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Massa back for MonzaUPDATE #2 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. Felipe Massa on Monday said he was targeting a return to competitive formula one action at his home Brazilian grand prix in mid October.
"I hope that I can be back at the Brazilian grand prix for my public, and perhaps even earlier," the injured Ferrari driver told Brazilian TV Globo.
It is reported that the 28-year-old's recuperation is progressing at speed, but that the vision in his left eye is not yet back to 100 per cent.
Massa is hoping that by the next round of detailed tests at the beginning of September, he will be given the green light to return to the track.
"If the doctors here in Brazil say it is ok I will first of all get into a kart," he said. The step after that is for the FIA's medical team to assess him.
"I can hardly wait to drive again," said Massa, who revealed that he has not feared death at any time during or since his Hungarian GP qualifying crash ordeal because he remembers nothing of the actual incident.
Silverstone on verge of being soldUPDATE (GMM) Middle Eastern financiers are close to taking over the British grand prix venue Silverstone, according to a report in the Sunday Express newspaper.
The report said the planned deal is to get upgrades to the Northamptonshire venue completed and prevent the F1 race's scheduled move to rival circuit Donington.
A letter to the circuit's fellow directors asks them to vote at an August 25 meeting for a plan to make Silverstone "capable of hosting grands prix should the opportunity arise".
But a former director, John Fitzpatrick, said members of the track-owning British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) "will not stand by and let the directors ask them to sign away their rights".
He confirmed that the directors have been in advanced talks for "quite some time".
BRDC president Damon Hill denied the claims, insisting he has "no idea of anybody who has been engaged in a deal". However, the 1996 world champion did admit that the goal is to "attract a significant investor to take on the risky part of running Silverstone".
F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone said: "I've not spoken to anybody."
08/16/09 According to the Sunday Express newspaper, 'Silverstone is on the verge of being taken over by Middle Eastern financiers in a bid to secure the future of Formula 1's British Grand Prix.' John Fitzpatrick, former BRDC director, is quoted by the paper as saying that former F1 driver Jackie Oliver 'let it slip that the board has been in advanced talks with people for quite some time'.
'Jackie says this lease has got to be for about 150 years and anyone who takes over is going to have to invest £60million or £70million. 'His words were: 'Only a sovereign wealth fund could afford to do this.'
Ford has problems with new engine? Ford's continued delay of the debut of its new NASCAR engines is drawing questions: Why the long delay of the motor that was unveiled in January. Reliability issues are a possibility. But no one is saying. The engine was to have run in Sunday's Michigan 400, but its debut has been delayed again. It was to have run at Daytona in July too, but didn't.
Rivals say that the delay apparently means that Ford won't be giving the new motor in any of its championship contenders this fall. And they're calling Ford's delay "strange," since the company could easily put the new engine in the cars of men clearly not making the chase and not risk any title contenders.
The man in charge of the project, Doug Yates, wasn't at the track over this weekend to discuss the issues.
Smith may have full-time ride in 2010 Regan Smith, the 2008 Sprint Cup rookie of the year, has agreed in principal to drive the #78 car for Furniture Row Racing in 2010, sources close to the situation said on Saturday. Smith is driving a part-time schedule for the Colorado-based team this season, but tentative plans are to run a full schedule next year. Smith was left without a fulltime ride after his Dale Earnhardt Inc. team was shut down due to lack of sponsorship following 2008. He has competed in 11 races this season for Furniture Row, with a top finish of 12th at the July 4 race at Daytona. ESPN
At the recent gathering of Farm Bureau PR and Communications professionals in Denver, CO, Furniture Row Racing, unveiled a new NASCAR paint concept to support and bring awareness to the ag industry as a whole; The Car of the Heartland&Official Car of the American Farmer. The people at Furniture Row Racing know and understand the hard work and devotion that ag producers across the country have made to their industry and their way of life.
Sadler to RCR? Rumors persist that Elliott Sadler will move into the #07 Chevrolet next season. Jack Daniels wants to return, but for a limited schedule. Sadler would be a bargain for RCR. Another option? JTG Racing, if Tad Geschickter expands his operation. Sadler still has a year on his contract with Richard Petty Motorsports but would be doing that company a favor if he left. The organization would be stronger with a three-car squad than stretching resources to run four teams. FoxSports
GP2 driver changes Following the sacking of Nelson Piquet from his Renault contact in Formula One, several GP2 teams are also on the hunt for new drivers.
As expected Romain Grosjean will almost certainly made his F1 debut at Valencia or Spa, depending on the outcome of Renaults appeal over their one race ban.
Stepping up to Barwa Addax to replace Grosjean will be Davide Valsecchi, who has left Durango at the request of his management representatives.
Durango are currently deciding between three possible contenders for Valchecchi's seat.
Former GP2 Asia Super Nova driver James Jakes is in the frame, as is former BCN driver Carlos Iaconelli who is currently racing in Formula Two.
Another contender is Formula 3000 Euro series driver Marco Bonanomi who has also previously raced in GP2 Asia. He had confirmed that he has had a seat fitting, but would not be racing in Valencia, but Spa and Monza are possibilities.
Tagliani to start IndyCar team Alex Tagliani will become an IndyCar Series owner/driver in 2010. Tagliani, whose Conquest Racing entry was headed for Victory Lane at Toronto last month until a full-course caution fell badly with the team's pit stop strategy, has found a Canadian investor, enabling him to purchase all of ex-IndyCar driver Marty Roth's equipment which includes four race cars and one show car. Rob Edwards, who has been team manager and race engineer at Walker Racing, and who worked with Derrick for 16 years, will become team manager for Tagliani's team. More at Racer.com
Ferrari to dump Raikkonen Ferrari are reportedly set to dump Kimi Raikkonen at the end of this season, offering the Finn a substantial pay-off to step aside for Fernando Alonso. Rumors of Raikkonen's pending dismissal began last season when poor results and what appeared to be a lack of motivation on the 2007 World Champion's behalf grabbed headlines.
The speculation grew this year as the Finn competed in his debut World Rally Championship event, even revealing that rallying could be his future line of work when his current Ferrari deal expires at the end of 2010.
According to The Sun, a Formula One insider has revealed that the Scuderia are intent on dumping Raikkonen, offering him a massive pay-off.
'They say the Italian giants have told the 2007 World Champion he can have half the value of his 2010 contract - thought to be worth £25million - to end it one year early,' the tabloid has reported.
Should Raikkonen part ways with Ferrari at the end of the season it would pave the way for Alonso's arrival with the double World Champion believed to already have a contract for 2011.
Danica Patrick to kiss IRL goodbye, or just a ploy to squeeze IRL?UPDATE #9 The question her fans are asking most often is whether or not she'll try to move to NASCAR, following the lead of Dario Franchitti and Sam Hornish Jr. Franchitti struggled with the heavier stock cars last year and came back to IndyCar this season. "The NASCAR rumors are true," Patrick confirmed. "We're definitely exploring all the opportunities that are out there for me as a driver and as a business and a brand."
07/26/09 Looks like it might be time to scratch Danica Patrick from the NASCAR game for 2010. Or at least mark her down for a "probably not." The Indy-car star, in her whirlwind tour through several top North Carolina stock car shops last week with one of her business agents, apparently didn't have a very enticing racing game plan to offer various NASCAR team owners. And the particular agent who accompanied her seemingly didn't know that much about NASCAR racing and had some unrealistic expectations, according to those talking with them.
Now Chip Ganassi, who has both NASCAR and Indy-car teams, has taken his name out of the Danica sweepstakes.
And Jack Roush's Geoff Smith, head of Roush Fenway Racing, says his company's interest in the hot marketing star may be fading too.
Smith said Patrick's presentation was filled with too many "conditions," and Smith questions whether Patrick is really willing to make the drastic lifestyle change running the NASCAR tour would demand.
And it's also unclear if Patrick's NASCAR gambit is just to gain leverage in negotiations for a new Indy-car contract. Her current contract with Andretti-Green is up at the end of this season. mikemulhern.net
[Editor's Note: Prediction, she will end up at Ganassi Racing, giving her a better shot at winning the Indy 500, and Ganassi will also run her in a few Nationwide races to see if she has what it takes.]
07/24/09 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing co-owner Chip Ganassi says he would entertain the idea of fielding a NASCAR Nationwide Series entry next season for IndyCar Series driver Danica Patrick but that any discussions are only in their preliminary stages. Patrick, who is a free agent at the end of the season, is thought be considering a move to NASCAR but has said that it might be October before she announces any plans.
Ganassi, speaking Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said he recently spent about an hour talking with Patrick about her future. If Ganassi did field Patrick in a Nationwide car, he said it might be through a joint venture with another organization.
“If I told you I didn’t have any conversation about that or I wasn’t interested in that, I’d be lying to you,” Ganassi said. “I, like a lot of teams, have had discussions and she’s on the market right now and she’s ready to make the next step in her career wherever that takes her. I wish I could tell you I’m a lot further down the road on that, but I think the fact of the matter is like most other teams, we’re in the top of the first inning on that subject. … It’s way early.”
Paul Tracy talking to AGR From Robin Miller's SPEEDTV.com mailbag column - I know that P.T. has talked with Kevin Savoree about next year and was told there might be some sponsor possibilities and AGR is going to need some fresh money in 2010. It would be hard to imagine Tracy and Andretti as a team again (they didn't exactly bond in 1995 at Newman/Haas) but anything is possible nowadays. Michael put Christian Fittipaldi in his sports car and they certainly weren't bosom buddies.
Next generation Corvette put on hold?UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. The next generation C7 Corvette will go on sale in 2012, according to official new model strategy plans revealed by General Motors yesterday.
The C7 'Vette was never axed, in spite of GM's bankruptcy woes, but the official line until yesterday was that the project was 'on indefinite hold'.
Unfortunately the official confirmation provides few other details, other than the C7 will predictably retain its front-engine rear-drive configuration, and that production will start in April 2012 as a 2013 m/y year vehicle.
There's been loads of speculation about the new C7 of course, some of it focused around the Corvette Stingray Concept revealed at the 2009 Chicago Auto Show. This car was actually built to star in a Transformers movie, and was a design exercise 'to incorporate past design cues in a fully futuristic shape'. However, it's not unfeasible that certain elements of the Stingray design will appear in the C7, and we're showing it to you again because we've nothing else to go on! (Some reports from the US have suggested that 'thematic links' between the C7 and the Stingray Concept might include the gills around the air intake, and the fins at the rear.)
Other speculation suggests the new 'Vette will get a double-clutch rear transaxle to keep it in line with the competition, and a smaller capacity supercharged V8 to help meet emissions and economy targets. It's likely also that GM will be forced to make more extensive use of lightweight materials and high-tech build methods to keep weight down, although the car's platform is said to be an incremental development of the C6 chassis.
10/22/08 General Motors' troubles with the type of green that really matters have thrown the Corvette's future into disarray.
Multiple sources confirm that the General's financial crisis has led the company to put whatever plans it had for the next-generation Corvette on indefinite hold, with no official or set timetable.
In this climate--we've even heard tales of janitors removing light bulbs from corporate headquarters in an effort to save money--not only is an all-new C7 now more than just a few years away, but even a significantly refreshed or upgraded C6 looks unlikely to appear anytime soon.
One version of the story says that when the decision was made to shelve the C7 for the time being, a plan was suggested to upgrade the C6 significantly in 2012 as a '13 model. Today's Corvette would be eight years old at that point and as much as 12 years old by the time the upgraded car was finally phased out in favor of the C7. Had this occurred, the C6 would have gone down as tied with the C4 generation as the second-longest-serving model in Corvette history. As things stand, multiple sources say this idea also is dead. AutoWeek
New Ford NASCAR engine?UPDATE #3 It was rumored that Ford will introduce its new engine this weekend at Michigan. Not true, says Brian Wolfe, Ford's director of North American Motorsports. Instead, it will be introduced during the 10-race Chase that begins in September. "If it's this weekend nobody told me," Wolfe said "It's definitely not before the Chase." The plan before the season was to introduce the new engine by now. There were talks about letting the [#21 Ford] Wood Brothers, who are running a partial schedule with Bill Elliott, be the guinea pig. But that isn't likely now, Wolfe said. The first to use it will be non-Chase drivers at Roush Fenway or Yates Racing. Makes sense, considering the engine was developed by the Roush-Yates engine program. Still, don't look for a widespread rollout of the engine. And don't look for it to be used by one of the Chase teams unless the initial results are so extraordinary it is worth the risk. ESPN Insider
08/10/09 Ford's long-awaited debut of its new NASCAR engine is now expected to come next Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, but it's not clear which teams may be using it. The engine has a much improved cooling system, which should make for more downforce on the nose, because teams won't have to run so much ductwork. MikeMulhern.net
Petty team to drop 1 car?UPDATE #4 Crew Chief Mike Shiplett and the crew that fielded the #43 Dodges for Reed Sorenson will begin working on the #44 Dodge with A.J. Allmendinger at Michigan and the rest of the 2009 season. Sam Johns and his crew that worked on the #44 will begin working on the #43 with Sorenson at Michigan. At Michigan, the #44 will sport a Super 8 scheme while the #43 Dodge will have Bumper to Bumper colors. Says Allmendinger:" I'm pumped about working with Mike (Shiplett) and his crew again. We went testing at Dover last week and worked real well together. Sammy Johns and those guys did a heck of a job getting us ready to go racing right before the season and we had some really good runs. They are going to go over with Reed (Sorenson) and we'll pool the information and improve our teams. We're here to win and get a jump on 2010. Mike and I want to work on everything that will make us a contender the rest of the season and hit the ground running in Daytona in February." Richard Petty Motorsports
08/03/09 The Nos. 43 and 44 teams at Richard Petty Motorsports will change crew chiefs and crews following the race at Watkins Glen. According to team sources, drivers Reed Sorenson and AJ Allmendinger will remain with their respective car numbers and sponsors. However, Mike Shiplett will now oversee the No. 44 Dodge with Allmendinger and Sammy Johns will be the crew chief for Sorenson and the No. 43 squad. The cars and equipment will remain with the crew chiefs.
On Sunday at Pocono, Richard Petty verified that RPM will have four cars until the end of the 2009, but added "we're going to do some changing around" to prepare for next season.
"We've got one car (the No. 9 Dodge driven by Kasey Kahne), hopefully, that's going to be in the Chase and the other three we've got to get squared away and anticipate for next year," Petty said. "There will be some swapping around with different personnel and stuff like that to put in motion this year the opportunity to see how it works in preparation for next year. Then if it doesn't work, we've still got time to make changes for next year." Fox Sports
08/02/09 They've been so inconsistent that Richard Petty had to shoot down rumors that Sorenson was in danger of being yanked from the No. 43 Dodge for Allmendinger for performance and financial reasons. "We're going to run all drivers the rest of the year," Petty said. "We'll sort of see what happens after this season and we'll make our decisions on next year."
07/29/09 An internet report claiming that Reed Sorenson will be released by Richard Petty Motorsports as part of a downsizing of the team's Sprint Cup roster appears to be premature. The Ford Racing website reported on rumors that Sorenson will be replaced by former Champ Car star A.J. Allmendinger when Allmendinger's #44 Dodge is mothballed within the next few weeks. However, a source close to the team - speaking on the condition of anonymity - said today that while the move is being discussed, Sorenson's release is not yet a done deal. "No one is sure that it's going to happen," said the source, "but it's definitely being talked about. The team is working on the details right now." If RPM does indeed decide to trim its roster from four cars to three, Allmendinger's current sponsors would transfer to the #43 Dodge. Calls to Richard Petty Motorsports seeking comment were not immediately returned. Sirius Speedway
07/29/09 Rumors persist that Richard Petty Motorsports will shrink to three cars in the next few weeks, with A.J. Allmendinger moving to the #43 Dodge, replacing Reed Sorenson, and the #44 team being shut down. Ford Racing
Schu may still make F1 return (GMM) Two experts have told Michael Schumacher fans not to get too disheartened despite the seven time world champion calling off his formula one return.
The 40-year-old German wanted to fill in for Ferrari's injured Felipe Massa, but his own lingering neck injury meant returning at Valencia next weekend would have endangered his health.
Schumacher played down his motorcycle testing crash in February, but Germany's Bild newspaper now claims he fractured bones in his head and neck, as well as damaging an artery supplying blood to the rear of his head.
"He was lucky he did not have to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair," the newspaper said.
Ferrari to reserve third car for Schu in 2010 (GMM) Ferrari has vowed to "fight" for the right to field a third car in formula one races -- and the Italian team's extra cockpit would be reserved for Michael Schumacher.
Schumacher, 40, on Tuesday called off his comeback to replace the injured Felipe Massa due to a neck complaint, but Luca di Montezemolo has not given up hope that the German will be seen again at the wheel of a Maranello built single seater.
"We're continuing to fight until every team has the right to start with three cars in the next season, and one I'd have handed over to Michael with pleasure," the Ferrari president said in an interview with Italy's La Stampa newspaper.
Also in the interview, published in full on Wednesday, Montezemolo hinted that he will check on Schumacher's availability to drive a third Ferrari ahead of the 2010 season.
The 61-year-old Italian also used the opportunity to have another dig at F1's new wave of teams, including US F1, Campos and Manor -- and possibly another in the place of the withdrawing BMW-Sauber.
"I prefer three McLarens and three Renaults to three 'whatevers'," Montezemolo jibed. "With BMW gone, there's not much to say but lots to do."
Bourdais eyes F1 return with new teams (GMM) Sebastien Bourdais has admitted it will be difficult for him to find another race seat in formula one.
The 30-year-old Frenchman was ousted by Toro Rosso after last month's German grand prix, but he told the sports daily L'Equipe that he has not yet given up on staying in F1.
"Considering there is no testing, I could be an interesting choice for one of the new teams," said Bourdais, referring to US F1, Campos, Manor, and an unknown thirteenth team for 2010 to replace BMW-Sauber.
He admitted however that the withdrawal of BMW, meaning that Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld are also on the market, is a complication to his chances.
Bourdais said his chances of contesting Le Mans in the future are good. "I am under contract with Peugeot until the end of the year, and they seemed content with my work at Le Mans.
"As for the United States, I always kept up contact with my team," said Bourdais, referring to the Newman-Haas outfit that races in the IndyCar series.
He added: "The problem is they need money to run another car. Five million euros is not easy to find at the moment."
Schumacher won't race, Badoer insteadUPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Michael Schumacher has called off his sensational return to formula one.
The seven time world champion, who retired in 2006, recently said he would step in out of "loyalty" to replace the injured Felipe Massa.
He tested a 2007 car at the end of July and was set to conduct two more days in the F2007 this week at Mugello, as concerns lingered about the health of his neck that he injured in a motorcycle testing crash in February.
Schumacher, 40, said on his official website michael-schumacher.de on Tuesday morning that he told Luca di Montezemolo and Stefano Domenicali the bad news on Monday night.
"I really tried everything to make that temporary comeback possible, however, much to my regret, it didn't work out," said the German.
Atlantic Series to replace Indy Lights? DENIEDUPDATE #2 An insider writes AR1.com to give their insight, Dear AR1.com, Here is my take on the recent conversations regarding the Atlantic and Indy Lights series. First of all, I understand Tony Cotman saying that the Atlantic series should disappear as it represents an embarrassment for the IRL run series. Nevertheless, let’s look at the past to see if his wish has some value. Atlantic was racing with CART at the time Indy Lights was racing as well. It was not a conflict and it was not confusing anyone then.
I think the reason of a controversy is that the "real" Indy Lights of the CART era was a lot faster and was well positioned between Atlantic and Indy Car. The old "Lights" were racing at 203 mph on a 1 1/2 mile oval track and road course lap time right on the middle between Atlantic and Indy Cars. The only drawback of that series was the engine noise, which was similar to the new Indy Lights up to last year.
I think the new “IRL version” of Indy Lights has never been a well balanced car, being too heavy and too bulky. It fit well behind the Indy Cars as these cars are relatively slow, making the new "Lights" OK, unless compared against the Atlantic cars.
Making the Lights more competitive with a smaller and lighter chassis and engine package would make these cars as fast as the actual Indy Cars, which would not work until the “big” cars are re-designed.
Back to the Atlantic cars and championship: we can notice that the series is forming more top drivers, now competing very well in Indy Lights. In fact, drivers from either Formula 3 or Atlantic are very competitive in Lights as the step from Star Mazda is too big for the great majority of the drivers. One argument saying that the drivers from Atlantic do not have a path to follow, being associated with IMSA is not true. In reality, Atlantic has the best path possible as the series offers 1 million dollars to the winner with which he can either go to the best team in Indy Lights or negotiate a ride in GP2 or Renault 3.5 World series or Formula 2 and certainly be very well prepared to be highly competitive. [Editor's Note: But that sort of prize money cannot be sustained.]
Why Atlantic is competitive, even if there are only 13 cars today? The package is well balanced with a relatively light chassis, a good engine with a good base power and very good racing tires. This car is pushing engineers to explore continuously new ways to raise their competitive level in order for them to, at least, stay afloat with the competition and the drivers are exercising their talents with a nimble car that allow them to reach higher limits, which is what young drivers have to do to exert their trade. Teams are also better equipped and compete at a higher level compare to the average level in Lights. If the Atlantic cars had 50 more horses and smaller side pods, they would be fighting for pole position with the actual Indy Cars, and that would be even more embarrassing for the IRL people. Meanwhile, the Indy Lights series should be happy to harvest talented drivers from the Atlantic series. Name withheld by request
08/08/09 This rumor is downgraded to 'false.' Indy Lights Chief Steward Tony Cotman spoke to AutoRacing1.com this morning to set the record straight.
"Indy Lights is not going anywhere next year," said Cotman. "The series is strong and growing. We are looking how to best align all the junior racing series and Atlantics will not be part of it. I do not see where Atlantics fits in and, if anything they are just causing confusion for the fans."
Cotman felt that being aligned with IMSA means the drivers have no path to follow up the Open Wheel ladder system in the USA.
FIA to announce 4th new F1 teamUPDATE (GMM) F1's governing body is officially looking for another team to add to the 2010 grid. ppp The FIA re-opened the application process after BMW announced it is pulling out at the end of this season, and failed initial rescue efforts meant the Hinwil based Sauber team could not sign the new Concorde Agreement. ppp The Guardian newspaper said FIA president Max Mosley wrote to the seven teams that are on a reserve list, after USF1, Manor and Campos were granted official entries in the last team application process. ppp It is said that those invited to re-apply for a 2010 entry are Prodrive, Epsilon Euskadi, Lola, March, Brabham, Lotus and Team Superfund. ppp The Guardian said Epsilon Euskadi is the current frontrunner, and its figurehead Joan Villadelprat said last week: "To take BMW's place would be difficult, but if a vacancy becomes available we will be there. ppp "I am in permanent contact with the FIA and Ecclestone. I am sure that we will be in F1, I don't know if it's in a week, a month or a year," he added.
08/09/09 The FIA is currently looking for another new team to join Formula 1 as of next season. The BMW Sauber F1 team announced it will stop its F1 activities at the end of the season. The team had until Wednesday to find a buyer but failed to do so.
Even though the Swiss based team is still searching hard to try and sell its Formula 1 team the FIA is not willing to wait any longer. The FIA is rumored to be in touch with Epsilon Euskadi and Prodrive again. One of them could soon be the happy owner of a Formula One team license.
The 2010 Formula 1 season will see Campos, Manor and USF1 enter the grid.
Pininfarina to sell out to Tata Due principally to debt, the family owners of Pininfarina S.p.A. have contracted with Italy's Banca Leonardo to help them sell 50.7 percent of their stake in the design/contract manufacturing business. Said a source, "It is a commitment [the Pininfarina family] made with the banks. The family has no intention of leaving completely." Sure, but who will buy controlling interest of such a storied company? Have you met our Indian friend Tata?
That's right, rumors are swirling that Indian giant Tata, new owner of both Jaguar and Land Rover, is reportedly in the hunt to purchase the Pininfarina family's shares. However, the reports are painting the pending deal as a partnership rather than a takeover and Tata already has dealings with Fiat, so they're familiar with the Italian way of doing things. For its part, Pininfarina is working on an electric car (hey, why not?) with French entrepreneur Vincent Bollore. They also have contracts with both Ford and Volvo to build cabriolets of the Focus Coupe-Cabriolet and the C70, respectively. We'll see how this all plays out, especially now that Fiat owns Bertone. Automotive News
Stewart-Haas may add 3rd car in '10UPDATE #2 Tony Stewart, met with members of the media at Watkins Glen International and discussed many topics, including expanding to a third team:
HOW UNLIKELY IS IT THAT YOU WILL RUN A THIRD CAR IN 2010? Stewart: "I don't think we've ruled that out yet. It's getting to the point in the season if we're going to do a third team and have a third team for next season it would have to happen pretty quickly. At least having the sponsor and driver lined up to make sure that we have an adequate amount of time to get all the tools and pieces in place for next year. But I would say it's not very likely right now."
DID YOU BUILD STEWART-HAAS WITH EXPANSION IN MIND IN TERMS OF SPACE AND EQUIPMENT AND PEOPLE? HOW SIMPLE OR SEAMLESS WOULD IT BE TO EXPAND FROM THAT PERSPECTIVE? Stewart: "The building is capable of holding three teams for sure. That's not a problem. It's just adding people and making sure that the funding is in place. It would be adding a little more equipment and people, but having that funding and the driver is the biggest key." GM Racing
08/01/09 Tony Stewart met with members of the media at Pocono Friday, part of the transcript:
Tony Stewart (C) meets the press with Ryan Newman (L) and Kasey Kahne (R)
WHERE ARE YOU ABOUT ADDING A THIRD TEAM TO STEWART-HAAS RACING: "We are definitely open to it for sure. We are interested for sure. We feel like it is a matter of timing, it is everything. I don't know that something would happen for next year. I think we are getting close to the stage of the season where it may get too late to have that opportunity to add a third car for next year. It is something that at least as a company we feel comfortable with and feel like with the right opportunity, that it is definitely possible." Chevy Racing PR
06/30/09 Not yet halfway through his first season as a NASCAR team owner, Tony Stewart already is thinking about expanding. Stewart-Haas Racing is enjoying a banner season, with Stewart leading the Sprint Cup standings and teammate Ryan Newman sitting seventh. That success has Stewart entertaining the idea of adding a third car next season.
ALMS to announce new LMP1 entry for 2010 According to AR1.com sources, the ALMS will announce in about a week's time another manufacturer for the LMP1 category in 2010. Acura says would welcome competition and if this rumor is true, it will be a shot in the arm for ALMS.
Mario Moraes to miss Mid-Ohio?UPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement that Paul Tracy will sub for Moraes.
08/06/09 Mario Ermirio de Moraes, father of KV Racing Technology driver Mario Moraes (Mario Ermirio de Moraes Filho) passed away late this afternoon in Brazil at Hospital Beneficencia Portuguesa.
Mario Ermirio de Moraes was born August 1, 1958. He is survived by his wife, Nidia Maria Faustino de Moraes, son, Mario Ermirio de Moraes Filho and daughters Fabiana Faustino de Moraes and Natalia Faustino de Moraes.
Viewing is schedule for tomorrow, Thursday, August 6, at 7:00 a.m. at Salao Nobre do Hospital Beneficencia Portuguesa, Rua Maestro Cardim, 769, 1 andar, bloco 1 - Bairro Bela Vista, Sao Paulo.
The burial is scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday, August 6, at 3:30 p.m. at Cemitério Sao Paulo, na rua Cardeal Arcoverde, n 1217 Bairro Pinheiros, Sao Paulo.
Statement from KV Racing Technology co-owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser:
“On behalf of the entire KV Racing Technology organization we wish to express our deepest sympathy to Senhora Nidia Maria Faustino de Moraes, Mario, his sisters Fabiana and Natalia and the entire family for their loss.”
08/05/09 There are unconfirmed reports that KV Racing driver Mario Moraes' dad has lost his battle with cancer...According to Brazilian News reports, Moraes will be absent from the starting lineup of this weekend's Mid-Ohio IndyCar race and don't be surprised if Paul Tracy is asked to fill in. Tracy recently drove for the team at Watkins Glen, Toronto and Edmonton.
If the report is true our condolences to Mario and his family.
Alonso ban to be lifted (GMM) Organisers of the European grand prix are confident the ban on local hero Fernando Alonso's team Renault will be lifted before the circus converges on the Valencia city circuit later this month.
The FIA's International Court of Appeal is not due to hear the matter until Monday week, meaning whether the suspension stands or not will not be clear until mere days before the formula one event.
Organiser Valmor Sport reacted to the ban, imposed because Renault allowed Alonso to exit the pits with a loose wheel that ultimately fell off in Hungary, by claiming it will unfairly penalise the Spaniard's supporters.
But the company's operations director Carlos Moreno-Figueroa sounds confident the 27-year-old double world champion will actually not miss the race.
"I call on all those who are doubting whether or not to buy a ticket depending on the presence of Alonso to do so, as we are being told from every side that he will be in Valencia," he is quoted as saying by the local Costa Levante News.
Few options left for Keselowski Brad Keselowski may only have one option if he wants to drive full-time in a Hendrick Motorsports-supported Sprint Cup car in 2010: Phoenix Racing [#09 Chevy]. #14-Tony Stewart told reporters on Wednesday in Texas that it was doubtful Stewart-Haas Racing will expand to three teams next season. Plus, sources said Stewart had no interest in Keselowski, anyway. #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. recently said it was doubtful his Nationwide Series team supported by HMS would expand to Cup. Red Bull general manager Jay Frye, on the chance that his organization moves to General Motors with Hendrick support, said he is not looking at expansion. That leaves Phoenix Racing, which is running 10 races with Keselowski in cars with HMS motors and chassis this season and the rest of the season in Dodges. They already teamed for a win at Talladega Superspeedway earlier this year. Keselowski says he has about six options, but most of those are now outside of HMS. One appears to be moving to Penske Racing, but that would throw a wrinkle in his plans to stay in Earnhardt's Nationwide program that runs Chevrolets. Penske runs Dodges and it's not likely the driver will be allowed to compete for two manufacturers. ESPN Insider
First Sauber takeover talks fail - reportsUPDATE #2 (GMM) Team founder Peter Sauber on Thursday pointed the finger squarely at BMW after it emerged that initial efforts to rescue the Hinwil based outfit had failed.
Earlier reports in the German language media said that Sauber, who founded the team in 1993, and current boss Mario Theissen, held talks with BMW executives about performing a Brawn/Honda-style management takeover.
The 65-year-old Swiss is quoted as saying by the Blick newspaper that the demands of the Munich manufacturer BMW, who bought Sauber in late 2005 and will pull out of formula one at the end of this season, were "simply too high".
Sauber said efforts to build on the initial interest of potential investors will now continue, and "obviously I'm still here to help".
08/06/09Mario Theissen: "Since the announcement on 29 July of our strategic realignment, we have done everything in our power to reach a rapid agreement on the sale of the team based at Hinwil. Regrettably, despite every effort, this has proved unsuccessful. The tight timeframe we faced simply did not allow us and the interested parties and investors enough time to find a solution for such a complex transaction. This means the team cannot sign the Concorde Agreement at present. The aim now is, over the coming weeks, to find a solution together with potential interested parties and Peter Sauber. Beyond that, we will see the 2009 season through to its conclusion with our unstinting sporting commitment."
08/06/09 (GMM) Initial attempts to rescue the Sauber team in the wake of BMW's impending withdrawal have failed, according to reports in the German language press.
It is said that team founder and 20 per cent shareholder Peter Sauber, and team boss Mario Theissen, held talks with BMW executives about performing a Brawn/Honda-style management takeover.
However, August 5 was set as the deadline to complete the deal and still have the Hinwil based team included in the current form of the new Concorde Agreement.
Villeneuve to run Cup race at Watkins GlenUPDATE #2 Reed Sorenson will drive the #43 Dodge for Richard Petty Motorsports in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International. The Petty team retained Jacques Villeneuve as a substitute driver in case Sorenson continued to suffer from the effects of carbon monoxide he inhaled in Monday's race at Pocono. Fortunately, Sorenson has recovered from the accident. Owners George and Foster Gillett along with the Richard Petty Motorsports team appreciate Villeneuve's willingness to help out on such short notice. RPM
08/05/09 NASCAR driver Reed Sorenson inhaled carbon monoxide during Monday's Sprint Cup race at Pocono, and his team has asked former Formula One champion Jacques Villeneuve to be on standby this weekend at Watkins Glen.
Details of Sorenson's illness were not immediately available Wednesday. He finished 35th in the rain-delayed race, 15 laps down.
If Sorenson can't drive, Villeneuve would step into the No. 43 Dodge. The 1997 Formula One champion from Iberville, Que., attempted to drive Cup cars in 2008 for Bill Davis Racing, but he failed to make the season-opening Daytona 500 and never secured sponsorship to keep the team afloat.
08/05/09 Dominic Fugère of Rue Frontenac reports that Jacques Villeneuve will run the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International. No team is mentioned in the article. Rue Frontenac
Servia to replace Doornbos at NHLRUPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.
08/05/09 Oriol Servia will replace Robert Doornbos at Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing this weekend at Mid-Ohio and possibly Infineon Raceway according to SPEEDTV.com. Servia previously drove for the team and won one race with them in Montreal.
Doornbos to HVM, opening for Bourdais?UPDATE #2 "Quite obviously it's professionally been the worst season of my life," Robert Doornbos said Tuesday explaining why he quit the NHLR IndyCar team. "We gave it a shot, but too many problems are causing bad results. Enough is enough."
08/03/09 This story first broke by AutoRacing1.com, is now 'fact.' Robert Doornbos has parted company with Newman/Haas/Lanigan, which likely leaves one seat open for IndyCar's remaining five races and possibly pairs the Dutch driver with his former team in Champ Car for the rest of 2009.
"We had a 12-race deal with Robert, which we fulfilled, and we tried to get an extension but, evidently, he's decided to go somewhere else," said Mike Lanigan, who added that he and partner Carl Haas had not received any "official" notification from Doornbos. [That somewhere else is indeed HVM per AR1.com sources]
"Now we've got to figure out if we're going to continue to run a second car." SPEEDTV.com
08/03/09 According to AR1.com sources, HVM is rumored to be preparing a car for Robert Doornbos for the remainder of the year. If true, could that also mean Sebastien Bourdais is headed back to Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing?
Spa to share annual GP date with Nurburgring? (GMM) Bernie Ecclestone hinted to Switzerland's Motorsport Aktuell magazine on Tuesday that Spa-Francorchamps may soon share its annual formula one hosting rights with another race.
In the same interview as the F1 chief executive suggested Canada will return to the 2010 schedule, he also said the Belgian venue and the Nurburgring may from now on alternate the rights to a single annual event.
The arrangement would be so that Hockenheim can host a grand prix every season.
But Spa boss Andre Maes pointed out in the French language Belgian newspaper La Libre that until 2012 the circuit has a contract to stage a race annually.
Belgium's RTL Sport however pointed out that the alternating idea was discussed between Spa-Francorchamps manager Etienne Davignon and Ecclestone in January, with no decisions formalized as yet.
€1 million per race for returning SchumacherUPDATE (GMM) Michael Schumacher's manager has refused to confirm reports the 40-year-old German will earn 1 million euros per race when he begins replacing the injured Felipe Massa later this month.
It has been reported that Schumacher also stands to earn a bonus 1 million euros per race victory, but Willi Weber told Express newspaper: "(It's) all speculation.
"We haven't spoken with Ferrari about money yet," he insisted.
One of Schumacher's personal sponsors, the bottled water supplier Rosbacher, this week extended its advertising contract with the seven time world champion for an additional three years.
08/04/09 (GMM) Michael Schumacher will reportedly be paid 1m euros per race and a bonus 1m euros per victory when he begins substituting for injured Ferrari driver Felipe Massa as from the European grand prix later this month.
The German daily Die Tageszeitung also said the 40-year-old German is very likely to have his non-driving advisory contract with the Maranello based team renewed.
The agreement, estimated to be worth at least 5m euros per season to the seven time world champion, is currently set to expire at the end of 2009.
Milwaukee still has outside chance to get on '10 IndyCar schedule Long on hope but short on time and details, the group trying to save big-time racing at the Milwaukee Mile stepped forward Monday. "While it has had its problems in the past, we're not here about the past, we're here about the future," Tony Machi, one of the partners in Historic Mile LLC, said in a news conference at the track.
"We have the opportunity to move ahead and do some really important things with the track in the future and make some changes that will allow us to continue long into the future."
In addition to Machi, a longtime sports-car racer and retired judge, Historic Mile LLC includes Steve Jones, general manager for the previous promoter, and Jim Beaudoin, managing partner for local investment firm, whose family owned an Indy-car team in the 1980s.
On Friday his group signed a letter of intent with the State Fair Park Board for a license agreement to promote races at the Mile.
That means that it can negotiate on behalf of the track but must demonstrate to the board that it has the financial means and the business ability to fund operations at the Mile, including sanction fees, license fees and overhead expenses.
Philippe and Matsuura to replace TaglianiUPDATE #2 With the Philippe announcement, on the heels of the Matsuura announcement, this rumor is now 'fact.'
08/03/09 Par of this rumor is now 'fact.' This September Conquest Racing will be making its Japanese debut in the IndyCar Series’ Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi with CLICK Securities Inc., the most rapidly growing online securities trading company in Japan, and driver Kosuke Matsuura, who will be making his return to the IndyCar Series in front of his homeland fans.
“We’re very excited to be competing in our first race in Japan and to have a hometown favorite, Kosuke Matsuura, driving for us. We really look forward to the Indy Japan 300,” expressed Conquest Racing Team Owner Eric Bachelart. “It is also our pleasure to have such a strong partner like CLICK Securities Inc. for this race.”
Matsuura, who will be driving the #34 CLICK Securities Conquest Racing Dallara, debuted in the IndyCar Series in 2004. That same year he was crowned Rookie of the Year for the 88th Indy 500 and also took home the honors at season’s end. Matsuura has a best qualifying position of second and a top finish of fourth.
“I am very happy to be able to announce my entry in the Indy Japan 300 with CLICK Securities Inc. and Conquest Racing,” said Matsuura who hails from Aichi, Japan. “I would like to thank CLICK Securities Inc. for supporting me for this race, and Conquest Racing for welcoming me into their team. It’s been two years since I last raced in the IndyCar Series but I will be 100% prepared and put in my best performance during the 200 laps.”
08/03/09 According to Racer magazine, Nelson Philippe and Kosuke Matsuura will race for Conquest Racing this year, following the departure of Alex Tagliani. Philippe will contest the IndyCar Series races at Sonoma and Homestead, the series finale, while Matsuura will race in Motegi. The team is not expected to race at Mid-Ohio this coming weekend.
George and Menard to buy the IRL?UPDATE Tony George spoke of the rumors involving himself and Wisconsin home improvement store magnate John Menard considering putting a group together to buy the IndyCar Series.
“I haven’t had any conversations with him regarding buying the IRL or taking over Milwaukee,” George said. “I don’t know that either one of us wants to do that. We’ve been building our relationship with the IndyCar program now for two years and he has been sponsoring Ed. The indications are he wants to continue that.
“John is a good guy to have involved in our sport and a great guy to have involved in our team. He has a lot of racing interest and hopefully he’ll find an opportunity in continuing to be a part of it. He has talked to the League about being an engine provider in the future. He has that element of his motorsports portfolio to leverage. He is interested and I know he has expressed recent interest.” Versus
07/30/09 The IRL's Commercial Director Terry Angstadt was also asked about the rumor that Tony George and John Menard were putting a group together to purchase the IndyCar Series away from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation.
“I would guess Mr. Menard has some liquid assets,” Angstadt said. “Any good company could put a book together and see what the IndyCar Series is worth. If the group associated with those rumors were the likes of Tony George and John Menard I don’t think anyone would have a lot of anxiety about it. But if it were a group out of New York City that is going to flip it five years from now, that might cause a little anxiety.
“I would view those that feel that Tony George does not have a major role in open-wheel racing are very naïve. He may not have the title or the day-to-day operating of the League but the influence and life-long commitment to open-wheel racing is there and as strong as it has ever been.” Versus.com
Williams says no to Schumacher testUPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. The British team Williams has confirmed it used its veto power to block Michael Schumacher's test in the 2009 Ferrari.
Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport made the claim on Monday, after Ferrari asked its nine team rivals and the FIA if a one-off exemption to the in-season test ban might be granted in the special case of Schumacher returning to replace the injured Felipe Massa.
FOTA vice-chairman and Toyota president John Howett reacted by saying he believed all eight FOTA members had agreed, but the answer of the other stakeholders was not known.
La Gazzetta said Williams issued a categorical 'no', while Force India was still contemplating the issue. Full unanimity is required for such requests.
Williams compared the Schumacher situation to last month in Hungary, when the 19-year-old Jaime Alguersuari made his grand prix debut for Toro Rosso having never driven a formula one car on a proper circuit.
"Williams sees no distinction between Alguersuari's situation and Schumacher's and feels any deviation from the rule would create a precedent for the future," the Grove based team told the media on Monday.
"For the sake of consistency and fairness, therefore, we oppose Ferrari's proposal to test ahead of the European grand prix," Williams added.
08/03/09 (GMM) Williams has used its veto power to block Michael Schumacher's test in the 2009 Ferrari, the Italian sports newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport claims.
In view of Felipe Massa's accident and the return of Schumacher as his substitute, Ferrari asked the FIA and its nine team rivals if a one-off exemption to the in-season test ban might be granted.
FOTA vice-chairman and Toyota president John Howett reacted by saying he believed all eight FOTA members had agreed, but the answer of the other stakeholders was not known.
Italy's La Gazzetta however reports that while Force India is still contemplating the matter, Williams issued a categorical 'no'. Full unanimity is required for such requests.
JTG Daugherty Racing to re-new with Waltrip Tad Geschickter, owner of the #47 JTG Daugherty Racing Toyota that Marcos Ambrose drives in the Sprint Cup Series, has agreed in principle to extend his partnership with Michael Waltrip Racing into 2010. An announcement is expected next week along with additional sponsorship for the car. Ambrose originally signed a five-year deal with Geschickter which runs until 2011, but given the driver's accelerated learning curve, don't be surprised if that contract isn't extended as well. FoxSports
Teams wanted mid-week Concorde announcement (GMM) Formula one teams did not want to announce the signing of the new 2012 Concorde Agreement until the middle of this week, a British newspaper claims.
A report in The Independent said Max Mosley, at the end of a long and bitter political quarrel with the teams association FOTA, "stole a march" on Saturday when he made the announcement "four days earlier than (the teams) had ideally wanted".
As of Monday morning, the FOTA group, comprising eight of the current ten teams, still have not formally confirmed the signing, which will bind them to the FIA and the commercial rights holders for the three forthcoming seasons.
(GMM) Renault driver Nelson Piquet's famous father is a candidate to take over the Hinwil based BMW-Sauber team, according to the Brazilian newspaper O Globo.
It is claimed that 56-year-old Brazilian Piquet, a former triple world champion, may be eyeing Sauber in collaboration with Super Nova GP2 team chief David Sears.
"All I can say is that I like the name 'Piquet F1'. What do you think?" Piquet's son and namesake, who on Monday may be formally stepped down as Fernando Alonso's Renault teammate, is said to have reacted to the report.
Mentioned by the Swiss newspaper Blick as a possible Sauber savior is Fritz Kaiser, who sold his original team share to Red Bull in 1999.
Toronto Saturday Notebook - 6 (Gillette StadiumUPDATE As first rumored on AR1.com below, Jerry Gappens from New Hampshire International Speedway confirms our rumor - "What troubles me, as much as being left off of next year's schedule, is that they are exploring an option of racing in the parking lot at Gillette Stadium (home of the New England Patriots) in 2012, right here in our back yard. That would be a real slap in the face."
07/11/09 The rain has moved off and we are dry for IndyCar qualifying in Toronto.......From the rumor mill: We hear Honda wants to get all the engine manufacturers together again to see where they are because no one is committing to a new engine formula. A lot has to do with the economy. We suggest the IRL get an agreement on the engine formula now. If Honda is the only supplier initially, no worries, the others can join when their budgets allow them to, but the IRL needs to move to the new engine and new car sooner rather than later and right now they are being held hostage by manufacturers who cannot commit. They just need to agree to the engine formula right now......The cost of the existing car and engine are far too expensive, one reason being the Dallara is built in Europe and with the exchange rate on the dollar, the costs are inflated and the IRL is screwing the teams because of their allegiance to Dallara.........We hear that Stan Barrett will be back in the Team 3G car for Japan but for the remainder of 2009 look for them to build a program around rookie Richard Antinucci.....Still hearing Team 3G wants to expand to two cars next year......Hearing rumors
The Gillette Stadium complex can easily support an IndyCar event
that the future of the Richmond race is definitely questionable......We have it on good word that if the IRL does agree to race in New England again, it probably won't be on the oval at New Hampshire International Speedway where the attendance would be small, but instead on a temporary circuit laid out around Gillette Stadium. The real plus here is that the Kraft family, who own the New England Patriots, would own the IndyCar event, meaning the race can be cross-promoted with New England Patriots. With Foxboro, MA being just outside Boston, this race would have all the makings of a successful urban race. We hear they are looking for a 2011 date. We think June would be a good month to race in Boston, and if Richmond goes away, Boston can slot right in.....With talk of ISC wanting to unbundle the IRL race tickets from their NASCAR ticket package, plus them wanting to jerk them around by moving the Watkins Glen race, Homestead (already moved), and Kentucky (SMI track but has close ties to NASCAR) so they lose date equity, they are quickly learning what we have said for years, NASCAR and the France family are no friend of the IRL, they just used them like a pawn to help destroy CART and now with that behind them, the IRL is no longer needed and are viewed as a competitor to stock car racing, their bread and butter.....Hearing whispers again that Honda may move the Team Dream car to another team and if Danica Patrick goes to NASCAR or to Ganassi Racing, it will be a major double barrel blow to the AGR annual revenue stream........Mark C. reporting from Toronto
McMurray to EGR? Just by chance, there is an opening at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing next season, the No. 1 Chevrolet being vacated by Martin Truex Jr. Is it out of realm of possibility for Jamie McMurray to return to the team where his Cup career started? Sponsors would have to be located, of course, and contract negotiations held. Charlotte Observer
Brawn drivers, engine, to stay same in 2010 (GMM) Ross Brawn says he is "99 per cent" sure Jenson Button will remain with his Brackley based formula one team in 2010.
"I'm not a hundred per cent, but Jenson was loyal when we were not doing very well. He has a lot of faith in us," the Briton, referring to the team's uncompetitive 2007 and 2008 seasons when owned by Honda, told Auto Bild.
Brawn, however, acknowledges that Button's value will surely increase if he manages to turn his current championship lead into the 2009 title.
In the throes of the management buyout last winter, the 29-year-old accepted a hefty salary cut as he was sure the BGP001 car would be a winner.
Brawn admitted: "Naturally I would offer him more money if he becomes world champion."
Regarding the occupant of the other seat, Brawn said he is not yet turning his attention to the 2010 driver line-up but he would be "content" to retain both Button and Rubens Barrichello.
He also said he is happy with the team's customer engine supplier.
"I hope we will cooperate with Mercedes for several years to come," said Brawn.
2010 IndyCar Schedule At 4 PM ET Friday the IRL will announce their 17-race 2010 IndyCar schedule for the assembled media at Kentucky Speedway. Robin Miller revealed the schedule (without dates) on his latest SPEEDTV.com article. We added the dates as best we know them. With Motegi being the next-to-last race the real possibility exists that the title will be clinched in Japan, halfway around the world from Indy and American TV viewers.
Rumored 2010 IndyCar Schedule Mar 14 Rio de Janeiro (Street) Mar 28 St. Pete (Street) Apr 11 Birmingham (RC) Apr 19 Long Beach (Street) May 02 Kansas (Oval) May 30 Indianapolis (Oval) Jun 06 Milwaukee (Oval) Date reserved pending new promoter Jun 12 Texas (Sat. Night) (Oval) Jun 20 Iowa (Oval) Jul 04 Watkins Glen (RC) Jul 11 Toronto (Street) Jul 18 Edmonton (RC) Aug 01 Mid-Ohio (RC) Aug 15 Sonoma (RC) Aug 28 Chicago (Sat. Night) (Oval) Sep 05 Kentucky (Oval) Sep 18 Motegi, Japan (Sat.) (Oval) Oct 02 Homestead (Sat. Night) (Oval)
Raikkonen to quit F1 for rallyingUPDATE #3 (GMM) Kimi Raikkonen on Thursday said it is possible he will launch a full time rallying career in the future.
"Yes, definitely," the Ferrari driver told reporters at Jyvaskyla ahead of his World Rally Championship debut this weekend in Finland.
"I am still in F1 and still have one more year's contract but everything is open," Raikkonen added.
"It all depends on which way F1 is going. Nobody is exactly sure how it will be. I am in no hurry."
He said he might contest more rounds of the WRC next year.
"I don't know. "If I have the time then maybe. I like learning different things so if I have no testing, and the time, then I will do more rallies -- I enjoy it and there is no harm in it," said Raikkonen.
In the wake of Felipe Massa's Budapest accident, Raikkonen also commented on his new teammate for the remainder of the 2009 season: Michael Schumacher.
"For me it makes no difference who drives the second car," said the Finn. "I don't think it is 100 per cent sure that he will drive as he is still checking things out.
"But it will be nice to have him as a teammate. It nearly happened before," Raikkonen said, referring to mid 2006 when Schumacher was still deciding whether or not to retire.
NASCAR exhibition at IMS? NASCAR teams might not be finished at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the year after all, according to a report in the Indy Star. Track executives are talking about 'an exhibition' on the Formula One road course, with NASCAR cars and Grand American sports cars. The F1 course, built at considerable expense, isn't used for the U.S. Grand Prix anymore, since that contract ended. But the course will be used for a motorcycle event the weekend of August 28th, the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix. No more details are available, but that weekend NASCAR will have its Nationwide series at the Montreal F1 track, Gilles Villeneuve, so those NASCAR teams will have their road racing machines race-proven. And the Sprint Cup tour runs Watkins Glen August 9th. MikeMulhern.net
[Editor's Note: What would this prove? After watching the speed of F1 cars around the Indy circuit, watching NASCAR Cup Cars and Grand-Am cars would be like watching paint dry given how much slower they would be.]
Renault could follow BMW out of F1UPDATE Renault has announced a loss of $3.8bn for the first half of 2009. The company says that it is "showing resilience" an preparing "for the post-crisis period with the mass marketing of zero-emission vehicles from 2011, the expansion of the entry-level range, consolidation of our presence in emerging markets and a drive to accelerate and expand synergies with Nissan."
The Formula 1 program obviously comes under the development of emerging markets.
Renault says that its revenues are down 23.7% compared to a year ago, but this figure apparently hides a dramatic improvement between the first and second quarters in which Renault's 30.8% drop in Q1 improved to 16.9% in Q2.
07/30/09 Fears now surround Renault's future in Formula One after BMW Sauber confirmed they will be pulling out of the sport at the end of the season.
The FIA made it clear the team's withdrawal could have been avoided if they had been allowed to implement planned cost cuts, and then fuelled rumors suggesting another manufacturer could follow.
Toyota and Mercedes-Benz have confirmed they will remain in F1 in light of new financial restrictions due to come into force, leaving the fate of Renault uncertain.
Although Toyota's future has long been the centre of speculation, a Toyota spokesman stated: "Through cost reduction we will continue our Formula One activities. Our situation remains unchanged."
As for Mercedes-Benz, a 40% stakeholder in McLaren and engine supplier to Brawn GP and Force India, a spokesman said: "We regret the Formula One withdrawal of BMW. This decision does not have any influence on our Formula One engagement."
Renault, though, are facing a major shortfall in their budget as primary sponsors ING are pulling out after this season.
IndyCar race at The Glen could move to FallUPDATE #3 This rumor appears set to move to 'false' soon. Watkins Glen International IndyCar Series fans may have a lot more to celebrate than the independence of our country next year on the Fourth of July. When the Indy Racing League announces its 2010 schedule, likely to be this weekend, the top open-wheel series appears primed to return to the Glen on the summer holiday.
"We are having ongoing discussions with Watkins Glen to keep it at its current date," John Griffin, the IRL's president of public relations, said Wednesday.
During this year's IndyCar weekend at Watkins Glen, new WGI President Michael Printup said he would like to move the race to another date, possibly sometime in the fall. A return to Fourth of July weekend would satisfy fans who were against a change.
The inaugural IndyCar race at Watkins Glen was held in September 2005. The series' last three races have been held on July 4 weekend after the 2006 race was held in the first week of June.
Jack Daniel's may not return to #07 in 2010 Jack Daniel's, sponsor of the #07 Chevy that Casey Mears drives, has until Sept. 1 to inform Richard Childress Racing of its status for 2010. Some people in the NASCAR marketing circle say that Jack Daniel's will not be coming back full-time next year, so do they become an associate sponsor on the other RCR cars or go elsewhere? That decision will determine if there will be a fourth team at RCR next year. Certainly expanding to four teams has depleted the organization as a whole because Mears' team was a testing team last year. Childress needs to decide if he wants to field four teams or have three Cup teams and one testing team. FoxSports
Cars per Nationwide team may be restricted The new Nationwide Series model could be a limited edition. Vice president of competition Robin Pemberton says NASCAR is exploring a car limit for its next-generation car, which will be phased in next season before a full-time rollout in 2011.
During a meeting with Nationwide teams Tuesday in Concord, N.C., Pemberton said some teams asked NASCAR to consider capping the number of cars that each team can have certified. "It's gaining momentum to limit a team to maybe eight cars," said Pemberton, who added that NASCAR easily can monitor teams' chassis with microchip tracking devices.
The move could be a cost-saving measure for Nationwide teams, which must absorb the expense of overhauling their cars during a time when sponsorship is scarce. Pemberton said NASCAR also is considering incorporating tests into race weekends to minimize travel costs.
[Editor's Note: Why would NASCAR not have this same rule for Spring Cup teams?]
2010 IRL Indy Car schedule speculation The Indy Racing League is expected to unveil its 2010 schedule as early as this weekend, but a few interesting tidbits have already leaked out.
It looks like an 18- to 20-race slate next year with the definite additions of races in Brazil and at Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Ala. The race in Richmond could be off the schedule unless a sponsor for the event can be found. It looks like there will be 10 oval races.
Though the IRL has made few official statements about its schedule, it appears the season will open the second week of March in Brazil. That race could be followed by a late March race in St. Petersburg. The Alabama race will be April 9-11, with Long Beach the following weekend.
Schumacher to replace Massa starting in ValenciaUPDATE #6 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Ferrari issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon confirming that Michael Schumacher will replace Felipe Massa immediately.
The statement said that Schumacher was 'ready' to make his F1 return, and would undertake a training program over the next few days to ensure he was up to full fitness for an F1 race.
Schumacher returns. At 40 years of age can he still 'spank' the young lions?
"The most important thing first: thank God, all news concerning Felipe is positive. I wish him all the best again," said Schumacher.
"I was meeting this afternoon with Stefano Domenicali and Luca di Montezemolo, and together we decided that I will prepare myself to take the place of Felipe.
"Though it is true that the chapter of Formula 1 has been completely closed for me for a long time, it is also true that for loyalty reasons to the team I cannot ignore that unfortunate situation. But as the competitor I am, I also very much look forward to facing this challenge."
07/28/09 (GMM) News about a possible comeback for Michael Schumacher is speeding as quickly as Ferrari's formula one car down a long Monza straight.
Having said already on Tuesday that the prospect of seeing the seven time world champion in injured Felipe Massa's car at Valencia next month can be ruled out definitively, Schumacher's manager Willi Weber has admitted a return later in 2009 remains a possibility.
"I have excluded a comeback in Valencia. With regards to Spa and Monza, I would not like to express myself," Weber is quoted as saying by Auto Bild Motorsport.
It is also reported that 40-year-old German's reported neck injuries, sustained in a motorcycle testing crash earlier this year, would not be an obstacle to a Schumacher return.
It is believed Schumacher was considering contesting the IDM (German superbike) race in Holland late in August.
As for the longer-term future of the F60 raced until Hungary by Brazilian 28-year-old Massa, team boss Stefano Domenicali on Tuesday left no doubt when he said "that's his (Felipe's) car."
07/28/09 (GMM) Comments by Michael Schumacher's official spokesperson caused a stir on Tuesday, but both his manager and the seven time world champion himself insist he will not be stepping into injured Felipe Massa's Ferrari cockpit.
Spokeswoman Sabine Kehm told the BBC that the 40-year-old German "will consider" replacing his Brazilian friend, even though talks with the Italian team have not taken place yet.
But Schumacher's manager Weber actually met this week with Schumacher in Geneva, and afterwards told both Britain's Daily Mail and the German news agency SID that a comeback can be ruled out.
"Whoever sits in the car at the next race in Valencia, it will not be Michael Schumacher. I am not 100 per cent sure; I am 200 per cent sure," he said.
And Schumacher himself told his favorite German magazine Bunte: "It does not make sense to talk about offers. My decision (to retire in 2006) stands."
It seems Ferrari's reserve driver Marc Gene is the first in line for Massa's seat, and the Spaniard is scheduled to test the F60 in a straight-line at the Vairano circuit on Wednesday.
07/28/09 (GMM) The meeting might not be related to formula one, but it is worth noting that on Monday Willi Weber, Michael Schumacher's manager, travelled from Budapest to Geneva to meet with the retired seven time world champion.
It has been widely rumored, and not denied by the Ferrari team, that the 40-year-old German might be asked to substitute at forthcoming races for his injured friend and former teammate Felipe Massa.
It is believed the Weber/Schumacher meeting may also have been to discuss the possible prolongation of his contract as a Ferrari advisor.
[Editor's Note: Michael Schumacher is the man for the job. He is a red-blooded Ferrari god to the Tifosi.]
07/27/09 (GMM) Stefano Domenicali on Monday refused to rule out the possibility that Michael Schumacher may return to replace Felipe Massa at forthcoming grands prix.
"It would be wrong to say yes or no at this stage," the Ferrari team boss told the Der Tagesspiegel newspaper.
He is still a Ferrari F1 advisor, but Michael Schumacher has not driven this year's Ferrari
With the Maranello based team minimally needing to fill the injured Massa's cockpit for the next several grands prix, the Italian press on Sunday piled pressure on Ferrari to bring its most successful driver out of retirement.
"Now Ferrari needs Schumi," said La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Schumacher's spokeswoman Sabine Kehm insisted the 40-year-old is not due to make any statements in the next few days, but press sources indicate the German has not personally ruled out making a temporary comeback.
Corriere della Sera, however, noted that Schumacher's fitness still has not returned to 100 per cent following his motorcycle testing crash some months ago.
The seven time world champion also made no mention of the possibility when he posted a message on his official website wishing Massa a speedy recovery.
Tagliani to leave Conquest? According to Canadian based RDS, Canadian Alex Tagliani has decided to leave Conquest Racing. Conquest has run Tags on sponsorship dollars from the Edmonton Indy race which obviously ran dry now that the race has been run. Alex says that he's now looking for an IndyCar ride for 2010.
Will Sauber rescue BMW team?UPDATE (GMM) The FOTA group on Wednesday said it will support moves for the Hinwil based team to continue in formula one following BMW's decision to withdraw from the sport.
"FOTA teams have immediately consulted each other and are ready to assure all the necessary support to the Swiss based team, whose membership in the association is confirmed, to continue its involvement in F1," said the teams association's secretary general Simone Perillo.
In the same statement, it was revealed that one possible FOTA initiative is the introduction of an additional car per team.
Not even three hours after BMW's shock announcement from Munich, it is already rumored that founder and 20 per cent shareholder Peter Sauber, or the Spanish outfit Epsilon Euskadi, could now step in to run the team.
German driver Nick Heidfeld admitted the news caught him completely by surprise.
"I'm not going to lose sight of my ambition to reach the top in formula one," he said. We'll now be looking at various options under these changed circumstances." (See related story)
07/29/09 BMW said possible redundancies both in Munich and at the BMW-Sauber team's Hinwil base in Switzerland "cannot be quantified at present", but it is already rumored that minority shareholder and founder Peter Sauber may step in and keep the team in operation.
"Since we only made this decision yesterday, we cannot provide any more precise information," said development board member Dr Klaus Draeger.
"We will develop and assess various scenarios and do our best to find a solution for the employees," he added. "We are aware of the responsibility we shoulder and will inform the staff as soon as we can make a clear statement."
BMW to quit F1UPDATE #4 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. See Hot News page for full story.
07/29/09 (GMM) BMW looks set to rock the formula one world on Wednesday morning by announcing it will withdraw from the sport at the end of 2009.
International media have been summoned to a press conference at the German marque's Munich headquarters at 10am - less than three hours' time - to discuss "current developments in motor sport".
Amid a disappointing season and a lack of progress in overcoming the difficulties, the BMW board is believed to have called time on the Swiss based BMW-Sauber project.
Present at the emergency press conference will be team boss Mario Theissen as well as BMW board chairman Norbert Reithofer and director for development Klaus Draeger.
A source said the news to be revealed on Wednesday is "important" but would not elaborate. It is speculated BMW, having bought the independent Sauber team at the end of 2005, may announce it will instead turn its attention to other forms of motor sport, including perhaps a return to Le Mans.
The timing of the announcement is almost certainly because BMW has not signed the new Concorde Agreement, which is set to be announced imminently and would have bound the manufacturer to F1 until the end of 2012.
It is feared that Toyota and Renault may now follow suit. Honda withdrew at the end of the 2008 season.
With Ferrari's Felipe Massa in hospital and expected to be out of action for the rest of the season, the BMW news has sparked rumors that Robert Kubica could be drafted in to replace the injured Brazilian.
13 drivers linked with injured Massa's seat (GMM) After a confusing day of speculation on Tuesday, Ferrari once again admitted it is in fact possible Michael Schumacher could be drafted in to replace the injured Felipe Massa.
Earlier, Schumacher's spokeswoman Sabine Kehm and his manager Willi Weber made conflicting comments about whether the 40-year-old German is set to come out of retirement to substitute for his friend and former teammate.
But Ferrari's head of media Luca Colajanni insists the team's five-time championship winning driver could return after talks with Schumacher are staged.
"We have said before that it is possible that Michael Schumacher could return to help us out," Colajanni said.
Ferrari may be forced to use test driver The newly introduced ban on Formula One testing during the season may force the Ferrari team to play safe and opt for one of its test drivers, Luca Badoer or Marc Gene, to substitute for the injured Felipe Massa for the remaining seven rounds of the world championship starting with European grand prix at Valencia on 23 August.
This harsh reality emerged in the wake of Michael Schumacher's decision not to try making a comeback with the Italian team for which he won five of his seven world championship titles before retiring at the end of 2006. Schumacher's long-time manager, Willi Weber, today confirmed that he was "200% sure" that the 40-year-old German would not be competing when the racing resumes after the month-long mid-season break. This assertion by Weber came shortly after Schumacher's spokeswoman Sabine Kehm seemed to suggest that Schumacher would not rule out the prospect of driving the car, although, if he did, he would need to get a neck injury, sustained in a motorcycle accident some months ago, checked out before making a decision.
Ganassi to merge with Gibbs/Toyota?UPDATE #3 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. Statement from Chip Ganassi per the Speculation about Potential Merger with Other Race Teams: "There have been numerous incorrect reports in the media over the last few days about a possible merger of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and other race teams and I can tell you that we have never had any such conversation with any team, nor do we plan to. Furthermore, as I have said many times, we are currently a FIVE-car team, we just happen to compete over three different forms of racing. We fully expect to continue to be a two car NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team in 2010 and beyond and have no plans of merging or downsizing at all. We are a Chevrolet team and focused solely on making The Chase for the Sprint Cup." EGR PR
07/25/09 Don't believe the latest that has Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates partnering with Joe Gibbs Racing, making Juan Pablo Montoya JGR's fourth driver with Target as the sponsor. Not that there hasn't been some conversation looking at that as a possible marriage. There are conversations between almost every organization about almost everything these days. But this one hasn't been talked about enough to warrant it as a substantial rumor. It likely never will be. Ganassi is under the umbrella of Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with its partnership with DEI, and he's happy with that relationship. "We have an affiliation now," he said Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "We have an affiliation with Earnhardt with EGR and with Richard Childress Racing. I'm very happy with that. Knock on wood. We've had no issues. The idea of what we put together at the end of the season last year, it's been mission accomplished." ESPN Insider
07/23/09 The latest rumor is that Chip Ganassi somehow will merge his Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing team with Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota's possibly eliminating another owner. SPEEDtv/Jimmy Spencer
06/23/09 Once Martin Truex Jr. announces that he's driving for Michael Waltrip Racing next month, where does that leave Earnhardt Ganassi Racing? With Juan Pablo Montoya. But after GM dramatically reduced its assistance to EGR last week, is now the time that Chip Ganassi bolts to Toyota? One hot rumor swirling around the garage was a partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing to run Montoya in a fourth car similar to the situation that Marcos Ambrose has with MWR. On Sunday, JGR president J.D. Gibbs said, "No, no, no...," but the guess is his bottom line could say "yes". FoxSports
Alonso may replace Massa at ValenciaUPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. It is unlikely that Fernando Alonso will substitute for the injured Felipe Massa at Ferrari in the forthcoming European grand prix.
With Massa in hospital and Alonso's Renault team banned from competing at Valencia, it has been suggested that the scenario is ideal, even if only for a single race.
But with Renault and Ferrari sponsorship contracts set to clash, it is actually an unlikely scenario in a temporary form, and it must be said that the thought of Flavio Briatore doing a big favor for the Maranello team is even more difficult to imagine.
It is reported that Italy's best-connected F1 journalists also don't believe the hype.
When a reporter for the Spanish sports newspaper Marca was musing the scenario in the Hungaroring media centre, La Gazzetta dello Sport's Andrea Cremonesi leaned over and said: "We have asked (Ferrari media boss Luca) Colajanni and he told us it is impossible."
Now Romania linked with future F1 bid (GMM) Romania is the latest country to be connected with a possible addition to the formula one calendar of the near future.
Hot on the heels of central European neighbor Bulgaria's attempts to win a round of the world championship, it has emerged that Romania has launched a project for a world-class racing circuit.
According to the French language Le 10 Sport, the project was launched this week in the Romanian capital Bucharest, and was said to boast the involvement of 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve in the area of the circuit layout.
"It is a project for the creation of a permanent circuit with multiple uses for the purpose of tourism and international competitions, and in the long term the ability to organize formula one," said Jacques Samalens, owner of the company Ramses Project Romania.
Add Bourdais' name to the long list of Massa replacements Sebastien Bourdais was recently sacked by the Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso team and is evidently available for a drive. His agent happens to be Nicolas Todt, who also watches over Felipe Massa. A few races aboard the F60 would be a golden opportunity for four-time Champ Car titleholder Bourdais, who needs to prove his worth as he seeks to continue his F1 career next year.. However, the most viable candidate continues to be the retired 7-time f1 champion Michael Schumacher if he feels he can just jump back in without driving for over a year and be competitive. He's still on the Ferrari payroll and the team probably could use his feedback on the F60.
Will IndyCar someday fill F1 void in Montreal? Open-wheel racing fans had wondered if the IRL would try to fill the void in Montreal left when Formula One abandoned the Gilles Villeneuve circuit and Mont Tremblant, Que., which was a fixture on the Champ Car circuit before it folded.
"We think to give Toronto the opportunity to grow and mature is only appropriate," said Angstadt. "We weren't there before, so this was our first event. There were fewer stands (fewer is an understatement, and they were not even full), but what was really good ... is (owners and race promoters) Andretti Green Toronto were thrilled with the financial results (after the government gave them $2M, they cruised and didn't try hard). They secured major sponsorship with Honda, major sponsorship with Budweiser (both did national advertising campaigns around the Toronto Indy, but Toronto is a Molson town and most of the bars are Molson affiliated, so Budweiser is the wrong beer in that town). "They beat their ticket number by 20 per cent. (Sure with the $2M government handout they could set their goal at 10,000 and say 15,000 beat their goal)"
"Was it smaller than it was historically? Of course it was; we took a year off and they were in that rebuilding mode. We were thrilled as a sanctioning body...they put on a great show on the track."
"We think two races in Canada is great, and we really don't foresee growing beyond what we have now. But that's today. Things do tend to change."
Will eye injury end Massa’s career? (GMM) His skull and brain injuries aside, it is damage to Felipe Massa's left eye that may pose the biggest danger to his racing career.
Robert Veres was the surgeon who operated on the Ferrari driver on Saturday night, and he has revealed that Massa's eye was hurt in the qualifying accident but doesn't "know the extent of this damage".
It is believed that tests have shown no major structural damage to the eye, but that more detailed examinations or treatment are not possible while he is in coma with more pressing health risks.
Was Montoya screwed by NASCAR?UPDATE Juan Pablo Montoya was well on his way to winning the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. He had the field covered, including winner Jimmie Johnson and runner-up Mark Martin. But Montoya was caught speeding on pit road with 26 laps to go. On his final stop, Montoya came in a little too hot, not once, but twice. NASCAR officials made the call, meaning Montoya would have to go down pit road again for a pass-through penalty. After the race, Sprint Cup director John Darby had the specifics about Montoya's double no-no. Pit road has eight zones where the speed is measured. The speed limit in the pits at Indy is 55 mph. NASCAR gives the drivers a 5 mph cushion. Darby said Montoya was caught over the cushion in Zones 2 and 4. Officially, the speed was recorded at 60.06 mph in Zone 2 and 60.11 mph in Zone 4. "And he was already pushing it," Darby said. "He was over 59 miles per hour in most of the other zones." Montoya's big boo-boo caused him to fall back to 12th. He finished 11th. ESPN
07/27/09 Until NASCAR finds a way to display pit-road times and speeds to the fans in the stands and the media, someone will always question the sanctioning body's credibility and objectivity. Case in point, Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. On Lap 125 of 160 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, NASCAR charged Juan Pablo Montoya with a penalty for "excessive speed entering the pits." Montoya had led 116 laps and had built more than a four-second lead before he pitted.
Montoya's question to NASCAR on the radio? "Why would I speed if I had a five-second lead?" Why indeed?
According to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby, Montoya exceeded the 55-mph speed limit by running 60.06 mph through the second speeding zone and 60.11mph through zone four. There are nine scoring loops with eight zones at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but the zones vary from track to track.
NASCAR provides drivers with a 4.99-mph buffer, but officials claim that Montoya was still in violation. Darby held the proof in his hands — printouts that displayed Montoya's times through the speeding zones.
So it must be true. [Editor's Note: Just like NASCAR's timing and scoring that results in convenient things happening in qualifying, the NASCAR pit road speed system is controlled by NASCAR computers and only NASCAR has control of what they might be spitting out.]
Obviously not to Montoya, who said he was very conscientious of his speed on pit road.
"I thought I was on the speed," Montoya said. "We got lights (on the dashboard to warn the driver of his speed). I was on the lights every time. I was where I was on the previous one and they say I was speeding.
"We had a deal like that before and once it happens, you can't change it so it is pretty frustrating."
NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton stands by NASCAR's timing and scoring process and he sees no reason why the system should be made public.
Red Bull team could dump Toyota for ChevyUPDATE #2 Jay Frye, Vice President and General Manager of Red Bull Racing says he expects to have driver Brian Vickers' contract extension finalized, and a manufacturer decision made, after he travels to Austria next week to meet with Red Bull officials. Frye said several weeks ago that a contract extension between Red Bull, which owns and sponsors the team's two-car effort and Vickers was one step away from being completed, but had not been approved. While ironing that out will be a priority, so to will be determining whether to remain with Toyota or making a move to another manufacturer. Vickers, who has driver for the team since 2007, told reporters Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway that he was "keeping all my options open & the ball is in their court." Red Bull Racing was one of Toyota's original teams when the automaker joined NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series in 2007. Despite reports that have paired the organization with Chevrolet in 2010, Frye said nothing has been determined. SceneDaily
07/03/09 This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today. Red Bull Racing will decide in a month whether to switch from Toyota to General Motors in 2010, sources close to the situation said. There has been speculation for a month that Red Bull would move to Chevys with the chassis and engines supplied by Hendrick Motorsports. HMS owner Rick Hendrick has said he needs to pick up some additional business to make up for the financial support GM cut after it filed for bankruptcy last month. Red Bull general manager Jay Frye, who has worked with HMS in the past, said Thursday at Daytona International Speedway, that no decision has been made. Richard Petty Motorsports could leave Dodge for Toyota and fill Red Bull's vacancy if there is one. Robbie Loomis, the vice president for race operations at RPM, said the organization continues talking to all manufacturers about next season. ESPN Insider
06/21/09 Red Bull is in its last year of a three-year contract with Toyota and that's led to a report that the team could switch manufacturers to Chevrolet and receive equipment from Hendrick Motorsports, as Stewart-Haas Racing does.
The team fields cars for Brian Vickers, who is starting on the pole for today's race, and rookie Scott Speed.
"We're going through lots of different scenarios right now,'' said Jay Frye, the team's general manager. "It's possible they won't want us to come back. It's possible. Or it's possible that they want us to come back but they can't for some reason do that. Anything is possible at this point. They've been a great partner. We'll see here shortly what's the next step.'' Roanoke Times
Menard Shopping Sponsorship?UPDATE Menard back with Yates in 2010: Yates Racing co-owner Max Jones said Sunday morning that the team plans to be back up to at least two cars next season, with Paul Menard and the Menards sponsorship returning to the #98 Yates Racing Ford in 2010. Menard has had a disappointing first season with the team which had spurred rumors that the driver and sponsor might move to a different team next season. But Jones said the driver and his sponsor will both continue forward in 2010. "The Menards deal is in place," Jones said Sunday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Jones said he was unsure if Yates would campaign the HoF car again in 2010, saying talks to extend the partnership are underway, but the outcome uncertain. Another possibility is to take the fifth Roush Fenway Racing Ford next season, when NASCAR will require that team to downsize from five to four cars [possibly the #26 Ford with Jamie McMurray...if he stays]. Jones said that one way or another, Yates expects to run at least two cars next year. SPEEDtv
07/14/09 Frontstretch.com reports that Paul Menard and his family are surveying their options and shopping around their sponsorship package to other teams for 2010. Both driver and sponsor are a package deal, although Menard's list of options on the current Sprint Cup landscape is rather short. Among those teams still under the pending four-car limit and with the ability to expand include Michael Waltrip Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing, Robby Gordon Motorsports, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, and Penske Racing. Frontstretch
Future of Edmonton IndyCar race in jeopardyUPDATE Take a deep breath, auto-racing fans. Although the Edmonton City Centre Airport is slated for closure, it may not spell the end of IndyCar racing in the city.
In fact, it may ultimately lead to a more "semi-permanent" site that would save Northlands, owners of the event, millions of dollars every year.
The start of the Edmonton IndyCar race. The attendance in Edmonton dwarfs most IndyCar races
After an early Saturday morning meeting between Northlands and the Indy Racing League, both sides said they were pleased with the discussion and optimistic about the event's future, despite city council's decision to close the airport in the future and develop the site.
Terry Angstadt, IRL commercial division president, said they "couldn't be more pleased" with the meeting, the weekend and the future possibilities. The meeting discussed Northlands' proposal for a two-year extension to their contract, a new date for next year and the possibility of a more permanent-type site for the event.
Renault will be in Russian handsUPDATE This Joe Saward blog article talks about the same rumor.
07/26/09 The rumors in the paddock of the Hungaroring make us believe that the Renault F1 Team is poised to be sold. The likely buyer is Alisher Usmanov, the owner of multinational Megafon. The holding company of the Russian was lately announced as a sponsor of the team (see Hot News item).
Usmanov is from Uzbekistan and with a wealth of around nine billion dollars one of the richest businessmen in Russia. Recently he bought shares in Russian sport 7tv and music channel Muz-TV. He is also a shareholder in Arsenal football club and sponsor of Dynamo Moscow.
Massa swallowed his tongue Felipe Massa was unconscious when the paramedics first arrived on the scene in Hungary. When he came out of it he started to panic so badly, that during ride from the accident site to the track hospital he swallowed his tongue according to reports. Also, according to unconfirmed reports, a tracheotomy was done to guarantee his breathing.
Recall this was also done to Mika Hakkinen at Adelaide by Dr. Sid Watkins after a bad accident during the F1 race.
Rumor in Hungary: Concorde Agreement signed (GMM) As darkness fell on Hungarian grand prix race day, the big rumor was that the Concorde Agreement has finally been signed by all 13 formula one teams.
According to the speculation, the ink was laid late on Saturday night.
It is also being whispered that CVC and the FIA managed to convince the manufacturer-dominated FOTA group as well as the independent teams to sign not until the often-mentioned 2012, but all the way through 2016.
Villeneuve or Wurz close to 2010 USF1 dealUPDATE #3 (GMM) Alex Wurz has confirmed speculation that he is a possible contender for a race seat with the new USF1 team next year.
USF1 co-principal Peter Windsor in Hungary this weekend admitted the veteran Austrian might match the team's plans to pit an experienced driver alongside a young American in 2010.
"A decision hasn't been made," Wurz, 35, clarified in interview with motorline.cc on Sunday.
"Peter has known me for a long time, he knows my qualities for developing and testing and that often I can identify things faster than some others. And when you're making a new team, that could be an advantage.
"He has asked me if I think we could work together," the veteran of 69 grands prix, and many intervening years as a highly respected test driver, revealed.
07/24/09 (GMM) The co-founder of the new formula one team USF1 has admitted that Alex Wurz is a leading contender for a race seat next year.
The big rumor surrounding the Charlotte-based outfit was that the 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, who was in the Hungaroring paddock on Friday, was close to signing a deal to return to F1.
USF1 dismissed Villeneuve off as a Prima Dona
On Friday, the French Canadian was spotted in conversation with BMW's Mario Theissen, Mercedes' Norbert Haug as well as Bernie Ecclestone.
But with USF1 contemplating putting an experienced driver alongside a young American in 2010, team boss Peter Windsor said it is Austrian Wurz who is actually the frontrunner for the former role.
"We have spoken to Alex," he said. "Any new team coming into formula one needs to look at drivers with experience," Windsor told the BBC.
"Alex Wurz could perhaps be able to operate at our rate of learning."
At the end of his disappointing final season in F1 with Williams in 2007, 35-year-old Wurz said he is retiring as a race driver.
Harvick to leave RCR, cripple team?UPDATE #3 Kevin Harvick did not discuss his future with Richard Childress Racing, instead he answered questions about his status by shifting focus to his preparation at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “We’re focused on this weekend,” was a version of his standard response when pressed Saturday about his long-term options at RCR.
“Right now, we’re here to race and do what we need to do from a driver’s standpoint and everybody is working well together,” he said when asked if he wanted to be with Childress beyond next year.
“We all want to make things the best that we can, and right now we’re working on Indy.”
“As a team, we’ve been off in everything,” Harvick said. “Everybody is kind of stale right now. Everything is not fast enough. Everything isn’t run good enough to be where everybody wants to be. I don’t really have anything to look at or look forward to.
“I don’t have anything cooking or anything different. Right now I’m the driver of the No. 29 Shell Pennzoil RCR Chevrolet. That’s my job. That’s what I intend to focus on. Everything else will take care of itself.”
MotoGP set to cut engine costs MotoGP manufacturers to set to offer greatly reduced engine prices to potential new chassis manufacturers to head off Dorna’s suggestion that 1000cc production bike engines should be allowed to join the field.
With the MotoGP grid down to 17 bikes after the departure of the Hernando Ducati squad, Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta suggested the option of permitting 1000cc production engines as well. This led to fears of a class division within MotoGP and potential confusion with World Superbike engines racing MotoGP prototypes in the same race.
Allstate 400 attendance could be down 100KUPDATE #2 A crowd of approximately 170,000 is expected today, down from the estimated 225,000 in attendance at last year's race. Still, that would keep the Brickyard as the largest draw on the 36-race Sprint Cup Series schedule. Daytona International Speedway has 168,000 seats; Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway has 160,000.
Joie Chitwood said the crowd will surpass what his team recently presented to the six-member Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corp. board of directors.
"The economy and the tires were a bit of a double-whammy, but every sports property is dealing with the economy," said Chitwood, who is resigning, effective Aug. 6, to lead the 13 tracks owned by International Speedway Corp. "It's a challenge this year, but we've done our best.''
Asked if it was possible NASCAR wouldn't race here in the future, Chitwood responded with a quick "no."
When they're optimistically predicting 170,000 that leaves only 80,000 unused seats, throw in the late give-aways and it's likely they didn't sell more than 160,000 tops for what is one of their two premier events....and this coming after a July 4 race at Daytona saw the entire back grandstand closed. If NASCAR can't come close to selling out two of their three biggest events, what does that say for the rest of the schedule?
07/24/09 In the midst of a season during which the sagging economy has hit NASCAR from all sides, the series visits Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend for the 16th time with the added burden of making fans forget what happened a year ago.
"Today has challenges to it," NASCAR President Mike Helton conceded about a sport confronted by a litany of issues that includes:
Falling attendance and TV ratings.
Reduced financial commitment from its four participating automobile manufacturers, two of which -- General Motors and Chrysler -- have only recently emerged from bankruptcy.
Ferrari, Schumacher, may part ways for 2010 (GMM) There is still no sign that Michael Schumacher will extend his contract as a Ferrari advisor beyond 2009.
The seven time world champion retired in 2006 but was retained for a non-racing role on a 5 million (euro) annual salary.
"There is no news," Schumacher's manager Willi Weber said in Budapest, where he is attending the Hungarian grand prix with his new charge, GP2 driver Nico Hulkenberg.
"At the end of the summer we will begin the negotiations," the German added.
Weber raised the possibility that the two sides will part company.
"Without Ferrari Michael has enough things to do, I have no doubt," Weber explained.
As well as Ferrari, Schumacher is under contract with five other companies: his cap sponsor Deutsche Vermogensberatung, Shell, mineral water brand Rosbacher, Omega watches and Bacardi rum. The 40-year-old is also an ambassador for the FIA and UNESCO.
The German newspaper Bild am Sonntag said it is Ferrari that is hesitant about inking another contract with Schumacher.
Ragan the odd man out at Roush?UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. With Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle all signed to long-term contracts, multiple sources say that David Ragan will be the fourth driver at the team next year. "Absolutely, I can confirm that David Ragan will be driving for UPS in the #6 Roush Fenway car," said Zak Brown, CEO of Just Marketing International, which handles the UPS marketing account. According to NASCAR rules, RFR has to downsize from five to four teams by the end of this year. Jamie McMurray, the fifth driver at RFR, is likely headed across the street from the Roush shop to Yates Racing, which is a satellite organization of RFR. However, another option appears to be a reunion with former boss Chip Ganassi. FoxSports
07/21/09 Who will be the odd man out at Roush Fenway Racing? According to published reports, Roush Fenway president Geoff Smith is putting together a sponsor package that would keep #26-Jamie McMurray in the fold. McMurray, whose contract expires after this season, has been speculated as the most likely to be moved to satellite team, Yates Racing, to get Roush to four teams. If McMurray stays then David Ragan becomes the top candidate to leave because Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle signed new deals within the last year. A decision on restructuring should come by September at the latest. Roush has until next season to move from five to four teams as NASCAR mandated when it put a cap on teams. ESPN Insider
IndyCar feeder series drying up This week in Edmonton, only 16 cars will line up for the Firestone Indy Lights race. The economy is drying up the developmental pipeline to the IRL.
Indy Lights teams are often grass roots efforts funded by family, friends and sponsors with a personal connection to team owners or drivers. Those backers are often the first to bail when the economy goes south. Even some of the feeder series more deep pocketed owners have downsized the season after their Wall Street portfolios have been battered.
Last year, the Indy Lights series averaged nearly 23 cars per race for its 16-race schedule. There was no race with fewer than 20 entrants and only one below 22. This year, through 10 races (including tomorrow’s Edmonton race), the entrant list is averaging 21, with two 18-car fields and two 16-car fields.
Ditto for the Atlantic Series, they are down to 15-car fields, which feeds drivers into IndyCar. The Indy Lights and Atlantic Series need to merge....pronto. There is no reason for two weak series when you can have one strong series. Mazda backs the Atlantic series and should be brought in as the engine supplier of the merged series.
De la Rosa in running for Campos seatUPDATE (GMM) The 2010-spec Campos car will make its track debut at a Spanish circuit on January 10 next year, managing director Daniele Audetto has revealed.
"We don't know yet whether it will be Jerez or Valencia," he said.
Audetto, who most recently worked with the now defunct Super Aguri team, also confirmed reports that an experienced Spaniard is likely to fill at least one of the race cockpits.
"We are speaking with Pedro de la Rosa and Marc Gene," the Italian told Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
Pedro de la Rosa
07/03/09 (GMM) Lewis Hamilton on Thursday said he would miss his colleague Pedro de la Rosa if the Spanish test driver leaves McLaren at the end of 2009.
"I always wish him all the best because he is a great teammate," the reigning world champion said of de la Rosa, 38.
"If he decided to leave the team I would miss him because he is a pleasure to work with, he's funny, he's a hard worker and he is supportive even in the most difficult moments.
"I would like him to stay," Hamilton added on a PR visit to Spain.
The McLaren driver's comments come amid reports that the new Spanish formula one team, Campos-Dallara, is readying to announce at least one of its race drivers for the 2010 season at the European grand prix in Valencia next month.
Team chief Adrian Campos had earlier indicated that Spaniards including de la Rosa, Marc Gene, Javi Villa and Roldan Rodriguez are all candidates.
"I will speak with them," he said last month.
"I will try to support Spanish drivers, but that does not mean that anyone is going to drive for us just because he is Spanish."
Alonso eyes cycling team with ContadorUPDATE #2 (GMM) Fernando Alonso has admitted he would like to set up a professional cycling team.
The two-time world champion is a fan of the sport and his recent visit to the Tour de France sparked rumors he is working on a project involving Spanish rider Alberto Contador and the 2010 Ferrari sponsor Santander.
Contador did not deny the reports, and Alonso has now told Radio Monte Carlo from Budapest: "Yes, I'd like to start a team."
Asked if his target would be to win the Tour de France, he answered: "Of course."
However, the 27-year-old said it is too late to have the team up and running for next year.
"We're already in July and that leaves us at risk for being ready for next year," explained Alonso.
He added: "Contador has one year left on his (Astana team) contract. There's maybe a possibility for the year after. We'll see."
Will McLaren axe Kovalainen?UPDATE (GMM) Amid speculation about the Finnish driver's future, Martin Whitmarsh has admitted a decision on whether to retain Heikki Kovalainen beyond the 2009 season has not yet been taken.
Mercedes is openly keen on pitting team favorite Lewis Hamilton against rising German Nico Rosberg next year, and the contractual situations of both Rosberg and Kovalainen, who joined the team in 2008, would allow the move.
McLaren boss Whitmarsh believes Kovalainen, 27, has done a "good job" but "could have done a better job on occasions".
"I think within the team he is very comfortable, he's publicly stated he wants to stay in the team and that's something that we are talking to his management about," the Briton added.
07/09/09 (GMM) Heikki Kovalainen on Thursday admitted he is hoping to be retained by McLaren-Mercedes for the 2010 season.
The Finn joined the Woking based outfit last year as a replacement for Fernando Alonso, but his up and down performances have triggered speculation the team may be on the market for a new teammate for Lewis Hamilton.
Union to try and unionize NASCAR drivers? Jeremy Mayfield, who says he's "80% there" on getting a major sponsorship deal that might enable him to once again drive in the Sprint Cup Series, isn't on the entry list for Sunday's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. But that doesn't mean he won't be at Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend. Mayfield spoke by phone Tuesday morning, prior to meeting his legal team to discuss his ongoing court battle over NASCAR suspending him from competition as either an owner or a driver as of May 9, due to a positive result for methamphetamine in a random drug test taken May 1 at Richmond International Raceway. "I'd like to come to Indy just to come watch, and to try to get a ride," Mayfield said. "We're working on sponsorship deals as we speak and I'm telling you, if this works out, it's going to be big. And what's funny is, it could be big in all kinds of different ways, and all I needed was [NASCAR's] support, and to work with me on this. They could have had races sponsored and tracks sponsored and I could have been with one of their big teams with a big sponsor and I guess they don't want that, because I didn't need them to get it." NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said that he is "unfamiliar with the possible sponsor opportunity" that Mayfield references. Yet, Mayfield's description of the company he's talking to was vivid. "Sounds like a union, doesn't it?" Mayfield said. "Imagine if they got involved, and they're behind me 200 percent right now. America's not about a dictatorship no more and it never was." NASCAR.com
[Editor's Note: After the treatment of the late great Tim Richmond by NASCAR, and now with Jeremy Mayfield being treated in a similar fashion by NASCAR (did they really spike Mayfield's urine to screw him?) it sounds like Mayfield has a big union that wants to get behind him and sponsor him. The first thing the union will do once they get their foot in the door is to point out to the drivers that it's time to break up NASCAR's dictatorship and convince them to join their powerful union so they can use their power to protect themselves against unfair treatment by bullies. Image raceday with 150,000 fans sitting in the grandstands who paid $100 per ticket, and another 5 million watching on TV and on lap, say 10, all the drivers pull into the pits and walk off the job. The ramifications will reverberate throughout the industry and NASCAR will be brought to their knees. Sure, next race they can try to bring scabs in to drive, but the fans come to see their favorite drivers, not a bunch of scabs.]
Porsche CEO steps down. Makes way for VW merger?UPDATE Porsche chief executive Wendelin Wiedeking is leaving the luxury sports car maker after 16 years at the helm, a move widely expected to clear the way for a merger with Volkswagen AG.
The board for Porsche Automobil Holding SE said Thursday that Wiedeking, 56, and chief financial officer Holger Haerter, 53, were leaving with immediate effect from the heavily indebted company that makes the 911, among other models.
The move -- along with the announcement that Porsche will seek to raise funds, possibly from a Qatar investor -- is expected to make it easier for Volkswagen and Porsche to merge given that Wiedeking, who had been CEO since 1992, opposed such a move.
"The measure shall create the foundation of building an integrated car manufacturing group with Porsche SE and Volkswagen AG," a company statement said.
Is NASCAR's lynching of Mayfield a rerun of Tim Richmond's lynching? Tim Richmond, one of the sport’s up-and-coming superstars in the mid-1980s, was destined for stardom after winning six times in a Rick Hendrick ride in the 1986 season. But after a mysterious illness forced him to miss much of 1987, Richmond’s ability to race was seriously called into question.
While Richmond still hoped to continue his career, what happened next is more than enough to sicken your stomach. NASCAR bent over backwards to lie, cheat, and force that man out of the sport any way they could due to an illness they didn’t understand – one that later turned out to be AIDS. After claiming the driver failed a drug test prior to the 1988 Busch Clash, Richmond was banned indefinitely from the sport without specifics on what happened.
Well, two years after his 1990 death, we found out the ugly details behind what should have been a civil lawsuit. Dr. Forest Tennant, the man who administered the tests, was fired by NASCAR over allegedly tainting the results in 1988. Turns out, you see, that the substance Mr. Richmond tested positive for was nothing more than an over-the-counter cold remedy; but in their fear of the disease and Richmond returning to the track, the sport worked to do everything in its power to assure the “health risk” was first quarantined … then properly removed. Whether it was legal or not didn’t really matter, because the bottom line was the sport wasn’t really worried about getting caught. After all, they never had before … so why now?
Bernie looking to bring F1 back to Montreal, USA?UPDATE #9 (GMM) Canadian government officials are on the verge of making an offer to Bernie Ecclestone with a view to reinstating Montreal's formula one race in 2010.
Lewis Hamilton in Montreal last year
The demise of the popular event at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was doubly controversial, given the fact that a crucial market for F1 sponsors and manufacturers, North America, is now not at all represented on the calendar.
It is suggested that team bosses have scheduled a forthcoming meeting with Ecclestone, the sport's chief executive, with a view to airing some of their concerns about the direction of the annual calendar.
The reports coincide with news that all three levels of Canadian government are set to offer to pay a $15m annual fee for the next five Canadian grands prix, beginning next season.
The English language Montreal radio station CJAD said the quoted figure is less than half the figure most recently requested by Ecclestone, but noted the pressure on the diminutive Briton being exerted by the F1 manufacturers.
The situation is far more complicated with regards to the United States' missing spot on the calendar, with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last hosting a grand prix in 2007.
The fabled oval's departing president Joie Chitwood told Autoweek this week that he had not thought about bringing F1 back to Indianapolis "in a long time".
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