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DATE News (chronologically)
Shell/Pennzoil on Penske IndyCars?  UPDATE #2 We rumored this way back on April 25th of this year, but today SpeedTV.com got wind of it too and are rumoring that Helio Castroneves will drive the yellow Pennzoil car in 2011.

04/25/10 As anticipated, the Shell/Pennzoil sponsorship of Penske Racing will extend to the IndyCar team as well:

Texas-based Shell Oil Co. and Michigan-based Penske Corp. on April 21 announced a multiyear agreement starting in the 2011 racing season.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The new deal includes associate sponsorship of Penske’s Indy Racing League drivers Helio Castroneves, Will Power and Ryan Briscoe, and a primary sponsorship for Penske’s NASCAR driver Kurt Busch. More ...

Trulli 2011 season at Lotus  (GMM)  Jarno Trulli on Wednesday hinted he expects to remain with the Lotus Racing team in 2011.

The 36-year-old Italian has denied he is considering a switch to American NASCAR racing next year, but speculation linking other drivers with Trulli's cockpit have persisted.

He had a troubled campaign with the new team this season, whilst insiders say Trulli's teammate Heikki Kovalainen is happier at Lotus and definitely staying in 2011. More ...

Buemi to make way for Ricciardo debut in 2011?  (GMM)  A race cockpit vacancy might soon open up at Toro Rosso.  The Faenza based team is owned by Dietrich Mateschitz and billed as Red Bull's junior driver outfit, currently fielding youngsters Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari.

The pair have been confirmed for the 2011 season, but there was earlier some confusion as to whether both Buemi and Alguersuari will ultimately line up on next year's grid.

The Toro Rosso lineup is now once again the subject of speculation, after the leading driver of Red Bull's current crop of up-and-comers - Australian Daniel Ricciardo - so impressed with his pace in the RB6 in Abu Dhabi last week. More ...

Vettel inks big Shampoo deal with P&G  F1 driver Sebastian Vettel reportedly has inked a "multi-million dollar sponsorship contract" with Procter & Gamble to promote the Head & Shoulders shampoo brand. Vettel won the '10 F1 Series championship.  AUTOEVOLUTION.com
Vettel to someday be a Ferrari driver  Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz has told a German newspaper that new world champion Sebastian Vettel harbours an ambition to drive for Ferrari one day. Mateschitz added, however, that Red Bull Racing aims to make any decision to move to Maranello "as difficult as possible."

Vettel, in a column for Bild in Germany, has referred to Ferrari and Mercedes as the "past, present and certainly the future of F1." His current contract with RBR expires at the end of 2011 and Mateschitz is keen for Vettel to sign a long-term extension.

Since buying Jaguar at the end of 2004, Mateschitz's investment in the team and Christian Horner's leadership has seen the recruitment of design genius Adrian Newey and the creation of an infrastructure strong enough to take on and beat established teams such as Ferrari and McLaren in a period of just over five years, which is impressive. More ...
Will Lotus plans come to fruition?  UPDATE According to this AutoWeek article Lotus received $1.5 billion seed money from parent Proton Group to fund the rollout of their new cars and racing endeavors in many series. However, after an in-depth look at Lotus and all the good things they are doing, he ends questioning whether Lotus can pull it all off.

11/22/10 Group Lotus' has announced they will join IndyCar from 2012, partner with ART in GP2 and GP3, F1 (perhaps with the Renault team) and plan a substantial expansion of its sportscar racing program including creating an LMP2 car.

They have announced that they're going to join every racing series around the world, and are showing several new car models they plan to launch and the only question is who's going to pay for it given Lotus is owned by Proton who took over after the bankruptcy of former owner Bugatti in 1994?  Does Proton have the financial resources for such an aggressive strategy?

Hornish back to IndyCar?  Roger Penske is still seeking sponsorship for #77-Sam Hornish Jr. for 2011, likely more for a Nationwide Series program than a Sprint Cup program. Penske said he plans to have two Cup teams for #2-Brad Keselowski and #22-Kurt Busch and two Nationwide teams for Keselowski and another driver next season. He doesn't have sponsorship for Hornish in Cup but said because the team has owner's points and would be locked in for the first five races of 2011, Hornish might drive at least those events. "Sam has done a great job for me on the IndyCar side," Penske said. "We brought him in here and maybe should have brought him up a different way. But we gave him a chance tonight to run. We've got a couple of opportunities for him  nothing at this point for a full season. But there is opportunity out there. We've got the ability to run in the first five races on the Cup side. So what we're trying to do is can we mix and match to get somebody in for us for next year. We've got to work on it. We'd like to run two cars next year, both on the Cup side and & the Nationwide side. We certainly have the equipment and have the people. I think all of us are looking for the right kind of sponsor. These are people that are interested in the sport and what we need to do is try to close some of these deals we are working on. I'm positive we can." SceneDaily

[Editor's Note:  Face it, Hornish has had no success in NASCAR whatsoever, and probably will not because the new Car of Tomorrow needs to be run loose to be fast and Hornish, like Dale Earnhardt Jr. cannot do it well.  Recall that Hornish came from the 100% throttle high downforce IRL series where it was not necessary to run loose.  He did well in IndyCar so we suspect he will try to find his way back there.]

Steve Wallace could run the Daytona 500  Steven Wallace is hoping to make his NASCAR Sprint Cup debut at the 2011 Daytona 500. His owner/father Rusty Wallace said, "I'm trying really hard. If I can align with someone who already has points, I'll do it." Wallace, 27, currently competes full time for Rusty Wallace Racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. He is ninth in the series standings right now. Wallace debuted in the series in 2005 and began racing full time there in 2007. He has 29 top-10 finishes, four of them top fives, as well as two pole positions in the Nationwide ranks. FoxSports
Monza worried Rome to take place on F1 calendar  (GMM)  Organizers of the historic Italian grand prix are worried plans to take formula one to Rome will leave historic Monza without a race.

Both the Italian capital and Bernie Ecclestone insist the plans for a street race in the EUR district are no threat to Monza, but officials of the high speed Autodromo Nazionale are not so confident.

"Amid a globalization of grands prix, each country will inevitably be allowed to stage only one" and "since Rome is the capital, I'm afraid we'd lose the grand prix forever," Monza boss Enrico Ferrari told Bloomberg.

The Rome city council is due to meet this month to consider how to proceed with its F1 bid. More ...
Evernham might return to Hendrick team  Ray Evernham is looking for a job, and he just might reunite with Rick Hendrick. is talking to ESPN about continuing his career as a television analyst, but he's also exploring other options in NASCAR. And he plans to meet with Hendrick about a potential return to the organization where he won three championships as Jeff Gordon's crew chief in the 1990s.

"Rick and I just have to meet and discuss things," Evernham said. "I'm interested in a lot of things Rick is doing, on a global basis."

Evernham isn't interested in being a crew chief again, and he doesn't sound particularly enthusiastic about the idea of trying to straighten out Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the struggling No. 88 team.

Instead, Evernham hopes to talk to Hendrick about working on big-picture projects related to Hendrick's worldwide business interests.

"I want to be a project guy -- on a project, see results, move on," Evernham said.
Goodyear tire test may still happen at Daytona in December  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams are scheduled to get their first look at the newly repaved Daytona International Speedway Dec. 15-16 when Goodyear holds a tire test at the 2.5-mile facility.

11/14/10 Goodyear has scrapped its original plans for a Daytona tire test Dec. 7-8 and is considering moving the session to the 13th and 14th instead. Goodyear product manager Rick Heinrich said the track hasn't "progressed to the point that it's ready for the first date we required." Daytona International Speedway president Joie Chitwood has scheduled a meeting with Goodyear officials next week in Miami. Chitwood said when the original test dates were announced by Goodyear, he reiterated "quite clearly that there was no way to forecast" an actual date of completion. According to Chitwood, the pit lane isn't paved completely and the SAFER barrier and fencing must be installed before the cars are cleared to run. "I will meet with my engineers," Chitwood said, "and at that point I will know how early I can get cars on the track. There's still stuff to do. Once we give a date, then we'll have to live up to it." Heinrich doesn't anticipate the later dates will be a problem even though NASCAR has mandated that no test drivers can be used for the tire test. "The feedback that we've gotten from the teams is there's still a lot of interest in the test," Heinrich said. FoxSports
Ford to race Mustang in Sprint Cup  Ford Racing officials hope that Ford’s Sprint Cup car will look like a Mustang and be branded as a Mustang in the near future, Edsel B. Ford II said Saturday morning. The Mustang was introduced this year as Ford’s new car for the Nationwide Series, which introduced the new car for four races in 2010 and for all events in 2011. Currently, Ford teams race the Ford Fusion in Sprint Cup. The most likely scenario for a change would come in 2013, the expected rollout for the second version of the relatively new Cup car.

“It helps to have the Mustang in Nationwide, and there are a lot of us who wish we could do it simultaneously in Cup as well,” said Ford, a member of the Ford Motor Company board of directors and the great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford. “The sooner the better. Let’s be frank: Motorsports enthusiasts are not going to buy Fusions because they see a Fusion win here, are they?

“It’s not our performance model. Mustang is. To have a Mustang on the track in NASCAR is the right direction. The Nationwide car looks like a Mustang. It meets the criteria.”

Manufacturers and NASCAR are working on a new version of the current Cup car for 2013, a version that will increase brand identity for manufacturers, much like the new Nationwide car. Ford’s Nationwide car is branded as a Mustang while the Dodge is branded as a Challenger. Chevrolet opted not to put the Camaro in the Nationwide Series because it couldn’t get the look it wanted. Toyota doesn’t have a muscle car and continues to use the Camry nameplate in Nationwide.

“It’s like the Trans-Am days, and I think it’s going to be really interesting to watch – how will the Saturday crowds look vis-a-vis the Sunday crowds,” Ford said. The season-ending weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway is big for Ford, which sponsors all three NASCAR national touring stock-car series finales.

Ford is using this weekend to promote three new vehicles by having them pace the races – the new Ford Explorer, which features better fuel economy, will pace the Sprint Cup race while the limited production Mustang Boss 302 paced the Nationwide race and an F-150 that used the new EcoBoost truck engine was the pace vehicle for the truck race.

NASCAR is still giving the company positive results, Ford said.

“The research shows that NASCAR fans are very loyal to Ford, and that’s why we’re here,” Ford said. Scenedaily
Will Scott Speed to where he belongs - IndyCar?  Scott Speed's future remains a mystery at Red Bull after Sunday's race. Kasey Kahne joins the team and provided Brian Vickers has no issues after going off blood thinners, that puts him in the other Red Bull car and Red Bull has said that it will have only two cars next year. So what about Speed? "I haven't honestly been told very much,'' Speed said. "I'm under contract with Red Bull, so we'll see what happens with that. I'm not planning anything. There's nothing to plan. I plan to run in a Red Bull car in Daytona and if it's not that, then I have absolutely no idea what it even could be.'' Asked if he'd mind running in the Nationwide Series, Speed said: "There's no question that I think I'm ready for what we're doing in Cup. I proved that at the beginning of this year. When good cars have been underneath us, we've been fast. It's certainly took the first full year. The first full year I think we went in a little bit too early but as of this year I felt where I've developed as a driver and where I'm at the moment is a really good level.'' Virginian Pilot

[Editor's Note: This is one American open wheel driver (and ex-F1 driver) that needs to move back to open wheel racing where he belongs, and where he is good, rather than run as a backmarker in NASCAR.  With IndyCar on a role, Speed needs to take a hard look at the series.]

At least one NASCAR team to start an IndyCar team  According to AutoRacing1.com sources, NASCAR team owner Tony Stewart, through his affiliation with Chevy and GM, will start an IndyCar team in 2012, running Chevy powerplants of course.  We are told the deal is already pretty much done.  The same sources tells us that another NASCAR team owner, Richard Childress, again because of his Chevy ties, is taking a hard look as well.  Mark C. reporting
Bell to drive for Schmidt for Indy 500  Word is that Townsend Bell will again drive for Sam Schmidt's team with HerbaLife sponsorship in the 2011 Indy 500. Bell would like to drive a full season but finding more sponsorship is the challenge. With Honda, Chevy, Lotus and more car Manufacturers coming into the sport starting in 2012 things should begin to improve significantly on the sponsorship front.
IndyCar to have 5 or more different make cars in 2012  Not only does IndyCar now have 3 engine manufacturers for 2012, with more anticipated for 2013, they likely will have 5 or more different 'cars' in 2012.

“We’ve been contacted directly by a dozen companies," IndyCar Technical Director Tony Cotman told Speedtv.com. "Out of that, I’d rate seven or eight as very realistic. By that I mean companies that have the current resources and capabilities to produce an aero kit, and would be welcomed into the series.”

Engine Manufacturers to drive IndyCar higher  “In time, we expect the new engine manufacturers to be just as active as Honda in marketing and activating for the series,” Angstadt said.

Some sports marketers wondered if the marketing and sponsorship pie generated by engine makers would grow, or stay the same and be divided among them.

“Absolutely, the plan is for marketing from that category to grow,” Angstadt said. “If there are two new engine manufacturers in 2012, we could see the marketing spend in that category triple.”

That kind of marketing muscle, sports marketers said, is what the series needs to grow television ratings and attendance. IndyCar sources said Honda spends $10 million to $15 million in marketing annually. If what Angstadt said is true, the two new engine manufacturers would put another $20 million to $30 million annually combined into billboards, TV, radio, print and Web ads as well as point-of-purchase promotions and marketing at each track where the series races. IBJ.com

IRL to announce major new sponsor  UPDATE IndyCar commercial Director Terry Angstadt said that while a deal for a new “mega activating” sponsor—potentially as big as series title sponsor, Izod—is coming together a little slower than expected, he anticipates an announcement before year’s end.

“We’re awfully close to that category exclusive announcement,” Angstadt said. “That announcement could come before Thanksgiving.”

And that’s not all. Angstadt today is headed to Brazil, where he will meet with Apex Brasil officials, and hopes to sign two new sponsors.

“We hope to sign two letters of intent,” Angstadt said. “That would make this trip a real success.”

09/30/10 Rumor has it that Verizon, because of Sprint being the NASCAR title sponsor preventing other phone carriers from participating, will move most or all of their sponsorship money in NASCAR to IndyCar.  Here are some quotes backing the rumor:

Commercial division president Terry Angstadt:
“It will be a category-exclusive deal with mega activation,” said Terry Angstadt, president of IRL’s commercial division. “It will rival the promotion done by our series title sponsor, Izod. So it’s very exciting.”

Angstadt said he couldn’t say what category the new sponsor will fill because “that would give away who it is.” He expects the as-yet-announced sponsor to be at full speed with the open-wheel race series for the 2011 season.

Furthermore, Just Marketing’s Zak Brown was quoted as saying
“Izod has been extremely active in taking the IndyCar brand to the mainstream public,” said Zak Brown, president of Just Marketing International, a Zionsville-based motorsports marketing consultancy. “They’ve put millions of dollars into marketing IndyCar, which is just what the series needs.”

“I’ve not heard anything about an impending deal myself, but if it's on par with Izod, that’s certainly good news, especially in this economic environment,” Brown said.
F1 close to high-def TV deal  Formula One is understood to be close to giving the final green light for High Definition (HD) television coverage of the sport from the 2011 season.

According to Autosport: “plans are at a sufficiently advanced stage for orders to have been placed for the equipment that Formula One chiefs will need for the sport to be broadcast in HD.”

Bernie Ecclestone, the sport’s commercial owner, has said several times that he wants to be sure there are enough viewers capable of watching HD coverage and that broadcast channels were ready to distribute it. More ...
Ricciardo to Lotus team?  
Daniel Ricciardo
Red Bull
Daniel Ricciardo has this week staked a claim on a full-time role in formula one with an impressive test at the wheel of the title-winning Red Bull.

The energy drinks company's most promising development talent and Australian was well clear of the field over the two days of the young driver test session in Abu Dhabi, smashing Sebastian Vettel's pole position time for good measure (but we don't know for certain if the car was running light to impress potential sponsors).

21-year-old Ricciardo's performance stood out, amid reports Dr Helmut Marko has not decided where to place the Perth native in 2011. More ...

Valsecchi could get HRT seat  
Davide Valsecchi
(GMM)  Davide Valsecchi is a candidate to race with the HRT team in 2011 if he can find enough funding.

Alongside Pastor Maldonado and Josef Kral, the 23-year-old Italian was comfortably the quickest of the young runners with the Spanish outfit in Abu Dhabi this week.

In fact, he was the fastest driver at the wheel of any of the cars fielded by F1's new teams, including Jerome d'Ambrosio, Rio Haryanto and Luiz Razia (Virgin) and Rodolfo Gonzalez and Vladimir Arabadzhiev (Lotus).

"Italy should support him," team boss Colin Kolles is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"He definitely did an awesome job.  It took him a few laps to understand the car, while some of his colleagues did not succeed even after a full season," he quipped. [Editor's Note: Valsecchi has been added to our 2011 F1 Silly Season Page (see link above)].

Lotus to increase IndyCar effort with KV Racing  UPDATE #3 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  Jimmy Vasser said recently that the team will be rebranded as Lotus/KV Racing next year.

11/10/10 KV Racing's Jimmy Vasser told SPEED.com the most positive aspect of the season proved to be the growing relationship between KV and Lotus Cars. Sato undoubtedly struggled to in the No. 5 Lotus-sponsored Dallara-Honda Indy car this year, but the Malaysian-owned car company is apparently ready to commit to the Indianapolis, IN.-based team for the next few years.

“The main thing going with KV Racing right now is we’re finalizing a long-term agreement with Lotus, Vasser told SPEEDTV.com. “We had the one Lotus-branded car this past season with Takuma Sato and we’re in the process of branding the whole team as Lotus/KV. We should have that done in the next few weeks. Then we’re going to go forward from there.”

“Our primary goal is to keep all of the guys intact, to do three cars like we did this year and to have the same drivers back as well. There are also some free agents that are running around right now that are quite interesting, but Takuma can’t wait to get back to all of the tracks and show what he can do with a year of experience. He learned a lot of lessons the hard way, but a lot of guys do. He was getting down on himself, but a lot of those crashes came when he was in fifth or third. We can work with that. The speed is there. The capability is there.

“E.J. and Mario were also really fast and competitive at times this year. Mario is probably the fastest of the three, but he’s like a young race horse. We’re still trying to harness all of his talent to become the top driver we know he can be. I think Viso is similar to Mario that way, too. It might have seemed like everything was negative to the outside world this year, but if we get these guys on the same page, the potential is there. I don’t know if I can keep all of them together next year, but some combination of them along with Tracy will be our racing team.” More ...

Alguersuari eyes Red Bull test in Abu Dhabi  (GMM)  Jaime Alguersuari could test Red Bull's title-winning RB6 in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, the Spanish sports daily Marca reports.

Currently, only the new world champion Sebastian Vettel is scheduled to drive the Renault-powered car at Yas Marina later this week, when the F1 teams will get their first taste of the new Pirelli tires for 2011.

Many teams are fielding their complete race lineup for the Pirelli test, but Australian Mark Webber is reportedly heading off on holiday instead. More ...

Massa out, Hulkenberg in at Ferrari?  (GMM)  According to a rumor in the Italian media, Nico Hulkenberg is a candidate to replace Felipe Massa at Ferrari in 2011.

La Stampa newspaper said the rumor came from "a voice" within the famous Maranello based team, where Brazilian Massa - who already has an ongoing contract with Ferrari - struggled alongside Fernando Alonso this season.

German Hulkenberg, 23, has not been retained by Williams for 2011, and his manager Willi Weber has strong links within Ferrari due to his former charge Michael Schumacher's decade-long tenure there.

But another voice at Ferrari insisted: "Felipe is untouchable."

La Stampa acknowledged that the rumor might have been generated by Weber to keep Hulkenberg's name circulating while he is on the market.

Italy's Autosprint reported the same rumor linking Hulkenberg with Ferrari.

Could VW be back in the IndyCar picture?  Now about the possibility of additional manufacturers participating in IndyCar. One rumor that persists is that there will be some sort of Italian connection to IndyCar, with the new Fiat-Chrysler car company - which is hot to re-launch Alfa Romeo-branded products here in the U.S. once it gets fully integrated and positioned to prepare for its IPO - a very strong possibility to enter the fray. But over the weekend Sergio Marchionne, the Fiat-Chrysler CEO, made the jaw-dropping comment that before Fiat SpA moves forward with consolidating Chrysler Group LLC into one company that the Italian industrial giant may sell auto-parts division Magneti Marelli SpA and its stake in Ferrari, this according to a Bloomberg News report that just emerged today. More ...
More evidence that Fiat eyeing is IndyCar?  UPDATE #5 The deadline for engine manufacturers to commit to participation in the Izod IndyCar Series in 2012 is tonight. Randy Bernard doesn't expect his telephone to ring.

"I think we're out of time," the sport's chief executive officer said today during groundbreaking at the new Dallara facility near Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "We've got a couple (engine manufacturers) and I want to wait to do it right rather than rush it."

IndyCar recently added Chevrolet to compete with Honda in 2012. There had been talk of Fiat (with their Dodge or Alfa Romeo brand), among others, being interested.

"I think you could add another couple more for 2013," Bernard said. Indy Star

11/15/10 The groundbreaking will take place tomorrow on the 16th, but Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne will not be in attendance, as rumored previously.

11/15/10 Indeed, there were rumors over the weekend that Cosworth will build a 2012 IndyCar engine for Alfa-Romeo.  "While Cosworth cannot provide a comment regarding specific manufacturers," said a Cosworth spokesman. "We are working actively with the IRL to expand the number of engine manufacturers in the sport." Gordon Kirby

[Editor's Note: Alfa Romeo is going to make a big push to sell cars in the USA, but we feel Fiat would be better off badging the engine as a Dodge, which goes head-to-head with Chevy and Honda for passenger cars.]

11/13/10 The deadline is Nov. 16 – next Tuesday – for another engine manufacturer to signup for the 2012 season. Tuesday is also the day of the Dallara groundbreaking and with Fiat's boss curiously going to be there leading us to believe it is for an engine announcement, it's making us bump this rumor up to 'strong' as it seems this is just too much of a coincidence.  If so, we stand by our prediction that they will run their Dodge brand (or maybe Fiat or Alfa Romeo brand) in IndyCar.  You will not see them pit their Ferrari, Maserati, or Lancia brands against a Honda or a Chevy.

11/11/10 Now that Chevy is all but announced for the IndyCar series in 2012 speculation rises that Fiat will enter IndyCar (the CEO of Fiat will be at the ground breaking for the new Dallara IndyCar Factory) with its Dodge brand (they would never pit their high-end Ferrari or Maserati brands against a Honda or Chevy brand, never) and that could lead to Ford also jumping into the foray giving IndyCar the Detroit Big 3.  If it happens that will be a real coup for IndyCar and their new boss Randy Bernard. 

And let's not forget that Lotus is coming in as well - they will do a body kit - and who knows, maybe they will have Cosworth do an engine for them as well at some point. 

Speaking of Cosworth, we know they are actively seeking an engine partner for IndyCar and when the music stops you can bet they will have a chair at the table as well with either Dodge, Ford or Lotus.  Cosworth was once owned by Ford (before Kalkhoven and Forsythe bought it from them) so they have some history together, but we are not hanging our hat on that at all.  Mark C.

Sergio Marchionne
Isn't it interesting that Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Fiat Automobiles is going to attend the Dallara groundbreaking?

Simply supporting another Italian company or is there something more to it?
Ferrari 'heads will roll' after title loss  
Chris Dyer could get the axe
(GMM)  If a head will roll at Maranello for Ferrari's 2010 championship loss, it will be Chris Dyer's, according to press speculation.

"Some things will change and, sure, some heads will roll," said the authoritative Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport.

The newspaper did not name Dyer - Ferrari's chief track engineer - but some Spanish sources did, claiming it was the Australian's decision to "cover" Mark Webber's Abu Dhabi race strategy that stranded Fernando Alonso behind Vitaly Petrov. More ...

McGregor deal puts van der Garde on pole for Williams seat  
Giedo van der Garde
(GMM)  A Dutch GP2 driver has emerged as a contender to race at Williams next year alongside Rubens Barrichello.

On Monday, the British team announced that Nico Hulkenberg is leaving Williams, and the disappointed German's manager Willi Weber said he suspects Pastor Maldonado has been signed for 2011.

But another driver with links to some very attractive sponsorship backing has now entered the frame. More ...

Vergne to be Red Bull reserve in 2011  
Jean Eric Vergne
(GMM)  Jean Eric Vergne has emerged as the leading contender to become Red Bull's F1 reserve driver in 2011.

The 20-year-old Frenchman this year replaced the energy drink company's ousted junior driver Brendon Hartley, and he said in August he is becoming "more and more" involved in the F1 program.

"The objective is preparing for grands prix: we try different setups and there is also work on the (2011 car) RB7," said Vergne. More ...

2011 IndyCar Silly Season Page  Autoracing1.com will maintain it's annual IndyCar Silly Season page now until the start of the 2011 season.  See link above - right below the ad for AR's iPhone App adjacent to our 2011 F1 Silly Season page.
Chevy may also do body kit for IndyCar  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  During last Friday's Chevy IndyCar announcement Roger Penske said Chevrolet and Team Penske will collaborate to produce a distinctive Chevrolet 'aero kit' for its Indy cars in 2012. Jim Campbell, Chevrolet's United States vice-president of performance vehicles and motor joined Penske in confirming that Chevrolet and Penske will work together to develop a Chevrolet 'aero kit'.

"IndyCar has to set the final rules and it seems like they're well on the way to getting there," Campbell sports said. "Once they settle on the final rules we'll know exactly what we can and can't do. But if the rules allow we're preparing to be able to create our own aero package. We have a lot of aero capability and CFD capability inside the company and teams like the Penske organization and others have tremendous aero capability. So we're going to put our best thinking together to produce a very competitive aero kit."

11/13/10 Rumor has it that Chevy, after announcing they will return to IndyCar as an engine supplier, may be interested in also doing a body kit for IndyCar.  If they do, their teams will run a Chevy-Chevy instead of, say, a Dallara-Chevy or a Lotus-Chevy.  What they probably will not allow is a Chevy body kit on a car running a Honda engine, or a Chevy engine in a car running a Honda body kit.  While Lotus are not really engine builders, Honda is so running a Chevy engine in a car with a Honda body kit would make no sense.  Honda as of now has expressed no desire to get into the body kit business.
Petty team circling the drain?  UPDATE This SI.com article makes a strong case for why Richard Petty should just let the backmarker team fold.

10/21/10 Richard Petty Motorsports employees have been told that they’re going to be paid through this weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway but it is unclear if the four-car organization will be able to finish out the year, according to two sources familiar with the situation.

No Richard Petty Motorsports officials could be reached for comment, but it appears the team is trying to reorganize its operations in order to continue.

The team has a contract with Roush Fenway Racing to supply cars and Roush Yates Engines for motors. Although there was some question whether the team has possession of its cars for Talladega, sources indicated that those cars were in the RPM shop Thursday morning.

The team has faced financial crisis before but has been able to persevere through mergers with Petty Enterprises and Yates Racing in the last two years. Scenedaily.com

2011 F1 Silly Season Page  Autoracing1.com will maintain it's annual F1 Silly Season page now until the start of the 2011 season.  See link above - right below the ad for AR's iPhone App.  We will start our annual IndyCar Silly Season page as well in the near future.
Struggling Williams considers Hulkenberg axe for ride-buyer  UPDATE #4 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.

Nico Hulkenberg could get the axe
11/15/10 (GMM)  Willi Weber has reiterated reports that his young charge Nico Hulkenberg is set to leave Williams. The famous driver-manager made the announcement earlier in Abu Dhabi, but 23-year-old Hulkenberg then revealed that he is scheduled to do the Pirelli test late this week.

"Nico will leave Williams.  They're not negotiating any longer.  They have probably already done a deal with Pastor Maldonado," Weber is quoted by Express.

Fascinatingly, the Cologne publication mentioned Ferrari as a possible alternative employer for Hulkenberg, and said Weber had met with the Italian team on Saturday. But Felipe Massa sounds confident about returning to Ferrari alongside Fernando Alonso next year.

"It has been a very difficult year for me, but already I am concentrating completely on 2011," he is quoted by the Brazilian media.

Massa added: "We have some testing with the new tires next week and I'm curious to see how they behave."

Hulkenberg told Auto Motor und Sport he will know more about his future after those tests, "in one week".

"Nico will drive in 2011 in formula one," Weber insisted.

Hulkenberg admitted he is not expecting Williams' chairman Adam Parr to telephone him.

"It will probably be that I call him," said Hulkenberg.  "The exchanges so far have mostly taken place by email."

Weber added: "Until now they've left us hanging in the air quite a bit."

In fact, Auto Motor und Sport said Williams has been working on signing Maldonado for 2011, placing the well-financed Venezuelan at HRT for a year, and guaranteeing him a seat in 2012. More ...

track news
Phoenix to be overhauled  NASCAR drivers almost certainly will find Phoenix International Raceway to be a very different place a year from now. The first repaving of the 1-mile oval since 1993 is considered very likely, with the work to begin soon after February's Subway Fresh Fit 500. But the changes could be dramatic: reconfiguration to include bottom-to-top gradual banking, widening and even opening-up the radius of the turns. Such modifications could make racing more exciting for fans. Directors of International Speedway Corp., PIR's parent company, are expected to green-light the estimated $10 million repaving project at a meeting Wednesday in Miami, The Republic has confirmed. The Avondale City Council also must OK a development agreement with PIR; that's likely to happen by early December. Computer modeling will be used to evaluate how such a reconfiguration would affect competition - no final decisions have been made. The banking currently ranges from 3 to 11 degrees, and in racing terms PIR is considered a "flat" track. The progressive banking design has been popular at other tracks, such as the 1 1/2-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway. "We have put together a request to the board of directors to approve funding to repave after the February race," PIR President Bryan Sperber said. "Track management and ISC have been working on the preliminary plans." Arizona Republic
Renault to sell 25pc F1 team stake on Wednesday  (GMM) A contract formalism the sale of French car maker Renault SA's minority share holding in the Enstone based formula one team will be signed on Wednesday.

That is the claim of the Paris daily Le Figaro, revealing that the buyer of the 25 per cent share is Proton, the Malaysian car maker.

Without naming its sources close to the transaction, the newspaper said Proton's Group Lotus brand will then become the title sponsor, in a EUR 30 million per season deal over five years.

Renault SA president and CEO Carlos Ghosn would not comment on the report except to say: "We'll be there next year and in future seasons."

But Le Figaro said the car maker will actually only be an engine supplier to the renamed Lotus-Renault, Red Bull and the Malaysian team currently known as Lotus Racing in 2011.
HRT selling test seat for E200,000  (GMM)  The price-tag for a one-day 'young driver test' with the HRT team next week is EUR 200,000, according to Finland's Turun Sanomat.

HRT's other test seat for the post-season sessions at Abu Dhabi has been filled by Pastor Maldonado, the new GP2 champion who is reportedly backed to the tune of EUR 15 million by the Venezuelan petroleum company PDVSA.

Meanwhile, according to French commentator Jean-Louis Moncet in his Auto Plus column, Tony Fernandes is open to dropping the 'Lotus' name for 2011 if he is paid out by Group Lotus or the Malaysian government.

HRT to announce Toyota deal on Monday - Marca  (GMM)  HRT will announce on Monday a technical and support tie-up for 2011 with Cologne based Toyota Motorsport.

The news was revealed by the Spanish sports newspaper Marca, insisting that in addition to the Williams gearbox deal and the recent investment by businessman Juan Villalonga, the team is set to make "a giant step forward" next year.

Marca said the deal will involve the use of the TF110 chassis, which was designed and fully built in Germany by Toyota before the Japanese carmaker decided to pull out of F1.

Pedro de la Rosa is mooted as a possible driver, but he has reportedly also received "a firm offer" for 2011 by an IndyCar team.

Marca said HRT's Toyota deal also involves use of the two wind tunnels at Cologne and over 100 staff.

"It is a big step that should attract a good group of sponsors for next year," said the report.

Williams eyes Abu Dhabi bank as new sponsor  (GMM)  The National Bank of Abu Dhabi has emerged as a possible sponsor of a formula one team in 2011.

The bank, into the second year of a three-year deal sponsor deal with the F1 event at Yas Marina this weekend, has an increased signage presence around the track.

And it is now rumored that Williams is in the running for a team sponsorship deal, as it prepares to lose existing bank sponsor the Royal Bank of Scotland after Sunday's race.

However, the British outfit's chief executive Adam Parr said Williams is already in "great shape" financially for 2011, despite reports the Dutch electronics brand Philips is also leaving the team. More ...

HPD to rebuild Honda IndyCar engines  Rumor has it that Honda Performance Development will do all their own engine rebuilds of their Honda IndyCar engines starting in 2012.  Why?  Because with Chevy entering the series they will only have 1/2 the number of engines to supply.  Also, Honda would not want their engine secrets to fall in the wrong hands now that they have real competition in the series, so keeping all rebuilds under their own roof ensures prying eyes do not see what is inside.
Travis Pastrana heading to NASCAR  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  Travis Pastrana is coming to NASCAR in 2011. After mining gold medals in the X Games, shattering jump records on both motorcycles and automobiles and starring as a cultural icon for the action sports world, the star of MTV's "Nitro Circus" is ready to turn his attention to America's most popular form of motorsports - NASCAR. Michael Waltrip Racing, Gary and Blake Bechtel and Pastrana announced today the creation of Pastrana-Waltrip Racing that will field cars in the NASCAR Nationwide Series beginning in 2011. Pastrana-Waltrip Racing will focus on creating programs that expose the action sports world's fans and participants to NASCAR and develop youth marketing initiatives designed to create greater awareness of both sports. Initial plans are for Pastrana to compete in seven NASCAR Nationwide races in 2011 and twenty races in 2012. "I've been following NASCAR closely for years as a fan of the sport with competing in the sport a life-long dream," Pastrana said. "I decided it was time to try and turn that dream into reality and with the help of the Bechtel family, Michael Waltrip Racing and Wasserman Media Group I'm now one step closer!" Pastrana-Waltrip Racing will field Toyotas out of the Michael Waltrip Racing shop in Cornelius, N.C. Waltrip noted the importance of the youth demographic Pastrana brings to NASCAR. Pastrana-Waltrip Team/WMG PR

11/10/10 Rumor has it that Travis Pastrana will leave Subaru Rally Team USA and head to NASCAR, supposedly signing with Michael Waltrip Racing / Diamond Waltrip Racing, supposedly running either the NASCAR K&N Racing Series or Nationwide Series in 2011. Pastrana posted an image on his Twitter, but has since removed it, and an announcement could come as soon as Thursday. Sources: CBS Sports, NASCAR Examiner, AutoBlog.com and AutoWeek
Zetsche wants F1 title name change  (GMM)  According to a rumor in the Abu Dhabi paddock, Dieter Zetsche is not happy with the outcome of the 2010 title race.

Zetsche is the chairman of Mercedes' carmaker parent Daimler, and he is apparently uncomfortable with Red Bull becoming this season's constructors' champion, French commentator Jean-Louis Moncet wrote in his Auto Plus column.

The German, uncomfortable that this year's manufacturers' title has been won by the maker of an energy drink, reportedly wants the FIA to change the official title of the "World Constructors' Championship".

Moncet wrote: "I seem to remember that among the reasons that drove BMW to leave F1 was that defeats by Mercedes, Toyota or Renault are one thing -- but Red Bull!"

Penske/Ganassi/Ilmor tie-up with new Chevy engine?  UPDATE It looks like our source on this rumor yesterday was pretty much spot on so we are upgrading this rumor to 'strong'.  SpeedTV.com reports - In an announcement that is expected to reveal a partnership between Chevrolet, Ilmor Engineering and Team Penske, SPEED.com has learned that the trio who ushered in Chevrolet's first Indy Car engine in 1986 will be reunited to race together in 2012.

While speculation about GM's choice of a team partner for 2012 previously centered on the reigning series champions, Target Chip Ganassi Racing, a source close the negotiations tells SPEED.com that Chevy has tabbed Roger Penske's organization for its open-wheel return.

Penske is also expected to be in Indianapolis on Friday morning for the official announcement of GM joining the IndyCar series. Reached Thursday afternoon by SPEED.com, a Team Penske representative said: "No Comment" when asked about Friday's announcement.

Our sources also call for Ilmor Engineering, Honda's current partner for its IZOD IndyCar Series engine program, to break with the Japanese manufacturer and focus solely on Chevy's new 2.4L twin-turbo V6 IndyCar engine. Ilmor had been with Honda since its entry into the Indy Racing League in 2003 and did more than 50 percent of the workload of assembling and re-building engines along with Honda Performance Development.

A call to HPD president Erik Berkman went unreturned on Thursday. More ...

Why GM is betting on IndyCar?  More than a few people today might be asking, “Why is General Motors’ entering the IndyCar Series as an engine supplier in 2012?”

The official announcement will be made at 10 a.m. Friday at the Speedway’s museum.

I’m not trying to throw gas on the smoldering war between the Champ Car holdouts and IndyCar loyalists. But with the IndyCar Series still losing money and struggling with attendance and TV ratings, it’s a legitimate question.

The hiring of Randy Bernard last year as IndyCar’s boss has to be a big factor.

Bernard’s tireless lobbying of GM and others has helped build some credibility for this league. And in light of the series’ tepid financial situation, I’d say GM thinks pretty highly of the man his detractors call Ropin’ Randy. They’re clearly betting on him to succeed. More ...
Singapore closes on MotoGP deal  MotoGP Chief Carmelo Ezpeleta has revealed Singapore could be added to the calendar in 2012. It follows his visit to the country last month to check out the 4 km track at the Changi Motorsports Hub, which is being built by SG Changi and is due to hold its first event in April 2012.

"I am happy to tell you things are proceeding smoothly for us to come to Singapore," Ezpeleta told Singapore’s Today newspaper.

"Once FIM – the governing body - approves the track for us, we can begin to talk terms with SG Changi about having MotoGP there and when the first race can be held." More ...

GM's move to IndyCar could cost up to $50 million  It would cost General Motors Co. $25 million to $50 million to get back into the IndyCar Series, according to motorsports business experts.

Reports began to surface this week that GM is considering rejoining the open-wheel series it left in 2005 as soon as 2012. IndyCar Series and GM officials declined to comment, but several racing sources said an announcement could come as early as Friday.

“They’ll have to invest heavily in [research and development] and do a lot of testing,” said Tim Frost, president of Frost Motorsports, a Chicago-based motorsports business consulting firm. “These programs aren’t cheap. That initial investment doesn’t include activation and marketing.” More ...

Chevy to build 2012 IndyCar engine  UPDATE #8 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' as IndyCar has put out a media alert for this on Friday.

11/10/10 SPEEDTV.com can reveal that IndyCar is in the final stages of negotiations with General Motors about bringing Chevrolet back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar racing in 2012.  The official announcement could come as early as Friday in Indianapolis.

11/09/10 General Motors and its Chevrolet brand appear to be on their way to an open-wheel-racing return. The news first broke Nov. 7 on a Web site that cited unnamed high-level GM sources who claimed that Chevy will rejoin the Izod IndyCar Series beginning in 2012.

No official confirmation had come as of today, but several well-placed individuals within the racing community said that an announcement was scheduled for Nov. 12. Chevy last participated in IndyCar in 2005 through an association with Cosworth. There is no word at this early stage on whom the company might partner with to build engines this time around, but one source close to the situation did not balk when presented with the idea that longtime race-engine constructor Ilmor could be involved. And although Cosworth is devoting resources to Formula One these days, it is also rapidly expanding and diversifying its business model, making it a potential candidate as well. More ...

VW to buy Ferrari?  Is Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Piech eyeing Ferrari as the next acquisition to add to VW group's collection of brands? Some in the German press think so.

Piech has already said openly that he would like VW to buy Fiat's Alfa Romeo marque--but the "real object of his desire," is Ferrari, Manager Magazin says in its current issue.

VW already has plenty of sporty brands. It is merging Porsche into its portfolio and owns Lamborghini. In 1998, VW bought the rights to the Bugatti marque, supposedly after Piech's son was thrilled at seeing a vintage miniature Bugatti in a toy shop. More ...

Dan Wheldon to Jump From IndyCar to Trucks  UPDATE Both Wheldon and the Busch Truck team are Noz Energy Drink sponsored, so that may be driving the move as well.

11/10/10 Tony Stewart, Juan Pablo Montoya, Sam Hornish Jr., and most recently Danica Patrick among others have tried to make the jump from one form of motorsports to the other.

Following Dan Wheldon’s departure from Panther Racing, Weldon may be joining the crop.

IndyStar.com released yesterday that rumor has it that Wheldon is in talks with Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) about a possible ride in the Camping World Truck Series.

Tracy back fulltime in 2011?  UPDATE #2 “For the final call on 2011 drivers for KV Racing, we’re waiting for a few balls to drop," Jimmy Vasser told SPEEDTV.com.

"We’re waiting to see what’s going on with Graham [Rahal], Tony [Kanaan], Justin Wilson; Dan Wheldon is out there and we’re already working with Paul Tracy for next year.

The last two years we’ve done a partial schedule with PT but we are trying to get the commercial side in order to do a full season with him. I think he’d be a big influence on the other guys if they had him around all year to learn from.

“The Edmonton [race cancellation] hurts because they were a part of Paul’s program, but we’re still working hard there. We also have the Indy-only deal with SH Racing and expect to announce that driver in January. There’s no news there, but we’ll start talking to guys like [Oriol] Servia and a few others to see who’s available and who’s the best fit for Indy.” More ...

Historic Lotus liveries to be used in IndyCar  KV Racing may dress all of KV’s cars in vintage liveries next year, Jimmy Vasser told SPEEDTV.com.  "People should expect to see a greater variety of visuals that draw from Lotus’ rich history in Formula One and Indy Car racing.

“You’ll see some historic liveries next year; John Player Special colors, the Camel Lotus yellow, the British Racing Green and some other cool stuff. The fans really connected to the car’s colors this year and the racing push by Lotus in IndyCar will really line up with the launch of their new road cars in 2012. Everything is coming together nicely and I think the fans will be really happy to see our cars when they hit the track.”

Senna in talks for Lotus team?  (GMM)  Bruno Senna has slammed reports he has agreed to switch from HRT to the team currently known as Lotus Racing for 2011.

The reports emerged around the same time that it was suggested current Lotus driver Jarno Trulli had visited America recently to explore opportunities in NASCAR.

"I think people are just ... they are making up rumors," said the Italian.

Trulli's manager Lucio Cavuto went further, revealing to Autosprint that he thinks the rumors were invented "by Senna".

Senna, however, has stridently denied the Lotus link, according to his comments published by Agencia Estado in Brazil.

"There is nothing to it.  The stories are ridiculous," said the Brazilian.

He denied the rumors have benefitted him.

"It's bad for the job, because I look a fool when I go to speak with other teams," added the 27-year-old.

GM may revive performance brands  General Motors Co. is studying whether to revive brands for performance vehicles to improve its image among go-fast car shoppers.

At the Specialty Equipment Market Association trade show in Las Vegas last week, GM unveiled the Z-Spec Chevrolet Cruze, Volt and Spark cars, and two SS-badged Chevrolet Camaros.

The debuts signal that the company's new performance vehicles and motorsports division--launched eight weeks ago--is looking harder at performance brands, said Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet marketing. More ...

GM planning to drop Goodwrench brand in the United States  General Motors Co. is dropping the GM Goodwrench car service brand in the United States as the company moves to redirect the marketing emphasis around its four core vehicle brands, sources say.

The long-standing Goodwrench brand--used by GM dealers to promote vehicle repair and maintenance services--will be replaced by Chevrolet Certified Service, Cadillac Certified Service, Buick Certified Service and GMC Certified Service, the sources said.

GM marketing chief Joel Ewanick wants the vehicle brands, not corporate, to be the stars of GM, and that includes service and repairs, said one source familiar with the new campaign. More ...

Russian car investors looking at Virgin buy-in  
Timo Glock in his Virgin
(GMM)  Russian investors are reportedly keen to buy into the new F1 team Virgin.

Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that the potential investors hark from the Russian automobile world.

Virgin is already sponsored by Marussia, the first Russian supercar maker.

The brand is headed by Nikolai Fomenko, a racing driver and presenter of the Russian version of television car show Top Gear.

He said last month he plans to bring Marussia onto the grid in 2012.

"The F1 project is a leading edge for the marketing of a supercar" he is quoted as recently saying.

Renault/Lotus deal to unlock Kubica contract?  
Robert Kubica
(GMM)  Robert Kubica could be about to find himself free of his Renault contract, according to an Italian media report.

Group Lotus is reportedly looking to get involved with the Enstone based team in a EUR 60 million deal that could involve the outfit being renamed Lotus-Renault in 2011 and beyond.

With the French carmaker Renault SA's involvement also reportedly changing, the situation could have knock-on effects for a range of existing team contracts, a report in Autosprint claims.

One of those contracts could be that of highly-rated Polish driver Kubica, who reportedly "would be free to choose another team".

Renault to become Lotus Renault?  Chassis manufacturer when they began in Formula One back in the seventies, to engine supplier during the nineties when they conquered the title with Williams on several occasions, Renault has once again got two fingers in the pie, ever since their return to the pinnacle of Motorsports, when they went with Benetton and set up in two directions: in Enstone the chassis, Viry-Châtillon the engine.

Contrary to BMW, Honda and Toyota, Renault did not flee the F1 circus last year, instead they reorganized their policy. The direction of its racing team is now in the hands of the Genii Capital group belonging to Gerard Lopez. This transfer of power was only one first step before the detachment of Renault in regard to the chassis design and its reinforcement in regard to the supply of engines. More ...

Calgary or Quebec to replace Edmonton IndyCar race?  UPDATE #4 NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Patrick Carpentier thinks that the suggestion that the cancelled Edmonton IZOD IndyCar series could be moved to Montreal or even Quebec City in 2011 is unrealistic.

Carpentier, who hails from the Montreal suburb of Joliette, said on Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway that with two major racing events already in the summer in his hometown, the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix in June and the NASCAR Nationwide NAPA 200 in August, he doesn't think the economy could support a third event.

"The possibility of running at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on the NASCAR weekend is interesting but I think the promoters would not want to pay two big sanctioning fees on the same weekend," he said.
As for moving the Edmonton race to Quebec City, Carpentier said he understood that it would be very difficult to build a temporary street course in the provincial capital.

"I think they already looked at Quebec and found the track would be too long," he said. More ...

Hulkenberg could test HRT in Abu Dhabi  (GMM)  A day after Nico Hulkenberg started the Brazilian grand prix from pole, it is rumored he is being scheduled for a test drive with the slowest team in formula one.

Finland's Turun Sanomat reports that, as part of the new gearbox deal for 2011, Williams' test driver Valtteri Bottas is being lined up for a test after the Abu Dhabi season finale with HRT.

The report also said Venezuelan pay-driver Pastor Maldonado could get an HRT test in Abu Dhabi in addition to his Williams drive, and that even German Hulkenberg is a potential candidate for the struggling Spanish team.

The situation is due to Williams' driver dilemma; the British team is happy with Hulkenberg and Rubens Barrichello but short of sponsors and courting the significant PDVSA backing brought by Maldonado. More ...

Could Brazil get axed?  UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' as Bernie Ecclestone responds to AR1.com's rumor - "I've been coming here for 40-odd years, walking about, and I've never, ever had a problem," said Ecclestone.

"That's not just for the race, but at other times when I've been here too. I've also never been around where I've seen anybody have a problem.

"You have to remember we have a lot of problems in England, Oxford Street and places, and in New York people get mugged.

"They look for victims, they look for people who are a little bit slow and simple, but the people who look a bit bright, they never go after them.

"But as for the race, I'm happy. We'll be here for another hundred years." More ...

Morgan-McClure coming back in 2011?  Morgan-McClure Motorsports is looking to make a return to NASCAR in 2011. The Abingdon, VA-based race team competed on a consistent basis for 24 years. During the 1990's it had a dominant speedway package and won nine races between Daytona and Talladega, including three Daytona 500s with Ernie Irvan and Sterling Marlin. The last season the #4 MMM Chevy competed was 2007 when Ward Burton ran a 16-race schedule [also ran a race in 2009 and attempted Bristol in August in 2010 with Kevin Lepage]. Tim Morgan says the team "has a couple of prospects and hopefully will get something worked out soon." Scott Wimmer, who raced for Morgan-McClure for 23-races in 2006, is the top candidate for the ride. In addition to plans to race a car, Morgan mentioned that a truck team could be a possibility. FoxSports
Friday morning rumors at Interlagos  UPDATE #3 (GMM)  Renault team boss Eric Boullier has confirmed talks with the Proton owned sports car maker Group Lotus.  Speculation at Interlagos this weekend has suggested Group Lotus, having terminated its naming license deal with the F1 team currently known as Lotus Racing, is keen to buy into Enstone based Renault.

It is understood that rumor may be wide of the mark, with Lotus keener instead to simply tie up with Renault as a title sponsor.

But rumors persist that Renault SA could step further away from F1 and remain on the grid only as an engine supplier to the Enstone based team as well as Red Bull and Lotus Racing.

When asked about the Group Lotus rumors, Boullier told Auto Hebdo in Brazil: "Today, there are discussions, but we also have these with other sponsors and other companies."

Renault SA chief Carlos Ghosn is expected at Interlagos on Sunday but no formal announcements are scheduled.

Boullier commented further about the apparently complicated situation.

"At the moment there are a lot of distorted rumors, but it is true there have been discussions about a possible collaboration," said the Frenchman. More ...

HRT buys former F1 team Toyota  UPDATE (GMM)  A formal agreement has finally been reached between HRT and Toyota Motorsport, according to a German media source.

Auto Bild claims that after long negotiations, officials of the struggling Spanish team - now with the financial backing of former Telefonica president Juan Villalonga - have inked a deal with Cologne based Toyota.

The details of the arrangement are not known, but it is expected to involve the use of the design of the TF110 car, which was penned last year but never raced because Toyota's Japanese parent pulled out of F1.

It is believed the car has been further developed in recent months to keep it up to date with its potential competitors.

HRT has already agreed to use Williams' gearbox in 2011. More ...

Massa to be jailed?  A Brazilian prosecutor warned Felipe Massa that he could be arrested and sentenced to up to six years in prison if he takes team orders to help Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso win the Formula One title.

Massa could be charged with fraud if he allows Alonso to pass him or if he does anything else that would somehow alter the result Sunday at in Interlagos, according to prosecutor Paulo Castilho, known for taking up sports causes in Brazil.

"Massa or any other driver who does anything to fraud the result of the race can be arrested and formally charged," Castilho told The Associated Press on Thursday. "It doesn't mean that it will happen, it will be up to the local authority in charge of the event to decide whether the law has been broken." More ...

Lotus to be called '1Malaysia' next year?  (GMM)  As previously reported, a dark cloud is hanging above the future identity of the F1 team currently known as Lotus.

In is media statement confirming a Renault engine deal, Lotus Racing did not mention its current name – or its intended 2011 moniker Team Lotus - a single time.

Rather, the team - locked in a naming dispute with the Proton-owned Group Lotus – referred to itself as "the Anglo-Malaysian team".

A hint about Lotus' next identity then emerged with the issuing of a statement of confirmation by the team's new supplier Renault.

The French carmaker said its new agreement is with "1Malayasia Racing Team", which is the UK-registered company name of the collaboration jointly owned by Tune Group and Naza Group in partnership with the Malaysian government and a consortium of entrepreneurs.

IRL owners tell Bernard dump Barnhart  
Q: How does TGBB hold onto his job?? What do the owners really think of him? What does Randy Bernard think of him? Does he have any supporters? It seems obvious that his actions are the largest source of credibility damage from within the IndyCar management structure. I know that Randy Bernard can't change the economy or the Versus contract or many other external factors restricting the health of OWR. He should, however, be able to control the internal manner in which IndyCar presents its racing product, including the replacement of such a publicly weak decision maker. Yet, TGBB is still there. That means to me that he must have support from somewhere that restricts Randy Bernard's control [such as holdover support from the George family] or that Randy is OK with TGBB. As a newcomer to racing, a question about Mr. Bernard is whether he really "gets" this sport and the continued presence of TGBB is not reassuring.

Web Beadle, Martinez CA

RM: A lot of us see TGBB as the last link to TG's era and since Randy Bernard wants to cut all references to IRL and start fresh, ridding us of TGBB would seem to make sense. A lot of owners have decided in the past couple years they didn't like TGBB and a couple have expressed their feelings to Bernard. Not sure how he's avoided a pink slip but at least Bernard was smart enough to hire Tony Cotman to handle the new car/engine process.  SPEEDTV.com
Kanaan talking to 3 teams  
Q: Did you notice the Bass Pro Shops & McDonald's logos on the mirrors of the Target cars at Homestead? How about this scenario? McDonalds use to sponsor TK in CART and now works with Ganassi on the NASCAR side. Since TK is more of an international star as opposed to Graham, could you see Mickey D's returning to Open Wheel to sponsor TK with Ganassi? The more I think of it, Ganassi needs to get Carlos Slim and Johnny Morris to pony up, along with Ronald McDonald, to get TK on the grid in 2011. THAT would be a Superteam! Where do you think TK can find the money to be in a competitive car? TK is obviously the biggest domino that needs to drop as far as the Indy Car silly season. As good as Graham is he's not a Champion, TK is! TK has to be kicking himself in the head for not taking the Ganassi gig. Do you think he looks over at Dario's two Championships and Indy 500 win in the 10 car and thinks to himself "what was I thinking"?

Scott St. Clair, Erie, PA

RM: Randy Bernard is good buddies with the Bass Pro Shops owner and I'm sure he's pitching IndyCar but McDonald's was only in Champ Car because of Paul Newman and I don't think it's likely they'll get back in open wheel. As for TK, I think he's got a line on a sponsor already and he'll either land with Newman/Haas, Gil de Ferran's team or maybe KV Racing. He told me last week he doesn't second guess anything but you know, of course, he's had to think about what might have been.  SPEEDTV.com

[Editor's Note: Having seen KV Racing's crop of ride-buyers crash week in and week out, one has to believe that team owners Kevin Kalkhoven and Jimmy Vasser will be looking to hire someone like Kanaan who can bring the car home in one piece and even win a race or two.]

Earnhardt-Ganassi to Ford?  UPDATE #6 Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing President Steve Lauletta confirmed to Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that EGR will remain in the Chevrolet camp in 2011 and beyond. "The challenge of this business is that things change so quickly," said Lauletta. "We've got everything settled down now, to a point where we can look two, three or even four years down the road and decide where we want to be. When companies come and ask about being a part of it, we certainly are willing to talk to them. But we've been very happy with both GM and Chevy, and we have to look at what's best for this company in the long term." Lauletta said the success of Earnhardt-Childress Racing Engines this season played a role in the decision to remain with Chevrolet. "Shutting down the in-house engine shop at Ganassi Racing a few years ago caused quite a bit of apprehension," said Lauletta, "but there has never been a single question about way we are treated by ECR. We have been extremely happy with that relationship over the years, and we are really happy with where we are right now." Lauletta also said he is "not anticipating any changes" on Jamie McMurray's #1 team next year, including driver, sponsor and crew chief.  Sirius Speedway

11/03/10 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today.  Earnhardt Ganassi Racing will continue its relationship with General Motors [Chevy] and Earnhardt Childress Racing Technologies. At a lunch on Wednesday celebrating Jamie McMurray's win at Charlotte Motor Speedway, employees were made aware of the decision.  FoxSports More ...
Red Bull might build own F1 engines in future  (GMM)  Red Bull is not ruling out the possibility of building its own formula one engines in the future.

Currently, the Austrian team uses customer Renault units, with the more competitive Mercedes-Benz units not available due to McLaren's power of veto.

When reports recently suggested Volkswagen might enter F1 as an engine supplier, the closely-aligned Red Bull was mooted as a natural partner.

"We're staying with Renault," the energy drink company's chief Dietrich Mateschitz said in an interview with Kleine Zeitung newspaper. More ...

Yet another F1 track for Central Texas?  Car enthusiasts might want to keep an eye on Rockdale, where an ambitious plan was recently announced.

In October developers Velocita Holdings Inc. signed a letter of intent to evaluate the purchase of 11,000 acres owned by Alcoa. Velocita wants to build a self-sustaining NexGen community for green research. Central to that plan is the “largest motorsports facility in the world,” with everything from state-of-the-art wind tunnels to a variety of tracks.

According to Velocita literature those would include an F1 grade test track and designs and layouts would be done by Emerson Fittipaldi and Tilke GmbH, the German firm that is designing the F1 circuit for the proposed U.S. Grand Prix in Austin. More ...

US GP site might not be ready for 2012 debut  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today.  In an unexpected move, the City of Austin finally released an e-mail containing specific plans from Tavo Hellmund, the man behind bringing the F1 Grand Prix racing series to Central Texas. The document, obtained through a public information request by the "Austin Business Journal" and posted online, lists the anticipated track construction time as 24 months.

KXAN Austin News confirmed its release and contents with a Formula 1 spokesperson Monday. Previously, the developers said construction would take about 18 months, starting in December for a June 2012 opening date. On Monday, an F1 spokesperson said developers are sticking with that 18-month time period. More ...

GM to seek up to $10.5B stock offering  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with this announcement from GM.

11/01/10 General Motors Co. is expected to file plans as early as Tuesday to seek up to a $10.5 billion initial public stock offering, two people briefed on the matter said today .

GM is planning to sell about 365 million shares for between $26 and $29, for a total of between $9.5 billion to $10.5 billion, the people said.

The exact price will be set based on market demand during GM's two-week road show, which is slated to begin Wednesday.

Two teams of GM executives will pitch the stock offering to investors at meetings in the United States, Canada and Europe and elsewhere. More ...

Hispania an option for ousted de la Rosa  UPDATE
Pedro de la Rosa
This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today.  A deal for Pedro de la Rosa to return to the grid next year could be announced officially next week. After being ousted by Sauber, the 39-year-old Spaniard was recruited as Pirelli's main test driver but said he would be interested in driving for HRT in 2011 if its "sporting project is interesting and ambitious".

"I am in contact with the (team owner) Carabantes," he revealed last month.

Citing the information of a member of the Spanish team, the Brazilian publication Terra said "almost everything is done" to secure de la Rosa's services for 2011.

And after HRT sealed its deal for a Williams transmission, the report said the team will base its next car on the unraced 2010 Toyota.

The El Confidencial publication said de la Rosa has "increased, not decreased" his personal sponsorship since leaving Sauber, and that he is HRT's "first choice" for the 2011 season. More ...

Volkswagen says no to F1 - again  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  A Volkswagen official has apparently confirmed reports that the German auto giant is not going to enter formula one.  The news follows Tuesday's report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper that said VW chairman Ferdinand Piech had decided against approving a F1 foray with Audi or Porsche branding.  The DPA news agency cites an official at Volkswagen's Wolfsburg headquarters as responding: "There are no concrete plans (for F1)."

11/02/10 (GMM) The Volkswagen group is not going to enter formula one.

That is the conclusion on Tuesday of a report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper.

Last month, following speculation the German giant was considering entering F1 with Audi or Porsche branding, it emerged that VW would discuss the possibility during a meeting in early November.

The FAZ newspaper, citing definite but unnamed sources, now says Volkswagen chairman Ferdinand Piech has decided the marque will not be entering F1. More ...
Briatore blocked Kovalainen debut in 2004, 2005  UPDATE
Heikki Kovalainen
This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today.  Heikki Kovalainen has denied media reports claiming his former manager Flavio Briatore twice prevented his formula one race debut.

A Finnish newspaper had said the Finn could have raced with Minardi and then Williams in 2004 and 2005, but Kovalainen instead had to wait until 2007 for a race seat at the then Briatore-managed Renault to open up.

Kovalainen, now 29, subsequently split with Briatore after the crashgate scandal, and negotiated his own move from McLaren to Lotus for 2010.

But he wrote on Twitter late on Monday: "(The) news about my management blocking my career (is) so not true. More ...

Short NASCAR fields in 2011?  With Richard Petty Motorsports shrinking from four to two cars next season (or potentially none if the ship isn't righted) and now Robby Gordon announcing he won't run a full season in 2011, the potential for short fields now becomes a real possibility next year. That prediction was made two years ago by many but never came to fruition. The economic pressures of the sport may catch up with that prediction after all. Motor Racing Network
NASCAR looking at new car for 2013  All four automakers & have already submitted drawings of their proposed 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racers to the sanctioning body for preliminary approval. A number of revisions are expected, as NASCAR seeks to balance its desire for brand identity with the need for a common aerodynamic footprint between brands. The changes will be strictly cosmetic, with the current Sprint Cup chassis remaining unaltered. Speaking on the condition on anonymity, one manufacturer representative creditedNationwide Series Director Joe Balash with paving the way for the new, more stock-appearing cars. "NASCAR was not sold on the idea of revamping the look of these (Sprint Cup) cars," he said. "But Joe pushed hard for it in the Nationwide Series, saying it was important to give those cars a distinct, stock-appearing look. The manufacturers were thrilled with the results, and once NASCAR saw the fan reaction that came with the new Nationwide car, they started thinking seriously about similar changes on the Cup side." Sirius Speedway
Senna in talks for Lotus-Renault switch  UPDATE #2
Bruno Senna
(GMM)  Bruno Senna has admitted it would be "great" to return to Interlagos in the future with a chance of a good result.

The Brazilian rookie, whose uncle Ayrton was revered by the local Interlagos crowd and is buried in nearby Morumbi, will contest his first grand prix at the circuit this weekend in the uncompetitive HRT car.

Recent reports have indicated the 27-year-old is in talks with other teams about 2011, perhaps Lotus where he could be test driver next year before returning to the grid in 2012.

"It would be great to fight for better positions," he said in a Portuguese language Reuters news report.

Senna's debut F1 season has been difficult, but he said he is focused on the positive aspects. More ...

Williams wants Hulkenberg to sign five-year contract  
Hulkenburg must decide whether signing a 5-year deal with Williams will seal his fate in F1 as a non-winner.
(GMM)  The holdup on Nico Hulkenberg's contract extension for 2011 is because Williams wants him to commit for a very long time, according to a German report.

It has been reported that the British team is contemplating replacing the 2009 GP2 champion next year with the Venezuelan pay-driver Pastor Maldonado.

But Sir Frank Williams has now described 23-year-old German Hulkenberg as "exceptional", raising doubts about the reason for the delay in his re-signing for 2011.

According to Sport Bild, the Oxfordshire based team wants him to sign a new five-year contract.

The deal will reportedly include a EUR15 million 'out' fee in the event that Hulkenberg wants to switch to a different team before the five year term is concluded.

Rome to be second Italian race in 2012, 2013 (Maybe)  UPDATE #3 Rome's chances of hosting an F1 grand prix have been dealt a blow due to underwhelming support from the city's residents. Rome's mayor Gianni Alemanno is keen to see his city added to the list of Formula One venues with 2012 or 2013 being touted as possible dates for the inaugural race.

Alemanno has even gone as far as to sign a letter of intent with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone. However, the people of Rome are not as keen for a grand prix as Alemanno is.

"A majority, albeit not an overwhelming one, of EUR and Rome residents are in favor of the race," he said.

He added that a decision on whether to go ahead with plans would be made before the end of the year.

09/10/10 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.

09/01/10 (GMM)  Rome is still on track to host a round of the world championship in 2012 or 2013, the Italian capital's mayor revealed on Wednesday.

A possible street race in the famous city has been on the cards for some time, but it had been thought that political obstacles had thwarted the plans.

But mayor Gianni Alemanno told a morning television program on Rai 1 television on Wednesday: "From 2012 or no later than 2013, a grand prix will take place in Rome.

"This will be the second race for Italy, because the race at Monza is guaranteed," he added. More ...

Lenders take Petty team away from Gillett?  Richard Petty Motorsports' director of competition Robbie Loomis expects the organization to stay status quo until the end of the season. Despite rumors of doom and gloom surrounding the organization - and the latest allegation that Budweiser will not fulfill its contractual obligations with the final payment on its sponsorship of the #9 entry - Loomis insists that RPM will field four cars throughout the remainder of the NASCAR season. When asked about the status of the #9 Ford, a spokesperson for Budweiser said, "Our policy is to not comment on contractual agreements." However, rumors of their early departure has been floating around for a week - ever since Kasey Kahne extricated himself from the car after Charlotte. RPM had planned to run two cars next season with AJ Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose. However, until money can be secured to settle the current debts at RPM, it's uncertain what the lineup will look like. Multiple sources insist that Richard Petty will divest himself from majority owner George Gillett as early as next week. However, Loomis said he is in constant contact with the Gilletts and they will remain the owners of the company. This weekend on the competition side, Loomis and Sammy Johns, director of operations, are calling the shots. Fox Sports

Another source close to RPM said lenders had taken back the team from majority owner George Gillett and had approved a plan for Richard Petty to manage the team's day-to-day operations, but official team sources would neither confirm nor deny that, nor say who was currently running the team or if Gillett was gone. SPEED
Bulgaria would replace Hungary, Turkey GPs  UPDATE #9
Bulgaria is closer for the F1 teams than even Turkey.  We predict Bulgaria will replace the money-losing Turkish GP.
(GMM)  The addition of Bulgaria to the F1 calendar could mean the end of the sport's Hungarian and Turkish rounds.

That is the claim of organizer and Bulgarian motor racing official Bogdan Nikolov, who said this week that a contract for a debut race in 2012 could be signed as soon as next month.

The news follows a scandal earlier this year, when Abu Dhabi investors reportedly reacted furiously to funding claims about the Bulgarian event.

But Nikolov insists the Arab investors are still interested in the project, suggesting that the scandal was more due to "competitive" interests.

"If there is formula one grand prix in Sofia, there won't be races on Istanbul Park (in Turkey) and (the) Hungaroring.  We will be the only grand prix in eastern Europe," he told the Sofia news agency Novinite. More ...

Budweiser not making final payment to RPM  Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that Budweiser has told Richard Petty Motorsports that the team will not receive the final installment of its 2010 sponsorship contract. Bud's contract called for Kasey Kahne to be the driver of the Budweiser Ford, and when Kahne left the team five races early to join Red Bull Racing, that contract became null and void. There has been no confirmation from either the team or Budweiser, and no word on what the final installment of that sponsorship would have been worth to the team. Sirius Speedway
D’Ambrosio race seat 95 percent sure  Eric Boullier, manager of Jérôme d’Ambrosio, has said that he is ’95 percent sure’ that the Belgian GP2 driver will make his Formula 1 race debut next year, with his final Friday drive for Virgin Racing coming in Brazil next weekend.

As planned, d’Ambrosio is driving in the first practice session on four race weekends for Virgin, replacing Lucas di Grassi in Singapore, Japan, Korea and Brazil.

However, Boullier, head of the Gravity Sport driver management company as well as being Team Principal of Renault F1, is confident over the 24-year-old’s future.

“We have almost 95 percent of the package needed to bring Jérôme D'Ambrosio into Formula 1,” the Frenchman told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, with his driver already confirmed at Virgin for the post-season Young Driver test in Abu Dhabi.

“The remaining five percent is a matter of days. Then we go to Virgin – the team that made us a concrete proposal for 2011 in September - and their sponsors, who also both want to know what the situation is for next year.”

“I would love to go to the last race in Abu Dhabi with a contract signed and in our pocket.”

Trulli eyes NASCAR as F1 future uncertain  
Jarno Trulli may lose F1 seat to another ride-buyer
(GMM)  As drivers seemingly line up for his seat at Lotus, Jarno Trulli has been spotted in the US.

In recent days, rival drivers including Bruno Senna and Vitaly Petrov have been linked for 2011 with the Malaysian team, who are thought certain to renew Heikki Kovalainen's contract.

At the same time it has emerged that, immediately after the Korean grand prix, 36-year-old Italian veteran Trulli travelled to Miami.

He reportedly met up with his old friend Juan Pablo Montoya, and they dined on Thursday night at the Italian restaurant Il Gabbiano. More ...

Kanaan to leave Andretti team  UPDATE #3 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today based on the following SpeedTV.com report - - One of the longest, most successful partnerships in IndyCar racing is over, at least for now, as Tony Kanaan and Andretti Autosport have parted company.

The popular 2004 champion couldn’t be guaranteed a ride after longtime sponsor 7-Eleven bailed a few weeks ago so he took a buyout and now he’s a free agent.

“I don’t agree with some things and it’s very disappointing but I have no hard feelings,” said Kanaan, who joined a team then known as Andretti-Green in 2003 and proceeded to win 14 races and lead more than 2,600 laps.

“It’s sad because I wanted to be there. It’s been my home for nine years and I have a lot of great memories but it’s life, it’s reality, and now I’ve got to find a new home.” More ...

Barrichello's seat also not secure at Williams (CORRECTION)  
Rubens Barrichello
(GMM)  The latest rumor in formula one is that Rubens Barrichello's longest-ever grand prix career could be set to end after the 2010 finale next month.

German rookie Nico Hulkenberg admitted in Korea that he was concerned about speculation linking the Venezuelan pay-driver and new GP2 champion Pastor Maldonado with his Williams race seat.

But a report in Auto Motor und Sport reveals that the Oxfordshire based team actually does not intend to confirm either Hulkenberg or his current teammate, the Brazilian veteran Barrichello, until the winter period.

The reason for the delay is Williams' sponsor situation, with RBS departing at the end of the year.  It has also been reported that Philips, AirAsia and McGregor could also leave the Grove-based team.

Maldonado carries a reported US $15 million in the sponsorship of state-owned petroleum company PDVSA, and the latest rumor is that Williams has not yet decided whether Hulkenberg or Barrichello is the most likely to potentially make room for the 25-year-old.

The rumor about 39-year-old Barrichello was triggered when Patrick Head, Williams' engineering boss and the team's second biggest shareholder, said Hulkenberg had done enough in 2010 to justify his seat.

"I think Nico has done enough, both before he entered F1 and since being in F1, to support the view that he is a justified driver," said the Briton in Korea last weekend.

Mosley preparing Todt attack and 'comeback'  UPDATE
Max Mosley denies comeback
(GMM)  Max Mosley has played down reports he is preparing an attempt to return to power at F1's governing body FIA.

After a 16-year reign, the 70-year-old Briton hand-picked former Ferrari boss Jean Todt as his preferred successor as FIA president.

But rumors in recent days have pointed at discontent with Todt's rule so far, and a possible power coup headed by Mosley and supported by his long time sidekick Bernie Ecclestone.

F1 chief executive Ecclestone then fuelled the speculation by admitting on BBC radio he "didn't want Max to go and it would be nice to have him back".

Asked how that would work, the 80-year-old answered: "I suppose we could go back and Max could be president of the FIA and Jean could be president of FISA, running the sporting side.

"I don't think the teams would mind.  If you asked anyone now if Max coming back as president of the FIA, if they would complain, I think they'd say no," added Ecclestone. More ...

Ecclestone, Todt, agreed 'peace' in Korea  
Bernie Ecclestone (R)
(GMM) Bernie Ecclestone and Jean Todt met in Korea last weekend and, according to a German report, "smoked the peace pipe".

There had been speculation that F1 chief executive Ecclestone was supporting a possible power coup organized by Todt's predecessor as FIA president, Max Mosley.

But Frenchman Todt and Ecclestone had a "long conversation" at the Yeongam circuit, Auto Motor und Sport reports.

"We want to work well together into the future," Ecclestone, who turns 80 on Thursday, is quoted as saying afterwards.

Todt, meanwhile, said the rumors about the coup had been exaggerated.

"This season has shown that I am interfering as little as possible," he said. "And If Mosley offers me his advice, this will also be welcome."

Turkey to get the axe?  According to reports FOM Chief Bernie Ecclestone is thinking of removing the Turkish Grand Prix from the calendar in the near future as he aims to expand the Formula One series into even more new countries. According to Ecclestone, Turkey is not really commercially viable with a the smallest amount of spectators coming through the gates and with its contract up for renewal next year, it could be one to go.

“Maybe someone will decide they need a rest because it’s not working for them commercially. A good example is probably Turkey,” Ecclestone was quoted as saying by Reuters. “They’ve built an incredible circuit and it might even be the best, but there’s not much enthusiasm from the public. I don’t know why. I am sure that in the years to come, we will lose a few races in Europe.”

In the coming years we have several new venues to add to the ever increasing list such as Russia, India and Austin with several others still firm in Ecclestone’s sights such as Africa and Rome. Even though the attendance was moderate in Korea last weekend, Turkey’s numbers continue to fall every year while Korea’s are expected to increase.

Wilson, not Rahal to Panther in 2011  UPDATE #5 See new AR1.com feature story - Graham Rahal will race for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2011 as we reported awhile ago that he was not going to Panther per the original rumor.

09/20/10 Everybody has me going to Panther or KV but they are missing the most obvious choice and that may be to stay right where I'm at," Wilson told SI.com Sunday morning in the garage.

That gives team owner Dennis Reinbold confidence that he can keep the talented driver from England.

"We have talked to him about it and we are trying to work through it," Reinbold said. "I think we are in the mix to keep Justin, but I don't know what the outcome will be. I don't know what we are up against which is why we are keeping all of our options open and talking to everyone. We have some things happening that we think we will improve next year. We could be a one-car team, a two-car team or a three-car team next year. I know we will be at least a one-car team and at least be a two-car team but we have so many things in the air right now we are looking to work that out."

Panther Racing sources also confirmed an interest in Rahal to take over the No. 4 National Guard entry because of his talent and the fact that he would be the first American driver that would be sponsored by the National Guard since it became an IndyCar sponsor. In the past, the Guard has sponsored Vitor Meira of Brazil and Wheldon from England in that ride. More ...

Richard Petty meets with Toyota  Could there be a Toyota in the King’s court? Multiple sources have confirmed to FOXSports.com that Richard Petty met with principals from Toyota and Michael Waltrip Racing at Martinsville on Sunday and the meetings continued through Monday in Charlotte.

In the past week, Petty has scrambled to salvage what is left of his brand and the No. 43. This latest development, however, doesn’t appear to involve Petty’s current partner George Gillett, the majority owner of Richard Petty Motorsports.

Gillett is still recuperating from the financial hit taken from the sale of Liverpool Football Club to New England Sport Ventures on Oct. 15.

And on Tuesday, the Tahoe Daily Tribune reported Gillett’s Booth Creek Resort Properties sold Northstar-at-Tahoe to Vail Resorts for $63 million. FOX Sports

GM to build small Cadillac in Lansing  General Motors Co. plans to announce Thursday that it will build a compact-sized Cadillac at its Grand River Assembly plant in Lansing, a $190 million investment that will put 600 people to work, officials briefed on the announcement said.

GM CEO Daniel Akerson will make the announcement at the plant, joined by Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, United Auto Workers President Bob King and three Michigan members of Congress.

The automaker is expected to call its new Cadillac the ATS. It will be smaller than the Cadillac CTS and similar in size to Cadillac BTS/BLS sold in Europe, according to a source familiar with the project.

GM spokeswoman Kimberly Carpenter declined comment Tuesday night.

Boss Brawn to have lesser role in 2011  
Mercedes boss, Ross Brawn
(GMM)  A restructuring within the Mercedes GP team could result in team boss Ross Brawn having a diminished role.

That is the claim of a report in Italy's Autosprint.

The news follows the 55-year-old Briton's admission in Korea last weekend that he is beginning to think about returning to retirement.

The Brackley based team has struggled since transitioning from the title winning Brawn GP at the end of last year, amid growing rumors of discord between Brawn and Mercedes' Norbert Haug.

Brawn said in Korea that his plan is to stay in F1 "but maybe not have to come to 20-odd races every year".

And Autosprint said current team principal Brawn's influence next year could be "limited to a specific area".

Bank loan could send Renault into spin  (GMM) Enstone based Renault could reportedly lose control of its formula one team after taking out a bank loan.

The Evening Standard reports that the team, now majority owned by the Luxembourg-based investment firm Genii Capital, has borrowed money from Lithuania's AB Snoras.

The report said the reason for the loan is a cash shortage after losing sponsors including Mutua Madrilena, Pepe Jeans and Dutch bank ING in the wake of the crashgate scandal.

"It's not known when the loan has to be repaid by but it is clear that if the team fails to repay, Snoras could call in its security and take control of it," said the newspaper.

Webber tried to take out title rivals?  
Mark Webber
(GMM)  Gerhard Berger has accused Mark Webber of wanting to take out a championship rival after crashing in Sunday's Korean grand prix.

Australian Webber, who at the time was leading the world championship by 14 points, spun on a wet curb whilst running second at Yeongam and struck the wall.

But his Red Bull then rolled back across the circuit, collecting the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.

"I don't understand why Webber didn't hit the brakes," said Rosberg.  "It was crazy to roll back across the track like that."

Former grand prix winner Berger said on Monday: "He could have hit the brakes and stopped the car at the wall. More ...

Wal-Mart rejects NASCAR, Gordon  UPDATE #3 Beginning in 2011, the primary sponsor of Gordon's #24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy for a majority of races will be a major anti-hunger campaign. The campaign, which may be the first multi-race cause-related sponsorship of its kind in NASCAR, will be coordinated through the AARP Foundation and eventually involve other companies, sources said. The AARP Foundation is the charitable organization of the AARP and dedicated to serving older Americans in need. While the anti-hunger campaign will serve as primary sponsor for a majority of races, DuPont and PepsiCo are expected to return as primary sponsors for the remainder of the races in 2011 as well, sources said. Gordon's sponsorship and details of the anti-hunger campaign will be unveiled at a news conference on Wednesday at Hendrick Motorsports, sources said. A Hendrick Motorsports spokesperson confirmed an announcement is being planned for Wednesday but declined further comment. Charlotte Observer

08/30/10 Walmart has issued a statement that they will not be sponsoring Jeff Gordon’s Hendrick Motorsports team.  NASCAR has been the subject of several published reports that the world’s largest retailer was in negotiations with Hendrick Motorsports to sponsor the No. 24 car for next season.

Walmart has rejected NASCAR and Jeff Gordon
The possible addition of Walmart to the line-up of car sponsors would have been big news for NASCAR, which has had few sponsorship dollars added to the Cup series in the last two years.  The possibility even existed that Walmart may have been able to enter into a sponsorship agreement (with any team) that might have been for less money than the cost of the going rate that was seen just a few years ago.

As an example of the sponsorship reductions, Budweiser has announced that its sponsorship will go to the No. 29 Richard Childress team for next year but only for 20 races. This is a reduction from the full season sponsorship that Budweiser has had with various teams for many years. The reduction in sponsorship is in line with the direction the new owner of Budweiser, InBev, (which in July 13, 2008 combined with Anheuser-Busch under the name Anheuser-Busch InBev) has taken. More ...

Baltimore GP close to landing 7-figure title sponsor  Baltimore Grand Prix IndyCar Event promoter Jay Davidson is confident his team can hook the right sponsors. Davidson, the president of Baltimore Racing Development, said the group is "negotiating hard with three different companies, and one of those companies will wind up being our title sponsor," he told the Baltimore Sun.

Davidson said legal agreements preclude him from naming the companies, but two are based in Maryland and one is from the surrounding region. He said he expects to announce a title sponsor in the next few weeks who will pay "in the low seven figures."

Baltimore Racing Development is trying to line up a separate sponsor for the American Le Mans Series race planned for the day before the Indy race.

Once the main sponsors have been nailed down, Davidson says, the group intends to sell as many as 20 smaller sponsorships for price tags ranging from $25,000 to $250,000.

More than 6,000 people have signed up to be alerted when tickets go on sale, Davidson said. He expects each to buy an average of 2.5 tickets.

Track designer Martyn Thake says planners are hashing out the final layout for seating this week. About 45,000 grand seats will ring the 2-mile course, in addition to about 70 skyboxes, ground-level boxes and tents, he said.

HRT to buy Williams gearbox in 2011  UPDATE (GMM)  Williams has not denied reports it intends to sell its hydraulic systems and gearboxes to HRT in 2011.

The report emerged in Korea at the weekend, after the famous British team had in September admitted to receiving "enquiries" from other teams about its technical expertise.

"The status quo has not materially changed at the moment," a spokesman told us on Monday.

"We have publicly confirmed that we are amenable to supply elements of our drivetrain technology to other teams, but as yet we have not reached hard agreement with any customers.

"Of course we will make an announcement - or announcements - if and when we enter into any supply agreements," the Williams official added. More ...

Gold Coast race aims for Schumacher, others.  V8 SUPERCARS will launch an immediate raid on Formula One stars in an audacious bid to lure the sport's biggest names to the Gold Coast for next year's motorsport carnival.

It is understood V8 Supercar chairman Tony Cochrane has compiled a secret 'Formula One heavy' hit list after the 2011 F1 season schedule showed the world's leading motorsport series will be between events during the Gold Coast carnival.

The Bulletin can also reveal Michael Schumacher is the long-term goal for the event once he retires from grand prix racing.

The revelations came as the GC600 attracted a stunning three-day crowd of 170,073 -- 25,000 more than organizers predicted, sealing the future for at least the short term. More ...

IndyCar fodder  UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, Oh my God.  Reading all those fantastic past articles from AutoRacing1.com referenced in today's IndyCar fodder piece reminds me of why I have been a subscriber all these years.  You guys have been at the forefront of IndyCar's problems many years ago.  I would suggest Randy Bernard search through all your archives if he wants to understand how to perhaps fix the sport.  Jeff Moreland

10/25/10 According to AutoRacing1.com sources, work is nearly complete that will firm up the Star Mazda series position on the IndyCar development ladder.  In a recent radio interview IndyCar President Randy Bernard said they are working on improving ladder system and we should be hearing something in the near future.  Don't be surprised if it is not similar to the tie-up between USAC and IndyCar whereby the winner of the Star Mazda Championship will get a partially funded Indy Lights ride.  See related AutoRacing1.com article - Salem Speedway - When the High Banks were on the Road to Indy, as well as this article, Labor Day weekend 1952.  A weekend I'll never forget.

Las Vegas looks more an more likely by the day to become the 2011 IndyCar finale.  On that same radio interview Bernard said he is working very hard with Las Vegas, and because Las Vegas knows him well from when he ran PBR, "the city trusts me when I say I will get something done."  And if anyone thinks IndyCar should finish their season at Fontana in 2011 - perhaps you had better read this AutoRacing1.com article of their previous try. More ...
NASCAR padding failing HOF attendance estimates?  NASCAR's Charlotte Hall of Fame is in the red, and not drawing nearly as many fans as anticipated.

And now Daytona executives have decided to shut down the Daytona 500 'Experience' interactive museum at NASCAR's 'world center of speed,' because of sluggish attendance.  The Daytona Experience will simply be put into mothballs, effectively, because track execs say the attraction, which opened in 1996, costs too much to keep going full-time.

Track president Joie Chitwood says he hopes to reopen the Experience when things pick up. It will still be available for private showing during race weekends. Meanwhile in downtown Charlotte attendance is way off at NASCAR's new Hall of Fame. More ...

Klien could return to backmarker status in 2010  
Christian Klien could return as one of Friday morning's track cleaners in 2010
(GMM)  After Sunday's Korean grand prix, Christian Klien could return to the wheel of the HRT for one or both of the remaining races of 2010.

That is the claim of the Austrian newspaper Kleine Zeitung, recalling the 27-year-old's strong performance with the struggling Spanish team in Singapore recently.

With his apparent food poisoning gone, Japanese pay-driver Sakon Yamamoto returned to the Cosworth-powered car in Japan and Korea.

But Kleine Zeitung said HRT is now considering putting reserve driver Klien back in the car for Brazil or Abu Dhabi, in a last-ditch effort to beat Lotus to tenth place in the constructors' world championship.

Lotus has been the best of the three new teams in 2010, but neither it, HRT or Virgin has scored a single point. More ...

Renault finally signs Lotus engine contract  UPDATE #2
Lotus gets French power in 2011.  Will the team still be called Lotus?  Probably not.
After watching Sebastian Vettel lose yet another Renault engine in the Korean GP, thereby severely damaging his championship chances, one can't help but muse at the decision by Lotus to drop Cosworth for Renault.

10/23/10 (GMM)  As the dark Korea paddock emptied on Saturday night, word spread that Lotus has finally secured its engine supply contract for 2011.

It has been an open secret that the new Malaysian team is switching from Cosworth to Renault, but the naming dispute with Proton was believed to have held up the formalities.

But, whatever the current status of the dispute with Group Lotus, it seems the contracts were at last signed in the new Yeongam paddock late on Saturday.

Finnish driver Heikki Kovalainen would not confirm.

"If it happens it will be an interesting deal for our team," he told the Daily Mail.

After Renault, the next step will be the announcement of Kovalainen's new deal for 2011, with his current teammate Jarno Trulli also tipped to return next season. More ...

The Snake to start IndyCar team with Ganassi  UPDATE Autosport magazine in the UK is reporting that Chip Ganassi is not interested in expanding past a two car team, but has said that he is interested in a junior team, to develop talent for 3 to 4 years down the road. Could it be related to our March 31st rumor below, where we heard Ganassi might do something with Don The Snake Prudhomme.

This is somewhat analogous to Roger Penske and his son's IndyCar team. And Penske and Ganassi always copy each other eventually.

Chip has done something similar before with the Alex Lloyd/Townsend Bell Sam Schmitt set up.

Car could be prepped by TCGR and run by a semi autonomous team part or fully owned by Chip. Could this be the team for Graham Rahal? More ...
Chandhok to Lotus for 2011  (GMM)  According to the latest rumor in the F1 paddock, Karun Chandhok may be in talks with Lotus about joining Tony Fernandes' team for 2011.

The rumor was aired on British television on Saturday morning from Korea, with pit reporter Ted Kravitz saying the Indian driver could become reserve driver before moving into the race cockpit in 2012.

Kravitz quoted a Lotus team member as admitting that the 26-year-old Indian, who made his debut with HRT this year before being sidelined by the better-funded Sakon Yamamoto, is a "great guy".

Chandhok said this week that he is hopeful his F1 career has not floundered permanently after just half a season. More ...

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