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Will Massa retire after Ferrari sacks him or move to IndyCars?
Felipe Massa has two races to prove he deserves to retain his seat with the Scuderia in 2014, it is being reported.
According to British newspaper, The Guardian, the Maranello-based team wants to see him step up in Belgium and Italy, or else he may be dropped. Kimi Raikkonen, Nico Hulkenberg, Paul di Resta and Jules Bianchi have all been mentioned as possible replacements. However, while Raikkonen is probably the strongest driver without a confirmed seat for next season, Ferrari are said to be 'divided' over the notion of bringing back the Finn, who 'left the team under something of a cloud in 2009 after a season in which he won just one race'.
IndyCar expected to extend deal with Baltimore Grand Prix The promoter of the Baltimore Grand Prix told the Baltimore Business Journal that it expects to have a contract extension with IndyCar within the next 30 days.
But the event won't be on Labor Day weekend in 2014 as it will be this year (and has been for three years). That's because the inner harbor area of the city will be congested with the hosting of the Navy-Ohio State college football game at nearby M&T Bank Stadium.
The racing event counts on having the streets around the stadium for the circuit.
Andretti to field seven cars? Could Andretti Autosport really field as many as seven Indy cars in 2014? Yeah, it's possible based on all the deals Michael Andretti said he is working on.
Andretti confirmed to Autoweek that he recently spoke to Juan Pablo Montoya about joining the Indianapolis-based team. Andretti said he'd “absolutely” sign the 1999 CART champion and 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner if he could land a sponsor for the car.
“We've just got to figure out how to make it work,” Andretti told Autoweek. “If we could find a sponsor, absolutely we'd do it.
Will Indy now take Baltimore's Labor Day weekend date? (Update)UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, Regarding Indy have an IndyCar race in early May before the 500 - Why would you run two races at the same facility two weeks apart? Why would you ask your fan base to make the same trip twice in two weeks. I come back for pole weekend and stay the week before the 500. I would make the trip back in the fall for a second race at the speedway especially if it were a Saturday night under the lights. Two races at the same facility two weeks apart is robbing Peter to pay Paul. Jerry Marney
Dear Jerry, we could not agree more. AR1.com has recommended that the IndyCar season end on Labor Day weekend Saturday night under the lights with a 400-miler on the Indy oval. That is absolutely the best scenario from our perspective. It would be huge. But instead IndyCar thinks a road course race in early May is the way to go. While we endorse a 2nd race at Indy, we worry that a race just 2 weeks before the 500 will be a box office flop. Mark C.
08/08/13 With the announcement (see Hot News page) that Baltimore will give up its Labor Day IndyCar weekend date the pump is now primed for the Indy Speedway to take that date and add a 2nd IndyCar race on that weekend as long proposed by AR1.com and later endorsed by the Boston Consulting Group.
That means the Speedway will book-end the summer with the traditional 500-miler on Memorial Day weekend and a 400-miler on Labor Day weekend under the planned newly installed lights. Under the lights the race will draw an estimated 200,000 fans and be a huge success.
Tony Stewart to be out a LONG time (2nd Update)UPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Tony Stewart is out for the remainder of the 2013 season after suffering a broken right tibia and fibula in a sprint car crash Aug. 5 at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Stewart, a three-time Sprint Cup champion, is expected to return to the seat of the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) in time for pre-season testing in January 2014. In the interim, Mark Martin will drive the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy Aug. 23-24 at Bristol and in 11 other races. Austin Dillon, who filled in for Stewart this past weekend at Michigan and finished 14th in his 10th career Sprint Cup start, will drive the #14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy Oct. 18-20 at Talladega.
After consulting with Tonys doctors and speaking with Tony, we agreed it was best for him to focus on his recovery, said Greg Zipadelli, competition director, SHR. For the No. 14 team, our focus is on positioning them for a run at the owner championship. Mark Martin and Austin Dillon give us the best opportunity to do that, and we certainly appreciate Michael Waltrip Racing and Richard Childress Racing for making Mark and Austin available to us.
Luiz Razia like so many good drivers, realize they don't have enough money to buy their F1 seat
Brazilian driver Luiz Razia is determined not to give up on his dream of racing in Formula One, but he has admitted that without the required funding he may be forced to switch his attention to Le Mans or IndyCar in the near future.
Razia was originally confirmed as a driver for Marussia in 2013, testing the MR-02 car in pre-season. However, his track time was soon handed to his then-teammate Max Chilton whilst his financial problems were solved, but without a solution the team had no choice but to turn him away and instead hire Jules Bianchi. Although Razia believes he has the talent, he acknowledged that without the funding his chances of racing are slim.
IMS to modify Mickey Mouse RC for IndyCars Word is that the Indy Speedway road course will be modified to make it less Mickey Mouse for the IndyCars next May. Look for Turn 5 of the road course to connect directly to Turn 7, thereby eliminating what is now Turn 6. Also look for Turn 9 to be eliminated with Turn 8 being a 90 degree lefthander feeding directly to what is now Turn 10. They are going to test running the cars in both directions. Both can work but the clockwise direction is better because Turn 1 is a true outbraking opportunity......as will be Turn 8 (likely to be renumbered Turn 7)
Silverstone sold by British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC) Silverstone is under new ownership after being sold by the British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC), according to a report.
The BRDC has previously made it clear that it was searching for new investment in order to progress with plans to redevelop the facility at Silverstone, with the first phase of a new £27m pit and paddock complex already having been completed. Now, a report in The Independent claims an unknown buyer - believed to be a real estate firm - has taken control of the circuit, opening up the opportunity for a business park to be built on the land.
Busch to replace Montoya at EGR? Kurt Busch met with members of the media at Michigan and discussed his potential plans for 2014 and many other topics. The transcript in part:
Q) WITH THE #42 BEING OPEN FOR SURE NOW DOES THAT CHANGE AS FAR AS THE PEOPLE THAT YOURE TALKING TO ABOUT NEXT YEAR? SHOULD WE COUNT YOU AS A CANDIDATE FOR THAT RIDE? Kurt Busch: It hasnt changed anything, Im good friends with Felix Sabates and I know Chip real well and the whole gang, Max Jones, Steve Lauletta. They came up with that decision not based off any of the talks that Ive had with them but it is a potential opportunity thats for sure.
Sports Car Race Will Not Return To Kansas Speedway In '14 Kansas Speedway on Saturday night hosts its first Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race, the SFP Grand Prix, but it is "uncertain whether the event will return in 2014." NASCAR's Grand-Am Series merged with American Le Mans last September, and the two will begin racing under the United SportsCar banner next year. But "some tracks will be left out" of the new series' expected 12-race schedule. A crowd of about 15,000 is expected for the Rolex Sports Car and Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge doubleheader. K.C. STAR
Sauber/Russian F1 rescue deal to collapse (2nd Update)UPDATE #2 Due to erroneous reports and rumors circulating in certain media, we feel compelled to make the following statement: The collaboration with Russian partners, as announced by us, is progressing well. The contract with driver Sergey Sirotkin is in place. Preparations for his involvement in the team, as likewise announced, will start next week following the end of the customary holiday period in the sector. Beyond this, initial payments to the team have already been made, as per contract.
A financial involvement on the part of NIAT (National Institute of Aviation Technologies) was never mooted. The plan envisaged a purely technical partnership. We are astounded at the heedlessness with which some media are prepared to spread false reports and rumors. Sauber F1
08/14/13 (GMM) Sauber has hit back at reports its Russian rescue deal has collapsed.
German-language reports had said the release of millions in crucial backing for the almost insolvent Swiss team had been voted down this week by Russia's National Institute of Aviation Technologies (NIAT).
And the DPA news agency even quoted NIAT chief Oleg Sirotkin, whose son Sergey is scheduled to race for Sauber in 2014, as saying the entity cannot afford to fund a formula one team.
But in a statement to German-language media outlets, Sauber hit back by insisting that NIAT's "contribution" to the Russian rescue deal was "never intended" to be "financial".
Sale of Phoenix Racing finalized? (Update)UPDATE The worst-kept secret in NASCAR's garage is the pending sale of Phoenix Racing to Turner-Scott Motorsports. Phoenix owner James Finch announced earlier this year he planned to sell the team at some point in the season. Rumors quickly turned to Turner-Scott, a team on the rise with both the sponsorship and the drivers to make an impact on the Sprint Cup level. Godfather Motorsports reported on Tuesday that multiple sources confirm the sale is complete and will be announced at the Atlanta race just a few weeks away. The change from Phoenix to Turner-Scott will impact far more than just one race team. The following is a look at some of the winners and losers for NASCAR in 2014 and beyond.
Hildebrand on verge of IndyCar return? (Update)UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.
08/06/13 J.R. Hildebrand could be on the verge of returning to the IndyCar Series. The former Panther Racing driver who nearly won the Indianapolis 500 in 2011 confirmed to AutoWeek Monday that he is “working toward” a deal to drive Barracuda Racing's No. 98 car later this month at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.
Valencia in talks to break F1 contract (Update)UPDATE Valencia, Spain's relationship with F1 "is on the verge of ending," according to Laura Lopez Albiac of SPORT. It will "probably not be a 'friendly' divorce.'" F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has stated his demands and wants the Valencian government to pay the €33M ($44M) demanded by a rescission clause in the contract between Valencia and F1. Valencia Region President Alberto Fabra "decided to correct the absurdities of a Grand Prix that he inherited from former Valencia President Francisco Camps, one that has cost a fortune in public funds."
Fabra is "in conversations with Ecclestone to ease the penalty for liquidating the contract as much as possible." The Valencian government "has definitively disowned its Grand Prix." Because of "the economic crisis the Valencian government is facing, it has had to make significant cuts, forcing Fabra to consider it impossible to continue contributing money to a race that has never been profitable but has instead been the opposite."
What will the future F1 grid look like As F1′s so called silly season continues with speculation of him going here and him going there, let’s take it to a new level and try and predict the F1 grid in 2017.
Why 2017 I hear you ask, well Fernando Alonso will be out of contract at Ferrari, so will that trigger Sebastian Vettel’s move away from Red Bull? Will Jenson Button still be at McLaren? Which new drivers will have made the step up? Here’s who I think will fill the 22 seats in 2017 (providing there are 22 seats available - i.e. Bernie isn't behind bars and the sport of F1 in a death spiral!).
Red Bull: Daniel Ricciardo and Antonio Felix da Costa
Quite a simple one in my opinion, I am expecting Daniel Ricciardo to move to Red Bull in 2014 with 2017 perhaps the last year on the contract. This will be the second year without Sebastian Vettel for the Austrian team and the second year with this partnership. Antonio Felix da Costa will have shined in his 3 years at Toro Rosso and replace Vettel for 2017.
Did Bernard's firing cost IndyCar a title sponsor? Q: Any news yet on who will be replacing IZOD next year as the series sponsor? Thoughts on all the changes going on at Indy Lights from new ownership to new cars in 2015 to a new tire supplier next year. To me these all seems like positives for the series.
Scott Wood, SW Florida
Robin Miller, Speedtv.com: None. I think Verizon was interested until Randy Bernard got fired but not anymore. Dan Anderson is a racer and his involvement should be damn good for all parties.
Did Wheldon's death end Scheckter's career? Tomas Scheckter was known to be fast but he crashed quite a bit. After Dan Wheldon's death it is rumored that his father Jody said enough with racing IndyCars in death pack racing. So Tomas Scheckter joined his father's Laverstoke Park Farm. He was made a company director this year. Tomas and Jody incorporated another company in February, Laverstoke Park Mill Limited.
IndyCar teams looking to switch? Unconfirmed talk in the Mid-Ohio paddock last weekend was that there are at least 3 teams that are mulling a switch in engine manufactures next season. Two are currently with Honda, and the other is with Chevrolet.
Daly to run one or two more IndyCar races in 2013? Conor Daly, the young American who still has F1 aspirations is not looking for full-time IndyCar ride. However, he is evaluating all of his options. AJ Foyt’s team is still working on a deal to put him in a car for the event in Houston later this year. Daly said at Mid-Ohio he will be speaking with Bryan Herta and John Barnes about potential opportunities.
Former IndyCar driver Sarah Fisher is mulling a move from team owner to racing mogul.
Fisher, the co-owner of Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, will have a second car in the fold when Lucas Luhr drives for her in Sonoma on Aug. 25. Fisher already owns the car driven by Josef Newgarden, who came to this weekend's stop at Mid-Ohio 15th in the standings behind leader Helio Castroneves.
The decision to run a second car at Sonoma is part business and part personal. Fisher partnered with Steve Weirich and RW Motorsports to field two cars at the 2012 Indianapolis 500, with the caveat that she would partner with them again in 2013. Sonoma seemed like a good fit and a chance for Fisher to take another step toward adding a second car full-time.
Honda and Chevy to compete for 2015 Indy Lights engine supply In Toronto this year AR1.com saw Honda making a pitch to Anderson Promotions about supplying a Honda engine for the new Indy Lights car in 2015.
Now Reigning IndyCar Series Manufacturers' champion Chevrolet is among several possible engine suppliers for 2015, as RACER reports, who spoke with GM Racing boss Mark Kent about the brand's interest during the recent Mid-Ohio event.
“We've actually had conversations [with IndyCar] over the last three years on Indy Lights,” he confirmed, referring to the series' recent and ill-fated attempts to overhaul Indy Lights. “IndyCar was trying to re-define Indy Lights. We've actually had some dialogue exploring it. There was an opportunity for us to get involved in Indy Lights that made business sense to both of us.
Future NASCAR contracts to bar drivers from racing sprint cars Tony Stewart's crash at a sprint car race on Monday night that resulted in a broken right leg "again has raised questions about how NASCAR teams grant permission to Cup drivers who race outside the series," according to Ryan & Gluck of USA TODAY. While his role as Stewart-Haas Racing co-Owner permits him to "race to his heart's content, he wasn't granted such leeway when he was employed by Joe Gibbs Racing, and many other teams frown upon their drivers putting their primary livelihoods at stake by competing in lower-tier series that inherently have lower safety standards."
Hendrick Motorsports President Marshall Carlson said that there were "no stipulations in the team's contracts that precluded moonlighting but there was a process for gaining consent for racing outside Cup." Stewart will miss Sunday's Sprint Cup Cheez-It 355 At The Glen, the "first time in 521 races" he will not compete in the series. It is "uncertain how many races Stewart, 42, will miss." USA TODAY
Japanese F3 champion Hirakawa to race for Coyne in Sonoma Reigning Japanese Formula 3 champion Ryo Hirakawa is in the frame to make his IndyCar debut with Dale Coyne Racing at Sonoma in two weeks reports Autosport.
The 19-year-old, who is currently 11th in the Super Formula (formerly Formula Nippon) standings, is expected to test with the team before the end of the year and could sample its second car as soon as the open test on August 21st at Sonoma.
Hirakawa drives a Toyota powered car in Super Formula so we would be surprised if he is being promoted by Honda to give the Japanese youngster a shot at IndyCar. Of course Dale Coyne uses Honda IndyCar engines. Then again, maybe Honda wants to nab the talented driver from rival Toyota. zzz
Team owner Dale Coyne confirmed that there are plans to test the Japanese driver but said that putting him into the race at Sonoma was unlikely due to a date clash.
Multiple paddock sources at Mid-Ohio last weekend connected the teenager to the Sonoma seat. pppo "He'll be testing, yes, but I'm not sure about racing because he has a date conflict," Coyne said.
"He's been making quick progress coming up in Japan and has had quite a bit of success so far." In part from Autosport
Franchitti to re-sign with Ganassi Dario Franchitti said in the Mid-Ohio press room on Sunday his contract status with Target Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2014 IndyCar season is still not finalized but all parties are planning on a return.
"I was asked a question yesterday, would I like to come back, and I said, definitely. So the question was then changed to attached to my answer, if you know what I mean,” said Franchitti, referring to a USA Today story over the weekend which said he was confirmed back in the No. 10 Honda for next year.
"I would love to come back next year. Chip would like me to come back. Target would like me to come back. The team would like me to come back. So we are all on the same page, but we haven’t anything to announce yet."
NASCAR Watkins Glen race to be huge Watkins Glen Int'l Speedway President Michael Printup said that he "expects a large Western New York crowd" at this weekend's Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races. He said that WGI officials will be "ramping up a Buffalo-heavy marketing effort to attract more local race fans." Printup said, "Buffalo should be our No. 1 market. We should be taking better advantage of it." Printup said that ticket sales "are going well, with attendance expected to be its highest in 11 years."
In Buffalo, James Fink noted more than 94,000 fans "are expected" for Sunday's Cheez-It 355 At The Glen and "as many as 160,000 people for the entire weekend." BIZJOURNALS.com
Cooper Tires for Indy Lights in 2014 Cooper will replace Firestone as tire supplier to Indy Lights from 2014.
The deal, which is expected to be confirmed early this week, forms part of the recently announced plans to introduce updates to the current car for next year, with a view to those enhancements being carried over to the brand new car that is scheduled for 2015.
It also means that all three of the junior categories will use the same tire manufacturer, with Cooper already active at the two lower levels.
A decision regarding who will manufacture the next-generation car will be made in the next three months, but the prospect of a revitalized series is already creating momentum among prospective entrants. Racer.com
Alonso to replace Webber at Red Bull (3rd Update)UPDATE #3
Horner has his eye on Alonso
(GMM) Red Bull has confirmed a meeting about Fernando Alonso took place with the Ferrari driver's manager at the Hungaroring last weekend.
Initially, the sensational story of a potential move to Red Bull for the two-time world champion was dismissed by some, as Alonso's manager Luis Garcia Abad also handles the career of rising Red Bull-backed youngster Carlos Sainz Jr.
But when told his meeting with Garcia was obviously simply about the 18-year-old Sainz, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told Sport Bild: "Nonsense.
The TMS IndyCar attendance has dwindled so much that there are now sections of grandstands you can shoot a cannon into and not hit anyone
With reports surfacing this week that the Izod IndyCar Series is interested in a race at Circuit of the Americas in 2014, Texas Motor Speedway boss Eddie Gossage says such a scenario is unlikely because the Texas market can't support that level of saturation.
“No, it's not possible,” he told Autoweek on Friday.
Shoot-from-the-hip Gossage was already unhappy after IndyCar's previous management team cut a deal to race this year on the streets of Houston, and “It remains to be seen if two [IndyCar races] can survive [in Texas]. You know, Houston has already failed twice with CART/Champ Cars, essentially the same thing [as IndyCar now], in this century.”
Miller on the return of IndyCar to Cleveland Q: The subject of Indy cars returning to Cleveland's Burke Lakefront Airport comes up in the mailbag 2-3 times per year. Is Mike Lanigan actively trying to resurrect the race or is he just sitting on the promotional rights? I notice that he was able to find a title sponsor for an untested venue in Houston. Bill Carsey
RM: Mike has said repeatedly if he could find a title sponsor like Shell, he’d be back at Burke Lakefront faster than he could light a cigarette. And he’s promoted races at Houston before. I always thought Honda might want to move its race from Mid-Ohio to Cleveland but I think anybody who comes along with a good sponsor could try and get a race.
Andretti Autosport owner Michael Andretti revealed to RACER, the early stages of a search for a new works program to campaign in the United SportsCar Racing series is underway.
"I think it's great that [the ALMS and Grand-Am] are uniting," he said. "Are we looking at it? Absolutely."
"I'm not going to do it just to do it," he declared. "The only way we'll do it is if it's a funded deal; it has to be a factory effort, because it's the only way you do well these days. We work very closely with Chevy in the IndyCar Series, and our last [sports car] deal was good while it lasted, so you have to continue in that direction if you want to win. We don't have anything to announce right now, but we're talking to people. We definitely want to do it."
Hamilton to Ferrari? (GMM) Anthony Hamilton, the father of Mercedes driver Lewis, has been at Ferrari's Maranello headquarters this week.
That is the claim of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, as the already intense 2014 'silly season' steps up into an even higher gear.
Hamilton snr no longer handles the career of his 28-year-old son, who switched from McLaren to Mercedes over the winter, but the driver said in Hungary that he has been in close contact with his father recently.
Ferrari Considers Returning To 24 Hours Of Le Mans F1 team Scuderia Ferrari "is reportedly planning a return to the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans race," according to the SID. The team "will decide by the end of the year if it will compete in the LMP1 category with its own prototype" in '15. Ferrari "has serious intentions to compete in another racing series in addition to F1."
At Le Mans, Ferrari would compete against Porsche, Audi and Toyota. Japanese manufacturers Nissan and Honda "are also considering participation in the French race." Ferrari "has won the classic endurance race nine times." The Scuderia "participated with its own factory team for the last time in 1973." SID
The Korean GP was always one of the least favorites
The AFP reported South Korea "is seen as a logical move to be left off the list, as the Yeongam circuit south of Seoul has lost money since it first hosted Formula One in 2010, and local authorities are unwilling to cover losses." India "has struggled to find a widespread following." The Indian government, meanwhile, "is keen on taxing drivers during their time in the country as a proportion of their earnings rather than profit." Ecclestone is said to have agreed to pay a flat-rate sum for this year's race to meet government demands, but is seen as "unlikely to comply" in 2014 given the other candidates to host races. AFP
07/30/13 (GMM) The Korean grand prix looks set to join India in F1 exile, as Bernie Ecclestone trims the 2014 calendar to a maximum of 20 races.
It has been reported that Austria, Russia and New Jersey are to be added to the current 19-race schedule.
F1 calendar to expand from 19 to 20 races? NJ again dead? (5th Update)UPDATE #5 Few proposed races have had as troubled a history as the Grand Prix of America in New Jersey. It was originally due to take place this year but the brakes were put on that plan when Pitpass' business editor Christian Sylt revealed that Formula One's boss Bernie Ecclestone had torn up the contract after the organizers missed payment deadlines.
A new agreement was signed in May this year and just when it looked like the race was on track for 2014 it came to light that in fact there is the small matter of the organizers needing to find $100m before it gets the green light. They have already run out of time according to Niki Lauda, one of Ecclestone's closest confidantes.
Speaking to Austrian television station ORF, Lauda recently said that "the New York Grand Prix in New Jersey that was supposed to take place this year, has not taken place because of a lack of money in America.” He added that "as far as I know it has already been taken off the calendar again."
Despite the grandstands being empty, IMS thinks this event can stand on its own. Indy fans could care less about sports car racing.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway likely will host a sports car race when Grand-Am and the American Le Mans Series reorganize for the 2014 season, but it might not be on NASCAR’s stock car weekend as it has been the past two years.
New IMS president Doug Boles confirmed to The Indianapolis Star that there are several dates being discussed, including a possible pairing with the IndyCar Series for a doubleheader in early May.
No deal for Charlotte race move to Las Vegas Apparently the Las Vegas odds were not that good after all.
NASCAR confirmed Friday the deadline has passed without receiving a formal request from Speedway Motorsports Inc. owner Bruton Smith to move one of his Sprint Cup Series race dates from Charlotte Motor Speedway to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the 2014 season.
In May, Smith told WBTV in Charlotte there was “a 70 percent chance” he’d move Charlotte’s fall Cup race to the track his company owns in Las Vegas.
Deal for new Concorde Agreement struck A deal concerning the 2013 Concorde Agreement appears to have been reached between the Formula One Group and the FIA, following Saturday morning talks conducted by Bernie Ecclestone and FIA President Jean Todt at the Hungaroring.
The agreement dictates the commercial aspects of the sport, and binds together the teams, the commercial rights holder and the governing body. The previous deal lapsed at the end of 2012, with all teams bar Marussia entering this season under individual contracts with Formula 1 supremo Ecclestone.
Ferrari to buy out Allison's Lotus contract (5th Update)UPDATE #5
(GMM) Ferrari looks set to buy out the remainder of former technical director James Allison's Lotus contract.
That is the claim of Finland's Turun Sanomat newspaper, following reports the Briton is definitely headed to Maranello.
Correspondents Luis Vasconcelos and Heikki Kulta report that Allison neared an agreement with Honda, initially to build a test car ahead of the Japanese manufacturer's return as works engine supplier to McLaren in 2015.
Luhr to run for Sarah Hartman Racing at Sonoma (Update)UPDATE
This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) will expand with partner RW Motorsports to a two-car IZOD IndyCar Series team for the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma on Aug. 25.
With the combined efforts of Rotondo Weirich (RW) and Muscle Milk, American Le Mans Series (ALMS) LMP1 championship points leader Lucas Luhr will race his first laps in an open wheel car for SFHR.
“Bringing RW Motorsports to the top level of open wheel racing has long been a dream of mine, and through our partnership with SFHR, it has always been the intention to see that idea come to fruition,” Steve Weirich, owner of RW Motorsports, said. “Lucas [Luhr] has great strengths as well and I am looking forward to bringing a driver of his caliber to the IZOD IndyCar Series. Sonoma is a great venue for us as well as IndyCar and we know the synergy of this entry will produce a great result.”
Continental close to deal to become USCR's sole Prototype tire supplier RACER Magazine rumors that the new United SportsCar Racing organization is closing in on a deal that would make Continental Tire the sole provider for all of its prototypes starting in 2014.
Continental currently provides its product for Grand-Am's Daytona Prototypes and GTs, its tin-top Continental Tire Series, and the American Le Mans Series Prototype Challenge class. Current ALMS P2 tire vendors have been notified of the pending change.
Reached for comment by RACER at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for this week's Brickyard Grand Prix event, Grand-Am/USCR CEO Ed Bennett provided a statement on the status of negotiations.
Kosachenko no longer at Caterham - report (GMM) Oksana Kosachenko has reportedly left Caterham. She joined the team as commercial director, in charge of acquiring new sponsors, earlier this year, after ending her duties as Vitaly Petrov's manager.
However, citing a source, the Russian website f1news.ru said Kosachenko has now left the team after both sides agreed to terminate the contract early.
"Apparently, the initiative came from the leadership of the team," the report said.
Kosachenko reportedly denied the report, while Caterham declined to comment.
A "typically teasing comment" from F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone set alight speculation as to "who might succeed him at the helm of Formula One," according to Kevin Eason of the LONDON TIMES. The answer "may be no farther than the four walls of Ecclestone’s modest headquarters in London’s fashionable Kensington district" in the shape of the woman who "has been at his side throughout most of the running battles that have littered" Ecclestone's career.
Ecclestone's Chief Legal Officer Sacha Woodward-Hill is "rarely seen and relatively unknown," but she is Ecclestone’s "right-hand woman," and "one of very few people in the F1 organization who has his complete trust."
FIA to abolish side-impact crash test - report (GMM) F1's governing will abolish the side-impact crash test, German magazine Auto Motor und Sport reports.
Until now, the individual teams have been responsible for coming up with solutions to pass the test, mandatory for the homologation of the chassis.
But correspondent Michael Schmidt reports that, having collaborated with world champions Red Bull, the FIA has now developed a standard side crash structure that must be fitted to every car from the 2014 season.
F1 to join the 'roll of shame' in England Kevin Eason reported F1 "could now join a roll of shame that includes Starbucks and Google, who have been targets for the anger of politicians."
British PM David Cameron "is waging a campaign against corporate tax avoiders while the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development is also pushing countries to update their tax laws to pull companies into line."
Davison to drive for Dale Coyne? (Update)UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. RACER has confirmed Australia's James Davison will make his IndyCar Series debut at Mid-Ohio driving the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda, and will also take part in the official pre-race test on the road course just prior to the event as we previously rumored.
Mid-Ohio Indy Lights 2009 - James Hinchcliffe, left, James Davison, center, and J.R. Hildebrand, right
Australian IndyCar hopeful James Davison will test with Dale Coyne Racing at Mid-Ohio this week, but will it lead to a race drive later?
Davison, cousin of V8 Supercars stars Will and Alex, has been in the US since 2005 chasing his open-wheel dreams.
The car he will pilot is the same chassis that Mike Conway took to a win and a third place at the Detroit event earlier this month.
He will join the team for a test session at Mid-Ohio on Tuesday local time, and is excited to get back behind the wheel of an IndyCar.
ESPN, Turner out of NASCAR; NBC to pay $4.4B (2nd Update)UPDATE #2 NBC will pay $4.4B over 10 years for rights to ESPN's entire NASCAR package, plus half of Turner's six races, according to sources familiar with the deal. That represents a significant media rights increase for NASCAR over the more than $2.28B paid by ESPN and Turner Sports combined for the same number of Sprint Cup and Nationwide races in their current 8-year agreements. This comes after NASCAR received a more than 30% increase in its earlier deal with Fox that covers the first half of its season.
While NBC and NASCAR would not confirm financial terms, they did discuss other details of their new deal, which will see races return to NBC in '15. Deal terms have NBC picking up the rights to the final 20 races of the Sprint Cup Series season, which encompasses all of ESPN's package and half of Turner's six-race package. Seven of those races will be carried on the NBC broadcast channel; 13 will be available on NBC Sports Network. NBC also picks up rights to the last 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series events – four of which will be on NBC and 15 on NBCSN. Turner's other three races, as well as 14 Nationwide Series races, still are available; Fox Sports is viewed as the most likely suitor for these races. The increase is significantly less by percentage than the renewals networks paid for the NFL and MLB recently, sources said. Last year, ESPN, Fox and Turner paid agreed to an increase that doubled the average annual payout for their MLB packages. And the NFL saw average annual increases in the 50% to 65% range in 2011.
Georgina Prodhan reported Dietrich Mateschitz, who founded Red Bull with two Thai partners in 1984, is one of Austria's richest people," with a net worth of $7.1B, according to Forbes. Bernie Ecclestone is worth about $3.8B. Of course his daughters Tamara & Petra Ecclestone spent $3.5B In 9 Years, otherwise Ecclestone might be worth more. Reuters
Among the lavish, opulent, and ridiculously expensive things the two sisters spent their money on, are Petra’s £12 million wedding and Tamara’s £1 million crystal bathtub. They spent the entirety of their trust in less than ten years.
Here is a running tab of some of their latest expenditures:
Ecclestone, Red Bull, agree deal for 2014 Austria GP (2nd Update)UPDATE #2 OSTERREICH reported "not everyone in Spielberg is cheering." Resident Ombudsman Karl Arbesser "was surprised and highlighted previously voiced concerns." He said that "he does not know how the Red Bull Ring could host a grand prix under its current regulations." Restrictions in regards to noise and attendance numbers "have to be considered." Currently the Ring has the approval to host a maximum attendance of 40,000 on only 10 days per year. The noise is another issue. At the DTM race, noise was allowed to reach a maximum of 84 dB. Arbesser said that "he could not imagine F1 cars are complying with this number." OSTERREICH.
MOTORSPORT TOTAL's Haidinger also reported "it is not clear who will pay the millions in grand prix fee." Last year, Red Bull Motorsport Dir Helmut Marko said that his employer would not qualify as a financier. Marko: "It would have to be paid by the government like everywhere else." MOTORSPORT TOTAL
Barracuda Racing to release Tagliani? Despite having to embarrass himself parading around a fairgrounds in a Beaver suit, Alex Tagliani could be out of the Barracuda Racing IndyCar for the Wednesday test and next weekend’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio according to Curt Cavin of the Indy Star. The team could use next week as a trial for a ride-buyer -- as Panther Racing has -- in preparation for 2014.
Is NASCAR again trying to smother IndyCar on TV Historically whichever TV network or cable network CART, the IRL and now IndyCar go to, NASCAR is sure to follow.....100% of the time.....just look at the history.
Because NASCAR brings the TV ad revenue that IndyCar cannot and with the big dollars needed by the networks, they soon forget all about growing IndyCar. Some people are still naive enough to think NASCAR isn't in a fight to death with IndyCar, and they are winning.
NASCAR’s reported shakeup with its TV deal could have huge implications for open wheel racing.
NASCAR helps those in need (Update)UPDATE Brian Vickers' victory last week could provide a boost to his long-term future at Michael Waltrip Racing. "It definitely helped," Vickers said. "How could it not?" Vickers, who won last Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race for MWR at New Hampshire, is in discussions with the team about a full-time ride next season. He has been driving part-time for Waltrip's team for the past two seasons, and has a full-time ride with Joe Gibbs Racing in the Nationwide Series. Vickers says he's optimistic about a deal coming together because he, Waltrip and sponsor Aaron's all want it to happen -- but he knows it would be unwise to assume anything until a contract is in place. Vickers says the team is exploring the possibility of adding other sponsors to help split the bill with Aaron's. Associated Press
07/16/13 A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, The rumor is that everything happens in NASCAR for a reason, at least they do at very opportune times. So when Vickers won Sunday I was happy. Then I got to thinking, why did he win? And then I discovered the answer.
Michael Waltrip Racing is waiting on word from sponsor Aaron’s on whether it will return next season and whether it wants Vickers as its driver. It didn’t hurt that Vickers won the Camping World RV Sales 301 on Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Aaron’s primarily sponsors the 26 races that Mark Martin is running this year as well as select events for Vickers (who has nine races overall) and Michael Waltrip (three).
Considered by many as the best driver on the F1 circuit, Alonso can't be happy that Ferrari cannot give him a car good enough
(GMM) Fernando Alonso's manager has rubbished speculation the Spaniard might soon tire of Ferrari's failure to win a title.
Former F1 driver David Coulthard suggested recently that Alonso, regarded by many as the most complete driver in F1 at present, might leave the famous Italian team if it fails to deliver him a championship-winning car in the near future.
"That's nonsense," Alonso's manager Luis Garcia Abad is quoted by DPA news agency.
"I would not advise a change of team for not winning (a title since joining Ferrari)," he insisted.
Kaltenborn could exit as Russians arrive (GMM) Monisha Kaltenborn could be the big loser of Sauber's Russian rescue deal.
Sonntagszeitung newspaper reports that the ailing Swiss team's new partners, all linked to the Russian Federation, are planning to inject a staggering $500 million into Hinwil.
According to Schweiz am Sonntag newspaper, that will pay off the team's crippling $110 million debts and lay the foundation for a sound future, with Russian teen Sergey Sirotkin scheduled to be at the wheel in 2014.
Question: I went to see “Turbo” today and really enjoyed it. My grandkids went, too, and loved it. It gave me hope that a new generation could be hooked on IndyCar. It also made me think about Randy Bernard and some of the things he did for the sport. They include: Turbo, doubleheaders, Pocono, getting rid of the awful IRL name, replacing Brian Barnhart with Beaux Barfield, and getting the new ultra-competitive car produced. There might have been some things he messed up, but he really did some great things that could impact IndyCar and the Indianapolis 500 for years to come. (Paul, Indianapolis)
Answer: You are so right about that, and I have tried to point out the Randy Bernard initiatives as they come to fruition. There are others, too, including the work getting at least another engine manufacturer in the sport. Curt Cavin, Indy Star
Could Roger Penske be close to running a Porsche LMP1? (No)UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. Despite a series of recent rumors linking the fabled U.S. team with a factory Porsche LMP1 program for next year, Penske Racing's Tim Cindric has denied that such plans are in works.
Speaking to SPEED.com in an exclusive interview Thursday, the team president, who oversees the organization's championship-winning NASCAR and IndyCar programs, says a return to sports car racing for 2014 is not currently in the cards.
Mercedes' Wolff 'secretly recorded' and 'Blackmailed' amid F1 war (Update)UPDATE
(GMM) Former HRT boss Colin Kolles tried to blackmail Mercedes chief Toto Wolff earlier this year, it has emerged.
We reported earlier that a conversation between Austrian Wolff and a then-unnamed former F1 team boss was "secretly recorded" and then threatened to be used against him.
Bild newspaper had said Wolff spoke negatively about his own boss, Ross Brawn, colleague Niki Lauda, and also Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche, whilst divulging details of his clashing co-ownership of the Williams team.
NASCAR Set To Announce Series Of Changes To Competition, R and D (Update)UPDATE NASCAR plans to automate its rule book and revamp its appeals process in a wide-ranging effort to bring more clarity to race teams and fans. The governing body outlined several initiatives Monday it expects to implement in its three major series before the start of the 2015 racing season. The effort started eight months ago and will be an ongoing process to keep up with technology and fan interests, said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations.
That includes converting its rule book from a word document to computer automated-design drawings that can be easily accessed by race shops to see what's allowed and what isn't. Penalties will be specifically spelled out for each type of infraction. When a rule is broken and a team appeals, NASCAR wants more experts on the panel instead of some who might not have as strong a background regarding the infraction.
Sochi may not host Russian GP for long In London, Tom Cary reported the inclusion in the deal of the St. Petersburg-based State Fund of Development of Northwest Russian Federation "has led to speculation that Sochi, a Black Sea resort and the host of next year’s Winter Olympics, may not end up being the venue for the Russian GP in the long term." Telegraph
Honda to run engine before 2015 (Update) UPDATE #1 This rumor is downgraded to 'false.' Honda has no plans to run its new Formula 1 engine on track before the start of pre-season testing in 2015.
The Japanese manufacturer will return to F1 as engine supplier to McLaren for the second season of the new regulations and is scheduled to fire up its engine on the dyno for the first time this autumn.
But contrary to rumors it might take advantage of not competing in 2014 to test on track either in an F1 car or a test mule, Honda motorsport boss Yasuhisa Arai insists it has no intention to do so.
(GMM) Embattled Sauber could have its engine power switched off permanently on the day after the forthcoming Hungarian grand prix.
Germany's Die Welt newspaper reports that the Swiss team is now EUR 15 million behind in its due payments to customer engine supplier Ferrari.
The report said Ferrari has issued Sauber an ultimatum: pay at least EUR 8 million of the overdue bill by 29 July - the first day of the 'summer break' - or have the supply of 2.4 liter V8 engines switched off.
Overheard in Toronto - Sunday Everyone seems happy to have Lee Diffey, Jon Beekhuis and Steve Matchett in the NBC Sports Network booth. Matchett and Varsha are excellent together for F1. Matchett knows how to keep a viewers interest. Let's hope someone is watching.
Matchett said, “I’m very excited to be joining NBC Sports Network’s IndyCar team this weekend. I’ve never visited Toronto before, and to do so at the same time as the IndyCar series comes to town made this an unmissable opportunity. I’m really looking forward to being reunited in the booth with Townsend Bell. He always brings a wealth of firsthand racing knowledge to the broadcasts, and I’m keen to learn all I can from him. The racing strategies used in IndyCar, the different technologies and the equipment made available to the teams are all new to me. I can’t wait to touch these cars and to see how everything works.”
Munoz to replace Briscoe (Update)UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' this morning. Panther Racing announced today that reining Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Carlos Munoz will drive the No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet during Sunday’s race two of the Honda Indy Toronto. Munoz is replacing National Guard driver Ryan Briscoe, who sustained a broken right wrist during the first race of weekend on Saturday and is not medically cleared to drive. Today’s race will be Munoz’s second career IndyCar Series start after the 21-year-old started on the front row of the 97th Indianapolis 500 and finished runner-up, earning him top rookie honors.
“Carlos is a tremendous young driver with a great deal of talent,” Panther Managing Partner John Barnes said. “We’re excited that he was available to drive the National Guard Chevrolet today on such short notice, and I’m sure this will be a great learning experience for him. We’re obviously wishing Ryan (Briscoe) a speedy recovery, but also very happy to make the most of this opportunity with Carlos today.”
Childers to be Harvick crew chief Sources say that Budweiser signed off with Stewart-Haas Racing in the last month after opting not to introduce a fourth different driver in seven seasons. Although Stewart-Haas Racing and Kevin Harvick declined to name a crew chief for the #4 team, Michael Waltrip Racing's #55 Rodney Childers has been mentioned as the lead candidate. Fox Sports
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