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DATE News (chronologically)
Senna to drive some IndyCar races?  The IndyCar Series lost one high-profile Brazilian with an F1 pedigree in the offseason with Rubens Barrichello switching to his domestic stock car series, but Bruno Senna, nephew of his mentor Ayrton Senna, could be in the frame to fill that void with a part-time drive on road and street courses. Senna, who lost his seat at the Williams F1 team for 2013, recently signed to drive for the Aston Martin Racing GTE team in the FIA World Endurance Championship, but could be on the IndyCar entry list on a few non-conflicting weekends.  speedtv.com
Beatriz to Coyne?  Word out of the Dale Coyne Racing camp says talks with Ana Beatriz have picked back up after the most recent deal, one that would have had Sebastian Saavedra and Bia splitting the No. 19 between roads/streets (Seb) and ovals (Bia), fell through. Asked if the Honda-powered No. 19 would have a driver to take over the races Saavedra was meant to fill before he signed with Dragon Racing, team owner Dale Coyne said “We will be there with two fulltime [cars] all year.” Speedtv.com
Hulkenberg plays down ongoing Ferrari rumors  
Nico Hulkenberg
(GMM)  Nico Hulkenberg has played down continuing suggestions he has merely 'parked' at Sauber for a year, before possibly switching to Ferrari in 2014.

Told that the rumors are still abounding in the paddock, the German driver said: "It doesn't concern me at all.

"I don't talk about the contents of my contracts and, anyway, I haven't even done a single race for Sauber yet," said the 25-year-old, who has moved from Force India to Ferrari-aligned Sauber for 2013. More ...

NRA to sponsor NASCAR Texas race  The NRA finalized a deal with Texas Motor Speedway to become the title sponsor of the track's spring NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. The agreement, which is expected to be announced today, will result in the first NRA-branded race at the Cup level. Financial terms were unavailable. Sprint Cup sponsorships typically sell in the high-six figure to low-seven figure range.

The NRA deal comes at a time when the gun lobby organization and gun rights remain a flashpoint nationwide. It also follows NASCAR’s effort to support and raise money for Newtown, Conn., which lost 20 children and six adults in a mass shooting. NASCAR partnered with Swan Racing to put a special Sandy Hook School Support Fund paint scheme on the No. 26 car during the Daytona 500, and there were concerns during the Daytona race weekend that word of Texas’ talks with the NRA might become public and harm the sanctioning body’s efforts to raise money for the Newtown community. Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Daily
NASCAR suspends driver for saying Danica's Daytona pole was rigged  UPDATE #3 NASCAR is sending suspended Nationwide Series driver Jeremy Clements to a sports diversity expert after he made insensitive remarks during an interview.

NASCAR officials are hoping to get Clements back on the track soon, but the 28-year-old will have to work with Dr. Richard Lapchick, director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports at the University of Central Florida, before he’ll be allowed back in his car.

“No secret we did suspend Jeremy,” NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O’Donnell said Saturday from Phoenix International Raceway. More ...

Sandbagging or just slow  
It appears that Mercedes have come up with a fast car for Hamilton and Rosberg
Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button have revealed that their respective teams might struggle to fight for victory in Melbourne in two weeks.

Ferrari's Alonso admitted to British broadcaster Sky that the pace of the new F138 is "a little bit behind the top teams".

And McLaren's Button said the MP4-28 is "not quite there in terms of pace".

Their words reinforces the feeling that Red Bull and Lotus are leading the field, but Button also said: "One team that has been consistently quick on their runs, more than anyone else, is the Mercedes."

Ferrari to replace Cosworth at Marussia?  (GMM)  Marussia has ousted contracted 2013 driver Luiz Razia, replacing him with the Ferrari-linked Jules Bianchi just two weeks before the new season.

Rookie Brazilian Razia, who was conspicuously absent at recent winter testing, reportedly lost the crucial backing of a Swiss sponsor.

"Having made clear the basis on which we must operate in 2013, we had no alternative but to remain true to the principles which we had identified as being key to securing our long term future," said team boss John Booth. More ...

Kovalainen after final Marussia seat - No  UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' with today's announcement that Jules Bianchi has the rise.

03/01/13 Heikki Kovalainen is thought to be the favorite to replace Luiz Razia in the second Marussia F1 entry should the Brazilian's sponsorship problems deny him a grand prix debut.

Razia was confirmed as Max Chilton's team-mate on day two of the Jerez group test, but has so far failed to appear at either of the subsequent sessions in Barcelona, amid rumors that the backing on which he secured his seat failed to materialize.

The 2012 GP2 Series runner-up had been in contention for several rides over the winter, and expressed his disappointment when Chilton was confirmed as team-mate to veteran Timo Glock before Christmas – having considered himself to still be in negotiation for the seat when the announcement was made – but subsequently took the German's place when it became clear that Marussia needed a paying driver rather than one with a salary that had to be met. More ...

Razia to be Marussia's 2nd 2013 ride-buyer - No  UPDATE #4 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' with today's announcement that Jules Bianchi has the rise.

Luiz Razia's check did not clear
This rumor is now downgraded to 'speculation' today.  As the F1 teams prepare for the final pre-season test in Barcelona, Brazilian rookie Luiz Razia's formula one future appears in tatters.

The 23-year-old was left out of Marussia's entire schedule for the recent Barcelona test, with the team saying only that it wanted to benefit from the "consistency" of having Max Chilton in the car for every day of running.

Razia, however, confirmed there are "conflicts" relating to his 2013 contract, because of "parties with responsibilities".

He is almost certainly confirming rumors that his sponsors have missed payment dates. More ...

Mercedes' Lauda to return to aviation  
Niki Lauda and Gerhard Berger
(GMM)  Having recently stepped down at Air Berlin, it is rumored Niki Lauda could be looking to return to the world of aviation.

As he became a shareholder and the chairman at Mercedes' works team, the famous Austrian stepped down from an existing management position at Air Berlin.

The business newspaper Handelsblatt speculated last month that Lauda "wants to dedicate his future to his role in formula one". More ...

Sutil secures F1 return with Force India  UPDATE #4
Adrian Sutil back in F1
This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  Having denied it was a done deal mere hours ago, Adrian Sutil's manager now sounds certain the 30-year-old has secured a Force India race seat for 2013.

"It looks like it has worked out," Manfred Zimmermann told the Kolner Express newspaper.

"I've heard that Nicolas Todt told French reporters that Jules Bianchi is out of the race," 30-year-old Sutil's manager added.

"We still have to wait for the official confirmation of the team," Zimmermann said. More ...

Will NACAR be forced to raise height of catch fences?  NASCAR officials did not release any new information Tuesday on how they are progressing with an investigation into the Nationwide Series accident Saturday, but it will be up to them, the racetrack—and their insurance companies—to decide what to do next.

Seven fans remained hospitalized Tuesday after being hit by debris from Kyle Larson’s car in an accident that injured more than 30 fans.

With no governmental oversight of how tracks keep fans safe, NASCAR and the insurance companies dictate the standards for fencing for NASCAR races, said former Charlotte Motor Speedway president Humpy Wheeler. More ...

New NASCAR Gen 6 car a dud?  NASCAR plans to meet with Sprint Cup teams to discuss whether tweaks are needed to the new "Gen 6" car before the next restrictor plate race. "We'll do one-on-ones on that and see what they think," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president for competition, on Tuesday. "A lot of people have opinions. The racing was as old school as it gets. If there's some things we're encouraged to look at, we will. Once you get a race under your belt, even as a competitor, you would work on things once you got a race of that length under your belt." Pemberton said the main issue appeared to be the lack of movement on the inside lane. Many fans complained the race was boring due to the lack of passing. "Some of the stuff we were told is they could run 10 to 20 laps on the bottom, and then it went away on them," Pemberton said. "It was in short spurts. We know that's something they need." More ...
racing news
Nissan to Announce Major News for its NISMO Performance Arm  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with this announcement.

02/22/13 Nissan Motor Co. is planning a major announcement around future plans for performance when it opens a new factory for its Nismo motorsport and performance tuning arm on Tuesday, Feb. 26 near Yokohama.

Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn will headline the announcement, which is expected to reveal a new direction for Nismo’s core mission.

Well-known to motorsports and performance car enthusiasts, Nismo has nearly 30 years of motorsport expertise and proven tuning capabilities for road cars, and for  its millions of global gaming and virtual fans Nismo products are about to become much more of a reality. More ...
Gilles Simon working on F1 engine for Honda?  UPDATE We are upgrading this rumor to 'strong' based on information received by AutoRacing1.com from its sources.

Will they be back?
(GMM)  Honda may already be working on a formula one project for 2014.

When revealing its all-new turbo V6 'power unit' for next year near Paris on Monday, Renault's Jean-Michel Jalinier said he "definitely" expects more engine makers to enter F1 under the 2014 rules.

"That's why the number of our customers will fall in the future," he is quoted by German website motorsport-total.com, "because there are more competitors."

Honda, the Japanese marque that pulled out of F1 at the end of 2008 due to the global financial crisis, could be one such competitor. More ...

Female driver in F1?  
Susie Wolff gives Danica Patrick a run for the money in both the looks and talent department.  However, F1 racing is much harder than driving around in circles at 100% throttle, which Danica had down to perfection in IndyCar and now at the big NASCAR tracks.  Ten times harder.
Planet F1 reported Williams test driver Susie Wolff said that Ecclestone is reportedly "determined to see a female driver compete in Formula One." Wolff "entered F1 last season with Williams but has yet to pit herself against F1's male drivers as her efforts have been kept to aerodynamic tests and one day at Silverstone" in October. The Scot, though, "is determined to secure her superlicense this year" and take another step toward the F1 grid. And she reckons that "the powers-that-be are keen to see a female in the sport." 

In London, Kevin Eason wrote NASCAR driver Danica Patrick’s achievement of the past week at the Daytona 500 "is either the breakthrough for women in motor racing or the high water mark. Which is it?" There have been plenty of optimistic noises about the rise of women to the front rank of the sport. Wolff said that Ecclestone "was massively pushing" for a women in F1. He will need "a lot of shoulder power." More ...
Ross Brawn to get the axe at Mercedes?  UPDATE #3
Ross Brawn
Ross Brawn's position as Mercedes team principal is not in discussion despite Paddy Lowe's departure from McLaren at the end of the year, Mercedes GP non-executive chairman Niki Lauda has said. 

McLaren announced earlier that Tim Goss had taken over as technical director with Lowe, who has been linked in the media as a possible replacement for Brawn, leaving at the end of the year for a "fresh challenge".

"I cannot officially say anything...McLaren put him on 'gardening leave' so let's wait and see," Lauda, who is also a Mercedes team shareholder, told Reuters at a Motorsport magazine Hall of Fame event in London when asked whether Lowe would eventually find his way to Mercedes. More ...

McLaren admits Lowe's future uncertain  UPDATE #3 Paddy Lowe will move to Mercedes after his current contract with McLaren comes to an end later this year.  Although Mercedes declined to comment on the situation, Autosport sources have revealed that a deal has been agreed in principle for him to switch camps ahead of the 2014 campaign.

01/31/13 McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has confirmed that technical director Paddy Lowe will remain with McLaren for the 2013 season.

The Brit has been linked with a move to Williams and Mercedes, with the latter having confirmed it has approached him about a move to Brackley.

Mercedes will probably poach Lowe - if you cannot beat them, steal their best talent
(GMM)  A notable absentee at the launch of McLaren's 2013 car on Thursday was technical director Paddy Lowe.

Ross Brawn confirmed recently that Lowe, initially in talks with Williams, had discussed a possible future move to Mercedes.

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh told reporters at Woking, where the wraps were taken off the evolutionary MP4-28, that 50-year-old Briton Lowe is staying put for 2013.

"The future is less certain," he admitted. More ...

'Engine maps' trouble for Red Bull, Lotus?  (GMM)  Hot on the heels of Williams and Caterham’s dubious exhaust exit solutions for 2013, trouble could also be brewing for F1's two other Renault-powered teams.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that, after Renault and 'works' partner Red Bull were told to cease using certain 'engine maps' last year, the same issue is now back on the table.

Correspondent Michael Schmidt also said the similarly Renault-powered Lotus, who according to most pundits has been the second most impressive team of the 2013 pre-season, is also in the spotlight as the latest controversy brews.

The report said that despite the FIA issuing a technical directive about engine maps last August, "it was not clear what should apply for 2013". More ...

Mercedes-bound Lowe to miss 2013 opener  (GMM)  Having sat out the launch of the new MP4-28, McLaren's technical director Paddy Lowe will now not travel to Australia for the 2013 opener.

The news continues the saga of Lowe's uncertain future, with the Guardian newspaper claiming on Monday that a move to Mercedes for the 50-year-old is "a done deal".

"He will join the team in time to oversee the massive (rule) changes for 2014," said journalist Paul Weaver.

Weaver explained that Lowe will remain under contract to McLaren this year, but he will be on so-called 'gardening leave' in order to protect the Woking based team's technical secrets.

Mercedes team boss Ross Brawn insisted recently that his position is safe, but Weaver thinks Lowe could eventually take over "unless Mercedes make significant progress" in the near future.

track news
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Is For Sale and SMI could be buyer  UPDATE #3
Bruton Smith now has the money secured to buy IMS
One of the largest motorsports facilities owners in the United States, Speedway Motorsports, Inc., filed an 8K statement with the Securities & Exchange Commission on February 1, 2013 disclosing a new credit agreement with its lenders that allowed it, among other things, to draw up to $250 million for the purpose of "acquiring additional motor speedways and related facilities", a little more than a week before the Indianapolis Star broke the news that State Sen. Mike Young (R), whose district includes the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, planned to introduce an amendment the following week to SB 91 that would provide state funding of up to $100 million for the IMS. Perhaps it's just another in a series of coincidences. More ...
F3 champ Juncadella to be Mercedes tester  UPDATE
Daniel Juncadella
(GMM)  This rumor is downgraded to 'speculation' today.  Daniel Juncadella, who has been signed up by Mercedes for the DTM season in 2013, has played down reports he is set to also become the German marque's F1 reserve driver.

Spanish and German media sources said last week that the reigning European F3 champion - a 21-year-old Spaniard - looked set to combine his new DTM role with a role as third driver for Mercedes' Brackley based team.

Juncadella admitted to Spain's AS newspaper that he heard the very same rumors. More ...

'Bad Brad' gets mouth wired shut  UPDATE Like he does with everything else, Keselowski finds a way to laugh at his critics and with his fans.

“You’re never going to get all of the people to like something that you do. It’s not possible,” Keselowski said. “Someone’s always going to dislike something you do, and you have to roll that off your shoulders and move on.”

He was fined $25,000 last year for calling the new electronic ignition a “media circus.” He was fined another $25,000 late in the year for sending out tweets from his car during a red-flag period at Phoenix International Raceway. More ...

Maybe NASCAR is buying IndyCar  A reader writes, Dear AR1: According to the Pocono Raceway website, there will be "Sprint Cup Series Driver Introductions" right before the start of the Indycar race on July 7th. I didn't see the rumor that NASCAR should purchase the series upgraded to "fact" yet! Tim Howell, York, PA
Military cuts could limit flyovers  The military flyover for Sunday's Daytona 500 may be a rarity at NASCAR events -- and sporting events in general -- moving forward. Military spending cuts of 30 percent have forced the Air Force to trim flying hours by 18%. That will come from air shows, including the Thunderbirds aerobatic flying team that will perform prior to Daytona 500.

Daytona International Speedway did not have its traditional flyover for the Rolex 24, Thursday's 150-mile qualifying races, and one is not planned for Saturday's Nationwide Series race. There is a plan in place if automatic budget cuts known as "sequestration" are triggered on March 1 to suspend all Air Force flyovers immediately except for the Thunderbirds, which will be suspended on April 1. More ...
Danica to give up Daytona pole?  Danica Patrick accomplished her main goal during her 150-mile qualifying race Thursday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway.

She didn’t wreck.

Beyond that, it wasn’t all that fun or fulfilling for Patrick, the first woman to win a pole for a NASCAR race.

She most likely will get to start that race—the biggest race of the season, the Daytona 500—on Sunday from the pole after a 17th-place finish in the first of two Budweiser Duels. More ...

Danica to win pole  UPDATE #7 Dear Mordichai the Conspiracy Theorist, While your letters make for great fodder, let's talk shop.  Every car has a transponder and they are timed using the same as most professional racing series. The hardware is the same as the ones used by F1 and INDYCAR. The software is the same as the one used by INDYCAR. The difference is that they do not distribute the segment times, only the results (lap times) and only to 1/1000th of a second instead of INDYCAR’s 1/10000th of a second precision. This does not preclude them from modifying the results, but they are using the same hardware and software system as other professional racing series.

If I were to give a car an advantage, I would not try to fake the times. Professional timers can use a stop watch or ’10-key’ system to time cars within 1/100th of a second, and often matches electronic timing systems to the 1/1000th of a second so at the very least, the car/driver has to be within the ballpark for any modification to the times to be realistic. With video, at 30 fps, just about anyone can time the cars to within 1/30th of a second. With HD (60 fps) and high-speed video (120 fps or higher), the accuracy is even higher and by interpolating between frames you can get well into the 1/100th and even 1/1000th of a second range. To be realistic, the driver would have to be within at least 1/10th of a second of what they actually ran, which would require Danica to be at least within the top 2. To fake the times would require a lot of people to be involved, and to prohibit video recording of the qualifying session by anyone. It’s just too easy to detect. More ...

Suzuki returning to MotoGP?  Suzuki, planning a possible MotoGP comeback in 2014, joined the existing manufacturers in sending a group of engineers to meet with Magneti Marelli.

From 2014 Magneti Marelli will supply a control ECU, which will be compulsory throughout the premier-class grid.

However the manufacturers - currently Honda, Yamaha and Ducati - will continue using their own software, with the spec hardware, in return for a fuel penalty of four liters relative to the privateer bikes.

The meeting with Magneti Marelli was aimed at helping the manufacturers understand how to integrate their technology with the new system, although HRC vice president Shuhei Nakamoto said that question marks remain. More ...

First Details Emerge On Next Corvette Z06 And ZR1  The 2014 Corvette Stingray isn’t even in the hands of customers yet (though we have seen its first crash), but details are beginning to emerge about the next generation of higher-performance Corvette models. The good news is this: Chevrolet appears to have plans to launch both a Z06 and ZR1 version of the C7 Corvette.

According to Motor Trend, the next Z06 will get an updated version of the current car’s normally-aspirated 7.0-liter V-8, with as much as 600 horsepower on tap. That’s quite a jump from the 505 horsepower made by the Z06 in 2013, though the final output is dependent upon the next ZR1's  power rating. More ...

Karthikeyan eyes possible move to IndyCar  UPDATE #8 A reader writes, I just saw the rumors page that Adrian Sutil or Jules Bianchi are in line for the Force-India seat, making it more likely that Narain Karthikeyan will get the second Coyne seat.  Personally, I think this is good news. 

Of course, people will complain about another ride-buying F1 reject, whose name they can't pronounce.  And while that may be so, the same provincial goobers will fail to realize is that Karthikeyan is from a country with a growing economy and get this, ONE BILLION PEOPLE.  Yes, that's billion, with a B. More ...
F1 to proceed with float in October - source  (GMM)  Owner CVC looks set to proceed with the floatation of formula one later this year, according to F1 business journalist Christian Sylt.

Late last year, Sylt said CVC had decided to continue to delay the planned Singapore floatation until at least 2014.

But in a new report for the Telegraph, he quotes a 'senior source' as saying CVC is now eyeing October, when it hopes the European financial crisis and the Gribkowsky corruption affair in Germany will be resolved. More ...

Karthikeyan in frame for Force India seat  UPDATE See related rumor that Karthikeyan could end up at Dale Coyne Racing alongside Justin Wilson, another former F1 driver.

Did Karthikeyan's management team play Bernie like a fiddle?
Using rumors he will move to IndyCar and scare Bernie Ecclestone into thinking that there won't be an Indian driver for the Indian F1 race, Narain Karthikeyan has emerged as a surprise contender to fill the final spot on the 2013 grid.

Although the Indian driver and team boss Vijay Mallya have never been the best of friends, the Deccan Chronicle newspaper said Karthikeyan's sponsor Tata has opened the doors to the Silverstone based team.

However, the Ferrari-linked Frenchman Jules Bianchi appears arguably the hotter favorite to be Paul di Resta's teammate this year, particularly after going second quickest in the brand new VJM06 car as the Jerez test wrapped up on Friday. More ...

IndyCar to reverse doubleheader grids in 2014?  UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. IZOD IndyCar Series Race Director Beaux Barfield says a recent story indicating inverted grids could be used for the second race during 2013’s three doubleheader weekends was incorrect.

“As soon as I saw this story, my comments were really taken out of context and spun in a different direction,” Barfield confirmed. “What I had mentioned to the writer was that among the possibilities of many different things that we considered for setting the grid for 2013 doubleheaders was inverting the field. I was explaining items that had been batted around, not what people can expect to see.” More ...
Emirates could sponsor F1 team again  
Back in 2006 Emirates featured prominently on the McLaren of Juan Montoya (above) and Kimi Raikkonen
(GMM)  New F1 backer Emirates, the Dubai-owned airline, could also return to the sport as a team sponsor.

Earlier this month, Bernie Ecclestone announced a five-year branding deal has been agreed between formula one and the airline.

But in 2006, as McLaren plugged the one-season gap between its title sponsors West and Vodafone, Emirates had a prominent place on the silver livery. More ...

Chevrolet's future with NASCAR may have hinged on 'Gen 6' car  
Did Chevy force NASCAR into the Gen 6 car?
Chevrolet may have pulled out of NASCAR had the governing body not developed the new "Gen 6" car that returns brand identity to the sport.

"It would have been a good chance," team owner Rick Hendrick said on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway. "As a matter of fact, I'm sure they might have."

Hendrick, the owner of Hendrick Motorsports and one of the top owners of automobile dealerships in the United States, made the comment during the unveiling of the 2014 Chevrolet SS production car that will debut in NASCAR this season. More ...

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