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DATE News (chronologically)
GP2 to become 'F1 Junior Series'  (GMM)  GP2 could become F1's official 'Junior Series', with formula one teams allied formally to junior outfits in the feeder category.

According to Italy's 422race.com, the final places on the GP2 grid will be filled for 2011 by 'Formula One Junior Teams', giving F1 test drivers the opportunity to work directly with F1 squads and also race at many grand prix circuits.

There are apparently four candidates for the GP2 team places, including a Lotus junior team, Manor (known in F1 as Virgin Racing), Mucke (with links to Mercedes) and Carlin.

Currently in GP2, Renault's F1 test drivers race in GP2 in Renault colors with the DAMS team.

Lotus to announce 2011 lineup, switch to Renault, in Singapore  (GMM)  Lotus could be set to announce its 2011 driver lineup on the verge of the Singapore grand prix in two weeks.

Finland's Turun Sanomat reported earlier from Monza that Heikki Kovalainen has penned a deal for next year, and that it is likely to be an extended stay with the new Malaysian-owned team.

The same source is now reporting that Jarno Trulli is also set to stay with Lotus, while the announcement of a switch from Cosworth to Renault engine power is also imminent. More ...

Rahal close to 2011 deal?  "I would have loved to have my contract for 2011 done by now, and things are still up in the air, but there are a lot of opportunities for me. I definitely have to make one happen here soon; I don’t like worrying about what’s going to happen. I can’t get into any specifics, but I’m confident that I won’t have to endure another year of bouncing around the paddock. That’ll be a good start. "  Graham Rahal
A reader thinks NASCAR's grid are fixed  A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, Aflac, primary sponsor of Carl Edwards and the No. 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, has a partnership with Kellogg Company. The agreement gives Kellogg primary sponsorship for two Sprint Cup races in the 2010 season.  Edwards is running a special red, blue, & yellow Cheez-It paint scheme on his No. 99 Ford Fusion this weekend in Richmond and lo and behold he's on pole. 

I have been tracking this for quite some time now and nearly 100% of the time the guy on pole either has a new sponsor, is rumored to be losing his sponsor, is racing at a track near the sponsor's headquarters or a big factory, or is trying to land a new sponsor so it's important to make the potential new sponsor think the car is a winner. More ...

Red Bull may use team orders now  (GMM)  With the FIA going easy on Ferrari's use of team orders at Hockenheim, Christian Horner is not ruling out employing similar tactics at Red Bull.

The Italian team was fined $100,000 and ordered to pay the FIA's court costs for the disciplinary hearing last Wednesday, but otherwise escaped penalty for illegally moving Fernando Alonso ahead of Felipe Massa in the German race.

Given the ultra-competitiveness of F1 at present, rival teams might now need to exploit the same loophole, Horner suggested at Monza.

"I think everyone in formula one, certainly the top three teams, will have to consider it.

"I wish we had known before Istanbul!" he remarked, referring to the race in which Sebastian Vettel collided with his teammate Mark Webber whilst they jousted for the lead. More ...

Overheard at Infineon - Sunday (Bernard's Fishing Trip)  UPDATE #3 Bernard returned Thursday from a week in Europe to drumming up support for new chassis and engine platforms in 2012. Bernard and his delegation made about a dozen stops between manufacturers and Formula One teams. "It went really well," Bernard said. "I wanted to introduce myself and create some relationships. We did that," he told the USA Today.  In other words it was indeed a fishing trip, but let's hope he was using some good bait.

09/05/10 Regarding Randy Bernard's European fishing trip mentioned below - Bernard's European trip to meet with potential engine and chassis kit manufacturers caused him to miss an IndyCar race for the first time since he became its chief executive officer in February. He had planned to watch online at 1:30 a.m. local time.

He was optimistic about his meetings with groups such as Ferrari and Cosworth -- visits with McLaren, Audi and Mercedes are yet to come on the trip -- but cautioned that no deals are imminent.

"I've met with a lot of manufacturers, and they're all very interested," he said. "I'd love to tell you there's something to report, but there's not. But a lot of one-hour meetings have turned into five hours." Indy Star

08/25/10 Regarding this original post and the rumor of the new IndyCar doing standing starts on road and street circuits - From Tony Cotman - "yes the 2012 car will be able to accommodate standing starts should the IRL choose to adopt them."

08/22/10 A perfect day for the race in Sonoma, California and the fans responded with the largest IndyCar attendance ever at Infineon Raceway.  Not only did the grandstands have more fans than ever, but the other stands around the track were noticeably up.  Traffic was backed up getting to the track - it looked a little like a NASCAR weekend......Young Frenchman J.K. Vernay looks all but assured of winning the 2010 Indy Lights title and he tells us that his management team is working hard on an IndyCar ride in 2011.  Randy Bernard is also working hard to make sure the Indy Lights champion has a good chance to move up to the big cars.........We hear that Penske Racing has landed a 2nd primary sponsor for 2011.  Verizon will be back with Power we hear and the 2nd sponsor is a previous sponsor that is returning to the series.  Penske's 3rd car still needs sponsorship for next year......We hear that Simona de Silvestro will most likely be back with HVM Racing and the team hopes to run 2 cars next year.......KV Racing will probably run 4 cars again and we hear some new young guys are talking to the team as is Paul Tracy.....We hear that Andretti Autosports will be back with 4 cars as well.....Hearing that Dallara won't have the new rolling chassis until November of next year which means the teams may be forced to use the Dallara aero kit because their competitors won't have time to design a competitive aero kit, and then test it before the 2012 season begins.  So IndyCar may again be a 100% Dallara-Honda series, which is what Brian Barnhart said he wanted before he was forced to open it up to competitive bidding.....Most team owners in the paddock feel Randy Bernard's trip to Europe to talk to car manufacturers about joining the series is nothing more than a fishing trip.  One manufacturer we think they will visit will be Fiat to talk to them about entering the series with the Dodge brand.  Dodge has ties to Roger Penske so one would hope that he has made a few calls to manufacturers to try and open up some doors for the IRL.  Randy Bernard is taking Gil de Ferran with him to Europe to meet with the manufacturers.  We're not sure if anyone else is going with them, but from where we stand Roger Penske should absolutely be part of that entourage.  If anyone would have the ear of a car manufacturer CEO, it would be Roger Penske.......We hear that Standing Starts may be considered for IndyCar on road and street circuits after Champ Car had much success with them......Now the cars run Carbon Fiber brakes on ovals, the IRL may use them for all races after they have had a chance to test them.......Tony Cotman said the engine specifications are his No. 1 priority and will be written by October 1st.  Direct injection may be allowed, but maybe not mandated.......The new transmission and differential will be supplied as part of the rolling chassis supplied by Dallara......The goal of the series is to not allow any manufacturer get too far ahead if there does end up being competition in the series......Cotman says he will pull in the experts he needs from various fields as he writes rules and oversees the development of the new car......Gil de Ferran thinks that the new IndyCar cannot be 'too' spec.  Yes, a spec car saves money but he feels the new car must still be somewhat state-of-the-art/sophisticated image that holds a very high standard in the world.  As long as you are inviting manufacturer competition, the manufacturer must be rewarded for their efforts.    Mark C. reporting from Infineon
Front Row could drop down to 2 teams in 2011:  When asked about the future of the team's third car, the #38 squad that currently sits outside the top 35 in owner points, Front Row Motorsports Jerry Freeze didn't mince words. "It's a big question mark right now. Unless we have some phenomenal success in finding sponsorship, I don't see any way we can carry three cars next year. I think the likely scenario is that FRM will run two cars next year. We really like David Gilliland and Travis Kvapil, we're planning on those guys coming back and we're talking with them about it, so that's the direction I think we'll be going in. Then again, maybe we start next year running that third car if it's in the top 35. If it's not, it may just go away." That said, the team is also very much aware of just how valuable team number three is. They know just how close they are to locking a third entry into the Sprint Cup field, and what that means from both a competitive and fiscal standpoint. "Now we get that car back in the top 35, we have a lot of options for next year," Freeze explains. "That's why we're working so hard ... I would bet the house that if we had a third car in the top 35 at the end of this year that we could find a driver with a sponsor to run the Daytona 500. That's a great-paying race, and could be a great value to FRM." Frontstretch
IRL to be terminated  Today IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard will unveil plans Friday to ditch the Indy Racing League moniker, which has been used since the series' 1996 inception and carries connotations of a bitter split from the defunct Champ Car/CART.

"What better place to explain the transition than in Milwaukee," Bernard said Thursday. "There's so much history and tradition, and we're discontinuing IRL in favor of IndyCar, a [dirty] word that's been known around the world for a long time."

Kovalainen inks 2011 deal  
Heikki Kovalainen
(GMM)  Heikki Kovalainen has admitted at Monza that he knows the identity of his F1 team for 2011, but cannot yet divulge the name.

The Finn is almost certainly staying at Lotus, but he has also been speculatively linked with a return to his first formula one employer, Renault.

"Yes, I know what team I will be with next season, but you'll have to wait a few days before I can say," the former McLaren driver is quoted by Turun Sanomat newspaper. More ...

French GP to return to Magny Cours  
Magny Cours
(GMM)  A return to the formula one grid of French grand prix venue Magny Cours is on the cards for 2012, according to reports.

L'Equipe, and the French news agency AFP, said circuit boss Serge Saulnier sounded bullish on Thursday amid recent efforts to reinstate the race after it was dropped after 2008.

The FIA published the 2011 calendar this week, with France once again omitted.

"Yes.  We stopped in 2008 because the financial cap could not be filled by the counsel general de la Nievre, or the regional Burgundy council," explained Saulnier. More ...

2011 IndyCar schedule rumors (Back to Milwaukee)  UPDATE #8 Speed TV published what it hears will be the real 2011 IndyCar schedule. (It is similar to ours below, but with some shift of venue dates by a week)

MARCH 27 – St. Pete (street circuit)
APRIL 10 – Birmingham, Ala. (road course)
APRIL 17 – Long Beach (street)
MAY 1 – Brazil (street)
MAY 29 – Indianapolis 500
JUNE 12 – Texas doubleheader (oval)
JUNE 19 – Milwaukee (oval)
JUNE 26 – Iowa (oval)
JULY 10 – Toronto (street)
JULY 24 – Edmonton (road course)
AUG. 7 – Mid-Ohio (road course)
AUG. 14 – Loudon (oval)
AUG. 28 – Sonoma (road course)
SEPT. 4 – Baltimore (street)
SEPT. 18 – Motegi, Japan (oval)
OCT. 2 – Kentucky (oval)
OCT. 16 – Las Vegas (oval)

09/08/10 The historic Milwaukee Mile is returning to the Izod IndyCar Series schedule, sanctioning body officials confirmed Tuesday to the Indy Star.  IndyCar officials will be in Milwaukee on Friday to announce the 2011 schedule, including a race at the Mile in late June.

1. 3/27 St. Petersburg
2. 4/3 Barber Motorsports Park
3. 4/17 Long Beach
4. 5/1 Sao Paulo
5. 5/29 Indy 500
6. 6/4 Texas 1&2
7. 6/12 Iowa
8. 6/26 Milwaukee
9. 7/10 Toronto
10. 7/17 Edmonton
11. 7/31 Mid-Ohio
12. 8/14 New Hampshire
13. 8/21 Infineon (Sonoma)
14. 9/4 Baltimore
15. 9/17 Motegi, Japan
16. 10/2 Kentucky
17. 10/16 Las Vegas or Fontana

09/07/10 Strong rumors say, and as expected, the Izod Indy Car Series will return to the Milwaukee Mile in 2011. A news conference is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 10 at the historic track in Brookfield, Wis., where IndyCar Series officials will announce next year’s full-season schedule.

We expect IndyCar to confirm at least 16 races for now with a 17th to follow. A meeting later this month in Las Vegas will determine whether there will be a race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. If not they will end the season at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

09/04/10 Bruton Smith expects the Izod IndyCar Series to end its 2011 season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which he owns. “I'm anxiously anticipating that, and I certainly think it will happen,” Smith said of an IndyCar/LVMS pairing.

IndyCar officials will announce next year's schedule on Friday, likely in Indianapolis. There will be 16 races announced initially, with either Las Vegas or Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., announced at a later date.

IndyCar's first choice is to end the season at Las Vegas, but that depends on sponsorship dollars coming in from local groups. If a deal can't be struck, CEO Randy Bernard will turn his attention to Fontana. AutoWeek

09/04/10 This story confirms the Oct. 2nd date for the Kentucky race next year.  So the 2011 schedule is looking like this:

1. St. Petersburg
2. Barber Motorsports Park
3. Long Beach
4. Sao Paulo
5. Indy 500
6. Texas 1&2
7. Iowa
8. Milwaukee
9. Toronto
10. Edmonton
11. Mid-Ohio
12. New Hampshire
13. Infineon (Sonoma)
14. Baltimore
15. Kentucky
16. Motegi
17. Las Vegas or Fontana (If they go to Fontana it will be a complete failure)

09/03/10 Hearing that next year's Kentucky race could be October 2nd.  So we can see next year's schedule close out with:
Sept. 4  Baltimore
Sept. 18 Motegi
Oct. 2 Kentucky
Oct. 16 Las Vegas

09/02/10 The New Hampshire race has been confirmed for August 14, 2011. More ...
Honda to sponsor another IndyCar race  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement from Honda.

09/09/10 Officials with the IZOD IndyCar Series are in Birmingham today to discuss the future of the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, including what is expected to be a major announcement regarding a title sponsor for the open-wheel race at Barber Motorsports Park.

Among the officials in town are defending Indy Grand Prix of Alabama champion Helio Castroneves and representatives from Honda Manufacturing of Alabama in Lincoln.

Honda, according to multiple sources, is set to become the title sponsor for the race. al.com
Mercedes inflates price for 2011 KERS supply  (GMM)  The price for customer teams of Mercedes' 2011-specification KERS system has reportedly increased from an original EUR 1 million to 6 million.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that F1 teams initially agreed that customer supplies of the energy-recovery technology next should cost purchasing teams just 1 million euros.

A further 5 million euros per team could then be spent on developing the systems.

But instead of receiving 1 million euro invoices from Mercedes, customer teams McLaren and Force India are reportedly being charged 6 million each. More ...

Cadillac to have a go at DTM?  Pratt & Miller is in pre-build engineering a Caddy for GM. What effect on other GM programs, if any? Seemingly nothing for ALMS fans, since Corvette Racing (the Pratt & Miller American Le Mans Series program in its entirety) has been approved/funded by GM to race through the 2013 season.

Over at Grand Am GM is pressuring teams to ditch their Corvettes in favor of Camaros – or Camaro look-alikes. So where does the Caddy go? A CTS-V has been regularly running around the Nurburgring lately.  Hmm......

Kenny Francis to leave Petty team  We have it on good word that Petty Enterprises Crew Chief Kenny Francis will follow Kasey Kahne to the Red Bull team next year and then to Hendrick Motorsports.  In fact he may leave the Petty team before the end of this season.
Ferrari could leave F1 for IndyCar?  Ferrari is not happy with F1's reported plans for a four-cylinder, 1.6 liter turbocharged engine formula for the 2013 season and beyond.

It emerged this week that the broad outline of the sport's future rules has been essentially decided and agreed by the majority of the teams.

According to Italy's Autosprint, the famous Ferrari outfit is not among them.

Instead, the report said the Maranello based team wants formula one to revert to a 1.8 liter V6 engine design, which would be much easier to adapt from the current 2.4 liter V8s.  Ferrari is right, the V-design is torsionally more rigid, and the extra engine displacement and two extra cylinders equates to less stress on the engine in order to meet the requirement that engines get 5 full race weekends between rebuilds.  This is the same argument Honda (HPD) made to IndyCar in lobbying for the V6 option and more displacement. More ...

2013 F1 car to be turbo, 1.6L at low 10K RPM  UPDATE (GMM)  More details about the shape of radical new regulations for 2013 have continued to emerge.

Earlier, it was reported that most teams have essentially agreed that the field will in future be powered by 1.6 liter, 4 cylinder turbo engines, with the cars featuring 80s-style 'ground effect' aerodynamics.

Monday's reports also said drivers will be limited to using just five of the 650 horse power engines in 2013.

The online magazine GPWeek has now revealed some additional details of the new formula.

The publication said the turbo engines will run at about 10,000rpm, and feature an efficient limit on the fuel flow -- culminating in a 'green' formula that some insiders believe might entice manufacturers back onto the grid. More ...

FIA to leave 13th team spot vacant in 2011  (GMM)  According to emerging rumors, the FIA has decided to leave the 13th team position vacant for the 2011 season.

It is believed that Epsilon Euskadi, and the Villeneuve/Durango alliance, were the only two contenders to make their grand prix debuts next year.

But according to the speculation early this week, F1's governing body has concluded that neither has a strong enough combination of engineering and financial resource.

It is believed the decision could be publicized after Friday's regular meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Como (Italy).

Internally, the FIA is believed to have made the decision one week ago.

The IRL won't return to The Glen or any ISC track  UPDATE #8 A 17-race IndyCar Series schedule for 2011 will be announced Friday in Indianapolis with no tracks from International Speedway Corporation (ISC) expected to be on the slate. IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard said last week that despite a meeting with ISC representatives at Chicagoland Speedway before the IndyCar race on Aug. 28, it was "too little, too late" to keep any of the ISC tracks on next year's schedule. ISC officials have squawked about the $1.5 million sanctioning fee that IndyCar is requesting next season.

Among the major changes that will be unveiled: the race at Kentucky Speedway will be moved from Labor Day Weekend to Oct. 2, moving from a Saturday night race to a Sunday day race. It will be the next-to-last race of the season. If Bruton Smith, the chairman of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., has his way, the IndyCar Series championship will be decided at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Bernard is attempting to get the Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Bureau to sponsor the event with a large purse for the championship finale. Another idea that has been floated is to have two races that weekend, with a street race crowning the Mario Andretti Trophy winner on Day 1 with the championship finale taking place on the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway the following day, according to sources. SI.com

09/02/10 As Watkins Glen International prepares for its final spectator events of the season over the next two weekends, ominous signs continue to persist about the future of the track's IZOD IndyCar Series event.

IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard suggested Saturday he may be at an impasse in negotiations for 2011 dates with International Speedway Corp., which owns four tracks on the 2010 IndyCar schedule, including Watkins Glen.

The main grandstands at Watkins Glen were mainly empty on race day this year, but a fair amount of campers were on the grounds and the first turn grandstands were 80% full
Ron McQueeney/IRL
"ISC has their primary objectives and IndyCar has their primary objectives, and I'm not sure if we're all on the same page right now," Bernard said at Chicagoland Speedway.

That is not a very positive statement -- especially so late in the negotiation process -- for Glen race fans who are hoping for a return of the series next year.

Amy Konrath, the director of media relations for IndyCar, said in an e-mail Wednesday that the 2011 schedule will "most likely be announced in a week or so."

Bernard's latest comments tend to support the rampant media speculation in recent weeks that all four of the current ISC tracks -- Chicagoland, Kansas Motor Speedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway and Watkins Glen International -- will not return to the IZOD IndyCar schedule in 2011. More ...

Red Bull, Force India, to swap engines for 2011?  UPDATE #2 This rumor is downgraded to 'false.'  Force India will continue to use Mercedes engines next season despite rumors claiming they may lose their supply to Red Bull.

Red Bull Racing are currently powered by Renault, however, the team's bosses have made remarks suggesting they may want to swap to Mercedes, who reportedly have the most powerful engine in the field.

Mercedes, though, already power their own F1 team, McLaren and Force India, prompting their bosses to insist that the German car manufacturer has enough customers on the books.

This led to rumors that Force India could be dropped by Mercedes in order to make space for the German company to supply Red Bull Racing.

However, Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug has been quick to deny these claims.

"Mr. Mallya (Force India's owner) is exemplary with the payment of his bills," Haug told Auto Motor und Sport. "We have no plans to change our customers." More ...

Italian shoe brand eyes F1 sponsor deal  (GMM)  Italian shoe manufacturer Geox is looking into sponsoring a formula one team in 2011.

The Montebelluna based company, the maker of shoes with waterproof and breathable qualities, said on Monday it has already held talks with teams including Red Bull.

"Extreme sports with high technological content such as cycling and formula one can be interesting to us," boss Mario Moretti Polegato, also owner of sporting brand Diadora, told reporters.

Pirelli to propose universal tire for F1 and GP2  (GMM)  It is now clear that next year's formula one tires will be identical to the ones used in the feeder series GP2.

We reported last month that, as Nick Heidfeld began testing Pirelli's F1 prototypes at Mugello, also running the tires for the Italian marque was a GP2 car driven by Briton Ben Hanley.

Pirelli's track program continued last week at Paul Ricard, where this time alongside Heidfeld's 2009 Toyota was Giorgio Pantano in the GP2 Dallara.

"We were using the same tires as Heidfeld with the 2009 Toyota," confirmed GP2 technical director Didier Perrin, according to Germany's Auto Bild. More ...

Chase Changes still up in the air  NASCAR officials continue to discuss possible changes to the Chase for the Sprint Cup for the 2011 season and beyond. With NASCAR chairman Brian France having promised significant changes, officials are continuing to debate the positives and negatives of switching to a format that would include driver eliminations as the Chase progresses. The most controversial part of the discussions centers on the concept of a winner take all format in the final race of the season. France wants to add what he has described as "World Series game seven" excitement and tension to the closing weeks of the season, but some drivers have stressed that NASCAR should continue to consider drivers' body of work during the season. Ford
Ekstrom back in the #83 car at Richmond?  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  Mattias Ekstrom, a two-time champion in the German Touring Car Series, will make his second Cup start for #83 Red Bull Racing on Sept. 11 at Richmond, pending a successful test Tuesday at North Wilkesboro Speedway. As a fill-in for Brian Vickers, who is undergoing treatment for blood clots, Ekstrom qualified 38th and finished 21st after leading seven laps in his Cup debut at the road course at Infineon Raceway in June. Sporting News

08/18/10 There is a possibility that Mattias Ekstrom will return to drive the #83 Red Bull Racing Toyota at Richmond International Raceway on Sept 11th. Ekstrom, a Red Bull Racing driver, made his Sprint Cup debut at Infineon Raceway in June, starting 38th and finishing 21st. Due to a DTM race on Nürburgring, Ekstrom was unable to run the car at Watkins Glen, Boris Said drove the car there. Motorsport Total? There is a possibility that Mattias Ekstrom will return to drive the #83 Red Bull Racing Toyota at Richmond International Raceway on Sept 11th. Ekstrom, a Red Bull Racing driver, made his Sprint Cup debut at Infineon Raceway in June, starting 38th and finishing 21st. Due to a DTM race on Nürburgring, Ekstrom was unable to run the car at Watkins Glen, Boris Said drove the car there. Motorsport Total
Williams to supply hydraulics to new teams in 2011  (GMM)  Williams could be set to supply its hydraulic systems to F1's small new formula one teams.

This year, new entrants Lotus, Virgin and HRT have been using the FIA-arranged standard hydraulics system supplied by Xtrac.

But the systems have proved problematic and unreliable, and it is believed Lotus is designing its own hydraulics for 2011.

And the German-language motorline.cc claims that Williams, the famous independent British team that is also powered by Cosworth engines, could be an option for the other new teams next year.

"We have been asked, and we have agreed," technical director Sam Michael is quoted as confirming.

He did not, however, reveal the names of Williams' new hydraulic systems customers.

Did IRL overlook cheaters  UPDATE Izod IndyCar Series officials are not talking about what is being referred to as a questionable underwing used by some cars in last weekend's race at Chicagoland Speedway.

At least three cars were believed to have used the suspicious part, and talk in the paddock has centered on the three Andretti Autosport drivers who finished in the top five: Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Tony Kanaan. Series officials routinely put the top five race finishers through a post-race technical inspection process.

Danica Patrick, the team's fourth driver, was not subjected to that inspection, so it's unclear if she had it, too. Team officials declined comment as no penalties were issued. AutoWeek

09/03/10 Rumor has it in Kentucky that there were 4 IndyCars cars SIGNIFICANTLY out of spec after Chicagoland. Interesting to see how this plays out!  If it affects the winner, we suspect nothing will be done and it will be swept under the rug.
Could Honda move Toronto race to Mosport?  UPDATE #2 A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com I am writing to you in response to Adriano Manocchia article about Mosport being unsafe to hold an IndyCar race.  I say he is wrong.  If he happened to do a little research he would have found out that Mr. Panoz did some major improvements to the track back in 2000 and made it FIA approved and widened the track to 40 feet.  Has he ever been to Watkins Glen?  It has the guardrails just like Mosport and if IndyCar showed interest in coming to Mosport ,they would make any improvements to the track that where necessary  to hold the race.  They should combine IndyCar with the ALMS, that would be a fantastic weekend and they would get over 100,000 fans easily for a weekend like that.  Also Mosport is a safe track as much as Road America, or Road Atlanta. Bert Walsh Kingston Ont., Canada 

[Editor's Note: See Adriano's photos from Mosport]

Another reader writes, Man, am I torn about this concept!  Almost every year since I was 8 or 9 years old until the mid-90s, my dad and I would make the pilgrimage down to turn 5 (or Moss corner) to watch the Can-Am or Trans-Am.  That was back in the days before they widened the track when two cars could barely fit side-by-side.  What a thrill to watch them launch off of 5 and up the Mario Andretti straight flat out and over the crest at the top!  Even today in its much wider and smoother format, it's thrilling to watch high-horsepower prototypes or NCTS stock cars wind it out around the circuit.  A big part of me would love to see the next generation IndyCar with upwards of 750-800 HP scream around this track - it would be simply jaw-dropping!

Sadly, I think a combination of technology and financial mismanagement/abandonment has prevented Mosport from remaining at the pinnacle of North American road racing.  I'm not sure anybody, even somebody with the deep pockets of Don Panoz, would want to open their wallets to spend what would sure to be millions to bring the barriers, run-off areas, paddock up to date.  I haven't been there in a few years, but as I recall, there isn't even a main grandstand there anymore.  While countless drivers (the true road racers anyways, the Dixons, the Powers, the Wilsons and yes, the Tracys) in IndyCar would foam at the mouth at an opportunity to run Mosport in an open-wheel car, I just don't see it happening.  A single death to a driver or fan due to inadequate facilities would cast such a pall over this magnificent circuit, and this great old lady of North American road racing simple doesn't deserve such a bad rap.  Let her continue to age gracefully and proudly host sports cars and developmental series and show the next generation's up and comers what a real driving track is all about. Rob Knowles More ...
Nissan eyes DTM  Nissan has admitted that it is in discussions that could take it into the DTM, this week’s AUTOSPORT magazine reveals.  Company vice-president Carlos Tavares, whose remit includes motorsport, revealed that Nissan had “some interesting ideas for the future” and that it had entered into a dialogue with DTM organizer the ITR.

His comments suggest that Nissan could be the Japanese manufacturer touted to join the series by the ITR when new rules come on stream in 2012.

“We have had discussions with the ITR, but we have not made any decisions so far,” Tavares told AUTOSPORT. “The DTM is interesting for many reasons, one of which is its success in terms of spectator attendance.” More ...

Dallara to be only player in IndyCar aero-kit game  This SPEEDTV.com article makes a strong case of why it is economically infeasible to produce an IndyCar aero-kit and why it is very likely that Dallara will be the only manufacturer providing one for the 2012 Dallara-Honda IndyCar series.
Doubts persist about October's Korea GP  UPDATE #5 (GMM)  According to the International Sporting Code, F1's governing body should already have approved or rejected the new South Korea circuit ahead of its inaugural grand prix.

Instead, the venue has been given until September 21 to prepare for Charlie Whiting's final inspection, with a FIA spokesman admitting "a lot of work remains to be completed" at the Yeongam site, according to the Telegraph.

Proposed South Korea F1 track
Appendix O of the Code says the final inspection for a permanent venue should take place "not later than 90 days before the first international event to be held" there.

If adhered to, Korea's final inspection should have taken place at the end of July, given its late October race date.

And if a circuit fails its final inspection, the sporting regulations state that the event "will not be considered for inclusion in the following year's championship unless the FIA judges the cancellation to have been due to force majeure". More ...

Spa F1 race could disappear again  
Rain most of the weekend probably hurt the attendance
(GMM)  Spa-Francorchamps fell more than 10,000 tickets short of its spectator target for the recent Belgian grand prix.

Only 52,500 spectators attended last Sunday's race, after the organizers had targeted the figure of 65,000 in order to "achieve a balanced financial position".

Crowds well above 100,000 were regularly recorded early last decade.

According to the AFP news agency in a French language report, the organizers are concerned about seeing the event's local government funding reduced when the current contract expires in 2012.

"It is necessary to reduce the impact of this event on the finances of the Walloon region," admitted local economy minister Jean-Claude Marcourt. More ...

Kolles hints HRT to keep same race lineup  (GMM)  Team boss Colin Kolles has backed Sakon Yamamoto's claim that the Japanese driver is set to keep his race seat with HRT in 2010.

Yamamoto, and reportedly a healthy raft of personal sponsors, joined the struggling Spanish team's race lineup at Silverstone, and said this week he will stay in the car for the rest of the season.

The 28-year-old said he did not know if he would continue to have Bruno Senna as a teammate or whether Karun Chandhok will return, but boss Kolles has hinted that HRT will keep its current drivers for the last six races of 2010.

"I think there is no reason to make any changes so far," said Dr Kolles. More ...

Lotus to GP3 and GP2  According to AR1.com sources, Lotus cars (not Lotus F1 team) to join forces with ART in GP3 and GP2.  The Lotus marketing strategy is to put their name on cars in many series to increase their name recognition in hopes of selling more passenger cars.
ALMS to team with IndyCar in Baltimore, but Oklahoma says no  UPDATE #5 Even though the Oklahoma City council on Tuesday rejected a proposal to bring the American Le Mans Series to town in 2011, professional racing could still hit its streets in 2012.

That's the view of OKC Motorsports CEO Mike McAuliffe, who told www.newsok.com on Tuesday night that his group is holding additional talks to bring some form of motorsports to Oklahoma City--but with funds from private investors and not taxpayers, as OKC Grand Prix LLC proposed on Tuesday.

"I just want people around here to know the potential of racing is not dead because of the action that [the city council took on Tuesday],” McAuliffe told the Web site.

While he did not provide further details, including which series he was targeting, McAuliffe said he is deep into discussions with that series, sponsors and investors.

09/01/10 The Oklahoma City Council has rejected a plan that would have committed $7 million in city money to land an ALMS race.  The council voted 6-2 against the proposal Tuesday. Opponents said they did not feel comfortable committing the money in the current economic climate.  The proposal by Oklahoma City Grand Prix LLC called for an American Le Mans Series race during the Fourth of July weekend next year. The money was to be repaid by the group over a 10-year period.  Businessman Trent Ward helped lead the effort to secure the funding. After the vote, he said the opportunity to host such a race probably won't come again. [Editor's Note:  A race in Oklahoma City on July 4th?  It would have been so hot the fans would NEVER come back.  What were they thinking?]

09/01/10 Here is the official press release confirming this rumor to be true  with regard to Baltimore.  However, the American Le Mans Series will not hold a race on the streets of Oklahoma City in 2011. The Oklahoma City council voted against the proposal on Tuesday, citing the poor economy. The council voted 6-2 against the plan.

Trent Ward, who along with Brad Lund is a director of Oklahoma City Grand Prix LLC, said after the vote that he and his group probably will not continue to pursue the issue.

08/27/10 ALMS — the American Le Mans Series — will join the IndyCar Series for races on downtown streets over Labor Day weekend 2011.

While an official announcement is expected at a news conference Wednesday that will be attended by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and officials from Baltimore Racing Development, a spokesman for ALMS confirmed that the Oklahoma-based racing organization will be bringing its 34 teams to Baltimore.

While not saying whether a contract had been signed, Bob Dickinson said, "I doubt we'd be up there (for the press conference) if we didn't have a race planned." More ...

Carmaker Renault considers buying back F1 team  UPDATE (GMM) Renault F1 has scoffed at reports suggesting its former French carmaker parent is considering buying back the Enstone based team.

Amid the car sales crisis and economic downturn, and the damaging crashgate scandal, Renault SA sold a rumored 85 per cent of the team that still bears its name to Luxembourg-based investment firm Genii Capital.

But Finland's Turun Sanomat claimed the carmaker's financial situation has dramatically improved to the point that it is interested in returning wholeheartedly to F1.

"Rumor mill in overdrive with some creative stories on the web," Renault F1 said via its official Twitter account. More ...

NASCAR considering multi-car qualifying next year  The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has implemented a multi-truck qualifying system in recent weeks, first used at Pocono and scheduled for use again this weekend at Kentucky, which is reportedly being considered for both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series next year. The format calls for two vehicles on track simultaneously in an effort to speed up the qualifying session with the order of time trials based on the last practice session starting with the slowest time and progressing to the truck with the fastest lap. CBS Sports
Milwaukee to replace Chicago IndyCar race  UPDATE In addition to the Indy Racing League, itself, two potential promoters are interested in being involved in bringing the IndyCar Series back to the Milwaukee Mile, the head of the league said Saturday.
“Hopefully something in the next couple years, if not this year, can be done,” Randy Bernard, CEO of the Indy Racing League, said before the race at Chicagoland Speedway.

“I want that event bad. The traditionalists, the purists, we have a tremendous fan base that feels we left them behind, and I think this is a step toward showing we want to make sure tradition stays a part of IndyCar, as well as moving the sport forward too.”

Major racing left the Mile after last season, when the former promoter, Wisconsin Motorsports, defaulted on its payments to the Indy Racing League and NASCAR and to State Fair Park, which owns the track. The most likely scenario for the IRL’s return would involve an individual or group renting the facility.

In an interview last month, Bernard said for the league to promote a race at the Mile – with two partners he has not identified -- he was looking for the State of Wisconsin to contribute $400,000 for the first year. More ...

Sauber denies selling team......yet  (GMM)  Peter Sauber and Gerhard Berger have denied reports the pair are set to share ownership of the Hinwil based formula one team.

With former Sauber owner BMW pulling out at the end of last year, and Berger no longer co-owning the Toro Rosso team, it had been suggested the Austrian former ten time grand prix winner could use the opportunity to return to F1.

But Berger told Auto Motor und Sport: "If Peter Sauber has trouble getting sponsors, then so would I."

Peter Sauber confirmed: "Gerhard and I have had no contact on this subject." More ...

Comcast to kill off Versus brand  NBC Sports is a stronger brand than Versus, which is why Comcast, in the first couple of months after regulatory approval, is expected to rename Versus to something like the NBC Sports Channel or NBC Sports Network. Golf Channel and Universal Sports will not be renamed. For Comcast, a national cable network that shares a name with a broadcast network will help the two share programming and talent.

We expect the new NBC Sports Channel to carry one or two Notre Dame football games each season. We can see it telecast early round coverage of NBC’s PGA Tour golf events (like The Players Championship) rather than Golf Channel. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see on-air talent working across all the channels as Comcast tries to set up the ESPN competitor that leagues have been seeking for the past several years.
Sadler should know 2011 plans in "2-3 weeks"  Elliott Sadler told Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody Tuesday that he expects to know his future plans within the next 2-3 weeks. Sadler is unlikely to return to Richard Petty Motorsports in 2011, after co-owner Richard Petty said the team is likely to scale back to just two cars next season with drivers AJ Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose. Sadler's current sponsor, Stanley Tools, will back Ambrose next season. "I have really enjoyed running up front in the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series' these last few weeks," said Sadler, "and I'm hopeful that within the next couple of weeks, I can say, `Dave, this is what I'm going to do in 2011.' I'm not necessarily saying I'll be in the Nationwide or Trucks, though. I am also talking to Sprint Cup team that is looking at the possibility of expanding with an additional car next season. We'll see what happens." Sirius Speedway
Petrov to race Renault-powered Lotus in 2011?  
Vitaly Petrov
(GMM)  Vitaly Petrov might leave Renault but remain powered by the French marque's engines in formula one next year.

That is the claim of the Swiss publication Motorsport Aktuell, amid reports Enstone based Renault is still yet to decide if the Russian rookie is good enough to stay with the works team in 2011.

Petrov, 25, has performed well at recent races but suffered a setback at Spa-Francorchamps when he crashed before setting a lap in qualifying.

Motorsport Aktuell believes one possible outcome for Petrov is a seat next year with Lotus, who are strongly rumored to be switching from Cosworth to Renault power for 2011. More ...

Silly season rumor hints at Massa/Kubica seat swap  (GMM)  Even with the top cockpits locked out for 2011, formula one's silly season continues to run.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa and Renault's Robert Kubica have signed new contracts to stay with their respective teams not only next year but also in 2012.

But Televisio de Catalunya has reported that the respectively Brazilian and Polish pair could swap race seats for 2011.

The move would see Massa, who has had a difficult season so far with Ferrari, race for Renault next year, freeing up Kubica to be Fernando Alonso's Ferrari teammate.

Red Bull strategist set for Ferrari switch  
Neil Martin
(GMM)  A prominent engineer could be set to switch from Red Bull to Ferrari, according to rumors in Italy. Neil Martin, currently chief strategist at the energy drink owned team and with years of previous experience with McLaren, is eyeing a similar role with F1's famous Italian outfit, according to the unconfirmed speculation.

The reports indicated that Martin's switch might indicate a deeper technical restructuring at Maranello based Ferrari.  The rumors may reportedly not be confirmed for several weeks. Pat Fry, who worked alongside Martin at McLaren, also recently moved to Ferrari.

Walker, Beck and Sudler back in the saddle?  Rumor has it that Greg Beck, Steve Sudler, and Derrick Walker are planning to join forces for a 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series effort under the banner Walker Racing Partners.  Beck will supposedly supply the cars and equipment, Walker the facility and crew and Sudler the Marketing and Sponsorship.
Global Racing Engine gaining traction  In this article Randy Bernard addressed some of the issues with the Global Racing Engine (GRE).  Since then it appears the GRE is gaining steam.  In this article, Delta Wing's Dan Partel is convinced the ‘Global Racing Engine’ concept will take off over the next few years with four or five manufacturers already looking at supplying different versions of the ‘GRE’ to different categories from touring and rally cars to single-seaters.

“Chevrolet, Ford, Mazda and BMW are up and running with their in-line fours,” Partel says. “The FIA regulations for the GRE will require the automobile manufacturers to sell or make available to the public the basic components of their engines within six months of entering competition. We believe we will be able to buy production engines that would require a dry sump lubrication kit and a few other bits and bobs for $15,000-$20,000. This whole thing has been well thought-out by the engine manufacturers working with the FIA and obviously they are going ahead with it.”

Partel says he’s sure the VW Group will also produce a ‘GRE’. “At the moment there are a lot of internal politics going on inside the VW Group so it’s difficult to say what’s going to happen, but I have no doubt that Volkswagen-Audi will be I-4 engine suppliers in the future.”

This sure sounds better than just a Honda engine, which is what the Dallara IndyCar series will have again.

Tracy eyes last 4 IndyCar races  UPDATE #3 This rumor, first broke here at AR1.com,  is upgraded to 'fact' and will soon be announced.

08/25/10 According to AR1.com sources, Dreyer & Reinbold will announce that they will run Paul Tracy for two more races in 2010 - Kentucky & Motegi.  We hear that Motegi Racing Wheels will continue to support Tracy in these next few races.  The season finale at Homestead is still up in the air as it depends on whether Mike Conway is ready to return to the cockpit.

08/25/10 It looks like Paul Tracy will get at least one more start in the IZOD IndyCar series this season. The Dreyer & Reinhold Racing team — which fields a car for Tracy at Watkins Glen in July — said Tracy is among two drivers, the other being South African Tomas Scheckter, to split driving duties with Ana Beatriz in the final 4 IndyCar races in 2010.  Beatriz has already been confirmed for Chicagoland this weekend.

08/17/10 Paul Tracy is working on trying to run the last 4 IndyCar races this year and reports that he is getting closer.
F1 testing to increase in 2011  UPDATE (GMM)  Discussions about a pre-race test in Bahrain immediately before the 2011 season took place at Spa-Francorchamps. We reported at the weekend that the team managers' meeting about the 2011 test schedule took place on Friday.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport had said 15 days of winter testing, with four of them occurring in Bahrain in the days before the March 13 season opener, were on the table.

But FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh has revealed that there will actually be six full tests in the off-season, including one in Bahrain.

"It (Bahrain) hasn't been quite agreed yet," he warned.

"We want to make sure that it's cost effective for the small teams," added the McLaren team boss. More ...

Sarah Fisher Racing on the ropes?  UPDATE We had posted the wrong video with this rumor.  It has been corrected.

08/29/10 Listen to this interview - Sarah Fisher says she has to sell her cars in the off-season. Will she be back?

Andretti team to retain all 4 drivers  After a period of concern, Michael Andretti says he now believes his team will re-sign 7-Eleven, the major sponsor on Tony Kanaan’s Izod IndyCar Series car. If a contract renewal happens, Kanaan will be positioned to finish out the final two years of the four-year contract he signed late in 2008. There is an option for a fifth year.

“All indications are that’s what’s going to happen,” said Andretti, who owns Andretti Autosport. “That’s the plan.”

Andretti and his staff have met with 7-Eleven officials during the past two IndyCar race weekends.  More ...

Another money-losing F1 race in jeopardy  The popular Belgian Grand Prix may only take place once every other year in the future, alternating with the Nurburgring in Germany, that is the proposal being considered by Etienne Davignon, the president of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.

“We have already been congratulated by F1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone. The facilities we have here are perfect. I have said in previous years though we will look at the figures and examine them year-on-year,” Davignon told hln.be. 

“We have certain overall targets in terms of income and expenditure. I don’t want to give exact figures now, although ticket sales on Tuesday and Wednesday [before the race] were generally on course. More ...

Mayfield vs. NASCAR could continue into 2011  Jeremy Mayfield's quest to make NASCAR pay for what he says was a drug test that was a false positive for methamphetamines likely will stretch well into 2011. Mayfield, whose claims against NASCAR were dismissed by a U.S. District Court judge in May, must first defend himself against a countersuit by NASCAR before appealing the decision to throw out his claims. NASCAR claims that Mayfield breached his contract with NASCAR for competing while in violation of its substance abuse policy.

According to a revised schedule filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Charlotte, motions for summary judgment must be filed by Feb. 4, 2011. Those would have to be ruled on before any trial begins, meaning that it likely will be next spring, at the earliest, before that portion of the case could go to trial. Once a decision on NASCAR's counterclaim is made by either the judge or a jury, the appeals process likely would proceed throughout 2011. Mayfield will meet with NASCAR on Sept. 8 in mediation to try to settle NASCAR's breach-of-contract claim against him. Whether Mayfield could pay any claims is questionable. He has judgments of $874,000 against him and Mayfield Motorsports for unpaid bills and taxes.  More from SceneDaily
New floor flex tests to debut at Monza  (GMM)  Red Bull is using an unchanged front wing at Spa-Francorchamps, but the floor of the RB6 might soon have to be tweaked to satisfy tougher FIA scrutineering tests.

The front wing flexibility test was altered for Belgium, essentially to ensure that wings are bending downwards only in a linear fashion when weights are proportionately applied.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner said these tests had not necessitated a design change since the car dominated in Hungary, but it has emerged at Spa that the FIA also has its eye on other aspects of alleged flexing. More ...

Lotus to use Renault gearbox in 2011 - report  (GMM)  Renault is likely to supply not only the engine but also the gearbox to Lotus in 2011, according to reports.

Turun Sanomat, close to the team's Finnish driver Heikki Kovalainen, also said that after using standard Xtrac hydraulics this season, Lotus is designing its own system for 2011.

The Lotus/Renault tie up, with the French marque also to supply the F1 team's electronics next year, could be part of a bigger arrangement with Group Lotus, the separately Malaysian-owned sports car company.

Currently, Lotus road cars are powered by Toyota engines.

"Next year's (F1) car is well under way," technical boss Mike Gascoyne told F1's official website.  "The main focus now is on 2011 -- to make sure we take a big step forward."

Mercedes may not replace Heidfeld as reserve driver  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  Norbert Haug has confirmed that Mercedes will not appoint a formal replacement for its departed F1 reserve driver Nick Heidfeld.  With just seven races to go in 2010, the Brackley based team agreed to release German Heidfeld so that he can become Pirelli's permanent tire development tester.

Departed Virgin tester Andy Soucek was mentioned as a possible replacement, but reports also indicated that Mercedes might decide not to fill the vacant role for the last third of the season.

"We do not intend to fill this role for the remaining races in 2010," confirmed Mercedes' Haug in an interview with SID news agency.

He also tipped 33-year-old Heidfeld to use his new Pirelli role as a springboard back onto the formula one grid.

"Absolutely.  Don't forget that Nick has already beaten the current championship leader Mark Webber as a teammate (at Williams in 2005)," said Haug. More ...

Will Heidfeld steer Pirelli tires Mercedes way  Nick Heidfeld has completed Pirelli's first two days of evaluation testing prior to the Italian company's three year F1 control tire supply, which begins in 2011.

Heidfeld tested a Toyota TF109 on experimental versions of the PZero F1 rubber as Pirelli seeks to define front and rear profile and construction ahead of further testing.

Pirelli's motorsport director, Paul Hembery, said: "This was the first step of our return to F1 and we are very satisfied with how the tires performed and the information we were able to collect.

"Mugello has quite an abrasive surface with long and medium/high-speed corners as well as hairpins and quick changes of direction so it is quite a good proving ground. We are on target and we come away from the test with lots of data to analyze, which is exactly the situation we hoped to be in." More ...

2011 IndyCar finale in Fontana?  Auto Club Speedway president Gillian Zucker wasn't kidding when she said the track would make every effort to land an IndyCar Series race in Fontana. [Note: See related rumor that NASCAR may have ruined IndyCar doing Vegas as a season finale, which is too bad really.]

Initially, many scoffed at the idea of the open-wheel series returning to the two-mile oval that produced the world's fastest race in 2003. In winning the Toyota Indy 400, Sam Hornish Jr. averaged 207.151 mph, a mark that stands today.

There have been reports that the IndyCar Series and International Speedway Corp., the track owner, were not exactly on the same business page and that the sanctioning body didn't want to race twice in Southern California. The IndyCar Series has been the main draw at the Long Beach Grand Prix since 2008.

However, Zucker is pressing the IndyCar Series for a date, possibly as early as 2011. Now that ACS has just one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in March, there's plenty of open dates at Fontana. More ...

MotoGP back at Indy in 2011  As MotoGP unloads its motorcycles today to prepare for the third Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix, the race appears to be on the verge of getting a green flag for next year.

With thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts expected to descend upon the city this weekend, Indianapolis Motor Speedway President and CEO Jeff Belskus is optimistic they will have reason to return in the future.

Sunday's race is the last in the original three-year deal, but talks are ongoing with Dorna, which holds MotoGP's commercial rights. A new contract could be announced before the international series leaves town. More ...

Sutil's hopes of joining Renault team can open doors for Di Resta  UPDATE #2
Adrian Sutil
(GMM)  Adrian Sutil has hinted once again that he might not be lining up in next year's Force India car. The German has been with the Silverstone based team since it was called Spyker in 2007, but has been linked with a move to Renault for 2011.

Sutil, 27, recently played down those rumors, but in a new interview with Germany's Bild newspaper he admitted he is hoping for a "big break" in his career.

Asked if he can become champion with Force India, he answered: "That would be a dream but it's probably unrealistic.  There are several options for 2011, but right now I want to concentrate on this season and not talk about next year," added Sutil.

However, he said he feels ready to make the next step.

"I want to fight for the championship.  At the moment it's about the top ten, but it must progress.  My motivation is that, at some point, my big break will come," added Sutil.

07/30/10 (GMM)  Adrian Sutil has admitted that switching to the Renault team would be an "interesting" move for 2011.

The 27-year-old German said in Hungary on Friday that his future remains "open", despite having "an option" to stay with Force India next year.

Rumors have linked him with Renault, who are contemplating replacing Russian rookie Vitaly Petrov for 2011. More ...

Williams in running for MasterCard sponsorship  (GMM)  Two teams are reportedly in the running to secure the sponsorship of the American credit card multinational MasterCard.

Earlier this year, it was reported that Renault was courting a deal with the New York Stock Exchange-listed company.

Finland's Turun Sanomat now claims that Williams is also in the running, even if Renault remains the favorite.

MasterCard sponsored Lola's stillborn F1 effort in 1997, and the Jordan team in 1998-2001.

McLaren to remove F-duct for Monza - report  UPDATE (GMM)  McLaren on Wednesday would not confirm reports its F-duct innovation will be removed from the MP4-25 ahead of the forthcoming Italian grand prix.

It was reported that, because the concept is designed to boost straight-line speed by shedding rear wing drag on the straights, it will be inefficient at Monza due to the minimal downforce configuration of the cars there.

"I read that on Monday morning and there were a few of us raising our eyebrows," McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale told reporters during a Vodafone teleconference.

"We have the option to either run it or not.  I think at the moment we are just looking at all the options.  It is incorrect to assume we can make any decisions (yet) as to whether we are (going to use the F-duct at Monza) or not," he added.

Neale said a final decision will be made after studying data from this weekend's Spa-Francorchamps event.

He also revealed that, after Red Bull dominated in Hungary amid the flexible wing saga, McLaren is still no closer to understanding the phenomena at the front of the RB6. More ...

Legal trouble ahead for Force India at Monza?  UPDATE #2 (GMM)  Force India has played down reports the team's assets might be seized while it is at Monza for the Italian grand prix next month.

A legal spat between the Silverstone based team and an Italian wind tunnel company has resulted in Force India being ordered to pay more than EUR 1 million to Aerolab.

Aerolab said in a statement last week that Force India's presence at Monza next month "could trigger further exchanges of action between the two parties".

But a Force India spokeswoman has played down the prospect of the team's assets being seized due to non-payment of the High Court judgment. More ...

Parr to replace Whitmarsh as FOTA chairman  (GMM)  Martin Whitmarsh is reportedly stepping down as chairman of the formula one teams association FOTA.

Italy's Autosprint claims the McLaren boss will be replaced by Adam Parr, the chairman of the Grove based Williams team.

The vice-chairmanship of the FOTA alliance is also changing hands, with Toro Rosso's Franz Tost reportedly to succeed Whitmarsh's current deputy Stefano Domenicali.

Ross Brawn and Christian Horner head FOTA's technical and sporting arms respectively.

Kyle Busch to try IndyCars  NASCAR star Kyle Busch is ready to give the Indianapolis 500 a try, but first, he wants to win his a Sprint Cup Championship.  In an interview with 6 Sports, the 25-year-old Las Vegas-native said, “If I win the Sprint Cup Championship, I’ll go run Indy, but I have to win the championship first. So, if anyone wants to put my name on the check and the trophy now, then I’ll be at Indy next year.”

Busch’s best championship finish with Joe Gibbs Racing was fifth in 2007.  At the very least, he would like to give the IZOD IndyCar series a try one day.

“Maybe a little bit,” he said when asked if he’d like to hop into an open-wheeled car. “I’m looking forward to trying Indy cars at some point.”

Busch has the most momentum heading into the final two races of the season before NASCAR’s Chase for the Championship. WRTV

track news
Mid-Ohio track to be sold?  According at AR1.com sources, the sale of Mid-Ohio is imminent. We heard Honda was looking at buying it because it is close to their Marysville, Ohio plant, but decided against it.
Beatriz back in IndyCars  UPDATE #2 This rumor, first broke by AR1.com, is upgraded to 'fact' today.  Competing in her first half-marathon last weekend in Rio de Janeiro presented Ana Beatriz with a new challenge and a different perspective in dealing with traffic. It'll translate in some form to a crowded racetrack this weekend.

Beatriz will make her third IZOD IndyCar Series start of the season, driving the No. 24 Dad's Root Beer car for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in the PEAK Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.

The inclusion of Beatriz in the 29-car lineup for the Aug. 28 race marks the second time this season that a series-record five females will compete in the same event. Sarah Fisher (Sarah Fisher Racing), Simona de Silvestro (Team Stargate Worlds/HVM Racing), Danica Patrick (Andretti Autosport) and Milka Duno (Dale Coyne Racing) also are entered. More ...

Indy Lights to merge? Change?  UPDATE #2 Look for an exciting and long overdue Indy Lights announcement from the series next week.

08/11/10 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today.  Indy Lights boss Roger Bailey told AR1.com, "Firestone Indy Lights will continue as the top level developmental series on the Road to Indy ladder system next year and for the foreseeable future. To that end, we are working with the other Road to Indy series to strengthen the program from top to bottom for next year and beyond.  Firestone Indy Lights has committed to the current Dallara chassis through the 2012 season. We have begun the research process for the next generation car, but have made no decisions regarding that formula."

08/11/10 There are numerous conflicting rumors floating around Indy about 2011 Indy Lights.  One has the series going away completely and being replaced by Mazda…another has some type of merger between Lights and Star Mazda or Lights and Atlantics.  It’s because of the lousy car count apparently.  Recall we also said Lights is due for a new car and it will move closer to IndyCar.  We hear the IRL wants a manufacturer badged engine in Lights and Mazda makes just too much sense.  Recall that Cosworth did the production based Mazda engine for the Atlantic series.  Mazda likes being involved in "support" or "ladder" series because they market heavily to the "young" crowd.
UBS chief wanted to sponsor Sauber - report  (GMM)  UBS chief executive Oswald Grubel reportedly wanted to take the sponsorship of the Swiss bank to a formula one team.

Grubel, who previously brought Credit Suisse into the sport with Sauber, was eyeing a similar deal for UBS now that he is in charge of the Zurich based global financial services company.

But according to Switzerland's Blick newspaper, the UBS board voted against the plan, agreeing instead to become a sponsor of the entire sport in a deal that was announced on Monday.

Industry insiders estimate the value of the deal at EUR 40 million per year. More ...

Conway in Gordon's car rest of year?  Conway looks to be with RGM for rest of season: Robby Gordon hopes to have a deal done soon to have Kevin Conway drive a Robby Gordon Motorsports car the rest of the season and possibly next year. Gordon put Conway in the #7 car at Bristol Motor Speedway last week and Gordon qualified the #07 for the Saturday night race. Conway, a rookie, started the year at Front Row Motorsports, but Conway and sponsor Extenze broke away from the team prior to the Aug. 15 race at Michigan. Conway still has the backing of sponsor Extenze and plans to move the sponsorship to RGM. Gordon says he plans to run the #7 car the rest of the year to remain in the top 35 and have one of those 35 guaranteed spots for the first five races next year. "I've got some things coming in for next year that are really good for our organization," Gordon said last weekend at Bristol. "I believe it will give us the funding to do some races with the 7 car, and if we could do a good job for Kevin Conway, maybe we'll get fortunate enough that he'll come back next year and do some races with us as well. The plan is we'd like to [have him run the rest of year], but every weekend it's see how it goes. & He's got to build his confidence. The biggest thing is we need to build his confidence."

"It's a great opportunity," Conway said. "I'm very thankful for Robby Gordon and the whole team for giving us this opportunity here this weekend at Bristol and hopefully in the very near future we'll have some exciting news to announce about what our longer-term plans are." Although he has put two cars in the field in each of the last three races, Gordon said he won't run two cars the rest of the year. "We'll focus once we get toward the end of the season on one car," Gordon said. "We'll get ready for next year and get our inventory built up for Daytona and Vegas." SceneDaily
Monza to host next Pirelli tire test, no Paul Ricard  UPDATE (GMM)  Paul Ricard will host Pirelli's next formula one tire development test.

After the Italian marque began its 2011 program with a shakedown at Mugello last week, it was reported that test driver Nick Heidfeld and last year's Toyota car are now en route to Monza.

But according to Italy's 422race.com, the high speed venue of the Italian grand prix will actually host the third test, with Paul Ricard's configurable test track in Le Castellet to in fact be Pirelli's host next week.

The Monza test will reportedly take place on 21 and 22 September; a little more than a week after the Italian grand prix there.

It is expected that Jerez in Spain will also host a closed Pirelli test, before all the teams run the tires for the first time in Abu Dhabi after November's season finale.

422race.com said that at Mugello last week, observers outside the Italian venue reported that Heidfeld recorded more than 100 laps on both test days. More ...

Star Mazda champion to break Road-To-IndyCar  The way the Road to IndyCar ladder is supposed to work is that the Star Mazda champion is supposed to move up to Indy Lights and then if successful, up to IndyCar.  Conor Daly, the soon to be Star Mazda champion for 2010 has other ideas.

"I've been to a lot of IndyCar races this year and a lot of people have been saying, 'Oh, we've got to have you in IndyCar,'," Conor says. "But my passion is Formula One. We need an American doing well representing this country in Formula One. That's what I want to do and to be in Formula One you have to race in Europe. So I think overall the goal is to be racing in Europe. But first I have to finish this year and see what opportunities present themselves towards the end of the year."

Conor's primary sponsor this year is Indeck Power & Capital owned by former CART and Champ Car team owner Jerry Forsythe who is also the co-owner of Cosworth with Kevin Kalkhoven. Following Champ Car's unification with the IRL Forsythe decided not to continue in Indy car racing, but he remains a great racing enthusiast and is a strong supporter of young Daly.

Conor will test a GP3 car with the Status team at Silverstone on September 6th. He and his father will then fly to the Italian GP at Monza the next weekend as they begin to decide on the right move for next year. In part from this Gordon Kirby article.

Ferrari would fight further team orders penalty in court  (GMM)  Ferrari is reportedly prepared to launch civil action against the FIA if further sanctions are imposed by the World Motor Sport Council next month.

The governing body's long-time former president Max Mosley said on Sunday that "both cars and both drivers" should lose their points after swapping places at the hand of alleged illegal team orders during July's German grand prix.

Italy's authoritative La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that if this happens, Ferrari is prepared to tackle the FIA in a civil court, in much the same way that Flavio Briatore successfully railed against his lifetime motor racing ban. More ...

Renault to debut F-duct in Belgium  (GMM)  Renault's 2010 car will finally be fitted with an F-duct system for the Belgian grand prix this weekend and beyond.

The Enstone based team decided later than its rivals to develop the downforce-stalling concept that was pioneered this season by McLaren.

Boss Eric Boullier said in July that it was "very likely" Renault's version would be seen at the grands prix after the August break.

The first two grands prix after the break, first at Spa-Francorchamps and then at Monza in Italy, are high speed in nature, where reducing the drag of the rear wing on the long straights will be most beneficial.

France's authoritative Auto Hebdo publication confirmed in July that the Renault F-duct would be seen for the first time in Belgium.  The news has now also been confirmed by Italy's Autosprint and Autosport in Britain.

Dutch driver to announce IndyCar plans  UPDATE #4 See Junior Strous spin the IndyCar during a demo run. After being hit on the track by Dutch TV announcer Allard Kalff in an older Lotus F1 race-car, Strous attempts to spin the car around, but whilst doing this, wrecks the rear end of the car ... he should have known that after such an impact, he'd better be careful and just let it be ...

Strous' IndyCar gets a parking ticket in Rotterdam on Friday
During a sponsor presentation in Rotterdam this afternoon, a traffic warden handed out a parking ticket to Junior Strous' IndyCar, which was - wrongly - parked on the sidewalk, in front of the sponsor's head-office ... Wonder what the number-plate was she wrote down?  AR1.com sources tell us that Strous may drive in IndyCar next year in a car fielded by Condor Motorsport boss Carlos Bobeda.  Condor was a formidable Toyota Atlantic team with the goal of moving up to Champ Car, but since that series folded Bobeda has been looking for the opportunity to move up to IndyCar, and this appears like the right opportunity.

08/20/10 We reveal the first photos of the paint livery for Junior Strous' IndyCar.  The livery shows that Shell, Husqvarna printen.nu and Bavaria's 0.0% alcohol free beer brand will be his sponsors.  For Junior's IndyCar debut on Sunday in the streets of Rotterdam during the Bavaria City Racing event you can see they are using an old G-Force chassis.

Junior Strous shown here in 2009 raced in Indy Lights
This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' now.  "I am proud to make the switch to the highest level of motorsport," said Strous. "Of course it is a unique opportunity that I can do that in the Netherlands Bavaria show. After that I'm busy with my race season for 2011 in IndyCar."

08/18/10 Rumor has it according to AR1.com sources that Junior Strous will reveal his IndyCar sponsor (Bavaria ? Shell ? KLM ?) for the rest of this season or for 2011 (more likely) on Friday in The Netherlands. On Sunday he will make his 'official' IndyCar debut in the car in the streets of Rotterdam during the Bavaria City Racing event.

There will be several sponsor presentations this week, before Junior will climb into the car on Sunday.
NASCAR wants bridge removed at Road America  
Turn 5 looking at Turn 6
We have it on good word that NASCAR wants the Road America track to take out the Toyota bridge so that turn 6 is not blind.  The open wheel drivers go through that turn twice (yes twice) as fast as the NASCAR cars will, hence they have half the reaction time, yet all these years that open wheel has run at Road America never have they asked to have the Bridge removed.  Are NASCAR drivers inferior?
Raikkonen to change rally teams, F1 days over  UPDATE (GMM)  Kimi Raikkonen has given the strongest indication yet that he does not intend to return to formula one. The Finn switched to world rallying for 2010 but on only a one-year contract, which has nurtured constant speculation that he might return to F1 as soon as next season.  But Raikkonen, 30, told the French sports daily L'Equipe that "times have changed" since he drove to the 2007 world championship.

For now Raikkonen has his hands full in WRC
"You never know but I will probably never return to formula one," he said.  "It's something I did for many years, I had many great moments.  I won a world championship title, which is what I always wanted, but times have changed," added the former Sauber, McLaren and Ferrari driver.  "Now I'm in rallying and there are many other things apart from formula one in life."

Raikkonen said contesting Le Mans one day is a possibility.

"I would like to try but you need to find the right team.  If you want to win, there are only two, Peugeot and Audi.  One day, I hope, there will be an opportunity," he added. More ...

Overheard at Infineon - Saturday  UPDATE Randy Bernard and his team will be going to Italy and England next week to meet with interest car manufacturers who may want to compete with Honda in IndyCar.  One can assume they are meeting with Fiat (Ferrari, Maserati) or Alfa Romeo in Italy and in England perhaps Jaguar or Aston Martin.  Bernard said that he hoped to make a 2nd trip to Germany where we assume they will talk to VW/Audi/Porsche who previously expressed some interest in the series.  For the rest of the Randy Bernard interview see this article.

08/21/10 We ran into Oriol Servia this morning in the Infineon Raceway paddock who reports that he has 4 possible opportunities for an IndyCar ride in 2011.  "Just when it looked like there was nothing opportunities popped up and I am currently working on 4 different possibilities."  When pressed he did say that the FAZZT Team is one he is talking to.  "They have hired very good people, which explains why they are doing so well their first year," said Servia who has moved to Santa Monica, California and enjoys riding his mountain bike in the hills to the east.  Servia, who is working the Hispanic sponsor market in the USA, is not giving up on resuming his IndyCar career.  "When I am getting beat by my teammate week in and week out I will know it's time to retire from open wheel racing.  But until that day comes I feel this is where I belong.  People forget that when I was Will Power's teammate on the road and street circuits we outqualified each other 4 times, so I feel I have what it takes to be a winner in this series.  I am not saying I am faster than Will, he is doing a great job, but look what he has done when given the chance in a top car."........We hear that IndyCar will return to Infineon Raceway next year and the race will be on the same weekend, or possibly a week later.  It will be a week or two prior to the Baltimore IndyCar Labor Day weekend race from what we are being told.  The IndyCar race ticket sales are up 4 to 6% and it is the only race at Infineon that is up this year.....No word on the release of the 2011 schedule but it now sounds like early to mid-September because NASCAR threw the IRL a few curveballs with all the changes they made to their 2011 schedules.  While Las Vegas is still in play it is by no means a slam dunk......As for an engine manufacturer joining Honda in IndyCar, one good source tells us there is a slim chance of the Chinese coming in because they are seriously looking at F1.  They want the international market more so than just North America.......We hear KV team owner Kevin Kalkhoven has moved out of his big house in near Mountainview, California and bought an even bigger house across the East Bay of San Francisco......More to follow, including a Q&A session with IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard.  Mark C. reporting from Infineon
Was IndyCar wooing NY Mayor Bloomberg  Helio Castroneves doesn't recall what exactly was on the menu, which is understandable. He was engrossed in conversations. The three-time Indianapolis 500 champion was among the guests Aug. 18 at the residence of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was hosting a dinner party in honor of Sao Paulo (Brazil) Mayor Gilberto Kassab.

Other guests at the table included model Adriana Lima and her husband, NBA player Marko Jaric; IZOD IndyCar Series commercial division president Terry Angstadt; Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune; Optimer Pharmaceuticals CEO and president Pedro Lightinger; and H. Stern Jewelry CEO Susan Nichols.

"What a great evening and an honor," said Castroneves, who flew to New York earlier in the day after assisting IZOD IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard announce the night before the 2011 Firestone Twin 275s at Texas Motor Speedway. "It was great to see Mayor Kassab, who asked for opinions about the (Sao Paulo Indy 300) to improve for next year. He's willing to accept whatever suggestions we drivers have and make whatever improvements are necessary. More ...

HRT to merge with 2011 hopeful Epsilon Euskadi?  (GMM)  According to reports in Spain, there might be merger talks afoot between the struggling HRT team, and hopeful 2011 entrant Epsilon Euskadi.

The news agency EFE said the latter's chief Joan Villadelprat is weighing up two options: the first being acceptance by the FIA to be the 13th team entry in its own right next year.

The second option is reportedly a merger with Hispania, F1's existing Spanish entrant that is lagging at the rear of the grid and yet to pen a concrete deal for the construction of its next car.

F1 veteran Villadelprat has reportedly already been in contact, some days ago, with Jose Ramon Carabante, the owner of Murcia-based HRT. More ...

Overheard at Infineon - Friday  A perfect day for racing today at Infineon Raceway.  The IndyCars were not on track until 3PM local time for a 1-hour practice session so it was a relatively quiet day at the track.  We hear that Jimmy Vasser is still working on his V-12 Vineyard.  His goal is a 36,000 gallon per year winery with a 7,000 sq. ft. winery cave including production, storage, office, and tasting room facilities; a 5,500 sq. ft. uncovered outdoor crush pad and loading area; a winery/agricultural storage barn totaling 1,800 sq. ft. and including 900 sq. ft. of winery equipment storage; two full-time and two part-time employees; eleven parking spaces; by-appointment tours and tastings with a maximum of 16 visitors per day and 36 per week. The project is located on a 42.4 acre parcel located on the west side of Soda Canyon Road, adjacent to its intersection with Chimney Rock Road, in Napa County, California.  They are not selling any wine just yet, but it takes years from the first harvest to being ready to sell the wine........We hear that Raphael Matos is already signed for next year with the de Ferran Dragon team.........Word is that the IRL has set a goal of the end of September to finalize its 2012 engine rules.  Without company rules any manufacturer interested in joining Honda in the series will be reluctant to make any firm decisions.......We hear JR Hildebrand's family is hosting a party Saturday night in their beautiful home atop the hills of Sausalito, California overlooking the San Francisco Bay.  JR is driving the No. 24 IndyCar entry this weekend......Still hearing that the FAZZT Race Team hopes to run 2 cars next year....The Vintage F1 cars were out on the track having made their way from Laguna Seca last weekend........We spoke to Martin Tolliday, Director of Motorsport for Cosworth, who confirmed they are actively pursuing an IndyCar engine deal for 2012.  They are working every opportunity they can as are the IRL, to marry up a car manufacturer with Cosworth.  "We are one of only a few race engine design firm that can design, manufacture, build, and test  a competitive engine from scratch in the timeframe we are talking about," said Tolliday. "We very much would like to do an IRL engine, but we would need to complete a deal by the end of October to be ready for 2012.  We have many race engine designs to pull from that a car manufacturer themselves would not have.  The IRL is being very smart in not locking down the rules yet so as to not put up any design barriers for any manufacturer."  As for whether a 4-cyclinder or a 6 is better, Tolliday felt the two can be equalized through air or fuel restrictions.  The ALMS and Grand-Am have proven they can do it effectively. "While the 6-cyclinder has some inherent design advantages (smaller pistons, more valves, etc), the 4-cyclinder has a weight and fuel mileage advantage," said Tolliday.  The V-6 would have twin turbochargers the 4 may have only one.  Again a weight advantage for the 4 but a possible performance advantage for the 6. Tolliday expects that the IRL will not allow exotic materials that will drive up cost or expensive turbochargers.  "You can have a $2,000 turbo or an $80,000 turbo," said Tolliday.......We hear Dario Franchitti is not signed yet for next year, but he is working on it with Ganassi.  Mark C. reporting from Infineon Raceway
Alonso is F1's highest earner  
If the rumors are true, Alonso has good reason to smile
(GMM)  Fernando Alonso is by far the highest paid active grand prix driver, according to reports in the Spanish press.

The El Mundo report, citing information from Business Book GP, compiled a list showing that Alonso's annual Ferrari retainer - excluding external endorsements - is EUR 30 million.

That is almost double the next largest retainer, owned by 2008 world champion Lewis Hamilton, at 16 million, although it is believed Kimi Raikkonen is being paid a similar amount this year due to Ferrari's breach of contract.

Felipe Massa comes in at third with 14m, meaning the Brazilian is paid less than half the income of his Ferrari teammate. More ...

Cosworth working to become IndyCar engine supplier  
Cosworth had much success in CART doing a turbocharged engine for Ford that won many races.  No other engine manufacturer is better suited to give Honda a run for their money in IndyCar
Word in the IndyCar paddock is that Cosworth has already done a fair amount of research on both an inline 4-cylinder engine and a V-6 configuration to be able to field an IndyCar engine by 2012.  Word is that both Cosworth and the IRL are actively working to find a manufacturer who will pay the $4M to $6M required for Cosworth design, build and test an engine capable of competing against Honda which have already committed to a V-6 engine.  Cosworth are keeping their options open to a 4 or 6 cylinder configuration depending on which works best for the car manufacturer and their marketing strategy to sell passenger cars.

Rumored manufacturers that could possibly badge a Cosworth engine are Mazda and Lotus, both of whom have a history with Cosworth.  Lotus and Cosworth were once unbeatable in F1 in the early 60s starting with the Lotus 25 at the hands of Jim Clark.  Cosworth did the engine for Mazda in the Atlantic Series.  Both companies have ties to IndyCar - Mazda in the Road to Indy feeder series and Lotus on the KV Racing car.

However, Cosworth will do an engine for whichever car manufacturer steps forward, and that could be any one of dozens of companies who sell cars and can be convinced that IndyCar is finally on the right track to prosperity.  That is the key because a car manufacturer is not going to make the investment to do an IndyCar engine only to see the series fail.  And that issue is probably IndyCar's biggest hurdle as it makes its pitch to manufacturers worldwide.
Glock rumors persist as Argentina eyes Virgin seat  (GMM)  As rumors persist that Timo Glock might be looking to move on, it emerges that Virgin has been in contact with Esteban Guerrieri about a 2011 race seat.

German Glock has a firm two-year contract with the struggling new British team, but he has been mentioned in connection with the potentially vacant seat next year alongside Robert Kubica at Renault.

He has been playing down those rumors in recent days, but this week admitted that running at the back of the grid has not been easy for him.

"For someone like me who has won the GP2 title and been on the podium with Toyota several times, it is no secret that it is not easy to be at the back," Glock is quoted by DPA news agency.

The 28-year-old said he still wants to win the F1 championship one day.

"If I didn't think this, and did not do everything I can to make it a reality, then I would not belong in the premier class of motor racing," said Glock. More ...

2011 NASCAR Schedule rumors  UPDATE #7 These rumors are now 'fact' based on recent announcements.

08/10/10 Phoenix Int'l Raceway will announce that its Subway Fresh Fit 500 is moving from April to Feb. 27. The new date is "one week after the Daytona 500 – Sprint Cup's most important event – and is considered prestigious because it typically attracts increased national attention." PIR also "will continue to host the series' penultimate race"  Arizona Republic

08/09/10 With the 2011 Sprint Cup schedule set to be released in the next couple of weeks, it is expected Chicagoland will open the Chase For The Sprint Cup, Auto Club Speedway apparently will lose one of its Cup races to Kansas and Kentucky will have a Saturday night date in July, according to sources who are familiar with the tentative schedule. Kansas will have a date in June for its regular-season Sprint Cup event. According to sources familiar with the tentative schedule:
• New Hampshire, which has been the weekend prior to the Independence Day race at Daytona, will have its first date go to mid-July. Kansas could go in that June slot or possibly a week earlier on Father's Day weekend with Infineon a week later. Kansas also could go in the first week of June and the Pocono race could be moved to later in the month.
• There is a shuffle of dates in the first seven weeks with Phoenix moving to the second race of the schedule and Auto Club Speedway going to the last weekend in March between Bristol and Martinsville.
• The other regular-season shuffles come mostly in June with the addition of Kansas and then July. Getting Chicagoland's July date the week after Daytona will be Kentucky, which will have a Saturday night Cup race July 9 as part of a Nationwide-Cup weekend. It was previously announced Atlanta would lose its March date, and that race is going to Kentucky, which has a news conference set for Tuesday.
• The rest of the schedule should be pretty much the same, except with Chicagoland opening the Chase in mid-September, followed by New Hampshire and Dover and then Kansas - the three tracks that have opened the Chase in recent years. Chicagoland has a news conference scheduled for Monday to formally announce its getting the first race of the Chase. Scene Daily More ...
Austin F1 race doomed to fail  You’ve heard of cars burning up the asphalt. That might become a reality if Formula One races are held in Austin in June. Remember the heat for F1 in Dallas and Phoenix, or Champ Car in Houston and Cleveland - all hot races where fans could not stand the heat and refused to return.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone raised the possibility of a June race in a Q&A on the sport’s official website along with Tavo Hellmund, whose Full Throttle Productions is promoting the annual races that are scheduled for at least 10 years starting in 2012.

According to the article:

Q: Bernie, have you already been thinking of a slot for the 2012 race in the calendar?
BE: We have to wait and see, but it would be logical to place it close to the race in Montreal and that would mean somewhere in June.
TH: Of course I have a preference, but feel confident that Bernie will do what is best for us to ensure the success of the USGP.
I know what you’re thinking: June? But what about the heat? Fans will melt in the stands. Cars will burst into flames on the starting grid.

It’s hot in June, there’s no question about that. But how hot does it get? More ...

Ambrose to Petty team  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.

08/17/10 Richard Petty Motorsports is expected to announce at least one driver/sponsor combo for 2011 today and word is it will likely be Australian Marcos Ambrose & Stanley Tools.  Ambrose will take over the No. 9 of Kasey Kahne.
Stewart to get Mobil 1 sponsorship  Stewart Haas Racing has emerged as the leading candidate to get the Mobil 1 sponsorship that Penske Racing will vacate in 2011, when it switches to Pennzoil as sponsor for Kurt Busch in the #22 Dodge. Mobil 1 will replace departing Old Spice as the co-primary sponsor of Tony Stewart's #14 Chevy. The team's other car, Ryan Newman's #39, will have the U.S. Army and Tornado's back for part-time schedules next year and is trying to woo Wix Filters for a partial schedule as well. Ford Racing
2011 NASCAR schedule to be announced  The 2011 Sprint Cup Season Schedule supposedly will be announced tomorrow, but since most of the tracks have made their announcements, no surprises are expected.
Baltimore date could change  UPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's news.

08/10/10 Word is that Chicago, which has the Labor Day weekend IndyCar event this year, could take Baltimore's August 7th date and Baltimore could get the Labor Day weekend date.

08/05/10 The date of the Baltimore IndyCar race isn't set, though officials announced in June that it would be held Aug. 5-7, 2011. It may be moved to Labor Day weekend or another weekend in late summer, provided the date doesn't conflict with the Ravens' and Orioles' home schedules.

Similarly, the precise route and distance of the course - unveiled at 2.4 miles - may be tweaked further, insiders say, although signature landmarks such as Baltimore's Inner Harbor will anchor the race.

Recall that we stated that Baltimore can be very hot and humid in August.  If race fans bake and sweat in hot sun and are otherwise uncomfortable, they won't return and the race will eventually fail.

Will Jeff Gordon's Canada oval land a Cup race?  When O Canada plays on Sunday afternoon at the opening ceremonies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway, it will have special meaning for four-time series champion Jeff Gordon.  Gordon is hoping that in the not-too-distant future he will hear it more and more. In fact he wants to hear it regularly during events at a Canadian race track in Fort Erie that he helping to design.

The proposed Canadian Motor Speedway is in the final regulatory stages before the Ontario Municipal Board and construction could begin in 2011. More ...

Fisher to replace Howard  UPDATE Rumor has it he was not very fit when driving, people said he nearly had to be pulled from the car.  He lists on his web site he trains at St. Vincent’s Sports Performance.  If this rumor is true maybe Jay Howard should check out PitFit Training as we have not heard one of their drivers having that problem.

08/14/10 After another poor performance for the No.66 at Mid-Ohio, rumor has it that owner Sarah Fisher is looking to replace driver Jay Howard, and has been in talks with Paul Tracy and Oriol Servia.
Mercedes team to throw in towel for 2010  UPDATE (GMM)  Mercedes GP has played down reports it has cancelled further development of its 2010 formula one car due to budget considerations.  The major German daily Bild reportedly said the Brackley based team's focus has switched to the W01's successor because this year's budget is depleted.

Mercedes are so far behind they should forget about 2010
A team spokesman told Sport1: "Our current car is developed, and the development of the 2011 car is well underway."

It is also reported in Germany that Mercedes GP will soon have to replace its reserve driver Nick Heidfeld, because the 33-year-old is expected to commence his new role as Pirelli's permanent tire tester within the month of August. More ...

Adam Carroll full-time in IndyCar in 2011?  
Adam Carroll
Adam Carroll
The prospects of Adam Carroll moving full-time to IndyCar racing next season may have moved a step closer with the announcement that the US company which has backed his Andretti Autosport car in two races this season is planning a bigger involvement in the IZOD series next year.

AFS Racing also runs an Indy Lights team but intends to link up with Andretti Autosport in the full IndyCar series in 2011.

“I want to step up,” said AFS team boss Gary Peterson.

“I've just been waiting for the announcement of the new cars for 2012.

“But I'm definitely going to run a car full time next year.  More ...

Interlagos facing Bernie's axe  The Brazilian Grand Prix may have a contract until 2015, but all-powerful F1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone has warned that unless 'significant improvements' are made before then to the Interlagos circuit, he might not be prepared to honor it.

With an ever-greater number of Middle and Far Eastern countries vying for the honor of hosting F1 – and offering increasingly large sums of government money in order to do so – it appears the Brazilian Grand Prix's days on the sport's annual calendar may be numbered unless 'significant improvements' are made to the São Paulo circuit's dilapidated facilities.

“Long ago, in 1972, I believed in Brazil and brought F1 here,” the Englishman told the Estada de São Paulo newspaper, “but I can no longer be questioned by the teams about the worst circuit in the championship. The future depends on significant improvements.”

Why New Hampshire wants an IndyCar race  UPDATE #2 New Hampshire Motor Speedway yesterday announced that it will "retain both" of its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series dates next year "in a realigned 2011 Sprint Cup schedule and add an IndyCar Series race Aug. 14," according to Michael Vega of the BOSTON GLOBE. The Sprint Cup Lenox Industrial Tools 301, "normally held in late June, moves to July 17, and the Sylvania 300, which had been the first event in the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup championship, shifts to the second Chase race Sept. 25."

06/28/10 On Sunday while announcing next year's IndyCar race at NHMS Bruton Smith shot down rumors that he plans to move one of the two NASCAR events at NHMS to his track in Las Vegas.  If true that means he has to sell tickets to two Sprint Cup races.  Does he really think he can sell a lot of tickets for the IndyCar race as well given the New Hampshire fans wallets will be tapped out?  Given the low IndyCar TV ratings in the New England market there will have to be a massive ticket giveaway to make it even look slightly good.

Speculation is that because of a dispute with Loudon Police Chief Bob Fiske about the cost of police and fire protection for the NASCAR race weekends, track owner Bruton Smith could move one of the already scheduled NASCAR events, using the IndyCar race to cushion that loss. Smith claims the track would not see a decrease in revenue.

“Diminish?’’ said Smith, the chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc. “Who’s talking about diminish? We build. We build here. We don’t diminish.’’

Smith purchased the track three years ago from Bob Bahre for $340 million. If Smith moves one of the NASCAR races, the event could land in Las Vegas and Kentucky, where he also owns tracks.

“Deep down, I don’t think he wants to do that,’’ said Jerry Gappens, executive vice president of NHMS. “But he’s not going to let a police chief dictate how he does business.’’ More ...

ALMS to leave SPEED for Versus?  Rumor has it that ALMS is contemplating a move off the SPEED Channel and onto Versus where it would join IndyCar that made the move two years ago. 
American company eyes IndyCar engine  UPDATE Honda has challenged rival manufacturers to enter IndyCar from 2012 and provide engine competition for the new era of regulations, reports this week's AUTOSPORT magazine. The Japanese engine maker will supply power units for the 2012-spec cars, but no other manufacturers have yet come forward to express an interest in joining the series.

"Competition is what we want, it's our DNA," said Honda Performance Development president Erik Berkman. "We haven't seen anyone else raise their hand but we are hoping they do.

"Anyone could compete. What's preventing them from throwing their hats into the ring?"

But Berkman reckons it's already too late to start a program from scratch for the 2012 season.

"If a company is not fairly well along their design process by now, you won't launch a reliable product by the start of 2012," he said. "If a company had a suitable product capable of producing 750 horsepower in another series then we would already know about it.

"We are operating on the assumption there won't be any competition in 2012 - we have to be prepared to be the sole supplier. If sole supply changes to competition at some point, then we have made some investment for that as well."

IndyCar boss Randy Bernard claimed at last week's Mid Ohio round that an American engine supplier is "very, very interested" in joining the series. He is also planning a trip to Europe to meet with more manufacturers. AutoWeek More ...

Plans afoot for second F1 race in India  (GMM)  Plans are in the works for a formula one circuit in the Indian city of Mumbai.

1400 kilometers away, not far from the capital city New Delhi, construction of another circuit is well underway that is set to host the inaugural Indian grand prix next year.

But according to the local Business Standard, Mumbai's state Maharashtra government - through the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) - is considering a track for 700 acres of land along the expressway to Pune.

An unnamed state official said initial talks are underway.

"MMRDA plans to first hold a meeting with interested parties on August 17 to take the idea forward," said the source.

He said the next step will be consultations. More ...

Seven drivers, including Glock, in line to replace Petrov  UPDATE #4 (GMM)  Timo Glock has played down rumors he is considering a move away from Virgin for 2011. The 28-year-old German joined the new British team from the departed Toyota, but recently was quoted as saying he might be interested in the seat alongside Robert Kubica at Renault for next year. But in a German language report posted in German on his website, Glock said he is committed to his current team.

"If we had stopped making progress and developments, then - as with any driver - of course there would be frustration," he said.  "But this is currently not the case. I have a long-term contract with Virgin Racing and am determined to get the team to the next level.  We have all the conditions necessary to achieve our goals this season and in the future," added Glock.

08/08/10 "I'm keeping my eyes open," the German Timo Glock told ITV-F1. "We'll see.  "If there is an opportunity at Renault, I don't know at the moment. I'm not that close talking to them.  I have a longer contract at Virgin, but if things are not going as they should, what I said from the beginning on is I will have a look around and I'll keep my eyes open."

With a Russian GP in the works we doubt very much that Vitaly Petrov will not stay in F1
07/21/10 (GMM)  Vitaly Petrov's future with the Renault team could be decided in less than two weeks, according to reports.

On Tuesday, team boss Eric Boullier played down speculation the Russian rookie is not yet under consideration for the 2011 seat alongside Robert Kubica.

He hinted that a plethora of drivers, including Kimi Raikkonen, Nick Heidfeld, Kamui Kobayashi, Heikki Kovalainen, Christian Klien, Adrian Sutil and Timo Glock, may already be in talks with Renault about next season.

"He (Petrov) has worked well so far, so we're waiting to see how it evolves.  Before the end of the season, I'm certain we will begin discussing plans for next year," said Boullier.

But Finland's Turun Sanomat suggests that D-day for the 25-year-old is fast approaching. More ...

Harvick to get Bud sponsor  UPDATE #2 NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick is expected “to announce next week that Budweiser will sponsor” him during the ’11 Sprint Cup Series.

08/07/10 Sources tell ESPN's Marty Smith Kevin Harvick will have a split sponsorship on the #29 in 2011, and Budweiser will be on the car in the majority of points races, as well as the two exhibition events. There are still some hurdles to jump to get the Bud deal done. RCR had no comment when Marty asked them about it. Budweiser, either. Budweiser and Harvick are a good match. His edgy personality fits the brand well. He meshes with the no-nonsense good ol' boy, red label demographic. I'm told Harvick did himself a huge favor with the way he conducted himself in Victory Lane at the Shootout in February -- beer in hand while saying and doing the right things in front of the company's new management. ESPN.com

06/04/10 According to AutoRacing1.com sources, Budweiser sponsorship will move to Kevin Harvick's RCR car in 2011.  Harvick recently had Shell backing pulled out from under his feet by Roger Penske who offered Shell a B-2-B deal they couldn't refuse.
Gordon in the 07  Robby Gordon Sent out a message that he will be in the #07 this week and the driver for the #7 will be announced soon.
Will Iowa hosting two Nationwide races kill IndyCar ticket sales?  The Associated Press has reported that Iowa Speedway is on schedule to host two Nationwide Series races in 2011.

NASCAR sent a copy of the 2011 Nationwide schedule, which was obtained by The Associated Press, to its teams last week. It shows the Newton track hosting the second-tier series on May 22 and July 23.

Iowa has hosted just one race a year since it received its first NASCAR-sanctioned event last season.
Iowa Speedway vice president and general manager Craig Armstrong said track officials are in discussions with NASCAR about the 2011 schedule, but nothing has been finalized.

“The concept has been offered to us — having a second date has been offered to us, and we are definitely talking with them,” Armstrong said. “Dates are being discussed. No agreement has been made and no date has been finalized. So it’s just way preliminary here.”

Armstrong said the track’s success with NASCAR — and whether one or two Nationwide Series races will be at Newton in 2011 — is firmly rooted in fan support. The track’s July 31 Nationwide race drew a sellout crowd of 55,988. More ...

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