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Was planned termination of Brian Barnhart Bernard's final undoing?UPDATE #2 Another reader writes, Dear Mr. Belskus,
I do not seek a reply to my letter, though I ask if you will read it entirely. I have waited several days to let my emotions calm before writing to you. After reading your Open Letter of November 1, I am left with a strong feeling that INDYCAR leadership doesn’t really understand why recent events have touched off such a firestorm among fans.
There are many stakeholders to the sport I love. That includes the HG Family and their financial stake in the Speedway and the sport. While I respectfully honor their right to do as they choose with their investment, they do need my participation and support as a fan for their business to be successful. I represent the shrinking fan base that hasn’t abandoned INDYCAR for other entertainment and sporting options over the last seventeen years.
We didn’t choose to care about the politics of our sport’s leadership. We would rather focus entirely on the entertainment on the track and in the personalities in the paddock. We were forced to learn about the politics when the absolutely unnecessary split started and nearly bankrupted the soul of the sport. The split drove away the casual fan as well as most new fans. Television ratings and attendance for the INDYCAR season declined consistently, driving away sponsor stakeholders that are the lifeline of our sport.
Murdoch to buy into F1? (GMM) Media mogul James Murdoch is in Abu Dhabi for talks with formula one chiefs, the Mirror newspaper reports. The report said figures from top teams McLaren, Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes are set to meet with Murdoch, the News Corporation and Sky official.
The Mirror said Murdoch's father Rupert, arguably the world's most influential media figure, has had his interest in formula one sparked by his British channel Sky's new subscription coverage of the sport.
Now he is considering "a bigger slice" of F1, the report added.
Interestingly, FIA president Jean Todt is also in Abu Dhabi for a rare grand prix attendance. Asked if the entire future of the sport could be on the agenda, a key F1 figure is quoted as saying: "Why not?"
Mercedes to boost F1 budget for 2013 (GMM) Ahead of Lewis Hamilton's arrival, Mercedes is reportedly preparing to boost the budget of its formula one team by many millions.
Bild newspaper said that after slumping in 2012 in the wake of Nico Rosberg's Shanghai breakthrough, and deciding to replace Michael Schumacher with McLaren's Hamilton for 2013, the German squad is set to fatten its budget for next year to almost EUR 200 million.
The report said that would be 44 million euros more than Mercedes spent on its Brackley based team this year.
IndyCar loses another team?UPDATE Yes, Indycar lost another team. Why? Because they lost their buy-a-ride driver(s) of course. Well, they lost that driver too because they made a bad engine choice last year. But suffice to say, that you don't see Ganassi Andretti or Penske shutting down.
As long as there is a dominant culture of buy-a-rides in our sport, it will be handicapped. The sport has to find a way to allow ANY talent to ascend, based on the merit of the talent.
The buy-a-ride culture also makes the sport much more susceptible to economic changes, especially abroad, since most drivers come from outside the USA in the pro and semi-pro open wheeled ranks. It seems like it tends to lag a year or two behind the general economy or so.
Alonso furious at Ferrari in India - rumorUPDATE #2 (GMM) Fernando Alonso on Thursday rubbished claims he fell out with Ferrari's technical director Pat Fry in India last weekend as an "invention".
La Stampa newspaper had reported the row, also involving team boss Stefano Domenicali, lasted until 1am after qualifying, in which the Spanish driver was persuaded not to post on Twitter a complaint about a lack of development progress.
"A nice invention from someone in the Italian media," Alonso said in Abu Dhabi, when asked about the report.
Marussia F1 team could go belly upUPDATE (GMM) Marussia is in "talks with potential investors" after recording a $79 million loss last year, the business journalist Christian Sylt reports.
Writing in the Guardian, Sylt quoted the backmarker F1 team's chief executive Andy Webb as saying bosses are "in active discussions with potential new investors", and also seeking new sponsorship deals.
Webb added that some of the talks are "well advanced although not yet completed, so the outcome of each remains uncertain".
He said the team's costs had risen because of "significant investment in the team's personnel, infrastructure and factory".
Sylt estimated Marussia's value at about $72 million, and said the team owes $125 million in loans.
The team is however expected to reap millions in Concorde Agreement income, if it can maintain its lucrative tenth place in the 2012 constructors' points standings.
Webber, Hulkenberg 'too tall' for Ferrari - rumor (GMM) Early contenders for Felipe Massa's 2013 Ferrari seat may have been ruled out because they are too tall, the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport reports.
Ultimately, Mark Webber is staying at Red Bull next year, while German Nico Hulkenberg has signed to switch from Force India to the Ferrari-powered Sauber team.
But earlier, rumors linked them with Ferrari, who in the end decided to re-sign the resurgent Brazilian Massa for 2013.
Massa staying at Ferrari, Hulkenberg to SauberUPDATE #4 The Hulkenberg to Sauber part of this rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today with this announcement.
10/16/12 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.
10/14/12 The BBC reports that Hulkenberg will sign for Sauber as a replacement for Sergio Perez, who is replacing Lewis Hamilton at McLaren.
There has been no official confirmation though team principal Monisha Kaltenborn said recently that Sauber will seek to confirm their line-up for next year before the end of the current season.
And rumors are strong that Massa will be re-signed by Ferrari this coming week.
10/08/12 (GMM) Some more pieces of the 2013 'silly season' puzzle are set to fall into place.
British broadcaster BBC reports with confidence that, with his return to the podium at Suzuka following a two-year drought, Felipe Massa could have his new contract to stay at Ferrari confirmed "before" this weekend's Korean grand prix.
It's a blow for Force India's Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg, who were linked strongly with the Maranello team's potentially vacant cockpit.
But Switzerland's Blick newspaper reports that German Hulkenberg has a back-up plan that is now "ready for the signatures".
"Nico Hulkenberg will go to Sauber for at least two years," veteran correspondent Roger Benoit reports from Japan.
Simona de Silvestro to KV RacingUPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.
10/26/12 Simona de Silvestro will join Tony Kanaan at KV Racing Technology for the 2013 IndyCar Series. Swiss driver de Silvestro, who has spent the past three years with the single-car HVM squad, is expected to make her debut with KV in testing at Barber on Monday.
As well as giving the 24-year-old a team-mate for the first time in her IndyCar career, the deal will also allow de Silvestro access to Chevrolet engines after having been the only driver to run the entire 2012 season with Lotus equipment. She will continue to be backed by Nuclear Clean Air Energy.
Team owner Chip Ganassi told the Associated Press this current storm has been blown out of proportion by the media and is much ado about nothing.
"Every year you've got the same old people asking the same old questions and the fact of the matter is IndyCar racing goes up and down with the rest of the economy. For five people in the press to be wound up about it, it is not really having the finger on the pulse of what's going on," he said Monday. "Everything is fine. We have the same old problems today that we did before Randy got there. A lousy TV package, the same old gravitational problems any sport has today.
"It's the offseason and there's nothing else to talk about So everybody just take a deep breath."
Tony George had other motives Tony George was not trying to regain control of IndyCar for himself in his recent attempt to purchase the series he founded. His motives were apparently to separate the series from Indianapolis Motor Speedway and bring in a new board of directors.
The Associated Press on Monday obtained a copy of George's five-page proposal to the Hulman & Co. board of directors. In it, the group ICS Acquisition proposes a management team take over IndyCar's operations and create a sanctioning agreement with IMS to run the Indianapolis 500.
Indian GP in trouble?UPDATE A significant dip in race-day attendances failed to stop Indian Grand Prix organizers basking in the glory of an otherwise successful second edition. The Buddh International Circuit on the outskirts of Delhi put behind the teething problems that plagued the inaugural race last year and put up a show without major glitch. The drivers gave a thumbs-up to the 5.14 kilometer track, teams hailed the clean paddock and the facilities sported a completed look that was not the case last year.
None of these, however, could gloss over the dip in the numbers of fans, the most important constituent of any sport, as 65,000 of them turned up for Sunday's race down from last year's 95,000. Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone was not worried.
"First races are always high and the second year goes down. If the third year isn't going up, then it's something to worry about," the Briton who celebrated his 82nd birthday at the circuit told reporters. "We have a competitor here. What's the name of that game? Cricket. That's it."
Randy Bernard fired?UPDATE #4 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's firing of Randy Bernard by the Hulman & Co. board.
10/26/12 IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard told the Associated Press today that he has not be fired, and he is not negotiating a settlement to leave his position. [Maybe he has not been told yet, but according to the IBJ, the plan was to keep the change under wraps for another week but it leaked out.]
One of IndyCar’s best-known drivers called on the sport to end the considerable speculation surrounding Randy Bernard’s future as chief executive officer.
A published report said Bernard had been fired and is negotiating an exit settlement, something Bernard and an Indianapolis Motor Speedway official denied Friday.
Team owners make bid to buy IndyCar series - Maybe it's time to sell itUPDATE #10 On AR1.com's suggestion that NASCAR should buy IndyCar just like it bought ALMS, we see that IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard is slated to speak at the NASCAR 2012 Motorsports Marketing Forum in Las Vegas November 27-28. Hopefully there will be some behind the scenes talks about NASCAR buying and saving the open wheel series that is currently run by the dysfunctional Hulman-George family where family infighting and petty team owner rumors are turning off sponsors, fans and everyone else involved in the sport.
Tony George destroyed the sport of IndyCar back in 2005 when he announced the creation of the IRL. The split drove a stake through its heart and the sport has bled to death ever since. With TV ratings now below infomercial levels its time for someone to buy the series who has the resources, sponsor connections and business prowess to make it a success again. There are only two entities in this world capable of doing that - the France family (NASCAR) and Bernie Ecclestone - and Ecclestone isn't interested.
Nationwide Series remaining in Canada?UPDATE A reader adds, Dear AutoRacing1, I recently read your article about the Nationwide series staying in Canada, and to think of having a Nationwide race at Trois-Rivieres I believe is a waste of time, that street circuit is just to narrow to hold a stock race on, to see 43 cars go through that narrow bridge entrance would be insane, the only true place to hold a nationwide race in Canada is Mosport in my opinion, and for Nascar to say it does not meet there criteria is nuts, ALMS race there without any problem. Bert Walsh Kingston Ontario Canada
10/24/12 The Nationwide Series has perhaps not left Quebec, Canada for good, it could end up in Trois-Rivieres, as early as next year. Discussions were initiated, according to sources, with representatives from NASCAR to maintain a Canadian race on the schedule. The mayor of Trois-Rivieres has appointed the chairman of the Grand Prix, Dominic Fugere to conduct these talks. Also, there was some discussion of holding a Nationwide Series race at Mosport next year, but the track does not currently meet the criteria necessary for a NASCAR race. NASCAR has not disclosed the Nationwide schedule for 2013, which suggests that negotiations are ongoing with various promoters. Montreal Journal
JR Motorsports looking at Regan Smith for 2013UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. JR Motorsports announced it has reached an agreement with Regan Smith to drive the team's #5 NASCAR Nationwide Series entry full time in 2013. General Manager Kelley Earnhardt Miller said Smith will make his JRM debut this year, as the company will field three teams for the Nov. 17 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Smith will join teammates Cole Whitt and Danica Patrick in the season finale. Smith has not competed in the Nationwide Series since 2007 when he tallied three top-fives, five top-10s, and a pole award at Kentucky Speedway. Smith's #5 Chevy, to date, is the only JRM entry cemented for a full-season slate in 2013.
(GMM) Red Bull, the Austrian energy drink and championship-winning F1 team owner, could be the savior of the embattled New York grand prix.
Bernie Ecclestone has reportedly told a motor racing website that billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz should step in to fund the race, after organization and funding shortfalls forced the delay of the inaugural event, which had been scheduled for 2013.
Christian Sylt, the F1 business journalist who recorded Ecclestone's Red Bull quote, said he thinks the sport's chief executive is serious.
"In the absence of state support, I think the only way the grand prix of America can proceed is if a wealthy backer gets behind it.
Red Bull spent EUR 245m for 2011 title - report (GMM) Red Bull has the standout budget among F1's UK-based teams, according to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.
Citing British companies data, the magazine said Red Bull Technology - the Red Bull Racing parent - had a budget of EUR 245 million in 2011 as Sebastian Vettel sped to his back-to-back drivers' world championship.
Auto Motor und Sport said Red Bull's budget last year was EUR 42 million higher than in 2010.
Prodrive to buy Cosworth? (GMM) Prodrive boss David Richards has admitted he is interested in buying F1 engine supplier Cosworth.
It emerged last week that HRT and Marussia supplier Cosworth, currently owned by well-known US racing names Gerry Forsythe and Kevin Kalkhoven, is for sale.
And former BAR and Benetton boss Richards, the majority owner of Prodrive, told the Daily Mail: "We've just started to take a look at Cosworth although I think they have rather over-priced themselves as I understand they don't own the brand and they will be out of the formula one business within 12 months.
Peugeot said to get $9 billion in French government guarantees PSA Peugeot Citroen may announce a deal as soon as today in which the French state would guarantee as much as 7 billion euros ($9 billion) in new bonds for the carmaker's finance arm in exchange for greater government and worker influence, people familiar with the matter said.
The government would back the bonds for Banque PSA Finance, and Peugeot would appoint a labor leader and a government representative to its board of directors, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing ongoing talks. A syndicate of banks would also provide Peugeot's financing unit with news loans which would not have state guarantees, the people said.
Ganassi and Vasser to run Zanardi at Indy - Probably notUPDATE #2 With the latest rumor having Zanardi trying to land a DTM ride, IndyCar appears to be out.
09/18/12 This rumor is downgraded to 'speculation' today. If Zanardi runs DTM next year as the rumor below suggests, a DTM race is always scheduled on either Indy 500 qualifying weekend or on race weekend.
09/05/12 If the news of Alex Zanardi's triumph in the Men's Individual H 4 Time Trial event at the 2012 London Paralympic games wasn't enough of a thrill on Wednesday, SPEED.com has confirmed two of the 45-year-old Italian's closest friends are working to enter him at the 2013 Indianapolis 500.
“He told a reporter yesterday for me to watch out because he wants to race at the Indy 500 next year," said Jimmy Vasser, who co-owns the KV Racing IZOD IndyCar Series team and drove with Zanardi at Target Chip Ganassi Racing from 1996-1998.
Zanardi eyes DTM with BMWUPDATE Before the DTM season finale at Hockenheim on Sunday, Zanardi was present to display the Olympic medals which had been won at Brands Hatch.
“It really was a sensational day,” said Zanardi, who is celebrating his 46th birthday on Tuesday. “I've experienced a lot in my career, but driving in front of the thousands of fans in the Motodrom and presenting my medals was a very special moment; and the fact that BMW and Bruno Spengler have now won the title is just incredible.”
He went on to thank BMW Motorsport for the option of a DTM test and will now consider whether returning to competition is the way to go.
“I am very thankful that they have considered the possibility of a test drive,” he began to sum up. “Along the way, it will necessary to overcome some technical hurdles, including the fact that the DTM cars are very complex, but we shall do that at a later date. Today, the entire team can celebrate - that was a sensational performance.”
Texas teachers to take ownership in F1 Hundreds of thousands of Texan teachers are poised to become stakeholders in Formula One (F1) motor racing in a $200m deal, Sky News can reveal.
The Teachers’ Retirement System of Texas has reached a preliminary deal to acquire a 3% shareholding in F1 from the estate of Lehman Brothers, the investment bank whose collapse in 2008 helped to trigger the global financial crisis.
Talks between the Texan pension fund and the Lehman estate are understood to have been brokered by CVC Capital Partners, the largest shareholder in F1 with approximately 35% of the company.
Earnhardt to return at Martinsville?UPDATE #2 ESPN's Dr. Jerry Punch interviewed Rick Hendrick before the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway and Hendrick stated that #88-Earnhardt, Jr. has been medically cleared to race next weekend at Martinsville.
10/21/12 "He's been cleared to race at Martinsville, so we're excited to get him back," Hendrick said during an interview on pit road after driver introductions. "He came through with flying colors. Everything is great," Hendrick stated. "He can't wait to get back in the car. He's really anxious -- and we're anxious to get him back. So, next week he's been cleared to race Martinsville. So we're excited, excited to get him back. Dale is a good friend. He means so much to the sport. He means so much to our company. And I care about him. But he's the sparkplug for this sport and our organization too. It just shows you how fragile things are and how you can get hurt in these cars. As much as we do to make them safe, things can happen. The doctors, we've done everything they've said and he's checked out. Everything is 100 percent clear and ready to go, so we're just really happy," Hendrick commented. "I hated for him to miss these two races as good as the season is going. But the good news is he's ok. He's good. He's excited. He feels great - no headaches. He's a racer and he wants to get back in the car." NASCAR Wire Service
Qatar eyes F1 race Qatar are confident of getting the green light from Formula One governing body, the FIA, to host testing and eventually a Grand Prix, Qatar Motor and Motorcycling Federation president Nasser al-Attiyah told AFP Sunday.
"We're awaiting a positive outcome from the FIA to our request to host F1 testing," Al-Attiyah said.
"An FIA delegation came (two days ago) to Doha where they inspected the Losail circuit (motorcycling) and its amenities," he explained, adding that there was "positive feedback from the members of the delegation especially as we have introduced the necessary adjustments on the circuit".
New Jersey F1 race won't happen in 2013UPDATE #4 This rumor is upgraded from speculation to 'fact' with today's news.
10/03/12 This rumor is downgraded to 'speculation' today. F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone recently said that the contract with New Jersey "has been terminated," which prompted New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to seek informing about the race's progress. He recently called Race Organizer Leo Hinderley. Christie said, "I called him, and he told me there aren't any problems. We are on plan." Nevertheless, in FIA's F1 race calendar for '13, the grand prix is listed as "to be confirmed." Christie added: "He told me, the race will definitely happen. No problem"
Vettel at the NJ circuit
"Finding big money sponsors has proved to be a problem, as it is for all circuits attempting to stage F1 races at a time of global economic stringency." It is not unusual for Ecclestone to "use brinkmanship as a way to twist the unwilling arms of circuit promoters, but New Jersey is not a race F1 wants to lose as it promises to be a showpiece to rival Monaco for glamour and Singapore for influence and income." Cancelling New Jersey would come at an inauspicious time for F1, "which already has a major job repairing its image with a skeptical American public." LONDON TIMES
Thailand aiming for 2014 F1 calendar slotUPDATE #4 Sports Authority of Thailand Gov. Kanokphand Chulakasem today said that the country "would definitely get the green light" to stage an F1 race in November '14. The event, to be titled the "Formula One Grand Prix Thailand," is "likely to be a night race." Details, including the fee and venue, are "still to be finalized." Kanokphand said, "A contract is likely to be signed later this year. It is likely to be a one-year deal with an option to extend." BANGKOKPOST.com
Thailand could be ready to host a Grand Prix as early as 2014, according to the governor of the country’s Sports Authority.
The Bangkok Post reports that Kanokphand Chulakasem, who met with Bernie Ecclestone in Singapore, says that a deal was agreed in principle.
“It will be a city race like that in Singapore and Monaco,” he said. “It will be a night race like the Singapore Grand Prix.”
Massa raced Red Bull-style exhaust in Korea (GMM) Ferrari raced an all-new Red Bull-style exhaust on only Felipe Massa's car in Korea last weekend, according to the Spanish newspaper 20 Minutos.
The news would explain the Brazilian driver's better pace than teammate Fernando Alonso in the sister F2012, and also the Spaniard's confidence that he is still in the running to beat Sebastian Vettel to the title despite a new 6-point championship deficit and Red Bull's recent dominance.
Indeed, 20 Minutos claims Alonso will be running the Massa-specification on his own red car next weekend in India.
Fox, NASCAR To Announce Eight-Year TV Rights Extension Through '22UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Fox and NASCAR have "finalized an eight-year extension of their TV rights agreement, ensuring that Fox will continue to air the Daytona 500 and first half of the NASCAR season" through '22, according to Ourand & Mickle of the SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL.
Sources valued the deal at more than $2.4B, a "sizable increase" from Fox’ current eight-year, $1.76B agreement. The net’s extension "will see it retain the broadcast rights for 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and the entire Camping World Truck Series."
Force India lineup to changeUPDATE (GMM) Nico Hulkenberg signed his new Sauber contract before leaving Korea on Sunday evening, the authoritative German magazine Auto Motor und Sport reports.
After being dumped by Williams after his impressive 2010 debut, the 25-year-old German returned to the grid with Force India this year, having served a season as reserve driver.
Faced with the Sauber rumour on Monday, Hulkenberg's manager Timo Gans said: "I don't want to confirm or deny.
"The drivers' contracts are announced by the relevant teams. I don't want to pre-empt anything."
Hulkenberg to Sauber?
(GMM) Eddie Jordan has predicted Force India will make one driver change ahead of the 2013 season.
The former F1 team owner and boss's words are carefully listened to these days, after he recently correctly predicted that that Lewis Hamilton would move to Mercedes next year, pushing Michael Schumacher back into retirement.
Now, when musing Force India's next lineup, he said of the current duo Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta: "One of them is going to leave that team."
NBC to pickup Speed F1 team? A reader asks, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I believe you wrote recently that you thought Bob Varsha and David Hobbs would be a great addition to the Indycar broadcasts but contracts probably could not be worked out. Now that (as per your rumors) Speed as lost F1 rights starting next year, do you see then joining the Indycar broadcast team? Rick Flaute, Dayton, OH
Dear Rick, We predict NBC will pickup Varsha, Hobbs and Matchett to do the F1 broadcasts and hopefully the IndyCar broadcasts as well. With Bob Jenkins retiring the timing is right for them to do IndyCar as well.......as they did back in the boom years of CART. Mark C.
Will insurance force NASCAR to abandon suicide racing? NASCAR has lost its biggest star, right in the middle of its playoffs.
Although everybody walked away from last Sunday’s Big One at Talladega Superspeedway, it was revealed Thursday that Dale Earnhardt Jr. had been diagnosed with a concussion that’s serious enough to keep him out of the next two Chase for the Championship races.
It’s not the first time that Junior has had his “bell rung.” He raced in 2002 with a concussion (his admission after the fact prompted NASCAR to take a closer look at drivers with possible head injuries) and during the press conference at which he announced he had to step away from the car, he admitted to being concussed as the result of a crash during tire testing at Kansas Speedway in August.
NASCAR to drop Daytona Twin Qualifying races? Word is Daytona International Speedway is dropping the two Thursday 150s [Duel qualifying races]. Lack of sponsorship is said to be the reason. MikeMulhern.net.
However in February Budweiser and Daytona International Speedway announced the beer brand will take on an enhanced role in NASCAR's season opening festivities. Beginning with the 2013 season, Budweiser will become the official title sponsor of Speedweeks -the ten-day stretch of stock-car races from the Shootout to the Daytona 500. Budweiser also will secure entitlement of the Budweiser Duel at Daytona, two 150-mile qualifying races that determine the starting lineup for the Daytona 500. These enhancements to Budweiser's partnership with DIS will replace the brand's existing entitlement of the season-opening, non-points Shootout. Daytona International Speedway
(GMM) Heikki Kovalainen is unhappy and wants to quit Caterham.
That is the claim of Eddie Jordan, the former F1 team owner and boss who recently corrected predicted that Lewis Hamilton would move to Mercedes next year, pushing Michael Schumacher back into retirement.
Now, he thinks Finn Kovalainen is ready to leave Caterham after three years with the 2010 startup.
Lotus could dump Grosjean Eric Boullier has refused to confirm that Romain Grosjean will retain his seat with Lotus for next season in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports F1.
While Grosjean's pace is undoubted, his second stint in F1 has been increasingly dogged by controversy - and crashes. In total, the Frenchman has been embroiled in seven first-lap accidents in fourteen races this season and was handed the first race suspension in almost twenty years after sparking a five-car pile-up in Spa. And now, following his latest indiscretion, which saw him ram into the side of Mark Webber's Red Bull in Suzuka, it appears as if Grosjean has been forced to enter the last-chance saloon.
Mercedes could push for Ecclestone axe - report (GMM) Mercedes could push to have Bernie Ecclestone removed as F1's chief executive, the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reports on Saturday.
The report said that even though the German carmaker has signed up for the 2013 Concorde Agreement, it is still concerned about the investigation into Ecclestone's alleged involvement in the bribery of jailed banker Gerhard Gribkowsky.
If the 81-year-old Briton is prosecuted, Mercedes would apparently push fellow teams and sponsors to band together and demand that Ecclestone step down.
NBC Sports gets rights to F1 broadcasts in the USA F1 is close to signing a multiyear U.S. rights deal with NBC Sports, according to several sources. The deal could be signed as early as this afternoon. NBC is expected to make a formal announcement early next week. Terms of the deal are not yet known, but sources said NBC outbid Fox. Sources valued Fox' previous deal in the low seven figures annually. The move ends a 16-year relationship between Fox and F1, as the racing circuit first sold its U.S. rights to Fox in '96. In the ensuing years, Fox showed a handful of races every year on its broadcast network, but the majority were on Speed.
Honda eyeing F1 return?UPDATE Honda "could make an F1 comeback in '14," according to AUTO BILD. Honda Research & Development CEO Yoshiharu Yamamoto said that he "would welcome an F1 return." Yamamoto said, "It is true that we watch the races and hope to return at some point."
Although Yamamoto does not believe in an immediate F1 return, he "sees the potential that the upcoming rule changes provide." He said, "I obviously follow the rule changes, and if they provide an opportunity for us then it would be nice to come back." The financial crises in '08 led to Honda's withdrawal from F1. It seems that "Honda's return is dependent on whether F1 goes through with its proposed engine change or not."
Rodney Childers to the No. 99?UPDATE In a weird twist of fate, Chad Johnston, has agreed to terms with RFR to be the 99 crew chief next year. Apparently both Rodney Childers and Chad Johnston were going for the same opening.
10/04/12 According to AR1.com sources, Rodney Childers is in the running to crew chief the No. 99 Carl Edwards Ford in 2013. He is currently employed at Michael Waltrip Racing as the crew chief for the No. 55 Sprint Cup Series car, driven by Mark Martin and Michael Waltrip.
Coloni team to quit GP2, move to IndyCar with Luca FilippiUPDATE #3 With IndyCar races now rumored for Italy, this rumor takes on greater significance. At Singapore Italian team Coloni raced their last ever GP2 race with Italian driver Luca Filippi who has himself been eyeing a move to IndyCar... We're quite sure they will do 'something big' next year and move to IndyCar. In addition to this, they (Coloni) also organize the Auto GP Series, which they will continue to do next year.
This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today. "Apart from owning a team that will race in the GP2 Series until the end of the 2012, I’m also managing some drivers," Paolo Coloni told SPEED.com. "As a driver manager, I spent a lot of time thinking about how to help them in becoming motorsport 'pros,' really earning a life from racing.
"In Europe all [these] young talents spend million[s of] euros in GP2 and [Formula] Renault 3.5 in order to boost their careers, but [the] reality is that unless you are followed directly by a manufacturer, the only way to enter F1 is having at least 15 million euros, [and] that will buy you a seat in the last two rows of the grid."
(GMM) It is simplistic to say Red Bull has sped into the 2012 title favorites' role due to its new 'double DRS' device.
As Sebastian Vettel closed the championship gap to Fernando Alonso to just 4 points with wins in Singapore and Suzuka, it had emerged that his RB8 was equipped with a new top speed-boosting system.
"As with all these things, there's never a silver bullet and I think it would be very difficult to say the car's performance here is purely down to a rear wing," team boss Christian Horner said in Japan.
Chip Ganassi's secret test tunnelUPDATE #6 First discovered by AutoRacing1.com back in 2006, Ganassi first used the Laurel Hill Tunnel for testing in 2004 to develop the G-Force chassis for the Izod IndyCar Series.
“It's not a secret [anymore],” Ganassi tells AutoWeek. “It's not incumbent upon me to publicize how we test, but it isn't a secret.
“Even if you rent a scale-model rolling road, the models for cars in three different series [IndyCar, NASCAR and Grand-Am] get expensive, and we were getting the most success out of our straight-line [aero] program. My engineers told me, 'We need a drag strip—let's buy an old drag strip or air strip, and if there is still budget we'll build some walls, and if there's more budget we'll put a roof on.' I asked if a tunnel would work and they said, 'maybe better.' And I said, 'Good, because I know where there's a tunnel, so let's see if we can get that.'
“You can work 365 days without worrying about weather, noise or changing conditions,” Ganassi continues. “You build the real piece, not a model. Every team has a tunnel. Ours is just different, maybe more unique. It's the real thing because the heat is in the right places. The temperatures are real, not calculated or simulated.”
Formula E eyes India for 2014 The promoters of the brand new FIA Formula E series "are targeting India as a destination" for a race in their inaugural series in '14. The series will feature cars powered by electric energy. Governing body FIA President Jean Todt has signed a deal with a group of investors, Formula E Holdings Ltd., to stage the Formula E series, which will have 10 teams and 20 drivers. The organizers have not yet decided on the city "although initially Mumbai was mentioned as one of the venues." JPSI, the owners of Buddh Int'l Circuit, the venue of the F1 Indian Grand Prix, said that they are "open to the idea" of hosting such a race. PTI
Promising Canberra, Australia driver Mathew Hart will take his immense talents to the US as he chases his dream of becoming the latest Aussie to crack the lucrative IndyCar circuit.
Hart has a firm grip on second spot in the Australian Formula Ford title after strong performances in the penultimate round of the championship at Bathurst this weekend.
He finished third overall for the round, with two seconds and a seventh placed-finish from the three races.
Victorian Jack Le Brocq recorded a clean sweep to wrap up the title and holds an unassailable 72-point lead in the standings from Hart, who is 51 points clear of nearest rival Garry Jacobson.
Hart will complete his Formula Ford commitments at the competition's eighth and final round in Winton next month before he turns his focus to a test drive for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing in December.
It's the same path Australian drivers Will Power and Ryan Briscoe took on their way to breaking into the IndyCar series.
(GMM) Heikki Kovalainen appears headed for the exit at Caterham.
The Finn arrived at the 2010 startup with a battered image after his formative years with Renault and McLaren, but he is now linked with a move to a more competitive team for 2013.
He has also been in talks with Caterham, but team boss Tony Fernandes said when asked about Kovalainen's future in Singapore: "Well, it's ... I don't know."
Under the Singapore lights, Caterham lost its lucrative tenth place in the constructors' championship to Marussia, having always previously enjoyed the status as clearly the best of F1's three youngest teams.
Speed TV to disappear?UPDATE #5 The curveball in a new FOX deal is the impact the network's change of SPEED into Fox Sports One, a new all sports channel that will carry Major League Baseball, college football and basketball and other sports in addition to NASCAR programming. Hoping to keep up with the likes of the ABC/ESPN, NBC/NBC Sports Network as well as CBS/CBS Sports Network pairings, FOX plans to flip the current motorsports and automotive channel into its own general sports cable network.
As of now ancillary NASCAR programming such as practice, qualifying and support events like the Camping World Truck Series would be mixed into the revamped channel's content line-up. There is word FOX will also stream NASCAR programming beginning next season, ala the "Watch ESPN" initiative that will allow mobile device access for thousands of viewers. Assuming FOX comes to terms, the remainder of the new NASCAR television package is a bit fuzzier.
Ecclestone eyes Turkey GP circuit tender - reportUPDATE A number of local companies have "obtained authorization to join a tender for Turkey’s idle car race track," Istanbul Park, according to Hulya Guler of the HURRIYET. The F1 circuit was built to host the Turkish F1 Grand Prix, but was "put out for tender when the race was removed from the calendar." However, reports indicate that F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone is also interested in the plot, "adding that while he had not yet obtained the tender specifications, he was looking at doing so." Among the local contenders to rent the venue for 10 years are trade company CNR Expo; the Istanbul Golf Club; car rental company Intercity; and construction firm Ozyazıcı. The tender is scheduled to take place on Oct. 10, while the "annual appraised value of the circuit is $3M." HURRIYET
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone is interested in securing the former Turkish grand prix venue in Istanbul, the Hurriyet daily reports.
The newspaper said a tender is scheduled to take place next Wednesday.
The Istanbul Park circuit hosted formula one races between 2005 and 2011, and although poorly attended the Hermann Tilke-penned layout was lauded particularly for its challenging quadruple-apex turn 8.
Ryan Newman to fall on his sword for Danica Patrick and give up his whole team
Danica Patrick will be in good hands when she runs her first full season in the Sprint Cup Series in 2013. Stewart Haas Racing is looking to support Patrick with the veteran crew (chief Tony Gibson and the squad) that currently services the #39 team and Ryan Newman. "That's what we're looking at," says Patrick's current Cup crew chief and SHR Competition Director Greg Zipadelli.
"We sat down and talked with all the guys about it, and we just feel that they're a real solid group of people. They have great attitudes, pretty upbeat. We feel like that's the best thing to do is surround Danica with a really great group of people that don't normally make mistakes. They don't have issues. I look at them as generally, their glasses are always half-full. I think that's the best thing for her."
Zipadelli has a short list of crew chiefs for Newman but considering that most are still under contract with other teams he elected not to comment. Fox Sports
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