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DATE News (chronologically)
01/14/11
f1
Ecclestone wants Rome to alternate with Monza  (GMM)  The promoter of a grand prix on the streets of Rome in 2013 has not given up on bringing F1 to the Italian capital.

On Thursday, the event appeared to have heard its death knell when it emerged Bernie Ecclestone had written to Rome mayor Gianni Alemanno.

The Italian newspaper La Repubblica said Ecclestone's letter explained that his sport needed to focus on expanding internationally and in the US rather than allowing single countries to host more than one race per year. More ...

01/13/11
f1
Most F1 teams struggling financially  (GMM)  Only four of F1's twelve teams have budgets in place for the long term, according to an analysis by Auto Motor und Sport in Germany.

The report said only Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes are secure from a financial point of view, with at least half of the sport's teams fighting for survival.

Auto Motor und Sport named HRT as the team with the smallest budget (EUR 40 million) and lowest head-count (120). More ...

01/12/11
irl
Rossiter to IndyCar  UPDATE Rossiter's other primary focus in 2011 will be to develop the new Lotus 125, which strongly resembles a modern F1 car and is billed by the company as the ultimate track-day car. The car's first test is scheduled to take place at the Vallelunga circuit in Italy this week.

James Rossiter
Rossiter also is expected to participate in a number of long-distance races in the GT-Endurance and GT4-spec Evoras.

“It is great to be back with a manufacturer," the 27-year-old said. "It would be great to represent the Lotus brand out in the United States, but it all depends on finding the budget. IndyCar is where I want to be, but I'm also looking forward to using my single-seater experience developing the 125.”

01/07/11 Ex-Formula 1 test driver James Rossiter could race in the IndyCar Series this season as part of a deal that has made him official test and development driver for Lotus, this week's AUTOSPORT magazine reveals.

Now his involvement with the marque has been cemented with a test contract that could encompass race outings with Lotus's IndyCar partner, KV Racing Technology. Rossiter tested for the team last winter but did not manage to complete a 2010 deal.

Lotus Motorsport director Claudio Berro said that he hoped Rossiter can be part of the company's IndyCar program in 2011.

"I would like to have James racing for us in IndyCar," he said. "It could happen this season, though most likely only on the road and street tracks." We have updated our 2011 IndyCar Silly Season page above.

01/12/11
irl
Edmonton race to be forced from Airport site  Officials in Edmonton are continuing to look a for a new site for the city's Izod IndyCar Series race.  The Edmonton Indy has been held since 2005 at the City Centre Airport, but a planned redevelopment of the airport means the race will have to find another home by 2014.

The new site needs to be within city limits, preferably with a view of the skyline to show on TV, Edmonton's chief financial officer Lorna Rosen said.

"It's a bit of a complicated question as to what already happens on the site . . . while it does require an amount of land, not as much as you might think," Rosen said.

The city reached a three-year deal with promoter Octane Racing Group in November and it was finalized this month. Octane would also like to explore having more races in Edmonton, Rosen said. TimesColonist

01/11/11
f1
HRT to sue Chandhok for contract breach  (GMM)  Karun Chandhok is facing legal action by his former F1 employer HRT, according to reports in the Indian press.

The Sun this week quoted team boss Colin Kolles as saying the 26-year-old Indian was dropped mid-season in 2010 "because he did not fulfill his contractual obligations".

A report in the Hyderabad based Deccan Chronicle newspaper said the Spanish team is set to take legal action for breach of contract. More ...

01/10/11
irl
nnw
Edmonton IndyCar race to be saved, add NASCAR race?  UPDATE #4 Also expected to be announced at Tuesday's State of the Union IndyCar event is the return of the Edmonton race July 24.

12/18/10 IndyCar has not added Edmonton back onto the 2011 schedule yet because all the details are not finalized, but Randy Bernard said on this week's IndyCar Inside Track podcast that everything looks good and it's just a matter of getting it done.

11/27/10 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today with this report.

11/23/10 The July 24 race in Edmonton could be back on the Izod IndyCar Series schedule as early as Friday, the Edmonton Journal reports.

The event was canceled last month amid squabbles over the cost of moving the circuit from the west side of City Centre Airport to the east side to keep the only active runway operational. The cost was estimated at $3 million.

But a proposal is on the table that would take the cost off the hands of the taxpayers, the newspaper quoted Mayor Stephen Mandel as saying.

The City of Edmonton previously agreed to spend $5.5 million in sponsorship and $1.5 million in services over a three-year contract with the Montreal-based promoter, Octane Racing Group. Council members deliberated over the proposal on Monday night before tabling the issue in order to get more information. More ...

01/10/11
irl
IndyCar tire bills to double in 2012?  
Question: How much do you think Firestone subsidizes the overall cost of providing their tires if they charge the teams $300,000 to run a car for a full season? Is it possible Firestone would continue providing tires at cost even if it decides not to continue as a strategic partner? (David, Apex, N.C.)

Answer: Although I’m not privy to the books, there’s no question in my mind Firestone subsidizes the program. Veteran team leaders remember season tire bills of closer to $500,000. I think if Randy Bernard can get current teams to accept a tire bill that Firestone can live with for 2012, the manufacturer will stay for one more year before leaving. If a number can’t be negotiated, and I’m hearing Firestone wants more than $900,000 per entry, IndyCar will be in a scrambling position for 2012. Indy Star

01/10/11
f1
HRT kicked out of FOTA?  Hispania Racing has confirmed it is no longer a member of the Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) but there are conflicting reports about the way in which the split happened.

According to a spokesperson for the team, speaking to The F1 Times, "I am able to confirm we have left FOTA in December. Hispania Racing wish FOTA the best in the future. But it made no sense for a small team as we are, because of the politics.”

But sources from other teams have told us that Jose Carabante's team was expelled from the association for failing to pay the yearly fee of 100,000 euros at the end of 2010. More ...

01/10/11
irl
Overheard in Toronto - Saturday (Vegas to close 2011 season)  UPDATE #8 “Stay tuned,” Randy Bernard said. “We’re going to announce the date at the State of the Union address in Indianapolis on Tuesday (January 11th). Stand by. I don’t want to talk too much about this right now out of respect to the announcement.”

01/07/11 IndyCar Series will finally makes it official later this month that it will conclude its season in Las Vegas on Oct. 16, when the fastest oval race cars in the country wrap up a three-day weekend at the speedway. The weekend will include the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on Oct. 15th and IndyCar's Firestone Indy Lights developmental series. Las Vegas Review Journal

12/18/10 On this week's IndyCar Inside Track podcast Randy Bernard said it was safe to book your flights for Las Vegas for the 2011 IndyCar season finale.  Look for an announcement in January he stated.

11/30/10 Backing up our rumor below comes an article on Sports Business Journal today that says, After conducting an interview at the 11th annual Izod IndyCar Series Motorsports Marketing Forum, Bernard privately discussed his ideas about the city he knows so well. The street race, incorporating the world-famous Las Vegas Strip, would be held on a Friday. Two days later, the Izod IndyCar Series season finale would take place at the 1.5-mile LVMS oval.

"I think it'll be a fantastic fit," said Bernard. "This is a great market for it. I mean, the sex appeal. ... I mean, I shouldn't say that ... the entertainment, the resort destination, the lifestyle here. It is sexy. IZOD IndyCar is about all of that. It's about pop culture. We want to make sure our last event is in a great market, where we can really build upon the brand. I think Las Vegas will be an awesome place for us."

According to Bernard, all that is left to complete are the dotting of i's and the crossing of t's on contracts. He envisions Las Vegas becoming a two-race Indy town by '12.

11/19/10 We spoke to Randy Bernard today at Princeton University where he was a panelist for a motorsports roundtable at the 5th annual Ivy Sports Symposium Presented by Phoenicia Sport & Entertainment - feature story to follow.  He said that IndyCar is pretty close to finalizing a deal to close the season in Las Vegas in 2011, but he wants to have all the sponsorship in place first before announcing it.  And regarding the part below of a doubleheader street and oval race in Las Vegas he said, "I would love to do it and we are working on it - a street race on Friday and an oval race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday.  Again I need to have the sponsorship in place, at least $4M."  We asked if he was confident of getting the "strip" closed down for a car race and his response was, "yes I am very confident."  Considering what he has accomplished in the very short time he has been with IndyCar, we have no reason to doubt him.  And remember, he has very close ties with Las Vegas from his Bull Riding days.  Mark C. reporting from Princeton, NJ

11/17/10 Tuesday, IndyCar and Firestone held a compatibility test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in preparation of a return to the 11/2-mile oval track next season. That race will be Oct. 16, 2011. IndyCar last staged a race at that facility in 2000. The Ganassi and Penske teams participated in the test. Indy Star

Rnd Date Race name Track
1 March 27 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Streets of St. Petersburg
2 April 10 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Barber Motorsports Park
3 April 17 37th Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Streets of Long Beach
4 May 1 São Paulo Indy 300 Streets of São Paulo
5 May 29 95th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race Indianapolis Motor Speedway
6 June 11 Texas Motor Speedway Firestone Twin 275s: Race 1
7 June 11 Texas Motor Speedway Firestone Twin 275s: Race 2
8 June 19 Milwaukee 225 Milwaukee Mile
9 June 25 Iowa Corn Indy 250 Iowa Speedway
10 July 10 Honda Indy Toronto Streets of Toronto
11 August 7 Honda 200 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
12 August 14 Race Name TBA New Hampshire Motor Speedway
13 August 28 Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma Infineon Raceway
14 September 4 Baltimore Grand Prix Streets of Baltimore
15 September 18 Indy Japan 300 Twin Ring Motegi
16 October 2 Kentucky Indy 300 Kentucky Speedway
17 October 16 Las Vegas* Las Vegas Motor Speedway*
*To Be Announced

09/10/10
Champ Car raced on the streets of Las Vegas in 2007.  Here Paul Tracy launches over the chicane curbing.  Champ Car had a great layout for the street circuit, but the casinos did not like having access blocked to their doorways.
Indy Racing League CEO Randy Bernard is indeed trying to dream big for the IndyCar Series.  Since creating a doubleheader (two 275-kilometer races) for next year's event at Texas Motor Speedway, the former cowboy envisions an even larger rodeo in Las Vegas in the future. He's thinking about having a street course race on The Strip to go with an oval-track event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Both would be season-ending events for their respective disciplines (non-ovals and ovals).

Such a pairing is not imminent. "Not for next year," he said. "But it's an idea that's out there."  Bernard doesn't yet have a deal to run on the Las Vegas oval and said it won't be part of the announcement today in Milwaukee. IndyStar

08/20/10 With regard to the Las Vegas IndyCar season finale we first rumored below while in Toronto - Dario Franchitti and Danica Patrick could be headed to Las Vegas Motor Speedway to race IndyCars next year. LVMS president Chris Powell has been negotiating with Randy Bernard, chief executive of the Indy Racing League, to return the open-wheel series to the track after a 10-year hiatus. The IndyCar event would complement the speedway's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, scheduled for Oct. 15, 2011.

"We are in discussions about hosting an IndyCar race the day after next year's truck race," Powell said, adding that the race would be the IndyCar season finale. Bernard on Thursday characterized his talks with Powell as "preliminary."

Bernard said he eventually wants the season-ending race and banquet to be in Las Vegas, where he built several relationships in the tourism industry during a 15-year tenure as chief executive of Professional Bull Riders. More ...

01/10/11
IRL
IndyCar to announce official hotel deal  Rumor has it that the IndyCar Series is close to finalizing a multiyear agreement with Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide that will give the sanctioning body its first official hotel partner. The deal, which sources valued between $400,000 and $600,000 annually, makes Starwood the official hotel and resort of IndyCar.
01/10/11
f1
Fauzy, Liuzzi in running for HRT seat  (GMM) A report has named three candidates for the second race seat at HRT for 2011.

Finland's Turun Sanomat claims the struggling Spanish team reduced by 20 per cent its financial demands for the first seat, with Indian Narain Karthikeyan's sponsors including the carmaker Tata reportedly to pay $8 million.

Reportedly in the bidding race for the other seat are Italian Davide Valsecchi, who impressed at the end-of-season Abu Dhabi test, and departed Lotus third driver Fairuz Fauzy.

Meanwhile, Turun Sanomat and the Swiss newspaper Blick both report that Vitantonio Liuzzi is also a contender, with EUR 2 million on the table due to Force India needing to buy out the 29-year-old's 2011 contract.

01/09/11
dtm
DTM to run as support event to Rolex 24  It was previously reported in Europe that DTM wants to stage a series of races in the U.S. as companion events with NASCAR and its corporate sibling Grand-Am. Rumor has it that as early as 2013 an American-based DTM derivate may run as a support event to the Rolex 24.
01/08/11
nassprint
Bayne could run some races for Wood Brothers  UPDATE Trevor Bayne will drive the #21 Wood Brothers Ford beginning with the Daytona 500 in February. Currently, Bayne is scheduled to run the first five NASCAR Sprint Cup races of the season. The balance of Bayne's race plans has not been finalized.  Fox Sports

01/06/11 The #21 Wood Brothers operation is hard at work in hopes of upping its Sprint Cup schedule to as many as 17 races in 2011. Trevor Bayne, who made his Sprint Cup debut for the team last November in Texas, could add the Wood Brothers effort to his Roush Nationwide Series schedule if sponsorship comes together. Veteran and former Cup champ Bill Elliott is also said to be in the picture for the team as well. Motor Racing Network
01/08/11
f1
Gribkowsky, CVC and the future of F1  UPDATE Private equity fund CVC Capital Partners Ltd. Thursday said it hasn't been contacted by German prosecutors regarding a probe launched into alleged bribes accepted by Gerhard Gribkowsky, former chief risk officer of German bank BayernLB.

Gribkowsky was arrested after Munich prosecutors launched a probe into allegations of corruption, tax evasion and breach of trust, the Munich district attorney's office said in a statement Wednesday.

Gribkowsky oversaw BayernLB's sale of car-racing events company Formula One to CVC in 2006 and is now accused of accepting bribes to divest the stake without undertaking a "current valuation" for the investment. Gribkowsky allegedly received $50 million in undeclared payments for his role in the sales process through accounts in Austria, Munich prosecutors said. More ...

01/08/11
irl
More evidence Servia to Newman/Haas?  Oriol Servia tweeted yesterday that he was back in the Newman/Haas shop getting a better seat fitting so he is more comfortable in the car. This could mean another test is planned or perhaps an announcement for a 2011 ride. Hmmm...
01/06/11
f1
McLaren to drop silver livery for 2011?  UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today.  McLaren has denied speculation it is set to drop its traditional silver livery for the 2011 season. Reports had linked the team's launch of mainly black and red official clothing for this year with rumors McLaren may want to differentiate itself from former works partner Mercedes, who now compete with a similarly silver-liveried car.

"Black livery?  Er, no," McLaren said via its official Twitter feed TheFifthDriver.

The Woking based team, still powered by Mercedes engines, added that the 2011 livery will be "the same Rocket Red and chrome finish that you've grown to love since Vodafone McLaren Mercedes was born in 2007".

"That's official, btw (by the way)," McLaren confirmed. More ...

01/06/11
f1
Report - Banker paid $50m for F1 power role?  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'strong.'  Innocent until proven guilty.  The banker accused of taking a $50 million bribe amid the sale of F1's commercial rights five years ago has been arrested.

It emerged earlier this week that as the rights were passing from the controlling Bayerische Landesbank to CVC Capital Partners, the Munich bank's F1 representative Gerhard Gribkowsky may have received the sum as an under the table 'thank you'.

The speculation emerged due to his formation of a charity foundation in Austria, with reports saying Gribkowsky had "no plausible explanation" about the source of the millions. More ...

01/05/11
f1
Tonio Liuzzi ousted at Force India?  UPDATE (GMM)  Vitantonio Liuzzi has denied he is discussing a financial settlement amid rumors Force India wants to replace him for the 2011 season.

Media reports this week said the Silverstone based team wants Paul di Resta to race alongside Adrian Sutil this season, despite Italian Liuzzi having an ongoing contract.

"My situation is clear," the 29-year-old told Italian website 422race.com.

"Force India hasn't informed me about any change and for me only the words of the team count."

Liuzzi denied that settlements, including monetary payments or even a seat with Mercedes in the DTM championship, are being discussed. More ...

01/05/11
automotive
Ford to unveil all-electric Focus  
Ford Focus teaser.  The automotive world is going electric yet USA-based racing series are sitting there with their teeth in their mouth missing the boat
With the NAIAS 2011 in Detroit less than a week away various automakers are looking to get in first with numerous pre-show announcements continuing to trickle in. Ford has decided to beat them all to the punch by taking the unusual step of unveiling its new all-electric Focus at CES 2011, rather than the seemingly more appropriate NAIAS only days later.

On its Facebook page Ford Electric Vehicles has revealed a teaser pic of the all-electric focus showing the vehicle’s charging port on the front fender. It also tips off Ford CEO, Alan Mulally’s keynote address that will be delivered at CES this coming Friday.

The reason for opting for CES seems to be a desire to highlight the various technologies Ford has used in the all-electric Focus, which includes a liquid cooled and heated battery system that is expected to deliver a range of around 100 miles (161 km).

01/04/11
irl
Wheldon to Andretti?  
Question: How close is Dan Wheldon to signing with any IndyCar team? He says he is excited for 2011 on his Twitter account. (Keith, New Richmond, Ind.)

Answer: I think he’s agreed to return to Andretti Autosport, but there’s no confirmation of that. Indy Star

Our 2011 IndyCar Silly Season page has been updated above.

01/04/11
irl
Dreyer & Reinbold to stick with Honda?  
Question: My question is in regards to Dreyer & Reinbold Racing. It appears that they are going to stay with Honda in 2012. Does that make D&R the premier Honda-backed racing team in the IndyCar series for 2012 and possibly beyond? If so, do you think that makes them more or less competitive? (Karl, Brown County, Ind.)

Answer: It’s up to the team’s on-track performance to determine if it’s the premier Honda team because you can bet on Andretti Autosport and de Ferran Dragon Racing being Honda teams as well. I think Ganassi’s primary team will be Chevrolet; it will be interesting to see if the second team goes that route, too. Team officials are looking at going Honda to cover their bases, which is smart. I’m sure Panther will be Chevrolet, too, with KV going Lotus. Tough to call on the rest. Indy Star

01/04/11
f1
Hamilton under pressure to get married  Lewis Hamilton could be tying the knot this year if his girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger has her way.
In a report doing the rounds on celebrity entertainment websites the former Pussycat Dolls pop star has revealed, “I’d want to be married before we have kids and that’s hopefully something we’ll be doing soon. I would love to have a couple of children.”

This has led to speculation that 32 year old Ms Scherzinger is keen to marry the 2008 F1 world champion who is seven year her junior. More ...

01/04/11
track news
Paddock to be named Chicagoland President  Sports Business Journal rumors that Chicagoland Speedway today is expected to name former Gatorade Dir of Sports Marketing Scott Paddock the track's new president. Paddock replaces Craig Rust, who ran the track from June '09 to Sept. '10. Paddock spent 12 years at Gatorade before leaving last June to join the Podium Group, a European agency that specializes in athlete wealth management and sports marketing.
01/04/11
f1
Genii selling Lotus Renault shares?  There are reports from highly reliable sources that Gérard Lopez and his partner in GenII Capital Eric Lux, have sold their shares in the Renault F1 Team Ltd company, which was renamed Lotus Renault GP Ltd on December 16. The suggestion is that the Genii Capital shares have been sold to Group Lotus. If this is true then the team should now be 100%-owned by Lotus, as Renault announced on December 8 that it had sold its shares to Genii Capital. We have heard, however, that Renault may still be involved and could have re-acquired a share of the team, on rather different terms to the previous arrangement.

It is worth noting, however, that on December 8, according to records in Companies House, Renault’s Jean-Francois Caubet and Genii’s Eric Boullier both had their Renault F1 directorships terminated, although Boullier is still running the team. More ...

01/04/11
f1
Toro Rosso to be sold?  UPDATE #3 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today.  Boss Franz Tost has denied the latest reports about the likely sale of the Faenza based team Toro Rosso.

It has long been rumored that Red Bull mogul Dietrich Mateschitz wants to sell the energy drink company's second team.

The Swiss newspaper Blick on Monday reported that Toro Rosso is set to be bought by Arab investors.

"There is no truth in that story," Tost told the German website motorsport-magazin.com. More ...

01/03/11
f1
2011 Mercedes passes FIA crash tests - report  (GMM)  Mercedes has become the second team to have reportedly passed the mandatory FIA crash tests with its 2011 car.

On the day before New Year's eve, Italian reports said Ferrari's next single seater had passed through a series of monocoque crash tests at the CSI facility near Milan.

And on Monday, French commentator Jean-Louis Moncet wrote in his Auto Plus column that the 2011 Mercedes – the W02 – has been similarly crash-tested to FIA standards.

On the same day, the Brackley based team's famous German driver Michael Schumacher turned 42.

Moncet also reported that Force India will announce officially on Tuesday that Paul di Resta will race alongside Adrian Sutil in 2011, with Nico Hulkenberg as third driver.

01/03/11
f1
FIA to propose F1 'windscreen' to protect drivers  UPDATE Rumors that the FIA was to mandate protective 'windscreens' for F1 cars from next season appear to be a little wide of the mark.  Italian magazine Autosprint suggested just before Christmas that screens could be introduced to protect drivers from flying debris such as that which put Felipe Massa in hospital during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, but subsequent stories now claim that they may have been a step too far in the redesign of safety measures in the top flight.

Another Italian source, 422race.com, now suggests that the governing body is ready to ditch its more extreme plan in favor of a simpler modification to the head protection already in place in the modern F1 cockpit. This too, however, would require a change in thinking for the designers, who would have hoped to be close to signing off the final specification of their 2011 machines with launches due over the next 4-6 weeks.

'Autosprint12/23/10 (GMM)  The FIA is proposing to mandate Plexiglas windscreens for the cockpits of formula one cars, according to an Italian report.

Autosprint, publishing a photoshopped image of a possible F1 windshield that can be viewed at tinyurl.com/2ew7rf6, claims the innovation would be to protect drivers from being struck on the head.

The exposure of the drivers' heads made headlines last year, when Felipe Massa was seriously injured by a flying suspension spring, days after F2 driver Henry Surtees was killed when he drove into the path of a stricken wheel.

"I'm not saying we need to cover (the cockpit) completely," Ferrari driver Massa said after recovering from his skull injuries.  "But maybe there are some other things we can do to the car to stop a wheel hitting your head."

After those incidents last year, Bernie Ecclestone said Professor Sid Watkins - the president of the FIA Institute for Motor Sport Safety - had been commissioned to "deal with" the issue.

The renewed push for driver head safety also comes just six weeks after the nose of Vitantonio Liuzzi's Force India rode up and almost struck Michael Schumacher's head during the 2010 season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Autosprint said the proposed protective structure, whilst not impeding driver visibility, would be designed to withstand the impact of a flying wheel and the full 640kg weight of an F1 car.

The report said the solution would also need to take into consideration its aerodynamic impact, including the flow of air to the engine airbox and the wings.

01/02/11
f1
Cosworth may offer KERS and transmission packages to F1 teams in 2013  Cosworth may offer KERS and transmission packages to F1 teams in 2013.  F1 business manager Mark Gallagher told F1 Fanatic they are considering the move to coincide with radical new engine regulations.

He hailed the rules change, calling it: “a new era where new technologies and innovation will be rewarded.”

"We have a number of options for how we might proceed in the future. Obviously Williams would be very interested to sell their system to more and more teams. As everyone has seen Williams recently agreed to supply transmission systems to HRT. More ...

01/02/11
automotive
Selfish Truck and SUV loving Americans will help pave way for world depression?  Many American motorists waste gasoline with their big gas guzzling Trucks and SUV's.  Truck and gasoline sales on the rise because some are using fat and over weight and cannot fit in a small car comfortably, and for others driving a large truck boosts their fragile egos. 

The price of oil is poised for another run at $100 a barrel after a global economic rebound sent it surging 34 percent since May. That could push gasoline prices to $4 a gallon by summer in some parts of the country, experts say.

Flying, shipping a package and ordering a pizza all likely would get more expensive in the new year if that happens and companies pass along higher energy costs. Some economists say rising energy prices will slow economic growth. More ...

12/31/10
f1
Sochi priority for 2014 is Olympics, not F1  (GMM)  The contract for the inaugural Russian grand prix in 2014 allows for a postponement in the event that preparations for the Winter Olympics in the same city of Sochi are disrupted.

Earlier in December, the resort city's mayor admitted that the F1 race could be put back to 2015, amid the International Olympic Committee's fears that Sochi has taken on too ambitious a calendar.

The Sochi Olympics' organizing committee chief Dmitry Chernyshenko admitted on Friday that if resources are stretched, F1 will take a back seat.

He told insidethegames.biz that prime minister Vladimir Putin's priority for 2014 is the Games.

Chernyshenko revealed that he has "reassurances from our state leaders that if there should be some minor concerns (about) clashes with these two projects, then - in accordance to the contract between the host organization and formula one owners - the first (F1) competition could hold on until 2015". More ...

12/30/10
nassprint
New producer for ESPN broadcasts?  Supposedly James Shiftan will step into the ESPN race producer role vacated with the removal of Neil Goldberg last season. Shiftan took a leave of absence from NASCAR last year, leaving Coordinating Producer Jill Fredrickson to produce the final races. Daly Planet
12/30/10
irl
New IndyCar sponsor?  Just saw an H&R Block (national tax preparation company with 2010 revenues of $3.9 billion) TV commercial featuring an IndyCar-like vehicle... it was an animated spot with the race car made up of paper money and it was doing some decidedly un-IndyCar-like things (jumping off a ramp)... but we can't find anything on their web site that ties in with this kind of marketing imagery... wonder if this could be the big new 'mega-activating' sponsor that was rumored a while back... or perhaps some component of the big announcement coming up on Jan. 11? Hmm......
12/29/10
irl
nassprint
Robby Gordon back to Chevy, Indy?  UPDATE Former IndyCar driver and current NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Robby Gordon said he is 90 percent sure he will do the Indianapolis 500 but will make the decision by March based on the sales of his Speed drink. He plans to build three cars for the Indianapolis 500, with the possibility of selling off one of the cars if he gets in comfortably on the first day.

11/14/10 Robby Gordon just got to Phoenix International Raceway Friday morning, after spending the week 'pre-running' - checking out legs of the Baja 1000 course, doing the GPS measuring and timing, and taking notes on where the notorious 'X's' are - to be avoided - and how fast to run where and when. He and his guys will fly back to the Baja immediately after Sunday's Phoenix 500-K, to put the finishing touches on things. And if all goes well, he'll finish the Baja 1000, which runs Tuesday and runs through Saturday, just in time to fly overnight Saturday cross-country to Homestead to make the starting line for Sunday's NASCAR season finale. More ...
12/29/10
f1
Santander buys into HRT team  UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false.' A Spanish website has admitted a news story about Santander buying into the Spanish team HRT was a hoax.

The website said the bank had bought 40 per cent of the struggling team and would announce the deal at the same time as confirming Pedro de la Rosa as the main driver for 2011.

The news was published on December 28; a Spanish holiday known as 'Day of the Innocents', which is similar to April Fools' Day.

Last year, the same website staged a hoax about Nelson Piquet Jr signing to drive for the new Campos team. More ...

12/27/10
irl
Big Plans for IndyCar coming Jan. 11th  
SpeedTV.com/Marshall Pruett: Do you have plan in place to restore the series to national prominence?

Randy Bernard: On January 11 [2011], when we make our State of the Union presentation, we will lay out our plan. I think people will see some very exciting things in that plan. And I think one thing that we tried to do this year is keep the press releases flowing and keep things strategically placed so that we continue to have some type of progress, and we really waited until the fourth quarter to unveil that. I want to keep the momentum growing and building and into 2011, but I don't want to show my cards right now. That will have to wait until the 11th. I'm excited for it, I can tell you that.

12/27/10
f1
Fernandes Virgin takeover reports  Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes has denied he is considering a takeover bid for Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic airline.

In response to a Sunday Times report this past weekend, the AirAsia boss said,  “There are no discussions taking place.” When asked where the speculation arose from Fernandes replied, “I have no idea.”

The UK newspaper reported that Fernandes had renewed his interest in Virgin Atlantic after previously considering and deciding against a bid. A renewed bid could be anywhere in the region of 1-billion pounds.

12/26/10
f1
Brundle to lead BBC line-up  According to reports in the British press, Martin Brundle has been promoted to lead commentator on the BBC's coverage team.

Speculation has been rife for some time that the contract of current lead Jonathan Legard will not be renewed after two years in the position.

Brundle, who has served as an analyst alongside Legard, began his career alongside commentating great Murray Walker and now looks set to step up to the position of chief man behind the microphone, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

Former McLaren driver David Coulthard is the man touted to step up into Brundle's position, with the Scot having performed the role of paddock commentator in 2010. Planet F1

12/23/10
wrc
Raikkonen close to Citroen WRC deal  Kimi Raikkonen is on the verge of committing his future to Citroen in the World Rally Championship, with an announcement expected within the next few weeks according to AUTOSPORT.

Despite looking at options elsewhere, Raikkonen's stance over recent weeks was always to remain a WRC driver and Citroen Sport director Olivier Quesnel said the French firm wants to keep him. AUTOSPORT reports high level sources having revealed that Raikkonen recently agreed to remain at his current Citroen Junior team for 2011, so he can build on the experience he gained this year.

12/22/10
nassprint
Kentucky to likely hold tire test  Several top drivers and teams joined NASCAR and Goodyear officials at a two-day tire test of the newly repaved Daytona International Speedway last week.

There have been discussions about conducting a similar test ahead of Kentucky Speedway's first Sprint Cup Series race in July. That test could take place this spring, but with fewer cars.

"At Kentucky, we'll probably go with just three to four cars," said Greg Stucker, Goodyear director of race tire sales. More ...

12/21/10
automotive
Ford to regain No. 2 sales ranking  Ford Motor Co. is on track to recover its No. 2 sales ranking in the United States, supplanting Toyota Motor Corp. after achieving its biggest one-year gain in market share since the 1980s.

Ford has increased its U.S. auto sales at nearly double the market's growth rate, boosting its share to 16.4 percent, from 15.3 percent last year and 14.2 percent in 2008, said George Pipas, the company's market analyst.

"The last time Ford gained one or more points of market share was in the '80s," Pipas said.

In addition, "it's the first time since 1993 that we have gained share in the U.S. back-to-back two years in a row," he said.

In the first 11 months of this year, the Dearborn automaker's sales have risen 21 percent in a market that has expanded 11 percent.

12/21/10
f1
James Hunt movie in the pipeline?  The life of James Hunt could form the basis of a new Hollywood movie.  A number of blogs are reporting that film studio Dreamworks have acquired the rights to the book Shunt: The Story of James Hunt by F1 author Tom Rubython and is planning to take the 1976 world champion's story to the big screen.

Although Formula One-based films have often been a bit ropey and Sylvester Stallone's attempts to make an F1 epic ended in Driven, Hunt's story could capture the imagination of a wider audience. His playboy lifestyle and public school demeanor are the stuff of motor racing legend and his death from a heart attack at the age of 43, once he had given up alcohol and drugs, makes for a tragic ending. More ...

12/21/10
f1
F1 cars set for major overhaul  Smaller wings, specially-shaped underfloors designed to generate downforce underneath the car and 35 per cent less fuel being used are just a few of the radical changes that F1 cars will undergo in the next few years, according to a report.

In an exclusive, BBC Sport's Mark Benson claims that the Formula One's bosses are keen to make the sport more exciting and efficient by the 2013 season and engineers Patrick Head and Rory Byrne have come up with potential design changes.

According to the report, cars will much sport smaller front and rear wings in two years' time while 'far greater proportion of the total downforce of the cars will be created by the underfloor, compared to the wings'. More ...

12/21/10
irl
nassprint
2012 IndyCar Season Will Impact NASCAR?  With the announcements of changes coming to both bodies and power plants for the 2012 IndyCar season, the momentum is on the upswing for IndyCar while NA$CAR continues on it’s downhill slide. Swift, Lotus, and others are fielding all new bodies that go along with the new aero packages that IndyCar plans to use for the 2012 season. Along with this, there’s also the new power plants that will be run.

Honda appears to still be interested as being a power plant provider but they’ll have to contend with GM, Lotus, Fiat/Chrysler, Ford and possibly some others. The power plant manufacturers plan to field engines which incorporate current state of the art turbo-charged V-6 engines, some based on their street counterparts, which is what the auto manufacturers are looking for. Meanwhile, NA$CAR continues to drag its heels on going to an antiquated form of fuel injection, purpose-built engines, and barely returning some form of bodylines, outside of some new decals and a couple of new plastic noses, to the much maligned and heavily fan despised Car of Travesty. NA$CAR won’t be introducing a really major change until 2013, which gives IndyCar a full season to build up even more momentum in picking up new fans (possibly some disgruntled former NA$CAR fans among them), maybe fans that were lost due to the IRL-ChampCar split, and more than likely new sponsors because of the embracing of new technology by IndyCar. More ...

12/20/10
f1
Whitmarsh to stay on as FOTA boss  
Martin Whitmarsh
McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh is set to remain in place as chairman of the Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) for 2011, AUTOSPORT reports, with a formal announcement set in the first few weeks of 2011.

Whitmarsh took over the chairmanship from Ferrari's Luca di Montezemolo at the end of last year, with the position originally supposed to be occupied on a rotational position for 12 months.

There had been speculation throughout last year that Mercedes GP's Ross Brawn, Red Bull Racing's Christian Horner and Williams' Adam Parr were in contention to replace Whitmarsh when the time came for a new chairman to be put in place. More ...

12/20/10
f1
2015 Russia GP postponement possible  UPDATE Organizers of the upcoming Russian Grand Prix are confident that they will be able to host their first race as planned in 2014, despite being unadvised as to the précis construction time available for the dual Formula 1-Olympic site.

The brand-new Sochi facility will first play host to the winter Olympic Games in February before F1 arrives later in the year; however, precisely how much later remains to be seen.

“Of course there are some more specific features that will need to be added upon the completion of the Olympic Games such as run-off areas, catch fencing etcetera,” city mayor Anatoly Pakhomov explained to Reuters. More ...

12/19/10
f1
Piquet and son set for tax evasion scandal  
Nelson Piquet Jr.
(GMM)  Hot on the heels of 'crashgate', a new scandal involving Nelson Piquet and his son is set to emerge.

The Brazilian news weekly Veja reports that the racing driver pair are accused of tax evasion and money laundering.

The report said triple world champion Piquet, and his 25-year-old son who is known as Nelsinho Piquet, allegedly laundered income by directing it through the automobile federation of the Brazilian state of Ceara.

Tax was also allegedly evaded by filtering money between 2004 and 2008 into the foreign accounts of son Piquet Jr, who contested 28 F1 races before admitting he crashed his Renault on purpose during the 2008 Singapore grand prix.

Former Williams and Benetton driver Piquet, 58, is reported to have confirmed the amount in question is just short of EUR 3 million.

The report said the matter is being investigated by the Brazilian federal police.

12/18/10
nastruck
Kvapil back to the Truck Series?  NASCAR Insiders are hearing that Mike Skinner has been let go from Randy Moss Motorsports. This ends a two year relationship. Supposedly Travis Kvapil is the likely replacement for Skinner at RMM. Kvapil's last full season in the Truck Series was 2007 with Roush Fenway Racing. He spent 2010 driving for Front Row Motorsports in the Sprint Cup Series.  NASCAR Insiders
12/18/10
irl
IndyCar at Milwaukee and Road America to alternate seasons?  
Before CART IndyCar was destroyed Road America drew big crowds
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard stated on this week's IndyCar Inside Track podcast that a lot of fans are asking for Road America to be added to the schedule and he would like to see Milwaukee and Road America to alternate seasons, much like Nurburgring and Hockenheim do in F1. 

It just has to make economic sense.
12/18/10
irl
Overheard at Long Beach - Friday (Prudhomme)  UPDATE #2 As AR1.com foretold way back in April below, Don Prudhomme, has become more involved with oval track racing, specifically the IZOD IndyCar Series.  Chip Ganassi Racing announced the addition of Service Central-Chip Ganassi Racing with Graham Rahal in the No. 38 car and Novo Nordis- Chip Ganassi Racing with Charlie Kimball in the No. 83 entry at a news conference Dec. 16 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The reigning IZOD IndyCar Series championship team plans to invest $3.3 million to locate the team in a facility leased from Prudhomme in Brownsburg, Ind., which is expected to create up to 30 new jobs. Mitch Davis will be the team manager and Target Chip Ganassi managing director Mike Hull will oversee the program.

“I've been around IndyCar Racing since 1969 when Mario Andretti invited me over the ropes to say hi to me. So I've loved IndyCar Racing,” Prudhomme said at the press conference. “I've retired from drag racing last year, and I have a nice facility in Brownsburg, real nice. Chip and I are good buddies. I've had a big interest in IndyCar Racing, always have. Of course, I'm looking at the 2012 season with all the big changes coming on, and that is going to be interesting to me.

“And I'm just kind of, as Chip would say, I just got my toe in the water a little bit right now. And yeah, I'll be hanging out, that's for damn sure, but we'll see from there.” More ...

12/18/10
nassprint
nnw
NASCAR to eliminate Catch-Cans  UPDATE #3 NASCAR is trying to make pit road safer in all three of its national tours in 2011 as the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series will now adopt the refueling system currently used in the Camping World Truck Series. NASCAR vice president for competition Robin Pemberton revealed during a media briefing in conjunction with a Goodyear tire test Thursday at Daytona that the change will debut in the two premier tours at Speedweeks 2011 at Daytona International Speedway, whereby "self-venting dump cans" will be used to refuel cars on pit stops. The system, which was made an option at the beginning of the 2010 season in the Truck Series, eliminates the seventh over-the-wall crewman who held a catch can to retrieve fuel that might spill from a vent on the back of the car. "Over our three national series, we'll run a fueling system that will eliminate the catch-can guy because it fuels and vents all in one process," Pemberton said. "It's what the trucks have used, successfully." In addition to eliminating the most exposed member of the over-the-wall crew, since the catch-can member would have their back to oncoming traffic, Pemberton said the advent of E-15 ethanol fuel also figured into the decision. "It better enables us to keep a control on the open container of fuel," Pemberton said. "Because with the E-15 you want to make sure you never get any moisture introduced into that and this better helps that." NASCAR.com

10/11/10 NASCAR will eliminate the use of the fuel overflow catch can in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series beginning in 2011, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston confirmed Saturday. NASCAR went to a self-venting fuel can for the Camping World Truck Series this year. By eliminating the catch-can man, teams can possibly save money by needing only six people instead of seven to service the car on a pit stop. Teams also will not have to worry about the costly penalty of having the catch can remain attached to the car when the driver takes off following a pit stop SceneDaily

10/04/10 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's news.

09/25/10 NASCAR officials on Friday confirmed that the Nationwide Series will move to six-man pit crews for all teams next season, eliminating the catch-can position. The change puts Nationwide in line with the Trucks series, which already has made the change. The series' new gas tanks will have a single-point, self-venting system that doesn't require a crew member to operate. Charlotte Observer

Editor's Note: We hear they will be eliminated from the Sprint Cup Series as well as NASCAR finally gets rid of another of their antiquated procedures.

12/18/10
f1
Petrov to announce 2011-2012 plans on Wednesday  (GMM)  Vitaly Petrov's management has summoned the media to a press conference.

The event is scheduled for Wednesday at the Press Center of Television and Radio Russia, according to an invitation posted in Russian on the 2010 Renault driver's official website.

It is expected that Petrov, 26, will be confirmed by Lotus Renault GP as Robert Kubica's continuing teammate for the 2011 season.

The Russian-language statement said the purpose of the December 22 press conference is to "summarize the past season and share his plans for the future". More ...

12/18/10
f1
Japanese carmakers looking at F1 for 2013  (GMM)  Renault sees the new engine formula for 2013 as a great opportunity, managing director Jean Francois Caubet has confirmed.

The French carmaker has withdrawn as a team owner of the Enstone based team that bears its name, but remains committed to supplying engines for at least the next three years.

That three-year period covers the transition from the current 'frozen' V8 engine formula to the new four-cylinder turbos that will debut in 2013. More ...

12/17/10
irl
nastruck
Kanaan signs with DeFerran  UPDATE #2 Gil de Ferran’s Izod IndyCar Series team has scheduled a Monday teleconference presumably to announce the signing of fellow Brazilian Tony Kanaan.  AND.......A press conference is set for Monday in Brazil and SPEED.com has learned that Kanaan will officially be confirmed as the new driver of the de Ferran/Dragon team for 2011.  Raphael Matos drove for Jay Penske, Steve Luczo and de Ferran in 2010 and the Brazilian sophomore scored a pair of fourth-place finishes but struggled for consistency without a teammate.  It appears Kanaan would be the lone driver for de Ferran/Luczo next year unless Matos can find sponsorship.  We have updated our 2011 IndyCar Silly Season page above.

11/12/10 Kyle Busch has revealed that he has tried to persuade IndyCar star Tony Kanaan to move to NASCAR and drive for his Truck Series team next year.  Busch (LEFT) is about to finish his debut season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, where he has won seven out of 14 races he has entered, driving his own No. 18 Toyota Tundra. Next week at Homestead he could clinch the owners' title, as his truck is leading those standings.

It's not inconceivable that Kanaan could move to NASCAR
Kanaan is currently looking for a drive for next year following the announcement of his departure from Andretti Autosport, the team he won the IndyCar Series title with back in 2004. He is expected to test with De Ferran Dragon Motorsports at Sebring next week, but he still needs sponsorship to secure a drive for 2011.

Speaking at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday, Busch said he considers Kanaan a friend and expects to hear from him regarding an offer he made to the Brazilian to drive one of Kyle Busch Motorsports' trucks in 2011, which Busch suggested could lead to a progressive switch to stock car racing over the next two seasons. More ...

12/17/10
alms
Milner to replace O'Connell in Corvette seat  Long-time Corvette Racing driver Johnny O'Connell will move from Corvette Racing's American Le Mans Series team to the new Team Cadillac program in the Sports Car Club of America World Challenge--which will once again feature a tie-up with Speed channel—GT-class in 2011. But Corvette Racing has not announced who will fill the 48-year-old American's slot after 10 successful seasons.

“Johnny O'Connell has made a tremendous contribution to the success of Corvette Racing both on and off the track,” said General Motors racing director Mark Kent. “Now as GM launches a new motorsports program with another iconic brand, Johnny was the unanimous choice for Team Cadillac. We are very pleased that Johnny will continue to be a valued member of the GM Racing family, and we believe that his proven speed, racecraft and outgoing personality will be great assets for the Cadillac racing program.”

A GM spokesperson said that Corvette Racing should confirm its driver lineup within the next few weeks, and strong rumors say that ALMS veteran and former BMW Rahal Letterman Racing driver Tommy Milner is the favorite to land the seat. Incumbent drivers Jan Magnussen, Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta will return, and Antonio Garcia--who joined the team for long endurance races in 2009 and 2010--is also likely to return. AutoWeek

12/16/10
irl
Ganassi to run Rahal in Satellite team  UPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.

12/13/10 This announcement is rumored to be Thursday and may or may not include Charlie Kimball as the 2nd driver in the Ganassi satellite team.

11/21/10 Confirming the article we published a couple of weeks ago stating that Graham Rahal will drive for Ganassi Racing in 2011, this SpeedTV.com article confirms what we learned back then, but says it will be a satellite operation, perhaps in association with Don The Snake Prudhomme who has expressed an interest in IndyCar for quite some time now.
12/16/10
irl
Kimball to be Rahal's teammate  UPDATE #4 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' with today's announcement.

12/16/10 The Ganassi “satellite” team for Rahal and Kimball to be announced today will work from a shop rented from drag racing legend Don Prudhomme.  Thursday’s announcement will also confirm full-time sponsorship for both Rahal and Kimball. Rahal actually announced a two-year sponsorship deal with TBC Corporation at the IndyCar season finale. 

“Now the pressure’s on me to succeed,” said Rahal, son of CART and Indy winner Bobby. “What I look forward to most is when you’re with a team like Ganassi you don’t have to worry about anything but driving the car and going fast. I’ll be able to focus on having my head as clear as I can when I show up at the race track.

“I just can’t wait. There’s a tremendous amount of experience there. Between Dario [Franchitti] and [Scott] Dixon you’ve got five championships and three Indy 500 wins, and you know that Chip only does things in the best way possible.”  See related story.

12/13/10 This rumor is upgraded to 'near-fact' and will go to 'fact' on Thursday when the Ganassi team announces both Rahal (story broke here at AR1.com) and Kimball have been signed for 2011.  Our 2011 IndyCar Silly Season page has been updated accordingly.

12/04/10

Charlie Kimball
Word is that Kimball is bringing money from Novo Nordisk, a pharmaceutical company focused on developing treatments for diabetes. The drug company sponsored Kimball last year using the Levemir brand.  We have updated our Silly Season page (above) accordingly.

12/01/10 Rumor has it that fellow American Charlie Kimball will be teammate to Graham Rahal in Chip Ganassi's satellite IndyCar team per SpeedTV.com.  In 2012 will this team run a different engine and different body kit to Rahal's primary team of Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon to be a test bed for Ganassi in case he chooses the slower package for his primary team?
12/16/10
irl
More broom cleaning at IMS from Tony George era  
Fred Nation was a key behind the scenes man for Tony George in his quest to destroy Americas most successful open wheel series - CART.  Today the IRL is trying to recreate/copy near 100% of what CART built.
Fred Nation, a long-time Indianapolis Motor Speedway executive vice president, announced Tuesday that he will be a Democratic candidate for mayor of his hometown, Terre Haute, next year.

Nation recently filed a candidate’s statement of organization at the Vigo County Courthouse, forming the “Nation for Mayor” committee.

Nation, 66, told the Terre Haute Tribune-Star that he made the decision to seek the city’s top job five weeks ago.

Terre Haute’s current mayor is Duke Bennett, a Republican (the first Republican mayor of Terre Haute in over 35 years), who is finishing out his first four-year term.

Since 1996, Nation has worked for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and has been a close ally to Tony George, who was removed as IMS boss last year. Nation said he will continue to work at IMS through his mayoral campaign, but if he wins, will likely step down. More ...

12/16/10
wrc
nascar
Raikkonen set for Ford switch?  
Washed up Former F1 champion Kimi Raikkonen may switch to Ford
(GMM)  Far from returning to F1, Kimi Raikkonen's next move in the world of premier motor sport could be some races in the American NASCAR series.

That is the claim of the Ilta-Sanomat newspaper in Finland, reporting that formula one's champion of 2007 is set to switch world rally teams from Citroen to Ford.

"Funding for the project is coming especially from the United States, and Raikkonen may be offered the chance to drive some NASCAR races," read the report. More ...

12/15/10
irl
Villeneuve knows he will fail miserably in IndyCar  Former F1 and Indy champion Jacques Villeneuve is playing down reports that he was offered a ride with the new Lotus Renault GP team for next season. The French Canadian driver recently threw in the towel on any potential return to grand prix racing after repeated attempts to get back on the grid, determined to break into NASCAR instead and getting his fix racing Skodas on ice in the interim.

According to reports, Lotus offered him a drive on its IndyCar team for this past season that would have led to an F1 seat with the automaker's newly acquired squad for 2011. The reports were spurred by Villeneuve's reported visit to Lotus to meet with Gino Rosato, one of the many former Ferrari employees who've since defected to Lotus – a visit which Villeneuve said was purely social and not professional. Rosato, like Villeneuve, hails from the Canadian province of Quebec. More ...

12/15/10
irl
cc
Indy 500 Champ Car track record to be broken in 2011?  Appearing at the annual Performance Racing Industries show, IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard told SPEEDTV.com that he wants record-breaking qualifying speed at Indy in 2011 and he wants Arie Luyendyk’s 14-year-old record set in a turbocharged Champ Car using Methanol broken for the track’s Centennial Celebration this season.

“I want the record gone,” Bernard said. “I want to start being very vocal about that so we can start making some changes. It’s essential for us. Fans want to see it. I get goose bumps even thinking about it.

“We have to work with Honda. We have to work with Firestone. We have to take the proper steps on how we do it safely, but I think it’s doable in ‘11. I think for our 100th year, how better to celebrate speed? Some of the (Hulman-George) family has been very adamant about going for the speed record. It’s so right on. We have to go back to our roots.” More ...

12/15/10
automotive
Rumors and Spy Photo of Mercedes SLS Roadster  
A convertible version of the Mercedes-Benz SLS has recently been spotted testing in Scandinavia.

It is rumored that the SLS Roadster will be launched in 2011, at the Frankfurt motor show. It will feature a fully electric fabric roof, similar to the one used on the E-class convertible.

The biggest difference between the SLS coupe and the Roadster will be the removal of the gullwing doors. The engine will remain the same, a 6.2 liter V8 developing 563 HP.

As for the performance figures, we expect the SLS Roadster to be slightly slower from 0-60 mph, due to the additional weight at about 4 seconds. There is no word on pricing as of yet, but it expect it to increase slightly over the hardtop version.
12/15/10
automotive
2012 Mercedes SL to get SLS look  
2012 Mercedes SL test mule
The next generation hardtop convertible Mercedes-Benz SL hits dealers in 2012 and it seems Mercedes now wants us to see more about the newcomer as previous heavy disguise is gradually replaced by tape and stickers on test mules. What's clear is that new SL takes more than just a passing resemblance to its SLS gullwing and CL coupe siblings.

Accurate 2012 Mercedes SL artist rendering (top photos), actual dashboard (bottom)
Mercedes is clearly benchmarking next SL against the best of British cars as the image shows while it's styling promises to be a cross between the current SL and the SLS front while meeting stringent new pedestrian protection safety regulations. Next SL is has shorter overhangs a wider track and lower ride height.

Set to be produced in Mercedes' Sindelfingen plant, the SL brings a new generation aluminum spaceframe to market along with significant weight savings to ensure better performance and leaner fuel use and emissions from Mercedes latest range of  V6 and V8 engines. A hybrid version is also said to be under development.

Inside, SL will blend new SLS aspects with familiar SL trends with two air vents flanking the Mercedes SLS multifunction display with two air conditioner knobs and a dash boasting chrome ringed circular instruments far enough apart to leave room for a screen.

12/15/10
Automotive
New Ferrari 599 spotted?  A test mule has been spotted lapping Fiorano, testing what is possibly the replacement to the 599
It is a busy time for Ferrari at the moment. The start of the 2011 Formula One season is not that far off and Ferrari is expected to release five new models by 2013, according to Fiats five-year plan.

In order to get ready for all these new models, Ferrari have started testing a new 599 at Fiorano, known internally as the F152.

This test mule looks like it is based on the Ferrari 599 GTO, yet features California-esque LED head lights, modified bumpers and a revised exhaust system. More ...
12/14/10
f1
HRT turns to Super Aguri-linked company for 2011 car?  (GMM)  A motor racing company based in England has emerged as a possible solution to HRT's car predicament for 2011.

With the Spanish team having split with both its 2010 and 2011 car suppliers Dallara and Toyota, Hispania is facing the prospect of trying to beat the new 107 per cent qualifying rule with the uncompetitive F110 chassis.

But according to Spanish website f1aldia.com, Formtech Composites could be the UK based company that HRT has fallen back on with less than 90 days to go until Bahrain. More ...

12/13/10
IRL
Hildebrand to Panther in 2011?  UPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  The full-time American driver in the IZOD IndyCar series was a limited edition in 2010 with only Ryan Hunter-Reay, Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti competing in all 17 races. But that’s going to change in 2011 reports Robin Miller at Speedtv.com.  It will be announced Tuesday afternoon that California’s J.R. Hildebrand has secured the National Guard seat at Panther Racing, while Chip Ganassi has called a Thursday press conference to confirm Ohio’s Graham Rahal and California’s Charlie Kimball will be teammates on a new team owned by the reigning IndyCar title owner.

“You cannot believe how exciting this is for me,” said the 22-year-old native of Sausalito, CA, who grew up in the shadows of Infineon Raceway. “To get one of the premier rides in IndyCar is something I always dreamed about.

“To come up through the ladder system and get to this point is huge.

“And, to not have to bring any sponsorship, well I don’t take that for granted because I’ve grown up in an era where drivers were forced to find sponsorship.”

We have updated our 2011 IndyCar Silly Season page - see link above. More ...

12/13/10
Miscellaneous
No Fear to go belly up?  It's name is No Fear, but it's getting another reputation in local malls: No Rent.

The casual clothing company from Carlsbad, California who was once big in racing apparel has been sued by several Southern California shopping malls for falling months - and tens of thousands of dollars - behind in rent for its retail outlets.

An attorney for No Fear Retail Stores Inc. blamed the late payments on the sour economy and said the company was working with shopping centers to renegotiate leases that were signed when the future looked brighter. More ...
12/13/10
irl
Go Daddy to sponsor Hunter-Reay?  
Friday at 6:46 A.M. Friday RHR Tweets:
Ryan Hunter-Reay - On the plane westbound headed to new sponsor photo shoot and appearances, should be a fun weekend. Hope you all have a great Friday!

IndyCar garage learns that RHR was headed to the Go Daddy Christmas party in Scottsdale Arizona, Saturday we read a press release from the party, highlights are below:

Employees were also treated to some star gazing – Go Daddy Girls Danica Patrick, Jillian Michaels, Vanessa Rousso and Candice Michelle attended. Auto racing icon Michael Andretti and IndyCar star Ryan Hunter-Reay were also among the celebrities enjoying the festivities. Other special guests included “America’s Toughest Sheriff” Joe Arpaio and award-winning advertising critic Barbara Lippert.

At a time when other companies are cutting back, Go Daddy is increasing its charitable giving. The Internet powerhouse has donated more than $3.4MM in 2010, breaking last year’s record of $2.5MM. So it has the money to sponsor two cars that is for sure. More ...
12/12/10
nascar
More losses expected for NASCAR shrine  After losing $409,000 between July and October, the NASCAR Hall of Fame expects to lose a total of $1 million to $1.3 million by the end of the current fiscal year next summer. Those projections from the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority were included in a detailed analysis of the hall of fame's operations included in the regular Friday memo sent to City Council members this week. Losses in that range assume attendance in the range of 250,000 to 275,000 people for the year, a sharp reduction from several previous projections made before and after the hall of fame opened last spring. Even with 300,000 people visiting this fiscal year - attendance totaled 101,000 through the first four months - the hall of fame would still lose $544,000 for the year, according to the projections provided to the city. A slight profit occurs when attendance reaches 330,000.

Deficits are expected in the latest budget scenarios. Tim Newman, chief executive at the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, told the board he sees little chance of recouping the $409,000 lost during the first four months of the current fiscal year, but did not disclose the specific estimates released to the city later in the day. As those projections make clear, even with as much as $3 million in cuts expected next month, the hall of fame still anticipates more losses during the final eight months of fiscal 2011.

This week, the visitors authority, which operates the publicly owned hall of fame, reported audited results for October. Despite a $40,000 profit for the month - a dramatic improvement compared with September - the hall of fame missed earlier forecasts by a wide margin. The visitors authority anticipated a profit of $1.1 million through the first four months; instead, it's running a deficit of $409,000 at the $195 million hall of fame. Charlotte Business Journal

12/10/10
f1
Troubled HRT 'for sale' says Spanish report  UPDATE (GMM)  Troubled F1 team HRT on Friday denied reports the Spanish outfit is for sale.

The sports newspaper Diario AS said the split with intended 2011 car supplier Toyota has left the team with "no car, no base, no drivers (and) no sponsors".

"(Owner) Jose Ramon Carabante and his equity partners have (therefore) put up the team for sale," added the report.

But the Reuters news agency quotes a spokeswoman as responding: "The team is not on sale, we are working for 2011.

"Carabante is working on getting sponsors and investors.  One Spanish group is interested in joining the team but things are not so easy nowadays in the world," she added. More ...

12/09/10
fil
irl
Indy Lights team branching out to IndyCars  SpeedTV.com reports that after winning 11 races and a pair of Lights championships, Gary Peterson and Michael Andretti decided to go their separate ways a few days ago.

And Peterson is currently looking for a shop to run his Lights team out of and an alliance with a current IndyCar team so AFS Racing can compete in the 2011 Indianapolis 500.

"I'm going to run three Lights cars next year and I want to partner with an established team for Indy and maybe a couple other races," said Peterson, who joined Andretti Autosports in 2008 and captured the Lights crown that season with Rafa Matos and then J.R. Hildebrand in 2009.

"Michael and I are good friends they're struggling to run three cars so it was time to move on. He's branching out into other divisions and I wanted to concentrate on Lights and Indy."

12/09/10
f1
Group Lotus eyes bigger Renault slice in future  (GMM)  CEO Dany Bahar has indicated Group Lotus might eventually buy more of the Renault F1 team.

Lotus has bought into the Enstone based team's majority owner Genii Capital, and reports on Thursday suggested the deal might become a complete takeover within time.

In an interview with London's Telegraph, Bahar was coy: "Yes, it is interesting to talk about control and shares and all that, but for us as a car manufacturer the bigger picture is far, far more relevant than just F1."

Genii's Gerard Lopez is also not disclosing much.  More ...

12/09/10
f1
Petrov to keep Renault seat  UPDATE #4
Vitaly Petrov
(GMM)  Russian Vitaly Petrov looks likely to stay in formula one next year following the rebranding of his 2010 employer as Lotus Renault GP.

With the 26-year-old rookie in the cockpit financed by his personal backers, the Enstone based team then benefitted from new Russian sponsors including Vyborg Shipyard, Flagman vodka and the carmaker Lada.

And media reports, including the Malaysian state news agency Bernama, said Group Lotus parent Proton will also "benefit immensely" from the Renault team buy-in "by gaining access to Russia's automotive market and automotive technologies owned by (team owner) Genii".

As the highest profile Russian link, Petrov might now be feeling more secure for 2011. More ...

12/08/10
irl
Marco Andretti riding on Mario and Michael's coattails  
Q: Is there a reason Meijer left Andretti? I suspect it has something to do with Marco being a not so great spokesman. Is Marco aware what his behavior is doing? He was tweeting this week about hanging out with Paris Hilton and dating Brooke Mueller who is Charlie Sheen's ex and who just got of rehab. Why in the world would a sponsor want to continue to support someone who is surrounding himself with these losers? His grandfather must be mortified. Can't he do anything? Marti

RM: Like my response above, I think Meijer's decision had more to do with joining Roger Penske than dumping the Andrettis. I don't think there's any doubt that Marco is more of a party boy than a racer but with no races or testing for six months, I guess a young man has to have hobbies.  Miller's Mailbag
12/08/10
nassprint
Speed suing Red Bull  According to a tweet by Scott Speed, "today should be the day my lawyer files this lawsuit against Red Bull...Had to tell my loyal twitter followers before they saw it online". In a later tweet he said, "Sure not easy to find something (a new ride) when u start looking in December but we're working on it! I’ll keep ya posted. Sure we will find something"
12/08/10
nastruck
Truck series to replace IndyCar at WGI  The last time Chemung native Todd Bodine raced at Watkins Glen came at the track's NASCAR race in 2001.

On that day Bodine finished fifth and he hoped that he hoped to carry the momentum over to the next year and come back and try and win at the track.

Things didn't work out exactly as planned and nine years later Bodine still hasn't raced again at the famed track.

On Tuesday he made an appearance at the track to help announced $3 million in renovations to the track for fans, but he had one other thing on his mind. More ...

12/08/10
motogp
MotoGP eyes new global venues  Singapore, India, Abu Dhabi and the new Formula 1 venue in Texas are among MotoGP's expansion targets, according to series boss Carmelo Ezpeleta.

"We'll go to new countries, even though I think we must keep our European roots," said Ezpeleta in an interview with Motosprint.  "For sure we don't want go on for long with five GPs in the Iberian Peninsula: five races between Spain and Portugal are too many."

"All the countries we are talking to are outside Europe," he said. "Singapore is designing a new track, India is already building one, Abu Dhabi is interested.  Also, we are in contact with an American promoter who is planning construction of a circuit in Texas, where F1 will race too."

12/07/10
f1
Ecclestone brings in successor?  London’s O2 Arena boss and Chief Executive of AEG Europe, David Campbell is to become the new Managing Director of Allsport Management, the subsidiary of Formula One Holdings, that looks after the sponsorship and other commercial aspects related to the sport.

Sky Sports reports that Campbell should take up his new role sometime in the first quarter of the 2011. Campbell replaces Paddy McNally, who will become the companies’ Non-Executive Chairman. The appointment of Campbell has already led to speculation he could be groomed to replace Ecclestone, who this year celebrated his 80th birthday. Not that Ecclestone has expressed any desire to retire, quite the contrary in fact.

12/07/10
f1
Hulkenberg to sign new F1 deal ‘very soon  Nico Hülkenberg has insisted that he is still 'sure' he will be able to say in Formula 1 next year, even though he has yet to sign a new deal. Hülkenberg had a good first season, but despite that Williams opted not to retain him and his future is now unclear.

The 23-year-old remains upbeat though, and in his blog on his personal website, he added that something should be announced very soon.

“I'm still sure that I will stay in F1 in 2011,” he confirmed. “I still do not have a new contract with another team, but that will hopefully change very soon. It looks well! Soon I will start to torture myself again to become fit for the new season. I am full of energy.” More ...

12/07/10
f1
De la Rosa could return as McLaren tester  
Pedro de la Rosa
(GMM)  Returning to his test and reserve role at McLaren is reportedly Pedro de la Rosa's 'plan B' for the 2011 season.

Although earlier linked with HRT for next season, the Spanish veteran has now acknowledged that most of the remaining vacancies on the grid are "reserved for drivers that come with a sponsor".

"If in the end I have to be a reserve or a tester, I will, but first I will try everything (to race)," added 39-year-old de la Rosa. More ...

12/06/10
Racing News
Fiat/Ferrari eyeing more involvement with USA motorsports  UPDATE Formula Abarth (formerly known as Formula Azzurra), is an open wheel racing series based in Italy and Europe. The first season was in 2005. During 2008 and 2009 the main Formula Azzurra category has been known as the Trofeo Alboreto. For 2010, Abarth have committed to a five-year initiative that will see the series being renamed Formula Abarth.  The cars are akin to Star Mazda in terms of performance.

12/06/10 According to AutoRacing1.com sources in Italy, FIAT is considering starting a Formula Abarth Championship in USA in 2012 together with a Fiat 500 Abarth series after the introduction in USA of the Fiat 500.  We hear that Fiat (and Ferrari who is behind with the Ferrari Drivers Academy) are looking at other racing possibilities in USA too, and that could include IndyCar. 

In 2011 the Formula Abarth and Fiat 500 Abarth Championships will be already in Central America ( Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador), with a lot interest by Telmex, who sponsor Perez in GP2 and now Ferrari Drivers Academy driver.
12/06/10
f1
Broken shoulder the cause of Webber’s slide?  UPDATE This rumor is downgraded to 'false' as Webber says the shoulder was not the reason for him losing the title.  More details about Mark Webber's recently broken shoulder are emerging.

The Australian's new book 'Up front: a season to remember" claims that separate from his 2009 pre-season crash that broke his leg and left shoulder, the Red Bull driver broke his right shoulder in another mountain bike crash whilst he led the 2010 championship.

It is believed surgery on the "skier's fracture", sustained while on holiday in Australia prior to the Japanese grand prix at Suzuka, was the reason Webber missed the recent Pirelli test in Abu Dhabi.

He confirmed: "I was riding with a great friend of mine.  Suddenly, he crashed right in front of me and I had nowhere to go but straight through the ears of the horse!

"Suzuka is a brutal track so it was a blessing that the Japanese weather gave me an enforced rest day on the Saturday, and a pre-race (cortisone) injection helped too.

"In the end, we got through the weekend all right," said Webber, who finished second at Suzuka behind his teammate and eventual champion Sebastian Vettel.

In Korea, Webber's hopes took a major hit with his crash on the slippery track, before he finished second - again behind Vettel - in Brazil.

And at the Abu Dhabi finale last month, Webber was uncompetitive whilst Vettel won the race and title from pole position.

But Webber said in his official book that he does not attribute losing the title to his shoulder injury. More ...

12/06/10
nassprint
Points change to be announced in Jan at Daytona?  NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France has said repeatedly that the sanctioning body likely will change its points structure again in 2011. Whether winning becomes more of a factor remains to be seen, but expect big changes next season. France is expected to announce the new system Jan. 21, 2011, during winter testing at Daytona International Speedway.  More from SPEED
12/06/10
f1
nastruck
Karthikeyan back to F1 after Force India test?  
Narain Karthikeyan,  getting NASCAR Truck most popular driver award
(GMM)  Narain Karthikeyan has played down increasing rumors he could be set to return to formula one in 2011.

Before Karun Chandhok made his debut in 2010, 33-year-old Karthikeyan was India's first grand prix driver, contesting the full 2005 season with Jordan.

The Silverstone based team is now headed by Indian billionaire Vijay Mallya and called Force India, and is yet to officially confirm a single driver for next season.

It was believed that Adrian Sutil, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg were vying for the two race seats, but Karthikeyan - reportedly with $8 million in sponsorship to offer - is now also regarded as a credible candidate.

Karthikeyan has recently established a new career in America's premier NASCAR motor racing scene, but Indian media reports say he tested in Force India's driver simulator after the Abu Dhabi season finale last month. More ...

12/04/10
automotive
Camaro poised to claim pony-car sales title over the Mustang  
The convertible Camaro should give a further boost to Camaro sales in 2011
With just weeks left in the year, Chevrolet’s hot-selling Camaro looks like a lock to win the pony-car sales title in 2010, topping the Ford Mustang for the first time in 25 years.

So far this year--Camaro’s first full sales year since production ended after the 2002 model year--Chevy has sold 75,685 Camaro coupes. Mustang sales totaled 68,264 through the first 11 months of the year. If the sales numbers hold through December, the Camaro will end the year at about 82,500 sales, while the Mustang will finish with 74,500 sales.

Barring any last-minute sales tricks from Ford, it appears the outcome is a foregone conclusion--and both sides are talking as though the battle is over. More ...

12/04/10
f1
irl
F1 agrees to push ahead with new engines in 2013  (GMM)  Despite the reluctance of Bernie Ecclestone and key manufacturers including Ferrari, F1 is pushing ahead with a radical new engine formula for 2013.

The shift from the current normally-aspirated V8s to efficient energy recovery-boosted 1.6 liter four-cylinder turbos with fuel restrictions is expected to be rubber-stamped shortly by the F1 Commission and the FIA's World Motor Sport Council within days, the BBC reports.

Earlier, it emerged that key engine makers were pushing against the move, ostensibly on cost grounds.

But BBC Sport said the FIA is set to announce the new regulations next Friday, and a spokesman for Ferrari confirmed that he would be "surprised" if it did not now take place. More ...

12/04/10
f1
Lotus to be 'Proton 1Malaysia' in 2011  UPDATE Proton's managing director has confirmed that the company is "close" to purchasing the remaining 25 percent of Renault not owned by Genii Capital.

Last year, Renault sold a 75 percent stake in their Formula One team to Gérard Lopez's Genii Capital organization. However, the French carmaker could yet relinquishing the final shares to Proton, as the Malaysian manufacturer looks to enter F1 as more than just a sponsor.

"That's the intent," Proton's managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir told Malaysian newspaper The Star. "A decision will be made soon.

"It will be made for the betterment of the Lotus brand. We, as a shareholder, have to make sure it (the Lotus brand) survives."

He added: "We're close, just wait for a few days. (Whether it's) 25 percent is something that we are discussing.

"It's still too premature to disclose the exact percentage but it has to be a position where we can control our brand."

Proton's desire to purchase Renault's 25 percent stake is the sticking point in Tony Fernandes's battle to race under the 'Team Lotus' name in 2011. More ...

12/04/10
nassprint
Has NASCAR made 'The Call' for 2011 already?  A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, We all know that everything happens in NASCAR for a reason with everything carefully orchestrated, including who sits on pole each and every week.  But some quotes from last night's NASCAR award banquet really caught my attention.  Jimmie Johnson's Hendrick teammate Jeff Gordon said Johnson's 5-year streak is over.  So did their boss Rick Hendrick.  But why, did the best team lose some key personnel, did Johnson forget how to drive, or did NASCAR order them to let someone else win?  Has the 'call' for 2011 already been made to have poster child Dale Jr. take the title to boost NASCAR plummeting popularity? Having Dale Jr. win on a consistent basis is about the only thing that can save NASCAR now.  Elijah Moses 
12/04/10
fil
irl
J. K Vernay to move up to IndyCar  
Newcomer J. K. Vernay beat James Hinchliffe in a tightly fought Indy Lights battle in 2010.
Bob Heathcote/AR1.com
The TEAM program details for 2011 were announced this week and they include a partial scholarship for the Firestone Indy Lights champion to race in the IZOD IndyCar Series the following year. 

Word is that it will be retroactive to include the 2010 champion JK Vernay from France. The scholarship is only for about $500k so he will need to bring more money to the table to secure a full-time ride. 

As such one can assume he will run with a team such as Dale Coyne, Panther, Sarah Fisher, HVM or Conquest.

On the road courses Vernay had Indy Lights runner-up's James Hinchcliffe's number all season, but on the ovals he was not so dominant, but that is more a factor of him coming over from France and never having raced on ovals until this year.  With more practice you can bet he'll get the job done there too.
.
12/04/10
irl
Team Penske IndyCar lineup to remain unchanged  UPDATE #3 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' and our 2011 IndyCar Silly Season page updated accordingly.  On Friday's IndyCar media teleconference Penske Racing president Tim Cindric confirmed that Team Penske will field three cars in next year's IndyCar Series, ending rumors that it may scale back to two cars and cut loose Ryan Briscoe. In 2010, Penske ran Castroneves, Will Power, who finished runner-up in the championship, and Briscoe, who struggled much of the year for speed.  "The thing that we were most focused on for 2011 is ensuring we could bring the three drivers we have back into the fold for next year," said Cindric. "It seems as though that's going to continue.

10/02/10
Newcomer Will Power smoked Briscoe (above) all season
Roger Penske said Friday that series points leader Will Power is under contract for the 2011 season, although the team owner didn't say when or how the deal was finalized. Power worked off a one-year contract this season.

"He's done," Penske said. "We had options (to re-sign) him."

Penske also said team officials "are very close" to securing Ryan Briscoe to complete a return of the three-car program. Castroneves already is under contract.

As for sponsorship of the cars, Penske said: "I'm very comfortable where we're at." Indy Star More ...

12/04/10
irl
starmazda
Road to Indy ladder system to get major boost  UPDATE Well, not only is Randy Bernard working his magic on the IndyCar series, it seems he's doing likewise on the Road to Indy Ladder system. We hear there is some excellent news coming next week regarding the Road to Indy program!  If the rumors can be believed, around Thursday we’ll  hear the announcement of a title sponsor for the Road to Indy program! The announcement and details of the potential deal will be announced at the Performance Racing Industry show and will include a big boost for the Star Mazda champion to move up to Indy Lights the following year.  If Randy Bernard keeps this up we wonder if he can walk on water too?  With so many good things happening in IndyCar now just imagine where it would be if this was 1995 when CART had IndyCar bigger than NASCAR and he was put in charge and Anton George never started the IRL?  With George out of the way Bernard has been able to work his magic even in this down economy.  Imagine what he can do once the economy picks up.

10/11/10 Rumor has it that IndyCar will drop Star Mazda from its ladder system because the prize they give the champion is for a ride in Grand-Am, owned by archrival the France family.  The France family likes nothing better than to suck up all the best young American driving talent to help ensure IndyCar's failure.  What young open wheel driver who has any talent would want to race Grand-Am GT cars, a series no one (except those that actually race in it) cares about?
12/03/10
automotive
Chevrolet will revive its high-performance Camaro Z28 as a 2012 model  
Camaro Z28
Chevrolet will revive its high-performance Camaro Z28 as a 2012 model, giving it a supercharged version of the current Camaro SS' V8 engine with between 500 and 600 horsepower, two people familiar with the plans said.

General Motors is riding the momentum of its current Camaro coupe's sales dominance over the Ford Mustang. The Camaro, revived in April 2009 after ending production in 2002, is poised to beat the Mustang in sales this year for the first time since 1985.

GM plans to launch the Camaro Z28 late next year or early in 2012, with an engine that will likely displace 6.2 liters. A convertible Camaro launches in February. More ...

12/03/10
f1
Test driver Badoer leaving Ferrari  
Luca Badoer
(GMM)  Luca Badoer is leaving Ferrari after a long tenure as test driver.

The almost 40-year-old Italian has been in the role since the late 90s, and according to Autosprint magazine he accumulated more than 130,000 kilometers at Fiorano in Ferrari's F1 cars during that period.

But Badoer was heavily criticized for his lack of competitiveness when he replaced the injured Felipe Massa in the Brazilian's race cockpit mid last year.

Autosprint said Badoer, who raced 58 other times for minor Italian teams throughout the 90s, is now leaving the team. More ...

12/02/10
f1
Maldonado linked to Hulkenberg's Williams seat  UPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' based on yesterday's announcement.  Williams F1 have confirmed that Pastor Maldonado will contest the 2011 FIA Formula One World Championship for the AT&T Williams team.

Nico Hulkenberg
10/13/10 (GMM)  Williams' decision about whether to retain Nico Hulkenberg for next season is not imminent.

While Rubens Barrichello is believed to have agreed terms for a second season with the British team, German rookie Hulkenberg's future is less secure.

It is rumored Williams is looking into replacing him for 2011 with Pastor Maldonado, Hulkenberg's new successor as GP2 champion and substantially backed within Venezuela.

Barrichello admitted last month that the team was "analyzing the Nico Hulkenberg situation" before scheduling an announcement about 2011.

Asked if Hulkenberg is still in favor at the Grove based team, chief executive Adam Parr answered: "Absolutely." More ...

12/02/10
Miscellaneous
Simpson to help design new football helmet  Word is that Bill Simpson is getting involved in the crusade to make a better football helmet and reduce the number of concussions in the National Football League.  Ever see the padding in a football helmet?  Talk about a sport that has been negligent for decades.
12/01/10
irl
Servia and Hinchcliffe to test for Newman/Haas Racing  UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  Eight-time Indy car champions Newman/Haas Racing (NHR) announced today that they will hold a two-day test at the 1.65-mile Sebring International Raceway course in Sebring, Fla. on December 13-14 in preparation for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series season.  Oriol Servia, who brought NHR a win and seven podium finishes, and James Hinchcliffe, who was runner-up to the 2010 Firestone Indy Lights champion will each test both days. More ...
12/01/10
irl
Andy Soucek eyes possible IndyCar ride  
Andy Soucek cannot outbid F1's ride buyers
Andy Soucek, who in 2009 became the F2 champion but during the course of the 2010 season gave up his role as a test driver with Virgin because in F1 there is almost no testing, so the role is meaningless.  Spaniard Soucek, on the other hand, is pushing for a 2011 role in formula one, but he admits the difficulty of the task.

"I am negotiating with several teams, some to be the main driver and others to be the third driver.

"As a driver you've always needed sponsors and support, but now I see a problem," he is quoted by AS newspaper. More ...

11/30/10
f1
Hulkenberg in Force India switch  UPDATE #2 (GMM)  News about Nico Hulkenberg's future in formula one might be imminent, according to his management.

After losing his Williams race seat for 2011, the German rookie's manager Willi Weber revealed talks with the Silverstone based team Force India.

"It is quite possible that something will happen this week," Timo Gans, who works with the 23-year-old's management, told the German news agency DPA.

It is believed a reserve role with a top team such as Mercedes, rather than a move to another series, is Hulkenberg's 'plan B'.

Timo Gans said recently: "Our objective is that Nico gets a place in formula one -- as a race driver.

"That's our plan A and we're putting everything into it." More ...

11/29/10
nascar
NASCAR: Drivers may be limited to running for one championship  Talks persist that NASCAR drivers will be limited to running for only one of the three major series championships in 2011.

The rule--not official but expected to become so soon--is primarily intended to keep full-time Sprint Cup drivers from running for the Nationwide Series title.

Full-time Cup drivers have won the last five Nationwide titles: Kevin Harvick in 2006, Clint Bowyer in 2007, Carl Edwards in 2008, Kyle Busch in 2009 and Brad Keselowski in 2010. The last “true” Nationwide driver to win the series title was Martin Truex Jr. in 2004 and 2005, shortly before he moved to Cup. More ...

11/29/10
automotive
GM to use CVT transmissions  General Motors Co., aiming to give its small cars a sales edge, may introduce continuously variable transmissions to deliver better fuel economy, executives say.  GM doesn't use CVTs now. But they could be used on models such as the Chevrolet Spark, Aveo and Cruze in the next three years, said Mike Arcamone, CEO of GM Daewoo Auto & Technology.

The company is also exploring the use of turbochargers on smaller engines.

Getting superior mileage is key to winning over U.S. drivers to the latest wave of small cars that began with the launch of the Cruze this year and continues with the arrival of the four-seat Spark in the first half of 2012.

GM will have to improve the mileage on these models by at least 10 percent by the next full-model change, said Sohn Dongyoun, vice president of engineering at GM's global small- and minicar development team at GM Daewoo. CVTs offer an easy, quick fix, he said.

General Motors offered CVTs in three vehicles, the Saturn Ion coupe and Vue SUV and the Opel Astra small car, for three years but dropped the transmission at the end of the 2005 model year.

11/29/10
f1
Santander to end McLaren sponsorship  
Santander on the McLarens no more?
(GMM)  Santander looks likely to end its sponsorship of the McLaren team after the Spanish bank's "transition" to Ferrari in 2010.

Despite Ferrari's high profile new deal with Santander last season, the sponsor also stayed with McLaren in 2010 in the form of driver overalls branding.

But the Santander branding was removed from the rear wing of the British team's 2010 car.

"We have had a transition with McLaren and who knows if in the future we will keep on having a relationship with them and their drivers," spokesman Juan Manuel Cendoya is quoted in the Spanish press.

When asked about Santander's future in F1, Cendoya added: "It is bright.  We are delighted to work with Ferrari; the Scuderia will keep on fighting to win."

11/29/10
f1
Shovlin to be chief engineer at Mercedes in 2011  
Andy Shovlin
(GMM)  Andy Shovlin has been promoted to the role of chief driver engineer at Mercedes GP for 2011, according to reports.

Earlier this month, as it emerged that both Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg will have new race engineers next season, we reported that Briton Shovlin "will have a more general engineering role next year".

This year, Shovlin - who worked alongside Jenson Button when the Briton won the 2009 title with the Brackley based team - was Schumacher's race engineer.

But it is believed the seven time world champion will be engineered next season by long time McLaren man Mark Slade, who arrives from Renault after working with Vitaly Petrov. More ...

11/28/10
f1
Vettel to rake in cash  
Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel has the chance to cash in heavily on his F1 World Champion title because he has the ingredients to attract sponsors, a sports marketing expert has said.

However, Sport+Markt top official Marcel Cordes also told the German Press Agency that Vettel still needs to create an image for himself as he is so far mainly associated with his team (Red Bull) and its products.

"Sebastian Vettel is the youngest World Champion. Apart from the title he also comes across as a very pleasant person. That is very exciting for a company," said Cordes. "But he still lacks in contour." More ...

11/27/10
f1
Massa, Webber the key for Ricciardo?  
Mark Webber
The pace of young Australian Daniel Ricciardo aboard the Red Bull in the recent Abu Dhabi young driver tests has given rise to speculation that a seat will be found for him in F1 next year, most likely at Toro Rosso. But will it?

The stories doing the rounds at the moment are that Sebastian Buemi would be the driver to make way after two seasons with the team. The Red Bull support program is widespread and, as a consequence, can appear ruthless if drivers fail to win championships in the junior formulae or, presumably, show exceptional talent at the top level. Just one example of that is talented Canadian Rob Wickens, who lost his Red Bull support this year but went on to finish runner-up to Sauber reserve Esteban Gutierrez in this year's inaugural GP3 championship. More ...

11/26/10
f1
Chandhok 2011 F1 deal before Christmas?  (GMM)  Karun Chandhok has clarified that, despite a spate of GP2 testing, he remains committed to returning to formula one in 2011.

The Indian driver tested with his former GP2 team ORT in France last week, and this week in Abu Dhabi he is scheduled to do more running with the team as well as Coloni.

Chandhok, who contested grands prix with HRT early in 2010, said in a statement that the GP2 teams "called on my help" for the testing.

He has said he is in talks about returning to the F1 grid full-time in 2011. More ...

11/26/10
racing news
Google 'Mario Andretti' netbook in works?  So, it appears that the first Chrome OS netbooks are set to launch in the next few weeks. And it now appears that the first ones will be Google-branded versions, built by a third-party manufacturer. And you can be sure that Google is already testing these internally, as they do this for basically all of their products leading up to launch. And a few more hints about them may reside in the Chromium issue tracker.

For several months, Google has been internally testing Chrome OS on a wide variety of netbooks. These have included Asus Eee machines, Lenovo machines, Dell machines, and a few others. How do I know? Because they’re often listed under “Type of computer” in bug reports. But more interesting has been the numerous references to “dogfood” machines. “Dogfooding” is the name given to the process of internally testing your own product. Again, Google has been doing this for months. More ...
11/25/10
nassprint
Yet another crew chief to get axe because Dale Jr. can't win  UPDATE #5 If you look a little below the surface, you'll see that this is not a crew chief swap as much as it is a driver swap. The crew chief, the engineers, the mechanics and the fabricators all remain the same.  The driver, is just stepping into a another car which is prepared in another shop.  Why the move?  NASCAR  desperately wants the Earnhardt name back in victory circle, but so far, try as they might, the best team in NASCAR cannot seem to make Dale Jr. into a winner.  Either you have it or you don't.  He doesn't.  Another example of what's wrong with American motorsports - the best drivers are not the biggest heroes and poster children and sex symbols are the stars.  A sad sad commentary.

11/24/10 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today.  Hendrick Motorsports not only switched the crew chiefs for NASCAR's fair-haired poster child Dale Earnhardt Jr., as well as Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin, but it rearranged its race shops to pair Gordon with Martin and Earnhardt Jr. with Jimmie Johnson.

11/20/10 Dale Earnhardt Jr. says it's not a no-brainer that he gets a new crew chief before the 2011 season and that no one person is responsible for this season's failures. "I'm not certain what's going to happen," Earnhardt Jr. said after Friday's qualifying for the season finale at Homestead. Earnhardt is 19th in points, having missed the Chase for the second straight year and third time in the past four seasons. He has only three top-5s and eight top-10s a year after recording a career-worst two top-5s and five top-10s. Earnhardt has only one win since Lance McGrew was named his crew chief in the middle of 2008, at Michigan. He is mired in a career-worst 92-race losing streak. But Earnhardt believes this season has been better than last year's which he called the worst of his career before this race. He's just not sure what has to happen to turn things around. "It's pretty obvious we aren't very good and we need to do some things to get better,'' Earnhardt said. "It's obvious that's where we are. I don't think it needs to be over-analyzed or anything like that.'' Earnhardt said he asked team owner Rick Hendrick to let the season end before making a decision on any potential changes to his team. Even then, Earnhardt doesn't know how much input he'll personally give. "I've dove into those deals headfirst in the past,'' Earnhardt said. "I'm not doing it this time. I obviously haven't had too good of an effect on the last couple of changes I've made. Maybe I'm not the person to be in there making those kinds of decisions. I don't want to have any effect on whatever that decision is. I've enjoyed working with Lance. I've enjoyed working with this team. We try really hard. They try really hard. No one person has failed this season.'' ESPN

11/15/10
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - still riding on 'Daddy's' coattails while another crew chief becomes the scapegoat
Dale Earnhardt Jr. doesn't want to think about personnel issues with his #88 team until the end of the season. That includes a decision about the status of crew chief Lance McGrew. "I ain't really making any decisions on that until after the season's over with," Earnhardt told Sporting News. "I asked team owner Rick Hendrick and everybody in the corporation if I could just not consider any options for next year or any ideas until we're done racing-that I wanted to focus on what we're doing. I just wanted to get all I could out these last two races before I started thinking about that. I will say this about Lance: I've really enjoyed working with him. I've enjoyed even more so becoming his friend and getting to know him as well as I have. I have a lot of respect for him, and he's put up with a lot of crap this year and last year, trying to help get this thing going. He gave me his best effort to try to help each weekend, and I've just got a lot of respect for him." Since McGrew replaced Tony Eury Jr. as crew chief in mid-2009, the results have been disappointing. Earnhardt hasn't won a race since June 2008, and this year he failed to make the Chase for the second straight season. Earnhardt, who started 31st and finished 14th Sunday, isn't laboring under any illusions when assessing the overall performance of the #88 team. "I think I can say that what's going on on the racetrack is a fair assessment," he said. "It's had its ups and downs this year, but here lately we've struggled quite badly. It's been unfortunate, and you really can't visually see what our issues are. It's a moving target for us." Sporting News More ...
11/25/10
f1
Reports still hint at 'rolling heads' at Ferrari  
Fernando Alonso should be World Champion if not for Ferrari's snafu
(GMM)  Staff changes as the result of Ferrari's failed championship campaign in 2010 are on the horizon, according to Italian reports.

Autosprint magazine reports that it is "not a secret" that the man most directly in the spotlight is Australian Chris Dyer, Ferrari's chief engineer and in charge of race strategies.

"We need an improved car and we must also ensure that mistakes that we made as drivers and as a team are not repeated in 2011," Fernando Alonso is quoted as saying.

And the Italian daily La Repubblica asked Ferrari's technical director Aldo Costa if "heads will roll" as a consequence of the failed strategy in Abu Dhabi.

"I'm not for the automatic 'error-guilt-punishment' (approach)," he answered. More ...

11/25/10
f1
F1 bankrupting yet another race promoter (Valencia)  UPDATE
Is Valencia the next F1 race promoter to go belly-up?
(GMM)  An official spokesperson has played down reports that organizers of the European grand prix at Valencia are trying to offload the race contract to an alternate host.

The Catalan newspaper El Periodico said Valencia's regional president Francisco Camps has determined that, with two years left to run on a contract, the port city cannot afford the annual fee and organization costs.

But Consell spokesperson Paula Sanchez de Leon insists that the Valencian government "has not initiated any change" in the policy about the F1 street race.

According to Europa Press, she said the event "will continue as before".

"This is not an issue that has been dealt with in the Consell," added Sanchez de Leon. More ...

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