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DATE News (chronologically)
IndyCar could punish Graham Rahal for Long Beach crash with Marco Andretti  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. IndyCar officials have placed IZOD IndyCar Series driver Graham Rahal on probation through the next six race events for blocking and initiating avoidable contact during the race on the Long Beach temporary street circuit April 15.

On Lap 22 of 85-lap race, Rahal made contact with the No. 26 car driven by Marco Andretti in Turn 8, which launched Andretti's car into the air before it made contact with the tire barrier. Andretti climbed from the car without assistance from the Holmatro Safety Team.

"Due to the inability of the No. 38 car to continue the race, a review of the on-track actions of Graham Rahal became a post-race issue," said Beaux Barfield, INDYCAR president of competition and IZOD IndyCar Series Race Director. "All stewards have reviewed the incident and have decided that the on-track actions of Graham warranted probation because of driving that endangers on-track safety and adversely affects competition." More ...
UBS joins Goldman in role for Formula One IPO  UPDATE Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners has hired UBS and Goldman Sachs to lead an expected US$2 billion initial public offering (IPO) of Formula One on the Singapore Stock Exchange, Reuters has reported.

Citing sources with “direct knowledge of the matter”, Reuters stated that the IPO is expected in July with Goldman and UBS set to perform the lead roles of joint global coordinator and bookrunner for the process. Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank were also reportedly invited to take part in a pitching process conducted in Singapore last week. Goldman has already conducted early work on the process, while UBS has close ties to F1 as an official global partner of the sport.

CVC holds a 63.4% stake in Formula One. Reuters reports that CVC is seeking to list part of the business in Singapore, which stages an annual grand prix, but would continue to hold a stake. The report comes after Formula One’s commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone last month said the majority of the championship’s teams, including Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull Racing, had reached an agreement to continue racing after the current Concorde Agreement expires at the end of this season. The confidential Agreement between Ecclestone’s Formula One Management (FOM) and the teams divides up the commercial revenues of the sport, including television rights and prize money. Sportsbusiness.com More ...

Red Bull to copy Mercedes  Formula One champions Red Bull are considering their technical options after failing to make the podium for the second race out of three so far this season.
Shanghai: Once-dominant Formula One champions Red Bull are considering their technical options after failing to make the podium for the second race out of three so far this season.

Team principal Christian Horner told reporters after the Chinese Grand Prix that they could go down a similar route to Mercedes whose controversial rear wing has been declared legal. More ...

Baltimore, Dillon, Ft. Lauderdale  UPDATE #3 IndyCar didn't like this rumor back in early April when we warned that Dale Dillon is a contractor, not a race promoter, and hence was not qualified to take over Baltimore or Ft. Lauderdale.  With today's news from the Baltimore Sun, it seems our rumor had some real merit......now didn't it?

04/07/12 A 3rd reader adds, Dear AutoRacing1.com,  I think it is both sad and shortsighted that the city of Baltimore, and the GP of Baltimore event thinks they can clear a profit after one year of operation, and reap the benefits of a grand prix street race.

As a previous grand prix rights holder, we never once expected to clear a profit after one year, nor did any of our investors at any given point. Their primary goal in the initial years was to grow business through B2B networking and the elite environment and attention that a grand prix event brings. Our expectation was to break even at the three-year mark and then begin to reap some profits off of sponsorship sales at year thee and beyond with long-term deals and contribution from local government after economic impact was documented and proven. It seems that economic impact has already been proven in Baltimore, yet the city and promoters seem to have a very unrealistic expectation of the returns of a grand prix event. More ...
Phoenix Racing may not run full season?  In an interview Sunday night on SPEED's "Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain," Sprint Cup Series team owner James Finch said "there's a question" whether he will be able to run the full Cup season with driver #51-Kurt Busch. Asked by Despain if there was a question whether his team could do all the races, Finch answered: "Well, we're trying. There's a question. We're off and running and trying. We're talking to some people and going from there. We're headed to Kansas this weekend and hopefully get in the top 10 there and then come back to Talladega and have a really good run. We're optimistic about it. Kurt has put a lot of effort in it. It's kind of like a small team getting a big-time quarterback," Finch said. More at the Charlotte Observer
Roush could bring #6 car back soon  As soon as Roush Fenway Racing owner Jack Roush secures sponsorship for his #6 Ford, he's ready to bring the car back to the Sprint Cup Series with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. as the driver. The #6 has been in mothballs since Stenhouse drove it in the season-opening Daytona 500. "We've got the decal for the top of the roof on that 6 car all organized for Ricky," Roush said Friday night, after Stenhouse won the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 Nationwide Series race at Texas. "As soon as I can find sponsorship for it, he's good to go. The highest priority we have for this year in the meantime is to defend (Stenhouse's) championship in the Nationwide series but hopefully we can find sponsorship and run the 6 car with him next year -- and we will run some races with him in the 6 Cup car before this year is over. " NASCAR News Service
Overheard in Long Beach - Saturday (Ford)  More changes could be coming engine-wise for IndyCar and its annual tour through the streets of Long Beach, if the reports that Ford is considering a return to IndyCar are true.

Bobby Rahal, one of the most well-liked drivers in open-wheel racing and notable here for finishing second four times, supposedly set up a recent meeting between Ford execs and IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard that could lead the automaker to expand its racing division.

This would be epic, Ali vs. Frazier epic. Ford and Chevy back on ovals and streets. Roger Penske switched engines for his NASCAR teams to Ford for 2012, which makes the prospect even more credible.  LB Press Telegram

And who better to build that engine for Ford, than Cosworth?  Ford owned Cosworth until Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe bought the division from Ford.  Cosworth currently builds engines for F1 but they carry no manufacturer branding, so they would be no conflict of interest issue in that regard. 

Overheard at Long Beach - Friday  UPDATE #2 With regard to the Honda turbo rumor below, Honda drivers are experiencing more turbo-lag with their larger single turbo unit than the Chevy and Lotus twin turbos, which are smaller and therefore spool up faster.  Honda wants to update their turbo to make it spool up faster.  Honda hoped to implement the revised turbo in Long Beach but the other manufacturers objected and Will Phillips told speedtv.com that it would not be before Brazil in two weeks before IndyCar would possibly allow the change if they determine that in fact their standard spec single turbo has more lag than their spec twin turbos.

04/13/12 Hearing that next year's China race will move up to earlier in the season and this will allow IndyCar to race at Road America as a doubleheader with ALMS in August.  That was the goal this year but the China race date was already set.  The fact that we spotted Road America President George Bruggenthies roaming the Long Beach paddock gives some credence to the fact that IndyCar and Road America are still talking.  Since Chevy is the official car and truck of Road America, it makes some sense for them to step up and also sponsor the IndyCar race like they are doing in Detroit.

Also hearing that Toyota is giving serious consideration of racing the hot new Toyota GT86/Scion  FR-S in future Toyota Pro/Celebrity races at Long Beach.  They will be in showrooms before next year's event.

Why has Sebastien Bourdais been so sensational in the new IndyCar even though they had zero preseason testing and very limited Lotus engine supply?  He gives some credit to his engineers who came up with a good setup for it, and the preparation Newman/Haas did on preparing the car, but he also tells us that the new car suits his driving style just fine thank you.  "The new car is well planted in the back (more downforce) and I like that.  Yes, it does understeer, but I am pretty good at compensating for that [in the cockpit]."

12-Turn 3.2-mile Qingdao street circuit.
Although some were worried that the China race was not going to happen because there has been no news coming out of China about the race, not even a circuit layout, we now hear that some teams have received some information recently about the event, but we don't have the specifics yet. We can however now reveal the Qingdao track layout, shown to the right.  It is not as long as originally announced, which was 3.87-miles. 

Spotted ex-GP2 champion Giorgio Pantano roaming the paddock with a KV Racing jacket on.  We flagged him down and he said he is trying to put together a full-time IndyCar ride.  Right now he is doing some work with EJ Viso....hence the KV Racing jacket.  Recall he drove a couple of Champ Car races about 6 to 8 years ago. More ...

Lotus now considering 'super-dooper-DRS'  (GMM)  The real motive for Lotus' protest against the Mercedes 'double-DRS' may be emerging.

A rumor in the Shanghai paddock is that the former Renault team, despite apparently pushing the FIA to ban the concept, could be planning an even more radical version of the aerodynamic-stalling idea.

Lotus surprised the F1 world by electing not to send the FIA's decision to definitely allow the Mercedes system  to the international court of appeal.

"Now that the FIA has taken a clear position," team boss Eric Boullier told L'Equipe, "it must be respected.

"The advantage is that this situation has opened the door to solutions that could be much more interesting," the Frenchman added.

Technical director James Allison confirmed that, rather than pursue avenues for having the Mercedes concept banned, Lotus will now "get on with looking at what possibilities are open".

Teams ready for last-minute Bahrain axe  UPDATE #2 Formula 1 teams are putting together their own contingency plans in the event the Bahrain Grand Prix doesn't go ahead on April 22nd as is currently planned.

The race is shrouded in controversy as anti-government protests continue, with reports of further deaths in the country and fears that protesters may use the islands largest sporting event to voice their opinions.

The government has attempted to calm such fears with various statements claiming that things are returning to normal, but promises that safety can't be guaranteed, haven't done much to alleviate such concerns.

A report claims the teams have issued their employees with two sets of tickets; one to fly straight from China to Bahrain, the other to return to their respective countries of residence. More ...

Qatar may have a new track for F1  A few weeks ago, an F1 in schools project was gone through in Qatar. The project, where miniature balsa wood F1 cars were designed, manufactured and tested, encouraging children to develop a mini-racing team, with students forming their own mock company.

Qatar, which hosts the only night race of the MotoGP, the world's premier motorcycle racing championship, is keen on bringing Formula One to Doha. And with Australia frequently grumbling about mounting financial losses for its F1 races in Melbourne and protests in Bahrain, which forced the cancellation of the F1 Grand Prix there last year and threaten this month's race, could see stars like Vettel and Hamilton racing in Qatar a lot sooner than many expect.

So, is Qatar ready for F1? More ...

Argentina to replace Korea on 2013 calendar  (GMM)  Argentina looks set to replace Korea on the 2013 formula one calendar.

That is the claim of Italy's Autosprint magazine, reporting that the Argentinean national government will sign a three-year contract next month.

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner said last month that the 2013 Argentine grand prix, last held at the ageing Autodromo Oscar Alfredo Galvez in Buenos Aires in 1998, will take place on the streets of the coastal city of Mar del Plata.

Autosprint now quotes Argentine tourism minister Carlos Enrique Mayer as saying: "The national government accepts the challenge of organizing the grand prix of Argentina to promote our country to the world. More ...

Updated Ferrari to take cues from Sauber  (GMM)  Ferrari is planning to follow Sauber's lead when the first major development of the disappointing F2012 car is unveiled soon.

"No doubt about it," Fernando Alonso said after winning the Malaysian grand prix, "they (Sauber) were quicker than us."

The Italian magazine Autosprint have mischievously christened the updated Ferrari a 'Ferrauber', explaining that the rear of the 'B' F2012 will be very similar to Sauber's impressive C31. More ...

2013 IndyCar schedule set to expand  UPDATE #3 SPEED.com IndyCar Series Insider & frequent Wind Tunnel guest and co-host, Robin Miller, recently spoke to IndyCar Series President Randy Bernard about his newly aggressive stance on setting the 2013 schedule. This past week’s announcement about the series returning to Houston could be just the beginning.

Miller talked about how he envisions the next few months playing out:

SPEED: What’s behind IndyCar’s aggressive push towards 2013 scheduling?

Miller: It wasn’t (Randy Bernard’s) fault, but this year’s scheduling was kind of a disaster. They didn’t get the schedule out. It was so late and long after budgets were made. You’re trying to find enough solvent ovals to run on, and go to some places that promoters can actually make some money, or where they want the series back. Baltimore was a hang-up because you didn’t know if you were going to go back there. He didn’t want to put a schedule out with 12 races, so he really kind of had his hands tied. He’s bound and determined that for 2013, he’s going to have the schedule out a month before the last race. The way it’s looking, he may have some pretty tough decisions to make when he thinks about who makes it, and who doesn’t make it. I’m kind of dazzled by all the tracks that are interested right now. More ...

HRT F1 Team secure Durex sponsorship  UPDATE April Fools!

It’s been a long time coming but finally Hispania Racing Team have secured themselves a title sponsor in Durex.

It is the first time since 1976, that the condom company has backed an F1 team, back then they were sponsoring the Surtees team. wtf1.co.uk
IndyCar to extend deal with Barber Motorsports Park  IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said Sunday that he has already started discussions with Barber track promoter ZOOM Motorsports about a long-term deal to continue racing here.

One year remains on the original three-year contract with IndyCar that was extended by one year.  The IndyCars race really well at Barber.  It is a great track for IndyCar.

Bernard heaped praise on the job ZOOM does at Barber and said 'I'd love to see these guys do another (IndyCar) event."

ZOOM President Gene Hallman said "absolutely we want a long-term deal. Our intention is to make this a permanent part of the Birmingham sports calendar."

Bernard did say that he has at least one thing he'd like to see addressed at the track.

"We want to talk to them about making sure we have some places to pass," Bernard said.

Overheard at Barber - Sunday  UPDATE According to talk in the IndyCar paddock supposedly NASCAR driver Kyle Busch did a test with the Williams F1 team. It was on the hush-hush though, because the public would take it out of context if his times were not fast, because he has no open wheel experience at all.  This source said that the test was not bad, but not impressive. This source said that Busch doesn’t know how to take care of a car. He drives it 110% all the time. He has one speed - too fast.  If the car holds up, he wins. That is why you see him pretty much dominate all the shorter races in Trucks and Nationwide.......On another topic, there is a strong chance of setting the largest attended day in history of Barber today for the IndyCar race.

Randy Bernard
04/01/12 Randy Bernard ducked into the press room to chat with the media and fielded a couple of questions. Asked about Lotus, Randy expresses that they realize that Lotus does not have the resources of the big manufacturers, but all things considered, they are not doing a bad job, and he expects them to step it up as the season progresses.

He was very firm in reiterating that IndyCar is sticking by them and supporting them in every way they can. He said IndyCar wants to ensure the opportunity is as broad as possible in the interest of possible future manufacturers knowing this is a good place to showcase their product and a good competitive environment. More ...

Overheard at Barber - Saturday  The rain and fog finally moved out to get IndyCar qualifying in late Saturday morning.  Right after qualifying during the Grand-Am race several cars went off and just augured into the sodden grass.  The Shank car went off in the corkscrew and wedged into the mud and stopped so fast it appeared to hit a wall.  The Grand-Am cars are making the beautiful track a muddy mess.

Rumor has it that Stefan Wilson is trying to put a deal together to run the Indy 500 as a rookie......Dario Franchitti never made it out of Group 1 qualifying and he still appears to be struggling with the handling of the diabolical new IndyCar.  It just does not appear to fit his driving style. More ...

Grand-Am series to allow turbo engines  
Champ Car had it right all along, running Cosworth turbo engines when everyone else was pooh-poohing them.  Now everyone is copying them.
The possible introduction of turbocharged engines for the Grand-Am prototypes has been a hot topic in the paddock for the past few years. But talks have recently intensified, with multiple manufacturers, both current and prospective automakers to the DP category, evaluating new powerplants that could dramatically change the landscape of GRAND-AM Road Racing.

“Turbos... are going to be a part of the future of all these manufacturers and we need to be prepared to address that,” GRAND-AM Managing Director of Racing Operations Mark Raffauf told SPEED.com.

“We need to address it in a way that’s equitable that maintains the consistency, stability, and hopefully, cost-effectiveness. There's some things to be learned from the past, but we have much better tools now than were available then.” More ...

Adding another IndyCar race to Texas could spell an end to the series at TMS  
The new IndyCar race announced in Houston, TX, and another rumored in Austin TX, might be enough for Eddie Gossage to pull the plug on IndyCar at TMS where the catch fence posts are still track side, just waiting for impact from a drivers head.
Even though NASCAR's track attendance and TV ratings are down relative to their almost absurd zenith about 10 years ago, that relative lag has not created any type of genuine momentum for open wheel racing to fill in.

Regardless, the IndyCar series is trying to grow and establish a wider footprint, especially in the great state a' Texas. The Shell Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston is slated to start in October of 2013.

What the IndyCar series is doing by adding this second race in Texas is a dangerous risk, and it could be a beginning of the end of this open wheel race at Texas Motor Speedway. More ...

Lotus teams to miss Indy test?  
From our archive photos Long Beach April 2002 (L to R) John Lopes (CART), Chris Pook (CART President), Brian Griffin (Manager, MG Sport and Racing), and John Judd, (engine builder), announce that the MG Rover Group will supply engines for the 2003 CART season.  It never happened.  Clearly building engines in quantity for an IndyCar series is too much for Judd's operation to keep up with
Mark Cipolloni/AR1.com
Ten new Indy cars will test Wednesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but none is likely to be powered by Lotus (and built by John Judd's EDL operation).

No wonder the four Izod IndyCar Series teams using those engines are concerned about their prospects in the upcoming Indianapolis 500.

“Yes, a bit worried about Indy,” HVM Racing owner Keith Wiggins said Friday at Barber Motorsports Park. “It’s not a good situation to be in.”

It’s unclear how many Lotus engines have been produced, but it’s clear there aren’t enough to handle a test three days after the second consecutive race weekend. Lotus already provided at least two new engines — and maybe three — this weekend to teams that had software issues in the season-opening event at St. Petersburg, Fla.

“It’s pretty important to be at that test,” said Robbie Buhl, co-owner of Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. “(But) we’ve got to worry about what we can control.”

The other Lotus teams are Bryan Herta Autosport and the two-car Dragon Racing. Lotus has been behind Chevrolet and Honda since the day those two put cars on the track. The first Lotus wasn’t installed in a car until January. There are five of the twin-turbo V6 engines at Barber. Indy Star

Overheard at Barber - Friday  Rain is forecast today at Barber but it appears it will hold off to the north.

At St. Petersburg we heard often on the radio pit crews telling their driver to save fuel, save fuel.  The race was an exercise in saving fuel instead of racing hard.  Champ Car solved that problem by mandating pit windows - a window of laps where every car had to pit regardless of whether they needed fuel or not.  They could stop more times, but they had to visit the pits during the specified windows, typically around 5 laps.  We hear that IndyCar is considering this, but they do not yet have enough data on the new cars as of yet to determine what the windows should be.

Sounds like double file restarts on ovals are definitely gone and not under consideration for IndyCar. More ...

Grand Prix of Houston to announce Shell sponsorship  UPDATE #3 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.

AR1.com sources tell us that Shell Oil will sponsor the Houston GP, a former Champ Car race, when it gets added to the 2013 IndyCar schedule. The race is likely going to be in late September or early October. Shell, a major sponsor of the Ferrari F1 team, also sponsored Kenny Brack when he drove IndyCars and is a part-time sponsor of Helio Castroneves and Penske Racing.

03/24/12 According to AR1.com sources, the sponsor of the Houston GP will be a large oil company and the race will run starting in the fall of 2013.  The challenge will be to hold the race on a weekend that the Houston NFL team is to playing away.  An early season race is not possible because the rodeo, the second largest in the world behind Calgary, Canada, dominates the city's attention for many weeks.

03/23/12 The Grand Prix of Houston will announce Wednesday that it has secured a title sponsor for its event, said a person familiar with the deal.

Race officials have called a news conference for Wednesday to make a major announcement regarding the future of the race at Reliant Park.

IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard is expected to attend the news conference, but it is not known when the Grand Prix of Houston would be added to the IndyCar Series schedule. More ...

Would IndyCar consider Mosport over Toronto?  Suggestions that the Honda Indy Toronto promoters might consider Canadian Motorsports Park (formerly Mosport) as a new circuit have been shot down by IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard. Bernard said in St. Petersburg that the series remains committed to the downtown Exhibition Place temporary street course as the race venue. slam.canoe.ca
Ferrari 'Concorde' with $50m bonus - report  (GMM)  Ferrari's new deal for the 2013 Concorde Agreement reportedly involves a $50 million annual fee.

It is believed the Italian team has now finalized its commercial agreement with Bernie Ecclestone.

The same is reportedly true for fellow top teams McLaren and Red Bull, whose annual additional fee is, according to German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, $35m apiece. More ...

Alonso already back in Maranello  UPDATE After a splendid victory in Malaysia there was another surprise for Alonso: a Ferrari FF in Rosa livery was waiting for him.

03/26/12 Our spies in Italy spotted Fernando Alonso eating at the Ristorante Montana today, one day after winning the Malaysian GP at Sepang. According to our spies, he didn't make such a fast trip back just to enjoy the scrumptious, tiny tortellini in brodo (broth). They say "From the guys we know on the team, he's completely dedicated to making this season a championship winning effort. He works as hard at motivating the team as much as Michael Schumacher did, perhaps even harder."
Mercedes could quit F1 over commercial deals  (GMM)  Mercedes could quit formula one or challenge Bernie Ecclestone in court, after it emerged top rivals Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull have agreed new commercial deals.

With the FOTA alliance crumbling, F1 chief executive Ecclestone announced on Saturday that he has agreed terms with the "majority" of teams.

In addition to the three top teams, it is believed Lotus, Toro Rosso, Sauber and Force India have also signed up. More ...

Overheard in St. Petersburg - Saturday  We hear that some of the Newman/Haas crew have moved to the Dale Coyne IndyCar team.  As previously reported, Newman/Haas built the Dragon IndyCars because Dragon's new facility in southern California, will not be ready until later in the year.  We hear the building will be a refurbished old boat works building and will be stunning.  Newman/Haas race engineer, Craig Hampson, is being loaned out and is working with Dragon's Katherine Legge.  And we hear some Newman/Haas team members were at a sports car test this past week, lending more credence to the rumor they will join another ex-IndyCar team in a ALMS. More ...
Overheard in St. Petersburg - Friday  UPDATE Update on why the drivers were taking a different line through the chicane - Driver Ryan Hunter-Reay said that he and other racers were concerned about new, raised curbs at Turns 2, 4 and 9. Turn 4 is the intersection of Second Avenue S and First Street SE, Turn 9 the intersection of Central Avenue and Bay Shore Drive NE.

Hunter-Reay compared the previous curbs to loaves of bread: bumps small enough for the cars to drive over while keeping speeds up. The new curbs are bigger, like tabletops, he said, so drivers must maneuver around them.

"Our concern is it is going to lower the cornering speeds a little bit," Hunter-Reay said. "We need these things to look as fast as possible on TV. Now we may have to tiptoe around them." More ...
Ferrari could scrap pull-rod suspension  
A pull-rod has not been seen on an F1 car since 2001.  The new Ferrari has one.
(GMM)  The Italian press is reporting that Ferrari could abandon the innovative pull-rod suspension layout of its disappointing F2012 car.

The Spanish sports daily AS concurs, adding that the revised car could be ready as soon as next month, and certainly in time for Barcelona in May.

"Ferrari may even give up its revolutionary front suspension," wrote correspondent Manuel Franco. More ...

Mercedes yet to agree new Concorde  (GMM)  Mercedes may have withheld its signature from the new 2013 Concorde Agreement because of a disagreement about bonus money.

That is the claim of Germany's authoritative Auto Motor und Sport, hot on the heels of Bernie Ecclestone's news on Saturday that the "majority" of teams - including grandees Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren - have now agreed terms.

The German report said Mercedes has recently been pushing for additional money on the basis of the team's historical lineage. More ...

Ferrari to race 'new car' in Bahrain  (GMM)  Ferrari might only have to suffer for two more races, according to a report in the Spanish sports daily Marca.

The report said the Maranello based team is hard at work on a "completely new car" that could debut as soon as the Bahrain grand prix late next month.

Marca added that the 'new' F2012 will have "not just a modified exhaust" but an almost entirely "new chassis", which is scheduled for FIA crash testing. More ...

Pagenaud or Bourdais to sit out St. Pete?  UPDATE #2
Bourdais (left) talks to Lotus teammate Legge (right).  Legge's engine was supposed to arrive Wednesday but Bourdais' engine has gone missing
Two days before he is scheduled to practice with his Dragon Racing car in preparation for the Izod IndyCar Series' season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Sebastien Bourdais participated in a bicycle tour of the 1.8-mile street course. That's currently his only mode of transportation around the place.

Bourdais, a four-time Champ Car champion embarking on a full-time IndyCar season, told Autoweek that as of Wednesday morning, Lotus had not provided an engine for his car. He is entered for the Sunday race. He said he expects to participate. But he also expected to have an engine by now. Teammate Katherine Legge's engine is scheduled, he said, to arrive on Wednesday.

“The only question mark is mine,” Bourdais said. “We don't know. They haven't given us a date yet. That is the big question mark. The team is ready. The car is ready. It's just a matter of putting something in it that will get the car moving forward.” More ...

Is Red Bull using 'illegal trick'?  
Mercedes thinks Red Bull is up to something
(GMM)  Hot on the heels of the new F-duct controversy, Mercedes has turned the heat back onto Red Bull.

Amid complaints from rival teams including Red Bull about its innovative aerodynamic concept aboard the W03, Mercedes' Ross Brawn admitted he sensed a diversionary tactic.

"The discussion about our system has diverted the focus from the exhaust issue," he said in Australia. More ...

Singapore key to F1's future  (GMM)  Singapore, the southeast Asian city-state and the scene of F1's annual street night race, could be at the centre of the sport's plans for the future.

Sky News reports that Temasek Holdings, one of Singapore's principal sovereign wealth funds, has been approached by F1's majority owner CVC with a proposal to buy into the sport.

It is also rumored that F1 could be floated on the Singapore stock exchange. More ...

Argentina wants IndyCar race  A few hours ago, an Argentine television show reported that Esteban Guerrieri's sponsor ACTC, promoters of the Argentine Turismo Carretera (the oldest running motorsport championship and most important in the country) want to build a brand new oval in Argentina to bring IndyCar back to the country.

The province has been selected but not revealed. It's known it will be a dry region to prevent rainouts, and therefore very far away from Buenos Aires.

Two cities could alternate Australian GP  (GMM)  Organizers of the grand prix in Melbourne are reportedly considering sharing the city's formula one rights with another Australian state.

Under financial strain, Germany alternates the annual hosting rights between Hockenheim and the Nurburgring, and Spain is set to begin a similar scheme for the struggling Barcelona and Valencia organizers.

Under pressure to ease the burden on Victoria's state taxpayers, organizers of the annual Albert Park race are considering something along those lines, the local Herald Sun reports.

Citing "high placed sources", the Melbourne newspaper said Sydney or Perth could be the alternate race hosts.

Perth is the capital of Western Australia, and premier Colin Barnett said: "(The) grand prix is a great event, but WA will not be bidding for it." They would prefer an IndyCar race at much less cost. More ...

Ferrari and Red Bull to buy part of F1?  UPDATE (GMM)  Hot on the heels of the new technical controversies, the 2012 season has also kicked off in the sport's high-intrigue world of politics.

A fascinating blog post by Sky News' City editor Mark Kleinman has been pulled from the internet just hours after it went live.

It was about "F1 finance and control allegedly involving Ferrari, Red Bull and (the sport's owner) CVC", according to veteran journalist and broadcaster Maurice Hamilton on Twitter.

"Has someone spoken out of turn?" wondered the Times' Kevin Eason.

The Telegraph's Tom Cary said the rumor is that a $10 billion stock market floatation for F1 could be in the works "with Ferrari (and) Red Bull getting special deals". More ...

Domenicali's job on the line  UPDATE #2 Stefano Domenicali won't be head of the Ferrari race team much longer if rumors are to believed.

There had been strong hints in pre-season testing that all was not well at Formula One’s most successful team but few would have predicted that neither Fernando Alonso nor Felipe Massa would be on the track when the final 10 places on the grid were being decided.

Alonso finished 12th after spinning off into the gravel in the second qualifying session, while Brazilian Massa will start on the eighth row on Sunday after being knocked out in the second round and qualified 16th.

“We can only be disappointed after this qualifying session,” said team boss Stefano Domenicali.

“It hurts to have neither driver on track for the final part of the session, even if we know that Fernando had every chance of getting at least this far if he had not got caught up in one of those incidents that are part of the game. More ...

IndyCar to change pit lane rules?  New IndyCar Series race director Beaux Barfield is considering leaving pit road open this season during nonemergency caution periods on road courses and street circuits.

The goal, Barfield said Friday, is to reduce the amount of time the race has to be slowed for a full-course caution. But there is another advantage, he said.

“It would also leave the cars potentially more stretched out, which could alleviate some of the issues that have been inherent in the pit lane,” he said.

Under the procedure, the pace car would pick up the leading car after stops are made. More ...

Two F1 teams to sit out Melbourne  
The Marussia team is again at the back of the grid with HRT
(GMM)  Two teams are in danger of sitting out Sunday's Australian grand prix.

"The idea, here, is to qualify for the race," Marussia's Timo Glock told Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper from Melbourne.

The hurdle that the struggling former Virgin team - as well as HRT - must get over, is the 107 per cent rule in Q1.

It is an even higher hurdle than last year, because Pirelli has made its harder tires softer in 2012 -- meaning the difference between the tires being used by the quickest cars and the slowest cars in Q1 will be smaller.

More bad news is that Red Bull has brought new parts to Australia that could make qualifying-specialist Sebastian Vettel even faster on Saturday. More ...

Baltimore to eliminate Mickey Mouse Chicane?  
2011 Layout
2012 Layout
According to the agreement between the City of Baltimore and Downforce Racing LLC, the new race organizer, the layout of the race circuit shown in their contract documents does not show the Mickey Mouse chicane that was inserted in the main straight of last years circuit.

Downforce Racing has the benefit of learning from the startup issues encountered with the inaugural race.

"We have a path as to what the weekend needs to look like," Reck said, "and will look to improve a number of issues, from signage to spectator flow."

"I think the event was great for Baltimore," said Neale Osenburg of nearby Towson , who grew up in a racing family and has raced in the SCCA Formula 500 series. "The whole town was talking about the race all week long. I know there were a lot of detractors, but I think the event overshadowed them."

Will Las Vegas get the 2nd Cup date it deserves?  
A large crowd was on hand in Vegas
The recently completed NASCAR weekend at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway was clearly evident that this race track, along with the city of Las Vegas, clearly understands how to cater to every need and want a racing fan could ever have. It was also absolute proof that the words racing and Las Vegas belongs in the same sentence.

The following are just a few major "bullet Points" to support the theory:

  • An estimated 150,000 were on hand to watch the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series run the Kobalt Tools 400. In this day and age, there aren't many tracks on the Sprint Cup schedule that can make that claim.
  • An estimated 70,000 were on hand to watch the very exciting Sams Town 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. More ...
track news
SMI to build American copy of Nurburgring?  Speedway Motorsports, Inc. Chairman O. Bruton Smith may be getting into the road racing business. Smith recently told Sirius XM Sports that he has been contacted by “some Germans” who would like to build a copy of the famed Nurburgring circuit on a parcel of land near Las Vegas.

Smith said the reasoning behind the project is that manufacturers want to test vehicles throughout the year and Nurburgring has a lot of unfit weather.

Smith told Sirius he had been in contact with the Governor of Nevada and the Nevada Bureau of Land Management regarding an 8,000-acre plot of land. More ...

Nissan to power DeltaWing  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  The innovative DeltaWing racing car that will debut at this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans will be powered by Nissan. The partnership was unveiled today by the manufacturer at a media launch in London.

Nissan will power the DeltaWing
A race-prepared 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, featuring direct petrol injection and a turbocharger, will power the Nissan DeltaWing, which is half the weight and has half the aerodynamic drag of a conventional racer.

The car was unveiled by DeltaWing designer Ben Bowlby and Nissan Head of Brand Strategy in Europe, Darren Cox at today's function which was also attended by project Managing Partner Don Panoz and Highcroft Racing's Duncan Dayton whose team will run the car. More ...

What is Stewart's team doing with Fuel injection?  If this was, as many anticipated, the most telling race yet of the young NASCAR season, well, we can maybe go straight on to the playoffs – with Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards the hot five-some for the championship. Now November is a long, long way from here, but judging from Sunday's 400 on this rocking-fast 1-1/2-mile track, those five seem to have a little extra over their rivals.

Stewart avenged last year's mistake here, once again dominating Sunday's Las Vegas Kobalt 400 but this time pulling out the victory.

Johnson made a late desperate charge on the final restart with four laps to go in the 3-1/2-hour race, but he couldn't catch Stewart, who was lightning fast on restarts throughout the warm, sunny afternoon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. More ...
Dodge to V8 Supercars  Rumor has it that Chrysler will announce a Dodge 2013 Aussie V8 Supercar entry with Gary Jones Racing in about two weeks.
'Kubica drives Skoda rally car'  Robert Kubica reportedly tested a Skoda Fabia rally car in Genoa earlier this week.

Hot on the heels of reports that the Pole is struggling to lead a normal life, rallyemotion claims he is in fact well on his way to doing just that.

The website reported that the former F1 driver, who suffered life-threatening injuries in a rally accident last February, climbed behind the wheel of a Skoda Fabia on Thursday.

The article called the test a "first step" towards Kubica's return to F1. More ...

Austin MotoGP race in jeopardy  
Tavo Hellmund holds the rights to Austin's MotoGP race and Circuit of America's owners refuse to buy him out
Adding to the drama that has dogged Austin's Formula One race track project, the Circuit of the Americas is facing contract issues with what would be its second biggest attraction: a MotoGP international race slated to begin a 10-year run at the $300 million track in 2013.

Motorcycling legend Kevin Schwantz, who figured to be the public face of that race, has been mum on the subject for months. But in February, Schwantz sent a letter to Steve Sexton, the president of Circuit of the Americas, saying, "I urge you one final time to contact Mr. (Tavo) Hellmund about obtaining the rights to host a MotoGP race in Texas, after which I would be glad to open discussions with you as the new promoter. If you have not obtained such rights from Full Throttle, then unfortunately Circuit of the Americas will not be included as a round of the FIM Grand Prix Road Racing World Championship." More ...

More protests could jeopardize Bahrain GP  Tens of thousands of Bahrainis demonstrated on Friday to demand democratic reforms, stepping up pressure on the U.S.-allied government with the biggest protest yet in a year of unrest. It remains to be seen if this grows and again forces cancellation of the Bahrain GP.

They began marching along a highway near Manama in response to a call from leading Shiite cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim, who urged people to renew their calls for greater democracy.

A live blog showed images of the protesters carrying banners denouncing "dictatorship" and demanding the release of detainees.

"We are here for the sake of our just demands that we cannot make concessions over and we stick with them because we have sacrificed for them," Sheikh Isa Qassim said before the march in his weekly sermon in the Shiite village of Diraz. More ...
F1 Teams to combine DRS with F-duct for 'huge' benefit  (GMM)  McLaren and Mercedes look to be leading the way with the latest technical ingenuity in formula one.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that the two teams are set to combine the button-activated DRS system with a sort of additional F-duct at the rear of their 2012 cars.

It was believed F-ducts were no longer legal, but new passive systems have emerged on the front wings of some 2012 cars, pioneered by Mercedes.

As for the rear wings, those F-ducts are also still legal "under certain circumstances", the German magazine claims.

Combining a legal rear F-duct with DRS could result in a "huge top-speed gain", writer Michael Schmidt claims, with the Mercedes W03 reportedly racing ahead by a whopping 18kph at the recent Barcelona test.

Will politics in India affect future of F1 race?  The future of F1 races in the country and Budh International Circuit (BIC) will now largely depend on how the Jaypee Group builds its relationship with the Samajwadi Party (SP), which swept the just concluded Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.

The Jaypee Group is publicly known to be closely connected with Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which was ruling the state till now, but was routed in the elections. The group had prospered under Mayawati’s rule and most of its large projects are based in the state.

Any action against the Group from the SP government could directly impact the sporting activities of the group, and F1 will be the first casualty because it is the most high-profile one and involves large land acquisition which had come under criticism for allegations that the farmers were short-changed during the process. More ...

Alguersuari in McLaren test driver talks - report  
Jamie Alguersuari
(GMM)  Jaime Alguersuari is reportedly in talks with McLaren about becoming a test driver.

The former Toro Rosso racer was speaking with Spanish radio Cadena Ser, after being revealed as a radio co-commentator for the 2012 season with Britain's BBC.

"I am talking to a top team and there have been several meetings," he said.

"Everybody was caught out with not enough time to think of everything, so I was left without a seat." More ...

Dragon Racing to finally get its engine  The only real mystery of the week so far at Spring Training has been the circumstances behind Dragon Racing's failure to take part in the test.

Its cars have been in the paddock the entire time, have gone through technical inspection and its drivers--Sebastien Bourdais and Katherine Legge--have been present, but the one item needed to make the cars go round has been missing in action. More ...

Ferrari car fix means new crash test  
Stefan Domenicali's Ferrari days appear numbered after yet another poor car design
(GMM)  Ferrari is already working on a major chassis modification that could require the F2012 to undergo a new FIA crash test.

That is the claim on Wednesday of Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The report follows Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo's alarm at the team's current situation, with Fernando Alonso expecting Ferrari will have to "suffer" early this season based on recent track testing results.

"I would like to understand why and above all understand how we can very quickly make the necessary changes," said Montezemolo at the Geneva Motor Show. More ...

Putting lipstick on the pig  A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, Shame on you for bowing to IndyCar pressure to not speak out about the new IndyCar.  No matter how you slice it the new IndyCar is a pig so stop putting lipstick on it.  The car is 2.5 seconds slower than the last Champ Car around the Sebring short course and the handling is diabolical.  The drivers are doing their best to paint a rosy picture (or risk being outcast by IndyCar) but I read on Racer.com that Justin Wilson said the "behavior of the 2012 machine is very different," i.e. it handles horribly - nice lipstick Justin.

"This car drives very differently than any other car I have ever driven," he said during open testing at Sebring on Monday. "It has a lot of downforce, so if you get the balance right, you can really carry a lot of speed through the corners, but since we are so new to the car, we are still trying to figure out how the changes affect the car in every situation."

"We've learned a lot of things, made a lot of changes and are making gains on the car," he said. "You have to remember, we are still in the very early stages with this car and there is a lot left to do in order to get where we want to be."

In contrast, last year's championship runner-up Will Power said his Penske team had reached the stage where it was fine-tuning its cars (i.e. it's just about reached its full potential folks).

"I think every test is valuable, but we're at a point where we've narrowed it down to the configuration we are going to run," said Power. "It's all about finding the little details now."

It's already a known fact that at Indy the car handles worse than the old 'Crapwagon' and the lap times show it at Indy.  So it's slow at Sebring on the road course and it's slow on the Indy oval.  And the chassis is a 'flexible flyer' on the 7-post rig.

And I still think it is the ugliest race car ever built despite AR1.com saying they thought it looked good from the top and from the side.  Stop putting lipstick on this pig and be real journalists and report the facts.  Don Bosco P.S. And Dallara should be fired for designing such a piece of cr#%, but oh wait they have their hand in the Indy government trough yet are creating hundreds of jobs in Italy where the car was designed and all the parts are made.  Only a handful of Americans assemble the cars here in the USA. At least Champ Car was decent enough to hire an American company (Elan/Panoz) in Georgia to design and build the car.

Dear Don, Rest assured IndyCar has not asked us to only write nice things about their new car.  Everyone knows the new car is not the best, but there is a bright side.  The initial turn-in is nice and crisp but then it's almost like the car changes it's mind and decides not to turn, probably because of its poor design. You can even see that in the videos if you watch. For me, that means the car needs to be steered with the pedal more, which is what I like because it separates the really good drivers from the mediocre ones so this year we are going to see who the really talented drivers are.  It will also help to separate the pack on ovals so we won't see dangerous 'pack' racing as much, which was a goal of the new car.  And the new car is definitely safer. Mark C.

Kahne close to picking up new sponsor  Hendrick Motorsports is close to finalizing a nine-race primary sponsorship with Trina Solar, a Chinese solar panel manufacturer, for its #5 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chevy. The deal will see Trina appear on Kasey Kahne's car at nine races this season. Financial terms of the agreement weren't available. Trina Solar executives could not be reached before deadline. Hendrick Motorsports was unavailable for comment. Sporting News / Sports Business Journal
Abu Dhabi link could power Alguersuari to Mercedes  UPDATE
Jaime Alguersuari
This rumor is downgraded to 'false today.  He may not have a race or even a reserve seat, but Jaime Alguersuari will at least be a regular face in the formula one paddock in 2012.

The axed Toro Rosso driver will be experienced broadcaster James Allen's co-commentator for British radio BBC 5 Live, the Telegraph newspaper reports.

Journalist Tom Cary said the news will be confirmed officially on Tuesday.

Still just 21, Spaniard Alguersuari revealed last month that he will remain fully focused on formula one this year. More ...

Red Bull may revert to 'old' RB8 for Melbourne  
Mark Webber testing the latest 'trick' Red Bull on Saturday
(GMM)  Red Bull is considering taking the 'old' version of its new car to Melbourne for the 2012 season opener.

That is the claim of Germany's authoritative Auto Motor und Sport magazine, after the radically updated model made a troubled debut late last week as the pre-season test period ended.

Rivals and pundits believe the reigning champions are still leading the field, but the latest Barcelona-spec car - featuring a significantly different exhaust layout - did not complete many laps. More ...

tv news
If Apple wins the TV war it will affect the Racing Industry  
Will Apple transform the entire TV industry like it transformed the music and smartphone industry?
If rumors are to be believed, over the last several months, Apple's vision for television has become clearer.  It wants to transform the TV industry just as it transformed the music industry.  [Editor's Note: It wants to deal with content providers directly and cut out the middleman (Cable TV companies and TV networks), which means Apple will do business directly with NASCAR, IndyCar, F1, etc. and they make a compelling case as to why it will be better for the consumer.]

Thanks to work by Wall Street analyst Gene Munster on the hardware side and the New York Post's Claire Atkinson on the content and cable side, we now have a pretty good picture of what Apple wants to do:

  • Build a TV set that is much cooler and easier to use than anything else out there
    Charge twice as much for it
  • Assemble a "virtual cable company" with boatloads of great content by cutting deals with content providers
  • Pay the content providers practically nothing
  • Reduce cable companies to "dumb pipes" by redesigning and taking control over the television interface
  • Capture a subscription revenue stream that the cable companies now own. 

That seems to be the vision.

Whether Apple will actually be able to execute this vision, of course, is a different story. More ...

Mercedes eyes Hamilton as Schumacher successor  UPDATE Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug has moved to downplay media reports suggesting that the team was looking at Lewis Hamilton as a possible replacement for Michael Schumacher.

Haug has now rubbished those reports, stating that talks would take place with Schumacher when the time was right and that anything else were just rumours.

"This is solely speculation," he told Sport1 "There are no driver negotiations with us, and, as we have said, we will speak with Michael at the appropriate time.

"Now our focus is solely on the start of the season."

Lewis Hamilton
(GMM)  Lewis Hamilton has been earmarked by Mercedes as a potential replacement for Michael Schumacher beyond the end of this season.

That is the claim of the German Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag, following the Stuttgart marque's recent denial that Schumacher has already been offered a new two-year contract for 2013 and 2014.

The newspaper said Briton Hamilton, the 2008 world champion whose McLaren deal ends this year, is the 'plan B' should seven time world champion return to retirement before his 44th birthday. More ...

Is Newman/Haas having a change of heart with regard to IndyCar?  UPDATE As it turns out, NHR is building up the new DW12s for Dragon Racing, which was moving into a new shop in California, but now we hear might use the Newman/Haas shop. That explains the parts being there in January. From what we've been told the first chassis has been done for a while and the second one is close.

03/04/12 New IndyCar parts in their shop...........

Photo 1
Photo 2

Strange since they claim they are not running the series in 2012.
Valencia on verge of F1 exit  
(GMM)  Valencia could be mere days from dropping off the formula one calendar.

El Pais newspaper claims the regional government is yet to pay Bernie Ecclestone the fee for June's European grand prix street race.

"We are still negotiating," a spokesman is quoted as saying.

The Spanish region's president Alberto Fabra said recently his government, amid the worsening European economic crisis, was reviewing its commitment to F1. More ...

Penske to dump Dodge in NASCAR  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.

03/01/12 Penske Racing will in 2013 switch from Dodge to Ford in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, automotive-industry sources have informed Autoweek. An official announcement is expected midday Thursday. Penske fields Dodge Chargers for Brad Keselowski and A. J. Allmendinger.

So who might be interested in replacing Penske as the lead Dodge team? Discounting contractual obligations for the sake of argument, it seems unlikely that Chevrolet's Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing would be interested in Dodge, nor would Roush Fenway be interested in leaving Ford. Joe Gibbs Racing and Waltrip Racing are tied to Toyota, and it seems likely that if Gibbs was willing to switch, it could be a likely candidate. Chevrolet's Earnhardt Ganassi? It seems to be having all it can handle in just trying to get its house in order. Ford's Richard Petty Motorsports? Maybe. More ...

F1 to reduce pit speed to 60kph in 2012  UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today.  F1's governing body reportedly rejected a push to lower the in-race pitlane speed limit from 100 to 60kph for 2012.

The latest edition of Italian magazine Autosprint said FIA president Jean Todt made the decision after reviewing the widespread lower speed limits in other major series, including Le Mans, GT1 and Nascar.

It was said the change would have a major impact on race strategy this year.

But in the wake of the Autosprint report, Britain's BBC claims the FIA in fact rejected a push by the teams to lower the speed limit to 60.

Race director Charlie Whiting reportedly "told them he feels there is no need to make the change as there is no evidence that the current arrangement is unsafe", according to the broadcaster. More ...

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