Sorry for the short quiet period there – I had a great weekend of Wii, much beer and an engagement party (not mine!). Unfortunately that wiped out the last couple of nights as I had to do my college work then instead of in a block at the weekend.
A lot has happened in the six days since I last posted, it seems as though the racing world has just suddenly realised there’s a season upon us in six or eight weeks.
Here are some snapshots:
– Someone seems to be actually working on an American Formula 1 team. The idea has come and gone over the last couple of decades but nobody has really tried it since Penske in the 70s, and his cars were based an hour from me in Poole, England. Rumours suggest this ‘USF1’ team will be based in Charlotte, North Carolina with an operating base in Bilbao, Spain. I’m taking this with a pinch of salt until further notice. I didn’t believe the Prodrive F1 entry until very late on and I won’t with these guys, and that’s down to a) their choice of splitting across two continents, b) the fact no bona fide indie has entered since who knows when (not counting Aguri), and c) uh, hello, recession? What is in their favour is the new agreements about ‘cheap’ engines and drivetrains.
– FOTA and the FIA have agreed to engines costing no more than 5 million Euros and a drivetrain (gearbox etc) 1.5 million Euros. They also agreed that any team may choose to use the control Cosworth/Xtrac option currently in development – you might remember Mad Max originally intended every team to use it. Discussions continue this week.
– The Singapore GP organisers plan to adjust the layout of the circuit for this year. The pitlane entry and exit will be moved away from the racing line, turn one will be tightened to create a harder braking area, and other turns will be reprofiled.
– The great Teddy Mayer has died aged 73. Mayer was the man in control of McLaren between the death of Bruce McLaren in 1970 (he helped Bruce found the team) until Ron Dennis bought his way in in 1982. McLaren were active in F1, CanAm and USAC/CART and won the Indy 500 with Johnny Rutherford. After McLaren, Mayer moved back to America where he set up a team in CART, hiring Tom Sneva who nearly won the title with them. After a stint with Beatrice back in F1, Mayer joined Penske where he remained until his retirement in 2007. His son Tim is the COO of the American Le Mans Series and IMSA.
Please read this obituary at Motorsport.com, with thanks to No Fenders for pointing it out.
– Multiple reports had Robert Doornbos signing with Newman Haas Lanigan, however his own site denied this – for the time being. Reading between the lines it seems they are still discussing the finer points of the contract.
– Yet more reports, originating from Robin Miller I think, have Milka Duno also joining N/H/L…. which will be interesting. It seems an odd choice to me and I wouldn’t have put that team down as a ridebuying team, so I guess times really are hard.
– Five car manufacturers were unveiled as being in discussion with the IRL about future engine regulations. These were Honda, Audi, VW, Porsche and Fiat. Obviously 3 of those are actually under the same ownership now. The Fiat link is interesting, originally it was supposed to be their Alfa Romeo brand but perhaps with the recent Chrysler tie-in they may feel Fiat is the better marketing platform.
– Bruno Senna confirmed to Autosport.com that he will not be returning to GP2. The GP2 driver market has been hanging on his decision, expecting that with the Honda F1 team now defunct he would return for another year. Bruno seems to think he has a shot either at Toro Rosso, or is pinning his hopes on someone buying the ex-Honda team outright. I think he made the wrong choice – unless F1’s 3-car rule comes into effect in which case he’ll look very smart indeed. Or just lucky.
– Ocean Racing (formerly BCN) has signed Karun Chandhok for the 2009 main series.
– The ACO has received 82 applications for this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. There are only 55 spots. 15 places have already been allocated through invitations based on results at the 2008 Le Mans, Petit Le Mans and the championships of the LMS and ALMS. This leaves 67 entries for 40 places. The ACO will select 55 entrants and 8 reserves and announce them at the end of this month. I’m tempted to do a little blog post about that when it happens.
Loads more has happened but it’s half past midnight and I want to go to bed!
Back tomorrow with Weekend Preview – although I think the Bud Shootout is the only thing on.
By the way, I don’t know who of you is from Bristowe, Virginia and keeps visiting every two hours but please stop, you’re fucking up my Feedjit stats. Just once (or twice) a day will be fine. Ta. You’re probably a bot.