19 events for Jay Penske's Dragon Racing last season, but Penske has said his 2014 plans will be limited to Indianapolis.

As first revealed by AR1.com, Sebastian Saavedra is likely to drive alongside Sebastien Bourdais at KVSH this year
The KVSH Racing trio of Kevin Kalkhoven, Jimmy Vasser and James "Sulli" Sullivan have their championship contender in place with Sebastien Bourdais, and next week at Sonoma Raceway, they'll take a look at another Seb—Colombia's Sebastian Saavedra—for their vacant second seat.

"We're testing Saavedra at Sonoma; we were impressed with him last year and at some places, he was right there with Bourdais," Vasser told RACER. "We're not done on the second car, but we're pretty close there, and we're close to signing a veteran for Indy who would help the team--bring some good feedback and strengthen our program."

Saavedra and Bourdais spent last season as teammates driving for Jay Penske's Dragon Racing team. With Dragon expected to focus most of its attention on the new FIA Formula E series, Vasser and his fellow owners could benefit from the built-in chemistry the two drivers established in 2013. More ...

Could Carlos Tavares take Peugeot back to Formula 1?  
Carlos Tavares
Carlos Tavares is a racing nutter. The 55-year-old Portuguese national has been racing for 33 of his 55 years, initially in saloon cars, then rallying but afterwards in Formula 3 and the World Series by Nissan World.

Most recently he has competed from time to time in the Big Open Single Seaters (BOSS) series. He is only an amateur in racing terms but he has great influence not least because until recently he was Carlos Ghosn’s number two at Renault.

In this role he was largely responsible for the decision to relaunch Alpine as a sporting brand and fluttered around the edge of the Renault F1 program, although these came under Ghosn’s direct control.

Last summer, however, the two men busted up as Tavares realized that Ghosn was going to stay on until his retirement, leaving the younger man with no chance of getting the top job. So he left Renault after 30 years in the company and has recently joined Peugeot, Renault’s biggest rival. More ...

F1 could have two new teams in 2015  
America’s most recent F1 foray came in 1985 with the Carl Haas and Teddy Mayer-backed outfit, Team Haas. Based near London, and with funds from the wealthy Beatrice Foods conglomerate, a FORCE-designed car and former world champion Alan Jones signed up to drive.
(GMM)  F1 could have not one, but two new teams in 2015.

Italy's Autosprint reports that, in Paris early this week, the FIA began the official evaluation process after inviting expressions of interest in filling the pitlane vacancy created by HRT's demise.

But correspondent Roberto Chinchero reports that there are, in fact, two team vacancies on the grid at present.

"There is no official information," he said, "but rumors are beginning that the doors to F1 could open for two teams."

The candidature of Nascar team co-owner Gene Haas is well known, but Autosprint said the other successful applicant could be the former Force India and HRT team chief Colin Kolles.

Italy's Omnicorse reports that a third applicant, Serbian Zoran Stefanovic who tried and failed to enter a team a few years ago, has "little hope" for 2015.

The FIA's decision will be announced at the end of the month.

Quesnel favorite for Lotus boss role (Update)  UPDATE
Olivier Quesnel
(GMM)  Olivier Quesnel, the former Citroen and Peugeot rally boss, has admitted he has had contact with Lotus owner Gerard Lopez about becoming the Enstone team's new sporting boss.

The 64-year-old Frenchman told the L'Equipe sports daily that the first contact in fact dates back "four years" -- long before Eric Boullier's recent McLaren switch.

"I will not pretend that I am not interested," said Quesnel.  "From what I understand, there is a shortlist that I appear to be on."

He told France's RMC Sport that the current talks with Lopez are ongoing.

"I know him well," said Quesnel.  "We talked, and we did talk about the F1 team. More ...

John Malone to Purchase Minority Stake In F1 (4th Update)  UPDATE #4
John Malone
The Royal Bank of Scotland and Goldman Sachs could block plans for a takeover of Formula One by Liberty Media.

Last week, it emerged that the American billionaire John Malone’s media company had teamed up with Discovery Communications to consider mounting a bid for F1’s parent company, Delta Topco.

The two businesses are understood to have requested financial information about F1 from the private equity firm, CVC, which controls the sport through owning a 35pc stake in Delta Topco.

CVC paid $2bn for F1 in 2006 using two loans – $965.6m from its investment Fund IV and $1.1bn from RBS. The debt has been refinanced several times since then and currently stands at just under $2.5bn (£1.5bn). One of its covenants stipulates that default will occur if any shareholder, other than CVC, gains more than 50.1pc control of the business. More ...

Schumacher 'not responding to stimuli' - report  (GMM)  Now two weeks since doctors started trying to wake Michael Schumacher, the F1 legend remains in a coma.

That is the news of the German daily Bild-Zeitung, reporting that while the seven time world champion has often presented reflex twitches since the anesthetic was reduced, Schumacher is still not responding to deliberate stimuli.

However, Bild said the former Mercedes and Ferrari driver's wife Corinna - who is at his bedside on a daily basis - is following the doctors' advice by continually talking to the 45-year-old, as there is evidence it can help a patient in Schumacher's condition. More ...

Newey or Gascoyne likely to team up with Ainslie (2nd Update)  UPDATE #2
America's Cup Racing
Adrian Newey could divert some of his time in 2015 to working on a design for Ben Ainslie to use in the 35th Americas Cup. The English engineer’s designs have won the last four Formula 1 World Championships and the he has been vocal about how he has found the technical regulations increasingly frustrating.

“If the regulations continue to become ever more restrictive we’ll eventually get the point where the car’s more or less designed by the rulebook,” Newey complained shortly after the end of the 2013 season.

“You’ll then have, effectively, GP1 cars where the differentiators are the engine and the driver. For me, it’s not Formula 1. One of the big things that differentiates Formula 1 from almost all other sports, with perhaps the exception of the Americas Cup, is that combination of man and machine, you can have a great car with an average driver and you won’t win, a great driver with an average car you won’t win. It’s about both.” More ...

Tagliani to run NASCAR Series in 2014 (2nd Update)  UPDATE #2 CORRECTION: Tagliani is racing full time for RSR in the TUDOR PC class with Chris Cunningham and the Canadian stuff on off weekends. No IndyCar.

No more IndyCar for Tagliani? Moving to NASCAR where he will earn a salary to drive rather than be part of the ride-buying cancer killing open wheel racing.
This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  Alex Tagliani is back in NASCAR. It is not in the NASCAR Nationwide Series like most would assume. Instead, he will be going full-time racing in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series (NCAT).

Tagliani, 40, will be driving for DJK Racing in 2014 in the No. 18, which is owned by 2010 and 2012 NCAT champion, D.J. Kennington. Kennington, a former NASCAR Nationwide Series driver, will continue to drive his No. 17 Dodge sponsored by Castrol, but will have an increased role as a team owner.

The team has also signed Andrew Ranger to drive the No. 28 Dodge in 2014 with sponsorship from Mopar. Ranger was unable to run full-time in 2013 due to sponsorship issues, but finished third in points in 2012. He won the 2009 NCATS title with Dave Jacombs Racing. However, Ranger has also made an impression in America, winning one ARCA Series race each year since 2011, each of which have come at road courses. Ranger, 27, has made 17 Nationwide Series starts, including a top-five finish in 2009 at Montreal, and made his Sprint Cup Series debut at Watkins Glen for FAS Lane Racing in 2011. More ...

Scherzinger to Move in with Hamilton (Update)  UPDATE Nicole Scherzinger is possibly the envy of Prince fans everywhere with sources claiming the former X Factor judge partied with the 'Purple Rain' legend after his epic double concert in Camden earlier this week.

The 35-year-old, who has reportedly reconciled with on/off boyfriend Lewis Hamilton, is said to have attended the British Asian Trust awards at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on Wednesday night which Prince Charles had also made a personal appearance, but it looks as though Nicole was in the mood for a long night of partying with sources claiming she caught wind that her friend Prince was in town.

According to The Sun, Prince, 55, headed back to his hotel in the early hours after performing not one but two concerts at the Electric Ballroom in Camden, but if he wanted to catch up on his beauty sleep there was no chance as it is reported that Nicole met up with him at the hotel. More ...

Ferrari race ahead with consumption, cooling tricks  
Ferrari F14 T
(GMM)  Mercedes is being touted as the early 2014 favorite, but Ferrari is reportedly also ahead of the game as F1's new V6 era dawns.

The German-language Speed Week reports that, when Ferrari-powered cars decelerated at the recent Jerez test, they sounded "very different" to their Mercedes and Renault-equipped counterparts.

Rumors in Italy say engine designer Luca Marmorini has devised an unique system that stops the flow of fuel when the driver is not accelerating, improving not only fuel consumption but also the effect of engine-braking. More ...

Nasr set for Friday role at Williams  
Felipe Nasr
(GMM)  One of the very last seats in formula one is set to be filled by rookie Felipe Nasr.

Last November, we reported that following countryman Felipe Massa's move to Williams for 2014, another Brazilian looked set to become the official reserve driver at Grove.

21-year-old Nasr, a GP2 frontrunner, is backed by Brazilian sponsors Banco do Brasil and Sky Brasil, and managed by Kimi Raikkonen's manager Steve Robertson.

Italy's Autosprint now reports that Nasr looks to have signed an agreement with Williams that will involve running in Friday morning practice sessions at about half of the 19 grands prix this year.

The deal for Nasr, whose surname rhymes with Massa's, will also include "a substantial number of testing kilometers" during the season, the report added.

RLL Dropping to one car?  
In this spec era of limited testing, one-car teams are at more of a disadvantage than ever. We expect RLL to name Graham Rahal's 2014 teammate soon.
This AP article by Jenna Fryer discussing Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing securing the National Guard sponsorship, indicates RLL may drop to a one-car team.

[Editor's note: we don't see it. In this day of limited testing and spec-car racing most development to the cars is done on race weekends, which makes a teammate critical. We expect RLL to remain a two-car operation.]

Bobby Rahal said the team was prepared for the GAO decision to go either way, and they courted other sponsors in case the guard returned to Panther. But landing the funding is a big step that will help the overall growth of the organization.

Rahal added his son to the team last year, but the results didn't show: Graham Rahal had only one podium finish, led six laps and finished 18th in the IndyCar standings — a year after he finished 10th in the standings and nearly won at Texas while driving for Chip Ganassi Racing. More ...

Ecclestone trial to begin in late April  (GMM)  German authorities are pushing ahead with preparations for Bernie Ecclestone's criminal trial.

The Suddeutsche newspaper reports that the trial, following a long investigation into the Gerhard Gribkowsky bribery affair, will begin in Munich on 24 April.

Authorities are reportedly expecting lengthy proceedings and so have initially reserved 26 days in court, according to Wednesday's edition of the Munich-published daily.

Suddeutsche Zeitung said the proceedings will take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so that F1 chief executive Ecclestone's attendance at grands prix is not affected.

The trial will take a break between mid August and mid September, the report added.

Honda to fill financial void at McLaren  (GMM)  Honda will fill any financial void at McLaren, after the great British team unveiled its new silver and black MP4-29 without replacing departed title sponsor Vodafone.

We reported recently that the Woking team and Lotus are tussling for a major sponsorship deal, rumored to be Sony Playstation.

But even if McLaren - whose sponsorship asking price is probably higher - fails to secure the deal, the respected correspondent for Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, Michael Schmidt, says the team is financially secure. More ...

McLaren to also pluck a top aerodynamic chief from Red Bull (2nd Update)  UPDATE #2
Peter Prodromou
(GMM)  Peter Prodromou may not move to McLaren after all so this rumor is downgraded from 'fact' to 'speculation.'

McLaren signed Red Bull's highly-rated aerodynamics chief late last year, but the reigning world champions insisted that Prodromou's full contract be run out.

Now, the German-language Speed Week reports that Red Bull has used that time wisely in trying to convince the Briton to stay put.

"The story is circulating that Prodromou has changed his mind and now wants to stay with Red Bull," the report said.

Prodromou, however, signed a binding contract with McLaren last October, and so a legal battle may ensue unless the great British team is prepared to accept a financial settlement. More ...

Racing Engines Should Move to Diesel  
Fans have spoken with their feet and wallets concerning ugly spec cars that lack relevance to road cars. When are racing organizations going to wake up and smell the coffee?
The article below from the Financial Express talks about Honda bringing diesel cars to India. While the article is very specific in its focus on the passenger market, see how racing organizations are squandering an opportunity to gain relevance by not embracing diesel technology.

How Honda Cars India Ltd may have been the last in line to offer the diesel option to the Indian consumers, but the company is confident that it can make up for the lost time. In an interview with Mihir Mishra and Anil Sasi, Honda Cars’ Sr Vice President–Marketing & Sales, Jnaneswar Sen was categorical in his assertion that when it comes to India, it is never too late. Excerpts.

You have launched the diesel versions of your car at a time when the demand for diesel cars is declining. Do you think an earlier entry into the diesel segment would have given you more volumes? More ...

Bernie to Slowly Step Aside from F1  
F1 Supremo Bernie Ecclestone speaking with Stefano Domenicali in Austin
This article indicates that another investment group is looking to take an equity stake in F1. Giving his pending legal troubles, age, and disappointment in the direction of F1, one has to imagine Bernie Ecclestone is seeking to slowly step away from the sport he has made so incredibly profitable.

Liberty Global and Discovery Communications have made a joint approach to CVC Capital about buying a 49 percent stake in Formula 1, according to reports citing unnamed sources. More ...

Ecclestone devised 'double points' to help Ferrari  
Ferrari cannot win a title with Domenicali running the team, so Ecclestone devised the double point system to help them
(GMM)  Luca di Montezemolo agreed behind closed doors that the controversial 'double points' innovation is necessary for formula one.

That is the claim of F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, despite Ferrari president Montezemolo having claimed on record that he is opposed to the unpopular idea.

"It's too artificial," the Italian said recently.  "I would not be surprised if the rule is soon abolished."

However, Ecclestone has told F1 business journalist Christian Sylt this week that the 'double points' concept was designed specifically to help the sport's most famous team. More ...

TV audience drop triggered F1's 'double points' move (Update)  UPDATE In Germany, Vettel's home country and where he scored his first home Grand Prix win last season, viewing figures were down by 8.7% - the number of viewers watching "at least 15 non-consecutive minutes of the sport" dropping to 31.3 million. While in Brazil, the sport's biggest single viewing market also suffered as the audience dropped by almost 10% from 85.6 million to 77.2 million.

In Britain, where in a controversial move the sport was 'split' ahead of the 2012 season between the BBC and Sky, the state broadcaster limited to just ten races while its rival had all races but on a pay-per-view basis, viewers were up by 1.7% to 29.1 million... though it is unclear how the switch has hit the figures of the two broadcasters. A similar move in Italy, dividing coverage between 'free-to-air' and subscription saw a rise of 2.9%.

A change from state broadcaster CCTV to a number of regional partners - a move made as part of the sport's quest to "ensure that Formula One coverage of every race and qualifying session is shown live" is said to account for the 29.8 million fall in viewers, though this doesn't explain the numerous empty grandstands at Shanghai year after year. More ...

Honda DP engine to make Sebring debut  After having been quietly developed for months behind the scenes, Honda’s new DP engine is soon set to be unleashed to the public as the latest offering for the Prototype class.

Sportscar365 has learned that a 3.5-liter V6 turbo, a variant of HPD’s ALMS and FIA WEC championship-winning LMP2 powerplant, will begin on-track testing in the next few weeks, with the intentions of making its race debut at the Twelve Hours of Sebring in March.

“We were hopeful to have it for Daytona but we understand why IMSA made the decision they did,” HPD technical director Roger Griffiths told Sportscar365. “We were unable to make the Roar test and it would have been unfair to other manufacturers just to show up here with no performance balancing. More ...

Brawn to leave Mercedes for McLaren? (7th Update)  UPDATE #7 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' after Brawn announced he is retiring from F1.

01/31/14 Ross Brawn on Thursday denied speculation he is set to join McLaren as its new chief executive.

The great British team announced this week that Eric Boullier is switching from Lotus to be the new 'racing director', but the Frenchman will report to an as-yet unappointed chief executive.

Brawn, having stepped down at Mercedes, has been mentioned as the obvious candidate.

But when asked by Britain's Sky on Thursday about the McLaren speculation, the Briton responded: "I'm focused on my fishing at the moment -- no discussions, no comments. More ...

Was there a security breach at Mercedes or Ferrari?  If you look at the side-by-side comparison of the new Mercedes W05 and the Ferrari F14 T you see a remarkable likeness between the two cars.  Did someone from one factory leak details to the other?  With the F1 rules being so radically different this year, to see the two cars so similar right out of the box makes you wonder.
McLaren rumors fire as Boullier leaves Lotus (4th Update)  UPDATE #4
Eric Boullier confirmed at McLaren
This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  McLaren have announced Eric Boullier as their new Racing Director as part of a shake-up of the team's management structure.

Boullier's appointment confirms speculation that he would join the Woking team, which has been rife since last week when Lotus announced that team owner Gerard Lopez was taking over from the Frenchman.

Almost immediately, the 40-year-old was linked to McLaren. However, Boullier has not been installed as Team Principal. Instead, he will work alongside Jonathan Neale, who has been appointed Chief Operating Officer, and other senior management staff.

According to McLaren, they in turn will 'ultimately report to the Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Racing, an all-new position, whose yet-to-be-appointed occupant will in turn report directly to Ron Dennis (Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, McLaren Group)'. More ...

Ecclestone fails to deny rumors over new F1 boss (3rd Update)  UPDATE #3
Justin King
We are upgrading this rumor from 'speculation' to 'strong' today. Is this just a coincidence?  We think maybe not given Bernie's pending trial and possible jail time.  Shares in Sainsbury's dropped on Wednesday, as the U.K. supermarket chain announced that its CEO Justin King had decided to step down after 10 years at the company. Mike Coupe, who is currently the group's commercial director, will succeed him when he stands down on July, 9.

"This was not an easy decision for me to make, and in truth it will never feel like the right time to leave a company like Sainsbury's," King said in a statement. "I am confident that under Mike's leadership the business will go from strength to strength."

04/07/13 (GMM)  Sainsbury's, the UK supermarket giant, has denied rumors it could lose its boss to formula one.

Last week, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone failed to deny rumors Sainsbury's Justin King is being lined up to replace him.

"I've no idea whether the boss of a company like Sainsbury's could do my job," the 82-year-old told the Guardian.  "Maybe he could."

A Sainsbury's spokesman has now replied: "This is pure speculation. More ...

Bernie's Ex A Spy?  
Slavica in white with Bernie and their two daughters
Bernie Ecclestone’s ex-wife allegedly worked for Yugoslavian secret service (UDBA), and may have some information about Stjepan Djurekovic, Croatian media report.

Slavica Radic Ecclestone is allegedly connected with the murder of one of the directors of Zagreb’s “INA” Stjepan Djurekovic , whom, according to Croatian media, she has been seeing a month before his murder.

The story of Slavica Radic and her association with notorious UDBA emerged late in 1997, in the then Imperialtabloid, when her ex-boyfriend Momir Blagojevic presented intriguing data and the whole national leadership, headed by President Tudjman, reacted. More ...

Sage Karam to forego $1m IndyCar money for sportscars (3rd Update)  UPDATE #3
Sage Karam could be another feather in the France family's hat, stealing the Indy Lights champion from under IndyCar's nose.  How? Their series all pay the drivers a salary to drive rather than a young driver having to buy their ride.  The $1m Lights prize money is only enough for a few races, yet you don't get it unless you run a full season.  How do you find the rest with NBCSN infomercial TV ratings?
Chip Ganassi Racing wants to build a driver development program around Sage Karam and is close to putting together a second full-time entry in the Tudor United SportsCar Championship that could pair the Indy Lights champion with Marino Franchitti.

Franchitti and Karam were both part of Ganassi's two-car program in last weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona. Ganassi team President Steve Lauletta said Tuesday the organization would like to keep Franchitti and Karam in a car if sponsorship can be found.

''There are other guys we are talking to, but it would be great to keep the momentum going from this weekend if we could,'' Lauletta said.

There's plenty of time for Ganassi to put together a deal because the next TUSC event - the 12 Hours of Sebring - isn't until March 15. But Lauletta said the program is taking shape.

''We're close,'' he said. ''It's not at zero, we're getting really close to making it happen.''

Franchitti, a two-time class winner at Sebring, is the younger brother of recently retired Ganassi driver Dario Franchitti. He said last weekend he has nothing else lined up yet for this upcoming season and hoped a strong showing at Daytona would lead to more work. More ...

Numerous IndyCar Drivers Expected to Run Formula E  
Hildebrand and Servia are both candidates to compete in Formula E
IndyCar racer and new Rolex 24 winner Sebastien Bourdais (LEFT) and Ex-Formula 1 driver Bruno Senna are among the latest group of drivers to express interest in contesting the inaugural Formula E season.

The Frenchman, who co-drove the Action Express Corvette DP to the overall win at the weekend, has signed up, along with his current IndyCar rivals Oriol Servia and JR Hildebrand.

Brazilian Senna, who switched to sports cars with Aston Martin last year, is one of 16 drivers who have now put themselves forward for seats in the FIA's new all-electric series.

Others on the new list include sometime grand prix racers Narain Karthikeyan, Christijan Albers and Franck Montagny, and GP2 driver Daniel Abt. More ...

Whitmarsh out at McLaren, on way to Lotus (2nd Update)  UPDATE #2
Whitmarsh now rumored to be moving to Lotus to replace Bloullier
(GMM)  Deposed McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh could switch to Lotus for 2014, an insider has confirmed.

Lotus' former chief, Eric Boullier, is the hot favorite to replace Whitmarsh at Woking, even though McLaren is not ready to confirm it.

"New car but no boss", read the headline at the weekend by the Spanish newspaper Diario Sport.

A team spokesman was quoted by Germany's Die Welt: "We are not talking at the moment about our management leadership."

On the other hand, Lotus' team owner Gerard Lopez has said he is replacing Boullier, but some have questioned Lopez's commitment to F1. More ...

Ecclestone to pay to avoid German jail  
Ecclestone may buy his way out of jail
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone could end his legal troubles and avoid up to ten years in a German jail by paying a huge settlement.

For the very first time, the F1 chief executive's lawyer Sven Thomas, although insisting that Ecclestone is "preparing for fighting" in court, said settling the lawsuit is also a possibility.

"I don't think that we can achieve a settlement before the trial starts," Thomas told F1 business journalist Christian Sylt.

"During trials settlements are always possible but not before."

A spokesperson for the Munich court, which is set to hear the criminal bribery case in April, confirmed to the Daily Mail that a settlement is one possible outcome. More ...

So why was Lauda at Ferrari yesterday?  
Niki Lauda
With the Ferrari F1 and Mercedes F1 teams not able to beat Red Bull for the past several years, and with all the recent changes at Mercedes, might Mercedes Motorsports boss Niki Lauda be talking to Luca de Montezemolo about a move back to Ferrari to replaced or oversee Stefano Domenicali?  One never knows, but for now we only have the following Ferrari press release:

An old friend was at Ferrari Friday on the eve of the presentation of this year’s Ferrari F1 car. Niki Lauda won the world championship with the Prancing Horse in 1975 and 1977 and today is non-executive president of Mercedes F1. This morning in Maranello, he met a man who was his team manager and was such a part of his Formula 1 wins, namely Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo. More ...

McLaren, Lotus fight over major sponsor  (GMM)  In the context of the death of Jenson Button's father, a new spat between McLaren and Lotus is unlikely to rate high on his list of concerns.

As for whether losing his dad had caused him to even contemplate his future in F1, the 2009 world champion admitted: "Everything goes through your mind, that's all I have to say on it."

Button's grief coincides with a tumultuous period at his team, the famous British grandee McLaren, having emerged from the miserable 2013 season.

Gone now is the title sponsor Vodafone, but also missing at the launch of the MP4-29 on Friday was boss Martin Whitmarsh. More ...

KVSH looking for the right ride-buyer for 2nd car (Update)  UPDATE
Mikael Grenier
Young Canadian race car driver, Mikael Grenier, is still in talks with KV Racing about driving one of their Dallara DW12s in this year’s IndyCar series.

Grenier, who raced karts, Formula Star Mazdas and Indy Lights in the past, got a test with KV Racing back in November on the Sebring road course in Florida.

“The test went very well, and I got along really well with the team members,” Grenier told Auto123.com on Wednesday. “Since that day, we’ve been working hard to put together a program that would see me drive the second car of the team this season. KV Racing has some sponsors that cover part of the budget. I don’t have to find the entire budget, but only part of it.” More ...

Sam Michaels to be announced as McLaren team principal  
Sam Michaels
The latest rumor, and is just that, reported by a number of well-respected F1 journalists is that Sam Michaels will be announced as the 2014 McLaren team principal tomorrow by Ron Dennis.

As the rumor takes hold over twitter, we must express that there is no official confirmation and considering Sam Michaels somewhat “lackluster” time with Williams, we find it hard to imagine he would become team principal of McLaren.

Pro Mazda
Bumgarner to Pro Mazda  
This article indicates that 24-year-old Filipino-American woman. Michele Bumgarner may be contesting the 2014 Pro Mazda Series. Although, the article mentions no team and is vague, Bumgarner does note that a successful season would allow her to do Indy Lights in 2015. Her ultimate goal is to be in the IndyCar Series in 2016.

The article does mention that she will be doing "warm-up races in Alabama and Louisiana, so we imagine Bumgarner will be at Winterfest for Pro Mazda. And she did run the two Pro Mazda races at this year's Allied Building Products Grand Prix of Houston for World Speed Motorsports, finishing 14th and 9th respectively. More ...

Di Leo Looking Unlikely to Run Indy Lights Full-time  
Matthew Di Leo on the podium at 2012 Baltimore U.S. F2000 Race 1.
We've been in contact recently with Innisfil, Ontario native Matthew Di Leo regarding his prospects for 2014. Di Leo, along with fellow Canadian Mazda Road to Indy drivers such as Garrett Grist, Scott Hargrove and Jesse Lazare, is part of a promising core of young up-and-comers from The Great White North.

In 2011, Di Leo finished an impressive fifth in the U.S. F2000 championship. He would follow that debut season with four podium finishes during the 2012 U.S. F2000 season, and a fourth-place finish in the championship.

Last year, driving for his own team MDL Racing, Di Leo ran a partial five-race campaign in Indy Lights, where he recorded a best finish of fifth at Long Beach. More ...

Webber to Team with Bernard and Hartley  

Webber Likely to Team with Bernard and Hartley at Porsche

According to this Autosport article, Mark Webber's teammates in the World Endurance Championship will be Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley. The nine-time Formula 1 Grand Prix winner, will headline the team's effort in the Porsche 919 hybrid.

Romain Dumas is expected to share the sister car with former Champ Car driver Neel Jani and Marc Lieb.

McLaren, Honda to work with top GP2 team (Update)  UPDATE
Nicolas Todt
This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. As predicted, it was confirmed on Thursday that McLaren and its 2015 engine partner Honda have teamed up with the top GP2 outfit ART.

Media reports had said the British team would work with Nicolas Todt's outfit to house and nurture burgeoning McLaren and Honda-linked young drivers.

Indeed, ART duly announced on Thursday that McLaren junior Stoffel Vandoorne will race for the team this year, as part of "a brand new and exciting partnership agreement with McLaren and Honda".

And McLaren said Belgian 21-year-old Vandoorne will be the F1 reserve driver in 2014. More ...

Ecclestone to replace Leo Hindery group in NJ (Update)  UPDATE The on-again, off-again F1 race in New Jersey may be on again for 2015 if new investors, reportedly the deep pockets behind the Madison Square Garden, can figure out what to do with Leo Hindrey Jr., the current head of the project according to AutoWeek.

12/27/13 According to reports in the US, Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone is seeking a new partner after becoming disillusioned by the current organizers of the New Jersey Grand Prix, Leo Hindery and Port Imperial Racing Associates (PIRA).

According to Christian Sylt of Formula Money, Ecclestone is looking for a new partner to organize the on-off New Jersey race because PIRA is in breach of contract of their 2011 agreement, citing non-payment as the main reason.

After originally being scheduled to take place in 2013, the New Jersey Grand Prix has been removed from the 2014 calendar, although it is becoming more and more doubtful if the race will go ahead at all. More ...

Di Resta back to DTM, linked with F1 reserve role  
Paul di Resta
(GMM)  With the Scot having already lost his Force India seat, it was announced on Tuesday that Paul di Resta is returning to the German touring car series DTM in 2014.

The 27-year-old entered F1 in 2011 as the series' reigning champion, and he is now returning to Mercedes, for whom he raced throughout his four-year DTM career.

And there are reports di Resta could combine his racing duties with a formula one role with Mercedes' works Brackley based team this season.

"It is emerging that Mercedes may ask di Resta to act as reserve driver for their F1 team, which will make him back-up to Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg," the correspondent for the Times newspaper, Kevin Eason, said. More ...

Marcus Ericsson and Kobayashi to Caterham F1 team (2nd Update)  UPDATE #3 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's news.

01/19/14 (GMM)  A returning Kamui Kobayashi looks set to join rookie Marcus Ericsson, marking a second consecutive all-new driver lineup for Caterham in 2014.

We reported recently that, having lost his Sauber seat and spending 2013 racing a Ferrari sports car, the popular Japanese Kobayashi had moved into prime contention to return to formula one with Caterham this season.

Italy's Autosprint reports that 27-year-old Kobayashi's deal is now effectively done.

Caterham is the last team in the 2014 pitlane to announce its race driver lineup, having competed last year with the all-new pairing of Giedo van der Garde and Charles Pic. More ...

Sorensen to be Lotus reserve driver seat (Update)  UPDATE See related news.

Sorensen also bought his Lotus Renault FR3.5 ride
There are rumors in Copenhagen today that Danish driver Marco Sorensen looks set to join Lotus as the Enstone based team's new reserve driver.

It emerged recently that 2013 reserve Davide Valsecchi, admittedly "angry" with the decision to overlook him for Kimi Raikkonen's race seat late last year, will probably not return in the role in 2014.

At the same time, it was rumored that 23-year-old Danish rookie Sorensen will almost certainly be Valsecchi's successor. More ...

NASCAR considering changes to the Chase, points system (3rd Update)  UPDATE #3 NASCAR is planning a "vast restructuring of the points system" in the Sprint Cup Series that would "greatly emphasize winning races and feature eliminations" in the Chase for the Cup, according to sources cited by Jim Utter of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. In addition to "expanding the Chase field from 12 to 16 drivers, a win in the season’s first 26 races would virtually ensure a driver entry into the championship Chase." If there were "more than 16 winners, the 16 with the most wins and highest in points would gain entry." Once the Chase field was set, a "round of eliminations -- similar to the NCAA tournament -- would take place after the third, sixth and ninth race of the Chase, culminating with the championship determined by a winner-takes-all season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway." Should 16 drivers not win races, the remaining slots "would be filled by the drivers highest in points." NASCAR VP & Chief Communications Officer Brett Jewkes in a statement said, "NASCAR has begun the process of briefing key industry stakeholders on potential concepts to evolve its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship format. This dialogue is the final phase of a multi-year process that has included the review of extensive fan research, partner and industry feedback and other data-driven insights." CHARLOTTE OBSERVER More ...
Lotus 2014 Financing Secure  According to this Autosport article, the financial troubles that plagued the Lotus F1 team in 2013, should be behind them in the upcoming season. Of course, rumors plagued the team throughout much of last season, as reports surfaced late in the season that top driver Kimi Raikkonen was not paid.

Although Raikkonen has moved on to Ferrari for whom he won the 2007 World Drivers' Championship, a financial windfall has come to Lotus the form of Venezuelan driver Pastor Maldonado, who has significant backing from PDVSA. Maldonado joins Romain Grosjean who teamed with Raikkonen in 2012 and 2013.

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