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DATE News (chronologically)
IZOD buying Tommy Hilfiger  Word on Wall Street is that IZOD IndyCar Series sponsor parent company, Phillips Van Heusen (PVH) is poised to purchase the globally popular Tommy Hilfiger brand, which will elevate the company to annual sales approaching USD$5 Billion.

This emphasizes the importance of PVH as a sponsor for the IRL. Though their IZOD brand is the one that is positioned with the series and Ryan Hunter-Reay, there are obvious opportunities across the entire corporation that could benefit IndyCar and their opportunities in foreign markets.

The majority of PVH revenues come from outside the USA as well. It is truly a global brand. The sales channels that have been established by the Hilfiger brand will also allow PVH to expand other brands into the European markets, especially IZOD and Arrow. More ...
Positive buzz for Brazil IndyCar race  It looks like some media outlets that never really covered IndyCar in recent years are beginning to take note now. This blurb appeared on SI.com:

The Izod IndyCar Series opened its season yesterday in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the "electricity and atmosphere for this event was highly impressive." Only 40,000 grandstand seats were constructed for the race, but an "overflow crowd" of 46,000 attended, including an "impressive array of 25 VIP suites filled with sponsor guests." At 7:00am local time on race day, there were "blocks and blocks of spectators outside of the gates waiting to get in" SI.com

F1 teams lobby for pit-stop rule mod  With an outcry from Formula 1 fans over the internet on Monday following a less-than-spectacular season-opening race in Bahrain on Sunday, certain team members are now considering a mandatory pit-stop rule, which would force drivers to pit at least twice as opposed to the general pattern of one stop per car at Sakhir. With 7-time World Champion Michael Schumacher having explained after the race that 'overtaking is basically impossible', Red Bull's Mark Webber also criticized the regulations after the weekend via his personal Twitter account. 'Wow! New rules, not sure huh?' the Australian wrote. 'Why do they keep dicking with it? Followed Mercedes power for the whole race, no chance to overtake - again.'
With the ban on refueling meaning that the quickest strategy was to pit once for the necessary change of tire compound, Mercedes GP CEO Nick Fry believes that the sport must not turn a blind eye to the Bahrain Grand Prix, despite its general reputation of not delivering fantastic on-track battles.

"I think it would be bad if we didn't react," he explained to reporters. "I think we've all seen a race which is far from the most exciting we have ever seen and what we now need to do is, between us (the teams), have a look at this and establish what we do need to do next."

Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner has given his support for a compulsory 2-stop plan, as has former team owner and BBC television pundit Eddie Jordan. "No, there wasn't enough overtaking and I would have liked to see two stops as a mandatory situation," the Irishman told Reuters.

Ferrari to GrandAm and LMP  Lola is apparently building an LMP 1 car to be powered by a Ferrari engine supplied from the inventory of the failed A1GP series. A wealth of engines are available at South African businessman Tony Teixeira’s liquidation sale. The Lola-Ferrari (sounds like an Italian gentleman's club performer-doesn't it?) will be an European LeMans-only project.

A new Ferrari Grand Am GT car is rumored to debut at the VIR event. It will be a true Ferrari-built unit-body chassis, making it a "real" Ferrari to collectors.

F1 to adopt WADA anti-doping standards  The governing body of motor sports says Formula One is on course to comply with WADA's anti-doping code. Deputy president for sport Graham Stoker says the ruling body is in discussions with the World Anti-Doping Agency.

He adds that Formula One would agree to all out-of-competition testing regulations and says the transition would be "relatively painless." The governing group already has doping controls in line with WADA standards.

Other major sports bodies are in step with the WADA code, and Stoker says Formula One was "conspicuous by its absence." CBS Sports

Chandhok backers get raked over the coals  Karun Chandhok's Bahrain GP weekend could be one of the most expensive debuts in F1 history with reports claiming his sponsors paid $500,000 per lap.

According to a report in The Times, it is estimated that 'Chandhok's sponsors have paid about $5million so that the Indian rookie can get his first drive in Formula One.'

And, to date, that equates to just over $500,000 per lap after a dismal debut for the 26-year-old.

The Indian racer failed to put in a single lap in any of the practice sessions, completed seven during qualifying and his race was run after just two when he caught a bump that spun him into a barrier, damaging his car's front wing and left-rear wheel.

So $5m, divide by nine = ripped off.

Merc developed engine amid 'freeze'  (GMM)  Mercedes worked "very heavily" on its V8 engine despite the rule-protected development freeze.

That is the opinion of Adrian Newey, amid reports his F1 employer Red Bull has asked the FIA to let its engine supplier Renault catch up with the sport's best engine.

"Mercedes developed very heavily through what was meant to be a frozen engine, whereas some of the others, Renault in particular, were very honest and said it's a frozen engine, it's cost cutting, we won't develop further," the designer of the RB6 car is quoted as saying by the Observer. More ...

Renault 'loans' F1 team EUR20m  (GMM)  Renault could regain ownership of the F1 team that bears its name.

A report in the Independent newspaper says the struggling French carmaker has loaned the Enstone based team EUR20 million.

The team is now controlled by new owners in the form of Luxembourg based Genii Capital, following a sale at the end of the 2009 season.

But the carmaker has loaned the team EUR20m, secured against the facilities at Enstone, which are valued at about EUR38m.

The report said that "if the team fails to repay the loan, Renault will get back full ownership of the team".

To be a fly on that wall......  We hear that the Penske Racing and Roush Fenway Racing are sharing a flight down to the NASCAR open test at Talladega next week.  We're not sure if the driver's will be on that flight or not, but boy it would be interesting to be a fly on that wall.
Lotus to enter Indy 500  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact today.  Lotus and Cosworth have entered into a new technical and commercial partnership with established IndyCar competitors KV Racing Technology to run in the 2010 IndyCar Series.

The Lotus color scheme for the Indy 500
The Lotus-Cosworth IndyCar will use the classic Racing Green and Yellow livery used on Lotus Racing cars in the 1950s and 1960s and this new livery will debut at the first USA round of the IndyCar Series.

Driving the Lotus-Cosworth IndyCars will be the former F1 driver Takuma Sato.

Lotus competed for a number of years in the IndyCar Series in the 1960s, winning the Indianapolis 500 race outright in 1965 with the pioneering Lotus Type 38, driven by Jim Clark, and narrowly missing victory to come second in 1963. More ...

Andretti to get involved with new Lotus team  
Mario Andretti at Long Beach in 1977 in his race winning Lotus 78
(GMM)  Mario Andretti on Saturday said he will get involved with the new Malaysian backed formula one team Lotus.

The Italian-American, in Bahrain for Saturday's on-track display of F1's 60 year history, won the world championship at the wheel of the famous black Lotus 79 in 1978.

The relaunched team is not directly connected to the original Lotus, but 60-year-old Andretti said the new management has asked him to get involved.

"There might become a little bit more of an involvement on my part, because they seem to be very proud of the brand that obviously they are there representing," he told reporters.

Asked what form his involvement will take, the winner of 12 grands prix answered: "We'll see -- stay tuned."

When asked to comment as an American on the failure of the USF1 team, he said Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor had been "shooting too high", and he called the absence on the calendar of a US grand prix an "unthinkable travesty".

FIA to slam USF1?  USF1 has been an embarrassment to America and to F1.  FIA President Jean Todt has confirmed that he will investigate US F1’s failure to appear at the start of the World Championship. 

F1 is definitely a disappointment,” said Todt. “And my colleague Nick Craw will not contradict me because he has been very close to this team. We were hoping that an American based team would be at the start. It wasn’t possible. Yesterday the World Council asked me to review the situation, and that’s part of the introduction of the new disciplinary panel, which was yesterday voted at the World Council.

“So I will report to the World Council and Graham Stoker as the President of Sport will pass the report to the competent people, and we will see what happens. When I say that it’s very disappointing I know that they have tried hard, made a lot of effort. As you all know Charlie Whiting went there and saw some facilities, and saw some cars under construction. Unfortunately it was not enough to have two cars at the start of the first Grand Prix.”

War coming in IndyCar over Delta Wing  Q: I'm not one for soap operas so forgive me please before I start. Is there any connection on a corporate level between the IMS and IndyCar series now that Tony George is out of the picture? If there isn't then why aren't the team owners talking to the IMS staff directly or at least making some kind of sublime overture to IMS about making the Indy 500 a "special" race in which there are a different set of specifications for the race? Maybe not even award points for the race towards the IndyCar title. I don't care, I just want the 500 to mean something again. Maybe then there would be an incentive for other interested corporate, or even privateer, efforts to join in the Month of May fun and not have to go through all the crap of dealing with the Honda/Dallara. As far as sanctioning, pay Tony Cotman whatever he wants to oversee scrutineering and tell Barnhart to just stay away. Draft a simple set of formula for displacement/induction/weight and have at it, folks. People would love to see this and it would be a prime opportunity for Swift, BAT, Delta Wing, Lola or whomever to come and show what their respective chassis are capable of doing. I know that sounds like a recipe for another breakaway series but at this point I really think that is inevitable. The current iteration is broken and is in dire need of a top-down overhaul. The Indy 500 is still special in my mind but the luster is gone now that there is no flavor and added spice of some team arriving with something different. It's obvious that it isn't really cheaper to have the spec racer of today. The big teams with the big money are still winning because they have the coin to wring the most out of the current package. The grid isn't leveled and the chassis and engine costs are totally way out of line considering how long in the tooth both are now.

Shawn A, Richmond, Ind.

RM: I know that the owners presented the Delta Wing plan to IMS but it hasn't been endorsed by the Hulman-George clan or the IndyCar series so it's entirely possible there could be a showdown (the last thing we need). But I think there is a corporate connection because IndyCar is basically owned and operated by Hulman & Company and I can't imagine one going against the other. The owners certainly seem to have the leverage (and Firestone is a big fan of the Delta Wing concept) so things might get real interesting in the next few months.  SPEEDTV.com
IRL to make chassis a competitive bid  The Izod IndyCar Series might end up with competition between its chassis manufacturers in 2012 after all.

Brian Barnhart, the Indy Racing League's president of competition, said this week the five interested groups -- DeltaWing, Lola, Dallara, Swift and BAT Engineering -- have been asked to explain their goals to team owners over the next few weeks.

"Then we're going to define the box of parameters a little clearer than what we have, and that will include a price point," Barnhart said. "Whoever says they will play under those parameters is who we'll go with."

Dallara is the only manufacturer in this year's series, and its new cars cost $680,000. The targeted price for 2012 is $360,000, a 47 percent reduction. But the latter price is driven by a manufacturer selling its products to all participants, otherwise known as exclusivity.

Barnhart made it clear the IRL prefers competition, which costs money for research and development. Therefore, he knows the manufacturer's price will increase.

"But how much?" he said. "If they say it will take $430,000 in a competitive environment, I'd probably take that because going from $680,000 now to $430,000 is still a $250,000 improvement."

If the cost associated with competition is too close to $680,000, the IRL will choose exclusivity, Barnhart said. Indy Star

Ron Dennis eyeing F1 return?  (GMM)  A casually-clothed Ron Dennis was spotted in the McLaren garage in Bahrain on Thursday.

The Woking based team's former team boss, who handed over the role to Martin Whitmarsh last year, said recently he plans to attend "quite a few races" in 2010.

The 62-year-old has since been concentrating on the company's chairmanship and the establishment of its new road car group.

Following a controversy surrounding its rear wing design, McLaren's 2010 car passed scrutineering on Thursday, with the FIA's Charlie Whiting telling the BBC that he has seen the MP4-25 "and I'm entirely happy with it".

Also happy is Williams' German rookie Nico Hulkenberg, who hinted that a fifth team could be set to join Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes near the top of the pecking order.

"At (the) Barcelona (test) I think we were either equal to or slightly ahead of Mercedes," the 22-year-old told reporters at Sakhir.

And the logos of the technology company HP will be added to Renault's single seater both this year and next, following the announcement of a "major" sponsorship deal.

No suspension for Edwards  UPDATE #4 NASCAR handed down it’s ruling Tuesday on Carl Edwards intentional takedown of Brad Keselowski in the closing lap of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, placing Edwards on probation for the next three races.

NASCAR President Mike Helton said the decision to place Edwards on probation, rather than dock him points or suspend him, were based on discussions held between NASCAR and all parties involved, including Keselowski’s car owner Roger Penske and Edwards’ car owner Jack Roush.

“As a result of these discussions, we have reached the conclusion that Carl will also be put on probation for the next three NASCAR Sprint Cup races, and Carl's aware of what that means,” said Helton.

Helton said further meetings are planned with both drivers and their owners to bring the issue to a close and “clean the slate”. More ...

Team 3G eyes Adam Carroll  We are hearing that the Team 3G IndyCar team may be talking to British driver Adam Carroll as their 2nd driver for 2010 alongside a part-time Stanton Barrett, Richard Antinucci and Tomas Scheckter.
IndyCar reality show in the works  According to AR1.com sources, an unscripted television reality show starring the more interesting drivers and team owners of Indy Car has been proposed to the IRL.  We hear that five teams/drivers that have agreed in principle to star in the show. THIS IS THE TYPE OF THING THE IRL NEEDS! They need American drivers for sure, they need a better TV package, BUT they also need to expose their interesting characters to the nation/world.
Alex Lloyd to drive 2nd Coyne car  UPDATE Dale Coyne Racing announced today that 2007 Indy Lights Champion Alex Lloyd will be driving the Boy Scouts of America #19 IndyCar entry at the season opener at Brazil. 

The first race of the 2010 season kicks off this coming weekend on the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil.  VERSUS race coverage begins at 11:30 AM EST on Sunday March 14th.

The team will be making a more formal announcement at the first domestic IZOD IndyCar® Series race in St. Petersburg, Florida in two weeks.

03/05/10 According to AutoRacing1.com sources, Alex Lloyd will soon be named as the driver of the 2nd Dale Coyne Racing IndyCar team racing alongside Milka Duno.
Rahal in 3rd Ganassi car  UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' with this news that Rahal will drive Sarah Fisher's car in two early races.

03/08/10 Rumor has it that Graham Rahal will drive a 3rd Ganassi car at selected races after the Brazil opener.  New IRL CEO Randy Bernard supposedly brokered the deal.
Wheldon to BTCC  Dan Wheldon may be heading for the British Touring Car Championship after this season. The Florida-based Brit's Canadian wife Susie wants to live in Europe. A move back home could lead to Wheldon competing in Britain's premier series.

With a 1 year old son now on the family pit crew Dan says "I love IndyCars and very much enjoy driving them. But there will come a point in my life I might be too old to do it.

"My wife wants to live in Europe and I have always loved watching all the touring car championships on TV. They are really good and exciting.

"So that's something I'd love to do. But it's further down the line."

Wheldon is no stranger to other categories of racing. When he is not driving IndyCars he takes part in US kart events at the highest level. And he is thinking about starting his own kart team.

"It'd be great to get it up and running so Sebastian can jump into a good kart as soon as he turns four!"

Bernard puts everyone on notice  
Bull-Rider Randy Bernard aims to ride roughshod over those who can't cut the mustard
In an assertive move, Randy Bernard issued a letter to all IRL staff upon his arrival, basically putting everyone on notice that he is a workaholic that is driven by passion, hunger and drive, and that he expects the same out of those who work for him. It was not a heavy-handed sort of letter however, as he simply stated who he is and what he expects.

He noted his biggest pet peeve being the word "can't" and stated equivocally that he is a "The Buck Stops Here" kind of guy.

He said that he loves to work and typically starts around 7:30 am and goes late into the evening hours just about every single day.

He seems to be a very hand-on kind of guy, who is making a specific point to meet and really get to know every single member of his staff at the IRL.

It seemed to be clearly implied that if you are just working for him for the paycheck, and you are not personally passionate and invested in the IRL and the sport, you won't be around long.

We are getting the impression that this is a guy who gets what he wants, but not out of fear, but by surrounding himself with people of similar passion and drive. That certainly leaves no room for the weak or weary, or even the mediocre for that matter; which is a good thing.

All of these things are great words, and we have every reason to think that he is the kind of guy who will walk the talk. We are quite sure he knows that he won't get a lot of second chances to get things right, with the current state of the sport.

Dodge to deep-six the Viper  Chrysler Group LLC will start production of the final run of 500 Dodge Vipers on March 29 and wind up the year with the launch of the tiny Fiat 500, leaked production schedule dates show.

Chrysler officials would not verify the dates that appeared on a third-party Web site devoted to Chrysler matters. But company and union officials confirmed some of the dates including the launch of the iconic sports car, the all-new Jeep Cherokee and a family of rear-drive sedans.

Importantly, the schedule shows the automaker on track, if not ahead, of promises to get some new or improved cars and trucks to market this calendar year. In the competitive automotive market, the dearth of new products under Chrysler's previous owners has put the Auburn Hills company at a disadvantage. Its share of the market dropped to 11 percent at the end of 2009, with sales having fallen by 36 percent. In February, however, Chrysler's share was up to 12.2 percent, and sales were up 0.5 percent. Detroit News

Atlanta to lose a race date?  An Atlanta radio reporter asked Clint Bowyer about the future of the track's two annual dates ... but not exactly the way wanted.

Strictly speaking, it wasn't a question.

"There's a lot of talk about Atlanta losing one of its race dates," he said. "And those of us down here sure hope so."

Bowyer answered as if the reporter had said what he meant. RBMA.com

RHR to go full season at Andretti, Antinucci with 3G  We are hearing that Ryan Hunter-Reay's ride at Andretti Autosport hasn't been confirmed for a full season, but it is expected to be. Team 3G plans to start in St. Pete with Richard Antinucci. Mario Moraes figures to land somewhere.
A1GP champ to IndyCars  Rumor has it that the champion of the now defunct A1GP series, Adam Carroll from Ireland, is about to sign a deal with one of the top teams in IRL.  Could the rumors mean Newman Haas Lanigan Racing?  Hmmm......
Atlantic Series goes belly up  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with this announcement.

03/03/10 More fallout from the Open wheel war in the USA that destroyed the sport.

We hear that the 2010 season of the Formula Atlantic Championship has been cancelled.

2010 would have represented the 37th season of competition of what was North America's longest-running open wheel driver development series.

Ben Johnston, the owner of the series and the team owners decided on Tuesday afternoon to cease operations for 2010.

Graham Rahal to NASCAR  UPDATE Graham Rahal figures by the time the IZOD IndyCar Series begins March 14 in Brazil, he will have essentially earned an advanced degree in marketing and promotion. What the 21-year-old really wants, however, is a job behind the wheel of a race car -- preferably a car without fenders. "I know there have been a lot of NASCAR rumors, but right now my focus is 100 percent on being in the IndyCar Series,'' Rahal told FanHouse this weekend. "I'm not just an IndyCar driver, but very much a fan of the sport and to make a big switch like that takes time to consider. As of this second, everything I have going is for IndyCar.'' So instead of joining Danica Patrick in the stock car ranks -- even as a part-time gig -- Rahal has been visiting America's corporate boardrooms hoping to attract financial backing for the 2010 IndyCar season. The timing, however, couldn't be worse. Motorsports FanHouse

02/26/10 Ed Note: This story is disgusting. For the record, McDonald's withdrew sponsorship because Paul Newman's passing meant he was not part of the team anymore, and the McD's sponsorship was born out of that relationship. But Graham is a legacy name and has the talent to match and should be as much an IRL commodity as Danica Patrick. Really he should be more of a commodity. Somehow, some way, this sport needs to become more about the drivers and their talents than simply a playground for heavy checkbooks. If they want to go out and play, then they shouldn't be surprised when nobody wants to watch. Polo is an amazing sport too, but I don't see it filling up the SuperDome with fans...

IndyCar driver Graham Rahal said the chances of participating in the IndyCar season opener next month in Sao Paulo, Brazil are "zero," leading him to meet next week with NASCAR officials to see if there's something available for him in stock car racing. "Every minute going by and by seems to cause more of a concern," Rahal said Tuesday from his home outside Columbus, Ohio. "I should be there" [testing IndyCar at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama]. Rahal, 21, son of 1986 Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Rahal, joined the free agent market late in the offseason after parting with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing when McDonald's withdrew its sponsorship to focus on the Olympics.(Indianapolis Star)

Stefan poised to take USF1's team entry - No  UPDATE #3 Formula 1 governing body the FIA has confirmed that the US F1 team will not compete in the upcoming 2010 World Championship and that, furthermore, no team will be selected to replace the American outfit, meaning Stefan Grand Prix's only opportunity now is to be selected for the 2011 season. With the Charlotte-based US having requested to skip the 2010 season but the sporting regulations not supporting any such demand, the FIA was presented with no option on Wednesday but to release a full entry list containing one less team than originally planned for the imminent campaign.

As a result of the US F1 demise, Sauber - whose entry was accepted after the initial selection - takes the car numbers of the departed team as Virgin Racing complete the 24-car grid with numbers 24 and 25, with no car 13 due to tradition.

An FIA statement reads as follows:

'The USF1 Team have indicated that they will not be in a position to participate in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship. Having considered the various options, the FIA confirms that it is not possible for a replacement team to be entered for the Championship at this late stage.

In the coming days the FIA will announce details of a new selection process to identify candidates to fill any vacancies existing at the start of the 2011 season.'

02/28/10 Stefanovic has also revealed that he had discussed a merger with US F1 - which has a 2010 entry but has asked to miss the first four races as its program is a long way behind schedule. He said these talks had now collapsed despite positive approaches from US F1 investor Chad Hurley.

"Yes, it is true we had some discussions stretching over many days, but these broke down completely on Thursday afternoon European time due to the inflexibility of certain players," Stefanovic said.

"I stress it was not Chad Hurley, who was open to discussions with us, but some of the other stakeholders who sabotaged the talks." AutoWeek

02/27/10 U.S. F1 shareholder Chad Hurley and Stefan GP boss Zoran Stefanovich are trying to put together a deal that would see their Formula One teams join forces and make it to the first race in Bahrain, sources have confirmed.

The logical scenario of a team with no car linking up with a team with no entry finally appears likely to unfold. Hurley has given up on pursuing a deal with Colin Kolles and Campos to pursue the Stefan talks.

The FIA will, in theory, have no problem in allowing Stefan onto the Bahrain grid if such a deal takes place before the start of the season. It would also support a name change, although other F1 stakeholders would also have to agree.

Life would be much easier for the FIA and its new president, Jean Todt, if a merger does go ahead. The alternative scenario--the cancelling of the U.S. F1 entry and a new bid process--would be far more complicated legally. More ...

F1 role for Adrian Campos, Chandhok to be confirmed  (GMM)  Adrian Campos looks set to retain a leading role in F1 this year, despite his Spanish team being taken over and renamed ahead of next week's Bahrain season opener.

Spain's El Mundo newspaper reports that the 49-year-old Spaniard, whose team shares were taken over by his colleague Jose Ramon Carabante, will stay at the team in 2010 as executive vice president.

Enrique Rodriguez and Meta Image, however, have left the scene, and Carabante intends to rename the Campos team Hispania Racing.

El Mundo also claims that a German investment group - amid persistent rumors that it is Volkswagen - is involved with the new structure, which will be launched officially in Spain on Thursday. More ...

Hakkinen or Brundle to be Hamilton's new manager?  (GMM)  Mika Hakkinen could become Lewis Hamilton's new manager.

It emerged this week that Hamilton, 25, will no longer be handled professionally by his father Anthony.

Finn Hakkinen, who is 41, retired from F1 after the 2001 season with two drivers' world championships under his belt.

The former McLaren driver is now part of the Monaco based sports management Aces Group, which is run by his own long-time manager Didier Coton.

Britain's Daily Mail said Hakkinen and Hamilton "get on well".

"It is up to Lewis and the team," Frenchman Coton told the newspaper.  "He is taken good care of as it is (by McLaren). More ...

USF1 an embarrassment to US motorsports  UPDATE Speculation is rife on the web this morning that the USF1 team has closed its doors and given up on the American dream to have their own Formula One team in the pinnacle of Motorsports, however according to the team’s co founder, Peter Windsor, the company is still operational.

“The FIA have told us to say nothing but I can say that I have no knowledge of the company being closed,” Peter told us.

While Ken Anderson is freely speaking about the situation, telling Autosport that the employees have been told to stop working on the car at their Charlotte based factory as there is nothing more they can do until the FIA decide whether to let them hold onto their entry until 2011 or not, Windsor is keeping tight lipped following the FIA’s advice not to speak about the situation at all.

Word is that the two drivers on the list for a drive, James Rossiter and already signed Jose Maria Lopez have given up on racing for the team with Rossiter moving to IndyCar and Lopez publically stating that he has given up on racing in the pinnacle of Motorsports this season. More ...

Mercedes GP to surprise in Bahrain  
Mercedes GP boss Ross Brawn knows how to design winning cars
Q: The lap times seem to suggest that Mercedes is about a second off the pace of Ferrari and McLaren. Are you concerned about that?

Ross Brawn: I don’t think that it is a second. You have to look into the details of what has been done. I think that on our high fuel runs and our race runs, when we get the car right, we are competitive. It’s just a little tricky to get the car right. Michael hasn’t carried out a proper low-fuel qualifying run, but Nico (Rosberg) had a go with lower fuel and it was definitely not bad. He ended the third test day with the best overall time. So I don’t think that we are a second away. As I said before, we are not quite where we would like to be yet, but it’s a moving target. That’s the nature of our business. The team that is leading is always the target for everyone else, and there is only one team that can lead - all the rest have to play catch up. We go through phases of being the leader, and phases of being the ones trying to catch up. At the moment we’ve probably got more catching up to do, but I am not overly concerned.

Q: How will you close the gap?
Ross Brawn We have an update for Bahrain. We decided not to bring it to Barcelona but leave it until the last moment. We’ve learnt to assess and run pieces without testing them. It’s crucial when you have seasons without testing, as you have to bring upgrades to races during the year. In Barcelona we had little bits and pieces, but the major upgrade will be introduced in Bahrain.

Q: How important is it to show off to partners and sponsors during testing?
Ross Brawn: The important thing is to do the work. And that work is to check out the brake system, check out reliability, and obviously check out handling. There is no point running with 20 kilos of fuel all day and looking fantastic. It is in no way representative of what you have, particularly with this year’s new rules, which mean we’ll start the races with a lot of fuel. We need to understand what the car is like on low fuel, but also what the car is like on high fuel. So we just keep our heads down and do our work. It will become apparent who’s done the best job at the first race.

Tony George to start Grand-Am team  Tony George was at Barber Motorsports Park last week for the IndyCar Winter test in plain clothes, but rumor has it he is looking to move Vision Racing to the Grand-Am and run Aussie James Davison as well as his step-son Ed Carpenter in a Daytona Prototype car.  Grand-Am is slated to also run with IndyCars at Barber.
IndyCar race in Quebec City in 2011?  André Azzi, co-owner of Fazzt Race Team, would really like to see an Indy Car race being held here in Quebec City. Mr. Azzi has already got the support of Quebec City's Mayor Régis Labeaume, and of the President of the Canadian Olympic Committee Marcel Aubut.

The objective is to hold this race in 2011 on the "Promenade Samuel-de-Champlain", on the shores of the St.Lawrence River. This would look really nice! Canada has already got 2 races, one being in the streets of Toronto. The costs would be minimal, and it could generate not less than one hundred million dollars. It's worth it, and I believe it is going to happen. We might see Danica Patrick and Alexandre Tagliani racing in the streets of our city. An Indy Car race here! How cool is that?

USF1 circling the drain  UPDATE #12 SPEEDtv.com reports that the struggling start-up USF1 Formula 1 team has formally petitioned the FIA to defer the team's entry into the sport until 2011.

Team principals Ken Anderson and Chad Hurley have offered to post a “substantial, seven-figure” surety bond as proof of their intentions to race next year.

02/24/10 The FIA's Formula One race director and technical-department head, Charlie Whiting, is believed to be visiting U.S. F1's facility in Charlotte, N.C., on Wednesday to sift through various rumors and reports to determine the team's state of development. Sources said Whiting flew to the United States on Tuesday and arrived at the Charlotte factory on Wednesday morning. AutoWeek

02/24/10 (GMM)  News about USF1's crumbling formula one team is heading from bad to worse. It already emerged on Wednesday that, with the American team admitting it is not ready for Bahrain, its lead investor Chad Hurley and well-financed driver Jose Maria Lopez are in serious talks about switching to Campos.

Locstein Group AG, a Geneva based global financial services firm, has now confirmed it will not sponsor the Charlotte based outfit.

"Locstein did engage USF1 regarding sponsorship, but when it was apparent that the team was not able to participate in the entire 2010 season, Locstein elected to withdraw from further involvement with USF1," the company said in a statement. More ...

Latest on the Harvick 2011 rumors  Kevin Harvick is considering his future 2011 and Sprint Cup sponsor Shell is also considering its NASCAR future. That company has been in the Richard Childress camp since 2007, when Harvick won the Daytona 500 for Childress and Shell/Pennzoil. So what Harvick might be thinking, what Shell might be thinking, and what Childress himself might be thinking are all good questions....that none of them are interested in listening to at the moment.

Harvick, it is believed, has been interested in moving to the Tony Stewart-Ryan Newman [#14, #39] operation for Cup racing in 2011. However, sources close to that team indicate that team owner Stewart, though a good personal buddy of Harvick's, may be leaning now toward not expanding to three Cup teams next season. And Toyota has privately expressed disinterest in Harvick, long a Chevy driver, and what effect that might have on any Harvick option with the Joe Gibbs camp is uncertain. Harvick, of course, has the option to move KHI up to the Cup tour itself, though he has not shown much willingness to make the step to driving for such an owner-driver-owned Cup team. Much, naturally, depends on sponsor Shell, which is one of the most lucrative sponsorships in this sport.

Childress would naturally want to keep Shell, regardless of what Harvick decides. MikeMulhern.net
Villeneuve to return to F1  UPDATE #3 Jacques Villeneuve is set to have a seat fitting in Stefan GP's car in Cologne on Monday, AUTOSPORT has learned.

Team boss Zoran Stefanovic has said that the 1997 world champion is close to a deal with the Serbian squad, which continues to push for a place in the 2010 Formula 1 field.

Stefan has already announced Kazuki Nakajima as its first driver, and is also believed to be poised to sign GP2 race winner Pastor Maldonado as its reserve.

The team's second car is scheduled for completion on Tuesday, and it is understood to be planning a media launch on Wednesday in a location close to its Cologne facility. Although Bridgestone has so far declined to release tires to Stefan, forcing it to abandon plans to test at Portimao this week, the team is thought to have decided that Avon tires would be suitable for the launch and a shakedown. Autosport

02/22/10 This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today and will soon go to 'fact.'  According to AR1.com sources, Jacques Villeneuve has brought $10M and has signed to drive with the Stefan GP team, assuming they get an F1 entry this year, which they should with USF1 going belly up.

02/20/10 Former world champion Jacques Villeneuve is close to signing a contract with Formula One hopefuls Stefan GP, team boss Zoran Stefanovic said yesterday.

The Serbian outfit does not have a 2010 entry but is hoping to race this year given that new teams Campos and US F1 have yet to test their cars or complete their driver line-ups ahead of the first grand prix of the season in Bahrain on March 14.

"We are very near to a contract with Jacques Villeneuve, and probably also with another driver as our reserve driver. But the first one which will be with us is Kazuki Nakajima," Stefanovic said.

02/19/10 (GMM) Jacques Villeneuve has admitted to reading internet reports in order to catch up on the raging speculation about his immediate future.

It has been reported this week that the 1997 world champion is the favorite to join Kazuki Nakajima in 2010 at Stefan GP, the Serbian outfit that does not yet have an official team entry.

When asked by Germany's Auto Motor und Sport what he knows about the rumors, the French Canadian answered: "As much as I have read.

"It is really difficult to keep track of what is happening. Do they (Stefan) already have an official starting place?" he asked the reporter.

When the convoluted situation was explained to Villeneuve, the 38-year-old wondered aloud: "Isn't it in everyone's interest that in Bahrain, all the teams are at the start?" More ...
Is Danica-mania already fading in NASCAR  Is Danica-mania over in NASCAR-land?

Well, that may be a bit strong, but the Nielsen TV ratings for the Feb. 20 NASCAR Nationwide race would indicate that they have at least faded a bit.

The Nationwide race in California last Saturday earned a 1.5 rating national, meaning 1.7 million households nationwide tuned in. Not bad, but down from Patrick’s first Nationwide race in Daytona a week earlier (Feb. 13), which garnered a 2.8 rating nationally (3.1 million TV households).

In the Indianapolis TV market, the California race—where Patrick finished 31st—earned a 4.5 Nielsen rating, meaning 51,000 households tuned in. That also is down from Daytona, which scored a 6.9 (74,000 TV households).

But Danica-mania has another chance to blossom tomorrow when the Nationwide Series races in Las Vegas. Green flag drops at 4 p.m. (ET) and race is telecast on ESPN2.

After Las Vegas, Danica will take a break from fendered cars and go open-wheel racing for a while. The Izod IndyCar Series opens March 14 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. IBJ.com

Versus TV decision to also cost IRL to lose Danica  Patrick is committed to driving an Indy car for the next two seasons while she dabbles in NASCAR. Her decision to stay in the IndyCar Series could be influenced by what Indy Racing League officials decide about the proposed DeltaWing chassis project and the television contract (a combination of ABC and Versus which has caused TV ratings to plummet meaning Danica does not get her "brand" exposed on TV).

At present, she's a fan of neither.

"I think we were all like, 'Are you serious?' and maybe they are," she said of DeltaWing officials. "Maybe it's (the look). I'm sure it's like fashion down the runway; it gets toned down when it gets to the street."

As for the TV package, Patrick said IndyCar needs to be on ESPN to succeed.  "The one advantage NASCAR has," she said, "(is ESPN) is like a speed junkie's CNN." Indy Star

Chandhok could complete Campos deal on Friday  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'strong.'  Campos team principal Colin Kolles on Friday confirmed reports that Indian GP2 driver Karun Chandhok is close to securing a deal to race in 2010.

"We are close to finalizing a deal with him," the 43-year-old German-Romanian is quoted as saying by India's Business Standard Motoring.

"However we will be in a better position to comment on this over the next few days," added Kolles, amid reports the 26-year-old driver's deal could be signed and announced on Friday.

Chandhok would be the second Indian to race in F1, after Narain Karthikeyan - who was also signed by Kolles - drove throughout 2005 with Jordan.

Karun Chandhok
(GMM)  It is expected that an imminent announcement will confirm that Karun Chandhok has been signed to debut with the new Campos team in 2010.

Multiple sources and reports claim that 26-year-old Indian driver has secured the drive with the assistance of a healthy sponsorship package.

The GP2 driver is currently training in Italy, and his father Vicky told the Times of India: "Right now, we can't say anything."

The Indian daily Hindustan Times said a contract can be signed, and an announcement made, as soon as Friday, once Chandhok provides Campos with a bank guarantee. More ...

Team Lotus USA  Rumor at Barber is that KV Racing is going to run a car, most likely Sato, with sponsorship from Team Lotus USA.  You can see that the KV Racing car Rossiter tested with was painted much like the old JPS Lotus.  The rumors indicate that Lotus is not involved with the team, like the original Team Lotus under Colin Chapman, they will just be a sponsor.  Will KV Racing be called Team Lotus USA?  Hmm.....
Senna to lose F1 seat?  UPDATE Senna's manager Chris Goodwin told the BBC: "There's no reason to think Bruno won't be part of it (the lineup).

"It's clear as far as we're concerned.  He signed a contract in October and he'll be in the car this season," Goodwin added.

Bruno Senna
(GMM)  Bruno Senna's seat at Campos may not be as safe as was previously thought.

In the wake of the Spanish team's Bernie Ecclestone-aided takeover by Jose Ramon Carabante, it was feared the Brazilian might lose his racing role to a better-funded driver.

But on Sunday the 26-year-old nephew of the great Ayrton Senna met with Carabante and new team boss Colin Kolles and was reportedly told he will not be asked to safeguard his seat by securing more sponsors.

But, officially, Campos' stance has been that it will only confirm its full driver lineup in "due course".

And Kolles told the BBC on Thursday: "We will make an announcement on drivers very soon." More ...

Merc to pay Schu EUR21m in 2010 - reports  
Michael Schumacher
(GMM)  Reports that Mercedes will pay Michael Schumacher just EUR7 million in 2010 were apparently wide of the mark.

Even the 7m pay-packet was controversial, with some insiders at the German carmaker arguing that Mercedes should have followed Honda, BMW and Toyota out of the expensive sport.

But the Swiss newspaper Blick, and Germany's n-TV, claim that the seven time world champion's Mercedes retainer will actually be EUR21m in 2010.

Mercedes GP secures another sponsor  (GMM)  Mercedes GP will reportedly unveil another major sponsor prior to the Bahrain season opener.

The German sport business publication 'Sponsors' said the funding was secured off the back of the involvement of returning seven time world champion Michael Schumacher.

The magazine said the sponsor is a German multinational that is new to formula one.

The Malaysian oil company Petronas is the newly branded Mercedes GP's title sponsor.

Soucek may test Virgin in Spain this week  (GMM)  Andy Soucek could make his track debut as Virgin's new 2010 reserve driver this week.

The new British team is the only outfit to have held off naming a definite driver lineup for the last four-day test of the winter, to kick off in Barcelona on Thursday morning.

It is believed Virgin is prepared to give the reigning F2 champion and Spaniard some time at the wheel of the VR-01 this week.

But the team's first priority is to solve the reliability issues that dramatically limited running at Jerez last week. More ...

FIA to make in-person visit to USF1 headquarters  We hear that the FIA is on a plane to meet with USF1 principles and take a look at their shop and what they have in place to determine if their entry in the championship should remain intact. We will keep you posted as more info emerges...
IndyCar drivers on tweeting rant...  
Paul Tracy

Paul Tracy, Oriol Servia and other unidentified drivers and followers seem to be a on a tweeting rant. Subscribe to their campaign of techno efforts to get the message to Randy Bernard. It seems like Tracy likes the guy calling him a "red white and blue cowboy"

Here area few more excerpts:

PT: 4 drivers from this continent at the first test . i think there is 3 wins for all of them put together . as guys like rahal , rice and me get to stay home and watch . if thats what you fans want ... enjoy

There area few very colorful tweets that you might all enjoy that we cant reprint here...gotta love PT

HER CEO trashes IndyCar in online forum  We came across this post by Alex Lloyd's former sponsor HER on a racing forum. We will reserve our own comment on this one.


I must say that as a fan of sports I certainly understand your interest in Indy Racing and your passion for a talent driver such as Alex.  That said, I must say that not only is the threatening tone of your email completely inappropriate, it is misdirected and ignorant.  As I’m sure you have noticed there are many sponsors on a car that come together to make running a team feasible; we are simply one of many.  All of these sponsors are in business to sell their respective products and or services and not in the business of racing.  With viewership down and Versus being dropped by millions of households there simply isn’t the same advertising exposure for Indy as their once was.

You should take note of the dozens of Fortune 100 companies who have left Indy Racing including McDonalds.  Perhaps you should blog about them.  Perhaps you should blog about how HER Energy is responsible for putting Alex Lloyd in more Indy races than any other brand in history.  Perhaps instead of blogging about your hatred of HER you should spend your time trying to increase awareness of Indy so that the sport doesn’t continue to die the slow death which is has for the past 20 years.

I wish you luck in all of your future endeavors and for the record you can note that is it emails like yours which is the reason that brands are leaving the sport.  No one wants to waste their time and money supporting a sport whose fans show no loyalty or support for the brands that allow their sport to exist.


Brett Jacobson

Sauber absence hints at Stefan slot  Sauber's absence from the latest entry list for this year's Formula One campaign has sparked rumors that moves are afoot to get the ambitious Stefan GP outfit a spot in the field for 2010.

Although Peter Sauber's return as eponymous team owner following BMW's much-publicized exit from the top flight at the end of last season has been ratified by the FIA, neither the Swiss outfit or drivers Kamui Kobayashi and Pedro de la Rosa appear in the governing body's season guide [see here - while Jose Maria Lopez's name does feature alongside that of Bruno Senna in the slots allocated to the Campos Meta team, even though he has yet to sign a deal with a team that has yet to hit the track!

While Sauber's absence may be nothing more than an oversight, YallaF1 suggests that it may say more about the state of the sport's newcomers than the health of Sauber itself. Reports claims that by omitting the Swiss team, the FIA could be preparing to admit Stefan GP in place of either Campos Meta or USF1, which appears to be in worse health than its Spanish counterpart after apparently losing the support of various backers. Lopez, who was reported to be taking $8m to the Carolina-based operation is now rumored to be on the verge of a switch to Campos Meta - hence his inclusion alongside Senna on the entry - amid speculation that he could even unite the hitherto unseen newcomers for 2010 [see story here].

That, of course, would free up a spot on the entry for Zoran Stefanovic to launch Serbia onto the F1 map - with a potential combination of Kazuki Nakajima and Jacques Villeneuve piloting ex-Toyota machinery - and spark a reshuffle among the numbering on the entry. That, reports claim, is the main reason for Sauber's absence, as the loss of USF1 would see the Swiss team move up the entry, with Stefan GP taking over numbers 24 and 25.

All could become clearer should Lopez, as expected, be confirmed as part of the Campos Meta line-up in the coming days. Yahoo! Eurosport

F1 wants Bridgestone to stay in 2011  UPDATE Bridgestone has confirmed that it has not modified plans to depart Formula 1 at the end of the upcoming season. "Bridgestone's position remains the same," a spokesperson explained. "It will not enter into a new tire supply contract with the FIA Formula One World Championship series; the current contract is set to expire at the end of the 2010 season."

[Editor's Note: Was the rumor started saying Bridgestone might stay to entice other tire companies to sweeten their offer?]

02/23/10 (GMM)  F1 is reportedly working to convince its official tire supplier Bridgestone to stay in formula one beyond this year.

The Japanese supplier, constantly involved in F1 since 1997 and the official sole supplier between 2008-2010, has announced it will withdraw from the sport at the end of this season.

Korean suppliers Kumho or Hankook were reportedly interested in taking over in 2011, but a new report in Spain's El Mundo Deportivo said the pair are in fact not serious alternatives.

The report said the teams are "very concerned" about the tire situation for 2011, and that talks about reducing Bridgestone's necessary expenditure are taking place.

El Mundo said Bridgestone's current annual spend is EUR55 million.

The rules for 2010 have already been amended so that 11 sets of tires rather than 14 are available to each driver per event.

A Michelin spokesman said recently the French marque "might consider" returning to F1 if the rules are further amended to demonstrate the tires' role in "fuel saving and C02 reductions".

Baguette chance of Campos seat 'small'  (GMM)  Bertrand Baguette rates his chances of a seat in formula one this season as "small".

Some reports have linked the Belgian, who turned 24 on Tuesday, with the vacant cockpit at Campos that is also being courted by pay-drivers Jose Maria Lopez and Karun Chandhok.

"F1 is my goal," the reigning World Series by Renault champion said.

Baguette tested with both Renault and Sauber in December, and told the French language dhnet.be that he wants to contest "at least one race" in 2010.

"There remains a small chance to be on the grid of the first GP," he said.  "(But) my budget is not enough.

"The sponsors want a (F1) contract before they help me, but to have a contract, you need money," added Baguette.

He acknowledged that he may have to look outside F1 for the 2010 season.

"There are possibilities in the Superleague, IRL and GP2.  Nothing is decided yet," said Baguette.

USF1's Lopez set for 2010 Campos switch  (GMM)  Jose Maria Lopez's switch from USF1 to Campos is expected to be finalized within the next 24 hours.

The Argentine rookie's manager Felipe McGough said a resolution to the uncertainty is possible on Thursday.

"We had six hours of meetings with the investors of the USF1 and the new owners of the Campos Meta team," he said.

"We discussed the possibility of a merger, but most important is that whatever the outcome, Jose Maria is included in the project," he told radio Cadena 3 Cordoba.

In a separate report in the Diario Hoy newspaper, McGough mentioned YouTube's Chad Hurley by name, who was represented in the meetings by his advisor Parris Mullins. More ...

JR Hildebrand looking at LMPC  We spied JR Hildebrand in the Genoa Racing LMP-C car today at the Sebring open test. Andy Wallace was also standing by, but said they have not determined a driver lineup yet.

This is a pretty interesting class that seems to have some good value to it, and a sharp looking car. The cornering speeds didn't seem to be on par with what we are accustomed to seeing in the prototype class though, but it was the first time on track for the cars, and we were told that a lot parts are not even available yet, so the teams had very little to work with in the way of tuning.

Earnhardt Jr. jealous that Danica now NASCAR's biggest star  
Danica Patrick is Hot.  So hot in fact that Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s ego can't take it
Rumor has it that a bitter feud has erupted between gorgeous female race car driver Danica Patrick and her NASCAR mentor, superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Dale, 35, is furious that Danica has been telling people she'll be a better NASCAR driver than he is - and Danica is upset because she believes Dale is only using her to make money and doesn't respect her driving ability.

"Dale is livid at Danica for talking trash about him behind his back," revealed a source. "He feels he's giving her entrance into the NASCAR world and teaching her his tricks - and she's saying how she can beat him.

"It's rubbing Dale the wrong way. He hates being bad-mouthed by somebody he feels owes him gratitude." More ...

Romancini to IndyCars in 2010  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.

Mario Romancini
02/22/10 Rumor has it that the Conquest IndyCar team will announce that Brazilian Mario Romancini will drive the 2010 Izod IndyCar Series under the Conquest banner.

Mario competed in Firestone Indy Lights competition last season for RLR/Andersen Racing and grabbed two wins on his way to 6th place in the final standings.

Conquest was also talking Tomas Scheckter but supposedly that has fallen through. Others in the hunt are Bruno Junqueira, Jan Heylen, and Ana Beatriz. The Other Side

Bia Figueiredo to run a 3rd Dreyer & Reinbold car  Rumor from Brazil has it that Bia Figueiredo will run a 3rd Dreyer & Reinbold IndyCar (along with Justin Wilson and Mike Conway) at a yet to be announced number of races. Official announcement expected today.
Soucek set to be Virgin reserve driver  UPDATE #3 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.

02/22/10 (GMM)  Confirmation that Andy Soucek will be Virgin's reserve driver in 2010 is expected within days.

Andy Soucek
We reported last week that the 24-year-old Spaniard, who is the reigning F2 champion, is set to sign with the new British team because confirmed reserve driver Alvaro Parente's sponsorship has fallen through.

Spanish radio Cadena SER now reports that talks about a race seat with Campos and USF1 were also held, and that Soucek also had "three very attractive proposals" to be reserve driver.

The report said Soucek was courted by Sauber and McLaren, and had even scheduled a forthcoming visit to the latter team's Woking headquarters.

The 24-year-old, who also has Austrian citizenship, ultimately decided to sign with Virgin because it was the best overall contract, the report added.

"In a few days (the deal) will be official; surely by the end of the week at (the) Montmelo (Barcelona test)," said Cadena SER. More ...

No Barcelona test for Lotus' Fauzy  (GMM)  Lotus has reportedly amended its testing schedule in order to give race drivers Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen more time at the wheel of the new T127 car.

After test driver Fairuz Fauzy gave the single seater its proper test debut at Jerez last week, it was believed the Malaysian would return to the car at Barcelona.

But as the 27-year-old achieved enough mileage to qualify for his FIA super license, Finland's Turun Sanomat said Fauzy has been sidelined for this week's final test of the winter.

The newspaper said technical boss Mike Gascoyne has instead penciled in Trulli for the first two days at the Circuit de Catalunya, and Kovalainen for Saturday and Sunday.

Chandhok signs deal with Stefan GP  UPDATE #8 This is downgraded to False with the following quote from the team: "We have already agreed terms with Nakajima and we expect to conclude a deal with Villeneuve," the businessman continued. "We think it is a good decision for us and it makes sense for him."

02/18/10 (GMM)  Karun Chandhok has refused to confirm reports he has been signed by the hopeful Serbian team Stefan GP. The Swiss magazine Motorsport Aktuell this week said Chandhok, a 26-year-old GP2 driver from India, will be Kazuki Nakajima's teammate if the outfit is granted an official team entry. Chandhok reportedly has $6 million in sponsorship to offer, as well as solid links with Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA, with his father Vicky Chandhok a high-ranking Indian motor racing official.

Karun Chandhok
When contacted by DNA India, Chandhok did not deny that he has been in contact with Stefan GP, who intend to field the withdrawn Toyota's 2010 package in 2010.

"I am surprised to see the reports emerging, I haven't signed any contract with any team as of now," he said.

Germany's motorsport-total.com reports that Chandhok could be Stefan GP's test driver in 2010, with Jacques Villeneuve slated to race alongside Nakajima.

"For now it is all speculation, but I wish it comes true," he added.

"I have been speaking to teams since August 2009 and for now, I have kept my options open," said Chandhok, who is currently in India.  His father Vicky declined to comment.

02/17/10 (GMM)  Stefan GP is reported to have signed a driver to complete its 2010 lineup.

Although without an official entry to race this season, the Serbian outfit is believed to have already signed the Toyota-backed former Williams driver Kazuki Nakajima.

At least one of the Cologne-designed Stefan cars has been painted Serbian national red ahead of its track debut, which according to rumors could now take place at the Barcelona group test next week. More ...

Viso to KV Racing?  UPDATE #3 Updated to "Fact" with today's announcement from the team.

02/15/10 KV Racing Technology and E. J. Viso had a successful test today at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida.

Viso ran 103 trouble-free laps (171 miles) posting an unofficial fast time of 53.89 seconds.  This was KVRT’s first test of the off-season.

“KV Racing Technology had a successful test today and I am very pleased with the way both the team and E. J. performed,” said KVRT General Manager Mark Johnson.  “This was our first pre-season test and it went off without a hitch.  The team did a great job preparing the car and it performed flawlessly.  The engineering staff had a solid plan and we accomplished everything on our check list.  I also want to complement E. J. on the job he did.  This was his first test with our team and he was professional and worked well with the engineers and crew.  Based on his feedback and the plan the engineers had in place we were able to collect some valuable data.” More ...

Now Kovalainen wants to go rallying...  
Heikki Kovalainen

Heikki Kovalainen is the latest Formula One driver to express an interesting in trying his hand at the World Rally Championship.

With former F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen having swapped to rallying this season and Robert Kubica competing in the Monte Carlo rally, Kovalainen says he too wouldn't mind a bash.

In fact, the Lotus driver was offered a chance at the recent Arctic Rally but turned it down. But that doesn't mean he won't say no to the next opportunity.

"I had a few offers, a few cars that I could've run there. Some really competitive cars," he told Autosport. "But it would've taken a long time. Just to go there and do the race and then the rally, I felt I would not have been good enough.

"I needed a week, I wanted to do good testing. Two weeks at this stage with a new team would've been wrong. Everybody [at Lotus] working in the UK and me doing two weeks of rallying at home, it wouldn't have been right.

"So I decided not to do it. Maybe in the future - let's see in the summer or next winter what the possibilities are. But if and when I do it, I want to do it properly and see what I can get out of it." Planet F1

CAN NASCAR survive much longer without Danica Patrick?  If you’re having a little trouble putting Danica Patrick's impact on NASCAR into perspective, consider the following - the NASCAR Sprint Cup Gatorade Duels at Daytona this year earned a 1.99 Nielsen Rating on SPEED.  The ARCA race - with Patrick front and center - stood toe-to-toe with the Cup boys and their twin qualifying races on SPEED.

Not one to rest on her Daytona laurels, Patrick sped into California this week appearances on the Ellen DeGeneres Show on Wednesday, Jimmy Kimmel Live! On Thursday and the Bonnie Hunt Show Friday. About the only driver who came even close to this kind of media attention this week was Jamie McMurray and he WON the Daytona 500.

Patrick is arguably the hottest media property in all of motorsports - not just NASCAR – right now and that’s without success on the track. If she ever masters stock car racing and starts to run well or win events, the television numbers, media attention and marketing surge will be seismic.

The bottom line is even without the top performances, Patrick is bringing massive attention to NASCAR - not the other way around – and that’s something that nobody could have envisioned as little as one year ago. Closefinishes.com

Mutoh to be Newman Haas' only driver?  It now looks that the only driver the Newman Haas Lanigan IndyCar team will run in 2010 is Heideki Mutoh.  Why?  Because he is funded by Honda.  American Graham Rahal and British youngster Alex Lloyd, both of whom were rumored to be part of a 3-car effort in 2010, cannot come up with the money to buy their ride so it is looking more likely each day they will not join the team.  The death of Paul Newman, who was good at attracting sponsorship for the team, has had a major impact on the team's ability to survive longterm.
NASCAR to keep wing at Superspeedways  UPDATE One of the things that was discussed Sunday morning at Daytona International Speedway is that some of the owners and some NASCAR officials have gone and whispered in Sprint Cup Series director John Darby and Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton's ear: "Hey, maybe we need to keep the rear wing on this car for the remaining restrictor plate races for the rest of 2010." NASCAR will replace the rear wing on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car with a more traditional spoiler later this season. But based strictly on the results saw on track during Speedweeks in Daytona the car package is very favorable. NASCAR and the teams still have to go to the other restrictor-plate track on the schedule, Talladega Superspeedway, and do a lot of testing to see if the tires and all the other changes they made to the car during the offseason will work the way it needs to. But if they elect to leave the wing on the cars at superspeedways, teams can use all the information gained during the last two weeks of racing, which will probably still be good for the rest of the season. That would eliminate a big variable at superspeedways that could cost the teams a lot of money to test.  Jeff Hammond of FoxSports

02/16/10 One of the things that was discussed Sunday morning at Daytona International Speedway is that some of the owners and some NASCAR officials have gone and whispered in Sprint Cup Series director John Darby and Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton's ear: "Hey, maybe we need to keep the rear wing on this car for the remaining restrictor plate races for the rest of 2010." NASCAR will replace the rear wing on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car with a more traditional spoiler later this season.  But based strictly on the results saw on track during Speedweeks in Daytona the car package is very favorable. NASCAR and the teams still have to go to the other restrictor-plate track on the schedule, Talladega Superspeedway, and do a lot of testing to see if the tires and all the other changes they made to the car during the offseason will work the way it needs to. But if they elect to leave the wing on the cars at superspeedways, teams can use all the information gained during the last two weeks of racing, which will probably still be good for the rest of the season. That would eliminate a big variable at superspeedways that could cost the teams a lot of money to test. More from Jeff Hammond of FoxSports
Atlantic team eyeing IndyCar?  UPDATE #5 One source told us that Simona is still going to be at Barber this week and will test!  The recent events have not shaken the team or its plans and they are not dependent on Cheyenne Mountain, while another source tells us she will not have the money to run this year.  We'll keep our ear to the ground.

02/20/10 Simona de Silvestro's Stargate sponsor has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy so we wonder if her IndyCar plans will materialize.

02/08/10 Word is that that Team Stargate Worlds/HVM is testing Simona De Silvestro at Homestead.  Maybe this is part of De Silvestro's oval orientation and the teams preparation for an Indy lights and Indy car season assault.  It also corresponds to the launch of the new game: Stargate Resistance on Feb. 10th.

12/09/09 Below are pictures from Tuesday's Team Stargate Worlds / HVM Racing test at Sebring. 

Photo Credit: Shane Seneviratne - Team Stargate Worlds

12/07/09 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  HVM Racing will test Swiss driver Simona De Silvestro, a four-time winner in the 2009 Atlantic Championship, at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway December 8 and 9.  The test will be a combined effort with Team Stargate Worlds, the group that De Silvestro finished third with in this year's Atlantic standings.

"Simona has been impressive in Atlantics and could certainly have a future in IndyCar," said Keith Wiggins, HVM Racing team principal and owner.  "This trip to Sebring is going to be sort of a litmus test to see if there's potential for future collaboration with her and Team Stargate Worlds."

HVM Racing will enter its third season in the IndyCar Series in 2010.  The team returns Robert Doornbos to the No. 33 HVM Racing car and is also exploring options for its second car.

12/06/09 An unconfirmed rumor has it that Team Stargate Worlds, in collaboration with HVM, will be testing Simona De Silvestro this Tuesday and Wednesday at Sebring.  Hearing that the team is doing some looking at Indy Car next year and this may be their first step.  Recall the team ran De Silvestro and Frankie Muniz in Atlantic last year with De Silvestro leading the points race until the final round.
Dalziel signs with Jaguar ALMS team  UPDATE

Ryan Dalziel

Ryan writes us to say, "I will in fact be racing in both series. I will be fulltime in ALMS with JaguarRSR and will compete in the non conflicting Rolex races with Starworks Motorsports."

02/19/10 We hear that Ryan Dalziel has signed on to drive for the Jaguar RSR team. However, we know he announced a drive with a GrandAm GT team as well, so we are not sure how those schedules will conflict, or if Ryan will be driving with the Jaguar team for just the Sebring and LeMans races. We will post details as we get them...
Campos investor to be announced  UPDATE The Campos Meta 1 team is reportedly set to make it to the grid this season with some restructuring.

Jose Carabante
Majority owner Jose Ramon Carabante is on the verge of taking full control of the team from founder Adrian Campos.

GP2 veteran Karun Chandhok - who has been rumored favored driver choice, and Formula Renault 3.5 champ Bertrand Baguette are currently vying for the seat alongside Bruno Senna.

Carabante has contracted Colin Kolles formerly of Force-India and ex-Red Bull technical director Geoff Willis for the interim.

Making their grid debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix on March 14 is believed to be a realistic aim, although other early races may not be feasible.

The team is unlikely to be ready in time for the final pre-season test at Barcelona on February 25-28, meaning that the cars will have time only for a brief shakedown before making their race debuts.

It is not clear whether either Kolles or Willis will have a long-term involvement in the team. Campos, who could retain a role, was unavailable for comment

02/15/10 (GMM) A redeeming investor for the embattled Campos team is reportedly set to be announced on Tuesday.

Amid rumors the Spanish outfit is unable to pay its bills to its suppliers, including Dallara and Cosworth, an insider told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport: "Within the next 24 hours we will announce our new investor".

However, suggestions that the investor is A1 chief Tony Teixeira have run out of steam, with multiple sources agreeing that the South African's promised money did not materialize.

A Spanish newspaper said last week that Volkswagen, as well as Bernie Ecclestone and Adrian Campos' existing business partner Jose Ramon Carabante, had joined forces to rescue the Valencia based team.

"I know the story only from the internet, and because I called our (Dakar rally) driver Carlos Sainz at the weekend to tell me what was reported in the newspapers," said VW's sports director Kris Nissen.

Former Force India team boss Colin Kolles has also denied his involvement, while the latest well-known name linked with Campos is Geoff Willis.

Briton Willis, the 50-year-old former Honda and Red Bull technical head, attended last week's Jerez test, and one photographer's long lens captured the word 'Dallara' on his notepad.

Last year for Edmonton IndyCar race?  This summer’s Indy car race is expected to shave at least $500,000 from its 2009 deficit, but commitments to the event should ensure the loss is even lower, sources say.

While the race last year rang up $3.9 million in red ink, more than twice what was projected, the shortfall is likely to be no more than $3.4 million when the cars run next July, sources say.

Northlands officials Wednesday presented a closed-door update for city council on the July 23-25 event.

Although spokesman Brian Leadbetter said later he couldn’t comment on specific figures, he confirmed they plan to cut spending further after reducing the budget by $3 million in 2009. More ...

Some teams pushing for extra Barcelona test day  (GMM)  Some teams are pushing for next week's Barcelona test to become a five-day schedule.

The rumors had already emerged this week at Jerez, where poor weather has affected two of the four days of running so far at the penultimate test of the winter.

Barcelona is currently a four-day schedule set to run from next Thursday through Sunday.

The Dutch website f1today.nl reports that moves are afoot to extend the test by one day. More ...

Klien could be new McLaren reserve driver  
Christian Klien
(GMM)  Christian Klien could become McLaren's new reserve and primary test driver. Rumors at the Jerez test, repeated by the Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper, suggest the 27-year-old Austrian is being considered to replace Pedro de la Rosa.

Spaniard De la Rosa was McLaren's main tester since 2003, but he is returning to the grid in 2010 with Sauber.

Gary Paffett is already a McLaren test driver, but he is staying in the DTM championship this year, moving team boss Martin Whitmarsh to confirm recently that the Woking based outfit needs "another driver".

48 grands prix veteran Klien, most recently the tester at BMW-Sauber and formerly Honda, said last week he is still hoping to find a race seat, but that "another year as a reserve driver would not be a catastrophe".

Mercedes next to exit F1?  
Dieter Zetsche
(GMM)  The newly launched Mercedes GP team needs to win grands prix in order to maintain the support of its parent Daimler. That is the clear message of the German carmaker's chief executive Dieter Zetsche, who told manager-magazin.com - in an interview to be published on Friday - that winning is "a condition" of the project.

Mercedes, along with its shareholder Aabar, has taken over the title-winning Brawn team and is fielding an all-German driver lineup this year featuring Michael Schumacher.

But Zetsche warned that, notwithstanding some expected defeats, if there are "clear signs" that Daimler's money could be better spent outside of F1, "we'll have to make a new decision".

"The fact that Aabar came along with us as an investor not only shows that we are distributing our risk, it is also a signal that the formula one team must pay for itself," he added.

"We take our guidance from Gottlieb Daimler, who said 'The best, or nothing at all'," Zetsche said.

Cars to use spoilers at Talladega  On Tuesday NASCAR met with teams to discuss the implementation of the new templates for the first Sprint Cup spoiler race at Martinsville.  During the meeting NASCAR indicated that they would still be using the wing at Talladega this spring.  However in a turn of events, our sources tell us that it was decided in a closed-door owner's meeting late yesterday that the Talladega race would in fact use a rear spoiler.
Takuma Sato to IndyCar with KV Racing  UPDATE We are upgrading this rumor to 'fact' as AR1 has learned that Sato will be announced as a KV Racing IndyCar driver in Japan early Thursday.

Takuma Sato to drive for KV Racing
Just this evening, our surveillance experts have intercepted and decoded a slightly garbled and coded message in Japanese that tells us that Takumo Sato in coming to IndyCar with KV racing. Sato was always a decent driver and seemed to be right on pace with his teammates, but mired in substandard equipment. We will be very interested to see how well he does in IndyCar where the cars are more equal. Don’t look for him to excel on ovals, but on the road courses, we think he could be a real surprise. So you can say you heard it here first.

Sato was rumored to be going to Gil de Ferran's new IndyCar team but that team never materialized leaving Sato looking for a ride.

We also hear that Mario Moraes has closed his deal and is a go for the other KV seat. So we will upgrade the 2010 IndyCar Silly Season page (above) to reflect these likely spots.
Stefan GP 'very close' to announcing drivers  (GMM)  Zoran Stefanovic on Wednesday refused to be drawn on the identity of the drivers for his hopeful formula one entrant Stefan GP.

The Serbian outfit is pushing hard to be included on the 2010 entry list, and it was reported earlier that Indian driver Karun Chandhok might have been signed for his $6m sponsorship purse.

It is widely expected that Kazuki Nakajima is already guaranteed one race seat, should Stefan GP be shone the green light to contest the forthcoming world championship with the withdrawn Toyota's 2010 package.

"We are in various negotiations, but it has not been sorted out completely
now," Stefanovic said in an interview with Italy's 422race.com. More ...

Campos and USF1 to merge?  The author of this article is putting two and two together and predicting that the Campos and USF1 team will merge. 
Krohn Racing quitting GrandAm?  UPDATE #4 Another source tells us the team will remain in Grand-Am, so will they run both series?

02/10/10 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  Talked to a supplier to Krohn and they are out of Grand-Am and have an SLR Mercedes to run in ALMS GT2.

02/10/10 A reader writes, Dear Ar1.com, I was reading your rumors page and the rumor about Krohn leaving GrandAm and going to ALMS.  I have friends who live in England that are telling me this is true and they will be using the new McLaren road car as the base for a new ALMS GT2 effort.  Jeff Hazel has a history with McLaren sports cars and has spent most of the winter mouths over there making the deal happen. Robert Smithson

02/09/10 Check out the Grand-Am entry list. the Gainsco car is entered as of Feb 9 at 2:35P when we looked a day or two ago they WEREN'T on it. so maybe there isn't much to that part of the rumor.

02/09/10 Our undercover people on the street have informed us that Krohn Racing is quitting the GrandAm series. This is interesting because they have quite a big investment in their unique chassis and driver team...etc. One has to wonder where they are going...ALMS perhaps? GT2 Ferrari or the new LMP class? We will keep you posted.

The same source says that the Rolex was GAINSCO’s last race. Miami hotel reservations have been cancelled.  Again, seems surprising, but.....

USF1 signs its 2nd driver  UPDATE #2 (GMM)  USF1's only confirmed driver Jose Maria Lopez has singled out fellow rookie Adrian Valles as an ideal teammate.

We reported earlier this month that Spaniard Valles, 23, was the leading candidate to complete the new American entrant's 2010 driver lineup.

Adrian Valles
Valles, who tested with Silverstone based Midland and Spyker a few years ago, returned to GP2 in 2008 and last season became the champion of the Superleague Formula series.

"For many reasons, I would love to have Adrian as my teammate," Argentine Lopez, 26, told the daily Spanish sports newspaper Marca in an interview.

"First, he is a young guy who is talented and experienced.  Secondly, because I know him from our time together in the Renault driver development program," he added. More ...

Rahal and Hildebrand to Coyne  UPDATE Hildebrand is in Sebring this week testing for Dale Coyne Racing.

02/03/10 Dale Coyne has named Graham Rahal as a key target to replace Justin Wilson in his IndyCar squad.  Rahal has not been re-signed by Newman Haas Lanigan Racing where he has just one IndyCar win.

"Obviously Graham Rahal would be our first candidate, for both his speed and the image we'd want to portray for the #19 car," Coyne told Racer magazine's website. "Graham's a proven winner who matured a lot as team leader at Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing last year."

Coyne said he is eyeing J.R. Hildebrand for his 2nd car.

"He's Indy Lights champ, and I know he'd shine in the big cars," said Coyne. "If [Atlantic Series champion] John Edwards or [runner-up] Jonathan Summerton had Indy Lights - particularly, oval - experience, I'd add them to the list."

Waltrip to run 2011 Daytona 500  Michael Waltrip wants to make the 2011 Daytona 500 his last competitive event in the Sprint Cup series. "I want the Daytona 500 to be my last race,'' said the owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, who won this event in 2001 and 2003. "I just [don't] want this one to be it. So we'll work on trying to figure out if we can talk someone into sponsoring me for 2011. Twenty-five is a nice even number. Well, not an even number, but it's funny.'' Waltrip, who already plans to run at Talladega later this year, hinted several times during Speedweeks he wanted this to be his last 500. But as he sat through a second red flag to repair a hole in Daytona International Speedway he said the plan is for one more. "I'd like to run Talladega and run here one more time and then be done,'' he said. "That would be 25 of them in a row. That would be cool.'' ESPN
Willis linked with Campos/Dallara?  (GMM)  Geoff Willis was an unexpected attendee at last week's formula one test at Jerez.

The Briton, formerly one of the sport's prominent technical figures, mysteriously left Red Bull in the middle of last season.

He has also worked with Williams and McLaren, and more recently was ousted from his position at Honda.

There was speculation late in 2009 that he could return this year with Ferrari or Sauber, but the Swiss camp earlier this month said its technical team will continue to be led by Willy Rampf.

Rumors are now linking the 50-year-old with the new Spanish entrant Campos, or its Italian car constructor Dallara.

Angstadt on his way out?  
Terry Angstadt (middle)
Is Terry Angstadt on the way out? This article appeared in the Indianapolis Business Journal today.

Though we are willing to reserve judgment or speculation on the new CEO, we were a little surprised that the IRL did not look to promote from within on this one.

Angstadt has a lot of experience, and has been the primary force behind greatly increased revenues recently. We can also say that Terry is a very forward looking guy, which is something this sport has been missing since well into the CART days. Open wheel racing needs to watch the road ahead, but also plan for the whole race.

You can race lap by lap. and rack up fast laps in P1, but when you are stuck in the pits in the closing laps and someone else sails by for the checker, nobody will even remember your name.

The IRL does need to put themselves in a better immediate state of business health for sure. However, they also need to be building a solid foundation for future growth. We know Terry has his eye on that ball, even if it is not readily apparent.
Unique engine mounting is 2010 Ferrari 'secret'  UPDATE Note: The Swift Champ Cars 1997 -2000 had this same engine angle as well.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

02/10/10 (GMM)  The secret of Ferrari's new formula one car could be the unique angle of its engine mounting, according to reports.

Reports in France's Auto Hebdo as well as the Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport said the V8 unit has been fitted to the F10 with a 3.5 degree angle.

Sloping towards the front of the car, the idea was seen in the innovative Arrows A2 of 1979.

31 years on, the design in 2010 could provide crucial additional airflow beneath the car to feed the more sophisticated and larger 'double diffuser'. More ...

Michelin in talks for F1 return  (GMM)  Michelin is in talks with the FIA about a possible return to formula one.

With Bridgestone pulling out as the sport's official sole supplier at the end of 2010, the French tire marque's Jean-Dominique Senard told Bloomberg that "formal discussions" with the governing body are underway.

Michelin pulled out of F1 at the end of 2006, disgruntled by the FIA's move to impose a single-tire formula by tender.

"We might consider returning but there are some very clear conditions," Senard said in an interview in Paris.

He said the tire rules need changing to "show the performance they can bring, notably in terms of fuel saving and CO2 reductions".

An FIA spokesman would not comment.

AAR may throw their hat in IndyCar concept game  Dear AutoRacing1.com, After looking at the DeltaWing Indy car I thought AAR (Dan Gurney's Company) might as well throw their hat into the ring.  Our 1981 Eagle has been sitting here for the last 29 years and I thought I would roll it out of the shop and take a couple pictures of it for you. Justin Gurney

The resemblance at the rear is striking Side View Front View

Campos leaves team, to be Volkswagen in 2011  UPDATE #2 (GMM)  A Spanish newspaper insists it is right about a reported rescue package for the embattled Campos team.

In response to Thursday's report, both Volkswagen and Colin Kolles denied they are part of the rescue plan.

But in a subsequent report, AS said Volkswagen’s denial was "expected", because the German carmaker is not ready for the news to be divulged.

The newspaper said F2 champion Andy Soucek is a possible driver for the post-Campos takeover, adding that the Spaniard could alternatively accept an offer to be Sauber's reserve driver.

AS said Adrian Campos has relinquished his shareholding, but that he might be retained in a symbolic position in 2010, with the team also retaining its current name for now.

02/11/10 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today.  Volkswagen and Colin Kolles on Thursday denied reports they are part of a package to rescue the beleaguered Campos team.

Earlier Spanish reports said Campos team president Jose Ramon Carabante had joined forces with Bernie Ecclestone to get the team running in 2010 ahead of a Volkswagen takeover for 2011.

More rumors on Thursday said both Adrian Campos and commercial boss Daniele Audetto will be departing, with former Force India team chief Kolles taking over at the helm.

"I do not work for Campos," the German-Romanian said.

"I know who I work for, what I do and why I do it," Kolles, who has also been linked with the hopeful Serbian entrant Stefan GP, added.

When also asked by the German website motorsport-total.com, Volkswagen's motor sport representative Hans-Joachim Stuck also denied the report of the Spanish newspaper Diario AS.

"That is complete nonsense," he said. More ...

Another team jumps from Grand-Am to ALMS?  We aren’t sure what is going on over there, but this is the third team in one week that we hear is vacating the Grand-Am series. Gainsco is heavily rumored to be getting out, which is especially shocking. Those rumors have been floating around all week and the team or series has not responded in the media either, which seems to make the rumor more telling. Then, Krohn Racing jumped ship to run the GT class in ALMS.

Now we have Level 5 Motorsports entering the LMP Challenge series. We have not confirmed that they were going to run the entire Grand-Am series, and may have been a Rolex only effort, but on their website, it is themed as a Rolex DP team. So it seems odd that the team owner and primary driver would enter another series, yet stay in the Grand-Am series. Either way, something is in the soup at Grand-Am, and we would like to know what it is...
IRL to take over Champ Car event in Houston  On the verge of a new racing season, the Bayou City is close to anchoring its motor sports schedule for 2011 as well.

The IZOD IndyCar Series and Mi-Jack Promotions are nearing a deal that would return Houston to the open-wheel racing circuit in October 2011.

“We have a handshake deal with the IndyCar Series, and both sides are working toward a deal that would have Houston on the schedule in 2011,” said Chuck Kosich, general manager of Mi-Jack Promotions. “The IRL (Indy Racing League) wants to be here in the worst way.”

After holding CART races downtown from 1998 to 2001, Mi-Jack moved the Grand Prix of Houston to Reliant Park for Champ Car events in 2006 and 2007.  More ...

Guy Ligier buys into Magny Cours  (GMM)  Guy Ligier is set to buy into the beleaguered former French grand prix venue Magny Cours.

The Circuit de Nevers featured on the formula one calendar between 1991 and 2008, meaning France is no longer represented on the sport's annual schedule.

79-year-old Frenchman Ligier's eponymous F1 team was headquartered at Magny Cours before it was sold on and renamed by Alain Prost in the 90s.

The regional Le Journal du Centre newspaper said the Ligier/Magny Cours deal is to the tune of EUR400,000.

Senna back on market, Grosjean has sponsor for 2010 seat  (GMM)  With just a month until the 2010 season begins, there remains much uncertainty about the composition of many teams -- including one that does not even have an official entry.

It emerges that Stefan GP has shipped garage and team equipment not only to the Bahrain opener, but also to Australia and Malaysia, with another container set to be transported to China for the April event in Shanghai.

If the Serbian outfit is granted an entry, Kazuki Nakajima is believed set for one race cockpit, with Ralf Schumacher linked strongly with the other. More ...

Delta Wing under wraps?  
Let's cover up something we don't want you to notice, with a BRIGHT RED tarp. Is this the Delta Wing car?
Setup for the Chicago Auto Show is taking place, and in the Bridgestone display, there is an interesting shape under a bright red tarp. First of all, we find it interesting that the tarp would be red, so as to attract attention to something they don't want us to see...yet.

Rumor is, its the infamous Delta Wing concept car that is jockeying heavily to be the 2012 IndyCar chassis.
A new Gurney at Indy?  Once again our agents are pulling all kinds of hot rumors and news off the street for us to bring to you. Here is a particularly good one:

Rahal-Letterman is rumored to be setting up for at least an Indy 500 entry with the legendary Gurney name returning to the brickyard. This is particularly interesting, as this would cause Alex to miss a Grand-Am race. We also hear that hotel reservations for the Miami race for the team have been cancelled. Could that team also be looking to move out, along with Krohn? We have to wonder what is bringing this on in the GrandAm offices.
Petrov seat in doubt, Villeneuve still eyes F1 return  UPDATE (GMM)  Vitaly Petrov's management has denied reports the Russian driver's deal with Renault could be set to collapse.

The 25-year-old rookie, who finished last year's GP2 championship in second place, is signed to be Robert Kubica's teammate this year, but it emerged this week that the reportedly EUR15 million promised in funding to the newly Genii Capital-managed team may not materialize.

"The driver's management denies all rumors, which were due to a misunderstanding in an interview with the driver's father," Petrov's management Manuscript Agency said on Tuesday.

"We would like to inform you that the Renault F1 Team and Vitaly Petrov's management have reached full agreement and have signed a binding contract for 2010.

"Vitaly will drive for the team in all 19 Grands Prix counting for this year's FIA formula one world championship," the statement added. More ...

New teams may miss 3 races  (GMM)  F1's struggling new teams could miss the season opener next month and escape penalty.

Previously, failing to contest a round of the world championship for a reason other than 'force majeure' resulted in a total loss of rights and exclusion from the sport.

But under the new version of the Concorde Agreement, teams may now miss three races before their official entry is handed back to the FIA, according to a report in the British newspaper Sunday Express.

"I think we won't see Campos and I don't think we will see the Americans (USF1)," F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone is quoted as saying. More ...

Danica to say yes to Nationwide race at Daytona  UPDATE JR Motorsports today announced that driver Danica Patrick will enter Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series Drive4COPD 300 at Daytona Int'l Speedway. Patrick "made the decision after finishing sixth" Saturday in the ARCA Racing Series Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200, which marked her pro stock car debut in JR Motorsports’ No. 7 Chevy.

02/07/10 Danica Patrick will enter Saturday's Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway, a source close to the situation told ESPN.com on Sunday.  The IndyCar Series star who is beginning the transition to NASCAR made the decision after finishing sixth in Saturday's ARCA debut at DIS. An official announcement will be made on Monday.

Patrick will be guaranteed a spot in the field using the points Brad Keselowski accumulated in the No. 88 for JR Motorsports last season. More ...

NASCAR star to try IndyCar  One of the stars of NASCAR (hint: he was one of the 24 racing in the Budweiser Shootout, a.k.a. Bud Crashfest, at Daytona tonight – FOX, TSN2 at 8 p.m.) is negotiating with an open-wheel team to drive in a race sometime this season.

The deal is in the early stages, but the driver has told the team owner that he’s always thought about doing it and the only condition is that it would have to be at a track he’s familiar with so he could just pretty much jump in the car and get out there. Norris McDonald

Merlo to IndyCar  
Nelson Merlo
Brazilian Nelson Merlo is rumored to be eyeing IndyCar in 2010.  Merlo tested an IndyCar for the first time last week with KV Racing in Florida.  We also hear he may only run the first IndyCar race of the year, which is in his home country of Brazil.

Merlo's racing career started in 1995 in Brazilian karting, where he would stay until 2003 when he moved to the Formula São Paulo circuit. He won the championship there during 2003 and 2004.

In 2005, he moved to the Brazilian Formula Renault circuit and won the championship again, setting victory records in the process. He tested at Paul Ricard (France) with Formula World Series 3.5.

In 2006, he moved to the South American Formula Three championship, and won the championship in 2008.

Campos hopes to solve team problems by Monday  UPDATE #2 (GMM)  Adrian Campos is hoping to get plans for his formula one team back on track by Monday.

Amid intense speculation about the health of the Spanish foray Campos Meta 1, and claims it will have to hand back its official entry for 2010, 49-year-old team principal Campos spoke to Britain's BBC Sport.

"We are trying to have everything solved on Monday -- and people are saying a lot of stupid things.  Some are true and some are not," said the former Minardi driver.

"We are working very hard to be in Bahrain," he added.

But Campos would not confirm that a part of the team is to be sold to the South African entrepreneur Tony Teixeira.

"The problem is we have confidentiality clauses in everything we are doing," he said.

He did however admit that payments to the team's Italian car constructor Dallara have not always been on time.

"Sometimes we pay the 7m Euros (installment) to Dallara and sometimes we don't have the money.  We are trying to solve the problem," said Campos. More ...

Robby Gordon setting up for Indy 500 run  Our spies have observed strong indications that Robby Gordon is working on an Indy 500 program. He feels he has unfinished business there, and has come too close too many times not to keep trying as long as he is able. However, there seems to be some notions that the Indy 500 might not be the only race he runs in the open wheel series. From the bits and pieces we are putting together, he may be partnering in ownership with another team. We are posting this rumor and rating it as "Strong" after Robby's own comments about his Sprint Cup car running a full season, but not with him behind the wheel. We will keep you posted as we hear more.
Companies House threatens to dissolve Force India  UPDATE (GMM)  Team owner, director and co-owner Vijay Mallya on Friday played down reports Force India may be unable to race in 2010.

An earlier report in the Daily Telegraph newspaper said the Silverstone based team faces dissolution by the UK's Companies House for failing to lodge its 2008 financial accounts.

"It is not unknown for companies to file their annual returns late, the reasons for which are varied," Indian billionaire Mallya, 54, said in a statement.

He confirmed that Companies House has granted Force India an extension until February 25 to lodge the tardy paperwork.

"We are taking all necessary steps to ensure filing is made on or before that date.  So Force India's participation in the championship is not, and will not, be in jeopardy," said Mallya.

Meanwhile, a team spokeswoman clarified that Force India's 2010 car, the Mercedes-powered VJM03, made its debut at Silverstone on Wednesday of this week, not on Thursday as was previously reported. More ...

F1 risks losing another manufacturer  (GMM)  Formula one risks losing yet another manufacturer if it does not act appropriately amid the engine freeze.

That is the view of Christian Horner, boss of the Renault-powered Red Bull team.

Amid suggestions that Mercedes' V8 unit sped ahead of its rivals in 2009 despite the mandated development moratorium, pressure was exerted on the FIA to allow the lagging engine makers to catch up.

But when the FIA said it would only allow the best engines to de-tune for 2010, no agreement on equalization within the teams was reached. More ...

track news
Professor predicts Indy Speedway will go out of business  Two unrelated announcements last week in Indianapolis continued story lines that aren’t improving with the passage of time.

The biggest eye-opener was Tony George’s sudden shutdown of Vision Racing, the Indy Racing League team. By pulling his car from the league, prospects for fielding a full slate of 33 cars to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 got that much harder.

Earlier the same day, Jan. 29, Eli Lilly and Co. reported a decline in operating profit in the fourth quarter. But the news about its Effient blood thinner was worse. Sales of Effient, Lilly’s newest drug and one of the company’s hopes for surviving an upcoming string of patent losses, plunged and prompted investors to sell Lilly stock. More ...

Nakajima, Schumacher linked with touted Campos/Stefan solution  UPDATE #2 (GMM)  Ralf Schumacher has confirmed that Stefan GP is interested in possibly hiring him as a driver.

As the Serbian outfit pushes hard to receive an official entry to debut in 2010, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone this week said 34-year-old Schumacher would be an "ideal driver for them".

Ralf Schumacher
The German, whose elder brother Michael is returning to F1 this year with Mercedes, spent the last three years of his grand prix career at Cologne based Toyota before switching to the DTM series.

In the wake of the Japanese manufacturer's withdrawal from F1, Stefan GP has set up camp at Cologne and taken over the team's 2010 package.

"Mr. Stefanovic makes a very serious and purposeful impression," Schumacher told the German newspaper Bild.

"I have learned about their interest in me, but there is not any more to be said at the moment.

"Whether or not it is really an interesting option, remains to be seen," the winner of 6 grands prix added.

02/02/10 (GMM)  Stefan GP has scheduled its first test.  The Serbian outfit, having already said on Tuesday that equipment will be sent to Bahrain for the 2010 season opener, said it will test on 25-28 February at Portugal's Portimao circuit.  Despite not having an official entry for this year's world championship, Stefan GP has taken over Toyota's 2010 package, and set up camp at the departed team's Cologne headquarters. More ...
Ecclestone pushing for Stefan GP  (Ed note: We don’t think that Bernie should be meddling in the prospects of the new teams.

Formula 1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone has made his feelings clear over the current team situation; the Englishman, who holds strong doubts over the new Campos and US F1 teams, would rather see Serbian hopefuls Stefan GP on the grid this season with familiar face Ralf Schumacher in the cockpit. With the Belgrade-based team owned by businessman Zoran Stefanovic having purchased Toyota F1 chassis, engines and gearboxes following the Formula 1 exit of the Japanese manufacturer at the end of last season, Ecclestone admits that he would love to see the new outfit be present in Bahrain.

"I do not believe in the participation of US F1 and Campos," the 79-year-old told Germany's Bild, with Toyota-assisted Stefan having already prepared a car and shipped a 12-metre container to the Sakhir circuit, venue of Round 1.

"Instead, I have good contacts with Stefan GP and would like to give this team a good starting point. Ralf Schumacher would be the perfect driver for them - he knows the team and is experienced." GPUpdate.net

F1 to mandate two pitstop rule for 2010  (GMM)  F1 may consider forcing drivers to make at least two pit stops during grands prix.

The proposal was actually discussed for possible introduction in 2010, but at a recent meeting the F1 Commission decided against it.

"There was mixed opinion on that," said Ross Brawn, a member of the commission that is comprised of the sport's teams, promoters, suppliers and sponsors.

With no refueling allowed during tire pit stops this season, some fear that race strategies will become overly simplistic. More ...

USF1 looking at Conor Daly  
Conor Daly

Our inside sources are telling us that Conor Daly and a contingent of supporters have been invited to the USF1 facility tomorrow. We hear they are quite keen on Conor for the future.

Conor has been making some news with his driving, both domestically and in Europe, which is what it takes to pave a path to F1. Additionally, the fact that his father was also a Formula One driver and an noted broadcaster and motorsports/business consultant, has to be of help.

We will be sure to keep you posted on this...and remember you heard it here first!

Dreyer & Reinbold to announce drivers  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement - See feature article on Home page.

02/01/10 Dreyer & Reinbold will announce their two IndyCar drivers Tuesday and expect to hear that Justin Wilson and Mike Conway will get the nod.
More F1 rule changes possible for 2010  (GMM)  Even more rules changes may be adopted prior to the start of the 2010 season.

Following Monday's meeting of the F1 Commission in Paris, the FIA confirmed the reported tweaks to the points system and the reduced tire allocation.

"Further measures for 2010 are also being examined," read a media statement.

The meeting also approved the controversial move to require the top ten qualifiers to race with their Q3 tires, with all rule changes needing to now be approved by the World Motor Sport Council.

Double diffusers were also banned for 2011.

Ferrari planning a "B" spec car?  UPDATE Rumors have abounded in recent weeks that the team received some alarmingly moderate wind-tunnel results over the winter and that a B-spec car is already being rushed into production. Not so, says James Allen.

"My sources suggest that what has happened is that they recruited a new head of aerodynamics from Toyota in December and he brought a solution for a radical new diffuser with a hole the size of a sheet of A3 paper!," he wrote on his latest blog. "It's worth a lot in extra downforce and so Ferrari may well be building an update package around it, possibly for the first race if they can build it in time."

01/29/10 The double cancellation of Ferrari's planned shakedown of the new F10 at Fiorano wont' have major implications for the team's early-season performance, but there could still be trouble ahead if rumors in the Italian media prove to be true.

Although Ferrari is maintaining that Felipe Massa's debut in the 2010 contender was canned on both Thursday and Friday because of ice and snow at its private test facility, speculation in the press suggests that the F10 is already failing to live up to expectation, with a 'B-spec' version already being considered at Maranello as the team leaves for the first group test of the season in Valencia, which starts on Monday [1 February].

Of course, there was no such suggestion at the launch in Maranello on Thursday, with the engineering and design team revealing details of the car they hope will return the Prancing Horse to the top step of the podium on a regular basis this season. With Massa sidelined just after half-distance in last year's campaign, and Kimi Raikkonen managing just a single victory for the team, there is a lot riding on the F10 as the Brazilian and new team-mate Fernando Alonso chase the world title.

Among the first questions put to the various technical staff at the launch was an explanation of why the F10 would succeed where last year's F60 failed.

“We think that it was necessary to interrupt working on the F60’s development, also because we didn’t have the possibility to win the championship," Aldo Costa reasoned, "Now we’re trying to forget last year and concentrate on 2010. But the decision was strategic, agreed on by the technicians and Stefano Domenicali.”

“We analyzed the reasons why we weren’t strong enough last year – car, organization, approach," Nikolas Tombazis added, "The development data regarding aerodynamics, simulator and test stand makes us think that lots of development has been done. We also worked to speed up the change of tires. In the last few years, the refueling limited us, but this year this is different, so we worked, regarding the pit-stop, on the change of tires.”

Tombazis was asked about the aerodynamics and the fundamental role the weight displacement played - whether it was always the best solution to have more down force at the back of the car.

“In aerodynamics, rear down force is harder to find" he explained, "We’re always looking to improve the car’s efficiency to improve the performance. As far as the car’s set-up is concerned, we do have some doubts about it, due to the fact that we haven’t used the new tires yet. The KERS is gone, but the minimum weight has been raised. There’s more ballast to adjust the weight in case there were problems with the distribution.

“KERS, in reality, worked very well, although it did create a certain deficit on the car’s overall package. The fact that it’s gone made us lose a performance delta but, by space-saving, we gained what we lost with the KERS.”

Costa, meanwhile, addressed perhaps the biggest unknown facing the teams this season, as Bridgestone prepares to unveil a new range of tires for the top flight following mandated changes in dimensions of the front wheels.

“As far as the tires are concerned, it hasn’t happened very often that we came to the first test with a new car with tires we’ve never seen before, never used and never tested," the Scuderia's technical director noted, "This year, we’re racing after only four tests. We’re confident that Bridgestone has done some excellent work, but with changing the compound four tests might not be enough.

“Bridgestone is very interested in the tire tests and they will analyze their behavior after the long runs. More weight on the tires has changed the single-seaters structure, and it’s very unusual to start in that sense.”

Meanwhile, Luca Marmorini, who debuts as head of engines and electronics this season, explained how the team hopes to recover performance with engines that can’t be modified.

“Nobody ever went beyond a certain level with the engines," he pointed out, "This year, we won’t have any refueling and the motor mechanics went to use the engines in ranges they hadn’t thought of before. That’s an interesting challenge in terms of performance research in the light of the 2010 rules. The motor mechanic’s intervention can be found in the engine’s use, because the rules don’t allow modifications of internal parts, so it will be really interesting to see the results.” Yahoo EuroSport UK

Force India to announce di Resta deal  UPDATE This rumor is now upgraded to 'fact.'  See Hot News article.

02/02/10 Force India will confirm Paul di Resta as its third driver on Tuesday, according to sources.

It is believed the deal, which could involve the 23-year-old running on the Fridays of some grand prix weekends, will be announced in Glasgow.

"I can't say anything about what's happening," Di Resta, a DTM driver for Mercedes in 2009, is quoted as saying by Scotland on Sunday.

It is rumored the deal may involve a full race seat with the Silverstone based team in 2011.

The team's chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer is already in Scotland, according to the Daily Record newspaper.

"Hopefully we can build a very long and strong relationship for me to try to race with Force India," di Resta, the cousin of reigning IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti, added.

New Lotus to make track debut on Friday  (GMM)  New F1 team Lotus looks set to give its 2010 car a track debut late this week.

The UK-based, Malaysian-owned team has announced that the single seater will be launched next Friday at a central London event.

It was believed the car would run for the first time at Silverstone the following day, in the hands of Jarno Trulli, before heading to the third group test at Jerez.

But Finland's Turun Sanomat, having just interviewed Lotus' Finnish driver Heikki Kovalainen, reports that it will actually be the team's Malaysian test driver who gives the car its debut. More ...

Vitaly Petrov a candidate for Renault seat  UPDATE #2 (GMM)  Vitaly Petrov will almost certainly be named as Robert Kubica's 2010 teammate on Sunday.

Reports with multiple sources last week said the Russian GP2 driver is set to make his F1 debut in 2010 with Renault.

Vitaly Petrov
On Sunday, the 25-year-old - who is heavily sponsored but also highly rated after finishing F1's feeder series behind Nico Rosberg last season - arrived at Valencia's Ricardo Tormo circuit.

Not only was Petrov trackside, he was - albeit casually clothed - seen in conversation with Renault team boss Eric Boullier.

Also seen at the Spanish circuit, which later on Sunday will stage the Renault and Sauber launches, was Jerome d'Ambrosio.

Like the similarly Gravity Sport-managed Ho-Pin Tung, the Belgian is linked with the 2010 reserve role with Renault.

At Valencia, Renault's motor homes are colored white and yellow, while team personnel wear dark and yellow clothing, with prominent branding by the French oil company Total. More ...

Heidfeld to be Mercedes reserve in 2010  UPDATE #3 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  Nick Heidfeld will complete an all-German ‘super team’ alongside countrymen Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg at Mercedes Grand Prix in F1 2010, his manager has confirmed – a move that could bring down the curtain on the career of one of the best drivers never to actually win a race in the top flight.  See also this press release by the team.

01/29/10 (GMM)  Norbert Haug on Friday played down reports that confirmation of Nick Heidfeld's deal to be reserve driver at Mercedes GP in 2010 is imminent.

The news was reported with supposed insider information by Germany's Bild newspaper, but Mercedes' motor sport boss Haug would not confirm it when questioned by the news agency DPA.

However, he said an announcement about Mercedes' third driver will be made within 10 days.

"The discussions are under way, but nothing is decided yet," Haug told another German news agency, SID.

SID also said a move to the DTM series with Mercedes is another possibility for Heidfeld in 2010.

01/29/10 (GMM)  Nick Heidfeld will on Friday be unveiled as Mercedes GP's reserve driver for the 2010 season.

Germany's Bild newspaper said the insider information came directly from Brackley, where the final touches are being put on the MGP W01 car that will make its test debut at Valencia on Monday.

32-year-old grand prix veteran Heidfeld's appointment means that all three of Mercedes' drivers are German, moving sections of the domestic media to liken the team to its World Cup football 'Nationalmannschaft' (national team). More ...

NASCAR to cut employees salaries?  NASCAR has worked to reduce its own costs, two sources within the company have told the Observer and ThatsRacin.com. The salaries of some supervisors have been cut, along with the budgets of some departments, the sources said. Travel spending - to get NASCAR officials and haulers to and from races - was also cut, the newspaper and its racing site were told. Asked specifically about such moves, NASCAR's Poston offered this statement: "Last week, the NASCAR executive team met with the media to publicly discuss the business of the sport and relevant topics related to our business," he said. "At that time, NASCAR provided relevant updates about the business and announced personnel updates. If there is anything else of importance to the industry or our fans, it will also be announced." Charlotte Observer
IRL's new theme song  Now that the IRL has hired Randy "The Bull Rider" Bernard  rumor has it that the theme song for the IRL be changed to the theme song to "Rawhide" the old Western TV show from the 50's and early 60's that stared Clint Eastwood?
Bull rider to take over IRL  UPDATE #3 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's news.

01/28/10 Here is another interesting article in the Indianapolis Business Journal.

01/28/10 This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today.  See related article at SPEEDTV.com.

Randy Bernard
Randy Bernard, who built Professional Bull Riders into a national organization from the ground up, confirmed today to the Indy Star newspaper an offer to become the chief executive officer of the Indy Racing League, replacing Tony George.

Bernard, 42, has not yet accepted the position, although he is strongly considering it. He started PBR 25 years ago.

He is 42 and he started Professional Bull Riders ’25 Years Ago’.

That means the guy was 17 years old when he started with PBR and apparently hasn’t managed anything else.  A VERY specialized niche sport that perhaps he learned from the bottom up and navigated well.

IndyCar is in need of a CEO that is not a one trick pony, excuse the pun.  Nor does IndyCar have 25 years for someone to learn the business of the IRL and make it successful.  At a minimum, one would hope the IRL has consulted with its new presenting sponsor IZOD to make sure they feel the guy is going to be conducive to building on IZOD’s five plus year IndyCar contract.

The IRL, in our opinion, needs a CEO that has a proven track record at the top of the corporate world managing sports related entities or at a minimum public companies that have similar products to sports which rely on the public, sponsors, advertisers, promoters, etc.

Stefan GP claims to be on schedule for debut  Stefan GP claim they are on course to enter an F1 car in the world championship having agreed a deal with Toyota Motorsport.

A statement on the Stefan GP website said:

Stefan GP has just come to a basic agreement with Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) that Stefan GP will receive technical supports from TMG.
Stefan GP statement

At the McLaren MP4-25 launch earlier today Martin Whitmarsh remarked that it was strange none of the new teams had taken up the opportunity to acquire Toyota’s designs for what would have been the TF110.

Inevitably one puts two and two together and comes up with the solution that team owner Zoran Stefanovic intends to race the TF110 as his S-01 this year. The team said at the end of last month that the car had passed their internal crash tests and was being submitted to the FIA for further testing.

Alternatively, he may wish to offer the cars to anyone who wants to drive them without having to worry about testing restrictions. Autosport reported yesterday that Lewis Hamilton’s father Anthony is setting up a scheme to do just that for younger drivers.

The FIA grid already has a full quota of 13 teams, so Stefan GP’s only route in as a competitor for the moment is “dead man’s boots”. (formula one blog)

Campos may be forced to withdraw  Reports in the specialist press, including Germany's Auto Motor und Sport and the Swiss newspaper Blick, say the Campos team could be asked to hand back its official entry if it cannot guarantee a full budget for the 2010 season.

The next move for the new Spanish team may be signing a female driver that could help attract much-needed sponsors for that budget.

News that Campos may be in financial straits began to surface earlier this month when it was reported that the team was seeking to sell part of the team. Just this week Tony Teixeira was named as a possible backer.
Now it’s rumored in the Italian press that Maria de Villota is being considered as a teammate for Bruno Senna .

The 31-year-old Spaniard, who has competed in world touring cars, DTM and Superleague Formula, is the daughter of former F1 driver Emilio de Villota.

"When time runs out, urgent action is needed," said the Spanish sports daily AS, revealing that di Villota might at least be offered a role as reserve driver.

It is believed the F1 Commission will discuss the Campos issue on Monday. SpeedTV

Virgin VR-01 to launch online  Virgin Racing will launch their first F1 car in an online event on February 3rd.

The car, to be called the VR-01, will have what the team calls an “all-digital” launch to complement the cars all-digital design process which shunned wind tunnel testing for CFD design.

The VR-01’s debut will happen live at 5am EST (10am GMT). Let's see if they can melt a few web servers.

Stick a fork in A1GP, they're done  UPDATE #3 A London court has cleared the way for the sale of the A1GP single-seater racing series.  The High Court ruled last week that the administrators of A1GP Operations, the company which ran the one-make series, had "better title" to the assets than A1GP boss Tony Teixeira's holding company. Administrator Tim Bramston explained that he is now able to proceed with the sale, which will include the 25 Ferrari-powered A1GP cars used in the final year of the series in 2008-09.

Bramston said that he wants to sell A1GP as a whole to secure "the best price" for the creditors of the operations company.

"People have expressed interest in the past," he said, "but I would like there to be a proper marketing process and can't comment further."

Asked whether Teixeira will be able to bid for the assets, Bramston stated only that they will go to the highest bidder. Teixeira has repeatedly stated that he intends to relaunch the series, most likely with a one-off race early this year before a full season over the winter of 2010-11. AutoWeek

01/27/10 Tony Teixeira's self-styled "World Cup of Motorsport" has had to cancel the opening three races of the current season due to problems stemming from its British operating arm going into liquidation.  The final Dutch A1 round scheduled for Assen in May has also been axed.

The A1 boss said last September that he had secured long-term funding after a financial restructuring. However, insiders expect the remaining five rounds to be cancelled before an attempt to re-launch the series later in the year. More ...
Ferrari working on 'B' version of new F10  
Is the F10 already a lemon?
(GMM)  Ferrari may already be working on a 'B' version of its newly launched F10 car.

Britain's Times newspaper referred to rumors "sweeping the Italian media" about the early performance estimates for the new single seater.

The report said it is feared the car is "not as good as the team were hoping for", despite Ferrari having stopped developing the F60 mid last season in order to focus on its successor.

Former Ferrari driver Gerhard Berger told Switzerland's Blick newspaper: "Even with Alonso, Ferrari's overall package is not as strong as it once was with Schumacher.

"They are now missing (Jean) Todt, (Ross) Brawn and the often underestimated designer (Rory) Byrne.  And without the right people, soon you are lost," the Austrian added.

Fewer turns, more speed for Singapore GP  UPDATE (GMM)  Some changes to the Singapore layout may be made ahead of the city-state's formula one night race next year.

At the Asian Sports Hub and Tourism Conference, Singapore tourism board executive director Justin Chew said no major changes will be evident when the circus rolls into town late this September.

"We are not going to make any significant changes to the track, but we will start looking at certain key changes to be implemented in 2011," he is quoted as saying by Channel NewsAsia.

"Of course, there is a new footprint coming around our circuit park, which is a new MRT station, the double helix bridge, the Marina Bay Sands etc and those would have impact as well," he added.

The Singapore newspaper Today said the existing lap could be sped up in 2011 by shortening the course, including by removing the corner where Nelson Piquet deliberately crashed in 2008.

There are also changes afoot at the Malaysian GP venue Sepang.

Track chief executive Razlan Razali told the local Star newspaper: "Works are in progress to repair and upgrade the pit area, the roof structure and to add more facilities for the benefit of spectators coming to watch the race."

Singapore GP Circuit
The Singapore Grand Prix is unique as the first night race on the Formula 1 calendar, making its debut at the 5.073km Marina Bay street circuit in 2008.  But in the last two years, it also was the slowest among all the circuits.

Today newspaper in Singapore rumors today that the organizers of the Singapore event have been looking into the possibility of tweaking the track layout to quicken lap times.

Any major changes, though, can only be made in 2011.

"We are always looking to see how we can improve the Singapore Grand Prix," said Justin Chew, STB's executive director, F1 project and hospitality.

"If it is for the good of the race and makes it more exciting for fans and drivers, we will consider it."

Two slow sections have come under the microscope.

One proposal is to close up the current entry from Raffles Boulevard into Turn 7 and rerun it towards the War Memorial.  More ...

Hamilton's father to run F1 test car fleet  
Lewis and Anthony Hamilton
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton's father plans to run a fleet of modern formula one cars for young drivers, according to British reports.

Reports in the Telegraph and Independent newspapers said Anthony Hamilton will organize a series of track days mainly in the UK giving rookie drivers time at the wheel of 2009-specification F1 cars.

The Independent said the move will "bypass (F1's) testing restrictions", and referred to the teenage Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari who last year made his F1 debut without having driven an F1 car on a proper circuit.

It emerged last week that Hamilton will this year manage Nyck de Vries, after the 14-year-old Dutch karter was signed to McLaren's driver development program.

How long will Toyota stay in NASCAR?  

Toyota dropped out of Formula One racing because of the world-wide recession.

Because of the disaster that’s struck the Japanese company in recent days, the question must be asked: how long will Toyota continue to pour millions into North America motorsport?

The manufacturer is heavily involved in NASCAR (all three series – the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World truck series), the NHRA and USAC sprints and midgets, among other series.

Drivers of their cars include Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and David Reutimann, among many others. (I was shocked when I went to the Toyota Racing website and counted up all the drivers – 40, to be exact, and they’re all big names.)

Anyway, it’s costing Toyota serious money to support all those teams and drivers, not to mention doling out the promotional dollars for the races the company headlines (the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Indy car race, for instance).

With the economic hammering Toyota’s taking, something’s gotta give somewhere.

I expect the company will find a way to hang on in Sprint Cup and maybe – maybe – the trucks. But everything else will likely be in danger of getting the chop. Norris McDonald

George to shut down Vision Racing?  UPDATE #2 Looks like AR1.com sources were right after all, in spite of the team telling us our story was nonsense.  This rumor is now 'fact' as Vision Racing has shut it's doors - see article.

"He told everyone that as difficult a decision as it was to make, he had to inform them they decided to cease racing operations until sponsorship is secured," said team spokesperson Pat Caporali.

"Efforts will continue to locate sponsorship," she added. "But the reality is at the moment there is no sponsorship in place to get the team on track for the 2010 Izod IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights Championship."

01/20/10 A spokesperson for Vision Racing told AutoRacing1.com that "the team is working very hard on sponsorship to run one IndyCar and one Indy Lights car in 2010 and there are no plans whatsoever to shut the team down.  Even though we went down to one car part way through the 2009 season, Tony kept on the entire staff for two cars until October.  The staff reductions we had recently are normal this time of year."

01/20/10 As the family feud continues, the big rumor floating around Indy is that Tony is shutting down Vision Racing when he returns from a vacation.

Big 3 Exec says NASCAR gives "zero" return  UPDATE We are hearing that it won't just be one of the Big 3, but all three of them, putting pressure...well, let's call it what it is; an ultimatum...to NASCAR regarding their "racertainment" on-track product. Relevancy is the key. Without it, they have no "Race on Sunday, sell on Monday" to justify the hundreds of millions of dollars they shovel into the series every year.

A series of meetings are to take place, beginning with this weekend's Rolex 24. They want fuel injection, alternative fuels and green racing themes, cars that actually represent their brand. Engines that are not all basically the same, among other things.

We hear this is a very serious ultimatum that could see all of the manufacturers pulling out together. It seems they all know they need to stick together on these issues to create any value out of NASCAR for them for the future.

01/13/10 We are hearing that one of the head execs of one of the Big 3 is heading to the Daytona 500 to wield a hammer, instead of sipping Crown Royal and rubbing elbows with other execs and drivers in a posh suite. He apparently is someone who thinks that racing should have more relevance to what they sell. More ...

Newman Haas Lanigan team down to 1 car  It's imperative that the best young American driver has a competitive ride but right now young Rahal is scrambling. There is one good possibility out there for him but it's a long way from happening. NHL may only have Mutoh because I'm hearing Lloyd's deal has gone south and there's some friction between Mike Lanigan and Bernie Haas.  SpeedTV.com [Editor's Note:  We hear Carl Haas, who is very old, is becoming incoherent so his wife Bernie is calling the shots on his behalf and we too hear that Bernie does not get along with Lanigan.]
Teixeira set to rescue Campos team  UPDATE Tony Teixeira, boss of the troubled A1 GP series, says he is talking to Campos Meta about buying into the new Spanish-based Formula One team.

"I am talking to Campos, but I'm not the only one," the Portuguese-born South African businessman told Reuters in a telephone interview, adding that the situation should become clearer next week.

"There's more than one group talking to Campos and for us it has got to be part of an A1 deal," he added. "It's all for A1. My ambition is to bring A1 into F1."

01/27/10 (GMM)  Tony Teixeira will reportedly acquire the share of the new Spanish F1 team Campos that is currently owned by Meta Image.

The rumor has been circulating for some time, but Spain's Cadena SER reports that the deal with the South African entrepreneur will shortly be confirmed.

Meta Image is a Spanish sports marketing company that allied with Adrian Campos to launch the Valencia based team, but Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that it is running out of time to secure its financial package for 2010.

The magazine agrees that "a new investor" looks set to enter the frame officially within days.

Auto Motor und Sport said Teixeira's plan is to install the A1GP champion Adam Carroll in the car alongside Bruno Senna, but reveals that Bernie Ecclestone is reluctant to approve the deal. More ...

D'Ambrosio, Tung, to be Renault reserve drivers  UPDATE (GMM)  Ho-Pin Tung insists he is still in the running to secure the vacant race seat at Renault in 2010.

It was reported earlier this week that the newly Genii Capital-controlled team has signed the Gravity Sport managed Jerome d'Ambrosio as well as Tung to be joint reserve drivers.

But while the Russian GP2 driver Vitaly Petrov is believed favorite to be Robert Kubica's race teammate, the 27-year-old Dutch born Chinese Tung insists he is also still in the running.

"Test driver would be nice, of course, but being one of the team's race drivers is obviously better," Tung told the Dutch website gpupdate.net.

"We must wait -- hopefully we'll be able to announce something soon," he added.

Jerome d'Ambrosio
01/26/10 (GMM)  Renault has reportedly signed Jerome d'Ambrosio and Ho-Pin Tung as joint reserve drivers for the 2010 season.

Both d'Ambrosio, a 24-year-old Belgian, and the Dutch born Chinese Tung, who is 27, are contracted to the Genii Capital-linked Gravity Sport management company, headed by new Renault team principal Eric Boullier.

The Sunday newspaper Journal du Dimanche also said Renault's 2010 car, the R30, will be painted in the traditional yellow and black colors of the French carmaker.

A race teammate for Robert Kubica is also due to be appointed shortly, and it is likely to be the Russian pay-driver Vitaly Petrov.

Toyota to recall yet more cars  Already with a major black eye for this design defect, Toyota Motor Corporation said it may call back vehicles in Europe for a faulty accelerator pedal, after recalling 2.3 million cars and light trucks in the US for the defect.

A decision on a European recall will be made "as soon as possible", Etienne Plas, a spokesman for Toyota Motor Europe in Brussels, said in a telephone interview. He declined to comment on the number of vehicles potentially affected. More ...

Campos likely to sit out all winter tests  (GMM)  Campos is likely to miss all four official group tests prior to Bahrain's 2010 season opener, according to the new Spanish team's head of strategy.

"Bahrain is a test, it's not a first race for us," Daniel Eisen is quoted as saying by the Associated Press.

Valencia based Campos was named by Bernie Ecclestone this week as one of the new teams he fears will not be ready to race this season.

Eisen denied the F1 chief executive's claim, but admitted that a teammate for Bruno Senna will not be announced until sponsors and investors have been secured, which could be as late as the first race of the season in mid March.

It is rumored that Campos' chassis builder Dallara is withholding the 2010 car due to unpaid invoices, but Eisen dismissed the speculation about financial difficulties.

"Everybody's worried and that's logical because the season is long and we're the new ones.  But first things first, we want to be there with the best of everything, especially the cars," he said.

NASCAR losing another sponsor?  Sponsorship from Miccosukee Indian Gaming in all three of NASCAR's national series - Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Trucks - could be terminated as a result of an early February vote by the Indian tribe. The tribe, which runs Miccosukee Resort and Gaming located in Miami and along the southeastern edge of the Florida Everglades, elected a new chairman, Colley Billie, on Jan. 5 who campaigned on promoting a new and "proactive" economic development platform. Several sources confirmed the tribe plans a Feb. 4 vote to decide whether it will continue its sponsorship in NASCAR, which includes Cup and Nationwide teams to be fielded in 2010 by team owner James Finch and a Truck team owned and driven by Kyle Busch. The chances the NASCAR sponsorships will continue are considered slim, sources said. Charlotte Observer
NO TV for Indy Lights?  We are hearing that the Freedom 100 will be the only Indy Lights race that will be televised this year. This is a big problem for the Road to Indy. What will it say if the Star Mazda series has more exposure than Indy Lights? The Lights series carries a price tag of about $1.2 Million to be a title contender. How is the Road to Indy ever going to be a true development platform for Indy Car if you can't attract real sponsors? All you will ever see is a bunch of rich kids out there, and some foreigners with patriotic dollars supporting them (as we know they can't be getting any true ROI out of it) The support series need a way to be able to justify real sponsorship programs, or it they are just a novelty in the racing ladder. The top tier of the sport will never really benefit from them.

Now...if there is some kind of redistribution of funds taking place, where the prize money payouts are going to dramatically higher, then you could see the drivers having to raise less money themselves, and getting it back out of the prize money. Especially if the ultimate prize is enough to pay for the next step to IndyCar. Perhaps this is what is in the works...but we will have to see.
Sell-out unlikely for 2010 Bahrain GP opener  (GMM)  Bahrain will likely not host a sell-out crowd at March's formula one season opener.

The desert Kingdom has taken over from Melbourne for 2010 as the venue of the first race of the season, but it has not been enough of a boost to ensure entirely full grandstands.

"We have a total capacity of 34,000 but I would expect the number (on Sunday) to go to 32,000," circuit CEO Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, who has taken over from Martin Whitaker, told Arabian Business.

Only 28,000 attended last year's Bahrain GP, which was the fourth round on the 2009 calendar.

Carter to replace Darby?  Former NASCAR crew chief Larry Carter has emerged as one of the top candidates for the position of Sprint Cup director, a spot left vacant by the recent promotion of John Darby. Darby, Sprint Cup director since 2002, is being elevated to a management position at NASCAR's Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. Carter, 47, most recently served as crew chief for driver Paul Menard at Yates Racing. He was not retained when the team merged with Richard Petty Motorsports. NASCAR has not indicated when it expects to fill Darby's position, although having a new person in the position when SpeedWeeks opens in Daytona in two weeks would seem to be a goal. SPEEDtv
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