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Plan would shift money from horse racing to auto racing Indiana lawmakers are considering a controversial plan to take $10 million in annual slot machine revenues away from the state’s horse racing industry and give the money to the auto racing industry instead.
The move—debated Monday in the House Ways and Means Committee—is meant to subsidize upgrades at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and make low-interest loans available to other auto tracks and businesses across the state.
Indiana Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero, said the money would help an industry that creates thousands of jobs in the state but would also eliminate the need for lawmakers to find money in the state budget to pay for the incentives. Turner’s proposal would also impose a new $1 tax on the tickets for major events—such as the Indy 500 and the Brickyard 400—at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and capture new sales and income tax revenue generated there.
Fisker going bankrupt?UPDATE Fisker Automotive could file for bankruptcy protection as soon as this week as the U.S. Department of Energy pressures the green-car startup to pay back nearly $200 million in government loans.
The DoE appears to be pushing a Chapter 11 filing soon by Fisker, several sources close to the company said on Monday. Fisker's attorneys have drawn up bankruptcy documents and are ready to file in the next few days, one of the sources said.
Fisker's board of directors will discuss its options at a meeting on Tuesday morning, one of the sources said. Directors, who have not given up on a possible sale, are expected to make a decision on the timing of a possible Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing at that time, the source said.
IndyCar to return to Barber three more yearsUPDATE
IndyCar CEO Jeff Belskus (C), and Birmingham Mayor William Bell (L)
This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Grand Prix of Alabama, officials announced this morning that the race would continue at Barber Motorsports Park through 2016.
INDYCAR CEO Jeff Belskus, Birmingham Mayor William Bell, Alabama State Senate Majority Leader Jabo Waggoner, President and CEO of ZOOM Motorsports Gene Hallman and other local and state officials were on site at Barber Motorsports Park to make the announcement.
F1 Engine makers to get extra January test (GMM) F1's engine manufacturers have reportedly won the battle for an extra pre-season test for 2014.
Apparently against the resistance of some teams, the engine suppliers had argued that - given the workload and complexity of preparing for the new V6 rules - next year's pre-season test period should be extended.
Writing in Speed Week, correspondent Rob La Salle said the manufacturers have indeed won the argument for a fourth test, possibly in the Middle East.
La Salle quoted Renault's Rob White saying a proposal is on the table for a January test, in addition to the usual three tests in February.
Did dirty politics kill Birmingham IndyCar funding?UPDATE Financial support from the city of Birmingham, Alabama for this weekend’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park was not approved this afternoon by city officials.
Instead of a proposed plan from Birmingham mayor William Bell that called for a four-year, $1.2 million contract for the annual IZOD IndyCar Series event, the city will make a contribution on “in-kind” services. According to Joseph D. Bryant of AL.com, Bell has withdrawn his original proposal and will return with a plan that provides funding for this year’s Barber race only, which will go on as scheduled.
City funding, which would go toward the race’s sanctioning fees, has been a prickly issue recently, with Bell and Birmingham City Council president Roderick Royal dueling last week over details and the length of Bell’s now-failed contract despite both of them supporting the race itself.
Foyt to run Daly in Indy 500UPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.
A.J. Foyt Racing plans to confirm its second Indianapolis 500 driver before the Izod IndyCar Series’ April 7 race at Barber Motorsports Park. Why is that date significant? Because the annual Rookie Orientation Program at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is April 11, and all rookies need to be there.
Foyt apparently will field one. If so, his name is Conor Daly.
Of course, Daly will need no introduction to the Speedway. His father, Derek, competed in six Indianapolis 500s, and Daly’s stepfather, Doug Boles, is chief operating officer of IMS. Daly’s mother, Beth, owns a motor sports entertainment/hospitality company.
Will Force India team collapse when Kingfisher collapses?UPDATE #4 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. The Subrata Roy-led Sahara Group, beleaguered by Supreme Court pressures and a probe into the funds involving its depositors, says its prized sporting possessions covering cricket, hockey and Formula 1 teams will be unaffected by the regulatory assault it is facing.
The Sahara group owns the Pune Warriors India IPL team, is the India cricket team sponsor, is the principal sponsor of the national hockey team and also partly owns the Sahara Force India F1 team.
The Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) last week said it would sell assets of two Sahara group companies if the conglomerate’s chief Subrata Roy and three other top executives fail to appear personally before it on April 10 after furnishing details of their assets and bank accounts.
Interlagos could lose Brazil GP to RioUPDATE #2 F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone "has cast doubt on Interlagos hosting the Brazilian Grand Prix beyond 2015," according to Luke Smith of NBC SPORTS' Motor Sports Talk. The historic track in Sao Paulo "has become a favorite among drivers and fans alike." However, Ecclestone "could be set to terminate the track's contract in favor of a race in Rio." Ecclestone said, "I've been unhappy with Sao Paulo for some time because the facilities need a big facelift. We could be in Rio for the Olympic year." NBC Sports
03/24/13 (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has admitted he is considering dropping Interlagos from the F1 calendar.
Early this week, we reported that IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves had repeated rumors that "formula one might move from Sao Paulo" to another Brazilian location.
"Obviously it's all about how much the promoters are willing to spend," the Brazilian driver said.
Indeed, Britain's Daily Mail reveals that F1 chief executive Ecclestone, who has not travelled to the opening two races of the 2013 calendar, has in fact just returned from Rio de Janeiro.
The city's mayor is reportedly "pitching hard" to become the new Brazil GP host.
"The mayor has told me they can get it done," said Ecclestone.
Joe Gibbs Racing announces that Brian Vickers will take over behind the wheel of the #11 FedEx Toyota Camry in the Sprint Cup Series for the injured Denny Hamlin starting on April 13 at Texas Motor Speedway. It was previously released that Mark Martin would handle the duties behind the wheel for the #11 Joe Gibbs Racing team while Denny Hamlin recovered from injury. Martin will drive the car in Martinsville, but Vickers will now take over the duties beginning in Texas.
"Obviously having to find someone to fill in for Denny is not an ideal situation to have to be in and when you start a process like this you obviously begin to look at the drivers that are not only available but also able to drive for your race team and manufacturer. We were a bit premature in determining Mark's status past Martinsville however," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "We're real happy to have the opportunity to get Brian in our Cup cars and with him driving Nationwide for us we think we have some continuity there that is beneficial. JGR
Sadler to fill in for Hamlin?UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' with the announcement that Mark Martin will replace Hamlin.
03/27/13 Rumor has it that Elliott Sadler has been chosen as the primary sub for Denny Hamlin. All that's preventing an official announcement, as of Wednesday morning is a few details to work out with sponsor Fed Ex. Sadler, who was long pegged as the likely choice is driving full-time for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series and was scheduled to drive a fourth Cup car in a limited schedule later this season. There are no conflicts on the Nationwide schedule that would affect Sadler until early June. Frontstretch
Bangkok will host F1 race in 2015UPDATE #4 Thailand is one step closer to hosting a Formula One race in 2015 – if the Thai cabinet gives the go ahead. SAT governor Kanokphand Chulakasem explained, “The racing contract is in my and Red Bull’s founder advisor, Michael de Santiesteban’s hands. However, before signing an official contact the authority has to present details to the Cabinet for final approval.”
He also revealed that Rajdamnoen Avenue, one of the venues on the short-list to host the F1 race, has already been inspected by the FIA and given positive feedback.
One obstacle currently facing the race is a new Thai law banning racing on city streets. The law has been passed in an attempt to prevent illegal motor cycle racing on the streets and if the F1 event is given the go ahead and is confirmed as a street race, an exemption will need to be made to the law to allow the event to go ahead.
Overheard at St. Pete - SundayUPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, I noticed you mentioned colleges doing aero kits for IndyCar. Wow. That’s a no brainer really. IndyCar TV ratings would be boosted by incorporating colleges into the sport directly. If you had a bunch of college kids, and the alumni tuning in, and the colleges sponsors with a reason to watch...well wouldn't the ratings come up then? What about all these companies that just about cut each other’s throats to capture that college market? Soft drink manufacturers, clothing, computers, beer, cell phones and cell providers...gee. It seems like that’s most of the IndyCar sponsors...isn't it? The FIRST place I would go if I wanted to find an Izod alligator on a shirt, would be my nearby major university? How come nobody is figuring this out? Mordichai Rosen, Los Angeles, CA
03/24/13 As the skies appear to be improving here in St. Petersburg, Florida less than one hour before race time, there is hope we may have a dry race today. The attendance today appears to be a record for IndyCar. Champ Car had a bigger crowds, but for the IRL/IndyCar this appears to be a record.
Word is that Katherine Legge's lawyers are working hard to negotiate a financial settlement with Dragon Racing for terminating Katherine Legge's contract. Legge maintains that TrueCar was her sponsor, not the team's.
(GMM) Ferrari and Lotus would veto any move to have Pirelli change the compounds of its 2013 tires.
Before the RB9 finished first and second in Malaysia, Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko claimed F1's Italian tire supplier "has promised" to make changes to its controversial 2013 product in the wake of the high degradation seen so far this season.
Red Bull and Mercedes had reportedly complained to Pirelli that, according to their data, the new tires are wearing out faster when fitted to the very best cars.
DTM America set to be announced tonightUPDATE #2 This rumor is now upgraded to 'fact' with this announcement.
Audi welcomes US DTM initiative
03/26/13 NASCAR-owned Grand-Am Road Racing tonight will announce an agreement to bring the German touring car series DTM to the U.S. The races, which would feature Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Nissan and Toyota and U.S. manufacturers such as Cadillac, Lincoln or Dodge SRT, would begin as early as '15 and may take place on the same weekend as the combined Grand-Am-American-Le-Mans series, United SportsCar Racing. The DTM announcement will be made at Intercontinental in N.Y.
03/17/13 [Editor's Note: This fits right in with the France Family strategy to further marginalize and eventually kill off open wheel racing in the USA. Saloon car racing is what they are all about. If they don't own open wheel racing, then it is the enemy and will work every angle to eliminate it. While other series are expending globally into the USA, IndyCar's goal (as dictated by Roger Penske and others) is to remain a small domestic series under the long shadow of NASCAR, NHRA, the new United SportsCar Racing series and now DTM.]
The long-awaited DTM America series is set to be announced at the end of the month.
US sanctioning body Grand-Am, which has been in discussions about bringing the DTM category to North America in recent years, has put out a statement saying that it will make a major announcement concerning the DTM in New York later this month.
Ecclestone almost took over tennis (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone has revealed how close he came to changing forever the international game of tennis.
Sportsvibe reports that the F1 chief executive led a consortium including legend Boris Becker and former player turned businessman Ion Tiriac that wanted to take over the game a decade ago.
Ecclestone, who said the trio came "very close" to running tennis, said the International Tennis Federation ultimately asked for "too much money".
"I argued that the sport needed to be better geared towards television," he said.
"We would have introduced one serve only per point and also a timed cut-off point to a match so that everyone knew, especially the TV companies, how long a match would last.
"Another idea we had was to segment the match into two or three, timed parts of, say, 20 minutes each. I admit it was radical but the sport needed to do something, although it has improved a little since our talks," he added.
Overheard at St. Pete - SaturdayUPDATE #2 St. Petersburg officials estimate that “more than 100,000 people" attended the Honda Grand Prix over the three-day season-opening event. In Tampa, Mark Puente notes that figure “has grown from 65,000 in 2005.” Tampa Mayor Bill Foster said that he “noticed more people at Friday's events this year than at any other day of the three-day events in prior years” Tampa Bay Times
Big Saturday crowd
03/23/13 The Saturday crowd here in St. Pete was by far the biggest we have ever seen, which bodes well for the race on Sunday.
iPads everywhere - Spotted Tony George using an iPad to keep up with all the news, as well as timing & scoring for his stepson Ed Carpenter. We also spotted a number of drivers with iPads in their cockpits - while in the pits they can keep tabs on timing & scoring as well as other team communication.
Busch -- I Need 'Anger Management' and Charlie Sheen's Gonna Help Me Kyle Busch -- one of NASCAR's most hot-headed drivers -- has signed on for some professional help from Charlie Sheen ... on his TV show, "Anger Management" ... TMZ reports.
Sources connected to the show tell them Busch just signed the deal -- in the last 30 minutes -- to play himself in one episode of the FX comedy.
Busch, the most successful driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, has more than earned his nickname ... "Wild Thing" with his antics on the track ... and off.
Williams to revert to 2012 exhaust Williams may be forced to revert to last year's exhaust design in a bid to overcome the problems it is facing getting its Coanda concept to work.
"I think at the moment we are of the opinion that a FW34 type of car would be faster," said technical director Mike Coughlan, after seeing Pastor Maldonado fail to make it out of Q2 and Valtteri Bottas eliminated in Q1 in Malaysia.
"I don't we will go back to a FW34, but we might go back to a FW34-style exhaust system, and then treat Fridays as tests across cars. That is relatively easy for us.
It's just a coincidenceUPDATE #4 A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, It's just a coincidence that a Toyota car has won the pole yet again for the Sprint cup race in Fontana, mere footsteps from Toyota USA's headquarters in Torrance, CA. It's the third time Denny Hamlin has won the pole at Fontana. It's important to keep Toyota and all of its California employees happy and in the series. Hopefully all of them will come out to the race and fill the usually empty Fontana grandstands. I am also keen to note that Hamlin publicly apologized for spinning out Logano last week, I assume after being asked to do so. He then went out and won the pole. And it's just a coincidence that the great Danica Patrick won the pole for the Daytona 500 but all of a sudden has been a complete backmarker since. I guess after that rock hit her in the head she forgot how to drive. Or was it that the pole was manufactured? Mordichai Rosen, Los Angeles, CA
03/10/13 Dear AR1.com, After badmouthing the new Gen 6 Sprint Cup car last week maybe it's just a coincidence that Denny Hamlin got a drive-thru penalty in the Kobalt 400 Sunday. Or maybe it was just a coincidence that after sponsoring a number of NASCAR races, and cars (i.e. spending a lot of money in the sport), today was the day Dollar General was finally awarded a win with Matt Kenseth in Las Vegas. Or maybe it was just a coincidence that it was Matt Kenseth's birthday and he being such a good NASCAR lieutenant -i.e. never saying the wrong thing about NASCAR - got a win on his birthday as gift. NASCAR is the best 'managed' form of motorsports in the world. Things always seem to work out. Mordichai Rosen, Los Angeles
1A looking north. The entire sidewalks would not need to be removed, just a few feet back. Some trees may be impacted.
We spoke to Ryan Hunter-Reay about the progress being made on the Ft. Lauderdale street race. The biggest issue is the money required to move the sidewalks back along 1A (Seabreeze Blvd) to make the track wide enough. The sidewalks will have to be removed, the barriers put up and then when the race is over the sidewalk slabs would have to be put back in place. As you can see from the AR1.com photo to the right, the road is not as wide as it should be, and certainly not wide enough to place the barriers in front of the curbs. This work is expensive so it requires a race promoter who is willing to fork out a lot of upfront money for the initial infrastructure investment. Hence the delay in announcing the race.
03/22/13 Hello from St. Petersburg, Florida where the IndyCar series has assembled for their traditional season opener on the streets and airport runaway of this pretty Florida town. Friday brought temperatures in the Mid-70s under sunny skies.
Fernandes to shutter back of grid Caterham? (GMM) Caterham has hit back at paddock rumors team founder Tony Fernandes has lost interest in the F1 project and could soon shut it down.
Late last year, Malaysian entrepreneur Fernandes handed over the role as team boss to Cyril Abiteboul.
And the decision to replace the highly rated Heikki Kovalainen with a second pay-driver for 2013 was seen by some as an acknowledgement that Caterham is unlikely to ever make the giant leap from the back even to the middle of the grid.
New McLaren a slug, may be forced to revert to old carUPDATE #2 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. McLaren has ruled out the idea of reverting to last year's car, despite the difficulties it is facing with its 2013 challenger.
Team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: "At the moment we have to work hard on this car.
"We know it has got some areas of high potential and we know it has potentially more downforce than last year's car.
"We just need to understand it and make sure it [the performance] is accessible.
"We have all had cars in the past which have been difficult to get performance out of even though some of the [downforce] figures are quite impressive.
Vettel extends Red Bull deal through 2016rt (GMM) Sebastian Vettel has extended his contract with Red Bull to the end of the 2016 season, according to Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung.
Previously committed to the energy drink-owned squad only to the end of next year, the report said the reigning triple world champion has now inked an extension for 2015 with an 'option' for the following season as well.
The report said team boss Christian Horner admitted the news to a small group of insiders in Melbourne. Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko said: "I can't imagine Horner said something like that."
Vodafone quit McLaren over Bahrain issue - report (GMM) McLaren has reportedly played down reports title sponsor Vodafone is pulling out of formula one due to the controversial Bahrain grand prix.
A day after the British team confirmed that its title sponsor since 2007 will pull out at the end of the year, The Times newspaper said Vodafone made its decision "after conducting a review of the deal on the back of last year's Bahrain grand prix".
Bahrain, also a McLaren co-owner through the state-owned Mumtalakat Holding Company, has been a controversial race on the F1 calendar in the wake of the Kingdom's reaction to the Arab Spring uprising.
F1 race in Argentina on the horizon F1's lone South American race in Brazil could get some company in the near future. Recent media reports suggested that Argentina could make an F1 comeback and replace the struggling South Korean race. Argentine Minister of Tourism Enrique Meyer told Italian website Autosprint: “The National Government accepts the challenge of organizing the Grand Prix of Argentina to promote the image of our country around the world. In May, the three-year contract will be signed between all parties involved."
Argentina last hosted an F1 Grand Prix in ’98. The Brazilian Grand Prix, which takes place at Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo has a contract with F1 through ’14. However, Ecclestone revealed last year that if the track wants to retain its F1 race until at least ’20 then it has to undergo major improvements. Ecclestone said, “I have long believed in Brazil -- we've been there since 1972. The future of Formula One Brazil depends now on major improvements at Interlagos. These events (World Cup and Olympics) are a great opportunity to look at the circuit, as well.” The organizers of the Brazilian F1 race, GP Brasil, did not respond to multiple interview requests. HJ Mai, SportsbusinessDaily.com
Overheard at Barber - TuesdayUPDATE #3 Word is that tomorrow Josef Newgarden will pick up a deal with Century 21 Realty for the Indianapolis 500. The deal will be a one-off for the Indianapolis 500, and is expected to be announced at Century 21's big national convention at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.
03/12/13 We hear that the Ganassi 2nd team is final. So that likely means no Karthikeyan in IndyCar this year.
03/12/13 Track was resurfaced, combined with today being perfect weather for tires and turbos, 22 cars have bettered last year’s pole...several under the lap record........Allmendinger just spun in turn 14...almost put it in the wall. Scott Morris reporting
Stefan Wilson to join brother Justin at Dale Coyne Racing
Justin Wilson and his brother, Stefan, are teammates in the Izod IndyCar Series at least for this week, and it could be more.
Details of the Dale Coyne Racing program still haven't been confirmed, but Stefan will drive the No. 19 car alongside his brother, who returns to the No. 18.
Stefan is expected to share the car with Ana Beatriz in this week's open test at Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Ala. If the deals are signed, Stefan will drive the car at most of the road courses and street circuits, including the April 7 race here at Barber, with Beatriz competing at her hometown race in Brazil and on the ovals.
(GMM) Max Chilton has denied claims he has only made the grade as a formula one driver because his wealthy father is buying the Marussia team.
Chilton's father Grahame, a leading executive of the insurance giant Aon, owns the Carlin team that Max drove for last year, and is also heavily involved in the touring car career of his other son, the six-years-older Tom.
Max, 21, has stepped up from GP2 for 2013, but some say he is now among the most obvious 'pay drivers' on the grid, amid rumors his multi-millionaire father will buy a bigger share of Marussia at the end of each season his son completes.
New IndyCar team announcement?UPDATE #2 Was all this hype really necessary? For two races? As you said, AJ struggled in NASCAR, and now is using IndyCar as his soft landing spot. IndyCar people need to remember the very instant a mid-level NASCAR seat opens, AJ will go South leaving them high and dry and taking his fans with him. Sure, in the interim he'll wax poetic about what a great organization Penske is and how lucky he is to get a second chance. But at the end of the day, IndyCar's biggest press conference of this interminable off-season was to announce a down on his luck mid-level NASCAR driver is running IndyCar for two races. A very sad day indeed. Brian C.
03/08/13 This announcement was about AJ Allmendinger driving in two IndyCar races. Such a fuss for a driver who turned his back on IndyCar Racing and then uses IndyCar to try a resurrect his career after getting into substance abuse problems and falling out of grace with sponsors and NASCAR.
03/07/13 An IZOD IndyCar Series team and Indianapolis 500 announcement has been scheduled for 11 a.m. (ET) March 8 from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The news conference will be streamed live on www.indycar.com, www.IndianapolisMotorSpeedway.com and via the INDYCAR 13 Mobile app (http:/indy.vzw.com).
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
(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.
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 riggedUPDATE #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.
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.
Kovalainen after final Marussia seat - NoUPDATE 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.
Razia to be Marussia's 2nd 2013 ride-buyer - NoUPDATE #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.
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.
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."
Nissan to Announce Major News for its NISMO Performance ArmUPDATE 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.
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."
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.
McLaren admits Lowe's future uncertainUPDATE #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.
'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".
Indianapolis Motor Speedway Is For Sale and SMI could be buyerUPDATE #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.
(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.
'Bad Brad' gets mouth wired shutUPDATE 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.
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.
Danica to win poleUPDATE #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.
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.
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.
Karthikeyan eyes possible move to IndyCarUPDATE #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.
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.
Karthikeyan in frame for Force India seatUPDATE 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.
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.”
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.
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