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With NASCAR attendance and TV ratings in freefall, no fewer than 11 tracks have reduced seating capacity since 2007 - some by as much as 40 percent
Las Vegas Motor Speedway is considering eliminating seats for NASCAR races.
The bloody gash on Kyle Busch's forehead wasn't the only cut at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last week. The track appears poised to ax more seats that were largely empty at the Kobalt 400, and TV ratings for the March 12 NASCAR race were down 17 percent. What, if anything, does it mean for the viability of a second NASCAR race in Las Vegas?
The Kobalt 400 produced a late pass for the lead and a pit road fight pitting hometown hero Busch against Joey Logano and members of Logano's pit crew. It seemed to be the shot in the rocker arm LVMS was seeking.
Ford Performance boss believes Edwards to return (Update)
Carl Edwards has no plans to return
UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. The Phoenix Raceway garage was buzzing this weekend with rumors that Carl Edwards would be back racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage next year, but Edwards says he has no plans to return.
Edwards announced in January that he would leave Joe Gibbs Racing to pursue interests outside of racing.
In a text exchange Saturday afternoon with FoxSports Tom Jensen, Edwards wrote, "Like I said at the press conference, I had no racing plans then and do not now. There is no hidden agenda - those three reasons are it."
F1 eyes return to Adelaide Adelaide's City Council will make a request to the South Australian State Government to explore whether or not the Australian Grand Prix could return to the city in the future.
According to Adelaide's The Advertiser, the City Council this week settled on a formal position and will send a letter to the State Government asking them to look into a return.
Adelaide was Australia's first Formula 1 host, the Grand Prix running on the city's streets from 1985 to 1995, before it moved to Melbourne for the 1996 event and beyond.
Stoneman needs money to buy Indy 500 ride (Update)
Dean Stoneman - if he has check he will drive
UPDATE Despite moving to the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup in 2017, Dean Stoneman still has an ambition to race in the Verizon IndyCar Series, and is aiming his debut to come at this year’s Indianapolis 500.
Stoneman recently announced plans to race for Strakka Racing in Blancpain alongside Andrew Watson and Jazeman Jaafar in a McLaren 650S GT3, but like much of his career to date, he knows sponsorship is key to his ambitions, and he is working hard in order to make it happen at the Brickyard this May.
The crowd for NASCAR at Indy is becoming very sparse
Indianapolis Motor Speedway execs are considering running future Brickyard 400s on the track's road course, according to sources, in a move that could further shake up NASCAR's schedule if it comes to fruition. IMS has held the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on the track's oval since the initial running in '94.
However, the track is looking at ways to improve the event, which has seen on- and off-track issues in recent years with complaints about the way stock cars race on the relatively flat oval and worries from the industry about crowd size at the sprawling venue. Among the options IMS is considering is moving the race to the track's road course, a notion Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles didn't dispute when asked by THE DAILY.
(GMM) Force India's new pink livery has cost an incoming sponsor up to $20 million for the 2017 season.
That is the claim of the Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung, following news that the Silverstone based team's car and driver helmets are turning pink thanks to the new deal with Austrian water technology company BWT.
"The sponsorship is said to bring in between $15 and $20 million," the report said.
Finally some common sense - a consolidation in motorsports
The GP3 Series and the FIA’s Formula 3 European Championship "could effectively merge" for '19, according to Marcus Simmons of MOTORSPORT.
The GP2 Series’ rebranding as the FIA Formula 2 Championship means that the existing GP3 Series "holds an apparently incongruous position" on the grand prix support bill beneath Formula 1 and F2 -- and in "direct competition to the FIA’s DTM-supporting F3 series."
Vibrations rumored to be cause of Honda engine failures
Unexpected vibrations from the Honda engine are causing McLaren's power unit to effectively shake itself into breaking down, Sky Sports hears.
The McLaren-Honda MCL32 car crawled to a halt on four different occasions over the final two days of pre-season testing at Barcelona with Honda seemingly no closer to fixing an engine which Fernando Alonso described as offering "no power and no reliability" in a withering rebuke of McLaren's power suppliers.
Michael Mann’s Ferrari is revving again, with Hugh Jackman now in talks to play Enzo Ferrari, and Noomi Rapace to play his estranged wife Linda. Their relationship, as fiery and combustible as the race cars that Ferrari designed, plays a big part in the script Mann wrote. They have loosely been discussing this teaming for months, and now things are starting to move for a summer 2018 production start. This comes as Jackman’s final Wolverine turn, Logan, has become a box office juggernaut, grossing north of $250 million worldwide in its first week and about to pass $100 million in domestic grosses.
Veach to drive 5th Andretti car in Indy 500 (Update) UPDATE AR1 spoke with Veach in St. Petersburg and while he is still working on a ride for the Indianapolis 500, he told us it will not be with Andretti Autosport. This rumor is downgraded to 'false.'
03/01/17 According to AR1.com sources, American Zach Veach will be named to drive the 5th Andretti Autosport entry in the 2017 Indy 500.
Veach previously drove for the Andretti Indy Lights team and has previously tested an IndyCar.
After buying F1 will Liberty make run at IndyCar or NASCAR?
Not content with its purchase of F1, Liberty Media is contemplating other motor sports series. It had tried to buy IndyCar, as reported by AR1.com, over a year ago, but the Hulman George family wanted none of it.
"At the right price, the right opportunity, potentially expanding Formula One into other motor sports, that could be interesting," says Liberty's chief executive Greg Maffei.
"Ones where we have synergies," he continues. "Ones where we are starting to get some insights. There are emerging sports that could be as well."
Overheard at St. Petersburg Sat/Sun (Update) UPDATE We spoke to Matt Brabham today in St. Petersburg after he won the 2nd Stadium Super Truck race and he told us he is trying hard to put together a deal again this year for the Indy 500, hopefully with backing from Pirtek again. And in our video interview with Dale Coyne below you will learn that Pippa Mann has been hanging around the Dale Coyne transporter this weekend and Dale tells us she is being eyed for an Indy 500 deal.
The weather has been perfect so far here in St. Petersburg, Florida but there is a 40% chance of rain at noon today - i.e. race time. Go figure.
Rumor has it that James Davison will have an announcement March 24th or 26th and we can only assume it is about an Indy 500 ride.
We also hear that Buddy Lazier is confident of putting together an Indy 500 deal as IndyCar works to have a full field of 33 cars.
Scott Dixon talks to his former team owner Bruce McCaw who gave him his start in CART IndyCar.
Wondering around the pits today was the former owner of Pac West Racing, Bruce McCaw. He owned the Champ Car team from 1994 to 2002 while running his cellular phone business. Scott Dixon drove for a PacWest Racing from 2001 -2002 and got the team their final victory at Nazareth.
McCaw was only visiting the pit lane to catch up with old friends. One of Forbes' America's Richest, McCaw is not interested in coming back into racing.
GP2 set to become Formula 2 (Update) UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. The GP2 Series has been renamed the FIA Formula 2 Championship following an agreement between Formula One Group and the FIA at a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Geneva.
"I am very pleased to announce the evolution of the GP2 Series to become the FIA Formula 2 Championship," Formula One Group CEO Chase Carey said. "Junior categories and especially the upcoming F2 Championship are strategic activities for the Formula One Group. We are delighted to strengthen them through this agreement with the FIA."
Las Vegas Motor Speedway to get 2nd Cup race (2nd Update)
UPDATE After years of teasing, pleading and politicking, Las Vegas Motor Speedway is on its way to hosting a second NASCAR Cup race in 2018.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway has scheduled a press conference for 5:30 p.m. ET Wednesday to make a "special announcement.''
The press conference will be held 30 minutes after the board of directors of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority meets to approve a sponsorship agreement that would pay the track $2.5 million a year for seven years to promote two Cup races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. NBC Sports
NASCAR eyeing more doubleheaders Atlanta Motor Speedway has hosted an Xfinity-Camping World Truck Series doubleheader for three seasons and the possibility for more tracks to follow suit is on the table.
"We're open to it," O'Donnell said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's "Morning Drive." "We love it. For the fans, it’s a full day of racing - getting to see some of NASCAR’s rising stars come up through the system and also see some of the Monster Energy Series drivers out there on Saturday."
Prior to Atlanta, Auto Club Speedway hosted the last scheduled NXS-NCWTS doubleheader in 2009 while weather has forced other tracks to run two divisions in one day.
NASCAR to add mufflers to cars (Update) UPDATE The noise level at your average NASCAR race hovers at around 100 decibels, which is akin to a three-hour garbage truck parade or 180 minutes of jet flyovers at 1,000 feet. In other words, it’s a loud way to spend an afternoon writes Matt Bonesteel of the Washington Post.
“No more than 15 minutes of unprotected exposure recommended for sounds between 90--100 dB,” the National Institutes of Health says. “Regular exposure to sound over 100 dB of more than one minute risks permanent hearing loss.”
Cosworth to supply engines for 'Valkyrie' Red Bull/Aston Martin hypercar (3rd Update)
UPDATE The V naming strategy at Aston Martin dates back more than 70 years to 1951, when the British brand gave a DB2 about 20 more horsepower and applied the Vantage name to the new “high performance” 125-hp car.
Now, Aston Martin is applying Norse-power to the hypercar it is co-developing with the Red Bull Racing Formula One team. Announced on the eve of the 2017 Geneva auto show where the hypercar is on display, the new name for the car that we've only known thus far as AM-RB 001 is Valkyrie.
In Norse mythology, Valkyrie literally translates as “chooser of the slain.” These female figures select who may live and who may die in battle. The Valkyrie then bring half of those slain on the battlefield to Valhalla, where they are governed in the afterlife by Odin, ruler of the gods.
Honda burned through a season worth of engines in 4 days
Alonso in the McLaren
Honda, the Japanese car company renowned for producing some of the most reliable road cars on the planet, seems to be having a hard time supplying McLaren's Formula 1 team with engines that last more than a day on track. The first week of testing for the 2017 season is behind us and the 2nd beginning, and the team from Woking is fuming.
During the first four days of testing in Barcelona, McLaren and its MCL32 chassis went through no fewer than five separate Honda-supplied power units, report WTF1 and BBC Sport. The team ran into a number of different problems on Monday and Tuesday, resulting in a trio of different engines being swapped in to get the car back out on track. By the end of the week, McLaren had cycled through two more units, despite having been on track with no issues.
Stewart/Schmidt Indy 500 seat to Howard (2nd Update) UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Jay Howard has been named by Schmidt Peterson Motorsports as the driver of a No. 77 Honda entry that will be sponsored by Team One Cure, an animal cancer philanthropy funded by The Tony Stewart Foundation.
Howard, an avowed animal lover who won the 2006 championship in the developmental Indy Lights series with Sam Schmidt, works as a driving instructor and a team owner/driver in the Formula 4 United States Championship. His intentions to return to IndyCar had long been known and he has yearly conversations, he said, with the Schmidt Peterson co-owner.
“Given our impressive winning record together in the past, we have high expectations for the 101st Indy 500,” Schmidt said in a release.
Honda's Yusuke Hasegawa has egg on his face again this year
(GMM) McLaren and Honda have both denied wild rumors their troubled works collaboration in F1 could be set to end.
Although the partnership is entering its third year, the opening of 2017 testing has been notably troubled as Honda fumbles with its brand new 'power unit' design.
After an oil tank design flaw was discovered on day one, Stoffel Vandoorne's engine was returned to Japan following a problem on day two, and Fernando Alonso had to run with 'de-rated' settings on day three.
Formula 1 Considers Hosting First Non-Championship Race Since '83
The new F1 brass are out of touch with reality. The teams are already complaining of too many races. They will not accept adding a non-points event on top of the already arduous schedule.
Formula 1 "could re-introduce a non-championship race to experiment with new formats and ideas if such an event can be made commercially viable," Managing Dir Ross Brawn suggested, according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS.
Brawn: "It might be rather optimistic. But you can imagine if we had a non-championship race there'd be a lot more capacity to look at different formats and approaches and see if the fans take to it with much less risk or exposure than we would if we were doing something in the championship."
The last non-championship race was held at Brands Hatch in '83. Brawn said, "We often had non-championship races in the old days but getting it all to work is another matter."
Advance Auto Parts Partnering With Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Update)
A typical Advance Auto Parts Store
UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Advance Auto Parts, a leading automotive aftermarket parts provider in North America that serves both professional installer and do-it-yourself customers, has signed a strategic, multi-year partnership with the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS).
The agreement designates Advance Auto Parts as the official partner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at events including the legendary Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400, INDYCAR Grand Prix, Lights at the Brickyard, and more. Advance Auto Parts has more than 5,100 company-operated stores across the United States and Canada.
F1 Shark fins and T-wings to be banned on safety grounds
The T-wing can be seen clearly here on the Ferrari
Following the launch of the first few cars in launch week, voices were raised that shark fins, engine cover sails, or whatever they would need to be called, should be banned from Formula One. F1 teams themselves didn't agree however, as Red Bull's attempts to get them banned last summer failed, most likely because some teams were already happily exploring the aerodynamic possibilities of such engine cover extensions.
Now, with testing underway, and literally every car underway with one shark fin or another, and in some cases with additional T-wings attached to them, some in the paddock expect that the fins may well get banned ahead of the start of the season. Such short notice regulation change is possible, but only on the grounds of safety.
Nature's Bakery To Countersue Stewart-Haas Racing (Update)
Nature's Bakery tired of losing
UPDATE Nature's Bakery's counter claim to the breach of contract suit brought against it by Stewart-Haas Racing asserts that the NASCAR team "could not control" driver Danica Patrick as she promoted competing products on social media.
The response in North Carolina superior court claims that SHR had promised at least "four times return" on its annual $15.2 million investment from "Danica Patrick, a social media megastar with massive crossover appeal." Nature's Bakery products were to be the exclusive "on-the-go" food of Patrick and the team.
Penske to switch from Ford to Chevy, Ganassi from Chevy to Ford (Update)
Will Penske (Top) and Ganassi do a swap?
UPDATE Speculation now is that if Penske switches to Chevy in NASCAR due to his Chevy IndyCar ties, Chip Ganassi may switch to Fords in NASCAR since he has strong ties to Ford in IMSA and the World Endurance Championship (LeMans, etc).
02/23/17 According to AR1.com sources Roger Penske will switch his NASCAR team from Ford to Chevy for 2018. It was described to us as a fairly high up rumor and not just a shop rumor.
We were surprised to hear this because Team Penske switched to Ford not too long ago. However, we can imagine that since the team uses Chevy engines in IndyCar, there was a nice carrot dangled in front of Roger to run Chevy in both series.
This may also explain why Stewart-Haas Racing switched to Ford unexpectedly for 2017....because they knew Penske was leaving the fold.
F1 faces potential $168m fine (Update) UPDATE The MEP who is the driving force behind a proposed European Parliament investigation into F1 has dismissed the FIA's recent response.
Last week, the FIA, in reaction to MEP Anneliese Dodds claim that the sale of F1 to Liberty Media represented a conflict of interest, issued a brief statement denouncing the claim as "inaccurately informed or made maliciously".
While Dodds was already 'on the sport's case' in terms of its governance and the way in which the prize money is allocated, she has recently become concerned at the sale of the sport to Liberty Media, claiming that the FIA's $79.5m profit from authorizing the sale represented a conflict of interest.
(GMM) F1 teams could be set to split into two camps, as a new row about income distribution threatens to break out.
How the sport's vast revenues are distributed is a thorny topic up and down pitlane, with Red Bull arguing this week that it deserves to keep receiving more than the small teams because it does more for the sport.
But a source told us the big teams are looking to put the former teams association FOTA back together, while the smaller teams may form an entirely separate alliance.
Who will run 5th Andretti car at Indy? Michael Andretti confirmed that he plans to run a 5th car in the Indy 500 again this year. Andretti told Motorsport.com: “We’re definitely preparing to run five cars. We have four or five possible programs we’re working on for Indy and hopefully one of them is going to get done soon.”
From our rumors page in the past 6 months, potential drivers include Townsend Bell who drove for Andretti last year, Ex-Champ Car driver Tiago Montiero, Indy Lights ace Felix Serralles, Gabby Chaves and Pastor Maldonado with some backing from Venezuela oil giant PDVSA.
Carlin, Juncos eye IndyCar series (Update 8) UPDATE This rumor with regard to Juncos Racing is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.
UPDATE We now know that Trevor Carlin in not moving up to IndyCar in 2017 but it appears Juncos Racing is.
RACER.com rumors that championship-winning Indy Lights team owner Ricardo Juncos is preparing to bring his program into the Verizon IndyCar Series after purchasing two cars from KV Racing.
Calls to Juncos and KV owner Kevin Kalkhoven were not immediately returned.
It's believed both cars will be entered in this year's 101st Indianapolis 500; Kyle Kaiser is among the rumored drivers, and a steady recruitment effort to hire crew members for the program has been in motion.
Who will NASCAR put on pole for Daytona 500 this year? (Update) UPDATE It happened again.
2017: The Chevys were nowhere in practice and the Clash. All of a sudden they occupy the front row. NAPA is in a battle with IndyCar to keep the NAPA sponsorship on Elliott's car. Dale Jr. is back from a concussion and both he and Chase Elliott are the two most fan-popular drivers in NASCAR - this helps to sell tickets.
UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. It's too late for the team to be on the grid for 2017. Preseason testing starts soon. Tavo Hellmund has revealed that his $27m bid for the Manor F1 team was rejected.
While Manor managed a Houdini-like escape at the end of 2014, having been, along with Caterham, essentially declared dead and buried, it doesn't appear that Lady Luck will look down on the Banbury-based outfit for a second time.
Tavo Hellmund, the driving force behind the creation of the Circuit of the Americas and returning F1 to the United States and Mexico, has revealed that his attempt to purchase the team was rejected.
Rumor has it the Ganassi team is trying to land a deal with Amazon to sponsor the #9 car of Scott Dixon. Longtime sponsor Target left at the end of 2016 and the team is desperate to find a replacement.
If they can land Amazon, that would be a new sponsor for IndyCar, which is much needed because teams struggle to land big sponsors due to the minuscule TV ratings on NBCSN. Many deals in the IndyCar paddock are B2B deals because the TV ratings cannot otherwise justify a sponsor spending $5 million per year to put their name on a car with minimal exposure in return.
At the recent Phoenix open test the car race in a white color with blank sidepods.
Since rejoining the United States racing scene in 2011, Josef Newgarden has established himself as one of its great characters.
Whether he was running around incognito at the streets of Long Beach or Texas Motor Speedway to promote his rookie IndyCar season (while also professing his fandom of Dario Franchitti) or giving a tour of St. Petersburg, Florida ahead of the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, the 26-year-old has consistently illustrated a knack for entertaining fans and maintaining a polished demeanor for sponsors.
Giovinazzi could replace Wehrlein in test (Update)
Wehrlein almost killed himself in the Race of Champions
UPDATE (GMM) Sauber is set to confirm that Pascal Wehrlein will sit out the start of official pre-season testing in a little over a week.
With Mercedes' backing, the 22-year-old German has switched from Manor to Switzerland-based Sauber for 2017.
But he injured his neck or back in a scary rollover crash during January's Race of Champions event in Miami, with Blick newspaper announcing on Thursday that he is still yet to get the green-light by doctors.
Formula 1 Teams to create Body To Protect Financial Interests
Which of the big-3 will quit F1 if they get less money?
Leading Formula 1 teams "are in the early stages" of creating a new Formula One Teams Association-style body to "protect their financial interests and regulatory advantages" following the takeover by Liberty Media, according to Rowlinson & Rencken of MOTORSPORT.
A senior F1 team figure is reportedly "leading moves to gather support for a team body that would act collectively to secure the strongest financial position and benefits" for teams currently protected by the "Constructors' Championship Bonus."
NASCAR to shorten weekend schedules (2nd Update) UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. NASCAR has backpedaled on plans to significantly reduce practice time at most tracks this year. Tentative schedules released a few weeks ago for race weekends early in the season showed a reduction in practice time of 34% to 46%, but the most recent schedule for the March 5 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway shows the same 165 minutes of practice time for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers as a year ago.
In its tentative schedule released Jan. 24 to help teams and media plan, NASCAR initially had dropped 30 minutes from each of the Friday and Saturday sessions at Atlanta, but it added back the 30 minutes in a schedule released Monday. NASCAR was looking to streamline race weekends, but a NASCAR spokesman confirmed Monday that the schedules will be more similar to last year. The issue of practice time isn't as simple as trying to figure out how much preparation drivers and crews need. Track operators often want more track activity to attract fans, and the practices often are televised. ESPN
Honda Will Field a Daytona Prototype With Team Penske Next Year
Honda has supplied engines in IMSA for many years
As if this year's IMSA Weathertech Championship wasn't promising enough already, it looks as if a couple of big new names are jumping into America's premiere endurance racing series. Team Penske has confirmed it will be fielding a Daytona Prototype International car in the IMSA series next year, supplied by Honda.
RACER spoke to Penske president Tim Cindric regarding the team's foray into the top-spec IMSA class for 2018. "We're doing it," he said. "It's just a matter of who it's with."
Carl Edwards to Team Penske (Update) UPDATE Motorsports writer Lewis Franck's Twitter: "OFFICIAL Just got off the phone with a senior @Team_Penske official who said no truth to Kirby's Carl Edwards story.
02/13/17 Gordon Kirby rumors that Edwards is being paid more than $15 million to sit-out this year and that he will return to action next year at the wheel of a third Penske Racing Ford. Penske runs two cars for Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano and has been planning to expand to three cars. Penske currently runs a third car for Ryan Blaney in partnership with the Wood Brothers, one of NASCAR's longest-running teams, so RP's team is entirely prepared to run Edwards next year.
Aldo Costa and Adrian Newey are years ahead of their rivals
(GMM) An argument over clever and controversial suspension systems looks set to keep raging early in 2017.
Earlier, Ferrari called into question the legality of setups being run by Mercedes (Aldo Costa design) and Red Bull (Adrian Newey design), which reportedly mimic the effects of active suspension or the similarly-banned 'Fric' innovation.
Auto Motor und Sport reports that on Tuesday, team technical bosses met and the Mercedes and Red Bull-like suspension systems were "at the top of the agenda".
AutoGP champ be third driver at SPM IndyCar (2nd Update)
Luis Michael Dorrbecker is well sponsored - he has check and he will drive
UPDATE Mexican open-wheeler Luis Michael Dorrbecker is scheduled to test for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports next month and, if all goes well, the relationship could develop into a race seat after the Indy 500.
The reigning Auto GP champion will turn his first laps in one of SPM's Honda-powered cars on March 1 at Sebring, and from there, the team will decide whether to assign the 24-year-old and his sponsors to a third entry alongside James Hinchcliffe and Mikhail Aleshin.
Although one report from a Spanish-language outlet claims Dorrbecker has already been signed for Indianapolis and up to three additional races with SPM, team co-owner Sam Schmidt told RACER the test is the only item on the books for now.
Young driver de Vries loses McLaren support (Update)
Nyck de Vries
UPDATE (GMM) Nyck de Vries remains with the McLaren team, a spokesman for the British outfit told us on Tuesday.
Earlier, the Dutch broadcaster RTL GP cited "sources" as it reported the 22-year-old Dutchman, who for years has been a McLaren development driver, is now seeking a seat for 2017 without the British team's support.
"He will test a Ferrari GT car next week," the broadcaster declared, explaining that de Vries is in the running for a full-time world endurance championship seat.
McLaren-BMW deal sparks F1 rumors (Update) UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. McLaren has dismissed rumors linking the British team with a potential F1 tie-up with German manufacturer BMW.
McLaren's current works partner in F1 is Honda, the Japanese marque that since 2015 has been clearly the least impressive 'power unit' performer on the grid.
It then emerged that, for its future road car projects, McLaren Automotive is tying up with BMW, the German carmaker that pulled out of F1 at the end of 2009.
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