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DATE News (chronologically)
06/27/11
nassprint
Sprint to announce $million bonus  Old-time NASCAR fans will remember the "Winston Million," a bonus program put up by former Cup Series sponsor R.J. Reynolds for a driver to win three of the four "crown jewels" of the sport. The Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600, Winston 500 (Talladega's spring race) and the Southern 500, when it was held at Darlington on Labor Day weekend, made up the Grand Slam.

Two drivers pulled off the feat; Bill Elliott in 1985 and then Jeff Gordon in 1997.

Now there's a new plan in place by current series title sponsor Sprint that replicates the idea and adds in an element that also includes the fans. Sports Business Journal has this report: More ...
06/27/11
f1
irl
Could IndyCar Turbo V6 become World Racing Engine?  UPDATE There is no way the proposed F1 V6 engine and the V6 IndyCar engine can be the same.  The rules as proposed for F1 would integrate hybrid technologies right into the engine, not as bolt-on items.  F1 is looking to make a huge leap in fuel mileage and hybrid technologies will be a big part of that.  The F1 engine will also be smaller, at around 1.8L vs. 2.2L for IndyCar.

We were told that the new IndyCar engine is really the last of a dying breed - based strictly on decades old technology, whereas the new F1 engine will be a clean sheet of paper for an internal combustion engine.

06/26/11 While a lot of effort was made to make the 1.5-liter turbo inline-4 engine an engine that, with minor tweaks, could be used by many race series globally.  It would save the manufacturers money by not have to design so many different engines, thereby allowing them to participate in more racing series to promote their brand.

However, IndyCar was the first not to adopt the 4-cyclinder engine because it would be too highly stressed to meet the goals IndyCar set for power, durability and cost.  They instead adopted a 2.2L turbo V-6 engine.

Now that F1 has also rejected the turbo 4-cyclinder engine in favor of a turbo V6, it remains to be seen if they adopt the same 2.4L displacement.  While the IndyCar engine will run around the 12,000 RPM range, F1 is concerned about damaging their 18,000 RPM 'screaming engine' brand and will likely opt for a higher RPM goal than 12,000. More ...

06/27/11
nassprint
irl
More on Danica to NASCAR  UPDATE #2 It appears to be the worst-kept secret in motorsports -- Danica Patrick is going to drive full-time in NASCAR next year.  There has been nothing official. But if you believe the whispers, and they are steadily becoming louder and more widespread, then you know the announcement is inevitable.  Patrick, who is in the final year of her IndyCar contract, said recently her agents are fielding various offers and, other than "random updates," she's not sure where the negotiations are headed.

Patrick, who will be at Daytona International Speedway this week to compete in her sixth Nationwide Series race of the season, apparently is headed -- one way or another -- to a new career in stock cars.

"I think she is doing it the right way, working her way up in the Nationwide Series," John Andretti said in a telephone interview last week. More ...

06/26/11
nassprint
Gibbs courting Edwards to replace Logano?  UPDATE #3
Carl Edwards
Joey Logano will take the field to the green from the pole Sunday at Infineon Raceway in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 not only looking for his first victory of the season but also seemingly in a race squelch the ominous rumors that have suddenly surrounded so much about his Joe Gibbs Racing Sprint Cup Series ride.

In his third full-season in the Sprint Cup Series, the 21-year old Middletown native sits 23rd in the standings this year with two top-10 finishes in 15 events.

The results have sparked speculation that the organization could be looking for a replacement for Logano after this season, with many pointing to Roush Fenway Racing star Carl Edwards as a likely candidate to take over Logano's No. 20 Home Depot sponsored ride. Edwards' current contract with RFR runs out after this season. More ...

06/26/11
f1
irl
Grand prix hosts threatened to switch to IndyCar events  (GMM)  Grand prix organizers around the world threatened to pull the plug if formula one pushed ahead with small 'green' engines.

Every formula one race promoter except China and Korea signed a letter by Australian organizer Ron Walker saying they would drop F1 and instead host IndyCar events if the FIA did not do a u-turn over the controversial engine plan.

The letter was received by the governing body on Wednesday, a day before the four-cylinder plan was voted down by the F1 Commission in favor of V6 turbos in 2014. More ...

06/25/11
f1
Webber linked with shock Renault move  (GMM)  Mark Webber has been linked with a shock move to Renault.

Red Bull insists it is "very happy" with the Australian driver, but his contract expires this year and Lewis Hamilton has been flirting with a switch from McLaren.

Renault team boss Eric Boullier admits he has spoken with Webber, 34, about moving to Renault, whose undisputed number one driver Robert Kubica is currently recovering from horror injuries sustained in a February rally crash.

"I really like Mark and have known him for a long time," the Frenchman said in Valencia. More ...

06/24/11
f1
Rumor - Vettel testing Silverstone exhaust at Valencia  (GMM) It is believed Sebastian Vettel on Friday morning was testing for the blown exhaust clamp down, set to take effect in two weeks at Silverstone.

The runaway championship leader, driving the apparently identical Red Bull, was a huge 2.5 seconds slower than his teammate Mark Webber in the first session at Valencia.

"There is a fairly simple explanation," team boss Christian Horner told the German broadcaster Sky. More ...
06/23/11
irl
IndyCar eyeing Chicagoland or Road America return?  UPDATE #3

The drivers are pushing as hard for the Elkhart Lake track as they did for Milwaukee. After the Milwaukee 225 weekend turned disappointing -- with considerable confusion, some upset fans and a lousy crowd -- that's been one of the hot topics of the week: getting IndyCar to the Elkhart.

Bernard spent about an hour and a half at the facility, track president George Bruggenthies said Thursday, and seemed to come away reasonably impressed.

Bruggenthies sounded more positive about a race than he has before, but his overall message hasn't changed much.

“I think that he’s considering us for an event if it works in his schedule, if it works in our schedule and then also the business plan,” Bruggenthies. “There’s potential. I’m just listening to our fans. They want open-wheel. If I can make it happen, we’ll work towards that happening." More ...
06/23/11
irl
Overheard at Long Beach - Saturday 2 (Herta Test Team)  UPDATE This rumor, which we broke back in April, is upgraded to 'fact' based on today's announcement - INDYCAR announced that Indianapolis 500 winners Dan Wheldon and Bryan Herta Autosport have been selected as the test organization for the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series prototype chassis.  Full announcement to follow on Hot News page.

04/17/11 We also heard on Saturday that Bryan Herta Autosport is a leading candidate to provide the test team for the 2012 prototype IndyCar due to hit the track in August.  As reported in our story yesterday on Tony Cotman's 2012 car update, the test team cannot be a current IndyCar team.  We also hear that Walker Racing has thrown their hat in the ring as well.
06/23/11
fil
Sam Schmidt cars illegal?  UPDATE #4 We are also hearing about illegal gearbox oil, illegal engine oil (both expensive low drag oils which are not allowed), and magnets in their calipers which pull the pucks and pads away from the rotors and hence less drag. And some are still wondering how big their fuel cells were for the Indy 500 after JR Hildebrand went very far on his last tank of fuel.  Barnhart never had the cell inspected after the race saying it was damaged in the accident.  How convenient.

06/22/11 This rumor is upgraded from 'false' to 'fact' today, confirming AR1.com's original rumor on this matter.  IndyCar has issued a $5,000 penalty and a loss of 10 points to Sam Schmidt Motorsports Car #77 for breaking Rule 14.3 A (3) - Wheelbase.  AR1.com sources say there were actually more infractions, but they are instead going to fill a full time position for the Technical Management of the Firestone Indy Lights, reporting to Will Phillips, VP. Technology who will be responsible for ensuring teams do not cheat their way to victory.

But in our opinion there are 2 problems even with the penalties announced by IndyCar... First, they only penalized the 4th place finishing car – but surely the 1st and 2nd place finishing cars had similar set-ups... So maybe IndyCar still doesn’t get it that they have to come clean when people cheat even if it’s the winner... Second, how does Clauson get to keep his 4th place finish when his car failed tech?  And also how does he personally get to keep the points? In every other series in the world, if you car fails post-race tech you’re disqualified.  However, it must be an American thing - cheaters prosper - because in NASCAR as well, you can cheat, win and you get to keep your win and you get a slap on the wrist and a fine that is less than the money you got for the victory.  We guess the saying "cheaters never prosper" doesn't apply to American Motorsports!

06/22/11 IndyCar’s competition director vowed today to fix a breakdown in the Firestone Indy Lights Series’ technical inspection process that led one team to withdraw from last weekend’s race in Milwaukee.

O2 Racing Technology withdrew its cars, citing IndyCar’s “integrity issue.”

Two Sam Schmidt Motorsports cars were initially deemed illegal after qualifying in Milwaukee only to be reinstated a short time later. There was a similar issue with the inspection process in last month’s Freedom 100 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Brian Barnhart, the president of IndyCar’s competition department, said the problems stem from the inspection crew being short-staffed following cost-saving moves. More ...

06/22/11
f1
City of Austin to drop support of F1 race  UPDATE A lawsuit filed by three Austin citizens who oppose the use of state funding could disrupt preparations for the US GP. One of the plaintiffs is a teacher, Ewa Siwak, who lost her job in a recent round of spending cutbacks.

A key element of the financial plans for the race is that the sanctioning fee owed to Bernie Ecclestone is due to be taken care of by a $25m grant of public money from the Texas state’s Major Event Trust Fund.

The suit claims that it seeks to prevent “the unlawful plunder of public funds for promoters of a Formula One race at a time when the State of Texas claims it cannot afford to adequately fund essential services, such as its public education system.”

The $25m annual payment was guaranteed to Bernie Ecclestone by Texas State Comptroller Susan Combs in a letter of May 10 last year. SPEEDTV.com More ...

06/21/11
nassprint
Red Bull move may be opening for Danica  The Associated Press story that Red Bull had informed NASCAR officials that they were pulling out of the sport at the end of 2011 seems to have been all-but-confirmed by a statement from the Austrian energy drink giant which said that they were "currently seeking outside investors as we evaluate next steps in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series."

Red Bull officials reportedly told team employees that NASCAR no longer hits the company's target market sufficiently to justify the level of investment required in running the team.

In the fall-out since the announcement, Red Bull's management style has been blamed for the disappointing performance of the team - with the company seeking to manage its NASCAR activities remotely from Europe with insufficient understanding of the details and culture of American stock car competition. More ...

06/21/11
nassprint
Red Bull to drop NASCAR, eyes US GP title sponsorship  UPDATE #2 Jay Frye, vice president and general manager for Red Bull Racing Team, said Tuesday he is optimistic that he can line up investors to keep the organization intact for the 2012 season.  Red Bull, which sponsors the two RBRT Sprint Cup cars and owns the team, announced Monday that it was leaving NASCAR after the 2011 season.

"We have talked to some people who have great enthusiasm about what we're doing," Frye said on a conference call. "We believe we can put something together rather quickly in 30 to 45 days. But the process has just started.  We had a lot of inquires yesterday. The goal is to keep the Red Bull team continuing on the path it's on."

06/21/11
Dietrich Mateschitz said to be pulling plug on NASCAR Team
(GMM)  F1 team owner Red Bull looks set to pull the plug on its NASCAR project.

The failure of the project compared with the energy drink company's meteoric success in formula one is being blamed for the decision.

Reports in the American media early this week say staff at the Red Bull Racing Sprint Cup team are being told the operation will close at the end of the season.

"We are not at liberty to comment on details while negotiations (with investors) are under way," said the team.

NASCAR insiders say North Carolina based Red Bull Racing, headed technically by ex-F1 figure Gunther Steiner, has struggled since its debut in 2007.

A report in the Toronto Sun said it is "well known" that Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz has been "unhappy" with the NASCAR effort. More ...

06/21/11
f1
Hong Kong in F1's future?  
Jaime Alguersuari on streets of Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s motorsport president has expressed his interest in bringing a Formula 1 race to the city in wake of a street demonstration by Red Bull there last weekend.

On Saturday an estimated 43,000 people turned out on the streets of Hong Kong to see Toro Rosso driver Jaime Alguersuari put sister team Red Bull’s show car through its paces and entertain the crowds.

The head of the city’s automobile association, Wesley Wan, admits the staging of the event was designed to whet the appetite of the local people for F1 and hopes it will act as a precursor to securing a full grand prix event. More ...

06/21/11
nassprint
Montoya close to contract renewal with EGR?  Expect an announcement within the next two weeks that #42-Juan Pablo Montoya will re-up with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates for next season. A high-ranking team executive confirmed Sunday that EGR will remain a two-car team in 2012, with most of existing sponsors intact. Ford Racing
06/21/11
f1
Source says Ferrari targeting Button  UPDATE
Jenson Button
This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today.  Ferrari has rubbished suggestions Jenson Button could be set to switch from McLaren.

A source at the famous Italian team reportedly told the News of the World this week that Button, 31, was being sounded out as a replacement for Felipe Massa.

"The Brazilian is now well used to this ritual, as it began almost before he set foot in the Scuderia," said Ferrari's anonymous website columnist The Horse Whisperer, referring to near-constant speculation about Massa's future.

The latest names linked to his race cockpit have been Nico Rosberg and now Briton Button. More ...

06/21/11
f1
2013 engine rules delay 'almost certain'  (GMM)  A postponement of the proposed 2013 engine rules is "almost certain", according to the authoritative Italian magazine Autosprint.

With engine makers including Ferrari, Mercedes and Cosworth no longer support the four-cylinder turbo regulations, FIA president Jean Todt has agreed to consider a delayed introduction date.

Following consultation with the suppliers, including Renault who have threatened to quit F1 if the 2013 rules do not debut as scheduled, Todt will make his decision at the end of this month.

"I personally feel we've got to seek a compromise," McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh, also chairman of the teams association FOTA, is quoted by the magazine Motorsport. More ...

06/20/11
f1
Next coup for Tony Fernandes?  While Tony Fernandes has wowed the F1 world with his deal with US giant General Electric, the Malaysian entrepreneur said last week on his Twitter feed that there are more sponsors to come. One that needs to be watched closely is Sonangol, the Angola national oil company. There are certain to be some B2B possibilities if Fernandes’ AirAsia decides to either start flying to Africa, or partner with an African company to create flights to Malaysia. Sonangol owns its own airline called Sonair, which runs mainly domestic services but has a service to Houston and plans for expansion. Joe Saward
06/20/11
f1
BBC to scrap F1 to keep clog-dancing channel  UPDATE
Bernie Ecclestone (R) pushing to keep F1 on BBC
F1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone is attempting to persuade BBC executives to retain their Formula 1 coverage. It has emerged that the sport could be cut from the corporation’s program in a bid to save digital channels such as BBC4.

First reported by The Mail at the weekend, it was explained that the BBC is under pressure to make cutbacks, with Formula 1 and its Wimbledon tennis coverage being singled out as possible areas in which to do so. By removing F1, which returned from ITV for 2009 but is costing around one pound per viewer, Wimbledon would be able to keep its contract (which ends in 2014) and BBC4 would remain on air.

With the BBC’s current F1 deal lasting until the end of 2013, several rumors continue to link the coverage with other broadcasters such as Five and, notably, per-per-view platform Sky. Ecclestone, working on behalf of CVC Capital Partners for F1 commercial rights, has insisted that the sport must remain on a free-to-air channel. More ...

06/20/11
f1
McLaren ready to pay more to keep Button  
Jenson Button has almost been on par with teammate Lewis Hamilton this year
(GMM)  McLaren is willing to give Jenson Button a pay-rise to stop him moving to Ferrari, the Daily Mail reports on Monday.

The 2009 world champion revealed last week that the Woking based team he joined last season "has an option on me for next year".

At the same time Button, 31, said he is reluctant to agree a new long-term deal, despite boss Martin Whitmarsh admitting he would "quickly" ink a new multi-year contract with the former Brawn driver.

The latest twist in the story was a Ferrari source telling the News of the World newspaper that Ferrari has "checked" with Button's management to see when Button is available as a replacement for Felipe Massa. More ...

06/20/11
f1
BBC to drop F1?  UPDATE #2
Martin Whitmarsh
(GMM)  It would be "sad" and "unwise" if reports the BBC is considering dropping its live coverage of formula one in Britain are true.

That is the claim of McLaren and FOTA chief Martin Whitmarsh, following the Sunday Times article about the broadcaster axing F1 after 2013 in order to save money.

He said he and other "insiders" were surprised about the report that contains "significant inaccuracies" about the sport's television viewing figures.

Meanwhile, media analysis of the Sunday Times article has pointed out that the newspaper is controlled by Rupert Murdoch, who has been reportedly interested in getting involved in F1, perhaps with his pay television network Sky. More ...

06/19/11
ama
irl
Big super-motocross race planned for Vegas could hurt IndyCar finale  IndyCar is holding their season finale in Las Vegas on October 16th at Bruton Smith's Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  So what could go wrong and hurt attendance?

Feld Motor Sports announced the creation of an inaugural event called the Monster Energy Cup, which posts a purse of a quarter-of-a-million dollars and a potential $1 million bonus, that will take place at Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium on October 15th. This invitation-only race will showcase the world’s top supercross racers live on SPEED in a three-hour broadcast. More ...

06/17/11
irl
Danica Patrick loses her key agent  UPDATE Danica Patrick is sticking with IMG in the wake of agent Mark Steinberg's split with the sports management giant.

And though Patrick hasn't made a decision on the future of her racing career, she says her agents officially are free to listen to offers. Many racing contracts contain clauses that prohibit drivers from negotiating new deals with rival teams until a specific date, but Patrick said she's under no such restrictions.

"That's open," Patrick said Friday at the Milwaukee Mile. "My agents are working." More ...

06/17/11
irl
nassprint
Andretti to start NASCAR team?  UPDATE #2 SPEED.com open wheel reporter Robin Miller joined Steve Byrnes on NASCAR Race Hub on SPEED Thursday evening to discuss Danica Patrick and Andretti Autosport among other things. Following is the transcript in part from the interview;

On any traction to the rumors of Andretti Autosport going to NASCAR:
Miller: "John Lopes (CFO of Andretti Autosport), who puts all their sponsorships together, said last week & I said, 'Hey, is there anything to this rumor that you guys might be going stock car racing?' He said, 'We're exploring. We're definitely looking into it.' So, we've heard that they might be connected to Roush, that they might be doing something with Ford Motor Company, but that kind of makes me wonder that Michael (Andretti) is probably not going to go with General Motors when the new engines come along next year, but everybody is assuming if Andretti goes to NASCAR, he'll just keep Danica. I don't think that's going to happen. I don't think that's going to happen at all. They're looking at opportunities to replace this GoDaddy money with some NASCAR money and I tell you what - that's a huge deficit to make up when you lose somebody like GoDaddy because it's probably the second or third biggest sponsorship in IndyCar racing and that's going to be tough to replace." SPEED

Mike Andretti taking his team to NASCAR?
06/13/11 According to AutoRacing1.com sources, Andretti Autosport will field a Sprint Cup team with Ford cars and engineering support provided by Roush Fenway Racing.

06/13/11 On SPEED's Speed Report Sunday night , Robin Miller said that Andretti Autosport is considering starting a NASCAR team.  Although Danica Patrick is rumored to be moving to NASCAR fulltime in 2012, Miller stated Andretti was not considering a NASCAR team for the sole purpose of keeping Danica in the Andretti camp.  Miller asked, "...can Michael Andretti learn a Southern accent"?
06/17/11
fil
Hoosier Tires to replace Firestone?  Hoosier Racing Tire, through the Continental brand, is expected to begin testing Firestone Indy Lights tires next month for a bid to be that series' supplier in the future. Indy Star
06/17/11
ga
24 Hours of Indianapolis?  Oh My!  A reader asks, Dear AR1.com If the GRAND-AM series proves successful, IMS officials can begin exploring longer endurance races; while a "24 Hours of Indianapolis" seems like a far-fetched idea at the moment, it could also become a massive draw in the future, similar to that of the 24 Hours of Daytona. Derrick Kune

Dear Derrick, The crown jewel race for Grand-Am is the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.  You could shoot a cannon in the grandstands for that race and not hit anyone.  The grandstands are a ghost town.  We're not sure who the mental midget was who thought the Grand-Am at Indy was all of a sudden going to be this big draw, but they have their head buried in the sand.  They may get a few NASCAR fans who are in town for the Brickyard 400 and are bored stiff on Friday and Saturday and may watch the Grand-Am if someone gives them a free ticket.  We have to wonder how much the money France family is paying the George family to allow the Grand-Am to race at Indy.  Yet another type of racing at Indy to dilute the popularity of IndyCar Racing.  You can only sell so many race tickets in a market before you kill it.  Indy has already reached that point.  They still cannot sell-out the Indy 500, the Brickyard 400 tickets sales are in a tailspin, the MotoGP has all but failed, and the F1 race is long gone. And the mental midgets want to add yet another series.   Mark C.
06/16/11
automotive
Camaro destroying Mustang sales  For Ford Mustang fans, it's tough enough getting beaten in the sales race by the car's long-term rival, the Chevrolet Camaro.

Now the future of the Michigan plant that builds the Mustang is in doubt.

Last week, Mazda Motor Corp. said it would pull out of the AutoAlliance International joint venture with Ford Motor Co. The AutoAlliance plant in Flat Rock, Mich., south of Detroit, builds the Mazda 6 and the Mustang.

Mazda is leaving AutoAlliance because sales of the Mazda 6 have plummeted. Through the end of May, Mazda 6 sales totaled 13,604, down 8.9 percent from the same period a year earlier. More ...

06/16/11
irl
Tony George stricken with Dementia?  
Tony George created the split, the least he could do was salvage the remains
Two days after this year’s Indianapolis 500, former Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar Series boss Tony George sat down for an in-studio conversation during the JMV show on WFNI-AM 1070 The Fan.

I’d heard that George mentioned my name and an article I had written in May 2009 that discussed the series’ profitability. He wasn’t complimentary.

Naturally, I was curious, so I listened to the whole 80-plus minute podcast. What George said about me, my article and the Indianapolis Business Journal wasn’t nearly as interesting as the other nuggets I gleaned from the discussion, which included one of George’s biggest critics over the years: motorsports journalist Robin Miller.

The first thing that struck me was George’s take on the split between IndyCar and CART/Champ Car. “I didn’t start the split, I helped end it,” he said. [Editor's Note: Fact - Tony George created the IRL, split IndyCar Racing in half and so decimated the sport it may never recover.  But if he says he didn't create the split then he must be right and it's the rest of the world that is delusional.] More ...

06/16/11
f1
Renault eyes sponsors for Senna race debut  
Renault reserve drivers Senna (L) and Grosjean
(GMM)  Bruno Senna could soon replace Nick Heidfeld in injured regular Robert Kubica's Renault race seat.

According to Auto Motor und Sport, team owner Gerard Lopez spent some time before the Canadian grand prix in reserve driver Senna's native Brazil.

The Luxembourg businessman was reportedly looking for sponsors, on the assumption 27-year-old Senna is drafted in to replace German Heidfeld, who is under pressure by the Enstone based team to up his pace. More ...

06/16/11
f1
New Marlboro Ferrari deal worth almost $500m  
Ferrari's inauguration of a new F1 logo for this year, with its angular red and white colors and black wording closely resembling Marlboro cigarette packets
(GMM)  Ferrari's new Marlboro deal is worth almost half a billion dollars to the famous Italian team.

The Maranello based team, officially known as Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, said in a brief statement this week that Philip Morris International had extended its existing contract to the end of 2015.

The original deal was set to run until the end of next year.

The anti tobacco-advertising rules in F1, Europe and most of the rest of the world means that Marlboro's actual red and white branding cannot be displayed on the Ferrari single seaters. More ...

06/16/11
f1
Ecclestone's daughter buys LA Mansion?  UPDATE
Bernie Ecclestone (L) with ex-wife Slavica and daughters Petra and Tamara
Lots of unconfirmed rumors have been coming out of L.A. real estate circles since it was announced that Candy Spelling's long-listed mansion had sold. According to TMZ, Candy Spelling agreed to sell her L.A. megamanse for $85M, a whopping 43% off the steadfast $150M asking price. Other sources—despite reports that 22-year-old auto racing heiress Petra Ecclestone is the buyer—have the purchaser as an anonymous billionaire who would put the $4B Ecclestone fortune to shame. Is Petra playing front for a family friend? Her father Bernie and billionaire real estate snob Lakshmi Mittal—who controls a $28.7B fortune—are known to be friends, but Mittal wasn't too shy about paying exorbitant sums for his homes in the past. Perhaps the most outrageous was Mittal's purchase of a house on Kensington Palace Gardens in London for $128.25M. The seller? Mr. Bernie Ecclestone. Coincidence? Curbed.com


More ...

06/15/11
irl
Glen officials hope for IndyCar return  Tuesday was an exciting day at Watkins Glen, with about 10,000 people on hand to see a Formula One car circle the track for the first time in more than 30 years. And they also got to see Tony Stewart drive it.

But it is the last time Open Wheel racing will be at the Glen this summer. The IndyCar circuit cancelled its appearance this year, but rumor has it that Glen officials are still hoping that they may be able to reach an agreement to have it return in 2012.

With IndyCars out this year, pretty much the sole focus for the rest of the summer is the Stock Cars. The Sprint Cup race at The Glen is scheduled for August 14th. CentralNY.ynn.com

06/15/11
f1
Thailand's Stuvik tipped to become future F1 driver  Sandy Nicholas Stuvik is tipped to become a Formula One racer in five years.  The Thai-Norwegian yesterday signed a one-year sponsorship contract with Singha Corporation which will support him in the Formula Renault Euro Cup 2011.

Voravud Bhirombhakdi, strategic partnership and event manager of Singha Corporation, said, "He is still young and has the potential to be a good racer. I believe we will see a Thai driver in F1."


Sandy Nicholas Stuvik, right, and Voravud Bhirombhakdi at yesterday’s press conference More ...

06/15/11
nassprint
NASCAR to consider longer Watkins Glen circuit?  Before Tuesday's ride swap with Lewis Hamilton, there was a section of the Watkins Glen International road course Stewart had never seen, the 0.95-mile boot-shaped section called-you guessed it-the "boot." After racing on it in both a Sprint Cup and a Formula One car, Stewart would like to see NASCAR incorporate the boot into its August Cup race here. "I enjoyed the long course," Stewart said. "I'd never been around it till today. I told (NASCAR executive and pace car driver) Brett Bodine when we got out of the car after our setup runs that I would like the opportunity to see us having a shot at running the long course. I think it would create more passing opportunities, for sure, and it's just such a historic racetrack, and there are some really cool corners down there that we don't get a shot to run on a Cup weekend." Jimmie Johnson said much the same thing after running a Grand-Am race at the Glen last year. Armed with the endorsements of Stewart and Johnson, WGI president Michael Printup plans to lobby NASCAR president Mike Helton, vice president of competition Robin Pemberton and senior vice president of racing operations Steve O'Donnell about running the full course. The tradeoff would be a reduction in the number of laps on a longer course. Sporting News
06/15/11
nassprint
UPS sponsorship to change teams?  Now that Kasey Kahne has Farmers Insurance as his primary sponsor for the majority of races next season, it eliminates one of the potential candidates for the UPS sponsorship. UPS is one of the top sponsors in the sport left to make its decision on where it will be in 2012. Its contract ends this year with Roush Fenway Racing and driver #6-David Ragan. Roush Fenway still needs to sign #99-Carl Edwards, and that could result in him wearing the UPS colors next season along with Aflac, depending on how much money each company wants to fork over for the current series points leader. That wouldn't be the preferable scenario for Roush Fenway but might be the only way it can keep Edwards in the organization. Another possibility for UPS would be #33-Clint Bowyer, whose personality would be a good fit with the company. General Mills has yet to re-sign with Richard Childress Racing and Bowyer, whose contract also is up at the end of this year. Scene Daily
06/15/11
f1
Ferrari to shift focus to 2012?  UPDATE
Ferrari test driver Marc Gene
This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today.  The last thing on Ferrari's mind is giving up, test driver Marc Gene insists.

"I am sure we will soon win races," the Spaniard told the Marca sports daily amid reports the Maranello based team might be nearing the decision to switch its entire focus to the 2012 project.

"In the last two races, victory was very close," said Gene.  "It will not take long.  Ferrari is not a team that throws in the towel even when the chance for the title is the slightest one.

"This is a policy I support 100 per cent."

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo admitted on Italian Sky television that he thought both Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa had a chance of victory in Canada.

"I don't like to talk about bad luck," he said.  "At the time of Alonso and Button's accident, each had a 50-50 chance.  Well, Alonso went out and Button won the race." More ...

06/15/11
f1
Dutch website links Symonds with Ferrari switch  
Pat Symonds
(GMM)  Time will tell if Ferrari moves to dismiss the latest speculation about its future team lineup.

In Canada, the Italian squad's media guru Luca Colajanni slammed as "bullsh*t" a report on a Dutch website linking Flavio Briatore with Stefano Domenicali's top job.

But in a subsequent report, f1today.nl acknowledged Colajanni's admonition but quoted a source as saying Pat Symonds is also linked with a senior role.

Symonds, who along with Briatore was ousted by Renault and banned from F1 for the Renault crashgate affair of 2009, returned to the sport this year as a consultant for the struggling Virgin team. More ...

06/14/11
f1
Brazil return possible for Robert Kubica  
Robert Kubica
Robert Kubica  manager has said that there is a chance that he could return to racing at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.

Kubica has been recovering from a rally accident in Italy back in February which left him with life threatening injuries. He currently spends three days a week in Genoa undergoing rehabilitation as he works to restore full functionality to his right hand, which was partially severed in the crash. Daniel Morelli said that the leg which was fractured is no longer an issue, but that it was the hand which would dictate any comeback. More ...

06/13/11
f1
Lewis Hamilton hooking up with Rihanna?  
Lewis Hamilton and Nicole Scherzinger who split up once, got back together....but it is over again?
Sources are saying that American X-Factor Judge Nicole Scherzinger was positively livid with rage, as her boyfriend, F1 driver Lewis Hamilton openly hugged R star Rihanna during a break in the Montreal Grand Prix.

The race was red flagged after 22 laps out of a potential 70, as a torrential downpour hit the track, with Hamilton being forced to retire early on following a clash with McLaren team mate Jenson Button, which disabled Hamilton's car. More ...

06/09/11
lmes
Corvette to consider entering WEC  Corvette Racing has welcomed the World Endurance Championship proposal and will consider contesting the series

The renamed GTE (formerly GT2) category, in which the Chevrolet Corvette C6.R is a frontrunner, forms part of the new championship, due to kick off next season.

Chevrolet already competes in the ALMS and Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, run to the same regulations as the Le Mans 24 Hours, and has not ruled out appearing in the new series. More ...

06/08/11
irl
IndyCar to lose 2011 Indy 500 winner to NASCAR  Before the St. Pete Honda Grand Prix welcome home party for Dan Wheldon on Tuesday, Wheldon told me he just got a call from a Nationwide Series team about driving for them. Guess what? He’s considering it. Wheldon stressed that Indy Cars are his first love and the team owner wants him to relocate to North Carolina. Wheldon says that would be a problem.

Wheldon says he can be picky as to who he can drive for and it has to be the right situation but he didn’t say no. He’s looking for a full time Indy Car ride next year. Bayview News

[Editor's Note:  As it is the Indy 500 winner will not be to any more IndyCar races this year as he has no contract to drive, which is not good for IndyCar.]

06/08/11
f1
Austin council could scupper 2012 US grand prix  UPDATE Related article, and another article.  Sounds like the USA might see another shot at hosting an F1 race die.  It's simply too expense for even governments to afford in today's economic environment.

06/08/11 (GMM)  US grand prix lawyer Richard Suttle has admitted the Austin City Council has the power to scupper the formula one project.

According to local Kxan news, council members learned this week that they must sign off as the "endorsing municipality" in order for race organizers to access the $25 million per year promised by the Texas government.

That will involve the City of Austin contributing $4 million to the Major Events Trust Fund.

"There is a distinct possibility that if this process doesn't work, that the project and the 1000 people that are working right now, their jobs could be in jeopardy and the event could be in jeopardy," the Circuit of the Americas project attorney Suttle confirmed.

There is no guarantee the Austin council members will play ball. More ...

06/08/11
f1
Bahrain in 2011 will not happen  (GMM)  With the on-off 2011 Bahrain GP saga becoming farcical, Bernie Ecclestone on Wednesday announced his sport "of course" cannot go to the troubled island Kingdom later this year.

Prior to the FIA last Friday controversially rescheduling the race for October 30, F1 chief executive Ecclestone seemed to favor that decision being taken.

But the 80-year-old Briton has now isolated president Jean Todt by urging the teams group FOTA to write their letter, demanding a new vote of the World Motor Sport Council, and now coming to the obvious conclusion that F1 must stay away for now.

"Hopefully we can return in the future, but of course it's not on," Ecclestone told BBC Sport.

"The schedule cannot be rescheduled without the agreement of the participants -- they're the facts."

The FIA did not immediately comment.

06/07/11
f1
Exhaust blow ban to cost Red Bull dearly  (GMM)  Dominant team Red Bull stands to lose a chunk of laptime if diffuser exhaust blowing is banned after Sunday's Canadian grand prix.

The team's engine supplier Renault argued for a delay of the ban until after Montreal on the grounds that, because of the basic architecture of the engine, it is a reliability issue.

Adrian Newey explained in Monaco that the Renault V8 opens to full throttle when the driver is not pressing on the accelerator due to "exhaust valve cooling".

Reliability aside, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport and Autosprint in Italy claim that the driveability of the Renault engine will also be badly affected by the exhaust blowing ban. More ...

06/07/11
nassprint
Newman secretly fined  NASCAR officials wouldn't say Monday whether Ryan Newman secretly was fined $50,000 for allegedly punching Juan Pablo Montoya during a meeting last month at Darlington. The two drivers were summoned to NASCAR's at-track office on May 6 to discuss their ongoing feud, and NASCAR said afterward that the meeting "did not go as well as we had hoped it would." Commenting on a meeting inside the hauler was unprecedented for NASCAR, which promised a further review of the incident. No fines were ever announced, and NASCAR said the issue was closed. But rumors of the penalty began to leak on Monday in response to NASCAR fining owner Richard Childress $150,000 for attacking Kyle Busch after Saturday's trucks race at Kansas Speedway. Newman, through a spokeswoman, declined to comment. NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp also refused to comment on whether Newman was fined. If true, it's the second time NASCAR secretly has fined Newman. He was fined in April 2010 for comments he made about the style of racing at Talladega. It was not made public until the AP learned last July that Denny Hamlin had been secretly fined $50,000 for criticizing NASCAR on Twitter. Newman then admitted he, too, had been fined. Associated Press/ESPN.com
06/06/11
f1
Ferrari's Dyer eyes return to Australia  
Chris Dyer
(GMM)  Chris Dyer could be set to return to Australia to continue his motor racing career.

After serving as Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen's championship-winning race engineer at Ferrari, he was promoted by the famous Italian team to the role of head of engineering.

But Dyer, 42, was shunted aside to the road car division at Maranello after bungling Fernando Alonso's race strategy in Abu Dhabi last year that cost the Spaniard the 2010 title. More ...

06/05/11
irl
Scheckter won't run in Texas  
Tomas Scheckter
According to his brother's twitter post, it looks like Tomas Scheckter is not going to be in the Texas IndyCar race after all.

"I'll be heading back to DC later this week, before heading home to London."
06/05/11
nassprint
Dodge considering NASCAR engine changes  UPDATE Tony Stewart may believe everyone is "bringing a knife to a gun fight right now" when it comes to competing with Ford engines, but that is not necessarily the view of Chevy officials. "I have seen the (chassis) dyno numbers and we are pleased with them," said Alba Colon, the GM Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup series program manager. "We have seen the numbers. We have discussed the numbers with our teams. I am pleased so far; we just have to keep working on it." Charlotte Observer

06/04/11 With the Roush Fenway Racing Fords showing greatly increased pace this year, rival manufacturers are starting to make noise about horsepower. Ford's purpose-built FR9 NASCAR Sprint Cup engine was designed with a lower center of gravity and greatly improved cooling, the latter of which allows Ford teams to run more tape on the nose of their cars. The more tape added, the more front downforce, although too much tape can block the radiator and cause overheating. Sources at Dodge confirmed to SPEED.com that the automaker is looking at revisions to its existing - and still relatively new - P6 engine. NASCAR would need to approve any engine mods, and a Dodge official said they automaker "could have something toward end of season." As for now, the source said, "All talk now is premature." SPEED
06/05/11
nastruck
Altercation between Childress and Kyle Busch after CWTS Race  UPDATE #2 None of the principals have confirmed it, but Ray Dunlap, pit reporter for SPEED, was confident in his sources to post a Twitter message that car owner Richard Childress and driver Kyle Busch had a physical altercation after Saturday’s Camping World Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway. “There are some eyewitnesses, crew members who were there and another driver who were right there,” Dunlap said Saturday night after he arrived home in Charlotte. “There were some punches thrown.”

Kerry Tharp, NASCAR director of communications for competition, said that NASCAR officials were investigating the reports. Officials from Richard Childress Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing, for whom Busch, 26, drives Sprint Cup cars, said there would be no comment until today.

The source of Childress’ frustration was Busch’s damaging the right side of rookie Joey Coulter’s truck during the cool-down lap after Coulter, who finished fifth for Childress’ team, bumped Busch’s car while the two battled for position on the final lap. More ...
06/04/11
automotive
Mazda to exit venture with Ford, paper in Japan says  Mazda plans to leave its joint venture with Ford and stop building cars in the U.S., the Nikkei financial daily reported Friday.  Mazda and Ford operate the AutoAlliance International plant in Flat Rock as a 50-50 partnership.

Citing unnamed company sources, the Nikkei said Mazda is considering selling its stake to Ford as the Japanese automaker tries to restructure its global production.

Mazda cars sold in the U.S. will be shipped from Japan and Mexico starting around 2013, according to the Nikkei. In response, Mazda issued a short statement saying the report was not based on information it had released.

"Mazda and Ford are jointly studying various possibilities for AAI, and we have nothing to announce at this time," Mazda said. "We do not comment on speculation."

06/04/11
nascar
NASCAR Hall of Fame to get increased attendance  Next year's NASCAR Hall of Fame's draft budget predicts revenue from admissions will increase nearly 20 percent, an optimistic projection that runs counter to the experience of many similar attractions. The Georgia Aquarium, for instance, saw attendance decline 25 percent for its second year, and 15 percent more from year two to year three after the initial excitement wore off. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland showed similar declines in its first three years of operation. Attendance at those venues - and many others - then stabilized.

The city-owned NASCAR Hall of Fame projected 800,000 visitors for its first year. Instead, attendance was roughly 274,000, including 12,000 free visits during an open house in January. Before the hall opened last year, hall backers expected attendance to decline from the first year to the second year. The draft budget calls for $4.88 million in admission revenue next fiscal year, while this year's admissions revenue is expected to be $4.15 million. A memo from the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, which operates the hall, said the admissions projections are based on a "stretch" target. Charlotte Observer

06/03/11
f1
Bahrain could be rescheduled  UPDATE #3 (GMM)  All signs point to 'yes' on Friday after the FIA sat in Barcelona to deliberate a new date for the 2011 Bahrain grand prix.

Amid logistical and political concerns up and down the pitlane, a Bahraini government official 'Tweeted' that the World Motor Sport Council is in the process of rubber-stamping a new date for a race this year in the troubled island Kingdom.

"FIA finalizing date now," said Sheikh Fawaz al-Khalifa, head of the information affairs authority.

The news is not yet official but Bernie Ecclestone denied as he arrived in Spain in the morning that the decision will be about the $40 million race fee.

"Nothing to do with money at all.  Nothing, in any shape or form," the 80-year-old told Reuters. More ...

06/02/11
automotive
Lotus could be sold  Lotus is now helping its owner Proton to develop a range of cars, Group Lotus CEO Dany Bahar has revealed, but he  questioned the scope for further cooperation between the two companies.

Malaysia-based Proton “is getting the benefit [of owning Lotus] for the first time,” according to Bahar. The British marque is helping its owner with several models, including a global city car that will also be developed into the small Lotus revealed at the Paris show last autumn (ABOVE). Bahar says that the new baby hatch will look just like the concept, which he describes as “beautiful” – or it will not happen at all. More ...

06/02/11
f1
Abu Dhabi buying Toro Rosso through Spanish bank? Denied  UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false today.  Abu Dhabi has confirmed talks with Red Bull but denied it is looking to buy the energy drink company's second formula one team Toro Rosso.

A Spanish newspaper reported this week that Aabar, already part-owners of the Mercedes team, was looking to buy a second team through its International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC) and Spanish oil brand CEPSA.

IPIC chief Khadem Abdulla Al Qubaisi was at the most recent Spanish and Monaco grands prix.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Abu Dhabi state-owned Aabar admitted it is "currently evaluating options of a potential project based cooperation with Austrian based Red Bull". More ...

06/01/11
nassprint
Will NASCAR land another big TV contract Despite dip in ratings?  Welcome to NASCAR, Steve Herbst. Now get ready to negotiate.

This month, Herbst joined NASCAR as vice president of broadcasting, a role that puts him in line to spend the next 18 to 24 months working to secure the sport’s next TV contract. He’ll report to Paul Brooks, the president of NASCAR Media Group and lead executive in NASCAR’s negotiations.

NASCAR signed its current $4.5 billion contract with Fox, ESPN and Turner Sports in 2005. The eight-year agreement began in 2007 and ends in 2014. Based on the previous deal, NASCAR will likely have a deal in place no later than 2013. More ...

06/01/11
irl
Jay Howard to run more IndyCar races  On the heels of his good run during the month of May at Indy, rumor has it that we will soon hear an announcement that IndyCar driver Jay Howard will contest more races in 2011.
06/01/11
irl
Simona de Silvestro to Team Penske  UPDATE According to the HVM team Simona is under contract to them, hence we are downgrading this rumor to 'false.'

05/31/11
Simona de Silvestro is one class act and a heck of a good race car driver - The perfect fit for Team Penske
One rumor making the rounds at Indy was that Simona de Silvestro is being recruited by Team Penske to replace Ryan Briscoe or Helio Castroneves and don't be surprised if you see her Nuclear Energy sponsor go with her. 

With strong rumors that Danica Patrick will move to NASCAR fulltime in 2012, IndyCar would benefit from having a woman driver as good as de Silvestro winning races on a consistent basis, something Danica Patrick was never able to do.

We can see the shirts now all over the IndyCar paddock - Danica Who?

06/01/11
f1
Renault team in financial trouble?  UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' with this report.

05/27/11 (GMM)  The Renault team is reportedly in financial trouble.  As the naming dispute between sponsor Group Lotus and rival outfit Team Lotus made headlines on Friday, Germany's Auto Motor und Sport said Enstone based Renault is grappling with other problems.

"The court decision comes at the wrong time," read the report.

"There is not as much money flowing from Russia as expected.  And since Robert Kubica's accident the interest of other backers has ceased," it added. More ...

06/01/11
f1
John Iley set for Ferrari return?  (GMM)  Ferrari could be looking to reunite with a recently departed team member.

Amid the Italian team's poor 2009 season, head of aerodynamics John Iley left Ferrari and switched to McLaren last year.

Ferrari is now in the midst of a new restructuring, parting with technical director Aldo Costa who is expected to be replaced in that role by current chassis boss Pat Fry. More ...

06/01/11
f1
Rumors swirl about Kubica, Heidfeld, Grosjean  
Roman Grosjean
(GMM)  Amid suggestions Renault is disappointed with Nick Heidfeld's recent form, the name Roman Grosjean has returned to the F1 rumor mill.

The Swiss-born Frenchman had a poor start to his F1 career amid the 'crashgate' scandal with Renault in 2009, but is once again associated with the team under the management of Eric Boullier.

25-year-old Grosjean is currently leading the GP2 championship and was mentioned by Italy's Autosprint in an article about Robert Kubica and Heidfeld.

The report said the spat between Renault co-owner Gerard Lopez and Kubica's manager Daniele Morelli indicates not all is well in that relationship behind the scenes. More ...

06/01/11
f1
Virgin in talks with McLaren/Mercedes  
Poor Timo Glock is stuck with the backmarker Virgin team.  If they change engines they will still be a backmarker
(GMM)  Virgin is in talks with McLaren and Mercedes about a technical collaboration for 2012.

That is the claim of the Italiaracing magazine, saying the situation could be similar to Force India's current McLaren/Mercedes alliance.

The report said struggling Virgin's package would include the engine, transmission, KERS and rear suspension.

It is the latest rumor suggesting the team is seeking a change of direction after two years with Nick Wirth leading the technical strategy. More ...

05/31/11
irl
Indy winner to get ride for rest of year  IndyCar cannot afford to not have the winner of its biggest race, the Indy 500, not in the field at all of the remaining races.  Rumor has it that deals are being put together behind the scenes by Bryan Herta Motorsports to run Wheldon in either a Sam Schmidt Motorsports car or possibly a KV Racing car where he would be reunited with Tony Kanaan who had much success together at Andretti Green (with Dario Franchitti).  Herta is friends with KV's Jimmy Vasser as well so it makes a lot of sense.  And we do think KV Racing is getting tired fixing crashed race cars from two of its existing drivers.
05/31/11
f1
Sauber secret is 'full steam' for 2011 - report  
The new Sauber has been quite competitive
(GMM)  Sauber is setting its sights on loftier ambitions for 2011.

The Swiss team is currently a credible sixth in the constructors' standings, behind Mercedes and Renault and leading grandees Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari.

"We keep our feet on the ground," managing director Monisha Kaltenborn told the Swiss newspaper Blick when asked if more than sixth is the target.

The newspaper, however, said it has learned Sauber's 'secret plan' for the rest of the 2011 season -- all available resources, and perhaps even some new recruitments, will be pointed towards the development of the C30.

"So full steam ahead," wrote veteran reporter Roger Benoit.

05/30/11
track news
Indy Speedway on the blocks?  There were rumblings in the last year to 18 months that the Speedway was for sale. In fact, one “reliable source” said the deal was done and it would become public after the 100th anniversary.  Toronto Star [Editor's Note: We'll believe it when we see it.]
05/30/11
irl
nassprint
Penske to add 2nd IndyCar team with NASCAR's Hendricks  Spotted on the grid of the Centennial Indy 500 were Hendrick Motorsport decals on the wings of two Team Penske Racers. The decals were on the inside rear wing plate on Will Power's #12 and #6 Ryan Briscoe. This leads to speculation of an alliance of Penske and Hendrick in IndyCar especially due to the entry of Chevrolet engines into the open wheel series in 2012. Penske officials are keen to add Simona de Silvestro to their team but are having financial issues with three cars and would not comment on the why HMS decals were on the two cars. An alliance with Hendrick, a big Chevrolet dealer, could see a 2nd 2-car Penske/Hendricks team created much like Ganassi Racing has created a 2nd team for Graham Rahal and Charlie Kimball. It gives them the advantage of trying more aero packages to see what works best.  One has to also wonder if Penske will switch from Dodge to Chevy in NASCAR.  (see image at Auto123)
05/29/11
irl
Overheard at Indy - Race Day  On a very warm day here in Indy there is a lot of behind the scenes activity going on in the paddock.  We spotted Michael Andretti, John Lopes and another executive from Andretti Autosports going into the Honda trailer for what appeared to be a business meeting with Honda HPD boss Eric Berkman.  We also spotted what appeared to be some Honda executives from Japan entering the same trailer moments before.  One can safely assume that Honda wants Andretti to be one of their teams and they are talking deal, or perhaps going so far as signing the deal today.  More ...
05/29/11
f1
Perez may miss Montreal too  (GMM)  Sergio Perez's participation in the Canadian grand prix in two weeks is in doubt.

The Mexican rookie sat out Monaco on Sunday with concussion and a bruised thigh, after his high speed crash in Monaco qualifying on Saturday.

21-year-old Perez spent Saturday night in hospital and he will wake up again in the local Princess Gate on Monday morning for more tests.

British broadcaster the BBC asked Sauber's chief executive Monisha Kaltenborn if there is any danger Perez might also miss his first visit to Montreal. More ...

05/28/11
f1
Blown Diffusers to blame for Monaco accidents?  Jenson Button has said that the exit of the tunnel section at Monaco – where Sergio Perez today sustained a massive accident – is more dangerous this year with the cars’ blown diffusers.

Button, who had a very similar accident to that of Perez in 2003 at the same place, appeared to suggest that the car’s 2011 rear structure had a deleterious effect on stability emerging from the tunnel.

“It is when you first hit the brakes [that you feel it],” the McLaren man told the press after qualifying today.

“The rear goes very light for some reason, and it seems to be more of an issue this year because of the blown diffuser systems that a lot [of the cars] have. The rear goes very light and at that point you become a passenger, it pitches you into [the] right hand side and you lose braking ability as you lose two wheels.” More ...

05/28/11
f1
Name tweak for Team Lotus in 2012  (GMM)  Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes has hinted his team might be rebranded for the 2012 season.

The team claimed victory in the High Court battle with Group Lotus, but Bernie Ecclestone was quoted afterwards suggesting the Caterham name might need to be added to the official title in the future.

"We're going to step back a bit (now)," Fernandes answered when asked about the future in Monaco by the BBC.  "We have some thoughts.  In my mind maybe by Silverstone [in July] we will unveil something."

Fernandes has decided his AirAsia GP2 team will be renamed Caterham.

05/28/11
f1
Button eyeing up Ferrari move?  UPDATE
Could McLaren driver Jenson Button someday switch to Ferrari to replace Massa?
(GMM)  Jenson Button is refusing to rule out a future move to Ferrari, despite saying recently he wants to close his formula one career at McLaren.

The 31-year-old has raced at McLaren alongside Lewis Hamilton since winning the 2009 title with Brawn.

He is under contract until the end of next year and admitted in Monaco that his three target teams as a youngster were Williams, McLaren and Ferrari. More ...

05/27/11
irl
Ganassi to go with Honda power in 2012  UPDATE
(L to R) Mike Hull, Eric Berkman and Chip Ganassi announce the Honda/Ganassi deal
Mark Cipolloni/AR1.com
This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today with the announcement by Honda HPD that Ganassi Racing will be Honda's anchor team for the new turbo engine in 2012.  Team Penske is the anchor team for Chevy and now Ganassi will serve as the anchor team for Honda.  Supposedly the anchor teams will not get any better engines than any other team.

05/26/11 Rumor has it that Chip Ganassi will go with Honda engines for his IndyCar team in 2012, while his main rival, Team Penske, will be the top Chevy team.
05/27/11
irl
WilliamRast to sponsor Danica Patrick  Rumor here in the Indy Paddock is that Danica Patrick will pick up an additional sponsor in WilliamRast - the clothing line.
05/26/11
nassprint
Did Kyle Busch get special treatment?  The WBTV web sites and Facebook have been blowing up with angry comments from viewers who say NASCAR driver Kyle Busch got special treatment when he was caught speeding 128 miles an hour in a 45 zone on Perth Road Tuesday afternoon. According to the Iredell County Sheriff's Office, Busch was driving his new 2012 yellow Lexus LFA supercar when he was clocked doing nearly three times the posted speed limit. Busch was issued a citation for careless and reckless driving and speeding, deputies told WBTV. That made many WBTV viewers very angry. More ...
05/26/11
f1
Ecclestone plots to buy back F1  
When it comes to F1 business deals, Bernie is always 3 steps ahead of everyone else
(GMM)  Bernie Ecclestone could be plotting his next move to retain control of his formula one circus.  The 80-year-old, who has bought and sold the commercial rights several times since revolutionizing the sport decades ago, is rumored to be considering buying back full control from F1's current owners CVC.

The move follows Ecclestone's rejection of the interest shown by News Corp and Ferrari shareholder Exor, after it emerged the other major teams might be interested in adding weight to that consortium.

Auto Motor und Sport reports that CVC's managing partner Donald MacKenzie made a rare visit to the Barcelona paddock last weekend. More ...

05/25/11
nnw
irl
Danica to NASCAR fulltime in 2012? No!  UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'speculation' today.  IndyCar Series fan favorite Danica Patrick on Wednesday said there was "no truth" to an ESPN report that her and her management team were working on plans for a fulltime NASCAR schedule in 2012.

SI.com's Bruce Martin, in a previously-scheduled interview with Patrick on Wednesday in Indianapolis, asked her for her reaction to the report.

Here was Patrick's complete response:

"I'm watching TV and see it scroll across the bottom of the screen. I don't know where it came from but it's all speculation. Anybody can speculate that and write that. I don't know where it came from but there is no truth to it; it's just speculation," she said. More ...

05/23/11
irl
Andretti fires Tom Anderson  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  On Monday, Tom Anderson, Andretti's competition director, lost his job.

"We did get an email from Tom Anderson saying he had been let go, that he appreciated his time at Andretti Autosport and that he is looking at every avenue to get back into IndyCars," Barnhart said.

Anderson was hired by Andretti in December 2009 and had been in charge of the operations each of the past two Mays when Andretti's team struggled at Indy.  He also was the managing director of Chip Ganassi's team when it won four straight CART championships from 1996 to 1999. WRTV

05/23/11 According to this SPEED.com article, Tom Anderson, Andretti’s team manager, was reportedly let go this morning.  With the look on Tom's face as he walked back to Gasoline Alley after qualifying yesterday, he was very despondent, as if he knew his days were numbered.
05/23/11
irl
Hunter-Reay to replace Junqueira  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' now as confirmed by this SPEED.com article.  SPEED.com confirmed that Michael Andretti was negotiating with A.J. Foyt to buy Junqueira’s ride in Sunday’s 95th Indianapolis 500 for Ryan Hunter-Reay, which Foyt finalized late in the day on Monday.

“We’ve been competitors for many years but still it’s the kind of relationship when someone is really down and out, you can’t turn your back on them—at least I can’t,” said Foyt, whose fulltime driver Vitor Meira will start 11th in the No. 14 ABC Supply car. “This is going back to the way racing used to be, where if people were in a lot of trouble, you tried to help each other out. I know it’s a tough deal for Bruno but he understood the situation. I appreciate that more than anyone knows.”

The 34-year-old Brazilian qualified Foyt’s second car in the 19th slot last Saturday while Hunter-Reay was bumped by teammate Marco Andretti as time expired on Sunday.

Earlier on Monday, Junqueira said, “I know they are talking but I don’t know what’s going to happen but Larry Foyt is one of the nicest people I’ve ever worked with and so is A.J,” said Junqueira on Monday while doing an Indy 500 media blitz in Milwaukee.

“They’ve been great to me. If I can race that would be great. If not, I had some fun and our team qualified well and Vitor (Meira) is in great shape for the race. More ...

05/23/11
nassprint
Edwards considering leaving Roush?  UPDATE #2 Sprint All-Star Race winner, #99-Carl Edwards, contract expires at the end of the season. After Saturday's victory, both the driver and his boss said little about where talks stand for 2012 and beyond.

"All I'll say about that is we're running really well right now and it's because of Jack Roush and Ford and all these people's hard work, and those talks are going on behind closed doors," said Edwards. "We'll hopefully get something done, but right now we're running well and that is fun and what I'm trying to do is focus on that because we have a championship to win this year. That's the number one goal."

"We're trying to maintain the focus on keeping our season together," said Roush Fenway Racing founder and co-owner Jack Roush. "We want to put ourselves in the best situation we can to make a championship run, to be in the top 10 and then to make a championship run in the closing months of the year. It's going on behind closed doors. With some accuracy I say I really don't do the money and I try to stay out of the money part of it, but I will have to pay attention to this deal as it gets closer, but it's not something we're gonna debate or discuss in the public. It's not a media issue, it's a private business issue that's ongoing." SPEED  More ...
05/23/11
f1
Cosworth can't afford 2013 F1 engine rules  (GMM)  While rival engine manufacturers are playing their cards close to their chests, it is believed Cosworth's support for the 2013 engine formula is definitely wavering.

In a meeting with the suppliers and the FIA in Barcelona, the federation's president Jean Todt reportedly proposed that detuned V8s be able to compete alongside the new four-cylinder turbo engines.

Auto Motor und Sport reports that Cosworth, the independent British marque that was heavily supported by the FIA for its F1 return last year, told Todt they are not in a position to provide four-cylinder engines at a competitive price in 2013. More ...

05/22/11
f1
4-cylinder and V8 engines could race in 2013  (GMM)  The saga about F1's future engine regulations has taken a twist, with the possibility that both four-cylinder and V8s could be pitted against one another in 2013.

We reported earlier on Sunday that, after a meeting with the manufacturers in Barcelona, Jean Todt had vowed to push ahead with the scheduled new regulations.

But F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, who is staunchly opposed to scrapping the V8s, said FIA president Todt is now proposing to let some V8s continue to fire in 2013.

"But I mean, equivalency formulas never work, do they?" he is quoted by Reuters.

The situation reminds of 2006, when after the current V8 engines were introduced, Toro Rosso ran a performance-limited V10.

05/22/11
irl
Carpentier replaces Speed, then stuffs it in wall  UPDATE #3
Patrick Carpentier explains what happened
What's left of the Dragon race car
Tim Wohlford/AR1.com

We spoke to a team member who said the veteran Carpentier was brought in to evaluate the car and see if he could get it to handle, with the plan to then put Speed back in the car.  That all went out the window when Carpentier crashed, ending all hopes of making the field for Dragon Racing.......unless someone like Roger Penske lends them a back up.

Carpentier had reached 222.294 mph on Lap 19 of 24 in the scheduled one-hour session, before the car made contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 1 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Carpentier was checked and cleared by the INDYCAR medical staff. Dragon Racing's plans for qualifying were uncertain.

Standing in the pit box with his firesuit tied around his waist, Scott Speed watched the telemetry data stream across the computer screen and the Timing & Scoring monitor. He had practiced throughout the week but didn't make a qualifying attempt on Pole Day.

"We weren't ready yesterday. We had some issues and just needed some time to try some things we thought we'd found," Speed said. More ...

05/22/11
f1
Schumacher driving better than Vettel?  Ran into 20 German exchange students and they all are far bigger Schumacher fans than Vettel fans. They all say that Michael has proven himself a pure talent and they are far more impressed by his diligence in an inferior car than by Vettel's in a far superior car. They all agreed that if Schumacher were in the Red Bull, he would still dominate, even at his age.  We thought that was interesting to hear from some German nationals in America.
05/21/11
f1
HRT to 'maybe' protest Spanish GP outcome  (GMM)  HRT on Saturday joined Virgin in refusing to rule out lodging a mass protest after Sunday's Spanish grand prix.

FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting on Friday said most of the field is technically afoul the regulations at present due to their sophisticated blown exhaust systems.

HRT, Virgin and - perhaps - Williams are not running those systems this weekend, and Virgin's Graeme Lowdon played down the prospect of a protest as "highly unlikely".

HRT team boss Colin Kolles, however, sounded more likely to push the button. More ...

05/21/11
irl
Scott Speed done at Indy?  UPDATE #2 This rumor is downgraded to 'false.'  Scott Speed was quick to dispel internet rumors he walked away from his IndyCar Series team hours before qualifying for the Indianapolis 500.

“I have no idea honestly how those rumors were started,” the former Formula One and NASCAR racer told FOXSports.com. "I read it on Twitter and just laughed. It was pretty funny.”

Friday afternoon, rumors began swirling around Indianapolis Motor Speedway that Speed walked away from Dragon Racing, an outfit owned by Jay Penske.

Speed admits that he’s struggled early on with the new team. The deal was announced May 3 and Speed’s team has played catch up ever since. After seven practice sessions, Speed was 46th on the speed chart with a lap of 222.546 -- over six miles per hour behind Helio Castroneves who posted the fastest time at Indy. More ...

05/20/11
f1
Lux wanted Sutil to skip grands prix - report  (GMM)  Eric Lux offered to settle the Adrian Sutil affair but the Force India driver broke the ultimatum, according to a German newspaper.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said Lux, the chief executive of Renault team owner Genii Capital, now intends to pursue the 28-year-old in Germany, Switzerland (where Sutil lives) and England (where his team is based).

German Sutil and his manager Manfred Zimmermann were tight-lipped in Barcelona on Thursday, the latter blithely telling reporters: "Adrian will not be giving information about Shanghai or the incident."

Frankfurter Allgemeine alleges that until Lux's Swiss lawyer announced his intension to push criminal charges, they were offering to settle. More ...

05/20/11
f1
Williams triggered FIA exhaust clampdown  (GMM)  It was Williams who pushed the FIA to clamp down on ever-sophisticated blown exhaust solutions.

That is the claim of Germany's Auto Motor und Sport, amid earlier suspicions that Virgin had complained loudest as they fall behind in the crucial new area of F1 car development.

In June, the off-throttle blowing of exhaust gases will be limited by 90 per cent, and Autosprint in Italy claims exhaust-blown diffusers could be banned altogether for the start of 2012.

There is no doubt the FIA crackdown was motivated by a team, and the early suspect was Virgin.  "But it was Williams," a report by Auto Motor und Sport said. More ...

05/20/11
f1
F1 Manufacturers to drop support for 2013 engines  (GMM)  The 2013 engine rules are on the cusp of being scrapped.

In interviews with Blick and Auto Motor und Sport this week, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone slammed the four-cylinder turbo formula as "a joke".

He is backed by Ferrari, and F1's other engine manufacturers are now set to join the same argument about sticking with the current 2.4 liter V8s beyond next season.

FIA president Jean Todt has committed to meeting with the engine manufacturers in Barcelona on Saturday, and according to Ecclestone their message should be clear. More ...

05/19/11
irl
Danica won't commit to IndyCar - NASCAR Bound?  Danica Patrick is in the spotlight again this year, her seventh Indianapolis 500, with a lot of talk focusing on her future.

Patrick's contract with Andretti Autosport is complete at the end of this year, and NASCAR could be in her future. Patrick said she hasn't made any decisions about future plans.

In many ways, Patrick is still the face of the IndyCar series. She's far removed from her 2005 debut at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, when she said she was a "wee girl racing at Indy," but the Indy 500 still gives her a rush. More ...

05/19/11
f1
Sutil to lose F1 ride  After assurances from the team that it would not happen, according to sources close to AutoRacing1.com, Adrian Sutil will indeed lose his F1 ride as a result of the nightclub fight he got into with Eric Lux of the Renault F1 team in China.  Look for an announcement soon.
05/19/11
f1
F1 ponders Dec 4 slot for Indian GP  Formula 1 chiefs are considering a move to make the Indian Grand Prix the season finale on December 4, AUTOSPORT is rumoring, as a way of slotting the Bahrain GP back on the calendar.

As discussions continue between Bernie Ecclestone, the FIA and Bahrain officials about the race returning to the schedule, high level sources have revealed that Indian officials have been asked to look at a race date change to help accommodate the Sakhir event.

AUTOSPORT understands that the current plan being favored, should Bahrain be given the green light to return to the schedule, is for the Middle Eastern race to take India's current October 30 slot. More ...

05/19/11
f1
Video exists of Sutil-Lux incident  
Eric Lux
(GMM)  A video exists of the incident involving Adrian Sutil and Eric Lux, according to the Swiss newspaper Blick.

The internal security footage at the M1nt nightclub in Shanghai could prove decisive in Force India driver Sutil's legal defense as Renault co-owner Lux pushes criminal charges.

Sutil, whose entire formula one career could hang on the outcome of the saga, insists he unintentionally cut Lux's neck with a broken glass during a post-race party attended also by Sutil's close friend Lewis Hamilton.

Lux was wearing a bandage in Turkey two weeks ago to cover more than a dozen stitches, and Bernie Ecclestone told Blick: "The victim was damn lucky."

05/19/11
f1
No blown exhaust clampdown until after Canada  (GMM)  The existing regulations about off-throttle exhaust blowing will be in place for at least the next three races, according to German reports.

Auto Motor und Sport and Speed Week reveal that the technical working group will not meet to discuss the FIA's clampdown until the middle of June -- after the forthcoming Spanish, Monaco and Canadian grands prix.

The magazine said the meeting will involve Charlie Whiting and the teams on June 16.

05/18/11
v8
Pagenaud linked to GRM for Gold Coast 600  
Simon Pagenaud
Look for Simon Pagenaud to drive with Garry Rogers Motorsport at the Armor All Gold Coast 600 this October. The French sportscar star has been linked to the Fujitsu-backed team, although team officials would not comment.

It is unclear whether he will partner with Lee Holdsworth or Michael Caruso in the twin 300km races during the international-flavored event.

Team owner Garry Rogers offered Speedcafe.com a firm “no comment” when asked about Pagenaud. More ...

05/18/11
IRL
Motegi race could be cancelled  UPDATE IndyCar is in limbo with the September race at the earthquake-damaged Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Japan for multiple reasons.

In addition to the obvious radiation concerns -- the track is about 80 miles from the compromised Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant -- there was a sizable asphalt shift between the third and fourth turns of the oval track.

Initial repairs were made, but former IndyCar driver Hideki Mutoh said it will be difficult for IndyCar to race on it. More ...

05/18/11
irl
Pagenaud full-time in IndyCars in 2012  UPDATE #2
Simon Pagenaud
"The last two weeks have been clearly focused on maintaining our entry at Le Mans," Highcroft Racing owner Duncan Dayton told SPEED.com. "But as we stated in our press release, our desire is still to win additional ALMS races and Le Mans in the future. But our goals continue to extend beyond sports car racing, and we are working hard to join the IZOD IndyCar Series ranks as soon as possible."

Highcroft's Simon Pagenaud, who made a strong impression during his maiden IndyCar Series outing at Barber Motorsports Park with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, was slated to occupy the seat currently filled by Scott Speed, but the team's primary sponsor apparently wanted a driver of a more domestic persuasion.

"We thought we had a deal in place to run Simon at the Indy 500 in partnership with a team, but that fell by the wayside at the last moment when their sponsor chose to go with an American driver. We didn't think we could get Simon ready with an American accent that was good enough to pass the test by Indy,” he said with a laugh. “So now we're concentrating on finding the corporate partners to make our next move in open-wheel."

05/13/11 Pagenaud and Highcroft Racing won't pursue a 500 program this month. They still plan to participate in the season ending Las Vegas race as a first step toward being a full-time IndyCar team in 2012.

04/10/11 Frenchman Simon Pagenaud, who drove Champ Cars in 2007 and did very well, is said to be working on a deal to compete in the Indianapolis 500 this year and all IndyCar races in 2012.
05/17/11
nassprint
NASCAR oversaturation killing Brickyard 400  
The Brickyard 400 gets a little smaller each year
Ticket sales for this year's Brickyard 400 are lagging behind last year's pace, and race organizers worry it could produce a second straight record-low turnout for the July 31 race.

"We don't disclose numbers, but you saw a lot of empty seats here last year, and I think you're going to see more here this year," Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and CEO Jeff Belskus told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Declining ticket sales have already hit two of NASCAR fans' favorite tracks this season - Bristol and Talladega. And Dover, which has traditionally drawn smaller crowds, had empty sections at Sunday's race. More ...

05/17/11
f1
Sutil facing multi-million euro injury claim  UPDATE #3
Eric Lux
Force India Formula One Team is aware of the statements made by both its driver, Adrian Sutil, and Mr. Eric Lux of Genii Capital, pertaining to events following the Chinese Grand Prix. Although the team continues to monitor the situation, it remains fully committed to its driver line-up at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.  Force India

05/17/11
Adrian Sutil - His wallet could get a lot lighter in the near future
(GMM)  Eric Lux's lawyer has confirmed the Genii Capital chief executive is taking legal action against Force India driver Adrian Sutil.

The 28-year-old German driver recently apologized after it emerged he had injured Lux - involved in the ownership and management of the Renault team - in the neck with a broken glass at a nightclub in Shanghai one month ago.

We reported on Monday that Lux had decided to take legal action that could involve a damages claim of EUR 10 million.

"Mr. Eric Lux has decided to file a criminal complaint against Mr. Adrian Sutil for physical assault and grievous bodily harm," Lux's Swiss lawyer Dr Marc Henzelin confirmed in a statement on Monday.

"As soon as the complaint is registered, the FIA and Force India will be notified," the statement added. More ...

05/17/11
automotive
McLaren to build another supercar  Work is under way at McLaren on a new flagship model that is intended to eclipse every supercar to date, combining blistering performance with ultimate agility and everyday usability.

Known internally as the ‘Mega Mac’, the new car is scheduled for a 2014 launch. The production run will be limited to just 500 units. The price is expected to be between £350,000 and £400,000 in today’s money.

According to insiders, the styling of the Mega Mac will be “bigger, angrier and more functional looking” than the MP4-12C, although it will have a family resemblance to both the current car and the McLaren F1. More ...

05/17/11
nassprint
Ford's recent NASCAR success  A reader writes, Ford in NASCAR was nowhere until recently.  Ford's recent NASCAR success may not be that much of a surprise when you see Mike Helton driving to the NASCAR R&D center in a new Ford Taurus.  Mordichai Rosen

Dear Mordichai, Are you saying that NASCAR have given Ford "The Call" after they greased NASCAR's pockets?  That would never happen.  They pray before every NASCAR race.  NASCAR was founded in the "Bible Belt."  The organization is squeaky clean and no one has ever taken NASCAR to court and won a case for race fixing or computer generating the starting grid. .Mark C.

05/17/11
f1
FIA limits off-throttle exhaust blowing  (GMM)  The FIA has banned the aggressive blowing of exhaust gases when drivers are not pressing the throttle, according to rumors on Tuesday.

Many teams, including grandees Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, Renault and others, have devised sophisticated exhaust layouts and engine maps for 2011 that exploit the aggressive blowing of gases through the diffuser when the drivers are off the throttle to maximize downforce in corners.

But according to the latest rumors, the FIA has issued 'Technical Directive 15' that means maximum throttle is limited to just 10 per cent when the driver is not pressing the throttle.

It is believed the directive was issued last week with immediate effect. F1 teams have been contacted for confirmation.

05/17/11
irl
nassprint
Danica still might run Indy 500 in 2012  Danica Patrick clearly is considering a full-time move to NASCAR in 2012, but she might not be done with the 500.

Asked Sunday night on WTHR-13 if she could be counted on to be in next year's race, she said: "Sure."

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