NEWS ARCHIVE

31 DECEMBER 2008

PETTY ENTERPRISES CLOSES ITS DOORS

It is a sign of the times in NASCAR that Petty Enterprises is to close its doors, laying off its remaining staff. The team is the oldest and most successful Cup team in NASCAR, with a history going back 60 years.

BOURDAIS TO PENSKE?

Penske Performance president Tim Cindric has told the St Petersburg Times that the Indycar team has yet to make a decision about the future of Helio Castroneves. The Brazilian could get a prison time if convicted of charges of tax evasion, and his scheduled March trial would leave the Indy Racing League team little time to find a suitable team mate for Ryan Briscoe.

A CHANGE AT RED BULL RACING

Red Bull has announced that Eric Silbermann will relinquish his role as Head of Communications at Red Bull Racing.

LEWIS HAMILTON MBE

Lewis Hamilton has been appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year's Honours List.

29 DECEMBER 2008

FANTUZZI IN CHARGE

With the departure from Scuderia Toro Rosso of team manager Massimo Rivola, the Faenza team is restructuring and has announced that Gianfranco Fantuzzi is to take over.

A GRAND PRIX IN ROME?

Maurizio Flammini was a winning Formula 2 driver in his day, finishing sixth in the European Formula 2 Championship in 1975 and 1976. He even drove a Formula 1 car for Frank Williams, although he crashed heavily in practice for the Race of Champions and was not seen again. He then turned his attention to promoting sporting events and since 1990 has been the leading architect of the success of the FIM World Superbike Championship.

SLIM NOT BUYING HONDA RACING F1

There has been much speculation in recent days about the Mexican entrepreneur Carlos Slim making a move to buy the assets of the Honda Racing F1 operation. The telecommunications billionaire has now decided that enough is enough and he has issued a statement saying that he is not even in negotiation for the team, let alone buying it.

25 DECEMBER 2008

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Everyone at grandprix.com would like to wish our readers a very merry Christmas and we hope that you will be back with us when F1 kicks into action again after the holidays. At the moment F1 is VERY quiet.

22 DECEMBER 2008

FERRARI SHARPENS UP ITS TEAM

Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro knows that it lost the Drivers' World Championship this year, despite having a faster car than rival McLaren at most races. In an effort to improve the team there have been a number of changes with the primary alteration to the team's structure being the disappearance of operations division of the team, which had been headed by Mario Almondo.

MEXICAN INTEREST IN HONDA RACING F1?

There are reports that Carlos Slim, the 68-year-old Mexican telecommunications billionaire, may be interested in buying the Honda Racing F1 team, as a means of growing his business in Latin America.

WATCH OUT FOR THE KOREANS

There is much talk of David Richards taking over the Honda F1 team, and there are clear signs that is his intention. The big question is where he will find the money to run the team for the next two-three years as F1 restructures and downsizes to balance its books.

FERRARI'S SPECIAL DEAL - NO SURPRISE THERE...

Bernie Ecclestone and Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo are usually singing from the same songsheet. It is in their interest to work together, but last week Montezemolo questioned the way F1 is run - and Ecclestone responded waspishly by saying that Ferrari gets $80m more for winning the World Championship than McLaren would have done.

19 DECEMBER 2008

RUMOURS IN TOKYO

There are persistent rumours in Japan that Jarno Trulli may be replaced at Panasonic Toyota Racing next year by Kamui Kobayashi and that Toyota is on the verge of disassembling its young driver programme because of the need to cut costs.

18 DECEMBER 2008

AN INTERESTING RUMOUR

The stories that Williams F1 might test Formula 3 driver Ricardo Teixeira have been denied by the team, which seems a little confused as to how they started.

MCLAREN CONFIRMS LENOVO

As we exclusively predicted last week, Lenovo has joined forces with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. The US-based, Chinese-owned company will provide the team’s mission-critical computing solutions, both at the race track and at the team’s headquarters.

TOYOTA RUNS CALDARELLI

Panasonic Toyota Racing finished off its 2008 testing programme by introducing Italian youngster Andrea Caldarelli to Formula 1. The test took place behind closed doors at the Bahrain International Circuit, and finished off the remaining kilometres left in the team's testing allowance of 30,000km.

GP2 HEADS FOR QATAR NIGHT RACE

The GP2 Series organisation will hold the fourth round of its Asian Series in Qatar instead of Dubai as previously scheduled. The series will visit the Losail International Circuit on February 6-7. Qatar is not only a new addition to the calendar, but will also be a night race, providing a new challenge for the 13 teams.

HONDA PREDICTS MORE TROUBLE AHEAD

Amid rumours that its Acura ALMS programme may be under threat, the Honda Motor Company in Japan has issued a rather depressing end-of-year statement, in which it lays out a series of plans for the company.

16 DECEMBER 2008

ISLE OF MAN ISSUING HAMILTON STAMPS

The Isle of Man is to celebrate Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton’s 2008 F1 World Championship with the issue of a set of six postage stamps, featuring images of his championship year. The Isle of Man Post Office will issue a first day cover, presentation pack and special sheet folder on Thursday January 15.

CITROEN AND PEUGEOT NOT PLANNING F1

Sources at PSA Peugeot Citroen say that rumours suggesting that the French company might buy the assets of Honda Racing F1 are not going to become a reality.

SUBARU PULLS THE PLUG ON THE WRC

Subaru has joined Suzuki in withdrawing from the FIA World Rally Championship, blaming the global financial crisis.

15 DECEMBER 2008

FAREWELL FLAV?

Flavio Briatore says he will leave Formula 1 in two years. The news is no surprise as the Italian is now closing on 60 years of age and has been spending more and more time involved in soccer.

MORE DETAILS ABOUT DONINGTON PARK

Simon Gillett was at the Motorsport Business Forum in Monte Carlo last week and gave more details of the plans for the 2010 British Grand Prix. Gillett said that he has been working on the idea for five or six years.

CLEAR FAVOURITE EMERGES FOR FRENCH GP VENUE IN 2011

Public documents which have come to light in France give more details of the plans to build a Formula 1 circuit in the Seine Valley. The project at Flins, close to one of the major Renault factories, has the support of Prime Minister Francois Fillon.

THE WRC TAKES A HIT

The Suzuki Motor Corporation has decided to suspend its FIA World Rally Championship activities from 2009. The company made the 2008 season entry with two SX4 WRCs.

13 DECEMBER 2008

BYRNE BOOK WINS IRISH PRIZE

Crashed and Byrned, the story of Tommy Byrne, co-written by Mark Hughes, has been named William Hill Irish Sports Book of the Year for 2008. The book tells the story of Tommy Byrne, from his poverty-stricken childhood in Dundalk to Formula 1 - and how it all went wrong for the chirpy Irishman.

12 DECEMBER 2008

WALDSCHMIDT TESTS FOR TOYOTA

Young Dutch driver Henki Waldschmidt took part in his first official Formula 1 test when he completed a successful two-day run for Panasonic Toyota Racing at the Bahrain International Circuit.

THE NEW WORLD OF FORMULA 1

The FIA World Council met in Monaco today and voted through the following changes. These proposed changes have the unanimous agreement of the Formula 1 teams, who have played a major role in their development.

11 DECEMBER 2008

F1 AND THE FIA AGREE COST-CUTTING DEAL

The FIA and the Formula One Teams' Assocation have what they described as "the most successful meeting on Formula 1 matters which any of the participants can remember".

10 DECEMBER 2008

MOSLEY GIVES HIS VISION

FIA President Max Mosley set out his vision for Formula 1 and its sustainable financial future in his keynote address to the Motor Sport Business Forum in Monaco.

THE FUTURE OF FORMULA 1

Today in Monte Carlo the Formula 1 teams and the FIA get together to discuss cost-cutting strategies, two days before the FIA World Council meets to rubber-stamp the decision that are made.

9 DECEMBER 2008

ROSSI IS MAN TO WATCH

American teenager Alexander Rossi became the Formula BMW World Champion in Mexico City. The 17-year-old crossed the line 0.655 seconds ahead of Michael Christensen with local hero Esteban Gutierrez third. As a reward for his victory, Rossi will be given a drive in a BMW Sauber F1 Team race car.

AH YES, MR PRIME MINISTER

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown showed up at the Cafe Royal on Monday in London to present Lewis Hamilton with one of a series of British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) awards.

8 DECEMBER 2008

WHY SO NEGATIVE MR PRESIDENT?

FIA President Max Mosley is reported to have said that he suspected that a manufacturer would leave Formula 1 - and that he was surprised that it turned out to be Honda. He has also said that he thinks it will be difficult for Honda to sell the team.

LENOVO TO MCLAREN

We hear that Lenovo will announce tomorrow that it is to sponsor the McLaren team next year. The company has been involved with Williams in recent years, but decided not to continue the arrangement.

HAMILTON WINS AN AWARD - WELL, THERE'S A SURPRISE!

Lewis Hamilton was honoured at the annual Autosport Awards in London on Sunday night. The 23-year-old was voted as International Racing Driver of the Year and was presented with the award by the last McLaren World Champion, Mika Hakkinen.

7 DECEMBER 2008

VOICES OF CALM

After a fairly frenetic Friday, Formula 1 settled down to dealing with realities on Saturday and Mercedes, BMW, Renault and Toyota all stepped forward and said that they are staying in Formula 1 and that Honda's withdrawal is not the end of civilisation as we know it - as was being forecast by some. Ferrari also added its comments of the Honda affair.

6 DECEMBER 2008

RED BULL AND FORMULA 1

Reports of Red Bull pulling out of Formula 1 seems at best contrived by people trying to sell stories to gullible newspapers, or being led up the garden path by those with scaremongering agendas.

5 DECEMBER 2008

ANALYSIS: SAYONARA HONDA, WHO ELSE IS AT RISK?

The Honda Motor Company has confirmed that it is pulling out of Formula 1 racing. The company's chief executive Takeo Fukui told the media in Japan that the move was necessary because of difficult business conditions and added that there are no plans to be supply engines in F1 either.

LIUZZI SHOWS HIS CLASS

The Formula 1 team principals may be blind to it, but Tonio Liuzzi's talent is still there. The Italian, who now tests for Force India, dominated the opening race of the Speedcar season at the Dubai Autodrome.

FRY GIVES DETAILS OF HONDA PLANS

Nick Fry, the chief executive of Honda Racing F1, says that he is hopeful that the team will still be on the Formula 1 grid for the start of next season.

AN ILLUSTRATION OF F1'S PROBLEMS

There are many people in the world who would like to be given a Formula 1 team to run, but there are not many people who can afford to do that, particularly in the current economic climate.

MORE BAD NEWS FROM F1 SPONSORS

The economic crisis that has engulfed the western world is hitting companies in many different fields. Williams sponsor AT&T, for example, has just announced 12,000 job cuts (4% of its workforce) in an effort to significantly reduce costs.

THE FIA REACTS

The FIA has reacted to the news of Honda's withdrawal with a letter to the teams saying that its tender processes are now complete and that Cosworth, together with Xtrac and Ricardo Transmissions will supply a complete Formula 1 power train beginning in 2010.

4 DECEMBER 2008

THE FUTURE OF HONDA RACING F1

Honda has given its Formula 1 team three months to find a new owner - or else the team will shut down. An announcement is expected from Japan in the course of the next few hours.

HARD TIMES

The loss of Honda from Formula 1, which is due to be confirmed in a few hours, will be a big blow to the sport, but the downturn in the world economy is merciless and is hurting racing across the board.

A GOOD MEETING IN LONDON

The Formula One Teams' Association met today in London to address the relevant commercial challenges that are faced by F1. The teams had previously unanimously agreed measures that will significantly reduce costs in 2009.

FORMER F1 MAN BECOMES BIG CHEESE IN DETROIT

Ford may be on the verge of bankruptcy but it seems that such matters are not important in the overall scheme of things as it has just announced the appointment of Jost Capito as Director, Global Performance Vehicles and Motorsport Business Development.

HONDA LOOKING TO SELL F1 TEAM BY CHRISTMAS?

Multiple sources are now reporting that Honda Racing F1 is being put up for sale and that if the sale is not completed by Christmas the team will be closed down. There is no confirmation from any Honda company officials, but teams across Europe are reporting that they have received a rush of applications from Honda F1 personnel in the course of the day.

SOMETHING IS GOING ON AT HONDA...

Honda Motor announced yesterday that its sales in the United States in November had fallen by 32% in comparison to a year ago. This was around the same drop as Toyota reported on Tuesday.

CREDIT SUISSE AXES 11% OF WORKFORCE

BMW Sauber sponsor Credit Suisse, Switzerland's second-largest bank, has announced that it is axeing 5,300 jobs and scrapping bonuses for its top executives after losing $2.5 bn in the last two months. This amounts to around 11% of the company's workforce.

THE AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY HOLDS ITS BREATH

While Formula 1 teams meet in London to discuss rule changes for 2010 and beyond, including the thorny question of standardised engined, there are far more important things going on in the United States where General Motors, Ford and Chrysler appear in front of Congress trying to win a $34 billion loan package from the US government.

3 DECEMBER 2008

SEVEN F1 MEN FOR SPEEDCAR

The Dubai-based Speedcar Series kicks off later this week for its second season of racing with seven teams from six countries.

2 DECEMBER 2008

GERMANS TALK OF TROUBLES WITH GRAND PRIX

Hockenheim says that without financial aid from the state of Baden-Wurttemberg there will be no more Formula 1 races at the circuit near Heidelberg. Hockenheim made a substantial loss on this year's German Grand Prix and says that it is not possible for that to happen again.

SCOTT SPEED LANDS A PERMANENT NASCAR DRIVE

Scott Speed will join fellow F1 refugee Juan Pablo Montoya next year as a full time driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup The former Scuderia Toro Rosso driver has taken the oval racing world by storm this year and has now been confirmed as the permanent replacement for AJ Allmendinger at Team Red Bull.

SOUTH AFRICA GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT F1?

There are reports in The Citizen newspaper in South Africa that a new company called GP Motorsport (which apparently stands for Gauteng Province) has been formed with the goal of bringing Formula 1 back to the country.