Lotus to build the Renault Alpine – report

According to a recent report, the production version of the Renault Alpine A110-50 concept could be built by Lotus.

Source: http://feeds.worldcarfans.com/~r/worldcarfans/Jxfz/~3/R263eFVq5RE/lotus-to-build-the-renault-alpine—report

Peter Collins Bernard Collomb Alberto Colombo Erik Comas

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Lewis Hamilton: ?The car?s been feeling really good?

Lewis Hamilton bounced back from his disappointing race in Germany to top the times in both sessions in Hungary for McLaren. The car has clearly been improved by the upgrades that were introduced in Hockenheim, although the bad weather there … Continue reading

Source: http://adamcooperf1.com/2012/07/27/lewis-hamilton-the-cars-been-feeling-really-good/

Bill Cantrell Ivan Capelli Piero Carini Duane Carter

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All good for revitalised Webber

“All good, mate,” is probably Mark Webber’s favourite phrase. It’s a fair bit more loaded with meaning than it sounds, and it sums up the way he will be feeling after the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Australian’s second win in three years in Formula 1′s most prestigious race, and his first of the season, had been coming for a while and it confirms Webber’s return to form after a difficult 2011.

It will have been particularly sweet as it came at another race in which he has had an edge on team-mate Sebastian Vettel, whose romp to the world title last year was probably harder on Webber than anyone.

When a driver takes 11 wins and 15 pole positions in 19 races, as Vettel did last year, most of his rivals can console themselves with the thought that he has a better car than they do. Not so his team-mate, who suffered through 2011 with dignity and largely in silence.

Mark Webber

Mark Webber (right) is congratulated by Prince Albert II (left) of Monaco after winning the Monaco Grand Prix. Photo: Getty 

This season, though, has seen a Webber more like the one who led the championship for much of 2010 before falling at the final hurdle.

There was virtually nothing to choose between the two Red Bull drivers for most of that season – and this year Webber is back to that position.

Although it has taken until Monaco for Webber to draw level with Vettel on points, the qualifying score is four-two in Webber’s favour.

It would almost certainly have been five-one had Red Bull not erroneously decided not to send him out for a second run in the second session of qualifying in Spain two weeks ago, thinking he had done enough to make it through to the top-10 shoot-out.

Out-qualifying Vettel so comprehensively again in Monaco, on a track where all the drivers admit the man in the cockpit can make that bit more of a difference than on more mundane tracks, will have been particularly sweet.

The two Red Bull drivers have been more evenly matched in races this year, but while it took until his Monaco victory for Webber to draw level with Vettel in the championship, that is not necessarily an accurate reflection of their relative pace.

Webber scored four consecutive fourth places in the first four races as Vettel took a win, a second and a fifth. But only in Bahrain was Vettel demonstrably faster – and Webber would almost certainly have taken the second place his team-mate did in Australia had it not been for a pit-stop delay.

A win in Monaco, to become the sixth different driver to win in the first six races of the year confirms – as if confirmation were needed - that Webber is a major contender for the championship again this year.

He admitted after the race in Monaco that “last year was a little bit of a mystery; the gap was sometimes really, really extreme”. One imagines Vettel feels very much the same about this season.

Monaco was another example. There was Webber on the front row while Vettel was back in 10th having used up all his ‘super-soft’ tyres just getting into the top-10 shoot-out – exactly as had happened in Spain.

Red Bull have been struggling comparatively in qualifying all year, but their race pace has been strong almost everywhere. So it was again in Monaco, where Vettel, on a different strategy, suddenly became a factor for victory mid-way through the race.

“That wasn’t in the plan,” Webber joked afterwards, admitting he had been a little nervous about his team-mate’s progress. Eventually, though, the tyres on Vettel’s car cried enough – and he had to settle for fourth.

Team boss Christian Horner could not explain after the race how Vettel was so competitive in the race in the same car in which he had struggled in qualifying. But the answer will almost certainly lie somewhere in the behaviour of the Pirelli tyres, the secrets of which are proving elusive to the teams so far this season.

It says something for Red Bull’s professionalism and competence as a team that although aspects of their car’s performance are flummoxing even a man as brilliant as their designer Adrian Newey, they find both drivers tied on points just three off the championship lead.

Equally, it speaks volumes for the quality of Fernando Alonso’s driving so far this year that he is the man they are chasing, despite being in a car that has not yet been fast enough to set a pole position.

The Spaniard was in impressive form again in Monaco. From fifth on the grid, he made another great start and ran fourth to the first pit stops, when he jumped Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren thanks to a stunning in-lap, on which he set the fastest times of the race until that point on both the first sectors.

Alonso and Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali both admitted afterwards that he could potentially even have got ahead of second-placed Nico Rosberg and perhaps Webber, too, had he stayed out a little longer. But, as they said, you only know this in hindsight.

Still, third place was enough to vault him past Vettel into a clear championship lead. No wonder Horner said after the race: “Fernando has driven very well. He’s going to be a key factor all the way through this championship for sure.”

He wisely added that it would be wrong to rule out McLaren, despite another lacklustre performance in Monaco, and the same should also be said of Mercedes.

Mercedes bounced back with a bang in Monaco after a dip in form in Bahrain and Spain following Rosberg’s dominant win in China last month.

And after a difficult start to the season, it was Michael Schumacher who stuck the car on pole, which he lost as a result of the five-place grid penalty he earned for running into the back of Williams’s Bruno Senna in Spain.

Schumacher was unlucky in the race, tagged by Lotus’s Romain Grosjean at the start, and then retiring with a fuel pressure problem after running seventh for a while.

It will take a few more performances like that to convince everyone that the veteran German can be a consistent force at the front, and he is almost certainly too far behind to be a factor in the championship battle.

But his presence at the front, should it continue, will add an intriguing dimension to an already fascinating season.

“All good,” as Webber would doubtless say.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/andrewbenson/2012/05/andrew_benson.html

Carlo Abate George Abecassis Kenny Acheson Andrea de Adamich

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Ambrose wins again at the Glen

WATKINS GLEN, NY - AUGUST 12:  Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #9 Stanley Ford, celebrates with the checkered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Finger Lakes 355 at the Glen at Watkins Glen International on August 12, 2012 in Watkins Glen, New York.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)Slipping and sliding around oil-spattered Watkins Glen International on the last lap and fighting for the lead, Marcos Ambrose and Brad Keselowski didn’t know what lay around the next turn.


Source: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/48641056/ns/sports-motor_sports/

George Abecassis Kenny Acheson Andrea de Adamich Philippe Adams

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MORE ON MOTOR SPORTS

Source: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/3032830/ns/sports-motor_sports/

Jim Crawford Ray Crawford Alberto Crespo Antonio Creus

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Restructuring rumours

There are reports that there is another technical restructuring taking place at Mercedes AMG Petronas. Given that the current structure has not even had time to settle down, it seems rather more likely that any shuffling going on is simply to redistribute roles following the departure of Loic Bigois, who had been managing aerodynamic programmes. [...]

Source: http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/restructuring-rumours/

Tony Brise Chris Bristow Peter Broeker Tony Brooks

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Rhys Millen sets new record at Pikes Peak Hill Climb

Rhys Millen has set a new world record at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb. He completed the course in just 9:46.164.

Source: http://feeds.worldcarfans.com/~r/worldcarfans/Jxfz/~3/gOhPhqbpNGA/rhys-millen-sets-new-record-at-pikes-peak-hill-climb

Ian Ashley Gerry Ashmore Bill Aston Richard Attwood

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Nissan to offer Nismo & Nismo RS variants of the Juke, GT-R and 370Z – report

Nissan executive vice president Andy Palmer has revealed new details about Nismo’s upcoming product lineup. Full details inside

Source: http://feeds.worldcarfans.com/~r/worldcarfans/Jxfz/~3/XDWN7IvxRTo/nissan-to-offer-nismo–nismo-rs-variants-of-the-juke

Mario Andretti Michael Andretti Keith Andrews Elio de Angelis

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3D Design and IND join forces for custom BMW 3-Series F30

The BMW 3-Series (F3) has received some modifications courtesy of 3D Design Japan and IND.

Source: http://feeds.worldcarfans.com/~r/worldcarfans/Jxfz/~3/OU6iGQXmVUs/3d-design-and-ind-join-forces-for-custom-bmw-3-series-f30

Juan Manuel Bordeu Slim Borgudd Luki Botha JeanChristophe Boullion

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GB 1-2-3

Lewis Hamilton, Paul di Resta and Jenson Button led the Q1 session in Hungary, ahead of Nico Rosberg, Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and Felipe Massa. The top 10 was completed by Kimi Raikkonen and Bruno Senna. The two Red Bulls struggled with Mark Webber 16th and Sebastian Vettel 17th, while Daniel Riccardo was [...]

Source: http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/gb-1-2-3/

Kevin Cogan Peter Collins Bernard Collomb Alberto Colombo

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Championship Off Road Racing

Source: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/23036006/ns/sports-championship_off_road_racing/

Adrián Campos John Cannon Eitel Cantoni Bill Cantrell

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Red, white ?N bleu – why can?t Indy host an Eco-500?

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/nofenders/zbjv/~3/cJs1W-JUM_s/red-white-n-bleu-why-cant-indy-host-eco.html

Mauro Baldi Bobby Ball Marcel Balsa Lorenzo Bandini

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Four different winners – now pick a champion

McLaren team boss Martin Whitmarsh probably summed up the new Formula 1 season best in the wake of Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

“Who’s going to predict who’s going to win the next race?” Whitmarsh pondered after Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel had become the fourth different driver, for the fourth different team, to win in the first four races. “It could be Red Bull, Lotus, Mercedes, Ferrari, us.”

A Formula 1 season has not started in such an unpredictable fashion for 29 years.

Back in 1983, Brabham’s Nelson Piquet, McLaren’s John Watson, Renault’s Alain Prost and Ferrari’s Patrick Tambay were the men in question. Only Watson did not go on to be a major contender for the rest of the season, which featured a four-way title fight between Piquet, Prost, Tambay and the second Ferrari driver Rene Arnoux.

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari may not be the best car, but he is making it a contender. Photo: AFP

This year, the winners have been McLaren’s Jenson Button, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg and Vettel.

Paradoxically, though, on the balance of form over the four races, you would probably say that of those four only Button and Vettel will definitely be championship contenders.

Rosberg’s Mercedes car is clearly quick, at least in qualifying, but its race pace has been inconsistent. Alonso has been driving brilliantly in the Ferrari – but on current form the car is nowhere near good enough to mount a title challenge.

THE SEASON SO FAR

For all the unpredictability of the results, and the thrilling spectacle of the races themselves, the same drivers and teams who have dominated F1 in recent years fill the top five positions in the championship.

Victory in Bahrain vaulted Vettel into the lead, ahead of McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, Red Bull’s second driver Mark Webber, Button and Alonso.

Of those, Alonso’s position is the most remarkable.

At best, the Ferrari is the fifth fastest car behind the Red Bull, McLaren, Lotus and Mercedes. And there have been times when it was probably the seventh fastest – behind also the Williams and Sauber.

Yet the Spaniard has won a race and conceded only 10 points to the world championship leader after four grands prix.

This stunning demonstration of consistency and skill is why it would be hard to look past Alonso if there was an award for driver of the year so far.

If he is to be a title contender this year, though, much depends on the major car upgrades Ferrari are planning to introduce for the next race in Spain – and which will be tried out for the first time at the official F1 test in Mugello next week.

If these do not give Ferrari a significant boost in performance, even Alonso will drift out of contention and, presumably, be overtaken soon by the drivers immediately behind him in the championship – Rosberg and Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen

MOST IMPROVED TEAMS – AND OTHERWISE

Just as Alonso is artificially high in the championship – at least in terms of the quality of the car he is driving – so Raikkonen and, arguably, Rosberg are artificially low.

It has been clear from the beginning of the season that the Lotus is one of the very fastest cars on the grid – but scrappy weekends at the first three races prevented the team from scoring strong results.

In Bahrain they finally got it together, and Raikkonen and team-mate Romain Grosjean finished second and third behind Vettel. As BBC F1 technical analyst Gary Anderson explained in his race review, the Finn might well have won.

According to figures compiled by Anderson, Lotus are second only to Caterham in a table that compares their performance last year to this.

Mercedes are some way down the list – but have definitely made more progress than any of the other traditional top teams. Ferrari are at the bottom.

The difficulty in assessing Mercedes’ potential, though, is that for all their impressive performance in taking pole and victory in China, their form in the other races has been poor.

The Mercedes is quick in qualifying – thanks in part, no doubt, to its controversial ‘double DRS’ system – but they are the team whose performance deteriorates the most from practice and qualifying to race.

You can be sure a lot of their work at the Mugello test next week will be focused on this phenomenon.

The next-worst team on this criterion, incidentally, are McLaren.

THE TITLE BATTLE

Ferrari are the most consistent top team (and behind only Sauber) in terms of form from practice to race – a measure of how close a team gets to extracting the maximum from their car.

Red Bull are pretty close behind, even though it took the world champions until the fourth race of the season to record their first win.

One of the reasons teams have been struggling with consistency – both from race to race and within a weekend – is that they are finding it difficult to get the best out of the Pirelli tyres this year.

As Button has said: “Last year, we knew the tyres had high degradation but we understood them. This year, I don’t really know what to make of the tyres.”

Teams are struggling to keep the tyres in the right window of operating temperature, and different cars work them better in different ambient temperatures. Circuit characteristics also play a role.

Mercedes, for example, have been suffering problems with rear-tyre usage. So China was perfect for them. It was run in cool conditions on a circuit that is ‘front-limited’ – the front tyres tend to go off first.

Red Bull, by contrast, were struggling to get their car to work properly in China, and the result was their worst qualifying performance of the year. The race was less problematic, but Red Bull’s race pace has been strong all year.

In the hotter conditions of Bahrain, on a ‘rear-limited’ track, Mercedes struggled and Red Bull shone.

Until Bahrain, McLaren had coped pretty well with the varying conditions from race to race, but their struggles with rear tyre wear in Bahrain will have set alarm bells ringing.

PICKING A FAVOURITE

Vettel predicted in Bahrain that, because the teams are all so close in terms of competitiveness, changing conditions will continue to have an effect on form throughout the season.

His team principal Christian Horner added that the season would “ebb and flow”.

“It is a matter,” Horner said, “of trying to be consistent at the races you can’t win and take the maximum out of them. And at the races you can, you need to deliver.”

So who is the favourite?

Before Bahrain, you would probably have said one of the McLaren drivers. Now, you might be tempted to say Vettel.

But what about Webber, who has had the edge on Vettel in three of the four races? Or Raikkonen? Or even Alonso, if Ferrari can effect a turnaround with the car.

One thing is clear – it’s all very different from last year, when by this stage it was already blindingly obvious that Vettel was going to be champion.

As to who it will be this time, as Hamilton has said: “It’s anyone’s at the moment.”

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/andrewbenson/2012/04/four_different_winners_-_now_p.html

Elio de Angelis Marco Apicella Mário de Araújo Cabral Frank Armi

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2012 half-term driver rankings part one: 24-11 | 2012 F1 season

2012 half-term driver rankings part one: 24-11 is an original article from F1 Fanatic. If this article has been published anywhere other than F1 Fanatic it is an infringement of copyright.

Which drivers have excelled so far in 2012? The F1 Fanatic half-term driver rankings start here.

2012 half-term driver rankings part one: 24-11 is an original article from F1 Fanatic. If this article has been published anywhere other than F1 Fanatic it is an infringement of copyright.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/f1fanatic/~3/AzpitdrMYGs/

Tommy Byrne Giulio Cabianca Phil Cade Alex Caffi

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Citroen DS3 convertible heading to Paris Motor Show

French automaker Citroen plans on introducing next month at the Paris Motor Show a convertible version of the DS3.

Source: http://feeds.worldcarfans.com/~r/worldcarfans/Jxfz/~3/ZkVeF45eBuI/citroen-ds3-convertible-heading-to-paris-motor-show

Eitel Cantoni Bill Cantrell Ivan Capelli Piero Carini

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HSV Maloo & Clubsport return to the lineup

Holden Special Vehicles (HSV) has announced plans to offer two new entry-level models called the Clubsport and Maloo.

Source: http://feeds.worldcarfans.com/~r/worldcarfans/Jxfz/~3/QfblRChuGbE/hsv-maloo–clubsport-return-to-the-lineup

Stefan Bellof Paul Belmondo Tom Belso JeanPierre Beltoise

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Five hours and 30 minutes after the race?

Direct from the Formula 1 Paddock at the Hungaroring… A full-colour 80-page e-magazine. In this week’s issue, we take you behind the scenes in Budapest… – Lewis Hamilton hits the big time again – We chop a Sauber in half – We grill Sergio Perez – We remember the Olympic Grand Prix of 1956 – [...]

Source: http://joesaward.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/five-hours-and-30-minutes-after-the-race-2/

Peter Ashdown Ian Ashley Gerry Ashmore Bill Aston

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Montoya wins Cup pole at Watkins Glen (The Associated Press)

Juan Pablo Montoya talks with a crew member after winning the pole during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y., Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/David Duprey)

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (AP) — Juan Pablo Montoya prefers running up front, and it grates on him when he doesn’t.


Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/sports/rss/nascar/SIG=12lr7q9cj/*http%3A//sports.yahoo.com/news/montoya-wins-cup-pole-watkins-180318277–nascar.html

George Connor George Constantine John Cordts David Coulthard

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Video: 2014 BMW M3 caught during hot weather testing

The next generation BMW M3 won’t be showing its face until the 2013 Paris Auto Show, but we’ll at least get to see it undergo its painstaking testing until that happens. Bimmerpost was able to capture the future sports sedan as it endured the hot weather in Spain.

The video shows a little more of the M3’s exterior, but our main focus as we watched it was the sound pouring out of what we suspect is the new inline-six cylinder engine. We believe the previous V8 engine has been dropped in favor of the new V6, but we are still unaware of whether the new engine will be equipped with two or three turbos. Either way, it will boast of 450 HP, an increase over the current model’s 420 HP.

The future BMW M3 will be offered exclusively as a sedan and will show up on US dealerships in the winter of 2014. Before that, we’ll be able to get a closer look at the future model when BMW unveils its M3 Concept at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show.

Video: 2014 BMW M3 caught during hot weather testing originally appeared on topspeed.com on Friday, 10 August 2012 17:00 EST.

read more



Source: http://www.topspeed.com/cars/car-news/video-2014-bmw-m3-caught-during-hot-weather-testing-ar133581.html

Elio de Angelis Marco Apicella Mário de Araújo Cabral Frank Armi

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Fresh questions over struggling Schumacher

Michael Schumacher’s collision with Williams driver Bruno Senna in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix has once again focused awkward attention on the German legend’s lacklustre performances for Mercedes.

A senior member of the Mercedes team used the word “mediocre” last weekend when discussing the 43-year-old’s driving, and that was before Schumacher clumsily ran into the back of Senna’s car in the race.

It was the sort of error you might expect from a beginner, not a man with 91 grand prix victories and seven world titles under his belt.

Coming at Senna from a long way back, Schumacher seemed simply to misjudge the closing speed of the two cars and, caught in two minds about which direction to go, he ran into the back of the Williams.

Schumacher called Senna an “idiot” on the radio as he sat in the gravel trap in the immediate aftermath, and, even after watching replays, he still seemed convinced it was his rival’s fault. The stewards disagreed and gave him a five-place grid penalty for the next race in Monaco.

Schumacher’s reaction will have surprised no-one in F1 – he has always seemed to lack the ability to accept he can ever be wrong.

In an aspiring young driver, this is a characteristic one might expect. But age is supposed to bring wisdom and, in this aspect at least, it appears not to be the case with Schumacher.

With the passing years comes an inevitable waning of physical abilities, and it is surely now beyond dispute that this has come even to him.

Michael Schumacher collides with Bruno Senna during the Spanish Grand Prix. Photo: Reuters

How long can he go on raging against the dying of the light? More to the point, perhaps, how long can Mercedes accept it?

There is no shame in Schumacher not being the driver he was – one can argue there is honour in him being able to achieve even what he has as he heads into the middle of his fifth decade.

The facts, though, are that he is now no more than a decent F1 driver – and some may argue not even that.

Statistically, this is the worst start to a season in Schumacher’s career. But statistics can be misleading – Schumacher actually started the season well. He was the stronger of the two Mercedes drivers in the first two races.

But then came China and Nico Rosberg’s qualifying lap, half a second quicker than his team-mate, who was second on the grid.

The gap was explained almost entirely by a stunning middle sector of the lap from Rosberg, which Schumacher, I’m told, justified to himself by Rosberg managing to turn his tyres on better.

That may well have been the reason, but the gap was there nonetheless. As it was again in the race, when that excuse was less justifiable. Schumacher was simply outclassed by his team-mate.

They have been more evenly matched since, but still Schumacher is almost certainly getting no more from the car than a number of other drivers could manage.

The contrast, with what Fernando Alonso is doing in the Ferrari – which is not dissimilar to the sort of thing Schumacher used to achieve in his early years with the team – is stark.

The tragedy of Schumacher’s current situation is that it is leading some people to question his earlier achievements of seven world titles; two with Benetton and five with Ferrari between 1994 and 2004.

His criticisms of the Pirelli tyres after Bahrain drew uncomfortable parallels with the bespoke tyres from Bridgestone which Schumacher enjoyed for much of his Ferrari career, a subject that was largely unexplored during his pomp.

Some are beginning to wonder if seven titles really was such an amazing achievement, given the advantages he had at his disposal?

This would be wrong, though. There is no doubt that the Schumacher of the 1990s and early 2000s was an outstanding racing driver, one of the greatest there has ever been.
But that Schumacher belongs to the past.

The current one is out of contract at the end of this season. This, in fact, was the context in which the “mediocre” remark came up.

So what reasons do Mercedes have to keep him on, rather than try for someone else?
Lewis Hamilton, also looking for a new deal in 2013, may well not be available, or interested. Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button are committed to their current teams. Those left are all unproven.

Schumacher may continue to embarrass himself in wheel-to-wheel racing occasionally, but he’s close to Rosberg’s pace these days – and Mercedes’ top management rate their younger driver very highly indeed.

The other reason is less palatable for those who like to consider F1 as the arena in which the very best drivers in the world do battle. It’s commercial.

Schumacher’s marketing value to Mercedes is huge. After Rosberg’s victory in China, vice-president of Mercedes motorsport Norbert Haug delighted in how “fantastic” Schumacher had been in front of 800 guests at the launch of a new road car model in Shanghai the previous night. It had been, Haug said, “the perfect weekend”.

Schumacher may no longer be one of the best F1 drivers, but around the world he remains arguably the most famous – and therefore the most valuable to Mercedes off the track. And in Germany, Mercedes’ home, he is largely untouchable, voted recently the greatest national sportsman in history.

Ultimately, though, Mercedes are in F1 to win – and it is no secret that, after two disappointing seasons, the pressure on the team at the start of this season was enormous.

It will have been alleviated somewhat by their win in China, but the team have faded after a promising start and currently look no better than they did through much of last year.

In a season as topsy-turvy as this, that could easily change – and, who knows, if everything comes together perhaps Schumacher can win again. After all, who before the weekend would have predicted Pastor Maldonado’s victory in Spain?

But, all things being equal, that looks unlikely. For a team with an average car who need to win, is a “mediocre” driver, however famous, good enough?

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/andrewbenson/2012/05/fresh_questions_over_mediocre.html

JeanDenis Deletraz Patrick Depailler Pedro Diniz Duke Dinsmore

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Cool, canny Alonso seems to have all the answers

The remarkable story of Fernando Alonso and Ferrari’s incredible season continued at the German Grand Prix as the Spaniard became the first man to win three races in 2012 and moved into an imposing lead in the world championship.

Those three victories have all been very different, but equally impressive. And each has demonstrated specific aspects of the formidable army of Alonso’s talents.

In Malaysia in the second race of the season, at a time when the Ferrari was not competitive in the dry, he grabbed the opportunity provided by rain to take a most unexpected first win.

In Valencia last month, it was Alonso’s opportunism and clinical overtaking abilities that were to the fore.

Fernando Alonso tops the podium in Hockenheim

Other drivers may wonder how to stop Alonso’s relentless drive to a third title. Photo: Getty

And in Germany on Sunday his victory was founded on his relentlessness, canniness and virtual imperviousness to pressure.

Ferrari, lest we forget, started the season with a car that was the best part of a second and a half off the pace. Their progress since then has been hugely impressive.

But vastly improved though the car is, it was not, as Alonso himself, his team boss Stefano Domenicali and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel all pointed out after the race on Sunday, the fastest car in Germany.

Vettel’s Red Bull – which finished second but was demoted to fifth for passing Jenson Button by going off the track – and the McLaren appeared to have a slight pace advantage over the Ferrari, given their ability to stay within a second of it for lap after lap.

But Alonso cleverly managed his race so he was always just out of reach of them when it mattered.

He pushed hard in the first sector every lap so he was always far enough ahead at the start of the DRS overtaking zone to ensure his pursuers were not quite close enough to try to pass him into the Turn 6 hairpin.

After that, he could afford to back off through the middle sector of the lap, taking the stress out of his tyres, before doing it all over again the next time around.

Managing the delicate Pirelli tyres in this way also meant he could push that bit harder in the laps immediately preceding his two pit stops and ensure he kept his lead through them.

Equally, he showed the presence of mind to realise when Lewis Hamilton unlapped himself on Vettel shortly before the second stops that if he could, unlike the Red Bull driver, keep Hamilton behind, it would give him a crucial advantage at the stop.

It was not quite “67 qualifying laps”, as Domenicali described it after the race, but it was certainly a masterful demonstration of control and intelligence.

And there was no arguing with another of the Italian’s post-race verdicts. “(Alonso) is at the peak of his personal performance, no doubt about it,” Domenicali said.

It was the 30th victory of Alonso’s career, and he is now only one behind Nigel Mansell in the all-time winners’ list. The way he is driving, he will surely move ahead of the Englishman into fourth place behind Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna before the end of the year.

At the halfway point of the season, Alonso now looks down on his pursuers in the championship from the lofty vantage point of a 34-point advantage.

That is not, as Red Bull team principal Christian Horner correctly pointed out in Germany, “insurmountable” with 10 races still to go and 250 points up for grabs. But catching him when he is driving as well as this will take some doing.

Alonso is clearly enjoying the situation, and is taking opportunities to rub his rivals’ noses in it a little.

He is not the only driver to have been wound up by the index-finger salute Vettel employed every time he took one of his 11 wins and 15 pole positions on the way to the title last year.

So it was amusing to see Alonso do the same thing after he had beaten the German to pole position at Vettel’s home race on Saturday.

The exchange between Alonso, Button and Vettel as they climbed out of their cars immediately after the race was also illuminating.

After standing on his Ferrari’s nose to milk the applause, Alonso turned to Button and said: “You couldn’t beat me?” He then pointed to Vettel and said: “He couldn’t either.”

All part of the game, but a little reminder to both men of what a formidable job Alonso is doing this season.

The race underlined how close the performance is between the top three teams this year.

Red Bull had a shaky start to the season by their standards – although to nowhere near the extent of Ferrari – but have had on balance the fastest car in the dry since the Bahrain Grand Prix back in April.

And while McLaren have had a shaky couple of races in Valencia and Silverstone, they showed potential race-winning pace in Germany following the introduction of a major upgrade.

Despite a car damaged when he suffered an early puncture on debris left from a first-corner shunt ironically involving Alonso’s team-mate Felipe Massa, Hamilton was able to run with the leaders before his retirement with gearbox damage.

And Button impressively fought his way up to second place from sixth on the grid, closing a five-second gap on Alonso and Vettel once he was into third place.

This has not been Button’s greatest season, as he would be the first to admit.

Germany was the first race at which he has outqualified Hamilton in 2012 and even that may well have been down to the different tyre strategies they ran in qualifying.

Nevertheless, he remains a world-class grand prix driver and Germany proved the folly of those who had written him off after his recent struggles.

And despite Alonso’s lead in the championship, the season is finely poised.

Germany was a low-key race for Mark Webber, who was unhappy with his car on the harder of the two tyres but remains second in the championship. And Red Bull’s two drivers clearly have the equipment to make life difficult for Alonso.

The McLaren drivers are determined to make something of their season still and Lotus are quick enough to cause the three big teams some serious concern.

Mercedes, meanwhile, have a bit of work to do to turn around their tendency to qualify reasonably well and then go backwards in the race.

“It’s going to be a great, great season,” said McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh on Sunday. “It already has been a great season.”

And the next instalment is already less than seven days away in Hungary next weekend.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/andrewbenson/2012/07/cool_canny_alonso_looks_diffic.html

Kevin Cogan Peter Collins Bernard Collomb Alberto Colombo

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Montoya wins Cup pole at Watkins Glen

Source: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/08/11/2262627/montoya-wins-cup-pole-at-watkins.html

Dave Charlton Pedro Matos Chaves Bill Cheesbourg Eddie Cheever

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Fresh questions over struggling Schumacher

Michael Schumacher’s collision with Williams driver Bruno Senna in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix has once again focused awkward attention on the German legend’s lacklustre performances for Mercedes.

A senior member of the Mercedes team used the word “mediocre” last weekend when discussing the 43-year-old’s driving, and that was before Schumacher clumsily ran into the back of Senna’s car in the race.

It was the sort of error you might expect from a beginner, not a man with 91 grand prix victories and seven world titles under his belt.

Coming at Senna from a long way back, Schumacher seemed simply to misjudge the closing speed of the two cars and, caught in two minds about which direction to go, he ran into the back of the Williams.

Schumacher called Senna an “idiot” on the radio as he sat in the gravel trap in the immediate aftermath, and, even after watching replays, he still seemed convinced it was his rival’s fault. The stewards disagreed and gave him a five-place grid penalty for the next race in Monaco.

Schumacher’s reaction will have surprised no-one in F1 – he has always seemed to lack the ability to accept he can ever be wrong.

In an aspiring young driver, this is a characteristic one might expect. But age is supposed to bring wisdom and, in this aspect at least, it appears not to be the case with Schumacher.

With the passing years comes an inevitable waning of physical abilities, and it is surely now beyond dispute that this has come even to him.

Michael Schumacher collides with Bruno Senna during the Spanish Grand Prix. Photo: Reuters

How long can he go on raging against the dying of the light? More to the point, perhaps, how long can Mercedes accept it?

There is no shame in Schumacher not being the driver he was – one can argue there is honour in him being able to achieve even what he has as he heads into the middle of his fifth decade.

The facts, though, are that he is now no more than a decent F1 driver – and some may argue not even that.

Statistically, this is the worst start to a season in Schumacher’s career. But statistics can be misleading – Schumacher actually started the season well. He was the stronger of the two Mercedes drivers in the first two races.

But then came China and Nico Rosberg’s qualifying lap, half a second quicker than his team-mate, who was second on the grid.

The gap was explained almost entirely by a stunning middle sector of the lap from Rosberg, which Schumacher, I’m told, justified to himself by Rosberg managing to turn his tyres on better.

That may well have been the reason, but the gap was there nonetheless. As it was again in the race, when that excuse was less justifiable. Schumacher was simply outclassed by his team-mate.

They have been more evenly matched since, but still Schumacher is almost certainly getting no more from the car than a number of other drivers could manage.

The contrast, with what Fernando Alonso is doing in the Ferrari – which is not dissimilar to the sort of thing Schumacher used to achieve in his early years with the team – is stark.

The tragedy of Schumacher’s current situation is that it is leading some people to question his earlier achievements of seven world titles; two with Benetton and five with Ferrari between 1994 and 2004.

His criticisms of the Pirelli tyres after Bahrain drew uncomfortable parallels with the bespoke tyres from Bridgestone which Schumacher enjoyed for much of his Ferrari career, a subject that was largely unexplored during his pomp.

Some are beginning to wonder if seven titles really was such an amazing achievement, given the advantages he had at his disposal?

This would be wrong, though. There is no doubt that the Schumacher of the 1990s and early 2000s was an outstanding racing driver, one of the greatest there has ever been.
But that Schumacher belongs to the past.

The current one is out of contract at the end of this season. This, in fact, was the context in which the “mediocre” remark came up.

So what reasons do Mercedes have to keep him on, rather than try for someone else?
Lewis Hamilton, also looking for a new deal in 2013, may well not be available, or interested. Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button are committed to their current teams. Those left are all unproven.

Schumacher may continue to embarrass himself in wheel-to-wheel racing occasionally, but he’s close to Rosberg’s pace these days – and Mercedes’ top management rate their younger driver very highly indeed.

The other reason is less palatable for those who like to consider F1 as the arena in which the very best drivers in the world do battle. It’s commercial.

Schumacher’s marketing value to Mercedes is huge. After Rosberg’s victory in China, vice-president of Mercedes motorsport Norbert Haug delighted in how “fantastic” Schumacher had been in front of 800 guests at the launch of a new road car model in Shanghai the previous night. It had been, Haug said, “the perfect weekend”.

Schumacher may no longer be one of the best F1 drivers, but around the world he remains arguably the most famous – and therefore the most valuable to Mercedes off the track. And in Germany, Mercedes’ home, he is largely untouchable, voted recently the greatest national sportsman in history.

Ultimately, though, Mercedes are in F1 to win – and it is no secret that, after two disappointing seasons, the pressure on the team at the start of this season was enormous.

It will have been alleviated somewhat by their win in China, but the team have faded after a promising start and currently look no better than they did through much of last year.

In a season as topsy-turvy as this, that could easily change – and, who knows, if everything comes together perhaps Schumacher can win again. After all, who before the weekend would have predicted Pastor Maldonado’s victory in Spain?

But, all things being equal, that looks unlikely. For a team with an average car who need to win, is a “mediocre” driver, however famous, good enough?

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/andrewbenson/2012/05/fresh_questions_over_mediocre.html

Ronnie Bucknum Ivor Bueb Sebastien Buemi Luiz Bueno

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Motorsports ?N Music

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/nofenders/zbjv/~3/ZSs2tSD_WKE/motorsports-n-music.html

JeanDenis Deletraz Patrick Depailler Pedro Diniz Duke Dinsmore

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Car dealer accidently sells 1994 BMW 320i for $1

Lucky buyer drives home with a 1994 BMW 320i for which he spent only $1 at a car dealership in New Zealand.

Source: http://feeds.worldcarfans.com/~r/worldcarfans/Jxfz/~3/jXWjAcVaGyA/car-dealer-accidently-sells-1994-bmw-320i-for-1

Chris Bristow Peter Broeker Tony Brooks Alan Brown

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Donny Schatz wins Knoxville Nationals

Source: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/08/12/2264276/donny-schatz-wins-knoxville-nationals.html

Trevor Blokdyk Mark Blundell Raul Boesel Menato Boffa

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Cool, canny Alonso seems to have all the answers

The remarkable story of Fernando Alonso and Ferrari’s incredible season continued at the German Grand Prix as the Spaniard became the first man to win three races in 2012 and moved into an imposing lead in the world championship.

Those three victories have all been very different, but equally impressive. And each has demonstrated specific aspects of the formidable army of Alonso’s talents.

In Malaysia in the second race of the season, at a time when the Ferrari was not competitive in the dry, he grabbed the opportunity provided by rain to take a most unexpected first win.

In Valencia last month, it was Alonso’s opportunism and clinical overtaking abilities that were to the fore.

Fernando Alonso tops the podium in Hockenheim

Other drivers may wonder how to stop Alonso’s relentless drive to a third title. Photo: Getty

And in Germany on Sunday his victory was founded on his relentlessness, canniness and virtual imperviousness to pressure.

Ferrari, lest we forget, started the season with a car that was the best part of a second and a half off the pace. Their progress since then has been hugely impressive.

But vastly improved though the car is, it was not, as Alonso himself, his team boss Stefano Domenicali and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel all pointed out after the race on Sunday, the fastest car in Germany.

Vettel’s Red Bull – which finished second but was demoted to fifth for passing Jenson Button by going off the track – and the McLaren appeared to have a slight pace advantage over the Ferrari, given their ability to stay within a second of it for lap after lap.

But Alonso cleverly managed his race so he was always just out of reach of them when it mattered.

He pushed hard in the first sector every lap so he was always far enough ahead at the start of the DRS overtaking zone to ensure his pursuers were not quite close enough to try to pass him into the Turn 6 hairpin.

After that, he could afford to back off through the middle sector of the lap, taking the stress out of his tyres, before doing it all over again the next time around.

Managing the delicate Pirelli tyres in this way also meant he could push that bit harder in the laps immediately preceding his two pit stops and ensure he kept his lead through them.

Equally, he showed the presence of mind to realise when Lewis Hamilton unlapped himself on Vettel shortly before the second stops that if he could, unlike the Red Bull driver, keep Hamilton behind, it would give him a crucial advantage at the stop.

It was not quite “67 qualifying laps”, as Domenicali described it after the race, but it was certainly a masterful demonstration of control and intelligence.

And there was no arguing with another of the Italian’s post-race verdicts. “(Alonso) is at the peak of his personal performance, no doubt about it,” Domenicali said.

It was the 30th victory of Alonso’s career, and he is now only one behind Nigel Mansell in the all-time winners’ list. The way he is driving, he will surely move ahead of the Englishman into fourth place behind Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna before the end of the year.

At the halfway point of the season, Alonso now looks down on his pursuers in the championship from the lofty vantage point of a 34-point advantage.

That is not, as Red Bull team principal Christian Horner correctly pointed out in Germany, “insurmountable” with 10 races still to go and 250 points up for grabs. But catching him when he is driving as well as this will take some doing.

Alonso is clearly enjoying the situation, and is taking opportunities to rub his rivals’ noses in it a little.

He is not the only driver to have been wound up by the index-finger salute Vettel employed every time he took one of his 11 wins and 15 pole positions on the way to the title last year.

So it was amusing to see Alonso do the same thing after he had beaten the German to pole position at Vettel’s home race on Saturday.

The exchange between Alonso, Button and Vettel as they climbed out of their cars immediately after the race was also illuminating.

After standing on his Ferrari’s nose to milk the applause, Alonso turned to Button and said: “You couldn’t beat me?” He then pointed to Vettel and said: “He couldn’t either.”

All part of the game, but a little reminder to both men of what a formidable job Alonso is doing this season.

The race underlined how close the performance is between the top three teams this year.

Red Bull had a shaky start to the season by their standards – although to nowhere near the extent of Ferrari – but have had on balance the fastest car in the dry since the Bahrain Grand Prix back in April.

And while McLaren have had a shaky couple of races in Valencia and Silverstone, they showed potential race-winning pace in Germany following the introduction of a major upgrade.

Despite a car damaged when he suffered an early puncture on debris left from a first-corner shunt ironically involving Alonso’s team-mate Felipe Massa, Hamilton was able to run with the leaders before his retirement with gearbox damage.

And Button impressively fought his way up to second place from sixth on the grid, closing a five-second gap on Alonso and Vettel once he was into third place.

This has not been Button’s greatest season, as he would be the first to admit.

Germany was the first race at which he has outqualified Hamilton in 2012 and even that may well have been down to the different tyre strategies they ran in qualifying.

Nevertheless, he remains a world-class grand prix driver and Germany proved the folly of those who had written him off after his recent struggles.

And despite Alonso’s lead in the championship, the season is finely poised.

Germany was a low-key race for Mark Webber, who was unhappy with his car on the harder of the two tyres but remains second in the championship. And Red Bull’s two drivers clearly have the equipment to make life difficult for Alonso.

The McLaren drivers are determined to make something of their season still and Lotus are quick enough to cause the three big teams some serious concern.

Mercedes, meanwhile, have a bit of work to do to turn around their tendency to qualify reasonably well and then go backwards in the race.

“It’s going to be a great, great season,” said McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh on Sunday. “It already has been a great season.”

And the next instalment is already less than seven days away in Hungary next weekend.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/andrewbenson/2012/07/cool_canny_alonso_looks_diffic.html

Ivor Bueb Sebastien Buemi Luiz Bueno Ian Burgess

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The Kubica Chronicles

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/nofenders/zbjv/~3/eDE2TXjjZ24/the-kubica-chronicles.html

Fabrizio Barbazza John Barber Skip Barber Paolo Barilla

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Porsche Panamera wagon concept confirmed for Paris Motor Show

Sources within Porsche have confirmed that a wagon concept of the Panamera will be making an appearance at this year’s Paris Motor Show.

Source: http://feeds.worldcarfans.com/~r/worldcarfans/Jxfz/~3/-V84df1ft6k/porsche-panamera-wagon-concept-confirmed-for-paris-motor

Red Amick Chris Amon Bob Anderson Conny Andersson

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Edwards wins Nationwide race at Watkins Glen

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (AP) – Carl Edwards has won the NASCAR Nationwide race at Watkins Glen International.

Source: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/48629977/ns/sports-motor_sports/

George Constantine John Cordts David Coulthard Piers Courage

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This Week in Auto Racing August 11 – 12

Source: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/08/09/2258336/this-week-in-auto-racing-august.html

Elie Bayol Don Beauman Karl Gunther Bechem Jean Behra

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Lightning McQueen Powerwheels by FFTEC Motorsports

When us 30-somethings were kids, Powerwheels cars were all the rage. We could drive our own miniature car at a snail’s pace for roughly 10 minutes before the battery drained and left us stranded wherever we were. Those 10 minutes were typically the highlight of our week, despite the fact that molasses could flow down the road faster than our Powerwheels car could drive.

Well, FFTEC Motorsports, who is best known for building monster Mitsubishis, Porsches, Subarus, etc., decided that, after one of its employee’s son wore the rubber wheels off of his Lightning McQueen Powerwheels, it was time for some minor modifications.

FFTEC completely stripped the guts from the Powerwheels car, leaving pretty much just the plastic body. From there, FFTEC installed an aluminum sub-chassis in the rear end and installed new bearing-style hubs with disc brakes. On these hubs are a set of rubber all-terrain tires, so the Powerwheels car could literally put rubber to the road instead of plastic.

FFTEC didn’t stop there, as technicians decided that the car just wasn’t quite fast enough, so they installed a 500-watt, 0.66-horsepower electric motor to drive the rear wheels via a chain system. They also installed 24-volt gel batteries to help prolong the car’s running life. Also part of the build is a variable-speed throttle, in placer of the Powerwheels all-or-nothing throttle, and a Sparco battery cutoff switch.

After it was all said and done, FFTEC produced a video and slapped it on YouTube for us to see. Have a look for yourself and think about how you could have easily beaten everyone in the Driveway Le Mans Series of Powerwheels.

Nice job FFTEC!

Lightning McQueen Powerwheels by FFTEC Motorsports originally appeared on topspeed.com on Saturday, 11 August 2012 04:00 EST.

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Source: http://www.topspeed.com/cars/car-news/2012-lightning-mcqueen-powerwheels-by-fftec-motorsports-ar133483.html

Alberto Ascari Peter Ashdown Ian Ashley Gerry Ashmore

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Possible fourth-gen Toyota RAV4 spied

A Toyota fan club forum member in Saudi Arabia has grabbed a few spy shots with a possible fourth-gen RAV4.

Source: http://feeds.worldcarfans.com/~r/worldcarfans/Jxfz/~3/ssfsgaXXi5g/possible-fourth-gen-toyota-rav4-spied

Eric Bernard Enrique Bernoldi Enrico Bertaggia Tony Bettenhausen

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Jaguar F-Type Roadster

Last year at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Jaguar announced the C-X16 Concept and because the market’s reaction was so positive, the company decided to offer a production version. The new sports car will be named F-Type and will be announced later in 2012 with sales to begin in mid 2013.

The future Jaguar F-Type will be powered by a new 3.0-liter V6 engine that delivers a total of 250 HP in a normally aspirated version and 375 HP in the supercharged R version. Jaguar has also confirmed that the future F-Type will be built as a two-seater convertible and will feature all-aluminum construction. The model will be priced under the current XK, or at about $85,000.

“That car will be called the F-TYPE, and it will be unveiled in production form later this year. The core appeal of Jaguar’s cars is their sporting heart, and that heart will beat stronger than ever before in the F-TYPE. Its development is a vivid representation of the confidence and ambition of the Jaguar brand, and the desire amongst our engineers and design team to produce a world-leader in a market segment that we have been absent from for too long. But no longer ? the F-TYPE is coming.”

UPDATE 08/10/2012: Jaguar has officially confirmed that the new F-Type roadster will be making its world debut at the Paris Motor Show on September 27, 2012. The model will be offered with a choice of three engines: Jaguar?s all-new 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine with an output of either 340 or 380 HP and the existing supercharged 5.0-liter V8. All engine options will drive the rear wheels through an eight-speed transmission and will be equipped with Stop/Start technology. Adrian Hallmark, Global Brand Director, Jaguar Cars, said: “The unveiling of the F-TYPE in Paris will be a truly significant day in Jaguar?s history as it will mark the company?s return to the sports car market, a market it originally helped to create.”

Jaguar F-Type Roadster originally appeared on topspeed.com on Friday, 10 August 2012 12:00 EST.

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Source: http://www.topspeed.com/cars/jaguar/2013-jaguar-f-type-roadster-ar127489.html

Bob Bondurant Felice Bonetto Jo Bonnier Roberto Bonomi

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Photo?s now available for Sauber F1 Cutaway Car…

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/nofenders/zbjv/~3/Q5TsTC2ywRA/photos-now-available-for-sauber-f1.html

Eugenio Castellotti Johnny Cecotto Andrea de Cesaris Francois Cevert

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Maybach 57 left for dead in a parking lot

YouTube user Marchettino has found an abandoned Maybach 57 in a parking lot on the French Coast.

Source: http://feeds.worldcarfans.com/~r/worldcarfans/Jxfz/~3/3ZRZoPGHBi4/maybach-57-left-for-dead-in-a-parking-lot-video

Carlo Abate George Abecassis Kenny Acheson Andrea de Adamich

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Let’s celebrate a great British Grand Prix

I must confess, at the start of the year I wasn’t sure what to expect from Formula 1 in 2012. The question for me was: how could a sport that has enthralled us so much in recent seasons deliver again – while at the same time hold its own in a year so packed with stunning sporting spectacles?

We’ve had the European Football Championship, now followed swiftly by Wimbledon and then almost immediately the London Olympics will be upon us. It’s a veritable feast for those sports lovers keen to sit down on the sofa in June and not get up again until late August (if I wasn’t working I’d be one of them!).

Among such sporting riches I wondered just how F1 would make its voice heard. Well, here we are, almost at the midway point of the season and it seems I needn’t have worried.

Due to the fact that my brain has probably only a hundredth of the power of Adrian Newey’s and works at roughly a tenth of the speed of Sebastian Vettel’s, there are many things I still can’t work out about this sport. One of them: just how does it manage to keep on delivering storylines that even Brookside in its heyday would have been proud of?!

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Jake and the team arrive in Silverstone last year.

Since the BBC team and I got involved it’s been one drama after another. In 2009 alone we had the Brawn GP ‘phoenix-from-the-flames’ act, Felipe Massa’s nasty accident in Hungary and then Jenson keeping us all guessing until we got to Brazil.

2010 then delivered arguably the most competitive season the sport has ever seen with five drivers in with a shout of the title, and the least fancied of the lot eventually winning it.

Meanwhile, last year was all about the record-breaking domination of our back-to-back champion, as Seb found his feet in the sport – and his place in the history books – with the most amazing performances week after week that all of us, bar Mark Webber, just watched in awe.

And then 2012 arrived. The year of the Union Flag. The year we all celebrate being British, and the Queen being on the throne almost as long as this sport has existed. The year that Wayne Rooney and England would chase glory in the east of Europe, while the likes of Chris Hoy and Usain Bolt would do the same in the east of London.

And among the flotillas, the flypast and the flag waving, Formula 1′s job was to remind the British public that if you want to celebrate Britain, then celebrate this sport!

In an age of low profits and high anxiety, it’s only natural that we lean on the things we know and trust, and we should include Formula 1 in that bracket. To most of us, it’s always been here.

We should not only celebrate it because it employs thousands and contributes millions to the British economy each year. We shouldn’t just feel pride because eight of the current teams are based on these shores, or that this was the country where Formula 1 actually began – but because in times like this, what we need is a bit of escapism, something to entertain us. And this sport is currently doing both.

And best of all, this weekend it’s the British Grand Prix!

I have incredibly fond memories of this race, and we always try to find a way on the show to tell the story of you, the F1 fans, who attend in your thousands. And whether it’s chants of ‘BBC’ from the grandstand or ‘Eddie, Eddie, Eddie’ as the crowds gather round us in our pre-show build-up, we appreciate the support you’ve shown us over the years.

Having arrived on a three-man tandem bike and hovered overhead in a helicopter in the past, we’ve decided on a quintessentially British, extrovert way of arriving for this year’s grand prix. If you’re there on the Thursday you won’t miss us! I suggest that sometime late-morning you look to the skies and give us a wave… that’s all I’m saying.

However, it’s the drivers who will again provide the real entertainment this year. And after the British fans braved the rain of 2011 and despite there being no British winner since 2008, I truly hope that this year is a race to remember. As well as a grand prix that lives up to the high standards this season has set.

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Will 2012 match up to Mansell’s classic win in 1986?

If Valencia is anything to go by then it looks like Silverstone will be a cracker. We won’t have the sweltering conditions that some races have given us, but with another mixed-up grid full of mixed-up strategies, once again I hope it will have us guessing until the very end.

And we’re also at a crucial stage of the season as far as the title is concerned. Can Fernando Alonso now string some success together and build a championship lead? Meanwhile Mark Webber can really show what consistency can do. If Lotus really harbour title aspirations then now is the time to start turning pace into wins, and what kind of form will Michael be in now he’s bagged his first podium since 2006?

And that leaves the three lions. Paul Di Resta continues to show flashes of brilliance and stunning raw speed – surely it’s just a matter of time until he makes a move to a big team. But he’s also got the likes of Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean battling for the crown of top rookie.

Is Jenson going to be cut adrift after struggling on Saturdays and having to fight for scraps in recent races? And as for Lewis, he may well arrive at Silverstone like a bear with a sore head after the way his Valencia race ended, but I predict he will make it British Grand Prix win number two on Sunday.

So, if you can’t make it to the race then don’t take down your Jubilee bunting and put the fizz back under the stairs just yet. Chill a bottle, settle down in front of the TV and watch a British love affair unfold that is every bit as special as we’ve seen so far this summer.

And if you are coming to the race, then make sure you bring that Union Flag. This feels like a year that we’ve fallen in love with being British again, so as the world tunes in to see what Northamptonshire has to offer on Sunday, let’s help make it a race to remember.

And after the race, head to Luffield for the grand prix party, as we’re hosting the F1 Forum live on stage and we want you to be part of the show.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/jakehumphrey/2012/07/lets_celebrate_a_great_british.html

Adrián Campos John Cannon Eitel Cantoni Bill Cantrell

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Alfa Romeo 4C Roadster coming in 2015 – report

According to a recent report, the highly-anticipated Alfa Romeo 4C will spawn a roadster variant in 2015.

Source: http://feeds.worldcarfans.com/~r/worldcarfans/Jxfz/~3/txg88FgCIbg/alfa-romeo-4c-roadster-coming-in-2015—report

Erwin Bauer Zsolt Baumgartner Elie Bayol Don Beauman

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Latest NASCAR videos

Source: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/21134540/vp/22114938#22114938

Philippe Alliot Cliff Allison Fernando Alonso Giovanna Amati

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HRT Only Operating At 50% Of Full Potential

HRT boss Luis Perez-Sala believes that their car is only operating at half of its full potential. The Spanish team currently sit rock bottom of the Constructors? Championship, but have highlighted problems regarding aerodynamics which they aim to improve. If they can alter this, Perez-Sala believes that fans will see the best of the reliable [...]

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Formula1Fancast/~3/q6JRUhSIWXc/hrt-only-operating-at-50-of-full-potential

Jose Dolhem Martin Donnelly Carlo Abate George Abecassis

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Slideshow: Slideshow: NASCAR’s race winners

Take a look at every NASCAR driver who has claimed a checkered flag this racing season.Take a look at every NASCAR driver who has claimed a checkered flag this racing season.


Source: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/41582228/ns/sports-motor_sports/displaymode/1247/beginSlide/1/beginChapter/1/beginTab/1/

Bob Anderson Conny Andersson Mario Andretti Michael Andretti

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Jaguar F-Type Roadster

Last year at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Jaguar announced the C-X16 Concept and because the market’s reaction was so positive, the company decided to offer a production version. The new sports car will be named F-Type and will be announced later in 2012 with sales to begin in mid 2013.

The future Jaguar F-Type will be powered by a new 3.0-liter V6 engine that delivers a total of 250 HP in a normally aspirated version and 375 HP in the supercharged R version. Jaguar has also confirmed that the future F-Type will be built as a two-seater convertible and will feature all-aluminum construction. The model will be priced under the current XK, or at about $85,000.

“That car will be called the F-TYPE, and it will be unveiled in production form later this year. The core appeal of Jaguar’s cars is their sporting heart, and that heart will beat stronger than ever before in the F-TYPE. Its development is a vivid representation of the confidence and ambition of the Jaguar brand, and the desire amongst our engineers and design team to produce a world-leader in a market segment that we have been absent from for too long. But no longer ? the F-TYPE is coming.”

UPDATE 08/10/2012: Jaguar has officially confirmed that the new F-Type roadster will be making its world debut at the Paris Motor Show on September 27, 2012. The model will be offered with a choice of three engines: Jaguar?s all-new 3.0-liter supercharged V6 engine with an output of either 340 or 380 HP and the existing supercharged 5.0-liter V8. All engine options will drive the rear wheels through an eight-speed transmission and will be equipped with Stop/Start technology. Adrian Hallmark, Global Brand Director, Jaguar Cars, said: “The unveiling of the F-TYPE in Paris will be a truly significant day in Jaguar?s history as it will mark the company?s return to the sports car market, a market it originally helped to create.”

Jaguar F-Type Roadster originally appeared on topspeed.com on Friday, 10 August 2012 12:00 EST.

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Source: http://www.topspeed.com/cars/jaguar/2013-jaguar-f-type-roadster-ar127489.html

Marcel Balsa Lorenzo Bandini Henry Banks Fabrizio Barbazza

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Gordon heads to Watkins Glen with renewed hope

Source: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/08/09/2257574/gordon-heads-to-watkins-glen-with.html

Paul Belmondo Tom Belso JeanPierre Beltoise Olivier Beretta

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All good for revitalised Webber

“All good, mate,” is probably Mark Webber’s favourite phrase. It’s a fair bit more loaded with meaning than it sounds, and it sums up the way he will be feeling after the Monaco Grand Prix.

The Australian’s second win in three years in Formula 1′s most prestigious race, and his first of the season, had been coming for a while and it confirms Webber’s return to form after a difficult 2011.

It will have been particularly sweet as it came at another race in which he has had an edge on team-mate Sebastian Vettel, whose romp to the world title last year was probably harder on Webber than anyone.

When a driver takes 11 wins and 15 pole positions in 19 races, as Vettel did last year, most of his rivals can console themselves with the thought that he has a better car than they do. Not so his team-mate, who suffered through 2011 with dignity and largely in silence.

Mark Webber

Mark Webber (right) is congratulated by Prince Albert II (left) of Monaco after winning the Monaco Grand Prix. Photo: Getty 

This season, though, has seen a Webber more like the one who led the championship for much of 2010 before falling at the final hurdle.

There was virtually nothing to choose between the two Red Bull drivers for most of that season – and this year Webber is back to that position.

Although it has taken until Monaco for Webber to draw level with Vettel on points, the qualifying score is four-two in Webber’s favour.

It would almost certainly have been five-one had Red Bull not erroneously decided not to send him out for a second run in the second session of qualifying in Spain two weeks ago, thinking he had done enough to make it through to the top-10 shoot-out.

Out-qualifying Vettel so comprehensively again in Monaco, on a track where all the drivers admit the man in the cockpit can make that bit more of a difference than on more mundane tracks, will have been particularly sweet.

The two Red Bull drivers have been more evenly matched in races this year, but while it took until his Monaco victory for Webber to draw level with Vettel in the championship, that is not necessarily an accurate reflection of their relative pace.

Webber scored four consecutive fourth places in the first four races as Vettel took a win, a second and a fifth. But only in Bahrain was Vettel demonstrably faster – and Webber would almost certainly have taken the second place his team-mate did in Australia had it not been for a pit-stop delay.

A win in Monaco, to become the sixth different driver to win in the first six races of the year confirms – as if confirmation were needed - that Webber is a major contender for the championship again this year.

He admitted after the race in Monaco that “last year was a little bit of a mystery; the gap was sometimes really, really extreme”. One imagines Vettel feels very much the same about this season.

Monaco was another example. There was Webber on the front row while Vettel was back in 10th having used up all his ‘super-soft’ tyres just getting into the top-10 shoot-out – exactly as had happened in Spain.

Red Bull have been struggling comparatively in qualifying all year, but their race pace has been strong almost everywhere. So it was again in Monaco, where Vettel, on a different strategy, suddenly became a factor for victory mid-way through the race.

“That wasn’t in the plan,” Webber joked afterwards, admitting he had been a little nervous about his team-mate’s progress. Eventually, though, the tyres on Vettel’s car cried enough – and he had to settle for fourth.

Team boss Christian Horner could not explain after the race how Vettel was so competitive in the race in the same car in which he had struggled in qualifying. But the answer will almost certainly lie somewhere in the behaviour of the Pirelli tyres, the secrets of which are proving elusive to the teams so far this season.

It says something for Red Bull’s professionalism and competence as a team that although aspects of their car’s performance are flummoxing even a man as brilliant as their designer Adrian Newey, they find both drivers tied on points just three off the championship lead.

Equally, it speaks volumes for the quality of Fernando Alonso’s driving so far this year that he is the man they are chasing, despite being in a car that has not yet been fast enough to set a pole position.

The Spaniard was in impressive form again in Monaco. From fifth on the grid, he made another great start and ran fourth to the first pit stops, when he jumped Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren thanks to a stunning in-lap, on which he set the fastest times of the race until that point on both the first sectors.

Alonso and Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali both admitted afterwards that he could potentially even have got ahead of second-placed Nico Rosberg and perhaps Webber, too, had he stayed out a little longer. But, as they said, you only know this in hindsight.

Still, third place was enough to vault him past Vettel into a clear championship lead. No wonder Horner said after the race: “Fernando has driven very well. He’s going to be a key factor all the way through this championship for sure.”

He wisely added that it would be wrong to rule out McLaren, despite another lacklustre performance in Monaco, and the same should also be said of Mercedes.

Mercedes bounced back with a bang in Monaco after a dip in form in Bahrain and Spain following Rosberg’s dominant win in China last month.

And after a difficult start to the season, it was Michael Schumacher who stuck the car on pole, which he lost as a result of the five-place grid penalty he earned for running into the back of Williams’s Bruno Senna in Spain.

Schumacher was unlucky in the race, tagged by Lotus’s Romain Grosjean at the start, and then retiring with a fuel pressure problem after running seventh for a while.

It will take a few more performances like that to convince everyone that the veteran German can be a consistent force at the front, and he is almost certainly too far behind to be a factor in the championship battle.

But his presence at the front, should it continue, will add an intriguing dimension to an already fascinating season.

“All good,” as Webber would doubtless say.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/andrewbenson/2012/05/andrew_benson.html

Alex Caffi John CampbellJones Adrián Campos John Cannon

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Button Rules Out Ferrari Move

Jenson Button has declared that he would only become Fernando Alonso?s partner at Ferrari “in a parallel universe.” The McLaren man?s name is one of many to be linked with a place at the Scuderia, as they look to replace the disappointing Felipe Massa. The Brit was recently questioned on the rumours surrounding a switch [...]

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Formula1Fancast/~3/gggKJR3rBTg/button-rules-out-ferrari-move

Chuck Daigh Yannick Dalmas Derek Daly Christian Danner

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