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USGP to sellout? The United States Grand Prix at Austin is close to a sell-out crowd, with organizers at the Circuit of the Americas expecting around 110-120,000 spectators to flock through the gates on race day. Added to the large Sunday estimate, the various grandstands and grass verges are set to be well-populated for practice and qualifying.
"We expect 40-50,000 on Friday, 60-80,000 on Saturday and 110-120,000 on Sunday," a circuit spokesperson confirmed to GPUpdate.net on Monday afternoon.
According to the venue's official website, the 3.427-mi (5.516-km) circuit can house a total of 120,000 fans. Formula 1 is returning to America for the first time since 2007, when Lewis Hamilton triumphed for McLaren at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
AR1.com has written numerous times how Bernie Ecclestone and Ron Dennis set CART star Michael Andretti up to fail to make CART look inferior to F1. At the time CART was threatening F1 and Bernie was worried.
Michael Andretti tells Gordon Kirby: "We tested in Spain the day after the race that year and both me and Ayrton were within a tenth of a second of each other and were running times that would have put us on the front row. Ayrton had qualified third and I was about 20th. So I was saying, 'I'm not doing anything different. How can this be?' And they were saying, 'Oh, Ayrton doesn't test that fast.' And I said, 'But our times are quick enough today to be on the front row.'."
Penske not buying Indy Roger Penske, Keselowski’s car owner who is seeking his first Cup championship, said he won’t be a bidder if the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is offered for sale. [Editor's Note: However, it is the IndyCar Series that needs to be sold, not the race track, so this author is confused.]
The IMS Corp. has hired an outside consulting firm to conduct a strategic business review and recently fired IndyCar series CEO Randy Bernard, who had talked to PIR about a 2014 race.
“Not at all, no,” said Penske, whose team has a record 15 Indy 500 wins.
“It’s (racetracks) not our core business. We want to be there to compete, but we don’t want to have any ownership.” AZCentral.com
Franchitti's wife Ashley Judd running for Senate in Kentucky?
2012 Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti and his wife Ashley Judd
IndyCar driver Dario Franchitti's wife Actress Ashley Judd isn't ruling out a run for U.S. Senate in Kentucky.
The former Kentuckian is an active supporter of Tennessee Democrats. She said in a statement Friday that she's honored to be mentioned as a potential candidate, but she sidestepped the question of whether she would get into the race.
"I cherish Kentucky, heart and soul, and while I'm very honored by the consideration, we have just finished an election, so let's focus on coming together to keep moving America's families, and especially our kids, forward," she said.
This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today as we predicted it would be when this rumor first surfaced back in July. The France family does not like its stars bringing added publicity to the enemies biggest race. If NASCAR buys IndyCar then, yes, they would encourage their drivers to do both events, but as long as they have no financial stake in IndyCar then they would just as soon see the enemy dead.
The Indianapolis 500 is fading into the background for Danica Patrick, who has decided not to attempt the race next season, after all.
Several people familiar with her plans told The Associated Press that Patrick has decided against trying to run at Indianapolis Motor Speedway next May because it would detract from her NASCAR efforts. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because Patrick has not officially announced her intentions.
"There's nothing I can say at this time," Patrick told the AP on Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway.
Stewart reportedly signed Kevin Harvick to driveUPDATE #2 Richard Childress was visibly upset as he stood next to grandson Ty Dillon's black truck during Friday's qualifying at Phoenix International Raceway. It had nothing to do with Dillon's chances to win the Camping World Truck Series championship, trailing James Buescher by 15 points with two races remaining. It had everything to do with an ESPN.com report that Sprint Cup driver #29-Kevin Harvick has signed a multi-year deal to begin driving for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014.
"I've got a contract for 2013 and this is 2012," the owner of Richard Childress Racing said of his deal with Harvick. "I'm not talking to you about nothing [regarding that]. Too far out." Asked if Harvick had told him he will not drive for RCR beyond 2013, Childress barked, "You need to go talk to them people. Don't talk to me about it. If you want to talk to me about [the truck] championship, I'll talk about it. But don't talk to me about anything else."
Aston Martin on the blocks Aston Martin's controlling shareholder, Investment Dar Co., has approached potential buyers for the maker of luxury sports cars featured in James Bond movies, five people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg.
The Kuwaiti company, which owns 64 percent of Aston Martin, has hired Rothschild to advise on the sale, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., the Indian automaker, is among potential suitors Investment Dar has approached in recent few months, two of the people said.
McLaren chief: Hamilton regrets Mercedes move The head of McLaren believes Lewis Hamilton rushed into a decision to leave the team and regrets moving to Formula One rival Mercedes.
Hamilton will end his 14-year association with McLaren at the end of this season after signing a three-year contract with Mercedes, where he will look to add to his world title from 2008.
The Briton made his career choice days after retiring from the Singapore Grand Prix on Sept. 23 with gearbox failure. McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh says "it is always bad to make a decision in the aftermath of a bad race."
Whitmarsh says Friday on F1's website that "I think he has on occasions" regretted the move to Mercedes, which has won one race in three seasons. AP News
Danica Patrick in limbo with Go DaddyUPDATE #3 When NASCAR sponsor Go Daddy recently hired an outside agency to create its Super Bowl commercials for next year, it raised speculation that NASCAR star Danica Patrick would no longer star in those ads.
Not so, Go Daddy founder Bob Parsons said Thursday. During a press conference to announce a charitable program to help injured veterans, Parsons said that Patrick will appear in both of Go Daddy’s 30-second Super Bowl commercials in February. Patrick, the most successful female driver in IndyCar history, has appeared in more Super Bowl commercials (10) than any other celebrity.
Parsons said next year would mark the ninth straight year that Patrick will appear in Go Daddy’s Super Bowl commercials.
IndyCar will get bodykits in 2014 Aero kits – a key original component of the 2012 car plan for IndyCar as a means of providing some differentiation between cars and manufacturers – are still under consideration for the IZOD IndyCar Series, according to newly appointed CEO Jeff Belskus. However, he says a final decision on the subject remains some way off.
"That's an on-going conversation," Belskus told this week's AUTOSPORT magazine. "I don't know that I can set a timeline for when it will be resolved."
World Rally Championship to get new timekeeper Motorsports governing body FIA "is in talks to replace World Rally Championship's current timekeeper Stage One with SIT," according to Markus Luttgens of Motorsport-Total.com. Despite the criticism of manufacturers and organizers, FIA has decided to change WRC's official timekeeper. Spanish-based company Sistemas Integrales de Telecomunicacion (SIT) "will replace current timekeeper Stage One Technology in '13 to provide timing at WRC races." FIA said in a statement: "FIA has entered exclusive negotiations with Sistemas Integrales de Telecomunicacion to provide the timing and safety tracking services for the FIA World Rally Championship from 2013." Motorsport-Total.com
This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. Martin Whitmarsh says McLaren will continue to use Mercedes engines for the foreseeable future -despite becoming a customer team for the first time in over two decades.
Mercedes sold their stake in McLaren after purchasing Brawn GP in 2010 and from next season the Woking-based team will have to pay for their engines.
That led to speculation the team could seek an alternative engine supplier with rumors of a link up with Honda - whose engines McLaren last used in 1992 - when the new 1.6 turbo regulations are introduced in 2014.
Overheard in Baltimore - FridayUPDATE #2 E.J. Viso expects to return to the IndyCar Series for a sixth season, but he said Monday that his plans will come into focus once he finalizes sponsorship back in his home country of Venezuela.
“I need to know that first, then I can determine team, engine and engineers,” he said. “It all comes from that.”
Viso said he'd like to form a team from scratch, but that “is very ambitious.” So, he'll look to partner with an existing team.
“At least this year it's more safe,” he said. “Both parties benefit.” AutoWeek
Greece eyeing F1 raceUPDATE #6 The man leading "controversial plans" to construct a potential F1 racetrack in debt-stricken Greece has defended the project and said "my life's work" will benefit rather than burden the country, according to Graham Wood of REUTERS. Last month, Greece's Ministry of Development confirmed it had "unblocked a European funding subsidy" of €29.5M ($37.8M) for the construction of an int'l-standard racetrack that could be used for staging F1. The track will be built in Chalandritsa near the western port city of Patras. The ministry estimated the cost at €94.6M, ($121M), 70% of which is to be funded by private investment company Racetrack Patras. Racetrack Patras Head Evangelos Floratos said, "Critics in the foreign media believe that the state will subsidize the circuit running cost, this is a false idea." Floratos will "oversee the project to build the track," which he hopes can act as a testing center for F1 teams.
New USA sponsors coming to F1 My spies in the F1 paddock are telling me that there are going to be several big sponsorship announcements in the lead up to Austin, and at the Grand Prix itself. Logically one would conclude that the firms concerned will probably be US multinationals with the kind of global interests that F1 can help to develop.
It is still not clear who will be involved but a few months ago there were lots of rumors of Coca-Cola. The main brand does not really make sense in F1 because the product already has an amazing global footprint, but one can imagine the company using one of its many other brands, particularly its energy drinks, as this dement of the market is where Red Bull is dominant.
Barrichello to SSM, Fuzzy to extend with CarpenterUPDATE As it turns out Ed Carpenter Racing had a three-year contract with Fuzzy’s starting last year. Now, we're hearing Fuzzy’s might be doing some other things within INDYCAR for next year. But nothing is confirmed.
11/05/12 According to AR1.com sources, rumor has it that Rubens Barrichello will end up at Sam Schmidt Motorsports alongside Simon Pagenaud.
Also from the IndyCar rumor mill, we head that Fuzzy's has extended their sponsorship deal with Ed Carpenter out for three more years.
F1 teams use foul language to hide secrets (GMM) F1 teams and drivers use foul language to hide crucial race tactics and information from their rivals, according to the Guardian newspaper.
The topic of swearing hit the headlines after Sunday's Abu Dhabi grand prix, when Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel both swore during their podium interview with former F1 driver David Coulthard.
Winner Raikkonen recalled the media giving him "sh*t" for not smiling enough after his previous victories, while Vettel used the F-word not only with Coulthard but also in the post-race press conference.
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