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Champions Mercedes are likely to stay in Formula One after major changes come into play in 2021 but that cannot be taken for granted, team principal Toto Wolff said on Tuesday. Especially with large layoffs looming for Mercedes and Tesla starting to eat into their sales, Mercedes may not want to be spending so much money on a sport that uses internal combustion engines.
The German car maker’s factory team have won both the constructors’ and drivers’ championships for an unprecedented six years in a row, and next season is the last before a financial, technical and sporting shake-up.
Mazda is expected to part ways with Joest Racing following the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March, with a mid-season team switch possible for the DPi manufacturer.
Although Mazda won't confirm it, Sportscar365 reports that the German outfit’s contract, which runs through the end of the Japanese business year in March, has not been renewed, leading to the possibility of the factory Mazda RT24-Ps running under two different banners in 2020.
Land Controlled by IMS. Our estimates now put the deal at around $1 billion
UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today as we expected the report of $300M was way wide of the mark. IMS and Hulman-subsidiary Georgetown Realty Co. Inc. control about 37% of all the land in Speedway, making Hulman the 4.8-square-mile town’s single-largest landowner.
All that land will be turned over to Penske when the deal closes, bringing with it responsibility for about $2.7 million in annual property taxes.
Valued at $97 million for tax break purposes, the acreage accounts for about 16% of Speedway’s assessed property value of $608 million according to IBJcom.
If the assessed property value is $608 million, adding in the IndyCar series, the value of the historic Indy 500 race, the IMS Museum, and IMS productions, the deal had to be just south of $1 billion.
Packed grandstands. Since Jim France has taken over the reins of NASCAR, the series has been on the rise
UPDATE Estimated total attendance at ISM was "more than 50,000."
All 42,000 grandstand seats sold out, with "several thousand more combined in the Infield suites and a record number of campers." ARIZONA REPUBLIC
11/08/19 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. ISM Raceway has announced a sellout crowd for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Bluegreen Vacations 500, the second time in a row it has done so after its $178M renovation. The track sold out its roughly 45,000 seats comprising the Allison grandstand that was built as part of the renovation of the venue that wrapped up last year.
UPDATE (GMM) Renault has played down rumors it might quit Formula 1.
Last week, reports suggested that amid on and off-track scandals, poor results and the loss of engine customers Red Bull and McLaren, new Renault CEO Clotilde Delbos might be poised to pull the carmaker out of F1.
But a Renault spokesperson told f1only.fr that the rumors were put out there to "destabilize" the team.
Mercedes to slash costs, will F1 program feel pinch?
How much longer can Toto afford Lewis Hamilton?
As it grapples with recalls, costly fines over illegal diesel engine software and a slowing global market due to stiff competition from EV car maker Tesla, Daimler is embarking on an austerity program that, if implemented, will see it cut 10 per cent of its management jobs (1,100 positions) and freeze its 300,000 workers’ paychecks in Germany. Will is also hit their huge F1 budget?
That’s according to German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung, Mercedes-Benz‘s parent company, who cites an email sent to staff by the group’s works council. The news was confirmed by Handelsblatt and German news agency DPA.
Hamilton 'thinking about' Ferrari move - Villeneuve
There is zero chance Hamilton goes to Ferrari. He is playing Mercedes like a fiddle to extract more money in his contract renegotiation's, which have begun.
(GMM) 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve thinks Lewis Hamilton is contemplating a move to Ferrari.
Six time world champion Hamilton's Mercedes contract expires next year, and Toto Wolff said recently it is "natural" that the Briton is attracted to Ferrari because it's the "most important brand" in F1.
"Lewis is chasing all the records and he has a good chance of getting most of them," Villeneuve told Sky Italia.
"Going to Ferrari would be the culmination of all of it and I suspect he is thinking about it."
IndyCar could be racing with Supercars in Sydney as soon as 2021 (2nd Update)
Route to track from downtown Sydney
UPDATE Old news for AR1.com readers, but IndyCar President Jay Frye said that officials have "held 'exploratory' discussions about staging a race in Sydney," according to van Leeuwen & Malsher of AUTOSPORT.
IndyCar has "made no secret of its ongoing desire to return to Australia," with talks of a "revived Gold Coast Indy event stretching back several years."
The Queensland government has "shown genuine interest in bringing the series back" to Surfers Paradise for the first time since '08, but a "resolution on a date has been a stumbling block." IndyCar has "made it clear it wants to race in Australia in February."
Kalitta Motorsports to make big sponsor announcement for 2020 (Update)
Brian Norko, Doug Kalitta, J.R. Todd, Shawn Langdon and Chad Head at NGK Kalitta Motorsports sponsorship announcement during SEMA
UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Kalitta Motorsports, the seven-time NHRA world championship winning team, and NGK Spark Plugs announced an exclusive multi-year partnership today at SEMA that pairs the world’s leading spark plug brand to one of the most legendary teams in motorsports. The marketing partnership, which will officially begin in 2020, will see every race car in the Kalitta Motorsports stable use NGK Spark Plugs in all NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events.
“We are thrilled to announce this partnership with NGK Spark Plugs,” said Chad Head, Kalitta Motorsports General Manager. “The Kalitta team, led by Connie Kalitta, has been one of the most innovative and creative motorsports organizations for 60 years. We feel the partnership with NGK Spark Plugs will continue this tradition of performance excellence and championship results.”
Penske to implement guaranteed starting spots in 500
With Tony George listening, Roger punted on the guaranteed starting spot question
Roger Penske has long argued that full-time, championship contending teams should have a guaranteed starting spot in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, similar to what NASCAR does for its regular teams.
This became a big topic in 2018 when James Hinchcliffe, fifth in the championship standings, failed to qualify for the 33-car field. Now that he owns the Indy 500 will Penske push for guaranteed starting spots?
In yesterday's press conference, when asked this question, Penske punted:
Hulkenberg denies move to DTM in 2020 even though his Alfa Romeo option in F1 is now gone. Will he stay home and tend to gardening in 2020?
UPDATE (GMM) Nico Hulkenberg has slammed as "fake news" reports he will on Tuesday be unveiled as a DTM driver for 2020.
The German's comments come as his last real option to stay on the F1 grid next year, the race seat alongside Kimi Raikkonen at Alfa Romeo, is filled.
"Antonio (Giovinazzi) has emerged as a very quick driver, even alongside as tough a benchmark as Kimi, and we expect him to develop even further as his experience grows," Alfa Romeo boss Frederic Vasseur announced on Monday.
Earlier, media reports by the leading Motorsport Network announced that Hulkenberg, 32, could be unveiled on Tuesday as a works BMW driver in the German touring car series DTM for 2020.
Tony George admits there were attempts to buy IndyCar
Over the last couple of years AR1.com rumored that Liberty Media made two runs at trying to buy the IndyCar series, only to be rebuffed, and met by denials from Mark Miles saying IndyCar is not for sale. Our inside sources were solid, but the sale never happened.
Well today, we learned from Tony George in the press conference after it was announced Roger Penske was buying IndyCar lock, stock and barrel, that those rumors were true:
“There were offers," George said. "I remember back to 1977-78, and recently we had some up to a couple years ago – most recently this past spring. But we’ve always been committed, and I’ve said before that my mother was committed, everyone has always been committed, but you had to start to take into account the bigger picture. Is this really the best thing for this institution?"
McLaren F1's Petrobras Deal To Be Terminated (4th Update)
Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren
UPDATE McLaren have confirmed that its sponsorship deal with Brazilian oil giant Petrobras will be terminated with immediate effect and the companies logos removed from the car for the next race.
Petrobras, which is majority owned – 64 per cent – by the Brazilian government, agreed a five-year sponsorship deal with McLaren at the beginning of the 2018 season but ever since Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro was sworn in, he has pushed for the deal to be cancelled.
The deal, reportedly worth £163 million, will therefore come to an end ahead of the Brazilian GP, where the logos will no longer be on the MCL34.
Mark Miles said IndyCar was not for sale, but AR1.com maintained it was.
UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today although IndyCar was not sold to Liberty, but to Roger Penske. See Hot News
11/10/18 The original rumor was that Liberty wanted to buy IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but the powers to be keep saying it is not for sale.
That was the case before the Nov. 3 death of Mari Hulman George--the matriarch of IMS and IndyCar Series parent Hulman & Co. And it’s still the case.
“As a practice, we don’t discuss our corporate ownership structure. However, the passing of Mari Hulman George does not affect the operation of IMS and IMS is not for sale,” Speedway President Doug Boles told Anthony Schoetle of IBJ.
Hinchcliffe is out of ride, O'Ward and Askew for Arrow McLaren (3rd Update)
UPDATE A source familiar with the situation, who has been granted anonymity to speak freely about the situation, told Norris McDonald of the Toronto Star that, “Schmidt Peterson have really put the screws to James. He was gobsmacked when they told him; for him, it came entirely out of the blue.
“They will pay him his salary (estimated in the neighborhood of $500,000 U.S. a year) but to earn it he will have to go to the races and be in their hospitality unit and shake hands with people and talk about racing and be a personality. They might also have him do some appearances away from the races. They are on the hook for a lot of money and they will want to get their money’s worth.”
Art St. Cyr says a Honda move to NASCAR would mean an end of its IndyCar program.
Honda told Autosport they are is interested in joining NASCAR if budgets make sense, but a switch to the championship would likely mean the end of its IndyCar and IMSA programs.
"We always keep an eye on it," said St Cyr, speaking after Acura's Petit Le Mans win. "We look at it peripherally, right now. But it is something that interests us.
"Given the opportunity, we'd jump at the chance to do that [NASCAR] as soon as it makes sense for us." St Cyr added that the scale of NASCAR's challenge and reach is both an attraction and a deterrent in terms of the effort required.
Red Bull is already set with its drivers. Hulkenberg would be a very long shot.
Jack Plooif, an established Dutch Formula 1 reporter doesn't rule out the chance of a contract signing at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing for Nico Hulkenberg.
On the morning show of Giel Beelen on Radio Veronica, Jack Plooij discusses the Grand Prix weekend in Mexico. There he tells, among other things, that he was troubled by the sickness bug and discusses the latest rumors. One of them would connect Hulkenberg to Red Bull Racing again.
Mayweather Appears Involved With Potential NASCAR Team
Floyd Mayweather and his The Money Team brand appear to be involved with a new team venture in NASCAR that is trying to start up.
A user on Reddit’s NASCAR page on Friday shared a link to TheMoneyTeamRacing.com, a website that shows Mayweather’s likeness and TMT’s logo, along with bold lettering that states: “The Champ is ready to fight again, this time in a sport full of speed, fire and fury.”
The website states that the team’s first race will be at Homestead-Miami Speedway next month and touts that announcements on drivers, sponsors and merchandise will be coming soon.
Organizers for the upcoming F1 U.S. Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas said that they are "on pace for the best year of ticket sales" since '12, the inaugural year of the Austin race, according to Chris Bils of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN.
Overall sales for the Nov. 1-3 event are "up 15% from last year, when F1 reported 263,160 attended the weekend and 111,580 came on race day."
Patricio O'Ward rumored in the running for the Arrow McLaren SP IndyCar team
Pato O’Ward’s goal of Formula 1 appears to be over, and the 20-year-old Mexican appears headed right back into IndyCar.
After it was learned Red Bull is ending its relationship with O’Ward, the 2018 Indy Lights champion told RACER.com on Friday afternoon that IndyCar is now his primary focus, and speculation is that it could be with Arrow McLaren SP.
IndyCar worried about Miami GP May will be rather warm in Miami. What are they thinking? Too bad an IndyCar race wasn't a support race to F1 in Miami in early May instead of the near empty grandstand GP of Indianapolis.
'@IndyCar is keeping a close eye on the @F1Miami situation following the news that @F1 is angling for a race during May 2021, but no comment yet.
➖ @IMS hosts events every week during the Indy 500 month, and a competing F1 race in Miami could siphon some major buzz from Indy. pic.twitter.com/uXZzBiw5di
NASCAR is finalizing a deal that will make Geico the first company to sign as a premier partner for its new Cup-level sponsorship model, sources said.
The deal has not yet been signed, though it has been verbally agreed to and will be reached barring an unforeseen late complication.
NASCAR has been in the market looking for three to five top-tier partners for its new model, which will replace the title sponsorship system that is in place. NASCAR has been asking $15-20M annually over several years for the deals.
UPDATE The goal of spinning off Lamborghini would be to stockpile more cash and other resources for VW's massive planned push into electric vehicles. Back in March, reports circulated that Volkswagen's "Vision 2030" corporate plan might include plans to focus on the brand's core brands — VW, Audi and Porsche. That means the futures of fringe players like Lamborghini, Bentley, Bugatti, motorcycle brand Ducati and design firm Italdesign (and note this isn't a comprehensive list of brand's under the expansive VW Group umbrella) are up in the air.
Penske team uses Coulthard as 'Sacrificial Lamb' to help McLaughlin
Penske Sacrificial Lamb' Fabian Coulthard
Shane van Gisbergen says the Penske Supercar team uses Fabian Coulthard to a ‘sacrificial lamb’ after the DJR Team Penske driver was penalized for slowing excessively under Safety Car in the Bathurst 1000.
Coulthard was running third, one position behind his ultimately victorious Shell V-Power Racing teammate Scott McLaughlin, when a Safety Car was called on Lap 135.
SMP boss, and Russian Billionaire, Boris Rotenberg
UPDATE (GMM) A Russian government minister is still talking about the prospect of a Russian Formula 1 team.
At Sochi recently, trade and industry minister Denis Manturov said a Russian team is "not far off". His comments came at the same time as Formula 1 and the FIA played down the prospect of new teams joining for 2021.
But minister Manturov, who was appointed directly by Vladimir Putin, is still making noises about a Russian F1 team.
"I think first of all we should talk about the appearance of a Russian team," he told the state-owned Russia-24 television broadcaster on Friday.
2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 Production to be Delayed by UAW GM Strike
For all the justified hype, the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette might be off to a rough start—and it hasn't gone on sale yet. According to a report from the Detroit Free Press, the production and on-sale date of the mid-engine Corvette will be delayed as the ongoing United Auto Workers strike at GM impacts the company's ability to catch up on current-generation orders and finish retooling Bowling Green Assembly Plant to build the new car.
F1 could freeze the combustion engine and leave the electrical portion wide open
(GMM) F1 is considering a freeze on the internal combustion engine part of the current 'power units' from 2021.
Earlier, it was thought that the engine rules would remain stable until 2025.
But concerns about the high development costs are now driving speculation that a freeze before then could be on the cards, with only the electrical parts of the power units then eligible for constant development.
This opens a full-time slot on the Arrow McLaren SP team for Fernando Alonso should by some miracle he decide to run IndyCar full-time in 2020.
09/01/19 After confirming James Hinchcliffe will stay with the team Sam Schmidt told Autosport "Obviously you'd like to pick up a driver with some level of experience who has showed promise but honestly it's wide open for that second seat right now."
Ally Extending Deal To Sponsor Hendrick Motorsports (Update)
#48 Jimmie Johnson
UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Ally on Friday announced that it has extended its full-season sponsorship of Hendrick Motorsports through ’23, a three-year deal that is a significantly positive development for the NASCAR team. The deal is for the team’s No. 48 Chevy driven by Jimmie Johnson, whose contract is currently slated to expire after next season.
The team did not announce his future but noted that the sponsor extension almost certainly ensures that the seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion will retire as an Ally-sponsored driver.
UPDATE The Miami Dolphins face a new hazard in the team’s bid to bring Formula One racing to Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Neighbors of the proposed track are pushing Miami-Dade County to step in and possibly block the planned yearly event, which would debut in 2021.
“Formula One racing would never be allowed in a rich neighborhood,” Lynette Hickenbottom told commissioners Thursday.
A "would-be" Spain-based F1 team said on Thursday that it was "planning an entry under new regulations" from '21, with former F1 driver Pascal Wehrlein as part of the "prospective lineup."
Monaco-based MIM Group, linked to Adrian Campos' Campos Racing Team, which competes in Formula Two and Formula Three, said in a statement that it "had a team of former F1 engineers working on a preliminary study."
The statement mentioned meetings in May and July with F1 Chair Chase Carey and Managing Dir Ross Brawn. The three new teams that entered F1 in '10, "when a budget cap was proposed but never happened," are now defunct. REUTERS
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